Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No More Shifter Scuffing of my Boots

My new Harley-Davidson Road King has a classic heel-toe shifter and foot boards, rather than foot pegs and a single foot-controlled peg shifter that was on my Low Rider.

Having a single peg shifter definitely influenced the choice of boots that I chose to wear on the Low Rider. The shifting pattern was one press down on the shifter for first, then four upward motions on the shifter for the remaining four gears. Because you had to put the toe of your boot under the shifter to get into higher gears, boots would have to be able to withstand the pressure and regular scraping against the shifter. I could not wear cowboy boots, for example, because the left boot would be badly scuffed from shifting gears.

A heel-toe shifter allows you to shift down for first gear with your toe, but then the upward shifts through the range to sixth gear can be done with the heel of the boot. So I no longer will encounter the "shifter scuffing" problem.

Will that change the choices of boots that I will wear on my new bike? Probably not. I still will choose boots that have a lug or rubber sole, because of the traction such soles provide when the bike is stopped. Also, non-bikers do not realize how much a biker has to move a bike by "walking it" while seated on it, such as into a pa
rking space, or getting into a riding formation when riding with a group.

Well, I do not really think I'll have a problem having enough boots to wear on the new bike. And since I'm not a fashionista, I will continue to choose boots that feel good, are practical, and are comfortable for a long day's ride. It's not the looks or (heaven forbid) color-matching the bike's deep red color -- it is the practicality and comfort that matter most to me on the boots that I choose to wear both on and off the bike.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Harley-ticipation Finally Realized

The weather Gods were kind today, and the predicted rain held off! I accepted delivery of my new Harley-Davidson Road King today!

No time to blog -- I'm out riding! Woo-hoo! (Note, these pics were taken in a parking lot. I wear a full-face helmet while actually riding.)

Lined or Unlined Boots?

One major area of concern about choices of motor officer (bike cop) boots that I haven't yet discussed in this blog, but I did discuss with motor officers who I am advising on choices of boots they are making is the advantages and disadvantages of getting lined or unlined boots.

Tall boots are sometimes lined with leather. A leather lining, such as shown my Chippewa Hi-Shine Boots makes a boot more sturdy and durable. Lined boots will stand upright when you take them off. Leather is often selected for the lining because it will breathe, thus ensuring the boots do not feel too hot on the feet. A leather lining will expand and contract with changes in temperature the same as the leather used for the shaft. If, for example, cloth or other fabric were used, it would stretch and quickly lose its firmness, thus not doing much for the boot.

Unlined boots, such as my Chippewa Oil-Tanned Engineer Boots, have a rough leather interior of the shaft. They are durable boots on the outside. However, they do not stand up well on their own when removed. But because there is no lining, they do not get hot, even when worn in warm weather. Unlined boots tend to sag or crease more at the ankle simply because there is not much there but soft leather.

Tall motorcycle boots come both ways, lined or unlined. Some unlined tall cop boots are made of stiffer leather, or leather look-alike plastic products such as Dehcord used on stock Dehner patrol boots. I definitely don't recommend boots made with such a product, because while they are less expensive (but still overpriced) than an all-leather Dehner boot, you get what you pay for: crap that will not hold up while in regular use.

Other unlined boots, like my very comfortable Harley-Davidson Police Enforcer Boots, are made of all leather. The leather selected for these boots, though, is treated to be very stiff, so they stand up well and don't crease badly at the ankle.

Well-made boots from reputable manufacturers like Wesco may be purchased with or without a leather lining. I have a number of pairs of Wesco Boots, and have them both lined and unlined. I definitely prefer the lined boots, because they hold up better and don't sag as much.

How does this matter affect the choices that the motor officers I am working with will make? I did not mention it in my previous blog post, but I know that they definitely prefer a boot with a leather lining, but haven't ruled out unlined, stiffer all-leather boots such as are made by Intapol. Check back with this blog in the future to find out what they decide. I will be meeting with them again in a couple weeks for a demonstration from a couple manufacturers and more discussion.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What One Does for Love

Here in the U.S., we are enjoying a three-day weekend for Memorial Day. However, it's really not as much joy for me as it is just doing things for others out of love.

The story begins on the morning of Friday, May 23, when my Harley dealer called to say that my new bike was ready to pick up. The boss even let us off work a couple hours early.

