Monday, March 30, 2009

Cats Musical at Carolina Forest High School


Tonight I had the pleasure of attending one of the most outstanding live shows I've ever been lucky enough to hear about - The Carolina Forest High School's production of "Cats".

Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats", by T. S. Eliot. It introduced the well known song, "Memory", recorded by Barbra Streisand. (her version unrelated to the actual show)

The story is about a tribe of cats that call themselves the Jellicle Cats, who meet in a junkyard once a year for the Jellicle Ball. The party each year ends as the head of the Jellicles, Old Deutoronomy, chooses one cat who can be reborn and find happiness.

Much of the musical is introducing various cats of notoriety, and suggestions of which cat is most worthy of the honor. A few of the characters were most noteworthy for me to mention:

The Rum Tum Tugger is a tom with leopard spots and a wild mane, who is arrogant and loves the women. Bustopher Jones is a huge fat cat with a fastidiious black coat, very rich and very proud and prissy. (and did I mention FAT)


The main character in the story is old Grizabella...a tired, worn out ex-glamour cat who is now old, tattered, and miserable. The other cats shun her, nobody will touch her, and she sings the very sad song, "Memory".


Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was...
Let the memory live again

(the last verse)

Touch me - It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is
Look - A new day has begun

Another old cat, Asparagus, or Gus The Theatre Cat, was once a famous actor but now is old and his paws shake with palsy. He too sings of his youth and the lives that he lived.

Then the evil cat of the tribe, MaCavity, kidnaps Old Deuteronomy and a battle ensues to get him back. The cats drive MaCavity away, but it takes Mistoffelees the Magic Cat to bring Deutoronomy back, just in time for the "choosing" to be made.



Just as I was fussing to myself why Old Deutoronomy allowed the poor Grizabella to be so badly treated, he chooses HER to be reborn and find her happiness. He leads her to a stairway to the stars, and though she is fearful, she crosses to find her destiny and be happy again.


I've seen the Broadway tour of Cats twice, and this high school production was every bit as professional and talented as the singers and dancers on the Broadway show. Everyone in the audience was positively amazed at the beautiful voices and fabulous dancing these kids put forth.

If you can imagine the dancers from the show "Fame", coupled with a live orchestra (the Carolina Forest Band) that didn't miss a note, you can begin to understand just what a fantastic show this was. The stage was perfect, the costumes elaborate and true to the Broadway show. It was just a magical experience, and especially enjoyable to someone like me who loves cats. I think I smiled the entire first hour of the show, as one after another of the characters sashayed around the stage with tails held high. (well maybe not high...but very apparent!)

In the second set, they even had a group of "kittens" playing, as the mothers washed and pushed them around the stage. It was unbelievably cute.

If Myrtle Beach can produce high school talent like this, there's at least one school in South Carolina that goes beyond excellence. Carolina Forest is also one of five district schools that surpassed the national SAT average, with a score of 1024. We can stand with the best in the country claiming this wonderful school as our own.

The students and faculty of Carolina Forest High School must be proud enough to burst. For sure the sold out audience was thrilled and proud that Myrtle Beach has been blessed with these amazing and talented young people. What an awesome production!

(Photos courtesy of the Carolina Forest High School Website)
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Century 21 The Harrelson Group is the real estate agency that specializes in Carolina Forest homes for sale.

Looking for Myrtle Beach Kids Attractions? Amusement Parks, Mini Golf, Entertainment for kids.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vacations and Golf in Myrtle Beach are NOT Off in 2009

Myrtle Beach Golf Industry Still in the Green
Condolux of North Myrtle Beach is having one of the best years in a long time with golf packages and vacation rentals up around 10% from last year.  I've spoken with Martin Brown several times a month since the beginning of January, and he's been happy with business since the last part of December.  I'm at a loss to understand why the newspapers are still full of doom and gloom about our tourism industry.
At any rate, here's our latest press release about Myrtle Beach Golf, and some new pictures to go with it.  Myrtle Beach real estate sales are also REALLY doing well now, and at least in our little corner of the world, things are looking up.  Spring and sun and warm weather are on the way, too, so Myrtle Beach is coming back to the paradise we all enjoy so much!
News Image

Friday, March 20, 2009

Myrtle Beach Real Estate Mortgage Rates

March 20, 2009 (Bankrate.com)
I found a gadget on Bankrate.com that gives you "real-time" rates for your area on mortgages and other credit extensions. As of March the 20th, 2009, this is what it said...

