Larry Storch: My Corporal Crush, in the Land of Fort Courage

Jun 26, 2017 | 6129 Views | 5 Comments

I gave up trying to explain the appeal of my “crush objects” long ago. My fantasy figures, be they flesh-and-blood or fictional characters, have always been quirky types that never fit the traditional tall, dark, handsome, all-star, man-of-means mold. Such was the case with one of my earliest heartthrobs: Larry Storch. I’ve been in love with the guy from the first time I laid eyes on him: September 14, 1965, the date F-Troop debuted on ABC television. I remember watching each episode of that Western satire, sitting three feet away from our Westinghouse TV, ignoring Mommy’s... Read More »

Roll Up, Roll Up — for the Greyhound Bus Hippyland Tour!

Jun 12, 2017 | 9005 Views | 6 Comments

So, you're trippin' with your blue-jean baby down a marijuana-scented street, wearing your tie-dyed shirt, love beads and huaraches, when you hear an announcement blaring from a packed tour bus: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you look to your left you'll see a hairy hippie passed out in front of the Phật Phúc Noodle Bar. Ahead on the right you’ll notice a parade of shaved-head Hare Krishnas -- such a happy lot, wrapped in their orange gauze! Oh, and do you see those scraggly kids carrying signs that say 'drop acid, not bombs'? They're the pinko-loving,... Read More »

Motor City Mavericks: The Pleasure Seekers and Suzi Quatro

Jun 3, 2017 | 10508 Views | 2 Comments

When a group of sisters got together in the early '60s to come up with a name for their rock and roll band, they turned to that greatest of reference guides -- the dictionary. You could always count on ol' Funk and Wagnall for inspiration. Or even Merriam and Webster. (Kids, you can Google those names.) Leafing through the large tome, they came across the word "hedonist." Definition: a pleasure seeker. Bingo! Formed in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in 1964 by 17-year-old Patti Quatro, The Pleasure Seekers were born of Beatlemania and bred on Detroit muscle. The original... Read More »

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

May 28, 2017 | 23400 Views | 2 Comments

“What did you do in the war, Daddy?” That’s a question most kids eventually get around to asking when they learn their fathers served in the armed forces. Almost all of my childhood friends had dads who served in either World War II or the Korean War. In those days it wasn’t uncommon for veterans to keep their war stories to themselves, especially those who fought in battle or witnessed atrocities. The men who went to war back then were of a generation steeped, for better or worse, in silent suffering. They shared a collective stiff-upper-lip consciousness.... Read More »

David Peel: The Dope-Smokin’ Pope of the New York City Hippies

May 1, 2017 | 19175 Views | 7 Comments

Hello, ma'am. I'm working to clean up the neighborhood from parasites. Do you mind if I take a quick look around your house? I'm afraid you may have hippies. If you're familiar with the darkly funny animated series "South Park," you know there's nothing that tubby 9-year-old Eric Cartman hates more than hippies. In the 2005 episode "Die Hippie, Die," he gallantly waddles from house to house with an exterminator tank, hell-bent on ridding the neighborhood of the bad-smelling, peace-preaching stoners. Well, in my small hometown in the late 1960s, we had but one authentic hippie, and we intended... Read More »