Happy Valentine’s Day! The American Reformation Era Has Begun, Chapter I.

Super Blood Moon

THIS was my last glimpse of the VERY RARE, super moon triad, as the energetic portal closed, January 31st, 2018.

Just when I was about to give up, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and I knew, at that moment, the Era of the American Reformation had begun.

Oh, the symbolism and signifiers surrounding this year’s Super Bowl winners abound, and I can barely wait to symbol, and signify, for anyone who cares to read beyond this point. (I’m ecstatic!)  To wit:

  • The Super Bowl occurred barely a week following the closing of the super triad blood moon portal on January 31st, 2017; a very rare cosmic event, that creates volatile energy bursts, positively kicking us into the next six months with edge, and agility. (Okay, I’m pretty sure I explained that whole lunar thing wrong, which is why I included the hyperlink, for anyone who would like a little clarity on this tangent.)
  • Eagles soar, with majesty.  And of course, our country’s symbol, is the American bald eagle.  This matters a lot right now, because this past year, flying both high, AND proud, has not been our nation’s catchiest jingle.
Eagles nest

The eagle’s nest behind the 10th green at the Golden Bear Golf Club in Indigo Run on Hilton Head Island, SC, got a celebrity visitor from Philadelphia this week.

  • In politics 2017, executive orders were signed, followed by devastating hurricanes, mass shootings, earthquakes, the Russia investigation, protest marches turning into crime scenes, then California suffered forest fires, and landslides…  And Puerto Rico –  a shameful national disgrace!  Not taking the biblical hint, the Orange Menace actually became MORE insulting (if that was even possible from the year before, he did manage it without breaking a sweat).
  • As you can imagine, I forgot to look at the bright side of last year, which has kicked us into a stellar, TAKE THAT 2018! Starting with my prediction that…
  • Mr. Kaepernick WON’T be short on job offers into the new year.  Movie rights on the book deal (plenty of escarole…) Oh! Endorsements galore in the coming few years for being the American Reformation Era civil rights harbinger.  So, I wouldn’t worry too much about the over-fed, pale-faced, NFL plantation owners NOT picking you up for another season, my new favorite celebrity athlete.  The world is now your oyster.  As far as I’m concerned, the NFL has major soul-searching to do, before they make any more public statements about… pretty much, anything.  You can check out The Intercept for a bit more on THAT tangent.
  • I forgot – and then remembered (real quick, I remembered!) that I spent my first ten years growing up just outside of Philadelphia, before moving to Hilton Head, SC. So, there. I was born an Eagles fan! Go figure.
  • All right now.  Since when, did cheaters, and liars in this country start getting off the hook, with a wink, and a fine just for getting caught?  WHEN DID THAT CRAP BECOME OKAY AROUND HERE?  I never received an addendum to the list of deadly sins and Commandments saying, “(heh-heh), deflating footballs, inflating market values, rigging voting elections, doping yourself with steroids, and betting on games you have a stake in, aren’t a big deal any more, so have at it.  America will bail you out, as long as you’re rich, white, and remember to vote for the Man.”  Some of us, who still respect good sportsmanship, AND THE LAW, don’t just get over it that easily!


  • Time is of the essence when it comes to establishing a new era, so brevity is our goal today.  Yes, I can hear some of you chortling to yourselves, “Carmen wouldn’t know brevity if it smacked her three pages down.”  I know, very funny.

It might be hard for you to believe, this past year has been difficult containing myself after downsizing my firm, in the interest of… reducing my carbon footprint, among other reasons.  Since restructuring here at hiltonheadblogangel.me, we have found a more suitable schedule and, of course now, since the lay-offs, and less overhead, well, it’s just me and Sam here, running things, for now.

Beagle on the beach

Hi, it’s Sam. Blogging to you, from Hilton Head.

So, that means, we expect to see you guys back here next time, because we’ve got a lot more work coming up.

Like, I’m still busting a gut, waiting to see if Trey Gowdy will repeat – with a straight face – what he said on Face the Nation last Sunday, “I enjoy the pursuit of fairness as a virtue.”   Yep.  He said that with yellow whiskers growing awry all over his face.

It’s okay, if you all need to go somewhere and put you finger down your throat, go ahead.  This is probably a good stopping off point for today.

See you next time for Chapter II of the American Reformation Era!



Meatball Mayhem & Madness Challenge/Feast of San Gennaro – IACHH

Hi folks. I’m Sam, the Beach Beagle on Hilton Head, pinch-hitting again for Blog Angel because – as Johnny D says – she has too much going on, and gets her head stuck someplace up her keister – a place I can’t reach because I’m short-legged.  My job is to bring things into focus around here, and get the word out about the only important thing in the world I can think of, right?


Beagle thinking about meatball

Just saying this, makes me.. me very,… wait… I gotta go outside a minute,… and collect myself….

