Monday, August 27, 2012

Trad-Ivy Tuesday: Astronaut Style...A Study in Contrasts


When I look back on my first few years of elementary school, I see now that I was desperately in search of heroes. There were none at my house. Unless you count my mom and little guys don’t wanna see their mom as such when sitting in Mrs. Anderson’s class. Cale Yarborough was my local God and the Apollo mission crew members were my runners-up. This stuff was huge for the country and inestimably riveting for a little kid like me. They wheeled this ungainly industrial grade television stand topped with a black and white model large enough to be a refrigerator into the classroom and we watched the Apollo missions in their entirety. I still get excited thinking about it.
 Neil Armstrong…self-proclaimed nerdy engineer. Test pilot whose peers said was one of the best. Ever. Chuck Yeager caliber talent. First man to walk on the moon.  
Phi Delta Theta at Purdue. He nourished his right brain with music composition while honing the left with Purdue’s Aeronautical Engineering curricula.  And he met his first wife there. She stayed with him for thirty-eight years.
Tough-ass test pilot…Right Stuff astronaut or not…Armstrong had to endure the unimaginable G-Force of grief...burying one of his three children. His only daughter died of a malignant brain tumor in 1962.
After his retirement he first became a professor. Seems fitting to me. Years later he joined Thiokol’s board of directors after their solid rocket boosters were found to be a culprit in the demise of the space shuttle Challenger. Armstrong also chose his paltry few company/business endorsements very, very carefully it appears. Underexposure seemed to be his post moon walk strategy. It seems that he chose his cohorts only after rigorous vetting.
He stopped signing autographs decades ago because it repulsed him to see them for sale by autograph dealers for stunning sums. Seven thousand-five hundred dollars, before his death, if you want specifics. He sued his barber for selling his hair. He won the suit. Commercial gain by others who curried favor with him under false pretenses incensed him.
American Hero Armstrong allowed the inevitable reality of physical aging to take its course without delay or surgical-dermal filler interventions. I see in his face, that same stuff that my stepfather had. A sense of self...tethered to such a strong sense of identity and purpose that his cadence of quiet reserve...made swagger superfluous. And I can only speak for me but…his introverted nature and gallant deportment took him so far out of the public eye that I’d almost forgotten him. Regretfully.
 Buzz Aldrin...second man to set foot on the moon…West Point graduate…American hero.Truly.
His baby sisters called him “Buzz.” He thought enough of the nickname to make it his legal one in 1988. Maybe “Dusty” should become my legal name.
He flew the F86 Sabre in Korea and shot down two MiGs. Doing so in the less manoeuvrable Sabre speaks well of Aldrin’s skill. And stones.
A Master Mason…Aldrin claimed territorial jurisdiction over the moon on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Texas. Texas? Why does this not surprise me? But I admire Aldrin for cold cocking an Apollo Moon landing conspiracy theorist in the face in 2002 after being lured to a suite at the Beverly Hills hotel under false pretenses. He faced no charges.
It seems that as great a man as Aldrin is, he hasn’t met too many public appearances that he hasn’t liked.
Commercial gain? Why not?
This is from the "People Famous for Doing Shit Second" series courtesy of I reckon, some kind of Franklin Mint thang.
Armstrong co-mingled with stars. So did Aldrin. Then he danced with ‘em.
He chose his cohorts. I'll leave it to you to decide if you think his sieve for cohort inclusion is tight enough.
Exposayvou. Aldrin filed for divorce from his third wife sometime in 2011. These guys aren't easy to live with. None of them. Neither are healthcare sales and marketing strategy consultants who travel an average of two nights per week and try, when they're home, to burn their house down. Shut up.
Overexposure is one thing. Excessive publicity amidst bad plastic surgery is yet another.
Onward. Late for my Botox appointment. 
I raised the dosh to pay for it by selling my Buzz Aldrin action figure on eBay

ADG II …still in awe of these guys...in spite of their frailties. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Shopping

This is what it looks like with a 12 year old!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Trad Randomanalia--Reader's Questions

I have a pile of questions from folks over at my tumblr and being the long winded guy that I am I've decided to gather up a bunch of 'em and posit some responses here...
aduckgetsdressed asked:

“When did you get your first toy soldier?”
Ducksterini...I was a kid of the 1960's and '70's and essentially ALL of the lead-hand painted makers had given up on their version of to soldier b 1966. The heady era of painted-lead soldiers was the mid 1800's till the late 1950's. After that, bags of literally a hundred plastic toy soldiers could be bought for the price of ten lead ones. And by the '60's there was concern about lead poisoning. I had tons of plastic ones growing up. But then about 30 years ago my uncle gave me 6 old lead ones and that whetted my interest in them. I collected maybe 30-40 more and then put that collecting effort aside as I bought more art and caricatures. After my divorce, I unpacked the old box of lead toy soldiers and the collecting bug came back with a vengeance.
preppybythegraceofgod asked:
“Ok, what's the secret to your successful greening? Also, you have anymore paisley shorts or pants like you sent my cohort in style, Carolinastyle. Thanks, cheers, F.T.H.”
Green shoe polish. And yes, I've probably got another pile of duds that you boys would like to have.

Anonymous asked:
“I have to laugh. So many blogs have popped up recently that are unquestionably in imitation of yours. In some cases its the tone, in other it's the writing or the photos or the themes. You probably won't admit it, but I can and I have no horse in this race. You should be flattered by the imitation. And by the way, you still surpass them all in terms of style, creativity, vision, artistry, pathos ... You are a character!”

That's very kind of you to say. I wish that I had more time to write stories these days but I just don't. 

cosmosdream asked:
“Hey ADG, I'm a young guy who enjoys following your blog, and now the Tumblr. You wear a lot of cotton suits. They look great. Do you recommend buying them fully canvassed? I ask because I hear that cotton suits don't last so long. Maybe that's wrong? Sorry if this is obvious canon. BTW, I buy my suits custom made in Hong Kong, so finding the cotton suit in question isn't an issue.”
My greatest indulgence was having the Flusser boys make me a seersucker suit. Common wisdom, which the record shows that I possess none of, would tell us not to spend the big bucks on fully canvassed bespoke goods that are so seasonable and so perishable. But if you are getting them in Hong Kong, you are probably getting them for palatable prices so why not swing for the fences?

Anonymous asked:
“Do you have a go-to company for your chinos?”
Not really. I buy 'em on the cheap from Polo and J. Crew mostly. But I'm thinking about giving Bill's a try again. 

traddom asked:
“OK ADG, what's more classical and versatile for spring/summer, blue seersucker or pincord suit and why? Gracias, dollahs in the mail. PAB”
I haven't thought about pincord in ages. I do have a pair of pincord trousers but I'd vote for seersucker. It's just a personal preference I suppose.

Anonymous asked:
“How about some commentary / posting on lapel width and proportion? I just got a good look at 007 in the famous glen plaid 3 piece suit from Goldfinger and was shocked at how skimpy his lapels are. These days, I figure the go/ no go limit is probably at 50% on the Lapel-O-Meter, but your pal Ralph will frequently shoot up to 75 or more. What say you?”
Lapel width is something I've not paid too much attention to when it comes to my clothes. Since most of them are MTM/bespoke, I leave it to the elves to decide what the proportions should be. I was aware of Flusser's modest update and tweak to their house model about five years ago and was pleased with the slightly streamlined result. I do recall having a Polo DB suit about twenty years ago with lapels so wide that Mark "Puerto" Rykken referred to them as "dorsal fins."

