Sting Live in Mexico City

Message in a Bottle

A Couple of weeks ago I received a rather exclusive invitation to join Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, this fall as he plans to tour the East Coast of the US with a complete re-enactment of The Wall, kind of like he did in Berlin when the Wall came down. Life altering experience, I promise you.

Anyone who knows me, knows the role music plays in my life. My history with Pink Floyd goes back to the days that Dave Gilmour was still a guitar playing fashion model in the mid 60s and the man he later replaced, Sid Barrett, was considered the insane genius behind the band. Roger Waters however was the one who gave Pink Floyd its words, its story-lines and its occasional insanity.

He never really thought of himself as a bass player and he needed Gilmour to make him standout as a musician, but as a wordsmith he was “deadly”.

Sting, contrary to Waters a bassist of extraordinary talent, however was from the moment he burst onto the music scene, a show completely his own. As a former high school teacher and tax collector before that, Gordon Sumner, became a musician to reckon with in the second half of the 70s when he moved to London and formed the phenomenal trio The Police. Songs like ‘Roxanne’, ‘Message in the Bottle’,’ I’ll be Watching You’, ‘Russians’,  ‘If you love somebody set them free’, and co-authoring the song that made MTV a global brandname “Money for Nothing”, established Sting, a nickname he was given early on in his career because he performed in a wasp-like t-shirt, as a world class artist.

Since the 1990s, as the internet made the label and record companies lose their influence over their highest grossing artists, super stars like Sting and Elton John started selecting their performances and venues as an extension of their own interaction with fans and audience, resulting in an experience of a lifetime for fans that could get their hands on special offerings, which included VIP passes, backstage passes and luxury accommodations.

Sting is famous for these cozy type gatherings. The Eagles do acoustic small venues and even the Stones nowadays prefer intimate settings. It’s an accomplished luxury, not for everyone, but most definitely a concert you will never forget.

On May 8 Sting will create such an extraordinary opportunity when he performs at the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola in Mexico City for only 200 people who will also get a special invite to an exclusive afterparty.

Exclusive Performance Organizers

The organizers of the event have packaged three nights at The St. Regis Mexico City with concert tickets for 2 plus admission to sound check, press conference and the after party with Sting. Now the Sting Experience is much more than an evening of eclectic and energetic music. Sting has embraced many causes over the years, always with a special emphasis on education, and the concert at San Ignacio de Loyola College is part of a multi concert commitment benefitting the Diageo ‘Learning for Life’ program that provides education and life skills to thousands of individuals throughout Latin America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kxHSglT7BA

Sting, as so many in our boomer generation, feels that giving back is the secret of happiness and accomplishment.

What is ever more interesting to me is the logistics and bookings for these events. It is not hard to find 200 people for an exclusive event like this, but usually the opportunity is spread between a couple of Agencies in New York, Los Angeles and maybe a few in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. The opportunity goes up for a couple of hours and sold out appears on the window.

We know get this opportunity through Amelia Island’s Luxury The Travel Agency through their connection with global luxury travel operator Virtuoso. Quite an opportunity I may add.

If you are interested to attend this exclusive event, you should contact The Travel Agency at 904 261 5914.
The entire experience is well worth the $3650 per person, which includes concert tickets, admission to sound check, press conference and exclusive after party with Sting; 3 nights’ accommodation in grand deluxe room with breakfast daily and roundtrip transfers to airport, sound check and concert. The trip is from May 7 – 10 but I bet you can add a couple of days to the front end of the trip if you were planning to head out of town for the Shrimp Festival anyway. Just contact angela@thetvlagency.com

An Affordable Night at the Movies

Not my idea of a cosy setting but clean and sharp

Have you been to a movie lately?  The cost just seems to have attached itself to a shuttle launch – up and up.  For a couple to go to a movie, enjoy a large popcorn and a couple of sodas, you are talking twenty five to thirty dollars with blinking an eyelid.  The silver screen is turning into the golden screen for operators and movie producers

I was talking with one of my agents the other day who told me about a blue ray player he just bought.  It was tied into the Internet and he could simply choose from hundreds of movies and then down load and watch them.  He invited me over last night for a night at the movies.  First let me tell you, he was not kidding when he said there were hundreds to choose from, there are.  Secondly, the quality was actually better then I’ve ever seen on any silver screen in any theater.  The sound? Well he invested in a sound system that comes with a set of head phones that produce a sound quality you won’t easily get in a theater.

I have learned in the meantime that there are many people out there who have set up their own home theaters.  Instead of going out for a night of expensive movie entertainment, they now stay home and enjoy the same for a fraction of the cost. Of course it misses a bit the nostalgia of theaters, but as you get a bit older and don’t necessarily have to impress or oppress your date, there is a lot that can be said for Blue Ray Home Comfort. Philips in the Netherlands developed the technology, and as our publisher who is from the Netherlands says: leave it to rainy little green countries to invent something called Blue Ray.

My friend spends around eight dollars per month on Netflix;  eight dollars per month and you can watch a movie whenever you like.  As for the popcorn, have you priced it in the grocery store lately, it’s not ten dollars a bucket but about $3 for a pack of 6 paclets.  Just as the newspaper industry is falling to the Internet I think we will see the movie distribution industry do the same.  As more and more people become aware of this type of service you will see less and less people in line at the theater.

Now there will always be those who want to see brand new first run movies and of course those who want to take a date to enjoy a movie, just as we still have people reading the newspaper too.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if a decade from now they will have to drive 100 miles to get to a theater. Once again the Internet is changing another industry with an old fashion model into a streamlined new experience. It’s exciting being alive today.

