From my bar stool perch 2017 was an exceptionally interesting and entertaining year on Amelia Island and nationally and here’s a few – in no particular order — of what I think were some of the most significant events.
What The Heck Just Happened? Nationally, we witnessed Donald Trump’s inauguration applauded by some 62,984,825 gun-and-religion-clinging American “deplorables” located between New York and California, while stunned and confused coastal Democrats remained under their Height Asbury and Soho couches where they’ve been gnashing their teeth and wailing hysterically ever since Trump’s November 2016 triumph.
What The Heck Just Happened HERE? In local elections voters in Fernandina Beach voted as though they were adolescents staring at a large red dashboard button that proclaimed “Do NOT Push This Button .” Of course they pushed it, and we watched as Chip “Dr Strangelove” Ross and Phil “The Listener” Chapman were voted seats on the Fernandina Beach City Commission, joining Les “The Turtle Man” Kreger and Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller, that will make that group of five a must-watch Tuesday night entertainment forum, resembling a combination of a tag-team professional wrestling match and a Monty Python sketch. Odd man out, Commissioner Roy Smith, will assume the role of a male Margaret Dumont, the dumbfounded Marx Brothers film comic foil, as this wild and whacky chamber enters 2018. As they say in show business this will be a “must-see” show, so stay tuned to see what happens now that the big red button has been pushed.
Feminist Frenzy: One of the nuttiest and most entertaining series of events in 2017 were the women’s marches scattered across the country, including one right here in Fernandina Beach that reminded many observers of a family-friendly company-sponsored picnic rather than a serious protest. Gals hereabouts are inexperienced in the protest business and weren’t sure what to write on their signs or chant, and fist waving was certainly not a lady-like option. Fortunately for observers outrage was in short supply with our local ladies, who were far better behaved than the obscene hat-wearing, foul-mouthed, lynch mob that assembled in D.C. where washed-up actresses and singers called for folks to blow up the White House and burn buildings and cars, which some actually did. Our well-behaved gaggle of gals brought along the kids, dogs and even a few guys to congregate in Central Park and express their well-mannered disapproval about something or other that I never did quite grasp. They appeared to have a pleasant day in the park, and the balmy 80 degree January weather didn’t hurt. If the results of any of this flaccid feminine fury have been reported would somebody let me know because I haven’t seen it posted anywhere. I hear the ladies are planning another outing in Jacksonville January 21. Don’t forget to bring beer.
Battle Of The Broads: 2018 is going to be a tough year for guys in the dating trenches because in 2017 women launched a scorched-earth campaign on anything resembling a sexist action, comment or thought in a furious feminine blitzkrieg. They even want to ban the seasonal classic song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because they say it promotes harassment and nonconsensual sex. Good luck guys! The first major skirmish in this war involved a sap named Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul I’d never heard of before he was felled by the fighting feminists. I’m not condoning this loser’s disgusting behavior as he got what he deserved if indeed the accusations against him are true. Based on the news photos I’ve seen of this guy, he resembles what a Saturday Night Live skit described as a “piece of chewed bubblegum rolled in cat hair.” One look at his mug and it becomes clear why a bulging wallet, promises of a movie career, and brute force were his only dating options. He’s a mogul no more and many others, from politicians and pop stars to poets and pundits, have been toppled from their posts with more big names to fall. Remember earlier this year when Vice President Mike Pence was mocked for saying he would never meet or dine alone with a woman who isn’t his wife? To protect themselves against malicious allegations more men are scrambling to adopt Pence’s practical, prudent, puritanical policy. So guys, if you’re thinking about asking that good looking gal in accounting out to dinner this Saturday, you may want to rethink that idea and go have a beer at a sports bar with the guys instead. Staying home and shampooing the cat will be better than tip-toeing through this newly laid dating minefield. Oops, ladies I didn’t mean to use the word “laid” in the context you may be thinking. Really! Calm down, no need to call a lawyer just yet.
