The Home of Daddy's Day Dare! ~ I am just trying to stay above water

Archive for the month “January, 2018”

Being a Tourist In My Hometown, Pt 1

This month we ran across something that the Charleston Visitor’s Center is putting on for locals, the Museum Mile. In January, the tourist trade is down in our town so it is a great time to be a tourist with this Museum Mile.

This promotion gives us access to participating Museum Mile sites with the purchase of one low ticket price. With the Museum Mile pass, we can spend an entire month learning about Charleston’s rich history and culture; a place we read about, and our kids learn in school, but never find the time to experience.

There are over 20 museums, museum houses, and other historical buildings to explore on this package. This past weekend we decided to tour ..

So can I introduce you to the Gibbes Museum of Art?

“Through our complicated history, through light and shadow, we have persevered – humanity intact.
Art is the reason.”

“When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, and nourish our souls.”

(shhh…I’m getting all these sayings right off their website)

So if you are interested in taking a brief tour through a historical art collection with some pretty interesting things found in art, subjects, expressions, mediums, or stories behind the scene, read on.

I copied some of the tags of the art work that accompanies these gems in the museum so the real story of the paintings does not get lost in translation.

So grab a chair or beverage, and lets stroll through some of the rooms of the Gibbes and see some great works of art that I found very interesting. I am sure there is something at the Gibbes for everyone.

Now I do not know much about art; maybe two things.

Art is what you like, not what others like.

Art, true art, great art, should make you think.

Like this provocative painting from the 1920’s

Does this remind you of someone? What could she be thinking about?

First thing that you might notice is….. I am not a Photographer. It seems I am listing to the right on all these pics.

So what is art? What is not art?

Does this make you think?

Here is a local piece called the Betwixt and Between

Pretty cool, oui?

I am not sure what it makes me think of other than how did they do that and will it start to decay?

Here is my other daughter, Skylar

But there were several other exhibits besides this natural one.



Is that an authentic facial expression or what? Have we all been there?

First, I have to tell you, it seems all good sculptors from this time period came from Italy. Many a good American sculptor went to Italy to learn their craft.

I found by the early 1800s, Neoclassicism was a style that was at its height in sculpting. American-born artists were beginning to make their mark in the art world. They traveled to Italy to learn their craft.

Wiki says, “Neoclassicism was an art style that celebrated physical characteristics in the spirit of Ancient Greek and Roman art. To 18th-century Europeans, the human figure in Greek art, with its cool, unemotional appearance, was the ideal and a means of conveying a sense of timelessness and reason.

And I think you can see that in the young lady’s expression above.

Second, it seems people in Italy at that time never button their shirts, if they have one on at all. And everyone must have bench pressed at least 250 pounds.

Below was my favorite piece in the whole museum..

No, not of the Edmond Fitzgerald

Marble again. Love the detail. Love the story

I was amazed at the detail put into carving up this block of stone. You really can’t see it below but great care was put into the man’s hair, the dangling rope, his pants and even the lines on his drooping socks to make the art look real.

Now maybe my kids didn’t find these sculptures as interesting as I. Thankfully the museum had some staff to keep a watch over them while we appreciated the art work and the stories behind them

I bet that lady was from Italy too..


I love that,

Magic In The Mundane“.

Does that make you think?

I would be interested in your ideas of what message the artist is trying to convey there in the Comments below. I have one or two interpretations.

Mostly, it reminds me of what great mothers do. But if you look at it, there is so much more going on in that pic, isn’t it?

Next is another, piece of art; a memory!

A memory recorded down over the ages.

This ‘memory’ or story was sitting beside a painting of some slave shacks from the Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston.

Do you remember when I did a POST on my oldest’s field trip there two years ago?

Slave Street

Well I thought this piece of art below interesting as an example of possibly one healthy way that slaves from that time used to help endure their bondage. To me, it really makes you think.


No, not talking of history like this below, although it is a good snapshot of an important moment in the US history.

Bombardment Of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor 1863‘ oil on canvas 1886 by William Aiken Walker

I mean like Historic Art that comes from the period it represents.

The Gibbes Museum had a series of portraits, old portraits from some Charlestonians over the years. It is not that these people were so famous or important (most were) but it is what they were wearing, their expressions that were captured, and the background that struck me.

The authentic clothes were from the time of the paintings. The looks of people were from that time. Their clothes and hair styles authentic. Their homes or decor. Anything that was in the painting would be authentic. This is how people lived in these time periods.

Take a look at these dates on these paintings. They are legit museum pieces of art.

So this was an American born young man wearing British style attire. Did you catch that?

The date shows before the revolutionary war when the Carolinas had their ‘Governors’ appointed by the King at that time. Also I see he married his cousin. That’s one way to keep the money in the family.

Was that a toy bow and arrow? Or a real one?

