Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Philadelphia Museum Begins Its Fifth Season of Jazz Concerts

Art is not always something you hang on the wall, and Philadelphia’s Woodmere Art Museum is leading the way by offering Friday evening jazz concerts to its members and the public. The museum that tells the story of Philadelphia art and artists is also presenting its rich musical heritage and contemporary sounds featuring many of the very best jazz musicians of the Delaware Valley.

Since April 2009, Woodmere has presented
a Friday evening jazz series to an appreciative and ever growing audience.  Working with Warren Oree, a bassist, composer, educator, and producer, who heads Life Line Music Coalition
and his own group the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, Woodmere has now become recognized as an important city jazz venue.  Jazz at Woodmere features many of the area’s top jazz musicians.

The 2013 Fall jazz series begins on Friday October 4 with a tribune to singer Tina Turner,  titled What’s Love Got to Do With?  Philadelphia’s Lisa Chavous pays homage to one of the great female soul singers performing some of Tina’s most popular tunes. On October 11, the theme is La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf, Better Than French Wine.  Vocalist Phyllis Chapelle brings the first lady of French song alive.

A Night at the Apollo Theater, Harlem, NYC, 1938  is the theme on October 18.  The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble will perform sounds of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Sidney Bechet, and more.  On October 25, its “Mr. Magic,” a tribute to Grover Washington, Jr. An innovator and a saxophonist of the first order. His music was a bridge connecting jazz and smooth R&B. The popular group Hidden Treasure performs.

Jazzy Divas: The Sound That Touches the Soul,
is the theme on November 1. Jazz divas made an indelible mark on the music. Now current day divas as Michelle Beckham, Sherry Butler, Tonya Lynette, Pat Washington, Lauren Lark, and Jackie Joyner perform with the Arpeggio Jazz Quartet. Arpeggio returns  November 8 with Smoother Than Silk: The Nat King Cole Trio. Songs will include: Sweet Lorraine, I Love You, Paper Moon, and Smile.

Four young men from Liverpool, England made some unforgettable music.  The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble presents a jazzy styling of The Beatles on November 15.  On November 22, the incredible jazz guitars of Wes Montgomery and George Benson are recalled and on December 6, jazz vocalist Tonya Lynette pays tribute to lyricist Johnny Mercer.

The Fall series concludes on December 13 with a salute to Southern Soul and Stax Records.
Vocalists Roy Richardson, Pat Scott, and Tonya Lynette will perform many of the best Stax recordings.  Details regarding the jazz series can be found on the museum’s website at woodmereartmuseum.org. Plan to attend and enjoy.

James C. Weaver

Email: jweaver35@comcast.net
Senior Travel Writer
Golf Wiz Blog

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sergio Garcia and His Comments about Tiger Woods

                As the Senior Editor of the African American Golfers Digest and as an African American male in the United States of America I am appalled and extremely offended by the recent remarks made by professional golfer Sergio Garcia.  Garcia made these remarks in response to a question posed to him concerning Tiger Woods and their much publicized verbal battle in the media after the 2013 Players Championship.

                His comments were not only inappropriate, and hurtful they were racist and insensitive.  In this day and age comments of this nature have no place in society and certainly not in the game of golf.  Sergio’s remarks are reminiscent of similar remarks made by professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller after Tiger’s win at the 1997 Masters Tournament. Moeller’s remarks were wrong and hurtful then and sixteen years later the racial tone associated to Sergio Garcia’s remarks are just as inappropriate.  Comments of this nature dredge up thoughts of a sad and disgraceful period in this country’s history not only to African American’s but to people of all races and walks of life.

                I am sure that Sergio Garcia and his team will draft a response to his actions and work diligently to address this issue in a timely manner. However, Garcia will not a get a pass from me.  Regardless of how off the cuff or stupid his comments were they point to his mindset and to a racist belief system that he possesses. It is clear that Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia have always had a tenuous relationship at best both on and off the golf course, but the comments uttered by Sergio Garcia clearly cross the line of basic decorum and decency.
                I call on Sergio Garcia and his sponsors to take immediate and appropriate action to rectify his actions. A failure to issue a sincere and meaningful apology will only cause this regretful situation to get worse. The fact that Sergio Garcia isn’t willing to admit to the racist overtones of his comments only goes to show his lack of concern and sensitivity about the struggles, challenges and painful history of the African American experience.  

Sergio Garcia’s press conference this morning did very little to change my mind or my views on this sad and unfortunate situation. I urge both Taylormade Golf, Adidas Golf and Sergio Garcia’s other sponsors  to address this issue immediately and make sure that the players who represent their brands don’t possess such racist and insensitive mindsets and attitudes.  

Edward Wanambwa
            GolfWiz Blog

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Clinton Presidential Center Offers Insight Into The Life of Our 42nd President

There are fourteen Presidential Libraries.So far, I’ve visited five: Johnson, H.W.Bush, Carter, Ford, and most recently Clinton. They are alike in many ways, chronicling the lives of a U.S. President, but they also reveal much about the times when each man held the office and the history of our nation and its people. Each one, in its own way, tells us who we are as Americans.  
Located in a beautiful 32 acre park on the southern banks of the Arkansas River in the state capital Little Rock, the Clinton Presidential Center is a contemporary designed two story building.  Its a Platinum LEEDS rated building, the only one in Arkansas, meeting the highest standards for environmentally friendly construction and operations. 
Along with its large exhibit halls, there are full size replicas of the White House Cabinet Room and the President’s Oval Office as they were during the Clinton years.  The archival and library holdings are the largest of all the Presidential Libraries with approximately 76.8 million pages of paper documents, 1.85 million
photographs,  and over 75,000 museum artifacts. There is also a rooftop apartment provided for the Clintons when they visit Little Rock.
A special exhibit honors “The Little Rock Nine” a group of nine black students who courageously integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.  
Opened in 2004, the Center is home to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and the Little Rock offices of the Clinton Foundation.
The Foundation works to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens. 
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is the first graduate school in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service degree. It emphasizes real-life application where students gain the knowledge and experience to further their careers as leaders in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer, or private sector work.
The Clinton Presidential Center attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the nation and world each year and plays an active role in the Little Rock community, hosting a number of events, lectures, and conferences throughout the year. It has been instrumental in bringing more than $2.5 billion in economic development to the area.
“Forty Two” (named for the 42nd President), is the Center’s popular restaurant open Monday through Saturday for lunch and afternoon snacks.  It also serves a exquisite Sunday Brunch.  The Clinton Museum Store is located
in a separate building adjacent to the Center.
While many museum in Little Rock offer free admission, The Clinton Presidential Center
has a small admission fee. It is open daily except major holidays. The internet offers considerable information about the Center and other attractions in the Little Rock area.
 James Weaver 
Senior Travel Writer
GolfWiz Blog 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

U.S. Open Returns to Merion for the Fifth Time.

The Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, will host the 2013 U.S. Open Golf Championship June 13-16. It is the fifth Open to be held at Merion.
The most recent Open here in 1981 was won by Australian, David Graham. The event will mark the Centennial of the Marion Golf Club and a special exhibit “The Art of Golf” is being presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
in its honor from March 16 to July 7.
No golf club in the nation has hosted more USGA championships than Merion. The 2013 Open will be the 18th national championship at the club.  Previously, the club has also been the site of the 1916, ‘24, ‘30, ‘66, ‘89 and 2005 Amateurs; the 1904, ‘09, ‘26, and 1949 U.S. Women's Amateurs; the 1998 U.S. Girls' Junior and the 1960 World Amateur Team Championships.
Designed by Hugh Wilson, Merion Golf Club's East Course was opened in 1912. Its perhaps best known as the where Bobby Jones won the 1930 U.S. Amateur to complete the “Grand Slam.”  Hugh Wilson had never designed a golf course, so he went on a seven-month trip to Scotland and England to study British courses. Several features of Merion East are derived from famous British courses, not the least of which are Merion's distinctive Scottish-style bunkers, which are now known as the "white faces of Merion"
Wilson's layout covers only 126 acres of land, a very small area for a golf course. It was ranked seventh in Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses" in 2005, and Jack Nicklaus has said of Merion East, "Acre for acre, it may be the best test of golf in the world."
Bill Iredale, Merion's championship committee chairman stated, "we feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981."
Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA championship committee said, "we are pleased to bring a U.S. Open back to an old friend in Merion. We have no doubt the East Course will provide a sufficient challenge for the world's best players."
“The Art of Golf,” an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art showcases “The Golfers,” a renowned seven-foot wide 1847 painting by Scottish painter Charles Lees that is admired by golfers worldwide.  The exhibition will feature portraits of golfers, a historic feather golf ball and antique Scottish clubs, and highlights the art and sport of golf in Victorian Britain.
An iconic painting, The Golfers (1847), by Scottish painter Charles Lees (1800–1880), is the centerpiece of The Art of Golf exhibition celebrating what has been called “a game of considerable passion” Modern golf’s roots can be traced to the east coast of Scotland, where kings and commoners have played the game since at least the fifteenth century. Lees’s monumental painting (7 foot.wide by 4.25 foot. high) shows  fifty-four spectators clustered tightly around a two-ball foursome match played on the links at St. Andrews. 

