Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On this date

From: Tickets


The Sony Walkman and Apple Ipod not only forever changed the music industry but near killed commercial radio. Save for wake up time and while driving do you ever turn on the radio? Do you stream more out of town stations (WWOZ) than local? Would you listen more if you could record radio shows from whatever station you wanted, and play them at your convenience? The folks at Digital Audio Recorder are betting the ranch you would.

Suppose you were that crabby mom near Atlanta who enjoys Prairie Home Companion, but hates that it's only on Saturday during prime cocktail hour. DAR.FM records PHC and/or whatever else you want for playback when you want, on your choice of platforms.

It's currently in Beta, and a little wonky, but worth your while. Yes, Canadian, the Beeb and other "out of town" stations are included.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

Southampton Hospital Summer Party

Somewhere along the way towards your weekend and holiday events give pause and remember why it's called Memorial Day,

and thank a Vet.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

it takes a very rich man...

Several weeks ago I was seeking the source for the quote "only very rich men wear seersucker clothes." As so frequently happens, fate stepped in in the guise of The Elegantologist who led a post with that quote, attributed to Damon Runyon.

In the late 19th century US, seersucker was a poor mans cloth. Found mostly in the south, it began as a cheap, lightweight substitute for silk. In 1909 Haspel began making seersucker suits in New Orleans. By the mid 1920's fashionable northern college students picked up on it. Runyon went on to write " that his new habit for wearing seersucker was "causing much confusion among my friends. They cannot decide whether I'm broke of just setting a new vogue."

Brooks Brothers introduction of light cotton summer suiting, including seersucker, lent the suit it's patrician image. The idea being, only the rich could afford to look disheveled. Brooks still vends a great off the rack seersucker suit.

What prompted this history lesson was a trip through EBAY. BB's Black Fleece headboy Thom Browne has designed a seersucker suit for the new millennium. An yes it takes a very rich man, gone soft in the head to wear it. Shown above,$3200 retail, pre worn for your convenience $1450. I merely report the news, I have no hand in this sale.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dating Tips for Gentlemen-Redux

Several of my favorite posts date to when I was writing to an audience of 1, so I decided it was time to bring some favorites back into the light, in the hope of benefiting those were not here for the first go, and who don't read archives. This from September 24, 2008, moderately edited. It resurfaced in mid '09. Time to dust it off once more, with gusto, just in time for a long weekend.

It may be reasonably asked, Toad you're old and married, where do you get off giving dating tips? Let me answer this way. Consider it a public service. Also, because I am older, wiser, more experienced, and have more common sense than you.

Like all rules, some of these are made to be broken. I have ignored them all over the years and lived to tell the tale. That is not a glowing recommendation.

Also, let me suggest the following before you read on. I believe the following to be true. If you are unemployed, you probably shouldn't be dating. Unemployment saps self confidence and self confidence is vitally important on a first date. Secondly, married women are out of bounds to gentlemen, at all times, always.

My 10 Commandments

1. There is an implied contract implied when asking a woman for a date. The implication is that you are an interesting person, and believe that she may also be a person of interest, and you are willing to find that out, by asking for a date. By accepting she acknowledges that she too is interested.

In short, the first date is about her.

2. Primp: A day or so before the date, make a plan. Call and tell her exactly where she is going, what she is going to do. Then lay out your clothes. Are they clean, do they fit, do they need pressing? Shine your shoes. Take pride in yourself and your appearance.

I admit a certain embarrassment in mentioning this, but much observation requires me to tell you to shower, shave, brush your teeth, comb your hair and make yourself presentable. There is no shame in being the best dressed man, wherever you are going.

Ever watch your sister prepare for a date? Girls spend a lot more time getting ready than you. Honor your date by looking your best. She's looking hers.

3. Wash your car, get gas, go to the ATM before you pick her up. You invited her, you're paying, no questions asked. Turn off your car radio when you get to her house. You have different tastes in music. Don't kill your chances here.

4. Be prepared for anything when you knock on her door. She may live at home, so you may get to meet her parents. Perhaps she has young children. Smile. Be polite, be interested. Don't kick her cat.

5. Turn off your cell phone, or at least set it on vibrate. If you answer it tonight for other than your children or babysitter you die. Give your thumbs a rest. This date is about you two. It's not important to know that your friends have found the bar where the fashion week models hang out. You're not going there, you have other plans for the evening, perhaps with the mother of your future children.

