Saturday, May 29, 2010

Warm Weather Wear

We are back to the warm sticky weather of the District.  These driving loafers are my favorite shoes.  Excellent shoes for running errands all over town, especially if you drive as I do.  No, I am not one of those reckless people, but I do enjoy employing the manual shift maneuverability of my MINI.  Best of all, these shoes fit like a glove making them second nature to my stride.  

The Modern Traditionalist and I were running errands this morning in anticipation of a few friends' arrival this evening for a quaint cookout.  Among our chores, MT took me to Garden District to pick up some herbs for our balcony garden.  It's an excellent place to procure choice vegetation.  She has pick up almost all our thriving flora there.  The thriving though is more likely due to her diligent green thumb.

Here are some critter shorts I'll be sporting now that the season is here. Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Open Mouth Mastication

Open mouth mastication is completely unacceptable.  In my new occupation due to the location of my desk, I have the misfortune of suffering the audible sounds of such a person.  Carrots and apples, no less, are the foods of choice.  I am confounded by this brazenly crass behavior.  The fact is the behavior is commonplace in modern society.  Such a lack of etiquette is the result of poor parenting; moreover, it is the product of an inconsiderate person, who takes no interest in elevating their stature.

This matter led me to consult the only volume containing answers on how to handle this situation, Etiquette.  Here is what it says: "All the rules of table manners are made to avoid ugliness.  To let anyone see what you have in your mouth is offensive; to make a noise is to suggest an animal; to make a mess is disgusting."  Emily Post's Etiquette, p.g. 485, 1955 edition.  This week, I could take it no more.  I had to address the situation with the culprit.  They have since endeavored, due entirely to my indefatigable correction, to chew with their mouth closed in near silence.  Indeed, I, like Mr. Jefferson, tremble for my country if this is the condition in which the mass majority of parents release their children into society.

Thanks to The Modern Traditionalist for the quote.  When we visited Charlottesville back in February, she purchased this vintage copy of Etiquette, which happens to be the last edition edited by Emily Post.

Take a look at the first 25 seconds of the clip below and you'll get a good sense of the issue with which I dealt.  


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recommended Reading

Courtesy of The New York Times

It's back! And thank God.  According to The New York Times, " While those shiny shoes and irksome studs are still in exile, the bow tie has had a springtime resurrection worthy of spring itself."  Yes!  I completely, wholeheartedly disagree with any other evening neck wear.  Read the article here.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Timbuk2

Now that I am no longer commuting to work via car, I have a renewed love for my daily commuting companion.  This is my Timbuk2 bag.  It has withstood more than 5 years of abuse including many thousands of travel miles for work and pleasure.  No, it is not the most beautiful or elegant bag one could choose to carry on a daily basis, but it does everything you need it to do.  The only other bag that has ever come close to handling every situation is a LL Bean book pack.  Even those fall prey to weather being as they are not water resistant.  This has kept my items safe and dry in many inclement situations.

I recently added this Cocoon Grid-it organizer to keep things in their place.  This is a wonderful little invention for those of us who like to keep things organized while in transit.  I like to have a multifarious assortment of items with me, just in case.  The organizer keeps each item findable.  Whether attaché case, shoulder bag, messenger bag, back pack, book pack, satchel, briefcase, tote bag or, yes - for the ladies, purse there is a Grid-it organizer for you.  They even offer a luggage size.  No, I was not solicited for any kind of coverage of this product.  It is a great product for frequent traveller and commuter alike.  

Sure a beautifully crafted case is more ideal to complete the elegant gentlemanly persona I prefer, but none are as functional as my simple messenger bag.  For occasions that dictate, I use a more elegant canvas and leather shoulder bag.  There is no doubt I would rather use a beautiful leather briefcase to carry my wares to and from the office daily.  The issue there becomes: how do I multitask effortlessly?  Reading the paper is made easy with this over the shoulder bag.  Also, in the event of inclemency, there's no need to fret about any electronics in tow; moreover, I do not need to worry about the case itself being damaged.  

In sum, this messenger bag has treated me very well over the years and I don't foresee abandoning it for another option anytime soon.  I welcome your suggestions or comments on daily commuting appurtenances.


Monday, April 26, 2010

An Addition

The Modern Traditionalist and I have a new addition in our ranks.  Meet Lord Quincy.  I am not one to extol those, who treat their animals as children.  I am here proving that "dog people" can be "cat people".

