Saturday, January 30, 2010

Johnny Law

My mouth gets me into more trouble. It used to be just an attention getter as much as anything. If I could affect people's feelings good or bad, at least I was getting their attention.
Like that feeble excuse for an assistant high school, varsity football coach / history teacher who saw my attempts as class cut-up as an assault on his tiny-ness. I couldn't help it that he was short, stumpy and lacked respect. I was the voice of the people Bob. I was saying what everybody wanted to say. I was just a vessel.

A few years ago, me and the missus were ridin the scoot and were pulled over just outside of town. He didn't have anything better to do. I knew that, he knew that. A snotty little tone started creepin out. I couldn't help it and I'm getting that STFU look from my wife.
Plus she's embarrased we're sitting in the bowling alley parking lot for all the world to see.
She's thankful she's head to toe in Harley garb sose nobody can ID her. But, when you think about it, what self-respecting biker women wouldn't relish the idea of being photographed in a bowling alley parking lot, mixing it up with Johnny Law? That's just bad ass!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dead Flowers

My wife has one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen. I would never dilute that by implying it's not genuine because I know for fact it is. But, she also has what I call Photo-Face.
I cannot find a picture of her where she doesn't have that perfect smile.
I gotta think sometime somewhere, she must have stood in front of a mirror until she got it just right. Must be some sort of facial memory thing. Of course she flat out denies it, but for cryin out loud, ten outta ten pictures of me are a train wreck at best. I have a difficult time staying in front of the mirror long enough to comb the three hairs on my head, and then do I go from left to right or right to left?

Flip the coin over and most likely for practicality purposes, while she was workin the smile thing, she was also pioneering (and should patent) a short list of expressions I'm fond of calling

I've named them here in order of severity. Some may seem similar, or appear to overlap depending on the grave I've dug.
1) Watch It Buster
2) Don't Even Think About It
3) Nice (totally not innocent, must have sharp, sarcastic/caustic tone)
4) You Best Not Mess With Me
5) I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass (no sarcasm what so ever)
And finally 6) The Death Sentence or what I like to call, The Electric Chair

She coulda made some real dough and saved penitentiaries across the country millions by just propping up the convicted to a closed curtained window, counting down and BOOM, lights out.
Yeah, we could be sittin pretty instead of frettin about which car we're gonna fix.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Do I Know

Today, while driving back from Davenport, Iowa, I was faced with answering the periodic but inevitable question a non-writer/hack will often ask himself. " Well Ernest, what the hell gives you the right to even remotely entertain the notion that you have something/anything to say?"
And I always revert back to that tried and true chestnut that you write about what you know...and write often..............


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tear It Up Boys / Rem Wall And The Green Valley Jamboree

On Sundays, when my brothers finished commandeering my Pop's Harmon Kardon, and they headed back to college with their Blue Cheer and Judy Collins' albums tucked under their arms, I was again able to throw my Monkees record back on the platter.

My Folk's taste ran along the lines of Bert Kaempfert, Ray Coniff and the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack. But on the odd Saturday when Tim and Don weren't around and Mom and Dad were off to Klompen Klub or Pot Luck or some other big doins on their cocktail circuit, I was sentenced to a night with Mrs. Hansen, the elderly lady across the street.
She had a record player too, but she was clearly all about Boots Randolph. Boots Randolph...he should have titled one of his albums, Havin' Sax With Boots On. Maybe he did, I don't know, I didn't follow him that closely.

On Saturday nights Mrs. Hansen's TV (being the ultimate baby sitter's baby sitter) was usually always tuned to WKZO, the local channel out of Kalamazoo. And 7 o'clock meant Rem Wall and The Green Valley Jamboree.
Being a young putz, it wasn't really a show I could get my head around. But at Mrs. Hansen's, it was always on so I always watched it. Hopin like hell, I wouldn't be subjected to Lawrence Welk or Red Skelton which I think came on after. Please Lord, give me My Three Sons.

The show ran for years and years and the one image I'll always have with me is when it was time for the fiddle player to take a solo and the camera keyed on him, he would always grin this big coast-to-coast grin with one eyebrow shooting skyward. I'll never forget it.

My Mom could do that. One eyebrow would be perfectly relaxed and horizontal and the other would arch up like a camel's back. Thing is, she could this with either brow.
She was some talent, my Ma.

Credits: - cool site!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love On Wheels: The Cargo Van

Granted, these days they may be deemed a little pervy, but back then,you had yer Ford Econolines, Dodge Tradesmans and Chevy Beauvilles, that were all just so right on. Mid seventies era 3-on-the-tree. It didn't have to be fancy and mine usually were'nt.

