Cowboy Poetry on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

The Cowboy Poetry of Waddie Mitchell and Baxter Black

https://youtu.be/tGNLyXF3hLA Spending the first eight years of my life in a rural rail town in southeastern Kansas led me to take for granted many experiences I'd never have again. One such experience occurred at my little Catholic grade school on the main street of our town. After lunch one day early in second grade, we had these wild-looking "cowboys" sidle into

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All Plaidout Morning Spotify Playlist

Playlist: Morning

I cherish the morning, and I have especially since a friend of mine gave me a copy of Mason Currey's first book Daily Rituals, a book which recounts the routines of "inspired minds," everyone from musicians and artists to politicians and writers. While I was reading his recounting of so many of my heroes, I kept a running tally of

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The Acceptance Speeches of Emma Thompson

Rituals: Emma Thompson’s Acceptance Speeches

It’s not every morning. I should start with that, but it is often enough that I’m willing to consider it part of my daily rituals. I find myself navigating to YouTube, typing in “Emma Thompson” and following it with “acceptance speech.” She just gives them better… better than just about anyone, and I find myself inspired all over again, ready

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Brand Partnerships: Diet Pepsi x Top Gun 

Today marks the release of Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to Top Gun, 36 years in the making.  To call 1986’s Top Gun “formative” to my upbringing would be reductive. As a little boy growing up in rural Kansas, I was inclined to seek out movies that would teach an impressionable kid like me how to act (or at least dress)

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Hey Gang Ranch Boot

Introducing: Hey Gang’s Ranch Boot

Hey Gang just announced the launch of their first-ever footwear. Appropriate for a brand rooted deep in the heart of Texas, they're a new pair of women's cowboy boots made by hand by a small boot maker in El Paso, Texas. Hey Gang owner Lauren Wilkins Block announced the new style in an Instagram Reel on Sunday night. She called

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An Italian Restaurant Concept

Restaurant Concept: Gigi’s

This Mother’s Day, I thought it’d be fitting to share something my mother and I built this year. Together, we developed this restaurant concept for a former employer, and they completely ignored it. Even if the concept never sees the light of day, it’s too good not to be shared with the world. Aspects of my mother’s childhood stories as

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Happy Derby Day!

Here's a cocktail inspired by the Kentucky Derby for you to sip today. Hopefully, win or lose, it makes your Derby Day that much sweeter. The Rosemary Clooney™ by Max Wastler 2 ounces Old Grand Dad4 dashes Fee Bros. Black Walnut BittersTop with crushed ice & Ale-8-OneStir with a sprig of Rosemary. 🌿 Max Wastler's Essential Kentucky Derby Mix.

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Documentary: Sheryl

My admiration of Sheryl Crow is well-founded. In effort to convert the world, to make each and every one of you just as ardent a fan as I am, I will find any excuse to promote her particular brand of popular music, one that infuses rock, soul and country. https://youtu.be/FCSkonIngWM Streaming now and airing live tonight, Friday May 6, for 1

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Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

In the time since its debut on CNN in February 2021 and the BBC in February of 2022, everyone from my therapist to my coworkers to our 11-year-old daughter have made a special point to tell me that actor, writer and director Stanley Tucci's latest venture, a show called Searching for Italy, reminded them in some way of me. https://youtu.be/e7B4jnX_Hvk Having first

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Ask my family: I’ve always been a Grumpy Old Man.

"Good morning, dickhead," said Max Goldman. "Hello, moron," replied John Gustafson. https://youtu.be/ePRYhNNdzwk I first showed Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men to our daughters shortly after we got together in early 2018. It has become a family favorite, our Saturday afternoon ritual. We'll watch it in the same way some families play boardgames or assemble puzzles. Much as

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Reciprocity

I’ve been keeping a log of ideas: things to write about, places to visit and document, things to make, to build and to do for several years. It began as a note on my phone, and it’s now a 45-page document in Google.  The first entry under “Blog Posts” simply says, “Write an embittered post about the people and companies who’ve

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My Ireland Days

Happy St. Patrick's Day! In 2004, I was hired to tend bar and play tunes at The Old Oak in Cork City, Ireland. These were the greatest hits of that time. LINK to Spotify.

