May 3, 2008
Before clouds creeped over the Gulf horizon this afternoon, kids and adults got to throw mullets more than a hundred feet--almost into the surf!To the winner went...bragging rights.
Some used a softball style spinning windup, others an overhand throw, and the rest just closed their eyes and hoped they didn't peg somebody in the face.
One kid almost hit me with a mullet! I jumped back and it landed right at my feet--my camera in perfect position for a close-up.
Without a doubt, the smell of thawing mullet was the signature delight of the festival, which included all the usual fair dishes: turkey legs, corn dogs, fresh lemonade, etc.
May 2, 2008
Although the Chesapeake Bay region prides itself on supplying the nation's finest clawed crustacean culture, little Panacea on Florida's Gulf coast offers the annual Blue Crab Festival for those who can't make it all the way up for a bay day.
From its online description, the festival looks to be another political sieve to separate the real mullet-tossers from those on a no-Panhandle diet.
Remember, from Jay to Panama City to Tallahassee, north Florida crackers knew Lawton was one of them when they saw him throw a mullet farther than the rest--even if he voted like a "damn liberal" sometimes.
It's the same in Maryland. If you can bash a crab in with a wood mallet, smother it in Old Bay seasoning, and wash it down with a gulp of a Baltimore micro-brew, you're gonna win some votes.
Looks like a great event.
April 30, 2008
Those of you who are long-time subscribers especially deserve a look into the crystal ball:
May/June - final planned interviews in Tallahassee, Lakeland, Orlando, Miami
July - complete last press clip research at University of Florida and State Library
August - writing period
September/October - complete DC/Maryland region interviews
November/December - writing period
Christmas 2008 - complete manuscript and submit to publisher
Fall 2009 - publication process ends and book is ready to read
This is of course an accelerated, ideal schedule and very subject to revision. Without a doubt, the need for extra interviews here and there will arise. But it's a good frame to keep in mind.
In this speechwriting book, Presidential Speechwriting: From the New Deal to the Reagan Revolution and Beyond, I uncovered a great snip of a speech that reminds me of the ole He-Coon. One common cracker saying goes like this: "Even a blind hog will root out an acorn once in a while."
At a whistle-stop in Missoula, Montana, May 12, 1950, President Harry S. Truman spoke of acorns:
You know, some people will take a look at an acorn and all they can see is just an acorn. But people of Mike Mansfield's type are something different. They can see into the future. They can see a giant oak tree, with its great limbs spreading upward and outward coming from that acorn.
In Washington there are some men, no matter how hard they try, who can only see little acorns. I don't have to call any names, you know who they are. Even give them a magnifying glass, or even a pair of spyglasses, or even a telescope, they just shake their heads and all they can say is, 'I'm sorry, I can't see anything but an acorn there.'
Incidentally, Chiles was an admirer and contemporary of Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield.
April 29, 2008
In early March, I collected a big batch of press clips from the Florida Trend archive at the State Library, which I'm just now sorting and "downloading". There is one truly great article from the January 1991 issue that profiles the governor's inner circle of advisers, going back to university days.
Someday soon I'll retrieve the rest of the relevant clips from the archive.
April 28, 2008
I've finished transcribing my entire backlog of interviews. I've spent the day getting a big jump on the second chapter, sequentially. Its working title is "The Fraternity." Admittedly, that's pretty boring and generic. Lots of people join fraternities in college and go on to lead boring lives. I've thought up a replacement title but I won't commit to it fully until I finish the chapter most likely.
April 27, 2008
There is a beer called Copperhead Ale, made by Fordham brewing company I believe, that's pretty easy to remember for me because I think of the copperhead snake and its brown colors and the deep brown-colored beer.
There is also a bygone political tag, "Copperhead," used by FDR to describe the Democrats from the South or elsewhere who voted "present" or even opposed big planks of the New Deal.
In the Reagan Era, the "Boll Weevils" (Reagan Democrats) challenged the "Gypsy Moths" (rebel Republicans).
I guess the dearth of political animals in the Bush-Clinton Era shows how little overlap there is in the two parties today. Everyone stays in their own playpen, and political reporters are left scavenging for nonsense stories about a Democratic Party schism between working class old-timers and Obama New Age yuppies.