Saturday, February 24, 2018

Looking Forward...


...Looking Back...there's a life lesson somewhere in these images of the gritty streets up ahead and trailing behind...but you're going to have to dig it out for yourself.

Hey, I can't do everything for you...

The demonstrations of odd male behavior continues...
...right here in my backyard.  That's three, count 'em, three Tom Turkeys doing a full feather spread and strutting around, jostling each other, vying for attention from the preoccupied ladies ("my, but this bird seed is awfully tasty this morning, isn't it Myrtle?") while vainly trying to assert their turkified dominance.

As every man reading this thinks to himself, "sure am glad I've never done anything stupid like that before...while driving...or at work...or in the gym...or game playing..."

Seriously, that's one of the reasons I golf by myself...to let go of those competitive urges and just enjoy the activity...what a novel concept.

Karen and I spotted this midcentury modern bar in an antique shop the other day...
...not an antique but would be perfect in front of the glass windows where our wooden, art deco bar sits now...
...but we like the art deco bar, even though the glass one makes more sense there.  Thinking...

Saw a fun fact the other day that claimed when Teddy "Roughrider" Roosevelt was a child the family doctor prescribed whiskey and cigars to combat his asthma.
Who knew?  My relaxation routine is actually doctor approved...

Watched "Welcome Stranger" last night...
...a fun little movie from 1947 starring Der Bingle, Joan Caulfield and Barry Fitzgerald.

Almost every time you listen to someone imitating an old Irishman they're mimicking Barry Fitzgerald's classic brogue.  He was the quintessential feisty Irishman, a character actor who achieved star status and who won an Oscar in the same film Bing Crosby did: Going My Way.

Plus he was an avid golfer who one day, while swinging his hickories indoors (he was all of 5'3") accidentally knocked the head off his Oscar statuette...
ok, wonder how it really happened...?
During the war due to shortage of metals, they made the Oscars out of plaster.  Notified of the mishap, the Academy was kind enough to furnish Mr. F with a replacement.

And while Welcome Stranger is no Going My Way it's still an enjoyable trifle about an old country doctor nearing retirement and needing a replacement to settle in the little town of Fallbridge, Maine.  Yes, same basic plot, just a different setting...

Enter Bing Crosby as the young city slicker doctor and let the games begin.
this is supposed to be a washroom on a train...ever been on a train?  oh well, that's hollywood...
With the lovely Joan Caulfield as the requisite love interest you have all you need for an entertaining couple of hours.

Yes, it's predictable and overly sentimental about small town America a la the better and more memorable It's A Wonderful Life but it's still worth a look, if only for the delightful interactions between the Killer B's, Bing and Barry.

And once you've taken it all in, right down the last shot of our hero hugging his heroine as the music swells and we fade to black, then cue up the 1991 flick, Doc Hollywood starring Michael J. Fox for a modernized version of the same theme.

Big fun.

later, mcm fans...


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Friday, February 16, 2018

On Being A Man...

...in a pajama boy world...The Redux.

A while ago I wrote about one of the distinctives of being male...that of shaving your face.

Ok, stop staring ladies...that's my #4 son, and he's taken...happily married with a couple of kids.

I will say whenever people happen to see us together they invariably comment that it's just like seeing twins.

"Why you two could be brothers!" they exclaim in wide eyed amazement, at which point I pay each of them the $20 I promised for lying so convincingly.

But as is my habit, I digress.

So where were we?

Ah yes, discussing the manly art of shaving...
As I'm sure you remember, having committed each of these fascinating blog entries to memory, at that time I waxed eloquent about the nostalgic superiority of shaving with a straight razor.

And I truly do enjoy my morning ritual, from stropping to lathering my face with a badger hair shaving brush, to deftly removing whiskers with my 1920-something Geneva Cutlery straight razor.

But here's a guilty confession...due to a work schedule change that requires me to drag my aging carcass out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am...
...my 7 days a week homage to the way Granddaddy used to shave has been relegated to only 2 or 3 days now.

Yes, in spite of my admonition to all of you to slow down and not live life in such a mad panic all the time, I'm guilty of not taking my own advice.

I just can't seem to squeeze my preferred method of defoliating my face into my schedule that many hours before sunrise.

Besides the time crunch there's also the very real issue of the neural network that passes for my brain not operating at anything close to full capacity at half past ridiculously early in the morning.

I'm lucky if I remember to put my underwear on before I pull on my pants.

Shaving with a straight razor?  Fuggeddaboudit...

So...what to do?

Enter www.Reviews.com, a cool website devoted to providing expert, objective and useful information about a whole host of consumer items.

And as it turns out, they did a review of electric razors: The Best Electric Razor

Why an electric razor?  Why not a simple, ubiquitous, disposable multi-blade drug store quality razor?

Well yeah...if boring and uninteresting is the look you're going for, truck on down to your local dollar store and pick up a bag of throw away razors.  You'll have the manly art of shaving reduced to an annoying afterthought in no time.

Besides, didn't you ever see Santa arriving on a Norelco electric razor?
It's tradition my man.  Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius, The Abominable Snowman and Norelco electric razors.

So if you can't - or the good Lord in heaven forbid, don't want to - shave with a straight razor - but you do still want to embrace the art of manliness, then head on over to The Best Electric Razor and check out their review.  You'll be glad you did.

My choice?

In spite of the special place in my heart Santa and his Norelco will always have, I opted for the Remington F5-5800...
It's their no frills, budget friendly choice but receives high marks, being compared very favorably to their top choice (the totally decked out Braun shaver, which is a couple of hundred dollars more expensive).

And number two was in fact a Norelco, but like the Braun, a little too pricey for my taste.

Since we're on the subject of manliness, while you're on their site check out their review on The Best Testosterone Booster.  This one is extremely informative, and I appreciate the great job they did clearing away the hype and getting to the truth about these popular supplements.

And as always, my usual disclaimer: I receive no compensation of any kind for mentioning this or any other website.

I calls 'em like I sees 'em, and always gratis.

If I like something I tell you; if you like it, too, you should tell others.

Switching gears, apparently we unwittingly sponsored a turkey trot on our back patio recently...
...wasn't present when this event took place, so I have no idea who won.

And finally, I have a personal request...and I do not make this request lightly, but rather only after some serious cogitation on the issue before me.

If you're one of the few, the proud, the readers of my Papa's Model T books, would you consider going to Amazon.com and leaving a review?

I almost hate to ask this, but I'm starting to see the importance these reviews can have on people's buying decisions.

No illusions about what I'm writing...I don't labor under any delusions that it's Pulitzer material.

On the other hand I do feel it's readable fare that carries with it a positive message of faith, family, integrity, the value of hard work and the importance of helping others in need.

If you've read one and agree, please consider letting others know what you think by leaving a review on Amazon.

If you think it's a bunch of crap, please contact me...I'd appreciate hearing your opinion and understanding why you feel that way.

Thanks all...I appreciate it.

later, mcm fans...


* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sleepless...

...and unsettled...been awake since 3:15 for some unknown reason, so finally decided to stop tossing and turning and get up.  Checked on work, brewed some coffee, read my email...now what?

With all those midcentury modern fans clamoring for the latest and greatest, why delay the invevitable?  Time for another edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe.

Our beloved cast of characters remains the same...
...our publisher who maintains our consistently high standards of excellence and from whom our virtual cafe takes its name...
...our featured writer who does as little useful work as possible during any 24 hour period, drifting instead on a sea of dissipation, drinking whiskey, smoking cigars and taking pointless selfies...
...and our beautiful femme fatale who pretty much singlehandedly keeps the wheels on this and every other endeavor with which she becomes involved, working tirelessly to undo whatever damage our featured writer consistently inflicts on his surrounding environs.

So, as my 11th grade history teacher from New Jersey used to intone, "widdout foida adoo" (really; that's how he said it), The Atomic Monster Cafe!

Yeah...sorry, I got nothin' today.  I mean other than that snazzy intro, there's just not much happening here in the dead of winter.

I did recently buy a rotary phone from the Ericofon website...
That's an "Alexander Graham Plane" phone made by Northern Telecom in the 80's.
I really shouldn't be allowed to play with sharp things or credit cards.

Moved my candlestick phone to a display shelf in the living room...
I like that display shelf...two very cool rotary phones, and two very cool radios.  Somehow my dear Aunt Velma and her beloved hound Belvedere keep photo bombing pictures...

As the very first pic at the top of this entry illustrates, we got hammered with more snow yesterday.

Two weeks ago I walked 9 holes with my hickories on a sunny, 45 degree afternoon...but once again we've been plunged into the depths of winter.  Ah February!  How we love thee!

Karen did get outside and create an Art Prize entry from all the snow piled on our patio wall:
Don't ask why, just accept it.  It's "aht".

Because of all the snow I worked from home yesterday...so Karen and I enjoyed lunch at Curragh's again, a local Irish pub...
...yes, we had actual food to go with our Blue Moon and Guinness...both on tap there by the way...excellent...Karen had fish and chips, decidedly English fare, while I chose the Traditional Irish Breakfast, complete with Irish bangers and rashers and some black and white pudding.

You should eat the black and white pudding before you look up what it's made from.  Dee-lish.

This put us in a distinctly ethnic mindset, so last night we enjoyed The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain, a quiet little gem from 1995 starring Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald and Colm Meaney.

Set in 1917 in Wales, it's the story of two English cartographers who are surveying and mapping the countryside.  They come to a little village whose main claim to fame is they lie in the shadow of Wales' first mountain, the unpronounceable Ffynnon Garw.

Alas, to be labeled an actual "mountain" on an English map, it must be at least 1,000 feet high, and the official measurement records it at 16 feet under: 984 feet.

The villagers are appalled that their mountain will be listed as only a hill on an English map, so they swing into action.

What follows is a good natured stroll through small town maneuverings to keep the sophisticated English gentlemen there in the village until the summit of their hill can be raised twenty feet and then remeasured by the reluctant cartographers.

Throw in an abundance of understated English humor, a small romance for leading man Hugh Grant and even a bit of drama related to the Great War, and you have a fine and entertaining film.

It won't change your life, but will make you wish you were a Welshman.

later, mcm fans...


* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here:


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Irony...

...wishing someone a happy birthday while reminding them of our ultimate destination...

As the keeper of the MOTD (message of the day), I've been accused more than once of manipulating what saying shows up when to suit my nefarious purposes, but I'm innocent I tell ya...a friend born on Groundhog Day sent me the above but I assured him that particular MOTD was just how the cookie happened to crumble...don't know if he believed me or not.

So #1 son Micah and two of his sons, Marcellus and Isaiah, came over last night and completed the demo of the ceiling in our guest room:
A lot of work due to the wire mesh and stucco that was used when putting the ceiling up many moons ago.  Thank you gentlemen for all your hard work!  Next step will probably be to deal with some electrical issues here...need another light or two, a switch placed by the door, and a few more outlets in the room.  Gonna hafta sell a few thousand books to finance this project...

Now that the kitchen is finally complete, Karen decided she wanted a Western Electric Sculptura rotary phone in there to complement the look...
Got this very cool phone from Ericofon, a great website filled with classic phones.  If you have any interest in these communication icons from the past - whether long past or recent - I highly recommend you visit this site.

Richard Rose is the proprietor...he's very knowledgeable and a nice guy, too...he even supplied phones for the Mad Men series:

Check out his site...www.ericofon.com...you'll be glad you did.

Here's a cool Lawson clock I have by my bedside:
These date back to the 1930's, though this particular model is probably from the early 1950's.

Love its art deco stylings, and it is often identified as a KEM Weber design.  More likely it's the work of a couple of designers named Ferher and Adomatis.  Let's see if Alex Trebek knows that...

On a somber note - and in memoriam of this day Don McLean famously tagged as "The Day The Music Died" with his 1972 megahit "American Pie" - Karen and I watched two movies last night...The Buddy Holly Story and La Bamba...
Besides being great movies with outstanding performances by (brace yourself) Gary Busey as Buddy Holly (yes folks, that's actually him performing and singing in the movie) and Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens, they are of course tragic, representing as they do great musical potential cut down in its youth.

As someone trained in flight (commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating), I am just sick at heart over how totally unnecessary their deaths were.

 After enduring freezing temperatures on broken down buses for days on end, Holly was finally fed up with the horrible traveling conditions of their Winter Dance Party Tour.

He decided to charter a plane for himself and two others in the hopes of getting to the next stop in Minnesota early enough to sleep in a warm bed for once. 

So shortly past midnight on February 3rd, 1959 the air charter company's 21 year old pilot and his three passengers took off in a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza V-tail...
...into deteriorating weather that soon became IMC (instrument meteorological conditions).

Almost inexplicably, the pilot was only VFR (visual flight rules) rated and was flying into a growing snowstorm...in short, they had no chance and died within six miles of the airport, slamming into an Iowa cornfield at 170 mph in a downward turn to the right.

The three passengers - Holly, Valens and Richardson - were thrown from the cartwheeling plane; the pilot died entangled in the wreckage.

Sometimes stuff just happens...you take every precaution, do all the right things, but within God's plan it's simply Time.  Those events are still difficult to take, but what can you do?  The best laid plans...

But when fools rush in where angels fear to tread and the predictable ensues...those are the true tragedies...the senseless waste of Life's Grand Potential.

One of Holly's band members gave up his seat on the flight so JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson, who was suffering with the flu, could fly instead.

That band member was country music hall of fame member Waylon Jennings.

When Holly found out Jennings had given up his seat to Richardson, he jokingly told him "I hope your ol' bus freezes", to which Jennings replied in a similar vein with "I hope your ol' plane crashes".

Had he only known.

and on that sorrowful note...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Get your ebooks here:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Happy Birthday...

...Karen!  Not allowed to say what number it is or I might have to spend the night shivering in a snowbank, but she looks 20 years younger than her chronological age...I've taken to introducing her as my daughter when we're out and about, since that's what everyone assumes anyway.
Karen with a homeless octogenarian that wandered onto our property earlier today...
To celebrate I took the day off from work...
...and Karen wanted to visit Curragh's Irish Pub in downtown Holland...ethnically confusing I know, but apparently the Dutchies here carved out a small patch of land for the fighting Irish, as long as they keep the mayhem confined within the four walls of the pub.
Music and Drink at Curragh...and so there was.
A very enjoyable lunch in the warm environs of an authentic Irish pub...why even the leprechauns were friendly.

We sat by the warm fire and enjoyed some good food and drink...
...then motored back home and celebrated with chamapagne and cake...
...a good time was had by all...I mean both...

Tonight at the Wild_Hare Home Movie Theater...
...we plan to watch our traditional birthday / Groundhog Day Eve favorite...
...one of Bill Murray's best.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here: