Florida’s cold snap means iguanas are falling out of trees and pythons are burrowing underground

The “bomb cyclone” hitting the northeast United States and eastern Canada has brought some unseasonably cold temperatures, and with it, some unusual responses from Florida wildlife. It’s so cold here that iguanas are falling from trees.

(At least it’s a change from their other unusual behavior: popping up in toilets.)

Being cold-blooded creatures, they “shut down” when the temperature drops below a certain threshold. As a result, they fall out of trees, as shown in the photo above, and sometimes onto people’s windshields, as shown in the video below:

A number of turtles have also “shut down” due to the cold.

Despite their appearance, these fallen iguanas and immobilzied turtles probably aren’t dead. They’re just in the reptile equivalent of “power saving mode” and will return to normal as soon as it warms up. If you see one, just leave it alone.

The Tampa Bay Times has asked if the cold snap will have the beneficial effect of killing off Florida’s pythons. They’re an invasive species, and it’s been hoped that the cold will reduce their numbers. Unfortunately, they know how to burrow underground, and will likely survive.


Florida of the day: Man attacked by bobcat in posh downtown Tampa condo

“Man says bobcat attacked him in Tampa’s Skypoint condos”, reads the headline in today’s Tampa Bay Times. The man in question is contractor Marcos Hernandez, who was visiting the building on a call when he was attacked by a bobcat owned by condo resident Christine Lee.

Skypoint Condos is a posh condo in a pretty nice location in downtown Tampa. Located at the corner of Ashley and Polk, it’s right across the street from Curtis Hixon Park, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum, the Riverwalk, and a couple of blocks away from the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the John Germany Library, and it has a view of the minarets at the University of Tampa. It’s the last place you’d expect to get mauled by a bobcat.

The attack took place in May, and Hernandez has filed a lawsuit. Here’s what the Times has to say:

The attack is alleged to have occurred in Unit 1814 of the Skypoint building, the 36-story high-rise at 777 N Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa. Lee lives there and had custody and control of the bobcat on the date in question, the complaint states.

The Tampa Police Department responded to multiple calls about 12:15 p.m. that day. The incident did not generate a police report, but dispatch call notes indicate that Hernandez entered the condo to conduct an inspection. The notes say he was attacked by “a cat,” which scratched his arms and made them bleed.

His co-workers took him to Tampa General Hospital, police noted.

His complaint states he did nothing to provoke the creature into attacking him. It accuses Lee of being negligent.

Bobcats are typically twice as big as the typical housecat. While they have been known to attack pets and livestock when their regular sources of food run low, they rarely attack people — we’re too large. Still, attacks on humans do happen, and when they do, they can inflict significant wounds, instinctively pouncing on the victim’s shoulder area and going for the neck.

Even domesticated Florida cats have led to 911 calls. In July 2014, Kush, a cat in DeLand, freaked out and attacked its owners, trapping them in their bedroom until they were rescued by police.


Meanwhile, in Florida…

…and really, we haven’t had freezing (or sub-freezing) temperatures yet:

(In case you were wondering, those temperatures are in Doktor Herr von Fahrenheit’s charmingly archaic system for measuring ambient phlogiston in the ether.)


The next big grooming trend

I couldn’t figure out why I’d been getting funny looks from visitors to the Sourcetoad office all day until I remembered that my coworker Rina was handing out fake moustaches earlier this morning.


The illiteracy-promoting interior design abomination called “backwards books”

Maybe I’m just a stuffy old nerd, but I want to subject the author of this horrible home decor tip that’s been making the internet rounds to mandatory literary re-education:

The rationale is that the pages of books provide a more neutral backdrop than those pesky spines, which detract from the look that the designers are going for, which seems to be a bland uniformity.

A quick search revealed that there are a number of designers who think this is a good idea. Here’s a sample from a recent article in Real Simple:

Apartment Therapy followed up with their own article, which featured one couple who’ve decided to drop the pretense of bookshelves and simply admit that books are decorative widgets that you can use to plug up any empty hole in your living space:

Since this is a design trend for empty-headed people, it shouldn’t surprise you that a morning show covered it:

Long time, no talk babes! My home tour went off without a hitch, it was lovely to have so many Hannibillians through this old house over the weekend. I am in crunch mode trying to finish an event space in time for a major NYE bash. So this very well might be “Hi” and “bye”, until after the holidays. Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a warm and wonderful next couple weeks!! Lots of love y’all!! 😘😘 . . . #howyouhome #mytradhome #myhousebeautiful #apartmenttherapy #designsponge #christmastree #targetstyle #gallerywall #christmasdecoration #christmasdecor #library #bhgcelebrate #howeedwell #currenthomeview #bookstack #interieurdesign #interieurs #myhomevibe #sassyhomestyle #christmascactus #holidayhome #midcenturymodern #rosegoldtree

A post shared by Natasha Meininger (@natasha.designs) on


I’m not sure what’s worse — interior design blogger Natasha Meininger’s turning the books the wrong way because she thinks the should only be decorative elements, or the fake sophistication she’s trying to project with her half-French hashtags, #interieurdesign and #interieurs.

Her rationale for her crime-against-knowledge approach to shelving books:

“My book collection is huge so it was important to me from a design standpoint to find a creative way to store my accumulation,” she explained to TODAY Home. “I have read thousands of books. I’ve only reread about 20, so I don’t find it necessary to be able to find a specific title that I’ve already read at the drop of a hat.”

The main argument for why designers like this look is that it shows the whites of the pages, creating a cohesive color palette on your bookshelf. “I love the sculptural effect you get by facing the pages out,” Meininger added.

Here’s the article’s final paragraph:

The bottom line? if you’re not adamantly opposed to hiding the spine of your favorite books and are looking for a new way to decorate your bookshelf, this trend can be a beautiful thing to try.

I suppose it’s not as horrible as their network’s office-decorating idea of buttons that enable you to lock your office door from your desk.

It’s a big enough trend for BuzzFeed to have noticed it. To their credit, their article is titled OMG People, Why Would You Ever Do This To Books?, and its subtitle is even better: What fuckery is this?

One of the designers featured in the Buzzfeed piece seems to be more interested in the attention it brought rather than why the attention was brought in the first place:


I suppose it’s still less pretentious than that trend from the ’70s and ’80s where people got grand pianos not because they could play or wanted to, but simply because it “pulled the room together”, but to my mind, “backwards books” is more than just style of substance — it’s weapons-grade ignorance.


It’s 40°F / 4°C in Tampa this morning…

…and the looks on everyone’s faces here are something like this: