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Saturday, March 30, 2013



     I yelled, "Hello!" to our new neighbor through the backyard fence.  She and her husband had just bought the long-empty McMansion behind us.  The young woman, standing by her pool thirty-feet way, said hello as well. 
    She  added that she dare not come closer because there were so many lizards in the grass.  In Coconut Grove they are as common as snowflakes in Alaska.
    After some small talk she asked if I could recommend a burglar alarm company.  I told her, "No", our security was provided by our dog, Pi.  
    When she asked for my yardman I told her it was me.   
   Her final question, "Are you happy with your pool man?"  I had to confess, unlike the four houses surrounding us, we had no pool man or a pool. 
    She failed to ask for our fumigator (who is Francesca).  Apparently our new neighbor has yet to meet our abundant cockroach population.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Our friend, Helene, responded to my recent Everglades story with this...

Many years ago my brother  was a Ranger in Everglades
National Park.  He told us about a ranger friend of his who had been "working" the Anhinga Trail.  One day he was approached by a very vocal and upset lady who cried, "Your alligator just ate my dog.  Do something!".
 He calmly took out his notebook, wrote down the details and replied:
"Madame, I'm am going to have to give you a ticket. It is a major violation to feed the alligators."

Friday, March 22, 2013


   Everyone loves to whoop it up in the woods.  Trouble is, forests are few in South Florida.  We do have The Great Swamp southwest of us so last Saturday,  25 of us went camping in Everglades National Park.  
   We pitched our tents on high ground called Long Pine Key. 



  Afterwards we saw the sun set on a nearby prairie 

We shared stories, food, and song around our campfire.

 Earlier we noticed an odd sculpture in Neighbor Matthew's campsite.      He told us about the telescope inside. Once it was dark he used it to take us on a tour of the universe.
  Looking through his lens made it seem like we were floating just above the craters of the moon.  Jupiter, Pluto, and the galaxies beyond were amazing as well
 Thanks to him, I saw the Southern Cross for the first time. 

 The next morning we saw this very unusual front left foot.
    A bunch of us hiked the Anhinga Trail three miles east.  We left our dog, Pi, in the car.  Last year a tourist brought his dog along for the hike, well known for its huge alligators, and Little Fifi soon found herself inside one of this black-scaled reptiles.  
   Walking past this nine-footer, just four feet away, left us feeling uneasy.  It wasn't unlike seeing a tiger taking a breather next to the drinking fountain at the zoo. 

This little girl was freaking out on the boardwalk.  I assumed the gators below had scared her (it had happened to my son. Ian, years ago). 
 The mother explained that her daughter was upset because she had not been allowed to pet the hungry gators just below the boardwalk.  Good move.  She was 'bout the size of Fifi.


We had UM Day at our school this week.  I noticed this 6-foot ibishanging out in our cafeteria. I welcomed him and said we had never had such a large bird on our campus and, being a critter, he did not speak.  For some reason he did have hands. He gestured madly to my every question.  The MAGIC of this man/ bird conversation ended when his boss, Donna Shalala, turned to him and asked, "Don't you have mid-terms this week?                   

Had it not been for James Brown, it might have been my best concert experience ever.

Wednesday night four thousand of us were under of spell poetic genius, Leonard Cohen.  

The singer/songwriter shared his views on love and life at the Knight Center for three hours.

   We heard all of our favorites, "Tower of Song",  "I'm Your Man", "If It Be Thy Will", and "Hallelujah" along with many, soon-to-be-favorite new ones. When he danced off the stage at eleven we clapped and begged for more
  Leonard and his band returned to the stage and played for another half-hour.   
  How does the 79-year-old do it?  Getting down on my knees to sing once, then popping up again would be struggle for me. He did it thirty times.  
 What an incredibly humble, talented, and thoughtful man.  He intoduced his unbelieveably talented band and singers four times.  Each intro was personal, new and different.  He thanked us for being there many times as well.  We could not thank him enough for sharing his evening with us.
   Here are lyrics from "Anthem", one of the 28 songs we enjoyed Wednesday night,

I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.


   We're having another barn dance in the Shell Lumber barn on Saturday, March 30th, 7-11 pm.  Our friends, "The Solar Dogs" will play.  There will also be an art show (the Grove Guy, along with others, will be hawking his wares), open bar, and barbeque.
    Tickets are ten bucks.
    The Howl is a hoot, the kind of gathering that every community should enjoy.  We hope to see you there.


