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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Seven 7hings: About Visiting Florida

Given my somewhat scathing critique of Houston, it only seems fair that I turn the Light of Truth on my current home state, Florida.

You really need to know these Seven 7hings before you come visit.

1.  The News:  Residents of Florida know all too well how many notorious weirdos from Florida have made the news.  We’ve made national front pages with Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, and Rudy Eugene (the dude who ate another dude’s face off), among other notables.

2.  Thanks a lot, Rest of America:  Since nearly two-thirds (65%) of Florida’s residents were born in another state, we’re not taking full blame for the knuckleheads in 7hing number 1.  In fact, the names and birthplaces of some of the principles of Florida’s more infamous news stories:
  • Aileen Wuornos: Rochester, MI
  • Ted Bundy:  Burlington, VT
  • Casey Anthony:  Warren, OH
  • George Zimmerman:  Manassas, VA
  • Rudy Eugene:  Miami, FL

OK…we’ll own Rudy Eugene but the rest of them are on y’all.

3.  Old People:  I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor that Florida is filled with old blue-haired ladies and knob-kneed old coots blocking the left lane.

OK…this one is true.  More than 4.5 million Floridians – nearly 24% of the population – are aged 60 and older.  So get comfortable behind them in the left lane.  You’re gonna be there a while.

4.  Florida Writers:  What?  You thought all great writing came from New York?  Au contraire, mon petit audience.  Ever hear of a fella named of Ernest “Papa” Hemingway?  Won a little award called the Nobel?  Lived in Key West for about ten years.
Oh, you didn't know?  Maine’s favorite son now winters on Casey Key in Osprey, Florida, near Sarasota.

Suck that, New York.  And Maine.

5.  It is, indeed, a Small World After All:  In 2012, more than 56 million visitors came to Orlando, the most visitors ever to a single US city in a single year.  At any point during the year, at least half of them were on I-4 between Celebration and Altamonte Springs.

Many of these visitors were from foreign countries, most of them here to visit WaltDisneyworld.  All of these people left humming “It’s a Small World After All” on every flight I took from the Orlando Airport.  Thanks, Mickey.

6.  Critters:  Florida has a reputation for having some of the most bizarre and violent creatures in the United States.  Most people are fully aware of the alligators, snakes, Florida panther, and “palmetto bugs” (which are, in actuality, gigantic man-eating cockroaches with prehensile tails, werewolfian fangs, and can fly at speeds approaching mach 6).

Perhaps less familiar is the Capybara, a 100-pound guinea pig imported to Florida by the senior population to team with the palmetto werewolves to kill everyone under the age of 60. Or at least those who don’t die from being stuck in the left lane behind Sister Blue Hair and the Knock Knees Monster.

7.  Weather:  It is hot in Florida.  Hot and humid.  Oppressively hot and humid.  A co-worker of mine is from Africa and he complains about the weather.

But that’s not the worst part. Florida also has hurricanes. This is a picture of Navarre Beach about 10 hours before the worst of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. These steps are normally 30-50 feet (depending on tide) from the water’s edge. Ivan moved the entire Gulf of Mexico.

The Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival is held the third weekend every October in Niceville, Florida.  The centerpiece of the festival is mullet, the fish, and not mullet, the fashion statement of John Stamos and Michael Bolton, circa 1987.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seven 7hings: Men Think About as Valentine's Day Approaches

Granted, these are Seven stupid 7hings.  But ladies, if you want to know what goes through that tiny brain of your man, read on.

1.  “Damn…six more months to go until football season”:   Ladies, men care about three things.  Football, food...and Valentine’s day is not the third one.

2.  “What’s the least amount of time, money, and effort I can put into this and still get laid?”:  …and there you go.  For those wondering what the third thing is, here it is.

3.  “I wonder what she’s getting me?”:  You’re lucky she lets you hang around with her, you cretin.  Valentine’s day is her day, not yours.  I’m sure it was invented by the first man who witnessed childbirth firsthand and understood that menstruation was a monthly event.  Don’t bitch about her not getting you chocolates.  We definitely got the better end of this deal, fellas.

