Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh .... Remember THIS one?

"The passport [for my 16 year old daughter] was no problem and in late June we were cruising over the Atlantic at 34,000 feet headed for London.

She turned to me and asked "Do the British have a 4th of July?"

Interesting question! I launched into a long response about the American Revolution, the colonies vs King George, the original Tea Party and all the pent up emotion that caused our young nation to rebel.

"So they would hardly celebrate THAT in England," I ended.

Smiling, but trying not to laugh out loud, she answered "Well Dad, of course they have the 4th of July...and the 5th, the 6th, the 7th..."

For those of you keeping score, this is one of my few repeat blogs. It seemed timely so I re-ran an example from about this time last year of the clever Comedy Mind of Amy.

And, I should add, a few years later she started what has led her to be a successful stand-up comic/performer. Subdued humor? No, no, not at all!

Also - for the last 12 years - she has been respectfully known as Officer Amy.

That changed last month when she was promoted to Detective Boyd with the Fremont (California) Police Department.

Yes, it was appropriate to bring up her holiday comment again.

Proud to do so.

Happy 4th of July Detective! We celebrate that BIG over here.

(Click twice on the pictures to see a larger image. Usually that works.) The only down part of being retired is holidays don't really mean a day off. Yikes.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Safe Haven.

When I was going to school in the 1950s, there was a pervading fear of Russia launching an atomic attack.

Some people dug themselves Bomb Shelters in the back yard.

Made you want to be friends with THOSE people!

None of my neighbors in Ansonborough had such a shelter. Or, at least, didn't brag that they did.

Everybody I knew there rented and landlords didn't supply such safe places.

The rest of us practiced dropping to the floor and crawling beneath our desks.

My cat had a hiding spot behind the couch where he felt safe and protected when threatened.

Running under the bed, his tail would stick out but at least he felt he was out of sight.

I saw that wide open Vault in a Columbia hotel.

It formerly was a bank (well, Duh!) and now there was a bar behind that steel chamber.

Make good use of what you have to work with, I say.

Or, you could build something so secure and safe that you could defy God Himself to do it damage.

Well, we all know how THAT turned out don't we.

Things were not so shipshape after all.

I'm not quite ready to buy a new car but some of the ads intrigue me.

Big emphasis on safety as well as mpg.

Air bags of course in the front seats - and soon in the back as well - but also safety "side curtains" in case you get T-Boned in a wreck.

Saw an item the other day about an inflatable seat belt. It swells up when there is a sharp contact or sudden stop.

The cars in the '50s didn't have head rests or seat belts.

We were more worried about the Soviets.

(Click TWICE on the photos for more detail. At my house cats still scamper behind the couch or under my bed.) Thanks for reading. Come again. safe out there.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011


Wow. Homemade beer!

Instant satisfaction with a Mr. Beer kit.

Well, "instant" might not be exactly precise.

I mixed up the 2 gallon batch on May 15. The first pint was poured on June 22.

Where to store the mixture - at less than 76 degrees - was a challenge to say the least.

Have you noticed how hot it's been for the last six weeks?

I have a downstairs area - sort of a basement - and the temps hovered around 74 for weeks. OK so far.

Then it got a LOT warmer outside and I moved the "vat" upstairs. My AC is set for 79 so I had to make a small adjustment for about 10 days.

What's that? Are you asking if I drank NO BEER while this was brewing? You're kidding...right?

My Smartphone has a Droid app (free) that let's me keep track of each unique beer I drink. So before I order a beer I quickly check to see if I had had one of those ales, lagers, stouts, porter or IPA before.

I just checked and see I have 125+ unique beers listed on my phone. Most have about 5.0 ABV (alcohol content/gravity)but a few nudge 9.0 and there's even a 12. Yikes.

So my home brew now sits in 6 (used to be 8) brown litter bottles in my refrigerator. The ABV is less than 4.0 and tastes like an imitation weak Budweiser or a Coors.

Maybe even a Lite Bud Lite.

(Click on the picture for more detail. Don't wait six weeks between beers. You can buy a cold pint almost anywhere. And you get to talk to a bartender.) Thanks for stopping by. Hey, you want a beer?

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Happy Father's Day for me...

It's been a perfect FATHER'S DAY for me. I'm 3 for 3.

Heard from both of my daughters and my son.

Sure, it would be better to have them actually with me, but that changed years and years ago.

We raise them to go off on their own. And they do.

I'm holding Heather, my youngest.

She got off to a rocky start - and needed surgery on Day 5 - at the hospital in Burbank but has grown up healthy and well.

Right now she is just past halfway through her first pregnancy and keeps me posted.

Clean-shaved, I'm posing with Amy, the middle child, in front of the house in Tallahassee.

Yes, I wore a vest back then. Everybody did in the 1980s.

I was in Florida state government and we lived in the capital.

Amy has been a police officer for 12 years in California and next week is being promoted to Detective. Atta girl!

