28 August 2009

Friday Belts - Never Again

Not a huge fan of Margarita's but the Gulf Foxtrot is. I make a mean puerco pibil. Five pounds of pork butt marinated in achiote sauce and slow cooked in banana leaves. It screams for cold beer. But Foxtrot doesn't drink beer so I usually make her a margarita. I rarely indulge. It makes no sense. It doesn't pair well with the food and it breaks all the rules of mixing booze resulting in a nasty hangover. I'll admit... I probably don't know what I'm doing. My bench mark is the silver version at the Frontera Grill in Chicago. It's hard to compete with Rick Bayless. But I try.

I love the taste...the lime, the Cointreau, the salt...I don't like the buzz. It's rag like and a little scary. It reminds me of pot and why I was never a fan. Champagne gives me a sense that everything is gonna turn out okay. Even though it's not. The buzz is gentle and after a couple of glasses it melts away within an hour. Just long enough. The Magarita keeps me anxious and seems to drop me in Juarez with out clothes, money or ID. But I tried. And I always say the same thing. Never again. Never, ever, again.

Never again.

The 100% polyester Nik Nik shirt, the nails bitten to the quick and an old Army barracks from my first year in the service. If you want to know what it's like being a second class citizen in this country...enlist. You will be cheated by stereo and car salesmen, scolded for not rolling your socks correctly by a 22 year old West Point graduate, assumed ignorant by your civilian friends and considered poison by all women except the wrong kind. It's just like drinking tequila. Still, it was a helluva buzz.

No idea where that belt buckle is and that's a good thing. It was heavy and the belt was wide. I also had a Winchester buckle that I would rotate on the same strap. Isn't that odd? Just like my sterling buckles today. Well...not, 'just like' but you get the point. Surprised by those glasses. Wonder if I beat John Milius to prescription Bausch & Lombs?

Times have changed. The military today is nothing like it was back when that picture was taken. And while I'll always feel a connection to the Army...it was and is my only home...I'm also an outsider. Unable to go through that gate anymore.

27 August 2009

Tunes I Can't Stop...

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Courtesy of Ben - - The 80's Version - - Perfect

...listening to. Over and over and over...French guys singing in English? A drummer who can play and dance at the same time? Merde! They're addictive as pomme frites and twice as salty.

26 August 2009

1983 Dorm Room

Today's Commentators ME & DB pictured above

That's A Turn Table - - It Played Records

Dorm With A View
Jack Kramer in the Corner

What an antique store. I've had these negatives for years but never printed them. Scanners are slow but they sure as hell beat dektol, stop bath and fixer.

I returned to this college one Summer and since my old room was on the ground floor and just off the courtyard - - I swung by for a look. The window was open and I pressed my face against the screen. My room had changed very little. But what took me back - -what threw me back to 1983 - - was the smell. It's an old building with a distinct scent. Like the giant boxwood hedge at my great grandmother's house in NC. I wish I could bottle it.

Ten minutes of smelling my old room and I moved on. Stopped by a history professor's office during his black beans and rice lunch. He offered me a chair and we chatted but he didn't remember me. He did give me an odd look. Same thing with a popular English professor. Didn't know me from Adam but he cocked his head at an angle and squinted at me while I talked.

I moved on to a popular tavern and had a beer at the bar. I mentioned to the bartender I had gone to the college 15 years ago and was doing the memory tour. I asked her who owned the bar nowadays. She said she didn't know and ran off. That was odd. The place wasn't crowded at all. In fact, it was dead.

Walking back to the car I couldn't help but think it was a strange day. Thomas Wolfe was right about going back. I sat in the car, adjusted the rear view mirror and saw perfect little squares of black dirt over my entire face from my old window screen. As I wiped it off ... I wondered why no one said anything. Today, the administration likes to ask alumni what attracted them to the college. I always say the look of it hooked me. The faculty kept me. But the smell and the dirt keep me coming back.

25 August 2009

The Trad Tail Polo Shirt - SS 2010

The TRad POlo

Copyright August 25, 2009 by The Trad. All Rights Reserved

24 August 2009

La Chemise Lacoste - 1953 - 1983 - 1996

Lacoste made in France - - A Good Thing

'Gentry' Summer of '53 Announces La Chemise Lacoste

This Lacoste From 1996 And There's A Problem

SAYC Polo Circa 1997

It's The Tail - SAYC Polo

Lacoste Tail 1996

Lacoste Tail In Dorm Room 1983 - - Check Out That Tail?

