Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rules of Basket Ball

American college basketball is a sport where how the team plays during the season is mostly meaningless except for Las Vegas bookmakers. The post season tournaments are what matters. It's where the money is.

It wasn't always thus.

Basketball, originally the proverbial, cut a hole in a peach basket affair, was invented, around 1890, by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield Massachusetts. Naismith invented the game, it was his basket, he got to make the rules. Eventually he codified his new game into 13 simple rules,which he typed and carbon copied. When asked, he would mail a carbon to anyone looking to create a team. The original 13 typed rules remained with the Naismith family.

Later, Naismith moved to the University of Kansas (1898) taking his game with him. To this very day, Dr. N is spoken of in hushed, reverential tones in the Land of Ahs, his grave site is near the University, the Field House is named for him. Kansans will broach no disrespect on this subject.

Last December an auction of historical memorabilia was held by Sotheby's. Included in the auction were Robert Kennedy's copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abe himself, a battle flag from the Little Big Horn and the original, typed by Naismith, rules of Basket Ball.

The Rules trumped all other items and were purchased for $4.3 million by the Booth's, a prominent Kansas family who immediately donated the rules to KU and tossed in a few more dollars to erect a shrine at Kansas University's Naismith Field House to awe all who enter their Basketball temple.

The shrine isn't yet ready, but Kansas City has a museum, and a tournament coming up. If you are in town for the Big 12 Conference tourney, March 5 -9 stop by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to take a look. The rules will be on display until May 29, 2011.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kate's mum

PIG!!!!!!!!!! Go ahead and shout it, I've been called worse. Today even.

I've nothing against the pretty young things, but there's no mutual risk and I simply have no interest. I find them terribly overrated. Take Queen2be Kate for instance. Cute girl. Cleans up well. I hope Kate, the lad and their islanders are eternally happy.

I'm more taken by her mum, Carole. She's well as smart.

Just saying.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Odds and Ends

Many thanks to all who made Paige's birthday special. When I called her after school, I was told she was at the movies. Who knew Justin had a movie? 3D at that. I do now.

From either the library, our local bookstore, Amazon and Alibris a book a day shows up around here. That number may change.

In honor of their 50th anniversary Penguin Classics UK has introduced the Mini Modern Classic. Fifty short fiction favorites.

According to their web site:

Introducing the Mini Modern Classics...

To celebrate our 50th anniversary we're publishing 50 Mini Modern Classics: the best short fiction by the greatest writers of the last century - from Beckett to Kafka, Nabokov to Saki and Updike to Wodehouse. Each little book is a quick literary hit, a satisfying shot of storytelling. And though they don't take long to read, they'll stay with you long after you turn the final page.

The US edition of Penguin Classics, nearing their 76th birthday, make no mention of Mini Classics, but I hope, suspect, wish, want a US version to appear soon.

II. Maybe-Maybe Not

Invented by a woman, made for a man.

You decide, many thanks to Neatorama


Friday, February 25, 2011

Paige Day

If your schools are closed, the office shut, and a large parade forming it is in celebration of Justin's girlfriend day or as we like to call it, Paige Day.

I'm usually pretty good about keeping track of these sorts of things, but I have no idea where this year went, for as AA Milne may have said, "now we are 11". Seems like just yesterday she was 10.

Word up is that Justin himself will make a special appearance at Paige's this afternoon.

In celebration of Paige X day please join me in singing, using any tune you wish, the following:

Happy Paige Day to you
Happy Paige Day to you
Happy Paige Day Dear Paige
You're too cute to be XI.

Love from Grandpa and all his friends,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm betting he's available

Daughter wanted a pony, he wanted a motorcycle. They compromised.

She got the pony and sees it Wednesdays and every other weekend.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On this date

Semper Fi

Smother Love for Abnormally Normal

Does this ring true to you? It may give hope to MOTR.

In anticipation of the DVD release of the film Cyrus, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment sponsored a survey of 3000 people over 18 living with their parents, and 1500 of those parents.

The results publish by Reuters Life! hardly sound true.

Highlights include:

Parents are three times more likely to allow their adult sons to return to the family home than daughters. Is this because girls often come with kids and layabout boyfriends?

