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Feature: Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island 2012

21 Aug

Thousands grabbed their waistcoats, donned their seersucker suits and held onto their hats as the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party hit Governors Island yesterday.

Tickets were available at the front or by prior acquisition online.  VIP tickets included a small three course meal and unlimited alcoholic, but only alcoholic, beverages.  Segregated, but equally long lines were also available for those who laid out the extra few dollars.

Many songs circa 1920 were performed by Michael Aranella and his Dreamland Orchestra, including The Sheik of Araby and Cole Porter’s classic, Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love.

Vintage shops, hat shops and various other vendors came out to peddle their wares, creating an overall prodigious marketplace for the antique or retro-style connoisseur.

Though some guests appeared minutely cautious to perfect their roaring twenties retro threads, some toned it down a touch.  Some guests who stood out in appearance included a rather ponderous tranny-flapper and a group who brought along vintage dishes and cutlery, wooden chairs and a fold-out wooden picnic table.

In attendance were not only local residents, but visitors from Germany, London, Atlanta and various other locations.

Among the guests were Elle, , and Sara residents of London, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively, who are currently in college in Ohio and felt that the event absolutely lived up to their expectations.  “We got a late start today, but we finally got here and it was definitely worth it.” Sara confided after the three tipped a young boy dressed as a “newsie,” who agreed to pose with them in a photo.

Though the event was confined to a rather small section of Governor’s Island, those who were not in attendance could not help staring if not laughing at the archaic characters in attendance.

Their laughter, however was cut short when they saw the tired,  poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, these, the homeless, tempest-tost, the several thousand lined up to the ferry door.

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How to Choose and Enjoy Scotch Whisky

26 May

Scotch Whisky [notice the spelling is distinct from, “Whiskey,” which denotes Irish Whiskey; American spelling varies] is by most accounts the most complex and suitable for whisky aficionados. Malt whiskey is made from malted barley, “Single malt,” is distinguishable from, “blended whisky,” in that it comes from one cask of one specific age, as opposed to being from several casks of varying ages.

Now that we have gone over the basic terminology, let’s move on, shall we?

Whisky is aged for a variety of reasons, in different types of wood barrels, for different periods of time; each barrel and recipe is meant to affect the after-product in its own distinctive fashion.

There is one deciding factor in choosing the greatest whiskey.

Taste.

Whatever be the case, what really matters in the end is, “does this meet your fancy?” If not, move on. If so, then add a bottle to your collection.

Fine whisky is like a fine movie, the more you partake of it, the more you notice about it and the more you realize how much you enjoy it.

It is important before the reader is turned into a complete snob, for him (or her) to understand some basic concepts: A) There is nothing wrong with enjoying inexpensive and even blended whisky. Just like cigars, as your taste matures, you may gravitate toward, “better,” ones. However, even if that never happens, your enjoyment of the product is more important than showing your affluence.

B) Beauty before age. It is what’s on the inside that counts. Your whisky could be older than Keith Richards and taste just as dry as he would and if that is not what you are into, why invest?

C) Converse to what we’ve been saying, there is also no point in being cheap. If you are going to have vices or hobbies, then you must be willing to invest, even if it is never necessary.

Trial and error is a great way to start, because if you have never tried it, then you do not know for what you are looking.

Whisky can be sweet, sharp, bitter, smooth, rough, peaty etc. The main things to look for when trying to appreciate whisky are the, “Nose,” or aroma; colour, palate, and finish. Feel free to use the mnemonic, “NCAPF,” if it helps you to remember these.

The colour is an obvious factor, but one should take adequate time examining it, as it can be very pleasant and add to the experience.

The nose is, to put it basely, smelling the whisky. Otherwise, it is to experience the whisky using one’s olfactory senses. Gently inhale through your nose, do not tense your face or snort quickly inward, move your cup in a circular motion and allow the aroma to travel to your nose, which should be 3-7.5 cm away from the glass.

Let us here note, you may add distilled or spring water to your whiskey if that is your preference, but this is generally done with cask strength whisky, specifically. Not all whiskey. Take care not to drown it, or I will find you.

There are different opinions on how much you sip to properly examine the palate, one medium sip, or quarter mouth-full should be a fine settling point. Gently roll it over your tongue and move it around in your mouth, being careful to remember that it is not Listerine and should not be used thus. Make a mental note of your impressions of the taste and then swallow. This whole process should not take more than 2-4 seconds.

