The High and Low Road Our Trip to Scotland
Many of you are traveling this month, taking a few days (or weeks) off to rest and relax during the pleasant weather. Melissa and I already had our summer vacation in May, when we celebrated our 10th anniversary by traveling to Scotland. Scotland was delightful for many reasons. I never thought I’d get to travel to the birthplace of golf on an anniversary trip, but that’s what happens when you have the coolest wife ever. It began with a brutal travel day, with a long flight to London, a train to catch at King’s Cross Station, and then learning to drive on the left side of the road in busy Edinburgh traffic before finally reaching our hotel that night via some bumpy country roads. But after that? Man, oh man. What a fantastic trip! Our first stop was North Berwick, where I played the West Links, one of the oldest golf courses in the world. The conditions were windy, but my experience playing in breezy conditions helped me persist. While in North Berwick, we also checked out Tantallon Castle, which was shrouded in fog that made a cool effect but obscured our view of the water. We also spent three nights in St. Andrews, a two-hour drive north along the coast that allowed me to get my legs under me when driving on those Scottish roads. By the time we arrived, I was a driving-on-the-left pro. (I also might have a few speeding tickets from all those traffic cameras; but so far, I’m in the clear.) Our
hosts in St. Andrews were excellent, and we enjoyed the college-town atmosphere. Apparently, by July the students are all gone and the town is packed with American tourists, so we lucked out. I enjoyed playing both the Old and New Courses in St. Andrews. The infamous Old Course has a 500-plus year history and a daunting reputation. I was told that I’d hate it at first, and while I didn’t hate it, I would have liked to play it more to gain a real appreciation. One hole in particular forces you to play from the famous Jigger Inn if that’s where you send the ball. I witnessed that from the clubhouse when a golfer tried to pick up his ball from the pavement and all of us on the patio started yelling at him. Talk about a hole that gets much harder to play at 5:30 p.m.! Carnoustie was another notorious course that I visited, and I did quite a bit better on that course than at St. Andrews. I had a good day and a capable caddy, and I played the wind really well. I have friends who can’t play if the wind gets above 10 mph, and they’d hate golfing in Scotland where it frequently tops 40 mph. After that, we spent a few nights in Edinburgh. I sampled Scotch whiskys, and we visited Rosslyn Chapel, which Melissa wanted to check out. It was a fascinating place, and the history there and at Edinburgh Castle is astounding. London was the same way, and that was the last stop before flying home. A memorable moment in London was of course high tea, another to-do item on Melissa’s travel list. I had to pack a coat and tie, but it was easily worth it and quite enjoyable.
All things told, our trip to Scotland was a wonderful way to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this summer, and I wish you the best as the weather heats up here in town.
Happy Fourth of July,
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A Doggone Good Time
Inside Nathan’s National Hot Dog Eating Contest
This Fourth of July, no hot dog is safe. In fact, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans will consume as many as 155 million frankfurters on the holiday alone! But hey, you’re eating one, two, maybe three hot dogs tops, right? That’s small-time, kid. If you’re looking to tangle with the big dogs, take a trip to Coney Island and check out the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Each year, on the anniversary of America’s fateful inception, the world’s greatest eaters warm up their chompers on the biggest stage in competitive consumption. Then, in front of a cheering horde of Major League Eating fans, they feast. But as I’m sure you’re aware, this ain’t your dad’s barbecue. The clock runs for 10 minutes, and whoever devours the greatest number of doggies — buns and all — is crowned top dog. These competitors chow down at a pace unfathomable to us mere mortals. Chew on this for a second: Last year’s champion, Joey Chestnut, dispatched a whopping 70 dogs. That’s seven a minute, folks — more than one every 10 seconds.
display of American avarice. But regardless of which side of the bun you land on, you have to agree: Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a marvel of contemporary marketing. According to Wayne Norbitz, president and CEO of Nathan’s Famous, the contest got its start as just another Coney Island sideshow, the brainchild of PR guru Max Rosey. “We waited for a couple of fat guys to walk by,” Norbitz says of the fateful 1977 day of the first Nathan’s contest. “We asked if they wanted to eat hot dogs in a contest …We ran a quick little contest, and the whole object was to get a photo in the New York Post.” Since its humble beginnings, the competition has exploded, airing yearly on ESPN, with fiery rivalries between now-famous competitors like Takeru Kobayashi, Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, and aforementioned reigning champ, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut.
This Independence Day, whether you’re in the crowd at Coney Island, watching in awe as 20 adults inhale absurd quantities of film-wrapped mystery meats, or at the park, quizzically guessing at the chemical makeup of a half-eaten frankfurter on a picnic table, take a moment to thank the humble hot dog. It may be the most American meal you eat all year. ARE YOU PREPARED?
