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.




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 –


Stats prove Vinman’s Vibe (below) on World Series

I’m no statistical genius. In fact, I couldn’t define a flip chart from a headlock, but when it comes to vibes, I’m pretty solid.

We learned yesterday that Fox’s coverage of the Boston Red Sox’s four-game World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies finished with an average rating of 10.6 percent of U.S. TV households, making it the second-lowest-rated World Series ever. But Fox was the top-rated network each night it aired a Series game (USA TODAY, p.1C).

Can you guess which World Series was the lowest? You got it, the 2006 World Series played in late October, in the rain, with pitchers blowing on their hands to stay warm and others checking out their breath-made steam smoke rings between Detroit and St. Louis.

2006 FOX 10.1 17
2007 FOX 10.6 18

From the ”You Can’t Make this S*#t Up” File…(true story)

NOTE : The following story is absolutely true. It is being reprinted here from its original post of 2003 which had the permission of its author, Howard Owens. Owens, is a former colleague of mine at the paper in this story. It actually happened and is one of but many such wacky stories Howard and I share from those days. The Vinman is Vince Kern, the editor in this story. I thought readers of the Vibe would enjoy it………..

Well, good


 for Isaac …

By Howard Owens:

In any newsroom the clerks play an important role in helping to fill newsholes, gather information and keep a hectic, chaotic office functional. Clerks file obits, keep the police blotter, input weather reports, sort mail, and (in pre-internet days) input letters to the editor. They work for low pay and often deal with scorn or benign indifference from the rest of the staff. At a small paper, few in the newsroom take as much crap as the clerks.

So is it any wonder that during my three years at the Daily Californian in El Cajon, Calif., we had a hell of a time keeping good clerks on staff?

It got so bad at one point that our editor, Vince Kern, took to hiring clerks from a temp service. And the first clerk placed with us by the temp agency was Isaac Cubillos. Isaac was a revelation. For a time, he was the best clerk we ever had. He dressed professionally and with flair; he was punctual and efficient. He was conscientious and devoted to his work. Hell, he even made the coffee every morning.

It wasn’t long before Vince decided that he needed to hire Isaac away from the temp agency.

It wasn’t long after that, however, that some of us started to get a feeling that all wasn’t as it seemed. Isaac started taking longer lunches. A few tasks went undone from time to time. Once in a while we didn’t get messages. Then one afternoon when he wasn’t at his desk, I answered his phone: “Yes, I’m calling for your editor, Isaac Cubillos,” the caller said. “Um, well, Isaac isn’t our editor, but I’ll take a message.” The caller was some PR agent, a reasonable enough call for the clerk to get, and for the PR agent to be confused about his title.

But then we reporters started talking. That caller wasn’t the first nor the last to refer to Isaac as the editor. (We would learn later that Isaac was telling PR agents he was editor and receiving free tickets to concerts and plays and other events.)

Vince laughed about it, but we wondered what was going on. We knew next to nothing about Isaac’s true background. He was obviously educated, intelligent and cultured. Why was he clerking? None of us could figure it out.

Then Isaac did a good deed for a reader, and that proved to be his undoing. The reader wrote a letter to the editor, which Isaac dutifully typed into the system, and the op-ed editor published. It praised Isaac by name for his help with some trivial matter.

Not surprisingly, law enforcement detectives read our paper, and within 24 hours of that letter hitting print, two detectives arrived in our front lobby.

Isaac, it turns out, was wanted in some San Diego fraud case. Isaac wound up doing about 18 months in jail, but his short time at the Daily Californian changed his life. He was bitten by the journalism bug. In jail, he studied journalism and ran the prison newspaper.

Upon his release, he landed a staff writer job with a Spanish-language paper in Chula Vista. He did some fairly good pieces there, even winning some investigative journalism awards.

But that isn’t the end of the story. As proof that life is forever filled with irony, I found out while in El Cajon this past Monday what Isaac is doing these days. Would you believe me if I told you that he is now EDITOR of The Californian, the weekly paper that succeeded our old employer?

Fiction has become reality.

I can’t make this shit up, honest.

Of course, not a lot people would believe, probably, that journalism could reform a man, but all evidence suggests that at least in the case of Isaac, it worked. Maybe there is a lesson in that. Or maybe it’s just an aberration.

