Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Ultimate Impromptu Weekender - with Options

Summer, sadly, is winding down. As the last long weekend of the sultry season looms, The Good Guy offers this outline of one last perfectly impetuous getaway.

Start with a destination, easily attainable. Remember that friend with the lake house (Option - beach house or weekend country home) who is always telling you to “Just drop by anytime, we’re there every weekend?” Time to take them up on it. No need to even call in advance, as long as the invitation was proffered in earnest. Trust me on this one – the lost art of the drop in, long forgotten in this day of instant, constant cellular communication, is an art nonetheless. However, be prepared to turn your overnight plans into a day trip if all accommodations are already spoken for by family and other friends seeking similar refuge. Thus, a destination within an easy and enjoyable 1 to 2 hour drive is highly recommended.

Once your destination is determined, grab your essentials and go - the essentials in this case consisting primarily of a change of clothes. Opt for simplicity and flexibility. Pair Levi’s recently reintroduced 201 jeans in selvage denim (Option – Billy Reid trousers in cotton twill or linen) with a Hamilton 1883 linen pullover (Option – Tupelo Grease Co. vintage soft tee). Finish this perfectly casual collection with a splash of color by sporting Ralph Lauren’s Tameron driver (Option – Converse All-Stars in original white). Assuming your destination affords the opportunity to beat the heat by immersing one’s self, toss in a pair of Original Penguin trunks (Option – Vilebrequin) whose classic cut and shorter inseam will perfectly accentuate the toned and tan physic you’ve undoubtedly spent the last several weeks perfecting. (Option – you’ll make some headway in reducing the golfer’s tan you’ve probably spent all summer reinforcing.) Reduce the glare off of the water, and disguise any unavoidable sideways glances at your host’s co-ed niece, visiting with sorority sisters for the weekend, behind a pair of Oliver Peoples Patton aviators (Option – Rayban Outdoorsman). Toss this collection, along with your dopp kit, into your Marc Jacobs leather duffle (Option – Jon Hart Design) and hit the road for more relaxing climes.

Speaking off hitting the road, enjoy the trip immensely while cutting a dashing and unique figure on the interstate by tossing that duffle into the shotgun seat of Porsche’s 2011 Boxter Spyder, an upgraded-on-all-points version of the venerable automaker’s most affordable option, now much more stylishly re-imagined with an obvious nod to it’s vintage brothers. (Option – early 1970’s Ford Bronco, with the hard top permanently removed.) Turn off your cell phone, turn up The Black Keys Brothers (Option – all of the Reckless Kelly on your ITunes) and let the wind in your hair and the sun on your face work away the stress like a $200 an hour, strong-handed Swedish masseuse.

Remember, no self-respecting Good Guy shows up empty-handed. For your hostess, a bottle of Patz&Hall chardonnay, perfect for pairing with fresh fish and crisp veggies from the grill (Option – Rombauer.) For your host, a handful of H. Upmann torpedos, to be shared over neat glasses of Highland Park 12 year old scotch and several games of Gin at a nickel a point, quarter a box. (Option – the aforementioned Highland Park.)

Inevitably, the evening must come to a close, probably before you are ready to call it a night. After the others have retired to their respective quarters, finish that last glass and close out an excellent evening with a few chapter of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (Option – Steig Larrson.)

To insure that your impromptu drop-in is appreciated by your hosts, rise early (ish) and get a head start on preparing breakfast – a simple spread of mimosas and fresh fruit will suffice, while eggs scrambled with fresh herbs and cheese, accompanied by crisp bacon, sliced tomatoes and avocados will leave a more lasing impression but require more clean-up.

Afterwards, simply make your goodbyes and hit the road early enough to ensure you haven’t overstayed your welcome. If you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll probably be back within a few weeks anyway.

