“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Texas Panhandle Journal: Post #2994
Sunday, June 28, 2009

1. They don't have Texan accents way up here in this part of the state. They sound more like Coloradoans. (Incidentally, Colorado natives don't much like Texans. I remember when I was a Colorado kid, it seemed that every other person you ran into on a ski slope was a Texan. Hence the popular T-shirt: "If God had wanted Texans to ski he would have made bullshit white!"

2. The spot reserved for fresh jalapenos in the grocery store is as big as the banana section in my grocery store in Florida.

3. The mascot for the local historic high school is the Sandies ... as in SAND STORM! Very cool, no?

4. The Big Texan Steak Ranch, which I mentioned in a previous blog as being the home of the 72-ounce hunk o beef, has a white limousine that will pick you up at your motel. It's a dusty stretch Cadillac with an immense pair of cattle horns mounted on the hood.

Tasty treat in Greenville
Saturday, June 27, 2009

... at a restaurant called High Cotton: a "hummus" spread using black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas. I will try to replicate this at home when I return from Amarillo and report back with a recipe.

OBSERVATION OF SOUTHERN CULTURE: Something you only see in the south: Men, on weekends, wearing pleated, pressed khaki shorts, penny loafers with no socks, fancy-leather belts and tucked-in polo shorts.

Gee....do you think their wives dress them?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I was following a car on I-26, headed into Asheville, N.C. when I came upon a car that was exactly like the one I had in high school: a 1982 white Cutlass Supreme.

And it had a North Carolina plate that designated it as "Antique Car"

Grove Park Inn SUCKS
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Linc Menner, the protagonist of my novel "Househusband," is on holiday and reports the following:

We'd heard lots of great things about this historic resort in the North Carolina mountains (Grove Park Inn in Asheville) and finally am having a chance to try it out. Our surprises so far:

-Yes, there is a spa, but guests must pay another $55 to even walk into the thing. And it's very strange: a fake grotto with fake stone and fake waterfalls ... just WEIRD. It's like something out of an Austin Powers movie.
-Yes, there is a swimming pool, but you have to take a bus to get there.
-Yes, there is a sports center, but it looks and smells like a YMCA. Good free-weight section, though.
One of the best views I've ever seen at a resort, but there's no place to sit that's not next to an ash tray. No place to have breakfast outside. And don't sit on those green adirondack chairs -- OOPS! The PAINT IS WET!
-Yes, there is a huge, very-cool stone fireplace that would accommodate a Buick, but the rest of the decor is ... well ... let me say that they hired the same decorators who outfitted the Holiday Inn by the airport in North Platte, Nebraska. We're talking Holidome fake plants. We're talking indoor-outdoor carpeting on the walls of the elevator. Lots of bad oak, too. We're talking fern bar circa 1974.

Now all of this would be okay and even cute ... if we weren't paying SO MUCH!!

On the road again ...
Thursday, June 18, 2009

My posts will be infrequent these next two weeks. We're getting ready to take our daughter to summer camp, where she'll be a counselor all summer long in the mountains of North Carolina. And then I'm headed west on one of my writing jags. I periodically choose an obscure, fourth-tier city and go there to think and write with no distractions of home. This time, it's Amarillo, Texas, where I plan on buying a new pair of boots and doing my best to eat the 72-ounce slab of beef at The Big Texan Steak Ranch. (It's free if I succeed!) Also, I will most likely visit Amarillo's most famous attraction:

Yep. The Cadillac Ranch.

Life Lesson #427271RRE
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Be careful when sorting the clean gym clothes after washing. Otherwise you will mistakenly wear your wife's much-smaller shorts for that two-mile run and end up with inner thighs the color of raspberries.

Home remedy for chafed skin, anyone?

How short should men's shorts be?
Monday, June 15, 2009

What are the cultural rules in America these days for the length of men's everyday summer shorts? I prefer mine above the knee, but some people think it obscene. You NEVER see men younger than 30 with shorts above the knee. More questions; Don't dads with mid-calf shorts look stupid? ... like they're trying to look all gangsta and young? What is the proper length of shorts for a 20-year-old? A 40-year old? Is there a difference between white and black and Latino culture?

More questions: Remember when basketball players' shorts were at mid-thigh? Didn't that make more sense? ... lighter and less material sloshing around. And aren't long shorts hotter?

What are your thoughts on men and shorts? I'm writing a story about this and want to hear your opinions.

Things I Did Not See Growing Up In Burlington, Colorado, #6559T
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spotted yesterday in Fort Myers by my health club: An automobile entourage from a black-American funeral home with royal-blue hearse and PURPLE police flashers on top.

Bad sign for Detroit ...
Friday, June 12, 2009

-Just got back from orientation at Denison University in Ohio, where my daughter is going to college this fall. It's filled with, among other people, children from wealthy Midwestern families.

I was sitting next to two young ladies and asked them where they were from. They both answered, "Michigan."

"Where?" I pressed them.

They both told me the names of their hometowns, which I recognized as affluent Detroit suburbs.

"Where exactly is that?"I pressed, knowing very well.

"Close to Canada" said one.

"By Lake St. Clair," said another.

WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: "Oh, you mean DEE-troit!"
WHAT I SAID: "Oh ... well, that sounds beautiful. I love Canada. And I love lakes."

How to save some $$$: Get that second opinion!
Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm pricing out a fence because of the new Devil Children who have moved into my neighborhood, and because I live in a historic district the city code laws are pretty strict as to what I can put up in the front yard. It has to be decorative aluminum, which, I've discovered, is kinda pricey.

It's often tempting to go with the first bid you get with such a project because, well, it's just easier, but I'm GLAD I got a second bid. First one came in at $1,800. Second one is more than $2,500 ... and it's the SAME exact product from the SAME manufacturer.

Another $$ observation: I've noticed that, ever since the economy fell out, the deli people at three different grocery stores have started slicing MORE meat than I ask for. Not much, maybe just a few ounces, but it never used to happen this often. Obviously, they've been told to upsell.

My fellow consumers: Don't take it! Tell them you don't want it, and that they need to take it off the pile....and then they have to swallow the cost.

Gotta go. Headed up to Ohio today for college orientation with my daughter.

Tropical Diary: Post #257TF (Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned)
Thursday, June 4, 2009

I couldn't help myself, really. I pass her every day on my morning walk with my wife. And she is too beautiful to resist this time of year ... laden with fruit ... those leathery-skinned brown orbs so ripe they are pinkish-red. Already, I had tropical fruit on my mind, having passed a big tree of ripe mangoes just a block before. "Take me!" screamed the lychee fruit, hanging from the tree. "Eat me! ... NOW!"

It was obvious the owner didn't appreciate her. All that fruit, ignored! And if you've eaten lychees before you can understand why I couldn't resist.

"Eat me!" she screamed again.

At home, later, I cleansed my sticky fingers of the evidence.

When to say "thank you"
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The graduation gifts for our daughter have started trickling in, and my wife has been hounding her to write thank-you notes ASAP. She says, "You should send a thank-you note within 48 hours of receiving your gift."

Ideally, of course, I agree with her. But these are self-absorbed 18-year-olds spending every possible second with their friends whom they're leaving behind as they enter adulthood indoctrination. My opinion: get the thank-yous finished before you go away to camp for the summer on June 18.

And really ... how many of YOU guys send thank-yous within 48 hours? What's acceptable? Three days? Three weeks? Better late than never?

UPDATE: 52 feet of ornamental fencing, needed to take care of my problem: $1,800!!!!
Yikes. Wouldn't it be easier to have them kidnapped and sent to Botswana?