Saturday, May 08, 2010

Last night my wife and I had a great 'date night ', attending a concert by Randall Bramblett. They are trying something new at the Electric City Playhouse. here in town. It was a small solo unplugged show. Just a singer-songwriter, his guitar and his piano. Randall has one of the most soulful voices I ever heard and is an outstanding musician as his hundreds of recording credits testify. But above all he is a poet, writing and singing songs with such expressive and emotional lyrics.

A lot of the almost two hours he played was songs from the new cd "Meantime" his 7th solo work. It is such a laid back easy recording. In the vein of a male Norah Jones. These songs featured just a singer and his piano. Very nice. The cd is a slight departure from his norm but after only one listen I am hooked.

The "room" as Randall refered to it was great with comfortable theater seating in a semi-round high rising layout that designed for the community playhouse productions they normaly hold. The sound was near perfect. It is a very nice place for relaxing music.

Even after a few decades in the business Randall is still a down-to-earth guy. Very open and great to talk with. He even autographed a cd for me.

Walking in the door we were greated by our friends Dan and Mary. I had not thought to inform nor invite them. It never crossed my mind, but as soon as I heard Dan's voice (he spotted me first ) I thought of all the people I know he WOULD be the one most likely to attend. I was glad he didn't miss it. We had a wonderful time. I hope they hold more events like this. I even

Here is a short ( incomplete ) list of people Randall Bramblett has recorded with :

Sea Level
Chuck Leavell
Greg Allman
Levon Helm
Allman Brothers Band
Widespread Panic
Steve Winwood
Gov't Mule
Bonnie Raitt
Delbert McClinton
Bonnie Bramlett
Roger Glover
Atlanta Rhythm Section
Elvin Bishop
Goose Creek Symphony
John Hammond
Warren Haynes
Robbie Robertson
Johnny Jenkins
Jerry Joseph
Jan Krist
Francine Reed
Vigilantes of Love
String Cheese Incident
Phoebe Snow
Grateful Dead

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I was just reading about the re-usable space plane, conventional rockets and the Space Shuttle. It got me thinking. What will NASA do with the retired Shuttles?

There were never that many to begin with. Here is a list:

  • OV-101 Enterprise; Test vehicle only, never meant for spaceflight. First free flight August 12, 1977, on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum outside Washington DC.
  • OV-099 Challenger; Was actually NASA's second orbiter to be put into service, Columbia being the first. Its maiden flight was on April 4, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members.
  • OV-102 Columbia; Launched on April 12, 1981 , the very first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1. It completed 27 flights before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th,STS-107. All seven crew members were killed.
  • OV-103 Discovery; First flown August 30, 1984 , Discovery became the third operational orbiter, and is now the oldest orbiter in service. Discovery has flown 38 flights, more flights than any other orbiter in the fleet. The last one to date was completed on April 20, 2010. Discovery will replace Space Shuttle Enterprise in the Smithsonian, which will then be loaned to other museums.
  • OV-104 Atlantis; The fourth operational shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Center on October 3, 1985. In early 2008, NASA officials decided to keep Atlantis flying until 2010, the projected end of the shuttle program. This reversed a previous decision to retire Atlantis in 2008. It last flew in November 2009. Atlantis is now projected to fly at least one more mission.
  • OV-105 Endeavour; Is the fifth and final spaceworthy shuttle to be built. It was constructed as a replacement for the Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 7, 1992 on mission STS-49 and is scheduled for decommissioning in 2010. NASA expects to use Endeavour for the STS-134 mission, final shuttle mission. It is likely that Endeavour will then go to March Field Museum near Riverside, California.

The final retirement of the remaining Space Shuttle fleet, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour will be here soon. All three are expected to be placed on public display. And more than 20 museums currently vying for one. Insiders expect the winners to be Either the March Field museum, the Johnson Space Center in Houston; U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio; the Museum of Flight in Seattle; or the Intrepid Air & Space Museum in New York City.

