Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat......again

Something in my Celtic DNA makes me love this love the Halloween season. I wait all year for this. It's my super bowl, my world series, my St. Patricks Day, my best month of all.

For me, Halloween season runs from the week proceeding All Hallows Eve until the Monday after Thanksgiving. It includes Halloween prep, The Day of the Dead, Election Day, Katy Day, all the exciting Thanksgiving prepartions, the big day and let down afterwards after everyone returns to school or home. The rest of the year is just the waiting for this time of year.

Not that I particularly do anything special, but I do have my routines.. I reread Washington Irving's stories, epecially Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleep Hollow. Build a scarecrow at the foot of the drive, watch Sleepy Hollow for the hundreth time, chop firewood, and prepare for my annual argument with Mrs. T about how much trick or treat candy we should have on hand.

This is our only major argument throughout the year. 5+ lbs each of Snickers, Butterfingers and Baby Ruths seem appropriate to me. Mrs. T sees the world through very dark glasses and believes we really don't need any. This is from a woman who lives for Christmas, go figure.

Just becasuse the grandkids are out of town this year, and we have never had a trick or treater, nor are we ever likely to, she feels we can do without. Bunkum.

There is something fundamentally right about both hard and sweet apple cider, candy apples, harvest festivals, jack-o-lanterns, fall leaves, dove hunts, wood fires, and all fall activities.

Bit of Halloween trivia. Who besides Mom on the Run knows that it was on Halloween, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany, beginning the Protestant Reformation?

Be safe and have fun. What kinds of fun stuff do they do in your neighborhood, maybe I'm missing out on something good?


Saturday, October 30, 2010

I LOST !!!

What does it matter that I have no interest in sport? It doesn't keep me from wagering on it, as I did Saturday and was beaten badly, by a girl.

Earlier in the week I sent an email to long time blogging buddy, Mom on the Run of Abnormally Normal. Scratch her surface and she bleeds Nebraska red. Although based in Atlanta MOTR and her long suffering husband, Dad on the Run travel each year to a Huskers game or two.

Nebraska is leaving its athletic home, after this year, the Big 12 Conference, , to try its hand amongst the big boys of the Big 10 Conference. Today is the last time conference rivals Missouri and Nebraska will meet on the football field for some time. They have been football rivals since 1892, and I couldn't let the occasion pass unobserved, so I sent this challenge.

"This weekend could be the final Nebraska/Missouri football game for a while. Perhaps we should honor it with a small wager. Say 500,000 golden grickles, or a #2 Ticonderoga pencil with eraser? The loser must also announce the wager, and the result on their blog."

MOTR accepted with alacrity. The teams met Saturday, Missouri lost, I lost, the nation lost. Won't stop me from doing it again though.

My crystal ball is getting cloudy, so MOTR do you want the Grickles or the pencil? Get in touch and I'll post, post haste.


Remember when? A rant.

Remember when local sports meant something?

One of the many things my generation needs to answer for is how we have f upped local sports.

The Duke of Wellington is quoted as saying," the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton ." Referencing the character building induced by games.

A suburb of St. Louis, East St. Louis, Illinois is amongst the most down and out places in America. Once the home of June Cleaver, it now has a median household income half that of the rest of Illinois. With 20% unemployment, a third of its residents live below the poverty level. Not surprisingly, the crime rate is one of the highest in the country, and there is a long and tattered history of political corruption. The one thing they do have, and have had for a long time is a great high school football team.

Sadly, there is trouble in River City. In March, 2009 the team's star defensive lineman, who is a son of a former assitant coach, and his cousin were arrested for allegedly robbing 2 couples. The star's cousin was sentenced last month to 15 years making license plates for his part in the festivities.

Football boy, upon his arrest gave the police his address, which was a home not in the East Saint Louis School district boundaries. Here is where the sports trouble begins.

Someone notified the sports authorities who investigated the lads residency. The Illinois High School Athletic Association ruled that since the kid, did not live in the district he played for, he was ineligible, and the team must forfeit all games he played, 10 last year and 5 this, making the team ineligible to play in the football playoffs, which begin today. The IHSAA also found that the team's star offensive player did not live in the district either, but for now the focus is on the kid who was arrested. They'll get to the offensive player later, if they need to.

This being America, the ESL school district's attorney found a judge who stayed the IHSAA's ruling, allowing the team to play today, in exchange for a hearing on the matter later .

So what have we taught the kids and the community about sportsmanship, character, the right thing to do?

If you let the team play and win, and the IHSAA ruling is eventually restored because of one player of another, how hollow is their victory? Would you feel better for your son, if he lost to ESL on the field, yet won in the courtroom? I wouldn't either.

Are we reinforcing the notion that consequences may come later, so don't worry your pretty little head about that now? That kind of thinking got the kid in trouble in the first place.

Do you think the former assistant coach knows where his own son lives?

I find the mess unconscionable. The adults have a rare chance to do the right thing, a school district has the chance to educate their community. It might hurt, but not as much or as long as it is going to.

An example of a kid teaching community what sports is about can be found here: Wisconsin juvenile golfer

Thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

This year's fall project

Many may recall that every fall, usually around the beginning of December I begin a fairly large house project. Last year it was installing wainscot up the stairway and around the upstairs hallway.

The year before crown moulding.

The year before that our kitchen remodel. This year I was sitting fat and happy with no plans to tear the house apart as cold weather neared.

We live in a 2 story house with a first floor master. Mrs. T or I only go upstairs once a month to run the water to make certain the drain traps are filled, unless we have house guests. Several weeks ago, missing my toys books and photos, I commandeered an upstairs bedroom as my office.

Finally, spending time upstairs I began to notice things. Like the taps that dripped, and the toilet that never shut off, how ugly the fixtures were, and how rusty the plumbing. Knowing our buddy, Mr. Fixit Chuck was sitting on his hands I roped him into my project. Time to address unscheduled maintenance, office fix its, and paint redos.

Remember our Pool House resto?
The same hand that picked the fixtures there selected those in the upstairs baths. Those in the know could date our bathroom fixtures down to the month. Only I would add 10 plus years past the date of popularity to get a fix on our installation.

When were gold fixtures last au courant? Same time as harvest gold fridges? Say, 1972?

Gold speckled sinks to match the gold faucets!

Now white marble and shiny chrome.

The unworkable upstairs master shower now in impeccable order.

All that remains is to replace 4 of the ugliest light fixtures and medicine cabinets ever installed, touch up paint, repaint the crown moulding of 2 years ago, and reprogram the garage door.

If I'm not in a candy induced sugar coma this weekend, and Lowes Depot isn't on strike, I hope to be completed by Monday. David, want the Ferguson?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'll be back Friday

I am currently in the midst of several house remodeling projects, which are taking my time and energy. Better to leave well enough alone than to bore.

See you Friday at the latest.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A more civilized way to war....perhaps

Greeting from the President. For men of a certain age, those words struck fear in their hearts. Most served with distinction, many jimmied the system through various deferments to avoid service, some fled. Times were not always thus.

I trade obits from the Telegraph with several friends when something catches our eye. For some its military heroes, others explorers, musicians or lady's of questionable character.

Today's missive detailed the career of British Vice Admiral Sir Louis Le Bailly.

According to the Telegraph: "Admiral Le Bailly, who has died aged 95, was an iconoclastic naval officer and Director General Intelligence from 1972 to 1975, responsible at the height of the Cold War for the collection (from a wide variety of overt and covert sources) of information on the enemy, principally the Soviet Union and its allies."

What struck me most interesting, as you read further is the following description of how he happened to join the King's navy.

"Louis Edward Stewart Holland Le Bailly was born on July 18 1915, the son of an engineer in the Royal Naval Air Service. As a boy Louis and a cousin bought £5 tickets at Victoria station to take them to Germany and Austria, where they went mountain-climbing. His early impressions of Germany were favourable, as he noted its jolly Hitler Youth and clean streets that were a contrast to the slums and squalor of home.

His summons to join the Navy was delivered via a telegram from Gieves, the naval tailors, to a ski resort in Austria in 1928, and he joined Dartmouth in the Drake term."

I've heard of men changing tailors to avoiding paying the old ones bills, but how do you dodge a summons like this?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Admiral Bryd

I have contracted an adult onset fascination with early 20th century polar exploration. For the most part, polar exploration was a British and Norwegian game, Shackleton and Scott carried the flag for Great Britain while the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen did the heavy lifting, beating the Brits to the South Pole.

