Saturday, December 09, 2006

STS-116 Over Pinehurst Harness Track

The Space Shuttle Discovery roars past the Pinehurst, NC Harness Racetrack during its successful night launch from Cape Canaveral on the STS-116 mission to service the International Space Station.

Space Shuttle STS-116 over the Pinehurst, NC Harness Racetrack
©2006, Bob Jones

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Treasures

The year-end hush of twilight falls
Across December's merry walls
And soon the months will mem'ried be
Like heirloom bangles on the tree.

Each glist'ning ornament attests
The love of friends I now assess.
I count each one and softly pray
God's blessings for them each new day.

And when the New Year dawns its light
I'll pray again with all my might
That all of you will still be here
When Christmas comes again next year.

©2006, Dalton Hammond

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Embers 2006 Christmas Show

See for 2007 Embers Christmas Show info -- D.H.

In the last two months I have toured the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, hit the jackpot in a Harrah's slot machine, been astounded by Cirque Du Soleil's stage production of "Ka", finally seen my boyhood idol Pat Boone's Christmas show, and played six rounds of golf in the last seven days at the beautiful, fabled Pinehurst Country Club, but The Fabulous Embers and their 2006 Christmas Show was the pièce de résistance, and the best entertainment for the money I've ever come across.

Jerry Tellier and Frosty the Snowman

I've been a fan of The Embers for almost fifty years, but I've never heard them sound better. My Christmas season is off to a blessed start from having seen and heard their world-class show.

Wayne Free in the spotlight at The Embers Christmas Show

Gerald Davis on bass was simply marvelous as usual, lighting up the stage with his contagious friendly smile. The newer band members Josh Shilling and Stephen Pachuta fit in comfortably, adding wonderful depth to the band's sound. Bobby Tomlinson, the founder, patriarch, and taskmaster of the group nearly stole the show while stealing Christmas as The Grinch.

Thanks to Bob Jones for the photos, and Happy Holidays everybody from Dalton Hammond and The Embers Christmas Show.

-- Dalton Hammond

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Grand Canyon and Cactus

Grand Canyon with cactus
Grand Canyon and Cactus
©2006, Dalton Hammond

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

A trip report on my recent Las Vegas vacation -- Dalton Hammond

We were somewhere around Boulder on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

Fortunately I had not included my water pill in my morning medications so I was spared the indignity of having to pee all over Pappillon's shiny helicopter and embarass my five young Grand Canyon Tourmates -- Englishwomen who only wanted to talk about this year's Ryder Cup. Wild horses and burros grazed on the sagebrush a hundred feet or so below us. We were wearing noise-reducing headphones (Sennheiser , no less) and communicated to our tour guide and pilot with microphones.





Preparing myself for the possibility of a helicopter crash in the Nevada desert I had gone online and studied the basics of desert survival and so I felt that in an emergency I could find some way to get along in the wilderness until the arrival of a camera crew. But I could never have prepared myself for the terror I now faced.

For over an hour I wandered, completely lost, never once seeing a familiar landmark or another person. It was dark and beginning to turn cold. I stopped to catch my breath and think. Uncertainty sang in my veins -- alto, I think. Where was the path where I had entered this God-forsaken place? Was there a way to get out? Would I ever be found alive?

Would it be wild dogs or crows that will lick my bones? I remembered the lions and tigers Kim and I had seen at The Mirage Hotel the day before, just memories now. Later that night she had gone looking for me, finding her father at his Double Diamond slot machine watching his Progressive Jackpot winner's light flashing.

At least I had seen the world on this Las Vegas trip. I mentally thanked all my friends who suggested Hoover Dam, which I saw from the 'copter and the Cirque Du Soleil production of Ka which impressed me more than anything I have ever seen on a stage, including the $150 ticket price. I guess you could call it a stage. I never saw an entire stage floor move in so many different ways. I was afraid the whole thing would tip over and fall on me, right there in 3rd row center. The 3-or-4-foot wide front apron did not move. Teasers and the cyclorama were not evident, if extant. No front curtains were ever used. They performed behind, around, above and among the audience.

As the show started it seemed we had gone to Hell with fountains of fire going off everywhere, but particularly from just behind and below the apron, where you'd expect the footlights to be. A performer-creature stood in the spotlight ten feet away from me and started gibbering to a fellow-creature who was lurking far away on one of the many balconies and crows nests which were ensconced on the theatre walls.

