Luray Caverns in Virginia

Luray Caverns in Virginia
Luray Caverns in Virginia

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pro Football Hall of Fame- Canton Ohio








I realized recently that I have never mentioned the Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio!

There is a ton of info out there on this place, and I am actually not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to the sport, so I will keep this short.

If you are in the northern part of Ohio, you really must make the stop here. Even non-football fans will enjoy learning about the history and seeing the relics.

I can say that the staff there, at least when I visited, was extremely friendly. Also, they allow photography. These two facts alone make this Hall of Fame and Museum superior to any other similar museums near Cleveland.

There is a very sincere respect for the game and the fans. I personally enjoyed looking at the exhibits on the defunct leagues. The display of Super Bowl rings is one of a kind too.

Plus, probably because of the friendly staff, this museum seems less formal than some. You don't have that feeling that some security guy is following you around for no reason the way you might feel at other museums. The staff seemed more helpful than uptight.

http://www.profootballhof.com/default.aspx

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easton- Columbus Ohio





Columbus has one of the all time nicest shopping areas. I think this might be the first area that I remember being called a "lifestyle center."

I don't like that term. I still think of Easton as a really nice, classy traditional indoor mall with a ton of cool shops and shopping strips right outside.

We used to go to the area on a 2 or 3 day weekend and get a room at one of the near by hotels. Yep, you can spend DAYS here. With the movie theater, comedy clubs, arcade, and plenty of restaurants you are covered.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ripper Owens Tap House- Akron Ohio













What do Jimerado and the former lead singer of Judas Priest have in common? VERY little, but I think we both appreciate good wings.

Tim "Ripper" Owens has put together a really cool bar with a focus on wings. God bless him.

I rememeber going to this place back when it was Scorchers 7 or 8 years ago.

A couple of friends recently told me that the local legend, Owens, started this new business.

I am not a heavy metal fan myself, but you have to admire Tim Owens. If you are not familiar with him, look him up. He was singing in cover bands when he was asked to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest. He had a great run with them, and his career has been very successful since departing from Judas Priest. The movie "Rock Star" was inspired by Owens.

Tim's story is unique and interesting. In interviews he comes off as intellegent, and very serious about his music. He has been a great representative of the Akron area.

Back to Tim's wing peddling business. I tried 3 different flavors of wings at my visit and they were all great. There are THIRTY different flavors of wings, and he does have a "World Tour of Wings" going for those who want to try all of them.

Tim has some cool displays on his walls, incluing instruments, photos, and other cool rock memorabilia. I can look at that stuff all day.

We went on a Sunday, and I did see people wearing Steelers jerseys there to watch football. Another reason to give this bar a positive review.

This will be a "must stop" on future Akron visits.

http://www.ripperowenstaphouse.com/

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book: A Time of Terror- by James Cameron

I really want to keep my blogs family friendly. I try to avoid topics that are not suitable for everyone. I would like to think a 9 year old or a 90 year old can check out this blog. I want this to be a blog that anyone interested in travel and other topics can come to and relax.

I like to include a scan of the cover of a book when I mention it, but I just couldn't do it this time.

"A Time of Terror" by civil rights activist James Cameron gives the story of a 17 year old James, as he starts to rob a couple at gun point with two of his friends in Marion Indiana. The year is 1930, and James and his two friends are black.

James changes his mind about the robbery, and runs away. His two friends, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, go ahead with the crime, and one of the victims ends up dead.

That evening, all participants are picked up by the local authorities.

James gives his account of being beaten by the police until he signs a confession.

Later, James watched from his cell as his two friends are beaten and killed by a mob.

The mob then takes James from jail. They also beat him. As Shipp and Smith hang from a tree, the crowd prepares to hang Cameron too.

James says that for reasons he cannot fully explain, the crowd changed its mind. He claimed to still have scars on his neck from the rope that was to be used for his hanging.

The rest of the book talks about James' trial, his time in jail, and his life after that day in 1930.

I search for a copy of this somewhat hard to find book after hearing a rebroadcast of an interview with James Cameron on NPR. James sounded humble and kind. Sadly, his passed away in 2006.

It looks like this book was last published in 1994, and it is begging for a reprint. It deserves to be in print now.

The cover of the book is a famous photo taken of Shipp and Smith hanging from a tree with mob surrounding them. It is a very graphic picture. It inspired the Billie Holiday song, "Strange Fruit."

If you can find a copy pick it up. This is an almost unbelievable 1st hand account of a lynching.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Steve Galgas and Mike Altman- Columbus OH Mural


Columbus has the very cool Short North Arts District. Lots of nice places to eat and fun art shops can be found here.

Anyone who has traveled through the area has notice the variation on "American Gothic" painted on the side of one building.

Steve Galgas and Mike Altman did the mural, and they have moved on to work on some other great art projects! I sent them a note recently, and they very kindly responded!

Steve responded, "Thank you for contacting us about our mural! We're really flattered that you took the time to write us!"

Concerning their careers and current projects, Steve says, "I'm currently developing artwork for Facebook games at a company called Playfish."

He tells me that Mike is working as a modeller (digital sculptor) at Pixar! They both worked on the very cool short "Day & Night" which played before "Toy Story 3"! Mike also did many backgrounds in next year's "Cars 2."

I am so excited that these two very cool artists are still doing some great work! I personally love Toy Story 3 (I have a Lotso doll sitting on my desk right now!).

Check out Steve and Mike's sites for more info on thier careers and projects!

mike-altman.com
galgas.com

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Goodyear Blimp- Akron Ohio














I spent some time in the late 90s working in Akron, I think I have mentioned that before.

Anyway, I would see the Goodyear Blimp all the time. It seemed to be out and about a lot.

