Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"...

Last night I attended a TRIBUTE by local musicians at the downtown main library auditorium..

It honored the 10th anniversary of George Harrison's death.

George often was called "The Quiet Beatle" but his musical legacy continues and grows a decade later

Didn't get the names of the performers but a few I've seen playing around town.

Here the V-Tones showcased "Noodle McDoodle" on kazoo. Please note it's an ELECTRIC kazoo. Nice sound and appropriate to the song.

About 30 players were there and "Gently Weeps" was played three times that evening.

There was an impromptu duo who offered a tender treat.

They had met that night at the library and found they both planned on doing the same song.

They practiced together in the hallway and came out and played it together.

The finale for the hour and a half show was six musicians on stage as we all sang along on "My Sweet Lord."

During the show in the 200-seat auditorium, several library patrons had ducked their heads in.

Silence was not strictly observed that night.

(Click on the photo for more details.) There should be a link to 5 of George's greatest hits.

Hope they all are familiar to you.

I saw the "Fab Four" in concert in the 1960s in San Diego.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The BIG Game...

Well, actually it was pretty much a blow-out but the IMAGES of the game were big.

Sunday I was visiting my Mom at Sandpiper and mentioned I was getting a larger television.

She asked "how big?"

I said if it was turned on end, it would be 5 feet tall (60 inches).

Mom said "Remember, I'm 5 foot two, with eyes of blue."

I said "Mom, we both have green eyes." We laughed.

I came a cross a photo of my small house on James Island that I rented when I first came back to Charleston.

Yes, there was a tv, of sorts.

The whole house was only 20 feet wide and the living room was 10 feet across.

I found a North Charleston sports bar called SPORTZ that featured a projection tv screen that was 20 feet wide.

Bigger than my house!

The two fellows from Sears picked up the old 46 " set and asked where I wanted it.

"Over there on the side of the room..but, I would really like it downstairs."

I want ahead of them and they carefully carried it down the stairs and put it down out of the way in my spacious "Charleston Basement."


Thanks fellas.

That would have been quite a balancing act for me to move.

(Click on the photos to see more detail.)

Now I am in the process of adding other new equipment.

So much high tech has happened in the last 6 years I have to scramble to catch up.

I want to stream Netflix movies.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011


Daniel Tosh is the star and producer of TOSH.O on Comedy Central.

He brought his offbeat stand-up comedy style to Charleston for the first time Friday night.

Daniel filled all 2260 seats at the Performing Arts Center.


His target audience is the 20-30 year old crowd and they trekked north to see the situational comedian talk of everything from shopping in Charleston on Black Friday to global unemployment to handicap parking spaces for the "lucky ones."

He started the show with a smarmy "As many of you know, I was born in North Charleston.

He continued "I went to North Charleston College and some high school I forget the name."

"My dad works at Boeing and my mom takes crap off trees and sews it into hats."

The young crowd loved it.

If you've ever seen his show or one of his concerts, you know I really can't quote much of his act.

And, for that, we thank you.

(Click on the photos for a larger - but not much better quality - image.)

Since cameras were forbidden, I feel my shots from the 14th row came out pretty good. I didn't feel guilty because I was surrounded by I-Phones and other cells stuck up in the air taking pictures.

We were warned if you held your phone (or camera?) up "too long" they knew you were videotaping and you would be in big trouble.

I guess that means you couldn't be his "Viewer Video of the Week."

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday !

It's a fine working television.

It has a "big" screen (well, 46" measured diagonally) and has served me faithfully for about 6 years.

That's a LOT of football games and Comedy Central.

Oh yeah, and PBS and the History Channel.

It never was designed to hang on the wall but, placing it in the corner worked fine.

I understand it would help the economy if I were to go stand or sit in line around midnight.

Maybe get a newer model.

They have made fantastic advances in the last 6 years since I bought this for $999.

The fad of 3-D movies in theaters seems to be winding down. Too expensive.

Don't think I would want to wear tv-viewing-glasses at home.

My comfortable chair's distance from the tv has been perfect for a 46" set.

But I believe the stores are willing to give me a much larger size for about what I paid all those years ago.

Think I'll check it out later tonight.

You can tell I'm serious.

I cleared space for something newer, slimmer and awesome.

(Clicking on the pictures makes the images bigger. Even then the old tv is still going to be only a 46" screen - measured diagonally.)

Shopping at midnight is for people who really like crowds. Saving money always keeps you warm when it's chilly.

Good luck out there!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walking On Air .....

My Photography Group did a little downtown Photo Walk Sunday.

On the way, I showed them how to "levitate."

Online, I had just checked the concept of appearing to defy gravity and it's fairly simple.

You need a good camera that can take a picture at 1/4000second.

