9.11.2011

Ten Years


A year ago I penned this remembrance about the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I offer the poem to you again on this tenth year of remembrance. I keep meaning to submit it somewhere for publication but never seem to do it, unsteady in my belief that it merits same. I hope the sentiment touches the readers of this blog and does honor to the fallen.

the 9/11 Memorial

8.28.2011

Raffle For Apple Products (A 503-c Non-profit)


Well, nothing like a little gamblin' to bring me out of my blog stupor. And, finally my new business position is normalizing. So, back to being a Lucky Dog.

Have I got a deal for you! A group I am associated with, The Rhine Research Center, a 503-c non-profit, is holding a fundraising raffle with winners receiving a variety of Apple products. First Prize is an Apple Mac Airbook.

Tickets are only five bucks each and even if we sell the 5,000 tickets we hope to sell your odds are great at 1/2 of 1%. That beats the Lottery odds and you help a famous and important group continue important research into the human consciousness.

By visiting the Rhine website you can purchase tickets utilizing a credit card or pay pal and your tickets will be scanned to you. Tickets are only five bucks, buy as many as you wish and you don't have to be present to win. The drawing will be held September 17, 2011 in the evening.

While you are on the site buying a bunch of tickets look around a bit. There is much interesting information and I invite you to become involved if even only through the web site.

So, from one Lucky Dog to another I ask that you support this cause. And pass the opportunity on via your blog and your friends.

My extra sensory perception tells me one of my readers will win! Thank you on behalf of The Rhine Research Center. And thank you from the Dog.

5.23.2011

Jon Langford: Nashville Radio ( A great "New Find")


As a full-fledged Zevonista, I know there will never be a replacement for the great Warren Zevon. But I am always searching. Recently, I was pleased to be introduced to Jon Langford, quite the artist in more ways than one. Solo artist, painter and involved in a plethora of off and on side projects including:
Waco Brothers  Pine Valley Cosmonauts  Mekons   Jon Langford & Skull Orchard , Jon moves from punk to "hard country" with ease, often carrying the ghost of Hank Williams along for ride.

Langford is a good one to explore.

5.22.2011

5.08.2011

UNC Graduation: Children Swathed In Alexander Julian's Ego

The Lucky Dog pack will not venture to Chapel Hill today for Mothers Day brunch. We did, however, celebrate Mom last weekend when we enjoyed some classic Crook's Corner brunch; shrimp & grits, Eggs Benedict, pancakes with strawberries and a few Bloody Marys. Plus a side of five dollar fries (worth it).

No way, today. It's UNC Graduation today and the town will be packed, restaurants overloaded and everyone will be a-twitter about the fabulous gowns the children will be wearing.

Those finally "true blue" gowns' inspiration and design are compliments of (gratis, he wants you to know) Alexander Julian, self-proclaimed cloth auteur. The Colour Man. You remember him, I'm sure. He has a son graduating today and Alex couldn't stand the thought of his progeny wearing aqua (!) across the stage rather than UNC True Blue.

You can read about the inspiration at the link above. And you might "enjoy" the homage to the Maurice Julian clan at the Julian's web site. I say "enjoy" because you might agree that Alex's dad Maurice can't be credited with "Preppy Style", as implied. And, I'd be interested to know what "renown Tarheel beauty" Mary was renown for (OK, that's beyond the pale. But I want to know!).

Oh, I've got some great Julian family stories, told to me by reputable menswear professionals or personally experienced. But first, understand this: Maurice Julian, the founder of Julian's in Chapel Hill way back in 1942 was a very--repeat, very--successful business man. He ended up owning a ton of real estate on Chapel Hill's main drag Franklin Street, worth who knows what. Like many successful business owners, how the profits from the cash cow are reinvested tells the real story.

And, of course, son Alex has garnered world-wide acclaim and respect via his Colours line from the late 70's (now available at JC Penny) and his houseware line (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and more. A multi millionaire, no doubt. Talented. Creative. But was he really the designer to "inadvertently became the first American fashion designer to design his own cloth" ?!

Was Maurice the first person to put a penny in a Bass Weejun, as folklore around these parts exclaims?

The Stories...

In my (and Alex's) youth, around fall of '69 (maybe '70), I found myself walking Franklin Street for some reason and came across a store called Alexander's Ambition. The storefront was classic for the time; two big windows on either side parallel to the street with another window angled toward the front door, creating a shaded entry way.

There, in the shade were two fellows. One a red head with a short beard. I remember that he was handsomely dressed. The other a chubby blond boy who immediately struck me as a frat boy stooge for some reason. They were seated, with a small card table between them, playing a board game I'd never seen. I asked about the game. "Backgammon," the red head curtly stated, never looking up from the board. The frat boy snickered. I stood and watched a moment as the fellows quickly moved the pieces after every throw of the dice, seemingly without motive. I was impressed. But by what, I wasn't sure.

