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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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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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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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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Rotgut Ingenuity: Holiday Salvation Part 1

The drinking man’s guide to holiday parties and the gifts to leave behind… The main objective as a holiday party guest should be to arrive bearing as considerate a gift as possible. And it should come as no surprise that whenever I’m asked, “What should I bring to the party?” before a person can get out the tee in party, I invariably say: “Good

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The California Shirt on Esquire.com

I woke up this morning to a text message from Michael B. Dougherty, author of the latest post at Esquire.com. The text simply read, "BOOM." It was followed by a link to his story. It's about my journey to making the first product to carry my name, The California Shirt.  BOOM is right. It's fitting that the first story about a product made from

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Rotgut Ingenuity: The Cornucopia

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine Bobby’s Orange Sweater, The Missouri Horn Of Plenty, Like A Greek Mother’s Milk and The Sacred Place. As the season of halls decked with boughs of holly beckons, we hope you’ll celebrate the harvest by putting aside differences to come together around the same table in appreciation for the bounties of our lives. Today we

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The California Shirt

Consideration is defined as “careful thought, typically over a period of time.” For the past decade, my central focus has been men’s clothing. For a time in 2009 and 2010, I traveled a twelve-state territory in the center of the country selling shirts and ties to high-end men’s boutiques. Prior to this experience, it had been my dream to build button-downs

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Linen Shirts and Lemonade, a Mix on Spotify by Max Wastler

Linen Shirts & Lemonade

I’d like to resurrect the slow dance. Yes, I know. It’s not really dead, but its prominence at casual social gatherings among my friends and loved ones has diminished continually throughout my life. I recall a time as a young boy seeing couples at backyard barbecues swaying their hips between sips from a bottle of Bartles & Jaymes or a tall, gold can of Coors,

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The Vehicles of Camp Wandawega

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine. For more than a decade, David Hernandez and wife Tereasa Surratt have been busily restoring Hernandez’s boyhood summer camp in Elkhorn, Wisconsin to its former glory; dressing the place with vintage treasures culled from garage and rummage sales all over Walworth County. The result is Camp Wandawega—a living, breathing time capsule, where it’s

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The Kitchen Sink

This originally appeared in Five O'Clock, Harry's Magazine. We’re taking a slightly different tact with this edition of Rotgut Ingenuity. Our intrepid reporter Max Wastler recently moved halfway across the country. Prior to doing so, he gathered his friends and loved ones in his backyard for a going away party and cleared out his liquor cabinet by improvising on a number

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