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:

I think St. Pete, Florida would be a good place for an Artomatic. I just read about ARTpool in today’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune and it sounds to me like these folks would make good artomatic organizers :-)

At the tender age of 23, Marina Williams is already a successful landlord. Her available rental properties do not come with utilities, however. Nor are they fully furnished.

Rather, for the last four months, the St. Petersburg native has been renting wall space to a spate of local artists. Her tenants now number 20.

“I know a lot of other galleries probably think we’re nuts,” she says with a laugh. “But that’s OK.”

The wall-space parcels are housed in her new warehouse gallery called ARTpool on First Avenue North in St. Petersburg. The venue’s unique rental system is something she says she came up with “to form an organic and evolving cooperative” of artists.

At monthly rates ranging from $50 for a 4×4-foot space high off the floor to $150 for 4×6 at eye level, the new art space grants artists the autonomy to decide for themselves what they want to display.

[read the whole article]

I don’t have time to check it out this trip, maybe next time…

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.

As climate change warms the nation, giant Burmese pythons could colonize one-third of the USA, from San Francisco across the Southwest, Texas and the South and up north along the Virginia coast, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps released Wednesday.

The pythons can be 20 feet long and 250 pounds. They are highly adaptable to new environments.

A past NaNoWriMo novel I’ve been editing and doing further research for is about the trade in exotic reptiles, so this isn’t exactly news to me. It was the alarming Disaster Movie of the Week tone of the article that made it a must-post.

And make no mistake, I find it highly alarming.

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.