The US kept out of the race to the poles. Europeans had such a head start before WW 1 began, that on the ground treks were not fashionable. Americans, most noticably, Richard Byrd, changed the game by attempting to be the first to fly over the poles.

Today's birthday boy, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd claimed to be the first to fly over the North Pole and South Poles. For his flight over the North Pole (May 1926), he was awarded the US Medal of Honor.

There was but one problem. Byrd never made it over the North Pole. He doctored his flight log to make it appear he made it. He dead reckoned accurately, but only covered 80% of the required distance before mechanical concerns made him turn around. As Scott learned in the Antarctic, close doesn't count. Byrd's secret wasn't uncovered until 1996.

After receiving the Medal of Honor, Byrd used his notoriety to raise funds for further polar exploration, his successful flight over the South Pole, and 3 subsequent trips.

Should one ethical lapse in an otherwise remarkable career taint a man's reputation forever? I think not. Perhaps his shame drove him to accomplish more than he otherwise may have. We'll never know.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Balmoral hat by Mackie of Scotland

Thanks to you, now I know what Santa is bringing me. I can't wait, how many days 'till then?

I just have time to get a haircut and shave, maybe lose a chin and empty a flask or two.

The new bonnet goes well with Ellie Stager's patch tweed scarf too.


Friday, October 22, 2010

My Winter Cap

As the weather turns, those of us a little thin on top reach for a hat of some sort to keep the little gray cells functioning. For as long as I can remember I've been a hat guy. There is some kind of easily folded chapeau deep in a pocket in each of my fall and winter jackets. My tastes are wide ranging, as I keep deer stalkers, Irish fishing caps, tams, and wool stocking caps within easy reach.

Last fall, I fell in love with this Balmoral, but felt that by the time I found who made it, ordered it, and had it shipped, the season would be over before I had a chance to enjoy it. So I waited.

The gods shined on me last week, and I got off my mcduff and finally ordered my own copy from the most helpful and attentive staff of Robert Mackie of Scotland. It arrived today, a full 5 days after ordering. I asked Mrs. T to wrap it up for Christmas.

I had a little trouble with the clan badge. I am not Scottish, and do not belong to a clan, save for an invitation from my daughter's father in law admitting me to theirs, which is tenuous at best. Many clan badges also signify a military or at least a warrior standard, and I'll not wear military decorations other those which I have been awarded, so the clan badge was out.

Choice 2 was to use a county badge of the old sod, a viable alternative but one that felt wrong for many of the same reasons.

Finally, I chose a badge I am entitled to wear. That of an US Air Force enlisted person.

Soon enough it will turn cold, I'll have my Scotch bonnet, mayhaps a little whisky flask and warm gray cells.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do you work with a non profit helping kids?

I'm shilling. Number 1 son sent this email.

His employer, Consolidated Brands, better known as Payless Shoe Source is generally in the business of selling shoes, profitably. They have a softer side though, and in 2007 created a program called "Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids".

Last year, they donated $1.2 million dollars worth of vouchers usable to purchase kids shoes at any Payless store through some 750 charities nationwide.

They are looking for more non profit partners, who also help kids, who would like to participate.

If you are involved in such a group, or know someone who is, send them this link. You may help a kid in your community.


The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol 1

Throughout his life Sam Clemons worried about money. He earned and lost several fortunes and his need for cash made him vulnerable to scam artists on three continents. One source of cash he felt he could count on were the residuals from his writings, but as the end of his life neared he feared what would happen to his family as the copyrights expired.

You may recall, after his wife died, Clemons, the man in white, appeared for the first time, so dressed, in mid winter at a Congressional hearing, which was considering the recommendation that copyrights be extended. He had strong opinions on that subject. At the time he still had two daughters to provide for.

To meet his family's future needs, he wrote several books, with the express intent that they be published after his death, spaced in such a way that his girls financial needs were covered.

By the time Clemons died, the youngest of his two remaining daughters had died, leaving his high Victorian, high maintenance daughter to watch over his literary estate, and it was she whom for the rest of her life controlled all elements of the literary legacy of Mark Twain. Guard it she did, with the zeal of a convert.

