Jonesville History: Civil War Hot Air Balloon

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

Another Jonesville History lesson from the much too thin folder at Pineapple Hill…

There’s an unusual roadside marker in the Pea Ridge area of Union County near Jonesville. It tells the story of a Civil War Hot Air Balloon…

Just a week after Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, Thaddeus Lowe took off from Ohio in a hot air balloon to prove that he could fly eastward on upper air currents.

Nine hours later his balloon landed in the Pea Ridge area of Jonesville.

Lowe was arrested as a Northern spy but managed to persuade his “hosts” he was on a scientific mission.

There’s a roadside marker in Pea Ridge sign marking the spot where Lowe’s hot air balloon landed.

# # #

Have your picture taken beside this roadside marker in Union County –holding a balloon of course.

 

# # #

From what I’ve seen so far, there’s some real talented moonshine makers in Pea Ridge. I assume they started drinking when they saw that balloon. A UFO for sure.

# # #

Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed “Lawnchair Larry” or the “Lawn Chair Pilot”, (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship. Dubbed Inspiration I, the “flying machine” consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Here’s the Wikipedia entry. 

Don’t be so dumb as to try this.

# # #

–Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

Why Pineapple Hill?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Notes & Doodles

The other day I heard from a good friend and, during the

Painting fish on pallet wood cleared writer’s block. I gave this up after the car wreck. It was a hobby that got out of hand.

course of catching up, asked him to check out this website.

He did, asking “what have you gotten yourself into now?” He knew me. Well. Knew about my taking up different interests all the time—sparkly things that caught my eye—such as scuba diving, guns, buying hundreds and hundreds of new and used books, growing grapes, researching the ruins of a Colonial era tavern down my road “because it’s there”. And so on.

Specifically, he mentioned my painting fish on pallet wood phase. At one point I practically had a factory going down in Pineapple Hill’s conference room (which I briefly renamed Board Room). Painting fish on pallet wood cleared writer’s block and got me out of the house at the height of my reclusive Howard Hughes period–a phase I’m still in somewhat.

Thank goodness the car wreck got me out of the pallet art business before I sent the labor-intensive production over to China or down to Mexico.

Anyway, after we got off the phone I decided I better explain this Pineapple Hill web site to my friend and to myself.

HERE’S THE LETTER I SENT OUT LATER:

Great talking to you yesterday. When mentioning Pineapple Hill earlier and asking you to take a look I really only expected a quick glance and perhaps a bit of feedback on colors (glad you like them) and navigation (sorry it moved a little slow for you –I need to check on that).

Wow! Very glad to have you weight in. It got me thinking. Made me decide to flesh out this website’s reason for being so if I have thoughts of moving on to something else—goat yoga, for instance—maybe I won’t.

The PURPOSE OF PINEAPPLE HILL

  • a place to express myself (I write “just for fun” for an hour or so every morning)
  • a way to be more sociable (compensating for my remote location in the boonies)
  • motivates me to finish the next book I’m writing now that Blue Rubber Pool is published.
  • showcases the surrounding community (history, climate, restaurants, attractions, etc)
  • builds relationships with like minded people: sailors, surfers, shooters, grape growers, bamboo and banana tree lovers, corn hole players and other writers too.
  • clear my head of the jetsam and flotsam so that, hopefully, it doesn’t end up in a book with my name on it.

Like I said, this is “just for fun”. Unless I can figure out how to monetize it. Then it’ll be my ticket to umbrella drinks on sugar white sand. More satisfying even than painting fish on pallet wood.

Bottom Line: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

 

Best regards as always,

Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

Surfboards As Art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Notes & Doodles

On a day trip to Folly Beach near Charleston South Carolina, my surfing buddy and I sat it out for a while after being pounded to a pulp by waves hard as cement.

There was a storm offshore that day, I forget which one, but everybody raced down to the coast to surf.

Except for myself, I brought a board but was present mainly to chill beside a cooler, doing my thing as Surf Director. Not that I was ever a real good surfer. But this time I had an excuse to lay low except for  a few sorties out to pee in the ocean and make it look like I was jumping waves. I was still recovering from a broken hip. By that I mean a hip socket crushed like a saltine cracker, not a grandpa-type break, not a help-I’ve-fallen-down-and-can’t-get-up thing.

Anyway, the sound of crashing surf pummeled my ear drums in sync with gulls ,screeching, I’d been feeding crackers to.I watched my friend walk down the beach with his board, saying he was going to give it another try. Then, in the other direction, I watched another guy limping along carrying his shorty in two parts.

I wondered what he planned to do with it. If it was me, I’d have saved it as a wall hanger, a trophy of sorts, a Metal of Honor for fighting the waves that day instead of just sitting, drinking, thinking about nothing, accomplishing nada except my bag of empty cans.

As we were driving home I thought about that ruined surfboard. The image of it in my mind, for a reason I didn’t understand just then doing 85 on I-26, made me decide that one of these days I’ll paddle out there and try to stand up again. Keep the dream alive even if it’s broken in two.

Good art does that. Makes us turn in directions we’d given up or never considered in the first place.

* * *

 

Check out what others have done –re-purposing surfboards as art. Article:  (Old retired surfboards get a new life as artwork.)

* * *

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

Book Review: The Drunkard’s Walk

Posted on Posted in Books & Writing

I came home from the used book store with a copy of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives,  a New York Times bestseller by physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow. It’s about the role of randomness in everyday events, and the cognitive biases that lead people to misinterpret random events and stochastic processes. For me (no mathematics scholarships in my past), The Brain Pain began just reading the introduction. Nevertheless, it’s a great addition to your private library book collection. A book for the beach. A book for the boat.

I brought it home in plastic grocery store bag. It was crammed in there with GONZO: The Life Of Hunter S. Thompson, PALM BEACH BABYLON: Sins, Scam and Scandals, FAMOUS MUGS (Stars Behind Bars), Hemingway’s Key West, and Wines & Beers of Old New England. Think of it as a Dagwood Sandwich for evening reading sessions in the back porch hammock. Drunkard’s Walk being the meat.

Sometimes I’ll have 3 – 4 different books going at once. Not unlike switching back and forth between channels on the television. Eventually, Drunkard’s Walk will be completed. And when that happens, I’ll “spike” it football style and do a victory dance on the sun deck.

But more than likely Gonzo, Mugs, Key West and Wines & Beers will have long been filed away on shelves in the new conference room library and I’ll have moved on to a Philly Steak created from other books brought home in sacks.

For instance, Keith Richard’s book Life. Or Outward Leg by Tristan Jones. And The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts by Louis de Bernieres. All of them also recent finds from the used book store.

What about you? What’s in your hammock?

# # #

–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

Going Native (the soul of a whelk)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Notes & Doodles

(From a book I’m writing called Exaggerations And Lies Of A Sailor’s Life In Advertising)

 

Part of Going Native involves becoming true to oneself in business and at home—balancing both with perfect synergy.

I’ve worked with over a hundred entrepreneurs, VPs of marketing, company presidents, and CEOs. In my opinion, the best of the breed—the ones not only most successful but also happiest, even-keeled, and prepared for the long haul— understand that sometimes you have to go sideways in order to go forward.

They have what author John Irving would describe as “the patience of a time bomb.”

[Imagine, now, the situation of an actual bomb tick-tick-ticking calmly ever closer to a last moment; the grand finale of chaos and calamity –inching toward it quite surely, yet without even an eyelid twitching a little …a soul resembling that of a whelk from which, way deep inside, matches the soft yet unfaltering whispers of the sea and the infinite world beyond.]

* * *

The entrepreneurial spirit is not just a matter of confidence.

It’s self-awareness.

Syncing up with things “out there” beyond where eyes can see.

* * *

The best of the breed understands that the straight line sometimes isn’t the most effective and efficient way…

Sometimes the course, for the long haul goal, requires zig-zagging against the wind.

* * *

I appreciate minds that reach out beyond where eyes can see to gather subtle clues instead of quickly passing them by impatiently, too sure of only one way being the right way, too quick to risk the long term to satisfy the short.

