Post archives

I get a kick out of the Chiefs and culture wars

A long time ago on a gridiron far, far away, the Kansas City Chiefs were just some pro football team whose biggest controversy was quarterback Len Dawson smoking a cigarette at halftime of Super Bowl I.  Of course, back then, in 1967, Super Bowl tickets were just $12 and the stadium was only two-thirds full — probably because a third of the folks were lined up at the cigarette machines in the corridors while chugging their ice-cold Tab. Yes, folks smoked everywhere back then — on airplanes, in motel rooms, on television. Even Sheriff Andy Taylor smoked right there in

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My simple solution for America’s roads

The No. 1 song on the day I was born was “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles. I think that was supposed to be symbolic, but while my road has been quite winding, it’s actually been rather short and generally leads me around in circles through potholes and into occasional animals such as deer, stray dogs or David Allan Coe, whose mama also once got runned over by a damned ol’ train once. Or so I’ve heard. Fortunately, he was so drunk he barely noticed that he totaled my truck. The insurance company agreed to fix the front

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Protesters should ditch their tents for hammocks

On college campuses across America, little tent cities of kids addicted to protest culture are popping up and getting in the way of normal students who are engaging in far more common collegiate endeavors like racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt on their way to achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Taylor Swift studies or stealing rival Northwest Junior Central State University’s bulldog mascot so that North Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem can shoot it in the head. You know, normal college stuff that we’ll all laugh about someday.  If you watch Fox News, you might think

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VIDEO & GALLERY: Why we love Saint Simons Island

Short of having my own private Caribbean island, there’s really no place I’d rather relax by the ocean than on one of Georgia’s Golden Isles — specifically among them, Saint Simons Island. The place has maintained its notable history dating back to colonial times and pirate days while also providing modern comforts in the forms of restaurants, shops, roads, recreation and everything you would expect of a town with 16,000 residents. Its beaches are mostly compacted sand as a result of the wildly changing tides, but they allow for many more activities than most beaches. And because they get very

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Marking one year since I (officially) became a “Fruitcake”

I haven’t done a lot of radio through the years, but I’ve had a few stints in the booth providing genius analysis for high school and college sports, hyping my books, and one show dedicated exclusively to the artistry of mime that I guarantee you’ve never heard. Yet, the pinnacle of my radio life happened last year at this time when I did an episode of Radio Margaritaville’s “Fruitcakes on the Radio” in which Jimmy Buffett fans get to play and talk about a few of their favorite tunes. While I picked the song titles, they actually chose the versions

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Break out of your bubble and attempt to regain the ability to reason

Too many Americans live inside of partisan bubbles. In a country that is pretty much split 50/50 into two camps, that’s not a recipe for progress or getting much of anything done.  Worse, many Americans prefer to get their news from biased sources that present just one side of an issue as legitimate. As a former journalist, I know that there is always another side to the story. It may not be the right side. It may be an evil side. But there always is another side, and if you ignore it, you are sabotaging your own ability to reason.

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Why I voted in Georgia’s stupid primary

The process by which we select major parties’ presidential candidates in America is horribly flawed and unfair to most of us who don’t live in Iowa or New Hampshire — places that receive snow in mid-March and therefore should not be eligible.  We’ve known since 2023 that Trump and Biden would be nominees in 2024, and about 37 people in the U.S. are pretty excited about it — and at least one, Melania Trump, is downright disgusted about it.  In this photo from my office, though, are a few reasons why I took a minute during lunch today to vote

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In this age of dumb conspiracy theories, I have a few little ones of my own

We are now living in the age of conspiracy theories. It’s probably no coincidence that we’re also living in the age of dwindling journalism staffs, attacks on books, surging artificial intelligence capabilities and addiction to social media, where people believe headlines they see fly by on their phones whether they are from a conspiracy nut like Alex Jones or a serious source of investigative journalism like The Onion.  The latest fellow to come out as ignorant — though I do commend him for his bravery — is Tyler Owens, a defensive back from Texas Tech who recently made comments at

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Just a few more weary days and then …

When I was a kid, “The Jetsons” filled me with false hopes. I thought we’d all be working three-hour workweeks by now. I thought robots would do all the housework with only a slight bit of attitude. And I thought Judy Jetson would eventually be older than 15. (Oh, save your outrage — she was older than I was when I watched reruns of “The Jetsons” on my 13-inch black-and-white TV. She didn’t respond to any of my fan mail, anyway.) Granted, there are many visions of the future that did come to pass in some form or another —

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Another case of selective non-outrage

In the grand scheme of things, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s latest sideline meltdown is not a big deal. But in addition to behaving like an entitled 4-year-old hyped-up on Fun Dip and Pixy Stix whose parents won’t let him buy a Nerf gun at Wal-Mart, he did push Coach Andy Reid, who was able to stay upright thanks to the fact that he is a human Weeble Wobble.  The right thing to do would be for Kelce to issue a sincere apology instead of laughing it off, for the Chiefs to fine him and set a standard

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Breakdancing ain’t no substitute for football

As long as I can remember — which is usually about as far back as yesterday’s lunch — I’ve suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Granted, it’s probably way down the list of my disorders, but it’s about to kick in big time. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or as the winter blahs, is primarily caused by reduced hours of sunlight which was mandated by Obama-era officials trying to curb global warming. Fortunately, Donald Trump says that if he is elected, he will pass a note to his jail guard demanding that Congress pass a law creating 23 hours

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Here’s what’s really going on in Congress with the border

We have an immigration problem. We have a border problem. We’ve had these issues for many years. Fixing it may be like the quest to foment peace in the Middle East — never gonna happen. It is a problem. Fortunately, a few GOP folks worked with a few Democrats to craft some legislation that at least kinda sorta tries to address the problem. But they forgot that’s not how D.C. works anymore (and I use the term “works” loosely). The intent no longer is to address problems but instead to leverage them by assigning blame to the other side in

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Your Taylor Swift opinion speaks volumes … about you

I wonder how many men who are triggered by the lady on the left cheering at NFL games have also railed against women like the one cheering on the right. Many of these men claim that Taylor Swift is seeking out and relishing the attention even as she sits in stadium sky boxes and clearly loathes having TV cameras constantly following her around as she cheers for her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure the scantily clad lady on the right relishes the attention far more out there on the field and sidelines. Today, there are thousands upon thousands of girls watching

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Too much cussin’ ruffles feathers

I recently shared on my official Facebook page a blog post I penned about how ridiculous it was that Iowa and New Hampshire have so much power in determining our presidential candidates. Our primary process is stupid and unfair, and that goes for both Democrats and Republicans. Of course, comments spiraled into the typical “all Republicans are evil morons” and “all Democrats are crazy libtards” kind of useless comments in which they each try to own each other with simplistic insults — none of which had anything to do with the point of the post, which I suspect very few

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Quit hogging the election fun, Iowa and New Hampshire!

I’m sure Iowa is a lovely state when it’s not covered by two feet of snow, when it’s above 0 degrees, or when murderous children named Malachi and Isaac aren’t roaming its corn fields. (But, wait, Chris, wasn’t “Children of the Corn” set in Nebraska? That’s a dumb question because it doesn’t matter. Nebraska and Iowa are both the same giant cornfield, so it doesn’t make a difference.) It also doesn’t make a difference whom you prefer during presidential primary season unless you live in Iowa or some theoretical state called New Hampshire where Census records show that no one

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Big money sacks college football forever

Do I believe that collegiate athletes have the right to make money off their own name, image and likeness? Absolutely. Do I believe that collegiate athletes should have the right to switch from one school to another the way other students and coaches have been able to do through the years? Absolutely. Do I believe that all that money and all these transfers are going to ruin college football as we’ve known it? Abso-freakin-lutely. Oh well. It is what it is. Gone are the days where players gave a school their all for the love of the game, for the

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2024 — The Year in Preview

I’ve been doing my annual Year in Preview as long as I can remember. Then again, I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, so that’s not saying too much. (It likely was a possum sammich, but it could have been a bowl of squirrel and dumplings.) Folks tell me I’ve been providing this critical public prognostication service since the last millennium — I assume toward the end of the last millennium, but they weren’t overly specific. And I won’t be stopping anytime soon because when you have the gift for seeing into the future as I have, it

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TRAVEL VLOG: The new and improved El Salvador

I just returned from my second trip to El Salvador — two years apart — with The People Helping People Network and The Fuller Center for Housing. I’ve shared some impressions in the video below.  My main purpose was to capture some of the stories those two outstanding nonprofits are doing to empower and uplift Salvadoran families and how they are taking advantage of that hand-up to make their lives better. It’s a contagious success that can be seen throughout rural communities and in bustling San Salvador. Ms. Olympia (pictured above with yours truly) lives in a pitiful shack but

