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Award Winner Flo; Bird of the Week; Bread and Circuses; The Hoover Chicken; “Fishing for Fun”

Corvette Chick and Your Faithful Correspondent had the privilege of taking Flo Tejeras, our Floral Quiz Award Winner, out to breakfast at Panera in Spanish Springs this morning. Flo is also our fantastic massage therapist at Therapeutic Touch on Hwy 27/441, and used to be the massage therapist for the Miami Dolphins (the football team, not the marine mammals). Since her name means “flower” in Spanish, I think she had a natural ability in that quiz… 

As I paddled about in the mangroves along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline the other day, I wondered about one of the local inhabitants that kept swooping down to the water to catch fish… (yes, Bob, he was definitely doing much better than I). Our Bird of the Week is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). 11-14” in length, with a wingspan of 19-23 inches, this particular Kingfisher is the only example of its family resident in the US and Canada. The adult female (shown at left) is more brightly colored and is also slightly larger than the male. Both parents feed and care for the young. (They are obviously more advanced than many human sub-species).

One of the interesting facts about the Kingfisher is that a mating pair will build a nest in a river bank or sand bank, with male and female excavating a long, uphill-sloping tunnel, at the end of which is the nest. It is thought that it slopes upward in case of flooding, in which case the chicks would hopefully survive in the air pocket formed at the end of the sloping tunnel. (Pretty self-sufficient and clever, I’d say; after all, they can’t rely on the Federal Flood Insurance Program like many people who build their houses next to rivers known for flooding or on hurricane-prone beaches). 

Phrase for the Day: “Bread and Circuses”… the phrase originates in about 100 AD in the writings of the Roman poet and satirist Juvenal, when he states “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” 

Juvenal is alluding to the Roman practice of providing free flour and expensive games (chariot races, men fighting wild animals, and gladiatorial games, to name a few) in the Coliseum and other stadia, in order to gain or maintain political power. It also describes one of the causes for the downfall of the Roman Empire, a loss of interest in maintaining the principles on which Rome was based….. 

Okay, just so we don’t get too hung up on the Decline and Fall of the (name your favorite) Empire, here is a friend of Suzanne’s that we met on a bike ride recently. This as a fine example of Gopherus polyphemus, the Gopher Tortoise. It is the state reptile of Georgia and the state tortoise of Florida. It is considered a keystone species, since the burrows it digs are used by about 350 other species. The Gopher Tortoise is also threatened because of predation by armadillos, raccoons, foxes, skunks and alligators, and also by loss of forest habitat to development. (Don’t worry, the person with the nicely manicured nails is not fondling or even touching Tommy Tortoise… she is merely holding her hand nearby for size comparison… no tortoise was tortured, troubled, or traumatized in the making of this blog). 

One of the last bits of Ty Trivia for the day (I know you are relieved at this point) is that the Gopher Tortoise was known as the “Hoover Chicken” during the Great Depression because they were eaten by poor people out of work. The photo at right is of Herbert Hoover, our 31st President, who coincidentally wrote 16 books, the last of which, “Fishing for Fun – And To Wash Your Soul“, was based on his habit of driving alone into the mountains or the woods to find solitude and good fishing. I would like to end with three of Hoover’s not-so-famous quotes:
1. While we are steadily organizing increased production of leisure time, the production of what to do with it still lags greatly. We go to chain theaters and movies. We watch someone else knock a ball over the fence or kick it over the goal post. And the more leisure time, the more crime. 
2. No one commits crimes while fishing.
3. All men are equal before fish.

1 Comment

  • Jennifer
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    What beautiful birds and I bet those manicured hands are Suzanne's! Her nails always look nice.

    Ty, you should change your blog to "Ty's Trivia".
    You know so much!


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