May 30, 2008

Looking For My New Stuff?

Looking for new stuff from me? I've got a couple of places for you to look...

Ramblings' Journal still lives at

Plus you can find other stuff from the R/J WordPress version at

My Twitter feed can be found at

My Google Reader feed can be had on -- of course, Google.

Finally, you can find my work-related stuff at

This address will redirect to the new Ramblings' Journal address pretty soon now.

Posted by mhking at 06:32 PM | Comments (7187)

May 29, 2008

There's Something About A Barber Shop

Historically, the barber shop was the place where all the ills of the world were solved, all disputes settled, all sporting events adjudicated, and all commiserating done.

When I first came to Atlanta, I was morning drive host at a small black talk station here. One of the first shows I did on the air there was one that kept the phones ringing for more than four hours.

I wanted to find a barber shop. Not a stylist, not a salon, not a unisex or chain establishment, but an honest to goodness, old fashioned barber shop. I wanted to find one with a real barber pole out front that lit up and rotated. I wanted to see a small television set mounted high on the wall in the corner. I wanted to smell blue Barbicide, and hear the sound of a razor being sharpened against a leather strap. I wanted to sit in a chair that the barber jacked up and down with that massive metal handle on the side.

I wanted to find a real barber shop.

Growing up in Gary, Indiana, my dad took me and my brother to the same barber shop he went to as a youngster, Starks' Barber Shop on 25th Avenue just off Broadway, not far from where he grew up. It was a place with a very high ceiling, and unadorned florescent lights up there. There was a black and white TV set on top of the Coke machine in the back, by Mr. Starks' chair.

The layout was very similar to many other barber shops I've been in, in many cities. Mr. Starks had the back chair. There was an older barber -- I can't remember his name -- who worked from the next chair. You didn't want to sit in his chair. His hands were pretty shaky, if I remember right. Dad never took us to him. Anyway, after that, the next chair was held down by Mr. Starks' son, Joe. Joe went to high school with my dad at "Dear Ol' Roosevelt High" just up the street. Finally, the newest barber was relegated to the chair next to the window.

Dad took us to either Joe or Mr. Starks, depending on who was there and how many folks were there on any given visit. Once in awhile, we'd run into my grandfather there -- of course, my granddad always went to Mr. Starks.

The place had an odd, yet comforting smell of Barbicide and barbeque -- there was a rib joint down the block.

There was a vinyl couch and several vinyl chairs there, and an old coffee table that always held old magazines, the last few newspapers, and invariably copies of The Watchtower or Awake dropped off by the local Jehovah Witness, and usually a copy of Muhammad Speaks, dropped off by someone from the Nation of Islam. The Chicago Sun-Times was there most often. Usually it was flipped back to the sports pages, which I would look at while the "old heads" there would solve all the ills of the world and tell each other how to get rich, satisfied and happy at the same time.

That's what I wanted to find here in Atlanta. That started a conversation that was among the best shows of radio I've ever done.

I finally found that barber shop, and believe it or not, it was my wife who found it first, after that show. The layout is similar to what I remember, down to the high ceilings and the TV up on the wall in the corner. When I go in, I go to the guy in the back chair. He and his grandfather own the shop. His grandfather cuts heads two chairs over.

And when I go in, all the guys there solve all the world's problems and disputes -- me, right there along with them.

(Originally posted on

Posted by mhking at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2008

Hot Enough For A Virgin Mojito

Here in the Kudzu-covered Southern reaches, we are heading into the time of year where refreshing marvelous drinks are de riguer for the middle of the day. But while a good mint julip or summer shandy is always in order, and a wonderful Cuban mojito is a must to have at this time of year, there are many who cannot or simply don't want to have an alcoholic drink in the heat of the summer -- for whatever reason.

Santa Monica's Border Grill has come up with a good virgin mojito that is crisp and refreshing without the alcoholic kick that many associate with the Florida staple.

Minty Lime Cooler

Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1 (12-ounce) bottle cold sparkling water
Lime slices, for garnish
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine the lime juice, sugar, and mint in a blender. Puree until smooth. Fill two tall glasses halfway with ice cubes. Pour half of the lime juice concentrate in each. Top with sparkling water, garnish with lime and mint, and serve.

The recipe was featured in this week's edition of Good Food, aired on KCRW Santa Monica and podcast on

Posted by mhking at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2008

Oops of a headline...

SkyNews sent out a headline shortly after today's announcement of Ted Kennedy's brain tumor that read: "Kennedy Diagnosed With Brain"...

Some might argue that the timing (at least for Hillary, given her probable win in Kentucky today) is not good, as she'll get overshadowed again; others might even say that the "oops" headline was (or wasn't) accurate...

Posted by mhking at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

Here, here!

Republican candidate John McCain is proposing that British-style political grillings (ala Prime Minister's Question Time, which is aired live on Wednesday mornings on C-SPAN2 here in the states, and as seen in the picture here) become the norm on Capitol Hill.

McCain is proposing that Congress "grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons."

I don't know that McCain can stand the grilling that would likely take place -- especially on issues like border security, the economy and the war. But I do like the idea. It suggests a higher measure of accountability, which is always good.

Not that the other two candidates would follow suit.

Posted by mhking at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)