Sunday, January 25, 2004

Florida wrap blog.

Time to finish up writing about Florida, with some leftovers taken from the notes I made about the trip.

The flight down, which was during a clear day, took us from Chicago southeast toward Florida. Among other places, the pilot mentioned that we'd be flying over Nashville, an old home town of mine. I didn't give that much though until I happened to look out the window and see a city below. There was a river snaking through it, and the downtown buildings looked as big as those in a tabletop model you might see on exhibit. But the pattern of Interstates seemed familiar, and all at once the pattern made sense -- that was Nashville more than 30,000 feet below. All the years I lived there, I'd never seen it from on high.

Sign near one of the gates at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport: "NO BACKYARD CITRUS BEYOND THIS POINT. Deposit fruit here." The sign was attached to a large box with a door in it, presumably to leave the orange you'd picked in your yard back in... New York or North Dakota, lest you transmit orange diseases to the Florida crop. At least that's what I think it was for. As agricultural control policies go, this was pretty weak.

On a number of major roads, but especially I-95, I saw other signs that said EVACUATION ROUTE. Along with those words was a schematic of a hurricane, though it looked more like a sketch of a whirlpool. They need to take hurricanes seriously on that coast, no doubt. I learned in Miami Beach that one of the factors that helped bust the Florida land boom was a large hurricane that struck in 1926.

After the main dinner of the National Multi Housing Council, there were some short speeches by officials of that organization, but everyone was waiting for the unspecified "entertainment" mentioned in the program. Rumor was that Jerry Seinfield was going to show up -- plausible, since the apartment landlords of the nation could come up with whatever his astronomical fee would be. He was mentioned because people had sighted Larry David, Seinfield’s long-time writer, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. In fact, my associate Anthony saw David as we walked through the lobby earlier that day. I wouldn't have recognized him, but Anthony was sure it was him.

The entertainment turned out to be presidential impersonator Steve Bridges, and it was a spot-on impersonation of Bush the Younger, one of the best I've ever seen of any politician, and outrageously funny. He was a good deal funnier than Larry David, at least to judge by the episode of his TV show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, which I managed to see the last night I was in Florida. It was a show I'd never seen before. A few funny moments, but not all that many.



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