Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Sometimes you just know you're going to get along with someone. Reading a person's blog for years turns out to be a surprisingly good way to take their measure. I don't remember how I got onto FloridaCracker's blog, Pure Florida, but the "crack" part definitely applied--I was hooked from the get-go.
The man can really write, and he's got a wonderful sense of humor, and he knows pretty much everything there is to know about Florida natural history. He cooks, too, and posts these hugely salivataceous photos of his culinary adventures. He fixes things. He has a lucky wife known as Mrs. FC, who stays off-camera. He has chickens and teenagers, too. He has a ridiculously cute black Lab named Bear whom he videotapes doing ridiculously cute, doofy Lab stuff. Here's his tribute to Bear, whom he manages to conjure perfectly without a single photo of the dog. Anyone who goes through pet withdrawal upon being separated from their particular animal familiar will love this post as I do.
In his spare time, he teaches high school biology. For that, I give him five stars. Imagine having FloridaCracker as your high school biology teacher. Mrs. Corbin, you were great, but whoo-ee.
This may surprise FC, but one of the things I admire most about him is his ability to raise a pig for food and blog about said pig (without naming it, of course). And have it still turn out to be food, and not some kind of porcine cybercelebrity whom he has to keep until it is the size of a boxcar because all his readers have gotten attached to it. Anyone who has ever blogged about so much as a spider in the corner of the studio knows that once you name something, the blogosphere wants to know how "Corky," or whatever you named the spider, is doing these days. So blogging a food pig is dicey territory, but FloridaCracker pulls it off. That, my friends, is something.
He also coins words that completely delight me. I try, in my ham-handed way, to emulate him, but fail miserababbleaciously.
He freely breaks the cyberspatial rules. I was told by no less an authority than Corey Finger of 10,000 Birds, a blog that gets something like, oh, 72 gazillion hits a day, that if you, as a craven hit-thirsty blogger, want to have search engines pick up on your posts, you have to use really spare, to-the-point post titles and tags. So, for instance, if FloridaCracker were going to talk about transplanting a palm tree, he might use the post title,
"Transplanting a Palm Tree."
Instead, his post is titled,
And then, needless to say, he puts a small camera on his head and it faithfully records his increasingly desperate groans and grunts as he lives the reality of lifting a hundred-pound rootball out of a deep hole. Who else would think to do this? I do not know.
His tag for such a post may well include
The Boy Ain't Right
A recent post, "Gopher a Little Closer" , is about the endangered gopher tortoises (maybe a dozen) that inhabit his little piece of the Real Florida. There is an absolutely charming video of a gopher tortoise waiting suspiciously, then scurrying at warp speed into its burrow, or trying to. And FC finds a root that keeps the tortoise from entering smoothly, and he makes a little mental note to come out and cut that root. And then he leaves a bunch of nice romaine lettuce at the burrow mouth as a little present for the tortoise, who's already lucky as heck to be living in the backyard of such a sentient and caring being. He burns off the scrub to encourage the open habitat and the tender forbs the tortoises need for food. Anybody who can burn within a mile of their house without setting it on far has my undying respect.
His JEEP looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Having never seen a clean Jeep before, I stared. Here, he's peeling a bit of plastic off the brand new windshield. Why a new windshield? Because a vulture slammed into it a few weeks back, making it into this:
photo by FloridaCracker
Heavily ironic, because he'd just posted about planning his day around taking a sick black vulture to a veterinarian, which turned into a huge wild veterinarian chase. His post, "Riding in Cars With Vultures"
paints a portrait of a boy who ain't right, in the nicest possible way.
All right. My intent here was not to thoroughly embarrass FloridaCracker, which I have doubtless achieved, but merely to point up the front-loaded coolness with which he lives that made me completely geek out at the prospect of meeting him.
photo by Bill Webb
I mean, look at me. I'm all a-hyuck a-hyuck.
And then it got worse, because then I was flanked by FloridaCracker and CrackerBoy, whose unique take on the world as a socially evolved deep thinker and ex-cop I appreciate tremendously, and they made a big sloppy geek sandwich of me. Plotzing at the Enchanted Forest. Hooty hoot!
Like I said, sometimes you just know. I'm mighty glad to have met Bill and Michele Webb and FloridaCracker. This living through electrons is all well and good, but there's really no substitute for the brick-and-mortar version.
photo by Bill Webb
To read FloridaCracker's take on the whole thing, visit his retelling here.