Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Fool's Errand

A boy with too much time becomes a danger to himself and others. I'm the living embodiment of that old saw.

Have you ever sold your house? Savvy sellers spend the month prior to listing their home for sale, scrubbing, primping, uncluttering and repairing. The goal is to make your home more perfect than any other listing. The easiest to overlook is the repairing. A common refrain is "I wish I had fixed that years ago" especially after installing a $5 part. Human nature being what it is allows most of us to work around the minor faults of our home. Light switches that stick and doors that won't stay closed are easily overlooked. Hopefully the seller of your new home has done these things as well. You're too tired after moving to consider picking up a paint or scrub brush for a long time.

We have lived in our home 6 years. Long enough to forget the trauma of moving, but not long enough to get used to the faults that have crept in since we arrived, so Mrs. T and I decided last weekend to do something about it. We are going from room to room, and inside out, cleaning, decluttering, painting and repairing just as if we were moving, which we aren't. My outside list is 6 pages long, the inside list keeps me up nights.

I'm surprised by how much needs doing when you take time to look, and by how much fresher and brighter things are after a bit of attention. This too shall pass.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who'd of thunk

All Photos from The Other Paper

I've noticed that things go downhill rapidly once a man tells a woman that she "must" do something. Musts tend to be deal breakers which quickly escalate to cold hearted revenge. It's a bad deal for everyone.

Last fall I wrote about the efforts of several international sports organizations who upon the advice of expensive media consultants, told their female competitors that they must wear skirts or dresses during matches, to improve the television image of their sport i.e. sex it up. The London Olympics were anticipated as ground zero for the new religion.

It began with women's boxing which becomes an Olympic event this year. With headgear on the athletes, Joe 6 pack was suspected of be unable to discern what he was watching.

Put the girls in skirts so everyone can tell at a glance, so the thinking went. Badminton's authorities drank the Kool-Aid as well a several other international sports bodies.

The women's opposition was fierce, vocal and swift. Backpedaling by the authorities began immediately with promises of revised uniform codes for men and women athletes in time for the Olympics. And so they did. You won't be seeing many skirts during the London O's.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

RMS Empress of Ireland

The sinking of the RMS Empress of Ireland on the St. Lawrence River, eastbound from Quebec to Liverpool, on this date in 1914 marks the worst maritime accident in Canadian waters.

Sailing in heavy fog, The Empress was hit broadsides by a Swedish coal ship Storstad which gashed the Empress below the waterline, causing her to sink in less than 14 minutes, leaving 1012 passengers and crew dead. She lies at the bottom of the river near Rimouski, Quebec.

Several boards of inquiry were conducted to understand what happened and why. The Canadian and Swedish boards differed of course. One month after the sinking Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated leading to WWI. Meanwhile, The Canadian Pacific Company, owners of the Empress of Ireland were quite content to minimize any bad publicity in order to keep their transoceanic shipping and mail contracts and to minimize passengers fears.

While Canadians were becoming involved with the war effort, the story of the sinking of the Empress was overshadowed by war news and later of the Lusitania's demise. The Empress of Ireland was quickly forgotten.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You

Thank you

Photo taken at the Tomb of the Unknowns, during Hurricane Irene

Saturday, May 26, 2012

AARP- The Magazine

I was ordered by my television to seek refuge in the smallest, interior room in our house, so to kill some time I grabbed the first magazine I saw. I had never encountered AARP* -The Magazine before, and hope never to again. This bastion of carnality's lead story: The 21 sexiest men over age 50.

I'll share their list, in no particular order, based upon looks, brainpower, sense of humor, individuality, artistic ability, generosity and goodness of heart:

George Clooney
Antonio Banderas
Denzel Washington
Jon Bon Jovi
Samuel L. Jackson
Yo-Yo Ma
Mario Van Peebles
Liam Neeson
Brian Williams
Viggo Mortensen
George Strait
John Irving
James Brolin
Andy Mill
Paul Sereno
Rupert Everett
Colin Firth
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Scott Bakula
John Huntsman
Leslie Moonves

I won't bore you with the weak list of 15 runner's up but you may read the whole story here. Afterwards, as you create your own list I suspect no more than 2 of these names make the cut.


*The AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons

Friday, May 25, 2012

Towel Day

Do you know where your towel is?

According to Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Toad? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)" (perhaps a minor edit slipped in)

Adam's died May, 11 2001. Two weeks later his wake was held. Ever since, May 25 has been designated Towel Day. For Towel Day happenings in your part of the universe check with the Hitchhiker's Guide or here.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


There is a rule of thumb at our house which pertains to selecting which movies to see, which has stood the test of time. Perhaps it may help you as well.

