Monday, September 23, 2013

Back In The Day: The Miami River Experience

In my early years, the Miami River was abundant with life, including manatees, otters, alligators, a variety of bird life and, of course, many species of freshwater and salt water fish. I boated, fished and swam in the river and it was a large part of my teenage years.

By the time I became aware of what man can do to a pristine environment, the river, which once had rapids and falls near the mouth, had long since been dammed and dredged, ostensibly for proposed river traffic which never came into being.

Early 1900 photo of the Miami River rapids. While not as scenic as some natural world wonders, it was part of the original river before man decided to change its course and, in turn, its destiny.
Nevertheless, the river was once scenic and black and white pictures from the early 1900's do not do it justice, especially in this day and age.

The mouth of the Miami River empties into Biscayne Bay and although it is now surrounded by high rise office buildings, the once peaceful and serene river has been reduced to a proverbial intersection of river and bay.

The mouth of the Miami River circa 1900

The Royal Palm Hotel, a large resort hotel, was built by well-known railroad magnate Henry Flagler near the mouth of the river. Opening its doors in 1897, the Royal Palm Hotel was one of the first area hotels in Miami.

Five stories tall with a sixth-floor salon, the Royal Palm Hotel featured the city's first electric lights, elevators and swimming pool. Almost thirty years later, The Royal Palm Hotel was grievously damaged by the 1926 hurricane and in 1930, it was condemned and torn down.

But the damage done to the river itself continued and a lot of the wildlife that once enjoyed the banks of the river are rarely seen. I especially regret not seeing the playful otters which were a source of constant entertainment. Alas, their numbers dwindled and unless you went deep into the Everglades, I rarely saw them. 

Later, in my early twenties, I recall fishing along Alligator Alley while the road was under construction. I was casting for bass from a mound above the canal and happened to see an otter swimming down the middle of the canal.

As it swam by, the otter noticed me but continued to swim down the canal. Then, I heard some rustling in the underbrush along side the canal and although there were quite a few alligators nearby, I guessed it was the otter.

Sure enough, the curious creature scrambled up the banking, then walked along the path to within five feet of me. I smiled as he stopped, took a good look at me, then turned and walked away. I heard him splash as he returned to the canal and I didn't see him again. Still, it was nice to see an otter again, enjoying the peace and quiet of the 'Glades.

The News As I See It: Scientists have discovered a rare species of legless lizards. They say they shouldn't be confused that with spineless snakes. Those are called Obama and Congress.

Americans have viewed 12 times as many stories about Miley Cyrus as they did about Syria. Which is why Obama gave his speech on Syria while rubbing up against Robin Thicke.

Disturbing news for California. Californians have more unplanned pregnancies than any other state. Of course, keep in mind that California has many more NBA teams than any other state.

USA Today had a front-page feature on the new healthcare law. It said that the opposition to Obamacare at an all-time high. It has gotten so bad that the president is now calling it "Bidencare."

Anthony Weiner did not exit in a very classy way. After his concession speech, the press was taunting him and they got a picture through the window of the car of him holding up his middle finger. At least we hope that was his middle finger.

Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner lost their races for comptroller and mayor, respectively. So that means that Mayor Bloomberg goes back to being New York City's biggest embarrassment.

The Discovery Channel said that plants have a way of signaling danger to each other. When there's danger, the plant releases a gas that other plants can sense. Well, here is my question. What good is a plant warning another plant about danger? What's the other plant supposed to do, run?

This Date In History: 1779; John Paul Jones declared "I have not yet begun to fight!" aboard the American warship Bonhomme Richard in the battle against the British man-of-war Serapis. 1806; After a three-year journey to the Pacific Northwest, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis.

1846; German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune. 1939; Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, died in London. 1952; Vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon delivered his "Checkers speech" rebutting charges of improper campaign financing.

1973; Former Argentine president Juan Perón returned to power. 2011; Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas officially requests a bid for statehood at the UN Security Council.

Picture Of The Day: If I were to ask for a memory to be recreated, this picture was almost exactly the reaction of the otter that was swimming in the Alligator Alley canal when he noticed me. Curiosity, defined.....