"Was there ever a time when you first went from Off The Rack to something more and suddenly you had One Really Cool Garment and a whole lot of also-rans? Did you cull quickly and mercilessly or did you just work towards spreading the luxe around, like dressing on a salad? Or have you never had to suffer with the ordinary?"
First, I've never really deemed my closet as containing any "also rans." The off the rack stuff that I've held on to or bout at Bobby from Boston or whatever...has always been a complementary part of my sartorial lineup or it ends up out the door... eBay or to a couple of devotees who read my blog and wear the same size clothes that I do. Regarding culling quickly and mercilessly...It took me years to learn this skill. I used to hang on to stuff that I hadn't worn in years just because "this is Purple Label, I can't get rid of it..." I've now learned to let stuff go a bit more readily. And finally, my negative net worth tells me that not only should I have suffered the ordinary longer than I ever did, I should be doing more of it currently.
A question on Western--Top Pockets...
Eaztu (unregistered) wrote:
"What's your opinion of trousers with pockets cut like the one above? I've always preferred pockets cut vertically that are a continuation of the side seam. Even the slightest diagonal seems to emphasize one's width - probably not something you need to thing about."
Well first, yes, I'm blessed with having a build that I reckon is a bit more complementary to wearing these things. On the other hand, they still manifest the same puckering whateverishness on me and everyone else who wears them. Even Columnist and sartorial know it all, my favorite wordsmith...George Frazier.
I'd waive anyone off from making buying western/top pockets if you are uber retentitive about lines and symmetry and such. Because regardless of one's build, they are gonna be problematic. 
As one who's always in search of things a bit askew, they suit me.
"Hello, Can you tell me the origin of "GTH" and patchwork. I have heard a few versions and would like to know the real story. Joe"
I'm not sure. But the general conscenus I hear from those in the know, generally attribute much of the Trady-Ivy jauntiness to Chipp, the venerable Gotham store that I undortunately, never set foot in. But the story goes that Sid Winston and his boys were always contriving jaunty assembleages of madras and patchwork stuff and colorful, woldly patterned linings and risque and humorous neckwear.
And I suppose the best evidence of Chipp's  propensity for whimsical, GTH items was their infamous jockstrap.
And of course, my Rinpoche, Mr. Flusser, courtesy of John Tinseth from The Trad and Rose Callahan  posits on GTH trousers here. And I quote the quote.."The stylish button-downers would engage in a form of sartorial one-upmanship that brought wild dollops of golf course color or tartan-inspired outrageousness into classic ensembles that made insiders smile while others winced." --Alan Flusser from Style and the Man

Ok. That's enough for now. Gotta go loofah my stretch marks. 

80G2

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Moon River


When I was six or seven years old, I was on any given day; Robin Hood. Or Evel Knievel jumping over Miller’s ditch on my Ross stingray bike or a platoon leader slogging through villages chasing Nazis and arguing nose to nose with my buddies…screaming spittle flecked declarations of  “you’re dead…I shot you” to which was usually replied something like “no you didn’t…I was behind Miss Duffeld’s azalea bushes when you shot at me.” And the arguments were pure in that the taint of foul language wouldn’t come for another few years. Mine was a neighborhood overrun with kids and dogs and imagination. We didn’t need game consoles or the internet.
And our parents didn’t need baby sitters. They either left you with the neighbors for a few hours or called you inside, cleaned you up and took you in tow with them wherever they needed to go. And with my mom, it was usually the latter. I could feel the energy of the mood busting request as my mother’s high pitched Southern voice called for me out the back door. “Dusty…come home…” She never called me anything but my nickname unless I was in huge-ass trouble. Then it became Dustin. The same holds true today. There she is. My Scrabble playing 1970's mom. With a look that's somewhere, I'd say, mid-way on the Dusty-Dustin scale.
