Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Better Than Your Vacation

January 11th, 2012

From Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s Cricket Ground, keeper of the laws of the game, you may buy USB memory sticks for £10, plus shipping. They are in the shape of a cricket bat and come pre-loaded with the laws.

batcampFor quite a bit more, you can take your offspring from 5 through 12 years of age off the St. Vincent or Sardinia to learn cricket from two gods of the game. Neither the ad on the front of the Financial Times (shown and click for closeup) nor the Super Skills Travel website deals in such crass details as the cost. If you have to ask, as FT readers might say. After all, this newspaper’s regular glossy magazine a few times a month is How To Spend It.

Instead, you are to call or email to book.

While you loll, one former and one current cricket star, one OBE and the other MBE, Michael Vaughan and Matthew Hogard, will turn your pubescent child(ren) into passable batsmen and bowlers. The kiddies get two hours on pitch each weekday. That presumably will exhaust them to the point they will lie passively and quietly and complacently by you poolside.

Billed in the ad as The family holiday of a lifetime,  this surely is more defensible, if considerably more expensive, than fantasy American baseball or football camps for delusional men. At the island resort, if you want your Richie Rich to, well yes, be able to play the national game, but more important, sew up contacts as well as garner (understated) bragging rights to take back to boarding school, grab this. Age 13 comes too quickly.

Too Much Virgin Mary

October 11th, 2011

micpietaBoy, did I get sick of the Pieta.

Michelangelo’s marble gasp maker (here in a Creative Commons pic) became a yawn maker in 1964 and 1965. Everyone, her brother, three kids and friends had to see it at the New York World’s Fair. It was what we now call a meme and was a quiet but relentless must-see object for millions of Americans.

Sometimes, I thought they were all staying with us. Relatives we hardly could place and numerous chums from the many states we’d lived as a family suddenly remembered us in our new location 20 some miles west of NYC. We were a pied à terre for many, many feet.

“Oh, yes, we definitely want to see the Pieta when we go to the World’s Fair,” they say. They’d all say.

So, there I was, a teen and tour guide. My mother either worked or maybe hid from some of these trips, but my sister a bit and I a lot found ourselves trucking to Flushing, Queens again and again and one more time.

It’s a nice piece of work. I think I originally found it strikingly beautiful, but after dozens of viewings, I found it a commercialized irritant.

To Roman Catholics, this was more than a famous work of art. There were the Holy Mother and the recently dead Savior by one of the world’s greatest sculptors in one of the world’s greatest cities in one of those rare world’s fairs. Moreover, transporting this was a huge deal, logistically, economically and even diplomatically. In fact, the Vatican had a reproduction commissioned to ship to prove that the original could make it flawlessly. That remains in a seminary in New York State a half century later — suddenly disposable. Moreover for the Catholics, the Pieta was herald and harbinger for Pope Paul VI, who wrapped up the statue’s visit with one of his own, plus, of course, mass. The science-fiction-movie scape of the fairgrounds remains, replete with skeletal gigantic globe and a plaza marking where the Pope’s slippers stood and he prayed.

As a non-Catholic, I was less than blessed. What I knew is that the summers and holidays would be scheduled tightly with religious and art tourists.

In fairness, many were Southerners and gracious and generous. They’d treat me to transit and food. Yet, each was intent on riding the holy conveyor belt by the image of the dead Savior.

And a conveyor belt it was. The fair organizers were nothing if not efficient. They projected quite accurately that the curious and devout alike were each was a potential constipator of the great viewing tract. There could be no prolonged gawking or praying time. There certainly was no rosary saying.

The Pieta got overhead lighting and appeared ghastly white, far more morbid than the image above as it appears in the Vatican. the background, the whole room, was dark blue. I assume that represented the heavens, with the white lights kind of standing in for stars. There actually was a people-moving conveyor. You’d wait on line, then step lively onto the moving walk, and be literally and maybe figuratively transported past mother and son.

That got pretty old. By the time I was into my second dozen viewing, I would have liked to be able to double or triple the conveyor speed. You want holy statuary? Here. Pow! Thank you and good-bye.

Instead, I regret not buying a shrunken head.

The first few times I was there, I saw clearly fake shrunken heads, in the international pavilion. I think they were from Ecuador and the Jivaro there. I had rubber rats and skulls and such and admired the detail of these models, but they were pricey for me at the time, I think  $50. I didn’t spend all my money on one.

