Saturday, August 24, 2019

POINT OF CONCEPTION


Point well taken
Yesterday Vogue's September issue arrived.
While "hefty" it is but a ghost of issue past.
Back in the day I couldn't wait to devour
whatever magazine came my way. One of
the key elements of my role as retail fashion
marketer was to promote le mode du jour.
Hence soon after a periodical's arrival it was
torn asunder. My office walls covered with
"pins" pulled from their pages. Ultimately if
something that piqued my interest became
an assemblage of like thoughts, I was on to
something. Hence the thicker a pile got, the
more important it became. More is MORE.
The point is...
The purpose of any publication is to inform.
To expose us to something we never knew
existed. Thus each new issue was a key link
in a chain of communication. A transfer of
thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. Sadly, that
all seems to have faded away. Replaced by
the disjointed visual vomit of instagram and
pinterest. None of which is curated with a
point of view. Diana Vreeland used to say
"the eye has to travel." A theory that requires
that somebody guides said journey. Through
history arbiters of taste have led the way. My
question is where are they taking us today?
Pressure point
In our new digital world you can find almost
anything you want. The only problem being
that first you have to know exactly what that
is. Hence we've basically become a culture
of replenishment. Devoid of inspiration as
nothing seems new anymore. We've lost all
mystery. Instead anybody can be a "stylist".
And there are no longer rules to said game.
No restraint. Little editing. And rarely a clear,
concise, and well considered point of view.
Our world is a pastiche of past imperfect. A
mass melange of google searches gone wrong.
nstant gratification that is anything but that.
Point of no return
One can't deny that it's easy. Rather than rely on
somebody else to guide our choices, the world
is ours. However there is a risk to that. Few if
any possess that magic skill that I call "it." The
ability to know innately understand good from
bad. Instead we've become a culture of copycats.
One where "farmhouse" begets a proliferation
of shiplap, rolling barn doors, and the like. All
fine in their proper place. But disconcerting in
the confines of a suburban tract abode. We can
find whatever we want on Amazon. Even if it
is wrong for us. And sadly most don't know
any better. A bit off, it's totally inappropriate.
Point of view
Call me old fashioned but I've no need to
know nor see it all. I want to be wowed.
Dazzled. Surprised, Shocked. And most
important educated. Which in my limited
experience is a realm held by a very few.
I want experts to filter my inspiration. To
carefully curate a disparate data dump into
one vision. That's what editors and authors
do. Sharing their savvy and knowledge by
transforming information into edification.
Rather than too much of a good thing, we
must let those in the know curate our view.
And point us in the right direction.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Something is rotten in Denmark?



"To be or not to be"
Long ago a dear friend of me suggested that
while my Mother raised me to be a gentleman,
I needn't be a fool. Manners are basically a set
a guidelines. A context within which diverse
people of varying interests, backgrounds, and
philosophies can interact. Facilitating a kind
and cordial discourse. Taken a step further,
we delve into the realm of diplomacy. Which
is where respect takes on added importance.
Along with clearly defined roles designed to
insure that each side know where the other is
coming from. Hence manners, decorum, and
diplomacy have long defined civilized behavior.
"Brevity is the soul of wit"
For eons all of the above has been a code of ethics
within an upper echelon of society Even if two
people hated the other's guts, they leveraged said
tools to treat each other with respect while getting
their point across. Being deemed a gentleman or
lady was once considered a badge of honor. One
that indicated the individual involved was a "class
act".  Someone able to navigate the world at large
with humility, kindness, and elan. Sadly it seems
that somewhere within the last few years we've
decided that behaving in a socially acceptable
manner is no longer a viable option. Instead we
"say it like it is." No matter the consequences.
"I must be cruel only to be kind"
Honesty may be the best policy. However we
all suffer when unfettered candor is combined
with malicious intent. Rather than berate those
who we disagree with we must be able to gently,
subtly, and kindly beg to differ. Yet all of us,
myself included have become so embittered,
dogmatic, and arrogant that we've totally lost
it. Yesterday, a dear friend responded to a post
that was if nothing else aggressively offensive
against those who previously opposed President
Obama. My retort can only be deemed "nasty".
Written in haste without fore thought. Indicative
of just how low I've sunk. I'm down and dirty.
"One may smile and be a villain"
I may have been influenced by America's Chief
Executive more than I ever realized. After all
Donald Trump has no problem speaking with
capricious candor. At least on the surface it
appears that Trump has absolutely NO filters.
Some argue he knows exactly what he's doing
when he stirs the melting pot. Rejecting century
old rules of diplomacy in order to get his point
across. Thus assuming that he leads by example,
why shouldn't we follow in his erratic footsteps?
Compromising our collective integrity on a daily
basis. Focusing on the here and now. Ignoring
any long term implications. It's now or never.
"To thine own self be true"
Many consider Mr. Trump's rude behavior
"refreshing". But I consider it rude if not
arrogant. Being atop the heap is a slippery
slope. From which one can fall at any time.
That's when you need friends. However
once you've berated, insulted, or alienated
all around you, chances are you're on your
own. Why can't we all behave ourselves?
And play nice rather than utilize Donald
Trump's isolationist strategies. Isn't it time
we heed the words of another Republican
president? And work to make America a
"KINDER AND GENTLER NATION!"

