Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chicago-Oral Oncologics-Toad and Pumpkins

I love Chicago. My memories of a woman on North Clark Street in Lincoln Park are vivid. I didn’t even mind slumming with her during the cold months. Her move to Schaumburg was the deal breaker for me. The Chicago burbs for some reason seemed to blunt the intensity. We had to drive in for our usual frolic in the city and …. Well, you get the picture.

Travelling light as always. Orvis carryon replete with my propaganda. Lucky Brand jeans-old as dirt Ralph D.B.-Ralph double monk suedes.

My two day meeting at the Wit hotel was really great. The moral and ethical threads regarding chemotherapy cannot be extricated from the dialogue regarding how you market it-how much should it cost and who should pay for it. The smoldering dynamic in oncology is the issue regarding profit margins realized by the physicians for administering the chemotherapy. Oral products versus infused regimens change the entire dynamics of chemotherapy economics. If the efficacy and survival endpoints are the same-should a physician then choose the regimen that he makes the most money on-even if the less profitable alternative is an oral agent that the patient can simply consume at home with a glass of water to wash it down?

Ok…I’ll stop. For a moment there I thought that I was writing a White Paper on oncology practice management economics. Back to the Wit for a second. I wish that I could have done in my Wit guest room,  a “Control-F” like we do on computers to find words in a document. I’m all about “experience-concept-philosophy”. However, instead of you telling me about the experience manifest in your concept and philosophy-allow me to discover it on my own. Everything short of the towel that I stole had an “experience” attached to it. “Experience the telephone-Experience room service-Experience these expensive ass peanuts in the Servibar- Experience the Shower Head-Experience the Catalogue where you can actually buy the same showerhead-Experience-Experience -Experience –Experience” Shut up already. I promise you that the word experience could be found a hundred times in my room. I would go back to the Wit in a heartbeat. Really nice and very well run-they like scores of other boutique hotels just need to stop trying to be so boutique-ish and just “be”. 

The carpet in the rooms was butt ugly. Here are my Ralph double monks offering some contrast to the dookie brown zebra carpet.

I rolled in to the Wit with a few hours to kill and took a sartorial walk up Michigan Avenue and over to Oak Street. Before I departed the room though-I “experienced” a snack from the Servibar. The offerings seen here cost four thousand dollars. Margins on this stuff are higher than on infused chemotherapy.

Didn’t pack a raincoat or an umbrella. Old Ralph navy blue serge D.B. buttoned up and collar popped offered my best defense against the Chicago elements-not too cold out but just damp and misty enough to take notice. Fifteen year old blazer from the Ralph outlet back when the outlets were full of samples-prototypes-etc. Matter of fact-everything I have on in this picture either came from eBay or the Outlets save the pocket square.

This gal does the Yellow Mac with greater panache than anyone. Check out this incredible uber marionette event in Berlin-Here.

Kinda sad that the Playboy Building ain't the Playboy Building anymore.

I remain committed to Federal legislation that would control the manufacture-distribution and donning of Spandex. Most of the time it’s just not pretty. Spandex blend Yoga Pants walking north on Michigan Ave however, seemed to strike just the right balance between function and form-very, very nice butt that my camera didn’t do justice. Jesus-I was JUST lookin’ not lustin’. Quiet please.

Thanks to the Wit-I was able to experience one of their little loaner umbrellas.

The Ralph store on Michigan Ave rivals Gotham’s mansion. I asked one of the guys there about the square footage difference. The Chicago store is larger than the Mecca Mansion on Madison. Absolutely stunning. Even though I’ve not a penny to spend-I relished what Ralph does best-the Aspirational Lifestyle was manifest clearly in the Chicago store. Take an hour and watch the Charlie Rose interview with Ralph. He is an amazing strategist and entrepreneur. I hope the economy will kick up enough for high end retailers to experience a good holiday season. God knows I won’t be helping them this year. Ralph et al nailed it this season. Everything looked great.

The only difference between this-The House of Ralph in Chicago and the one of my upbringing in South Carolina is that we never took the wheels off of ours.

Walking down the stairs back to the street level-I’ll take one of each.

 Tasty goods for this season-reminds me of Polo in the early 1980’s. Our boy Tintin just posited some great thoughts about Ralph circa 1985.

 Really reminiscent of the late 70’s-early 80’s Polo horse blanket plaid sportcoat. My camera-as always doesn’t do this one justice.

The Ralph sortie was so heady that little ole Paul Stuart on Oak Street was bland at best. Their goods are second to none-unequivocally so. It’s just that I don’t see Paul Stuart really fitting in Chicago. It’s a Gotham grounded legacy and they seem like a stepchild in Chicago.

The horizontal striped and polka-ed knit ties were noteworthy though.

Back to the Wit and to work. I’ve conducted meetings in every conceivable venue-good and bad. I can tell you that the meeting room in the Wit was stellar. Floor to ceiling glass comprised two of the four walls. Excellent-excellent meeting room experience.

The meeting room carpet experience though-was almost as bad as the carpet in my room.

