Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm a sap for a good love story

It's been rightly said in our family that I could cry over a good steak. It doesn't take much to turn on the waterworks. I'm particularly a sap for a great story.

That may be why I look forward to the Nuptials in the Sunday Times. I particularly love the stories of the old folks getting married.

Last Sunday was a classic tear jerker for me.

Couple meets on a train in France on a school sponsored trip 1960. They have a nice time together, but at the end of the trip they part, she to be with her future husband, he to finish college and head to medical school. They don't see or speak to each other for 47 years.

Over the years she marries and divorces twice, and is in a long term relationship but her partner had the temerity to die. The Doctor marries and has three children.

In 2007 the group that sponsored the college trip asked our bride to be to write a story about the trip for their magazine, and provided her with a list of contacts, including our hero. He dutifully filled in the gaps to his life. She wrote the article and once again they lost touch.

In Feb 2008 the good Dr. writes the Mademoiselle, saying his wife of 39 years had recently died, and asked if she had any advice. She told him to grieve. A month later he wrote back, they reconnected, fell in love and February 1, 2009 they married.

Hand me the tissues.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Wendy Richard-RIP

Fairly recently one of my favorite posters (I've forgotten whom, my apologies) published a tribute to the acting skills of Ms. Wendy Richard. Alas, Wendy is with us no more. Her Guardian Obit is here. Wendy Richard.

You may best remember her as the ditsy shop girl in "Are You Being Served" or perhaps in "The East Enders".

Food Cravings

In spite of my irregular eating habits, or perhaps because of them, I sometimes get the darndest cravings.

To my mind cravings come in two varieties. The first, more common, is the gotta have it now sort.

For instance I woke up the other day,and after a cup or two of coffee I realized I needed a roast beef sandwich and I needed one now. Not the Arby's skinny beef on a hamburger bun type, but a real honest to goodness roast beef sandwich, on french bread with a bit of au jus. A decent plate of fries would be nice too. Atypical bar food.

Unfortunately it wasn't as easy as it sounds and we ended up on a 50 mile round trip escapade. If you're ever near Mayberry, I recommend O'Connells for roast beef sammys. We had one there, and brought one home. They'll make more.

The second and more damaging is the planned, when I next get to that city, I am going there and having such and such. Invariably these turn out badly.
Many a vacation highlight has turned into a lowlight when we finally got to a destination restaurant and found it completely underwhelming. If you ever planned to hit The Lady and Sons, in Savannah, I'd recommend not.
For better or worse we have two such junkets planned in the near future. The first will be perfect. It always is. We are off to the world's greatest restaurant, Arthur Bryant's of Kansas City next weekend. At the end of the month we're off to NOLA.

Mrs. T won a contest,and the prize was up to a week's lodging in NOLA, with $500 to spend at a list of well known diners. Our visit happens to coincide with the one time local boy, Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. I'm hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and anticipating a couple of fine beignets in between.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sloth is deeply under-rated


Sloth is a deeply misunderstood virtue.

I concede that once upon a time, sloth could be massively inconvenient, but times change and so do our vices. Sloth has not changed with the times.

By the time you reach your majority a slothful person has learned to respond to criticism by saying "I'm thinking a problem through. I want to be thorough." Eventually, you may come up with some great idea, and people outside the family will begin to believe you're pretty smart. Two great answers and you'll be known as a genius, and even your family will talk about you throughout the generations.

This brings me to the point of today's discussion. Toad's Garden.

I like to garden. I'm patient, slowly learning what grows on the property and what doesn't. I'm observing the large rats to see what they eat and what they avoid, and ever so slowly I am developing an eye for what should go where.

Often Mrs. T will inquire "what the h are you doing, just wandering around the yard?" "Just thinking the problem through", I'll respond.

You see, she wants grass and she wants it now. Forget the facts. It's February, and we live in the woods. She wants it, it better be green, and it better be thick, and it better be there by early May. No can do, but I can't tell her that.

So I thought the problem through. I was thorough. I developed an answer. It's green, it's free, it's thick, it's now, it doesn't need cutting, requires little watering, and looks and feels really good on the toes.

Let me introduce Toad's Moss Garden.

While I thought the problem through, a moss garden came. So far its only spread about 1/4 acre, with about 20 feet more to grow to complete the upper lawn.

Being a slothful Toad, I didn't do a thing. The spores were in/on the ground. The Iron Horse, and leaf blower spread them around last fall, a wet winter helped them become established and now I have lots of green. It's still a bit early to walk on it, but its coming long nicely. I spent most of Monday clearing it of debris. Mrs. T may be coming around to the idea I'm competent.