Okay, let me begin again.  Because these two knuckleheads, Mom and Johnny D, are so strung out, with all their shi-shi events, I knew this blog was going to wind up in my food dish.  See, Mom gets side-tracked with all kinds of dumb PR stuff, forgetting about important things like the Loggerhead Turtle necklaces she sells at the * Italian Club Events,* to help save the little turtle hatchling nests on the beaches at the Coastal Discovery Museum, because a couple weeks ago, she had to dress up like Marilyn Monroe, like last year, to surprise Johnny D, who’s president of the IACHH (that stands for the the Italian.-American. Club. Of. Hilton. Head. for those of you, Unawares), on his birthday for the annual Omni ZinFest, in October.

Except, that little bright bulb idea fritzed-out pretty quick this year for a couple reasons, so she’s running around like a nut, telling everyone that they suck; meanwhile Johnny D, has to be in the dark about it, because he’s supposed to be organizing the annual ZinFest at the Omni Hotel – ON HIS BIRTHDAY, like the JFK bash a bunch of years ago –  because she’s got to surprise him again, and it works; but by the end of the night, I don’t think we could take anymore Marilyn surprises as you can see.

Sammy and Johnny D sleep on the sofas

Johnny D & I crapped out after the 2nd Annual Marilyn Monroe Birthday surprise.

[You know, last year, Marilyn sang after a guy named Matthew stormed through here, now that I think about it. Maybe Marilyn needs strong winds to ride around on her broomstick.]

Awright, just like BlogAngel, I digressed a momento, here…  where was I…

So, Irma comes up from Florida, whirling around, totally ruining the whole Eating Feast, the Hilton Head, Italian-American Club (IACHH) hosts every year for St. Januarius, (which is SAN GENNARO, to you discerning Italian-Americans out there), while SOMEONE IS SUPPOSED TO MAINTAIN CLARITY ON THE GIANT, DRIPPING, 1,500 LB MEATBALL.

Sammy Close up

I lost again… my train… of thoug.. clarity about the…thhe meatburblschmiemiener…

So, the seed for this world meatball record thing got started like, kinda’ like a small snow ball rolling down a hill in Meshanticut Valley Parkway, which is where we used to live in Cranston, Rhode Island, eight years ago like, in this picture,  when Johnny D and I were still getting to know each other.

Johnny D and Sammy the Beagle

Johnny D and Sam make meatballs in Cranston, Rhode Island, (circa 2009)

I was trying to mind my manners, but back then, when I was fresh out of “college” (that’s what the boys on the Hill said, when one of their buddies went someplace for a while), if a guy was cooking ground beef, Johnny D always says, FUGGETABOUTIT! There was no way, I was going to sit on my duff with the moonie milk chocolate eyes my Mom likes, with a little paw at the ready…

No way, when Johnny starts rolling a meatball, and then says, “I’ll make one as big as your head, Sam!” Well. I can’t even think straight, now.

Sam the Beagle in his first city shelter

This was the size of my head, when Mom found me in the Providence City ” college”. She said it was a heart-shaped, mushroom cap for kissing.

A meatball as big as my head? How big is my head?  Mom’s always smooching it, so it can’t be that big, but then I’ve got a lot of thoughts in my head, and she also likes my velvet lop-ears, so, it must be pretty big to handle all that, right? Smooches, thoughts, and velvet lops?  How big a meatball is Johnny D talking about?

Well, I’m telling you now, 1,500 lbs of meatball is more than my beagle brain can handle every couple minutes without getting vertigo, maybe drooling, and my back knees buckling; I am aged 70 -ish dog years, which may be the average Hilton Head Island resident demographic, but it doesn’t mean I’m like Snoopy the Red Baron, flying around at night on top of his doghouse.  I’m just Sam the Beach Beagle, trying to hold it all together down here on Governors Road sucking it up occasionally, for BlogAngel.

IACHH Meatball Festivall 2017, Shelter Cove Park

Starting at 8 am for the 5K Run, and going all day including a Silent Auction, food vendors, craft booths, a kid’s zone, live entertainment. Don’t Fuggetaboutit!

So now, Johnny D’s at the Veteran’s Day Memorial event which is very important, and we’re out of ink cartridges and paper, and they got a rule around here that whoever uses it last has to restock the printer, so I better run to Staples before Blog Angel wakes from her nap – she likes her naps – in the mornings, because she works late night with Rachel Maddow and Seth Myers (yeah, really yukking it up with those two, with pencils sticking out of her pony tail and Johnny D, snoring away on the sofa).

oven wrapThe current world record for the largest meatball stands at 1,100 lbs, which is pretty big, when you think about it.  So our own genius engineer, Joe Carpinteri, who designed the oven (with a little input from another member, a retired NASA guy) to conduct heat with like, big stainless steel prongs to go inside the meatball, and then there’s this whole POD- RIGHT-  THEY HAD TO MAKE A POD – to hold the meat in like a form, so it wouldn’t all fall apart while it was cooking, which, I told them I could spread my body around it and hold the thing with my four paws, but Johnny D thought maybe, I was getting carried away.  I could see he was getting that look on his face he gets, when it’s time for me to walk outside and shake it off… you know…

Sam the Beagle yells out the window

Next Saturday, the 18th! A 1,500 lb meatball! Don’t FUGGETABOUTIT!

