co-written by Michelle Valentonis

The Twelve Days of Florida

 On the first day of Florida my true love gave to me a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the second day of Florida my true love gave to me two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the third day of Florida my true love gave to me three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the fourth day of Florida my true love gave to me four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the fifth day of Florida my true love gave to me five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the sixth day of Florida my true love gave to me six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the seventh day of Florida my true love gave to me seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the eighth day of Florida my true love gave to me eight blue-hairs knitting, seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the ninth day of Florida my true love gave to me nine suntan lotions, eight blue-hairs knitting, seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the tenth day of Florida my true love gave to me ten life guards, nine suntan lotions, eight blue-hairs knitting, seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the eleventh day of Florida my true love gave to me eleven speed bumps, ten life guards, nine suntan lotions, eight blue-hairs knitting, seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

 On the twelfth day of Florida my true love gave to me twelve swimming suits, eleven speed bumps, ten life guards, nine suntan lotions, eight blue-hairs knitting, seven mermaids splashing, six swimming pools, five pelicans, four cockroaches, three seagulls, two coconuts and a Pink Flamingo by a Palm tree.

That time of year again

"MAGICAL MOMENTS OF MUSIC" the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour's Christmas Gala Concert is Friday December 12 at 8 PM.

Steve Otto of the Tampa Tribune wrote a lovely recommendation. And I mentioned it before... last year I think.... when I mentioned I did last year's artwork. Wel, guess what? I did this year's artwork as well. Last year they made a neat banner which really impressed me, but this year Greg, one of the congregation made a plywood backdrop from my art. I am impressed. He did a great job. We installed it last Sunday. Yes, I get "volunteered" to help convert the altar into the stage. It is now a winter tradition for me. So to follow the tradition,

I will show the line drawing:

Then in colour:

Then the backdrop:

And installing the stage:

Florida Pirate Fair

a coupon from your friend, Captain Henry Jennings, coFounder of the Pirates Republic

New publication

My poems

"Lost in Urban Landscaping #19: wandering eye"
"Lost in Urban Landscaping #34: Imprint"
"Cosmic Yesterday - Summer Romance (26 August 2003)"

are included in the current issue of Cliterature Journal #9 THE GAZE.

Read it. Enjoy it. Feel it.


I joined the Florida Pirate Festival this year.

Now that they have me, they have been trying to teach me how to act and stage fight. They have cast me as
Captain Henry Jennings which I am pretty excited about. I haven't actually fought anyone, but then again they are doing a good job of keeping me away from other people and sharp objects. They might be pirates but they ain't dumb.

Some of the Pirates will be appearing this week at the Safety Harbor Renaissance Night, Friday September 19th, 2008. This is a fun (albeit small: yet FREE) Renaissance Fair. I went last year and enjoyed it greatly. I suggest that you come out and also enjoy it. These will be different Pirates (same actors) than who will be at the Florida Pirate Festival, November 21st -- 23rd, 2008 at Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Watch me try to act.

And if that is not enough, Jen Shumilak
 & David Waterman will be there as "For Love Or Money" And we all know that they are entertaining, even if I am not, but don't say that, I will have a sword (or more) I am a Pirate after all.

See Safety Harbor's web site for more details:

Here is me trying on Pirate Captain coats:


I have a problem staying off stages. It started recently. No, that's not it. This problem goes back a long time. An old friend mentioned to me that I have always been the center of attention person. I just haven't recognized this in myself until recently.

Now that I know what to look for, I am seeing just how pervasive my problem is. Apparently, everyone who knows me has been aware of my problem. And some of them have used my problem to suite their own wicked needs.

Most recently, I was invited to go to the USF Contemporary Art Museum to take part in their current exhibition. For those of you who have read previous blogs, you know that even though I stopped working there over a decade ago, I still seem to be held in their orbit.

The show "MashUp" included a piece by Pablo Reyes, where people get to 'air guitar' on a stage to selected songs, using a wooden guitar silhouette which is smashed by the participant. The guitar remnants accrue on the stage. They video taped the performances and then replay them on a monitor at the side of the stage for the rest of the exhibition.

