Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

December 13, 2014

No More!

Tilikum “performing” at Sea World Orlando
Picture credit:  David R. Tribble

Today, I am both delighted and beyond proud, to be a part of a group of people, a Global Community that  took on the Giant Sea World, and according to our local news here this  morning, has likely brought the Giant to its knees.
The years of Boycotts, protests, angry words and wholesale withdrawal from this once powerful, popular Global Attraction, with 3 parks across the southern US, in Florida, California and Texas, have made an impact that cannot be denied.
We can all take credit, this was a Global effort and we did it together.
Big Companies no longer ignore us, they know that we will not go away and that they will have to respond and/or change the way that they do business.
As for Sea World, they now know that we are quite serious,  animal abuse will not be tolerated.
Was it only a short time ago that a prolific,  tenacious Blogger forced Subway to change an ingredient in their bread that is used in rubber mats?
Here in Florida , the news has been non stop that Sea World has lost its leader, CEO Jim Atchison, is laying off 300 employees, and with attendance in free fall and profits and stocks in huge decline, the company is nearly in crisis mode.
The response from Sea World is that because their profits and revenue according to them, are down, they need to make cuts and adjust accordingly, to make up for their losses, which they blame not on their abusive  company practices, but on the backlash from the film Blackfish.
Way to go Sea World, accept absolutely no responsibility, just blame your company’s dismal state of affairs on all of those terrible trouble making, activist people.
I am very sorry for any who will lose their jobs, but hopefully they will find employment with an Organization that values ALL life, especially ones that are so profusely used and abused.
If you ever had any doubts about the power of the Human Spirit, think again.
This has all come about for one simple reason.
You cared!! (Sorry Adam)
Beginning with the film Blackfish and continuing for many months, the relentless, determined Blogging and Activist Communities, have never let up.
They were determined that what goes on at Sea World needs to stop, now.
Sea World Trainer Dawn Brancheau died here at Orlando needlessly.
She should never have been in that water with,    Tilikum,  who unknown to many, had a history of violent outbursts.
Others had been killed.
Tilikum had been captured, no, kidnapped,  near Iceland and kept in captivity since 1983, being used for among other things,  a  breeding animal and continuous performer.
If this had been a human it would have been punishable by prison time.
What on Earth gives any Human the right to take an animal from the wild and use it for their own financial gain?
The groups that are united to bring down and stop this inhumane behavior are legendary including, PETA, the ASPCA, along with a World-Wide Network of animal activists and supporters, who will not give up, nor yield to pressure from anyone, to stop.
Now with the present day, well-connected era of total social media coverage that includes television, U tube, Facebook, Twitter and currently most used for lengthy and well written arguments, our own beloved WordPress.
We are a huge, global resource and we will no longer be dismissed, shunned, ignored or placated by any Organization that uses and abuses animals for personal profit or greed.
As anyone who uses the public media is already keenly aware of, animals of all breeds, species and kinds, are being abused everywhere around the world, and the public outcry has now become deafening.
We may not have stopped it all, but on this day we can at the very least say:
Attention Sea World, It’s Over!

The voices of a united Global animal community have been loud and long and their prayers and demands have finally been answered.
On this day, we are saying in one resounding voice, no more!
Places to learn more:
SeaWorld CEO stepping aside as company announces layoffs

SeaWorld’s Outgoing CEO Gets $10.8 Million Exit Package
A world of trouble for SeaWorld
Trouble at Sea(World): Problems Mount as Dolphin Bites Girl
Sea World CEO Steps Down
SeaWorld CEO Steps Down Due to Low Park Attendance

November 22, 2014

Deadly Silence

Hide baby, you’re safe, for now!
Picture credit:

