Monday, November 29, 2010

Dominick Dunne R.I.P.

I’d already decided what I’d say to Nick Dunne if I ever met him. “Brilliant resurrection sir…well edited reprise.” I would also have tumbled out less well assembled words to express condolences about the murder of his daughter.
Dunne passed away in August 2009 after losing his battle with bladder cancer. The news of his passing was eclipsed, not surprisingly, by that of Senator Ted Kennedy. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who misses Nick Dunne. I have a low threshold for sycophants and suck ups…a limited desire or ability to play the social game…and zero capacity to watch any of the voyeuristic, base reality merde that so populates television these days. But I always enjoyed a little sprinkle of Dunne’s gossipy tidbits purveyed usually, in Vanity Fair.
I also love a resurrection story and Phoenix rising personifies Dunne’s journey. A Bronze Medal recipient (Battle of the Bulge), he went from being right in the thick of Hollywood’s elite to living shamefully alone in an Oregon cottage, driving a Ford Grenada after selling, literally, every material passion he owned—including his dog. One of his sons had to send him enough money to fly back East for the funeral of a family member. 
I’ve had a low-point or two in the proverbial journey but there’s always, always someone who can trump your worst sob story.  Get a copy of The Way We Lived Then to see Dunne’s photo chronicled story.
“He wrote assholes so well in his novels because at one time he was one.” I believe it was his son Griffin who commented similar. And one of the things I loved about Dunne was that he readily admitted it and was grateful for the proverbial second chance…an opportunity to be father, grandfather, writer and crusader for justice sans the asshole affectation. 
But he didn’t cast aside his ante-crash and burn appetite for finery. Graydon Carter mentioned that Dunne always insisted on Claridges when in London and that his expense reports were turgid to say the least. And I say good on him for it.
I got acquainted with Dunne years ago during a summer-beach house reading jaunt. People Like Us coursed through the beach house and to a person, was read cover to cover. I’d just rolled off of Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities and being the run on sentence dilettante that I am, enjoyed every Wolfian scrivened phrase. Dunne’s stuff was less well contrived but a hell of a lotta fun to read. I can assume that you literary snobs are thinking that the ADG Summer Wolfe-Dunne Comparative Literature class was at best, a decision regarding the tallest midget. So be it. I subsequently read everything Dunne wrote.
Dunne credited Tina Brown with providing him a ticket back to solvency and a platform from which to try his hand at novel writing. She realized that he was a trove of back stories and anecdotes from his Hollywood days and offered him his first shot at writing for Vanity Fair. And Graydon Carter continued the allegiance.
He wrote gossipy fluff in measured doses and he campaigned energetically for victims rights…fuelled by the experiences of his daughter’s farcical murder trial. Michael Skakel can thank Dunne to a fair degree, for his Moxley jail time.
So here’s to you Nick Dunne. I won’t speculate regarding who might replace you.

Onward. ADG, II 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Masonic Slippers

A page from a needlepoint pattern book circa late 19th century.  Freemasonry is rich with symbolism and a few icons are included here. The working tools of a Master Mason as well as the eye of the Grand Geometer of the Universe.
The apron is configured as a 3rd Degree Mason would wear it upon entering the Blue Lodge. Entered Apprentices and Fellowcraft brothers would wear the same apron but would configure it according to their current finished degree. I can’t tell you anything else or you know…I’d have to kill all y’all…and I’m not keen on killin’. “Keen on Killin’”…LFG and I remain in S.C. and for some reason…influenced by current proxemics and my redneck antecedents; “Keen on Killin’” sounds right to my ears this morning.

Ok, I digress. Surprising I back to the slippers. I want someone to needlepoint these for me. So let’s get with the program and come up with someone who can do the job. I’d want to make a couple of changes to the design as well as opt for a color other than red. But we can work out the details later. And what’s in it for the laborer? I’ll teach you one half of one of the seventeen secret handshakes that must be sequentially consummated in order to successfully enter the Blue Lodge.

Onward. With LFG…in Florence S.C. … turkey laden.

