Monthly Archives: February 2010

Wedding pictures, a good bit of history and an old acquaintence

It’s been a busy, if not particularly interesting or exciting week.

Aside from running a few errands, I spent most all of Saturday and Sunday working on my niece’s wedding pictures and wedding album. The wedding was last September, so I don’t think I am rushing things any. I took more than a thousand photos, which I narrowed down to around 450 I cropped and touched-up all 450 and posted them on Snapfish.com. Then I created an album through Snapfish.com with about 200 of them. It was fun, but very time consuming.

Earlier this week, I got a call from the boss (who was out of town) that I needed to make a quick overnight trip to Atlanta to sit in for him in a legislative committee hearing. The trip was uneventful and I wasn’t called on to answer any questions, which is a good thing. The best part was an audio book I picked up at the library and listened to for the drive — “A Voyage Long and Strange” by Tony Horowitz. (Fortunately, the title did not also describe my drive.) I love most history anyway, so this was a no-brainer for me. Horowitz examines the “lost century” most Americans never learn much about in school, from Columbus’s discovery in 1492 to the founding of Jamestown in 1607. He tells of the various Spanish explorers who visited America long before the English showed up.  He tells the tales of Columbus’s ill-fated later voyages, Coronado’s expedition through the American Southwest, DeSoto’s “burnt earth” march through the Southeast, and more.

For the second non-fiction read in a row, I encountered someone I know, or knew, or at least met once. Michael Gannon was the Catholic chaplain at the University of Florida when I was a student there. I was not a very good practicing Catholic at the time, but then-Father Gannon was a very prominent character on campus. I remember being very impressed by Gannon celebrating a very well attended outdoor Mass  in the spring of my senior year. To this day, I cannot hear the Youngbloods’ song,”Get Together” (“Come on people, now, smile on your brother…) without thinking of the Mass on the Grass.

From Florida Trend Magazine

Since then, Gannon retired from the priesthood and settled down as a historian and history professor at UF. His books on the World War II U-boat war, “Operation Drumbeat” and “Black May” are both outstanding. In this book he is profiled as “The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving.” In the 1980s, he was quoted in a newspaper article describing a Thanksgiving-style meal between the Spaniards at St Augustine and the local Native Americans that preceded the Pilgrim’s feast by something like 50 years.

In any case, if you have any interest in some well written American history that is missing from most texts, this book is worth the effort.

Let’s go ‘live!’

I am reading a book I discovered in our clean-out project a few weeks ago, CNN-The Inside Story.

I spent more than a quarter century in the TV news business. I never worked for CNN, but I know many people who did. The story of the network’s beginnings is fascinating. It’s neat to run across mentions of people I know (or knew at one time.)

Several passages I’ve read also give me “flash backs” to the fun and perils of live television. Overall, I don’t miss the business. TV news is not the same industry it was in the 70s, 80s and even 90s. It’s gotten entirely too squirrelly for my taste. However, being a part of live coverage of a breaking news story is a rush. Being on the air or calling the shots when all h___ is breaking loose and you are flying live without a script or a clue what might happen next, is exciting, and very satisfying when you pull it off.  Reading about some of the CNN adventures does bring back some related memories … many of them good.

No snow, pricey eats and a decent flick

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, without a speck of snow to be found. This was a big disappointment to some folks in our neighborhood who were looking forward to a once-every-ten-years-or-so snowfall. The area west of Savannah got an inch or two, but we live to the east, closer to the ocean. We got a little sleet Friday night, but that was it. No Frosty the Snowman or Olympic bobsledding in our area. No hills either, so the sledding wouldn’t have worked anyway.

Mrs. Poolman and I celebrated St V’s day with reservations at Ele’s, a relatively new and very upscale restaurant in our section of town. We had been holding on to a gift certificate that Poolboy had given us for Christmas. The restaurant, Ele’s, was good, but I’m not sure it was worth the hefty price tag. I had a filet and lobster tail. The steak was good, but frankly, I did a better job with the lobster tails I cooked on New Years Eve. Ele’s normal menu is a little pricey for suburban Savannah, but this weekend, they had a special menu, and the prices were even higher. (A typical entrée was $35-60. The “dinner for two” special was $149.) In our little section, we saw two groups who were seated, and after they looked at the menu, got up and left. I’ve never seen that before. I hope the restaurant does well, but they may be pricing themselves out of the market.

We went home and ordered up the movie “A Time Travelers’ Wife” from On-Demand. Mrs. P and I both read the book a few months ago. (See my thoughts on the book here.) (November 3)

We really liked the movie, just as we liked the book. However, I think this is a movie for which it definitely helps if you have read the book first. As the main character, Henry, pops in and out of time, I’m not sure I would have been able to keep track of which Henry was on the screen, if I didn’t already know story from the book. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it could have been better. Read the book first, and then enjoy the flick.

Tebow and Toyota

So what was all the fuss?

Someone at Focus on the Family deserves a raise. As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of that group, but I do have to take my hat off to their semi-brilliant publicity move over the past two weeks.

