Friday, September 16, 2011

Poo-Poo That Porcupine Passion!

Thought for the day: Florida, where it isn't enough to have ONE river named the Withlacoochee. They've gotta have TWO. 

What can you say about Florida? With so many aging retirees relocated there, it's kinda like Heaven's waiting room, isn't it? Then again, with all the sunshine, palm trees, and white sandy beaches there, some might even consider it a little slice of Heaven right here on earth.

My paternal grandmother, who was born in Scotland, was enamored with Florida, even though her first visits there were somewhat disillusioning. In the early '60s, she came back to Maryland, completely aghast at how many times she and her husband were duped by big gaudy signs and commercial cons. (I reckon I got my gullibility naturally.) But it didn't prevent them from returning again and again.

One of the neat things about Florida is its wide diversity of tourist attractions. Many of them are still festooned with gaudy signs, but thankfully, commercial cons are mostly a thing of the past. The picture to the left is of the Everglades National Park. At 2100 square miles, it's the world's largest mangrove forest, and also contains the slowest moving river in the world. And there's LOTS of wildlife there.

             Like alligators.

Because of its large alligator population, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises all Everglades visitors to wear noise-producing devices, such as little bells, to carry pepper spray, and to be on the look-out for fresh signs of alligator activity. Like their droppings. Believe it or not, the savvy visitor can even estimate the size of a gator by examining  its droppings. Small gators naturally leave behind smaller droppings, which usually contain fish bones and bird feathers, while the droppings of large gators contain little bells, and smell like pepper spray.

Where else but in Florida will thousands of people gather for the specific purpose of tossing dead fish? Every year, the Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola hosts its annual "Mullet Toss," in which customers stand at the state line with the express purpose of flinging dead fish into Alabama. (I kid you not!)

Okay, let's check out a few pictures:

old Spanish fort, St. Augustine

Ever visited the Fountain of Youth? (also at St. Augustine) Let me tell ya, you can smell the water long before you see it or taste it. Let's just say that anyone who can gag down a healthy amount of that stuff deserves to stay young. Smells kinda like sewage. Very heavy on the sulfur. Nasty. Saps, like me, who are willing to taste it, in spite of its aroma, are given a small amount in a paper cup. Gross. I mean, this is Florida. A sweet citrus flavor would've been nice, dontcha think?

And of course, there's the magic of Disney World.

And the story of a little girl who went there for the first time, and fell in love with that enormous roller coaster Space Mountain. She couldn't get enough of it, and waited patiently in line with her parents over and over again for the thrill of yet another ride. The following year, her parents took her back, and while they were waiting in the Space Mountain line, the little girl frowned at the sign warning about the ride's speed, and decided not to get on the ride. When her father asked why she was nervous when she'd enjoyed the ride so much the year before, she said, "This year, I can read."

Then, there's Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center. My hubby and I watched a Space Shuttle launch from there a couple years ago. Awesome!

Wouldn't you LOVE to swim with dolphins?

Or with manatees?

Now, this is just totally cool. There's a unique Bed & Breakfast, called Wildlife on Easy Street, located on the outskirts of Tampa. What makes this place so unusual is, for a one hundred dollar donation to the refuge, visitors can cuddle with an endangered cub of their choice, including baby bobcats, cougars, and leopards.

Okay, I'm sure you've all seen pictures of snorkeling in the coral reefs, the gorgeous white sands, and the palm trees swaying in the breeze, so no need to show them here. You've probably also seen pictures of some of the disastrous aftermaths of Florida hurricanes. (Alas, every paradise has its pitfalls.)

So, without further ado, let's move on to the laws. What nutso laws still lurk on the books in the Sunshine State?

