Sunday, December 26, 2010


Actually, I haven't used Kodachrome since around 1976, but prior to that Kodachrome Transparencies were about all I ever used.  I shoot 400 ASA in black & white for my advertising job at the time, and some large format film for the wedding business I had on the side.

Since Kodak stopped the manufacture of Kodachrome film, and the necessary enriching development chemicals, in June of 2009, the last place in the entire world that developed Kodachrome, Dwayne's Photo in Kansas, will process and develop its last roll on December 30th!  That is, providing their chemical supplies don't run out first!

Dwayne's started processing Kodachrome in 1956.  Now that service is being discontinued, but don't worry 'bout Dwayne and crew, they will continue to process other types of film and provide all other photo services. Only Kodachrome processing is being discontinued.

If you thought you were being smart by squirreling away a roll or two, you're still out of luck since Kodak's 74-year-old film cannot be developed in your basement.  The Kodachrome process was an after development color enrichment process that can only be done with specialized machines.  Dewayne's had the last remaining machine!

So, let's all say good by to another icon of yesteryear!

I snapped away while in Vietnam, and had King Photo in downtown DaNang send the film off to be processed.  I couldn't wait to get them back and then send selected ones home.

Double click on the studios photo envelope and you'll see I paid a huge $3.84 to get 32 frames developed in 1966!  That was expensive to a GI back then.

I also used to come home for lunch in 1974 and take shots of my Corey.  I was (am) so proud of him I could barely wait for the workday to end.  The family loved to sit around and watch my slide shows of Kodachrome.  The entire family loved their gatherings, especially Christmas, so there was always a new "show" to watch on the weekends.

The little single-lens reflect 35mm I used in Vietnam did a superb job and got me interested in photography.  That interest and love remains strong today.  While my taste has moved from 35mm film to digital photography, there is still much one can do with a camera today...probably a lot more!

As I told my brother-in-law, who remarked that my new Nikon was a good looking camera, "A camera has film in it...these are computers!"  And that's so true and now there's a little less excitement in filmed cameras...'cause they're gonna take our "Kodachrome away!"  

So long old friend and thanks for the memories you've helped me record in true color.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Nope, not something I would normally do, but, as it turned out, I had a ball and met some new friends.

A gentleman named Al Williams (seated in "Big Orange" shirt), wrote a children's book called "A Friend Indeed", proceeds from the book’s sales go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.  So, he and Myra Yeatman, of the BBBS organization, invited others to come and support the sales of the book at the book signing this past Saturday.
Muse Watson, of NCIS and movie fame, Bill Landry, local icon and narrator of the "Heartland Series" for over 25 years, Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, and alumni basketball star Dane Bradshaw showed up in support.
Muse and Bill are long time friends of mine, but Myra Yeatman (above middle), Al, Bruce, and Dane are new acquaintances.  My son, Corey, was so jealous of me getting to rub shoulders with his basketball heroes! 

Muse and Bill are going to be at the newly opened Channel 15 Station in Harriman, TN this evening, so I'll get to hang out a little more.  However, I'll probably be sharing the experience with a crowd of people wanting to see the studio, see Muse and Bill, and get their DVD of "A Christmas Snow" signed.

While I'm on the subject of Channel 15, please check out my Princess Theater blog.  We are working on a complex of buildings in the center of Harriman, TN that will provide local high school and Roane State Community College (RSCC) hands on experience in operating and producing television and stage productions.  

The complex will be called “Princess Performing Arts, Education and Conference Center”.  It will include the television station, the newly restored Princess Theater, and a series of other connected buildings that will eventually house a conferencing center, green rooms, and storage for musical instruments, costumes, and stage props.  

So anyway, back on subject, I had a ball at the Borders book signing in Knoxville, and I'm sure the celebs did as well.  

Come see us when you can!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


As I've posted, my brother visited this week and he and I spent the first day making the rounds and doing a little target practice.

On the second day, he and I joined up with my son Corey and did some "manly man" shopping.  We also ate a Wild Wings and visited The Irish Times for a couple of black & tans!  I thought for a minute there was going to be trouble over the last wing, but they finally worked it out...they gave it to me!

Friday evening was the annual Christmas gathering of my brother-in-law Ron's old work group.  This year it was at Smoky Mountain Brewery.  The group also included two guys, Andy and Tim, that I haven't known for a couple of years and have accompanied to Roger Waters and AC/DC concerts.  This year, because of my kidney operation, they made the trip without me.

However, it was good to see the guys again and to again see some of the other work group that I've met.