I moved toward the door, interested to see what was inside this obviously cool establishment.

"No reason to go inside," the red head said, again never looking up from the board. "You can't afford anything in there."

"Oh, really?" I was not especially well dressed that day, as I remember. But a decent corduroy sport coat, crisp tattersall button down, Levis and Topsiders was not exactly Southern Redneck Poor Boy. Needless to say, the game was postponed and the stooge had to come in with me to make certain nothing was...stolen.

I worked that fat f***er over, touching everything in the store, messing up stacks, tried on a few things that were folded and pinned and generally trashed up the place. The red head finally came in and asked me to leave, "unless you wish to make a purchase." My one and only encounter with the great Alexander Julian.

Remember that my wife's family was in the menswear business in Durham, mere miles from Chapel Hill. I had the honor to be associated with the family business twenty years. That was plenty of time to hear many of stories about the Julians.

Years ago, before our former salesman John came to work at our Durham store, he frequented Julians for his clothing needs. Ol' John was an eclectic sort, never married, by wealth no need to work, had military secret clearance in a former life (he was 50 when he came to us) and he was quite the hand with putting together a good, creative and stylish wardrobe. Frankly, as good at color as... He wore his trousers too short, though. But that was his trademark. Think Fred Astaire.

Anyway, he enjoyed telling the story of Maurice Julian alerting his frat boy salesmen of potential problems with certain articles they might show a fellow frat boy. "MH, MH!", Maurice would signal, as his minion would pull out a sport coat to show. " Moth hole, moth hole!" Old stock. Years old. Colorful. But old.
Both Maurice and our store sold Talbot ties and H. Freeman & Sons clothing, the latter including their custom swatches. Maurice used to call my father-in-law trying to negotiate prices for the custom clothing, wanting to jack up the price. My father-in-law held the retail price; Maurice would say he'd just tell customers he had superior ranges of cloth. OK.

The travelling men had limited respect for the patriarch. The Talbott tie rep was a good example. After two hours plus of reviewing Robert Talbott tie swatches nobody says "I'll pass this season. I don't see anything I like." Except Maurice.

Here's to the UNC grads of 2011. The gowns are fantastic. I'll give Alex that. And perhaps that's the bottom line. But you decide. Thank goodness Alex's son--and Alex-- will not be traumatised by the kid's graduation.

Next Sunday: Brunch in Chapel Hill.

5.06.2011

The Martini (via The Economist More Intellegent Life)

I must admit to never having acquired a taste for this classic drink. May I blame it on never being served a proper one (which, of course, is still my problem, drinking in slovenly places that can't create a superior Martini) or should I simply admit...well, I just rent this stuff, giving it back soon enough and I don't particularly like paying up for getting sloshed?

Now, a Campari with a good vodka and a little tonic (I know, it's usually soda water) plus a lime squeeze served before dinner--I'll spring for that. More than once. Thrice, maybe. Before the red meat arrives.

This short piece about the Martini on the More Intelligent Life site from the publishers of The Economist makes me want to try again to stomach a good dry one. The barware used is certainly elegant. And I like pitted olives. Hell, I even drive to Virginia to buy Pimm's Cup. Oh, I forgot. That's not straight gin but it's well received at Wimbledon and throughout London.  And the world. Damn good after a good grass cuttin'.

Anyway, Cheers! It's the weekend.

5.03.2011

This One Is For M. Lane


There's this site, Urban Daddy. You know it, I suspect. If not, sign up. You'll find some interesting info there from time to time, via their daily email update.

And today is M. Lane Day on UD: You'll find information about renting Sinatra's Palm Springs pad--I mean mansion.

Three day minimum; $2,600 per night. When we goin'? This is Bucket List material.

4.24.2011

As I Was Saying B/4 Life Interrupted...

Days turn in to months when Life interrupts. No, not a major health issue. Although I've felt better. Family problems? Well, not with my wife of 30 years. Work? Ha! All of the above? Exceptin' the wife. Well... does it really matter? And so...

If you have been checking the blog for something new, thank you. If not, here's hoping you find your way back to my Lucky Dog Life.

Here's the deal: It's just a blog. I want to keep current, yet let's not force it. So much to say...so little time. Yes?

You are kind to check it out and I thank you. So, let's get crackin'. Again.

3.05.2011

Stars Sans Makeup

Who Are These People?
OK, I admit this is tacky, rude, unfair, blah, blah, blah. But don't we enjoy it when The Special People are proven... well, normal. From Fox News, no less.

