31 October 2014

Halloween - 1966

I'm Batman

After the haul in Chapel Hill.  The old man was in Vietnam and I'm guessing his six months was up with the A Team in the Central Highlands.  That means a lot of heat was off while he cooled his heels with a C Team in Nha Trang.  This Polaroid was mailed to him by my mother.  I look at this picture and wonder what it was like for him to see something like this.  

Happy Halloween

Illustration by Arthur Frost for Lewis Carroll's 'Phantasmagoria.'

27 October 2014

Andrew "Touch" Touchstone

Andy "Touch" Touchstone (4.1.63 - 10.21.14) at the Vesper Club (1901-2012)

Andrew K. Touchstone of,  "The Main Line Sportsman" blog died at home suddenly on October 21st. I 'm not sure how but only want to know why… and how he put so much into a life?  Andy, "Touch" to his friends and wife, made a living as a worker's compensation lawyer but he was also a boxing promoter, sport's agent, radio show host,  hunter and fisherman, writer,  jazz club owner and, most recently, my partner, as we started a business together based on a common interest.

Catching up with Touch reminds me of how little the rest of the world gets done in a day.  Our conversation usually started with blogging but spiraled off into the evils of insurance companies, a new boxer, a hunting trip, Anita O'Day, my favorite, or Sinatra, his favorite "crooner" and which shopping center parking lot we'd met at for my ride to a steeple chase.

I'm not sure what his politics were but his heart was big and liberal.  He tired of busting his ass defending thankless insurance companies and represented  plaintiffs who Touch felt were a whole lot more grateful.  That was the joy of his day job and it was underlined by a printer's union "bug" on his business cards.

Touch was friends with my first roommate in Philadelphia 27 years ago.  He knew my boss and a co-worker at Aetna the same number of years ago.  There was an eerie Philadelphia "Six Degrees of Separation" that Touch knocked me over with time and time again.  I was terrified to bring up old girlfriends from those days for fear Touch would know them better than I ever did.

We huddled over cocktails.  Touch, a rum and bourbon aficionado, tried to educate me while poo-poohing my Islay single malts claiming they were,  "not unlike licking charcoal briquettes."  He'd fire up another Parliament, take a long drag and smile while asking me if I missed the habit I gave up six years ago.  Before the end of the night,  I'd bum one or two despite the head rush just to enjoy the camaraderie of sharing tobacco with him.

I always called him Andy because he had this perpetual smile.  To me,  he "looked" like an Andy, if that's possible.  Bubbly? Not so much.  More like "burbly."  Quick on the wit and faster with an opinion -- I loved his look on life as much as his take on assholes.  Which brings me to a selfish conclusion -- Why is it that assholes seem to live forever while the good ones…Well, if you knew Andy, you know the rest.

24 October 2014

More Than This

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they're blowing
As free as the wind
And hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this, there is nothing
More than this, tell me one thing
More than this, there is nothing

It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like dream in the night
Who can say where we're going
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this, there is nothing
More than this, tell me one thing
More than this, there is nothing

23 October 2014

My Favorite Main Line Sportsman Post

(click to read)

I can feel the madras - Andy (left), July 1989

RIP Andrew K. Touchstone of Main Line Sportsman

Andrew K. Touchstone
April 1st, 1963 to October 21st, 2014

Ben Bradlee on Style

"I liked the word 'style.'
I like people with style,
with flair, with
signature qualities,
provided they have
more than style
and flair and
signature qualities."

Ben Bradlee

Ben Bradlee on Flacks

click letter to read

The brilliance of this letter is only surpassed by knowing its subject.

19 October 2014

Halloween Soundtrack

A favorite for background music on Halloween night. Start at 14:00 to skip Redford's lovely narration. Guaranteed to scare the crap outta Trick or Treaters when you open the door. Also, mesmerizing and strangely addictive.

17 October 2014

Halloween Hit

I've felt like this since the demise of Wasp 101.

15 October 2014

Broccoli Holders & Cardholders

I had a client -- now a good friend -- who used the rubber band from Broccoli stalks to hold his credit cards.  He also traveled across the US on $2.00 and is the cheapest and smartest man I know.  Chuck would die laughing at a 44€  replacement for his rubber band but I like these sexy little cardholders from the little known French company of ideas, Striiiipes.  Designed and made in Paris, what's not to like...

I've discussed Striiiipes before here and there.  I've made a big deal of the owner, Arthur.  And one day soon, I suspect, Striiiipes and Arthur will make it big and the dump trucks of cash will pull up to their doors.  Until that day - however - they cannot be expected to go beyond a certain a point.  Which means they sell out of stuff fast.

This magnificent little alligator number at 95€ is history.

There's a lot more out there for bet. 44 & 62€  but who knows for how long.

And that's what's great about Striiiipes.  That what you buy isn't coming at you from every direction.  The uniqueness of some every day tool that makes reaching into your pocket for a card that much more exciting.  Well, exciting is probably the wrong word.  "Awesome." That's the word.  Overused hyperbole to define the understated and hushed quiet of gravitas.  Thats the contrarian ticket I love. Which would fit into this cardholder but not broccoli

13 October 2014

Columbus Day

From 'Dateline America' by Charles Kuralt, 1979   Photos by Mark Chester

It's been a journey of sorts. This year.  On the road.  Everyday it seems there's another fucking flat and the rubber on the tire is my soul.  I mean, I'm not grey haired yet, but the tires do need changing.   And so I put another set on;  Good for 100,000 miles.

"I don't know if I'm depressed or just surrounded by assholes," reads a T-shirt in Daytona Beach.    Understanding the past goes into every day of my future -  I wonder if I'll appreciate life more by hating myself less.  Or, is it the other way around?    And will it fit on a T-shirt?

11 October 2014

Mission Statements Suck

Who cares where I've been.  It's none of your business and I'm back as long as this is a pleasurable endeavor.  I missed it here but it was impossible to write about chinos and button downs.  I'm not really sure I still can.  So, this will be a different blog with emphasis on the undiscovered and that doesn't mean camouflage.

I can't stand Mission Statements so I'll be blunt.  I want to go down the roads less traveled.  Shit, I want to hang out in Ghost Towns.  I want to turn you onto the buried truffles of the world and I expect you to reciprocate in kind.  Bring me what turns you on  -- What no one knows about --  Even if it's your recipe for Fruit Cake.

10 October 2014

Plein Soleil

Miss Me?  It's okay if you didn't.