Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pin Up The Garage Calendar....

Saw a lot of these calendars when I was growing up.

Often in gas stations.

VERY often in auto repair shops and garages.

It was a back room item.

Varga Girl style.

This one I found among my Dad's stuff in his downstairs shop.

It shows a January 1941 calendar page.

Eventually one's eye gets down to that section of the calendar.

As part of a termite treatment for the house, I had moved boxes and stacks of stuff that hadn't been handled in decades.

"Move everything away from the interior walls," the termite guy had said.

I was seeing parts of the basement that had been covered up for a long time.

There was the minature railroad my Dad had set up.

He wasn't really "into" trains but something had caused him to act on a whim.

Over the years I've moved it around a few times. All the tiny engines and cars are in boxes.

It actually is supposed to go to my older brother who lives in Oklahoma. That's a long drive for a beat up train set.

But, back to the calendar.

It was in a very large thick envelope marked "The Clarion Line" by Newton Manufacturing Company in Iowa.

I went online and saw the company, founded in 1909, specialized in advertising promotion printed items.

The samples included huge scenics, patriotic views, Boy Scouts, etc.

They added the company name and shipped them out to clients.

I'm pretty sure I saw the Scouts in there.

I was distracted.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Sent an email to the company in Newton, Iowa about my find.

I asked if this really did date back to before WWII?

When I find out, it might be eBAY time.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stepping Down..

So, six years after having my bathroom redone and tile installed, things are cracking up.

The flaws really started to appear within two years on steps that flexed just enough to break the tiles. It got worse.

Stepping down produces a lot of weight and stress.

And, over the years, I've added both. Poor downtrodden steps.

My first - and best - idea was to bring in a tile expert.

The fellow who had put tiles over a poorly-constructed step was not likely to be called back to repair this lapse.

Patrick, my new "restoration" guy, pointed out the stair had not been built to code.

He corrected that after carefully removing the offending tiles without creating havoc with the rest of the floor.

I never once considered doing this removal myself.

The new steps would be about equal in height. Before, they were shallow/steep.

I would have to re-learn how to step down. And up.

We also had decided that trying to match old tile would be quite a task.

Patrick has done a lot of restoration work in older homes. He stained wood to replace the busted tiles.

Now, it would be a solid stair. And a nice contrast to the light-colored tile.

This 7 x 7 foot space had been a small, tiny bedroom in the original 800 sq.ft house. I had had it expanded to a 7 x 10 foot space by removing a wall and installed a pretty fancy shower.

Now I had taken another step in the right direction.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

If you are considering a similar project - or anything involving tile, stairs, flying bugs or wood - I'd recommend Patrick Peck.

Standing on my deck, he pointed out a newly drilled perfect circle hole in a railing.

A small pile of fresh sawdust lay below it.

"That's a carpenter bee." he said. "I can tell you how to get rid of them."

And, he did.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

All Aboooaard!

Many, many people have never been on a train.

Hop on one tomorrow (Sunday) downtown by the Maritime Center/Aquarium. It's free and educational.10:00am to 4:00pm. Lots of free parking.

The "Exhibit train" is sitting on a siding to celebrate Amtrak's 40th anniversary.

I went car-by-car through four decades of America's national passenger railroad history today and think even children will find it pretty special.

You can push buttons and hear four different horns that have been developed over the years.

That wailing mournful cry is an integral part of magical railroad lore.

You see the evolution of comfortable coach seating that rivals First Class on the airlines.

..but with lots of legroom for everybody.

Trains have huge picture windows so you really have great views as you travel.

I did a 30-day Rail Pass a year after I retired and it was a terrific way to see the country, sitting about 20 feet off the ground.

Got off and visited my children in San Francisco, San Diego and Denver .

Was really on the train only about 12 days during that comfortable travel month.

I'm ready to ride the rails again.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

Hope you get down there tomorrow.

The link shows where's it's been so far and where it's headed next.

It's the Charleston Choo-Choo.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Two Man Gentleman Band + Plus Four

Wednesday night at the Pour House, I had a double treat.

I've enjoyed Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade many, many times.

This time she shared the bill with another of my favorite groups, er, I mean, duo.

The TMGB (Two Man Gentleman Band) last performed here about three months ago at Eye Level Art.

That was the last stop on the Gentlemen's tour and near the end of the Eye Level as well.

The music venue/art gallery later closed and the owner went back up to New York.

But Fuller Condon (a.k.a. The Councilman) on upright bass and Andy Bean, tenor guitar, are kicking off their new 2012 tour.