Putnam County Fair and Expo

Putnam County Fair and Expo

Putnam County Fair and Expo

The 60th Annual Putnam County Fair and Expo kicks off this weekend in East Palatka, Florida, from March 19th through the 27th!

There is a great midway full of rides, games and fattening foods just waiting for you to enjoy. Since Fernandina Beach outlawed carnivals many years ago because of a tragic shooting, we Islanders are used to going out of town to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a carnival.

Some of the highlights of this nine day event include a bear show and exhibit, puppet shows, Miss Putnam County Beauty Pageant, agriculture and horticulture shows and the expected showing of heifers, steers and swines.

Tony Stewart’s race car will even be on display, but this is for one day only so be sure to look up details of the event on their website at www.putnamfairandexpo.com.

Here is the schedule of the midway at the Putnam County Fair for your convenience:

FRIDAY, March 19th the midway Opens at 5:00 PM.
$5.00 Gate Admission
$15 Armband Sold until 8 pm
Good Until 10:30pm

SATURDAY, March 20th the midway opens at Noon
$5.00 Gate Admission
$18 Armband Sold until 8 pm
Good Until 10:30pm

SUNDAY, March 21st the midway opens at Noon
$2.00 Gate Admission
$2 Day at the Fair
All Rides $2, all Day until 8:00pm

MONDAY, March 22nd the midway Opens at 5:00 PM.
$5.00 Gate Admission
Special Ticket Prices on the Midway
Good Till 10:30pm

TUESDAY, March 23rd, the midway opens at 5:00 PM.
$5.00 Gate Admission
$12 Armband Sold Till 8 pm
Good Until 10:30pm

WEDNESDAY, March 24th is Senior Citizens Day. Seniors enjoy FREE Admission
Gates open at 11:30am and until 2:00pm
Lunch by Sunrise Rotary Club
Senior’s Program Starts at 1:00pm

For everyone else the midway opens at 5:00 PM.
$2.00 Gate Admission
$2 Day at the Fair. This means all Rides are $2.00, all day until 10:30pm.

THURSDAY, March 25th the midway opens at 5:00 PM.
$5.00 Gate Admission
$18 Armband Sold until 8 pm
Good Until 10:30pm

FRIDAY, March 26th the midway opens at 5:00 PM.
$5.00 Gate Admission
$18 Armband Sold Till 8 pm
Good Until 10:30pm

SATURDAY, March 27th the midway opens at noon.
$5.00 Gate Admission
$18 Armband Sold Till 7 pm
Good Until 11:00pm

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

St. Patricks Day at the Palace Saloon

St. Patricks Day at the Palace Saloon

St. Patricks Day at the Palace Saloon

Looking for a way to party like the Irish and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Well, get with your friends today and make plans to head on over to the Palace Saloon in historic Fernandina Beach for a full day of fun and entertainment.

If you want to start early, beginning at 10:00 AM you can enjoy $1.00 Guiness Draft until noon. From 3:00 to 5:00 PM the Guiness Draft is $2.00 or you can enjoy $3.00 Green Draft Beer all day.

There will also be other day long specials including $5.00 Bushmills Irish Whiskey Shots, $5.00 Bailey’s Irish Cream Shots and a FREE Irish Buffet starting at Noon. To finish up your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations… see Wes Cobb live at 7:30!

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Dancing with the Local Stars IV

Dancing with the Local Stars IV

Dancing with the Local Stars IV

Here is the 4th video of this year’s Dancing with the Local Stars. The event was held at the Amelia Island Plantation and raised money to benefit the Youth Ballroom Academy. This 5th annual dance competition was an evening of elegance, excitement and entertainment as local celebrities took the dance floor dancing such classics as the Tango, the Swing, the Cha Cha and even the Two-Step.

This video includes dances by Tammy Jimenez dancing a Swing with Felix Solis. John Swinson of Arc-Rite Construction dances a Bolero as James Bond. Joined by Ana Lie Swinson; John’s Bolero features the additional dancing talents of Susanne Omran. The Argentine Tango performed by Ginger Lindberg and Felix Solis is one of the evening’s hottest performances!

The evening’s events included raffles, a silent auction and a called auction to entertain guests while the votes were being counted. This week we have been featuring dancers each day in videos following the order of their appearance in the program. Come back each day and find your favorite dancer!

Dancing with the Local Stars I
Dancing with the Local Stars II
Dancing with the Local Stars III

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Shooting Machine Guns From a Helicopter

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Not everyday do you get to crawl into a helicopter and start shooting a 7.62mm M-240D machine gun out the side of it. That’s what I got to do today at Second Amendment Gun Range in Yulee, Florida. They’ve got a specially built helicopter gunner simulator that gets commissioned by the likes such as the U.S. Coast Guard and the Swedish Air Force in order for their gunners to practice the skills of their trade.

When the simulator is not in use by official military purposes, Second Amendment has to stay up to date and trained on its operation so they allowed us to climb aboard and see how it works. The simulator is a lot like a virtual reality video game at the arcade. You climb into a big box supported by hydraulic arms that move and tilt the unit to simulate movement by a real helicopter. Once you climb inside they shut the door behind you and you have to put on this helmet-goggle setup. The goggles have little screens inside that coincide with the direction you look. So if you look at the cockpit, you see the cockpit in the lenses. When you look out the side of the helicopter you see landscape and foliage, or whatever is designed into the program you are running. And if you stick your head out the side of the helicopter, there is a fan blowing that makes it feel like real wind whipping past your head!

