Posts Tagged ‘BP’

StarLite Adventure with Dagny

July 2, 2010

Dagny asked where I wanted to go for Dinner on her last day here. We were not cooking in the hotel room because she was poor, we were doing it for the adventure. Since food and money were not really issues as I am still trying to lose weight, I opted for a 2 ½ hour Smooth Jazz Lunch aboard the StarLite. This moderately priced adventure features “Ken and Barbie” singing and playing guitar music that occasionally sounded like jazz but was really closer to piano bar pleasant.

Dagny & Dad Start our Cruise

The ship left from Clearwater Beach which is a pristine, clean. Florida beach (at least until, BP and a Hurricane make land). The ship loaded on time and left on time and the waitress started tanking her orders from patrons. Of course, we disrupted the flow by having our picture taken and she didn’t mind at all.

The cruise along the inland water way was fairly typical for the genera pointing out housing occupied by philanthropists and the rich and shameless. We skipped desert and headed to the Ca pain’s Wheel House and started to walk in and say hello. The first door was locked but that didn’t deter Dagny as she went around to the other side of the cabin and knocked on the door and we were admitted. Of course, I had to take a picture to prove our presence and Captain Mark approved.

Dagny & Captain Mark

Actually the welcoming speech had invited everyone up to say hello to the Captain but we seemed to be the only ones who actually went. Their was only one other person who was acting like she owned the boat and that was a teenage girl who had moved a chair to the upper deck rail and was lounging with her feet on the rail watching the tide, time and boats pass by.

I totally approved and hope she has a life of adventure. I mean what’s the point of spending $10 on a cruise if you don’t act like you own the ship.

My Serious Daughter

I captured this picture of my daughter at the start of the cruise. She makes me laugh and we have a great time but when required she can be very intelligently serious. I am not sure what had her so attentive but would like to believe she was describing her fathers virtues to a sweet young waitress.

Tarpon Springs Adventures

July 1, 2010

Tarpon Springs is North of Clearwater with a population less than 25,000. It is notable for having the highest percentage of Greek-Americans of any city in the US. In size, the community is less than 20 square miles with about half under water. The first Greek immigrants arrived to this city during the 1880s, when they were hired to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry. Like most fishing communities, there are good years and bad based on the whim of mother nature.

When a red tide algae bloom occurred in 1947, wiping out the sponge fields in that region of the Gulf of Mexico, most of the sponge boats and divers switched to fishing and shrimping for a livelihood. The city then converted most of its sponge-related activities, especially the warehouses where the sponges were sold, into tourist attractions. And somebody was bright enough to put a silly plastic Turtle in the middle of the town square. While logic would dictate that it should have been a tarpon, a ninja turtle is definitely more huggable than a Tarpon which is best described as a pugnacious, smelly, inedible, cold-blooded fish.

The first time Dolores and I saw the Turtle was probably 1999. I had always kept in touch with Carol since the day I first met her. When we both married and had kids we kept in touch and our families visited each other in New Jersey, Santo Domingo, St. Croix, Florida and watched each other raise families and pass through life’s transitions. We had comforted each other from afar on the passing of our respective spouses.

Lunch at Hellas with Tracey and Carol

Carol is a gracious hostess and when I was here in May to get probed by aliens. Tracy and I went to visit and have lunch at Hellas a Greek restaurant.

John, Tracey & Turtle

Naturally everybody laughed, had fun and told jokes with an awful lot at my expense. And as we were leaving, I insisted on pictures of us with the turtle. First it was Tracey and I and then it was Carol and I.

John, Carol & Turtle

On Fathers Day, Carol had me join her family for a fantastic feast. I have know her father for over 50 years and he is still earning spending money by betting on his skeet shooting skills and constantly winning. He travels as far as Ohio where he finds people who bet against him because they see an old man on the line. They soon find out he has the eyes of a hawk, reflexes of a bat and nerves of steel as he wins most bets. George is pushing 90 and his family gave him books on sports memorabilia to read for his birthday and Fathers Day. My mom gave up on reading in her late 80’s because it was too tiring so it’s nice to see George keep going.

