Saturday, October 27, 2007

Not my Halloween Costume

Exploding Aardvark points you to the new York Zoos and Aquariums to build your wild self.

I have combined some fuzzy creatures to make this one - the Lio-pol-sha-illa-iger-lemur. Fast with strong arms and sharp pointy teeth, and the prehensile tail I have always wanted.

Try it yourself.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Monster Sticker Honest Hypocrite

It's getting close to Halloween and the excitement builds. Enjoy this title in Monster Sticker Vision!
Get your name "Monsterized" at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One of only two authentic pirate flags in the world

This flag in the Pirate Soul museum in Key West is one of only two pirate flags remaining that were actually flown as pirate flags on pirate ships back in the glory days of piracy. I like its iconic simplicity.

Roosters of Key West

In addition to pigeons, seagulls and the occasional morning dove, there are tons of Key West chickens, like this strutting rooster, running around the streets and crowing up a storm.

The residents are divided in the love or hate of the roosters. They are unique and we tourists find them amusing but they make too much noise.

Polydactylic LOL Key West Cat

The cats of Key West are famous for having extra toes, hence polydactyl. They also act like they own the place. Typical cats.

Key West Lighthouse

This lighthouse replaced the old lighthouse destroyed in an 1846 Hurricane.

It's not a vacation without a lighthouse.

Impromptu wire art in Key West

While walking along the street in Key West we saw this clever improvised artwork. A cut wire no longer serving a purpose became the medium for a three dimensional sculpture of a face.

Another southern point in Key West

This sign marks the beginning of US Route 1, which goes from Key West to Maine. My particular part of this road is Cityline avenue in Philadelphia and the highway as it turns south through southeastern PA and into Maryland.

I don't imagine that the Department of Transportation normally goes around marking zero on roads since those would normally be state lines. For this one case it is nice that the number line has an origin.

Someday we must get to the othe end of this long road.

Southernmost point in the Continental United States

There is a big marker supposedly at the southernmost point in the continental U.S. It turns out that this isn't strictly correct. That point is actually off limits to the public in the naval base to the east of this marker. My disillusionment with tourist traps continues to biuld.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Reason to Fly to Key West: Stone Crab Claw Season Oct 15

We are on vacation to be on vacation but ostensibly our reason for landing in Key West around October 15th is that Stone Crab season started today. Three years ago I got to watch the Boston Red Sox win four games in a row to come back against the hated Yankees all while I chowed down on Stone Crab claw after claw. I highly recommend it. (also, friends got married and we got engaged as well.)

This season's crab claws do not disappoint. I eat my crab claws at the Half Shell Raw Bar, which has been around forever. One of us remembers coming here when she was a girl twenty years ago. I always think of it as the Eat it Raw bar because of a t-shirt that I have. That's its unofficial name.

This year the Red Sox are playing again. Go Sox!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunset on Key West ruined by big boat

The sunsets at Mallory Square in Key West are known the world over for their beauty. Three years ago this week we got engaged even as we watched one beautifully put on its show. So we wanted to be sure to see one today after we arrived to Key West.

Too bad this big ass Norwegian Pearl cruise ship was in the way the whole time. We had some hope as it pulled away at 6:30. Maybe it would leave in time. But no, it slowly cruised out and then turned in place and then proceeded west, keeping large parts of the dock in its shadow and blocking the sunset as it went. Hundreds of feet long and many building stories tall, it was the dominant feature of the scenery. Maybe tomorrow.

Florida Table at Coral Castle

This table is carved in the shape of the state of Florida, thus it is called the Florida table. The chairs of coral are not so comfortable. This table shares the area with other "furniture" of coral like loungers, rocking chairs, thrones and even beds.

Astronomical Observations at Coral Castle

Besides avery accurate sundial and carvings of coral to represent the planets, Ed Leedskalnin who built Coral Castle also included this hole carved through the rock with a target for the North Star. I am guessing that tiny Florida City in the thirties and forties would have been a great dark place for skywatching at night.

Coral Castle

Coral Castle south of Miami, Florida is known for its huge pieces of coral in strange shapes. Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant built it for his lost "sweet sixteen" sweetheart who spurned him and never saw the place. It is a wonder with huge stones quarried and moved by one man, with some huge stones, a nine ton door, balanced perfectly on pivots.

Since no one ever saw him work there is some mystery of how it was done. He said it only needs the same knowledge of weights and leverage that the Egyptians used to build the pyramids. Some suggest he used mysterious electromagnetic forces. Thus it was featured on an "In Search of" episode. This and Easter Island make two phenomena featured on "In Search of" that I have personally investigated. Perhaps a Bigfoot search or Bermuda Triangle cruise should be next.

Enigmatic sphinx sculpture with required lizard at Vizcaya

Vizcaya was built James Deering, a vice president of International Harvester, in the teens and twenties. It's a good thing he had pernicious anemia and his doctors told him to avoid the cold, or we wouldn't have an Italian style villa on the shore of Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida. Here is some sculpture from the extensive gardens with one of the ever present lizards which inhabit south Florida.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Phightin' Phils half off

For some reason Philadelphia Phillies merchandise is half off. I guess it is because they broke my heart again by making it to the almost playoffs to be the sacrifice to the cruel wildcard gods.

Seriously, who is going to buy this stuff now? 90% off is more realistic. They might make good painting shirts.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Columbus Day!

Although Columbus Day is often shrouded in controversy, it certainly represents a watershed event in the history of civilization. Thus, Happy Columbus Day!

Lat year I wrote twice about this holiday. For an interesting science fiction take on this seminal interaction between the New World and the Old see "Fixing the New World domination by Eurasian originating civilizations through recourse to science fiction". For actual academic analysis of what the New World was like just before Columbus got there, see "The day before Columbus Day".

(Stained Glass Window design from the Library of Congress)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik and 50 years of satellites

Unless you live under a rock you know that 50 years ago today the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union. That one is not orbiting around anymore, but you can review my analysis of the list of satellites that are currently up there (and Kepler's second law, and geosynchronous orbits), as well as worry about orbiting debris. All of that may make you want to move under a rock for safety.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Dream Home Quiz

Answer a few questions and this quiz will design your dream home for you. Here is a scrap from one corner of the blue prints.

Your home is a

Magnate's Manor

Your kitchen is someplace you never go, because you "have people for that." There's a Chocolatessen, which is rapidly becoming your favorite room of the house. Having one is also becoming a trend among your wealthy neighbors. Your master bedroom is the size of a small barn, with carpet thick enough to reach your ankles. Your study has hardback editions of every classic ever written, plus a special edition of Rich Dad, Poor Dad with the parts you ghost-authored highlighted. One of your garages holds your collection of ferraris, and is measured in acreage.

Your home also includes a guest wing and private quarters for your servants. Your guests enjoy your home theater with 37 different sports channels. Outside is your hedge maze and gardens, meticulously tended by a team of world-class botanists.

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:

Find YOUR Dream House!

They got the science fiction library right, though I will not be driving any Ferraris, ever. I also don't know when we will put in the grand ballroom. I'll admit that I don't use the kitchen too much because I married someone who does. She is also the world class botanist.

Monday, October 01, 2007

New T-shirt plus movie quiz

Guess the (great) movie referenced by my cool new T-shirt. For extra credit, who is the actor that said it?

Leave your favorite line from this movie in the comments. I'll tell you mine after folks have had a little time to guess the movie reference.