Thursday, November 27, 2014

A-CHOO.....a-choo ...a-choo. And, that's 3.

 A common topic right now is the Common Cold.

Aah - Choo!

Some say that "sound" is short for  Autosomal Dominant 

Compelling Helioopthalmic 


In many cases, the response is "God 

bless you."

Like others around the Lowcountry, I have been working my way though many of the tiresome symptoms.

My doctor told me he had tried some over the counter meds and they helped him get some very much needed sleep.

Not quite through with this seasonal malady yet but can see the tissue box at the end of the tunnel.

I found that toilet paper is not the best thing to use for a runny nose absorption, but was better than a soggy handkerchief.

Kleenex is a registered trade marked name and I learned years ago in journalism class that it should have the-R-in-a-circle symbol

I have looked for a page of such symbols and, finally, gave up.

My intention was righteous.

These funny cartoons referring to the "Common Cold" all have a point to make.

And, as they say, laughter is good medicine.

Looks like we got a sunny break today for Thanksgiving gatherings and dinners.

But those with a head cold don't want to share that at a family gathering.

And those who have not been infected yet would just as soon pass.

In my case, it's Day 4 and I am feeling a bit more energetic.

Went for my semi-annual checkup yesterday and I called the doctor's office beforehand to say I have a head cold.

They said "it's going around" and they had flu masks available at the front desk.

I walked into the empty waiting room, donned a mask and sat back to check my phone for messages.

As others entered, they saw me in a mask and they got one to keep the protection shield working.

Group dynamics.

When the doctor thumped my chest and had me take several deep breaths, he said there were no rattling sounds inside me.

When I left, I kept the mask handy because I planned to stop at the grocery store.

It's not like it was going to be re-used for another patient!

With the mask on, people tend to keep their distance as you roll your cart past them in the store.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

I did stock up on navel oranges and some more aspirin.

And, yes, I had had my annual flu shot a few weeks ago.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shoshone vs Mohawk

 While I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming last week, I saw an impressive statute of Chief Washakie.

It stands out in front of the state capitol.

He was the leader of the Shoshone tribe for 60 years.

History describes him as a moderate who negotiated a large tract of good land for his people.

Later, of course, there were incursions on the property but Chief Washakie was a wise ruler and held his own.

The temperature was hovering in the teens/ low twenties so this was a "quick" shot.

I wanted to duck into the capitol and get out of the frigid and fierce Cheyenne Wind.

I had lived in Kansas long ago and the wind came sweeping across the plains, slowed only by barbed wire and wooden posts.

Later, I had dinner at Sandfords Grub & Pub, downtown on a busy Saturday night.

My brother got an 8 oz steak and a baked potato that might have weighed several pounds. It was huge.

I opted for a grilled chicken "burger" with mixed veggies on the side.

Our server came by often, promising our food would be here "soon." That actually dragged out to about 30 minutes but, finally we could start to eat.

When she brought the check, she said the manager had comped the meal because of the long wait. My brother asked if the manager could stop by - he wanted to kiss her!

The manager had a distinctive, well-groomed hair style and chin whiskers. A hand shake instead of a kiss.

With the cold temps, and the howling wind, probably a good idea to grow his hair long for extra warmth.

After I got back from Wyoming, I was seated down front for the James Taylor concert at the Coliseum. He was backed by a 10-piece talented band.

What a terrific almost 3-hour show!

I was a typical audience member, growing up with his music in the 60s and 70s.

The first of his five Grammy Awards was "Fire and Rain," followed in 1972, by "You've Got A Friend."

In his more than 40-year musical career, he has sold more than 100,000,000 albums. Yikes.

If you click the link, I found the evening's set list.

I am sure you will find many memorable songs that you enjoyed growing up.

Drums, congas, penny whistle, violin, accordion,  saxophone, bass guitar, three backup singers and an array of keyboards.

The show was spectacular and had the crowd on it's feet quite a few times.

The lighting and sound was so good, you forgot your chair was sitting above the hockey ice surface in a large arena.

I think everyone in the world now has a phone or tablet to take photographs.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

After seeing the heads full of hair up in Wyoming, Taylor's bald
pate really stood out.

He spent the 20-minute intermission, sitting on the front edge of the stage, signing photos, some albums and posed for hundreds of pictures/.

When he got up to start the second set, he whipped out his soft hat and wore that for the rest of the show.

I came home and saw that I had his vinyl album "Sweet Baby James" sitting in front of my extensive CD collection.

I also still have a turntable. Might crank that up in a day or two.

Nice hair James.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's OK to "look sharp"....