Returning sons or "boomerang boys" are considered more obliging house guests than their sisters and that they easily wrap their mothers around their little fingers. Are returning children really house guests?

Sons are more likely to pay rent, lend a hand with the housework and accept parental advice on careers and love, compared with daughters who are regarded as lazier and less likely to contribute to the household. In no known universe could this be true.

More than half the mothers interviewed for the study were glad their sons had returned home, and only 18 percent acknowledged their boys had overstayed their welcome. The survey showed that 58 percent of mums admitted spoiling their sons, but only 35 percent gave their daughters the same treatment.

Mums are more inclined to cook dinner for their sons, wash and iron their clothes and provide a taxi service. Sons also tend to be more frequent recipients of cash handouts, although girls tend to get more total cash. Moms cook and clean out of fear of embarrassment in case of being seen with their sons. While not fair, it is more expensive to be a girl.

Not surprisingly:

Despite the apparent willingness to coddle their sons, the survey also revealed that parents were concerned about them becoming too dependent and never moving out again.

A third of parents also said that having their child back at home with them means that they argue more; with a fifth being embarrassed by the move and 16 percent admitting they had thought of downsizing just to get rid of their children.

Or you could just change the locks.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Middle East Tweets

Paying attention to what's happening in Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, et al? If so, you may find this interesting, amusing, entertaining, informative.

Published by The Guardian it's an interactive Twitter network of Arab protests. A man on the street view of what's going on. Try it, you may like it.


Just can't take some people anywhere

#1 son sent this news item from Monday's Topeka Capital Journal.

Let me first set the mood. You're thinking, how can I make my little one's birthday memorable? Suppose we blow the wad, pick up grandma and head to Chuck E Cheese. A little whack-a-mole, some skee ball, a bit of fine gourmet dining. Why the heck not?

Admittedly, I am not fun, but after dark I find Chuck's just barely tolerable. Try as I might however, I haven't yet wanted to up and bash someone while there. For that I've only myself to blame. These kids will have a tough time topping this next year, or it may become a new family tradition.

Police break up brawl at Chuck E. Cheese's

Disturbance was between two families celebrating birthdays

Posted: February 20, 2011 - 6:56am

It was a case of adults behaving badly at Chuck E. Cheese's when Topeka police had to clear a brawl Saturday night at the kids-oriented restaurant on Wanamaker Road.

In a statement issued Sunday morning by Capt. Bill Cochran, the shift commander said officers responded at 8:45 p.m. Saturday to the restaurant at 2215 S.W. Wanamaker Road where they found "an active disturbance both inside and outside the business."

The disturbance began, Cochran said, "when two families celebrating different birthday events had a disagreement" and adults from both gatherings began to fight. "The situation spilled out into the parking lot, as well as inside the business," he said.

Officers dispersed the crowd and issued two citations in connection with fighting/brawling and disorderly conduct.

Once order was restored, management of the Chuck E. Cheese's, which usually stays open until 11 p.m. on Saturdays, "elected to close the business for the remainder of the night," Cochran said.

Can you imagine how grim Chuck's must be at 10:30 on a Saturday night?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Unread Herrings

There were 2 seminal magazines in the Age of Aquarius. The National Lampoon arrived as a monthly in the spring of 1970. A sophmoric, smart ass, older kid's magazine. Smarter than Mad, funnier than anything else available. Their stock in trade was topical parody. Little was off limits, as demonstrated by the ad above.

For those too young to remember, VW bugs supposedly floated, at least for a while. For the rest of the story Google Mary Jo Kopechne, and put 2 and 2 together.

By the time the Lampoon movies (Animal House et al) went into production (1977) the magazine had pretty well run its course, although it remained on life support under various incarnations until the late 90's. Back issues are available but expensive. A CD of back issues is supposedly either in the works or available at Amazon.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead written by Rick Meyerowitz is a great biography of the magazine, its creators, writers and the generation which produced them.

In the mid 80's came SPY.

Spy's claim to fame was satire, although at times it would accidently resort to solid investigative news reporting. Created by Graydon Carter, it dealt primarily riffed within the media and entertainment industries, which in those days meant a lot of inside NYer stuff. For we flyovers, Spy was Holden Caulfield all growed up, an intro to textual cool. Traces of the old may still be found in Vanity Fair, which not coincidently is edited by Mr. Carter.

