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Tag Archives: dark

Viewing at the Zenith

Straight Up - South is at the bottom 9:00PM December 26th. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher usher34105@earthlink.net Tonight we will look straight up to find the zenith. The zenith is the point in the sky that is directly over your head (nadir would be the point directly under your feet). No one else on Earth shares your zenith exactly, it is yours alone. Draw an imaginary line from Polaris, through the zenith and down to the south celestial pole; this line is called the meridian. On the chart tonight the meridian is the vertical line. When a star crosses the meridian it is said to culminate; it has reached it’s ... Read More »

Naomi Christmas 2014

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FOR THE LOVE OF CATS Naomi & Karina Paape chestergun@comcast.net Dear Fellow Felines, Now that I have — literally — Thanksgiving under my belt (boy, was that turkey and green bean casserole tasty), it’s time to talk about Santa Claws, elves, Christmas cookies (yummy smelling, but deadly for cats), stockings, tinsel, fake snow (what is snow by the way?), glass ornaments, those awful scented candles and, of course, that silly mistletoe your staff stands under in expectation that someone will kiss him or her. For you newbie felines experiencing your first Christmas, the joys of the day are many: dangling ... Read More »

Attack Arthritis!

Arthritis

FITNESS DIVA Crystal Manjarres Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com Do you or someone you know have arthritis? Maybe it’s mild and more of a nuisance than anything, or maybe it’s so severe that you rely on medication to make it through the day. Depending on the type you have, you may find some relief in improving your diet (although it alone cannot reverse the damage that’s already been done). The two central types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is typically lumped into the too-much-wear-and-tear division with the majority of sufferers being diagnosed with this particular one. Truth be told, that’s not ... Read More »

Everglades City December Wrap-Up

By Pat Newman There is no shortage of things to do in Everglades City the month of December! The holiday season kicks off with the Fourth Annual Swamp Heritage Festival on Saturday, Dec. 6, 10:30 AM-4:00 PM, at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center. The event is a celebration of the rich history and culture of South Florida. There will be demonstrations and exhibits documenting the rugged lifestyle of the area’s earliest pioneers. Also on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6 are two evening events at the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Stroll the boardwalk after dark on Friday ... Read More »

Look North!

Looking North, 9PM, Nov. 14. What happened to the Big Dipper? SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher usher34105@earthlink.net We hardly ever look north in this column, and it’s time to fix that. Now, locate Polaris, the pole star, by locating the finder stars in the Big Dipper. What? Where is the Big Dipper you say? That’s the first lesson to learn tonight: We have no Big Dipper in the sky on evenings during November and December! To find the pole star, locate the upside down W-shape of Cassiopeia and drop your eye straight downwards. Polaris is the brightest star seen before you reach the horizon. Notice that Polaris is far lower ... Read More »

Come Wiz Me to Ze Casbah!

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By Carol Glassman When we were invited to come to the kasbah/casbah on a recent trip that included a visit to Tangier, Morocco, we agreed to go, not sure what to expect. A little too old and wrinkled to worry about being kidnapped into the white slave trade, and not unrealistic enough to expect Bogie or Bergman in a Casablanca setting, we did however prepare by removing all jewelry, dressing modestly and leaving anything of value on the ship. Thus disarmed, we followed the guide toward the medina. The sidewalks were filled with throngs of youngish, wildly enthusiastic young men ... Read More »

Florida’s Swallowtail Butterflies

Underside of Giant Swallowtail

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com My “Butterfly Gardening in Florida” series rolls on with this third installment in which I will focus on swallowtail butterflies. Florida is home to 10 swallowtail butterflies — more than any other state. They are very easy to identify due to their strikingly large size and their ability to glide long distances between wing flaps. Much larger than other Florida butterflies, most swallowtails have distinctive tails on their hind wings. I remember the first time I saw one. Actually, there were two, and they were mating. I’ll never forget it! I still thoroughly enjoy watching ... Read More »

Stay Cool, Beat the Heat While Late Summer Fishing

Kurt is staying cool in the summer sun. PHOTOS BY CAPT PETE RAPPS

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Out on the water, we have sun baking us from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about reflection. The reflection from the water and the white deck of a boat can be equally as strong as directly from the sun. It is imperative to completely cover up if you want to beat the heat and avoid a bad burn. Sunscreen is the most obvious first line of protection, but there is a lot more to protecting yourself from sun exposure. Wear light colored and light weight clothing. Have ... Read More »

The Dumbbell Nebula

Facing west, 11PM September 19th. Can you spot the Summer Triangle? SUBMITTED photo

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher usher34105@earthlink.net Starting with tonight’s chart, we are entering a period of several months where we have no bright planets available for viewing in the evening hours. This unfortunate situation will last through autumn and through much of the winter. We are just on the wrong side of the Solar System! Jupiter is available in the east from 5 AM onwards, and Venus pops up just before the Sun does. But, who wants to get up that early? Jupiter does make it into the late evening hours in mid-December, but it’s February before a well-placed ... Read More »

Just Horsing Around

Facing east, 11 PM Sept. 5. The Andromeda Galaxy is the brightest galaxy in the northern sky surpassed only by the  Magellanic Clouds of the extreme south (not visible from Florida). SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher usher34105@earthlink.net Tonight, the eastern sky is dominated by the Great Square of Pegasus (the winged horse). The square forms the body of the horse while fainter stars form the neck and forelegs. The fairly bright, slightly orange star of Enif marks the muzzle. The asterism of the square is really quite easy to spot. If you don’t see it at first, think large; each side of the square is about 15 degrees on a side, so the entire asterism covers a big chunk of sky. An interesting test of the quality of your sky ... Read More »

