Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Audibly

The copyright of this image is owned by Gentleman's Gazette.  Thanks for permission, Sven!

Ice rattles in tumblers, billiard balls clack, leather chairs groan as summer suits settle into them. Men laugh and their polished shoes clunk on the wooden floor that gaps the perimeter of the old rugs. Several day-sparrows spark around in the city trees outside along the avenue, somewhere a siren works its way through traffic, and a Martini shaker is making a muffled "shick-shick-shick" at the bar at the bottom of the stairs.  The summer air is cool enough that the large windows are open to the city, giving that soft salted Atlantic sky full permission to fill every corner of the room.

Two men are chuckling their way through a friendly debate, one almost four times the other's age.  By the window, another claps twice as he laughs.  Friendly jeers as the critical shot misses its pocket.  By tradition, the winner stands quietly after the handshake while the loser alerts the next player that they're up.  The next player takes off his light-weight blue blazer before chalking his cue, and several others playfully mock the seriousness of his gesture.

For a minute, I allow thoughts to swirl of friends I haven't visited in a while, relatives distant, and the unforgiving fragility of perfect moments. 

No phones chirp, no televisions drone, and no gossip slithers around, just the conversations and laughter of men, of unique unguarded friendships, and of an overdue leisurely Friday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Overthinking II

Just departing now for home after a visit to my friend Toad.  As usual, he was charming, fun, and the perfect companion for a summer night out.  He arrived in his white linen suit, purple checked shirt, pocket square, and with an appetite for steaks, drinks, and cigars.  After a great dinner, we strolled the town's sidewalks to a large outdoor cafe where a roomy fountain didn't help the hot evening air.  Jackets remained on even in the heat, happily achieving a patina of gin and cigars.  Thanks again, Toad.  It was perfect.


Sometimes, I can't help it.  I overthink.

Yes, be sure to pack those boxing gloves carefully.  They aren't made to sustain any sort of regular repeated impact at all.

 This is outside of a Boston rare coin dealer.  I thought it was a Yankee dating service for lonely social climbers in New England.

 If your lastname starts with "X" or "Q", you are in luck.  Embossed cards are now 75% off.  Supply and demand, I suppose.

 In New Hampshire, I drove past this business.  Party AND industrial-grade clean-up supplies in the same building?  They must have read my mind.

On the subway in Boston, a poster invites us to visit western Massachusetts, but only if we dress like bong-sucking garage band groupies.  Notice how the parasol compliments his tie-dye and her sloppy fray-cuffed jeans.  Apologies to the ghost of Mr. Choate.

Overthinking previously.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Father's Ties

I am always careful to not post things that appear to be crowing, swanning, or flaunting.  Envy/purchase/showcase blogs are miserable, and if this ever turns into that, please kill me.  In this case, Father brought me several of his ties as his hefty collection is now being thinned a bit.  I recognize and remember most of them, and it is always an honor to be thought of.  For them, they are cast-off and offered to a son or relative before being offered as donation.  For me, they are surprisingly special items, linking a father and son together, linking further to past relatives and values and aesthetics that were taught.  When I think of these ties, I think of his guidance, baseball, sailing, hiking, and everything else we did together during my childhood.  For others, they are just ties.

 Cape Cod and tennis rackets.  I have an odd history with this sport.

I remember going to these stores as a young man. 

West Hartford and coastal families had these ties in abundance.  
Horwitz - West Haven, Branford, and Madison, Connecticut.

Thank you again, Dear Father.  They will be loved.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Manual Fire Finding

It was a bit of a drive that morning, and it was hot before the sun came up.

Our friend the warden brought us up to the fire tower atop the Pitcher Mountain.  It was a short hike, but right for young children.  Inside, they had a giant sighting compass standing on the center of the tower floor.

Still works.  Elegant in its simplicity.  Line the cross-hairs and adjust the elevation on the brass.  Mark your sighting, look up the reading in the file of 3x5 cards arranged by increments of 10 degrees and get the details about what you see (all hand-written).  Not subject to power outages, and comes complete with millions of blueberry bushes immediately below.

At the bottom of the mountain, there is a money box for donations.  "$1 per quart" of blueberries.  I optimistically put in $5 as we began.  As it turned out, I overpaid by $4.75.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rainbow's End

Up in New Hampshire for the next two weeks for fly fishing, blueberry foraging, boating, hiking, and ordering children to get out of the water when their lips turn purple.  Happy days of summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Undershirt

Moments before sipping his road-side lassi in India,  Plum observed that "when you least want to wear it, is precisely when it is needed."  He was speaking of course, about wearing the undershirt during summer.  That sip of lassi gave him dysentery, and within two weeks his belt was finding the notches of a horribly acquired smaller waist.

It seems crazy, but Plum was right.  Summer is when the undershirt is needed.  I am NOT talking about trotting around town in your white undergarments, but wearing an undershirt UNDER your button-down shirt.  Sweat as you may, your dress shirt will not stick to your torso.

The best kinds are white V-neck models in extra-long.  This ensures that if your tie comes off and the top button is opened up, the undershirt remains hidden.  The extra-long's length keeps it tucked throughout movement.

Yes, technically, I am displaying my undergarment on a blog.  Forgive me, Mother.

Now, to be graphic, you will know that the length is right if (while untucked) the bottom seam covers (just barely) your bow and stern parts.

I am categorically condemning the wearing of V-neck T-shirts with nothing on top of them.  It looks terrible.  Really terrible.  I am curious as to what proportion of men who wear ties regularly also wear undershirts.  I wear them year-round when I'm wearing a jacket and tie, but always when it's VERY HOT.  Sweating through your shirt is a terrible look.  You will also find that thinner white dress shirts look whiter when you wear an undershirt, as your skin-tone is concealed underneath.  White dress shirts over a bare tanned torso tend to make the shirt's seams stand out as whiter than the rest of the shirt.  It's not a show-stopper, but it's something I just never do with a jacket and tie.

The longest lasting ones I've found were from Nordstrom, and their extra length is perfect for a tall guy like me.  As a young businessman, I used to take the cable car from Nob Hill to the bottom of Powell to ritualistically make the packet-of-three purchase once every year at Nordstrom.  Now, I order them online.

Once more, so that there is no confusion, I am only endorsing the wearing of undershirts as undershirts, fully concealed by a cotton button-down shirt under a jacket.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Olympic Efforts & Velvet Slippers

I had a stop over in our country's grain belt, where I met up again with friend and blogger Mister Midwester.  Known for his generosity, he treated me to a pair of horsey cufflinks to ease the pain of the oppressive summer heat in his city.  

A drive the following day put me front and center with the Olympic trials where great athletic hopefuls pounded their hearts out without the horrible overly produced layer of garbage that has made the televised Olympics difficult to sit through.

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Back home in Boston the next day, a catalog had arrived.  The prices seem to have come down a bit.


Check out the cigar and Brandy theme above.

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After sushi, I was given a cookie containing this fortune:

"Wrong on all three" laughed my colleague, so I stuck him with the check while he was in the bathroom.