Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Last week, Will had a piece on boning shoes. Once upon a time, the outer portion of men's shoes were polished suede, meticulously rubbed with deer bones to give the perfect finish. Today riding boots are about the sole application for boning.
The post got me wondering just where would one pick up a supply of bones for shoe polishing. I asked my friends at Cobblestone, the local Alden source, and got one of those looks. It dawned on me that perhaps if you had to ask...
Where I went wrong was asking people.
Place your order with a 10 pound Shih Tzu and she'll return with the goods.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I realized much too late that my father was a car guy. He just had an odd way of showing it. From the early 1960's through the mid 80's, every 3 years he ordered a Chevy Impala. Convertible, coupe, sedan, hot rod, he had them all. Six in a row in fact (1961-1984).
In reaction to a lifetime of the same, I have never purchased the same car twice. My bride on the other hand likes what she likes, and doesn't much care for change. To Mrs. T a car is an appliance. (I wrote about it lovingly here.) It better work. It had better be big enough to carry all the grandkids, their stuff, our stuff and any other stuff.
Her last two cars have been trouble free Mercury Grand Marquis's. Imagine a police cruiser. It looks like that.
Since I broadcast that I was looking for a car, Mrs. T and her land yacht have been in a serious accident. Early in the week, her yacht was laid to rest by the insurance adjuster. My car search went on hold, while we replaced "the family car".
Unthinkingly male, I foolishly said "that deep down, I really couldn't do 3 Merc's in a row. We've done it, time to move on," That was met with "it just saved my life, it's reliable", and other sensible girl rationalizations along with a rasher of hot tongue and cold shoulder. Mrs. T eventually did consent to an open minded look see. Like the trooper she is, she went.
Armed with your suggestions we looked, we narrowed, we drove, we reached a compromise. Then we got home.
On top of the mail was an advert from a local dealer. The ad read,"We have a boatload of pre owned 2010 Grand Marquis's. Each has 10,000 miles and is priced at 55% of the original sticker." So what if Mercury is an orphan brand, so am I.
The car Mrs. T WANTED all along, in the right color, right trim, and thousands less than our compromise choice? It's a done deal.
It looks exactly like this.
The New York Times had a wonderful obit for the GM on Sunday. Mrs T's comes home tomorrow.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Happy Birthday Nancy!!!!!
If you are unfamiliar with her writing, try her 2 semi-autobiographical novels, "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a Cold Climate". Perfect holiday escape literature.
If you've a fan of 20th century Brit Lit on your holiday shopping list, you could do far worse than the Penguin re-release boxed set "Love From Nancy" which includes "Love in a Cold Climate", "The Pursuit of Love", "Don't Tell Alfred", "The Blessings" and "Wigs on the Green"
Francophiles on your gift list will appreciate receiving a copy of her biographies of Voltaire, The Sun King and Madame De Pompadour.
Give her a try. She knew everyone worth knowing,was funny, sarcastic, a great tease and a wonderful writer. All may be found at her war time employer, Heywood Hill
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tempted by the holiday ads for the "Star Registry"?
Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? It was until...
Senora Angeles Duran, from Salvaterra do Mino, Galicia, Spain reported Friday that she bought the Sun (sol, soleil, sole...). The same one you see many mornings and afternoons.
Sra. Duran's certificate of ownership,"issued by the notary public declares Duran to be the "owner of the Sun, a star of spectral type G2, located in the centre of the solar system, located at an average distance from Earth of about 149,600,000 kilometres".
In a move which may put the kibosh to many solar energy projects, Angeles is planning a use tax. The Sun is now on a pay to play plan. Use the sun, pony up. This may put a crimp in Alice's Hermes budget.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Let the holiday shopping commence, just without me please.
I mentioned in the past that there is little in the phrase "Black Friday" which motivates me to reach for me wallet, and for that I blame retailers.
From the bottom of my heart I understand how important the holiday season is to many stores. I get it, I truly do. My cynicism stems from how holiday shopping is marketed.
