Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dude Food! – Keep On Truckin’

Okay, dudes, I know I’m late on the scene, but I finally experienced my first local Food Truck Rally and left there amazed, stuffed to the gills, in total pain, and a total fan...dude!
This Food Truck Phenomenon has become a nationwide cult thing, and here locally they have rolled up, taken the eating world by storm, and appear to be here to stay. Honk! Honk!
     Most of you dudes here on the West Coast know what I’m talking about. This food on wheels craze is yesterday’s news to many of you, but for those of you, like me, who have been leery and stayed away until now, it’s time to get your rolling restaurant grub on!
     When I picture a food truck in my head, I have one distinct picture and almost know what the menu consists of. I often thought they were all so similar that they all met at the same place, loaded the same disgusting - but I’ll eat it anyway food, and then headed out into their perspective areas until they fed us all the same disgusting - but I’ll eat it anyway food only to lock and load and return the next day to do it all over again.

     Of course, we met them gladly each day to look over the extensive menu and then buy the same exact thing, get heartburn at the same exact time, complain about it to the same exact people, and then be back out there for another greasy, fatty, fried fix at the exact “Same Fat Time, Same Fat Station” tomorrow.
     But, just when you thought you’d die of same exactness, this meal on wheels that has been forging a living by flooring it down a One Way street has just pulled onto the New Truck Food Super Highway where you can now travel your taste buds in any direction you want. Honk! Honk!
     Yes, the Food Truck now comes in two varieties.
     Don’t worry, you still have, and can rely on, that traditional white, converted motor home version that slinks up behind your offices or bounds into the center of the construction site to offer you that questionable but often good tasting food we have come to know and love (and hope doesn’t kill us). I’m convinced they birthed and mastered the now famous breakfast burrito, and they are not going away anytime soon.

But, today we are now blessed with a second food on wheels option; one that doesn’t need to sneak around behind buildings or dodge food inspectors, but instead, strolls up bold, brash and brightly colored. They are modern rides that come with catchy names and a diverse menu that give them the courage, and the right, to now park front and center in even the most upscale of malls. They offer first-class gourmet food made by top-notch chefs and are taking the eating establishment on the ride of their lives. This new breed of mobile diner has transitioned into a new choice for not only tasty comfort food made quick and piled high, but also, conversely, produces innovative and healthy menu items in every category of “Dude Food” out there and if you haven’t hit one up yet, the time to seek them, find them and/or chase them down is now!

     Did I just mention “food trucks” and “healthy” in the same breath? Is that possible? Is that Sushi? Is that Ahi Poke?
     Remember when the most common name synonymous with these beasts of burgers was “Roach Coach!” They were an “avoid at all cost” food source that only offered a few minutes of hunger relief followed by a couple hours of torment on the can! And yet, bad press and all, the mental clock inside my head couldn’t wait for that horn to blare outside my office building and announce to me and everyone, “If you’re any bit hungry and want to scarf something that’s fatty, fried and most likely bad for you, down in ten minutes so you can get back to work and burp it up for the next couple of hours, we are your only option, like it or not!”
To which I said, “Yes, please.“

     Ah, but enter the new breed of Food Truck. I was caught off guard as I rolled into the parking lot.
     “Look at those colors! Look at those clever names, Seabirds, Home Skillet, Tamarindo, Ragun Cajun, Barcelona on the Go, Tacos Maria. Look at those menus! Where did you come from?
    Where did they come from? Who was it that thought they could change the course of the mighty “Roach Coach” and draw a crowd who actually cared what they ate?
     In talking with a few of the people engulfed in this new food faire, I believe I found my answer. Though there are many factors, three common threads kept creeping into the conversation as I spoke with many of the truck owners, chefs and employees.
     One: People want to experience new foods, healthier foods, and diverse foods.
     Two: In this economy, people don’t always want to pay large restaurant prices to have it.
     Three: Because people are so busy, if you’re willing to drive and meet them halfway, they’ll show up.

     And show up they did. I watched for a couple of hours as cars unloaded eager people who  would either run to their favorite truck in anticipation (veterans of the truck munch), or stroll the entire rally in wonderment (rookie ralliers like me). We were like bees looking for just the right flower filled with just the right pollen, and when spotted, we landed hoping it tasted as awesome as the truck looked!