James Weaver
Senior Travel Writer
GolfWiz Blog

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rail Europe Is The Way To Travel For Americans Abroad


Its reasonable to say that most Americans have never ridden a train (discounting subways, amusement park rides, and antique railroad attractions).  Unless you live somewhere that has rail service, you probably don’t even think about trains. Cars and planes are how Americans get around.  In Europe, however, most people get where they need to go by train.
If you’re planning to visit Europe, you need to
seriously consider doing what the Europeans do.
Riding the train in Europe is simple, convenient,
comfortable and inexpensive.  Trains are clean, fast, and reliable (they arrive and depart on time).  In short, its the best way to get around.
My wife Barbara and I have visited Switzerland
four times and travel extensively throughout the country and in northern Italy by train.  We’ve also made five trips to Germany and travel by train throughout that country. 
Best of all, you can get your tickets or rail pass
before you leave home.  Simply visit the Rail Europe website.  It can help you reach thousands of European destinations in the most enjoyable comfortable way – by train. With it you can travel at high speed on its extensive network, which cover all major European cities and countries.
Rail Europe has  access to over 11,000 routes (25.000 destinations) served by the major European train operators.  Its so well connected it can help you reach your destination easily and enjoy it even more.
Some travelers enjoy getting to know more than one country and the Eurail Select Pass allows you to visit three, four or five bordering countries. The most popular countries visited with the Eurail Select Pass are France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, which means you can see Paris, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Geneva, Venice, Rome, Cannes, Barcelona and Madrid in one amazing trip.
You can push the boundaries with its Eurail Global Pass and travel around 24 countries on our network. Wherever you decide to go, it can help you with tips and guides about the destinations you choose, just take a look on its website for information to help you on your travels.
When you arrive at the international airport of any major European city, you’ll find a rail connection in the ternimal building.  Its an easy and convenient way to get to where you want to go. Its better than by rental car or taxi and less expensive.  Rail Europe can also book you a hotel and a city tour.  In short, its the best way to visit Europe. 
If you only speak and read American English,
you might be concerned, but fear not, service personnel on all the railroads speak your language and are friendly and helpful. Signs, too, are often in English as well as the local language.  The universal language of numbers -- Train #3456 (to your destination) departs at 10:00 AM on Track 8-- works very well.   
One of the best things about train travel in Europe is that you’re doing what people do here
and can experience another aspect of local culture that many American travelers miss.  Visit the Rail Europe website at and learn how easy it is.

 Jim Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Editor
EmaiL; jweaver35@comcast.net

Grand Central Station Celebrates 100 Years

Manhattan's Grand Central Station Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Grand Central Station New York City, New York


                           Grand Central Station, one of the landmark buildings of New York City, is a century old this year.  More than 700.000 people pass through it each day with little or no thought of its history or importance, but it played a significant role in the city’s growth and expansion.  Railroads were a principle mode of transportation in the 19th Century and the early decades of the 20th moving both people and commerce enabling the growth of the city and nation.

                  New York’s first rail service was begun in 1831 and during the 1840s several additional lines were begun adding a variety of terminals, depots, freight houses, and passenger stations throughout the city. A haphazard network of railways resulted in noise, pollution, traffic, and chronic accidents. By 1858, steam locomotives were banned from much of the area and were no longer in service below 42nd Street. A new terminal was needed.  In 1869, shipping magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased property between 42nd and 48th Streets, Lexington and Madison Avenue for construction of a new rail yard and the first Grand Central. It cost $6.4 million and opened in October 1871 serving three different railroad companies.  However, it was nearly obsolete from the beginning and had to be substantially enlarged in 1898.  The updated station featured a classical facade, a unified 16,000 square foot waiting room, and distinctive ornamentation including monumental cast-iron eagles with 13 foot wingspan.  Perhaps most significant was its 650 foot long train shed.