Once swallowed, you are on the last step, the finish. What tastes or impressions has it left? Did it linger or leave an, “after-taste”?

Now that you are educated, time for the fun stuff, yeah?

Let’s go shopping.

“What is this? The Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve Barrel is so inexpensive and 15 years old, I could get it and impress my friends!”

If your friends know anything about whisky, they will not be impressed. If something is cheaper than a, “bottle of Jack,” there is probably a reason. There is nothing wrong with starting with something cheap, but when I see an “affluent” man who pretends to have knowledge of whisky and then starts boasting about his great collection of whisky, only to proceed to pull out a bottle of Grant’s and the aforementioned vintage; (true story) I shudder and feel the need to bite my tongue to keep it from being too honest.

Again, there is nothing wrong with trying those, or even enjoying them; but if you are going to be boastful, if you are going to put yourself and your collection on a pedestal, you had best be better to stand and deliver, so to speak.

Some suggestions, whether you like them or dislike them, (you will likely dislike at least 2) you are making progress in deciding your tastes:
Glenrothes
Laphroaig (I personally enjoy the 10 year old, cask strength* and non-cask)
Glenmorangie
Glenfarclas
and The Bowmore

I do not like all of these, but I do own a few of them, the others are listed for you to expand your horizons, as we have said, all tastes here are subjective.

*Cask strength whiskey is very strong and high in alcohol content. If you drink this straight, be prepared to drink like a Gael.

Great? Horrible? Try anything that you would suggest? Hate the world and want to yell at us for not understanding you? Comment and let us know.

TriBeCa Film Festival Afterparty Feature: Doggy Bags

21 May

“Thanks to everyone for coming and enjoy the rest of the party.” This was the first sentence director Ed Burns directed toward the bourgeois at the date-night themed after-party for his film, “Doggy Bags” earlier this week. The first half of the speech and the party itself were spent thanking and jumping through hoops for American Express, the corporate sponsor of the event and addressing those of the crowd who had a reputation for their large wallets and small inhibitions.

Indeed the party was heavy on Amex paraphernalia, the only thing to imply that it was not just an Amex promo was the last television, all the way in the rear of AOA Bar and Grill on which an hour-long film on the making of the 14-minute feature was playing.

There was a very lethargic air to the party, many guests did not see the film and were unable to even identify the actors until pictures were taken. “I don’t really know about it, I just thought it would be fun to come,” says guest Susanne Williams, 23, with a shrug, “I guess those are the film people, they are sitting at a reserved table.”

Matt Bush, 26, was definitely the ideal choice for a, “polite guy.” He is unimposing and shy with a slight build, his words are friendly but soft-spoken and he conveys authenticity and interest when he speaks. “I started with commercials six or seven years ago,” says Bush, “I went to school for business, a small college called Rowan University in Jersey and I just kind of dropped out.”

The cast and crew were apparently not very well associated on a personal level, to the obvious chagrin of actress Daniella Pineda, who was sure to introduce Burns to her boyfriend, mother and father and give a thorough overview and evaluation of each; leading to some impatient foot tapping from Burns’ wife, Christy Turlington.

The screenplay for “Doggy Bags,” is listed on the TribeCa Film Festival’s site as written by director Ed Burns, however, in actuality no name screenwriter , Susan Brennan, supplied the script via a promotional contest held by American Express. “He is very relaxed, very easy going,” Brennan says of Burns, “He is really great.”

Party goer Frank Lincoln, summarized the event thus, “Doggy Bags? Yeah, they are alright, but hey there is free wine and crab cakes here, so who’s complaining?”

*As written for ReviewFix.com, Original Post Date: April 25, 2012

How a Behave Properly in Public as a College Student

7 Mar

Our first real etiquette article, this will discuss how one should conduct himself, or herself, in public.  This article will challenge many of the, “norms,” for a New York City college, but, believe it or not, many of us raised outside the Big Petri Dish- I am sorry, “Big Apple,” do not see these behaviours as normative.

Foremost is appearance. Yes, we should never judge a book by its cover, but we do; whether or not this is ignorant behaviour, it is human behaviour, an inherent quality that we cannot change and that, if changed, would make the world a much different and perhaps more boring place.

Fashion and necessity rarely overlap. Especially wearing, “trendy,” outfits which, to begin with are in poor taste. If you wear a sideways baseball cap in a court room, the judge will, if he has any sense at all, slap a fine on you and hold you in contempt. If a police officer, “sags” his pants and wears his cap sideways, he will clearly be out of uniform and not look like a person of his vocation with his level of professional responsibility.

