Monday, May 31, 2010

Home to My Jesus-In Seersucker

No wonder the Pharisees always stayed kinda mad at Jesus. After all, he made them look foolish on more than one occasion. Did they really want Jesus to condemn the adulterer or did they want to test Jesus’ influence? Jesus was able to challenge these authoritarians by inviting them without sin to commence stoning this woman caught in the act of adultery. It would have taken me three weeks to come up with such a clever statement to diffuse the situation.
John Chapter 8 and a couple of verses from Mathew provided all the reference necessary to let me know that yesterday’s sermon was exclusively for my country a_s.  Judgement and forgiveness is the tight little forty five minute message and I’m sitting there thinking “damn (even though you shouldn’t be thinking or saying “damn” at the handlin’) here we go again…another sermon aimed at ADG Ground Zero”….
Some top-line corollaries from John Chapter 8…Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and yet do the same thing.  And then from Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judgedOk…looks like I’m gonna have to refrain from laughing at people who wear goofy shit. And “zeal”? Take that away from me and I got nothin’.

Now how in the world am I going to put fully in play the lessons from the handlin’? I posited a good while back in my post about why I love and write about clothes that I want people to learn about me and my character before casting me off as some sartorial snob. You can read it here. I declared in that post that I try really hard to offer the same latitude to those I meet…regardless of the number of tattoos you have, nose piercings or even, God forbid, vertical blinds. I can even dig deep enough and find the goodness in you if I notice a Thomas Kinkade painting hanging in your house. And that’s digging deep.
I suppose it’s no longer my authority to declare when you can or can’t wear things like patch madras and seersucker. And Allie, I’m gonna have to abandon my idea of resurrecting the Butt Police. Who am I to decide such things? And Spandex? Geez…can I really surrender my authority over such offensive fabrics? I’m against the death penalty but what about butt crack baggy jeans and backward baseball hats? 
Are y’all really comfortable with me letting go of my Pharisee-esque self proclaimed authoritarian weigh-in on all things Strip Mall? Was I delusional to think, just because I have people of distant, thank God, relation back in S.C.—who would actually be proud to make the People of Wal-Mart blog post—that I could straighten the world out on such matters? Just having an Aunt Tootie should qualify me.

 Let me conclude by saying that I’m gonna try really hard to actualize the lessons learned in Mathew and John. But I can’t promise anything. As I cobble this drivel together, my little pocket Mephistopheles is sitting on my shoulder telling me that if I don’t carry forth the mantle of sartorial judgement…the slippery slope of sartorial slovenosity will become ever steeper.
So it’s no longer upon me to declare white bucks and seersucker the current Sunday costume of choice for the masses. But for me yesterday—I was pleased to pounce. Flusser gray seersucker sportcoat, pink diagonal tone on tone Flusser button down, nicely patinated Polo white bucks and an old pair of bulletproof Hertling Irish linen trousers.
I’ve commented on the architecture of this sportcoat before but here’s a little refresher. At first glance one could quickly conclude that it’s just another ADG Fuzzy Dice contrivance. Double vented, three two roll, patch pockets with a patch ticket…finished off with an open patch breast pocket. Give me a break man! If ever the evidence would support throwing the first stone of ersatz sartorial contrivance…this might be it. But hold on a minute before you start pelting. This exact model hails from the Brooks Brothers Archives courtesy of Alan Flusser. So there.
I love this jacket. Those of you who bespeak things know that even from the same pattern, singular garments feel and fit differently based on a zillion factors. This creation fits exactly the way I like. Don’t ask me to explain further. It’s not for you or me to really understand in toto.
And Hertling trousers? I can only speak for myself—since I’ve given up my authority—but I’ll never need a nicer pair of trousers than what rolls out of the Hertling factory. I just worry about what’s gonna happen over in Brooklyn after Julie Hertling gives it up. China I reckon.
Toad did a great update on white bucks the other day. And as much as I want another pair, it ain’t in the budget and these patinated babies are good for a few more seasons.

I exchanged emails with someone from back home recently and we got on the subject of funerals. A sartorial legend from S.C. passed away and he was filling me in on the funeral service. I offered the following comment in an email reply….. “Funerals…I used to worry like hell about what my family will do on my behalf—regardless of what I’ve outlined in my Will. My mom remains undone over the fact that I’ve requested cremation. I would love for the Shaw Singers or the Blind Boys from Alabama to roll in and sing two songs… “Oh Happy Day” and “Home to My Jesus”. Then I’d like for everyone to have cocktails. No open casket nonsense for me”.

So I’m gonna leave you with Home to My Jesus by the Shaw Singers. Excuse the silly dancers visual…I can’t find another version of the song to post. I love the grittiness…the granularity of this poorly recorded gospel standard. I also like what the Rev. Al Green said about the difference between the Blues and Gospel. Just substitute the words God/Jesus with Baby and you’ve got one or the other. I’m thinking the Rev. Al was hollerin’ for God not Baby when that pot of hot grits hit him upside the head.

Onward…throwin’ no stones…till Thursday…ADG

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Art Linkletter...R.I.P.

We could sure use a Linkletter or two these days. I never tire of watching this clip....Linkletter had such a gift of engaging these little people.

If anyone should see God on the other's Linkletter.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dressing the Neck-LFG Style

Dressing the neck is always going to be tricky business. The issue has been well covered by Will over at A Suitable Wardrobe, Chris over at Easy and Elegant Life as well as Chris at Off the Cuff. I think it was Chris Cuff who recently posited on the issue of neck dressing in warm weather. That’s an easy matter for me to reconcile…it’s too freakin’ hot and humid here in my neck of the woods to worry with encasing my goozle from now till Halloween.
I’ll not offer too much beyond what I and others have already said on the ascot/kerchief/neck subject-I’m gonna turn it over to LFG in a moment. But there's just nothing trickier than pulling off the neckerchief look. My first rule is consistent with the standard rule I have for all my sartorial contrivances…you’ve gotta not care too much what others think or you’ll end up humiliating yourself. You just flat out have to not give a shitake.
Let me also touch on what I call the Thurston Howell, III phenomenon. I don’t care how grungy, casual or aloof your outfit might be—add an ascot and the affectation is over the top. More so than anything delivered by wearing slippers. The foppish effeminacy manifest in an ascot makes Belgian shoes look like steel toe Red Wings. I wear dime store cotton cowboy handkerchiefs and the impact is the same. So why do I wear them from time to time in colder moments? Simple—I like them and I don’t like having an open neck in the winter.
You haven’t asked for advice on the matter but I’ll offer it gratuitously. Don’t dare touch this accessory unless you can run the gantlet of stares, ridicule and tisk tisking. You already know that if I don’t get some of that, I feel like I haven’t executed my sartorial rigging properly.
Even if only a hint of your neck accoutrement shows... it's enough. Enough to scream...I'm a poseur. No problem where I'm concerned. I AM a poseur.
Solid brown silk shantung was my choice for one of my recent days in London.
Never have I seen Lord Flusser without something adorning the neck.
A five dollar cotton handkerchief and you've achieved...Geezer Chic.
So LFG and I are walking to La Madeleine last Sunday. It was time to celebrate the completion of our final book project. More on the book project in a moment. LFG dressed for our lunch date and I didn’t take much notice of what she had on…it was fairly typical. The above shot is not what she wore to lunch last Sunday...this is from a previous post that she and I did on winter scarves. I just like the picture.
Then I noticed that her t-shirt seemed bunched up around her neck. Upon further inspection, I realized that she had on a scarf. I so was impressed with her little touch of panache-√©lan-style that I asked her to show me how she tied it. By the way…her scarf came from Gap.
Step One: Show daddy just how much scarf you have to work with!
Step Two: Once around the neck with authority.
Step Three: Knot the ends.
Final Step: Tie it once again and tuck it in. Then enjoy quiche and Orangina at La Madeleine.
Our final book report and presentation for the year. By the way, LFG made all As on every segment of the report she did on The Elephant Book. Homeless Bird was a bit more challenging than a picture book about elephants. It's a story about a young girl and the journey through an arranged marriage, widowhood almost immediately thereafter and betrayal by those close to her. It's also about empowerment, perseverance and the fruits of hard work and faith. Heavy stuff for a nine year old to process but she did a great job. Her visual aid this time was a bookstore poster. I think she'll do great on this one as well.
Rough draft from a couple of weeks ago...Daddy's editorial inputs.
The next step in the iterative process. LFG ain't too keen on iterative processes. She did two more drafts after this one.
Now THIS is the fun part.
Done. Time for fun and frolic.
And one final bit of sartorial advice from LFG. Always wear your trousers on your natural waist.

Have a great holiday weekend. LFG has dumped me for better holiday options so I'll be at the Casa...alone...sulking.

Onward. ADG

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nine Year Old Dreams-Nine Year Old Goals

One of my best buddies has honored me over the years in ways that I’ll never be able to repay. I’m not certain what I ever did to have friends as loyal. His oldest son is my godson. His next oldest son’s first name is my surname. Thank goodness that his third and final son is named for yet another one of his good friends.
 The middle boy, G., wrote this letter last October. He’s nine years old and to say that he’s focused is an understatement. He cries when they drag him home from the golf course. He realizes that academics go hand in hand with being on the golf team at a Division I school. He obviously realizes that Georgia Tech…for some reason he wants to play golf at Georgia Tech…is a strong Engineering school.

He wants to live in Pinehurst North Carolina and has surmised that he will have to work his way to greater levels of responsibility in the business world. G. assumes I suppose, that if you work hard and apply yourself that maybe you’ll be rewarded. And you can play golf every weekend…and “just be a flat out great golfer”.

He’s nine years old.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Birdwell Summer

R.G. was the first guy to have a pair. I saw them when we were at the Elks Club pool one day. He had a hippie sister in California who sent them to him which made them that much more out of reach and desirable. You see I was already hooked on the proverbial back story, the collateral lore that accompanied things…and I was only in grammar school.

It would be several more years before any store in my hometown would purvey something like Birdwells. We weren’t backwater per se but we were…well…comparatively quaint I suppose. The other challenge would be for me to find a pair small enough. Would they even make something like this in a twenty--whatever waist? Maybe the Myrtle Beach surf shop would have them. We would stop at Mammy’s Kitchen for lunch in Myrtle Beach en route to Ocean Drive…North Myrtle Beach. By the late sixties and early seventies North Myrtle Beach remained a holdout for local Carolinians who clung to wood frame beach houses with screened front porches and no air conditioning. Myrtle Beach by then was well on the way to rightfully earning it’s moniker of “K-Mart by the Sea”.  Sixty five miles away in mom’s station wagon and with a low key whine (too much of a whine and my mother would reach back without looking—and I’m talking about reaching all the way to the “back-back” of her VistaCruiser station wagon and slap me naked) en route and maybe my mom would stop and I could get a pair.
Long before the national chain surf shops, the one in Myrtle Beach was a family owned independent enterprise that was a retail outlier in the truest sense. It appealed to a leisure life that was in my elementary school eyes…randy and rowdy. How long would it be before I weighed enough to wear most of the stuff that the older boys bought from this one-off purveyor of cool? And would I ever be able to enter such an establishment without my mother—the exchequetrix and facile roller of the eyes…eyes that said…“I don’t know what’s going to become of you if you fall in with this crowd”. Damn mama, it’s only a pair of swim trunks.
I’m sure the LaJolla characters in Tom Wolfe’s The Pump House Gang would have laughed at the North Myrtle Beach of my childhood. All the cool stuff started in California…surfing…skateboarding…tie dyed t-shirts…they say some of the best cannabis came via California…I wouldn’t have known. Kids surfed in the Carolinas but come on…where was the real surfer subculture? The best of the Carolina surfing best would be hodads in California. What I did know as a grammar school kid was that everything for sale in that surf shop seemed not only out of my reach but also illicit…and this wasn’t even a head shop. My mom would have been back out the door in a heartbeat if there had even been a modest display case of hash pipes and roach clips. 
Things as benign as Gordon and Smith t-shirts and surfing accoutrement, as well as the skateboards and other kit therein spoke to me a lifestyle that my mama wouldn’t let me take on. The round puck of Sex Wax made my pulse quicken as a kid. Why did they call it that and why couldn’t I have a cake of it? …Even though I didn’t have a surfboard. Wouldn’t it be cool just to have one? Kinda like that condom I would slip into my wallet several years later only to replace it every couple of years…new old stock I suppose…wallet worn but certainly never used. So I prevailed…at least in matters Birdwell. My mom bought me the smallest pair offered and my color choices were—nadda. I could have the blue ones or the blue ones.
My memories of this time…so early in my life’s journey, are inextricably tied to Vietnam. I didn’t know what it was all about. I just knew that my much older cousins…the guys that were for me, the arbiters of everything cool…were being drafted. My mother, the youngest of ten, had older brothers and sisters whose kids were being shipped off to Vietnam by the busload. My cousins…Carroll, C.H., David and my oldest cousin Nancy’s new husband, Bill, all shipped out for Vietnam the same summer I got the Birdwells. David ran the rivers on a Swift Boat and came back a mess. *UPDATE...I've been made aware that the photo above is from our current conflict...not Vietnam