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Congress is becoming the new middle school — but less mature

Welcome to the November assembly of the Capitol Middle School Student Government Association. My name is Mr. Johnson, and as part of my probation, I’ve been ordered to guide you the rest of this year. It was either that or clean the orangutan area at Zoo Atlanta, so please don’t make me regret my decision. Yes, Marjorie? MARJORIE: I just wanted to … ME: Um, please stand up when addressing everyone. MARJORIE: I am! ME: Oh, OK. Proceed. MARJORIE: I have it on good authority — or as we say in my neighborhood, I seen it on them interwebs —

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Enter the crazy old uncle; exit the nuance

I’ve been asked the following questions many times, and I believe it’s time to set the record straight once and for all: Are you conservative or liberal? Are you pro-life or pro-abortion? Israel or the Palestinians? Do you support gun control or the 2nd Amendment? Frozen or on the rocks? The answers are, in order — yes, yes, yes, yes and frozen. In this age of extreme polarization, America has become a this-or-that society. There’s no room for discussion in the gray areas of complicated issues. There are really only two political parties at work … and, yes, I use

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The brrr-fect sleeping temperature

You folks in my neck of the woods may have noticed that the temperature has dipped a bit at night — temporarily, I’m sure. Granted, temperatures have dipped across much of the U.S., but when it gets down into the lower 30s in the South, even for just a night or two, folks around here basically act the way you normal folks would if they were stranded on the planet Hoth. I’m just kidding, of course. I’ve been out of the South many times, and y’all ain’t normal. I mean, sure, we’re crazy from the heat down here, but y’all

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A ruff morning at the pet-friendly hotel

The older I get, the less I like noise. Granted, “noise” is a relative term, but for me it means just about any sound that I don’t want to hear at that very moment. One of the noises I loathe is the incessantly barking dog. Now, I know some of you doggie lovers are having some knee-jerk reaction like, “He hates dogs! Who hates dogs?! Must love cats! Weirdo!” I don’t hate dogs. I don’t love cats. I merely hate noise. I actually like dogs if they understand when a bark or two is OK — such as when a

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Some old song titles just don’t cut it anymore

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the Speaker of the House, Ukraine, the border, inflation, Donald Trump’s legal woes, and President Biden’s sweet little attack dogs.  And now my head hurts. So, instead of writing a blog today, I’ve decided to tell you a little about my debut album. Yes, I strum a little guitar and sing like a ferret being run over by a garbage truck, so I’m totally qualified to make it in today’s music scene. Who knows? I could make it so big that I wind up dating Travis Kelce. My album is called,

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Minor issues like dress codes have a tendency to Fester

When I write about dress codes, a lot of folks — especially women, and specifically among this particular group of humans, my wife — tend to get all upset with my opinions on how folks should be able to dress.  With a few exceptions here and there, my general opinion is that you ought to be able to dress however you dang well please. I’ve always been the guy pushing dress codes to the limit. In school, I found board shorts that I could pull down just enough to barely meet our vice principal’s measuring stick to determine if they

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If y’all would stop being so gullible, that’d be just super-duper

There was a day and age when you could turn on the television and know that whatever you saw was absolutely 100 percent true — Walter Cronkite’s news, Oral Roberts’ warnings that God was gonna take him if you didn’t send enough cash, Georgia Championship Wrestling matches, and, most terrifyingly, that some weirdo named Mr. Whipple was going to accost you if you squeezed toilet paper at the grocery store. To this day, you still won’t find me squeezing toilet paper at the store. Today, though, we have 347 channels. In many ways, that can be a good thing. But

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Absolutists on both sides interfere with progress and understanding

Americans have become so polarized that they have pushed themselves into camps, built walls and locked their brains to the point that every issue to them is utterly simple. You’re an idiot if you get your news from that source. Republicans don’t care about the working class and poor. Democrats want to control you. Bud Light is indoctrinating your children. Everyone at the Capitol on Jan. 6 deserves to be in prison. Mickey Mouse is too woke. Dave Chappelle is a transphobe. Joe Biden runs a crime family. Bill Maher is an Islamophobe. These are the kinds of things you

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RIP, Jimmy Buffett. Please go hug a Parrot Head today. We need it.