Click on that Gentry article and you can see this was the Lacoste coming outta the box. I read somewhere the marketing strategy was to give the shirt away to the famous and hope the media would take care of the rest. Early product placement. It worked.

In college I preferred Lacoste over Ralph Lauren. Ralph did have some beautiful colors but I was holding onto tradition...even back then. In the 90's, the Lacoste came back after being AWOL for some time. Available at Nieman Marcus for $75. I pounced. Little did I know...It wasn't long before manufacture moved to Peru and so today the Lacoste label reads, "Made in Peru - Designed in France." Bastards.

They snuck the tail by us too. How much do you save by wacking off a four inch tail? That was so much a part of the shirt. Rene Lacoste was said to have had a back hand like the whip of a crocodile. Of course no one paid attention - - including Gentry Magazine - - and for years most folks called it an alligator. An alligator without a tail from Peru. How depressing.

The other shirt is a yacht club polo made by Outer Banks in the US of A. And it has a tail. So there. As I was giving this some serious thought...I came up with a solution. I'm gonna sew a four inch tail on my Lacoste. And in a contrasting color. I offer the idea to you as well. Take a tail-less polo, say bright green, and sew a four inch tail from a pink polo. An orange polo with a green tail. Navy polo with a yellow tail. Maroon and yellow. Green and blue. White and red. Your school or fraternity colors...whatever. Have fun with it and do me a favor...Will you tell me how you did it? I'm not very crafty.

21 August 2009

The Friday Belt: Noir Domaine

Domaine Serene Evenstad Pinot Noir

Paul Stuart Strap w/ Tiffany Buckle

Strike Out Trafalgar

Have you ever had an "In the Moment" experience?

Walking west through the Chicago loop a woman stepped out of Northern Trust's side door and walked to the El tracks. She was petite in a simple black linen dress and bob'ed black hair. It was a warm Spring day and I was taking in all I could. At her open toed shoes a glint of sun reflected off a bright red toe nail just as a subway train rumbled by on the elevated tracks in front of her. My view of life went from a 9" B&W television to 70mm wide screen Cinemascope. Colors were saturated, noise was crystal clear and for a moment - - Everything stopped.

I've had a few, 'moments.' I try to hold on as long as I can but they always fizz away and I'm left with 9" B&W. Domaine Serene Evenstad is not exactly that kind of moment. Although the bottle reminds me of the woman in Chicago...the red foil top and the black logo. The first sip never fails to stop me dead in my tracks. Words like lithe, full bodied, balanced and ripe fruit never come to mind. 'Holy Shit' is what comes to mind. An Oregon Pinot Noir... the '05 sells for around $55. It's so damned good - - I don't drink it with food. Food gets in its way.

The black calf strap was picked up at Paul Stuart in the Chicago Hancock back when I worked on the 20th floor. On the back of the belt you can see where they lined out Trafalgar. Stuart does this to any product with a name other than their own. I've never understood why. It reeks of a particular cheesiness I don't associate with Paul Stuart but then... retailers are rarely what they appear to be. Still, I like Stuart a lot and some of their merchandise has stopped me dead in my tracks. But if you asked me what I'd rather spend $55 on...a pair of Paul Stuart socks or Domaine? Well, the socks'll never be a 'moment.' Not in my domain.

20 August 2009

Shetland Sweater - WC in '83

WC in NYC. 1983

WC is looking very Trad (despite those side burns) and a little hungover in a diner somewhere around Brook's Brothers. Author of two crime novels with hero, Harry Rane, a character my dad describes as, "...someone who's always sticking his dick in places it doesn't belong." WC has a new one coming out this winter. Dad will be elated to know Harry's missing from this one. WC could always turn a phrase. In a Jersey nightclub, WC ordered beers, looked around and yelled in my ear over the Go-Go's, We Got the Beat, "These people's lives extend about as far as the cord on their hair dryers!"

'Gone 'til November' will be out in January and if WC has nicked any of my cop stories for his book, I will put his feet on a curb and jump up and down on his knee caps. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to the read from this old friend who writes such wonderful dark stories in a bone dry style. Somewhere back in time he left the Shetland behind and affected a wardrobe of black jeans, tee shirts and engineer boots. Proof you don't have to dress Trad to be Trad.

19 August 2009

The Lacoste - MW in 1981

MW was a senior my freshman year. President of the SGA, editor of the year book, head of some secret honor society and mayor of Sarasota. On our first date, we sat in a green vinyl booth at the Holiday Inn on the beach, drank $4 cocktails, smoked cigarettes from her silver case and talked about writing and writers. I looked past her and out the glass doors to the ocean and I remember thinking... I was a very long way from Ft Bragg.

18 August 2009

Another White Suit - MM in 1982

Lets call this college week. 'MM' at a college fashion show in 1982 or '83. I was shooting Plus-X in very low light. Only two or three shots made it from a 36 exposure roll. 'MM' came after 'MB', had a great sense of southern humor and a mother I fell in love with. Daddy...? Not so much. He thought I was a commie.

There was a change machine in the admin office that MM worked in as part of a basketball scholarship. MM was a tall drink of water and I was always there getting change for the cigarette machine and flirting. I finally asked her to a college dance. I was amazed by how many syllables she put into, 'hot dog.' We dated on and off through college. Breaking up when we were bored with each other - - Getting back together when we were bored with others. We're still friends to this day and hopefully tomorrow.

17 August 2009

Paging Mr. Zorblade...

Mr. Ray Zorblade...

Part of the selection at the Pastuer Pharmacy on Lexington Avenue. I love New York City.

15 August 2009

The White Suit - MB in 1980

ADG or, Dust Bin as he's known in some parts, threw out a comment regarding his Disco attire and I think we may have another contest. Who has pictures with the most vulgar 70's get up.

Man, I was so creative...Black & White. Get it? The GI moustache, a $5 haircut and jacket lapels as wide as those trouser legs. The Fall of 1980 and I had just left the Army and was a freshman in college on the GI Bill. I was having a lot of fun despite my sartorial ignorance. Funny, you could pretty much say the same thing about me today.

That's the adorable 'MB' up there. A junior who was my Spanish tutor and who pretty much gave up on me in more ways than one. I was hopeless conjugating Spanish verbs (gritar, gritan, gritamos) and fitting in with her Commie friends. But the pictures take me back and I remember the afternoon like it was yesterday. I've always had a weakness for women with nice hands and short hair.

14 August 2009

The Friday Belt: Madras & Farnum Hill Cider

Update: The missing Washington & Lee Yearbook from 1965 was found

Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider - Madras Belt Free With Purchase

Aetna Casualty & Surety - Far Right -The Trad (awake) in a Brooksgate 3 piece

Madras Adjustable Belt in Esquire (September 1960)

Just kidding about that free belt. Besides, you're never gonna find this cider. Neeever gonna find it. And that's a shame because it's mind blowing stuff. I was turned onto Farnum Hill just last week at the Basque restaurant, Txikito. My server suggested cider and I pooed - pooed it right away. "Too sweet. Save it for the little old ladies" "No." She said, "This stuff is bone dry. It's made in New Hampshire but it's very much like ciders the Basques drink." Bang. That sold me. I took a sip and man was she right. No sweetness at all. Tart. Soft little bubbles...an almost champagne like mouth feel. And the best part is...it's dirt cheap! Cue the balloons.

At the Farnum Hill web site I click on the, 'where to get it' link and was happy to see a ton of NYC retailers. I called them all. Some never heard of Farnum Hill. Most were out. Only one, Sherry Lehman, had the Summer Cider. But I had to have the Extra Dry. So I called the two distributors. A disconnected number and a, "leave a message" recording later...nothing. What's with distributors? How hard is it to do this job? I mean, I have to read Director's & Officer's policies. All these people have to do is get the product out there. They don't even have to sell it.

My call was never returned. But a retailer who was out it mentioned a distributor who might have it. Not on the web site but what the heck. I gave them a call. "All out. Except for a case of Extra Dry I have here in the office. Do you want that?" "Uh, how much?" I ask. Licking my lips. "$96.00" He says. "I can deliver it if you want? No extra charge." This distributor, Bayfield Importing, gets my vote for sainthood.