As always, The Good Guy, pleased at the proposition of a few more weeks of summer but looking forward to cooler weather as well, welcomes your feedback.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Made in The Shades

Summer may be just about half way over, but that really means there’s at least another month and a half of beach trips, pool parties and patios in store for us all. And let’s face it, that hot god of a sun isn’t going to stop blasting us with it’s rays just because the calendar says the fall equinox is upon us. A solidly stylish pair of shades is a year 'round must, and this week The Good Guy weighs in with our pick of the best shades of summer 2010 – so far.

Anyone familiar with The Good Guy, and what it means to be one, is surely aware that trends may come and go, but true and lasting style is a precious and all-too-rare commodity. It’s true in every facet of fashion, and sunglasses are no exception. Our selection of the best Men’s Sunglasses of Summer 2010 is a testament to the durability of good taste, and in the lexicon of sunshade style, the classic aviator design stands tall to this day.

Revered for their adherence to “form follows function,” their traditional, time-honored simplicity receives a few subtle updates this season, from Tom Ford's Peter design, to the variety a materials and shapes in the latest Oliver Peoples collection. For our money (and literally, for the money) we still return to Ray Ban. With possibly the widest selection of aviator styles available, we laud the venerable Outdoorsman, whose shock-absorbing cross-bar and fully curved ear pieces make them equally suitable for big-game fishing off the coast, a day on the links or a simple, mojito supplemented sunset.

To update your look while sticking to a time-tested look with a little more flair, try Dior Homme’s tortoiseshell take on the aviator. With a nod to 70’s style, their gradient lenses fade to blunt the brightest rays while affording you a below radar peek at passing bikini bottoms. Departing from the aviator look altogether but still retaining more than a dash of retro cool are Burberry’s acrylic two-tone frames, adding interest and intrigue to afternoon and evening looks.

Taking retro style one super step forward (and back) is upstart brand Retro Super Future. Their hipper-than-thou W series, with more than a hint of ultra-mod, are the perfect for pairing with European cut clothing, or the now seemingly ubiquitous fedora. The colorful accents of their slimmer than typical take on the original wayfarer look will draw attention in a positive way those orange-tinted, reflective-framed, wraparound Oakley’s never will. We are looking directly at you NASCAR nation (but not you Richard Petty, you are still and truly the King).

As always, The Good Guy, secure behind the darkness of our polarized lenses, welcomes your feedback.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dog Days Drinks

With Historical References, I might add...

The dog days of summer are definitely upon us, when scorching hot days and simmering, sultry nights call for crisp linens, afternoons spent at the coast or poolside and evenings on a patio with a breeze, and of course, a cool refreshing cocktail in hand.

The Good Guy has dragged himself from a chaise lounge to give you the low down on a handful of classic summertime cocktails, sure to ease the oppression of the summer sun’s rays. And I’ve thrown in a little anecdotal history with which you can regale your friends as you mix, pour and consume them.

The Margarita

Probably the most famous and most copiously consumed of the summertime cocktails is the margarita. Although stories of its inception vary in many ways, they invariably reference a bartender in the early 1940’s, typically in Mexico City or Tijuana, who created the libation as a tribute to a woman named Margarita – possibly Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino. It gained national acclaim and popularity when Esquire magazine named The Margarita Cocktail its "Drink of the Month" in December 1953.

The Good Guy eschews today’s frozen, mass-manufactured recipes for this classic combination.
• Two parts Patron Silver tequila
• Half part Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or substitute with a couple of dashes of orange bitters for an even less sweet version
• One part fresh lime juice.
Combine and shake, pour over cracked ice into glass with salted rim.

And here’s another simple, unique favorite I often employ, especially poolside.
1 Part Tequila (almost any brand will do in this situation)
1 Part Frozen Limeade
1 Part Lemon Lime Soda
1 Part Beer (yep, Beer. I use Negra Modelo, but any Mexican brand, dark or light, will suffice)
Stir it all together in a pitcher and pour over cracked ice into a glass with a slated rim. Trust me on this one – incredibly simple and surprisingly refreshing.