Prior to going to the "brewery", Ron and I had a couple of black & tans at the "pub"...just to warm up!

I think I've written, or at least mentioned, before about the wild retirement party I had back in '05.  It just happened that the Jack Daniels "cheerleaders" visited Bailey's that evening.  Man!  We had a ball touring their "tour" bus, which included laying on their big bed in the rear, and having photos made with them.

Well, as luck would have it, girls promoting Ole Smoky Moonshine appeared at Smoky Mountain Brewery last evening.  So, it was "Déjà vu all over again"!  Again I was trying out what they were selling, getting a free t-shirt, and several hugs for photo ops!

Turns out, Andy took the bill for a table of about 15 of us...what a guy!  If you offered money, he took it and threw it into the pile in the middle of the table.  The cute little waitress made out like a bandit for all her hard work.

Check out Andy's sweatshirt...remember that?!  Ol' Bluto's shirt from Animal House!  It was hilarious and, unfortunately, he has to explain it to every youngster he meets.

One gentlemen in the bunch (don't know his name) performed bar tricks for us and amazed me by pulling this thread from a twenty-dollar bill!  Ever seen that done before...I hadn't.

So, it's been an amazing week...lots of food and brews with the guys...and gals!

Today, Saturday, was a great day too, but I'll save that until next time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Wade, my only sibling, is, what my dad called, my twin, even though there is a year's difference in our ages.  Dad called us twins because we were born 10 years apart.  I was so proud of his arrival that I combed the neighborhood knocking on all the doors and announcing, "I have a baby brother!"

Nearly as soon as he began to talk he called me "Bubby" and I remain that to this day.  We don't see each other but half a dozen times a year, but we pick back up where our conversation ended and we resume our close relationship.

He has always been a lover of my era music, with a little Fog Hat thrown in from his.  We both share a love of Pink Floyd and good blues.  We have spent hours sitting quieting listen to music, not saying a word unless it related to the tune playing, and playing air-guitar and drums!  We are, like my son Corey, uninhibited about our love for music and we show it proudly by being able to know when all the best licks come in and strum them expertly in the thin air!

He's in this week, with a little extra time off from his aircraft mechanic job with Continental  Airlines in Charlotte, NC.

We spent mid-morning firing his new AR-15 (M-16 to me) and Smith .40, and I put the virgin rounds through my Ruger LCP .380.  The "16" was as sweet as I remember them from 'Nam and the .40 cal. almost jumped out of my hands!

I wasn't too impressed with the LCP...trigger pull is long and slow and you almost have to push the trigger back in place after the firing.  However, it sits nicely in my back pocket and remain my primary carry.  I still wouldn't want to be in front of it, but I sure wouldn't want to get into a "fire fight" with one!

The rifle was somewhat off and it took several rounds to finally see that we need to shoot high.  Neither of us was exactly sure how to raise the sight, so he has some research to do.  He did finally get it hitting the center of the target by aiming at the top of the black instead of the middle 10-ring.

I was all around a 4X4 inch block of Styrofoam, but failed to notch it!  However, had it been a "bugger" he would have felt the sting of lead and copper!

Afterward, we drove up to Lincoln's in Oak Ridge, and had a snack and a couple of rounds!  Best part of the day!

On the way back to mom's (where Wade stays when he's in) he had an urgent call so we visited a lonely part of an industrial park.  He laughing in this photo because he wrote his initial on the stump!

It reminded me of the old joke where the girls father is telling the boy's father that his son pees his name in the snow outside his house every night.  The boy's father says "boys will be boys", but the girl's father says, "Yeah, but it's in my daughter's hand writing!"

So, back at mom's, no one knowing the difference, he's on his hands and knees riding his granddaughters around mom's living room.  Don't ask...don't tell!

Tomorrow, unless the ice storm that is slicing things outside as I write, is our final day, so who knows what we'll get into then.  I'll take pictures if something happens!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


The Dragons decided to gather Saturday afternoon and decorate sister Neena's Christmas Tree.  It's her and Ron's house we use for our Christmas Eve party, so it was only fair all the sister's help her decorate.  Judy made a flower arrangement and everyone else help disperse the traditional ornaments around the house.
Meanwhile, us Knights floated off to Lowe's and Harrison's Sporting Goods to lust after all the guns and other manly tools!  It was good to see my old (actually only 42) deer hunting buddy Bo.  What great times we used to have!

We made our way back to Los Primos in Harriman for a tall frosty mug of Dos Equis!  We then made our way back to Ron and Neena's.

