Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mad World

I didn't plan to read this. Then,two women whose opinion I value, Tessa of Tessa Just Read and Miss Cynica of Sundays in the Valley recommended it on the same day.

Mad World is the back story of Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece "Brideshead Revisited".

Most of Waugh's writing is a compilation of autobiography mixed with stories told by friends, enemies and acquaintances. Brideshead was no exception, and was very much autobiography, with only the names and few details changed. At the time of its publication, those in the know knew everything about the story. Over time and distance the details are beginning to fade, Paula Byrne has done an admirable bit of research to bring history to life.

William Lygon, Earl of Beauchamp, the last historic, authentic case of someone being hounded out of English society. In 1930's Britain, his homosexuality was too open to go unnoticed so his brother in law, the Duke of Westminster, jealous of Lygon's accomplishments led the attack to have him disgraced. In Brideshead, Lygon becomes the adulterous Flyte.

If you've an interest in between the wars Britain, The Bright Young Things, Waugh and his cronies, or simply a curiosity to better understand "Brideshead Revisited", you will enjoy this immensely.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Missing something

Most evenings, Mrs. T is in her office watching what passes for television, while I'm in the family room, with a book or keyboard in hand. Lately something wasn't right, and I couldn't place it.

Everything was at hand, and in its place, but something substantive was missing. The room didn't sound right. After a bit of head scratching it dawned on me I couldn't hear Grandfather clock's ticking over sound of the air conditioner.

To my ears, the sound of a ticking clock is the most glorious noise. I find it is substantial yet soothing. I slow myself down in rhythm with the clock. It is the greatest tranquilizer ever after a puppy on your lap.

If you are not blessed with a loud ticking clock, may I propose this substitute? The National Trust has created a CD, The National Trust Album of the distinctive sounds of 11 of their properties. One of the sounds is the clock in the clock tower of Blickling Hall. Click here for a listen.

If you hurry, you can download the entire CD for free.

The second best part of our clock is that once upon a time Mrs. T's grandson emptied a pencil sharpener into the bottom of the case. Years later it still smells fresh every time I wind it.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Semi custom part 2

While I have the deepest respect for reality, we shouldn't let it interfere with our lives. Sometimes it does stick its nose into the tent. Please excuse my absence the past two days.

I can be a jerk about shirts. I like them just so, but not so much enough to go the full custom route. In my experience sleeves or necks shrink, I don't. When I finally find a shirt I like I'll wear it until it falls off.

Shirts are tricky for fat men. Skipping right over and never, ever mentioning S_M_L abominations, its fairly easy to find a good fitting neck or sleeve, since off the rack shirts are sized by neck and sleeve. It's the chest that hard to fit. The only shirt maker who gives a consistent heads up on how the body is expected to fit is Ralph, and for the life of me, I've never deciphered the code. That's what drove me to the netherworld of on-line semi custom shirt makers.

If you have shopped this neighborhood at all you've seen there are lots of players, mostly in places you have never heard of. There are enough in the US to do a man justice, most I have never tried.

Today we will focus on two, Brooks Brothers and Lands End, book ends if you will.

I will say unequivocally, until someone proves otherwise, that Land End offers the best custom shirt available. I base this on 3 factors.

1. They offer the highest level of personalization of any shirt I have encountered. Once you select a fabric the question set of how you want your shirt to fit is extensive. It compares favorably to what your tailor would compute.

2. The shirts are reasonable priced and delivered soon enough. Your requirements are retained, to eliminate hassles when ordering your next and subsequent shirts. Excellent value for money.

3. You get the full, LE no hassle guarantee. If you no like, return it. No prob.

On the down side, and I expect that this is in response to the current economic conditions, the fabric selection is a lot smaller than it used to be. The basics are there, but not much fluff. It is still a great place to dip your toe, if you're wary about trying an on-line shirt.

choice of collar and color

No pocket

shoulder pleats

French cuff with gauntlet button

Brooks Brothers
Most of my shirts are BB's ocbd's. It has been that way since 1977. I like them and make no excuses. It wasn't until the mid 00s that I explored other shirt options. Not until I saw a BB custom ad for the shirt below did I gave their custom shop a try.

I like it, but. Much beyond sleeve and neck there are no size alternatives. Choice of collar, pocket and pleat is about it. If you know how their shirts fit you won't be disappointed. If you feel you swim in their shirts, you will in the custom shop as well.

Button down with contrasting collar
no pocket

double rear pleats

French cuffs in body color
gauntlet button

I'm open to other shirt makers offers, but I'm checking LE first.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Del Toro Reminder

Mrs. Blandings has generously and graciously arranged a 10% discount with the good folks at Del Toro shoes for her readers through the end of July. The discount code at checkout is "gz".

I wrote a post long ago on the Ask Andy forum about Del Toro, but never took the plunge, until today when I signed up for a trial fit. With luck, come Thanksgiving I'll be able to take a seat at the adult table, well shod.

Thank's Mrs. B.


Wish list

Photo: The Sartorialist

Maybe its the heat, but I have read so many "get the kids ready for school" blog posts that for the past two weeks I have verily believed it was August. Not that it really matters, but I like to know at least what month I'm living.

Believing it was August and that summer was drawing to an end, I began my end of season and fall wish lists. Mercifully, I came to my senses before things got really serious.

With pen in hand, I developed a very short list.

I do not need a thing, although I could use a white polo or two, no labels thank you. It's the only clothing item I lose, and haven't a clue why.

A pair of gray flannels. Weight and moths got to my favorite Corbin's a while back, and soon would be a good time to replace them. Naturally, that led to a trip down the rabbit hole of odd associations.

Searching Google for Corbin, one of the first listings was Gitman Brothers. Naturally, I jumped. I have half a closet of Gitman's shirts. Quality and sizing commensurate with the BB of old, they make great shirts. Even with hard wearing they last forever. If Gitman offers Corbin I'm hooked.

The shirts last so long that I never really thought of visiting Gitman's web store. I was both surprised and disappointed. Pleasantly surprised by the quantity of goods on offer, especially the end on end weave cottons in the custom shop, as well as by the price. Comparatively, their on-line pricing isn't much different than their retailers.

I was disappointed in the lack of customization available in their custom goods. Beyond half inch size increments, collar type and monogram color, all other decisions are made for you. Prices are fair, and they do have a large quantity of fabric choices available.

I believe it's fair to say they set their sights on BB and follow their lead on what's available online.

The Corbin selection was minimal at best, but it is early. I'm glad I stopped by.

Tomorrow I'll continue my comparison of on-line semi custom shirt makers. My recommendation may surprise you.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Raising my game-again

This is a rerun of a very early post, December 22, 2008 in fact, a Sunday place holder if you will. If it's new to you I hope you enjoy, regulars bear with me.

I was watching Elvis Costello's program Spectacle the other day (recommended) and his guest was Lou Reed, with film maker Julian Schnabel showing up towards the end.

Now I love Lou Reed. The Velvet Underground was the band that finally got me over the Beatles. Maybe it was Nico, but who cares? Lou is a national treasure.

So along comes Schnabel. And suddenly, I'm curious. How does one elevate (if that's the word) their game so high, that your signature purple PJ's with white piping (as designed by his wife) becomes acceptable attire? Throw on a sport coat and you're out the door.

I can picture it the first time. Your not feeling well, need a cup of coffee, or something from the drug store, so you throw on a jacket, run in and go home. How, several days later and feeling better, do you come to the conclusion that the jammies were a pretty snazzy outfit, and decide that is your signature look? How do you get it past the wife, even if she designed them? How do you get past the derision of all you meet.

So I'm game. It's a new year and new years prompt new beginnings. PJ's have been done, and Hef has the silk robe market locked down. So what do you recommend? I'm thinking knee length Hawaiian shirts.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

If I had a Canwhich and you had....

The late writer, monologist and actor Spalding Gray, in "Monster in a Box" told about how for years, to help save a sous or two, would carry an airplane bottle of his favorite in his pocket when he went out for dinner. Instead of ordering drinks, he would BYO. Figured it helped to buy his house.

It is a clever strategy, recently improved upon by ingenious folks who needed a foolproof way to sneak drinks into non alcoholic venues such as college sports arenas and grade school song and dance nights.

Direct from New York Magazine - the Jersey Shore Must-Have: The Wine Rack

"This Wine Rack is a $30 sports bra containing pouches for liquid attached to a straw, so you can finally enjoy the long-awaited thrill of drinking from your own boobs. Maybe it's time for Victoria's Secret to fill their bra cups with actual Capri Sun packets and sell them with a mini-straw attached, like juice boxes."

My guess is sporting this number will take some careful planning or fast drinking. Nothing too cold, nothing too hot, since before long everything will become warm. Firewater seems the only likely choice, with Cold Duck or Peppermint Schnapps running a close second.

