All posts by thehoward

Like Nothing Else: Ode to WD-40

This image and all at the end of Mark's post come from: - an extremely unique resource for the advertising world...and people like us.

Is there a particular smell that you love?  Not necessarily one that transports you to a certain place and time but one that is here and now and….handy.  That’s how it is with me and the sweet, metallic smell of WD-40.  It’s like cinnamon rolls and coffee on the back porch except with a more purposeful air.

Here’s the deal.  Everyone knows there are two essentials for work to get done; duct tape and WD-40.  Every self-respecting garage has them, every mobile work unit from tow trucks to taco trucks has them.  Most pick-ups have them rolling around under the seat.  Maybe not city pick-ups, poor wannabes that never see a dirt road, but real pick-ups.  My question; why is WD-40 so essential?  Why not WC-20 or Fred’s Thread Lube?  The answer may be more sinister than you first imagine.

Duct tape comes from a variety of manufacturers but not many people get emotionally involved with the brand.  But there is no substitute for WD-40, the real deal, the true Bones McCoy.  First, it works great.  Squeaky hinges no more.  Seized threads freed.  Condensation rust melted away.  Other spray lubricants cannot hold their own against WD-40.  You spray twice as much for half the effect.

But there is something else, something in the smell that drives men to choose WD-40 and only WD-40.  I contend there is a secret ingredient, a pheromone designed to make a person desire one thing and one thing only in the spray lube category.  And it works.  While the WD-40 company laughs all the way to the bank, men are turned into helpless pawns of their olfactory senses.  I am no exception and so I offer this ode to my…my precious. Continue reading Like Nothing Else: Ode to WD-40

James Taylor and the Civic Center Music Hall: A Review

Once in a while I get the opportunity to see a show where I can sit back, relax and simply enjoy the quality of the musicians in front of me.  Last night at the Civic Center Music Hall was such a night.  The star of the show, James Taylor, assembled a band of tremendous musicians, all stand alone artists in their own right.

On drums was Chad Wackerman who, oddly enough, was the drummer for Frank Zappa at the first concert I saw at the Civic Center in 1984.  It is probable that he does not recall the venue as it has changed considerably since then.  But the incredible acoustics have not changed.  Chad was just a kid when he was playing for Frank but appears to have aged very little in the last 27 years.  Combined with percussionist Luis Conte the rhythmic interplay of last night was extraordinary.

Often times when watching artists perform their songs, whether live or on television, the harmonies are not quite on.  Not last night.  JT had four backing vocalists and the harmonies were absolutely glorious.  Not just pitch-perfect, but very nicely blended with only James voice standing out.  I wish I could tell you their names.

James played the songs you would want him to play and appeared comfortable between songs, telling stories and giving the history of several.  He told the same joke before playing Up On The Roof as in the youtube link I attached to my post of April 26.  Still, his interplay with the crowd was endearing.  After a short intermission he signed autographs for anyone who could manage to make it up to the stage.  The concert started at 8-ish and lasted until about 10:20 with a 20-minute intermission.

The first half of the show before intermission was musically tight and very impressive for live.  After intermission the band seemed a little more loose, moved around the stage and seemed intentional on having a bit more fun.  Yet still tight and impressive.

For me, the highlight of the night happened just before the band left for an encore.  They started to leave but James called the vocalists back.  He said, “I’ve always wanted to play this song in Oklahoma” and began to play Rogers & Hammersteins “O What A Beautiful Morning”, a song my co-workers and family suffer with me singing just about every time we go outside.  There was no suffering last night; five vocalists and one acoustic guitar played in typical James Taylor phrasing.  Really very nice.

Music from the Man Cave – James Taylor

My beautiful wife is taking me to see James Taylor at the Civic Center Music Hall tonight.  I have to say, for a heavy metal guy I’m pretty excited.

