It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been five years since David Foster Wallace decided to end his own life. The novelist, whose magnum opus was 1996′s Infinite Jest, had been battling depression for decades and was having issues weaning himself of the antidepressant phenelzine in the weeks before hanging himself.
Some people — myself included — considered David Foster Wallace among the greatest living writers before his tragic end. I would put him up there with Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Don Delillo. Although Wallace didn’t write for awards, I always hoped I’d see the day when he’d be given the Nobel Prize in Literature. That day will never come now, and it saddens me. The unfinished The Pale King, released posthumously in 2011, showed Wallace still had plenty left in the tank despite the pressure he put on himself.
May is officially Mount Everest climbing season — a momentary shift in the jet stream that pushes the devastatingly strong winds at the summit away for just a few weeks a year. The path up the popular southeast route of Everest is becoming more crowded every year, and the foot traffic actually led to a physical confrontation between climbers and sherpas two weeks ago.
There was a time when Mount Everest was beyond the skill level of even the most experienced of climbers and a mystery to the rest of the world. Long before it was a luxury tourist destination, it was a challenge only the bravest of adventurers would accept. I present to you one of the most inspirational videos I’ve ever found on the web. I hope nobody watches this video and thinks they need to climb Everest. There are already plenty of people in that line. Go out and find your own challenges. There’s still plenty of this world to be conquered.
The Season 6 promo poster looks like it was made by some of the best ad men in the business. Absolutely stunning, with a subtle late-1960′s aesthetic.
It’s December 21, 2012…
Could these be the four horsemen of the apocalypse?
If you happen to wear a size 12 shoe and are looking for a nice pair of boots, don’t miss out on these beautiful Wolverine 1000 Mile Addisons in tan. There are only a few hours left to bid and they’re at $180 with $10 shipping right now. Listed as size 11, I recommend sizing a full size down on the Wolverine 1000 mile line. I wear a 12 shoe and fit nicely into a pair of size 11 1000 mile boots. If I hadn’t bought my pair a few months (for about $40 more) ago I would be all over these Addisons.
It’s time to start pulling out those sweaters, because the dress shirts just aren’t cutting it as temps dip down below freezing even during the day in the northern states. Wool sweaters are great, but cashmere wool is where it’s at. It’s also very expensive. Oh, and to top things off, finding good cashmere is getting harder and harder. I’m not an industry expert, but something has happened in the past few years that has caused just about every popular brand name to downgrade the quality of their cashmere. I’ll blame it on Obama, because that seems to be a popular thing to do.
There is a solution. Buy used cashmere sweaters that are more than a few years old. Better yet, find some new old stock (that’s a term that means stuff that was never used and was just sitting on a shelf somewhere with its tags probably still on it) from a reputable brand. Of course, searching for every brand can be tedious, so I’ve gone through the trouble for you and created an eBay supersearch for men’s cashmere sweaters from companies that used to actually know what they were doing it. You can use that search HERE.
You can also copy down the brand names from the eBay search field and take that list with you next time you go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. There are some great finds in those places mixed in with all the junk. Just wash it after you buy.
I should just call this the ultimate video for tying a bow tie. I see so many videos for this subject out there, but almost all of them are useless. They get to the part shown about 39 seconds into this video and then it’s just a mangle mess of hands and bow tie, and nobody can tell what’s going on. This video fixes that. Now you can finally see what’s going on during that critical step.
In other news, I highly support the wearing of bow ties, and particularly real bow ties and not the ones with the little strap and hook. Get yourself a bow tie and spend 5 minutes practicing what you see in the above video. It’s one of the easiest “man skills” to learn, and you won’t regret it.
Instead of doing a clothing kit for the stylish professor (which I’m sure I’ll get to at some point), I decided to try my hand at a little freestyle interior decorating. The vision I have of the ideal college professor’s office is far from what I currently see in academia. Those ugly black cloth-bound books on incredible esoteric topics (“Sales and Marketing of Peanut-Based Snack Foods, 1993 – 1997″) fill the shelves of boring offices with standard-issue desks and chairs and carpeting that fails to reflect any kind of contemporary style, but instead tells us what was on sale when the building was erected.
