May 29, 2010

The Sea Hagg

The Sea Hagg is a destination in and of itself, and definitely worth the trip. Part vintage Florida, part marine salvage yard/curio shop/antique store/art gallery/museum, it is one of those places where the more you look, the more you see. In a world littered with ugly box stores, strip malls and retail chains selling the same stuff, the Sea Hagg is a refreshing detour from the drab corporate sameness we endure every day. From an artistic perspective, this is a must see! To visit the Sea Hagg's website, click HERE.

The yard is filled with all sorts of interesting and odd objects, including the wheelhouse of a tugboat, and a huge white skull that sits beside it.Out front is a customized Mercury convertible adorned with two mermaid tails and a custom paint job.

Topless mermaids and ships' figureheads are a big theme that runs through the Sea Hagg's collection of objects

May 27, 2010

Russian Hobbit Illustrations

This is a great find!
The Hobbit was translated into Russian, and in the book are these whimsical illustrations which look like they belong in Mad Magazine. Wait until you see what Gollum looks like!

In addition, there is also some video clips of a low- budget Russian version of The Lord Of The Rings. I don't think Peter Jackson has anything to worry about.

May 26, 2010

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

This is a new category of the Magnum Arts blog, which includes posts that will be of interest to artists but not directly connected to cartooning or drawing. This blog continues to evolve, becoming what I hope will be a fun, informative place to stop on your travels through the Internet. The first post of this new category is about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the wonderful work they do there rescuing sealife in order to return them to the wild. The aquarium has an operating room, an intensive care unit for turtles and is home to rescued turtles, fish, otters and the most famous dolphin in the world, Winter.

(all photographs copyright Magnum Arts, 2010) click on all pictures for a larger view
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's most famous resident is Winter, a dolphin that has become world famous. Winter was caught in a drag fishing line and the harder she tried to swim away, the more the line cut into her tail.  Most dolphins who become trapped end up dying.To save her, it was necessary to amputate her tail.  She was severely anemic and malnourished when she was rescued, and the staff nursed her back to health, although the emotional trauma Winter endured remains. The aquarium invented a brilliant prosthetic tail and special membrane that fits over Winter's lower body that allows her to swim like any other dolphin. Winter resides in a shallower tank; she is still too nervous about being in the deep water tank.Below: Winter in her home

Above left: Winter Dolphin
Above right: Winter's prosthetic tail
Left: A close up of poor Winter's amputation. Winter has become an inspiration to people who have lost limbs, and in fact the prosthetic tail has inspired new designs for prosthetic limbs for people. Winter is truly a special dolphin

The aquarium's main mission is to rescue animals, nurse them back to health, and release them back into the wild. The animals that live at the aquarium cannot be released because they would not survive. The aquarium is first and foremost a working animal hospital, which also educates the public.

This is Indy and Nicholas, two  delightfully playful dolphins rescued by the aquarium. They are also the stars of  daily dolphin shows, showing off for the crowds. Here they are being fed by two lucky visitors.

You can tell the two apart by the white patch on Nicholas' back. (below; Nicholas is on the left)  It's a sad story.

As a young calf, Nicholas followed his mother as she beached herself on Indian Rocks Beach in December (hence the name). His mother didn't survive, and Nicholas almost didn't either.

When he was rescued he was anemic, malnourished and he had sunburn - yes dolphins can get sunburn just like us. With dolphins, it's much more serious; it's like 2nd and 3rd degree burns. It took Nicholas nine months to recover from his burns. Because his mother never taught him how to catch fish in the wild, Nicholas can never be released - he wouldn't survive. The good news is he's thriving under the care of the aquarium staff.

The food prep area where food for the dolphins and other animals are prepared each day. The food standards exceed those of most restaurants. The animals are well fed and well looked after.

Indy and Nicholas demonstrate the force of their powerful tails during the dolphin show. They are natural performers, and being intelligent animals, enjoy the applause and reaction from the crowd.


There is a large tank with a collection of stingrays which have had their stingers removed, and visitors can pet them! How cool is that??

The aquarium has a boat excursion called the Sea Life Safari that cruises the inter-coastal, takes samples of sea life from selected sites to gauge the health of the marine environment, and also lands on a small spit of land in the middle of the channel.

Left: fascinated girl scouts on the tour watch as a net is cast to see who is living on the bottom

Right: examining the catch

 Among the catch this day was a soft bodied mollusk that "inks" when threatened, like an octopus does. You can clearly see the ink in the cooler, with the creature in the small plastic container.

Right: close up of the "inker"

Below: watch as this species of puffer fish blows himself up as he feels threatened.

 To visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's home page, click on the logo. It's a cool website; they have live web cams, a news blog,  photos of its residents, and information on special events and exhibits. Consider becoming a member. The work the aquarium does rescuing and caring for animals requires all the support they can get.

May 21, 2010

Star Wars Weekends 2010

This is video of Friday's Star Wars weekend parade at Hollywood Studios in Orlando. The 501st Legion was invited back to March again, although I am not marching this year. This is good footage of the parade leaving the back stage area and rounding the first corner to head down the center of the park. It was a hot day to be marching; Star Wars Weekends are the most physically demanding events the 501st Legion participates in. 

If you want to read a journal entry of a typical day marching in the SWW parades, click HERE.

For the report from my first year of marching in the parades, right after I joined the 501st Legion, click HERE.

This blog post will get updated with more pictures  from Star Wars Weekends 2010 as members who participate post them on line. Enjoy!

May 10, 2010

Galactic Encounter Day

This was a fun event: the 501st "invaded" the Orlando History Center for Galactic Encounter Day, retaking it from the rebels. The OHC had a large number of science fiction exhibits from Star Wars, Star Trek and other movies, and the 501st and Rebel Legions were the star attractions. There were over a thousand visitors to the OHC, a number none of the staffers there had ever seen before! Here are some of the best pictures.

The rebels made their appearance first. Plenty of X-Wing pilots and a few Jedi. There was a huge crowd that was waiting to enter the OHC and watch the drama

To see a short video of the beginning of the "invasion", click HERE.

Uh come the Imperial reinforcements...

The invasion of this facility is now complete!

When Darth Vader, Royal Guards and Stormtroopers were posing for photos in front of the mock judge's bench, the line of people stretched out the door to have their picture taken, to the point where I had to announce that Darth Vader had to take a break and would be back. It was almost like Star Wars in Concert, there were so many people!

"Whew! Invasions are hard work!"

To see the entire gallery of pictures, click HERE