“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

I, too, don't give a damn
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just finished reading Gone with the Wind for the first time. Hmmm, plenty to say about it. I think it's a swell book, probably one of the best stories I've ever read. Yes, it's filled with plenty of female drama (a little too much for my taste), but it's also a great history lesson about the Civil War. Lots of action! And Margaret Mitchell plotted that book as expertly as someone who'd written fifty novels.

Now, a word about Scarlett. I understand why she's so popular among Southern women. This girl's a survivor, no doubt, and she was a great conduit for Southerners to channel their frustration and anger toward the Yankees. (For those of you who have never lived in the South, we still do use the word "Yankee" in conversation down here.) My southern daughter, who is going to college in the Midwest but has sworn to return to Dixie for law school and to raise a family, idolizes Scarlett. And now that I've read the book, I must say this disturbs me a little.

Indeed, we can call Scarlett scrappy and tough and resourceful. She's definitely someone you'd want on the wagon with you, heading out West to the unknown territories.

But, my dear daughter ... she is also a conniving, self-centered, spoiled girl with no moral compass. In my opinion, Scarlett did one act of kindness in the whole book, and that was to give her dead father's watch to the black man who had been his personal servant. Honestly, now that I've finished the book, I think Ms. Mitchell shouldn't have included this scene because it's totally out of character for Scarlet to do such a thing. It could have foreshadowed a change in personality, showing Scarlett maturing and moving the focus from herself, to others ... but this never happens. In the end, she is just as self-centered and self-serving as she was while a catered-to teenager, manipulating the young men at parties at Tara.

It is almost incomprehensible to me that all those horrific experiences Scarlett endured did not make her a more humane person. And what does this say about her character? That's she's a survivor? Sure, I'll give her that. It also shows she's simply a bad seed. Some people are born with a shard of glass in their hearts, and they can't change. Scarlet is one of those people.

Some would say Scarlett is the novel's protagonist. I would call her the antagonist.

With apologies to Willie Nelson ... "Momma's, don't let your babies grow up to be Scarletts."

That said, thank you, Ms. Mitchell, for one fine read.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm a pretty good cook, which means I'm often disappointed when I go out to eat. Now and then, however, I find a gem as I did this week: Carmencita's in Fort Myers.

It was a good mix of traditional Mexican and California Fresh. The guacamole, for example, was unlike any I've ever had. The main ingredient was chopped tomatoes, followed by chopped onions, and then chopped (note: not smooshed) avocado. It was chunky and delicious, and I don't think I'll ever like the pasty version again. (In the photo you can see I dumped it over the rice and beans.)

In this photo, next to the rice and beans you'll see a chili relleno, which is a battered and fried poblano chili filled with white cheese. The cook did something extra, too, which I've never seen done: He flash braised some tomatoes, onions and fresh jalapenos and poured them on top.

Okay ... how many hours 'till lunch?

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Now this won't hurt a bit ...
Saturday, September 25, 2010

(NOTE: The author is writing this in third person so it's easier to deal with.)

So this guy walks into a urologist because he's had trace amounts of blood in his urine for three years. All tests show that nothing is wrong, and he's been told that some guys just have traces of blood in their urine. But he goes anyway because his GP has asked him to.

And the urologist says, "Well, I think we need to look at your bladder, just in case."

"And how do we do that?" the big bald guy asks.

"Oh, simple, non-invasive procedure."

"Which is ..."

"We insert a camera up your penis and then up into your bladder."

"And you don't call that invasive? I call that invasive."

"Oh, but we use a local anesthetic."

"And a local anesthetic, when referring to a man's penis ... hmmmm. That doesn't comfort me in the least."

"We can't do it today, but you need to make an appointment."

"So, you actually think that I will leave this place and call you back after I look at my calendar ... so I can schedule an appointment for shoving a camera up my pecker? ... even though we're almost certain there's no reason for the procedure."


"Boy, you're naive," the patient said. "And very trusting."

As I ....errr, HE left the urologist's office he noticed that the parking lot for this mega, many-urologist practice was largely empty. Hmmmmm .... was there a connection between economics and the compelling need for this "non-invasive" test?

Will the man schedule his own session of torture? Or will the urologist never see him again?

Stay tuned ...

Don't forget to look UP now and then
Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Ha, ha, ha, ha,ha! Oh, you crazy birds!"

Doesn't this look like an old man, laughing with joy at the birds in the air? That's exactly what photographer Mark Davis thought when he snapped this shot and shared it on facebook. I worked with Mark at the Daily Nebraskan in college. A very creative guy ... kinda naughty and inappropriate at times but an overall very talented individual.

The true artists see things others don't see, and then enrich our lives by sharing them with us.

So very HUNGRY!
Monday, September 20, 2010

After yesterday's post of the tomato bike rack, my mother sent me this shot she took while she and dad were visiting us in Nashville.

I have a history of trying to eat food that looks real but is actually fake.

When I was wee boy, we were visiting a friend at Christmastime who had a tree covered in beautiful wooden angels ... flat and hand-painted in a one-dimensional manner.

