Thursday, May 30, 2013

Annmarie's gift

If she hadn't died of cervical cancer last March, Tuesday would have been Annmarie James-Thomas 45th birthday.  Her husband found, among his wife's effects, her handwritten note of 20 points on how to live a happy life that she left behind for her 4 children.  Her children gifted her note to the world for her birthday.  They are worthy of your consideration. From The Telegraph

The 20 point plan is as follows:
What you put out comes back all the time - no matter what.

You define your own script. Don't let others write your script for you.

Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only if you give it power.

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.

Whatever you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.

If the only prayer you ever say is 'Thank you' then that will be enough.

The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.

Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.

If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.

Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn't lie.

Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.

Let passion drive your profession.

Love doesn't hurt. It feels really good.

Every day brings a chance to start over.

Doubt means "don't". Don't answer. Don't rush forward.

When you don't know what to do, be still. The answer will come.

Trouble doesn't last always.

This too shall pass.

I will act with the intent to be true to myself.
-Annmarie James-Thomas

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A confession

For years I have preached that straw boaters were appropriate for men only after they begin to collect full social security benefits. A hat that went out of fashion upon the death of John Dillinger (1934) is not for the young. Verily it's true, gravitas is necessary to keep the hat from wearing you.

Well, rules are meant to be broken, and I have broken mine...sort of.

I spent parts of several days searching for my copy of Mike, the Vanity Fair print shown above. I searched unsuccessfully, but looking at Mike's photo reminded me of my father, in the late '50's, taking me with him when he bought his boater. Passing that same shop last week, I stopped knowing I was leaving with a skimmer of my own.

Now that it's here I have come to several conclusions. First, I am surprised at how dressy it feels, it makes me stand up straighter and take notice. A skimmer needs a coat and tie to keep from becoming a cartoon hat. Next, I like it. It is cool, comfortable and feels good on. Finally, I have been right all along. Like love, it would be wasted on the young. Of course my bride hates it, and so the hat and I are going to age gracefully until our time comes.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank you

To the gold star families whose loss we honor and commemorate today, a grateful nation thanks you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Miles Davis- Birth of the Cool

Today we celebrate the birth of the man who gave us the Birth of the Cool, Miles Davis.  Miles, in spite of his demons, oozed cool.

Instead of recreating the wheel I present in full a post from one of my favorite sites A Hymn to Intellectual Beauty:Creative Minds and Fashion.  by the inimitable Deborah Parker:

Miles Davis

...behind a mask that seemed incapable of expressing anything, one sensed sensitivity and strength as well as a deeper level of expressivity. Small gestures, no matter how studied, expressed their awareness of their bodies and drew attention to their provocative sexuality, together conveying a new form of American naturalism.

These gestures, the relaxed posture, the studied inarticulateness, a calculated detachment, a certain angle of descent, merge with elements of the cool, a powerful metaphor for twentieth-century life. John Szwed, So What: The Life of Miles Davis.

I was changing my attitude about a lot of things, like the look of my wardrobe. I was working all these clubs where there was a lot of smoke, and it would get in the fabric of my suits. Plus, everyone was starting to dress a little looser at concerts, at least the rock musicians were, and that might have affected me. Everybody was into blackness, you know, the black consciousness movement, and so a lot of African and Indian fabrics were being worn. I started wearing African dashikis and robes and looser clothing plus a lot of Indian tops by a guy named Hernando, who was from Argentina and who had a place in Greenwich Village. That’s where Jimi Hendrix bought most of his clothes. So I started buying wraparound Indian shirts from him, patch suede pants from a black designer named Steven Burrows, and shoes from a place in London called Chelsea Cobblers…I had moved away from the cool Brooks Brothers look and into this other thing, which for me was more what was happening with the times. I found I could move around on the stage much better. I wanted to move on stage, play in different places, because there are areas on stage where the music and sound are much better than other places. I was starting to explore for those places. Miles Davis. Autobiography of Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe.