  Want to learn more about the ukulele? Books And Books (265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables) is having its first Ukulele Night on Thursday March 4th, at 8 pm.  
 All ukuholics are invited.  This includes everyone who plays the uke,  anyone who wants to learn, or anyone who wants to have some fun on that particular night.   
  Two professional musicians, Bobby Ingram and Sam Sims, will join us to share stories and songs.   
   I am producing the event.  While I am not a musician, I enjoy being a member of the Palmetto Avenue Ukulele Society.  We get together once a month.
    The uke is a simple, cheap instrument and lots of fun to play. Who knows, you may become the next Leonard Cohen.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


     I'm not saving any time.  Are you?  Is anybody?  DST leaves my body tired and confused for days.
Arizona may be filled with gun-totin' rednecks but at least they had the sense to say "No" when asked to switch their clocks.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


  Friday night's play at Winston Park Elementary was a hit.   Forty-eight of my students worked for months to put on a rollicking version of Snow White.   It was our school's first play of the twenty-first century.

   Like the Grove parade I ran for years, I labored over t-shirts, posters, and putting on a good show.   Also, like the Strut, coming up with good lines was tough but delivering them to the audience was even harder.  
    I now know that eleven-year-olds are happy enough just being on stage.  If they flubbed their words, so what?  That was part of the fun.   
   Most remembered their lines but they said them too fast to understand.   When the guards forgot to come on stage to take the evil queen away, she had to arrested herself.  
   Most problems were unnoticed, covered up by the cuteness factor.


   All I saw were smiles on stage and about three hundred more in the audience.
  While it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun.
   I look forward to doing it again some time in the twenty-second century.


Even King Mango joined the fun when we ended with a musical extravaganza

Thursday, March 7, 2013


   Thirty-five years ago I got George Carlin's California address and went to his house.  I had just written a screenplay, "The Bionic Hippy", and wanted him to star in the movie.  
   He said, "No".
    That's the closest I've come to having one of my major theatrical creations produced...until now.

This Friday night culture comes to KendallThat's when the curtain rises at the Winston Park K-8's Patio Theater.  We will have the  premiere of my play, "Snow White and the Seven Robots". 
    For forty-five minutes my young students will perform a twisted  version of the 800-year-old folk tale.  It will have dance, singing, and guest appearances by both Wonder Woman and King Mango.       
    We may perform "The Bionic Hippy" next year.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


    We had a great time at Sunday's Art Stroll.  The weather was perfect as artists, musicians, and their friends filled picturesque Gifford Lane for five-hours.

 Our buds from St. Croix, Peter and Martha, paid a visit.

  Those two paintings behind them didn't move but

a few of my palm tree fish did.  


Occasionally someone would stop to lounge on one of my benches.

As we were packing up a woman actually bought one.

Mostly they were good places to sit and talk.  That was enough.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Photo: This Sunday...from noon-5! Share this poster with all your friends so they can join the Gifford Lane Art Stroll fun!The Gifford Lane Art Stroll is one of Coconut Grove's great events.  It is the antithesis of the mega-monster art festival that we had here last month. 
 This one's small, charming, and free.
Come to Gifford Lane tomorrow between noon and five.  
It is is two blocks north of the Grove post office and one block east of SW 32 Ave.  I'll be selling my fish and benches (they're made from recycled greenheart, a wood so heavy it sinks).  
My booth is the first one on the south end, across from the tennis courts.  We'll have extra chairs so you can relax and enjoy the show with us.

 For more information go to .

Friday, March 1, 2013


I have seen beautiful, streamlined fish swooping down from palm trees for years.  They are the long, pointed, seed pods that grow, and fall, annually.  
As I saw them hanging down, frozen in flight, I wondered if I could collect a few and make something of them. Last week I began collecting, cutting, and painting my catch.  
photo.JPGThese are my initial results.  I will be selling a few of them and recycled wood benches at Sunday's art show (March 3, noon to 5 pm).  The Grove's Gifford Land art Stroll takes place from noon t 5 pm.    It is free and where you should be Sunday afternoon.

 My booth will be at the corner of Oak Avenue and Gifford Land (across from 3295 Gifford Lane, 33133)

Hope to see you there.



Last week Miami had its second annual Grassroots Music Festival on Virginia Key.  

 Some arrived by bus.
Others by train.
Once more they asked the Mangoheads to put on a little parade to entertain the multitudes.  

 After the didgeridoo people got us got us in a proper frame of mind, we were ready to strut.

And Strut we did.

Our "Freedom Parade" had over 90 costumed people espousing their need to be unhindered (or, according to some, unhinged)
What fun we had.  All this and music too.