Well, they certainly LOOKED like cookies with delectable icing ... so, when the adults weren't looking, I plucked one from the tree and tried to bite into it, leaving an arc of baby-teeth marks. I tried to oh-so-cooly just return it to the branch, but I'd been caught by the adults.

At any rate, the woman and faux-cookie-maker, named Deanne, was very sweet about it, and I never heard about the incident again ... until she came to my wedding reception nearly two decades later. She handed me a gift box and asked me to open it. And guess what was inside? The angel with the teeth-marks I'd tried to chomp those many years ago. Deanne quickly shared the story with my new wife, and I gave her a big hug.

And now, every year, Cookie Angel hangs from our tree.

Pee Wee would want one.
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nashville has recently commissioned bike racks by local sculptors. This one, appropriately, is outside the downtown farmers market. They look yummy, don't they? This rack provoked me and my wife to have a conversation recalling the age we were when we suddenly thought tomatoes were good and not disgusting. For me it was my freshman year in college.
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Something we need: Refrigerator alert system
Thursday, September 16, 2010

And this is how it works: Every day, early in the morning, an electronic brain in the refrigerator takes stock of things inside that haven't been touched for at least a week. And then it transmits a message to a marquee on the front of the refrigerator door, blinking in red letters as you walk past: "Cottage Cheese! Remember you have cottage cheese in here. Mmmmmm. How about some cottage cheese with sliced peaches? Doesn't that sound good?"

And you think, "Hey! I'd forgotten all about that cottage cheese." Because how many times do we buy something and forget that we've bought it, and it lingers there in some dark corner, behind the pickles and olives and cabbage?

Toy or grooming device?
Sunday, September 12, 2010

Often, when I can't sleep, I watch youtube videos. A few nights ago I typed in "shaving bald heads" and up came a video of a guy using this new device to shave his dome. As a bald man I am always interested in ways to, ahem, SHAVE off a few seconds from a time-consuming regimen, and I thought I'd give this a try.

First of all, it's kinda cute, isn't it? Looks like one of the Matchbox cars (specifically, a loader) that I had as a kid.

You simply lather the scalp and -- vroom! VROOM!! -- roll this little vehicle from the forehead, up, across the head, then down the back and ending at the nape of the neck.

Problem with this technology: Hair growth and grain changes direction, moving from front to back, so while I got a great shave on the front, the back of the head was left all stubbly.

I will stick with my Mach III, thank you. I can shave my entire scalp now in under two minutes. Soon I'm going to set up a page of home movies on my website, and I will include this demonstration of skill and bravery.

Wait ... didn't I already do that?
Friday, September 10, 2010

A friend of mine on facebook recently said, "I must be getting old. I renewed my subscription to Savannah Magazine twice during the past two months and was about to do it a third time when I suddenly realized what I'd done."

No, you are NOT going crazy. I, too, have done this countless times. But I have finally figured this out. There's a conspiracy out there. Here's what happens: Many magazines send you a renewal just a few weeks after you've renewed, and you say to yourself, "I thought I did that already," but, of course, you doubt yourself and DO IT AGAIN!!"
You KNOW they do this on purpose; why else would it happen? Those subscription people know we're busy, busy, busy, and they're taking advantage of our crazed, less-than-perfect brains that can't possibly remember everything we need to remember.

So: Does anyone want the rest of my subscription to Muscle and Fitness? I've somehow managed to subscribe through March of 2064.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I have one of those names that anyone can have fun with. Once I posed for a photo on a bus stop bench with an advertisement that said YOUR AD HERE. ... In high school I was a shoe-in for student council prez simply because of my name. I plastered the school walls with one-word signs: ADvantageous. ADmirable. The principal made me take down the one that said ADdictive. ... When people ask me what Ad is short for I usually joke, "My wife says it's short for ad nauseum."

It's a joke, though. Right, honey?
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Dear Taylor: Be on the lookout for Billy
Friday, September 3, 2010

I recently had some work done on a bathroom drain in the Nashville condo. Billy, the plumber, was punctual and fixed everything as I asked. Then the weirdness set in when it was time to leave.

"You know, Taylor Swift lives in this building," he said.

"No," I said. "She lives in that one. Over there." And I pointed to the highrise where Miss Swift has the penthouse in Nashville's West End, which I can see from our window.

"Are you sure? I thought she was in here."

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure."



"Now, where exactly is that building? Looks like it's by the stadium."

"I'm not sure."

"Do you know what street it's on?"

"Sorry. No."

"Do you think they have security like they do in this building?"

"Oh, I'm sure they do," I said.

"Do you think someone could get into the lobby?"

"I'm guessing so. Yeah."

"But probably not up to the Penthouse, right? I mean it would be hard to get up there without that little key fob thing that you use in the elevator, right?"

"Impossible," I said, feeling protective and fatherly to the young singer who is almost my daughter's age.

A bad night of sleep...
Thursday, September 2, 2010

... and here's why. Yep, the boys of Coconut Drive, their womenfolk gone for the night, took their annual pilgrimage to Hooters for hot wings. We didn't finish these, but I sure got sick trying. Pass the Pepto Bismol please.
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