Formerly named Bones, we adopted Q, as we have come to call him, just over two weeks ago from a local shelter.  He was at one time living on his own and was recovered alone from a parking lot.  Quincy has certainly adjusted from life on the street as seen below resting on his favorite cashmere throw after reading about WWI with me.

Quincy is proving to be a delightful addition to our lives.  I've always been a real "dog person".  Here it  seems, Q is cat for a "dog person".  He sees you off in the morning and greets you upon return in the evening.  Q aims to please from the moment you arrive.  What cat greets you with a wagging tail and a wet tongue?  He does.  His favorite activity is rolling on his back while receiving belly rubs.  Q enjoys showing off his hunting skills when chasing his toys around the apartment.

He simply does not act like a conventional cat.  For instance, when you call, he comes to you.  I believe he fancies himself a bird dog, a faithful labrador.  In this respect, he is picking up exactly where his predecessor, Rudy, left off.  Rudy - AKA the Furry Eccentric - was a unique feline in much the same way. We are happy to have little Q.  He is a dog in a cat's body.


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Gratitude to Google

Ferris Bueller had it right, "life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop to look around every once in a while, you might just miss it."

Upon Reflection of recent days reserved for restoration of mind and body, I've come to realize that has not actually happened.  Days have been filled with endless list making and box checking.  I must be doing something wrong.  The particulars have amassed tremendous proportions from neglect.  We have all been overworked or busy to the point of letting things fall by the wayside.

How can I keep up with it all? Mobile devices don't seem to help, but rather further hinder your ability to accomplish tasks without interruption. They bring the worst side effect of all: inability to disconnect and shut off. I am all for the added productivity and enjoy the benefits of connectivity, namely the genius of Google anywhere.

So I suppose the answer is that you don't keep up with it.  Life is imperfection done well.  Learn to like it!  Thus, I decided on a few days ago no more box checking for me. It's R&R from here on out.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Parenting

Gratitude to Google

I should premise this with the disclosure that I have no children.  The above picture is representative of how I remember the "fear" that governed my childhood behavior.  I was a fairly mature youth and did not require much discipline (Mom: if you are reading comments please;-).  I remember one time I stuck one of my prized Matchbox cars into my dress sock before heading out to church.  Having found out who was giving the homily (I was raised Roman Catholic), I went straight for the concealed car.  It entertained me, while the oration went far beyond its apportioned period.  There was no punishment in this case because no one noticed what I was doing.  It is that simple skill children today rarely exhibit: discretion.  Well behaved tomfoolery is hardly cause for concern.

During my time off, I've seen quite a few parents with small children running about town for errands and adventures alike.  Why is it that so many children are so badly behaved...or is it that they are very badly parented?  Perhaps it's just the memory of my own childhood that arouses these questions.  For those of you reading, this is not meant to be a condemnation of all parents, only the parents who let their children run amok.

A tantrum in public was simply unacceptable in my household.  Children today seem to throw tantrums for minuscule motives.   I feared the worst should I get out of hand.  One small child recently threw a fit in the middle of the post office for the reasons completely imperceptible.  The young boy was running all around the post office without any supervision.  Worse yet, the mother did not notice at all.  How did she not notice the lout disturbing patrons by bumping into them and screaming all the while?  Once she realized he was missing, probably from a lack of piercing shrieks, she ventured to find him.  He had just made a run for the exit and nearly got away with it.  He then threw a tantrum.  I was appalled.  Yet the mother let it continue.

Suffice it to say that it would not have flown under my supervision.  This brings me to my next question.  Why, as Americans, do we seemingly put up with it rather than speaking out?  In France it would have been completely acceptable for an adult to drag the child to his parent and deliver a stern reprimand to each.  The reason must be the state of our highly national consciousness.  The thought of such a lawsuit makes me immeasurably happy that I left the idea of law school in the past (more on that another time).

I welcome your thoughts, stories and even your opposition.

"Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them."-P. J. O'Rourke


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Morning Brew

Few things start a morning better than a wonderful cup of espresso.  It is not a mere caffeine delivery mechanism, but rather the impetus for a better state of mind.  The experience of brewing an espresso clears my mind and perks my senses.  This prepares me for the day and all life will require of me.  Above is a quality example with perfect crema accompanied by one of The Modern Traditionalists delightful madeleines.  Cheers to a great day!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time Off

I am enjoying a bit of repose for the time being.  It has been a hectic few weeks leading up to this, but I have this week between career moves.  The first few days were chock-full of sloth and idleness.  To be certain, I have been a slipshod blogger of late, but I intend to bounce back.  Thank you for visiting while I have been away.  Stay tuned as new posts are quickly flooding my mind.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Friday

It's a day for fun socks.

I love these socks.  They have been cheering me up all-day despite the bleak DC weather.  


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not Nattering III

Given recent circumstances, I have taken to my Epictetus.  Below are some of the maxims which have been resonating with me lately.  Enjoy.

Thank you Wikipedia

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
"Difficulties are things that show a person what they are."
"It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death." 
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."
"The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best."
"You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself."
"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them."
"First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak." 

Apologies for the delay in posting. 


Friday, March 12, 2010

Sartorial Icon: James Bond

James Bond has always been a male icon of virility, wit and style.  Here are some of my favorite Bond attire.  They are just a little something to think about after a casual Friday.
Notice those cuffs: Turnbull & Asser turnback button closure.
Perfect amount of collar, cuff and kerchief showing.
Courtesy of Google

Yes, they are all Sean Connery.  Even though the last two Bonds have been well tailored, he is still the best Bond.  But just for good measure: Q & Brosnan


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunny Saturday

Hinting at the coming of Spring, yesterday was a beautiful sunny Saturday.  I decided a cigar and some reading was in order - with a scotch of course.  Among the many magazines I've been neglecting is the latest Garden & Gun.  More to come on that issue later.


Friday, March 5, 2010

A Gentlemanly Shave: An appeal to men

Too many men succumb to the mass appeal of a quick fix. The foams, gels and balms easily obtained surely do the job of a shave, but by no means to any degree of satisfaction.  Simply put, the shave hasn’t been significantly advanced by modern technology.  So, men stop looking for modern means.  The simple fact is an old-fashioned shave is far better for your skin.  As a bonus, it imbues you with a sense of old world luxurious pampering.  You’ll embark on your day with an extra hint of ancestral charm. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

For those who enjoy using precise products, you’re in luck.  The choices are seemingly endless.  You will have to experiment and seek out what works for you.  There are only a few shops that carry multiple brands of product so you’ll be visiting a few proprietors.  A few I recommend are:  Aidan Gill (New Orleans), Caswell-Masey (Select National), Truefitt & Hill (national), The Art of Shaving (national) Crabtree-Evelyn (national), L’Occitane (national), Saks, Nordstrom, Sephora and other purveyors of traditional or fine grooming goods. 

You’d find the following items in my dopp kit, which are listed in order of use.  After a thorough, yet gentle face wash, I apply Kiehls’ “Close-Shavers” Shaving Formula #31 oil to soften the beard, which also provides an easy shave due to reduced friction with the razor.  Next, I use a pure badger brush to apply a hearty lather of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Nomad Shave Soap.  Your prepping is complete.

The razor is the key ingredient.  It must be sharp no matter what you use.  I have a straight razor, but have only wielded it on a handful of experimental occasions, since it is seriously precarious.  Opting for safety and modern convenience, a multi-blade or safety razor will do the job.  Now, shave with the grain.  Clean your razor after each pass, then once complete reapply lather for round two, which should be against the grain.  *Skip this step if you are prone to irritable skin, as I am.*  Rinse, then observe thy countenance.  Surely, this will be among the closest shaves you have ever had.  I like to finish off with a few sprays of rose water hydrating toner to reduce irritation prior to moisturizing with pure aloe gel.

For traveling and days with little time for such extravagant formalities, use a real shaving cream.  You’ll find them in a tub or tube, not a can.  These creams are formulated for an instantly rich lather to moisturize your skin during the shave.  As a trick, apply it with the badger brush and you’ll use less with no loss of lather.

Sure, this seems like a lot of work for something so trivial.  Your skin and your beloved will thank you. Admittedly, I’m not able to take the time for the full treatment each day, but when I do I am a better man for it.  When you do have the extra time, find a reputable barber in your area and treat yourself to a shave under the tutelage of a professional.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happiness 101

The Modern Traditionalist tagged me on this a number of weeks ago, but ambivalence has muted my response.  I actually had to think about what 10 things made me most happy.   I essentially spooked myself by thinking too abstractly.   That was more difficult than I had anticipated.   One often defines their likes by their dislikes.  To dislike something takes no sweat off one’s brow.  To like something or to derive happiness from it requires a serious understanding of a thing and its component parts.  With all this in mind, here are 10 things that make me happy in no particular order or classification.  Keep in mind; this is not a top 10 list.

