Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Inn 2012: Snowy Christmas in Vermont

Intrepid correspondent PO Palustris has submitted these photos from his Holiday getaway in Vermont. Take the beautiful countryside and add over a foot (or more?) of snow and you get what was surely a memorable time crosscountry skiing over fresh powder.

Blackie realizing that he must return to The City. Alas, even a plush dog bed in the Orvis store cannot console him.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day Neighborhood Walk

One a very wet, dark Day After Christmas, I decided that it would be nice to show some of the beautiful homes that I passed on my quiet sunny walk on Christmas Day. It was glorious!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Very Special Christmas Edition of Trailer Trad Tory Tales (reshown)

I have a heart warming Christmas tale that I'd like to share with you. It's all about Santa and his Elves and their love of cookies. But not just any cookies. They loved warm, soft homemade cookies filled with North Pole care and love. They loved them so much that they developed a distaste for ordinary cookies.

By ordinary, I mean cookies that were not made exclusively by Santa's elves in Mrs. Claus' kitchen and with locally grown ingredients. Because of this, some very vocal elves persuaded Santa and Blitzen to enact a strict quota on the amount of imported cookies allowed into the North Pole. They also added a stiff tariff onto the price of the few cookies that were allowed in.

Elf cookie bakers enjoyed this arrangement because this allowed them to stay in business despite the fact that sugar cane and cocoa beans grow very poorly in the Arctic Circle. But, after a while, the price of these cookies got so expensive that many elves started baking their own at home to save money. "HO HO HOOLLLD on a minute! All this baking at home is cutting into the bakery sales," said Santa. So Blitzen made it so tough to bake at home with all of the EPA, DoA, EEOC (Elvish Equality Occupational Codes) etc. regulations that everyone threw away their baking supplies and equipment. But the North Pole elves didn't mind because they still were able to eat all of the gooey, homemade goodness that they wanted.

But, one day, that all came to a halt. Rudolf had hired Hermey (he dropped dentistry for law) to represent him in an EEOC complaint against Blitzen and the rest of the company for lost wages when they let him go because he was differently abled (or was that firing on the basis of 'lookism?'). On top of that, the Teamsters (the reindeer are in the freight hauling business, after all) organized a strike. So, to stay in business, Santa had to drop the baking arm and focus on his manufacturing and distribution core businesses. Since there were very few cookies anymore, Santa's elves began to pay more and more for them until what was once a $5 box of cookies skyrocketed up to $500 dollars a box! Santa noticed that the elves were looking kind of thin and their toy production was dropping precipitously. "Mr. Santa, Sir" said the littlest, frailest elf with tears welling in his big, weepy eyes "We are too weak to make toys any longer. We must cancel Christmas!" "Cancel Christmas! What will I tell all of the little girls and boys all over the world!" said Santa.

Amazing, Surprise Ending!

On Christmas Eve, the elves walked into their workshops and were overjoyed to find plates and plates of yummy cookies. Mrs. Claus had come to the rescue and had insisted that Santa lift the embargo on Keebler elf cookies and to slash cookie baking regulations. The elves were soon back hard at work and Christmas was saved!
Yes, this sounds like just a heartwarming holiday tale filled with whimsy, wonderment and make-believe characters but what is most remarkable is that that it IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY THAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IN NORWAY! Just replace elves with Norwegians (elves and Norwegians aren't the same, are they?) and replace cookies with butter. Also, replace Santa with the Norwegian government (but considering the Socialist policies in Scandinavia, maybe you don't have to). Alas, there appears to be no Mrs. Claus in Norwegian politics because that country's policies have remained largely unchanged and the price of butter remains exorbitantly expensive (reportedly $500 a pound in some cases).

I guess a gusher of off-shore North Sea oil revenues can enable some ridiculous policies to continue in a country like Norway. -But would other societies be so lucky?

There is an excellent article in Forbes that gives the full account of how butter became so expensive in Norway.  See The Great Norwegian Butter Famine

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trad Treats: Gimbals Fine Candy

I was chastised recently for not pointing out enough classic, trad stuff lately. And what was listed as an example? Original Lifesavers? Please. Lifesavers have only been around since, what, the 1930s? Noobs. Gimbals Fine Candy out of San Francisco has been family owned since the 1800s and has quietly been putting out superior candy ever since. I must admit that I haven't known about them long. My Harris Teeter started carrying them (they've since stopped, unfortunately) and I thought that I'd give them a try.

If you want a really old school, trad candy for a gift, how about some Licorice Scotties in a cool tarten bag? If you are convinced that you can't stand licorice because of memories of that weird plastic red and black rope that you gnawed on as a kid, give these little black dogs a try. They have a nice herbal flavor that is addicting. They make a good jelly bean too although they are pretty much like Jelly Bellys.
Do you like Sour Patch Kids or similar sour gummy candy? Gimbals Sour Lovers candy is like Sour Patch kids, but for adults. Each bag contains many distinctly different sour fruit flavors plus the candies are naturally flavored and high in Vitamin C. -What's not to like?
Even though they are manufactured in San Francisco, this is not a overly gourmet product and each bag is priced reasonably; not cheap but reasonably. Pass on the little bags and invest in one of the big bags. You'll want plenty. Gimbals Fine Candy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Governor Bradford Would Be Proud: My Thanksgiving Weekend

I spent my Thanksgiving weekend differently than most. I packed up my stuff (some of it anyway) and moved out of my house and into an apartment (more like a small cottage, really). My mom and dad were expecting me to arrive in Virginia by train for Thanksgiving dinner. I called them and told them that my plans had changed. I was moving out. On Thanksgiving. In hindsight, that probably wasn't very considerate of my family's feelings. "Where's Trailer Trad? I thought that he was arriving on the 3:30 train?" "Uhm... turns out he's moving out of his house and into an apartment this weekend and won't be able to join us. -broccoli casserole?"

The Old
But you know something? I'm glad that I moved on Thanksgiving because that's what Thanksgiving's all about. If the pilgrims had thought about it the way that we do now, they would have spent the feast telling the Indians (sorry) about how awesome England was and how great it would be if everyone could pretend that they were still being persecuted and killed for their religous beliefs.
They didn't do that. In fact, the first Thanksgiving was a humble offering of thanks for what God had given them. Pestilence, death, said indians, fear, uncertainty along with hope and the ability to move forward in their new life. They spent Thanksgiving not looking back but looking forward with hope, gratitude and courage. Happy Holidays from Trailer Trad.

The New

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

--William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Trailer Trad Attire: Wrecked Jeans, Brass Buttons and Other November Vintage Finds

Blown out. Yeah, these jeans that I picked are beat-to-hell, but then again, so am I. So, why not?
I found these nice brass buttons and had them put on my Hickey Freeman Cashmere blazer recently. The blazer fits perfectly. -Ship Shape! I know what you're going to comment so I'll save you the trouble. "Where'd you come from, a SCOTCH ad?"

With these jaunty wool socks, I'll out Elmer Fudd even the most Woolrichiest, Filsonist Brooklyn hipster!

At the same estate sale where I found the socks, I found this great, soft loden wool trilby hat.

I came across a few of these 1950s Swedish military wool sweaters recently and thought that they were cool enough to purchase.  They are as warm as the now legendary Swedish Navy wool knee socks!

Thursday, December 6, 2012