In its infinite wisdom Google Books has digitized all copies of Spy. For a time travelers look back to what in many ways feels a hundred years ago take a look here. It's worth the peek for the ads alone. Always start with the first issue and work forward.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

in this corner..

I always have a posse when I head to my desk, it's our routine, and is as true at 10 am as it is at 10 PM.

First, the check to see what's new. With nothing to find, it's time to play with bones, shoes, cords and stacks of paper. Ted then leads the gang with a bit of stretching followed by settling down, just as in yoga class.

Everyone has their chosen place. Charlie is underfoot. Pooh, thinking she's boss, stays up high so she's able to see.

Ted's as far away from the girls as possible, all the while believing he's the Alpha. No one dares disturb the bear.

Ten minutes later he rolls over and heads to his spot.

Before long you'd think you were in the "dinner with Mongo" scene of Blazing Saddles. Three sleeping dogs in a small space make a powerful noise.

It's a dogs life. We wouldn't have it any other way.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Peter and the Tank

I've been in a powerful poor humor all week, walking with Winston's black dog,while dealing with that which is out of my control. Knowing it's out of my control hasn't been a boon.

Last evening I came across this at a near neighbor's site, Within the Crainium, and suddenly all felt right with the world. A perfect TGIF piece for a twisted week. Joan and Fat Scribe this one is for you. Click on the pictures and text to enlarge, or put your readers back on.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Peacock's Anachronism

I've written before that I believe Mr. Irons may be the most beautiful man ever invented, and take cold comfort knowing he is somewhat older than I. Still, I am envious of his 30+ year marriage, knowing I'll be very old before hitting that landmark. I even pretend he dresses himself.

As gorgeous as he was in the original Brideshead Revisted, today we concentrate on his role as Rupert Gould in Longitude (2000). An early scene, set in immediate post WW I England had him wearing a navy suit with wing collared shirt, a shirt style which was then becoming an anachronism. Worn with a polka dot bow tie he was stunning. Since whenever I wear a tie it is always a bow, I've longed for a non formal wing collared shirt since.

Imagin photos of the salesman's patron saint, Winston Churchill, and

Edwardian era Vanity Fair drawings.

I had designed and redesigned MY shirt hundreds of times over, never once considering, much less answering the question of why I needed an anachronism. I could have consulted the master ADG , but I didn't need to be egged on, I just needed to do it.

My opportunity came early November. A Groupon offer by a local haberdasher offered 2 custom shirts for 1 low price. I snapped it up. 16 weeks into a 6 to 8 week schedule, including 6 days for UPS to ship the package across town, the goods arrived Tuesday.

Cream, (I don't care for white) with all my bells and whistles. I like it, but it falls under the I'm going to have to wear this, lest it wear me category, taking pains not to dress like either Hercule Poirot, or a waiter. The French placket front may have been the step too far. Nonetheless, perfect for dressing for dinner at the manse.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


In honor of fashion week, we'll continue a theme.

The inimitable Little Augury focused her creative talents last week on the various hues of purple favored by her many muses. Our minds were much in sync as coincidently while reviewing a cache of photos, the scales fell from my eyes as I noticed just how powerfully a touch of purple can alter an outfit from very nice to spectacular.

Purple is tough to wear though. Hue is important. Too light and it's something for little girls, too dark too sinister.

The history of purple is wrapped in majesty. In antiquity, the dye, harvested from snails,was soooooo expensive only royalty could afford it.

Alexander the Great wore purple robes during imperial audiences. Purple was the official color of the robes of Roman emperors, and Egyptian pharaohs. Today we wear it because in moderation, it looks really great.

I've been searching for a similar shirt since I refell in love with turtlenecks.

Ralph likes it too!

Most of the photos are from The Sartorialist, the photo above is from Ralph Lauren's big book.

The girl, I'm not so sure about.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

what do you think?

The answers are often obvious once you get the questions right.

I do not know where the photo above is from, I snatched it from Manifest Destiny, who snatched it from...?. It feeds my linen jacket addiction and also inspired what I believe may be a great idea. I'll test it out on you first.

