Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The meaning escapes me

In racing out with the camera this evening to try to catch the beautiful sunset, I almost drove right by this mural, which I had never seen before. I haven't a clue what any of it means, but it looked interesting and I grabbed a copy of shots. The words may be names but even that's a wild guess. I know that the palm tree is a banana palm because there are bananas hanging from it. Duhhh. But the words are a mystery and I'm sure the explanation and description that goes along with it are profound...and is meaningful to someone.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cocktails on the aft deck?

Imagine enjoying a cool refreshment with a significant other on the aft deck of your sailboat as the shadows grow long and the sun begins to set. That that sound like a little bit of heaven. It's been a long day and look at this scene. What could be more romantic? (What do you mean you can't swim and are deathly afraid of the water? No, those are not sharks waiting for you to dangle your toes over the side.Those are just mermaids, I mean manatees moving up the channel. And they do not bite!) If you get the urge before it's too dark we could always go out again on the wave runner. Ok. OK! We stay right here. Hey, I know. Want to watch the movie Jaws on the big screen down below?

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's ALL here on one wall

The entire southern side of this old brick warehouse is covered with handpainted signs. The ones on the left are for beer and ale but it's tough to make out the kind or company name. The rollup doorway at the loading dock in the middle is a recent addition and fits in real well with the bidding's many older signs. On the right is the name Carling's Red Cap Ale. If the sign was painted when the ale was first introduced by the Carling Brewing Company, it would put the date it was painted at 1933. The company was originally incorporated as the Brewing Corp. of America, and began operations in Cleveland in 1933. (Interestingly, if you like old cars, it was established by James A. Bohannon, who had come to the city in 1929 as president of the Peerless Motor Car Company. In the heart of the Great Depression, he convinced the stockholders of Peerless to switch from luxury cars to a really good beer. The 8-acre Peerless plant was converted to a brewery.) Bohannon contracted with the Brewing Corp. of Canada for the American rights to Carling's Red Cap Ale, which had been brewed in Canada since 1840. In 1954, the Brewing Corp. of America changed its name to the Carling Brewing Co. and distributed Red Cap Ale and Black Label beer throughout the US. This sign could be 60-70 years old and is still visible on the brick surface.

Using a photograph from the Robertson and Fresh Collection from the University of South Florida Libraries Special Collections, I found that Dave Gordon & Company exhibited at the 1937 Florida State Fair and sold refrigeration equipment, pumps and industrial supplies. The building in the photograph was their offices and warehouse. I couldn't find any relationship between Red Cap Ale and Gordon so perhaps they sold or rented advertising space on their brick facade to the beer distributor. Traffic on this road, Adamo Drive / Florida Highway 60 has always been heavy and a product would easily be seen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Up on Stilts on McKay Bay

This was the scene at Palmetto Beach this afternoon as I explored the remaining structures left out on stilts foundations in McKay Bay. Not but a few yards from the seawall, this one is no longer accessible by dock and appears to be abandoned. I don't know anything about its ownership or legal status, but it sure makes a perfect subject for the camera. The sky, clouds and reflections all combine to add special elements to the resulting image. I also photographed it in black and white, my original intention for my posting for MONOCHROME Weekly, Aileni's weekly blog adventure in black and white. Go to Tampa Daily Photo HERE to see a shot that's similar but in black, white and shades of gray. I like them both but don't know which I like better. What do you think?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who wants to slide?

This huge inflatable wet and dry double slide is set up in the front yard of a home at a busy South Tampa intersection. As thousands of cars whizz by, kids will be going up and down celebrating at what appears to be a birthday party. The idea is terrific as our high temperature again reached the low-90s and the water slide will be super refreshing and fun. I just thought it looked out of place just 10-12 feet for the roadway. ( I know, I'm a killjoy.) I sure hope they have some way to keep the wet and slippery little boys and girls from sliding out and under the cars rushing by. Aside from the safety issue, which they've probably already thought of, I think the whole watery contraption looks rather alien and truly hilarious where and how it's set up. Out of place? A bit over the top? Hey, who am I to question them and throw cold water on the kids' fun. (I was thinking of parking my car in the intersection at a red light and taking a quick plunge and then slipping back behind the wheel before the light changes.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Airstream Caravel: Still sleek and aerodynamic