I'm now thinking on the front yard . That might take a couple of years, but I think it will be worth nature's effort. In a year or two I can dazzle my bride with how well I planned it.

Who says Toad's aren't green?



You are perhaps familiar with the expression,"You can always tell a German, you just can't tell him much". What you didn't know was that the expression was created for my father in law, Oskar the Grouch.

An alleged former classmate of Abe Lincoln and Ethyl Barrymore, Oskar is 142 today.

He is a wonderful loving man, plays a mean game of tennis. and is an inspiration as a father, grandfather, and man to me. I am grateful to have been accepted as part of his clan.

Maybe you are more familiar with his other catch phrase, "work is for poor people". That one has caused a lot of strife in the family over the years.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Paige's Birthday!! Hurrah

It is this little angels 9th birthday.

As most formerly 8's are, she is mostly trouble and teases her helpless grandfather unmercifully.
When I asked her what she wanted for a birthday prize she told me she would love a box of rocks and maybe a couple of sticks and leaves. That seemed simple enough, so I threw in a couple of handfuls of dirt and some snips and snails as well. I hope they arrive in time.

Will you join me in singing a special Happy Birthday to Paige song?


Was I wrong?

Mrs. T accosted me the other day with "83% of rodeo boys are hurt each year".

I thought it would have been more.
"Why do they do it?", she asked. "It's for the girls, naturally", I replied.

"Girls like rodeo boys?"

"No, let me splain.
Some girls are dumb, but not most. Imagine a lass heads to a bar for a night out with her friends. Not so coincidentally, they are willing to let some dumb ass buy their drinks as long as they get off Scot free. They just has to find someone dumb enough to do it. If our lass finds a rodeo boy she's home free. He's proven dumb, and common sense tells her his gene pool should end with him."
"I'm not sure that's right", says Mrs T.
Gotta bettter idea?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brooks Brothers

I found this picture on Mr. Mort ,then made up a copy of the shirt on Brooks Brothers, on-line, made to order shirt section site. Blue and white uni-stripe OCBD with contrasting white collar. The cuffs are standard, ie shirt body color. I was unsure whether to go with French or barrel cuffs. Most probably I'd go barrel and convert them to link cuffs later.

While neither fish nor fowl I kinda like it. Might look good with the white linen suit,eh?

Any thoughts? (the picture is from the BB fall '09 collection) My trigger finger is getting antsy.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Ask Your Doctor. I think not.

My annual physical is coming up in a few weeks, and I have been dutifully keeping a list of medications that I should ask my doctor if they are right for me. She hates that part.

Until recently, I had subscribed to the old fashioned notion that instead of asking my doctor if a certain drug was right for me, that my doctor should tell me. That was until I took part in a marketing study, for a medication which is to be a competitor to one I take.

The perky moderator herded a dozen old people into a cheap conference room. Then she explained the benefits of a new wonder drug and left us to pontificate on how the wording of their ads should be changed, the type made larger, what breed of cute puppy pictures should be used. You get the point.

At the end of the hour, our perky moderator went around the room and asked each person, would they ask their own doctor about Product X. You should have heard it. Jacob the Liar wouldn't have stood a chance. Doctors phones were going to ring that very afternoon, from patients demanding this not yet released wonder drug.

Then they got to me. "Toad, how likely are you to ask your doctor about Miracle Cure?" "Not so very much I replied." You'd have thought I was asking for more gruel.

Can you tell us why?, ask Ms. Perky.

"Because in my heart of hearts I know I couldn't answer my doc's first question, which would be Why is this better than what you currently take?" That then opens me up to all sorts of harassment. Is it cheaper, is the dosage better, how does it interact with what else you take, etc. etc. etc.? I couldn't answer any of those questions, so having no credibility, I'd feel beaten as a rented mule.

As soon as the fans began rumbling, class was immediately dismissed. Made $150 though.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Confederacy of Dunces

To set the mood for an upcoming journey I dug out John Kennedy Toole's masterpiece "A Confederacy of Dunces" for its biennial reading.

Were you aware that A Confederacy of Dunces was not required reading in every high school in the land? I wasn't.

For those not familiar, first the backstory.

Son of New Orleans, John Kennedy Toole was a Tulane graduate, who sought his success in the big city, and took a graduate degree at Columbia in NY. Eventually, as is often the way of writers, he became discouraged writing, became depressed, took to spirits, and self destructed at 32.

