The Salty Dog: Good Karma in Sarasota

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I am a Tibetan Terrier (TT), an ancient breed. I am fierce. I was bred by the Tibetans to sit for hours on top of snowy mountain peaks and to use my keen eyes and sharp bark to warn my humans about invaders. I am a watch dog.

In Tibet, the members of my breed are referred to as “Little People” and as the “Holy Dogs of Tibet.” We were never bought or sold but given to guests as good luck charms. We were gifts; we were treasured.

We are not in fact terriers; the English named us and made a mistake. There’s no terrier in our bloodline. Our Tibetan name is Tsang Apso, or bearded one from Tsang. Our hair grows thick and long. The Dalai Lama named his own TT “Senge” which means Little Lion.  We are fierce.

The move to Sarasota, although good for my sun-loving human companions, has not been as good for me. Look at me now.

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My coat has been shorn, not because I’m a shedder (because we TTs don’t shed), but because it’s so darn hot here. Really hot. All summer long. From June to September I walk around nearly naked. With this hair cut, I look like a goat. Put a clanging bell around my neck, and you’d never know I am a  TT. [This may be why some Tibetans called us “Rapso” meaning goat-haired.] But I don’t bleat. Grrrr. Even shorn, I am fierce.

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Instead of sitting atop a mountain, these days I guard the pool from my cabana.

Life is tough.

TTs are tougher.

Top 10 Things NOT to Do While Vacationing in Sarasota (by Jack)

There are lots of websites you can go to that will list things to do while you visit Sarasota and I can’t disagree with many of those recommendations. Indeed, Sarasota is a wonderful place to enjoy a wide variety of things, from the marvelous Symphony Orchestra, to the world-famous beaches, to some of the best Cuban sandwiches in South Florida. But even paradise has some dangers and some things to avoid. Below are 10 things I recommend you not do while enjoying the Sun Coast.

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1. Do not go wading in retention ponds. Sarasota has built a large number of retention ponds that help control flooding and mitigate the effects of storm-water run-off. However, since these ponds are freshwater and often connected to each other through a system of canals it is not unusual to find alligators in them at any particular time. It is not a good idea to go wading in these ponds at any time of the day or night, as Matthew Riggins would tell you (that is, if he was still alive to be able to talk to you). Riggins was a not too bright alleged burglar who was breaking into homes in Barefoot Bay when he was interrupted by the police. He fled and apparently thought it was a good idea to hide in a retention pond not far away. The police found him, or what was left of him, a few days later.

2. Do not ride a bicycle. Riding a bike anywhere in Florida is a dangerous proposition. Florida ranks second in the nation in bicycle fatalities. While the Legacy Trail is a wonderful 11-mile bike path between Palmer Ranch and Venice, avoid biking on our roads. Of the 2,300 miles of Sarasota roads only 313 miles have bike lanes. If you are one of those crazy biking Europeans and insist on biking, at least avoid Fruitville Road. For some reason drivers on Fruitville have a higher propensity for running down cyclists than drivers in other parts of the city. Continue reading “Top 10 Things NOT to Do While Vacationing in Sarasota (by Jack)”

Why FL and Every Vote Matters in Presidential Election 2016 (by Sasha)

Like it or not, here they come…

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As a swing state, Florida will be inundated with both political advertisements and visits from the Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) campaigns. We will live for the next three months with ubiquitous efforts to convince us Floridians to vote in a decisive manner so that the hanging chads and hanging presidential election outcome of 2000 will not be repeated.

Florida is an important electoral state for several reasons:

First, because it takes only 270 votes to win the Electoral College (i.e., half of the 535 total votes plus one) and Florida holds 29 of those votes (only California at 55 and Texas at 38 and have more; NYS has the same at 29), Florida is a powerhouse state. Continue reading “Why FL and Every Vote Matters in Presidential Election 2016 (by Sasha)”

Salt and Snark: The Un-Vue (by Sasha)

Which is scarier, a Klingon Bird of Prey warship (courtesy of Star Trek)…

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or the Vue at 41 and Ringling Causeway (courtesy of unchecked development)?

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Consider the similarities:

  • Two huge wings;
  • An enormous mass that casts a dark shadow on those below;
  • A threat to life as we know it.

Okay, so maybe we’ll learn to love it once it is done. But it does raise the legitimate questions of:  A Vue for who? and How close to the road can a building be without requiring a driver’s license?

Read more here

 

 

 

Salt and Snark: My Nomination for Florida’s State Tree-an invasive species (by Jack)

The Florida state tree is the Sabal Palm, also called the Cabbage Palm. The palm has a single trunk and can grow as tall as 70 feet.

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But state symbols should capture the essence of the state and for this reason the Sabal Palm is a poor choice—its characteristics do not symbolize much about what makes Florida so unique.

However, there is one tree that towers above all the others because it more accurately represents Florida—the Australian Pine.

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Although the Australian Pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) is on Florida’s invasive specifies list, I believe it should be removed from that list and proudly declared the “Florida State Tree.” There are at least five reasons the Sabal Palm should be replaced by the Australian Pine.

 

First, the Australian Pine is an invasive species; introduced into Florida in the 1890s it has proliferated. This, by itself, makes it a strong candidate for state tree.

 

 

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Like the magnificent tree, people from other states, who originate primarily from New York, New Jersey, and the Midwest, have become Florida’s invasive  species to the tune of over 200,000 per year. Like the tree, they have proliferated, spending their Social Security checks on a variety of goods and services.

Second, the tree thrives around beaches. While it cannot grow directly in salt water it grows quite well near the water. This, of course, is also true of the human population of the state where over 76% of the residents of Florida live on or near the beach. Like the Australian Pine, Floridians cannot live in the water, but most thrive close to either the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading “Salt and Snark: My Nomination for Florida’s State Tree-an invasive species (by Jack)”

The Salt Life: Favorite Free Things/Activities in Sarasota (by Sasha)

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For year ’round residents, it can be frustrating to see a wealth of activities and events that take, well, wealth to attend. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do if you live on a  budget. Consider some of my favorite things that are free (or nearly so.)

(1) The Herald-Tribune. Sarasota’s local (and Pulitzer Prize winning) newspaper has a great free online condensed edition. I love this paper for how it engages in powerful investigative local reporting—a rarity these days. You don’t know nothin’ about Sarasota without being a reader!!!  And with full digital and print available for about $20/month, how can anyone resist being a subscriber? With Sunday’s coupons, the subscription pays for itself. Even better is that on Thursdays, Ticket Magazine is included with the paper and this supplement offers a comprehensive list of weekend and upcoming events throughout the area.

www.heraldtribute.com

Continue reading “The Salt Life: Favorite Free Things/Activities in Sarasota (by Sasha)”

The Salty Dog Speaks (as told to Sasha)

My name is Karma and I’m a Tibetan Terrier who was raised as a snowy dog in upstate New York. But now I live in tropical Sarasota and have become a salty dog with opinions about a dog’s life here.

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So, for now, here’s what I have to say…

A paws up for:

* Dog-friendly places like Oleary’s Tiki Bar, Whitaker Park, and Bird Key Park.

* Main Street store owners who put out bowls with fresh water for us thirsty canines.

* The SunTrust Bank on Whitfield and University that hands out biscuits when my owners use the drive-up window.

A growl at:

* Having to get my Kennel Cough vaccination not once but twice a year. (I know that groomers and boarders are protecting us, but really, you snort the stuff twice a year!)

* Dog dresses and outfits:  Hey we have fur and we have descended from wolves!!! We are not a toy or your baby. Unless it’s Halloween, don’t do it. Grrrrr.