Tuesday, December 31, 2013

then came trouble

Life changed at our house when Trouble (1965) came along.  We ignored all other board games for years after discovering how much fun a Pop-O-Matic was to PoP!  As soon as we would wear one out, which took some doing, another Trouble game would soon appear on our kitchen table.  My mother loved Trouble.  I never saw my mother enjoy a game as much as she enjoyed Trouble. She was very serious about popping that Pop-O-Matic.  She'd squint a little and her tongue would roll out the side of her mouth as she'd pop it!  Her pops were real quick, but very intentional, as if there were some skill involved in it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration

I am already being asked what I want for Christmas this year.  This is a rather large item so I decided to go ahead and post it now so you can have time to save up for it.  I have been wanting my very own 1974 Dodge Monaco Bluesmobile for quite sometime now.  I would like the speaker on top just like the picture shown above so I can plug my Shure Bullet mic into it and howl on my harps as I driver her around.  In fact, it's my intention to trick out this ride so it will be a rolling sound system.  This way the band rides in comfort, with no need for roadies, just park and play. This is definitely what I want for Christmas.  Not to worry, I won't complain if this gift comes without a cigarette lighter.

Monday, October 28, 2013

my haunted house story

I can't explain why I did it.  Back in the day I did a lot of silly odd things that probably would've gotten me killed if I did them today.  This is a true story, happened Halloween week of 1977.  I believe it was the Jaycees that sponsored an annual haunted house.  There used to be an old house downtown, around the corner of First Avenue and Seventh Street.  It was the perfect old house for such an event.  I think the Jaycees took the show to the Gadsden Mall after the old building was demolished a year or two later.

It seemed all the kids my age were going to the haunted house.  A lot of the kids in my homeroom had been talking about having gone or were going.  If I recall correctly, Q104 was promoting it a good bit.

I was dating Debbie hubba-Hubbard (now Debbie Plimpton)  at the time.  I don't know why I decided to go.  Maybe she wanted to go and so I went because she was interested.  Maybe it was my idea, I don't think so, because having people jump out at me from the dark isn't really my idea of fun.  What I do recall is that I wasn't going into an unknown scenario unarmed.

Earlier in the week I had gone to a variety store and bought two water guns.  I picked Debbie up and drove down the mountain and parked around the old bus station.  I was surprised to see how long the line was.  People were lined up the sidewalk up First Avenue for an entire block, on up to the Sears building.  As we stepped up to the back of the line, I pulled out the water guns.  I held one out to Debbie.  She asked, "What's this for?"  I told her that if anyone jumped out at her while in the haunted house, shoot them.  It will be fun.

After a little coaxing she took the colorful plastic squirt gun and slipped it in her pocket. I had mine slid in my inside right jacket pocket.  We waited in line for a long time, 45 minutes to an hour.  I remember Debbie as we neared the house, her looking at me and telling me she couldn't go through with it.  She handed me back the gun.  I told her that it was okay...I thought 'more fun for me'.

I was psyched from concept.  I gave no thought to the outcome of doing such a thing.  I'm sure Debbie had given the outcome of such a thing consideration.  To me, there was nothing wrong with squirting people dressed as monsters in the face.  I had in my mind that I wasn't going to allow people dressed as monsters to jump out at me.  In my mind at the time, it was a justified kill.  Those fake monsters were going to get what they deserved and I was going to get a laugh out of it.  I slipped her gun inside my left jacket pocket.  I now had plenty of ammo to get me through this.

We eventually stepped up to the small crowded porch where a nice little old lady was exchanging money for tickets.  We had to wait for the old door to open.  In the meantime, I had a pleasant conversation with the ticket lady.  She was a very sweet old lady and I got her to laugh a little.  It was the quiet before the storm.

All of a sudden it was time.  A fellow by the door opened it for us to enter.  I remember entering four at a time.  As soon as the door closed, everything went pitch dark.  Our eyes were not accustomed to the darkness since it was still a little light outside.  I looked to my right to see if I could see Debbie (I could only hear her) when all of a sudden, monsters jumped out from four different directions.

It was a lot of noise and confusion, but I was cool, I was ready, I felt a rush and responded automatically.  I didn't have to think.  I pulled out both pistols simultaneously and blasted directly into the faces of the screaming monsters.  I know that I dowsed the eyes of each assailant.  The ghoulish howls turned into angry shouts.  It was over within seconds.

I remember being picked up off my feet and being tossed out the door.  I missed the porch.  I missed the four stairs.  I didn't miss the gravel walkway.  It was a good thing the gravel was there to break my fall.  They had been just as fast on their feet as I had been on the trigger.  I lay there for a minute looking up at all strange faces looking down at me...perhaps wondering what I'd done wrong.

After a moment my eyes focused on Debbie who was also looking down at me.  I was winded, a little bruised, chuckled to cover up the embarrassment.  "Maybe that wasn't a good idea." she said.  "Maybe not", I replied as I laughed nervously.  We made our way past the long line of people, each seeming to look at me with a bit of curiosity.  "Where's my guns?"  Debbie wasn't laughing, she just looked at me with that 'Really?' look on her face.  We weren't about to go back and ask for them back.

It was embarrassing, but there was this incredible moment inside.  There was this moment, this exhilarating moment when I performed perfectly...like Neo in The Matrix.   If they had been actual zombies and my guns real, I would've walked out of there.

I recommend you not try this today.

Have a safe Halloween.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


His had the most beautiful male voice of my generation.  Not only could Harry Nilsson sing, but he could write.  His talent, his skill, so incredibly unique, that his greatest fans were The Beatles.  His music was everywhere, but not many people seem to remember him until you name one of his unforgettable songs.  His songs, his voice could take your mind to wonderful places.  I marveled then and I marvel now at his lyrics and that voice that seemed to soar like a magic kite on a windless day.  How did he do that?

Harry went against convention.  Yes, he delivered chart topping pop songs, but he wrote and recorded music that he liked. One never knew what kind of song he'd sing next.  He was so gifted, so unique, no one will ever match what he had.  I can't explain his music, because he was a fellow with an unbounded talent
I just can't explain his vast talent, you'll just have to go out and explore him for yourself.