Remember the old Christmas Carol, Up On The House Top,  where a boy dreams of

” Here is a hammer and lots of tacks.
Also a ball and a whip that cracks.”

That Christmas classic was written circa 1857.

In one picture of some kids  from the 1800’s in the museum there was a young boy holding a little whip with a kinked knot or two on the end of the rope.

And finally I thought, and found out, this a particularly interesting one:

Two very big names in early Charleston, Manigault and Heyward

In this painting the family Manigault was vacationing in Rome. There were no cameras or cell phones of course. So the happy family just had to have someone paint a picture of them to capture the memories and bring them home. Tough life.

Beside this painting in the museum was a portrait of Mr. Maniqualt that was captured ‘in Philadelphia on his way to a 6 year trip to China.’ 

I can’t even imagine this type of life. A 6 year trip to China in the mid 1800’s? What would he use for currency?

His Grandfather, Peter Manigault was the wealthiest person in the British North American colonies  (Wiki says), He practiced law, became a successful merchant and banker, and managed his family’s over 200 slaves and extensive plantation holdings. His net worth of approximately £33,000 in 1770 is equal to approximately $4 million in 2016.[5] 

Think about that for a second.

If it cost about $26 to build a house back then, how much was $4 million worth?

And so, as I thought, I realized this most be art. A painting on the wall that makes Magic from the mundane.

So what about you? What types of art do you like?


Enjoy your own art this week and weekend.

I hope you make some of your own!


“We believe art is the difference between merely existing and being truly alive.”

~ the Gibbes Museum

iFit website = iCrapDoggyDue website

Every now and again you run across some company that you think is an evil, money-grubbing outfit, that appears harmless enough, but then cracks you over the head with some surprising billing that you feel helpless to stop.

….and a web site, service or product you feel you should warn others about!

Let me introduce you to iFit.

Buyer Beware!

A few years ago I bought a treadmill. It was a nice one that even came with a modem to connect to the Internet. They suggested using the iFit website as a way to track my runs as well as download some trails from around the world. I thought, OK, cool!

I bought a one month membership. And then another. At the end of the year they were giving away some nice gifts if I would buy a Yearly Membership.  I was tired of rebilling all the time. We had some nice taxes coming back that year and so I thought why not. I paid $130.20 on 12/31/2016 for a 2017 membership.

I know, crazy, right? That much money to track how far you run?

Well this January I received this message in an email:

Your Premium Membership has expired.
Hi Andy,

We couldn’t auto-renew your iFit Premium annual membership as expected.

To continue your iFit Premium membership, visit your Account Billing in your settings to upgrade your account to Premium.

If you have questions, we’d love to help. Simply email us at support@ifit.com.

Keep Moving,

Well, I don’t use the treadmill much. If I use it two times in a month it was a good month. Some months I don’t use it at all.

I even write down all the data from my runs in Journal form.

The little 3 inch TV screen on the treadmill is not very motivating when I am running through the woods in the Ukraine so those advertised runs are not very motivating either.

So I thought, no I am not renewing it this year.

It is such a waste of good money!

So I did not renew.

In-fact I did nothing. The email suggests they can’t bill me. Let me just right this poor, expensive fitness training off and manage the tracking of calories and distance on my own. ( I have a college degree after all )

So then the next day I was shocked to find this email in my Inbox:

Thanks for your purchase!
Please retain this billing receipt for your records. You can access your complete billing history in your settings.
Order ID: 2351041
Order Date: January 15th 2018
Item Amount
Coach 1 Year Auto Renewal – AUTO $180.00
Subtotal: $180.00
Estimated Tax: $16.20
Order Total: $196.20


I didn’t do anything, least of all ask for another overpriced fitness membership. ( do you see where the price for this Premium Membership went up $66 or 33% in a year?)

And I may be mistaken but I am pretty sure I changed the credit card number I used last year to a new one, hence the first email I received from them saying they could not renew.  Hmmmm?

Now I have gone through all the refund links on their website. Twice. I still have yet to hear from them.

Other than the ol’ take a number routine:

“Your request has been updated. Reply to this email or follow the link below:”

Meanwhile $196 just was stolen from my checking account by this shady iFit web site.

I started a dispute for this charge with my bank now. They have been good in the past about not paying for money not earned by some service (internet web site). But it really frustrates me that there are crooked outfits like this that stay in business and take people’s money when they have not earned it and through some shady business practice.

So I thought you should know. If you ever get an offer to join iFit, whether it be for a Fit Bit, treadmill, stationary bike, Stair Stepper, Nordic Track, anything….

Buyer Beware!!

If you see a promotion for anything from iFit I hope the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you run, not walk, but run far away from the offer.

And please tell your friends and family too. If you get a membership they keep your credit information on file and bill you again when your membership is up whether you ask for it or not.

iFit = Buyer Beware!

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