About earthriderjudyberman

Stories, and the art of telling them, fascinate me. I am a writer, a teacher and former reporter - both in newspapers and on radio. In this blog, I will share some of the stories I heard growing up, from our travels, our family and experiences on the job and off.

Gentle Sea Cows Rescued

manatee - Malcolm Dennemark - 2-23-15

By Judy Berman

Manatees and hurricanes were among my first exposure to Florida.

This week, the plight of 19 manatees riveted the nation’s eyes on Satellite Beach, as rescuers tried to get them out of a storm drain they had retreated to in search of warm water.

As I watched the news, I thought back to my first encounter with the gentle sea cows.

It was 1999, and we’d moved to Florida just a few months before Hurricane Floyd was threatening to barrel down our way.

Unaware of how much of a problem the hurricane would pose, I decide to spend my day off at Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek Sanctuary.

I was alone in the then 107-acre sanctuary. No radio. No phone. I just wanted to get away from it all.

For 1 ½ hours, I sat on a bench in a covered bridge scanning the water for just one thing. Then, I saw the form of a golden-brown manatee just beneath the surface of the coffee-colored creek.

Once before, on a visit here with my husband, we heard what sounded like a whoosh through the mammal’s blow hole. It was coming from the creek below us where there was algae and leaves.

This time, it just glided by. Such a calming creature. It’s affectionately referred to as the “gentle sea cow.” The adults are 10 to 12 feet long, and weigh between 1,500 to 1,800 pounds.

So, when I heard that the manatees were in danger this week, I anxiously watched the news. There were 19 of them trapped in a storm drain. They’d gone into that spot in Satellite Beach in search of warm, fresh water.

manatee - rescue effort - Malcolm Dennemark - 2-23-15

When the temperatures dip below 50, Floridians crab about the bone-chilling cold. But it’s far more serious for the manatees.

If it stays cold too long, that poses a serious health threat to the manatees. Water temperatures in the lagoon were pegged as low as 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Manatees can’t tolerate water less than 68 degrees for a prolonged period of time,” according to a report in Florida Today, a Gannett publication, based in Melbourne, Florida.

Usually, the manatees hang out near warm water from power plants.

This time, they crowded into a storm drain. Their plight drew national media attention.

What seemed ominous at first had a happy ending.

It took a village – literally – to rescue all 19 manatees, thanks to the efforts of workers from Satellite Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld, police and fire crews.

The next time it’s cold, manatees will have to look elsewhere for warmth. That storm drain now has a new grate covering the opening to keep manatees from scooting in there for refuge from the cold.

 

Have you ever seen a manatee in real life? What wildlife have you seen up close and personal?

Video: Rescue workers trying to free 19 manatees stuck in a storm drain in Satellite Beach, Florida – Florida Today – http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2015/02/23/crews-satellite-beach-trying-free-stuck-manatees/23908945/?fb_ref=Default

 

Photo: Rescuers free 19 manatees from a storm drain in Satellite Beach. Photo by Malcolm Denemark of “Florida Today,” a Gannett newspaper based in Melbourne, Florida.

Photo: SeaWorld, FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), and animal experts work with police, fire and public works in Satellite Beach to free the manatees. Photo by Malcolm Denemark of Florida Today.

Link: Florida Manatees – Basic Facts – http://www.defenders.org/florida-manatee/basic-facts

Mirage

Mirage - Walter Matthau and Gregory Peck

By Judy Berman

What if everything you thought was true turned out to be a lie?

You didn’t know who to turn to or who to trust. Some times, life feels like that. But we emerge from the shadows and are warmed by the light and reality.

That is not what David Stillwell (Gregory Peck) finds when he is confronted by a past he wants to forget in the 1965 film noir “Mirage.”

After a power outage in a skyscraper, Stillwell winds his way down 27 flights of stairs. He’s joined by a woman, Shela (Diane Baker). They are unable to see one another, but she says she knows him.

