Archive for January, 2011

Tie Blood Pressure

January 18, 2011

Adding to Friday’s putting me one day closer to 50 (over 8 years away, but, still, it’s looooming), I was prescribed Lisinopril, a multi-syllabic medicine for a multi-spastic BP rate this morning. The little pamphlet at Dr. Fred’s office told me what my poor veins are going through, so I guess it’s time to take the load off. And, shoot, I thought it was because my heart was so strong. So, yes, here begins the daily pills routine, and hopefully I can avoid one of those plastic boxes with the days of the week imprinted on each little lid. But, if not, you’ll know what to get me for my birthday. Something in jade, with gold-leaf lettering, will suffice.

The Tie du Jour that I sported whilst being informed of my necessary lifestyle changes is great fun, perfect for a casual Friday. The main color scheme is gorgeous, and its chain-link motif catches the eye. Unfortunately, my eye was not caught when I took this picture, as it looks like there was a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. Nice shot, Mr. Focus.

And thus endeth Paul Fredrick Week. We had a great run, a lot of folks commented on these 5, in person and virtually. I still have 5 left from my generous bounty (5 + 5 = TEN TIES, by the way) from Angela and the gang at Paul Fredrick. Let me know which of these first 5 you liked best, if you get a moment. And, if you’re looking around for a tie for that special someone (who wears ties), click on that link.

I picked up a couple of good Guys With Ties pix over the weekend. Always nice to get an alum to re-pose, and here’s Peter Reinhart, neighbor extraordinaire. One of his best HS buddies, Jason Anderson, was my college roommate. Contrary to the belief that might come from looking at this (and his prior) GWT photo, he does smile. Quite often.

Whilst having a pre-party drink at Celtic Knot Saturday evening, their neighbor Pascal Berthoumieux dropped by. He is the propriétaire of Bistro Bordeaux, a wonderful French place on Church Street. The food is wonderfully traditional, and the service is superb. And, heck, their owner can put an ensemble together, n’est-ce pas?

Later, at the aforementioned party, which was for my friend Jon Lippitz’s pending nuptials, his buddy George (dangit, he told me his last name, but I forgot…I blame those pre-party drinks) sported this striped tie. He’s the owner of the Palace Grill, down on Madison Avenue, in the shadow of the United Center. Great breakfast, great atmosphere, and you may end up sitting next to your favorite Blackhawk.

I’m writing this on Monday, and even though I went into work, I didn’t wear a tie. Here, I’ll put in a picture of a guy who wore lots of ties, while doing generation-altering work. Martin Luther King, Jr. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? How many people could have the courage to do everything that he did? To say everything that he did? All of it knowing that a good percentage of the gun-owners in your immediate vicinity would likely point them at you maliciously. While looking over the MLK photos available, I was not surprised to see that 98% of them show him in a solid black tie. Most of the pics are B&W, too, so I chose this one because it shows a bit more vibrancy in his tie selection. I should have worn a tie; on MLK Days from here on, I will.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Raise the Tietanic

January 15, 2011

One can never pass up the chance to allude to a Clive Cussler adventure novel featuring hero Dirk Pitt, esPECially if it gets made into a feature-film-cum-vehicle for Jason Robards and Ann Archer. Well, at least that’s what my grandma always told me.

Back to dry land for the 4th installment of Paul Fredrick Week. I simply must mention again how cool it was that Angela from Paul Fredrick offered to send some PF ties to me, along with encouragement and support for 100D100T.

These ties have been fantastic…as I have mentioned in prior posts, you can really tell a quality strip by the way it knots. All of the P-Freddies just ease into their knot (that may sound stupid to the uninitiated, which you can’t spell w/o t-i-e, of course), and they stay knotted.

The Tie du Thursday is a beauty, with its brown/tan base and multitude of textures. Perfect for my meeting with Michelle Leighton, from the Title Nine corporate office in the Bay Area, as I tried to sell them on the idea of bringing a road race to Evanston with their new downtown store. Pretty sure it won’t be the tie that closes the deal, as we had a big local assist from Barb & Peter, at the Hilton Garden Inn Evanston; and Craig, owner of Precision Multisport.

