Archive for December, 2010

The Island of Misfit Ties

December 14, 2010

Kind of a lot to get to here, for a Monday post to the blog. Which reminds me…all I want for Christmas is for someone to come up with a new word for ‘blog’. Anyone?

Who's the dummy in this picture? Yep, red bow tie.

Lee, Mee, Trideep, Douglas

I mentioned that I was awaiting pictures from my visit to an open house at Lee Allison’s studio. They had food, drinks and of course, ties for sale. I had to add to my Christmas collection, and I even picked up another on clearance for 2011. Lee, who started his company in ’95 (here’s a history), and his business associate, Trideep Das, are simply great guys. Could not be any more welcoming.

Many times along this journey/project, I have heard stories from men who say something along the lines of “Oh, I used to wear ties all the time, I have So-and-So-Hundred Ties, but I don’t wear them anymore.” Psst, so give them to me… Anyway, rare is the chance that I meet someone who has more ties than me, AND makes me want to trade collections. The ‘Douglas’ in the pictures is Douglas Cole, a fellow dandy (RIP Dandy Don Meredith, by the way), who owns OVER 200 BOW TIES! He says that’s all he wears anymore. Pair that with his sah-weet handlebar moustache, and I gotta party with this Milwaukeean. Kinda did, actually, as the margarita Lee & Trideep were serving was rather mind-altering.

When I told him about 100D100T, Douglas said, “There’s another guy who’s doing something similar…Momentum of Failure?” I said, “Yep, we’re following each other’s progress!” Love that.

Last week, my cousin, Elizabeth Brehm (brief CV: Friday Freebie winner, married to GWT alum, Timothy Brehm) sent me a picture of her new bambino, Evan, in some garb that makes him a brand new BWT (Baby With Tie). Too cute. Thanks, E!

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming…

Giva us a Kissa

My gift Tie du Jour comes from far, far away. Diane brought back this tie from Korea…it’s very sparkly. Not sure if you can see the small diamonds attached to the flowers. Oh, I’m sure they’re real. The brand is Kissa, which I assume is Korean (really, Brooke! how’d you figure that?).

Last night, I accompanied my friend Paul Hletko (yep, GWT alum AND FF winner) to the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center for some city council action on his new Evanston distillery, Few Spirits. Caught a couple of new GWT, of both variations.

Ladies first…my friend Tanya Noble is an Evanston police officer in charge of problem solving. She was on hand, in full dress blues, with several of her comrades to receive recognition for an award the EPD has received from a national association of police chiefs for one of her neighborhood plan. Yes, that is a dark blue tie in there. Way to go, Tanya! I’m sure your joining the elite Girls With Ties category ranks up there with your award.

On to the Guys version of the GWT…the city’s parking director (and former cop) Rickey Voss was resplendent in his striped tie. He said it was almost time to break out the Christmas ties (I, too, am breaking out the Xmas box).

Misfit ties

And, finally, I snapped Assistant City Manager, Marty Lyons, in his Christmas tie. A more detailed shot is warranted here, as we see, from the bottom, Rudolph (the Red-Nosed Reindeer), Hermey, Santa Claus & Yukon Cornelius.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Ready, Aim, Tie-re

December 13, 2010

Ah, just like the old days of high school. Waiting until Sunday night to do my homework. Good thing I enjoy 100D100T more than Calculus, Civics and English.

Tie-related Saturday night activity: Went down to Bucktown to stop by tie-maker Lee Allison’s studio for some Christmas cheer, shopping and margaritas. I’ll have some pictures on Monday’s blog, hopefully.

Apparently this post will be owed a couple of bits of collateral by Monday’s, as I failed to remind Chip to send a picture for the 10th.

However, I am happy to report that Friday’s TdJ was photographed in its original setting, and will in fact be published today. So. Happy.

Oh, deer!

The Tie du Friday is from Field Gear, and features a couple of deer, looking off into the distance. Presumably, as this is a hunting tie (given that there are ducks shadow-sewn into the yellow fabric), there is a hunter looking into his own distance. Presumably, this hunter is looking through a scope, ready to break this couple up by ripping a bullet through the ribcage of this 9-point buck. This was the 4th tie of 5 in my mystery package. Oh, how I wish that mystery tie donor would present him or herself. Don’t be shy.