ADG, II  - Master Mason
 Ps…Speaking of shoddings…Dig these babies that LFG snagged when we rolled in to S.C. She’s her father’s daughter…fuzzy—fuzzy—fuzzy … shut up. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


If I had to sum up my intrigue with shell cordovan in one word, it would be patina. And I’m challenged to sum-up, posit, declare, announce, report, rebut, exclaim, disclaim, denounce or profund anything in one word. Patina. With a gleam. Translucent Patination if I'm afforded two words. I’m also reminded of Patina Johnson. A gal I could never get a date with in High School. Then again, I could rarely get a date with anyone in High School butcept Roxanne Burgess.
But that’s what it is…Patina. I told you the story about seeing a pair of Horween color 8 Weejuns when I was in college and trying to shine/buff/polish/admonish my leather Weejuns to preen shiny in the same way. It won’t happen folks. You have to swath your dogs in horsehide to get the gleam. Gleam gettin. Yep, that’s the rationale for plunking down the dough.
Tintin who fronts my other blog said that he was taught by an old Brooks guy at CasaBrethren to offer new shell cordovans a first coat of polish in black. I get that. A contrasting colour taunts the original vegetable dyed patinatinaterishness to preen conflicted with a swirl of different colouring. The trick with any polish applied to shell cordovan is to apply a stingy amount. The shells are impregnated with secret Horween sauces in which they’d been soaking for ages. Don’t over anoint them with anything.
I got an email the other day from a reader who has a storage unit adjacent to the Horween tannery in Chicago. He told me that he can smell the aroma of Horween’s broth when he’s in said storage unit. When he mentioned that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if his belongings took on a permanent smell of Horween Potpourri, it caused me to think of other options. I’d be tunneling my way in to the Horween hide-bathing locale. After a couple of midnight skinny dips in the century old secret brine, a private patina…a dermal depth might manifest. And my peeps would say… "ADG, you look shiny—and rested.”

My green-loden-vert Yuketens are en route. I keep checking the UPS tracking number every five minutes. I don’t think they’ll make it before LFG and I decamp to South Carolina for Thanksgiving but we’ll see.
Onward. In solitude for another little while. Before my girlfriend wakes.

ADG, II and LFG, the Only.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trad Friday—And a Stroll Through Ralph Chevy Chase

To say that my last three weeks have been maniacally blessed is an understatement. To reiterate that I have no time to contrive blog stories is a redundant truth. I’d say that I have writers block but that would assume that I’m a writer. You know, one who writes for wages.  And I’ve got (LFG told me not to begin sentences with “and” or “but”) tons of ideas for stories but no mental disc space or time to sort them out and write them. I’ve even fallen down on the task of ghostwriting The Trad. But what I have found time to the spirit of aggravating many of you, is ply my wrist with more tacky-ass wrappings. The Silly Band was a gift to LFG and I just keep forgetting to give it to her. 
It’s been a monk strap week—travel shodding wise. 
You can dress ‘em up and Jethro Bodine them down…what more could a man want in a pair of shoddings?
So I  shot some pics of my recent Polo Chevy Chase visit. Ralph endures. Ralph dips and slips from time to time but Ralph endures. It’s kinda like the feedback I got recently about my writing. Feedback from someone whose opinion carries huge weight for me. And I’ll loosely paraphrase for you… “Not every story you write is great—but some are brilliant.” Folks, if I can strike the brilliance note from time to time…with any of you…I’ll keep trying. Just like Ralph.
Ralph schleps high margin-high volume stuff in his Outlets and good on ‘im for doing so. Nobody makes anyone buy the goods and the Outlets help keep Polo profitable via velocity sales to the masses. That way Ralph can continue to offer low volume-lower margin tasty treats for … the asses. That would be me.
The early 1980’s…even amidst the Disco-esque remnants of the late 1970’s, saw in my humble opinion, Ralph in Full…Ralph at his best. The styling and fabrications, textures and tones were off the hook. My old Ralph jacket above is from the early 1980's.
And it pleases me to see that true to what made him—at least in menswear, still lives on in the Ralph Made-to-Measure offerings.
These styling options are so fuzzy that the finished goods come with a freakin' leash. And you can bet your sweet ash that this Ashton ain't no Kuchner...Kutcher...Kutcher or whatever that guy's name is. Shut up.
Damn. I mean really, what else is there to say? Oh, butcept one more thing...don't drink beer in this jacket. All the doing and undoing necessary to take a pee would become onerous. 
Tartan with a throat latch. Sartorial KamaSutra. Page 117 in the twisty-turny tome.
This is a suit...NOT just a jacket. Had it been a jacketing contrivance we'd yawn and throw this one, albeit elegant, in the Missionary Positionatonating queue. (Say that real fast… “posi-sho-naytuh-nayting…posi-sho-naytuh-nayting…posi-sho-naytuh-nayting… posi-sho-naytuh-nayting.” Admit it. You like it. Now try saying it in a Paul Lynde voice. That just takes all the fun out of word play doesn’t it?) But add a pair of brtiches to the effort and we are back in Fuzzydom. Oy.
Corduory jacketing off the rack. Less than four hundred bucks but with four thousand bucks worth of standard upgrades.
Including pleated patch and flap below. Lorded over by an open patch breast above. Governance provided by professorial elbow patches. 
Rumour has it that some of these swatches made the ADG Cut and you might, if you behave your damned selves, see them in full manifestation. Plus fours and vests? Shut up.
Ok folks, that's the best I can do. I got nothin' otherwise. Have a blessed weekend...I know I will. For after being gone for so long, I have successfully landed on my baby's weekend calendar. Her bedroom transformation...from Hello Kitty Pink to Dr. Seuss on mushrooms remains a work in progress. LFG did however, snag a zebra lampshade from T.J. Maxx for nine bucks. Stay tuned for the Architectural Digest story.