Little Multicolored Dress

So, here’s how my brain works (or doesn’t)…earlier this week I got a blog shout-out from Anna, aka Little Green Pixie. She’s one of the friendly neighborhood baristas at Other Brother Café; she and several others have discussed 100D100T with me, and she mentioned that she was crafting a dress out of ties. When she said that she was using mainly paisleys, I brought her some of my AWs (Already Worns). Not sure if any of my strips made the cut (little sewing humor there)…maybe on the back. Thanks, Anna, for sharing!

I’ve held off mentioning this for a few days, but we’ve had an interesting week at Chamber HQ. Our Executive Director, Jonathan Perman, resigned after 19 years at the helm of SS EvanstonCoC. What it means for me is as yet unknown; but, if I do interview for the position, I’ll be sure to pick out a good tie.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

One if by land, tie if by sea…

January 14, 2011

There has been a sea change: 100 Days, 100 Ties now has the power to get people together. After GWT alum Greg Clarke’s suggestion, we put together a little Mad Men Guys With Ties Happy Hour (and a half) at Pete Miller’s. Good fun.

Before I get to the photos of the festiviTIES, I’ll get to the third segment of PFW. As you know, this week is on Paul Fredrick (I know this link takes you to their tie page, but you should check out their other stuff–custom dress shirts, suits, even cufflinks), thanks to their reading. My Tie du Jour, made in Italy, is a bit special. The fabric, the texture, the tie-ability…all top-notch. This intricate pattern is a design that I do not know, but…I like it. It may be my favorite of the bunch…(TEN TIES!)

Okay, picture time…some Girls With Ties, too!

Leslie's Zipper


Let’s start with the barkeeps, who made our night (and drinks, Manhattans and Martinis, mostly) pleasurable. Leslie had an interesting tie…besides the fact that it was all black and hard for my crapiPhone camera to pick up, it had a zipper that tightened it around her neck. I’d never seen one of those.


Also at the bar was Sile (which is pronounced “sheila”–Gaelic, I believe she said). Her tie had no zippers, clasps, buttons, fasteners, staples, safety pins, widgets, Monday, Wednesday, Dasher, Dancer, DDT or unnatural flavors.

My co-host Greg Clarke (how could I NOT get a pic of Greg?!) brought a neighbor, Pat Turner, who brought a fine strip to the proceedings. Welcome to the GWT fold!

Here we have a new category. GWSTLT–Girls With Scarves Tied Like Ties. My very good friends Sara Wade & Raegen Ross were kind enough to tie and pose.

Of course, mandating the wearing of ties to any event is difficult, so I brought along a handful of the Already Worn. Lawrence Neisler and Rebecca Berneck add a nice touch to their already nice outfits, don’t you agree?

In addition to not taking a pic of Greg, I also failed to snap another GWT alum who attended, Pat Kelly. Pat also brought me a great tie, with nautical flags adorning, that will be better worn in spring.

After the MMGWTHH, we strolled over for a meeting of the Evanston Entrepreneurial Lab. They probably haven’t had that many ties there in quite some time. Here’s Rebecca again with GWTMTO (GWT Many Times Over), Paul Hletko.

Oh, and what the heck, here’s a rare shot, above the tie, of yours truly…I’m the one that doesn’t look like Paul Hletko.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tiemon and Garfunkel

January 12, 2011

A keyword for the Tuesday: Paul, as in Paul Simon (the bow-tied Senator AND the singer). Paul McCartney. Paul Prudhomme. Paul Fredrick.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, God’s creatures and various alien beings (the giraffe is both, right?), it is still PFW. That’d be the Paul Fredrick Week for the uninitiated and/or unenlightened. As I mentioned last week and wrote about on the Blog du Monday, I received a package from Angela at Paul Fredrick. In it were (and I can’t help myself from exclaiming this) TEN! Count ’em! TEN TIES! An unbelievable show of generosity, and support for the blog. OK, so no more reminders this week.

Why, yes, that is my B-League championship racquetball trophy over my shoulder...

Yea, verily, on to the TdJ. As will be the case for the rest of this week, and for 5 other times in the future, this is a Paul Fredrick strip. It’s just a classy striped tie, off-white and khaki with blue chain pinstripes between. Something I love about it, and I’ve mentioned this with other ties, is that the large stripes’ textures go in different directions. Some genius textiler figured this out (and I’m sure that genius is a machine now), and I appreciate this. One of the few instances where my crapiPhone camera does its job and captures the true colors. In this case it even enhances it. Well done, iPhone!