I have never owned an Airstream trailer, or even been inside one for that matter, but gosh I love the looks of them. For as long as I've sen them on the roads or at campgrounds, practically all my life, they've looked modern and futuristic. Knowing a little of their history, how is it possible that a travel trailer design from the 1930s could look just as sleek and aerodynamic today as it did then. Come to think of it, when they first appeared during the Depression, they must have looked like Jules Verne or Buck Rogers had designed them. This one, I'd guess it at about 17-18 feet, looks very cozy and manageable. It might be a lot of fun to spend a few days in the mountains or on a quiet lake. Maybe I'll check into it. I understand that an Airstream similar to this one - built in about 1967 - could cost between $3,000-$6,000. I guess I'd have to leave everything at home but a toothbrush but it'd sure be an adventure. Do any of you have experience with an Airstream?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mike's Jerk Chicken travels right

Do you remember from classic movie westerns the armored wagons that traveled from bank to bank hauling the town's cash and the mine's gold ore? There was a movie in 1967, the War Wagon which starred John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. They plot to steal a shipment of gold being transported in a war wagon, a heavily armored stagecoach. When I saw this traveling jerk chicken wagon, it's the first thing I thought of. I know the mind is a weird and strange repository of information, both useful and useless, but I couldn't help it. I hadn't thought of the movie in over 40 years but it came right back when I saw the steel sides and steel mesh security door. I imagine the chicken, when it gets good and jerked around, needs to be well-contained in a reinforced Chicken-on-the-Warpath Wagon. Forget the original movie wagon's Gatling gun, even my imagination can't go that far. (Honey, can I have that second drink now?)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tell me again. Why can't Pekingnese be in blogs?

Why am I never in your blog? I'm a good dog. I behave. I don't ask for much. You showed me off once before in my yellow rain slicker but it was embarrassing and I think you were trying to make fun of me. I'm a proud animal with a royal pedigree. My ancestors were Chinese and I was known as the Lion Dog or Foo Dog due to my resemblance to Chinese guardian lions. (I can't believe you haven't see all the super-duper porcelain statues of me in every antique store!) Can't you see? LION dog. My ancestors were the all-time favorite pet of the Chinese Imperial court, and the name relates to the city of Beijing where the Forbidden City resides - a beautiful place that has a pillow waiting for my royal backside (if you ever decide to not feed me.)

During the Second Opium War, in 1860, the Forbidden City was invaded by British troops. Five Pekingese were taken to England and one was presented to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who named it Looty. See, all royal through and through.The Chinese Empress Dowager presented a Peke to several Americans, including John Pierpont Morgan and Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. So, in answer to my question, Why am I not in your blog EVERYDAY, you might want to rethink your decision. My great, great, greats were all treated with more respect then I get around this Florida household. (90 degree temperatures and 95 percent humidity. What do you think I am? A short-haired ankle-biter? Please, sir! Plus the gorgeous Gucci dog, who lives with Lois at the Skoog Farm, gets to run free. All day. (Go see for yourself. It's a wonderful blog for animals and humans alike.) And chase horses. Go Gucci, go! I want her to see me on the big screen. Or the laptop's OK, too.) Plus, another thing. I can't find my silk pillow to lounge on all day and the help ignores me much of the time. What do I need to do to get some attention...and respect? Show my teeth? - SIGNED - Dr. Porter

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's Behind Door #3

As we scout our own little worlds for interesting and intriguing images to post, some of us - ME- are sometimes drawn to the simplest, almost graphic, scenes that may tell a story but very often are just what they appear to be and is captured in the camera. No embellishment with words and history. Just a photo. I could not resist this large white, wooden door. Other then the fact that it's contained within the side of an old brick building in Ybor City, I don't know anything more about it. Who or what went through it in the last century or so I can't say. And, sadly, it's not talking.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dragon Breath

I noticed this rather large metal dragon sitting atop a retail strip center and was drawn to its unusual (!) appearance and location. It is very similar to the enormous metal creature I featured back in July (at Tampa Daily Photo HERE) and this dragon could have been made by that same super creative team of metal artisans. (Click the photo at left to see the complete design.) If it's intended to draw the attention of passersby to their jewelry business, then the owners have succeeded. This dragon is the oddest watch and jewelry salesman I've ever seen but if s/he produces, then I say feed it and keep it very happy. (Would you want to come home every night to this thing greeting you at the front door?!! ... honey, have you seen the dog?)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I had no idea: The story of Tampa's Cancer Survivors Park