BTW: The Californian should mention on it’s “About Us” page that East County Online was founded in 1995 as one of the first three weekly papers in the nation with a web site. Furthermore, I wouldn’t mind at all if it noted that the founder was Howard Owens and Steve Saint. I mean, if you’re going to give the history of the company, why not give it all?

ONE CHOCOLATE MUFFIN TO GO, PLEASE……and then on to Gitchigume.

I almost passed by the wooden octagonal two-person coffee booth along the two-laner that winds through 10 miles of forest before my freeway entrance and 50 more miles to work. Instead, on my last morning in town before The Pilgrimage, something in my inner being caused me to navigate an automatic turn into the second, more direct, approach to the Coffee Mug.

Today was to be the fourth day in a row of my weekly gym regimen, but my body told me to sleep an extra hour or so this morning and I heeded the call. So, it was sunny and 7:30 as I steered my sports sedan enrobe with all the finesse of Mario Andretti rockin’ to Coldplay on loud on a Bose system. Usually, it’s a dark, silent headlight-lit and sleepy 5:15 a.m. pass by and off to the gym – no coffee until work at about 9 a.m.

But instead of selecting a planned entrance via long driveway in and around to one side, I had unknowingly made a quick right and pulled up to the west side window — a spot I had never been before.

Even I was surprised to find myself sitting there.

My friend who runs the booth, a tall cowboy-mustached thin and ruggedly handsome man smiled knowingly at the surprise and guessed the meaning of my unusual entrance even before I knew myself.

“You must be needin’ a two dollar special!” he laughed at my entertainment for the morning. Yup, I did, I answered and presto, bingo, he instantly produced one small black coffee and a perfectly shaped chocolate muffin.

I handed him the money, asked him how he was doing, but while I tried to listen intently I was already thinking about the morning treat, my tasty reward for being such a good boy lately.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is a good to The Vinman as a chocolate muffin and coffee for a treat to start the day. But I can only enjoy the treat as a reward for eating well, not on a regular basis.

And as good as I have been lately, today must have seemed like one of those days because as of tomorrow, The Vinman is gone from the area… to Squaw Beach on Lake Superior’s Big Bay. There I will be surrounded by pure oxygen, lots of strenuous physical labor and nothing but healthy eating.

I’ve headlined the trip The Pilgrimage because as you can see by the pictures in the posts below the Upper Peninsula if Michigan is a special place where time means nothing. It still holds the mystical spirit of Indians, settlers, miners, Bear, eagle, fire, ore and water. Granite and shale rock formations shield the land from a body of water that can be pristine and so pure you can count the hairs on your toes in waist-deep waters (if you can tolerate the cold temp of it) to a raging maritime warground that has claimed over 6,000 ships in its recorded history.

And only half of those vessels were found.

I have personally witnessed spiritual occurrences there that are not only real, but also verified by those with me. The beach has provided unwinding of the stress of life that cannot be duplicated for me (and many others) anywhere in the world. And still, there are few people around to distract or destroy the are of all it holds.

Tomorrow morning my sister, who lives on Long Island, mother and father will join me in our SUV and we’ll make the 9-plus hour trip from the land of rural/suburbia to for forests and wilderness of our destination. Sister Co is currently 35,000 feet in the air passing northwestward between Reading and Allentown, Pennsylvania at a speed of 339 knots, 335 nautical miles from Detroit according to my internet flight tracker ( that allows me to “view’’ the flight.

Mom and dad aren’t so excited about the journey yet. I called at 8 a.m. this morning to get my 75-year-old pops revved up but he said “At my age it takes a lot to get me excited and I have a rule to not get excited before 10 a.m.’’ My mom refused to talk to me because she likely knew I would tell her the women have to behave since this journey has typically been a father-son thing.

But I look forward to the dynamics of this trip. I can’t recall ever doing something with my mom, dad and this sister alone. Funny how that works.

The weather forecast is astounding as it can be…….sunny and 60’s….for the UP that’s tropical for this time of year. If there were a monsoon season here, this would be it. I’ve seen perfectly sunny skies turn to violent storms from the north or west or both and come across the lake so fast you barely have time to prepare.

And so, I am almost off. A Mother’s Day tribute with all siblings present tonight, some quick packing (let’s see, laptop, CD’s, hiking boots, walking stick and cool black leather outdoors hat) and we’re off.

No work, no phone, no news.

But I’m looking forward to connecting back up with the spirits……….