For years, I’ve expected to get a notification that Jimmy Buffett had died. However, I thought it would be a seaplane crash, a sailboat sinking, a surfing accident or even a shark attack. It wasn’t supposed to be quiet and peaceful. But it was. He died quietly last night at the relatively young age of 76, surrounded by family, friends and his beloved dogs. The song “Margaritaville” came out when I was about seven years old. I liked it, but I was in my teens before the “Songs You Know By Heart” collection came out, and I realized this fella

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At least my sliver of intelligence ain’t artificial

(Photo: “Ex Machina,” 2014) Every day, I’m bombarded in the communications business about new ways I can use artificial intelligence to make my job easier. However, about the only artificial intelligence I truly enjoy is the AI that helps filter the emails about AI into my spam folder. I’m just not interested. I know there are a lot of folks sounding the alarm about how AI has the potential to steal all our jobs, take over the world and eventually wipe all of us humans off the face of the Earth. But I’m here to be the voice of reason

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Tracing my roots from jolly ol’ England to MY very own island

(Photo: My wife and I on the south side of Georgia’s beautiful Jekyll Island a few years ago.) “I’m a Derry Girl!” my wife Shellie shouted with her hands in the air after diving deep into the rabbit holes of her lineage at Ancestry.com. By the time she traced her maiden name of Hillhouse as far back as she could go, she found her roots in Scotland back in the 1500s, though her family spent much of the next 200 years in Ireland and Northern Ireland — including Derry. That’s the setting of “Derry Girls,” a brilliant series that ran

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Brief getaways are poor excuses for vacations

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a vacation. I mean a real vacation, not three or four days somewhere, but a real weeklong, good-luck-finding-me vacation away from everything. From my work and side projects to my wife’s work and spending time with the grandkids, a full week at St. Somewhere Off-the-Grid Can’t Nobody Find You Here All-Inclusive But Don’t Drink the Water Resort by the Sea just hasn’t proven feasible. To make up for that over the past few years, we’ve had a series of mini-vacations, often bundled around holidays like Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. I

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What big cities can learn from small towns … and vice versa

Photo: Generic small-town USA — not Oglethorpe, Georgia (which is much smaller) In the early 1980s, my dad had enough with living in the city. He’d grown up in the country, surrounded by farms, farm animals and farm folks. The land was green and the air was clean. But in the 1980s, the place we were living had too many paved streets, too much traffic, too many people, too many traffic lights and too much noise. We lived in Oglethorpe, Georgia, with its one traffic light and 1,000 residents — or, as my dad saw it, way too many. I

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Don’t go burnin’ your Barbies just yet

I generally see about one movie in the theater each year. I don’t like the expense, the crowds, the noise nor the inability to pause the movie. So, when I do go to the movies, it’s got to be something pretty spectacular like “Gone with the Wind,” “Star Wars” or “The Dukes of Hazzard.” So, of course, the first and probably only movie I see in the theater this year is … “Barbie.” Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that, either. When I found out they were making a Barbie movie, I wondered, sometimes aloud, “What kind of idiot is going to

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I like my small towns more Mayberry and less Jason Aldean-y

Dear Jason Aldean, I’m from a small town — an actual small town. I grew up in Oglethorpe, Georgia with a population of 1,000 people and 1 traffic light. I’ve been to your hometown of Macon, Georgia just up the road from my home here in Perry, Georgia. There is much I like about Macon, despite its crime issues. There are some great restaurants like the Fish n Pig, The Rookery, Famous Mike’s and Kudzu Seafood Company. Your town’s contributions to the music world are legendary — including Otis Redding, Little Richard and the Allman Brothers. I’ve enjoyed watching the

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Enjoy the little things — such as “the whole world”

(Photo: My 7-year-old grandson Jackson at Pine Mountain’s Dowdell’s Knob last week) Like most kids who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, I had the chore of mowing the yard. Not the lawn, mind you, but the yard — with its sticks and ant beds and pine cones and bahia grass that grew back 12 seconds later … and I got to do it all in 174-degree heat with 127-percent humidity.  Sometimes my dad would inspect the yard afterward. If he found a blade of grass that had been missed by the mower, I got to do the whole

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I need “trigger warnings” for a few things myself

