Noonan at Noon: The Golden Bell Tolls For Thee

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Friends,

It’s been a tough couple of months.

The dark winter days of February, the ides of March, the interminable wait before Game of Thrones begins anew (winter has been coming for-f’ing-ever, has it not.) It’s enough to drive a fellow to drink the middle-shelf whiskey.

6 seasons. 6,593 plotlines. Too late to turn back now.

But to grow, one must face the pain of the past. So let’s recap, shall we?

March began with the passing of British prog rock pioneer Keith Emerson – a story which gained scant national press, but I feel worthy of mentioning here. Granted, there’s not much sexy in the ways of King Crimson, Jethro Tull, or Yes. Progressive rock is where an artist goes when they give in to every vain and vapid notion they may have, talented as they may be. But who among us has not blissed out to 21st Century Schizoid Man at 2am, or read the 10-page liner notes of Thick as a Brick after (accidentally) mistaking their roommate’s pan of brownies as a sign of generosity? Perhaps this ‘80s supergroup put it best:

It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.
It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Surely any man of the 19th hole can hold a certain level of respect for those musicians who take their talents to the logical extremes— even when those extremes might be a 14-minute keyboard solo in 11/9 time followed by a spoken tone poem. It is the witnessing of a master of his craft. Like watching Nicklaus win the Masters in ’86.

Hendrix + guitar = cool. Emerson + Hammond organ = cool?
Hendrix + guitar = cool. Emerson + Hammond organ = cool?

Unfortunately, on the scale of awesomeness, prog rock ranks somewhere between LARPing and ardent unicycling. Neither is going to win one many dates. In fact, if there were ever any dates to a prog rock concert, they were always last dates. And let’s go further – being in a band like Emerson Lake & Palmer is like being the top food scientist in your field. Other scientists no doubt appreciate and admire your work, but you’re not going to impress a lady at a bar by telling her you invented yellow dye #5, which just so happens to be in in the margarita mix she’s drinking right now and – hey, where are you going?

6 seasons. 6,593 plotlines. Too late to turn back now.
“I really need to stop the whole yellow dye #5 story…”

Then, THEN, as if April didn’t – as the kids say – suck enough, Merle Haggard got called up to join Heaven’s gospel choir. News of which sent yours truly straight down to the local watering hole for a glass of misery & gin. And make it a double. This leaves us here with only Guy, Kris, and our elder Austin godfather of whom I shall not even name for fear of reminding the good Lord that not all the greats have yet shuffled off the mortal stage. What more could be said of a man who lived so well, and so miserably, and wrote so many good songs about it all? Hag, we shall miss you.

I’ll just leave this here for you to play.
I’ll just leave this here for you to play.

America needed some good news. Last week the Masters looked poised to deliver. Now, let me pause right now and say two words.

Jordan Spieth.

Jordan Motherlovin’ Spieth.

My friends, I am not one usually given to extreme hyperbole but Spieth has the strength of a bear that has the strength of ten bears. He has the fortitude of Apollo Creed, the humility of the Pope, and the deft touch of…er, Keith Emerson? It’s fair to say that all of America was rooting for him. Going into Sunday, no doubt the clubhouse tailor was making plans to cut the green cloth to Spieth specifications once again.

And then. AND THEN. That blasted back nine on the Masters. Hole 12. Water. Quadruple bogey. Curse you, Golden Bell. Curse the swirling winds that mercilessly bat golf balls from the pin. Curse every one of your 155-yards of hell. Curse the golf gods that sent Mr. Spieth’s tee shot sploshing into the water.

Not even last year’s green jacket can hide the heartbreak.
Not even last year’s green jacket can hide the heartbreak.

Spieth handled the fall with a grace and courage that belies his 22 years on this planet. The win went to Danny Willett (a Brit, with admirable perseverance and the shared last name of a rye whiskey I enjoy. So at least there’s that.)

“There can be only one king on the throne of Augusta.”

Well, as they say, on the other side of every water hazard is a straight shot to the green. So despair not my fellow carriers of the Criquet banner. Spieth will no doubt return victorious. Merle will still sing forth from speakers everywhere (ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery slightly less so, but still.) Spring is coming, the sun is shining, and the 19th hole beckons us with open arms, not to mention freshly-made old fashioneds. Pick up your golf bag, crank up the music, and swing your lucky iron for the pin. There’s fine times ahead.

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Sing me back home (and be the ball),
Noonan

The 19th Hole Party Benefiting Save Muny

Last week we partnered with The Invitational – the greatest golf party in the world – to host The 19th Hole Party. Held during the week of the WGC Dell Match Play tournament, this epic event celebrated the past, present, and future of golf in Austin. There was a great turnout (with a special guest appearance from Ben Crenshaw) to build awareness and raise funds for Save Muny, a non-profit organization working to preserve the course for generations to come.

