Thursday, April 05, 2007


In my continuing effort to diversify this blog, I offer a few pictures. As usual, you can click on a picture for a larger view.

The first picture has a bit of backstory: If you've ever visited Florida, you may have noticed that we have lots and lots of ponds. You may even have noticed that these ponds tend to be near parking lots. It may have occurred to you that Floridians have some obscure mental illness that compels them to build parking lots near ponds, as in, "Look! There's a pond! Let's build a parking lot next to it!" But this is not the case. Parking lots go with ponds because of another Florida fact that you may also have noticed, and that is that Florida (the peninsula part, at least) is Flat. As in Flat Flat Flat. Those of you who live in places where topography has three dimensions are aware that when it rains, the rainwater channels in a predictable fashions and flows Downhill. In Florida we do not have Downhill. So when it rains, the only thing that stands between us and a flood is the ability of the ground to Absorb Water. Now, apparently it has been scientifically proven that Paving Over the ground interferes with its ability to Absorb Water, so we have regulations that state that if you Pave Over the ground (say, for a parking lot), you must Dig Pond(s) to store the rainwater that washes off your pavement. The more area you Pave Over, the more/bigger Pond(s) you must Dig.

Almost all of these retention ponds are industrial in appearance. No one makes any attempt to dress them up. Except my local Neighborhood Walmart (which I prefer to call "Walmart 'n 'da hood"), which for some reason put a couple of oversized plastic ducks in their retention pond. Like, duck decoys. On steroids. I don't know why they did this. Are they trying to attract ducks? For what purpose? Are they going to hunt them from a secret blind hidden on the bank? If so, what will the inhabitants of the adjacent apartment buildings think of the gunfire in their 'hood?

Good questions all. However, I drove by my hood's Walmart the other day and saw some evidence that the decoys are not decoying:

Cormorant Not Decoyed

What you see here is a real bird (a cormorant) perched on the back of one of the decoys. Somehow I don't think the cormorant has been fooled.

For photo number two, I offer these red berries, which are growing in my back yard:

Brazilian Pepper Berries

As bright and cheerful as they appear, they Brazilian pepper tree berries. The Brazillian pepper is an invasive species which is so harmful to the local flora that it's illegal to plant it, though this hasn't impeded its ability to spread like wildfire, thankyouverymuch. But while I was taking pictures of these berries, I noticed this bug, who seemed charmingly photogenic to me:

Brazilian Pepper Bug

Warning: If you click on this picture, you will get a very large image of just the bug, so if bugs gross you out, don't do it! However, if you have the stomach for it, I recommend it. I was especially fascinated by the bug's two tiny red eyes, and the amazing resemblance between his coloration and the camouflage fatigues worn by our soldiers in central Asia.

Finally, I offer this close-up of a flower, which belongs to a vine that's growing wild along a fence on public land next to a bike path near my home:


I don't know what kind of flower this is, but, being a guy, I'm not going to let a little thing like ignorance make me look ignorant, so I'll confidently state that this is a passion vine flower, specifically, a Passiflora coccinea.

Hey, how confident do I sound?

actually i think that's a lovely shot of a grande rosa witha lotsa pistilsa
Thank you for the great photos!! They arrived just in time. While I enjoy winter, every year around this time I long for the sight of living plants (yes, I know the trees around here are not dead, but they sure look it). Your photos reminded me that somewhere on earth things are alive and growing.
I love the decoy ducks and cormorant picture. Thanks for the chuckle!

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