Monday, April 29, 2013

Seasons of our Life

The last quadrant of my life began this year when I turn 60.  When they were younger, I told my children that a full life, 80 years to be specific, can be divided into four quadrants which makes the game of life.  Explain.

So the first quarter of the game of life encompass the years 1 through 20.  I told my children when they reached those tween-age years, about the time they start to think they are ready for everything but they are not, around the age when they began to range out from home, spending the night with friend, when "all my friends are allowed too",  I would say:  

In the first quadrant of life, the first 20 years of the game, I'm sorry but you may not play.  You may not be a player.  You are too young and the rules of the game forbid anyone, anyone from playing before they reach the age of 20 but, you can watch and if you are smart, you will sit in the bleachers and watch the game from a comfortable distance in the safe company of the elders. Watch the moves, learn the plays, identify the players because all of those same players will all be there playing the same game you will be playing once you reach the age of 20.  That's when You are in the game -  ready or not.  

If you are not smart and think you are ready to play before you are allowed, if you choose to disrespect the time honored rules, you will be misguided, taken advantage of, or worse, abused by older experienced players. For only qualified players are allowed on the playing field and since the qualified players did not leave the field and create the error but that the unqualified imposture came onto the field, so then does the primary error and consequent lessons go to the imposture.  The dangers are real and it is wise to take legitimate rules seriously. 

The game of life is fun, I would say, but not always easy or fair, especially when you are young.  Patience and practice are probably the most difficult and indeed most important challenges you face.

The second quadrant of the game of life are the ages 20 to 40.  Well, now you're in the game. You are a player.  Ready or not - Game On.   

Your childhood was not a complete waste of time and you paid enough attention to the lessons so that the first few years of your play avoids catastrophic defeat.  Here, be sure you are prepared, as best you can be, not only to enjoy the successes of your play but be prepared to endure failures as well.  Truly there will be plenty of both.  For not a happy player there ever was that was free of failure and defeat.  So a resilient constitution and a willingness to learn from your mistakes will always be a favorable asset to your game.  

While you are a player you will find competition everywhere.  Some players are vexed and fervent and play with a zealous disregard for anything but winning and taking the advantage. Some players are the opposite to the other extreme.  They are meek and too easily taken advantage of. Now, it has never been proven beyond any doubt that fair play and good gamesmanship will always advance a player in competition but in the game of life we are the sum total of the choices we make. 

So given the choice between good and evil, fair play or not, the optimist will believe that although the battle is always close and fierce, the ultimate day and the ultimate victory will alway go with favor to good.  But the truth is, though the margin of victory on either side be only a point or two from either side on any given day the unfair side of play can be the victor.  Beware of evil fools and trickery.  Always give your very best what ever you do and you will always enjoy the honest company and comfort of your self.

Well now you are at mid point in the game of life - halftime - midlife.   The third quadrant.  Now you are 40. You have played your game. You have some wins, you have some losses.  But now, most importantly, you have experience.  You know the game.  First you watched it for 20 years.  Then you played for twenty years.  You know the game.  So from 40 to 60 it's only fitting that now you coach, you advise, consult, referee, inspire, nudge, mentor, and generally be helpful to ensure the field is clean and clear for play and players.  Now your part in the game is about responsibility and the power, be it large or small, that you have earned for your self.  

Here, I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that at about this point in life, starting at about 40, you begin to notice professionals and people you have just met, even perfect strangers, treating you just a little differently;  with a type of natural respect you could not have garnered earlier in the game.  Also by 40, you have begrudgingly accepted without protest, a 'yes sir' or 'no mam' reply from a younger person. My god, that's the good news

The bad news is, soon you will notice your fine 20-20 vision failing to read the smallest print when in the day you could have read it easily in the dark or while walking to class.  And your grip.  Just not what it use to be. 

But, you are still in the game and the third quarter is actually quite nice.  Ambitions and rewards start to morph. Priorities start to change, memories suffice and trying to see over the horizon now seems more important than ever.  Your future health is all of a sudden an issue or should be if it's not and all the poor abuse we heaved onto and into our young, innocent, strong and beautiful bodies threatens now to come back and punish us.  Oh the shame. Oh the regrets.  

Somewhere between 40 and 60 the rhythm of life makes sounds you can now finally hear. It's never too late, still works but it is starting to sound more like a little white lie.  The years 40 to 60 is the time in life when reputations are fortified with or without your own help and careful is preferable to carefree. Setting a good example weighs more and relaxation or stretching before you exercise is starting to make much better sense.  You are no longer on the field but the fabric of your character plays into the game - and you know it. 

And then you are 60 and enter the last quadrant of life - 20 more years.  Back in the bleachers, safely watching over the young, explaining the game, pointing out the moves.  Words like glide-path, old man and gracefully surrendering the things of youth creep into your deep thoughts and personal vocabulary. But it is another new beginning, a new quadrant, far from over and only fitting that the last be the best.  Now being known for wisdom and sound advise feels good like the sound of a new baby's laughter.

Your vantage over the game from here has never been so good. Antithetical designs on fair play and honesty are unabashedly clear and easy for you to see. The truth of the matter is known to you more often now than not.  It's harder to fool you, yet all the while, and for all your age and wisdom is worth, in the game of life you are again as vulnerable in the last quadrant as you were in the first. 

So through it all the game of life is played over and over and over again for each and everyone of us from time immemorial to eternity. 
Work hard. Play well. Be happy and I hope you win. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Of Young Men and Heroes

There is a year in a young mans life when he becomes a man. Modern American culture suggests that this year might be 16, the year in which you are legally eligible to drive a car. Other American pop culture rights of passage similarly point to the age of 18, the age in which you are eligible to vote or 21, the age in which you are finally old enough to drink alcohol - legally. But no. Although young men may swagger with campy bravado among their friends and on stage for the girls, these noted years are not the true age of male youth passing into manhood but a salutary foot hold in the climb.

To find the true right of passage, the age in which a young man passes into manhood, we must consult the elders of the village. The village of all men, from the beginning of recorded time indeed, from the myths, the legends. From the very iconic stories of men from time immemorable. For the iconic stories of great men give us a clue.

Just as we can watch the the 1961 movie classic, 'West Side Story' and see Shakespeare's, Romeo and Juliet, so too can we extrapolate the iconic stories of the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad and even Superman, yes the story of Superman, to find this age we seek.

The commonality between the stories of great legendary men of history is what binds the message and ensures a deliverable truth to young men through all the tests of time.

The story begins with a boy. A spirited boy. Not a perfect boy but a boy without malice or harmful intent. A boy with a feeling from the quiet depths of somewhere inside that he could be great. He grows playfully but not shielded from the fears of life. Now he's 18 years old and our story begins. Let's use the American icon to illustrate the passage. Superman.

At the age of 18 the young Kent (ken, noun, one's range of knowledge or sight) is drawn to the wild, to the unknown and without hesitation leaves his home; leaves everything familiar to his life. His quest leads him to his fortress of solitude and for 15 years he studies all the knowledge of the Universe and he emerges the Uberman....Superman. He can fly, like the Buddha who can walk above ground or Jesus who can walk on water. His powers are superhuman and the body of humankind call to him for truth and justice.....and in Superman's case, the American Way. So it is on the 33rd years of age that young men emerge from their fortress of solitude and become real men, men of the village.

The important message for young men is the fortress of solitude and the years leading up to their 33rd. The time spent and experience gained between the ages of 18 and 33 are critical to the growth and strength of your character and indeed critical to the way in which you will be judged. These 15 years are the most important years of your life.

When I was young I imagined a village. In this village was a building, a lodge where the men of the village congregated from time to time. And only the men were allowed. At the meetings the village Elders, white haired and wise with age, sat at the front of the hall facing all the men. When a young man reached the age of 33 he was escorted to the front of the room and stood alone before the elders backed by all the men of the village. He was asked by the Elders, 'What knowledge do you have, what have you accomplished and what good have you done for the Village'. His answers were heard by the Elders and all the men alike. If his answers were satisfactory he was instructed by the Elders to take his seat, on the last row of the great hall and to thereafter go forward into the village and do good. As the years passed, and new men attained their seat among the other men of the village, the older men moved forward, ever closer to the front of the Hall where the village Elders sat. Nine years pass and our hero, now 42, is called to the front of the Hall once again to stand alone and once again be judged before the village Elders. 'We have instructed you to go out into the village and do good. What have you accomplished?', says they. Our hero reports to the Elders and to all the men alike. If the report is satisfactory, the Elders proclaim for all to hear. 'You have done well. For your accomplishments we grant you this measure of Power. Now go forward, out into the village, and do good.'

