Monday, April 04, 2022


Ukraine is in our hearts and minds right now, as we hope and pray that the good people of that country can again live in peace - and soon!

You might not know that a Ukrainian was a mighty influence in the LOOK of popular music for 50 years or so.

Nuta Kotlyarenko was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 1902, to Jewish-Ukrainian parents.  When he was 11, his parents sent he and his brother Julius to America, to escape the persecution of Jews that was going on in their homeland.  Nuta struggled to make ends meet, including stints as a shoeshine boy and a boxer.  He was living in a boarding house in Mankato, Minnesota, when he met Bobbie Krueger, and married her.  They moved to New York City where they opened a "clothing" store - "Nudie's for the Ladies."  (Their specialty was "undergarments for showgirls."  Hmmmm....)

In the early 40s, they followed the migration to California.  Nuta persuaded a country singer named Tex Williams to buy him a sewing machine... in exchange, Nuta made Mr. Williams a costume for performing in.  Of course, all the other country singers wanted one as well, and "Nudie's of Hollywood" thrived.

"Nudie suits" became all but essential for country/western performers... but they also caught on with country-rock stars, and later popular musicians and celebrities in general.  For the next 50 or 60 years, he clothed pretty much everybody who was anybody in music and showbiz... even did a couple of custom Nudie cars!  (He fixed up a Pontiac for Roy Rogers... a Cadillac Eldorado for himself.)

Roy Rogers' Pontiac...

Here's Nuta Kotlyarenko, sitting in his Cadillac... 

Friday, April 01, 2022


(Actually, the King… Elvis!!)

I’ve been waiting 68 years for today!  What better day than April Fool’s, than to try my hand at an Elvis staple - Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sammich!

There are a couple recipe variations out there on the WWW… but they share the essential ingredients in common: “creamy” peanut butter, banana, bread and butter.  All can usually be found in the cupboards at my house.  (I used whole wheat bread because it was available.  Elvis would probably say white Wonder Bread is the way to go.)

You mash the banana.  (I always pictured it thinly-sliced, but when at Graceland…)

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may notice that I opened the banana at the proper end - away from the stem.  My friend Larry pointed out… that’s how monkeys open their bananas.  I’ve used that method ever since.  (I’ve failed to convince other members of the family… and so I won’t be too surprised if you continue to open ‘em from the wrong end, too.  But just remember - if your momma opened ‘em one way and monkeys the other way… who ya gonna go with?)

Once that banana is mashed properly, spread it on one slice of bread, and spread your smooth peanut butter on the other in the conventional fashion.

The next step was a bit of a challenge for me.  You need to install butter on the outside, for frying.  My butter was too hard… if I’d let it soften up at room temperature, it prolly would’ve been easier.  (The butter on the bottom side was falling off, once gravity wasn’t holding it in place.  But I got ‘er dun.)

Fry that baby up… slice and serve!  Boy howdy!


Sorry, Elvis… that may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for me.  I like bananas.  And I like peanut butter sammiches.  You haven’t convinced me that they have some sort of synergistic connection.  I’ll prolly keep eating banana-on-the-side, and put some jelly in that sammich.  (I’ve never tried a FRIED PB&J… maybe it would be worth experimenting with.)

I’d encourage you to give this sammich a try.  Please report your own findings.  (If you peel your bananas from the wrong end, you might also enjoy the sammich.)