Try to picture this scene.
You are strolling along a path in the lovely, tranquil Ocala Forest of Central Florida, walking with your wife/husband and children, when suddenly without warning, you are shot, perhaps killed.
There had not been a sound.
So, how did this tragedy happen and why?
I will explain in a minute.
Now also imagine driving along the familiar road you always take to go into town to the store and you happen upon a group of people and their vehicles pulled over and parked on the shoulder of the road.
They are all, either standing, or sitting, on the hoods or roofs of their trucks.
And what are they doing you ask?
Well, don’t be silly, they are shooting their rifles into the woods at animals.
These are Florida Hunters.
Yes, we are smack in the middle of Florida Deer Hunting Season right now.
But, this is nothing new, this sickening scene is repeated here every single Hunting Season.
So, what is different about now?
Now, these Hunters shooting into the woods all around us, can legally use silencers on their rifles when they hunt.
Because the State of Florida, aka FFWC, has just given them permission to do so.
This was done at a meeting that just took place way down south, where not many people apparently bothered to travel to, to voice their thoughts.
As if it wasn’t already dangerous enough that these idiots are firing from their vehicles into the woods,  where  they cannot possibly see clearly enough, or  far enough, to be sure, or safe, they can now carry out this insanity using a silencer, so that no one in the woods where they are shooting, will even know that they are about to be shot and possibly even be killed.
Can you imagine how far an errant bullet can go in the woods?
And now no one will even know it is happening!
The NRA and Hunters are as to be expected, simply giddy over this.
Now Florida Hunters, can be just like the 32 other states in America, that also allow this insanity.
I only have one question.
What are these people ingesting?
Oh wait, marijuana has not been approved to be used here, so that can’t be it.
I give up.
The State of Florida once again, defies all reason or sanity.
That’s all folks…
Florida’s Hunters, will now and forver after, be killing in deadly silence.
Places to learn more:
2014-2015 Florida Hunting Season Dates
Florida approves silencers for game hunting
Florida set to end ban on silencers for game hunters
BREAKING: Florida FWC removes ban on suppressors for hunting
Silencers, coyotes and waterways: Letters

November 20, 2014

No Means No!

Protestors at the White House
Picture credit: chesapeakeclimate

Just in case you have not yet heard, as you were on an extended out of the country journey,  or what ever.
The Keystone Pipeline, although approved by the House last week, was just rejected by the United States Senate.
You heard right, it failed to win approval.
Is this permanent, probably not, but even a tiny or temporary victory in this David and Goliath face off,  feels so good!
Of course those who desperately wanted this passed,  will very soon gather together and push even harder to get it done the next time.
And considering what just happened in the elections with the Republicans now controlling everything, it WILL come up again and soon.
But in the meantime, we, that is you and me, can congratulate each other for a fight, a battle of nearly Biblical proportions,  very well done.
The ball has now been passed to President Obama.
If you have  a spare moment, you might want to sign one of the many letters asking him to do what the American people have made quite clear that they want.
I would so love to be a fly on the wall at the Koch Brothers Headquarters today!
For what seems like forever, this monster issue has been all over social media and especially on FB and WordPress.
As have millions of others, I have signed, called and written about this disastrous plan endlessly.
To quote the NRDC:   ” The Keystone pipeline  is all risk and no benefit for the Americans. “
We never gave up, or gave in and as of right this moment, we the people, those who do not want this nightmare running across our country and through the heartlands of America.
The potential hazards in this are of monumental proportions and the numbers of wild animals and wild places that would suffer from this pipeline are endless.
The Ogallala Aquifer and many other critical water sources for millions of Americans were my particular concern.
As a beloved Geology Professor once said, ” Once water is poisoned, it can take as long as 10,000 years to clean it up.”
This greedy group and their backers have shown so little respect for America’s primary water supplies, as they selfishly pushed hard for years to shove this down our throats.
The company has a very poor track record when it comes to leaks and failures, so why one Earth should they ever be allowed to cross this country and put us all at risk of losing our precious life-giving water?
So, on this joyful day, I am so proud of all of you who fought so hard to stop this.
It is and was, a job well done.
They did their best to break us down and dismiss our demands to reject.
This time money, political power and influence did not win.
The American people did and you can bet that those who just spent a fortune trying to do this, are right this minute collecting their thoughts and funds and getting ready to do battle once again with all of us.
Too many wealthy, powerful people,  have way too much invested in this to allow us, the people, to defeat this and them.
But for now, we have, in no uncertain terms, in a loud clear, unified American voice said:
No Means No!
Places to learn more:
Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote
Breaking: Senate Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline
TransCanada Plots Dirty PR Campaign to Push New Pipeline
Senate Rejects Bid to Force Approval of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
Victory for Environmentalists: Senate Narrowly Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline 

November 10, 2014

Power, Panthers, People: Who Will Win?

