If you’re been reading me for any length of time between 1991 and 2019, you likely know that I am a longtime admirer of, and listener to, the fusion/jazz/whatever-guitarist Pat Metheny. I’ve seen him in concert a dozen times at least, have bought one copy (or more) of pretty much every recording he’s ever made, own hundreds of hours’ worth of bootlegs and mixer-deck tapes from his concerts. I have T-shirts, sealed-and-signed vinyl albums, posters, and 24k-plated Japanese-market-only hi-def CDs. He has published three books of music; I bought, read, and played them. Hell, I even own a book of interviews with the fellow.
Earlier this year, I went to see Pat’s “Side Eye” tour and it was, charitably speaking, a mess — an indifferent setlist where both of his sidemen had music on the bandstand and were visibly uncomfortable with the material. This in no way diminished my willingness to buy front-row tickets again in the future. Everybody has a bad gig once in a while.
The email I received yesterday, on the other hand…
We meet then, appropriately, via an interruption. My son and I were standing in the line to register for a day at Windrock Bike Park, a hardscrabble collection of steep descents and unpleasant terrain just west of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was our first visit to the place and we had no idea what we’d be seeing or riding. All we knew was that there was a no-entry-fee race being held in the afternoon, and that there was some sort of youth division.
“Should I race?” John asked, leaning close to me so I could hear him over the conversational madness of the queue. This was also the line for Windrock’s ATV and SxS trails, so we were very close to a lot of very loud people. They were also very fat. I can say that because I, too, am overweight — but I was between fifty to a hundred pounds short of the average off-roader in our vicinity, regardless of gender.
“Well, John,” I said, loud enough for him to hear me but no louder, “we have no idea what the race course will be. It might be a lot of really steep and rocky stuff, which you don’t like riding. Or it might be ten big jumps in a row, and you’ll be the only kid to clear them.”
“HE AIN’T GONNA BE THE ONLY ONE, BUDDY.”
I’ve always been into Cadillacs, and that means I’ve always been into Cadillac toys and scale models. Recently my friend in Texas, Jayson Coombes, bought this brand-new release by BoS (short for Best of Show) after I told him about it, ha ha. He was nice enough to take some pictures of it and text them to me.
As you can see, it’s a finely detailed model. I have a few BoS Models myself, including a 1972 Coupe de Ville and 1968 Thunderbird four-door Landau, and the quality is high.
If you haven’t heard, Kentucky was (and still is, due to contested results) the site of one of the nation’s most closely watched and contested elections this week. The incumbent, Republican Matt Bevin, won his seat in 2015 in a bit of a landslide, considering that his predecessor was a Democrat. The state was deeply in debt at the time, with teacher pension programs that were underfunded and in danger of collapsing, due to a failure of previous governors and general assemblies to properly fund the retirement system. Bevin ran on a promise to fix the system, and passed a bill that was designed to do just that—but the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned it.
Bevin made a mistake—well, it was a mistake in the sense that it prevented his certain re-election in a state that voted 65-35 for Donald Trump in 2016. He attacked the teachers in Kentucky, likening them to “thugs.” He blamed sexual abuse and shootings on them. When they called out sick en masse to protest him at the statehouse, he said they just wanted a day off.
So what did the teachers do? Well, they did they always do—they indoctrinated the children.
We interrupt this extremely sporadic program to bring you a commercial message. Vox Day and Castalia Press are reissuing the Junior Classics of 1918:
The purpose of The Junior Classics is to provide, in ten volumes containing about five thousand pages, a classified collection of tales, stories, and poems, both ancient and modern, suitable for boys and girls of from six to sixteen years of age.
If you know of, or are related to, a child who is primarily consuming kidlit and capeshit, this would be an outstanding antidote. As of right now the Indiegogo campaign has reached 1200% of its original goal.
With a few thousand books in my house, I have enough of the source materials to not “need” this set, but I’m likely to get it anyway. You might want to take a look as well. The campaign is here and while it isn’t cheap, to the best of my knowledge Vox has fulfilled or refunded every single one of his campaigns to date. So it’s a better shot than the last Kickstarter I funded, to be certain!
If you’re not in the habit of following the convulsions of “new media” — if, in other words, you have a real and potentially fulfilling life — then you’ve missed a lot of drama in the past week. The G/O Media (previously GMG, previously Univision, previously Gawker Media) site Deadspin went through an extraordinary series of self-flagellations when Barry Petchesky, who succeeded Megan Greenwell, was fired for deliberately defying the “stick to sports” mandate of its new owners. Several of the site’s writers quit shortly afterwards in “solidarity”. A 53-year-old freelancer agreed to work for the site and was immediately bullied into quitting by an online mob. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy gloated at the collapse of his rivals.
It’s not for me to say who is wrong or right here, although I have my personal opinions on the subject. I’d rather focus on something that is, to me at least, more interesting: the idea of perpetual adolescence in the workplace, and the social structures which have evolved to enable that idea.
Two Sundays ago I attended the twice-a-year model car/promo/kit swap meet and show in Countryside, IL, in suburban Chicagoland. As usual, I brought plenty of cash. As usual, I spent a lot of it. I got several nice Cadillac promos. One of them was this dark red 1966 Cadillac Coupe de Ville promo, which I got from my buddy Jim Smith. And all was well-until last night.
Many of my readers are already Gustin members. I’ve had some good luck with their stuff over the years, although the sizing can be a bit tricky. My “Japan Shine” blue jeans are far and away the best denim pants I’ve ever owned or encountered.
Gustin’s doing $15 Made In The USA knit hats for the winter. If you’re not already a Gustin member, joining with my total sellout referral link gives you a five dollar credit. I get five bucks as well. So it’s a ten dollar hat.
But wait, there’s more. Comment below, even if you don’t buy a hat. I’ll pick a random comment, probably by using the last two digits of the S&P or something like that, and I’ll give the winner a sixty-dollar Dearborn Denim credit from my last referral spree. And if I get enough referral credits to take some of the sting out of the purchase, I’ll use them to buy the Horween #8 L3 jacket. Everybody wins.
Well, it was winding down. There was no doubt about it. As we entered October here in the Midwest, things were cooling off, leaves were changing, and the car shows were dwindling. And so it was that on Sunday, October sixth, I headed about thirty miles north to the Hy-Vee supermarket in Clinton, IA, to attend the final local show of 2019.
As I was passing through the small river town of Port Byron, it appreared that Magnum was following me. I figured the car might be on its way to the same show as me, but I saw no Ferraris on arrival.