Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Up Stepped A Man With A Big Cigar Who Said “Come Here Kid I’m Gonnna Make You A Star” *

Last week on a return trip from Asheville, NC, we visited Linda’s cousins in the North Georgia town of Cleveland (population 3,410) where Linda and I were unexpectedly invited to be “extras” in a movie being filmed in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia’s Rabun County.

Rabun County is as far north in east Georgia as a person can get, bordering both North and South Carolina. It’s the region that gave America the phrase “Watch out, I hear banjo music” as the 1972 Burt Reynolds film “Deliverance” was filmed there in Tallulah Falls and its scenic Tallulah Gorge.

There’s not an Interstate Highway anywhere near Rabun County and the hilly bucolic state and county roads wind over rivers and streams, through tidy farmland, past waterfalls and grazing cattle, poultry farms, apple orchards, vineyards, the absence of billboards, and lots of roadkill — mainly possums and racoons.

Our route also included the town of Dillard (population 310), which is celebrated for its 102-year-old Dillard House family style restaurant. Dillard House may be America’s “original” farm-to-table restaurant with a 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. lunch menu featuring the ultimate southern meat and three, except it’s more like nine or ten and more. The friendly folks there load your table with platters of fried chicken, ham, fried pork chops, meat loaf, iced tea in mason jars, bowls of mashed potatoes, collard greens, lima beans, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, fried zucchini, green beans, cabbage casserole, cobblers, cornbread, cheese biscuits, yeast rolls, and more. When and if your table runs out they cheerfully replenish any dish. All of this and a spectacular view of the mountains for $20.95 per person.

But back to the movie.

Cousins Melinda and Roger informed us that they had volunteered us to go with them to Tiger, Georgia (population 408), just south of Dillard, to be extras in a movie being filmed there. So off we went to experience five hours of what turned out to be extremely intensive boredom. If you have ambitions to work in the film industry in any capacity whatsoever, apply as an extra in a film, and you’ll quickly be begging for a job in the accounting department.

The film, called “Blue Ridge”, is a crime drama about a sheriff attempting to solve a mystery in a small town according to the film’s producer, Gary Wheeler.

As extras we were to appear in a festival scene on the grounds of the fictional “Blue Ridge Apple Festival.”  Our role was to stand in one place unless told to do otherwise. We were handed props of bags of popcorn, cups of cider, apples, etc. and told not to eat or drink them.

There was a stage with a bluegrass band, so we thought “Okay, we’ll hear some music.” And we did……the same song played over and over — but never all the way through — in take after take! MAKE IT STOP!

The boredom was eased somewhat when a pair of young actresses appeared on the stage in front of the band, one portraying a mayor and the other a “developer.” The mayor’s lines consisted of thanking the band and introducing the pretty young developer to the crowd. The developer attempted to explain to us (the festival crowd) how the community would benefit from her proposed development. The film script was having none of it. We were instructed to “boo and shout” at her and some were provided apples to toss in her direction. Wait a minute, isn’t this where I came in. Substitute oranges for apples, the ocean for mountains, and the apple festival grounds for Fernandina Beach’s City Hall, and you’d have the uninformed, loud-mouthed crazies that make up the Amelia Tree Conservancy and the Conserve Amelia Now (CAN) crowd booing and pelting the Amelia Bluff and/or Amelia River Resort entrepreneurs.

The film is set to be distributed in 2020 by Imagicomm Entertainment through a streaming service, which means I probably won’t see it as I don’t subscribe to a streaming service. And I don’t need to watch a movie to see such nonsense, all I have to do is go to Fernandina Beach’s City Hall and wait for the local loonies to appear.

(*Bobby Bare, All American Boy, August 1963)


A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted Department: When I travel I like to read the local newspapers in the communities I visit. During our recent trip, while browsing through a small-town paper in North Carolina, I spotted a story headlined: “Area College Student Victim of Phone Scam.”

