Friday, November 24, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

BIRDIES

COMMENTARY BY IRV RIKON

I like birds. I'm not the sort of guy who goes sloshing through muddy marshes or climbs breathlessly over improbable mountain peaks to see them, but I enjoy watching and hearing them when they're in my habitat.
         Take for example the small (and larger) birds that dangle on electric wires stretching across public utility poles.  Especially towards dusk sometimes a dozen or more will perch closely together at traffic intersections. I wonder: Are they actually watching the traffic? What images do their bird brains interpret? Those passing vehicles (as we see them) are they some sort of monster or simply a curiosity to the birds? I find it amusing and quite amazing that they can adapt to a human environment and make it part of their own.
         When I lived in the urban centers of New Jersey and New York, relatively few bird species were there. Sparrows were ubiquitous. In spring, robins and blue jays would arrive. For the most part, that was it. When I began to travel, I realized that pigeons were in almost every urban center people were. Folks greeted them in mixed fashion. Some noticed only their droppings. Others noted that if one stood in place offering food, pigeons would eat out of one's hand, occasionally sitting on one's head to do it.
          Which reminds me of the old joke: A poor, despondent fellow was outdoors praying when a bird's droppings fell on his head. Desperately, he looked skyward: "Lord, see what I mean? For other people that same bird sings!"
          Then there's the mockingbird. When I first came here, outside my bedroom window stood a tree. There a mockingbird decided to make its home. Mockingbirds sing—day and night. This mockingbird kept this human being awake. And so what I termed "The Mockingbird War" began. I bought a water pistol and fired it when I viewed the bird. I don't think I ever hit it, though I tried. But the bird also perceived it as war: It recognized me and would try to attack me as I left my apartment. Eventually the bird moved elsewhere, and the tree was taken down for the reason it was too close to the building, and insects were climbing up into the condos.
           Mockingbirds deserve more than one paragraph. Scientists have determined they can memorize over 600 different bird calls and return and retain them. It's not just bird calls: A woman downstairs from my condo had a cat. The bird would meow like a cat, tormenting the feline. I've read of a couple who rented a small hotel room. The hotel was being repaired, with machinery blasting all day. At night, the pair hoped to get some rest. But no! A nearby mockingbird mimicked the machine, and they couldn't sleep! Now, I love to listen to the mockingbirds (when they're some distance away). They sing in springtime during mating season and keep changing tunes. I marvel. I'm even quite convinced some of the tunes mockingbirds sing are original.
          Here we have a lot of crows. Crows are credited with being the most intelligent of all birds. They're the only bird species to be found on every continent, a testimony to their gift of survival. Seldom to be seen alone (mockingbirds are loners), they come and go in small flocks. They have good memories a sense of humor. Watch them, and you'll see.
          Sometimes a chicken can be detected, probably after escaping from a coop. Some people don't recognize a "chicken" as a bird, possibly because it looks different from most birds, but also they think of "chicken" as dinner. Yet almost everyone likes to see newborn chicks follow their mother around. The same is true of ducklings and their moms.
         We have several kinds of ducks in our area. "Florida Weekly" newspaper recently made a faux pas. It had a cover story on the "maligned" muscovy duck and on the next-to-last page a "Highlights from local menus" that featured an entrĂ©e of "Seared duck." I like all the ducks I see in the wild. Most will eat out of your hand if you offer food. One day I was feeding a duck, and in its excitement it stepped on my foot. No problem: I was wearing shoes. But I wondered: Didn't the duck feel the tactile difference between grass and shoe leather?
         Water fowl of various types inhabit our region. Visible near the ocean are pelicans. Someone, not I, long ago wrote:

                      "A wonderful bird is the pelican.
                        Its bill can hold more than its belican (belly can)".