I’ve written about how ridiculous both left-wing ultra-woke-ism and right-wing cancel culture snowflakeyness are. In doing so, I had four people agree with me, 237 left-wingers explain how I don’t have a right to my opinion and have caused them great emotional pain, and 326 right-wingers throw their Bud Lights at me while screaming that “Mermaids ain’t black!!” All of the responses led me to a groundbreaking conclusion: “Wow — 567 folks actually read my article! That’s a new record!” I’m just joking, of course. No one reads anymore. They more likely saw a picture and a headline and dang

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Ron DeSantis’ announcement speech text

Florida’s Mickey Mouse governor, Ron DeSantis, is making official what we’ve all known for months — he’s running for the GOP nomination for president. And I’ve got the copy of his official announcement speech: My fellow straight Floridians, my name is Ron DeSanctimonious and — um, dadgum, I can’t believe that stupid nickname is so catchy — I mean I’m Ron DeSantis, and I am officially announcing my candidacy for second place in the GOP nominating process. And with enough help from Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders, I could possibly ascend to the actual GOP nomination and become your next

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I bring you the message of optimism and hope we all need right now

I know it’s easy to get discouraged when you turn on the news these days — and not just because it’s a commercial break and they’re listing all the side effects for that new clear skin drug Flamoxidedrinaltine. But, yea, I insist be optimistic and hopeful still. No one will notice your explosive diarrhea because they are going to be so distracted by your clear skin. Granted, they may not let you carpool with them again, but still … Yes, politicians are playing chicken over the debt ceiling and are willing to sacrifice your financial security if that’s what it

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The surest sign yet that America is messed up

People who think America has crossed the Rubicon into permanent dysfunction and division point to such things as a broken two-party system, money in politics, out-of-control debt, gender identity and cartoon mice as prime examples to support their opinion. Granted, the folks who are most worried about gender identity and which bathroom trans people use also are the people who just read my first sentence and are telling somebody, “Yeah, I got me one of dem Rubicon cubes back in the ’80s. Only way I could solve it was with a screwdriver!” “I heered that!” Unfortunately, I, too, now believe

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How you can use the Facebook settlement to send a message

By now, you’ve probably heard that Facebook has settled its case involving the sharing of its users’ data with Cambridge Analytica, whose clients included the 2016 presidential campaigns of both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Those campaigns allegedly used the harvested data from Facebook to build pyschographic profiles of those whom they could target with their social media advertising. A lot of that information came to light during the “Russia Russia Russia hoax” that Trump likes to also call a “witch hunt” — a “witch hunt” that found a whole bunch of witches, just not Trump. Now, I never believed

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AI does have some exciting possibilities; just ask Yul Brynner and Dianne Feinstein

A lot of folks — well, mainly Tucker Carlson and an almost lifelike, doughy robot named Elon Musk — are very worried about AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over the world and destroying humanity … as if humans weren’t entirely capable of doing it themselves. Yes, they’re terrified of AI but think climate change — something that is verifiable and measurable — is a hoax and quite humorous. I’m not terrified of climate change or AI. Yes, I know climate change is real, but I’m teaching my grandchildren to swim so that they can handle sea level rise even after they

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Too bad that racist trainer wasn’t at a loss for words; I sure am

I have a confession to make: I’m white. Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you all the moves I learned from my “Learn to Breakdance” poster I had back in 1983. See, check this out: Watch me moonwalk. Check out this headspin. Now, the windmill! See, I told you. In fact, that last move wasn’t even a windmill — I was just dizzy from being way too heavy to do a headspin. Dadgum! I’m out of breath! Because I’m white, I can joke about white people in general. Jewish comedians

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Am I banished from all the Wal-Marts or just the Americus one?

AMERICUS, Georgia — Just in case I show up on one of those “People of Wal-Mart” videos or something, allow me to explain myself. (I’ll be the guy not wearing pajamas, by the way.) My mom had her heart set on a little electric lawnmower that was available at a place called Wal-Mart. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Like most folks, I try to avoid that store as much as possible, but this little sucker was clearance-priced at $156. Even for an electric lawnmower that’s just a small step above toys like that kid’s mower that blows bubbles, that was

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Radio Margaritaville confirms that, yes, I’m a Fruitcake

I have reached the pinnacle of existence for a slim-on-talent Parrot Head. I have become an official Fruitcake — as opposed to the unofficial fruitcake most folks have always believed me to be.  If you tune in to Radio Margaritaville on Thursday, April 6, at 10 a.m. EDT, you will hear me take it over for a bit as a “Fruitcake on the Radio.” You can hear the half-hour segment on SiriusXM Channel 24, Dish Network Music Channel 6031, or by clicking here for Radio Margaritaville’s free live stream. Radio Margaritaville averages more than 3 million weekly listeners. (The segment

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Are they scared of drag queens, books or both?

