Saturday, September 30, 2006

Water abounds in Vegas

A trip to Vegas part 1

Signs of the times...Here are some signs from the Neon Museum in Vegas. Really cool old stuff and the other one is of the space shuttle flying over Fremont Street during one of the Fremont Street Experience shows.

Old School Neon Signs

Space Shuttle over Fremont Street

This one is some lights from one of the hotels and casinos on Fremont Street.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Black and White Nashville

Ryman Auditorium

Honky-Tonk Land

Robert's Western World

Lower Broadway and the honky-tonks

Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Lower Broadway

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Top restaurants in Nashville

Here are some of the best restaurants in Nashville. It is not a list of them all but I will create another list for the others soon. Local resaurants are noted and recommended. This, (local), is the sign to look for when wanting a local restaurant.

Stockyard (local)
901 2nd Ave N.
Experience a true taste of Nashville when you dine at the Stockyard. Located in one of Nashville’s architectural gems, the Stockyard serves only the finest cuts of aged certified angus beef while also serving great seafood, ribs, chicken and pasta.

140 Fifth Ave S.
The Palm is an amazing New York style steakhouse located in the heart of Music City and within walking distance to live music.
Sole Mio (local)
311 3rd Ave. S.
This authentic Italian restaurant offers homemade sauces and fresh ingredients. Gnocchi Mamarosa, Fettuccini Vodka Cream w/ shrimp and the Manicotti are all highly recommended and are absolutely delicious.

Mario’s (local)
2005 Broadway
A fine dining institution that has been around for nearly 40 years with a wine list that is enviable.
Eclectic American
Capitol Grill (local)
231 6th Ave. N.
This is a great example of fine dining in Nashville. They offer an upscale menu with a Southern flavor to it and the dining room is dazzling and luxurious. Delight yourself with Diver Scallops, Maine Lobster or the sorghum glazed pork chops.

The Acorn (local)
114 28th Ave. N.
The acorn is a sign of warmth and hospitality in the South and this restaurant lives up to its name. Get lost in the ambiance, rich flavors and attentive staff. To satisfy those finicky taste buds be sure to indulge in the acorn stuffed ravioli, the chorizo and potato encrusted halibut and for dessert...pear and aniseed gateaux.

Mambu (local)
1806 Hayes St.
Daring and delicious restaurant with multiple dining rooms and a fun, funky atmosphere set in a big old blue house. Signature items that are highly recommended include Gyoza Shrimp Dumplings, Sesame and Nori Crusted Tuna and Mariscada.

Bound’ry (local)
911 20th Ave.
This is one of the most unique restaurants in Nashville. Providing a feast for both your eyes and stomach with items like the planked trout (cooked and served on a cedar plank), 16oz double pork chop, ostrich and chargrilled angus filet. Take the time to enjoy this one.

Zola (local)
3001 West End Ave.
One of the best of the best in Nashville that is adventurous and bold. International flavors abound in dishes such as Grandma Zola’s Paella, Ancho Grilled Venison and delicious daily seafood specials. Chef/Owner Debra Paquette has been named the best chef in Nashville multiple times.

Salathai (local)
2016 West Ave.
Step out of Nashville and into Bangkok by simply stepping into Salathai. You’ll find it warm, inviting and authentic. Generous portions of Bangkok Shrimp, Salathai Curry and Spicy Seafood are guaranteed to please.

Jack’s Bar-B-Que (local)
416 Broadway
The famous pink neon pigs flying over the entrance that guide you to some of the best Tenn. style bar-b-que around. The casual atmosphere is popular with locals and tourists alike. If it’s busy inside then check out the back patio for additional seating.

Ichiban (local)
109 2nd Ave. N.
One of Nashville’s original Japanese/sushi restaurants bringing great food, service and atmosphere to the restaurant scene. The specialty rolls, including the Music City and the Dixie, are delicious.

Rosepepper Cantina (local)
1907 Eastland Drive
This hip Tex-Mex spot offers incredible food, service and ambiance. Try the Beef Red Chile Quesadilla, Cabo Tacos or Borrachos while enjoying the best margarita in town. Good live music inside or the popular patio to see and be seen.

Southstreet (local)
907 20th Ave. S.
Fun and funky with garage doors that act as walls and can be rolled up on a nice day, to give you the sensation of sitting on a deck or The Tree House Bar upstairs. Some of the favorites are catfish, ribs, pulled pork platter and the Sunday Crawfish Broil.

Free tours in and around Nashville

Thanks to Ms. Cheap, (Mary Hance) of the Tennessean for this info.

Take a tour of Purity Dairies and see how ice cream is processed and packaged. Tours include a free ice cream novelty. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy this, but they want you to call first to schedule a tour. 760-2271, ext. 489.

Tour a Metro Fire Department fire hall (call first) and visit with some of the firefighters. 862-5421.

Take a tour of The Tennessean and find out how our newspaper works. Tour our newsrooms and see our production process. The tour hot line number is 664-2171 or you can e-mail to make a reservation.

