Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The Irish tradition, known as first footing, says that your year will be blessed if your first visitor of the new year is a red headed child. For those not so fortunate to have one of your own, I'll share my annual New Years visitor, a little red headed girl.
Scottish tradition, believing that the fair haired are the dreaded vikings, accept that your year will only be blessed if a dark haired man is your first visitor. Women are not welcome as first visitors. For you Scots (or female) I present Sir Sean.
May you each have a wonderful 2009.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Mrs. T. I am the happiest married man, anywhere, ever. I know what it is to love and be loved. I can't fathom a happier life.
Health. We've tried it both ways in 2008, being ill, and healthy. Health is vastly under rated.
Our families. They add such mirth to our days.
Chuck and Barney. For all their hard work on the kitchen replacement project. It looks lovely.
After,but still during renovation
Google, and each of you. Google for making Blogger available, for free. I hope to get the hang of this sometime soon. And to each of you. I appreciate the time you spend here, and your valuable comments. I trust we'll continue down this road for a while.
The Humane Society. For taking Gus back. Gus was Mrs. T's dog. She adored that dog while, every other sentinent being despised this evil cur. Sadly, Mrs. T became dangerously allergic to him, so he had to go. Health trumps love. As much as I disliked this dog, I cried like a baby when I dropped him off.
Our tailor Kaz. It's good to be the best dressed man at the poorhouse.
Mikey. For saving us from the aftermath of the hurricane.
That I'm a luddite. I am not an early adaptor or even a late adaptor, and may be the last adult in the world without an answering machine, cell phone, IPOD, or GPS. I leave home untethered and live to tell the tale.Women. Women are about the coolest invention ever. I do not want any more than the one I have, and don't want to appear unseemly or raise the spectre of the green eyed monster, but...
Happy New Year to each and every one of us.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Most of my childhood education was spent in the hands of parochial schools, back in the days when nuns ruled the universe. The nonsense they taught made you almost unfit for humankind.
For those of you whom your parents loved enough to send you to public schools, or those who came in the pre-post reform days, think of Jake and Elwood Blues at the hands of the good sister in Blue's Brothers. The scene in the movie where the boys go back to see the penguin was not a joke to anyone educated in 1960's catholic schools.
Somehow they got away with the most egregious crap, but even the nuns knew they could carry it only so far, so to test the boundaries, they invented buying pagan babies. Let me explain.
One thing Catholic churches love is money, hard spendable cash, and someone, somewhere saw that the Easter Seals had a cash cow. RC's needed a similar scheme, so stole the idea, and moved the season to Christmas. Just after Thanksgiving, thousands of little Catholic kids were given books of missionary stamps and told to sell them to support foreign refugee camps and missionary priests, at a penny a pop, or a whole book for a buck. Money was due, and collections took place on Friday mornings.
Once your class collected a fin, you were entitled to buy a pagan baby. Best of all, it came with naming rights, and a certificate of authenticity.
Now, Catholic teaching is very particular about naming options for children. Either the first or second name had to be the name of a saint. No exceptions. When in doubt read a map of France. The Church there put an St or Ste. in front of every pagan location name, and created innumerable saints.
So imagine its getting close to the holidays. The kids are wound up, its Friday, they've collected their fiver and its time to name their new pagan baby. The rules were the kids raised the money, the kids got to name. If you think there are a lot of post pagan adults in central Africa/Asia named Mary Catherine or James Joseph guess again.
My class and most people I have talked to went all out. Depending on how much your teacher would let your class get away with, some of the names were spectacular. Especially the Asain kids who had many r's in their names.
Many Catholic school educated adults of my generation live in great fear of getting that knock on the door late at night. You open the door, an African or Asian man or woman a bit younger than you is at the door. You ask how may I help you?
Daddy, its me Joseph Vanilla Wafers, don't you remember me?
Wishing, won't make it go away.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
One of the sites mentioned was garance doré . Admittedly, I am too old, too male to spend any time here, but there is something captivating about Paris. Only recently has Garance begun posting in English, but scroll back awhile. Many of her exclusively French posts are stunningly beautiful. Take a look periodically.
