Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Day With The Troops...

Well, at the 11th annual Battle of Charleston, you expect to see men in gray working their butts off loading and firing cannons. 
And muskets. 
And pistols.

They are aiming at guys in blue, who, as I heard someone say today, "are working for Union scale."

But, this year, it was more than JUST the War Between The States, The War of Northern Aggression or, even, the Recent Unpleasantness.
The organizers also included Robert E. Lee (David Chaltas, a reenactor and author from Kentucky) hobnobbing with Citadel cadets garbed in WWII outfits.

The "General" was all over Legare Farm this Saturday, encouraging his troops and staying in character throughout.

Also highly visible were Redcoats representing the Revolutionary war and German and American soldiers looking over wares together in a field "PX"  before performing drama from the "Battle of the Bulge" in World War two.

Back to the past. And some curious - and funny - juxtapositions.

One bonus for me on this day of military  time travel was the chance to once again hold in my hands a Garand M-1.

The last time was in 1960 when I turned mine in on leaving the Marines to accept a college scholarship.

I had forgotten they weigh about 10 pounds and are almost four feet long. And that's before you are told to "Fix bayonet"!

The ladies were there in their 1860s fashions and I was able to pose a situation that had gone through my mind before.

The reality of modern and historic coming to a head, so to speak.

She was gracious and smiling, and I think, the caption says it all.

I met 10-year old Bryson Boosinter at the front gate when I first arrived and, later, when he was drumming on the field of battle amidst the smoke and noise and falling bodies.

His parents checked to make sure all the elements of his uniform were correct, and in place, and off he went to march to his own drummer.

I saw a private in the 3rd US Infantry, Company G, was a bit distracted as he was standing watch over the Civil War-era campsite.

I caught him taking a sip of water from his canteen and joined in, screwing off the cap of my plastic bottle of natural spring water. He stayed in character.

I ended my afternoon as the blue and the gray came together to "parlay" and fire some black powder volleys with their muskets.

There was at least another skirmish on tap but I needed to head home.

The whole show repeats again tomorrow at Legare Farm on Johns Island.

The weather was bright and sunny today and they forecast similar for Sunday.

The other "war" happens Sunday in the 49th Super Bowl so I'll be camped in front of the big screen tv. No hardtack, goobers, or Johnnie cakes for me.

It's pepperoni pizza time.

Soon we will not be a nation divided.

The Seattle Seahawks or the New England Patriots will prevail and peace will come to the land.

Did I mention I love pizza?

(Click on the photos for some amazing details.)

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mural restoration....dots before my eyes.

A friend of mine, Joan Perry, posted on her blog her picture of the faded and marred mural seen on one wall of the Sotille Theater.

It is covered with adhesive "dots" left when tiles were taken down.

Not sure why it was covered over  but, during a restoration,  this hidden treasure was revealed.

My brothers and I grew up living on the peninsula and attended movies at all of the places downtown. The Riviera, Majestic, American and Palace.

We knew this as the Gloria Theater.

Frankly, I remember the blue sky overhead in a large circle - with little white lights for stars - but I don't recall large paintings on either wall.

I was a kid and more interested in the movie playing and making trips to the lobby for popcorn, sodas and candy.

Joan did research on its history and said plans are to restore it to its former glory.

Heck, I am impatient and sat for a while applying effects from my Topaz Plug-In. It's like Photoshop.

 Here is my version of how I think it will look.

Thank you Joan for your delightful blog which inspired me to start mine 8 years ago. I did all this editing of your photo without permission from you to do so. Yikes.

Like my habit of belated fact-checking, I jumped the gun and hope you are pleased.

(Click on both to see the before and the after.)

One of the Topaz tools lets me adjust the perspective a bit, to make it appear more square.

Of course, the camera does not lie.

* wink * wink

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Fervid fans....

A recent visiting photog friend lives in Seattle. 

Well, his house is there but he works overseas. In Germany.

Frequently he has relatives come from Washington state to visit and he conducts mini-tours all around Europe.

Now I know he also stuffs his Seattle Seahawks Fan Flag in his backpack. 

Driving him around taking pictures on the Isle of Palms, he had me jam on the brakes in front of a house painted - to me - an unsettling shade of green.

Bet the neighbors love that person!

He gets back home to Seattle several times a year but happened to be in Paris when his team came from behind to set their sights on a back-to-back Super Bowl.

Just after the horrific terrorist attack there, police and nerves were on edge so he was discreet as he quietly celebrated with his team.  

In his backpack, he also carries a smaller "12th Man" banner with him.

I appreciate that kind of fan loyalty and wonder if the symbol right now for the New England Patriots is a deflated football?

That would easily fit in someone's luggage or

Speaking of avid fans, I enjoyed the three comic headliners brought in for the Theatre 99's 12th annual Charleston Comedy Festival.

The Sotille Theater was the venue for all three and gave me different experiences for each show.

Hannibal Buress came out and immediately told us that people walk up to him and say "you're that rapist guy!"

He corrects them and says "Bill Cosby is the rapist."

He had mentioned Cosby one time during a comedy bit and said the man should stop worrying about young men wearing their pants too low and, instead he should keep his pants on!

The now well-known tale of a younger Cosby allegedly doping young ladies and abusing them sexually is what prompted Buress' reference. 

A video of him saying that surfaced on You Tube and went viral.

He mentioned it several times this night at the Sotille and added people said he should "protect" Cosby's legend.

To that he responded "Well, OK, regarding his legacy, let's stop calling the date rape drug a "roofie" and start calling it a "cosby."

 The mainly young crowd seemed to like that and applauded.

Naturally, as usual, I believe I was the oldest person in the audience and perhaps had deeper appreciation of Cosby humor as a stand up comic, long before his hit tv family series.

Remember "Noah?"

Buress presented an interesting stage presence.

A DJ was set up onstage for 30 minutes before the show started, playing rap.

He remained there at the back of the huge, deep stage bringing up sound bites as part of the innovative take on different rap artists ...repeating just a few words of the tag line.

Guess you had to be there.

Two ladies came out at the end to dance around,  doing ballet-type moves and the strange mixture oddly enough all came together nicely.

The next night I saw a more "traditional" stand up comic in 32-year old SNL alum John Mulvaney.

As the link explains he worked with
Bill Hader to create the Stefon character.

He came out and looked at the wooden stool with one bottle of water on the floor and another atop the stool.

"Ah, just the way I wanted it... in case I happen to fall down during my presentation," he quipped.

The house lights were kept up as Mulvaney had us laughing so I tried to time taking a picture of him looking away.

Comedians really don't like cameras and videos.

A good routine that ends up on You Tube takes away some of the spontaneous comedic impact when performed again later in another venue.

They also don't like to have their concentration broken either.

I respect that.

The third headliner - Doug Benson - was a delight on many levels.

The audience was high on Doug and, possibly, vice versa.

He encourages his fans to tweet - during the show  - and he looks around the venue and calls out names of those who tweeted!

Then reads what they said and gives a comic ad lib reaction.


On his movie podcast, he has people compete to be the last one standing in naming movies by a particular actor.

Six fans in the know came with prepared signs and banners to be selected to go up on the stage.

 They were challenged to name the different movies starring  DenzelWashington. Wow, there were a lot and they did well.

Eventually a single guy holding an ALF doll was the winner of a red sack filed with weird gifts.

Throughout the show Benson was enamored of the logo and name "Kickin' Chicken" that was on the cup he carried and sipped from.

He asked the audience to shout out alternate names for the local eatery and decided he liked Rockin' Rooster.

Did I mention all of his humor was marijuana related?

The Sotille is a non-smoking venue.

Of anything.

But he suggested some entrepreneurs go out and start a restaurant named after the rooster.

Maybe he was getting the munchies?

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Monday, January 12, 2015

"Hey, weight a minnit..."

Joe Weider, the man behind the famed body-builder
Arnold Schwarzenegger, now has turned his attention to me and my body.

Believe me, I need all the help I can get!

Well, Mr. Weider is not giving me a hand personally.

I just bought a used home weight system with his name on it and I have high hopes.

