Saturday, April 30, 2011

It needs the right brolly

Sartorialist Photo

This is one of Scott Schuman's earliest blog photos. The man in the photo appeared several times in the Sartorialist and has since cost a small fortune as I have attempted to incorporate some of his looks into my wardrobe. This photo has long been an inspirational favorite, but I hadn't tried it.

It's a tricky combo to pull off. Outside of a garden, light pink, bright yellow & blue is not a natural act. Care is required to get the hues right. The pants and shirt combo need the jacket. Otherwise, too much is too much.

Theoretically, it's spring clothes season, yet Mayberry is cold and damp. To lighten my spirits and encourage spring weather to return I gave old Mr. Yellow Pant's outfit a try. I traded his cords for poplin, used my brolly, and wore my favorite navy db jacket. It came off better than expected.

All I need now is a pink stripped brolly.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Toad Suck Daze

Easter is over, crops are planted, the weather's warming. Spring festivals are in full force this weekend.

Should you find yourself near the middle of Arkansas, a tad north of Little Rock, say nearby Conway this weekend, be certain to have rain gear on hand, or better an ark. It's Toad Suck Daze in Conway, and it near always rains, powerfully, biblically hard. A fun time is had though, and a lot of money is raised for local schools. The organizers want your contribution too.

Having brought this attraction to your attention last year, your comments have warmed many a chilly night.

As long as you've come this far, check in on the construction of the Medieval Castle if you can get there. from the castle it's a hop, skip and a jump to Martha's, and probably closer to Tulsa than Little Rock.


Thursday, April 28, 2011


from tumblr

Daddy's money or fashion trumps? While verily I understand suffering for your art, some things are simply beyond male understanding.

For instance, take the photo below which appeared in Bill Cunningham's column in the NY Times 2 Sundays ago.

Bill Cunningham- NYT

In olden days rainwear protected the wearer from the elements. Kept one comfortable, dry, presentable for your next engagement, all the while looking if not stylish at least pragmatic.

Sartorialist photo

So what's Bill's gal gonna do? Her stilts might keep her out of puddles, but what's to save her from the cold, or splashes?

Boys may not have the sense to come out of the rain, but at least they dress for the occasion.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Salter's Suit

I saw this old photo of author James Salter on the New York Social Diary site several days ago. I tend to liberate white suit photos, even if the suits are in fact screaming yellow or khaki. In black and white who cares?

By Jill Krementz, June 1975

Take a close look at the jacket detail. Is this a safari suit? I'm troubled by the two flapped chest pockets, but love the cuff detail. I've never seen the likes of this on a suit jacket in real life. Have you?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mudd Grove

watercolor by Joe McGauley

This is a bit of stretch but work with me. In our continuing exploration of Civil War era St. Louis Mrs. T and I visited Mudd Grove, an early 1850's pile in one of the area's first suburbs, home to one Henry Mudd.

An 1848 a cholera epidemic wiped out nearly 10% of the population of St. Louis. In 1849 a fire destroyed 400 buildings and boats along the riverfront. In reaction to the epidemic, cemeteries were closed, slums were torn down, laws were passed outlawing epidemics.

The fire brought changes to the local building code. The mayor owned a brick foundry and passed legislation banning wooden buildings, which not only changed the landscape of STL, but the influx of Italian brick workers changed local cuisine forever.

Those that could, made tracks to join the wagon trains heading west, or made arrangements to move to the newly planned suburbs. Local planter, politician and opportunist Henry Mudd saw the chance of a lifetime. Along with a consortium of swells, the ingenious Mudd plotted along with the Pacific Railway to buy up excess land along the RR's planned route west out of St. Louis. It didn't hurt that Mudd was county assessor at the time. The swells bought the land from the railroad, saved the best for themselves, and hired Scottish engineer James Kirkwood to plat what is now the city of Kirkwood, Mo.. The railroad offered new suburbanites an easy commute to their downtown offices. Their plan worked like a charm.

James Kirkwood came recommended by the Pacific. His claim to fame was having designed the Starruca Viaduct in eastern Pennsylvania, at the time the largest and most expensive stone viaduct railroad bridge in the world. Kirkwood liked it here, and stayed, later to become chief engineer for the City of St. Louis, eventually being replaced by poet Walt Whitman's brother, Thomas Jefferson Whitman.

Starruca Viaduct

Here comes the Civil War connection.

Our Mudd had a Maryland cousin, Dr. Sam Mudd.

Dr Sam Mudd

The good doctor was most likely a co-conspirator with one of his patients, actor John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed President Lincoln. Booth broke his leg in a fall during his escape after the assassination. Dr. Mudd set Booth's leg and provided help navigating the swamps around Chesapeake Bay to presumed safety in Virginia. 146 years ago today Booth was killed by US Cavalry troops while on the run.

