Thursday, February 25, 2010


Spent a day biking with Michelle around Myakka State Park (above) earlier this week.

The park is only about a mile from our digs, as the vulture flies, and I never imagined we were so close to such a primordial Jurassic Park-type place. It really looks like sets from some dinosaur horror movie. Swamps, jungles, everglades, and gators galore, of course, just sunning and sleeping and marking time until their next food frenzy. And all of them were enormous. Indeed, it seems that gators around here are automatically born at eight feet in length, then add a mandatory yard or two every year. We did see one "good" gator laying a few feet off our path. My guess is that he was only a day or so dead but the stench he emitted was maybe the most revolting smell I have ever smelled. Wild pigs and armadillos sport everywhere in Myakka, as well. Saw nary a snake, praise Allah, tho with ten more degrees (March) it takes no imagination to see them everywhere--on the ground, in the water, hanging from the trees, in your pants. No mosquitoes either, but again, no imagination needed to see clouds of the pests in March. Michelle claims she was bothered while biking by something the locals call "No See 'Ems"--small, winged, almost invisible eating machines that leave savage calling cards on their victims. "Teeth with wings," Michelle dubs them. All in all, Myakka is a nice place to visit in February, but March? Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! By my simple math: Me + Myakka + March = One straight-jacket for Tom within the first hour.

Speaking of mental breakdowns: Earlier that day, we took in a remake of the old Lon Cheney, Jr. 1941 flick, The Wolfman. Altho I was hoping to be scared totally out of my wits, this film failed to connect this viewer to the pathos of "Lawrence Talbott's" plight, i.e., his curse. There was too much overkill; too much of the heavy-handed Spielbergesque razzle-dazzle shock and awe special effects stuff, i.e., surface superficiality vs. substance. Lots of snarling, snapping, slobbering, drop-your-popcorn type of shock stuff but no strong story-line. Ho-hum. Two stars, tops, and two digits down.

Speaking of popcorn: Michelle told me a story about an aunt or something back in the old Quaker State. Seems the aunt or something was making gravy and someone accidentally--or intentionally--put some popping corn into the boiling mess. Yep, pretty soon the popcorn began popping and gravy bullets went flying all around the kitchen, creating a monster of a mess.

Speaking of a mess: Michelle has two little pets/pests: One a Boston Terrier named "Disney," the other a Chinese Crested named "Jamal." The latter mutt was rescued by Michelle from a puppy mill or some other such bad situation. Now, not only were/are these latter dogs bred by the lovely Chinese for fast food on the hoof, but they also seem to have bred them for their beastly ugliness and stunning stupidity. Each year when the "World's Ugliest Dog Pageant" is held, the Chinese Crested entrant always wins going away. Also, and altho I think most dogs are extremely bright and intelligent, the Chinese Crested seem to have been born with zero common sense or intellect. With a brain the size of a raisin, if Jamal sees a car or truck leave the drive way--ANY car or truck--he will take out after it like a streak of stupidity, not as other dogs chase cars and trucks, i.e., to chase them away, but simply to follow the vehicle to see where it goes, be it a mile or a million miles. Well, Jamal also was born with a keen nose for the gourmet items on the doggie dining menu--rotting fish, weeks-old goat carcasses, vulture vomit, etc. Disgusting, for sure, but not a biggie if he does his business outside. When he brings it inside, however. . . . Jamal has been spending this entire day outside under nature's great vaulted restroom.


Fish-Eye Foto of the Day