The magnificent Florida Panther
Photo credit:

The magnificent Florida Panther is without a doubt, the most critically Endangered animal in America, with only 100 or so, still alive today.
This is a sickening fact to repeat here, as they once were everywhere in the Southern United States.
One by one, various Companies have declared war on the land or habitats that the much beloved, beleaguered Panther clings to in its never-ending struggle to survive the ravages of ignorant, selfish and uncaring Humans.
First there was the threat of fracking and now Florida Power and  Light wants to take more land and even more water away from this beautiful Florida treasure.
Animals activists,  FWS and others have been trying to stop the threatening energy exploration and expansion into this fragile habitat for years, but with each step forward, they are ultimately pushed back two.
The Power Companies like Florida Power and Light and the mega monster Duke Energy, which just gobbled up Progress Energy and may likely eventually do the same with FPL,  are running serious campaigns here,  to get every drop of energy out of the land, despite the corpses that will surely  be left behind.
If this happens and Duke Energy does buy them out, they have way too many resources in their very deep pockets, so  it looks like a gloomy future for any, or all,  who choose to  oppose them.
One of the most beautiful parts of Florida has now become a battle ground and the next victim may be the magnificent, pristine Big Cypress.
The big Power Companies, especially Duke, have lobbyists, lawyers and legislators on their side, the Seminoles, Panthers and Orchids, have only a fraction of the money necessary to even stand a chance.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida in their effort to protect themselves and the Panther, have become the latest  champion and partner in what has become a fight for all of their survivals.
Yes, the Tribe has an agreement with the USFWS to do just that, but there is so much more going on here, than just honoring an agreement with a Government Agency.
What Florida Power and Light wants to do next, is to build a new power plant just north of the Reservation, which is also next to the Big Cypress.
Every living thing around this hotly debated area could be put in great peril.
If this Power Plant is allowed to be completed, aside from the obvious damage to the Wildlife, Wild Plants, Environment and Indigenous Culture of the people, this plant will also use 22 million gallons of water, every single day, which will be devastating news for all concerned.
The highly cherished,  fragile Ghost Orchid  also lives in the swamps near this affected area and the thought  of killing it outright or through poisoning,  or depletion of its life-giving water, is absolutely unacceptable.
Whether the Seminoles or the Power Companies will win this war is unknown, but for the Panther, this may just be their very last chance.
Power, Panthers, People: Who Will Win?
Places to learn more:
Seminoles fight to save Florida Panther
The Panthers
The Seminole Tribe
The Ghost Orchid
Big Cypress

November 7, 2014

269: Please, Remember This Number

An innocent  Baby Calf
Picture credit: Wikipedia


Many years ago when my daughter was quite young, we happened to be at a place where an ugly truth was just feet away from where we spent the night.
It was in a tiny town in North Central California and what happened there that night changed her life and my life forever.
Being the precocious child that she was, she had wandered around the area and come across a few cows that she was gleefully admiring.
I walked over to retrieve her and a man approached us.
He seemed kind,  so we stopped to talk to him.
What he said broke our hearts and neither of us have ever really recovered.
He told us about the baby calf just inside the barn where we were standing and what was soon to happen to it.
I am sure you already  know how Veal is made, so I will not  go into any details here.
With this tragic night in mind, just now an email directed me to a place that brought back those horrific memories and I was compelled to pass this site on to any of you who may,  perhaps feel as we do.
Veal is despicable.
It comes from the torture of a baby calf.
I do not wish to say more here, you will learn more soon enough by going to this place and seeing what they are trying to do, or stop.
I wish them every success in the world, because you see, it will take a Global Effort to change people’s minds and hearts.
Millions of people everywhere, absolutely  love this meat and relish eating it, on a regular basis.
Since that awful night so many years ago, I have told anyone who would listen, why they should never buy, or eat Veal.
This group and their message and intentions are very, very powerful.
But, this is exactly the kind of strength that it will take to reverse and end such a horrific  crime against these innocents.
I hope that you will take a look and pass it on if you agree.
If enough of us take a stand for them and say no, perhaps one day, very soon, no other baby calf’s will have to be tortured and murdered.
I am asking you to share this, we are their only hope.
We are a powerful voice and we will not be denied.
269: Please, Remember This Number!
Places to learn more:
269 – The Web site
269 on Facebook

November 5, 2014

We Are All One America

Staff of President Clinton’s One America Initiative, the Initiative on Race
Picture credit: Public Domain

