Saturday, June 25, 2005

Birthday Report

Well, I just got home from a long, long day of picture taking. I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday than to go out and photograph some of my favorite places. I've got more than enough pictures to spend the whole next week sharing them out. My camera turned over 60,000 pictures today, with almost 900 of those taken just today. The photo above is a potted orchid at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. I also visited the Ringling Museum, the old Venice Train station and Boca Grande. So you've got all those places to look forward to in the next week or so.

Happy Birthday To Me

Yep, you read it right. Today is my birthday. And the photo above is baby Ernie, only a few hours old. Scary...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Oodles of Doodles XXVIII

It's been a busy week around here, but we wanted to squeeze in one more doodle. This native drum features from the flip side of Drums Of Bora Bora And Songs Of Tahiti (Criterion/Tiare Tahiti Records STT-1600, 1956). The artists are listed as The Exciting Drummers of Bora Bora, The Tropic Trio, The Voices Of The Atolls & Alain Mottet Et Ses Rhythms Tropicaux. The little drum on the back is a B&W version of a color sketch on the front. No credits are given for the doodle. This music appears to have been released on CD here (with audio snippets!). And there is a little more info for you about Tahitian tunes in general here.
(Don't forget, we previously brought you this set of drums from another LP.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Glossy Means Black

As I mentioned below, I saw some glossy ibis, but couldn't get any good pictures. So just to prove to you that I don't take all good pictures, here's a bad picture of a glossy ibis. Enjoy!

Sandhill Cranes: The Next Generation

Somedays it's a wonder I ever get to where I am going. On my way home from work tonight, not only did I spot the bald eagles I mentioned before, and a couple of glossy ibis (which I have yet to successfully photograph), I also saw a family of sandhill cranes. And as it's not too often you see the babies, especially this young, I just had to stop and shoot. The pictures aren't the best, since it was actually drizzling just a bit as I was shooting, but I think you'll get the idea.

This is as close as I was able to get to the babies. I didn't want to interfere with the little family, so I never got any closer than about 20 ft. I tried to stay in front of them and let them walk past me as I shot. It didn't work out that well, but it was the best I could do in a hurry. And I was on the lawn of a nursing home, so I didn't want to draw too much attention to myself.

This was the best photo I got of the whole family of four. See the raindrops in the pond? I told you it was drizzling...

Last, but not least, I caught Mommy shaking the rain from her feathers. You might think she's rearing up to try and scare away a predator or a pesky photographer, but I assure you that is not the case. When they want to scare something away, they come straight at it. Those big beaks can be formidable weapons, and their legs aren't too shabby, either. Perhaps you can't tell from the pictures, but these birds are between 3 and 4 feet tall! (I said this is the mommy, but I really don't know. The babies stayed close to both adults, and neither adult seemed to be leading the other one. I think male and females are pretty similar in appearance. Time to do some research.)

Uh-oh! I've been spotted!

Name That Flower IV

Here's another flower I need help with. I caught this one a little past it's prime, although it's still pretty impressive looking. You can see in the bottom picture that many of the red petals are gone, and most of the red color is coming from the stems. You can also see the seed pods, but I suspect those are left over from the previous year. The road in front of this tree was covered in those red petals. This is the only one of its type that I've spotted, and it's on Osprey Avenue in Sarasota, FL.

Name That Flower III

Does anyone want to hazard a guess about the name of these pink flowers? I spotted this tree a couple of weekends ago, then promptly forgot about it until today when I drove by it again. The tree is probably between twenty and thirty feet high, and has a lot of these pink blossoms near the crown. I think I've seen a smaller version on the same tree in front of a new house recently. I may even have seen a lighter pink variety, but I couldn't get close enough to the big one to tell for sure. Anyhow, take a look and let me know if you can name this flower. Looking closer, the flowers look like large versions of a crepe myrtle, but then again, they don't. I'm confused...

