Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer Wardrobe Edition...Starting from the Top!

Often times, I get inquiries from subscribers from near and far about what the properly dressed gentleman should be wearing this season. Most of the time, I just say, "How the Hell would I know and why are you asking me?" On the other hand, watching some of the comings and goings of recent male fashions, I have decided I should take my rightful place as a male fashion trend setter. I've had enough of other people making fools of themselves with poor taste in fashion - its high time for me to come out and take the lead on this subject.... I'll start at the top.

Starting at the top, no gentleman can be fully dressed without the proper chapeau, fedora, or to make it simple for you are less aware of gentleman's need a good hat. There are a number of options here but there are some basic requirements. For summer time fashion, a hat must;

  • be cool in the hot summer sun

  • make a bold statement about the gentleman's personality, and

  • look cool and sophisticated for the ladies.

Obviously, comfort in the summer is a priority and this rules out all the fine felt fedoras, Stetsons, and my favorite the Kangol Wool Beret. While these can set a fine tone on winter occasions, they could easily cause a heat stroke in the hot Texas summer sun. Hell, they might even cause a heat stroke in the Michigan summer. I am ruling these out - fashion should never completely over rule safety and comfort in attire.

Now in terms of summer head wear a lot of my buddies go with the basic baseball cap. To be honest, these things have "BUBBA" written all over them. I mean, what kind of fashion statement does it really make when you're out there sporting your bright green cap with yellow letters that advertises John Deere Tractors. It may be true that "Nothing Runs Like a Deere", but nothing will run off a sophisticated babe faster than one of these John Deere Caps. The last statement is not true, dipping Copenhagen Stuff will run women off faster than you can say "Let Go!". (The last two statements are not always true, if you are from Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, or some parts of Northeast Texas.) Still basically, unless you plan to have a date at the local farm supply - leave these things at home. See picture at right, Glenn Goodnight in his "courtin clothes".

This brings to mind a couple of thoughts about Alabama. Huntsville, Alabama is said to have the most PHD's per capita of any city in the world. This is in large part because of the significant Redstone Arsenal and other governmental scientific efforts that surround the area. Furthermore, Alabama - has been the site of numerous developments that have helped mankind for decades. The first toothbrush, was actually invented in a little town called Arab, Alabama. Had it been developed anywhere else, it would have been named the teethbrush.

Still thinking of Alabama....(their state slogan is "Thank God For Mississippi", "otherwise we'd be on the bottom of everything)".....Tragedy has struck the state of Alabama in recent times. As most of you know the governor's Mansion caught fire and burned to the ground a month or so ago...fortunately, they were able to save the rest of the trailer park.

Sadly, this all comes at a time when Alabama was stuggling to overcome the effects of Hurricane Rita - which struck near Gulf Shores, Alabama causing over $20 million dollars in improvements.

Excuse me, but once again I have digressed. Our subject was proper gentlemanly attire for the summer season, and we were focused on starting at the top with proper head wear. We've covered comfort...and we've at least listed some of the do's and don'ts in terms of style. Why don't I just give it to you straight.....the must have head wear for stylish gentlemen and ladies this summer will be Panama Hats! Damn right, Panama Hats!

Before you rush out and try to buy a nice Panama - it would help to have an understanding of the history and significance of the Panama Hat. First off, for those of you who are geographically challenged, Panama, is a country in Central America. In fact, here's a you a little test - where is the Panama Canal located??? You got it....Panama. NOW let's make it a little tougher.... Where does the Panama Hat come from......_________. You got it...WRONG....the Panama hat actually comes from Ecuador. Yeah...that was a trick question.

So if the Panama hat actually comes from Ecuador - how come we call it a Panama hat? Well actually there are three primary reasons;

  1. First, like many other 19th and early 20th century South American goods, these hats were shipped first to the Isthmus of Panama before sailing for their destinations in Asia, the rest of the Americas and Europe. For some products, the name of their point of international sale rather than their place of domestic origin stuck, hence “Panama hats.

  2. Secondly, during the building of the Panama Canal, U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt and other international dignitaries were photographed sporting these fine hats as they inspected the progress being made on creating the Panama Canal. This spread the Panama's reputation globally.

  3. Finally, "Panama Hat" just has a nice ring to it that Equadoriaquito Hat.

So there you have it...that's how these beautiful hats got their name.

Here's a picture or two of some of the many notables wearing Panama hats this year.....