In June 1865, Mudd was tried as a co-conspirator to the assassination, found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Dry Tortuga's, south of Key West. In 1869, President Johnson overturned Mudd's sentence, who then returned to Maryland, practiced medicine, farmed and ran for political office unsuccessfully several times. He died in 1883.


Monday, April 25, 2011

A Royal Wedding Question

Ladies a royal wedding question or 2 please.

We've all attended weddings where too young children are given a ceremonious role,be it flower boy, or ring bearer. More often then not it's a disaster in the making. The kid freaks, so dad steps in, takes their hand and walks or carries them, which ruins the photos. It's not cute.

So imagine Kate's anxiety. Her maid of honor is her sister, Bill's best man's his brother. According to this month's Vanity Fair, her 4 bridesmaids are 3(2), 7(1) & 8(1) years old, while the 2 pages are 8 & 10. Making a 3 yo hike the main aisle (a not inconsiderable distance) in a packed Westminster Abbey with a touch of decorum, sounds formidable.

Certainly by now, the children have been shown the Tower, and the pit bad children are tossed into. Nanny has drilled the importance of family honor and the shame of failure into their little heads. If the kids run, they know to keep going, not stopping until at least the coast of France. Yet, somehow it's all going to work out just fine, and the wedding will be beautiful.

What I know of British weddings comes from having seen 4 Weddings and a Funeral twice, so here are my questions. In America, Kate would have asked several girlfriends to be bridesmaids, and Bill would have asked his fraternity brothers to be groomsmen. Is using children as bridesmaids a British, a royal, or personal choice? Or, more hopefully, is bridesmaid, in this case an honorific. Please tell me the kids won't really be subjected to walking the gauntlet?

Just wondering.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Doc Ellis and the LSD No-No

Any Pittsburgh kids around? Remember Doc Ellis? Doc was a pitcher for the Pirates in the late 60's, early 70's, a free spirit, a product of his age. He pitched a no hitter one night in San Diego. Here's Doc's story of that special day. A throwback to simpler times.

Thanks Bunky,

Friday, April 22, 2011

square rigger

This is my Lands End Square Rigger canvas brief case. It is bar none the greatest bag ever. It will expand to accept anything put inside. Almost. It's durable, sturdy, practical.

I've had mine 30 years and it may have 50 years left in it. After writing about it last summer I discovered frequent guest contributor David Bagwell has one also. That's an endorsement if ever one was.

I tell you this because they are on sale. $30 US. Get 'em while their hot. Here. It will last your life time.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Uncle Jim

I had the privilege to attend a funeral recently, the burial held in the same cemetery where many of my kin are buried. It felt odd. I hadn't been there in over 40 years then twice in a month.

Last time I was there I liberated a brochure which included a map of where local notables were buried and highlights of the grounds. Amongst the finery is an art glass door on a mausoleum. The glass is from the private chapel of James Clemens Jr, of Saint Louis.

The chapel today

Clemens' door

Clemens was uncle to a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. Those who recognize the name, may recall that the pilot served on the steamship Pennsylvania, and had set his younger brother Henry up as a mud clerk (apprentice) on the same boat. An altercation with the captain led the older brother to leave the boat while in New Orleans. The younger stayed on, with the two brothers planning to meet at their uncle Jim's house (ostensibly to worship in his private chapel).
Uncle Jim's house, chapel is on the right

While on its return to St. Louis, the Pennsylvania exploded, killing Henry. An event his brother blamed himself and for which he never forgave himself.

On this date in 1910 James Clemens Jr. of St. Louis would have received news his nephew, former river boat pilot, Samuel L. Clemens of Redding, Connecticut had died.

Of course we know him better as Mark Twain, the original Man in White.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My fav hat took sick

I have been a hat wearer my entire life. Have them for most every occasion. My problem comes in knowing when to replace them. I hate throwing away straw hats. No particular reason, but I always think I can get one more year out of it, then one more year, then..

I have a stack of summer, around the manse, hats and another of leaving home hats. My bride no longer pretends to understand this particular character flaw.

My favorite go to, around the manse hat, the one I've been breaking in these past 7 years, the one I finally was able to bend the brim in such a way as to keep my cigar dry when it's raining, is near death. The Brooks Brothers summer special probably won't make 8 years. What's this world coming to?

Lucky for me, the Gov'nur, Bill Hornets, touched upon 3 of my favorite topics yesterday. Summer hats, white suits and The Wind in the Willows. Having just picked up a white suit from the alchemist's, it's now time for a visit with Bill.

Glad I gave up the cigar.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Passover

From our house to yours.

DMC- 1981

On April 19, Easter Sunday 1981, the first Delorean DMC-12's were driven to the docks of Belfast Northern Ireland to be shipped to the US.

Created by former GM wonder boy, John Delorean, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign of Turin, financed by the British government, built in Northern Ireland, the DMC-12 was a textbook automobile failure.

