2014-2015
Recording Life In Western Florida And Beyond
UNIQUE WESTERN FLORIDA PHOTOS

All Photos Copyright ©
Bill Stockland All Rights Reserved

RATHER THAN A TABLE OF CONTENTS, WE HOPE YOU WILL SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE AND
VIEW OUR PHOTOS OF EVERYTHING FROM A TO Z...ARTS &ATHLETICS TO THE LOCAL ZOO

REVISED SEPTEMBER 1, 2014
LINKS AND PHOTOS FOR PREVIOUS YEARS EVENTS AND LOCAL SCENES CAN BE FOUND AT:
PREVIOUS YEARS


Email Bill Stockland 
billstockland@cox.net


As kids we'd stretch out on our backs and imagine the different objects the clouds formed in the sky.  If you're lucky you haven't stopped just because you're no longer chronologically a kid.  It's still all the magic of reality and illusion. Being in Florida, we're probably just a little more careful about where we stretch out.

This exact wispy configuration, like all clouds, will never be seen again except as how the viewer interprets what the camera saw  for that instant one afternoon in August.   Looking now I see a bay or lagoon…maybe a sound with another island, maybe a barrier island.  I see an animal about to leap.  I see loosened glaciers calving.  I didn't see any of this when I first made the photo.  It's that magic again.


To learn more about my sites click here: 
DISCLAIMER


9/11...Thirteen Years Later.

"If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."


It's 9-11-14 and America is still facing terrorist threats.  We urge all Americans to put aside their personal prejudices and disappointments over lost elections and domestic policies.  We believe it is time to back the magnificent young men and women who defend us and the Commander-In-Chief who leads them.  We can carry on our disagreements over money, taxes and health care on a different level.  "And our own safety—our own security—depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for—timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.   May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America."

The Scenic Post...scenicpost.com
Our sister publication about the Scenic Hills Area
Articles and photos often appear in both publications.

                TO BETTER PROMOTE PENSACOLA AND THIS SITE
           
   

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED WE HAVE BEGUN PLACING NEW COLLECTIONS AND ARTICLES IN REVERSE ORDER.  WE DID THIS FOR THE BENEFIT OF
LONG TIME READERS WHO ARE PROBABLY TIRED OF SCROLLING THROUGH ALL OF THESE PAGES TO FIND THE LATEST NEWS.  NEW VIEWERS ARE
URGED TO LOOK THROUGH THE ENTIRE SITE FOR PHOTOS AND INFORMATION ABOUT A VERY GOOD PLACE AND ITS PEOPLE, FEATURES AND EVENTS.

6-28-15
FROM ONE BEAUTIFUL BAY AREA TO ANOTHER
WE SALUTE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD
WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT STILL IS

Santa Clara, CA...the surviving members of the Grateful Dead unite to begin a 5 concert tour marking 50 years of wonder!
Phil Lesh....Bill Kreutzmann...Bob Weir...Mickey Hart

The Dead did 2 shows in Santa Clara and 3 in Chicago.  They didn't repeat any songs in 5 days and even pulled out some rarely heard gems such as New Potato
Caboose, Mason's Children, Passenger and more.  The physical setting was a little different from the old days and here you can see the core members of the band.



Of course the members have aged.  They are in their 60s and 70s but the energy and effort were the same as always.  Here  Bob Weir (center) and Phil Lesh (Right) are joined by guest Trey Anastasio of Phish.


These seven men celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest bands in America's rich musical history.
Bill Kreutzmann   Mickey Hart    Trey Anastasio   Phil Lesh   Bob Weir   Steve Chimenti    Bruce Hornsby

Along the way we lost Ron McKernan  (Pig Pen),  Keith Godchaux, Brent Mydland, Jerry Garcia and Vince Welnick.  Others merely dropped out for one reason or another...Donna Jean Godchaux  (We just saw her in a fabulous show with Dark Star Orchestra) and Tom Constanten (who is still quite musically active).  Lyricists Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow are also active and successful.  Google both men for interesting stories!
 
Bill went to over 800 concerts...I did around a hundred...the band did over 2300 shows.
Counting only the active years, that comes out to over 70 a year!  And each show was
different!  They didn't come on stage with a set list...they decided what to play on the fly!

Each show was like a miniature Woodstock and the band
 provided us with special tickets so we could tape the shows!


The end?  It's never over as long as one musician or one fan is alive!
The band chose to end the show with a plea for people to consider being transplant donors,
a few seconds of silence for those we've lost and a plea for all to go home and do good.  Their
closing song lyrics were from Brokedown Palace and included these lyrics:

"Fare you well my honey
Fare you well my only true one
All the birds that were singing
Have flown except you alone..."

"...It's a far gone lullaby
Sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I've come
Since I first left home..."

"...Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell..."


Leaves Finding A Home Amid The Ruins Of A Real Brokedown Palace...
(All Photos Copyright 2015 © Bill Stockland Photography)


6-27-15

IN ANY LANGUAGE

Even the shadows seem to say:
ペンサコーラロックス
(Pensacola Rocks)



6-18-15 to 6-21-15
Your stories get even funnier when you're batting .350 as Ray Chang was doing.










We borrowed a Reds player for 2 days of rehab on an injured wrist.




And the lights went out and the game was postponed.


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Tony Dovolani of Dancing With The Stars Visited.
 













































































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If you used the great Seville Shuttle to the game you were greeted upon your return to Seville by what I call street preachers.  I believe in free speech and while I had trouble understanding the shouted message because of ambient traffic noise and nightclub music, the signs indicate that it was a benign religious message.  The message isn't the point.  We're a vibrant city and this is par for the course.
 








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6-17-15
Despite a long home run by Marlon Byrd who is on a short rehab assignment from the Reds, we again fell short with a 9th inning rally.  We're starting to feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football only to have Lucy pull the ball away at the last second. Byrd absolutely crushed the ball to briefly tie the score with a 3 run shot.  As fate would have it, he struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.  That's baseball.  A great power hitter fails almost three-fourths of the time.

Wandy Peralta pitched well enough to keep him a real major league prospect.




Defense was good and bad...some good plays and 3 errors










Marlon Byrd







This shot was  well over 400 feet!  Byrd is re-habbing an injured wrist.


Strike three and this one belongs to...The Bay Bears.






Ray Chang is hitting well over .300!




6-14-15

Slazenger 7?  I found these along one of Pensacola's pretty golf courses.  (Scenic Hills)  What's so special about a Slazenger 7 golf ball?  Think back to the early 1960s and the big golf match between James Bond and Auric Goldfinger.  It was the movie that established the role of super cool Agent 007, James Bond. Both players cheated.  Goldfinger's caddy slipped a ball into play to claim he had found Goldfinger's lost ball.  It couldn't have been his real ball because good old Agent 007 was standing on the real ball.  Goldfinger played a Slazenger 1 but Bond managed to later switch balls to a Slazenger 7.  Auric apparently won the match and the huge gold bar they were playing for until Bond pointed out he was using the wrong ball.  According to golf rules you can only change balls by informing your opponent and you cannot change balls before teeing off.  Goldfinger's caddy, a Korean behemoth named Oddjob, demonstrated how he could remove the head from a statue with a frisbee-like throw of his steel brimmed hat.  He also crushed a golf ball with one hand.  Those skills helped make him a worthy adversary for our hero.  Oddjob was unable to speak but he would manage to still get a charge out of the conflict.  Goldfinger would later find the pressure to be too much to bear and Bond would find Pussy Galore at the conclusion.


6-11-15

EVER WISH YOU COULD CALL HOME ONE MORE TIME?

I'm told these are something of a mystery to young kids who have evolved with cell phones.  They probably have the same mirth we had when we viewed the hand-crank predecessor  of this device.   When my family finally got its very own phone  it was part of a party line.  We shared the line with up to four other users.  Our number was TErrace 1086. The TE was added earlier as numbers got scare when more and more people could afford the device.  A phone number of 2 letters and 4 numbers became the norm for exchanges across the country.  Later the TE became 83 and eventually 831 by 1960. Area codes came much later.   Today's phone links the user literally with the world.  Unfortunately, it also tends to isolate people from face-to-face communication.  I see so many groups where each person is on his or her own cell phone, apparently ignoring companions as they "communicate."  Parents talk on their phones in the car with their children sitting in silence,  The more idiotic cell phone users can be irritating as they yak away while failing to notice a traffic light has changed. Some, especially while texting, can be deadly.  I really did once see a guy on a bike swerving  around the busy intersection of University and Davis as he held his phone aloft and thumbed in a text message.  OMG  r  u cray z


A SMALL BUSINESS OPENS
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

We enjoyed a little bit of nostalgia when we noted some youngsters operating a lemonade stand in the neighborhood.  There was a time when this was common and kids tried to earn money.  Sadly, it's not as common today.  It is probably too dangerous to set up such an operation in some neighborhoods.  There are dangerous drivers and there are dangerous people.  America, and the kids, are cheated.  By the way, a news item reported from another city that police closed a lemonade stand because the little kids hadn't gotten a $150 permit to operate!
  

