Gasparilla Island Lighthouse - The Second Lighthouse

Most folks do not know that Gasparilla Island has a second lighthouse. It looks more like those lights in Maryland than the traditional lighthouses. But it has its own charm. Located at Gasparilla Island State Park, this lighthouse sits atop some sea grass dunes with wild flowers and of course, sea oats. This lighthouse was built in 1890 and is worth a stop if you find yourself somewheres near Charlotte Harbor. It's quite a drive to get there from the Venice or Fort Myers/Cape Coral area. But it's worth it. It's one of those places not well known outside of residents or lighthouse afficionados.
You can find more information here:
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemingway

Boca Grande Lighthouse - Gasparilla Island, Florida

Well infidels, I'm back at work on this very windy morning. I tried to go to the beach this morning to get some shots of the surf, but the cops chased me away... "Beach is Closed. Move on." So I'll have to post images from other windy rainy days and from other locations in the state. Here is one from from the beach on Gasparilla Island, Florida that I took in 2003. I'll never forget this trip. My summer vacation was ruined by a tropical system which dumped tons of rain on me. I did get some decent shots though.
For now, there are 63 days left until the end of hurricane season. Let's see if we luck out. Our state needs a break.

"The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind." -- Carl Hiaasen

Ernesto Who?


Looks like we will be dodging a bullet folks. The 8:00 p.m. advisory has now dropped the hurricane watch. We're just gonna get hit with a weak tropical storm. Fine by me. Yes, I put up shutters and what not, and I'll take some of them down in the next few days, but better safe than sorry about the neighbor's coconut coming through the window.

Hopefully, we won't get flooded. So that's all for now. I have power and TV so I'll catch up with you infidels manana.

Here's a photo of Cocoa Beach during a storm.

UPDATE: It's 12:25 a.m. and there's barely a sprinkle out there. I had more rain and flooding last week with the normal summer rain storms we get here in South Florida. Heck, I've not even heard a crack of thunder today. The bulk of the storm is north of me right now. And just like his namesake, Ernesto "Che", this storm proved to be a wimp. As my mom would say, "Por si las moscas" which means, "just in case" or translated literally means, "in case of the flies", I'm leaving the shutters up on the bedroom windows until the end of hurricane season. I pretty much wasted a whole day and I'll be back in my office in Downtown Fort Lauderdale first thing tommorrow morning. So thanks to all those prayers out there. We lucked out.


Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Well infidels, Tropical Storm Ernesto "Che" is coming off of Cuba and is in the Florida straits right now; over very warm waters. The sun is starting to rise over Miami, Florida and I have to debate with myself: (Shutters up or not?) ... Better to be safe perhaps? Doesn't take that long to put the bloody things up. I never packed them away after last years' hurricanes. But since we're only under a tropical storm warning (and hurricane watch), most businesses are still open. I'll be working from home though. Getting gas is a nightmare right now. As my friend Pete experienced yesterday, if you want gas, you're gonna have to go through hell and high water....http://wanabes.blogspot.com/2006/08/i-should-have-stayed-home.html#links
So I don't think I'll make the schlepp to Fort Lauderdale today so I could burn up more gas. After all, technology allows me to work from anywhere in the civilized world that has a high speed internet connection. In any event, my concern is more about the flooding. A lot of water expected with TS Che and my neighborhood hasn't quite grappled the concept of drainage yet.
My fingers will be cross for most South Floridians whose roofs are still messed up from last year. With all the expected water, things don't look good. So that's all for now. You can continue to get the latest tracking map here...
The above image was taken on the Gulf Coast of Florida during a tropical system a few years ago. For now, I'll leave you with the words of the Tropical Guru, Jimmy Buffett. That's all from paradise folks. I'm off to have my cafe con leche and start the preparations.

Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

Squalls out on the gulf stream,
Big storms coming soon.
I passed out in my hammock,
God, I slept way past noon.
Stood up and tried to focus,
I hoped I wouldn't have to look far.
I knew I could use a Bloody Mary,
So I stumbled next door to the bar.

And now I must confess,
I could use some rest.
I can't run at this pace very long.
Yes, it's quite insane,
I think it hurts my brain.
But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

There's something about this Sunday
It's a most peculiar gray
Strolling down the avenue
That's known as A1A
I was feeling tired, then I got inspired.
And I knew that it wouldn't last long
So all alone I walked back home, sat on my beach
And then I made up this song.

Well, the wind is blowin' harder now
Fifty knots of there abouts,
There's white caps on the ocean.
And I'm watching for water spouts
It's time to close the shutters
It's time to go inside.
In a week I'll be in gay Paris;
That's a mighty long airplane ride

Deja Vu Sucks . . .