I was performer #1.

Then after all the other performers finished, David Leonard of "Tampa Bay's 10" needed assistance for his feature. I was called on to assist because I have a problem.

Look for me with the mohawk (

I brought my family to the opening of the exhibition. My son jammed out to the song I performed. A reporter from the St. Petersburg Times took some photographs of him and loved the parallel performance.

My son introduced himself to the curator and the artist. The artist's wife suggested that my son perform to a song and smash a guitar as well. He chose the same song I had performed and he got a good size audience. Apparently, this is a genetic problem which I have passed on.

Check him out on the tbt* blog:

2008 Summer Update

It has been a while since I have given the rest of the world a glimpse into my universe which this missive hopes to rectify. And yep, for those of you whom haven’t received one of these mock belles lettres before, I do speak and write like this. The current color of my sky is jumping between blue-green and gray (according to the mood ring spectrometer). The land is moist and full of weeds, and apparently a few sunflowers have poked through to my delight. My family is now healthy which is of great relief to us all. I adapted well to role of Daddy-Mommy-Nurse as it was needed but it does tire one immensely. I have done things, some which might surprise and amuse you and a few which even surprised me.

The first big surprise was my first adult acting role. And I do qualify this by saying “Yes, I know, adult IS acting for me”. Yet I ingest. Or repress. So I had the wonderful experience to be a ‘Mad Scientist’. Again, I know many people would not perceive this as me acting. My family (in-laws as such) works and volunteers and works some more at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour. I have on many occasions volunteered work there, done artwork and design for them, and taught martial arts (Don Jitsu Ryu) there. It being a church, it is no wonder that they would have a Vacation Bible School. Curiously, this years’ theme was SCIENCE. Now, as an aside, I feel compelled to tell you that on weekends, I occasionally have a kitchen full of neighborhood kids as we do science experiments. My son Alexander loves science and that was one of my passions as a youth, so I encourage it as much as possible, and so he and I do experiments, then he invites over his friends, that is how it grows into a neighborhood event reproducing last week’s episode of MythBusters in the front weeds (not lawn) because at that point we have been correctly shooed out of the kitchen by my lovely wife, who invites her family over. Yes, Mentos and Diet Pepsi are always on our shopping list. I have sown the seeds and drawn the map for you to understand how I, of all people, ended up spending three weeks of lunch-breaks in silly costumes doing science experiments for children at a VBS. My son was my trusty robot assistant X-10!

As a coincidental cosmic counter balance to the Lutheran Science demonstrations, at the beginning of this year I took the Wicca 101 class at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa and Circles in the Woods CUUPS. It was a great class, with wonderful instructors, great classmates, and lively discussions. I learned a great deal and suggest whoever has interest and is in the Tampa Bay area find a way to attend the next class for it is well worth the minimal money (which goes to the UU Church).

Don’t think I have neglected writing and cartooning, I think about that enough myself, however; I have produced some items worthy of reportage. To begin with I once more reestablish myself as an artistic footnote by being thanked for my scholarship and work on the Robert Stackhouse Print Archives housed at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in the catalogue of said archive. This is as important to me as being footnoted by the Guggenheim Museum’s Arakawa / M. Gins catalogue. I am deeply honored for being noticed and associated with artists who I admire so greatly. I shan’t elaborate more details since that was the focus of my last missive.

I would like to mention, so I will mention, that the Jose Marin catalogue is available. I and many people have anticipated this commiserate publication. The bittersweet is that Jose, a friend and co-worker of mine, deserved an exhibition and catalogue of this magnitude. Unfortunately it is a posthumous exhibition, many years after his untimely passing. I missed him when he moved across the country and missed him more so when he died. This was a fitting tribute.

It’s not all about me.

The Pilcrow Literary Festival in Chicago was May 22-25. Lynn Brewer, the editor of Cliterature online journal spoke on a panel among other glorious editor activities. Before she went, she emailed to me “I'd love to use an excerpt from ‘Lost in Urban Landscaping’ that was published in the Hags & Witches issue in my speech, and of course plug your name and work along with it.’ I do believe I said “YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! That would be acceptable.” Or something along those lines. I am very sorry I was unable to attend the festival. Travel has been one of my banes this year. I do love the acknowledgments though.