Back home and prepping for Trick or Treating-I figured I’d share with you a few years worth of LFG Pumpkin carving shots. We aren’t fancy-just a bunch of triangles configured for desired facial features.





This is the only surviving photo of LFG’s first ambulating Halloween. She kept the lady bug antennae headband on for hours-much to our surprise. Cute as ever. This would also be the last Halloween that I lived in the same home with my heart-my raison d’être-my strategy-my LFG.

And finally-it is with mixed emotions that I announce the end of my celibacy-promiscuity strike. Actually, it never really began. I am pleased to report that on November 10th, the voice of reason-the honest rolling merchant of Midwestern skepticism will return. Toad will be back. And-he's grumpier than ever! Here's the press release announcing the end of his sabbatical...Curse you all. Ya sleep with dogs ya get fleas. If ACD was man enough to revive Holmes, I'll be man enough to be found in my usual spot beginning Nov 10. Mrs. T and I are heading to NOLA first
October 30, 2009 1:31 PM



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Damn It Toad!

If you don’t come back at once I’m gonna go on a promiscuity strike. Or is that a celibacy strike? Either way it ain’t gonna be good and the end result will be on your hands. This blog holiday-sabbatical cannot be THAT intriguing. Perhaps restorative to a degree but really-how much restorative luddite-ish escape does a man of your constitution require?
Ok, now that we’ve done another Toad Taunt-let’s touch on some additional Trad Impertinence. Want to?

I was NOT kidding when I told you that I gave my GTH pants to Aunt Tootie.

Here she is at Wal-Mart-picking up a few things for the weekend. Ham Hocks, Pickled Pig’s Feet, Slim Jims (for me), Glory Brand canned collard greens and a few other odds and ends.

Yellow Cords…I mean really. Not sure why y’all had such a craving for them. I’ll sell 'em to ya for a thousand million dollars-LFG set the price. Take it up with her.

Now on to the latest Orvis catalogue I received. I’m not a hat guy-much beyond a baseball topper. However the cover shot shows a four hat mélange that has a fetching wool-plaid hat sandwiched therein. They call it the Stormy Kromer.

Now I suppose if I lived in Michigan or Wisconsin or somewhere similar-I’d be sportin a Stormy Kromer. Nice enough looking hat I suppose. On further perusal though-something just wasn’t quite right.

I began to feel a little bit “all overish” while pondering this head warmer. Then it hit me. The Stormy Kromer is channeling way too much Ed Gein for me.

And finally-my latest intrigue courtesy of Sky Mall. The Dog Genealogy Kit. I’m from South Carolina. My own family tree seems to peter out at about 1957. Hardly enough tree for said doggie to hike a leg on.


ADG....and the "G" ain't Gein.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top Drawer Stuff

Just rolled in from Chicago on a smaller than usual plane-felt like I was in an H1N1 capsule. As much as I travel and spend time sequestered on planes I feel like it’s just a matter of time before the viral spore hits me. The smaller planes are packed-I’m glad that airlines remain solvent but they've become an incubator for vicious virus congregation. On second thought-I’m too damned mean and cranky after two days of work to be a good host for a virus.
I don’t wear suits and ties too much anymore so most of the things in my accessories box spend more time entombed therein that out and about. I have another quasi junk drawer where this and another couple of boxes live. When packing for Chicago the other day I opened the boxes and saw good fodder for a post.

I thrive on memories and there are a few nuggets in here that take me way back. My wedding band is in here. I have a box of things for LFG and if and when she wants them I’ll pass them over to her-my wedding band included. I want her to know that there was a time when her mother and I had a good connection-one that was equally yoked at least for a period of time long enough to yield this incredible gift from God-LFG.
My maternal grandfather's pocket watch.
Vintage Cuff Snaps

There’s also something in the box that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing but I just can’t seem to discard it or sell it for scrap gold. It is testimony to why I beg my family and have always admonished girlfriends to NOT try to buy me a watch or jewelry. I don’t wear much jewelry and chances are if you buy me something I’m not gonna like it. I don’t wear watches with metal bands/bracelets because my wrists are small and I don’t like the scale. The Rolex thing is lost on me-unless we are talking 1930’s Prince with a leather band. So if you look closely you’ll see elements of a gold rope bracelet slinking around the other items in there. A lovely-nice-stunning woman gave me that for Christmas almost twenty years ago. I was aghast. Too disco for me.
My Lee-Jackson cuff links live here. Wore them to the Union League Club in Chicago years ago. Kinda liked taking my Southern boys into that club with me. I can tell that they are Lee and Jackson. Most wouldn’t be able to. These are gifts from one of my best buddies who is a native Virginian. Matter of fact, he called me tonight when I was in the airport in Chicago.
An old fraternity ring and my father’s signet ring. My mother gave it to me when he died. I’ve worn it from time to time and even though I had it sized to fit me-the scale is a bit much for my hands. LFG can have it one day.
Cuff links from London with the Vanity Fair image of the cricketer Lord Hawke. The print hangs in my bedroom. I also have a set somewhere that have the Vanity Fair image of Winston Churchill on them.  Hawke was typical in his view of amateurs versus professional cricketers in his day. Walter Hagen broke that same barrier for golfers in the States during the early 20th century.  Hawke on professionals…."Pray God, no professional shall ever captain England. I love and admire them all, but we have always had an amateur skipper and when the day comes when we shall have no more amateurs captaining England it will be a thousand pities."
My uncle gave me this little Willie Wirehand lapel pin when I was a kid. I thought it was just the coolest thing and I wore it to church every Sunday when I was a little fella. He spent his entire professional life as an executive and lobbyist for rural electric cooperatives in several locations across the country.
When I first moved to Washington he was still coming here for work and we would always meet for dinner and he’d take me to some of the legislative things that interested me. Here’s some additional scoop on the mascot… 