Stillwell has no idea who she is.

At street level, Shela realizes it is Stillwell. She is angry with him for deceiving her and runs off. He chases after her down four flights of sub-basement stairs. But she’s gone.

Back on the street, he learns that a man had jumped or was pushed out the window to his death.

That man, Charles Calvin, was the head of Unidyne, a humanitarian organization that works for world peace. His name means nothing to Stillwell, and he moves on.

Mirage - movie poster

When Stillwell returns to the building he works in, he heads down the stairs in search of the sub-basement levels.

There are none.

Perplexed, he returns to his apartment. A man (Jack Weston) riding with him in the elevator orders Stillwell at gunpoint to let him in his apartment. Weston tells Stillwell that “the Major wants to see you.”

Another name that means nothing to Stillwell. He manages to get the upper hand on Weston and gets rid of him. Then, he begins his search to discover why he has no recollection of events over the past two years.

At the same time, he has flashbacks to a time, place and people he can’t remember.

A visit to a psychiatrist was frustrating. The shrink does not buy that Stillwell is a “cost accountant” as Stillwell says or that he has had amnesia for the past two years. He tells Stillwell that “unconscious amnesia” lasts – at most – two days.

Stillwell hires a detective, Ted Caselle, (Walter Matthau) to find out who “David Stillwell” is and why someone is trying to kill him. Caselle confesses that this is his first case.

Nothing adds up. They go to Stillwell’s office – down the hall from where Charles Calvin’s office was – only to find it doesn’t exist.

When the detective asks Stillwell what he did as a “cost accountant,” Stillwell doesn’t know. Caselle also can’t see Stillwell in that line of work but he believes Stillwell’s story.

The convincer? He spotted a man (George Kennedy) following them. He turns out to be one of the menacing men who is trying to kill Stillwell.

Mirage - Gregory Peck in tunnel

“I’m kind of curious about Charles Calvin and why he went thru that window.”

Stillwell is puzzled why as he didn’t know Calvin.

“Your nightmare began at almost the exact moment his ended,” Caselle says.

Everything leads to a dead end … as do some of the people closest to Stillwell.

Bit by nightmarish bit, Stillwell discovers who Shela is and what role she played in his life. Each flashback fills in more of the memory gaps, Stillwell realizes who he really was and what he is trying to forget.

 

This film noir, psychological drama is one of my favorites. Please share one of yours in the comments below.

 

Music Video: Film Noir and Jazz – Nicholas Payton’s cover of “Chinatown” set to classic film noir images.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyEV0OHlgaE  

Photo: Mirage – movie poster

Photo: Mirage – Walter Matthau and Gregory Peck – http://fr.web.img3.acsta.net/r_640_600/b_1_d6d6d6/medias/nmedia/18/65/56/07/18870217.jpg

Photo: Mirage – Gregory Peck in tunnel  https://earthriderdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/261fb-mirage_tunnel.png

What Would You Do?

Homeless man with dog in the cold - Copy

By Judy Berman

Public shaming seems to be in vogue, and the homeless are being used to make the point.

In one story making the rounds on social media, an unshaven man in a raggedy coat enters a church. He definitely stands out among the well-dressed folks who gather for worship.

Those who bother to look his way, shun him. Then they turn their attention to a speaker at the lectern who announces that their new pastor is at this service. The speaker invites the pastor to come up and introduce himself.

People gasp when the unshaven man stands and walks down the aisle. He chastises the congreation for not living their faith when they saw someone who appeared to be homeless.

They, of course, are remorseful for their behavior.

I thought of this when I read two other bloggers’ stories about how folks respond when someone falls in a public place.

Jim McKeever’s blog, Irish Investigations, focuses on a video by Modern Pranksers. In it, there are two men on crutches – one well-dressed and the other one appearing to look homeless.

When the well-dressed man falls, people rush to assist him. Not so with the “homeless” man. The only one who helps him is another homeless man. The story is here.