Books that Clemons expected would be published soon after his death were delayed for decades by his daughter. Letters from the Earth, edited for publication in 1939 was postponed until 1962. This week, 100 years after his death, the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol 1, edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and the Mark Twain Project was published.

It will sell well, especially over the holidays, and it is unlikely to be read in its entirety by anyone not paid to do so. Whatever its literary merits, the Autobiography is about the size of a King James Bible, weighs 5 pounds, and has what appears to be the same font and spacing as a Manhattan telephone directory.

I do not yet need reading glasses but will by the time I'm deep into this.

My recommendation is try your library first, if they don't have it, reread Huckleberry Finn.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good things come to those who wait.

State flag of Colorado

Fire season is over for our family and number 2 son is safely ensconced at home in Oregon. I am grateful and thankful he is home safely. Many thanks to each of you for your support.

That said I need to rat myself out.

During the 2009 fire season #2 had the harrowing experience of rolling his new truck over a switchback. To help him out of his jam I drove to Colorado, gave him my car, then flew home.

I am unfamiliar with Colorado ways, and approaching the airport terminal I saw signs reading toll road, but never saw a pay toll here booth. In my naiveté, I assumed the signs were new and the booths were a coming attraction. Not so apparently.

I delivered the car in August, and in October I received a bill for $75 from the Governor for driving his toll road. $75 seemed excessive at the time, and with no phone number on the bill to question I trashed it.

Thirty days later a second bill, with late fees added popped my total to $125.

Ever watch Deal or No Deal? I am continually amazed by the folks who don't wish to accept the $125,000 in the hand now offer, yet leave with a more comfortable $10. Certainly a BBD is right around the corner, maybe just not looking for them. I thought maybe Colorado was playing along with Howie Mandel.

The bill at Christmas came in a box and was $749.68. If I was unlikely to pay $75 or $125, I'm less than likely to to chip in $750, scofflaw that I am. I ignored that too, but was awed by how the battle escalated.

In June a collection agency threatened that I would not be able to renew my Colorado license plates unless I payed $200, right this very minute. They seemed unmoved, by my explanation that I lived 700 miles from Colorado, and wasn't shopping for Colorado plates, and even $200, while better than $750 still seemed out of line. And there things stood. Until yesterday.

I received another bill from the Governor. The bill had the correct date of my trip, the route I took, a phone number to call and an self addressed stamped envelope with which to enclose my check. This time they would be pleased if I would forward fourteen dollars and fifty cents.

The check is in the mail.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reality wins again

Admit it you like McDonalds.

You love McDonalds, and are counting the days until McRib season officially kicks off on November 2nd. Now there is even a better reason to stop by your local, if you live in Hong Kong.

Mickey D, in HK is now offering a wedding package. Even I couldn't make this up. Read on

They're loving it: McDonald's in Hong Kong supersize marriage

Text SizeAAA

Filed under: Food, Family Money, Saving Money

Hong Kong couple sip McDonald's drinks at their McDonald's WeddingMcDonald's Hong Kong stores are super-sizing love starting Jan. 1, when couples can officially tie the knot and become McMan and McWife under the Golden Arches.

Any objections? Speak now or forever hold your Quarter Pounder.

Value priced at $400, wedding packages will accommodate 50 to 100 guests and include venue rental, bridal decor, audio system, gifts for the couple, party favors (hopefully a step up from a Happy Meal), a master of ceremonies -- and of course, happily catered meals all around. Instead of cake, think nuptial stacks of apple pies.

But before you hit send on those Evites, note this: Two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Hong Kong cost about $6,700 on Cathay Pacific -- before taxes, fees and not including refills of Coke. Something to chew on, you might say.

McDonald's Hong Kong, however, believes plenty of folks will say "I do" to the plan. And we get called the fast food nation?

In fact, Helen Cheung, Hong Kong McDonald's director of corporate communications told the Daily Mail (UK), "Over the past two years, we've started receiving calls from people who want to have a wedding party in our restaurants. There are about 10 calls a month."

"We see this as a business opportunity," she added.

Though most American McDonald's already offer birthday party deals, Danya Proud, spokesperson for Illinois-based McDonald's US told WalletPop the company has no plans to roll out wedding packages nationally. Proud said McDonald's are locally owned and operated and make those decisions independently.