They have said if you yell out a theme, they can compose a song to match it. And they're darned good at it. "The Rabbit Foot Stomp" features bunny meat and "Fancy Beer" is when you're willing to spend a little more at the bar.

They just launched a full album CD called "Two At A Time" and it captures their talent and zaniness.
I also have noticed that both groups draw the local Swing Dance Association members.

They were out in force Wednesday.

They too enjoyed the double offering and literally danced the night away.

When the TMGB announced Miss Tess would join them at the close, it was the first-ever pairing onstage and the happy feet danced as the Swingers did their thing.

(Click on the images for more detail.)

It was early, early Thursday as we all started to depart the PoHo.

Drive carefully and be safe.

Play and dance in moderation.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm sleeping in for a while.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Bar Room Portraits...

Speaking of "Caddyshack" in the Park Circle community.

When I stopped in at The Sparrow a while back, this portrait of Karl Spackler (Bill Murray) was in progress.

Thought I'd see how it turned out.

If I were a gopher on a golf course in North Charleston, I'd watch my back.

Noted graffiti artist Doug Panzone finished off Murray and added a few more well-known faces to the walls of the new music venue and bar.
The star of The Buddy Holly Story is Gary Busey.

I remember the distinctive black-framed Holly glasses.

But I confess I don't remember him ever wearing a Viking helmet.

Maybe it's symbolic.

Doug spray paints good teeth.

I continued walking around the new club and spotted a few more "new" faces.

Naturally I had a draft craft beer as I sat down at the bar.

Did I mention this is a non-smoking establishment? I like my music without smoke when I can.

A person you seldom see hanging out with Bill Murray would be Mohandas Gandhi.

Drop by The Sparrow and check it out.

Inspired by Gandhi, instead of arguing over sports trivia, I guess patrons would seek a peaceable solution.

And act in a non-violent fashion.

I think it was Willie Nelson who commented "I like both kinds of music - Country and Western."

Johnny Cash has his fans and George Harrison has his.

I like Cash and the Beatles.

And Willie Nelson.

And especially a non-smoking music scene.

I'll be back to The Sparrow.

(Click -twice- on the photos for more details of Doug's fantastic spray art).

Thanks for stopping by. Please come again.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Checking into the Hiatt....

That's John Hiatt of course.

He and his buddy Lyle Lovett entertained last night at the Performing Arts Center,

It was a rare acoustic evening by two outstanding singer songwriters.

The banter between them - and the audience of 1,400 - was a special treat.

They took turns playing crowd-pleasing songs.

The other waited and looked on, smiling and then offering comments and compliments.

It had a nice feeling of spontaneity.

Lyle came out wearing a bright green suit.

Kelly green?

Lime green?

Hunter green?

Moss green?

Forest green?


He quipped "Happy St. Patrick's Day, Charleston."

Not really sure if there was a set list of songs they planned to play??

They heard many, many favorites requested by the audience.

Many of the song titles brought a smile to their face.

Hiatt mentioned the feedback reminded him of the Munchkins in The Wizard Of Oz.

Lyle seemed puzzled and suggested maybe that was an insult to the crowd.

Hiatt, starting another song added "I didn't say they WERE Munchkins, just that they reminded me of them."

I guess that cleared things up because the requests continued to be shouted out.

There was a standing ovation at the end and the two came back out and played another couple of songs.

They they leaned toward each other and shook hands.

They told us it was great being back in Charleston and hope to come again soon.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The lighting was simple - from the front and kept at a steady level.

Photographers tend to notice that.

And we like it.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Great (Jimi) Experience

Wow. What a musical line up.

A solid three hours salute to the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix.

Two performers I've seen many times are Buddy Guy and Robert Randolph.

Billy Cox, in the cowboy hat,
is the man who runs the 3-week 2012 traveling road show.

Billy was the bassist in two of Jimi's bands.

Of course Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang brought their talents to the PAC stage Sunday night.

Hey, there was no ban on cameras.

And, I was sitting in the front row.

I have a batch of photos I'd like to share.

(Click on the photos for even more details.)

Two shows in a row security ignored those of us with cameras.

And, as Daniel Tosh would say, for that, we thank you.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Playing Tribute to Jimi....

Going to see Buddy Guy tonight at the Performing Arts Center.

I shot this picture last year at a free concert in Myrtle Beach.

Buddy is one of the world's leading guitarist playing tribute in a program saluting the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix.