Harry, you are gone but you will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

another 80's fave

1988, Mike +Mechanics released a touching song about fathers and sons.  I wish I had a nicer resolution of the music video, but it's the song itself that hits the mark.  There's a lot of heart in that piece, and the imagery helps to bring out the bitter-sweetness of the lyrics.

Living Years was written by Mike Rutherford and Brian Alexander Robertson.  Robertson solely penned the lyrics and Paul Carrack sang the lead.  Both Rutherfords and Robertson had recently lost their fathers.  Carrack's dad died he was only eleven years old.  You can tell that this work was a labor of love.  Living Years hit the top of the charts internationally.  It wasn't just a good tune, a good video, but a song that touches on a timeless, common, haunting thought of sons of sons.

I believe it's the goal of every songwriter to capture one's heart, thought and experience in a few clear or abstract lines.  Every songwriter is driven to ask their questions, uncover themselves on stage to reveal their pleasures and pains to anyone who'll listen.  Robertson caught it, he found the words in which countless orphaned sons in the audience relate.

I wasn't there that morning, when my father passed away
I didn't get to tell him, all the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit, later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo, in my baby's new born tears
I just wished that I had told him, in the living years.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

80's music video fave

 MTV (Music Television) launched August 1, 1981.  I guess the idea of music television had a good ten year run.  I watched a lot of music videos throughout the 1980's.  I watched videos on MTV, SupterStation WTBS's Night Tracks, and USA Network's Night Flight.  I favored Night Flight because it showed a lot unusual music videos and short films the other programs didn't show.

I loved the idea of music videos because I've always been a visual kind of guy.  I'd almost always imagined imagery when listening to songs off the AM or LP.  I was drawn to it because it was something I always envisioned anyway.  It was neat seeing visual interpretations of music.  There was a brief time when a lot of really creative videos were being released.

Even though I watched hundreds of music videos, only a handful are worth noting.  One of those videos is Every Breath You Take (1987) by The Police.  By '87, most music videos were not worth the time.  Every Breath You Take grabbed my attention.  Great song - great video.   I love the simplicity of production.  The black and white imagery of the band was very dynamic, helping to visually drive the rhythm of the song.  Something about music videos, if the song sucked, the music video won't make the song any better.  Every Breath You Take is a solid piece of work and stands without the video.  This video is fun to watch and remains one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

board of board games

I used to enjoy a good board game.  My wife can tell you that I'm the last person to participate in one these days.  She's the one that plays board games with the kids.  I guess I'm officially an old fuddy-duddy.  I just don't enjoy them.

As a kid we had a lot of board games in the closet; Life, Monopoly, Trouble, Sorry, Clue, Risk, etc.  Pull one out and we'd have enough interest amid a family of eight to find someone who wanted to participate.

I know why I lost interest in board games.  It might not make a lot of sense to most, but I know why.  I grew tired of it because playing often brought out the worst in people.  The last time I played Monopoly was in the late 80's.  It will continue to remain the last time I  play Monopoly.  I didn't really want to play in the first place, but I was begged into it.  I tried to decline, but I was begged into it.  Did I say I was begged?  Since I was the guest in their home, I eventually succumbed to the pleading.  The game of their choice was Monopoly.  I rarely won at Monopoly.  Toward the end of the game, as I was about to win, one of my hosts flipped the board and stormed away.  I picked up the scattered pieces and put them into the box and left quietly.  What little interest I had in playing board games escaped me that afternoon.

It's not just other people, it's me too.  Board games are not relaxing or fun for me.  Because of my experiences in life, I personally find board games stressful.  I don't want to compete against family or friends.  Competing isn't fun.  I like having fun with friends, not beat them.  I really want out if I sense the game is affecting a fellow player's mood.

The Game of Life, I recall, was a game I actually asked for a kid.  I liked the spinning thingy in the middle of the board.  When I got the Game of Life, I realized it was too much like life and so I quickly lost interest in it.  I find most games are like the Game of Life.  If I want to be entertained, why must I play a game that reminds me of life?

Not long after Gina and I were married, we reconnected with some friends of mine who lived in the area.  Gina had heard of a game called Scruples.  It's a game that poses 252 questions of moral dilemmas of work, family, friends, neighbors - relationships in general.  We had invited the young couple over for diner and Gina wanted to play this new game.  We all started out having fun, but it turned into a living hell quickly.  The first question that was lobbed to my friend was something like, "Do you deem it necessary to tell your partner decision you make?"  His wife chimed in, "Why YES, we discuss everything.  He make our decisions together!"  Her smile quickly faded when he started laughing.  "No I don't.  I don't have to tell you everything.  I have to make decisions that you don't know about on a daily basis!"  It took him a little to long to realize he needed to stop laughing at her.  She then demanded to know what decisions he'd made without her recently?  Still laughing at her, he told her that he spent a very large amount ($5,000?) on equipment earlier in the week.  They got into it right there in our living room.  After the dust cleared and our friends were gone, I closed Pandora's Box and never opened it again.

I've had too many bad experiences with board games.

Gina likes games.  Her favorite is Scrabble.  For years there seemed to be an ongoing Scrabble match at her mother's house.  For years, if food wasn't on the kitchen table, there would be a Scrabble board.  Every now and then I'd be begged and would agree to a game of Scrabble.  There was always an understanding that I could leave the game at anytime.  I didn't mind it as much because there was always a good mood around the board.  Those Hales though, sure liked to make up words that never were.  Most of the time I'd sit on the couch at a distance and tune out the commotion in the kitchen.  Rarely do they play Scrabble anymore.

Gina and Katie like to play chess together.  It's a mother daughter thing.  I never learned that game, nor do I have the interest to try.  It's nice that they love being together and enjoy each others company over a game or two...or three.

Every Christmas Gina will purchase board games for the girls.  We have board games that have never been played.  I have an old trunk full of board games that have not been touched in over a decade.  We also have an entire closet dedicated to board games that are seldom touched.  I'd like to have the space back, but for some reason those board games are too precious to part with.  I am hoping as the girls move off, they will divide the games between themselves and take them with them as they go out into the world, find a mate and multiply. 