This happens to be a Cedar-planked salmon brought to my table while still flaming.

The plank was burning and the fish was delicious.

I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming and worried that my choices for seafood would be limited to local trout.

Not a bad meal but I saw this on the menu and chose this instead.

Chile was where this came from and it was prepared great on a cold and blustery night.

My younger brother and I had made a hasty flight to Wyoming to say goodbye to our older brother who had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He was at home with Hospice.

He was aware we were there and I saw he was surrounded by family and love. I am happy for that!

He passed peacefully on Tuesday morning.

In his honor, that afternoon I stopped by a saloon next to the downtown historic train depot and had a beer in his name.

I asked the bartender what it meant on the napkin that this was also a "Liquormart?"

The obvious answer was you could step into another part of the room and buy bottled spirits to go.

No, there were no big red dots on the front of the building.

Just a snug bar, a few afternoon workmen in heavy overalls taking a break and plenty of empty tables and chairs awaiting the dinner crowd.

We had flown into Denver on Saturday and rented a car to drive the hundred or so miles up to the Wyoming Capital city. It was snowing lightly but the roads were salted and plowed so no problem.

I have written before about my older brother Jerry, although his friends and family up here knew him as Virgil.

Our Dad was Virgil Gerald Boyd and his first son was a Junior.

The Boyd Brothers ran all around Charleston growing up.

Well, all around Ansonborough.

Kids played pretty close to home back then, usually in the neighborhood, so we could hear when we were called in for supper.

In those days, my older brother was also my taller brother  but it wasn't long after I entered my teens, he became just older, not taller.

Even my younger brother surpassed Jerry in height.

Poor guy!

Let's just say he never had to duck his head when coming through a doorway.

I don't really recall the WWII war years but apparently Mom would take her two boys for a walk up the few blocks from Society Street to Marion Square.

Maybe it was still the Citadel in the 1940s? I'll have to look that up.

I guess my Dad was taking the picture and I look like the attentive photographer I would become in the future.

At least he followed the Eastman Kodak suggestion that you stand with the sun shining over your right shoulder.

We were not squinting so, all in all, Dad, I approve this picture.

I'm guessing he did not say "Smile."

And, yes, my right hand IS clinging to my Mom's dress.

Taller brother is keeping an alert eye.

I was able to meet his extended family as they popped in and out and see the love and care they had for my brother.

His daughter was being assisted by Hospice and they delivered what was promised: peace, comfort and dignity for the patient.

Quietly in the background, they attended to his needs.

They kept him as alert as possible while adding moral and spiritual support to the entire family.

Most importantly, we were able to look at pictures and videos that showed how healthy, happy and active he had been.

Several years before, his daughter had suggested he move up to Wyoming and be embraced by family. He quickly  made friends and a church connection.

He was re-married the end of September and looked forward to a nice, comfortable life but medical problems arose and accelerated his decline.

The house was filled with an array of babies!

New life being celebrated and his pastor was there to comfort his soul.

My younger brother and I are pleased we got the timing right and were able to communicate - mainly through our talking and mutual hand squeezes - that he knew we were there for him.

I hope he knows I still looked up to him even after I grew taller.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Oh, the headline! We drove back to Denver after his passing and ate at Timberline Steak House, near Gate 39C at the airport. Because of the cute name, I had the Mile High Club sandwich and my brother ordered a thick steak.

Looked great but he was having a problem cutting it with a table knife. We were told no sharp knives were allowed in the airport area. He asked if the chef had one? "Of course," smiled the server.

"Then please have him cut my steak into small pieces," brother responded. The plate was shortly returned, the meat neatly cut and a fresh order of french fries heaped alongside.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Possibly, I am offended...

But, technically, the terms do work.

And I usually do look forward to comments.

This, doggone it, is a bit harsh.

Wonder how long Rover has been responding to the blog pictured?

In dog years, of course.

Would a blogger lift a hand to stop the dog from lifting a leg?

Free speech...sorta.

(I DID laugh when I saw it.)

(And shared it.)

(And will make sure the credit is shown.)

Maybe the artist will receive comments.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 I had been in Prague a few days and had trouble figuring out what most of the signs meant.

I don't speak (or read) Czech so I was pleased when I saw a sign that I could decipher.

And I was right.

Here they spoke English and I was able to read the beer menu.

Oh, and choose an appetizer.

This was at the end of a tour of the Municipal House. The tour ticket included a BOGO (Buy One Get One free) at the bar downstairs.

I know I should have been going oh and aw at this fantastic collection of art Nouveau architecture.

