Monday, February 26, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

The problem with cell phones around here is that they don't work all that well. It seems that many times mountains block the signal. But driving around these back roads, especially in winter, sure make them handy to have. When we moved here since the was no service with our phones we returned them and have been cellphoneless since.

After taking numerous polls and talking to neighbors who have had to walk to the end of the street to get a signal I decided on Cellular 1. Actually walking to the end of the street isn't that bad as it's the corner of our property. But I would much rather sit in the comfort of my home than stand in the middle of the street. Another thing is I haven't seen for Cellular any stupid commercials targeting the adolescent minded.

So after getting the brakes on the Pathfinder done down at Blue Ridge Tire I stopped by the Cellular store sandwiched between Chinese and Mexican restaurants in the international section of the mountain music capitol of Galax. So we are now the possessors of a cell phone on which there have been three calls. One, the battery had died and the second and third the phone was off and we had messages.

But the comfort of knowing that should an emergency happen while on the road we will be able to summon help makes the purchase of 1000 minutes a month seem worth while. A thousand minutes, but in order to get 30 roaming minutes that's what I had to get. And you never know when you might want to roam. The plan I had in Baltimore was 800 minutes with rollover and the rollover minutes hovered around 5000. I need to start calling. And it does work in our house.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Just to make things clear, I am not running for President nor am I the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

File Under "What Goes Around...."

For years Wall Street has shrugged it's shoulders as jobs went overseas telling workers to get new skills. Of course lower costs to business means bigger profits means a bull market means the traders make billion dollar bonuses. That's all fine and the American way. But now the street is seeing accounts go across the pond and they don't like it.
Lovers Leap 9:00 AM

Click on any of these pictures to enlarge. But you knew that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Crooked Road

There's a beautiful Crooked Road that winds through these mountains. We travel the stretch from Meadows of Dan to Stuart and back each day. This is more than just a winding road thought scenic Southwest Virginia, it's a journey into the heart of country music. Oh, it's not the country music that makes the top forty on the charts but the real soul of mountain music. It's an artery that carries the tradition born and nurtured over the past several centuries in what was a one time a somewhat isolated area. It grew on it's own, feeding on the Scots Irish, German and gospel music brought over the years. Music is not the only attraction to the area but it is the most ingrained. Mountain music, good mountain music, can be heard at church, the corner store, the gas station, on the street corner, the front porch or just anywhere two or three people with a guitar, banjo or mandolin or any combination of the three can be found.

So here's your chance to win a handmade guitar or mandolin direct from the Crooked Road. While you're here you can make up a country song and send it by phone or e-mail to a friend, relative or whoever you want to impress. It's really cool, Wanda went through our phone book sending songs to all her friends. Within about 15 minutes we had a call from a amazed, laughing recipient

Think Warm

Since it's cold and snowy throughout much of the country I thought this would offer at least a little relief. This is Sunset Beach on Treasure Island Florida and the beach where I grew up.
When I was a kid some fifty years ago most of the residents were either fishermen or tradespeople. Today most of the residents are either CEO's or the idle rich. Back in the 50's we bought our beach house for $5,000, today it would probably go for close to 100 times that.

Back when I was driving a cab on the beach a call from the Driftwood Inn usually meant I was in for some sort of adventurous time from the upcoming fare. I was one of those bars which attracted colorful drunks. Today the Driftwood Inn is no longer, it has morphed into the Caddy Shack. Shortly after the valet parked our car, this picture was taken from the rooftop deck. I now know the world has gone crazy...valet parking at the Driftwood Inn!

Friday, February 09, 2007


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Footnote To Black History

So Joe Biden got in trouble for calling Obama "clean". Now us white folks usually don't understand the meaning of that word in the black community. "Clean" is not only clean, it's well dressed, well groomed. It's dressed for success. I wonder if Joe realized that when he uttered his remark. And then there's clean as in uncorrupted. I don't know but I really can't imagine of any politician as that kind of clean.

Now two people I know are "clean" are Lovie Smith and Tony Dunge. What an example are these two men. They prove that nice guys can finish first. What is more important to me is that they publicly credit their success to God and give him the glory. I read a comment by some lost soul who objected to "people trying to put their superstitious beliefs on the rest of us". Sorry pal, but unlike you, who have no authority to object except your own opinion, Christians are given the obligation to let the world know of a loving Spirit who can accomplish all things for those who love Him. So either get over it or relax and get the joy.

Just as the winning the Superbowl will put a city on the map, it will also give credibility to the coaches and teams who not only win but also play. It all seems to be coming together during black history month. For the first time two black coaches in the big game and a black man who has at least a chance for the presidency. It's also kind of interesting that like the crossover popular Tiger Woods, Barak Obama is bi-racial. What's even more telling is the very popular Lovie and Tony are not.

Parkway Ice

I'm beginning to feel a little like Monet did with his Haystack Images. I keep taking pictures of this ice wall along the parkway at different times and at different angles.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mabry Mill is the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. About 14 miles up the Parkway from us we pass it on our way to church in Willis. It was iced yesterday when I took this.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday Chronicles...Evening

They start young around here. This, as I have mentioned, is the is the world capitol of bluegrass music. As such it produces some of the finest of country gospel. This young man is a part of the Hylton family of musicians. Saturday night was a gospel sing in the small town of Vesta at one of the many churches in the area. I was told this young member of that family recently said he was not going to play with them any more because he was not included in the last recording session and only returned to the group after being

assured he would be included in the next session.

It was truly blessed evening which provided enough donations to sent the young man on the extreme right as a missionary to India. I am sure some people consider it peculiar to be sending someone to another country to preach the word of Jesus. But as believers we are given a commission "go into all the world to spread the gospel". "Gospel" after all does translate as "good news". And to me the joy and love included in those words is infinitely better hatred and destruction preached by others. And it does say that those of us who are fortunate enough to be preserved only by the grace of God are in the Bible called "peculiar people". I know I fall into that category and at least I have an excuse.

Ann, on the right, playing the keyboard also plays several types of guitars, banjos, harmonicas and who knows what else. She attends the little church we go to down in Willis and is known throughout the area as a wonderful musician and person. I have heard from many people how she and her husband had helped and provided for others.

After the sing there was a fellowship which included a auction of baked goods. First up was the pineapple upside down cake I had been eyeing. Opening bid...$5. and I knew this was not going to be a bargain. But it was for a good cause and I doubled it to ten dollars. No one else bid and Ann who was acting as auctioneer was not giving up so, against myself, I bid $11. to the amusement of the crowd. Then someone in line for the one dollar chili dogs bid $15. I had sixteen dollars in in my pocket and that took it and it was good

I am sure all those disturbing events of morning and afternoon were put in my way by the evil one to keep me from attending what turned out to be a wonderfully blessed evening filled with fantastic music, good friends and food not only for the body but also for the spirit.

Friday, February 02, 2007