Watching the returns for Florida last night was a mixed blessing.
Most importantly to us, Amendment One passed with 75% of the voters in this state approving it.
And thankfully, the elections are over and the dirty nasty commercials are all gone, at least until 2016.
The mixed in this blessing, is that any gains won overnight with the passing of this Amendment and its promise of protecting wildlife, could potentially soon be erased, or at the very least,  at the mercy in the next few years, of the new powers to be.
People all over this country are angry, at anyone and everyone in public office.
I, we,  do not blame them.
So are we.
Our anger is about the way that this state is being run and those in power here who seem to care little for the things that we value most.
But trying  to blame everything that is wrong in this country right now on our President,  is wasting time and energy and getting us all nowhere.
What is wrong in America,  is NOT all Obama’s fault.
There  is plenty of blame to go around.
We are all guilty,  one way or another.
Those in Washington, who fail repeatedly to do their jobs.
Those voters who whine and complain, yet do not vote.
Those who write big checks to buy a result for their own personal financial gain.
Plenty of guilt,  plenty of blame to be shared.
When no one does the right thing, we all end up with the wrong thing.
Last night’s total political flogging  and the resultant prospect of having the country completely run by a single party,  may not bode well for the things that many of us care  deeply about.
So, for the next two years, Walkingfox and I, as well as many of you, will try our best to watch over those with no voice and keep them from harm.
It is not right for animals and wild places to suffer because people want to make a point, to send a message.
But they are throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Florida and the Country need a lot of fixing and it will take both sides, no, all sides, all of us in America working together to fix it.
As long as we keep blaming each other, nothing will ever get better, it will just continue hurting us all.
Pushing us farther apart and still getting nothing done.
I keep remembering the words that Gandhi said to the father who had lost his child to an enemy.
Gandhi told the man filled with hate to go and find a child of those who had killed his and to raise it as his own, but that he must raise it in the culture and religion of those who killed his child.
If America is ever to recover from this basement, this cesspool of shame and blame that we have fallen into, we must reach out to one another  and try to not only understand, but  more importantly,  to accept our individual uniquenesses.
Those glorious things that make us all so special.
We are not simply Democrats or Republicans,  or any political party.
We are all different, we are all the same, we are One America.

November 1, 2014

Please Say Yes to Amendment One

The Everglades, an exquisite Florida Natural Area
Photo credit: sfwmd.gov

On Election Day next Tuesday here in Florida,  although not everyone will be on board, or be all that terribly concerned, a very critical Amendment is on the Ballot and it is not about who will be our next Governor.
It is about protecting the most perfect, precious commodities that this state has, its wildlife, beautiful land and water.
This Amendment will provide a great deal of funding for our water, land, habitat and wildlife protection, for now and many  years to come, through the Florida Forever Program.
Florida has thousands, perhaps millions of acres of open and free spaces that must be protected for future generations.
And this Amendment, if it passes, will protect what many of us treasure most here, for the next 20 years.
Money collected will go to protect the Everglades, State Water Sources, as well as land and wild life habitats all over the state.
And there will be NO tax increases to pay for it.
It will be paid for with money collected on the  excise taxes on documents.
The Amendment is sponsored by the Florida Water and Land Legacy and needs a 60% voter approval to pass.
What this Amendment will protect is basically everything that makes this state the natural wonder that it is.
The wild life, the wild land and the pure clean water.
Mayor’s from six of this state’s biggest cities, have called for the Amendment to be approved.
The good it can and will do for Florida, stretches from the Keys to both Coasts and includes, the very needy Everglades, which will get a big boost as well.
Something that would make Marjory smile, as  she fought hard to preserve them all of her life.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1965
Marjory Stoneman Douglas with a
Miccosukee Tribe member in 1965
Photo credit: Florida State Archives

Places to learn more:
Big stake for Keys on land question
Six Florida mayors announce support for Amendment
Editorial: Yes on Amendment 1
Amendment One a no-brainer for Florida
Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment
Amendment 1 Aims to Aid Conservation Efforts