Ten years after his death his mother found the peanut butter and jelly smeared carbon manuscript (ask if you do not know what a carbon is) of A Confederacy in a drawer in John's old room at her house. She fell in love with the story, took it to Walker Percy at Loyola who championed its publication. Eleven years after Toole's death the book was published and won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Now the story. I defy you to read this book without hurting yourself laughing. It's that funny. Our hero, fat, lazy overeducated Ignatious J. Reilly lives with his mother in New Orleans.

Is your newspaper relevant?

Is your daily newspaper relevant to your life?

As I write this I am too cold, too tired, too apathetic to mosey up the drive and pick up the morning news. It wasn't always such.

In the not so distant past, the first thing I'd do, each morning, would be rush out and get the news. I read it cover to cover as though it were scripture. I never understood mylate father in law, who would save the weeks papers for Sunday afternoon. I do now.

Charlie Rose has been running an infrequent series with vested interests on the future of the daily newspapers. The owners and publishers are planning and spending, and planning on spending great sums of money, just as soon as the recession is over and advertisers come back. Your paper will be in color, smaller in format, better, bolder, rah rah. Seems such a waste to me.

Print newspapers are dead, and the last to know are the news gatherers. Somehow seems indicative of the problem.

Many of the companies you rely upon every day are solely ad sponsored. They're just not delivered daily on paper. If you doubt me, take a look at Google.


Mardi Gras

The oldest Mardi Gras celebration in America is in Mobile, Alabama. I have had the privilege to attend their festivities and I must confess they do it proud.

For those amongst us who have an interest in the historic side of the festival, PBS has scheduled a "documentary" The Order of Myths for Tuesday night. It comes recommended. I haven't seen it, but my TIVO is generally free. Natch, it's unavailable here, but....

Let the good times roll.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


In an effort to keep you up to date on things cool, I came across this today.

Magcloud is a Hewlet-Packard sponsored computer software service which allows anyone to make professional magazines, for very little cost. I'm not exactly certain why this strikes such a chord, but it really does with me.

Perhaps it works for family reunions, to celebrate a great sports season, church groups. I could think of a thousand places this might be cool. I just cannot explain why.


Friday, February 20, 2009

She finally got it, I think

I am a particular eater.

Bless her heart, Mrs. T has spent the past decade attempting to get me to enjoy or at least to eat my veggies. She's blanched, baked, boiled or served them raw. I pick, and occassionaly smile while doing it, sorry Martha, but frankly I'd rather lick dirt. I am as convinced, as I am that Christmas is December 25, that I could go to my dotage without ever eating another veg, and live to tell the tale.

So last evening, Mrs T outdoes herself. It was raw green bean night for the Toad. Come dinner, I pickin' at 'em, spreading around my plate when finally she stops, looks at me and says, " You really don't like vegetables do you?"

No ma'am I don't, I replied.

Tonight was squash. I wasn't offered any. Let us give thanks.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

I've gone straight to summer

In my dream its always Friday afternoon. Early summer, Decoration Day has gone, and Independence Day is near. New Orleans' humidity is just bearable.

After a cold beer and appetizers at Felix's, I cross the street and head towards my waiting table in the deepest Siberia of the second floor at Galatoires. I'm ready to spend a long afternoon tackling the worlds problems, solidified by its best cuisine.

Luncheon is long and slow, the waitstaff attentive, the companions convivial. A most excellent afternoon. Too soon, it's time to walk home, have a short cigar and a nap. Cocktails will be along before you know it. A rather louche life, I'd say.

The part I like best comes at the end of luncheon. You pay your respects to the management, and walk out. None of that foolishness about settling the bill. It appears at your office at the end of the month. When you let the clerk deal with it, its eating free.

I haven't had that dream since about this time last year.

Summer, Friday afternoon, at Galatoires, is the natural home of white linen suits. In most American communities they are an acquired taste, little sampled. In New Orleans they are virtually required.

The moxie required of the average adult male to pull off GTH pants with aplomb, withers in the face of a new white suit.

Few can pull it off. I find garments like this more enjoyable the older I become. Think Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain or Sydney Greenstreet in Casablanca, rather than Tom Wolfe. Perhaps, it's easier to forgive older eccentrics.

I need to have my white suit altered, in case I find myself in gastronomic heaven anytime soon. The best accompaniment is years of wear, along with the battle stains of too many a good meal. To that end I need to find a quick way to make a new linen suit look 10 years older. Preferably without the stains. I'll take care of that myself soon 'nuf.

