Snails running rampant across Panhandle
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Snails running rampant across Panhandle

Well, maybe not running – more like sluggishly, slimily slogging. But they are getting to be rampant, at least according to the Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance, as reported in the March 7 Times by editor David Adlerstein. Critters that are becoming problematic along the Panhandle, in what’s called the Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, include…

Rats, Ratso, and Ratatouille
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Rats, Ratso, and Ratatouille

“Rats!” Webster defines the interjection, a tad politer than “damn” or some other four-letter words you might let slip, as expressing “disappointment, frustration, or disgust.” The usage, which dates back to the 1800s, may be making a comeback with the widespread resurgence of rat populations, as reported by the NY Times, PBS, and other media….

The Secret Lives of Words: Florida’s flamboyant flamingos
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The Secret Lives of Words: Florida’s flamboyant flamingos

If you’re a senior citizen like me (there’re plenty in Apalach), you may recall “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano,” the chartbuster hit first recorded by The Ink Spots in 1940, and later by Glenn Miller, Pat Boone, and even, in an at-home private session, Elvis (they’re all on YouTube). I was reminded of…

The Secret Lives of Words: Flies in the ointment
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The Secret Lives of Words: Flies in the ointment

Seems like the flies were more annoying than ever this summer, and still are as fall approaches. As soon as you want to step outside, those critters turn on their buzzsaws and start bugging you. Insects of the order Diptera, there are about a million fly species worldwide, upwards of 3,000 right here in Florida,…

Secret Lives of Words: Firefighting in Franklin County and ancient Rome
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Secret Lives of Words: Firefighting in Franklin County and ancient Rome

Reading the Times’ recent front-page article (See April 13 Times “Alligator Point to get new firehouse”) on the groundbreaking for Alligator Point’s new firehouse reminded me how fortunate we are in the U.S. to have fire departments that are funded and operated, not by corporate entities concerned with CEO salaries and share-holder profits, but by…

The Secret Lives of Words: Belfry bats, Bela, and Batman
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The Secret Lives of Words: Belfry bats, Bela, and Batman

When our beloved Apalachicola Times editor David Adlerstein confessed recently that he had bats in his belfry (the phrase dates to the late 19th century.), I was afraid his ultra-long workweeks had finally driven him batty. Then I realized he meant literally, not metaphorically. A “colony” of the flying mammals (sometimes also called a “camp,”…

LaFleur: LeBron, lefties, and ambidexterity
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LaFleur: LeBron, lefties, and ambidexterity

One of the most powerful and dextrous athletes of the 21st century, and some say the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, LeBron James recently surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record to become the NBA’s all-time highest scorer. In the L.A. Lakers’ Feb. 7 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron, formerly with our…

Ant farms, Ant-Men, and chewy chocolate critters
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Ant farms, Ant-Men, and chewy chocolate critters

The Secret Lives of Words One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the ground, playing outside our apartment, and suddenly finding big black ants swarming all over me. They weren’t stinging, but they were startling, and oh so scary. I shrieked, jumped up, and ran around in circles trying to brush the critters…

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Wanna play cowboy?

When I was 12 or so… Seems like most movie and TV cowboys have issues nowadays. They abuse their families (think 2021’s “Power of the Dog”); murder unforgivingly (as in Eastwood’s 1992 film “Unforgiven”); or end up being crazed androids (in “Westworld,” the franchise begun in 1973, now an HBO series). Things were different when…