Monday, November 19, 2012

Next Best Thing

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while. Let's get that out of the way. And I know I've posted about mini-bikes before but this brought it back again. Not the gal pictured so much although that "do" she's sporting is somewhat remarkable. This looks like a Rupp. Owning a Rupp for me was like wanting a Mustang but could only afford a used Valiant or something. And I gladly took the Valiant. In fact I loved my 2hp, Tecumseh powered  Penny's scoot. I rode the hell out of it. I rode it so hard the little square, vinyl covered, foam cushion that covered the little square piece of plywood underneath tore off. Then I rode it some more.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Baby Head, while being an international icon, means a great deal to me. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that it's played a major role in my life, at least by association.
My folks were in there forties when my unplanned self barged in. An oops baby sure, and I'm incredibly okay with that because I'd obviously rather be here than not. That put the proud parents in their 50s while I was in junior high during the 60s. So watching Mad Men brings back memories of when Mom and Dad had their post-5 o'clock cocktails or weekend get-togethers on somebody's back porch while they parked me in front of what ever TV set they could find. As I owe much to the British for introducing me to Diana Rigg in a black, one-piece leather catsuit while crime fighting on The Avengers. That's obviously an image that stuck with me.

The 60s were just a great time to grow up in a small town. My brothers were in college then, during the war protests and the Kennedy's. And they brought home and inspired me with some of the greatest music of all time. So I figure I owe a lot to Gerber Baby Food and Fremont, where my Father hung his hat for many many years, for giving me the town and the life I rather like. And to my folks, who didn't do much in the way of protection.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Catsup? That's Bullshit!

By the time I was around ten, I unknowingly developed a sense of what I thought were normal, everyday staples in the household pantry. I had every reason to believe everybody drank and ate the same thing. 
Sure I noticed other products when my Ma hauled me off to the town Kroger store. Or the little IGA at the south end of the city limits, which was only used for last minute things she ran out of. But those products were surely meant for other people, people I didn't know.

We were pretty much Canada Dry Ginger Ale and 7-Up folks. And rarely had that unless somebody came down with an upset stomach, or as the odd "treat" with a scoop of ice cream.
Sure, we had the seltzers and club sodas  as mixers for the neighborhood get-togethers. But if I had any sort of grasp for class differences at that age, to me, Coca-Cola was pretty white collar. Pop for the affluent.

Pepsi was, well, Pepsi. I didn't see the sense of it. Why Pepsi when there was Coke. I couldn't figure out who drank it or why. Samuel's, the town's largest restaurant, and where my Ma brought me for a hotdog when Pop was on business, served Coke. Case closed.

Tab was a little shi-shi. It was fairly new in the late 60s. I saw it in it's 6-pack carton in many a family's breezeway. Kind of a fancy, crappier Coke. Royal Crown? See Pepsi. And Towne Club? That's what big Catholic family's drank.
And then the town's A&W came along and broke the mold. Not only could you hoist this big mug of tasty root beer from over your Dad's shoulder as he hands it to you in the back seat (without spilling it), you can take that shit home in a plastic gallon jug.

Condiments? My Ma used Hellman's mayonnaise for most everything related to sandwiches. You knew immediately when you took a bite from a tuna sandwich at your buddy's house, that their Mom used Miracle Whip, and you weren't gonna finish that sandwich. Here is a helpful kitchen hint: When making tuna salad. Don't add so much mayo to it that it gets soupy. That's not good. Nor does it make for a pleasant presentation. And don't add foreign crap like pickles, pickle relish, onions or celery. Add those as seperate layers but don't muck up a good thing. Tuna and Hellman's. That's all you need.

French's yellow mustard. Nobody else came close. In fact, there wasn't anybody else. The same two issues for egg salad apply here. Don't add so much mustard and mayo that the egg chunks are swimming. And again, stop with the foreign matter. Pickles and the like. Keep it a clean egg salad and your family will keep coming back for more.

Finally, and for good reason, Hunt's Catsup. No need for it now, no need for it then. Hunt's will always suck hind teat to Heinz. Always!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I think silence isn't any more awkward then gratuitous small talk. If I try to engage in small talk, 9 times out of 10 I will wish I hadn't. Suffer in silence and you'll never have to bullshit anyone again, including yourself. But this age old, dyed-in-the-wool, absolutely positively last resort period to break the silence, topic of weather concerns me. Downright scares the shit out of me. This ain't normal if there is such a thing. Now I think I'd actually be happy to discuss it with just about anybody at anytime because that's what you do when you don't understand something... at least until it gets boring or redundant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cocktails And Banquet Halls