Such pranks, that are played for entertainment on YouTube and on TV shows, “may reinforce people’s aversion to helping someone who looks ‘homeless’ or different in any respect,” Jim says.

I agree. There are better ways to increase awareness about helping others.

Homeless - U. S. Army soldiers - Stand Down for Homelessness

Diana Schwenk’s experience was different. On her blog, Talk to Diana, she wrote about the time that she was the one who fell in the street and no one came to help her. She was confounded and surprised. Her story is here.

“I imagine most homeless folks have felt this way at one time or another,” Diana says. “This is what it must be like to feel invisible.”

Homeless man on Mission St

There have been a few times when I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone to help a stranger. One of them was many years ago, when I first moved to Syracuse, New York.

It was evening. As I strolled along James Street toward State Street, I saw a man fall. His crutches lay next to him.

My first thought was that he had just come from the bar that I had passed.

As I drew closer, I suspected that he was in no condition to cross that heavily traveled four-lane intersection.

So, I helped him up. He staggered as we walked across the street. I supported him as he climbed the steep steps to the entrance of his apartment building. He thanked me, and we parted ways.

I never saw him again, but I think about him often and hope that he’s doing well.

Such acts might be considered foolhardy, given the existence of monsters like Ted Bundy who preyed on kind-hearted women. The serial murderer lured them to help him by feigning an injury.

Looking back, I realize things could have turned out differently.

Still, I’m glad I came to his rescue then.

Would I do the same today? I don’t know.

But, if I do, I want my actions to be driven by a desire to do the right thing and not because I’d be concerned someone might be watching and taping the encounter for a prank video.

 

Do these types of videos and actions help or hurt the homeless?

 

Music Video: Angel in Disguise – Songs for the Homeless – The people in this video reveal that homelessness can happen to anyone. There are plenty of worthwhile agencies where you can help.   

Thanks to my angel in disguise, my husband, for taking part in delivering food to homeless shelters and helping at a food kitchen for the homeless. Happy Valentine’s Day, honey.

Link: Jim McKeever’s blog “Irish Investigations” – “Hidden Camera Test of Kindness: Good Idea, but Unfair Prank” https://irishinvestigations.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/hidden-camera-test-of-kindness-good-idea-but-unfair-prank/

Link: Diana Schwenk’s blog “Talk to Diana” – “What it Must Feel Like to be Invisible” https://talktodiana.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/what-it-must-feel-like-to-be-invisible/

Photo: Homeless man and dog in the cold

Photo: Homeless – James Brown, a student nurse at Jacksonville University School of Nursing, takes a homeless veteran’s blood pressure during the annual Stand Down for Homelessness in Savannah. Sept. 15, 2009. Source: U.S. Army http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/US_Army_51483_260th_Soldiers_Stand_Down_for_Homelessness.jpg/598px-US_Army_51483_260th_Soldiers_Stand_Down_for_Homelessness.jpg

Photo: Homeless man on Mission Street, San Francisco, California Taken Dec. 27, 2009. Source: Franco Folini http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Homelessmissionst.jpg/554px-Homelessmissionst.jpg

Unintended Consequences

unintended consequences

By Judy Berman

Sometimes, the solution is worse than the problem.

Politics aside, there are just too many examples to point to where someone should just have left well enough alone.

Where to begin?

* The desire to hide or keep something out of the public eye is so common that there’s even a name for it: The Streisand Effect.

In 2003, Barbra Streisand sought to have photos of her Malibu, California, home removed from the Internet.

An environmental activist, Kenneth Adelman, posted aerial photos of her home “on his website as part of an environmental survey.” Steisand sued him.

Her actions had the exact opposite effect of what she was aiming for. The lawsuit “brought more than a million visitors” to his website.

The case was dismissed and Adelman’s photo was widely distributed in the press, according to a May 2007 article by Andy Greenberg in Forbes.com.