October 26, 2014

A Typical Florida Solution

A Florida Feral Hog or Wild Pig
Picture credit: US Fish and Wildlife

As you know we have only been here in Florida for about ten years.
To say that coming here to live was Culture Shock,  is an understatement.
There is simply no way to excuse, explain or define some of the behavior here.
In my email this morning was yet another typical example of how some people here handle a bothersome situation.
In this state, thanks to a Spanish explorer, who along with throngs of others invaded Florida hundreds of years ago, with little concern for the havoc that they wreaked on the places and people, are descendants from  Hernando Desoto’s wild hogs, that  have now become a definite problem for many.
Granted these wild hogs do frequently plow through yards eating and destroying much that they survey, but they are simply doing what they must to survive.
They are omnivores and will eat vegetation or what ever is available to them.
Thanks to repeated ignorant and thoughtless  behavior,  there are now many invasive species here, like the thousands of Burmese Pythons in the Everglades, that now number so many they are in danger of completely taking over the entire area and starving out local animals, not to mention the terror they present when the tourists see them.
It is not that these animals are not a problem, this is understood, it is the recommendation by a local Rancher,  or his idea of how to solve it , that makes this state the one of a kind place that it now is.
His suggestion is that the perfect solution to the pig problem is, to eat them.
One of the loudest complaints about the horrible hogs, has been of course, the damage that they do to the countless pristine Golf courses statewide, which in Florida hold nearly Holy stature.
Too many animals get too little respect here and these wild pigs will be just the latest victim of a mind-set where the next to the most hunted animal after the Florida white-tailed deer, will soon be the wild pigs.
I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for pigs, I love them and this hurts.
I wish there was some humane, kind way to solve this, but that will not happen here.
Not in a state where nearly every one has at least one gun and too may find hunting animals a thrilling sport.
There are numerous Hunting Cubs and Ranches entirely devoted to the slaughter of them.
Doing a Google search for Hunting  animals in Florida delivered over 33 million links.
Any questions?
I wonder if this line of thinking may in the future perhaps also encompass invasive humans or other?
Just asking?
Did I mention that hunting season begins in days, but the gun shots and the howling hounds are already being heard here in the Forest every morning.
Yes, I am in the minority, I love pigs and refuse to eat them.
Childhood memories on my Uncle’s farm in Indiana, simply will not allow me to.
Seeing all of this today and knowing what is happening to them, makes me so sad for their bleak life and hopeless future.
The ugly truth is, that this latest approach to an animal irritation, is yet another typical Florida solution.

Places to learn more:
A solution to Florida’s Wild Pig Problems: Eat Them
Wild Hogs in Florida
Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped?
Hog Wild In Florida! Feral Pigs A Problem
Wild Hogs In Florida: An overview

October 2, 2014


Why is this man smiling?
Picture credit: William A. Troyer – US Fish and Wildlife Service
I apologize for this brutal picture, but it explains my rage.

Yes, sorry, two in one morning, both of them were in my email and neither could be ignored.
This story is about a subject that pains me deeply to relay.
I can still hear the words of my first Anthropology Professor many years ago saying that:
“99% of all species of all animals, will, or have already, disappeared from the Earth.”
I NEVER got over that very off-handed, complacent, nearly matter of fact, comment.
It did not seem like he was all that terribly concerned.
But, then, why should he have been, few seem to be any more.
It almost seems like we Humans, have become hardened against, or desensitized to this alarming state of affairs, in the Animal Kingdom.
It is so much easier to pick up a gun and shoot something, than it is to put a seed in the ground and wait for it to grow!
Decimation is a horrifying word.
In the past I have used it many times when writing about the Native Americans.
They too were decimated in many places all over this country by two other ugly words: Manifest Destiny.
But unlike the Native people, animals cannot be assimilated!
Hello people, we are losing animals as fast as they can reproduce these days.
Think I’m kidding?
Look around your own neighborhoods.
Have you, like me, watched over the years,  as fewer and fewer of certain animals have disappeared right in your own yard?
It is isn’t for just one reason, or in one country, its’ everybody, everywhere, killing everything.
We either kill them directly, or by destroying their Habitats, so that they die anyway.
What ever will we all do, when they are all gone?
This Planet will be an ugly place with no animals.
As Gandhi always said, ” A Nation will be judged by the way it treats its animals.”
Well, in the end, which may be nearer than many may suspect, so will this Planet.
Don’t think we can all get on a shuttle and head for Mars or ???
This is it people.
When we have killed them all, for what ever reason, that’s it.
The answer is right in front of us, but few want to accept it.
The answer is not eating animals anymore.
And yes to the ” Happy  Man ”   in the picture above, hunting them either.
Sure, for some, for many, this is a tough pill to swallow.
But dear Readers, what else can we do?
Millions of people all over the world do without meat every day and are quite healthy.
In some of the poorer Countries, like for instance, Burma, or Myanmar, I was once told by a resident in an interview, that having a chicken for dinner, is a once a month luxury.
Of course this idea will never sell in states like Texas, where their favorite saying on signs all over the state:
” Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner.”
But for the other millions who know change must be made and very soon.
Couldn’t we all at least try not eating any animals, for what ever reason each of us as individuals may choose?
If we do not, and soon, they will be GONE!
Places to learn more:
Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
World wildlife populations halved in 40 years – report A/a>
Shock report: World has lost 50% of its wildlife in just 40 years
Deforestation – Wikipedia
Bear Hunting – Wikipedia