As a rule, the better the trailer the worse the movie. The 3D trailer for the Christmas release of The Great Gatsby was released recently. Have you seen it? It looks and feels like the greatest beer commercial you've ever seen.

For better or worse the trailer corollary doesn't hold true. Bad trailers derive from bad movies.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

America's other army

I may not hunt, am not a gun owner but I do enjoy watching well trained sporting dogs doing the work they were bred for. Beyond that I respect the hunting legacy and most of what it entails, yet deeply wish that somehow Mayberry's white tailed deer population would simply vanish. Since many of my best friends are hunters, my natural curiosity led me to find out just how many American hunters there are. The answer surprised me.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the 50 states issued 14,974,534 hunting licenses in 2011. Each year the world's largest army descends upon our hunting grounds. This explains why Canada doesn't invade us.

cartoon from Conde Nast Archives.

P.S. What surprised me? As high as the overall number of hunters is, the percentage of the population is low. We are truly moving off the land.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Remember Sgt. Preston of the Yukon perhaps the most famous Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman ever? Preston would be in tip top shape today dressed in his best mountie suit, for today is the 139th anniversary of the birth of the RCMP.

To add to the pomp and circumstance of the day for the mounties, they get to keep and eye on Chuck and Camilla who popped over for the Canadian Diamond Jubilee tribute.

Happy Birthday Mounties.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Victoria Day

American's are exempt by law from knowing about things Canadian, but it's just good manners to know something about our good neighbors to the north. That way should you ever encounter a Canadian you can speak frankly about more than Alex Trebek and Neil Young. For instance today throughout Canada are celebrations held in honor of Victoria Day, the birthday of Queen Victoria of Great Britain (May 24) a holiday which strengthens Canada's close relationship to the British Commonwealth. In that regard it is not unlike the Southern California holiday Susan Dey.

With a population of around 33 million, the world largest natural resource reserves, second largest oil reserves, stellar environmental and human rights policies and which deservedly prides itself on its multi-culturalism, Canada has much to celebrate today.

Canadians celebrate Victoria Day much the same way we will celebrate Memorial Day next weekend, with firework displays, parades, marching bands, and picnics, bar b ques and copious 2-4's. (Up North a case of beer is called a 2-4, it's considerate to share amongst friends.

Holiday customs change the farther north you go. In many parts of the Yukon, Victoria Day is the day set aside for Summer. With luck, the lake has thawed and the locals take their annual bath. Farther south, fishing without a drill is practiced. Closer to Montana the locals may even take on a bit of farming.

Today,we join you in spirit dear neighbors. We have much to learn from you.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Some for the ladies, some for the gents

I have been keeping my head in the clouds, but it struck me that, in my self absorption, I have been ignoring the ladies. I hope to make amends today.

During my travels I fell upon the British Pathe newsreels archives. What a wonderful time sink. An Aladdin's Cave filled with treasures and of all manner of astonishment's. For your edification I present from the late 1930's newsreels Feminine-Pictorialities. Many of these I really liked, some left me scratching my head, perhaps not being a member of the sisterhood I'm precluded from knowing such things. One thing you will notice however is how little things have changed over the past 80 years.

For the gents, in the "There will always be an England" category, is an especially engaging segment 10 Best Bachelor Pastimes. Eccentrics abound in this lighthearted look at the things males do when women aren't around to interfere. You may pick up an enjoyable pastime or two.

Happy Sunday

Saturday, May 19, 2012

T. E. Lawrence -redux

Today is the anniversary of the 1935 death of my life long hero Thomas Edward Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia. Killed in a motorcycle accident, after a quick jaunt to post a letter accepting an invitation to meet Hitler. In response to Lawrence's death the doctor who treated Lawrence went on to invent crash helmets for motorcyclists.

Unlike the scenes from the movie, Lawrence's funeral was held at St.Nicholas and St. Magnus Church in Moreton, Dorset. He is buried in the churchyard.

His effigy shown in the photo was originally planned for St.Paul's in London, which along with Westminster Abbey, and Salisbury Cathedral refused it. It finally ended up at St. Martin's, a 1000 year old Saxon church in Wareham, Dorset, near Lawrence's home.
BBC Photo
If you haven't yet selected your summer beach read, I recommend Hero, the Life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia, by Michael Korda.


Friday, May 18, 2012


History is littered with examples of the mighty's attempts to expand their worldly titles and prestige. Picture Henry VIII. He was lord and master of all England, but turned his entire world upside down in an attempt to earn the title father (of a son).