* Who hasn’t had a headache when moving?

If only all moving firms were as careful as these men are.

If only all moving firms were as careful as these men are.

Broken furniture, missing items or belongings delivered weeks after promised.

The latter happened when our eldest daughter moved to Florida to attend college. The van arrived weeks after she did. Until it did, all she had in her apartment were the few meager belongings she packed in her car.

It’s probably a good thing for the company that the website Yelp did not exist then. Yelp, a multinational company, publishes customer reviews about businesses.

One customer, upset with the terrible service provided to her parents, gave the moving company a low rating on Yelp. The moving company was not pleased and threatened to sue the woman if she did not take the review down.

What they got instead was a deluge of negative publicity and tons of unwanted attention from the media. The moving company withdrew its threat.

* What kids don’t complain about their school lunch? I recall a lunch revolt at my high school many years ago, when kids refused to buy their lunches until the school offered better selections.

This story does involve political intervention and fallout.

School lunch photo ban lifted in Scotland

School lunch photo ban lifted in Scotland

In Scotland, in 2012, a 9-year-old girl took her disgruntlement with her school lunches one step further. Martha Payne, from Argyll, posted photos of the lunch and rated them on her blog “NeverSeconds.”

“She gave each meal a ‘food-o-meter’ and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it. She had been using the blog to raise money for the Mary’s Meals charity,” according to a June 15, 2012, article in BBC News

Argyll and Bute Council decided to impose a ban on photos at the school’s canteen because the school catering staff feared for their jobs. The council cited a Daily Record newspaper that “published a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline “Time to fire the dinner ladies.”

After public furor over the ban, Martha Payne was again allowed to take photos of her school lunches. Hopefully, the menu choices improved as well.

* The last entry in the what were they thinking file is the “noble” experiment – the 18th Amendment which took effect in 1920 – that made it illegal to make, sell or consume alcohol.

It was deemed a failure – Richter-scale huge – and repealed in 1933. In Ken Burns’ “Prohibition” – a three-part series on PBS – he showed that, much like drugs, alcohol was brought in by planes, boats and over the border by cars. It also was illegally made and sold in the United States. You can read my story on this here.

Prohibition was intended to reduce crime, but it actually did the opposite. The “unintended consequences” of Prohibition was demand for the product increased, and crime – which became more organized – filled the void.

Sometimes, it’s better to shrug it off and let it go. Just ask Barbra.

 

Have you a story about unintended consequences that you’d like to share? Please share.

 

Music Video: The Pet Shop Boys – Twentieth Century – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exPQAXE8KTE 

 

Photo: Unintended Consequences – illustration on blog. Curtis Ogden’s blog is a great read. http://interactioninstitute.org/unintended-consequences/

Photo: Moving company. If only every mover was as careful as these guys are. Source: Rharel1. Taken May 29, 2010.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Movingguardian.org.JPG/640px-Movingguardian.org.JPG

Photo: School lunch – “NeverSeconds Blogger Martha Payne School Ban Photo Lifted” BBC.com, June 15, 2012 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-18454800

Link: “The Streisand Effect” by Andy Greenberg http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/10/streisand-digg-web-tech-cx_ag_0511streisand.html

Link: “The Perils of the Streisand Effect” by Justin Parkinson, BBC News Magazine, July 30, 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28562156

Link: “Moving Company Picks the Wrong Person to Threaten to Sue Over a Bad Yelp Review: http://consumerist.com/2012/11/14/moving-company-picks-the-wrong-person-to-threaten-to-sue-over-bad-yelp-review/

Link: “NeverSeconds Blogger Martha Payne School Ban Photo Lifted” BBC.com, June 15, 2012 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-18454800

Link to my story: “Scamming the Mob” which ran Oct. 7, 2011 – http://earth-rider.com/2011/10/07/scamming-the-mob/

 

Rediscovering an Icon

Zora Neale Hurston collecting folksongs and folktales in Eatonville - 1935

By Judy Berman

Zora Neale Hurston had the dream job. She got to return to her hometown in Eatonville, Florida, and gather stories – or “big old lies” – that she heard growing up.

