Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Declining SAT Scores: Is Is The Washington Post's Fault?

This is priceless--here's the headline on today's Washington Post editorial decrying the widely reported decline in SAT scores:

Is is the test, or the test-takers?

Guess the Post is using some of those recent high school grads who took the SAT to write and proof its headlines!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Webb's Surge Past Allen

In the past two weeks Jim Webb has surged past George Allen in the polls. Here's the timeline:

July 18: Rasmussen Poll--Webb 39%, Allen 50%

Early August: Allen: "MACACA"

August 16: Rasmussen Poll--Webb 42%, Allen 47%

August 21: Survey USA--Webb 45%, Allen 48%

August 28: Zogby/Wall Street Journal--Webb 47.9%, Allen 46.6%

This, of course, is great news for Webb. Yet, at the same time, it means Allen will up the ante and start spending some of his cash horde, enhanced by his recent fat cat fund raiser at Ed Gillespie's home with George Bush.

(Aside: Bush's security team toyed with the idea of closing down the express lanes on I-395 for a few hours so Bush could speed to the fundraiser by car. Too bad they figured out it was a bad idea and went by chopper instead. Had Bush taken the road route, the resultant traffic jam and bad publicity would have cost Allen another five points at a minimum.)

We hope Dems in the rest of the country are taking note and flood Webb's campaign with the moola necessary to counter Allen's expected push. This is a winnable race!

Look for the polls to stay close--within five points or so--for the next few weeks, with a fair amount of fluctuation back and forth.

We figured it would be early October before Webb showed this kind of momentum, so we're clearly ahead of schedule, with a ton of work yet to be done.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course: A Unique Golf Experience

It ain't easy to reach Arcadia, Michigan, a tiny hamlet hard on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and a good four-plus hour drive from Detroit. Yet, as you make the turn into the service road to Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club and spy the red-roofed modern clubhouse sitting on a hill overlooking the lake and 18 gorgeous holes of golf course, you start to think it might just have been worth getting up at 6:00 a.m. to make the long trek.

Arcadia Bluffs is ranked 56th on Golf Digest's current listing of 100 greatest courses, and 10th on its companion listing of greatest public courses.

It deserves the high rankings. The Curmudgeon had the good fortune to play Arcadia Bluffs this week with a buddy and two very good-natured Michigan hosts. (That's the 13th hole, a par three across a ravine, into the wind coming off Lake Michigan, above.)

Standing on any one of the elevated tees, looking out at Lake Michigan pounding the shore nearly 80 feet below, one could easily think he had been transported to the Oregon coast. Had a whale breached the water, the Curmudgeon wouldn't have been at all surprised (although his Michigan playing companions certainly would've been shocked).

We had Oregon weather as well. The pro shop should have been the tip-off. Apart from the usual stock of shirts, balls, gloves and like, Arcadia's pro shop has an extensive line of rain gear, pullovers, special gloves and the like.

As we pulled up to the clubhouse in our white stretch Excursion (a bit of excess, but a great way to travel), it began to drizzle. By the time we got to the quaint driving range--reminiscent of a muni course with its token-operated ball machine--it was sprinkling drops of cold rain. Dark clouds boiled over the horizon on Lake Michigan as mist began to envelope the course. As we teed off on the first hole it rained lightly. By the fifth hole we were battling a driving rain off the lake.

The air was cool--no more than 65 degrees despite it being the middle of an August day. Fortunately, our Michigan hosts had warned us that it might not be exactly like hot, humid Washington, where no one would even think of bringing along a warm pullover in the summer!

Despite the rain, the course held its charm. Built into rolling hills on the bluffs overlooking the lake, Arcadia features narrow green fairways surrounded by steep hillsides covered with brown heather. From some vantage points the brown hills look more like a moonscape than a golf course.

Errant drives from the tee are punished by time-consuming and usually fruitless searches for balls in the brown stuff. A good tee shot, however, usually sets up a fairly open approach shot to the fast, undulating greens at Arcadia. It was not unusual to see a putt struck from one side of the green to a pin in the middle end up on the other side of the green after curving down a big slope, accompanied by a muttering of curse words from the unfortunate golfer who'd made the putt.

By the time we started the back nine, the rain stopped. We even got sunshine for the last few holes, which dried us out and lifted our spirits as we ground through the final holes. With the change in weather it was like playing on two different days.