Award Rules:
List 10 things that make you happy.
Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
If you are one of the 10 bloggers awarded, link back to this blog and pass along.

1. Bow Ties and sundry formalities of a time forgotten.
Many of the items to follow can certainly fall in the later category. In an age of when widgets are merely assembled and created with its disposability in mind, I seek out the rather rare items made to last generations. I love when something is created with care and consideration.  Items with storied histories and blemishes of age attract my attention.
Fred and Adele Astaire in 1921 Courtesy of Wkipedia
2. Cigars & Fine Scotch

Nothing enlightens the mind and refuels the soul faster.
Photo Courtesy of Google Image
3. Fitted Clothes
There, I’ve declared it.  Clothes make me happy.  While confidence cannot be drawn from the clothes on your back, it can be enhanced.  This isn’t fashion by any means.  I really do not care what other people seem to believe is “in”.  Sticking to the well-tailored classics has always suited me well.
4. Driving Cars
I simply love to drive. To me destination and distance don’t matter, but rather what I am driving.
Courtesy of Autoblog
5. Gadgets and Technology
I think it is a guy thing.  We all want to be James Bond for one reason or another.  Jet pack, grenade pen, laser watch, underwater name it he had it.  Of course those are slightly more advanced that what is available to us today.  I should add that these things make me happy, when they work. My iPhone being the obvious exception since it only frustrates. 
Photo Courtesy of Google Image
6. Keeping Fit
Strenuous physical activity certainly clears the mind of the trivial and keeps the body functioning efficiently.  
Photo Courtesy of Google Image
7. Manly Pursuits
From shooting skeet to shooting the proverbial, you name the manly pursuit and I likely enjoy it.
Photo Courtesy of Google Image
8. History
"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development."
Photo Courtesy of Google Image

9. Family and close Friends
Sure they exasperate from time to time, but there is little else more rewarding than the good times we have. The fond memories of shared experiences, inside jokes, and family dinners will always be some of the most influential ingredients of BTG.
Photo Courtesy of Google Image

10. Time with the Modern Traditionalist

Here are ten bloggers who add to my happiness daily:


Monday, February 15, 2010

Belated Presidents Day

Image Courtesy of Disney-Hyperion

While in Charlottesville with MT over the weekend, we visited Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Among the items procured during our stay was the delightful book for youth on some of the Founding Fathers. The subjects include John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson - despite the title. Lane Smith has created the exemplar publication for the education of youth on matters of history.

The book highlights each of the aforementioned characters with anecdotes about both their contribution to the forming of America as well as their individual personality. A true work of art this. The Modern Traditionalist, who gets full credit for actually finding the book, and I were laughing as we read. In addition to the physical volume there are online extensions of the experience, which as a marketing professional delights me. The extra elements include an online game, a video trailer and a theater script.

Suffice it to say, if more children's books were of this likeness, then I would not tremble for my country.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saint Valentine's Day

Images Courtesy of Google

We have Pope Gelasius I to thank for this day on which we honor our beloved. Above are some lovely paintings by Jack Vettriano which to me exhibit a most charming elegance.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not Nattering II

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

"We are lovers of beauty without extravagance, and lovers of wisdom without unmanliness. Wealth to us is not mere material for vainglory but an opportunity for achievement; and poverty we think it no disgrace to acknowledge but a real degradation to make no effort to overcome."

"But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it."

"We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them."

Thucydides, Peloponnesian War II, 40

Wise words of motivation of assorted variety offered in the hope to cause fewer words written or said without prior profound cerebration.


Abode Requirements

Photos courtesy of Restoration Hardware

I am working from home today due to the blizzard conditions in the DC area. Working at home from the sofa, chair and dinner table really has me thinking a desk would be a practical investment. It's been making me fancy this particular desk I've been eyeing. Restoration Hardware's 1920's French Drafting Table has old world charm and modern functionality. The ability to tilt the table offers a host of convenient uses. Given this is from RH, it is likely excellently crafted as well. This is certainly on the wish list.



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