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Bear Crossing?!

I have never seen a bear crossing sign. It totally blew my mind that the only one I've ever seen was in FLORIDA. What kind of bears are in Florida?!

UPDATE: Apparently, there are black bears in Florida. And, they are a threatened species. You can find a nice, informative article about them here.

You've Got to be Kidding: Gas Shortage

Here's proof the metro-Atlanta idiots are just that--idiots:

And, it's like this from about 30 miles south of Atlanta all the way to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. And, there are no lines. And, none of the gas stations are out of gas.



We ate at Fudpucker's in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, twice in the 24 hours we were there! In our defense, it was right across the street from out hotel. I had the Mother Fudburger and the Fruit and Nut Salad with chicken. Travis had the Mushroom Swiss Fudburger both times. He must have liked it. I liked my burger, but I got it without their "special sauce", so I don't know how that would have been. The salad was delicious. The raspberry vinaigrette was the best! We loved the atmosphere. It's so cool that you can write on the tables and chairs and walls and lights and ceilings and, well, everything! We didn't bring a sharpie, though, so make sure you remember yours if you go to Fudpucker's!

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

We spent a day at Fort Walton Beach after diving at Vortex Spring. It is so beautiful. It's my favorite beach. The white sands and the clear waters make it so peaceful. Now is a great time of year to go. The summer crowds have died down, and you can really relax.


While we were diving at Vortex, we went to this little Mom'n'Pop Barbecue place--4C BBQ. It was great. Travis and I both got the barbecue pork sandwich with baked beans and fries. It was delicious. I also got a HANDMADE peanut butter milkshake. It was to die for. If you're ever in the middle of nowhere in Florida, you HAVE to go to 4C!

And, get a milkshake!

On the counter.

Cute papertowel holders.

Cowboy leg tables. Creepy!

That old timey feel.

On the wall.

On the wall.

Vortex Spring

We went to Vortex Spring this past weekend. It was great. We didn't have an underwater camera, but here are the pictures from land:

Long, sandy road into the spring.
Panoramic of the site.
Decorative dive flag .
Get in line.
Sneaking up on dinner.
Cannibal! (Not my hand in the pic.)
I touched it! (Not my hand in the pic.)
Mmmm...goldfish. (Not my hand in the pic.)
They mobbed us.
Another cannibal!
Fresh water shark?
Just chillin'.

Fishy video.

Vortex Spring is a small spring in Ponce de Leon, Florida. It's about an hour north of Panama City. There is a cave area that open water divers can go into, and there is a true cave. There are artificial cave-like swim-throughs for those learning to cave dive. The open water approved cave is beautiful. There are freshwater eels, which are kinda cool. Even though they aren't dangerous, they still freak me out a little. The air pools on the ceiling, and it makes very beautiful little bubbles. There are also places where it pools that are large enough to stick your head in, but that sorta freaked me out a little. It was pretty cool overall.

We stayed in the lodge at Vortex. And, I don't recommend that at all. We thought it was a great idea. We'd be right there first thing in the morning, we could sleep later, get up, and get right in the water. Except that it didn't go quite like that. I had a panic attach because of all the bugs. There were bugs all over the room. I mean, tons of bugs. I almost slept in the truck. But, Travis took me to get bug spray and bug repellent. I actually slept ok after that. I definitely wouldn't recommend it, though. For $100, it's just not worth it, at all. I could have camped for next to nothing, and kept the bugs out of my tent better than that. The lady at the desk did comp our dives (saved us $50), so it wasn't a complete loss, but I highly doubt they would have done that if one of the guys had been at the desk instead of the girl. Girls know bugs are gross. Guys think I'm a wuss. And, maybe I am, but I didn't pay $100 to sleep with fucking cockroaches. Ick.

Don't Spare the Rod

It still surprises me when people talk about spanking like it's child abuse. I came across this article that goes so far as to say that "corporal punishment is like smoking", as if it's addicting. Any sane parent can tell you that it is very hard to spank your children. My dad used to cry when he spanked me because I cried. It's hard to believe that spanking can somehow facilitate abuse, which is what the article implies: "It's a rare human being who can refrain from stepping up from a mild, relatively harmless dose to an excessive and harmful one." I beg to differ. My parents never abused me. Never. Not even my stepparents. Physically, anyway. Emotionally, well, I guess that is a topic for another day. I digress. Any parent that can't keep from stepping over the line is an abusive parent, and spanking or not spanking will have nothing to do with that.

To support their claim, the article goes on to say that "[m]ore than one-third of all parents who start out with relatively mild punishments end up crossing the line drawn by the state to define child abuse: hitting with an object, harsh and cruel hitting, and so on." When I was a kid, you got whipped with a hickory or a belt, and you liked it. Or you got whipped again. But you didn't like it too much. Or you got whipped again. I can hardly call getting whipped with a hickory child abuse. It wasn't like it left a scar or even a bruise. My parents whipped me hard enough to get the point, but they never actually hurt me. Sure, I cried like a fountain, but they were crocodile tears. (And, they worked. Hehe.)

The article goes on to say the following: "The key is corporal punishment's temporary effectiveness in stopping a behavior. It does work—for a moment, anyway. The direct experience of that momentary pause in misbehavior has a powerful effect, conditioning the parent to hit again next time to achieve that jolt of fleeting success and blinding the parent to the long-term failure of hitting to improve behavior. The research consistently shows that the unwanted behavior will return at the same rate as before. " I really just can't believe that. When I got whipped for something, when it came to me getting whipped because I'd had my warnings and time outs, I got the point. I didn't do that shit again. And, I would bet you a hundred bucks, most kids would rather be whipped than be grounded. I'd venture to say it's also more effective that grounding. Grounding just pissed me off. Made me want to rebel.

You may be modern and believe that spanking is child abuse. I believe it is not. And, I can assure you my kids will get a swat on their behind. They will also get an explanation, which is something I think a lot of people forget about. It doesn't matter what the punishment is, if you don't explain to your child why you are upset and why what they were doing was wrong, bad, or dangerous, the kid is going to repeat the offense. Children can understand that they shouldn't do something because it makes Mommy sad. That tactic works. So, I say, swat the behind, and then tell them why, and you'll get a happy, healthy, and safe child. Of course, that's just how I was raised. And, I didn't turn out a murderous, raping, anarchist, menace to society. I'm a college educated, salaried engineer, who pays my taxes and my parking tickets. I'm no model citizen, but I'm a decent human being. And, I'm fairly certain I didn't get this way because my parents grounded me.

All I know is that when I was a kid, and whipping was the norm, we didn't have to lock our doors. Now that spankings are child abuse, I have to lock my doors. I can only believe there is some sort of correlation there.

Well, Isn't That Ironic

A Georgia motorcyclist was killed this past weekend. It seems he lost control of his Honda bike and was thrown off and into oncoming traffic. He was then hit by a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which killed him. Ironic, don't you think?

Why Does It Matter Why?

I mentioned the Finland shooting the other day. I saw this article about why they have so many guns. Well, uh, because they can. But, I thought it was a decent article. And one line really caught my eye. I wanted to share:
"While Finns have a reputation for violence, firearms almost never enter the picture. Finland does have the highest murder rate in Western Europe, but those cases—commonly related to alcohol or domestic abuse—often involve knives rather than guns."
Where he got his source I really don't know. But, if it's true, that's pretty interesting...

Multi-tasking or More Important Issue?

According to my local news channel:

McCain has announced that he will suspend his campaign. He feels that the people of the United States and their economic woes are more important than the debate. He asked Obama to do the same.

Obama refused. His excuse is that the President will have to multi-task, and this should be no different--almost like practice, a trial run.

I guess Obama thinks that he'll put McCain in a bad light by making it look like he can't deal with two things at once. But, to me, it looks like McCain cares more about the people, and Obama cares more about his own personal agenda--getting elected and making this Obamaland.

Lord, help us.

Ode to Dolly

I love Dolly Parton. Don't ask me why. I don't know. I guess it sounds silly, but she just seems so real to me. No pun intended. She seems like the absolute sweetest person you'll ever meet, but she's not afraid to tell it like it is. And, I just love her. I'm reading this book by Charlotte Connors entitled How Dolly Parton Saved My Life. I'm not done with it yet, but I had to read it just because of the title. Someone else wrote a review for it, though, so you can check that out. Anyway, I just felt like writing a blog about something I like, instead of something I don't like, for a change. And here it goes:

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.”

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

"Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

"My weaknesses have always been food and men - in that order.”

“I'm not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know I'm not blonde.”

"You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try.”

"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”

"I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else.”

"I hope people realize that there is a brain underneath the hair and a heart underneath the boobs.”

"Plastic surgeons are always making mountains out of molehills.”

"It's a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise I'd be a drag queen.”

"I'm old enough and cranky enough now that if someone tried to tell me what to do, I'd tell them where to put it.”

"I have got little feet because nothing grows in the shade."

"I like to buy clothes that are two sizes too small and then take them in a little."

"If I see something saggin', baggin', or dragin', I'm gonna have it nipped, tucked, or sucked."