As a kid, this was not my first choice for grub in Muskegon. Just wasn't exactly kid friendly.  But when you don't even have a driver's license you go where the folks go.  Burger King was happening back in the day because there were not so many around back then. Or US 31 Bar-B-Q. The Doo Drop was kind of fancy though. I think seafood was their big deal. They had those big, sweeping horse-shoe shaped booths. At some point though, many years ago, the swankiness disappeared along with the most of the industries that helped support the town.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I really didn't have anything to write about today. Well I did but the picture I wanted to use didn't cooperate. Maybe tomorrow morning. Yeah, tomorrow. I like this one though. A sweet old Beechcraft.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sitka Town Hall

Me and the fellas played a set here one night back in the mid 70s. And it looked exactly the same then. We figured it was a happenin spot because it was so far removed - about 6 or 7 miles southwest of Fremont. Didn't figure the city boys would bother us much out there. I remember the 2nd floor bouncing and shaking like a funhouse.  I don't think we made it through the first set that night when people started flying down the stairs and out of there. I don't think it was the bouncing floor people were worried about. I doubt if many had the presence of mind at the time. What nobody thought to consider was the fact that the party might not sit well with the neighbors on either side of the building - who quite likely were the ones who called the Sheriff's Dept. Shoulda sent them an invite I guess.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rock City

This is actually my personal favorite. Probably because it's generic and simple and it says Detroit without saying Detroit.
Can be had at Caruso Caruso in Birmingham and Incognito in Royal Oak.

Pine Knob

I'll probably always refer to DTE, or what ever it's called, as Pine Knob. A great great, Detroit area, summertime shed. I'm from the other side of the state but I made several shows there.The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour with the Replacements opening. The Stills/Young band, caught their soundcheck too.
And so it seems I'm a little resisitant to change. So I immortalized Pine Knob into a t-shirt that will live on forever in the bottom of one of my drawers.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


There are more t-shirts to blab about and more t-shirts on the way but it's the holiday weekend and, well, it's the holiday weekend. I was going to or coming from somewhere on Woodward Ave and saw this shop and thought, as people do, that it would make for a cool t-shirt. I know, it's not like I'm re-inventing the wheel here concept-wise, but I stopped in and talked to the guy and eventually, he said I could do a run of them but that if Target or someone big like that came calling, to do their own version,  than we would have to have another conversation. I'm not positive but I don't think he has to worry. (I hope I'm wrong). Stuff this bad bad puppy under your trenchcoat and walk away from Caruso Caruso in Birmingham, Michigan.

Brought to you by Superieur Brand Clothing.

Le Detroit (tee)

Translation? The Straits Of Mackinac. This idea not only came from my explorations in Michigan history but from being a kid visiting my brothers who were working carriage tours on Mackinac Island. And my Ma and Pa dragging me to this park bench next door to the Hotel Iroquois that looked out over the straits as these huge ore carrying freighters lumbered through. In Hope College colors you can snatch this Superieur Brand diddy at Landsharks in Saugatuck and Caruso Caruso in Birmingham. Sure is sweet ain't it?

Lilly's 21

I might catch heck for doing this t-shirt. But not only do I really like how it turned out, but the joint brings back memories of one of the few places in and around the Detroit area where we played. It was kind of a hole-in-the-wall. The stage was split in two by the front door till gig time. Then they would slap this sheet of something or other across the gap to connect the two ends of the stage. Sometimes they would give us free pizza when we were done. Maybe to help make us feel better that hardly anybody came to see us. And that we didn't make much money. But hey, we made the Metro Times. This baby can be purchased on the west coast at LandSharks in Saugatuck. On the east side at Rock On Main in Northville, Incognito in Royal Oak and Caruso Caruso in Birmingham.

Michigan At Night (tee)

Introducing the Michigan (at night) tee from Superieur Brand Clothing. This was inspired by another t-shirt that had kind of a 70s, Mork & Mindy sort of vibe to it. I'd like to apologize for any sort of U of M connotation in the color scheme. Much of the handywork seen here was done by doghouse slapper, Seth Sutton. And can be purchased on the east side at Caruso Caruso in Birmingham, Incognito in Royal Oak, The Roadshow in Roseville and Rock On Main in Northville. On the west coast, look for it at Landsharks in Saugatuck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kitten With A Whip

I know I've been slacking on my posts, and I do  really miss writing on regular basis but, there is a good reason.
 I've always had a fascination with t-shirts. Whether it's buying one I thought was the coolest or trying my hand at design (and I use that term loosely). 
I ain't reinventing the wheel by no means but I sure get a kick out of seeing someone wear one that I put out there. I've come close to starting a company a few times but something always got in the way.