And, given that this is the season of giving (and partying, and buying, and traveling), I passed this tie along to my friend (and GWT alum) Todd Paul. Todd is an avid hunter of all the creatures represented on this tie, and he was pretty excited to be able to wear it in Mississippi over the holidays. Happy hunting, buddy.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Can’t spell ‘O Christmas Tree’ without T-I-E…

December 10, 2010

It feels easy to stick to the Christmas carol lyric theme in my quest to annoy the world with my tie puns, as ‘Christmas’ contains 66.666667% of the letters used to spell ‘tie’. But, ’tis the season, right? And this was a perfect time to work Ernst Anschütz‘s 19th century (thanks, Wikipedia, I don’t know what I’d do without you) ditty into my blog.

I have always maintained a healthy respect for December 9th. For some reason, its being the last single-digit day in December (yes, every year it is!) meant something. I once broke up with a girlfriend on December 9th, and declared that it was far enough away from Christmas that we didn’t still need to exchange gifts. Unfortunately I declared this only to myself and was left scrambling to a nearby shop when she, a couple of weeks later, declared she was on her way over to deliver my gift. In the sitcom version of my life story, the gift will be 5 Beef Jerkies (with one half-eaten) and a Cosmopolitan from the local convenience store. ‘Tis the thought that counts.

Anyway, Julia and I were able to finalize the tree selection process on the 9th, trading ‘Faux Tannenbaum’ for a lovely Scotch pine just in time to beat the 9th deadline. Now, instead of finding storage space for a phony, I just need to find it for my brand new tree stand. Pictures to come after we decorate this evening…

My Tie du Jour was gifted to me from friend and Chamber member Joe Smith. This is mayhaps the 4th or 5th tie of his that I’ve worn; he presented me with a bag of 7 or 8 ties one day, declaring that he just didn’t wear them much anymore. A true gift that keeps on giving, especially to a guy that wears a different tie every day. So, Tie No. 181 (maybe even 182, wow) is from Bill Blass, their Black Label line. It reminds me of fish or raindrops. And thus ends the symbolic portion of 100D100T.

Chip, version Dec9.0

My main man Chip comes through with his next holiday tie. Before his contributions are over, I need to find a picture that I have with Chip from the summer of (maybe) 1988. He and I were Scarabs, the protective detail of the Queen of Cotton Carnival. His sister Kim was the Queen, and by protective detail I mean we wore tails to 35 parties in 10 days and, um, imbibed our, um, derrieres off.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

TiEs: Titanium, Einsteinium & Co.

December 8, 2010

Thanks to my 6th-grade knowledge of the periodic table of elements (and a quick confirm online), I am able to come up with a scientific subject for today’s post. According to smarter people than I, Einsteinium has no known compounds, so my Titanium-Einsteinium dream may only be a reality on the sun, or someplace hotter than Illinois.

Well, now that I’ve got the periodic table up, I can have some fun with with it. My name (S-Au-C-I-Er) would make up a compound of sulfur, gold, carbon, iodine, erbium. Yes, that ranks up there with one of the gooberiest things I’ve ever done. Erase!

Van the Man Heusen

So, what got me here was gold. My Tie du Jour is a Tie d’Or. Quite apropos for the holiday season, I must say, and ’tis a gift from the mystery package from last week. The third in la collection mystérieuse, the TdJ is from Van Heusen, which, according to their website can only be found in their outlet stores (and various resale shops). But, it is an eye-catcher, and I liked picking up the small flecks of gray (British translation: grey) in it with my gray shirt.


I’d like to demonstrate here that I can indeed use my brain: I’d like to present Chip Crain’s next holiday tie, on time and without forgetting for a day or three. Wheee! Using your noggin’ is FUN!

It was 30 years ago today…one of the coolest ever GWT, John Lennon, was killed in 1980. I wasn’t quite eleven years old, and barely knew what it meant for the world to lose him so early. And I realize there are about a billion or so people out there who are probably bigger Beatles fans than I, but it’s strange to think he was 41, the same age as I am now. Not to say that he would definitely have changed the world or my life in it, but you never know what he and his opinions could have managed in the internet age.

My friend Jenny passed along some great pics of some quilts that have been crafted out of ties. Here are a couple of my favorites. Couple equals three today, apparently.

Thanks for reading…Brooke (the dork)

Christmas Tie Is Here…

December 7, 2010

…happiness and cheer / Fun for all that children call / Their favorite time (tie) of year.

My absolute favorite Christmas carol. Well, except for maybe “Little Drummer Boy”, especially when performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Don’t believe me? Check this video out…even though neither of them is wearing a tie.

Before I forget again (and I don’t have the Flexeril to use as an excuse these days, so this is just the 40s creeping up), I would like to catch up again on Chip Crain’s ties. He’s my friend from Memphis who has enough holiday ties to wear one a day from December 1 thru Christmas Day. He told me that this one on the left was a perfect Monday tie. Oh, Chip, you’re no Scrooge (she’s no longer in your life, I believe)! And here on the right is my playing catch-up (catsup?) and getting back on track.