Yes infidels, the tropics are churning and South Florida is under a friggin Hurricane Watch. And with my luck, we'll go under a Hurricane Warning later today. You would think that after getting hit last year with Katrina and Wilma was enough no? Or the 6 hurricane warnings we've been under since 2004? I just got my fence fixed last week (it had been destroyed by Wilma). We still have folks here with blue tarps on their roofs. Throw us a bone over here.
So today I was thinking of where one could live and be free of hurricanes, twisters, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfire, mudslides, blizzards, floods, and volcanoes. All I could think off is the friggin desert but then again, they have dust storms and it's really friggin hot and dry there.
Thus, unless you live 24/7 inside a Las Vegas Hotel/Casino, you're pretty much screwed wherever you go.
Thus, I might as well stick it out folks and stock up on ingredients to make some Hurricane cocktails using my recipe from last Friday.
So as a public service to those infidels around the world, rather than post a stormy image this Monday morning, I will give you a peaceful image of the sun setting along the coast of Anna Maria Island, Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico. As bad and annoying as these storms are, they cannot take away our sunsets.
So to quote the Madagascar Penguins as they first set foot on Antarctica, "THIS SUCKS!"

I leave you now with some Neil Young lyrics to get y'all in the musical mood. Ciao infidels.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

Fun Fun Fun

Well, she got her daddy's car
And she cruised through the hamburger stand, now
Seems she forgot all about the library
Like she told her old man, now
And with the radio blasting
Goes cruisin' just as fast as she can, now
And she'll have fun, fun, fun
'Til her daddy takes the T-Bird away

The Reddish Egret from Tigertail Beach Says: Happy Friday

Well infidels, another week has flown by. Perhaps the most significant things to have happened is that Tom & Jerry have been arrested for smoking in public and will be facing trial by the pleasure police in the UK. Bacardi is coming out with the original formula of Havana Club Rum which will be much better than the swill the French have been marketing with the assistance of the Fifo/Raul Regime. The loony toon Persian Ahmadinejad and his pal Hugo are out and about spewing vitriol and are in need of some restraint (and fish slapping) as once aptly put by Mick:
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer
cause Im in need of some restraint
Fifo is not quite dead yet, just sleeping or perhaps they've nailed him to his perch? Pluto is no longer a planet which I'm sure has Clyde Tombaugh quite cross. Some crazy Indian has finally decided to change the name of his restaurant from "Hitler's Cross" to "Hilter's Floss". And finally, there is a tropical system brewing in the tropics named Ernesto. Frankly, they should name storms after tyrants since they both kill people and take away your property. I would love to see the next storm named after Fifo.
Apart from that, I leave you with a photo of a reddish egret taken at Tigertail Beach in March Island, Florida. From the lagoon. Be safe and here's a little something for you folks in light of Ernesto:
Hurricane: 1 ounce light rum, 1 ounce dark rum; 1 ounce Bacardi 151°; 1 ounce lime juice; 1/2 ounce grenadine; 2 ounces orange juice; 3 ounces passion fruit juice; 1 teaspoon superfine sugar. Shake it over cracked ice and enjoy.

Ciao Infidels

“I never for a day gave up listening to the songs of our birds, or watching their peculiar habits, or delineating them in the best way I could.”
-- John James Audubon


Thoughts for a Thursday

"To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs."
Aldous Huxley

Marco Island Sunset - The Sea of Faith

It's the middle of the week folks. As each moment passes, the weekend approaches. Rather than a rant, I will leave you with an excerpt of one of my favorite poems, Dover Beach. The image is of one of my favorite beaches on Marco Island, Florida. Ciao infidels.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

--- Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

Something Completely Different - A Hippie Chick Walking a Parrot on the Beach

Saw this most peculiar hippie chick walking her parrot one morning on the beach at Anna Maria Island.
I asked, "how strange, where'd you pick that up?"
And the parrot responded, "At a Ned Lamont rally, they've got dozens of them there. You feed them some weed and they're happy for the entire day."
Such is an example of what photographers have to deal with while out on location.
Until next time infidels, this is the Parrothead Photographer signing off with the words of the greatest American Humorist and Writer, Mark Twain:
"If smoking cigars is not permitted in heaven, I won't go".
Mark Twain
So I guess it begs the question then, do they show Tom and Jerry cartoons in heaven?

The Late Prime Minister Churchill Says


Churchill Is Turning In His Grave

I now interupt this blog with a rant. This is from the wires.

LONDON (AFP) - Smoking scenes in "Tom and Jerry" cartoons are now banned in Britain, following a viewer's complaint to the government agency that polices the airwaves.