Eatonville was the first all-black incorporated city in the United States.

The folklore she collected from working-class African-Americans there included songs and tall tales dating back to the times of slavery. Folk tales usually have moral lessons and reflect the values and customs of the culture they come from.

As an anthropologist and writer, she also collected oral histories in the Caribbean.

At one time, Hurston was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance, an African-American cultural movement in the 1920s and 1930s that brought African-American literature, music, art and politics to the American public. It was a world apart from the one she left as a teen.

After her mother died, she moved in with one of her brothers. Her brother took her out of school to help his wife care for their children. She was treated as an unpaid domestic helper. Hurston was not happy about this. She knew she was born to roam.

“I wanted to get through high school. I had a way of life inside me, and I wanted it with a want that was twisting me,” Hurston wrote in the autobiographical “Dust Tracks in the Road.”

Zora Neale Hurston - quote

She was poor most of her life. The last few years of her life, she worked as a maid until her health prevented her from continuing. When she died in 1960, she was penniless and buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.

From the 1950s to the late 1970s, her work was virtually forgotten. Her books were out of print.

Another well-known author, Alice Walker (“The Color Purple”) searched for Hurston’s grave. She found the final resting place of who Walker called the “Genius of the South” in the 1970s, and bought a headstone for it. http://www.stlucieco.gov/zora/zora_marker_4.htm

“We are a people. A people do not throw their geniuses away. If they do, it is our duty as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of children. If necessary, bone by bone,” Alice Walker, author, 1976.

Zora Neale Hurston 2

Hurston’s works were rediscovered, and are now being read in many high schools and colleges. Since 1990, the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community “has celebrated their town’s most famous citizen with the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities,” according to the Florida Historical Society.

The festival, which ends a weeklong celebration on Feb. 1, includes an exhibit from the Florida Historical Society in Cocoa.

While Hurston will be forever associated with that historic town, another community believes that Hurston was referring to her former home in Eau Gallie when she wrote on July 9, 1951, to Florida historian Jean Parker Waterbury.

“Somehow, this one spot on earth feels like home to me. I have always intended to come back here. That is why I am doing so much to make a go of it,” Hurston wrote.

Her book, “Mules and Men,” which was published in 1935, was written in 1929, when she lived in Eau Gallie, according to archival researcher Terry Hooker with the Florida Historical Society in Cocoa.

Hurston lived in Eau Gallie twice – in 1929, and between 1951 and 1956. (Eau Gallie now is part of Melbourne.)

“When Hurston was unable to purchase her much-loved Eau Gallie cottage, she moved to an efficiency apartment in Cocoa, while working as a librarian,” according to the Florida Historical Society.

She also lived on Merritt Island, leaving Brevard County in 1957 for Fort Pierce, where she died three years later.

Hooker says she admires Hurston’s determination and spirit.

“She just kept going despite the adversity of being a woman and African-American at that time. She never gave up.”

“We wouldn’t have the stories at Eatonville if she hadn’t done it. She started doing it. Then the WPA (Works Progress Administration under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) paid her to do it, and she just kept writing,” Hooker said.

 

Has anyone famous lived in or near your community? Please share below. (Thank you to Terry Hooker, an archival researcher, with the Florida Historical Society in Cocoa for providing research material and photos for this post.)