Some women’s groups went rabid-squirrel crazy over the very idea that Tim Tebow would do a Superbowl ad, supposedly opposing abortion. Of course, none of the screaming harpies had ever seen the ad, but why let that be a problem? If you saw the Tim and Pam Tebow Superbowl ad, you might ask yourself, “So what’s the big deal?” Good question.

The ad was as harmless as can be, which is pretty much what I expected.

If you missed it, here it is:

The ad was so mild that some “pundits” are saying the group didn’t get it’s money’s worth for the $2.5 million they spent. Wrongo!  They got two weeks of free, headline publicity, provided by the very people who hate them.

They got their money’s worth and more before the game ever began. Slick move!

*     *     *     *

Speaking of ads, 183 Toyota dealers around the Southeast have cancelled their advertising schedule with local ABC station as punishment for ABC’s coverage of the automakers recall problem.

That’s really a stupid move by the dealer’s association. It makes them look petty and vindictive.  Nice job focusing on your customer, guys!

They are also aiming their anger in the wrong direction. They should be focusing their anger at Toyota corporate headquarters in Japan, not at ABC News headquarters in New York.

Even as retribution, the move doesn’t make much sense. In fact, they aren’t even aiming at ABC News; their action is against local ABC stations, who have absolutely ZERO influence on Brian Ross, Diane Sawyer and the producers who call the shots on World News Tonight. On top of that, all but one (WTVD Durham, NC) ABC station in the affected region are affiliates. That means, with the one exception, none of that cancelled advertising money would have benefited the ABC network anyway.

The only way I see this move as making sense is to put the stations on stand-by that they are serious for the next time there is an issue. Is there going to be another issue?

On the other hand, if all the cars on your lot are under recall and you can’t sell them, what’s the point in spending money on advertising?

I’m glad we are driving Hondas.

Politics, Hotel Indigo, Superbowl and a great chili

It’s been a few days since I’ve had the chance to sit down and actually write something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to write about.

I took a trip to Atlanta last week with my boss and our business officer to schmooze with politicians. This is an annual Chamber of Commerce “kiss up to the state legislature” event. We drove up one morning and spent the day tracking down various state legislators, shaking many hands and asking them not to forget about us (or, even worse, cut us out of the budget.) The day ended with a big seafood-barbecue feast with multiple open bars. I stuck to Diet Coke though. I say enough stupid things when I’m sober, I don’t need my tongue loosened when someone may actually be listening.

We stayed at a Hotel Indigo in midtown Atlanta. I had not stayed there before, although it is part of the Holiday Inn family. I usually stay in HI’s because I’m a member of their points program. In any case, the Hotel Indigo was nice, if somewhat different from your standard business hotel. It’s a smaller, “European style” (not that I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Europe) hotel. The rooms were smaller, but quite stylish.

From the hotel Web site, but a pretty accurate depiction of my room.

The bathroom was very small. I could have handled my “business” while shaving and brushing my teeth if I had wanted to do so. Altogether though, I liked it, and I’ll be back.

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I did something we almost never do; we went out for a nice Sunday brunch. We should really do this more often. On a Sunday morning or mid-day, we may go to our favorite Mexican restaurant or to a breakfast place, but almost never to someplace where, for instance, you might actually think about ordering a mimosa or a Bloody Mary. We went to our favorite seafood restaurant. I ordered the shrimp and grits and was disappointed. It was good for what it was, but it was very mild and creamy. I definitely prefer it with a little kick to it. (See the recipe in the Food tab above.) Next time, I’ll stick with my favorite, fried shrimp.

Over the rest of the weekend, we ran errands and continued the clean up and clean out process around the house. We finally got all the boxes and extra furniture out of our family room.

To celebrate, we had a few folks over to watch the Superbowl. It wasn’t a big event, just some of our close friends. However, everyone brought food and we had enough to feed a small African country.

Mrs. P made here white bean chili, which is fantastic.

White Bean Chili

I have trouble getting my imagination and taste buds around a chicken-based “chili.” However, if I think of it as just a spicy, chicken based bean soup, it’s easier to handle.  The recipe comes straight from a Southern Living Cookbook and I’ve added it to the “Food” tab at the top of the page. Give it a shot. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to make sure you include the shredded jalapeno-jack cheese when you serve it. That is an essential step that is not to be omitted.

“Signs, signs, everywhere the signs…’

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped into a local drug store with a person who is very close to me but will remain nameless to protect her dignity. She looked at the marquee and asked me, “So, what is a ‘hiney’ shot?”

Hini shots?

I told here that I believe that they were referring to an H1N1 flu shot. Normally they are administered in the arm, but if she really wanted one in the “hiney”, I’m sure they would accommodate her. It did give us a big laugh about the thought of someone walking in the pharmacy, dropping their pants and asking for a shot in the butt.

Right across the street was another sign on the front of the movie-rental store. We’ve all seem signs for free kittens…

…but this was the first time I’ve seen a sign for free kids. So is that supposed to be an incentive? I wonder how sales are going.