Funny sailing video from Irish Sailing Olympics

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Tacking to and fro across YouTube for just a minute and just for “kicks” I found this funny sailing video from the Irish Sailing Olympics. The commentator is clueless. The more he yammers on, the more befuddled he gets.

It’s here to wish you a wonderful day. At least compared to his.

 [Warning: some profanity in this one.]

Be sure to watch the end (which is really just the beginning).

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

 

Jonesville History: Ghost Cigars, Etc

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My telling of Jonesville History includes local ghost stories and legends.

I’m told that at least ten ghosts at the Inn at Merridun (c. 1855) in nearby Union. The hauntings have been described in Haunted Inns of the Southeast by Sheila Turnage and Haunted Inns of America by Terry Smith and Mark Jean.

The most commonly cited ghosts are the Duncans (T.C. and Fannie). They lived in the Merridun in the late 1800s and are said to make their presence known in the form of two unique scents: cigar smoke and perfume. Too, it’s said they sometimes scatter pennies about the place.

Other ghosts include a white dog, two children (believed to be brother and sister), and an African-American housekeeper. Too, the sound of Native American drumming is sometimes heard.

–Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

The Story of Bob

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One evening we found a baby bird on our sandy driveway, not far from a large oak tree, flopping around, unable to fly, unable even to stand.

We carefully scooped him up and created a substitute nest for him out of a shoe box.

We named him Bob.

Then we went online to find out what to do next. We found the phone number for a bird rescue person. We called and were told to keep Bob in his shoe box and him up in the oak tree.

So we did.

We punched holes in the shoe box, ran kite string through the holes, then used more string to suspend Bob’s cardboard nest from a low hanging branch (but high enough off the ground so that our outdoor cat, Ellie Mae, couldn’t get to it).

As nightfall came, there was a breeze and, looking out across the lawn to the oak tree and Bob’s swaying shoe box ,we were reminded of the lullaby:

Rock-a-bye baby on the treetops,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

The wind blew harder and harder. We could feel the heaviness of storm clouds moving in across the darkness. And then came a sprinkling of fat rain drops. Followed, soon, by a slamming downpour.

From time to time through the night we would peer out toward the oak tree and, in between flashes of lightening, would see the Bob’s shoe box swinging wildly in the wind.

And one of us would say “Wonder how Bob is?” or “Hope Bob’s okay.”

 

At first light, we went out to check Bob’s shoe box.

But Bob was gone.

We like to believe he made it back to his momma somehow.

However,  later that afternoon, Ellie May—the original Pineapple Hill mouse cat—showed up with bird parts in her mouth.

Small, Bob-sized bird parts…

We left the shoe box hanging from the tree limb for the longest time.

Eventually it became just a rumpled mass of cardboard and string that barely resembled a shoe box anymore and certainly no longer resembled a bird nest anymore.

Finally, without ceremony, I walked out to the oak tree one day with scissors and took down what was left of Bob’s cradle.

 

We still talk about Bob.

He belongs to this land eternally now and to our lives here as much as we do.

 

# # #

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

 

On the Bright Side (Innovation During Crisis)

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“I read the news today O Boy… ”
(Remember that line from the Beatles’ song A Day In The Life?)

While sidelined with an injury, I’ve been following the

Checking out the new Pineapple Hill property with my bud Palmer, a West Coast entrepreneur making a deal on his cell phone, I led us up a hill and over a fence …stepping out in front a bull. Didn’t know if it would charge or not but Palmer never missed a beat on that call.

situations with Ferguson, Isis, Ebola, Mid term elections, IRS scandal, Secret Service screw ups, the up and down stock market, the global water shortage, global warming…

…and all the other things in the gator pile.

I’m not hiding under the bed in the fetal position sucking my thumb because I also remember George Harrison’s “All things must pass”.

I’m a big believer in Mankind’s ability to get out of the messes that seem to always come along on the timeline of history. Trouble rides the rails.

Looking back as the ground we’ve covered

so far you’ll see a connect-the-dots story of “bad things happening to good people” (Have you seen the commercial using that line?)

It may not always be pretty, but somehow “we” (the All Of Us that makes the world go ’round) not only survive but continue to advance the ball.

We figure something out. We break on through to the other side.

I’m not just mimicking Kevin Bacon in Animal House (“All is well!”).

I see evidence of Mankind’s ingenuity all around us.

It can be found in our bodies …and far into deep space.