Lions Municipal Golf Course is Austin’s oldest and most beloved public golf course, a treasured urban green space recently recognized as a nationally significant civil rights historical site. Our city is in danger of losing this invaluable property to development, but Muny can still be saved with your support. Here are the photos from the event.

Big and special thanks to all of our generous sponsors who made this party happen: DellDo512theCHIVEGolf in SchoolsGSD&MStrait Music CompanyReal Ale Brewing CoHay Group PLLCWorldwide Golf AdventuresBriggle & Polan Trial LawyersDulce Vida Organic TequilaGossett Jones HomesEdel GolfTouchstone GolfDeep Eddy CaberetMaudie’s Tex-MexTito’s Handmade Vodka, Birds BarbershopJuiceLandVintage Innovations, and Party Holster

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First Look: Spring 2016

With the Olympics coming this year, our Spring/Summer 2016 collection is ultimately inspired by the bold, vibrant, and lush colors of Brazil. And with golf returning to the Summer Games for the first time in over 100 years, we’re celebrating with a full spectrum of color. Deep sea blues, rainforest greens, and bright yellows dominate the collection, and these colors complement each other in the next-level, sporty, and bold combos of our new stripes.

We’ve spiked the party punch with Brazilian spirits, if you will. Get ready, because even though the water isn’t safe to swim in, this collection is taking home gold. Booyah.

So, without further ado, take a glimpse of just a few of the shirts we’ve got in store (no pun intended):

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So stay tuned. We’ll be officially launching these shirts in the next few days.

Noonan at Noon: The Dry Spell

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My dear friends on the 19th hole,

A most happy two thousand and sixteen to you.

Last month I extolled the virtues of a cocktail what with to fill yourself full of holiday cheer. But alas, the festivities must come to an end and the Januarys must begin. This year, it has come to my attention that a fair number of my comrades were trying to make the month even more beleaguered than usual. They were embarking on a self-styled kamikaze mission called “Dry January” — a month-long abstention from alcohol.

Exactly.

Now, being the ‘intrepid reporter’ sort, I wanted to fully grasp this Dry movement. To really understand the machinations behind the motivations behind the meaning behind the story. In other words, I wanted to be the sunken Luxardo cherry in a well-made Old Fashioned, getting beyond the layers of rye and muddled sugar into something more complex and magical at the bottom of the glass.

Yes. My own personal Dry January began on the evening of January first.

It was hell.

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How many days has it been now?…17 seconds?! @#$%!

Of course, for the first 48 hours or so all was well. A few sparkling waters and a busy 9-to-5. The next couple days rolled by as uneventful as a Budweiser. It wasn’t until I settled into the chair on Friday night with a good book in my right hand that the left hand – my scotch hand – began to realize something was amiss.

“Where’s the whiskey?” it fidgeted.

“We’re taking a break,” I answered.

“Ah. I see…I see. So no whiskey is what you’re saying.”

“That is correct.”

“How about a Campari and soda then. Lighter fare.”

“No. Nothing.”

“Open the fridge then, let’s see what the Trappists have bottled.”

“NO.”

“Hm. Just what am I supposed to then…”

“Well…rest on the chair. Help turn pages. Relax.”

My hand balled up into a tight fist and said nothing. From that point on, my days began to tick by more slowly.

Noonan’s log. January 12th  Dinner sans wine feels like watching American Idol: pointless, awful.

Noonan’s log. Janurary 13th. Freezing outside. Can feel cold in toes. Would love to fan the internal hearth of the stomach region with a nip of the Lagavulin, i.e. put a little fire in the belly. But alas, cannot.

Noonan’s log. Janurary 14th. So…thirsty. So …very…thirsty.

Noonan’s log. January 15th.

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It’s worth noting that in the midst of this dry spell, the good Lord tested my mettle by asking David Bowie to play in the heavenly choir with Lou Reed. If you didn’t feel the urge to dry your eyes and pour one out for Mr. Stardust, well then I can do nothing for you and neither can your collection of Justin Bieber albums.

Tears.
Tears.

It’s also worth noting, that in the mid-1970s, the thin White Duke subsisted only on milk, red peppers and cocaine. Yes, he was paranoid and delusional. But he was also prodigious and brilliant. The least I could do was follow suit. Er, that is, by keeping booze out of the daily meal plan for a bit. I’ll leave the teeth-grinding-up-all-night-colombian-marching-powder for the rockstars, thank you very much.

You should have this album already.
You should have this album already.

As my Dry January slogged on into Parched January, I must admit I felt better. Even managed to shed an ol’ pound or three. I began to contemplate the “mediums” of my fine Criquet attire hanging in a long-abandoned corner of my closet. My lady companion said my sleeping habits were less ‘thrashy’ and ‘snorey’. I did not miss my glass with my nightly reading materials. My left hand was totally agreeable and silent.