All right you guys, darn, I don’t have time to tell you anything else, except be there next weekend sharp  in the morning, because of the 5k race, and limited parking, and tv cameras and the Guinness Book of World Record people….

What: Meatball Madness Guinness World Record Challenge – 8t Annual Hilton Head Italian Heritage Festival

When: November 18th, 2017, 8am – 4 pm

Where: Shelter Cove Park, Hilton Head, SC

Cost: $6/Adults, Children under 10/free

Proceeds to Benefit Local Charities with a focus on hunger awareness and organizations that provide our neighbors with the comfort, and nourishment they may be lacking .

Festival Info: Paul Caimano, Festival Chairman (412) 897-1148, paccomkt@aol.com

IACHH President, Johnny DeCecco, (401) 524-1416, jdc3@hargray.com

Meatball Challenge Marketing & PR: Triad Design, Rob Lembo & Christina Belen (843) 706-3320

*IACHH is a 501 (3)(c) non-profit organization. Proceeds from events benefit local charitable organizations and scholarship funds. Proceeds from the Meatball Madness Festival Guinness World Record Day Challenge will go towards hunger awareness specific organizations and charities that directly service the underserved in our community. More information can be found on our website here.  http://iachh.org/about-us.html



Hilton Head Blog Angel Welcomes You Again to… “Only on the Back Page”!

Visitors gather to celebrate the 4th of July

A lovely Rockwell scene awaits the fireworks display on the 18th fairway of the HarbourTown Golf Links.

This started out here, but since you wound up on MY page, you’re getting the director’s cut version, so buckle up for a bumpy ride!

Which simply means that you are now in the presence of shear, unedited brilliance.  Within these magical, mystical scrolling points, you will be privy to the sometimes, coy copy, maybe shady, doctored images that certain local, Pamphlet of the Isle editors censured, due to my questionable investigative techniques, and/or subversive nature of the content contained herein, using unnamed sources (usually because I forgot to write down their names before they hung up on me), that will take you on a point-by-plot, connect-the-dot investigation of international intrigue starting from all the way down into Hilton Head Blog Angel’s gut instincts, and leading up into the dark, grey, nether regions of her brain-pan (or, as Johnny D refers to, her effing, ‘nut-case’).

For example:

Fireworks boat in HarbouTown

Now, one could argue that this vessel eerily resembles a Russian spy-ship lurking off our southern shores at dusk on our country’s own birthday, while the G19’s distractedly snubbed Trump at break time on the Continent… ORRRR…, it could be an out-of-focus, auto-flash shot of the famous Falcon Fireworks boat crew preparing for the Annual Sea Pines, 4th of July Blitz showcase over the 18th fairway in HarbourTown, last week.  On which of these aforementioned scenarios would you place your bets?

See? This is good stuff my friends, and only the very discerning of you will appreciate how hard I worked keeping it together for your reading pleasure, not unlike British agent, Christopher Steele, with his, y’know, alleged,’ dossier, that Buzzfeed published online a while back.  Do you all understand how hard we independent movers and shakers work to remain both marginalized, AND disenfranchised at the same time? It is not easy going rogue; just ask Sarah Pahlin, who had to learn that you can’t just blather the word, ‘rogue’ interchangeably with, ‘maverick,’ over, and over just because you learned what they both meant a week before press time.  Hunh.  Now, look where she is.

Just kidding (not really. I’ll leave that one up to reader’s discretion).

And, speaking of readers and their discretionary habits, according to my ex-editor at the local daily newspaper, there weren’t enough of them – them, being readers who liked my articles that is, I’m speaking now to, you guys clicking around my fledgling column, Only on Hilton Head, to make it worthwhile for The Island Packet to include my uniquely islander’s insights, on the weekends any longer, and sadly for me, I won’t get to continue interrupting your Sunday mornings with embarrassing, ‘remember back-in-the-day moments’.

Apparently,  my, “numbers weren’t adding up,” according to the Bionic Man, before he fired me.  Darn it.  Now, which of you, Hilton Headers, forgot to turn in your Hilton-Head-Blog-Angel-end-of-term quiz?  Hmm?  See, this is why, forgotten Sea Pines Academy alumni scribes like me, get whisked into dustbins; because islanders forget to click the blue Likey button, or comment, SHARE, or for God’s sake YOU’RE NOT STILL READING THE PRINTED NEWSPAPER DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR, ARE YOU?

Carmen DeCecco in B&W

Seriously? You were reading me while sitting on the john in your slippers, yukking it up, Sunday mornings?  That doesn’t count as ‘Liking’ me at the Packet.  that’s merely ‘anecdotal evidence’ (I know it sounds evidentiary of something else, but that’s what they told me.)

Don’t you understand? They can’t count your smiles, and chuckles, when rationalizing firing a feel-good, columnist, whose fluff-piece gets cornered into the back pages next to ‘Pets of the Week’ (seriously, that’s where I was Sunday morning, July 9, in the Lowcountry Life section of The Island Packet, 6C, right next to a labrador named River, at Rogue Rescue & Sanctuary,) if you’re just reading a printed paper you bought at the 7/11..’sniff‘…I’m fine, thanks for asking,… just need a moment…

Anyhooo, and be. That. As. It. May.  My hope is to resume blogging again more regularly, in case you’re wondering, or maybe you don’t care… whatever.  I’m in a snit. (sigh)

Transitioning to BlogAngel ArtWorks

You may enjoy the following photos I took during last week’s stellar fireworks display at the 18th fairway in HarbourTown – none of which made it to the newspaper’s online website because, apparently, I suck.  But, the lovely Berrigan family was nice enough to invite me to join them, so a good evening was had by all.  And if you stick around, you’ll see some more of my fun artwork from that night…

4th of July Fireworks HarbourTown, 2017

Now, here’s one of those lucky shots. Eric Horan, and Tom Kemeny, will both be proud (I hope), I was able to pull this one off by total accident. And I didn’t have to use any of the dials on my Photos software settings at all, since I really don’t know how to use them, at all, really.

All I know is that, having made no plans last week for the 4th of July, 2017, I mosied down the 17th fairway from Bob and Susan’s house (that’s on the 11th tee, for those of you new to this blog), and it was another banner evening of Americana red, white, and blue, like the big Boeing fly-by on Easter Sunday a couple months ago, during the RBC Heritage Golf Classic presented by Boeing.



Fireworks above the 18th at HarbourTown

All right now, question for Eric Horan: Is this a flock of seagulls, captured flying across a blue, sunny sky? Or, did I have my digital wheel-thingy set at the portrait/night-time no-flash, slow-shutter setting when the first couple of fireworks popped off like right inside my eardrum?

And again I infuriate myself; by showing up with bells and whistles I don’t know how to use properly.  Like, I used to always show up places with a tri-pod that didn’t want to attach itself to the exceptionally priced – yet, aptly named – Rebel T3i EOS, but instead, would lollygag its neck around, and around, while I attempted to click the camera securely into place on the neck of said, Mr. Tripod, who’s neck would tip-tap about, like a fancy little two-stepper, as I kept trying to click the… REBEL..T3i.into.place while the fashion show would be moving ahead without my stylistic videography no matter what…! Noooo….

telescope and tripod on card table

Currently, Sir LollyGagagalot (back center, in black, wearing the turtle necklace) stands guard in Blog Angel’s Carolina Room, with other semi-retired Sentinels, like Colonel’s Big & Little Red, the beginner telescopes, waiting patiently to teach Mrs. Blog Angel how to read the universe.

So now, Sir Lollygagalot, does not accompany me so often, rather he remains in time-out in the Carolina room, thinking about how he has frustrated his kind, and patient, scrivener maiden.

And no, I do not mind standing still when I need to shoot video, and my upper arm starts to burn holy Moses, because that’s why we do fifteen-twenty minute planks nowadays, right?  And isn’t that what the corner of a bar is for anyway? A place for Captain Can’t-do Canon to rest and record activity without moving, while Princess Blog Angel sips a Perrier with lime?  (Just nod and keep your eyes moving along.) Any device that argues with my ego for more than sixteen hours, receives an appropriate insulting name, and is relegated to the corner of my Carolina room, until… whenever my mood changes.  Just ask the two Colonels Big & Little Red, and Zeus Buddha, the non-zense stone waterfall that corroded my double AA batteries.

So, yes, I have gotten used to those looks from IT professionals and other such trained engineers who groan when people like me walk into their shops with a couple of new words in their vocabulary, but that’s about it.

Fireworks reworked.

Yes, these were fireworks over the 18th at HarbourTown on July 4th, 2017! I worked very hard on this piece, so I’ll thank you all for NOT laughing.

I am also someone who – when mistakenly taking pictures in the night light setting, with the shutter stop at the wrong speed, jamming up, and the focus going in and out, and finally the darn thing pops a flash, with the resulting photo containing comet-like zig-zags – will allow people to think that I did it ON PURPOSE, as an effort of artistic expression, because I am known to appreciate, and dabble in, the creative arts, myself.

To wit;

HarbourTown Lighthouse 4th of July, 2017

True or False: Snazzy light rods w/ nuanced time aperture? Or, HarbourTown Lighthouse at dusk using wrong shutter feature?

