Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Wild Blue Yonder.....

Here's the house I lived in back in the mid-Sixties.

The one with the white roof and the nice enclosed yard.

As seen from the Goodyear blimp.

I leaned out the window and snapped this as we drifted along at about 8 mph.

I wish my son had been playing in the yard.

I would have waved.

But I wasn't sure the wind would carry us over the Balboa Park area in San Diego that morning.

Newspaper staff photographers got to go where many people could not. They still do.

The public (readers) shared the thrill when they read the paper.

I jolted to a sudden stop when I landed aboard the USS Oriskany off San Diego one early morning.

The twin-engine C.O.D plane hit the catch cable with it's tail hook and immediately went to 0 mph.

The Union-Tribune reporter and I had just joined the crew steaming toward home port after their 6-month deployment.

It was my first - and last - carrier landing.

My 3-year old son had missed a chance to wave at the blimp.

But later, at the San Diego Aerospace Museum, he helped me create a feature photo spread as he took an amazing trip.

The name later was changed to Air & Space Museum.

That's another thing newspaper photographers did in the 1960s.

We used our children and friends in feature photo assignments.

They grew up just fine.

(Click on photos to see more detail.)

The Navy shot of the USS Oriskany is from the internet so probably won't enlarge.

It had a serious fire aboard about a year after I landed on its deck.

Many sailors died fighting the flames.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just Playin' vs the Olympics....

Several people asked me about the "shuffle board" I mentioned seeing at Gene's Hafbrau.

I grew up playing on these so I assumed it was very clear.

Obviously not. Some people pictured long-handled sticks used to push pucks around on an outdoor court at a retirement village.

Or a game played aboard a cruise ship.

Nope. This is what I saw at Gene's. They also had the "required" pool table of course.

Some places go a little overboard on those.

Many of the North Charleston bars still have the smokey atmosphere so I hardly ever go there.

Some businesses opt to ban smoking so I do go there. It's a matter of choice.

And breathing clean air.

My dad played billiards. On a full-size table.

His favorite was Snooker. I noticed the 6 pockets were a LOT smaller so you had to really be good to win.

Also the rules were very complicated compared to "Eight Ball" which is recognized everywhere and easy to keep straight.

Neither pool nor shuffleboard is an Olympic sport.

The only gold medals in the bars are called "bling."

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

I stopped shooting pool when I started wearing bifocals.

Suddenly the game became more challenging.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

SUEDE is so smooth.....

Saw a reminder that Charlie Sayles was going to be in town.

He started belting the Blues in D.C. decades ago and still has that great sound.

And electrifying fluid motion.

I've seen him gyrate all over the stage at Home Team Bar B Q in Sullivan's Island so I looked forward to seeing him in Mt. Pleasant at the Suede Supper Club.

Great show in a fantastic "night club" setting.

Andy "Smokey" Weiner, a friend who's quite a harmonica player raved:
"I like to play in a club like this. 
They didn't just move tables and chairs around, they remodeled it to be really special."

During a break, I wandered around, upstairs, out on the deck overlooking Johnnie Dodds Blvd, looked down on a lighted dance floor and private tables in little nooks and crannies.

I was there on a relatively quiet Sunday night.

Must be quite a scene on a Saturday Night!

(Click on the photo for more details.)

I know it was a sports bar for a long time and, before that, was Henry's On The Boulevard.

That name still can be seen on some frosted windows upstairs.

A link to the past.

Thanks for stopping by.

Maybe we'll see each other at Suede?

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Better Than A Double Feature...

When I was growing up in Charleston in the 1950s, a real treat at the movies was a Double Feature.

Wow. Two-for-one time.

Two black & white cowboy films, color cartoons in between and maybe a newsreel.

Could it get any better than that!?

Yes it can.

Attend a Triple-feature that starts at 6:30pm ands ends a few minutes before 3:00am.

And, receive a free 4-pack of an energy drink.

It helps you make it all the way to the end of "The Dark Knight Trilogy.

By going to see the Batman Marathon at the Mt. Pleasant's CINEBARRE, you were able to enjoy hot popcorn and cold beer with your movies.

Later, when it's time for dinner, throw in a hot and crispy pepperoni pizza.

Add some more beer, and the fun just keeps coming.

Two screens were set aside for "Batman Begins" (2005),"The Dark Knight" (2008) and the final chapter by Christopher Nolan. Judging by the crowd in the mens room, both seemed well attended.

Of course the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises WAS playing elsewhere -even in 3D - but I doubt the "Scarecrow Man" was in the audience there.