RAIN...WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
Apologies To Edwin Starr      

Mushrooms...that is the answer to the question.
In a given year Pensacola can expect around 65 inches of rain.  That's similar to Miami, New Orleans and Mobile.  Rainy day Seattle only gets 38 inches.  Over a 1 or 2 day period in 2014 Pensacola got more rain than some cities get in a year.  Seattle gets the rain reputation because its rainfall is spread over 158 days while Pensacola will have fewer than 110 days.   Often you have storms that pop up in Pensacola and an hour or two later there is no evidence rain fell.  Everywhere everyone says about their local weather: "If you don't like the weather in (fill in city name) hang around, it will change."  They mean it in Northwest Florida.

In the 1960s some mushrooms were used for more than food. Hallucination inducing "shrooms" joined LSD as tools in "Tuning in, turning on and dropping out."  It was called a trip.  Ingesting  the mushrooms in the photo can lead to another trip—one to the Emergency Room or morgue.  We've gotten older.  We can get a dizzying alteration of consciousness just by standing up too quickly.  "Tune in, turn on and climb a flight of stairs."  And about identifying edible mushrooms...allow me to repeat a warning from an earlier post.  Stockland's Guaranteed Rule For Identifying Edible Mushrooms.  You can safely eat any mushroom that is wrapped and labeled in the Produce Section of the Publix Market.  All other mushrooms must be avoided.  Glad I could help!


RAIN GIVETH AND THE RAIN TAKETH AWAY


This stream once fed a lake but the 20+ inch rain one day in 2014 gave it a depth, width and force that wiped out the mostly earthen dam that had formed and contained the lake. Properties down stream were damaged and it has been determined that the dam should not be replaced.  On that fateful day in 2014 the water was as high as the photographers recent  (and safe) vantage point.  It was a dangerous event but nature is resilient.  Before the flood I had observed fish, including bass, thaat looked over 12 inches long.  Guess what?  Fish (of undetermined species) are swimming in this stream again.  I'm guessing some were in excess of 8 inches.
NATURE HAS SURPRISES

This is the same stream looking downstream.  It is a lesson in hydrology in miniature.  Did I say Nature is resilient?  It is also creative.  Geologists and hydrologists would probably classify this stream as quite young in the scheme of things. It is still meandering and has not cut a deep canyon or any canyon for that matter.  The water is clear and it looks brown because of the brown sand and mud it covers.  OK, here is the creative part.  The land to the left was connected to the land to the right.  Now someone may have gone in and altered the stream but I believe it was just as easily done by the force of running water.  Just this side of the bridge, the stream once traveled  to its right and the brackish water in the lower left quarter of the photo was the previous path of the stream.  Erosion (from whatever cause, has cut off that old part of the stream and has formed a small oxbow lake. (They're called oxbow lakes because they are shaped like an old wooden harness frame for oxen.) It may eventually dry up if it is not replenished by rain, drainage, flooding or erosion.  Elsewhere, Half Moon Lake was formed near Eau Claire Wisconsin because the Chippewa River changed course.  Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee was created from the Mississippi River by an earthquake at the New Madrid Fault.  There are others.  Sometimes they disappear when the parent stream reclaims the lake or they dry up.  Australians sing Waltzing Matilda with the words "Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong."  A billabong is an oxbow lake.



5-6-15
THE BLUE WAHOOS ARE BACK!
PENSACOLA'S AA AFFILIATE OF THE CINCINNATI REDS


6-9-15  WE'RE WINNERS

OK, the team has been flirting with last place.  Don't forget that there are two "halves" to a Southern League season.  It's a legitimate "do-over" enjoyed by other professional leagues.  We get frustrated when a pitcher throws in the low to mid 90s and about the 6th inning we see his fastball slow (slow?) to the high 80s and he's kept in the game.  I believe pitchers have a pitch count that the parent club hopes to see.  They have to make judgements on players.  If this is true keep in mind that every other minor league team has a parent club with the same needs.  Even the Major League teams have pitch counts in mind for hurlers.  We scream at all levels that a pitcher was going well and should be left in for one more inning.  Of course we'll also scream he should have been removed if he got bombed in the next inning.

This all is why minor league teams exist and we wouldn't have the Blue Wahoos if MLB didn't have this structure.  Last night was a case in point.  A starter was cruising along when a 6 somewhat quickly appeared on the scoreboard.  The pitcher's velocity seemed to wane but keep in mind the heat, humidity and the fact he had to sprint out at least 3 attempted hits.  He can't build stamina if he's taken out before he gets to the conditioning limit he needs.  The Reds can take a pitcher out before he tires but the Wahoos exist to get a pitcher to the Reds' roster.  The players give us exciting baseball because they can't "dog" a chance to impress the scouts.   Likewise, the manager wants to win but he volunteered to supply what the parent club needs.  It might affect strategy in certain situations.  We might have a right hander pitching and we wonder why the left hander in the bull pen isn't brought in to face the left handed batter.  The pitcher needs to prove, and the scouts need to know, if he can get a lefty out under pressure.  You'll only know if his "stuff" works if his "stuff" works. What do you call an A, AA or even AAA manager who puts his record above the needs of the parent club?  You call him unemployed.  We're part of a larger picture and the trade-off is we get to see legends in the making…future superstars and we see great baseball up close and personal. We get to cheer and lament things fans have cheered and lamented since the original Cincinnati team invented professional baseball. Locally, we also get to enjoy a great stadium with great views, fine food and the classiest bunch of employees who make the events safe and enjoyable.  What's the going price for memories these days?



Robert Stephenson...the number one Red's pitching prospect!
95 MPH fastball


Safe



Out



Safe





The Silver Wahoos perform!



Out



Safe







Out

Out






I would prefer not batting against a guy who throws 90 MPH with his eyes closed!






   5-8-15







Fabulous view from the stadium...




Another huge crowd...this game marked One Million fans in less than 4 years...


Josh Smith pitched well...


Get a (fastball) grip!




...and a breaking ball grip...


"Thou shall steal...




















5-9-15
We were greeted by a fabulous and dynamic voice right out of Nashville...Jillian Kohr!

Despite the winning streak by the Wahoos I was tempted to stay outside and listen!


Inside we were treated to the sounds of local rising star Samantha LaPorta


Eyes wide shut?


Aerial fan




One of 3 double plays on the night!
Zach Vincej


And another...


Again with the eyes shut thing...
Marquez Smith


Another full house!
Seth Mejias-Brean


Ray Chang...the oldest (and best?) player on the team...




Orthopedic  surgeon's delight!
Wandy Peralta


Jesse Winker is considered a top prospect for the Reds...


Safe even if the throw didn't pull the first baseman off the bag.
Note the ball shown near the other fielder's right knee...




Winker again...











5-16-15



























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6-6-15






































6-7-15
 
A LOCAL CHURCH CHOIR SINGS THE NATIONAL ANTHEM










































MYRON NOODLEMAN ENTERTAINS!


















AN OSPREY ON A LEFT FIELD LIGHT POLE







SUSHI...LOOK CLOSELY AT THE TALONS















ARE THEY BOTH GOING AFTER THE HUGE BALL?

















































#37  BRIAN ELLINGTON...UWF GRAD WITH 95 MPH FASTBALL!



























6-8-15











































































6-9-15

We were again greeted by a wonderful local singer as we arrived
for the game. Faith Jess sounds like she'll be a lot more than local.















Kazoo turned 4 and celebrated with friends


Faith Jess sang the Anthem










Mostly around 95 MPH, Robert Stephenson was recorded at 99 MPH on this pitch!

























6-10-15






































RAY CHANG'S WALK-OFF GAME WINNING HIT!




































































5-3-15
UWF SOFTBALL SENIOR DAY AND LAST HOME GAME



I finally got caught up and found time to process the final softball game.  I wasn't in much of a hurry as I sensed there seemed to be little interest in this final game and the Senior Day.

I have little respect for "front runners" who base their support for a team on the won-lost record.  I expressed my support by taking photos and looking for the positive in things.  Here's what I found and since I own the web site and do this for free, I get to say what I feel.   OK. they went 19-30.  If that's all you saw I can understand why you don't want these photos.  You missed the real season. There were three teams calling themselves Argos. I see one team with new players and a new coach going 1-12 including a brutal road trip.  Next was a team that began suspecting they were the best 1-12 team on the planet.  They went 5-8 and could have been 8-5.  Finally, a lot of things came together and the season was closed out by a pretty darn good team that went 13-10.  I'd say it was a good year by good people. They deserve recognition and support.


UWF SOFTBALL VS DELTA STATE 4-25-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS DELTA STATE 4-26-15






4-30-15
WHY WE LOVE PENSACOLA'S DOWNTOWN



TO MY KNOWLEDGE ONLY JOHN WESLEY HARDIN AND TED BUNDY REGRETTED VACATIONING IN PENSACOLA!



OLD AND NEW...THE ARCHITECTURE IS BEAUTIFUL





















HERE ARE SOME GREAT SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS...THERE ARE MANY MORE!
Many offer outdoor dining and drinks!


















MUSEUMS ARE VERY INTERESTING!
I LOVE THE STREET NAMES SUCH AS TARRAGONA AND ZARAGOZA



FIVE FLAGS HAVE FLOWN OVER PENSACOLA
US, CSA, BRITAIN, FRANCE, SPAIN
WE WERE THE FIRST EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT IN NORTH AMERICA
(Although I believe my Viking ancestors got to North America first.)




ARCHAEOLOGISTS CONTINUE TO UNCOVER THE PAST.






THE NIGHT LIFE IS GREAT!






Musicians setting up for free entertainment on Gallery Night.