 

Photo: Zora Neale Hurston collecting folk songs and folk tales in Eatonville, Florida, in 1935. Photo: Library of Congress – in the Florida Historical Society’s curriculum guide.https://myfloridahistory.org/book/export/html/1655

Photo: Zora Neale Hurston – Taken between 1935 and 1943. Source: U.S. Library of Congress http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/Hurston-Zora-Neale-LOC.jpg

Photo: Zora Neale Hurston 2 – Taken 1937. Source: U.S. Library of Congress http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f1/Zora_Neale_Hurston_NYWTS.jpg/315px-Zora_Neale_Hurston_NYWTS.jpg

Link: Florida History – Zora Neale Hurston https://myfloridahistory.org/book/export/html/1655

Link: “Zora Neale Hurston.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/zora-neale-hurston-9347659

Link: Zora Neale Hurston – excerpt of audio book “Mules and Men” http://zoranealehurston.com/books/mules-and-men

Link: Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker’s discovery of Hurston’s final resting place – St. Lucie County – http://www.stlucieco.gov/zora/zora_marker_4.htm

Shake It Off

Shake it off - Golden Retriever shaking off water

By Judy Berman

Sometimes, any sliver of humor is fair game.

In a hardscrabble world, here’s a few who had a laugh in spite of being given a difficult time.

* A defense attorney I knew was assigned to a real tough character. His client had been convicted of murder, and his next stop was a federal drug trial.

I asked the attorney if I could talk to him about his client.

“Oh, I have to be careful what I say. He’s already sent me two letters in one envelope. One implied my mother and father weren’t married,” he laughed, dismissing the crude implications.

His client surprised everyone by pleading guilty at the start of the trial.

* Waiting on tables often has its own headaches. One such incident involved my Mom when she worked in a coffee shop at a Las Vegas casino.

A particularly ornery customer complained loudly about the service. She demanded that someone carry her tray to her table when she was capable of doing the same herself.

My Mom, who was in her 70s, could be a real pistol at times. She sweetly announced that she’d take the tray to the customer’s table. Then Mom proceeded to limp, lurching awkwardly toward the table. (I wish I could have been there. I’d have been rolling.)

minion2

* Speaking of restaurants, this is often where my family members and I torment each other – all in good fun, of course.

As I leave one restaurant, I dip into the candy bowl to take a few mints.

My son-in-law, Keith, pretending he doesn’t know me, says loudly: “Lady. Save some candies for other people.”

I slink out the door, laughing. But, payback is a bear, even if it does take me years to get even.

Recently, when celebrating our eldest daughter Danielle’s birthday at a restaurant, my jam came on. I started dancing out the door. I’m betting that same son-in-law was praying that no one he knew was there.

At another eatery, my youngest daughter, Jenn, noticed a black cloud in the huge fish tank. I told her: “I’ve got two words: fish flatulence.”

She lost it. Those words still make her laugh today.

* Sure, you’re overworked. But a little laughter lightens the load.

Happy Otter

When I was working as a reporter, my editor sent me an e-mail wondering when he was going to see my story so he could edit it.

“I don’t see you typing.”

Me: “That’s because I’m weak from hunger. It’s been 15 minutes since my last six-course meal.”

Editor: “You can eat on the way home.”

Well, it’s that kind of compassion and warped humor that keeps me from losing my sanity.

It’s times like these that I can appreciate the Dover Police Department’s video cam that shows an officer lip synching Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” (It was staged. But, so what?It’s great fun.)

Taking a skewered look at life is sometimes the best way to get thru to the other side of the rainbow.

 

Do you have a humorous story to share?

 

Video: Dover Police Officer lip-synching Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XFBUM8dMqw 

Video: K C and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obTlQRtjWzw 

Main Photo: shake it off –  Golden Retriever shaking off water – Photo taken by Googie man on June 2, 2008 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/75/Shake_Dog_Shake.jpg/622px-Shake_Dog_Shake.jpg

Photo: minion https://thisandthatforkids.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/dm2_minion_dave_020.jpg

Photo: Happy otter – California sea otter bathing at Moss Landing, Calif. Photo taken by Sstasi on Sept. 23, 2007. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/Happy_otter.jpg/640px-Happy_otter.jpg

Treasures Uncovered, but Mystery Remains

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 039

By Judy Berman

Howard Carter’s candle flickered in the darkened tomb. He could see only small bits of it at a time.