Once upon a time, Christmas season in the US began the day after Thanksgiving, today. Now holiday creep has set in and the day after Halloween is leaning towards opening day. Once upon a time, merchants provided true incentive to be at their stores at 4 AM. Now, bargains and supply are better next week.
On-line shopping hasn't killed brick and mortar yet, but it has certainly made shopping easier, provided you know what you want.
My advice. Sleep in today, have a nice breakfast, get a few chores out of the way, and if you must, go shopping. By the time you are washing up from breakfast,the amateurs will be out of your way.
Enjoy your day. Mrs. T and I will be out, buying a car, Black Friday or no.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
While you prepare for your traditional Thanksgiving celebration, its good to remember a bit of American History.
Americans tend to believe the first European settlers to hit what is now the continental US were those dastardly, witch baiting Pilgrims who arrived near Plymouth Rock, Mass. Not true. Tidewater Virginians duel over less slanderous allegations.
Englishmen hit Jamestown settlement, in what is now Virginia in May, 1607, a good 13 years before Pilgrims came to our shores. In one of the great coincidences in history, the Jamestown settlers were met by English speaking natives. The native locals learned English during the earlier, lost Roanoke settlement. One of their first questions was "Did you bring beer?" True story.
Those in the west take a longer view of history than those in the east. Plymouth Rock and all their shenanigans is a long way from the Pacific. Westerners have a completely different dynamic than Virginians or Mass Bay colonists.
Those west of Denver know the Spanish arrived first. Spanish explorers came to America 40 years ahead of the English. So successful were their explorations that Sante Fe,New Mexico had a large, thriving population when in 1607, several months prior to the Jamestown landing, it was named capital of the Spanish New Mexico territory,
Easterners have a truly tough time wrapping that idea around their brains.
Had the Spanish a bit more luck and better PR, we might all be enjoying tacos and dramas about Coronado instead of turkey, mini marshmallows and Pilgrims.
Enjoy your day, count your blessings and come back safely.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
see more Funny Graphs
Last graph for a while, I promise.
On a bright note, the Apple 1 computer sold for (US)$210,000.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the US. A day which commemorates the first harvest feast celebrated by the earliest British Puritan settlers after their arrival in the North America. The history of the event is steeped in American iconography and mythology.
Most histories tell something of the gratitude of the British settlers towards the Native Americans, who taught the new kids what grew where, introduced them to new foods,(Calvin Trillin has written that Spaghetti Carbonara was an revered gift from the Native peoples to the Brits)and generally helped them survive their first winters in America.
Little is written about how whitey showed his gratitude, repaying his debt primarily with the wrong end of a blunderbust, and systematic genocide, but we moderns prefer to overlook these inconvenient truths, at least this week.
Each family has there own Thanksgiving dinner tradition.
Bless her bones, my mother was not a good cook. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, and factor in how a lifetime of 3 squares/day, 4 picky eaters, a traveling husband, and general lack of interest will take its toll on anyone. It didn't keep her from facing the kitchen every day though. Thanksgiving was her day to shine.
If you have never done it, Thanksgiving dinner is not a hard meal to prepare. A bit of prior planning helps, as does a thorough knowledge of what is expected by your family. If everyone is expecting turkey, and you serve pork, regardless of how great dinner was you have set yourself up for failure.
This post kicked off in a battle of comments last week. Most T-day foods are cliches, kicked off by the makers of mini marshmallows, canned onion ring bits, or cream of soup. Real food need hardly apply.
So what family foods will show up on your table this week, and does anyone really like or eat it, or has it just always been there?
Monday, November 22, 2010
TRENTON, N.J. (Nov. 21) -- A national study finds St. Louis overtook Camden, N.J., as the nation's most dangerous city in 2009.
The study released Sunday by CQ Press found St. Louis had 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared with a national average of 429.4. That helped St. Louis beat out Camden, which topped last year's list and was the most dangerous city for 2003 and 2004.
