Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Being Whimsical: Part 3

I'm gonna close out the month of February with the final entry in my current series. This post is going to include a place and a person that  have and continue to motivate me to be "silly". And now you are going to see the evidence. 

The place I've been to that has presented the most opportunities to take whimsical pictures is my favorite vacation spot, Walt Disney World. Here are some pictures of me hanging with and being Goofy. 

In the Magic Kingdom I may have been a guest in the park but I was trying to be "Master of the Realm". No such luck. Where's King Arthur when you need him?

Taking stock of my priorities in Liberty Square.

Although WDW is a happy place, when I encountered Bruce the Shark, I was a little down in the mouth.

This next picture is a selfie based on a portion of a Jim Gaffigan comedy routine. He talks about his family vacation to Disney. He laments about waiting for the Dumbo ride. Listen to this segment of his show and you'll see what I mean: Gaffigan Goes To Disney

In September 2016 I took this shot with an expression inspired by those words. 

I did mention "Goofy" earlier so let's get to the pics that show that side of me. 

Here's a throw back to my last post. A selfie taken on our trip last March. It's one of the few shots of me in a hat that I actually like. 
I would have bought this hat as a souvenir but when I mentioned it to my wife, she gave me this look. 
On my birthday trip, last September, I got my picture taken with my favorite Disney character again. And he was so much fun, just being himself. 
This last WDW picture was taken outside of "The Seas With Nemo & Friends" in EPCOT about a year ago. A Disney photographer urged us to do our best "fish". Of course we did really did it for Aria.  

Speaking of Aria, a lot of my whimsical moments over the last 5 years have been "acting a fool" both in public and privately to get the attention, entertain, and have fun with my granddaughter. Here are a few pictures to show some of the things I've done to get the heart warming response, "Silly Papa."

Let's start with a couple of pictures taken while I was visiting Aria at her house in Richardsville. 
Here me and my favorite toddler "talk" to each other on the old school cell phones I made out of her blocks. 

Here she photo bombs me a bit as I take a selfie with her pet rabbit, Clover, the day after her 3rd birthday.  
Later in the summer of 2015 we cooled down by running around the fountain in Circus Park in Bowling Green. She smiles as I get a very "surprising" up-the-back splash. 

Why am I wearing these slinky glasses? 
To get my 2 year old copy cat to do the same. 

The most recent whimsical shot is another photo bomb. This time I'm not Papa with a pet. I'm "Tape Face."

Aria's 2nd birthday party had a country fair theme. Since I had entertained a bit at the party the year before, I thought I'd turn it up a notch for this one. I dressed as a carnival barker and played my ukulele. This is me at my "silly Papa" best. 
I shared that picture earlier in this series. But the picture I really want to show you captures the reason I went to such extremes. Notice the look I'm getting from the birthday girl. 
 That her stare of fascination was worth it all. 

Now that my favorite "audience of one" is turning 5 soon, our silliness is getting to be more a "party of two". She participates more and more and I love it. I'm not sure who has the bigger imagination. But she always seems to buy into whatever I come up with. 

I want to wrap up this series with one last picture of Aria and me with a couple of her friends that "live" at my house. I can't tell you how delighted I am that she loves these guys. 
Cecil the Turtle and Tick Tock Crock are now an important part of play at our house. I will do my best to keep them around for as long as I can. Everyone knows kids grow up so quickly that their world changes very fast. So she may not be amused by them for much longer but that's okay we'll find other ways to have fun. 

So there you have my 3 part series filled with whimsical pictures. This post finishes off the month of February. I will always remember it as the month I made my 50k views goal.
Congratulations, again to Pam, the winner of my prize pack. 

 The 14 posts for this month keeps me well on pace to reach 1000 total posts before the end of the year. 

Thank you for coming back again and again. I have lofty ambitions for what I want to do in the future. Not just on this blog but other social media and entertainment platforms. I can't do it with out you so I appreciate your continued interest.  

Next post another Latest In Lego. I've been busy bricking it up lately. I know, I know, now you're going to have trouble sleeping. 

