No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Sunlight and the Shadows

February 24, 2015

 photo 023_zpsuklo5dhq.jpg Jackson Browne 

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The Sunlight and the Shadows

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This week marked the third time in the last month or so that I had the chance to go see a live concert by a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After seeing Billy Joel and Bob Seger, this time I was headed back to Miami to see a show by one of my favorite singer songwriters, Jackson Browne.

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Browne was playing on a Friday night at the wonderful Fillmore Miami Beach Theatre and as I was traveling up to Daytona, I was able to stop in South Beach and catch the show, and I am so glad that I did. Unlike the previous two shows, which were in large arenas, this one was in a much smaller and more intimate space and was part of a short mini-tour of just the state of Florida by Browne and his band.

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Unlike the others as well is the fact that Browne featured no opening act and played a set that spanned over three hours. The set was much heavier on both recent songs and deep cuts from his back catalog, rather than just a “greatest hits” show and was pretty cool for an old time fan such as myself. I have seen Browne about 4 or 5 times over the years and he is still as vibrant and interesting as ever. I really enjoy the easy crowd banter and storytelling that accompanies many of his songs.

Jackson Browne

The show was fantastic with a singular exception and that was the rude crowd which in addition to repeatedly yelling out loud requests, even after Browne suggested he was not going to play anything that was yelled out, also there were some in the crowd who yelled out negative responses to his political activist statements even such seemingly benign suggestions as to reduce the use of plastic to help clean the oceans. It was disheartening and embarrassing, do these people not know what they are in for when attending a Jackson Browne show. 

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Thankfully Browne was pretty good natured about it, but it marred a wonderful experience for many in the crowd. The show highlight was when Browne introduced legendary Cuban Nueva Trova singer Carlos Varela to share the stage on Varela’s song “Walls and Doors” which Browne has covered on his new CD. It was Varela’s first appearance on a US stage as was pretty cool.

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The week got off to a great start with a wonderful presentation by noted author and artist Jonathan Santlofer at the Friends of the Library lecture series. Santlofer was a panelist at last year’s Key West Literary Seminar on crime writing and is back in Key West as an artist in residence at the Studios of Key West. His presentation was on both his popular art and his best-selling mystery books and was really interesting.

 photo 026_zpslraflb4x.jpg Jonathan Santlofer 

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The same evening, my favorite bar the Porch hosted a fun event that paired delicious craft beer with girl scout cookies for a tasty and fun combination of food and libation. Who doesn’t love a delightful girl scout cookie paired with a tasty and refreshing beer. It was a great idea and had a good turnout of people to enjoy the pairings.

 photo 019_zps6rqswj3r.jpg Eileen & Graf

 photo 012_zps2jw8rptc.jpg Landon

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After leaving South Beach, I headed north to Orlando, where I spent the day visiting Epcot Center at Disney World. Holding an annual pass for Disney, I enjoy visiting whenever I am in the vicinity of Orlando and Epcot is always my favorite place to spend a nice afternoon. It was a perfect day, overcast and not too hot with thankfully average sized crowds

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I had the good fortune to meet the famous Norwegian Cologne designed Geir Ness who was promoting his colognes in the Norway store. His fragrances are among my favorites, I especially like Laila, the ladies perfume which I often get for Kathy when I visit Epcot center. 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Valentine’s Day

February 20, 2015

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 photo 096-Copy_zpseae2d5a5.jpg Kathy & Beth 

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Valentine’s Day

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I was recently having a discussion about Valentine’s Day with my personal trainer, Leigh. She and her significant other never celebrate it, feeling strongly that it is one of those Hallmark holidays that are merely designed to sell stuff to consumers. Why a special day to let those in your life know you love them and care about them? Shouldn’t this happen every day?  In addition, she pointed out that Valentine’s Day can be downright miserable for singles, who may feel the unseen pressure to be paired on this day that is so focused on couples.

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While many good points were raised, I am still a big fan of Valentine’s Day, what’s wrong with a day to celebrate love, it sure beats having a day to celebrate a bunch of old President’s and while we should all show our feelings to loved ones all the time, there can never be too much when it comes to celebrating those who mean so much to us. It doesn’t have to be a significant other either, singles have good friends and family who mean a lot to them and Valentine’s Day is as good as any to let them know it.

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 photo 023_zpsfcafa01f.jpg Bree & Michele

Kathy & I had a great Valentine’s weekend, sharing good times with each other as well as with good friends made for a great way to recognize how important each other as well as our friends and family are. Friday night, I attended a fundraising event at the Bottlecap Lounge for the miracle baby Aurora, the surviving twin child of our friends Rock and Michele, who despite being born, very, very premature has managed to survive and thrive. It is a pretty special story and the Key West community has, as usual, come together to help raise funds to offset the huge medical expenses that they have incurred as the baby has fought to get through. It is always inspiring to see our wonderful and generous community band together to help out one of our own.

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 photo 032_zps7999791f.jpgKarri Daley

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The party at the bottlecap featured live music by a variety of musicians and bands from town performing free to help entertain the crowd and raise money. The bands included the wonderful band Happy Dog, singers Melody Cooper, Tony Baltimore and Karri Daley. There was also a silent auction and all the bar tips went to the cause. It was a fun evening.

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Next I headed over to our friends Carla & George’s house where a beautiful huge mosaic mural was being unveiled on the side of their place. The house is owned by Joe Weatherby but Carla & George are long time renters and the ocean themed mural is absolutely stunning. The party was great as well, with a warm fire, food and libations to heat up the cool evening, another fantastic get together.

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On Valentine’s Day itself, Kathy & I were back at yet another party, this one to celebrate the birthday of our friend Beth at the New York Pizza Café. Beth hosted a Cowboy-themed dress-up party so Kathy dressed as a Cowgirl and I came as a Cow. It was another fun Saturday night, though I am not quite sure what the regular diners must have thought as costumed locals kept wondering through the restaurant back to the private party room.

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Sunday we went out to the artisan fair at the Key West Botanical Garden, where they have on display among the beautiful grounds, a number of vessels that Cuban immigrants have actually used to flee Cuba and try to reach America. It is a stunning realization of what some people will sacrifice to try to find a better life here in the US. The boats, most looking like they would not last five minutes at sea all transported people from Cuba to the Florida Keys across the dangerous Florida straights. Pretty thought-provoking and insightful stuff.

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All in all it was a wonderful weekend of friends, family and fun, the sort of thing that Valentine’s Day should be about. We are so fortunate to have each other and wonderful family and friends that we love and what better way to show it than to spend some quality time with each other and our friends. 

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