Monthly Archives: July 2009

Dog Pack Attacks Alligator

Over the past century man has invaded the alligator’s domain here in south Florida. Gators regularly gobble up dogs at a pond’s edge as they are being walked by blue-haired old ladies. But in a recent newsworthy story a pack of dogs extracted their revenge:

Dog Pack Attacks Gator In Florida

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the “apex predator”, can still fall victim to implemented ‘team work’ strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and “survival of the pack mentality” bred into the canines.

See the remarkable photograph below courtesy of Nature Magazine.

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the soft underbelly of the gator.

This is not for the squeemish


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Old Is Made New Again

The original

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A New Playing For Change Video

I love it when a new Playing for Change video hits YouTube.

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Up Shit Creek?


Shit Creek

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First Boat

I’m sure all bloggers get a cheap thrill when a reader leaves a comment on a post. I have several readers who comment regularly and I’m hoping this post will draw others to join as well. Like a first love I’m sure the readers remember their first boat. Here’s a reminiscence of mine and I’m hoping you’ll share yours with everyone who comes here.

I was about seven years old when my dad built a small 8 foot pram. We lived in Watertown, just outside of Boston but spent our summers at Nickerson State Park in Brewster down on Cape Cod. Back then, the late 1940s and early ’50s, you could reserve your favorite spot and stay in it for the entire summer. For me it was wonderful. I went to five different schools in the first seven years so I was always the new kid but down at the park it was the same people in the same place summer after summer. Next to us going up a small hill were the Bolducs then the Larrabees and across the dirt road from them were the Taylors whose son Tony was an hour older than I was. Going down the hill were the Cullums, the Brenners and the Morrises and on the other side of the road was my Uncle Bill and Aunt Stephanie and their daughters Helen and Lois. My Uncle Ed and Aunt Cleora were around the pond from us with their kids Eddie, Bruce and Audrey.

My mom and dad had a restaurant and catering service outside of Boston which they closed down every summer and they would be waiting for me the last day of school. My mom would be in our Ford Woodie (wouldn’t you like to have one of THOSE now?) and my dad would be in the Chevy panel truck with the pram on the roof and a small aluminum trailer behind…

Trailer @ Nickerson

My brothers and I slept in a tent nearby. My dad had a small restaurant at the beach in Orleans, the next town down Route 6 from the State Park.

The pram would spend the summer in the water of Flax Pond tied to a tree only a few feet from where I slept. The videos that follow were taken on a memory trip I made to the old campsite a couple of years ago. This one was taken from where my tent was located and shows just how close I was to the water.

Tony Taylor, Franny Cullum and I spent most of our days on the water. I used to have one picture of the old pram but it got lost somewhere down through the years long ago.

The boat was often pushed around by a small, cranky, Sears & Roebuck outboard but most usually we rowed it. My mother loved to fish and the two of us spent many evenings motoring the mile across Flax Pond to a deep fishing hole where we would catch hornpout (catfish) which we would fry up the next morning for breakfast accompanied by pancakes loaded with blueberries we picked from bushes along the shore. I will never forget the evening my mom and I went to our “spot” to catch the next morning’s batch of fish.

The huge boulder that had been laid down by some ancient, long-forgotten glacier was an easy landmark even in the dark.

The fishing was good and suddenly my mother got a hard strike. Flax Pond had a good mixture of hornpout, perch, trout and as my mother battled with this fish she excitedly proclaimed, “I think I’ve got a bass on!” The fish was putting up a good fight and then the head broke the surface next to the boat. And it kept coming, and coming, and coming. It was an eel about three foot long. My mom hated snakes and she wasn’t about to let a fish that resembled a snake into a boat she was in. She grabbed the starter rope, wrapped it around the flywheel and with a single pull the engine roared to life on the first pull in its one and only time of its life and we dragged that poor eel all the way back to the campsite on the other side of the pond drowning it in the process.

At the end of the summer all of us kids, ages between 8 and 11 years old would swim across the pond with my mother rowing as an escort vessel. We’d start off from the beach at the foot of the Morris’s campsite and end up by my mom’s favorite fishing hole on the other side. You can just make out the boulder in this video.

The the Park experience was dominated by kids my own age and mothers. The fathers were generally gone throughout the work week only showing up for the weekends and a two-week stretch sometime during the summer on their vacation time. Everyone stayed until the day after Labor Day when tents would be struck and everyone returned to their humdrum lives in the cities.

When I was 12 we moved full time to Orleans. Our days at the Park were over. By then campers wre only allowed you to stay a maximum of one month and no reservations. A couple of years later maximum terms were cut to two weeks maximum. At twelve I started to work at the restaurant and I never entered the pram again. I remember that when I was around 15 the chines had rotted out and I made a half-hearted and unsucsessful attempt at replacing them and the poor boat died an ignoble death as landfill in the town dump.

I welcome any reader to let us know about their first boat.

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Schemers & Scammers

If you have been reading this blog you know I’ve been trying to sell my Boston Whaler Revenge…

Whaler Bow

I’ve had it on Craigslist over and over again. It’s amazing how fast, especially here in south Florida, the ad sinks to the bottom of the pile after posting as others flood in to take its place. I have had dozens of calls from people who say they are interested and want to see it and then never show up. Dozens. Two this last weekend alone.

