Friday, February 29, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

The view from our room at the inn where we had our Honeymoon in Clearwater, FL with afternoon summer thunderstorms rolling in off of the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Dancer

She is a dancer from a parade at Disney World from a few years ago. I love the shape of her hand and her facial expression.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "F" is for French Horn

My ABC Wednesday post this week is a bit wrong actually - only in America do some people refer to the below instrument as a "French" horn; everywhere else in the world it is simply the horn - so perhaps I should have waited two more weeks for "H". :)

The horn as we see and know it today is not actually a French design at all, but rather more German than anything.

Why then do some refer to it as a French horn? That requires a little history. Horns originally came from animals horns thousands of years ago and have been used for military and civil signaling devices for centuries. As metal working skill developed they were made from various metals. If we fast forward a number of centuries we arrive in Medieval Europe where the conical horn that we all recognize had begun being used in the hunt as a signaling device, a role that we have come to associate even the modern horn with today - ever see a movie with a hunting scene that didn't have horn music accompanying it?

And here is where the distinction in name comes into play. Around the boroque period in music (J.S. Bach, Telleman, Vivaldi, Correli, Handel, etc.) the horn began to find its way into the orchestra - at first mainly to depict hunting scenes in operas and such, but eventually as a core member of the orchestra for purely musical reasons. In England the horns were smaller, while on the Continent they were larger. Those larger horns became known as "French" horns in England simply to differentiate them from the smaller British version.

But eventually nearly all horns came to be of the same larger size as was common in France, etc. and the differing names were no longer necessary. Alas, the name stuck in England and America - though thankfully the Brits have since seen the light and dropped the "French" and call it simply "the horn". Indeed, the International Horn Society deems that the name should be simply "the horn" as well. And so I say to you all, please - don't call our noble instrument a "French" horn.

The organ might be known as the king of instruments, but the horn must certainly therefore be at least a prince.

Above: an illicit photo from my senior recital in college - no photography in the recital hall! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Colored Windows

Above is a shot of one of the outside walls of the Ca D'Zan, home of John and Mable Ringling (of circus fame) in Sarasota, FL, originally built in the 1920s. If you notice the window panes are all different pastel colors - they told us on the tour why that was done but I forget exactly - something about improving the resulting light inside the house, I think. Anyone know?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Got Starbucks?

The two photos below were taken standing in the exact same spot by simply turning around 180 degrees. Yes, there are two Starbucks coffee shops that close - less than a block away from each other. This is the problem with Starbucks - they are everywhere! We have a nice outdoor mall a few miles away from us that contains FOUR separate Starbucks locations within less than a mile (from nearest to farthest) of each other. It is quite absurd. There is a great bit in a Simpsons cartoon where their entire city is more or less taken over by Starbucks and every single shop has their original signs taken down and a Starbucks sign hung in its place within a matter of seconds. Alas, sometimes cartoons are not too far from the truth!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Emily Taber Public Library

The above shots are of the Emily Taber Public Library in Macclenny, Florida (about 30 miles west of Jacksonville). It is housed in what was originally the Baker County Courthouse, built in 1908 - making it 100 years old this year. It had become a bit run down and the corner bricks were crumbling and the whole building seemed in danger of collapsing not too many years ago, but a full restoration was done in recent years and now it stands proudly restored to its former glory.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A nearly full moon (from Feb 16th) rising above majestic Southern pine trees.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pineapple Fountain

A fountain topped by a pineapple (hard to see here from the low angle) outside some shops in St. Augustine, FL.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "E" is for End Zone

ABC Wednesday this ween is "E" is for End Zone. In American football you have a field that is 120 yards (360 feet) long and 53 1/3 yards (160 feet) wide. The final ten yards on each long end of the field is called the End Zone. The End Zone is the ultimate objective of your team - if you have the ball (on offense) you want to cross the line marking the End Zone to score a touchdown; if you are on defense you want to prevent the other team from doing so.

The photo below is from a practice of the Jacksonville Jaguars in August 2007 showing the End Zone on the practice field and a few players during a drill - the player in white near the bottom center has just caught a pass and is trying to get into the end zone, while the three players in the teal uniforms are defenders trying to stop him. It is a little out of focus - low light and lots of moving objects is more than my poor camera and inexpensive lens could handle to get a nice, crisp photo. Hopefully by next season I will have a nicer camera and a good lens with internal stablization, etc. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I have no idea who they all are, I just snapped a shot of them posing for their own camera man...

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day Post

Today in the US is President's Day, a holiday (for some - schools are out but many people still have to work, including myself) in which we celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Well, I don't have pictures of either of them... but I live in a city named after a different president - Andrew Jackson:

(That's me holding a Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team cap in front of a painting of ole Andy from the Hall of Presidents in Disney World - I thought he might like to see what all his hard work earned him after 150 years...)