Gin and Tonic
The Gin and Tonic, often referred to as a G&T, was introduced by the British East India Company in India in the 18th century. Tonic water contains quinine, which was used to prevent malaria. Because the tonic water of the period was extremely strong, making it taste very bitter, gin was added to make it more palatable. The bitter flavor of quinine complements the green Juniper notes of gin, much as dry vermouth complements the gin in a classic martini. Although tonic water today has less medical use, this classic concoction has remained a popular drink, particularly in the warmer climes.

A simple drink, and often an acquired taste, don’t over-think it.
1 part Tanqueray Gin
2 parts Tonic Water
Over cracked ice with a lime wedge

The Daiquiri
Technically, the Daiquiri can refer to any of a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, lime juice, and sugar or other sweetener. While any reference to the drink today probably calls to mind the frozen, fruity, paper umbrella-embellished monstrosities that no self-respecting Good Guy would be caught sipping, the original Daiquiri boasts one of the most manly pedigrees of any cocktail. Invented in the El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba near the turn of the 20th century, it was introduced a decade later to the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C. by an Admiral who had enjoyed the drink in Cuba. It’s popularity grew steadily over the next several decades, reaching it’s peak in the 1940’s when it was a favorite of both John F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemmingway. You can’t get much more Good Guy than that.

1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 2 limes
3 ounces of 10 Cane Rum
Stir vigorously with cracked ice and strain into a chilled, stemmed glass.

The Vodka Press or The Presbyterian
The story behind this drink is that non-drinking Presbyterians , tired of being derided for their tee-totaling ways, would mix equal parts of Club Soda and Ginger Ale in a highball glass, to mimic the look of the days most popular drink, 7&7. Over time, the refreshing nature of the drink, though not its non-alcoholic attribute, caught on and Rye whiskey was added, creating the original Rye Presbyterian, or Rye Press. Today the Vodka Press is a more popular, though often overlooked evolution of the same drink, and a refreshing alternative to the standard Vodka and Tonic or Vodka and Soda.

1.5 ounces vodka of choice
(The Good Guy humbly suggest the under-priced and underrated Monopolowa)
1 part club soda
1 lemon lime soda
Lime Wedge

An Ice Cold Beer
Seriously, what is better on a hot summer day than an ice-cold beer? Whether at the beach, the pool, the golf course or as reward from an afternoon of yard work, or any other excuse you create in order to enjoy a tall frosty one, there’s simply nothing more versatile, portable, affordable and refreshing than a cold brew – or 6.

In the summer months, stick to the lighter brands, and look south of the border for something to combine with a juicy lime wedge – Corona, Dos Equis, Sol, Pacifico and Tecate are all popular choices. The Good Guy prefers Carta Blanca, or the darker Negra Modelo when indoors. Or, pour a cool Blue Moon into a chilled pint glass and add a healthy sized slice of orange for a citrusy, wheaty diversion. (I’d be remiss here if I didn’t mention my personal favorite, St. Arnold’s amber. Not the lightest of beers, but with the perfect combination or bright and bitter – and packing a bit of a punch.)

So that’s The Good Guy‘s shortlist of summer cocktail classics. As always, The Good Guy welcomes your feedback, so feel free to send your favorite takes on these or other warm-weather favorites, or just put your two sips in.

And one more Cliff Claven-esque anecdote…
In the summer months, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that the heat of this brightest star, added to the heat of the sun, created a period of increasingly hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star, not Dogstar, the 1990’s grunge band which included bassist Keanu Reeves and also contributed to the unpleasantness of many a summer evening.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Primer for The Good Guy – Second Installment

More Random Notes on Living Life as A Good Guy

Buy a Suit – I know, but you’d be surprised…
Start with black, with a subtle chalk stripe – good for all occasions. Then, add a summer suit in some shade of khaki. Next grey, then navy, with varying patterns – like a grey glen plaid (redundant, we know) and a subtle windowpane in navy. Pay attention to details like lining and stitching. Stick to classic cuts, professionally fit and tailored, always in 100% wool (Super 120’s or better) – with no more than 3 buttons! With reasonable wear and care, they will last a very long time and you won’t ever have to worry about whether
it’s in style.