And 1/8000second is even better.

Have the subject jump as high as he or she can. Snap the shutter.

Pass the digital camera around so everyone can see on the screen that the subject is suspended in air.

Some appear to be much higher than others.

Age and agility counts here.

And other factors.

We gathered around 10am at the gazebo in White Point Gardens (foot of Meeting Street) and worked our way up to the Market area.

I keep forgetting all the quaint alleys and beautiful homes and curving streets in the Historic District.

Oh, that's right, that's why tourists come here and carriages clip-clop by.

One of the "tricks" a member shared with us was attaching his camera to his tripod. Well, duh.

He extended all three legs and set his timer to take a picture in 8 seconds.

Then he raised the tripod over his head - the camera is now about 5 feet higher than his extended arms - and he angles it about where he thinks it should be.

The shutter clicks. Bring it down, check to see if it caught the super high angle he wanted.

If not, repeat. Gotta love digital cameras.

We were nearing the market - and lunch at Tommy Condons - when somebody asked what time it was.

In this age of cell phones that also show the time, I looked at the wrist watch I still wear.

I glanced and saw there was a sun dial in front of me.

Use it? Check my watch? Pull out my cell phone?

I knew at least two had been adjusted for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

The intended purpose of the Photo Walk was to find natural letters and numbers.

Not signs but individual images that could be combined to spell out names.

Very, very personal gifts.

I decided to try using my middle name LEE.

Almost there.

I saw some iron work letters caught by other members. It looks like I found the other "E."

I also DID capture a "C" and an "H."

I'm well on the way to spelling out my first name.

Either Charles or Chuck.

(Click on the photos to see much more detail.)

Look around and see if you can spot any letters or numbers in nature.

Trains you to look closely at what you see.

Nice exercise.

Thanks for walking along with us.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Bright Idea...

So you've finished having dinner or maybe you had just a sandwich.

Probably with a beverage. Or two.

Now you wait for the bill in the familiar black folder with a place at the top to tuck in your credit card.

But, wait a minute, THIS check wallet has a light inside. You can see the amount and look it over to decide how much to tip.

Lighted. In a dark bar. Or in a restaurant. Yikes.

This was at The Roost, a sports bar in Avondale. The light displayed the Camel logo but so what? Good for that company.

Yes, I had tried the "Old Leghumper."

A robust porter produced by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

Not to be confused with its "12 Dogs Of Christmas."

Well, duh, that's a seasonal ale.

Oktoberfest is finally over.

That was back in September.

(Click on the photos to make them bigger and brighter.)

Ever since they were forced to drop the iconic cartoon Joe Camel, this company has shown ingenuity in getting its brand name out to the public.

I see it on "Smoking Area" signs pointing outside. Usually close to the $7 a pack cigarette machines.

I'm glad I quit smoking about 25 years ago.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unusual Harbor Cruise...

The 148-year old Star of India sailed again last weekend in San Diego.

The iron-hulled beauty was at full sail during what used to be an annual event.

It has been 4 years since the last sailing of this floating maritime museum.

When I went onboard last summer, I heard rumors she might sail again this year.

Tied up at the dock, she has only a few sails unfurled so it's quite a sight to see her in full glory.

Unfortunately, I wasn't there for the actual sailing.

I received this photo in a daily newsletter I get online from my old days of working for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In the 1960s my Mom came out from Charleston to visit.

She and my young son Chris made a tour of The Star.

Last summer, Chris was aboard again, with me, his wife and my 16-year old grandson.

In this interior picture I exaggerated the tilt of the ship for effect.

I mean, we were still safely at the dock.

Underway in the 1860s, I am sure the early travelers suffered through a lot of rough seas.

And many tedious days of calm when the wind power died down and the sails were slack.

Hmmm. I wonder if an iron-hull attracted lightning?

(Click the photos that I took to see more detail.)Thanks for coming aboard. Feel free to walk about the cabin.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Few Big Wheels...

The new Sky Wheel in Myrtle Beach is the tallest in the United States.

It's listed as soaring 200 feet above the beach community.

I'm not really taller, that's just a sneaky camera angle.

The camera doesn't lie but the image CAN be manipulated.

For contrast, the long-time Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in Chicago is a mere 150 feet high. Way to go South Carolina!

The London Eye tops us both at 443 feet tall.

Each of its "cabins" holds about 15-20 people and you can walk around to take pictures and marvel as it slowly rotates continuously.

In Myrtle Beach, the air conditioned capsule seats up to 4 riders/gawkers on each side.

Signs are posted to warn you not to move suddenly or do anything like rocking or swaying during its 5 revolutions.

I did shift around a bit - carefully - to look east and west.