Would sharing be vulgar?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Winter in July

In the northern hemisphere its summer. In the US, its hot. It's supposed to be hot. That's what summer means.

Lately, there has been a number of bloggers, including me, whinning about how uncomfortable the heat is. Can ever be too hot at the beach?

For those of you, who have gotten out of the kitchen, let these snaps may remind you of better days to come.

Pour a cool drink, sit back and feast your eyes. Your day is coming.

The sadly shuttered Tavern on the Green

NY Central Park

Your street- late for work January

The AAA truck you are waiting for

Working from home today

You, awaiting the subway

Chill, this too shall pass.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ceremonial Beach Loafers

Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
Chapter 12

"The people of Krikkit", said His High Judgmental Supremacy, Judiciary Pag, LIVR (the Learned, Impartial, and Very Relaxed), Chairman of the Board of Judges at the Krikkit War Crimes Trial, "are well, you know, they are just a bunch of real sweet guys, who just happen to want to kill everybody. Hell, I feel the same way some mornings.

"Okay," he continued, swinging his feet up onto the bench in front of him and pausing a moment to pick a thread off his Ceremonial Beach Loafers, "so you wouldn't necessarily want to share a Galaxy with these guys."

I miss Douglas Adams, he died way too early, but I will be forever grateful for his gift of The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy. Beyond that and Dr. Who I am not much of a Sci-Fi fan, but do appreciate the twisted soul necessary to produce such work., which periodically inspires me to be on the lookout for what may have inspired a certain scene. After all, who wouldn't want to be Learned, Impartial and Very Relaxed? So, I wondered, where did ceremonial beach loafers come from?


Not to be confused with driving mocs.


Happy Birthday Danny

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feelin' stupid?

Most Americans don't give a flying fig about nutrition. Hell too few read, fewer think. You expect us to understand nutrition labels on food packages?

With that as a given, you have to admire folks who with eyes wide open, choose careers which pander to the masses, give 'em what they want, kill 'em off early. They've got health insurance now.

I present this tid bit for your edification, direct from AOL News, the asides are mine. Truly, I wish they were kidding.

Can The Candwich Make Dough for Its Inventor?

AOL News (July 20) -- The Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, reportedly inspired the name of one of the world's most popular foods in the late 1700s. In the early 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte helped fund the invention of canned foods as a long-term food preservative.

So isn't it strange that it took 200 years before a man in Salt Lake City thought about putting sandwiches in cans?

Mark Kirkland thinks so. But instead of complaining, he's capitalizing by creating something called the "Candwich," which, like it sounds, is a sandwich in a can.

Courtesy Mark Kirkland
Mark Kirkland hopes to make lots of dough by selling sandwiches in cans.
"Basically, you put a sandwich into a container that can fit into an existing vending machine," said Kirkland, who has spent the last 10 years trying to make dough from the idea.

Finally, he is about to see his concept come to fruition, thanks to the development of shelf-stable bread that stays fresh for at least a year. (the shelf life of a Twinkie is over 80 years)

Kirkland first got the thought for food while having some food for thought.

"I was having a can of soda and eating a cookie when I realized that I could package the cookies into a can and sell them in the same vending machine as the soda," he said.

The Candwich is expected to hit the market next month in vending machines and convenience stores in San Diego and southern Texas.

It will come in a 24-ounce can that contains a complete sandwich on a bun. In some cases, such as the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the fixings come separately to be assembled by the customer. In others, such as the pepperoni pocket, the filling is baked into the bread -- which he says was the thing that sold him.

"I was skeptical until I tried the bread," he said. "That's what got me."

Since the price point will be around $2 to $3 per sandwich, Kirkland figures to make a lot of bread -- especially since it caters to certain demographics.

"Nearly 15 percent of Americans are too busy to eat during lunch," Kirkland said. "Also, I figure this product will be in demand for disaster relief. I wish I had 100 million cans after the earthquake in Haiti.

At first, the Candwich will be sold in San Diego and the Gulf Coast region of the United States. (Carolina's next?)

"It's getting a lot of interest there because it's hurricane territory and it's something that can keep in all kinds of weather," Kirkland said. "You can eat it right out of the can, but I know people who will take the BBQ chicken can, put it on their car dashboard and let the sun heat it up."

Although no one is going to confuse sandwiches, canned or otherwise, as healthful, Kirkland insists the nutritional profile is pretty sound -- provided you don't eat the actual can, of course.

"The peanut butter is high in protein and the chicken is lean breast meat and there are no trans fats."

So far, the response to the Candwich has varied from "I can't believe they made that" to "I can't believe they made it -- where can I get one?" Kirkland admits he will get a certain amount of sales just from curiosity.

"Most people will try it for the novelty," he said. "And if they like it, they'll come back. I look it at it like bottled water. When that first came out, I thought 'Why would I pay a buck for a glass of water when there's a drinking fountain over there?' But now I have a bottle of water every day."
Filed under: Money, Weird News

Please God make it stop.


Barber Barber Shave a pig...

Neighborhood news weeklies are thick on the ground in Mayberry. Publishers, in the search for larger ad sales have sliced the pie very thinly. Each week 5 show up on our driveway. Few are ever opened.

There is one I do look forward to though, the Ladue News. Ladue is the local community where the rich folk and country clubs live. The Ladue News covers the society and upscale shopping news. It's a hoot.

Each week includes a feature on cosmetic surgery, typically sponsored by the neighborhood provider. As often as not I'll give this a miss, but the attached coupon stopped me in my tracks this week.

The last item is the mens full back hair removal sale. This week $750, regular $2700.

Tonsorially, I have no memory of my back being in Robin Williams league, and I've never complained out loud about my back hair, so I come, once again to you, asking just how bad does a man's back hair have to become to warrant dropping $2700 to remove it (is that forever?)?

Ah, the things men do for beauty.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't kill the messenger

I have previously confessed that my personal road to hell is pot holed by a badly warped sense of humor.

Mercifully, diligent #1 son brought this Craigslist ad to my attention.

It is real, and still active as of the time of this writing.
please flag with care:


Date: 2010-07-09, 12:59PM CDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]


The mind reels doesn't it?


Dies Caniculares

Yes, the dog days have finally come. Everywhere it seems it's hot, humid and miserable. In Mayberry, as well, but let's not bore each other with that.

Just take it for granted not much is being accomplished.

I did spend the day thinking of you though, so it wasn't a complete loss. I'll share my findings.

Do you have kids? I had MOTR's post at Abnormally Normal on my mind when I came across this site. Stuff My Kids Ruined

SMKR is a cavalcade of photos of kids of all ages doing what kids do best. Breaking mom and dad's stuff. Markers, paint, scissors, mud, lose change, cars, trucks are a kids first defense against boredom.

Mrs. T wondered why I was laughing so hard. A few seconds here cleared that up.

I mentioned not long ago how I thought I could work an orange linen jacket into the line up without looking like the Great Pumpkin. As this photo of George Schultz shows I cannot. Please, accept my apologies. I was wrong.

You know that feeling frequent fliers get in the pit of their stomach? You're finally seated, looking down the aisle trying to mentally decide which fellow prisoner you want to occupy the seat next to you. Depending upon age and orientation it may be George Clooney or Angelina, in your heart of hearts you know the plane is oversold, and you just hope whoever gets the seat doesn't sweat too much. Then you see him, and your heart... What do you talk about?

Look closely. See the guy holding up the pillar. That's him.

I'm back to the pool.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cold Duck- Redux

Too few bloggers have the rare insight to know the instant they press "Publish Post" they have suffered a serious lapse of taste or judgement. Mayhaps the world would be a little better off without that day's post. I was blessed to have that feeling while preparing today's original post.

Instead I leave you with a redux. My apologies. Until tomorrow, hop into the pool and stay there. That's what Mrs. T and I are doing.

Remember the first time you did hand to hand combat with champagne?

Probably someone's wedding reception. Had too much didn't you? The smell, the bubbles. Took years to overcome the memory of the memories. A couple of years at least before you could go back to the well.

Mayhaps, you tip toed back into the fray via Cold Duck.

Cold Duck was the unholy marriage of NY sparkling wine with California red. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Went down easy, came up fast. Fortunately, I haven't seen it in years.

So now it's wedding season. You're big and supposed to enjoy Champagne. The drug of choice for celebrations. Only in moderation for me please. The memories come back when I least expect them.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maybe-Maybe Not

Recently renovated Michigan Stadium, the home of the University of Michigan football team, can seat the entire population of the US Virgin Islands.


With seating for 109,901, on game day its the 7th largest city in Michigan, surpassing Ann Arbor, the village it's located in. By latest estimates, the USVI has a population of 109,000 give or take.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Not Ever

Every couple of years I feel obligated to run a public service announcement. This one from Scotland, and while the problem is universal, you are unlikely to see it presented elsewhere in this manner in the US.