God Bless

Monday, February 27, 2017

Being Whimsical: Part 2

Time now to continue sharing some of my humorous moments captured "on film". 

Let me start with hats. I don't look very good in hats. At least I don't think so. I won't go into the details as to why. Because of that I often use trying on hats as a means of making people laugh. Here, I'll just show you some examples.

First up is a Derby Day hat. The Kentucky Derby is really a big deal here in the Bluegrass State. There's a tradition among Southern Belles to wear fancy hats. 3 years ago during an event at my church, I decided to try one on. 
A lot of Baby Boomers who are part of my generation remember the Saturday Night Live sketches where Dan Akroyd and Steve Martin played the Festrunk brothers. They were better known by their catch phrase: "We are...two wild and crazy guys."

Here's my bid to join them. 
 Always interested in history, I am happy to share these next two hat pictures. Both show what I would have looked like if I was an explorer. First, someone who blazed the frontier with Davey Crockett...
...and next as member of a Viking crew on an ancient Nordic ship.
See what I mean about me wearing a hat? There will be more hats later in this series.

What's taking wearing a hat to the next level? How about wearing a costume?  Although I don't go to comiccons or play RPG games, I have done my share of "cosplay". 

When performing ventriloquism some times you have to put on the right look to sell the premise. Like this 2008 appearance at the local branch of the public library. 
A little "skulduggery" was involved in putting together these pair of Halloween pirate costumes. One as a first mate and the other as menacing member of the crew. 

The most memorable costume I ever put on happened on a special occasion 3 years ago. Here's what I looked like. 

For those of you who don't know it, I'll share with you the story behind this picture in a future series post. I'm sure I have you curious. :)

Next, a mix of amusing pictures of me in various places and situations. 

Ministering to children as part of a 2014 church summer out door outreach program.   
On vacation in Chattanooga,TN in 2012
Listening to music while shopping at The Green Hills Mall in Nashville in 2011.

Finally, I want to share a picture of the most whimsical original creation I've ever made out of Legos. 

In December 2012, at the very start of my current Lego obsession, I built a scene based on a memory of the old TV game show, "To Tell The Truth". My inspiration was from the syndicated version of the 1970s hosted by Garry Moore. 
Here's what the actual set looked like. 
What I built was actually a combination of the "To Tell The Truth" and "What's My Line" sets. I started with the statue at the back of the model and worked from there. 

I've included the desks where the panelists sat and the one for the contestants. I also created representations of TV cameras. Enough explaining here's one of my original Lego creations that I think is very whimsical.

 So there you have hats, costumes, and other things that are all part of some humorous pictures of me from the last 10 years or so. 

In my next post, I will share with you some shots of me having fun in one of the places I enjoy going to the most. If you don't know for sure, come back and see just where that may be.

God Bless 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The "Jesus @ The UN" Picture

Before I get into this post let me assure that this it is not making light of anyone's beliefs or faith. It is a humorous look at something I always thought was a bit unusual.  

In a previous post I mentioned how hearing a song on the radio that brought back a memory of an amusement park ride. 

For this post I'm going to tell you how assembling a Lego model and a trip to a Dollar Tree store brought back to memory a piece of art I remember from my childhood.  

This is a painting known as "Prince Of Peace." It is the creation of artist James Harry Anderson. He was a member of the 7th Day Adventist church. It is just one of many religious themed paintings he made between 1945 and 1970. They were mostly of Jesus or angels in hypothetical situations set in either modern or biblical times. 

I remember seeing this picture hanging on a wall somewhere when I was growing up. The memory of just where I was is not exact. The best guess I can make is that I saw it hanging on the wall in the home of Joyce Able. She was a good friend of my mom's so growing up we called her "Aunt". 

Aunt Joyce had all kinds of strange and unusual religious items in her house. I could write an entire post about my memories of her. For the purposes of this one let me just say that it was very possible that I saw the "Prince of Peace" picture at one time or another in her house. 

Now let's get to my whimsical (yes, its become my favorite word) tribute to this painting.