6. Be a gentleman. Stand up. Smile. Watch your language. Help her with her coat, open her door, open her car door, walk around the front of the car, get in. When you arrive, open her car door, assist as needed. When you get where you're going, if it's inclement drop her off/pick her up at the door. You can navigate the parking alone.

Perhaps this sounds really out of touch, but let me explain. Its good manners, the right thing to do. You are trying to stand out from the crowd. Show early on that you are at least semi-evolved, or have had good home training. It will pay dividends later when she calculates if its worth her time providing the training you'll need.

7. There is only the two of you. You are both adults. You each have baggage, you have dated before. It's not important for her to learn tonight that you regularly date cheerleaders. You don't want to find out tonight that she regularly dates pro football players. The past is not welcome this evening.

She accepted your offer of a date, because she has some interest in getting to know you. Women are the civilizing influence in our culture. She is not going out with you solely because you are male and breathing. Show some respect. Listen!! She doesn't ever want to hear your complaints about old girlfriends.

8. Send a text message tonight, and the date is OVER. She has my permission to shove your IPHONE unlubricated up your ass, or ask to be taken home immediately. You will accept either quietly and deservedly.

9. There are less than 6 degrees of separation. Regardless of where you live, your circle intersects hers somewhere.

Before your date, she told everyone she knows that she was going out with you. This was for two reasons. To learn something about you, and for bragging rights. After the date, she will again talk with everyone she knows about your date. If you are a bounder, you pollute your own dating pool. If you were not the right guy for her, but comported yourself well, she will tell everyone that sadly you two didn't click, but that you would be a good pick up for someone else. She may even help make that happen.

10. Sometimes miracles occur. Keep a fresh one in your wallet and use it. Call the next day.

Have a great weekend. I await your comments. In your heart you know I'm right.


PS: Last time this saw the light of day a reader asked if I had any tips for women. Having given this some thought my answer was and is NO. I've been out of the game way to long, but I would love to read and take issue with yours.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Finishing Touch

Have you ever wondered why mens suit and sport coats have an open pocket at the left breast? It's sole function is to display a pocket square, a finishing touch.

Most American men avoid this contrivance, no well dressed man ever does. An attentive dresser will return home to retrieve his hank should he discover it missing. So what about the President?

Presidents are generally wealthy men, accustomed to wearing bespoke clothing. They are advised and fitted by the best tailors the world has to offer, schooled in the subtle messages that good clothing offers. Yet, most American Presidents tend to dress down to meet the sartorial standards of their countrymen, albeit somewhat expensively. For further insight search out Tom Wolfe's piece on LBJ's trip to Savile Row (The Secret Vice). American men are afraid of flash.

So the Prez and his bride went to London to drop off the Queen's birthday present. As expected, Mr. O is decked out in his best blue suit,white shirt, dull tie, sans pocket linen.

How much better would he look dressed up complete with linen? Allow Prince William to show him how it's done well. Navy suit, white shirt, regimental tie, pocket square.

My fellow Americans a bit of color is nothing to fear. Photos from The Preppy Princess.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I blame Stan Musial & Dockers

When I was a kid I liked to visit my cousins. I hoped to get a glance at my boyhood idol,Cardinal baseball star Stan Musial, who lived across the street. Stan's playing career was coming to an end, but he owned a steak house nearby, and it was always my dream to go there for a birthday. Mom said it was too adult & put the nix to that plan.

Off field, Stan was a natty dresser, and would make the rounds of his place each evening, sign autographs, glad hand and keep the beer flowing always in a Cardinal red jacket and tie.

I remember an interview with "The Man" in the Sunday magazine of the daily paper around 1970. Stan who grew up in Pennsylvania coal county was asked about his attire. He never wore jeans, he said. Those were for working people. Men who worked in factories or in the fields. He was professional. Somehow that struck me as sound. Even in the late '60's and early '70's I'd only rarely wear blue jeans.

In those days Army surplus shops were plentiful and cheap. Military khaki's wore like iron, usually looked good. After my free work clothes from Uncle Sam wore out, I shopped surplus. Later Dockers, followed by, followed by, followed by Bill's. Frankly Scarlet, I am sick of wearing khaki's, chino's, brit tans.

This summer I am wearing pants that are lightweight, colorful and maybe fun. Linen, seersucker, poplin here I come. I officially swear off khaki's (with 1 exception) until fall. Casual Friday be damned.


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Queen's Birthday

In many families, birthdays are really big deals. Take our house for example. We celebrate Mrs. T birthday month throughout June. Mine I'd just as soon forget, since I lie about my age anyway.

The Windsor's really know how to stretch out a good thing. Elizabeth R enjoys many birthday celebrations, real, official and otherwise. Although born on 21 April, today by permanent proclamation, is Betty's official Canadian Birthday, not to be confused with Victoria Day. Next month she celebrates her official birthday on the first (NZ), second (Australia) and third (UK) Mondays. That's a lot of cake and ice cream.

To our Canadian friends, Happy Summer!! Enjoy your holiday parties and summer frocks, warm weather has been too long coming.

To her Majesty, many happy returns of the day. I hope you live forever, you're good for business.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post Rapture blues

The rapture was cool, and look we all ended up together. How neat was that?

Perhaps the reason things don't feel much different is that Dr. Pangloss was right, ours is the best of all possible worlds. Heaven on earth and all that. However, I am powerful disappointed. I held out so much hope. I wanted to wake to a new beginning, just as Moses did when he climbed out of the Ark, or Orel Roberts, the day after he wasn't called back for failing to raise his ransom.

So how do we pick up the pieces of our truncated lives? I beginning to think telling the kids mom and dad would be raptured and they wouldn't may prove to have been a mistake. The youngest phoned Child Protective Services seeking asylum. Quitting work and giving away our stuff, may come to haunt, and I may soon wish I had paid the bills, or hedged my bets and kept the house and cash. Any more Kool-ade?

My faith has only strengthened. I like it here. Hell no I won't go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Castaway at Wm King

As Ralph repeatedly made clear on Oprah's show last week, men's clothing improves with age. Fashion doesn't play a very large part in our wardrobes. We'll wear the same clothes forever if we can hold our size.

Over time our duds gather a backstory. This is the jacket I wore when.... I bought this the same year that... Soon, the backstory becomes more significant than the garment. It's a story we wouldn't tell a soul, yet it's why we become so upset when our significant other tosses away a treasured item. That old thing? Yes, that old thing.

I received a phone call earlier in the week from my friend William King, of Wm King Clothiers. "Toad ya gotta try these trousers." He sounded serious. "Made by Castaway Clothing on Nantucket. They come with a great story.

The 2 lads who founded the line are great grandsons of the man who founded Murrays Toggery. Their granddad invented nanny reds. The boys have worked at Murrays since grade school, know their stuff, and began a line of clothes that hearken back to the days of our youth." Men, women's and children they cover it all.

Send them along, was all I said. While I wait for my blue oxford pantaloons, I'll share the link and some photos. I'll let you know in a couple of days (if you're still around) how much I love them.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Bye

Should the world, as prophesied, come to an end tomorrow, I wish to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for stopping by here occasionally. You've made my last years so much more fun than I would have imagined.

If perhaps the prophesies are premature, I'll be back Saturday morn as usual. If only the elect are saved, I'll be here Sunday as well.

If you find yourself here over the weekend we'll try and make the best of it together.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

T.E. Lawrence

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.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Canadian Monarchy Election Day

Having learned an important lesson while under the thumb of the British Empire, America's northern neighbor, the nation with the world's only democratically elected monarchy, holds its royal election this coming Monday. Canadians learned from British experience that if one was born to become monarch, maybe it could or should be you, or god help us, me (but I'm not Canadian). Hence the election.

Every 5 years, Canadians elect a new monarch. The old one is pensioned off, a new one comes in with ruffles and flourishes, bowing and scraping aplenty, and the 5 year cycle repeats. Presently, there are more retired Canadian monarchs alive than living former US Presidents. I find the Canadian system and related pageantry splendid.

Editorial and parliamentary reaction in Britain and other Commonwealth countries, the first time the election was held, was apoplectic. They called the plan loony, an insult to monarchies everywhere, reminding the Canucks of the divine right of kings and then continued their diatribe spewing other hurtful words. Canada's first elected king, Lonergan I (Steve the Bald, elected 1967) had a plan.

The resourceful king, in a typically Canadian "back atcha", nicknamed their currency, the Canadian Euro, the Loonie, saying "we ain't loony, this is, eh." Loonie has been printed on all Canadian legal tender since.

Naturellement, le Frogs, in Quebec refuse to vote in Anglo elections. "Dauphin oui, Canuck roi, non" is l' Quebecois provincial motto. Before the monarchy, what is now Election Day, was known as Victoria Day, the day set aside in Canada for summer. The monarch is moving, long live the new!

