Environment
12:39 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Klinkenberg Talks "Alligators in B-Flat"

Jeff Klinkenberg tells WUSF's Susan Giles Wantuck about how alligators respond to the key of B-flat.

Imagine a job that sends you out onto the road to find the most interesting stories in the state.

Writer Jeff Klinkenberg
Credit Courtesy Jeff Klinkenberg

Stories about wild places, like this one, and people of all sorts.

But Tampa Bay Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg isn't fond of the notion that Florida is a bastion of weirdness.  He likes to say there is a "rich diversity" of stories, and he aims to tell some very interesting ones.

A story he heard on NPR sparked an idea: just how might a bull alligator respond to the key of B-flat?

For this, he enlisted the help of tubist William Mickelson of the Florida Orchestra and his protege to serenade the alligators at Gatorland.

Their little experiment met with great success after they put the bells of their tubas onto the deck that was surrounded by bull alligators.

Klinkenberg's new book, Alligators in B-Flat, tells this story and many more.  There's the one about his longtime friend who's an avid outdoorsman and former photographer for the Miami Herald who was the first on the scene to document the tragic Jonestown Massacre, which may be where the cliche "drink the Kool-Aid" comes from.

And then, of course, there's "Flip-Flop Man."

Klinkenberg will talk about his new book tonight at the St. Petersburg Museum of History at 6:30 and Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Sarasota on Tamiami Trail at 3 p.m.