This could be the start of a new Noonan. Mostly.

The other day, I decided to slightly amend my teetotalerness, and allow myself a glass of the red stuff. It’s only right, considering that a perfectly good porterhouse gave itself up to be on my plate (turning away the cabernet would’ve been an insult and sacrilege).

And that’s where I am now. And balanced is a fine place to be.

“Now I’ve drunk a lot glass of wine and I’m feeling fine...”
“Now I’ve drunk a lot glass of wine and I’m feeling fine…”

To those who undertake a Dry January through to the end, I doff my cap to you. Your willpower and your liver are certainly stronger than mine. To those who need the occasional tipple to get them through the cold, dreary, golfless 60-odd days and nights until March brings promise of 7am tee times, warmer air, and the fairer sex adorned in short shorts, I raise my glass in accord and say: “Hear, hear!” Or rather “Here, here!…just a little more wine, waiter, if you please.”

Until next month, my friends. Be the ball, check ignition, and may peace be with you.

Noonan

Noonan at Noon: Getting into the Christmas Spirits

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Merry jingle jangle, my fellow peoples of Yuletide cheer.

I trust I find you all in the happy afterglow of recently-shorn wrapping paper and fine consumer goods.

Now, the common trope for many during these few waning days of 2015 is to bemoan the various stresses of the season. Traffic. Family. A Justin Bieber holiday album on the radio. But I’m having none of it. This is my favorite time of year. Because what better time of year to indulge in America’s unofficial pastime of expanding our belly-guts and making socially acceptable excuses for doing so. Really, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, the bacchanal of stuffing ourselves like the proverbial Christmas goose is met merely with a shrug and a resolution to start things anew in January.

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“No worries, monsieur, you may begin your exercise regimen next year.”

 

Of course, if the holiday madness does have you feeling a bit weary, nothing rights the soul quite like a holiday cocktail. There are many to choose from, but – as is my custom – I’ve done the hard work for you. So bottoms up and damn the calories. Like I said, work them off next year. Let us begin:

 

THE HOLIDAY PUNCH

The often-overlooked punch bowl is a long-forgotten tradition that deserves our deference and respect. In the past [LINK TO LAST YEAR’S POST?], I referred to it as a silver trough of brandy, rum and regret. And yes, many of the recipes essentially call for an unholy mixture of various bottles being emptied of their contents and swirled about with some sugar. But still. Punch. Done right, it’s like a giant delicious bowl full of old-fashioneds. And then you’d be that person who hosts parties where punch is served. It’s like being that person who knows how to breakdance. It’s never not awesome.

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“Hey, that guy made punch! There’s gonna be punch! Once it hits your lips it’s so good!”

 

MULLED WINE

This is sort of like a hot punch, so…why not.

 

THE HOLIDAY CIDER

One of my favorites, as it incorporates generous helpings of fruit into. Nearly qualifies as a health elixir, in my view. Okay, fine, technically it’s more of an autumn drink…but why are we even arguing about this. I offer you glad tidings of nutmeg, pulverized apples and spiced rum and you’re going to quibble about the proper time to drink it? I say, fill up the mug in your hand and use it to silence the one above your neck.

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“Wait…someone’s complaining about a fall drink being touted as a winter one? That’d be as pointless as complaining about a Thanksgiving movie reference in a blog about Christmas!”

 

HOT BUTTTERED RUM

Second only to the almighty eggnog, the hot buttered rum is a Christmas concoction made from all the tasty things in life – butter, rum, cinnamon sticks, sugar, some nutmeg. Rumor has it, the drink was invented by the three wisemen to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And that rumor was started by me.

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Thou shalt mix all ingredients into a bowl, being not ye selfish with the butters and the alcohols, and making haste with the hot water.

 

THE MIMOSA

Vodka and orange juice and just kidding.

 

THE EGG NOG

I’ve written extensively about this drink before, and for good reason. It is a Christmas miracle. It is a thing of terror and beauty, like Frankenstein’s monster. Milk, cream, sugar, eggs, alcohol – it shouldn’t work, it barely works, but yet it works wondrously. And only in December, at absolutely no other point in the year. So I make an annual return to this glassful of heaven and hell. I bow before its destructiveness and deliciousness, I marvel at its caloric excess. Ah, ‘Nog. Be still my beating heart. And with enough glasses, it no doubt will be.

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Nog. NOG.*

 

THE NOONAN

Of course, maybe you don’t have time for a cocktail concoction that requires the delicate grating of nutmeg, pinches of allspice, a Christmasy incantation and the like. In that case, a little whiskey next to a hearty hearth will suit you quite nicely. As it has for me over many a holiday moon. Is there anything finer in life than a good drink, a good Criquet sweater, a good book, and a good fire? (That’s rhetorical.)

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This man agrees.

