Notes From The Beach: What The Hell, Man?

Beach Feet

Not to be a crybaby here, but it’s so much worse than it looks.

I thought I had a good deal going with the beach. I’ll overpay for stupid fruity drinks, not complain that you haven’t added a lane to the one road you have in years despite the fact that you keep adding hotel rooms at an astonishing rate, not complain that you serve as a dumping ground for all the corked or baked wine in the southeast, not mind the rain, and all the beach has to do is not beset me with swarms of biting stealth sea mosquitos. I was wrong.

I honestly have no idea what happened. There was no moment of attack that I can remember. I only know that after a day when, due to rain and cooking, the only time I had to wander into the water was around 9pm. My wife and I took a stroll along the coast, letting the waves lap at our feet. The next day, I’ve got constellations of what I would have assumed were fire ant bites had I not known better.

In a way I’m kind of impressed. Whatever insectoid hive mind general led the campaign against my feet was careful to make sure that each toe was individually assaulted. I admire that kind of attention to detail. Continue reading

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Notes From The Beach: Vin’tij Is Just So Good

Vintij Wine

Forgot to take a picture of the restaurant, but we came home with this.

If you know me, you know that I’m a fairly live and let live guy. I approach life and people with, not an open mind – I feel like the entire idea of an open mind is to eventually close on some truth here and there – but with curiosity. I might find what you do and how you live your life to be absolutely stupid, but I recognize that you don’t feel that way. Epistemological humility makes we want to know why you think the way you do, and by extension, why I think the way I do. I love talking to people I consider odd or even downright deplorable.

Occasionally outside forces re-orient the way we think. This time, it was honey-bourbon and Scotch. Possibly some beer too.

It was three years ago and I was looking for the best lunch with a decent wine list in Destin. My family meets with an extended network of uncles and aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews at the shore every year and we set up a moveable feast – each family hosting the others one night and on to another the next. Lunch was always a catch as you can deal and a few of us were wondering what kind of offerings the local scene could put forth. I let Facebook be my guide and the overwhelming response from the 30A savvy social media was Vin’tij, a small bistro attached to a wine shop a few miles east of where we usually stay.

I rankled at the spelling changes re “vintage.” A bit too cutesy for my tastes, but the recommendations were beyond exemplary, almost into the range of emphatic. I championed the restaurant to my travelling companions. It was all based on strangers’ recommendations, but I was interested. Paul writing to the Euphesians was not as zealous as me. That’s not true, but I was pretty excited about trying this place. Continue reading

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Notes From the Beach: Dear Beer Cozy People, Leave Us Non-Beer Cozy People Alone.

Before we get started, let me address the not yet voiced objBeer Cozyection my one reader has while it’s still in that incunabular lizard brain outrage that takes form when wrong-headed conventions are challenged. It’s “Cozy.” Not “Koozie.”

As a reddit page entitled “Koozie or Cozy,” because of course there is a reddit page entitled “Koozie or Cozy” the word “Koozie” is a trademark like “Kleenex.” And while it is perfectly acceptable to colloquially refer to a class of anything by a trademarked name of a prominent or exemplary member of that class – around these part the question “What kind of Coke do you want?” is acceptably answered by “Sprite” or “Mellow Yellow” – it does hint to the listener that you spent most of high school English period out back smoking with the janitors.

So, just to give my quotation mark button on my keyboard another click in a post where it’s already seen more action than it’s used to, the correct term is “Cozy.” Object all you want, but I’ve appealed to authority and reddit nerds have spoken.

Back to the point, I understand that some people are annoyed by the cool sensation of a cold beer in their hand, that some dislike the condensation that forms on the outside of a can in the warm summer months – it might get water on your perfect pants etc. – and want to be shielded from whatever ill effects contact with moisture may present. I’m not one of you.  Continue reading

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An Oasis in the Desert

CaptureIt’s not a real game, but the Alabama Spring scrimmage was last weekend. If you saw it, as a fan, you’d likely have been simultaneously thrilled about our downfield passing and concerned about how our defensive backs covered the long ball. Practice games are like that.