In spite of its futuristic design, gull wing doors, and a stainless steel finish the car failed in several fronts. It was underpowered. The small 2.8 liter (180 cubic inch)V6 Pug engine wasn't up to performance required of such a visually exciting car. The electrics were pieces left over from the Prince of Darkness's parts bin. The DMC had too many really good competitors, and it was just too expensive.

Building in N Ireland was a political bone thrown during the Troubles by the UK Labor government. Think hard of all the classic names of NI car builders, whom Delorean could have built a factory around. It won't take long. Delorean began from scratch. Inflation was high, labor trouble was rife, it was an expensive car to build.

By 1982 the company was gobbling cash faster than the British Treasury could print it. Delorean was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to finance factory operations. In early '83 new PM Maggie Thatcher pulled the plug on the DMC. Delorean was later acquitted of all charges.

Ultimately some 8600 were built, maybe 5000 sold, most after the Back to the Future movie was released in '85. A Texas company owns the remaining auto and parts inventory. Occasionally, they make noise about reintroducing the car, but don't hold your breath, it won't happen in our lifetime, at least not as long as they have unsold, new, 30 year old cars on the lot.

Should you ever find yourself short of sense and long on cash, there are plenty on EBAY around the world.

Last car post for a while, I promise.

Monday, April 18, 2011

EBAY follow up

EMI family for Japan was the sponsor of the EBAY sale of Jane Birkin's Birkin bag. The auction was part of a fund raising effort to aid victims of Japan's recent earthquakes.

The auctions continue and offer a number of other items which may tickle your fancy.

The EMI family relief effort EBAY store is here.

Happy shopping.

Do you name your cars?

Do you name your cars? I always have. My first car, a 1963 Triumph Spitfire was name Winnie. Since I've named every car I liked, and I liked most of them at first. I wasn't given custody of the photo albums, but these are some of our family classics. The photos may not be of our car, but ours were just like it.

There are too many others to list, but I loved them all, once.

Camilla Parker Rolls


Lisle the Diesel






Sunday, April 17, 2011


Rooting around my anxiety closet is my old friend and WW2 vet, Willy. Willy came to us through attrition. He belonged to a friend of a neighbor and has been stored in our barn for ages. When the owner died, he left it to the neighbor, who gleefully gave it to us.

The military has a policy of "de-mob", or making war surplus unfit for civilian use. For vehicles, that generally means being cut in half or fours. Willy was cut in half, then re-welded by the folks that created Big Foot.

Oddly, no one remembers when that was, and Willy hasn't been touched since. The original owner's plan was to rebuild the beast and donate it to a museum of some kind. Those are thin on the ground now.

I gather the engine is seized, every last nut, bolt, gasket and hose needs to be replaced and a bit of body work may be necessary. If I "invest" $10,000, I may end up with a $1000 Jeep.

A glance at the other side of the barn got me wondering. If anyone remembers why Gretchen was abruptly parked please let me know. I may want a car soon.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

While Visiting the Grants...

I never joined the big screen television gets the most prized real estate in the house club. If it works for you fine, but not for me please.

Visiting the Grant's earlier this week,we found the General chatty. He wanted to talk television, sports and little else. Mrs. T warned me he was itching to show off his new flat screen, and I did my best to change subjects and talk about anything but. As he led us on a tour of his home discussion revolved around one sport after another, Hiram showing off his new found HD video lingo. As if he knew what a pixel was.

Finally, my defenses worn down he got the better of me. "Lookie here", he near shouted.

"At what General,the mirror?"

"It's not a mirror, its my new mirrored front big screen television. Mrs. Grant made the frame surround herself."

It was better than the usual black hole over the fireplace. I had to give him that.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Did you notice?

Jane's bag sold for 100,100 GBP

Any Thoughts?

From Sperry, coming in June.

To my eye the product of a bad marriage. Is June the new kickoff to fall, or is the color unfortunate?

I'm willing to listen though.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jane Birkin's Birkin Bag on EBAY


Jane Birkin's Hermes Birkin bag, signed & used

You are bidding for an outstanding item: first released in 1984 and created for Jane Birkin by Jean-Louis Dumas, President of Hermes at the time, the Birkin bag is still to this day one of the most iconic fashion items, and practically impossible to get.

In order to help the victims of the recent disasters in Japan, Jane Birkin has very kind-heartedly accepted to donate her own Birkin bag, given to her by Jean-Louis Dumas himself. The bag is signed by Jane at the bottom and on the inside pocket and has been customised by her (as seen on the pictures).

The bag is missing its padlock.

Item Description (local language):

Enchère exceptionnelle!

Est-il encore besoin de le présenter? C’est « the » Birkin, Kate Moss et Victoria Beckham l’ont dans toutes les couleurs.

Mais celui-ci est non seulement dessiné pour mais aussi porté par Jane Birkin en personne! Il a fait le tour du monde avec elle, et elle en fait don aujourd’hui avec toute la patine qu’elle a pu y apporter.

En résumé, un trésor !

11,000 GBP as I write this. Hurry ends soon.