Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking Good

There is nothing better as a guy than looking good. T-shirts, sweats, gym shorts, cargo's are all great things to wear. Incredibly comfortable, awesome for just hanging out, and generally mindless "go to" wear. They all have their place, but especially 20 something year olds exploit it to the limit. What many of us need, as guys (me included), is some advice/guidelines to make things easier. So here are the 10 basics I have derived.

1. Every guy needs at least two GOOD suits. It doesn't matter what your profession is, every guy will have the opportunity to wear a suit multiple times per year. There are the usual times (i.e. weddings, funerals, interviews, bar mitzvahs, retirement parties), but there are also spontaneous occasions (guys night out, dates, and even car test driving) where a good suit can turn great nights into amazing nights. Buying a designer suit off the rack is not enough though. Even if you have to buy a slightly cheaper suit to do so, spend the money to get it tailored. A well fitting suit can get you past bouncers, into exclusive areas, and test driving cars well outside of your budget.*Note- none of these are guaranteed, but a suit can only improve your odds* Almost every woman (and most importantly your mother) loves a guy in a suit.

2. Don't settle for T-shirts. Every time you can wear a T-shirt (except for they gym/running), you can probably wear a polo or a button down. It adds that layer that makes you stand out from everyone else.

3. Free T-shirts are good for painting, yard work, the gym, or sleeping. That is all.

4. Shoes and belts can be the most important thing in your wardrobe. A quick example. One of my friends was going on a date with his longtime girlfriend. This was a total surprise for her, he planned a romantic night, pulled out a great button down and a pair of relaxed khakis, and then realized he was between his sneakers and flip flops. Don't kill your look because you don't have the right shoes for your look. At minimum, you need a pair of black dress shoes and a brown pair (that arn't Doc Martins). And going back to number 1- find a suit you can wear brown shoes/belts with, it WILL set you apart.

5. If you have any doubt about what you are wearing, take a picture. Every guy has either a sister, or female friend that isn't your significant other who has some sort of fashion sense. Call them, ask them if they can critique your look if you email it to them. Takes 30 seconds for confirmation or correction, and it was painless.

6. Jerseys with names on them are only good to be worn with the guys watching the game/going to the game. Wearing them in public to anything else after college just makes you look sloppy.

7. Buy a dressier coat. If you live in the north, that means not a parka for the winter. Yes, parkas are great for skiing, snowboarding, shoveling, football, etc., but not for your date/going to the office. Pea coats have been around for ages, but if you can look beyond it, it will certainly help your look.

8. White socks do not work with dress pants, no matter what the color. They never work with sandals under any circumstances. And get a pair of boat shoes/docksiders/canvas dressy sneakers for summer- they look way better than sandals.

9. Take every opportunity to wear a tuxedo. If you get invited to something that says black tie invited/optional, wear it. Weddings, theater, charity events, etc. are all better when you wear a tux. Not only do you feel like James Bond, but how many opportunities do you get to wear a tux each year, 2 max? And always go with the bow tie in black (and the jacket in black unless it is specified otherwise)- its a classic look that will never go out of style.

10. Take your own initiative. Be creative when you go out. Wear a sweater when a hoodie could do. Doc's with jeans. Try colors you haven't worn. Or do what I do- pink tie fridays.

Till next time-

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sports, Sports, Sports

I think Fridays will be sports days all year long. I want to think of it as casual Fridays for my mind. Plus I love sports, and could talk about them all year long.

Before I get into my NFL picks (because that's fun to do), I want to talk American League Baseball for a moment. As much as I am a die hard Red Sox fan, I have to admit that the AL slot in the World Series is wide open for the taking. The Yankees picking the series that allows them to only use 3 pitchers in the ALDS (presumably to skip Joba) shows they are human and not the unbeatable machine that they have been in years past. They should beat the Tigers/Twins easily, even with Verlander having the opportunity to pitch twice. Sox/Angels should be the better series, with the Angels being that threat to explode on any team at any moment. The Sox may have reloaded their rotation with Matsuzaka coming back and the reemergence of Clay Bucholz, but they are no lock. My money is still on Sox/Yanks for the ALDS, but this could be the closest AL post season race in years.

Now to the NFL picks:

Redskins (-6.5) over Lions
Washington should win this one easily. (Sorry Bill Simmons) Detroit is still a terrible team, Stafford has looked like a true rookie at best, and as a team, they have lost their last 19 in a row. Jason Campbell is no Brady/Brees/Manning (x2), but he should look like a stud this week.

Packers (-6.5) over Rams
Green Bay by less than a TD on the road? STL might be very much improved, but they still aren't winning this one.

Vikings (-7) over 49ers
Minnesota is really starting to click, and Adrian Peterson being hurt still won't stop the Vikes. I would expect Percy Harvin to play some serious double duty catching passes and lining up in the backfield to mix it up. MIN has shown a willingness to run Harvin, and he should be fine, assuming the cold/head clears up by game time. Farve hasn't been his old self quite yet, but he is still in the top half of the league. San Fran has looked better than most years, but the situation there isn't conducive to good football. Vernon Davis is still causing problems, the offense isn't explosive enough, and San Fran is on the road.

