This is very sweet, “Dogs make good listeners for Fort Pierce readers.” Kids get to practice their reading skills by reading to therapy dogs.

“What I like about the program,” said 8-year-old Kayleigh Kenslea of Port St. Lucie, “is that I can read to a sweet dog named Chance without being judged.”

According to event coordinator Dot Blair, the county’s literacy promoting program has 27 certified dogs and about 2,000 children participating.

Link courtesy of fark, where, unfortunately, I also ran across a less-heartwarming story about children and reading – a link to this (glitchy) CNN story about a study showing that only 12% of DC school children in the 8th grade are reading at grade proficiency. Even fewer are grade-proficient in math.

97 year old Captain Ralph Styles (USN, retired) presides over two flag ceremonies a day in front of his house on Beach Road on Siesta Key. Local Coffee and Tea has a short article on their website declaring Styles a “Local Treasure,” and noting that the ceremonies have been taking place for about 12 – 15 years. I’d swear they started before I moved away, but I must just remember them from visits home later on.

The evening ceremony takes place minutes after the sun sets, and since his house is located on the point, on possibly one of the nicest spots to watch the sun set, he always has an abundant supply of participants and onlookers. Some days, there are costumes.

Thanks to the magic of youtube, I can post someone else’s video, since I was too lazy to shoot one of my own. I’m sad this one doesn’t include a live drummer, but that’s okay:

I really should have shot one of the morning flag-raising ceremonies, which are just as nice but aren’t well attended because they’re, well, early.

If you’re interested, here’s Captain Styles describing his military experience at Pearl Harbor:

Today’s New York Times article about Broad Bradstock’s retirement from javelin-throwing contained information about his February mullet toss across the Florida/Alabama State line:

In February, Bradstock said, he threw a wet fish across the state line separating Florida from Alabama. The distance was 196 feet 9 inches.

“A very official world master’s record for a mullet,” Bradstock said.

I had to look up more about this historic event because enquiring minds wanted to know. (Actually, it’s because the Simpson’s Movie is boring me to tears, but whatever).

Bradstock made his history-making throw at the Floribama, which turns out to also be the site of the annual Interstate Mullet Toss. Bradstock’s mullet toss was a solo effort, the actual competition is held each year during the last full weekend in April:

WHY TOSS A MULLET?
A contribution for each fish flung will go to
Local Youth Charities.

Each year, with your help, we raise and contribute over
$20,000 to our local charities, especially youth organizations.

WHEN DOES THE ACTUAL TOSSING OF THE MULLET BEGIN?
10:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday

Celebrity Tossers at High Noon Saturday

ARE THE MULLET ALIVE?
No

WHAT IS THE RECORD FOR TOSSING A MULLET?
The record is held by Josh Serotum, who in 2004 tossed the mullet 189’8″ in his preliminary toss and 174′ 3″ in his final toss.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MULLET AFTER THE MULLET TOSS?
We feed them to the birds.

HOW MANY PEOPLE USUALLY COME TO THE MULLET TOSS?
Several Thousand

If you’d like to see Bradstock’s monumental mullet toss, YouTube is here to help:

Now you know.

I actually wrote the previous post a few days ago. Since then, thankfully, I have burned out on yellow [tag]Conversation Hearts[/tag]. Suzanne is right, the regular yellow [tag]Necco[/tag] wafers? Not the same. Only the yellow Hearts have the faux-banana flavor that I found so very appealing.

Necco crisis averted, I direct you to [tag]Jungle Pete[/tag]’s “Munkey’s in Dipr” art gallery. I find the art gallery doubly amusing, since the art is done by Frank’s daughter.

Frank is not JunglePete’s imaginary friend, he’s someone we went to school with. [tag]Frank[/tag] is a troublemaker. Frank convinced me, in the 7th grade, that physics was very cool. Look where that has gotten me.

For your last fun fact of the day (this will be on the final) long ago in a galaxy far away, Frank and I danced our first slow dance together.

I was wondering what this post had to do with cults, then I realized that our elementary/middle/high school had a lot of cult-like qualities. But that’s a post for another day…

Merry Christmas!

We’d be happier if Brother wasn’t spending another Christmas in Iraq, but, on the other hand, more cookies for us.*

I’ve been knitting things for Husband and we’ve watched many episodes of the Addams Family.

Tomorrow is Gatorland, because you know we love Gatorland. And if you don’t, you’ve failed the quiz. Again.

I had some funny Christmas pics to post but I can’t seem to upload files today and I’ve now given up. Maybe tomorrow…

*I’m kidding.

I brought one of my favorite [tag]Carl Hiaasen[/tag] novels, Stormy Weather, to reread on the plane. Maybe that was a mistake. Within hours of arriving in [tag]Lake County[/tag] it was raining like the end of the world. Then the terrifying lightening began (and I am a native [tag]Floridian[/tag], if I say lightening was terrifying, it was terrifying). Then the weather alert radio went off and we got reports of funnel clouds on the ground just miles from here in [tag]Eustis[/tag]. Poor Eustis. [tag]Tornados[/tag] are no good.

It was an interesting night, to say the least, but no damage to Mom’s neighborhood. Mom went into [tag]Red Cross[/tag] Mode today and I will no doubt join her tomorrow.

It’s of course a beautiful sunny day now with blue skies, but more bad weather is rolling in tonight. Mom and I were going to go to St. Augustine but those plans have changed.

I stand corrected: I didn’t bring Stormy Weather to read, I brought [tag]Sara Paratsky[/tag]’s [tag]V.I. Warshawski[/tag] novel, Blacklist. So I don’t feel like I brought a harbinger, unless there’s some sort of wacky old Chicago money-type family monkey business going on around here that can only be solved by a tough P.I. with a heart of gold and a love of hockey.