Mostly, it IS about me.

In July, Cliterature Volume 8 “The City” was published And I am excited to say that they included two of my poems: “Lost In Urban Landscaping #33: Ybor City” and “smog”. I am very happy about this and hope we have a long term publishing relationship. They produce an entertaining and thought provoking magazine that I am proud to be associated with. I think that is enough sucking up for now, but I may have more later.

Tokyopop magazine and Sakura Pens and the Grand Sumo Tournament had an art contest. The grand prize was two tickets to the Grand Sumo Tournament in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, my bane of being unable to travel prevented me from attending so in my place went Max Waterman and friend. I hear they had a good time and met Elain Chang, my charming contact at TokyoPop who coordinated the details. However, I did receive two LA Sumo Tournament T-shirts, an official "Sumo Sign-in" Kit, an assortment of Sakura drawing pens, and best of all a tegata (handprint signature) of Hakuho.

And as if my life isn’t going in enough different directions I have purchased a guitar and a ukulele. I took guitar lessons way back when I was in High School, I never took ukulele lessons. I have been practicing and will take some real lessons soon. Hopefully, with five or six more years of random plucking on these instruments I might be able to play a song. Maybe.

I have taken some of my more recent images and made them available as clothing and accessories via CafePress. Many of these are specifically being released in honor of “National MUTT Day” on July 31. The money raised from many of these items will go to the starting of Michele Martin’s “Lucky Dog Organics” (pet food and services) or to the Pinellas Animal Foundation


This morning I resumed my fledgling acting career and auditioned for the Florida Pirate Festival. The audition went well and I had a lot of fun doing it and met some really nice folks. I had some great advice from David Waterman on how to survive the audition, we will see if backrub and bribery were enough.

There is more in the works and as usual I am only informed about some of them, as they make themselves apparent to me, I shall share them with you. Be well.

Lizard Loves Ya!

Lucky Dog Organics

Michele Martin is creating a healthy / organic pet store / service. She currently has Marathon Paws: Total Fitness for the Urban Dog blog.
These are the images I have made for her so far.


The Sumo drawing below was a winner of the TOKYOPOP: Sumo-Star Manga Drawing Competition for the 2008 Grand Sumo Tournament in Los Angeles (June 7 - 8, 2008).

TOKYOPOP,, is a Manga information website and magazine. is the website for the 2008 Grand Sumo Tournament.

Robert Stackhouse: Editions Archive

The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum currently is hosting an exhibit of Robert Stackhouse's print work (and a sculpture). The show was curated by Peter Foe. It is a wonderful exhibition where you feel immersed in the work, as you wind your way through the rooms and hall the art surrounds you in the best sense of a museum (inviting and informative). The journey through the museum enhances the passageway theme in the art. As you walk through each area you get a slight glimpse of something new and undiscovered around the corner, drawing the viewer deeper into the maze. Each image builds on the ones around it giving the feeling of discovery which is so present in the archaeological themes, a piece here and a fragment there, and if you step back you can get an outline overview of the artifact. And then the delicate coiled snake waits for you and watches.
Peter kindly called me over to see the show and get a copy of the catalogue and print which were made for this occasion. In the Introduction to the catalogue, Margaret Miller thanked me for my work on the Archive, which I appreciate.

When I worked at the museum I worked on the Robert Stackhouse Archive as well as the rest of the collection. It was an exciting project. The catalogue came out beautifully but I have not finished reading it yet.
The print which accompanies the catalogue is perfect example of Robert Stackhouse's print work. The bow of the Gokstad ship captures the archaeology and architecture themes. You can see the sculptural implications of the image, the strokes of the pencil and brush give weight and depth to the image, and the small print itself gives that feeling of catching a glimpse of a fragment something larger, yet still a delicate artifact in its own right.* [All images courtesy of USFCAM and Robert Stackhouse.]
When Robert Stackhouse made a large addition to the Archive in 1997 I wrote an article for USF Magazine which they titled, The Art of Giving. They changed the article and published it uncredited. I am including my version here along with the checklist of donated items.