Sensational Sharks: Important Part of the Marine Environment

Bull sharks. SUBMITTED PHOTO

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com If you haven’t heard, its Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week — a week of pseudo-science and, sometimes hilarious, propaganda. Since 1988 — yes for 26 years and making it one of the longest running cable television series — this annual week of television programs on the Discovery Channel has evolved from educational programs that raised awareness of shark population decline and the importance they have in the oceans’ ecosystems to fictitious stories and ludicrous accounts of mega sharks in the waters throughout the world. Entertainment has trumped science, which does not bode well for ... Read More »

Language Has a Slippery Slope

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Is there really no escaping the fate of eventually sounding just like our parents? Is today’s music really just noise? (I know mine was to my parents.) Are kids today really wearing horrible statements for clothing just to get a reaction from “us” (as we did to “them” 40-50 years ago)? Is language truly a dying art? Zounds, methinks not. Oh right, no one says “zounds” anymore, and “methinks” it’s amazing that spell check has nothing to say about, well, about methinkings. Or zounds. Huh? Like everything else, language is, of course, constantly evolving. I ... Read More »

The Summer Triangle

Looking high in the East, July 25th at 11PM. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES  By Mike P. Usher  usher34105@earthlink.net We talk about the Summer Triangle consisting of Vega, Altair and Deneb from time to time and once again it is high in the east. This asterism is a relatively recent invention popularized by Sir Patrick Moore about 60 years ago. The three stars of the Summer Triangle are buried deep in the Milky Way, and their constellations are rich in Deep Sky objects. But before looking for any of them, examine the shape of the Milky Way itself. If you are at a dark sky site, you can’t help but notice the ... Read More »

The Anatomy of a Rumor

Collier County water department workers  directed the light flow of traffic in and out of Goodland on June 16. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com It’s a well-known fact that big news, or any news for that matter, travels fast in a community as small as Goodland. It’s also widely accepted that as news travels farther from its source it tends to lose the original, factual information in favor of a more dramatic, sensationalized version. In short, minor issues feel like major happenings, especially this time of year. I recently experienced this phenomenon first-hand when what eventually proved to be a routine, short-lived inconvenience was all anyone could talk about in the days leading up to the morning of June ... Read More »

Summer House With Swimming Pool

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Herman Koch Hogarth/Random House 2014 (USA) 387 pages   “Patients can’t tell the difference between time and attention.”Dr. Marc Schlosser He is back, folks, and he is even more dark and twisted than in “The Dinner.” Actually, those two couples appear positively lighthearted compared to Dr. Marc Schlosser, a general practitioner in the Netherlands whose patient base is composed of actors, writers, artists, celebrities from the creative sector. Dr. Schlosser also serves as the narrator of this story. The title comes from the fact that Marc’s most famous patient, actor Ralph Meier, has ... Read More »

Naomi’s July 4th

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FOR THE LOVE OF CATS Naomi & Karina Paape chestergun@comcast.net Dear Fellow Felines We are on the threshold of yet another Fourth of July celebration, the most frightening day of my life thanks to the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air and my own raw fear. As I write this, my nights are haunted by nightmares of “Caddyshack” level proportions. Like those poor, unsuspecting gophers, blown out of their subterranean, golf course housing, I head for shelter under a bed, abandoning my stake-out of the fridge. As if this weren’t enough to traumatize an unsuspecting feline, we have ... Read More »

The Glories of Sagittarius

Facing South, 11 PM July 11.SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES  By Mike P. Usher  usher34105@earthlink.net Last column, we gave only a scant glance at this most interesting spot in the sky, so with your indulgence we shall return to it. First notice the nearly full Moon in the sky — how could you miss it? Tonight, it sits quite low in the sky and will not rise much higher. This is because the Moon moves along the ecliptic, and the ecliptic itself is rather tilted, low in the summer sky and high in the winter. Why does the Moon follow the ecliptic at all? The major planets must ... Read More »

Slovenia

An early morning walk in Lake Bled is like walking into a fairy tale. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Located at the northern end of the Adriatic, Slovenia has only 26 miles of coastline. While the Venetian/Mediterranean architecture of the coastal resorts is lovely, the real draw in Slovenia is the natural beauty found in its interior and the charm of the capital city, Ljubljana. Bordered by Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia, and slightly smaller than New Jersey, Slovenia boasts that it is the only country with “love” in its name. Unfortunately, people often confuse Slovenia with Slovakia, a country formed after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia or Slavonia, a region in eastern Croatia. Part ... Read More »

On the Shady Side

Shade

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com When most of the flowering plants and shrubs are struggling to thrive in the hot summer sun and waiting for the “cooling” afternoon showers, there is a group of plants that might be a little bit smarter. They thrive in the shade. Not only are these shade plants doing just fine, they are blooming. In Florida, shade takes on a different meaning than the shade “up north.” I don’t think we have the same deep shade areas in Florida as they do up north because the sun is so intense here. It’s lower in the ... Read More »

Do You Suffer From Sugar Hangovers?

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FITNESS DIVA Crystal Manjarres Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com With the holidays behind and in front of us, I’m sure we have thrown our willpower to the wind on one occasion or the other. Whether it was Easter, Mother’s Day, birthdays, graduations, Memorial Day, or the upcoming Father’s Day, most of us have succumbed to evil spell of sugar. If you eat clean the majority of the time and can have one cheat treat and get back on the wagon, then this message is most likely not as crucial as it is for the occasional binge eater – you know the type: where one ... Read More »