Not like the rich kids that rode the factory customs with the swiveling captain's chairs, opera windows and cheezy mural of some viking warrior astride a mutant sabre toothed tiger about to rescue a heavily boobed nordic lass from a gargantuan cyclops. Yikes, give me the funny papers, bondo and some primer and you've got MY mural.

I'm talkin bare bones, stinky pile carpeting, a mattress and a few lawn chairs and you're good to go type of love machine. Just cool enough to haul shit, hide shit er just git with yer lady down some two-track or lakeside beach. Just remember, when you open the side doors at sun-up and saunter outside naked in that wake-n-bake haze to the strains of Mississippi Queen, be careful she doesn't trip on the crappy wiring job to the new Pioneer 8 track quad. You know Leslie West never sounded so good, even in stereo.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ladies And Gentle People, I Welcome, David Dyer

See the resemblance, me either. I sure hope he's funny though, cuz with the power this blog yields, I can pert near gaurantee thiz guy's gonna reap 2, maybe 3 extra slices-o-cabbage at the door when all is said and done. I'm here to tell ya, this Thursday the 21st, The Sportsmans in Newaygo, 8-ish.
God hep ya kinfolk, ya best be funny!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The King And Bob And Rockmount Ranchwear

In the depression era 30's, Halpern and Christenfeld (shortened to H-Bar-C for authenticity purposes) were focused on the Hollywood ideal for outfitting a cowboy - think Tom Mix.
During that same period, Jack A. Weil's concern was for the workin man, the ranchhand, the true cowboy.
Jack A. Weil has long been credited with placing snaps on the pockets of western shirts - to keep gear in, and snaps on cuffs to prevent the sleeves from catching on machinery. The shirts were cut slim and the tails were long so they stayed tucked in.

Though H-Bar-C seemed to have a toe-hold in the movie studios, the entertainment aspect to western shirts was not lost on Mr. Weil. Not only did the yoke on the upper back of the shirt provide more durability, it gave the shirt a contrasting detail and gave the wearer a broad look to his shoulders.
With the workwear aspects of his shirts becoming more popular, Rockmount added styles with silky fabrics and louder colors so that after a long day of yankin bull horns, it was also the go-to shirt for the parlor rooms and the dancehalls where a cowboy could kick back er kick butt.

I put some time in of my own at Rockmount in the late 90s as a sales rep and discovered then that Jack A. Weil, at 101, was still driving himself to work everyday and unlocking the doors every morning to the family run business in Denver. He was a wonderful old man to aspire to, with many great stories who passed away in 2008. You would never know by talking to him that he had any idea what kind of mark he left on Americana, as he ended many conversations with "I think I gotta shirt you'd like to see."

Ranch Dressing: The Story Of Western Wear by M. Jean Greenlaw

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two Guitars, Bass & Drums / The Way God Wanted It / Alejandro Escovedo And The Sensitive Boys

I don't know man, I just don't know.
They walked on to George Jones' He Stopped Loving Her Today, strapped on the artillery and commenced to unscrew the lid off the jar of whoop-ass. And from then on, just tore it up from front to back. Brother Hector, a 25 year vet with Al, was steady as any submarine between the mines.
And David Pulkingham, a Flamenco flickin hombre, was just an all out joy.
Encored with All The Young Dudes and Beast Of Burden.
Honestly, one of the best shows I've ever seen.
So if they ever roll through yer town. Drop everything you're doin and go...and go quickly.


Monday, January 11, 2010

A Heapin Mess A Blues Muscle / Beck, Bogert And Appice

I could come off sounding all-knowing and bad-ass by tossin out names like The Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge or Cactus. But with my luck, somebody'd call me on it and I'd be busted.
Although it's true, one brother did bring home Vanilla Fudge, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Blue Cheer albums. While my other more halo-ed brother won out with albums by the Kingston Trio, Judy Collins and Blood Sweat and Tears. To this day I'm a little too sensitive. Thanks alot Karla Bonoff.

But IF I had a Jeff Beck period, Beck, Bogart and Appice were it.

While I haven't yet mastered how to upload tunes on my blog yet, there is still time. And while the two of you are waiting, please check out Beck, Bogert and Appice's Black Cat Moan on my Facebook thing, It's kick ass.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Lee 101-J / Vintage, Slim Fit And Bad-Ass

The Lee 101-J is the real McCoy. The 1965 inside label is one of the last to read: Union Made, Sanforized and Made In USA

The Lee Storm Rider, pictured above, is the winter sibling of the slim fit 101-J. Just add a blanket lining and a corduroy collar.
Of course the 2010 version isn't a 101-J by name. And is somewhat more relaxed in fit. More age and beer belly appropriate.
Oh, and good luck finding one.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

(Kinda) Funny On The Inside

By some standards, maybe even most, I'm probably not going to be nominated Salesperson Of The Year. Not that I haven't strived to walk that red carpet. It's just that those base people person skills that are fundamental to the trade, didn't quite dip their toes into my gene pool.
So for me to be "on" for any duration of time while engaged with an account is, my close friends will tell you, veering more toward comical, even YouTube worthy as I troll and stumble through random small talk, which I deplore, hoping to sink that hook into that morsel known as common ground. Verbose I am not.

