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Florida News – Part Two

In unrelated news: you can put the foulest forms of medication in a quarter can of Science Diet a/d, add some water to make a gruel, and a cat will lick the bowl clean. The stuff [a/d] is expensive [$1.30/can] but, you never use more than a quarter of a can at a time for an adult cat because it is so rich. It’s good for dogs too. Definitely not recommended for over-weight pets.

Sinfonian of Blast Off! has been following the career of Sara Gonzalez, who was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to be the chair of the state’s Public Employee Relations Commission. Some might wonder why a dermatologist’s assistant with an undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s in physician assistant studies should be appointed to a position normally held by a lawyer with labor law experience, but that is staid, old-fashioned thinking that ignores Mrs. Gonzalez’s most important qualification: she’s the wife of Crist’s recently hired general counsel, Jason Gonzalez.

Alas the naysayers have won out as Sara Gonzalez has withdrawn her name after the nasty people in the Republican Senate made it known that there was no way they were going to approve this concept. Well, there is a certain amount of bad karma associated with counsels named Gonzales, but apparently even the wingers in the Florida Senate felt this dog wouldn’t hunt.

Let’s have a little accuracy in reporting on the sea life that is killing and maiming people in Florida’s coastal waters. While they are both in the order of Rajiformes, the Stingray is in the family Dasyatidae, while the Spotted eagle ray is in the family Myliobatidae. Stingrays are normally encountered on or near the bottom, often buried in the sand and a really large one might be 2-feet across and weigh 20 pounds. The eagle rays can have a 10-foot wingspan, weigh up to 500 pounds and are noted for their prodigious leaps out of the water.

So, when the BBC headline says Leaping stingray kills US woman, and continues in the text to say “A US woman on a boat off the Florida Keys has died after a stingray leaped up and struck her in the face” they are simply wrong.

The poor woman was struck by a young spotted eagle ray of 75 pounds, who also died in the encounter. The eagle ray does have several poisonous spines in its long, whip-like tail. but they were not involved in the encounter. Eagle rays are a danger to people in small boats because they can “fly” through the water at really good speed and the take to the air like a dolphin. No one really knows why they do it, and in the water they avoid divers.

2 comments

1 hipparchia { 03.22.08 at 10:15 pm }

a/d is right tasty. iirc, it’s got both liver and tripe in it.

i hope whoever is in need of foul-tasting medication is going to be ok.

2 Bryan { 03.22.08 at 10:48 pm }

Dot’s comfortable now and getting better, but she was pretty ragged looking for several days and has lost some weight. I had to wait for her to get sicker than I would have liked before I could get her in the carrier.