2. This from EBAY. Two year Garden and Gun subscription . $6.99 Garden and Gun: The Magazine - eBay (item 280296870897 end time Dec-30-08 11:21:28 PST)
3. I know that there is a word for this, and perhaps knowing is half the illness, but there are 3 words I misspell EVERY time I type them. Should I blame my keyboard, my fat fingers, or the parochial school nuns who instilled in me a great abhorrence to sloppy spelling and grammar?
4. ?GOOD Magazine Goodmagazine - The 51 Best* Magazines Ever There are a few I think he missed including M, 80's edition. Whatta ya think?
Once again, Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy day before Boxing Day.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On behalf of our Welsh friend, Meg at Pigtown-Design http://pigtown-design.blogspot.com/
A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
I do not think I am alone in having that 1 utility bill each month which gives me apoplexy, every time I write the check. You may hate the phone company or the gas folks, I hate Charter Communications, our cable, phone and Internet provider.
Charter, while ostensibly a public company is primarily owned, operated and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, so they have too much money available to fail, but not enough to spend wisely.
Approx. 2 years ago, Charter got into a pissing contest with the local CBS outlet run by Belo Communications. Belo told Charter, you're paying everyone who competes with us for eyeballs, we want to be paid too. Until then you may not rebroadcast our HD signal.
Charter figured they had 'em since a number of folks spent a great deal of money for HDTV sets last year and the Super Bowl was broadcast by CBS. Not here on HD. The fans bitched but there was no HD Super Bowl locally.
So finally this year, after years of very stiff competition the local CBS gang won the rating wars against the NBC folks. How did BELO respond?
They told Charter they have until the end of December to cough up, or to stop carrying their signal all together Jan 1. Charter told them to ******* off.
So, who wins? I have no idea what is on CBS so I don't suspect I miss much TV. Who broadcasts most of the Bowl games? Few local customers get their reception off air or via satellite. No broadcast via cable, no ad sales?
America at its finest. My money is on Charter. Allen can wait em out.
Now I love Lou Reed. The Velvet Underground was the band that finally got me over the Beatles. Maybe it was Nico, but who cares? Lou is a national treasure.
So along comes Schnabel. And suddenly, I'm curious. How does one elevate (if that's the word) their game so high, that your signature purple PJ's with white piping (as designed by his wife) becomes acceptable attire? Throw on a sport coat and you're out the door.
I can picture it the first time. Your not feeling well, need a cup of coffee, or something from the drug store, so you throw on a jacket, run in and go home. How, several days later and feeling better, do you come to the conclusion that the jammies were a pretty snazzy outfit, and decide that is your signature look? How do you get it past the wife? How do you get past the derision of all you meet.
So I'm game. It's a new year and new years prompt new beginnings. PJ's have been done, and Hef has the silk robe market locked down. So what do you recommend? I'm thinking knee length Hawaiian shirts.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
A winter solstice gift from America's favorite poet, Robert Frost
Happy Hanukkah Jake, Becky, Haley, Steve and Vicki
Also, for those whose peeps have been here longer than mine, on this date in 1620 the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock.
Mrs. T and I were sorely at odds the day this photo was taken. Arriving at the car park near the monument I felt like I had come home. It was one of those places with which I immediately connected. It was mid May, pouring rain, very cold and the wind was biting. I found the stones powerfully uplifting. Ever the skeptic, my adored bride walked a few feet with me and then ran for the gift shop. She was having none of it. I spent an hour walking round and round soaked to the skin. She was dying for a cig. Mentioning Stonehenge to her is waving a red cape to a bull.
Whether an observatory or not, I dedicate this solstice to my favorite astronomer, Dr. Richard Schwartz. Get well soon my friend. In these troubled times the world needs your dry wit and boundless curiosity.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Our two go to books include the Cooking Light Series and most importantly, The Best Vegetable Recipes by the editors of Cook's Illustrated.
I would appreciate your suggestions.
I have had several questions about the picture used in the banner. Its known as "Holiday Time at Hunter's Hollow" by Dee Dann of New Haven, Missouri.
The image depicts a fanciful image of the town of Labadie, Missouri, which is not terribly far from Mayberry. Hunter's Hollow was the scene of Mrs T's wedding reception some years ago. It burned down several weeks after the blessed event.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I vaguely remember that the snow eventually evolved into an aerosol spray, and became a flock to spray on Christmas trees. Do they still have it any more?