     I, trying to eat healthier, was here for the Avocado Tacos at Seabirds (, a food my brother in law said was must for the non-meat eating crowd. I was not disappointed!
     But, they were smaller than anticipated. Probably the proper size for someone wanting to truly eat healthy portions - which was my mindset when the day began. But, after walking from truck to truck, seeing and reading about amazing food options I realized I wasn’t done eating by a long shot! There were far too many good looking flowers for this busy bee. Honk! Honk!
     I followed up my two avocado tacos with a grilled fish taco at Tamarindo’s (, now in my top five, and you know me and fish tacos!
     Then, how could I pass on a roasted pumpkin taco from Taco Maria’s ( made by a chef in full chef garb including scarf, hat, bright white shirt and apron and mixing sauces in a skillet like he was an apprentice to Wolfgang Puck himself. Is there such a thing as a 5 Star Food Truck?

     I was already so full I had to pass on the TOSTADAS de CANGREJO, a tostada made with fresh Dungeness crab, shrimp, avocado and lime juice….what?
     Home Skillet ( was cooking up some crazy food and the line was long.
     “You want the best rib-eye steak sandwich around, you find this truck!” one customer told me.
     By this time I could only handle their sweet potato fries…which were awesome!
     I was finally done eating, I hoped, and could barely move. I never made it to Barcelona On the Go ( for a Shrimp Taco with Chipotle…but there’s always next week!
     Yes, there will be a next week, and weeks to come! The great thing about their websites is they list their locations for you so you can plot your eating travels. The other great thing is they seem to travel in packs so the variety is always there.
    Dude Food! – Keep On Truckin’ Honk! Honk!
Dudes, I have found my new source of “Dude Food” and it is definitely worth the short drive. Let all us dudes know if you have a favorite truck we need to track down. Give us the what, where and when.

Keith Poletiek is an author, humorist, speaker, cartoonist and creator of  Dude and Dude the comic strip seen daily at

Follow Dude and Dude on Facebook at or on the comics page of ( 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Dude and Dude" One Year Anniversary…Dude!

Fish Tacos & Far Out Friends! 
Dude and Dude-the Comic Strip by cartoonist Keith Poletiek turned one year old this month and all Keith can say is, “Dude!”

Dude and Dude centers around the antics, adventures and laidback lifestyle of two twenty-three 
year old beach dwellers who look at every day as “Casual Friday,” and strive to carve their niche in society with as little effort as possible.
They aspire only to scrape up enough “fundage” to pay the rent on their one-room converted attic, put a gallon or two of gas in their VW Bus (’72…sweet!), keep a good amount of surf wax around for emergencies and survive on as many fish tacos as they can handle…which is a lot!  Throw in a cantankerous old landlord, wise-cracking dog, pretentious cat, good waves and a hot babe or two and you have the makings of cartoon that reminds you to smile because your day can’t be as crazy as theirs. Or, is familiarity the key? Their laziness knows no bounds including not having enough energy to even call themselves by name. All they seem to be able to muster is the call of modern day beach bum….”Dude.”  I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and would have it no other way. When asked by readers the names of two guys I simply reply, “A dude, by any other name, is a dude!” thought Dude and Dude were cool names too.   

Enough to send out a contract…dude!  Dude and Dude was added to the internet cartoon line-up of on January 10, 2011, the 
online comic website for United Feature Syndicate and then transferred to ( in June of this year when distribution rights changed hands from UFS to Universal Press. Since then, Dude and Dude has climbed the subscription charts steadily, adding new subscribers every day. They were also picked up by in their first month and things keep growing. There is a Dude and Dude page on Facebook ( where fans can follow along, add their own thoughts, stay in contact with me about the future of DnD and/or just be part of the Dude and Dude Community.

I’m also excited to launch the new Dude and Dude website next month which allows readers and fans to follow along on a daily blog, learn about new characters and future themes, and buy signed prints, clothing and other “Dude” merchandise including the first ever Dude and Dude (1 year compilation) book to be released later this year. 

I started out as an Editorial Cartoonist because I heard that was one way to break into the comic strip world. I was one of those guys that hung out at the Ivy House in Laguna Beach, CA hoping to get feedback from cartoonist greats like Frank and Phil Interlande, VIP, Wright, Lara and all the others. I allowed them to rip my work apart so I could go home, work hard for week only to return and have them do it all over again. I knew I had somewhat arrived as a cartoonist on the day I scribbled a drawing of Ronald Reagan on a napkin and two of the guys fought over who was going to get to keep it. I'm grateful and humbled to have gone on to become an award winning Editorial Cartoonist having cartoons and graphic art seen in books, magazines, websites, clothing and newspapers throughout California. I was fortunate to become the staff Editorial Cartoonist for the Anaheim Bulletin, in Anaheim, CA in the 80’s and having my work also featured periodically in their sister paper, the Orange County Register.
I longed, for 20+ years, to have my own comic strip. I presented a new packet, with a new cartoon character and slant every month, to every cartoon syndicate out there. It was my dream and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I fell in love with Peanuts in the 70’s and I was hooked. Charles Schultz became an icon, Snoopy became my hero, and I wanted to create the next Snoopy and be the next Charles Schultz.  After 4 or 5 years of giving it my all, and coming close, as often happens, life got in the way of my dream.  I gave up the chase to focus on my new family, a steady career and more substantial goals to help provide for them. 

