Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Bohemians

If I had to apologize to a building for the insistence of a face lift, I think this is as good a candidate as any.
After it was a hotel and before it's current state as a law office, this building was the Fremont Public Library...of the microfiche era. Its first surgery I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, was in the late 60s, which is about the time it began this not so quiet, fancy pants aesthetic.
Put it this way, if you were new to Fremont and had a homework assignment that required some research, chances are you were not going to mistake the only white, stucco-ish, faux facade in a town built almost entirely of brown brick, for the dry cleaners.

Mrs. Hunt, the librarian if I recall, made many a trip upstairs to shush me and my friends as we plowed through stacks of National Geographic with utmost maturity, four of us, crammed into one side of a study carrel. The upstairs also served as a meeting place and semi hangout when parents poo-pooed the almost junior high aged, pre make out, never without another friend in tow, mating ritual.

More importantly, the upstairs was also the home at one time to Addie's Book Nook. Almost as close as Fremont was ever going to come to welcoming the sinister hippies (except for Ted's older sister's paper and bong emporium of course, which lasted about a minute). Addie, was married to one of the town's veterinarians, and rumor had it that their parties were, well, different. I always thought her husband was just a little too grumpy and unhippy-like when ever we brought our hysteric, Irish Setters in for shots.
She, Addie, of the hairy eyeball, kept close tabs on us when ever she felt like we were spending a little too much time rummaging through the Raquel Welch posters.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back Seat Systems Analyst

If you guessed this vehicle is a 1996, Honda Odyssey, you guessed right. This highly sought after vintage treat has at least two obvious identifiers in this photo, as you collectors well know.
The first of course being the missing, or shall we say modified, rear interior, hatchback door panel. It doesn't necessarily boost the aerodynamics per se, it just makes life easier when you have to continually lube up the latch mechanism on a daily basis.
And of course the other is the pre-Garmin, onboard navigator, which, if not factory installed, can now be found as an after market item.
This particular unit is called a DD, or Duke Of Dickaround as it states in the manual. What separates this from the modern day GPS is the alarm. If you as much as slightly go off course on your way into town for the daily pee-walk or make a quick, off-the-cuff decision to avoid that pesky school bus, instead of the flashing lights with abrasive buzzers or horns, you get a mild, somewhat anxious, repetitive whimpering sound as if to say, "Why the hell are we not taking the exact route we always take?"

Haircut by Joan And Company
Hat, the models own.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Good *&%$#@ Morning

Day before yesterday I drove most of the way toward Milwaukee with a soda straw between my fingers. Occasionally drawing an imaginary pull from the non-filtered end. Stopped to get gas at the oasis where I pumped $15 dollars in with $5 conveniently left over from a twenty dollar bill and bought a pack. It sits in a cup holder and remains unopened.

I figure why hide from the bastards. If I really want one I'm gonna have one whether they're right there or I bum one off somebody.
It's probably similar to other addictions, however serious, where all the triggers check in to say hello. Followed by many different styles of excuse and justification or hell, what if it's JUST TIME TO HAVE A SMOKE!

Party Spoilers

In Sunday School, I had met my match as class cut-up/loudmouth/all around shit. He was stealing my thunder. I believe this may have been the first time I instilled in myself the adage: keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

So I befriended him by pointing out our obvious similarities, or rather our celebrity status as nitwits of the congregation. I quietly kept score by trying to gauge the direction of the Sunday School teacher's harsh. And I'll admit, I pushed to become friends for another reason. Some may call me a social climber for this but, his folks had a color TV. His dad was a doctor so they happen to be one of the few in town that had a color set.

So one Sunday afternoon, after a highly successful bout of post church, verbal napalm, I wrangled my way over to his house. I was given the obligatory tour of his room and his brother's, probably for comparison's sake. That or he wanted to prove that he too was capable of having friends. I tra-la-la'd down the hall toward the kitchen with one eye open for the living room or den. I could tell boredom was setting in and quite possibly the realization that, beyond being attention mongers, we didn't really have much else in common. I had no choice, time was running out, I pulled out all the stops and just went for it,"Hey, wanna watch TV?

And there, in full on technicolor, was Marlin Perkins' Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. When it was over I called my ma, she picked me up and got the hell out of there.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pretenders ('78-'82)

By the time I was discovering the Pretenders, two core members, James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, were already dead and gone. And of course this late seventies-early eighties
line-up turned out to be my favorite, all cliches aside. Why? Probably the swashbuckle Farndon added aesthetically, along with the kindred bashing and navigation through mix and match time signatures with rhythm partner, the speartip- mutton-chopped Martin Chambers. Dang, they had the whole package.
And then there is Chrissie Hynde who I adopted an immediate, delusional bond with after I learned that, not only was she the only yankee in a band of Brits, but a yankee from Akron, Ohio. A measally 300 plus miles away. Thats like next door.