I'm sure I've mentioned Officer Amy is also an accomplished stand-up comic.

My son Chris lives in San Diego with his wife Stephanie and their two children.

Alexandra is 16 and Andrew is 15.

I'll be seeing all of them later this Summer.

My grandson Andrew says he's eager to play golf with me on a nearby Par 3 course.

I bet he is!

My "game" is more suited to a Par 18 but we'll see.

(Not sure if clicking on the pictures will make them bigger. These are "historic" shots from the archives.) Fellow Fathers, thanks for spending time with me on OUR day.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Here's some "Leftovers" images....

I know of at least two bars in Charleston that serve salted-in-the-shell peanuts.

This setting is Dublin Down on Daniel Island and the other would be all three Crab Shacks.

Serving free salty foods makes a lot of sense in a bar.

Thirsty? Have a cold one.

Years ago in Missouri, I took my 16-year old son into a quaint place that served peanuts like these and encouraged you to toss the shells on the floor.

Lots of atmosphere.

My son saw me sweep shells off the table and he dumped out two ashtrays - and was reaching for a third on a nearby table - before I could stop him.

I didn't get to post this photo of the opening act for Hedwig at the American Theatre during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Hate to waste a demonstration by three ladies with exceptional talent for fans of ostrich feather fans.

This trio is keeping alive an old and treasured Vaudeville tradition.

As I look through other photos I have not used yet, I came across a sign that is a symbol for The End Of A Sticky Era.

Remember for a few years several telephone poles were targeted by tourists as a place to park their chewed out chewing gum? GUM trees. GUM poles.

On the four corners of East Bay and North Market Streets.

Yeech. Better than stepping on the discards and sticking to the sidewalk I suppose?

Hmmm. I see that the poles have been steam cleaned and a sign warns of dire consequences if you mar the surface.

But, how exactly is that enforced? The ticket itself would make a great souvenir.

Finally, here's a shot I didn't need to use.

Trombone Shorty played two nights on The Cistern and I posted some pictures earlier.

But, on the first night, we had no idea if he would allow/encourage the crowd to leave their seats to come up and dance.

Sitting in the first row I took an unobtrusive, low level "hidden camera" shot to make sure I had an image from the concert.

Well, we got up and danced and all had plenty of photos without this one.

(Click to see larger images. Do you notice something odd about the Guinness glass? Hope you enjoyed a great Spoleto Festival.) Thanks for reading my stuff.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Something Old and Something New...

On the final day of Spoleto 2011 I went to see CIRCA at Memminger Auditorium. The last time I had been there I was in high school. That qualifies as REALLY "old."

That was back about when Hula Hoops first became popular.

The CIRCA Australian acrobats put on quite a show - throwing themselves into the air and slamming back to earth. Swinging from ropes that dangled from above. Contorting their bodies. Combining for wonderous actions. Wow.

Already downtown, after the show I walked up Beaufain Street to explore King Street on Second Sunday.

Seeing an artist at work inspired me to choose an "artistic filter" to affect my photo of him starting his painting.

I was struck again how much my hometown reminds me of Europe.

She certainly has that "old" look. In a good way of course.

I passed an elegant outdoor dining setup that took advantage of the street-clearing 1-5pm closing of the main shopping area, in the antique and jewelry section.

Now the linen-draped tables waited patiently for the sun to drop a bit more. Soon cooling shadows would glide over the scene.

Well, it WAS 95 degrees on the sunny side of the street.

Stopped at the King Of Pops stand for a locally-made frozen bar.

I selected Peaches & Cream on a stick and enjoyed the "face freeze" on such a warm day.

Further up King - opposite Society Street - I discovered a NEW place that reminded me I was pretty hungry. Good timing.

Some Burger Babies were as tasty as they looked.

Be sure to have the thick and crispy chips with your bun-wrapped delights.

The "newest" thing I saw on my walk up and down the historic KING street were little black and white signs taped in store windows.

I had seen such images online and the paper today had details about these QR (Quick Response) codes.

As the new owner (finally) of a Smartphone, I was able to scan the symbol.

It brought up the website with additional information about the products on sale.

I remember the first time I ever saw a added to the bottom of a print ad. That was unusual and bold back in the day.

Now I'm sure ALL ads have that. And probably Twitter. And Face Book.

(As usual, click on the photos for more detail. It was too warm to lug a big SLR camera and lenses around. Thanks little Canon S90.) Glad you stopped by. Come often.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wow. Great Party at the Cistern .....

I was so busy sending out pictures of Trombone Shorty to friends, I almost forgot to post a blog.

It was a party rather than a concert.

Everybody was having a great time... onstage and in the audience.

I even danced.

Well, actually just kinda jiggled and bounced in place.

It was THAT kind of happy, happy music that has you standing and your feet just start moving and tapping.

Hey, I may be old, but I'm NOT dead, as I've heard B.B. King state more than once.

I was in the front row and saw barricades had been set up on both sides to hold back the crowd.

You know, those enthusiastic people jumping up and down and moving to the music.

