Friday, April 18, 2014

Tarpon Springs Florida, Sponge Capitol of the World


Hello everybody, the Carpetbagger here, for the first time making a post from the road!  I am currently in the great sunshine state of Florida, where I was hoping today to check a roadside attraction off my list: The notorious Spongeorama.

But first off, we partook in a family ritual.....The Florida Welcome Center.

In addition to getting our traditional complementary dixie cup of Orange Juice........


They had added some other tourist photo ops!

You could get your picture with "The Original Tourist" Pounce De Leon.....


Or Pounce De Leon farming oranges......



Or with an astronaut (allegedly Florida has some connection to the space program)......


Or a Florida Postcard.....


To top things off they have this crazy machine that allows you take a picture of yourself with your head in an alligator's mouth....


Check it out.....


Now then, Spongeorama has been near the top of my "list" for years, but I have never been able to manage to hit it.  Spongearama always looked like an amazing stop to me.  It was an oddly specific museum: The history of Sponge Harvesting, plus it had tons of creepy moldy old mannequins.  This time we decided that we would drive an hour out of our way to finally see it.  We drove through hellacious thunder storms and made it there a half an hour before closing.   I was stoked.   I saw a plywood cutout of a old timey diver beckoning me from an alley some some sort of 19th century pervert.


As I ventured into, the dank, wet smelly alley signs continued to draw me in....


Finally, I made it to my Emerald City, the wondrous roadside attraction that is Spongeorama.....


Me and my daughter happily charged in to see the fabled museum.  A lady stopped us at the door and squirted some foul "Sponge Lotion" into our hands.  It was disgusting, but I happily rubbed it into my palms to be a sport.  As we skipped back to the Sponge Museum the lady crushed my soul as she said, "Museum is closed".  I looked at her in shock.  She simply shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes.  "When will it be open?"  I asked.  "Tomorrow" she said.  Sadly, we were stay 1 1/2 hours away.  "Museum is flooded" she said.   Apparently, tomorrow there would be a scheduled unflooding.

I moped out into the streets of Tarpon Springs a crushed a defeated man.  With Spongeorama being a bust, I explored the streets of Tarpon Springs.  Apparently, Tarpon Springs is a Greek Community in Florida.  Their primary industry is sponge diving.   In fact they actually erected a statue to the Sponge Diver in the center of town.


Apparently Sponge diving is a difficult and dangerous proffesion, but that is all I know, because I wasn't allowed to watch the much ballyhooed movie, or see the museum......Regardless, the rest of the town was littered with imagery of the revered Sponge Diver.....






The sad rejected Carpetbagger had nothing to do, but to entertain himself by taking pictures of tug boats....





Oh yeah, and there is this disturbing mural of a Mermaid making love to a Dolphin.....


The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page

Monday, April 14, 2014

Say Hello to My Little Satan


Everyone that knows me, knows I am obsessed with road trips.  To me, one of the important aspects of the road trip is having an inanimate traveling companion.  This is object or figures that you travel with in order to facilitate goofy photo ops with famous destinations and landmarks.  The most traditional and possibly most notorious inanimate companion is the Yard Gnome.


Also popular, is the low-budget Flat Stanley.

I however, prefer to ride with the Devil.


It all started back in 2008 when me and my wife went to the local antique mall and my wife found the little guy for sale for 6 bucks.  Unfortunately,  she mistook the "2" in front of the six for a dollar sign and we didn't realize until after we checked out that we at spend 26 dollars on this little trinket.  After being tricked into buying him, I vowed to make it worth it and decided to take him with us wherever we traveled. 


So, he went with us everywhere we went.......


To the beach.....


To Natural Bridge, VA...........



To the aptly named "Devil's Head Rock", in Chimney Rock, NC......


Here he is in front of the Sear's tower in Chicago (I will be dead an buried before I call it the Willis Tower).....


And here is Little Satan in front of St. Augustine's famous haunted lighthouse.....


Here he is posing with a real live Indian in Cherokee, NC......


And Knoxville, TN's famous Wigsphere......


In New Orleans he posed both in front of Marie Laveau's grave....



And the Superdome.....


He has stood at the Southernmost point in the United States......


Little Satan joined us on our trip to Disney World, where I road roller-coasters with a porcelain bank in my pocket in order to get these photo Ops.



I wanted to get a picture of the Little guy with some of the characters.......So I whipped him out in front of Pooh and Tigger.....


Mass chaos ensued as Pooh's body guard started yelling "What's that thing?"

Of course the little guy is always around to celebrate the holidays with us.....






And its always fun to plug him into every novelty photo app around......






He has always been with me through the hard times in my life.  

Like the time I back my car into a pole at the court house parking lot.


Or the time my septic tank backed up and I realized that it was buried under asphalt and had to dig it up....



Then there was the time I took him to my colonoscopy......


Our trip to DC gave him a whole world of photo ops.....






Plus, he got to meet his favorite president at Madame Tussaud's.


And New York was truly his kind of town......





Of course, what I always wanted to get a picture of Little Satan with a celebrity.  Last year my dream was realized, when I met Honey Boo Boo......


The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page