Ron had bought us all our favorite cut of meat earlier in the week and he soon had everything on his grill smoking!  The steaks were all great and cooked to perfection.

With the beef, we enjoyed a tossed garden salad, and a potato casserole.  Charlotte brought a cherry cobbler and soaked in vanilla ice cream it was "heaven", as Need is accustomed to describing food! 

Naturally, while the girls finished their Christmas chores and meat slowly cooked, we all enjoyed our favorite libations.  Steve, Gary, Noel, and I settled in on a bottle of Buffalo Trace, 90 proof, while Ron stuck with his pale ales.  The Buffalo Trace was a great drink, just chilled over ice, and went down smoothly.  I'll have to repay Steve Christmas Eve with a surprise bottle of something expensive and special!
With the tree trimmed and blinking, we all settled into "quiet mode" and filled our growling stomachs, enjoying the peace that family brings.

Within the next couple of weeks both Steve and Noel will be undergoing surgery.  I've added them both to my prayer list, so I'm sure everything will be fine. 

I too will be undergoing a simple outpatient procedure this week to have my esophagus dilated once more.  This should be the last time I ever have to have this particular procedure performed.  The spasms are back and the internal gas is almost unbearable at times!  Stand clear!

Today, the Dragons took Ron's granddaughter to see the Nutcracker, so the holiday has begun in earnest!  

Merry Christmas folks, you may not hear from me again until after Christmas

Friday, December 03, 2010


Several of you have asked for an update on my health, so, since my buddy Gary Baker took a couple of candids of me last evening I thought I'd share them with you.  

You can see I'm alive and kicking, although weighing in a bit less than before the surgery.  I shed at least 30 pounds, possibly a few more, and wearing some old pants I had stuck back in the closet.  Feels pretty good too, but I am suffering some pain at the bottom end of my incision today.  It may have been from standing up last night for the Christmas Parade in Harriman.

Our new city TV station, Channel 15 locally, put on its first production - a live presentation of the annual parade.  It was quite a historic event for us and one we've waited on for years.  The station is owned by the City of Harriman and Roane State Community College and will be a facility for local college and high school students to gain "hands on" experience along with their classroom instruction.

The station will also televise local events and live performances originating on the new stage of our Princess Theater once it is renovated and operating.  This new stage will give our community college two stages for their performing arts department to utilize, and the entire area will be able to benefit from the entertainment.

The production was done with backup equipment, which is not of the quality of the actual equipment to be installed at the station.  Nonetheless, the picture and sound was above and beyond what we have been used to seeing on other local stations.  Everything necessary was right there on that cart!  Everyone was so proud - and relieved!

Anyway, I shot photos at the event last night for about two and half hours, and I think that's why I'm hurting today.  Other than that however, I'm doing well.

I appreciate the concern and apologize for being lacks in posting...just too much going on and not enough about me happening to post - I suppose.  I mean, our blogs are all about US...right!?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Had I more experience in the 60's with psychedelic drugs I may have coped better with the dilaudid I was given post-surgically.  However, I passed through Vietnam prior to the breach-barrel huffing days, and never encountered a "drug" of any kind.  It was not until 1977 that I was even exposed, and even then it was a harmless toke that made the white-rubber woofers of a Kenwood appear to dance out into the room!

Weed and drugs were never my thing, and I was usually in control of alcohol, with an exception of a reunion or family gathering or two!

The "Step-Down Unit" at Oak Ridge Hospital is designed to the post-surgical patient through recovery steps before being moved out into the general rooms, and finally release.  However, somehow I managed to fake my way from that unit straight out the door!  I just couldn't stand the thought of any more days inside.  I talked my way around misjudgments in depth perception and wobbled steps, good enough for physical therapy to pass me.  That write off, with the blood, EEG, and EKG test put me over the top.  It may have done me some good to stay in a general care room a few days, but everyone knows there's no place like home.

I received a nice card from all the nurses I don't remember several days after getting home.  They were apparently the day shift gals, and the ones I attacked and flashed in the first few days of my incarceration!  I pulled off all my clothes,  and pulled the nearly 12" long IV PICC line from my right arm, which caused a lot of hemorrhaging.  I also tugged violently at my catheter...which isn't a great idea.

The response was to tie me to the bed, and I broke loose once...I'm told.  Had I been conscious I would have tried to reduce the CT scanner and the bed to small hex-nuts!  Can't stand to be still, even for a moment!  That's psychological trauma my mom inflected on me as a small boy.  When dad was away working I would sleep with mom and she would tell me, "If you wiggle one more time, I'll spank you!"