The final hole starts with an elevated tee, with Lake Michigan to your back. A well struck ball will end up in a valley, with the next shot played up a steep hill toward the clubhouse, where guests can sit on a porch and watch smugly as golfers trudge in for their last couple of putts. We had a small gallery of women who did their best to cheer us on as we uniformly butchered the hole!

Apart from the golf, Arcadia has an attractive, nicely apportioned clubhouse with a good-sized dining room and decent food--a necessity given its isolation.

After finishing up, all we had to do was make the four hour trek back to the environs of Detroit.

So, if you happen to find yourself in northwestern Michigan, make sure to check out Arcadia Bluffs. Dress warmly, and bring your rain gear. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Katrina Redux: The Colossal Incompetence of the Bush Adminstration

Last night, HBO aired the first two parts of Spike Lee's four part documentary on Hurricane Katrina. It was an excellent and moving account of a shameful episode in American history.

As we watched, we wanted to punch George Bush in the nose. It really reminded us of what a complete asshole he is.

Not that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Lousiana Governor Kathleen Blanco were much better. We don't blame Nagin for what happened after the storm--by that time there was little he could do. But before the storm he aptly illustrated the difference between words and action: Nagin used words to order a "mandatory" evacuation, but he didn't lift a finger to make it work in a city where prior exercises had clearly shown that at least 30 percent of the population WOULD NEED ASSISTANCE to evacuate. You can't just order an evacuation--you have to prepare for and execute one. Sadly, many coastal cities still haven't learned that lesson.

Blanco was pretty pitiful as well, carrying out political grudges and dithering over important decisions.

Still, Bush was the worst, along with his cronies Chertoff and Brownie, because they had the greatest resources available, yet they just failed to grasp the true depth and extent of suffering going on while they moved at a glacial pace to provide relief. (Contrast the Coast Guard, which was ready, sprung into action and threw out all its rules, reasoning, correctly, that the situation was simply too dire).

We have to think what President Clinton would have done if this was on his watch. He would've been in New Orleans by the end of Day One. He would have been on the ground. He would've been handing out food and water. And he probably would've stayed. He would've told his people to get their butts in gear and get it done.

Two great scenes from the documentary: in one, Condoleeza Rice is trying on Ferragamo shoes in New York City while someone relates a story of a white woman who chastised her for buying shoes while New Orleans was drowning. In the second, a middle-aged African-American, referring to Bush, Blanco and Nagin, says "man, these fellows give C students a bad name."

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Great News for Jim Webb--Just 3% Gap In Latest Poll

This just in from CBS affiliate WUSA (Channel 9) in D.C.:

"GOP Allen's Once Large Lead Evaporates: In an election for the United States Senate in Virginia today, 8/21/06, incumbent Republican George Allen edges Democrat challenger James Webb 48% to 45%, according to an exclusive SurveyUSA poll conducted for WUSA-TV Washington DC.

Since an identical SurveyUSA poll released 6/28/06, Allen has lost 8 points and Webb has gained 8 points. Allen's lead has shrunk from 19 points to 3 points.Interviewing for this poll began 8/18/06, 1 week after Allen singled out a Webb campaign worker at an Allen rally.

Allen has lost support across all demographic groups, but in particular, among younger voters, he has gone from Plus 23 to Minus 17, a swing of 40 points. In Southeastern VA, Allen has gone from a 2:1 lead to a tie, a 31-point swing."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The New No Nothings: Allen And Young

Here's a great ticket for a new No Nothing Party: George "Macaca" Allen and Andrew "Jews, Koreans and Arabs" Young.

The No Nothings arose in the mid-1800's as a nativist movement opposed to immigration at a time when a large wave of Irish Catholics were arriving in major eastern cities in the U.S.

Virginia Senator George Allen and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young would make a good crossover ticket for a new No Nothing movement. Allen's recent referral of a young Indian-American campaign worker as "macaca" and his "welcome to America" comment to the Fairfax County (which has a large ethnic population) resident qualify him to head the ticket. As a bonus, Allen's unqualified support for every one of Bush's failed policies makes him, literally, qualified as a Know Nothing.

Andrew Young would seem like a more unlikely candidate for the Know Nothings, but his recent comments in support of Walmart have pushed him into contention for the VP slot. For those who missed it, Young applauded Walmart for pushing out the "mom and pop" stores that had served African-American communities for generations. His rationale:

"[T]hose are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."