Hope for a New Whale

A Bryde’s Whale
Picture credit: Sophie Webb NOAA

Just found this awesome story this morning in my email, that must be shared.
Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network has gathered and presented an extremely compelling work and you simply must read it in its entirety.
Please see the link to it below.
If the DNA checks out, this newly discovered Whale in the Gulf of Mexico, may be the newest and absolutely most Endangered Whale on Earth, surpassing even the critically Endangered Right Whale.
This is both exciting and terrifying news.
For many years, the Whales in the Gulf near the Florida Panhandle, were thought to be a variation of the species of Bryde’s, but now the thinking is that this new Whale may an entirely new species altogether.
As Russell  says:   “They’ve long been classified as Bryde’s whales — pronounced Brooda’s, thanks to 19th-century Norwegian whaler Johan Bryde.  Bryde’s whales are found in warm seas around the world, growing up to 55 feet long and 90,000 pounds as they feast on plankton, crustaceans and small fish.”
Of course this newest Whale already has a myriad of potential dangers facing it.
The new evidence indicates that many more  of them used to exist and that something is eliminating them.
Let’s see.
So, how much oil did BP flood into the Gulf of Mexico?
The clean up from this nightmare is still plaguing the entire Gulf Coast.
The area where this new Whale is calling home, are the Desoto Canyons, near the mouth of the Mississippi, on the borders of the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
This huge area has been a most inhospitable place for sea life for many years.
Dolphin’s and several other Whale Species are continuously being poisoned in their Ancestral homes, so to speak here.
This toxic soup that is now the Gulf of Mexico, has been polluted for so long, by so many, it is no wonder the depth of decimation to all the sea life there.
It is as far as I can see, an entirely 100% man-made destruction of a Habitat.
And, we are irresponsibly, completely responsible for it all.
Please do read this wonderful story that Russell has put so much thought and effort into.
We have a lot of thinking to do on this news, if we are to reverse a terrible,  long over due trend by ignorant Humans.
Could it be, could we for a change, have hope for a new Whale Species?
Places to learn more:
50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species
Bryde’s Whale – Wikipedia
Baleen Whales – Wikipedia

September 30, 2014

Come Meet the Betelgeuse

The USS Betelgeuse AK-260

Yes, I have been away.
But I was not sitting around eating bon bons~
This is what I have been doing for the past week.
It is the Tribute Web site for Walkingfox to his Ship and Service in the US Navy.
It seems the ones that we have just renewed for 2 years at Network Solutions,  have had the Front Page Extensions completely disabled, meaning that I can no longer work on any of our highly over paid Web sites ($139-$150 per year)including this one.
No, we will not be renewing anything with them again.
One really nice thing about having this site on Word Press, is that now people can come and comment or write  to him.
If you are a Military Veteran or, maybe even just curious, you may like to come take a look.
Hope you enjoy it.
He was very proud of his years in the Navy and like both, yes I have two Fathers, the Navy was the choice for all three of them, for service to their Country.
This site was made under my name, but it ALL about him and the Navy.
I was just the builder who put it up.
I also sadly, cannot click like on any of the pages, for that reason.
Please come meet the Betelgeuse:    http://ussbetelgeuse.wordpress.com/

September 26, 2014

Monsters of Marianna

The Florida Dozier School for Boys in Marianna
Dining hall construction with “White House” in background, 1936
Picture credit: Wikipedia

This story has been percolating in my head and heart since we moved down here nearly ten years ago,
it is not about Florida Wildlife it is about Florida Monsters.
But just like the Wildlife here that I am devoted to writing about, these children also had no voice.
If you blink as you drive West on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee in the Panhandle of Florida, you might miss Marianna.
This is a sleepy little town, that until we moved here and began seeing the News stories, had held only one memory,  it was the town where we always stopped to eat at a place called Po – Folks.
Po – Folks  has  great country-style southern comfort food and a really friendly staff.
Absolutely nothing there, or anything that you see as you drive through, could possibly tell you about the dark, ugly secret this town once had.
Now when I think of Marianna, it will forever be because of the horrible, hideous stories continuously being splashed across our TV News Stations.
You see in  Marianna,  there used to be what is called a Bad Boys, or Reform School and it was said to be the biggest one in the entire United States.
You know, the kind of place where troubled children get sent to because no one can control them, or worse, wants them.
Some of them were orphans, others were just confused and needed guidance and help.
This House of Horrors  is/was called the Dozier Boys School and it was also a place of torture, abuse and death for many who were sent there.
It is also said that the KKK were very much a part of the crimes here.
The school was opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 amid a flurry of accusations, threats and lawsuits.
Then Governor Crist had it all investigated, but as usual in this place called the racially oppressed and color divided State of Florida, this ugly mess was claimed to not have enough, or sufficient evidence to go further.
Those in control stepped out, hopeful it would all go away.
But not so fast, some survivors started making a lot of noise and some people were listening to their stories, better yet they were believing them.
It has been reported that almost 100 children died while this school was in operation.
Then several years ago a team of Anthropologists from USF in Tampa went to Marianna and began a dig.
The Dig team was led by Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who had known about the school and wanted to see if something could be found.
Because my field of Education at College was in Anthropology and the majority of my Nursing experience was at a State Rehab Center in California, this story was of great personal interest.
One of the many sad  things about this story,  is the name that was given to the place where so much of the abuse happened, it was called the White House.
So, the survivors of this school nightmare, call themselves the White House Boys and they are determined to not only expose the crimes, but to shine a bring light on what happened there.
This time, they want to see justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators, if any are still alive.
These few survivors of unspeakable abuse want, need, to be assured that this can and will never happen again, anywhere.
The White House Boys also want an apology, as well as, who can blame them, compensation from those who kept the secrets of the Monsters of Marianna.

