Thursday, October 29, 2009


This afternoon, I went up to the Crystal River Mall

and saw the Michael Jackson movie, This is it!

It was not at all what I expected. I expected it to try to 'fake' the actual concert that was to be; and at times, it does do that, but mostly, it gives the attentive viewer the opportunity to be there with Michael as he creates an event, and that turned out to be a very special experience.

I dare anyone to sit through this without at some point at least tapping a foot, or jerking a shoulder a bit... and even shedding a tear or two- especially during the second half. There is no clear demarcation, but from about the half way point on, it does get more and more personal, or maybe by that point, I had forgotten everything I knew about Michael and was simply being with him in the moment.

As I was repeatedly amazed by Michael's moves, I finally came to realize that his body simply becomes the music, so that even his simplest gesture sings.

I feel very fortunate that we have this movie, a record of an incredibly gifted artist. The makers did a great service to Michael and to the audience.



Saturday, October 24, 2009


2009 10 24- This morning my friend Tony and I got up at about 7 and grabbing a cup of coffee for him and tea for me, we headed out and over to the Canaveral Lock to watch as the Space Shuttle External tank made its passage from the Atlantic ocean and into the Banana River for the final leg of its journey from Michaud in new Orleans where it was built, to Kennedy Space center where it will be mated and power the flight of STS-134 some time in the future.

The sea journey comprised the Liberty Star, a specially built and equipped NASA ocean tug pulling the barge that carried the actual External Tank, ET, the large orange tank that powers the shuttle on its rise to orbit.

My friend ‘Captain Nemo’ from NOLA is one of the engineers that builds the ET, and formerly built part of the Saturn V, and hopefully will be building part of the Aries system, and he informed me earlier in the week that the barge had left NOLA, knowing I had wanted to catch it going through the locks. He also passed on to me two URL’s, one showing the loading of the ET into its special barge:

and the second to a blog being posted by the captain of the Liberty Star and Steve, a NASA Media Relations pro along for the voyage. I had been reading their reports and they are absolutely fascinating, tying in all bits of related history going right back to Columbus and as far forward as the International Space Station- just incredible stuff.

Having to travel three hours from my home to get to the locks, I was determined to pin down a time for the lock transit and it was on Friday morning that Steve dropped me a private message saying simply “Saturday- 7am.” I read that and headed over to Tony’s! He lives in Melbourne, about ten miles south of the lock.

We arrived at the locks and joined the few other people who were there, the lock operator, Connie, the Mom and wife and son of one of the crew of the Liberty Star, and a couple of workers from United Space Associates who were there in an official capacity to help tie the boats up during their brief hold in the lock.

We had ‘front row seats’ right on the rail and I set up my tripod and small camera set to video, and also had my 10X zoom Olympus for still shots. It was not long until we saw the drawbridge of A1A open and the Liberty Star coming through. Because of the size of the vessels and the lock it had to come through by itself, and the barge at this point would be handled by two regular tugs once the lock cleared again.

When the Barge, the Pegasus, came thorough, there were a few men gathered on the bridge and I thought to call out if bone was Steve. The shout came back that he was down below. I returned to pass on my thanks top him from Jud.

Some time later after the huge building on a boat had passed completely into the locks and been secured, I heard someone call out my name, and turned to see Steve up on deck waving to me! We exchanged a few words across the space between and he disappeared back into the interior.

I was very surprised to see that the tarp that covered the back end ‘door’ of the housing was not a solid but was see-through and so we were able to actually see the back end of the ET inside!

We watched as it finished its passes through the locks and made ht right turn for KSC, locatable by the distinctive Vehicle Assembly Build (VAB) off in the distance. We watched for some time, then headed out and caught another view off the side of one of the roads near Port Canaveral, where I also grabbed a couple of shots of the Disney Magic and its crewman Goofy doing some touch up work on the stern.