Nice move, Andrew--you managed to offend even more ethnicities than Allen.

The Curmudgeon's (Jewish) grandfather owned a mercantile store in the small town of North, South Carolina, where he served the local African-American community for years, extending credit when no one else would, giving items to needy families and providing jobs to young men and women who otherwise would've been stuck working in cotton fields.

Anyway, Young has been dropped by Walmart, for obvious reasons. So now he has time to get together with Senator Allen.

Sadly, they'd probably get quite a few votes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Macaca Factor

The race between Jim Webb and incumbent Virginia Senator George Allen has tightened up following Allen's heartfelt "macaca" insult aimed at one of Webb's campaign volunteers.

A Rasmussen poll has the race at 47% for Allen to 42% for Webb, with the rest undecided. While the Curmudgeon expects the poll numbers to fluctuate up and down in the coming weeks, this poll clearly shows that Allen is vulnerable.

We expect that Webb will steadily chip away at Allen's softer support as voters in the middle get to know Webb better as the campaign heats up after Labor Day.

The heavier damage, for Allen, may be in the crowded field of Republicans running for President. Allen has been in damage control mode, but it doesn't take much to eliminate someone from contention such a large field.

We hope Allen will reveal some more of his core inner convictions before its all over.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The True George Allen

Public figures are usually so careful about what they say in public that its difficult to tell what they really think. But when they slip up, we often get a rather ugly glimpse of their true feelings.

Mel Gibson is only one of the more recent and glaring examples. After denying for years that he is anti-semitic, Mel loosed his true feelings in a drunken tirade filled with anti-Jewish remarks. Sure, he apologized, etc., etc., but now we know the real Mel. The alcohol didn't cause him to lie.

Another good case in point is Virginia Senator George Allen, who recently got caught at a fundraiser using a derogatory name for a young man from an Indian family (India, that is--thanks Chris Columbus, for the centuries of confusion on that one).

The man, S.R. Sidarth, is a volunteer for the campaign of Allen's opponent, Jim Webb, who has been videotaping Allen's appearances around the state. (Guess what--it's Republican campaign hacks who pioneered that little trick.) Allen pointed him out during the fundraiser and said "this fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is . . ."

Macaca is a racial slur against African immigrants commonly used in Europe.

Who can doubt that in his more private moments, hanging out and joking around with his close friends and football buddies, George Allen regularly uses such derogatory terms. So, we have a small glimpse into the real George Allen.

Of course, his voting record tells us as much. Here's a guy whose record says "oh sure, I'll support an increase in the minimum wage for the regular working stiff, but ONLY if we also do away with the estate tax for the wealthiest Americans, the fellows funding my campaign." Nice guy.

Now for a minor complaint about the Webb campaign: whenever they refer to Senator Allen, they call him "George Felix Allen." The Curmudgeon reckons that's because Felix is a bit of an ususual name, but really, so what?

We don't like George Allen, but he is a Senator. There's no need to throw in the Felix--it's petty. Let Allen's mouthpieces pull that kind of crap. The last gubernatorial campaign showed that voters don't like all that negativity. Rise above it, Webbies.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman Deserved To Lose

If the Curmudgeon had been a Connecticut resident, he would've voted for Joe Lieberman yesterday.

Why? Because the charges made by victor Ned Lamont and a covey of liberal bloggers against Lieberman were largely overblown. Lieberman has been a loyal Democrat and an important voice in the party for years. True, he is more conservative than many of his fellow Democratic senators, but that hardly makes him a "Conservative."

Anyway, Lieberman lost, and he deserved to. Lamont and his supporters raised some legitimate questions about Lieberman, especially his strong support for the Iraq war. For reasons we'll never understand, Joe L. chose not to respond to those questions until just a couple days before the primary. When he did, Lamont's lead quickly shrunk, but Lieberman was a day late and a dollar short.

The Curmudgeon would not vote for Lieberman as an independent in November. The guy had his chance and truly bungled it. He shouldn't get a do-over.

In filing as an independent, Lieberman said he is still running "for the sake of our state, our country and my party." Well, if that's the case, Joe, why didn't you take on the issues in the primary?

While the Curmudgeon does not subscribe to the vitriolic posts of many bloggers who attacked Lieberman, we do think he owed the voters of Connecticut a spirited defense of his positions, particularly on Iraq. Geez, Joe, if you're going to support a war that more than 80% of the folks in "your" party have come to despise, you ought to have been able to articulate cogent reasons for doing so. We never saw much on that score.