Next door I had admired - and then - walked through the arch beneath the Power Tower.


But there were so many beautiful sights, everywhere you looked.

The guide books and tours we took kept explaining Prague had been spared the ravages of war and many buildings dated back to the 14th Century or earlier.

Of course, it had been occupied by Germany during WWII and then by Communists until 1990.

This city has Prague Castle on a hill overlooking the Vitava River and the famed Charles Bridge, started in 1357 and finished in the 15th Century.

What was really needed was something more modern, as a counterpoint to all this preserved beauty.

So Frank Gehry came up with "Dancing House."

He's the man who designed the shiny Disney Center in downtown Los Angeles and the "Paper Sack" building in Sydney, Australia.

He also - on camera - gave his critics the finger.

This visitor delight is also called the "Ginger & Fred,"alluding to the dance team's motions of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

I can see a tango going on there.

The day I saw it, there were signs proclaiming the rooftop bar was open until midnight.

I covered over that.

Posters wrapped around pillars on the ground floor, advertising clients who had offices there.

Yeah, Photoshop and I minimized those.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the phone number prospective tenants could call to book space in this unusual-looking "house."

I also removed several street lights, overhead wires and a traffic signal that really had to  go. You're welcome Frank!

On Kampa Island, a park overlooking the Charles Bridge, I walked over a small tributary with a water wheel.

I was told to look for the locks and I pictured scenes from Amsterdam where large locks could be opened and closed with huge wheels to control the water levels in the many canals.

Well, Duh. NOT that kind of locks.

These multi-hued little items signified unending love by couples who snapped a lock on the railing and then tossed the key into the water.

A few were cute but I think there is a lot of love and devotion here and perhaps this has gotten out of hand.

I just read about a bridge in Paris that was so loaded down with these types of love tokens that the structure itself suffered from the increased weight.

I just gave up on trying to frame a shot with locks all around it. The photographer attempting to do that became my picture.

When you are in Prague, and the evening light starts to change, you look up at Prague Castle (Prazssky Hrad) and try to capture the grandeur of structures dating back to the 9th Century.

I had spent hours up there admiring the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Bohemian Crown Jewels and St. George's Basilica.

Great views from the balcony where kings and rulers had stood and looked over their domain.

It is still the seat of Czech government.

Like most of the European cities I have visited, walking is the best way to see things.

Go where large tour buses can't squeeze in.

Try to avoid the marching troops of tourists following a guide holding up an umbrella and probably saying, in Czech, follow me.

Sit at a sidewalk table and do some people-watching. Sip a coffee and eat some cake.

That's where people pass on their way to and from work, rushing on errands, or looking for a place to buy a romantic lock and key.

And, as you wander and wonder, look up now and then.

You are probably being watched from above.

These guys are everywhere and a zoom lens helps bring them closer for inspection.

That's when you notice the small wires protruding from their back to ward off pigeons.

Pigeons aren't the only problem.

Accumulated grime (for centuries?) has to be removed and facades cleaned.

I saw a huge church undergoing such a cleaning and restoration project.

Each section being reclaimed was covered by a huge scrim,  painted to show the "before" that would be perfected by the process that would be the "after."

David Cerny, internationally famous Czech sculptor, was asked to do his magic on the Zizkov Television tower, looming 216 meters above the city.

His vision resulted in space-age giant babies crawling up and down, all over the shiny tower.

My view, even with a long telephoto lens, gives the feeling but not the crisp details.

The link gives the background on how and why the Zizkov Tower was "enhanced."

The officials approved and the citizens love it.

I wish I had sought out other examples of his work.

(Click on the photos to see more detail).

Again I have to comment how nice it is to go over your pictures after the trip is over.

Relive moments. Remember sights. Share the adventure with others.

Yeah, you could say I love photography.

Film and digital.

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lack of light.....helps black & white photography.

Billy Thompson and his band came down from "D.C."

That's like in Washington, D.C.,
he added.

This was Friday night at Home Team, on Sullivan's Island.

Roaming around down south for a while, heading to Atlanta next then wrapping up the 2-month road trip tour in Birmingham, Alabama.

Long time to be traveling for one night stands.

Actually, he had played at Prohibition on King Street, the night before.

I saw he was originally scheduled to be the headliner in Columbia at the 20th annual Blues Festival.

I've attended several of those events, held usually in November - whatever weekend USC had a bye or an away game.

Martin Luther King Park at Five Points is relatively uncrowded at that time during college football season

Don't know why but the 20th did not happen this year.

Probably involving lack of sponsors.