When I got married on Key West’s Smather’s Beach back in 2012, the honeymoon opportunities were pretty endless. My preferred outing was a snorkeling excursion in which a catamaran dropped us off over a stunning coral reef. It was also the first time my wife tried to strangle me as she climbed upon my back with her arms around my neck when a 5-foot reef shark swam right in front of us. The first time your wife tries to kill you is always the most memorable, especially when it’s in such a beautiful tropical location.  Later, my wife got to

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It was probably time to turn the page anyway

For the first time in nearly 34 years, since June of 1989, I am no longer employed by a newspaper. The editors said they do not believe my column fits with the direction they want to go, so my very part-time position has been eliminated. That’s certainly their prerogative, and we are parting ways on positive terms. I wish the Ledger-Enquirer well. Newspapers are struggling amid competition from online media and Americans’ growing preference for propaganda and bubble-thinking affirmation over information. Newspapers are the torch-bearers for local journalism. The smaller the community, the more it’s true. As more newspapers fade

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Be nice to those grocery store workers!

My first real job was in 1986 at the C-Mart, an IGA grocery store in Oglethorpe, Georgia. I was paid $3.25 an hour — which seemed like a pretty decent wage when I typed that until I realized that I forgot to hold the shift key while trying to get that $ symbol, meaning that for a moment I was making a respectable 43.25. Actually, 43.25 an hour would have been more fair because to this day that’s probably the toughest job I’ve ever had. Fortunately, I was able to bridge the gap between the legal minimum wage in 1986

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Politicians’ latest game in D.C. is a pain in the ice

Sorry to interrupt your “work” as you try to keep an eye on that pivotal March Madness first-round matchup between Grand Canyon University and Sewage Ditch Community College, but that’s hardly the biggest sports story of the month.  Nor did the biggest sports story come from the NFL Combine, where Southwest Mississippi guard Bubba Squashmeyer ran a 2:04.45, which would have set a new record had it been the New York City Marathon and not the 40-yard dash. Fortunately, he did set a new physical measurement mark with a 95-inch neck, breaking the record held for more than four decades

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Positives from the pandemic — three years later

Exactly when and how Covid-19 first started is a mystery, but we’re making some definitive progress on figuring it out because in America job No. 1 in any situation is to find somebody to blame. Recent analyses by various U.S. government agencies have recently concluded with a low degree of 33 percent certainty that it maybe might have possibly started when a lab assistant at the Wuhan Lab in China picked up a flying fox bat and side of fries from the Wet Market Drive-Thru on his way home from work after meeting with visiting American immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci,

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2023: The Year in Preview

It’s that time of year again when folks begin coming up to me on the street, in the grocery store, wherever I may be to ask, “Oh, great sage and foreseer of the future, when might you bless us with your annual peek into the year ahead?” To which, I’ll give my standard reply to anyone who attempts to talk to me: “Sorry, I don’t visit.” Alas, that time has come. I’ll now give you some of the key moments in 2023 while, of course, not spoiling all of the surprises. After all, wouldn’t you rather be surprised when the

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Don’t be a drag, Lil’ Snowflake

Photo: At least Milton Berle and Bob Hope had the decency to not read books. Today I’d like to talk about Lil Nas X. If it seems a little quiet here, that’s because all the racists just quit reading after the word “Lil,” and all the homophobes left after the word “Nas.” And anybody who likes decent music left after the “X.” The only reason I’m still here is because I’m getting paid big-time money to write it. And the only reason you’re still here is because your computer froze up and no matter how many times you click the

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Travel vlog and gallery: Apalachicola and Saint George Island, Florida

We just spent three nights in Apalachicola, Florida July 14-16, and here’s a sampling of what we experienced on our first trip to the “Oyster Capital of the World” and nearby Saint George Island, rated one of the top 10 beaches in the United States … for a reason. Check out the video and photo gallery from the trip and then see links at the bottom of this post.   Captain Jack Frye The Bowery Inn Frost Pottery Garden

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In 2033, I land an exclusive interview with our favorite expatriated American

