Paul’s Discount Finally Calls It Quits

Even today, in 2019, there are still local retailers. But as of late last month there is one less. Paul’s Discount, a small two-store chain in Iowa, finally closed the end of July. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it was an honest place. And their customers tended to be remarkably loyal. But times change, people change, profits dwindle despite busy stores. And progress, for better or worse, slows for no one.

I remember, years ago, my dad taking me to the Iowa City store after my annual check up at University Hospital. Years later, circa 1997-98 when I started driving myself around, I’d go up to Clinton in my ’91 Volvo 940SE, just to go for a ride, and check out the store there. Only those who remember being recently licensed to drive may understand why it was a thrill to drive thirty miles to a small city north of home base, with nothing much more than a few stores, a small downtown, a marina and GM and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. It was a nice drive, along the river road from Davenport, via LeClaire and Princeton.

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Spotted: 2020 Ford Explorer ST

Last Sunday I drove over to Dahl Ford in Davenport. One of the owner’s collector cars, a 1959 Fairlane 500 Galaxie Town Sedan, was being sold off to make room for-you guessed it-more vintage cars.

I found the unmistakable pink and black ’59 immediately! More on that car later, by the way, don’t worry.

But as is my wont, I wandered around the dealership for a while after, to see if there was anything else interesting. And in so doing, saw my first 2020 Explorer.

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The Forest Inn: Surviving Supper Club

I’ve always enjoyed out of the way restaurants. Non chain, often family owned, and in existence for decades. The 1940s through the 1970s were probably the golden era of the supper club. Chains and the increasing monotony of towns and cities across the country over the last thirty years have done their work. But the restaurant, roadhouse or supper club, usually located on the now-secondary, once-primary highway routes, are still out there.

My dad’s parents were really into supper clubs in the late ’50s and ’60s. On a Friday or Saturday night, they thought nothing about hopping into the car with several friends and driving into Iowa City to The Highlander, or The Lark, in Tiffin, Iowa, for a night of steaks, chops, tossed salads, cocktails and gigantic baked potatoes. Of course, they went in style, dressed to the nines. Such was the time.

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Rewind: “99 Red Balloons”

I walked into a dealership this week that was doing a “gypsy sale.” It reminded me of this fictional tale that I wrote almost exactly five years ago, so I thought I’d repost it here. Fun fact: this story was based on many, many true things, not the least of which is that I knew of a GM store in New Orleans that had (and probably still has) exactly this balloon strategy on the lot every Saturday. It was heartbreaking to watch children dancing around with red balloons. 

Enjoy.

-Bark

“Saturday morning, Studly!” Jimmy slurped aggressively from his third cup of coffee. Over his shoulder, past the tall plate glass of the recently remodeled dealership, the sun was just starting to rise. He punched me playfully on the shoulder. “Another chance to make yourself rich and famous.”

Jimmy was one of the more tenured salespeople on my lot. His ever-growing paunch, concealed by the poly blend polo we all had to wear, sagged grotesquely over his belt, severely testing the strength of the waistband of his worn cotton khakis. He had been athletic at some point (or at least the pictures on the wall of his cubicle suggested he had), but now his six-foot three inch frame showed the wear of three years of seventy hour workweeks. Undoubtedly, Jimmy had consumed enough coffee and food from the roach coach to kill normal men.

I had not.
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Today Is The Day You Buy A Grown Man’s Shirt For The Price Of A Chinese Ripoff

I’d be lying to you if I said I was a fan of John Kerry; as the son of a Vietnam veteran, I don’t respect Mr. Kerry’s numerous evasions, exaggerations, and outright lies regarding his own service. Nor do we have much in common on a personal level, although I have to respect Kerry’s unsentimental actions with regards to marrying into $1.2B of fortune and $60M worth of personal residences. That’s the real pimp game right there.

Alas, the handsome (and handsomely privileged) Senator and I have one thing in common: we’re both bespoke clients of Turnbull&Asser, the English shirtmaking house notorious for its three-button cuffs. The cheapest custom T&A shirts are $600, with the most expensive more than twice that. The good news is that they wear like iron; I have one T&A shirt that I’ve worn on a relatively constant basis since 2003 and it’s still in passable shape. You don’t get that same kind of longevity from a Brioni or Kiton shirt — believe me, I know.

If you want to join the fraternity of T&A fans, so to speak, now’s a good time to do it on the cheap. Today the firm is putting an extra 15% vig on its seasonal sale. Which means that you could get an everlasting dress shirt of impeccable quality for about $130. Here’s the link. This is not an affiliate link, by the by. But it will take you to a neat and tidy listing of sale items that you can then filter to find what you want.

With regards to fit: I have a 48″ chest and a 39″ waist, and the standard fit for their 17.5/36 is pretty decent for me. If you are thinner than I am, congratulations! Also you might want to try the slim fit.

Every man should have a few things in his wardrobe that he can wear to any potential occasion, knowing that he won’t be under-dressed or obviously poorer than everybody else in the room — regardless of the room in question. And don’t worry if you’re a committed Republican — the list of T&A clients also includes Ronald Reagan, George Harrison, Miles Davis, and the Prince of Wales himself.

I Got Your Back, Covington Catholic

 

I have neither the time nor the inclination to give a blow-by-blow recap of the events over the weekend involving the students from Covington Catholic High School. Nor do I believe that you need one. You’ve likely already decided what your position on the incident is, and nothing I could say would change that opinion. For the record, I think the kids probably did nothing wrong. After reading the lawyer and PR-approved version of the featured student’s statement, I think it’s actually likely that the kids were intentionally targeted by this crisis actor, Nathan Phillips. a man who claims to be a Vietnam Veteran but also appears to be 64 years old.

(Note: This is being investigated and the records request has already been filed — JB)

No, I come before you today as a parent, specifically the parent of two students at a private Christian school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

It should alarm each and every one of you how ready and willing the national media is to demonize white Midwestern children. In fact, not only is the media ready to demonize them, it is ready to doxx them and suggest actual physical harm to them, simply for standing in one spot and smiling while an adult political figure beats a drum in their faces.

That’s right—in Liberal America, it is now a crime to be Standing While White.

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The Cadillac CT6 Gets A Reprieve, And We All Say Hooray

When the Cadillac CT6 debuted just a few short years ago, I thought, finally. A new flagship Cadillac. A nice big sedan, like Cadillacs of old. It looked good. But then, I’m a sedan man. Give me a sedan, or an honest-to-God station wagon. I’ve never been drawn to hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs, though I’ve always loved the original Grand Cherokee and classic Grand Wagoneer.

But of course combovers are taking over the world. After all, why buy a sedan when you can get something similar to a sedan, but with clumsier handling, uglier styling, a higher center of gravity and suckier fuel mileage? But never mind.

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Weekly Roundup: Their Shutdown Vs. Our Shutdown Edition

Are you tired of the shutdown yet? Were you shocked by the stories of criminal off-roaders in Joshua Tree National Park? Are you terrified at the prospect of FDA inspectors failing to report to their posts? Do you have sympathy for the men and women of the TSA, who are expected to continue groping and harassing travelers despite not receiving a regular paycheck? Perhaps, like me, you know people who are currently facing an unexpected shortage of funds at a time of year when bills loom large anyway; while I don’t currently count any Feds among my circle of friends, I have an ex-girlfriend somewhere out there who probably still works for the FBI and who at this very moment might be contemplating what she’ll be liquidating to pay her mortgage. For that reason alone, I’d like to see this bit of political theater come to an end.

Despite that, however, I think it’s useful to have a situation like this every once in a while. It shines a light on the cockroaches of our American uniparty, which pontificates on both sides about abortion and gun control while tirelessly working behind the scenes on its true goal: transferring wealth from the productive sector to the political sector. Take a look at this list of the wealthiest counties in America. There are just two working-class Midwest entries in the top twenty: Tennessee’s Williamson County, home of the lady once known to my readers as Drama McHourglass, and Ohio’s Delaware County, home of your humble author. The rest of them are either vacation destinations or centers of government. I would also direct your attention to the fall of Oakland County, MI from 7th in the 2010 census to… somewhere in the 2016 survey. That’s what happens when we move from a manufacturing economy to a so-called “FIRE” economy.

It’s also instructive to see how the media reports on the shutdowns. When a Democratic president is in power, it’s the fault of Congress. When a Republican president is in power, it is the fault of the President. To some degree, the media is correct about this; as the Washington Generals of American politics, the Republicans are expected to put up just enough token resistance to legitimize the continued expansion of the American government and its spending habit. Without the Republicans, the uniparty nature of this country would be offensively apparent. Permitting the existence of a Mitt Romney or two continues the fiction that there has been an honest debate on the merits of whatever our Illuminati want to happen next. If you want a real sense of just narrow the uniparty’s Overton window in on the subject of American governance, consider the fact that something like 60% of America is now comfortable using the word “Nazi” to describe Donald Trump, a lifelong Democratic donor who danced with a rainbow flag at his rallies and whose “Nazi” stance on immigration is not that we need to stop it, or that we need to stop increasing the rate at which immigrants enter the country, but that we need to stop increasing the rate of increase in the rate at which immigrants enter the country.

Even I am not immune to the effects of media presentation when it comes to the shutdown. In fact, it took a particularly insightful comment on another blog to set me straight on the matter.

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Guest Post: Finding The Wall

Before a rapport is formed with the Wall, all of the chaotic black marks leading to it are abstract. They’re what happens when one makes a mistake, which of course, the person who has never hit the Wall would never do. That person knows their limits and probes them safely. That person knows what they’re doing.

But that person has never met the Wall, so they know nothing. At some point, the Wall must be there to receive them.

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