We always shot tons of fireworks on the 4th at my Uncle Connie’s. The next summer when David came home from killing people on the riverbanks of Vietnam, we didn’t have fireworks at Uncle Connie’s. David, Connie’s son, stayed in his bedroom the whole day. This was probably around the same time that Ernie, the guy who worked at the trad haberdashery with me many years later, sat on his lifeguard stand at Ocean Drive, maybe in Birdwells, waiting to be drafted.
I love the movie Big Wednesday. I love the surfing stuff but the conflict manifest in being too lazy and too in love with surfing to sign up for the Draft intrigues me. I suppose that there was less of a moral issue with war than there was a desire to not interrupt what was probably the best summer of their lives.
I also correlate those first Birdwells with Coppertone. The white gunky stuff that mom used to smear on us. I also remember my older girl cousins being sunburned and putting Noxzema on each other. I probably got a nano glimpse through a cracked bathroom door…of a pallid budding breast made more pallid by encircled sunburn. Or maybe I just think I saw one. Ten-O-Six lotion, Stridex Medicated Pads and Dipity Do seem to channel through my recollection of the Birdwell Summer. All things that would be on the dresser of one of the beach house bedrooms…along with those heated curlers…props and unguents used by my older girl cousins.

I think I went through another couple pair of Birdwells before moving on to other board shorts…Ocean Pacific I think, was probably next in the queue. I even had the corduroy OP shorts. My tobacco farmer grandfather couldn’t get his mind around the fact that one would wear a winter fabric as a pair of shorts…especially in bright colors. He and Longwing.

I snooped around a bit while thinking about this post and discovered the Carrie Birdwell family is still cranking out the Beach Britches just around the corner from where she first began all those years ago. Her decidedly low tech website is a personification of the pluck that’s probably been a key ingredient to her survival all these years. I doubt that the Smithsonian has a pair of Birdwells in their archives but they should. I’m thinkin’ I’ll pounce on another pair—probably not in a twenty eight waist this time.

Onward … ADG—Hodad

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trad Week In Review

My LFG weekend (code nowadays for driving LFG to various parties and activities) is about to begin and I couldn't be happier. Certainly, I'll have other things to post after the weekend but I wanted to close out this week with a dose or randomanalia. My collection of raw material is strong but none of it represents for me, enough fodder for a stand alone post. Therefore, strap in and get ready for the randomnest of randomness.

First let's take up the issue of J.W. Hulme and Company. I had a long talk this morning with one of my best buddies. We covered, and to our satisfaction, solved most of the pressing problems of the world sans how to plug the offshore oil leak. We talked at length about buying American made goods and how it's almost impossible to find anything purely American made. Orvis Battenkill luggage is my go-to carriage for personal and business travel. One of my commenters made me aware that Hulme no longer makes for Orvis so my latest admonishment is....Orvis NO....Hulme YES. 

The Hulme zippered tote is a great way to demonstrate your patriotism and commitment to fueling the economy. AllieVonGDP and I can't do it alone. Jump on in...the water's fine.
Look what rolled in over here ...destination Old Town.
I carry a ton of materials to meetings and this baby will be just the thing to accommodate my props. And I've got an ass load of props.
Tons of space for gadgets.
The portfolio is Hulme-Orvis from fifteen years ago. The good news is that the canvas fades fast and the leather develops a quick patina. Quick Patina...sounds like something from the KamaSutra. I dated a gal named Patina years ago.
So the new tote sits in the sun today...fading. Gotta get some of the new off of it before I show up on the train or at DCA with it.

