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Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Opening Remarks - Highlights from My Recent Vacation

My lady and I have been together for five years now, and we’ve grown pretty comfortable together. I like to think she’s gotten used to my annoying traits, and with that in mind, I’m trying really hard not to develop any new ones. I hope she knows how much I love her, even if I don’t say it as much as I should (i.e., every waking moment).

We recently spent a week and change in St. Thomas (named for the Patron Saint of Fruity Rum Drinks). We stayed at Sapphire Beach near Red Hook. The former is lovely, though not quite as lovely as our beaches here. The latter is packed with lots of charming restaurants (Coco Blue is a must, and I hope they open one here before I die) and cool hangouts with names like “Duffy’s Love Shack” and “Subway Sandwich Shop.”

As for entertainment, the expected barrage of steel drums never happened. I heard a grand total of one musician the whole time I was there. We were enjoying pizza (and Painkillers and Bushwhackers, etc.) at the Island Time Pub when I heard this guy singing a Kris Kristofferson tune with a voice that was happily reminiscent of Tom Waits. I went over to talk to him when he took a break, expecting to see some old timer. Instead, I was met by a young punk rock looking guy in a wife beater, sporting a Travis Bickle hairdo. Anyway, talented kid—he’s on Reverb Nation under the name Jubal if you want to check him out.

We watched the Super Bowl at the Caribbean Saloon. The place was packed, and our group quickly realized we were just about the only folks there rooting for the 49ers (actually, I was still pulling for the Chicago Bears). It was a good game, though I wish they’d used some New Orleans musicians for the halftime show. A lot of those guys would have benefited from prime time network television exposure, and if some viewers had felt compelled to switch channels due to some aversion to brass bands? Hell with ‘em.

Other highlights of the trip included a fun sailing excursion, where we discovered that at least one billionaire had a whole island to himself, complete with pool decks on both ends so the guy could have a nice spot to watch the sun rise and set. I often fantasize about what I’ll do when my ship comes in, and acquiring my very own island never came to mind. I will have to rethink my list.

I highly recommend a getaway to St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rum and cigarettes are ridiculously affordable. Everyone speaks English. And it’s technically part of the United States, although you still have to deal with customs at the airport before you fly home.

We just got back into town about a week ago, and I’m having a little trouble readjusting to regular life, so bear with me. It’s almost 11 a.m. and I’m due for my first Fruity Rum Drink of the day.

Love, Christopher

THIS JUST IN… Big thanks to our friends at HarborWalk Village for inviting us to judge this year’s Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, Feb. 8. An even bigger thanks to the representative from Jim Beam for bestowing a stunning array of adult beverages on me and my fellow judges.

Congratulations to this year’s winners— Mardi Gras Girls (first place overall, best theme), Resolute Martial Arts (largest krewe), Highsteppers (second place overall, most spirited), and Destin Nights (third place overall, biggest crowd pleasers).

Sadly, the Pardi Gras Paddle and DizzyJuke Band concert scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9 were rescheduled due to the weather. We’ll let you know when they shoot us the make good date.

BEACHCOMBER MUSIC AWARDS 2013... Our fifth gala honoring Beachcomberland’s best and brightest is set for Monday, March 4, at John Wehner’s Village Door in the Village of Baytowne Wharf. Doors open at 7, and the first band will rock the stage starting at 8. Make plans now to take a sick day Tuesday, March 5. Musicians—if you’d like to perform and/or present at the event, contact us immediately 

Among the acts scheduled to perform thus far—Hotel Oscar, Forrest Williams Band, New Earth Army, Heritage and John Wehner’s Dream Band, all of whom are better than anything I saw on the Grammys last weekend.

The event is FREE, but representatives from the Children’s Advocacy Center will be at the door if you’d like to make a donation to this great nonprofit. We are also looking for an old, unwanted guitar that we’ll have all the nominees autograph and auction off on awards night.

Keep up with the latest news at www.facebook.com/BeachcomberMusicAwards.

MORE STUFF FOR YOUR IPAD, IPHONE, IBALLS... The FREE Beachcomber app (get it ***HERE***) brings the best of the Emerald Coast’s music, art, theater, literary scene and more to your iPad, iPhone and iPad Touch. If you don’t have any of the aforementioned devices, buy them all so you can download our app. Or do like the Beachcomber Editor did—convince your boss you need one for work. (In this case, “work” consists of playing games, listening to music and watching movies.)

If we run into you while we’re out and about and you show us that you’ve downloaded it to your device, we will give you a fabulous prize, too! Or just a hug. Or maybe both…

WE LIKE YOU RIGHT BACK!... Karen Nye, Lina Shepherd, Stephanie Ingram, Paige Floyd, Amy Nicole, Shannon Grantham, Sarah Drahn, Robbie Shade, Andre Johnson, Michael Smith, Randy Stone, Tia Shirah, Alia Hartwick, Heather Smith, Mike Evans, Rod Zietlow, Catie Quanrud, Chaucie Goldrat, Melissa Brown, Candyce Gray, Jody Morgan, Juan Del Castillo, Misty Oliver, Kristen Stevenson, Randall Lee Sanders Sr., Judith Kennedy, Doug Deal, Sara Stearns, Donnie Young, Emily Thomas, Jennifer Barnett, Delilah Richmond, Darlene Parker, Carolyn Martin, Samantha Cox, Moose Highlander, Shorty’s Surfside, Shelley Shirazi, Kathleen McCleary, Malinda Douglass, Charlie Bruce, Rachel Nussbaum, Mark Theis, Hector Badilla, Natures Keepers, Susan Cousins, Daniel Whoolery, Charles Nevett III, Neil Sebree, Wesley Cook, Jennifer Hankins, Lisa MacKendrick, Dharlene Ann Siren, Kimberlee Bergeron, Janet Maloney, Stephanie Slack, Ranee Jones, Matt Oakley, Pamela Barrow, Darrell Bates, Brandon Mcmillon, Mikaela Marra, Tracey Williams, Cindy Boissenin, David Killen and Leigh Peacock are just some of the great people who “like” the official Beachcomber page on Facebook.

If you’ve “friended” us as Beachcomber Destin (or tried to—sorry, they max out at 5,000), please “like” our page, too, at www.facebook.com/beachcomberdestinfl and drink in up-to-the-minute info, giveaways, videos and much more! We may even put your name in the paper to fill up space.

We’re also on Google+ now, if you’re brave enough to give it a try.

Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson jams with Chris “How ‘Bout It” Clarke and Gary “WTF” Clark at Shorty’s Surfside & Topside in Grayton Beach.

Photo by Andy Durand