Wednesday, August 31, 2016
There are times when one simply has
to get away. The question is... where?!
With technology always at our side,
most maintain a seamless interaction
between our public and private lives.
Meaning that no matter where we go,
everyone comes along for the ride!
Some seem to find this approach the
easiest way to navigate modern life.
However I can't help but question
whether we're working ourselves to
death. Is there no end to our mania?
Can anyone truly escape reality?
Long distance call
It used to be that the farther one got from
home, the easier it was to fade from sight.
However cellular coverage has reached
a point where there are few places where
one can't be found. Fortunately our family
cabin is one of those spots. Hidden in a
valley deep in the mountains silence rules.
Sans any signals all you can do is enjoy
the moment and whoever you've invited
to join you before the fire. Such strategic
disconnections can be blissful. Yet one
can't help but worry about what's going
on while we're gone. We just can't let go.
Technology has become the perfect partner
for those of us who are termed as "control
freaks." 24/7 we can monitor the news, our
family and friends, the office, and even our
home's heat, cooling, and security systems.
There is literally nothing that can escape
a quick scan via the web, laptop, or phone.
While that may provide peace of mind for
some, I abhor the fact that nothing escapes
our attention. However what worries me all
the more is that others - unbeknownst to us
may also be watching, listening, waiting,
and eager to expose our well kept secrets.
I'm not the paranoid sort. However with
all the tales of cyber stalking, sleuthing,
and stealing one can't help but WORRY!
Thus every time my Mac takes longer to
process something than I think it should,
I immediately assume that an evil force
is overtaking my world. Hence in many
ways I'm as threatened and consumed
as any cold war era politico. Concerned
that a hidden enemy is out there waiting
to pounce when I least expect them to.
And what's even scarier is that in fact my
deepest fears may now actually be reality.
One can't help but be filled with angst
at the idea of another country attacking
us via vapor. Who knows why Russia
has been breaking into our electoral
system beyond mayhem? Rumors aside,
I highly doubt that Mr. Putin is plotting
with Mr. Trump to give him a bump at
the polls. Yet after reading all of the
recent headlines one can only wonder
what is going on and why? All of this
brouhaha leaves me feeling more than
vulnerable. What could be the purpose
for their political pirating? Uncertainty.
For the last two days we've been napping
and dipping at Chico Hot Springs (right)
in Pray, Montana. Eliminating at least a
few of one's daily responsibilities such as
making the bed helps clear the mind. Thus
I've accepted that given I can't ever control
others - all I can do is be at peace with me
alone. If and when I'm overwhelmed it's
nobody's fault but my own. Like it or not
we're all in control of our own destinies.
Well, at least our personal technology.
So, it you don't want to get any bad news
I suggest you TURN IT OFF NOW!
Over and out
Somehow we've made this all the more
harder than it really needs to be. There
is no reason you can't step away from
the phone or laptop whenever, wherever
you want to. Nobody is holding a cyber
gun to your head. At some point each of
us opted in. Therefore we should be able
to just as easily opt out if we choose to
do so. For some the very idea of losing
life's immediacy is terrifying. However
for others, establishing a buffer between
"us" and "them" may be the best way to
survive. Could that be the great escape?
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Recently the Washington Post strayed from
it's typical political news to a topic of much
greater importance. An in-depth article that
covered the crisis confronting American
women on a daily basis. The evil that lurks
within America's malls - "UGLY" apparel
that "DOESN'T FIT." While this may not
seem to be of the upmost importance, the
fact is we are what we wear. And given no
excuse to indulge in a new ensemble, most
women are opting to travel elsewhere or
buy some new sort of gadget rather than
enter a dressing room. They've given up.
From rack to ruin
One could blame the runway. For years
nothing truly alluring has strutted down
that straight and narrow path to retail
revenue. Given the choice or wrestling
the racks only to come up with nothing,
American women prefer to shop their
closets and vintage stores. Part of their
challenge is not style - but rather it's the
quality and fit that lack. For many reasons
top specialty retailers - experts in the art
and science of fashion - seem unable to
craft clothes the fit real people. Hence
they sit en masse in clearance purgatory.
Dress for success
It's important to note that few consumers
are willing to pity major fashion retailers
Even less shoppers are willing to waste
their valuable time and hard earned cash
only to end up empty handed. Rather than
be fashion victims of sad circumstances -
most women are opting to don whatever
makes them feel and look good. Which
often means that they must work with
whatever they've got. Hence few women
if any are willing to hunt and peck for the
fashion equivalent of a unicorn - a pretty
frock that actually fits. Imagine that...
Shopping for apparel was once America's
favorite sport. However within the past
decade our options for entertainment have
expanded far beyond those skylit temples
of consumption better known as malls.
Post grabbing a spot in the lot or sushi at
the food court, few experience success. In
theory the process of procurement is ALL
about instantaneous gratification. Yet most
shoppers seem to exit said premises sans
bags in hand. Hence why should anyone
subject themselves to torture with almost
no possibility of a positive outcome?!
The past two days we've been taking the
waters at a nearby resort. Watching our
fellow escapees, one thing is obviously
apparent. They have unequivocally given
up. Every man, woman, and child sported
the same stylistic components with NO
differentiating features. Hence the ladies
seemed happy wearing the same cargo
shorts, tees, fleece, and caps as their
fathers, husbands, or sons. Therefore
in my opinion, even if said ensembles
are deemed "comfortable," they're not
recommended for human consumption.
Wear are you?
