Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Book Week

Half Priced Books

"But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me." Mark Twain

America delights in euphanism.  Out of politeness we refer to anyone who attempts to judge what's best for others a "censor" when in fact they are bigots.   It is our duty as thinking human beings to eradicate bigotry in all its forms.  To accept is to condone.

This week begins the American Library Association's Banned Book Week.  All of your favorite movels have been banned, somewhere, sometime, by someone.  By shining the light of truth on the oppressors of knowledge, the ALA attempts to make citizens aware of the many attacks on our liberty.  Support their good work.


T. S. Persons

Banned Book Week begins on the birthday of frequently banned American novelist Truman S. Persons Capote one time boyhood next door neighbor to Nelle Harper Lee.  Best known for his novel In Cold Blood, Truman was also an extraordinary short story writer (which I prefer to his novels).  If you doubt me reread Breakfast at Tiffany's.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sunday Nights

Were any of you fans of the I Hate Men Network's (Lifetime) hit show Army Wives?  Were you as bereft as Mrs. T by the phony ending of the series finale?  Take heart ladies.

The series has quietly been renewed for another season beginning as always, in the spring.  Probably with a mostly new cast however.  Just thought I'd share.



The three prints are printer's proofs of  lithographs which first appeared in the old British magazine Vanity Fair which have been collecting dust for several years that I finally decided to have framed.  Having three identically sized VF prints of not very interesting subjects hanging on my office wall,  my plan was to reuse the old frames, only having the prints rematted.

Believing I was onto a fairly simple task I gathered my cache, printed a coupon and headed to the nearby Michaels.  After spending an hour with the department manager I discovered several things.

Shopping at Michaels without a coupon isn't done. It's like paying full retail at Bed Bath and Beyond. Only males do it.

Due to Michaels convoluted pricing and discount structure it cost $1 more per print to have them reframed with new glass and mats than to have new mats only.

I'm feeling ill used, and promise to hone my exacto knifing on mat board before my next  rematting adventure.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Two stories

1.  An early Halloween story.

What did the zero say to the eight?

                Nice Belt!

2.  The surviving Beach Grandpa's (nee Boys) are on tour in the UK, in what was a long anticipated 50th anniversary tour (one year late).  Mike Love, who acquired the rights to the BB name and catalog, following Brian Wilson's sojour through mental health and drug issues is the defacto Beach Boy.

Mike in a statement of total honesty, making him uneligible for any public office anywhere, fired the rest of the band effective after tonight's concert. Love said his decision was "financially motivated".  His usual backing band wil resume the tour later.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


I hope it's not just a boy thing, but having grown up in an era where sending humans into space was a really big deal I'm still hooked on what's beyond.  I don't know a thing, and even after extensive cocktailing with really smart space folk I have less than a dilletants understanding of my own back yard.  Forget about the dark side of the moon.

That is why I frequently check in with the folks at NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, APOD to you, if you please.  Most of their photo's are rather prosaic like the snap above of astronaut Aki Hoshide outside the International space Station.  Then there are the take you breath away photos taken by Hubble which look deep into the origins of the solar system.

Take a look periodically.  More importantly, if you have children or grandchildren show them, understanding that their world is greater than their own neighborhood  may stimulate an interest in expanding their education. As Douglas Adams said " in an infinite universe, not only are all things possible, they are likely."


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A twist on Formal Wear

From M Magazine July 1985

I was thumbing through a stack of old magazines and came across this photo in M Magazine's July 1985 edition, the height of the magazine's popularity.

After a cursory glance you're likely to say something about what a good looking guy that is.  Look a little closer and perhaps you're thinking, men's formal wear hasn't changed at all in the past 27 years.  Look  closer still and you'll say WTW?  What was Perry thinking, or more importantly what did Perry think he was thinking?

Usually the eye scans for the detail, this jacket has NO DETAIL. Single button, no lapel, no breast pocket. I asked a buddy of ours who worked for Perry in those days if this was pure editorial or if they thought they would get away with it.  Apparently, they sold enough to call it a success.  Easy to tailor though.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

yom kippur

G'mar Hatimah Tovah


Year of the Turtle

It's not often I accept sartorial advice from our dogs, but Charlie has declared this to be the fall/winter of the turtleneck. I'd prefer a non-winter, such as we had last year, but the odds are long on its rehappening so soon, so I clicked on the computer and went shopping.

My closet is full, my seasonal needs are zero, I would like 3 turtlenecks.  For Christmas several years ago #1 son gave me a black pima cotton Ralph turtleneck, which I adore.  I became hooked on Ralph's turtles, accepting few substitutes.  This season I'm searching for just the right green and waiting for a dark gray to arrive.  I'd be a more confident shopper if I believed the colors on my monitor.

