Monday, February 26, 2007

Put On A Happy Face.

Am I the only one who noticed the similarity between the happy countenance of Notoriously Nice Mike and the very nice statue at Little Thai Too restaurant last night at the 5th party - the BlogThai?

Walk-This-Way Joan had organized a group shot and we all made sure we didn't cover up the statue as we once did while posing on, around, beside and behind a famous Mustang at our first bloggers harborside gathering.

The food was great, the conversation first rate and - as they say - a good time was had by all. The rain had stopped and there even was an empty parking space around the corner on George Street.
Geoff-from-England and I had been talking about different coins and bills in our respective countries and I asked if he had noted the unique difference about our newest attempt to replace the paper US dollar with a coin, as the British had done years ago.

Apparently I was like most and had not noticed the words "In God We Trust" were missing from either the front or back of the new President's dollar coin. However, in a good light, you can see it IS enscribed around the edge of the coin.

Use a magnifier and you'll see the edge carving also has the date, a symbol for the mint which produced it ("P" for Philadelphia) and "E Pluribus Unum."

Here's a caution about using any of the dollar coins as part of a tip: make sure the person realizes it is a dollar and not just a quarter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Dad and This Car...

The photo is a reminder that I was an active photographer during my days at Bishop England High School.

Here the coach is making sure I am all set before he has his football players stop practice to gather on the bleachers for a team photo.

But, please notice my clunker car. THAT is what this is all about.

About a year later I was through boot camp at Parris Island and stationed up at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Before this car finally died, I tried driving it back and forth when I had some time off and could come down to Charleston. It was an iffy driving situation at best.

Within a 3-week period I headed down to Charleston twice and each time, the cursed car just stopped somewhere this side of Georgetown.

Twice my dad hopped into his trusty, dependable pickup truck, grabbed a tow rope and came to my rescue.

Both times we stopped for coffee and a slice of pie at the same roadside gas station and, the second time, my Dad proudly mentioned to the owner that I was his son, a Marine stationed at Lejeune.

The owner looked out at my car being towed behind the pickup and said "Gonna let him try it by himself soon?"

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Honor Thy Father....

The 17th Annual Charleston Blues Bash is winding down and, as I look back, I see I kept active: my printed programs shows I enjoyed 17 of the 43 performers offered.

The son of Muddy Waters - Big Bill Morganfield - qualifies as the person with the most colorful message added to a stringed musical instrument.

It was a show of fatherly pride as he channeled his daddy keeping the Robert Johnson blues tradition message alive.

My enjoyment of the Bash was briefly interrupted with a trip up to Columbia midweek to catch Billy Joel who's a legend in his own musical field. The hall was packed yet included a few "young" people ... probably grandchildren. And, Yes, he finished the 2 1/2 hour concert with Piano Man.

Back in Charleston, another sold out crowd pleaser was Leon Russell at the Pour House on Maybank Highway.

Last seen here at the "old" Cumberlands, his long white hair and beard looked the same and that gravely, twangy Okie sound was still strong. And we all still needed subtitles.

By spreading the Blues Bash around to 17 venues, many people were introduced to new places as well as old favorites. Home Team BBQ is a newcomer and enjoyed some good crowds as did Sesame in North Charleston.

The Med deli - Med Bistro had steady business when I stopped by several times and Mimi's on James Island charmed a lot of people with its creekside setting.

The 3 Lions Pub at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island paired local favorite Smoky Weiner and The Hot Links with a Blues Doctor from Paris, France. In an upscale British Pub.

I'll relax tonight by going to the Music Farm for Robert Randolph and the Family Band. This is one of my favorite groups. Maybe I'll see you there?

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Won't Sing It....Don't Even Ask.

Well, it makes you wonder.

Johnny Rawls DIDN'T write it (Mack Rice did).

Wilson Pickett is the performer who made it famous, and it was covered by such other greats as Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Albert Collins, Rufus Thomas, Joe Cocker, and Delbert McClinton.

Even Hootie and the Blowfish put out a version.

So, why is this sticker on Johnny Rawls' guitar?.

Down in New Orleans, in the French Quarter, the famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band had a sign stating they would play requests for $5 each but " Saints" would cost $10. They could charge more because it was VERY popular and they knew they could get more for playing it!

When I asked, the Charleston Blues Bash founder and promoter Gary Erwin (aka Shrimp City Slim), said he just assumed the man didn't want to sing it.

And - during his excellent show at Cumberlands - he didn't.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Oops... Dress Code Violation

So the first 3 days of the annual BLUES BASH, I managed to go to 6 venues and listen to 10 different performers. Not a bad start.

I doubt I can keep up that pace but we'll see.

Picking the right clothes (t-shirt or real shirt?) didn't seem that important. Just wear any shirt that mentions a band and you're ok.

The Chicago Blues Festival shirt drew some comments and questions as did the Eric Clapton '06-'07 tour one.

BUT, if you are going to wear a radio station shirt, then be careful NOT to attend a show sponsored by a competing station. I kept my jacket on at Home Team Bar-B-Que and asked if they were offering any "Bridge" t-shirts but they weren't.

Big Bill Morganfield packed the barbecue place and he had to really squeeze it all together to get his 5-piece band on that tiny, tiny stage.

In fact, the slide trombone player gave a new meaning to "in your face" music as people would dodge and weave in the front row.

On Sunday, at the Isle of Palms Recreation Center, Chick Willis commented that he had done a gig at the library. "It was strange man, no drinking, no cussing, no smoking, but we did have a few dancers."

The 17th Annual Lowcountry Blues Bash continues through Sunday so get out there and enjoy yourself. Just watch what t-shirt you wear!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Photograph lasts forever.

Something online about making a "cube photo" caught my eye and reminded me that parents of small children should be ever alert.

Take a moment to immortalize an instant. You'll be glad you did. However, your child may have different thoughts years later.

The article showed how to make a cube from wood, cardboard, styrofoam...even a Rubik's puzzle ...and then taping or glueing on photos to help a loved one decorate a cubicle. Hey, I came up with a twist on that idea 30 years ago.

I could have used 6 different photos of my baby daughter but after I snapped a closeup of her face, I realized both sides would be nice too. The view of the top of her head, the back of her bald little pate and, finally, her curled up feet and toes captured a much better, more rounded view of how she looked that day.

She is 32 now and commented that the view of the back of her head looks like a full moon rising.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

You CAN Smoke on Air Force One...

President Ronald Reagan was planning a trip to Missouri and members of several "advance teams" were in the state making prior arrangements on security, transportation, accommodations and a myriad of other details.

Somehow one gentleman searched out and found me - the Missouri Director of Tourism - and we discussed several points of interest around the state. That was my job: finding and promoting such places to encourage tourism and conventions. And even a Presidential visit I suppose.

However, the time frame was tight so none of my great suggestions was actually pursued but it was fascinating to hear what the life of an advance man was like who spoke for "the nation's highest office."

As we parted, he offered me a small souvenir of our meeting. It was a pack of cigarettes from the supply placed aboard the President's plane. I guess I expected a handful of jelly beans.

The unique pack sat on my office desk for a few years then was packed up with the rest of my stuff and carted away when a Governor was elected from the "other" party who had his own candidate for tourism direction in the Show Me state.

One day I came home and saw the opened, empty pack sitting on the kitchen table. My wife at that time commented that she had run out of cigarettes.

Sometimes I wonder where she is now and what she's doing. I hope she quit smoking.

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