2.27.2011

A Wrightsville Beach Sunday Morning


For the first time in a long while my Red Head and I have sequestered ourselves at the beach for the weekend. Not a big deal for most, but for us, right now, a godsend. The weekend is a brief respite from what's been a tumultuous fall and winter for our family. We've hung tough, together, and we deserved a little time away at our beloved Wrightsville Beach. I can't believe it's been two years since our last visit.

So, I've just a few moments ago slipped out of bed to enjoy the sunrise. We are on the ocean and it will be spectacular. Before the quiet escape I watched for a few minutes my wife sleep, something all men should do once in a while, I think. She too, is spectacular and I say to myself again, as so many times before, "I am a lucky dog". Tumult and all.

My joy at this daily utterance brought to mind someone I call a Friend I've Never Met. He, too, is married to a Redhead--his the blogospere original and an authentic Irish one, we're told. This FINM, as many of you may have figured, is M. Lane of The Epic. He curates as fine a blog as one will find. And he's no doubt a fine gentleman.

His family is having a tumultuous time as well, as you will see when you read this recent post. So, here I am at the beach, basking in the warm endless glow of my red head and he is there-wherever that is-with his IRH next to him, or perhaps he's pacing the floor, coffee cup in hand, anxiously waiting for the next visit. I pray the former.

As I watch the sunrise I am struck by a sense of both helplessness and hope. M. Lane knows that sweet and sour vibe, no doubt. I reach out to that which is responsible for such a beautiful expression of a New Day, ask for renewed courage and faith and pray for good outcomes for the both of us-me and my FINM- and for blessings upon our beloved wives, especially his IRH, their Future Rock Star, our Hip-Hop artist and our Uber-Child. And all God's children.

It is a New Day. It is wondrous. We have hope. The tumult will pass and leave us stronger, closer, and more thankful than ever for our lucky dog lives.

God bless us, every one.

2.26.2011

Berkshire Hathaway's Regular Guy Sends A letter To The Shareholders


Good ol' Boy
Warren Buffet's letter to shareholders is something I look forward to each year. It's available to read as of today. There are some great insights to be gleaned from his conversational narrative of the Berkshire year and what's likely to come. Learn from The Master, I guess. It's a very enjoyable read.

His folksy ways are part of a well established persona, of course. And while it's true he lives in the same home in Omaha that he purchased "pre-uber-wealth", I don't believe for a second that he and ol' Charlie Munger don't do a hell of a lot more due diligence when buying a company than the WB myth portrays. Just on a handshake my arse.

Along with the Mary Meeker tome previewed in yesterday's post, I've got my weekend reading all lined up.


2.25.2011

USA, Inc.: A Basic Summary Of America's Financial Statements


Mary Meeker
Kliner-Perkins' Mary Meeker has released what looks to be a must read for every American; those who believe we can continue to spend, as a nation, the way we are spending now (and have for many, many decades), those who know we can't but may not fully grasp the consequences and especially every limber-dicked politician at any level.
It's a "USA as corporation" review of our nation. Can you say "General Motors?"

This is a 266 page PDF and I admit to not yet reading it. Yet, a quick review of the bullet points from the Business Insider web site where I found it and the table of contents, it's evident this will be a good read and has the potential to be a seminal work.

Read it, and if it is as dramatic a work as I think it will be, then send it to all of your state's limber-dicked solons.
 

2.03.2011

Thursday. Late.

He works downtown in the District. She spends her time midtown in one of those trendy fashion boutiques--the second story kind. They met while drinking with friends one Thursday night late at Whiskey Blue. You know, the bar in W New York. Lex at 49th.

They were standing near each other, but on the outer rim of their individual party circles. Maybe five yards apart. And even though the place was jammed, their eyes met. Her tongue licked her lips before she threw back her Campari, pushing the empty glass into a girlfriend's hand. He involuntarily cleared his throat and ran his fingers though his longish hair before taking a sip of his Martini. Slowly, they worked their way closer as their friends chatted away.

When they were face to face no words were spoken before she took his Martini from him, pulled out the stabbed olive, drank it down and then offered up the olive by its red plastic sword to his mouth. He opened, showing perfect white teeth, and took it in. Then she spoke: "Buy us another Martini, will you?"

"Yes, of course," he said, as a tentative smile crossed his face and he started toward the bar. A good ten minutes later he worked his way back toward where he had left the beautiful young woman. Like a Lab with a tennis ball tightly mouthed, he held two Martinis. Both with double olives.

He did not see her, could not spot her. He waited, wondering if maybe the lady's lounge had a line. Time froze until she appeared. She was arm in arm with a tall, well dressed man of their age. He wondered why he felt a twinge of jealousy. "This is Bill. He kept me company while you were at the bar. And for such a long time you were gone," she pouted. The Lab felt the prickly heat of not knowing what to say or do.