        We've several species of water birds and wading birds. Ibises are generally but not exclusively white. They have long necks and feet, the feet so skinny I wonder how bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves can fit into such a narrow passageway. On land ibises are amusing to watch. They usually band together in a small flock of a dozen or so sweeping across lawns and eating yet staying so close to each other as almost to seem a single unit. Sometimes they cross a street to get to another lawn, but they walk, despite having big wings.
        Speaking of long necks, I was once pinched by a swan. I was lakeside, feeding a few ducks, and hadn't noticed it. But apparently it nipped me because I wasn't feeding it. Swans are graceful and lovely to look at in the water, yet they are known for having a temper. (Among birds, the wingless African ostrich has the longest neck. Its head can be nine feet above ground. Its big feet enable it to run over 40 miles an hour.)
        Parrots are occasionally to be seen in South Florida, usually but not always as pets. Having many colors, they're beautiful to human eyes, and they can be trained to speak human words (not so with mockingbirds).
        Also from time to time come birds of prey. We have owls, ever interesting to see for the reason they, alone among bird species, have eyes looking forward, straight ahead, not on the sides as other birds do. Vultures occasionally pause to rest here when they fly north-south and vice versa.
        In my travels I've come upon penguins, another wingless bird. On land they look like awkward young men dressed in formal attire going to a prom. In the water they swim like fish, their wings having evolved into flippers. I once saw a lone baby penguin in Argentina and spoke gently to it. Then I bobbed my head from side to side. It imitated my movements. Soon a park ranger approached and said I should not be doing that. So I stopped. But I wondered: Had I taught the kid a new language?
        On one of Indonesia's islands, Laura and I viewed a large caged bird of a type that was unfamiliar to us. When it viewed Laura, it kept repeating her name: "Lau-ruh! Lau-ruh! Lau-ruh!" That experience was rather eerie. Was this the bird's natural call or, if one believes in reincarnation, had they met in a former lifetime?
         Finally, there were the birds not seen. In Peru, among other tropical places, lives a bird called "blue-footed booby." On average three feet in height, with a five-foot wingspan, it's an aquatic bird, rather clumsy on land, and has blue feet. According to those who study such matters, the bluer the feet of the male the more sexually attracted is the female. But I've not seen one of these "live." Another bird I hoped to see but didn't was the black condor, a species of eagle that can have a wing span of fourteen feet! Perhaps it's best not to have encountered that one.
        Then there's the dodo bird:

                   "Dodo bird, Dodo bird, was you da missing link?
                     Tell me, tell me, I ain't heard how you become extinc'.
                     Dodo bird, Dodo bird, I really sympathize.
                     I'll put in my good word: You was the nicest guys."

         I wrote that.
            Irv Rikon
                     


      


Friday, November 17, 2017

Broken down car needs removing ...

 The Sierra Club Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with CARSTM, a national vehicle donation program. The program is a great opportunity for donors to get rid of old, polluting vehicles they no longer use while helping to clean our air and protect the environment.

CARSTM will accept almost anything that is in one piece and towable from any location in the continental United States — cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, trailers, boats, planes, ATVs, even farm equipment. Customer service representatives are available seven days a week and more than 1,000 vendors across the United States are available to pick up donations at a convenient time and location. Cars that get less than 27 miles per gallon will be recycled. Classic cars, and cars with a gas mileage of 27 MPG and over, will be sold at auction.

Donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a receipt from the towing vendor, as well as an IRS form within 30 days of the sale if the contribution exceeds $500. To support The Sierra Club Foundation’s programs today, fill out an online donation form at http://sierraclubfoundation.careasy.orgor call 855-33-SIERRA.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Harpy Halloween

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”   

Saturday, October 21, 2017

FREE Hoopla

Now you can instantly stream movies, TV, eBooks, directly from Hoopla, free library service (in moderate quantities). Log in with your library card #.

Go to hoopladigital.com
Better than borrowing CDs from the Okeechobee library, where you have to go to and fro and sometimes they are missing or damaged.
I use it only on my laptop, but there are apps etc.   Love it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Guns, really!

There were crowds of children watching the Simply Tina (Turner) show at the Meyer today.


