Friday, May 20, 2005


I think I've mentioned on here before that a buddy of mine works up at Disney World. They had an open house last weekend, which meant I got to spend a few hours wandering around Central Shops, seeing how all the magic is made. I won't post any of those pictures here, since I don't want to spoil it for you. But suffice it to say that it's unbelievable what they are able to do up there. Just for fun, I had my picture made with Mickey & Minnie (above). Left to right are David (Scott's dad), Minnie (Mickey's girlfriend), Scott (my friend who works there), Charlene (Scott's mom), Mickey (Walt's boy) and me (no relation). I should have had my mouse ears on, but I went and left them at work. The photo below shows Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, who were walking around at the open house. That Mrs. Incredible is just a little too close to sexy for a Disney character, if you ask me...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Scenes From A Porch

I thought it might be at least marginally interesting to some of you out there to see some of the plants I have on my porch. But I can't just take pictures of the plants themselves, I have to try and do something a little bit different, so here are some extreme close-ups of the things that somehow survive on my balcony. The armor-plated plant above is the newest addition to the garden. It's called a Medusa Head Hybrid (Euphorbia Flanaganii), I believe. I actually paid for this one. Each of the little plates you see is maybe a quarter inch across. I have high hopes for this one, since the specimen plant I saw was huge.

The little yellow specs above are the seeds on a small palm tree that I've had for longer than anything else on the porch. As far as I can remember, this is the first time it's put on seeds. Those little yellow dots are about a sixteenth of an inch in diameter.

These guys just happened to be out there today while I was shooting these pictures. I couldn't get mushrooms to grow if I tried, yet these guys show up on their own. Most of the plants on my porch are still alive only because they can go for long periods of time in direct sun without water. So how do I wind up with these guys who prefer it cool, dark and damp? I have no clue.

The only flowers out on the porch are these red blossoms all over a Crown of Thorns. This plant must really love the hot dry conditions out there, because it's been putting on blooms for several months now with no end in sight. At any given time, there must be hundreds of blossoms on this plant. Each little red flower is about half an inch across.

Last but not least is this close-up of the crown on one of my two Madagascar palms. I was afraid it was dying two months ago when all the leaves turned yellow and fell off, but since then it's gone through a growth spurt and put on dozens of new leaves. Just goes to show you never can tell, I suppose. There are several more plants out there on the porch that I'd like to share with you, so maybe someday when the light is right, I'll share some more pictures with you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Albert T. Alligator

Years ago, in what seems like another life now, I attended the University of Florida. I did a lot of things while I was there (for six long years), but without a doubt, the most incredible experience I had was the semester I played Albert The Alligator. Albert is the mascot for UF, and he goes to every football game, every basketball game, all sorts of pep rallies, fundraisers, barn raisings, sock hops and even state funerals. Well, maybe not state funerals, but just about everything else demanded my presence at one time or another. I once spent four hours dressed as Albert who was dressed as Santa Claus getting my picture taken with hundreds of students at the Reitz Union. I even made an appearance at the on-campus pre-school, Baby Gator, once. A friend of mine had a daughter there who to this day remembers how excited she was that Albert showed up to play with their class one day. It was during my reign as Albert that the school first started giving out photo IDs, so I made sure that Albert showed up at the kiosk one day to claim his own ID. It took over an hour to reconfigure the camera to get a decent picture (he came out blue on the first few tries), but I think the result was worth the trouble. At least for me. :)

Oodles of Doodles XVIII

Well, we haven't had a doodle for a while, but here's a new one for you. These bongo drums come from the back of Bongo Fever! by Jack Costanzo (Sunset SUS-5134, 1966). There appear to be two LPs by Jack of the same title. This is not the one recorded live at the Garden Of Allah in 1959. You can learn a little more about the bongo craze here. Just for the record, Mr. Bongo is still around, and available for you next corporate event. I think Jack showed up quite a bit on Capitol Records Ultralounge series, most notably in a bonus track helping teach you to play the bongos.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Yet Another Thistle

I don't know what it is about these thistle blossoms, but they sure are attractive. Maybe it's the bright colors, maybe it's the thought of something so delicate and beautiful surrounded by all those spines. Either way, they are a wonder to behold. This bud was on a large thistle in a field near the Rye Road Preserve in Eastern Manatee county near the Manatee River. The field was filled with little yellow flowers and several mammoth thistle bushes covered in blossoms at every stage of development from bud to seed. The photo below shows the actual flower in full blossom, with all it's pink glory.

Yet Another Week In May

This week we feature a shot of the Bradenton Beach City Pier as our calendar page. The location of the pier used to be where the bridge to the mainland crossed Anna Maria Sound, but the new bridge crossed over a little bit north of the old one. This picture is taken from the new bridge. After the hurricanes of 2004, there was some slight damage to the pier, and it was closed. I don't think anyone knows yet if or when it will reopen.