Yes, it's only early January in 2015 but already such exercise equipment is on sale. Found this on Craigslist.

I noticed it was dusty.

In a few more weeks I suppose the crowds will be smaller at gyms and fitness centers as reality overpowers even the most sincere best intended New Year's resolutions.

 This 200-pound machine was purchased at Sears and delivered in a large box on a big truck to its new owner three months ago.

I searched last week for one like this - or similar - and Craigslist popped up with this winner.

I called because the price was lower than at the stores. Did he still have it for sale?

Yes he did and I drove over - using my Smartphone's GPS  to navigate -  and pulled up in his driveway.

About a month ago, he had removed the Weider 6900 from the box and carefully assembled it in his garage.

I did not ask why, after only a month, he had decided he didn't need it. Who knows, maybe a month from now, I too might offer it up for sale?

Fortunately, I have plenty of room for exercise equipment.

My dad, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, had built his 50' x 20' workshop after they moved from the peninsula (Ansonborough) to Hanahan in 1962.

I call this my "Charleston Basement"  because of all the space I have downstairs.

And to watch eyebrows raise to envision anyone having a basement in our below-sea-level-Lowcountry.

After my dad had passed away, I found Lowe's would sell "mistake-mixed" paints very cheaply so I brightened up the spacious but dull workshop with bright colors.

 I had toyed with the idea of moving up to a full weight bench with metal plates and barbells.

Did not like the idea of trying to press heavy weights without a "spotter" to insure I did not have a mishap while alone and be in trouble.

(I had a boat for years and did not go out alone. Less boating but more shared good times with others on board.)

Instead, I liked the idea of ten weights (12.5 pounds each) which could be combined and moved with pulleys and cables to provide varied resistance as I worked on different parts of my body.

I quickly learned that you balance the number of rep(ititions)
 you do versus the weights involved.

Different results if you lifted heavier loads fewer times or more times with  less weights.

This came with a nice chart showing about 36 different ways to tone specific muscles.

And suggested regimens to set and meet specific body building goals.

I am so glad the previous owner had patiently - and correctly - put all of these parts together.

It works smoothly and I am experimenting with using a different number of heavy plates.

After only 3 days of working out ways to work out, I feel this is working out well.

The "basement," over the years, has seen several treadmills come and go. The last two came from Play It Again, Sports

When one burned out (the mother board started smoking!) the guys helped me choose my current Horizon model.

They do this a lot and made moving in the new and hauling out the old a simple procedure.

I just walk (fast) instead of jogging or running on my treadmill and that takes 30 minutes of my 5x a week exercising.

I did the annual Bridge Run for 13 years - walking rather than running.

Did my first run, er, walk, the last year the 2-lane John P. Grace was used; many years on the 3-lane Pearman,  and did my final walk on the 8-lane Ravenel.

So, until the city builds a new bridge across the Cooper River, I guess that's it for me.

But my walking continues.

The treadmill faces a small tv set, and, using my ROKU, I can stream Netflix movies and series onto the screen and be entertained.

It makes the half-hour walk more interesting.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

As noted earlier, this is my 800th posting on my 8-year old blog.

I started Web Logging a few years after I retired from The Post and Courier, my 200+ years old local newspaper.

I've written about a diet I started early last summer so this new phase of exercise equipment continues that weight-loss effort.

Yes, I am using weights to lose weight.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Interesting weather....

A few days ago I hosted an out-of-town photographer friend and we rallied through a rainy, foggy weekend.

Got sort of damp but never really soaked. We deftly stepped inside the Sand Dollar Social Club on Folly Beach as a cell of tremendous rain slowly passed, dumping torrents of water down from the sky.

My white Saturn was parked at the curb and, as I watched, the gutter filled, then overflowed toward the front door.

Inside, bar regulars were recounting the many time such a storm had hit at high tide and a barrier had to be put in place to keep out the watery invader.

This was happening at low tide and fortunately, quickly subsided.

It was too wet for a chance to hike out past the washout surfing part of the beach to the end of the island.

Wanted to have my friend try some shots of the iconic lighthouse, sitting out from shore on the "missing" Morris Island.