I ran into Geoff Winthrop today in my building, which also happens to be his building. Geoff is a partner with Acquirent, an incredibly successful outsourced sales company that is really making a name for itself. I hope to learn more about them in the future. Plus, Geoff wears cool ties, like his partner/GWT alum Joe Flanagan.

And we have David Greenwald, a fellow Lincoln School4th-grade parent, who just couldn’t hide is stunner of a blue striped tie under his winter gear. Come on, spring! Get here soon!

I mentioned this yesterday (haha, fooled ya! it was really 30 minutes ago that I wrote about the Tie du Monday), but on Wednesday there will be a happy hour (or the ever-popular happier hour and a half) at Pete Miller’s in Evanston. Wear a tie to the Mad Men Guys With Ties event…we’ll be there from 5:30 to 6:30pm, and all are welcome. We may even bandy about ideas for the Tie Exchange.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Once upon a tie…

January 12, 2011

…there was a boy who lived in a 3BR 2BA ranch house with many modern amenities such as a garbage disposal and a climate-controlled wine cellar. He ate 42% of his vegetables, 71% of his complex carbohydrates, 84% of his proteins and 98% of his dessert (“Fruit salad is NOT dessert, Mom!”). His favorite color was green, his eyes were brown, and yet his room was painted blue. His parents brought in a total of $158,554 in before-tax income, and each drove a foreign-made vehicle from the 2008 model year. The boy grew to become a man, he married, got a job, divorced, remarried, had children, started a business, retired, returned to work because his ex-partner married his ex-wife, reretired, saw his kids graduate and marry, and died.

I’d like to think that that above tale proves that sometimes details aren’t necessary. Over the holidays I read through some of my old blog posts, and I realized that I basically stopped giving details about the ties. I used to be better about describing the color of the tie, and where I got it and stuff like that. Oh, I still do that sometimes, but it just seemed that no one wanted to know about the umpteenth purchase from Unique Thrift Store (oh, but you will–just the other day I discovered a trove of some really, um, unique looking strips) or wherever. As I launch, with Tie No. 201, the 3rd century of my tie project, I wonder how the next segment of the blog (yep, still hate that word…almost as much as ‘webinar’) will compare.

Sorry, mindless thoughts being unnecesarily thought out loud. On to the TdJ at hand!

As I mentioned, it is officially Paul Fredrick Week! PFW! PFW! Come on! Shout it with me! PFW! I was honored to receive ten ties (I still need to shout it–TEN TIES!) from Angela C. over there, and I am proclaiming that honorariness by wearing five of them this week. The inaugural entry for PFW [hold your applause] is a great-looking blue tie (yep, back to the describing) with small circles that look like heads with ski hats on them (made me think of the South Park kids, azzamatteroffack). Tough to pick a first out of the amazing selection (you’ll see), but this is the winner. Thanks again, Paul Fredrick!

On Monday and over the weekend, I wasn’t able to rustle up any new Guys With Ties, but I was able to snap a shot of Chicago Blackhawk legend Stan Mikita. Now the first-ever HGWT (Hockey Guy With Tie), he and fellow legend Bobby Hull were being interviewed following the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Blackhawks’ prior Stanley Cup championship, back in 1961 (yeah, yeah, I know you can do math). I actually love this paisley number…not enough to fight –and lose–him for it, but I love it.

Speaking of Guys With Ties, my friend Greg Clarke (GWT alum) and I are quasi-hosting (‘quasi’ = we ain’t payin’ for your drinks) the first Mad Men Guy With Tie Happy Hour, or the MMGWTHH. It’ll be held at Pete Miller’s in Evanston from 5:30-6:30 on Wednesday evening, January 12 in the 2011th Year of our Lord. Girls and boys, come on out, but the guys HAVE to wear ties. I’ll try to remember to bring a few for the slackers.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Can’t spell “Bicentennial” without T-I-E…

January 10, 2011

Yes, yes, I know that technically a bicentennial is meant to mark the passage or completion of a second century. But I thought it was  a good word to celebrate Tie No. 200 in my increasingly misnamed 100 Days, 100 Ties blog. No parades were held, of course, but it does amaze me to recall when 100 seemed far in the future. It also amazes me that I have more than doubled my tie collection since that mid-March day when I began. I will easily have enough ties to make it ’round to March 16. Ye gods.