Just ask my mother about the shadow boxes I make for her, or ask Johnny D, about my creative dvd’s, and singing-grams. 

So, I leave you all with one more bit of art work, which happened to be the first inspiration, when Tom Berrigan & Co. caught me staring up at the night sky last week, through Captain Canon Rebel T3i, just before the crowd went wild on the 18th fairway watching a Russian spyship shoot off some fireworks in honor of our 4th of July in HarbourTown.

I call this one, Moon over America the Free!  And no, this was not photo-shopped in any way.  It was a gimme, my retirement present on America’s birthday.

Moon over the 17th Fairway of HarbourTown

Nearing a full moon over the 17th fairway on the way to the 18th tee. A perfect orb looking down on American families gearing up for our nation’s annual candelabra to light up the night’s sky.

And as always, thank you for reading all the way down to this point.

Father’s Day Special – Hilton Head’s Own, Steppin Stones, Featuring a Chip Off the Old Block

Rockin on Hilton Head

Steppin Stones Drummer, Ryan Tye, Vocals and Lead Guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and vocals & bass guitarist, Mick Ray

Have you ever gone completely slack-jawed, blown-away by a live band that you’d never heard of?  Well, now I have.  And that band is Hilton Head Island’s own, Steppin Stones, born and bred right here on the South Carolina geologic tennis shoe.  I first saw this band at the Chamber of Commerce Christmas After Hours party 2012, where I had gone to connect with local businesspeople and promote myself.  I ended up connecting with exactly – goose-egg – new business contacts, except for Gregg Russell and Mira Scott (two of Hilton Head’s most renowned artists, whom I already know, and who don’t need my services by any stretch of the imagination), who were also hanging out front row while The Steppin Stones blasted out “Gimme Shelter like nobody’s business.

It might amuse you to know that Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones is comprised of three teenagers, who rock down the chandeliers with as much talent and  gusto as their predecessors, a la Steppenwolf, and the Rolling Stones; two bands by the way, who entertained us waaayyyyyyyy back yonder before these kids were born.  But you knew that already.  The great thing about this band is that you can bring the whole family and totally rock yourselves OUT.  Your kids will love this group, because they’re watching their contemporaries on stage, while you will also love them, because they’re playing our favorite tunes from our own, said, formative years.  The whole event resolves the paradox of being safe AND totally cool.  And, as everybody knows, that’s really hard to do these days.

band poses for album

Picture from self-titled 1st cd portfolio shoot.

How did such a trio begin?  Well, apparently, while many kids around the age of seven are watching tv and playing video games after school, these three decided it was more fun to make a whole lot of racket in the garage.  So, under the watchful tutelage of two well-known island artists, Nancy Mitchell and Matthew Wicklund (lead singer, Hannah Wicklund‘s, parents) The Steppin Stones emerged out of Palmetto Bay bedrock.  Oh joy, you say, will they be on America’s Got Talent?  Not any time soon, since this band is already booked all summer long, and everybody within lowcountry regional earshot has already heard of them.  Lead singer and guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and bass guitarist, Mick Ray, started out playing piano when they were each six years old, and went on to take guitar lessons for five more years.  Ryan Tye began drumming at age eight.  Their manager/roadie/sound guy is Hannah’s father Matt Wicklund, who is the go-to man if you want ever want to book this group.  Mom, Nancy Mitchell, is renowned for her paintings and murals that can be seen in various island public venues and private homes.

Since officially forming the band in 2006, Hannah, Ryan, and Mick, have improved and honed their repertoire substantially, taking on classic rock songs with edge and confidence.  Not afraid to tackle the difficult ranges of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Mick Jagger, they will transport you to a time when young up-and-coming bands actually played instruments and wrote their own music.  And in keeping with their rock muses, The Steppin Stones also write and produce their own music, which is for sale on cd’s at any of their concert showings.  Sample the video below, where they sing one of their original songs, “Make Up Your Mind,” (starts about four minutes in).  This past January, their 2nd cd hit the Internet called, Handle Me, and is doing quite well.  Currently appearing three nights a week at different Hilton Head venues (see schedule below), Hannah and her bandmates – now, age sixteen, Mick, seventeen,  and Ryan, seventeen – graduated high school this year, and are looking towards their own careers in music.  So, if you want to catch up with them before they are too famous, and tickets to their concerts are the price of a small mortgage payment, you will most definitely want to check them out this summer on Hilton Head Island.


