Jewfish Creek Bridge, The Video

Once upon a time, I made my trip to the Florida Keys.

There is a very stark break between the mainland and the Everglades in Florida City.  Everything simply “Stops”.

You get past that and there are a very few businesses way off in the middle of nowhere.  A cement factory and a quarry come to mind.  A marina is just on the other side of the Monroe county line.  But until you get to Key Largo, there’s practically nothing but grass and nature.

And this one massive scar through the landscape called US1.

Granted it is a scar, but you actually need it there to get to the Keys.

I am sure some people who are more ecologically aware would say that it does not belong there, nor do we in an ecological niche like those beautiful little jewels, but there are also people that would argue that nobody should live below the I-4 line where the land ceases to be land but more like a swamp.

Like I said, I’m not that ecologically aware.  My own feeling is don’t expand it, and contract development in the keys where possible.  But no draconian solutions, please.  They are beautiful and we can enjoy them if we play nice with nature.

Just before you go onto the island that Key Largo is on, there’s one big deep water gap.  A “Cut” so the larger boats can go into or out of the Florida Bay.  That is at what is now the Jewfish Creek bridge.

I realize I am being a small bit imprecise, but grant me that.

Since the old drawbridge was replaced years ago, they built an improved structure and then the bridge we have now.

The bridge itself is kind of minimalistic, maybe a bit stark, and painted in aqua blue, which is befitting of a place as knock down beautiful as the keys.

One of my earlier trips I took a picture and wrote about it.  For some strange reason in all the 8 or more years that I have been writing, that particular article gets read frequently.

What I did was revisit it.  I was down there for my birthday, a few days later.  Knowing that I was going there,  I brought my little video camera for the trip.  Hopefully this video will satisfy the area’s fans.

Hopefully my color commentary won’t offend too much and that my very shaky hand is not too awful.  But for now, I present the video.  For your pleasure or disdain.

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A Trip To Rome

A man was getting a haircut prior to a trip to Rome.

He mentioned the trip to the barber who responded, “Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It’s crowded & dirty and full of Italians. You’re crazy to go to Rome.

So, how are you getting there?”
“We’re taking Delta,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”
“Delta?” exclaimed the barber. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late.

So, where are you staying in Rome?”
“We’ll be at the downtown International Marriott.”
“That dump! That’s the worst hotel in the city. The rooms are small, the service is surly and they’re overpriced.

“So, whatcha doing when you get there?”
“We’re going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope.”
“That’s rich,” laughed the barber. “You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”

A month later, the man again came in for his regular haircut. The barber asked him about his trip to Rome.

“It was wonderful,” explained the man, “not only were we on time in one of Delta’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a beautiful 28-year-old stewardess who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel-it was great! They’d just finished a $25 million remodeling job and now it’s the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us the presidential suite at no extra charge!”

“Well,” muttered the barber, “I know you didn’t get to see the pope.”

“Actually, we were quite lucky, for as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the pope likes to personally meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait the pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later the pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down as he spoke a few words to me.”

“Really?” asked the Barber. “What’d he say?”

He said, “Where’d you get the terrible haircut?

A Man Sitting At A Bar Pulls A Frog Out Of His Pocket

A man at a bar pulls a frog out of his jacket pocket and sits him on the bar. Then he pulls a tiny piano out of his pocket. The frog begins playing the piano magnificently.

Another bloke at the bar is amazed. “That’s incredible! I’ll pay you whatever you want to buy this frog from you.”
“This frog is not for sale.” says the man. “But I have something else you might like.”

The man then reaches into a third pocket and pulls out a squirrel. The frog continues to play the piano and the squirrel starts singing. Again, the other bloke is impressed.

“Wow! How much for the singing squirrel, my friend?”
“I’ll give him to you for $200.”
“That’s a deal!”

The bloke pays the man his $200, takes the squirrel and leaves the bar.
The bartender looks at the man shocked. “How could you sell that singing squirrel for such a low price!”

The man looks at him and says, “Easy. The frog is a ventriloquist too.”

Sixteen Monarch Caterpillars In One Pot

Luckily, I thought to harvest those Milkweed seeds a little while back.

You see, I have a lot of pots strung along the side of the backyard near the swimming pool.  They’re all on a handy drip feed irrigation system that runs 10 minutes a day and delivers gallon per sprinkler head per hour.

Not a lot of waste.

I have a lot of plants there.  All those Milkweed plants that I thought myself lucky to get the seeds from, and I still have a lot of around the house.  Two pots each of Mangos and Bananas.  My “cuttings” pot that I am propagating a lot of strange things like Onions and more Milkweed.

Nothing bothered them until the yard got invaded by Monarch Caterpillars.  You guessed it, Momma Monarch finally found the plants.

All of them.  All at once.

All except the one on the Mango pot.  The leaves are similar to the Mango leaves, and I had that one plant growing against the Mango tree’s trunk as a support.

One by one, the eggs hatched.