The article described how a 20-year-old college kid engaged in phone conversations over a 10-hour period resulting in him sending $30,000 in wire transfers to a conman. The scammer told the kid his social security number had been compromised and in order to get it corrected he needed to wire two $15,000 payments and then await a federal agent to visit him for a thorough investigation.

The kid went to his bank, withdrew $15,000 on two occasions, and did as the phone scammer ordered, wiring the money.

After a two-day wait it occurred to the naive kid that a federal agent probably wasn’t going to show up and he reported the incident to local authorities, who informed him he had been a victim of a scam and that he had little to no chance of retrieving his cash.

Call me callous or insensitive but to me this incident begs more than sympathy.

First, how does a 20-year-old college kid get thirty grand in his checking account? Did he earn it working to pay for his college education? Personally, I don’t think so. A kid that industrious and ambitious would be smart enough to see through an obvious scam.

Did his parents or grandparents give it to him to pay for his education? And did they just deposit tens of thousands of dollars into his checking account? If so they made a lousy investment and make it clear that dumbness is a key genetic quality in that family. And how much was actually in that kid’s account? Maybe $30K meant nothing to them.

This story just didn’t add up and all the questions the newspaper article generated remain unanswered.

If this dunce manages to graduate any company unfortunate enough to hire him needs to keep him away from the cash register.


COWabunga! I’ve read several articles recently about efforts by food companies, restaurants, grocery stores, fast food joints, etc. attempting to convert plants into hamburgers that taste exactly like beef. Haven’t cows been doing that for centuries?


Another Reason To Reject Socialism: “Americans chose a free enterprise system designed to provide equality of opportunity, not compel equality of results. And that is why this is only place in the world where you can open up a business in the spare bedroom of your home.” – Marco Rubio via Georgia Public Policy Foundation.


Why Americans Should Be Celebrating: Wages are rising, jobs are plentiful, unemployment is at a 50-year low for whites, and an all-time low for blacks and Hispanics; the country is at peace; gas and oil are plentiful and cheap; interest rates are low; the stock markets are climbing to record heights since Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 and he has delivered on promises to cut corporate taxes and regulations. Economic forecasters say this trend will continue, getting even better.

So, what are the Democrats going to run on in 2020? They have nothing to write home about except a phony impeachment attempt. Absolutely no accomplishments, not a single one.

And while they’re desperately trying to convince the electorate that Trump is Hitler all they can muster is a cadre of Karl Marx wannabes scrambling to nominate an extreme left-wing loon to run against him.

Dov Fischer, an Orange Count, CA rabbi, attorney and adjunct professor of law agrees saying Trump’s holding all the cards. Rabbi Fischer is no slouch. He’s former Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, who clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served for most of the past decade on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.  His writings have appeared in the Weekly Standard, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, American Thinker, Front page Magazine, and Israel National News.

In a recent opinion piece titled “Everyone is smart except Trump” he outlines why Trump is holding all the cards and the Democrats are so eager to find some way to get rid of him other than an election they’re sure to lose, probably by a landslide

“In his first eighteen months in Washington, this man has turned around the American economy, brought us near full employment, reduced the welfare and food stamp lines, wiped out ISIS and killed its leader, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, successfully launched massive deregulation of the economy, opened oil exploration in ANWR, is rebuilding the military massively, has walked out of the useless Paris Climate Accords that were negotiated by America’s amateurs who always get snookered, canned the disastrous Iran Deal, exited the bogus United Nations Human Rights Council.” He continued adding: “He has Canada and Mexico convinced he will walk out of NAFTA if they do not pony up, and he has the Europeans convinced he will walk out of NATO if they don’t stop being the cheap and lazy parasitic penny-pinchers they are. He has slashed income taxes, expanded legal protections for college students falsely accused of crimes, has taken real steps to protect religious freedoms and liberties promised in the First Amendment, boldly has taken on the lyme-disease-quality of a legislative mess that he inherited from Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama on immigration, and has appointed a steady line of remarkably brilliant conservative federal judges to sit on the district courts, the circuit appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.”

Based on what I’ve been hearing from the Democrats running for president, they want to bring all of this to a halt. Explain to me why I would vote for that?


