Jeff Jardine

Britain’s Dull Men’s Club has roots in Central Valley

The official 2015 calendar of the Dull Men’s Club, Dull Men of Great Britain cover.
The official 2015 calendar of the Dull Men’s Club, Dull Men of Great Britain cover. Lee Carlson/Dull Men’s Club

From the emails and voice mails:

DULL MEN’S CLUB – Many years ago, Merced County native Lee Carlson founded the Dull Men’s Club. The name says it, well, most.

He finds normal people with notable and relatively boring attributes, and has fun with it. In a 2006 story that appeared in The Bee, he listed 35 things that define a dull man, among them: “Help a turtle across the road,” “Floss more” and “Wear logo-free clothes,” with the 35th being, “Reread this list.” You get the point. Subtle, droll humor.

“Celebrating the ordinary is a good way to look at it,” Carlson said.

While the 75-year-old has homes in Nebraska and spends time in England, he returns to the Valley a couple of times each year to visit kin and friends, the latter group including Lou and Kenni Friedman of Modesto. In his recent visit, he brought them a copy of his 2015 calendar, “Dull Men of Great Britain.” It begins the year with a gent who is president of the United Kingdom Roundabout Society, which meets annually in a pub in Redditch, England, and ends with Mr. December, a man fascinated with hedgerows.


Now Carlson is working on a book on Dull Men – featuring 40 in all – and is considering starting a Dull Men of America calendar.

He’s already identified a man with a collection of 5,000 plastic shopping bags.

“I’ve got a guy who is a professional pencil sharpener,” Carlson said last week. And he also hopes to include a gent in Nebraska who owns “Carhenge,” which mimics Stonehenge in England. Instead of stones, this one is made of cars.

“And they’re painted gray, our favorite color,” Carlson said.

He knows he can easily find at least nine other dull men in America to fill out a calendar, and he welcomes your nominations. Email him at or And if that works, perhaps there will be interest in a local Dull Men’s Club.

“We could do a canal tour of Modesto,” he quipped. “Why go to Venice?”

Dull Men of Great Britain calendars are available through for $16. Only 20 remained as of Friday.

CHANNELING CAREER – Longtime radio talk-show host Dave Bowman’s last show on KFIV 1360 aired Jan. 8. He resigned, he said, to spend more time with his family, including his young son.

“It’s amazing how the world evolved around a 9-to-5 job instead of a 12-to-8 job,” he said.

He plans to take some time off to “be Mr. Mom,” he said, and then review his options.

In the meantime, the station will fill his time slot with a syndicated show until a local replacement can be found.

MODESTO STARS ALIGNED – I doubt execs of the FX Network took this into consideration when they booked tonight’s lineup, but it’s an all-Modesto prime time.

At 7 p.m., 1989 Beyer grad Jeremy Renner headlines the 2012 film “The Bourne Legacy.” And when the movie ends, the network launches the final season of “Justified,” starring 1986 Beyer grad Timothy Olyphant. The network is on Channel 248 on DirecTV, 136 on Dish and 57 on Comcast.

Those come just four days after “The Wedding Ringer” opened in theaters nationwide. The cast includes Modesto’s Lindsay Pearce, who attended Modesto Christian and Valley Charter schools before winning the Valley’s Got Talent competition in 2010. That led to a spot on the talent-competition series “The Glee Project” and, since then, stage and screen roles. Her latest is in “The Wedding Ringer,” which stars Kevin Hart (“Ride Along”) and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (“The Big Bang Theory”).

HOTEL FUNDRAISER SET – Tickets for the May 30 dinner and auction benefiting Coulterville’s historic but fire-damaged Hotel Jeffery are available for $20 each. Considering the reason for the event, I’ll refrain from telling you to “get ’em while they’re hot!” Address checks to “Fund for Hotel Jeffery Restoration” and mail to Miriam Jones, 10403 Fiske Hill Road, Coulterville 95311. She’ll mail your tickets in return.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.