Where ever the winning museums may be they will need deep pockets to cover expenses. Recently NASA set the price of its museum-bound space shuttles at $28.2 million. In addition the chosen museums will have to pay for ferrying the orbiters atop NASA's modified Boeing 747 aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to their destination. Then there is the price associated with the display, areas and parking. The clock is ticking. Museums need to raise funds and build the required indoor housing for the shuttles.

A little cheaper would have been acquiring the soviet Shuttle prototype "Buran". But Buran was destroyed in a hangar collapse on May 12, 2002 in Kazakhtan at the Baikonur Cosmodrome The collapse killed 7 workers and destroyed the orbiter. It had flown one time, UNMANNED back in 1988. Construction was started on four others but never completed. Interestingly a unmanned 1/8th scale of the Buran, the BOR-5 ("Kosmos") flew on several sub-orbital flights, and was offered for sale on E-Bay opening at $98,000. The auction failed to attract a bid high enough to merit what the seller wants for it and it was removed unsold.

NASA expects to have the Shuttle replacement craft, Orion ready to fly no later than 2014. Assuming it survives the budget cuts and the Obama administration flip-flops .

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Cinco de Mayo

Happy 5th of May

Since I was a teen living in Southern California I have celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Our school band always attended a big festival, parade and fair. Held in the desert town of Indio California. It was so much fun. Fair midways, rides, exhibits, lights sounds. Ladies in colorful dresses dancing. Mariachis strolling around playing lively tunes. And the food. Oh the food. But my favorite was the ostrich races. The held camel racing too, but come-on. A kid riding ( ok holding on for dear life ) on the back of a giant bird. That's funny stuff.

Cinco de Mayo is not an America Holiday. It should be. And it is not the Mexican Independence day holiday. It should be. That in fact is 15th of September ( 1810 ) .

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a smashing military victory over a large force of Mexican army traitors and the French soldiers at the battle of Pubela, East of Mexico City in 1862.

Enough history, today is the 5th of May. And I am celebrating it. Tonight I am cooking a Mexican Dinner with all the trimmings for Kristie and myself. But right now I am playing some Latin Music and having tacos.

Join me.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Where did headlight dimmer switches used to be located?

a. On the floor shift knob
b. On the floor, left of the clutch
c. Next to the horn

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle has holes in it. For what was it used?

a. Capture lightning bugs.
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing
c. Large salt shaker

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?

a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?

a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps

5. What method did women adapt to look as if they were wearing stockings when none was available due to rationing during W.W.II?

a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?

a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?

a. Strips of dried peanut butter
b. Chocolate-licorice bars
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used?

a. To stiffen hair cut into a flattop so it stood up
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?

a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot
c. Long pieces of string or twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?

a. Consider all the facts
b. Ask Mom
c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo

11. What was the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex?

a. A cold
b. VD
c. Cooties

12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey?"

a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pet pony?

a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?

a. Part of the game of hide and seek
b. What you did when your mom called you in to do chores
c. Hiding under your desk, covering your head with your arms in an A bomb drill

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?

a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajewea
c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?

a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you "high"
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window
c. Wrote another pupils name on the top, to avoid failure

17. Why did your mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?

a. To keep you out of mischief licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick on tattoos

18. "Praise the Lord, and pass the _________?"

a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the group who made the song "The Gypsy" a hit in the US?

a. The Ink Spots
b. The Supremes
c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?

a. Tony Bennett
b. Zavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin


1. b) On the floor, left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the '60s to catch on.

2. b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.

4. a) Blackjack Gum.

5. b) Special makeup was applied followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.

8. a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.

10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. c) Cooties.

12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!

13. c) Macaroni.

14. c) Hiding under your desk, covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.

16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get "high."

***Two other answers Could be appropriate:

b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window

c. Wrote another pupil' s name on the top, to avoid their failure

17. b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.

18. c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.

19. a) The all male, all black group, The Inkspots.

20. a) Tony Bennett and he sounds just as good today.


17 — 20 correct: You are not only older than dirt, but obviously gifted with mind bloat. Now if you could only find your glasses.

12 — 16 correct: Not quite dirt yet, but your mind is definitely muddy.

0 – 11 correct: You are a sad excuse of a geezer. Redeem yourself by declaring to everyone that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.