Thirty Days Of Dougie! (Day 10) – Cigarette Machines, Pen Names and Brut!

Damn, that President Trump knows how to give a speech, doesn’t he? Like him or hate him, and I have plenty of friends in each category, no one can deny that the speech that President Trump gave to a joint session of Congress earlier tonight was well delivered, well written and dare I say it, extremely Presidential. I think that “the Donald” had his moment and finally found that perfect tone and message. Last night, Donald Trump truly became President Trump. Even Van Jones over at CNN, definitely not a Trump fan, admitted it. So did Chris Matthews over at MSNBC. Nancy Pelosi didn’t look happy at all because, aside from being a whack-a-doodle, she realized that Trump hit a home run last night. His message is hitting home with the voters, the American people. And her message, from the offices of Crazies, Kookies and Stupid Idiots, is striking out more and more with the people who matter. While I’ll be the first to admit that Trump was not my first choice for President (or second, third, fourth, tenth, etc), he’s doing exactly what he promised and he’s on the right track. And speeches like the one he gave last night, if he continues to follow through, well, he’s starting to grow on me.

I’d rather see Miz take on Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania, but if it’s going to be John Cena and Nikki Bella versus Miz & Maryse instead, so be it. The card is starting to come together and it’s going to be packed. But then again, it’s Wrestlemania so what else would anyone expect, right?

This whole “Thirty Days” deal sounded like a good idea when I first started, but it’s been hard to find my focus and really kick it into high gear thus far. I’m committed (or should be) and will keep it going until the thirty days are up. I’ve just got to find my stride. It’s coming. I just don’t know when. Don’t give up on me though cause when all of this is said and done, it’ll be worth it and good. I promise!

Have I mentioned the best place in Laurinburg, NC to get a hair cut recently? I’m talking about Clips – Haircuts for Men. It’s in the Scotland Crossing Shopping Center, a few doors down from Food Lion. Check out their page on Facebook. It’s Jennifer and Nicole and they will make you happy with great service, great cuts, great personalities and a short waiting time. Clips – We Want To Cut Your Hair!

Yes, I just did a plug / commerical for some friends of mine in the middle of my blog. I do that sometimes, but if they weren’t damn good at what they do, I wouldn’t do it. Jennifer cuts my hair regularly and does some great work. Go check them out if you get the chance. You won’t regret it.

I saw a meme earlier today on Facebook where professional wrestling manager / local legend Joey Nuggs was asking about five favorite tag teams. I think it was on Nuggs’ page, but maybe not. I’ll give him the credit anyhow. And to answer, my five favorite wrestling tag teams of all time (old school) are The Midnight Express (Lane & Eaton) w/ Jim Cornette, The Anderson Brothers (Ole & Gene), Paul Jones & Baron Von Raschke, Edge & Christian & The Main Attraction (Chris Steele & Scott Powers). Subject to change of course, but those are five teams who consistently stand out in my mind and memories as being among the very best in the world.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

Admit it, you sang those lyrics, didn’t you? And now that song will be in your head the rest of the day. You’re welcome!

Let’s get on with it, shall we? Let’s get the Magic Box and find out what the topics of discussion shall be: Cigarette Machines, Pen Names & BRUT! And now, away we go. Let’s do this…

Thirty Days Of Dougie! (Day 10): Cigarette Machines, Pen Names and Brut!
March 1, 2017

Believe it or not, my children, there was once a time that the wicked, evil tobacco stick known as the cigarette, was far far easier to get access to than it is now. In every bar or club, in every motel lobby and I even remember one inside a dry cleaners, there was a vending machine. And if you had the exact change, just like we do soft drinks and snacks now, you just put your money in the vending machine, picked your poison (literally) and there you go, a nice fresh pack of smokes for your pleasure. ID’s didn’t matter, even though there was usually a sticker on the machine somewhere saying that you must be 18 to purchase. Yeah, like we listened. This was a different era and time though where almost every teenage smoked, at least for a little while, to be cool. And kids, sometimes as young as 9 or 10 years old, could walk in the convenient store and, sometimes with a note from their parents, but as often as not, a note was not needed, ask for and get a pack from the cashier with no problems or hassles from anyone. A simplier day and time and I miss those days.