Twenty years later, okay-closer to twenty-five, I decided to send out just one more cartoon idea. This time the syndicates were few, the newspaper world spiraling downward and the future of the comics’ page was in doubt, but I still longed to make people laugh and what better than with two guys who many “dudes” in their twenties and thirties relate to, as well as, “dudes” in their forties, fifties and sixties (I even hear from old hippies in their seventies).  The success of Dude and Dude will come, I believe, because there are dudes and dudettes of all ages everywhere. The response has been tremendous in this first year with over 4,300 subscribers on I’m looking forward to year two and seeing where my mind takes Dude and Dude and who will come along for the ride!

This first year has been nothing but “Fish Tacos and Far Out Friends……………Dude!”

Join the Dude and Dude Community

Friday, December 23, 2011

Letting Go is the Hard Part…Dude!

It’s Saturday morning and, as usual, with sketchbook in hand, and coffee (Peppermint Mocha – love Christmas time) and a bagel I didn’t really need, I’m hanging at my favorite “thought spot” on the pier watching the surfers, checking out the ocean view, studying the early beach dwellers and hoping inspiration happens for my Dude an Dude comic strip. It’s hard to stay focused because the view is incredible and the waves are nice due to an offshore breeze - so the surf action is kicking. But, there are cartoon deadlines looming, and so, I must “find the funny” out here somewhere and capture it in comic strip form so I can continue to convince myself I’m chasing my dream of being a full time cartoonist. A dream I’ve been chasing for over 30 years…dude.

It’s a dream I still aspire to today for a couple of reasons - One: Because I flat out love doing it, so I motivate myself to keep trying every chance I get to be better at it, and grow a bigger audience. 
- Two: Because of all the encouragement I have received over the years to keep going, even as I tirelessly shoved drawing after drawing in the face of anyone I knew, and even some I didn’t, asking if what I had just scribbled on whatever piece of paper I could find had merit.
“Do you get it?” I’d ask, agonizing at the thought of rejection. “Do you know what it is?” Hoping it was drawn well enough there would be no doubt. “Is it funny?” Lie to me!!
Self determination and a push from those around me have been the keys to my chasing this insurmountable goal all these years.
Which I realize is no different for many of us, is it.
I’m reminded of this as I watch the surf action happening below me.

Enter, Lauren, a bleach blonde surf chick. Not uncommon here. There are lots of girls, world champions, who began their careers surfing in the waters below me. She had on a traditional wetsuit but rode atop a pink and purple girly looking surfboard. "That’s different" I thought. 
In fact, there is a lot about Lauren that was different from all the other surfers as I watched her more closely. One of the more glaring differences I notice was, unlike everyone else, Lauren had a surfing chaperone.  A man in a wetsuit, wading alongside her and assisting her as she paddled over wave after wave to reach a key spot in the surf to catch waves. He didn't leave her side and guarded her against the on slot of water looking to topple her over with each surge.

Why he was so protective soon became apparent. Enter dad. 
You see, the other noticeable thing that separated Lauren from the rest of pack was her age. Lauren is only six years old, and at a point in her young surf life where she still needed some extra strength, direction and guidance. Someone to put in the time to help her reach her try and reach her goal, and who better than dad himself! Everyone watching this budding superstar could tell dad must have put in many hours before this day too because this girl knew what she was doing once she stood up. I started to consider the "dad" hours it would take to get a six year old (who might have started at four or five) up and riding a surfboard, and this guy slowly became a hero to me, and all of us…a dude!
Way to go daddy-o! You are full-blown awesome!
I spent the next two hours (yes, two hours) watching dad line her up with an oncoming wave, give her a slight push, watch her take off, stand up and ride the wave to its end. Dad would flash a thumbs up and then swim in to get her and bring her out again as she paddled vigorously to meet him.