Before his performance, Mr. Davis will wear a single-breasted (one button) beige pongee suit, combining the French and Italian influence on pants and jacket. When Mr. Davis is playing on stage, he will be wearing a double-breasted gray imported silk (two buttons) featuring only two pockets to create an extra slim line. After his performance, Miles will relax in a pink, single-breasted seersucker jacket with matching pants, hand-made loafers of doeskin, and white sports shirt worn with a pink silk square. Press release for Randall Island Jazz Festival, 1961.

I wish I had a photo of Davis from the Randall Island Jazz Festival. The details of the top center photo are notable: the way the scarf is tied, the wide leather bracelet, the woven belt, and the snake-leather pants. Miles Davis has long been hailed as a fashion icon. The creator of Birth of the Cool has been placed on innumerable Fashion Hall of Fame lists. His style has ranged from Brooks Brothers prep to African-inspired dress. In April 1961 GQ chose Davis as “Fashion Personality of the Month; Esquire named Davis one the best dressed men in America in 1960. No one played the trumpet like him, no one embodied cool with such throwaway ease. Listen to some of his classic pieces.

Deborah Parker

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before Facebook

Once upon a time, before Facebook turned status declarations digital  it was a custom amongst teens for the guys to give their class ring to their steady girlfriend as a public demonstration that they were a couple, which often as not p***** off the girl's mother.  Naturally, the ring never fit her and ingenious ways were created to make it fit.

Having the ring resized was not an option, so some girls purchased a ring guard, which was placed around the shank of the ring.  If memory serves it rarely worked, so the next best option was to wear the ring on a necklace.  Most girls however settled for a strip of athletic tape wound through the band.

I have never removed my wedding band, and I rarely take off the signet ring. However, on 3 occasions since Friday my wedding band has slipped off, twice I didn't notice it gone but Mrs.T did, fortunately quickly.  I will have it professionally resized, just not yet.  In the meantime I've stocked up on tape.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

John Tyler

Once out of office American Presidents are pretty much forgotten about.  Students may be required learn the   presidents names and the order they served, but that sort of info is forgotten immediately.  As adults we can recite the names the first half dozen, skip to #16 (Lincoln) then jump to Franklin Roosevelt.  There is even one, John Tyler of Virginia, our 10th, whose death was never formally acknowledged by the US government.

Born in 1790, Tyler was elected in 1840 as Wm. Henry Harrison's vice president.  Tyler became president when Harrison died one month after his inauguration, serving 1 term. A fervent Virginian, Tyler was elected to the Confederate Congress at the start of the Civil War, but died before taking his seat in the new congress. Then at war with the Confederacy, the US pointedly ignored his service to the US at the time of his death.

In the early 21st century president Tyler is known for 2 things.  His administration worked hard to have Texas admitted as a US state, and his 15 children by 2 wives (8 and 7).  The 5th child of wife 2, Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935), served 30 years as president of William and Mary College.

 Harrison Ruffin Tyler

Two of his sons, Harrison Ruffin Tyler and Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr are still alive. Harrison lives at President Tyler's Virginia plantation, Sherwood Forest.  In 2001 his family donated $5 million to William and Mary's Lyon Gardiner Tyler Department of History.

Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr.

Lyon and Harrison Tyler, now each in their 80's are grandsons of a man born in 1790.  A remarkable feat.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day to our friends and neighbors to the north.


Lindbergh enroute

May 20, 1927 was a big day for Mayberry.  Charles Lindbergh, in his Mayberry funded "Spirit of St. Louis" airplane, took off from Long Island, New York's Roosevelt Field headed north then southeast towards Paris, France.  Jimmy Stewart made it look easy.

Over time St. Louis  forgot Lucky Lindy, but one artefact remains.  Perhaps the worst airport in North America may be ours, Lambert International.  The airport, named for Mr. Albert Bond Lambert, a local nabob interested in flying and the scion of the creator of Listerine Mouthwash was Lindbergh's primary financial backer.    


Sunday, May 19, 2013


Today is the anniversary of the 1935 death of Col. Thomas Edward Lawrence DSO,CB, Croix de Guerre, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and a long time hero of mine.

In August 1922, in an attempt to evade his celebrity Lawrence enlisted in the RAF under the name John Hume Ross.  His enlistment officer believing Ross an alias, challenged Lawrence to come clean.  Lawrence admitted he lied and was dismissed from the service.  Later that day Lawrence along with an RAF messenger returned to the enlisting officer where the messenger delivered an order for Lawrence's enlistment.  It was during this RAF enlistment that Aircraftman Lawrence wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Lawrence's notoriety caught up with him the following February when the Daily Express exposed his serving as an enlisted man causing a public embarrassment for his superiors.  Lawrence was promptly discharged by the RAF.

Later that year he changed his name to TE Shaw and joined the Royal Tank Corps, which he hated and repeatedly petitioned to rejoin the RAF, which finally relented under pressure from the PM in 1925.  The RAF hustled him off to a remote corner of India for the next 2 1/2 years.

HT Lawrence Tender

Upon his return to England, Lawrence was transferred to the RAF Marine section where he helped to develop a series of fast tenders used to ferry passengers to flying boats, fire tenders and rescue boats. His work saved many downed aircrew during the Second World War.

May he rest in peace.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

A nation of homesteaders

Monday marks the 151st anniversary of one of the signing of one most generous U.S. property laws.  On May 20, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Homestead Act into law.  The Homestead Act which went into effect the next January 1 gave everyone, including former slaves and women, who were over 21 or a head of household and had never taken up arms against the US (this was during the Civil War) a claim for 160 acres of  unappropriated federal land.   To be awarded their deed homesteaders had to live on their claim for 5 years and  show proof of having improved the land.

The quarter section grant fulfilled Thomas Jefferson's vision that a nation of small farmers would help protect American democracy, 160 acres was in his view the perfect sized family farm.  The aim was to populate the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

Oklahoma Land Rush

Over time the Act was amended to meet and comply with federal policy changes, and was finally .  During its 124 year history 4 million families filed claims for 270 million acres, perhaps a quarter of the claims became successful working farms.   The last deed was granted in 1988 to Kenneth Deardorff for 80 acres on the Stony River in Southwestern Alaska


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Public Service Announcement IV

Topeka Capital Journal photo

One of the responsibilities of being male is bearing the burden of the "I'm right" gene.  Men know what's best, and are intolerant of those who believe otherwise.  That's why we do most of the things we do, we do it our way, not someone else's.  I am here today gentlemen to ask you to do something another way.

The fire crew in the photo above is at the home of lifelong friends of people we love.  The fire investigator suggests that the probably avoidable fire was caused by a series of events many of us are guilty of.  The day was hot and Dad having just finished cutting the grass put the lawnmower away.  It is speculated the still hot mower was parked too near a gas can in an enclosed garage.  The heat from the mower... gas fumes... fire truck.

For 50 years, that's the way he did it without a problem.  Neither dad nor anyone on his street will ever do it dad's way again.  You shouldn't either.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yogi Berra- cool guy

As a boy growing up in St. Louis it was anathema to root for anything New York, we worshipped in the National League having no truck with the American league especially the Yankees, with one exception Yogi Berra.

At home, baseball broadcasts on the radio were the background music of our lives.  The voice of the Cardinals was Harry Carey (who later became the Chicago Cubs broadcaster), and his sidekick was a local boy and former Cardinal catcher Joe Garagiola, who went on to a long a prosperous broadcasting career.  Garagiola used to brag that not only wasn't he the best catcher in baseball, as a kid he wasn't the best catcher on his block.  Joe's best friend as a kid was the boy across the street, Yogi Berra who later became a Yankee catcher and Hall of Famer.

Garagiola left the Cardinal broadcast booth and was replaced by a young announcer named Jack Buck, who later was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, as was Garagiola.  In one of those truth is stranger than fiction episodes, Buck and his wife purchased their first home on the street where Joe and Yogi grew up.  It is most likely the only street in America where three Baseball Hall of Fame members lived.  The street has been renamed to Baseball Hall of Fame Place in honor of the tree men.    