In one episode of the classic US cartoon series, Tom is seen smoking a roll-up cigarette in a bid to impress a female cat. In another, Tom's opponent in a tennis match was seen smoking a large cigar.

Following an investigation prompted by the anonymous viewer's complaint, regulator Ofcom said Monday that children's TV channel Boomerang has agreed to edit out scenes deemed to glamorise or condone smoking.

"We note that, in 'Tom and Jerry', smoking usually appears in a stylised manner and is frequently not condoned," said Ofcom, recalling how the cartoons were made in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s when smoking was not so controversial.

"However, while we appreciate the historic integrity of the animation, the level of editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high."

Of course there were no protests of Tom and Jerry shooting at each other with revolvers, of Jerry hitting Tom on the head with a hammer, of Tom using explosives to get Jerry out of his hole, or of Tom actually eating Jerry alive. The gratuitous violence is acceptable for these leftist bureaucrats; but heaven forbid they show a cat and mouse smoking.
I can now imagine Reuters to start using photoshop to erase all evidence of Winston Churchill smoking cigars. Would not want folks to be influenced by one who drank spirits and smoked. Heaven forbid. They'll find a better example in who perhaps then? The Mayor of London?
More fish slapping is needed here.
And now for something completely different . . .

Rainy Days & Mondays Suck!

Happy Monday infidels. Sorry for my blunt title. But South Florida is very wet this morning. Nothing like rain to start your Monday morning commute especially after a weekend of rain. Believe me when I tell you, I don't mind the rain, just don't like it when I'm driving. People in South Florida freak out when it rains and it makes the commute quite an ordeal.
But the bad weather this weekend does have its benefits. I finally got a chance to see Andy Garcia's "The Lost City" on DVD. A must see for everyone. So refreshing to finally get an accurate portrayal of the evil of fifo and his friends. Kudos to Andy Garcia. I'm glad it's on DVD as I rarely get to the cinema anyways. I think I've been to the cinema 3 times since 1998 and that was to see the Star Wars Prequel.
So on this ulgy day in South Florida, I present you an image of a beautiful afternoon on Playa Linda (Spanish for Beautiful Beach) which is exactly what you will find at the Canaveral National Seashore in Brevard County, Florida. A pristine coastline without condos, trash, jet skis, etc. What Florida used to look like before developers turned most of the coastline and dunes into nonsensical drech.
Until next time folks. And don't forget, that if you should come across any leftists or any idiotic apologists of fifo and his friends, give them a few fish slaps for me.

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
Ronald Reagan


Burrowing Owl

It's Saturday. It's a beautiful day for those who decide to pay attention. Here's a burrowing owl from Marco Island. Below are the words of the great naturalist, Henry David Thoreau.
Have a great weekend and give your thanks to the Creator for giving us such wonder works of art which are waiting to be created.

I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself. As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt-sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy, and I see nothing special to attract me, all the elements are unusually congenial to me. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whip-poor-will is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled. These small waves raised by the evening wind are as remote from storm as the smooth reflecting surface. Though it is now dark, the wind still blows and roars in the wood, the waves still dash, and some creatures lull the rest with their notes. The repose is never complete. The wildest animals do not repose, but seek their prey now; the fox, and skunk, and rabbit, now roam the fields and woods without fear. They are Nature's watchmen — links which connect the days of animated life.
--- Henry David Thoreau

Morning Egrets at Big Cypress

Image Shot at Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park and post processed by your truly.

It's Friday once again, I'm wearing my tropical colors, and am anxiously awaiting my afternoon libation. Today me thinks expresso infused vodka straight up. Perfect summer Friday afternoon refreshment.

I also picked up the Lost City on DVD, which I did not get a chance to see in the theatre and am looking forward to watching it.

Otherwise, infidels, let's hope that one of these Friday's we can all be drinking to Fifo's departure from the planet Earth. I leave you now with some words from a transplanted Floridian who loved Florida as much as or more than most folks who were actually born here.

I get sick and tired of hearing people saying they hate this beautiful state and want to get out. We have way too many folks here already, so if y'all really want to leave, both I-95 and I-75 head north. Hence, leave more land for wildlife and native flora and hence more subjects for photographers and artists. Ciao.

“If there can be such a thing as instinctual memory, the consciousness of land and water must lie deeper in the core of us than any knowledge of our fellow beings. We were bred of the earth before we were born of our mothers. Once born, we can live without our mothers or our fathers or any other kin or friend, or even human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.” -- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Roseate Spoonbill Deluxe

In my ever ending quest for the mother of all spoonbill shots that I've yet to get, this is the closest I came to one on Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve last June. I am convinced that there is a spoonbill communication network whereby they inform each other that I will be in town and they make sure to go somewhere else.