Who says American's know nothing about Canada? You may now go forth and amaze your friends.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I won, along with an observation

Longer ago than I care to remember, there was a television program, perhaps an early Bravo number, featuring a Palm Beach man who was, in season, a "walker", an unpaid, not for benefits, escort for women who are single, available or who's husbands just want to stay home. I saw that as a perfect Plan B for my life.

I'd probably screw up a bit at first, but I like to dress up, know what fork to use, and can banter with the best. Finding the mentor would probably prove tough. Now, at the height of my powers, I'm too long in the tooth, and my taste for the nightlife fading.

What I remember most of all from the program is that a good walker needs a great bag. My genuine, necessary for PB, great bag arrived, albeit years too late, over the weekend.

Several weeks ago the blogging world fell quiet as frequent visitor, the irrepressible Jane Schott, The Empress of the Eye vacationed in St. Barth's. While there she picked up a lot of great photos and several really cool reusable shopping bags, which she promptly gave away to lucky readers of her regular peak at life on the other side of the tracks. I was one of the lucky ones.

Only the French would think the problem through enough to include the necessary interior straps to hold wine bottles.

Many thanks Jane, and those that do not yet follow this dear woman, do so now.

II. The Observation
Locked in a car with nothing but time and a Sunday paper I tend to find things to speculate about. Hopefully, Preppy Player and many of the women who play lacrosse, have played, did play, or have daughters who did likewise can help me to understand something, please.

In Sunday's Kansas City Star were 2 articles. Front page led with the story of a high school lad whose death resulted from repeated head injuries incurred playing the game he loved. The second highlighting how lacrosse, especially for younger grades and girls has finally become widespread in KC. The boys game was described as being about power and contact while the girls was more about strategy and finesse. The story then adds:

"Boys wear protective equipment mainly on their upper body — gloves, helmets, mouth guards, light shoulder and arm pads — and wear shorts and cleats on their lower extremities. They look like warriors who are only half-dressed.

Girls dress differently. Their game stresses finesse and is much less physical. They wear no helmets or pads, but do wear distinctive, bug-eye goggles and mouth guards. They look like warriors, too. But because of the goggles, warriors in an insect war.

However well the girls finesse lacrosse, it's still a fast moving fight to the finish. Why no helmets, why no pads? Should girls coaches rethink the helmet rule? Just wondering.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Another way to kill strangers

Although cold in its application there is a saying around our house that pops up whenever we hear of someone dying in some incredibly stupid, senseless, what are the odds kind of way, "God really must have hated that so and so." For instance, someone killed by falling blue ice. Really, what are the odds? Works for cars crashing into houses, bridges falling, the usual.

For those not troubled by such things, man has created another stupid, senseless way to kill us off, a few rich folk at a time. The Terrafugia Transition.

Automobile and airplane in one stylish package. FAA approved, and street legal, with first deliveries scheduled for sometime in July. Set you back around $200,000 US. Gets better than 30 MPG on land and air, which is better than I can attest for our land yacht (although the land yacht hasn't been tested in air).

Imagine the turf battles brewing on who gets to write the accident reports, the FAA or the highway patrol.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

view from my window

Do kids still wear Davy Crockett hats?

Ben Franklin did.
My daily morning visitor may volunteer.

On the road, back Monday

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Birthaversary

Today, I present for your celebration our family's red letter day times two.

First, today marks our annual observance of the birth of our beloved son in law, darling daughter Katy's husband, Gary. He is the tall lad in the white shirt. Happy Birthday to Gary. Your prize is in the mail.

Most importantly, today is also Katy and Gary's fifth wedding anniversary. They were married in a gorgeous beach side service in Cancun, Mexico.

On that most special day I wished them much happiness, and hopes for many splendid years together. I redouble those wishes today. They make a cute couple, and as long as each believes the other is in completely in charge, they will be happy for many years to come.

Happy Anniversary to two of my favorites. They always make me smile.

The cutie in the green dress graduates from high school tomorrow. I can't wait for that show. More later.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cool Guy- Burt Bacharach

If you had asked me earlier if I could change anything about my appearance, I would have said I wanted to look like a young Burt Bacharach. Maybe it was the hair.

Burt turns 85 today.

Only saw him perform live once, july 4, 1970

The music playing in the front seat while...

Happy Birthday Mr. B, another Kansas City boy done good.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Panic

Have you ever heard anything on your car radio so funny you had to pull off because you were laughing too hard to see? I have. The first time I heard Douglas Adam's "A HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy" on public radio. The kids and I were on our way to church and I couldn't go in, I had to hear it through. More than any sermon I'll ever hear, it changed my life. Bits of what I learned appear here fairly often.