The madras belt is from the Leather Man and I think it's as American as Cider despite the Indian thing. I mean, it's pretty much just Americans who wear Madras in Go-To-Hell trousers, belts and blazers. My London friends find madras vulgar but they can't find socks that stay up so what do they know.

As hard as it is to find Farnum Hill Cider - - you should have no problem finding this belt. And if you're close to Essex you may want to run by the Leather Man Factory Outlet. Back in (hike up my coveralls and spit) nineteen and eighty-six when I was attendin' the Aetna Casualty and Surety training center in Hartford (the most boring 4 weeks of my life) -- I spent a beautiful October weekend touring CT. Stayed at the Griswold Inn and The Inn at Mystic. Had dinner at the nearby Copper Beech Inn where Morley Saffer was at the bar smoking Marlboro's and drinking a martini. God, how I wish I was a journalist. And I visited the Leather Man Outlet where I found a Griswold Inn surcingle belt for $1.95 - - A great deal had I not paid $20 for the same belt at the Gris bar in one of my many, "Is this the greatest place or what?" fits of passion.

The madras belt seems to come and go with retailers but it's getting very difficult to find them without the D ring / ribbon style that I find so below the salt. Back in the mid 1960's there was the adjustable madras belt. Popular in places like Washington and Lee and seen in Esquire Magazine adverts. I'm looking for one. Perhaps the folks at Farnum Hill can get Leather Man to make one with their logo in madras so that I might have another one of my fits of passion.

13 August 2009

So Long, Gillette

The Merkur...It's not a Ford

A while back I posted a photograph of my (old ) medicine cabinet. Very slap - dash. Nothing to really write about. Took all of five minutes. Kind'a like this one. But the response was amazing. More comments than I've ever recieved and lots of great advice...

One suggestion I took was from Robert:

"For a razor, you might ditch Gillette altogether and try a Merkur HD and their double-edged blades. The handle will set you back a tiny bit, but you'll more than make up for it on the back end with less expensive blades. As long as you're careful, you'll find them more forgiving than a Mach to the Nth Power blade. Also - it won't look like you're parking a toy rocket ship in your medicine cabinet."

Wise words, sir.

So, it's been a week now. How is it? I compare shaving with a Merkur to stepping out on a frozen lake. There's some apprehension and I'm taking it very slow but with Gillette blades pushing $40 for eight - - it's well worth the risk. And it looks so much better than the blue and orange rocket ship. You know, if word gets out that a simple safety razor is this good and this cheap... Well, I wouldn't want a be a brand manager at Gillette.

12 August 2009

Armadillo by William Boyd

An insurance adjuster in a Black Watch plaid suit. It doesn't get any better.

Conversation between the main character, Lorimar Black and his antique dealer (and sartorial mentor), Ivan.

I remember the day I thought I had caught Ivan out. He was wearing a hairy, snot green tweed suit with black brogues. I pointed to them and said, "Ivan, the ultimate sin - - black shoes with tweed."

"Oh, you're completly wrong, Lorimar, this is very acceptable. I'm glad you noticed it, however. It's a sign of a deeper malaise, something that's been worrying me for years.

""What's that?""It's been difficult, but I've decided that the brown shoe must be condemned. Suede yes, a brown boot-just. But I think the brown shoe is fundamentally below the salt. Something irretrievably petit bourgeois about a brown shoe, quintessentially suburban and infra dig. I threw all mine out last week, fourteen pairs, some I've had for decades. Threw them in a dustbin. I can't tell you how relieved I am, the weight off my mind.""All brown shoes?""Yes. No gentleman should wear a brown shoe ever. The brown shoe is finished. The brown shoe, Lorimer, has got to go."

From Armadillo by William Boyd

11 August 2009

The Madras Blazer

Gentry Magazine Summer 1953

"...introduced and immediately accepted in Palm Beach this winter..."

Trimmingham's Madras Blazer circa 1965

Trimmingham's Label

Trimmingham's Blazer Button

Buttons by Gaunt of London

The standard "two button" sleeve of the 1960's.

