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Jenni’s Hula Hoops; Geo-Quiz Update; Hyla cinerea; Lightning; Gonfalon; Liberty

While down at Sumter Landing Sunday, we met Jenni Fenton and her brother Ryan, from Ocala. Jenni makes beautiful hand made hula hoops. Here she and Ryan are spinning hula hoops and looking like real professionals. You can contact Jenni on Facebook to order your hoops; they make great Christmas and birthday presents for grandkids! 

I heard from two readers that they tried replying to the blog email to submit their Geo-Quiz entries. THAT WILL NOT WORK! A reply will merely go into a “black hole” that I will never receive. Sorry, that’s just one of the vagaries of our blog web site. You can send your entry either by posting a comment at the bottom of the blog or sending me a personal email to I will post the names of persons from whom I have received entries on Tuesday evening. If you don’t see your name on the blog Wednesday morning, then send me an email on Wednesday. I will do a “sweep-up” Wednesday evening at 9:00 PM after the Alzheimer’s Candlelight Ceremony. (You are all welcome to attend: 7:00 PM at the Wildwood, FL, Community Center/Storm Shelter, 6500 CR 139.)  

Here is a repeat of this week’s Geo-Quiz in case you missed it the first time:
1. Start at Latitude 30N, Longitude 90W. What is this place’s nickname? Why is it called that?
2. Go northeast 90 miles. What town are you in? What was it famous for in its boom years?
3. Pick a barbecue restaurant in that town and in 25 words or less, tell me why you would have given it that name.
Entries will be accepted until Tuesday 6 November at 8:00 PM. The winner (judged solely by my arbitrary and subjective decision) gets homemade barbecue sandwiches and drinks delivered by Your Correspondent and Corvette Chick in her red ‘Vette. (Unless you live in Nebraska or another place far, far away. I’ll figure out a substitute prize in that case.)

Okay, who knew from the title what the subject of the third entry was? If you saw Hyla cinerea and immediately said “American green tree frog”, I would be impressed. If you also said, “Well, everyone knows it’s the state amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana!”, then I’d like you to be my partner for The Villages Trivia Contest and companion on my next hike through the swamp to help identify little critters. I found this specimen on our front porch when we got home. He (she) is about 2 inches long, and is an insectivore, consuming small insects like flies, mosquitoes, and crickets. They are also popular as pets. (I still prefer long-haired dachshunds.)

I was on the lanai recently one afternoon when a thunderstorm was passing, and caught this image. Please be very careful when you are out playing golf or walking and it starts to look like a storm is brewing. Find shelter and stay inside until the storm has passed.

For those not familiar with weather radar, you can get an idea of the movement, strength, and extent of a thunderstorm by looking at web sites like Weather Underground or local TV weather sites. This is what the radar looked like for the storm shown above.  The lightning was located in the orange band below (south of) the little circle. On another occasion, we were in a field with a very dark thunderhead above and mentioned to a fellow that he should get in our car for safety’s sake. He said, “Oh, lightning won’t hurt you.” We told him, “We know better…” and then explained about our daughter Susan. He sobered up very quickly…

Word for the Day: gonfalon, n. a banner suspended from a crossbar, often with an edge cut like streamers, used especially as the standard of some medieval Italian republics or carried in church processions [Late 16C. Via Italian gonfalone from Frankish, ultimately from prehistoric Germanic words meaning “war” and “banner”.]  

Finally, we had an interesting email yesterday from a young man named Ernesto, who had recently purchased the sailboat on which we crossed the Atlantic and lived aboard from 2002-2008. A friend of ours bought her from us back in 2010, and he found that she was too big for his single-handed cruising plans. He sold Liberty to this family who will be sailing her to the Caribbean next summer for a 1-2 year adventure. We wish Ernesto, his wife and daughters “Fair winds and following seas!” 

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