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Time Cone by Amy Webb of Future Today Institute

Time Cones

In my branding practice, it's become commonplace for me to refer to timelines as "time cones." First devised by Quantitative Futurist Amy Webb of Future Today Institute the time cone focuses near-term efforts into manageable, meaningful actions and allows for long-term goal-setting to start broader in scope only to become targeted as time and effort draw closer. This framework allows

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Sheryl Crow Audible Original Words and Music

Sheryl Crow: Words + Music

Today is Sheryl Crow's birthday, and I'm writing to encourage you to celebrate with me by listening to her tell her life's story in 97 very short minutes. Audible has an ongoing series, free to its subscribers and produced in part by the inimitable rock journalist Bill Flanagan (a lifelong personal hero of mine) called Words + Music. When the

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Robert Redford Sundance Film Festival 2021

Thank You Bob

https://youtu.be/N-DcQu5Yszc I'll never be able to properly show my gratitude to the many educators, artists, friends and family -- most especially, my parents -- and dozens of actors, writers, directors and producers who inspired me to pursue my own creativity to its fullest extent. But, this man, Robert Redford, has had as wide-sweeping an influence on me as any have in

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The Nativity by Salvador Dalí for Hallmark

Salvador Dalí’s Christmas Cards for Hallmark

This time last year, my wife and I were gearing up to travel to Spain for Christmas. We spent the holiday with Jorge Suquet, one of my closest friends -- and onetime guest on my podcast -- and his wonderful family. We learned all about so many of their holiday traditions (for one thing, Spaniards celebrate Christmas on the Epiphany),

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Art Carney as Corwin in the Twilight Zone The Night of the Meek

The Twilight Zone’s “The Night of the Meek”

Host and creator Rod Serling, a Jewish man born on Christmas Day, presented viewers with a profound twist on the many fables of Christmas as only The Twilight Zone could in its December 23, 1960 episode "The Night of the Meek." Art Carney plays Corwin, a drunken department store Santa who discovers a magic bag of presents. The supernatural is

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1931 Sundblom Santa

Haddon Sundblom’s Coca-Cola Santa

The image most Americans today have of Santa Claus, the big jolly man with the rosy cheeks in the red suit, that image of St. Nick originated with Swedish-American painter, Haddon Sundblom. Prior to Sundblom, the most recognizable, arguably the first Americanized version of Santa was created by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly, but in 1931, the first of

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John Denver Rocky Mountain Christmas

John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas

https://youtu.be/HYM3zQvJqt8 On December 10, 1975, John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas Special aired on ABC and featured the appearances of Steve Martin, Olivia Newton-John and Valerie Harper. Produced to promote of the release of his album of the same name, the special was viewed by a record 65 million people, the largest audience assembled for an ABC music program at that time,

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David Sedaris Holidays on Ice

“The Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris

https://youtu.be/u5XLjG_S6eE The first time I heard "The Santaland Diaries," I had just turned 18. Driving from an early morning swim practice, I could still smell the chlorine in my hair, and for some reason, the radio drifted from a low-on-the-dial college jazz show that I would listen to occasionally to our local NPR station. It was Morning Edition. I heard the

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Eddy Goldfarb

Eddy’s World

https://youtu.be/9sKKan_Q9VU Eddy's World is a short documentary produced by The New Yorker and directed by Eddy Goldfarb's daughter Lyn. Take thirty minutes and watch the inspiring story of the man responsible for inventing hundreds of the world's best toys.

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Patrick Stewart in A Christmas Carol

Patrick Stewart’s Stage One-man Show of A Christmas Carol

https://youtu.be/k08e_4T-2Cs While I enjoyed Sir Patrick Stewart's turn as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1999 TNT version of A Christmas Carol, I so prefer it when he does all the parts himself. Beginning in 1991, Sir Patrick Stewart took Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and turned it into a one-man Broadway show in which he portrayed 35 characters. While I was a

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The Importance of Mickey’s Christmas Carol

https://youtu.be/ByAINYDyFXs Before ever having read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, like many of my generation, I first encountered the story of a curmudgeon visited by three ghosts in a 1983 Disney featurette called Mickey's Christmas Carol, produced initially as added value for ticket-buyers of the reissued The Rescuers in the United States and The Jungle Book in the United Kingdom. It's significant

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Bill Murray in Scrooged on All Plaidout

The Ringer on the Perfection That is Scrooged

Inspired by this excellent 2018 Ringer article celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Scrooged, the Richard Donner helmed retelling of Dickens' story starring a mid-career Bill Murray who appeared to be careening full speed towards his late career surge in a way few actors or comedians ever have, I'd like to take a look back at some of the cultural touch

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How It's Made Candy Canes on All Plaidout

How It’s Made: Candy Canes

I'm not sure what it says about me, but the first thing I think of when I see a candy cane is that time in second grade when my bully punctured my hand with a shiv he made from a candy cane. https://youtu.be/oHHBLSSctoc Still, few things say "Christmas" quite like a cellophane-wrapped candy cane. And speaking of cellophane, I don't know