How about sparkly things or olive branches.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Stumps

This 5-trunk tree was once just a stump (after hit by truck). Some of the Irma stumps could be kept and be trees in 5 or 7 years.  I  am going to let our avocado tree sprout. - it it wants to.  Ok for far corners of village.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

C'mon FPL

How about giving a solar system or two to Puerto Rico.  You ask us to be involved while sneakily charging us an extra $9, how about you too.  I think it would do wonders for your image.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Palm Beach Condo Expo


http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102276804436&ca=8c983e17-f333-4a4b-8b7d-694bba532c1a 

Clear your schedule for this fall's most important networking and educational event. The Palm Beach Condo & HOA Expo takes place on Tuesday, October 24th, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm (seminars begin at 9:00 am). 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

STRANGE THING . . .


HOW WITH ITS BEING CRITICIZED, THE FLAG HAS BECOME MORE PRECIOUS TO ME

From when I was a little kid, I said the Pledge of Allegiance, stood up to sing the Star Spangled Banner, and respected the flag. We were taught to respect our country in these ways just as those from other countries are taught respect for their countries. As someone said recently, it's not because you approve of everything your country has done, or all of its laws, or all of its politicians. It's because it is your country, just as your family is your family. It's similar in a way to what we enlisted men were told in the US Army: you salute the lieutenant because of his position, not how he has personally performed. Of course it helps to have known role models one can admire.

For the most part, saying the Pledge, singing the national anthem and respecting the flag have been things I have done by rote—with some appreciation for them, of course. But I've found a strange thing happening in me lately: as criticisms have been heaped upon America as a nation, it has caused me to reflect all the more on the greatness and the good of this nation. There has never been a country like America—a melting pot of immigrants from other nations, the first true democracy since the partial democracy of ancient Greece, a nation more generous than any in history. What nation ever helped its just-defeated enemies recover as the U.S. did with its Marshall Plan?

Perhaps it's the "Law of Opposites" at work. Soft is only known in contrast to  hard. We say a person is patient only in circumstances when a normal person would be impatient. (Therefore you must experience impatience in order to appreciate patience.) I don't LIKE it when our very flag, symbol of the nation itself, is desecrated. The unjustness of it, however, seems to have caused something to rise up in me that is more appreciative than ever for America.

It is as if I am seeing our precious flag with new, appreciative, honoring eyes. And I'm thankful for that.



Puerto Rico Devastation

If you missed the collection at the Clubhouse yesterday, see http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/   specifically for PR.

An initiative begun by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, with help from the private sector to provide aid and support to the people of Puerto Rico after Irma and Maria.  This is a humanitarian crisis worse than even than other hurricane areas

Monday, September 25, 2017

Single-Payer Health Insurance

Talk to your friends from Canada and UK who use single payer, it works very well.  It has more common sense than some of USA ideas, and is supported by health professionals and charities.  Too bad the current admin have shown they cannot write any bills that have anything to do with better health.  They are just wrecking ball operators.
From AARP:

A new study from the AARP finds that older people could pay as much as $16,174 more per year for health coverage under the Republican bill to repeal ObamaCare sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy .  The bill “threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans,” AARP, which opposes the measure, writes in the report. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pencil Cactus

If you would like to grow your own pencil cactus (easy) feel free to take cuttings from the one outside my door at #220 Sussex L, CV.  Victim of Irma.
Watch out for drippy 'latex' sap.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NW corner (Irma)

Please put these trees back together again >>> click to enlarge.





Hastings (Irma)

Hastings looked almost untouched, OK one tilt.  Perimeter road trees were hammered.



Fall (Irma)

and shallow roots



Pretzel town (Irma)


FEMA stuff

 By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance.
The items that can be covered include:
  • Temporary housing
  • Lodging expenses reimbursement
  • Home repair
  • Home replacement
  • Disaster-caused child care expenses.
  • Disaster-caused medical and dental expenses.
  • Disaster-caused damages to essential household items
  • Fuel for the primary heat source
  • Clean-up items
  • Disaster-caused damage to an essential vehicle.
  • Moving and storage expenses caused by the disaster

If you need disaster assistance from FEMA, you can apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or register on the phone at 1-800-621-3362.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Irma...

