State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

golf

by Damian

To uninitiated Florida is a place that consists mostly of strip malls and golf courses. One night our drive till you drop and look for a cheapest place to sleep strategy takes us to a golf resort. It's really just a hotel with a golf course. Which become evident in the morning when we wake up to the sound of electric golf carts whizzing below our window.

Coming down to partake in our complimentary continental breakfast I pass a roundish, solemnly looking lady explaining something to a few intense 10 years old. As I approach I steal a glance at the whiteboard and suddenly a lot of things become clear in my mind.

This is a golf lesson. One of the first lessons the little boys and girls are subjected to. The whiteboard says: Golf core values: responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship.

Let's put aside an idiotic notion that 10-year old can understand what integrity is. Especially if you explain it by means of a power point presentation. The golf is after all a game of MBAs and CEOs so learning to keep a straight face during such presentation will come handy even if it has little to do with actually hitting the ball in more or less right way.

I imagine that they work on these core values on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and they talk embezzlement, shortsightedness and lying on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a dollop of disregard to the society at large on Saturdays. And here I naively thought that you shall not cheat is more or less evolutionary etched in our brains and pretty much sport independent. Unless of course golf has some strange ways of debouching one: just look what happened to Tiger. If that's the case I'll better stay away. Many a CEO recently featured on first pages would not know integrity if it came and whack them in the head with a big bertha. One can only conclude they were never taught how to play golf correctly.

So I am not a big fan. And now that I know about the value presentation it's dawning on me I may never become one. That said, I am a tolerant type of guy and if others want to waste their perfectly nice walks by looking for a small ball I am OK with that. Especially if they keep to themselves and stop intermarrying normal folks. Maybe we can get it on the ballot in some states?

Natalia, who thinks that in most climes even tending to one's lawn is an environmental crime, is much harsher. She would only allow golf if the green pastures were used for something productive. Letting a few cows or goats wander among the players would probably minimize the amount of needed fertilizer. Not to mention the beneficial effect on TV ratings of professional tournaments.

estate

Thomas Alva Edison was one of the original hackers but you would not know it if you toured Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. And I use the term hacker in its initial, not subverted, meaning: someone who tinkers with stuff to makes things better. Incidentally I stopped telling people that I am a hacker some time ago. Since no one can tell crackers and hackers apart, such admission is greeted with an awkward silence at best and nervous reach for a cell phone to notify authorities in other cases.

river

Some rivers don't really look like rivers at all. This one was 60 miles wide, 100 miles long and most of the year only couple of inches deep. Moving slowly to allow grass grow in its wake, birds wade in its waters, alligators and turtles breed on its banks. But it was too big and too lazy and it was mistaken for a swamp. A road was built across. Considered a technical feat of early 20th century it was constructed just like any other road in Southern Florida: by dredging a canal and piling rocks on its side. It only took 10 years after the Tamiami trail was completed for people to realize that they didn't just build the road. They erected a dam. Huge swaths of land were drained and cultivated, numerous canals were laid out diverting water.