Naber Kids!

Yesterday my antique collector friend, Ted, and I made a stop coming home from a large flea market in Central Florida to visit the home and shop of German master puppet maker, Harald Naber (Naw-bor). Naber, who spends half the year here on the West Coast of Florida and half his time back in Kassel, Germany has spent a lifetime creating beautiful handmade dolls that have incredible individual character and reflect the diversity of the American people. Black, white, Hispanic, or Asian, Naber’s dolls, unlike the grossly demeaning nature of the Black Americana pieces I had seen earlier at the flea market, are a celebration of character, and are one step ahead of the very popular Cabbage Patch Dolls. Naber’s dolls are not limited to curly cuteness but speak to a specific subtext of humanity in each doll.

Naber’s has moved into doll animation on YouTube after his enormously successful career as the creator of the Naber Kids Dolls and has now created a series of characters who speak to each other in short sketches that are funny and philosophical at the same time, reflecting Nabor’s deep seated belief that the future belongs to us only if we continue to place all our efforts on education. Naber, who has been quite successful in the doll making business and lives right next to his massive shop near Orlando, now sends his profits from the new video ventures to education charities. “We must put all out effort into educating the children,” he said, “our our culture will turn to salt, like in the story of Lot.” Naber’s passion on the education theme sounded particularly poignant coming from a 80+ German immigrant who married a German Deutsch girl from Lancaster County.

Passion is the key to Naber’s success and his drive to continue to grow and master the technology of digital animation to keep his creative juices flowing in a more sophisticated medium as an octogenarian is very inspiring. He admits to struggling with a complex new technology but wants to master new digital programs to help him animated his creation and put words in their mouth. To get an example of his work go to: https://youtu.be/sqLgBIjQSBQ

Harald Naber with his creations, Naber’s Kids

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The Trump Phenomenon

If you were doubting the validity of the Trump phenomenon, c’mon down to Florida and take a drive off the main drags and into the suburbs and beachside communities. There are Trump signs everywhere and not a Jeb! sign in sight. If Bush sticks around, he isn’t even going to win his own state, and now that he’s humiliating himself by dragging W out of the shadows to up his chances in South Carolina, he’s showing the desperation his campaign is experiencing. Forget Bush/Clinton 2. Bernie vs The Donald would be fun, but, unless Bernie’s ‘revolution’ surges in the big states coming up, like Florida, ¬†we’re looking at two of America’s most disliked political figures in the finals. I think I hear Mr. Bloomberg warming up the engine.

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Manatees at Tarpon Springs

The manatees were huddling in a cove in Tarpon Springs as we rode by on our bikes yesterday. Churning seas have brought the cold water in and the seas cows are looking for warmer spring inlets and water by the power plant nearby.

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Safety Harbor Midden Culture

The Safety Harbor culture was an archaeological culture practiced by Native Americans living on the central Gulf coast of the Florida peninsula, from about 900 until after 1700. The Safety Harbor culture is defined by the presence of Safety Harbor ceramics in burial mounds. The culture is named after the Safety Harbor Site, which is close to the center of the culture area. The Safety Harbor Site is the probable location of the chief town of the Tocobaga, the best known of the groups practicing the Safety Harbor culture.

The Safety Harbor people were organized into chiefdoms and lived primarily in villages along the shoreline of Tampa Bay and the adjacent Gulf of Mexico coast. The chiefdoms may have consisted of about 15 miles (24 km) of shoreline, and extended about 20 miles (32 km) inland. Each chiefdom had a principal town or “capital” with a temple mound and central plaza. Fifteen such towns have been identified along the Florida Gulf coast from southern Pasco County to northern Sarasota County, an area that includes all of the Tampa Bay area. Only one principal town has been found inland. Descriptions of the villages by Spanish visitors mostly agree with archaeological reconstructions. “Capitals” had a central rectangular plaza. A truncated pyramidal mound up to 20 feet (6.1 m) high and up to 130 feet (40 m) long on each side at the base stood on one side of the plaza . One or more buildings stood on top of the mound, and a ramp ran from the top of the mound to the plaza. A burial mound would be located off to the side. A shell mound, or midden ran along the shore, and other middens were sometimes located on other sides of the plaza. The plaza itself was kept clear of debris. The more important residents of the town had their houses around the plaza, while the lower class lived in huts further from the plaza. The Spanish reported that the chief and his family lived on the main mound, and that a “temple” (probably a charnel house) stood on the opposite side of the plaza. Archaeological excavations suggest that the charnel houses were on the mounds. Village sites without mounds and isolated burial mounds are also known.

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Safety Harbor Midden Site

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Greed Without End, Amen!

I’ve found, in my seniority, I have zero patience anymore for corporate greed and the corporate ‘group think’ that makes collective criminals out of the people who run these organizations. If you want the one piece of knowledge I’ve gained on this trip of real value it is that human beings are designed to think and act in groups. It’s how we evolved to survive. When that hardwiring is translated to profit-making for the few and not the well being of the whole community, you end up with what we have now, an oligarchy and not a republic anymore. The one thing that hasn’t been rooted out of our DNA in the evolutionary process as we emerged toward complex social structures is the desire for acquisition that goes well beyond collective necessity and into the realm of personal greed that is bottomless. Personal greed sublimated into corporate acquisition is just greed on steroids and is the death of culture and the the prelude to the end of civilization as we know it. You wanna put up with that? I don’t. And it isn’t just corporations that are guilty of it. When groups invent complex systems to defend their criminal impulses, individual conscience is eroded, and the group association expunges personal guilt for collective crime. Let’s let all the innocent blacks out jail to make room for these people. Whadda ya say?

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Ormond Beach

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Safety Harbor

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In the distance behind Safety Harbor, you can see the Tampa skyline.

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