James Taylor recorded some of the great songs of the 70’s and 80’s.  And I can add another great musician to the list of great musicians I’ve seen at the Civic Center; not an extensive list, Frank Zappa and Jethro Tull, but what terrific shows.  And the renovation of the Civic Center a few years back has truly made it, once again, the crown jewel of central Oklahoma music venues.

So get your “Handyman” chores done, grab the one you tell “You’ve Got a Friend”, don’t go to “Mexico” but jump on your “Steamroller” and meet us downtown tonight with “Your Smiling Face”!  And click on the link below to watch James doing his rendition of another superb Carole King song. (click photo to see video)

Music from the Man Cave: Chronology of My Concert History at THE INCOMPARABLE MYRIAD

I stayed up way too late last night watching a rockumentary about Rush on Palladia.  I love Palladia; it’s what MTV could have been.  I think it may be owned by MTV.  Nevertheless, there were musicians from several other bands talking about Rush and the influence that band had on their own music.  I started thinking about the times I’ve seen Rush and how they are kind of a man cave band.  I’m not sure why women don’t dig Rush like guys do….maybe you’ll enlighten me.
Anyway, that train of thought led me to man cave music and eventually to the concerts I’ve seen at, as they used to say, “The Incomparable Myriad!” Naming rights to the building have since been sold to Cox Cable but it’s still the Myriad to me.

My first concert there was in 1977 while I was just in 7th grade.  I could not imagine turning my 7th graders loose in a venue that large….not sure what my Mom was thinking but we both survived the experience.  And, I saw Led Zeppelin on their last North American tour.  Yes I did.  For $7.  John Bonham, if memory serves, played his orange chrysolite Ludwig drums and had a platform that rolled to the front of the stage for Moby Dick.  That and Jimmy Page being surrounded by a cone of lasers while he played his Les Paul with a violin bow are about all I remember…..but I was there DUDE! Continue reading Music from the Man Cave: Chronology of My Concert History at THE INCOMPARABLE MYRIAD

Music From The Man Cave: Sunny Sweeney “If I Could”

There is a lot to be said for music that makes listening fun.  A lot of folks really take themselves and their music WAY too seriously.  There is also a lot to be said for music that you stumble across accidentally.

Yahoo! used to have a “radio” website and one of the stations they offered was called Americana.  I love just about anything categorized as Americana so I tried out the station and was introduced to all sorts of artists I’d never heard on commercial, broadcast radio.  And are they missing out!  Consequently, the rest of us may also be.

So, in an effort to…no, to heck with the grandiosity.  We’re in the man cave so I’ll try to keep it real.

This song is a short little blast of joy called “If I Could” from an artist named Sunny Sweeney that is part rave-up, part rockabilly and a whole lotta toe-tappin’.  Let me know what you think!

Music From The Man Cave – Introduction and “Gamma”

"Gamma" photo from the Davey Pattison Gallery:

Several months ago I was cooking breakfast for the kids.  It was a weekday morning before school and my wife was getting ready for work.  Kind of an oddity, I suppose, around our house (my wife is a chef) but on weekdays it is either me or my son who cooks breakfast.  I suppose we cook out of necessity since one of us is usually dressed and ready before the girls make it downstairs.

Anyway, I decided to have a little breakfast cooking music and put on my vinyl copy of Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous.”  One of the finest “live” albums ever released.

Yes, I know it has studio overdubs.  I don’t care.

Soon after, my wife came downstairs, looked at me, smiled and proclaimed, “You’re such a guy.”  Reflecting on that moment gave me an idea: Music from the Man Cave.  Recommendations by a guy for other guys.  Not that girls can’t listen too….

First up (we’ll get to Thin Lizzy soon, I promise) is a blast from my past.  I acquired a cassette copy of the second album from a band called Gamma, featuring Ronnie Montrose on guitar, Davey Pattison on vocals, Denny Carmassi on drums, Glen Letsch on bass and Jim Alcivar on keyboards.  This cassette spent a lot of time in my Walkman knockoff and I rediscovered it a couple years back.  It has a terrific remake of Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air” but the song that I really want to recommend is called “Voyager”.  You can buy it for .99 on iTunes, or check out the YouTube clip at the bottom of this post.

