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4th of July Style. . .

A summery selection of old Laurence Fellows  illustrations to put you in the mood for dressing a cut or two above the usual sad average as you fire up the grill on this Independence Day here in the United States.  And while it's doubtful that most will don a summer weight suit or odd jacket and pants combo, remember that clothing does convey a lot about the person wearing it, whether we like it or not, and so maybe a collared short-sleeved shirt, non-frayed shorts, and fairly clean athletic shoes (at the very least) might be in order regardless of whatever form your celebration takes. 

As for yours truly, we're staying home this weekend.  I'll make a batch of my mother's mustard potato salad plus a chilled dessert, and grill bratwursts late in the day for dinner.  The Young Master and I will set off a few small firecrackers at dusk.  And all while clad in my very typical madras shirt, khaki shorts, and well-worn leather docksiders.  July 4th is pretty low key around To…

Where can you find decent help in 2020???

Matt and Bob White of Hubert White on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.  The firm has sold menswear to the more discerning since 1916.  Highly knowledgeable, very pleasant sales staff in my experience.

I cannot recall the last time I have encountered a genuinely helpful retail salesperson (for a litany of reasons).  It is rare to stumble across someone who is actually trained to assist rather than virtually untrained, knows his or her stock, or who does not attempt a hard sell.  As the saying goes, you can't find good help anymore, and that has certainly applied to retail clothing stores for many years.  Once in a while, however, there are places that stand out when it comes to true customer service.  In late 2003 or early '04, not long after grad school and in my first teaching job at a small area college, which has since closed, I visited Hubert White (men's clothier) on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis for a couple of new neckties and some other accessories to …

Menagerie Elementary Summer School Is in Session!

Mr. Young Master helping his students settle in on the first day of school by describing for them what the summer session will look like.


And Mr. Young Master's class.  A real menagerie before he called class to order.

Sartorially, not much going on here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold.  Summers are pretty quiet here attire-wise.  However, The Young Master and I do toss on decent looking, casual though collared shirts of one sort or another daily when we dress each morning along with with (my) chino, Bermuda, or Madras shorts and (his) jeans. 

The Young Master sports a recent acquisition above, one of a number of new polo shirts his mother, The Grand Duchess, purchased for him last month given his rapid growth since January.  Children grow like weeds as the saying goes. 

As for me, otherwise known as 'Bad Dad' around these parts, I'm wearing a new seersucker number this morning, a Father's Day gift yesterday, with tiny navy, light blue, red, teal, and white checks.  On the b…

Black Short Style. . .

French Press Style. . .

'Dad Rat,' as The Young Master calls him, joined us at the breakfast table this morning.  He is very particular about his coffee for a rodent.


A lovely, sunny, cool morning here in Mid-Michigan.  The emerald green grass is freshly cut in long, straight diagonal rows, the flower beds are freshly edged, the Marigolds and Begonias are in full bloom.  The reconfiguration of formerly face to face courses for teaching in an asynchronous online environment is underway.  Ahhhh.  Right now, it's almost possible to forget the ugliness of the world and the rudderless ship on which we have passage.
-- Heinz-Ulrich

Peace amid the Chaos, Discord, and Ongoing Flood of Misinformation. . .

For about ten hours Saturday, it was possible to forget about our complete and utter lack of leadership -- amid the ongoing loss of lives and related, unresolved social issues boiling over -- through physical labor outside.
-- Heinz-Ulrich




Frontyard Style. . .

The center bed with our well ventilation pipe and a few Black-eyed Susans that I was able to salvage.


The last three late afternoons and early evenings before sunset have been spent giving some much overdue TLC to three garden beds in front of Totliegh-in-the-Wold.  Backbreaking is something of an understatment, but the end results are worth it.  A two inch bed of mulch will follow tomorrow  plus a few deer-resistant perennials before moving onto other beds that need some weeding and revamping.  Whew!
Heinz-Ulrich

The bed beneath the small tree with a rather nicely rendered tree-ring if I do say so myself.  Roots close to the surface prevented a nice, crisp edge, so I improvised with some unused bricks to set the bed off from the surrounding lawn.