In modern America, a particular male curse is to self identify with your occupation. You are what you do. It keeps business card printers happy. Ask most women and they will tell you their most important title is mom, all else pales in comparison. Yesterday, I was awarded a new title, GP1R, and I'm the only one in the world with it.

Mrs. T and I take an expansive view of what constitutes a family. People enter our lives and become part of our family and we part of theirs. Sometimes for life, sometimes as needed, all have a forever piece of our hearts, wherever they may be. This past week our favorite forever couple had their first child. Mother and father were blessed with a perfect son.

Having the requisite number of parents and siblings on each side of their parental families, my newest bff didn't need an additional grandpa or uncle, so by unanimous consent I became the self titled Grand Pa Once Removed: GP1R . It is the greatest title in the world. You should be so lucky.

My best wishes to the new parents, and my new buddy.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

One way to do madras

Getty Images

Bill Murray at Cannes. I once owned the twin to Bill's jacket (Ralph), and unfortunately gave it away, not knowing it c/sh/ould be worn with a louder shirt. Maybe if I got the coat back...

Perhaps the airline lost his bags and this ensemble was all that was available in lost and found.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In today's gratitude journal

Today's gratitude journal entry deals with the yin and yang of power washers. I am grateful today that home power washers were unavailable during my misspent youth and childhood. Had they been available, my father who would have lived and died a PW virgin, most certainly would have powerfully embraced this technology. He was a navy man and a Marine. He liked things clean, ship shape. My summer afternoons on the ball fields would more likely have been spent stripping paint off the garage again, or cleaning sidewalks.

On the flip side I am as happy as a clam to have one. I was taught by a master the importance of keeping things clean and tidy. Friends aver their washers are strong enough to strip paint off speeding locomotives, but I have little opportunity and no need for such manly displays of power. Instead, my little machine is perfectly suited for cleaning dirt off pool decks, removing mold from siding and patio furniture, and cleaning a filthy car. It's slow work, but I have time. Time which I am also grateful for.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Tin Man

21 Club NYC

Racing stables need lawn jockeys painted in their colors. They may be required, but what is a new racing stable, yet without colors, or a horse to do?

Fearing someone at the Triple Crown office will eventually ask our horse's name, our stable's name and colors I decided preparation was in order. It's important the racing set get our names right in the program.

Equestrian Style

Like most of life's difficulties, the solution is often obvious once you get the questions right. I began at the bottom, by reading How to start a Horse Breeding Farm. Step one: "Bring lots of money". Clearly, the wrong question.

Being a visual learner I visited Lawn Jock to see what they could tell me about our necessary accessory. They recommended an unfinished lawn jockey, which costs $150 less than a painted one and allows me to create my own customized piece of yard art whenever the mood strikes.

With paint brush and beer can in hand I'm able to change the colors every day.

Equestrian Style

Mercifully, I am blessed with neither creativity nor discernible painting talent, so smears, runs or drips can be interpreted as modern art. I'm thinking a nice tan and white seersucker jacket and white linen pants on our talisman.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Thank you moms for all you do, even if we too often forget to say how much we care.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What price ego?

We are in the midst of Thoroughbred Triple Crown season. Ever wonder why there are so many more horses in the big 3 races than there used to be? The answer may be easy money.

I've done a bit of research, trying to determine what it cost to enter a horse in the 3 races. For the sport of kings it's a surprisingly cheap way to inflate your ego. Some numbers are unavailable so we shall consider the horse related items such as purchase price, housing, training, food, vets, ferriers and transportation as sunk costs, a non-number, much like having a pet. Let's also skip over the ethical and moral issues involved.

First, you need to tell the tracks you're coming (nominate your horse). The nomination fee for all 3 races is $600 if you sign up early. Wait until after March 28th and the price goes to $200,000. $600 to say your horse is nominated for the Derby buys a life time of bragging rights.

Once nominated and after your horse qualifies, Churchill Downs charges a $25,000 entry fee and $25,000 starting fee for the Derby. The fees for the Preakness and Belmont are an additional $10,000 and $10,000 each. Jockeys who finish 4-last are guaranteed $500. Those on the podium are paid handsomely. The winning trainer pockets 5% of the winnings.

For $90,000 your photo and life's story appears in tens of thousands of official race day programs. If all publicity is good publicity then this is comes cheap. Entry also offers a chance to win lots of money.