This is a perfect example of a well-known art installation in Tampa that just about everyone knows of but few know much about. I discovered that there is much more than an awesome sculpture of men, women and kids, of every age, finding their way through a bronze maze. Here's the story: In 1978, Richard Bloch, co-founder and honorary chairman of the board of H & R Block, Inc. was diagnosed with “terminal” lung cancer. But it was not the end, and with the help of his wife Annette, he won his battle against cancer. Bloch and his wife then pledged to do all they could to help others with cancer. They would work to beat cancer, bring hope to those in treatment and to celebrate their recovery. The goal of the R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation (click HERE for more information) is “limited to projects that will help people diagnosed with cancer have the best chance of beating it as easily as possible.” All services of the Foundation are free, and no contributions of cash are ever solicited.

I had no idea who was responsible for Tampa’s Cancer Survivors Park. The Foundation provided all the construction funds including perpetual maintenance. The Bloch's plan is to build a one in every city with over one million people in the metroplitan area throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each park is individually designed to complement the surrounding area. Tampa’s is pretty hard to miss. It is at one of the city’s busiest traffic intersections – across from the Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, AND the George M. Steinbrenner Field, home to the New York Yankees Spring Training. It is located on the southwest corner of Al Lopez Park at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. As the Blochs state, they wanted to do something for the living and this park is amazing in its design and beauty. The sculpture is very visible from the street but the rest you need to explore and enjoy. Bloch states: “Three fundamental elements were perceived. First is a sculpture as a focal point. Created by the renowned Mexican sculptor, Victor Salmones, it is eight life-size figures passing through a maze depicting cancer treatments and success. It is placed in the most visible point in the park for passers-by because it needs no explanation. People can walk among the figures, touch them, walk through the maze and generally visualize themselves being helped. It is moving. The second element in the park is a “Positive Mental Attitude Walk”. This is an area that a person can stroll through, meditate and read some 14 plaques; 4 are inspirational and 10 are specific suggestions on fighting cancer. The third element is The Road to Recovery. This consists of 7 bronze plaques with common sense advice to use during treatment. Other than these three components, each park is totally unique, being designed to complement the local environment. It wants to make a magnificent showing to the passer-by.”

The sculptor Victor Salmones was born in Mexico City in 1937. He attended the Universidad de las Americas, and put himself through the Instituto de Bellas Artes (Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts). In 1967, Salmones' fluid bronze "Adam" was awarded first prize at the Biennale Exposition of the National Museum of Modern Art. His work continued to win great critical acclaim at subsequent Biennale expositions, and in 1971, his life-size bronze "Narcissus" was honored with first place in the national art competition.

Victor Salmones rapidly gained international attention and was honored with one-man shows throughout the world. His work is in public and private collections in roughly thirty-eight countries.Victor Salmones continued sculpting until his death in 1989. He worked principally in bronze, using the centuries-old lost wax method of casting. Salmones claimed that this sculpture, "Cancer...There's Hope," was his finest, a “labor of love.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Riverwalk: Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park

The sun set and the lights on the Tampa Riverwalk wound along the wide walkway beside Garrison Channel. From the new Tampa Bay History Center, past the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina, under the Harbour Island Bridge, around the corner by the Tampa Convention Center and then north, the Riverwalk becomes more and more a jewel in Tampa's crown. Connecting museums and parks while letting tourists and residents enjoy being on the water is reaching and even exceeding the projects goals. With the grand opening of Heroes Plaza in the Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park on September 11, the park is complete. Very nice! Congratulations Tampa! We can all be proud.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daily Red Brick Crabs & Fish

Occasionally the camera can't understand why the human pressed the shutter. It just spoke to me. It could be the smiling fish face. Go figure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Think Danger

This sign is so big I shot it from outside the walled business and from across the street. I think it says "Think Safety, but if they really wanted everyone to see it and heed it's message they should have made it bigger, BIG, and printed it in Dayglo orange and yellow. Do you wonder like I do what kind of materials they handle that make the sign so necessary? Yes, that is barbed wire on top of the wall. (I didn't see any nuclear hazard warnings so I feel a little better.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mercedes Parking Dilemma