Busking on Gallery Night


THE VINYL IS AN INTIMATE SPOT FOR GREAT CONCERTS.


GALLERY NIGHT BOOTHS...MUSIC, FOOD AND GREAT PRODUCTS!






MORE FREE MUSIC







ART IS THRIVING IN PENSACOLA!
BALLET, SYMPHONY AND ART!






MORE GREAT MUSEUMS







THE SAENGER HAS WORLD CLASS ACOUSTICS AND DESIGN!



THE SEA...FROM HUGE SHIPS IN THE DEEP WATER PORT
TO FISHING BOATS!
















TRANSPORTATION...OLD AND NEW











WHERE BIRDS AND FOUNTAINS PLAY AND THE VIEW IS GREAT











AND ONE OF OUR TRUE GEMS...THE COMMUNITY MARITIME PARK AND THE BLUE WAHOOS!





















I don't think people realize how much there is around here or how much people contribute their voluntary efforts in Pensacola.  I haven't even mentioned the great churches, hospitals, schools and civic organizations that support programs and activities that greatly improve the quality of life here.  I'm not paid for this free publicity and I have nothing to sell.  It's just a great place to live.  Check back as I intend to cover more of the positive side to this whole area.   I'll repeat many of these features as time goes by...they bear repetition.  The old teacher in me says that if something is important you find a way to say it more than once.



4-28-15
OF SENIOR DAYS, RINGS AND FINE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN

Some believe sport builds character.  I believe it reveals it.  I offer these young men and women as proof.

Winning and character are the rule for athletes at UWF.  Sunday was Senior Day and it was a time to recognize fine young men and their parents.  It was a day to also honor all of the players on this team and their families.  I want to thank the families of the entire team for their kindness and consideration directed at me throughout the year and on Sunday.  Thank you.  Like you, your sons and grandsons are a class act.  These players didn't become the high character young men they are by accident.  The prize doesn't fall far from the tree.  They may have inherited the physical ability they have worked so hard to develop but real success in sport and life is the result of learning special lessons at home.

That such fine young men ended up on Mike Jeffcoat's team doesn't surprise me.  Character attracts character.  They're fun to be around. They laugh and smile easily.  When the game starts they'll step in the box and swing fearlessly in the face of 80-90 MPH fastballs.  They bring a new and refreshing presence to an old sport. They are the reason Americans of all ages love baseball and why the UWF community loves them.

Oh, and did I mention that if they got swept they would miss the tournament? They responded by sweeping the double header from Delta State.  Click for game photos and Senior Day Activities.
SENIOR DAY AND GAME PHOTOS FROM 4-26-15
4-25-15 BEFORE RAIN DELAY


The weekend started on a great note. On Saturday I was privileged to be invited to the ring ceremony honoring the 2014 Gulf South Conference Champions.  Coach Stephanie Lawrence Yelton recapped the championship season as well as including some stories about her players.  The community has embraced her energetic style of offense and the vigorous defensive schemes that opponents dread.  That's only a part of the story.  Winning is a big deal at UWF.  However, it's not the only thing.  The Argo Women's Basketball Team is made up of high character individuals who can play this game with anyone. They won us over as skilled players. Along the way they won our admiration and respect as people.  Their coach was a key player on a national championship team. She has brought  her high character and huge basketball knowledge to UWF and her success has come sooner than anyone dared hope. Winning is an attitude and skill in itself.  Her players also win championships in life as well as on the court.  Thank you for including me in your celebration but more than that, thanks for the great memories of a truly great season.
RING CEREMONY PHOTOS



SKY SHOW IN HONOR OF ED AND STEPHANIE
4-25-15



4-15-15
                        THE ED SPEARS APPRECIATION RECEPTION
It was an honor to be invited to join members of the Community Maritime Park Board in honoring Ed Spears for his years of service to the community.  Here judge Lacey Collier (L) greets the guest of honor.  In my opinion, there probably wouldn't be a Community Maritime Park if these two people (and a handful of others) had not had the courage, commitment, ability and honesty to lead in the creation of the project.  There were dark days when park backers staked their hard earned reputations in shepherding this magnificent project into reality. They dealt with criticism that ranged from honest concern to the ridiculous.  The park is one more addition to the impressive body of work each of these people has accumulated in support of the community they love.  Ed Spears, thank you.  The community hitched its wagon to the right star. We hope and believe it's the beginning of more to come.




 Two people who make a difference: Stephanie Lawrence Yelton and Ed Spears


3-6-15

THREE YEARS OF THE PENSACOLA BLUE WAHOOS
A RETROSPECTIVE


CLICK HERE


2-12-15
TALENT
 Local country singer Samantha LaPorta is typical of the talent in this area. She has received many honors including serious recognition
in Nashville. We  tend to dwell on athletics but this area abounds in artistic talent.  There are young actors and dancers who are amazing.
Art exhibits from painting to photography, and more,  join the performing arts in entertaining and enlightening us.  The arts are thriving.



"UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA
ATHLETICS ARE SOARING"





2-17-15
HEAD MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH BOB STINNETT IS RETIRING


He certainly gave us some exciting and entertaining contests.  He is in the UWF Hall Of Fame as a player and he's been every bit the principled and honorable man you'd want to lead young men in pursuit of their futures.  Why anyone would put their careers in the hands of teenagers and twenty-somethings is beyond me.  He managed to do it calmly.  This man of character brought  many young men of character to the campus.  He coached with class and is certainly a role model for leadership in the larger game.  It's been a privilege to watch him teach and lead in  hurried time-outs.  Thanks Bob.



FOOTBALL
2-4-15



There is nothing quite like football in the South.  If you were born and raised in Dixie you are probably amused or surprised that we later arrivals find it amazing.  Trust me...there are pockets of excellent high school football in the North, Midwest and Far West.  Ohio State and Oregon just demonstrated that those pockets can be applied to the college version of the sport too.   If you checked the rosters of most successful college and pro teams you will see a solid southern presence highlighted by Florida and Alabama.  It's just a fact.  Of course sometimes the high school level can be disturbed by recruiting scandals and things like the War Eagle/Roll Tide thing can move from the campus to the courthouse.  Those are extremes and I refuse to let those things mar the healthy enthusiasm of those with the true sportsman's attitude.

That brings us to the University of West Florida.  Today it solidified commitments for its first recruiting class.  They don't have their first coin toss at the picturesque Maritime Park Stadium until the 2016 season but they have their coaching staff and first recruits ready and willing.  They're talking up tempo offense and defensive schemes.  Until the first snap the only statistics we can deal with are for the classroom.  This recruiting class has a GPA solidly in excess of 3.0.  Their average ACT score is on the bright side of 22.  (The national average for ALL applicants is under 21.) 


Coach Pete Shinnick is an excellent coach with a reputation for starting successful football programs.
He's a high energy/high character leader who fits the UWF mold for coaches,  They win with class.


"Coach" Judy Bense goes over the first recruiting list with a sportswriter. There is a culture of excellence and character surrounding UWF
Athletics.  I believe President Bense honestly gets it—she understands how athletics can mean the world to an institution and an individual.

(And remember...I don't work for her and this site is owned, financed and operated by me.)

(SPORTS) HISTORY IN THE MAKING
3-18-15

The equipment is ready and the balls are properly inflated.


The coach has done all of this before...quite successfully...
HE FITS THE MOLD OF UWF HIGH CHARACTER LEADERS.



The first Argo players...



The coach has assembled and experienced and capable staff...



A time to laugh...



A time to work...and in 2016 these red shirt players will lead the Argos to play the first game!


It's not hard to find fault with the decision to start a football program at UWF.  It's expensive...very expensive, to field an NCAA level  football team.  The University of Alabama-Birmingham has recently dropped football.  Rightly or wrongly, that decision is widely believed to be about financing college sports.  The cost of putting one player on the field includes the cost of equipment, uniforms and expensive player pads and helmets,  coaches salaries, meals, insurance, transportation, scholarships and other facilities.  It won't be without cost to play home games at the Maritime Park.  UWF has a fine weight room.  It probably can't absorb 80 football players.  Financing has fallen behind for the original plans for football facilities.  Practice fields and locker rooms are both critical and expensive.  Football is hard on turf...maintenance alone would be expensive.  You can't just practice on any open field.  Players running full speed can't risk the serious repercussions of stepping in a hole.  Maybe the biggest elephant in the room concerns concussions and football.  Programs from youth leagues through high school and college are dealing with the same issue as the NFL when it comes to concussions. How can they be eliminated and who pays the freight?  Knee injuries are also on that list of liabilities.  Some see football as too dangerous to risk.  Certainly the threat of litigation has to be considered.

Like I said, it's not hard to find fault with the decision to start a football program at UWF.  It would seem there is never a good time to make expensive changes—or inexpensive ones for that matter.  UWF serves the community...local state and region.  It represents and reflects that same community.  We are proudly "football crazy" in the South.  It's our sport and we excel at it.  It's played throughout the nation but it is recognized everywhere for the contribution of Southern athletes and coaches. It goes beyond merely a social activity for some.  Values of loyalty, hard work and decency are involved with sports. Sports, including football, have changed lives for the better all over this country and really, all over the world. I'm not qualified to judge if UWF can afford football.  I am qualified to support the effort.  Those in charge have the interests involved in serving and encouraging this community at heart in their decision.  The Administration believes it can and should be done. They went out to attract a really good coach to lead the program.  Let us borrow some sports phrases.  They have a good "track record" for doing the right thing.  They don't just pursue the "slam dunks."  There are risks when you grow a school or a business.  Had people in the past not taken risks there would be no university in Pensacola.  State governments and educational systems were under stress when UWF was created. It was not a good time to take risks.