Places to learn more:
Read the Full USF PDF  Report here:  Dozier School Report
Florida School for Boys – Wikipedia
Florida to exhume bodies buried at former boys school
Remains of 2 more boys identified at closed Florida boys school
Boy missing since 1940 identified at closed Florida boys school
Florida’s Dozier School For Boys: A True Horror Story
Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says

September 18, 2014

Finally, We Have A Baby!

one two
four three
We have decided to call her/him Ishi, after the last of the Yahi in California.
She/he also appears to be the only survivor.
All pictures credit: Walkingfox
Because  you asked, here is more about Ishi, last of the Yahi.


We would like to introduce our first Gopher Tortoise birth here.
She/he was found yesterday when I took Breanna out, just after lunch.
We are not sure of her/his sex, but this is what we have waited for since moving in here in 2004.
We found no others, only this one.
Gopher Tortoises normally have between 3-15 babies, so we sadly fear the demise of her siblings.
It is said that anything and everything,  eats them as soon as they hatch, most do not make it until their first birthday.
From what we have learned from other pictures and information, this one appears to be about two years old,  as they are said to grow about an inch per year.
If any others are found, they will be announced here.
But for now, we are so thrilled to have at least one child from Harriet, whom we have fiercely guarded, loved and protected since we came here nearly ten years ago.
Finally, we have a baby!

September 12, 2014

Puget Pride

Killer Whales or Orcas
Picture credit: Robert Pittman NOAA

This story is for Adam,  whose heart is as big as the Ocean, the Orcas and all the sea creatures that he loves so much.
Killer Whales or Orcas are the largest Dolphins.
This beautiful mammal is an intelligent, fun-loving, playful, family oriented and devoted Sea Creature or Cetacean.
And for the first time in years,  this week a new baby has been born to a group whose terrifyingly low numbers, leave many to believe that they are not long for this Earth.
The new baby, who is  a member of  the L Pod, was born  in the waters of San Juan off the Washington State Coast., known as Puget Sound.
This new calf is a member of Southern Resident Killer Whale  population whose  numbers are currently at about 79, with  two having  been listed as missing.
The Killer Whales in this area are members of the J,  K,   or L pods.
The new baby or calf, is number L 120 and its birth is cause for sheer delight, extreme joy, laced with a more than just a bit of trepidation.
The newborns in this area and of this particular species, do not have a good track record for longevity.
Many of them die in their first year of life.
There are multiple reasons for the tremendous decline in Killer Whales here:  the Exxon oil spill, and the lingering deadly aftermath of it, as well as the now near extinction of their favorite food, salmon, have sent them as far away as California to eat.
This critically Endangered Whale is the victim of yet one more example of Human cause and effect:
oil spills, over fishing, military and tourist conflicts, greedy marine facilities who take them prisoners to perform.
We love to adore them in captivity, watch them on film, and take boat trips out to see them in the wild.
Yet we completely fail to comprehend that what we are doing,  is killing the Killer Whales.
We are simply,  ignorantly,  loving and crowding them to death.
But on this day, far away,  in Washington State,  there is reason for Puget Pride.

