Dear sandy feet,

I read in the paper recently that, for the first time in our nation's history, the overweight people outnumber those who are physically fit. I saw some old pictures of you and it would appear that you are in better shape now than you were ... er, way back when. So what's your secret?

Trick photography, of course. Actually, as a long-time adherent of the "live for today" school, I am probably the last person you should ask for fitness tips. People like me believe that those who deny themselves the pleasures of smoking, drinking and eating the wrong foods are dramatically increasing their chances of getting struck by lightning, a rare cancer or an out-of-control freight train. (Of course, there is no scientific backing for this, but the theory alone can be quite comforting.)

Unfortunately, how you feel today is closely connected to how you treated your body yesterday. An unhealthy diet can be somewhat enhanced by vitamins and the occasional bloody mary (for medicinal purposes only, of course), but there is simply no substitute for exercise -- a steady regimen of which is undoubtedly beneficial to mind and body. But that's not enough to motivate this Son of the Beach. Sure, you might realize some benefits somewhere down the road, but we "live for today" types crave instant gratification.

That's why my favorite exercise routine is sandcastling: If you pump enough sand on a fairly regular basis, you get the immediate satisfaction of having a cool sculpture, the accolades of all who pass by, and a bunch of great photos to show your mom. But at the same time - almost without even meaning to - you are getting a good aerobic work out, strengthening your lower back and upper body muscles -- and acquiring a tan that will be the envy of all you meet.

And, as the reigning world champion of hand-packed sand sculpture, I ought to know. (It's my column and I'll brag if I want to!)

Dear sandy,

Is it just my imagination or has this been a weird fall?

Drought, storm surges, an early norther, flooding, red tide, politician and ZZ Top-member sitings, swarms of dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes -- well I guess it has been a bit weird around here lately..... even for an election year. What next? A cloud of locusts drifting over from the mainland?

When faced with a series of natural disasters, it is human nature to search for a reason -- a cause for all the calamity. For example: did anyone else notice how all the weird stuff started happening just about the same time Joe Buck shaved off his beard-of-many-years? I am NOT implying there is a connection here, but what if that beard and the Island's welfare were intimately entwined? Could its separation from Joe Buck's face have possibly caused some sort of cosmic shift... an imbalance in nature? And do we have to wait how ever many years it will take to grow back to its former glory for things to be "right" again?

Food for thought, my friend. Food for thought.

This month's hot tip: Kelly's Irish Pub has been packing 'em in on Wed. nights, 7-11:00. The big draw? Paul "Mr. Entertainment" Brass doing his keyboard/audience participation thing. And if Cowboy Jim "happens" to stroll in, be sure and request he join Paul at the mike for their crowd-pleasing rendition of "Ghostriders in the Sky" ... artfully enhanced with authentic cattle drive sound effects. This is truly Island Entertainment at its finest.


There is nothing like being given the old heave-ho by the object of your affection (for being "too nice" !) to make you run to your faithful computer. And there is nothing like the soothing waters of the world wide web in which to drown your sorrows...

So where's a lonely heart to surf?

Let's start with the "Center for the Easily Amused" "Random Silliness" is a good place to find links to pages guaranteed to make you feel better about your life, such as "The One and Only Q-Tips Homepage", the "Disgruntled Postal Workers Zone", the "Bad Teen Angst Poetry" page, and - a personal favorite - the "Virtual Panhandler" (this guy really is wonderfully pathetic!)

From there - especially if you are tired of looking for love in all the wrong places - you might want to head over to -- a good place to meet people in your area without revealing too much about yourself (such as your shoe size or e-mail address) all at once -- and the service is totally free. The "Love Hound" robot will even sniff out incoming ads to alert you to those that meet whatever criteria you specify.

And last - but not least - I would like to direct your attention to the new kid on the spi internet block - The Alternative Guide to South Padre Island . Our goal is to provide the local community - as well as potential visitors - with something more than just another out-dated business directory linked to some weather and tide chart info. Under heavy construction at the moment, you will want to check back repeatedly to delve into the "island kid stuff" page; see who is the focus of the current local spotlight (it could be YOU!); peruse our list of upcoming events (updated weekly); or do a virtual Tour de Isla. Do you have dreams of getting published on the web? We welcome your comments, suggestions and submissions.

Want to have your website featured here? E-mail me your URL... and happy surfing!

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail. Visit the SOB Sandcastle Page ( for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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