  • It's illegal for a doctor to ask a patient if he owns a gun.
  • The state constitution allows that pregnant pigs not be confined in cages.
  • It's against the law to sell your children. 
  • Be careful if you go to a beauty shop, ladies. Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer.
  • A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays.
  • Sorry, but if you leave your elephant tied to a parking meter, you're gonna have to feed money into the meter.
  • It's illegal to sing in a public place while wearing a bathing suit. (Well, all right, then. Take it off?)
  • Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown. (Helloooooo, wear a shawl, sweetie!)
  • Alas, having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal. (Not to mention painful.)
  • You may not fart in a public place after 6PM. (Whoops! Six o'clock. Time to put a cork in it . . .)
  • In Cape Coral, it's illegal to park a pick-up truck in your driveway OR on the street in front of your house. (Redneck discrimination!)
  • In Cape Coral City, if you have a hankering to park a couch in your carport, be prepared to pay a fifty dollar fine.
  • In Daytona, it's considered a public nuisance to put water in your flower pot if it isn't capable of draining properly. (By golly, SOMEBODY'S gotta look out for those plants!)
  • In Destin, it's illegal for a store owner to allow anyone to pass out free ducklings in front of the store. (Back alley deals only, baby!)
  • In Destin cemeteries, it's illegal to lean a bicycle against a tree, drive over a grave, or sell ice cream.
  • In Hialeah, ambling and strolling are considered misdemeanors.
  • And in Key West, chickens are a protected species. (No KFCs there, eh?)

And now, boys and girls, it is once again time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

*** Chris Walton, of Las Vegas, placed a bet on herself and won. She's been grooming herself to set a new world record, and her attempts have been growing by leaps and bounds for the past eighteen years. That's how long it's been since this lady has cut her fingernails. Her record-setting nails measure a total of nineteen feet, nine inches. That's ten feet, two inches on her left hand, and a measly nine feet, seven on her right. She claims to do her own nails, make-up, and housework, too. How about that? The irony is, with all that fingernail power, I'll betcha she can't even scratch her own nose when it itches. And (ahem) I'm thinking she must own a bidet.

*** He's already scaled the walls of the Grand Canyon, walked the 311 miles from Tokyo to Kyoto, and driven for 24 hours straight on the LeMans racetrack. Next up? Hawaii's famous Ironman triathalon. An amazing athlete, you say? A jock? Well, yes and no. He's actually a tiny green-and-white robot names Evolta. Created by Japanese electronics firm Panasonic, this little guy measures about a tenth the size of his human competitors, and is expected to take about ten times as long to complete the grueling run-bike-swim Ironman competition, which will be taking place in October. To adapt to the requirements of the different legs of the competition, Evolta has three different bodies, and his batteries, mounted on his back, can be recharged up to 1800 times.

These two would-be do-it-yourselfers may be separated by an ocean, but they have one big thing in common. Booze. After filling his belly with copious amounts of alcohol recently, a Florida man attempted to pull his own tooth with a pair of pliers. His horrified wife called police, who hauled him away when he became belligerent. I'm hoping the poor schnook gets some dental care while he's in the pokey. The other DIY guy is a South Wales inventor, who sparked an explosion this week that blew out the windows and damaged the roof of his home. No, it wasn't an A-bomb tinkerer this time. This gentleman was trying to brew himself some homemade vodka. Guess it had a bigger kick than he bargained for, eh? And I have a feeling that now he understands only too well why some people call that stuff firewater.

A quick update on last Friday's tale of the would-be convenience store robber, who was laughed out of the store because of his Gumby get-up. The nineteen-year-old and his nineteen-year-old accomplish turned themselves into the police. They've both been released, and no decision has yet been made as to whether or not to press charges, (for being inept?) but the police did confiscate the Gumby costume. Maybe the guy should consider dressing up as Mickey Mouse for Halloween this year.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


  1. I hope it's against the law to sell your children! O_o And you know, they write those laws because it's been an issue.

    I've been to Florida once. When I was in the Army and stationed in Georgia, six of us rented a car for Memorial Day weekend and drove to Disneyworld (back when it was the only thing there--I know; I'm old). Then we went to Daytona Beach and hit Rippley's and that awesome fort in St. Augustine. Such a fun weekend! Thanks for the reminder. =D

  2. Funny, funny, funny post. Love it. (little bells and pepper spray, HA!)

  3. Well, these laws at least show that Florida is still a very southern state, despite all the northerners that retire there. And if I spent any time visiting Disney world would be the last place I'd go, with so much of the much more fascinating REAL world to see!

  4. Who on Gods green earth would want to sell ice cream in a cemetery? But someone must have right?
    You stole my thunder girl...I was gonna post about Miss Nails. I was wondering how the heck she gets her hands through sleeves.

  5. You make Fridays fun~ thanks Susan!

  6. Oh, goody! I've been waiting for Florida, certain there'd be some really good stuff. You did not disappoint! Love the alligator bit. The fingernail lady? Eeeew. How could she possibly handle her, personal hygiene?