I can remember, more clearly than this mornings breakfast, coming home from Kindergarten, the day Christmas break began and helping my mom stencil our few windows. In my mind's eye I can still see it, smell it, I can remember the stencils. I remember the excitement. As I recall, it was a genuine pain removing this stuff. The memory is so real, yet it happened 50 some odd years ago.
I hope they do still have it. We have a lot of windows.
Have a great,and happy weekend. If you have any great weekend weather stories let us know. Mt. Hood has had 32+ inches in the past 2 days.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Mind has been gone since late June which Mrs. T finds very upsetting,as she would prefer her youngest to be within striking distance at all times. They do have their mother/daughter contretemps, but all in all they get along pretty well.
If you have children away at school while having some at home, you know that there is a whole new definition of stress in a house when the college kid comes home. Fortunately, M being the youngest we escape that for now, except...
You know those conversations that begin, I may have forgotten to tell you..? Mrs T. and I had one last evening. They never bode well.
Ours went, I may have forgotten to tell you, but I told Mindy she could have your car while she is in town. Mindy's car is in Boston.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. 1. I just got out of a lot of pre-Christmas chores (unlikely). 2. I better finish my shopping NOW. (more likely) or 3. UH oh (most likely). I don't really mind, I drive about 50 miles a month so its not like I can't get around, and Camilla is in the barn if it gets too cold to walk. I would have prefer a bit of notice, but
If you have kids coming in, enjoy them. Be warned, the younger ones at home will not like their routine disrupted. Its a trying time, but I for one wouldn't change it for the world.
On this date in 1865 the 13th Amendment was ratified. 5 points to anyone who remembers what that did without looking it up.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This season, snow has been a bit scarce and the Meadows is barely open. Sunday they had a brief 16 inches, and as the winter progresses it is not uncommon to see them get 50 inches or more in a week.
I am not a skier and never have been. I do not like snow, I break too quickly and heal too slowly. I am impressed though by masses amounts of weather. Especially, if I am very far away.
This season #2 is in Mexico lying by the beach, making up for lost time.
My sole reason for sharing this, is if you too enjoy watching other people get lots of lousy weather check into this link periodically. It really does become impressive at times.
Monday, December 15, 2008
While all in good fun, I find it hard to miss its more important message.
Only half a pan, but perhaps more a question.
Has anyone else noted that the ink in the current edition of Garden and Guns smears? Over the past several years even the worst offenders (New Yorker esp) have overcome this needless mess. I hope it is only me.
Its good to be back in full vigor. Let the bontemps rollez.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So unless someone knows the real name for it, I think we should invent a name for the series of letters that blogger spits up before allowing one to post comments on some blogs.
I propose: Nodda (noun) NA DA from the Mayberry: meaning comments not allowed unless.
"I wanted to comment on her blog, but wouldn't nodda"
You can certainly do better. Have a great weekend, I'll be in KC.
Photo is of Noah Webster Statue, West Hartford, Connecticut
Friday, December 12, 2008
Frankly, though I getting kind of sick and tired of seeing khaki's wherever I go. The ubiquitous uniform of khaki's and navy blazer or khakis and polo shirt are getting a bit long in the tooth. Sadly that presents two problems for me. First is Bill's are so darn comfortable what else are you gonna wear. The second is what else are you gonna wear?
Now I'll give flannels and fine woolen pants their due. They too are winter staples. But sometimes you want a pair of nice looking pants that are as comfortable as your good old Bills, but that are a bit dressier then that damned military tn that will go with something other than a blue blazer.
Gentlemen, I recommend the Bill's driving twill pants. They come in a variety of adult colors, including black, gray, British tan, and navy. They fit like Bill's, are as comfortable as Bill's, but look and feel like a man's pants.
The problem is that they are a tad pricey. I recommend that you shop around especially on EBAY. There are a couple of EBAY sellers located near Bill's Reading, Pa. plant that offer a fine selection of goods. Don't be afraid of irregulars either. If Bill's will let it out the door, it perfectly acceptable.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
On Christmas Eve, eve when I was 8 my family moved to Kansas City. As any 8 yo would, I hated everything about moving, especially so close to Christmas. What fun would all the new Christmas prizes be without friends or family around to play with or show off to. In short I was a jerk.
Amazingly, through a great many late hours my parents pulled off one of the best Christmas's ever. A day after the moving vans left, the tree was up, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, the favorite holiday ornaments and decorations made it intact. We actually had a marvelous holiday, although I think my parents snuck into bed as the kids were getting up.
