I again apologize for the rather unpredictable publishing of these musings. Between summer vacations and the Evil Web Mistresses’ travels, it’s been a bit of a mess.
Not to mention that I’ve yet to earn a sou from these writings. I know there must be a way to do that, but I’m either too lazy or to ignorant to produce.
That said, I must get you caught up on some recent ramblings:
I recently visited my son in Albuquerque. He’s closing in on this PhD in Psych and has become quite instructional in the ways of the world.
There’s a lot to be said for college towns, and the closer to campus you get the more vibrant the vibe. (OK, it’s somewhat redundant, but it’s true.)
Well, I thought I could get away with it.
Not writing a blog, that is.
Sadly, some of my demented followers have noticed the lack of enterprise in my part, and have complained about it. So here we go:
Ad lib of the week comes from my dear friend Ray Brown, pianist and former member of Group Four of the Four Freshmen.
We were sitting at The Boathouse in Valparaiso playing Buzztime Trivia, as we do ‘most every afternoon. (We’re good, and always up for a challenge.)
I’d brought out some jalapeno poppers from Pepper’s in Shalimar for the beautiful bartendress to enjoy, she being of enough nationalities that she liked spicy food. Picoso for you who speak the lingo.
So I opened the box, and asked Ray: “Would you like a popper?”
He said, “Hell yes. What time does she get off work?”
OK. On to more important things:
Sherriff Larry Ashley spoke to our local PR group recently, and had some interesting facts to share with us. Namely:
Three/fourths of accidents are made by distracted drivers.
How long will it take for the State of Florida to prohibit cell phone conversations and texting while driving to take force? The latter is a no-brainer, and the former is a no-thinker.
Ashley also made some good points on why bed taxes should be partially given to the Sheriff’s Office.
Agreed! As we say here, “Them visitors are causing problems and should pay for it!”
He also made a great point on how low our costs are here for law enforcement. We’re waaay below the Florida average. (Note to Larry: Start picking up folks who don’t drive with their lights on during rain. Between Shalimar and ValP two days ago I counted eight with no lights on and one with one headlight.)
There’s some serious bread to be made there.
On a more entrepreneurial note, I was scrolling through the June issue of Consumer Reports magazine and found a listing for “Sporting-goods stores.”
Being a bit of a sport, I thought I’d take a gander. (Goose would be too lascivious.)
Fourteen outlets were listed, and I was delighted to see Edwin Watts Golf Shops listed in second place behind whatever “Independent Stores/Golf shops are.”
Edwin and his brother, Ronnie, have created a world-wide presence here with their magic of selling quality golf clubs and other items. Worldwide.
Even though I’d known Edwin and his much-more-attractive wife, Mary, for many years, it wasn’t until I was visiting Orlando that I knew the scope of his fame.
I was in Orlando for a Four Freshmen reunion, which is a marvelous time for those of us who remember, “When popular music was good, and good music was popular.”
(I got that quote from famed Civil Rights leader Julian Bond who was at Harbor Docks to hear the quartet perform. He’s a huge fan.)
So I sponsored the lady I was seeing and her young daughter to a weekend in the Disney world while I enjoyed the Freshmen reunion.
Well, my baseball team, sadly the Chicago Cubs, was in the hunt for the National Central title, and I asked the concierge if there was a sports bar nearby. “Yes,” the nubile one replied; “Walk up the hill about two blocks and at the end of the strip mall there’s a wonderful sports bar.”
Walk I did, and was delighted to see dozens of cars parked there, Cubs fan all, I imagined.
Well, not so. Of the 16 television sets in the pub, they were all tuned to the World Cup Soccer Championships. Seems every male visitor from the continent was there to cheer on his team.
(I finally got the owner to turn on a 13” TV in the corner so I could watch my Cubbies lose.)
But back to Edwin Watts:
I’d struck up a friendship with two Scots who were there for the soccer. One had to translate for the other, so rich was his brogue.
The afternoon was made more memorable by a lovely Scottish lassie who jumped in my lap telling me how much she loved the dashiki I was wearing. (It’s was a gift from a happily-married bartendress who said she gave it to me, “Because you’re the only man in town who’d wear it.”)
But wear it I did, much to mine and the lassie’s delight.
Somehow the conversation turned to golf, and somehow Edwin Watts name came up. Not knowing he was the God of Golf I said I knew him:
“YOU KNOW EDWIN WATTS?!?!”
It was as if I knew the Christ Child.
So I allowed he was a wonderful guy, with a wonderful wife, who did a lot for our community and smiled a lot.
And I tried to tell this wonderful Scot he was just one of us, which was a bit awkward with the dashiki lady nibbling on my neck, but I did.
About that time Nibbling’s Boyfriend showed up. I’d guess 6’4’ and about 240 pounds. I turned to my new friend, Graeme Brown, and said, “It’s been great knowing you. Please call the Ramada and tell the ladies in room 435 my body is here.”
“Nay,” he said. “She’s going to dump him when we get back to Scotland.”
I countered with, “He doesn’t know that yet and I’m likely dead. Tell Edwin you did this to me. He’s a great guy.”
Well, as luck would have it, the Caber Thrower just moved down the bar, and I, extricated from the charms of whomever, bid farewell and went back to hear some great music, neck fairly intact.
Edwin, you’re a rock star.
And speaking of such, if you have a chance … and even if you don’t … please see “Redneck Riviera” at the Magnolia Grill this summer. It’ locally produced with some real pros on the book and the piano.
Kudos to writers Jim Lee and Liz Cain for dreaming up this wonderful look at ourselves.
I took my visiting Mormon brother to it, he knowing nothing of our bib-overalls history and he totally loved it. (He also had a dollop of Scotch whisky later.) Bad Bro!
I expected a cast of two, but instead there were a dozen entertainers, and each with a beautiful voice and swagger. ‘Tis not to be missed. 302-0266 for reservations.
Two mentions on the entertainment scene:
Retroactive featuring Susy Murphy and Norris Mealer are not to be missed, wherever they are. Norris is a great songwriter and singer and Susy has the most perfect voice since the late Karen Carpenter.
They mostly play in the Niceville/ValP arena, but do catch them. Outstanding duo!
And then there’s a place I’ve written about before: The Beal Street Bottle Club.
The rules are simple: pay ten bucks to get in, bring your bottle or wine or beer, and enjoy very inexpensive set ups. And also enjoy some great jazz/R&B on Friday and Saturday nights. The Latin Sound is there for you Thursday evenings.
I’m a music fan; been writing about it since high school. And have visited some of the great jazz joints of the world: Spotted Cat, SnugHarbor, and Preservation Hall in the Big Easy; Jazz Workshop and Cal Tjader’s Black Hawk in San Francisco (Saw Peggy Lee there), Blue Note in D.C., and an incredible Very Small venue in Prague that simply blew me away.
So let me say, again, that the Beal Street Bottle club has some of the Best Damn Jazz I’ve ever heard. It’s full of those Billy Joel moments: “What are you doing here?”
Check it out. The crowd is a wonderfully harmonious mix of blacks and whites, all listening to great music.
We close with this sign from a wonderful restaurant in Albuquerque, the Flying Star. You order at the counter, are given a numbered sign, and take a seat. The amazingly adroit staff relies on gratuities for their income, hence this sign on a tip jar:
SUPPORT COUNTER INTELLIGENCE