Last week I put together a Lego kit that was given to me by my sister-in-law for Christmas in 2014. It is from the Lego Architecture series. It's a miniature replica of the United Nations Headquarters building in New York City. 

It was fun to build and fits right in with the other 8 landmark models I have built over the last few years. 

When I set the finished model up on my shelf for display it sparked something in the deep recesses of my memory. The picture of Jesus standing outside the main UN building looking in through the windows. 

Even though I understood what the message of the picture was it always seemed a bit strange to me. Perhaps because I grew up watching reruns of a certain genre of movies on. Monster movies where Godzilla or some other mutant creature stomped their way through some large city destroying all in their path.  

As a kid who grew up in Sunday School, my teachers, all sweet gentle older ladies, had instilled in me the belief through songs and lessons that Jesus loved the little children; all the little children of the world. 

The pictures of him I found most comforting were those in my Children's Bible of him by the bedside of a dying girl or holding little guys like me on his lap and smiling at them. 

The image of a giant Son of God 90 feet tall standing in front of the internationally known building on East 42nd street seemed like an incongruity to me.   

I hadn't thought of the "Jesus at the UN" picture in years but now that it was in the forefront of my mind I was going to have to mention it to my wife and perhaps my Facebook friends to see if they remember it. But before I could do that I got distracted by other things and never got around to it. 

Then last week I went to the Dollar Tree store in Bowling Green. I wanted to find a specific arts and crafts toy for my granddaughter. We had seen it on a You Tube video we watched together the previous Saturday. I wasn't sure they even had it.  

While searching through the toy aisle I happened upon a bin of small packaged hard plastic painted toy figures of Disney villains. I caught a glimpse of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty as I passed by. She's my wife's favorite Disney villains so they caught my attention. I looked through the bin and saw Cruella DeVille, Captain Hook, and Ursula the sea witch. 

But then I found some interesting inclusions in the small  bucket of characters. They were in packages marked 
 "Bible Heroes". 

The first one I found was Mary. Not sure which "Mary" she was. She was just dressed like a typical female Bibe character. Next, I found David. He was also dressed in typical  clothing as well; in the style of a shepherd as opposed to a king. 

Then I found the ultimate Bible character. Once I saw him I knew what I had to do.  I just couldn't leave him there. The opportunity was too serendipitous to ignore. My funny bone started itching and it had to be scratched.  

I bought the Maleficent and the Bible character. Of course I gave one of them to my wife and the other...

...well, like I said, I just couldn't resist. 

I sure hope you are laughing right now or at least smiling. I think its very funny. It illustrates my opinion of the absurdity of the original painting. 

Now to those who think the "Prince of Peace" is a good visual representation of what the world needs now, I understand. I can see your point and partially agree with you. 

However, as someone whose sense of humor has never met a punchline it could resist, I just couldn't let the serendipity of this little poke at irony pass me by. 

How about you? Do you remember seeing "Prince of Peace" when you were growing up? What do you think of it? Do you have any memories that you have recreated in some way or another for yourself? I'd be interested. Please contact me on Facebook or shoot me an email (RHavens1423@aol.com).

I am working on making it a little easier for us to communicate in a more convenient way. I will let you know when that's ready to go. 

Thank you for reading my blog. Whether you are a friend or family (and everyone falls into one of those slots) come back soon. The next post will be part 2 of my "Being Whimsical" series where I continue to laugh at myself. I'm sure they'll be another smile or two for you.  God Bless.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Being Whimsical: Part 1

There are all kinds of sayings and philosophies that tell you to occasionally forget yourself and be spontaneous and have fun. 

For me, allowing myself to do that usually involves entertaining someone trying to make them laugh. Usually, it's my wife or my granddaughter. I really don't mind acting a fool to make someone I care about smile or, best of all, laugh out loud. 

In this post I'm going to laugh at myself by showing you, a few videos that shows me at some of my most whimsical moments.  

I'm going to start with a recent video of the most spontaneous moment I've had in a while. But, first a bit of background. This will take a while but trust me it will put the video in context and, hopefully, enhance your laugh.  