Places to learn more:
Killer whale – Wikipedia
Updated photos: Eyewitness describes birth of orca in Puget Sound waters
Down to Earth: Patti Goldman on Protecting Orca Whales
Puget Sound’s endangered killer whales continue decline
Exxon Valdez oil spill
Puget Sound orcas feeding in California — again
Orca calf born to Puget Sound resident L pod
Puget Sound orcas retain protection under Endangered Species Act
Newborn Orca Seen Off Washington Coast In Puget Sound Pod
Census: Orcas declining in Puget Sound

September 5, 2014

Megalopyge opercularis

Megalopyge opercularis
Picture credit: Wikipedia


Thank you so very much to Walkingfox for alerting me about this story just now.
This is a very short post because it is so important and just learned about.
I also wanted to alert as many of you, as soon as possible about this.
On our local WFTV News earlier today, was a report about, don’t laugh, a fuzzy caterpillar that is very scary.
Its scientific name is  Megalopyge opercularis  and it has been found in Florida.
DO NOT TOUCH  it under any conditions.
This thing is nasty and its bite will do you great harm.
Even though it is fairly small, at about one inch long, it is the most poisonous Caterpillar in the United States.
This is not a joke, take a look at the pictures of the victims in the links below.
You, your pets and your children need to be on high alert for this creature, every single time that you are outside in your yards,  or where ever.
Please watch out for it and if any of you should come in contact with it, follow the directions on any of these links included below, immediately.
All I can say is YIKES!
And, Welcome to the Tropics.
Places to learn more:
Southern flannel moth
Puss Caterpillar or Asp — General Information
Florida’s Puss Caterpillars Pack a Venomous Punch
Doctors: Don’t pet fuzzy caterpillar
Megalopyge opercularis  –  Wikipedia

August 28, 2014

You’re On Your Own!

The Tiger Shark is a regular visitor to Florida Beaches.
Picture credit: Albert Kok

This story has been on our local news for several days and it has Floridians divided, once again.
I truly did not want to write about this, but the story will not go away.
Those who fish of course, are completely opposed to the idea that anyone, or anything, should interfere with the enjoyment of their beloved sport of “shark fishing.”
Let me begin by saying that I find this ” sport “ both appalling and cruel.
Yes, the East Coast, or Atlantic Coast of Florida, is and has been for many years, the "shark bite capital of the world" but the behavior of these people in the pursuit of their passion, has only added to the numbers, because sharks will always go where there is blood in the water and that is exactly how these people do their ”sport! “
This provocative, enticing and dangerous action, is called chumming.
Sharks are one of the most ancient of all animals that live today on our planet.
They have survived and thrived, when many others, perished and became extinct.
They are a nearly perfect predator and truly need fear few, if any other animals, only Humans.
We have always been the greatest threat to their continued longevity on Earth.
And, this disgusting sport of “shark fishing “ is being done state-wide in nearly every coastal town here now.
There are a plethora of Clubs, Charters and Organizations here, all devoted to the “exciting sport,” their words, not mine, ofShark Fishing.”
The problems arise because of where this sport is being done, which is on the hundreds of beaches in Florida, where swimmers, surfers and tourists are usually gathered for a fun day at the Beach.
What these “shark fishing” groups fail to accept, is that they are responsible for creating a theater of danger at the beach, by their very dangerous actions.
Since the beginning of August, two young children have been bitten by sharks just in Brevard County.
Melbourne Beach Mayor Jim Simmons, is understandably quite concerned for the safety of those who not only come to his town, but of what waits for them when and if, they also visit the beach there.
He has personally experienced this dangerous drama on the Beach and wants to stop it before someone is killed.
The reason for all of the division in the state over this Issue, is quite simple.
Local residents and officials want to stop shark fishing, but really have no legal authority to do so, only Florida Fish and Wildlife can do this.
And the chances of that happening, are slim to none.
There will be an FWCmeeting September 11, in Kissimmee, to discuss this and Mayor Simmons not only plans on showing up for it, but to lobby for his concerns there as well.
I can’t help but wonder, where Florida’sBetter Business BureauorDepartment of Tourism stand on this Issue.
Like the line from the movie says, "this is not good for the Tourist Trade.”
So for the time being, it is beach users “beware.”
If you are a visitor here, or a surfer new to the area, please be forewarned, the beaches can be a very dangerous place in Florida right now.
Shark Fishermen using Florida Beaches for their blood sport, are protected by our State Officials.
You, on the other hand, are on your own!
Places to learn more:
Sharks – Wikipedia
Shark kills number 100 million annually
Florida Shark Fishing
Shark-fishing debate hooks town leaders
Florida Shark Attack Risk Has Officials Wanting To Ban Shark Fishing In 2014
International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association
A Shark Fishing Guide
YouTube Shark Fishing  (It is sick and cruel, be prepared!)