Photos from The Sartorialist, and Theselby(Tom Wolfe)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Dollar

I will send a US $1 bill to the first person who can prove, to us, they have a Hot Diggity Dogger in their home and have used it more than once. Video will do. I get to publish your nom d'plate. Available at Sky Mall.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Is becoming a recluse a rational response to an irrational world, or a symptom of mental illness?

Do you have to be a misanthrope, or can you just want to be left alone? Are the two different?

Do you have to be rich, self-indulgent? Is there a how-to manual?

I have to admit the idea is appealing to me. I'd have to be able to get to the library, and for a while I'd still like the Sunday New York Times delivered, as well as a periodic lunch or dinner out. Other than that I think it might be OK, as long as UPS stays in business. Wouldn't even need servants.

I'd tend the garden, catch up on my reading, invent labor saving devices, play with Ted, wash the car. Deep down I believe this could be the perfect life for me. I don't even think Mrs T would care, as long as I didn't make her do it too. She wouldn't last 15 minutes.

I've been reading too much Nero Wolfe again, can you tell?


Monday, February 16, 2009

Sheer Bliss

Ever since the spray pancake episode I have not been permitted in grocery stores without supervision. Until today.

Mrs T made me go with her today to engage in power shopping. You know the kind, meet me in 4 minutes with these 5 items. I've learned better, so I knew I had a good 10 minutes to peruse the shelves.

I used to believe that when the revolution began, the first up against the wall were to be found shopping at Whole Foods. You know the type $10 for 8 crackers. Die yuppie scum, alas I was wrong.

Today, at our local, I may have met the enemy. Canned ice cream. The "King Tut" of ice cream. Sheer Bliss!

Imagine Ms Save the Planet Green, taking her Prius to stock up on something to help her get through the night. Think I get some ice cream she says, saves the earth. What do they have in a can? $8.99 the pint. Maybe she recycles.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

NMP in real life. A Baseball Editorial

Spring training is underway and as revealed on these pages last week, many professional baseball players take steroids. So what?

Frankly, I don't care if they smoke crack in the dugout. My reason for sharing this bit of news is this.

I've grown sick of hearing about how "he" took steroids, and so did Mr. X, and Mr. Y and Mr. Z.

The people with the most to gain or lose if baseball is juiced, the owners, the players, and Major League Baseball don't give a hoot. Why should you? So what if MLB is on par with the WWF?

If you have some moralistic "purity of the game" jones about you, I encourage you to stay home and spend more time watching your kids play Little League. Otherwise get over yourself. Don't beat yourself up over what's not your problem. Your crocodile tears won't fix anything.

Let the junkies play in peace.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Haunted Houses

Ever live in a haunted house?

It's tough to find find one in a standard suburban neighborhood, but in urban areas, or country houses I think they may be more plentiful than you want to believe. I've lived in several, and I am not yet certain that The Park isn't also.

Now I'm not talking about the nonsense you find on The Travel Channel, or TLC. Not The Ghost Hunters or any of that other rot. I'm talking about houses that have more than your family living in them.

I truly believe that house take on the personality of their owners. We personalize our homes to fit our needs and wants. We also invest a lot of energy dreaming about our homes, what we would do it we had the taste, time or budget. I think a lot of that karmic energy is absorbed into the very floorboards of our houses.

That may be why when house shopping we can feel if a house is right 10 seconds after opening the front door the first time. Successful Realtors know that how a house "feels" sells the house faster than how it meets our needs. They also know that if you're on the fence about a house, its energy will help you decide.

One of the "haunted" houses I have lived in had a very negative energy, and that fairly quickly drove us out of it. The family we sold to, also had a bad experiences there.

The Park, was owned for a long time by one family. The energy is good, and the vibe is more playful than off putting. Somehow it speaks to us, when it needs attention, and somehow we always find the right guy to deal with its needs. The previous owner died suddenly here. I can feel his presence at the strangest times, and its always comforting. I love this house.


Friday, February 13, 2009

A Battle Royale

Suppose you have one of jobs that do not purposefully upset people. Your not a bill collector, or a bearer of bad tidings. You just go to work, and eventually come home. Then one day you wake up, and say, I really wanna mess with somebody today. What do you chose to do?

My suggestion is to come to our house and unplug the cable on Thursday afternoon. There so little for Mrs. T to watch on Thursday. Seriously, her TIVO is smoking until about 2 am .

So you pull off that stunt, and while Mrs. T is fuming, the cable company makes you come back and fix it. But not until late Friday afternoon.