Whatever, it brought a stellar performer down our way and the crowd at Home Team and Prohibition had a talented treat.

Earlier, Wednesday night, I was sitting at the bar in The Mill, watching as the 4-person band got set to play.

The stage area is rather small and one player or another always seemed to be wandering out of the band space.

Traveling Broke and Out of Gas  were preparing to dish out some "Bastard Americana" as they call it.

Cody Hall, on lead guitar and vocals. was joined by Rachael Yanni, strong voiced and working hard on a scrub board.

The band, from Lafayette, Indiana, often switch instruments, even in the middle of a set, so nothing was really carved in stone.

Cody shuffled around and took his turn in the back on the drums, Rachel put aside the washboard and sang original songs, amid instrumental diversity and worked the lyrical magic.

They have produced three complete albums, and do national and regional tours.

Their site says they appear in coffee shops, dive bars (thank you Mill with no cover charge), stadiums, concert halls and even on street corners.

It was an evening of folk/blues/rock/ with some hill country twang thrown in for good measure.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

 Not for color though, it was a B&W kind of week.

*My right eye cataract surgery was done early the next morning and my vision has improved greatly. Now both eyes are working together again.


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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Midweek Mini-Pub Crawl on Folly Beach...

 The key element of a pub crawl at the beach is simple: beer.

Another smart addition is parking your car and walking from spot to spot.

I found that mid-week in October is a good time to check-in to a beach front property.

Great location and not a bad price.

Certainly less expensive than getting a DUI. And a lot safer too.

No meters so parked on Center Street, right across from City hall (ever notice the shark hanging over the entrance to a lawyer's office.) Some sort of professional courtesy.

Technically, I did stop on Folly Road to revisit The Bohemian Bull for a beer.

The nice bartender lady was kind enough to suggest I might enjoy having another one at The Barrel, a new place, just before you cross the two bridges - still being expanded - and drive onto Folly Island.

No problem when you're only about a mile from parking the car for the next 24 hours.

So one beer there and a
chance to admire the dog-friendly areas out back.

Not only plenty of room to run, but also a body of water just begging for Labradors to check out.

Bring your tennis ball.

This where I heard the old Toll Booth stood during a period when it took a ticket to ride.

The door is a sturdy barrel - complete with iron straps around the staves.

Well not an actual barrel. Just a thick "slice of one."

Got to Folly, parked the car and checked into the hotel to see what kind of view is afforded from the 7th floor of the 9-story lodging. Way cool!

In plain sight were a half-dozen places where I planned to drop in and sample their brews.

It was still Daylight Saving Time so I had a nice. sunny afternoon ahead of me. I started atop Skipped Jack's, my previous favorite place to have an overview.

Now, I was looking down on it. LOL.

Checked out Rita's, The Crab Shack, Planet Follywood and the cozy Jack of Cups Saloon next to it that used to have a sign out from that said "NOPE."

Well, until 5pm, then the "N" was moved to the far right to say "OPEN."

Saw some beach whimsy next to "The Shack" with several small, gaily-painted joggling boards.

Nobody was sitting on them and I have had the experience of explaining to a visiting New Yorker what they were and how they were used.

He also had never tasted boiled peanuts before.

Without smiling, I advised him to open them first and throw away the shell.

He thanked me for that bit of shared knowledge from a native.

I'm not saying the island was deserted.

But, looking down from Skipper Jack's at the only traffic light on the island, it was not exactly buzzing with cars, bikes and surfer dudes.

My membership card in the Sand Dollar Social Club had expired but if you have the old one, you can get a new one for one dollar and not have to wait 24 hours to use it.

I saw that quirk being explained to a couple just inside the door and asked if they would be allowed to come in as my guest.

They were extended guest privileges and still bought a card to use another day.

Feeling good that I had helped a fellow traveler, I ambled up to Taco Boy for a bite ..and a Dos Equis.

I recall when that building had formerly been the Islander Shag Club, restored after severe damage from Hurricane Hugo more than 25 years ago. I even came and helped build the deck out back that still stands.

Another beer and a snack at the Surf Bar, which was decorated for the upcoming Halloween hijinks.

Funky and relatively crowded - for a Wednesday - I looked around and had to ask about a particularly gruesome figure with a rat in its teeth.

It was looking down over the crowd at the bar and I was told the owner of the bar saw it in one of those airline magazines _ Sky Mart? - and thought it would look great in the "Best Bar On Folly Beach" as his sign proclaims out front.

Some cotton was stuffed in the mouth as foam, a hand-made palmetto rose added for class and no reason was given for the dangling rat.

