Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Scream, You Scream ...

It's late July. Summer in Charleston.

It's a sizzling 93 degrees with matching high humidity. Sure could use some relief.

Happily, I was invited to Circa 1886 for a judging of new flavors of ice cream...with a Charleston touch.

Among the 200 entries one was named "Pluffmud" which says Holy City to me. But ... what would be the main ingredient?

Three judges sampled the three final concoctions: "Seersucker," Charleston Gold" and "Cobblestone Cobbler.". They were the (ice) cream of the crop.

None of the finalists had actually whipped up a batch of ice cream so Executive Chef Marc Collins decided which mixtures could be made up in the kitchen.

The winner was Kevin Kelly of Mt. Pleasant with his tasty "Seersucker" made by blending French vanilla, blueberries, pieces of Charleston Chew candy bar and boiled peanuts. Wow!

Actually, Chef Collins had substituted dry roasted peanuts but the winner was delicious and crunchy. It will be the featured dessert for August at the upscale restaurant tucked behind the Wentworth Mansion B&B.

I tasted all three contenders. Several times.

We bloggers want to be invited back to media events.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ottawa Version Of The "Blues."

Caught some "Northern Blues" from Canada a few nights ago at Home Team BBQ.

The JW Jones Blues Band just released its 4th CD and response has been strong. They play some rollicking Chicago and Delta blues licks.

Here JW gets some "help" on his guitar from Jesse Whiteley who usually is on organ. Backing them is drummer Jeff Asselin.

It's important to know who plays what because the three rotate around the tiny stage and switch off on all the other instruments.

And each of the talented trio does all of it well.

Look for them to return. You'll have a great night. eh.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

007 Goldfinger's Poison Gas ....

We call it "The Dying Film."

My son was 8 years old and we had just seen James Bond, 007, in Goldfinger.

Chris suggested we do a short film using a poison gas like they did in the movie.

Sounded OK to me. WD-40 makes a nice visible "lethal" spray for the camera.

We ended up with about 5 minutes of film as Burbank neighbors fell on lawns and driveways, writhing in agony. They loved it.

The funny thing is we would ask other people for the next several years to "die for the camera" and edited it into the original film.

Over the years we moved to Florida and a neighbor in Tallahassee fell off his roof (a stuffed dummy) and others rolled into ditches clutching their throats. An entire beach party of 20 people dropped to the sand when I said 3-2-1.

The best addition was when I attended a wedding in Oklahoma and convinced the bride and groom to go back into the church and react to a blast of poison gas.
They "died" as a nice looking couple.

I just played the expanded film recently and I see it now runs about 20 minutes.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

EXTRA, EXTRA...Read All About it.

For many years I worked for newspapers and now we hear the print medium may be going out of style. Even becoming trivial. For example, here's a paper featured in a 1936 movie.

No, not really. It's a fake. A prop in an anti-drug propaganda film of the thirties. But, bear with me here.

The film later became a comedy cult classic in the late 60s and 70s, drawing college kids to Midnight Screenings. That's when I first saw it.

You probably don't remember the fake newspaper front page but I'm sure you've heard of the film."Reefer Madness."

The actual title was "Tell Your Children" and featured a trio of sleazy drug dealers, innocent teenagers, wild parties, jazz music and a shooting death, all revolving around "reefer" cigarettes. (Posters for the film spelled the evil drug as m-a-r-a-h-u-a-n-a.)

Take another look at that newspaper banner headline about the drug/murder trial. The smaller story below is about the exploits of Dick Tracy and a successful G-Man raid.

This particular movie newspaper is listed online. It's under Reefer Madness.... as trivia .

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Late News....NOT A Happy Camper

As many of you know, I spent years taking pictures for the San Diego Union newspaper.

Breaking news! Snap now and ask questions later. Get all the facts, spell the names right ...and make your paper's deadline.

Sure, but now, I'm retired. Everyday is Saturday to me (even on a Sunday). Meet a deadline? Yeah, right.

I saw an accident today, just moments after impact. I lowered my window and was told the cops had been called and no one was hurt so I snapped a picture from my car and went on to the library to drop off some books.

Coming back through the intersection, I saw "the rest of the story," and pulled into the mall parking lot for a picture from another angle.

The black car had crashed through the back of the trailer and was still stuck INSIDE. Hanging out. Yikes.