Onward. Exhausted but blessed. ADG II

Monday, November 15, 2010

June 1985—Navy Blue Hertling

Julie Hertling still makes trousers in Brooklyn. I worry that after Hertling and Martin Greenfield move on, the evaporative remnants of garment making in NYC will truly and forever be nothing more than ghosts. I was walking on Seventh Avenue the other day and a worker was strolling an empty garment rack across the street. A rather accurate metaphor of Seventh Avenue today. When I lived up there in the late 1980’s you could still see garmentos schlepping fully-loaded tumescent rolling carriages of garments through the streets. As my textile supply chain little brother aptly posits… “We’ve exported all of our manufacturing economy to China.” Sad.

But in 1985 Hertling still made coats and trousers—and I bought them. Mark Shale in Atlanta…before they went disco…Britains in Columbia South Carolina and Britches of Georgetowne…in D.C. … before they just rolled over and groaned the reality of Washington being too stupid to care about style…all did private label Hertling. The goods were tasty and styled nicely and for a kid just getting career traction, affordable versus Polo and other high ticket options.
So here I am, back in N.J. for some advanced training. I remember having conjunctivitis in my right eye the entire week of this training session. The eye-drops burned in a good way. Anyone know what I mean by that? I also remember the stress being almost unbearable during these training summits. The Swiss pharma that I worked for was IBM-ish in its orientation to corporate citizenship. We had tests every morning and if you made less than ninety, your ass was on a plane home. And dress shirts? White-white-white. Anything else on the corporate campus and you risked career suicide. This was before PowerPoint became the crutch of organizational poseurs and sycophants but methinks the dynamic would have been the same. I saw careers made or broken on the back of one freakin’ presentation.

I’m better for my thirteen year journey with said Swiss-Prussian-Hierarchical-Paternal company. Looking back though, through the lens of my authority-defying self, I wonder how I navigated so successfully through those years. No,;I do know how I did it. I was competent, well thought of, in possession of a middle-class orientation to work and achievement and buoyed by great mentors.

I used to comb all of the curl out of my side parted hair back then. Company men didn’t have untamed curly hair and they didn’t wear bracelets. After a few more years of fighting the curl-gods every morning, I just did a Britches of Georgetown and rolled over and groaned the reality of curly hair. I’d just like to have it all back now.
I’ve blacked out the eyes of a couple of old colleagues. This cat hated my ass. If you believe in or stand strongly for certain things, somewhere along the way you’ll encounter folks who believe differently than you and they will take it personally. I can name only two people in my thirteen year pharma career who I believe would genuinely liked to have seen me experience ill fate. Not a bad track record for someone who wasn’t an ass-kisser…least ways I think so. Shut up. I’ll admit that I may be delusional and egotistical but I’ve long since been convinced that this turd was jealous of me. And if he’d ever been in a situation of authority over me, I’d have been out of said company faster than a set of rims at a Puff Daddy concert.
The opposite is true for this fine fella. A very conscientious colleague from Northern California and a man who within a few years after this photo, moved on to a very well known U.S. based pharma organization. The reason that I’ve blackened out his eyes has nothing to do with how I regard him. He is a man of unimpeachable integrity. Unimpeachable as evidenced by his whistle-blowing tactics at said U.S. legacy large pharma monster. He refused to implement strategies that were clearly counter to approved product usage and devoid of clinical proof of said usage. He also dropped a dime over at the Justice Department in tandem with refusing to implement said strategies. His reward? Thirty four million tax free dollars. And I say good on him for his actions. I’d give half of that money to charity if it had been me. Seventeen million shrouded in good karma seems like a fair deal.