  7. Sorry, had to remove my first comment, my fingers and brain are not exactly cooperating with each other today.

    Boy, measuring the alligator's poop sounds like fun. Add to that - flinging fish, my, my, sounds like my kind of day.

    I like Florida and have wonderful memories of taking my four kids down there for 10 years. We drove an Oldsmobile with them screaming "she/he touched me", all the way down and back. Went in July also, with all that wonderful humidity. Hubby tried to save on gas by only putting the air conditioning on in certain states. Ah, good times.

    There really is a Fountain of Youth? I think I should book my flight immediately.

  8. EEW! The fingernails were too gross for me. They looked like snakes.

  9. Hi, ladies. Thank you all for stopping by, and for leaving such cool comments.

    Donna- Wow, you guys covered a lot of miles in a long weekend. Nice to be young, huh? And you're right about those laws. It's pretty scary to think they actually had to enact a law forbidding the sale of children.

    Wendy- Glad you enjoyed it.

    Karen- One of our sons works for Disney Corporation and can get us freebie VIP passes to any Disney attraction, and we STILL prefer doing other stuff when we go down for a visit.

    Delores- I dunno. As hot and humid as it gets in Florida, I guess someone figured he could make money selling something cold to the mourners. But I agree... a little weird. Sorry I beat you to the punch on the fingernail lady. But that doesn't mean you can't blog about her, too. You'd put your own humorous spin on it, I'm sure.

    Austan- Glad to hear it! We can all use a little bit of comic relief, right?

    Linda- I didn't know you had a Florida connection. Glad you enjoyed it. And like I said, that gal must have a bidet. When she's away from home, she must ... um... hold it?

    Starting Over- We made a bunch of trips to Florida when our kids were growing up, too, and I don't miss those "he touched me, she touched me, did not, did too" marathons one little bit. And yes, there is a fountain of youth, founded by Ponce de Leon a bunch of years ago. But it doesn't work. I drank it. I'm still old.

    Connie- I agree. They're disgusting.

    Y'all take care.

  10. I presume that all of the above was originally written in Spanish. When I was last in Florida, it seemed to be the only language spoken (including on TV).

    When Lady Magnon was living in Washington DC, her family used to spend their annual holidays in Fort Lauderdale.... She still speaks kindly of the place, but I think it was very different in the mid-50's.

  11. "Small gators naturally leave behind smaller droppings, which usually contain fish bones and bird feathers, while the droppings of large gators contain little bells, and smell like pepper spray." CLASSIC !!!

    RJR daydreamer

  12. ...while the droppings of large gators contain little bells, and smell like pepper spray.

    Thanks for that. I spit tea all over my monitor.

    When can I see a post on my favorite state of RI? I do know for a fact, it's against the law to back out of your driveway on Main Road in Little Compton. It's also illegal to drive your lawn mower on the street in Tiverton. However golf carts are acceptable.

  13. I'll have to plan on visiting that fort next time; it looks pretty cool :)

    oh, and if a dog can't have it's way with a porcupine without ending up in an emergency room, I can't imagine how a person would (or why the heck he's want to try) even attempt it! OWCH!!!

  14. *giggle x 50*

    All those poor old ladies snoring away under the hairdryers...

  15. I'm still trying to figure out how to slip the details about gator droppings into the conversation! Hysterical as always! Julie

  16. Hi-ya, Cro. You must've visited the Miami area or thereabouts. Very large Hispanic population there, but the whole state isn't like that. And you're right about Ft. Lauderdale being a lot different now than it was in the '50s, but then again, isn't everything?

    RJR- Glad you liked it.

    Anne- Sorry to make ya spit tea. (The devil made me do it.) I'm doing the states in alphabetical order, so we have a while to go before we get to RI.

    Carrie- I'm one of those old ladies who'd be doing the snoring, too. Good thing I don't live in Florida. Or go to beauty parlors.

    Hi, Jenny. Thank you for stopping by, dear lady. I'll be by to check out your blog asap.

    Julie- Glad to make ya smile.

    Y'all take care.

  17. Huh, that lady not only needs a bidet, I'm betting there's a whole lotta other personal stuff she can't do!

    I love the crazy laws, as always. And thanks for the Gumby update. I was kind of worried for him. Good to know the law is looking out for him now.

  18. Hi-ya, Dianne. You're probably right. Her hair is fairly long, so it must present quite a challenge.