“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Homeless in Nashville
Thursday, July 29, 2010

This city is very unique when it comes to homeless people. First of all, most of them are very clean, and their clothes are clean as well. There must be some church downtown that gives them access to showers and washing machines.

Second, they all have suitcases instead of grocery carts and paper bags.
Third, you see a lot of them eating or drinking takeout items they've bought at downtown eateries or fast-food marts.

Honestly, you frequently have to look twice at them to determine whether they're homeless or not.

And, for the most part, the police leave them alone. It's as if they reached an unspoken agreement: Don't look homeless, and don't panhandle, and we won't harass you.

Also notable: A local downtown church helps the homeless publish their own newspaper, called The Communicator. Bad name, but very cool little publication, which homeless people get to sell for $1 on the street and keep a portion of the proceeds. It's written by homeless folks, and it has both sad and happy stories in it....like articles about police harassment and success stories about homeless people who have found a job and permanent housing.
My favorite feature in this newspaper is the horoscope, which is called the "hoboscope."

Shock the Monkey
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Years ago, my daughter introduced me to urbandictionary.com, which is basically a reference tool for slang terms used by cool and hip folk and sub-cultures you'd normally know nothing about. It seems to specialize in naughty things.

Recently, I read the phrase "Shock the Monkey," and though I thought I remembered the definition I went to urbandictionary.com for verification ... and ... WHOA! ... I learned that the phrase means a whole lot more than I thought it did.

I won't put it here because some of it is pretty graphic, but if you have an open mind and good sense of humor, then click HERE.

A scary thought ...
Saturday, July 24, 2010

My wife's iphone has an app that recognizes music -- it can listen to a song playing on a restaurant's soundtrack and tell you what it is ... even if it's instrumental with no vocals. Amazing.

Google and iphoto have software that recognizes human faces. When you upload photos, your computer now can recognize with fair accuracy who the people are, and then label them accordingly.

Okay ... I'm getting a little concerned. How far away is this scenario: An obsessive, scary individual sees you on the street and thinks you're hot. He snaps a photo of you with his phone, then uploads this onto his computer, which, thanks to the shared image libraries of facebook and google, instantly tags you by name.

Think about this. There will be no more anonymity. Anyone who wants to know you are can find your identity based solely on a picture.

These are new lands we are exploring, people. Fascinating ... and a little spooky.

We already know you're nuts ... you don't have to show us
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have you seen these hanging on the back of some pickup trucks?

They're called Truck Nutz ... or at least that's one brand name of the novelty. And I'm not sure what I think of them. I don't find the more cartoonish ones offensive, but some of them are too realistic and gross; they look as if they've been yanked off of some poor dude.

They're becoming common enough in Florida, the redneck state I call home, that one legislator proposed banning them by law. I think that's a bit extreme, but still ...

Oh, and of course, the big question I have for these truck drivers: WHY?!

Honestly, I'd like to see a pair on the back of a Volkswagen Beetle. Then again, they'd probably drag on the ground, eliciting many a grimace from other male drivers.

Lordy, Lord, Lord ... my butt's tired from all that drivin' ... but what a great time I had!
Monday, July 19, 2010

3,521 miles in seven days! If you saw a white tornado going through the South this past week it was me in my F-150. I met and talked with five different Pulpwood Queen book clubs, and each of them have some common characteristics:
1. They're all a little crazy, each and every one of them, which is why I understand them so well.
2. They're all addicted to fun and laughter.
3. They all tend to be attractive.
4. They're all excellent hosts. The Pulpwood Queens of Carrollton, Georgia, pictured directly below, gave me as gifts a vintage Glenn Campbell album and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. Someone was DEFINITELY doing her homework. (Thanks, Anita!) Mary Jane opened her lovely house to us for the meeting, and I brought fresh cherries, Publix subs, chips and drinks, which, this being the elegant South, were taken from their original packaging and set atop nice plates.