Thursdays 6:30-8:30 pm, Coligny PlazaFridays 4:00-7:00pm, Hilton Head Beach and Tennis; and Saturdays 7:30- 9:30 pm, under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town 

For info and bookings, call: 843-842-2380 or email: thesteppinstones@aol.com  You can also check Hannah’s Instagram page, for up-to-date photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And finally, in honor of Father’s Day, I implore only islanders who have been here since the early ’80’s to read on (anyone else will be bored to tears beyond this sentence).  For those of you who may or may not have been of a certain age and living in Hilton Head thirty years ago, you may wonder, from what pedigree doth Hannah Wicklund spring?  Ah… I am pleased to connect some dots for those of you who weren’t drowning in a beer bong at that time (or maybe you were).  There once was a seaside cantina upstairs on the beach side of Coligny Plaza, in what is now known as The Big Bamboo restaurant.  The cantina was known to local ne’re-do-wells as Dos Borrachos, which translates (most inauspiciously, I might add) to Two Drunks.  Yes, I know.  We are so proud, that this classy, gentile, family-oriented island was once home to a Mexican restaurant so named, Two Drunks.  Very impressive.  Well, it certainly spoke to the clientele, as I remember visiting (for entertainment and educational purposes only) with my best friend Amy on occasion, which would make us, dos senoritas entering to enjoy con queso and imbibing mucho cerveza, and exiting as dos borrachos.

Why do I mention this short-lived late-night dining pleasure from back in the day?  Because starting at the early-bird crack of 11:00 pm, playing until the wee, 3:00 a.m.-ish on the weekends, we would rock out like idiots to the vivid music of Joe Walsh, Lou Reed, and the Young Rascals, as played by a  local musical ensemble known as, the most prestigious, Bonzo Brothers (who later became the Truly Dangerous Swamp Band).  Again, you ask… the point?  Well, the point is, the drummer for the aforementioned Brothers Bonz’, was the one and only manager/roadie/sound guy of today’s rockin’ Steppin Stones, Matthew Wicklund, FATHER of lead singer, Hannah!  (Whew… wasn’t sure I could put all that together coherently for you; or maybe it wasn’t very coherent, I’m sure I’ll find out.)  So how cool is that?  A Truly Dangerous Bonzo Brothers Legacy, lives on as we live and breathe on Hilton Head Island.  Now, wasn’t that worth reading all the way down to this point?

And if I wanted to riff on the Dos Borrachos connection all day long (but I will spare you my immature ramblings for the most part, except for this one more thing), I could mention that sometimes, I went to the late-night cantina with both Amy, and another best bud, Steve; then I could say that three amigos entered the bar known as Two Drunks, and came out as Tres Borrachos.

Okay, that’s all.  I’m done now.  I think that’s enough double-pun-entendres.  Happy Father’s Day, everyone.

Election Day, Hilton Head Style; Vote, Then Get TJ’s Take and Bake and Watch the Returns

Race cars around the Sea Pines Circle

Sea Pines NasCar Circle, Sponsored by TJ’s Take & Bake, Summer 2012

Of course, voting day is not the only day to enjoy my favorite take-out food, but it’s as good a reason as any other to NOT HAVE TO THINK about what to prepare for dinner.  Another good reason to not want to think about cooking dinner, would be jury duty.  There are plenty more good, solid reasons for not wanting to think about cooking dinner, but I will digress rapidly if I start down that road.  And speaking of roads, this is the best time of year to get back outdoors on the road, if you’re an islander and have been hiding out for a few months, after having suffered whiplash at the Sea Pines NasCar Circle during the summer, along with getting the finger gesture (because apparently, whiplash isn’t punishment enough for attempting to merge in or out).


Pie Prepared for You to Bake

Yes, getting the finger and then whiplash, are early signs for islanders to shutter ourselves in for a few months, till the commotion dies down, going out on strategically planned days that don’t conflict with check-in/check-out.  And for those of us really in the know, we take the back roads to the 1st TJ’s Take and Bake south end, beginning its 10th year, in the Island’s Crossing Plaza around the corner from Starbucks.  Locally known as the best-kept secret around for incredible, fresh-tasting pizza, where you can get in, get out, dodging the traffic, sneaky-like.  And during the season, if you’re a well-trained, covert islander, you’ll call in the order from Reilley’s Triangle while watching the Yankees take another inning on the chin at the outside bar, then zip across the street, grab your pizza and head home, still avoiding the Sea Pines Racetrack; like a stealth-bomber, nobody saw you coming, and you made it home with a pizza and maybe a buzz, and no one’s the wiser (and being a well-trained, covert islander, I will not elaborate on the back roads to avoid NasCar Circle here – ONLINE – for just anyone to see).