I rushed home with the intent to change from my dress clothes to biker duds and go get my new bike! Woo-ee! However, when I got home, personal plans were immediately set aside because my partner wasn't doing very well. He had pulled a muscle in his back a couple weeks ago, and the pain had flared up. Plus, he had promised his mother that we would visit her over the long weekend, which meant that things we had to do around our house before leaving the next day became the priority, and I had to do them. Mow the lawn, do our weekly grocery shopping, and get groceries for my elderly aunt as well. By the time all those chores were completed, it was too late to go to the dealership to get my new bike.

Saturday morning, I drove both of us on the five-hour trip in my truck to my partner's mother's home, instead of my partner driving in his sedan. I drove to relieve my partner of the duty. He was on a muscle relaxant, which means he shouldn't drive. Personally, I hate to drive, especially long distances, but we do what we have to do. Also, since we were going to have my truck available, my partner decided to buy a new mattress to replace the old one on which I slept at his Mom's house. That old mattress caused me to have back spasms. But out of love for me, my partner resolved the problem (though I did most of the heavy lifting.)

My mother-in-law is not the easiest woman to be around. She constantly complains about everything and anything. But we managed to do what had to be done, with me doing all the heavy lifting, gardening, and other manual labor that had to be done. From a positive perspective, I could use the exercise [smile].

Because my partner still was in agony, we left Sunday afternoon and I drove us back. We got home last night, unpacked, did laundry, unwound a little bit, and then went to bed.

Today, Monday, it is bright, warm, and sunny. And I'm still "bike-less." My dealership is closed for the holiday. Today I have the fun of going to get some planting soil and a few other things at the local gardening center, cleaning over 900 square feet of outdoor deck space, and then helping to set up our outdoor deck garden. We can't plant vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini in a regular garden due to the proliferation of deer in our yard which would destroy vegetable plants. So we plant them in containers and put them on the decks that I built ten years ago. This planting routine is usually my partner's activity, as he gets tremendous joy from gardening. However, due to his condition, he can't do it and unless I do it for him. Oh well, being bike-less, I will focus on getting these chores done. My partner will be happy, and when the love of my life is happy, then that's what it's all about.

I hope the weather forecast is wrong, where rain and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow (Tuesday). If that happens, I won't be able to pick up my new Harley. Worse, I will have to wait until Saturday, because I am in charge of a major event for work which begins on Wednesday and runs through late Friday, and will be held on the other side of the Potomac River in Virginia. Because of the far-away location, I will not be able to get home during the week while the event is going on to get my bike.

They say that sacrifice is good for the soul. I hope it's good for something, 'cause I'm not among the happiest guys while I am still Harley-ticipating and my partner is grouchy and irritable because he's in pain. He can't think straight and it just makes things uncomfortable for me. And to think, it's going to be warm and sunny all day today, and I could have been out riding.... sigh. I'll manage. Meanwhile, off to care for my partner and prevent him from trying to over-do it so he can heal.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bike Cop Boot Advising

UPDATE: I see that this blog post is the most popular one on my website. If you found it from a search engine while seeking information about motorcycle police patrol boots, see my Guide to Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots by clicking here.

I met a motor officer while I was at Law Ride on May 11 who said that his agency was reviewing the uniform policy, particularly the boots to specify with a motor officer's uniform. The current boots that they all wear are Dehner patrol boots with a dress instep and Vibram lug sole. They are very
nice-looking boots, but also very expensive. Since each officer receives a fixed amount of money for his/her uniform allowance, they are finding that the allowance isn't covering the cost of the boots and all the components of their uniforms (shirts, breeches, outerwear, belts, etc.) as often as they have to replace them due to job-related wear-and-tear.

The motor officers in this
agency met with management to consider changes to make to the boot specs in the uniform policy, and they invited me to participate in the meeting as well. They all agree that tall, black boots are what they want. They won't deviate wildly like going with some sort of short tech boot or a color of leather other than black.

They also like having the Vibram lug sole. It gives great traction while operating the motorcycle, and also wears far longer than any other sole.

What they don't like is the cost and the materials from which their current boots are made. Stock Dehner patrol boots with a lug sole can cost around $400 per pair (with their discount). Unfortu
nately, stock Dehners are made with a synthetic (plastic) product made by Clarino®, which the Dehner Boot Company calls "Dehcord." This stuff cracks easily and is hard to maintain. It keeps a nice shine, but once cracked, it can't be fixed. (Personally, I don't recommend boots made with this product. It's crap.)

Their next option are Dehner patrol boots made of Voyager or imported calf leather. These options are more expensive, with c
alf leather being $300 more. While these leathers will hold up much better and for longer on a boot worn for rough duty, the cost is a major concern.

They are also looking at alternative manufacturers of boots that I showed them from my collection. Intapol makes a nice patrol boot, and even comes with a zipper which makes them easy to put on and take off. However, they were concerned how long the zipper would hold up in actual usage conditions.

They looked at my Harley-Davidson Police Enforcer Boots, which look really nice and are the most comfortable of all of the various tall bike cop boots I own. Unfortunately, these boots are not made with a dress instep. They're only bal-laced. They don't want laces on their boots. There is also some question about availability of these boots from the manufacturer, Wolverine, and the fact that these boots are made in China, which runs some degree of risk on dependability of shipments as well as sometimes questionable quality.

Then they looked at the Chippewa "Hi-Shine" Engineer Boots. Because these boots are a fairly major departure from what they are accustomed to wearing, they were initially hesitant. But they saw so many other officers at Law Ride (and other events) who wear these boots and like them a lot for their good looks, comfort, appearance, and value (they cost about $190/pair). The unfortunate thing is that in order to get a Vibram sole on the boots, a cobbler would have to add the sole. The manufacturer does not make the boots with a lug sole.

Anyway, they're mulling over their options. I was honored to be asked for my opinions during this meeting, and pleased that I had a variety of boots from my collection to demonstrate and aid them in their discussions. They are a great group of men to work with, and I look forward to our ongoing discussions.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Full Moon Weirdness

Years ago I served as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and served with paramedics on a local volunteer rescue squad. Whenever there was a full moon, we encountered people who had the strangest things happen to them, more auto crashes, and just odd stuff.

Most folks don't give credence to a full moon having an effect on people's behavior. However just this week, the week of the Full Flower Moon, has proven once again, to me anyway, that there is some sort of link between odd behavior and a full moon.

Within the past two days, I received three come-on email messages for sex, which is absurd, and about which I blogged yesterday. I also have been dealing with some drama on an internet site that I once worked closely with, but now am backing off. (Plus, I really just don't have the time for it as I once did.) Then at a public hearing the other night, someone testified about a project that we weren't even discussing. Then I received a very strange phone call from someone who claims to know me but I didn't know. Add to that some folks in a local group that I have worked with who got all bee-jeebered about picky little stuff, and I just have to wonder if the full moon is at work.

These are random things, but all seem to have occurred right at the peak of the full moon. I dunno, if I didn't have to go to work I would be tempted to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my partner's and my head. (Hmmm, that would be fun, but for a different reason [smile]).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Being an Out and Open Leatherman

Yep, I enjoy leather. I always have, since I got my first motorcycle while in college. Being a biker is a fairly easy "excuse" to wear leather and tall boots. But that's only for public impression, for those who don't really comprehend an interest in leather.

As I've blogged before, my interest in boots and leather is an avocation -- a hobby -- and something that is pleasurable. It's comfortable, durable, and forgiving for my body type. I wear leather almost every day, in public, and as readers of this blog are aware, display my gear on my website.

Being so out and open in my community and as a minor public figure is not a problem. That's because my community has a casual and mature kind of tolerance. But being out and open on the Internet has occasional consequences that have to be dealt with. For example, some guys who visit my website but don't read the FAQs perceive that I may want to "play" with them, a code word for having sex. Or that I might want them to visit to do things with or on my boots. A few have sent me email messages suggesting we get together.

That's a consequence I accept for being so "out there." Actually, in a way such a come-on is somewhat flattering to me as an older, greying, bearish man. I am quite able to respond by saying, "thank you, but no thanks." There hasn't been a one who has failed yet to understand the second line that I write, "I am in a monogamous relationship with my life partner, and we don't play with others." A few may think this sounds harsh, but it is just a description of my reality and my life. My partner is my one-and-only, and I never have nor will do anything to cause him to question my integrity and commitment to him, and to "us."

Life is short: wear your leather and your boots, and enjoy life!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Most Popular Bike Cop Boots

All websites have logs that show how many visitors look at posted pages or images. I look at my logs from time to time to see what others find most interesting, which I determine by the pages and images with the most views.

