Thursday, January 27, 2011

He thought it was cool and artistic…

Let me tell you first that you don't have to read my post today. If you're here looking for some pretty pictures of shells or the beach, maybe pick up a recipe or two, perhaps you landed here after doing a google search for "tiki hut" or possibly you just wanted to drop in to say hello — well, I hate to tell you that today I'm on a rant.


look away,

run for the hills,

Shellbelle's about to explode!

Yesterday I wrote about my feelings on the grand piano that mysteriously ended up on a sandbar off the coast of Miami. If you read that post, you know I was not too happy, but I really didn't go into a full-blown rant.

Skip to today…

I am downright, unequivocally 


Honestly, I am normally a pretty nice person. Sure I have my faults, don't we all? I have bad days just like you do and folks, today is a really, really bad day!

It's a doozy!

I'm finding it hard to put into words just how angry I am, so I turned to my thesaurus for a little help in expressing myself.

I am irritated, annoyed, cross, angry, vexed, displeased, disgruntled, indignant, exasperated, galled, irked, put out, aggrieved, offended, affronted, piqued, nettled, in high dudgeon, aggravated, miffed, riled, teed off, ticked off, sore.

Maybe I should try to calm down…

Heck no, I'm pissed!

So what has me all riled up?

Well, after many people had a good time laughing about the piano left on the sandbar and while it make good material for the reporters and jokesters — the "prankster" has stood up and claimed responsibility. He did this after someone else had already done the same thing, but this guy had proof — pictures and videos and he wasn't about to loose his fifteen minutes of fame to some wannabe. Who was he?

A 16-year-old Miami student. Oh, and his reason for dumping the piano on the sandbar? "Well…we did it just for…ah…because it was cool."

According to the Today Show website, "While his mother hoped the whole prank would 'wash away,' teenager Nicholas Harrington tells TODAY’s Ann Curry that ditching the instrument on a sandbar was 'the most artistic thing' we could come up with."

Yep, that's what he told Ann Curry this morning on the Today Show. Don't believe me? Here watch it for yourself:

Now the whole backstory involves a piano that was stored in his grandmother's garage, a New Year's Eve party (where said piano was set ablaze) and a need to get rid of the piano in some way.

There's a bit more to the story. This teenager decided that he could dump the piano on a sandbar, take photos and videos and then he could use them to beef up his college application where he plans to study art or engineering.


“Some people are angry,” he admitted. “If it comes to me taking the piano off, I guess I’ll just take it off.” But, he added, “I think it’ll be able to stay. It will wash away eventually.”


A story on CNN by Josh Levs, reports that, "Authorities have no immediate plans to charge the teenager who admitted to hauling a piano out onto a sandbar in Biscayne Bay in south Florida."

Levs goes on to write, "Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told CNN that for his agency "it would be highly unlikely that we would cite this young man for anything." The agency "would probably write him a warning and make sure that he understands that that could be construed as littering, obviously. It's not the right thing to do."


So, if you're wondering what to do with that old refrigerator that's been sitting on the back porch for the last five years, or if that entertainment center in the family room won't hold the new 72-inch flat screen you got for Christmas, you know what to do with it now. Bring it on down to Florida and throw it in the water. Obviously, we don't care.

Forget about our gorgeous beaches, forget about the wildlife that struggles to survive here — just think of all the space we'll save in our landfills by using the Atlantic Ocean as a dumping ground for all your unwanted items. Hey, it's all in the name of art, what's wrong with that? Your kids could use the experience on their college apps!

Don't worry, the authorities won't hold you accountable, heck what's a slap on the wrist when you can create something artistic?

The CNN article also quotes Luis Espinoza, spokesman for Miami-Dade County's Department of Environmental Resources Management, "We know of a car... that somebody years ago dumped into the water, and the vehicle stayed there. And, as it turns out, the vehicle is quite the habitat for lobster now."

There you go! Drive grandma's old Buick down here, you know the kids would never be caught driving the thing. Yep, just drive it right into the water and leave it there. Florida officials don't care about the quality of our environment, why should you?

This could spark a whole new campaign for the tourism industry here.

Come to Florida,

Bring your Trash and…

Leave It Behind!

If our residents can do it, why not the snowbirds?

Okay, one more excerpt from the CNN article, "Before Harrington stepped forward, authorities told CNN they had no plans to remove it. "What will probably happen is that the piano will just disintegrate because of the salt water and the salt air," Pino said Wednesday, adding that it "will not harm the wildlife."

You know what's coming don't you?


It takes up to 600 years for fishing line to decompose,
I wonder how long it takes piano wire to do the same thing?

Do you think the birds won't add ivory to their diets?