Our job, as helicopter gunners, was to shoot the bad guys… or anything else that happened to fall within our sights. The simulation was extremely realistic. At one point we even got to use Night Vision Goggles to shoot at the bad guys during a nighttime scenario. The simulator is so realistic that the machine gun has a drag to it while you’re flying through the air, making aiming the gun more difficult. The bullets followed a realistic trajectory that is determined by something like a 27-page algorithm written into the simulation code. Needless to say, the helicopter gunner simulator was loads of fun, and the purpose of my writing this article is just to say “Na na na na boo boo! I got to ride in a helicopter simulator and you-oo didn’t!” Lol.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Obama Slapped by Fellow Democrats over Vegas Remark

Las Vegas in Obama's Eyes

Las Vegas in Obama's Eyes

With Obama receiving a second major slap on his hand, even from his own democrats, for his remarks about not spending college reserves for pleasure trips to Las Vegas, we decided to do a special today on what’s going on in Sin City, especially since a number of our staff members have a warm heart for this city in the desert that did not come to life until about a century ago.

Here at SearchAmelia we’re all in favor of frugality and matching your lifestyle to your income, but we also promote that life needs a balance between work and play and judging from the following activities that are offered in Las Vegas this month alone, we endorse Las Vegas’ affordable nature for having a good frugal time on hard earned money.

Las Vegas has faced a complete meltdown since the recession started about two years ago resulting in 13% unemployment last December and leading the nation in Metropolitan foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Close Democratic alley, Harry Reid, bluntly reacted by stating officially, “The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money,” an opinion shared by fellow Democrat Congress woman Shelley Berkley who said, “Enough is enough! President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars.”  Now that is a breath of fresh air from Washington and something I haven’t heard in a while. The right to make your own decisions.

We also know that Southwest Airlines will be happy to start off your trip to the American Pleasure Dome with several daily services out of our own Jacksonville International.

Here is a Las Vegas update from Sal Sagev Travel Advantage Marketing out of Henderson Nevada www.traveladvantagemarketing.com

Fontainebleau
Its finally official – a Florida court has approved Chicago billionaire Carl Icahn’s bid for the bankrupt, unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas Resort.  Icahn Nevada Gaming Acquisition, LLC, offered the only qualified bid for the company.  Icahn’s venture will pay $104.6 million in cash, plus forgiveness of about $45 million in debtor-in-possession financing.  The Fontainebleau filed for bankruptcy protection last June after lenders cut off access to nearly $800 million of construction funds. The 3,800-room casino resort, toward the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, has already cost $2 billion, but can now look forward to getting finished.

Atomic Testing Museum
The Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation announced that a 6 foot long, 1 ton I beam from NY’s World Trade Center has become a part of the museum’s permanent collection and that it will be officially unveiled on February 27th during an event to commemorate the museums 5th anniversary. The permanent I-beam display will join other items of historical significance at the museum including Albert Einstein’s letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the once-secret nuclear effort known as the Manhattan Project and President Harry Truman’s letter that established the test site as the nation’s continental nuclear weapons proving ground.

Caesar’s Palace

The Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip

Caesars Palace Las Vegas will debut their new “Garden of the Gods” this March.  The five new multi-layer pools (Apollo, Fortuna, Jupiter and two side-by-side pools known as Bacchus) join the three existing pools Neptune, Venus and Temple. The new collection of pools increases the “Garden of the Gods” area to five acres.  New amenities include swim-up gaming and an 18-foot waterfall.

NASCAR Weekend
NASCAR returns to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Feb. 26 – 28.  The racing weekend will include the Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide series race on Saturday and the Shelby American 350 Sprint Cup series race on Sunday.  The annual NASCAR series race is one of the most popular on the racing circuit and regularly draws more than 150,000 fans.

Venetian / Palazzo
The Venetian and The Palazzo will celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Tiger with an authentic dragon and lion dance on Feb. 13 and 14.  Décor throughout both properties will include citrus trees, red envelopes and lanterns, and red, orange and yellow floral.  The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium will include a 16.5-foot long custom-designed Tiger, six-foot custom-made lanterns, oversized bamboo towers and ceremonial ancient décor in the waterfall wall.

Bellagio
Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will celebrate the 2010 Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, with a display filled with hidden meaning.  Guided by the ancient practice of Feng Shui, the centerpiece is a majestic tiger made of dried botanicals. Joining the tiger is an 18-foot-tall Chinese God of Prosperity surrounded by gold leafed I-Ching coins and two Ming Dynasty-styled dings. Nearby, a trio of 6-foot-tall giant pandas, made of more than 9,000 living plants, enjoy a garden of bamboo.

Caesar’s Palace
To celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the Tiger, The Meadows School will perform the traditional dragon and lion dance throughout The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace on Feb. 18.  The cast of singers and dancers includes 120 Meadows students – 60 from kindergarten and 60 from fifth grade.  The dragon dance will feature red and gold costumes, drums and firecrackers and two large and colorful dragons.

Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace has opened ‘Quesadilla,’ a new cantina-style Mexican eatery.  ‘Quesadilla’ serves up an exotic blend of Mexican and South American dishes in a colorful South Beach-inspired setting.

Eastside Cannery
Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel has completed its new state-of-the-art concert venue that will feature nationally renowned artists.  The Casablanca Event Center, with 1,100 seats, has been redesigned with new sound-reinforcement and an innovative lighting system.

CityCenter
Eva Longoria has introduced her contemporary steakhouse with Latin flair, Beso and her new nightclub, Eve, at Crystals at CityCenter.  The restaurant and nightclub concept occupies two stories. Beso, the Spanish word for kiss, combines Longoria’s Latin heritage and her passion for cooking with the culinary talents of celebrated chef, Todd English. On the second level, guests experience the elegant atmosphere of Eve where a breathtaking 50-foot arched ceiling and lavish VIP booths accentuate the glamorous interior.