Sen. Lieberman, thanks for your service. You lost fair and square, so now it's time to endorse Lamont (for the sake of "your" party) and move on. Who knows, as an ex-Senator, you might even become presidential material.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wiping Out The Center

The latest victim of George Bush and Karl Rove is the political center.

Moderates in both parties are running for cover as voters angry at Bush's hard-right politics, incompetence, and bungling of the Iraq war look for ways to vent their wrath.

Unfortunately, the largest blocs of those angry voters are in blue states, where there are relatively few right wing Republicans to go after. So, instead they are blasting away indiscriminately at Republican and Democratic moderates.

Joe Lieberman in Connecticut is the most obvious example, but there are others. Rep. Christopher Shays in Connecticut and Sen. Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island are endangered moderates on the GOP side. In fact just about every remaining Republican in the northeast is an endangered species--they're a bit like Democrats in the South over the past 10 years, a steadily declining breed indeed.

Among Republicans, a similar phenomenon may be happening, but it appears to be more isolated. The betting today is that Rep. Joe Schwarz, a Republican moderate in Minnesota, will lose the GOP primary today to a far right winger. Since there aren't that many GOP moderates outside the northeast, however, it's hard to say.

The numerous '08 presidential contenders in both parties are taking notice of the trend. It doesn't bode well. If things keep going this way, the '08 races will be huge loyalty contests among each party's more extreme wings, promising a nasty, polarized race.

The true victim, of course, is us--the country as a whole. In today's polarized environment, nothing is getting done at the national level on a whole host of important problems. We can't get going on energy, where we need some important compromises on domestic oil drilling, conservation, nuclear development and renewable sources. We can't even get a discussion going on social security. We can't tackle illegal immigration, which is a problem. We can't even get started on global warming (of course, it would help if the President would have the balls to acknowledge there is problem). The list goes on.

While states can individually try their best to address these problems, most cannot be satisfactorily resolved in such piecemeal fashion.

We don't see things getting any better over the next two years.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kiawah: The Golf Resort

Yesterday, we covered Kiawah as a family resort; today, we review Kiawah the golf resort.

Kiawah has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top golf resorts in the country, but it is not one without a few warts.

While at Kiawah we played rounds at the island's three top golf courses: Osprey Point, Turtle Point and the resort's big attraction, The Ocean Course (host to the 2007 Senior PGA tournament and the 2012 PGA tournament, as you are mercilessly reminded at every opportunity).

Osprey Point--Great Course, Badly Managed

We played Osprey Point first.

Osprey, designed by famed golf course architect Tom Fazio, is probably Kiawah's prettiest course, winding among the large homes, lagoons and marshes on the back of the island. It is a fun course with lots of water and a few shorter holes that invite you to score if you can hit it accurately.

Osprey does have one significant design defect, which is that the first hole faces directly into the morning sun in summer. It's an annoying way to start the day if you have an early tee time (and you'd better get out early at Kiawah in the summer, to beat the heat).

Management at Osprey was pretty spotty. In fact, the folks running it pretty darn near ruined the round. No one was particularly friendly.

Maybe the local members are why: we started as a foursome, only to have a twosome behind us, a couple who were "sport members". The twosome promptly tailgated us, with the guy in the twosome hitting into us once, and then, incredibly, hitting another shot at the green before we were all the way off (fortunately, he duffed his shot).

We let the obnoxious locals play through on the next hole (as we would have anyway). We were certainly tempted to cheer when the guy--who had an Aussie accent--hit his tee shot into the marsh.

After that, things got downright ugly. Over the next few holes the course marshal told us we needed to speed up, despite the fact that no one was pressing behind us and, of course, we'd had to wait while the "members" played through. At the turn, the marshal again told us we needed to speed up. So I checked my watch and found we were only five minutes behind the recommended time for playing nine holes. Surely we wasted five minutes letting asshole Aussie and his wife play through.

So here's some advice for the folks who run Osprey Point: folks who pay more than $125 a round to play golf on a difficult course really don't want to be harassed by obnoxious staff, especially when there's no back-up on the course. The Curmudgeon is all for eliminating slow play, but that's not the same as rushing people to play fast.

There were other problems reflecting shoddy course management as well, such as large bunkers with no rakes, or just one broken rake. We can get that at the local muni for just $20.

