Friday, August 28, 2015

Fenway Park

One of the best ideas I have seen realized at a baseball park is putting seats on top of the Green Monster at Fenway Park. I doubt if there is a better view at an American sports venue except for the seats in turn four Jeff and I get at Darlington.

Look at that view!
Monster seats for the game!
Photo credit DGA Productions

I have wondered how exactly those seats were installed because there is no room to make the park any bigger seeing as how the reason the wall is so close to the infield due to the lack of space out there. Today I did a Google Street View of Landsdowne St and saw how the seats were installed. The seats were installed over the street. Of course, what else could they do?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fire Whip

Last weekend at the Comet Grill there was an event called Sunshine Festival. There was a group called Firestorm and they played with fire. This guy in the picture below set a whip on fire and twirled it around. He even snapped it a couple of times. The first time he cracked the whip it was still full of flammable fluid at when he swung the whip it whooooshed and cracked. The initial crack of a whip is a little shocking, especially when it's on fire. Several people audibly gasped. I caught him right after he swung it for the crack. Too bad it wasn't darker out.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tree in Alden, MI

Back in the 80s my dad showed a tree on Spencer Creek in Alden, MI that he had carved his initials in back in the 50s. I crawled up the tree and did the same that day. We went back last month to see if we could find that tree. We think we did. The carvings in the tree were almost unreadable but we think the initials we found on the branch were ours. I couldn't climb up the branch because it was dead and starting to rot.

Dad in front of the tree. I noticed there were several other carvings in the tree.

The carving we think my dad created back in the 50s.

A view further down the creek

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Big Ass Maple Tree

In the back corner of my Dad's land there is a giant maple tree. It is at least three feet in diameter. The reason it survives is that it is on the property line of the farmland my parents purchased in the mid 60s. Farmers would use the trees to as living fence posts so some pretty old trees can survive on land that was 99% cleared for farm use. The first picture is a stitched panorama of three photos. The second picture is a shot of Dad next to the tree for scale. In the background of the second photo you can see the trees are lined up in a row, those were also part of the old fence line. The area to the left of that picture was a field fifty years ago.

Tree Pano 1


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Civil War Memorial

Driving by the old courthouse last week I noticed a statue that looked like it could be a Civil War Memorial. I took an opportunity while in town running errands on Monday to check it out. The statue I saw is a Civil War Memorial. The monument next to the statue has a history of it. It reads:

"...statute was purchased by public donations from the Chicago Bronze Company and dedicated at a public ceremony on Decoration Day, May 30, 1890. Over 300 Civil War Veterans were joined by 4,000 citizens at the unveiling at the original courhouse located on Cass Street. Traverse City May Perry Hannah delivered the keynote address.

The statue represent the 171 volunteers from the Grand Traverse Region who marched off to War and the 32 who lost their lives in that conflict..." The statue was refurbished in 2005 and rededicated on May 30th, "exactly 115 years to the hour."

Grand Traverse Civil War Memorial


Saturday, July 18, 2015


I stopped by my sister's dog kennel the other day and met, among a dozen other dogs, Lily. Lily is a sixteen year old greyhound and she is the sweetest dog in the world. Very affectionate. She even ran for about ten yards twice. She had to recover each time but she had to run at least a couple times while outside. A little shaky on her feet but you can feel how happy she was to be outside.


Monday, July 06, 2015

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Today while running errands for my Mom as she recovers from knee surgery I stopped at the former location of the Traverse Area District Library on Sixth Street. This library is an old Carnegie library with an addition. The addition used to house the circulation desk, the childrens collection and the audio/video collection. When I was a kid in the 70s and raiding their juvenile science fiction collection I would search for the books with the atom symbol on the binding. This is the first library I went to. I visited it as a second grader during a class trip while attending Saint Francis Elementary School. That school looks like it is now called Holy Angels Elementary and Preschool. This building no longer houses a library. The single-story addition now is home to an art organization and I am not sure what is in the Carnegie Building.

This is the current state of the old Carnegie Library. While I was going to the library this housed the adult fiction and nonfiction and had a reading room. I was not allowed to venture into this building until I had outgrown the juvenile science fiction collection and needed access to the adult science fiction stored on the west side of this building. I remember the silence. It felt like a library. My Mom really drove it into me that I had to be quiet when I was in there browsing and I was. I could feel adults looking at me and I knew they were thinking that this little bastard better keep his trap shut while I read my newspaper. That probably wasn't the case but back then I was sure of it.

Here you can see the single-story addition attached to the right side of the Carnegie building. That is where I found all my science fiction, sports biographies and World War II books.

Here is a view nearer to the addition. Yes, that is a cobblestone street.

The Traverse City Area District Library has a local history collection and the following photos are from their website.

This photo shows the reference desk and reading area of the Carnegie building in 1988, two years after I had left the area for the Marine Corps. The door at the back leads to the childrens/circulation area. That is the door I passed through to find the adult science fiction. I'd love to walk through the stacks of that building one more time.

This is picture of the Carnegie building from 1960. The picture is labeled as "before the addition" and the new remodeled building opened in 1963. I wonder how long it took to remodel and build the addition and what happened to the library during the project.

This picture shows the nonfiction stacks. I loved wandering through here.

Here is a shot of the construction of the addition during 1965. You can see the addition had a basement. The basement is where the audio/video room was located. I used to check out LPs and take them home and record them.

If you got this far here is your reward. While walking through the park next the library I came across a black squirrel. Living in Charlotte I forget that not every squirrel is gray.

Black Squirrel

Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston, SC

After the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston I thought back to that day in 2011 when I had a chance to witness an amazing sunset in that beautiful city. I took a photo of two church steeples while looking west from a parking deck near the aquarium. I wondered if one of those steeples was attached to Emanual AME. I dig some online digging and I think the steeple on the right is the church where that horrible massacre took place this week. It really is impossible to identify closely with the families of those who were murdered. You can try to empathize but you really can't unless you've had a loved one murdered. Mostly I just think of the city of Charleston. I love Charleston. It's unique and one of the most beautiful cities I have ever spent time in. And everyone you run into there is as nice as can be. Drivers will actually stop their car and wave pedestrians across the street. The first time that happened to Melanie and me we thought maybe it was a trick. Nope, just Charleston. It saddens me to know such a quiet beautiful place will now be tainted by mass murder.

Charleston Sunset

Monday, June 08, 2015

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Game of Thrones

A few days ago I started listening to the audio version of the first Game of Thrones novel, it's called, Game of Thrones. A Song of Ice and Fire is the full name of the series. I have just reached the point where Jon Snow has gifted Arya a sword before he leaves to go to the Wall. It has been interesting to experience the differences in the characters as they appear in the novel compared to how they are portrayed in the HBO series. Tyrion Lannister comes off as more "impish" so far in the novel. Jamie Lannister comes off as much more spoiled and snotty. Once subtle difference I noticed was a change made probably to allow for Jamie Lannister to come off as more sympathetic. In the book he pushes Bran out the window without any prodding from Cersei. In the TV series it is at her insistence that he does so. Whether he would have or not can be debated but as the series went on Jamie became almost a protagonist due to his misfortunes and perseverance. I'd say it was easier to accept that if he is portrayed as less a spoiled high born who casually attempts to murder a child and more as reluctant child murderer. I think that makes sense.