You can click on my mosaic below to see a larger version. It is comprised of more photos of what trash does to our oceans and wildlife. Do you honestly believe that as this piano breaks up it won't have a negative impact on our sea critters and our beaches? Each of these photos were the result of a google search, I can't acknowledge each and every photographer in this mosaic, but since they were all writing about the point I'm trying to make here today, I don't think they'll mind.

If you read through this entire post, thank you for listening to my rant. I usually try to bring awareness to the masses through a more subtle approach, but today I just don't have the heart or the patience. It's fairly simple — keep your trash to yourself or stay off my beach. 

I know that my readers feel the same way I do, you've proved it time and again. I love you for that, more than you'll ever know.

This is Shellbelle

climbing off my soapbox

(for now)

but I'll always be

Making Waves to Save our Oceans

Update: The Miami Herald reports that the piano has been "rescued" from Biscayne Bay  "by Carl Bentulan, a day trader and musician from Palmetto Bay, whose 10-year-old son, Liam, suggested that they rescue the beat-up and burned baby grand."

Thank you Liam!

The article also reports that, "A state wildlife officer showed up Thursday at the Miami Shores home of the family that had hauled the hefty instrument onto a small sandbar early this month with orders to remove it in 24 hours or risk a fine."

Well, I'm glad the officials finally stepped up and took action. Of course, I'm sure this was because of the outrage expressed by environmentally-conscious citizens.

So, the piano sandbar story is laid to rest with a happy ending, but the bigger picture still remains. I hope that the whole event will result in folks being more aware of the affects such stunts have on our oceans and the critters who live in and around them.

Thank you all for your comments, I do have the best readers!

26 Thoughtful Comments:

Drawn to The Sea said...

Silly me, hoping it was a professional photo shoot with pretty models, & that someone would be back to retrieve the thing.

Won't hurt the wildlife? Seriously? Seems there's plenty of shame to go around concerning this incident.

Ms. Bake-it said...

WOW! Well said Rhonda! I too am outraged and angry over this incident. Sometimes I just cannot believe the stupidity of mankind. Personally, I think the kid should, at a minimum, be fined and given several hours of community service cleaning the beach.

~ Tracy

Anonymous said...

It does make for a sweet artistic photo. I mean, really some of the pictures from your last post are really stunning in their own way BUT. . .
it is littering. You can't just take unwanted items and leave them wherever the hell you want. Make the kid pay a fine and have him remove the piano and dispose of it proper like (whatever the hell that means, landfills are over rated, too).
Thank you for all the evocative photos showing the horrors of tossing waste into the ocean. We could ALL do better, don't cha think?

Sue said...

I have to say that I didn't even think of it this way. I actually thought it looked pretty sitting there...and when I heard a kid did it, I thought it was a stupid prank but probably did make for great photos. I guess it didn't occur to me that it wouldn't be hauled off. You make your point well.

CHERI said...

Girl, you are mad....and rightly so. Too many kids these days do things and get away with them without learning the repercussions of their fun and games. Your pictures of the animals made me so sad. Maybe you need to send them to this kid! I see you have on your blog a banner about our Wild Chicken Festival. It's nothing great, unfortunately! But thanks for sharing it.

Blondie's Journal said...

I agree with you 100% on all points. This is unreal. I have been following it all on Yahoo News and haven't been amused in the least. I hope they make him swim out to get it.


IslandHome said...

De-lurking to join you in your outrage. Is there anything you can do as local citizens to have this safely removed - through petition etc?
I've just come back from one of my local beaches as usual with a large bag full of plastic fish bin labels that wash up from a seafood processing plant at our local port. Ironically these all have the name of the fishing vessel they have come off printed on them.

Make yourself heard locally and rally others to action and understanding that this is so wrong.

Kat said...

This just makes me mad enough to spit! It would look good on his college application? Do we get to attach photos of the sea life that die because of his stupid stunt? You know how much I love beaches. My favorite is St. George, and it is one of the most pristine I've ever seen. That being said, we always find trash washed up on shore. When we leave the beach, we try to make sure that no one would ever know we had been there, other than our footprints. Rant away Rhonda! Kat

Jen Beaudet Z said...

I'm totlly agree with you Rhonda! Thank you for posting about this. Jennifer

Leo said...

More people need to get on this soapbox. It is outrageous the things people throw in the ocean. They ought to make this kid and/or his parents pay for the removal. This is crazy that someone can be allowed to pollute our beautiful Biscayne Bay - and put animals and other sea creatures at risk.

Jane said...

I, too, was hoping this stunt was for a photo shoot, and that the piano would be removed. Now, as a FL resident, and a lover of our coastal waters and wildlife, I am outraged at the attitude exhibited by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They should know better! The same goes for the Miami-Dade County's Department of Environmental Resources Mgmt.That 16 yr. old boy should know better...and his parents should insist he remove the piano...NOW.
Some artistic statement...Huh!
Jane (Artfully Graced)

Simple Daisy said...

