What's Your PH Factor? New Book Explores Folk Hero Obsession

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Die hard Jimmy Buffett fans are called Parrot Heads and Kathleen Shaputis's new romantic comedy highlights this obsession.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have the PH factor, do you? This PH stands for Parrot Head. The man of Margaritaville fame and 2004’s bestselling album License to Chill, Jimmy Buffett fans are called Parrot Heads. The PH factor can be described as a way of enjoying life -- working hard and relaxing slow, watching the sunset over Key West, Florida with the smell of salt water no matter where you live.

Kathleen Shaputis, of Olympia, Washington, and her husband, Bob, are Parrot Heads. In her debut novel "Changes in Attitude" Shaputis has a triangle of friends around the protagonist Allie trying to understand her obsession with Jimmy Buffett, and her new maternal quest of having a baby. Allie cybershops for a father with a PH factor (Parrot Head genes).

For over thirty years Jimmy Buffet has told stories with a Caribbean rock n roll sound. Out of the crowds in sold out concerts, year after year, came flamboyant fans dressed in bright costumes of tropical shirts with shark fins, parrots or cheeseburgers on their heads. Though not exactly sure who started the Parrot Head concept, Parrot Heads in Paradise, was created to link over 200 registered PH clubs around the world.

“Jimmy’s music speaks to your heart,” Shaputis said. “I want non-Parrot Heads to find out about this remarkable man, and fellow Parrot Heads to enjoy a good story.”

What’s your PH factor? How much do you know about this performer, author, philanthropist and his music? Take this short quiz:

  • What’s the special ingredient of the Cheeseburger in Paradise?

  • When is Jimmy’s birthday?
  • Finish the line: two-tone jacket like (2 words) and an autograph picture of (2 words)?

Whether you’re a die hard fan, a weekend feathered friend, or a card-carrying member of a sanctioned club partying for charity, being a Parrot Head means “phun.”

Kathleen Shaputis, author of "Grandma Online" (Ten Speed Press), "The Crowded Nest Syndrome" (Clutter Fairy Publishing), and the 3rd edition of "50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family" (Career Press), balances a day job with a houseful of loved ones. In her “other” spare time Kathleen is a professional speaker at writers conferences and community colleges. She created and facilitates the Olympia Writers Workshop.

(Answers: Heinz 57; December 25; Ricky Ricardo and Andy Devine)

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