I started this thing called Cloudy With A Chance of Faces. It’s images I see in clouds.
I’ve been posting pictures over the years and a friend suggested I make a thing of it. I add a few outlines to show what I’m seeing and there it is.
I live in Miami, right on the Bay, that combination makes for interesting visions in the sky. The clouds here move very quickly, if you see a formation, you have to capture it quick or it’s gone.
Every morning when I wake up, I look outside and there is something staring me in the face. Many times the clouds look like mountains, other times Snoopy or a lady or whatever.
You could get addicted. I could literally stand in one place and get so many images in a short amount of time. Now that I’m doing this Cloudy project, it gets a big hard not to be obsessed and just be staring at the clouds all day long, waiting for the next image to appear. But oddly enough, when I’m deliberately looking, I don’t see anything. It seems to be an organic thing, you know, it just happens when you least expected, you look up and something is staring down at you.
A friend visiting from New York once said that our clouds have layers. I take that to mean they are very expressive. And they are.
If you’d like to follow my venture, I have set up two social media sites. I have the website CloudyWithAChanceOfFaces.com, too, but I haven’t done anything with that yet. I just wanted to get the name while it was available.
Today’s cartoon is about a peacock, or rather a peacock feather. When I looked at my personal Facebook page today, it featured a memory from two years ago – peacocks crossing the street. I don’t know how to show that here, but that isn’t the point, the point is that a sign like that means I am in the right place at the right time. According to my friend jak anyway.
jak always said that if you read a word and hear a word at the same time, that’s a sign that you are in the right place at the right time and coincidences like that always mean the same thing.
Where I live, we have peacocks all over the place. Some people love them, others hate them. I love them. But a few years back there was an issue that got in the news about people wanting to get rid of the peacocks. They would round them up and send them to a farm somewhere, which makes no sense, since they will never get them all, they are always proliferating.
NPR called me up to interview me on the radio about the birds. I talked to them about 15 or 20 minutes and I told them that I loved them and that they were part of the character of the neighborhood. I did say I could understand how people despised them because they were dirty, loud and they pecked at their reflection in cars in people’s driveways, which ruined the paint job.
The interview ran on the radio and it was picked up by newspapers all over the country. But what the newspapers did was pick up my comment about them being dirty, loud and a nuisance. They didn’t pick up the part where I said they should be left alone because they are loved by most of us and they are part of the village and village life!
One newspaper wrote a story and as is the case, newspapers all over the country picked this piece of news up. My uncle read my quote in the NY Post of all places! They ran my quote about them being loud.
I was in the Chicago Tribune and Michigan newspapers, Los Angeles, the Midwest, all over – I was branded a peacock hater, which was the total opposite! They all chose to run the negative comments, which really weren’t negative, they were just facts about the peacocks. I’ve always defended the peacocks, but that part they ignored.
It was a bit funny, except the people in the village where I live were not pleased with me. Since the original interview was on the radio, I didn’t have anything in writing to defend myself. But I was part of our peacock mascot project some years back where people painted and designed about 50 of those cement art pieces that you’ve probably seen in different incarnations and animals around the country (cows, dogs, cats, etc.). And I used the peacock as my business logo for years. So I am a peacock fan.
Anyway, I guess I’m in the right place at the right time today since the cartoon and one of the peacock memories popped up on Facebook today. Right?
This New Yorker cartoon by Ellis Rosen made me laugh, and cringe.
I live on the water; well, at the water’s edge. I could almost jump out of my window and be in Biscayne Bay and for all the years I’ve lived here (20 years), I’ve thought of the issue of over-development. I’ve looked out over the bay and thought, “What if someone wants to build some sort of condo or something a few feet out from my seawall, literally in the water on stilts or landfill. Is that possible?”
It would be the same if you lived on a lake or river or any open space. Of course it happens on open land all the time. You have a forest in front of you for years and the next thing you know, it turns into a housing development.
And here in this cartoon is something so similar. This looks like an oil rig.
On Florida’s Gulf coast there are permitted sites where oil rigs and gas wells can be drilled, but currently while permitted, they have not been drilled. In 2010 there was an oil rig explosion in the Gulf, which killed 11 people and polluted the water. Sludge is still popping up onshore.