When you’re a part-time newspaper columnist like me, one of the advantages is the untold riches those 25 minutes of weekly work brings and the capacity to buy anything you want. I bought a time machine. Sure, I could go back in time and kill baby Hitler or go forward to get next week’s lottery numbers, but, again, I am already filthy rich — not rich enough to buy (or maybe not) Twitter but enough to buy (or maybe not) Parler. I’d let you borrow my time machine, but it’s a stick shift, and the air-conditioner doesn’t work. (Again, just

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TRAVELOGUE: Dear Utah, sorry for all the jokes

Visiting Ensign Peak, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City and the surrounding valley (Note: Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this post. Heck, no one reads anymore, so go ahead and check it out now if you want.) I know this is going to surprise a lot of folks, but I don’t have a lot of close friends. Yes, I know a lot of folks who I would say “yes” if anyone asked if they were a friend of mine. And, thanks to having worked in the newspaper business and then with an international nonprofit,

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2022: The Year in Preview

When your year begins with an exciting live-action episode of “The Walking Dead” filmed at the U.S. Capitol with thousands of frothing-at-the-mouth, brainless zombies, you know it’s going to be an interesting year. And 2021 certainly was that. But it’s time to put all that behind us — even though lawmakers are still investigating the January 6 insurrection, former President Trump is still pretending he won the 2020 election, and CNN complains that people give Trump too much airtime while never going three minutes without using the word “Trump.” Unfortunately, 2022 is shaping up to be much, much more of

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Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” interesting, but falls short of “McCartney 3, 2, 1”

As a child of Baby Boomers, I grew up hearing a lot of music by The Beatles, a band that broke up shortly before I was born. As I grew up, I was more and more amazed by how much music The Beatles produced in such a short window of existence as a band and how anyone could just give that up after basically just a decade of work. So I’ve been eagerly awaiting “Get Back,” the three-part rock doc by Peter Jackson about The Beatles’ rapid, chaotic production of their final album, and the work leading up to their

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TRAVELOGUE: Chillin’ with manatees in Wakulla Springs, Florida

When we get a three-day weekend, my wife and I like to get away — a little bit away, that is. We don’t want to spend half the weekend driving, but we want to get far enough away to feel like a real getaway. As much as we like staying home, you’ve got to have a little balance. While pondering what to do for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend last month, we wanted to experience something different. Georgia’s Golden Isles are our regular go-to destination, but we had just been there around the Veterans Day holiday in November.

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2021: The Year in Preview

I’ve been doing my Year in Preview for a long time. Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean. Higher than any bird ever flew. Wait. Sorry. I’ve got some song stuck in my head. Damn you, Dan Fogelberg! That was the problem with 2020. I got COVID, and brain fog is one of the after-effects. Worse than that, I didn’t see it coming in my 2020 Year in Preview, the first one I’ve ever gotten even 1 percent wrong. That means that I’ve got to get my 2021 predictions absolutely perfect this time. I’ve got to improve my average

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Happy birthday, Mr. Jimmy!

If you’re so blinded by partisanship and years of propaganda that you can’t see a totally apolitical mention of former President Jimmy Carter without some sort of knee-jerk negative comment about his presidential term (even guised in an otherwise positive comment such as “I didn’t like him as president, but he is a decent man.”), you probably should move on. This ain’t about politics, and there ain’t nothing here for anyone to argue about. This is about a man dedicated to making the world a better place. It’s also about a man who is pretty down-to-earth, literally as a farmer,

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My 50 favorite Jimmy Buffett songs not named “Margaritaville” … in no particular order

Today is my 50th birthday. I’m writing this in advance, though, so just in case I died before this automatically posted, well, today would have been my 50th birthday. But let’s assume I’m still here. It just makes me feel better. Because it’s my 50th birthday, you can bet I’m at the beach. It won’t be a crowded beach, and I’ll be socially distancing just as I have my previous 49 years of going to the beach. There are margaritas flowing, something on the grill, and tropical music — especially a lot of tunes from Jimmy Buffett, who has provided

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2020: The Year in Preview

When most folks make predictions, they are merely guessing. But when I make predictions — especially about something as important and as annual as my Year in Preview — know that I am not merely guessing. Puh-leeze! I’m no amateur here. I’m guessing and throwing two tennis balls against a wall, each ball with a prediction about a topic of major importance. Then I send ol’ Blue here, a hound dog with the ability to foretell the future, to chase the balls. Whichever one he pees on is the prediction I announce. By the time I get around to predicting