But then someone in the government realized the obvious, that cigarettes were bad for you and decided to throw regulations after regulations on the tobacco industry and then, especially after if was revealed that cigarettes are (gasp) addictive, decided to make it as hard as possible for people to obtain their favorite foul-smelling, cancer causing, tobacco stick. Age restrictions were put in place and actually enforced. TV and radio ads for cigarettes were taken off the air and banned. Smoking on television and in movies became almost totally non-existent, and anything that seemingly promoted smoking in a favorable light, such as sponserships (Winston Cup in Nascar) or cute, cartoon characters, such as Joe Camel, were banned. And those cute little vending machines, so long a staple of bars and motels everywhere, were pulled out and cast into oblivion and history.

It’s kind of ironic how cigarettes and the tobacco industry provide hundreds of billions of dollars to our government in tax revenue each year, but are forced by that same government, who greedily grab every cent that they can, also do everything in their power to make it as hard on the tobacco industry as possible. They can’t advertise, they can’t have colorful packages or designs, they must warn everyone again and again of something that anyone with half-a-brain already knows, that cigarettes are bad for you and cause medical issues. And the government forces them to pay money to people who knew that cigarettes are bad and addictive and cause medical problems and smoked anyway, despite knowing the problems. Our government doesn’t want the tobacco industry to survive, but at the same time, they don’t want to lose all of that revenue and tax money.

But what the hell? I don’t smoke so what does it matter to me anyhow. And I’ve gotten totally off subject. The cigarette vending machines. A nice little piece of Americana history and nostalgia. I understand that they’re still big in places like Japan, China and Korea, but here in the U.S., they’re just a memory. And there you go.

The next topic is pen names. A pen name is when a writer, such as myself, uses a fake name or alias when writing, in order to keep his privacy and true identity unknown. They may do it so that they can have a life that is not part of the writing and creative process or maybe they have to protect their true identity. Maybe the real name is hard to pronounce or unappealing and so they create a fake name that will attract more readers. There are so many reasons a person might use an alias or “pen name” when writing. I wish, way back when I started writing for others back at, and then later on in my various blogs, that I had used my alter-ego and pen name. I didn’t. I have used my real and given birth name since Day 1 and honestly, I’ve had several times where I’ve regretted that decsion. Because of my job or local politics or for many other reasons, I can’t always go all out and say what I want to in my blogs or when I’m writing a column. I have to be careful on some topics because the wrong person might be reading and it could have major reprocussions. So I bite my lip and stay quiet. If I used a pen name or fake name, I could just cut loose and not worry about it. And honestly, sometimes I do just that. Just don’t tell anyone, okay?

When I first started writing, I had the perfect pen name already picked out. It was Vincent Paul Phillips. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect name for a writer? And it had some meaning too as it pays homage to three of my favorite singers / entertainers. Vincent, which is the real first name for shock-rocker and musical icon Alice Cooper. Paul is in homage to my second favorite Beatle (after Ringo), Sir Paul McCartney. And Phillips in honor of Genesis frontman and singer Phil Collins, who has never written or performed a song I didn’t like. That was my name, my alias and my alter-ego. And now…

Vincent Paul Phillips is still a part of me. He’s the crazy side that will say anything, do anything and just doesn’t give a damn. And every once in a while, he still comes out to play. I may even allow “him” to write a blog or two during this blog series. Where Vince is concerned, anything is possible. Just don’t blame me because while he (technically) is me, he’s not me as all. And he’s far more than just a “pen name”. ‘Nuff said!

And finally… BRUT! It’s a classic men’s aftershave that is really strong, really vintage and, in my opinion, stinks. It comes in a green bottle and they also make soap, deoderant and body spray. And I remember many times back in the day where the old men would come into the store where I was working and it was painfully obvious that instead of taking a shower or bathing, they just covered themselves with Brut. And the smell of Brut mixed with dry sweat and body odor would just linger. It was as disgusting as it sounds. A note for anyone who prefers to just cover themselves in aftershave instead of bathing… DON’t DO DAT! Some people like it. I don’t. But the bottle is a pretty shade of green. The color is nice. Oh vey!

And there you go with Day 10. Thanks for reading. I’m out of here for now. Time to head out into the world and get busy. I’ll be back tomorrow with Day 11. Go tell a friend. You’ll be glad you did. And… my mind just went blank so I’m down and I’m gone.


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