                              The age of steam locomotives (in the city) was quickly drawing to a closed and following a catastrophic accident in 1902 that killed 17 and injured 38 there was a public outcry for electric powered trains.  Within months plans were made to demolish the existing Grand Central Station and create a new double level terminal for electric trains.   This was an expensive project ($80 million or roughly $2 billion today).  It took ten years to complete and drastically changed the cityscape forever.  The former rail yards were paved over from 45th to 49th streets and developers paid the New York Central Railroad for “air rights” to build on top of the new tracks.  And build they did, including dozens of large apartment buildings, hotels, and corporate headquarters along Park Avenue and adjoining streets. The new Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913.  More than 150,000 people came to see it on the first day.
                                 Fast forward five decades to 1967 when the building was threatened with demolition (it had already happened to the city’s other railroad terminal Penn Station). A group of city leaders were successful in preserving the building an having it designated a national historic landmark in 1976.  Two years later it won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court sparing it from the wrecking ball.  

                                   After decades of deferred maintenance, the building was crumbling.  The roof leaked, stonework was chipping away, structural steel was rusted, pollution and dirt had stained surfaces, and commercial signs blocked out natural light  In 1883, Metro-North took over operation of Grand Central Terminal, and soon after the railroad began a systematic program of repairs and capital improvements, including a $4.5 million project to replace the leaking roof and skylights.  However, people soon realized that what was needed was a new terminal building.  In 1884, architects began working on plans and six years later construction started.

                                      Excavation was a huge job since the rail yard had to be lowered an average of 30 feet below street level.  In spite of the construction project, rail service continued uninterrupted.  Trains continued to use the old Grand Central, until it was razed in 1910. A temporary station at Lexington and 43rd Street was used until 1912.

                                    Forty years later, faced with declining income and rising costs, in 1954  the owners resolved to make the most of its assets, commissioning plans to demolish Grand Central Terminal and replace it with a 6 million square foot office tower.  Nothing came of this plan, but in 1958 it agreed to demolish the six-story office structure at the rear of the terminal and replace it with the 59-story Pan Am Building which opened in 1963. 

                                  Fast forward thirty more years.  In 1994, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority gained long-term control of Grand Central Terminal in the form of a 110-year lease from American Premier Underwriters, a successor to the Penn Central Corporation.  A comprehensive revitalization plan was begun in 1996 with the cleaning of the main concourse Sky Ceiling.  As restoration and renovation continued, the project generated more than 2,000 construction and construction related jobs.  The revitalization project culminated with a gala rededication celebration in 1998. 

                                    Now, completely restored back to it's 1913 splendor, Grand Central has become a midtown destination with five exquisite restaurants and cocktail lounges, 35 casual international eateries in the lower level Dining Concourse, gourmet foods from the Grand Central Market, and 68 unique specialty shops throughout the concourses.  All this in addition to the trains.

Happy Birthday Grand Central.

                                       Grand Central has become an international example of a successful urban project that gave new life to an historic building which otherwise would have been discarded and destroyed.

Grand Central Station Main Concourse

Grand Central Food Market 

Grand Central Oyster Bar 

Jim Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Editor 

Email: jweaver35@comcast.net

Friday, June 29, 2012

There’s Lots To Do in Southern Delaware, Rain or Shine

Best known for its great beaches, Southern Delaware has a great history as well.  So when its not a “beach day” there is a wealth of great things to explore here. 

                                               Guestroom at Bellmoor Inn in Rehobeth.