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Lost shaker of salt might be in Scotland

When my son first left for Scotland just before the fall of 2018 to follow his dream of studying at the University of Stirling, I just knew he’d be terribly homesick for everything about America, including his family. He was … for about 27 seconds. He’s fallen in love with the place. The Scots have stolen my son. He’s happy, though, and getting a good education, and that’s all I really care about. It’s not my life to live. But I’m glad to see that he hasn’t completely forgotten dear old dad. I know because he texted me yesterday morning

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TRAVELOGUE: Memphis, Elvis, BBQ and the birth of rock ‘n’ roll

About 10 days ago, I set out for a place I’d never been — Memphis, Tennessee — with a couple of women who are big fans of some guy named Elvis Presley, who is some sort of music or movie star, or a gas station attendant, depending on what magazine covers you like to peruse in the supermarket checkout aisle. My Mom and my wife Shellie are both Elvis fans, so this trip was for them — especially my Mom who recently had a milestone birthday. My Mom is such a huge Elvis fan that my son hated to break

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No Margaritaville in North Korea

I wasn’t exactly a world traveler when I joined The Fuller Center for Housing in June of 2011 — unless you count that one night in Windsor, Canada, when I nearly missed the last bus of the night back into Detroit. The bus went through a tunnel under the Detroit River, which I found a wee bit disturbing. But one of my first tasks with The Fuller Center was to get myself a passport. The Fuller Center works all around the world — in faraway places like Nepal, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India and a few African countries

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An apolitical look at a hot-button political issue — illegal immigration

Whether you chant “Build the wall!,” support sanctuary cities or lie anywhere in between on the issue of illegal immigration, you have to know that there’s no simple fix or magic bullet that solves most problems, especially one this complicated. But no matter where you stand on this issue, here’s something we likely can all agree on: If folks are perfectly happy at home — wherever that may be — they probably will not want to leave. They certainly wouldn’t want to embark upon a treacherous journey full of unknowns to sneak into the United States if their home is safe

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Twenty-five years ago, the ink got in my veins for real in Valdosta

It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago this month I became a full-time newspaperman, taking an entry-level sportswriting job down in Valdosta, Georgia — the high school football mecca just above the Florida state line. Granted, I’d had part-time newspaper gigs for a couple of years before that as a sportswriter in Americus and Montezuma, but Valdosta was the first real job. It was owned by a company called Thomson Newspapers back then, which had a reputation for being cheap and paying terribly — which I found to be completely, 100 percent true. But those couple of years in Valdosta were

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Prince: Another legend I’m glad I witnessed

My parents saw him as the purple pervert. Critics lauded him as a groundbreaking genius. His peers either loved him or were insanely jealous (Rick James). But I just loved the music. I finally got to see Prince live in Atlanta about 10 years ago, and it remains the best concert I’ve ever seen. I figured a legend like that could kinda mail it in, but he went above and beyond with a show that lasted more than two hours. And when the entire band disappeared into the stage for intermission, Prince re-emerged by himself with an acoustic guitar and performed

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Remembering Merle Haggard and the Silver Moon

I’m not a fan of today’s country music — or today’s pop, rap, rock or R&B, for that matter — but I love some old-school country. So I was among the many sad to hear of the passing of the legendary Merle Haggard today on his 79th birthday. I saw Merle Haggard and the Strangers perform live 22 years ago at the perfect venue for such a show — the massive Silver Moon, a huge honky-tonk a few miles south of Buena Vista, Georgia. It truly was the middle of nowhere, but it hosted some big country music acts during

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Happy 75th birthday, Linda Fuller: There’s an important note about women here

Linda Fuller might very well be one of the most important women leaders of the last 50 years. If you haven’t heard of her, that’s probably got a lot to do with the fact that she doesn’t seek attention for herself — only for issues about which she cares deeply. One of those issues is simple, decent, affordable housing. You probably have heard of Habitat for Humanity and you should hear about The Fuller Center for Housing. But you wouldn’t have heard of either if it were not for Linda Fuller. They wouldn’t exist. And hundreds of thousands of families

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Cute kids in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua

I’ve had the opportunity to work in the quaint Nicaraguan fishing village of Las Peñitas on two different weeklong trips. I’ve never been anywhere else that the kids are so poor, yet so happy. They’re happier than our kids here in the United States who have so much more. I was in Nicaragua last month, and you can see more photos I took during that trip here.

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