As it turns out, they were real. The Times and Herald reported that the pavilion tendering them was informed to their surprise that such human parts were illegal to import and sell in this country. And I could have had a truly disgusting artifact, had I been sharp and quick enough.

Many of my tourists left with Pieta nicknacks, but none had any interest in shrunken heads.

Good? Habits

October 1st, 2011

Sometimes one of our two sons still at home locks the back door when one of us is on the deck, working in the yard or unloading a vehicle. We can’t get angry. We’ve taught them to close and lock the doors.

Recently on the trip to Block Island, I found another illogical habit grounded in good reasoning. That is, as my wife and I biked around the wee, hilly resort, I constantly checked my side mirror.

BIbikes1

That’s a good safety move, except the mirrors are on my bikes in Boston and not on the rental provided by the inn. Next time I go where I’ll rent a bike, I’ll bring a spare mirror.

For most of the rides, I was in front. My wife got chuckles as she realized that a few times a minute, I’d turn to the non-mirror. If I wanted to see where she was or what vehicle was rumbling behind us, I’d have to do the owl neck-turning thing.

Whether it’s in a car or on a bike, I constantly locate myself with the mirrors. It’s habit of mind and muscles. By the time we were through two days of cycling on BI, I stopped reflexively looking at my left handle bar end, but only by fighting the urge when I felt it. I still wanted to look.

That’s not the only habituation I have with bikes. I recall over 20 years ago when we moved to the bottom of Jamaica Plain, I’d climb on my bike and instinctively expect to buckle a seat belt.

That goes way back. My first car, in 1965, was a 1955 Pontiac Chieftain. It was sturdy like Refrigerator Perry or a tug boat. It would have won in any collision.

Yet, I bought into the seat belt idea. As cars back then did not come with them, I went to Pep Boys, bought them, drilled holes and put them in. I insisted friends and GFs wear belts. No fool, I put three belts in the front too for proximity assurance.

I’m positively anal about seat belts. No one in a car I drive goes without or the car doesn’t go anywhere. So………..come a bike, I laughed at myself as I reached for a seat belt. Yet it took quite a few rides until I was comfortable heading off without one.

We habituated animals teach ourselves good, neutral and bad tricks.

Hole in Ground Zero

September 26th, 2011

Yeah, yeah, Boston skies were raining hard at 4:46 AM when I left. So, I decided not to bring a camera and risk ruining it. I was headed to NYC for two days and a night. Traveling without my digital companion was odd, feeling naked odd. I would have the cellphone, with its sort of pic ability. A few of those follow.

My wife was down for a multi-day company meeting. Their NY HQ was directly connected to the 9/11 catastrophe site. The new one was rebuilt two blocks away. The company-designated hotel is adjacent to the WTC site, Club Quarters New York World Trade Center. I was intellectually prepared to be there. As a Bostonian of decades and a former Manhattanite, I had it covered.

Emotionally, I turned out not to be.

During our dovetailed stay, my wife and I refreshed each other on the 9/11 personal presence. I had been in an important (I knew at the time) meeting with my international software company. I was a principal, leading a discussion with our local engineers and the Israeli test and development team. I had gigantic paste-ups of MS Project sheets and was brimming with busyness.

Our conference room was packed with intense, intent geeks when Jeannie, the office manager, opened the door. She didn’t knock, which was unlike her. She was pale and wide-eyed, which was rare for her too. She said something like, “Someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center. You need to stop your meeting.”

We all walked next door to a room with a TV, watched the second plane hit and the towers collapse.

So, just after 10 years later, I had a grip on it….or not.

cranesnycLast weekend, we overlooked the site. From the 18th floor, we could see directly into that pit. From the restaurant on the top floor, the 20th, we could look west to New Jersey and north to the new WTC 1 building. Everywhere, we could see and hear the 24/7 reconstruction of the site. Machinery I knew well from a previous life as a trade-journal editor lifted for the new and dug to prepare for the new-new. Cranes were a hand clasp in the sky. Hydraulic excavators (some Cat dealer is making a fortune on this contract) dug for the foundations for WTC 2 and 3.

Any trip by or to the windows displayed one massive truck after another heaped with dirt and rock from the site before pulling out. All day, all night, America was righting what Bin Laden ruined.

dignycI found it wrenching. I thought a decade on, many hundreds of thousands of words read, sounds heard, images seen that I was fine. Yet each glance or stare from the 18th or 20th floors ate at me. I also slept poorly, even though the hotel walls and windows were well insulated from sound. I just knew.

Apparently my disquiet is not universal. My wife was in meetings when I arrived and I sat by the entrance to the 9/11 memorial on a Jersey barrier. One phalanx after another of t-shirted firefighters crowded and knelt for snaps with the site and new WTC 1 building as backdrop. Their shirts were from stations in Ohio and California and Pennsylvania. They posed and waved.

I saw clots of middle-aged women with the stereotypical mannishly short easy-to-care-for do trailing hubbies and sons, lining up with their tickets for the site tour. On the hour, people queued concert-style behind metal frame chutes to walk the mud, see the two pools, and crook their necks at WTC 1.

I saw more Amish than I had outside of Pennsylvania and Ohio. There were women and girls from 70 to 14 dressed in their full drabness with their gauzy white plain caps like yarmulkes. Dads had suspenders and all looked terrifically un-New York but very comfortable in themselves. They paused and photographed too.

After checking into my wife’s room, I had lunch two blocks south. The two active tables were filled with firefighters from distant places in their station t-shirts.

FFsIn meals on the 20th, many diners of all ages posed on the balcony with the WTC 1 as backdrop. Most smiled their here-I-am-at-the-notable-location grins. Some were reflective, but nearly all were gleeful as any tourist at any site, loading up the slide-show lineup.

Sunday morning, we happened upon the 10th tunnel-to-towers run, just south of the hotel. The pipers were piping, the cops keeping people behind barriers, and 343 uniformed NYC firefighters lined the Battery Tunnel exit, each wearing a photo placard of one of their brethren who died rescuing those trapped on 9/11.

The run has raised millions of dollars, mostly destined to build houses for quadriplegics from the current wars. It traces the route Brooklyn firefighter Stephen Siller took that day. He was off and headed to play golf with his brothers when he heard about the first plane on the scanner. He drove to his station, loaded up with his 60 pounds of gear, found the tunnel closed, and ran the three miles through it to the towers…and his death.

A decade later, there are many tears, both from the firefighters and the surviving family members and the runners.

Block Island’s Markers

September 16th, 2011

This week, we biked and walked around Block Island for three days. As a iconography fan and cemetery tourist, I went to the Island Cemetery and the Indian Cemetery there. They could hardly be more different.

Pix clix: Click a thumbnail for a larger view. If it opens in the same window, use your browser’s back button or command to return.

License note: All pix are Creative Commons-Attribution. Do what you want with them. Just give Mike Ball credit once.

The Narragansett lived on the island from maybe 1300 BC. The smallish Indian Cemetery in the middle of the bottom of BI is only vaguely like our European ideas. While there are a few labeled tombstones, most of those with any stone are very close together (upright, non-casket burials), raw native rock, and no markings. The humor at the moment is that more and more white folk are asking for green burials that just return the bodies to the earth. BIindian1
BIdodgewinged The main cemetery started in the mid-17th century, but had few classic N.E. iconography examples, and no visible, sturdy slate. Here’s one of the winged transitional imagery.
There was iconography artistry though. With different carvers than those in Northern N.E., much style went into such standard images as the willow, indicating life. BIwillow
BImottwillow Several used the 3D version of the willow.
Small details, such as the background placement of the urn indicating the body, show the artist’s interpretation and skill. BIwillow1
BIheavenclose Among similarities with N.E. stones, the heavenward index finger appeared on many stones.
Likewise, the hand clasp of farewell with an implicit promise of greeting later was on numerous stones. BImitchellclose
BInicholasballpen Only a few showed lots of ego. When the King of Block Island, Nicholas Ball (might be a relative) died in 1896, he set himself up with a royal marker. The top had a pen and journal because he wrote self-aggrandizing travel memoirs, an anchor and rope because he was a sea captain, and construction tools because he designed and had built BI’s huge hotel.
As proof of colonial and young nation’s high infant mortality, there are many 17th through 19th century markers. Some were for yet-to-be-named children. BIbabe4
Bibabe1 Many were elaborate, even more so than the parents’ stones. Of these, the marker was often for an only child.
One child’s stone stand up and out for its candor. Here the only offspring, Lora Rose of Ambrose and Laura, died at just under two and one-half. The scold to the Almighty reads simply, “God takes the good” — nuff said. BIbabe2

Niner One One Respite

September 14th, 2011

Through the accident of calenders and school schedules, we headed to Block Island on September 11th. The side effect was a relief from the relentless, if understandably expected, leaping, braying 10th-anniversary commentary.