This is the best view I've ever had of the beach, the Atlantic and downtown's new Boardwalk.

The afternoon for my rotations was timed perfectly.

The shadow of the wheel could be seen on nearby buildings to the east and along the beach toward the pier.

Your view changed as you rose, went over the top and started down again.

Looking west, the gentle arc of beachfront properties were back-lighted and impressive.

Checking online, I see that currently the tallest of all the Wheels is in Singapore.

It towers 541 feet up in the clouds!

Wonder if it's equipped with oxygen masks that drop down from the overhead? Yikes.

(Clicking on the pictures makes the image larger for your viewing enjoyment.) From the top of the beach wheel you look down on Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Support Live Music....

On Halloween a year ago, I saw Robert Randolph and the Family Band at a club in Washington, D.C.

This time there were no masks and no wet T-shirt contest winner.

The Music Farm was packed Saturday night with RR fans and most knew what to expect.

This was my 5th or 6th (7th?) time enjoying the talented musicians and the evening of fast-paced dance fun they present. Cousin Danyel on bass was in fine voice.

I knew 15-20 ladies would be invited up on stage to "Shake Their Hips" and 1 or 2 local guitarists would have an opportunity to play a song as The Man backed them on his pedal steel guitar or a 6-string.

Yep, all that happened.

Lots of new songs were added to my favorites from over the years.

Robert "marched" and "came to shout."

This night he did not stand, kick over his chair and demonstrate the proper way to dance to his music.

The night before I drove to Myrtle Beach for a House of Blues evening with Los Lonely Boys.

Well worth the drive!

The Grammy-winning Texican Trio of brothers took over the stage and had the crowd on its feet for more than 2 hours.

Henry Garza showed his impressive guitar chops while brother Jo-Jo backed with his 6-string bass.

Brother Ringo pounded the drums and added vocals to the smooth harmony. And, yes, that IS his actual name.

Destined at birth to be a Texas drummer.

It would appear that HOB has eased its policy on banning cameras and cell phones that take pictures and videos.

(Please click on the photos for more details.)

Photoshop helped me create my imaginary sea of lighted cell phones.

It's actually not that far fetched!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Jazz" McCray died yesterday...

"Charleston - NOT New Orleans - is really where American Jazz began."

My friend Jack McCray said that a lot back when we both worked at The Post and Courier.

Jack was a writer and music expert that I was never able to surprise with any of my offbeat questions about jazz. I would even look up little known facts to tease him with but he always was a step ahead of me.

He died Wednesday after being MR. JAZZ in this city for as long as I can remember.

He wrote a book about the Charleston music roots.

I bought it.

He signed it for me.

I'm glad he left me a memento of a nice guy.

A few years ago, I did a salute to Mr. Jazz on my blog. That was a fun day.

I heard a LOT of good jazz upstairs at Mistral's on Market Street. And at McCrady's.

Yes, Jack was the driving force behind those Piccolo Spoleto Jazz Fests.

He used to share stories about noted music places like the old Chef & Clef, also on Market Street.

I was born here but left when I was a teenager to join the Marines.

When I came back in 1993, I appreciated the city a lot more.

After I started at the paper and got to know him, Jack would tell me what I had missed.

Now, I'll miss him.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Marine Corps birthday. It's our 236th.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Run Forest, Run !

My Photography Group has its monthly meeting tonight and I scrambled to select some photos to take with me.

We come up with an optional theme each time for the popular SHOW & TELL.

Tonight it's "Things Found In A Forest." You can bring 15 or so of your favorite shots but I try to include a few themed one too.

Yesterday I realized I hadn't foraged in a forest lately so I strolled around my yard instead. The red leaf sat alone among all the browns and green grass.

Yes, I removed all the other colors with Photoshop.

My large magnolia tree in the front yard had already bloomed with its beautiful - but brief - delicate white flowers.

But, deep in my "forest," I saw scaly growth on several limbs.

I believe it's called lichen.

Checking online, I see that's a combo of fungus & algae.

Looking down I saw another additon for tonight's presentation.

The cones were scattered amidst the large leaves.

I tweaked the picture a bit with Photoshop to add some detailed drama.

While we were growing up, my brothers and I would throw these at each other, pretending they were "hand grenades."Playing "WAR" during the 1940s seemed like the thing to do. Almost patriotic for my WWII Youngest Generation.

I also will share with the group my visit to the newest craft beer brewery that has popped up here.

What a fine addition by four enterprising young men.

Holy City
is on Dorchester Road between I-526 and I-26, tucked behind some warehouses.

The friendly Tasting Room is cozy and comfortable. I sampled small tastes of all four of the lastest offerings.