My aisle neighbor took out a flash camera and snapped a picture of The Thing. The Thing then came down into the audience and brought my neighbor and his camera back onto the stage apron where he was relieved of his cigarette pack. The Thing waved the Marlboros at the audience a few times for attention and then tossed them over his shoulder into the abyss where a fountain of fire erupted briefly to signal their demise. Then the camera was tossed and a another fountain of fire erupted briefly. My neighbor guy objected so The Thing tossed him too. POOF! We got the idea.

At times I could see the huge main shaft of the equipment that was moving the huge stage around. It looked like something you'd open a drawbridge with. It reminded me of the engine room in the U.S.S. North Carolina.

The whole show was Spectacular to the nth power. I give it a One-Thumb up, my highest possible rating.

I saw the Tower of London, Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building on the walk back to my hotel from the MGM Grand Hotel, which happens to be bigger than Moore County. And Caesar's Palace across the street from Harrah's where I stayed was bigger than that.

It had been a wonderful vacation but now I was hopelessly lost. While I wondered how I would be remembered by the living I began to get thirsty. If I had known I was going to die I would have changed my $10 one-drink minimum purchase virgin Pina Colada to the real thing at the free magic show. "Free" is an illusion, I thought as I considered my present constraints, at least four floors above the ground.

I thought about Harrah's Progressive Jackpot cash in my pocket, totally useless in my present situation. All is Vanity.

Then I saw it: My salvation. I hoped it wasn't a mirage. Carefully I approached it, swallowed hard and pushed the button.

"RDU Airport parking. Can I help you?" it said.

"Yes ma'am", said I. "I can't find my car!"





"RDU Airport parking. Can I help you?"

"Yes, sir. I paid my $50 parking fee in advance at your EasyExit credit card station but this exit gate won't let me go through. It wants another dollar."

"Yes sir. That's because you took more than 30 minutes to leave the parking deck after paying."

"Right. Except it took me an HOUR to find my car. I finally had to use one of your call boxes for help."

"Sir, we expect you to be able to remember where you park your car."

"Well nobody told me you've got TWO G-2 levels! And where am I supposed to pay this damn dollar?"

"You'll have to come to a manned toll gate."



"Yes sir, can I help you?"

"Yeah, here's my paid ticket showing I already gave you 50 dollars and after I wandered around in the cold for a solid hour carrying sixty pounds of luggage looking for my car because this damned place is so poorly signed you now want to charge me another dollar for my trouble? What can you do for me?"

"Well actually sir you owe another TWO dollars."

"What are you talking about? The machine at the gate next to here just said ONE dollar!"

"Yes sir. Another hour just clicked on the computer since then."

(He is merely a slave in the system. Be a nice victim, pay the money and leave.)




Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beach Music's S.O.S. Fall Migration & Fun Monday

First, I want to announce the formation of a new Yahoo! Group devoted entirely to Beach Music. Check it out HERE.

Next, in case you missed the S.O.S. (Society of Stranders) Fall Migration recently at North Myrtle Beach, here's a report from the aging disc jockey point of view from Jack Kane, noted deejay from Raleigh, NC's WKIX, an early leader in Top 40 and Beach Music radio in the 1960s.

Jack Kane was an on-the-air guest of Charlie Brown on a remote broadcast from the Ocean Drive Resort in Myrtle Beach and heard live on Oldies and Beach 920 AM WPCM in Burlington on Monday."

http://www.920wpcm. com/

Charlie and I reminisced about the glory days of radio and WKIX. While we were on the air, a couple walked by our table wearing matching T-shirts emblazoned with the WKIX logo. They had purchased them from http://www.cafepres and/979815 - he being 15 years old when he discovered WKIX in 1967 and an avid fan still today.

In addition to myself, Charlie had beach music musicians such as Craig Woolard drop by to chat and to promote as well as the Carpenters who stage CAMMY award show every November in Myrtle Beach.

Following the broadcast, KIX ALUMS Charlie, Sue and I walked over to Main Street in Ocean Drive where 10,000 beach music fans were packed in the barricaded street to celebrate Fun Monday and hear some of the best beach and boogie live music from the top bands in our region. The sound system and "mix" were excellent. It was a perfect afternoon to party - hot and breezy.

SOS Fall Migration and Fun Monday is sponsored annually by the Society of Shaggers and is THE event of the year for Shaggers, SOSers, and plain ol' music lovers. The Craig Woolard Band (CAMMY Band of the Year) performed after backing up legendary blues artist, Deitra Farr from Chicago.