Leading up to and in that morning’s papers, NYT and Globe definitely included, were all 9/11, from not-news to full-page ads, to editorials. Americanism points were in the tally for everyone. Advertisers see a chance for another few bucks by association. Editors feign insight or wisdom where they had none. No one it seemed wanted to appear less patriotic and involved than the next exploiter.

We had long before found that this year, Sunday, 9/11 would be the very end of the tourist season there. Rooms were more available, enough restaurants were still open to satisfy, and we would not be madras to polyester with other interlopers.

We took cell phones for family contact…if necessary. However, Even though our guest house did not brag about WiFi, I figured that there’d be lots of free wireless around. Hence the decision about whether to go three days without internet, news or social media. I admit to a Jones on all.

We receive multiple newspapers (each of us having been newspaper and magazine writers and editors). We’re on the tubes throughout the day, and blog, tweet and blah blah blah.

CGjudith

Yet when it came time to pack, I looked at laptops and the iPad. I realized I had lots of room and any of them would be light. Upon arriving, I could fire one up or not.

The planned or-not won. I took nothing.

We left early, right after breakfast and the Sunday papers. We didn’t speak of 9/11 and had no reminder until the ferry left Port Judith. There and then a Coast Guard gunship paced us to and beyond the breakwater, well into the open sound.

That’s not usual and almost certainly a date-specific display of caution or precaution or something. It was certainly unnecessary and suited only for those simpleminded who are wont to chant, “Better safe than sorry.”

For three days and two nights, we did just fine. We spoke to each other, of literature, of the wildlife and other nature we saw or touched or photographed, of our kids a bit, of our current and earlier selves more, and of the comparative textures and tastes of food and drink before us. We biked every paved foot of the island. We marveled in the deep tones of the shingles — round pebbles thumping insistently to beat of the tide — as we walked upper Crescent Beach. We toured Indian and white-settler cemeteries.

Returning Tuesday PM to the newspapers, the net, and the news, we missed nothing. Commenters had nothing original nor insightful nor wise not palliative. They spoke flatulent words only competitively, because everyone else was doing it.

As emergencies and wars and crushing disappointments prove our mental and intellectual mettle, so do eulogies and memorials demonstrate our compassion and understanding. The many efforts we saw on returning failed. If the worst of times brings out the tritest of clichés in us, we had best speak aloud to ourselves what we intend to say…and then keep quiet.

Make Data Losers Pay

September 4th, 2011

It’s anxiety-making easy to find stories of lost and stolen personal data and intellectual property.

OK, boys and girls, one of the latest high-tech clumsiness was a repeat of an Apple employee losing the proprietary prototype of the next generation iPhone, maybe in a bar. This happened to Apple before.

Then there was the BP employee on a business trip who lost a laptop holding a spreadsheet with personal data from 13,000 oil-spill claimants. A wrap-up article includes citations of NJ BC/BS stolen laptop with data from 300,000 customers, another was the GAP losing 800,000 job applicants’ data, a hacker grabbing key SS and financial data from 226,000 customers of the Davidson Companies, and the Veterans Administration’s stolen laptop with data from 26.5 million current and past U.S. military members.

We all know how government agencies, retailers, financial institutions and even utilities demand personal data to get services and goods.They assure us both that they won’t sell our stuff — emails, phones, addresses, Social Security numbers, bank accounts ID and on and one — but we have to reveal all and (ta da) trust them.

It’s increasingly plain that we should not trust them. They have neither the technology systems nor the training in place to keep our data safe. They first rely on nothing or password systems that millions of kids among others could hack. They allow absurd amounts of complete data sets out at a time on single hard drives. Far too many move thousands or millions of sets of actionable data onto laptop hard drives, which every bozo and bozoette in the company can leave with for whatever honorable or nefarious purpose, or lose on an airplane, in a cab or at a bar. And they do.

lockedlapNearly all of the many, many cases of data exposure are human errors, both of the employees who lose the computers and other objects, and the systems people and managers who set up the safeguards. Their heads should roll. The companies and agencies should pay heavy enough fines and open disgrace that they change their ways. Applying magical thinking to data security is totally inadequate.

Think this is like using the term accident to account for inattentive or reckless driving that brings maiming or death. Sure the cops, prosecutors and judges can identify (there but for fortune…), but that is wrong, often fatally wrong, thinking. Some missteps definitely deserve punishment and prevention.