39 new photos at:



Thursday, October 22, 2009


Was just over at the Publix, had to get some of that 'food' stuff, and on the way out spotted this Canadian tagged classic! I see lots of great cars in Citrus and all over Florida for that matter. I have shot a lot of them and mean to get a seperate blog up of them all at some point, but for now, enjoy this old beauty!



Sunday, October 04, 2009


19 new photos

The most recent shuttle mission, STS 128 brought back a special passenger from the International Space Station, none other than Buzz Lightyear!

In celebration, Disney announced a ticker-tape parade at the Magic Kingdom for Friday, October 4, 2009. Joining the Toy Story and ISS star would be the original Buzz, one of the 12 men to actually walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin!

I made note to be there!

Additionally, the real Buzz- okay, the human one- would be doing a book signing after the parade, in Town Square Exposition Hall, so I took a spot in front of that for the parade, ready to jump to the line as soon as I had seen Buzz & Buzz pass by in the parade. But I then spotted a better location for shooting photos, so moved to the sidewalk across from the train station.

The CM's provided some entertainment for the kids during the wait for the parade- people tend to grab a spot for Disney parades up to two hours before they start- and here are a bunch trying that insidious device, mastered by so few, the hula-hoop.

I heard the applause and cheering start from around the corner and got ready and then it was there! I was very pleased to see Buzz was riding in a Camaro!

Then the other Buzz, all on his own, driving behind him! A marching band finished it off.

As wonderful as it was, it certainly was not the 'parade' I was expecting! A two-car drive-by??? If I'd had any idea, I would have video'd instead of still'd!

I headed over to the line at Exposition Hall for the book signing. It was 2:55pm and the signing was to start at 4pm! The line was already out the door, down the long side ramp, and out on the sidewalk to near the front of the building! It was hot and brilliant sunshine, and the longest line I have ever waited in for anything!

The man in front of me was wearing a great NASA print shirt- and I commented and we and a couple of others spent the rest of the time in conversation. He was Jim, and he works at NASA in an education program for kids called Inspire during the week, and at Disney during the weekends. I quizzed him about the education program thinking of a young future scientist son of a friend in Maine I know from the net.

I was carrying three prints of photos of a sculpture I did about the Apollo 11 mission, centered about the picture of Buzz on the moon, as a gift for Buzz, and a second copy of one hoping he might sign it for me- although when I read the announcement it did say that he would not sign anything other than his book- bought there that day. But I talked to a CM and she said it would be okay to ask... In any case, my main thing was to simply meet this hero and to present him with my gift.

Despite the hot penetrating sun- some folks passed around some sunscreen which I passed on- everyone was in good spirits, and the man in front of me even let me go ahead of him to make my conversation with Jim more convenient.

Eventually, we moved through the doors into the building and its welcome cooler temps, and there across the room sat Buzz at a table, signing books. The CM's were running things, and it was more like an assembly line than a meet and greet, and we were instructed to have our book open to a certain page and to lay it down facing him as we approached the desk. There were a lot of people to get through so it had to be this way, but I am not sure if Buzz even saw anyone- just sign, new book, sign, new book...

There were at least two CM's who were taking your camera before you approached and would take a shot of you standing in front of the desk as Buzz signed- it had been announced that Buzz would not be posing with anyone- and if he had, gosh, we would still be there!

When my turn came, noting the high speed process, I quickly laid my book down, and beside it, out of the way of his moving hand, the portfolio with the pictures for him, stated these were a gift for him, and asked if he would sign my picture of him, got a grunt and immediately withdrew that request, and told him how much I admired him and how I had grown up watching him and his fellow heroes do what they did. We shook hands- something I don't think he was doing either. In any case, it was a good moment for me!

After, I talked to Jim and the CM who had shot his picture had had her thumb over the lens!!! But despite his pleas, he was not allowed a re-do. He told me the name of his website, and as sure as I am that I remember it right I couldn't find it, but I did get the picture with him and did pass on the web site to my friend in Maine.

As I said, longest line I have ever waited in at Disney: when I left it was about 4:50, and the line was still down the ramp and out to the sidewalk.



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