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Archive for September, 2008

Zebra on Fire Bush

Zebra on Fire Bush

Just something to give you a respite from the news of the day. Enjoy.

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A truck hauling nickels for the mint dumped its load on I-4 near Orlando, Florida, last week. I don’t have to tell you hands were turned into scoops, do I? Guess what? Same thing has already begun in Washington even before the nickels roll.

 

Buried in an article about medical costs taking a toll on insured are these words of wisdom from Len Nichols, a health economist at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan policy group that advocates universal medical coverage:

 

“This makes clear the cost of doing nothing is high and growing. While policy analysts acknowledge that finding any new money to expand coverage might prove difficult, some also say the terms of the debate could be changing as policymakers and the public rethink their positions on the need for regulation and the role of the government in the industry – including the health-care system.

 

We can now imagine a government takeover that we could not imagine before.” Nichols said.

 

Or as a wise Chinese saying goes, “A journey of a million miles begins with one step.”  Are we ready to take that step?

 

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Fall is where you find it in Florida. I found the season’s colors in berries on a fire bush. The plant churns out berries all year, but they look like fall. There is no procrastinating to photograph the plump, deep-colored berries because the next day they have started to fade and are on their way to shriveling. One thing you do not want to be is a fire bush berry. They are beautiful, though.

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Fellow Americans, I need your help. Please read the letter below, which I received by email today. The situation sounds so very urgent. Do you think I should help them out? Advice appreciated.

Anhinga

 

Dear American:

 

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

 

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America . My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

 

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

 

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

 

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

 

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

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Casa Monica

Casa Monica

Lookout Hole just my size (5')

 
My favorite in the Lightner Museum

My favorite in the Lightner Museum

From rustic to pure opulence at Lightner Museum

From rustic to pure opulence at Lightner Museum

Be sure to look up at the Lightner

Be sure to look up at the Lightner

Beauty at the Lightner

Beauty at the Lightner

If you don’t know the meaning of coquina you have not been to St. Augustine, Florida. Take a trolley and you will hear the word until you giggle (or maybe that’s just us) – but with good reason. Coquina, made from tiny shells and cement was the building material of choice for many of the historic buildings and structures. How creative and “green” was that? Castillo de San Marcos, the fort dominating the Ancient City, is made of coquina. The material is so strong, yet soft, that cannon balls just made dents, leaving the structure intact.

 

Walls around the Fountain of Youth were made from coquina, with razon-like oyster shells added to discourage climbing. Even our favorite inn, The St. Francis, was built of coquina in 1791. We would have felt safer there than at home had Hurricane Gustav hit before we left.

 

Other buildings, such as what is now Flagler College and the Casa Monica Hotel were built in horizontal strips, so to speak. Long boxes were stacked on the dried cement below, filled, and allowed to dry before the next layer went up.

 

I would think the city is a shrine for creative builders, but we ordinary folks are mostly engrossed in another time, with surprises around every corner. Travelers interested in a rich slice of our nation’s past will find it here, layered by inhabitants from England, France, Spain, and of course, Native Americans. Those with an artistic eye will find beauty in the architecture, views and beautiful collection in the Lightner Museum.  And tourists who just want to be treated like welcome guests where ever they go, will feel pampered almost everywhere in the city.

 

I will post a few pictures over the next few weeks of objects and buildings that caught my eye on our recent trip. We did the rather frenetic MTV version that we tend to do on vacation, but you may savor tastes of the Ancient City in leisure. Enjoy.

 (Below I caught a boat sailing by the lookout hole at an opportune moment.)

 

 

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On newer MS software, like XP, you can enlarge text by hitting CONTROL & + at the same time. You may know this, but it was new to me. Hope it helps on some of my smaller text posts. Reduce size by hitting Control & – (minus sign) at the same time.

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Ask yourself one question. Do you want McCain or Obama tinkering under the hood of our economic engine as it is sputtering and choking? All I can say is, either of them better have a darn good set of wrenches. Somebody needs to demand names of prospective staff and cabinet posts — and don’t allow them to get coy. McCain admitted he knows little of economics. I frankly don’t see anything in Obama’s background that gives me hope.  Marry off our country to a rich one or get cash from a nefarious friend don’t seem to be viable answers for the situation we are in. One of those light weights will be keeping your country’s checkbook. I can’t think of anything more important than knowing who will be sitting beside him licking the pencil lead.