Las Vegas just looks much better at night

Las Vegas just looks much better at night

Mandalay Bay / Luxor
Ensenada, Mexico landmark Hussong’s Cantina brought an approachable menu and buoyant Baja atmosphere to Las Vegas when it opened in January at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place located between Mandalay Bay and Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip. Hussong’s Cantina bring to the “strip” authentic Baja cuisine, the chance to experience the unusually strong original margarita and sing alongs to a rock n’ roll Mariachi band.

Planet Hollywood
Planet Hollywood has opened the 50-story Westgate timeshare tower, featuring 1,200 vacation villas and 28 exclusive penthouse suites. Ownership amenities include an exotic tropical pool complete with sandy beach and private cabanas, an elite 46th floor pool for the penthouse suites, a world-class fitness facility, restaurants, casino and marketplace.

Hard Rock Hotel
Vanity Nightclub has opened at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  Created by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s nightlife group (Body English, Rare 120, REHAB and Wasted Space) and legendary baseball player Jason Giambi, Vanity nightclub opened on Jan.2nd. The 14,000-square-foot venue features champagne menus engraved on handheld antique mirrors, two marble bars, 50 intimate VIP booths and an outdoor terrace with cabanas, a fire pit and direct access to the new outdoor Sky Bar (opening April 2010).

Best Vegas Attractions
The BVA discount booklet boasts a total of 18 discount offers for visitors. These books are available by sending an email requesting booklets to  BVA@TravelAdvantageMarketing.com  and we will forward them to you at no charge.  There are discounts for just about anything visitors might want to do- including dining, golf, flightseeing and even sky diving!

Major Trade Shows & Conferences Upcoming (4,000+ attendees)

09/Feb – 11/Feb   Composites & Polycons, Mandalay Bay,   5,000

10/Feb – 15/Feb   US Open Taekwondo Championships, Tropicana,  4,000

14/Feb – 17/Feb   Western Vet. Conference,  Mandalay Bay,  14,000

14/Feb – 17/Feb   Off Price Specialist Show,  Sands Expo,  9,500

15/Feb – 18/Feb   Womenswear in NV,  Rio,   5,350

16/Feb – 19/Feb   MAGIC (Men’s Apparel Guild),  LVCVA,  75,000

21/Feb – 24/Feb   IBM-Pulse 2010,  MGM Grand,  6,000

24/Feb – 26/Feb   Awards & Recognition 2010,  LVCC,  5000

24/Feb – 25/Feb   Digital Signage Expo,  LVCC,  4000

28/Feb – 03/Mar   Assoc. Surplus Dealers,  Sand Expo & LVCC,  41,000

02/Mar – 04/Mar   Annual Internationall Pizza Expo,  LVCC,  6,000

03/Mar – 04/Mar   Tobacco Plus Expo,   LVCC,  4000

Enjoy the business Las Vegas

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Joey and Jeanie Self Titled CD Available Now

Joey and Jeanie Self Titled CD Available Now

Joey and Jeanie Self Titled CD Available Now

Joey and Jeanie celebrate the completion of their debut Contemporary Christian album and wish to share the news with you!

They are hopeful that you may feel led to support their ministry by purchasing one of their CDs. With the donations they receive, they honor various charitable organizations and further develop this ministry to which God has called them.

In their outreach ministry, Joey and Jeanie present original contemporary songs, a bit of gospel, and children’s music, combined with God-given, amazing stories of grace. They accomplish this through churches, service events in our community, and in private settings. Call them for your next event or night of worship and allow them to share the goodness, peace, and joy that the Lord has given them.

Please remember them in prayer that they will clearly seek God’s direction.

Their 12-song, self-titled album is now available at these locations:

•  CDbaby.com – the world’s largest independent CD seller. You can also download either individual songs or the whole album.
•  iTunes – for downloads of individual songs or the whole album.
•  Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Store, 205 Centre St, Fernandina Beach, FL (904-491-7979) – This is a convenient location for the folks who like buying through a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ method.
• At Their Events – They play at the Farmers Market regularly and always have CDs with them. (For your convenience, they even accept all major Credit Cards or ATM cards with a credit card logo on them).

Please visit www.joeyandjeanie.com for additional information. You can watch a Video Interview in Search Amelia’s Community Conversations.

They will be announcing a CD Release Event in the upcoming weeks. Joey and Jeanie are in the process of organizing this to support one (or more) of the local charities that is near to their hearts; we will announce the details here on SearchAmelia.com when they are made available.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

They All Come to Look for America

Simon and Garfunkel - America

Simon and Garfunkel - America

After having been pretty sick for most of the week I picked up my guitar yesterday afternoon and opened my songbook for some needed vitamin C and just started to play down the alphabet. From A Pirate Looks at Forty (Jimmy Buffett is going to be in Jax on February 20nd), I moved to A Whiter Shade of Pale, Across the universe, After the Gold Rush and so on until I hit Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and my mind wandered back in time. Way back more than 40 years

I could swear that I saw Simon play the song long before he and Garfunkel put it on their 1968 hit album “Bookends”. I could swear I saw him playing the song at Les Cousins on Greek Street in London a couple of years earlier, because I remember that from that moment on the chorus of the song never left my mind…….. “They all come to look for America”.

I had no clue in those days that even everyone else in America “all came to look for America” as well. Even America was looking for America. The America as it was presented to the world.

And that America was New York and New York was America.

