Karma Sings–again; but in a hurricane

To the tune of “Singin in the Rain” (this is the second verse; worse than the first):




I am walking in the rain

Correction. A hurricane

Thunder crashing ’round me

Outdoor potty is my bane

Summer I’d like to forget

Please send me back to Tibet

Sarasota is insane

I’m still walkin’

Walkin’ in the rain


Sarasota Loves Tennis: Fun Facts to Know and Tell (by Jack & Sasha)


In honor of the US Tennis Open 2016, which begins today and runs through Sept 11, we offer the following fun facts.


The 1917 US Tennis Open was known as the Patriotic Tournament during WWI.


From 1908 -1961, the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times.

The tennis events known as “Majors” or “Slams” borrow the terms from bridge, not baseball.

In 1977 during a US Open match between John McEnroe and Eddie Dibbs, a fan named James Reilly was shot in the leg. It was unclear whether this was a stray bullet, from a sniper within the stadium, or by someone from a Queens apartment building. The shooter was never found. But after a brief delay, the match continued (and the crowd stayed put!!!) and McEnroe won.

Longest tennis match in history was at Wimbleton 2010 when during the 1st round, John Isner and Nicholas Mahut played 183 games that took 11 hours 5 minutes and stretched from June 22-24. Isner eventually won.


Suzanne Lenglen in 1926 pinterest.com

Longest professional tennis point: the ball passed over the net 643 times in a 1984 Richmond, Virginia match between Jean Hepner and Vicky Nelson. Nelson won the point after the 29 minute rally and eventually the match, (a six hour 31 minute marathon that remains the longest match played in a single day.)

Shortest match: In the 1922 Wimbledon final Suzanne Lenglen defeated Molla Mallory, 6–2, 6–0, in 23 minutes. Some accounts state that the match was over in 20 minutes




Since 2006, the challenge system in tennis has been a complex computer system named Hawk-Eye. It replaced Cyclops.

One explanation of the strange scoring system of Love, 15, 30, and 40 is that it is based on the face of a clock. But how then to explain 40 rather than the score leaping to 45? The theory is that when playing from deuce (40-40), two consecutive points are necessary to win the game. So, following the clock model (the hand moves from 40 to 50 when an advantage is won; back to 40 when an advantage is lost, and all the way to 60 when an ad is followed by another point. Some tennis historians claim that the original scoreboard looked like a clock with a movable arm.



Tennis:  In 12th century France, in a game called Real Tennis, the server would shout “tenez,” take heed, like shouting “fore” in golf, leading to the name of the sport. Or perhaps from the Old French word, “tenetz” meaning to hold (i.e., a racket.)

Volley, from the French “a la vole,” meaning “on the fly.”

Let or Net: When the service ball hits the net, it is called a Let. It was coined  from mishearing a frustrated Russian server who yelled “nyet.” (OK, not really. We made this up just to make sure you’re paying attention.)

Deuce  may come from the French phrase “a deux le jeu,” meaning “to both is the game” (i.e., the two players have equal scores.) Or, it may indicate that two points are needed to win the game. Oddly, the French do not use the term, but instead use “egalite,” meaning equal.

The origins of “love” is disputed. It may have been derived from the French word for egg, “l’ouef” (although the contrary French refer to nil as “zero.”) It might come from the Dutch or Flemish word, “lof” meaning playing for honor rather than a wager. Similarly, that wagers were often taken, the winner took it all and the loser played for love of the game, so zero became known as love. Another theory, it’s from the old Scotch word “luff” meaning nothing.

Eddie Dibbs in 1972 coined the term “bagel” to refer to zero games won in a set.

Jack often uses the term, “puddler,” for the player who hits dinky shots (no matter how effective they are.)

Words that describe what it feels like to play tennis in Sarasota during the summer months:

Baking, blazing, blistering, broiling, burning, fevered, fiery, flaming, friggin’ hot, humid, oven-like, parching, roasting, scalding, scorching, searing, sizzling, smokin’, steaming, summery, sweltering, thermogenic, torrid, tropical—very warm.

