Wednesday, October 28, 2009

That Old Gang Of Mine .......

I belong to two "gangs."

One is the 919 GANG in San Diego - about 350 people who used to work at the Union-Tribune newspaper in that seaside community.

I was a staff photographer with the papers in the 1960s.

We submit memory items ("What ever happened to so and so?") or "Do you remember when ___ happened?"

A daily newsletter is compiled and e-mailed to all the gang members.

The other is the 134 GANG composed of retirees from the old Charleston News and Courier and the Evening Post. Members also come from the current Post and Courier.

This is a much smaller group - about 75 - and we meet quarterly for a luncheon.

Members of the gang will gather, tell some stories and enjoy a nice meal and social time.

The local Gang will band together this Friday.

Both gangs - named for the address where the newspapers were published - are growing larger as the industry shrinks. Veteran newsmen face layoffs, take early retirement, accept buyouts or go into new pursuits.

I was surprised to learn The Post and Courier was able to keep its same number address from Meeting street when it opened the new plant on Columbus Street.

At least some things don't change.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Barcamp, the blog

Charleston Barcamp was held Saturday in a modernized WWII Hospital Supply building on the former Navy Base in North Charleston.

That site was built in the 1940s. The first Barcamp concept was held in 2005.

What a great mingling of assets.

More than 250 people were expected to attend and the lunchtime group shot seemed to include at least that many.

True to the goals, I looked over the grid of non-presentations that were scheduled and did not see the topic I wanted to discuss. So, I wrote in a session during an empty time slot in a room that was available.

Other participants saw that posted note, were interested and showed up. We five had a spirited session on CHDK (Canon Hackers Development Kit).

They were vaguely aware of it and were curious. I had loaded it in my point-and-shoot Canon camera two days before. We brought up websites and exchanged ideas and reactions for almost an hour.
Individual sessions were held in various rooms in the totally renovated building, there was a great bar-b-q lunch and snacks and beverages were close at hand all day.

I think Mayor Summey has helped create a unique facility for such events in North Charleston.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Redheads...

Two nights. Two redheads.

Saw Kathy Griffin in concert at the Performing Arts Center. It was a sell out crowd.

I like that.

Other talented people will book into a city that supports the arts.

The night before, up in Myrtle Beach at the House of Blues, I stood in line for a long time to get inside for Bonnie Raitt. Also a packed "house."

Two entirely different performances for two entirely different audiences.

Miss Raitt truly seemed to enjoy the standing audience and the, well, standing ovations it gave her fine singing. A sign was posted "No cameras. No cell phones taking pictures."

First time I've seen cells banned.

And security was very active, appearing almost as quickly as the phones - and a few cameras - were raised.

Just the opposite at the PAC...Kathy came out posing and encouraging her fans to snap pictures.

I even used flash. Yikes.

Her humor was scathing and topical. She started with comments on "The Balloon Boy" as THAT story was still unfolding.

Well, maybe not for Wolf Blitzer.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Irish Literary Tour ...

Looking back over several blog postings about my trip to Ireland and Germany, I detect a theme.

Drinking beer seemed very popular.

Well, there's more to life than Guinness.

There's a terrific and entertaining Dublin Literary Walk.

After walking over to Trinity College (above) to hear some Oscar Wilde stories, our small group huddled close in front of a church that now serves as a Visitors Center and paid rapt attention to two Irish actors (L-R Frank Smith and Colm Quilligan).

Colm quipped that the "This church continues to provide guidance to confused people who come in seeking direction."

One of the stops included O'Neill's, the first drinking establishment we had visited upon our arrival in Dublin. Check out their excellent buffet.

Oh. Surprise. The tour started at The Duke pub and visited three others.

In diverse settings, the two actors recited passages from the writings of famed Irish writers including James Joyce (Ulysses), Brendan Behan, Samuel Beckett, Yeats and others.

They threw out clues to the "quiz" for prizes that would be held at the end of the 2 hour, 15 minute adventure over cobblestone streets, back alleys and cozy pubs.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, October 12, 2009

How To Tell If Your Hotel Is Old......

One clue, of course, how well does it fit into the neighborhood.

Does it blend in like a new home would if it were built on the Peninsula in Charleston?

Would Mayor Riley have a problem accepting it in his Preservation Plan?

Does it have the charm that people from off would look for if they wanted to buy it?

Would they stay there more than two weeks a year?

Is the front desk clerk wearing armor?

Do you receive messages that "you have mail?" Or do you see that everyone else is WEARING chainmail?

What about the grounds?

Are the lawns well tended?

Is the grass cropped neatly?

If the groundskeeper carries a shepherd's crook, is it the latest style? No plastic?

Finally, step into the lobby. Is it spacious or cramped?

Oh, and is lamb featured on the menu? Baah.

(Click on the photos for amazing detail.)

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Surfing In Deutchland....

While on a walking tour in Munich, we passed into a Central Park-like setting.

And saw defiant surfers ignoring a "Verboten" sign.

The surf, er, river, was up.

Unexpected sure, but so many sights were just that.

I was tempted to join some "pedalers in the Square" and drink beer as I sat down for a tour. We had tickets to tour the Royal Residence and Museum so I delayed having a beer till later.
They sure looked like happy sightseers though.

We eventually ended up in a pleasant biergarten and had Lowenbraus with our wursts.

My toasted brat - with sweet mustard - reminded me of German festivals I had attended in Missouri of all things.

But, we were a long way from the States and had just spent more than a week in Ireland.

Tomorrow would be Oktoberfest. Plenty of beer there.

(Click on that surfing picture for amazing details.Yikes.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oh...Did I Mention Beer ?

Part of the vacation included a 4-day trip to Munich.

They sure LIKE their beer in Germany.

This was actually part of a poster in the U Bahn and the subway crowd looked at me funny.

Not funny "Ha Ha." More funny "strange."

(Well, this is after I used Photoshop. Before that, it DID look a bit odd.)

There also was an Oktoberfest going on and 6,000,000 beer drinking buddies would be gathered, crowded into about 15 HUGE tents.

Only 6 different beers are featured and - checking as many tents as possible - I did NOT see any Guinness.

Those liter-size glasses would be great for a perfect pour of Irish Stout.

Each tent has it's own large band and they play a LOT of drinking songs.

Well, duh.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Right Place at the Right Time....

The Guinness people declared a 2009 worldwide celebration in honor of its 250th anniversary.

On September 24, one was asked to raise a toast on Arthur's Day.

Happily, I was in Dublin.

Because Guinness requires two pours to be perfect, just before the 17:59 event, bartenders prepared a small backlog of "first pours."

Guinness was started in Dublin, Ireland and is considered the "National Beer."

It was dumb luck that my travels had me in Dublin during this particular week. What a fortunate circumstance!

A cozy laid back Pub was our choice and seats at the bar were readily available an hour before the toast.

When Arthur Guinness was saluted, the place was packed four-deep!

A few days later, we were first in line to tour the actual Guinness brewery where we were treated to taste a 10-day old beer sample right where it had been created.

(Ten days was the minimum "aging" before it could be sampled.)

Another stop permitted you to actually pour your own pint. That's when I saw that pulling the tap forward produces the nitrogen gas/beer mixture of "The Black Stuff."

Then you should wait 120-130 seconds for the second pour - beer only - by pushing the tap back. Two steps to a perfect Guinness.

The easy part is drinking it.

Labels: , , ,