Recently I put it up for sale on eBay. It was looked at 827 times according to their counter. I got one low-ball bid. Thankfully I put a reserve price on it so that 1) if I didn’t get a reasonable price I wouldn’t have to give the boat away and 2) if the reserve price wasn’t met I wouldn’t have to pay for the ad other than the cost of photos and highlighting the ad.

There are all kinds of schemers and scammers out there, too. I had one guy,, who sent me several emails.

On the 18th of this month I got this email…

Hi there, i need to buy this  as soon as possible, please get back so i can know if it is still available for sale.
Best Regards,
Mr John.

I told him the boat was for sale on eBay and if it didn’t sell there he was welcome to buy it if the price was right.

The auction ended without a sale and this morning I got the following…

Hi Back, thanks for the swift response. I am actually buying this for myself and will want the shipment handled by my shipping agent but no worries as i am going to be responsible for the shipping bills. The boat is going to be picked up by my agent after i have made the full payment via commonwealth bank payment method.. All i will need is your full name and your full bank details so that i can remit the funds into your account as soon as you email me your agreement to this process. I will need more pictures of the item in your next mail as i wont be able to come and check out the product. I reside in china but i get fascinated by products from abroad and hope we have a deal. Once again, your fast response will be greatly appreciated so that we can complete the transaction sooner.
Best Regards,
Mr John Blazer.

Sure thing, John. Why don’t you hold your breath while waiting for me to send you my bank information. I replied and told him that when his shipping agent showed up with 95 hundred dollar bills he could then ship the boat to China.

John is not anything, if not persistant and sent this…

Hi Back,I understand your concern regarding this kind of situation and i can as well pay you via paypal…hope that is also safer for you but you have to understand that i am also trying to protect myself as i will be sending a huge amount of money and i dont want anything to happen..Let me know if you accept paypal payment and you can send me the total amount for the boat and also get back  i can send it to my shipper for the charges.

I don’t know if you realize that Paypal is often used by rip-off artists. These people will use all kinds of methods to try and scam you out of your money and/or possessions. Not long ago my friend, Stefan, went through a game with someone trying to buy a car from him. Stef thought it was a scam and played along to an extent. The scammer even sent a check drawn on a church’s Wachovia (now Chase) account. When he went to the bank to check fund availability he found that the account had been closed for several years after several checks had been stolen and this was one of them. The scammer wrote the check for $5,000 more than the sale price and asked that Stefan deposit the check and then turn over the five grand to his shipping agent.

I don’t have the time or the inclination to play along with this idiot and his scam. I’ll keep posting the boat and eventually it will sell.


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Cool Boat Elevator

I’m giving Dylan Winter the day off because I found what has to be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

It’s called the Falkirk Wheel. It’s a rotating boat lift that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The difference in height between the two canals is 79 feet. Originally the two canals were connected with a series of 11 locks but by the 1930s these had fallen into disuse, were filled in and the land built upon.

The Millenium Commission  decided to regenerate the canals of central Scotland to connect Glasgow with Edinburgh once more. Designs were submitted for a lock to link the canals, with the Falkirk Wheel design winning. As with many Millennium Commission projects the site includes a visitors’ centre containing a shop, café and exhibition center.

Architectural services were supplied by Scotland-based RMJM from initial designs by Nicoll Russell Studios and engineers Binnie Black and Veatch.

The wheel, which has an overall diameter of 35 metres (110 ft), consists of two opposing arms which extend 15 metres beyond the central axle, and which take the shape of a Celtic-inspired, double-headed axe.Two sets of these axe-shaped arms are attached about 25 metres (82 ft) apart to a 3.5 metres (11 ft) diameter axle. Two diametrically-opposed water-filled caissons, each with a capacity of 80,000 imperial gallons (360,000 l; 96,000 US gal), are fitted between the ends of the arms.

These caissons always weigh the same whether or not they are carrying their combined capacity of 600 tonnes (590 LT; 660 ST) of floating canal barges as, according to Archimedes’s principle, floating objects displace their own weight in water, so when the boat enters, the amount of water leaving the caisson weighs exactly the same as the boat. This keeps the wheel balanced and so, despite its enormous mass, it rotates through 180° in five and a half minutes while using very little power. It takes just 22.5 kilowatts (30.2 hp) to power the electric motors, which consume just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (5.4 MJ) of energy in four minutes, roughly the same as boiling eight kettles of water.

The wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and is regarded as an engineering landmark for Scotland. The United Kingdom has one other boat lift: the Anderton boat-lift in Cheshire. The Falkirk Wheel is an improvement on the Anderton boat lift and makes use of the same original principle: two balanced tanks, one going up and the other going down, however, the rotational mechanism is entirely unique to the Falkirk Wheel.



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Playing For Change

If you’ve been following this blog then you are familiar with Playing for Change and its videos. The originators of the Playing for Change movement gathered many of the musicians and they went on tour. This video features Grandpa Elliot from New Orleans and Clarence Bekker from the Netherlands who were such standouts in the Stand by Me video. Unfortunately Roger Ridley, who opened that video passed on in 2005.

This video was shot live in New Orleans. The group will be performing at my favorite music venue, Tipitina’s on July 18th. You’ll have to watch clips of the show when they’re released because, as you can imagine, tickets were sold out minutes after they were put on sale.

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Enjoy Your Boat

The important thing is to get out on the water and enjoy your boat.

from decent community blogfat-guy

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More Dylan Winter

I’ve moved up on Dylan’s journey around England in his 19′ boat because I didn’t find the posts too interesting since they didn’t show other boats. This one does.

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