Printable Things I Never Told You: 1) Kinky is when you bring a feather to use while having sex. Perverted is when you bring the whole chicken. 2) I played the word "mature" in a game of Scrabble. Then, my friend played "immature" and got the Triple Word Score, so I flipped the board over. 3) I saw a large bear eating a big lunch from the dumpster at Taco Bell. Then he ran off into the woods, ostensibly to prove a point. 4) One of the reasons I don't like family get-togethers is that I inevitably get cornered by an aunt or uncle and they say, "I remember the first time I saw you. You were 2 months old. Let me catch you up on my medical history." 5) Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most.....and that's five !

Today's HoroscopeLibra - September 23rd: The countries that have issued orders for your arrest will close in today and cause you to go without clean pants for two days. Wood may be lucky for you this week.

Birthdays: Euripides, Greek tragic dramatist, ranking with Aeschylus and Sophocles 480 or 485 B.C., Augustus Roman, emperor 63 B.C., William Holmes McGuffey, educator 1800, Mary Eliza Church Terrell, activist 1863, Walter Lippmann, essayist and editor 1889 Harriet Hardy, physician 1906, Mickey Rooney, actor 1920, John Coltrane, jazz musician 1926, Ray Charles, musician 1930, Bruce Springsteen, singer 1949.

The AREA 51 Retirement Home Bar And Grill: A Jewish man goes into a confession box and says, "Father O’Malley, my name is Emil Cohen. I’m seventy eight years old. Believe it or not, I’m currently involved with a 28 year old girl and also, on the side, her 19 year old sister. We engage in all manner of pleasure and in my entire life I’ve never felt better."

Father O'Malley replied, "Oh my, Mr. Cohen, this is a Catholic church. I think you’ve come to the wrong place. Why are you telling me?" Mr. Cohen says, "Are you kidding? At my age, I’m telling everybody!"

Three old ladies were sitting side by side in their retirement home, reminiscing. The first lady recalled shopping at the green grocers and demonstrated with her hands the length and thickness of a cucumber she could buy for a penny.

The second old lady nodded, adding that onions used to be much bigger and cheaper also, then demonstrated the size of two big onions she could buy for a penny a piece.

The third old lady, a bit deaf, added, "I can't hear a word you're saying, but I remember the guy you're talking about."

The Hits Just Keep On Coming: A man in a Florida supermarket tries to buy half a head of lettuce. The very young produce assistant tells him that they sell only whole heads of lettuce. The man persists and asks to see the manager. The boy says he'll ask his manager about it.

Walking into the back room, the boy said to his manager, "Some asshole wants to buy half a head of lettuce." As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him and he added, "And this gentleman has kindly offered to buy the other half."

The manager approved the deal, and the man went on his way. Later the manager said to the boy, "I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?" The boy replied, "Canada, sir."

The manager asked, "Why did you leave Canada?" The boy said, "Sir, there's nothing in Canada but whores and hockey players." The manager said, "My wife is from Canada." The boy replied, "No shit? What team did she play for?"

A man's small grandson got lost at the shopping mall. The child approached a uniformed security guard and said, "I've lost my grandpa!" The guard asked, "What's his name?" The tyke answered, "Grandpa"

The guard smiled, then asked, "What's he like?" The little tyke hesitated for a moment and then replied, "Jack Daniels whiskey, and women with big tits."

That's it for today, my little kits. Remember, if you don't have the energy to walk a mile in someone's shoes, it's okay to go ahead and judge them.

More on Wednesday.

Stay Tuned !


jack69 said...

The intro was great. I love the stories of your youth and especially the fishing ones. I do enjoy watching otters when I get the chance.

The news from your point of view is always good.
And Iffin I was Cohen, I would do the same...
Great read.....

Paula said...

I like the Otters. We are getting a Taco Bell right near here. John is excited, I'm not. Can't wait to tell him what happened to the bear when he ate there.

natalie said...

interesting Jimmy! thanks for writing such detailed accounts of your past life on the river! Cheers!