The Bowens Island Oyster Stout (ABV 5.5) was introduced only a few days ago and joins their Pilsner and the Pluff Mud Porter (ABV 5.0), a nice dark beer that's become popular around town.

I bought a jug of Hurricane Category 3 IPA(ABV 7.0) to celebrate the end of "H" Season.

Drink local, I say.

(Click on the photos for more detail). It's only been a few years since South Carolina allowed brewers to provide beers with more than 4.0 or 5.0 ABV (Alcohol By Volume) and Coast Brewing was the leader in persuading our lawmakers to make it legal to sit and sample a beer at the brewery. Thanks Jaime!

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

"Book 'Em, Dano..."

My Mom taught me to enjoy reading.

Thanks for a lifetime (so far) of a very fulfilling habit.

In short, I have LOTS of books lying around.

Often I will have several book-marked to resume reading again when I'm sitting at the kitchen table.

Or another on the couch.

Or pick one up again at my desk.

In the car, I keep an audio book in the CD player.

So, it's no big surprise I found Paper Back Swap, a club where you list books you have to trade and other members pick which ones they want.

Online, I look at their list and request any that interest me.

Paperbacks, hardcover and even audio books.

We receive a point after we mail them and they are received.

We then use the point to "buy" a book. And this time the sender pays the postage! We pay postage when we send one out.

Ah, but it gets complicated when you meet an author and he signs your book.

David Baldacci wrote a short note to me in the front of his latest book at an Authors Luncheon a few years ago.

I had mentioned to Dave I had reviewed one of his earlier works for The Post and Courier.

His note praised me as a reviewer though I doubt he had seen what I had written for the paper's Arts & Travel section.

Pretty trusting guy.

But wait, it gets even more involved.

Lawrence Block, another writer I really enjoy, sends out a newsletter about specials and new books he's working on.

I saw "Ariel" and noted that the scary story was centered in Charleston, SC.

Well, naturally that was ordered, along with a Matthew Scudder book and one other.

When they arrived, I saw that all three are autographed.

I have a growing small stack of books I will NOT be swapping.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.) I think the best audiobooks are the ones narrated by the author. It's not like songwriters who can't sing. Tina Fey was the perfect reader of her book as was Craig Ferguson.

Who's YOUR favorite author?

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Airplane Hidden In Plain Sight....

I asked "Where can I park to take a photo of the new Boeing 787?"

The guard looked down at me through my open window and said "You can't take a picture of the plane." Huh?

I had just driven past on my way to the library, saw the plane and pulled up to the guard shack.

In the paper it said it had been flown to the Charleston plant to help train the people who would be delivering new planes to airlines.

This particular model was running about 3 years late so there had been plenty of time to prepare for this service but, until now, there had been no plane to use for practice.

"You are on Boeing property right now and you are not allowed to take ANY pictures of the plane, any buildings or anything else," the guard sternly continued.

He then directed me to pull up about 100 feet on Air Frame Drive, make a sharp left turn and U-turn myself off their property.

Then I was back on South Aviation Avenue and I snapped a picture as I drove by on the public highway.

Uh oh, looks like you can see Boeing buildings in the photo. Yikes.

(I had taken a picture months earlier of the huge Dreamlifter cargo plane that hauls parts of the 787 Dreamliner across the country).

Of course All Nippon Airways passengers boarding the new jet that (finally) now is in service, probably can take all the pictures they want.

I see online you can take tours of the Boeing plant in Everett,Washington.

Better not try that in North Charleston. They have at least one surly guard there.

(Click to see more details on the photos.) Hmmmm, I thought Boeing would be a little more accommodating to the public now that they had an actual plane to display.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween has come and gone....

Actually this is NOT a Halloween picture.

It was a life-size poster in a theater lobby for a horror film.

All I had to do was stick my head through the hole above the creature's hand and assume a properly terrified face.

I think I did a good job.

The cutout was rather large so I attempted to darken the open space around my face.

The arms were part of the poster so I added color because they represented MY arms.

The overall effect is truly in the spirit of October 31.

Here's another paper cutout that gave me a photo opp.

I like the way both the "Duke" and I have our belts fixed.

He's on the left.

This was taken during a stay in St. Louis when I had my two grandsons come over by Amtrak from mid-Missouri to stay with me a few days.

To this day their mother does not know I was late - about 20 minutes - in meeting the train and the two teenagers were waiting alone at the train station. Yikes.

Michael, the older boy was on the phone when I rushed in, out of breath from running.

"Grandpa, I was trying to call Mom but nobody answered."


It could have been scary.

(Click on the photos for more detail.) Recently I attended the wedding /reception for both Grandsons. They each brought up the railroad station situation but, fortunately, their Mom was standing far away and didn't hear. Whew.

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