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Norelco Stop-Motion Animation Christmas Commercial on All Plaidout

Norelco’s Stop-Motion Animation Christmas Commercials

In the 1960s and 70s, Norelco used stop-motion animation to advertise their personal care products, in particular their electric shavers. At the time, stop-motion was a rare form of animation with very little presence on television. The spots began with a sledding Santa, propped up by one of Norelco’s trademark three-headed razor attachments. https://youtu.be/Y888mx7hMZ0 When the spots aired during those classic

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The Know First Podcast Episode 14 Sweet Home Chicago

The Know First Podcast, Episode 14: Sweet Home Chicago

“We are writing a very important Thanksgiving Proclamation — and possibly a new action adventure series. Nobody here is checked out.”- Toby Ziegler and Sam Seaborn, The West Wing This has been hard, hasn’t it? And by “this,” I mean life. While yes, the past eight-and-a-half months have been fraught, it would seem that collectively for the past several years, we’ve

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Flowbee

George Clooney & The Flowbee

Fifteen years ago, while living in New York, trying to get bylines in GQ, Esquire and Details, anytime I learned George Clooney was doing press for a new movie, I would pitch this story: I wanted to get together with Clooney and have him teach me how to cut my own hair. At some point in college, I met an

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Not Just Any Other Day a Mix of New Christmas Music from Max Wastler

Not Just Any Other Day

Not Just Any Other Day SPOTIFY APPLE MUSIC (coming soon) YOUTUBE (coming soon) Christmas is not just any other day, this year especially

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Jerry Jeff Walker Hat Band

Jerry Jeff Walker & Texas Hatters

By the time the snare drum kicks up its dust on "Get It Out," the fifth track on my trusted Spotify running mix, I know I'm halfway home. Jerry Jeff Walker's punchy sing-a-long telling his lady that he loves her hits perfectly with the cadence of my run, each step its own downbeat. Recorded live at the Luckenbach Dancehall in

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Joe Edwards of Blueberry Hill

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

I was recently asked to conduct interviews with two local restaurateurs to garner their perspectives our upcoming election, local legends Joe Edwards of Blueberry Hill and Jamila Brantley of C&K Barbecue. The piece went live today. It's part of their Road to November series, a virtual trip down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana, to meet some of the

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Jerry Weintraub

Jerry Weintraub

https://youtu.be/xV0f86c8RT0 I’d been thinking this week about what — exactly — I do when I encountered Jimmy Kimmel interviewing Billy Crystal. Billy told a couple stories about Jerry Weintraub, one of those Hollywood legends with whom I’ve always been enamored, and I found myself later that night reading a nine-year-old interview with Weintraub in a newspaper. He called himself “a high-priced

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Wally's Pontiac, Illinois

Wally’s – Pontiac, IL

This weekend, my wife and I went for a drive from St. Louis to Chicago. Along the way, like a beacon in the night, we spotted a blaze orange Wagoneer strategically parked close enough to the highway so we could make out the word "Wally's" emblazoned on the faux wood paneling. Fate led us to stopping at what we'd come

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Lifeguard Max Wastler

An Ode to Lifeguards & A Review: Class Action Park

As we say goodbye to the strangest summer in our lifetime, one in which I -- someone who hasn’t gone more than a few weeks without swimming -- has not been in a pool since February, inspired by a new documentary that tells a fascinating, dark tale of a swimming pool, I thought I’d take a look back at my

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Paul Newman Research Register Vote

Paul Newman: Research, Register, Vote

Those who know me well understand that Paul Newman has long been one of the most inspiring characters in my life. His quotes about actions have been ringing especially true these days, and I am trying to allow for my actions to speak. "A man can only be judged by his actions, and not by his good intentions or his beliefs."

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Don't Leave Out the Good Part a Playlist for All Plaidout

Don’t Leave Out the Good Part

But I'm her lover, not a man bent on revenge, hanging out here on the fringe, of my native borderlands. - from “The Ballad of the Snow Leopard and the Tanqueray Cowboy” written by David Rodriguez, performed by Lyle Lovett ### To help answer the questions thrown at them by life, some people write. Some talk. Some take pictures. Some paint or draw or carve or

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Max Wastler's Omega Seamaster

The Story of My Watch on Mr. Watchmaster

After reading about my Timex Ironman in A Man & His Watch, Mr. Watchmaster Andrew Canter asked me to share the story of another watch. I talked with him about my newest watch, the one my wife gave me on our wedding day. You can read all about it on Andrew's blog. Thank you, sir, for providing me the opportunity