Our recommendation: Osprey is a great course to play, but be prepared for a chilly reception.

Turtle Point: The Great Grind

The last course we played at Kiawah was Turtle Point, a Jack Nicklaus design that winds among the homes closer to the beach and includes three holes right along the beach.

Turtle Point is a very tough challenge. Fairways are pretty narrow, with out-of-bounds along many holes, often on both sides.

The problem with Turtle Point--and we've played it many times over the years--is that it just isn't any fun. The three holes along the beach are pretty, but with the wind usually up and absolutely no room for error on either side they are quite difficult for the average hacker like us.

The rest of the holes aren't much better. Sooner or later, you're going to hit it out of bounds, perhaps several times. The greens are large and fast, resulting in many a long putt and many a three-putt.

Turtle Point was in good shape and we didn't encounter anyone obnoxious during our round (although we did have to load our own carts in the morning--we don't mind doing so, but we do mind having the same guys who ignored our bags in the morning fawning over us for tips when we finish the day).

We did enjoy playing past our beach house and shouting out to the kids playing on the beach as we teed off on number 15.

Bottom line: if you want a real challenge that will probably grind you down, go for it. But try not to make it your last course of the week!

Ocean Course: A True Gem

In contrast to Osprey and Turtle, the Ocean Course was a true delight. (Of course, you pay a premium here--just over $200 for players staying at the resort, more if you stay through an off-island agency.)

The Ocean Course is a Pete Dye design, cut into the sand dunes at the sparsely populated northern end of the island. It is ranked 38th on Golf Digest's list of top 100 courses in the U.S. Many will recall the 1991 Ryder Cup played at the Ocean Course, dubbed the "War by the Shore" and decided on the last putt.

Practically every hole is beautiful to the eye. On many tees you can see the ocean, and often you feel isolated in the dunes. There is no out of bounds at the Ocean Course.

A few homes--most of extraordinary architecture--pop up here and there, but they are nowhere near the course.

There are also no paved cart paths--the paths are sand, and any ball that ends up there is played where it lies. None of the sand--even greenside bunkers--is considered a hazard, so one is allowed to ground his club in the sand. On the other hand, there is a LOT of sand, including enormous waste bunkers on some holes.

When the wind blows--and it usually does--things can get especially challenging, with five or six holes going into the prevailing wind, followed by five or six with the wind at your back.

When we played, the course was in immaculate condition from tee to green.

Better yet, after our experience at Osprey Point, every member of the staff was downright friendly and professional. They had learned how to keep the pace moving while keeping everyone happy. At one point, the marshal came up, chatted with us briefly, asked us what we thought of the course and then said, quite politely and with a smile, "okay guys, you're leading the pack out here, so keep it up." We did have an open hole in front of us, but the group behind us was a hole back. We didn't feel pressured, and we're sure the folks at the Ocean Course know the difficulty can cause folks to take awhile to get through a hole.

Anyway, every hole was a challenge, but it was fun and we had a good time.

Recommendation: Play the Ocean Course!

Other Kiawah Golf

Kiawah does have two other public golf courses (and two private courses we hope to play some day).

One is Cougar Point, a pleasant Gary Player design. Easier than Turtle and Osprey, Cougar is still quite a challenge and features some beautiful holes along the marsh. We've played Cougar many times in the past, but not this year (it was being aerated). Not a bad warm-up for the week.

The other is Oak Point, which is off the island, across the Kiawah River. Play Oak Point only if you're on a budget. There is nothing impressive about it and it tends to be really hot, isolated from the usual sea-breeze on Kiawah. For some reason, the designer decided to ignore the marsh and river and isolate the holes from both rather than integrate them into the design. Small homes crowd many of the fairways. Frankly, you'd be better off driving over to the public courses on nearby Seabrook Island.

Alright, that's it for Kiawah. Next, a few highlights on camping/hiking in the NC mountains (with maybe a political interlude). Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kiawah: The Perfect Family Resort

Over the next few days the Curmudgeon will review some of the highlights (and lowlights) of our recent travels across the South.

Today is part one of our review of Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Kiawah bills itself as a golf resort, but really ought to call itself a family resort. True, Kiawah does have a fantastic collection of golf courses (more on that tomorrow), but unlike some golf resorts we've visited there is oh so much more to Kiawah.