It was were the world met and learned to co-exist peacefully. It was the nucleus of the promised land. They called it a Melting Pot, but it was much more than that. It was the crossroad of every culture, religion and political direction in the world. The land were nothing was impossible; where buildings could touch the clouds, where you could walk for days, where freedom was a birthright and the pursuit of happiness a godgiven right anchored in the constitution. It was the dream for a world coming out of colonialism and suppression.

Paul Simon’s “America” carried melancholy and confusion far beyond my understanding as a teenager, but it moved us from Saginaw, Michigan via Pittsburgh to the New Jersey Turnpike on a Greyhound bus that still allowed smoking, with the ultimate promise of an arrival in New York. The Westcoast and California focus that followed in the later part of the sixties was just another dimension of what America was. Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” embodied the true feeling of Ellis Island and a promise.

I’ll be honest, that vision of America brought me here to this country. I remember the first time the plane touched down at John F. Kennedy from Amsterdam more than 35 years ago. I remember the excitement and the rhythm of the Big Apple. I remember Soho, the Village, Tribeca, Little Italy, China Town, Columbus Circle, Central Park, Gramercy Park, the Statue, the newly build Twin Towers and the thousands of pictures I took from its observation deck, the Panam Building, the World’s Advertising Agencies on Madison Ave, Wall Street and the docks at South Street Seaport, Battery Park, Ellis Island and those immense bridges and tunnels and the many hours I spent on the Subway.

I saw Paul Simon again on September 19, 1981 together with 500,000 other fans in New York’s Central Park. He and Garfunkel performed “America” like I’ve never heard it before or ever again, because I was surrounded by hundreds of thousands that had “come to look for America”. It was chilling on that late summer night. New York was the most magical place on earth on that evening almost 29 years ago. And it was America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. There are still plenty of brave around, it’s the free part where I’m getting somewhat concerned.

I left New York in 1986 for smaller and coastal America and only returned a couple of times since then. I don’t really know what happened to America in the meantime, but I think a trip to the Big Apple is overdue.

Here is the song for you to play (Capo on 2nd fret for purists) or watch them here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od66bhNzBtE

AMERICA- Simon & Garfunkel

C    C/B Am C/G F         C  C/B  Am C/G F
Ooh ooh ooh  a ooh a ooh, ooh ooh ooh  a ooh a ooh
C         C/B            Am        C/G        F
Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together
C             C/B          Am           Am7
I’ve got some real-estate here in my bag
Em7                     A7              Em7          A7
So we bought a pack of cigarettes, and Mrs. Wagner pies
D     C      G         C  C/B Am Am7/6 F
And walked off to look for America

C       C/B         Am          C/G            F
Kathy I said as we boarded the Greyhound in Pittsburg
C        C/B            Am            Am7
Michigan seems like a dream to me now
G
It took me four days to hitch-hike from Saginaw
D    G       D         Cmaj7 C
And I’ve come to look for America

Bbmaj7           Bb             C
Laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces
Bbmaj7                                     C C/B Am C/G
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
F                      Fmaj7             C C/B Am C/G Am6 Fmaj7
I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera

C         C/B         Am              C/G         F
Toss me a cigarette I think there’s one in my raincoat
C              C/B          Am    Am7
We smoked the last one an hour ago
Em7                  A7      Em7             A7
So I looked at the scenery,  she read her magazine
D   C   G         C  C/B   Am C/G F
And the moon rose over an open field

C         C/B       Am             C/G            F
Cathy I’m lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
C          C/B          Am           Am7
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
G
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
D   G       D        Cmaj7
They’ve all come to look for America
D   G       D        Cmaj7
They’ve all come to look for America
D   G       D        Cmaj7  C
They’ve all come to look for America
C   C/B   Am  C/G  Dm  F G  G7
Do do do do-da-do, do do do do-da-do (repeat and fade)

C/B:   x 2 2 0 1 0   C/G:    3 3 2 0 1 0
Am7:   x 0 2 0 1 0   Cmaj7:  x 3 2 0 0 0
Em7:   0 2 2 0 3 0   Bbmaj7: 1 1 3 2 3 1
Fmaj7: x x 3 2 1 0   Am6:    x 0 2 2 0 2

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Book Review – The Twilight Series

Book Review - The Twilight Series

Book Review – The Twilight Series

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn‚ no, I am not talking about lunar or solar cycles. These are the titles to Stephenie Meyer’s four book series about a quiet girl pursuing her calamitous love affair with an ethereal boy in her class who belongs to a family of vampires. My sister, a high school freshman, has been bugging me to read her “favorite series” even though I carry a disdain toward reading romancy-pantsy girlie stuff. Well, I wanted to make my sister happy so I picked up volume one of the series; a few days later I found myself finishing volume four.

As it turns out, the series is not so romancy-pantsy girlie-esque, after all. Meyer’s writing style is more mature and sensual than the average book aimed at tweens and teenagers, yet tame enough not to be lascivious or graphic. She exhibits an adept ability to capitulate the reader and engross him/her into the storyline with a wanton desire for more. Honestly, after book four, I googled the books to see if she was writing a book five (and she is, it’s called Midnight Sun). However, because of a leak of her manuscript she may not finish it. But she may. I guess us Twilight fans will just have to keep our hopes up).

I do not want to write about the plot or give away any spoilers to those that have not yet read the books. So I will surmise my article by stating that if you want to be enraptured and entertained for 498 pages, then 563 pages, then 629 pages, and then 754 pages you should grab a copy of Twilight and begin your adventure.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Book Review: Iacocca: An Autobiography

Book Review: Iacocca: An Autobiography

Book Review: Iacocca: An Autobiography

I picked up an old book at a yard sale recently. That book is Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, self-titled Iacocca. The book begins with a background of Lee’s heritage and upbringing, then immediately delves into his experiences leading up to his presidency at Ford Motors, then his firing from Ford, and then the story of how he managed to redeem Chrysler from imminent bankruptcy.

