By Jack Sparacino
More opinions have come to mind after being retired for five years in the Lowcountry and having a few extra minutes to mull over such critical matters:
1. If you can’t catch fish in the Lowcountry, you can’t catch fish. Anywhere.
2. The most fantastic cities in the U.S. are New York, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah. Washington and Chicago are up there somewhere. Beaufort is one of the nicest small cities anywhere.
3. The best rock and roll, all time, was in the 1960’s and early 70’s (Rolling Stones, Doors, Cream, etc.). The best pop music was from the 30’s all the way through the 50’s (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, etc.). And, by the way, Doris Day was a very good singer before she got into movies. I think at least two of these assertions can be proved.
3a. I was introduced to famed bandleader Cab Calloway in 1980 just before we went on a daytime TV talk show in Cleveland. It was great. He was in constant motion with a great smile, gliding back and forth as if dancing to music in his head, and it was hard to shake his hand. We should all have as good a time as he seemed to be having.
4. The best movies were made in the 1930’s and that is when we had REAL movie stars (“Gone with the Wind,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Monkey Business,” etc.; Garbo, Bogart, Davis, Gable, etc.).
4a. Forget “Dancing with the Stars.” Fred and Ginger were the absolute best, as demonstrated by at LEAST six of their movies. I will also admit that modern Olympic ice dancing is dazzling. Where was I in between?
5. Practically no one should complain about going to the dentist today unless their doctor is a real quack. Imagine going to an average dentist in 1911 or 1811, for instance, when you got whiskey or a bullet to bite on (maybe) instead of Novocain.
6. Finding a really good doctor is sometimes difficult but well worth the search if you want to live past 50 or so. Which I recommend.
7. Living near the ocean is good for your health, especially if you have hurricane and flood insurance.
8. True bipartisanship is a virtually lost art in this country and will not make a major comeback in my lifetime. This is really too bad.
9. Best foods of the Lowcountry are barbecued pork ribs, shrimp done almost any style, fried whiting, crab cakes (80% or more crab), fried oysters, and key lime pie. Greens and fresh cornbread are also awfully good. A few that I’m still working up to are grits, fried green tomatoes, and sweet potato fries. Being born in New York City was a handicap as far as that goes.
10. Southern politics are virtually hopeless. Same as everywhere else in the U.S.
11. Car commercials are almost all boring and insulting to one’s intelligence. I like driving my 19 year old car as much today as when it was new. If I ever do buy a new one, it will not be based on an ad.
12. E-mail is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Followed by the Internet. I do not miss typewriters.
13. A happy 3-year old child is an awful lot of fun to be around. They can teach you a lot, too.
14. Age 30 seems 20 years younger to me than it did 10 years ago. I will check the math.
15. The U.S. used to have the best schools and students on earth. It’s fallen way off in recent years and I find that extremely disappointing. But no country can beat us when it comes to innovating and solving problems, so I’m optimistic.
16. Reading, writing and arithmetic are still the most important skills you need to have for a good chance of a happy, successful life. The people who are best at teaching these skills and get great results should get paid a lot of money.
17. If you’ve never tried watching top level hockey players, give it a try. If that doesn’t grab you, try watching a bunch of 10-12 year olds playing hockey.
18. Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. Sandy Koufax was the greatest pitcher. Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player ever ever ever. All lefties. Hmm.
19. You can do a lot worse for lunch than a Polish sausage with everything (well, maybe skip the hot peppers if you are over 40) and a Coke from a pushcart in Chicago.
20. Paris is better than incredible.
21. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have lived in the Middle Ages. My brain is not that agile, perhaps fortunately.
22. Judy Garland was a simply terrific entertainer. No one was given a more difficult time, especially by the studios, than she was.
23. A really good marinara sauce is extremely hard to beat.
24. Dogs are the most wonderful creatures on Earth. Period.
25. People who made it REALLY big in life were just about all very talented by nature but they also worked extremely hard for years.