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Brooks Brothers North Carolina Factory

On the Closure of the American Factory

A few weeks ago, prior to Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy announcement, while reading about the shuttering of their Garland, North Carolina shirt factory, I turned to my wife and said, “Could we save it?” Garland Shirt Company | Photo c/o Winifred Hill Murphy This post will mainly comprise context, however I do hope it’s injected with some of my lifelong considerations. I do

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Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy

“I think it is so shocking that the more we are connected electronically, the less we are unified….” - Diana Kennedy Grousing loudly at a young man in a Mexican marketplace for using synthetics to color a sausage, my wife exclaimed, “I love her.” Diana Kennedy is a cookbook author and recipe archaeologist based in Michoacán, Mexico. She is the subject of

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Sutter’s State Fair Taffy

There's never been a better time to bring the state fair home. At the hands of COVID-19, a global pandemic that's forced us to socially distance, the summer of 2020 has taken on a completely different tone. Yearning for the fun, convivial atmosphere that only a state fair can bring, I had a thought: what if I could replicate my

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Wagoneer

What We’re All Going Through

Have a glance at this beautiful Wagoneer my wife discovered on one of our daily walks while reading a piece I wrote about what we’re all going through. #wastlerwagon “Maybe you’re struggling with how to talk about all this,” was how I think my wife put it to me on one of our daily walks with our daughters this week. And

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The Fauci Cap

A Cap for Trying Times. Look good while promoting truth tellers, giving to those in need, supporting a few small businesses, and hiding your awful quarantine haircut all in one hat. PRE-ORDER YOURS TODAY. THE STORY A CALL THAT TURNED INTO A CAP Speaking into screens from either side of the state of Missouri, Micah Smith and Max Wastler were dead-set on

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Bill Withers

It was 2008, I was living within walking distance of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. When I saw they'd organized a tribute concert to Bill Withers, I marked it on my calendar, and I made damn sure I was not going to miss it. For as long as I can remember, hell, for as long as I've been alive, Soul music has

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Chris Thile at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, MO

Live From Here: Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis

My wife and I had the unique opportunity to attend the latest taping in St. Louis, Missouri of Live From Here, Minnesota Public Radio's program hosted by Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers front man and mandolinist Chris Thile. It is the show that ably replaced A Prairie Home Companion. https://youtu.be/IAA5Vop-v0w The highlight for me was the mash-up of the local hockey

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Max Wastler’s New Christmas, 2017

Max Wastler's New Christmas, 2017 on Spotify and Apple Music.In some ways, it was no different than it had been in years past. It started the day after I shared last year's mix. I heard this haunting version of "Greensleeves," my favorite Christmas song, performed by Coleman Hawkins.And so I began "Christmas 2017," a playlist I kept private, adding songs

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Dock Rockers

Dock Rockers on Spotify. An avowed, unabashed dad-rocker, of late I cannot unshackle myself from these A.M. Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, the tunes I want to listen to are caught somewhere in between last year’s Linen Shirts & Lemonade and 2015’s Friday Night Feels. Not for night swimming nor for backyard swinging, Dock Rockers encapsulates a summer vibe all its own. This is for those

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Factory Visit: The Patagonia Archive

In March, shortly after I learned that two of Patagonia's iconic designs, the original pile jacket and the Synchilla Snap-T, were to be incorporated into upcoming shows at the Tate Modern and MoMA, I reached out to company archivists Val Franco and Terri Laine to see about a visit. As Outside Magazine's Brad Rassler describes his visit in November of 2016:  “A 10,000-square-foot facility not far from

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Romance in Three Cocktails

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine. Eau de Quête, the Green Goblin’s Ambrosia and Threshold Punch. As the calendar flips to February, my mind turns to two things: travel and romance. I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill Poconos weekend and candy hearts, mind you. I’m talking travel and romance rooted in the adventurer’s spirit, the kind of intrepid quest famously heralded

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Rotgut Ingenuity: Holiday Salvation Part 3

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine The drinking man’s guide to circumspection, consolation and celebration with your significant other… Come January you may find yourself saying to your partner, “How did we ever make it through the holidays without each other?” As I prepare for another season with my girlfriend, we realize there are three scenarios we’ll likely face again

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Rotgut Ingenuity: Holiday Salvation Part

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine The drinking man’s guide to hosting the holidays… Hosting a well-planned holiday party takes gumption. And setting the right tone with that first “welcome in” drink is everything. Here are three scenarios you’ll likely run into after inviting your nearest and dearest to bask in the season’s warmest greetings… An Oscar Peterson Christmas The Scenario: Polite Dinner

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