The very top tree is on US41 in Bradenton. The second picture directly above is part of a new planting in front of a new house in The Village on Longboat Key. The last picture (below) is from a tree planted on St. Armand's Circle (it's actually in the circle itself). I think these are all the same tree type, but I've been wrong before.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Long, Long Ago

Here's another golden oldie from college. These Christmas elves are the folks I went to college with, and of course, me, I'm in the Santa hat. L to R we have Steve, me, Taco John, Ben, Oz, Al & Ian. Al was nice enough to send me the picture a few months back. I'm not sure of the year this was taken. '91 or '92 would be my best guess. We had that Christmas tree only one year, but I don't know which year that was. You weren't allowed to have a cut Christmas tree where we lived, but you could have a live one. So we dug one up from a yard near the cabin Oz had in Dunellon (there's a whole month of blog postings relating to that cabin...), put it in a pot and decorated it. Voila, live Christmas tree! I'm trying to remember who took this picture, and I'm really not sure. Mike maybe, if this was '91. If it was '92, then it may have been Matt. Hard to pinpoint.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oodles of Doodles XXVII

Somehow you've rated a two-for-one special today here at Ernie (Not Bert). You already saw Xavier Cugat, and now you get Nat King Cole. This sketch of Nat comes from The Touch Of Your Lips (Capitol SW 1574, 1961). What more can possibly be said about Nat King Cole that hasn't been said elsewhere? The sketch features a signature, something like Bartell maybe. No luck finding anything on Google with that name though.

Oodles of Doodles XXVI

Today's doodle is a self portait of the artist. You can clearly see the signature of Xavier Cugat from the LP Waltzes-But By Cugat! (Columbia CS 8059). This great caricature is our first doodle done by the artist himself. I'm sure there are others out there, but this is the first for us. Cugat spent some time as a cartoonist for the LA Times and drew caricatures for Life magazine during his career, so it's no surprise that he chose to caricature himself on many album sleeves.

Bonus note: Did you know Cugat's fourth and final wife was Charo!


Here's another shot from Sunday night at Siesta Beach. The moon rose just before sunset, and it was almost full. Had I known this shot stood even a remote chance of turning out, I would have gotten the tripod out and started bracketing my shots. As it turned out, this was the only shot I tried with this composition, and it seems to have come out pretty well. It's a little bit over exposed, at least as far as the moon goes, but overall it works pretty well. Yes, the clouds were pretty much the color you see them here, and they were on the opposite end of the sky from where the sun had just set. Every once in a while, a great picture just sort of presents itself out of the blue, or in this case, out of the black.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Here's another tie for you. It's been a while since I've found any good ones, but this one slipped in a few weeks back and I've been too lazy to scan and post it. But here it is, better late than never.

Oodles of Doodles XXV

You're truly getting your oodles of doodles in just this single post today. All six of these doodles figure from the back of Gordon Jenkins-The Complete Manhattan Tower (Capitol T766). This recording appears to have been much hyped in it's day, recorded in hi-fi for the first time, expanding on the original recording from 1945. It's all pretty much disappeared from view now, as it doesn't seem to have been reissued on CD yet. As usual, the doodles aren't credited.

Some of these doodles have titles, I think. Maybe they are just descriptions of the songs. The one above says "Steven first enters the Tower, and views the Magical City."

The doodle above is either "Steven and Julie meet", "They go dancing" or "Love comes to the Tower". Take your pick, I guess...

This one is obviously "A pre-dawn ride in Central Park".

Above is "The Statue of Liberty".

And the last one is "Steven reluctantly bids farewell to Julie and the Tower". There, now you don't have to buy the record. You pretty much know how it goes.

Funky Drummers

I'd been hearing about it for months from folks here at work and even seen it on TV, but I'd never gone to see it for myself. I finally made it out to Siesta Beach on Siesta Key for the Drum Circle. It's mid-summer, so most of the tourists are gone and I was actually able to get a parking spot. The circle started forming as the moon came up about an hour before sunset. All the drummers start to form a circle and begin drumming away. They don't seem to have a leader or any predetermined plan, they just play.

The drummers come in all shapes and sizes, from the Rasta drummer above to the cigar-chomping drummer below.

Drums aren't the only instruments to make up the circle, though they are the loudest. The guy above produced a didgeridoo and the fellow below added a little bit of electric guitar to the mix. I also spotted a portable keyboard, maracas, tamborines, and various other percussion instruments.

