“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

A Sign From God: #447RY5
Monday, June 24, 2013

This from a downtown Nashville church (Andrew Jackson's former church, which was used as a Yankee field hospital during the War Between The States):

Soooooooo many possible interpretations of this....

What's your take on it?

Dear Ugly Police: We need help down here.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today's rant: A drive through Georgia has become mighty ugly in recent years. One reason is because the state does a poor job of picking up trash and blown-out tires. (That's a shout-out to you, Guvnuh) But here is the bigger culprit:

Huge, towering billboards-on-a-stick, several at a time...as thick as trees in some spots.
A drive through Georgia feels like a flea market these days. I am thrilled to cross into Florida or Tennessee to escape the ugliness. Certainly, you see these things in all states, but Georgia for some reason has not limited the density of them.

Now, they're starting to pop up along the interstates in Alabama. Not cool!

I love living in the South because the people are friendly and the land is beautiful, but if this goes on we will be mighty ugly indeed. Like Georgia. Poor, homely Georgia ... you once were so lovely.

Wo(men): The line is blurring. Report from the Men's Room
Monday, June 10, 2013

In so many ways, the American male has become more womanized in recent years. For starters, men are sharing more than they ever have, usually via social media. Who would have thought twenty years ago that so many guys would gush about their families or their daily lives in a public forum?

Men are paying more attention to grooming. (And I think it's really weird how so many of the younger guys are actually shaving their chests and legs and arms.)

Here's another way men have become more like women: their modesty.

In the old days, when I was a kid, this was the scenario in a public men's bathroom: There was one urinal for everyone, a single, long trough that we all stepped up to to do our business. (Think of a horse's drinking trough -- that's what it looked like) Occasionally, these were even round, so that we (and our junk) actually faced each other. It was no big deal. We peed. Sometimes we actually talked and joked with each other. No more. The social side of a man's bathroom is now gone.

Compare that to today: Nearly all bathrooms now have urinals separated by 18-inch partitions that jut out of the wall, PROTECTING us from each other. And it's as if we take a cue from these blockades: men just don't say hey in bathrooms anymore -- and it was not like that when I was a kid.

Gentlemen ... what are you afraid of? Why this growing modesty?

Let's bring down the walls and return camaraderie to the men's room!

Is Zip-lining safe? Do alligators eat poodles?
Monday, June 3, 2013

Here's my AdVentures column from this month's Nashville Lifestyles magazine:

There was an eccentric old man in my Colorado hometown who built what he called a trolley in his yard for his grandkids. It was a crude contraption, and downright dangerous by today's standards. You would climb to a tree house (no railings) and take hold of a homemade wooden pulley, which you held onto for dear life as you jumped from the tree (no nets, no harness) and zipped your way down a wire. If you accidentally let go, as Dennie Wheeler did one time, you fell upon the concrete driveway. The ambulance would be called.

So when my visiting niece, who recently came to Nashville for her spring break, asked me if I'd zip-lined before, I told her that, yes, I had.  But I was wrong. I had done something much more dangerous than zipping, as I would soon discover.  Middle Tennessee's zipping adventure in the hills west of Nashville, called Adventureworks, belies its name; it is safe and staid enough for the most cautious of grandmothers.

First, we had to don our safety harness, which is similar to the ones used for rock-climbing, a series of tight straps mimicking the outline of a Speedo. Our guide gave the male members of our group an additional word of warning: "Gentlemen, make sure all of your furniture is in the same room, if you know what I mean.

"Now, who would like to read the safety instructions out loud," he asked, and over the next five minutes we listened to a precocious eight-year-old struggle with the polysyllabic words.

The 90-minute zip tour, which takes place on a 40-acre patch of old-growth forest on a bend of the scenic Harpeth River, is designed to start easy and grow more difficult with each of the nine zip lines. The incline of the first run was so slight that the larger of us didn't even make it all the way to the tree at the other end.

Yet each zip-station platform grew higher and required more climbing, and there some were so high that even the most macho among us was relieved when the guide clipped onto us a secondary line to keep us from plummeting all the way to the ground should we lose our balance before zipping away. The highest line is 85 feet from the ground, and the longest is close to 500 feet long. One of them had two parallel lines so people could race, side by side.

Even on these longer, steeper zips, stopping is a breeze. Each line ends at a soft landing mound of soil and mulch. The worst possible result: a pair of dirty jeans and some wood chips down your underwear.

All in all, a good experience. The woods and vistas were lovely and worthy of my time. Yet something important was missing: exhilaration. At no time did I feel frightened or on edge, and isn't that why we choose to do these things? Alas, my adrenal glands slumbered through the afternoon.