Pictured here are the boots that have been viewed more often than any others from the recently posted galleries about Law Ride 2008.

They are, not surprisingly, Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer Boots. The boots look good, and were worn on about 3/4 of the officers who were at Law Ride.

I would post about this on HotBoots - Boots on Line -- but unfortunately drama rears its stupid head from time to time related to that board, so I'm laying off. Pity that gay men resort to being drama queens often. Oh well, I'll just go back to admiring boots and the men in them.

Monday, May 19, 2008


The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has stopped production on all new motorcycles this year. Their official spin is that the bad economy has slowed business. What they don't say is that they had glutted the market by over-production of motorcycles for the past several years. Most people who wanted a Harley have one, or two.... But put this President's mismanagement of our economy together with stopped production, and you end up with fewer bikes being available, dealers being less willing to negotiate price, and encountering those dreaded wait-lists. (I had to wait four months for my 1994 Harley).

Do you remember, perhaps as a kid, being told that if you save long enough, you will have enough money to buy what you want? Well, I had been saving diligently for years for a new Harley. I reached my goal in January this year. I started kicking tires of new Harleys since then.

I had promised my partner that I wouldn't buy a new bike until I sold the one that I already had. The economic downturn that affects sales of new bikes also affected the used-motorcycle market. Mine had been up for sale since February. Fortunately, through some aggressive re-promotion on CraigsList, someone bought it from me and he took it home with him this past Saturday.

A sales guy at my local Harley dealer told me that the Crimson Red Road King on which I have had my eye on is the only one left, and he won't be getting any more this year. Saturday afternoon, I confirmed my order for this new Road King. A color-matched tour pak will be installed on the back (it's like a trunk), and a back rest on that, so perhaps some day in the future, my partner can join me on rides again. I also ordered a few more safety features too. But that's it; I'm really not into adding a lot of chrome and other frills. I think the bike looks great just as it is.

Soon enough, the dealer will call me and say the bike is ready to pick up. Can't wait! Rumble, rumble....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why We Are Not Going to IML

Time is rolling around again for the International Mr. Leather Contest (IML) to be held in Chicago. It's always held over Memorial Day weekend.

My partner and I had talked about it for years, and finally went for the first -- and last -- time in 2007.

Why do I say, "and last"? Well, events like this are really for younger, single men who enjoy staying up late for socializing. I've never been a night-person my whole life. Even with a "disco nap," I find myself still dragging after about 10pm, and most things don't really get going until midnight and last long after that.

Further, while it's interesting to see so many men in leather in one place, the crowds are sometimes overwhelming, such as at the bars. Not having our own transportation, getting to the bars that are friendly to leather folk in Chicago had to be by bus.

Plus, it's just darned expensive. Airfare, hotel for four nights, eating out, and even a soft drink at the bar ... it all adds up. They stretch out IML two days longer than Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) and it just makes it more expensive to stay for the duration of the event. (Many guys don't).

I also have to say that being in a monogamous relationship makes a big difference, too. Most of the guys who attend IML are there for sex with other guys. We weren't. We had great sex with each other while we were there, but we have that regularly at home. Location doesn't matter -- to us.

So, as I said, "been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the boots shined." We made the best of it last year, but won't be returning.

If you like, check out the photos that I took at IML 2007 and posted on my website.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Saying "Safe Travels" to a Rugged Friend

I have had my Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider for 5175 days now, which is 14 years, two months. I have ridden many, many miles on him. Back in the days when my partner could ride with me, we rode to my family ranch in Oklahoma, taking a week to get there, seeing sights along the way, and on the way back. We rode to Sturgis in August, 1995. I once commuted about 110 miles/day round-trip. Lately, though, his daily commutes are about 3 miles, round-trip.

He's taken me on many back-road rides, rides to nowhere, rides throughout my lovely home state of Maryland, as well as nearby states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We've been
through a lot together.

I love to leather up and put on big tall biker boots and just head out. I have no gizmos on this bike; no radio, CD player, or CB. No GPS. Just me and the soft throaty roar of my Harley. Riding him gave me a lot of time to think, wonder, and appreciate so many things.

Back in the day when my partner rode as my passenger often, I would serenade him with my less-than-stellar singing. How many times he heard me belt out, "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', Oh What a Beautiful Day...". Other times we would reach an intersection and flip a coin to determine which way to go. We would have a lot of fun "getting lost" for a day.