Once the musicians had formed their circle, the visual entertainment began with these two belly dancers. They spun and twirled most of the night. The circle also featured lots of little kids dancing, as well as a few adults. There were a few acrobats in there, too, performing the occasional flips and leaps.

As the sun sank into the sea, the pace quickened a little. I thought they'd quit as soon as the sun disappeared, but it kept going into the night. Just after sunset, the clouds to the East began to light up, putting on a beautiful light show for the remaining players.

One More Week In June

Another week, another tight closeup of a flower, or in this case, two flowers. These tiger lillies were most likely found in my mother's flower garden. Every time I visit my parent's house, I spend a fair amount of time roaming the yard, finding lots of interesting things to shoot.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Oodles of Doodles XXIV

Happy Father's Day, Dad! And to celebrate, here's a doodle with a couple of connections to Pop. First, my dad has this classic LP on CD. And if that's not enough, the name of the record is Pops Roundup by The Boston Pops (RCA Victor LSC-2595, 1962). Is that enough fatherly connection for you?

Mote, Again

The last stop on my free Saturday was Mote Marine, which is always good for a few fish pictures. I think I've brought you a picture from Mote before, but there's always more to see there. The little guy above is one ugly fish. I think it's some sort of a hogfish, but I'm not sure.

From one of the many saltwater tanks at the aquarium, this is a lovely brain coral.

I've brought you mushrooms before (twice, actually), but never the underwater variety. I guess these aren't really mushrooms, but some sort of anemone.

And as all my loyal viewers know, I can't go anywhere without trying to shoot some flower pictures. Luckily, Mote didn't disappoint with their large freshwater ponds ornamented with beautiful water lillies. Few flowers can compare to these wonderfully figured show-offs.

Crowley, Part Two

There were some other things worth looking at while at the Crowley place. The view from underneath this fern shows the spores growing there, as well as some of the veins in the leaf.

And these fungi were also rather interesting, in an artsy sort of way. The various bands of brown stand out like the growth rings on the firewood they sprouted from. But with a lifespan of only a few weeks, these rings are probably useless for telling the age of the plant.

Creepy Crawlies At Crowley

Stop three was way out in the boonies at Crowley Museum & Nature Center. This was one of the places I had previously not been to. It's way out in East county by the Myakka River. It's a nice little place to go and look around, but I don't know if it's any better than the Myakka River State Park which has an entrance about a mile or so down the road from this place. And it was probably a bad time of year to go. Stifling heat and flooded trails made for a limited visit, not to mention the mosquitos. But I braved it out for a while, just to be able to show you some pictures of the creepy crawlies I found around the place. Above is a stink bug that I found hanging out on an old flower.

This little rat snake was holed up in a tree watching all the tourists climbing the observation tower. I say little, but I don't really know how much of him is curled up inside that hollow tree.

Not so creepy, but certainly crawly is this lizard. He didn't seem at all shy about posing for a few pictures. I won't tell you who's hand that is. You don't know him.

Pointy Spanish History

My next stop on this free Saturday was Historic Spanish Point. I'm not sure if there is a regular Spanish Point of not, but they make it a point of always calling this place Historic Spanish Point. Rather than show you boring pictures of old houses or a reconstructed church or any of the other things they are so proud of at Historic Spanish Point., here's a dragonfly. I'm pretty proud that I was able to get this close to him and get a decent picture.

In following with my trend of not photographing anything important, how 'bout this detail of a flower? Pretty big, eh?

Further along the scale of things I probably shouldn't aim my camera at, how about this water-covered spiderwab? I'm not sure what sort of spider made it, since it's not your typical textbook web, but it looks cool when covered in those droplets.


This Saturday continued the Selby Saturdays in June, so I went out and hit up more of the free attractions here in Sarasota. The vista you see above is the courtyard at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The centerpiece is the large bronze copy of Michelangelo's David, which has become the symbol of the city of Sarasota. The museum also features plenty of other sculpture, as well as paintings dating back to the Renaissance. Also on the grounds are the Ca D'Zan (John & Mable's house) and the Museum of the Circus. The grounds are also fully landscaped with exotic trees and flowers. But those pictures will all have to wait for later. Since admission was free, I didn't feel bound to spend all day in one place for hours on end. I was on my way to the next free attraction in less than half an hour.