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Prepare for a Three Day Belgian Invasion

160 Classic Cars waiting to go onboard

Waiting in Antwerp Harbor to get shipped to New York

Owners of Classic Cars all over the world are part of a special breed. They have “secret” signs when they meet each other on the road. They have ‘sinister’ distribution networks for long expired parts and they like to socialize a lot. In any country of the world were classic cars are appreciated this is pretty much standard behavior. And this is also the case in Belgium, a monarchy that operates inside of the European Union and even though for more than one hundred years, the Flemish north and the Walloon South have supposedly been hating each others guts on political levels, you start a Classic Car Club and members on both sides of the language barrier are friends and hoist a glass of beer or wine to each others health.

A very entrepreneurial club founded 10 years ago, named itself Touramical (Friendly Tour) put their classic jewels on the road in annual vacation like rally trips and travel as a group around Europe to have fun. Bulgaria, Barcelona, Biaritz, Greece in 2014, one or two adventure trips a year with great memories and special relationships.

In 2011 they went to Morocco and drove in caravan style from Fes to Marrakech and on to Casablanca. Earlier this year they did Zaragoza, Madrid, Zaragoza in Spain and because this year is the  Club’s 10 Year Anniversary, they decided on a USA trip north-south on the Eastern Seaboard. For the occasion the Club has renamed itself into Touramerical, which will start its road trip descent with 160 beautifully kept Classic Cars from New York on October 8 and ending in Miami 8 days later. Just imagine the logistic of shipping 160 classic cars RoRo from the port in Antwerp to Port Elizabeth Newark/New Jersey, including spare parts and manuals and back up vehicles…for the fun of it!!!!! The importation and insurance paperwork alone involved would make any normal thinking person run for the hills, but not these Belgians. They have set their mind on doing something real special for their 10 year celebration and a road trip on the Eastern Seaboard is the answer. There is one more novelty on this trip: it’s the first one for both men and women. Until now it was a “men only event”.

Amelia Island Stop

So what makes this rally interesting for our island?? Well, there is this Belgian guy, Philippe Boets, who came to our island almost four and a half years ago and introduced us to the French ball game of Pétanque. He set up office in June and already in November of that first year in 2009 he managed to organize a Open Tournament with players flying in from around the world. Now 4 years later that tournament is already a staple in our November activities. But Philippe Boets does much more than only promoting the game of Pétanque in America. He loves music, plays bass in the local band “Island Vibe”, ……and is always on the look-out for special promotions.

A couple of years ago he managed to divert the Millenium Carillion on a tour up north from Naples, to take a detour and treat us to a Bell Concert on the Riverfront. And now this year he managed to convince the Touramerical organization to detour and make a stop on Centre Street in Downtown Fernandina Beach on three consecutive days- October 13,14 and 15- and enjoy our shores and hospitality for a couple of hours, before moseying down to Daytona Beach.

You can read everything Touramerical on their website and Like them on Facebook and make a note in your agenda to come see these beautiful classic vehicles as they wind down on their adventure rally from New York to Miami.

Fernandina Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings en Espanol

Fernandina Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings en EspanolFernandina Beach, FL – A partir del 08 de julio 2013 Alcohólicos Anónimos (AA) North 5th Street Reunión
Día: lunes
Tiempo: 7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Tipo de reunión: AA Abierto Principiantes (en Español)
Ubicación: La Tierra Prometida Church
Teléfono: (904) 349-2595
416 Alachua St. (esquina de Alachua y North 5th Street)
Room 101. Por favor, use la entrada puerta lateral en la calle 5 Norte.
Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida 32034
Accesible silla de ruedas. Para no fumadores.
español http://north5thcallegrupodeaa.talkspot.com/

********

Beginning July 8th, 2013 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) North 5th Street
Meeting
Day: Monday
Time: 7:00 – 7:45 PM
Meeting Type: AA Open Beginner’s (en Espanol)
Location: The Promise Land Church
Phone: (904) 349-2595
416 Alachua St. (Corner of Alachua and North 5th Streets)
Room 101. Please use side door entrance on North 5th Street.
Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida 32034
Wheelchair accessible. Non-Smoking.
English http://north5thcallegrupodeaa.talkspot.com/aspx/m/1638709

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6th Boys and Girls Club Gala Broke Records Again

Ruben Studdard performs in front of Amelia Island Audience

American Idol winner Ruben Studdard Performs at Boys and Girls Club Gala

Last night’s Annual Boys and Girls Club Gala Evening broke records once again on many levels. Even before the 500 plus guests at the sold out event at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island were seated, it was announced that the donations had already passed the $50,000 mark. This was before the Silent Auctions concluded at 9pm and while young women were still going around the tables to sell raffle tickets.

An interesting technological introduction was the option to bid by cellphone, which made for an interesting spectacle. To see a  room full of  X and Y geners work their cell phones is a normal panorama these days, but to see a room full of  Baby Boomers excitedly slide their fingers over phone LED’s until the big screen recognizes their bid, is living proof that technology has officially replaced the industrial revolution. More so because the same phone that was used to text bids, just minutes later turned into a camera to record the star guest of the evening, American Idol winner Rubin Studdard. Backed by a trio of exceptional musicians, Studdard who said he learned as a kid in the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama, how to shake his stage fright, performed some outstanding R&B and Jazz, from his coronation song “Flying Without Wings”, to Gershwin’s “Summertime” and a rousing “Ain’t Misbehavin”.

The very well organized  Gala, with once again superb three course food choices and presentation from the Ritz Carlton’s kitchen, serving more than 500 guests and keeping the main course warm is a huge challenge in any circumstance, came to a 9:15 end and kudos should be given once again to Gala Chair Ann Moser and her staff of volunteers for a superb performance.

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Join Mark Dennis for the 2012 Half-Time Report

Join Mark Dennis for the 2012 Half-Time ReportHalf the year is gone and it is time for the 2012 Half-Time Report! How are you and your finances holding up so far?

Join Certified Financial Planner™ professional Mark Dennis for a casual discussion and some financial introspection about current headlines, the markets, what the economic pundits are saying, and how it all might affect you.

With so much going on in the headlines lately, European debt crisis, unemployment, stock market, elections, the housing market and more; sometimes it is difficult to separate the “noise” from the “news.” We’ll help you sort it all out.

In the past, these Half-Time Reports have been quite popular, so this time, there are two dates and locations available for this event.

Seating is limited. Please contact us ahead of time to reserve your space. Of course you can bring a friend!

Choose the one that best suits your schedule:

FIRST SESSION
Date: July 31, 2012
Time: 6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Location: Cafe @ the Hamptons
Reserve online: a1ahalftime2012a.eventbrite.com/

SECOND SESSION
Date: August 7, 2012
Time: 6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Location: O’Kanes Irish Pub and Eatery
Reserve online: a1ahalftime2012b.eventbrite.com/

RSVP: (904) 491-1889 or email: 2012halftime@A1Awealthmanagement.com

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Vinyl on Tuesday Night at Dog Star Tavern

rolling-stones famous sticky fingers album cover

This original Stones Album Cover created quite some stir in its day

John Gould, the MC for many of this year’s Shrimp Festival events and contests such as the Coldstone Ice Cream eating contest and the Searchamelia sponsored Best Pirate Dress Contest, came up with an interesting and kind of unique form of commercial entertainment. As DJ JG WORLD, John and partner DJ Jim Johnston started a vinyl record night every Tuesday at the Dog Star Tavern on 3rd Street north, across the street from the Palace Saloon.

Now if you’re like me, a true vinyl lover with a 10K plus collection (which I gave to a friend in St.Martin when I left), there is nothing better than the sound, feel and looks of vinyl when it comes to music. The Stones’ Sticky Fingers album cover featured a working zipper and mock belt buckle that opened to reveal cotton briefs, Velvet Underground and Nico’s debut album featured Andy Warhol’s famous banana that could be peeled and the Flying Pig over London’s Battersea Power Station, was specially constructed for the Pink Floyd concept album “Animals”. There are numerous pieces of art on album covers that has been lost in the technology translation from vinyl to discs.

Pink Floyd album Animals

This was not super-imposed. It was a truly build pig replica

As kids, we used to read every word printed on an album cover and stared for the duration of listening to the songs at pictures and art. It took me 30 minutes to scan Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band cover for all the people and details in the picture.

So if you’re looking for a fine evening of music nostalgia, (blues, classic rock, Soul, Reggae, Funk, Punk, 80’s, 90’s, jazz and fusion, Progressive Rock, Folk, Bluegrass, Psychedelic rock, Southern rock and more) John and Jim play from a nice a variety of quality records for sale each week and changes every week. Jim is a full time record dealer and most of the records he has for sale range from $1 – $15 dollars in addition to several more expensive collectible records.
Now, mind you, don’t show up with a suitcase of your old vinyl because these Tuesdays at the Dog Star Tavern are NOT an open invite for people to bring in their records to be played, however if a customer buys a record from Jim, they will of course gladly play a cut from the record. They’ll sometimes take requests if the request happens to be in the line up of albums available that night, but they usually ask if someone wants to hear a song from any particular record they tip, donate or buy.
Go check it out. Every Tuesday at 8pm at the Dog Star Tavern, which features beer specials for the occasion.

Welcome to the Magical Music Time Machine

SearchAmelia.com: Upchucky.com brings happy memories

Upchucky.com brings happy memories

You will like this! Just click the year you graduated and bam your back in time!!!  Your first song to dance to… the song that played in the background of your first kiss. You may even find your wedding song if it was in the top 20 of that year. Someone at Upchucky.org had more time on his hands than I do and delivered a wonderful service of gathering all favorite songs going back to 1940 and neatly organize them in easy clicks.

