Saturday, February 28, 2015


We had just finished logging an Earth Geo-Cache at the Grassy Waters Preserve near West Palm Beach, FL--my 3,000th cache log--when this young alligator frolicked by our boardwalk vantage point.  I liked to think it was joining our genteel celebration.

The 23.5 square mile preserve itself is celebrated for being a pristine remnant of the once great Everglades ecosystem and serves as the fresh water supply for the city of West Palm Beach and associated municipalities.

Earth Caches are my favorite part of this marvelous activity called Geocaching.  Regular caches are some sort of hidden container which includes a log to be signed.  The latitude/longitude of the cache is posted on the internet and we use hand-held GPS receivers and/or smartphone apps to find these often elusive rascals.  The signed log proves the success of our search.

Earth Caches are mostly prominent geological sites around the World and we find their parking area or trailheads with similarly posted coordinates.  In place of signing a log we usually must answer questions from information found only at the site to satisfy the cache producer of our actual visit.

Our direct reward is a little smiley posted in our personal, on-line caching history, but the far greater reward is enjoying the successful search for cache containers hidden around the globe in places we likely would never otherwise visit.  Earth Caches done seriously and with a touch of scholarship are a learning experience far in advance of the more usual human pursuit of staring at a TV.

By the way, there are more than 2.5 million active geocaches around the world including likely an astonishing number in your home area.

Another reward is like the thrill of seeing a wild, live alligator without it's being restrained behind a steel fence at your local zoo.

Did you notice the fish sneaking behind the cavorting gator?

For the scholars in the crowd we estimated this young Crocodylia/Alligatoridae/Alligator mississippiensis to be about 3 feet long. You certainly are well advised to give these creatures a respectfully wide distance.  An adult can grow to more than a ton in weight, have from 74 to 80 teeth, and their bite can crack a turtle's shell.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

At the McKee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, FL

We are lucky, indeed, playing with Lego bricks as a child continued into the present day for Sean Kenney who is now one of only 14 LEGO, Certified Professional artists in the US.

"As an adult with a desk job, Kenney would come home, loosen his tie and play with his LEGO bricks.  One day, he literally hung up his tie, left the office and devoted his life to merging his interest in the visual arts with his love of LEGO toys," the exhibition brochure explains.

The humming bird and flower above were created by hand-gluing 31,565 pieces over an internal structure of steel rods and plates which provide support for the large works.  This piece is 64" x 32" by 77".

Surrounding the support structure, each sculpture is constructed entirely from LEGO bricks.  For this exhibit Kenney and his team used  four gallons of glue.  The rose contains more than 41,000 pieces and is 30" x 30" x 82" tall on its green stem.

The American Bumblebee contains 16,300 plus pieces and "flies" in the exhibit area while suspended on a stout, wire cable.  In addition to glue an organic welding agent is used to connect the components, like wings, legs, etc.  The agent liquefies the joining surfaces allowing them to bond and solidify changing the pieces into one continuous solid.

Kenney uses only the basic, rectangular and flat LEGO bricks for the sculptures and only in readily available colors.  With few exceptions there are no special colors or shapes.  He often works with architecture and drafting software in his artistic process.

The lawn mower is made with 13,700+ pieces while Mother bison (below) contains 45,143 pieces while her calf has but 16,229.  Momma is just over 4 feet tall at her shoulders.

For those of you in the area, the exhibit will continue through April 12, 2015.  For those of you in the more polar latitudes--sorry!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The giant lily pads (above) are not real at all.  They are made of LEGO bricks, those marvelous toys kids love to play with to this day.  Turns out one of those "kids" of yesteryear converted his childhood passion into his artistic career.  He and 13 other folks are "Certified Professionals,"  not LEGO employees but are recognized by the LEGO Group as trusted business partners.

New York artist Sean Kenney is one of them and is the only independent artist in the world that has produced steel reinforced, fully glued outdoor-grade LEGO installations, like the ongoing display at the McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach, FL.

The exquisite craftsmanship is clearly visible (right) in the base of a table lamp constructed of the blocks and available for sale in the garden's gift shop.  $800+.

Tune in tomorrow and enjoy the rest of this story.

Friday, February 6, 2015


With NBC's Brian Williams evidently avoiding censure, or, more appropriately termination, for his recent example of serious disrespect for truth in journalism, it also is evident his employers suffer the same, extraordinary lack of character.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Tricks

All these years and I had never heard of this one:

Drink a tablespoon or two full of pickle juice and it will make your muscle cramps go away.

Evidently it doesn't matter if it is dill or sweet, Gerkins or Bread and Butter; just pickles!

We were playing Euchre with friends Bill and Darlene Gilliam one recent evening and I developed a painful, lower leg cramp.

When I shot to my feet and began to exercise the cramp away, Darlene thoughtfully inquired, "Cramp?

"Yes." I squawked as the pain hammered its course.

She headed for the refrigerator and came back with a jar of pickles.

Sure enough, just as I sat down and started to massage my painful leg, a new spasm nailed me.

She promptly poured me a tablespoon full of juice and I slurped it down, thankful it wasn't the dill variety.

Amazingly I enjoyed near instant relief--and continued our spirited game the rest of the evening free of further attacks.

Later, in one study I found, experts said it was not hydration or electrolyte infusion that caused the near miracle of pain elimination.  That left the likelihood the juice was acting on the nervous system as the pathway to relief.

Naturally, I now keep a jar of pickles handy in my local refrigerator.