Thoughts from this weekend, after seeing my mama perform at the Monticello Opera House in the local production of Casablanca and my dad and stepmom perform at the Moon in a local soul review:

- I sort of wish I had a fez. I would wear it when I go out drinking.
- Some of the finest acting in Casablanca was done by Rick's chin cleft. I sort of couldn't stop watching it.
- My folks are damn talented.
- It's still tons of fun seeing nazis slapped, out-witted, or shot.
- If you go to an Opry House production and you have the option, get the dinner beforehand. That's some good grub. I hear the woman who supplies it is an old friend of my bro Billy - she runs a catering service in Monticello, and I keep meaning to ask her name.
- I liked the backlit bottle rack part of the set particularly - simple effect, but it looked really good.
- Now I want to actually rent Casablanca and watch it all the way through.
- The Moon has the best sound in town, but the worst drink prices.
- If you have a large room full of baby boomers and, for some reason, you need to get them all on the dance floor at once, play Mustang Sally. They'll all get right out there and start doing the hip shake dance.
- Middle aged guys in above-the-knee khaki shorts, polo shirts, and slip-on shoes with no socks make me laugh. And I have all the fashion sense of a crosseyed armadillo.
- The fun we make for each other is always better than the fun we hire others to make for us.
- David Schuessler looks like the love child of John Denver and Martina Navratilova.
- I've got some damn talented parents.


Lord, I Love a Parade

Any day that starts with paella for breakfast and women dancing down the street in feathers can't help but be a good day.

I woke up at 9 this morning, which, if you know me, probably shocks the hell out of you. I got my neighbor up, and we strolled on down toward the capital. Just past Call Street, we grabbed an empty stretch of curb and waited for the motorcycle cops to bip their sirens and start the whole thing. The local bagpipers set the pace - say what you will, and I know it's a funny looking instrument, but a good pipe band can give me goosebumps. There's a reason it was carried into battle to pipe the soldiers into the fray.

Behind them were a handful of the usual Tally suspects - beauty queens in open cars, the Rickards cheerleaders clapping and jumping, parrotheads - mixed in with folks dressed in the styles brought here when they were dragged or chased or lured into the US. Stilt walkers in masks, dancing and clowning to a Caribbean beat. Mexican families in clothing that still remembers the Mayans. A whole trailer of steel drums, music bouncing off the brick buildings like chimes. DJs from around the southeast on flatbeds stacked with speakers blasting Carnival beats followed by flocks of women decked with feathers, from small headdresses to giant, towering beasts and jungles on wheels draped over a dancer's shoulders. I have to admit, my neighbor and I followed our favorites all the way down to the judges' table and back around to the Adams Street commons.

And after the parade, food! Thank the Lord that I live somewhere I can eat a smalll mountain of paella with muscles, shrimp, pork and chicken stewed and spiced as yellow as the rice, peas, scallops, and fresh pico de gallo sauce for breakfast on a morning when you can feel fall headed our way. My neighbor grabbed a plate of jerk pork and we sat in the shade and peple watched and sipped lemonade and stuffed ourselves.

Now the question is, where the hell were you? All that music and food and color (and please do not forget the pretty ladies dancin and laughin) and most of Tallahassee skipped it. Y'all shoulda been there.


Dirt Mall

I woke up this morning wanting a pair of green bootlaces, a pack of nag champa, a bandana, and a peach. Okay, so mainly what I wanted was a reason to go to the flea market. Where else can you sip a draft Bud while browsing through 70s country records, hot pants that say "Rebel Girl", and framed posters showing the last supper as portrayed by characters from Scarsface, The Godfather, and The Sopranos?

After the intense heat we suffered through this past month, I've managed to convince myself that fall's pretty much here already. Even with sweat running down my back while I strolled between aisles, following my nose to the incense, soap, and African medallians booth, I found myself saying things like, "Sure is cool out today," and "Looks like we survived another summer." And in a funny way, it's true. A local knows these things. You can feel that little edge when a breeze hits just right - that promise that soon we can pull out jackets and jeans and not die of the heat. That hint that the fair's just around the corner (elephant ear, anybody?). That I'd better start planning my Halloween party.

Between the fine weather, the self-delusion, and the fact that I managed to get everything I needed for under $5, the flea market couldn't have been better. How do you think I'd look in those hot pants?