My first item of madras, other than the shirts I had as an eight year old, was a pair of Polo madras trousers I purchased for a college dance. Expensive but I had to have them. They were cuffed then and there because the dance was that night. I'm still an impulse buyer.

That madras jacket was bought on impulse. Although it cost less than those Polo trousers 25 years ago - - It was a thrift store find - - Worth the price of the buttons alone. Gaunt was a maker of buttons for the the military in England and Canada. From what I gather, they went out of business in the mid 1960's hence my stab at the blazer's date of origin.

The madras has a beautiful patina and soft hand with nubs of cotton imperfection here and there. The single vent is short and the pattern matching at the pockets is dead on. Sloppy pattern matching is a real problem with a lot of today's manufacturing. Even the high end stuff. According to the 1953 Summer issue of Gentry, the madras blazer made it's debut the prior Winter in Palm Beach. Where'd you expect? Lawton?

Trimmingham's was a huge department store on Front Street in Hamilton with several stores scattered around the island. It was a full block wide and was at least three stories with a men's department on a windowless ground floor. The sport coat collection was amazing but seemed to be cut for the "ass less" British customer. Whenever I tried a jacket on, the double vents made my butt look like a dinner table.

Trimmingham's is gone now. A victim of insurance companies willing to pay insane money for Hamilton office space. I understand the employees have reunions despite some bitter feelings for the owners. Alas, when the dump trucks full of cash pull up in front of your house -- It's hard to say no. I'll pass this blazer onto my nephew when the time is right and if it survives another 50 years -- I hope it makes it to a museum.

08 August 2009

Entry II From M. Lane The Epic

Wine and Cheese

A long time ago. When I was first making real money. I went to the brand new shopping mall near my townhouse development and I bought this belt. Paid plenty for it too. Luckily, in those days, I affected the name of "Geoffrey" or the buckle could have been a problem.

I only wore it on Friday nights. When I would put some candles out on my back patio and have my girlfriend over for some Argyle Chard. Plus a few snazzy finger snacks. Smokies on toothpicks. Cheese cubes carved from two sorts of cheese. Yellow and white. The works. To set the mood. Then we would slide into my new Camaro and make a planned late entry into the Holiday Inn Disco Room. I had the DJ on a string so he would cut to The Trammps "Disco Inferno" when we walked in. We burned many a Friday night. A long time ago.

Now, disco and the girl are long gone. So is my time in the lime light. But every now and then, at the end of the week, I break out a bottle of Chard. And the belt. Friday wine and cheese.

07 August 2009

Entry I - From The Blushing Hostess

Entry I

Edit me. then put it up today and save my reputation, k?

One might deny having a reference to him. I do not, only because I worked with him and liked him; over the years, dozens of "him"s. Men of his nature were my friends: Boys of summer. Not the kind on the baseball diamond. On the green grass of country clubs at home.

There is a rule, usually unwritten regarding working at clubs: If your family, any part of it belongs, you cannot work for the club. For this reason, I worked down the way at two clubs in Bedford to which my parents did not belong and at Sleepy Hollow. Always in tennis. I knew the game and the equipment well enough, and I fit the stereotype. Yes, there is one and from where I sit now, it has not changed.

Neither have the boys or the knowing undercurrent of the staff. There are two kinds of summer club employees: Girls and boys. They are both, as the song goes, sultans of summer.

For the most part, these are good girls. Because they need to fit in with club decorum, they know the club ropes: Be pretty, athletic, never wear too much make up or put too much thought into your hair. Be polite, sunny, and energetic. Never stare, especially at a male. If a member drinks too much, go get one of the boys and knock off before there is a problem with harassment: At clubs, one never lets things degrade. Both the girls and boys know what to do and above all, they must do it in order that the enviorment always remain comfortable for the member who is an equity stake and therefore, really cannot be removed unless he has committed homicide right there in the dining room. The staff has always has one another's backs first. And usually, in more ways that one, okay? That is just the way it is. Call it the Rule of the Cart Path.

When it comes to female members, things are more fuzzy, crazy, and desperate than in dealing with the men. I am the age many of the curious doped-up and Seabreeze-addled yummy Mommies were then, and I am looking down the barrel at the cougars. As I hear women of my age talking, some of the haze, sadly, is beginning to lift. Though I want my haze back, like a woobie. And I do not want to know what I know now: Women need attention. Some will get it anyway they can, take a very easy but seedy road, others take a lovely, summery, blonde-blue eyed muscular path. But they all end up in the same wasteland.

