Returning to the waters…

All Copyrights Reserved: Vincent J. Kern 2007

All Copyrights Reserved: Vincent J. Kern 2007






If you are visiting based on an email notifications — THANK YOU!

I’ve recently been given the opportunity to explore what kind of magic The Vinman desires to make for the rest of his life and am returning to the waters of writing and curating this blog. So, stay tuned there will be more to come. Meantime, I will turn off notifications until I publish something more meaningful than testing out a new layout and design.




Where have all the Bozos gone? Calling all Bozos!

Are there any real Bozos left?

The death of the best and brightest Bozo, Larry Harmon, at the age of 83 came as a surprise last night when the news broke and I was watching a ballgame. He was not the original, but he became the franchise.

A true entertainer of children and adults alike, Harmon trained hundreds of other Bozos (and made millions in trademarking the clown and its characture) in the fine art of clowning for kids who mostly believed there was only one Bozo. Each one was carefully selected by Harmon for energy, and a “gleam in their eye,” according to Harmon. They all portrayed Bozo within Harmon’s high standards of performance in their local Bozodoms.

I learned last night there was a 10-year waiting list for the Chicago live Bozo show in the 80’s (portrayed by Bob Bell) and in 1990 when they opened up the reservation list again it took only five hours to book the show for five more years.

I recalled and learned a lot about Harmon last night as I read about his mission. And this morning, while pondering life on a beatiful holiday morning on my deck with coffee I asked myself; “Why is it that there are no longer several significant human icons of quality entertainment and education for children?

It seems all the role-model characters for children these days are people hiding inside animal costumes (of weird colorful concoctions or are of some techno-gadget cartoon/video) with more adult qualities than an entertainer of children should have.

I have a theory on that.

My theory is that as parents became lazier and lazier they allowed televison and video games to supplant human follicking and sharing of the their own inner muse to pass the time. That’s not rocket science, but if you think further about what the children are missing by the type of direct human interaction from say a Bozo or Mr. Rodgers, or even Captain Kangaroo, it seems that we’re behaving as if it’s just not cool to frolic with your children. Give em the easy substitute and they’ll be fine.

Except that as generations pass, the inner muse of children and adults alike becomes muted and eventually goes away. And then it’s really not cool to frolick, you might be outcast or labelled as a pervert of sorts.

But all hope is not lost.

I know there are still people willing to let their inner-Bozo shine, I’ve met one personally in the form of Biffo-T-Clown. He (otherwise known as Steve Dolan) once embedded himself in the Ringling Circus as a reporter for the Daily Californian to write a story about a clowns.

Dolan loved making the children smile so much he made it an annual event for some time. One year, he even got me to serve as the Ringmaster for one night’s show. Later, I watched as a the master Ringling Bros. clown invited Biffo into his trailer to remove their makeup together. That’s the highest honor one clown can bestow upon antoher.

So let’s all remember that clowns are priceless at any age and still a requirement to spread the joy of the human spirit in our world today.

And the next time I call you “Bozo,” or someone refers to you as “a clown” take it as a compliment.

— 30 —

Saturday “VIBEttes”…..Corn a’plenty?

 (c) Photo by Vincent J. Kern — 2008 — Copyright and All Rights reserved

Kindling collected from a neighbor’s May camp-cleaning and a “vintage” wicker fireside box-seat  was found at our Squaw Beach getaway a month ago when we arrived to perform ours last month.


No one particular Vibe today, just a bunch of “Vibettes” from the week. It seems that after another long, intense and busy week at work the Vinman’s noggin is working in smaller snippets:


Man, folks out here in semi-rural Livingston County are trying to grow corn in places never before planted! It’s not even knee-high yet, but high enough to distinguish as a new cornfield in places I drive by routinely.

We’ve got lots of cornfields and land out here in Pinckney, MI just northwest of Ann Arbor but far fewer than 10 years ago when the land began to host housing developments in the real estate boom, now crashing. A number of spots that were just acres of raw land waiting to be sold are now turning into the golden crop of corn.

One new plot in particular, is just next to the Barnstormer, a local bar and grill located near and the intersection of M-36 and US23 and host to numerous weddings and banquet gatherings. Driving by, I thought about how smart a planting it was with the price surely to be inflated even more now with the flooding in Iowa.

We don’t get many floods destroying crops in these parts, but we have other dangers: In this case, I can just see a bunch of drunken best-men and bridesmaids frolicking in the cornfield next door when the crop is high enough to get lost in.