That gives you an opportunity to return, remove the Internet connection, get home, have a beer or two, take a shower and make dinner plans. A smarter man would have disconnected the phone too, but you gotta be smarter than the average bear to figure that one out.

Late this evening while the tech was still here, his boss called and asked me how he was getting along. I mentioned that another beer or two before he got here may have been a better idea. My suspicion is that he had a long night ahead of him.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A couple of odds and ends

1. One of the cardinal rules of marketing is that you do not make things better by taking things away. The purists won't stand for it. No one wants to feel gypped. That is why this weekend we celebrate Valentines Day. (Does anyone else remember that not so long ago it was St. Valentines Day?)

One of the problems the ancient Catholic Church leaders had, when the religion began to spread, was how to incorporate festivals the fans were accustomed to into the new fold. It was a non starter to suggest that our religion was better than your crummy old one since we don't have those constant fertility festivals. It might keep away some of those on the fence who enjoyed the party but weren't so hip on the gods.

So, being clever salesmen they offered the same thing only different. You want a party in February? We got one too.

The Romans called it Lupercalia, the beginning of spring. It began with a ritual purification of their homes (spring cleaning to you), and led immediately into the fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman God of Agriculture as well as Romulus and Remus. This was held annually on the ides of February, the 15th for those of you unfamiliar with your Shakespeare.

So the crafty churchman said the 14th is close enough. How about instead of all that wine and sex we name it after a ascetic who wrote love stories to god. Sounded too good to be true. They probably invented Valentine.
Gents, Valentines Day is Saturday. Thou shall not ignore it, or those other fertility festivals may also be forgotten.

2. Could you imagine the uproar if the mom of the new octuplets told all TV, radio, magazine and newspaper requests "thank you, we are a very private family and are not interested in whoring our children?" And stood by it?

But the world wants to know, you'd say. "It's none of your business," mom would then reply.

3. Could you imagine the uproar if a reporter for some news outlet finally had enough one day, and called someone out on a euphemism, or for lying to him? Interview goes something like this. " The ethnic cleansing in ...." Reporter responds, by ethnic cleansing do you mean murder, Holocaust, slaughter of innocents?" And sticks with it. Ted Kopple notwithstanding.

4. I won $1,000,000 Monday night when Kansas lost to Missouri.

5. Take a look at new blogger Maxminimus I think he has the chops to make it.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Westminster Colo. Schools

I was about to go to bed with nothing prepared for today, when this crossed my path. I may comfortably go to my rest now, for finally, I have heard it all. I must have been born under a bad sign, or at least 50 years too early.

In response to low standardized test scores, and poor student performance, No Child Left Behind,blah, blah blah, the Westminster Colorado School District has decided to rid themselves of grade levels. Not A,B,C,D, but first, second, third......

Students will be assigned by age,and will stay in a subject until they attain mastery of it. Maybe 8 yo Spelling, and 10 yo Math. Picture if you will a class of 9 yo boys studying math. Also in their class is 11 yo boy whose struggling. Will 11 yo be miffed working with the little kids? How well will the bigs kids deal with a smart little kid? I defer to Ms. Mindless.

The inspiration for this was a school district in Alaska that has 250 students spread over 22,000 square miles. Remember those Palin kids? Westminster is suburban Denver.

The plan is to phase this process in over time, in order to give the district officials time to seek other employment.

For further info I recommend:A Colorado school district does away with grade levels

We have met the enemy and it is us.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not My Problem

For New Years, I published my thoughts on the perfect resolution. If it doesn't concern you, its not your problem, so let it go. I've been having a problem with that lately. So please bear with my rant. I'll feel better shortly.

I have temporarily gotten to the point where I just don't care. The news is all bad, even if you can find good news you know you're being lied to, and the rest just doesn't make sense.

Take yesterday for instance. California has to release tens of thousands of prisoners due to prison overcrowding. Still think the war on drugs makes any sense?

The name of the fertility doctor who implanted the mom who recently had the octuplets was released. Natch, he's got nothing to say on the subject. Is this news? Do we care? Mom's quoted as counting on god to help her out. I see human intervention coming myself. We'll be paying the next 21 years.

Baseball players take steroids. Surprise!!!

Sunday's NYT article on living in NY on $500k per year, sounded an awful like one Esquire, or was it NY Magazine ran 30 years ago, on living in NY on $100,000. Why do any of the affected parties still have jobs?

Where is the outrage?

Then think of the mindless crap we are told to worry about.

As George Carlin said, " It's all bullshit, and its bad for ya".