My ideal office is rooted in the offices of great professors of the Ivy League and respected schools in England and parts of Europe, not the utilitarian space-savers found in budget-conscious schools today. You won’t get the university to pick up the tab here, but you might just create an environment that will have students actually wanting to come to your office hours. Read below for details on everything in the graphic:
1. Omersa Abercrombie & Fitch Rhinoceros Ottoman/Footstool. There’s really no functional reason why, but I’ve always found these interesting. Ever since I saw a picture of Edie Sedgwick balancing on top of one of these rhinos I’ve wanted to own one. You can occasionally find one on eBay selling for under $1,000. Don’t underestimate the value of a good conversation piece.
2. Vintage cloth pull-down map. These are the types of maps you might remember if you went to school between 1930 and 2005. Now teachers just hook computers up to a projector and can show their students maps of just about anywhere in the world. Back in the good ol’ days, they had to choose their backs carefully, because the school could only afford a select number of them. I prefer the maps that are really out of date and show a bunch of countries that don’t exist anymore. Look for names like Nystrom and Denoyer-Geppert. You should be able to find something nice for under $100 on “the Bay”.
3. Old World Globe Bar. This one isn’t for office hours. After the students have all left for the day you need a sneaky way to unwind, especially if you’re stuck on a dry campus. If you tell your colleagues about this they’ll probably be inviting themselves over at about the same time every night. $150 – $400
4. Traditional bookcase. Forget about that junk shelf that was already in your office. Chances are that old thing is too beat up to use in your garage. Add some old school charm with a bookshelf made with wood. You’ll probably only find laminate wood if you’re buying new and not looking to spend thousands, but keep your eyes peeled and you might find something nice on Craigslist or at a local yard sale. $500 – $1,000.
5. Easton Press 100 Greatest Books collection. You need something to fill those bookcases. Remember how I was ranting about those ugly esoteric books? These books are the real deal. Leather-bound and classics. They’ll look great on your bookshelf, and they’ll provide inspiration no matter what your specialty. The whole set can be found for $3,000 – $4,500 on eBay, but you can find individual books from Easton Press for under $40 apiece.
6. Beige geometric rug. You need something to cover up that ugly carpet. There are some decent rugs on Overstock with contemporary patterns but traditional colors. It kind of has that “retro cool” look but you know it won’t be out of place 20 years from now. $213.
7. Thomas Jefferson bust. I know, I’m all about the conversation pieces. This would look great on your desk or on the bookshelf. You don’t have to go with Thomas Jefferson — there are busts of just about every great politician or thinker. Maybe you’ll decide to be ironic and get a Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford bust. They make those as well. $20 – $200, depending on size and material.
8. Mahogany desk. I found this one on etsy. It’s got that mid-20th century cool look that fits right in with this office. You might have to scour Craigslist or other etsy listings to find one that’s right for you. $950 with shipping.
9. 1960s IBM School Clock. These take me back to my youth. I probably wasted a total of six months of my life staring at one of these. They have now been re-issued at the astronomically-high price of $235 on a site called Schoolhouse Electric, but if you look around you can probably find a still-working original for far less than that. I saved one from a campus building that was torn down a decade ago.
10. Manchester Swivel chair. Those black plastic mesh ergonomic chairs just won’t look right in this office, but you still need something comfortable. The chair listed is from Pottery Barn and retails for $700. I bet with some searching you can find something just as good for considerably less.
11. Fiddleleaf Fig tree. You need something living and green in your office. This ficus does not require a lot of maintenance and won’t shed leaves all over the place like some plants. Have it on your desk until it reaches a height where you can put it on the floor and it won’t look like you dropped it there and forgot to pick it up. These are $8 on Amazon, but you can probably find suitable alternatives at Home Depot/Lowes.