Anyway, I stayed true to my commitments and posted a tailgating recipe over at the Rah-Rah Football site. It’s a hack on sous vide that I desperately want to take credit for, but all the laurels belong to Kenji Lopez-Alt. His book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, is excellent if you haven’t read it yet.

The long and short of things are that I cooked a couple of steaks in my Coleman cooler. That was a new one for me.

128 days left until the season begins. /Sigh.

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Remain Calm!

Pocket knifeIt’s an extraordinarily nasty day today in Birmingham. Meagan, the local weather lady, tells me that it’s sixty degrees outside and thunderstorms are going to be the norm until at least two in the afternoon. Drivers are cautioned to beware of “puddling,” a term I’d not heard of until this morning but has its own color coded map warning so it must be a thing. The day simultaneously is treacherous and dull.

But none of that matters. I found my pocket knife. Continue reading

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From Russia with Malice

pussy-riot-tweetThough they admit there are a few loose ends to tie up, the CIA seems pretty sure that the Russian government was behind some hacking that may or may not have had an effect on last month’s presidential election. If true, this is pretty serious stuff. We don’t need foreign actors messing about in our republic’s democratic process (I’m looking at you Shatner.)

I have no idea what manner of consequences we are capable of leveling at a meddling Russia, but if these accusations are true I imagine that something cyber-squirrelly will happen to the assets of a handful of Putin crony’s banks and other concerns. I would hope any retaliation to be heavy handed and easily deniable. Continue reading

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No One at ABC/ESPN Seems to Have Read Homer or Virgil.

Or at least not the Odyssey or the Aeneid. I’m not sure how else to explain their actions.

bama-helmetAround the twenty-ninth minute of last Saturday’s broadcast of the Alabama vs. USC  game they ran a series of graphics. The first, seen to the right, of a helmet with the number fifteen on it was paired with a few lines about how Alabama proved it’s dynastic status with a fifteenth national championship.

When the next graphic popped up, the wheels came off and, if the game crowd everyone else was watching with was anything like the one I was watching with, you and your friends added to the collective laughter as you looked at one another and said “What the hell?”

Continue reading

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Tacos for the USC vs. Alabama Game… A Day Late.

CaptureAt least for this venue. The Rah- Rah football site etc. had it all ready for pre-game degustation. Were I a superstitious person I might suggest that all Alabama fans eat tacos for every meal and nothing else. Yesterday’s 52-6 drubbing was the worst absorbed by USC since their 1966 meeting with Notre Dame where the Trojans were drubbed 51-0.

There was some fun, non taco related trolling post game here. But what does a former coach who was literally left on the tarmac by his school after being fired do when he gets the chance to play said former school? Per Ivan Maisel at ESPN:

On that early-fourth-quarter play, Kiffin sent wide receiver Gehrig Dieter into the game and had Barnett launch it deep. If USC head coach Clay Helton was fuming, he had nothing on Saban’s sideline reaction. Saban went over with his palms out and chastised Kiffin.

Alabama threw one more pass the rest of the game.


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Pre-Season Tailgating Recipes Even Though The Season Is Here

CaptureSo I threw this up with the idea of introducing new readers of the Rah- Rah Football site to the pretended glories that make up RBR Tailgating. I’m posting them here after the season began because… I’m not a good web site caretaker. Sorry about that.

Anyway, this post has a really nice recipe for beef carpaccio and a super savory bone marrow toast spread. Most importantly, and I need to be very clear about this, it does not encourage readers to engage in auto-erotic asphyxiation or heroin use in any way. In fact it goes quite clearly out of its way to discourage the practices.

Happy upcoming football season everybody, even though it’s already underway (52 – 6, if you haven’t noticed.)

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Notes From The Beach, Part Deux

Choppy BeachThe seas were angry that day my friends.

Seriously, they were. I don’t know if you can make it out from the picture, but those waves are running as close to perpendicular to the shore line as I’ve ever seen. Red flags are flying and three year old little boys are rightly asking if we can just play in the pool. Or watch a movie. I’m shocked that this is coming from my keyboard, but God bless Pixar.

There are other angry seas to navigate down here in paradise. Continue reading

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