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, I was hosted by the Southwest Louisiana Pulpwood Queens. Below are two women I'd met earlier this year at Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas. Meet Kay, the event organizer, and Laurie. This was one of the smartest book clubs I've ever spoken to. I left feeling a little exposed and exhausted ... felt as if I'd just gone through a session of intensive therapy. But then they all treated me to a great dinner at Darryl's, where I had a 12-inch sandwich that had perhaps 21 varieties of meat on it, slathered with jalapeno mayo. "What's that sound?" asked a queen as I ate. I replied, "It's my capillaries slamming shut."
Oh, and notice the name tag. You can't read it, but it's very cool: It says "King Ad."
I don't think I'll ever take it off.

Here's a group shot of the Southwest LA girls:

And here's a group shot of the folks from the East Texas Pulpwood Queen group. Unfortunately, when I blogged about my incredible visit to Jefferson I was unable to upload photos on blogger.

To all of you: Thanks for all that you're doing for literacy and spreading the culture of reading around the world. There are already 300-plus chapters of Pulpwood Queens, and it's growing stronger and bigger every day.

See you all at Girlfriend Weekend in January. My mom's joining me this year. Until then, wear those tiaras proudly.

Tailgate Tour 2010: Jefferson, Texas
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(For some reason, blogger isn't letting me download and post photos right now, so you're stuck with words, folks. Go to my facebook page for photos.)

The only problem with having a Tailgate Tour in the South in the deep heat of summer is that, well, it's really freakin' hot. But that didn't stop the Pulpwood Queens of east Texas from putting on one helluva party for me in Jefferson.

Y'all need to know that this is Ground Zero for Pulpwood Queens. Kathy Patrick, founder, is the owner of the world's only bookstore and beauty salon here in this picturesque little town in the middle of Texas timberland ... hence the name Pulpwood Queens. Kathy has amassed a group of more than 300 books clubs worldwide, whom she picks books for ... and my book was the July pick. The woman could run a world-class PR firm. She does things up right. She'd had signs professionally made, and even commissioned T-shirts for the event.

And, knowing what a protein hog I am, Kathy brought to the tailgate party a Timber Guy Bacon Explosion, which is basically a huge baked roll of bacon and sausage and barbecue sauce and bacon ... and ... bacon. There was also some bacon in it. Oh, and it was topped with bacon as well. It was awesome, as was the rest of the vittles brought by the other Queens. (go to bacontoday.com for the recipe of the Bacon Explosion)

There was even a live band, Destiny Duke and the Hazzards, in which Jay, Kathy's husband, plays and sings. The man's got a voice, let me tell you.

I presented the Queen with a gift of a heavy pewter bookend that is a big bear in reading glasses, sitting down and reading a book. (He's really cute) In turn, the Queen presented to me a pair of frilly bright-red girls' panties because at Girlfriend Weekend last year (it's the Queen's annual celebration and presentation of her author picks), I bought and wore a pink shirt that said, "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." It was two sizes two small and, hence, a little obscene, but you can get away with things like that at Girlfriend Weekend.)

Thanks to all the East Texas Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys for coming out on that really hot night (it was in the mid 80s even after the sun went down). I had a great time. See you at Girlfriend Weekend in January.

Tailgate Tour 2010: Jackson, MS
Monday, July 12, 2010

Jonni Webb is the hostess with the mostess. She's a potter with a very cool yard and house, which is filled with her paintings and pottery. (JRWebbpottery.com). She's one of those people who radiates with positive energy and happiness and creativity:

She's also cool because she let me pimp my ride and park it in her front yard. Here's a photo of the B.B. Queens book club (B.B. translates into Books and Booze), posing in my truck:

Not only can these ladies party, they can cook as well.
Here's a look at my plate ... before:

And after:

The evening was made even more comfortable with help from Leslie Puckett, who concocts her own organic, all-natural-ingredient bug sprays. One of them has lavender in it. I smelled as nice as a grandma and was bug-free, too. (Her stuff can be found at bearcreekherbals.com)

So ... we ate and drank and talked and discussed my novel "Man of the House." A great time was had by all. And maybe there was too much partying. At the end of the evening, when Jonni and I were cleaning up the kitchen, we found this:

Yep: In the dirty dishes ... a surgical glove. Hmmmmm...............