End of rant. Good Night Gracie.


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Evil Eye

To our peril, we have forgotten the evil eye.

Mrs. T has it, but mercifully uses it sparingly. In my presence she has used it 3 times with surprising results. The first was on the woman at the drivers license store, who told Mrs T she flunked her eye test. A week later the license store closed.
Next, was on the woman who purchased our house 2 years ago. The woman was deceptive and took advantage of our better nature. Since purchasing the house, she has spent $100k plus personalizing it, and has had it for sale since July for $150K less than she paid us for it.
Most recently was Friday night. I have mentioned before that Mrs. T is a gambler. Each week her preferred casino sends her a coupon. She shows up, the casino hands her $50. Usually she walks in takes the 50 and goes home. Monday -Thursday are her preferred days. Believe me they get their $50 back.
This month, the casino's management decided to conduct a study. What if they withheld mailings for 10% of their best customers. How would they react?
Friday, Mrs. T went to collect her $50 seed money and was told nada, she was part of the study. she was signed up for March though. Calmly and coldly Mrs. T announced to her host that she would return in March. Until then, you'll find her at the casino next door. Then the general manager got the evil eye. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gone Country

First I must confess.

I shouldn't admit this but both country and western music make me want to gag. Let's understand this or the meaning of this post will elude you. I do not enjoy c&w music. I do not like it here, I do not like it there. I don't mind if you enjoy it, so long as you do so silently. I could not pick any C&W singer out of a lineup. Couldn't/wouldn't hum a tune. Don't know the names, who's good or bad, alive or dead. I most assuredly do not seek acountry or western intervention.

Admittedly, I know nada about which I write, except the aforementioned, I don't care for it please.

But somehow, I have come to enjoy CMT's Gone Country. If you are blessedly unfamiliar with the show, the premise is simple.

Take a half dozen or so shameless former music performers, who have immediate tax or alimony payment trouble and put them on a reality TV show which attempts to fashion new careers for the lost as country music personalities.

This year's saps include the inimitable Sheila E, George Clinton, and Mikey Dolenz amongst others. Just try and wrap your head around the P-Funk All Stars as a country band, I dare ya.

What intrigues me about the show, is the same thing the first season or two of the Donald did. The Donald's early years were morality plays. Work hard, out compete succeed. This is much the same, but for has beens, or never weres.

Its on almost constantly on CMT, but you most likely will find it Saturday nights.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Coincidence or....

The Toads are no more green than any other family. For bonafides, I present Camilla , our on a good day 8 mile per gallon road warrior. Howver, we may have recently redefined what it means to be green.

With apologies to someone whose blog I read regularly, but as I write this cannot remember who, I remember reading of a wonderful family extolling the virtues of their new tank less water heater. Sunday driving home from Florida, I heard a commercial on the radio for one, and told Mrs T that one of these days we should look into buying one. One of these days was Wednesday.

After the propane man left I could not restart one of our water heaters. Soon afterward the massive flood began. The next morning I was at Lowes. That was a trip.

For starters, before spending vast sums at Lowes, stop by your local post office. In their change of address/moving packet is a 10% off coupon for Lowes. It's good until the end of June. Use it!

I did my research online and was about to order from Lowes web site, but they would not accept my new found coupon. So I drove the mile to the store, found that it had to be special ordered, but was $120 less in the store than online. The lower price less the 10% post office coupon.

That's my kind of green.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Bud Collins, Fashion Icon

It wasn't just the young girls in short skirts, the heat or the athleticism. I became hooked watching the Australian Tennis Open while we were away because of Bud Collins.

Is there a more dapper, interesting fellow in sports? Signature bow tie, GTH pants, relaxed casual attitude. Smart, erudite and witty.

As a fashion icon he does not get the credit he deserves. In my opinion he epitomizes true Preppy style. Why did NBC ever let him go?

Needs a pocket square though.

Any resemblance to other fat, bow tie wearing, bald men is purely circumstantial, on your part.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

What's your type?

Did you happen to see the story making the rounds last week about the importance many Japanese place on blood type. It was one of those "your blood type tells all about you", kind of things. Japanese Blood Types and Personality - Issendai's Lair

At first I dismissed the stories out of hand, much as I would the "what's your sign" articles that appeared some years ago. Then for research I read one, then another.

Why? They described me to a T. At first I figured they were just vague enough to throw everyone into the mix and pull out a smoothie at the end. So I read Mrs. T's. Nailed her too. She's pretty odd, so to be able to nail her in a few words, must indicate real science.