It's up to couples, then, to muster some McCourage and pop the question to their local Mickey D's manager. Some have already said yes. In 2006, Fairborn, Ohio bride Trisha Lynn Esteppe took Tyree Henderson for better or worse near the McDonald's registers where they met on the job. When deep fried leads to deep ties, score one for the workplace romance.

Before slinging judgments about weddings with extra cheese, however, it's worth noting that a recent survey by New York-based resource, The Knot, revealed "average weddings" in the U.S. cost an estimated $27,800 -- and even more in urban areas.

Maybe vowing to love, honor and offer your fries isn't such a crazy idea after all. A play area for the flower girls? I'm loving it.

But as for sharing the McNuggets, that's another story, perhaps best left for pre-marital counseling.


Monday, October 18, 2010


Today, Fortuna has smiled upon you as she spun her wheel, and you have been blessed to find your self in one of the greatest jobs in the corporate world. The gods have declared that you are now responsible, not only for your company, Weight Watchers, real estate holdings, but it falls on your head (with lots of help, of course) to rent the storefronts across the country from which to do business.

In times like these, your department makes money hands over fist. Choice of alternative space is plentiful, landlords at last, are begging to renegotiate contracts for more favorable terms, rents are falling, every dime you save the company fattens your bonus. Life is good.

Your retail presence has few requirements. Storefronts are best located in well maintained strip malls on busy streets, with safe and well lit parking. It is preferred that you stay near family friendly businesses, and away from pawn shops, saloons, tattoo parlors or payday loan stores. The company image is all important, and you'd hate to risk that by having unseemly neighbors, or ruffians hanging about outside your door.

Given the demands and opportunities of your new department, doesn't relocating your local store next to the Honey Baked Ham Store seem incongruous?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Once upon a time, I wrote about that most unsung of American tailoring heroes, Mr.Sidney Winston. Mr. Winston, when he wasn't working on JFK's new suit, was the creative genius behind such American classics as the 4 panel pants, embroidered cords, and perhaps most famously, the patch madras jacket.

As my mother would periodically exclaim, especially near election time, "if a million people have a bad idea, it is still a bad idea." Sometimes though, even good ideas go bad. Rarely do they turn rancid all at once. Bad ideas need time to fester.

The jacket below, from Huntsman, just might fall into the good idea going bad category. It's good enough to be entertaining, but...

Patch Tweed. I doubt many British clients will sign up for this number, it feels too American.

Lest you be confused, I like patch tweed, in moderation. Last fall, Ellie Stager created a PT scarf for me, which I will wear until I die, if I can get it away from my bride.

To get to the good idea going rancid, we need to turn to the latest Orvis catalog. I have a love/hate relationship with Orvis. I like the idea of many of their clothes, it's the execution which leaves me cold. I want their stuff to work,especially their tartan trousers, yet it rarely does on me.

From their catalog I present the patch tartan jacket. Another idea which should work. Has a the right bells and whistles, is priced fairly, yet falls flat.

A man needs to limit himself to one variety of patch. To patch in all seasons is trying too hard. I'm sticking with the summer mad, thank you very much.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Then and Now

As a counterpoint to the Head Librarian's recent post on Brooks Brothers modern take on service uniforms I felt compelled to show how seriously they took their job when it counted.

The following scans are from The New Yorker, June 13 and 20, 1942.

The second photo shows a jacket rarely seen anymore, a summer plaid. Two things struck me about the photo. View the photo below as you would as a first time customer. There is a simple dignity about the drawing, and elegance that BB no longer espouses. The more striking thing, 70 years on is how not unreasonable todays prices seem.

BB has always been a high price spread, but translate a $14.50 seersucker suit to today's dollar and the value is still there. Quality may be another matter.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cool Guy, and Birthday Boy: Ralph

If Ralph did nothing other than give birth to Lauren cologne I would sing his praises forever. It is the only cologne I can identify, and only one I truly love.

I gave Mrs. T a bottle once. Unfortunately, somewhere between the factory and home it had turned vile. My unsuspecting bride, always questioning my taste, thought I delivered a skunk. No explanation that something was wrong, no offers to replace would ever do. Lauren was verbotten.