This process, these rights of passage continue for all men through all the days of our life and from time to time, we are evaluated and judged. It would be fun to continue the story of our hero. To talk about him in more detail. To illustrate the life of men through the light of his eyes. But this post today is about the young men. Men who are still outside of the great hall. Those young men full of adventure and facing the unknown with only their spirit and the light of their life. Experience is your treasure, your desiderata.

For the young women, be advised, these formative years in a young mans life are not exclusive of love, loyalty, commitment and obligation but don't expect a young man to behave like a grown man in all things. Young men are reaching, exploring, collecting the experiences of life that will make them better men. As an aside, on a personal note, when choosing your mate for life look for the man who is comfortable with the babies, who wants to be a parent, who wants to be a hero.

A favorite quote of mine is from Adam Bede, by George Elliot. 'I've noticed it often among my own people around Snowfield, that the strong, skillful men are often the gentlest to the women and children; and it's pretty to see 'em carrying the little babies as if they were no heavier than little birds. And the babies always seem to like the strong arm best.'

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Over 40 the Mid Life Crisis

I am over 40. I have seen the mid life crisis and it was I.

Today's post explores the mid life crisis. I speak to this issue from a first hand, past tense male perspective. I am 55. I also speak to the issue as a partner to a beautiful woman now in the midst of her early 40's mid life experience.

Mid life is real and the experience does have the character of a crisis. In a nut shell, when you turn 40 you realize that if you live to be 80, you just used up half of your life and you realize how fast the first half went by. And if that wasn't bad enough, you also look back on your youth and realize a) just how lucky you were to survive those 'close calls' where you probably should have been killed or died, b) realize how poorly you have been treating your poor metabolism with junk food, bad habits and a passive or inattenive lifestyle and c) start to examine in retrospect all of those opportunities missed or opportunities you never had in the first place. Of course, we blame our parents for all of our short comings.

Do not despair. All of those little aches and pains you are having are not tumors. They are from some strenuous activity you did three days ago. Some activity you use to perform as a younger soul without thinking, without any consequence what so ever and Oh, did I mention the grocery store glasses (you can get a 3-pac at WalMart for $8) Here's the test. Never wore glasses you say? Turning 40? OK. Get out the 'ol phone book and see for yourself. You will become acquainted with the terms .75's, 1.25's etc, as the years go by.

Listen, there's good news. The crisis passes and everyone goes thru it. Talk to older friends and family who have been there and don't take it personally when they laugh or giggle when they respond.

The bad news is that it happens. The good news is, it happens very slowly. The metaphor for mid life is seen as a rocket trying to escape the earth's gravity. The rocket expends most of its fuel during take off and through the initial phase of its journey. That's the youthful phase of life. If all goes well, the further out into space get, the less fuel you need. That's the mid life. Finally you reach orbit and free from the earths gravitation. Once there, you don't need much rocket fuel at all. Just enough to keep you in orbit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How does the US economy affect US fashion?

It's no secrete now to anyone, even the most unwitting among us. The world economy is in a tail spin. It started with the sub prime mortgage melt down and has now spread into what economists call the real economy. That means you, anyone who has a job or must work for a living.

If you've ever seen a tail spin you can sense what will come next. Eject.......Crash! Eject=Bailout, we are seeing that now with government (taxpayers) bailout of the largest US banks and the largest US insurance company - AIG via the TARP fund. This might save the pilot but the plane is probably going to crash and burn. You will recognize the crash when you witness what happened during the last 'great depression', the failure of insurance companies and then the pension funds, leaving a great population of Americans who have saved all their lives, with next to nothing.