What's your guess? Is this driver trying to fit in this space or simply being intimidating to the other car and pickup? I know this dilemma isn't earth-shaking, but it was enough to make me stop and take a second look. And, no, I don't have a clue what the Mercedes is doing up there or how it will get down. Not our problem, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Parrot plus Five Smokestacks =

I am no longer surprised at the amount of time and creative effort that artists put into designing and painting outdoor murals. I like the hunt and finding them hidden away in public and private places all around Tampa. This mural is painted on the side of a 24-hour coin laundry situated on a busy commercial street. Do click on it and look at it closely. Simply amazing. And, to add tho the overall effect, in some odd way, I think that the five brightly painted and capped vent stacks on the roof complete the scene. (I know, I know, it's not the Louvre.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

How long does a headstone last? Turner Marble and Granite has a long lasting presence

The Turner Marble and Granite Company, founded in 1908 by H.G. Turner an his brother, A.O. Turner, was a well-established supplier of marble, granite, building stone and mosaic tiles. They provided the materials for many monuments and mausoleums in the Tampa Bay area, throughout Florida and in other parts of the country. The company was mentioned in a 1926 article in The Evening Independent newspaper of St. Petersburg as the supplier of building materials for a title company being built in the main business district. Turner was originally located on Twigg Street near the Union Station but moved and must have then built the building you see here. It is located at 2601 East Broadway/ East 7th Avenue, just east of Ybor City’s main business district. Homer W. Hesterly, a prominent Tampa citizen, recognized for his long and distinguished military career, business interests and civic involvement, was president of the company at one time. The 1926 news article states that they employed 100 skilled workers on a two acre site.

The smaller photograph at left
was taken of the same building on January 12, 1927, by the Burgert Bros, the family of photographers who recorded the area's people, places and events for over 60 years.* When I spotted the Turner building this afternoon, with iron bars on its windows, fenced and with a sale or lease sign, I actually thought it might actually be a relatively new building. The design looks like so many Mediterranean -style homes and office buildings being built in Tampa today and this one didn’t show much age at all. Little did I know it dates back almost one hundred years and had a long and hard-earned commercial history. Examples of the company’s work and craftsmanship will be around for many, many years to come.

*“The Burgert family's impact on commercial photography began in 1899, when S.P. Burgert and Son first opened a photographic studio in Tampa. By 1918, the Burgert Brothers Commercial Photography Studio, with brothers Jean and Al Burgert at the helm, was firmly established in Tampa providing commercial photography services to the West Coast region of Florida. The firm continued in operation until 1963. During this time, the brothers took over 80,000 photographs for their clients. The distinctive handwritten Burgert Brothers logo on the lower corner of the photographs became a hallmark of photographic excellence, reflecting both the quality of the Burgert's work and their business integrity.” - Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative |

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great White Egret was shopping for a frog appetizer

This Great White Egret was slowly moving away from me and toward a very attractive pond located behind the Ocean Prime restaurant and the Crate & Barrel store. Both are located just at the Westshore entrance to Tampa’s International Plaza. Ocean Prime has a particularly good menu, and very cool atmosphere inside and out; it certainly would serve a few delicacies that the Egret would enjoy. But, it’s more likely he was hoping for a small frog hiding in the tall grass at the water’s edge. From his height, and with his slow, silent and deliberative movements, I bet he spots his dinner before it spots him. He uses his bill to spear his prey…yummy. This is an exquisite bird, very graceful and proud; he owns any habitat he may find himself in, even if it’s behind retail establishments and beside a manmade pond. (The landscaping could not look more natural to Florida, with tall sea grasses, lily pads and palms of every kind.) The Egret was very much at home here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All in for the night: Docks at Tampa Marriott Waterside

Tampa saw few breaks in the clouds and rain so it hasn't been the best day for watercraft and fun in the sun. Tomorrow should bring more, much-needed rain so the boats will probably stayed tied at their docks. This scene, looking west down Garrison Channel toward the Harbour Island Bridge and Tampa General Hospital, shows the fine marina facilities behind the Tampa Marriott Waterside hotel located on Old Water Street.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Bronze Hounds: The Hunting Party

Back in July, LOIS of Tallahassee Daily Photo, posted photographs of her grandfather, Troup Lucas Biglow, standing in front of the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1922. He was honeymooning at the incredible, 1890s-era, Moorish-styled grand hotel with her grandmother, Lois Gray Biglow. The Biglows figure prominently in Tampa's history. At that time I told Lois that the statue, in the photo with her grandfather at left (I hope Lois doesn't mind me copying it here. Click on it to enlarge) clearly shows the dogs on the lawn. I can report that the statue is in almost the exact same spot, maybe 25 feet south, of where it stood 87 years ago. Go read Lois' original post for another photo and more of her family's wonderful story HERE.

