Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Letters to the editor with pictures since 2002. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

[“Feeding starch to deer”] Based on the two posts last week reacting to a previous Save Our Key Deer post about Japanese Nara Park rice cake-eating deer; and how that supposedly proves wrong local claims that starch can hurt Key deer. We see it’s time again to re-post some facts, which are definitely not fake news.

The problem is not the corn or rice cakes. The problem is sudden, excessive intake of simple carbohydrates like corn, (or doughnuts, corn chips, and other human foods that are high in simple carbohydrates) for a deer not used to them. What happens is a condition known as “rumen acidosis” where good bacteria are quickly replaced by bad bacteria in the deer’s stomach system after they gorge on the stuff. I have personally endured through 2 Key deer dying from rumen acidosis. In both those cases it was due to their accidentally getting into a BPK resident’s bag of cracked corn meant for chicken feed. Once symptoms are obvious there’s nothing much one can do, and for the deer, it’s a bad way to clock out. Key deer, due to their small size and very specialized diet, are especially vulnerable.
Here’s an analogy that may help explain the difference between deer eating corn with no ill effects, and a deer that gets sick with rumen acidosis: Let’s say you visit a rural village in a third world country. The only source of drinking water is a cistern from which all the villagers drink – so you drink from it as well. Unlike the healthy villagers, you get very, very sick. The villagers wonder what your problem is, since they, their fathers and their grandfathers have used the cistern all their lives without getting ill. The reason is, of course, that unlike their digestive systems that are adapted to the unique substances/toxins excreted by bacteria in their water, your digestive tract has not encountered those substances in large quantities before…and you get poisoned and seriously ill.
In the Keys (and Japan’s Nara Park), the “villagers” are deer that have been gradually accustomed to corn and rice, and “you” are a deer that up to now has been eating mostly vegetation, and all of a sudden gets to gorge on a pile of corn or cookies. In deer, the sudden excess starch and sugar in their rumen causes rapid growth of Streptococcus bacteria which secrete lactic acid. The deer’s rumen pH drops to or below 5, which kills most of the “good” bacteria and other organisms which normally help the deer digest plant cellulose. Suddenly, the digestion processes stops and damaging, potentially deadly rumen acidosis poisoning sets in. Deer that are accustomed to corn or rice as part of their diet do not experience this initial shock reaction, just like the villagers with their tainted water.
For the skeptics who may doubt SOKD’s science and our own observations and experiences, we urge you to read-up on the subject on this excellent and very thorough web page put together by a deer hunting organization. Link

[Narrow Minds] The problem with us right now is that we don’t believe anything that disagrees with our notions. No matter what proof is presented we won’t believe it or don’t think it’s important. That is why conspiracy theories thrive.



[Daylight Savings Time] they say it takes three days to adjust to time changes.

[Stupid] Sometimes you look at people and wonder, how did they fit all that stupid into one head?



[Magic Mushrooms] Fly agaric mushrooms were a favorite psychedelic in the Baltic tribes and Vikings.

[R.I. P.] I was told that Perry McClain passed away in a hospital in Miami yesterday Nov. 1. He had been having heart problems recently.



[R.I.P.] Legendary actor Sean Connery “went peacefully” after a long battle with dementia, his widow said in an exclusive interview. Micheline Roquebrune, Connery’s wife of 45 years, said the disease had sapped the Oscar-winning actor of his vigor and said he got his final wish to pass away peacefully. Link

[Daylight Savings Time] I hate daylight savings time and all the politicians who that caused this travesty. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained by the idiotic switching back and forth causing our body clocks to go into spasms over the twice a year antiquated practice that supposedly helped the agricultural community. This is the time for Voting. Don’t vote for any politician who supports switching to daylight savings time. I’m getting really pissed off having to adjust my life for something totally unnecessary, and as usual, something that is caused by politicians.


Trash Talk] Instead of placing garbage cans around this beach, the city made a giant see- through fish out of some barbed wire and mesh, and added a sign that says “Goby loves plastic, please feed him”. Kids love feeding Goby, who is usually full by the end of the day, and taken away by the city.


[For Sale] Handicap scooter. $250. Needs batteries. Located on 20th Street Ocean in Marathon. Please call 352-207-6492.


[Area 51] You know when they label something, they always use like, “Area 51”, etc, and I always think where is Area 1 thru area 50? and what’s beyond area 51? Same can be said for Covid-19, right? Where’s area 33043?

Gale Warning in effect for all coastal waters of the Florida Keys
Small Craft Advisory Conditions are expected through at least ThursdayA cold front will push through the Florida Keys this morning, driving a cooler and drier air mass through the islands.  Sea surface temperature gauges across Florida Bay and within Key West Harbor indicate water temperatures in the lower to mid 80s.  This is an ideal situation for a bona fide November blow.  The mechanical mixing of the cooler air behind the front overtop of the relatively warm coastal waters will result in near-gale northeasterly (28-33 knots) breezes later this afternoon through Tuesday morning.  Occasional gusts in exposed marine locations will reach 40 knots.  Needless to say, hazardous seas will build across the Florida Keys, including Hawk Channel and the Bay and Gulf side waters.  Significant Wave Heights will build to 7 to 8 feet along the outer fringes of the Reef Tract, while seas will build to 15 to 16 feet across the Straits of Florida.  Strong northeast to east breezes (22-27 knots) will persist through at least Thursday. Link
[Stradivari Violin] The wood Stradivari used was cut in the foothills of the Apennines and dumped green into the Po or Adige Rivers, floated downstream, and stored in brackish lagoons near Venice. This was purely for con­venience, but it did something critical to the wood. It opened up its pores. Stradivari purchased the wood wet. He did not season it. Instead, he soaked it further in a so­lution of his own, probably a com­bination of borax, sea salt, fruit gum, quartz and other minerals, and ground, colored Venetian glass. He soaked it for months, perhaps years, while it absorbed these chemicals. What did they do to the wood? Amazing, complex, miraculous things! First, they preserved it. The borax made the wood tighter, harder, stiffer. The ground quartz and glass prevented the violin from being eaten by woodworms, but it also filled in the air spaces and gave it a brilliance and clarity of tone. The fruit gum caused subtle changes and acted as a fungicide. Of course the real secret lies in the proportions.

The resulting instruments had a big, brilliant sound, but it was a harsh sound. Something was needed to dampen the vibrations, the overtones. Here is where the true genius of Stradi­vari comes in. He found that in his secret varnish. The varnish of a Stradivarius under a scanning electron microscope, 30,000x is not the smooth, hard layer it seems to the naked eye. Instead, there are billions of microscopic cracks. When the violin is played, these cracks absorb and dampen the harsh vi­brations and resonances, allowing only the purest, clear­est tone to escape. That’s the true secret to Stradivari’s violins.

The problem is the varnish he used was an in­credibly complex chemical solution, involving boiled in­sects and other organic and inorganic sources. It has defied all analysis—and we have so little of it to test. You can’t strip the varnish off a Strad — removing even a little will ruin a violin. You’d need to destroy an entire instrument to get enough varnish to analyze it properly. Even if you had all his secret recipes, you still might fail. Stradivari, knowing all that we don’t, managed to make some mediocre violins. There were other factors to making a great violin, some apparently even beyond his control­—such as the particular qualities of the piece of wood he used.