The company is called Superieur Brand. After Lake Superior. And why do I spell it this way? Well, as you may know, in the 1700s, the French were everywhere around here and Canada obviously, fighting the Brits, setting up missions or trading pelts to save their scalps.

The truth is, when it came time for me to register a name with the state, I knew I'd have a tough time securing the name and setting myself apart from Superior Landscaping, Superior Septic Service and this, that and the other thing. And there's a little history in there which I like.

They are kind of Michigan-centric to start with. But in case that gets old or it becomes a challenge to sell to Joe-Blow in Anchorage because whats he gonna do with a Michigan t-shirt with a pine tree on it (unless of course he's from these parts), then I may veer off towards something completely different.

There you have it. I'll be creating an e-commerce site in the coming months as well as placing them in stores. Look for a facebook page and such and thanks for your time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dig That Crazy Grill Cloth

Eagles in '74 during their On The Border tour. Introducing, Don Felder, making it the Lynyrd Skynyrd of "country rock." Which was cool at first because Glenn Frey added the Chuck Berry licks and Felder the Rock God riffing. But alas, Bernie soon jettisoned himself, taking with him the country from the country rock.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Talented Mr. Miller

Tim Fuller wanted out. Not like out of the room out, but I don't want to do this anymore out. He had done his stint. I don't think he wanted to play as much as we were hoping we could.
And Traverse City at the time, seemed to be a burgeoning town of hotel bars, ski lodges and bowling alleys wanting bands.
Because we had dates coming up on a regular basis, Tim was nice enough to give us a decent amount of time to fill his spot.

Some might argue that the Rathskeller in Fremont wouldn't be the first place one might scout for talent. But this basement hole, which held maybe 60 illegally on a good night, was shakin pretty good with Mert Tinkham's band of Hesperados. Not, I don't think, for their brand of Seeger tunes as much as for the shy, uber white kid flailing away in the corner.

I knew of Greg long before I saw him play. Mert Tinkham's wife at the time was Greg's sister, Brenda. Brenda and Greg have an older sister, Lynn, who happened to be good friends with my wife at the time. And Lynn, would bend my ear clean off on a regular basis about her skillful kid brother. And rightly so it appears.

That summer we were asked to play at a party in a field at Brad and Stacy Church's place. A pretty cool, natural amphitheater like dip in a hayfield, where somebody tractored in a flatbed haywagon for a stage and generator for power, I think. I'm pretty sure we didn't run a shitload of extension cords back to the house.

I had alerted the fellas, along with Tim, that we would be sharing the afternoon's hoot-n-hollar with Mert's band. And that we should keep an eagle eye out for the young buck on guitar.
I think we may have played first because Tim had to hi-tail it back to Traverse that night to play again. When we finished, we gathered on the hillside, zeroing in on Greg the whole time. You really couldn't help it. After a few songs in, the first thing Tim said was, "You gotta get this guy."

Photo of the '62 Polaris Sno-Traveler from

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Long Ride Home (continued)

Viral or bacterial? Nobody knows yet but he is getting a spinal tap. Jesus! Don walks out to the van and I explain. I figure it's almost 9am, our appointment is at 10, and I still have a 7 hour drive. Let's just get the appointment over with because we're here and I'll worry about Don later.

At the appointment, Don does the lion's share of the work while I stand off to the side, consumed. I thank him, we finish, pack up and hit the road. Not much to say for 3 hours while Don's reading off the differences between viral and bacterial meningitis from some website. I have a hard time uttering anything. But I mutter something and point toward one of the freakin huge, monolithic wind generators that have dropped to the earth and plopped down in these fields in middle Illinois. I say this because I can't say I've ever seen one being constructed. They just seem to show up. I can't imagine being a kid and standing at the base of one of these and looking up.

An exit away from O'hare and I pull into an oasis off 294. Don wants to show me some product he brought along before I drop him off. For shit's sake, yes, it looks fantastic. Now do you mind if I boot your ass out of my van so I can get home?
I hadn't checked my phone because I haven't done much of anything but drive. I call and call and no signal. Nothing until I cross the Indiana line into Michigan. Fucking T-Mobile is gonna hear about this.

I get to the children's hospital, park in the garage, and get lost in a medical building across the street. I can see the skywalk from the windows but damned if I can figure out how to get to it.
I get to Henry's room but not before I stop at the info/security desk downstairs. "The patient's name please?" Shit, I just call him Henry. His real name is some greek, dutch hodge-podge that I refused to call him by and so I just went with Henry. Didn't everybody?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Long Ride Home

(This is where I pretend I haven't been absent from writing for 2 months)

January 4th
I pick up Don, my boss, at about 1pm from O'Hare. We drive back into Chicago to see a store or two before making the 3 hour trek to Davenport.
Don has a certain adaptability and affable-ness about him. But then he should. He's the VP of Sales for a company I rep for. You usually don't get a position like that otherwise. Although I believe I've witnessed the contrary.
From time to time he has to hop on a plane and insert himself into someone's business. For the next couple of days it's my business he has inserted himself into.