Anyone else get the Powell catalog? Not sure how I ended up on their mailing list. I've never bought anything from them. Seems like a nice enough bunch of people and the goods are really high quality. Still, I don't see every buying any of their stuff. And please, if I ever pay a buck ninety five for a baseball cap...just slap me. 
Remember the Gremlin? An AMC car right? Wrong in every way. Detroit made laughable attempts to thwart the breathtaking flanking moves by Japan. Remember...Toad drove a Vega at one time. Butcept it was a Cosworth. Shut up. We also had the Pinto and the Duster as defensive ordnance. I almost fell out of my car when I saw this baby the other day. A Gremlin with an antique car designation plate. Oy.
Ok...I've lifted the patch madras ban.
GTH socks keep multiplying at CasaMinimus...I swear I didn't buy these. But I will be wearing the hot pink paisleys this weekend. Shut the.......
The Georgetown Flea Market provided great fodder for my upcoming Geezer Chic post.

So lets talk fried chicken. I love it and only eat it when I'm in South Carolina. So I figure two or three doses of this clucking fried infarction won't kill me. Remember, I can rationalize anything. LFG and I always stop at Bojangles when we are south of Richmond en route to MamaMinimus in S.C.
Good thing that don't have Bojangles north of Richmond right? Wrong. I've been living here forever and had no clue that my lipid levels were in peril courtesy of 'jangles. Someone mentioned to me last week that there was a Bojangles in Prince Georges County and I said no. Then they said yes. Then I said no again. Then I went online.
 6.9 miles....we've got trouble...just over the Potomac. So close but so far...given that the 'hood is kinda dodgy...I'd never have risked going over there. Especially in a Swedish Muscle car. A Saab convertible in P.G. county just screams...."whip my ass-whip my ass-whip my ass". Drive over in a pair of Belgians to boot and there's no telling.
So I get in the car at once because I'll risk my life for fried chicken.
"For here or to go?" Are you kidding me? I don't mind risking life and limb but additional peril, courtesy of the Bojangles dining room is beyond my scope.
Safe and sound back on the veranda...fried nirvana...with a cloth napkin. Kinda like putting lipstick on a pig...or a chicken.
The outcry of ridicule and concern about my other white trash caloric indulgence...The Hungry Man dinner motivates me...especially after the Bojangles confession, to let all of you know that I can and do cook better things. 
Remember my Brussels Sprouts appetizer on Boston? 
Well I replicated it to about the eightieth percentile the other evening. One more go and I'll have it mastered. Shut up.
Now this isn't quite as healthy but I made it...from scratch...butcept the ribs from Christmas. I thawed those babies out as well as reheated some gumbo that I made the other week. If you tasted this corn-you'd want me. Ladies only...ok.
Flat fronts. Kinda defeats the purpose of wearing this latest trend if you've got a big ass belly cascading over a Ralph creation such as these. Even with my level of white trash cooking intake, I avoid the beer belly calamity. Shhhhh.
Jealousy doesn't become you so either head over to Ralph and have some made...after you run five miles and do a few sit ups...or zip it.
You can buy that eleven dollars a pound stuff if you want to. When you come to my house, you'll be drinking this.
Today is Ride Your Bike to Work day in D.C. I drove the thousand yards to my honor of the event. Fossil fuel and fried chicken...and I'm not even a Republican. Both parties repulse me. 
White pants, old RM Williams kangaroo belt and the Paul Stuart table cloth from the other night. Yes, we recycle dress shirts if they aren't dirty. At 17.50 per shirt, we try to wear them twice before having them laundered again.
And monk strap suede shoes? I don't know. I just had a monk strap craving flung my way this morning. Shut up.
I test drove the other pair of O'Connell's bleeders the other day. This is for the ladies. With a backward monogram.
Max Beerbohm, Lord Hawke and Fred Archer await the hanging committee. Hurry.
How do you assure that you'll like your Father's Day gift? You make certain that LFG requests the SKU number and other requisite information for said gift when you are assisting LFG in the procurement of said Mother's Day gift. Bam!
Obsequious customer service folks whose second language is English crack me up. I couldn't resist taking a snap or two of my interactions with a Comcast customer service person...probably assisting me from Bangladesh. 
Here I am having trouble with the service quality and while I'm waiting for Krizza to find a solution, she tries to sell me some more stuff. Stunning.
After my issue was resolved I tried to make a little small talk. Krizza likes Viking movies too.
Just to let everyone know...LFG and I are going steady. She's wearing my ring now.
And finally...Have a Good Day!