A young adult may indulge in absurd fashions, this is your right and it allows you to express your individuality; these are very redeeming qualities. Public exposure, sloppiness and poor hygiene, however, are not respectful and appear more a cry for help than a style.

Music, we all love it. Why shouldn’t we? However, some prefer calf thymus and those of these individuals who do, will not likely walk over to the urinal next to you and force it down your throat. The point is, keep it in your ears.

People who blast music rarely blast anything worth listening to anyway, I do not want to hear anything rap or hip-hop related while standing at the urinal unless it is the theme from, “Shaft.” Zing.

Back on an apparently serious note, loud music pumped directly into one’s ears is a direct cause of tinnitus, which is a real pain, if you don’t believe it just look on wikipedia!

If you must swear like a sailor, try at least to sound like an educated one.

If you must use your cellphone, try not to do so in the hallway outside a class.

If you must use it in the hallway outside of class, try not to use it in the library.

If you must speak on the phone while you are in the library– You are a liar, leave school forever.

Do not watch pornography on school computers, this one seems obvious, but is apparently not.

Do not look at cartoon pornography on school computers, this is a step beyond poor-taste.

Do not– You know where this is going and yes, people do that in the library.

Do not wear high heels to any gym classes, especially swimming.

Try to maintain some semblance of intelligence, it is hard but you are so very smart, you can do it.

Do not push, shove or curse at people you don’t know; if nothing else, they may have a shank.

Do not rap along with your iPod, you are not as good as you think.

Be respectful, be courteous and keep reading articles. You are off to a good start.

Easily Confused Easy Words; Reference and Remediation guide

23 Feb

There are many words which are misspelled commonly and many common faux pas in grammar, in today’s techno-crutched society, here is a quick-reference guide to benefit those (mainly American-English speakers) who find these to be recurring tendencies.  This is not limited to typos, it also will cover tenses etc.  I will try to update it now and again.

Their, They’re, There

Their-Possessive form matched to, “they”

Their lawn is lovely.

They’re-They are, conjugation

They’re in possession of a lovely lawn.

There-Antonym of, “here”

Look over there, that lawn is lovely.

Lose, loose

Lose-Fail, not win, present tense of, “lost”

Loose-Not firmly and/or tightly fixed in place; detached or detachable

Did you lose your tooth?

Is your tooth loose?

Two, to, too

Two-The number before three and after one.

To-For, until

Too-Also

I love you two.

We love you too.

*I would love you to.

Where, wear, were, ware, wore, war, whore, worn, warred etc.

Where-In, or to what place, circumstance or situation

Wear-To attire or adorn oneself with; accessorise oneself with

Were-Past tense of, “are”

Ware-A product, “Warez” have an independent definition with regard to the internet

Wore-Past tense of, “wear”

War-Large scale battle

Whore-A prostitute

Worn-Affected by, “wear”

Warred-Battled

Warren-A given name for males, do not use this in relation to any of the above, always make sure you are using a real word, don’t just guess

Brung, Brought, Broughten, Brang, Bought

Brung-Only usable as a dialectic past-participle, but avoid this word

Brought-Past tense of bring

Bought-Past tense of buy

The others are not words, neither is “buyed.”  Please mind your tenses.

I, eye

I-Myself, ninth letter of the English language

Eye-Attached to your optic nerve

You, U, ewe, yew, ur

You-Yourself

U-You tell me what this is.

Ewe-Female Sheep

Yew-Coniferous tree or shrub

Hue-Shade

Hugh-A name

Hew-To hack at with a heavy instrument

Ur-Not a word.

Mines, Mine

Mine-Belonging to me, explosive device

Mines-A group of aforementioned explosive devices

You’s,use, yah, yizz, yous, yahz

You’s-Not a word.

Use-To utilise.

Yah-Not a word.

Yizz-Most certainly not a word.

Yous-Plural of the word, “you,” otherwise not a word.

Yahz-No.

Ear, air

Ear-The auditory device on the side of your head

Air-Pronounced differently than, “ear.”  That stuff you are breathing

Breath, breathe

Breath-Inhalation and exhalation, noun

Breathe-Verb form, to breathe

Hour, our, are

Hour-sixty minutes

Our-Like, “mine,” but plural

Are-Like, “am,” but plural

Have, half, halves

Have-To possess

Half-Fifty percent

Halves-Plural of, “half”

So, sew

So-Then

Sew-Stitch

Knit, nit

Knit-to darn using yarn

Nit-Lice eggs.