We'll keep the chess game for Katie and mother to enjoy as time goes by.  Kelsey likes playing checkers with her mother.  Maybe we'll keep that game too.  We'll keep Candyland and and Shoots and Ladders for any grandchildren that may come our way.  Other than that, I'd like to see those dusty boxes go.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

fix-it shops

Last time I went to a genuine fix-it shop was in Bowling Green, KY back in the early nineties.  I have an old Hamilton Beach three motor milkshake blender that needed a new cord.  It didn't take'm long.  They kept it about a week so they could give the old classic a once over to make sure it was in good working order.

This past week I went to the little vacuum and sewing machine repair shop downtown Gadsden.  I had a Brother sewing machine that is my 10 year old daughter's pride and joy. It's a plastic sewing machine that's a little over a year old and outside the warranty.  I told Kelsey I'd see what I could do to get it fixed.  I half expected the repairman to tell me that it wouldn't be worth fixing.  He opened it up and checked under the hood.  He tinkered with it for about five minutes and handed it back to me.  "She's good to go!"

I've got other items items that need fix'n.  I've got my dad's old drill that I'd love to keep using.  It must be about 50 years old by now.  It's just a paper weight these days.  The motor works, but it sure makes a racket when you pull the trigger.   I've got some bike wheels  on my daughter's bike that need truing.  I'd like to have my dad's old watch ticking again.

I try to mend items in my shop, but I lack the know-how when it comes to fixing a lot of things. I'm pretty good with glue, bracing and screws, but not much when it comes to electrical things or things with cogs and gears. There are items that I've let go, tossed or given away, and replaced that I just didn't know how to repair.  
Man I wish we had a full service fix-it shop around here.

We all know what happened to fix-it shops. Manufacturers started producing items that were disposable. Most of the electronics that we buy today are cheaper to buy a new one than repair the old one.  
More and more plastic items on the shelves.  Less and less need for a fellow with the know-how to keep the old stuff working. 

A few fix-it shops are scattered about, but I'm afraid they'll be gone for good.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

my indestructible feet

my indestructible feet
once upon a time
shoes were an option
when playing outside
i'd feel the grass beneath
i'd get them stained
with red dirt clay
sink my toes in mud
in a sand box
pebbles pavement rocks
that gravely road behind my house
my feet could endure it all
once upon a time
i'd get cuts
but it never stopped
my indestructible feet
once upon a time

Monday, October 7, 2013

dad's little layout helper

The Batmobile at Green Valley Raceway
I learned last week at the Welcome To Gadsden facebook group that Green Valley Raceway is closing.  I never went to see a race there, but my dad used to do the brochures/posters for them.  Dad wasn't a racing fan, but he was a friend of one of the owners, Dr. Charles Jordan.  Dad was an attorney by trade, but he enjoyed doing layout and design for print.  When doing corporation work, he was also known to help out with doing the new company's logo.  He was quite good at it.

My interest for graphic design came from my dad.  I used to sit there next to him at the kitchen table and assist him.  His polio limited some of his ability in his arm, so I'd often hold a ruler or help with the rubber cement.  It was old school layout.  It made me feel important to help him layout those brochures.  Dad would let me keep hold of many of the publicity photos after Frost Printing was finished with the print job.

The Batmobile did come to town in the 1960's.  In fact, so did  the Munster Cars and the Black Beauty of Green Hornet fame.  These cars each made a special appearance at Green Valley Raceway (and drag strip).  The above photo was taken at Green Valley, but not one of the slicks dad used to help promote the events.  The above image of the Batmobile was taken at the actual event.

Of course I flipped out when dad handed me these 8 by 10's of these famous TV cars.  I made the mistake of taking them to school the next day.  My friends begged me for them and I gave all but the Batmobile away.  Somewhere along the way, I lost that one.

It won't be the same driving down Green Valley road at night and not see all those bright lights and loud noises coming from the track.  They are going to put houses where the cars used to race.  Kind of sad, but such is life.

Friday, October 4, 2013

down town

I think of my downtown every time I hear this song.  I imagine this tune must make most baby-boomers think of a particular downtown of their youth.  I remember Down Town playing over our AM radio as my mother was driving us down and around Broad Street in Gadsden, AL in the early sixties.  Petula Clark's clear voice filled the car.  I was sitting in the middle of the backseat playing with a little blue plastic car that mom purchased for me in the downstairs toy department at W.T. Grant's. I was very excited to be downtown and to have that little toy car, looking out the window at all the people on the sidewalk.   It's just a snippet of a memory, but a very clear memory.  This song is attached to that particular moment in time.  It is also attached to my home town.  Every time I hear it I think of my downtown.  Is it the same for you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

luke warm spaghetti westerns

I have this habit of buying old Italian Westerns hoping that I'll find a good one.  I know it's probably not ever going to happen.  I've been looking for the past thirty plus years.  It's been a big waste of time, yet something keeps driving me.  I keep picking up movies in the discount bins ~ Italian Western titles I've never seen before.  There have only been a handful (or should I say 'fistful) of Italian Westerns worth their salt (or should I say garlic).  Last week I found a collection of ten movies for 3 dollars more and reached for it.  As I try to watch them, I find myself falling to sleep about thirty minutes into them.

There was a time in the early sixties that the Italian movie industry was tanking.  I guess their audiences were getting weary of watching gladiator movies.  That seemed to be the majority of the movies exported.  Sergio Leone made a Western that turned the heads of movie goers everywhere and so Italian producers wanted to get in on the action.  Instead of churning out Sword and Sandal'movies, they started churning out what became known as Spaghetti Westerns.  They'd make them until their audience everywhere got weary of watching them.

It was Sergio Leone that introduced the genre, catapulting American second string actors into international super-stardom.  Unlike his rivals,  Leone didn't just make Westerns, he made epic Westerns.  He had a style of shooting that all the other directors emulated, but no one ever came close.  I know, I've seen a lot of Italian Westerns.  Other production companies tried to deliver Ennio Morriconesque scores, (some were pretty darn good scores) but their movies sucked nevertheless.  The anti-hero, the tight close-ups, the extreme panoramic shots, the familiar gunfire were always in the mix.  They tried to copy everything - but they never succeeded.

What they lacked was a good story and the ability to tell it.  Only Leone could do it.  He could tell the story.  He knew how to use the lens.  He was an artist of the same calibur of the directors he himself emulated - John Ford and Akira Kurosawa.  His emulations were not mere copies of the works he admired.  He told his own stories his own way.  Leone didn't do cheap imitations - he did  works of art.

I don't know why I do it.  Maybe I'm doing it to see if there was another master at work back in the day.  Wishful thinking I know.  Why do I keep picking up these bargain movies hoping to find gold among the rubbish?  If you happen to have a title of an old Spaghetti Western that you really liked ~ let me know.  I'd be obliged.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I noticed when Scooby-Doo pranced into the scene on Saturday mornings, that he sounded exactly like another dog I'd already met.  Scooby-Doo sounded exactly like Astro from The Jetsons.  They both shared the same speech impediment and said the same thing when they found themselves in trouble ~ RUH-ROH!

The reason they sounded alike is because both cartoon characters were Hanna Barbera characters, voiced by the same voice-actor - Don Messick.  Don created the now so familiar voice pattern, and used it for both Scooby and Astro.  Don by the way, did many-many voices from the Hanna Barbera cartoon menagerie.

Later in life, Messick said he could no longer do his most famous voice because he had quit smoking, the rasp that made Scooby - Scooby was absent.

Personally, I always favored Astro over Scooby-Doo.  My 10 year old daughter would beg to differ.

Friday, September 20, 2013

the magnificent severin

Comparing the great Jack Kirby to the magnificent John Severin is like comparing apples to oranges.   Both were incredible artist with their own individually incredible style of illustration.  My introduction to them wasn't through superhero comics, but rather through an unusual war comic 'Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos' that first came out fifty years ago.  Sgt Fury was the concept of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.  John Severin came in later and took on the inking of the war mag with 'Darling' Dick Ayers as the penciler.

Kirby and Lee had defined the Fury characters.  No one after Kriby and Lee changed the characters, but defined them.  John Severin later came along and gave those Kirby/Lee characters more definition ~ added realism. Some folks didn't like it and I won't argue, because the original Howling Commandos was a WWII war comic on steroids - with a lot of fun comic book exaggeration.  I can't help but be drawn to Severin's way, making each little panel a magnificent work of art.   I appreciate both Kirby's and Severin's talents.  It was Severin's version of Nick Fury that I started trying to mimic.  Still today I see Severin's influence in much of my ink work.  His sister Marie was just as good as John - the Hildebrandts of the comic book universe.

John Severin's work made me feel as if I were watching a movie, rather than reading a comic book.  I appreciate the details, the movement, the action of his inking.  I am no longer a child with a flair, I'm a seasoned artist with over 30 years of graphic design experience under my belt.  Still today I look at John Severin's work and marvel at it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

it's a jungle out there

Back in the late eighties I worked at a production company with an old friend.  We did video for commercials and industrial presentations.  We created a lot of promotions for other companies and rarely for ourselves. Among my favorite projects was a self-promo piece we produced for cable insertion.

Jamey and I came up with the concept and I had a lot of fun developing the storyboard and coming up with the props.  I remembered securing a skull from my friend Derick Mitchell.  The skull had been sawed open like most class room skeletons are sawed open and hinged so students coule inspect the interior of the skull's cavity.  In order to conceal the the cut, I wrapped some masking tape around it.  I was surprised how well the masking tape worked, the color of the tape matched the color of the bone.  It looked great on video and I didn't have to do anything else to it.  I also created a treasure map for our little jungle expedition under Noccalula Falls.  I rendered it in charcoal and design markers on a piece of a brown paper grocery bag that I wrinkled.  We spared no expense. 

It was great working on the concept, props, and co-direct.  I believe it was the only time I was in front of the camera at JMP.  Jamey was also on both sides of the camera.  My brother Brook was recruited to join the party.  All of this took us back to an earlier day when Jamey and Brook shot movie shorts under the Falls years earlier.

After we had the footage in the can, we did the post at Jacksonville State University Communication Department.  At that time, they had a new facility, equipped with the latest editing equipment.  After Jamey and I had polished the copy ~ I got to do the voice-over.  I learned to mimic the voice of Geoffry Holder just for this spot.  At the time, Geoffry was hawking 7-up's 'UnCola' campaign.

I love doing video because it encompasses all of my talents/skills.  This video was challenging and so much fun!  My old picture Jamey posted this image on his facebook account today.  It took me back.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Warren Zevon died ten years ago today.  I loved his music and wish I could still hasten down to the music store and buy a new album of his every now and then.  I used to look forward to going to hear him perform live anytime he was in our neck of the woods.

I miss having you around Warren.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

...and they called him The Streak

Around 1973 a streaking epidemic broke out.  I heard of folks taking off their clothes and running around in public places.  It was in the news, in comedy routines, and in the streets.  Though I never witnessed it in person, thankfully, it was said to have been happening everywhere.

It still happens today, usually on college campuses and sporting events.  I never understood it.  Streaking has been around for quite sometime.  I heard that Adam and Eve used to do it before The Fall.

"The first recorded incident of streaking by a college student in the United States occurred in 1804 at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) when senior George William Crumb was arrested for running nude through Lexington, Virginia, where the university is located.  Robert E. Lee later sanctioned streaking as a rite of passage for young Washington and Lee gentlemen.  Crumb was suspended for the academic session, but later went on to become a U.S. Congressman."


I'd never heard of streaking until the early seventies, via Ray Stevens and his song The Streak.  Brook and I were in our room listening to a local AM station on the transistor radio. We laughed and laughed.

A Robert Opel achieved the ultimate streaker fame when he slipped backstage of the 1974 Academy Awards and slipped out of his clothes.  He then trotted his taters out on national TV, behind David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor.  Opel flashed a peace sign as he ran behind Niven and in front of the world.

Niven remarked, "Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen.  But isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?"

It's now believed that this famous streaking incident was staged and that Niven's clever quip was previously prepared.

I was just a kid, and only heard about it.  Mother did tell me that I was a streaker in my early childhood.  She said that there was this time I didn't want to take a bath and had escaped.  She heard news that her son was riding his tricycle around the neighborhood in his birthday suit.

I don't think streaking should be allowed, because most people don't look good naked.  Naked people as a whole are offensive to behold.  Why every morning when I step out of the shower, I try to avoid looking toward the mirror.  I find myself nakedness highly offensive.  Thank goodness for foggy mirrors...I'd probably faint.  No way would I take this show on the road.

Even celebrities in magazines need lots of body make-up and PhotoShop. 

I especially don't think folks in Alabama should streak.  Alabama ranks the highest in obesity.  Chubby-running isn't pretty.  I imagine naked chubby-running is shocking to see.  The upside to obese people running is that cops could grab'em easier.  Now that would be a funny site to see.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

As a kid, Labor Day wasn't a good day.  Yes, all the Finlayson kids didn't have to go to school on Labor Day.  No, we didn't get to enjoy the day doing our own thing.  We were all rounded up in the morning, marched outside, and handed rakes.  We had a large yard with A LOT of pine trees.  With a great amount of pine trees comes a greater amount of pine needles...and pine cones. Every Labor Day you'd find my dad sitting at the top of the hill, organizing the labor, directing or efforts ~ making sure we were all on task and doing it right.

Our job was to rake the pine straw, making sure we had put pine straw about all the shrubbery around our house.  We had a large house with lots of shrubbery.  We always had plenty of pine straw for the task, with lots of it left over.

I didn't care for Labor Day.  Every time it comes around I think of pine straw.  I quit asking dad if we could skip raking the yard, doing all the extra household chores that Labor Day usually demanded.  He would say "No".  I used to ask "Why?"  Dad would reply, "...because you're supposed to labor on Labor Day."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

say 'cheezy'

a different time
Most of us have them ~ those little black and white photo strips we had made in a photo-booth all those years ago.  Most of us were crammed in there with a friend or two or three...or four.  We went in there to capture a moment, capture our friendship.  We usually ventured in there on a lark.

The only old photo-booth I recall in my hometown was at the front of McClellan's variety on Broad Street in downtown Gadsden.  It was still there in the 1980's when the business changed hands and became Nelson's.  It has been around for some time now.  Whenever I go in the store, I always notice it missing.  It should be standing over there ~ but it's long gone.

Photo-booths are still around today, only they are very different from the ones we had in our day.  You can now get your photos in color and in a larger format.  You can also get your photos to look as if the images were sketched or painted.  Some of these new photo-booth images seem suitable for framing.  Even so ~ nothing compares to those old ill lit black and white photos we had taken of ourselves a long time ago.  There's just something special about them.

Do you have an old photo strip?  Who were you with in the photos?  Do you remember where your photo booth was located in your home town?  Come your favorite shot at Boomerville USA on facebook.

Monday, August 26, 2013

those guys that fixed shoes

By now most of you know my dad had polio.  I've written about him here enough.  He lived almost his entire life with braces on both legs.  Dad wore mostly Windsor shoes.  They had to be made to attach to his steel braces.  For a long time the braces were strapped to his legs with little belt-like straps.  In later years the braces were secured with Velcro rather than those little belt buckles.  They were quicker to get on.  He always had to have help getting them on and off and the beginning and end of each day.

If the braces had to be repaired, Dad would often make an overnight trip to Chattanooga where a company there would repair them while dad, mother and myself would kick around town until the repairs were made.  Dad would wear his old back-up leg braces when his good ones were in the shop.  The area dad liked going to shop was a flat area where we didn't have much trouble manipulating his manual wheelchair.  We all enjoyed those trips.  We'd make sure we'd eat at Sportsman's Barbeque and the Baskin Robbins while on Brainerd every trip up there.  It was a trip mind you, so if the trip could be avoided by getting certain repairs locally ~ dad would opt for local.

Every now and then his shoe(s) would need attention.  We'd head to a  local cobbler for that.  There were two in town that I remember in the 1960's and 70's.  There was a little storefront on Wall Street in Alabama City.  There was also Reynold's shoe repair shop on Hoke Street in East Gadsden.  Back then both places looked very much alike.  I don't remember the names of either place, or where they were located exactly.

When I learned to drive I became the family errand boy.  I remember being sent to the shoe shop on Wall Street on several occasions.  Each time I was instructed to deliver the shoe(s) and wait for the repair. Each time my mother had called ahead to tell the repairmen the trouble with Dad's sole.  I can't think of those places without remembering the wonderful thick smell.  Both places were one and the same to me.  Both smelled of leather and glue.  Both establishments were filled with cool old tools that seemed ancient, with interesting machinery that I had no idea how they were operated.  I rarely just sat there.  I would stand and look at those skilled old craftsmen apply their trade.  Those old gents had a young audience with me.

Today I have a good many shoes.  If a pair wears out, I go to a store and buy a new pair. I've never had a need to have a shoe repaired.  If anything ever happened to my nice Windsors, I don't know of anywhere in these parts that I could take them.  I know there are shops around somewhere.   I personally haven't seen one in decades.  Then again, I haven't been looking. 

I'd like to go in one again, watch someone work who knows what he's doing.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

hasten down the wind

When I heard the news about her, my mind couldn't quit thinking about her.  Linda left the spotlight today.  She said that Parkinson's Disease has taken her voice away. She'd been singing professionally since she was fourteen.  She was with the Stone Poneys when she was 18. She went on to rule the airwaves in the seventies.  She had a long, successful run, making millions upon millions.  She proved herself a long time ago that she is the greatest female voice of our generation.  All that aside, my heart goes out to her because she's an artist that can no longer sing.  Her beautiful voice is gone.

About this time ten yen years ago Warren Zevon, a songwriter who wrote some of Linda's greatest hits was dying of cancer.  Toward the end, as his life was running out of steam, he spent his fading energy and last breaths expressing one final record with the help of friends.  The Wind was released just two weeks before his death.

Years ago I sat in Arnie's small apartment.  He didn't like me dropping by without my guitar.  He would always have his guitar available, even when he could no longer play it.  M.S. had not yet taken away his ability to play guitar, or scribble down lyrics at that point.  It was getting progressively harder for him to sing those lyrics.  He labored at each word he sang.  We sat in his living room playing and singing together, sharing songs and talking about music.  At that point in his life, he was still clinging onto his music and his guitar by his fingertips.  Songs were always in him, but there came a day he could no longer jot his lryics down or sing his songs.  It soon left him.  I carry on his music along with mine because I love his songs and I still love him.

I don't want to take my life or gifts for granted.  As each day passes, we will all eventually lose our voices ~ our abilities.  Earth is a temporary place.  Our bodies are temporary vessles with dates of expiration that only God knows.   We each only have only so many days to sing while here.

Sing while you can.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

i wanted to ride

Steve McQueen, Peter Fonda and Evel Knievel, they rode.  I wanted to ride too man. In sixth grade some of my classmates were riding around on mini-bikes.  They'd make ramps and spin in mud, drove in woods, all kinds of fun.  By junior high I was left in the dust as most of my friends had been given motorcycles for birthdays or Christmas'.  The mountain got smaller and their world expanded.  The mountain for me stayed the same size because all I had were two feet and my old bicycle.  No one wanted to ride bikes anymore.  They had a faster mode of transportation.

I had wanted a dirt bike.  Seems like a lot of my mountain friends were enjoying paths and old logging roads to explore with their bikes.  I wanted so bad to join them.  I once asked my dad if I could have one.  Dad said no.  At the time all my friend's bikes were motorized and I was stuck with my pumping my pedals to get where I wanted to go.  Bikes were no longer cool, a motorcycle was the way to go.

Dad gave me a speech after I asked.  As a lawyer, he said that he'd witnessed too many young boys permanently maimed and paralyzed from riding motorcycles.  I understood his concern and so I never asked him again.  It meant that I could not go where my friends went, nor hang out where they hung.  Childhood friends were no longer home, somewhere away, or no longer interested in playing boyhood games.  They wanted to ride.  I did too.

I forgot about those years until today.  When I finally learned to drive, my world finally expanded.  I was no longer a child. My boyhood friends had already grown distant. I always kind of felt that my childhood friendships had faded during that time they could ride and I couldn't.  For me, that was a time when I became distant because I couldn't keep up.

I see old photos of my wife when she was a young girl riding her motorcycle.  She was the age I was when I was sparse on friends.  Her dad let her drive around Glencoe, but there were rules.  She had been firmly instructed to stay off of certain roads, within certain boundaries, and only in good weather.  She once strayed from her instruction, seen by her father and got a bad whupping for it.  She never strayed again.  Even so ~ she still reminisces how much fun she had riding around as a kid.  Mostly in the Summer it was to the pool and back.  I envy her a little.  I wanted to ride.

About fifteen years ago my father in-law had a motorcycle parked in his yard in Hokes Bluff.  Walter asked if I'd like to take a spin around the house.  There I was at forty-something being taught how to start, stop and change gears on one.  I took it around his house a bunch of times, having a great moment, laughing all the way.  I knew as I road it up and down the small embankments that I would've loved doing this even more as a teenager.  I would've loved to have taken it up those trails and logging roads.  I would loved going where the friends of my youth went.  I laughed and Walter smiled every time I passed by him.  It was brief but so much fun.    I had known all along that I had missed something in my youth.

Friday, August 23, 2013

they were everywhere

Who's closest to the phone book?  I need you to look up a number.

It wasn't that long ago that telephone booths were everywhere.  The more people got cell phones, the more telephone booths disappeared.  Though I know they are needed as much as they used to be, I kind of miss seeing them around.  We turned off our home phone because there's no sense paying for a land-line when everyone in the household has their own cell phone.  The world is ever changing.  I don't miss the home phone that much, but I do kind of miss the old public phone booths.  They are going-going-gone because they are no longer a need to have around.

There's this guy I know, Clark Kent, has been at a loss as of late because he used to use phone-booths for his quick change.  Metropolis, like most American towns, have done away with them all together.  
It would be nice to have a phone booth, maybe re-purpose them for another use...maybe a book case, aquarium, shower stall or a time out room for a misbehaving child.


Monday, August 5, 2013

riding without restraint

Best seat in the house...er car.
I have a ten year old that can't sit in the front seat.  I often wish my youngest could join me up there.  I often feel like a taxi driver or chauffeur, having to communicate to my young one while glancing at her via the rear-view mirror.

When we were kids we could sit in the front seat with grown-ups.   Riding shotgun gave a kid the idea that he was really somebody.  You had full access to the radio, glove compartment and ash tray.   I don't remember wearing seat belts as a young'n.  Seat belts came later.  I remember always having the freedom to move about freely in the cabin if I had the inclination  If I ever got tired, I could just climb over into the back of our station-wagon and lay down.

Air Conditioning wasn't in the family cars we were hauled around in as a children.  We all just had to roll down the windows and try to appreciate the hot Summer breeze.  Maybe that's why folks were advertising their sodas, hotel rooms, and restaurants as ICE COLD!  Long trips could get pretty hot and sticky without A/C.  We lived without it in our transportation back then.  It's a creature comfort that I'd rather not do without these days.

 Not having a seat belt allowed children to stick most of our bodies outside the windows.  I wasn't one for grabbing for tree limbs and leaves that were within arm's reach outside the movie car.  I did like to stick my head out there and get that satisfying feeling of wind hitting my face.  Every now and then I'd get whacked by a passing bug.  Sticking appendages too far outside the window of a moving vehicle was something that would get a kid scolded.  Enjoy it until you are yanked inside.

One of my earliest members as a child was having my very own car seat with a steering wheel.  I remember sitting in the 'safety' chair and being able to turn the little steering wheel just like grown-ups.  There was also a little horn in the wheel that worked.  It didn't actually honk. It squeaked.  I remember when I got too big for it and not being able to play with it anymore.  My little sister Cindy got it after I did.  I remember feeling a little jealous of her because she could sit up there in my old driver's seat and drive the car.  

Strange what odd memory fragments we still have clinging to our brain.

So how safe is is this old child safety seat?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


From Free House to Christian Brothers to Skylight.  We started calling the coffeehouse Skylight after we moved into our final location on Broad Street.  When we got the building in the early '80's, it had been divided down the middle with two fronts.  Walls had to come down and the suspended ceiling had to go.  It might have been Don that discovered what was hidden above the drop ceiling in the main hall...tin-type ceiling and a huge skylight.  Yep, that drop ceiling had to go for sure.

The skylight had long since been boarded over, but it was still something to behold.   Christian Brother's Association moved in and renovated as we could afford to do so.  There was always work to be done on the building.  One entrance was used as the main entrance that we made for the record store.  Visitors would have to pass through the record section to get to the coffeehouse seating area.  It wasn't long before rough barn wood was nailed up along the walls on up to the ceiling.  That's still there today.  Wood plank floors were then installed, which also included an carpeted audience pit and a stage.

I wasn't as involved in Christian Brothers at this time but I did suggest the name that was adopted.  I dropped by one day while David Asbury was in the building.  David told me that the CBA board was trying to come up with a name.  I thought it was obvious.  I pointed over our heads and said, "Why not SKYLIGHT?"  The skylight in the main room is the most unique architectural feature about the building.  Besides...the theological implications alone were astounding.

Like I said, Christian Brothers worked renovating the building as we had funds to do so. The skylight didn't actually see the light of day for quite sometime to come.  During the initial renovation of the main room, florescent lighting was installed in the skylight frame.  The original skylight glass had been leaning against the wall in the back of the building, but Christian Brothers never got to see the blue sky in the 16 years we were there.

It wasn't until Christian Brother Association ended our ministry and gave the building to the church that had been leasing from us to use as a church on Sundays.  Christian Brothers helped to facilitate many small ministries down through the years.  Even while Vineyard was leasing from us, they were helping with the ongoing renovation project.  After CBA ended,  it was the Vineyard fellowship that continued with the renovation and the skylight was made to let that beautiful natural sunlight finally fill the room.
Gadsden Vineyard has been in the building ever since.

The sign above was made in 1993 when Christian Brothers finished with the front facade.  I was living in Bowling Green, KY at the time and contracted a sign maker friend of mine, Troy Williams, to make it.  I remember driving it down to Alabama one weekend. Jim Thompson was still living and I'm sure he's the guy that hung it.

The sign is still around, but not on the front anymore.  It's now hanging on the a wall upstairs in the old Hagedorn building that Vineyard purchased next door.  The church now meets in what was the old Hagedorn building because it facilitates a larger congregation. The space next door is called the Skylight Room.

Last night The Guise played in The Skylight Room and being on that old stage took me back a couple of decades.  I love that old room, that old stage.   A lot of great music played beneath that skylight, many enduring relationships were found there.   Christian Brother's SKYLIGHT provided a wonderful intimate setting for music and friendship.

 ON STAGE @ SKYLIGHT70's Reunion in the 90's
Faith and Don Peters, Barry Goss, Brook and David Finlayson

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's F.R.E.E.

My dad made this sign for FREE House in the 1970's before we became Christian Brothers.   I don't remember if he was asked to make it or not.  He probably just went out to his shop on Saturday afternoon and made it out of unrequested kindness, wood scraps and left over paint.

I only recall this sign hanging outside at our small College Street location across from the Gadsden Public Library.  The little house served as our fellowship house for about a year after Emory Boggs had been killed.  There's a vacant lot where our little house once stood.

Emory called it FREE House
when we opened the doors at our first store front location on South 5th Street. There's an acronym involved, F.R.E.E stood for Free Relationship Eternally Enduring.   Emory had a large quantity of color flyers  printed as well as some large buttons with 'One Way or The Other' art on it to advertise God's FREE VACATION.

We had called our our fellowship Free House for a long time.  Even when we became Christian Brother's Association and the coffeehouse was renamed Christian Brother's Coffee House... I remained to call it 'Free House'.  It wasn't until we moved into our final location on Broad Street that we all got on the same page and call it 'SKYLIGHT'.

FREE House Flyer Emory had printed

Saturday, July 27, 2013

curse of the south paw

I'm left handed. I remember when I was a kid trying to write in a three ring binder.  It wasn't easy.  I remember mom coming home one day with a notebook with a clasp at the top.  I went to school the next day and the teacher told me to take it home and not bring it back.  She said that I had to learn how to write using a three ring binder.  I could not take a page out of the notebook.  I had to write in the binder.  It didn't make any sense to me.  Ruled paper is ruled paper, only two holes were at the top of the page instead of three holes on the side.  It seemed important to the teacher that no accommodation should be made for my  left handedness.  I took the new notebook home that my mother gave me and did the best I could with the ring binder.

Throughout my time at R.A. Mitchell Elementary, I had to use the ring binder.  I don't know why they made me do that.  Was I being punished for not being right handed?  Was making me use the three ring binder supposed to force me to start writing with my right hand?  What did happen was that I learned to write sideways.  I would turn the binder ring side up, and did my assignments writing sideways, top down.

I remember kids throughout junior high and high school commenting on my odd skill.  It was a skill I had to learn because of being left handed in a right hand world.  Years ago my wife bought me a sketch book with the spiral wire on the side.  I used it by flipping it to it's side and drawing sideways.  I still get comments from time to time.

I don't have to deal with spiral binders and ring binders much.  I don't have an authority over me telling me what I can and can't use to write.  It's nice being an adult.

Friday, July 26, 2013


John Wayne had turned down the roll of Dirty Harry Callahan that ended up doing well for Clint Eastwood.  Dirty Harry (1971) did so well that Wayne tried to step into the same kind of roll of Dirty Harry with McQ (1974).  The movie was directed by John Sturges who also directed incredible film classics such as Gunfight at the OK Coral, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.  Unfortunately, McQ isn't one of Sturges at his best.  McQ is a Dirty Harry wanna be, and it just doesn't measure up.

I'm a John Wayne fan and so I've watched McQ handful of times. Lots of actions, lots of tough guy stuff, but the movie lacks in story.  There's no twist, no turns.  There's no depth to McQ.  When viewing the movie, you also get the idea that Sturges is also trying to capture the intensity of the movie Bullit (1968).  In fact, it's been written that McQ was originally intended for Steve McQueen...figures.  For whatever reason, it's a good thing that McQueen didn't take the roll, because of the movie's obvious flaws.  Who knows, maybe the movie would've been better if McQueen had taken it on, because the script was rewritten for The Duke.

John Wayne is John Wayne and I never quite understood why he wanted to play Eastwood or McQueen.  I guess at the time, tough cop movies where the money was.   If you're going to compete with such incredible movies like Dirty Harry or Bullit, at least offer a good script.  All the tough talk, fast cars, blazing guns and explosions in Hollywood can't compensate for a good script.

There are a few noteworthy elements of this movie.  McQ is the first movie to feature the MAC-10.  It was a really impressive gun to see for the first time.   This was the movie that generated the demand for it.

Another interesting detail about McQ is that it's the first movie to rollover a car without a ramp.  The tech guys came up with a way of welding a cannon (pointing down) behind the drivers seat of a car.  The cannon (16" diameter) was loaded with 3' long telephone pole.  The cannon when triggered did a incredible job of flipping cars.  The technique was dubbed 'The McQ Cannon' and has been used in countless films since.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Six Flags Over Me

1974 Six Flags Over Georgia Souvenir Map
The Daugette family were neighbors, they had a lot of kids too.  Billy Daugette and me were pretty close to the same age and we messed around a good bit as kids.  Billy and his older brother Rush shared the same upstairs bedroom.  They had the cool stuff, cool toys in their bedroom.

The Daugette walls were covered with paintings, portraits, and pictures.  The walls throughout their huge home were adorned with all kinds of images.  There were pictures on every wall.  Walk inside, head up the banister and there were pictures and pictures hung by more pictures with little wall to see between.  For some reason all those pictures made that house all the more a home. Going to the Daugette home was always an adventure for me.

One day a big picture caught my attention.  It was a huge poster of a fantastical place that seemed as if it were pulled from a fairy tale.  The poster hung was in Billy's bedroom.  I inspected it closely.  I became fascinated by it.  "What's this?" I asked.  Billy didn't look up or come over to see what I was asking about.  He just continued looking down, messing with whatever he was messing with.  "Six Flags", he replied nonchalantly.

"What is it?"  Where is it?  Is it really real? 
Have you been there?"

"Sure." he replied without looking up.  "We go there all the time."

"Wow...it's really real!"

It was a couple of years later that I eventually got to go.  My first Six Flags Over Georgia trip was with the Bellevue United Methodist Church youth group around 1971 or 72.  It was a miserably hot three hour bus ride from Gadsden,AL to Atlanta, GA (as the bus travels).  If you wanted air you had to drop down a window next to you.  I didn't mind the heat as much because I was finally getting to go to Six Flags!.

Being there felt other-worldly.  The first time there and I was disoriented for most of the day.  Everything was new to me and so I stuck with my pal Joey Pullen who had been there several times previously.  I let him navigate the terrain and recommend the best rides.  Waiting in line was agonizing.  The best rides were the longest waits.  We had several breaks in the day when it rained.  Joey pushed onward.  Some rides closed temporarily while other rides kept going.  Riding rides in the rain was a very memorable experience.  The day had been so hot and steamy that the rain felt so good.  Most folks stayed off the rides so Joey and I would run back to the beginning and hop on again and again.

I remember the bus ride back.  The ride back in the evening was cooler and much quieter. The ride home didn't seem to take near as long.  Everyone was wiped out.  We had departed from that strange other-worldly place and were traveling homeward down the dark highway.  I remember that trip well.

I guess I went to Six Flags about four times before I reached the age of twenty.  Much of the thrill had faded by then.  
It's been over three decades since I last went to Six Flags.  I went in 1980, but it ended up being a brief visit.  We left well before noon.

Gina, Katie and Kelsey went yesterday.  They all came home late and tired.  There was some excitement, but bed was more on their mind that retelling their day's adventure.  I had thought of them throughout the day.  I wondered if Katie and Kelsey had as much fun as I did my first time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

christian brothers

i was missing something
i had once
genuine fellowship
once we were a band of brothers
taking on the road
taking on the world
i look back
not quite understanding
where it all faded
where the journey together ended
grew up
spread out
moved on
to other roads
to other avenues
other places
each our own individual walk
lives part and carry on
only remnants now
only warm memories
from when we walked side by side
praying together
fighting together
standing together
 of common heart
of common mind
of service
now apart
on our own roads
i look back
i see where those early days
with you all
helped me
taught me
raised me
to be the man
i am

Sunday, July 7, 2013

welcome the rain

outside amid the rain
beneath the tent
I watched the children play
beneath the gray skies
over the lush green grass
into the rain
through every puddle
i smiled and thought back
i smiled because it brought back
being young
running into the rain
we were children running
running toward the rain
beneath the gray skies
wet grass beneath our toes
toward every puddle
peering at them from a distance
children playing in the rain
i stepped out from beneath the canopy
welcomed the moment
welcome the rain

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
-Hosea 6:3

Thursday, July 4, 2013

unmasking the original

Return with us now to those thrilling
days of yesteryear!

Clayton Moore played The Lone Ranger on television from 1949-1951 and from 1954-1957. After being tapped for the role Moore trained his voice to sound like the radio voice of the Lone Ranger that had been airing since 1933.  Both Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels (Tonto) rode into television history and the Western crime fighting duo.

Portraying the Lone Ranger made him a superstar to baby-boomers everywhere.  Portraying the Lone Ranger made a lasting effect on the actor.  He often said that he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and made an effort to live out his life staying true to the Lone Ranger code of honor and creed.

In 1981, the movie 'The Legend of the Lone Ranger' (1981) was released.  An older Clayton Moore was still making personal appearances as the Lone Ranger.  The Wrather Company, the company that legally owned the Lone Ranger character, forced Moore to remove his mask.  Film producer's Jack Wrather didn't want there to be any association between their new Lone Ranger and the original.   Such a shame.  Clayton Moore complied, but never gave up the saddle.  He put the mask aside and donned a pair of sunglasses as he fought against Wrather in court.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger /The Wrather Company got their just deserts in the end.  The movie bombed big time at the box office.  The good guy won in the end.  Clayton Moore, after the court battle wound down, road once again mask and all. Hi-Ho-Silver...AWAY!

A new Lone Ranger movie has just been released. I haven't seen it yet, but I know that no one will ever recapture the magic of the Lone Ranger and Tonto played by Moore and Silverheels.  Clayton Moore passed away in 1999.  He will always be THE Lone Ranger for us baby-boomers.  Sorry Johnny, but Jay Silverheels will always be Tonto.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto were bigger than life in those days.  Maybe it was because we were so young, or maybe it was because those old actors gave us more than a good show.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, wearing the white hat meant something in those days.  Clayton Moore was a fellow who not only wore the white hat on the film, but wore it in real life to boot.  The same goes for Silverheels, Jay also walked the walk.  There's a definite difference between the role models of yesterday and the role models of today.