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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gator Chomp

(Welcome Anchoress readers!)

First, and foremost, I would like to allay your fears:

No, I don't jog anywhere near alligators.

This is no laughing matter, of course, since most of the news stations today have been buzzing that 3 unfortunate women have fallen victim to alligator attacks this past week, in the State of Florida.

-- Don't you love the squeamish hype The Telegraph use in their headline, "Florida in fear as alligators go on killing spree".

I can just see people's expressions back in England, as their every suspicion about the US being a dark, menacing, violent place which is barely tamed even now, is confirmed.

ALL OF FLORIDA IN A PANIC! ALLIGATORS IN KILLING SPREE! Read...THIS CRAP DOESN'T HAPPEN IN CIVILISED MILTON KEYNES!!

Conservative they may be, but the Tories have always been rather sniffy about America, and are all too glad to point out these kind of sensationalist, ghoulish, Wild West-like stories --

One deadly attack happened in nearish Sunrise (a neighbourhood in Ft. Lauderdale, not 25 miles away from me), the other two in the West Coast of Florida -- one lady of which was pulled out of a gator's jaws, only to rather understandably be pronounced dead on the scene.

Gosh, just thinking of this makes my skin crawl.

Now, for those of you who have never been down here, Florida is the land of the protected alligator species, ever since the 1960s, in fact, when they were in danger of dying out.

Thus, although alligators were and are a nuisance, they are often found near lakes in residential complexes all over the State, where inhabitants even actually feed them food.

I'm guessing these people have severe mental problems, or would really really like to have a pet, but their condo board said nyet.

One of my earliest encounters with this Florida mascot reptile, was staying at the Days Inn motel in Kissimmee, Florida, just a few miles from the Magic Kingdom.

Lo-and-behold, just as we were unpacking our car with our luggage, but do we spy a slew of gators sunning themselves in the lake, not more than 300 yards from the motel room.

Sure, there was a mini-fence around this lake, but come on, you've seen that crazy Australian gator guy who was inches away from having his baby chomped -- any distance between you a ferocious beast is just too close for comfort.

For a foreigner like me, this American habit of celebrating what others would consider plagues is a teency bit bizarre.

Instead of putting a pox on hurricanes, the University of Miami has made them infamous and beloved.

And alligators are so darling, that the University of Florida up in Jacksonville [ed. - that should read Gainesville, of course], honoured them by naming their school after them.

Why, they even play their oft-frustrating game of football in a place called "The Swamp". You drain swamps, not score touchdowns in them!

Yes, Americans like to make lemonade out of lemons, or in this case, lady's shoes and purses.

Perhaps, though, the most famous alligator anecdote I ever heard, was during President Clinton's term in office, about Janet Reno, his rather butch Attorney General, and noted local Miami gal.

I was reading her biography in the Miami Horrible newspaper rag one day, when I saw this a snippet of info, which went a little like this:

"Janet Reno's mother was a local legend, who would host the local JC group for a tea party in her stately Redland's home, after coming from a day wrestling alligators."

I cannot properly describe the double-take I did after reading that, but suffice it to say, a Warner Brothers cartoon character wouldn't have done it better.

Wow.

A Victorian lady who wrestled alligators and then served tea and crumpets to her fellow old biddies -- with doilies, yet! Gotta love that frontier spirit..........

Of course, her daughter Janet later become District Attorney for Dade County (as it was then), and knew a thing or two about predatory crawling animals.

Although, as we can see in this photo below, of Ms. Reno and Martin Sheen sharing a tender moment during a Democratic Party fundraiser,



...she certainly knew how to swim with the sharks, too.

P.S.: My porter, an Argentine, has a theory, which he deigned to share with me today, as I picked up a package downstairs.

He thinks the attacks are really by a serial killer, who is targetting single, comely women, after having "trained" the gators to attack them.

Ooh! Coinage!

"Jack the Gripper", anyone?

IN THE COMMENTS: Commenter Paul mentions that these "when nature attacks" episodes, are too eerily Hitchockian in feel.

Could "The Birds" hold some clues as to why the gators are running amuk of a sudden?

I'm not sure. But I'm dyeing my hair brown.

18 Comments:

  • Are there Gators of the University in Jacksonville? I thought it was Gainesville.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Tue May 16, 06:55:00 am GMT-4  

  • Ruth Anne is right. UF = Gainesville. Jacksonville is home to the Jacksonville University Dolphins and the University of North Florida Ospreys.

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Tue May 16, 08:04:00 am GMT-4  

  • First off, I haven't seen the word doilies used since being a little guy on my Mother's knee. Thought it had gone extinct.

    Second, we Americans in the other states think it palatable if a few Floridians become food so long as the alligator does not disappear and we can come down and see them and in case, as you mentioned, we want that type of luggage and accessories again.

    Last, I highly disagree with your porter. What IS happening is akin to the classic film, The Birds, the little reptiles have had it with being exploited, caught, tagged, moved, fitted with transmitters, stared at, told how ugly they are and having their mouths taped shut.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue May 16, 09:34:00 am GMT-4  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue May 16, 09:34:00 am GMT-4  

  • I think your porter is very close. Since Dr Evil couldn't get sharks with lasers on their heads and had to settle for ticked-off sea bass, he cranked it up a notch in his quest to get Austin Powers and is doing mind control on the alligators. And he'll stop for one...Billion...DOLLARS!!!!

    That, or Bush is going to relocate the gators to patrol the border with Mexico.

    By Blogger Bob, at Tue May 16, 10:12:00 am GMT-4  

  • Victoria knows very well that the Florida Gators are from Gainesville since it is the best University in all of Florida!!! These recent tragedies with alligators attacking women are very sad and up to now very rare. But what is really sick to me, is having to see a picture of Ms. Reno and Martin Sheen.

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Tue May 16, 11:01:00 am GMT-4  

  • Are there Gators of the University in Jacksonville? I thought it was Gainesville.

    Drat! Thanks, Ruth Anne.

    OTOH, this might've been my subconscious at work at 3 AM, since I frequently sneer at both UF, and FSU.

    I don't say Gainesville, I say Gatorsville, and people know damn well what I mean.

    Likewise, I call our State capital, Tallahootchee, and no one blinks.

    I'm guessing people are probably used to me being barmy.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 12:20:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Ruth Anne is right. UF = Gainesville. Jacksonville is home to the Jacksonville University Dolphins and the University of North Florida Ospreys.

    Ooh, really?

    Well, obviously there's nothing wrong with Dolphins, although I must admit that doesn't have the severe tone needed to inspire fear in the opposite team...but Ospreys??

    This just goes to show, that it paid to found your University quickly back in the early days of America, since otherwise you got mascot sloppy seconds.

    I always laugh when I hear that University in Illinois' nickname.

    The Salukis. Lol.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 12:25:00 pm GMT-4  

  • First off, I haven't seen the word doilies used since being a little guy on my Mother's knee. Thought it had gone extinct.

    Please help me. I'm stuck in Doiliesville.

    My great-grandmother, of whom I have blogged a few times, was the last female in our family to be handy with a needle and thread -- and she crocheted doilies 'til the day of her death, bless her soul.

    Unfortunately, my mother is so sentimental about her grannie, that she refuses to take them down in strategic areas of our home.

    Doilies as far as the eye can see!

    Second, we Americans in the other states think it palatable if a few Floridians become food so long as the alligator does not disappear and we can come down and see them and in case, as you mentioned, we want that type of luggage and accessories again.

    By-products when a gator dies in an attack, yes.

    The good thing about this, is that the environmentalists can't complain, since it's really a form a recycling.

    Keep America Beautiful!

    Last, I highly disagree with your porter. What IS happening is akin to the classic film, The Birds, the little reptiles have had it with being exploited, caught, tagged, moved, fitted with transmitters, stared at, told how ugly they are and having their mouths taped shut.

    My God. Genius. That's it, exactly.

    Who knows Tippi Hedren's phone number?

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Fortunately, I'm white. Everyone knows a minority gets it first (I laughed when I saw Poseidon, recently, believe you me).

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 12:31:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I think your porter is very close.

    The more one thinks about it...that's the problem with kooky ideas, don't you think?

    If you're not a person much given to dispassionate logic, you get rather swayed by each idea which passes by, which sounds plausible.

    Or as my dad calls it, "politics".

    Since Dr Evil couldn't get sharks with lasers on their heads and had to settle for ticked-off sea bass, he cranked it up a notch in his quest to get Austin Powers and is doing mind control on the alligators. And he'll stop for one...Billion...DOLLARS!!!!

    A TRILLION by now, surely! Else Liz Hurley gets it.