It was one thing to hear my mom call me in at seven-thirty on a summer evening when the sun was going down. Chances were that I was dirty, hungry and not too resistant to calling my Yankee shooting, Nazi chasing, Maid Marianne impressing, Friar Tuck bossing, Evel Knievel Caesar’s Palace-Miller’s ditch jumping day done. But when I got the shout-out at eleven in the morning, sometimes before we even decided what the game of the day was, my heart would plummet. For I knew that I was being summoned to come home, get cleaned up and go with my mom and four years older sister either to town, the grocery store or god forbid, to accompany them to Mrs. Wood’s house for almost two hours of their piano lessons. Shoot me now, shoot me now, shoot me now.
Mrs. Wood’s little house was befitting. It seemed to complement the one hundred year old, in my mind, crotchety widow piano teacher that she was. It was one big mothball smelling, anything but imaginative boy friendly, lace doily, knick-knack-a-thon holding-cell for tag-along chattel like me. She was so freaking pedagogical that even my steel magnolia-ed  mama wouldn’t gently intervene and negotiate any extra wiggle room within Mrs. Wood’s  admonishment for me to “sit right here ‘till your mother and sister finish their lessons.” It was torture of the highest order.
So there I’d sit…usually with a couple of Matchbox cars or my GI Joe. But such props were of no use. My imagination and well-honed ability to contrive self-entertaining fun was thwarted…by pedagogy, mothballs and doilies. I don’t think I ever, ever asked to pee at Mrs. Wood’s house.
And my sister kept f_c&ing up Beethoven’s Für Elise. I’m only six or seven years old so who am I to weigh-in on whether or not a piece of music is too advanced for a ten or eleven year old little girl? But I do know that my sister was and is clumsy and the tricky little motor sensory skills necessary to nail that little opening ditty of Für Elise was way beyond her ass. Trust me. Trust me also that GI Joe and I had to hear her ham-fisted efforts over and over again. She played it at her recital that year and I reckon she played it ok. I was there for sure but I don’t remember. I figure the photo above was taken at about the time all of this piano lesson stuff was taking place.
My mother admitted years later that the only reason she wanted to learn to play the piano was because of Moon River. She loved the Johnny Mercer-Henry Mancini song so much and she wanted to play it and sing it herself. And her Moon River efforts clobbered my sister’s Für Elise mess but then again I was probably biased back then. I loved my mama better than Peter loved the Lord and during that particular childhood epoch, I hated my sister. And so after my sister’s wrongly syncopated, shoulda been playing Rootie Tootie Taxi instead; piano lesson, Mrs. Wood would call my mom to the piano. Maternal tries at Moon River seemed soothing compared to my sister’s Beethoven boondoggle.
My mom learned one more song. I mean I’m sure she learned others but I only remember one more that she wanted to learn because she loved it so much. Floyd Cramer’s Last Date. The song remains today one of my mother’s be still my heart songs. And if you take time to listen to it, I bet you’ll agree that it’s a clean little ditty. Soon after mastering to a reasonable degree both Moon River and Last Date, my mom quit taking piano lessons from Mrs. Wood. Something about not wanting to comply with Mrs. Wood’s request that she wear shorter nails so that they wouldn’t click on the keys. Whatever. I was by then maybe nine. I had other things to keep track of and all I know is that for whatever reason, I didn’t have to go to Mrs. Wood’s house anymore.
So here’s to the sweetness of good songs. And to the character building yet torturous moments of sitting amidst moth ball vapored Hummels and doilies and other anti-seven year old little boy energies while Für Elise gets hacksawed and Moon River gets mildly better treatment.