One year before you guys get too old, you should make it to Myrtle Beach for SOS. As the KIX jingle says, 'It's a blast'!

Many thanks to Jack Kane for the report. -- Dalton Hammond

More Beach Music Links

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quotable Quotes

Help yourself to any of these originals of mine. -- Dalton Hammond

Rap is not music; it is a disease.

The golf swing is a lot like unnatural sex. Both should be effortless.

If President Bush really needs to find some Weapons of Mass Destruction all he has to do is look in my golf bag.

Your mind is a terrible thing to listen to.

Nobody cares about public apathy.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Love Beach Music, Part II

The Embers at Virginia Beach

Beach music is a musical genre all to itself, having evolved from a Southern mix of rhythm and blues, doo-wop, boogie woogie, and early rock 'n' roll. It is usually characterized by a light, 4/4 "shag" dance beat.

Recording artists of the 50s and 60s such as The Drifters, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, The Embers, The Temptations, Clifford Curry, Band of Oz, The Tams, The OKaysions, The Platters, Billy Scott, General Johnson and The Showmen, Little Wille John, Bill Deal and the Rhondells and others contributed to the early development of the unique "Beach Music" sound, and disc jockeys of the same period such as "Fessa" John Hook who literally wrote "The Book" on Beach Music, Charlie Brown, and Charlie "Bird" Carawan were essential in the early promotion and popularity of "Carolina Beach Music" as it is sometimes called.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has become the undisputed Mecca for Beach Music and hosts The Carolina Beach Music Association's annual Cammy Beach Music awards each November.

A Yahoo! Beach Music group has recently been created (sorry, Google!) and you're invited to check it out.

The purpose of this forum is to promote Beach Music and to provide an exchange of information about artists, venues, and upcoming events relating to Beach Music.

You are cordially invited to join us.

My Beach Music Pages

Click here to join Beach_Music Group
Click to join Beach_Music Group>

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dog and Nude Sunbather

Please excuse the nudity. This is so cute I had to share it. -- Dalton Hammond

Dog and nude sunbather

Monday, September 04, 2006

Is Pluto a Planet?

By now you know that the few stragglers who remained at the end of a recent meeting of the International Astronomical Union of astronomers in Prague voted to decide that the that we call Pluto can no longer be considered a real planet. Their rationale is that there are so many more larger, recently discovered rocky bodies lurking around out there in space -- which are usually referred to as "minor planets" -- that it doesn't seem fair to allow Pluto special status.

I maintain that Pluto is a planet because we SAY it is, and that should be good enough. Don't these same astronomers still refer to the beginning of the universe as "The Big Bang" when anyone with a lick of sense knows that you can't hear anything in space?

I further suggest that we should rename The International Astronomical Union to be called "The International Union of Minor Scientists".

-- Your humble savant, Dalton Hammond

08Sep06 PS: I love the way the city fathers in Madison, Wisconsin handled this problem. -- D.H.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Golf Swing Bumper Sticker

"The golf swing is a lot like unnatural sex. Both should be effortless."

©2006, Dalton Hammond

More Golf

Friday, August 18, 2006

Doctor, I Have A Humm In My Ear

I know I said no more hummingbird pictures but this image was too good to pass up -- and I didn't even take the picture. A friend of mine snapped it just as the little guy was begging his wife for some more food.

He only got half of his wife in the shot, so naturally I will forever refer to her as his Better Half. -- Dalton Hammond

A hummingbird in her ear

Sunday, August 13, 2006

TWO Hummingbirds

Two hummingbirds on one feeder
After I publish this shot it'll be no more hummingbird photos for a while, but you need to see this.

When I bought the new feeder a few weeks ago the salesman told me I would see two or more hummers on it at a time. I found this really hard to believe, given their possessive, agressive nature (Note: See "Death By Hummingbird") but he was correct, as the picture shows.

It was raining and I was shooting through the window glass, but you get the idea. -- Dalton Hammond

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hummingbird Revisited

Perched hummingbird
Hi folks.

The hummingbirds finally found me at my new home in the Sandhills. I was hiding behind the curtains in the sun room but I don't think I fooled this one.

- Dalton Hammond

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Engineering View of Natural Selection, Evolution, and God

Did man evolve from apes? Was Darwin correct? How about the Big Bang theory? Is there a God? Prepare yourself for a scientific answer you can believe and understand.