Then – buy a Tuxedo. Seriously.

Grow a full beard – once. Then, shave it off.

Learn to Play Poker
I don’t just mean learn the rules, but at least get a working knowledge of the basic strategy. And learn to play more than just the currently uber-popular Texas Hold ‘Em – add Omaha and Seven Card Stud for a reasonably well-rounded repertoire. Stay away from online play – the best part of the game is the interaction between players at the table, in and out of hands. Then, once you’ve gotten good enough that you’re winning regularly, and feel you’re ready to take on the pros – discard that notion immediately!

Start your own business – at least once. Good luck.

Drink Scotch
If you’re not already a scotch drinker, stay tuned and I’ll share a tried and true path to appreciation soon. Suffice it to say for now, a man should be able to enjoy a nice glass of scotch now and then, without grimacing. Cut it with anything from 2 cubes of ice, a splash of water or club soda with a lemon twist to maintain respectability on your part and integrity on the drink’s part. Try several varieties of single malts to settle on the flavor that suits you best. Bt – don’t be snob about it. There’s nothing wrong with a decent blended scotch at weddings, parties – anywhere the bar is open.

Fall in love – as many times as it takes.

Don’t be cheap when it comes to your shoes, and your sheets.

Don’t overspend on neckties or haircuts.

Respect Your Elders – simple enough.

Play an Instrument

The rudimentary ability to play just about any instrument will do wonders for your love life, and even earn you a modicum of respect among your peers, if displayed appropriately. I recommend the acoustic guitar. It’s affordable at the entry level, portable, and much like poker, simple to get a basic feel for, though you will probably never become a truly accomplished player. Start with G, C and D major chords, add E and A, then the E and A minors, and you know have the ability to play literally thousands of songs. Do not then become the guy who breaks it out at every gathering… “I gave my love a cherry…”

Have Convictions.

Be firm in them. And, know when it’s time to adjust them.

As always, The Good Guy – firm in his convictions, still welcomes your feedback.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Passing Time with America’s Pastime

The Major League Baseball season is more than half way through it’s first month, and The Good Guy is here to say that, regardless of your team’s standing, if you haven’t been to a game yet, you are running late.

Baseball, more than any other sport, is a truly American pastime – in fact, it’s nicknamed America’s Pastime, and named right up there on the list of all things American with hot dogs, apple pie and the hulking shell of a once proud symbol of American industrial might. But I digest…

Regardless of your thoughts on the game and it’s players and politics, you owe it to yourself to catch at least a few ball games this season. And if you’re among the uneducated many who claim that baseball is boring, and right alongside golf and grass-growing as one of the least exciting ways to spend and spring or summer evening, let me enlighten you with a few tips guaranteed to make the game go a little faster and draw a little nearer to your heart.

Celebrate The Details
It’s the nuances of the game that make it great, and the more aware of them you are, the more you’ll enjoy the game. Paying attention to things like first pitch strikes, overall pitch count, the history of certain pitcher/batter match-ups, who’s likely to steal and when – those are the tiny tidbits that can and will make the game riveting (OK, at times) to anyone with previously even a passing interest. Don’t have the time or desire to devour enough Sports Center or Baseball America to cram enough of these inane facts into your noggin – not to worry – they pay people to do it for you. And while a casual glance at the jumbotron should give you at least something to gab to your buddies about each at bat, the real pros have so much more to offer. Slip in an ear bud and tune your transistor to your local AM sports coverage for all you’d ever hope to know, and get (typically) top notch stats and color commentary throughout the game. Then, impress those around you with your startling knowledge of the second year utility infielder’s surprisingly high average against left-handed pitchers with men in scoring position after the 7th inning. (Or laugh to yourself hysterically at Milo’s inexplicable verbal listing of a dozen or so fruits he enjoys.)

Really want to delve into the details and get a true old-school understanding and appreciation of the game – keep a scorecard. Don’t know how – check out for instructions and downloadable, printable scorecards.