I told George, I wanted to be just like him when I grow up as we caught up on old times. Carol’s daughter Tara was there with her husband as was Carol’s boy friend. I have know Tara all her life and everybody just adsorbed me into the family. Carol asked to see my daughter when she came to care for me and even though Saturday was my most painful day, we kept our date.

I am glad we did as the walking and company took my mind off pain and I instantly felt better. At lunch, I toasted the special 50th anniversary of our first kiss and Carol asked how I could possibly remember such trivia. Then her eyes lit up as she told me I made up the anniversary story because the first kiss was more than 50 years ago. It made me laugh and smile because she also remembered. Unfortunately, she also remembers all the pranks and tricks that she played on me based on my teenage insecurity and raging hormones which is why we never made it past that kiss..

Dagny and Poppa John

When we were leaving Tarpon Springs, I reminded Carol of my need to capture the Day with pictures of the Turtle. She pointed out that there is far more complexity to the culture of Tarpon Springs than the Turtle. I reminded her that when Dolores and I first came to Tarpon Springs with her, we all did the Turtle thing and if I searched for them, I would find those pictures. I also pointed out that I am not running from her memory because after 43 years of marriage, there is no way to even dream of erasing Dolores from my life. Besides, I believe that she was there both days enjoying the outing as she knew everybody including Carol’s family and Tracey and never missed a pleasant social event.

Dagny, Carol & the Tarpon Springs Turtle

The worst part of the day was thinking about what BP and a hurricane could do to the town. This is not about money, because the cost to relocate 25,000 people is nothing compared to the cost of disrupting all of the population of the Gulf Coast. But once a town like Tarpon Springs is gone, not even Disney could resurrect the authentic version.

As they say in the islands;

“God spare life”, I will live to see Tarpon Springs in a decade, just the way it is.

Pharaoh, Longevity and BP

June 13, 2010

Pharaoh was the first widely recognized and influential King of Kings and God of Gods. When the first Pharaoh reigned there were only two prohibitions that would block entry to a happy after life. Thou shall not kill and thou shall not destroy the flow of water in the rivers. In addition to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle expanding life,  for another jump in longevity, I think we have to look backwards in time.

If we think about wars and crime and eliminate them, the life expectancy rises because the victims of murder and war are usually young. And with BP screwing up the gulf, the other prohibition about altering the environment will become obvious.

None of the Talking Heads or college professors have talked about it, but it should be obvious that if the BP oil leak  is as big or bigger than what the Government has been projecting, it is going to foul the beaches of Florida and the western Caribbean and perhaps even the Carolinas.

Forget about the effect of millions of people breathing fouled air, forget about the workers who will have a shorter life due to involvement in the clean-up as they did after 911. These two are obvious

Think about the millions who give up their stress relieving vacations and die of heart attacks. Think about the business owners who go broke and die from the stress. Think about the millions who lose their jobs in the tourism industry. Think of the impact on millions of people who give up on outdoor exercise and move north for the winter. People have been arguing about the environment impact on life expectancy because longevity has been steadily rising for years while the environment deteriorated.

Anybody who has ever experienced a hurricane knows that the rain is salty as the ocean water is sucked into the eye walls of the storm and drops when it hits land. Water is heavier than oil so its reasonable to expect that a gulf hurricane suck up oil and cause oil to rain everywhere from the Yucatan Peninsula to Texas and inland to Oklahoma and Tennessee. Anyone who has experienced a hurricane will also tell you that life expectancy is lowered because of storm related deaths, reconstruction related deaths, stress and a reduction in medical care.

Now for the first time ever, we have an environment disaster that is so large that a careful analysis relative to the rest of the country should settle the argument. It would be interesting to look at the life expectancy of those who skip vacations, work in the cleanup, lose their businesses, get caught in more violent hurricanes, move to a less hospital environment and those who stay compared to what they would have been if BP had not shafted the world with “allegedly” criminal behavior.

If a dead pelican is worth $15,000 how much is appropriate for taking a year off of someones life?

Put into the modern vernacular, Pharaoh’s two rules still make sense.

Thou show not kill and thou shall not screw up the environment.—Maybe the two rules are the same.