I couldn't resist this editorial comment.  Remember, I pay for this site and "they" don't pay me, or ask me, to provide it.  It's a free lunch for the community and UWF is certainly a valuable part of this community.


PLAY BALL!
1-31-15



BASEBALL, SOFTBALL AND TENNIS ARE STARTING AT UWF NOW AND THE BLUE WAHOOS START IN APRIL.
WE WILL BE POSTING PHOTOS AS THE SEASONS PROGRESS


The community is populated with people who could teach me about photography and building web pages.  Well actually, I'm probably impossible to teach.  One of the problems with being self-taught is you can change majors but you can't change teachers.  More precisely put, the community is populated with people who know more than I know about photography and building web pages and are nice enough not to mention it.  I hope they're not to frustrated at my efforts.

If you notice photos that look like the thumbnail below, with a missing part or grey or black color covering some of the photo note that I haven't a clue other than to assure you the same photos probably won't display this aberration each time you load the site.  It's a little like watching paint dry but waiting to scroll until all photos have loaded seems to help.  I've tried everything I can think of to correct this aberration.  For those who encounter this problem note that photos that are affected one day won't be affected on another day—it's a random problem for those who have it.  Again, the best thing to do is drag and drop your favorite photos to a file and create your own display or slide show.  They are optimized for webpage display so I'm not sure how they will print out.  I'd appreciate feedback as to how the webpages look on your computer.

          

Same photo the next time it was loaded:

   

Rather than relying on this page I would drag and drop my favorite photos to a file or slide show where they will load faster and more smoothly.  I can't promise these photos will remain  or that I won't return to wildlife photography and delete everything for space.

I usually don't have the time or energy to be labeling or organizing photos.  As a result you'll find that you're seeing photos out of the order in which the action occurred.  You might also find these to be time consuming to load.  You might try creating your own folders or files of your favorite shots or creating a slide show.  I sometimes include photos I would ordinarily delete due to quality but I classify them as "Grandfather quality."  We grandfathers have never seen a photo of our loved ones we didn't like.

If you are new to photography and want a crash course in the basics you can try this site I created: Very Basic Photography



TENNIS




UWF TENNIS VS NORTH ALABAMA 2-15-15
Both The Defending NATIONAL CHAMPION MEN'S  TEAM And THE HIGHLY RANKED WOMEN'S TEAM
Demolished North Alabama 9-0

UWF TENNIS VS MIDWESTERN 3-17-15   
UWF TENNIS VS ST LEO 3-18-15
UWF TENNIS WOMEN VS NORTHEASTERN STATE 3-19-15
UWF TENNIS VS GEORGIA COLLEGE 3-20-15
UWF TENNIS VS WEST ALABAMA 3-24-15
UWF TENNIS VS BYU-HAWAII 3-27-15
UWF TENNIS VS HAWAII PACIFIC 4-1-15
UWF TENNIS VS CONCORDIA 4-2-15

UWF MEN'S TENNIS VS BENEDICT NCAA REGIONAL 5-2-15
UWF MEN'S TENNIS VS ROLLINS NCAA REGIONAL 5-3-15
UWF WOMEN'S TENNIS VS LYNN 5-4-15 NCAA REGIONAL



BASEBALL


UWF BASEBALL VS FL SOUTHERN 1-31-15 ONE
UWF BASEBALL VS FL SOUTHERN 1-31-15 TWO
Plus 2-1-15 Rainout
UWF BASEBALL VS ROLLINS 2-6-15
UWF BASEBALL VS ALBANY 2-7-15

Ranked again in the top TEN nationally, the UWF Baseball team is 7-2 after taking 2 out of 3 from UNA!
UWF BASEBALL VS UNA 2-14-15
UWF BASEBALL VS UNA 2-15-15
UWF BASEBALL VS SPRING HILL 2-26-15
UWF BASEBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 2-27-15  DH  
UWF BASEBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 2-28-15 
UWF BASEBALL VS UNION 3-7-15
UWF BASEBALL VS UNION 3-8-15
UWF BASEBALL VS HUNTSVILLE   3-14-15 & 3-15-15 
UWF BASEBALL VS LEE 3-28-15 
UWF BASEBALL VS LEE 3-29-15 
UWF BASEBALL VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 4-3-15
UWF BASEBALL VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 4-5-15
UWF BASEBALL VS SPRING HILL 4-21-15
UWF BASEBALL VS DELTA 4-25-15
UWF BASEBALL VS DELTA 4-26-15



SOFTBALL
UWF SOFTBALL VS TUSKEGEE RAINOUT 2-1-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS UNA 2-14-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS UNA 2-15-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS SPRING HILL 2-18-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS UNIV. 2-27-15  
UWF SOFTBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS UNIV. 2-28-15 
UWF SOFTBALL VS UNION 3-7-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS UNION 3-8-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS MERCYHURST 3-10-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS HUNTSVILLE  3-14-15 & 3-15-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS MILES COLLEGE 3-25-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS LEE 3-28-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS LEE 3-29-15
UWF VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE WINNING PLAY 4-3-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 4-3-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 4-4-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS ALBANY STATE 4-8-15

UWF SOFTBALL VS DELTA STATE 4-25-15
UWF SOFTBALL VS DELTA STATE 4-26-15 SENIOR DAY




Yea, I'm sure I would have heard footsteps too and taken my eye off the ball.


There are head first slides, hook slides and today's favorite: the "pop-up" slide.  I don't know what this was.


Safe!  Speed...the ball can be seen near the ump's left knee.  They've tried to curtail
collisions at all levels of baseball but it's a tough game played by tough people.


I don't care what the play...umpires all conspire to block my view.


THE 2015 ARGO INVITATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Golf isn't exactly a team game.  Individual player's scores are added up to create a team score.  "Team" players not only don't help each other, they usually play in separate foursomes.  I guess this is why I haven't found much interest from anyone in having Argo Invitational golf photos displayed.  Some free photos of this event are available at the URLs listed.  Golf is a difficult game to photograph but we have a few good shots of various players..

Men: http://www.uwfphoto.com/3-30-15GOLF.html
Women: http://www.uwfphoto.com/3-31-15GOLF.html







2-3-15
WESTERN FLORIDA, LIKE MUCH OF AMERICA, IS A LAND OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH

 The Florida Panhandle is rich in opportunities for religious expression and introspection. 

We have a Messianic Jewish synagogue and out of the rich religious traditions of the Middle East we have a Muslim Mosque and the historic first Jewish synagogue in the state.  From the mystical richness of the East we have at least two Buddhist temples or congregations serving a wide range of believers. The Pensacola India Association can direct you to those pursuing Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism.  It promotes such things as The Festival Of Lights.  Christianity is represented by a wide range of faiths.  Most seem interested in welcoming visitors. Some of the Christian congregations are huge with equally impressive buildings while others worship in homes and smaller buildings.  There are Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of God,  Church Of God In Christ, Baptists of several stripes, Presbyterians, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, Assemblies of God, independent churches,  A M E Churches, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Roman Catholics.  There may even be some Druids.  It is a religiously rich community and I've probably overlooked some options. Any week will find street preachers and also missionaries going door-to-door to win converts.

Let me know if you'd like me to tell you which  religious groups have the truth.
(Hint:  You'll agree with my answer.) 
In the mean time here is a view of religion from THE LIGHTER SIDE.

WHERE IS GOD?

        Two young boys were real troublemakers and their mother was at wit's end when she heard her church had a new deacon who had experience straightening out problem kids.  She contacted the man and sent the oldest boy to see him first.  The man looked at the boy and said: "Where is God?"  
        After a long silence he raised his voice and said, "Where is God?"
         Not getting an answer he almost yelled, "Where is God?" 
        The boy got up and ran from the room as the deacon shouted his question again.  The boy sprinted all the way home and to his brother's surprise, he crawled under the bed virtually shaking in fear. 
        What's wrong?" the younger brother asked. 
        "We're in big trouble this time.  God is missing and they think we had something to do with it."


ALL ABOARD

The preacher gave it his best effort about Heaven.  He was pleased by the enthusiastic congregation and paused to ask  for a show hands from all wanting to go to Heaven.  All responded except one man in the front row.  The young minister presented another sincere description of the Pearly Gates before again asking who wanted to go to Heaven.  Again, all responded with raised hands except the same man in the front row.  The preacher left his pulpit and stood directly in front of the man while describing the glories of Paradise.  He again asked his question and got the same response.  He asked the man directly if he hoped to someday see Heaven.  He answered "Yes."  The preacher almost shouted: "Man, why didn't you raise your hand when I asked who wanted to go to Heaven?"  The man said, "I thought you were fixin' to get a group together right now."


LAMA                                                       

    The woman was from New York City.  She explained to a travel agent that she wanted to travel to Asia to meet a certain lama who was reported to be living in a rugged mountain cave high in the Himalayas.  He tried to talk her into visiting a more easily reached lama.  She was adamant and said she needed to ask this particular lama an important  question. He arranged a complicated trip that included an air liner, a charter flight, train ride and an arduous trek into the mountains.  The lama's assistant stopped her and said she risked interfering with the lama's meditation schedule.  He said he'd take here to the cave but she could only speak 8 words to the lama.
    After another climb she stood near the cave entrance and said: "Sheldon, it's your mother.  So come home already."