One by one, the Milkweed plants got stripped bare of their leaves.

One by one, the Monarch Caterpillars got larger.

Then they ran out of food.  This one plant was the only one left.

This sole pot had sixteen monarch caterpillars in it.  For something that was endangered, I was shocked to see this concentration of caterpillars in one spot.

Then the next day it was only one or two.  They started to move on.

That same evening I found one caterpillar on our windchimes hanging out on the shed.

The next day I found myself presented with a little jewel.  A jade teardrop where that caterpillar had stopped by in that improbable place.

It chose that spot to pupate.

Monarch Butterfly Pupas are a beautiful thing in the light.  They are a translucent jade green.  There are two shimmering iridescent gold spots and a line of iridescent gold specks on the outside.  If you are in full sunlight you may be able to make out the internal form of the just pupated creature, there are structures inside that your mind translates into future wings.

Later when the creature is to take flight in Orange and Black, the pupa becomes clear, and cracks open.  It will expand its wings and fly off perhaps to find more milkweed flowers, if its cousins have not stripped it all bare in the yard.

For now, I’m presented with the little jade jewels.  Shimmering in the strong Florida Sun.

11 Minutes

11 Minutes

A cop was patrolling late at night in a well-known lover’s spot, famous for all obscene activities. He sees a couple in a car, with the interior light brightly glowing.

The cop carefully approaches the car to get a closer look. Then he sees a young man behind the wheel, reading a computer magazine. He immediately notices a young woman in the rear seat, knitting. Puzzled by this surprising situation, the cop walks to the car and gently raps on the driver’s window.

The young man lowers his window. “Uh, yes, officer?”

The cop says: “What are you doing?”
The young man says: “Well Officer, I’m reading a magazine.”

Pointing towards the young woman in the back seat the cop says: “And her, what is she doing?”
The young man shrugs: “Sir, I believe she’s knitting a pullover sweater.”

Now, the cop is totally confused.. A young couple, alone, in a car, at night in a Lover’s lane… and nothing obscene is happening!
The cop asks: “What’s your age, young man?”

The young man says “I’m 22, sir.”
The cop asks: “And her…what’s her age?”

The young man looks at his watch and replies:
“She’ll be 18 in 11 minutes.”

The Little Teapot and a bunch of puns

Little teapot.

Hands on hips.
“I’m a little teapot, short and stout…”

Point with one hand to the other.
“… here is my handle…”

Now point with the other hand.
“… here is my… oh crap, I’m a sugar bowl!”

======

I went online and rated our Solar System
Gave it one star.

What did the sushi say to the bee?
Wasabi!

If your home is hit by a dolphin, DO NOT GO OUT TO SEE IF THE DOLPHIN IS OKAY.
That’s how the hurricane tricks you into coming outside.

A man went to the hospital to see his uncle. He told the nurse that he came to see his uncle that had been ran over by a steam roller. The nurse says, “Oh yeah! He’s in room 21 – 22 and 23.”

An Irishman, an Englishman and a Scott go to a bar..
Bartender: What is this? Some kinda joke?

Two drunks are in a bar and one says to the other
Don’t drink anymore – you’re becoming blurry.

A sailor once asked me if I knew the difference between port and starboard.
I said, “No. I’ve never drank any starboard”.

Son, you know when you’re drunk? See those two people over there? When you see four, you’ll know you’re drunk…..
But dad, I only see one.

Who is a worse driver than a taxi driver?
Another taxi driver.

Which is heavier, 200 lbs of feathers, or 200 lbs of bricks?
The feathers, because you also have to carry the weight of what you did to those poor birds

My buddy said, “What rhymes with orange?”
I pondered for a while and thought…”No, it doesn’t.”

A String of Bad Light Jokes  (read it like Groucho Marx):

A man came home to discover that someone had stolen all his lamps.
He was delighted.

That wasn’t the brightest day of his life.

The police investigation is still in the dark.

The thief wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb himself!

I told him, light up man!

Someone’s home, but the lights ain’t on.

How many thieves does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None. They just steal another lamp.

The Broken Poang Story or You Want To Drive Across The County For A Bolt?

The story started once upon a time in the dark ages called the 1980s.  I have a friend from way back then who got a job with Ikea when they opened their very first store here in the US in the fabled land of Plymouth Meeting, PA.

He was a fan of some of their products and since I had a major car accident where I was “laid up” for an entire summer, it was years before my muscle mass was strong enough that I could get comfortable in a chair, I would need to look for some furniture.

My friend suggested trying out a Poang Chair.

“A what?”

He described this weird flat pack thing that you get to assemble.  You select the upholstery you want with it, put it all together, it looks stylish and has clean lines.  The one I am sitting in now has a leather cushion and fits in quite well. I did eventually get one, but it was quite a few years before I did.

I went to a store and saw it and did like it but somehow managed to avoid getting one through the Apartment Stage of Life into my first home.