And the bed beneath a big, old Oak.  Again, roots close to the surface of the ground made edging difficult, but I did what I could.  Mulch for all three areas tomorrow (Sunday).  The bed around the mailbox will get a similar treatment in a day o…

Cluttered. . . Style?

It's amazing how the interiors of so many adults' homes resemble that of a particularly sloppy teenager.

Work-related Zoom and Teams meetings in the time of Covid-19 the last ten weeks or so have provided interesting, albeit unwanted, insight into how an awful lot of families apparently live their daily lives.  In a word, clutter seems to be the rule rather than the exception.  But a cluttered living space has adverse effects contrary to what a lot of people might claim.

Now, before you protest and point out that we are not living in 'normal' circumstances, hold on a second.  Living amid mess is not a recent phenomenon by any means, but something I began to notice about 20 years ago when The Grand Duchess and I, not yet married, or parents, and still relatively carefree young academics, began to accept a lot of dinner and party invitations from work colleagues for Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Almost always, I kid you not, the living spaces of most of the homes, to whi…

Where Is Our Reason and Common Sense?

A few well-dressed men of a bygone age listening to the latest news broadcast.  Possibly from the BBC's Home Service about events in Spain?


What has happened to reason and common sense in the Time of Corona?  Where is our sense of decency?  Did we ever truly exhibit either, or were they simply nice ideals?  It seems that now, more than ever, we could all do with more of the three as well as a healthy dose of focus, calm, self-control, and cooperation.  More thinking about the good of others and the whole rather than simply just ourselves.  What is it about times of crisis that cause some of us to think, act, and speak in the most unpleasant of ways?
-- Heinz-Ulrich

Friday Zoom Meeting Style. . .

As above in my basement office, a.k.a. Zum Stollenkeller. . .

Thought I'd use the two-hour meeting as an excuse to dress a bit more professionally than the usual corduroy jeans and Rugby jerseys of the last nine weeks or so since MSU sent all of us home and courses went remote through to the end of the semester at the start of the month. 
It's amazing how much I come back again and again and again to a navy blazer, olive chinos, and penny loafers.  Easily the most versatile pieces in what is, admittedly, an overly extensive professional wardrobe at this point, which ain't necessarily a bad thing in my book.  That much easier to stave off the pilled company fleeces in earth tones with corporate logos emblazoned across the chest.As far as today's attire goes, this time everything is worn with one of my brand spanking new Mercer button-downs.  This one is The James Bond small Tattersall by the way.  Comfortable fit, lovely collar roll, more than long enough to remain tucke…

I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo [That's Michigan, folks.]. . .

Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman

Glenn Miller - 100 Greatest Hits (FULL ALBUM - THE BEST OF SWING)

Corona Hair Style. . .

Freshly showered and cologned for Mothers' Day 2020, though not shaven.  Hey, it's still the weekend.

Well, after almost nine weeks since my last visit to the stylist for a haircut, I finally gave up the ghost and decided to do something about it since I was beginning to look decidedly shaggy, and said stylist's salon won't be open again until the end of May.  At the earliest.  Late Saturday afternoon, I threw caution to the wind, fired up the recently purchased Wahl Color Pro trimmer, and went to work. 

This was on the heels of watching many, many how-to videos from the last couple of years on YouTube.  I played it safe and used the #8 guard (slightly longer then 1") plus the tapered right and left guards for around the ears and temples.  The Grand Duchess used my small, battery operated trimmer to clean up the nape of my neck and hairline there.  It won't win any awards, but it's about on a par with the cuts I got during my fascination with traditional ba…

There Truly Are No Words. . .

Green Belt Style. . .

Hurrah!!!  The Young Master just passed the test for his green belt in Tae Kwon Do about 30 minutes ago via Zoom.  Once again, I am just bowled over by his determination.  Since The Grand Duchess is usually the one who gets our son set up each afternoon and Saturday mornings with the computer, and often supervises from nearby, much of this was new to me. 