I watched carefully to see if this seemed to be more of a dad’s dream than Lauren’s. Was she being forced, or pushed, to do something against her will? I’m kind of an expert on spotting these parental parasites, having raised a figure skating daughter. Watching for nine years as figure skating parents, who have so much time and money invested in their future Olympian, would demand they continue and improve or else. What they usually got was not an Olympian, but instead, a son or daughter who ended up hating figure skating…and their parents. 
And trust me, having also raised a childhood actor, I realized a lot of the reason they end up such a mess is the true driving force behind the insanity – a stage mom or dad who sees dollar signs (for themselves) in little Billy’s talent. They push and push…but they rarely let go, and when they do, the child actor ends up on a road to destruction.

But, none of that was happening here. The photographer (Bobby Z) who took these pics for me had a camera that could zoom in so close to Lauren I could see the color of her eyes clearly. I could also clearly see the giant smile on her face. A face filled with the joy of doing what she loved and was glad it was dad there to send her off in the right direction wave after wave.
That was a defining moment for me that morning. Watching, as a dad myself, as Paul would line Lauren up, aim her and then, whether he wanted to or not, let her go and let the wave take over, hoping the whole time he had shown her enough and put in enough quality time to feel somewhat certain she could attack the wave on her own. All he could do was watch and hope she’d be okay. What a helpless feeling as his little girl would be swept out of his reach and have to go it alone! What a life lesson for all of us!
Dude, have we done enough? Have we put in the time? Quality time? Dad hours? Mom hours? Grandpa hours, Neighbor hours...
Are you ready to help make someone’s dream come true while you’re chasing your own? Talk about hard! Talk about commitment...dude! But, the reward is so great. Dudes, we need to focus on the reward!

My next door neighbors are both avid surfers. I think they even met surfing. They have two young boys. One is three and the other is one. There are lots of reasons to be tired here, and yet, every day, in the afternoon and on weekends, you find dad with the three year old watching him ride a bike with furry, encouraging him, and teaching him how to skateboard. At three the dude can already pop an impressive Ollie. Mom usually has the other one in a stroller and it’s off to the beach for a walk or to check out the sunset. Total “put in the time” parents. Oh, and he’s a full-time Algebra teacher with over 200 students at the local Jr. High and she’s a full-time attorney. Where do they find the strength?
It’s in the reward!
That morning, as I watched from the pier I realized what kept dad going. It all came down to the thumbs up between him and his daughter.
“You did it, Lauren!”
“No, we did it, dad!”
I don’t know if you’ve been checking out our world lately, but it’s getting kind of crazy, and yet, kids, our kids, want to attack it! Now, more than ever it’s time to find the time and put in the time! Find that extra hour or two to help make someone’s dream come true.
Trust me, with love in place, lining them up, aiming them and directing them will be rewarding and seem easy.

Letting go is the hard part.

Photos of Lauren and Paul are courtesy of photography icon, Bobby Z of Bobby Z Images. His incredible photos can be seen throughout the surfing and sports world. Have him capture your little Lauren chasing a dream with the eye that only a pro photographer can do...dude.
Contact Bobby Z: or 714.742.3404

Keith Poletiek is an author, speaker, graphic designer, Award winning Political cartoonist and creator of the daily comic Dude and Dude ( Distributed by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Skateboarding, Like Life, Is All About Balance!

