May 31, 2015

Man Talk Part II- The Hammer Lane

Colin over at The Red Lion Pub reports that Den Mascot, Chauncey (above), has been getting a little big for his britches in my absence.  He's been working the room with impersonations of GSL's signature Night Moves such as the Ranch Hand Supreme and this pic above is of Chauncey doing GSL's trademark snarl. Colin reports some gal from the Jersey Shore and a Franco-Russian Temptress have been showing up every night all dolled up making inquiries...

*It has been rumored the Bob Segar ditty was based on some of GSL's early work.

Last week was a bear but I was finally able to get out of town Thursday evening and race across Ontario towards a meet with my illustrator up in Quebec City. Since it was last minute, I just fueled up the Den Cruiser and off I went. Through Toronto there is a 40 mile (65 km) parking lot that my GPS said is Highway 401 and this is middle of the day on Friday...or at least it was midday when I arrived at the front end of that parking lot. (Freshy, was that you making eyes at me from that white Jeep Cherokee?)

Dani and Jen. I see that enormous construction zone in the middle that is widening the parking lot with extra lanes. While I love Canada, they could use some guidance to alleviate these bottlenecks so use your considerable influence to get your highway department to install a Hammer Lane. I'll even show up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This is the lane that should always be to your far left unless you are passing. Contrary to news reports, I decreed the Hammer Lane go co-ed way back in 1979 although we have recently put a soccer mom on probation pending review for driving her mini-van 93 miles with her left turn signal only indicating a Den sponsored Hammer Lane refresher course .  The Den offers Hammer Lane guidance along with Parallel Parking pointers free of charge.

As I neared the exits for Guelph and Oakville, I used my Den Dogwhistle to put a little spring in the step of Scout and Senena. BTW: the Den Dog Whistle is just the Den Wolf Whistle with a silencer.

Daisy Duke after becoming the first woman to do a Hammer Lane Power Sweep
down Interstate 95 in South Georgia in 1979.
The trip to gorgeous Quebec City was too short but very successful. Details will follow although not sure when as I begin my National Guard Annual Training tomorrow and will be in the Dakotas doing stuff on Indian Reservations for Native Americans that also provides good logistics training. I'll check in if and when I can.

May 24, 2015

Memorial Weekend

Katie White of The Ting Tings

Busy as a beaver these days but wanted to make you aware of two new crushes that keep GSL's fires stoked. You may remember my mention of The Ting Tings during my Texas Hold 'Em post and this new vid is in HEAVY rotation at The Den. This Katie White is special and there is something about her that reminds me of Tabs too.

Now as for Florence Leontine Mary Welch; we have your answer and he has a scotch neat waiting on you at The Red Lion.

May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Mum with 1 month old GSL; November 1964

You have probably heard me say it before but I come from a line of strong, impressive women.  As a boy of about 4,  I remember being upset about being called 'names' by some older boys on the playground. I told Mum expecting sympathy and for her to go scold those name-calling boys.
Nope, she just told me about a little poem that they don't teach's called 'Sticks and Stones'.  Ever since that day, I haven't once felt offended because "words will never hurt me..." Thanks Mum.
My Grandmother, Mary Lou Cooper (nee Long), on her wedding day 1937

My mother had a couple of fine examples to learn her great mothering tricks from and while she has endured considerable adversity she has never once complained. Ever.  The women up my line didn't do victim. No time for that nonsense. They got busy.

Here they are.

Grandpa Cooper, Great Grandma Long, Uncle D, Mum, and Grandma Cooper mid 1940s.

My Great-Grandmother Long (maternal grandmother's mother) became a widow around age 25 when her husband died in the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. She had 4 hungry children and dreams of sending them to college that she didn't have the opportunity to attend. All by herself in 1918, she started an insurance company in Southwestern Ohio that put all 4 of her children through college and she bought a piano as she loved music and wanted her children to have the opportunity to experience the joys of musical performance. I can only imagine the pride she must have felt when attending her eldest child's, my grandmother, Mary Lou's Senior Recital at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music when she performed a piece by Chopin on piano. All 4 of G-Grandma Long's children graduated with distinction from college and were accomplished pianists. The insurance company Great Grandmother Long started in 1918 is still going strong and has provided comfortable homes and college educations for 4 generations.

