Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our Town's Great "Backyard!"

My blog usually shies away from talking about past performances by musicians - ha ha, look what you missed - but here's something you can plan ahead for NEXT January.

The Chamber found the quietest tourism month was chilly January so it created "Be A Tourist In Your Own Town" to stir up some activity by locals during that quiet period.

For $20, a person gains free access to 35 attraction and discounts at 11 good restaurants.

Most offer "buy one, get one free" meals and several include each of their eateries so you can enjoy their seafood specials several times.

On the day I visited (for my first time) the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, everyone in the group was a local, taking advantage of free admission.

One of the tour guides liked my hat so we swapped head coverings.

I have bought and used the "In Your Own Town" pass for several years and have taken free tours of Patriot's Point, Boone Hall Plantation and Fort Sumter. It doesn't take long to get your $20 worth of value.

The whole idea - in addition to generating business during a slow month - is to get locals excited and informed on where to take their visitors to The Holy City. Sort of like a New Yorker going to see the Statue of Liberty or riding to the top of the Empire State building.

You know these things are there and this gives you a sound reason to check it out.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bloggers & Tweeters at historic site....

We bloggers met last night in a West Ashley bar that opened 56 years ago - back when I first became a teenager.

I turned 13 in 1952 and Gene's Haufbrau opened its doors. Sort of.

In South Carolina at that time you could quality for a full driver's license at age 14 so we mobile youngsters concentrated on going to drive-in theaters and restaurants where carhops brought burgers - and sometimes beer - to your car window on a tray.

Years ago, before Gene's was bought by the people who own Vickery's, the place on Highway 17 functioned as a "key club" where preferred patrons were issued a key to the locked front door. This effectively barred anyone else from coming in.

Yes, that is discrimination and that particular practice ended years ago. I know of at least one other bar in town that screened its customers with The Key.

Last night Eugene posted some pictures of our get together. As usual, the photographer was not shown, so here he is. I was toasting two Twitter-users who had come as guests of Heather, our blogmeister.

Yes, it's legal now for me to have a beer in Charleston's oldest bar.(Big John's is 2 years younger.)

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paparazzi ...polite Charleston style (Click for link)

Wow. Technology just keeps changing!

There's something called Meetup.com which has in a short time attracted 26,967 "members" in 286 groups in 200 cities.

So, I joined and decided to create a gathering of Charleston-area people interested in meeting up to talk about "21st Century (digital and film) Photography." We'll share experiences, ideas and techniques.

Meetup is very organized and sent out a message to 65 local "photographers" and "PhotoShoppers" who had expressed interest. Their note stated we would meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7pm and the first meet was set for February 13th.

Because I started this here - and pay a monthly fee - I am the official organizer and all the responses to the invite come to me. I had 18 e-mails waiting for me this morning!

Once I see how many send a RSVP and I can figure the area where the majority live, I'll make some calls and set up a meeting place.

Food is always a good idea at that time of day and I would prefer NOT to gather in a place that allows smoking.

Let's see how this works out.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

My wide-screen cat...

As many of my blog readers know, I'm a former Marine and some are aware I have an orange critter who lets me live here.

Wally Jr. is an inspiration and role model .......for Morris the Cat. Talk about attitude.

When I purchased a 22" wide screen monitor, I wanted a distinctive look for its background image and, because he likes to plop down on my desk - often blocking the screen - he was my first candidate choice. He approves this message.

Because I am an "Old Corps" Marine, I need to comment on a few things my younger brother mentioned in a long comment to my posting about his being a "Marine For A Day" back in the 1950s.

Dear Brother, we are NEVER called "soldiers." We prefer Leatherneck, Jarhead, Gyrene, etc or simply Marine. All such titles are capitalized, spoken reverently and with respect.

It's true I brought home a few buddies from the base at Camp LeJeune so they could enjoy a Charleston break - and help fill the gas tank - but they were not "recruits."

A soon-to-be-Marine spending 11 intense weeks of boot camp at Parris Island does not go on weekend leisure excursions unless the entire platoon goes, marching and running in cadence while helpful Drill Instructors make constant shouted suggestions.

Reading his response, I HAD forgotten that we spaced ourselves apart going through the chow line at the mess hall so BOYD written on our uniforms would not be one after the other. I also had suggested that he ask for extra shingles for his SOS.


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

But ...they DO sit on top of your lap!

A gathering of local bloggers is a special time to learn and share. Today, at a downtown meet up of some online buddies, I was reminded that laptops are no longer called that.

For some reason they now are called "notebooks." ??

I don't have a lapto..er, I mean, notebook and am quite happy with my 4-year old PC but I remember when they went by the previous - and very obvious - name.

Were there incidents of heat generated causing laps to catch fire? Did lawyers get involved? A notebook brings to mind a stubby pencil and a yellow pad with the wide line spacing. A friendly image and non-threatening. Well, reporters carry notebooks too.

Joan posted pictures she took this morning of us sipping African coffee at Kudu and I wanted to add one that included her. Most photographers remain behind the camera and we miss seeing their face. Here's L-R: Xark, Braintube and Walk This Way.

Pull the photo up on your lapbook.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Be A "Marine For A Day!"

Stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC, in the late 1950s, I often would drive down to Charleston for a long weekend. My dad once was involved in an accident while I was there and I called the base to arrange an emergency leave.

I forget the details now but The Corps decided I needed to drive back up to the base and actually pick up the leave papers. My teenage younger brother said he would ride up and back with me to help me stay awake.

Arriving at the base that evening we were told paperwork would have to be done in the morning. Too cheap - and short of cash - to go to a motel, I brought my 16-year old brother into my barracks for the night.

For a SOS breakfast in the mess hall, he wore a set of my utilities and some borrowed boots, but we still did not get to leave. I found I had a photo assignment with a bunch of reservists out in the field so I gave him a clipboard and we hopped into a jeep.

I had briefed him on how to respond with the name of my company and battalion if he were asked but I nearly panicked when I saw a reserve officer walk up to him. My brother gave a snappy salute, talked a moment and saluted again as the lieutenant left.

As we drove back to get him out of uniform and grab the paperwork, I said "where did you learn to salute?" "In the Boy Scouts," he answered, giving me a crisp three finger salute.

I hope the statute of limitations has expired.

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