Bar Room Bonanza: Speaking of bars, the local opening of 12 2nd South Street’s PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden in Fernandina Beach this spring was one of the local highlights of 2017 as far as I’m concerned. And judging from the crowds, particularly on Tuesday evenings when talented local guitarist Dan Voll entertains there, I’m not alone. I even have my own bar stool, clearly indicated by a plaque on the back. That doesn’t mean that proprietor Pajamadave Voorhees or his lovely, but no-nonsense fiancé, Zan Maddox, will toss you out on your keister is you sit in a plaqued chair without your name on it, it just means that I expect you to vacate mine when I arrive, unless of course you’re a buxom, blue-eyed, scantily-clad blonde bombshell who thinks women’s marches are a silly waste of time. OK gals now’s the time to call the lawyer.
Movie Madness: With a few very rare exceptions in 2017 the movie making business continued its downward plunge with a whole lot of awful movies being made as those involved in making them displayed an incredible lack of imagination and creativity. Some appear to give their audiences credit for more intelligence than they possess, while others are catering to those aged 12 and under, or adults with IQs topping out at 70. Maybe it’s because actors and actresses are spending more time rehearsing their convoluted and silly political screeds than they are film scripts, and those making the movies are spending too much time sexually harassing those dim actresses and actors. The first time I attended a movie at South14th Street’s B&B Theatres on Amelia Island, I saw “Dunkirk”, a film that portrayed the evacuation of British, Dutch, French and Belgium troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France in 1940, at the beginning of World War II. However, for reasons that were never explained, only once, very briefly at the end, did the film mention Germans. Nazis were never cited nor was a swastika shown, so for those graduates of today’s politically correct and “safe place” American school systems, the enemy could have been the Vatican’s Swiss Guard. What’s up with that? That’s not the B&B Theater’s fault. Looking up listings for the local theater and wanting to see “The Darkest Hour” , we went back to that comfy theater, and were riveted to our recliners by this well done film. However, it’s rare to find decent films these days, as most I’ve seen advertised are cartoons, remakes, a third or fourth tired sequel, or a comic book converted to celluloid. For example, while searching for movies playing locally I came across the following: “Murder on the Orient Express” a lousy remake of a good 1973 film, and a much better 1934 Agatha Christie book; “The Last Jedi” another mind-numbing Stars Wars films; “Ferdinand” a two-hour cartoon and a couple of mindless and vulgar comedy plots that would appeal only to a locker room full of 16-year-old boys. Hollywood’s lack of fresh ideas is depressing the film business as movie ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada are expected to drop below 2016’s record of $11.38 billion, and the number of tickets sold is projected to drop 4% to 1.26 billion — the lowest level since 1995, according to estimates from studio executives. It’s time Hollywood zipped up it pants, put aside its political blather and got back to making entertaining movies.
Sore Losers & Ungrateful Winners: 2017 was a year when a sure winner became a loser and a consistent loser became a winner, and neither was gracious in that unfamiliar territory. Let’s start with sure-thing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, possibly the sorest loser in the history of American politics. Ms. Clinton, the media, the coastal cities on the east and west coasts, and the Democratic Party were further traumatized by Trump’s January inauguration that put the lid on the fact that their gooses were cooked and waiting to be consumed. For much of 2017 a wild-eyed, choking and sputtering Hillary made the rounds of the still red-eyed liberal media promoting “What Happened” a ghost written book that failed to mention that it was actually, Hillary, a women devoid of all normal human characteristics and the worst candidate ever fielded in the history of American politics, that happened. Every few weeks this pants-suited Sasquatch wanders out of the swamp to impotently rant and roar before stumbling back into her corrupt leftwing political cesspool. And then there are the Jacksonville Jaguars, a collection of helmeted Harold Stassen wannabes the past decade, who unaccustomedly ended 2017 with a winning record and are surprisingly headed to the NFL playoffs. So how did these unlovable losers repay their fans? The local knee-kneeling knuckleheads took the NFL’s disrespect for the American flag a step further as they kneeled prior to a game in London during the U.S. national anthem and stood during the British one. Proving that money can’t buy common sense their filthy rich owner and Pakistani immigrant, Shad Kahn, stood arm-in-arm with his social warriors during this disgraceful exhibition. Good grief, I hope they get eliminated quickly. Oh, did I mention that for the first time in five years I lost my annual bet with Salty Pelican co-owner, Al Waldis, that the Washington Redskins would win more games than his favored sad sack Jaguars? I did and will pay up at a date to be determined by buying Al lunch and wearing a Jaguar jersey during a playoff game at the Pelican. I plan on standing during the national anthem.
JAX Paper Takes A Sharp Left Turn: A top of the page headline in the December 21 Money section of the Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union read “Tax bill could damage economic growth” while the lead headline in the same edition’s Opinion section screamed “Tax bill suffers from huge drawbacks.” The only thing missing was one on the Sports section crying “Tax bill harms Jaguar return team.” (See where I went there?) Last year the Morris family sold its chain of newspapers to Gatehouse Media, and ever since the JAX paper has taken a sharp turn to the left printing more and more L.A. Times, Washington Post and biased Associated Press material, a move that hasn’t gone unnoticed by its readers and is reflected in their letters-to-the-editor comments. Remember this is the paper that printed a front page editorial endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016. I wonder what those hundreds of thousands of AT&T, Wells Fargo, Comcast, etc, employees who received $1,000 bonus checks just before Christmas and who will take home more pay next year because of the tax plan, say about this silly slanted coverage? Does it bother these left-wing sympathizing media mavens that they are distrusted and mocked by the American Man in the Street? Probably not, as they’ve probably never met the American Man in the street.
How Dumb Do The Media Think We Are? Throughout 2017 the news media busily pounded the Trump Administration ignoring the fact that Trump has piled up some startling achievements in a very short period of time. Turnabout is fair play I suppose since this is the same media that almost 64 million Americans ignored when they pulled the voting lever for Donald Trump in November 2016. So as 2017 comes to a close here’s a list of Trump successes that you may not have read much, if anything, about including: The largest tax cuts in decades; the defeat of ISIS and the collapse of its phony boloney caliphate; the stabilization of Afghanistan and Iraq; overall unemployment is at a 17-year low and the lowest for black Americans in 16 years; the elimination of economic choking Obama era government regulations that are expected to save businesses $9.8 billion next fiscal year and allow them to save even more in the future; cutting $250 million wasted in contributions to the ineffective and anti-American United Nations; Israel is our friend again; seating Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court; getting the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accord and NAFTA being renegotiated; a booming stock market with the Dow adding 5,000 points; getting rid of the Obamacare individual mandate that fined some families as much as $2,000 because they couldn’t afford to buy health care; a record number of new U.S. appellate court judges approved by the Senate; The economy growing at more than three percent; The U.S. exporting oil once again, the Keystone Pipeline open and Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge opened for drilling. And what has the Democratic Party contributed in 2017? Bupkus! Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, would be the Abbott & Costello of the opposition but they’re not funny. They’re full of radicalized fury and hysteria and proclaim anyone disagreeing with them be silenced, vilified and destroyed. Name one single contribution the left has made in the past 11 months. Keep thinking I have lots of time. Covering the Trump administration hasn’t been the media’s finest hour either. This collection of left-wing allies has been caught lying, making stuff up, and reporting inaccurate face-plants that actually cost many of these twits their jobs. Trump’s oft repeated “fake news” salvos are resonating because there’s a lot fake news out there.
Dumb & Dumber Department: Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma this year didn’t do the Fernandina Beach Marina any good. In fact it’s still shut down with city government saying it’s waiting for FEMA money to get this local economic engine cranked up again and there is nothing they can do in the meantime. But in the interim the City Commission and City Manager Dale Martin decided it would be a really good idea to build an almost $5 million airport terminal that will look like an airplane, so they did. Really! This despite the fact that nobody but folks in private planes go to the airport and when they do, they DO NOT hang out there. They go the Ritz Carlton, the Plantation Resort or their gated community homes. Now the marina on the other hand generates foot traffic for downtown businesses, crowds to take river cruises, fishermen, pleasure boaters and folks that just like to hang out and look at the boats. You won’t see any of these people at the new goofy looking airport terminal. Oh, and two previous structural studies of the Brett’s Waterway Cafe that sits on the marina, has one saying it is falling into the water and the another saying it isn’t. So the city is looking at two more studies at a collective cost of almost $23,000. If there’s such a thing as the top 10 silliest financial fiascos ever undertaken by a local municipality the “looks-like-an-airplane-terminal” should be in contention for number one with the neglected marina not far behind.
2017 has been an interesting year and marks the fourth year I’ve produced this weekly blog. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it and many ideas have come from readers. So, if you’ve got any thoughts for next year’s columns, please don’t hesitate to send them to me at email@example.com. I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.