Monthly Archives: January 2016

Elvis and Me by Mike Baron

ELVIS AND ME

 

My second wife and I were married at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Vegas. Elvis

sang at the ceremony. My third wife and I were married in Sonia Immasch’s house. Elvis sang at the ceremony. This second Elvis was George Gray, one of the most accomplished Elvis impersonators in the country. George usually appears with a ten piece band including five back­up singers. He sounds a lot like Elvis.

 

Last week I visited my old pal Russ in Boynton Beach. “Guess what, Mikey! We’re going to see an Elvis impersonator!” He and his lovely wife Andy took me to the Lemon Cafe where one David Morin, born in France, was holding forth. Boynton Beach is retirement country and the café was packed to gridlock with senior citizens. I myself am a senior citizen. There was barely enough room to maneuver between tables. This Elvis appears with a pre­recorded soundtrack and his wife adding harmony. Amid the clamor and clatter of hard­of­hearing seniors, we were hard­pressed to understand David clearly, but the songs were utterly recognizable from “The Peppermint Twist” to “My Way.” After a brief intermission, David returned in spangled white jumpsuit splendor to sing “All Shook Up,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’” (written by Elvis’ cousin Jerry Lee,) and “Blue Suede Shoes.” He was okay but he was no George Gray.

 

When Elvis played Madison, he broke up a street fight.

 

June 23­24, 1977 – Madison, WI

 

Elvis arrived at the old Four Lakes Aviation around midnight. He was in town to do what would be his last show in Madison (He died less then two months later), at the Dane County Coliseum. He got into the waiting limousine and the headed south on highway 51. When they reached the traffic lights at East Washington Avenue Elvis saw Keith Lowry Jr. on the ground being beaten up by two teens at the Skyland Service Station. Wearing his trademark aviator sunglasses and “DEA Agent” navy blue jumpsuit over his sparkling stage outfit Elvis went flying out the door of the limo. When he reached the scene of the fight he said “I’ll take you on”. The two boys looked up at him and just stopped, Lowry ran into the gas station. Elvis got back into the limo and headed for his hotel room at the Sheraton.

 

(http://www.surroundedbyreality.com/misc/Famous/Elvis.asp)Rudelvis

 

The New Dog by Mike Baron

THE NEW DOG

So we got a new dog. His name is Bob, in honor of the previous Bob, who passed away a year ago. I hate to put a dog down. But if you love dogs and have them, it’s inevitable. The old Bob was a wonderful, obedient pet. After my late wife died of an overdose, Bob was my only companion for several months, until I decided to get him a playmate. I turned to karate pal Veterinarian Robin Van Metre who has a line on every stray dog in northern Colorado. She took me to a no-kill shelter in Loveland where I arbitrarily chose the little furball who looked somewhat like a collie/German shepherd mix. Freddie is a delightful dog.

Then I married Ann. Several years ago Robin asked if anyone would be willing to take her dog “Cali,” whom some brainless college student had dropped off an a shelter after deciding she didn’t really want the responsibility, and I volunteered. “Cali” is a Boston terrier/pug mix with a ferocious personality. We renamed her Mack due to her resemblance to the hood ornament on a Mack truck. When it time to return Mack, Ann clutched her and said, “We’re keeping this dog!”

Robin was delighted. “You saved our marriage!”

Mack bit a chunk out of Freddie’s face a week after we got her. No reason. She just wanted to establish who was top dog. She left old Bob alone. We have had Mack for about four years now and we love her deeply. She is a great dog.

Old Bob wasn’t doing so well. His rear legs began to give out and in the dead of winter he could hardly make it up the stairs to the deck. I laid carpet down on every step, and covered the kitchen floor with carpets so his rear legs wouldn’t go out from under him. But the handwriting was on the wall. Last February I took him to the park and we played catch for awhile. Bob loved playing catch. Then I took him to the vet and had him put down, in my arms. I tear up at the thought of Bob. Not so much for my late wife.

So Ann said, “When are we going to get another dog?” It’s always best to get them in the summer when they’re easier to house train. We went to All Aboard Animal Rescue at a pet store and Ann came back holding this goofy looking noodle dog with the big ears. Meet the new Bob.

Bob is part German shepherd, collie, and perhaps a touch of doberman due to the ears and coloring. Like all my dogs, he chews whatever’s at hand including valuable books and furniture. I have already lost two valuable books to him. But whatcha gonna do? That’s how puppies are. They have to chew and we have to provide them with quality chewables. Which brings me to the Tibetan dog chews at Poudre Valley Feed. Made from petrified yak milk, they are forty dollars a pound. The cheapest all natural animal part are buffalo ears at a buck an ear. At Poudre Valley, pet food is more expensive than human food.

Bob got house trained real quick by the other dogs. Now we are working on preserving what’s left of our infrastructure and trying to get him to stop barking. The house is awash in dog hair. Most of it from Freddie. Forget conventional vacuums. I use a shop vac and plan to get a new one shortly. It’s the only way.

Bob & Mack puppyBob puppyFreddie Mike

Paul Martin Smith by Mike Baron

Mike & Smitty

SMITTY AND ME

I first saw Paul Smith’s artwork on X-Men and was gob-smacked. Back in the day I wanted to work with every artist whom I admired. And there were a lot! Paul Smith is one of nature’s gentlemen. I was surprised to learn he was a fellow biker, and visited him several times at his garret in Santa Barbara, and later at his brother’s house. Paul had gone through several bikes before settling on BMW’s “Flying Brick,” and loaned me his Honda V45 for a memorable ride.

Of all the replacement artists who worked on Nexus, Smitty was the best ,(37, 38, 43, 44, 49, 51-55,) and “Kreed’s Arm” is his masterpiece. He also drew The Spirit, Starman, Sun Runners, and Leave It To Chance. His last comic book work was Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame, in 2006. Then he pulled a disappearing act.

I tried locating him for years. Several months ago, while visiting my partner Steve Rude, the Dude mentioned that Smitty had phoned him from his new home in Colorado. A little sleuthing tracked him to Colorado Springs, 120 miles south of my home in Fort Collins.

It has become a tradition to spend New Year’s Eve at my publisher’s house in Monument, five miles north of Colorado Springs. I asked my publisher if I could invite Smitty. Cool. My publisher’s house is impossible to find. Nevertheless, Smitty found it and there he was–older, grayer, but the same. Paul used to have bright ginger hair. It is now all white. We talked for hours and I reminded him of the time he loaned me a motorcycle and promised to return the favor. Paul is without a motorcycle for the first time in decades. I hope to see him on one of my projects soon.

His website is www.paulmartinsmith.com.