Baby Turtles, Bonnie and Clyde, and Outlawing the Semicolon

English: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, somet...

English: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, sometime between 1932 and 1934, when their exploits in Arkansas included murder, robbery, and kidnapping. Contrary to popular belief the two never married. They were in a long standing relationship. Posing in front of an early 1930s Ford V-8 automobile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a week of missed opportunities, once again.  I found out too late it was World Turtle Day, and while internetting around to see what I had missed, I found I had also missed National Taffy Day, Chardonnay Day, and The Bonnie and Clyde Festival in Gibsland, Louisiana, where the whacky Dallas duo were ambushed and killed on May 23, 1934.  Bummer. And, then there’s the raging debate over semicolons.

Missing World Turtle Day blows. The worldwide celebration is observed in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects that encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.  Founded in 1990, the American Tortoise Rescue is responsible for promoting the idea turtles need love too, and seems to practice what they preach, claiming to have placed 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes.  Does this call for a re-reading of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species ?  In a Darwinian world where might makes right, human industry polluting these slow-moving, antique, and unproductive members of the food chain into extinction makes perfectly good sense when reviewing the bottom line…which is always the bottom line.

Taffy Day…Chardonnay Day…I can take or leave the taffy, but I’m open to housing any homeless bottles of decent Chardonnay.

A Bonnie and Clyde Festival though, and the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Louisiana in the Spring…I am making plans for next year and circling the dates on my American Tortoise Rescue calendar.  This does sound choice.  A group of actors from Denton, Texas, a town whose local bank was robbed twice by the B&C gang, show up annually to re-enact the ambush and squirt fake blood all over Ringgold Road where the real event took place.  Besides reenactments, tourists can meet some of Bonnie and Clyde’s relatives, such as Clyde’s nephew, Buddy Barrow, and his sister Marie Barrow.  And now and then some of Bonnie’s kin show up as well.  Then there’s “Boots” Hinton, whose father Ted was one of the six lawmen from the ambush.

English: L.J. "Boots" Hinton, curato...

English: L.J. “Boots” Hinton, curator of Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Boots” must be a popular name to bear in the piny woods of Louisiana, since the undertaker who embalmed Bonnie and Clyde back in 1934 was C.F. “Boots” Bailey.  He was an attention-mad sniveler though, complaining to the press about what difficult clients the notorious outlaws had been.  Seems the two bodies were so full of bullet holes the embalming fluid leaked all over Boots’ boots.

Some lifetimes life just sucks.

To get a scholarly perspective, anyone attending the event can sit in on the Friday night historians meeting at which “they come and argue about stuff,” says Billie Gene Poland, one of the festival’s organizers and the curator of the Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum in Gibsland.

The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum…or…The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum.  It’s like deciding between the Louvre and the Paris Museum of Modern Art on your last sober day in Paris.

English: Bonnie_&_Clyde Ambush Museum (Revised...

English: Bonnie_&_Clyde Ambush Museum (Revised), Gibsland, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ambush Museum doesn’t have a budget, they depend on donations, which means the pickin’s here are pretty slim.  There are some gun displays and two female mannequins dressed to look like the gangsters.   Outside the museum, there are lots of vendors selling everything from commemorative T-shirts to small swatches of cloth torn from the pants Clyde was wearing when they were gunned down.  Seems authenticty might be an issue.

For those who prefer Broadway, you missed out too.  The musical “Bonnie and Clyde” was run off the road.  Premiering at the La Jolla Playhouse on November 20, 2009, the show idled around the country, eventually making it to Broadway on November 4 of last year.  It only lasted 69 shows, then died, which seems to be a connecting thread here.  There’s always the 1967 film by Arthur “Bloody Art” Penn, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.  And Bonnie’s poem (figures she was a poet) “Trail’s End” has inspired songs by everyone, as in Brigette Bardot, Flatt and Scruggs, Mel Torme, Merle Haggard, Die Toten Hosen, a German punk band, and even weirder…in 2007, Belinda Carlysle, former head mistress of the all-girl pop band The Go-Gos.

And, if obsessive disorders interest you more than crappy music, you might look into Hybristophilia – Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome, big brother to Asphyxiophilia, Autassassinophilia, and Chremosistophilia.  Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome sufferers seem to be turned on by predatory types, becoming sexually aroused and more orgasm responsive when contemplating the careers of psychopathic killers, which is why Ted “Boots” Bundy,  Jeffrey “The Heel” Dahmer, and Charlie “Sole Man” Manson never knew a slow mail month while in prison.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car at the National Mus...

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Trivia Tidbit:  Bonnie and Clyde’s death car is on display to the public at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment.  Who would have thought there would be such a place…and, who would have thought a country ever-teetering on the brink of fiscal disaster would fund such a museum…and, who would think this ramble would need another bit of useless trivia?

This has been a very trying post, and I feel a touch of Hybristophilia coming on, so I’m going to have to hold off on the semicolon question and write some letters.

Later…

Cleaning Up My Corner of Costa Rica

 

 

 

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I read a post by a WordPresser who goes by the title inoniamartin in which she spoke of a young man named Ryan who had decided to take  it upon himself to clean up an area of beach.  She went on to say how inspired she and her two children were by his actions that they went out and cleaned up a park they frequent.  She sent out an  invitation to followers to do the same, then make a blog post about it.

This is something I do already, since I like my beach enough to pick up the refuse left by people who don’t like my beach enough to keep it clean, I asked my wife/photographer to come along and take a few shots of me doing what I do.

 

A Garbage shotSome of what I often find left on the beach is bio-degradable, like pieces of pineapple, coconut shells which vendors sell with a straw to drink the juice, which they call “pipa.”  These sorts of items are a part of the eco-system here, and I usually leave them since animals eat them, or live in them, or hide in them.

Then, there’s the stuff the sign was for…the things people leave on the beach that will be there forever.  And, much of it can be dangerous to people who like to walk on the beach barefoot…people like me.  I picked up several pieces of broken glass from beer bottles, something that can send the unsuspecting beachcomber to the hospital, or the nearest beach club for a little first aid.  And then, there’s the junk that is just annoying.

 

Yes, Coke is the real thing, so I’ve heard…but not part of the ideal beach experience.

 

A Garbage shot IIA Garbage shot VIIII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the bag…along with a plastic container, empty of cans and left floating on the tide.  Some of the beach vendors have garbage bags attached to the sides of their carts, but there’s still plenty of garbage to keep someone like me busy…busy enough to fill one bag with garbage, and then another.

 

 

A Garbage shot VA Trash Pick Day

 

 

 

The results of an hour or two of cleaning my small corner of a Costa Rican beach…

 

 

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A clean beach the next morning, for me…for my wife…for my neighbors…for the tourists here for only a few days…and for you, Ryan.  It may be a beach you will never visit, and I may never visit the beach you cleaned up, but we did something good for the world, and all the people and animals that share it with us.  There are some sea turtles here called Leatherbacks, which are an endangered species that only come ashore and lay their eggs here on this beach.  I’m sure they would appreciate people like you if they spoke anything but turtle.  Good luck in your effort to keep your beach clean, I’ll continue to do what I can to do the same.

 

Sea Turtle on beach in Costa Rica

Sea Turtle on beach in Costa Rica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Jatropha – The Little Bio-Fuel Fruit that Could…Scare the Oil Gangs

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I met Rogelio Murillo, a Costa Rican businessman operating a wind farm in the Vulcan Arenal area, and Hans Haeberer, a German engineer and partner in Clean Fuel and Energy for Latin America (C-Fela), when I moved to San Jose, Costa Rica a year ago.  They told me of a model Jatropha plantation they were involved with…Murillo contributing his knowledge of renewable energy, and Haeberer funneling investment and applying his expertise as an engineer.  The plantation was the brainchild of Eduardo Acosta, a Cuban who grew up in California.  The three are pictured above – Murillo, Haeberer, and Acosta, left to right.  The plantation has been featured on television programs on bio-fuels, and Acosta regularly updates his advancements in the propagation, harvesting, and processing of the plant for clean, sustainable use as a bio-fuel on his website www.greenacrescostarica.com.