Sean Connery

Bonnie Prince Charley

celebrities at the KY Derby

But before you rush out and buy just any old hat that looks like it might be a "Panama" to start your summer wardrobe, here's a few tips from the fashionista Old Uncle Mikey on getting a quality panama.....

The primary criteria in evaluating the quality of a Panama quality is by the density of the weave. A low quality weave would be "100 fibers per square inch", while a superfino or ultra fino weave might have up to "1400 fibers per square inch." According to a study done in 2007, there are less than 15 living craftsman in Ecuador who can create the super - ultrafino weaves. These babies may not be around long. (see picture at Texas buddy Big Ike Sporting a high dollar superfino Panama at the Kentucky Derby) As you can see, Ike is not from Alabama.

So here's my first fashion advice for summer.

  1. Run out and get yourselves the best Panama you can...while you can.

  2. Send me a picture of you, your significant other, your friends wearing a stylish Panama

  3. I'll post them here...on the prestigious "Let Go Journal"

  4. I'll send you an invite to my Panama Hat party on Labor Day 2009.

Of course, you know I'll be going in style and I'll be hoping to see all of you.

All the best,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Look Out Michigan...We're Moving In!!!!

Big news this week here at the office of the prestious Let Go Journal. Effective next week, we'll be operating from a new headquarters near Detroit Michigan!!! Yep, that's right, Ole Mikey is heading for Mo Town, and to tell you the truth - I can't wait to get there.

I'll be working as a consultant to my old friends at xpedx, Sheridan Books, and possibly Ford Motor Company and I could not; I repeat "COULD NOT" be more excited. I want to thank the good folks at xpedx, for having the confidence to bring me in, expecially during these tough economic times. For those of you who know me and have worked with me in past, I think you know I try on every assignment to do a GREAT JOB, this time I am more determined than ever to make my clients successful. I especially want to thank Bryce Spencer and Dennis Walsh for their confidence in me, and for working so diligently to help me get a contract. As I said before, spending money in this economy is a real leap of faith; and I swear I am going to pull out all the stops to do a great job and make money for my friends and customers.

A side benefit of this opportunity, is the Michigan Summers. Bob Seeger, a cornerstone of Rock and Roll and a native son of Detroit, sang about Michigan summers.....referring to them as the Sweet Sweet Summer Times. After having the opportunity to work there last summer, you know Bob was right! I am currently trying to figure out how to get my motorcycle up there. I think I'll just have it shipped.

I've got a few little issues left to take care of here at the Memphis office; but I think Nance and I can handle them. We put the house up for sale at rock bottom (barely above foreclosure) prices. And Nance has got the joint looking great; If any house sells at all in Cordova, TN. it will be 969 Lycomedes. The price doesn't bother me at all, this is about getting on with the next chapter of our lives - and right now the house could be an anchor if you let it. Other than that, we are going to have my Mom take care of the Schnauzers for a while, while we get settled. We've got to find an apartment - or some kind of place to live - but we are excited about that too.

All in all, we are starting a new chapter of Letting Go. I can't wait to get back to work with my buddies in Michigan!!! The Journey Mobile is packed and will be rolling tomorrow and all weekend on its way to Michigan!!!!

All the best,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Financial Planning - Part I

Recently, I have received numerous complaints from regular subscribers to the prestigous "Let Go Journal" about the lack of new articles. Several have even threatened to cancel their subscriptions. My editorial skills have been somewhat stifled by interuptions for financial planning, real estate adventures, and getting my summer wardrobe laid out. I'll explain these in order. Once you understand, the complexities of the first two issues, you will understand why I have been so remiss in writing and started to focus more on my summer wardrobe.

Let's go ahead and start with financial planning. Knowing that I am a Certifed Public Accountant, many of you may have expected that I have a well thought out financial plan for retirement. Actually, this is not the case. My plan has been to work and try to save some money. So basically, when you retire from IP they send you to a really good financial planner. So here's how that goes.....

Financial Planner: So, Mike, what are your long term financial goals?

Me: My long term financial goal has always been for my last check to bounce.

Financial Planner: Seriously, Mike, what are your goals?

Me: I was serious, but if I need to add more detail, I'd like to have food to eat everyday, a roof over my head, and enough spare change for beer.

Financial Planner: OK, Mike let's approach this another way. How much was your annual income at International Paper?