A girlfriend of hers, when moving gave her part of bottle of the good stuff, but still she would have none of it. Occasionally, I spray some on Charley.

It's easy to have sport at Ralph expense, but certainly not on his birthday. His ubiquitous, now cliché, over priced polos, the BIG BOOK, the car collection, the lifestyle are all fodder for amusement. Much of his design sensibility may be stuck in the 1930''s, but as a society we owe Ralph a great deal.

To my view of the world, without his impermature, a lot of clothes we take for granted would have died unmourned long ago. Who else kept tweed alive? The citizens of Lewis and Harris Island celebrate Ralph's life, and are eternally grateful for his annual fall looks. It keeps them alive. Fair Isle sweaters? Norfolk Jackets? No one else, but Ralph.

Imagine the magazine publishers in fashion or design that would commit ritual suicide before losing RL's advertising. Single handedly they must keep a lot of the publishing world employed in these troubled times.

Ralph married the love of his life, Ricki Ann-Low Beein 5 months after the movie release of A Hard Days Night (December 20, 1964). They have been going at it ever since.

I have 2 wishes for Ralph's birthday. First, I wish Mary Randolph Carter, his master of publications would publish a book of the early ads photographed by Bruce Weber. It would be a best seller. No, most aren't in the Big Book.

Second, I understand that fashion models are 6 foot tall 100 lb 14 year old Amazons, but would it hurt to use an adult woman periodically?
Happy Birthday Ralph. You have made our world brighter.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

celebrity chefs

Anthony Bourdain, in Kitchen Confidential asks, "Do you know who is cooking your food?" It's a fair question.

I attribute my query to age. I grew up in a time and place where household help was still a common sight in middle class homes. A family cook, remember the television show Hazel?, was a revered member of the family, just as Anatole was to Uncle Tom and Aunt Dahlia in the Bertie Wooster novels.

Until at least the end of the 60's, a nearby subdivision had a retired community school bus which they used to transport the "domestics" to and from the end of the bus line. We saw it every day and thought nothing of it.

I think about this periodically while watching The Two Fat Ladies. Deep down, I'm troubled by our fascination with celebrity chefs. I'm certain you'd get a good meal at any of the Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsey, Emril or one of their countless imitator's spots, but why would you try? It will be perhaps very good, very expensive, beautiful and boring. To me, it feels like going to an expensive McDonalds.
The worst part is to get to one of these joints, you pass a lot of really good local places, with local chefs, local owners trying hard each and every day to survive, and a lot less overhead. Next time you find yourself away from home, perhaps entertaining on the company card, be smart, be creative, eat local.

Who's cooking at Antoine's or Galatore's?


Monday, October 11, 2010


Are you one of us, those who cannot resist reading someone else's old diaries, perhaps a cache of personal letters, or books of correspondence? In my recent travels I came across this gem of a blog, Letters of Note. When you have time, make it a point to search the archives.

The following is a letter describing the visit and recommendations of the British censor to an early screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Naturally, the Python team wished to have the film rated for as young an audience as possible. The censor had his job to do as well. I have no idea how this turned out, but I can guess. Mercifully, the censor was not the producer/director as well.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

News from Del Toro

I am inadvertently shilling for Del Toro once again, but during the past week I received 2 emails I thought I'd share. This is an unpaid, unsolicited plug, presented only because I like mine, a lot.

Email #1 In which they sound as if they want to be an alternative to Belgians


Miami Beach, FL. (October 5, 2010) Del Toro shoes are offering yet more options for designing your dream loafer. In a month you will be able to have Del Toros in velvet, leather, suede or linen and pick the color of the trim. The company offers diverse embroidery options but also gives their customers a possibility of designing a unique pair of shoes by uploading a picture of their favorite pet or a family crest, for example.

The shoes are available exclusively online at Prices range from $195 for the simple loafer to $295 for the fully customized embroidery. Del Toro will have your pair handmade outside of Madrid, Spain and delivered within two months.

Email 2 from Matt the Prez, with a great inducement for the ladies

To all our Valued Customers:

Hey its Matt, I personally want to thank you guys for all the continued support. Thanks to you I have been able to develop Del Toro into the lifestyle brand I have always envisioned.

