The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

US woman shoots boyfriend dead in YouTube stunt to 'boost online profile'. . .



Besides the generally seamy situation summed up by the above headline, copied from Yahoo News, does nobody else see a problem with the fact that the 19-year-old pregnant (once again) shooter already had two other children?  

I pose that question as an overly educated,  reasonably liberal, yet observant Episcopalian.  Oh, right.  I am white and 'privileged' (the apparent buzzword of the moment) and so must somehow be the source of the problem.  I forgot.  How silly of me.  There truly are no words.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rural Living, Circa 1983, or '84. . .

My late grandparents' house, Summer 1983, or '84, between Landis Store and Huffs Church, in District Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

It's funny what you come across when you aren't looking or it.  This afternoon, I was paging quickly through my physical photo album (Remember those?) looking or something else, when I cam across this picture of my grandparents' house in southeastern Pennsylvania.  I decided to scan it, sharpen it, and fix the colors a little bit.  Here, I spent the vast bulk of my formative years here, between 1973-1991, and it was to this house that my parents brought me a day or two after my birth at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, now over half a century ago. Doesn't that make me seem old??!!

Since I have talked about it so much this place and my grandparents in various posts here at Classic Style, it seemed like a fun idea to share this photograph, the only one I have of their place.  The creek is just behind the photographer's vantage point with the large barn closer to the road beyond the creek.  Either my mother, or sister took the picture.  You can just make out the kitchen, added in 1973, at the right of the photo.  The dining room is in the middle of the house, the downstairs hallway cam next, and the living room was on the left with a door out to what we called the sideyard, which as surrounded by flower beds, rather large Boxwood shrubs, ornamental trees of one kind or another, and a small hill off the left edge of the picture, that led to a large meadow lined by trees and privet hedges.  

The second and third floors of the house contained the bedrooms and two full baths.  A third full bathroom was at the rear of the kitchen annex.  Behind the house were the summer kitchen, a large stone springhouse, where many leopard frogs lived each summer in the icy water that ran through it, and the smaller pumphouse that kept the well full of equally icy springwater.  A long run ran from the springhouse down to the creek, and across it was where my grandparents maintained a large vegetable garden, also with several current bushes, in raised beds.  The house had two working fireplaces, one of which was a rather large walk-in affair in the dining room, still with its old wrought iron crane in one corner from which cooking pots and kettles had hung in just post-colonial times.  

The basement, which you can just make out below the font porch, had orignially been converted to the kitchen area by the couple who owned the house before by grandparents, -- Mr. and Mrs. Terrell, Philadelphia Quakers, who purchased a home in the country back in the 1940s.  In 1973, my grandparents added the kitchen annex you see in the photograph at right above.  I can remember playing with Matchbox cars, during a visit from the Midwest one summer, in the window that was later knocked out to make the doorway into the kitchen.  That would have been about 1970, or '71.  But I digress!  The basement became my grnafather's workshop following the kitchen addition in '73 as well as housing the furnace room and, of course, the washer and dryer.  As far as my grandmother could learn from looking at old records, the house had been built in the 1780s or very early 1790s.

As you can see, it was not huge by any stretch, but the five of us managed to live comfortably in the house without killing each other, and we all managed to carve out our personal spaces with some ease.  Without idealizing it too much, it was pretty damned nice living and growing up here in retrospect.  Certainly park-like and even idyllic.  Our last several days here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold in Mid-Michigan have reminded me so much of the summer days all those years ago at my Grandparent's place.  The same sounds, smells (Freshly cut grass and rain blowing in, anyone?), and sense of calm.  Even the way the early morning sunshine peeks through our bedroom window.  It was, and still is, as my grandfather Dave used to remark once in a while, "Good to be alive!"

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Audrey (1954)

Tuck in Your #$%&! Shirt!!!

Something tells me ol' Ward Cleaver ( Wally and Beaver's TV dad, played by the late Hugh Beaumont) wouldn't have shown up for a high school graduation, or any other special occasion for that matter, dressed in jeans and a wrinkled, untucked shirt.

It's graduation season once again here in the United States with many families celebrating the end of high school, or college for some pampered and very probably entitled young person about to be catapulted, kicking and screaming, into adulthood.  Many are sharing photographs of these happy events via social media.  Fine and dandy.  But there is a problem.  

What, you ask?  Well, for special occasions, you would think that Dad, or the male care-giver in the picture, could be bothered to dress a little better than ratty jeans and some untucked, wrinkled shirt with a cheap windbreaker on top.  Especially when the graduate, Mom, and possibly others in the photographs are clearly dressed.  What?  It's too much trouble to show a little respect and consideration to others and for the special day or event around which a family gathers?  Aren't people even embarrassed by stuff like this anymore?  Oh, right.  We no longer want people to feel shame about anything.

Listen.  What a 40- or 50-something manchild in the 21st century really says to everyone when he turns up looking like this is that the event and the person, or people on whom it focuses are no more worthy of his time and effort than, for example, adding a quart of oil to the car, raking up the leaves, cutting the grass, or cleaning out the garage on a Saturday morning.  Ratty jeans and a wrinkled, untucked shirt are fine for those kinds of manual activities.  They are NOT acceptable attire for attending someone's graduation, or the peripheral family gatherings that often follow.  Got it? 

Even if you don't want to don a suit and necktie, or (shudder) you don't own a suit for special occasions like this, tuck in your shirt, put on a casual belt (canvas and cotton surcingle models, like those sold by Orvis, O'Connell's,  or Leather Man Ltd., are ideal), and toss on a blazer or sports jacket.  Every guy should have at least one on a hanger in his closet. . .  even in our slovenly age.  After all, it's not going to kill you to look appropriate for a few hours, is it?  Add a pair of more casual leather shoes like some classic penny loafers, or what we used to call desert boots way back in the early 1970s (now referred to Chukka boots), and you'll look a damn sight better than all of the other schlubby fathers out there whose photographs clog social media at this time each spring.  

Come on.  Let's at least try to look like we have an ounce of sense and sophistication when special occasions like these roll around a few times a year (graduations, holidays, dinners out with your spouse, partner, or that special someone, etc.).  It's not that hard, guys.   Really.  

I'll conclude today's post, as I did in a previous post a year or two ago, by channeling the old children's magazine Highlights and pose the following question to my readers.  Do you want to be Goofus, or Gallant?  If you make the RIGHT choice and opt for the latter, start by tucking in your #$%& shirt!  

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Classic Style.

-- Heinz-Ulrich