Pretenders live from

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What a great sign, I hear tell it's one of the best in town.

Friedman's Army-Navy Outdoors
2101 21st Avenue S. Nashville, TN

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Charles Oland Gerber

To me, he was Uncle Charles. His wife, Louise, was my mom's best friend. They lived about half a block down the street. I used to go there with my mom after school and they would send me to the living room to watch the 3 Stooges while they gossiped about such and such. Sometimes, Kay White or Phyllis Yakee, a couple of the neighbor ladies would stop by. It was only like 4 in the afternoon when all this took place, but it must have been happy hour somewhere.
Sometimes I would sneak down into their basement where they had, what I now know as, the most righteous tiki-bar. It had slat floors and fake palm trees and also served as a screening room when they had movie night.
But what I hold dear in my heart was the guest bathroom. Far enough away from everyone else that I could seclude myself for....well, a while. But when it became just a little too quiet in the living room, and they'd start calling for me, I guess that means it's time to flush the toilet and quietly emerge from the back of the house and just what the hell is a bidet anyway? But it was there, in that bathroom, that Uncle Charles kept his Playboy Magazines. And for a 3rd or 4th grader, or whatever I was... I hit the proverbial jackpot.
And for the longest time, I mean we're talking years, I thought every women had tan lines.

More later on McGees Woods.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I can tell a call has reached its 10 or 15 minute mark by the pull to take this conversation outdoors, so I can puff a smoke. But then the "nurse" from the Quit-The-Nic program, who happens to be who I'm speaking with, might find some irony in the answers I'm giving her as to just how I handle certain moments when the urge hits to fire one up. So then I dismiss it.
That is until another 10 minutes or so ticks by and I'm talking myself into thinking she won't figure it out. I'll cough when I light it. I'll hold the phone away when I exhale.
My favorite part in Old School is when Juliet Lewis' character is talking with Luke Wilson's character after he comes home and busts her for entertaining some people she just met in a chat room. And you can almost hear it when her lips pop off the butt of the cigarette while doing the tight, pursed lip exhale and still apologizing all very seamlessly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gotta Move While It's Still Fun

Drove by here the other day but didn't see it quite quick enough to frame it well. Just before showtime one night Mitch, Jack and I and maybe Greg or Kevin...anyway, we walked, or actually surfs upped through about 2 inches of urine. And that was in the lobby, on our way to see the Spensive Winos where we witnessed Waddy, Steve Jordan and Charlie Drayton, among a couple others, bring down the house.
Happy times.

Aragon Ballroom, Chicago

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big Al's Boot City

I seem to exhibit a marked propensity for footwear, boots specifically. A boot whoor of you will. The bad boy pictured is Eastland Shoe's Hemlock. Eastland ran toe to toe with LL Bean in the 70s with their camp moccasin. Either you were an Eastland or you were an LL Bean.
Either way you swing, this is one handsome boot.

From $90

Monday, December 6, 2010

'74 Lamborghini Espada

I saw one of these in yesterday's Sunday New York Times, only it was pink. I'm not crazy about pink really but I can't remember the last time I've seen one of these. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen one of these, but it sure is pretty. Long as a football field with a 350 horse, v-12 5 speed. A 4-seater with a trunk the size of a small pantry. Nice ride Ms. Stern. Car Pool anyone?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Driving home in the snow from Chicago, everybody on the interstate hunkers down to a 45 mph trudge. Its the first snow that sticks so its best to give the road the benefit of the doubt. Of course every now and then some nut job in a big ol fatcat of a pickup truck blows by as if its sunny and seventy. I've got one hand on the wheel, peering over the dash while I'm reaching on the floor, searching for some take me home tunes and out comes Kindred Spirits.
My knowledge of Charlie Robison has been limited up to this point but his take on
Don't Take Your Guns To Town just wales. The way that dirty Fender kerrangs on the intro and that crying pedal steel with that great little story on top of it. Nice work, Charlie.
Dwight's horn driven opener, Understand Your Man is a great rave-up with a warm an punchy bass and kick drum pounding on your chest.
Speaking of rhythm sections, Jesse Boyce on bass and John Ferraro on drums cook nicely with Little Richard on Johnny's Get Rhythm. It's not difficult to single these two out on this cut, they're the ones responsible for your thrusting pelvis.

This being a Marty Stuart project, he turns up through out and contributes this diesel train's
Hey Porter.
Springsteen gives a haunting Give My Love To Rose and Steve Earle's story teller, Hardin Wouldn't Run wrap up my favorites on this disc.
This record stands up well for being 8 years old.
Nice work Marty Stuart. And bless you Johnny Cash!