Onward.
ADG II
Thank you, Susan, for sending me this lovely version of Moon River. It inspired my recollection.
And Floyd Cramer's grandson does a stellar job of honoring his grandfather's legacy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Trad-Ivy Tuesday: Sir T’oad McThrottle’s Request

Let’s talk tweed…Keeper’s if you will. And flannel. Why not, it’s only gonna be just shy of a hundred degrees—again—here inside the Beltway today. And what about my extra good buddy T’oad’s request? It seems that Sir T’oad (The apostrophe is a one-off affectation that I throwed on this morning, thinking that I may weave some fictitious French or other Continental lineage into Sir T’oad’s journey to his current position as landed gentry. But then I thought better of it. He is devoid of pigment.) declares it too soon for tweed talk and has requested refrain from such.
And the McThrottle moniker comes from his rightful belief that any blogger who mentions flannel or tweed before the weather gets nippy deserves a flogging. Here’s his exact words from my tumblr… “Mentally, I've promised myself that until the weather cools, I'd throttle the first guy who posts about tweed, flannel, wool, etc. Consider yourself throttled.” Ok den.
And he’s correct. But I had to post the photo above. The lighting sucked but if you’d seen this thing in situ, you’d a take a photo too. The lushness of the navy blue flannel was stunning. Marky Mark Mark Rykken of Paul Stuart Custom made this rig for one of the minions at The Rake. You’ll see it in an upcoming issue.
It is too early to talk tweed but I’m gonna do it. I’m a warm weather guy but if I’ve gotta endure the rawness of winter, I’d like to do so swathed in the topographical and geometric fuzziness of texturated English fabrics. All of the cloths and many of the contrivances over at Bookster remind me of Edwardian English shooting parties and as I type this, the salad days print ads from Polo Ralph harken for me the same recollectionated juju.
For you South Carolinians who read this load, I define the Polo “salad days” somewhere within the range of 1975-1985…with Thousand Island dressing and two two-packs of Melba toast. South Carolina Diner style.
Ok, back to tweeds and such. The impracticalities of those shooting party outfits present a dilemma. Or as someone taking shots at me over at my tumbler said about the intent, utility or relevance of my clothes, declaring them as—and I paraphrase loosely—“outfits for parties and events to which you no longer get invited.” I reckon the reason that stung is because my snide commentator is right. I’m wearing Sponge Bob Square Pants pajama bottoms right now so what event am I currently ready for? People like me get all caught up in the possibilities of such outfits and then find that, and I paraphrase my not so anonymous shot taker again, we don’t get invited to … “butterfly collecting but only when the mosquitoes aren’t so bad” events where the costumery is mandatory.
But I still had to have one. The tweedy Shooting Party esque two-piece contrivances that always look so damned good on people who are doing things where such kit is appropriate have always intrigued me. But not enough to spend the dough necessary to commission one for my damn self. I don’t generally run with the Highland Wingshooting, Stalking, Moors slogging crowd.
That’s where Bookster comes in. I’ve yet to have them make a jacket for me but my fifth pair of Bookster trousers is in the works right now. Hopefully they’ll roll in with enough time left for me to wear them once this season. Linen flat front fish-tails.  Oh, and fish-tail split backs are tricky as hell. You better know your size because when you start fiddling with waist alterations, you’re gonna foul the fish. That is, if you can find a tailor willing to take on the task.
I’ve spent tons of dough on custom clothes but I rarely allow the Flusser boys to make odd trousers for me. Hertling and Bookster quality/caliber is just fine for me. Really. So amidst my longing for a Shooting Party-esque suit that I’ll never wear, I wondered if the Bookster Seafield piece goods would remotely match up with my already well-worn and beloved Flusser Seafield poacher pocketed chest pocket flapped jacket that always gets admirable reviews.
I requested a swatch and the match-up is fine. Just fine. But I didn’t get much of a chance to wear this rig last season because, just like my linens that I decided to order at the wrong time, the Bookster trousers rolled in a bit too late in the season.  And when you order the proper sized fish tail trousers, this is what they should look like.
And then…and then I began to think about the Vanity Fair shooting prints. Several prints capture the essence of  shooting party dress and Lord Savile of RuffordAbbey has probably the best display of shooting kit as any of the Vanity Fair victims. “Spy”…Sir Leslie Ward, had, by the time he drew Savile for Vanity Fair, devolved his caricaturing skills to nothing more than society portraiture. You’ll see the difference in Ward's earlier caricatures. Stay tuned.
Here’s further evidence that Ward’s Vanity Fair contrivance was nothing more than a portrait…certainly not caricature. The Vanity Fair image is almost identical to Savile's photograph. I’ve long since, thank goodness, given up my flirtation with a mustache but Savile’s is one for the record books.
And Rufford Abbey? Similar to many of the estates which thrived when the balance of land ownership and thus every other venue to power was held in the hands of few, Rufford Abbey is no longer.  Here's a few more Vanity Fair shooting subjects...
Sir R.W.Payne-Gallwey
Sir R.W.Payne-Gallwey…Letters to Young Shooters.
Payne-Gallweywas a fairly prolific author whose three volume Letters to Young Shooters and his Book of Duck Decoys are highly collectible today.
R.H.R Rimington Wilson.  Listed by The Field as number sixty-nine of the one hundred best shots in English history.
R.H.R Rimington Wilson…Driven Grouse.
The Earl De Grey. Frederick Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon
The Earl De Grey…The Best Game Shot in England. But how difficult is it to be the best game shot in England when you’ve got estate raised birds and beaters driving them to you?
Richard John Lloyd Price of Rhiwias. Author of Practical Pheasant Rearing and Rabbits for Profit—Rabbits for Powder.
As well as Dogs’ Tales
Oh and Dogs Ancient and Modern and Walks in Wales.
Richard John Lloyd Price of Rhiwias…Pointers.
Ok, time for me to bust out of my Sponge Bob Square Pants pajamas and get cracking on the day. Somebody please, invite me to something this coming season where I can wear this rig. I’ll bring my first shotgun with me. It was a .410 Flight King…from K-Mart. Hoyt Purdey sold it to my daddy.
And speaking of shotguns and stuff...This is anything but tweed. It's Weejuns, keg beer and ...

Onward. Throttled. ADG II

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