In the corner of my office are two skateboards sitting side by side. A modern board and a replica of the same exact board I rode as a kid. Boards from two different eras and with two different approaches to skateboarding, but a common goal – Go! Go hard! Go BIG, and don’t let anything stop you or get in your way. Dude, I was a hardcore skateboarder when I was a kid. I could do all the tricks like roll on the sidewalk, roll down the driveway, and roll in the street. I was totally wicked!  I know that doesn’t sound like much in the way of far-out tricks, but in the 1960s it was all I knew, and all my hard wood, metal wheeled Roller Derby TM skateboard could do. The only time I ever caught air was when I hit an unforeseen rock or crack in the sidewalk. My board would stop abruptly, but I wouldn’t, and the momentum would send me flying.   In the sixties, catching Big Air on a skateboard was not a good thing. It was not a killer trick - though it could end up getting you killed.
Most of the time it just left you lying on the sidewalk scraped, bruised and embarrassed.  
It wasn’t until I got my first skateboard with clay wheels, in the late 60’s or early 70s, that I even attempted anything but just rolling. My new board was a Black Knight TM.  It too was a wooden skateboard, but it now had wheels that could take a bit more punishment and would allow me to actually jump off curbs and live to tell about it. This opened up a whole new world of skateboarding. Leaving the ground for a brief second and then negotiating a safe and balanced landing was cool…dude!   Cool until that one wrong landing which sent the ball bearings in one of the clay wheels flying into the street, again bringing the skateboard to another fatal and abrupt stop! Now the scrapes were coming from the asphalt in the street…bigger, more painful, and took longer to heal. Like the metal wheel board, catching Big Air still meant catching some kind of injury, and those darn rocks and cracks were still in play!  It wasn’t until the mid 1970s, that skateboarding really took flight…and on purpose this time. 
With the introduction of the urethane wheel, skateboards could now go where no board had gone before and skateboarding would never be the same, and never look back. I can remember saving up for a set of Cadillac Wheels TM, which came in a variety of cool colors. I’d buy four different colors (that’s what was up back then), attached them on my board early Saturday morning and then by gone for hours. Go, Dude, Go!  Skateboarding was no longer just a street sport. The best of the best were now attacking drainage ditches, reservoirs and swimming pools. Catching Big Air was now not only the thing to do, but the bigger, the better! Dudes were going for it and people were digging it.   Who would have thought that even today, forty years later, the “Big Air” movement would still be alive and even carry over into so many other sports like it has? Vert Ramps, Super Vert Ramps! Bicycles, motorcycles, snowboards, snowmobiles, jet skis, snow skis, water skis, and even surfing today are all about “Big Air!” 
     Life has become one huge, concentrated effort of attempting to fly. Trying to break barriers and not hold back.  Catching “Big Air” has even transcended sports, and become the battle cry of anyone wanting to exceed at whatever their attempting in life. You want to accomplish something – “Go Big or Go Home! Right?...Wrong!

The "Go For It at Any Cost!" mentality now has too many people  moving way to fast and getting caught up in the stress and worry that comes with trying to succeed at all cost! Check yourself and see. Are you so busy trying to create incredible moments for your life that you’re missing out on incredible moments in your life?

I now Thank God for the unforeseen rocks and deep cracks in the sidewalk of my life that stop me in my tracks, allow me to slow down, re-evaluate, get things prioritized and bring me back to earth. Sure there are bumps and bruises along the way, but it always seems to followed by some incredible healing.

Dudes, I pray that you achieve all your dreams. That you set goals and you reach them. Just don’t kill yourself trying. I think I’ll keep those two skateboards, from two different eras, next to each other for as long as I can. A reminder that there are times to sore and times to just roll through life!

Skateboarding, like life, is all about balance!

Keith Poletiek is an author, speaker, graphic designer, Award winning Political cartoonist and creator of the daily comic Dude and Dude ( Distributed by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A "Cool Dude Moment" - Can't We All Just Get A Long...Board?

So, I’m sitting on the pier, watching the surfers below me tear up the waves. It was a good day for surfing, and the sun was out early. Sets were decent and the water was smooth.
     This spot on the pier, along with a Starbucks nearby, are my “go to” locales where I take my sketch pad and write ideas and concepts for my Dude and Dude comic strip (See ).  There’s no better place to pick up some humorous material about dudes than by hanging in the midst of them…dude.

     Anyway, on this particular day there was good mix of long boarders and short boarders. All types of dudes catching their fair share of waves. Everyone was in harmony with each other and it created good energy and a cool vibe. I was glad I was there, even if the cartoon ideas were not going to flow that day. 
    There were young groms, old souls, and even a guy on a throwback, plain colored long board doing headstands. Yes, headstands! Some rides that went for 50 feet or more. He got hoots from the water and the onlookers standing next to me on the pier. Yes, I hooted. It was impressive, and I soon found myself actually following him in the water to see what he might try next. Hanging ten wasn’t out of the question for this longtime surfer; and I think, if there had been a girl swimming in the water nearby, he might have tried tandem. He was a standout. 
     There was another standout in the water below me that day, but not because of his surfing skill. On the contrary, it was his lack of skill that made him a standout. He was an older, pale man in his fifties, if not older, wearing a bright blue wetsuit and lying awkwardly on an equally bright blue soft board (both rented for sure). He was flailing in the whitewash, trying his best to catch what I believed to be his first wave ever. He had no skills, no timing, no sense of direction, and when he fell off the board it was quite a scene watching him track it down (no leash) and try to remount before another wave came crashing down, separating him from the board once again. He was a fish out of water, or non-fish in water.
     I had just started to feel sorry for him when a great moment happened, a “Cool Dude Moment” in my book.
     Following another money ride, headstand guy spotted “pops” attempting, unsuccessfully, to catch any water that moved and, instead of laughing him off, headstand dude paddled over and began to talk with him.
     You couldn’t hear the conversation from where we were, but you didn’t need to hear what was being said to know what was going on. The body motions and hand gestures of headstand guy were plainly giving out instructions to pops in an attempt to help him possibly achieve his objective that day - the chance of actually becoming one with a wave long enough to stand up and be counted. To accomplish something he had maybe planned to do for a lifetime. To check one more thing off his bucket list. Reach the ultimate goal in ocean waves…surf. 
     Dude, it was an amazing sight to watch two people who, by appearance, age, tan lines, and the social barriers we tend to put up far too often, come together in one spirit and with one purpose.      
      Headstand dude, who had been showing off most of the morning with his check me out maneuvers, had now decided to take the backseat and help pops go from accountant (look at me labeling, my bad!) to surfer!
     Maybe headstand guy reflected back on his first attempts to surf, or maybe he was just trying to make the water around him, and everyone, safe from the on slot of man and board that continually flew dangerously in their direction. Whatever his motivation was, his efforts and instructions began to payoff.

