Skywatch Friday, Season 4, Episode 13 - Paradise Found: Autumn in Tampa

Fall weather has really arrived in Tampa and along the Gulf Coast. When I took this picture it was 78 degrees, 47% humidity, a light, almost cloudless sky and no wind. It is so nice our air conditioning, which runs about 300 days a year, is off. It was a delightful evening to walk along the channel on Davis Islands and watch the sunset and lights come up on the boats and buildings of Harbour Island and downtown office towers. If you look close in the left center you'll see the blue roof of the Sail Pavilion on the Riverwalk of the Tampa Convention Center. THE place to sit, cool off with a drink, enjoy the pet friendly atmosphere right on the water, have something to eat and watch the sunset in the western sky.

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show and all brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Roland Manteiga: Conscience of the community

Roland Manteiga (1920–1998) was the owner and publisher of La Gaceta newspaper in Tampa's Ybor City. A trilingual tab paper, it is still a weekly must read by everyone who's anyone...or wants to know all that's happening in Tampa and Hillsborough County. To learn more about the statue and the colorful and exciting life and times of Manteiga, click HERE.

Knight and Shining Vacuum Cleaner

Honestly, could there be a stranger, more eclectic collection of "stuff" for sale? Really?

Flintstones' Car: Fred, Wilma and Pebbles Ride In Style

Last September I posted the hilarious M & Ms Peanut chocolate car (left). Check it out HERE to see what the imagination, automotive painting skills and design talent can create on four very shiny wheels.

Non-political Blue Dog

Our Pekingese, Dr. Porter, has a basket-full of chew-toys. After his "spa" visit yesterday, for an overdue bath and grooming, he got to pick out a new toy. One of his favorites at home, "worm dog," is a smallish pink dog. All on his own he wandered the aisles and chose a new toy, Blue Dog, to chomp in his mouth and carry out from the store. He was so proud. He's the man! (WARNING: DO NOT try to take this toy from his mouth. NOTE: Pekingese have teeth like piranha.)

Hanging Around Gaspar's Cigar

This pirate-looking cutthroat hangs from the flag pole in front of Gaspar's Cigar Shop on South Westshore Blvd. (Note that he is actually under lock and key so forget about adding him to your mannequin collection back home.) Gaspar's was voted "Best Cigar Shop" in 2008 & 2009 and offers fine premium cigars in an all-hours smoking environment. Visit Gaspar's HERE to see what a great Tampa cigar shop looks like.

Now Serving Pelican Sandwiches?

It appears as though the diner clutching his huge c=sandwich and cold drink has just realized he's about to bite into the meat of a fine feathered Florida waterbird. This mural is on the side of Coco's Sandwich Shop on South 22nd Avenue in Tampa's Palmetto Beach neighborhood. They serve a lot of Cuban sandwiches, maybe a fried alligator or two, but no pelicans yet. (I wonder what pelican tastes like?)

Len Prince: Changing Identities - Photographs of Jessie Mann

This evening was the Wrap Party for the exhibition Changing Identities: The Len Prince Photographs of Jessie Mann. The event, hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg Friends of Photography, featured the photographer in a very casual one-on-one discussion of his art, his model and muse, Jessie Mann (the daughter of photographer Sally Mann), and an enlightening Q & A with Len about his techniques and working relationship with Jessie. It was all terribly interesting and a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the artist. The print shown above, my favorite in the show, features Jessie in a pose that strongly resembles the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in front of her mirror. It's an exceptional image and a very powerful example of Len's body of work with Jessie Mann.

Here is the Museum of Fine Arts' description of the exhibition: "Len Prince is celebrated for glamorous portraits of Hollywood stars and sleek advertisements for Cartier and Estée Lauder. In 2001 he met a self-possessed young woman, Jessie Mann, who had practically grown up in front of the camera. Sally Mann’s nude photographs of her children, including Jessie, created great controversy, igniting debate over child exploitation, censorship, and the nature of art.

"By the end of Prince’s first session photographing the adult Jessie, she had become his muse. What followed was a five-year collaboration exploring archetype, transformation, and identity. These have become some of Prince’s most accomplished and respected photographs.

