Friday, November 20, 2009

Lemons or Oranges, Anyone?

Driving along a back street in Destin, I came upon this.  Not a soul in sight.  No one.  Just this little stand and sign, reminiscent of the "good, ole (1950's) days", in which I spent my childhood.  Sometimes I just love people.  (Click to enlarge to read the green sign!)

Air Shows

Sunset.  Cocktails at the beach.   Aqua waters, the sound of waves gently lapping the sugar white sand.  Music from my youth dancing from the speakers (60's stuff)......


Whoa!  What is that?!

The last two sunsets I've been at the beach, sipping a drink and chatting with the natives and tourists (few that there are this time of year), we have been witness to three aircraft in what appears to be a private performance just for us!  They turn and dive and skim along what seems only 10' above the water, whooshing past us in different formations.  No one I've talked to seems to know who they really are, but since Eglin AFB is here in Destin, we assume they are from the base.

I haven't gotten any good photos of them myself, and they probably aren't even these types of aircraft (some guy who recognizes these planes might be laughing his head off at me here).  But I downloaded them from Eglin's website, just to give you a visual.  Wish they'd had a picture of the planes close to the waves, like we saw!

(Nov. 21 update:  Saw them again this afternoon as I was driving along -- they were right above me and yep, there were five this time, all colorful like the two in the photo below!)

Eglin AFB, Florida is the former home of the 39th Bomb Wing and 4135th Strategic Wing. The Eglin range, managed by the 46th Test Wing, is the largest Air Force base in the free world. Located east of Pensacola, its 724 square miles of land range occupies much of the Northwest Florida panhandle. Its 101,000 square miles of air space extends over the eastern third of the Gulf of Mexico, an area extending from the panhandle to the Florida Keys. Seventeen miles of shoreline allow T&E in both a littoral environment and over a land-water interface.

Funky Florida

I know, I know, my last three posts have been "heavy-duty" and not real "fun". 

So, I've decided that whenever I get the urge to run around warning those I love about things I read, and thus usually effecting the opposite reaction that I'm hoping for (annoyance, fear, whatever...instead of concern and thanks for the heads-up) I'll just plunk them into my blog (oh, you lucky readers, you).  Get the mothering urge out here and move on.

We need something more lighthearted now.

So enjoy these shots of what I call "Funky Florida" --- the places and sites left over from what reminds me of 1950's Florida, whether they are that old or not!  (click photos to enlarge)

I think someone actually lived in this, as there was an ancient yellow jeep parked by it and bags of clothing inside the back door!

Oh yeah.  Baby alligators.  Lots of em.

A rare albino alligator...yep, alive....don't get me started on animal cruelty....actually, if memory serves, and it usually doesn't anymore, I think the curator told me that albinos are attacked and killed in the wild, so they were, in effect, protecting it here...just locked in that tank doesn't seem real humane to me.

Inside Fudpucker's restaurant (which has the alligators).  The beer can collection on the wall spreads all over the restaurant!

Err on the Side of Safety

From Dr. Oz's Website:

The Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

The industry says there’s no connection, but experts are raising the alarm. Here’s how to play it safe. (Added to Articles on Mon 11/16/2009)

We rely on them to connect us to the people we love, to help us stay organized, and, in an emergency, to keep us safe. But more and more experts are saying that cell phones may pose a very serious health risk – increasing your chance of developing a brain tumor.

That means that over 270 million Americans may be playing Russian roulette with their cell phones every day. Each year, more than 21,000 adults and 1,500 children are diagnosed with brain tumors, and researchers believe some of them may have been caused by talking on a mobile phone.

A new study examined a decade’s worth of research and concluded that people who use cell phones for more than 10 years are up to 30% more likely to develop brain tumors than people who rarely use them.

What Cell Phones Do

Every time we call to say we’re late for a meeting or to ask if we can pick something up at the store, the cell phones we use are emitting radiofrequency radiation. While not as damaging as the radiation from X-rays, it can still affect our DNA. In fact, animal studies have shown that the radiation from cell phones can change the cells inside their brain. Whether those changes will cause serious damage is still up for debate. But because cell phone use is a relatively recent phenomenon, and brain cancer can take many years to develop, some scientists warn we will not see the results until it is too late.

What the New Research Found

A group of researchers from South Korea and California analyzed 23 studies that looked at the association between tumors and mobile phone use. As a group, the studies did not show an increased risk, but when the researchers focused on the higher quality studies and the longer-term use studies, they discovered about a 30 percent increased risk of tumors.

Who is Most at Risk

Children’s brains are thinner and contain more fluid than adult brains, which means they can more readily absorb electricity. Mathematical models show that when children hold a mobile phone up to their ears, the brain surface they expose to radiation is more than double that of adults. Some countries, including Finland and Israel, have already issued warnings that children not use cell phones, and Maine recently passed an emergency bill mandating warning labels about children and cell phones.

