mickey and mexican hats
by Turtle Jones

It's been a stressful day for both of us. Securing writers and redesigning the look of the site. It looks pretty cool, but since we aren't gonna pull it out til we hit it big on the first day, let's just say we are both tired from answering and emailing people to write on the site. We think the end result will be out in a few weeks so stay tuned for that. This isn't easy to do this but it's the price we have to pay to get where we want to go and to all who have responded, we thank you.

FTTW shirts will be coming out soon as well as FTTW bowling shirts, but that once again is killing us cause I gotta go buy emulsion again since mine has turned a funny color and I think it has gone bad. It's been a while since I tin foiled my room to burn screens, but thefinn is doing it and I am, too. So we can have contests on here to get free swag from FTTW.

And, if you haven't figured it out by now, we need one more writer who does free form so if you want to be on our team, do your best in the comments and try to impress us.

But in the meantime, we decided no topic tonight. I've been on this fucking compy all day and so has Michele. So, we are just doing free form writing tonight. But, really, our stories will prolly suck tonight cause I'm having a hard time lighting a cigar to keep awake and I know Michele is out of it.

But here we go!

turtle dons his hat.

When I was a kid, I would always drive by these migrant workers in wife beaters. Always wearing these cheap hats. Cheap. Fuck if I knew back then. Years later I found out they were like ten bucks, but seeing these guys slaving away in farms for shit money to send back home always impressed me. Something about them doing something they hated but had to do just to feed their family. And those hats. Those cheap white cowboy hats that were hard as wood and did nothing but catch the sweat from falling into their eyes as they picked some kind of vegetables for some simple wage to send home to another country so their kids could eat.hatboy2.jpg That made a hell of an impression on me as a kid.

I would watch them everyday as I walked thru the barrio to get to school and wonder why they had such devotion to someone they would never see again. But one thing grabbed me. My respect for them. They knew that to get to American Dream, the first one on this land would live hard and die harder so the others could build this country stronger.

So the hat. A sign of respect and hard work. I needed one. I always wanted one but never got one til I was given one when I had heat stroke at some goddamn summer show in 110-degree weather. Playing bass about to throw up, I got one. I still threw up. But it was a sign from my friends of hard work and their respect.

But that started my obsession with hats.

Fedoras, golf hats, hockey hats, Scottish hats, English brims, pimp hats, fuzzy hats, beanies, fuck, I even have a Hot Dog on a Stick hat.

But nothing compares to wearing a wife beater in a kiddie pool with my cheap migrant worker cowboy hat on.

In fact. I'm going to put it on now. -T

Michele tells a story:

Yea, I am kind of out of it. It's been a long, stressful day. Very little sleep last night. Insomnia sucks, but having nightmares in the little sleep you do get sucks even harder. So I'm struggling here tonight. But I'll pull an old story out of my ass just to get something down here.

A Baseball Story

It was the summer of 86. I had gone back to college the previous spring after an extended hiatus. 21 credits crammed into one semester after not being in school for a while was exhausting, so I passed on taking any summer classes. I was working nights at the time and thought I would spend my summer days sleeping until noon. Or maybe three. And then my Dean made me an offer I couldn’t refuse - a summer job that would entail driving to The Bronx every morning, not getting home until midnight most nights, working a few weekends, all for no pay except a few college credits.

Doesn’t sound like much of a bargain does it?

But I’d be working for The New York Yankees.

The New. York. Yankees.

I’d spend my days as an editorial assistant for Yankees Magazine. Cropping pictures, Proofing stories, doing advertising layout. If the Yanks were at home, I’d stay through the game and run errands. And if there were no errands to be run, I was welcome to stay for the games anyhow. It doesn’t get much better than that. Well, maybe if they were paying me. Still, this was a job I would have paid them to have.

Most of my summer was spent in the archives room, rummaging through photos of old timers like Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio. I read scorecards from games played long before I was born. I’d sit in this stuffy room for hours. My legs would cramp up and sweat would drip down my back and still I’d sit there lost in this baseball time warp in this room stuffed with trophies and plaques and mementos of the greatest baseball team that ever existed. Yes. Ever existed. We are talking about the Yankees here. History and fame at my fingertips. Flipping through ticket stubs and game programs. Yellowed articles and Dusty photographs. I’d breathe in this dust and cough every ten minutes and my hands were black from old newsprint but I couldn’t drag myself away from everything in that room.

The archive room was just one of the perks. ystadium.jpgI watched games from the press box. Sometimes I helped keep the scorecard. Sometimes I just bullshitted with reporters or players who were on the injured list. I had it made. Lunchtime would find me in the third base seats, legs stretched out, Yankee Stadium almost to myself. I parked in the player’s lot, sometimes walking in with the players themselves. I was the George Fucking Costanza.