Wish I had a Batman t-shirt.

Wham! Smash! Kapow!

(Click on the pictures for more details.

The campy shot of Batman and the Boy Wonder was from the internet and was NOT part of the Trilogy.

Director Nolan wanted to distance himself as far as possible from those days.

It was a fun evening. Thanks for dropping in.

** In light of the tragedy in Colorado, I hesitated to keep this post up on my blog.
However, it was a happy event here in Charleston and I decided to relate that.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keys and cards...

I am NOT picking on any place in town. This just happens to be in Charleston's oldest bar. Nostalgic.

Gene's Haufbrau in West Ashley.

It's very popular. Usually has smokers standing out front.

It has the city's largest beer selection. Says so on it's website.

Far as I know, it's the only one with a long shuffle board game.

The one with sprinkled sawdust to make it VERY slippery.

Does everyone know it's owned by the people from Vickery's?

When I first came back to Charleston in 1993, Gene's was still a key club. Dengate's on Rutledge Avenue also was a key club. Now Dengate's is known as Moe's Crosstown.

Neither one now issues front door keys to its customers.

That was long ago in a different era.

But people still hand bartenders fake ID cards.

Usually they are kept - or even cut in half - when it's obvious and the underage person is asked to leave.

Mac's Place on East Bay collected enough to make a "fake" laminated table top.

The cards show a variety of how states present themselves.

Bright, colorful and even a different backdrop to reflect if the driver is under 21.

Yeah, I know, who would have presented one of those?

A fake ID by a person with a low IQ.

(Click on the photos to see more details.)

I grew up in Charleston then left as a teenagers to join the Marines.

I visited from Camp Lejeune and took fellow Marines to a few of my favorite joints and dives.

Big John's was on that list.

"Best Dive since '55."

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Almost ready to harvest...

So, apparently, I bought a Roma tomato plant.

Couldn't be better for my needs.

They're smaller so I'll use several at a time.

There also are a LOT of them.

Whenever friends drop by, I ask them to look at my hanging upside down plant.

All have agreed these are not going to get fat and round.

I think they look like Christmas tree lights.


Orange. And now, finally, red.

I went online and saw they have to soften a bit after they turn red before I collect my crop.

I have bacon and bread and mayonnaise.

How long does it take for lettuce to grow?

Guess I should have started all at once to make a perfect BLT.

(Oh sure, click on the photos - twice - to see more details.)

Mother Nature and I have worked well together on this front porch project.

Each morning as I water the plant, I search for leaves that "look funny" and pick them off.

No bug sprays or insecticides.

I like my 'maters fresh and natural.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Signs of the Times....

Saw this the other night.

It seems to summarize the current "Social Media" situation.

Look around a darkened theater and you'll see why such a suggestion is needed.

I can remember when signs asked ladies to remove their hats.

No, really. Oh, wait a minute, maybe I saw that in a movie.

Unfortunately there was another sign in this theater that came close but was a little dated. It said "No Mobiles or Pagers."

Thanks for stopping by.

I still carry my camera into theaters but never take pictures during a screening. "Pirates" lurk there and I don't want to be bounced out the door.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

RIP Patrick Stuckart.

A good friend of mine died a few days ago.

Patrick Stuckart will be missed.

He was a long time member of my local Photography Group and often gave mini-tutorials at our meetings.

An expert on Photoshop, Pat would share his knowledge and encourage our photographers and wannabes to experiment with this photo tool.

Warm, creative and humorous, this fun-loving Irishman made instant friends.

He also showed great examples of manipulating photos and finding new ways to present visual treats. Here he took a photo of adding machine paper rolls and, using his Photoshop skills, created a unique piece of framed art.

Green of course was his favorite color and March 17 was much, much more than just a date on the calendar.

Last night at our monthly meeting, we offered a salute to Patrick.

The toast was done in a way we know would have brought a grin to his face.

So long, Patrick.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swing & Sway...

I was invited to a birthday party a few days ago.

No, it wasn't a kid's birthday celebration.

This was just one way to amuse the youngsters.

Sort of a Cinco de Mayo theme?

Again my friend explained it was HIS birthday.

So I asked "Is there an Adult Pinata?"

"Of course," he replied.

"Is it filled with candy like this one." I pursued?

"No, it's filled with miniatures."

"Miniature chocolates?"

"You know, the 1.7 oz. bottles we used to have in South Carolina and on airplanes."

It was a nice afternoon party.

(Click on the picture for details.)