5 Steps to Staying Safe

1.Put it on speaker. Because your exposure drops exponentially as you move the phone away from your head, you don’t have to keep the phone very far away to reduce your exposure by 1,000 to 10,000 times.

2.Go wired. In crowded, noisy areas, use a wired headset instead. If you must use a wireless headset, turn it off when you’re not using it.

3.Store it. Unless you’re on it, stow the phone in your purse or bag. If you keep it on your waist, keep it turned off. Studies have shown that keeping a cell phone in your pocket can decrease sperm count.

4.Save it for a strong signal. When reception is bad (such as in a rural areas or when you’re driving) use your phone for emergencies only. The weaker the signal, the more the radio frequency has to boost itself to get connected, increasing your exposure.

5.Protect the kids. Do not let children use cell phones next to their heads. For older kids, it shouldn’t take much encouragement to get them to text more than they chat.

BB Epidemic

Beating the Bed Bug Epidemic

(This article is featured on Dr. Oz's website, the subject of one of his TV shows.  I've been reading about this for several years now and am glad someone influential like him has addressed the issue.  Everyone needs to beware of bed bugs -- reading this can inform and arm you!)

Bed bugs are back and could be coming to a bedroom near you. Here’s how to show them the door. 

Remember when “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” was just a cute bedtime expression that didn’t mean anything? Well, those days are over. After 6 decades of living largely bed bug-free, the US is facing a national infestation. In fact, the incidence of bed bug infestation has risen 500% in the last few years alone, and they’re not just in dirty hotels.

Outbreaks of these teeny, blood-sucking critters have been reported in every kind of neighborhood in every state across the country, and that means you’re at risk right now. Here’s what you need to know to truly sleep tight at night.

Things That Go Bite In The Night
Bed bugs are insects that rely on the blood of humans or animals to survive. As babies, they are tiny as pinheads. A full-grown adult that’s been making a nightly meal of you can balloon to the size of Lincoln’s head on the penny. These little parasites are nocturnal and hate light, so they wait until the dark to creep out for their meals, which is why it can take so long to discover you’ve been sharing your home with them.

Making A Meal Out Of You
Bed bugs hunt for a bare patch of skin and then hunker down to fill up before dawn. Someone who has a serious infestation could be bitten as many as 500 times per night. More often, you might see several bites clustered in one spot. Doctors call this “breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” because the bugs are cramming all their meals into a short span of time.

You will likely call it a very itchy rash, because the saliva of bed bugs causes an allergic reaction in many people. Though some people have no response, others can develop asthma, or in very rare cases, life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

Going On A Bed Bug Hunt
Bed bugs hide in dark spots where they’re unlikely to be disturbed. When you hunt for them, you may not see live bugs, so keep an eye out for their calling cards: rust-colored spots (that used to be your blood), eggs (pearly white and 1 millimeter long) and molted skins. Here’s where to look:

The boxspring: Lift it up and look underneath and along the seams. In some cases, professionals will slice open the cloth to look inside, because the bugs love the wood frame.

Nearby furniture: Inspect sofas, the undersides of bureau drawers, behind the headboard, and the backs and undersides of nightstands. Pay special attention to cracks, crevices, and seams.

On the wall: Peek under picture frames, wall hangings, peeling wallpaper or chipped paint.

Stay Calm And Get Help
If you find evidence of bed bugs, call a professional right away. Do not panic and toss your belongings in the street. Moving an infested mattress will just spread the infestation both to other parts of your house and to your neighbors. Bug bombs do not help, and, in some cases, make it much worse, dispersing live bugs to where they cannot be found.

Tossing Out The Welcome Mat
Even if you don’t have a rash or find bed bugs after reading this, there are several important steps you can take to make sure you don’t join the icky statistics.

Lock ‘em out: Buy a mattress encasement designed and tested for bed bugs. There’s no way these suckers can get into (or out of) an approved encasement. So, even if bed bugs are introduced to your home, they won’t be able to settle in and will be much easier to spot. Wash your linens weekly (in water at least 120 degrees.)

Trap ‘em: Bed bug interceptors are small plastic dishes that go under bed legs. The bugs can climb up them, but then they slide down into them and become trapped and easy to spot.

Don’t invite them home: As tempting as that comfy armchair at the yard sale may be, don’t buy it. Used furniture such as beds, sofas, and chairs can harbor hidden bugs and bring them right into your home. Keep clutter around your bed to a minimum and never store anything under the bed.

Don’t pick up hitchhikers: Hotels are one of the prime spots for bed bugs to branch out into new territory. Without even knowing it, you may be bringing home a little stowaway who can wreak havoc in your home. First inspect your hotel room as you did your home. Next, keep luggage on racks as far from the bed and sofas as possible. When you get home, wash anything that can be laundered in a hot wash of at least 120 degrees. Or dry on high heat. For items that cannot be exposed to high temperatures, seal them in plastic bags for travel. As for the luggage itself, there are PackTight portable units you can purchase that plug into the wall and heat your suitcase to destroy bugs and eggs or use a luggage spray specifically designed to kill bed bugs.