Speaking of Impeachment: After watching the impeachment hearing nonsense on TV this week it’s clear that these hearings aren’t about “high crimes and misdemeanors.”. They’re all about policy differences and an intense hatred of Donald Trump. The deep state despises President Trump and is pissed off that he’s changing their old and ineffectual way of doing business. This is apparent to the majority of the American electorate and it wants no part of it. This nonsense is backfiring on the do-nothing Democrats and is doing more to help the President’s re-election efforts than hurt them. All the two “key” bureaucratic witnesses of acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, and State Department grunt, George Kent, could come up with was second and third hand hearsay (neither have ever spoken to or met the President and weren’t on the phone call with the Ukrainian President and Trump). Adam Schiff’s star witness, acting Ambassador Taylor’s startling testimony included this bombshell: “…..umm, the way I see it is I feel like the way everybody understood it is that the president may have thought about that thing, that quid pro quo thing.” I’m no expert but I doubt these stumblebums can impeach a president based on what they think others may have thought about the president’s thoughts. Or worse, based on what they think the president may have thought.” In addition, the alleged whistleblower, who worked for Joe Biden, met with Schiff’s staff,  and is employed by the CIA, hasn’t appeared; and the Republicans on the committee are eloquently blowing huge holes in the bug-eyed, pencil-necked, lying Schiff’s kangaroo court. Nancy Pelosi’s advisors are probably suggesting she hide out at her dentist’s until this mess ends and get her dentures adjusted.


Let’s Hear It For The Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics: If the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates are so keen on implementing socialistic programs then why don’t they trot out some of the folks that live under socialist regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Communist China, or former socialist governments in Ukraine, Latvia, Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Soviet Union, Romania, etc. so they can describe the wonders of a socialistic-run government to the American electorate?


An Orator Not: Other than anything Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex ever utters, possibly the least articulate comment from a politician I’ve heard recently comes from that queen of rhetorical eloquence, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is bringing up the rear in the Democratic presidential primary field. She commented on the impeachment hearings saying: “You know what? Dude gotta go. Dude gotta go. He gotta go.”  So impressive!


Drinking, Dining &Dancing: It appears that Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen at 510 South 8th Street that recently went from barbeque to seafood and then back to barbeque is no longer operating as a traditional restaurant. Instead it is now doing catering and special seating type events and its Jacksonville eatery has been shuttered. The following appeared on Gilberts web site this week: “Beginning November 14th, indulge in a special night with our Fall Dinner Series. We will be offering a three course meal with craft beers, wine and sangria along with a pre-dinner reception beginning at 6:30pm. Dinner seating will begin promptly at 7:30 pm until 9 pm with pre dinner tickets and reservations available at” It added that it will feature meals from “Chef Kenny and opportunities for photos and a meet and greet after dinner with Chef” and says the “series will run select dates in November with the exception of Thanksgiving. It adds that “normal business hours and menus have been suspended during this exceptional event series.” The only number I have for them is 904/310-6374. Diane’s Bakery, at 1014 Atlantic Ave, at 10th Street South has closed. A recorded message at 904/492-4553 says a new owner has bought in and they are applying to open at the Framer’s Market. According to the message they will do catering. Sandbar Restaurant & Kitchen owner Kevin Dooner tells me that he still has a few seats available for that eatery’s Thanksgiving meal which features a $40 per person offering of a buffet of prime rib, glazed ham, roasted turkey, sides of tossed salad, ambrosia, cranberry relish, butternut squash soup, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle and mashed potatoes, and a dessert trio of pumpkin, apple or pecan pie. Call 904/310-3648 or email and request one of the seatings at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. Speaking of the Sandbar, if you really want to have a good time, then mark Thursday, November 21 on your calendar for an Elvis Impersonator show from 6:30- 9:30 p.m. that will also enable you to purchase an Elvis favorite peanut butter and banana sandwich and a special Elvis cocktail. I’ve seen this guy at Sandbar before and this is a fun show.


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