Field of Dreams? Who knows. But it brought back a recurring though someone put forward a couple of years ago to help the city of Detroit. Why not develop Urban Farming in Detroit’s unrecoverable housing wastelands that sprawl parts of the city? Some of the most fertile soil in is this part of the state and the theory has it that if the land is used for productive farming, folks will eventually return and rebuild the housing in a more relevant and useful manner. How long? Who knows? But I know it won’t happen in my lifetime.


Sad thing is, even if someone put forth a no-brainer-miracle-idea in Detroit these days and even offered to fund it nothing would happen. We read today in the Free Press that the FBI is investigating the City Council (and may have possibly already pursued wire taping) in a sluge reclamation project. So far, just anonymous sources and no comments by anyone except one of the Council members who acknowledges talking to the FBI but says he is not a target.

Kwame and his cronies are not the only problem this city has. Nothing good or bad will move through the political machinery of this city for a long time. It’s paralyzed on more fronts than we could imagine.


I got lucky.  A colleague who has also beceom a good friend who lives about halfway along my monster-mileage (57) one-way commute has been my commuting partner for almost a year now. And a couple of months ago, we invited a third person who lives just a few miles from me making a commute for each of us almost a full trip’s worth.

Yes, it saves money. By my calculations, just once a week saves me about $14.00. We’ve managed more than that and in fact got pretty regular for awhile.

But let me tell you, it isn’t as easy as one would think. There’s a whole new routine to be met. Arriving on time requires some easy precision timing. Leaving is dependant on who has to stay the latest and can everyone live with that. The tendancy is to say “sure, I can always find work to do.” But the reality is that sometimes after 5 p.m. and a long day you are just ready to go home. And if you’re fortunate (as I am) to somewhat dictate your own schedule, trying to “find” work to do can sometimes be tedious.

Then there’s the shopping/workout thing. For me, at my best, I can manage at least two and often three or more good early mornings in the gym. Up about 5:15, into the gym and working out (at my midway point of the commute) by about 6, done (including a decent sauna) and at work by 8 or 8:30 or so.

Balancing all of that is tough. I had to take a week off (thought I’d get to the gym, but didn’t) and all I managed to do was reclaim some of my personal time on the drive (which is amazingly important) and do some shopping for quality food to eat at work instead of the high-fat cafeteria stuff.

So, as with everything else, it becomes a matter of prioritization. With gas the way it is, the commute must remain in some form, but how often? We’ll see.

– 30 –


Whatever it is…’s good.

(c) Photo by Vincent J. Kern — 2006 — Copyright and All Rights reserved


It’s just time for a Vibe.


Saturday, 10:16 a.m. and two cups of coffee down, the Sounds of the Season cable music channel is playing music that makes tapping a Vibe easy. Nothing special, nothing I know, but most everything I’ve heard at least once or twice before on the same channel as it rotates through it’s repertoire.

Soothing Saturday mornings are requisite to make weekends whole, but they’re not guaranteed. We’ve had a mix of bad weather, too much spring cleaning and some left over fall cleaning that was left unfinished to allow for a mellow, come-what-may-morning.

Until today.

And man is it welcome.

One cat, our pure black Bombay (we call him Nick Bombay, private eye) has been outside and is now comfortably lounging in the cool confines of an open window frame while the music gets to a twiney blues guitar riff backed by electronic beats.

It’s getting hotter outside, but there’s a welcoming breeze.

And all of this is melting away one long-ass week of work that included the unfortunate corporate norm of stress induced by pension freezes and rumors of another round of involuntary severance offers that serve only to make thing more “interesting” operationally.

You’ll note that I don’t write about work on this blog. Don’t want to and don’t believe it’s ethical. I’m the kind who folks call naive, but I would rather rest in the blessings of this life and relegate my work to an important but not consuming level. And I direct a 24/7 intense operation that requires a lot of energy.

But in the end, just being here at home with my wife, our health, our music and some good weather for a change is enough to begin the transport into the weekend with some first-class environs.

Hence, this morning’s Vibe……..I’m already thinking ahead to a Crown Royal on the rocks later, but I’ll need some different music ’cause this stuff is getting too trippy.

– 30 –


Christmas 2007: Remembering the perfect snow


No snow in the forcast for this Chistmas Eve, so today The Vinman harkens back to 2002 when we got a perfect white blanket overnight early Christmas day.

The Vibe: Christmas Morning

The gift from nature that makes Christmas complete arrived Christmas Eve,  just as children everywhere hoped for, ready for opening at the time of one’s choice. Stay up late for a glimpse of Santa (and never catch him delivering gifts) and you might have seen it. But wake early and it was already there.