Detroit, Flint, Mich., and Oakland, Calif., rounded out the top five.
For the second straight year, the safest city with more than 75,000 residents was Colonie, N.Y.
The annual rankings are based on population figures and crime data compiled by the FBI. Some criminologists question the findings, saying the methodology is unfair.
When you hear a city is dying, your first, second...tenth thought isn't that the locals are killing themselves off, is it?
Sunday, November 21, 2010
see more Funny Graphs
I was unsuccessfully attempting to identify a tartan recently. One thing led to another ,and as is the way of the internet, an hour later I was reading a forum dedicated to things Scottish when I came across one man's description of his efforts to resize his new Balmoral hat. Photos from the forum.
It's a story I know well, having done the same countless times with other items of clothing. What caught me up short was a comment from a South Carolina boy on the forum. I present it here.
>The 50 Mission Crush...
In my experience., almost anything that looks new when it is has been made to look old by someone. I read on a blog (Maxminimus:http://maxminimus.blogspot.com/ ) where the author was trying to "Get the Jos. Bank" out of his sportcoat, presumably, meaning he wanted it to look less off-the-rack and more "his". I have heard of all manner of aging processes applied to boat shoes, jeans ( before you paid $300 for someone else to do this) US Navy chambray shirts, etc. A fighter pilot taught me the phrase in the title. He also said the quickest way to achieve it was to remove the stiffener.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Mr. Mort photo of Sean Lennon and girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a segue to an NPR podcast series Tiny Desk Concerts. Earlier this week NPR released a podcast of the duo recorded at the NPR offices in Washington. Not only is Charlotte inoffensive to look at, she also plays accordion. That's high on my list. Their concert may be seen and heard here.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
One of the world's great marketing scams was perpetuated this morning, when at 12:01 AM Paris time the 2010 vintage Le Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wine of the new harvest, was released to an undeserving public. In the days of the Concorde trendy New York restaurants would have it available for luncheon. Now it may take until dinner, and certainly by Saturday it will appear in your local grocery.
If you have trendy or sophisticated friends you may be invited to a Beaujolais Nouveau party this weekend. I beg you to think this through, or to at least to take proper precautions.
Nouveau Beaujolais is plonk. Before your first sip remember that these grapes were on the vine in September. The less fastidious amongst us have grape juice in the fridge older than this. More experienced readers will recall that vintage Boone's Farm aged longer, as it was aged in transit, by truck from far away.
Still if you can't refuse a good party, I suggest the following. Ladies bring a large purse carrying a bottle of a decent red and substitute liberally. You'll thank yourself in the morning, as NB has an aftertaste not easily dissolved. Gentlemen, this would be a great opportunity to bring a flask, feign illness, and call whatever is inside medicine.
You have been warned, and well advised.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
In the division of labor that takes place at our house, I have the honor of polishing silver. My involvement stems either from Mrs T's reaction to the god awful smell of TarnX or the nasty fingernail polish removing properties of some products we've tried.
I don't mind though. Like painting or cutting the grass, I love the instant gratification. Turning a nasty looking piece of metal into something we're proud to have in our home is good for the ego.
I have discovered a product which makes the process not only easy but fast.
This is an unpaid, unsolicited testimonial. If you have neglected the good stuff all year, and dread the thought of having to clean and polish one more thing for the holidays, give this stuff a try. I think you will like it. I can't speak for what it may do to your fingernail polish though.
On a completely different front, you know how every house has a stash of curtain rods, hooks, hangers and assorted hardware somewhere? Where do we keep ours? I can't seem to be able to locate it.
Monday, November 15, 2010
A four wall, 2 window box in the northwest corner of the house. Furnished only with a trundle bed, bakers rack, child's desk and an old rocker.
As it becomes more cluttered, it's beginning to feel more cozy.
That's Charlie on the pillow under the desk. Ted prefers the wood floor on the other side.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Talk about a tough job. A truly bifurcated life. Before mom dies, after mom dies. It would make anyone schizophrenic. Today's birthday boy is perhaps the most misunderstood man in the world, a dreamer, or the village idiot, and those that know which aren't telling.
