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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Opening Remarks - Happy Anniversary to Bruce and Me

Beachcomber Contributing Editor Bruce Collier and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary.

No, we’re not married to each other, though I don’t think it would be a huge mistake for Florida to join the rest of the forward-thinking world and allow such unions. Anyway, Bruce is happily married to a very nice lady and the father of a Tiny Diner, and I am married to my work. I am also happily near-married to the lovely and talented Miss Paula and am the proud father of two big dogs and a Chihuahua that likes to sit on top of my bald head.

Back in March 2002, then-editor Leah Stratmann took a chance on both of us, for which I’ll always be grateful. I was a would-be screenwriter who’d had some movie reviews published in a now-defunct bar and restaurant newspaper and sold a page to Mad magazine forever ago.

Bruce had apparently never been published prior to Beachcomber Volume 2, Issue 6, and now look at the guy. I couldn’t imagine this publication/Web site/iPad-iPhone app without his dining reviews, thoughts on the latest jazz releases, etc. He’s also the editor of the DeFuniak Springs Herald, one of the oldest family-owned papers in Florida.

I was running a video rental store in Destin—remember those, kids?—and pitched myself for the movie critic position. That slot was taken, so my first article in the Beachcomber was a profile on a Niceville-by-way-of-Viet Nam nail salon owner. It was a reasonably entertaining and informative piece, though the best part was the title—“There’s more to nails than just the polish”—and I suspect Leah came up with that one, not me.

Bruce’s debut Beachcomber article focused on the Harbor Boatyard’s transition to Galati Yacht Sales. He has since become the culinary go-to guy in Beachcomberland, even before the term “Beachcomberland” existed. For those not in the know, Beachcomberland is everything east of Pensacola and west of Panama City, unless one of those towns has something really cool going on.

This issue’s window also marks your Beachcomber Editor’s 45th birthday, and based on my age, I would ask all friends, family and complete strangers to send me a 45 RPM record of your choice (kids, ask your parents) in lieu of the high-priced items on my Amazon Wish List. Preferably with a cool picture sleeve and no scratches.

Mexican Grill was the place to go for “impeccable, prompt and friendly” service. Strangely, considering our current editorial bent, there were no profiles of local musicians or artists.

And enjoy our FREE gift to you, the new Beachcomber app for your iPad, iPhone and iBalls. Thanks to the City of Destin and Curtis Clark Jr. for helping spread the kind word.



The March 28, 2002 Beachcomber featured watercolor artist Robert Long’s “Two Pairs” on the cover. A remake of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine was in movie theaters, while The Sopranos won the hearts of TV critics. The top fiction book was Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men topped the nonfiction bestsellers.

The Cobia World Championships and Price Oil Celebrity Golf Tournament were just around the corner, and Pepito’s


Debbie Tate, Deb Williams, Andrya Crossland, Bill Kimbrell, Terry Spivey, Zydeco Young, Kevin McCurley, August Bach, Dominic Ruberti, Columbia Caged Combat, Brent Waldorff, Stacey Brady, Jen Holovack, Eightfivezero Guy, Amanda Morgan, Margo Raymond, Tracie Belvin, Chris Calleri, Shane Sreemuntoo, Stewart Fam and Barbie Daniels are just some of the great people who “like” the new Beachcomber page on Facebook.

If you’re a friend of the old Beachcomber Destin page, please make the switch to 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.