The New Modern Prophets

TL;DR jump to audio file. Also, see the note at the end for disclaimer regarding names mentioned in this post.

Flashback – Summer, 1981

I was in-between semesters at Furman and was trying to earn a bit of cash for school by working maintenance for Laurens School District 55. This particular summer I was painting Sanders Middle School with an older guy (and by older, I mean probably in his mid-30s) whose first name I could only remember – Willie. Willie was a hard worker, and taught me lots about commercial painting, most of which I’ve long since forgotten. I liked Willie, and enjoyed my work with him that summer.

Willie was a devout Christian, and enjoyed listening to a local Black Gospel station on AM radio. I got into it, too, listening jealously to some of the piano chops these guys had. However, the one thing that made my day were the advertisements for Reverend Yuri. At precisely 11:25 am and 2:25 pm these would air.

Reverend Yuri was a spiritual advisor and reader located on Cedar Lane in Greenville. To this day I can point out his former establishment, which still looks rather weird. (I only know it was the place because there was a large billboard proclaiming it as Yuri’s, and not from any actual visits to the establishment.) His advertisements featured him using the vernacular, and started like this…

Is you tired? Is you lonely? Has your friends let you down? Reverend Yuri can help…

In the following years I’d tune in every now and then to listen to the ads, simply because I loved the use of the lilting vernacular. A couple of years later Reverend Yuri was replaced by “Sister Yuri.” I don’t know what happened. Sex change? Had I misunderstood the gender from the get-go, and the voice I was appreciating was that of the announcer? Who knows? Eventually Yuri closed shop and the ads ended. Continue reading “The New Modern Prophets”

Social Marketing Gone Awry

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So, Shell Oil decided that they would embark on a new marketing campaign to promote drilling in the Arctic. The campaign, entitled “Let’s Go”, let’s users create their own marketing slogans using a series of photo templates.

We at Shell want everyone to feel as “pumped” as we do about freeing much-needed Arctic resources. After all, the Arctic is the common heritage of all humanity, and what we do there matters to everyone.

That’s why Shell is inviting you to create your very own Let’s Go! ad for our Arctic campaign. We’ll feature it on our website, and you can show all your Facebook friends how pumped you are to seize the day’s opportunities too. The best submissions will win exciting prizes—including an all-expenses-paid trip to see the Kulluk in action!

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What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading “Social Marketing Gone Awry”

Warblers, Cabins and UFOs

Beidler Forest-009

We spent the night in St. George. It was far enough away from the Charleston and coastal areas for us to find a room, but fairly close to our morning destination. The plan was to hit Beidler Forest as soon as it opened at 9:00 and spend as much time as possible there.

We had planned to visit yesterday, but when we checked the calendar on their website we saw that three fifth grade classes were going to be visiting. I’m sure it was going to be a great visit for the kids, but that meant it would probably be too noisy for our tastes.

Laura and I have been coming to watch birds at Beidler for many years now. The 2 mile boardwalk winds through an area of Four Holes Swamp, and one of the main attractions is the bright yellow Prothonotary Warbler. We hoped to spot a few, as well as some other birds on our visit today.

As we pulled into the parking lot a family with teens and pre-teens unloaded. The kids were loud, and we feared the worst. However, as soon as they got on the boardwalk they got quiet. Their parents had told them that if they hoped to spot any wildlife they would have to walk quietly. Even so, we took the boardwalk in the opposite direction so as to maximize our chances of seeing something. Continue reading “Warblers, Cabins and UFOs”

Jockey Lot Adventures

Beautiful cool morning, and Paul W, Brian G, and I decided to squander it with a trip to the Anderson Jockey Lot.  Paul and I have made frequent forays into the world of flea markets.  While growing up, he and his father would scour the yard sales, then resell their goods at various flea markets.  So, Paul brings lots of experience to this endeavor.  Brian is fairly new to the game.  I’m along as an archivist, equipped with cameras and various sound recording devices to capture a distilled version of Southern culture.  Turned out to be a successful trip on all levels.

When we arrived parking was tricky.  It looked like there were going to be lots of people there.  While there were lots of customers, the outside tables seemed fairly sparse.  There were not as many vendors as usual.

One of the first things Paul noticed was that there didn’t seem to be many prices listed on items. I guess you would have to interact with the vendor and haggle a bit.

Jockey Lot VendorArchaic information Continue reading “Jockey Lot Adventures”

One Night in Santee

Seems like I’ve spent more nights in motel rooms since January than I have all of the past couple of years. There have been kayaking trips, conferences, and the rare vacation get-away. Some of the rooms have been spectacular, such as my recent stay at Charleston Place Hotel, or our trip to Washington, D. C. Some have been routine, such as the Quality Inn in St. George, SC, that seems to be where we seem to have stayed lots recently.

Of these, the most unusual has been the Whitten Inn in Santee, South Carolina. I think I hinted recently that I would write about the experience once I’d had enough therapy. A slow, restful weekend seems to have been enough therapy, so, here goes…

It had been a long day of paddling. We had battled heat and crazy motor boats both on Lake Moultrie and on the Tailrace Canal. One of our fellow paddlers had said she felt like she had been riding a moped on I-85. Some of our group had planned to camp out, then paddle Sparkleberry Swamp the next day. I was in no mood to camp, so I decided to find a relatively cheap place in Santee so I could get some rest before the next day’s trip. The requirements were simple. I just needed a good clean room, and preferred a place that had a restaurant on the premises. I would be happy with a sandwich and not having to drive somewhere once I got settled.

Continue reading “One Night in Santee”

Friday Freaks – The Ekronoplan

In my RSS feed reader I have a folder for websites called “Weirdness.” This folder orgnizes feeds from such unusual sites as Awkward Family Photos, Cracked, Mental Floss, Fail Blog, and Dark Roasted Blend, among others. Sometimes I’ll get a link to a new website that joins the list of weird feeds. Every now and then something pops up on one of those sites that is worthy of more than just a bookmark or a Tweet. So, I’m going to try to highlight the best of these with a Friday Freaks post on, you got it, Fridays!

Today’s Freak comes from Dark Roasted Blend, and it’s the Ekronoplan, an unusual ground effects vehicle from the Cold War Soviet Union that is part boat, part, aircraft, and all weirdness. The Ekronoplan is so weird, in fact, that DRB devoted two posts to this unusual vehicle. Continue reading “Friday Freaks – The Ekronoplan”

A Green Cadillac Hearse and Mistaken Identity

While on our journey to the promised land, Glynda and Houston and I reminisced about another [mis]adventure from over a decade ago. Since this was pre-RandomConnections, the episode was never properly documented. So here, for the first time, is the tale of “The Green Cadillac Hearse and the Case of Mistaken Identity”…

The year was 1997 and I was still a teacher. This was in the pre-digital days, and I was using a Canon Xapshot video still camera from my classroom. This particular camera recorded still images onto an analog disk similar to a floppy disk. It was one of the first cameras that could record images that could be erased later. The images were transferred to computer via an image capture card, which could also do video stills from a camcorder.

Houston had come up to visit and we were on one of our photo rambles, this time staying fairly close to home. My intent was to capture some interesting textures as backgrounds for some classroom web projects we had underway. While I did get some good textures from that trip, the other things I captured would never make it into the classroom. Continue reading “A Green Cadillac Hearse and Mistaken Identity”