Pats (-4) over Falcons
This game should be a high scoring one. Welker should be back in the mix, and Brady has most of the rust gone by now. Edelman was impressive filling in for Welker last week, but the combination of them should be mind boggling for the ATL d-backs. Matt Ryan's return to New England will be firework filled, as he is much better than Sanchez was last week, but Brady should steal the show with the last possession.

Jets (-2.5) over Titans
TEN is good, but they haven't shown me great. NYJ just held New England to 3 field goals last week, and shut down Randy Moss with a lot of 1 on 1 coverage. Jets could have won last week by 14+ points, had Chansi Stuckey kept both feet in. Sanchez is showing me that he is better than Lineart will ever be.

Chiefs (+8.5) over Eagles
Rotating door Qb's on both sides of the ball doesn't bode well for either team. PHI got dismantled last week by the Saints, and McNabb is very doubtful for this week. Kolb looks like the starter, with Garcia still thumbing through the playbook for the first time, and Vick having been out of the game for 2 years. KC has growing pains with all the changes, but Cassel should be returning, and the offense is built for him, not the others. KC might not win, but they will certainly keep it within the spread.

Giants (-7) over Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is 0-2 and headed to 0-3 quickly. NYG beat Dallas at Dallas in their home opener- talk about a hostile environment. Don't think being at Tampa Bay will phase them.

Ravens (-13.5) over Browns
This spread could probably be 15 and it still wouldn't matter. Joe Flacco and the duo of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee? 'Nuff said. Braylon Edwards could be the star of this game if he could actually hold onto the ball- but he won't.

Texans (-4) over Jaguars
I really don't see much brilliance in watching this game except it is for a division game. But even that is negated by the fact that the Colts WILL win the division. Two mediocre teams, 1 star in Maurice Jones-Drew, who can't win the game on his own.

Bears (-2) over Seahawks
Hasselback is doubtful with a cracked rib. Cutler has looked shaky at best. I'll take Cutler with the weapons around him (especially Devin Hester) over Seneca Wallace any day.

Saints (-5.5) over Bills
Talk about unfair. Drew Brees is trying to run away with the MVP and Top QB honors and its only week 3. Buffalo might be better on offense with T.O. but their 31st pass defense could reach 32nd by Monday morning. A bigger, stronger, better Saints team should just about walk all over Buffalo.

Steelers (-4) over Bengals
I agree with Bill Simmons (ESPN) that I like the look of the Bengals. On paper, they are really good. But I also looked at that spread and couldn't believe how low it was. PIT, being with Weird Al Yanko...I mean Troy Palamalu (haven't you seen those new commercials?) is certainly a weaker defense, but nothing that can't handle CIN. PIT might have shown weakness last week against the Bears. They won't look weak again.

Broncos (-1.5) over Raiders
Oakland is actually favored in a game? That should clue you in right there. If I could pick no one to win this, I would. Jamarcus Russell still hasn't learned how to be an NFL QB. The "Bearded One" (Kyle Orton) wants to be a gunslinger, but will never be elite. Watch for him to try though. Broncos in a bore.

Dolphins (+6) over Chargers
This could be the best game all weekend. Two good, but not elite teams. MIA invented the Wildcat, and with Pat White can now exploit it to it's full potential. Rivers could be Brees Jr. the way he has developed. LT still nursing his injury and will be watching the game on the sidelines, but it isn't like San Diego is lacking at RB. This has all the makings for a thriller. Last possession should determine this game.

Colts (+1.5) at Cardinals
Payton Manning is fantastic (which pains me to admit). He has the weakest collection of players around him in years, yet can orchestrate brilliance. Manning runs the best 2 minute offense in the game, and should get the opportunity, probably twice. Arizona is good, the Colts are better.

Cowboys (-9) over Panthers
Dallas' defense might have looked like a sieve against the Giants, but they should hold strong here, and their offense is certainly potent. MNF in the new stadium will be the loudest the Panthers have heard since their Super Bowl against the Pats. Carolina is improving, but it wont be done in time for this week.

This picks I did just for fun. I hope they work out, but don't put too much faith in them. I did it without being able to research on the internet (other than pulling down the lines). Till next time

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Everyone seems to have a smartphone these days. And don’t get me wrong they are fantastically useful- I have one. When my wireless carrier offered me an upgrade over the summer, I jumped all over it. Do I need to be this connected? Of course not. Sure, text, email, calenders, internet all in the palm of my hand is great, but not a necessity. Instant connectivity to anyone, anywhere, all the time.

And this is where the problem lies. People go from having a phone, to having a “crackberry”. Constantly checking for a message, web browsing at a bar when your waiting for someone, even texting someone while you’re on a date. These are all subconscious actions we do without even thinking about it. Texting while driving, “forgetting” to put it in airline mode on the plane, not shutting it off for meetings/interviews/dates. Rude actions most of us find annoying in others, and yet all things most of us (myself included) are at least partially guilty on. Nothing screams “I am unapproachable” like a blackberry, except for a Bluetooth headset (more on that later). As a culture, we are getting pulled apart by the single thing doing the most to bring us together.

