The images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are serving as a call to action for men and women who have built their lives on the water like Vero Beach boatbuilders Mark Castlow and Jimbo Meador, and Meador’s longtime friend, musician Jimmy Buffett.
Days after people began to learn about the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, Castlow e-mailed Meador and Buffett who were in the Bahamas fishing for bonefish. Castlow’s message was simple: “We have to do something.”
Early next week, Dragonfly Boatworks, a small custom boatbuilding company, expects to ship a vessel designed specifically to aid in the recovery of oil-covered wildlife along the marshes of the Gulf Coast.
Named “S.W.A.T.” for Shallow Water Attention Terminal, the Dragonfly crew took the 17-foot skiff from Castlow’s original sketches to the finished product in just 28 days.
The boat is one of four Dragonfly will build and send to university researchers in the Gulf, Meador said.
“We’re trying to get a boat out there as quickly as possible,” said Meador, a lifelong waterman born and raised on Alabama’s Gulf coast. “We’re building it for them to use on oiled birds and wildlife, but we hope they don’t need it.”
The first SWAT is headed to the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory operated by the University of Southern Mississippi. The scientists there were chosen to receive the first one in part because it is Buffett’s alma mater.
The singer, songwriter, restaurateur and author is underwriting the construction costs of the four boats estimated at about $35,000 apiece. Dragonfly Boatworks also is donating much of the expense, and the company is in the process of trying to partner with an outboard engine manufacturer to help with the cause.
Taking feedback and suggestions from Buffett as well as from scientists involved in the recovery effort, Castlow and Meador incorporated many unique features to help on the water. The boat is expected to have a draft of 8 to 12 inches when loaded. A worktable sits in the middle of the deck and is coated with a sanitary gel coat and coarse surface to help keep oil-covered birds from slipping on the surface and adding to their stress.
“This whole disaster really got our ire up,” Castlow said of Buffett, Meador and himself. “We’ve made our livings from the ocean our whole lives. We’re just trying to get a tool into the hands of the people who have dedicated their lives to working with marine life.”
WPTV also has an article on Buffett and Dragonfly.
One of the coolest products offered by Margaritaville Cargo is the Margaritaville Tailgating Grill. Not only is it a snap to grill on, but it’s a snap to transport because it’s attached to a heavy duty steel swing arm that fits into a standard receiver hitch on your car or truck! And from now until Memorial Day Margaritaville is giving away one grill each day!
Simply go here and fill out the form to be entered into the contest. You can enter once a day. Must be a legal U.S. resident and 21 years of age. Read the official rules here.
Grill system includes: full size propane grill and heavy duty steel swing arm
Heavy duty steel swing arm system fits into a standard receiving hitch
Grill never goes inside your vehicle. It locks onto the swing arm and holds in place during transportation
The swing arm swivels out once you arrive at your location. You can be grilling in less than 3 minutes
352 square inches of cooking space, porcelain cooking grate and 20,000 BTU burner
Electronic ignition for easy start up, side tables, condiment tray and grill utensil hooks
Jimmy Buffett and his wife Jane were on hand in New York City on Monday night at an event to mark the achievements of actor Michael Douglas:
[Douglas] was awarded the 37th annual Chaplin Award by the Film Society of Lincoln Centre for his work both in front of the camera as an actor and behind the scenes as a producer.
And, in an poignant moment, he was presented the coveted award by his father, acting legend Kirk Douglas who is 93 years of age.
The Film Society’s Annual Gala began in 1972 and honoured Charles Chaplin, who returned to the US from exile to accept the commendation.
Since then, the award was renamed for Chaplin, and has honoured many of the film industry’s most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and most recently, Tom Hanks.
Guest presenters included friends and previous collaborators such as Steven Soderbergh, Tobey Maguire, Danny DeVito, Erika Christensen and Barbara Walters.
A special music performance [was] provided by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, a long-time friend of Douglas, who also performed at the actor’s wedding to Catherine Zeta Jones.
Ken Hoffman from the Houston Chronicle has a great article on what goes on backstage at a Jimmy Buffett concert. He also gets an answer to an age-old question about the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise”:
[Radio Margaritaville general manager Coleman] Sisson invited me backstage for Buffett’s show last week at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. If I didn’t know that Buffett was performing live in front of 16,000 fans on the other side of the curtain, I would have thought it was a TV production studio.
There were about 20 video monitors and a director calling “Camera 3 … close-up.” Technicians made sure every image of the band and the audience was crystal clear. You want to record the concert at home? Be his guest.
Before the show, the mood backstage was calm. Band members talked with friends, relatives and local big shots. Peter Mayer gave away guitar picks to children. Mac MacAnally, who stands next to Buffett onstage and sings Alan Jackson’s part on It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, said, “I don’t know, but for some reason, this is a really good time and place for the band. Things are real happy. The ball just keeps rolling.”
MacAnally wore long slacks and a regular dress shirt. He said, “I have to go change into my stage outfit.” He came out wearing different long pants and a different dress shirt. He looked exactly the same. The rest of the guys in the band were slightly more relaxed in shorts and Hawaiian shirts or T-shirts.
It’s a work strategy: “dress like the boss.”
Front-row tickets were given to Houston Texans cheerleaders. They were dancing and singing along the whole night. They were all over the video screen. That was a little something for home viewers.
I met Buffett a long time ago when he allowed me in the recording studio while he mixed a live album. Over lunch I did some investigative reporting, asking whether he was saying “medium rare with Muenster” or “medium rare with mustard” in Cheeseburger in Paradise.
I knew I was right! It has to be Muenster because there’s no other mention of cheese in the song. If he were singing “mustard,” the song would be Hamburger in Paradise. And certainly not one in paradise. Buffett has it about right. He likes his with Heinz 57, Muenster cheese, lettuce and tomato, an onion slice, french fried potatoes, and a “big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer.”
“The show was sold out. Restaurants in the area had a big night, and hotels sold rooms at premium rates. We sold a lot of concessions, and Jimmy sold a lot of T-shirts. It was a pretty perfect night for everybody.”
None of those hotels rooms were for Buffett and the band. After his second encore, Cowboy in the Jungle, Buffett and the musicians loaded into white SUVs backstage and were off the property before the audience realized the show was over.
The crew stayed in a Woodlands hotel. Buffett and the band flew to Austin, home base during the Texas portion of his tour. Buffett played Dallas two nights after The Woodlands.
Be sure to read this full article here for more great insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
Last week we showed you the below picture and asked you to come up with your own caption for it. We had over 200 entries and have placed a few of the best in a poll and want you to vote on your favorite.