My Tips For The Obama’s Gulf Coast Vacation

014-060414 Dear First family:

You have taken a beating lately about the number of vacations you have taken and your choices of holiday destinations.  It has come to my attention that you are planning a short trip to the gulf coast, fulfilling a promise made earlier in the year.  A most excellent choice.  Being a lifelong visitor to the northwest Florida and Alabama coasts, if I may, I’d like to suggest a few pointers to help you have a good time and do a little salt-of-the-earth PR fence mending at the same time.

1. DO NOT go to Seaside, The Beaches of South Walton, or even Destin.  We’re trying to project an image here.  You COULD do Grand Isle (they have suffered the most) or Gulf Shores (FloraBama!), but I would suggest the perfect compromise: Fort Walton Beach.  It’s a good combination of classy and tacky, and is a military town to boot!

2. You could get a nice condo on the island, but I’d suggest the Four Points Sheraton .  You can’t miss the place, it’s the first one you see after you cross the Brooks Bridge.  The Holiday Inn is nice, too.  Much better than the old Playground Motel in town (don’t ask me how I know).

3. Make sure to walk across the street to Fudpuckers (the original).   Order a Fudburger and Bud (let’s skip the Heinies and Blue Moons this time), and I’d suggest  an Ultimate Fish Pucker for Michelle.  There is a wonderful menu for the kids as well.  Make sure to grab a "You ain’t been pucked till you’ve been Fudpucked!" T-shirt for Malia.  Her classmates at Sidwell Friends will love it!

4.  You probably don’t own any plastic flip-flops or inflatable dolphins, but there is a Wings souvenir shop on just about every corner.  If you MUST go high-rent, try Alvin’s Island.

5. Visit the Gulfarium to see what’s left of the gulf sea life.  It really is a fascinating place.

6.  While Michelle and the girls are gathering sea shells and tar balls, give a visit to the Green Frog.  (wait – I’ll bet Bill Clinton’s already told you about that one).

7. Instead of chartering a boat, throw a line off the Okaloosa Island Pier.  Take Rahm and bring a case of Bud, because the fishing stinks this time of year there.  Strike up a conversation with the little old Vietnamese ladies with the live bait.  They could teach you a thing or two about patience.

8. After a long day drinking beer at the beach and throwing down a few more with your dinner at Pandora’s, make a 2am run to Waffle House.  Knowing what "scattered, smothered, and covered" means is worth 2 points in the polls.  Actually eating it is worth 3.

9. You’ll learn this pretty quickly, but you have to walk Emerald Coast sand barefoot.  The sand is far more fine and powdery than anywhere else, especially Martha’s Vineyard.  Also, you will be getting it out of your limo, Air Force One, and various body parts for months to come.  Fort Walton Beach sand is the gift that keeps on giving.

10. Sasha absolutely, positively MUST get a henna tattoo. 

Snow Big Deal

In tribute to recent weather events.

Kudos to Vince Pinkerton for another awesome video.

Of course this song is available on our latest CD, “On The Air”. More info at the X-Alt Website.

Premature Mockulation

So, we all got a good yuk out of the local schools closing today (many of them announcing it yesterday afternoon). Being known for my good-natured jokes about Nashville snow-panic, I had a ball this morning when it turned out there was no snow.

The weather made one final charge in mid-day, spitting out a dusting of snow. To me, it just made the joke funnier.

After about an hour of this, my employer, trying to live up to its reputation as a big, evil, ruthless company, announced that they were closing the office, to keep emplyoees safe if conditions worsened.

As much as I enjoyed the time off, it became even more of a joke to me as I drove home on West End. Nothing – just wet streets.

It was all very amusing…

Until I turned onto my street. You see, I live on Mt Crumpet, sometimes known around these parts as Nine Mile Hill. Suddenly, as I drove around curve after curve, the snow was actually sticking to the streets.

But I made it to my driveway. Most of my driveway is straight up, I’d say pretty much a 60-75 degree angle all the way. And it was covered in snow.

What the?

Regardless, I figured my xB could take it. The key words here being “xB’, “steep hill”, and “snow”.

I made it a quarter of the way, then my wheels started spinning. I stopped. I started sliding back down. The car came to a stop after about 10 feet of this, which is a good thing, because I would have ended up in the football field across the street had intertia had its way.

Well, now, this is embarassing. Luckily, I was able to shovel a path in the drive, just to the left of where my tires had already been (already packed down to ice — what an idiot).

I was able (barely) to get my car up the draveway and into the garage.

By the time Lintilla gets home, it will have all refrozen (along with much of the streets of Nashville). She probably will be a little wiser about it than I.

The lesson? Don’t mock the locals till you’ve checked your own driveway.

Momma’s Karma

My son is off at a school retreat this week in a remote part of the state.  It’s a state park up near Kentucky and was hit pretty hard by the ice storm, for those of you who know the area.

So, the kids have 30 minutes a day where they let them have their cell phones to call their parents.  I have the schedule on the fridge, so I wait each evening for a call.

It’s the 3rd day, and so far, nothing.

Mom, if you are reading this, stop laughing.  I get it.  Your curse worked.

If I call you tomorrow night, will you please lift the darned curse?  I know it’s ironic and funny, but I’d really like to know how he’s doing.

I know, I know.  Join the club.   Sorry, Mom.

I Don’t Care Who You Are, That’s Funny

From National Review’s Andrew Stuttaford:

Look, I don’t blame Michael Phelps for apologizing. He has a living to earn, so he did what he had to do.
In the meantime, I merely note that this broken wreck of a man’s failure to win any more than a pathetic fourteen Olympic gold medals (so far) is a terrifying warning of the horrific damage that cannabis can do to someone’s health—and a powerful reminder of just how sensible the drug laws really are.

(Note: no endorsement or condemnation of the views expressed in the quoted passage are implied.  I just love a good biting wit!)

(Note: the previous disclaimer was just in case my mother or pastor is reading this).

Posted in Humor. 2 Comments »

Save Me, Leroy

I may never buy another Toyota product again.

No, this isn’t going to be a rant about how my water pump went out and I couldn’t get decent customer service.  I mean, come on – it’s Toyota.  I have a Scion xB (really, a quirky Camry), and I couldn’t be happier with it.

No, my ire is reserved for the guy who thought it would be a good idea to make promotional ads for Toyota dealers using the song by the Fixx, “Saved By Zero”, and the schedule it to play in EVERY local break in EVERY broadcast.

I hate that song.

Don’t get me wrong, I loves the Fixx.  Especially the song they recorded with Tina Turner, Better Be Good To Me.  In fact, I pretty much love everything they ever released.  Except for Saved By Zero.  I’m so over the melancholy 80’s vibe, with airy pad keyboards, whiny, oh-so introspective vocals, and heavily chorused guitar.

Every band I love does it.  They record a clunker that doesn’t live up to the standards of their other music, and of course, some studio honcho thinks he hears a single and releases the clunker into heavy rotation.

Emotional Rescue, anyone?  Or maybe All You Zombies?

Anyway, I watch a LOT of TV (much of it sports, but who’s counting).  Even with a DVR, it’s impossible to escape this stupid commercial.  And now, it’s become a family earworm.  My kids know only the second line of the chorus “…saved by zeeerrroooo…”  And they sing it constantly.

And, of course, I got the earworm too.

The only thing that’s saved me is that I intentionally changed the lyrics to “saved by Leroy” to make it bearable.  Now, I go around singing, “Saved by Leroy” all the time, and it’s driving my wife crazy.  My kids have picked it up, too.

We now have a love-hate relationship with Leroy.

I’m going to hunt down the Madison Avenue idiot who thought this was a good idea, strap him to a chair, and make him listen to Do You Think I’m Sexy.

I’ll let him go after maybe 15,000 plays.

Here’s the aforementioned Tina Turner / Fixx song, to make us all feel better:

Posted in Humor. 2 Comments »


For the second time in as many years, it has happened.  Last week, we met with our kids’ teachers.  The one concern, out of all the meetings for both kids, was Zaphod’s algebra homework.  The teacher said that he tests well, but he turns in incomplete answers on his homework because he doesn’t properly follow directions.

(I should add here that the kids are doing just fine.  This was a singular nitpick)

Now, Zaphod does his homework in the car on the way home (in order to free up time for important things like video games), so my solution was simple: no homework till he gets, well, home.  Also, I would start checking his algebra homework daily. 

(Lintilla has already given up, because algebra wasn’t her strong suit 30 years ago – she doesn’t remember any of it now.  But, the stuff Zaphod is working on is about at the level I use every day in my line of work – that’s kind of sad when you think about it.)

Anyway, Monday was the first day of this new policy.  And just like last year, when he got his grade, he got more answers wrong on the homework I had checked than any homework he had done previously.

It’s not that I don’t know the material.  My work programs use much of the same algebraic logic, and they work just fine, thank you.  No, I think what’s going on is that Zaphod gets his habit of not understanding instructions from me.  Many of you probably already know this from episodes of my responding on your blogs to things you didn’t say.  For a man with a flair for spouting flowery prose, my comprehension skills are crap.

Now, I have to write the humiliating email to the teacher, explaining why my son is now on his own when it comes to math homework.  If I want him to get good grades, I need to stay as far away as possible.

It is a good thing to get knocked down a notch or two every now and then.  We often become so full of ourselves, we refuse to see that maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do.

I pray you get the same epiphany, no matter how painful it might be in the moment.