Saturday, December 31, 2016
As you may recall, the old Silver Springs tourist attraction has been taken over by the State of Florida and combined with the adjacent Silver River State Park to become the Silver Springs State Park. Much of the old park is gone, but the glass bottom boats remain, and last week, the place was humming with visitors.
The state has done a remarkable job in cleaning up the park, building a new walkway over the small island and constructing an amphitheater in the woods, which I'm guessing will be used to put on wildlife shows or something similar.
I was standing in a clearing near the amphitheater when I spotted Santa aboard one of the glass bottom boats traversing the Silver River. The boat came near and Santa saw me and waved. I wanted to ask why I got a lump of coal for Christmas but the boat moved on too quickly!
The little kiddos on the boat got to see, not only the various fish swimming down deep, but also Santa himself, close up and personal. How awesome is that?
Happy New Year to all my blogging friends!
[I'm still on a break but will be back before long.]
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
This just in. The Associated Press and Huffington Post are reporting that late last night Santa came close to wrecking his sleigh. Evidently Rudolph's nose gave out and the sleigh hit a cell tower as it began a trial run out of Orlando.
There's no word on casualties yet, but Santa's entourage was able to limp along for some 75 miles before setting down on the Happy Trails horse farm just south of Ocala.
As this post went to press, one of our avid readers sent us the above photo. She spotted Santa at Ocala Eye getting his eyes checked. A source close to Santa said it was Santa's fault the sleigh hit the cell tower; his eyesight is getting worse. It's been at least 50 years since he's had his eyes checked.
We are happy to report, however, that all is well. Just a short time ago, a group of disaffected teen goths were swimming with the sharks at Silver Springs and they heard a cry from the sky, "Hi Yo, Silver! Away!"
Wait, that's not right! Oh oh.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Friday, December 16, 2016
The folks who live in this house are very religious and announce their devotion to Jesus at every opportunity. Many others in Ocala feel much the same way and you will see numerous signs on lawns, cars, houses, businesses, etc., claiming "Jesus is the reason for the season."
Actually, that's not correct if you want to get technical. In fact, the early church didn't give a flip about when Jesus was born until the mid-4th century. Then the church fathers argued about the date because no one had any idea. They finally settled on December 25, which was the time that that many other religions celebrated the birth of their savior, not a few of these saviors also being born of a virgin in a cave or manger.
Mithraism was the big competitor to Christianity in the early 4th century and their god/savior was one of those born on Dec. 25. In fact, all of Rome came out to celebrate this birth on Mithras Eve, December 24.
So, it worked out well. People were already celebrating December 25, why not Christians?
But the reality is that this date was chosen, not so much because it was when Mithras was born, but rather because the popular sun god was born on December 25 and and that birth had been a festival in the Roman empire for many years.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Note: This has been cross-posted to The Villages (Florida) Photos.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Some people I know, (I'm not mentioning any names) think that "coloric" is not a word. Well, they'd be right and they'd be wrong.
"Coloric" doesn't appear in my old beat up dictionary but a manufacturer of household fixtures in Gustavsberg, Sweden has a whole line of Coloric faucets.
Anyway, I found this little bush/tree, stuck in the middle of a couple larger trees and its colors called to me so I answered the call and took a photograph.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
I was on a bike when I saw this lawn decoration. Not wanting to be like the papparrazi, I stopped a couple of doors down to take a picture.
While composing the shot, I noticed an older lady, blue hair, slightly plump, wearing a floral print dress which was covered in part by an apron, standing in front of Santa and Mrs. Claus. She drew herself up haughtily, scowled mightily, drew a deep breath, and hissed loudly at the Claus couple.
Then she turned around and when she saw me, waddled hastily to my side.
"Well, I never!" she exclaimed.
"You never what?" I asked.
"You funnin' with me?" She asked.
"No, I'm just wondering what you're so upset about." I said.
"Well, I never!" She said again. "You look like a nice person, and I never thought a nice person would think it OK for Santa and his missus to get out of their sleigh and kiss in the middle of a yard! I mean, I never!"
"Now you listen here mister, my goodness gracious, what if'n some kids walked by and saw that? I just never, ever, in my life seen nothing like that. That ain't what Christmas is all about!"
I put my bike's kickstand down, and moved to stand in front of the lady.
"What do you think you're doing?" she said, moving back.
I reached out, grabbed her hands and pulled her close and kissed her gently on her forehead.
Then I said, "Christmas is supposed to be about love, and Santa and Mrs. Claus show everyone how much they love each other when they kiss. I'd suggest this Christmas you kiss the people you love, tell them you love them and not worry about Santa and his missus."
Stepping back, she looked up at me and said, "Well, I never!" but she was smiling just a bit and her eyes twinkled. "Well, I never!" she said again as she turned and waddled down the street to where she came from.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
This is the interior of a Wells Fargo branch bank. It was a slow day.
We still bank here and the employees are very nice - friendly and helpful, in spite of the fact that many Wells Fargo employees were involved in a huge scam in which they set up fake accounts in order to con customers out of their money.
Another interesting fact is that Trump's pick to serve as Secretary of Labor & Transportation, Elaine Chao, was on the Wells Fargo board while all of this was going on.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
For years, the City of Ocala has talked about building "lofts" or apartments in downtown. Previously there was discussion about revamping an older multi-story building which would be converted to apartments on the upper floor(s) while the first floor would showcase a variety of business enterprises.
This, obviously, was easier said and done. Early on one con man stuck the city for over $1 million before he disappeared into the night, which might indicate the city leaders did not vet him sufficiently.
Now, however, it seems some "lofts" are being built directly across from the town square. I know nothing more, but I think it is correct to say that these will be pricey unless, of course, folks object to living in what is still a somewhat sketchy area, especially at night.
But I think this is a step in the right direction. Other cities have done this and it has worked well and it is essential to revive the downtown area to make this a more livable city.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Monday, December 5, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
In Lake Sumter Landing of The Villages, you will find a number of structures that appear to be houses where people live, but in reality contain a variety of businesses, many of which are related to the needs of The Villages.
The first two photos show houses which are used for professionals such as accountants and insurance agents. The third photo shows a house on Main Street which contains a large health insurance company.
Houses in the other photos are used for similar purposes.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Friday, December 2, 2016
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The Peddler's Wagon, a gift shop extraordinaire, is an icon in central Florida. Located in the beautiful town of Eustis, it offers an amazing selection of fine gifts but more importantly at this time of year, it has the largest collection of Christmas ornaments and gifts that I've ever seen.
It is owned and operated by Kevin Jenness and his family who offer shoppers a warm welcome. Thanks to son, Sean, for his assistance during our recent visit to this beautiful shop.
The photos above are just a small sample of what is available at The Peddler's Wagon.
Monday, November 28, 2016
"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson