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."
Two people who make a difference: Stephanie Lawrence Yelton and Ed Spears
THREE YEARS OF THE PENSACOLA BLUE WAHOOS
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"
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.
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
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!
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
I SEE THE GLASS HALF FULL
OK, so you didn't expect to start 1-7. What did you expect with a new coach and so many new players? Good things take time to accomplish. We have 46 more games, most on the all important Gulf South Conference schedule. Four players are hitting over .290. Another is at a respectable .250. The rest of the team is flirting with the Mendoza Line. That "rest of the team" includes a lot of familiar faces who haven't hit their stride this year but they will because they can play this game. We've seen them. Division II is big time and these players have big time experience here at UWF.
Errors are hurting us as we have almost twice as many as the opponents and we have given up 40 walks compared to the 13 we've gotten. That is a little like giving the opponents an extra 5 or 6 outs per game. You only get 21 outs and they're getting the equivalent of almost an extra 2 innings of at bats. That got us outscored 46 to 17. Maybe it's nerves or concentration. Maybe it's too much concentration or even trying too hard. These are good players and these are the things you're talking about when you talk about a team coming together or "jelling." This roster is full of young women capable of carrying a team on their back. They may not be real big but they're big enough. Many players could benefit from a sports psychologist. I could have kept one busy in my day. UWF should create that major. Athletic teams all over this sports minded country of ours would be the willing clients. Slumps, jelling, pressure...a sports psychologist could get rich in this country. Maybe he or she could help me with my slice or even my putting "yips." Many of the really good players have a little sports psychologist residing in their psyche. All of that aside, the softball glass really is half full and it will continue to fill.
My opinions have been confirmed. I got a chance to talk to one of the smartest people I know. She's also a former softballer who was about as good at her craft as I can ever imagine. She says to give this team time to jell—they're mostly a group of players who haven't played together and are somewhat inexperienced at this level. The cure is time and patience. They're going to grow and the team will develop into a cohesive unit. Winning is fun to watch. It's also fun to watch people give their all in pursuit of something. Maybe they won't win another game or maybe they'll win them all! No wonder we're sports crazy in this country.
2-17-15I've always advocated bring kids and their youth league coaches to Spooner Field to see how it is supposed to be done. Skill + character + effort = championships. It's an old formula for success. The Argos are 7-2. They've out scored opponents 56-27. That works out to more than 6 a game compared to just 3 for the opponents. Seven Argos are hitting .320 or higher. Not to ignore small ball, the Argos have stolen 18 bases to the opponents 4. Pitchers are carrying a gaudy team ERA of 2.52. They're displaying textbook form. Even the photographer is more skilled and better looking than those from the visitor's teams. (No visiting team has sent a photographer so far this year.) Good work Mike and Shane and Kyle and Justin and Brandon and Philip.
THE #9 NATIONAL RANKING IS JUSTIFIED
EARLIER COMMENTSThe UWF Baseball team hosted (and won) a very competitive tournament this past week. They defeated Rollins, Flagler and Albany State. They "run ruled" Albany 13-3 and came within a run of "run ruling" Flagler, 9-0. The Softball team traveled south and played against some Sunshine State Conference foes. They went 1-4 and got no hit and "run ruled" by #17 ranked Tampa but the other losses were well within reach of the Lady Argos. Photos of the Rollins and Albany games are linked above but I didn't shoot the Flagler game. I'll try to get some softball photos Saturday and Sunday but there are conflicts with Baseball and maybe Tennis.
Attached are some shots from the game between Albany and Rollins on Sunday. I believe baseball is played best by employing speed. I never had speed as a player but it wasn't noticeable because I didn't have any other traits skills to compare. I got a chance to talk with Assistant Head Coach Shane Gierke during the tournament. It feels strange to call someone coach who could almost be the age of my grandson but he has certainly earned the title so it's my problem. I mentioned to him that speed can't be taught but it can be coached. He was way ahead of me and made the great point that speed is about the only thing in baseball that's not subject to slumps. Great point. When you're around Spooner Field you are around real baseball people. I've said before that there is a professional ball "aura" around the park...old school yet with all the modern attributes. I also talked to a Major League scout who compared one of the Argos to local (and now national) legend, Billy Hamilton.
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..
2-3-15The Florida Panhandle is rich in opportunities for religious expression and introspection.
WESTERN FLORIDA, LIKE MUCH OF AMERICA, IS A LAND OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
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."
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."
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!
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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
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.