Tour some of the downtown churches.
1)Take a look inside Downtown Presbyterian Church at 154 Fifth Ave. N. (corner of Fifth and Church) to see its 1849 Egyptian Revival architecture. To get in, go to the church office between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. Call 254-7584.
2)The staff at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) at 900 Broadway gives tours of its 1894 sanctuary for groups of five or more between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (call ahead) on Thursdays and for any size group between 10:30 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. Call 255-7729.

Tour the Sri Ganesha Temple, which is at 521 Old Hickory Blvd. in Bellevue. Tours are by appointment. Call 356-7207.

Take a tour of the beautiful Vanderbilt University campus, with its historic grounds and buildings, sculptures and arboretum. During weekday office hours you can drop by the second floor of Kirkland Hall at the center of campus on the West End side and pick up a map. 322-7771.

Take your own tour of downtown. Walking tour brochures that offer details and outline points of interest downtown are available at the visitors center at Gaylord Entertainment Center or at the Metro Historical Commission at Sevier Park on Granny White Pike. 259-4747.

Tour the state Capitol, which was designed by architect William Strickland and built during the course of 15 years beginning in 1844. To enjoy a self-guided walking tour, just stop by the information desk at the Capitol, which is on Charlotte between Sixth and Seventh avenues. 741-1621.

Tour Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. This is the nation's oldest registered distillery and there are guided hour-long tours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily except holidays. They offer free lemonade and coffee at the end, but no Jack Black, unfortunately. 1-931-759-6180.

Tour Saturn's auto plant in Spring Hill. There are three or four daily tours on weekdays open to anyone age 6 or older. Reservations are recommended. 1-800-326-3321.

Tour the Nissan auto plant in Smyrna, where they have free tours for people 10 and older on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 459-1444.

Tour some of the wonderful historic courthouses in Middle Tennessee. Two of the most interesting ones are the neoclassical Giles County Courthouse on the square in Pulaski, Tenn., and the Rutherford County Courthouse in Murfreesboro, which is one of only six remaining Tennessee courthouses built before the Civil War.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Music City Star begins!

Today is the big day! The Music City Star begins running today from Lebanon to Nashville. I'm so excited because I really hope and believe this is the beginning of mass public transportation in Nashville. This is the first time that Nashville has tried to have a train, subway or anything like it and I would love to see it take off and begin to add new lines that cover all areas of Nashville. I think it would be great because it might help with less traffic on the road after some time and maybe less drinking and driving. I know when I lived in Washington D.C. that I used the Metro up there and would have some music to listen to, the newspaper or a book and I never stressed over traffic or anything and so it was a great way to start my day.

My fellow Nashvillians, please give it a try and I think you will see that it can be a nice change of pace from having to drive in traffic and will save you some money on gas. To all the visitors to my fair city, I hope if you are staying on the east side of Nashville that you will try it and I hope kyou enjoy it. The next time you visit we will hopefully be creating more lines to cover all of Nashville.

Nashville has been growing and creating new things the last few years and this is yet another exciting thing for this wonderful city.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hotel reservations can be tricky

Once upon a time making hotel reservations was pretty easy and you knew what you were getting. You might still get a surprise upon arrival at your destination but nothing like it is today. I have seen more and more often, lately, how someone will make a reservation and arrive at their hotel to find out that they did not get the room type the wanted. They wanted a non-smoking room but were told there were none left when they arrived. They believed they had a specific bed type but were surprised to find that the request could not be honored.

Hotels now do like the airlines have done for many years and they will oversell their rooms. They may have 350 rooms but they will sell 355 or 360 because they know that there will be a percentage of no-shows or cancellations. When you are making the reservations and they say something like, "I have you confirmed for a non-smoking room with a king bed" but what they mean is they have a "request" recorded. This is a nice way to insure you stay with us but that is also how people get confused about why they did not receive what they thought was a guarantee. What you need to do, before you let them off the phone, is to ask them if your requests are "guaranteed." They should tell you yes or no and that will allow you to know if you need to continue with the reservation or move on to other places.

When someone arrives at the hotel and discover that the only rooms left are all non-smoking and they get upset and are told at that time about the "request" listed but no guarantee. Sometimes people will follow up that that particular hotel or property must than pay for their room at another hotel. I can tell you the 99% of the time, they won't because the person will tell them that it was only a request and thus doesn't require them to pay for your room elsewhere.

If you ever get to a hotel and they tell you that due to the fact they are sold out for that evening they are unable to get you a room in their hotel, go with it. If you are not in that hotel for a special event, meetings or conferences than you could have your room paid for at another hotel. It can be a nice way to save some money and have more to spend on fun items.