 It’s so amazing what’s been achieved…

…and will continue to be achieved.

Not only has Mankind brought light to the world in its darkest hours –he continues to innovate better ways of doing so.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a Wall Street Daily article on Innovation During Crisis.

# # #

Although probably not inspired by crisis, you might enjoy this list of 33 Genius Products.

 # # #

Still think it’s the end of the world? …Check out “Fibanacci’s Golden Ratio” sometime.

# # #

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

 

Jonesville History: Civil War Hot Air Balloon

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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.

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

 

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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?

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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

 

Pirates: FYI

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  • The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and Mediterranean in the 14th century BC. These pirates were known to wield cutlasses, a type of sword common in that era.
  • On one voyage across the Aegean Sea in 75 BC, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates and held prisoner in the Dodecanese islet of Pharmacusa.[ He maintained an attitude of superiority and good cheer throughout his captivity. When the pirates decided to demand a ransom of twenty talents of gold, Caesar is said to have insisted that he was worth at least fifty, and the pirates indeed raised the ransom to fifty talents. After the ransom was paid and Caesar was released, he raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and had them crucified.
  • In the Roman province of Britannia, Saint Patrick was captured and enslaved by Irish pirates
  • The Haida and Tlingit tribes, who lived along the coast of southern Alaska and on islands in northwest British Columbia, were traditionally known as fierce warriors, pirates and slave-traders, raiding as far as California.
  • The most famous pirate utopia is that of the probably fictional Captain Misson and his pirate crew, who allegedly founded the free colony of Libertatia in northern Madagascar in the late 17th century, until it was destroyed in a surprise attack by the island natives in 1694.

    [These tidbits were pirated from one or more places but I’ve forgotten where. T’was the rum, Arrrrrr!]

###

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

Beaux Arts in Pinellas Park

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It’s rainy and gray in South Carolina. A good day for getting back to work on the Great American Novel—the Holey Grail for so many of us wannabes toiling away, assembling picture puzzles from words. I’ve been hacking away at it (machete in one hand, torch in the other, cocktail in the third) for several months now following publication of Blue Rubber Pool.

Up until recently I viewed writing as a solitary thing not unlike the large blocks of time I’ve spent sailing or tooling along Carolina back roads top down in the old farm Jeep.

But recently some new friends have prompted me to rethink my self inflicted solitary confinement especially with regard to public readings. I used to do them long ago at the avant garde Beaux Arts in Pinellas Park, Florida, “oldest coffee house in Florida”. It used to be the Royal Palms Hotel, built in 1911, but the place I knew in the early 80s was a flop house of sorts where people lived, visited and shared. A San Fran-style enclave of artists, writers and musicians. Woody Guthrie, Panama Red, Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac were among the ridiculously talented people passing through. They were there in the 60s, well before my visits in the 80s. Although the place has since burned down, it still has fans.

Maybe if there was a place like that around here—not just a building, but a certain vibe—I could break out this hermit thing I’m doing.

On the other hand, based on the Hammock Man videos I found, maybe reading aloud isn’t such a good thing.

Regardless, revisiting Beaux Arts today, it feels good to see glimpses of my younger self still inside my older me.

Here’s more information about Beaux Arts

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

Surfboards As Art

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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: Fire And Rain

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I just finished David Browne’s book Fire And Rain “interweaving epochal points in the professional and personal lives of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, CSNY and James Taylor.” It was a fun choice. Perfect for kicking off the 2015 summer season in the Pineapple Hill hot tub. Perfect for any private library book collection.

I was in junior high and high school in the 1970s –old enough to be there when the Beatles broke up (and when Simon and Garfunkel songs were being playing in elevators). I liked James Taylor some. Liked CSNY a lot more. But I wasn’t really caught up in their goings on behind the scenes. Didn’t really fathom their place and meaning as the 1960s rocked and rolled to its chaotic conclusion. For instance, I hadn’t known that, according to the book:

  • James Taylor was such a junkie, had been institutionalized and once broke his hands and feet wrecking a stolen motorcycle on Martha’s Vineyard. (He seems so mellow.)
  • David Crosby was such a ladies man (though I should made the connection via his singing Love The One You’re With). Nor did I know Love The One You’re With was derived from a comment Billy Preston when Stephen Stills was hanging out with him (via Ringo Starr) in London.
  • Phil Spector was deemed a little creepy even back then –his “wall of sound” clients of that era thought it weird he carried a gun (and he was known even then to have a temper).
  • Jimi Hendrix ignited his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival.
  • Stephen Stills had tricked Rita Coolidge into dating him instead of Graham Nash (told a lie to steal her right out of Nash’s arms) and that Nash then won her back from Stills. (Man, Rita Coolidge was such a hottie!) And that Stills had been in military school in St. Petersburg, Florida (but before my time there).
  • Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters was, for a time, the best selling album in America (by-passing The Beatles’ Abby Road to get there), and that S&G were anxious over the similarities between their hit song and Let It Be.