 

And with that, I raise my glass to you all. Until next time, my friends. And remember, there’s still 6 drinking days left before 2016.

 

Merry Christmas to all and to all be the ball,

Noonan

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“I’m just a dentist, Rudy. But judging by your nose, maybe I’ll guide the sleigh tonight.”

 

The Return of Noonan: Thankful to be Back

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Greetings all,

It has been too long.

Who-nan? I hear some of you asking. And yes, to those of you who’ve only recently sidled up next to the like-minded souls here on the 19th hole, I appear as a newcomer. To those who have long been here at the bar and are signaling the waiter for another round, I have been admittedly indisposed. An explanation is long overdue:

Upon awakening at the dawn of 2015, I found myself shouldering my trusted (and accursed) collection of irons, woods, putters and misplaced optimism — and starting out for a long 18. I had foregone the cart (my recent predilections for a finely mixed manhattan, or ten, had demanded certain lifestyle compromises, the terms of which my waistline, my liver and my taste buds have all agreed upon hencewith.)

 

Greatness lies within.
Greatness lies within.

 

But after my first 18, I felt a lacking. An unease. This, despite a string of birdies on the back 9, an up/down for par that could’ve easily been a triple, and a delightful half-flask of Ardbeg Uigeadail. So I walked for another 18. And another after that. And so on. Soon I found I myself in the Far East, under the watchful instruction of the old masters who practice the ancient arts.

 

The masters know with time comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes whisky.
The masters know with time comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes whisky.

 

I’m not sure how long I stayed, but at some point between my third dram and three thousandth, I seem to have wandered south-er. I recollect riding motorcycles with Cambodian street gangs, arm wrestling a baron in Luxembourg for half his kingdom (we settled at a fifth), and hunting narwhal with the Inuit.

 

Damn thing has a sword on its face.
Damn thing has a sword on its face.

 

Then again, perhaps I was half-hallucinating a beer commercial. Still, it wouldn’t explain my newfound ability for scrimshaw.

It wasn’t until I found myself at an ayahuasca ceremony deep in the Amazon jungle that the sudden, blinding revelation hit me that it was time to return home.

 

Come back, Noonan, come baaaaaacccckkkkk…
Come back, Noonan, come baaaaaacccckkkkk…

 

And here I am.

Where is all of this leading? I don’t know and that’s point. Where is any of this leading? Why does it have to lead anywhere? What if we simply sit in the moment and be thankful for what all surrounds us? I suspect most of us have some semblance of a roof over our head and people who, at best, love us and who, at worst, tolerate us enough to eat their poultries and drink their alcohols. To whit, I raise a glass and proclaim my thanks for a few things.

I am thankful for a good shirt on my back. Should you find yourself in need of one, my dear friends here at Criquet have got you covered.

I am thankful for a well-made manhattan. Hold the cherries. Fruit is for children’s lunches, salads, and monks who know how to turn it into alcohol.

I am thankful that women have decided to make yoga pants in public a thing. I realize this has been a thing for quite some time now, but well, I just wanted to be thankful for it today. May it always be.

I am thankful there were no Adam Sandler movies in 2015— what? Oh dammit. If only another manhattan could erase that fact.

I am thankful for you, gentle reader. I am thankful that life is like a golf ball – pure but not quite perfect – and how we should all aspire to live as though we were like it… flying far and wide, with purpose but open to chance. In other words…

Be the ball,

Noonan

 

…and Happy Thanksgiving, naturally.

What is the 19th Hole?

What is the 19th Hole? from The Criquet Caddy on Vimeo.

Dear Criqueteers,
I am here today to talk about something very near and dear to our hearts: The 19th Hole.

You see, the spirit of the 19th hole is what Criquet’s ultimately all about. Mistakenly believed by some to be any mere watering hole next to some sort of golf course, the 19th hole is actually much more ethereal and amazing than that. The 19th hole is wherever and whenever you’re most at ease (AKA wherever you can chill the hardest).

For some, it’s found over a stout in the Kingdom of Fife (that’s in Scotland for all you non-believers). For others, it could be at a tailgate in Athens, or more importantly, Chapel Hill, NC (I see you, alma mater). To us, it’s our favorite bar on Rainey Street, a relaxing afternoon at Barton Springs, or simply the backyard of the Clubhouse.  Austin is filled with 19th Holes.

Wherever YOUR 19th Hole might be, you’ll know it at once. That magical feeling? It could be sheer joy, or it could just be that last shot of Jameson.

Whatever you do, when you find it, just make damned sure you’re dressed for the occasion.

So now, without further adieu, let me introduce a video that could change your life forever, or at least entertain you for ninety-three seconds. It is lovingly and accurately titled: “What is the 19th Hole?” Profanities may or may not ensue.

I hope you have as much fun watching it as we had making it.

Best,
Hobson Brown
Criquet Shirts Co-Founder