Friday, October 28, 2011

"Say hello to my leetle frond...."

The secret to keeping palm trees neat is to trim them twice a year.

On a Tuesday evening.

Toss the clipped fronds over the fence and the city comes by on Wednesday to pick up yard debris.

Works year after year.

Of course the trees seem naked and embarrassed.

I have four in my front yard.

Actually, four and a half.

The newest one is coming along nicely.

On Wednesday morning, the slanting sun rays highlight the trimming.

Oh, in case you're wondering, my house is NOT red, white and blue.

That's a color-shift effect created by Photoshop.

The siding really is light gray above the brick bottom portion.

I saw an actual shift-in-color the other night at THAI HOUSE in West Ashley.

The walls were stark white before Mary, the owner, decided to change the look and ambiance.

Now it's warm and soothing.

Comfortable and inviting.

I remarked about that to her when I stopped by for another fine dinner.

Hey, I'm a color expert as well as a palm tree trimmer.

(Click on the photos for more detail).Mary said they have finished the roadwork on Glenn McConnell Parkway and the work on the facades of all the buildings around her is completed. "Finally," she added. "Lots of parking spaces now. Come on by."

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

No CHIPOTLE Grill Here. Why not?

It seems like authentic Mexican food to me. If it really is, that's good too.

Chipotle Mexican Grill draws my appetite's attention when I travel away from Charleston.

A very large burrito that takes at least two hands to hold.

Sauce running down your chin and your arm.Dripping from your elbow.

Tasty tortilla filled with rice, beans, salsa, peppers and chicken, etc., etc.

And crispy chips and guacamole. Add a cold cerveza or a tangy 'Rita.

Found just where to go for lunch Saturday when I arrived in Columbia for a free annual Blues concert.

GPS navigation on my Smartphone took me right there, exiting I-77 just past the entrance to Fort Jackson. Hungry soldiers in camo uniforms also knew the way to Chipolte.This army travels on its stomach.

I have found these grills all over the country - but not here in Charleston?

Suggestion: somebody look into opening one (or more) here.

The headliner for the 17th annual Blues Festival was virtuoso Leo Kottke, a marvelous 12-string acoustic guitar player and songwriter.

The Grammy-winner often was the musical guest on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion.

I also have 4 of his 20 CDs in my collection.

Another star of the program was Wanda Johnson, a popular Blues performer who plays around Charleston often.

Miss Wanda also has performed across Europe and China - with Shrimp City Slim.

She just keeps sounding better and better and charmed the crowd with songs from several of her CDs.

As the sun sank lower, her dancing and clapping fans cast their shadows on the front of the stage.

Word of Mouth Productions, producers of the annual free show, announced they have started planning the one for next year.

"We're looking for a nice Fall weekend when there's no football game in town," is how Geoffrey Graves explained the logistical guidelines.

The person in charge of weather this year really nailed it.

It was a beautiful day, cooling in the evening so jackets felt really nice.

An array of delicious food with terrific aromas was all around and smiling beer vendors offered domestic and imported beers at a very reasonable price.

As I bought drink tickets, I tried to let them know how much I appreciated the FREE concert. It takes money and hard-working volunteers to make events like this happen.

We sat back in our folding chairs and listened to a really good sound system.

This was held at Martin Luther King public park near 5-Points and street lights added to the ambiance to end a wonderful day of outdoor music.

(Click on the photos, etc. etc for more details.)The Blues Festival website has sound bites by the performers and more information about the upcoming 18th annual event.

I plan to be there .... after a hearty lunch at Chipotle.

Unless there's finally one opened in Charleston.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thanks for inviting "Moi"...

She doesn't drink craft beers but still throws quite a party!

Miss Piggy is a gracious hostess.

And I learned her first name is Lorelei.

I asked what sign she was born under and she replied "I was born OVER a sign - Becker's Butcher Shop. I moved as soon as I could."

When I mentioned I used to work for a newspaper she quipped "I bet you have a snout for news."

She obviously likes the party scene.

She and her Muppet friends were really glittering when I saw them in the lobby of the Palmetto Grande Theatre in Towne Centre.

I just stayed for a moment because I was in search of the new MOUNTAIN in Mount Pleasant.

It's on Coleman Boulevard.

Well, as far as I know, it's the ONLY one in town.

It is NOT open yet for trail hiking.

Or any kind of traffic.

Wouldn't it look great up on the peak if we had another heavy snow fall as we did in February of 2010?!

(Of course you should click on the photos to see more detail.)

The displays in theater lobbies for upcoming movies are really quite elaborate. I even sat on the couch with the Simpsons.

Yes, I had to move the barriers out of the way but I did that later with Photoshop.

Thanks for coming to the party.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lucinda Williams .. my 4th time!

The BLESSED lady was back in Charleston.

Miss Williams had her contacts in this time.