I am afraid to tell her about the study though. All indications are that she should be the next Empress of Imperial Japan.

Now if I could only remember her sign.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thank You George Carlin

Since the tribute to George is on PBS this evening, I thought I would share a story.

Left unsaid in my brief retelling of the early days of my military career were the tales of the 15 days of summer camp thougthfully provided members. Summer camp as a young adult is no more welcome than it is at 9. Got to go to some wonderful places though.

Summers in Jefferson Barracks tend to be hot and humid. With that in mind, our tour guide tended to arrange our summer vacations in cooler, less humid locales, but not always. Wisconsin was one of his favorites, but rarely Camp McCoy.

Camp McCoy is an Army post in southwestern Wisconsin used primarily by Reserve and National Guard units for training. Its a great place to drive tanks, and shoot noisy guns, catch poison ivy and generally have a great time.
Being Air Force we were not particularly welcome at McCoy, so we usually stayed away. Our camp of choice was neighboring Volk Field in truly gorgeous Toma. Toma is about two hours west of Milwaukee which is just far enough away for a couple of young blades to spend a weekend away from camp.
In July '72 my buddy Chris and I heard about Milwaukee Summerfest, went AWOL for the weekend, and decided to take in Woky. Saturday evening, a couple of brats, a few cans of Miller under our belts and who should appear on stage, none other than George Carlin.
Yes, it was the night the police arrested and hauled him off stage, for saying those 7 words, and we were there.
I spent all year wondering how I tour guide would top that the next summer. He did!
Summer camp '73 the entire convoy was arrested. For driving our military truck convoy down the Natchez Trace, on our way to Biloxi. All thanks to AAA Triptiks.

Fellow Dominique Browning fans

I almost cried when House and Garden went away. I had promised myself I would read telephone books if Dominique Browning wrote them, if only H&G wouldn't die. I miss her monthly column. For those of you who need a DB fix, I direct you to the latest Garden and Gun.


Becoming reacquainted with the old ways

Twenty some years ago GQ magazine commissioned Peter Mayle to write a series of magazine articles on the spending habits of the rich. Each month a new installment would appear, and impressionable young men would argue over the relative merits of things they had no experience with, and would likely never encounter. Eventually the collected essays were gathered into book form and Acquired Tastes appeared.

In these troubled, but hopeful times it's good to become re-acquainted with the ways of the past, as they will guide the unwary away from reinventing many of the sins of the past.

The original essays, funded by GQ, were based upon the concept that the editors turned Peter out with enough money to scour the world, identify what things rich men were interested in, find out why they wanted it and report back on what it costs. The only thing that hasn't withstood the test of time are the valuations. Most things are more expensive today. The items selected have held up.

Bespoke clothing, adultery, lawyers, servants, caviar, second homes, private jets and more are covered.

I reread AT for about the 20th time over the weekend. Over the years I have had the opportunity to sample some of the wares suggested, and have been suitably warned off others because of Mr. Mayle. Give it a try. I think you'll like it. It may also save you from yourself.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I may be untrainable

You would think I would eventually learn, but no, I rarely do.

Since moving to The Park 2 years ago, periodically a man with the big truck comes and exchanges vast sums of money for his tank of heat. You call him, a day or two later he appears. It's a pretty good system.

Only I never remember to call him. It's cold. Very much so. We have no heat. Why? Because I did not call the man. Happens about once a year.

Now to add insult to injury, I have an arrangement with a neighbor. In exchange for garage space he clears our driveway. While we were gone he didn't plow. Now our drive is an icy mess, and the propane truck won't navigate our hill.

How many more weeks of winter?


Designers take note

I do not wake up cute.

I know, it was a revelation to me too. At the risk of sounding like I am apologizing, I am afraid I may have to give Mrs. Schnabel her due. Perhaps PJ's are to be commended. At the least, I probably owe my bride an apology.

Let me tell you what brought this on. Our home on Sanibel was comparatively tiny. 390 square feet. Includes living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bath.

I readily admit that I have no grounding in design, and neither feign knowledge of this subject nor would some say practice it, somewhere in the back of my cluttered mind though, I think mirrors are used to as a design element to expand space. Add light to tiny areas, etc. Our apartment used mirrors in spades.

Now I ask you. What kind of hellion would install mirrored closet doors, the entire length of your bed, within an arms length of your pillow?

After a certain age, the kink factor of giant mirrors in a bedroom losses some of its appeal. But imagine if you will, waking up in the morning, and the first thing you see is your own visage staring back at you. God, it's frightening.