Christmas night our parents drove us to see the Christmas lights in our new town. There was the usual smattering of lights here and there, nothing in the manner of today's home lighting displays, but a nice introduction to our new town. Then we got to the Plaza.
The Plaza, for those unfamiliar with KC, is a large shopping area in the middle of town. There is a strong Spanish architechural influence, many fountains and all the best shops. It's been the tony shopping area for nearly 70 years. Its still going strong. Think of it as the first Galleria, and you won't be far off.
Every night from Thanksgiving until early January, the entire Plaza is outlined in Christmas lights. It's stunning, especially in a light snow. To this day I look forward to seeing the Plaza lights. I don't make it every year, but I do try.
My KC shopping trip this year is this coming Saturday and Sunday. I'm like a little kid on Christmas eve, it brings back so many emotions.
Over the years I have lived in Kansas City twice. I have come to love the city. KC has it all, and is one of the hidden jewels of America.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I have a number of minor vices, but perhaps I'm missing something. Do you dip? Does your husband, boyfriend? Does it come recommended?
On a similar but different topic, I found myself at the local drugstore today and found they were stocking up on stop smoking gum in time to cash in on the New Years resolutions. The gum comes in original and mint. Do menthol smokers chew the mint gum and regulars the original?
Photo from Today's Gentleman
While they do offer women's clothes, I generally am not privy to those catalogs, for which my mailman is grateful. Today I did receive an insert in my daily catalog which featured women's holiday wear.
Below are several examples. The models are store employees and are very attractive in a SC sort of way. The dresses I'm not so sure. The green numbers would keep me up nights.
Perhaps I have finally become too old for my own good.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I understand that silk is the preferred knit these days, as opposed to the older cotton or wool, but somehow its just starting to feel right.
Should I hold my ground, or is it worth dipping a toe back into long tie land?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Miracle on 34th street, The Bishops Wife, Charlie Brown's Christmas, A Christmas Story, name it I'm hooked.
The absolutely best, greatest, finest, most memorable Christmas movie of them all* is on AMC Sunday evening. It's the remake of Charles Dickens' classic " A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge.
If you haven't seen it, do so. If you're busy, change your plans, or at least set your Tivo. Let the kids stay up late. It's that good.
* except for Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol which you can find on YouTube any day of the year.
Kaz, the tailor has worked another miracle. The Black Watch tartan jacket has arrived. Single button, side vent, surgeon sleeves and ticket pocket. It's 16 oz wool, so its a bit heavy, but it moves well and drapes beautifully.
The hat is a bit twee, but it is cold outside.
Let the Happy Holidays begin.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The imp in the white skirt/black top front row right is my grand daughter, Paige
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
As a society, have we fallen so far off the mark to believe that pancakes from an aerosol can might be a great idea? Would someone rationally explain the benefit of canned pancakes? I weep for the youth and future of this country. (Last rant of the month, I promise)
Monday, December 1, 2008
Welcome back travelers. It's time to get back to routine, and prep for the holidays. If your in retail, you have our thanks and good wishes.
Four years ago Mrs. T and I spent the week before and after Thanksgiving in Spain. While not exactly correct we spent about a week in and around Barcelona and a week in and around Madrid. Spain is muy cool, and I recommend visiting there to most everyone.
Barcelona is one my favorite cities on earth. Its beautiful. The people are friendly, stylish and relaxed. The weather's not bad either. There is plenty to see and do, and the food is to die for.
Barcelona is in Spain it's just not of Spain. The local language is Catalan, not Spanish. The customs are Catalan. The Spanish are tolerated.
With all there is to see and do, if you happen to be there near Christmas look around the many Nativity scenes for the ever present Caganer. He will be found in a corner of every creche, public and private.
Caganer is Catalan for "the pooper", and comes in all manner of guises, from the traditional Catalan peasant shown above to images of the pope, W, the Simpson's, whatever. Tradition is not clear on exactly how or why he's there. Most have settled on the story of how Caganer demonstrates how we are all equal in the eyes of God, as we all poop. Later stories throw in a fertility rite, but that explanation is not widely accepted.
Welcome to December. The Holiday season is in full swing now. Start your own holiday traditions. Your children and grandchildren will eventually thank you for them.