Perry Marshall, a noted engineer and author, proposes a learned and convincing new way of looking at Darwin's theory of Natural Selection, Evolution, and God.

Discover what our knowledge of modern communication systems now tells us about the Origins Debate by clicking the link below. There are no popups and there is nothing for sale.


-- Dalton Hammond

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Recipe: Country style butter beans (Limas)

Fry two or three slices of bacon or streak-o'-lean in medium saucepan until crisp. Leave drippings, remove meat and munch.

Add 2 cups fresh-picked shelled butter beans and water to cover, plus an inch.

Add 1 teaspoon chicken base per cup of water (or in a pinch you could substitute chicken broth for the water), 1 teaspoon salt or to taste, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bring to light boil then turn to low, simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until just BEFORE tender. Let cool, covered, and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning add water if necessary, simmer until just tender and eat for breakfast. Sop pot liquor with Arnold Oatnut bread.

Then thank The Good Lord.

-- Dalton Hammond

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Intelligent Design, or Evolution?

I've just about had it with the atheists at Scientific American, The Skeptic, and Sky & Telescope magazines telling me I'm some sort of idiot for believing in God.

If they are so convinced that Life just happens by accident, let me see one of their smart scientists create life from a bunch of rocks on purpose.

-- Dalton Hammond

Monday, May 01, 2006

High-Tech Terms Defined

Hi folks. I have cleverly defined some high-tech terms you may have heard but are unclear about. -- D.H.

ADOBE -- Floor plan for Arizona servant quarters
HEWLETT-PACKARD -- The worn-out car your grandfather gave to your uncle Hewlett
PAYPAL -- The workmate you owe $5 to from last week
LAPTOP -- A bar room dance step
PLASMA SCREEN -- Someone barfed too close to the TV
GOOGLE -- (a) A midget who sits on top of a cathedral; (b) many geese; (c) huge number
YAHOO! -- Deep-South translation of "Eureka!"
MACINTOSH -- What a Brit wears with his rubbers
HARD DRIVE -- Five hours on the road with no rest stop.
FLOPPY -- Outdated term; see Viagra
VIAGRA -- Wonder drug suspected of causing headaches in older women
EPSON -- A hangover remedy worth its salt
DOS -- One before Tres
WEB -- What your possum (blindly) walked into
DISK STORAGE -- A Deejay's closets

-- Dalton Hammond

Monday, April 24, 2006

Venus Flytrap Having Supper

Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula
This is the way we deal with insects in the Sandhills of North Carolina.

(c) 2006, Dalton Hammond

I've heard that the mosquitos are tough around Pinehurst and Southern Pines but I haven't noticed any yet. I DO have Carpenter Bees the size of an Army CH-47D Chinook but they don't have any stingers so all they can do is buzz bomb you, but they are terrifying at first.

In Tidewater, Virginia the Army was nice enough to fly over every Summer and bomb my home with poison that killed all the skeeters, along with the fireflies, honey bees, fact, I'm not feeling so good.....

And people wonder why the Chesapeake Bay is dying.

-- Dalton Hammond

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

If President Bush really needs to find some Weapons of Mass Destruction all he has to do is look in my golf bag.

-- Dalton Hammond

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bird Brain

As I write these words a silly bluebird is banging his head into my patio window over and over.

He must be a golfer.

-- Dalton Hammond

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How To Make Basketball A Gentlemen's Game

* The player farthest from the net should shoot first
* Two-shot penalty if ball goes out of bounds
* Audience is to remain quiet and orderly
* Players should call penalties on themselves, if guilty
* Only the top 50% of players will continue play in the second half of game
* Coaching from sidelines not allowed during game
* Player's cash winnings to be a matter of public record
* No time outs

-- Dalton Hammond

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Life and the Iditarod

I was the junior member by several years in our golf threesome this morning and was getting outplayed like crazy by my teammates who were 78 and 80 years old. While we waited to hit on the sixth tee the topic of conversation somehow turned to Alaska and the Iditarod, which I think starts today. My cartmate made the observation that dog #1 is the only one who ever gets a change of scenery.

It got funnier the more I thought about it. The rest of the dogs really have a crappy view don't they?

Life is like that. Mediocrity is being, say, the third dog.