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Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

 

John Kenneth Galbraith

  

 

 

Go ahead and deride me. I’m an undecided voter. I, too, once looked with scorn on voters who couldn’t make up their minds after months of political rhetoric. Haven’t they read and heard enough to choose a candidate by now? Well, perhaps they have heard and read too much – and what’s more, done so with an open mind. Here’s how I came to that conclusion.

 

Not deciding right out of the gate this year to back my party candidate has been totally liberating. It has had the surprising effect of allowing me to see all the candidates with amazing clarity. The rose colored glasses are off and so are the gloves. Every misstatement, embellishment, and diversion to inanity on either side is sharply defined. If a candidate says something stupid or wrong, I am free this year not to defend him. I don’t have to squeeze my candidate’s views like silly putty to fit back into the Truth Can. If the facts don’t fit, I don’t acquit. Just let that lump of stretchy, over inflated verbal dough lay there for all to see. Oh, the candidate’s faithfuls will quickly pick it up, fill the center with a rock and hurl at the opposing candidate.

 

At this point neither party represents my beliefs, or if they do, they don’t adhere to them. I would like to see our election process overhauled to allow those outside the two monopoly parties to have a fighting chance. Perhaps more of us would take a more critical, non-biased look at candidates who represent our ideas more than an ass and a pachyderm.

 

We need to be addressing real issues like: economy on the brink from bailouts, energy needing big shot of ingenuity and attention, and danger from uncontrolled borders, to name a few. I don’t give a flying f*&% about pregnant daughters, community organizers, gay marriage, or whether a VP can field dress a moose, etc. As far as I can tell the only useful issue anyone is addressing (McCain) is earmarks. That’s a part of the whole big economic issue, but just a part. What ever happens, if we, the taxpayers, continue to bail out uninsured organizations like Freddie & Fannie and let the CEO’s who ruined them walk away not only without penalty, but with $9M, this country will be bankrupt. We might be rethinking that whole “too big to fail” mantra.

 

Meantime, I’ll be standing on the political street corner, arms crossed, peeking from under my hat brim at every pathetic attempt by the candidates to shape and reshape themselves into an image I can rally behind. Save your pompoms.

 

 

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This morning before coffee even, I had to check on our chrysalis. Last night it had just begun to turn transparent, so I was not expecting to see this colorful guy handing there drying his wings, evacuating fluid, but there he was. We do think he is larger than others. After all he was a fat fellow after feeding on the broad leaf milkweed. He also attached himself to the leaf. That did not work out so well, as it turned yellow, then dropped to the ground. This is where friends come in. We wedged him in another bush. The leaf shriveled more. We wedged it again. It shrank and fell again. Clothespin to the rescue. It all worked out in the end, but we are sure he emerged, looked around and said, “How the heck did I get over here?”

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Writing Muse

Writing Muse

 

Last year I let September slip by without notice, but not again. This is Anhinga’s second anniversary. The occasion deserves some notice, if nothing else, for the great American novel it kept me from writing, but also for all the wild and crazy bloggers I’ve met. You know who you are. So in this third year I hope to set aside more time for fiction writing, but still keep in touch here.

Other writers I know are beginning to think that once a writer gets her release from writing anything, she is fulfilled enough. Serious writing suffers.   But in grade school I found time to write very bad short stories on a Big Chief pad under a shady bush at recess. While training on the job to be a new mother, I found time to write last lines, 25-word statements and go to contest club meetings. For at least fifteen years, I’ve written fiction to take to my writers’ critique group, though the volume has decreased. Because of this? Probably. So if I don’t post as much this year, you’ll know why. It’s time to send a few things out and see what happens. If this sounds like I’ll be spending less time here, don’t count on it. I’m weak and writing is writing. My muse flutters over this computer and reminds me of the lure and siren call of this keyboard.  Channeling James Mitchner, she says:

“I love writing. I love the swirl & swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

Now it’s time for BlogsDay cake.

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