On the Atlantic Coast, I remember some years back, every time you walked the beach, you managed to step in black gooey oil slicks which smelled and of course polluted the area, not to mention your feet. I believe those were caused by cruise ships. I haven’t seen that problem for years, so apparently something was done.
Anyway, back to the cartoon – it reminded me of my thoughts over the years of looking out my window and seeing some structure being built out in front of me – in the water – in the Bay. As it is, our small village is turning into a city. As you look out over the village you see construction cranes dotting the sky. Greed. It’s all about greed. Nothing else. “Let’s destroy a small arts and sailing village to add high, sun blocking, traffic enhancing buildings,” is how the developers and city leaders think. Screw the quality of life, it’s all about money.
We did our usual October pumpkin and apple pickin’ this year, only we didn’t go up to the Hudson Valley, as we usually do, we ended up on Long Island’s North Fork because we were going to a couple of things afterwards on the South Fork – in the Hamptons. Lots of little villages filled the day.
It was gorgeous out, a bit chilly, but gorgeous, we got hot apple cider and pumpkin break and apple cider donuts and pumpkins and apples and such, but it wasn’t the beautiful Hudson Valley, which is the best part of the pumpkin pickin’ each year.
But still, we had fun and then ate in Westhampton and enjoyed a street festival then went to a bar where one of my cousins was performing, he’s a singer. It ended up being a long, but enjoyable day.
I’ve taken up running and walking again – a combination of the two.
For so many years I did this daily, I was very active. For most of my life I was at one beach or another on a daily basis. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I remember at one point I would meet my friend jak about 4:30 pm and we would run the boardwalk on Miami Beach – almost daily – and then we would hit happy hour and hang out at one of the few dive bars in Miami Beach at the time – this was before it was “South Beach.”
I went to Key Biscayne a lot too, where it was mostly empty weekdays, and I wrote once about what it was like hanging out on Miami Beach at an abandoned area by the St. Moritz Hotel. And I would go to neighborhood beaches where just the neighbors would since they were not in touristy areas.
Oddly enough, I had a friend in town recently, visiting from New York. We overlapped at one point and I went to New York while he was still here in Miami. Since I wasn’t here to take him, he took an Uber to one of the neighborhood beaches. I told him, “You must be the only person ever to take an Uber or cab to this beach, it’s just a local beach, a neighborhood thing. He said, “I know, the Uber driver found it very odd when he saw where he was taking me.”
Anyway, most weekdays the beaches were empty, as they are now, especially now that school has started.
For many years I printed school newspapers as well as other school-related stuff and needless to say, there was no business all summer. No money would come in and I would have to budget for that. So every year, on the first day of school, I would go to the beach to celebrate the start of the new school year which for me was the start up of business for the year. And being the first day of school, no one was there, and I mean no one. I had miles of beach all to myself.
I ran, I swam, I got lunch and I did it all alone, it was my special day.
I’ve been seeing a lot of trash in the ocean and bay lately. Not too long ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had written about how the planet was healing itself and nature was reclaiming itself. The water and air were so clean. Now it seems to be getting back to normal, although I don’t remember seeing so much trash in the water as I do now.
What I mean is, I live on the bay, so daily I look out at the water and for all these years I really didn’t see anything floating around in the water. Now I do on a daily basis. It’s trash – paper and plastic. I’m not sure why there is more these days than in days past, but it’s out there.
The cartoon above is not really funny, it’s sad, it’s a commentary on how our wildlife is being treated.
Ironically, I’m not seeing as many people out in the water as during the pandemic. Back then, there were people in boats, paddle boarding, kayaking and I used to see one couple floating around on a large inner tube for hours – on a daily basis. They would lazily go from one end of our little inlet to the other. And with all of these “quiet,” “gentle” forms of water activities, there was no pollution or trash. Now that we’re back to motors and boat tours, ships and tourists and the lot, it’s showing.
I got the cartoon idea below, which ran at the beginning of the pandemic, by what I would see daily – lots of water sports activities.