The couples grinning and shouting approval with whoops of joy.

The small children running around in dizzy circles.

Security - you're gonna have a long night.

Moments later "Shorty" waved everyone forward and the crowd surged toward his smiling face.

At one point he lowered the volume and patted his hands for everyone to crouch down - we did - and "now, go a little softer."

Then, as the music grew louder, we all slowly rose. Nice party!

He did some Michael Jackson Moon Walking across the stage and channeled James Brown funkiness.

At one point, I didn't time how long, he showed Circular Breathing as he held a single drawn-out note on his trumpet (cornet?)for at least 4-6 minutes! Maybe even longer.

What a demonstration of technique - breathing in through his nose, his cheeks suddenly bulging and puffing out - as he sustained the single lingering note. Wow!

This was a real bonus for those sitting in the front row.

This image of a joyful Shorty seems to sum up his feelings about how the evening was going.

(Click on the photos for more details. Saw some SLRs with long telephoto lenses but my Canon S90 stood me in good stead. As usual.)

Hope you caught Shorty's second show on Friday night. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Roamin' Around Downtown...

About a month ago, a new IRISH pub opened on East Bay Street, across from the Custom House.

Welcome to Mac's Place. Pub grub and plenty to drink at a long, long bar. Yikes.

I asked several people and the consensus is the bar is 35 - 40 feet long. With a return at each end.

The new place is tucked into a row of drinking establishments that make a pub crawl a natural - no streets to cross.

Mac's Place already has a small collection of fake IDs and drivers licenses that have been confiscated.

They're lined up on the wall and one, from out of state, is in a vertical format.

States usually issue the license standing on end to indicate the bearer is LESS that 21. As in underage. Not the best ID to use for a drink in a bar. Duh.

Around the corner at Mad River Bar & Grill, the early bird blues events continue from 5pm - 7pm as part of Piccolo Spoleto.

I sat and enjoyed two sets by Acoustica from Savannah.

Ray Lundy on guitar growls rumbling deep blues accompanied by Mike the Butcher on bass.

A few nights before I was back at Saffron's Cafe and Bakery for Waters of March and a delightful Brazilian bossa nova
evening of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook.

The crowd was asked to "Ahh" along during the chorus of The Girl From Ipanema.

Jobim wrote the music to that worldwide hit in the mid-1960s.

Upstairs at Theatre 99, we wound our way through the countryside on a delightful, quirky one-man show that took us along on a bike trip while on LSD.

Monologist Martin Dockery, from Brooklyn, had the packed house's attention from breath-taking start to finish.

What a high-energy performance! You could almost picture the bike wobbling along on the empty stage.

A re-visit to Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the American Theatre opened with a patriotic look.

Actually, three Vaudeville type fan dancers preceded Hedwig showing deft covering moves with ostrich feathers.

The off-Broadway favorite was made into a well-received movie and several years ago, there was a small production presented down by the old IMAX on the waterfront.

Quite a crowd-pleaser and the live band added to the enjoyment.

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

"Just Flew In From Chicago..."

"..and Boy, are my arms tired.".

Actually, I'm NOT tired even though I spent the weekend on Southwest Airlines.

Several months ago, Charleston was fortunate to have them start service here.

Welcome "Bags Fly Free!" Sorry it took this long for me to fly with you.

I left Saturday morning for Kansas City with a stop in Chicago. Quick trip for a grandson's wedding reception and I got back home Sunday evening.

My first time flying on a One-class airline. No seat assignments but it's organized beautifully. You board based on when you made your reservation.

I walked down the aisle and picked an aisle seat on each flight.

On one, the middle seat stayed empty and I stretched out and ordered myself a beer.

Guess I had never before flown in and out of Midway instead of O'Hare, That's where I saw the Blues Brothers Salute statues.

This airline also passes out those little bags of peanuts and other munchies along with free soft drinks.

I like that you don't have to slowly drag your luggage past all those staring people in First Class to find your seat back in "steerage."

That's pretty classy.

(Click on the photos for more detail.Two flights on Saturday and two on Sunday. ALL were on time and mostly filled.) Thanks for reading my stuff.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Jazz....

Saffron's - another great setting for a musical Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2011 experience.

Coordinator John Tecklenburg stated again that was one goal this year - great music in beautiful venues and showcasing some choice Charleston dining spots. Wow.

Tonight The Cobbleston Quartet was featured in Late Night Jazz At Saffron and the place was packed for the 9:30-11:00 performance.

From left it's George Kenny on sax, flute and clarinet; drummer Asa Holgate and David Keller on upright bass. David Archer, guitar, is the leader of the group.

The sweet sounds of Ellington, Gershwin, Wes Montgomery, Miles and more filled the room.

The nearby famed desserts were an added treat for the toe-tapping crowd.

Brubek and baked goods. What a delicious combo!

(Click on the photo for more detail.

If you're dieting, be careful with the cakes photo.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep supporting live music.

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