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.
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."
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.
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).
12-3-14These 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.
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
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.
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
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
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)
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.
In The Same Mountains
A Few Miles From The Site Of The Accident
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
"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."
|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
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:
Museums, Displays, Galleries, Parks And Theatres The Equal Of Any
Here are some attractions around the area of Jefferson and Main:
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.Click HERE For More About Golf
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!
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.
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:
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
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.
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
|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.