No eyeglasses were offered from the audience to help her see the lyrics.

That happened at the Performing Arts Center in 2008.

She played the Charleston Music Hall Sunday night and remarked that she really thought it was a great venue. "I like the twinkling lights behind me. They look like stars."

I agree it's a beautiful room and under-used for visiting acts.

More intimate than the Music Farm where I saw her a few years ago.

Her touring bus was parked right at the curb out front.

How convenient can you get?

"BLESSED" is the name of the new album by the 3-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter.

She was backed by long time bassist David Sutton and drummer Butch Norton.

Lead guitar was Blake Mills.

They formed a tight musical group.

Her nearly 2 hour show (short intermission) was a sweet mixture of Blues, Country and folk rock.

There were some very tender moments when she put aside her guitar and sang from the heart.

I also enjoyed Lucinda in Memphis in 2002 at the Beale Street Music Festival.

I look forward to the next time.

(Be sure to click on the photos for more details.Security didn't bother her camera and phone-toting fans and the lighting/sound was excellent.) Support live music!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday in my neighborhood...

Tanger Outlet Stores in North Charleston has LOTS of parking lot room all around it.

Saturday about 300 neat looking cars & trucks filled some of that open space.

The Street Thunder Classic Car Show, presented by the Corvette Club, had set up a vast array of vehicles, lovingly restored.

I won't call them antiques because I remembered them all and even owned a few.

Well, never did have a Corvette.

But I saw a '65 Mustang and a '57 Chevy that looked familiar.

I remember friends who were told to remove their rear-view mirror fuzzy dice.

Their parents said they blocked the view.

Not good for safe driving.

Hey, remember this was growing up in Charleston in the 1950s.

We had drive-in restaurants.

And these youth-gathering spots served beer.

That evening I revisited the beer memories at Coast Brewing Company on the old Navy Base.

Food Truck Rodeo. Live music by Noodle of the V-Tones. Acres of free parking.

Free admission.

Bring your kids and folding chairs.

This was my first time watching the food wagons circling.

Coast had pints of their product on sale and two fellows from the downtown Beer Exchange offered several brews from Palmetto and Westbrook.

A big hoppy brewers family outing.

There were six trucks this evening.

Cute names like Hello, My Name Is BBQ.

You knew what they were offering to eat.

Pot Kettle was a little more mysterious.

To me, so was Roti Rolls. The longest line seemed to wind way out from Diggity Doughnuts.

I have to add Tokyo Crepe was there, along with Strada Cucina and Geechee Island.

Support these innovative mobile food purveyors.

I'm sure I've heard the V-Tones play with a stand up bass before.

It is nice how it harmonizes with a well-played ukulele.

This evening the music flowed from beneath the moss covered oaks and added to the party atmosphere.

Live music, various foods and lots of beer.

Great night in the "hood."

(Click the photo for more details. Some have been Photoshopped.) Stay alert for more appearances by the Food Truck Rodeo Brigade.Good eats. Thanks for stopping by.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Day Was "In-Tents" ...

The 6th annual American Music Celebration at Freshfields Village Green had a big surprise.

Gary Erwin (a.k.a. Shrimp City Slim) has played and promoted The Blues in this area for many, many years.

At Kiawah he works with the people who monitor the Tourist Tax and, fortunately, they took a liking to blues and root music years ago, and help fund his musical activities down there.

"We included a large tent in the budget this year because, if it rained, the whole event would be cancelled. Our residents, businesses and visitors all would be hurt by inclement weather," said Bill and Marilyn Blizard, co-chairmen of the Accommodations Tax Committee.

"The brand new tent is 40 feet by 90 feet and cost about $2,600. We think it's a smart investment," Bill Blizard continued.

As if to underline that statement, hard rain cells passed through the area about three times Sunday.But, the show went on.

The line up of talent included Eddie C. Campbell, backed by the North Carolina trio The King Bees.

He was followed by Buddy Whittington and the Randy McAllister Band.

McAllister is the drummer but also plays harp and added a Cajun washboard and spoons to this outing.

There is no alternate site available and, luckily, the Kiawah area events have not been interrupted before. The low clouds and winds made a great statement about the wisdom of the two tents.

A smaller one covers and protects the performers and their equipment.

The finale for a music-filled afternoon was Biscuit Miller & The Mix.

Dave Miller (red shirt) grew up in Chicago and now lives in Indianapolis.

He formed the band in 2000 and continues to serve up a soulful, blues-funk stew.

This day there was no rain on his parade.

Here is how the crowd looked in 2009.

(Click on the photos for details.) The dates have already been set for next year. Mark October 7,2012 on your calendar. As Gary says "Rain or shine." Thanks for stopping and listening.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

An Early Birthday Celebration....

Colonel Michael J. Colburn, USMC, was the "leader of the band" and it was quite a musical evening.

The United States Marine Band was in town at Charleston Southern University last night.