Me: It was a pretty big number - I think. $xxx

Financial Planner: OK, good. Now we're getting some where. You'll need 60% of that to live on when you retire.

Me: How'd you get that number? I think I'll only need 30% of that.

Financial Planner: Laughing.....I got my number based on statistical information, how did you get your ridiculous number?

Me: First, when I was making that big salary at IP, the government took about 35% of it in social security and taxes. 100% - 35% = 65%. So for starters, I was only getting 65% of the money that I worked for anyhow. Secondly, to work at IP, I have had to own two houses, one down in Texas and one up here....that cost me another 20% of my salary. So now I am down to 45%. Finally, I have been putting savings away of 20 % of my salary for the last 10 years. That takes me down to 25%. I guess, that my figure was wrong. I really only need 25% of my income that I had at IP. If I go ahead and pay off my car - I'd only need 20%.

Financial Planner: Most financial planning experts say you need a minimum of $2,000,000 in the bank to retire.

Me: How did they get that number? I don't know anybody who is retired that has that kind of money.

Financial Planner: Mr. Roberts, are you trying to be difficult?

Me: No, I am trying to understand. How do most people retire if they don't have the $2 million?

Financial Planner: Some of them have to work till they croak. Some of them only have social security. Some of them have to live with their children.

Me: Yikes, I don't have any children. I guess, mi casa es bajo el puente.

Financial Planner: What does that mean?

Me: I learned it from some of my Mexican friends; it is Spanish, it means "my house is under the bridge."

Financial Planner: Damn, Mexicans - you know the illegal immigrants are part of the problem with health care.

Me: I'd advise you sir, to lay off talking about my friends; unless you'd like to see how good your dental coverage is.

Financial Planner: Ok, let's change the subject. Now about Medical Coverage.

Me: OK. I guess we finished the first part?

Financial Planner: Let's just say, we'll come back to that. What about medical insurance?

Me: Well, I have got Cobra right now.

Financial Planner: That will only last 6 months, then you'll need affordable medical insurance.

Me: That would be nice.

Financial Planner: Do either of you have any pre-existing conditions?

Me: Well, I don't. But Nancy has a vascular problem.

Financial Planner: Sorry to hear that, Nancy will be uninsurable.

Me: How come?

Financial Planner: She is too high of risk, and the insurance companies don't want to have to pay for all of the surgeries and medical care she may require.

Me: How convenient, they offer insurance to me and I don't really need it - Nancy really needs it and can't get it. Maybe this is why some people say there is a health care crisis.

Financial Planner: Well, you should be thankful we don't have socialized medicine like up in Canada. You have to wait weeks for treatment.

Me: You're right, by God. We don't have to wait here for treatment, since we know we aren't going to be able to get it or afford it. Maybe someone will realize that all Americans need affordable health care.

Financial Planner: For now I'll try and get you on a group policy. Let's move on and talke about long term care.

Me: OK, what about it?

Financial Planner: Well if, heaven forbid, you have a stroke or something like that, LTC would cover you for up to two years.

Me: Heaven forbid is right!!! So I get to go to a nursing home and drool on myself and crap my adult diapers for a couple of years. And you're company would be kind enough to pay for it. What happen's after that?

Financial Planner: Well then, maybe Medicare or Medicare would take over.

Me: Nice. So I can keep on drooling on myself and crapping in my diaper - and the government gets to pay for it. That's somewhat satisfying, don't you think.

Financial: Probably. Mike, we all get old and we have to prepare for it.

Me: I think Nancy and I are going over to Bass Pro and complete our financial planning.

Financial Planner: Bass Pro doesn't do financial planning.

Me: I think they have everything we need to cover us - at least on Medical Coverage and Long Term Care - you know "we all have to prepare for when we get old" and I think Bass Pro is our best bet".

Financial Planner: How do you figure that....

Me: They sell very nice Colt Pistols; I think 45 caliber should do the trick. We'll get an extra box of shells. All together - we might spend $1000. Then when we get too old and sick, we'll just bust out our Colt 45 and finish the job. By the way, the people at Bass Pro are a lot happier and enthusiatic about life than you Mr. Financial Planner. Let's go Nance, maybe we'll pick out a nice fishing boat while we are there.

Financial Planer: Well at least you'll want to check out our "Last Will and Testament Services" and our burial policies.

Me: and the horse you rode in on!!!

Coming soon, summer wardrobe edition.

All the best,

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