The story of the statue itself and the artist is interesting, too, but not as good as the honeymooners I'm certain. The statue is called Au Coup de Fusil, or the Hunting Party. The two bronze hound dogs were cast in France by the artist Maurice Denonvilliers in 1890. As the story is told, they used to face and focus on a small bronze squirrel that was placed in a low hanging oak limb. However the squirrel eventually was stolen and the dogs were moved to their current location. Henry B. Plant opened his opulent resort hotel in 1891 and we know that hunting guides and dogs were provided to hotel guests. These dogs are supposed to represent Henry Plant's two favorites. Denonvilliers was also the sculptor of two bronze statues called Pikemen which are in the collection of the elegant Pfsiter Hotel in Milwaukee and stand in the lobby of the Victorian-era, Romanesque Revival-style hotel.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tropical Sunset over Tampa Bay

This sunset makes me want to break out my boldest, brightest Hawaiian silk shirt and and stir up Mai Tais and Margaritas...icy cold. Tampa Bay couldn't look more like a tropical paradise.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cigars and Long Ashes: Smoking a Cienfuego and loving it

Finally, in the second week of September, the evening air was a bit cooler, a little, although the temp was still about 82. As soon as Mrs. Tampa DP drove off for an hour or so, I sat out in my favorite rocker and smoked a very pleasant cigar, a special gift from Francisco IV, direct last night from a quick wedding fling in Honduras. (I never turn down free cigars imported directly for me and I couldn't wait to light one up! - I know it's a tobacco product but to some folks the aroma from cigar smoke is nirvana.) This cigar maker, Puros Indios Cigar Co., of Danli, Honduras, makes a line of full-bodied cigars called Cienfuegos (which translates to 100 fires). The Cienfuego combines Dominican filler tobacco and a Nicaraguan binder with a four-year-old Habana 2000 wrapper leaf grown in Ecuador. A real recipe that delivers. This stick was handrolled and had a smooth, even draw...a perfect smoke and good taste to match tonight's tinge of autumn in the air. A glass of wine completed the picture. A delicious smoke and I am most grateful.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

West Tampa mural in Salcines Park

The mural reads, "It's Time For West Tampa," and depicts the history of this important part of Tampa which began as a separate and distinct city all of its own. Painted in the 1980s, the mural is partly obscured by trees which makes it near impossible to shoot without including branches or shadows in the photo. Located in Salcines Park (in honor of West Tampa native Judge E. J. Salcines) at the corner of Howard Avenue and Main Street in West Tampa. The park offers a shaded corner and benches and tables for checkers, a favorite pastime. Note that the entire mural is outlined with dominoes and the two gentlemen on the bottom right appear to be at a table playing checkers. Several local businesses are featured on the buildings that were painted. The City of Tampa website lists the mural artists as Chon Mosley and Project Link.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Painting to Music and Dance: West Tampa mural is bright and alive!

This mural wraps around two sides of an older brick building that was probably at one time a retail store in this West Tampa neighborhood. My guess is that students of a local school painted it and added classical columns and a stairway against a hillside...something they did not take from their flat Florida surroundings. From the left, musicians play the cello and bass as dancers perform in the middle of the mural. An older, bearded gentleman, wearing a jaunty French beret, paints at his easel on the right. His subject? The dancers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boats and Birds are rocking on Old Tampa Bay

The holiday weekend in Florida may include a brief sun-shower or light rain here and there, but today was gloriously bright and sunny and the beaches and parks were full of family and friends enjoying being together. I'm not certain what make of boat this is - it was probably doing 40 knots or so when it passed me - but these birds weren't taking any chances as it approached me and them lazying on the beach at Picnic Island and the waters of Old Tampa Bay. They all took flight at the same moment. So far, the long weekend could not be more beautiful or relaxing. (And I was not at anytime doing anywhere near that boat's speed on this day!)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tampa's City Hall glows at night