Over the past few summers I've had several linen sport coats made. At the time, I was larger, now very little of my summer wardrobe accommodates the new me. I'm not dismayed by that, nor since I still have a way to go, am I looking forward to shelling out for new duds. These are troubled times.

So it's back to the closet, and on to the tailor, making do with something old, something new. But what to do with the linen jacket collection?

Suppose they became double breasted jackets?

Admittedly, with the jaunty red and yellow numbers from Peterman, my signature summer look would be DB, but I could live with that. Beats letting old friends rot in the wardrobe.

Any thoughts?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Will you be ours, Valentine?

I caught a few minutes of "Family Feud" recently. A contestant was asked, "which holiday is the worst to be alone?"

Survey says: the number one answer is "Valentines Day".

Did they ask males?

Today is not Black Monday. It's Saint Valentine's Day. A feast for lovers and friends, we still can recall. I am not, you are not, neither he, she nor it, is alone today. We've got each other.

Will you be ours, valentine?

Toad and friends

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Report Day- Hero, by Michael Korda

David Lean's 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia is my all time favorite movie.  I remember clearly the afternoon my aunt dropped us off at the theater with a dollar apiece telling us she'd be back. We believed her too.

Ever since, Lawrence has been my idol, without my having any true understanding who he was or what he  did. Fast forward to 2011 and Michael Korda has changed that.

Korda's new book, Hero: The life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia is a must read for the history and military buffs amongst us.   I admit to a bias.  I'd enjoy reading Korda's grocery lists if he published them.

As Korda makes clear, Lawrence will always remain an enigma.  Yet he was a born leader, an academic, aesthete, fearless and impervious to deprivation. He studied military tactics and marksmanship as a child.

The guerrilla war tactics, he invented, the ruling families he selected and the fledgling map of the Middle East he sought to impose, after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire continue to vex the world.

My sole disagreement with Mr. Korda is with his description of Lawrence's most lasting work, Seven Pillar's of Wisdom, as one of the greatest books ever written about war.  Admittedly, this reflects more upon me, but try as I might, I can't plough my way through it.  Maybe next year.

Hero is a great story told well, and a perfect winter read.  Give it a go.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Nelson Mandela's Release from Prison

Amongst a thousand thousand events on this date in history, today is the 21st anniversary of Nelson Mandella's release from Robben Island Prison.

While for adult ears only, and not recommended for sensitive viewers, I have long enjoyed comedian Chris Rock's comparison of Nelson Mandela's time in prison versus being home with his long suffering wife after his release.

Once again, Mr. Rock's language may offend.

Long may you live Mr. President.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Have you seen

This screams to be a Maybe- Maybe Not segment, but I fear no one would bite.

The latest from Levi's:

The Ex-Girlfriend jeans from Levi's for men.

Super skinny, made to be worn below the waist, 10 inch rise, 13.25 inch leg opening. Now guys can have muffin tops too!

I can maybe understand wanting to liberate an article of clothing from her, but if you can wear her jeans...

Or perhaps, an option for girls who prefer boys jeans,


I'm going to playing around with the font over the next couple of days. If one is more appealing/annoying than another speak up please.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Top 10 List

via Bentley Magazine

AskMen.Com provided a poll of the most desirable women of 2011. Naturally, it stung that I couldn't identify 7 of the 10 finalists, but I take solace in repeating "it's not meant for me", while recalling the Dorothy Parker quip, "if all the nominees were laid end to end, ..." So, taking up the gauntlet thrown by Flo, combined with your contributions, let's play our own game.

Who makes up the most desirable male/female top 10 list of 2011?

Here's the criteria. All nominees must be either breathing or still warm, and old enough to buy their own drinks. Obviously, you and your spouse/significant other lead the lists. Beyond that the field's clear.

(Editorial comment) I suspect that Mr. Clooney may be near the top of the men's list, but fear he's in danger of becoming a cliche, just saying. Mel Gibson is not allowed to play today.

Here, to keep you on point, are some suggestions:

Top Women
Lauren Hutton

The other nominees, in no particular order:
Linda Evans
Cameron Diaz
Ali MacGraw
Carla Bruni

Top Men- in no order whatsoever
Bryan Ferry
Jeremy Irons
Marco Pierre White

Bjorn Borg
Rafael Nadal
Luciano Barbera

Johnny Depp
Tony Bourdain
Tom Wolfe, Jr.

