Posted on October 9, 2014
Fort Desoto sits on Mullet Key, guarding the entrance to Tampa Bay in Florida. Mullet Key and several other low lying keys are now Fort Desoto County Park visited for its fishing, camping, and miles of sandy beaches, in addition to its history.
The fort itself was built in response to the Spanish American War of 1898 to defend Tampa Bay from intruders. While the war ended in 1898, the fort was not completed until 1906. It never really served its military purpose, sitting largely unused throughout World War I. Several of its large mortars were even disassembled and shipped to San Diego in 1917.
The Fort’s remains stand amid the natural beauty of the seashore and these uninhabited islands. They are a reminder that more than a century ago the fear of war and invasion led to great waste — just as it does today.
Posted on September 15, 2014
The Salvation Army has built a new building in an older part of town. It is large with a rather blank and bland facade — looking like a light industrial building with a steeple.
The Salvation Army bills it as a worship center. They are clear that it is not where they provide desperately needed services to their poor and homeless clients. That is in a different part of town. Wandering around, I saw these two doors and wondered if either of them were the “pearly gates” one hears so much about. Surely one of these churches must have them.
Posted on August 5, 2014
Do you ever think about the thousands of ships sailing the sea? The visuals from these two small container ports — and a bit of the ocean in between them — are as interesting as the statistics about this hidden industry.
For example, did you know that there are over 100,000 ships plying the oceans of the world carrying nearly everything we consume — much of it in “boxes” or containers? While only 6,000 of those ships are container vessels, some of them are so large they can each carry up to 15,000 twenty foot containers, the equivalent of 746 million bananas!
With revenues of many billions of dollars, this industry is mostly hidden, international in scope, in some ways without nationality or rules, and a significant cause of particulate air pollution and pollution of the seas. You can read about these facts and more and gain your own impressions of modern day shipping in Ninety Percent of Everything, by Rose George. She says she hopes her book can help cure our “sea blindness.”
Whether you read the book or not, don’t be blind to the sea, and to the people who bring your stuff to you from the far corners of the earth. Shipping is an integral part of the modern, global economy.
Posted on July 9, 2014
Palm Avenue is one of the more attractive streets in downtown Sarasota. It is lined with art galleries, boutiques and restaurants, palm trees (many of which will soon be removed), historic buildings (some of which will be removed to make way for another high rise for the affluent), and even a large verdant grassy patch (soon to be dug up and covered over with a hotel).
Even after these changes, Palm Avenue will still be attractive — and probably even more comfortable for some. But it will also be different, and so will the rest of the city. With every change, the benefits of the change are trumpeted — and the losses and questions papered over with glossy brochures. These “Perspectives on Palm Avenue” ask whether we are building the kind of city we want.
Posted on June 2, 2014
It’s easy to not notice… to not notice the lens with which we view the world. It’s especially easy when rushing through the day, not even noticing the world!
Posted on May 3, 2014
It’s always worth a look behind the facades to see what’s happening in the alley. These images all came from a one-block section of alley in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida. In addition to the now-defunct “Golden Apple” dinner theater, they show the backsides of a few of the city’s finer restaurants, a brand new parking ramp, and some graffiti on the back wall of the Opera House, where they often sing in Italian. Of course, there was much more to see there, too.
So next time you want to get to know a town, spend some time in the alleys.
Posted on April 3, 2014
Jekyll Island on Georgia’s coastline may be best known for it’s historic district and the Jekyll Island Club — a retreat and playground for the country’s wealthiest elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Established in 1886, the Club was frequented by the Morgans, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and others of their class.
However, there is another feature worth seeing on Jekyll Island.
“Driftwood Beach” on the north end of the island shows the ongoing work of erosion. It is humbling to stand amid the ruins of the great trees that have fallen to the steady beat of ocean waves and current. And there is some sadness looking behind at the majestic oaks just off the beach — some already salt-scarred — that will soon be the next to go.
While erosion along these barrier islands is a natural process, rising sea levels are sure to hasten it. And we have yet to see whether man’s attempted interventions, like the rocks placed along the shore further south, will slow or further speed its progress.