To use Troy Aikman’s favorite line, “I gotta tell ya”…these ties from Chip, and these gift ties that I’m wearing, are really getting me into the Christmas spirit. Diane and I went through and separated some of our holiday decorations this past weekend, and I thought it would be rather depressing. Au contraire, mon holiday frère…Julia had a great time, figuring out which ornaments she wanted at Mommy’s house, and which ones she wanted here at the Flat. It was so cute I didn’t even get a hint of sad (that’s probably a stretch–she was doing much better than I).

Then, I found out one of my best friends from home, Mark Mesler, will be traveling up here with his family right before the holidays, and I’ll be able to hang out with them for a good portion. And, I found out that, when Julia and I fly down to Florida, my brother Grant and his wife Mo will be on our same 2nd leg. We’re going to surprise Julia…I love being a dad, especially this time of year.

Mr. Beene (not the funny one)

Anyway, let’s get to my own Tie du Jour. It’s one of the three ties I received from Margaret Gergen, the Manager of the North Shore Retirement Hotel, after speaking to their Open Forum group. It’s a lovely Geoffrey Beene, not exactly Christmas-y, but with this red you can get away with wearing it on any holiday. Well, except maybe for Halloween. Or Easter. This would be a great July 4th tie (and a save!)…

Thanks for reading, and happy holidays…Brooke

4-Lane Tieway

December 6, 2010

Injury update: Many thanks to the well-wishers in the past month. I have definitely turned several corners towards recovery, as I can go nearly all day without feeling any twinge whatsoever in my neck. The headaches are mainly gone, and, as with the neck spasms/cricks, arrive with a minimum of discomfort, relative to the pre-Thanksgiving wince-makers.

Again, I turn to a gift tie, the 2nd in the mystery pack sent to me last week. La cravate mystérieuse numéro 2. Voilà. Like Friday’s cmn#1, this is definitely of the vintage variety. It is wide. Thus the subject referring to a highway, as in, this tie is wide enough to drive on. Car or moped is up to you. From the house of Beau Brummel, its red square pattern on a field of blue brings to mind a patriotic board game, somehow. Or a patriotic arcane arcade game, like ‘Pong’ on acid. Not sure if either of those analogies will make any difference whatsoever, in your world, your life or mine…I guess that’s just the late-night meanderings of someone who is about to cut this blog post short.

Alors, thanks for reading…Brooke

The ties of Texas are upon you…

December 6, 2010

Editor’s note: For some reason, I first published this last week as a page in WordPress, not the usual post. What the difference is between page and post, and how I accomplished that feat, is not within the realm of my intelligence to decipher.

Editor’s second note: You can’t spell ‘editor’ without T-I-E.

Using the alma mater song of the University of Texas (the other UT, remember) was quite the easy choice for my tie-pun-subject. What I was hoping was that one of the lyrics in “Deep In the Heart of Texas” went along with it. My ulterior motive was to show this clip from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, where our hero must prove that he is indeed in the Republic of Texas (the only state that can legally secede from the union). Mission accomplished.

All of that to get to our Tie du Jour, from deep in the heart of Texas. Yes, Neal Pearlman, half of your dream has come true! I wore a bolo tie! Now if I can just find an ascot…but I think I have a line on one. Then I’ll just need to learn how to tie it…AND get invited to a regatta or a country club board meeting.

My BTdJ is a gift from my dear friend Janet, who you may remember (from this mid-July post) is the one who gave me the interesting series of gifts (in case you’re wondering, interesting = heart-adorned boxer shorts and red velvet handcuffs) on Valentine’s Day during our time together teaching pre-school at the appropriately named School for Little Children. Janet’s daughter goes to Baylor University, down in Waco; on the way home from visiting her daughter, Janet decided to bring me back a little souvenir for my tie project. I do love it so…Thanks Janet!

I was finding it hard to choose a work-day outfit that was apropos for the bolo, so I chose one of my Leadership Evanston days to sport it. It went well, until my fellow classmates decided to, um, take the lead in creating a new nickname for me, based upon my cowboyesque gear for the day. The winner: Best Western. Thanks, Miro. Hope your Mudlark play, “This Is Just To Say”, is a success this weekend.

After picking up some leadership tips (and getting towed–grumblegrumble) during the day, I took Julia to the Merchant Mingle, hosted by the Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, or CNSCVB, for short, Thank Gawd. While Julia shopped happily, I was able to recruit a GWT for the ranks. Raphael, an administrator at the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, attended the event with his girlfriend Bridgette Schnider, a friend who is an amazing artist. When her website is redone, I’ll put some of her design work on this blog. Amazing.

One more little nugget about bolo ties…every year, during my Christian Brothers High School orientation assembly meeting, Mr. Waff or Brother Adrian would run down the dress code. One of the rules was very curt: No Bolo Ties. Someone (and I think it was the same person every year) always…ALWAYS…asked what a bolo tie was. Every year I laughed, and every year I hoped that it was a tradition that lives to this day. Someone should always ask a school administrator what a bolo tie is. Always. Thank you, you’ve been kind.

Thanks for reading, y’all…Brooke

It’s fun to stay at the Tie.M.C.A.

December 6, 2010

I didn’t actually stay there, but I did attend a play on YMCA property this evening.

The Mudlark Theater company, which puts on plays in the YMCA Auditorium, is an Evanston organization that provides a theatrical experience for youths. The program contained their mission statement, and while I’m pretty sure it was much more eloquent, I’m absolutely sure that they provide more than merely theatrical experiences. It’s just very late, and I’m not in an expounding mood. That’s why I put the link on there.

Perhaps I am in an expounding mood. Today I spoke with Jim Davis, the Artistic Director of another theater company, the Next Theatre. They end their ‘theatre’ with ‘re’, which is the British way. Metre, spectre. mothre-fu*kre, you know the drill. I had originally written ‘Mudlark Theatre’ above, and on the link, but had to change it so that it went to the correct website. I’d like to change my mind on the expounding statement from the prior paragraph and expound on this: Is any board time wasted on which way to spell a theatre/theater company? I’ll wager that there is, and I’ll wager that there have been board members who have left because of it.

Maybe I should go to sleep. I will savour it.

After a decent night’s sleep that has taken me well off the loopiness of 1:30am, This Is Just To Say was indeed a fun play, and its cast included a lot of Julia’s friends (she went with me; I try not to attend children’s plays without my 9-yr old chaperone). My friend Michael Miro directed the performance, and his vest/tie combo gets him to GWT status. Mike’s in my Leadership Evanston class, and I may need to borrow his cool purple tie. I’ll give it back, Mike, I swear.

Upon my bi-weekly trip down to the mailbox, I was welcomed by a package that contained a Title Nine shopping bag. Contained in that Title Nine shopping bag was not a great-looking sweater from Title Nine, but 5 ties. All very very different from one another. The donor very obviously had been reading the tie blog of the donee, and knew that resale ties of many fabrics, persuasions and hue were what he liked. The donor, or donoress, is, however, a mystery. No name written on the package. No name written on the Title Nine bag. After thanking folks for getting me up over 10,000 page views for 100D100T, I find myself thanking the person who gave me the ties (all 5 of which will be featured during Gift Tie Season Month). Thank. You.

Proceeding on to the Gift Tie du Jour, or Cravate Mystérieuse Numéro 1. It has no brand tag, but it is very obviously a vintage strip. One small tag remains, and I’m just not sure what it means. Where it says ‘All Silk’, that is pretty obvious, but then it goes on to declare “Weighted up to 35%.” Hmm…more mystery. No biggie, but it’s a great tie–plenty of texture, which I dig.

On the Tie du Thursday (my bolo adventure), I forgot to put my friend Chip’s second Xmas tie, so now I’ll put ChipTie Nos. 2 & 3.

Red shirt = Xmas fun

Speaking of Christmas ties, my roving 100D100T photographer, Mother Version (i.e. my Mom) snapped this shot of Jim Shepherd, General Manager of the Santa Rosa Beach Club, down in my parents’ neck of the woods.

And we have a new cat-egory. Get it? Cat? My friend, and bow-tie-o-phile, Dan Murrell sent this in. Yes, someone fashioned a tie onto a kitten…I presume it was not Dan. And the only thing better than one cat with a tie? Two of the cute little buggers. Don’t say I didn’t get you anything.

Thanks for reading. Meow…Brooke

Butterties in my stomach…

December 2, 2010

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) — “The Mourning Cloak, with its yellowish border and brilliant blue spots, is a majestic sight to behold. In contrast, when resting on the bark of trees, the Mourning Cloak’s dull underside provides an excellent camouflage. When added to the powderized wings of the Mourning Cloak, the blood of the Mourning Cloak can be free-based, producing a trippy high that can enhance the hell out of a sexual experience or a Grateful Dead show, man.”