I'm startled by how much easier the men's list was to conjure than the women's. Obviously, my votes are clouded by how they were, maybe not so much by how they are. I now turn the table over to you.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Award Season

I have been remiss. Over the past several weeks, we have been given 2 blog awards. The first, The Stylish Blogger Award came from Lou, of The Archers at the Larchers.

All of what Americans know about Britain is filtered through the prism of public television. If not in London, then ALL English people live on farms near bucolic villages with ancient pubs, with houseloads of dogs, a yard of chickens, pots of jam and tea at the ready. Pure Miss Marpleland.

Lou, has the setting, but a life too. Stop in and say hello. She's a breath of fresh air.

The Stylish award came with rules. Something about the ritual sharing of hidden secrets, recessed memories, and not obvious personal tidbits. I then need to pass this award on to deserving bloggers.

I have written previously on this subject, that I take all challenges seriously, sorta. My favorite bloggers are black and blue from being tagged more often than a cute cousin at a family reunion, so I'm going to cheat.

Instead of a single litany of my sins, or an airing of grievances, I'll ease the band-aid off and bury my secrets and pass along this award in upcoming posts. It's up to you to find them. Few will likely surprise. By all means, you're getting tagged.

The Fat Scribe has presented the " A Blog with Substance" award. Substance? Has he ever been here?

The Fat Scribe is a treat. I'm in his debt for a book recommendation, that he knows nothing about. When not galavanting around the globe on secret business dealings, he writes an entertaining, thoughtful, erudite blog. His comments here often bring me up short. Add him to your reader, you'll be glad you did.


Alexis Bittar

Cruising through the Sunday Styles section I came across an ad for Alexis Bittar (above). Feeding off yesterday's post I wondered where Lauren was when they nominated for most desirable. Too many were noticeably absent from the list.

Lauren has a decade plus on me, and it was good to see that Ms. Hutton is willing and a merchant bold enough to show her looking her age,without benefit of obvious/overt Photoshopping. Alexis's web site video features a decidedly mature woman. It's not often an adult appears in fashion spreads. I applaud Mr. Bittar, and wish more did the same.


Monday, February 7, 2011



Gents, I have developed a quick test to help you determine if you are becoming old. Taken in the privacy of your own study, no one but you ever need know your results. Self scoring is strictly on the honor system here.

I kept a clipping of a story in the Independent, titled Blake Lively voted world's most desirable woman. An understandable reaction would be why I kept such musings, and I can only answer that I was taken aback. Who the hell is Blake Lively?

The gist of the story was a poll taken by rating the top 10 most desirable women in the world. TOP 10 MOST DESIRABLE WOMEN IN THE WORLD 2011

1. Blake Lively
2. Mila Kunis
3. Sofia Vergara
4. Selita Ebanks
5. Miranda Kerr
6. Cheryl Cole
7. Scarlett Johansson
8. Katy Perry
9. Anne Hathaway
10. Jessica Pare

So Gents, here's the test. Accept that you will never, ever meet any of these women, or if you do it will come at GREAT personal expense.

Question 1. How many of these women have you ever heard of?

Question 2. Who on the list could you pick out of a lineup?

A logical 3rd question would be who cares, but we're not going there.

I admit I am deeply over the horizon, having heard of 3, and maybe with good lighting, I could pick out 2. I have items living in my sock drawer older than most of these girls.

Good luck, the fogey line forms to your right.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon

Spring please come quickly.

This is not a poodle, with a frou frou hair cut. It's a Shih Tzu home from an afternoon playing in the snow. Her legs and undercarriage so snow packed she can JUST barely walk.

After being thawed, bathed and dried she's back outside to do it all over again.

Not a bright dog, but having a lot of fun.


Friday, February 4, 2011

1000 Apologies

Friends: The beautiful photo of Central Park in snow, I used for a header this week was taken by one of my favorite bloggers, the inimitable, the sublime The Trad.

Had I been paying attention I would have mentioned it earlier.

A thousand apologies to him.