 

For sailors, time and space are multidimensional. In a sailors world a broad range of factors influence success—many of them beyond one’s control, beyond the radar screen—yet sailors become tuned to them instinctively across moments and hours, months and years.

The sound of water and wind have special meanings under sail versus the mindless droning on of motors.  Valuable information of use now and later on.

True, the motoring types get there sooner. But they arrive with less information having done less thinking through and having depended too much on unreliable bits and parts: electronics, engine components, fuel and electricity gauges. They become less engaged and less interesting.Less likely to have lively tales and deep channeling insights when I ring them up to meet on the veranda for Costa Rican coffee and Cuban cigars.

# # #

We (all of us) can leverage an entrepreneur’s outlook, can be masters of life…

…away from the office

…and away from business altogether…

through the patience of a time bomb and by finding the whelk-like soul deep within.

 

Bottom line: Going Native is a “zest for living” thing…

that frees us (all of us) from the mundane.

* * *

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

Koozie Donations Needed!

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

Support the arts in Jonesville, South Carolina. Pineapple Hill needs your new or used beer koozies (coozies) from island and beach bars, restaurants, or resorts all over the world.

Be part of this quirky “Christo-style” happening.

Will be glad to mention you (or your brand) as a Koozie Donor on our little website and on Twitter.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of The Great Koozie Round Up Of The Century.

For the mailing info, contact me here or via Twitter.

Donating a koozie could quite possibly bring happiness way into your golden, drooling oatmeal years.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

Trivia: Tahiti, pouques, kava and more

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

News and information for enjoying the island lifestyle (beaches, sailing, surfing and such) …wherever the hell you are.

…About one-third of North America is bordered by barrier islands.///

…In ancient Tahiti, archery was a sacred sport, practiced only by people of high rank. And while they were expert marksmen, bows and arrows were never used as weapons of war.///

This knot is called a monkey’s fist. Try making one sometime. Then take up drinking.

…The people from the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, just off the coast of  France, think they are descendants of fairies, known on the islands as “pouques” (pronounced “pooks”)! The last reported sighting of a fairy was in the early 1900’s.///

…The roots of the South Pacific kava plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. When Captain Cook and his crew first witnessed the preparation of kava by mastication, they were thoroughly disgusted.///

…About 70 percent of the planet is ocean, with an average depth of more than 12,400 feet. Given that photons (light) can’t penetrate more than 330 feet below the water’s surface, most of our planet is in a perpetual state of darkness.///

…A monkey’s fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as an improvised weapon, called a slingshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack, but this is obsolete and dangerous.///

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

Bolger Stitch and Glue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Notes & Doodles
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT.

After sailboats 30′ and up, I never thought I’d enjoy having a small skiff but then I found this small wooden “stitch and glue” oar/sail Gunther rigged skiff at used car lot in Charlotte.

I thought it to be an Otter 16 but the guys at the Wooden Boat forum have convinced me it’s a Phil Bolger Gypsy design. TheWooden Boat forum is definitely a big help.

Of course, sailing it is different than bigger boats. No room to stretch and move around. No place to get out of bad weather. No space to stash several months provisions. But it’s fun to sit closer to the water and closer-to-nature. And there’s virtually no maintenance hassles. It’s very easy to row and I’ve set it up for a small trolling motor though have never put one aboard. What really makes it special right now is that I can sail the reservoir behind my house when the urge to sail hits and I’m unable to make the three hour trek to the sea.

There’s something about wooden boats versus fiberglass (plastic) that’s magical—as if you’re part of a living thing and it, the boat, is part of all living things around you: water, sky, fishes, birds, animals, etc. It’s a “close to nature” vibe.

I beefed up the mast step, added additional bench and deck boards (with finger holes to lift them up for storage underneath) and then gave it a paint job.

It’s now Pineapple Hill’s official Tongan War Skiff.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worse than a shoestring budget

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

I’ve met some interesting people on Linked In this week. My “Surf Director” title at Pineapple Hill has led to some really fun exchanges, many of which had nothing to do with surfing, banana trees, or cows.