“Voyager” is an amazing song Robin Trower is still kicking himself for not writing. Continue reading Music From The Man Cave – Introduction and “Gamma”

In Search of a Name for the “Man-Bun”


Yep, there it is in all its glory. My "Man-Bun" in need of a decent descriptor.

There really aren’t too many of us these days: long-haired freaky looking guys. Especially those of us who aren’t that freaky.  We grow up, get respectable jobs or just loose our follicles.  Society eventually molds us to its will.

Or does it?

A funny thing happened on my way to respectability.  I found out I just wasn’t that corporate.  And I decided that in honor of my brothers who no longer can, if I can grow my hair, I should.

So here I am once again in familiar territory; the end of the dreaded in-between stage where you can’t pull all your hair into a ponytail so most of the time it looks like a mop in a light socket.  “Push through,” I tell myself.  “Wear a hat.”  Oh yes, that doesn’t work either; my hair makes it slide up my head.  “Push through.”

Continue reading In Search of a Name for the “Man-Bun”

Silent Sunday: 1/16/11 ~ Bridges Over Oklahoma County Creeks and Rivers

Mark “The Howard” Hinderliter is one of our RDC contributors who also drives around the state.  A lot.  He’s a geotechnical engineer and does soil and sub-surface testing for various projects that invariably lead him across the creeks and rivers of Oklahoma.  And, underneath the bridges to take photos.  A few weeks back, some of our readers were having a conversation about the funky creek names in Oklahoma.  Here are a few of their comments:

Dog Thrasher Creek. I don’t remember exactly where it was but around Pawhuska to Drumright-Pawnee area of Oklahoma..

‎@Mike – somewhere (I think close to Woodward?) I drove by Skunk Creek.

One of my friends, (name omitted), told me that on road trips with her grand-kids they played a “game” of sorts where they would try to decide why a creek got its name. I’ll try to send you a pic of Hog Shooter Creek soon. We have some great names in NE Okla.

There’s “Suck Creek” but that’s down around Chattanooga.

Anyway, you get the picture…then Mark chimed in and said he had photos of several creeks in Oklahoma…and, well, there’s our Silent Sunday “trip” for you today. He wrote about these photos he loaded for you, “The great old bridges of Oklahoma display a lot of different designs but they are being replaced. Enjoy these pictures, but be grateful you won’t have to drive across them anymore.”

Unnamed Creek ~ Haskell County

Continue reading Silent Sunday: 1/16/11 ~ Bridges Over Oklahoma County Creeks and Rivers

Simple Sabbath: Hope is in the Eye of the Needle

Mark 10:17-27

Maybe you’ve read this passage before, or perhaps a similar passage in Matthew or Luke.

The story is basically this: Jesus was ministering one day and a rich guy runs to him as Jesus is about to leave, falls on his knees and asks how he can inherit eternal life.  Jesus gives him the standard 10 commandment “don’ts” and the rich guy states he has kept all these commandments since his youth.  Then Jesus goes on to direct the guy to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow him.

At this, rich guy gets bummed out and leaves because he has a lot of stuff.  Jesus tells his disciples it’s easier for a camel to make its way through the eye of a needle than the rich to go to heaven but, that through God, “all things are possible”.

I love the reading of this passage in Mark, particularly, because it states that Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Won’t it be cool some day when Jesus looks at you that way?

This passage has given me a lot of reason to pause and think over the years because so many people like to write the end of the rich guy’s story in a negative frame.  But I’d caution you; the end of this particular story is not written in the Bible. So many folks just assume that the rich guy did not do as Jesus instructed him, but we don’t know whether he did or not.  I’ve heard people use this passage as New Testament justification for the death penalty.  But this passage ends with hope: “with God all things are possible.” In other words, rich guys getting into heaven and camels getting through needle eyes.

