Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Few Old Pictures

Life is a cigar
It's really oxygenic
Life is a cheap cigar
Take three puffs, and it's go(o-o-o)ne--
Bourgeois folk song

I haven't put any pictures up in some time. I suppose some things must have changed. Here are a few from my trip to Florida in February that I never got around to putting up elsewhere. There were 555 photos, out of which I have chosen the first six which came up in a number game and that I thought were halfway decent. 

Five of the six children--there's always one missing--hanging out in the very Floridian bedroom.Well, on balance I guess most of them should have enough advantages to have a chance at doing well and actually taking an active part in the life of their times, even if the participatory/productive/contributing segment of the population for all real intents and purposes continues to shrink. What else is there to worry about? I don't really see them becoming heroin addicts or career criminals. The lack of drive to compete and work ferociously and earn hard achievements seems the more likely downfall, as these are not second nature to me and seem to have been my undoing as a person, and they are such crucial qualities to have in today's world, at least if you want to associate with intelligent people. But maybe the mood afoot in the world will change and swing back to something more congenial to people of our general temperament.

The beach at Siesta Key, with its famous white sand. Four year old daughter with shell collection. Lots of lotion applied.

The patio at the Florida house. My daughter is not giving her most smiling face, though it is a not uncharacteristic pose.

All six children pose in the train at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, an older-style Florida attraction that we go to every time we are there instead of going to Disney World. It is probably a little overpriced itself, but it has sentimental value. I was touched that my nine year old still loved the train, as we did not go to Florida last year. Jungle Gardens is a large outdoor zoo with Florida animals, a reptile house, flamingos, alligators, giant tortoises. Back when we first started going about ten years ago the animal lover crowd seemed to consider the place disgusting and to have complaints against it--the 1997 Lonely Planet Florida Guide describes it as "so cheesy, so cyncial and so reprehensible that it could have been a tourist trap out of a Carl Hiassen novel...We got so angry at the conditions here and the 'who-cares' attitude we experienced from recalcitrant and disinterested staff that we stormed out after seeing the 'Butterflies of the World' collection. Some butterflies had ripped or missing wings and there were some pins stuck in the wall impaling the shattered tatters of remains of butterflies that had obviously been yanked off in a hurry. As we stormed out, we saw two miserable black leopards who were retching, had patches of fur missing and were pacing nervously in their caves..." This is how the hip, educated, worldly, sexually aware, etc people of my generation whom I have always kind of idolized experienced it. However I think new ownership took over shortly after this low point and the animal rights people have directed their discontent elsewhere for the time being. Neither the Butterflies of the World exhibit or the leopards are there anymore. We saw a bird show. I was not aware that parrots can live to be 80 or more years of age. There was a performing parrot in this show that had met Elvis and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. I was impressed by that.

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, obviously. It's a very generic picture, I know. It is my particular sunset, however.

As we usually do on the way home, we stopped in for an hour or so in Annapolis, wandered around the old school, ate something, went to the bathroom, etc. This is on the elevated running track in the college gym. At this point we had been on the road straight through from Florida. We had booked a hotel (two rooms now, of course) off the highway in South Carolina but when we got there after midnight they had given our room away. According to the person at the desk when we did not arrive by 6pm our reservation was cancelled and they had given our rooms to someone else. This was baloney for several reasons, one being that this is the kind of hotel that no one arrives at before 6 o'clock, because it only exists as a place for people to stay at who are making the long drive on Interstate 95. It is not near anything else of note. Another reason is that we had stayed at the same place on the way down a week earlier and had arrived at about the same time to find both of the rooms held and waiting for us. So we kept on driving straight through to Philadelphia. I was disappointed, because I love staying in hotels, or the idea of doing so, even cheap ones in the middle of nowhere if they are reasonably clean and safe, and even to some extent with children, and I rarely get to have even this modest thrill, so I felt as if something had been taken away from me. By the time we got back to Maryland, which is in many ways like re-entering our real home country after having gone out of it for a while, I was largely over this.