10 Year Fixed
Average rates on 10-year fixed mortgages in South Carolina fell 4 basis points to 4.51 on Friday, according to Bankrate.com's daily Your Best Interest report. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percent. The mortgages in the survey had an average of 0.68 discount and origination points.
A 10-year fixed mortgage is a loan that has an interest rate that stays the same for the 10-year term of the loan. The principal amount is reduced, slowly at first, and then at an accelerating pace, over the life of the loan. Someone taking out a $165,000.00 10-year fixed mortgage at the current average would pay $1,710.83 a month for the life of the loan.

The highest rate in South Carolina on a 10-year fixed mortgage was found at one institution that charged 5.625 percent. The lowest rate was found at one institution that charged 4.000 percent. Six months ago, the average rate in South Carolina was 5.53 percent.

20 Year FixedAverage rates on 20-year fixed mortgages in South Carolina fell 9 basis points to 4.82 on Friday, according to Bankrate.com's daily Your Best Interest report. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percent. The mortgages in the survey had an average of 0.55 discount and origination points.

A 20-year fixed mortgage is a loan that has an interest rate that stays the same for the 20-year term of the loan. The principal amount is reduced, slowly at first, and then at an accelerating pace, over the life of the loan. Someone taking out a $165,000.00 20-year fixed mortgage at the current average would pay $1,072.59 a month for the life of the loan.

The highest rate in South Carolina on a 20-year fixed mortgage was found at one institution that charged 6.000 percent. The lowest rate was found at one institution that charged 4.250 percent. Six months ago, the average rate in South Carolina was 5.91 percent.

30 Year Fixed
Average rates on 30-year fixed mortgages in South Carolina fell 10 basis points to 5.06 on Friday, according to Bankrate.com's daily Your Best Interest report. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percent. The mortgages in the survey had an average of 0.59 discount and origination points.

A 30-year fixed mortgage is a loan that has an interest rate that stays the same for the 30-year term of the loan. Someone taking out a $165,000.00 30-year fixed mortgage at the current average would pay $891.82 a month for the life of the loan.

The highest rate in South Carolina on a 30-year fixed mortgage was found at one institution that charged 10.000 percent. The lowest rate was found at three institutions that charged 4.250 percent. Six months ago, the average rate in South Carolina was 5.83 percent.

To see all of the results of Bankrate.com's surveys, go to www.bankrate.com.
The Your Best Interest report is a daily service of Bankrate.com, a financial news and information service based in North Palm Beach, Fla. Bankrate surveys more than 300 financial products from more than 4,800 institutions in all 50 states.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Reason to Love Google and Its Founders


Google co-founders Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin (right) field
questions from an audience in front of a backdrop patterned with their company
logo. Photo: Associated Press / Noah Berger

It's just been announced that Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, is donating some of his marvelous profits from the world famous search engine to create a new study on Parkinson's Disease.

Sergey's wife, Ann Wojcicki, (the news media reported the name as Ann Wojcocki) co-owns a company for genome study called 23andMe. Her company, Sergey, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the Parkinson's Institute of California will fund a DNA type test for Parkinson's sufferers to mail in. Referred to as a "spit kit", the genetic test usually costs around $400. Sergey will pay the difference and offer it to the members of these charities for $25, in hopes that more information can be used with the internet to speed up the treatment or cure for the disease.

This is one more reason that I have to love Google and the two boys who created it. My mother suffered from the disease and finally died from it after about 15 years. It is a horrible, crippling, and humiliating way to end your life...in some ways worse than Alzheimers. The medication taken for Parkinson's causes schizophrenic symptoms eventually, and creates a phenomenon called the on-off syndrome, in which you are either wired and jerking from the medication being so high, or frozen like stone as it has worn off. Tolerance to the medication "Sinemet" builds up until the dosage is too high for the body to handle. The worst part is that for most of the years the patient is fully aware of everything, yet cannot control his body - or even his senses - as hallucinations, uncontrollable movements, and freezing come and go.


Some progress was made with injecting embryonic stem cells directly into the brain, but was cut short with Bush's refusal to allow the usage of them. Michael J. Fox is probably hoping with all his heart that Obama's reversal of that foolish and wasteful law will allow him to find a cure before it is too late. Parkinson's Disease is particularly devastating to younger victims... progressing faster and more completely than with older ones. Part of the needed research may find out why this is so.

Sergey's mother suffers from Parkinson's Disease and he himself carries a gene variant that increases his odds of getting it.

Those who participate in the study will also complete surveys online that document their symptoms, history with the disease, types of medications they are on, and how their disease progresses.

I would not be the least bit surprised if Google's empire and its creators lead the world into a "Star Trek Universe" of conquered disease, the end to world hunger, and eventually going "where no man has gone before". I am ever hopeful, and so proud of those two and Google itself.

Source: UPI.com/Health

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Housing Crisis - A Great Book to Read!

I had the pleasure of reading one of the most enjoyable, easy to read, and informative books the other day.

Similar to the "for Dummies" line of books, but much more engaging, Jim Randel is the author of a series of books under "The Skinny On™" line, and illustrated with "Stick People™" which are absolutely a hoot. I've always enjoyed simplistic , tongue in cheek comics, (South Park is my favorite!) and Jim has managed to use his excellent little "people" to capture your attention and make learning about a sometimes boring subject FUN.

Let me preface this with the fact that I have NOT been paid or compensated in any way for this review. They sent me a free copy of the book and I read it in a couple of hours. I have another one to read as well and may also blog about it.




This book is Stick People Books™, The Skinny On: The Housing Crisis. For anyone who has asked the questions WHY and HOW we ended up with this real estate and mortgage mess, you will know the answers after you follow the little stick people Billy and Beth...as they decide to explore the American dream of buying a home back about 2005.

Jim's little couple will make you chuckle and grin as you learn how NOT to buy a house. He explains the little known problems with independent mortgage brokers who depend on the real estate agent for business. Likewise, Billy and Beth naively trust in using an inspector who also depends on the agent for his bread and butter, and the agent herself...whose livlihood depends on that commission, and proves that there's an almost invisible line between being a good salesman and taking advantage. As an agent back during that time, "Charlotte" merely goes with the flow, and allows the young couple to buy a house they can't afford, with a mortgage that should never have been invented, and a house that wasn't worth what they paid.




The book taught ME a few things, and I thought I was pretty savvy about real estate now.
With as few words as possible to explain things, and an adorable comic to illustrate and occasionally poke fun at the system, this book is a must-read for a first time home buyer, and would be a very good checklist reminder for the average person who may not understand the pitfalls of making a home purchase the lazy way.
Randel's website tells about the book, and explains it further like this:
The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis takes the reader through Billy and Beth’s experiences dealing with real estate agents, house inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, lenders and attorneys. Each of these encounters is a lesson for any person considering the purchase or sale of a home, investing in real estate or, just taking out a mortgage. After Billy and Beth close on their home, The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis follows the story of their mortgage from lender to investment bank to investor in Europe. We learn how mortgage sales and securitizations became a trillion dollar
business, disconnecting the American borrower from the lender and de-humanizing the process.
The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis can be purchased on his website, or through Amazon.com for $12.95 for a paperback or $9.95 for an E-Book. If you are the parents of a young couple just starting out, this would be a wonderful gift to give. But everyone will learn something from it, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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