Late August came. Pennant race was heating up, summer nights cooling down. My days as a part of the New York Yankees staff were coming to an end. In a way, I was relieved. That morning commute on the Grand Central sucked. But I’d be giving up some kick ass perks. Mingling with Don Mattingly. Napping in the seats behind home plate. My name in Yankees Magazine.

It was close to my last night there when I was invited to watch a game from the General Manager’s office. Oh yea. This was the big time. There I was, this lowly intern, in this huge office full of important baseball people. I stood quietly in the corner, too overwhelmed by the presence of baseball greats to move out of the spot. Not to mention I was kind of paralyzed by the appearance of Mr. Steinbrenner himself. I feared that man just on rumors alone.

A regular employee I had become friendly with over the summer saw me standing by myself. He grabbed me. Dragged me over to the huge picture window that overlooked the field. Yankee Stadium spread out in front of me. I was watching the game from an office behind home plate. I looked at the outfield bleachers where I usually sat before I landed this gig. I was mesmerized. It really doesn’t get better than this, I thought.

My friend excused himself to go get a drink. I stayed at the window, watching the game. I think I was gawking. I’m sure my jaw was hanging open.

Then a voice from beside me.”Great view, isn’t it?”

I looked up. Mickey Mantle was standing beside me, grinning.

I nodded, unable to speak.

Me and Mickey, watching a Yankee game from the office above home plate.

King of the world moment, baby.

King of the fucking world. -M

And that's it for today. We worked hard on a bunch of behind the scenes stuff for this site and we are both kind of worn out from other stuff going on. But we never like to let the site go without something fresh every day. So this is what you got. Kind of fresh, I guess. Maybe more like stuff from the day old bakery. Which really isn't that bad once you get past the mold.

Got a random story to tell? Have at it. I've still got at least two hours before it's a reasonable time to go to bed, so some reading material would be cool.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference mickey and mexican hats:

» BASEBALL: Memories from Baseball Crank
Ryan McConnell posts a vintage John Pacella baseball card, the classic one showing Pacella's unruly perm immediately after ejecting his hat (as always). Shame on McConnell for not knowing who Pacella was. And Michele Catalano shows her mastery of telli... [Read More]


people still play "base ball"?


Video Games, accents, handicaps and girls

Summer of '83, my best friend and I, both dedicated outsiders (aside from the fascination with computers, he played soccer, and I was a gymnast, truly not the path to cooldom), had to figure out a way to meet girls.

Not being of the buff, jocky persuasion, creativity was the key to actually interacting with members of the opposite sex without stealing a magazine. Throughout our sophomore and junior years, we developed a few foolproof methods of making our sad little dreams come true. I have no doubt that our tried and true schemes would still work today.

Scenario A: My best friend was fortunate enough to have an exchange student from Denmark living with his family and spent a great deal of time perfecting the accent. This was a huge advantage. In a public place, within hearing of whichever nubile young ladies were our target, he would begin speaking complete gibberish with a good accent, while I pretended to understand him perfectly. Almost Invariably, one of the targets would ask the all important question, "Where is he from?". This would almost always lead to hours of hanging out, all while keeping up the pretense of C being a furriner. Obviously, this is a method best used while on a road trip far from home. Most people you attend classes with not only know where you were born, they were probably born at the same hospital.

Scenario B: One of us would wear sunglasses and allow the other to lead us into a video arcade. The one playing Ray Charles would be led to whatever the hot game of the moment was, and quarters would be dropped. The "seeing" one would then begin yelling directions, while the blind player would go on to set a high score. It always drew a crowd, and crowds always include girls. Thank god for that Robbie Benson movie. This scheme was generally only good once per location, but that did not decrease the amusement.

And so ended our high school years, both of us utterly single, but having had a great time. I doubt we either ever got a kiss out of either of our brilliant yet diabolical schemes, but they worked for at least five or ten minutes.


Hats off to you both (pardon the pun) on the new endeavor.

When you guys are rich and famous (above and beyond your loyal following here), I know that I (and many others) can say 'I knew them when...'

Raising a toast to you


Thank you Matt. You never fail to entertain.


Thank you Charlie. We will remember the little peo...uh....readers.


I dunno, should I tell the story about how I woke up 40 feet in a tree that was in the middle of a city park with no less than 10 bottles of Almenden Mountain Rhine hanging around me, wearing nicer clothes than I had walked out my door with two days ago?

Or, there's always, Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps, and the Witches of Rogers Park and their madly insane Corn Flakes.


I need to hear the tree story, please.


tell the tree story timmer!


Wilbur calls and wants to know to know if I want to head down to the beach and throw the disk around. (I'm a closet Frisbee Freak.) Wilbur is a 6’4”, 250 pound, Pottowatomie Indian. Every theater person that’s ever met him tries to talk him into doing their version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Wilbur never said much, he just smiled when he was happy, smoked when he needed to think, and would leave when he was done being with you. No offense meant, just, it was time to move on.