While I’m writing this I’m listening to You Keep Me Hanging On by Vanilla Fudge, nr. 20 in 1967. I remember how I loved the slightly off-key harmonies in this song that gave birth to the creativity called “Underground” of the late sixties music scene and exploded into massive events like Woodstock and  Isle of Man.

As I wander off in this magical time machine of music I forget about the news headlines today and find huge gratitude in the freedoms we grew up with. Even though we knew in those days that politicians had manipulated us into a useless unpopular war, we somehow found solace in music and each other. Foxy Lady, I’m coming to get ya’. Our lives were not constantly bombarded with fears of all kinds.
When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies…don’t you want somebody to love.
Yes I’ll be spending some time in the late 1960s music today while I’m working.

Try it, you’ll love it. Each of the years below connect to the best 20 hits of that year. Pick a year, wait a few seconds, and the Juke Box will show you the 20 hits to select from. You can play all 20 hits, or just those that you like.

The listings stop abruptly with 1999. Apparently upchucky.com could not find not enough quality popmusic going into this century to justify listing it. Checking the songs that made the popular music scene in 1999, it’s clearly already slim pickings with only Smooth by Santana and Rob Thomas and Crush by Dave Matthews of some original musicality and quality. The rest is exploding bubblegum that makes me think about a line in Evanescence’ Bring Me to Life (Wake me up Inside)….save me from the nothing I’ve become.

Powerful. So powerful actually that more than 30 million saw this video and a reminder that life is not about being “Comfortably Numb” even though I love that song too.

Evanescence, Korn and Shinedown are gracing the area with a concert on April 29 in Jacksonville Metro Park. Maybe an occasion for me to venture into Jax. In the meantime I’ll be on upchucky.com a lot.

Here are the year links:

1940194119421943194419451946194719481949

195019511952195319541955 –  1956195719581959

1960196119621963196419651966196719681969

19701971 19721973197419751976197719781979

1980198119821983198419851986198719881989

1990199119921993 199419951996199719981999

Leap Day

Leap DayFebruary 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year.

The Gregorian calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks including 97 leap days. Over this period, February 29 falls 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday; 14 times on a Friday or Saturday; and 15 times on a Monday or Wednesday. So, February 29, 2012, is one of only 15 leap days that falls on a Wednesday in a 400 year period!

A person who is born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leap year baby”. In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic extra (intercalary) dates. People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies. Almost 10,000 people from all over the world have joined since the website was launched in 1997.

For legal purposes, their legal birthdays depend on how different laws count time intervals. In England and Wales or in Hong Kong, a person born on February 29, 1996 will have legally reached 18 years old on March 1, 2014; in Taiwan and in New Zealand he or she legally becomes 18 on February 28, 2014.

There are many instances in children’s literature where a person’s claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. A similar device is used in the plot of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance: As a child, Frederic was apprenticed to a band of pirates until the age of 21. Now, having passed his 21st year, he leaves the pirate band and falls in love. However, it turns out that the pirate indenture says that his apprenticeship does not end until his 21st birthday, and since he was born on February 29, that day will not arrive until he is in his eighties. As such, he must leave his fiancée and return to the pirates.

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St. Bridget struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

If you have ever wanted to spend 24 hours a day at Disney, you can do just that on February 29th. As part of a “One More Disney Day” promotion, Disney is playing up the somewhat rare nature of the leap year’s extra day by keeping its two busiest stateside parks open from 6 a.m. through 6 a.m. the following day.

Similarly, some hotels are offering promotions to both those who stay over on leap day and to leapers themselves. There is even a special offer from the Jacksonville Zoo. Guests born on February 29th will receive free zoo admission on leap day only.

This day comes but once every four years so find a way to make the most out of the “extra” day this year.

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Curtain Rises on Florida’s Renowned Milhous Collection

Curtain Rises on Florida's Renowned Milhous Collection

Millhous Collection Photo Credit Courtesy of RM Auctions

• RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, presents the renowned Milhous Collection, February 2012
• Sale features an unprecedented selection of motor cars, mechanical musical instruments and collectibles meticulously assembled over five decades

Blenheim, Ontario – Continuing its reputation as the specialists for private and estate collection sales, RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house, will lift the gavel on the renowned Milhous Collection during a multi-day sale in Boca Raton, Florida, February 2012. Featuring an unprecedented collection of automobiles, mechanical musical instruments and collectibles, the sale will be presented in association with Sotheby’s with whom RM Auctions has collaborated in the past.

“RM is honored to have been selected by the Milhous brothers to represent their collection at auction. I’ve known Bob and Paul Milhous for many years and their museum is one of the finest private museums I have ever seen. Those that have had the privilege to tour the collection over the years can attest to its incredible significance, quality and presentation,” says Rob Myers, Chairman & Founder, RM Auctions.

“In addition, it is always a pleasure to work with the Sotheby’s team and we look forward to working with them once again to present this magnificent collection,” Myers adds.