Father, husband, sportsman, car guy, businessman he has done it all, every step of the way in the public eye, receiving a daily deluge of controversy for every utterance, idea and articulated thought he may have. For the most part, he has borne his responsibilities well, marching to his own drummer.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Timely updates, fun facts, ponderings and amusements.
Friday, November 12, 2010
It's written in the style of "things I wished an older cousin had told me". The 14 year old bit may be a bit misleading as I believe the best recipient would be that young woman, graduating high school, or early in college.
A perfect stocking stuffer for the young woman on your list, and her mother.
You may find it here. For a special dedication or signed copy get in touch with the author at the address on her blog.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The bucolic meadows of Flanders had long been graced by brilliant red poppies each spring and summer, but during the Great War, the poppies disappeared. The constant trampling and bombing of the battlefields stopped the famous bloom for four full seasons. When the war was over, and the poppies were able to bloom again, the display was spectacular.
The post-war, blood red bloom from the fields of battle had a huge impact on all who saw or heard about it. Surely the most lasting memorial is the famous poem by Canadian battle surgeon/poet, John McCrae. This poem was written as he gazed at the fresh graves of his friends and comrades, with poppies “blowing” in the wind.
My generation has been blessed, in that few were called to military service. To those that have served, have children or family members serving, THANK YOU.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
After a couple of trips hauling treasures from the basement I spent a blissful afternoon hanging pictures, polishing toys, reliving the memories which caused me to save most to this junk in the first place, when I came across one of my most favored treasures. A treasure box made for me by #2 son for Christmas 1983. It has been stored for too long a time.
The timing must have been kismet.
Inside the box is the usual collection of cards, letters, ticket stubs, remembrances of things past. At the top of the heap was packet of photos, I'd forgotten about long ago.
The photo above is of my father, taken at his parents home not long after D Day. His destroyer escort was sunk during the invasion, killing all but 20 officers and men on board. The photo was taken as my dad was in route to his new station, an air craft carrier in the Pacific. It was during this leave he proposed to my future mother.
Thank a vet.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Work with me here a minute.
If you don't you should, but I suspect that each of you reads the worthy jottings of eminent grise Maxminumus regarding those items which amuse him, those things he values and his daughter whom he cherishes. It is a must read.
Since you are familiar with the ways of his lovely daughter LFG, imagine what Maxminimus' son would look like. How would he dress?
The Sartorialist has provided the answer, take a gander at this lad. Band collar shirt, just enough shirt cuff showing, braces in place, hand firmly around his wallet, over the calf sox and suede monks to die for. This kid is the bees knees.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
An advantage to not having a cell phone is I never lose it. Mrs T has one, and more than once (a week) I'm asked to ring up her phone so the light on the keypad will illuminate and she will be able to locate it in her purse. But suppose you are by yourself, in a strange city, hotel room, or office then what do you do?
Someone at I can't find my phone thought this would be a really great idea. I don't get it myself, Google Phone is another way to accomplish the same thing, but......
Also, while you were sleeping someone stole Daylight Savings Time. It is now Standard Time. Don't be late for church. We have elected to fall forward at our house this season. We'd rather have it light later into the evening. I suggest you go with whatever works best for you.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Intel co-founder Gordon prophesized in 1965 that the number of transistors placed on an integrated circuit would double approximately every two years. Time has proven him right. Computer processor speed, memory, pixel capability all are strongly linked to Moore's Law.
When this ad was run, the wrist radio, now cell phone, was the provenance of Dick Tracy cartoons, now along with cell phones we all have the ubiquitous digital toys few imagined not many years ago.
The hard drive ad photo from Uneasy Silence made me smile. It's not a joke, I sold lots of these drives in my day. Not 20 minutes before reading the post, I purchased a 4 gigabyte thumb drive for around $5, a savings of almost $1,359,195 over circa 1977 pricing.