The Mt. Pleasant police were there and a fire truck and an ambulance was pulling up so I stayed with my original plan and went into Blue's House of Wings and ordered 10 of their specialty, flavored with lemon pepper.

Later, I did phone the News Desk at The Post and Courier and was told I was the third person to call with pictures of that accident.

Guess I'm the retired news guy who missed the deadline. Good wings though.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Camera Does Not Lie ...part II

Well, what the human eye sees and what the camera "captures" often is quite different.

A beautiful display of fireworks on the 4th of July is a good example.

The small digital camera I have was challenged to be steady yet with a shutter speed slow enough to capture the bright images.

Some it did better than others. I clicked about 50 times to get 4 usable pictures.

A wonderful manipulation tool is called PhotoShop and it allows you to create a layer for each photo.

Think of a stack of glass slides with one fiery burst on each.

You can change and adjust each layer, moving images around and, finally, combine ALL the layers.

I like the finished photo although my eye never saw it quite that way the evening of July 4.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The "BIG" Picture

Six months ago I formed the 21st Century Photography (Digital & Film) Meetup Group and we meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

July 9 was our best attendance so far and I asked everyone to wave at the camera. It was at a Greek restaurant so I should have shouted "Say Goat Cheese."

We now have 54 members and basically are photographers and wannabes of all ages. Everyone has cameras and wants to learn more but only one is a true professional, working at a studio.

Members suggested we find a quiet place with a separate room for meetings so we did.

Another said a monthly theme would be good to express our version of a common idea.

The July topic was "Looking Down" so here's my view through a glass floor atop the CN Tower in Toronto

The very first theme was carefully worded to open wide a full spectrum of responses but I took a literal usage.

It was "Something Round" and I chose a shot taken during a drive to Charlotte for an Eric Clapton concert.

My buddy's Prius was reflected in the shiny hubcaps of 18-wheelers we were passing so I took quite a few to get this one. Man, I like digital.

For more details on the photography club, click on the headline above. There's no charge to join and you'll meet a great group of people.

Be sure to bring your camera and 20 of your favorite shots for Show & Tell.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Lyle Lovett : Not Just Big ...Large!

Wow. He wasn't kidding..his band IS large.

When the lights first came up, 10 people were on stage, playing some great music and the audience at the Performing Arts Theatre in North Charleston clapped and rocked.

After the opening instrumental, the lights came up again, and Lyle Lovett was on stage, along with an added 3 energetic male singers AND
a choir composed of 10 beautiful singing voices from local Charleston churches.

That many people indeed count as a very, very LARGE band.

The 2 1/2 hour show included many of his quirky songs and his nice comments about Charleston - and his 4th of July stroll around town - provoked many shouted exchanges from the audience.

I was in the midst of a real dialogue.

At one point, he aimed his guitar so the reflected lights bounced out into the darkened hall so he could see faces in the happy, appreciative crowd.

The last time I had seen Mr. Lovett at the PAC, it was about a year ago. It was The Songwriters Tour and he was seated on a bare stage with John Hiatt, Joe Ely and Guy Clark.

Not nearly as large a group, just another fine evening with talented artists.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Proud Dad Moment......

My daughter knew she didn't have enough cash to fill the tank but she had $20 so it would at least keep her going.

After rolling her eyes and sighing at the price, she inserted the hose and started adding gas to her car. Click. Click. Click. Click.

She didn't want to go over $20 so she glanced at the dollar dial as the gas was being pumped. Hmm. THAT didn't look right!?

A fellow at the next pump had just come out of the store after paying and she called him over "Does this dollar figure make sense to you?" she asked.

He laughed and said "Wow, girl, you've got a bargain going here. Wish I had chosen THIS happy pump!" He chuckled and got in his car, smiling back at her.

She had stopped the pump at 10 gallons but it read she owed only $4.20. Somehow the dial was malfunctioning and charging ONLY 0.42.9 a gallon. She went into the store and had the manager come out to see.

"Oh, thank you, thank you," he exclaimed. "I have no idea how long this has been happening but you are the first person to come in and tell me."

She explained that she had only $20 for gas and he laughed and said "No problem! That $20 is fine. Do you want to top it off?"

She declined. thanked him and drove away.

I doubt she was the first one at that pump.She WAS the best one.

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