“Personal, whimsical, brilliant, the Milhous Collection is a whirling circus of magical music-making machines, gleaming motor cars and the beloved paraphernalia of small town life in olden days,” adds David Redden, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s. “Who could visit this collection without being amazed, enchanted and suddenly very happy?”

Carefully amassed over the past fifty years by brothers Bob and Paul Milhous, the Milhous Collection reflects a lifelong interest and fascination in mechanicals, from automobiles to an impressive range of mechanical musical instruments. It also reflects the brothers’ meticulous collecting philosophy; items were handpicked from around the world, with an emphasis on the rarest and most desirable examples produced by the industry’s most prominent names. Now, after five decades of welcoming countless visitors to tour their impressive private museum, the Milhous brothers prepare to share the joy the collection has brought them over the years with other passionate collectors.

Exceptional Automobiles

Darin Schnabel photo, Courtesy of RM Auctions

Darin Schnabel photo, Courtesy of RM Auctions

For automotive enthusiasts the upcoming Milhous Collection sale will present a superb gathering of over 30 automobiles, spanning 90 years of automotive history. From a selection of high-horsepower Brass era cars through to a superb roster of coachbuilt classics and historically-significant Indianapolis racing cars, it is evident that this grouping of motor cars has a strong emphasis on rarity and world-class quality. Notable highlights from the various genres include a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited, an early 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial with stunning LeBaron coachwork and the 1949 “Rounds Rocket” Indianapolis Racing Car. The sale will also feature a Pebble Beach “Best of Show” winning 1934 Packard Standard Eight Dietrich Victoria, the first car acquired by the Milhous brothers and making its initial trip to the market after over 40 years. Other notable entries include a majestic 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Sedan, a 1932 Marmon Sixteen LeBaron Convertible Sedan, and a stunning pair of Fleetwood-designed Cadillac Sixteens all of which are displayed in a faithful replica of the original Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Showroom within the private Milhous museum.

Mechanical Musical Instruments
The Milhous Collection boasts an unprecedented selection of mechanical musical instruments. Highlighted by the world’s most desirable and exceptional theatre, fair and dance organs, the examples on offer are among some of the rarest, largest and most mechanically complex and decoratively elaborate in existence, produced by such renowned names as Gaudin, Gavioli, Bruder, Weber and A. Ruth & Sohn. One of the many jewels of the prized collection is the original Wurlitzer Family organ, a 30 rank theatre organ formerly in the Wurlitzer home in Cincinnati, OH.

The sale also features the largest compilation of major orchestrion pieces ever to be offered at auction and a world-class selection of historic music boxes, faithfully restored and maintained by specialists. Among a long list of highlights is a magnificent Welte Wotan Brass Band Orchestrion, the largest model of the Welte line, originally from the immense Bob-Lo Island Dance Hall in Detroit, MI; plus an extraordinary Hupfeld Super Pan Orchestrion, considered to be one of the most significant Hupfeld products ever built.

Additional Collection Highlights:
Beyond the impressive range of motor cars and mechanical musical instruments, another jewel of the collection is a large, hand-built carousel. This exceptional piece features an extraordinary menagerie of horses and other animals plus two gondolas, all hand-carved in basswood, and was specially commissioned and constructed by the Milhous brothers over a four-year period.

“It is a one-of-a-kind, fully-functioning work of art, an incredible example of custom craftsmanship, mechanical music and entertainment,” adds Myers.

The Milhous Collection is complimented by an eclectic assortment of collectibles, ranging from ornate hall and tower clocks to such decorative art pieces as Tiffany lamps and various artworks, as well as a diverse series of petroliana, neon and porcelain signs, unique gasoline-powered tether cars and models, and a large range of firearms from the late 19th century.

Full event details, along with a complete lot listing is available online at www.rmauctions.com.

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Gooding and Company Consigns the World’s Oldest Bentley

Brought SuperiorGooding & Company Consigns the World’s Oldest Bentley and A Superior Motorcycle Owned by Steve McQueen and Von Dutch Bentley’s Oldest Surviving Production Car, Chassis 3, and an Ex-Steve McQueen and Von Dutch Brough Superior Motorcycle Join Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions, August 20 & 21

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 14, 2011) – Gooding & Company, the world’s leading auction house for collectors of rare and exceptional vehicles, is thrilled to announce two Pebble Beach Auctions consignments: Chassis 3, the oldest surviving production Bentley in existence, and a 1931 Brough Superior motorcycle once the personal property of both legendary icon Steve McQueen and prolific motorcycle and custom car artist Von Dutch.

“We’re delighted to present extraordinary collector examples of two renowned British marques, the 1921 Bentley Chassis 3 and McQueen’s beloved 1931 Brough Superior SS80, at our Pebble Beach Auctions,” says David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding & Company. “Both the Bentley and Brough Superior represent special opportunities for collectors who value provenance, historical significance and authenticity.”