Sorry for such an unhappy introduction to fashion post but there is no sense in pretending that everything is OK and this is just another bump in the American dream road.

So how will fashion reflect these economic changes? Will fashion reflect these economic changes? It usually does. Will the hem lines go down. Will dark colors be in. Will the fedora make a come back?
Will fashion lead the new reality or will it follow? Does anybody know?

I'm a guy. A straight guy. I don't live for fashion but, like most men, I like to look good. Here are my outerwear fashion predictions for men in 2009. 1) The baseball jacket, the insulated ones, like the old spring training Starter jackets, ribbed around the waist and cuffs. My favorite is the old NY Yankees navy blue letters on white. 2) Continuing with a similar look, the old school letterman jacket....without the letters. and finally, 3) all outerwear that has a rural lifestyle working man bent.

I think we are going into a period of our national history that will for a time, result in a less wealthy consumer population which will result in a more conservative lifestyle which will be reflected in a more rugged durable fashion plain and simple. Wealth will be down played and fashion will reflect happiness of the good man, of everyman.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bob Ward and Big Sky Country

If you are from big sky country in the United States you will know the name Bob Ward & Sons. As the name implies the vistas of the northern central US are full of snow topped mountains and big blue sky. Rugged country living and long cold winters are the way of life in this part of the United States.

Bob Ward set out from Minnesota at the age of 15 to seek the riches of Klondike gold. He got as far a Montana. There he settled, found work at a local jewelry story. Over the years he mastered his skills and raised a family. He opened his own watch repair shop in 1917 and over a lifetime and with the help of his sons, his shop evolved into one of the nations largest sporting goods retailers. Bob is gone now but his sons have carried on a devotion to quality and service which is apparent in the merchandise they carry and the service offer. Now you can enjoy their offerings from the comfort of your own home. Their online web site is extensive, comprehensive, intuitive and user friendly.....and the prices are good too. Enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Walking Coat

What is a Walking Coat? I've searched the internet over.....nothing. I've searched Wikipedia....nothing. I suppose there is nothing mysterious or difficult about defining a walking coat. You're going for a country walk on a cold, snowy winter day and you grab the coat that makes the most sense to you. If it is a sunny day with a lite breeze you would grab a warm jacket that is snug around the waist and wrists. The one with a fur or fleece collar that turns up high around the neck. If the wind was blowing with snow in the air, you would grab a longer coat. One that covers the waist below your pants pockets. The one with a hood.

OK. That was a country walk but how about the walk from work to lunch, downtown, 3 blocks away or to the parking lot or train station? Well, you can't just look on your coat rack a pick out a coat for the occasion, you're at work. No, you throw on the one you wore to work. Your standard work issue waist long or over coat, hat, gloves and scarf; and out you go.......for a walk.

When you're shopping this year for coats, keep those walks in mind. Your country casual walk. Your going to work, going to lunch, going home walk. Keep winter weather in mind. Snowy windy days and early nights. Sunny but bitter cold days and early nights. If you can afford it, have several. Don't fall short with one all purpose winter coat.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Working Outside

They are not the center of fashion. You wont see runway models in New York, Paris or Milan sporting their wears. But if you have to work outside in the winter you might want to check out Reids Safety Outerwear and Workwear Online Store. They don't mess around with fashion, yet the garments they sport look good on you. They don't brag about quality, yet their garments are built to take a beating and last for years under the toughest wear and tear conditions. The cold weather clothing you'll find at Rieds has been thought through for WORK. Nothing dangles, the fits are snug, the insulation is top of the line and extraordinary body movement is never a problem. If this sound like a tribute to hard physical outside working men and women, it is; and it is also a tribute to how good men and women look in well made rugged outerwear. Now get back to work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

An 'ol favorite J CREW

An 'ol staple, an 'ol favorite.....J Crew. I don't seem to hear as much about J Crew any more. It's all about Urban Outfitters or American Eagle or Areopostale. Has J Crew become old school? Or worse, have I become Old School! eey Gads!