So why do the rich enter? The swag.
"each owner entering a horse will get a big gift pack with jackets, hats, shirts, pins, and probably a bunch of other stuff related to the local area. At the Derby they also get free use of a car with a big Derby sign on the side. They will also get invited to tons of parties and other schmooze fests plus get the really good third floor clubhouse seats for the Derby."

$51,000 is perhaps cheaper than buying tickets through Stub Master.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seersucker Thursday

Maxminimus Photo

The U.S. Senate has modified their traditional Seersucker Thursday observance by declaring every Thursday in season Seersucker Thursday. To honor their ability to agree on something, I offer a bit of seersucker advice.

Outside the South, the ubiquitous blue/white seersucker may be off putting. Some believe its too costumey, and it easily can be, especially when paired with white bucks, bow tie and straw boater. If your suit is wearing you, you'll won't feel good or look good, so always leave the boater at home, you're too young.

I also recommend that newby's first dip their toe in the water of seersucker. Once you learn the advantages of this miracle cloth you will wear it comfortably all summer.

Try this. Buy a suit, they are not expensive. Haspel makes a great one at little cost. Cuff the pants (the lighweight fabric needs the weight of cuffs to drape properly, and no break, ever, on anything). First few times, split it up. Wear the pants with a summer blazer, or the coat with a pair of khakis and polo shirt. You'll look good, be comfortable and garner many compliments.

Overstock photo

If blue/white seersucker doesn't suit your coloring or style try one of the other options. Overstock has on offer a tan/white Adolfo suit for $100 with all the trimmings. Try it you'll like it, and won't look like your grandfather.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I have been without a daily driver since donating mine to my youngest in August, 2009. I've hardly missed being without wheels until recently. If need be Camilla is in the barn raring to go. Fortunately, that hasn't been necessary, but lately I have yearned for a car.

Sleeping next to Camilla these past 6 years is Hilda (shown above). Hilda was here first in fact. She hasn't seen sunlight in 8 years. The day Hilda's owner got a company car he drove her into what's now our barn and hasn't seen her since.

Having caught stupid I approached the owner and asked if he would consider selling her. You betcha came his reply.

Now here is an example of how men and women differ. Women are often falsely accused of thinking emotionally. That normally isn't true. Not many women have old tarp covered cars taking space in their garage. Many men do. Ergo, women are smarter than men.

I have agreed to buy a car that I have no idea how many miles are on it or how mechanically sound it may be, yet I do know considerable expense and hassle will be required to make it driveable. A true barn find, only this time the barn was my own. My bride wishes to kill me.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4 footed fun

A great watchdog is always on alert.

The intruder is spotted and invited to play.

I have no idea if turtles hear, but this speed demon was barked at for half hour after escaping unharmed. Charlie was not amused!

Gents, Mother's Day is Sunday. 'Nuff said.

Happy VE Day. Thank a vet.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Too few variations on a theme

The whole premise of the auction racket is founded on mitigating the self loathing which follows being outbid. I told myself I wasn't going to play that game, I wasn't a bad person, a cheap bastard perhaps, outplayed this time but tomorrow is another day. All because I was sniped by someone willing to pay more for the Ralph spectators shown above.

Still grumbling to myself I walked into the closet and stumbled over these.

Ralph's driving mocs. Not especially good looking, but so very comfortable. I picked them up last year, put them away in the fall, and forgot about them over the winter. Dusting them off set off alarm bells in my head. Where were my Easter shoes, which weren't my Easter shoes after all?

After a brief search I found them. Just where I left them.

Egged on by my personal enabler, I snapped these off the bargain counter at EBAY. Ralph's calf and suede spectators. Strikingly similar to the pair I missed out on.

Oldtimers is clearly advancing rapidly. While rotating the summer/winter clothes in/out of storage I turned on the closet light I faced this.

White, bright white, sorta white, tan, kinda tan, sorta tan, with the odd seersucker and poplin tossed in for good measure. I've inadvertently created a summer uniform for myself seemingly with no conscious memory of what is hanging awaiting its next turn. Either that or I'm going color blind too.

I need to take the cure.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

orson welles - cool guy

Photo by Avedon

Today's birthday boy! Devilishly handsome; writer/director/producer/actor of perhaps the greatest movie of all time. Battled far too many demons for far longer than one man should have to handle alone, and died a parody of himself in 1985, 70 years young.

For more information try Director Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg, son of actress Geraldine Fitzgerald (Michael is the young fop running around with the cigar during the Beatles rooftop concert) book Luck and Circumstances: coming of age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond in which he suggests that Orson may have been his father. Orson apparently heard that a lot.