OK, I stole the first joke from a friend.  It's such an old joke it  may have inspired Nietzsche.   Joke two is from Garner Ted Armstrong. The third joke is stolen from Lama Surya Das.  He was born Jeffrey Miller in New York and was commenting on what he saw as the attraction of Buddhism to young Jews.  I hope you find the jokes as harmless as I do.


C'mon...surely you can take God seriously even while you laugh at human foibles!

 SERMONS IN BLACK AND WHITE
Local

Night in Florida...

And a little further away...

A monastery that took someone like me in despite having a faith that is a mixture of Buddhism and what a friend once called existential Christianity. It includes a touch of Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, all without a reliance on churches, synagogues, mosques, temples or professional clergy. It took several false starts before he came to believe you assemble your own scripture from the words and actions that touch and inspire you. He has taken the vows of a Bodhisattva and is also ordained by the Universal Life Church in California.  He hasn't made a dime from either and doesn't intend to.  He believes if you can explain your spirituality it's probably not personal enough.  He's come to believe what is personal enough through the mystery, misery and wonder of life is a desire to please God.


A road to seclusion...
If this path is troublesome, by all means
take yours...it's a superior route...for you.


The view from a hermit's cabin...



1-19-15
HONORING DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
FOR ALL SEASONS, NOT JUST FOR A DAY...


There have been many great men and women who have graced the pages of world history with their presence.  Buddha, Christ and Gandhi come to mind to name a few.  Lincoln, Churchill, DeGaulle, Kennedy and others have each meant the world to their own nation. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has meant the world to us.  His life and words are of a value difficult to comprehend as time slowly shrouds our memories in its fog.  You can't put a price tag on conscience and decency.  He gave us permission to dream important dreams and then live them out. He called forth the best from us and inspired a nation to do the right thing.  Good people everywhere remain forever in his debt.

1-30-15

"...for now come stealin' comes the night."
A Unique Western Florida Sunset


1-19-15
ON 1-19-15 THE OWNERS OF THE CINCINNATI REDS AA BASEBALL TEAM
ANNOUNCED THAT BUBBA WATSON HAS BECOME A MINORITY OWNER.









1-20-15
Heron In Pensacola
When Bubba shows up you can expect to see birdies.






1-20-15
Too funny!  Yesterday had two juxtaposed stories that partially involve Western Florida.  The self-deprecating and respected family man, Bubba Watson, invested in the local baseball team.  Shy, yet personable, the famous golfer and two-time Masters champion supports adoption and puts one of his investments into a local enterprise because he wants to give back to the community he loves.  Good guys do win.

The other headline describes allegations that Super Bowl coach Bill Belichick deflated the footballs just enough to give his team the advantage.  Presumably both teams used the same footballs so I'm not sure what advantage this gave the Patriots.  I believe Belichick was once penalized for something called Spygate that involved gaining an unfair advantage. (The team they were playing,  Indianapolis Colts, were once accused of using their PA system to blare crowd noise to help their fans befuddle an opponents attempt to call "audibles" at the line.)

All of this somehow reminded me of a story I read as a youth.  Clair Bee was a hugely successful basketball coach who won something like 82% of his games,  He invented such things as the 1-3-1 zone.  A coaching award is still named for him.  Unfortunately, he stopped coaching at age 55 when his players at LIU were implicated in the 1951 point-shaving scandal that also involved such teams as Kentucky, Bradley and CCNY.  He never coached again but the innovator remains well respected and wrote many technical books on coaching.  He is probably best remembered as the author of the Chip Hilton Sports Series for young readers.  (I collect them and have the entire set.)

The mythical Chip Hilton was the All-America boy prototype.  Decency and sportsmanship oozed from every pore as he tackled athletic and social problems in each of the two dozen books of fiction Clair Bee wrote in the series.  We (and others such as young Bobby Knight) gobbled up the books in the late 50s and early 60s.  Chip had superior skills in football, basketball and baseball.  He could do it all in every sport and with either hand.  When trouble erupted in the community, he also displayed huge boxing skills and a moral code of fair play, fair fighting and honesty.  Today, a legitimate player of the year award is named for him.

OK, here's the tie-in to yesterday's headlines about air in the ball and a real-life good guy.  Bee wrote "Hoop Crazy" in 1950 and it dealt with how it took a blizzard and a bizarre event to literally "derail"  Chip's Valley Falls high school team on the way to another state championship in basketball.  A record blizzard forced Chip's venerable "old school" coach, Henry "The Rock" Rockwell to use the local train  to replace the cancelled bus ride to arch-rival Delford and a match with the dark force coach Jinx Jenkins.  This was all against the back-drop of Chip saving a fortune for the crime threatened local pottery manufacturer.  Of course the unheated train broke down in the blizzard, leaving the passengers to freeze.  The team gave up their coats to  a bunch of poor little kids as the temperature dropped.  They finally carried the poor children as they led the passengers on the 3 mile trip to Delford.  They literally leaned into the terrible storm and reached their hotel numb, freezing and exhausted. Of course the coach of the evil empire would not allow the game to be re-scheduled for the next night.  Despite exhaustion and numb arms and legs, Valley Falls had a one point lead with just 2 seconds to play.  A Delford player launched a wild half court heave that was obviously headed to go over the backboard and seal the win.  Suddenly, the ball began to deflate and zig-zag around like a balloon.  It landed on the flange of the rim and quickly finished hissing out the remaining air.  Chip and his teammates were too exhausted to react but a Delford player leaped and tapped the ball off the flange and into the net  (Remember, it was 1950)  and win the game.  Returning home, Chip would  find a con man stealing his late father's secret pottery formulas from their basement lab.  The thief was plotting to use them to defraud the local pottery factory owner but Chip intervened and beat (in a fair fight) the larger man into submission. As usual, Chip turned down a monetary reward from the wealthy pottery business owner with a "shucks, I did just what a fellow should" attitude.  (Chip's father was a great local athlete who died saving the life of a fellow worker in a pottery factory mishap.  In his spare time from school, athletics and his job at the local drug store, Chip worked on developing his father's secret pottery formulas in the basement lab.)

The Patriots/Colts game was so lopsided Coach Belichick didn't have to use his secret ball deflating trick to prevent a Colt's game winning pass or field goal.  Too bad.  I could have written a great novel about it.

Note:  I've alluded to Chip, The Rock and the rest of the fictional characters in Clair Bee's series before on several web sites.  I've been asked what state was the location of Valley Falls.  It's fiction so I'd say it was located in the state of mind of the author.  Chip went on to college (turning down a scholarship and working his way at what else?  A drug store).  He attended what was always called simply: "State University."  In a brilliant move, State hired the recently retired Coach Rockwell to move to State University as freshman coach for the 3 major sports Chip and the boys would excel in at this higher level.  Better quality basketballs at that level would help State avoid losing games by hissing, deflating balls.  Best guesses for the location of the series remains:  West Virginia, Ohio or Indiana.

Legendary coach Bobby Knight read the series also.  He is an outspoken supporter of Bee
and his books. Knight's motion offense was not an exact copy of Bee's complicated plays because he coached in the modern era of shot clocks, 3 point shots and 5 second rules.  Both men grasped the importance of picks and screens and both understood it was just as important that players used the picks and screens of teammates to the best advantage. Both demanded discipline and unselfish play. Bee's world was one that allowed offensive goal tending and favored the two hand set shot over the newly created jump shot.  He helped create the 3 second rule. At first, players of Bee's era in football and basketball stayed on the playing field or floor for timeouts and were not joined by the coach.

I believe there should be a theological aspect to the events in Hoop Crazy.  Personally, if I saw a wild and inaccurate shot heading over the backboard when it suddenly begins zig-zagging like a rapidly leaking balloon before making its way into the net I would suspect divine intervention. That God had first tried to intercept the team with a blizzard seals the issue for me.  God wanted Chip to lose, plain and simple.  Another oddity was that for all of his heroics in three sports each year in high school and his heroic intervention to solve community problems, the handsome young athlete apparently didn't have even one date. I'm guessing Homecoming Dances, Sweetheart Dances and Junior and Senior Proms came and went with Chip and his cadre of friends, Soapy, Biggie, Speed and Red saving their energy for the next big athletic event.  The only kiss that involved Chip was a peck on the cheek for his long suffering mother, the widow Mary Hilton...a hardworking local telephone operator.  It's probably just as well.  Old school thought agrees with what Rocky Balboa's manager said:  "You lay off that pet shop dame. Women weaken legs." I'm sure the Rock shared the belief although Bee doesn't mention such things.  It was  Casey Stengel who probably had it right but he came along too late to help Chip's love life: "Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."




1-13-15
HERE ARE SOME OLD PHOTOS FROM THE ANCIENT "FILM DAYS"
THAT I'M TRYING TO ADAPT TO BE VIEWED IN DIGITAL FORMAT


CLICK HERE
TO SEE THE PHOTOS


12-31-14
A heron surveys a swamp for dinner.



And the next day I got another birdie on Hole 17!
I think it's the same species but this one was shaded slightly different. 
Anyway, who else gets so many birdies on the Scenic Hills Course?


