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By Derek Osborn

 

A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.” 

 

Thinking of escaping the cold winter months by traveling to an exotic locale specializing in fru-fru drinks and men in thongs? Happen to be looking for tips from a native Tuscaloosan who, on average, travels outside of the United States once every ten years or so?

 

You’re in luck! Your local faux-tourism specialist has got you covered. And for this edition of LoO, my indiscretions are most definitely your gain.

 

For our 10th anniversary, the missus and I decided to fly off to the tropical paradise of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana, to be exact. 

 

One of our traditions when traveling to exotic locales is to pick up a local rent-a-wagon and go exploring beyond the safe havens of the resorts and the traditional tourist traps. This is fun and spontaneous but can also be ill advised at times, depending on the “State of the Island” (in all sincerity, you should always check travel advisories for your desired destination).

 

The following are tips based on the unplanned Dominican adventure we experienced after attempting to, and eventually succeeding, in the rental of the aforementioned wagon. 

 

Know a little of the native tongue: You don't have to go full-fledged Rosetta Stone, but it does help to have some knowledge of common phrases without staring at the Griswold translator handbook while attempting to get directions “to…a…beach.”

 

Know the exchange rate of the local currency vs. the U.S Dollar: When you stop to fill up and the amount you owe at the pump is 2,088.79, don’t freak out. We’re dealing in pesos, and in the Dominican that equates to about $46.

 

Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside of the U.S.: Because when the gas station runs your credit card and it declines the sale for fear of a fraudulent transaction, things can get really shady fast if you only have $40 in your pocket.

 

Notify your debit card company that you will be traveling outside of the U.S.: Because when the ATM runs your debit card and your bank declines the request for fear of a fraudulent transaction, things can get out of hand quick if you still only have $40 in your pocket.

 

Be prepared to drive fast: While there are traffic laws in place, there is very little enforcement, and the local driving culture could be related to that of the Autobahn combined with total disregard of common road signs. Oh, and because we shorted the gas station 272.45 pesos. And because of the security guard wielding a loaded shotgun.

 

To be fair, we warned our rental car agent and the gas station attendant that we only had $40. Their response? “No comprende.”

 

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.          

 

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica. 

 

Article sponsored by Hudson Poole.

Find them on the web at: http://www.hudsonpoole.com

 

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By Courtney Corbridge

 

In today’s market, the vast majority of pearls sold by jewelers are not, strictly speaking, natural pearls. They are cultured, which means that the pearl-instigating irritant is actually implanted inside the mollusk’s shell rather than naturally appearing there. Once the pearl is harvested, jewelers often, as they do with other gems, enhance or alter the color in a pearl using various treatments like bleaching (making white pearls whiter), irradiation (turning pearls black, silvery, or bluish-green shades), and dyeing (creating a variety of colors). Though this does not necessarily affect the quality or longevity of the pearl, it will, and should, be reflected in the price. These treated pearls, have likely been treated in order to compensate for a shorter development period, which will affect color, luster, and depth of nacre.

 

While untreated cultured pearls can take years to mature, treated pearls are removed in 8–9 months. The shorter maturation period means a smaller layer of nacre that needs to be artificially enhanced.

 

Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is the natural substance on the inside of a mollusk’s shell. It is layered on the irritant over and over to create a finished pearl, the color of which is contingent upon the color of the mollusk’s natural nacre. According to the Gemological Institute of America, here are a few naturally colored pearls you can find from around the world:

 

Akoya: Largely produced in China and Japan, these pearls mostly have white and cream body colors with pink or green overtones. Yellow, pink, and blue akoyas can also be found.

 

Tahitian: Home of the famous “black pearl,” Tahiti and other French Polynesian islands traditionally produce darker pearls—grays, browns, blacks, purples, greens, and blues.

 

South Sea: These salt water pearls come from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Largely pastel in color, they come in whites, creams, yellows, blues, and silvers. The pink, green, and blue overtones can additionally influence the appearance of the pearl.

 

Freshwater: This fairytale color collection of pearls, with its whites, creams, yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples, comes from the fresh waters of China and the United States. Here, you will also find the rainbow-colored orient pearl.  

 

As pearls are quickly coming back in fashion, dive in and find the trendy color for you!

 

Article sponsored by Nancy & Co. Fine Jewelry.

Find them on the web at: http://www.nancyandco.com

 

Independence Day PUPsicles

 

Serving:

16 for small pups

6-8 for large pups

 

By Tori Linville

 

Red, white and blue. "The Star-Spangled Banner." It wasn’t said, but you probably thought of the national holiday that is unlike any other of its kind. Millions of Americans celebrate the nations independence with barbeques, fireworks and more. Everyone knows the key to keeping a party going in the summer heat requires hydration. With the help of Pinterest, we’ve picked out some July 4 drinks that scream America while keeping the thirst quenched.

 

Independence Day Vanilla Infused Peach White Chocolate Ice Cream

 

Serves: 2 quarts

 

Independence Day Barbecue Burgers 

Serves:  4

A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.” 

 

All Hail Fathers of Greatness

 

Wives can sometimes be obsessive compulsive.

 

Husbands can sometimes be obsessively repulsive. Well, because we are men. And some men have a way of not being able to identify the unpleasantness of our own being. In other words, we can’t smell ourselves.

 

Men are primarily simplistic creatures, practically to a fault. My grandmother used to tell my father that to get by, all men needed was a bunk and a skillet. And that is (almost) true.

 

Dads are all about priority and contrary to popular belief, dad does have them, although they may not always match those of our superior female counterparts. It’s not that dad can’t remember things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Dad can remember a plethora of seemingly worthless information that only men can prioritize by order of importance. 

 

For instance, ask dad what team Alabama usually plays on the third Saturday in October? Or who won the National Championship in 1992? Or what time the race starts on Sunday? Or when hunting season begins and ends? Or all of the above.

 

See? That’s history. That’s current events. That’s relevance.

 

It’s not that we didn’t remember to fix the doorknob. It’s just that it hasn’t fallen off of the door yet. It’s not that we forgot to clean out the garage. It’s just that there is still adequate space for you to pull your car in. It’s not that we forgot to call the plumber. It’s that the line was busy when we did.

 

We are the dads of the world. We are the maintainers, the providers. We are the heroes of little girls and the role models of little boys.

 

We are men. We are fathers. And we are undeniably flawed. But our intentions are good although our execution may lean to the side of procrastination.

 

And while we may not know anything about some things, we know something about everything. 

 

For that reason, all hail to the good dads of the world: the ones who fight the good fight, the ones who (eventually) finish their work, and the ones who mostly remember to roll the trash out on the correct pick-up days. Unless there’s a holiday during the week which throws everything off by a day. That confuses us.

 

If you are fortunate enough to be able to hug your dad on Fathers Day, then make sure you do. Everything in life is filled with imperfections, but the love of a man’s family can make our day perfect.    

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.          

 

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica. 

 

By Tori Linville

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was created as a national way to honor fallen service members. Over two dozen cities take credit for creating the national holiday, according to the Memorial Day website. While Waterloo, New York, officially got the credit, every state finds its own way to celebrate. Check out some of the activities we’ve found for this Memorial Day, May 25.

Memorial Day Tribute – Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan

The Memorial Day Tribute in Gulf Shores will host special guided tours throughout Fort Morgan on Saturday, May 23. Historical interpreters will guide the tour dressed in period uniforms of the U.S. Army. Information about artillery and garrison life will also be featured.

Admission for adults will be $7. Senior admission will be $5 and child admission will be $4. For more information, visit fortmorgan.org.

SEC Baseball Championship – Hoover

The championship game falls on May 24 at 3:30 p.m. Memorial Day weekend will already be in full swing by the time the champions are given their trophies. So why not pop over to the Hoover Met and relax while watching America’s favorite past time?

Tournament tickets for all nine sessions are only $120, while tickets for six sessions are only $66. If staying indoors for hot dogs and Cracker Jack popcorn is more up your alley, the championship game will be available on ESPN 2.

To see more information about the tournament and game dates, visit secsports.com/championship/baseball.

Alabama Jubilee – Decatur

Decatur will host its annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic on May 24 and 25 at Point Mallard Park. Events including an arts and crafts show, The Southland Flywheelers Antique Tractor show, the Lexi Lee Walk Silent Auction and more will be held during the two day event. Each day will begin at 6 a.m. with a pilot briefing for the key grab race, followed by the race from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Sixty balloons from around the U.S. will be featured, and the evening Balloon Glow event can’t be missed. The event is free, with the only fees being a $1-2 charge for shuttle bus services for remote parking lots.

To find event rules and more information, visit alabamajubilee.net.

Fallen Heroes Memorial Day Dedication – Mobile

Mobile will hold a Fallen Heroes Memorial Dedication at Battleship Memorial Park on May 25. Former Marine Infantry Officer and Iraq veteran Nathan Cox built the Alabama’s first memorial to honor fallen service members who lost their lives in the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the event’s website. The memorial will be on permanent display as a reminder of the loss.

The park has memorials honoring Lower Alabama Vietnam Veterans, a War Dog memorial, The Alabama Telephone Pioneers Living Memorial, a Korean War Memorial and more. Jan. 9 marked the park’s 50th year since its opening. 

For more information, visit ussalabama.com.

Biscuits Baseball – Montgomery

Nothing says Memorial Day like more baseball. The Montgomery Biscuits will take on the Tennessee Smokies for a Memorial Day showdown at 12:05 p.m. on May 25 at Riverwalk Stadium.

Tickets for lawn, box and super box seats are $9, $11 and $13, respectively. To find out more on how to get your local baseball fix, visit milb.com.

For more history about Memorial Day, and even access Memorial Day resources such as speeches, essays and articles, visit usmemorialday.org.

By Chloe Ballard

 

Sometimes it is hard to find that perfect gift for mom.  Some of us look for months while others know exactly what mom will want.  Nevertheless, the gift needs to be perfect, whether it be a spa treatment, a dinner out, or a quiet evening at home.  Here are some gift ideas for mom that might help you on your search for the perfect gift.  

 

Award winning Truffles.  http://shopdcm.com/index.php/featured-deal/deal/view/93/only_24_for_award_winning_12pc_truffle_assortment_by_indie_candy

  

From spa treatments to popular gifts. https://www.groupon.com/occasion/mothers-day-gifts

  

Kid created presents.  https://www.parentmap.com/article/25-homemade-mothers-day-gifts-that-kids-can-make

 

DIY ideashttp://www.diyncrafts.com/5575/homemade/50-fabulous-mothers-day-gifts-can-make-20

 

Mother’s Day poems.  http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-poems.html

 

Printable Mother’s Day cards. http://familycrafts.about.com/od/mothersdaycards/a/printmomcards.htm

 

Free Printable Mother’s Day coupons.  http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/mothers-day-coupons.html

  

Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch recipes. http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/mothers-day/photos/mothers-day-breakfast-and-brunch-recipes.html

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has exploded in Alabama in the form of pastels, pollen and, of course, allergies. Another spring staple, Easter, incorporates the annual Easter egg hunt into everyone’s schedule this weekend. There have already been many Easter egg hunts across Alabama, but for late bloomers, there are still some opportunities to scout some colorful eggs this weekend.

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Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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