And finally, a copy of a tennis poem, “40 Love” by Roger Gough

Screenshot 2016-08-28 11.59.42

for an interesting analysis of the poem:



One of our sources:

Stuart Miller, May 24, 2013, Quirks of the Game: How Tennis Got Its Scoring System



Local Artist: Rob Gerdin (by Jack & Sasha)

Meet Local Artist:

Rob Gerdin, designer and senior creative director of NatureRails, LLCRob parrott photo

Art Medium:

Custom metal railings, gates, fire screens, murals, mixed media. Airbrush & Sculpting

Contact Information:

http://www.NatureRails.com   941-351-2598    INFO@NatureRails.com



His family and friends say that Rob sees everything: that pelicans twist upside down a split second before they hit the water; that the lower beak of skimmers is longer than the top one; that each feather of a bird is completely different from the others. Even when he was just 4 years old, he noticed things that others didn’t; he used his crayons not to fill in spaces but to shade, blending the colors to more realistically capture the intricate beauty of nature.

When he was 13, Rob’s family moved from Queens, NY to the Hudson River Valley, and his appreciation for nature was moved as well. “I was used to seeing rats and pigeons but suddenly there was another Awesome photo of waves railing had to send-1world so beautiful; there were deer, huge green spaces, and so many birds with unique colors and feathers.”  The birds became his favorite subjects, so much so that his high school art teacher dubbed him “the birdman.” At 13 he sold his first professional painting to his orthodontist.


As an adult, Rob lived in Silicon Valley and then San Francisco, working by day and then coming home to paint at night. As a self-taught artist, he studied art at a community college but ended up teaching his teachers and fellow students. He then taught himself computer graphics, beginning with Corel Draw in its 1.0 version. His artwork garnered recognition and awards.




A transformative moment came when he moved to Colorado, met his wife Wendy, and built a log home that required dozens of wood spindles for the balcony. Again, Rob saw things differently. Here was an opportunity to take something functional and turn it into a work of art. The idea hit him at 3 am and by the time he was done, he had designed three metal panels depicting an eagle, moose, trees, and mountains to replace the spindles. NatureRails was born.


Under Rob’s artistic guidance, NatureRails produces custom steel and aluminum gates, railings, and mural panels that draw from the ideas, symbols, and interests of clients as well as the nature that surrounds them. Since their move to Sarasota in 2011 to be near his mother, Florida has inspired a new motif:  starfish, clown fish in seaweed, dolphins, and of course the birds:  egrets, blue heron, pelicans, and barred owls.

Carolina Palm wolf gate copyright

Each NatureRails item is meticulously designed to meet code, safety considerations, and built “like a bridge” by local metal fabricators to last even in a salty and tropical climate like Sarasota’s. [To see how they’re made, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kltPQMqWdFQ] There are no large areas of empty space, no sharp edges, and no area lacking a protective powder coating.

But what there IS, is art.


“If you can imagine it, we can design it.” Rob interviews his clients, interprets the ideas he collects, uses photos and research to get the details right, freehand draws into a tablet with a stylus and then from there uses his painterly skills to design the piece. “I’m a nature guy trying to be a metal guy,” he says.

Screenshot 2016-08-27 17.39.57

His background in painting and his love for nature show in his works, but so does his sensitivity to what is meaningful to his clients.  One of his current projects, [Full Disclosure: for my sister Cat] is a mural that depicts the Ringling Bridge, a woman below on a SUP board, her whippet watching from shore, and her favorite birds in the scene. Her reaction to the design: “It’s brilliant! He’s brilliant! Even better than what I had imagined.”

The Salt Life: Burkinis and Sarasota (by Sasha)

There are French beach towns that have said “non” concerning Muslim women who wear “burkinis” at the beach.

Mind you, this isn’t a matter of nudity or prudity; this is a concern that the women on the beach are wearing too much and so 30 French towns banned burkinis, concluding this apparel is dangerous because it is, according to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a “provocation.”


Strange. I grew up when the bikini and topless sunbathing by women were considered provocative. But wearing too much at the beach? A provocation? A “symbol of the oppression of women”? Really?