12. Apple Macbook. If you’re going to be on a college campus, you have to have a Macbook. I think that’s actually a law now in 34 states. These can handle the workload of just about all college professors and they are a lot sleeker than those cumbersome and ugly pc desktops. $1,000 – $2,500, depending on model and options.
13. Herman Miller Eames Lounge and Ottoman. This would be that giant thing at the bottom of the graphic. It’s my favorite piece of furniture of all-time, and one of the most aesthetically pleasing objects created in the 20th century. Designed by the Eames brothers for Herman Miller, this iconic piece sells for between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on condition. You can buy it new or in vintage condition. Don’t let your students use this. Sit back and relax and make them use one of those college-issue chairs.
In my previous post, I gave you some ideas on how to dress for a football game when you want to keep it classy. Now, I’m going to show you how to go all-out tacky for your favorite team. My team of choice here is the New York Giants, but don’t think that’s a judgment on Giants fans or people from the great state of New Jersey. A summary of each piece is found below the graphic.
1. Starter jacket. $35 to $80 on eBay.. Up to $400 if you want a 1980′s vintage satin Starter jacket.
2. Giants team hat, adjustable. $9 at iHats.
3. Body paint in team colors. $13.70 per gallon at LiquidLatex.
4. New York Giants sunglasses. $34.99 at SportsBlink.
5. Giants Nerf Football. $19.64 on Amazon.
6. Dallas Sucks t-shirt with Giants colors. $22 on CafePress. Nothing says “not classy” like a disrespectful t-shirt.
7. Plaxico Burress Giants jersey. Under $20 on eBay.. If your goal is to not only offend the eyes of your fellow fans but also their minds, wear the jersey of a player who had his best years somewhere else and caused nothing but trouble when he was on your team.
8. Zubaz in team colors. $19.99 on FansEdge. These are an absolute must. If you though Zubaz went out of style 20 years ago, you haven’t been to an NFL game recently. The fad lives on with tacky football fans across the country.
9. White knee high socks with stripes in team colors. $10 from American Apparel.
10. Reebok hi-top basketball sneakers. $49.99 on Amazon. Warn your fellow fans that you’re trapped in an early 1990s time warp.
Of course, there are many more ways to make this outfit even tackier. If you happen to require medication, see if you can find a fanny pack with your team colors or better yet an officially licensed team fanny pack (these exist, although they might be hard to find). Those team visors with the mad scientist hair coming out the top will certainly draw attention to yourself while you’re downing Bud heavies in the parking lot before the game.
It is possible to go to a football game without looking like a clown. Here’s my stylish football kit, for anyone who wants to watch their favorite team (and let’s not forget about tailgating) and not be embarrassed when going out to the bar after the game:
As you can see, I chose the Packers for this particular kit, because nothing says “classic NFL football” like the Green Bay Packers. Here’s the details for what’s included:
1. Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses – Depending on where your seats are, you’ll probably need a pair of sunglasses, and these are classics. Go for the polarized version — it’s better for your eyes and worth the extra expense. $125 – $200, available on Amazon.com
2. Wool knit beanie. I found the one pictured for $10 on Etsy.
3. Lambswool crewneck sweater. $70 from Land’s End Canvas.
4. Bart Starr 1969 Packers jersey. I prefer a retired player, that way I can’t be disappointed. $285 from Mitchell & Ness.
5. Men’s vintage belt in brown. $19.90 from Uniqlo.
6. Naked & Famous WeirdGuy Deep Indigo Selvedge jeans. $170 from Neiman Marcus.
7. Men’s over-the-calf argyle socks. $18.95 from GolfKnickers.
8. Clarks Men’s Desert Boot in beeswax. $110 from Orvis, but shop around because these go on sale often.
9. Wilson Official NFL football aka “The Duke”. Perfect for tossing around while tailgating. $50 – $75 on eBay.
And there it is. With this kit you’ll be the most stylish fan at Lambeau Field or the most envied/hated fan when the Packers are on the road.