Soon, I, and most of the guys around me, had forgotten about all the good surfing going on. We didn’t care who was ripping it up out there, or who the next big name was. We were watching eagerly and silently cheering for pops! Go Big Blue!
         It took time, and repeated failure, but, with the unyielding efforts of daddy-o (he needed a cooler name), and the encouragement and instruction of his newfound surf coach, he actually stood up on the board, rode for 30 feet, raised his hands in the air as if he had just conquered Everest (which he had), and shook his fists in triumph at the people on the beach.
     We actually cheered from the pier.
     He then wiped out violently trying to look back and thank his mentor for helping him accomplish what he probably had determined was not going to happen that day, or any other day. He couldn't wait for the ride to end, he had to look back right then and say with just the look on his face, “Thanks, dude!”
     Daddy-o pushed his board back out in the water and stroked over waves with pride. He had a new look and swagger to his paddling and he drove his arms in the water pulling him further away from the shore.
     “He’s got the surfing bug now!” I thought. “He’s heading out for more.”
     No, he was paddling hard, but not for more waves, he was trying to reach his mentor as fast as his arms would let him. A stranger just minutes ago who had bonded with him in the waves.
     It was a memorable scene. Old and young, skilled and unskilled coming together…dude and dude!
     As he neared headstand guy, again, I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I knew, we all knew what was going on. Daddy-o then reached up and gave headstand guy an energetic high five, falling off his board in the process. Still more to learn about balance.
     A wave came along, scooped up the unleashed board and carried it to the shore.
     Headstand guy then scooped up Daddy-o on the front of his board and gave him a free ride to the beach. They talked for a bit and then Daddy-o headed up on the sand and headstand guy went back out in the water. Both were now on familiar ground, but for a minute or two that morning, all differences aside, they shared common ground. A surf lesson for us all. It was a “Cool Dude Moment.”

     Share a "Cool Dude Moment" in your life with us all.
     Or, better yet, go out and create a new one today. Break down some walls. Hang with someone different. Exchange valuable insight with each other.

The greatest thing one dude and do for another is to help them to stand!

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Keith Poletiek is the cartoonist and creator of Dude and Dude, a daily comic strip Distributed at by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate. It is also seen daily on the comics pages of



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dudes...the New Bohemians

[boh-hee-mee-uhn] noun - a person, often as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

dude [dood] noun - See bohemian!