While I was growing up Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania is the amusement park that I went to for fun. For as long as I can remember it was the one place that my family (mom, dad and sisters) went every August for our one day of family vacation.

One of the rides in the park the first few year we went there was called "The Cuddle-Up" It was a "spinning tea cups" type ride that had been there since right after WWII. It was a lot of fun and got you rather dizzy.  Here's a link to a You Tube video showing you what it was like. Cuddle UP Type Ride Circa 1925

Around 1980 the "Cuddle Up" under went a transformation into a brand new ride. It was enclosed inside a facade which was covered with sprayed concrete and then painted white. The now enclosed dark ride was cooled by air conditioning to 60 degrees and the name was changed to "The Iceberg". 

With no seat belts, if you didn't spread your arms out and hold onto the back of the car you were tossed around like a berry in a blender. But it was fun. 

The flashing multi-colored lights and disco music added to the chaos of the experience. When the strobe lights came on everything looked like it was in slow motion. Seeing your fellow riders floundering was the equivalent to watching somebody slip on a banana peel. I couldn't help but laugh from start to finish. 

The disco song they played was the 1976 instrumental hit "Theme From S.W.A.T." by Rhythm Heritage. It was a 4 minute version of a popular ABC TV show. If you're not familiar with it or just want to hear it again, here's a link to listen to it on You Tube.Theme From S.W.A.T.

As you can tell riding the Iceberg was one of my favorite experiences at the park at the time. My sister, Shari and I loved it so much that when we talked about the ride while we were at home, we would hum the song and move around in slow motion pretending that we were on the ride. To this day we still reference it quite often.

I've written all of that to get to the spontaneous whimsical moment I'm going to share with you. 

About a week ago, I was doing some household chores, which included cleaning the bathroom. I had the radio on to help me whistle while I worked. 

Local radio DJ, Chris Allen, was featuring the top songs from 1976 on his show. After giving a little background history he played The Theme From S.W.A.T". Hearing it for the first time in a while immediately took me back to those rides on"The Iceberg" with my sister. 

I was in the process of cleaning the mirror at the time and in a moment of total spontaneity I decided to video myself recreating the way we used to imitate the ride. Here's the 20 seconds of silliness that I call my Iceberg dance; that I captured on my phone. 

In February 2015 South Central Kentucky had the biggest snow fall since I've lived here. Over 10 inches fell in the middle of the month. 

The subsequent daytime melting and nighttime refreeze created a phenomenon that I have been fascinated by, since I was a kid. This called for a tour of my little town for some carefree fun. 

 Earlier, I mentioned the hilarity of watching someone else slipping on a banana peel. It's always at it's funniest if it comes as a surprise to "the victim." In this video in an effort to capture a moment of nature, I surprisingly become the target in a rather funny situation. 

This last set of videos centers on being whimsical in a family game night situation. In 2015, the game "Pie Face" became very popular. One night, my granddaughter insisted that her Papa play the game with her and her mom. On my first turn I got lucky.

Then I got lucky again but Brandi didn't.

Hope these videos, that captured some of what I consider my most comedic moments over the last few years at least made chuckle a bit. I'm not usually a physical comedy kind of guy. But every once in a while, You just have to get a bit whimsical and let yourself go. 

I have more whimsy and fun capture in still pictures. At this point I am not sure if I'll share them in a my next post or in a photo album on Facebook. I'll let you know in the next post. Come on back to find out. 

Blogger's Note: Wanted to let y'all know that there has been an addition to my last post which features pictures with celebrities. I added one with Ray Stevens that I had forgotten I had. You can go back and check it out. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Close Encounters Of The "Celebrity" Kind: Part 2

According to the blog spot stats page I experienced my best single-day for page views on Monday; over 550.

Now it's time to put up the rest of my celebrity pictures here in part 2. I want to limit this series to just a pair so this one will be a little longer than the first one. So here I go again.  

Other than Nashville I have met and "selfied" with celebrities in other places too. 