Now, in case you're wondering, this was our tenth straight summer with a week at Kiawah, so obviously we were sold long ago. We're pretty sure we'll be back again next year. We have quite a few friends who regularly go back to Kiawah year in and year out as well.

What makes Kiawah so special for families?

To start with, there is the island's well-preserved natural beauty. The whole island is one resort community, so there is consistency throughout. Apart from the usual well-manicured landscaping of any resort community, Kiawah has managed to preserve the natural maritime forest to a large degree. As a result, you will feel like you're staying in a nature preserve.

Kids love seeing all the alligators, the deer at dusk, the various lizards and salamanders, the dolphins, the fiddler crabs and the various seabirds--herons, egrets, pelicans and quite a few others. There is also the excitement of the more occasional finds, such as the bobcat we saw three years ago, the occasional snake (our friend encountered a deadly coral snake on the golf course this year), sea turtles and other critters of the deep. (We weren't fond of the live welks--like a conch, only smaller--lurking in the surf with very sharp shells that cut the curmudgeon's feet three times.)

Getting around is also easy: the entire island is covered with bike paths; everything is flat and you can ride on the beach as well. All one needs to get around is a one-speed beach bike, which is easily rented at a reasonable rate.

Then, there's the beach, which like most beaches in South Carolina is wide and flat with gentle surf and toddler friendly tide pools. We invited some friends this year who'd spent most of their beach vacations at Ocean City in Maryland and Rehoboth/Bethany in Delaware, and they were awed by Kiawah's uncrowded, pristine beach, nearly a hundred yards wide at low tide. The water is warm and most days the kids can cavort in the surf without fear of being swept away.

Kiawah's amenities are also terrific. Like many resorts, Kiawah has a kid's camp where you can dump your kids (not that we ever have), but unlike most resorts it also has a huge range of family friendly activities you can do WITH your kids. In effect, it's like a family camp. (You can also put your kids into activities on an a la carte basis.)

Activities include a range of outdoor programs such as guided family canoeing and kayaking (in the marshes behind the island), family fishing and crabbing, nature walks, and various nature demonstrations. There are also a range of craft activities, such as creating tye-die shirts, and teen activities (no parents, please!) such as a nighttime pool party.

Every evening includes a family-oriented event, usually free or inexpensive, such as a magician/ice cream social (this year, the adults reported the magician was quite good), an oyster roast, the Kiawah Karnival, and a goofy kazoo guy who little kids just adore.

Kiawah has also integrated the family fun into golf with its terrific Family Tee Program. Every night, starting at 6:00 pm (we wish they'd start a tad earlier), four of the golf courses reserve tee times, spaced 15 minutes apart, just for families. Everyone plays from family-friendly tees well forward of the ladies tees, and the cost is low.

Tennis is also a hidden gem at Kiawah, with a terrific facility, great staff, extensive programs and, once again, family-friendly options.

For people in the DC area, Kiawah is pretty accessible--about a 9-10 hour drive by car, or an easy flight to Charleston's tiny airport, followed by a 45 minute drive.

Lodging isn't cheap, but if you check out the various villa options, particularly from off-island rental companies (easily found on the internet), you can find perfectly reasonable accomodations.

Or, do like us: bring a huge family group, rent one of Kiawah's large distinctive oceanfront homes, pay through the nose and have a great time.

On the curmudgeonly side, we don't have much to say (until we get to the golf course, tomorrow). Options for eating out are quite limited. It gets pretty hot and quite humid during the day, but there's always a breeze. It often rains, briefly but intensely, late in the day (but we've never had a rainy week in ten years there). Charleston is a bit of a hike--45 minutes of driving--but certainly worth an evening for a great dinner (or a visit to the minor league River Dogs baseball stadium or Battery soccer venue).

Our biggest complaint is usually that the week ends far too soon.

Tomorrow: Kiawah golf. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 03, 2006

We're Back Home!

The Curmudgeon is home again, after two weeks on the road. We have a lot to report, but not tonight.

For now, just this: the ol' car thermometer (which is pretty darn reliable) hit 106 degrees today while tooling through Richmond.

And this: in South Carolina, if you don't want anyone purchasing the property next to yours, evidently you put signs all over your property saying "Posted: Rifle Range" Just to be on the safe side, you fire your shotgun a couple times a day as well.

We wonder if that would work on our one eighth of an acre in Arlington, Virginia?