Monday, December 28, 2009

A Quick Trip to Charleston

Allison, visiting for the holidays said she wanted to see the real south. So Melanie and I took her to Charleston. We left out Saturday afternoon, got a hotel room, visited the Battery Park at night and got some dinner at Vickery's. That place has some great food. I had a Cuban Classic with ham, pork and Swiss cheese. It was to die for. The next morning we toured the downtown area again and after that got an otherworldly lunch at Hominy Grill. I've never had a better gravy and biscuit dish. For some reason a couple of parties slid in before us that had put their name is after us but after we started eating all was forgiven. After lunch we headed out to Isle of Palms to see the ocean. Then we drove home.

I love Charleston. It is chock full of old buildings and history. You can walk around the Battery Park area for hours and take in the sites. You can gaze across the harbor and see Fort Sumter. You can look up at the top of an old mansion and see the railing on the roof someone leaned on and observed the bombardment of Fort Sumter. It's awe inspiring to be able to point at that small island and say, "The Civil War started right there."

It's also very easy to get around in Charleston. It's laid out in a grid and it's a peninsula about one mile wide. It's impossible to get lost (which I proved after dinner on Saturday night when I got turned around trying to get back to the car). It's also very pedestrian friendly. The streets are narrow and the speed limit is only 25 mph and cars will stop for you when you are crossing the street. There are also sidewalks everywhere and the terrain is flat.

I took a few photos.

An old mansion at the Battery Park
East Battery



















My day is always complete if I can see a pelican or two
Boat and Pelicans























There are are so many beautiful old houses. You could take pictures here all day
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These homes are facing east over the Cooper River
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We found this beautiful alley called Longitude Ln.
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The Young-Johnson House. Circa 1770. I love that this camera has a 28mm lens I can use for tight shots of architecture.
Young-Johnson House





























The Hominy Grill. We will go there again.
The Hominy Grill






















The sky at the beach was gorgeous.
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I love watching the ships enter and leave the port
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This is my sister Allison reluctantly posing
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She didn't write her name in the sand. I did that.
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Looking back towards Charleston
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Me and Melanie
Me and Mel at the Beach

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Highway Fever

After driving Allison around Charlotte for a few hours yesterday so she could relive her childhood memories, we rented a car and drove to Charleston, SC. We had discussed coming down today but I followed Chris' advice and left in the afternoon. Turned out to be an excellent idea. We arrived in Charleston about 8 pm, checked into our room and then cruised down to the battery. After walking around the park and smelling low tide we went to Vickery's for a late dinner. Vickery's is a great place. I had the Cuban Classic sandwich and it was spectacular. Melanie had the wings which she loved and Allison had a green tomato club sandwich. I think she enjoyed that.

The lades at Vickery's


















Today we sightsee. We're going to see the Battery Park in the daylight and see some more of downtonw (I'd like to see the Citadel campus) and then head north to the beach and then back to Charlotte.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Flickr Finds

It's been a while since I've posted some pictures I've found on Flickr.

A picture from the Blizzard of 1978























The sky outside Greer, SC.
























Joey Logano tumbles at Dover
























The view from Laker Stadium in Maple City, MI.

























A street scene in Kobe, Japan



























Amazing shot of Leland, MI

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Panthers Clobber the Vikings

In my last post I was all gassed about seeing Brett Favre play and I claimed that he was the real reason I was going to last night's game. You know what happened? As soon as our team came on the field I wanted to see Brett Favre on his back with Julius Peppers dancing over him. I guess I am a Panthers fan. It was great to see Brett play. He played well and threw some nice passes but that Panthers team played its collective ass off and beat a team that is a favorite to make the Super Duper Bowl. Well done.

Last night's game was the perfect example of why this season has really pissed me off. This is a very good team that should be in the playoffs. It's well coached and full of talent. Our defense is excellent and we have two starting running backs with all pro talent. For some reason our coach stuck with a broken quarterback months longer than he should have. Matt Moore, who started last night, may not be the answer (as was said by the Panthers radio broadcasting team after the game,) but he played way better than Jake Delhomme. I really am confused as to why Jake Delhomme could not be sat down as some point during this season. He didn't need to be fired or lose his role as the starter and face of the franchise but when you are playing as badly as he was you don't deserve to start. I really just don't get it.

Another thing that confuses me about this team is that it has no kick or punt returner of note. Nobody is concerned about our kick return teams. I think there should be one player on each NFL team that is there exclusively to return punts and kickoffs. Not only that but he should be good at it. During the John Fox era we seem to put together good teams and then during the preseason they remember that they need a kick returner and then they try to find one from the players at hand. Field position plays a big part in football games and I don't understand why kick returning seems like an afterthought with this staff.

Still, last night was big fun. Melanie and I lucked out and went to the best Panther game of the season which was also, not surprising, Steve Smith's best game of the season. They are finally getting the ball into his hands. Just get him the ball and good things will happen. It has been a few years since I had been to the stadium and there is nothing like an NFL game.

A few pictures I took at the game can be viewed here. They're not that great because we were way up high but they is what they is.

I did take one panorama and I'm pretty happy with it.
Bank of America Stadium Panorama









Concessions

I'd like to thank Jerry Richardson and the Panthers organization for the decent vending prices. I bought a coffee, a soda, a hotdog and a bag of peanuts for less than $20. It's funny that a privately funded stadium doesn't gouge like the publicly funded arena just a few blocks away.

Friday, December 18, 2009

School Bus Panning


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Originally uploaded by zzazazz

I like this one.

An interesting take on Obama and health care

The always useful Talking Points Memo website posted though provoking assessment of the current debate on health care. When George W. Bush invoked history in one of his stammering defenses of his ineptitude this is the kind of analysis he liked us to think he was using. He wasn't, of course.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Football

Through the negotiations of Charlie at work Melanie and I lucked into a good deal for an event this Sunday that the main stream media would like you to think is an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings. What is taking place Sunday evening, or possibly Sunday afternoon if NBC decides to use their flexible scheduling option an air a different game in prime time that has implications on the upcoming playoffs, is what we are calling The Brett Favre Show. Brett Favre is a rare athlete, he's a shoe in for his sports Hall of Fame. Opportunities like this don't come around too often so I'm excited about being at this game.

Thinking about Brett Favre and his Hall of Fame inevitability got me to thinking about how many Hall of Fame athletes I have seen play. This is a few I came up with off the top of my head:

Kevin McHale: I saw him play his last game in that playoff game in Charlotte when Alonzo Mourning hit "the shot." I still can't believe the Hornets let Mourning get away.

Reggie Jackson: I saw him play for the Angels at the old Tiger Stadium. My Dad and I drove to Detroit specifically to see Rod Carew but he was injured and didn't play. I remember Reggie putting on a show during batting practice. He also hit a triple that day. He only hit 49 triples in his career so I guess that was a special moment.

Steve Young and Jerry Rice: Back when the Panthers were playing their first season at Clemson I took a trip with a friend and his father to see the 49ers whup up on the young Panthers team. During that game Steve Young threw a pass to Jerry Rice down the opposite sideline. Rice jumped in the air and caught the ball of the top of the helmet of the Panther defender. The crowd went crazy because that is why 75% of us were there.

Ricky Henderson: When I was in the Marines a buddy and I took a trip to Anaheim Stadium to see the Angels play the Oakland A's. We wanted to see two things, Rickey steal a base and Jose Canseco hit a home run. We saw both. I remember Jose Canseco shagging fly balls in front of our seats down the right field line and he caught one right up next to the stands. He was a huge person. Tall, wide and built like a brick shithouse that had been pumped full of steroids. The home run he hit was a bullet. It was one of his famous line drive homers that seemed to skim across the field right above the fielders' heads.

Jim Thome: I saw him play several times during the year he played for the AA Charlotte Knights. I loved watching him hit.

Chipper Jones: He hit a home run against the Charlotte Knights when I was there in the early 90s.

Dale Earnhardt: The first NASCAR race I went to was the 1990 fall Busch race (now Nationwide) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway (now Lowe's Motor Speedway). Current Winston Cup (now whatever the hell they call it) driver, Dale Earnhardt, was still racing in the Busch race whenever the two schedules coincided. At this point I didn't know Dale Earnhardt or anybody else in racing. I had heard of Richard Petty and knew they ran this race called the Daytona 500 every year but was the extent of my racing knowledge. In the early goings of this particular race I saw a black car with a white #3 on its roof passing cars two at a time in turn 3. I asked my Dad who that driver was. He said, "That's Dale Earnhardt, Eddie, best fucking driver out there." He wasn't kidding.

Obviously Mark Martin will make the NASCAR Hall of Fame some day and I can always say I saw him win a race because I was there this May when he won the 2009 Southern 500.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Google makes it to the boonies

The Google street view car finally took pictures outside Traverse City. Cedar, MI is pictured below.

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Hey, look! It's the Holy Rosary Church!

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Fishtown in Leland

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The entrance to the dune climb

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Howdy, Howdy

Geez, maybe someday I'll actually write something here again. But until I do how about more pictures? A recent addition to Flickr is the ability to make your own gallery out of the pictures of other users. I made one of good pictures of NASCAR wrecks. Enjoy!