In fact, I spent one day in Akron recently, and the blimp went right over my head!

I know there are actually a few Goodyear Blimps scattered around, but it is so cool seeing one in person.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christo and Jeanne-Claude




I think I have mentioned it before, but this past year we went to St. Louis and got a room with a great view of the Arch. I spent probably an hour before going to bed just staring out at it.
We got up early the next morning, and just went and walked around it. It is in a class of it's own. You can't compare it to a great American statue or skyscraper. It is THE Arch. It looks so perfect. It is a piece of art- it is the face of St. Louis. That night, looking at it from my hotel window and the next morning walking up to it with just a couple of other tourists scattered distantly- I had to catch my breath.

It is beautiful for the sake of being beautiful.

I get goosebumps whenever that cell phone commercial comes on showing various monuments around America being draped in orange. There is something so cool about it. Plus, there is that magic Nick Drake song, "From the Morning" being played over the commercial. What a great song by the way.

Great images of this country's great land marks, with a great song playing. The digitally added orange covering is nice too.

There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen during the commercial saying that the artists Christo and Jean-Claude are not associated with the company. Christo and his now late wife Jeanne Claude heavily influenced the concept for this commercial. I won't go in to it here, but google it. In fact, do yourself a favor, and look up their art work.

The Arch, art for the sake of art, and listening to great, mellow music like that of Drakes are so America. Sometimes when you travel, the trip can take a bit out of you, and the fast pace of a big city can really feel chaotic, but getting to a beautiful place, and seeing something made for the sake of beauty is really what the trip is about.

Check out this cool postcard of Christo and Jean-Claude's work. The back of the card reads:

"Christo and Jeanne-Claude will not derive and income from the sales. Proceeds will benefit Nurture New York's Nature."
Man, I admire the heck out of them. They intended for their art to be pretty much pure. No commercials for them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Terminal Tower Observation Deck Cleveland Ohio















Tower City is a cool place to be in Cleveland. It is, in many ways, the face of the city.

It is always festive there during the holidays, and it is always busy.

This year, for the first time since 9/11, Tower City has opened up it's observation deck!

It was $5 to ride the elevator up to the 42nd floor deck. The ride goes up in 2 parts (you changed elevators on the 33rd floor). It was a fast ride though.

The observation deck offers a full view all around Cleveland. There was a staff person there to answer questions.

I am glad the deck is open again!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bluegrass Stallions home opener- Georgetown



The Bluegrass Stallions are playing again! I am so proud of this team for sticking it out and adapting.

Sure, they are playing in a new venue, in a new league, with pretty much an entirely new team but they are still in existence!

I menti
oned before that Owensboro's minor league basketball team folded, with the team's owner blaming Owensboro for the team's problems. Well, it could be argued that the Stallions had even more problems last year, and here they are again!

I really like Georgetown. It is a short drive from Lexington. The entire town is just so comfortable. My only issue wit
h the area is that it seems all of the businesses close to early!

Still, they now have a professional basketball team!

The gy
m at Georgetown College is very cozy. It is small. You will be close to the action anywhere!

I love the mascot, HOOPS. I think he is related to the Indianapolis Colts' mascot.

The dance team was great, the team was great, and this is a nice area for ball.

This is a tough team full of personality too!

The team they played Thursday night was more height, and the Stallions looked a bit over matched. Still, thanks to tough, scrappy play, the Stallions won!

There are several fun players to watch. George Baker really stood out, playing tough and adding some comedy to the court.


General admission tickets were $8 (bench seats). Even with my $8 ticket, I could hear the players on the court.

The only problem with the team is that there previous on court personality Steve was missed. That guy is gold. Don't get me wrong, in general, I found those guys annoying at sporting events but Steve is witty.

Check out my pictures! More importantly, get out and support this team!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Fort Donelson






Here are some random photos I took this summer at Fort Donelson, near Clarksville, TN.

I am going to have to do more research on the Civil War and the existing sites related to the War. This is very fascinating stuff.

At Fort Donelson, you can get a map and take a self guided driving tour and see some of the more notable sites.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book: The Beatles In Cleveland


There are some bands that simply do not need one more book written about them. I love the Grateful Dead, but I have no desire to pick up another book written about them ever. A lot of newer acts come to mind too.

You could put the Beatles in that category too. We all know the story. There is simply no reason to write another book about the Beatles. There is no new info out there worthy of a book.

Well, Dave Schwensen has proven me wrong.


"The Beatles In Cleveland" is a fun, and well done book about the two shows (1964 and 1966) that the Beatles played in Cleveland.

Dave was actually at the second show, and he interviews a lot of people who were at both, including local reporters, DJs and fans.

It is exciting reading about how the fans and security reacted to being a part of one of the biggest acts around coming to town. Concerts and large venue events were really in their early stages at this time. I enjoyed reading about the set, stage, and backstage trailer setup at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1966.

I also liked hearing about the opening acts for the 1966 show. The Ronettes were there (WITHOUT Ronnie!). Can you imagine being an opening act for the Beatles?

There are some great amateur photos in this book too. I personally love finding old pictures that are missing that professional slickness you usually see. The photos in this book are more honest. The slightly flawed pictures of Ringo dealing with a fan on stage, or the photos of the local radio personalities with the band are much more interesting than the posed studio shots of the Fab Four.

"The Beatles In Cleveland" is a very enjoyable and quick read. Even if you aren't the biggest Beatles fan in the world, or if you are not familiar with Cleveland, you will still likely enjoy the stories.

Dave has a great deal on his site right now when you order the book. He has a cool package deal that includes a shirt AND the CD of his appearance on "The Beatle Years".

http://www.beatlesincleveland.com/