No unwrapping, no cost to sender, no safety warning labels and no assembly required. The white blanket has no size or color problems, and there will be no waiting in line to return this gift. Much as we’d like to take it back on other days, snow on Christmas Eve is always welcome and everyone wantes to keep it.

Hasn’t happened like this, with such perfect timing in years…can’t remember the last time.

It’s just light enough now to see the keys on my laptop. I’ve been watching the snowfall for almost two hours now, lounging on the futon in our converted porch-sunroom looking out on a lawn with 22 trees — each branch hosting a at least an inch of snow…..more if sturdier. The only tire tracks in the four-inches over the dirt are from the newspaper delivery guy who brought a paper I could care less about this morning.  Having made it yesterday, it’s the last thing I am concerned with today.

Still the snow falls…….none on the ground yesterday — grey and colorless it was. Today, every bit of color around contrasts greatly with the overlay of bright clean perfect white everywhere. The red pickup truck across the street, the blue and red newspaper tubes and even the two for sale signs on the house down the street look like paintings on a wall of white…planned, centered and hung for maximum visual pleasure.

But the masterpiece of the view is now the colorful decorative lights adorning the houses and trees along the street. Just dark enough for the lights to be the dominant glow revealing colors like the Northern Lights and nebula in the sky. Only two birds have been seen awake so far……a circling hawk looking for early prey above the trees across the street and by the lake and a “Big Ass Crow” as Sheila and I call them — the bullies of the neighborhood and ready to go anywhere they damn well please.

And just now — as I type, I hear an odd call sounding like a squirrel. But turning, I see it is a big red-headed woodpecker just a few feet away stopping by my feeder with food especially for her. She calls to her mate, quickly shifting her head from side to side to catch a view of him arriving to let him know she’s there — over and over — but there appears to be no response. So she dashes down to the lower branch and then quickly to the feeder for a Christmas morning meal of suet made just for her. And in the time it took to write that graph, she’s done and gone.

But other birds must we waking now as it approaches exactly 9 a.m…….little finches are looking for sunflower seeds in the other feeder, but the 28 brown Sparrows that live in our Rose bushes along the driveway are still asleep, or planning their day deep within the center of the prickly castle, underneath the snowcovered tentacles of the buffalo-sized bird home.

My lovely wife sleeps on upstairs having shared equal amounts of an expensive bottle of champagne with me last night as we held our “homefield” Christmas Eve gift exchange. Home this year, Alaska or San Diego next…’s an alternating year kind of thing. But now she is awake talking to her cat and wondrous that there is snow outside.

The other cat is stoned from a stocking stuffer cat-nip toy and laying by the furnace. And now my wife is up, the phone has rang…Northwest Airlines has located our airshipment of Alaskan crab and shrimp caught fresh by my brother in-law Chris off his fishing boat.

Suddenly, a snow-mobiler blasts down the road in front of my house at 60 MPH. The quiet is gone, destroyed……….but the vibe is till there, just changing and different.

An so, it’ll be off to the airport in the snow…..I have the vehicle for it, and the time.

If you are in California, enjoy your weather and don’t take for granted that sunshine which you (and I) are so fond of. But know this, I wouldn’t trade this one day of fresh Christmas snow for a whole winter of 60 degree weather. If you haven’t experienced it I hope this little glimpse (it really does look like the pictures above) helps visualize what it’s about.

And if you have, get back to your own vibe now!!!!! Enjoy the snow, for it may soon be gone.

Don Imus Killed Santa Clause

It had been a wonderful weekend in Cleveland that will now forever be marred by Don Imus, the Santa Claus killer.

Three days hanging out in one of the best hotels downtown in the rockin’ town hosting the women’s NCAA Final Four Championship as well as the WNBA draft. Sat at the bar next to Bill Laimbeer and his wife, and had hor’dourves with Tree Rollins and lots of other wonderful semi-famous folks. Lots of fun, a great conference and then a few days later IT happened.

Not only did Don Imus use his ignorance to insult the talented and wonderful group of basketball players in addition to a whole race, the nincompoop went and killed Santa Clause, too! And as much as I disdain racial ignorance, overblown political correctness by attaching stigma to unrelated semantical use is a societal cancer.

I knew it would happen soon after his comments made on the radio that cost him his job. In fact, I predicted it long before the New York Post ran a “Ho, Ho, Ho: Imus gets last laugh” headline about Imus settling his lawsuit with the company that fired him.

So much for Santa! Read about it here.