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Shave and a haircut

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Shave and a haircut

Taryn Baca and Crystal Herzog.

Photo contributed/

POSTED February 20, 2014 12:33 a.m.

Long, long ago in a Manteca far, far away, I’m told of the 25-cent haircut. Even as a young boy in the 1970s that seemed to be the greatest bargain ever. During my childhood, Manteca offered a few spots; Dan’s Barber Shop and Sadies come to mind. All the women in my family went to Sadies, which is why I wouldn’t. 

“That’s a ladies place, mom!” I’d cry. 

My dad, however, had the spot for me. The Strop Shop was right in the center of town with that cool barber’s pole out front. The owner/barber, Mike Thiel, a fast pitch softball buddy of my dad’s, was a hair-cutting machine. Pictures of Strop Shop-sponsored youth sports teams of years past adorned the walls and there was free bubble gum under the counter, which made it awesome. I vowed that a woman would never cut my hair. 

That was until I turned 12 and got a haircut from a pretty lady. That day I made a new vow: I will always get my haircut by a woman!

I recently stopped by Beautiful Changes Salon and Spa, a hidden gem on Cottage and Louise. My friend and current hair cutter (yes, I refuse to say stylist; want to keep my man card) Crystal Herzog sets up shop there. She’s been managing my birds nest for a couple years now. I like that she tells me what she is going to do, instead of me having to shrug and answer “Oh, just kind of cut it.” It’s all about trust, coupled with the fact that I’m a guy and have no clue what my hair should look like. 

Taryn Baca, of In-Shape Health Club fame, was in the chair when I arrived and the chair banter began. The ladies in the shop were all very friendly and soon the room was having one conversation. They offered me a glass of Chardonnay and some gluten-free cookies, in an obvious attempt to emasculate me. I saw through it and only had two of each. All men should have their hair cut in this setting. It’s gender boot camp with scissors over your head. Of course, it was a bit more expensive than Supercuts, but the haircut was better and the suggestions on how to find me a girlfriend were priceless. 

Gentlemen, trade in that barber pole for a Beautiful Change.


An old Buff in new green

Former Manteca High Buffalo John Aguilar has taken his whistle and chalkboard to Delta Charter High School. Success and hope have followed him to the basketball hardwood. Coach Aguilar has taken a group of girls that won just four games last year – a school record at the time – and turned the program into a 16-game winner. The Dragons are 12-2 in league, and clinched the school’s first-ever playoff berth. I caught them in action against Lodi Academy, where I ran into Delta Charter Superintendent Dr. Jeff Tilton. Tilton, a former MHS student/teacher/coach and San Joaquin County Superintendent candidate, told me that DC’s enrollment of 501 students makes them the smallest in the Division IV playoff group (the cut off for Division V is 500), which puts this group in a “Hoosiers” type of position. A role Coach Aguilar relishes. 

His hoopsters are an athletic group that get up and down the court. The green and white uniforms remind him where he started, while the scoreboard shows him where he’s headed. Congrats on the season, John and Lady Dragons.


At the controls

Mantecan Dave Bowman traded in the launch button on an American Nuclear Submarine for the control buttons of his talk radio show on KFIV 1360 am. The former U.S. Navy Fire Control Tech 1st Class is now at the helm of his own lethal vessel, The Dave Bowman Show. Broadcasting from Clear Channel headquarters in Modesto, the conservative talk show is much like a Rusty Humphries but with a mix of local topics. 

Bowman strangely enough got his start by stating his disillusionment with talk radio in 2005. His column in the Modesto Bee voicing his disappointment with local radio led to a face-to-face with local host Bill Mick, who shortly thereafter offered Bowman a sports and news spot. After a year, he parlayed that into a spot at the captain’s chair as host. The 3-6 afternoon show covers daily world and national topics, but never forgets to hit local topics. A dedicated listener fan base is kept interactive via call-ins, texts and chat room activity. Dave is an extremely intelligent and passionate host. If he doesn’t piss you off at least once a day, then you aren’t listening. I pressed him as to what gave him the initial confidence to leap into a talk show and he responded: “I was a given an opportunity. Too often when people are given that one chance, they develop a false humility and prevent themselves from reaching their dreams. When opportunity is thrown your way, you must grab it.”

The Dave Bowman Show can be heard on 1360 am or 1280 am from 3-6 Monday through Friday.


Play Ball

Big League Dreams starts their spring softball session on March 5. If you haven’t been to BLD yet, you’re missing out. Even if you aren’t playing, a hot dog, a drink, and watching middle-age men relive their glory days is never a bad Tuesday night. Local author/softballer extraordinaire Bryan Uecker is assembling his group of Glory’s Past friends, in hopes of winning another trophy. Uecker is still without a team sponsor, “I was hoping for a local bar to sponsor my team but I am banned from each one in town currently. At this point anyone with matching T-shirts will do.” … The Beautiful Changes Batting Beauties?


Shameless Plug

There is a show at The Gallo Center for Fine Arts on Feb. 28 – a comedy show called “Stand-Up to Cancer,” benefitting The American Cancer Society and the Ceres Relay for Life. Three of the area’s top comics are on the bill and they are the first local acts to be given the honor of gracing The Gallo stage: Anthony K (Ceres), Marcella Arguello (Modesto), and yours truly. We’re extremely excited to provide a night of laughter for an amazing cause. Tickets are available at www.GalloCenter/

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