“Willie Wirehand was created for use by rural electric cooperatives and public utility districts. Willy was a stick figure, with a lamp socket for a head, an electric plug for legs and feet, and wore gloves similar to those worn by farmers.”

Next month will be the one year anniversary of my uncle's death. I was a pallbearer-along with Willie Wirehand on my lapel.
My childhood pocket knives are in that old collar box that I bought at the Georgetown Flea market. I carried one all the time except when at school. Today that would be scandalous I suppose. The tiny one is a cheapie but I wouldn’t take anything for it. It was my first ever pocket knife-from my grandmother. I still have the massive scar on my left index finger where that Barlow knife took the end of it off. The tip was hanging on by the nailbed only. Hurt like a mother ____ when they sewed it back on. 
And finally-rolling around in the drawer are two great memories. The gearshift knobs from my MG Midget and my Triumph GT-6.

Onward. With Stuff.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Greatest Hits

Greetings from the Wit Hotel in Chicago. I’ll be peddling my tonic here for a couple of days before heading back to the land of political puffery and posturing. I thought about this the other day. Living inside the beltway and not working in politics is kind of like living in Hollywood and not being in the movie business. I’ve done the public policy-government affairs thing. I loved the expense account but lost my appetite for the bullshit. And trust me-when my bullshit tolerance reservoir is full-I gotta go.

Looking back on my first seven months of blogging and the evaporation of over a hundred posts-I’m prone for recollect some of the ones I most enjoyed. The great thing about dumping all of that history is that I get to recycle!

The only significant pangs that I get are from reminiscing about a few of the LFG posts-mainly because I no longer keep a handwritten journal and I do miss that. I wrote letters to LFG beginning when she was two years old. I think the last time I wrote in that journal was about a year ago.

So I started rolling through an old cache of blog pictures and thought I’d just do a medley of stuff that came to mind. 
The old patch madras sportcoat-getting the "Banks" out. Inspired by our old buddy Toad
Two inch cuffs-Jay Kos cords. Alden Flex Welt Tassels
LFG's summer dance recital and my military sunglasses. That was a fun post!
"Puerto" Rykken and the Yellow Mac (Photo stolen-without permission from Will at A Suitable Wardrobe-Sorry!)

Gram Parsons' Nudie Suit
LFG's first Chucks
Suede Alden Flex Welt Tassels-501's and Horizontal Stripes from my second post
Sargent Shriver-Bereaved and confused. comforted by his grand daughter
Navy Blue Weejuns. I have them. You don't. Shut up.

My letter from Tom Wolfe. I have one. You probably don't.
Anyone remember "Sun Tzu and the Art of Pink in N.J." ?

Or the British Tan and Lymphoma Post?
Jesus and the Ford Pinto?

LFG-The "Pootist"
My post on sleeve cuffs-here sported by my sartorial hero Merkin. R.I.P.
My Gurkha shorts post. Charlotte and Me...replete with a skunk wig..on me-not her. Dig those rings she eighty years old. Will you live that long? If you do-will you have that much duende-style-understated aplomb? She had loads of it and my aquaintance with her was one of the most splendid and incredible gifts I've been offered. Her eyes at eighty were so blue. This photo doesn't  come close to capturing her majesty or Her Majesty.

Speaking of Her Majesty. At Gus and Gus in Rehoboth Beach this summer.James Dean and Jack Purcells. Few of you knew that Purcell was a Badminton legend till I posted a story about him. Damn.
My junk drawer. Several of you sent me emails asking if in the back of the drawer-out of this photo did there exist hanky panky items like fur handcuffs etc. You obviously don't know me. I'm not big into props and the actual items out of view are Tylenol PM and Rolaids. Quiet please.

LFG and Shirley Manigault from my S.C. vacation post.
LFG and I have done a hair reversal since this photo was taken all those years ago. She has hair now. Shut up.
Early morning post from the Mills House in Charleston
Caricatures in my office.
Boxers-On sale at the Gap Outlet in Old Town.
Remember when I had a cocktail and decided to bris my mocs?
Middle aged man with a cute daughter. Anyone seen my washboard abs?
iPhone photo technology-not. Pic from my earlier trip to Chicago.
Country Ham and Grits. Mills House-Charleston

Stoli-Belgians-Green Linen@O'Hare
I gave these pants to my Aunt Tootie.