-- Dalton "Yukon" Hammond

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A REAL Italian singer

I used to go to a local Italian restaurant that always played the same Luciano Pavarotti operatic cd over and over. One day I asked the owner, "Why don't you take off that guy and put on a REAL Italian singer?"

"Oh yeah? Who'd that be?" he wanted to know.

"Sinatra", I said.

-- Dalton Hammond

More of My Jokes

Friday, February 24, 2006

My Hole In One

Last Friday, February 17, 2006, I choked way down on a 4-iron and knocked a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball exactly 160 yards into the par-3 hole for my first hole-in-one.

What can I say? It was a very good shot and a lucky one, too. I got a certificate and a bag tag from the club, but I still had to pay the cart fee.

Heck, my playing buddies were so little impressed that I had to hit third on the next tee. Tough crowd.

-- Dalton Hammond, d/b/a Bob Jones

More of My Golf Stories

Coalition Golf Classic

Friday, February 03, 2006

Canis Bogey

The visit and steak dinner with my daughter had been as pleasant as I had hoped, and as the city lights began to fade into rural darkness my thoughts as I drove homeward began to turn once more to memories of my beloved dog and best friend Bogey who had just died a few days earlier. We had been inseparable companions for eighteen years and I was missing him badly.

I became aware of a bright light in the sky by my left shoulder and I let down the window for a better look. The stars shone back with an unusual intensity. The bright object was Sirius, the Dog Star and brightest star in the sky. The night was so clear I could almost see lines that connected Sirius to legs, feet, and even a tail, to form the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog, who has remained by the feet of his master for millions of years and will faithfully continue for millions more.

And suddenly I understood why this aphorism of stars had stood out from all the millions of others in the sky, for me this night.

"Hi, Bogey", I whispered, as a tear drizzled down my cheek.

-- Dalton Hammond

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bye, Bye, Bogey

The best friend I ever had, my dog Bogey, died in his sleep last night three days after his 18th birthday. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that Bogey was an example of answered prayer, a gift from a Loving God.

As befitting his name, Bogey died on an old Raleigh Country Club beach towel in my sun room overlooking a magnificent golf course. He only tried playing golf once though, as a younger fellow, in an incident I have previously reported to you.

His companionship and unfailing love will be greatly missed. Praise God.

1988 - 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Joke Recognition Software

For the benefit of my friends...I DO have friends [GIGGLE] who are unable to discern whether something is funny or not without a laugh track to help them [THROATS CLEARING, POLITE TITTER], Dalton Hammond is pleased to announce my new concept in blog joke structure. I call it "Fake 'Em If They Can't Tell if it's a Joke" [GUFFAWS].

The absolute latest innovation in Joke Recognition Software [LAUGH] which will be instantly recognizable to TV addicts worldwide, no one will ever have to wonder again if the joke they just read was funny or not [CHUCKLES] since the proper responses are already indicated. [SCATTERED VOCAL SMIRKS]

Think of it. Can you imagine Seinfeld without a laugh track [NERVOUS COUGHS], or watching TV news or even newspaper news without knowing when to laugh? [BODIES IMPATIENTLY SHIFTING WEIGHT IN SEATS].

There's a lot more I could tell you [VERY NERVOUS MURMURS] but my time is up. [TREMENDOUSLY APPRECIATIVE APPLAUSE].

Thank you all very much.
More of My Jokes

(c) 2006, Dalton Hammond [TITTER]

Friday, January 20, 2006

Little Putter Boy

Little Putter Boy
The Little Putter Boy stands guard over the practice green at Pinehurst Country Club, the world's #1 golf resort. Just look at the beautiful Carolina Blue sky. I prefer to call this place Paradisehurst.

At Christmas the Little Putter Boy does double duty, standing watch over the stables by night.

Little Stable Putter Boy

-- Dalton Hammond

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why, Why, Why

I never meant for this to become a "joke blog" but some of the things that come my way are too good not to share...Dalton Hammond
Why, Why, Why

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid idiot?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

And the FAVORITE......

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

More Jokes

Monday, January 02, 2006

Chicken or the Egg?

A chicken and an egg were lying in bed. The chicken was leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on its face. The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabbed the sheet, rolled over, and said, "Well, I guess we finally answered that question!"

More Jokes

The Al Gore Internet

(I'm a few years late dreaming up this line, but feel free to share it. -- D.H.)

If Al Gore really wants to impress us, let him FIX the Internet.

-- Dalton Hammond