The humanity defense is not a solid one here. Nor is it in most places used. Consider how to apply, “It’s only human to…” Yeah, it’s human to take your eyes off the road, to lose things in a restaurant or bar when you’ve been drinking, to walk off an airplane totally forgetting expensive and essential goods, and for that matter, to lie, cheat, steal, rape or any of a large number of crimes and offenses you think you might get away with when no one’s paying close attention.

Actually many of our laws specifically call out human frailties. Because something valuable is not being guarded at a moment doesn’t make it up for grabs, for example.

For the deterrent factor, clamping down criminally and civilly on the schmo who puts large numbers of us at risk for direct stealing or ID theft should start immediately. One strike and you’re out. It should also cost the company a lot more than one-year subscriptions to credit-card watching services.

Yet because they’re good at protecting themselves, if not you, the managers will be harder. The facts are that lazy or dull-witted IT types and corporate managers who make security policy are culpable. Allowing huge chunks of key data affecting thousands or millions of human beings to flow out of control is asinine.

I suspect that much of the laptop-based losses fall back on that old employees-are-lazy syndrome that affects so many so-so managers. The conceit starts with a belief that if only those shiftless employees would put in anywhere near the effort and production that the sainted managers did, the company would be at least twice as wealthy. Even when measurable productivity soars beyond other countries’ and financial troubles can easily be traced to short-term management thinking, that’s the pretense. It’s delusional and destructive.

A common corollary is that employees will only do a decent amount of work if they always have to be on. Going to a distant customer or for a conference? Well then, be sure the carry a laptop with all possible applications and data you might conceivably need. Work in the airport. Work on the airplane. Work in the hotel. Work over dinner. Work. Work. Work.

The filthy secret is that what is human is overload. That leads to inefficiency of thought and output. That leads to fatigue and concomitant errors. That leads to oversights and mistakes as we try to pretend that there is no end to our multi-tasking abilities. Top being tired with a couple of drinks and, now did you leave that damned laptop in the booth?!

For managers:

  • Security policies don’t work well enough and need to be more thoroughly thought out and tested.
  • No sensitive data should leave the building without a lot better reason than it just might come in handy while you’re traveling.
  • Encryption, password and other software-based security has to be harder, even it’s inconvenient for employees short term.
  • Any data breach has to be analyzed to death, from management and IT aspects as well as the obvious employee possession ones.
  • Databases that travel should be neutered, that is separated from Social Security number and the like so that a lost or stolen hard drive is useless to others; they can be merged when the employee returns, to reflect any changes.
  • Those responsible for putting customers at risk need punishment fitting their involved incompetence.

Sorry, kiddies, it’s only human doesn’t cut…whether you’re drunk driving, drunk laptop toting, or half thinking security policies and procedures.

Party Like 1863

August 13th, 2011

I confess that I like the 54th (and the affiliated Colored Ladies Christian Relief Society). They were re-enacting again at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, as they did on Juneteenth in Franklin Park. Plus, I get to play history geek without wearing the wool uniform in summer.

The price of the Harbor Islands ferry has about tripled from when we first went about 30 years ago, but it’s still in the range of a movie ticket. For that, you get the round-trip boat ride as well as all the freebie activities on George’s Island (and a couple of nearby ones if you want to explore or beach it). We went from Quincy for the first time instead of heading downtown. That’s a little easier for us in HP, but we missed the longer boat ride from Long Wharf. I pity the fool who never does the islands trip, even though fares are around $14 after they became a federal park. Another big plus is a subset of Jasper White’s Summer Shack, replacing the terrible pink hot dogs and similar dreck from the old days, and at good prices. Huzzah.

Today was the annual Civil War encampment (last week a Native American festival). Some years have many re-enactors. Today was just the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Company A and a single Colored Ladies rep.  They are worth a trip though.

The troops have replicas of the muzzle-loading Enfield musket rifles used by the 54th 148 years ago.
54enfield
54drill They have authentic clothes and hardwar, which they show and explain. They also set up several tents and the personal trappings of the period.
Benny White, acting as the regiment’s lieutenant drilled and inspected the soldiers, explained the uniforms and gear, and led them though preparing their weapons. 54looey
54prez 54th president and acting as sergeant, Emmett Bell-Sykes provided the history of the regiment and other African American troops in the war. Note here the haversack eagle medallion on his chest, which White said was nicknamed “the target,” as it seemed to serve no other purpose.
The symbols of the regiment were on the top of their caps. This is the group that proved that black soldiers were are smart and brave as any. It served as the model of the movie Glory and the huge bronze across from our state house. 54captop

Creative Commons note: You’re welcome to use and abuse these snaps. They are Creative Commons-Attribution. Just cite the source somewhere.