Thursday, August 22, 2019

DOGGONE IT


Dog days of summer
Now that summer is almost over
it's time to finally put on the dog.
To pull things together and finish
all of those home projects that we
set aside this summer. So instead
of paying more for less on 1stDibs,
One Kings Lane, Wayfair, Chairish,
or Perigold why not shop LOCAL?
As in Lewistown, Montana that is...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

MISSING LINKS


Gone but not forgotten
This weekend I went to the cemetery
to "celebrate" what would have been
my Mother's 98th birthday. Gone nine
years, she is not forgotten. My regret
is not asking more questions. Oral
family histories are the threads that
weave generations together. Sadly as
time passes, so do our storytellers. So
while I'm still here, I thought I'd jot one down for posterity.
My Mother was not a story teller. 
Blessed with a long family heritage, her
American ancestors stretched far back to
the seventeenth century. And while said
lineage was oft celebrated, the details of
recent generations were rarely discussed.
I never knew why her father left when
she was twelve. Nor that he later became
a bigamist. He and my grandmother did
not divorce. Yet he later married another
lady in London. Thus Mom never shared
any details in depth. But did drop tidbits,
snippets, and hints on a daily basis. After
Mother died, I lost my link with the past.

Who was he?
My great grandfather,
Charles Gano King
remains an enigma.
Born in Ohio, he
lived in Chicago and
later wed Sadie Blue.
Then made a fortune
in gold. Where, how,
or when, I don't know.
In March of 1892 
he died just shy of 
age 40 in Manhattan.
A few hints remain -
An 1880 census 
stating they resided
in Denver, Colorado.
A Pikes Peak geode
that Sadie kept on
her dressing table.
One solid gold spoon
crafted from his "lode".

I do know one thing.
The above are the substantiated
facts.  Beyond that remain dim
recollections of family folklore.
Post his untimely death, Charles
left Sadie Blue King behind with
a lot of money. Like most ladies
 her class she lived a private life.
And like her husband, Sadie left
behind a scant trail of memories.
Along with a sizable amount of
baubles, land, stocks, and cash.
My grandmother (Bessie Louise,
shown right) was a child of that
privilege. Post graduating from
Miss Porters and Smith College
she never had to work a day in
her life. Charles' legacy was big
enough to support her elegant
existence. Enabling Bessie to
leave my Mother her fair share
of money, goodies, and more.
Plus... a string of pearls.
At the turn of the century nothing
was chicer than a long strand of
NATURAL not cultured pearls.
Edith Kingdon Gould was famous
for her wit, beauty, and pearls. An
actress, she deftly bagged a rich
railroad magnate. And soon was
the owner of a 133 Pearl Parure
from Tiffany's. Valued at over
$1 Million ($28 Million in 2019).

Fair trade
Everybody wanted a string of
pearls. Pierre Cartier needed a
posh Fifth Avenue address for
his store. Morton Plant owned
a mansion at Fifth and 52nd.
He knew Mrs. Plant wanted her
own million dollar pearl strand.
And traded his mansion for one.

Sadie loved the opera
All of her life she had a season box
at the Metropolitan Opera House.
And with it, all the accoutrements.
My mother transformed these relics.
A floor length persian lamb cape
became a chic swing jacket, coat,
and hat. Gold enameled guilloche'
opera glasses were sold for a new
TV. But what about her grannie's
string of opera length pearls?

Pearls? What pearls?
The fact is my mother never wore that necklace.
Actually I'm fairly sure nobody including my
Dad knew it existed. Except for a single pearl
that Ethel plucked from it and turned into a ring.
Thus one can only surmise that the secret strand
lay hidden in Mom's closet safe. Ready when or
if Ethel needed something. All she did was snip
off the requisite number of those precious orbs,
cash them in, and shop! Hence Grandma Sadie's
pearls were my Mom's ultimate security blanket.