Gnat, Nat

Gnat-A fly

Nat-Short for, “Nathaniel”

*This is merely an example, if at all avoidable, which it generally is, do not end sentences with prepositions.

This will clearly never be everything, but it should be a start for some people…

How to Choose a Suit

15 Feb

If you are looking to purchase a new suit there a lot of considerations to make.  Staying with the idea of personalisation, we are not going to give general advice.  We are going to give advice in order for you to match your suit to yourself and your occasion.  Accessories will also be discussed herein.

Part the first: Suit types, your body and which one you should wear:

Remember, not everyone can wear the same thing, you must honestly evaluate yourself, as difficult as this may be.

Are you robust in figure?

Do you have wide shoulders or a narrow build?

Are you short?

Are you tall?

There are two main jacket designs:

Single-breasted and double-breasted.

A single-breasted suit is more a staple design, it is the design you find in blazers, uniform jackets and standard suits.

Double-breasted is a classic English design, it is adapted often in contemporary fashions but is considered a bit more risky to wear, whether the contemporary or regular.

A single breasted suit is good for everyone as long as it is not too wide.  Wide gap single-breasted jackets work for tall, broad people.  Single breasted jackets should be fitted so that you are wearing the jacket, only in Soviet Russia, does jacket wear you.

Double-breasted works for thin, tall people because it will give you a wider look and make you look short and stubby.  If you are short and slight, you may be able to pull off a double-breasted suit, just keep in mind that you have to be honest with yourself and it must be proportionate with your neck width.  This is not a suit for a pencil-neck.

Everyone should own a black suit, any other colour would be nice, but it is not as necessary.

Until you start developing your own style, stick with black suit, white shirt and absolutely no novelty ties.  There are no excuses for those.

Ties are worn in many styles, but we will cover the two primary ones.

The Windsor is a large, triangular knot.  It is seen by many to be obnoxious and impertinent and according to some traditional English views, people who wear a Windsor knot in their tie are untrustworthy.

The four-in-hand is small, basic and part of the traditional Eton uniform and is the official knot to be worn with a tuxedo.

This blog does not advocate the Windsor, and therefore will not be diagramming the steps to tie one.

Remember to stay within a budget but think of this as an important, one time purchase and spend accordingly.  If you have more than 1000 USD get a custom tailored suit.  If you have closer to 350 USD go for an off-the-rack and get it tailored to fit you better.  Do not break the bank but do not cut corners.

There will be another article on shirts and collar types, but we will discuss cufflinks in this one.

Cufflinks are an ornate adornment, they are elegant and can elicit many “ooh”s and “ah”s.  They are useless.

Disappointed?

Don’t be, most good decorations are useless.

Cufflinks are a tasteful addition, try to get a pair that you feel represents you as your main set, perhaps even get them monogrammed.

Tie clips are a little bit better than pins in that puncturing good clothing is rarely a good idea, but a nice tie bar will add some dress-finesse to your outfit.

Which brings us to a related topic:

Short people, stay away from horizontal lines as much as you can.

This means, if possible, eschew the cummerbund, replace belt with suspenders, and possibly stay away from the tie bar.

Tall people, opposite, unless you want to look taller.

As for lapel pins, do not wear one that represents something you are not apart of.

If you are not in or an alum of Yale or a military lapel pin if you never served, then that lapel pin will make you look like you are a tasteless, pretentious, bore who tries to overstate his achievements; and the fact that you chose to read such a fine web publication proves that this is clearly not the case.

Your formal tie should always be silk and not too flamboyant, invest in at least one nice one and never purchase from people sell them off the back of a truck, you will look like what you spent.   By the way, the answer is yes, that DKNY replica sold in Marshall’s for fifteen dollars is lesser quality than the nearly identical, forty dollar DKNY tie in Macy’s.  This is a fact.

When possible try to purchase leather-sole shoes over rubber-sole.

Your pants should cover the top of the tongue of your shoe, any higher and you better fire your tailor.

All things considered, a decent suit and all the matching parts could be had for a reasonable price, if you can afford to spend more then do so, but the important thing is not the price, it is how you wear it.

Tie:
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