"Alright," she said to Bill. "Leave us now, will you? I have a Martini to drink with this beautiful man." They kissed quickly; Bill playfully licked her nose, winked at the Lab and departed.

The next morning there would be no memory of the conversation as they drank together, surrounded by the hoard of young, hip New Yorkers. He would, however, vividly recall how she dropped the empty Martini glass and put her head on his chest, pressed her body tightly to his and raised a hand to his face and looked up to him. "Walk me home, will you? It's only a few blocks. I shouldn't go alone, I think."

"Yes, of course."

New York small and with a Murphy bed, her one room plus small kitchen place was well appointed. Lots of black, including what struck him as an elegant, modern black leather couch too grand for the space. An extravagance for her, no doubt.

She hung their coats, walked to him and again raised her hand softly to his face. She smiled, looking him in the eye. She sighed softly toward him and then moved toward the leather couch. She lost one high heel as she settled her knees on the leather and posed upright.

He stood awkwardly in the middle of the small room, watching her watch him. He struggled with her persona. She was so beautiful and visually so... So innocent? But there was an edge to her, to be sure.

She steadied herself and pulled up her black satin skirt on one side. Her stare softened yet she still focused directly on his eyes. He remained rigid and unsure. Just before she popped the first garter she hiccuped, softly, childishly. It was an endearing moment. She sighed a soft "ooh".

"What are you doing?" He regretted the question as soon as it was asked.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she asked. "Come over here and help me, will you?"

He moved to her and his hands touched the cold leather as he knelt to help her. She smiled down toward him and hiccuped softly again. "Ooh..."

"We can stay here on the couch. Be nice, will you?"

"Yes, of course. I will."

1.30.2011

WTF! Oh,Sarah We Hardly Knew Ye

While I embrace many of the political beliefs of the Tea Party, absolutely respect the "common" man's right to be heard--as I am a common Lucky Dog-- and don't exactly think he (and she) is being well represented by either party (and it's doubtful the TP will do any better), Sarah Palin is starting to get on my nerves.

I respect her views and believe she believes her commentary and place on the American political stage is in the best interest of the country. And yet...

She's good to look at; maybe a boy's most coveted MILF. But the ankles are too thick. She is smart, but lots of fools are smart. There's nothing quite as titillating or alluring as an attractive and outspoken woman, yet I wouldn't necessarily want that person to run the country. Jane Fonda is titillating and outspoken. So is Susan Sarandon.

That being said, the outrage on the left regarding her WTF moment is over the top in my mind. Actually, I see this episode as quite a subtle play on Mr. Obama's "Win The Future" speech. I mean, WTF, he's lauding the Russians and the Chinese in the State of the Union Speech... I don't want a community activist running the country any more than I want Sarah, Jane or Susan running the country. I don't want me running the country, either.

Aw, hell. I admit it. This whole thing is just an excuse to post a couple of **titilating** pictures. And the final word on Ms. Palin: we'll know she's stupid crazy if she runs for President. If not, she's just another dame goin' with the flow, like most of us would. It's all McCain's fault.

Fair & Balanced. You Decide. Have fun doing that.



1.28.2011

Microsoft: Where are they now?


In 1978 the original Microsoft crew posed for a now-famous photo. It's a rag tag group physically, but oh! that grey matter. The site Business Insider plays the "where are they now" game, updating what's up with the (mostly) super wealthy group. Not a plastic shirt pocket insert anywhere...

1.27.2011

Thursday Morning Stretch

He said: "Do we really have to get out of bed? It's early yet."
She said: "Well, you have to."

1.23.2011

Reynolds Price, Author & Gentleman Of The South


Reynolds Price has passed away. A great Southern writer--no, a great author who often wrote about the South--leaves behind a wonderful catalogue of novels, poetry and stories. Worth reading. Worth remembering. More about Price's work can be found here. Finally, NPR's Fresh Air offers a remembrance.

In high school I wanted so to write as well as he. Alas, not yet.

(portrait credit)

1.13.2011

My Name Is Betsy. I'm A Killer.


American Thinker  My Name Is Betsy...

Media Research Center  Brokow On Palin

Michael Barone It Won't Stick

Slate  Our Alternative Realities The Same As His?

Slate Blood Libel Hypocrite

Huff Po   Victims And Impostors

The Atlantic  Whup, There It Is... Michael Chabon









The Nation  The Other Arizona



The Nation Palin Threats Real?

Who Are The Real Hatemongers? All Of Us.

Are "Right Wingers" Creating A Parallel Universe? Or Somebody Else...





You Decide...

A pox on all their houses!