The Artistic Director of Ballet Pensacola, Richard Steinert

Once again he was the creative force behind the presentation of The
Nutcracker at the Saenger Theater.  It was a wonderful performance!

12-18-14
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH WINTER


"There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there."

                                                   
Helpless by Neil Young


From The Snowy Recesses Of My Mind...

Click Here: WINTER

WINTER IN THE PANHANDLE

I guess you were probably wondering where the tie-in is to Western Florida
I took these photos here last year and am reprinting them to honor the 2014 Winter Solstice

Winter ice in Florida...pretty...


and destructive...


A dusting of snow closed schools and other activities...


Our version of a winter wonderland...
I'm a Southerner by choice but I'm originally from Chicago.  My people are from Norway and Northern Germany with a migration through Canada into Western Wisconsin.  I spent many of my "Wonder Years" in Ohio.  I was spared Lutefisk but not Goetta and Sauerkraut.  I learned to nearly worship winter.  We woke in a house with open windows—you could see your breath.  We learned to navigate cars through snow.  We loved sleds but weren't cool (or rich) enough for toboggans or skis.  The river was too rough and dangerous for skating and hockey.  We followed hockey and considered football a sport best played in the cold and snow.

DECEMBER 2014
Happy Holidays To All Of Our Readers

I've been so good this year all of these presents are probably for me.


Fill 'er up Saint Nick...mine's the big one in the center!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, HOLY DAYS OR SPECIAL DAYS!
Whether you await a Messiah, Mahdi, Prophet, Maitreya or anyone else...or the object of your spiritual affection is already here, this is the season when many turn toward their religious or philosophical underpinnings. Hopefully you find it a time of peace that spills over for an entire year—and then repeats itself.  The fall and winter months seem to have the lion's share of special days.  Some are moveable feasts while others are written in stone for certain dates. We celebrate the Buddha's enlightenment on Bodhi Day, Jesus Christ's birthday on Christmas, the Winter Solstice in several traditions (Saturnalia, Yalda, Samhain, Yule and others), Festivals of Light such as Diwali and Hanukka, the family oriented celebration of Kwanza, the Soyal Solstice of the Hopi and Zuni, Rosh Hashanah of the Jews and Chalica of the Unitarians join the Holy Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe and certainly many others I've missed.  It is a season of joy, dedication and the hope of good overcoming evil. We even have the mythical Festivus for those who have nothing else but still want a feast. Me? I see the value and goodness in all.  I wish you Happy --------- (fill in the blank and celebrate with our best wishes).



12-3-14
AT LEAST IN PENSACOLA THE FUTURE IS IN VERY GOOD HANDS

I follow the University of West Florida Athletics with my camera.  I'd still want to follow them even if I didn't photograph. The recent Thanksgiving tournament was a great example of what's right with education, athletics and what the future holds for the country.  We were treated to the total effort of more than 100 student athletes from 8 different Division II schools.  Their ages ranged from the very late teens to the low 20s. Players from all teams displayed maturity and a fierceness that was both clean and highly skilled.  I hope some of my photos chronicle just what went on.

There is even more going on in this community.  Some of the productions involve the younger generation as well as adults.  I was privileged to observe some of the events going on in the performing arts community.  I've watched several plays and an occasional rehearsal of upcoming events.


Local Director Johnnie Odom has adapted and is directing a production of Hans Christian Andersen's arguably most highly regarded work, The Snow Queen.  Written in the 1840s, it is a classic.  There is a story told that Andersen was in love  with opera legend Jenny Lind and modeled the title character after the real life star who didn't exactly warm to his infatuation. That story may or may not be true but Mr. Odom's adaptation of the original work is exciting on its own.  While the director's effort is rightly labeled a production, the writing, directing and acting are more correctly called artistic interpretations...and they are good ones. The effort is superb by all. No one just goes through the motions here.  It's obvious Director Odom knows his craft and his assemblage of talent very well. 

Director/writer Johnnie Odom

I was thrilled to have the honor of watching some rehearsals of the play.  This operation is the real deal in every aspect.  The director begins the evening session with his summary of the previous night's efforts and announces his schedule for the work that night.  You close your eyes and you have no problem imagining this is taking place on a stage in New York City.  It's that good and that professional.  The younger actors, like the older ones, have learned to schedule their lives around rehearsal requirements.  The younger ones wait for their scenes while wrestling with school homework  done in the far back of the theater.  All ages have learned to survive on Subway sandwiches, bottled water and energy bars.  If you think I'm impressed I'm glad it shows.
A poster in a local restaurant



THE SNOW QUEEN
OPENING NIGHT—A REVIEW
12-13-14

Opening night of the Snow Queen was everything we hoped for.  The huge cast and crew (over 50 people of all ages) pulled it off.  I'm sure there were glitches and problems but this skilled ensemble shared only the positive view of the great story with the audience. 

On its most basic level it is one neat story and it was told well as many memorable characters passed before our eyes.  Scenery and costumes were perfect for the tale.  This, however, is a fairy tale and like many works in this genre there are more levels of meaning.   The psychological and philosophical implications of the story are powerful. It all begins with a mirror. There is, for good or ill, magic in mirrors. If not actual magic there is at least power. The author makes this point solidly. "Through a glass darkly" has been a theme from Biblical times until today.  Michael Jackson will not be the last to wrestle with "the man in the mirror."  Other deep elements of symbolism are here from beginning to end.  The magic of adolescence abounds but we are left to conclude that growing up does not lead to a cessation of growing, learning or loving.  There is so much more. You jump in at your most comfortable place in interpreting this story and performance.  As Aldous Huxley said: "You pays your money and you takes your choice."
     
Two crows and a reindeer were among the most endearing characters in a production of endearing
characters and one is left thinking about how the Grateful Dead expressed the sentiment from a crow:

"It's the same story the crow told me; it's the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go.
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait,
Wo, oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?"





There is always something going on in the Pensacola Little Theater.  It's home to the famed  Ballet Pensacola.  They are preparing their annual Nutcracker for the Saenger Theatre.  That performance is wonderful but it's not all that emanates from the local performing arts community.  There are numerous shows and acting classes for all ages.  They even have improv classes where performers learn to think on their feet.


11-20-14
COLOR

Unlike the North, fall colors are a little harder to find in the South.




We get our color at different times  of the year.
Our fall colors are more subdued but our spring colors come early and beautiful

Sometimes it is almost explosive!
   

   

See La Florida


11-19-14
A LITTLE HUMOR UNDER OUR FEET
Because of old, bad wheels I have to watch where I walk.
What's the strangest thing you've found while walking in Escambia County?

 I HAVE FOUND ENOUGH MEDALS TO START A RELIGION

On the left is a St. Anthony medal.  The reverse says Pray For Us. Some Catholics pray: "St. Anthony turn around, turn around, something's lost and must be found." He is the patron saint of lost articles.  I guess it didn't work yet with this medal.  When I found it I first thought it was a St. Christopher medal although I think they pencil whipped him off the Calendar of Saints along with St. Nicholas and the patron saint of explosives, St. Barbara..

The blue medal  is a "Miraculous Medal." Blue is Mary's color.  It's hard to read but it says:  "Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee."  I personally think the veneration/deification of Mary is cool. There is only one path and it's bigger than any one religion. This medal is related to the honoring of the Immaculate Conception—not to be confused with the Franco Harris immaculate reception or even David Concepcion, the greatest shortstop not in the Hall of Fame.

On the right is a crucifix.  I can't quite decipher the reverse but it looks like IHS.  I recall that to be the shortened Greek name for Jesus.


Of course I've found money...I found a "half" $10 which was luckily just complete enough
to be redeemed at the bank.  $30 was the largest find but this pictured one couldn't be spent.


Some things are funny...


Others are strange
Your break?



This is why I can't take a full swing...
(or was it done by a mower?)



It's believed fishing  lures are designed to catch fishermen, not necessarily fish.



I think this was an earring...


(Some of the things on this site are copied from my Scenic Hills site:  http://www.scenicpost.com)



11-13-14
TIS THE SEASON FOR VISITORS

A  relative of this guy picked a night this week to visit our good friend here in Scenic Hills in Escambia County. It's that time of year.   These chilly days and cold nights have wild animals seeking dens or warmth or who knows what.  In the last dozen years we have had two squirrels enter our abode.  Our friend said he had his intruder leap from a drapery cornice and graze his shoulder.  There are many good hiding place in a house for these rodents.  The ending was happy for man and beast.  We are guessing the squirrel entered through a damaged screen cover on the chimney.


A HUMBLE SUGGESTION

There are many home schools in our community.  The ones I have seen in some detail are amazing.  I would suggest a science project for home schools.  After I moved here I decided to do an inventory of the natural life on the third of an acre I occupy. CONFESSIONS OF A BACKYARD NATURALIST (http://www.billstockland.com/Backyard.html) is a web site I created to explain what I found after a brief study of my property.  It would be a great project to introduce school kids to biology, botany, and all the aspects of flora and fauna that each of our marvelous properties contain.  Web pages are surprisingly easy and cheap to create.  Free and inexpensive internet space is available.  Domain names are cheap.  Free applications are still available for processing digital photos.  There are free applications that can turn your discoveries into suitable code to create a web page.  It would be an interesting ongoing project for a grandparent to work on with a grandchild.  It is a great way to  explore both nature and the Internet with safety.  Of course modern young people can probably "school" us older people on the technical side of making this natural history study.  That sounds like a win-win to me.