Tampa's City Hall is shown at night framed by the columns at the entrance to the SunTrust Financial Centre. Located on East Kennedy Boulevard, the building is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1915, it was designed by architect M. Leo Elliott, the same architect who designed the Prairie School-style home I featured at Tampa Daily Photo on August 22nd. HERE. Called the Henry Leiman House, following the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright, the home is located on South Newport Avenue in the Hyde Park Historic District. Elliott also designed the original Tampa YMCA, Centro Asturiano, plus the Italian Club and Cuban Club in Ybor City. His architectural achievements made a lasting and significant differnce in Tampa.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Since 1818, Brooks Brothers has been clothing us

Whether you are a regular customer of Brooks Brothers or have never stepped foot in a Brooks store, you have to appreciate that they are America's oldest clothing retailer. Especially in these economic times, now called the Great Recession, they endure. They have clothed men, women and kids through most of our nation's history. If you ever have occasion to glance through a copy of their history book in a store, the part they have played in men's clothing is simply amazing. The book covers their (and our) history as a nation and includes photos taken at the Brooks store near Ground Zero at the World Trade Center in New York City soon after the towers fell. The images are chilling and will forever stay in your mind. They convey the unspeakable loss and destruction of life and property, but told by what had been simple and unremarkable displays of clothing. Their history is America's history and yet when I traveled to France their store windows on Rue St. Honore in Paris were an exact copy of the ones found in every store in the U.S.. I imagine that these windows in the Tampa store are duplicated in the windows of the store in Paris right now. That amazed me. (And it was comforting, too.)

Say or think what you may about Brooks Brothers style or cost, but I have a blue blazer, a bit tired now, with over 40,000 air miles on it and countless thousands of ground miles, and I could wear it tomorrow with gray slacks, a white Brooks shirt and bow tie, and pass for formally attired. The blazers alone are reason enough to shop at the store. Plus, you will always find terrific, knowledgeable and friendly professionals who genuinely want to help you. You'll get every cent from your investment. And shop a lot less often because the clothes last forever and always look good. (And no, I don't know whose bust is in the window on the pedestal. Is it Shakespeare??)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tampa's sunset and reflections on the day

There are some days that seem to begin when the sun begins to set. The evening is quieter, the air more still, and the noises of traffic, humans and even pets can't be heard. It's a time for relaxing and reflection. Staring into water, watching the shadows grow longer and the reflections reach deeper and richer in color, it's possible to imagine that all is at peace and as the darkness closes in, the day finally closes into night. Sweet dreams all, everywhere. Tomorrow promises to be a glorious new day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Get Dog Treats at Bahama's

This is a very pleasant shopping and dining destination in South Tampa, but the reason the retailer Tommy Bahama is on my route is because they have the biggest water bowl for dogs and excellent, dare i say, delicious dog treats. I know our dog knows which store is which because there is one store, which very kindly puts our big bowls of special dog biscuits, where he just won't eat. Passes it by with a sniff. I think it's because they switched to some healthy, organic dog biscuit. Organic. For dogs. (I don't blame him even though I don't fault anyone for a healthy diet. But, it's a DOG. And he likes the old-fashioned, high-whatever junk food treats. And he knows his buddies at the store that sells silk shirts, watches, great cigar boxes and smells like coconuts, is where he gets his fix. It's Tommy Bahama. And, while I am extolling the virtues of Tommy's dog treats - thank you very much - if you have never eaten at a Tommy Bahama restaurant, you must go. MUST! Tommy Bahama Tropical Cafes are in 7 states, including four in Florida, and even two in Hawaii. It is a guaranteed sure-fire dining (home brewed beer) experience. I know folks who go just for the crab bisque and Key Lime martinis. Regularly. Indescribably delicious dog treats, too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Stove Can't Spell (or use proper English)

This is one of the more strange and unusual wall murals I've encountered. Yes, it is an electric stove, with arms and legs, wearing Renaissance-style footwear. And, because he's handpainted on the outside wall of an appliance store, he appears to have been given the task of strongly directing store personnel to move some inventory. I always thought the word was spelled refrigerator, but who am I to correct a stove. The call "I want my MTV" was popularized in a song by the British music group Dire Straits on their 1985 album Brothers in Arms. Could it be that this mural has been on that wall for 24 years?? Can't be. (I still want to know what is with the pointy shoes? We GOT to know!)