Well, it is what it is, yes, the models use to be younger and much more collegiate looking. Now they're 30 something and professional and wearing outfits the average college student can only dream of affording. And so it goes. Here's to you J Crew.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


During the first week of EVERY MONTH I will be posting a blog or two to promote the cause of Just to keep the cause fresh and available to new readers. For as all blogger know, many readers come and go and attracting a consistent following is a challenge and who goes back through all the archive posting to get a complete overview of a bloggers writings anyway?

So here it goes. MRJACKET.COM NEEDS HELP. I'm looking an 'angle' funding partner to develop the site, or someone (+) who will partner with me and do the technical work in developing the web site I do not have any partners at this time (or money). I have owned this URL for 10 years (been sitting on it because I have been too busy with other matters in life).

There is a demo posted on the URL to give one an idea of the concept. It's an Outerwear Portal. The revenue model is based, initially, on affiliate commissions. 75% of revenue will be reinvested in advertising to promote the site use and as the site matures other site appeal aspects can be added such as product reviews and live style issues. With increased traffic other revenue streams can be captured.

And with success I would eventually like to create a MrJacket brand apparel label.

Well, I could go on and on but this is not the place. This is just a teaser notice. Thanks and spread the word. P.S. sorry for the fashion faux pas photo. I'm not very photogenic or good looking for that matter but I thought I'd post this picture to make this plea more personal.

Country Lifestyle - Orvis

Today's pic is from Orvis. Too often over looked by the fashion world and most of the teens and 20's. Pity. Orvis is a standard in the universe country lifestyle and hardy apparel. Well constructed and enduring quality has kept Orvis an American country lifestyle staple since 1856. Here's an abstract of the Orvis Story as told by them.

For thousands of our customers, Orvis represents more than a country lifestyle company. We are an integral part of the history and lore of fly fishing in America. A small business that began with a love of fly fishing on the banks of the famed Battenkill more than 150 years ago, we're the longest running fly fishing company in the United States. Our rod developers and builders are the only ones to have worked with every material from lancewood to bamboo, fiberglass and graphite, to carbon with thermoplastic resins. That makes for a lot of great stories. Many of them are told here, in the Orvis Story, for the first time ever. This book will give you an insider's look at the people and products that have made Orvis the leader in the fly fishing and sporting lifestyle world for more than 150 years.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Loro Piana

If you want to treat yourself to real luxury and an education take a look at Loro Piana's web site. Luxury goods extraoridanair. Look at The Excellence section on the web site, there are some cool videos discribing the raw materials that go into the Piana line. Vicuna, Cashmere, Baby Cashmere, Extra Fine Wool and Pecora Nera. See for yourself. Hats off to you Mr. Piana.

Justin Charles Outerwear Collection

Justin Charles announces its new outerwear collection with $50 off and free shipping on orders over $100.
At the center of the new outerwear line of men's outdoor clothing is the Justin Charles 3-Piece System that starts with the windproof, waterproof and completely breathable Black River Jacket. The Down Under Jacket -- with 60 grams Primaloft insulation -- layers under the Black River for a remarkably warm and weather-proof combination
"One of the unique aspects of the Black River jacket is that it is waterproof, breathable and still contains stretch fabric, making it extremely comfortable and functional for all kinds of activities," said Joe Campisi, Director of Product Development for Justin Charles.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I wonder if Territory Ahead women customers have things in common with Territory Ahead men customers? I mean, there is a certain look and feel to the wears in this catalog. I guess that's the idea in branding your name and merchandise. What you wear says a lot about who you are.

All of these items, and more, are on SALE.


Found these goodies on the SALE page of Territory Ahead.


I am a bit of a news blog junkie. World view, international economics, foreign affairs; things like that. I've noticed that my blog has been looking something like some of these news blogs I follow. A chronicle of other people's news. In doing this, I review lot's of Google Alerts every morning relative to fashion, outerwear - mens and womens....stuff like that and then repost the ones I think relative to what I'm trying to accomplish on this blog. But then I this what I am trying to accomplish with this blog? Will this draw an audiance to my blog? Would I come back often to this blog for this? News? Probably not, unless I had a very narrow focus which implies a very small readership.

So I'm going to change up my format. Get back to the original intent of To promote the sale of good looking coats and jacket. To display apparel and promote good merchants. Keep it simple and visual with minor editorializing.