Mrs. T., I apologize. You shouldn't have had to have been subjected to that all these years. For better or for worse not withstanding. My friends, waking up next to me more than twice may constitute a new definition of love.


Monday, February 2, 2009

You're it

Frequent commenter News Readin' Wife of the fabulous Breaking News has awarded the Your Blog is Fabulous Award to our humble missives. I am flattered and grateful. The award comes with the usual caveats and requirements. They are as follows:

"This fabulous award comes with a few rules: Put the logo on your blog or post. Nominate at least 10 blogs which you think are fabulous. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award," sayeth NRW.

I take all challenges seriously, sorta. That said, many of my favorite bloggers are black and blue from being tagged more often than a girl cousin at the family reunion. So forgive me if I pass by some of my favorite blogs, and let you in on a few secrets I really enjoy. If you are truly miffed that I did not specifically include you, please include yourself. No harm done.

My friends allow me to share with you my secret stash. 6 girls, 4boys

The Girls

1. Ms Mindless: Ms mindless is a long time frequent commenter here. Ms is a soon to be married kindergarten teacher in Washington DC. Her blog focus's on students, family and upcoming nupts. My daughter and I get a kick out of sharing in her life. mindless musings on my average life

2 Gladys: Gladys sorta reminds you of a wonderful Alice Kramden. I doubt she'd take sass from anyone. Usually her posts have me crying I am laughing so hard. Gladys Tells All

3. Country Doctors Wife: The Country Doctor's Wife

4. Eat Play Love:Eat Play Love is written by a long time family friend. I wouldn't forget Denise for the world.

5. Pink Cupcakes and Tab: Pink Cupcakes and TaB I think this goes to about half a dozen women, who are all in cahoots. I have been lurking here for ages and rarely stop in to say hello. I am ashamed of myself.

The boys

1. An Affordable Wardrobe: Joe is a clothes dude,an inveterate thrifter, husband, dad and architech. A pretty all 'round good guy.An Affordable Wardrobe

2. Midwestern Malaise: Midwestern Malaise I love Kansas City and Kansas Citians. This is one of the few blogs my daughter and I discuss regularly.

3. Advice to my sons:Advice to My Sons somehow I was fortunate to find this blog about an hour after his first post. It's one I check very early in the day to see what's new. Common Sense pours from his keyboard.

4. Today's Gentleman: I love this blog, mostly because I so often disagree with it. The man cares a lot, has a lot more spunk than I do, and is becoming a pretty good writer.Today's Gentleman

There is also a super secret winner, to whom I will not write, but will include anyway. Garance Dore garance doré . For those who read the Sartorialist religiously as I do, this woman is a much better photographer. Wish I kept up my high school French.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

You say Tomatoes, I say tomahtoes. Different strokes for different folks. The photo above was taken from our bedroom window Wednesday. The photo below was taken from our bedroom at The Park on Wednesday. You choose.

Toads are warm weather critters and I prefer the former. A week and a half away in the middle of winter will tide me over the next ten weeks of cold. It's good to go, its better to be home.

Sanibel was interesting. The week before our arrival was unusually cold and killed off all the flowering plants, so it wasn't as pretty as I suspect it normally is, but you could see how pretty it could be. This week is supposed to be cold too, so there.

I won't bore you with how our week was better than yours, but a few things stand out. First, I was greeted shortly after arrival, by a woman about my age, who lead with Hi Toad, how's Bunky (my youngest son)? I couldn't have picked her out of a lineup, Had no idea who she was.

To make a short story long, her daughter attended third grade with Bunky, twenty something years ago. Yes, I asked him, and no he had no idea who the daughter was. To make matters more weird, mom attended high school with Bunky's mother. What are the odds?

Number 2. Driving through Kentucky and southern Illinois yesterday, I was awed by the devastation of the ice storm. For a hundred miles trees were topped, split and toppled. It will take a generation to recover.

So let me close by saying I am glad to be home, I missed each of you, I am tired, and have a lot to do around here.

Also, thank you Katy for doing such a wonderful job in my absence.


Go Cardinals

Congratulations ladies and non-football loving men! You are painfully close to this football season finally being over. Whoo Hooo. If you are off to a Superbowl Party today have fun and be safe. We will be staying home and watching the game with some friends. I will be rooting for the Cardinals. In all reality, I don't really care but am waging a $10 bet against my husband that they will win. Either way, after today we have a 6-1/2 month break until next football season. Enjoy it! :-)