Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting the Wool Cut ...

Now, there are a lot of shops where we guys can get our hair cut this summer (and who wouldn't like a cooler hairstyle during these sweltering days?), but there's one that just stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.

You see, there's more than just a "shave-and-a-haircut" at All-American Barber Shop in downtown Pineville - and their service is worth a lot more than "two-bits"!
Let me tell you a story that'll put this into perspective:

JUNE 1965: A teenager hesitantly walks into "McCoy's Barber Shop" in Pineville for a decent haircut. After all, it was getting too hot for his now collar-length hair to stay.

As he walked into the shop, he heard some of the townfolks chattering in the leather chairs on the left. Soon, "Bo" McCoy told him he was next and, while getting him prepped for the haircut, started a light conversation with him, smiling and reassuring him that he was going to look absolutely fine.
The down-home ambiance of the spacious barber shop, coupled with the friendliness of the barbers, just made it an enjoyable experience all the way around. When they were finished, that teen had a perfect haircut - and it didn't cost much at all!

JUNE 2015: The man who was that teenager had just returned to his hometown of Pineville and noticed that the old barber shop was open! He just had to go back in for a visit (though he'd had his now-balding scalp shorn a bit earlier).

Mr. McCoy was long gone, and the shop had gone through a few other hands over those fifty years. He wondered how the shop had changed.

But, as soon as he walked through the door, he felt the down-home ambiance still there! Sure, there were new leather chairs adorning the left wall, but everything else - even down to the black-and-white-checkered floor - was just as if it had been nearly frozen in time.

There was chatter from those chairs as new owner Anthony Williamson beckoned his next client up for a nice trim. While he was cutting the young man's hair, he started into a friendly banter with the client.

By the time he was finished, his client had a magnificent haircut that no other barber could even close to matching!

And the price? Unbeatable!!

So, if you need to get a good haircut - even just a trim - just come on by All-American Barber Shop at 319 Main Street (on your left, the first shop in the historic downtown district) and let Anthony provide you with the best one you'd ever hoped for. And be sure to check out and "like" them on Facebook, too!

You'll end up being a regular customer, for sure!!


Okay ... who, in this magic land of the USofA, isn't half-melted by this ginormous heat wave that many of us (especially here in Charlotte) are having??
Everywhere I turn, I'm hearing people complain about the heat (in a way, it's funny ... they're the same ones who, just six months ago, were complaining about the cold! lol). But, as long as there are power grids and central cooling, air conditioners and ice cubes, we're going to be fine, right??

I have to admit it's a bit harder for us bald(ing) guys. You see, at least you furry folks have  something that'll absorb the sweat. All of us with only memories of hair have it harder, because that stuff comes straight down our foreheads and skis down our snoots -- leaving us with half-baked heads!

A few years ago, a local, big-name family restaurant realized their summer patrons were worn out by the heat -- and that meant smaller orders or just Coke or tea and nothing else.
So how to put the customers at ease so they'd order more, thus building the store's daily receipts? Simple:

They put winter music over their speaker system! Sure enough, people started feeling cooler (ahhh, the power of a brain! Or so I'm told ...), thus becoming friendlier and more at ease, which meant more (and bigger) orders!

Now, Uncle LL was one of ... no, he was the coolest teen host on television. Despite the lighting, the small nearly closet-sized studio (his words), all the equipment (from cameras to amps) and so many people on the set, he still made every home viewer feel relaxed and refreshed -- even on those sweat-stained days of summer!

Among the acts he'd had on the show were his musical counterparts, Paul Revere and The Raiders. Again, despite temps that could be so hot they could fricassee birds while in flight, Paul, Mark, Phil, Fang and Smitty made everything cooler and more enjoyable with their perfect blend of music and often-improvised humor.

Someone once asked "Why does it seem hotter now than it did back in the old days? Was Al Gore right after all, when he said our weather pattern's lost its rhythm?" Well, I never learned about Al Gore rhythm, so I can't figure that one out; but, you know, it wasn't so much that we were meteorologically cooler (and I'm still trying where "logically" fits into that weatherwise word);
we just had cooler times, acts ... and a teen-show host who kept it that way each weekday! Of course, when you feel more comfortable in your actions, you start reflecting that "coolness" physically! (so says Dr. Who and McDreamy, Ben Casey and Dr. Pepper -- and some real doctors, as well!)

They really knew how to beat these Summertime Blues -- and it's a shame that, in today's rock world, very few know how (or even care) to learn from those who made our lives so "cool" back then!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It Can Suit You To A Tea!


Nestled among the shops in historic downtown Pineville, NC is one that offers pure, aesthetic teatime perfection! 

I've been there a few times before, and it is incredibly enriching and relaxing!

From the time you open the doors of Unwind Tea and Coffee Beans - where you're cordially greeted by Wendy (the owner) and with the relaxing aroma of exotic tea wafting around you - you'll realize you're in a special and welcome respite from the hectic everyday world. 

Unlike so many places these days, you'll find Unwind a simple, down-to-earth store where you can actually sit and relax for awhile (yes, they have sofas and chairs!).
They carry so many different kinds of tea (and take my word for it: you'll love their Madagascar Coconut.  Why, it actually tastes like coconut cream pie!), but they have special teas that can either pick you up or calm you down.

Honestly, with so many flavors (like Vanilla Mint Sencha or Sweet Orange), you'll think you've gone to tea heaven.

You'll find wellness teas (and these really work, too!), Relaxation Elixir, Detox and Digestion Tonics (and these are some of their favorites!) and so many more! 

In fact, she has a spot where you can even sample the tea of the week (this time, it was Passion Fruit Black Tea Iced - and it was sooo good that I had to sample it twice! lol  Her teas are totally delicious!!)

Of course, they carry a variety of coffees, too (hence the "... and Coffee Beans" in their name). 

You'll love the light-to-medium roast of "Happy Dog" (gotta love that name! lol), Hazelnut for those who like flavored coffee, decaf, half-caff and even Espresso! 

And did you know you can even have your child's birthday tea party there? Girls can make a tiara or jeweled necklaces and enjoy cupcakes and tea (like Strawberry Lemonade, Summer Berries, Root Beer or Vanilla Wafer). Why, Wendy will even host small bridal or baby showers, and the guest of honor can choose a combination of tea and cheese to share with attendees! 

Now, these showers are about one-and-a-half hours, and up to twelve guests (including the guest of honor) can be invited! She just asks you call the store at 704-889-TEAS (8327) for available days and times or send her an email (just check the "contact" page on Unwind's website).

Wendy also carries a line of very beautiful purses as well as lovely handmade jewelry items!

She really has an amazing and exotic line - and everything is priced to go easy on your wallet!

And she's on Facebook now, so be sure to follow Unwind Tea and Coffee Beans there! 


You can get to this magical store by just going down Main Street in historic downtown Pineville and, just before you get to the railroad tracks, turn left on Dover Street.  It's at 109 Dover (you can't miss it!  Just look on the left for the logo on their blue awning):

So come on down and give your taste buds - in fact, your whole being - a treat, and visit them today!  Pick up some delicious tea or coffee while you're at it.  I guarantee you'll be refreshed, renewed - and will want to come back time and again!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Building On A Dream (It's Not Hard)


You know, one thing that Lloyd Thaxton believe in was the power of the "idea". He told me once that, when you get a solid, constructive idea, run with it - especially if it's something that will benefit others.

And that's exactly what a young lady in Pineville, North Carolina did!  Mandie Miller learned to bake at an early age, honed her skill by making delicious cakes for her friends' birthday parties and, in time,  crafted it into one of the best cake businesses in America!

