October 13, 2008


Nice reason for a day off — to celebrate the discovery of our land. Many great things happen by accident.

columbus day

February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. — My Hero

Sometimes there is a person, a friend, a celebrity, unlikely though it may seem, who speaks to you as if from your own heart but with clarity you can't usually muster up for yourself. This person seems to know secrets to existence, to love life, to understand its hardships, its revelations, its brilliance, its comedy, its sadness and to bear all with dignity, humanity and humor. To me, such as man is William Buckley, Jr. I suppose true celebrity is to aspire to such a role in someone's life and thereby merit celebrity.

William F. Buckley. Jr.
Mr. Buckley in his office at the National Review in 1965. Mr. Buckley's winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater's, hosted one of television's longest-running programs, "Firing Line," and founded and shepherded the National Review.

It's hard to summarize what William Buckley means to me. To me, his is the kind of life one aspires to, filled with so many varied things of real value and I wonder if people always value these same things properly. He stands for freedom of expression. He represents fairness of intellect and living. He means you can have fun and be scholarly both, one not canceling the other out.

Buckley is famous for having friends with whom his ideas were diametrically opposed, his political ideas, that is. This has confused people since he was famous for his strong conservative ideas. He was onto the secret of life being more than just the surface, more than just ideas, important as they are, more than any one thing; he was onto its soul.

In addition to his political career, in which my own interests do not lie, William Buckley wrote a series of captivating detective novels, with a colorful hero named Blackford Oakes. He was married to a socialite, who must have been quite a woman, Pat, and so had his hand in the upper crust of New York social life.

William F. Buckley, Jr.

When I was a tiny kid, there was a girl in my class whose mom worked for Buckley. My own mom, who was a Buckley type in brilliance and diversity but a Democrat, was fascinated by Buckley and liked my classmate's mom too. My mom told me that Buckley was this unusual man with many different aspects to his life and even at the age of five or so, it stuck in my head and made me curious about this guy.

Excellent sailor, prolific, adept and varied writer, noted politician, witty man, social figure, individualist — a truly great man. I cannot stop weeping for the world's loss.

December 14, 2007

What's Up Your Sleeve?

Design trends come and go and recycle. Trends generate renewed interest and lead to innovation too. As long as we don't become "victims" of these, they are a healthy part of history and change. One of my favorite trends in women's clothing this past year has been great sleeve treatments. I've always loved certain aspects of Medieval clothing and this development capitalizes on some of those details.

Great Medieval Sleeves

Beautiful sleeve treatments in costumes based on historical clothing

Great Sleeves

Tops from this season flaunting fancy graceful sleeves

The modern sweaters and tops are not as elaborate as more ancient styles but they take their cues from long-ago designs. These sleeves have great names too like "lantern" sleeves, "batwing" sleeves, "balloon" sleeves, "flutter sleeves" etc. Clever and beautiful adaptation like this does my designer heart proud. It's what I love about type design in that type design always alludes to the past while creating much that is new in the present. Nodding to and learning from history while inventing beautiful new creations is what smart progress is all about.

November 21, 2007

Winston Churchill, My Cats' Favorite Celebrity

Having been captivated by what I've heard in bits and pieces about Winston Churchill, I am now learning more about him.

Winston Churchill Great Sayings

A dashing young Churchill and a quote by him that helps me laugh in hard times

My reasons for being intrigued by the man are more for his inspiring and witty statements and the unusual aspects of his life than for his seminal role in British and world history. However, as a person is the whole of what they are, I have become more interested in his political actions as well. For instance, Churchill foretold the Nazi threat when English politicians and citizens ignored the seriousness of Hitler's insanity.

Churchill is inspiring in many ways. Descending from an aristocratic family, he was the absolute bottom of his class repeatedly as a very young boy. He loved his foreboding parents but they didn't have much time for him. (His father, Randolph, was a climbing successful politician and his mother was a beauty, whom Churchill adored but who was distant to her children.) Slowly but surely, he ended up first in his class in many subjects. Born two months premature, he coped with uneven health throughout his life (childhood scares, a later heart attack and stroke) but lived to be 90. He overcame a speech impediment. Churchill confronted depression most of his life and called it his "black dog." He drank alcohol daily but wasn't considered an alcoholic and won a bet that he could abstain for a full year.

Serving as Prime Minister of England twice (in the 1940s and 1950s), Churchill was passionate about painting and took it up professionally in his 40s. His paintings are good enough to be in the permanent collections of some of the world's most prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was a prolific, great writer and mostly earned his living that way. He won a Nobel Prize for literature. As a politician, he was known for — and annoyed people by — changing his mind. (So I guess it's not just "a woman's prerogative.") Maybe that's what they mean by a man needing to "get in touch with his feminine side." :)

Winston Churchill Inspirational Sayings

Churchill loved cats and brought his cat to cabinet meetings (I love a man not afraid to love his cat). His ginger (orange) cat, Jock, is written in his will to be taken care of and maintained with his estate and now Jock III happily resides there. I have also heard that Jane Austen was Churchill's favorite writer and that he recognized her uncanny ability to portray the personalities, foibles, prejudices and nuances of people. I am in accord with him about cats and Jane Austen.