Yogi whose birthday was Sunday was as well known for his pithy comments as for his baseball prowess.  Here from Things People Said are a couple of my favorite Yogi-isms.

"This is like deja vu all over again."

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

"Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time.

"I take a two hour nap, from one o'clock to four."

"You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left."

"I made a wrong mistake."

"If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them."

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"I didn't really say everything I said.

Happy Birthday Yogi


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Corps of Discovery

Hoping to purchase the city of New Orleans from Napoleon, in early 1803 a group of American diplomats sailed to Paris to inquire about its availability.  More in need of cash to fight the British than of North American territory, on April 30, 1803 the French government agreed to sell the entire  850,000 square mile French territory of Louisiana to the United States for 3 cents per acre. 

As anyone who just bought a piece of property would do, President Thomas Jefferson was curious to determine just what exactly he bought.  Unavailable to go himself, Jefferson retained Army Captain Merriwether Lewis, a known frontiersman to command a "Corps of Discovery" to see what he would find.  The Corps orders were concise:

"The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri River, & such principle stream of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purpose of commerce"

Captain Lewis selected William Clark as his second in command.  The Corps of Discovery consisting of 9 young men from Kentucky, 14 Army volunteers, 2 French watermen, and Lewis's black servant crossed the Mississippi River just north of the confluence of the Missouri River upriver from St. Louis on this day 1804.  Clark and his party joined the Corps 2 days later at the Missouri river town of St. Charles

The crew left St. Charles, to begin their 2 year expedition, the morning of May 15, camping that night on an island located a short walk from where I sit. 


Sunday, May 12, 2013


I swiped this 1987 photo from the "upscale men and women's retailer" Paul Stuart NY's Tumbler site.  Admittedly, 1987 was a long time ago, and I may have only 1 suit hanging in my closet from that era, but try as I might I cannot recall jackets ever being that long.

Was that truly the fashion, or is this simply an editorial shot?


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Like I'd trust you

The weather has been near perfect for mushroom hunting in Mayberry woods.  Plenty of rain, cool night temps, daily highs not so high, yet my memory is poor so I am pleasantly surprised each spring when the fungi appear.   I awoke yesterday to a ground swell  everywhere we mulched last fall. I immediately invited my bride to share our bounty. She rained on my parade. Had I better memory I would have remembered we had this discussion last year as well.

"What do you know about mushrooms?", she inquired.  "Not a damn thing, nor I don't particularly like eating mushrooms."  The conversation went downhill from there.  Supposedly there are a trillion or so varieties of mushrooms.  Some you can eat, some will make you ill, some will drop you dead.

Unless you know EXACTLY what you are doing, it is best to leave wild mushrooms alone, the penalty for poor performance is great while the markup at the neighborhood farmers market isn't so high as to be off putting.  And it's good to have someone else to blame.

Welcome spring.


Friday, May 10, 2013


I took in an early matinee and save for a few continuity snafus, and the likelihood you could read the book in less time than the movie runs, I liked it. I'll share a few comments.

1. Leo DiCaprio is Gorgeous.  I never realized how good looking he is.

2.  You are likely to better enjoy the movie if you erase any preconceived notions you brought outside the theatre.  Pretend you never read or had heard of The Great Gatsby, see it with an open mind.

3. The women and their costumes are a treat.

4.  I do not believe I have ever seen a movie in which the men's clothing fit so poorly, especially the shirts and jackets.  For a while I believed this was on purpose, but I couldn't understand Daisy becoming worked up over ill fitting shirts.  Nothing was tailored, and it became distracting.

4.  The film, while not Great, was much better than I hoped, and unworthy of most of its bad reviews as long as you do not take the film seriously.