The first place I want to mention is New York City. In May 1995 I won a weekend trip to the Big Apple from a local radio station. It included a limo ride to and from the city, tickets to the Broadway show, Smokey Joe's Cafe, and a couple of meet & greets with some radio talk show hosts that the station carried every day. 

One of them I won't even mention but the other was comedian David Brenner. He was in the middle of a 3 year run replacing the retired Larry King. Here's a scanned version of the printed picture of us.
Mr. Brenner was very nice and polite. He seemed to be preoccupied with the daily business of his office so our visit was short and sweet. Don't even remember what we talked about except for congratulating him on his newborn son.   

This picture of WDW Radio Show podcast host, Lou Mongello, was taken in downtown Atlanta in a restaurant called "The Nook" back in 2014. 
For more info about Lou read my Podcast Primer post from 2/13. 

Let's travel a little further south to Orlando, FL and  "the place where dreams come true", Walt Disney World.  I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite pictures with the celebrities of the Magic Kingdom over the course of my 5 times there. I may be stretching the aspect of their "celebrity" a bit but they are beloved by millions all over the world. Me and my granddaughter are two of them. Here I am with some of my favorite Disney characters. 




Mike & Sully

Mickey & Minnie

And My Favorite: Goofy

Since I'm in the process of showing you pictures of me with celebrity characters here is one that I really like. There's a lot more going on in this shot than just me with some representations of TV icons. If you are a fan of this show you will understand. This was taken at the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN in June 2014. 
Oh no, I'm wearing a RED SHIRT. Sure hope this away mission turns out okay. LOL

I'm heading back close to my old Kentucky home for these next celebrity pictures. These first couple were taken during meet and greets with stars from the 1970s after their performance at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in nearby Bowling Green. 

First is Paul Williams, who wrote a lot of the best known pop songs of the 70s and most importantly the Muppet Movie soundtrack. I love those songs and it was an honor to shake his hand and get this selfie back in September 2015. 

February 2016, I was privileged to be the guest of my friend Mark at a Kentucky Orchestra concert with Marylin McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. from the 5th Dimension. Afterward we got the chance to go back stage and say "Hello"
Although they are both in their 70s they are still terrific entertainers. Ms. McCoo still has an amazing voice and Mr. Davis can perform a blues song in a style reminiscent of Cab Calloway. 

In December 15, 2014 on a very rainy night in Bowling Green, I went to the Barnes & Noble book store. There I met one of my all time favorite comedic singer/songwriters, Ray Stevens. Here's my side by side with the musical funnyman.

I also had an opportunity to shoot a video and conduct short interview as he signed my book. While I don't get a complete answer to my question, I do get a little bit of the classic Ray Stevens eye roll. Watch for it. 

Former WWF wrestler, Hillbilly Jim (real name Jim Morris) is a resident of near by Bowling Green. I've met him several times over the course of my time here in Kentucky. However, it wasn't until last fall at a release party for his new biography that I was able to get a picture. He's really big and a very nice guy. 

That pretty much covers the "close encounters" I've had with celebrities. 

I've got one more I feel like I have to include. It's is a selfie but it's not with a person or a character. It's with an object that played a part in one of the most unique periods of progress in our country; the space race of the 1950s & 60s.

In 2006 during a visit to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama I had the breathtaking experience to stand under a Saturn V rocked. It's the vehicle that took our astronauts to the moon in 1969. 

I'm not the kind of guy who goes crazy for cars. I do like trains a bit, but this rocket fascinated me. I could have stood and just stared at it for hours. I took a lot of pictures of it but it was hard to get a selfie because of the size of the machine But these shots are among my favorites. 

Just seeing these pictures again as I add them to this post rekindles my fascination with them. I'm hoping to have yet another "encounter" with this piece of US History again one day soon by visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Hope you have enjoyed my celebrity pictures and some of the stories behind them. Thank you for visiting my blog. Whether you are family or a friend I am grateful to be able to catch up with you on a regular basis. 

If you keep coming back, I promise to keep sharing with you the things I consider the most interesting and important RHFactors. See ya next time.