Change Your Seat to Change Your Perspective

Explore your stadium for new vantage points – and companionship – which may make the game more interesting and enjoyable. If you’re always in the good (read pricey) seats, check out the bleachers one sunny afternoon. A few innings of raucous beer swilling and hot dog scarfing with face-painted and shirtless masses may be just what the doctor ordered. Already a part of the afore mentioned tribe? Splurge for a top-dollar seat right behind the dugout or home plate, close enough to smell the grass and argue balls and strikes so that the ump can actually hear you. Just be aware that certain sections may have time-honored traditions that won’t be changed, and attempts to do so may not be appreciated – go with the flow.

Good Company Makes for a Great Game
While purists may enjoy whiling away an hour or three just enjoying the sights and sounds of the game, The Good Guy knows a little companionship and conversation almost always makes for a more enjoyable experience. The ballpark makes for a great date – though probably not a great first date. If nothing else, it’s a great way to find out who you’re dealing with - a gamer who’s up for anything once, or a diva who demands to be the object of attention at all times. Not into mixing girls into your guy stuff – we hear you. Spending time at the ballpark with your kid, your Dad, or Grandad is one of the greatest traditions of the game, and will give you unparalleled opportunities to gain and share life knowledge. Still not your idea of a great time? Grab 3 buddies and go. When all is said and done, going to a game is just like going to a sports bar, except the action is live.

Baseball on a Budget

Truth be told, attending a baseball is not cheap. With 24-year-old college degree-less kids earning upwards of $10 million a year, (for 6 months work no less) how could it be? However, compared to the same amount of entertainment in another venue, it can still be quite a value. For 2010, the average single ticket price is just under $27. The average cost to take a family of four (parking, 4 tickets, 4 sodas, 4 hot dogs, 2 beers and miscellaneous souvenirs) is estimated to be $195. And while that’s not necessarily chump change, it’s less than the cost of taking that same prototypical family to dinner and a movie, and unequivocally more valuable. Switch the occasion to a date, assume the alcohol consumptions goes up drastically, and it’s still a welcome change of pace from the typical dinner and a movie the current norm – at least for the single set - dinner and drinks, and you still have, if not a bargain, at least not a bad deal. With a group of 4 friends, splurge for the first round, which will probably set you back around $38 with tip, and as long as protocol is followed, you shouldn’t have to buy another round until at least the fifth inning. For the penny pinchers out there, but the third round, and it probably won’t make it back to you until after you leave the park and arrive at your next destination, at which price the average price of beer is typically cut in half. On top of all that, in today’s economy, teams are constantly announcing specials and promotions – subscribe to your teams website to be notified regularly. (Oh yeah, and be glad you’re not a part of The Red Sox nation, whose constituency typically pays closer to $335 for that family 4-pack.)

Games Within the Game

One of my favorite quotes, typically attributed to Ben Hogan, is something along the lines of “There is no activity that could not be made more interesting with the addition of a friendly wager.” My favorite way to spice up a group outing the ballpark is what my friends and family refer to as “The Doubles Game.” At the top of each inning, each participant puts a dollar into a hat or cup, and the pot is passed on every at bat. Whoever is holding the pot when a double is hit, wins it. This can put the holder in the unenviable position of cheering on the opposing team. It can also find you screaming for your guy to hold at second when it’s clear an elusive triple is in the offing. Change it up to drop in a new dollar at every half-inning, or award the pot only if the player recently arrived at second is wearing your home uniform – even punish the pot-holder if the opposing team hits a double while on his watch by having him match the pot! Other groups I’ve joined at times wagered on weather the ball, when thrown back to the mound at the end of an inning, will stay on the mound or roll back to the grass. There are doubtless many more ballpark bets. If you’ve got one, let’s hear it.

Regardless of who you go to the game with, where you sit or what you spend, make a point to do it once a year. If not for yourself, for America.

I’ll leave you with a few random ballpark Do’s and Don’ts.