So while Andrew isn't honored on presidents day, I honor him anyway in my blog with a quartet of photos of the downtown of the city bearing his name, taken out the window of our moving car on the interstate last weekend with the sunlight glinting off the buildings of the northbank of the St. Johns River.

You can read about the history of Jacksonville here:,_Florida

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Water tower for Dot

A few days ago Dot at Strolling Through Georgia had asked for any photos of water towers. I didn't have one until I took this one yesterday - better late than never! Not much romantic about this one, though - it supplies water for a correctional facility (similar to a prison).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Battle of Olustee Reenactment 2008

Since I've already posted a few photos from previous reenactments at Olustee lately, I won't bore anyone with a lot of details today, but we spent the day out at the battlefield for this years version today and took a nice set of photos - you can explore all of them at my Flickr page:

In the meantime, just a few highlights:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Boats and clouds off the St. Augustine inlet.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My time of day

You are breakfasty, like a pile of pancakes on a Sunday morning that have just the right amount of syrup, so every bite is sweet perfection and not a soppy mess. You are a glass of orange juice that's cool, refreshing, and not overly pulpy. You are the time of day that's just right for turning the pages of a newspaper, flipping through channels, or clicking around online to get a sense of how the world changed during the night. You don't want to stumble sleepily through life, so you make a real effort to wake your brain up and get it thinking. You feel inspired to accomplish things (whether it's checking something off your to-do list or changing the world), but there's plenty of time for making things happen later in the day. First, pancakes.

Happy Valentine's Day

A balloon that someone received at my office today:

And a lovely outdoor table outside of the home fronting the St. Augustine Lighthouse, with a nice boquet of roses:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "D" is for Dock

For this ABC Wednesday, "D" is for dock - this one next to the St. Augustine Yacht Club and currently the resting place for at least a dozen pelicans resting from their morning hunting trips.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wrong side of The Pond

I post this for all of my British blogging friends.

This little British pub resides just north of St. Augustine, FL along the side of the major north-south road in the area - complete with double-decker bus, red phone booth, and Ye Olde English architechture. I love it. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Beached Boats

Some small boats and catamarans beached next to the boat ramp beside the St. Augustine Lighthouse and St. Augustine Yacht Club.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The sign for the dock says no bicycles... so these were left locked up at the end as directed. Good for them (for following the rules and giving me a photo subject).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Heron and lighthouse

This shot of a white heron sitting on a dock by the St. Augustine, FL lighthouse. The bird sat there with a few humans standing no more than 5 feet away while two of us snapped away with our cameras. It just went about its business of preening and sitting, pretty much ignoring us. Beautiful bird.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Sunset on the clouds behind the steeple of the church where I lead the music.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A welcomed sight... in February?

We have had a February 'heat wave' of sorts this week with temperatures above 80 F. But a cold front went through last night/today and we'll be back to normal with highs "only" in the 60s F. Warm for some of you, I know, but cold to this Florida native. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "C" is for Confederates

"C" is for Confederates: During the American Civil War the Southern states that seceeded from the Union formed a Confederacy, which gave more power to the individual states instead of the federal government. The Confederates in the above photo are from last year's reenactment at Olustee, Fl. It was a very cold morning (for us anyway - strong wind, temperatures around 40 F., and a wind chill in the low 30's F.) Many of the soldiers were huddled around their camp fires trying to stay warm. The flag in the foreground conveniently was situated so that the name "Ocean Pond" was showing - appropriate because the Confederates referred to the Battle of Olustee as the Battle of Ocean Pond. Conventional naming practices differed between North and South: the North tended to name battles after the nearest body of water (Bull Run, Anteitam, Beaver Dam Creek, etc.) while the Confederates tended to name battles after the nearest town (Manassas, Sharpsburg, Mechanicsville, etc.). Olustee is rare because the Confederates used the nearest body of water (Ocean Pond) while the Yankees used the nearest town (Olustee) - they flip flopped on this one!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl = Super Food

The Super Bowl is one of those great excuses in life to eat really unhealthy food and not feel bad about it...

Start with the soft drinks:

Add some Pizza Rolls:

Mix in some hot dogs, onion rings, nachos... anything you want... all in good fun:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Solar Powered Lights

Finally got a chance to put out the new solar powered path lights we bought from Home Depot a while back - they look nice. No wires, just a small solar panel on top and a rechargable battery underneath it that gets recharged by the sun each day and powers the small yellow lights by night. No electricity involved, no power used, none of our money spent to run them so the power company can continue to fleece us with their high rates... here's to sticking it to "the man."