      Being born in the 60's, I was alive during the heart of the "Hippie" movement. Dude, all I remember is that it was a colorful time. I actually recall my favorite pants, in 2nd grade, being a pair of purple bell bottom chords...dude.
     And, though I was alive during this "free love" and "flower power" era, at ages 5-10 my purpose in life (or lack of purpose), spiritual direction, political views, taste in music, art, and my love for nature had not begun to define me, or molded me in any way...and recreational drug use, a big part of the culture, was not yet an option.  There were no kids dealing on the kindergarten playground (that I knew of). Now that I think of it, there was that one kid who always had money?
     I guess, looking back, I wasn't so much "living in" the Hippie movement as I was "living beside it".
     By High School, in the late 70's, things began to change. I had finally become opinionated (too opinionated for some) on just about every topic imaginative; including whether recreational drug use was going to be an option or not. There were no playgrounds, but this time there were plenty of dealers. It gave a whole new meaning to "High" School...dude, you know, if you were there.
     As I reflect back, I remember being too concerned about trying to do all I could to be the best at everything I did, and that left no time for drugs, or drinking to get drunk. Sports, art, music, faith, classes, grades, and acceptance were more on my radar, one just as important as the other. I thought if you had to go to school, why not give it your all. As a new freshman, I figured everyone forced to wake up that early everyday, and attend school because the law required it, must feel the same way as me, but, dude, I couldn't have been more wrong. It took a couple of months into my freshman year to get the lay of the land, and as my awareness of all that was going on around me kicked in I began to notice a group of people that, though they attended school everyday, were definitely not into school. I also noticed something else about the eyes of many, they were considered very cool.
     Wait! That was my goal! Was I running in the wrong direction? This "cool" group was doing everything they could not to run, in any direction, and yet they seemed to winning on every level. Do you remember this group? Were you one of them? Are you one of them? Dude!
     They were an intimidating group of kids, for sure, who had turned apathy for just about everything important, and energy for things that seemed to have no significant purpose, into a lifestyle that many, myself included, long to be apart of. These were definitely the "cool kids" on campus. They always hung out at the same place, talked about the same things, made fun of the same people - kids who were running around trying to do it all (like me). They even somewhat dressed alike, though there was no rhyme or reason to what they wore. Back To School shopping probably took all of ten minutes. Mine was a calculated search for everything I would need to wear to look somewhat "in" everyday, and yet, a stretched out Hang Ten t-shirt, faded jeans and sandals or faded tennis shoes with holes in only the coolest places, were all the threads those guys ever needed: and the girls wore those amazingly tight jeans and...well, that's all I remember, those amazingly tight jeans! Can I get a witness?!
     This group of non-conformists only strolled to class, slowly and flashing the finger, when pushed by the campus patrol.
     They were what I would call today a new breed of bohemians. 
Feel free to listen to Edie Brikell and the New Bohemians while reading if this helps set the mood.
Edie Brikell "What I Am"
     What is a bohemian? The definition at the top of this article defines them well in just a few words.
     The name originates from a culture of people who lived in 19th Century (Bohemianism), a people group that had gained a reputation as those set on counter-culture thinking. An anti-social group with little regard for place or position, a strong anti-establishment approach to politics and social commentary, and yet, very much in tune with, and recognized for their love of music, poetry, and the arts. Bohemians also had a lower regard for appearance and physical hygiene.
     I don't know if this group of cool kids I went to school with cared about their appearance, but I do know they looked good - but in a carefree, "I didn't really try" kind of way. The guys were chick magnets and the girls were what most of us outsiders dreamed of. They had a way of making messy hair work, they made layered clothes - that as individual pieces probably didn't match - come together with such disregard...that it set trends. Whether they smelled bad, I never knew. I was never allowed to get close enough to them to find out. Most of them, when not at there cool location on campus, hung out at the beach, surfed, skateboarded, played guitar and could look like gods and goddesses in the glow of a fire ring. Pissed me off! 
     Bohemians, Flakes, whatever you thought of them...they were dudes and "Dudes Most High"!
     Dudes, by my definition are still today's modern bohemians, and are alive and well and growing.
     You can spot them today in two familiar groups. 
     First, there are the bohemians of the 60's and 70's that somehow defied the partying, the drinking, the drugs,and made it out alive. They beat the odds and didn't let too many drugs, and excessive partying take them away in their teens.You know, the "old souls" who walk among us today. Those who set the bar low back then, and set the bar wherever they want today as to continue to live life at their pace. It's the guy with the constant tan that you never see working a job but always seems to have enough money to make it. Many of them own their own businesses and let others run around while they reap the benefits...dude. He has enough friends to laugh with everyday, and enough life in him to make you want to know his secret. Some might call them slackers, but they call you and I suckers for chasing after the American Dream while their dreams are still more vivid, mellowing and truthful than ours. Their only stress is hoping they have enough wax for their board on the day that big set comes in. They also still make messy hair look good and still look like gods and goddesses in the glow of a fire ring. Still pisses me off!

     Secondly, I have also enjoyed following this latest and younger generation of bohemians, or dudes, as they attack life at a snails pace, yet seem to be embracing the modern world, technology, life and love as if they, once again, know something we don't...and maybe they do. This twenty-something, Generation-Why crowd, many the by-product of the "old soul" crowd, are, like their predecessors, gathering together, dressing alike, talking alike, and, with all the apathy they can muster, dictation the future. They are musicians and poets with a voice (and Record deals). They are artists whose "Street Art" sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their fashion sense rocks the fashion world, and their political and spiritual philosophies are changing the course of governments and religious institutions one blog, website or YouTube video at a time. They are the modern bohemians...the ones I look at from a distance today, because, once again, it's intimidating to get too close!
     The ones we stare at and say, "Dude!"
     I was a late bloomer as a dude and still haven't tasted fully from the "dude" cup. I still, all too stressfully, run around chasing the American Dream, but I'm learning to relax. Finding a way to be stress free, having never practiced it when I was young, is exhausting...dude. My wife asked me last week, "What's with all the Soft Jazz music on your radio dial?"
     "I'm just trying to stay mellow enough to not want to strangle anyone, honey!"