What's the real story?
So many questions such little time...
Did Charles give them to Sadie?
Did she purchase them for herself?
Did Bessie Louise ever wear them?
How did Ethel keep her secret?
Did Dad wonder where she got
her ever flowing "mad" money?!
The pearls are now long gone.
While I lack all of the answers, at
least I've left a record of what I know.
Memories are more precious
than pearls. Share them now!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

GARBAGE IN... GARBAGE OUT...



Down and dirty
There are times when you simply have to get
down on your hands and knees. Not to bow
down. Nor as a gesture of respect. But rather
to be able to clean things properly. Monday
I scrubbed the front hall and staircase to my
hearts delight. Finding flotsam and jetsam
that I never knew existed. Getting down and
dirty is often the only way to see things as
they truly are. However the wiser we get, the
harder it is to kneel let alone scrub. Ultimately
it was well worth the effort. Even if I've no
desire to repeat said process for a least a year.
Now... can anybody help me get up?
Trial and error
Things are rarely as they appear to be on the
surface. Hence one must take a deep dive to
discern fact from fiction. First impressions
may be invaluable. Yet it's best to take look
and learn prior to jumping to a conclusion.
Thus before buying a car, one looks under
the hood. Prior to purchasing a home, we
hire experts to insure things are what they
appear to be. And while some may hesitate
to confess, most sleep with someone before
marrying them. So why many of us make
snap decisions in the voting booth? Rather
than do our homework prior to elections?
Trash talk
Almost anything of value requires time and
effort. Yet most Americans want others to do
our hard work. Especially when it comes to
the government and elected leadership. We
stand back and hope for the best rather than
engage in the process. Or worse, opt to stay
at home versus making a choice. Isn't it time
that we collectively rolled up our sleeves and
made a difference? One doesn't have to hit
the decks in order to get rid of unwanted filth
or trash. Instead we must rise to the occasion.
Stand up for what is right. And make sure we
sweep Trump out of the White House.
Clean sweep
Shit happens. Forcing all of us to do something
about it. Like most hoarders, things have gotten
out of control. Hence for those who voted for
Donald Trump - it's time to find a way out of
the mess you've made. And for whomever opted
out of the last election, it's time to do your fair
share. Much like the inner rim of a toilet bowl,
all sorts of bad stuff can fester out of sight. So
rather than be in a swirl, we must scrub out the
political black mold that endangers America.
We can't allow America to go down the toilet.
Now is the time to flush out whatever ails us.
Cump Trump and make America great again!

Monday, August 19, 2019

WHAT A BUNCH OF FLAGS



All or nothing at all
I was taken aback by a letter to the editor in
our local paper. The author was protesting
Montana government buildings flying flags
that do not represent "ALL MONTANANS".
Her ire raised by flags hung in recognition
of Gay Pride or "Japanese" (as in WWII
Internees imprisoned at Fort Missoula). So
rather than support minorities she wants any
flag hung to be in the interest of a majority
of Montanans. Which one assumes means
white Montanans. However she will allow
flags for veterans given they have served to
protect ALL. Leaving folks like me... OUT.
Be careful what you wish for
If a numerical majority ruled this nation said
gal might be waving a white flag of surrender.
Assuming our vote tally mattered, Hillary
Clinton would now be president. Fox News
research indicates two thirds of Americans
support gun control in the form of an assault
weapon ban. While most Montanans would
beg to differ. Polls indicate seventy seven
percent of America supports Roe vs. Wade.
With 13% rejecting a woman's right to choose.
The 11% balance undecided. Thus if politics
were a group effort - my flag waving neighbor
might end up in the minority. Imagine that.
Isolated risk?
Like it or not, Montanans are in the minority
versus the balance of America. Everything
about who, where, what, and how we live
may be an exception to the national rule.
Hence if things were decided en masse, we
would be left out of the process. The rest of
this country being a bubbling melting pot of
diversity. The very reality of which threatens
many who live outside of said ever-changing
"norm". Therefore "all" within the American
context has little to do with the lady's myopia.
The balance of which probably flagging her
"all or nothing at all" stance bigoted at best.
All together now
This weekend I saw a new flag flying on a local
business reading "Trump 2020". While I may
find said message offensive, they've every right
to fly right. That's because our democracy was
based in the principal that ALL Americans are
created equal. And that every opinion including
those in the minority are of equal importance.
Our founders were immigrants, refugees, and
minorities. All came to these United States to
build a better life. Today every American  - no
matter their race, sex, or creed has an equal say
(and vote) as to what makes America great.
And flag or not - that's what we're ALL about.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

7th Day Surprise: DOG DAYS


DOG DAYS OF SUMMER
Who doesn't love biting into a big juicy sausage?
One can easily build a case for anything ground and bound.
So join me as we go
from link to wurst...