There was a lot of drama in the background. Globally, of course. But also between the bands and band mates. Much more paranoia and bitterness than I’d have thought. Much less harmony backstage away from the spotlight. [Where was I when all that was going on? Sailing. Listening to wind and water more than anything else.]

Brown develops the history behind these acts develop progressively in step with the world around them, making sense of the influences that built them up then brought them down.

Find a copy. Grab a beach towel. Head outside this summer.

# # #

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

My Jaguar. Sadly not vintage

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Jag vs. cow. An ongoing contest of epic proportions.

At times you might see me roll up in a Jaguar the color of the deep blue sea. It’s an old one but, sadly, not vintage. They practically give them away. I’ve herded cows in mine.

No, I’m not crazy.

Yes, I’m aware of the brand’s reputation for driving owners to the poor house. Or the nut house.Or one and then the other.

At least a half dozen times I resisted the urge to have one. But my heart—which throughout my life has often overruled my brain, persisted in saying “And have one, I must.” Kept whispering this into my ear, giving the lobe a nibble, knowing my eyes were unable to resist the crisp, sleek, sassy lines of those older Jags, and my soul unable to resist the flawless inviting leather; all the  buttons and lights, and the feeling of riding on rails smooth as ice.

In the beginning, the brain, perched at the other ear, would punch me in the shoulder to get my attention then screech “STOP! You fool! She’ll only bring you trouble! Resist temptation! Jaguars  are a path to ruin!” The brain would not to let the heart get its hands on the checkbook and the pen. And the soul would not let the eyes look back for one last time.

Years passed.

Sure, I’d notice if she happened by. I admit to looking longer than I should have until she disappeared, far ahead, from my view. I knew I had to let her go.

But I never totally forgot about that svelte, agile feline.

Self-consciously, she must have still been with me all that time. And, in my hunger to have her, I pursued succession of substitutes. Most of them flashy, five-speed convertibles. None of them totally satisfying.

More years passed.

My children moved out. I sold the place in town, built a smaller place in the boonies.

I put on a little weight. My hair thinned a little. White hairs started taking over my beard.

I began losing interest in a Miata I’d been driving lately. Other than mindless outings with the top town, there wasn’t much there. No poetry. No history. No art. No deep connection humming night and day, year ’round, regardless of the weather or the road ahead.

I was slowly taken over by that “running on empty” feeling. To tell you the truth, I slipped out one afternoon looking for a Roaster. Or something. I needed to fill my emptiness.

I had no idea what I was looking for, no idea what my options were.

I looked online, I went to car lots. Nothing. Getting desperate, I started cruising parking lots, a perv.

But nothing caught my eye. I was not only disappointed, I was alarmed. They all looked alike. Same sizes, same shapes, same colors. Yes, I panicked. Armageddon coming! I retreated back to the far to wait it out.

But no Horsemen came.

As always seemed to happen I then found my love at a time I wasn’t looking. There she was, on a corner, looking like no one else. We went out. I got a speeding ticket right away.

Sure, she was older and larger than what I was used to, but I’m older and larger too. An automatic, not five-speed, but my insurance company loves me for it. Requires more patience but I’ve got the time now. More expensive to keep but worth it—she speaks to me in ways others never could. And, yes, I think she’s sexy as hell, a sleek and sassy style the newer ones don’t have, could never understand.

And, of course, there’s that wonderful leaping cat up front, the shiny “sun wet” chrome a bursting energy that makes me, at middle age, feel like I’m jumping through a fiery hoop of time.

# # #

 

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

Cuba FYI

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  • Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean, as well as the largest by area.
  • Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and an average life expectancy of 77.64. In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF’s definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8 for 2007.
  • The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish-American War.
  • Shortly after the founding of Cuba’s first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands. Hernán Cortés organized his expedition to Mexico from the island.

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