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, The HitchHiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least widely inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First it is slightly cheaper, and second it has the words "Don't Panic" inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."

Author Douglas Adams was one of those larger than life people for whom the rules for the commonplace rarely applied. His frequent collaborator, John Lloyd described him as "having the brain the size of a planet, but often seems to be living on a different one." Adams was dangerously funny, generous, interested in almost everything, constantly late, and loved the Beatles.

His claim to fame was "The HitchHikers Guide", but in time I suspect over time he will become better known for "The Last Chance to See" published in 1989, and its companion series on the BBC. In "Last Chance" Adams travels the world searching for species on the edge of extinction including white rhinos, komodo dragons, mountain gorillas,river dolphins and fruit bats. Twenty years later Stephen Fry took Adams place in a remake of the series, an exploration to see what had changed since Adam's trip. Adams called "Last Chance" his personal favorite.

On May 11, 2001 Adams died of a a heart attack.

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

I've been rereading his last and posthumous book, "A Salmon of Doubt" this week, and after several readings I'm still awed by the breadth of his knowledge. I wish I knew him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

While the cat was away...

When Mrs. T read of my plan to head south for the weekend, she quickly revised her schedule to make certain I would pick her up Saturday eve, instead of Sunday night. Being a stuck at home, I chose to make the best of it.

One of the benefits of age, is that your friends who still work, by now have pretty cool jobs. Taking advantage of friends cool job perks and fearing starvation, I thought it may be fun to play dress up and be taken to lunch, on the taxpayers nickel.

On Thursday I opted for the executive dining room at the bank. Banks always put on good spreads. The food is good, surroundings exquisite, the conversation insightful, and if the days of the 3 martini lunch are over at least the wine is properly chilled.

In an effort to hurry spring, and for Cinco d'Mayo's sake, I opted for khaki poplin. The tie is by Ellie Stager , the suit from Cable Car Clothiers, shoes tobacco suede cap toes by Alfred Sargent. I was not disappointed by lunch or my companions.

Friday, I had to resort to a buddy's expense account. On a casual Friday I probably could have gotten away with wearing anything, but I was still playing dress up. The weather, while warmer, was uncooperative for any of the white linen numbers aging comfortably in the dressing room. We weren't going to Galatoire's after all. Besides I wanted white for Derby Day.

I resorted to good old Brooks Brothers blue /white seersucker. I know it's early, sue me.

This summertime favorite is 15 years old. Since it's not an expandomatic, its been on the shelf awhile. Only had 8 fun summers wear. Last year I couldn't get the coat on, this year it's a bit loose. The tie is Ben Silver, the shoes, Scottish ducal ceremonial beach loafers.

Might I suggest that a wonderful lunch in good company, followed by whiling away bits of the afternoon puttering around the garden, a nap (in lieu of a postprandial cigar) followed by a trip to the gym is not an unpleasant way to spend a day. I recommend it become habit forming.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Straw Boaters

Bobby's Boston

My father went to great lengths to keep my rule making wish list in check, although I'm certain the world would now be a better place had my younger proscriptions been taken seriously. Time and again dad would quietly yet forcefully explain how those who cared enough to make rules, proceedures or policies had to care enough to enforce them. Not just once, but near forever I heard "It saps a man's will to live." That said,

I propose the following law:

That no man, not yet old enough to draw his retirement pension, may at any time or circumstance appear in public wearing a straw boater.

It's corollary is simple: Take the damn hat off, you look like a doofus. This, coming from a hat guy.

Have you ever seen a young man in a skimmer that didn't look like the hat was wearing him? No!

A skimmer needs more than youthful aplomb, it requires dignity, elsewise it looks costumey. The required gravitas is accrued only through experience. I've 2 in a hat box in my closet, that I hardly dare to look at, much less consider wearing.

These gentlemen demonstrate a properly worn boater.

Mr. William Benemann-UC -Berkeley
Conta Costa Times

My law specifially applies to menfolk only. Charlotte may wear whatever she chooses.

photographer unknown, maybe Mr. Mort


Sunday, May 8, 2011

High Maintenance

From the Kentucky Derby Web site

Since I enjoy looking at women in hats, and my bride refuses to wear them I'm occasionally forced to troll the electronispere for my fix.

I fell hard, head over heels in like with this photo. Doesn't she look like she'd be fun to share a julip with? Mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Just sayin'