Research has showed that oil from the crushed seeds of Jatropha make an excellent bio-fuel.  The plant has an advantage over other plants being used for bio-fuel production in that it not only tolerates, but grows well on dry, rocky soil unsuited to agriculture…such as the over-farmed, then over-grazed lands readily available in Costa Rica and nearly every Central and South American nation.  And, since most of the land they are purchasing, or interested in purchasing, is nearly useless to farmers or ranchers, it’s inexpensive…millions of hectares have been, or are in the process of being purchased.

Costa Rica Arenol Hans Scott Char 184European companies, lined up by Haeberer, have small-scale production machinery based on a model developed by Acosta, one he put together from a bicycle and spare parts, as well as a cooking stove fashioned specifically for Jatropha oil.  Acosta, along with C-Fela, has been addressing the problems encountered by others who have attempted to utilize Jatropha in the past, difficulty in seeding, harvesting, and the toxicity of the wild plant.  Planting Jatropha in conjunction with Coyol Palms, Bamboo, and other bio-fuel producers have made for more bio-diverse plantation planning, and when possible, are arranged in what Haeberer calls “bio corridors” providing migration routes and living space for wildlife, some species on the endangered list.  The day I visited Green Acres Costa Rica we found Acosta photographing Scarlet Macaws, a once plentiful species, now threatened due to loss of habitat.

The media in the United States has generally lined up against Jatropha as a viable source of bio-fuel:

A 2007 article in the New York Times warned that cultivation of Jatropha on a scale broad enough to make bio-fuel production financially attractive would infringe on fertile land currently producing food crops.  A March 2009 article in Time Magazine focused on the Myanmar government‘s efforts to encourage Jatropha cultivation, and raised a warning that decreased food supplies were inevitable.  Another Time article, from October, 2009, claimed the Kenyan and Indian governments were being bamboozled by shady speculators pushing farmers into Jatropha farming with little reliable information that it could work, leading them to certain devastation.  A 2009 study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found  that a natural breed of Jatropha used more water per gallon of biofuel than many other biofuel crops. This study was later contradicted in a letter from other scientists who claimed PNAS’s findings “too simplistic” in their calculations of estimated water consumption.

Then, there’s the plain greedy and larcenous.

A March 15, 2012 article in Bloomberg Businessweek gave several examples of the dangers of investing in Jatropha plantations.  In 2006, BioShape, a Dutch company approached the Tanzanian government with tales of jobs, economic aid and fortunes to be made if they would allow the company to create and operate Jatropha plantations among 11 rural villages.  Tanzania allowed…BioShape logged the land…2006 became 2010…BioShape’s telephone, disconnected…a spokesperson for Eneco, a Dutch backer of the project, declined to comment…attorneys from the Lawyer’s Environmental Action Team, advocating for Tanzanian workers who were left unemployed, and jungle-less, claimed, “The company was not interested in Jatropha, they were interested in timber.”  Jatropha took the blame for the failure.

The same article related accounts of Worldwide Bio Refineries – seven men connected to the company convicted in a British court for fraudulently claiming to be producing biodiesel from Jatropha, as well as Sun Biofuels, a British company, and Viridis, both who failed to hold investor confidence.  Viridias shifted its operations to mining, making it a safe investment.  Gem BioFuels and D1 Oils (in a joint venture with BP) also proved unprofitable, citing lack of investors.  Tales of theft and disappeared investments have their effects.

Where profits are involved, every organ serves a purpose…it seems media outlets, many owned by corporations which are also heavily invested in the oil industry, seem to be serving theirs.  So it goes.

But, there have been recent successes with Jatropha-based bio-fuel, the flashiest, an Aeromexico flight between Mexico City and Madrid, Spain,in August of 2012.  The airline industry is the one that will benefit the most, and the quickest, from the use of bio-fuels utilizing Jatropha.  Boeing is quietly involved, financing and supporting research and development of Jatropha oil.  Cuba recently used Jatropha-based bio-fuels in an experimental automobile, reporting the engine to be in better condition after using the bio-diesel than it was before.  So, it seems that the countries that have the most to lose – those whose economy is based on petro-chemical fuels, are lined up against Jatropha, while those not dependant on oil-based economies are busy refining the cultivation and utilization of other options.

The energy and environmental future of the world could be decided in Latin America on plantations that look like this…

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