He’s Dead, Jim: Well, not so much. Yes, it’s been over a month since my last installment, but I’ve been busy with other random things. On a related note, internet luminary Andrew Sullivan shuttered his influential blog, The Dish, a couple of weeks ago. In the wake of that announcement, some people are grumbling that blogging has been rendered altogether irrelevant by pithier social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Beyond 150
words characters and/or a cute puppy, readers lose interest. Sullivan, however, is moving in a different direction: “I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape,” he said, “rather than be instantly blogged.”
Bespoke: Made to fit a particular person or producing clothes that are made to fit a particular person. This seems to be the Word of the Month, due in part to the premiere of Kingsman: The Secret Service, a slam-bang actioner about well-manicured British spies, in which bespoke suits play a prominent role. I can’t count the number of times in the last few weeks I’ve encountered a reference to bespoke something. Turning to cable TV, I randomly tuned in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s foodie travel show, “The Layover,” and there was Tony, in London, getting fitted for a $1500 pair of bespoke shoes.
I’m convinced the U.S. media just now learned this is a word and are reveling in the way it spins trippingly from the tongue as it grants the speaker an aura of cultured sophistication unknown on this continent since “OshKosh B’Gosh.” Bespoke, bespoke, bespoke…
I actually have some personal experience with bespoke suits, having ordered a couple from a local tailor while I was stationed in Korea during the ’90s. They take all your measurements, you choose the fabrics, they put it together, and you finish up with a round of alterations to ensure a perfect fit. Best suits I ever owned, and a bargain in Korea, if you should happen to travel there.
I Sense Your Interest is Flagging: Time for a cute puppy photo. His eyes shall penetrate the darkest abyss of your soul and illuminate it with all that is furry and good.
Traveling to Indiana, So You Don’t Have To: I was away at lovely Camp Atterbury, Indiana, last month for a heaping helping of military exercise support. Things went well, and the harshest weather passed us by, so I can’t complain. The austere farm country south of Indianapolis has a certain charm, I suppose, but it mostly facilitated focusing on work. Has Anthony Bourdain ever layovered in Indiana? Hmm. I don’t think so.
Prêt-à-Porter: Ready-to-wear, off-the-rack, off-the-peg. Yoga pants, for example. Not bespoke.
The Year of Living Classically: There are corners of the odorous sausage factory that is You Tube in which some very clever and creative things are happening. Classic Alice is a fun little comedy series about the misadventures of college student Alice Rackham, diligent English major and aspiring author. When one of her essays is returned with a B-minus (!) and a note that her writing is flat and lacks human feeling, Alice and her film-school pal Andrew cook up a plan to help Alice get some life experience to amp up her writing and help Andrew finish his senior documentary project. Alice will select works of classic literature that she hasn’t yet read (beginning with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment) and live according to their plot while Andrew captures the whole experience on video. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and Alice learns more life lessons than she ever expected. It all happens in 5-minute bites, plus or minus. Here’s a link to all the episodes thus far.
Space Trifecta: ESA Rosetta, NASA Dawn, and NASA New Horizons are sending back some great photos of Comet 67P, asteroid Ceres, and planet (yes, planet—so sue me) Pluto. They’re just getting started, but the pictures have already provided many surprises, and I think it’s a good thing indeed for our talented scientific community to have their theoretical expectations muddied by a shot of ground truth every so often. Science begins with asking questions, and when you think you’ve got all the answers in a nice, tidy little box, all the questions stop, and so does the science.
Hmm. That also applies to faith, now that I think about it.
Dynasty: A clothier in Itaewon, Seoul, Republic of Korea, specializing in bespoke men’s and women’s wear. I always wondered where Charlie Rangel got those fabulous suits.
Makes a Hard Man Humble: I’m playing chess again, an activity that, like golf, I enjoy greatly until I have a no-good, very-bad day and give it up for a few years, wondering what ever possessed me to think I could be anything but an embarassment to myself. I’m trying to keep my expectations in, er, check this time and plan to play simply for the joy of the game, no matter if my rating descends to a level where the only opponents I can get are senior citizens in Azerbaijan looking for a good laugh. If you want a friendly game, I hang out on Chess.com as ksflw.