May 2009 Archives

Plans for the future

I think I'm going to write 26 posts here, each dealing with books I love, in alphabetical order by title. The first post will deal with titles that start with A, next B, and so on. Well, you guys know how the alphabet works, most of you.

I wanted to do this because I was thinking about books I love (I don't have a real job, so there's a lot of time for things like that) and I realized a lot of them start with C. Then I realized a lot of them start with other letters too.

That may be a terrible reason to do this, or anything, but I'll probably get bored a few posts in and give up, so it really doesn't matter.

Crash Colman, found

To: Jack Wiard
Subject: Ye Rose & Thistle
I recently found a business card for someone named A. "Crash" Colman, M.D. The only address given is someplace called Ye Rose & Thistle, which appears to be gone now, and your name is the only hit Google offers when I search for it. Is there any chance you knew Crash Colman? If not, can you tell me anything about Ye Rose & Thistle?

Thanks, and sorry about this, I know it's a strange question. But I think I ought to find Crash Colman if I can.

To: Kris Larson
Subject: Ye Rose & Thistle
Hello Kris,

I played clarinet at Ye Rose & Thistle (now a gay bar) from 1965 to 1971, when I moved to Australia. A. Colman (Arnold Colman, nicknamed Bunky Colman) was the sub clarinet player when I couldn't make it and he took the job when I left. He was a general doctor who played excellent clarinet...sort of reminded me of Irving Fazola (whom he liked). He made just one recording in that group, no longer available. He passed away (cancer) about 8 years or so ago.

Hope this helped,

Even as I type this, one of Crash's recordings is winging its way to my door. We'll see what he has to tell me.

Who is Crash Colman? Part II

I've decided that the best way to find Crash is to track him down via his old place of business: Ye Rose & Thistle.

A search on just the name doesn't offer much -- as Gene pointed out in the comments, it's been closed for years -- but a little creative Googling throws up the name of another clarinetist who once played there: Jack Wiard. And Jack Wiard can be found online.

Is Jack my link to Crash? We'll find out...

Who is Crash Colman?


I bought a used book and found a business card inside, as follows:

A. "Crash" Colman, M.D.
Clarinet & Sex

Ye Rose & Thistle
1624 California Street

I am a great believer in the serendipity of used books. People stick all kinds of things in there and forget about them. Over the years I've found impassioned letters, dried flowers, ticket stubs from foreign transit systems, obscure notes scrawled in the margins. A book that's been around the block carries a story apart from its text. It's the reason Barnes & Noble feels like a nursery, while the annual library sale feels like a retirement home.

With this business card (clarinet and SEX?), my book has offered me a white rabbit of a story. A challenge.

A. "Crash" Colman.

My search begins.

The joy of dunking

My 1931 edition of The Joy of Cooking (a modern reprinting of the original text; I am not made of money) includes a fun little slam against the King of Spain, as follows:

"Coffee Cakes
"Is there anything better than good coffee cake? I am told that the King of Spain 'dunks.' Perhaps that affords him some comfort."

What was the King of Spain up to in 1931 that so annoyed venerable authoress Irma von Starkloff Rombauer? (You think I am kidding? I am not kidding. Forget that she wrote the original JOC; moving through life with such an unwieldy handle was her real triumph.)

Ah, I have just Wiki'd. Apparently, Alfonso the lucky XIII was driven from his throne by the formation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. Wiki does not mention whether the former King's habit of "dunking" his coffee cake was a significant comfort to him.