I met a guy for coffee to discuss his interest in revitalizing a blues club he owned and eventually having a chain of them via the franchise model. Although it didn’t fit with my personal “Time:ROI” formula, it rekindled memories of my early marketing work in arts and entertainment. Back in Florida, as PR Director for a county arts council supporting 26 adjoining municipalities, I was involved in a number of concerts and festivals. I was a member of the International Festival Association and even had a Certificate in Festival Marketing from Purdue (the university, not the chicken brand).

One event, a music festival held on the grounds of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, drew 40,000 people when fewer than 10,000 were expected. Let’s just say we were short on a lot of things including port-o-lets. In those days I spent time at BB Joe’s, a jazz club in downtown St. Pete, and got to know a lot of musicians and singers.

But all that was before I drifted into and “around in” various aspects of ad agency work, starting in PR and going from there into copy writing, planning, account supervision and strategic brand planning. Drifting further and further from the arts into categories such as financial services,  manufacturing and technology.

Anyway, getting back to my LinkedIn coffee session that day, it felt good to talk blues and jazz and marketing all at once. I liked the idea of revisiting my roots in the arts. Just halfway into my Vanilla Nut Mocha, I was already hooked enough to at least scratch out some ideas for getting started on a shoestring budget.

Now, to be clear, shoestring budgets aren’t given much more than what I call a “napkin draft”.

Despite being very “first blush”, my notes pointed out a few things many start ups overlook –especially in the area of promotional merchandising and grassroots marketing.

These would apply not only to marketing a nightclub or restaurant, but to other areas of business too where experential marketing and strategic branding can make a big difference without necessarily needing a lot of cost.

The bottom line is that branding, done right, is always better than no branding. And branding done wrong, can be worse than a shoestring budget.

In the meantime, have you checked today’s surf report?

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t pick up baby deer

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

Transitioning to country life —whether from jungle, sea or city—  requires learning local customs to avoid calling attention to yourself.

For instance, don’t pick up baby deer.

Just because there’s so many all around and they’re so damned cute (big brown eyes and spindly legs just like Bambi), you cannot gather a bouquet of them as a gift for someone you love.

Not even on Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries.

Nope. Don’t do it says the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Leave ‘em alone. Don’t try to pet them or pick them up. They say the mother is probably somewhere near. Hiding. Like I am. Unless you already found her with your AR-50. In that case, hide the AR-50 and call the DNR at (803) 734-3898  to come get Bambi.

PS fyi, if I see a baby deer I’m gonna wanna try to pet it. And then I’m gonna wanna let it hang out all the time, use the TV remote when it wants.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

Book Review: Time Bandit

Posted on Posted in Books & Writing, Notes & Doodles

I just got out of the hammock having finished Time Bandit, the memoir of brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand whose fishing vessel of the same name has taken them out into the Bering Sea and back—where they brave ice floes and heaving 60-foot waves, gusting winds of 80 miles per hour, unwieldy and unpredictable half-ton steel crab traps, and an injury rate of almost 100-percent in search of “the deadliest catch”: Alaskan king crabs and opilio crabs.

Add this one to your books for the beach and books for the boat shopping list.

What makes Time Bandit especially fun is that these two guys were waaaaaaaay crazy long before they came to own that famous boat of theirs. As young boys they went camping—sleeping by the shore eating crows (which, for all I know, may be the tastiest thing in the world, I’ve never tried it)—while at their feet were a type of mussel deemed tastiest in the world (but they didn’t know, having never tried it).

There were sword fights using garbage can lids for shields. Attempts to jump motorcycles over way to much –resulting in so many trips to the hospital for stitches that the doctor told their mother she’d save a lot of money learning how to do stitches herself.

I think my favorite story was from their childhood was the time a friend decided to become an astronaut by climbing into a metal garbage can while the two brothers lit the odd collection of combustible fluids and explosives underneath.

And not much changed as they got older. When not taking on near death experiences at sea, they faced them on land as well: lots of great bar brawls in this book including the time one of Jonathan’s uber hot girlfriends got her faced slammed into the bar by a biker, resulting in the biker being given a three-day coma by Jonathan.

Next time I’m fishing at the Jonesville Reservoir I’ll take along my copy of Time Bandit.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill