Author: Rob Holbert

Vinnie & Guido going gangsta on Super Bowl

Chris Conlon, owner of Cousin Vinnie’s & Guido’s in Old Towne Daphne, has announced he’ll be having a benefit/rally for local veterans’ groups and first responders this Sunday evening as a way of exercising his own First Amendment rights regarding the season-long NFL saga of players kneeling during the National Anthem.  Conlon says he’s shutting the Siamese-twin restaurants down at 2 p.m. Sunday and they’ll reopen at 4 p.m. to serve free spaghetti to the veterans groups and first responders who show up. There will be a cash bar, but it’s what won’t be there that may be the most shocking. No Super Bowl. Conlon says the tilt between the Patriots and Eagles won’t be on his boob tubes that night. The focus will be on celebrating the people he feels have ensured our rights to free speech.  “I plan to get them fat and happy until the food runs out,” he said.  He says lots of folks have volunteered to come serve, and he expects to see plenty of representatives from local police and fire departments along with the American Legion and VFW.  Conlon says he’s also sending an invite to ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick, the man who started the whole controversy. We’ll have to see if that happens. The benefit/rally will last until 8...

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Did al.com reporter find the Clotilda?

AL.com reporter Ben Raines believes he may have made a significant historical discovery during the recent stretch of cold weather — the location of the Clotilda, the last ship to bring African slaves into the United States. In a series of reports over the past few weeks, Raines explained to readers how he found what he believes could be the infamous ship in the mud in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The cold weather and steady wind had pushed water levels far below normal, allowing Raines to find a vessel’s submerged remains. While nothing has been definitively determined at this...

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Next governor should look to lottery

Here at the shiny new Lagniappe HQ on Government Street, we’ve been blessed with visits from a few of the folks running for governor this year. They’ve been from both political parties and stopped by to talk with us about their ideas, should they be fortunate enough to win over the hearts and minds of Alabama voters. And while their plans vary, one bell is rung repeatedly on both sides of the political divide: the state needs more money.   Yeah, that’s nothing new. Alabama’s a poor state featuring the nation’s lowest property taxes. We lean as heavily on...

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Legislating away minor irritation

After my fiancée forced the kids, dogs and me to watch “The Bachelor” Monday night, my once-reasonably good brain was turned practically to mush. Somewhere around the 15th time one of the 50 women making out with “The Bachelor” described his lips as “pillowy,” the 10th time a woman described herself as a “smitten kitten” and the 20th time I tried explaining to my teenage son that making out with 30 people in one evening isn’t a dating norm, I could feel what used to be nice, firm gray matter beginning to pool at the back of my head....

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Grip says 2018 will be last year on air

One of Mobile’s iconic news anchors has announced he’ll be calling it quits at the end of January 2019 after 33 years at the news desk. Bob Grip announced to co-workers last Friday he’s retiring early next year. His media career has spanned 48 years, but what he’s most known for around the Azalea City is his more than three decades anchoring WALA’s newscasts. Grip got his start in radio 48 years ago as a disc jockey in his home state of Connecticut. He moved to television and worked in Mobile, then in Portsmouth, Va., before being offered the...

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Mystic predictions for 2018

I had just scraped the last of the seven-layer dip from the bowl and was lying on my living room carpet moaning in pain from American-style gluttony enjoyed while watching Alabama beat Georgia for their 37th National Championship, when the lights flickered and an eerie mist began to fill the room. “Oh God, not now. I feel like I’m about to puke,” I muttered to myself, knowing I was in for a visit from mystic visionary Nostrildumbas, the renowned 16th century seer who predicts the future through use of practically indecipherable quatrains and illegal stimulants. The mists thickened, then...

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Sexual harassment issue spanks Anniston Star

The issue of sexual harassment in the media came to Alabama in a rather salacious way over the past couple of weeks as former Anniston Star publisher H. Brandt Ayers acknowledged “spanking” at least one reporter in the 1970s. Ayers is the former publisher and current chairman of the board of Consolidated Publishing, which owns the Star. He admitted last week to spanking former reporter Wendy Sigal in her home in 1973 or 1974, according to an article published in the newspaper. Another former reporter, Veronica Pike Kennedy, has also claimed Ayers spanked her at the office, and two...

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OK, City Council — childish fight needs to end

There’s always hope that with the flipping of a calendar page some of the more annoying things in our lives will simply go away.   Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d all woken up Jan. 1, 2018, at our ideal weight only to find out Twitter was permanently broken and both Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump had gotten normal haircuts? That would have been a nice starter to the year. But clearly those were overly ambitious wishes to expect from the simple passage of time. Perhaps we should have set our sights a bit lower and aimed at...

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Thank you 2017, a columnist’s dream

Writing the last column of 2017, there’s not much more I can say to this most insane of years other than “Thank You.” When you have to sit down at a computer every week and pound out 1,000 words on what’s currently stuck in your craw, it helps to have plenty of fodder. And as craw fodder goes, 2017 is going to be tough to beat. Of course taking center stage was the Robert Bentley Administration finally being reduced to the smoldering pile of ashes we’d all seen coming for quite some time. The Luv Guv gave us more...

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Fables of the U.S. Senate election

I figured there must be one of Aesop’s fables that would most succinctly put last week’s United States Senate election into proper context. But I forgot just how many fables ol’ Aesop scratched out on papyrus or goatskin, so picking the right one turned out not to be so easy.   At first I thought maybe it’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” That seemed appropriate after listening to people whine for weeks about how horrible Alabama is and how certain they were their home state would elect Roy Moore in a landslide, forever embarrassing us in front of all...

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