Water Walker

For the first time, I ran into an invasive/exotic Basilisk Lizard in our backyard. |

“The common basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) is a species of lizard in the family Corytophanidae. The species is endemic to Central America and South America, where it is found near rivers and streams in rainforests. It is also known as the Jesus Christ lizard, Jesus lizard, South American Jesus lizard, or lagarto de Jesus Cristo for its ability to run on the surface of water.” -Wikipedia

Madam Secretary

Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

On December 17, 2020, President Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 15, 2021, by a vote of 51–40. Following her swearing-in on March 16, 2021, she became the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary and the second to serve in the Cabinet. –From Wikipedia

Mutual Admiration Society

Brian Wilson on The Beatles:

“Rubber Soul is probably the greatest record ever. It wasn’t just the lyrics and the melodies but the production and their harmonies.”

Paul McCartney on Brian Wilson:

“God Only Knows’ is one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it. It’s really just a love song, but it’s brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian.”

Local Hero

M. Athalie Range

I grew up in Miami when the struggle for civil rights was first cresting in the 1960s and 1970s. One name became quite well known as a relentless local champion for equity: M. Athalie Range.

Ms. Range was a Bahamian American civil rights activist and politician who was the first African-American to serve on the Miami City Commission. Later, Governor Reubin Askew selected her to be the first African-American since Reconstruction and the first woman to head a Florida state agency, the Department of Community Affairs. She also served as a federal official during the Carter administration.

“While on the [City of Miami] commission, Range sought to have garbage collection improved in black neighborhoods, which sometimes went three weeks between garbage pickups, while white neighborhoods got twice a week pickups. After a vote on her proposed ordinance to equalize garbage service was twice postponed, Range had her neighbors bring bags of garbage to the commission meeting and dump them on the commissioners’ desks. After that, the ordinance was passed.” -from Wikipedia.

Back to School

“In Desi Arnaz’s autobiography, A Book, he never mentions Miami High. […] School records show that Desiderio Arnaz entered Miami High School on October 2, 1934 and withdrew on January 24, 1935. […] That he did not mention his enrollment in the school in his autobiography would indicate that whatever little time he spent there was not satisfying. ‘He was teased a lot,’ recalled Lamar Louise Curry, who remembered him in her social studies class; she couldn’t recall why.”

The Stingaree Century: A 100-year History of Miami High School
-Howard Kleinberg

Probably his accent and permanent suntan had something to do with that. I drew him at the front door of his brief alma mater, having the last laugh (with a Latin beat).

Water’s Edge

Almost every Sunday morning, we ride our bicycles to Deering Point. It is a public park in southern Miami-Dade County that was originally part of the estate of Charles Deering. Long before Deering’s arrival, Paleo-Indians lived on the lands 10,000 years ago, followed by the Tequesta and Seminole people. The spot in this drawing, framed by mangroves at the water’s edge, makes me think of the people who lived here long ago.

John Philip Sousa

In honor of the 4th of July, here is a tip of the hat to Luso/Hispanic author of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (National March of the United States of America).”

“John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., the third of ten children of João António de Sousa (John Anthony Sousa) (22 September 1824 – 27 April 1892) who was of Portuguese and Spanish ancestry, and his wife Maria Elisabeth Trinkaus (20 May 1826 – 25 August 1908) who was of Hessian ancestry.”

Read more about Sousa here.


Speaking for the Trees …

Under our feet, in the soil traversed by tree roots and fungal networks, an ancient and mysterious conversation is taking place. We are at the very beginning of understanding the nature of the languages used in this conversation. Perhaps it is not their complexity which eludes us, but their simplicity and directness. Like the conversations of trees, human discourse is also electro-chemical in nature, sparked by reactions in the bodies of participants. But human conversations must go through the additional step of translation into spoken or written language, whereas tree conversations are directly chemical-to-chemical. Does this make us more advanced, or simply more complicated?

Tree roots above the ground at Felsenmeer in Lautertal, Odenwald, Germany; part of "Felsberg bei Reichenbach" nature reserve.  Denis Zastanceanu. CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0).

Tree roots above the ground at Felsenmeer in Lautertal, Odenwald, Germany; part of “Felsberg bei Reichenbach” nature reserve. Denis Zastanceanu. CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0).


Do Trees Talk to Each Other? https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-whispering-trees-180968084/

Latter Day Victory Gardens

During WWII, the U.S. government appealed to the American people to take personal action as a way of aiding the war effort. One such initiative involved the creation of “Victory Gardens,” small family vegetable plots which aimed to provide some part of a household’s food supply, and thereby make more output from the larger food production system available to the troops.

Now imagine what modern victory gardens would be like. These could be aimed at reducing pressure on the food production system, which periodically shows strains in the form of e coli scares, mass recalls, and the like. Moreover, as factory farming and food production pumps as much and perhaps even more carbon into the atmosphere as the transportation system, a massive retooling involving low-impact family plot could have a significant impact on climate change. When would we declare “victory?” When we managed to reverse the flow of carbon, and redirect it into the earth around us and our food supply.

American WWII-era poster promoting victory gardens. Artwork in the public domain.