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.
Friday, November 16, 2018
"The Young Master warning ol' Dad before the school bus arrived, "No skiing, tobogganing, or other fun in the snow ever!"
The Young Master, who is in the 3rd Grade and turned nine three weeks ago, has discovered that he can make people laugh. A lot.
A great reader, and highly talented with pencils, paper, and paints, he has created a series of book covers and story text since the early summer, which is divided into chapters, all about the misadventures of one put upon small boy who is made to do a million and one household chores by his mean father (actually just one task a day Monday through Friday plus feed the fish and cats daily) in the name of helping around the house and learning responsibility. The mean father in these highly detailed illustrations, naturally, looks like yours truly. Imagine that.
The various related narratives committed to paper always seems to be about arduous things like bath times, homework, feeding the fish and cats, swiffering the kitchen floor, tossing a basket of laundry into the washing machine, organizing his bedroom bookshelves, practicing the piano, bedtimes, and the like. And, of course, eating unpopular foods he has been served for dinner, for example homemade ravioli filled with cheese and asparagus tips.
Boyish perceptions and tendencies toward overstatement aside, The Young Master has already asked several times about skiing this winter since we have been having light snows here for the last week. With slightly colder temperatures and just a bit more on the ground we should be ready to schussss-schussss-schusss through the woods and down some hills together. In the meantime, it's like living with Steve Martin and Martin Short around here. Bizarrely madcap. There are days when our sides almost hurt from so much laughter brought on by our son.
The woods beyond our backyard this morning just after The Young Master climbed aboard the school bus this morning.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
An atypical shot of the upper half for today.
Delaying the inevitable this morning over coffee and a glazed doughnut. In other words, putting off reading through the last nine student learning team papers, which sit just behind my laptop on the large table I've occupied in a quiet corner of the library here at MSU. So far among the papers I have read and graded this time around, I've seen the pretty good, the irredeemably bad, and the pitifully ugly -- along with a number of excellent papers to be fair about it -- in the bulk of the work that I have read through during the last week and a few days. Cue up the Ennio Morricone music, please.
In any case, the jacket glimpsed above is a 3/2 number from Southwick that I came across in my favorite thrift/charity haunt several years ago in our old stomping grounds of Central Illinois. I've got to be careful to keep everything else very plain whenever I wear it for obvious reasons. The pocket square, not visible here, is plain white. Other items include golden tan corduroy pants and a pair of Merino wool Fair Isle pattern socks (primarily red and blue) with the usual Allen Edmonds long-wing brogues plus a tan braided belt.
Ok, no sense in fooling around any longer. Let's get to it. No time like the present. Uh-huh!
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
'The Dearborn' fedora by Optimo Hats of Chicago yesterday (Monday). The hat was a birthday gift to myself in 2017. It finally arrived on December 23rd, two months or so after I placed the order (the lady who helped me on the phone was extremely helpful), and during the cooler months I wear it on average two or three days each week before brushing it and putting it away for the season in its hatbox round about mid-April. It hasn't yet developed that wonderful wavy slouch of Bogart's brim in all of those old films noir from the 1940s, but we're getting there. There is actually quite a bit more 'dip' to the brim than is apparent in this photo, and it helps of course to wear the hat at a jaunty angle rather than pulled down onto one's head evenly. Attitude, my friends. Attitude.
The upper half today, featuring a Polo Ralph Lauren double-breasted wool flannel number. I've got several of these suits, all of which are soft and warm on cold days like today with that wonderful 1930s silhouette. Old-fashioned? Yes. Anachronistic? But of course, and you know what? I don't mind in the least.
And the lower half. Pardon the galoshes, but we began the day with two inches or so of new snow on the ground and cars. It's not laying on the roads and streets yet, but it won't be long. Time to wax up those cross-country (Nordic) skis and lean 'em up by the back door!
A trying hour this morning with a student who came to my office to wrangle for a higher grade. . . other than the one she earned six weeks or so ago on an earlier project. I can't quite remember a time when a student has worked so hard to butter me up before resorting to the waterworks, which went away as quickly as they came once she figured out it would not have the desired effect. Ahem. It was a relief to lock up my office, pull on my overcoat, and head across campus through the flurries of snow for my Film Noir course.
The student learning teams in this particular course have been leading discussion for two or three weeks now and doing reasonably well with that. Today's team, besides putting together a discussion that was clearly well planned and organized, look extremely pulled together and polished. I routinely ask student learning teams to follow business (smart) casual guidelines in the assignment prompt packet, and provide a current visual guide stressing that they are the focus of the room for the day, this is good practice for real life once they enter the working world, and people are much more likely to hush up and listen up if the people at the head of room look like they know what they are doing.
Most student learning teams do reasonably well with dressing up, in a business casual sense, although a few don't quite understand that ripped jeans and/or sweatpants aren't what is meant by business (smart) casual.
In any case, today's team, three young women and a young man, looked great. The young man, in particular, appeared like he belonged to the first half of 1960s when the ivy style of dress was at its height: light blue oxford cloth button down shirt tucked in, repp stripe necktie, pressed khakis that had actually been hemmed to fit his inseam without puddling around his ankles, a navy blazer featuring sleeves at the correct length, with matching black belt and polished shoes. Clearly someone gets it, and equally clearly this is gear already in his wardrobe. My suspicion is that Mom and Dad also get it and have taught the young man in question, either implicitly or explicitly, how to dress. Nice to see.
Lest you think it's all about appearances, the content and conduct of their talk and related discussion was absolutely solid. One of the best I've seen so far this fall. Interesting and thoughtful questions that got the class thinking and talking about their ideas, considerable analysis of specific scenes from two films -- Kiss of Death (1947) and D.O.A. (1950) -- As well as the team's own observations plus some more general information about aspects of each film. Each of the four team members had a specific function, and each of the four took turns leading the class. This is how it's done. It was a a delightfully well-executed hour or so, made even more pleasant by the way in which the team of four undergraduates presented themselves visually.
The lesson here is not that appearances are the most important thing, or that they are a viable substitute for meaningful content, but looking pulled together, competent, and prepared to lead should never be underestimated. Broadly speaking, we've painted ourselves into a difficult corner with the rise of 'slob nation' and the related ridiculous notion that it somehow no longer matters how we attire ourselves for public consumption. I suspect, however, that I am preaching to the choir.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism, nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. . . In saying ‘our interests first and who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation has that’s most precious, what makes it live, what is most important: its moral values.” -- French President Emmanuel Macron
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Winter is on the way! Bull Road in Alsace Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Early Friday and early today, it looked very similar here in Mid-Michigan.
A couple of blustery days here in our neck of the woods, as winds, rains, and then two early light snows have brought down remaining leaves from the trees. Still too warm for the snow to hang around, but we had almost an inch on the ground by late yesterday (Friday) morning, and a good inch covering everything early today (Saturday) before it melted. Definitely sweater and corduroy jean weather.
Speaking of which, no photographs of your truly's current weekend wear, but here's the rundown of the different items for today. I've got on an old light blue oxford cloth button down shirt beneath a 25-year-old cream and charcoal L.L. Bean Norwegian fisherman's sweater with a new pair of very green corduroy jeans, which were a birthday gift earlier this week from The Grand Duchess, held up by a navy and red surcingle belt. And on the tootsies, the usual well-worn suede camp moccasins from Allen Edmonds that good ol' Mom sent to me several years ago. These have become my go-to house shoes between October and late April each year.
It it is entirely possible to be comfortable (our national obsession along with constant snacking), yet more than presentable at home during the evenings and weekends for yourself. And those you live with.