I am a bit melancholy, as I have a buyer lined up for this lovely bike. He's coming tomorrow to take a test ride and complete the sale. I have a new Harley all lined up that I will take delivery on soon, but I hate to part with this one. He's been a reliable, fun, and trusted friend. He's never let me down or argued with me. Unfortunately, I can't keep two bikes. I don't really want to pay the insurance, nor do I have a place to keep two bikes. Plus, my partner would have a cow. So tomorrow, it's "so long, ride safe, keep the rubber side down" to my dear friend. I hope the buyer will be as happy with him as I have been. sniff...sniff...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fellow Boot Blogger

I had the distinct honor and privilege to have lunch with a fellow "boot blogger" whose blog I have linked to from mine. He decided to take a weeks' vacation and come visit Washington, DC. His black cowboy boots are on the right in this photo, and I'm in two-tone Nocona Ostrich-inlay cowboy boots that I just got but haven't had time to take pictures of for my website.

We had an enjoyable lunch and conversation at Union Station. He then went off to be a tourist in DC. Thanks, man, for reaching out to let me know that you would be in town and making the time to join me for lunch. I hope you have an enjoyable visit, see sights, and men in boots that you would enjoy seeing. It was a real pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to ongoing conversation, blogging, and email.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Law Ride: Boots for the Biker

At Law Ride on Sunday, May 11, I took a lot -- I mean A LOT -- of pictures of boots, cops, and cops in their boots. It was a great event because I got to hang out with law enforcement officers and ride with them, and thank them for their service. But it was also enjoyable to attend as a Bootman who particularly likes tall black boots, as there were so many to see.

I spotted these Chippewa Engineer Boots on a cop. They ARE Chippewas (see the Indian Head imprint on the side), but have a solid lug sole, which appears to be a Vibram 100. Man, I really like Engineer Boots with a Vibram 100 sole, and haven't been able to find tall ones, especially made by a reputable manufacturer like Chippewa. Every time I tried to talk to this cop about his boots and where he got them, or if he had the soles added by a cobbler, he was involved in a conversation with other cops. I didn't want to intrude or seem strange walking up to a cop to ask him solely about his boots.


I'm draggin' this morning. I was up way too late last night, 'til after 10pm, celebrating the win of my candidate for our County Council who was in a special general election on Tuesday. I worked most of the day turning out the vote, and was pleased that he won by a 2/3 majority. He will assume office on May 23 or thereabouts. It was a pleasure to work on his campaign as his webmaster and among his legion of civic activist volunteers. I am especially pleased because he is the husband of my very close friend who was in this office for 17 years. He will carry on her work of constituent service and fiscal prudence with integrity and independence.

Even though I was out partying (defined as hugging everyone in sight, eating chicken nuggets and drinking a Sprite) until all hours, I still naturally awoke at 4:00am. I'm gonna' crash tonight. Fortunately, I don't have any more evening meetings this week.

Life is short: wear your boots!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Law Ride Photo Processing and Galleries

Continuing my blogging about Law Ride which was held this past Sunday in Washington, DC. I am still working on cropping, resizing, and organizing all of the pictures that I took that day. I have lots of other things going on, which limit the time I have for working on this set of photo galleries.

I've had community meetings and public hearings going on, as well as my regular day-job, so my life continues, as usual, non-stop. Security at a public hearing last night was provided by a county motor officer, which isn't the usual case. Man, it was hard for me to focus on listening to speakers with such a distraction in the room.

Meanwhile, my candidate is up for a special general election today, so I am bringing voters to the polls and doing what I can to get him elected. Fortunately, we have a great group of volunteers who are doing great work. I look forward to tonight's celebration.

Back to Law Ride for a moment, I received two very nice email messages from two people who were at the event on Sunday. One was a cop and one was a fellow biker/supporter. They like what they're seeing and reading. That's great.

I'm in a bit of a quandary to determine just how to lay out the galleries of all of the photos that I took. There are lots and lots of boot shots. Because there are so many, I am thinking of doing one page on Engineer style boots, another on Bal-laced boots, another on Dress Instep Boots, another on the cops on their bikes, another of the cops off their bikes, and another of "miscellaneous" photos that won't fit in these categories. So many photos, so little time! Oh well, I'll get around to posting the galleries eventually, time permitting. Meanwhile, enjoy these daily teases!