Unlike the Gallo wine he peddled, he died before his time. Happy Birthday Mr. Welles, wherever you are.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Derby Day; an alternative view

"This man had an impressive head chiseled from one piece of bone, and the top part was covered down to his eyes by a floppy-brimmed sun hat. His top half was draped in a loose-fitting hunting jacket of multi-colored patchwork. He wore seersucker blue pants, and the whole torso was pivoted on a pair of huge white plimsolls with a fine red trim around the bulkheads. Damn near 6-foot-6 of solid bone and meat holding a beaten-up leather bag across his knee and a loaded cigarette holder between the arthritic fingers of his other hand."

-Ralph Steadman, on meeting Louisville boy Hunter S. Thompson at the 1970 Kentucky Derby

For those too young to know, or too old to remember, the Kentucky Derby was the setting for the birth of Gonzo journalism. Scanlon Magazine published The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, by Hunter Thompson soon after the '70 Run for the Roses.

It picks up the local color as only a local boy can, and is still a pretty good read.

Should you happen to find yourself in the infield at Churchill Downs this afternoon be on the lookout for Mrs. T's favored #2 child please. He's likely to be the one over-served.

Also, tonight is a super-moon. Go outside, have a look see.


Friday, May 4, 2012


Adam Yauch aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, one of the best Rap Groups ever

photo from Getty Images

May he rest in peace.




Friends I come hat in hand hoping to learn, from you the experts.

Brooks Brothers summer 12

Perhaps it's the exuberance of youth, but in what setting, where or why north of Bermuda w/c/should one wear shorts, sport coat, dress shirt and tie?

Why no pocket linen on the BB guy? They have me stumped.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


I am a professional project starter. Often endings come more slowly than my bride would prefer, but occasionally I find a project that checks all my boxes and I'm on it beginning to end. I started one of those several days ago.

We've an unscented local variety of honeysuckle bush which if left alone will take over, killing everything in its path, a local kudzu. Our honeysuckle patch has been left alone too long.

The quarter acre between the pool and the barn hasn't been cleared for many years. From the pool deck, I could no longer see the barn, which is less than 75 feet away.

With sudden inspiration, I grabbed my long handled shears and began to cut. The first day it was simply good to be outside, although discouraging since I wasn't making an apparent progress.( I prefer tasks with instant gratification.)
On day 3, I could finally see results and the poison ivy started to kick in.

I now have a stack of honeysuckle, small trees and rotting wood waiting for the chipper which is larger than my first house, with probably another few week's work and an acre or two to go. By then the poison ivy may have cleared.

Yesterday as I finished for the day, Mrs. T asked what I planned on doing with my new found patch of woodland. I showed her the photo from Tumblr below.

A field of mop head hydrangeas. "The deer will be orgasmic" I replied.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Georgia on my mind

Down Kenneth L. Birdsong Highway (Georgia Highway 57), north of where it crosses state highway 112, on either side of the Norfolk Southern RR tracks is the town of Toomsboro, Georgia, population 662. Toomsboro, lies in a valley, deep in the woods, a little west of Hazard, and like too many small towns across America is dead, only no one told the aging residents who like their small community, just the way it is.

One citizen in particular, David Bumgardner, snatched up a number of the better properties in town after the bank, and big employers moved out; back in the days money flowed freely, intending to make silk from the sows ear. He figured that all the town needed was his money sprinkled about sprucing up the town. He put his money where his heart was, purchased 20 or so buildings, restoring the older buildings as necessary figuring he'd make a killing on the tourists who'd flock to see the 1880's in 2010. In this case he built it, but they didn't come, so now his little bit of paradise is for sale. Hoping Kim Bassinger's experience in small towns has been forgotten, David would like to see a movie company buy his property as a backdrop for a feature film. Ya can't blame a man for thinking big.

I'll share my idea with you. Picture a reality TV program. A family of "from there's" (from someplace other than Toomsboro) moves to town after taking David up on his offer to sell. Think the Clampetts or Boss Hogg moves to town. Boss and Mrs. Boss work tirelessly at weaseling their way into local society, with big promises of "Look what I can do for you, but I need for you to..." Boss buys the town with the money the Reality TV people throw at him, and in a few years we can see him again as he tries to unload. If your family name is Grant or Sherman I'd give this opportunity a miss. They've long memories in those hills.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Me in a decade?

I came across this photo from an ehow article on the history of seersucker. The story told nothing but this photo spoke. Wouldn't you want to get to know this man, to spend time on his porch, drinking his beer and listening to his stories.

Maybe in a decade or so I'd be able to pull off this look without laughing at myself.