January 31, 2005

The Trip to Florida: Part VII




Finally, I went to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in the morning. The Selby’s were a wealthy society couple who collected tropical plants and orchids. They left their mansion, gardens and estate to be incorporated as a non-profit organization. Today the garden has one of the largest collections of tropical flora in existence with an emphasis on epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that live off other plants, and do not have roots in the ground. The Selby Garden collection contains over 6000 species in 1200 genera from 214 plant families. Many of these specimens were obtained through primary field research in Latin and South America.



The gardens also sprawl over the Selby’s estate with various examples of palms from all over the world. Wooden bridges, stone and cement pathways wind through tree lined lawns, palm copses, and various types of banyan trees. It was spectacular, and I know that if I move to the Sarasota area I will have to become a member of the gardens.

In the afternoon after I returned to Casa Mar I did a few laps in the heated pool, Made lunch, then crashed on a lounge on the beach. I don’t find the pool very refreshing because folks down here like their water at bathtub temperature. However, the Gulf of Mexico is too cold this time of the year, about fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit. At my age the first wave that hit my crotch would cause me to have an instant siezure or heart attack.

Spongebob Squarepants is Asexual!

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob says the cartoon character is not gay. Two evangelical Christian groups have accused spongebob of having a gay agenda in order to promote acceptance of homosexuality in America. An AOL poll indicates that 84% of AOL subscribers are not buying such blatant idiocy.

I wonder though - why not have Spongebob become a Quaker - then he could be an ordinary straight but tolerant cartoon character. Would anyone object to that?

Besides, aren't sponges asexual?


Tsunami

The death toll approaches 155,000! I lay on the beach here, and I try to imagine the horror of being caught in that giant wave on the beach in Phuket, Thailand.

It is sunny and warm. There is a gentle breeze, and I hear the hushed voices of other people on the beach. Why is it that voices seem so distant on beaches? There are people twelve feet from me, but their voices are soft. Their speech flows gently on the lambent breeze. Even their laughter rings lightly, like small bells in the blue sea air. In the distance, someone shouts, “look,” and I hear others call to one another.

“What’s wrong with the water?”

“There are fish flopping on the sand.”

“Shit!”

“Look at the horizon.”

I look up in time to see a monstrous wall of water curling over a quarter mile away. It is thirty or forty feet high, and the sea bottom is exposed in front of it. I watch, mesmerized as the wave crashes into thunderous spray and foam. I get up from my chair and begin to run up the beach even though I know that I can never outrun that churning and roaring wall of white water. I look back over my shoulder and see that the swirling front of the wave has turned a nasty brown. It rushes rapidly toward me, and the people farther down the beach are swallowed by the water. Their screams are cut off instantly as they are sucked into the frothing tumult. I run faster. I am gasping for air. The air has become full of sea mist. I scream. The roar is over-powering now, like several freight trains. In an instant of excruciating pain it is over as I am slammed to the sand and smashed about. If my body is found, my bones will be broken, and I will be a swollen mass of bruised, mangled, and bloated flesh.


I am cold. I pick up my towel and head up the beach toward Casa Mar.


Give to the following in order to help reunite orphans with distant relatives, and to insure that your money is used by people with true humanitarian concerns instead of proselytizing religious zeal.

American Friends Service Committee, and UNICEF

E-mail me at ZacSfuts@aol.com

Visit my homepage at AOL Hometown.

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