I read your whole makes me want to cry that people are just so careless with our beautiful earth! Totally blows me away...the lack of respect for the only place we have to live!
Thank you for sharing this!
I am going to tweet and facebook it:):)

Loui♥ said...

so totally in agreement with you!
Really leaves a great impression to the rest of the world about attitudes in Florida! makes me sick and totally disgusted. Obviously this kid is just following in the footsteps of his parents.. to have a party and set fire to a piano.. FUN? where were the parents.. and then the FATHER assisting in the dumpage..IDIOT!
they all should be fined heftily in dollar$, and be given beach cleanup duty for a year starting with the removal of the piano!
Lastly, those Dept of Environmental resources and Fish and Wildlife should also be fined for their statements! They just undid years of building Tourism in Florida!
well stated Shelle..speak out and up for the beaches and the critters of the sea..and for us who try to leave a lasting POSITIVE impression..
hugs and tears..

sealaura said...

I agree with you 100 percent. I too was surprised how everyone was like "ha ha kids these days!" This kid needs consequences and what he did was AWFUL!!!! As a university faculty member I can tell you that seeing this on a college application would NOT impress me, just the opposite.

The Florida Blogger said...

When there's oil spilling into the Gulf, we're in an uproar. When there's "one drop" of oil, no big deal. Lots of drops equal a disaster.

rjerdee said...

Amen, sistah!!!! You do a rant legitimate rant extremely well!!! Now you'll have me picking up crap on the beach...I'm not much for picking up shells but I sure as hell will pick up garbage!!!

Completely Coastal said...

You should submit articles to local papers!!! Until people are personally affected by the throw away culture, they won't change. I mean they put junk food into their own bodies, so what can one expect, right?!

Calypso In The Country said...

I can see why you are so annoyed! Some people have no respect for nature and are only concerned about how they can be noticed for something! Disgusting. Thanks for posting and voicing your opinion.

Just Us said...

What an obnoxious kid who acts so entitled and cocky! Ewwwww my blood boils too! Have you ever read "The Dog Poop Initiative"? That boy is and probably will be one of the pointers! Shame on him and anyone else who thinks it is OK to litter anywhere and thanks to Mr Bentulan for being a picker upper! Some people just don't get it!!! I love you. Thanks for the raise in the Blood Pressure, i'm sure it was good for my diet!!! Love ya

jmac said...

Wow. That's all I can say is Wow.
And the pics of the turtles caught up in the junk? and the pelican? Wow.
So sad. Do people really think that all that stuff will just "go away" if they dump it into the seas?

gpc said...

I'm with you, and please DON'T get off that soapbox. Instead, make room for the rest of us. Every beach walker has seen tons of thoughtless junk. "Art"? I don't think so!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I knew it would be good, but you nailed it, Rhonda! Nailed it!

I realize that we were all young once, but youth is no excuse. And I don't ever recall dumping things in the water, with the exception of ice from an ice chest.

I think the state of Florida needs to step up to the plate and do a documentary on what happens to wildlife when things get "left" on sandbars or beaches and when those things end up in the water. Maybe YOU should write it. It ought to be part of the curriculum in the schools, and students should be forced to look at pictures like these. But you know the Nanny Brigade wouldn't want little Lord Fauntleroy's psyche damaged.

At the very least, that young man and the others need to work with animal rescue and see first hand the consequences of this type of thing. It's like the saying goes: It's all fun and games till someone puts out an eye. Well the proverbial eye in this case belongs to some unsuspecting sea creature. But I'm preaching to the choir.

I am "vexed," too when I read of things like this. Very, very vexed, and I'm glad that people who love our beaches and our water obviously got through to the authorities about the seriousness of this scenario and that you have the guts to speak out. I'm glad the piano is gone, too.

Good job getting this important point across.

Lori Lamb said...

While I don't presently live anywhere near the sea, it's always called to me and I feel fiercely protective of the ocean. I'm overjoyed to find more people who feel as I do and I heartily applaud you for your "rant". Thank you for taking such a strong position on this issue. If more people realized just how detrimental to us all the issue of polution really is, perhaps we could make our world a better place after all.

RottenMom said...

Catching up on my reading. Damn girl you are good.

Lillian Robinson said...

I guess I didn't keep up with the story...

They actually planned on LEAVING IT THERE TO WASH AWAY? No big deal? That's really sad. I don't blame you for ranting. I'm with you!

CrazyCris said...


and terribly sad.

but am glad to hear it ended well! Unfortunately the young man responsible for this "artistic" prank won't have learned a single thing from it. :s

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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