    That, or Bush is going to relocate the gators to patrol the border with Mexico.

    LOL!

    You know, I'm just waiting for someone to Blame Bush this story.

    It's coming, it's coming. You'll see.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 12:35:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria knows very well that the Florida Gators are from Gainesville since it is the best University in all of Florida!!!

    THEY SUCK! THEY SUCK!!

    These recent tragedies with alligators attacking women are very sad and up to now very rare.

    I'm glad you mentioned that, Jose.

    I heard there have been less than 50 attacks since they started tracking these things, in 1948.

    That's about an attack per year, not all fatal.

    Of course, to squeamish people as in the Telegraph, one can easily point out that there's Alligator Alley, I-10, which takes you from South Florida to Tampa.

    And they call it that, to those unaware, because gators often are seen crossing the highway, and you're supposed to give them way.

    That's quite a sight -- seeing a chomper just moseying down three lanes of highway, at the height of rush hour.

    Maybe I should film an Almodovaresque movie about Florida...

    But what is really sick to me, is having to see a picture of Ms. Reno and Martin Sheen.

    Hey, no tongue (ewwwwww). Count your blessings.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 12:39:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I used to work for a company that sent people around the country for long stretches for installations. The old battleaxe secretary, who was quite an ill-tempered bully, used to browbeat people into sending cheezy, NewAgey postcards back from whereever so they could be posted on the company bulletin board.

    Me? I'd send back MondoSchlocko cards with Betty Page about to get her butt gnawed on by a gator! I managed to find these almost anywhere, even Arizona! ("Wow! Things are Car-a-zee here in Tempe!", would go the card text) This would drive old biddy mad!

    So, me and gators...we tight!

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue May 16, 04:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I haven't seen the word doilies used since being a little guy on my Mother's knee. Thought it had gone extinct.

    Not quite, Paul. Doilies are an accessory piece for the G-string swim suits some women wear. Its a little bit of cloth they attach to the back to give a wee bit o' coverage when they have to get up and move around.

    Not that I've noticed or anything...

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Tue May 16, 07:46:00 pm GMT-4  

  • one can easily point out that there's Alligator Alley, I-10, which takes you from South Florida to Tampa

    Only if one is directionally challenged or perhaps signage challenged...not that I'm noticing your challenges or anything...

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Tue May 16, 07:50:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I used to work for a company that sent people around the country for long stretches for installations. The old battleaxe secretary, who was quite an ill-tempered bully, used to browbeat people into sending cheezy, NewAgey postcards back from whereever so they could be posted on the company bulletin board.

    Oh My God. I've met people like that.

    They're usually liberals. *g*

    Me? I'd send back MondoSchlocko cards with Betty Page about to get her butt gnawed on by a gator!

    Oh, hey -- speaking of which, Ron, have you seen that new movie on Betty Paige yet? I haven't.

    I managed to find these almost anywhere, even Arizona! ("Wow! Things are Car-a-zee here in Tempe!", would go the card text) This would drive old biddy mad!

    Heh. Good on you.

    So, me and gators...we tight!

    Well, I've been to Gatorworld, or whatever that was, near Orlando.

    I can't say I found them warm and fuzzy, but I am not one of those females who faint at the sight of a huge reptile coming straight for me.

    Now, spiders...

    And good to hear you didn't take this old biddy's enforced mass cheeriness lying down, Ron!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 17, 02:32:00 am GMT-4  

  • Doilies are an accessory piece for the G-string swim suits some women wear. Its a little bit of cloth they attach to the back to give a wee bit o' coverage when they have to get up and move around.

    Ewww! I have an awful, awful visual of my late great-grannie, wearing one of those doilies.

    Although in reality she wore those frou-frou skirts with her one-piece bathing costume...

    Not that I've noticed or anything...

    Suuuuure.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 17, 02:34:00 am GMT-4  

  • Only if one is directionally challenged or perhaps signage challenged...not that I'm noticing your challenges or anything...

    Oh dear. I seem to remember you corrected me on that, in a previous post too.

    I tell you, IRA Darth Aggie, I don't know how I get around.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 17, 02:35:00 am GMT-4  

  • Doilies are an accessory piece for the G-string swim suits some women wear. Its a little bit of cloth they attach to the back to give a wee bit o' coverage when they have to get up and move around.

    In that case I R A Darth Aggie, I'm all for them :)

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri May 19, 04:11:00 pm GMT-4  

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