Chassis 3, the Oldest Surviving Production Bentley, to be auctioned by Gooding & Company at the 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions, Auctions 20 & 21

One of the most important Bentleys in existence, this 1921 Bentley 3 Litre was the first customer car to leave the Bentley factory. Chassis 3 is an extraordinary, matching-numbers car with brass brightwork and an original aluminum body with fully disappearing top as specified by the first owner. It’s participation in Vintage Bentley rallies, and many other recent events, attests to the car’s usability. Chassis 3 is a special addition to Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions this August, and its estimate is available on request.

The ex-Steve McQueen and Von Dutch 1931 Brough Superior SS80 to be auctioned by Gooding & Company at the 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions, August 20 & 21.

1931 Brough Superior SS80,a Legendary Motorcycle Owned by the Legend Himself Of the hundreds of motorcycles Steve McQueen personally owned, this extraordinary pre-war SS80 was one of his personal favorites. It was also McQueen’s only Brough Superior, a historically significant, high-performance British motorcycle marque made famous by World War I British army officer T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia, who for many years had been a major proponent of the motorcycles. Purchased in the 1970s and for some time thereafter, McQueen shared the Brough Superior SS80 with his close friend and renowned artist Von Dutch en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Howard. Bound by their appreciation for this beloved motorcycle, the two legendary enthusiasts shared the SS80 between them throughout their lives and agreed that whoever passed away first would bequeath the bike to the other.

The motorcycle exists today in wonderful, unrestored condition. The ex-McQueen and Von Dutch 1931 Brough Superior SS80 will be presented at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions along with a letter of authenticity written by Steve’s son, Chad McQueen. Its estimate is $100,000 – $200,000 and it will be offered without reserve.

The 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 & 21 at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, located at the corner of Portola Road and Stevenson Drive. Preview days will start on Wednesday, August 17 continuing through Sunday, August 21. The auctions will commence at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions catalogues are available for $100 and admit two to the viewing and the auctions. General admission tickets to the viewing and auctions may be purchased on site for $40. Auctions are broadcast live from Gooding & Company’s website on www.goodingco.com/auction.

About Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, internationally celebrated for its world-class automotive auctions, provides unparalleled service in the collector car market, offering a wide range of services including private and estate sales, appraisals and collection management. At its Scottsdale and Amelia Island collector car auctions earlier this year, Gooding & Company realized more than $52.85 million in combined auction sales while achieving 18 world records from 191 sold lots of 214 presented. In 2010, Gooding & Company was responsible for selling the world’s top three most valuable cars at auction that year and setting ten world records.

Thank You From the Concours d’Elegance

Thank You From the Concours d'EleganceAll of us at The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation want to thank the entrants, patrons, sponsors, volunteers, and great citizens of Nassau County for their support in making the 2011 event our biggest one yet! Thanks to your incredible support, we will again be able to make significant donations to a number of very deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast.

A “Chamber of Commerce” day brought out our largest one-day crowd ever and when combined with the second largest number of classic cars we’ve ever had on the show field, it was definitely one to remember. But success does come with its share of challenges. Services such as shuttle transportation, restroom facilities, and food vendors were stretched beyond their limits, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We are making the necessary adjustments and you have our assurances that these areas will be corrected for 2012.

If you’d like more information on all of the winners and the Bests In Show, visit us at www.ameliaconcours.org, and click on the “News and Media Gallery” tab.

Thanks again from all of us at Amelia for coming to the show, and remember to mark your calendar for the 17th Amelia Island Concours: MARCH 9-11, 2012

The World Celebrates Earth Hour This Saturday

Earth Hour, the largest effort on our planet to fight global warming

Four years ago,  2.2 million  people and more than 2,000 businesses in the city of Sydney Australia decided to make a stand for global sustainability and against climate change. Three years later in 2010, Earth Hour was observed by no less than 1.3 billion people in 128 countries across the globe. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off all non essential lights. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.

Of course Earth Hour is not about turning the light off for an hour and count how much electricity we saved. Earth Hour is about awareness; awareness that we people as a whole have a strong tendency to abuse our planet’s resources. Earth Hour is about becoming aware that we have simple, often healthy and less expensive alternatives available, yet continue on the road of waste. I have written on more than one occasion about the benefits in both health and wealth of riding a bike on here island for example. I have written about the absurdity of driving a 6 or 8 cylinder 4-wheel drive gas guzzler on the Florida flat roads, or soaking our lawns with potable water (just because we think we can). We have written and published an internet book on How to Save Energy and Money in more than 150 Ways, with tips gathered from around the world. Yes I can honestly state that sustainability and climate is high on our list of priorities here at SearchAmelia.   Therefor our total support for this initiative of carbon footprint awareness that now is supported by more than one billion on our planet.

At 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March 2011, about 1.3 billion people across the globe will switch off the lights of homes and businesses for one hour – Earth Hour,  the world’s largest public action for the environment – acknowledging a commitment to go beyond the hour with actions that benefit the planet in the year ahead.

