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Hardboiled July. . .

The late Ella Raines.  You can almost hear the lonely, late night trumpet in the distance.

4th of July Style. . .

As above post-shower.  The seersucker shirt is a recent Father's Day gift from The Grand Duchess.  Highly appropriate for July 4th.

It is amazing the transformative effect that a tepid shower and something cold to drink after donning fresh clothes can have.  After a morning on the lawn with Mr. Toro to beat the forecast thunderstorms -- of course, now the sun is shining, and no sign of the predicted weather -- that is just what I did before some lunch and then rehanging a couple of troublesome cabinet doors in the kitchen.

Amazingly, that little unexpected side project went well the first time.  It is not always so.  Typically, my "handiness" does not go beyond some basic interior painting, use of a hammer, screwdriver, and pliers.  In short, I know when it's time to call a service person!

Anyway, it is a quiet, warm Fourth of July.  Many people are away, so the neighborhood is blissfully quiet while North Carolina Pork Barbecue and red slaw (my late maternal grandfath…

The Necktie Is Dead? Long Live the Necktie!

The just arrived vintage 1960s Eustice Tilley necktie.  I think I'll wear it on the first day of the new semester at the end of August.

Most places these days, men no longer need to wear neckties here in the United States.  Even in the so called white collar professional world.  However, there are still a few of us around -- weirdos admittedly -- who don and sport them with great aplomb even when the dress code suggests otherwise.  Not necessarily because we HAVE to, you understand, but because we enjoy the simple act of dressing somewhat more presentably than has become the disheveled norm.

While my wardrobe feels largely complete, occasionally I spot the odd item that is simply too interesting to pass by,  Such was the case last week when I came across the item shown above on Ebay.  Initially, I did, in fact, pass it by.  Several days later, however,  I remembered the necktie, checked back, and amazingly it was still available.  So, I pulled the trigger, and it arrived with the ma…

Chet Baker - Almost blue

Breezy Saturday Summer Style. . .

As above.

Sigh.  Another lousy day in paradise,  Breezy, sunny, upper 70s Fahrenheit.  Not much going on today except popsicles, water pistol fights, and bike rides with The Young Master.  Ahhhh. . .

Another easy summer look tossed together from whatever was on top of the stacks in two drawers this morning.  I did need to press the shirt before wearing it though since this particular Madras number wrinkles badly in the dryer.  It's my absolute favorite summer sport shirt, and I've had it for a dozen years or more.  

Sadly, the collar and edge of one sleeve are just starting to fray, but maybe I can get one more year out of it before relegating it to the pile of strictly mowing and yardwork clothes.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


So, below.  Skinny, pale legs part deux.

First Day of Summer Style. . .

The view from the front walk this morning.  Just look at that sky!  The lawn isn't too bad either.  The results of twice a week mowing with a mulching mower since mid-May and an application of Milorganite, a slow release organic fertilizer 10 days ago.  We've also had considerable rain this spring, which really helps grass, plants, and trees.

Today marks the official start of Summer!  Let's all leave behind the dark, dank, cynical, and nihilistic world of hard-boiled private detectives, scheming dames, and two-bit losers for just a minute and do The Snoopy Dance.  

The Grand Duchess continues to endure real hardship in The Pacific Theater.  She has had her obligatory volcano hikes and taken in a beach or two at sunset.  Her hiking boots were immaculate since I moisturized them before she packed.  Yesterday, she flew to another island where the actual conference takes place.  Opening convocations and related schmoozing were yesterday evening.  Time seems meaningless in this c…

A Little June Noir. . .

The Phantom Lady herself.  Ella Raines lights a cigarette.

Miss Briest had gone home hours ago.  I sat alone in my office late into the night going over the events of the last few days in my head one more time.   Another philandering husband trying to pull the wool over his wife's eyes.  An executive with a corner office on the top floor of the downtown corporate headquarters for some auto manufacturer.  Didn't matter which one.  Six figures a year, a healthy end-of-year bonus each December, and a large house in a leafy green neighborhood with well-manicured lawns on the old east side.

What did matter was Kermit Goad's running around with a young secretary he'd hired a few months back.  Some shapely victory girl with auburn hair called Babs, who did her bit on the home front.  Couldn't file, answer the telephone, or make a pot of coffee to save her life.  Always fixed her hair and make-up while sitting at her desk though.  Immaculate fingernails too.  Typing was …

Happy Father's Day. . .

A Leslie Saalburg illiustration from 1953 that, Dad's cigarette notwithstanding, works well for today.

Enjoy the day in whatever form that might take everyone.  I've asked the Grand Duchess for an unstructured day.  So, after sausage, eggs, and toast for breakfast, I hope to spend a quiet day here in my den painting toy soldiers from the mid-18th century.  30mm Austrian grenadiers in this particular case.  You knew I was a complete nerd, didn't you?  In any event, the steady rain and cool temperatures outside today are highly conducive to an indoor activity although I will admit that the yard and neighborhood look deliciously lush when peeking through the window.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

What's Your Approach to Life?

Another Leslie Saalburg illustration from decades ago.  An idealized image, yes, but the house depicted is kind of nice.  The car ain't too bad either.  A 1933 Packard I believe.

Calm -- Quiet -- Understatement -- Moderation -- Sophistication -- Elegance -- Refinement -- Discernment -- Polish -- Grooming -- Restraint -- Kindness -- Gentility -- Care -- Planning.  Concepts to be aware of.  Ideals to strive for.  Rules to live by.  
Naysayers might counter that most of  the qualities listed above, much like the illustrations accompanying this post, are themselves impossible ideals.  I would argue that it is entirely possible not only to aspire to such concepts, but to come pretty darn close to living them provided a person exercises careful forethought.  
I suppose, however, that it depends on one's frame of reference and related vision of how life can be.  Do we really want to give up on the game before we've even tossed our hat in the ring, and continue wallowing in the metap…