Obviously, you are not the target audience, however you may have kids, or may work with the demographic. If so pass it on.

Regular programming resumes tomorrow.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nupts-a most irregular series Followup

In May 2009, I told the story of Christine and Jeffrey which I have repeated, for the new kids below. **************************************************************************

Once again we pay a visit to the pages of the Sunday New York Times Vows section.

Not everything Girls and Boys is for our amusement. Some of these little treasures enlighten, some frighten. The improbability of the first story moved me. If this doesn't defy gravity nothing will.

Lt. Christine and Lt. Jeffrey: Lt C and Lt. J began dating when C was a high school freshman and, and he a sophomore at Homestead High in Mequon, Wisconsin. They broke up when he was accepted to the US Naval Academy. C fixed his ass and went to the US Air Force Academy. Must be one heck of a high school.

Both became pilots, he's a fighter jockey stationed in Virginia Beach, she pilots tankers from a RAF station in England.

They met again at a Navy/AF football game and rekindled their romance. In the mean time he became an Oxford fellow and picked up a masters degree at Oxford.

"She will hopefully be restationed somewhere near Virginia by next year...I can't wait for the two of us to be closer together-it would be nice to take a weekend drive and be able to see her"

And I complained of his and her apartments.


Chris and Jeff are still in military, and haven't seen each other in 6 months.

Since their wedding, Jeff has been deployed in Afghanistan. Chris managed to get herself shipped off to the Far East. As luck would have it Jeff and Chris finally hooked up.

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter, this is for serious.

Military protocol dictates that tanker crews and their customers have no prior knowledge of who, when or where they rendezvous. This coincidently was Jeff's last mission in Afghanistan. Photo was taken by Jeff's wingman. I have tears in my eyes writing this.
The complete story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

if you are into themes...

I may be late, but rarely the last to know. That is why Google caught me offguard today when as I clicked onto Chrome they asked me to try Google Themes Gallery.

I clicked.

Themes are background noise for the stark Google Chrome opening page. Included in the package were themes representing Lilly Pulitzer, Chloe, Jack Spade, Donna, and maybe a million others.

I like the down and dirty basic myself, but after trying half a dozen or so, I'm leaning towards keeping Chloe.

Just sayin'.


Happy Bastille Day

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You've got one day to get ready

Americans are exempt from knowing much about other countries and cultures. that's why I'm here. To share. We do enjoy a great party though, especially in the middle of our summer.

Mercifully the French, have come to the aid of the party and created La Fete Nationale, celebrated every July 14 to commemorate, the 1790 Fete de la Federation, itself a commemoration of the 1789 storming of the Bastile, beginning the French Revolution.

I share this with you today, to give you time to shop. Put the champaign on ice, air out the sundress, prepare the feast. Remember the French followed our lead towards revolution, now show them how to fete.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Toad Shops Globe

I'd be happy to say I don't watch much television, but even I may be stunned by the length and breadth of such a lie. For Mrs. T, television is the background music of life, me I'll take Bach.

One show I do enjoy, and it pleases me to live in an era when my shopping lists via the convergence of the Internet, Google, EBAY, and PayPal, can be fulfilled by others rather than my having to roam the worlds markets is The Sundance Channel's Man Shops Globe .

Each week, Anthropologie's shopping guru scours the world for unique finds to fill their shops. As I watch the program I'm both amused by the scope of things available, while at the same time ethically challenged by the process of liberating local artisans wares, on the cheap to sell on the high street.

One episode stopped me in my tracks. Most boys are collectors, I'm no exception. While in Jodphur they stopped in the local market to see what treasures were available. I stood transfixed, as they quickly discarded rack upon rack of my childhood treasured lead British soldiers from the Raj.

Since we are each 6 degrees from a decent rolodex, it wasn't long before I discovered a source in Jodphur of my own. Shopping for silk for a new dress or suit lining? Check EBAY. Vintage Sari silk and crepe de chine at give away prices.

Thank you Paypal. If you happen to be in India, or have your own stash, I'm always looking for more, thank you very much.

Unknown to me until recently is that every last nut and bolt in an Anthropologie store is for sale. If you see it, it has a price. That is most unlike my favorite shops to eyeball, the adult disneyland of Ralph Lauren's flagship stores. As a rule, you risk having your hand slapped, along with a brief monologue with security if you so much as get too close to some of the display goodies.

So where does all Ralph's stuff go?

Sothebys of course.

With some regularity Ralph consigns old stock to Sothebys Auction House. The catalogs are breathtaking in their quality and breadth. Portraits, furniture, rugs, knicknacks. If you've seen it in a store, ad, or video, it will eventually end up at auction. Gavel prices while variable, won't usually take your breath away.

Ebay usually has stacks of old catalogs available.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Award Time

Are you familiar with the Bulwer-Lytton award? It should strike fear in every blogger's heart.

Given by the English Department of San Jose State University its awarded for the worst opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The awards name, Bulwer-Lytton is derived from Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's and his novel "Paul Clifford". Perhaps you are familiar with its opener.

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

Inspired while nursing her son, this year's winner, Molly Ringle won with this entry:
"For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss – a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."

I believe we'd enjoy reading Tom Wallace's, the runner ups, complete novel.

"Through the verdant plains of North Umbria walked Waylon Ogglethorpe and, as he walked, the clouds whispered his name, the birds of the air sang his praises, and the beasts of the fields from smallest to greatest said, 'There goes the most noble among men' – in other words, a typical stroll for a schizophrenic ventriloquist with delusions of grandeur."

We've all taken that walk one time or another. You may submit your own entry here.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

summer reads

Mayhaps it's the hot steamy weather but every summer I fill my imaginary book bag with heady, learned treatise to get me through the summer. Autodidact is me, by golly.

Then reality sets in. With the equinox my mind turns to mush and I return like the swallows to the same place on the book shelves, those reserved for summer reading only. Mostly the short stories of southern writers, Faulkner, Twain, Capote, Welty. I tell myself, that this is the year I'll get through something by Conroy, but other than an old Esquire article or two, I just can't do it. Maugham gets thrown in the mix too. Can you imagine reading Maugham in the cold? It's beyond my comprehension.

I'm inexplicably drawn to a time, just before my time, in other hot, steamy settings. To my mind's eye no one does hot better than Southern American writers.

A week before Labor Day,I close out the season, with Hemingway's, "Islands in the Stream". I prefer this to all other Hemingway. For me it's the ultimate back to school story, speaking personally to me as a father. It gets me every time.

I am embarrassed to not know there the following quote came from. It's a comment to a blog post. Who's I no longer have a clue, and I never knew whose comment it was. My apologies to both, and will happily give hearty praise if either or both can be identified.

The quote obviously has to do with how to read Kipling. It's exquisite. I'd kill to have the skill to write this paragraph. Although unsaid, I feel it also applies to every pre-electronic author. During the dog days, consider the author, laboring in self imposed exile in Oxford, Key West or Connecticut.

"Read him slowly, dear girl, you must read Kipling slowly, watch carefully where the commas fall so you can discover the natural pauses. He is a writer who used pen and ink. He looked up from the page a lot, I believe, stared through his window and listened to birds, as most writers who are alone do. Some do not know the names of birds, though he did. Your eye is too quick and North American. Think about the speed of his pen. What an appalling, barnacled old first paragraph it is otherwise."

Read on.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Blue Redux

I have an inherent fear of tailors. There is always a sense of unmet expectations hanging in the air. It's inescapable. Yet, I go back.

Mostly because I like the guy. Unlike the big boy fantasy land of Saville Row with its hundreds of years of tradition and acres of fabric waiting to be waved under my unsuspecting eyes, my guy is different, he doesn't have the overhead. He is simply a very talented, hardworking immigrant working in his basement.

The way our deal works is I walk in with a piece of cloth, and a photo or sketch of what I want, he gives me the hairy eyeball, tells me to come back in 2 weeks for the first fitting. A week later its complete. Payment is 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. Our only major disagreement is sleeve length, but I think he is coming around, which makes me happy since he does exquisite work.

While waiting this week for the blue linen number, Steven Hitchcock, The Saville Row Tailor had a post about a completely unlined jacket he was making for a client.

It whet my appetite, and set my own expectations a little higher.

So yesterday it came home.

It's in the single button Huntsman style as shown in the top photo. Much to my surprise it didn't fit all that well in the middle. My fault, I'm losing middle inches, and since it will never have a sweater underneath, the result is baggy. Shoulders, length, sleeves, perfect. No harm though, it will be fixed by Monday. At 10 ounces its a tad heavy, rumply not wrinkly, but I knew that going in.

Pockets are deep enough to carry a bottle of wine too.