It was my first time on the campus but I followed the crowd and eased my way to a seat in the front row of the balcony at Lightsey Chapel.

Duh, of course I had my camera.

As many people know, I'm a former Marine and November 10 my Corps turns 236 years old.

This evening of military music was a great way to mark the upcoming birthday in a special manner.

A member of my Photography Group - also a former Marine - responded when I posted I had some extra tickets.

The concert was free but you had to arrange tickets in advance.

It was a near sellout. All the seats downstairs were filled and there were just a few vacancies in the balcony.

I remembered that John Philip Sousa had led the band known as "The President's Own."

The grand old "March King" composer was the 17th Director in the late 1880s but the band was created by an Act of Congress in 1798, more than 200 years ago.

It's mission - then and now - is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

My evenings at the White House and at Corps Headquarters on "I" Street in DC have not happened yet so this probably was my best bet to hear them play.

The first half of the show was Sousa marches, overtures and other military tunes.

Some of the symphonic melodies reminded me of concerts at the old Memminger Auditorium when I was in high school back in the 1950s. Yikes.

The second half saluted the era of the "Greatest Generation" with the music of the 1940s. "Roadies" dressed in Marine utilities hoisted a large xylophone onto the front of the stage for several selections by SSgt Jonathan Bisesi, soloist. He played well-known classics for that very resonant instrument.

The evening ended with a medly of songs for each branch of the service. We stood proudly for the Marine Corps Hymn.

I had owned a set of "dress blues" back in the day but I had never seen such bright scarlet tunics as worn by the members of the orchestra.

Pretty snazzy guys and ladies!

(Please do click on the photos for larger vews.) It was a bright and colorful and patriotic and nostalgic evening. Charleston was fortunate to be a city on the 2011 National Concert Tour. Thanks CSU.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Brilliant Bank of America!

Wow. What a bold step Bank of America.

Especially for a bank.

Your new $5 fee to access our own money to make an ATM/Debit card purchase was brilliant.

The government NOW will be able to save some dollars by eliminating printing dollars.

The paper one dollar bill.

The gold dollar has been around for quite a while but not used much by the public.

The earlier Susan B. Anthony also was pretty much ignored.

But now the largest U.S. bank has made it clear we should NOT use plastic when buying anything. This is after decades of convincing us we SHOULD.

Instead, we are encouraged to hand over real money.

Wrinkled, folded, "who knows where THIS has been" cash.

Moolah. Simoleons. Dinero. Buckaroos.Wampum. Smackers, Greenbacks.

If you're in a restaurant you should plan to pay with Bread, Dough, Cabbage, Lettuce or Clams.

The Canadians did it years ago by minting ONLY one dollar coins (loonies) and $2 coins (Toonies).

No more paper ones and twos. People then HAD to add jingle to their pockets.

Even the Euros and Pounds Sterling use coins instead of smaller denomination paper bills.

Oh, I'm dropping my account at Bank of America.

They charge you for printing checks, charge you to have a checking account and, I believe, charge you if you want to talk to a teller to ask for your cash.

They are just too fee-free with my money.

(Don't bother to click on the images. They all are from the Internet and tend to shrink and decline in value .) Think you'll stay with Bank of America? My mattress will get lumpy stuffed with paper money and those coins are gonnna be a problem.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Shopping At A Chain Store..

It's "officially" FALL and Saturday underlined that fact.

My photography group participated in the 4th annual World Wide Photo Walk in the evening and the weather was fantastic!

About 30 of us gathered by the impressive fountain at Waterfront Park at 6pm.

Most were lugging large SLR cameras, a variety of lenses and tripods.

We all wore red and white stick-on badges.

When we all clustered together, passers-by would look around and ask "what's going on? What's the event?"

As darkness fell, one of the photographers stopped on the way to the Battery and aimed her camera at a brightly lighted dining room scene near Rainbow Row.

The barn-like doors were thrown open wide and she liked the set table with people preparing to enjoy a meal. Candles flickered.

A voice boomed "PLEASE! This is a private residence and we do NOT appreciate you taking pictures!"

She shared the story and, as we all passed back by and saw the open door, frankly we too thought it was a new small restaurant. Oh well.

I call this "Sycamores At Sunset."

If you know for sure these are not Sycamores, please let me know and I can change the title.

All trees should have little signs that identify them. And adding the Latin genus would be nice too.

Here's a scene from the foot of Broad Street.

Fortunately there is a raised landing up above the very narrow sidewalk at the Old Exchange Building.

Do you remember when there was a costumed Revolutionary War person standing up there greeting the passing cars and tourists?

Saturday night there were a dozen people with cameras and tripods taking long time exposures.

Waving and wearing red and white badges.

(Details can be seen by clicking on the photos. See if you can spot where I did some Photoshop work.) Thanks for joining our evening walk. Please join us again.

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