I'm not notorious for small talk but I manage to dredge up some mundane snippets. Enough to fill in some of the holes of quiet while we toss around the agenda ahead. At the same time, Don has found the cigarette lighter/adapter to power his laptop so he can remain plugged in to the rest of the world throughout the long, dark, early evening stretch of the plaintive westbound I-80 we will soon be riding.

But first we stop at Akira and talk to Jon, one of the principals there, about the winter that wasn't as we can't help but stare at the rack of duffle coats in front of us that have not been selling. But being the wary, jaded label representative that I am, I gleen for other possibilities before I am to ever willfully accept responsibility. Is a mild temperature really the culprit here? I mean it's January in Chicago for cryin out loud. It's not exactly balmy. Is there at least a remote chance his customer just doesn't...alright, best to stop right here before I let loose with the full-on snobbery.
Next, we pop in on Tony from Belmont who almost seems a bit put off by our surprise arrival. Don is good with the chatter. Keeps a smooth flow going and we abreviate our visit.
On our way out of the Big Shoulders, on 55 toward Joliet, we beat the late afternoon slog of traffic as we high-tale it west for the Quad Cities.

Somewhere along the way and amid a lapse in witty banter, I stop for gas and we each down a truck-stop hoagie, washed down with a diet pop while sitting in my van in the parking lot. It's obvious Don has been in this seat before. Not mine but many like mine. It's that "Road Trip" adaptability thing I brought up earlier. Any tension or bordom that might ordinarily come with spending hours with your boss in close proximity is somewhat quelled by each of our salesperson's natural, or in my case, unatural ability to bullshit with a vengeance. Hey, fake it till you make it I always say.

It's after 7 pm in Davenport, Iowa. I want to throw my crap into my hotel room and kick my feet up but Don wants to grab dinner. I thought the hoagie was dinner. BUT the boss is buyin.
We walk over to an Irish American pub that's light on the Irish except for the Guinness on tap. Throughout dinner, I'm on my phone and Don is on his. I find out Henry, my grandson, is pretty sick and my daughter, Alex, is taking him to the hospital. Not at all something I want to hear when I'm 7 hours from home. But the attending physician sends Henry home with flu symptoms. Don and I walk back to the hotel and I hit the hay.

January 5th
It's an early breakfast and then on to our10am appointment with Von Maur. A very nice, Nordstrom-esque 25 door, midwestern department store chain.
I throw my bag into the van and wait for Don to check out when my wife calls and says Alex has taken Henry back to the hospital. This time his temp is up there and he is complaining of a bad headache and the doctor's are going to check for Meningitis. FUCK, fuck fuck fuck. I can't stop asking my wife questions. I don't even know what questions to ask I just want to know all there is to know right now. But she says I better come home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


East-side kids went to Pine Street School. West-side kids went to Cedar Street School. Some Catholic kids went to St. Michael's and others went to The Christian Schools. I don't remember exactly what year Daisy Brook came into the picture but for those of us who managed to pass through the 5th grade, Daisy Brook is where we all landed for 6th grade. It served as a pre-cursor to junior high school. We had a homeroom that we started out and ended the day in. In between, we were instructed to shuffle to another classroom with a different teacher every hour or so in order to help us adjust to the trauma of switching classes. Which also introduced us to the mood changes in hungover teachers who, come Monday morning, didn't always have the patience for my smart-aleck sense of humor.

By the time we reached 7th grade pretty much all of us were funneled into junior high. Except for the christian school kids, who were not allowed to set foot on public floors until they had built up a tougher immune system.

I forgot where I was going with this...OH! In the 3 years of junior high you start the process of fraternizing with kids that you may have had maybe one or two things in common. But found myself hanging with Gary and Ken once in a while. Ken I knew from before because I bought my mini-bike from him. That led me to Gary and his fraternal twin Terry. Gary's folks owned what seems like 2 or 3 of the towns restaurants, Jane's and I think J&J, I think. One of the biggest benefits and cool factors to knowing Gary was that, after school, if you played your cards right and were hanging out at just the right time (timing was everything), he would stop by Jane's to get an ice cold coke free because of course his folks owned the place. And by having that slight association, I would get one too. And if you were really really lucky, a cheese burger might be in the picture.

It's sad that when some of us turned 18 during our senior year, which at that time was the legal drinking age, I hadn't become friends with anybody who's folks owned Chuck & Ralph's.