The book was a record-breaking #1 bestseller in its heyday so many of you may have read it before. I just read it for the first time, years after its release, and it is amazing how the problems he had to address are still plaguing industries today. Honestly, it was almost unapparent that I wasn’t reading a book written this year seeing as how it described government bailouts, red tape between big industry and the Fed, regulatory inhibition to progress, a weak economy, and “free trade” (you’ll understand why “free trade” is in quotations if you read the book, or are informed on the workings of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades) between the United States and other major industrial countries like Japan.

In addition to the political subject matter, Iacocca‚ is a very good read. It kept me wanting to turn each page with excitement. In Lee’s own words when describing the success of his book‚ “People started asking me how a book with no sex, no violence, and no spies could sell so well. I honestly didn’t know, and I was supposed to be a marketing genius.” I think it has something to do with the American Dream – a desire to succeed, and this book is about hard work and what it takes for success. I give it four stars today, and probably would have given it four stars 25 years ago.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on Twitter

You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Dinner and a Movie – A Rant

Dinner and a Movie ...and a double rant

Dinner and a Movie ...and a double rant

It’s that time of the year to spend cozy times with loved ones and last night it was dinner and a movie for my wife and me.
Well the dinner was paid for by a Christmas Gift Certificate from the kids and rather than waiting too long, which in the past made us lose the gift card on several occasions, we decided to immediately use them.¬† Well maybe we should have waited as the experience was¬† quite disappointing. My steak was the size of my middle finger (yep the one birds are made of) and the supporting side dishes were a tribute to NANO technology. My wife’s steak was loaded with melted cheese (not what she ordered) which she quickly returned to the kitchen staff.

In itself, the dinner was a disappointing experience, and easily beat by the experience of the rented DVD. The store’s recommended entertainment choice was the movie The Hangover, a crazy tale of four guys spending one’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. Wacko, crazy, warped and weird with moments that would pale most scenes in the movie Jackass Part 2.
Thoroughly enjoyable however, where it not for the following nuisance:

You put the DVD in the machine, you know you’re going to be confronted with some movie previews and most often we quickly scan them as a potential reference for future rentals, before we proceed to the main feature. Well guess what? You can’t fast forward anymore. They have put a restriction into the programming that says politely: This feature (fast forwarding) is currently not available! And then you are exposed to 22 minutes of a series of previews, director’s cut suggestions and worst of all: Real TV Commercials!!!

Now I’ve been in marketing and advertising most of my adult life. I know the value of preaching a message to a captive audience, but frankly as we were lying in bed trying to get to the main feature, my blood started boiling over this asinine attempt at getting a commercial message implanted into my brain. I pay $5.34 to rent the movie which gives me the right to watch the movie. I didn’t want anything else, least of all 22 minutes of compulsory crap that I should have the liberty to fast forward.

It may not be the same as a gun to my temple with the demand to watch it or else… but in my book of liberties, it’s pretty close.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Are you looking forward to traveling with the children?

On your way to the Family for Christmas?

On your way to the Family for Christmas?

So you’re going on that roadtrip to be with the family here on Amelia Island over Christmas or you’re maain land bound to see the family and the kids are already squealing¬† like little piggies in anticipation. Well no matter what mode of transportation you are planning to use, it’s going to be a challenge as you’re one of 63 million roadtrips this season according to the Department of Transportation
If you have kids, some planning can mean the difference between a joy to remember and a “head-against-the-steering-wheel” experience.

Made for the road. One thing my husband’s dad did was pack up the car the night before and then real early in the morning, they carried the kids, often still in their pajamas, from their beds to their car seats. (Never forget the travel pillows on long road trips). If he or any of his 4 brothers woke at all, they’ll usually fell asleep again immediately and snoozed on through to the first gas-station stop, which enabled him to get some serious mileage before breakfast.

Give kids their own space.
Consider renting a larger vehicle before departing for a long trip. When you weigh the cost against saving the hard winter mileage on your own car vs.the added advantage of extra space during a long trip…you may find renting is in your favor. Not to mention you don’t have to clean out the car, crumbs, wrappers, etc…

Keep the music eclectic. Unless you are really tired of hearing kid songs, it’s best to compromise at least for part of the trip and find music everyone enjoys listening to.

Know when to stop. One time-tested rule is to never drive non-stop past 4 p.m. unless it’s a one day trip of course. Give your kids a chance to burn off their pent-up energy sometime during the day.

If you have to fly, accept that it’s going to be a nightmare and prepare accordingly.

Besides the fact that flying is a scary experience for many kids, today’s airport security hassles are just not going to contribute to a pleasant experience. With that in mind parents can make it easier with a little preparation:

Absolutely fly direct. Book nonstop flights whenever possible, even if you have to drive a couple of hours to an airport that offers direct connections; and when you must stop, try not to change planes. The money saved to hop around from plane to plane just isn’t worth it in tedious overly secured holiday airports.
Pack food and toys. Let’s face it, kids are picky. This is especially true when given only one option on an airplane. Pack a few of your kids’ favorite snacks to make up for lack of options. Allow each child their own marked pack of toys and books. Make them responsible for keeping track of their own travel pack.
Go ahead, SPLURGE! When you’re checking in, book a skycap to meet you at the arrival gate if you’ll be landing at night. That way, you can take care of your sleepy ones without lugging all your baggage.

