Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Travel Movie ....

My last visit to England was back in the 1980s and the exchange rate was one pound for $2.64. Actually, right now is a little bit better.

I think it's time to go back to the United Kingdom for a visit .... and even pop over to Europe.

Well, it IS very, very close and the dollar is slightly stronger against the Euro.

Individual countries still had their own money like Francs and Deutsch marks my last time there.

I was aware that BENELUX stood for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - and I have never been there - so Amsterdam was added to the list as was Belgium.

They say the coffee is so good there, it's more popular than Starbucks. I plan to check out that claim. I enjoy a good brew that whets the appetite.

After seeing the movie "In Bruges" a few months ago, Belgium was an obvious choice. In the film two London hit men hide out in this beautiful 16-17th century city for several weeks.

The movie is a Chamber of Commerce visual treat of art museums, canals and historic buildings.

There were a lot of guns and shootings and bodies falling from church towers but that was just movie magic amidst a tranquil setting.

So that's my travel plan.

Guess it's a good thing that I didn't just see "Around The World In 80 Days."

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Found: Alternative Energy Source

Here is a bundle of high-powered energy to run the USA for years - if it could be captured - lighting homes and fueling our cars.

This was my first Springsteen Concert but I was picked to be right up in front of the stage - along with 549 others - in a lottery for people who had bought floor general admission tickets. The series of appropriate wrist bands started to stack up.

The large roped off area called "The Pit" was filled mainly with long time fans who had attended many, many of his shows.

They all knew each other, brought song title signs and chatted about traipsing around the country following their favorite band.

The loyalty was repaid handsomely as Springsteen often came down to the apron edge of the stage to kneel, touch hands and accept signs.

I was hesitant to take any pictures until I saw others in "the pit" holding up cell phones so I snapped a few until I was tapped on the shoulder by Arena Security.

Glad they were on top of me and my camera. They missed the couple in front of me smoking some non-tobacco. Rules. Here's the car I followed as I left the Arena to head home. They have a long drive ahead.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photographer's monthly Meetup...

Last night was the monthly meeting of the Photographers Group that I formed back in February.

About 20 people came to North Towne Grill and brought their digital and film cameras. It's very informal and we're all "students" eager to learn how to get the most from our hobby.

Two members actually are professionals and earn their income in photography.

Each month we encourage members to burn about 20 favorite photos to a CD and be part of the very popular Show & Tell.

I usually throw in a shot or two from when I was a news photographer for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

My son Chris, 2, and our dog Fido provided a hot weather "filler" during the dog days of August.

Today he is 43 and probably would not have enjoyed my selection as much as the Group did.

We meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Join us on September 10. Bring your camera...and the instruction booklet.You will have a fun time and you WILL learn something.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Dobro Ukelele ?

Got a pleasant surprise at Home Team last Friday night.
Mississippi Jon Short is traveling with Brandon Santini of Delta Highway and opened my eyes to the blues potential of a 4-string instrument other than the bass guitar.

The "cute" uke has come into its own in my world of the Memphis and Delta-style blues. At least in Short's nimble hands.

The band had played here in May so I was eager to hear them again. They offer an abundance of good blues so keep an eye out for when they'll be back.

Earlier in the week at A Dough Re Mi, Stevie Ray Vaughan was channeled by Randy Pavlock and his Austin, TX band Twenty-four seven. Wow.

Great music in a fast-growing blues venue ... and a great way to save a few bucks.

I had joined the Lowcountry Blues Club a few weeks ago and benefited from a substantial reduction of the cover charge at the front door. Two shows and the membership has paid for itself.

Get all the details by clicking the title above.

I HAVE to learn more about adding links.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Search For The HOLY GRAIL...

It's normal for a beer drinker to ask "what's on tap?"

Naturally you hope an empty cup is not covering the handle of the tap you want. That means it's not available.

Hmm..things not looking too good for me this Sunday at the Village Tavern in Mt. Pleasant.

Owner Daniel Drew explained they were waiting for a part for the draft operation and pointed to the glass-fronted coolers filled with a wide variety of bottled beer. "And, " he added "would you care for a free heaping bowl of delicious Frogmore Stew?

He had a big pot simmering on the stove in the kitchen for his Sunday afternoon regulars and soon I was digging in and sipping a cold Heinekens.

I was not a frequent visitor but I felt welcome as his long time clients would step out front for a smoke, chat with others and then wander back in.

Sports were on 4 or 5 tvs scattered about the bar and people were shooting pool in the other room where the stage is set up for Indie/Rock bands to play. The sound system here is one of the best in the city.

Daniel bought the place about a year ago and when I asked about the golden "chalice" he was using as a drinking cup, he explained. "I call it the Holy Grail. It used to be a lamp."

Made sense to me and I had another bowl of Frogmore stew. It WAS delicious.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

MORE than a cup of coffee ....

A good musical experience is one you can share.

A band passing through town on tour MIGHT be back again but you can depend on a good show at 7:30 every other Thursday at Muddy Waters Coffee Bar.

Judging from the crowd, I must be the only person not familiar with the Palmetto Acoustic Thursday celebration on Highway 61 in West Ashley. I found the last empty chair.

Big Bill Morganfield, son of THE Muddy Waters, has played a few times during Blues Festivals right down the street at Home Team BBQ but THIS venue was nodding along with opener Singer/Songwriter Kev Rowe on acoustic guitar.

He was followed by The Barnard Sisters. That's Kara on the left and Pam Barnard Hays smiling on the right.

These talented folk/pop sibling singers have a new CD out all about Charleston called "Flying Down King Street."

I didn't even know that some coffee shops serve cold beer. This one does.

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