The thing about boys in clubs is, that is all they are: Boys. They play games the way they do. They do not mean for anyone to get hurt or truly even, anyone to get involved. They think of sex the way they do doing donuts on the ninth at two in the morning: It's a summer game. At the end of the night, everyone packs it in and laughs with a hangover headache in the caddy shop in the morning. Sunday night episodes are the worst. Clubs are closed on Mondays for caddies day off. If you were the Sunday night girl, look out.

Anywhere between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five sunny faced pretty nympos make up the ranks of the club staff during the summer: Teaching, waiting, bagging, booking, parking, guarding, smiling. You can believe they have a social circle all their own and that there is not one lurid or fictional detail that once passed a set of whispering lips in those 300 acres of perfect green this summer that all do not know about one another.

But the worst secrets, the ones we kept most carefully guarded, the ones we tip-toed around with knowing or worried glances were the boys hook-ups with the members which seemed to happen with a great deal more regularity than the girls who did not dig old guys, period. This phenomenon came back to me recently when I ran across a waiter at our own club who had attempted to be overly friendly with me last summer. I crooked my neck looking for my Husband who had removed to the locker room for a minute and the issue dissolved. The next time I saw him, he was deploying the same jive with another young, pretty, married member at brunch on a Sunday. He knows, as do all staffers, when her Husband is on the golf course.

He knows more than that about her too. He knows who she is married to and who her children are. He knows what kind of money she is: Legacies are a far lesser status in the trophy case than self-made's, though it can sometimes depend on the last name. Better if she is a respected club athlete and kept herself up. She is a prime target if she drinks heavily in the clubhouse while Jack/ Cutler/ Win/ Peter is on course. She is a ringer if her husband treats the staff poorly.

Are they worried about losing their jobs and being black-listed from local clubs? They are nineteen year old boys, the only thing they worry about is where their next beer and erection is coming from.

One of my pals around the club was a guy five years my senior who was the head of the tennis teaching staff. Each morning he came in with a new compliment. "You look great in a tennis skirt. Curves and buldges in all the right places." He was, as they all are, devastatingly handsome and charming. Southern. On staff each year from University of Richmond, first undergrad, then law school. As much as his attention might have been disarming, I knew that ground, I knew he was a child of the long hot summer night and that he expired on August 30th each year. He was not at Bedford to fall in love, he was there to make a windfall to get himself through school and fall in love there with a girl he would surely find three months before graduation in order to really concentrate on his studies, no doubt.

We had the same conversation every Sunday afternoon: "Come by the house for a party?" He would ask, referring to the guest house attached to the gold shop where several male staffers lived for the summer.

"Got plans." I would say.
"You've had plans for five weeks!" He would complain.
"Huh." I would say while counting chits
"Summer will be over before you know it." He would say, giving my skirt a ruffle and heading for the door.
"Don't say that." I would say. I love those scorching days still.
"One of these nights. You. Me. Bottle of wine. The ninth."
"Nope." I would say. Closing the logs.
"I love you madly!" He would say, racket over his heart, as he playfully backed out of the shop.

On Tuesday mornings, I checked in with the golf assistant pro, another adorable cad, to see how his day off was and laugh about the weekend rounds. Without fail there would be another story about he and Scott and their conquests. But sometimes it turned to stories about members and that is where I tried to wiggle out of the room. One way or another we would all find out. We had to, in many ways, in order to protect our comrades.

In the end, when they talk about female members in the golf and tennis shops on Tuesday morning, they are referred to with the same crumpled-up thrown-away verbage as they would use to discuss any girl, from any where who put herself in a compromising position. Because they are nineteen year old clubby summer guys and they have no more reference to sexual sensitivity and tact as they do the china patterns I go on about.

It was no different for my best friend who worked as a ski instructor for an upscale resort: When one of the world's top golfers wife showed up too many times in a season to take lessons from one of her colleagues, everyone on staff knew what was going on. When the papers announced the divorce, the resort, and that instructor, shrugged.