If you’re traveling abroad, have some foreign cash before you leave. This will enable you to be ready for anything upon landing. Be aware that some banks require a couple of days advanced notice for foreign exchange. No bank on Amelia Island keeps foreign cash, not even Euros.
ID your kids and your luggage. In a crowded and chaotic airport, it’s more than possible to lose sight of a child. Write your name or stash a business card inside each child’s travel pack or jacket. Teach children to approach a police officer or uniformed airline employee and show the card, just in case you do get separated.
What to put in your kid’s travel pack. The foremost principle of family travel: Be ready, willing and able to amuse the kids for an extended period of time. The playthings that come along for the ride make all the difference. These toys are surefire distractions, bound to occupy your kids during the unavoidable hours of “Are we there yet?”

1. Crayons and/or colored pencils. Crayons don’t need sharpening, but colored pencils are less likely to break. Bring both. Re-sealable plastic freezer bags make splendid carrying cases. Don’t forget a folder of white or colored paper. Print off coloring book pages previous to departure.
2. Get them a Magna-Doodle. Even toddlers love this magnetic drawing toy. How many times can a three-year-old trace her hand before she gets bored? About 200,000.
3. Stuffed animals. Indispensable. Which brings up a vital point: Leave the child’s favorite one at home. If it’s left in a hotel room, your trip home is doomed. Suggest other “comfort” toys that may not be as special.
4. Books on tape/CD. Buy your kids a headphone set that plays tapes or cd’s. Many children’s books include a tape or cd so your child can follow along. “Read” the story while hearing the author on headphones.
5. If you have a DVD player in your vehicle, by all means use it. It’ll make the time go much faster.
And if all else fails you can always sing 12 days of Christmas over and over or even make it 30 days if you’re good at being creative.

Here are the words for starters:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Chords Used: D – G РA РE

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

…Five golden rings…

…Six geese a-laying…

…Seven swans a-swimming…

…Eight maids a-milking…

…Nine ladies dancing…

…Ten lords a-leaping…

…Eleven pipers piping…

…Twelve drummers drumming…

and lastly, should you visit us here on Amelia Island, here is a tip for your trip back home.

Give the trip a Pirate’s Theme such as Pirates of the Road, after all you’re coming away from Fernandina Beach, a noted historic Pirate’s Nest and you should have a lot of loot on you.
Aaarrrrrrrrrr we there yet?
Make the time pass quickly on your long car trip by  pretending to be a crew of pirates for the day.
The Interstate is your ocean!¬† To make it even more fun, surprise your crew with this traveling theme, and don’t tell them until just before you leave. Then pass out the pirate bandanas and “order” everyone aboard!

Pick a Pirate Persona The driver is the captain, obviously. Other passengers in the car are always referred to as “the crew”.¬†¬† Crew members are not allowed to call the driver “Mom” or “Dad”, but can only address them as “Captain” or “Captain Mom”, or whatever you order them to call you.¬† As captain, you can give orders that everyone MUST carry out.
Assign a First Mate, Navigator, or Lookout. Crew members can all choose pirate names if they wish.¬† Your vehicle is your ship. Be sure to name it too.¬† Then refer to it all day by it’s name. For example,¬† “Shiver me timbers! It’s time to refuel for The Black Pearl!”.

Speak like pirates Refer to your fellow crew members as “mates”, and be sure to get refills on your “rum” (whatever you happen to be drinking on board your ship).¬† Say stuff pirates would say, such as:
•    Avast! (Looky there!)
•    Ahoy! (hello)
•    Aye Aye!  (yes sir!)
•    Abandon Ship!  (everybody get out of the car for a pit stop)
•    Land Ho! (when you can see your destination)
•    Shiver Me Timbers! (when you are shocked or surprised)
•    All Aboard!! (time to get back in the car)
•    This sounds like mutiny! (when disagreements break out for not listening to the captain!)
•    Scallywag (a bad rotten no good person!)
•    Sea Rover (a pirate ship)
•    Sea Dog (experienced sailors)
•    Jolly Roger (pirate flag with skull and crossbones)
•    Land Lubber (a person not familiar with sailing)
•    Aaaaarrrrrr!!!  (whenever the mood hits. Say this after nearly everything)

For example, “Avast ye mates! It’s the Starbucks drive-through that the captain has been searching for. Thar she blows right off the starboard bow!”¬†¬†¬† and,¬†¬† “Yo ho ho, we need to stop and go…¬†¬†¬† …..to the bathroom.”

Sing Pirate Songs Have an old fashion car sing along, or download pirate themed songs onto your iPod before your trip and play them in the car.

Dress Like Pirates This is easy. Get some cheap pirate themed bandanas, or any old bandana will probably do. Wear them on your head or around your arm.  Make some eye patches with paper and crayons. Designs all kinds of jewelry or a hook with a roll of tinfoil (see my article on aluminum foil art for ideas).
Tell Pirate Jokes
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Why couldn’t the little kid see the pirate movie? (Because it was rated Arrrrr!)
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†What is a one-legged pirate’s favorite place for breakfast? (IHOP)
•    What happened when the man shook hands with Captain Hook?  (He got the point!  Aaaaargh!)
•    How much does it cost for a pirate to pierce his ears? (A buck an ear!!!   Aaaarrrgh!)
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†What’s a pirate’s favorite socks? (Arrrrgyle)
•    What has 12 arms, 12 legs and 12 eyes? (A dozen pirates.  Aaaarrrrrrr!)
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Make up your own. For example:¬† What is a pirate’s favorite fast food restaurant? (Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrby’s! )

Watch Pirate Movies If you’re going to watch movies on your portable DVD player, stick to the theme. Some great pirate movies for kids could include:
•    Pirates of the Caribbean (I, II, and III)
•    Peter Pan
•    Hook
•    Muppets Treasure Island

Play Games with a Pirate Twist Play lots of traditional car games, but keep the pirate theme. For example, if you’re playing Hangman, choose words that are meaningful to pirates such as “Davy Jones Locker” or “Dead Man’s Chest” or “Booty”.¬†¬† If you’re counting cows or doing a travel scavenger hunt, announce “Thar she blows!” whenever you see what you are looking for.¬† Draw pictures of pirates and ships. Draw treasure maps, and pirate flags to decorate the inside of the car.
Basically just use your imagination for every aspect of the journey.¬† Take no prisoners, follow the captain’s orders and you’ll be there in no time. Land ho!