Back in the 1930s, my folks had rowed out there and the lighthouse keeper gave them a tour and a walk around the grounds - when there still was property - and of his house.

 But, while the weather kept changing, there was no rain at White Point Gardens.

Here he got to share our splendid views of the many oak trees.

Did not get to show him Angel Oak but we toured the historic Market area and saw many souvenir paintings and photos of that huge, rugged 1,500 year old woody survivor.

Throughout the weekend, we dodged rain, endured fog and low clouds and spent a lot of time indoors.

I wanted him to be dazzled as the sunlight made the cables on the Ravenel Bridge give the appearance of full sails in the harbor.

That is what the designers planned and we certainly have seen that effect on bright, shiny days.

Instead, he snapped this shot while I kept my eyes on the road.

This was taken with his iPhone camera.

Then, as I drove, he fiddled with built-in processing controls and created this high-contrast "sketch."

I like the raindrops on the windshield.

I wish he had been in town a few days earlier.

A bright moon in the afternoon sky was a bit unusual for me to capture on New Year's Eve..

Different from the usual night view, seen against a coal black sky.

The tree branches in the foreground were a bonus too,  not usually seen in a night photo.

It also was clear.

No rain nor fog.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Keep in mind, I did NOT take the photo on the Ravenel.  Both of my hands were on the wheel, eyes watching the road and traffic.

We are polite and want our visitors to be safe.

*This is my 799th posting on my 8-year old blog. Hmm, works out to about 100 per year.
My tracking program show viewers in all 50 states, two U.S. Territories (Guam and Puerto Rico), and 167 foreign countries.

Hope something neat and worthwhile happens for my 800th one!

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Charleston - a Port City!

Carnival Fantasy cruise ship is a weekly visitor in and out of Charleston.

I've been to Miami and have seen a long, long line of such ships tied up at piers.

So far, we have only one on a regular basis.

There has been talk about problems with boarding and dropping off thousands of passengers here in the heart of the Historic District.

The plan to build such a terminal
further away has been delayed.

For several years. So far.

So, for the near futire, these 13-story "buildings" will continue to appear weekly at the foot of Market Street, looming over us.

To me, it's not a bad visitor attraction to have featured in a famed harbor.

Musicians and other buskers have found it's a pleasant place to perch, perform and play.

A spirited banjo seems to be an appropriate sound, wafting out over the waterfront.

I had a visiting fellow photograher from Germany with me this weekend down at Waterfront Park and he enjoyed looking up at the massive vessel.

He also had not heard that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. I mentioned this tidbit to him as he angled for views of our pineapple fountain.

I steered him over to a slight rise that afforded a good view of the TWO fountains in our park by the harbor.

It was a little cool so we did not see visitors - children and adults - wading in either the pineapple fountain nor the splash one in the background.

Even locals  have been known to cool off this way on a humid day.

My photographer buddy liked the shot he took of a sign in the foreground of the fountains which warns there is no lifeguard on duty.

I have always suspected that signage was inspired by cautious city lawyers.

I doubt the lawyers were consulted when the Mayor-for-40-years Joe Riley decided we needed swinging park benches.

Harbor views all around, grassy areas for a picnic, nearby parking, a beautiful setting and the challenge to see just how high you can make your swing go.

Wise parents shepherded their small ones away from the high flying potental mayhem.

Later in the day, I drove my visitor over to Sullivan's Island to a spot on the beach in front of Fort Moultrie.

I noted there had been a lot of erosion since my last time there.

Huge rocks of course stayed in place but lots of soil and grasses were gone.

Through low clouds and a foggy haze, I spotted a large cruiseship steaming its way out of the harbor, bound - I believe - for the Caribbean.

Of course it was the ship we had seen earliuer, downtown. Now I realize they had been boarding passengers for this Saturday afternoon departure.

Bon voyage!

(Click on the photos for more details.)

My only cruise ship experience was in the Marines for 7-days aboard a crowded troop carrier that swayed from side to side.

I didn't exactly have a cabin.

There were rows of bunks stacked four high.

I spent a lot of time up on the deck.

Near the railing.

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