WARNING
These photos were taken in the mountains of Kentucky but the warning applies almost everywhere including Florida's Panhandle. Be careful. Deer and drivers are a danger to each other. We were in a funeral procession in the mountains  when a 10 point buck deer (according to the minister who was a witness) ran down a steep hill and crashed into the hearse when it attempted to jump over the vehicle.  Note the missing mirror and hoof print on the roof as well as the shattered windshield.  Surprisingly, the deer tumbled out of control and landed in a heap on the other side of the hearse.  He scrambled to his feet and climbed away up a steep hill.

10-27-14


10-2-12
In The Same Mountains
A Few Miles From The Site Of The Accident



















SCENIC HILLS
ONE OF PENSACOLA'S GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS!

Scenic Hills has its own golf course, restaurant and university.
It even has its own newspaper:  The Scenic Post (scenicpost.com)



The University of West Florida owns Scenic Hills Country Club.  Some of us worry that golf is a dying sport but Scenic Hills and UWF have a lot of potential.  Over 640 golf courses have closed since 2006 and participation has declined by 5 million players in the last few years.  Don't be concerned that the signs look a little like tombstones.  Who better than a fine university can do the creative things a sport requires to survive.  Just look at UWF athletics if you need to be encouraged.  They have 8 national championships and dominate the tough Gulf South Conference.




WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
10-23-14
THE MOBILE PATRIOTS VS THE ARGOS
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS


  
UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA
ATHLETICS ARE SOARING

UWFPHOTO.COM IS PROUD TO INCLUDE REPORTS AND  PHOTOS OF UWF ATHLETICS
AMONG THE MANY THINGS WE COVER (AND SUPPORT) IN THE COMMUNITY.


We will post links on this page for all events we photograph and other items of interest.
IMPORTANT:  WE ARE NOT EMPLOYED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA OR ANY OTHER ENTITY IN FLORIDA OR BEYOND AND I AM NOT REIMBURSED OR PAID TO MAINTAIN THIS INTERNET WEB SITE OR TO PROMOTE ANYONE OR ANYTHING.  THEY CAN'T AFFORD ME.  I CHERISH FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND OTHER VALUES TOO HIGHLY. THIS IS PRESENTED AS A NON-PROFIT PUBLIC SERVICE INTERNET NEWSPAPER.


LINKS TO ATHLETIC EVENTS WILL BE POSTED HERE

BASKETBALL
Once again UWF Men's and Women's Basketball teams have brought some of
the finest and most talented people to excite and entertain fans and supporters.



2-20-15
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
 
Back when you were 7-1, I wanted to call you overachievers.  I'm glad I kept quiet.  Overachieving implies you were more successful than you should have been. Some might say it means you may have been lucky.  No,  you've deserved every success you've had by working for it. You're good, real good. A lot of teams have talent too.  A lot of those teams aren't 17-7 against the best the always tough GSC has to offer. The conference is good, real good.  They're excellent programs competing in difficult venues for visitors to venture.  You're better than all of them.   No, you're not overachievers, you're awesome achievers…and you and your coaches did it with class.

11-25-14 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS SPRING HILL
                         11-28-14 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS ARKANSAS-MONTICELLO
              11-29-14 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS CENTRAL MISSOURI
12-11-14 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS SHORTER
12-13-14 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS LEE
1-3-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS UNION
1-5-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
1-17-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS VALDOSTA
 1-22-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS NORTH ALABAMA
1-24-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS HUNTSVILLE
2-5-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS DELTA STATE
2-7-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
 
2-19-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS WEST GEORGIA
2-21-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS WEST ALABAMA
3-5-15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS SHORTER GSC TOURNAMENT


2-20-15
When  you first stepped on the court you had more of an athletic career than almost everyone who watched you.  As coaches and players you did more than you realize right now.  You didn't win the championship but only one at every level wins a championship.  You were interesting and exciting.  You made the breaks you got.  I hope you're proud of what you've done.  We are. We wish those who are leaving the best wishes imaginable along with our appreciation.  Thanks for the memories.  For those coming back we can only repeat what fans have said about their players from the beginning of sport.  We'll get them next year!

11-25-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS SPRING HILL
11-28-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS CLAFLIN
11-29-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS CHOWAN
12-11-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS SHORTER
12-13-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS LEE
1-3-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS UNION
 1-5-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
1-17-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS VALDOSTA
1-17-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS NORTH ALABAMA
1-24-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS HUNTSVILLE
  2-5-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS DELTA STATE
  2-19-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS WEST GEORGIA
2-21-15 MEN'S BASKETBALL VS WEST ALABAMA




UWF CROSS COUNTRY  MEN & WOMEN



UWF MEN'S SOCCER

Click Here:  9-4-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS TREVECCA
                  9-12-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS ROLLINS
                                        9-14-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS FLORIDA SOUTHERN
             9-26-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS UNION
                                           9-28-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
              10-8-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS MOBILE
                  10-12-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS FLAGLER
                             10-17-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS UAH (Huntsville)
                                10-19-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS WEST ALABAMA
                                               10-31-14 MEN'S SOCCER VS SPRING HILL & Senior Day

UWF WOMEN'S SOCCER

  Click Here:    9-12-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS ROLLINS
                                           9-14-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS TEXAS COMMERCE
                              9-20-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS SPRING HILL
                   9-26-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS UNION
                                                9-28-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
                                  9-26-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS UAH (Huntsville)
                                      10-19-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS WEST ALABAMA
                                                 10-31-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS VALDOSTA & Senior Day
                     11-4-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS SHORTER
                        11-7-14 WOMEN'S SOCCER VS VALDOSTA


UWF VOLLEYBALL

CLICK HERE:   UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  VALDOSTA 9-16-14
                                                     
UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 9-19-14
                     UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  UNION 9-20-14
        UWF VOLLEYBALL 2014 TEAM
                                       UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  WEST GEORGIA 10-3-14
                  UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  UAH 10-10-14
                                           UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  LEE UNIVERSITY 10-11-14
                                                                  UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  UNA 11-1-14 & Senior Day & Parents Day
                          UWFVOLLEYBALL VS  SHORTER 11-4-14 
                                                   UWF VOLLEYBALL VS  MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 11-8-14

Things are looking up in Pensacola! 

                                                                              
Photo shot from Scenic Hills late August, 2014

THE PENSACOLA BLUE WAHOOS
It's so much more than just a game!

I have been a baseball season ticket holder going back to the Pensacola Pelicans days.  We now have the AA affiliate
of the Cincinnati Reds and for three straight years we have been treated to the play of the game's future stars.
 
I attended my first professional baseball game over a half century ago.  My grandfather had earlier posted a 17-1 record pitching in an obscure Wisconsin semi-pro league. I was a year or so away from distinguishing myself with a lofty .081 batting average as a Little League right fielder. 

It was the ninth inning and manager Birdie Tebbetts had already started a bench clearing brawl by swinging at counterpart Harry "The Hat" Walker.  I think he actually threw a headlock around him. Johnny Temple would later drive in the fleet footed Chuck Harmon from second base with a walk-off single.  It was July 5th of 1955.  A little kid was hooked for life.

The action outside the lines kept the entertainment fast paced and interesting these past three years.  Hopefully the baseball action and the showmanship has hooked a new generation on what has been a most positive and rewarding addiction for me and the great fans I met at Blue Wahoo games!


Quint Studer and his wife brought us the Blue Wahoos!































































 



     






















  



7-20-14
"THE PLAY'S THE THING."
Or how Nickle Tickle saved fairy tales!

The set awaits its actors

OK, "The play's the thing" was stolen from Shakespeare (Hamlet I think) but Nick Tickle, Fairy Tale Detective deals with stolen props that threaten the future of fairy tales as we've grown to love them.  It has been performed by various theatre groups across the country!  I was fortunate to see the performance at the Pensacola Little Theatre by local actors and directors from Acorn Productions and the Pensacola Little Theatre (http://www.pensacolalittletheater.com).  It begins with Hansel and Gretel and ends with a papa bear who is afraid of porridge.  Along the way a hilarious detective does a Noir Genre performance in the best traditions of Mike Hammer, Sam Spade and Pat Novak (Look it up. you'll be surprised).

Classy and talented artistic expression thrives in Pensacola.  There seems to be more talent per capita here than just about anywhere.  A slick private detective would say "Pick your poison babe—literature, music of all kinds, dance, opera, theatre and the visual hearts including photography—it's all here and it's fascinating."



THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE WAS HEAVILY DAMAGED
IN THE RECORD RAIN STORM OF LATE APRIL 2014

See Scenic Hills Rain  for details
Or see scenicpost.com
  




I'm constantly being asked (begged actually) to display photos of me instead of those good looking young athletes, coaches and other famous people I usually display.  With that in mind I have included this recent self portrait and urge you to bring me bananas and fruit (handed, not thrown thank you) if you recognize me at a sporting event.

While we are on the subject, the Pensacola area has an excellent zoo located in Gulf Breeze.  It is located
at 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy. and well worth the trip.  Here are some photos:  THE GULF BREEZE ZOO

Click here for some basic information about how to
use a digital camera:  A Very Basic Photography Site

  The Picturesque Gulf Coast

The Scenic Post
   A Blog/Newspaper About The Scenic Hills Neighborhood

MORE WESTERN FLORIDA SCENES




THE UNIQUE (AND INTERESTING) WEST FLORIDA


From everything I've heard, the seafood industry is very serious about safety and quality.