Also, please understand that as a rule hotels do not set rooms aside for the president or the owner of the company. We sell every room we can because that is more revenue and is why we are in business. Should the company owner or the president of the united states decide to visit your fair city and hotel, there will be plenty of notice and rooms will be set aside for them accordingly. Trust me, if I have a room just sitting empty and is not going to be used and someone wants to check in, they can have it. I once had a lady insist that I give her the room that we set aside for the president or our company CEO and no matter what I said to her she would not listen or believe me. She demanded I call the general manager of the hotel at around 11:00pm on a Saturday night.....Uhhh no lady, not a chance of that. I explained to her, nicely, that if I had a room like she needed I would be more than happy to let her have it because it would make it so much easier on both her and myself. That is where the truth lies...We don't get sick pleasure from watching you get what you don't want. If I can give it to you than I will and that is for two reasons....I am there to help you and it is much easier for us all to keep you happy.

Happy traveling everyone and remember...make sure of guarantees, be nice, have fun and don't try to carry any liquids onto your flights.

Fishing boats in Kemah, Texas

I saw these while on a trip to Houston. This is across from Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah, Texas.

Sometimes you have to slow down and look around

A dark eerie night in Nashville

Another beautiful day to stop and smell the flowers

Sideshow Bennie
2005 Full Moon Tattoo Festival and Horror Convention
Nashville Airport Marriott

Tennessee beauty, some rare cars, and white trash

Out in the country

Up close and personal in the Lane Motor Museum

Looking across the main room of Lane Motor Museum

Hanging around with the Laughing Corpse crew after a murder/mystery show, called Silence of the Hamms, at the White Trash Cafe.

Here are some links to the places listed above.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Interesting sights in Nashville and Tennessee...

The pews inside the Ryman Auditorium

Soothing stones in Cheekwood's Japanese garden section

Former country store

Australian Festival in Nashville

Starting today and lasting through Sunday is the Australian Festival. The weather is going to be good over the weekend and this is a good time for everyone. It is held in Centennial Park and they have games, food, information and animals. Take the time to get to know "down under" and see a really unique experience in Nashville.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We are the talk of the NY Times

So this past Monday I'm reading the New York Times, which I love because they usually have some interesting stories, and found a story about the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center. This new hall is a new pinnacle in Nashville and we have all been excited about it opening and I am looking forward to a tour of the facility soon.

Bernard Holland wrote a piece that I found to be thought provoking and a little funny and gave an interesting look at what the opening gala was like. Here is the thing, he talks about how he would rather see Ernest Tubb or the Everly Brothers on the wall as opposed to Orpheus and others from Greek mythology. I can understand how he sees that since we are known more for country/roots music and all things Southern but at the same time we should be able to have something different from that without people saying it's out of place. Oddly enough, we don't have a large Greek population in Nashville and yet we have a lot of Greek inspired architecture. I enjoy having the different types of stylings and designs of both old and new buildings and it just keeps adding to the wonderful allure and mystic of Nashville. So yes maybe at first glance is does seem out of place but you know I really am glad to have it here and I think with a little time you will find it receiving accolade after accolade. The Ryman Auditorium, which has been voted the best theatre in the country the last two years, has been like that for a lot of people because it surprises them and yet delights them with its charm.,%20Bernard

Photos from around Nashville

Quiet park

"Street Trash" performing on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge after a Tennessee Titans game.

Path of the Bamboo...Cheekwood Botanical Gardens...The Japanese Garden section

The Mother Church...Ryman Auditorium

Watching over the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge after a Titans game

Sights from travels

Fountain in Houston

Step of Water in Nashville


Seagull 2

Ferris wheel at Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah Texas

Monday, September 11, 2006

Family, friends and LIFE

I worked for a couple of years in Washington D.C. at the Wardman Park Hotel. When the horrific terrorists attack struck 5 years ago, I was already living back in Nashville. I remember during all of this on that day and was so happy that I wasn't living there at the time but almost as soon as that thought crossed my mind I suddenly thought of friends and coworkers still there. I wanted to be there with them, even though there was nothing that I could do but I just wished I was up there with them. Thankfully they were all fine and unharmed but I remember how it shook me to the core to imagine how you could lose so many people at one time.

I have always relished life but suddenly I found myself wanting to spend time with family and friends more. I always tried to live each day like it was a treasure from God but suddenly I realized how important that really is. Like so many people since that fateful day, I have gotten back into a daily grind and probably more so than ever don't relish my time like I should. Hearing the rollcall of names of people that lost their lives five years ago is yet another reminder of how precious life is. I hope we all can begin to appreciate our freedom, our gift of life, our ability to travel and to make the most of each day.

Please go out today and smile at someone, say hi and shake someones hand. You might change their whole day and you will be amazed at how you feel about yourself and it will help plant a smile on your face. Life isn't perfect and neither are we but life and mankind are wonderful and if only for one day, give smiles away to everyone because when you smile and speak to them it gives them good reason to do the same to the next person they see and waves of kindness and joy begin to spread around our cities.

God bless the USA and all of you

I love this great country and today I'm sad but also feeling patriotic

This song has always choked me up and I love the words. God bless the USA and let's never forget 9/11/06

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet, Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
O beautiful for glory-tale Of liberating strife
When once and twice, for man's avail Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!
O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee Till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter jubilee!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Pictures of Nashville

Nashville skyline

Looking out over Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Customs House in downtown Nashville

Another shot of the Nashville Skyline