When it happens, the entire clubhouse will know. And soon your spouse will too because clubs are notoriously chatty. It would be foolish to think for a moment anything of this nature would be a secret. Equally as foolish to be a male member with an undervalued, hot, boozy wife: Be sure the boys pick up your bag and head for the course, not your wife.
The Blushing Hostess

Friday Belt Caption Contest

The Prize

The Challenge
08/14/2009 20:57 Hours - Okay, that went over with a thud. What competition but who can blame you. It was a bad idea. M Lane gets the Flusser book and Blushing Hostess is awarded a runner up prize of the 1st Edition of 'Van Day Truex, The Man Who Defined Twentieth - Century Taste and Style' by Adam Lewis. Thanks to both M. Lane and The Blushing Hostess for two wonderful and very different stories.

Earlier this week I received the image above from Blushing Hostess. I thought it was hysterical and asked her to be my first guest poster. She came up with something about romantic interludes with Country Club staff but couldn't make it work. In the tradition of the New Yorker's, Cartoon Caption Contest, I am asking my readers to help the Hostess with a caption for this weeks Friday Belt. The Prize is my copy of the Alan Flusser classic, "Clothes and the Man." Entries must be received by Thursday, August 13th. Maybe I've discovered a way to get rid of a lot of crap.

06 August 2009

More Folk

Wish I could sing along

There seems to be this crazy idea that in order to enjoy folk you have to be Christian. What a load of crap. I was going to ask my father for a picture of one of my favorite albums growing up, Songs of the Negev by the Oranim Zabar Israeli Troupe. But in yesterday's post, "Folk" he commented,

"two years ago, after hauling 70+ pounds of records around all these years, I found two young music major college students who were very happy to get them -- free.

My father has thrown away his Rolex Explorer in the desert and now I learn he has given away all of his albums. This is a real tragedy because I can't find much at all about the Oranim Zabar Israeli Troupe. It's like they didn't exist. I know the Echo Xray wished they didn't. She was not a fan but this is lively music with beautiful and haunting vocals by Geula Gill. Hmm. Isn't that odd? Father Gill in the last post. Geula Gill in this one.

Anyway, this music is amazing and if you like lots of different types of music it may be a real discovery for you. There's the western - like, Shir Habokrim with a beat I swear Ennio Morricone ripped off. And if, Hey Daroma doesn't get you up in the morning I don't know what will. I loved, Hora Mamtera as a kid because I kept hearing, "Sophie" which was my grandmother's name.

I throw out a lot of hard to find stuff. I do it because I'm a sadistic cretin and know you'll spend days looking for it. But you can go to iTunes, type in Oranim Zabar Israeli Troupe and give them a listen. I don't know what they're singing about either but it's wonderful stuff. And like Levy's Rye Bread - - You don't have to be Jewish to love it.

Update: Find the entire album here.

05 August 2009


Jazz has a beautiful connection to the stuff I consider Trad. I grew up watching Dad's Thoren's turn table spin, Ahmad Jamal, Wes Montgomery, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Stan Getz and Errol Garner. But in all honesty - - It was the old man's music. It entered my soul but burrowed deep and didn't come out for years. Not until I was 20 or so.

Something like that happened again.

Was watching the second season of Mad Men on Blue Ray. Only mention Blue Ray because I'm about to throw that piece of crap out the window. I'll spare you the frustration. I'm watching an episode I missed last season. Number eight, "A Night to Remember." In the last scene Father Gill pulls out his guitar and plays, "Early in the Morning." The credits roll. Gill's monotone singing fades out and Peter, Paul and Mary's, "Early in the Morning blasts out in stereo or quad or digital. Whatever, it was rich and loud.

I listened to those two albums up there non stop when I was a boy. I'm sure I was attracted to the children's songs but there was something else. Certainly there was the story in each song. But still...there's something else. I never did like goatees so that wasn't it. I loved Mary but the PBS shows did nothing for me. No, this is music to be listened to. Alone. In many ways I can see where it grabbed me as a seven year old. I thought it let me go but it's back. From the liner notes of their first album:

Maybe everything's going to be all right. Maybe mediocrity has had it. Maybe hysteria is on the way out. One thing for sure in any case: Honesty is back. Tell your neighbor.