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's It Like to be Surrounded by Motor Officers?

On Sunday, May 11, I had the pleasure of riding my Harley with members of the Blue Knights to Law Ride, which is a gathering of police motor officers from all over the country. They assemble at a parking lot at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Precisely at 11:00, the motor officers begin the procession with us supporters following. We ride down East Capitol Street, past the U.S. Capitol Building, then across Pennsylvania Avenue to Sixth Street, turn right, then right again on F Street, past the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial, left on 5th, then left on G, and park.

My group arrived at the RFK Stadium parking lot about 8:45am. We were there early enough to stage ourselves in the first line of bikers that will follow the motor officers. Then we dismounted and watched thousands of others arrive on motorcycles of all sizes and makes. Of those who came, I estimate there were about 600 - 700 motor officers in uniform. The rest were biker/supporters, like me.

What's it like? I've been asked this question often. For a gay guy, perhaps what I may look for and at may be different from others, but I'm not there for sexual or fetish fantasies. I'm not that kind of guy. I believe that the jobs of our law enforcement officers is tough and they deserve recognition. Yeah, of course, it's a pleasure for a guy like me who really likes boots and uniforms to be there, to watch, observe, and take pictures.

But what I enjoy most is speaking with some of the officers. I begin by introducing myself. I ask the officer where he is from, and thank him for his service. Usually chit-chat about the job, riding such-and-such a bike, and working in that city or county follows. Because I have traveled to almost every nook and cranny in the U.S. over the years, I find that often I have visited the city or county where the cop is from, so I usually have something to talk about -- the cop's hometown. As for anyone, people like to talk about where they're from, what they do, and what they enjoy -- motorcycling. Most officers enjoy conversations with us "civilians." After all, they are trained to work with people.

Many of the officers tend to hang out with each other, and swap stories based on their mutual training, background, and experience. I wouldn't call it cliquish. I would say that people in the same profession tend to have more to talk about with each other. And many of these officers have met before -- on this ride or similar rides elsewhere.

If you behave as a normal guy who enjoys motorcycles and appreciates and supports the work of police officers, then there's not much else to it. You just stand around, occasionally chit-chat with a cop, and take pictures. That's it. Nothing special, nothing dramatic, nothing difficult. Just hang out, being a biker among fellow bikers.

When the ride queues up to leave, a horn is sounded and a call is made to "mount your bikes." The cops and the rest of us do that. I put my trinkets that I bought or received as a gift in my saddle bags, put on my jacket, gloves, and helmet, start my engine, and wait to be directed to join the ride, two-by-two. Off we go, down the streets of DC.

Yeah, there is something neat about hearing the roar of all those bikes, seeing all those boots, uniforms, and being one among fellow bikers. That's what makes this ride fun. The rest -- boots, uniforms, leather -- is icing on the cake.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The shiniest motorcop boots

Oh my goodness, my boot visions were realized today when I rode on Law Ride, a ride led by motorcops from all over the U.S. They ride from RFK Stadium to the Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial. Us supporters follow.

I spoke with several cops, including the one whose boots are shown here. Man, what a nice guy. And his boots were gorgeous! These are Chippewa Hi-Shines, which are selected more often now by cops than any other boot, including Dehners.

I had a great conversation with this officer, who has visited my website. He already knew my interest in boots, and asked several good questions. He gave me a hat from his motor squad. What a nice guy. What a GREAT DAY!

More will follow. I had a terrific time and took a lot of photos as the ride was organizing. Ummm, ummm, ummm... my hopes were realized, and the boot beauty was in abundance.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The weather is clearing and it looks like tomorrow morning will be crisp and sunny. Great leather weather, with a pair of tall black cop boots thrown in.

I'm joining friends to attend "Law Ride," which is a motor officer (and friends) ride in Washington, DC, from RFK Stadium to the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial to pay our respects for those in law enforcement who have died in the line of duty in the last year.

I have gone on this ride for several years now. I really enjoy it. I am particularly looking forward to some boot gazing while the motor officers are queuing up in the morning before the ride heads out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blue Mass Boot Gazing

The first Tuesday of May is when an event called the Blue Mass is held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Washington, DC. This mass gathers officers from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies along with their supporters, like me, to remember and pray for those who have died in the line of duty in the last year. It's a classy event. The Archbishop of Washington says the mass with many concelebrants.