Last winter I faux pawed as we say around here.  Unwilling to suffer for my art I purchased a creme, cotton Orvis submariner sweater.  I knew better, I simply did not do better.  I should have then, and have now acquired the wool RAF/Submariner sweater from What Price Glory.  The Orvis is good, this is better.

Shopping  'till Spring is over.

Mississippians around the world have a holiday today in honor of Wm. Faulkner's birthday.  He'd appreciate you sharing a bit of whiskey with friends on his special day.


Monday, September 24, 2012

F Scott Fitzgerald

High School English class.  How awful! For the first 3 years I had the same teacher.  He loved Dickens and short choppy sentences.  I learned to tolerate old Boz, and the chop came naturally.  

Senior year, my school got a second English teacher and all we dumb kids were"elected" to join the new kid's class.  He loved Fitzgerald.  At 17 which would you rather read David Copperfield or The Great Gatsby?  Tender is the Night or Oliver Twist?

 (Then he wrote Gatsby)

Today's birthday boy is more likely remembered than read, which is a shame.  Many of his stories haven't aged well, but there are few better sentence stylists alive or dead.  It was Scott Fitzgerald who taught me to love literature and for that I'll always be grateful.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's not to love

What's not to love about cashmere?  The two winter coats arrived yesterday. Both need to be steamed, and my camera lens needs to be scrubbed, but other than that....

I made a mistake.  I assumed.  I double checked sizes and I forgot one important ingredient. Both are labeled the same size, a size up from my BB trench, which is my cold weather benchmark. The navy fits perfectly.  It makes me wish for cold weather, which normally I despise, and the cashmere weighs a ton but feels so incredibly soft.  The double breasted camelhair although returnable will likely fit next year, or perhaps the year after.

For what little I paid I'd rather keep the DB around just to look at rather than send it back.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Post Nuclear Beer may be safe

Robert Krulwich, science reporter for NPR, is also a blogger writing Krulwich Wonders buried deep inside the NPR web site. Yesterday Bob tackled the important question of the safety of the US beer supply in the event of a nuclear explosion. I'll let him tell the story (mildly edited by me).

U.S. Explodes Atomic Bombs Near Beers To See If They Are Safe To Drink
09:42 am

September 19, 2012


So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

This could happen, no? Not to everybody, but let's say it happens to you. Have you been wondering what to do?

Well, wonder no longer.

Thanks to my friend, science historian Alex Wellerstein, we are now in possession of a 1957 U.S. government study called "The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages," which addresses this very question: After the bomb, can I drink the beer?

Written by three executives from Can Manufacturers Institute and the Glass Container Manufacturers Institute for the Federal Civil Defense Administration, the study says that after placing cans and bottles of soda and beer next to an actual atomic explosion, after measuring subsequent radioactivity and after actual taste tests, go ahead: Grab that can, pop it open and drink away.

"These beverages could be used as potable water sources for immediate emergency purposes as soon as the storage area is safe to enter after a nuclear explosion."

If you can make it to the store, you can drink. How do they know this?

Well, in 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded two bombs, one "with an energy release equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT," the other 30 kilotons, at a test site in Nevada. Bottles and cans were carefully placed various distances from ground zero. Notice, on this list, some of them are "returnable."

The closest containers were placed "less than a quarter-mile away," says Alex, "a mere 1,056 feet," the outliers a couple of miles off. Some were buried, some left in batches, others were placed side by side.

Lots of bottles survived, too. Some were shattered by flying debris, fell off shelves, or got crushed by collapsing materials, but a surprising number stayed intact.

Will the beer be radioactive?

As for radiation, they checked, and found that bottles closest to ground zero were indeed radioactive, but only mildly so. Exposure, the authors say, "did not carry over to the contents." The sodas and beer were "well within the permissible limits for emergency use," which means, says Alex, "It won't hurt you in the short term."

Will it taste good?

But what about taste? Post-bomb beer might not poison you, but will it keep its flavor?

The report says, "Immediate taste tests [gotta wonder who got that job] indicated that the beverages, both beer and soft drinks, were still of commercial quality, although there was evidence of a slight flavor change in some of the products exposed at 1,270 feet from Ground Zero." The most blasted beers were "definitely off."

The first tasters then passed samples to selected laboratories for further testing, and this time the contents were rated "acceptable." So here's your government's considered advice: Should you find yourself near an atomic blast and run short of potable water, you can chug a Coke or a beer, but don't expect it to taste great.

What's the lesson here?

There's a second lesson here, Alex thinks. Because beverages in bottles and cans keep you safely hydrated in dire emergencies, it makes sense to keep a six-pack or two or three (or four), in the basement, just in case. What if there's no lootable convenience store conveniently close by?