Yes, you're right. Tiny glass bottles would break.

These were an assortment of plastic bottles of booze.

The birthday guy decided to let the kids swing away at our Pinata.

That didn't take long.

Only one bottle actually was smashed.

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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Boeing...Boeing and session musicians.

You may recall that last November I was turned away at the gate to Boeing.

Kicked off their property.

Me and my pesky intrusive camera.

Drove by a few days ago but, this time, stayed on the public highway.

Had heard the newly-painted 787 for Air India was parked out front for delivery.

Actually, there were "4 li'l India's standing in a row."

Not quite a 6-pack and not all "made in South Carolina."

Several had been flown in from Washington state or the place in Texas where the planes are painted.

Didn't ask anybody for details on where they came from. I got the shots I wanted.
Then I headed to a music venue place where I am more welcome - Home Team BBQ in West Ashley.

The Joe Taylor Group was scheduled to play Friday night.

I sampled their sound online and knew a live performance would be even better.

I read they were noted studio session band guys who had played with many well-known stars. (For details and sample tracks, click on the link).

It was a terrific evening as they played for a crowd of family and friends.

Joe, NY session guitarist, producer & composer, was the leader and sang.

Sean O'Bryan Smith thumped bass and Steve Holley was on drums.

Holley had played with Paul McCartney in WINGS.

The tour bus parked outside was nearly the size of a 787.

Well, it looked pretty big. In the dark.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

You'd think Boeing would want MORE pictures now that they're finally cranking out the new planes.

I know Joe Taylor thanked me for coming by...with my camera.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Developing photos in the Old West....

Recently I saw some spectacular 1880s photos of the Old West.

Dramatic shots of cowboys and of Indians and mesas and buttes and canyons.

Man, I envisioned the hardships the cameraman had to endure to snap those.

Then I thought about the entire photo process in those bygone days.

You didn't just drop film off at Walgreen's and gallop back a month later to pick up the pictures. A field darkroom wagon is shown here, drawn by four sturdy mules.

I did something like that in the 1950s as a Marine photographer in the wilds of Vieques Island.

Just off the east coast of Puerto Rico, today Vieques is a vacation resort with deluxe condos but 52 years ago it was owned by the US Navy and Marines trained amphibious landings there all year long.

Oh sure, I had a Speed Graphic camera that used holders of 4x5 Kodak film.

I didn't have to coat glass plates with collodium and silver nitrate and shoot before they dried as it was done in the Civil War, but there was no corner drug store either.

The Marine Corps had done this before. We brought along a field darkroom and set it up in, well, the field.

The Lab was covered by a large tent to keep it shaded and was divided into a light side for storage and a dark side where I processed film and made small contact prints.

In the middle was a cooling fan where I kept bottles of Coke and my supply of Bacardi Rum.

I was stationed there for 4 months of winter, assigned to cover a tank battalion . Brr. Tropics.

On weekends, instead of having to clean a tank, I'd either go to San Juan or to Roosevelt Roads, the Naval base, to make large black and white prints for the Battalion Colonel.

He liked my work. I liked my tan.
It was unfortunate I later had to hitch hike back to Camp Lejeune, N.C. and spend a night at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But, that's another story.

(The photos will not enlarge very much.)

The originals were quite small and produced under primitive field conditions. It was rough, I tell yah.

Would you like a Rum & Coke?

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

It's All In The Timing...

Somebody told me my tomatoes will all ripen at the same time.

Huh? Can this be true?

There's about 15-20 little green ones hanging there right now.

I buy two tomatoes at the store and hope to use the second one before it gets all squishy.

What do you do with a dozen at once?

This may be a set back to my status as a veteran farmer.

I adopted that title after earning my Green Thumb by planting a small patch of wheat when I lived in Kansas.

It was just outside of Kansas City, Missouri.

You could gather my whole Winter Wheat crop with your two arms forming a circle.

My then-wife suggested I pull it up from her garden and throw it away. "You can't eat wheat," she said.

I'll always remember that line!

Years later, I planted a crop of peanuts when I lived in Tallahassee, Florida.

It WAS fairly close to Plains, Georgia.

And, I HAD met President Carter.

Not too unusual to think about peanuts.

But I must have done something wrong.

They didn't come up "boiled."

(Click on the photos for more details.)

When it snowed, I called the Kansas Wheat Commission and asked what I should do about the snow?

They seemed confused when I asked if I should brush it off or ignore it.

I left the little plot alone and it was just fine.

This alone should have earned me the title Farmer of the Year.

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