I attend the mass because deep down I have tremendous respect for law enforcement officers who take a lot of grief every day in their jobs, dealing with some of society's worst. They truly care about the communities they serve and work long, hard hours, often without even a thank-you. Well, seriously, THANK YOU to all of the men and women who help all of us be safe where we live, work, and enjoy our freedoms.

I also have to admit, though, being a Bootman, I have a very special fondness for a man in a nice looking uniform and tall, well-shined, black boots. The uniform of the U.S. Secret Service wins hands-down, at least among those who lined up for the Blue Mass. Photo above shows them all decked out in their dress "Class A" uniforms and Dress Instep Dehner Boots with lug soles. My my my, what a nice sight to behold. It's nice to talk with these officers, to say thank-you, and to learn more about their daily work. Most enjoy speaking with us civilians, because part of their training includes learning how to work with people. They are, after all, in a position to deal with a lot of people!

While waiting for the mass to begin, I snapped some photos and took some video of the procession of honor guards, police leadership, and clergy entering the church. Those photos and video are posted here (this is a link).

Next time you see a cop, instead of saying "uh-oh," say "Thank You!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Backup Leathers and Boots

I tend to be rather absent-minded. I guess it goes with my lifestyle of doing a thousand things simultaneously.

Yesterday when I arrived at my local Metro station on my way home from work, I went to my partner's car in the garage, retrieved my motorcycle helmet, and put my briefcase inside. Because it was so warm, I left my leathers which I had used that morning in the trunk.

La-la-la, I rode my Harley home on a warm sunny day, changed clothes, put on jeans and my bullhide Nocona boots, then fed the birds. I got soaked because I forgot to turn off the anti-deer motion-sensitive sprinkler. Changed clothes and boots again, this time wearing Justin snoot-toed cowboy boots. I then put the sprinkler on the front lawn to water our new sod, and tripped over the hose and got wet again. Changed clothes and boots, this time wearing Champion Attitude Firebird cowboy boots. I then went over to my aunt's house to replace some burned out fluorescent tubes. One of the tubes shattered and when I got back home, I had to change clothes so that I wouldn't hurt myself on residual glass shards. Changed this time to Dress Instep Dehner Boots, having had bad luck with cowboy boots that afternoon and having viewed so many pairs of those gorgeous boots at the Blue Mass yesterday! (I'll blog on that tomorrow).

After cooking a great dinner for my partner and myself, I spent time processing some photos and video that I took at the Blue Mass. I enjoyed feeling the tight grip of my Dehners as I was oogling cop boots on my computer screen. Anyway, soon enough, bed time rolled around. It was only this morning when I realized that my favorite biker jacket and chaps, as well as my briefcase, were still in my partner's trunk... at the Metro (since he leaves before I do.)

Fortunately, I have a lot of leather gear, so I just put on my Taylor's Leatherwear Jacket and my red piped chaps (which I hadn't put away since wearing them on Sunday), and off I rode... back to Metro. Now my partner's truck has two sets of leathers in it. I must remember to retrieve all that gear from my partner's trunk when he gets home later, else he may think I'm trying to turn his trunk into an accessory leather gear closet!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quiet Boots

While I really like to hear the sound of cowboy boots clunking as I walk along, there are times when boots that don't make a lot of noise are a choice I make to wear.

Monday morning, my partner was staying home because he had a doctor's appointment and other things to do. I got up at the usual 4am, leaving the house at 5:45 to get to work. In cases where our hours are significantly different and he needs to sleep in, we sleep in separate rooms so I won't wake him when I rise.

I did my usual early morning stuff on the computer (I often answer email from my constituents early each day. Seems like my neighbors don't think of sending email until after 9pm, after I've gone to bed). As I was dressing, I chose these Tony Lama Back-Cut Python Cowboy Boots to wear because they're good looking, and quiet. Unlike most cowboy boots, these boots don't make a sound when I walk in them. As I went to the kitchen to pack my lunch and get my stuff together to leave, I didn't make any noise. My partner told me last night that he slept until 6:30, which is quite late, because he didn't hear me walking around.

There are times when quiet boots are a good choice. I'm not quite sure why these boots are so quiet. Nonetheless, for this situation, they did (or didn't do) what I wanted.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Kidney Day

May 3 is a day to remember as this was the day, years ago, when I donated a kidney to my "little" sister. Actually, she's older than I am, but about half my size. She is a triplet, but her sisters don't look a thing like her -- they're all fraternal.