     I guess I'm just trying to slow down so I can catch up with this new crowd of bohemians. I know they are looking at you and me, and probably making fun of us as we run around trying to do it all..again. My goal now is to try and find an hour or two a day to spend with these dudes, practice doing what they do best...surfing, skating, or nothing.

Having a daily cartoon strip about dudes (www.Gocomics/dudedude) has become a great stress release and escape for me as I slip into my studio (dudeio) and just think about all things dude and the humor and insight that comes from it.
     It help makes me feel young again! I think it would be worth it for all of us, especially today with all the reasons to be stressful, to study how today's bohemians, young and older, approach life. Borrow some ideas, find some escapes, learn something about going at life on your own terms...and someday, just maybe you'll look good with messy hair (if you have any left) or, at least, halfway decent in the glow of a fire ring!    

Dudes...the modern bohemians, watch out world, they're coming on slow!...dude.

Comment and share your dude secrets, your escapes, your ways to relax! 

Keith Poletiek is an author, illustrator, speaker and cartoonist. Creator of Dude and Dude, a daily comic Distributed by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate at

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Duke Kahanamoku - The Original Surfer Dude!

Out of the water, I am nothing." - Duke Kahanamoku

Obviously, that wasn't at all true of this pioneer of the art of surfing; but it is that mindset that makes Duke, to me and many others, an ultimate Dude; and arguably the original and most recognizable Dude of all time! Yes, he was a five time Olympic medalist in swimming (3 Gold, 2 Silver in 3 Olympics; 1912,1920,1924), an actor, lawman and early beach volleyball star, but it was his bringing surfing from his native island of Hawaii to mainland California that truely gave him, and gives him today "Dude" status! Born Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 - January 22, 1968), - Dude! - he took on the name Duke from his father who was given the title himself by a European dignitary who was visiting the Hawaiian Islands when Duke, not known as Duke, was just a boy. Confused? Me too!
Many have thought, over the years, with the name Duke, he must be of Hawaiian Royalty, something he used to laugh about. He never went out of his way to say or act like he was more than what he was. His humble, mellow, approach to life(attributes he learned from his very religious mother), even after all his accomplishments , also makes him a great Dude in my book! There are many of stories of which island, and city, Duke was actually born on, but his answer is always the same, Honolulu, where he and his six brothers, three sisters and 31 other Paoa cousins (dude!) all learned to swim and, most important, surf. As a young boy he moved to the outskirts of Waikiki to stay close to his mother and family, and this is where  Kahanamoku spent his youth as a bronzed beach dude.

It was at Waikiki Beach where he developed his surfing and swimming skills. In his youth, Kahanamoku preferred a traditional surf board, which he called his "papa nui", constructed after the fashion of ancient Hawaiian "olo" boards. Made from the wood of a koa tree (What? No Clark Foam?). It was 16 feet (4.8 m) long and weighed 114 pounds (52 kg)....dude! Throw that up on mom's station wagon and watch her scream! The board was without a skeg (fin), which had yet to be invented. In his later career, he would often use smaller boards, but always preferred those made of wood. His Qlympic fame and world record swimming times made him an international figure and he traveled the world promoting swimming, surfing and I like to think, dudeism!

As if he hadn't done enough to be considered one of the greatest dudes of all time, in 1925, while living in southern California, he again generated national fame by using his surfboard to rescue eight people from a boat that had capsized in Newport Harbor, California. Lifeguards throughout California, Australia and the world soon added the use of surfboards as a key part of their water safety training; a practice they still use today! The dude does it again! Amongst his many accomplishments he was also the first person inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame and Surfing Hall of Fame.
He is also in the Olympic Hall of Fame, has many events, statues and venues named in his honor including the title of "Surfer of the Century" by
Surfer Magazine as well as other organizations and periodicals. Along with all those awards, I would personally like to name him now as one of, if not the greatest dude of all time! Duke "Dude" Kahanamoku....dude.

"In water, or out of water, Duke, you were something!" - Keith Poletiek

Who is your ultimate dude? Let us know! Become a Follower of this weekly blog by Keith Poletiek directed at searching out, finding and sharing all things dude!

Keith is an award winning cartoonist and creator of "Dude and Dude" a daily comic strip distributed worldwide by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate at

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