I encourage you to find the hope Jesus’ disciples were presented on that day.

Knocking on the Locked Door of Brett Favre’s Mind: A Reprise

Thor, defeated.

Editor’s Note:  Our sports writer and editor, Rob Loeber, is – as you read this – moving from Tennessee back to Oklahoma.  In order to manage the move, he’s taking the day off.  In his place, Mark “The Howard” Hinderliter, has stepped up and shared his ongoing struggle…or perhaps resolution…about Brett Farve, the Vikings, and  – um, – Sheb Wooley.  Enjoy~ RDK


*Disclaimer: All facts reported in this article may only be facts to me and could have nothing at all to do with actual history.

Wow.  I could probably just stop right there since the Vikings season of drama has been so well-documented.

We can always count on the Dallas Cowboys for an annual football soap opera but the Vikings have stolen the mantel of all football drama queens this year.  And remember, I’m a Vikings fan!  Well, okay…you’ll have to go back and read the first article I wrote on the inner workings of Brett Favre’s mind to understand my team allegiances.

Which reminds me – it’s probably time to explain how an Oklahoma boy became a Vikings fan.  Previously I blamed Sheb Wooley; a cowboy actor from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, (somewhere along that time period).  He also was known to be a singer.  And he is in my family tree, according to my Father.  So we’re 10th cousins twice removed or something like that.  Whatever that means.

A family tree headstone of Sheb Wooley. Notice the different spellings? A common occurrence during that era.

Continue reading Knocking on the Locked Door of Brett Favre’s Mind: A Reprise


by Mark “The Howard” Hinderliter

If you happen to read this, know that it is being written through insomnia.  Not that I’m incoherent but, occasionally something just takes up so much space in the head that sleep won’t come, TV won’t help and there’s no compelling novel waiting to lull me.  Just an engineering textbook.  The textbook could actually work as an insomnia cure on another night, but not tonight.

Let me say first that I’m not a political liberal.  I think our country’s founders were pretty smart guys who enacted the best system of government they could given their study of history and the political and societal realities of their time.  And this system has withstood the test of time:  self-centered politicians, elitists and those who believe they are entitled to something that belongs to another.

Having said that, I am deeply bothered by the church in Florida whose pastor wants to burn a Quran to commemorate 9-11.  Apparently, this man is disturbed by the proposed Mosque planned near the site of the World Trade Center in New York City and what he sees as the world’s cowering to fanatic Muslim extremists.  Burning a copy or copies of the Quran on 9-11 is his and his congregation’s response to these current events.

When I first heard a news report of this planned burning, it was in the context of General David Petraeus warning that it could fan the flames of hatred and endanger our troops in Afghanistan.  And I have to admit, I was not swayed by the General’s argument.  My first reaction was, “Tough, what goes around comes around.  Burn our flag and the Christian Bible, we’ll retaliate.”

I am frequently a very conflicted man on these sorts of things.

Left to my own devices I’d probably join the pastor.  Left to my own devices I’d promote the death penalty for murderers and rapists.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said out loud when hearing the report of a homicide or a rape, “bullet in the head will put a stop to that.”

But I have to admit something.  I’ve read the words of Christ.  I’ve read the words of the Lord spoken through the prophets of old.  Sometimes they confuse me and seem to conflict.  But when I think about the actions of Jesus on earth and I ponder what he would do in a given situation, I don’t reach the conclusion that he would act hatefully or act in retaliation.

Now there were certainly things that irritated him.  Turn his Father’s house into a goat market? Serious irritation.  The hypocrisy of religious leaders, those who should know better? Their behavior earned a tongue lashing that may not be over yet!  But burn someone else’s religious book?  I can’t see it.  Jesus was and is a walking endorsement of the love of a Creator God who would do anything for any of us.  Including radical Muslim haters.  Because if they took the time to know Him their behavior would change.  Children of the King learn to act like the King.  If they seek Him over self.