On 11 March 1997, Robert Stackhouse donated to the USF Contemporary Art Museum twenty eight prints of his own artwork. They ranged in size from the miniature, 11" x 15", small snake and wooden A-frame structure to the immense, 55" x 102", Diviners. This donation brings the Robert Stackhouse Archive up to forty-four works documenting his artistic career to date. The Robert Stackhouse Archive is an ongoing project/process with Robert Stackhouse, who has promised to continue to donate one copy of every print and multiple he will create for the rest of his life. The USF Contemporary Art Museum will store, care, document, research, and exhibit the Robert Stackhouse Archive, and in the future will create a publication about Robert Stackhouse’s print work.

Robert Stackhouse is one of the most distinguished alumni from the Art Department, College of Fine Arts. Robert Stackhouse graduated from USF in 1965 and went on to earn a Masters degree from the University of Maryland in 1967. Robert Stackhouse has exhibited his paintings, prints, and sculptures throughout the United States since 1969; as well as, creating over thirty temporary sculpture installations and several permanent sculpture installations.

USF Contemporary Art Museum in 1981, hosted the exhibition David Haxton/Robert Stackhouse- Two Distinguished Alumni. In 1989, the Phyllis Marshall Center used its “Art in State Buildings” budget to purchase work from accomplished USF Fine Arts graduates; Robert Stackhouse’s watercolor, Three Forms was one of those purchases. In 1991, Robert Stackhouse created a sculpture installation, Soundless at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. In addition to the installation, he produced an etching and a lithograph, working with printmaking faculty members Bradlee Shanks, Theo Wujcik, and Art Department students. A poster was commissioned by the Contemporary Art Museum to document this exhibition. In 1991, Robert Stackhouse began working on three prints, Encountering, Red Encounterings, and Blue Encounterings, and a sculpture multiple, Immersed, at Graphicstudio, which were completed in 1992.

Robert Stackhouse has given innumerable lectures, presentations, and informal discussions to the students at USF, during each of his visits. Robert Stackhouse received a USF Outstanding Alumni Award; was a visiting painting faculty member in 1994 and was included in the faculty exhibition of that year.
The 11 March 1997 Robert Stackhouse donation was comprised of the following prints:

Niagara Dance Summer Artpark ‘77, 1978
For “Passings”, 1981
Brooklyn Bridge, 1983
Untitled, 1985
Untitled, 1986
Running Animals / Reindeer Way, 1986
Niagara Dance, 1986
Inside a Temporary Passage Structure, 1987
small snake and a wooden A-frame structure, 1987
Naja from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
Gokstad from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
Lake Garda / Shipwreck from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
At Hudson River Museum from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
At Eau Clair from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
At Sculpture Now from Sources and Structures portfolio, 1989
Ruby’s Way, 1989
Diviners, 1990
Approaching Diviners, 1990
Blue Diviners, 1991
Encounterings, 1991
Soundless, 1992
Soundless Soundless, 1992
Inner Soundless, 1992
Under Source, 1993
Over Deck, 1993
Ruby Lawrence, 1995
Ruby Lawrence, 1995
Adrift, 1996

Let Heaven and Nature Swing @ LCOS 7 Dec 2007

I was asked to do a few drawings for the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour’s annual Christmas Concert, “Let Heaven and Nature Swing”. I made two drawings for them. I thought, these will reduce down nicely for a program. They asked about putting parts of the image throughout the program as visual consistency, which I thought was a good idea.

Well I was surprised to see the image was also being used on the cover of the Church bulletin, the tickets, the brochure, the posters, and the 22 foot high banner behind the stage. They got their use out of this image. And the concert was a great success and a lot of fun; you should go to one of their concerts.

Here is the image that they used.
Here is the banner hanging.

Here is the other image I provided LCOS, which they didn’t use.

Lutheran Church of Our Saviour
& Pre-Kindergarten
8401 West Hillborough Ave
Tampa, FL 33615