Could not tell if the fire hat was an authentic one from the FBFD. My eyes were tired and my bed at TIDES was calling me.
 This is the sight that greeted me from my 7th floor aerie the next morning.

Obviously I had slept through what I am sure was a fantastic sunrise but this pleased my eye.

I have many photographer friends who trek out to the beach to catch a sunrise (or sunset) here and they produce terrific results.

Have not seen one from this elevated angles.

$99 for a good night's sleep, listening to the gentle roar of the surf.

If you live here, enjoy the treasures we have in our own backyard.

(Click on the photos for details.)

Of course, moderation in all things.

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Two Visitors to our Holy City...

I used to work for the daily metro newspaper in San Diego back in the 1960s.

It was a fun and fulfilling time, working with editors and reporters and the other staff photographers.

Looking back on it, I realize having that type of position allowed me to go many places others could not.

I met Presidents of the United States, Congressmen, heads of corporations and noted scientists.

Also saw many people at a bad time in their lives.

Usually I was carrying a big camera and a press pass that opened many doors.

I reflect on those bygone days with a group of former editorial men and women at the Copley newspapers. The group is called "The 919 Gang, "which was the address of the newspaper plant back when it was located downtown.

Jack Reber, a dedicated former co-worker,  had retired and took over the role of editor of a daily newsletter he compiles and emails to more than 500 "Gang" members. Naturally, we call ourselves Gangsters and submit items to share with the others. 

Here's one I just sent in.

"CHUCK BOYD writes: 

Got an email from fellow "Gangster" T.R.Reinman, a sportswriter for the S.D. Tribune/Union-Tribune, 1981-2000.

He does other stuff now but contacted me to say he and his wife Nancy were fortunate enough to be visiting Charleston, S.C., over Halloween.  

T.R. wanted to know if I could join them for lunch and maybe provide some pointers and suggestions for enjoying the Holy City, my hometown.

He had me at "Rebergram" so I took them on a mini-walking tour through the Historic District on a bright and shining 70-degree Friday morning.

They stood at the tip of the peninsula and I pointed out where the Ashley River and the Cooper River come together to form the Atlantic Ocean. 

We toured and walked and I showed them a photographer's secret that should work in many places. 

We rode the elevator up to the roof of a 5-story parking garage so he could take a picture of the stately St. Phillips church ABOVE the criss-crossing wires that clutter the shot at street level.

I also snapped a shot of him in reporter mode. 

He still carries a notebook and jots down details and reminders of places he's seen. In the background is St. Michael's church, dating back to the 1700s.

I did mention we have a lot of churches, hence the nickname the Holy City. 

Ships entering the harbor for hundreds of years saw many steeples and other buildings were not allowed to be taller.

That's eased now and we even have a twin Hyatt going up downtown.

One picture captured several facets of my booming destination city: a cruise ship's stack looms over historic buildings, sightseeing vans are pulled up at the curb and a horse-drawn carriage clops by.

In the background. the 8-lane Ravenel Bridge was opened in 2005 and was designed to look like sails in the harbor.

Their second day here, temps dropped, it rained and their planned harbor cruise out to Fort Sumter was scrubbed. 

Instead, they shopped in the centuries-old City Market and sampled a variety of dining spots. 

When we had lunch at an Irish pub, I introduced them to Shrimp & grits.

They leave Sunday, heading south for a day in Savannah.

If other 919ers are headed this way, let me know. I can show you the source of the Atlantic Ocean."

It is fun to take visitors around and show off what some people have named the #1 U.S.A. travel destination...four years in a row.

When I was roaming around Europe in September, I had to wonder that the same publication said its readers named Charleston the best destination in the World.


I like my hometown, and love to show it off. but I though London was swell and Berlin and Paris looked good too.

I was not invited to vote.

We hold our own I am sure in some areas but I like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia a lot.

But, I digress. 

These visitors live in San Diego and know navy ships.

(Two - yes two - aircraft carriers are tourism attractions in their harbor.)

I remarked when I was showing them our one carrier across from the Aquarium, that the ship going by was new to me.

It had the look of a catamaran with twin hulls and T.R. said he thought it was one of the Navy's "stealth" ships.

I don't know but, as a former newsman, I intend to find out.

When I do, I'll share it with you.

It was headed down the Cooper River, one of the two that form the Atlantic Ocean.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Seriously, they live in San Diego and never had tasted shrimp & grits.

I try to be helpful.

*Editor note: the two Halloween-costumed people at the top were not my visitors, and the close up of the cruise ship shows the very high water slide right behind the stack. Yikes!

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