Enjoy, it's worth the $4


Winston takes over

To my mind modern Britain stands upon 2 pillars of strength, each pillar powerfully influenced the outcome of  World War II.  The first, the abdication of King Edward VIII, Hitler's King in Waiting. Perhaps the greatest single event in the history of England.  The abdication not only brought Bertie to the throne but perhaps more importantly his wife, the steely Queen Elizabeth. I attribute David's post war survival to the innate kindness of the English people and that they were simply tired of death. He and Wallis would have been strung up in most non-English speaking countries.

Kings no longer lead armies into battle but they can and often do lead the people. Bertie and Elizabeth's wartime example, staying in London and sharing the day to day suffering of the locals was a needed tonic to a country at war, and one they would have never gotten from Bertie's predecessor.

The second, and perhaps just as unlikely to predict as the abdication, was Winston Churchill's 1940 invitation from King George VI to form a government as prime minister.  Churchill had, at best, a checkered history in politics, was distrusted by both Labour and the Conservatives, but the only armed service actively preparing for the coming war was Winston's Admiralty .  On this date in 1940 Winston took on the role he prepared for his entire life. " I was conscious of a profound sense of relief" he later wrote, "At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene.  I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial."

World War II history is difficult to imagine without him at the helm.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

VE Day

Lost in the homogenization of public holidays is any real understanding of what the holidays represent.  Today was once celebrated as VE Day, (victory in Europe)  the surrender of the German Army, ending European hostilities during World War 2.  For some of us and especially for our parents the events of VE Day were A BIG DEAL, and cause for celebration.  Over time, VE Day memories have faded away, and we've all lost out.

Racing must have been a really big deal in 1940's New Haven!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Dead or Alive?

On date nite Fridays, the discussion will often turn to old movie actors, generally someone whose face we can recall, you know the guy in... but the name doesn't come until Tuesday. The conversation usually leads to "oh, he died in..." or "Jeepers, I saw him on x, he's gotta be 100 by now, at least he looks it." The level of surety increases the later the evening (or with each pouring).

Ya can't kid a kidder and each of us knows the other is wrong. That is why we've upped the stakes and turned it into a wagering game using "Dead or Alive Info" to settle our disputes. Dead or Alive is a website dedicated to answering the question "Is so and so still alive?"

There are any number of ways to sort their data, by date, age, occupation or... My favorite is who have you outlived. I've outlived the Shah of Iran.

If you want to bone up on your obits take one of the quizzes found on the left margin.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

To gray or not to gray

Saturday evening I explained a summary of the results of a learned study I had been reading to my bride. The study, published by The American Societies of Experimental Biology announced that scientists have developed a "cure" for gray hair. According to scientists "people who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out." More importantly they have created a potion when applied topically will reverse the effects of the hydrogen peroxide buildup. As an added benefit the same potion reverses the effects of Vitiligo, a condition which causes skin to depigment.

"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed. While this is exciting news, what's even more exciting is that this also works for vitiligo. This condition, while technically cosmetic, can have serious socio-emotional effects of people. Developing an effective treatment for this condition has the potential to radically improve many people's lives."

All in all wonderful news, unless you own Clairol stock, and so lives my problem.

Mrs. T responded to my report by saying that certainly she knew of "someone" who would gladly sign up for a low cost, simple, lasting cure for graying hair, and she postulated that many women would happily throw over their hair dying regime and take the cure. While not interested for myself, I certainly understand the advantages offered.

"But" I asked, "how many 40 yo women truly want to find out what color their hair really is?" and so my trouble began.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Public Service Announcement

This will likely shock you but according to a study published this week in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 79% of us do not meet the national physical activity guidelines recommending we get 2.5 hours per week of moderate aerobic activity and undertake at least twice a week muscle strengthening activity. The latest statistics are based on self-reported data from more than 450,000 respondents participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual phone survey of adults, 18 and older.

Among the findings:

• 21% of adults say they met both the aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines.

• About 52% say they are meeting the aerobic activity guideline.

• 29% say they are meeting the muscle-strengthening activity recommendation.