I don’t know anything about this preacher in Florida other than he wants to burn a book.  But I can look at history and see that when people follow a charismatic leader rather than the King, hatred and destruction usually follow.  Waco, Guyana…but from Waco came Oklahoma City.  And Jonesy didn’t go alone.

Those who would call themselves Christian are called to love their enemies and pray for them.  Vengeance is for the Lord.  If a Koresh or a Jones claims to be the Lord’s instrument of vengeance or retaliation, run away.  Leave them to their own destruction.  Do not join them until you have read the red letters for yourself.  That one chooses to be tolerant of another’s beliefs does not mean he condones them.  He chooses to love that person until the light of the Kingdom shines through.

Maybe I can sleep now.  If not, the text book awaits me.

Beyond Red

by The Howard

*Disclaimer: All facts reported in this article may only be facts to me and could have nothing at all to do with actual history.

You could say that I grew up in the red hills of northwest Oklahoma between Buffalo and May.  I never actually lived there, but have spent a lot of time in the area and have occasional, random opportunities to go back.  Not as often as in the past, but on occasion I get, or take, the opportunity to go.

Take last Memorial Day for instance.  My brother and I took off the Thursday prior and ran the gauntlet of Waynoka, Buffalo and Laverne leaving silk petals behind as we went.  We had a great time – took along my tattered Atlas & Gazetteer in an effort to get from place to place and back home again without straying onto a highway.

We weren’t completely successful missing the highways but we sure killed a lot of time!

My latest northwestern jaunt was for business to an area south of Gate, Oklahoma.  I’m assuming Gate is so-named because it is just inside the Oklahoma Panhandle, serving as the gate to “No Man’s Land.”

You have to love a place called “No Man’s Land.”  Texas didn’t want this 38-mile wide, narrow strip of land.  Kansas was restricted by geography and treaty from claiming it.  So, it was pinned onto the collective of unassigned lands fated to become Oklahoma.

What I found south of Gate was surprising and a little irritating. At least for a while.

You see, for at least 120 feet below the ground surface there is nothing red.  No “redbed” as the old-timers like to call the red shales and sandstones.  No red silts or sands such as what comprises the red hills outside Buffalo.  No red clays like those that cover much of the state.  Just light brown sand, gravel and a little bit of gray clay.

This geological footprint makes for an interesting drive; it’s like the undiscovered Little Sahara.  There are what appear to be hills but on closer inspection are discovered to be sand dunes rolling right into the Beaver River.  And the visage of these sage covered sand dunes…I couldn’t help but be reminded of Teletubby Land.  My son loves it when I sing the Teletubby song.  He’s now twelve years old, and was never as big a fan of the Tubbies as I.

I didn’t actually see a child’s face in the blazing hot sun (as in Teletubby Land), but after prolonged exposure I’m sure I heard giggling!

Laurie's Cafe in Gate, Oklahoma

By the way, if you ever go through Gate, stop for a cheeseburger at the local café.  They’re pretty good; I’ve had several over the course of two weeks.  And the special on Thursdays is fried chicken.  It must be good because it’s the only building within, say, thirty miles that has more than four people in it.  Every table is filled on Thursdays!

Driving home from these sage-covered dunes, I began to ponder red dirt and the Red Dirt Chronicles.  Oklahoma isn’t all red dirt but red dirt is a common bond.  It is a bond that’s unites us in this geopolitical jigsaw puzzle called Oklahoma.

I think about all the eco-diversity in Oklahoma…I believe we have six distinct eco-regions, depending upon which source you read.  Beyond red, we are a diverse mixture of urban and rural cultures and backgrounds.  But we are united by the wind and the red dirt carried upon it.

It’s good to explore Oklahoma!