As the movement is gaining recognition across the Planet with so far 4616 cities lining up in one way or another, we also entered our membership to the Earth Hour website for Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, particularly encouraged by Ange Wallace of the Travel Agency who wrote the following as their agency’s initiative to GO BEYOND THE HOUR:

I am reading more and more inspiring activities building around Earth Hour. This year theme is “Beyond the Hour” and it is meant to encourage everyone to think beyond the one symbolic gesture to the actions we can each take to help rebalance our home- Earth!  It reminds me of back to the future as I conjure up images of my mom patiently smoothing out tin foil to reuse it and scraping the last little bit of egg white from the shell so as not to waste it.  I am going to take recycling more seriously.  We already compost our veggie waste and throw seafood and meat waste to the crabs and fish.  I am going to install a better water filter at the office so we don’t use bottled water anymore.  I learned so much about minimizing our earthly footprints while traveling on white water rafting trips and expedition cruises in the Galapagos and Antarctica.  We tend to be so careless in our own environment!  I want to share with you a well written article by Lew Rood at the famous Singita Game Reserves in South Africa Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.  Enjoy the read!  Take it to heart!  This is one of very many great properties taking this opportunity to “WOW” clients with their creative celebrations to honor Earth! At THE TRAVEL AGENCY, our staff will be “going dark” for the hour and we are making a stronger commitment to recycling and adding a filter to our water system to cut down on plastic bottles. What about having some friends in for a candlelight dinner? Or take the kids outside for a picnic and look at the stars?  Please let us know what your plans are to join the move to LOVE our planet EARTH!!.”

I have come to appreciate Ange and her staff as truly committed people to a sustainable world, especially from the viewpoint of travel and its impact on exotic destinations.

At the Amelia Island Blues Festival’s planned “Taste of the Blues” this Saturday, the lights are going out and the music unplugged at 8:25pm – during the Karl Davis Band’s show – for about 15 minutes to create awareness for the cause with a couple of surprises regarding unnecessary footprints we humans leave behind, followed by a 30 minute unplugged Sing Along by Candle Light at 9pm to close the show.
For a complete line up of the Taste of the Blues check here.

Most People Don’t Think Time Change is Worth the Hassle

Daylight Savings Time is a nuissance

And another time change is at our front door, while most people actually feel the whole ordeal is just not worth the hassle.  My wife is looking forward to it however, as she can sleep a bit longer in the dark and go on her bike in the evening. As many people as there are for, there are against the shift.  For most Americans, daylight saving time 2011 starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, when most states spring forward an hour. Time will fall back to standard time again on Sunday, November 6, 2011, when daylight saving time ends. Contrary to popular belief, fhe federal government doesn’t require U.S. states or territories to observe daylight saving time, which is why residents of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands won’t need to change their clocks this weekend.

As we have all learned over the years daylight savings has been known to cause some problems.
National surveys by Rasmussen Reports, for example, show that 83 percent of respondents knew when to move their clocks ahead in spring 2010. Twenty-seven percent, though, admitted they’d been an hour early or late at least once in their lives because they hadn’t changed their clocks correctly.
It’s enough to make you wonder—why do we do use daylight saving time in the first place? Well just remember that not everything that came from Ben Franklin was a jewel in the rough.
Ben Franklin—of “early to bed and early to rise” fame—was apparently the first person to suggest the concept of daylight savings, according to computer scientist David Prerau, author of the book Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time.

While serving as U.S. ambassador to France in Paris, Franklin wrote of being awakened at 6 a.m. and realizing, to his surprise, that the sun would rise far earlier than he usually did. Imagine the resources that might be saved if he and others rose before noon and burned less midnight oil, Franklin, tongue half in cheek, wrote to a newspaper.
“Franklin seriously realized it would be beneficial to make better use of daylight but he didn’t really know how to implement it,” Prerau said.
It wasn’t until World War I that daylight savings were realized on a grand scale. Germany was the first state to adopt the time changes, to reduce artificial lighting and thereby save coal for the war effort. Friends and foes soon followed suit.

In the U.S. a federal law standardized the yearly start and end of daylight saving time in 1918—for the states that chose to observe it.
During World War II the U.S. made daylight saving time mandatory for the whole country, as a way to save wartime resources. Between February 9, 1942, and September 30, 1945, the government took it a step further. During this period daylight saving time was observed year-round, essentially making it the new standard time, if only for a few years.

Since the end of World War II, though, daylight saving time has always been optional for U.S. states. But its beginning and end have shifted—and occasionally disappeared.
During the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo, the U.S. once again extended daylight saving time through the winter, resulting in a one percent decrease in the country’s electrical load, according to federal studies cited by Prerau.
Thirty years later the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was enacted, mandating a controversial monthlong extension of daylight saving time, starting in 2007.

But does daylight saving time really save any energy?