The Experience Hendrix
is led by Billy Cox, bassist for Jimi's band and tonight will feature Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Randolph and others.

The lineup of the traveling 3-week tour varies from city-to-city and also includes several of my favorites Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal who, unfortunately, won't be here tonight.

I was thinking just the other day that Charleston is overdue for a visit by Keb' Mo'.

Hopefully, sometime soon?

I saw "The Experience" a few years ago in Washington, DC at Constitution Hall and look forward to another exciting evening of music.

(Click on the pictures for a larger image.)

Support live music!

Let's keep 'em coming to Charleston.

(Did anyone else wake up an hour late this morning? We lost an hour but gained more sunshine.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 09, 2012

"He Came To Play...."

In a crowd of 10,000 Elton John fans, it is not easy to carry around vinyl records covers.

And a few CDs in her white plastic bag, I noted.

Yes, she DID get to the front row.

Yes, Elton John signed the vintage "Fantastic" cover.

What a night!

The knighted-man pounded the keys steadily for almost 3 hours.

I think the encore was brief because he had played ALL of his hits.

At one point, he put his left foot atop the piano to show his total domination of the instrument.

To say the crowd was pleased would be a massive understatement.

It was a well-staged show with, not only his band, but four excellent back-up singers.

And two men on dueling cellos.

It also was my first chance to experience the newly-added Montague Terrace at the Coliseum.

Guess most of the shows I attended recently had been next door at the Performing Arts Center.

In fact, I'll be back there at the PAC for the Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt Show on St. Paddy's Day.

Dedicated - and persistent - fans got the Elton signature (probably only "EJ" judging by the speed he was writing.)

Two young men were called up on stage at the end and I am sure he signed his whole name on the souvenir shirts they were wearing.

I have to include the obligatory Elton-seated-at-the-piano shot that everyone takes.

A fan standing next to me glanced at the digital shots I was taking, handed me her card and said "Please send me at least one picture!"

I of course agreed.

Everyone else seemed to have their phone cameras in use, snapping away.

Quite a few were shooting videos.

(Click on the photos for more details.These were all taken with my Canon S90. No SLR or long lenses.)

Security was more interested in keeping the aisles cleared than stopping photography.

What a pleasant change.

Click. Click. Click.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Going to the John.....

"Sir Elton, how are you sir?"

Er, I mean Sir John?

May I just call you Reginald?
You may call me Chuck.

I'll be the guy in the 14th row. With the white hair.

You started making your 250 million records back in 1967.

Yet, YOUR hair is not white.

I had several of your albums when I graduated college and enjoy your music still.

That's why I'm glad you came back to Charleston.

Enjoyed your performance here 4 years ago and look forward to a marvelous night tomorrow.

Another piano player I like - Ben Folds - appeared at the Performing Arts Center a few years ago.

Guess you don't play in smaller venues like that.

He seemed to have a good time.

Is it possible you "touch up" your hair?

I tell people I dyed mine this color.

(Click on the photo of Ben Folds for details.)

The Elton John photo is from the internet and it is as big as it'll get. I hope to have some of my own VERY soon.

Looking forward to a cold beer and some cool iconic music.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 01, 2012

"For The Young In Heart."

My Dad loved this car.

He really wanted the white-over-black Belvedere model.

In 1959 he got one.

This was about the "newest" car my Dad ever owned.

Being a carpenter and cabinet-maker, he often bartered his work.

Build something and accept a running used lawn mower for payment.

We grew up surrounded by "used but good" items.

He worked wonders with wood and was a savvy swapper.

The News and Courier even ran a picture of his Plymouth sitting next to his 1949 Chevy pickup.

Well, this actually was in the background of the news photo.

I enlarged the part showing his pride and joy.

The larger picture showed trash piled up by neighbors, creating an "eyesore" on Society Street.

I saw an automotive link today where you can go back in time and look at many of each year's new cars.

Naturally I went to Plymouth. To the slick brochure.

It bragged "Flashing breakaway at the traffic light" and "Easy conquest of the steepest grade."

No mention of it being faster than a speeding bullet and being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I had to have it towed away in 1998 when I moved into the family home in Hanahan.

It had rusted quite a bit and had killed all the grass beneath it from sitting in one place for many, many years.

Unlike the brochure copy, it no longer was "A portrait In Steel."

(Click on the photos for more details.Well, not the newspaper one.)

Be sure to look up YOUR first car.

See how automakers had envisioned your Dream Car.

Copywriters are cool.

Remininse in moderation

Labels: , , , , , ,