• The range of people meeting the overall guidelines varied by state. For instance, 27% of those in Colorado met them compared with 13% in Tennessee and West Virginia.

• Women, Hispanics, older adults and obese adults were all less likely to meet the exercise guidelines.


I may be fat, but I've finally I've come to understand just how damaging that is and I am working hard not to be. I promise not to preach, but if you can't take a walk then forego the lift and climb the stairs. Park at the back of the lot. Stand more, sit less. A bit of exercise costs nothing and does a world of good. I need you around.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

In honor of Colorado

In the old days I would periodically post wedding stories that struck me as interesting enough to share. In honor of the state of Colorado's implementation of same sex civil unions, I thought it appropriate to reprise an oldie.

August 9, 2009
Let's Modernize Weddings

For years, I have begun my Sundays by reading the NY Times Vows section. The sense of hope and optimism on display has long been a tonic to the rest of the paper. I still enjoy it, but its also beginning to bring me down. Allow me to explain.

Take Sunday's paper for example. Twenty nine couples exchanged vows. Most weddings were performed by traditional priests, rabbis or ministers in traditional churches, temples, or synagogues. Almost half were married in what would have been considered a non traditional setting, not many years ago.

Twenty four per cent of the weddings were conducted by folk who mailed in a check and won an ordination. Think about this a bit.

We've all been to those weddings where the newly Rev'ed, Aunt Jane, is the officiant. These weddings always feel like a mixed metaphor to me. If the betrothed do not want a religious ceremony why go through the hassle?

I am beginning to prefer the Colorado method.

In Colorado, and probably many of the formerly frontier states, a couple is considered married, when and if, they say they are. End of story. No preachers, Justice of the Peaces, judges or anyone else required. Makes perfect sense. Probably gives the family law attorneys fits too.

Currently, this right does not extend to all Colorado's citizens and that's not fair. Hopefully, we will overcome that prejudice soon.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


My interest in men's clothing pales in comparison to my mentors and friends of the cloth.  They play in the bigs, while I'm content to sit in the stands, hoping to pick up a dropped pearl of wisdom, if not actively back sliding in the sale racks at Land's End.  A dandy I am not.

Few public dandies exist. There are strivers, artists and actors seeking attention for their current project, but to become a true dandy, a lifetime commitment and unwavering eye is necessary, Tom Wolfe qualifies, few others.

The master was the late great Richard Merkin, writer, artist and until his death, longtime faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design.  Richard is being honored at RISD as the inspiration for their current fashion exhibit Artists/Rebels/Dandies, now through August 18th.

"The iconic painter and self-professed dandy Richard Merkin MFA 63 PT, who taught at RISD for 42 years before his death in 2009, actually inspired the show, according to Curator of Costume and Textiles Kate Irvin and Assistant Curator Laurie Brewer. They lovingly describe him as “an exemplary artist/rebel/dandy persona who placed equal creative emphasis on his painting, illustrations, journalism and, of course, raiment. Merkin knowingly broke the rules of
the game in his art and his dress, enthusiastically exploring the outer limits of convention while staying within its bounds.” A section of the exhibition is devoted to the late professor and helps tie together the show’s broader look at the “unity of art, life and clothing,” as Irvin puts it. 

"The exhibition includes more than 200 suits, hats, shoes, shirts and other objects – from Merkin’s closet and those of celebrities such as Fred AstaireAndy Warhol and John Waters – that probe the strong aesthetic and artistic drive behind each dandy’s approach to personal presentation. It steps back in time to explore the sophisticated style of Beau Brummell (1778–1840) – who purportedly polished his boots with champagne – and travels forward to contemporary examples of artists who exemplify both the revolutionary and at times romantic spirit typical of a true dandy. Beautifully tailored garments are featured alongside portraits, photographs and fashion plates depicting the larger-than-life personalities who wore them, including literary icons like Mark TwainOscar Wilde and Tom Wolfe."

Sounds like fun.  A companion book will be available later this month from the usual sources.