I’m not proud of doing most of these things, and I have to make a concerted effort to keep this from happening again. Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving according to multiple recent studies. Anyone not living under a rock has probably at least heard of the video circulating YouTube of the girl in the text while driving accident. Nothing is that important that you have to text while driving.

I said I would make a comment on the Bluetooth headsets. You never know if someone is talking to you, or to the person on the phone. They have their place: when you need your hands free for something else. Talk on it all you want, but when you are not using it, please take it off and put it away until you need it again. I once heard a joke regarding Bluetooth- We used to think of people standing on the corner talking to themselves as crazy, now we refer to them as executives.

Till next time...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Given my career, this is where I need to start (but this isn't the rationale behind this blog). Parenting has gone to the wayside recently, and it frustrates me beyond all belief. I have seen this not only in the classroom, but as the rest of you have, out in daily life.

Think for a moment. The last time you were out to eat, or at the grocery store, or perhaps at the beach/ski resort/vacation destination. There was more than likely a kid there that could not behave, and the parent was either ambivalent, or being walked all over by the kid. Maybe it is because I deal with kids all day (young teenagers) and I just notice it more, but either way, there has been a serious lack of parenting from the recent generation.

Psychologists will say that the children are displaying "attention seeking behavior" or are acting out because of a social trigger that has encouraged them to do so. When I witness this behavior, I can't help but to think of how much trouble I would have gotten in if I had acted the same way as a child. Screaming, yelling, running around the room, throwing items around, disrupting other customers, all the while the parents I witness with these children ignore it as if it is someone else's problem. In the classroom, it is easier, as you put them at a desk and they realize they are in a work environment where they must behave. I've substitute taught for gym and music classes where there are no desks- those teachers are tough as nails, and patient as anyone I have ever met.

Another argument I have heard is single parent or low income families. Generally, these two are lumped together as two causes with a similar background. Parent(s) aren't home enough, the money isn't there to keep the kid entertained or involved in the activities to keep them out of trouble, etc, etc.
To that argument I offer these points:
- There are extremely low-cost alternatives to keeping the kids out of trouble. Investigate non-profit organizations in your area to keep the kids focused and out of the mall/streets/etc. The security guards at the mall on a Friday night are not the parents, YOU are.
- Investigate organizing neighborhood events. Where I grew up, we had block parties, big after school tag games, kick the can, football, you name it. While they aren't supervised activities, they give you a great opportunity to meet your child's peers, and find out who you approve/disapprove of. Ignorance is no argument.
-Just because it is a single parent situation does not mean that you cannot be a fantastic parent. You need to believe in yourself, and display confidence in your child to see respect.
-Assign the child responsibility at a young age. If you make it a habit early, it becomes a lifestyle. Start simple- Please, Thank You, Asking to be excused from the table at the end of dinner, rinse/stack your plates for the dishwasher, put away your laundry, make your bed everyday. Simple things that you can start young and instill as a lifestyle.
-Shut off the TV/video games. If you get your child interested in something that requires the mind or the body to work/think, it gets them away from the garbage that is modern media. I will admit, I certainly watch more than my fair share of TV/Video games, etc- but I know I haven't learned terribly much from it.

I have no children of my own, and am undecided as to whether or not I will have any of my own later on in life. This isn't inclusive, exclusive, or anything other than what was on my mind. Please feel free to comment, add your own advice (especially if you have experience), etc.


Everything needs a beginning, this is mine. Let me fill you in on the details to start.

First, about me. I graduated a few years ago from a Top 100 US News and World Reports World Wide College, with a double major in Political Science and History. I'm young, and I am starting a teaching career, so even though there will be a wide variety of subjects discussed, I must remain behind the shroud of the internet so I won't be judged or prejudiced against at my employment. I assure you, in my classroom, it is a wealth of facts, not of opinions. My passions are sports (baseball and football), history/politics, and cars, and I intend to address each of those in my blog. Hopefully, I will figure out a rotation for days of the week shortly so anyone following along will be able to select the days for the topics they are interested in.

Second, about the blog. I hope to share my opinion, and support it with fact. View every posting as an editorial, a commentary, a belief, and not as straight fact or even "reporting". You have your pick of news agencies, listen to them for facts, not me. Certainly, if it is of interest and I have the ability to comment on it, I will. But please, don't use me for your term paper, your newspaper article, or your lecture to your peers. If I can inspire discussion, thought, or something else, by all means, run with it. Share this with your friends or keep it to yourself- your choice.

Third, my vision for this. I want to see this improve my writing, critical thinking, and analytical skills. I hope your feedback is nothing derogatory, disparaging, or vindictive towards the subjects I address. Certainly, you are free to disagree, but please be positive about it. This is no place for hate, prejudice, etc.

I am going to randomly cover topics for the first few days, maybe a few weeks, until I get my style down, and my thoughts centered. Please stick with me. Any advice is more than welcome.