In recent years several studies have suggested that daylight saving time doesn’t actually save energy—and might even result in a net loss.
Environmental economist Hendrik Wolff, of the University of Washington, co-authored a paper that studied Australian power-use data when parts of the country extended daylight saving time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and others did not. The researchers found that the practice reduced lighting and electricity consumption in the evening but increased energy use in the now dark mornings—wiping out the evening gains.
Likewise, Matthew Kotchen, an economist at the University of California, saw in Indiana a situation ripe for study.
Prior to 2006 only 15 of the state’s 92 counties observed daylight saving time. So when the whole state adopted daylight saving time, it became possible to compare before-and-after energy use. While use of artificial lights dropped, increased air-conditioning use more than offset any energy gains, according to the daylight saving time research Kotchen led for the National Bureau of Economic Research [PDF] in 2008.
That’s because the extra hour that daylight saving time adds in the evening is a hotter hour. “So if people get home an hour earlier in a warmer house, they turn on their air conditioning,” the University of Washington’s Wolff said.
In fact, Hoosier consumers paid more on their electric bills than before they made the annual switch to daylight saving time, the study found.

But other studies do show energy gains.

In an October 2008 daylight saving time report to Congress, mandated by the same 2005 energy act that extended daylight saving time, the U.S. Department of Energy asserted that springing forward does save energy.
Extended daylight saving time—still in practice in 2011—saved 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity. That figure suggests that daylight saving time reduces annual U.S. electricity consumption by 0.03 percent and overall energy consumption by 0.02 percent.
While those percentages seem small, they could represent significant savings because of the nation’s enormous total energy use.
What’s more, savings in some regions are apparently greater than in others.
California, for instance, appears to benefit most from daylight saving time—perhaps because its relatively mild weather encourages people to stay outdoors later. The Energy Department report found that daylight saving time resulted in an energy savings of one percent daily in the state.

But Wolff, one of many scholars who contributed to the federal report, suggested that the numbers were subject to statistical variability and shouldn’t be taken as hard facts.

And daylight savings’ energy gains in the U.S. largely depend on your location in relation to the Mason-Dixon Line, Wolff said.
“The North might be a slight winner, because the North doesn’t have as much air conditioning,” he said. “But the South is a definite loser in terms of energy consumption. The South has more energy consumption under daylight saving.”

Is Daylight Saving Time Healthy or Harmful?

For decades advocates of daylight savings have argued that, energy savings or no, daylight saving time boosts health by encouraging active lifestyles—a claim Wolff and colleagues are currently putting to the test.
“In a nationwide American time-use study, we’re clearly seeing that, at the time of daylight saving time extension in the spring, television watching is substantially reduced and outdoor behaviors like jogging, walking, or going to the park are substantially increased,” Wolff said. “That’s remarkable, because of course the total amount of daylight in a given day is the same.”

But like with everything in the life of human beings, others warn of ill effects.
Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, said his studies show that our circadian body clocks—set by light and darkness—never adjust to gaining an “extra” hour of sunlight to the end of the day during daylight saving time.
“The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired,” Roenneberg said.
One reason so many people in the developed world are chronically overtired, he said, is that they suffer from “social jet lag.” In other words, their optimal circadian sleep periods are out of whack with their actual sleep schedules.

Shifting daylight from morning to evening only increases this lag, he said.
“Light doesn’t do the same things to the body in the morning and the evening. More light in the morning would advance the body clock, and that would be good. But more light in the evening would even further delay the body clock.”

Yet other research hints at even more serious health risks.
A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that, at least in Sweden, heart attack risks go up in the days just after the spring time change. “The most likely explanation to our findings are disturbed sleep and disruption of biological rhythms,” lead author Imre Janszky, of the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Public Health Sciences in Stockholm.

With verdicts on the benefits, or costs, of daylight savings so split, it may be no surprise that the yearly time changes inspire polarized reactions.
In the U.K., for instance, the Lighter Later movement—part of 10:10, a group advocating cutting carbon emissions—argues for a sort of extreme daylight savings. First, they say, move standard time forward an hour, then keep observing daylight saving time as usual—adding two hours of evening daylight to what we currently consider standard time.
The folks behind Standardtime.com, on the other hand, want to abolish daylight saving time altogether. Calling energy-efficiency claims “unproven,” they write: “If we are saving energy let’s go year round with Daylight Saving Time. If we are not saving energy let’s drop Daylight Saving Time!”
But don’t most people enjoy that extra evening sun every summer? Even that remains in doubt.
National telephone surveys by Rasmussen Reports from spring 2010 and fall 2009 deliver the same answer. Most people just “don’t think the time change is worth the hassle.” Forty-seven percent agreed with that statement, while only 40 percent disagreed.

But Seize the Daylight author David Prerau said his research on daylight saving time suggests most people are fond of it.
“I think the first day of daylight saving time is really like the first day of spring for a lot of people,” Prerau said. “It’s the first time that they have some time after work to make use of the springtime weather.
“I think if you ask most people if they enjoy having an extra hour of daylight in the evening eight months a year, the response would be pretty positive.”