I believe this is the room where my grandmother, Mary Lou Long, played Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie
for her Senior Recital at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Grandma Cooper was by all accounts a wonderful pianist and could play hundreds of songs by ear...everything from Christmas Carols to Mozart. She was a schoolteacher and taught piano and for 28 years was the Music Director of the First United Methodist Church of Mansfield, Ohio. Her daughter, my mother, became a fine pianist and flautist in her own right but I know first hand that Grandma Cooper was especially proud of the day her son, my Uncle D, debuted at Avery Fisher Hall.

Uncle D in 1963. While my Grandmother was quite proud of my mother and spoke highly
of her musical attainments, I know Grandma was most proud of her son when
he debuted at Avery Fisher Hall. Her solemn tone of deep reverence when she said:
"Avery Fisher Hall" gave her away.
Yesterday, my mother attended the graduation of my beautiful niece who will begin her career as a school teacher this Fall in Denver.  I loved hearing the proud tone my mum invoked when citing my niece's academic honors.

A mother's influence is felt long after she's gone. I'm deeply grateful for having such wonderful grandmothers and a loving mother influence me.

My beautiful niece, M, who graduated yesterday with high honors with her proud grandmother in attendance.
She begins a career as a school teacher this Fall.
The Beat Goes On.

May 07, 2015

Lessons Learned

This is how we're used to seeing Anna: Beautifully tailored suit always with gorgeous colour and texture. Nobody does
this look better. Even Wendi Murdoch feels compelled to walk 2 steps behind.

Our friend Jody from About Last Week touched on something here yesterday that is too often overlooked when dressing for a special evening out. Jody commented regarding the pic below of Anna at The Met Gala that she looked "a little hunched and as if she's ready to take criticism"....

The fabric is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for her but that garnishment through the shoulders
and neckline overwhelmed everything else. Scaled down to 1/3 of what they have here and it would
be a future masterpiece of the Costume Institute.

Now it's understandable how Anna Wintour made this uncharacteristic misstep (I know, I know the KK Vogue cover was almost unforgiveable but The Den is all about redemption). The Met Gala was for the Costume Institute and essentially Anna's party with the intention of highlighting the China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit so she was duty bound to stay on theme. I'll bet she okayed the gorgeous fabric in person and was later talked into the shoulder towers....sounded good over the phone...with all those lap dogs around her nodding in eager approval. With all her other duties as host, it's a pardonable mistake. But ladies, remember always wear something you'll be comfortable in even if it's something old and unimaginative. The effect that dress makes or doesn't make lasts but a short while but a charming woman at her ease will quickly overcome even the most unfortunate choice of dress. But as I've said on numerous occasions, there is always a delightful frisson emanating from a woman who feels at her best and is ready to make the most of a night out.  I can spot them from across the room and even with a devoted husband who is the love of her life in tow, I always get a charge out of respectfully complimenting her fab outfit and great energy and feeling her gracious reply.

Anna's a trooper; she knows it doesn't quite work but won't let it wreck her evening.

Anna, next year GSL will be at your service.

I want to confirm all the rumours that I am doing a comprehensive monograph on the LBD as a Den exclusive this Fall.  Vogue and Harper's are chomping at the bit to at least publish an excerpt but we'll wait and see on that....the prospect of working with G-Cod would make it a collaboration for the ages. But I must share something re the LBD that's just come to my attention which I think you'll find instructive. Did you see this in your inbox earlier this week?

MaiTai rockin' the LBD like a Level 5 Hurricane (remember that awful song?).
MaiTai even has these statement necklaces now that all her girls are raving about.
The Den loves a woman of enterprise and resource!
Simple, elegant, and she didn't have to pour herself in either. Room to maneuver, room for dessert,
and room on dance card for GSL.

I don't know if I've ever seen MaiTai in an LBD and I've seen her in literally hundreds of pics. Part of the reason she hits this little ensemble out of the park is because we aren't conditioned to seeing her in an LBD therefore it packs an elegant punch. That's why GSL always preaches not to have that LBD be such a security blanket. I'm tired of going to an event and trying to spot who isn't wearing an's not as bad as it was 5-10 years ago but it's still overdone. Every woman needs a 'hole card' that's worn very seldom on celebratory occasions when she knows she's at the top of her game. Whether you've finally shed those 10 pesky lbs, got the most fab haircut of your life, or that killer tan and spa treatment has your complexion turning heads at Whole Foods; you need that one showstopper outfit to  knock everybody's socks off. If an LBD is your security blanket, then search high and low for some gorgeous colour/pattern/fabric combo and have it tailored to fit like a glove at your fighting weight.