Cloud 209

I thought that it was appropriate that Tie Two-Hundo reflected something that I had gained over the course of the last nine months. The Tie du Jour is from Lee Allison Company, which, you may recall, is located in Chicago. I met Lee and his colleague, Trideep Das, last summer, and have had the privilege to hang out with them a couple of times hence. I got this strip at their holiday open house (along with their fantastic pink Christmas tree tie–O Pinkenbaum, indeed), and just really fell in love with its blue hue. That it is festooned with cloud-driving angels seemingly delivering covered trays of food just adds to its specialness.

We have added a new Guy With Tie to the fold. Alex Perry is the VP of Membership & Marketing for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He’s basically my counterpart at the state CofC, and has a much bigger territory (and slightly different mission) than our little Evanston. It was great meeting him and learning about his special Brooks Brothers tie: Only 185 were made (he has 175/185), and the list of other owners includes Bill Clinton and many that I forget.

A repeat GWT was snapped Friday evening: Ted Perez, a newish friend who is trying to open a brew pub in Evanston, toasts the opening of a special cask of beer at Prairie Moon.

Speaking of Guys With Ties, my friend (and GWT alum) Greg Clarke and I will be co-hosting the first Mad Men GWT Happy Hour. It’ll be this Wednesday, January 12 from 5:30-6:30 at Pete Miller’s in Evanston. Channel your inner Don Draper (or Joan Holloway–women are, of course, invited) and wear a great tie to support a great cause. What’s the cause, you ask? The Winter-Blahs, my friends. Oh, and if you don’t wear ties to work, don’t worry; I’ll bring a few extras.

I will end this post with a link to a commercial that has very little to do with ties, except that two of the participants (the singers) are wearing them. Please note that one is tied several inches too long, and the other way too short. The rest of the ad is just mind-blowing in its unintentional comedy level.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

A sad day…

January 7, 2011

As I had my January edition of my Leadership Evanston sessions today, I decided not to wear a tie all day. However, I did don one for the evening’s event. Unfortunately, it was for a memorial service.

My good friend Claudia Rosario Hammond passed away last week. Wife, mother, sister, artist. Tonight, her husband Eric made it quite clear that we were doing the right thing by celebrating her life, rather than mourning her death. She will be missed.

Tie No. 199

I would love to dedicate the Tie du Jour to Claudia. It is a simple black tie from a company called TBA. I realized something, looking at Claudia’s artwork, placed around the chapel at the funeral home: I should have worn my most colorful remaining tie, not funereal black, to celebrate the vibrancy in her life and her art.

Rest in peace, Claudia…Your friend, Brooke

Deputy Barney Tiefe, sex symbol

January 6, 2011

Today is about the Barneys. Not the Benjamins, the Benedicts or the Bradleys. The Barneys.

Lucky for you and all the world that Barney the Purple Hallucinative Extinction doesn’t wear ties, or else I’d have to put him on here. But we do have a BWT (Barney With Tie) in our midst…Barney Fife, aka Don Knotts, Mayberry’s (2nd) finest. Which begs the (tied up in) Knotts question: did Mr. Furley wear ties on “Three’s Company”? Nah, that looks like a scarf to me. And a toupée.

So, we’re sticking with the Barney theme, and, thankfully, bumping up the style notch about twenty-fold as we get into the Tie du Jour. Wow, this is Tie No. 198…No. 200 will be here on Friday. I’d best prepare.

Anyway, back to bumping up the Barney scale. My TdJ, a stunning rust-colored strip with orange and blue flowers, is from the work table of H. Huntsman & Sons Ltd. Sold at Barneys New York originally, I picked up this beauty at the Wings Resale Shop in Niles, and I’m fairly certain that I purchased it at a discount.

The fact that I found such a great tie–nice brand and in perfect shape–leads me to believe that I should start some sort of tie exchange. There are so many guys out there who have mentioned that they have a bunch of fantastic ties that they never wear any more. While it’s great to get one new tie, getting 5 new ones (new to you, at least) is even better. Those new ties would make a bunch of your shirts look better, and you could make them last just 5 days, or a few weeks.

What I’ll do is try to get people to send ties to me. We’ll assign points to them, based on label, condition and general style level, and I’ll send different ones back. Oh, it’ll be more organized than that…there’ll be a website, with pictures and the like, and you can choose 1 or 2 ties that you want shipped back to you (the other 3 will be chosen randomly). Not sure how I’ll get you to pay for the shipping, but we’ll work it out. It’s on the brain, loyal readers…on the brain. Can’t spell ‘resolution’ without T-I-E, right?