• Wear a ball cap or a t-shirt with your home team’s logo - especially to an out of town game
• Wear comfortable shoes
• Get a bag of peanuts – from a vendor in the stands, not the concession stand, and have him throw it to you from at least a few rows away.
• Strike up a (friendly) conversation with another fan (of your team or the opponent)
• Stand up for the wave
• Cheer (Charge!)
• Let the ump know when he’s wrong (Boo!)
• Kiss your girl when the “KissCam” is on you

• Wear a ball cap backwards, or any way but forwards (unless of the rally variety)
• Wear a jersey with your name on it - who are you trying to fool?
• Wear a jersey with an actual player’s name on it - who are you trying to fool?
• Wear flip flops
• Be an obnoxious out of town fan
• Bring your glove to the game
• Boo your own team (unless they REALLY deserve it, and maybe not even then)
• Propose to your girlfriend on the jumbotron

For the record, The Good Guy is a die-hard, life-long Astros fan, and makes an effort to go to as many games as possible, but is happy as long as he makes Opening Day and the last home game of the season. As always, the opinions and information above are open to debate and interpretation, so if you disagree within anything said, let’s play ball!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flirting 101

This isn't the typical post from The Good Guy, but for those of you who asked, here you go...

Recently, CW 39 in Houston asked The Good Guy, accompanied by Houston’s own Dating Diva, Lori Geshay, to share some tips on Flirting, as part of their on-going series Dating 101. If you missed it live, you can still view the segment here.

Of course 3 minutes isn’t a lot of time, so here’s the info we originally provided the producers, based on their questions. Hope you enjoy.

Flirting Tips for Men

Be Yourself
Don’t try to put on a front and be someone you are not. Use your best attributes, such as humor, intelligence, etc., with out showing off. If you aren’t a good match, it’s best to find out now.

Be Confident
Put your best foot forward and be secure in who you are. Know you look your best. Smile and make frequent eye contact. But, know the difference between confidence and arrogance.

Be Respectful
Be polite, never pushy. Persistence is attractive, to a point. A subtle touch can lead to sparks, but don’t be all hands. Don’t flirt with women who are already on dates, and NEVER flirt with other women while you are with one.

Be Sincere
Tell her what you really think – as long as it’s appropriate. However, don’t just agree with everything she says if you don’t mean it. It’s OK to tell a woman you find her attractive, in the right way. However, “You are so hot!” is not the right way to start a conversation.

Be Observant
Notice the little things – eyes, shoes, jewelry, perfume, etc. Listen more than you talk, and above all else – remember her name.

Be Positive
Have only good things to say.

Be Original
She’s heard it ALL before, so stay away from pick-up lines. Don’t compliment her on the obvious – again, be observant and notice the little things.

How to Know When A Woman is Flirting With You

Is she doing any of the things listed above? Ie, eye contact, smiling, compliments, touching or other positive body language.

Quite frankly, if a woman says just about anything positive to you, from “What a beautiful day!” to “I like your shirt.” and displays any of the above behavior, consider that an opportunity to extend the conversation.

FYI - “You’re blocking the TV.” or “I’m just here with my girlfriends.” Is not an open invitation to begin a conversation.

As always, The Good Guy does not claim to be an expert - and moreover, acknowledges that everyone has their own style - so if you have something to add, please do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Apparently The Good Guy was right on target when we posted our Primer for The Good Guy a little while back.

In Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle’s new book Undateable, reviewed by Greg Morago in The Houston Chronicle this week, they run down a list of traits that will let a woman know right up front just about all she needs to know about a prospective date or mate.

Just a few examples they cited (which The Good Guy already told you were definite Don’ts) include Cell Phones on Your Belt, Crocs, Shaving Your Chest and Sideways Baseball Caps. Items we haven't even had time to get to yet include Soul Patch, Highlights and Taking Your Glove to a Ballgame.

Read Greg’s article for an expanded list of warning signs, or get the complete low-down when you buy the book.

Great job ladies!