And today, just like yesterday, I'll leave you with some lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Brian Wilson and Mike Love . . .

What good is the dawn,
That grows into day?
The sunset at night,
Or living this way?

For I have the warmth of the sun,
Within me at night.


Una Mariposa Libre

Words by Sting
Yo la veo caminar
Por las nubes va
¿Donde andara?
Mariposa libre que sueña
Que quiere ser
Y no piensa en nada mäs
Solo en vivir
Si estoy triste viene a mi
Mil sonrisas trae
Las dä porque si
Y me dice estä, bien, todo bien
Estoy aqui y soy de ti Soy de ti

Voodoo Chile

This image is a macro closeup of the wings of a moth. I processed the image in photoshop using various filters and plug ins to create this image. When I created this image I could hear the Jimi Hendrix song "Voodoo Chile" in my head, hence the title of this work. Jimi Hendrix will always be known as the greatest rock guitarist. But he was also an incredible songwriter and lyricist. I've always been enthralled by the first verse to this work:

Well, I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island,
Might even raise just a little sand.

Until next time infidels. I now leave you with another quote from the great Ansel Adams.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. ~Ansel Adams


Mother Heron & Child. Venice Rookery, Venice, Florida.
It's Monday once again. The kids are back in school. Another work week begins. So I leave you with an image of some great blue herons and a quote from Galen Rowell (one of the greatest nature photographers of all time).
"If we limit our vision to the real world, we will forever be fighting on the minus side of things, working only too make our photographs equal to what we see out there, but no better."
-- Galen Rowell

Happy Birthday Pop

Billy Joel's old song, "Only the Good Die Young" is so true. My old man would have been 82 today. He left us in 1994. Yet the evil one, still lives today on what is supposedly his 80th birthday. Lot's of good people were born on this date, yet the world only gives a damn about the most evil one with the flea infested beard. The irony of it all.
This image was taken by yours truly in 1978 on my 1st 35mm camera, a Yashica Rangefinder on Tri-X Pan film at the age of 13.

Surf's Up

Surf's Up
Aboard a tidal wave
Come about hard and join
The young and often spring you gave
I heard the word
Wonderful thing
A children's song
A child is the father of the man
A children's song
Have you listened as they played
Their song is love
And the children know the way
That's why the child is the father to the man
--- By Van Dyke Parks (Music by Brian Wilson)

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose

Well Infidels, another week has passed. For us in Miami, next Monday the kids go back to school which means really bad traffic in the morning and the official end of summer vacation. This sucks! When I was in school, we didn't start until the day after Labor Day. Such is school life in the 21st century. Also, this means that I now will have homework during the week when I get home from work. Let me tell you, the homework they give kids today is nothing like what I had when I was in the 2nd grade. They are literally giving second graders algebra, trigonometry, and quantum physics now. I have to call my friend the engineer to help me with this second grade homework. It's crazy I tell you. (No kidding, last year in my kid's first grade homework, one of the problems was to count the number of vertices on a 3 dimensional parallelogram which was drawn in 2-dimensions. That's some heavy stuff folks).
Beyond that, another week and Fifo and Raul are still missing. We'll have to wait a tad longer before we pop the champagne.
Now what does the title of this post have to do with my photo of the Jupiter Pelican? Nothing. I have simply had the song by Janis Joplin stuck in my head for days so I pulled out my Janis Joplin Greatest Hits CD and cranked it on my way into work this morning.
And now some words to ponder ...
"I'm exchanging molecules every 30 days with the natural world and in a spiritual sense I know I am a part of it and take my photographs from that emotional feeling within me, rather than from an emotional distance as a spectator." -- Galen Rowell

Always Keep An Open Eye Around you

It's Thursday infidels and thank God for the British in foiling what could have been another deadly terrorist incident. Evil and hate is incompatible with nature. Delving oneself into the natural world brings peace and tranquility to the soul. So much of human kind has cut the bond to nature that was innate to our species. Human kind tries to fight against nature rather than try to become one with nature. Sadly so many people around the world and even in our own cities have never really seen the natural world. Through nature, one becomes closer to the Creator and only through nature will we be able to survive. All it takes is for mankind to open their eyes.

The above image is of a little Blue Heron in Everglades National Park that I took last winter..

