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Saturday, April 30, 2011


When I tell people I'm an art teacher they usually ask, "So what kind of artist are you?"

I tell them about the parades, this blog, and my weird sculptures.

I used to make paper-mache monsters, the 2-foot creatures that now lurk around our house. They stuck around because when I took them to art shows, no one would buy them.

I recently learned that many people will part with ten bucks if you offer them a painted coconut. This is especially true if it resembles a fish.

I took a dozen to an art show last year and they flew off the table. Since then I have scoured the Grove's trash piles for the very best, the nuts that stare back at you. I throw on a little paint, add some tree debris and -voila- I've made another cocofish.

Trouble is I've tired of the cute ones. Now the painted nuts have gotten much more dark, brooding, and somewhat malevolent.

Tomorrow (Sunday, May 1) I'll be doing my last show of the season at Plymouth Church (a short one, 11 am to noon in Davis Hall).

It'll be interesting to see if these new creations find buyers or just come home to hang out with the other monsters.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


This is how I felt leaving the doctor's office yesterday.

The second test showed I didn't have a dreaded desease

after all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Every year thirty of us gather by the sea. Last Friday we set up tents, gathered wood, and hiked a short distance to see the sun set on the bay. After that we shared food, wine and stories.

The bonfire is always the big attraction, mesmerizing as it has for countless generations.

Conversation was so plentiful no one had time to text.

We saw the sun rise the next morning. Here it is peeking over the sail of a beached man o'war.

Back at camp I took this photo of what one friend called "our dead soldiers". Each served valiantly the night before.

And today it is Easter. After church we joined a different group of friends.

They gather every year for for their annual egg hunt and brunch. At the "count of 3" the young ones took off in search of eggs.

The rest of us searched a table filled with delicious food.

Both of these neighborhood traditions have gone on for 25 years and our lives are richer for it. Happy Easter.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Anything can happen in Key West. You might run into a pirate, a painted lady, or the twin brother you never knew you had.

On a recent trip there, Francesca and I stopped at our favorite restaurant, Blue Heaven. They serve delicious food under a huge banyan tree and roosters run amok in a clearing where Hemingway once refereed boxing matches. It is eclectic but I never expected to encounter a body snatcher. It happened a few years earlier.

On a sunny afternoon in 2003 I was sitting at its outdoor bar. Fifteen feet away a man walked by that looked like me (I'd only had half a beer). Freaky it was, like looking in mirrors that let you see your own profile, but this was no reflection.

Encountering your clone is like a bad dream, the rarest of occurrences unless you're Kevin McCarthy. He played the man running from the aliens in "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers". In the movie invaders were quietly replacing people with their own replicas. A part of me wondered if it could be happening to me.

He probably looked quite different from the front so I followed. From the back I could see he was off a bit, two inches shorter and maybe five years younger. As the guy walked into the garden's bathroom I remembered "The Stepford Wives". Didn't the robotic clones kill and tear out the eyes of the wives they were replacing?

"Ay", I thought, "I'll hide behind a palm frond, wait, then see if he really is me". Two minutes later he stepped out. From the front he had my face, hair, and even the granny glasses I used to wear. The guy was good.

Every year Key West holds it’s Ernest Hemingway Look-a-like Contest. It takes place at the writer's old hangout, Sloppy Joe's Bar. Old guys with short white beards line up and read a few lines from "The Sun Also Rises". Ever year I see the winner's photo in the paper, a smiling dude who looks a wee bit like the writer in his 50's. But you know its not Hemingway.

Twins don't even look the same over time. But I was looking through leaves at a guy who looked like me and it was oh so unsettling. He veered off to the left to return to his table. I followed at a distance to see more of what my other life was like.

Glenn #2 was greeted by a wife that I would never marry. Never. Me being single and somewhat lonely at the time made my little nightmare even worse. I could take no more of The Other Glenn so, like Kevin McCarthy, I fled. Big Blue was waiting outside and we peddled quickly to Sloppy Joe's. In the middle of the day a blues band was blaring. Its like a 24/7 party there. Surrounded by people that did not look like me, Ernest Hemingway, or anyone else familiar, the body snatcher would have a hard time finding me.