Located where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic, it has a long and illustrious maritime history. Captain John Smith of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia explored and mapped the rivers Southern Delaware in 1608-09. Surveyors Mason and Dixon established the southern boundary of Delaware in 1764, the line that separated North from South during the Civil War. At the small stone marker you can stand with one foot in Maryland and the other in Delaware.  You can also visit a marker in Lewes, where the Dutch first landed in Delaware in 1629. 
The first state in the United States (by virtue of being the first to sign the U.S. Constitution in 1783) Delaware might never have been a separate state. Pennsylvania and Maryland both wanted the land, but in the end because it had been first settled by the Dutch it was granted separate statehood.
For more modern attractions, you can tour the historic Lightship “Overfalls” in Lewes.  Coastal waters could be treacherous and ships needed signal lights to guide them. Anchored lightships were used where light houses could not be built. Only 17 lightships remain of the 179 commissioned between 1820 and 1952. The Overfalls is one of very few open to the public.
In Bethany Beach, you can tour the Indian River Lifesaving Station built in 1876.  When ships ran a ground on coastal sand bars during storms and were sinking, the exceptionally brave men of the Lifesaving Service came to their aid.  Its a fascinating story that is little known. 
Nearby in Fenwick Island you’ll find the Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum.  This free museum is located on the upper floor of a souvenir shop, but don’t be fooled.  Its an excellent museum filled with millions of dollars worth of treasure and artifacts reclaimed from dozens of sunken ships off the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean.  Many of the ancient sunken ships were Spanish vessels loaded with treasure from the “new world” headed back to Europe.
Even before the America entered World War II, there was much concern that Germany would
attack our Atlantic coast. In 1941, the military began building massive coastal fortifications.  Today, at Fort Miles Historic Area just north of Lewes you can visit one of these facilities built to defend the Philadelphia Ship Yards, oil refineries along the Delaware River, and Dupont chemical works from attack.  There is a massive artillery piece here with a 12 inch bore. Originally there were two, plus a number of smaller guns.  The big guns could fire a 275 pound payload up to 25 miles -- really big bang.
A gun barrel from the U.S.S. Missouri (the battleship where the peace treaty was signed ending the war with Japan) has been acquired recently. The Missouri was the last American battleship ever to be built and went into service in early 1945 just months before the treaty signing.  The gun barrel is 66 feet long and has a 16 inch bore.  It will be placed on a (yet to be built) outdoor mount for public display at Fort Miles. 
Southern Delaware also has some great food.  At Luca Restaurant in Millsboro they always use the freshest local ingredients in keeping with Italian tradition of following the rhythm of the seasons. The daily features are chosen from what is delivered fresh each morning.  Its pasta and bread are made fresh daily. Wines are hand picked by an Italian Master Sommelier, some specifically for Luca. It is an Italian wine experience like no other. Located in a former bank building, the vault at Luca has been converted to a private dining area that can seat up to six guests.
The difference is in the extra little touches at Nage Bistro in Rehoboth Beach. From the specially formulated cocktails to the handcrafted garnish on the bistro's chef-created sandwiches, entrees and desserts, everything is just a little bit better here.  Its a great meal at a reasonable cost.
The Bellmoor Inn & Spa offers upscale lodging in Rehoboth Beach, with a variety of luxury hotel features and special amenities. Its elegant, beachside accommodations are the ideal lodging option for family vacations or romantic weekend getaways.  Its centrally located near the best attractions, beaches, museums, entertainment, shopping, and dining. The Bellmoor the ideal hotel choice in Rehoboth Beach.
Southern Delaware has an abundance of ecotourism activities. There's everything from whale and dolphin watching to beach combing, nature walks, photo opportunities, canoeing, and bicycling. Part of the Atlantic Flyway, the area home to a variety of land and sea birds.  Other options include a choice of great beaches, camping, nature trails, boating, and fishing including surf, ocean, bay, and freshwater.
The cultural experiences are numerous here, including a summer arts festival, a winery, art galleries, dinner theater, historic train rides, outdoor performances by the ocean, and sounds an annual Nanticoke Indian Powwow, which draws native Indians for tribal dances from near and far.
Order your free Visitor's Guide at www.visitsoutherndelaware.com and begin enjoying Southern Delaware.
Photo Information ---
 Recovered artifacts on view at Shipwreck Museum.

                                      Overfalls Lightship is open to public in Lewes.

                                   12” Gun from WWII is on exhibit at Fort Miles
                                                     outside Lewes.

                                   Lifeboat at Rescue Service Museum at Bethney Beach.

                                              Bank Vault seating at LUCA Restaurant.
James Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Editor