City of Light(house)s

August 8th, 2011

Last weekend, friends we visited in Portland, Maine, took us on a quick hopping tour of lighthouses. They have them scattered about like Bostonians have doughnut shops and ice cream stores.

No ledge or shoal seemed safe enough not to build at least a tiny Pharos as a warning. Those shown and cited here have their histories and links in the Coast Guard listings.

We did swing by, walk around and tour the coast paths of the Portland Head Light. It is a classic, literally, as the first after the feds started funding lighthouses. The 80-footer was first lit in 1791 and not automated until 198 years later. It’s a stack of rocks (rubble stone with brick lining in lighthouse terminology). It is still working.

While hand lighting and then a keeper manually switching the light seems primitive now, the tiny Bug Light was far worse for a long time. The Portland Breakwater Light (nicknamed for its wee cuteness) required a transient keeper to make his way along 1,800 foot of dangerous breakwater to light or tend it from 1831 to 1877.

The Cape Elizabeth Light is scenery overlooking the entrance to Casco Bay (and the wildly popular Lobster Shack). It was one of a pair of cast iron ones in 1828. The other was dismantled about a century later.
CapeElizabethLIght1
BugTop Bug Light really is cute, while simultaneously being elegant. Only 26 feet tall, this cast iron version replaced the original wooden one.
Bug Light has six weathered Corinthian columns. While deactivated in 1942, it has operated privately since 2002. BugColumn1
SpringPointDetails The more impressive 54-foot Spring Point Ledge lighthouse has a many fancy details as well. It is on the end of a 900-foot breakwater that makes visit worthy of a lunch later.
My favorite snaps of the Portland Head Light are not of the building. Rather an imposing gull on the lower buildings stands guard and it is surrounded by rosa rugosa bushes with quarter-sized rose hips. hipred

Creative Commons note: You’re welcome to use and abuse these snaps. They are Creative Commons-Attribution. Just cite the source somewhere.

Milking the Folk Festival

July 9th, 2011

Is this a Pluggers cartoon? We’ve been doing the Lowell Folk Festival for all of its 25 years, missing one when we were far away. We’ll do it again, at the least this year on Saturday, July 30th.

lffbluesThere are ways to maximize your thrills and rewards. Because so much happens in a time slot and because acts can stagger starts, you need to game the system a wee bit. It’s a type-A sport worth the trouble.

Note that this free (let’s stress that) music extravaganza:

  • Has six stages with simultaneous performances
  • No stage is more than 10 minutes stride away from another, giving you time to sample, shift if you aren’t delighted, and be sure to catch must-see shows
  • Will often offer two, three or more acts you’d like to catch at the same time
  • Has performers who give more than one show a day – different time and stage
  • Has a devil of a lot beyond the narrowest stereotype of folk music
  • Is certain to present a band or singer you don’t know and will be delighted to have heard

The performer list and the schedule for all three days are available. For me, this means:

  1. Reading the full list to identify shows I won’t miss
  2. Grabbing the spreadsheet version of the sked and sorting it by time and day for my project management thing
  3. Finding out if my essential performers are on stage more than once (time and/or day)
  4. Picking one or more types of music or acts I don’t know and want to chance
  5. Highlighting my choices
  6. Highlighting (different color) promiscuous options, like nearby shows that are in the same time slots, for possible flitting among them

My first go this year is on the fridge. Shemekia Copeland (pic) is great. We’ve heard her several times here and first caught her at the LFF. She’s always worth it. So, I started with the 5 PM show.

Otherwise, unless I feel whims or someone drops out, I intend to start with:

  • Birmingham Sunlights (a cappella gospel) at noon
  • Eden Bent (blues/boogie woogie) at 1
  • Michael Cleveland (bluegrass) at 2
  • Rhythm of Rajasthan (India) at 3
  • Bill Kirchen (honky tonk) at 3:30 (sneaking out to double up here)
  • Quebe Sisters (Western swing) at 4 (likely coming late if Kirchen is really good)
  • Copeland at 5

There’s more later as well as options to skip around among stages. Yet, that’s already a full day and maybe musically tiring, even for listening sponges. We could probably leave after those and feel quite happy.

This is a good time to play off Mr. T here. I pity the fool who does not catch at least one day of the LFF.