Onward. With seventeen thousand…shrouded in shell cordovan.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Just In

When I was in the 5th grade, report card day wasn’t always one that found me floating home on a tide of great news. The report was always pretty good—but not always flat-out great. But I just got GREAT news from my baby girl. She made Straight-A’s …perfecto on everything for this first reporting period.
I’m so proud of her I could just bust but instead, I’ll pick her up at nine in the morning to work on an art project for school. Then I’ll leave for another week of blessings called booked business. God only knows when I’ll write voluminous drivel here again. The balance of the year sees me in Philadelphia—Dallas—Portland—Los Angeles—South Carolina for Thanksgiving—Boston—Philadelphia and then, I think, my year is done.
Onward. With a Straight-A Daughter. I love you LFG. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Girl...

....LFG; gave me a hat. A hat that's a little too small but one that I'm proud of. So I'm wearing it today. And I'm gonna wear it everyday for the rest of the week. I'm wearing it to all of my business and social commitments for the balance of the week. Because that's just how I roll.
And I'm rolling over to LFG's school in a moment to pick her up. We'll work on her first book project of the year and then we'll have dinner. And she's gonna stay the night.
Nirvana. Bliss. Joy. Onward. With a hat.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Yuketen Green Cordovan Update

Oh happy day…leastways in a few more weeks. Here’s the update from Yuketen…

Hi D________,

Thank you again for your patience as we await your loafers to arrive.  I have received information that your shoes should be here with me in the office by the end of next week which means I can send you an invoice most likely during the 3rd week of November.

Once again, we appreciate your patience and please let me know if I can answer any questions or concerns.

In the meantime, I will contact you in the next week or two for payment so that the shoes can be promptly shipped out to you once they have passed inspection.

Have a pleasant day!

Kind regards,

Paul __________________

Ah, it all started when Cannonball sent me a link to this picture. After that, it was all over. The folks at Yuketen have been over the top conscientious in handling my passionate request to add one more pair to their manufacturing run. Alas, there wasn’t another pair to be added. But they didn’t blow me off. They had me trace my foot in addition to inquiring about my shoe size. They sent me a pair of try-on Yuketens to assure that their sizing and my size presumptions were aligned. They commissioned another loden green shell from Horween and all along, kept thanking me for my patience. Are you kidding me? It’s a pleasure to find artisans so committed not only to a unique and absurdly high quality product, but to courtesy and customer service that so far, has been superb.

If money wasn’t an issue, my next Yuketen commissions would be in rank order, the following…..
The Cherry Cordovan Moc
The Navy Cordovan Moc
And the ultimate of Moc-ery. The CrocoMoco
The Yuketen folks operate out of Hermosa Beach. Looks like I’ll be at a little place nearby called Shutters on the Beach about the same time my shoes roll in. Maybe I’ll just swing by and pick ‘em up in person. I've not had any work assignments that found me in Southern California in a while and I'll take a few R&R days while there. I'm looking forward to it.

Onward. GreenlodoCordovanishly


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Deo Veritas-Made To Measure Home Run

I’m gonna shill for a moment folks. But with no compensatory favors coming my way. I write about things I like…not about things people incent or induce me to write.
So there’s a supply chain guy. An expert in process and shipping and point A to B kinda things…all of which I have no interest in. Even though supply chain efficiency can create competitive advantage...but I’ll leave my work sh_t right there. So this supply chain consultant guy, Vinnie, spends tons of time in Hong Kong. And what do guys with a free weekend in Hong Kong do? (keeping it clean here folks…free time sans options for opium and bootie) Eventually, you have a shirt or two and maybe a suit made.
So Vinnie did just that and more. Back home in Chicagoland, after plying his supply chain prowess and establishing relationships with reputable shirtmakers in Hong Kong, he launched Deo Veritas. And the product my friends, is rock ass solid for the money.
I’ve experienced cheap made-to-measure. And when I had money, years ago, I indulged in the full-ass monty of bespoke shirts. Here’s the bottom line…a hundred bucks give or take, gets you the best value in made-to-measure that I’ve ever seen. This first shirt that I tried was less than a hundred bucks and I was able to tart it up in fine style.
 And I just popped for two more, motivated in part by the 20% off deal that Vinnie is currently offering. I ordered my standard size but you can tweak the sizing any way you want. 
I also requested that Vinnie lower the monogram placement to my standard “opposite fifth button” position. I have nothing to suggest to Vinnie regarding improving his high value offerings butcept one. Let’s get some additional fabrics in the bullpen my friend!
Now get over to Vinnie’s and order yourself a shirt or two.

Onward...with a 20% Deo Discount under my belt...but competing not...with my washboard abs.