Just to say you who are in the Village that , we the snowbirds are with you, thinking of you, praying for you.
Here is a picture (refresh every minute) from my webcam in CoventryA (looking East.
Take care!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Irma La Douce

Wrap your electronics in plastic.
I wish you well during the next few days. Please stay safe.
Over and out for awhile!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Shelter in Place

If you find CV zone it says Shelter in Place

Ref:  The City of West Palm Beach Emergency Management Division continues to monitor Hurricane Irma and prepare for possible impacts from the storm. Hurricane Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm. The City has begun activation of its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and is preparing for a potential full activation of the EOC later this week.

To ensure the safety of you and your family, don’t wait to prepare for possible impacts from Irma. Have a plan of action.
  • Know Your Zone: Now is the time to become familiar with evacuation zones and routes should an evacuation order be issued for your community. Remember, if a hurricane threatens your community and you are told to evacuate, don’t hesitate—go early. To see which evacuation zone you live in, visit: http://www.pbcgov.com/knowurzone/
  • Fully stock your hurricane supplies and have a disaster supply kit on hand: Make sure to have enough food, water and emergency supplies to last at least three days should a storm strike. Assemble your kit now. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
  • Complete a family communication plan: Discuss with your family and agree on ways to contact one another in the event of an emergency.
  • The City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County may issue advisories. Please adhere to these advisories.
  • Sign up for local alerts on your phone: Download Palm Beach County’s PBCDart and the City’s Code Red apps.
  • The City may also share information via its Facebook and Twitter accounts and on the City government TV channel, WPB-TV. The City’s Twitter handle is: @westpalmbch. WPBPD’s Twitter handle is @WestPalmPD. WPBFR’s Twitter handle is: @wpbfire. Information may also be communicated via the city’s website at http://www.wpb.org/storm. You may also receive updates via email from the City.
  • In the event of an emergency, dial 911. For non-emergency calls, call (561) 822-2222.
  • The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County asks all county residents to refrain from cutting down whole trees or doing major yard or construction projects until after the storm passes. Do not place any debris at the curb after a Hurricane Watch or Hurricane Warning is issued.
Right now, the City’s Division of Sanitation is expediting yard waste and bulk pick-up. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, sanitation trucks will cover those days’ usual routes and, also, work ahead on some of the next day’s routes.

Please visit the City of West Palm Beach website for updates and links to important hurricane information at http://www.wpb.org/storm. Stay safe!

Sincerely,

Jeri Muoio, Mayor

Monday, September 4, 2017

Whole Foods review

Amazon and Whole Foods were masterful at getting the media to promote an almost nonexistent price drop, and in turn at helping them counteract the supermarket’s high-price image. The reality is that the average shopper will barely notice any savings in their weekly grocery bill at least in the short-run.

http://www.mouseprint.org/?utm_source=newsletter

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Help Harvey victims

 Want to help those hurt by Harvey? Here are some good options.

The most important things to remember, experts say, are to give cash rather than goods, to consider the long term and of course to avoid scams. Beyond that, there are options big and small that address the huge spectrum of flood victims’ needs, from providing food and shelter to helping those who are most at risk.

See the full list of groups.
Of course, NPR isn't endorsing or vouching for any of these groups. It's a good idea to do a bit of research on any charity before you donate to it. One place to start is Charity Navigator.

Friday, September 1, 2017

STORMS - POWER LOSS - DO YOU HAVE

STORMS - POWER LOSS - DO YOU HAVE
  • Plenty bottled water
  • Favorite canned foods
  • Plenty batteries, flash lights not candles
  • 7 days medications
  • Pre fill bath tub 1/2 full for flushing/washing
  • Move loose items from open porches
  • Have boxes of ice in freezer