"Prince and Mann make compelling images that reference paintings, famous photographs, historical figures, and mythology. They have been inspired by Ingres’ sumptuous Grand Odalisque, May Ray’s solarized image of Lee Miller, and Robert Mapplethorpe’s self- portrait in leather chaps, among other images. While these photographs can be disturbing and stark, they are often beautiful and fascinating. Theatrical and seductive, these unforgettable images explore the relationship between viewer, subject, and artist by examining personae and their meaning, as well as the very nature of the self." - Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

Mighty Sturdy Electric Standup Vehicle and Environmentally Friendly, Too.

This secuity officer in Ybor City is ridng a T3 Series electric standup vehicle (ESV) from T3 Motion of Costa Mesa, CA. It's pretty cool and the lights were even flashing like on a police squad car. And, it's might sturdy!!

This from their corporate website: "The T3 Series is a zero-gas-emission, clean-energy innovation that is simple, intuitive and economical to operate. With significant breakthroughs in its proprietary power management and propulsion system, this performer delivers high "mpg" equivalent, long battery run time, short recharge time, and plug 'n play battery modules.

It is highly stable with a low center of gravity, offers wide visibility for the driver elevated on an 9-inch platform, strikes a commanding presence, can access restricted spaces including elevators and narrow corridors, handles curbs easily, and is highly agile with a zero-degree turning radius. And it's very quiet.

The T3 Series is designed to enhance patrols to save driver energy and increase response times. Lockable, onboard storage is easily accessible. For maximum flexibility, two swappable battery packs mean virtually no downtime. And, with dramatically fewer parts than gasoline-powered vehicles, the T3 Series is high on reliability and low on maintenance. Not to mention an operating cost of around 10 cents per day.

The T3 Series is truly the next generation in green personal transportation solutions."

SS American Victory Ship

The SS American Victory is docked just behind the Florida Aquarium in Tampa’s Channel District. I posted a photo that more clearly shows the length and size of the ship HERE. She was built in Los Angeles and delivered to the U.S. War Shipping Administration on May 24, 1945. She was named after American University in Washington, DC, to honor the school’s contributions to war training and weapons research during both World War I and World War II. Regular tours of the ship are available and it is quite an adventure as you explore a good portion of the ship and learn of its history. Very well worth it! For more info about the SS American Victory click HERE.

Go-Fast Boats Partying at Sunset

The docks of the Tampa Waterside Marriott Hotel on Garrison Chanel were packed with "go-fast" boats gathered for a "fun run" by the West Coast Powerboat Club of Florida. Headquartered near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, the go-fast boat owners and guests were partying up a storm in Tampa with music, food, drink and lots of good looking people. A blast!!

The boats ranged from sport and multi-use center consoles to luxurious performance cruisers plus the a bevy of sleek, colorful Go-Fast boats that such as Spectre, Donzi and Cigarettes.

The homes, apartments and condominiums of Harbour Island are across the channel and have a great view of the incredible watercraft and all the fun. The weather, too, was perfect.

SKYWATCH Friday, Season, 4 Episode 10

Tampa's late summer sky in all its glory.

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show and all brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

No Time for Simple Pleasures

Ah, the simple pleasures. To just kick back and enjoy a fine cigar and superb glass of wine as I explore and capture the people, places and things that are Tampa. It's the good life and terrific city.

I've been absent for several days as an important change have developed that will alter my life and daily routine for many months. It's an extremely positive and even exciting change - a new and challenging opportunity in my career that will take me away from Tampa each day at least through the summer and perhaps into the fall.

I am really looking forward to this unique and unexpected adventure which lies ahead.

I will try to visit your sites and comment as I can, but I won't be able to post with any regularity. I will be buried in new responsibilities and am not sure what the weeks and months ahead will mean to my time. I already miss the fun and great pleasure Tampa Daily Photo and Tampa Florida Photo have given me...and the friendships that I have with you and my loyal Followers.

I will miss you and look forward to the days ahead. When I can, I will return.