Okay. I know there is a reason behind the French argument but it is a contorted one, so follow along: The French mayors and President aren’t saying that burkinis are too sexually stimulating; they object to burkinis because they are too politically stimulating. Burkinis are equated with religious garb that constitute an affront to France’s secular values. But then the logical leap is that every woman who dresses in full-body swimwear at the beach is an oppressed Muslim–who might also be perceived as a member of radicalized Islam and, therefore, given the series of Islamist attacks on French soil, these potential terrorists lounging on French beaches fully clothed will make other beach goers, ummm, uncomfortable.

The argument is too incredibly illogical and ignorant to even warrant a rebuttal, n’est pas?

In contrast, here in Sarasota we are a bastion of liberty—a line in the sand (ha, ha) where the individual right to cover up is recognized. We not only allow women to walk the beach wearing as much clothing as they like, but we also have doctors who advise them to cover up!

  •  There are the women who are jogging wearing their 50 SPF proof jogging suits (but what if running for them is a religious experience?);
  • There are the Mennonites who walk Lido Beach wearing ankle-length pastel dresses and bonnets (Eek! Tied to religious practices!);
  • There are the newly arrived tourists who wear jeans and loose tee-shirts (and thank their deity that they are here);
  • There are the brides and their attendants in their sweeping long dresses (Eek! many times fresh from participating in religious ceremonies on the beach);
  • There are the women who cover themselves with towels and hide from the sun beneath huge umbrellas (and pray that their dermatologist will commend them for their efforts).

Meanwhile, there are news videos of French police officers forcing Muslim women to strip off their burkinis right there on the beach in order to stay put. Huh? A government-enforced strip tease? That’s not provocative?

But today (8/26/16), at least for the moment, reason prevailed when France’s highest administrative court ruled that the burkini bans in French resorts are illegal as they constitute “a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of fundamental liberties.”

In response, at least one mayor vowed to fight on, defy the ruling, and maintain the ban in the name of ending women’s oppression.

Mon Dieu.



The Salt Life: Hurricane Preparations (by Sasha)

Hey Sarasota:  We are approaching the mid-point of Hurricane Season; the period of time when things can get serious. As I write this, a new threatening system is forming and looks to be headed this way.

With that in mind, it’s time to shop.

Yes, shop.

Since living through a derecho (i.e., an intense wind storm that can contain mini twisters) in upstate New York that downed surrounding trees, crushed my car (and temporarily my spirit), blew out our windows, blocked our doors with debris, left power lines dangling and sparking, and forced us to live on our own for a week–UNPREPARED–I’ve  become very interested in (Jack would say obsessed with) preparing for the worst.

I am no expert, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express 😉 and I am an attentive viewer of Survivor, Dual Survivor, Man Against Nature, and Naked and Afraid. So I am very prepared (Jack would say very paranoid.) I have no ambition to eat off the land, distill water with plastic tubing, or ignite fire by rubbing sticks together. But with planning, I won’t have to. Whether the disaster is an electrical outage, a flood, a hurricane, a tornado, or a zombie apocalypse, what is needed in advance is supplies. Hence, you need to shop.

You have probably already stockpiled food (and remember your pet’s!), gathered your important documents (include your home owner’s insurance!), know to fill your bathtub with water, and have an assortment of batteries at hand. But if you think that makes you prepared, dear reader, you are a true novice.


So for disaster virgins, consider the following list of unique things that I have  purchased and are ready for action. [If you click on the photo it’ll take you to Amazon.com and we’ll make oodles of $ if you buy!]Take a look at some of the items inside Sasha’s Disaster Survival Kit:


1)  Lantern. Candles are nice, but they work so much better and are much safer when they are enclosed in a lantern. So I have stockpiled candles, a glass lantern, lighters and matches. But there are better choices.


My recommendation: The inflatable Luci solar Lantern—a little solar lantern with good lighting and lasting time—and it collapses for storage, is light as a feather, can be hung up, it floats, and is safer than anything with a flame. (This was a Christmas gift from someone who thinks I’m crazy, but let’s me be me. I adore it.) Continue reading “The Salt Life: Hurricane Preparations (by Sasha)”

Karma To Run For Senate? Considers taking on ‘Lil Marco (by Jack)

In a surprising development, Karma, the cute white Tibetan Terrier (which is not really a terrier at all) is considering a run at the U. S. Senate seat in Florida presently held by Marco Rubio.IMG_1909

Her candidacy was inspired by Duke, the 9 year-old Great Pyrenees that has recently won a third one-year term as honorary mayor of Cormorant Township in Minnesota.