It was 1922. For more than 3,000 years, it had been hidden. The tomb in the Valley of the Kings was nearly intact.

Tomb robbers had trashed a portion of the tomb in search of gold. But Carter, Lord Carnarvon (who financed the search), Carnarvon’s daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert, and Carter’s assistant, A. R. Callender, also saw incredible wealth: a gold burial mask, statues, jewelry, chariots, weapons and a solid-gold coffin.

What they’d found was the tomb of a nearly forgotten Egyptian pharaoh – the boy king. King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, was 9 years old when he became pharaoh and reigned about 10 years from 1332 B.C. to 1323 B.C.

On the third floor of a museum in Cocoa Beach, Steve Cayer has captured that scene inside the tomb, and he hopes to open it to the public this summer.

“I took pictures of the actual tomb, and we duplicated it for Al (Rao) to paint,” said Cayer, the curator of the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures.

Cayer said the people who pilfered the chamber were the ones who built it. They took the gold and jewelry, and broke pottery to see what was in them. Then, they sealed it and no one knew of its existence.

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 046

Until Carter’s discovery, Tut was almost unknown.

“There was almost no record of his life anywhere in Egypt, except on the walls of his tomb,” according to National Geographic’s website.

The burial site contains a stone sarcophagus with King Tutankhamun’s solid-gold coffin and two smaller coffins that are believed to contain his stillborn daughters.

Even more mysterious is how Tutankhamun died. That is still being investigated today.

In a nearby display case, Queen Nefertiti gazes down on the visitors in the museum. The replica, like the original in the Egyptian museum, was never finished. It has only one eye painted and an incomplete ear.

Queen Nefertiti bus from the Berlin museum

Queen Nefertiti bust from the Egyptian Museum in Berlin 

The Tourist Development Council helped finalize the money to buy the Egyptian exhibits in St. Louis before it returned to Cairo.

“I packed the stuff myself. It took two days,” Cayer said of the museum-quality exhibits.

The museum also features the famous trenches of Terra Cotta warriors. There is a painting of them on the wall, and Cayer aims to obtain replicas – about a dozen – of the soldiers.

Terracotta Army - the museum in Cocoa Beach aims to acquire some replicas to add to a mural depicting them.

Terracotta Army – the museum in Cocoa Beach aims to acquire some replicas to add to a mural depicting them.

When you walk thru the third floor, you also will see a replica of a sacrificial area from MesoAmerica, the Mayan culture. The work on this began seven years ago. It’s built in stages and then assembled here.

The tour thru these exhibits was exciting. I can’t wait to see the completed product.

 

What’s the coolest place you have ever visited or still hope to see?

 

Link to Steve Martin’s “King Tut” video on Saturday Night Live: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=127426280679189&set=vb.143791135690959&type=2&theater

Photo: King Tutankhamun – replica of his tomb – not yet open to the public – at the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida. photo by Judy Berman

Photo – King Tut’s death mask replica at the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo by Judy Berman

Photo: Terracotta Army of First Emperor – author airunp http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Xian_guerreros_terracota_detalle.JPG/640px-Xian_guerreros_terracota_detalle.JPG

Photo: Nefertiti bust – Agyptisches Museum (Egyptian Museum, Berlin), Dec. 28, 2005 – taken by Magnus Manske    (The Nefertiti bust in the Cocoa museum was excellent, my photo did not reflect that. So I chose to use the Berlin museum photo.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Nefertiti_bust_%28front%29.jpg/450px-Nefertiti_bust_%28front%29.jpg

 

Fore more information:

KingTutOne.com – King Tut the boy pharaoh   http://www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/information/

King Tut’s Tomb   http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/king-tuts-tomb

Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida  http://www.museumofdinosaurs.org/