I have not really witnessed him in action since the last belt test at the end of February.  His increase in skill, coordination, focus, speed, and form in just a little over two months is head spinning.  He has practiced six days a week for 1-2 hours a day since the end of March when everything went into lock-down mode, so I shouldn't be surprised, and he has indicated that he wants to help teach the martial art once he turns 14. 

That's just 3.5 years away, by which time I expect he'll have his black belt, or be just about there.  Anyway, we pick up the belt in a drive-by ceremony early Sunday afternoon.  Wow.  Just wow.

Leadership Style. . .

Kills 99.9% of germs.  And, very likely, 99.9% of the people who might ingest it somehow simply because some ignoramus wandered off-script once again and gave voice to whatever half-baked thought drifted into his head.  Calls to poison control centers around the U.S. have been on the rise during the last several days.  It is difficult to  fathom and almost incomprehensible that there are actually people out there who might entertain using cleaners and disinfectants like this in the wake of the president's latest gaff last week.  As tragic as that desperate reality is, it does not say much for a certain segment of the electorate who might seriously consider drinking, snorting, rinsing with, or injecting household cleaners like Lysol, Clorox, and others.

Leading others effectively is a delicate balancing act of many things. 

In more specific detail, we should prepare ourselves to lead by being proactive.  We must practice and cultivate the art of informing ourselves through careful r…

The Star-Crossed Lovers - Duke Ellington (1957)

The Mooche -- Duke Ellington (1928)

Pennsylvania 6-5000 -- Glenn Miller (1940)

Counting The Days -- Dinah Shore (1945)

(We're Gonna Hang Out) the Washing on the Siegfried Line (1939)

When the Lights Go on Again -- Vera Lynn (1942)

Let's Pull Ourselves Together, Gents. . .

All dressed for the office of days gone by.

We have only been lightly confined for a few weeks relatively speaking, so it seems almost incomprehensible when I see and hear in the news people of various ages and stripes complaining about one thing or another connected with self-quarantines, stay-at-home orders, or social distancing.  How entitled and soft we have become in the decades since The Great Depression and WWII, when so many people around the world had to make do with far less for much longer and often under far worse circumstances.  And that’s not even taking into consideration the sheer number of injuries and deaths endured by so many military personnel and civilians around the world between 1939-1945. 

Oh, I get it.  We’re disappointed if prom and graduation have been cancelled.  We’re scared. We’re frustrated.  In some instances, we disguise (we kid ourselves) our great anxiety behind politically charged bluster.  We may have lost our jobs, or been furlough…

A Bit of Fun in a Time of Crisis. . .

The model of mask I ordered this morning, Royal Oxford Cloth in blue.

Even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting political mess in Washington (Let's be frank with ourselves here, folks.), there is a bit of fun to be had now and then.  

I learned via Ivy Style early this morning that Kamakura Shirts has geared up to produce surgical masks made from a variety of fabrics, available in reasonably priced three-packs.  Well, how could I resist?  

The only drawback is that these probably will not ship until late June.  But I'm sure there will be ample opportunity to use and, um, enjoy these (?!) once they arrive.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Mid-Michigan Lawn Style for April 2020. . .

 The back just post-mow.  Not too bad for the first cutting of the season.  Still greening up, but more rain, increasing warmth, and some organic fertilizer should help that along.

Went to work on curing some of that cabin fever midday today by changing the oil in the ol' Toro Timemaster, firing her up, and clipping the lawn for the first time since last November.  Funny how something as simple as mowing will suddenly make the areas around the house look so much better.  

Not that the grass was high by any stretch, but we're now at a nice, clean starting point.  Much like you look after trip to the barbershop or hair stylist.  A good trim and clean-up gets rid of the shag.  

I find myself looking forward to more time in the yard during the next six months or so.  Our local weather here is supposed to be sunny and almost warm for Monday, so putting down some organic fertilizer at some point tomorrow looks like a distinct possibility.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


Part of the front.  A bit cool h…