Speaking through an interpreter she said:  “We are being overrun by illegal Mexican chihauhuas and ‘Lil Marco supports granting them amnesty and even allowing them to compete at Westminster. These illegal Mexican immigrants have criminal backgrounds (expired dog licenses!) and run drugs (black market flea meds!) and are a threat to homegrown dogs—even though there are some, I suppose, who are nice.”

Laying on her poolside cabana she calming mused about the problem: “I hear that they are crossing our border with ‘coyotes.’ We will have a bigly problem in the future when we have cross-bred coyotes and chihauhuas. Trust me.” Karma took a brief time-out to lick her butt and then continued with what was now becoming a rant.

“’Lil Marco has done nothing to protect the right to be secure within our doghouses for all American canines. All he cares about are those Havanese. If I were to win I would build a wall. Believe me. It would be high enough that not just the chihauhuas couldn’t jump over it but neither could the coyotes. Believe me, believe me.”

[This reporter had the odd feeling that Karma’s speech was familiar–was she plagiarizing, and if so, from whom?]

While her announcement has not been made official, Karma has already picked up the endorsement of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke who yesterday issued his unsolicited endorsement: “I love Karma’s white fur. I support white power in all forms. I am overjoyed to see that she is embracing issues I have championed for years. It’s time we put America first!” Asked if she would accept Duke’s endorsement she glared at the reporter who asked the question and responded: “Grrrrrrrrrr.”IMG_1903

Karma seemed fully prepared when asked about her own immigrant roots. “My ancestors came here legally when the Chinese took over Tibet. By nature we are a peaceful breed.  Indeed one of my distant relatives, Senge, was the Dalai Lama’s most loyal companion. So, I understand oppression. But the important difference is that my kind came here legally, the Mexican chihauhuas are being dumped here by the Mexican government. We must build a wall to keep them out. And, what’s more, I will make the Mexican Kennel Club pay for it! Believe me.”

Meanwhile, Florida politics continues to amaze us all.

Salt of the Earth: Vintage Paws (by Karma)

On a sultry Sunday afternoon, I took my two humans with me to Yappy Hour at Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton.

Yep. That’s me at the event.


This is a fun place for dogs every third Sunday (1-4pm) not only because this brewery welcomes canines, but because they also sponsor fundraisers for local rescue organizations.

Today the featured nonprofit was a favorite of mine:  Vintage Paws.

Founded in 2012 by Jennifer Hummel, Vintage Paws is a Senior Dog Sanctuary.

It is a needed service because when dogs are aging or sick, or their humans are aging or sick, euthanasia (I can barely think about it) is sometimes the only option.


So Vintage Paws was created to provide a place for displaced senior dogs, either through foster care or adoption.

This event taught humans about the issue, and told them about the need for donations and for humans who can foster, adopt, or volunteer.

Some of the dogs waiting for a new home played with us lucky ones who already have one:

That’s Andy, who is very friendly and cute, posing with Jennifer Hummel, who is also friendly and cute.






This is Joey, a very sweet male. He has just the right amount of energy to be fun but is calm.










Lily and I sniffed each other and touched noses. She says she likes to be held.




I liked all three dogs and each really deserves a new loving home.

Since it’s the dog days of summer, there were lots of bowls of water around, a pool to stand in, and free biscuits (but I ate the popcorn instead.)

Daryl Hall of Vintage Paws shows off some of the dogs in need of placement.



The long range goal of Vintage Paws is to raise enough money for a new facility; kind of like assisted living for older and ailing dogs.





If you have opposable thumbs, (and I don’t), you can check them out at VintagePaws.org

Email Jennifer at: Jennifer@vintagepaws.org  or call at 941-921-4355.

Tell them Karma sent you. Arrrff!