"For me, the takeaway here is that the next time you find yourself stocking up on beer, remember, it's not just for the long weekend," he says. "It might be for the end of days."

If you want to see the government report, you can find it here. Alex Wellerstein's analysis "Beer and the Apocalypse" (which I used to write my story) appeared on his blog, Restricted Data.

None for me please.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Any Baker Street Irregulars?

There are any number of books based upon the Conan Doyle stories but I've become hooked this summer on Laurie R. King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

Ms. King decided that upon his retirement to Dorset, Sherlock befriended a promising young American girl who as she matured became Holmes' intellectual equal. Over time the fell in love and married, taking on cases only as necessary.

Holmes and his brother Mycroft are portrayed more humanly than Doyle ever let on, and although purists may choke on the suggestion that Sherlock wed, Russell is a more perfect foil than Watson.

I'm 4 down with the next 2 on order from my local bibliotech. I give them a B+.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do you Tumblr?

Churchill looks at enemy positions from a fortified forward position in Italy in 1944. “It took me a little while to get used to the fact that in two days his cigar consumption was the equivalent of my weekly salary,” his valet Roy Howells wrote later.

Do you Tumblr? I've liberated so many of their photos I felt compelled to sign on. I haven't a clue to what I'm doing, but its been raining lately, so I am having indoor fun experimenting.

Left unchecked this could become a greater time sink than Angry Birds. You can watch me at, just don't spend all day doing it.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Did you notice?

Too long missing blogger Dumbwit Tellher has returned. O happy day!


Thrifters rejoice

Global warming be damned, how to decide? A camelhair for day or navy for night. Our family motto is "why chose?".

I was fortunate to find the camelhair on Etsy, the navy cashmere on EBAY. $100 delivered for both. Many thanks to all for your great suggestions.

They should both arrive by Friday. I'll report on them after they arrive.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rosh Hashanah

Today begins the High Holy Days, the start of the Jewish Festival of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.

Let the shofar sound!

"Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of the Day of Remembrance."

Happy New Year

Saturday, September 15, 2012

agatha christie's bd

Dame Agatha Christie

Would be a spry 120 today. Happy Birthday, Dame Agatha.


Friday, September 14, 2012


I was leafing through Nick Foulkes' dunhill by design and came across this snap of Amelia Earhart, taken in Newfoundland just prior to her transatlantic flight, on June 14, 1928. Until seeing this photo I had never realized just how beautiful Amelia was. It's no wonder they continue looking for her.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The price of ego

Of my many faults, perhaps the most costly is my incurable ability to find false economy in every home project. I'll give you an example.

Last week we had the first quarter mile of our driveway professionally sealed. Believing the price should be a number that I had fantasized, based upon similar work undertaken 30 years ago, I was appalled when the bill rolled in. Being male and having time on my hands, my second response was that I could have done it myself for a heck of a lot less.

And so it was.

Having another 1000 feet or so still to do, I set out to prove that I could do the job better, faster and cheaper than the hired hands. So I set off for Lowes Depot to take in supplies. I estimated based upon the manufacturer's suggestion that I would need 4 buckets of goo and a new squeegee to do the job.

50 feet into the job I was down 2 buckets and learned the pro's price is pretty fair. The problem now is I have created a mess and still need to finish the job . The price is always high when ego is on the line.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

H.L. Mencken-Cool Guy Redux

Today would be the birthday of Henry Louis Mencken, sage of Baltimore, social critic and spokesman for the civilized minority, attacker of anything deemed inimical to the freedom of the artist. He described his function as "stirring up the animals". Fifty six years after his death, and 64 years since he was able to write a word, his wit and wisdom still shines. Harry is one of my patron saints. Here are some of my favorite Menckenisms.
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self-reliance. he is fed no longer by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word mongers, uplifters.

The United States, to my eye, is incomparably the greatest show on earth...we have clowns among us who are as far above the clowns of any other great state as Jack Dempsey is above the paralytic-and not a few dozen or score of them, but whole droves and herds.

The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.

The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

All government, of course, is against liberty.

A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.

To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient.

No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes that she were not.

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.

Happy birthday Harry!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Proof Positive- An Editorial

Most American's are over the horror of 9/11/01. Know how I can tell? My countrymen tend to tune out whenever politicians prattle about money. A successful politician is all too well aware of this phenomena and know the best way to spend obscene amounts of cash and gain political points is to talk openly about spending in his neck of the woods, while their constituents tune out. Eleven years on there are TOO MANY POLITICIANS AND TOO MUCH MONEY playing the grief game.

From the front page of Sunday's New York Times:

"A dispute between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the ONE BILLION Dollar (and growing, emphasis mine ) museum at ground zero has dragged on for so long that the museum will not open in time for the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks-or even the next one."


