Global Warning

Week 28 Oscar Scherer 005

While kayaking last week near Osprey, Florida we found a beach ball that was stranded in the mangroves.  It was made in China (of course) and included the following statement: “Warning! Use only under competent supervision.” This immediately raised the question (to Ed): what constitutes competent beach ball use supervision and how can you make sure you have it? Also, is there training available so you can become a competent supervisor?

In addition, the warning on the beach ball was repeated in 23 additional languages.  Ed googled a few of the words to determine the languages but many of them were incomprehensible—here’s a few of our favorite words for “Warning” from the other languages:

  • Figyelmeztetes – Hungarian
  • Bridinajums – Swahili
  • Upozornenie –  Slovak
  • Uyara – Turkish

In some of the languages that were somewhat comprehensible, the warning only required “adult” supervision instead of competent supervision.  We assume that this means that in those countries either 1) adults are assumed to be competent, or 2) there is no word for competent.

Of course these warnings are not intended to protect users of beach balls; they are intended to keep the company that makes the beach balls from being sued.  And this is also why most of the warnings require a competent supervisor instead of just an adult.  It seems, by definition, if something happened to your child while they were playing with a beach ball, you were not a competent supervisor.  As the attorney would say: “we rest our case.”

On a totally unrelated subject, Ed has missed doing New York Times daily crossword puzzles during our trip so he downloaded a book to his Kindle several weeks ago.  He has been doing puzzles ever since and we ran into the following coincidences:

  • In one puzzle, the clue was: “litter member that’s almost always female”.  Ed had no idea but figured out that the answer was “calico cat” although he did not know why.  Shortly thereafter we saw a calico cat in a campground in South Carolina.  Patty talked to the owner and it turned out that the cat was a male and they are rare—about one in every 3000 calico cats are male.
  • In another puzzle, the clue was: “Hogwarts class taught by Severus Snape”.  Coincidentally, we had watched about 15 minutes of the movie “Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone” the day before, including the scene where Professor Snape teaches Harry his first class in “potions”.  Puzzle solved. (By the way, hasn’t Alan Rickman been a great bad guy, starting with Die Hard?)

We are camping in Oscar Scherer State Park south of Sarasota, Florida this week and we are scheduled to stay in Florida until mid-March.  By Florida standards, the weather was lousy last week, mostly cloudy with high temperatures often only in the 50’s.  We were feeling sorry for ourselves until we started receiving reports from friends and relatives in the Northeast—minus 3 outside of Boston, minus 10 in New York State, and minus 17 in Maine.   Needless to say, we have stopped complaining about the weather.

The weather did limit our outdoor activities but we were able to do some hiking, biking, and kayaking.  Here are some photos.

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Patty on the Sarasota to Venice biking trail—where’s the blue sky?

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Patty takes a break from biking.

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Ed prepared for hiking

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Where’s the sun?

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Kayaking among the mangroves along the Intracoastal Waterway

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A dragonfly on Patty’s paddle

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Patty on South Creek which runs through Oscar Scherer State Park to the Intracoastal Waterway

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Pelicans are everywhere in this part of Florida.

We tend to lose track of time during these retired, traveling days—we didn’t realize New
Year’s Eve was coming up until the day before.  However, we are proud to say that we stayed up until midnight and we didn’t even take a nap during the day.  We hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year!


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