He never did. I expect he is back in Ohio selling insurance.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Grandmothers don't lie. Today they helped me recover the second bike ("Big Blue") stolen from our house last weekend. Now we'll keep both bikes inside, locked up, possibly too bound in chain to ever move again. Sunday, a grandmother gave me a hot tip. It led to this afternoon's confrontation with two young suspects. They told me nothing until their grandma stepped outside. Their stories then changed; they admitted taking our bikes. The boys even went on to tell me more than I wanted to hear, like how I should be grateful for their sloppy 2-minute paint job that turned Big Blue black. They also told me it looked much better without the lights, lock, and bike rack that they had thrown away. Geez. But what the heck, I actually had both bikes back. As Grandma and the boys looked on I stuffed Big Black into my car. Driving home I had the heady feeling that PeeWee should have been so lucky.

Monday, April 11, 2011


You don't want to sit in the back of a City of Miami police car. There is no leg room, the seats are hard plastic, and if you want to leave the door handles don't work.

It started Saturday afternoon when my wife and I had our bikes stolen. It was a crime of opportunity and we should have had our front gate locked.

The next afternoon I got around to calling the City of Miami police to report the theft. A half-hour later Officer Robert Perez was at our door, ready to fill out a crime report. The three of us walked out to the street so I could show him how it happened.

Just then, looking over the officer's shoulder, I saw five young men zip by on bicycles. The were 80 yards away -on the next street- but one of the bikes looked a lot like mine. The officer and I took off in different directions, he in his car and me on my son's bike.

I happened to go where they were heading. As I rounded a corner I met the gang of 16 year-olds head on. They stopped and I stopped. Their leader sat smiling astride my big blue Specialized bicycle. No one said a word as I approched. With twenty feet between us they turned and broke away.

Yes, I chased them but kids are so damn fast. They zoomed up the cut-through path at Loquat and Plaza and into the West Grove.

Panting heavily I head home and met up again with Officer Perez. His front seat was filled with paperwork. He suggested that I ride in the back of his cop car so we could go looking for my bike.

As the two of us roamed around we finally passed a 14 year-old riding Francesca's bicycle. We recovered the bike, took it home, and thrilled my waiting wife. The officer and I went looking for "Big Blue" again.

In "Peewee's Big Adventure" Peewee Herman crossed half of America looking for his stolen bike. The officer and I zigged and zagged through the West Grove for an hour in search of mine. At one point we passed the spot where a visiting tourist had been killed for his gold chain four years ago. The blood I saw then has long since washed away.

Officer Perez could not have been nicer. As we drove around I learned he had joined the city's police force eleven years ago. Since then, as a member of our National Guard, he has spent two tough years serving in Iraq and Afganistan. After a while my stolen bike seemed like small potatoes. When it got dark we stopped looking. Peewee never found his bike either.

Francesca's bike is now parked safely in our guest room. As he dropped me off I thanked Officer Perez for his help. He told me he'll be looking for Big Blue again tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The cottage sits on a rise a half-block up from the bay. Unlike many of its neighbors in this older part of Tampa, its outer clothing is fairly plain.

All that changes once you step inside Cheryl's Davidson's house.

Our friend has spent over two decades transforming her humble abode into a haven of outside art.

WIth its polished pine floors and multi-colored walls, the interior has become a work of art in itself.

Francesca and I slept on sheets that were so bright and beautiful (mango and fucia) I didn't want to turn out the lights. The windows' French glass turned everything outside into dazzling works of impressionistic art.

Many of the walls were painted in the subtle sunset hues one might see in a 30's hand-colored photograph. Others reached out with glowing arms and said, "Come join the party!"

Beautiful art was everywhere. The bold colors flowed outside into Cheryl's garden where angels of the Order of the Broken Feet held vigil.

Before we could take it all in, it was time to continue our journey.

We shared goodbyes with Cheryl, her three dogs, the angels and the little guy in the pink hat.

If you ever visit, he's the one who pedels madly everytime you reached for his paper.


Last weekend we took one last trip in our van. We camped on the beach at Long Key.

Across the highway was Florida Bay. We watched the sun sink into the ocean and at one point surrounding clouds turned the hot pink orb into a rectangle.

We agreed it looked better round.

We have our van on the market now (it's an '87).

If you know of anyone who'd like go off on their own VW van adventures, let us know.

P.S. We still love the travellin' life. We're shopping for the next box with wheels already.