I started some 10 odd years ago as a sub-rep for a tyrannical little toad with a Napoleon Complex selling Italian sneakers. After a few miserable attempts at plying my wares at some Ma & Pa stores in BFE, I finally snagged a whopper at a shoe boutique on Chicago's Clark St. and then I was hooked. ( okay, okay I'll put a stop to the fishing metaphors already)

Sure, I've had more than my share of detractors. One rep from Minnesota told me I'd never establish relationships with major buyers because there were too many layers to my personality. And that they'd surely move on before getting to the one they may actually like. With him it was like, "hey hey, what you see is what you get." And I'm thinking, nobody gives a rat's pa-tuty about your golf game fella.

So keepin your trap shut because:
A) You prefer a more hands-off, let them make their own choice, type of approach.
B) You are crap-yer-shorts nervous cuz you REALLY need that account and that you know positively that the next thing to come out of your mouth will at best, be inappropriate.
Or C) I got nuthin, is really far more natural than any BS'y thing I could conjure up.

In the end, I've settled for being called the most unrep-like rep...and I'll take that.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Spartans VS. Wolverines: And The Other Powerful Debate

By this time, we'd worked our shoe gazin ways up the dues ladder to Wednesday nights at the posh, yet beer-soaked, Rick's American Cafe in East Lansing. I always preferred the E.L Rick's over the Ann Arbor Rick's hands down. For one reason, if something ever fell out of your pocket like some change, a bill or a cigarette cellophane, you would always reclaim it cuz it wasn't going anywhere, not on that carpet.

At the AA Rick's (no pun), no matter how loud you played, you could still hear the chatter over the din. Was it implied that the intellectual capacity was greater there, and that they just had more to say? All the time? No matter what?
Did they feel that because many of them hailed from upstate New York, Vermont or other meccas of Bohemia, Marxist thinking and Saab wagons, that we, the band, were but a mere outsourced boombox?

Well, I'll tell you somethin right now Mister, I shall always and forever be...a Spartan.
They've always seemed to be a much more attendant crowd in E. Lansing. They were always there for us it seemed. Plus I think Wednesdays were like Dollar Night or something.
So what if the mugs never left their mouths, we were being appreciated wether they new it or not.
Kevin was the jolly manager there. We got along pretty well. So well that he would often throw us the opening act bone when a favorite national act was rolling through.
I recall being hot to get on the bill with True West, though I wasn't really familiar with their material. But I'd heard their name being tossed around with other Cali shoot-em-ups like
The Long Ryders and Dream Syndicate, so that was good enough for me. Plus, Kevin never had to pay us shit as openers. Probably another reason we got along.

Credits:, who actually obtained their knowledge from


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Above Ground: The Paisley Side Of L.A.

Neil took slow, deliberate steps, with his hands clasped behind his back, past each guitar on what seemed like an eternal guitar rack. Like an army drill Sargent provoking a smirk from a new recruit. Someone from the back, possibly Poncho or maybe Nils jokingly prods;
"How bout the 12-string Rick, whens the last time you strapped on one of those?"
It was enough for him to pause for maybe 5, er10 ticks on the clock, but not long enough for serious consideration. Another step...two steps maybe, and his furry brow lifted just enough for his forehead wrinkles to co-mingle. I'd seen this before. It was subtle but I picked up on it.
There, above and to the left, was a red, 12 string Gretsch. A Fatty. Probably Mike Nesmith's.
He grabs it and stoops down to plug into a tweed Fender Twin and cranks up the jangly dial to just above 6 before the power light is ever ablaze. Funny/weird things, almost sounds like a small dose of Middle Eastern Trippy start eminatin. Outta nowhere, he throws his head back in what looks like some form of euphoric transformation, and begins calling out random Pink Floyd covers as the sloppy groove-masters known as Crazy Horse explode.

That's Rain Parade as I see em and as they've often been described. You could also add the ingredient, British Invasion, and still not be disappointed. They were tossed into the early 80s movement, along with The Bangles, and The Three O'Clock among others, known as The Paisley Underground. If you get a chance, check out "You Are My Friend."

In the 90's, I too belonged to a movement. Known as the "Whatever it is you're doin Pal, it ain't happenin for us" movement. Belonging, it's a wonderful thing.

Of the four of you who read this, one of you may may be curious as to why I chose an image of Susanna Hoffs for a post honoring the Rain Parade? Well...why indeed?