It was all innocent to her, but I would lay stiff as a board until I feel asleep.  Today...I sleep alone, free to kick and squirm until I root out a good place in the bed to sleep!  So, don't let me know you have tied me down!

It's the night shift and weekend girls that remember.  They were with me through the good, the bad, and the ugly!

I'd like to be able to say it was all a good trip, but it wasn't, due either to my intolerance to drugs or the amount I was given access to.  There were light moments trying to whip cotton from my tongue while people watched and laughed, or like being asked if I recognized "this man", and me answering, "It's my son."  

"Well, do you know who Lily and Kingsley are?"

"Got to be saved," I replied to everyone's surprise.

But it was the dark time, the time when you always feel worst when ailing.  I would begin by complaining, begin to be restless, and giving short answers.  That's when the suggestion always came that I was most probably "in pain" and needed a magic tap on the black IV pump  button.  "Don't be afraid of's here to help you.  See...", giving the button a quick push or two, "...hit it anytime you want to!"  

Little did they know that each time sent me off on a "magical mystery tour" that never took me beyond the confines of the "step-down unit".

Of the seven days I spent "inside", the last four are the only ones from which I can recall vivid parts.  I went in on September 27th and came home on October 4th.

One evening I watched the shift change take place on the unit, seeing a new face of a rather meek little young lady.  I had been fretful, so the nurse encouraged a tap on the black button.  I dozed off and saw this new girl whispering to the older nurse, and giggling.  I thought I overheard them plotting to video some procedure on me, so I became very distrustful of them.
They posted something on the "tube" and then showed it to a fellow in the bed next to mine, which I'm not sure ever existed.  I never saw him again!

I opened my eyes and there stood the new night nurse.  "I need to check your vitals," she said.  

"Okay," I agreed.

"I need to check your blood sugar.

"Okay," I again agreed.

"I need to give you a shot of insulin," she told me. 

"NO," I told her very sternly.

"Why not?"

"Because you're not a nurse," I said, sounding very assured.

The shy nurse walked away slowly, head down, over to where the day nurse sat preparing to leave.  They talked and looked in my direction.

"Go ahead and show it to her," I shouted.  "You've already put it on YouTube...ask him," I said pointing at the imaginary male patient's bed!  "He's seen it!"

After a long conversation, I finally excepted the fact that I had been dreaming and the little lady was a nurse.  I allowed the shot and the evening went on, after changing directions and I went off to another dinner with Alice!

The next night I awoke with the creative power to wave my hand and turn pieces of steel into beautiful animals and wild flowers.  The colors were mind-blowing and the swirls and points were easily made by waving my other hand.  It was wonderful...that trip, that time.  I played with that a long time while, I'm sure, the nurses watched in puzzled amazement!

Another night I awoke bathed only in an emergency light, with the IV pumps all alarming from lack of power.  The alarms sounded like a note and a half from "Money For Nothing", a high lick that comes between refrains. 

The young night nurse was standing looking at me, half in the dark, and I noticed ice shimmering on the Styrofoam ceiling tiles over her head.  I also noticed that there was a track of plowed snow from about fifteen after to about twenty after three on the clock.  "Looks like it happened about 10 minutes ago," I said to her.

"The power outage?  No, more like 5 minutes," she said calmly, knowing that she had just turned the lights off for the night in the unit.

In my mind someone had released some deadly virus within the unit and power and heat had been cut.  We were sealed off from the outside to freeze and die with the deadly virus.  I looked terrified!

"Is there anything I can do to make you feel better," she asked?

"You can turn the light back on so I can see that ice up there."

Everything in the unit was coated in ice or frost, just like inside the Dr. Zhivago house!

She flipped the light switches and the frost disappeared!  I told her at the moment to lock the IV pump and allow me no more dilaudid!  She responded and I got remarkably better over the next two days.

It's a powerful drug...but some folks, like me, just can't handle it.

I'm home now, knowing that I survived an early encounter with kidney cancer.  Thank you God and Dr. Sloan!

I have since had my 32-staples removed, and gone up and down in energy level.  I continued taking my blood pressure med while having lost around 38 pounds!  I had no blood pressure, so I was too weak to function.  I've now stopped that nonsense and seem to be recovering some energy.  

Yep, a lean 213!  Oh, I know it won't last, but it's the lowest I've been since 1973 when I weighed 212 and was benching 225...more than my weight!  I doubt I could keep 75 from falling on me today!