Got What It Cakes  is actually located in a shopping strip called the Out Back Shops on Main Street, just a block from the historic downtown district of Pineville  (for you outsiders, it's just a mile south of Charlotte).  But her business has sparked the imagination of young cake-bakers nationwide and has earned the respect of thousands of others.
You see, if you scroll about a third of the way down her webpage, you'll find that she's been featured on TV shows like Katie Couric's, newspapers like the New York Times and magazines like Redbook and Better Homes and Gardens.
Through the videos and articles, you'll also find how she initially marketed her business and began to grow:  a tiny little, "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" place on the internet called ... Facebook!  (Have you ever heard of it?)

Now, while the company has gotten a lot of media exposure, you'd really appreciate the fact that Mandie and her workers are some of the friendliest, most humble people you'd ever want to meet!  Even though they're picking up a lot of wonderful clients, they make a point of making you feel like you're the most special of them all!
Set in a small but cheery little pink suite (or, considering their product, should I say "sweet"?) in the Out Back Shops, they're constantly busy creating their masterpieces (look at the one on your right.  Kind of makes you want to go back and have that first birthday again, just to get a piece of that creative-but-delicious cake, doesn't it?)  Imagine how remarkable your cake will be - whether it's for a wedding, birthday, new baby or any other occasion!

I mentioned Facebook a little earlier (it's where Mandie actually got her start with the business!).  But, if you want to know and see more of their beautiful cakes, just go to their Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages!
Any questions?  Then please go to their FAQ page - because, along with answering them, she'll also give you the best way to contact her (you see, besides being a dynamic baker and businesswoman, she's also a busy mom and wife.  But she wants to give you her undivided attention when it comes to discussing your order).  So be sure to visit that page too, okay?

So click on her page and links now, feast your eyes on the awesomeness of delicious perfection, and then place your order with Got What It Cakes!

She's just what Uncle Lloyd was talking about ...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Remember, We Have Been Warnered

Now, I've heard some crazy things that have gone on in music over the years, but this one really takes the cake!
No, I mean literally - or, if the Warner-Chappell music conglomerate has its way, will in the future.

You see,  they're trying to get one of our most-loved song - a 125-year-old ditty that's been in public domain (meaning, nobody has a copyright on it) for years - and buy its rights.

That means they could get somewhere in two million dollars in royalties.  Every time we sing it or download it for a very special occasion, we'll have to pay them royalties (or, at least, get their permission to use it, which means paying a nominal fee.  In other words, pay them royalties anyway ...) to use the song.

But it's just fourteen words, not counting two that you can personalize. And it's so repetitive!

Okay, so what does that have to do with cake?  Well, think about it for a minute:  When do you normally give a celebratory cake?  At weddings?  Retiree parties?  Or ... or ... birthdays??
Now, one of these cakes is usually presented while the partygoers sing a special song to the honoree.  For 1,000 points and the game,  tell me the name of the song.

(cue "Jeopardy" theme)

Right ... the big Warner group is trying to buy the rights to ... "Happy Birthday To You"!  

And, of course, that means a drop in birthday-cake sales in restaurants and served at parties.  Because nobody's going to dole out big bucks to that music org just for the privilege of singing/playing it/hearing it played.

If they succeed with their plan, just remember: You were warnered here first!


As many of you know, we lost two great Kings of music recently: the great blues legend, B.B. King - and the popular blues/pop icon, Ben E. King.
Ben E. was one of Uncle Lloyd's favorite guests when he appeared on the Lloyd Thaxton Show.  In fact, LL gave me an inside look at what he was like between show segments (and, back then, they were always broadcast live!).  He said that Ben E. was one of the most courteous, humble and fan-friendly acts he had on the show!
Though he was best known for his megahit, Stand By Me, he also sang lead on the Drifters' hit, Save The Last Dance for Me and also charted with Spanish Harlem (which became a standard with a lot of early groups).
That was the man that Uncle LL respected and enjoyed - as well as millions of other fans.