Monday , November 30 2015
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Tag Archives: dark

Danube Cruise: Reflections

Castle Baba Vida bears the name of the 10th  century princess who built it. PHOTOS  BY CARL AND JOAN KELLY

By Carl and Joan Kelly This is our 50th anniversary cruise. The river? Danube. Where else do you go to celebrate 50 years? Our ship: The River Aria. We cruise east. Romania on the right, Bulgaria left, ahead the cities of Ruse (ROO-ze) and Vidin (vee-DEEN). The Danube here is quiet but not lazy, beautiful but not romantic. Not yet. Tomorrow maybe. Today it is farmland, farm people, small cities, city people and castles. Ah, we love castles. Love to prowl around and through them. Imagine them on feast days, stuffed with people, the people stuffed with food, swimming in ... Read More »


Courtesy of G3 Homes, South Miami Fl.

ASK AN ARCHITECT Hector C. Fernandez AIA I figured I would give my readers a much-needed break from the heady topics and discussions concerning zoning, land use, deed restrictions, ordinances, etc. Let’s talk architecture, design and trends. As we look forward to the start of season, let’s see what’s hot and happening in design. So I’m going to take a very deliberate right turn on this one and set eyes on our nearest design capital, and arguably one of the current trendsetters internationally today. Yes, you guessed it, our neighboring metropolis of MIAMI. MIA for short, or the “305” if you ... Read More »

Snorkeling With Manta Rays… At Night…In Hawaii

The magnificent manta ray. SUBMITTED PHOTO

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalis It was a warm September evening and the sun had just set on Keauhou Bay. Captain Kirk Herring carefully guided our boat, Hula Kai, into position and two of our guides, Brent and Megan, sprang into action. A floating, plastic plank equipped with underwater lights was quickly in place behind the vessel. Wetsuits on and already breathing through our snorkels, my wife Cathy and I waited for the command. The lights along the plank were illuminated below the water and we were told to proceed. We smiled at each other, entered the water and made ... Read More »

A Simple Recipe to Make You Fall in Love With Spanish Mackerel


FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps November fishing in the 10,000 Islands is great for catching Spanish mackerel, and here is a simple recipe that can make you fall in love with this fish for the first time, or all over again. Many people are turned off by the mention of Spanish mackerel, however, if cleaned and treated correctly at the fillet station, you will be left with some awesome fillets that will impress. Simple and delicate, but able to be paired with so many sides, it’s a perfect way to embrace the flavor of the fish while also making ... Read More »

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel


BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust By Lee Child Random House, September 2015, 402 pages. Genre: Suspense Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Admit nothing, even on your death bed. You might suddenly get better.” ~ Jack Reacher Jack is back in this 20th installment of this billion-dollar Lee Child enterprise. Be forewarned that Jack journeys to a very dark place in this adventure. If you are looking for chuckles or warm fuzzies, this is not the story for you. If you have previously read a Reacher novel or two you know that Jack started out as a kind of modern-day Lone ... Read More »



MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT Laurie Kasperbauer “The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” ~ Buddha Growing up, as a young girl I was lucky enough to have grandparents who lived on a farm. I say “lucky enough,” because to a young child the expanse of land and outbuildings innate to an Iowa farm afforded me endless opportunities for exploration. There was a big barn and a machine shed. There was a grove of assorted maple and oak, a small livestock yard and a windmill. In addition, ... Read More »

Protecting Yourself From the Summer Sun When Out on the Water


FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps Many flats fishermen have their boats set up for efficient casting. This involves minimizing items in the boat that can create obstacles and snags. Many anglers fishing out of flats boats do not have bimini tops or T-tops for this reason. Because of this, there is no shade or any way to duck out of the direct sun. You have to dress properly to stay cool and prevent sun exposure. Out on the water, you have sun baking you from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about reflection. The ... Read More »

Goats and Water Bearers

Looking south-southeast August 21, 11:00PM. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher Tonight Capricornus, the goat, rides fairly high in the southeastern sky. It is usually visualized as a hybrid half goat – half fish creature; it’s also extremely old – it has endured essentially unchanged for over 3,000 years. Likely this is because of its great importance (to an agricultural society) as being the site of the winter solstice in the early bronze age. Nowadays the winter solstice occurs in nearby Sagittarius. Capricornus is supposed to be the second dimmest of the zodiacal constellations after Cancer, but I don’t find it difficult to pick ... Read More »

Keep an Eye on the Moon

Photo taken through a ten inch f/5 telescope at 96x  on June 26th when it was just past 1st Quarter. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher We usually ignore the Moon in this column, but in many ways it is the most interesting object in the sky. It is the only celestial object whose surface can be examined in detail from your back yard for example. Although the Moon appears blindingly bright to dark adapted eyes, in reality it reflects hardly more light than old asphalt does. Intuitively one would think the Full Moon would be the best time to observe surface features, but this is quite wrong. Compared to Earth the Moon is a relatively colorless world; its ... Read More »

Slowing it Down


MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT Laurie Kasperbauer “The bad news is, time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler Mondays are not my best day. Work seems to multiply and time accelerates on Mondays. I sit at my desk at 8:00AM and the next time I look up it’s always 2:30 and I wonder how I missed lunch and why there’s still so much work to do. I know I’m not alone. Everyone is catching up on Mondays. Phone calls pile up, the mail explodes, and anything that can break down will break down over the weekend, ... Read More »

That Reminds Me…


By Steve Gimmestad It was sundown on the St. Croix River in late spring. The river rats were gathered on the island as was usual all summer long. Youthful enterprise reared its ugly head as one of the rats proposed a swim across the channel. It was getting dark but three strapping lads stepped up and accepted the proposal. They dove into the cool water and began their odyssey. It was about 200 yards across and the waning moon didn’t help navigation. After what seemed much longer than it actually was, they made landfall on the other side. It ... Read More »

The Glorious Stars of Summer Rise

Looking east, 11:00 PM, June 12, sweeping this area with  binoculars is a rewarding experience. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher Look eastwards about 11:00 PM and locate the three stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Altair and Deneb. These are quite bright stars, and if you can see any stars at all in the sky tonight, you will see these. The Summer Triangle is not a traditional asterism, but was popularized by Sir Patrick Moore a few decades ago. Vega and Altair are fairly close neighbors of the Sun, which is the primary reason they are so bright, being only 25 and 16 light years away, respectively. Deneb, on the other hand, ... Read More »

Woman’s Club Donates Wigs to ACS

Penny Weidner, Sue Olszak and Sharyn Kampmeyer in ACS resource room. PHOTOS BY JESSICA HERNSTADT

By Jessica Hernstadt “Why you are born and why you are living depends on what you are getting out of this world, and what you are giving.” This is the motto of the Marco Island Woman’s Club, and the women clearly live up to its sentiment. The Woman’s Club recently made donations to a multitude of educational and charitable organizations which benefit Marco Island residents. Marco Island’s American Cancer Society office was a lucky recipient of one such donation. With the Woman’s Club’s generous donation, the American Cancer Society purchased 27 wigs, 12 turbans and 40 wig caps, all to ... Read More »

The Southern Cross


By Mike P. Usher We are going to change our viewing time from our usual 9PM to 11PM until October. There are two reasons for this: 1) The longer days of summer mean it is not fully dark at 9PM, and 2) the rapidly approaching rainy season means early evening clouds blot out the stars. By 11PM there is at least a chance of clearing, although it’s not usually totally clear until after midnight. Did you think you would have to travel to Argentina to see the Southern Cross? Not so! Theoretically, you can see the whole cross (official ... Read More »



By Mike Malloy Along with the yellow Tabebuia trees that are blooming all around town in early spring, the gardenias begin blooming. My gardenia facing east started blooming two months ago, and is still going strong. Remember when people ask when gardenias are supposed to bloom to tell them spring to early summer is usually the time, but I always say, plants bloom whenever they feel like it. That is probably the best answer because you can only give an estimate of when things bloom because so much can change with the weather here in South Florida. But when ... Read More »

Do Not Disturb Nesting Sea Turtles


Submitted Sea turtles have begun nesting attempts in the area. Good time to post a few reminders about proper sea turtle etiquette. It can be thrilling to watch a sea turtle crawl onto the beach at night and dig a large hole in the sand to lay dozens of eggs. Just remember that “Do not disturb” is the best behavior to follow when observing a nesting sea turtle. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks people not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles. Spring is the beginning of sea ... Read More »

Catch Mercury if You Can!


By Mike P. Usher As the too bright Moon in the east is nearly full, we might as well look westward to a slightly darker sky. Venus is unmistakable as it floats high in the west; it is in fact the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon. Below Venus, and a little to the right and just above the horizon lies the planet Mercury. Mercury is much more difficult to locate than Venus; at the time and date of the chart it’s only a little brighter than Polaris. During the next several days it will ... Read More »

Do You Eat Chocolate Because it’s Healthy?


FITNESS DIVA Crystal Manjarres I’m sure you’ve read the seemingly too-good-to-be-true articles touting that chocolate (dark specifically) is a superfood, or full of anti-oxidants, or can improve memory, or even that it is good for your heart. The question is, are these claims accurate? The answer is… sort of. Despite the claims that one or two squares of quality dark chocolate can “…reduce the risk of death from heart attack by almost 50 percent…” per a WebMD article, science is still investigating these hypotheses. Case in point, Howard Sesso, Associate Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School is leading a ... Read More »

Why Don’t We Just Eat Right?

FITNESS DIVA Crystal Manjarres Every day, I inquire each of my clients on how their nutrition is going, and every day, I hear more or less the same type of response from at least one person: a sheepish look followed by an excuse as to why they could not eat right the day before. “Friends are in town so we eat out every night.” “My family is visiting and expects me to cook all of the favorite comfort foods.” “I was just too tired.” “I knew better, but I just couldn’t help it.” “I was stressed, and it calmed my ... Read More »

The Argo Backs into the Sky

Looking Southeast, 9 PM, Feb. 20. Can you make out the stern of Argo? SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher Tonight, we look again into the Southeast where the ancient constellation Argo, the ship, is rising stern first into the sky. Argo is no longer counted as one of the 88 constellations visible in the night sky; about two centuries ago it was found to be inconveniently large so it was broken into four separate constellations, Carina the keel, Puppis the deck, Pyxis the compass and Vela the sails. The old Argo is so large and deep in the southern sky that it never is completely above our horizon at the same time, ... Read More »