Sand dunes and salty air...










It's not exactly my religion but it's cool.  You see street preachers who believe they
have something of value to give you. This is the corner of Nine Mile Rd. and University.


I think this is a tarpon.  Below, a man jumps in to help land the giant fish in shallow water


You can see by these photos why we're called the Emerald Coast.


Danger...jellyfish stings are painful







It's the tentacles that are the problem. I've heard  in Australia someone gets stung
about 10,000 times a year.  You'd think that guy would stay away from the water. 


Look carefully...proof that animals can read.




Let sleeping cats lie...another zoo shot!




Beaches are rarely this crowded...


You can usually find some uncrowded areas.


A Great Blue Heron


A Little Blue Heron


In warmer months free concerts are held on the beach...great music and a great view of the ocean. 





THE ARTS ARE ALIVE AND WELL IN PENSACOLA!
Opera?  Symphony?  Ballet?  Museums?  Painting & Sculpture?
You've come to the right place!  Pensacola has it all.  For example, local ballet performances and classes are frequently presented. The Pensacola Ballet performs regularly and usually features such classics as The Nutcracker (In 2013 it will be presented at the historic and beautiful Saenger Theatre on December 20, 21 and 22).  Local ballet groups and leaders educate dancers and produce breathtaking performances.  Did I mention talent? Here is a small sample of local ballet performers:





 
DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA
Museums, Displays, Galleries, Parks And Theatres The Equal Of Any
Here are some attractions around the area of Jefferson and Main:

Educational Opportunities


OK...St. Augustine is the oldest continuous European settlement in North America
but Pensacola was the first.  Of course my Vikings got to North America earlier than
both.  And Native Americans were here when everyone "discovered" the New World.




UWF is working on a dig near the museums.


Footprint of an early settlement


Home of the very excellent Pensacola Ballet!


The T. T. Wentworth Museum


The Excellent Pensacola Art Museum













GOLF FROM SILLY TO SERIOUS
I love living on a golf course.  I've played the game but my clubs gather dust.  They're so old the head on the driver is smaller than my head.  One of my woods is actually made out of wood.  These are my modern clubs.  They replaced a set that had clubs named niblick, spoon, brassie and stymie loft.  OK, that's a joke but as a kid we played with hand me down clubs that sometimes included hickory shafts.  By the time we actually got on a golf course we had metal shafts.  I digress.
A GOLFER AT SCENIC HILLS MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL!
Yes, I found proof in my yard that a golfer apparently sold his sole to the devil...probably in exchange for a par on #16 or most likely a dry tee-shot on the water bordered # 17.  Satan, as he is prone to do, promptly discarded the man's sole after the damage was done...once again proving he is more than just a heel.  Once he has your sole he'll expect you to toe the line. You'll be instep with evil.  He's the last person to trust.  He's our arch enemy.  He probably invented the pun.

(Uh, I know the difference between sole and soul—please don't make me explain these
things.  See, saying "soul" wouldn't make sense given I found the sole of a golf shoe.)


You should not throw your club further than you've just hit the ball.  This man got excellent distance with a long iron...I'd say nearly 30 yards.  He picked up his ball on his way to recovering his club.  That's got to be a difficult walk in front of a camera.  I will not show his photo.  He's suffered enough.

Living on a golf course is like having the (Amateur) Golf Channel for free!
Click HERE For More About Golf

OK LET'S BE SERIOUS
LIGHTNING IS A TERRIBLE DANGER ON THE GOLF COURSE.
We can have thunderstorms even in the winter.  I've seen lightning in a snow storm.  DON'T PLAY GOLF IN A STORM.  PERIOD.   It's not worth it.  Seek shelter.  Almost 60 people a year are killed by lightning in the US.  Five to ten percent of them were playing golf.  DON'T do what these guys are doing.  I'd rather take your photo than give you CPR.

A lightning bolt can approach 50,000 degrees. Is that F or C?  It's Fahrenheit but does that really matter?  Lightning flashes 25,000,000 times a year.  Florida is the leading state for lightning strikes.  Alabama is also in the top 5 for this danger. Enough said?

According to the US Weather Bureaus these are golf tips about lightning:
    1.    Seek shelter at the first sign of a thunderstorm. If the course's warning system sounds, head for cover.
    2.    If possible, get off the golf course or go to a designated lightning shelter (note: open-sided buildings do not provide                protection from lightning even if they have a lightning rod).
    3.    Do not stand under a lone tree. This is where most people are injured or killed.
    4.    Stay away from water.
    5.    Stay away from your golf clubs.
    6.    If your shoes have metal spikes, take them off.
    7.    Move away from your golf cart.

All you can do is improve your chances.  There are no guarantees.  Lightning has been known to travel 5-10 miles from a storm.  A few years back a high school football team was injured when lightning struck from an apparently clear sky.  Even indoors you have to take precautions.

GULLS AT FT. PICKENS


THE VIEW FROM FORT PICKENS
These seagulls were photographed along one of the almost deserted beaches at Ft. Pickens.  It is a great place to watch wildlife, walk quiet beaches and study history. Ft. Pickens is a Civil War era US Army fort that guarded the port of Pensacola.  It is well worth visiting.  In addition to being a fort it was also used as a prison and once held Geronimo.  Here are some photos of the area.

An osprey dines in Ft. Pickens:






















SNAKES ALIVE!
"We've got 'em" (and much more too)

West Florida is home to many snakes and most are harmless.  This photo is of a Black Racer and first appeared in the Wikipedia article on the Black Racer that I originally wrote.  This and the majority of photos in that article were taken by me here in Western Florida.  When I first submitted the article an editor in France, unfamiliar with our southern wildlife,  was suspicious about the article and wondered if I was trying to promote a comic super hero.  More information on West Florida wildlife can be found on this site and also at CONFESSIONS OF A BACKYARD NATURALIST






West Florida abounds in bird watching opportunities.  These Eastern Bluebirds were photographed here in the Scenic Hills area near the UWF campus.  They are part of a larger display at DRAMA AT THE BIRD FEEDER


There is an active surfer community in this area.  We recently lost one of the most loved leaders of that community.  For more information see TRIBUTE TO YANCY SPENCER

ANOTHER SURFER ENJOYING THE OCEAN

While not equal to the waves of Southern California or Hawaii, Pensacola surfers can be seen challenging their skills in several areas.  You can join them without fearing the West Coast "If you don't live here don't surf here" attitude. The model for this image just happens to be a UWF graduate, successful professional and great family man and one of the most intelligent men I've met. He's part of the human resource that is the real treasure of our Unique Western Florida.

A DIAMOND STUDDED SEA

A MORE PASSIVE WAY TO ENJOY THE WATER!

THERE IS A LIGHT SHOW EVERY NIGHT AND IT'S ALWAYS UNIQUE!

SOME NIGHTS THE SHOW IS AWESOME!

Really Awesome!
Maybe the pot of gold IS Unique Western Florida!

Another passive ocean hobby...collecting shells like the sand dollar!


For the more adventuresome...the USS Oriskany has been sunk to be a challenging diving objective!





THEY'RE BACK!
Our resident precision flying squad the Blue Angels are back!









SOME MEMORIALS MAKE WESTERN FLORIDA A SPECIAL PLACE


The Greatest Generation...A WW II monument near Bayfront Parkway




A tribute to those who died in Vietnam


A tribute to our great Korean War veterans!


Another war is going on...a war to protect our children.  This is a monument for lost children.



                                                   Visit Go Argos.com
For The Latest News About UWF Athletics



WE ARE ABOUT THE SEA
"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."
(From Sea Fever By John Masefield)

The local seafood industry is alive and well.


The sun plays along the pier at Casino Beach


Fishing boats in the Gulf Of Mexico


You can usually find a stretch of quiet beach in Pensacola




UNIQUE WEST FLORIDA (And Nearby) ATTRACTIONS

The jewel in the crown...Maritime Park.  It houses the AA minor league team of the Cincinnati Reds, SEC Baseball and soon, UWF Football!

Nearby Mobile...a great naval museum and display

A battleship to explore


a submarine on display. 


TALL SHIPS AND HUGE SHIPS VISIT PENSACOLA HARBOR!




OH AND BY THE WAY, WE SOMETIMES GET A LITTLE COLD WEATHER IN PENSACOLA BUT
IT'S NOT FREQUENT ALTHOUGH IT IS WELCOMED BY SOME OF US NORTHERN TRANSPLANTS.
I like to tell people I wasn't born in West Florida but I got here as soon as I could.



Chalk Talk...some of the UNIQUE WESTERN FLORIDA Features!



UNIQUE WESTERN FLORIDA ARCHITECTURE

Anyone else reminded of the French Quarter?
 




I wanted to be a smart aleck and say this is a scene from an official's locker room as they cleaned up after calling their baseball, softball or soccer game.  The problem is the local officials I've met are nice guys to a person and my game photography almost always shows them to be exactly right!  Besides, there aren't weeds in a locker room.  This scene is from the Zoo at Gulf Breeze.

2013-14 GOLF
UWF Now Owns A Great Golf Course!

Wildlife
My first calling was wildlife photography.

    WHY I LIKE PENSACOLA...



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for a non profit organization!

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A GREAT PLACE TO BE...
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