Ad's Logo Contest
Friday, July 9, 2010

On a recent trip I absorbed and pondered logos on trucks. As someone who is prone to judge by appearance, I tend to be very interested in how companies decide to brand themselves. Here's the best one, the winner:


You may not know this. I didn't until a few years ago, but there's an arrow in their logo. Do you see it? It's the negative space between the E and X. Brilliant, huh, especially for a company that needs to be known for ACTION.

And now, the worst logo:


Okay, what the HELL were these people thinking? First of all, it looks like Sherwin Williams wants to coat the entire planet in a manmade, messy goo....and how bad does this look in this post-worst-oil-spill-in-history era of ours? Who needs oceans and nature? Let's cover it ALL IN PAINT. And second, they chose RED for the color? Hello? The color of blood? I just think this is a scary, violent-looking logo.

Besides, Benjamin Moore makes better paints.

Some odd behavior in front of mirrors ...
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've noticed something for years about my wife and daughter when they are looking in mirrors, trying to gauge whether they like the clothes they have just put on: They tilt their heads, either to the right or left.

Now, they do NOT do this when they are looking only at their faces ... only when they're examining the whole human package.

I recently caught myself doing it as well ... in one of those "is my gut getting bigger" moments, standing there in my underwear.

And then I started scrutinizing culture ... and I noticed people doing it in movies as well. Usually women.

So I wonder: Why do we tilt our heads when looking at our bodies in a mirror? Do we unconsciously think it gives us a fresh perspective? Maybe we think if we tilt our heads we can see us the way others see us. Is there some sort of brain-thing going on here? It's got to be something neurological.

Sorry about the banana, but I've been busy.
Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Really, Ad ...," said the reader-friend to me at a party last night. "Blogging about how to peel a banana? (See yesterday's blog.) Can't you do better than that?"

I admit it: The blogs of late have been shallow and fast, but there is good reason for this. I am engrossed in a writing project right now (a humorous memoir about a crazy year I just completed) and it's been a BEAR to write. Keeping up a blog requires a lot of time and energy ... and when you're writing half a day, every day, you just don't have the energy left to do other stuff. My facebook postings (and I give GREAT status, people, if you haven't heard), have fallen off as well. And Thank-You notes from Ad Hudler? Forget it for now.

So ... while I'm writing, you can expect to see shorter blogs, and more photos. I'll pass on things I've read or heard.
Actually, if you have something you'd like to share, a poem or an anecdote or something interesting, I'll even let you guest-blog if you'd like.

Meanwhile, next week I leave for my Tailgate Tour 2010. To refresh your memory, Pulpwood Queen Kathy Patrick (who advises more than 300 books clubs on which titles to read) graciously chose my novel "Man of the House" as the July book. To thank her and all of her fellow Queens, I am swinging through the South in the coming month, moderating book clubs, hosting parties from the back of my truck, and meeting and greeting readers, which is my favorite thing to do in the world. I'll be posting details of my adventures along the way.

Happy Fourth of July, folks.

Kitchen tip #45532F
Friday, July 2, 2010

Maybe I'm the last person on the planet to know this, but did you know that most of us have been peeling the banana from the wrong end all these years?

You know how obstinate that stem can be, right? All rubbery and tough, and oftentimes you have to bite into it or cut it off, and then the end of the banana has been dented and is mushy.

So ... turn the banana over and pick at that dark end that looks like a scab. It comes right off, along with a nice strip of peel. Much more simple.

Maybe now I'll start incorporating bananas in cocktails.