All but the last sentence of that description can be found in the packaging for my Tie du Jour. The latest Gift du Month was a special gift to me, from my friend Jonathan Liss and his wife Kristen. Kristen, it seems, is a thrift store treasure hunter like myself. She spotted this Buttertie, brought to us by Ralph Marlin & Co, at an area resale shop. They were nice enough to purchase it for me a couple of months ago. As I had already been through my Bow Tie Fortnight, I’m glad that I found the vehicle to show off ties that were gifts to me. The aforementioned Mourning Cloak is the featured butterfly…ain’t she beautiful?

This evening was chock full of events–our quasi-regular Lawyers, Guns & Money (“the shit has hit the fan!”) networking group, held at The Cellar, was preceded by a Wellness event at Saint Francis Hospital, entitled “Let’s Move Our Numbers!” The guests of honor were Jerry & Estella Hayes, who won The Biggest Loser‘s At-Home Challenge a couple of years ago. A bit of an oxymoron, no? The Biggest Loser winner? Jerry lost 177 lbs, while Estella lost 83. I had the chance to meet Jerry, who was quite proud to tell me that he’s gained back only 2 pounds, as he nibbled a carrot.

While there, I was fortunate enough to have two Matts join the ranks of Guys With Ties. Matt Trewartha is the aide to Robyn Gabel, our newly-elected 18th District Representative to the Illinois House of, well, Representatives.

The other Matt is Matthew Moy Johnson, who is the VP of Marketing & Development at the McGaw YMCA here in Evanston.

And, finally, I consider this to be a great gift: I believe I mentioned my friend Chip Crain would be wearing a different holiday tie every day between today, December 1, and Christmas Day (December 25, doy). We have the first one, and it’s a good one. Christmas trees and snowmen, you just can’t get any better than that. When I realized that Chip was emulating my tie-photo style, I asked him to send a shot that showed his face. He claimed that I would lose readership if his face was on here. Chip, you are a fine & distinguished Southern Gentleman, and I am honored to have you, in your Irish national soccer team jersey, on my blog, and I will be so honored for the next few weeks to put your brilliant collection of ties alongside mine.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Can’t spell “Martini” without T-I. You’ll have to buy the E from Vanna White…

December 1, 2010

…which you can’t spell without T-I-E. Is Vanna still turning letters? What a career…how many words has she actually spoken on-camera?

We passed a big hurdle today on my second day of honoring gift ties that have come my way: I actually remembered that I was honoring gift ties that have come my way. Score one for the brain! And so soon after that miserable Flexeril made me so stupid (OK, I know some of you are saying, “You mean, more stupid?” Cut it out.)…


My Tie du Jour was given to me well over ten years ago. Diane introduced me to the martini during our courtship (“Brooke, meet the Martini. Do not drink more than two of these in one evening.”), and found this hand-painted tie for a birthday or Father’s Day or something. The label says “Do not drink more than two…” Just kidding. The label says, “Handpainted by Siobhan. Bozeman, Montana, USA.” Alas, Siobhan of Bozeman does not seem to be Google-able. I really like the blue background color on this tie, and of course the martins* and olives are perfectly funky, too.

*by the way, that’s not a typo. My parents and brother have called martinis “martins” for years. Creative, yes, I know, but that’s what we do, we Sauciers. Here’s another cocktailing tidbit about the Sauciers: They have called Mondays “Martini Mondays” for quite some time now.

Let’s see, we have some fun extras today…where to start, where to start?

Ah, yes, a great fellow is one of the newest Guys With Ties member: Mark Schroeder, Director of Community Relations at Evanston Hospital (one of four hospitals in the NorthShore University HealthSystem) was one of my hosts today, along with Sean O’Grady, a member of the Chamber’s board (aaaand himself a fellow GWT alum).

This evening I went over to the Lorraine Morton Civic Center, to show support for my friend (aaaand GWT alum) Paul Hletko, as he continues his quest to open a distillery in Evanston, the home of the prohibition movement. A movement which, gladly for our purposes, died about 80 years ago.

While there, we attended a zoning meeting with Dennis Marino, the Assistant Director of Planning with the afore mentioned City of Evanston. He said he’s usually a turtleneck guy, so we caught him on a good day (for me).

Along the wall leading into City Council chambers are portraits done of our mayors over the years. I snapped a couple of MWT (Mayors With Ties, of course). I forgot to get the name of this one, but I liked that his moustache is as big as his teeny-tiny bow tie.

I did, however, get the name of this fella. William Dyche was a mayor of Evanston who had served as Business Manager for Northwestern, and had led the campaign to raise bond funds to build Dyche Stadium. The Northwestern football team played there until 1995, when, in a flash, the stadium was razed and rebuilt in a matter of moments! It was then named Ryan Field in honor of Patrick Ryan, who raised funds to perform this engineering miracle.

Thanks for reading…Brooke