She was the sister who always tormented me, drove me nuts, jumped out at me behind closed doors (and enjoyed my startled reaction.) She was the one who did something bad and arranged for Mom and Dad to blame me for whatever transgression. She was the one who chased my friends around on the front lawn to embarrass them. She would play that loud "Rock and Roll" music in the car while I would sit humming with my fingers in my ears.

She was also the one who got sick. So sick that we thought we were going to lose her. So sick that all of us lined up and got tested, and I was the lucky winner to be informed that we had the closest match when it came to the kidney she needed since hers had shut down. Truly, I believe I am the lucky one. It was weird that her triplet sisters were not as close a match as I was. Fa bene, sic volvere parcas.

She's living well now, enjoying life, having fun. Best of all, she's my best friend.

Be an organ donor. Sign up with your state motor vehicle office so "organ donor" appears on your driver's license, but most of all, discuss your intent with those who will be asked at a time of crisis. It's sad but true: even if you have signed a donor card and indicated your intent to donate organs upon death, your loved-ones who make decisions for you at a hospital will still need to give permission. Make sure they know your intent, so your organs can save as many lives as possible -- and enable people to live longer, more productive, and happier lives with the beneficence of your gift.

Happy Kidney Day!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Economically Stimulated

When I checked my bank account this morning, I found that I was "economically stimulated" with a direct deposit from the IRS. [And since I get a lot of visitors to this blog from outside the U.S., let me explain. Since the U.S. economy is so horrible due to the terrible mismanagement by the current U.S. President, he and our Congress decided to give every taxpayer in the country a "rebate" ranging from $300 to $600 per person. The idea is that we will spend the money and thus help to "stimulate" the economy by spending it. That money is being distributed this month.]

Sure, I'll take the money. I was planning on saving all of it, but I decided to take two actions with it instead.

I've had my eye on a pair of Dan Post Vegas Cut boots in black cherry. I picked up a pair of these boots in brown in February while on a business trip to Nashville, and I have really liked them. They are very comfortable and make a great cowboy boot clunk sound while walking in them. In fact, yesterday when I was walking around my office building doing some fire escape planning with two building engineers, both heard the clunks, looked at my feet, and said simultaneously, "cool boots!"

Well, I decided to apply some of the "economic stimulus" that I just received into getting the boots I've had my eye on, and then I am donating the rest to Equality Maryland's Basic Rights Montgomery campaign. The issue is very complex and can't be explained here briefly. It's about a lawsuit to fight a referendum measure whose signatures to place it on the ballot in our county were obtained through misrepresentation, and was funded by outside hate-mongers.

So, Shrub and Congress, you don't support LGBT issues, but I'm using your "economic stimulus" to support them, as well as invest a bit in the economy (but I'd do that, anyway... that's what the Boot Fund is for!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Old Frye Boots

I really should stop being so puzzled, but each month when I look at my website statistics on the Top 16 Most Viewed Boots (last month), I see that ten times as many people have searched for Vintage Frye Boots each month than any other type of boot. Just what is it about Fryes? The style, the colors, the design? I just can't figure it out.

Sure, I had a LOT of Fryes when I was in high school and college. I wore them all the time. I still do, occasionally. Problem is that older feet aren't made for Fryes [smile]. They get darned uncomfortable unless you install padded insoles. But I tell 'ya, when I wear them, it is quite common that someone will say something about them, like...

* Are those Fryes? (I avoid the urge to respond with a wisecrack)
* Wow, cool boots! I remember when (followed by LONG story)
* Hey, man, got any pot? (I guess a lot of pot-heads wore Fryes. I dunno, I didn't inhale [LOL!])
* Can I get a pair of Fryes like that?

It goes on and on. It's too bad that the original Frye Shoe Company, maker of vintage Fryes, sold out and now is held by a conglomerate that has boots made in China with that brand name. Not the same boots by any measure.

I've had people send me email offering to buy my vintage Fryes for unbelievable (to me) amounts of money for old boots. But they still bring back a lot of fond memories, and I still enjoy wearing them, so I don't plan to sell any.

On with the (vintage) Fryes!

Life is short: wear your boots (including your Fryes!)