Chalkboard Menu

TJ’s North End Restaurant, Menu Board

If this is the first time you’ve heard of TJ’s, you may be reminded of early Seinfeld episodes, in which Kramer has the big lightbulb idea, that people want to pay to bake their own pizza.  Okay, but that’s where the similarities begin and end.  TJ’s menu reads like a delightful, gourmet pizza menu.  The difference is that they do everything, except bake the pizza for you.  You call in the order, pick it up, take it home with ‘Baking Pizza for Dummies’ directions stuck to the plastic, and you’re eating a delicious, hot pizza in about the same amount of time it would take a delivery person to bring you a not-so-hot pizza, already baked, maybe more or less than you would have liked.  And TJ’s is more than a novelty, the pizza is really superb, because a.) they use fresh ingredients, 2.) there are no chemicals in the dough (I know chemicals, right?  The other guys put chemicals in the dough?), and c.) 100% extra virgin olive oil.

dog with girls

Sam Will Have the Chef’s Special, Thank You.

And now, there are two ways to enjoy TJ’s Take and Bake.  The 2nd being the new, north end full-service restaurant, located in the JBanks Building at 35 Main Street, where they have a lunch menu that includes pizza slices, salads, and awesome butternut squash soup.  This novel idea has been so unique and successful, that the owner, Jay Conrad, along with the original owner, Tom Jans (TJ’s), also have a consulting division for start-up take-and-bakes in places like Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota (Poppi was Kramer’s New York consultant on Seinfeld, right?  In case you were wondering, I even quote Seinfeld one-liners for everyday events, like when my dog Sam, doesn’t  deposit his business during our morning walk, I run in the door, yelling – with the Soup Nazi accent – “NO POOP FOR YOU!”… I know, there’s probably a 12-step program for this).

Back to TJ’s; so now, you can lay low during the summer months like the rest of us, waiting patiently for the fall months, grateful that the economy is humming along nicely (depending on who you voted for; one side says the economy’s in the tank, the other side says it’s climbing back with substance.  All I know, is that this island gets more bloated with each passing year, and if this is a down economy, we may all have to move, if things start looking up around here).  Because, where would we be without our summer season, right?  You got it; NOT living on Hilton Head with our small tourist-dependent businesses.

The point is (yes, there is a point to this), you can enjoy TJ’s Take & Bake any time of the year, with or without traffic, no matter who’s sponsoring the Sea Pines Circle Race. And if you check their website, you can print out coupons, and Like them on Facebook.  So, go do that now… Like and get coupons for great pizza! Click here for directions, or call, to place your order – South End, 843-842-8253; North End, 843-681-2900

A Vacation From Our Vacation; How Does One Leave the Best Place in the World, Even for a Week?

South Beach Sunset, Hilton Head

Good day to you from cloudy, rainy, chilly, Providence, Rhode Island.  The worst thing about living in Hilton Head, South Carolina (not that there are any other bad things to compare it to), is traveling away from the island to vacation someplace else.  It’s really a tough call.  There is no place like Hilton Head, and to spend money traveling elsewhere just to take a break from… from what?  Warm days all year, wide, sandy beaches, gorgeous natural land/seascapes, painted sunsets, scenic bike trails, year-round tennis & golf, and frolicking dolphins?  We need a break from that?  When I go online to look for places to go on vacation, they all list the things I just listed here, as fabulous one-of-a-kind amenities that usually cost additional fees.

So, now what?  Well, we plan many of our trips around friends and family who live in other places, so that when we get there, if the flora & fauna doesn’t quite do the trick, the company more than makes up for it.  And this always works.  We come back home, feeling suddenly very popular and appreciated, and well-fed.  Now that’s a vacation!

The second worst thing about traveling away from Hilton Head, is trying to explain to Sammy the Beach Beagle, that it is only for a short while, and that, upon our return, we will once again romp and play in the sand, scare up some squirrels, and roll in all things dead and stinky (Sam, not me, will roll in dead, stinky things).  After which, we will boldly go to Red Rover now located 25 Bow Circle for a massive power wash, that leaves Sammy somewhat befuddled since he has just taken great care in applying Eau d’Ecomposing Horseshoe Crab to his entire body (several times he must swivel his body into the shell’s innards, because the first roll doesn’t always take, as you may know), and then within a mere two hours of washing, scrubbing, conditioning, blow-drying, defurminating, and spritzing, he now smells like a pinch of vanilla-laced lavender.  The look on his face after this sudsing is, as you can imagine, totally worth it.

Sudsing Up at Red Rover

Red Rover is a blast, by the way.  The owner Paige, is as nice as you’d want your dog’s hairdresser to be.  She owns a couple of dogs who also work very hard with her at the salon, greeting humanoids and welcoming stinky beach bums like Sam.  They also sell super premium dog food, and keep treats by the door for all good little boys and girls.  Sam likes the Lucky Dog meals and we buy a couple bags every so often, which helps him like the place a little better than when I dropped him off – me handing him to Paige with one hand, while my other hand holds my nose.

The best thing about Red Rover, is that you can join in the fun yourself.  The friendly staff helps you into your apron, and helps your buddy up to the platform, then they show you how to use the hoses, which shampoos to use, how to scrub him and massage him (the massage part makes the experience less annoying to Sam, who by then starts looking a bit dopey), and how to blow-dry his fur completely.  After you get the hang of it, the assistants wander over to other clients, yapping and licking and sniffing (like the salons we go to), leaving you to bond with your sweet angel of the sulphur-swamp. Sam and I like this part, because I sing to him and tell him jokes and scrub-a-dub, while he starts to unwind after his hard morning coaching seagulls to fly away all at once in a panic.

The fees at Red Rover are very reasonable, and are adjusted to less, if you like to do the washing, drying, brushing, scratching, singing, and smooching all by yourself without any help.  And they will still help you at the end or the beginning if you need it, and charge you less; that’s how phenomenal they are. For information or a grooming appointment, call: 843-671-9274 (WASH), or visit their website or Facebook page.

Now to give you a full idea of how our trips away from home effect Sammy, you may enjoy a little video called, How I Can Make Mommy Stay.  It’s a tear-jerker, so make sure you have a kleenex box next to your screen.

Forget Polo; Our British Mates Want to Fish When They Visit Hilton Head, SC.

Bayrunner Charter fishings

Four Horsemen of the Bayrunner

After an exciting summer of spine-tingling activities like ziplining, parasailing, and dining out, on Hilton Head, I couldn’t wait to share my new extreme sports repertoire with my friends from Great Britain when they came for a visit.  Except that, they weren’t interested in being very extreme.  No, far more preferable to flying through the air while hanging from buckled straps attached to something you hope will carry your weight, they thought that offshore fishing would actually be, brilliant.  

Kid with Big Fish

A Happy Bayrunner Customer

Now, if you’ve ever heard an English teenager say the word brilliant with genuine emotion, you know it sounds a whole lot more inspiring than some of their American counterparts who might say, “cool,” if they can hear your voice over their earbuds plugged into iPods, while glaring at you through half-closed eyelids; or maybe a whole thought will come out like, ” Zipline?  Big deal.  You have to do the stupid ground-school thing, and then you have to go the  whole two hours without texting… like, Dude, what if something major happens, right?”

To which, we American parents, respond by hanging our heads, sadly realizing how totally uncool we are as parents, and wondering what made us think, after the hundred and fifty-seventh time of getting excited about something we thought our kids would like – and showing way too much emotion when making the offer to “HAVE FUN, OUTSIDE, ALREADY!” –  did we ever think that ziplining through trees from eighty-feet up would be remotely fun to our teenagers?

Okay, back to my point about how fun it is to entertain kids from across the Atlantic who think that off-shore fishing from a boat for three hours with a cooler full of bait, sunscreen, and soda is quite, actually brilliant!  To which my response was, “cool!”  With real emotion, because my friend from way back years ago, Miles Altman, has a fishing boat right here in Shelter Cove Marina, called the Bayrunner, and he knows how to fish these waters better than anyone.  He also knows how to clean and cook the catch better than anyone because Miles also owned, for many years, a restaurant called Captain’s Seafood Restaurant on Mathews Drive AND he supplied most of the restaurants with their fresh fish catches of the day for more than twenty years, back in the day.  In short, Miles knows his stuff.

So this day, my best mates from England (and one from Seattle, named Michael) took off at around 8:45 am from Shelter Cove on the Bayrunner.  Captain Miles had already been out catching live bait (big, crawly looking shrimp) before we arrived, and off they went.  It was very hard not to sing, “on a three-hour tour… a three-hour tour,” over and over because they were indeed going out for “a three-hour tour… a three-hour tour…” but I managed to keep myself in check for the most part. Except, when I left a message for their grandfather on his phone and I sang the entire Gilligan’s Island theme song, laughing like an idiot.  I’m sorry, I’m way too immature to let some things go, unacknowledged and unsung like that.  But I think it’s all out of my system now.

Circle Hook Used on the Bayrunner

They returned at noon, having had a wonderful morning, trolling the island coastal waters, catching all matter of species, small and large (for more pictures of what you might catch with Miles on the Bayrunner, check out his website and Facebook page).  And, in case you were wondering, Miles uses a circle hook to catch fish, which is designed to be less painful to the fish.  So, if you decide to throw it back in the water, you can pull the hook out of its mouth without hurting it too much.

The lads were definitely ready for lunch, and had plenty of pictures on their smartphones to show me. They were also ready to go out again on a shark-fishing charter, which Miles explained, has better results in the evening, when all manner of predators awaken and feed, like raccoons, vampires, and lycanthropes; aka, werewolves, to the uninformed.  No, Miles did not say this.  I just happened to make the connection while looking up some other things online.  You know how that happens.

In closing, I hope you enjoy this video story we created for your viewing pleasure and enjoyment. And, if you want to go offshore fishing, lowcountry style, with Captain Miles and the Bayrunner, call: 843-290-6955, to charter a trip.  You won’t be sorry; in fact, you’ll feel brilliant!