That's all for now folks. Let freedom ring. And for now, some words from the great Ansel:

"Both the grand and the intimate aspects of nature can be revealed in the expressive photograph. Both can stir enduring affirmations and discoveries, and can surely help the spectator in his search for identification with the vast world of natural beauty and the wonder surrounding him." Ansel Adams


The Art of Vision and the Written Word

I think that the above image I took at Green Cay Wetlands in Palm Beach County, Florida is complimented by the lyrics of Americas Greatest Songwriter of the last 40 years, Brian Wilson. This song he wrote on the Beach Boys' Surf's Up album is so powerful yet poignant in its simplicity, much like the image of a flower.
Until I Die
by Brian Wilson

I'm a cork on the ocean
Floating over the raging sea
How deep is the ocean?
How deep is the ocean?
I lost my way
Hey hey hey

I'm a rock in a landslide
Rolling over the mountainside
How deep is the valley?
How deep is the valley?
It kills my soul
Hey hey hey

I'm a leaf on a windy day
Pretty soon I'll be blown away
How long will the wind blow?
How long will the wind blow?

Until I die
Until I die
These things I'll be until I die

Love and Mercy

Love And Mercy
by Brian Wilson

I was sittin’ in a crummy movie
With my hands on my chin
all the violence that occurs
Seems like we never win

Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was lying in my room
And the news came on TV
A lotta people out there hurtin’
And it really scares me

Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was standing in a bar
And watching all the people there
Oh the loneliness in this world
Well it’s just not fair

Love and mercy that’s what we need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight


I knew a man Bojangles

Happy Monday infidels. Maybe I'm the only one, but do you folks ever wake up in the morning, and the instant you wake up there's a song playing in your head? Well, for no reason, this morning I awoke, after 3 1/2 hours of sleep and the song Mr. Bojangles was playing in my head.... strange don't you think? Than as I go through the morning process, the song fades from my mind. And then another song plays in the background of your mind. Currently, the song playing in the background of my mind, is Brian Wilson's "Smile" album . . . Since I'm picking up some good vibrations at the moment, I'll leave you with my image of the the Sunrise Balloon Race I took a few months ago....the image has been tweaked with photoshop to give it a graphic quality.

"If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up."
-- Richard Avedon, photographer

Guess Who Predicted the Miami Heat Championship back in December 2005?

Would you infidels believe that in going through some papers, I found a betting slip I made at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas Nevada on December 29, 2005 wherein I made a winning bet that the Miami Heat would win the NBA Championship. Well infidels, here's my winning ticket. I'm rich!!!! With the mess of papers I have, I would have missed out on this huge payoff. I may have to retire to some tavern once I get my winnings.

In any event, here's an image of Las Vegas as seen from atop the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino


Friday Once Again

The end of another week is before us. The undersigned is still in a battle with the common cold. Pat Robertson has been converted and now believes in global warning. The castro brothers fifo and fufu are still missing. The tropical storm that was going to his Florida is kaput. Charles Rangel is still apologizing for fifo and fufu. The heat wave is subsiding. And there has been no automobile accidents on I-95 today involving egrets or parrots.


Number 1 - The Larch


No. 49 - A Stoned Venezuelan Dictator


No. 42 - The Stoned Cuban Dictator


News for Egrets

Miami, Florida: Good morning. Here is the news for egrets on Thursday, August, 3, 2006.

No egrets were involved in an accident on I-95 today, when a night heron carrying high octane fuel was in collision with a bollard ... that is a bollard and not a egret. A spokesman for egrets said he was glad no egrets were involved.

And now, for something completely different ...

photos of stoned dictators


Portrait of Raul Castro

This image of the interim dictator of Cuba, raul castro, was taken shortly after he was advised that his brother was going to be taking a dirt nap following surgery on his gut.
With apologies to our simian friends, I can only hope and pray that raul's big brother fifo the gorilla becomes worm food promptly. The media is stating that fifo is sleeping and resting comfortably. But we know better. To paraphrase John Cleese:
He's not resting, he's passed on! This dictator is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! He's pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig!He's kicked the bucket, He's shuffled off. He is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisibile!!

Freedom is such a precious right. For those who do not value it or simply wish to take it for granted, just ask the people of Cuba who have not seen it or experienced it in 47 years.

The clock is ticking Fifo . . .

Sick as a Dog

As the title says, I'm sick as a dog today. I can't breathe, I'm hacking, I feel an overall malaise. Further, we may get hit with a tropical storm this weekend. Oy vay!

The only good news out there is that castro may be on his death bed once again. We can only hope and pray.
They've been partying here in the magic city. I'll temper any celebration until they show his corpse. Then, assuming I'm not still sick and still on all this wonderful medication, I'll finally have that bottle of champagne to celebrate the death of the bearded tyrant. But until then infidels, it's Nyquil on the Rocks for me.