Good luck.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Entertaining During the Holidays

Live Music and Stories is Fun

Live Music and Stories is Fun

With Christmas week starting today, our team wants to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We are delighted to give you some tips that may make your entertaining this season less challenging on the wallet, yet more fun among friends and family.

Following you will find excerpts from the eBook we published under the title “Celebrate the Holidays with Frugal Flair”.

Preparation for the Party
-Turn down your thermostat; when you have a lot of bodies in the house – heat is generated, so save on your electric bill and still have everyone comfortable.
-Is your theme elegant? Spray paint some fruits and throw glitter on the fruit while the paint is still wet.

Your Table
-Use “real” dishes and silverware rather than purchasing plastic and paper.
-Dress your table with fabric table cloths and fabric napkins instead of using disposables.
-Use those decorative candles you don’t want to burn and melt. Why not?
-Use your fine China. Even when times are tough, setting a lovely table and using the good dishes make any day feel special.
-Worried about ruining your favorite tablecloth? Be brave or buy a clear plastic shower curtain and cut into the shape you need to fit your table.

Your Attire
-Invite your guests to “dress up”; get some use out of those old overpriced special occasion clothes you never get to wear and the pictures of your guests come out looking very festive.
-Try giving yourself a manicure, pedicure or color your own hair. You can save a small fortune by doing these services yourself.

Beverages
-Make a festive punch instead of trying to provide a variety of beverages at your party.
-Save money by using the cups that came with your punch bowl set, or use real beverage ware instead of purchasing plastic or paper.
-Have the party guests bring their own beverages if most of them have their own special preference.
-Make a genuine old European Fruit grog. It’s quite simple. Start at the first fruit harvests in the spring with hard fruits. Apple, pear, apricots, prunes, peaches, kiwi, cherries, grapes or raisins. Put a gallon of Dark Rum in a large Bowl or preferably a Crock pot with lid. Over the months prior to the Holidays add fruits as they become available (inexpensive) and more rum. Also add a table spoon of brown sugar and 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks each month to the grog. As the fruits soak up the rum, add more rum. Your guests will never forget your party as long as they live and they all want to have the recipe. I know, year after year I am asked to make this glorious Holiday drink that even non-rum lovers adore. But keep an eye on your guests, because this stuff is potent.

Entertainment
-Invite your friends to bring musical instruments for added entertainment. Have lyrics and chord sheets available for the preferred songs. Hand someone spoons, or a pan and wooden spoons for your rhythm section.
-Every year we go Christmas caroling after our Christmas party and everyone carries a holiday candle, homemade songbooks and wears a Christmas hat or cap that I purchased at 75% off after Christmas the previous year.
-Have a gift exchange. We have women buy for a woman and the men buy for a man and we also set a price limit.

Foods
-Have your party begin past usual dinner time and serve finger foods instead of preparing an entire sit down meal or a buffet dinner.
-Stretch your dishes by being creative: add extra onions, celery, carrots and potatoes to roasts.
-Consider a spaghetti dinner; you can feed an army for few dollars.
-Saving and freezing left over vegetables, rice and pastas are great additions to soups all year long.
-Have your guests bring a covered dish.
-Buy all of your holiday food items around Thanksgiving when grocery stores run the largest number of loss-leaders to get people in the store.
-Buy generic and supermarket “store brands” for your crackers and chips. Hide the boxes and no one will know.
-Make as many of the dishes ahead of time as your can. Then it is as simple as heating them up to serve.
-Use warming trays and crock pots if you have them to keep food hot on your buffet table.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Pétanque America Open 2009 comes to a close

Petanque America Open comes to a Close

Petanque America Open comes to a Close

Here are the photographic impression of the second and finals day of the American Open Petanque 2009 on Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach. The second day may have been even more glorious in weather than Saturday’s treat of a phenomenal sunrise followed by azure blue skies and temperatures in the high 70’s. The weather was so beautiful that many a player and spectator at the end of the day had slight sunburns and wearing a hat or cap was almost a necessity.

Next to remarkable round 32 games, quarter, semi finals and finals the public was treated on a book signing by world famous chef, Jacques Pépin and many took the opportunity to get a personal copy signed and sealed with a photo-op with this great chef. Rumors has it that the next pétanque tournament on Amelia Island will be in grandeur style involving food and wine. Again, just a rumor but the boyish smile on Pépin’s face when asked by our publisher about this “chef’s secrets in the pétanque circles” holds promise of something truly unique for Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

From the great number of comments from the players and visitors, Fernandina Beach on the quaint Island of Amelia, has touched so many with the promise of returning to our beautiful shores that the next pétanque tournament is almost certainly sealed.

Below is the Photo impression of the second and finals day of the Pétanque America Open 2009. If you wish to receive high resolution images (and we have many more pictures not featured below) please let us know and we will consider making the total of almost 600 pictures available for download in the next couple of days, but you must let us know.

1 8 9 10 11 12 13