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Showing posts from November, 2019

Music For the Festive Season. . .

The cover of one of our three favorite "traditional" Christmas collections that we enjoy every year here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold.

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent, and the Christmas festival follows not far behind.  While I prefer not to rush into things, it's hard not to begin thinking about the celebration and enjoying the small flourishes that go along with it like, for example, the music related to Christmas.  

While I also enjoy traditional English carols along with more recent seasonal tunes by The Kinks, Greg Lake, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Andy Williams (along with holiday cheese by Dean Martin, Paul McCartney, and, yes, even WHAM!), in my view, you simply cannot go wrong with traditional German Christmas music.  It provides a quiet and calm antidote to the overplayed schlock that clogs the airwaves at this time of year.  

Three of our favorite collections (on CD. . .  How 20th century of us!) include:

1) Weihnachten: A German Christmas
2) Christmas in Vie…

Happy Thanksgiving 2019!!!

A suitably natty Tom Turkey for your impending feast.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Classic Style!  Remember everyone.  Attire that's a little nicer than the average for dinner and related festivities, and let's be especially mindful of our table manners.  Good sense and good manners make others more comfortable and add to the special nature of the day.  We also want to ensure that our hosts and fellow guests might, just might recall later how pleasant we are to have around for holiday occasions.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


The table all set here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold while everything either roasts in the oven or cooks atop the stove.

Learn to Let It Go. . .

 I'm not normally one for platitudes, but this one is a useful life lesson.

Here's another small tip for those of us interested in acquiring greater layers of polish and sophistication through an ongoing program of self-improvement.  

When, in the face of overwhelming evidence that indicates otherwise, it it sometimes far better to own up to things rather than continue the elaborate facade.  It's much better to concede than it is to enter into bizarre denials, worthy of theater of the absurd.  People aren't that stupid, you see. 

Gesticulations of one kind or another, intended more to obfuscate than clear the air, might be humorous were it not so pathetic.  And it really should be something that is just not done.  Not by our kind of people, dear.

At some point, we all must learn to Let It Go, back away, and accept the consequences of our actions for better or worse.  Learning to to do so is a highly useful tool to have in the style-in-the-broadest-sense toolbox. 

-- Heinz…

An Annual Classic Style Reminder. . .

Most of us may not quite dress like this anymore for a special occasion, but there is no reason why we cannot routinely conduct ourselves with a little polish and sophistication when it comes to eating pleasantly in the company of others at a holiday table.
The holiday season is once more almost upon us, and with it the annual lead-up to the rather frenetic Thanksgiving through New Year's period.  While I naturally hope that regular and occasional visitors to Classic Style will have the good graces NOT to show up to any special holiday dinners or other events dressed in pilled earthtone fleeces, hoodies, sweatpants, sagging jeans, and flip-flops or sneakers -- or, frankly, any other common attire of the sort -- this post is not about that.

Nope.  Instead, it's a yearly reminder to average guys everywhere to remember and practice polite table manners.  Not just on special occasions either, but everyday.  With that idea in mind, here is a reprise of a post from November of 2012 (…

The Potential of Time Abroad. . .

Eurocentric, sure.  But it's nevertheless a neat illustration to include with this post.

While time spent living abroad -- not as a short term tourist but as a long term resident -- does not necessarily make one a more stylish person in the classic sense, it can't hurt.  At the very least, time studying, working, and living in another part of our still, in some ways at least, vast globe OUGHT to provide a broader perspective about oneself and the world.

Time spent living elsewhere, Norway in my case, provided me with a different view of US society, as well as a more realistic, somewhat less idealized version of Scandinavian society and culture. More important, after a year away I was able to perceive the more favorable aspects of my home culture as well as its less than savory features in ways that I had not noticed before.  While there is much that is admirable about the United States -- our fabled can-do attitude for one -- relative to much of the rest of the world, many…

Take Responsibility. . .

Wally Cleaver (played by Tony Dow) and his little brother Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) in the middle of a stern fatherly lecture on Leave It to Beaver, a family situation comedy that ran on television here in the United States during the late 1950s-early 1960s.  Typical themes included poor choices on the part of the boys, related behaviors, and learning to accept responsibility for one's actions by the end of many epsiodes.

With our ongoing quest for self-improvement in mind, here's another quality for thinking men (and women) to cultivate to much greater degrees than seems to be the case for too many in 2019.  A large part of becoming and behaving like an adult is learning how to accept responsibility for yourself and your actions, whether those have been commendable, or less than savory.

We are currently going through a stage with the 10-year old Young Master where he blames every upset, every misfortune, or every poorly informed choice on someone or some…

Where do we go from here?

'Man in Fog.'

During a brief chat after class yesterday, which was really about course material and the last few weeks of the semester, a Chinese student of mine mentioned in passing how sloppy Americans look in general to outsiders.  Having lived outside of our culture for a period myself once upon a time, I cannot help but agree with that observation. 

Regardless of income bracket, the vast majority of people send all kinds of (probably unintended) messages that don't help them via their haphazard, "Pardon me, but my dirty laundry hamper just vomited on me" appearance.  Is it any wonder that so many have difficulty getting ahead when they cannot be bothered to put even a little effort into their attire, or into much else if we are brutally honest about it? 

Self-defeating habits and a pervasive, complacent, everything-happens-to-me mindset combined with a belligerent attitude are three of the largest millstones people carry around on their backs when it comes t…

"You lie when the truth would sound better!"

Continuing to fly the flag of self-improvement this cold November Friday.  Goodness knows, there is plenty of room for that among humanity.  With that aim in mind, I am occasionally reminded of a saying my late maternal grandmother -- from Asheville, North Carolina -- used routinely when my sister and I were children.  

Sometimes, simple honesty and telling the truth about things, however unpleasant that might be, would sound more believable than continuing to insist on the veracity of the farcical and convoluted story we have woven.  You know?   People aren't that stupid, so being truthful might just win you more credibility than the alternative.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Harris Tweed Tuesday. . .

 The upper half for today. . .

Continuing to have fun with dressing up in my day-to-day life here in Mid-Michigan where it has at last turned cool enough for corduroy, tweed, and wool flannel. 

Of course, that was helped by, at long last, bringing the heavier fall and winter items up from the basement cedar closet and placing them into the wardrobe in our bedroom with the oveflow going to the closet in the TV room across the hall.  I know, I know. . .  Until mid-April next year, the spring and summer weight items have gone downstairs to the same closet adjacent to our family room and office spaces.  It's always fun to rediscover forgotten items during this twice yearly rotation.  

On a related note, I took the opportunity to filter out a number of things that never fit quite right or simply don't get worn anymore.  These went to the Goodwill and The Salvation Army stores where they might help someone after a few dressier items at very reasonable prices.

Occasional sifting, win…

Early November Tae Kwon Do Style. . .

The Young Master (left), sparring with a more advanced opponent (right) at last night's 90-minute belt test.

Our son The Young Master, who wrestles with Autism Spectrum Disorder, earned his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do during a grueling belt test early Friday evening.  I am so proud of him that I can hardly speak without getting all teary.  See?  The are those times when yours truly can -- for all of my scornful elitism -- behave like a normal individual. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich   


The Young Master, in his Halloween grizzly bear costume, getting his new yellow belt tied by The Grand Duchess during today's belt ceremony.