Then, I moved to Florida.  Then being in 2006.  One of the first things I managed to get was a Poang.

You see, Poang Chair frames are so sturdy that people tend to give them away rather than throw them out, or they end up at a better thrift store.  That is how I got both of mine.

 

I did go back to Ikea and upgrade the padding and upholstery on the first one – they are designed to be replaced by simply pulling them off the velcro on the frame.

 

It was a strange synthetic blue that looked like it belonged in a frat house basement.  When I put on the smooth and supple chocolate colored leather covering, it dressed it right up as well as the matching ottoman.

Yes, I do like them.  The second one serves as a desk chair.  Although my back is

much much better now, I can’t just sit in any old chair all day long.  The Poang is the exception.

The other chair has the original cotton fabric covered foam upholstery.  I’m fine with that.  Some of the upholsteries can be machine washed depending on the care instructions on the tag so you might be able to toss the covering into the washer, cold, and it comes out clean.

 

Some are dry clean only, and leather needs its own cleaning regimen.  Your mileage may vary.  Consult your owner’s manual.

 

Just let it air dry.  If it shrinks because you used Hot, you’re stuffed.  The original Frat House Blue covering shrank, I haven’t been bold enough to try to wash that beige one since it goes well with the colors in this house.

The other day though, I found out what the weak point was on the chair.   I was watching some drama on TV when all the sudden I was on the floor.

You see, there’s this bolt on the shoulder of the chair.  It holds the part you sit in to the frame of the chair.  Since everything is built very efficiently, remove one part and it just becomes a pile of bent wood.  They are built to bounce slightly while you are moving around in them but I guess 10 years of bouncing took their toll.

In my case, it was a pile of bent wood, reclining at a strange angle, me on top of it all and grateful that the dog did not get crushed under it.

That fabled bolt simply sheared.

“Help.”

I heard running from the other room.  “Are you alright?!??!”

Yes, it’s fine, I’m just at a strange angle.  Can you help me up?

I had to wait for my friend to calm down after I got rapid fire questions about how it happened, what caused it, why did I do it, and other minutia.

Obviously I didn’t break my favorite chair on purpose.

“Well I’ll have to make a trip to the hardware store.  They keep parts for these things.  Barring that, it’s back to the Ikea Mothership and get a bolt.”

I was told not to do anything, he’ll drive me to Ikea, we’ll get the bolt.

“All the way across the county to get a bolt?  I know Ikea stands behind their products but we don’t even know if …”

I was cut off.  It’s a treat to go to that giant blue barn of strangely named the merchandise.  “We can get a Right Sized Dinner there and get your bolt.”

*sigh* OK, I’ll give you a couple days and we can go otherwise I will start looking in the big box hardware stores.

Only my pride was harmed in the collapsing of my chair.  I waited a few days and we went out there.  Sitting shotgun in the car listening to that mechanical woman’s voice on the car’s GPS try and fail to figure out a good route to the store and tell us for the first half hour to “Make a legal U Turn” over and again.

“Come on, you silly voice.  It’s West out Oakland Park, South to 136th st after the curve!  Keep going until you see it just shy of I595.  It’s South Florida!  Locals Don’t Take Interstates at Rush Hour!”

We got there, got a Right Sized dinner, explored the items that were named at random by tearing pages out of the Stockholm Phone Book.  There were a few things I would not mind getting, and the Poang Rocker caught my eye yet again but the house really is Full of Things and I don’t need to shop.

Getting to the end of the maze I walked over, took a number and waited for one of the ladies at the counter to call “165!”.

“Hello, I need a Bolt!  My Poang collapsed and I was dumped on the floor!”

I got a bemused look and the tiniest hint of a smile.

“Ten years to a bolt, good gas mileage.”  She looked at a parts explosion for the chair.  They actually do stock all the parts to make their products in case you lose one or are shorted one.

Or in my case, ten years of use, the chair decides to shear one.  I’m a big guy, but not outlandishly so.  I understand that the load capacity is well north of my own 6’4″ and 225 Pounds.  They used to have a display where they were pounding a Poang chair with hydraulic lifts to illustrate their strength.

Good to know that I am not too big to use a chair!

She came back holding two of the bolts plus my sheared bolt.  Part number 146654, and no thank you I don’t need the special Ikea Allen Wrench part number 100001.

“Thank you! I can fix my favorite chair with that bolt!”  as I took both.

You never know when you need a spare bolt!  Maybe some time in another ten years I will be going back out to Sunrise, FL, to get another Right Sized Meal and some other parts after replacing the other bolt.

Just don’t know.  But it’s better than ending up on the floor with a surprised look on your face and a broken bolt to extract.

Now… if I could find a piece of plywood here around the house.  About 18 inches by 20 inches.  I could firm the seat up a bit.  Ikea products are very hackable.  End tables for $10 that work as computer racks are well known, and someone once built a man cave under a platform bed constructed from bookcases.

 

I still have my eye on that rocker for next time…