Red Tide in South Florida

Red Tide has affected the beaches from Manatee to Collier Counties in SW Florida since December. Highest concentrations this month are in Sarasota and Lee Counties.

According to myfwc.com, Red Tide is “a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organism).”  Karenia brevis  It can occur anywhere around the Gulf of Mexico; other algae species can cause red tide in other parts of the world. Red tide can be reddish, green, purple or brown.

This organism produces a toxin that kills marine animals so you’ll see potentially large fill kills washing up on the beach.  Shellfish (oysters and clams) can become infected and pass the toxins onto humans that consume them.   Scientists monitor the ocean for this algae to provide shellfish warnings. Red tide also causes respiratory irritation; most people are affected because the toxin becomes air born on wind currents after a wave crash scatters an algae bloom.

Be careful if you have respiratory issues and you’re visiting or residing in the affected areas.  I didn’t encounter a red tide bloom when I lived in Sarasota.  One had occurred before I moved there; now this one.  I have heard stories from my friends who have allergies and asthma.  Most people have watery eyes, nasal issues, and coughing.  Red tide can come and go quickly or last a long while.  I’m praying for my friends that it goes quickly.

I’d love to hear from you about how it’s going there.  Please write.

“January” by John Updike

“The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor,
And parkas pile up
Near the door.”

No wait a minute. That’s not January in South Alabama. It’s probably, I don’t know…hot outside. My Weather Channel app on my phone reads: 70 degrees and Sunny at 10am.

The short days?  Sorry bud, they’re getting longer.

So throw out those parkas; you don’t need them.

Stop dreaming of snow; the beach awaits.

Kick off your shoes; go barefoot.

And get outside to enjoy January.

It may not last.

Comic Book Heroes in Mobile AL

Up, Up & Away: Evolution of the American Comic Book Superhero is the current exhibit at the Museum of Mobile.  The boys and I went this afternoon to check it out.

Beginning with a timeline of different super heroes and topics we learned that original “comics” of yesteryear were called caricatures.  These included political cartoons or drawings to depict current issues or personalities. 

Everyone needs a Superhero, thus we were introduced to them, one by one.  We learned about the role of superheroes, sidekicks, the anti-hero, and the villian.  Superheroes were killed off or disabled but renewed with new super powers; sidekicks were graduated and new ones hired.  Women & minorities became superheroes, too.

We also learned about the relationship between superheroes and mythology, the Bible, Shakespeare.

There is a drawing center where you can make your own comic book cover with your own superhero.

Marvel and DC Comics, along with lesser known publishers, were highlighted. 

We each received a comic book at the front door.  They were: Alpha Flight dated Oct 3, The Omega Men #13 and The Omega Men #10. Awesome.

I have my own comic book collection from my childhood and ones I’ve picked up more recently.  I’ve kept it in plastic top-loader sleeves in a binder.  My collection (some old, some newer) consists of:

  • Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny #50
  • Bugs Bunny #154
  • Incredible Hulk #1
  • Yogi Bear #19
  • Tweety and Sylvester #41
  • Scooby Do #56
  • Popeye The Sailor # 134
  • Batman Gotham Adventures #38
  • Teen-age Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm #32
  • Spider Man Storm and Cage
  • Little Archie #89
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show #7
  • Sad Sack & the Sarge #117
  • Sad Sack’s Army Life #55
  • Spiderman (from 2001)

OK, so it’s not Super Man or Bat Man & Robin (I think my  brothers had them) but I have what I think is a cool collection.  I loved the silly stories and I loved the ads in the comic books: ads for silly mischief toys, patch or sticker collections, the werewolf horror mask, joy buzzer, see-behind glasses, 8-track tapes from Columbia House and the 132 Roman Soldier for only $1.98. Yes, my brothers and I did order from these ads. 

I highly recommend this exhibit.  It’s good for the nostalgia.  It’s good education for the kids.  The exhibit will be in town through March 3.  Plan to attend.  For more info: Museum of Mobile website.

I’m currently reading “Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture” by William Irwin.  Its a compilation of essays about the philosophy of Supers answering some questions like: Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker? Is Superman an American Icon? Who are we? (the identy question) and What would Captain America do?  Yes it is a deeper read than Tweety and Sylvester but it is very interesting.  Check it out.

Coastal Cemetaries

I read an article this morning about Louisiana coastal cemetaries and how they are becoming water logged due to erosion from the Gulf and surrounding wetlands. Some are under water; some are a barren wasteland of what it used to be due to salt water encroachment during storms. You can read it here.

Cemetaries are supposed to last forever.  They’re a place to lay to rest our relatives and place where we can feel their presence when we visit.  I view cemetaries as historical landmarks.  I’ve enjoyed visiting old ones, searching for clues as to the history of the area, taking rubbings from headstones, searched for the oldest headstone, the youngest person buried there, the largest family plot, etc.  You can find, by dates of the majority of the buried, what they may have died from: civil war injuries and deaths, yellow fever, and other maladies that swept through areas at specific times that historians have recorded. 

My husband and I (with the kids tagging along) have taken road trips to visit historic cemetaries or the pay homage to famous southern baseball players, musicians or other historical figures (since we live in the South). 

My family is buried in Baltimore, MD, on a hillside far from water.  I don’t know how I’d feel about their cemetary being washed away like the ones on the Louisiana coast.  Sad, perhaps.  I don’t know that I’d do anything to move the deceased but I’d have to be put in that situation to really find my feelings. Nothing in the article I’ve referenced says the families are moving their relatives. 

Life comes and goes, as do the waves of the Gulf or the many oceans.  The dead will remain at rest where ever they’re placed. Maybe they should just be left alone. 

What do you think?

A New Bird on a New Year

January 1, 2013 was awesome. I added a bird to my Birding Life List. While sitting in my backyard, trying out my new camera, I spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch. Who knows how long it’s been visiting my back backyard each winter since I moved here 3 1/2 years ago, but I finally spotted him.

My new camera is a Nikon Coolpix L810 with 26x zoom.  It’s my birding buddy.

What a great new year!