I throw on my loosest cutoffs and my Pink Panther Playing Guitar T-Shirt and head out for one of our hangout spots along Lake Michigan.

We meet under the usual tree, not "the tree," just the usual tree and "loosen up." After freestylin' for about 3-4 hours (seriously, a freak) we headed down Morse Ave. to the Diner near the Elevated (L). We "cool down."

At the diner we run into The Witches of Rogers Park. Lori, Sara, Jen and Natalie. (Okay, confession, it's really the same story.) Absolutely the most gorgeous hippie-chick wanna-bes you'd ever want to meet. Sara is one of those magical Jewish girls, into Kabbalah before the rest of us knew what it was and is smiling her "I'm so toasted I can't stand myself." smile. Nat, blonde and blue and everyone loves her, is grinning her, "Hello Sailor" grin and is singing “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks under her breath. Jenny looks very annoyed and is tweaking on too many pink hearts. Lori, is mumbling something about her brother Billy eating all the fucking madly insane fucking corn flakes while she attacks a family sized plate of lox and bagels.

Me and Wil both get the Cheeseburger Deluxe, no pickle, Thousand Island not mustard and ketchup. I can’t tell you why, but that was important back then. They've got supplies, we've got supplies, we're off to see the Wizard. Oh, and Sara reveals that she's got tickets for Neil Young. Suhwheet. All we new about the Neil Young show was that "Comes a Time" was the last album that he'd done so we're thinkin' nice, mellow, very condusive to some high test.

The concert is the next night, but we hang the rest of the day and night down at the beach, avoiding the cops after midnight and just doing what we normally did down at the beach. We do breakfast back at the diner.

We prepare over at Lori's house. Listening to every Neil Young record and CSN&Y record Lori, Billy and Jen own. Jen lives upstairs from Bill and Lori. Wil and I raid Billy's closet and SOB I knew he'd took my Rush 2112 Jersey, but I'm thinking Neil Young, cotton, nothing but cotton. No studs, faded, fuzzy at the ends, soft and for the long haul. He’s got my fucking denim sport coat too, muther… Wil starts to giggle. I look at Wil, I start to giggle. I look at Sara, she’s giving me the most innocent “Whatcha lookin’ at me for?” smiles. Hoo boy. Sara’s infamous for booking reservations for you when you weren’t planning to take a trip.

In case you’re not a Neil Young fan, I need to tell you at this point that he wasn’t touring “Comes a Time” he was touring and recording “Rust Never Sleeps.” We were…ummm… surprised shall we say? As were the other 4993 fans at the Chicago Stadium that night. Macro Rock Show with all the trimmings. I think we all started to giggle at Sugar Mountain and never quite got off that first riff. Nils Lofgren was with Crazy Horse at the time, watching him and Neil tear it up was…sigh…guitar nirvana.

After the show Billy freaks out. I look at Wil and wonder to myself “When’d we pick up Billy?” Wil shrugged. He’s had a bit too much of, well, knowing Billy, everything. Okay, hotline training kicks in, we need to get him the fuck off the pavement of downtown Chicago and the fuck back to Rogers Park where at least he can chill in the streetlight shadows of the trees. He’s decided Sara is a Witch, his sister is a witch, Jen is an evil-evil-evil witch (they’d broke up two weeks ago) and Nat was the good Witch of West Rogers Park. Nat grins at Billy, Billy’s havin’ none of it though. We move on. I glare at Wil, Why do I always have to take care of Billy? Because you’re good at it. Smile. Okay.

Cut to Touhy Park on the far North Side. I kind of remember the L train ride, and keeping Billy from train surfing, and the IHOP because I needed a fucking malt dammit, and the stop at one of those Family Run liquor stores and buying wayyyyy to much white wine. We’re taking the edge off. Lori and Billy’s Mom is way fucked up and has her trucker boyfriend over, as opposed to her hippie boyfriend, so she’s too fucking drunk instead of too fucking mellow so we can’t hang there. Jen finally crashes in her place upstairs, Sara thinks I’m cute and wants to go climb a tree. She says it too loud so off we all go, sans Jen, to climb the fucking tree.

And climb one of those 50 year old elm trees in Touhy Park we do, each of us managing to carry a couple of Almaden White Rhine jugs up the tree with us. We find our own limbs. Billy isn’t so sure that the girls are witches anymore, but it’s annoying his sister to call them The Witches of Rogers Park and well, it’s his big sister. Lori and Wil, me and Sara, Nat and Billy, get very very pagan.

I wake up the next morning with no less than 10 Almaden White Rhine jugs hanging from the limbs around me, wearing better clothes than I’d started with two days ago. Everyone but Sara is gone and she’s giving me that “Don’t you dare get clingy on me” stare. I kiss her and remind her that I’m the one that doesn’t want to marry her. She sighs and hugs me. Madly insane corn flakes would be good right now.

We both look down. How the living fuck did we make it up here?


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