Anyway, keep a good thought for me...I'll make it back soon.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Actually better than you might think.  Doctors tell me I'm a fast healer.  I'm sleeping in my bed (not the recliner as I've had to in the past) and even lay on the cut side.

I'm still unsteady, weak, sometime confused about dates and number.  However, that was never my strong suit.

The worst part of the ordeal was dealing with the pain drug dilaudid!  Note the circled black button.  This made me fight my care givers violently and hallucinate vividly.  My recommendation is don't take it!

It was a 2cm, stage 1 cancer, that didn't get involved with anything but some surrounding fat.  No chemo or rad treatment necessary.

Should be back to normal in 4 to 5 weeks.

Thanks for your prayers and for asking.

Once I'm fully back to reality, I'll probably post a graphic post HERE!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Monday evening was the last time I’ll have to “paint the town red” for a few weeks.  Judy and I accompanied her sister Neena, and her brother-in-law Ron to the “Crosby, Stills, and Nash” concert at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville.  It was a great time that brought back so many 60’s memories – of Vietnam, Woodstock, college, and just plain old partying! Their music was “right on” and sounded great.  Even though David Crosby hit those high notes, his words came through clear as a bell!  And, even though Steven Stills has a little “hitch in his get along”, he can still squeeze the notes out of his guitar!

We decided to try the “S&W Grand”, which is a makeover of the old “S&W Cafeteria” that used to be in that spot downtown years earlier.  The new owners took advantage of the old Art Deco styling, and updated it with a new fantastic menu, like my Flat Top Pastrami “Pittsburgh Style”, piled high with coleslaw, French fries, Swiss cheese, and smoked tomato dressing on Brioche!  Or, like Ron’s “Slim’s” Burger with a fresh ground Angus patty, lettuce, tomato, tobacco onions, and truffled herbed mayo.  He opted out of the fried egg, which sounded yummy to me! (see photos)

I loved the bar too.  You can see into the kitchen while you nurse your libation and await your tasty food!

The girls opted for the Certified Angus Roast Beef & Provolone, topped with melted provolone, horseradish mayo, and natural jus.

Ron ordered a “Dead Guy Ale” and a “Sierra Nevada”, while I splurged on a shot of “Woodford Reserve” on the rocks, and later a second round of “Basil Hayden”!  Beer bloats me too badly anymore, so I leave the beer drinking to when I’m home where I can properly vent myself!

After eating, we went outside and ran into Tim and Andy, two guys Ron used to work with, and the same two that traveled to the Roger Waters concert with us a couple of years back.  Tim is amazingly gifted at getting hard to get tickets, so he was with Ron and I in Nashville in ‘09 for the AC/DC concert.  He worked his magic and got us great seats together at the last moment! 

We all strolled along Gay Street to the Tennessee and compared notes at the break and after the last song.  (Sorry no concert shots!) It was a great time. (pictured left to right: Me, Judy, Tim, Andy, Ron, and Neena)

The good times actually started earlier in the week when Corey and I watched half of the Tennessee/Florida game at Wild Wings.  The food was as good as usual; topped only by the company!  As you can see in the attached photo of the place, it was packed with “big orange” everywhere and the table all decked out with large containers of draft beer! 

Corey had his usual cheesecake, and I tried the pictured chocolate brownie and ice cream.  I have to admit I left over half, but it was only because I could not hold it all!
Sunday came and Judy and I visited with Katie Bug who was in from college.  We talked a while and then moved on to Los Primos in Harriman.  For our money, it’s the best Mexican food in Roane County.  Here is a shot of my usual “Chicken Fajita Nachos”!   

Katie was a little homesick and was really dreading going back to school, but she actually loves her new life on campus and her new sisters at Phi Mu!  As the weeks and months roll on, she will probably come home less and less.  Right now, we’re taking advantage of the homesickness!

Monday mornings is always the day we pick Lily up from her pre-school and keep her until Corey gets off work.  We don’t always take her out, but sometimes she says hungrier than normal, so we take her out.  It’s not always fancy for us.  Sometimes it’s just for her, like this week it was McDonalds.  She had her “happy meal” and a small chocolate shake that “Granny Judy” always helps her with!  Not sure who gets the most, but rest assured they both get satisfied.

So, this was a good week and one that will sure make me miss the action while I’m down and out for my surgery.  It’s expected that it will take me 4 to 8 weeks to recover, but with these memories as an incentive, I’ll try to make it as short as possible.