We are pleased to announce many positive changes. We are now offering countless more embroidery and material options all shown on the website.

We are also declaring the debut of our new models, the driving shoe line and boat slipper as well as some special deals in time for the holidays.

We are happy to boast our significant upgrade in quality and manufacturing thanks to our switch to producing in Madrid, Spain.

All orders placed by October 20th will be guaranteed by the holidays.

In order to celebrate this we are offering a special sale for returning customers. 15% percent off all models : code “Del Toro” (valid for all the month of October).

For all our loyal female customers we are now offering an even more worthwhile deal, buy one vintage classics at a discount of $145 ($50 off retail) each and get the second pair free. This applies only to the women’s black classic which has been featured both in Lucky magazine as part of the Fall Shoe guide and British Vogue.

Shilling or chillin'


Friday, October 8, 2010

KC Prep Alert

Think You're a True Prep?

Meet the authority on everything preppy, Lisa Bimbach. The author will be at the Sperry Top-Sider store on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City on Saturday, Oct. 23, 9:30 - 11 a.m. for a book signing and truly preppy event.

Spend $65 and receive a copy of True Prep. Artist Rodney White will be on hand to custom-prep your shoes.

Sperry Top-Sider Store
425 Nichols Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64112
(816) 931-4945

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fun Shopping

It's fun shopping in your own closet.

I'd let myself go. Four years ago in a fit of disgust and loathing, I took to dieting, and was fairly successful at it. within several months I lost 3 sizes and finally could stand to face a mirror. It was fall, nothing fit, so I shopped like a recovering nudist.

Before long, a little voice in the back of my head told me, "it's over, I'm hungry, time to stop this now." Stopping became a very clear, conscious decision. The weight and more returned.

The fit of disgust returned last fall, but this time I told myself, no diets. I vowed to lose the girth, first through exercise, which I fully understand has little to nothing to do with weight loss, but all to do with health. I began slowly.

Initially, I gained weight, but lost inches. Slowly, I became conscious of how many miles of treadmill time it takes to work off that bag of M&M's I craved, and learned to deal with the trade offs. I've come to accept that junk food is not a reward.

The gym routine is 2 days on, 1 day off, and has been for a year. I despise every day going to the gym, but do like the results, medically as well as physically, more than I hate the routine.

Today, the clothes I purchased 4 years ago, still practically new, fit fairly well, and men's clothing never goes out of style. I haven't lost much weight, but am in the best shape of my life. Today is an off day, so it must be a beautiful sunshiny day.

If I can do it, anyone can.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get your orders in early

Our Thanksgiving weekend is going to be almost comically awful. I've been anticipating it for ages and can't wait to share the details as we build up to the big weekend.

However badly our Thanksgiving may turn out, we still needs to observe the formalities. It's a traditional harvest feast after all, and traditional dishes are expected, that is why while driving along our driveway I almost missed the golden goose, to mix a metaphor.

Click on the photo, see the dots at the bottom of the drive?

They are turkeys, albeit not terribly large ones.

With a little notice, I could probably get the dogs to round up a few, we could then ship one to your house, allowing you the opportunity to fatten it up at home. What could be more traditional?

Should you care to dispatch your own, arrangements could be made.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

stone throwers

In 1949 architect Phillip Johnson completed work on what became known as "The Glass House" in New Canaan Connecticut. His professional rival, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed work on his glass house, the Farnsworth House in Chicago suburb Plano, Illinois in 1951. They are each modern masterpieces of domestic architecture.

The Glass House

Today, each house is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open to the public.

To raise the funds necessary for their upkeep the Trust has commissioned a film by artist Sarah Morris detailing the history, lore, and necessary upkeep requirements of the two properties. Her film debuts tomorrow in NYC. Most probably Ms. Morris's film will show up online in the not too distant future.

A companion book, published by Assouline is also available.

The Farnsworth House

If given an opportunity to move into one, I have a clear favorite. I love the simplicity of The Glass House. I wouldn't even have to move to Connecticut. I have a perfect site here.

The National Trust has created a video series, Modern Views, which addresses some of the Trusts issues. Below is a, "which house would you choose" video, with clips by distinguished architect and critics.

Modern Views from Drew Harty on Vimeo.

If you are available, info for tomorrows festivities may be found here.