4.  “The flowers at the grocery store are a quarter the cost of that stupid florist!”:  Oh, she knows this too, my friends.  Rest assured…she knows this all too well.

5.  “She’s been complaining about her weight.  She’ll get mad if I get her chocolates.”:  Not getting her chocolates because she told you she wanted to lose some weight is one step short of getting her a gym membership for Valentine’s day.  The only reason you’d do either one is if you are cleverly planning to be single next Valentine’s day.

6.  “OK…she said no gifts this year so I’m off the hook.”:  You will only fall for this one once.  Trust me...only once.

7.  “Coupons!”:  If you are over the age of 9 and unless your “Valentine” is your mother, giving candy hearts and coupons for “One hour of snuggling” or “Clean the litter box” will result in zero hours of snuggling and a filled litter box in your bed.


If you buy this at Target while all the Valentine’s stuff is out, you will get odd looks from the female shoppers.  Screaming “Burying is cheaper than flowers!” doesn’t help.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seven 7hings: To Hate About Houston

Seven 7hings:  To Hate About Houston.  Feel free to add your own.  With Houston, there are plenty of candidates, far too many things to fit in a list of seven.  Or seven hundred.

1.  Houston is a rootbound plant:  The infrastructure of Houston for some reason hesitates to grow outside the I-610 loop and absolutely refuses to expand outward past the Sam Houston Tollway.  As a result, the infrastructure for more than two million people is jammed into a circle with a 15 mile radius.  Hence, a rootbound plant.

2.  Traffic:  Related to the rootboundedness of Houston is the traffic.  And by traffic, I mean the drivers.  And by drivers, I mean idiot Texans.

3.  Concrete:  Everything in Houston is concrete, even the lawns.  Seriously, you’re the fourth largest city in the United States…buy a freaking fern already.

4.  Weather:  From the Napoleonic wars through Vietnam to present day, soldiers fear one thing as much as anything else:  jungle rot.  Simply put, feet immersed in water for extended periods of time often get infected and results in rotten feet.  Feet that not only smell like feet but like rotten feet.  That’s what Houston weather is like:  One giant, rotten, smelly foot.

5.  Identity crisis:  Make up your mind, Houston.  Do you want to be San Antonio, Dallas, or New Orleans?  Trying to be all three means you’re not like any of them.  You’re just Junglerotville.  You really need to get a personality of your own.

6.  Yippee-ki-yay:  Houston is home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest rodeo.  It’s not only that this event draws 1.8 million people each year to Houston…it’s that it draws 1.8 million people with cowboy hats and “compensatory” oversized belt buckles.

7.  On a related note, Texans:  No, not the football team.  Actual people from Texas.  Seriously…are they the worst? 


Derek Zoolander Center, coming soon to the Gallaria in Houston:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Seven 7hings: Seven 7hings

Seven 7hings is a new gimmick concept in the Smoke House blog.  I will list seven things about a particular topic.

Fancy, huh?

For starters, the inaugural Seven 7hings will be about, of course, Seven 7hings:

1.  Seven 7hings will include a BONUS THING, generally in opposition to the actual seven things listed.  For example, in my Seven 7hings:  To Hate About Houston, there will be a BONUS THING thing that’s good about Houston.  However, the BONUS THING may have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic.  My gimmick concept, my rules.

2.  This BONUS THING is not an eighth thing.  That would make the blog title Eight 7hings and that would make the 7 in the title just stupid.

3.  Seven 7hings will be filled with actual facts about the actual topic.  I will not make things up.  All seven things -- and the bonus thing -- are all true.

4.  So far, I have 43 Seven 7hings topics selected.  Not including this one.

5.  Seven 7hings:  About Sex represents 2.3% of the topics.

6.  I will accept suggested topics for Seven 7hinigs.  However, I do not guarantee I will use your suggestion.

7.  Seven 7hings will be updated weekly.  Or more frequently.  Unless it’s not. 

Lady on "Bingo" the bull, Fredericksburg, Texas: