Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cajun Gold New Edition

I just published a new edition of my novel "Cajun Gold." Written under the pen name of Cliff Madison, it's about a Cajun who finds 200 pounds of gold buried in the woods near his house. Lots of laughs as he tries to hide it from his neighbors, his wife, and the local news media. As the cover says, finding that gold kind of "messes up his plans for the weekend."

To order a copy of the book, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ruth's Roots Retreat

On a side street behind the Hancock County Courthouse in downtown Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, is "Ruth's Roots," an island of tranquility in a place that is already pretty tranquil. The plot of land, almost adjacent to the train tracks that cross the bay, offers a wide variety of flowers, animals, paintings, and best of all, places to sit and enjoy it all. It is a community gardening opportunity that has lots of friends and supporters.

Here are some pictures of the hidden retreat, but enter at your own risk. The overwhelming sense of nature and and peace of mind might just make you forget your cares and worries for a while. 

Click on the images to make them larger. 

Painted doors serve as part of the fencing

There are a variety of flowers

There's even a dragon in the middle of it all

A chess board awaits

There are chickens and rabbits

A waterfall

A large seating area for informal meetings

A water-carrying statue

A very colorful alligator

Sidewalk paintings of sea life

A portrait of Ruth in the center patio

Butterflies and bees

And then, there is the wildly-painted piano 

HERE's A LINK to the Google Maps location of Ruth's Roots.

Ruth's Roots Facebook Page

According to the Facebook page, Ruth's Roots is a community garden that can serve the community’s youth through enrichment and is located at 130 Court St in Bay St Louis, Mississippi. Teenagers who need to provide community service hours are used in the maintenance of the garden, and various community service organizations also take part in the care of the place.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dale Family Portrait

The Dale Family in Abita Springs was kind enough to sit for a family portrait for me one day many years ago. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mackahatchee Map

Going through my map files the other day, I found this map of Mackahatchee, Florida. I don't remember ever doing a map in Florida, so this was kind of puzzling. Interstate 10 is shown on the map, with Hwy. 74 intersecting it north to south, so I went to Google Maps and looked along Interstate 10 from Florida's west boundary all the way east to the Atlantic Ocean. No Mackahatchee, no Millington. Doing a Google search brought up nothing. 

Here's the map. 

It was, for a few minutes, the Mackahatchee Mystery Map. Then I started reading some of the store names:  Bob's Motel, Jerry's PacNSac, Gary's Gas, Harry's Big Dome Arcade, and Howare'you Johnsons. It dawned on me that this was a "practice" map, an illustration I did to show what could be done for Interstate Exits.

Too bad Mackahatchee isn't real. It looks like a fun place, what with the beer joint, pizza palace and Zephyr Cafe, not to mention the Burger Barn.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Posters From Imaginary Festivals & Conventions

I just published a new book that features my posters advertising Imaginary Festivals and Conventions. To order a copy, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Slidell Map 1985

Here's a copy of the Slidell map that I drew back in 1985, some thirty-three years ago.

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Up In The Air in an Autogyro

Back in the 1960's, my dad and I would drive out Morrison Road in Gentilly east of New Orleans (on our way to Bay St. Louis, MS) and sometimes we would see several gyrocopters taking off and landing on the old highway that was parallel to the new road. The gyrocopters looked like large tricycles with propellers attached to them in the back and overhead, but when they took off, they gained altitude quickly and headed  into the sky. That was 52 years ago.

When the chance came to fly in a new streamlined autogyro, I grabbed my camera and headed for Hammond Airport. Stephen Rastanis has a couple of autogryos based over there at the Autogyro of Louisiana facility, and he teaches folks how to fly them.

Rather than describe what an autogyro looks like, here's a photo of Stephen and his two-seater flight instruction aircraft.


Click on the images to make them larger.

The basics are pretty simple. In a fixed wing aircraft, a propeller pushes the airplane forward and air rushes over the wing and lift is created. In a helicopter, a motor turns the rotors around, and lift is created and the copter can go straight up. In an autogyro, however, lift is created by the helicopter-like rotors going around, but the rotors are not powered. Instead there is a propeller that pushes the aircraft forward and lift is generated by the rotors being pushed forward through the air. There is no power applied to the rotors while the autogyro is in flight.

This creates a remarkably stable air flight. The autogyro cannot stall, and if the engine suddenly quits for some reason, the aircraft starts slowing down, and the rotors gradually lower the craft to the ground. A good autogyro pilot doesn't require much space to land in. Any amount of crosswind actually provides more lift to the rotors, so landing is even gentler. 

We took off on the runway, using less than half of it before being zoomed away far above the tree tops. The autogyro, when fully fueled, can run for four hours at speeds up to 100 mph. It is quite maneuverable, capable of sharp turns, steep dives, or, in a good wind, just sitting still in mid-air. 

Autogyro of Louisiana had a display of three or four autogyros a few months ago at the St. Tammany Regional Airport "Wings and Wheels" show east of Abita Springs. While autogyros  are very popular in Europe, they haven't caught on bigtime in the States yet, even though they have been featured in James Bond movies and (I am told) the Little Orphan Annie movie. 

Thirty minute introductory flights are available, with a lesson in the basic flying fundamentals for those who might be interested in learning how to fly one. They call them "the motorcycle of the sky" and that descriptive phrase fits well, since its an open-air cockpit and one gets to wear a helmet (with headphones and microphone.)

Once you are strapped into the seat and the engine revs up, it's not scary or breath-taking, just a unique way to get up high enough to see some distance, check out the landscape, rivers, houses, and stores, and fly in a way for which there is no comparison. 

Hammond High School and Hammond Elementary School

Reunion Lake RV Resort, I-12 at La. Hwy. 445

The Walmart Distribution Center in Robert

In the far distance is Madisonville, Lake Pontchartrain and the tip of Greene Point near Lacombe.

The Tangipahoa River at Robert

See also:

YouTube Videos of Autogyros

Video One

Video Two