To some, the competition is a marvelous munching media blowout. To others, it’s a truly grotesque
Hurricane Season Means You Need Supplies and a Plan
We get beautiful weather, sandy beaches, and warm temperatures year-round, but the price we pay for that is the risk of being hit by a tropical storm. It’s doubtful that you’re going to go out and build a storm bunker, but you can still be prepared for the worst. This month, examine your disaster preparedness kit and evacuation plan. Your disaster supplies should include three days of food, along with one gallon of water per person per day. You’ll also want multiple flashlights, a hand- crank or battery-operated radio, an NOAA weather radio, and extra batteries for everything. Do not rely on internet-connected devices like cellphones for information or help. You’ll need garbage bags, zip ties, toilet paper, and towelettes for sanitation purposes. You’ll also require plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place at home. Finally, a first-aid kit is an absolute must, and don’t forget any prescription medications or other personal items. A disaster preparedness kit is a great start, but there are other actionable steps you can take to protect yourself. You’ll want to create a plan in case disaster strikes, keeping in mind that it’s better to evacuate sooner than later. Examine
your family’s situation and write down your breaking points. For example, “We will evacuate to my in-laws’ house in Moore Haven if the wind tops 75 mph” is a clear breaking point that you can easily follow.
Pay attention to federal and local emergency channels. Don’t wait for something to happen before you stock up; panicked conditions at a grocery store can be just as dangerous as any storm. And if you’re told to evacuate, do so. When your house collapses, damage to your property will happen regardless of whether or not your family is inside it.
Be safe, be prepared, and enjoy summer.
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Busting Big Criminal Defense Myths
This month, we’ve got two myths that you’ll probably hear if you end up in a hairy situation with the criminal justice system. The first myth is, “Oh, you don’t need a lawyer because the State might not even file charges.” The scary thing is that the State sometimes doesn’t file charges, reinforcing the myth. But what happens if they do? Are you going to convince them the evidence is weak, or that the evidence supports a misdemeanor charge instead of the second-degree felony they want to slap you with? Will you thoroughly review the evidence available or conduct your own investigation to figure out what you should plea at the arraignment? Can you even secure a plea deal? Of course not — you aren’t an attorney, and you don’t have to be one. But you do have to secure one as soon as possible. Ever hear the expression, “Up the
creek without a paddle?”When the State files charges, your attorney is your paddle. The second oft-repeated myth always goes something like, “The State will just give you a plea deal and close your case out at the arraignment.” Again, it’s true — the State probably will try something like this, especially in misdemeanor cases where you aren’t guaranteed a public defender. But they’re not giving you that plea deal because it’s in your best interests, and they won’t tell you how it’s going to affect your life. We see defendant after defendant show up in court and plead guilty to DUI, marijuana possession, petty theft, disorderly conduct, and other “small potatoes” crimes that will affect them for the rest of their lives. If you don’t know how your plea will affect you becoming a citizen, getting a professional license, or securing a job in the future, then you don’t know what you’re doing to yourself, and you need an attorney.
Laugh Out Loud
Summertime Frozen Yogurt Pie Looking for a summer dessert you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in? Try this easy, low-fat frozen treat!
1 premade graham cracker pie crust
• 1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) 3 (6-ounce) containers regular yogurt (berry flavors work best) 3. Cover pie with foil or plastic lid. 4. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours, or until frozen through. 5. Serve frozen or slightly thawed. •
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip
1. Combine Cool Whip, mixed
berries, and yogurt in a bowl. Mix with a spatula until well-blended. 2. Pour yogurt mixture into pie crust.
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INSIDE this issue
A Doggone Good Time
Are You Prepared?
Myths About Your Criminal Case Summertime Frozen Yogurt Pie
The World’s Happiest Vacations
Destination: Happy People Visit the Happiest Places in the World — It’s Contagious
The Happiest Country in the World
Visit a hustling, bustling tourist trap and what do you get? Crowds of competitive travelers and a local population that is sick to death of them. Visit a place with happy people, and you get good service, friendly faces, and you’ll learn firsthand what Harvard researchers affirmed in a 2012 study: Happiness is contagious. Luckily for the average traveler, the places that topped a nationwide Gallup poll and the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report have plenty to offer in addition to cheerful locals. If we were to tell you that Hawaii is the happiest state in the country, you probably wouldn’t be surprised. And sure enough, Hawaii ranked first in overall happiness for the sixth consecutive year. The sunny beaches, rich culture, and perfect weather give tourists a taste of paradise that the natives enjoy all year long. Next in line is a state that has little in common with the Aloha State. Alaska came in second place for the third consecutive year. With eight national parks, including Denali, Glacier Bay, and Gates of the Arctic, Alaska’s 663,000 square miles are filled to the brim with the wonders of nature. The Happiest States in the U.S.
Denmark has long been the standard-bearer in this category. This year, it relinquished the title to its Scandinavian sister. Norway is home to some of the most breathtaking vistas on earth, most notably its western fjords like the world- famous Geirangerfjord and Nærøfjord. For the city wanderer, you’ll find choice seaside restaurants and walkable streets in towns like Bergen, the country’s second-largest city, which sports rainbow architecture and a 15th-century waterfront.
Knowing the heart of a destination begins and ends with its people. Tack on beautiful scenery and daydream-worthy activities, and you just found yourself the perfect vacation.
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