Knowing that we all sneak an occasional
peek in the mirror, one wonders what we
really think. If we're honest, who looks
good when dressed like some slob? Few
if any of us want to blend en masse into
a slovenly sea of sartorial defeat. Thus if
given the chance I'm certain that almost
every lady would prefer to look and feel
their best. Therefore I concur with the
Washington Post's suggestion that the
root of our style evils are fashion shops
who simply don't get us. Is this rocket
science or have they simply LOST IT?!
While I am most definitely not a lady,
I do consider myself to be a fashionable
fellow. With age my body has assumed
altered proportions that if nothing else
make me feel quite uncomfortable. The
key elements of a male wardrobe rarely
change dramatically. However the fit
or tailoring thereof has most definitely
downsized. Hence as my girth grew, my
options shrank. No wonder I prefer to
shop my closet and grab an old Ralph
Lauren cashmere cable knit! Especially
when it's label reads "M" and still fits!
Give the lady what she wants
The challenge of every fashion retailer
is daunting. Not only must they craft
togs that enhance our outlook - they're
tasked with creating the motivation to
purchase new apparel rather than simply
replenish basics. Thus allure remains
their greatest challenge. Nothing is as
intoxicating as discovering some self
indulgent tidbit that demands you take
it home. However after years of abuse
few of us are willing to risk defeat.
And so... at least for now we all must
make do with what we've got or not!
Monday, August 29, 2016
I've never liked Donald Trump and for
good reason. In 1980 he purchased the
Bonwit Teller building located on Fifth
at 56th. As the wrecking ball loomed,
he promised to donate it's deco reliefs
of ladies dancing to the Met. However
a few days later, they were destroyed
by his worker's jackhammers. Yet that
wasn't his greatest crime. In 1989 after
purchasing the Plaza Hotel, Donald
deemed it's Trader Vic's nestled deep
in the basement "tacky." And quickly
thereafter replaced it with a health club.
It may seem petty to harbor resentment
over long ago errors in judgement. But
Mr. Trump has repeatedly destroyed the
cherished architectural icons of my youth.
Only to replace them with glitzy mounds
of no lasting consequence. In my opinion
his greatest crime is a lack of good taste.
And given Donald continues to reside in
the most awful of gilded cages, he still
displays an obvious lack of decorative
decorum. Thus for that reason alone, this
bon vivant could never vote for the man
who snuffed out my beloved tiki torch.
Kitsch me please
Obviously Trader Vic's was tacky.
However that's what made it all the
more fabulous. Climbing down the
stairs across from the Oak Bar was
like entering an ancient tomb. There
below lay a treasure trove of rattan
wonders - all gently coated by a thin
layer of dust and grime. Within it's
murky depths one could nibble upon
pu pu (as in platter) or suck on some
suffering bastard (as in cocktail kids.)
As the city that never slept lay above,
one lolled amidst tropical trappings.
Starting in the thirties "Polynesian"
became popular. Post World War II
returning vets yearned for a taste of
the islands they'd left behind. Soon
hundreds of tropical grottos served
up the same formula - menus filled
with a pastiche of Chinese, Indian,
and Japanese cuisine. Plus pages of
heady concoctions guaranteed to
sneak up on you. At one time there
were over thirty Trader Vic's in the
U.S. alone. Now only two dish poi
near San Francisco and Atlanta.
More is more
As some of you know, we consider our
time as residents of Columbus Ohio as
not among our greatest of hours. Yet
nestled within it's midwestern monotony
was a treasure of treasures - Kahiki! This
amazing eatery looked as if a Polynesian
space ship had landed in the middle of a
sea of macadam. After crossing a bridge
above a chlorinated moat one entered a
soaring space decorated a la Easter Island.
Frankly post passing that portal I recall
little more. That is probably due to the
fact that one invariably exited shit faced.
Is Mai Tai straight?
One of the most unique characteristics of
these establishments were their cocktails.
All consisted of crazy concoctions. Each
identified by a seemingly innocent moniker.
Hence one had no idea what they were in
fact drinking beneath that paper parasol.
Somehow such a light hearted approach to
consumption lulled one into a false state of
security. When in truth, after two or three
one's risk of alcohol poisoning increased
beyond human reason. Yet in those days
before designated drivers we somehow
always got home. And forgot everything.
Brew ha ha
Years ago Frank and I took a snobbish
acquaintance to our favorite Chinese
restaurant. Quickly I ordered up three
massive Mai Tais. For those of you
unfamiliar with this magical elixir - its
the adult equivalent of Hawaiian Punch!
Soon thereafter she rolled her Botoxed
eyes and proclaimed our repast "banal."
Given I find little more distasteful than
hosting someone incapable of enjoying
the moment - that was the last straw.
Thus post dumping her off into her
doorman's care, we never spoke again.
At times everyone needs a dose of kitsch.
If for no other reason than that it distracts
one from the harsh realities of modern life,
Thus I find the idea of someone deeming
such escapism as "tacky" beyond offensive.
Just because one flies by in a gold plated
jet doesn't make them an authority on taste.
In truth there is nothing more distasteful
than not keeping your promises. Thus for
years I've written Donald Trump off as a
bourgeois bully. Which makes me think of
my Mai Tai maiden. For once we agree that
some people are nothing but "BANAL."
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Here in Lewistown the summer means more than family reunions.
Weekend after weekend high school chums regroup to share memories.
Invariably the men are worse from the wear.
Buff high school football heroes return as paunchy has beens.
Meanwhile the women look better than they ever have.
Come on guys - everybody knows that beauty is a full time job!