Recent Photos



Browsing all posts in "Florida".

Beautiful Orchids and a Wacky Backyard

I meant to post some photos of my parents’ backyard taken during my visit over the holidays. My brother, who lives with them, is a plant nut – from a young age he could tell you the scientific name of any plant you stuck in his face (one of the amazing gifts of Asperger’s syndrome is this ability to remember EVERYthing too). He also has an amazing green thumb and used to grow the most amazing bonsais until my mom accidentally killed them when he was out of the country for a few years (she felt bad, but hey, it ain’t easy keeping bonsais going as a favor). He now grows incredible orchids. Here’s one that was in bloom during December that had a delectable fragrance.


Only thing is, this green thumb gets a little out of control. Fred just adores plants, and he wanted the yard to use a lot of native plants of Florida – in fact he even got some sort of thing from the state government about this (not sure if it is a declaration, protective designation – but he was very proud of it when the yard qualified). The yard is a bit out of control these days – one time it got so bad the neighbors complained and my dad had to shell out about four grand to clean it up. Looks like he might be shelling out another bucket of cash soon as you can see from these backyard pics.


We live on a golf course – so one of the goals was to block that view – no problem there I can tell you. You can see some of his orchids hanging – species that are not in bloom this time of year.

And another:


The front yard is scary – but for another reason – the indigenous plants seem to wreak havoc on the concept of grass. It looks like hell.

Pump Gate

This appeals to me mainly because it comes out of Treasure Island, Florida – one of the beach communities maybe 20 minutes from where I grew up.


How do they describe the blog? Continue reading →

Hurricane – Home of the Grouper Sandwich

An annual tradition when I visit my hometown is lunch at the Hurricane on Pass-a-Grille Beach.

Hurricane – Home of the Grouper Sandwich
Originally uploaded by Smash Monster. Continue reading →

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens

Originally uploaded by Smash Monster.

This is a delightful place in St. Pete – lush gardens growing in a gigantic sinkhole. Sinkholes are common in Florida. You always hope your house doesn’t happen to be built on one, especially now that insurance companies take great delight in rejecting such claims.


About 160,000 people in the state were under mandatory evacuation orders, including the entire population of the Florida Keys island chain. There was no way of knowing exactly how many actually left, but it appeared only about 20 percent of the 78,000 Keys residents fled, said Billy Wagner, senior Monroe County emergency management director.

Don’t Think Miss Daisy Had This in Mind

I grew up in Florida – the St. Pete area – where we would regularly hear about elderly, confused drivers plowing into people at bus stops. This one takes the cake. Continue reading →

Update to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later in the Sunshine State

Since publishing the original post on this I’ve done a little more research on the law – read the actual text of the law, a few legal opinions, both yea and nay. Predictably, the ‘yea’ stuff comes from the NRA and other gun groups. Continue reading →

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later in the Sunshine State

brady ad.jpg
The Brady organization is campaigning against a new Florida law that relaxes the standards for using “deadly force” when you feel threatened.

Old law – if you could retreat to safety, you should try that first.

New law – you don’t need to retreat, you can stand your ground and use deadly force if you feel threatened.

They seem to be using the “Shoot First Law” campaign to worry Florida lawmakers about an impact on tourism by focusing on such Florida-lubbers as the Brits, who seem characteristically non-plussed by the hoopla.

I’m not sure the Brady folks are interpreting the law accurately – will have to research it more.

I’m no gun nut, but I do think law-abiding Americans have a right to own guns. I do believe standardized safety standards should exist – much as they do for drivers’ licenses to keep irresponsible, bad drivers off the road. Seems reasonable to me – but these hot-button topics tend to render folks incapable of reason on both sides of the argument.

Ohio Grassroots Movement to Stop Corruption

I expect to see more movements like this in the future as more and more Americans wake up to the realization that the government serves corporate America and NOT the people. This might be wishful thinking, but I have to fight my naturally pessimistic impulses at least some of the time 😉 Continue reading →