Shuttle Discovery to Launch Thursday

Shuttle Discovery to Launch Thursday HUNTSVILLE, AL – NASA’s Mission Management Team has unanimously approved Thursday’s attempt to launch space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station.

This will be the last shuttle launch for Discovery, and liftoff is set for 4:50pm Eastern time.

Discovery is taking supplies to the space station on one of the last shuttle runs NASA will make before the program ends.

A video retrospective of the shuttle is below.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF4GMHTZNSI

After Discovery, Endeavour has one more flight, and Atlantis will possibly fly later this year. This will be the 35th flight to the space station. The shuttle’s propulsion system is managed at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA says, “Discovery has flown more missions than any other shuttle – more than any other spacecraft, in fact. After 38 missions to date, and more than 5,600 trips around the Earth, Discovery has carried satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit and sent the Ulysses robotic probe on its way to the Sun. It was the first shuttle to rendezvous with the Russian Mir Space Station, and it delivered the Japanese Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station.”

Valentine’s Day Chocolate

Valentine’s Day Chocolate

Valentine’s Day Chocolate

As one of the many traditions of Valentine’s Day, chocolate is given as a token of love. Sales of chocolate soar in February as men buy chocolate for their wives and girlfriends. According to some industry statistics, women purchase about 75% of the chocolate candy sold each year. However, about 75% of chocolate candy purchases in the days before Valentine’s Day are made by men buying it for women.

Over $1,000,000,000.00 of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day. This is in addition to their Valentine’s Day purchases of flowers and jewelry for the ladies in their lives.

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!
Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate has been considered divine, valuable, and decadent since it was first discovered. The first chocolate candies were concocted by Cadbury in the 1860s. They were also the first to put them in a heart shaped box for Valentine’s Day. In a survey conducted by Debra Waterhouse, author of Why Women Need Chocolate, the data found: 97% of women reported cravings, 68% of which are for chocolate, 50% would choose chocolate over sex, and 22% were more likely than men to choose chocolate as a mood elevator.

Elaine Sherman, aka ‘Madame Chocolate’, once wrote, “Chocolate is heavenly, mellow, sensual, deep, dark, sumptuous, gratifying, potent, dense, creamy, seductive, suggestive, rich, excessive, silky, smooth, luxurious, celestial. Chocolate is downfall, happiness, pleasure, love, ecstasy, fantasy… chocolate makes us wicked, guilty, sinful, healthy, chic, happy.”

On Valentine’s Day, nothing says “I LOVE YOU” more clearly than a box of chocolates.

Some of the best chocolate on the island is found at our local Peterbrooke Chocolatier. Be sure to check out what Sandy Carroll has created for Valentine’s Day. Peterbrooke is located in the Publix Shopping Center on Amelia Island.

St. Augustine Pirate Gathering

Pirate GatheringThe 3rd annual gathering of pirates is coming to St. Augustine November 12-14, 2010. Pirates from across the seven seas will be arriving to join the crews of the Black Heart and the Ancient City Privateers. The event will be held at St. Frances Field and Historical Quarter in downtown St. Augustine.

Registration begins at the main gate at 3pm on Friday, November 12th. There will be a pub crawl on Friday night beginning at the Drop Anchor Inn at St. Frances Field under the big tent at 7pm.

Saturday, November 13th is full of events beginning at 9am. Look for a parade at 11am, a Battle at Sea at 12:15pm in front of the fort, a Pirate Land Battle around 12:30pm on Orange Street by Huguenot Cemetery, and lots more at St. Frances Field. There is a Buccaneer Bash at 5pm for those that hold tickets.

Sunday, November 14th brings more plundering and pillaging with a full pirate court at 10:30am, lots of music, and another Sea Battle at 2:30pm. The Gathering will draw to a close at 5pm.

According to the website at www.pirategathering.com, “The Pirate Gathering’s goal is to help kids learn about the history that is St. Augustine, through the Light House Maritime Program.”

“Shipwrecks and other maritime archaeological sites preserved in the waters of Florida’s First Coast can give us insight into history as no textbook can. Part of LAMP’s mission is to engage our local and visiting communities, to provide opportunities to learn more about our maritime history and to work side by side with archaeologists as we investigate and interpret the past. We make a constant effort to share what we have learned through public presentations, educational material, and museum exhibits. We have developed and distributed a shipwreck lesson plan in English and Braille. We started the first high school underwater archaeology program in the U.S. in order to introduce young people to marine science. At the college level, we have sponsored numerous internships, and starting in 2007 will be running an annual underwater archaeology field school with the University of Flinders (Australia). And we are expanding our volunteer program so that interested members of the public can participate in our laboratory and diving activities.”

Tickets to the Buccaneer Bash and lots more information is available at their website.