May 05, 2015

2015 Met Gala Honor Roll

Helen Mirren in Dolce & Gabbana

Ivanka Trump in Prabal Gurung.
Kate Hudson in Michael Kors
Emily Blunt in Prada
Thanks to my buddy Trudye for bringing the Ivanka Trump stunner to my attention. Much talk has been made regarding Anna Wintour's frock with most of it negative. Our friend Jill over at Everything Just So already featured the Anna dress and there certainly were a number of train wrecks to gawk at.
But these were the 4 best from the 2015 Met Gala,

Matrilineal LIne Part II

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall. The fellow standing in that lifeboat is GSL ancestor Degory Priest eager to whet his whistle at a local tavern and chat up a few 'townies'.

My mother's cousin confirmed via online research, what was often talked about at family reunions,  that we hail from one of the Mayflower Pilgrims, Degory Priest  The 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock is coming up in 2020.  Don't think for a minute GSL won't be crashing that party strutting around like a bantam rooster burnishing his Degory Priest credentials like he owns the joint.

Stephen Foster is known as "the father of American music" who died unfortunate
habit of the most talented men up GSL's family tree.
Another ancestor always brought up at family reunions was Stephen Foster, the father of American music. He was one of the trailblazers to the GSL Holy Trinity of Wine, Women, and Song.

Another strong willed woman: my maternal grandfather's grandmother Lucinda Douglas Cooper (LDC) who lived to be 97,
When my grandparents were first married back in the late 1930s, she offered to pay everybody's way if they would take her by car out to Yellowstone National Park which she'd always wanted to see. My grandparents loved telling the story of returning to their car from gathering provisions to discover the 93 year old LDC fighting off a grizzly bear with her cane who was trying to get at one of the fragrant picnic baskets  next to her in the back seat. 
She looks like a tough cookie doesn't she?

The Den would love to hear of any interesting ancestors running up your family tree!

May 04, 2015

Mother's Day Week

Mum with her 3 boys circa 1972 in Columbus, Ohio. GSL in middle wearing a shirt that an older girl, Kitty Maiche, commented on the school bus as making him look 'sexy'. Not having an iPhone handy to google,
 GSL inquired to Mum what 'sexy' meant....GSL had a new favorite shirt.

With the Princess of Cambridge giving birth to a beautiful baby girl a few days ago, I thought it  fortuitous that those sublimely lovely pics of Kate leaving hospital with her daughter, Charlotte, swathed in blankies to begin Mother's Day week in the United States with our big day being this Sunday, May 10th.  I think the word 'lovely' describes the highest form of feminine beauty and in my view, a young woman is never more beautiful than when she has recently had a child.  A new mother may feel her figure is not at it's best but nothing can diminish the beauty of a mother cuddling her newborn son or daughter. As I mentioned over at Faux Fuchsia's earlier today, Will & Kate are easily my favorite young couple and have brought two beautiful children into this world.  They are a powerful reminder that we need to do good for them...and other children.

Grandma & Grandpa Cooper from Mansfield, Ohio circa 1992 about 2-3 years before they died.
They were both school teachers and their first date was to the Cleveland Ballet...not Grandpa's idea.
They were both the finest sort of people you'd ever want to meet.

With Mother's Day week beginning on American shores, I wanted to honor my matrilineal line this week. While I've always been immediately recognizable as my mother's son, I am very much in the mold of my father's side but taking more after my paternal grandfather and other ancestors more than my own father.  My mother's side were the archetypical Midwesterners from Ohio that went to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, and were deeply grateful for having the good fortune of providing a comfortable home and hopeful future for their children.
Mum at far left. My Grandmother was a graduate of the Oberlin Music Conservatory (now Oberlin College) and taught piano her whole life in addition to being a school teacher and Music Director of her church. My mother played the piano and flute and was in the Duke University Concert Band. I am certain Grandma made this dress as likely every girl's mother did in this group.
My mother also loves to sew and made her GSL a Scottish kilt...which unfortunately a swarm of moths made a short meal of
a few years back when in storage.

In my upcoming children's book series, my pen name is William J. Cooper after my mother's family and our book series will have a philanthropic mission we are calling The Cooper Fund.  After over 4 years of trying to find a suitable illustrator who was available, our first sketches were sent over last week and we liked what we saw.

A sketch for page 1 of Book 1 of a book series I am doing under the pen name William J. Cooper and titled:
The Adventures of Nipsy and Timzy.