Monday, September 10, 2012

Mon Avis, Mes Amis

Not so very long ago I cleaned out my Google reader on the mistaken belief that if one of my friends hadn't written in a year or so they probably weren't coming back. I made a huge mistake, missing the return of Mon Avis, Mes Amis

Thanks to ADG for the kick in the pants.


Thrifters: Be on the Lookout

Amb. Joseph V. Reed
Anderson and Sheppard- A Style is Born

One of the wardrobe foundations of any man who lives where cold winters exists should be the classic camelhair polo coat. A Double breasted, patch pocketed, peak lapeled, with or without the half belted back, sleeve cuffs or other geegaws polo, will outlive the first 2 generations of men who own the coat, with the benefit of it never going out of style. New, they cost a bomb.

Global warming be damned, I'm in the hunt for one, but am unwilling and unable to pay retail, or even spring "get rid of 'em" prices. I wanna thrift store find.

Thrifters/Estate salers, if you run across a great one, especially one several generations old, in size 46-52 pick it up for me. Remember, we're thrifting, I've waited this long, so what's a few more years, please don't get carried away. If the label says Jos Banks, run away.


Friday, September 7, 2012


The women of KKG have declared white shoe season over for the year, so free thinkers that we are we have dutifully buried our summer whites in the back of the closet until next summer. It is still too hot to drag out fall wear, but something new is necessary order to bridge the changing of the seasons.

I recommend the Utilikilt from Think Geek.

The model shown is made from
natural poly-cotton and features large pockets with big, riveted manly snaps to prevent your losing stuff. Perfect for wanna be Scots, or those gentlemen who want to look cool while being cool.

Think Geek offers the following very sound advice to those of you shopping for your first Utilikilt.

"Now, PAY ATTENTION! Those pants you're wearing - odds are the waist size is a lie! If you're used to wearing size 34 jeans, it's likely you'll need a size 36 Utilikilt. Oi! You! I said PAY ATTENTION! Get out a tape measure and measure your waist with yer sissy-boy pants ON! See that number? That's the size you need. I don't want to be hearin' any of you crying to yer mum, "Oh, I bought the wrong size!" Man-up, ye precious thing and get it right the first time!

Product Features
Made from durable yet soft poly-cotton blend.
Equipped with stainless steel snaps.
Designed to be worn low on your hips.
Intended for guys 5'8" to 6'2" -- 23 inches long.

On sale at 25 % off- only USD $150.

When your Utilkilt arrives, please send photos.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'll do it when...

As many of my male brethren do, I bristle when I hear the phrase "tomorrow, you need to ...." directed towards me. "You should..." doesn't sit much better.

I was tag teamed Tuesday with a group "you need to...". I was you shoulded into believing that I wanted to remove several overgrown boxwood bushes. It wasn't the first time the subject had been broached, nor the second. I simply didn't want to do it. I love those bushes, I love their size, and how they anchor the entire hedge.

Mrs. T was away for the afternoon, and knowing she wouldn't notice for weeks I opted for a compromise course. I ruthlessly pruned.

And pruned and pruned and....

And made piles and piles, and..

And cleared and cleared and cleaned and

until I wore my self out.

I admit it, Mrs. T was right, and I was wrong. It does look much nicer with the bushes cut back. I should have done this two or three "you shoulds "ago, or even better 3 or 4 years ago.

Enjoy your day.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

ludi romani

For thousands of years, September has been a month of festivals, religious, military and harvest. We shall explore several of them this month beginning with the Roman festival Ludi Romani, the Roman Games.

Always a public holiday, the Ludi Romani, celebrated on the Ides of September 509 BC , were held to honor the god Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter the best and greatest) whose intersession was believed essential during the Roman wars against the Sabines. A temple dedicated to the Roman's principal gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva was dedicated at that time.

Festivals proved to be popular with the Romans and over the centuries the one day Ludi Romani festival evolved into a two week public orgy as days were added in honor of other gods and once human, now divine heroes. Upon Julius Caesar's death the Ludi Romani, already a 14 day festival was expanded once more to include September 4, in honor of the Caesar.

Party on.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Khan Academy

While American's celebrate Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, the rest of the world must earn their daily bread. To assist your efforts, I'll share one of the more interesting things I've come across in a while, better late than never. The first part is a video from the television program 60 Minutes.

The segment is about Khan Academy, a non profit, web based educational tool. Their mission is "to provide a free world class education to anyone anywhere. I despised almost every day I ever spent in a classroom, this may have made a difference.

Khan's approach to education is Competency ie Mastery based vs traditional, bell curved General Education. The debate over which is better has raged for decades. Your answer will depend upon who's ox is being gored, your child's or your school.


Saturday, September 1, 2012