Well, gosh-damnit, thanks to Jenny, a very observant observer, I apparently missed a couple of BWTs.

We have Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser, MD. Rethrust into fame as the womanizing Barney Stinson on the TV show How I Met Your Mother, NPH is looking suavé as evér.

Then we have the slightly more non-fictional Barney Frank, U.S. House Representative from Massachusetts’s (yeah, like that word needs another syllable) 87th congressional district. Actually, it’s the 4th District, I just wanted to throw some fiction in there. What is not fictional is that his collar looks like shit.

From non-fiction, we go to animated. Barney Gumble, the drunk (well, drunker than Homer) from Mo’s on The Simpsons. He usually doesn’t wear a tie, but I believe this rendering of him has a pink one on. Unless that’s his tongue. But it’s not. Good thing Mo is sporting a tie, too.

And then we stick to the animated genre, with a BW/OT (Barney Without Tie). However, he hangs out often with his best friend, who does wear a tie (or maybe it’s a foulard) while they are getting into prehistoric adventures.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

U-G-L-Tie, you ain’t got no alibi…

January 5, 2011

Not every tie in my collection is flashy. Nor is every one particularly good-looking. But, since I’ve made the pledge to wear them all, I need to get busy on sporting some of the uglies. Yes, I realize that I did have Ugly Tie Week, even though 3/5 of the UTW ties were well-received. But, you just have to know that, next to some of the gorgeous ties on the rack, some of them just seem so…plain.

Speaking of well-received, I received a package in the mail. Angela and the rest of the gang at Paul Fredrick sent me TEN TIES! How amazingly generous can you get. And, they are, quite simply, beautiful. I can’t wait to wear them all. In fact, I’m going to wear half of them next week, as it will officially be designated PFW–Paul Fredrick Week.

Now for the blasé Tie du Jour. It’s from Kenneth Gordon, and it’s…plain (the ellipse adds to the plain-ness, don’t you…agree?). For the conservative set, I’m sure it’s lovely. I hope you can see the texture in the shirt, which is a little more spectacular than your run-of-the-mill oxford cloth (I try to give a little extra effort in the shirt department, with my more staid ties at least). I can’t remember where I got this one…it may be a strip that’s been in my family for years. Just not sure. I don’t think it would have been purchased from a thrift store, as it or its label wouldn’t have stood out very much.

Oh, well. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tieals and Tribulations

January 5, 2011

Some numbers for your reading enjoyment. From March 16 through December 31–a period of 290 days (if my counting is correct)–I wore 195 different ties. I obviously destroyed the original premise of my blog project, wearing 100 different ties without wearing the same one twice. I had some rough patches getting a few hundred words onto my wordpress interface about 4.5 times per week, but the good, fun writing spells were more than I needed to get me through these nine-and-a-half months.

When I began, I owned a little over 110 ties. I also believe that ties, as inanimate objects, do not procreate or multiply, nor do they partake in a casual shag while awaiting their turn for bloggish fame in my closet. It is quite obvious that I have a problem now, and I don’t know how I am going to stop. This morning I counted 52 ties remaining on my tie rack(s), which will–ready! aim! calculate!–take me north of 240. And, a package is allegedly on the way from Paul Fredrick which could increase my number even more.

And so that brings us to the ties of 2011. The first of that group, Tie No. 196, makes for an honorable beginning, seeing as it was probably created way back in the 1900s. Probably just the 70s or 80s, so it’s not THAT old, but still. The tag says the brand is ‘Comandini’ and that it’s from a shop/studio at via Frattina, 83 in Roma. That link is for the amazing Google map street view, which virtually takes you right to the very corner that this tie was designed (provided, of course, that this address on the tie isn’t just a marketing ploy). Dare to believe.

She's not wearing a tie...or a bra.

I can’t believe it took me this long to insert this little nugget of pop culture in here. A little quote in the movie “Caddyshack” mentions ties, fairly prominently. Ty Webb, Chevy Chase’s character, is being picked up by Lacey Underall, who ponders the age-old question, “Would you like to tie me up with some of your ties…Ty?” So, now my ignorance of such a monumental movie quote has now been fixed. Thank you, Lacey; thank you, Ty. And RIP Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield, while I’m at it.

Thanks for reading…Brooke