Satchel Paige

107 years ago today, Leroy “Satchel” Paige was born. A baseball legend unlike any other, tales of his fastball, called “The Midnight Rider,” loom as large as the largest in the game’s history. Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, he began his career playing for the Mobile Tigers “at a dollar a game if attendance was up and a keg of lemonade if it wasn’t.”
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Imagine: How Creativity Works

“How do you teach grit?”

“It’s a great question. We don’t have a good answer yet.”

It was the only question remaining at the end of his hour-long reading, and he couldn’t answer it (though he still provided a ten minute response about the concept of “grit”).

Last Wednesday, at the Chicago Public Library, New York Times’ best-selling author Jonah Lehrer hosted a reading of his latest book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. He spoke for nearly one hour, quoting large swaths of the book virtually from memory.
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Newman’s Own

“Me in this business is just part of life’s great folly. Stay loose, men, keep ‘em off balance.”

– Paul Newman

“There are three rules for running a business; fortunately we don’t know any of them.”

– A.E. Hotchner

Recently at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, several celebrities gathered for an annual benefit meant to raise money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps which were built to provide a camp experience to kids with terminal diseases. Started in 1988 in Ashford, Connecticut by Newman’s Own partners, the writer A.E. Hotchner and the actor Paul Newman, over the years, the camps’ benefit has seen performances from everyone from Kevin Kline to Meryl Streep, Big Bird to Baryshnikov. “What we had in mind was a kind of revue entertainment, using a few of the children along with Hollywood and Broadway stars” said Hotch in his book In Pursuit of the Common Good.

A.E. Hotchner and Paul Newman

Hearing this news, I leapt with excitement. In the past couple weeks, I re-read In Pursuit of the Common Good and Paul & Me, two books penned by fellow St. Louisan, Mr. Hotchner. Alongside his pal, Mr. Newman, the two turned a salad dressing they made as Christmas gifts into a multi-million dollar company, Newman’s Own. Rather than pocketing these funds, the founders and now successors of Newman’s Own famously give “all profits to charity.” Reading these books inspired me to write about the direct impact the charitable efforts of Newman’s Own had on my own life, and to explain how I would like to, in some way, give back, too.
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Esquire: The Style Blog

“Nobody likes the whites, but we’re going to Cuba in August.” – Lt. Sam Weinberg, A Few Good Men

Kurt Soller, Style Editor at Esquire’s The Style Blog, invited me to debate one of the more pressing issues of our time, whether to wear white after Labor Day.

My dueling partner, an equal foil, was one of the inspirations for All Plaidout, Mr. John Tinseth of The Trad.

Thanks John for the conversation, and thank you, Kurt, for the opportunity.

For all the Blogger Showdowns, visit The Style Blog.

The News is All Plaidout

Recently, I contributed more than my five cents to Barneys New York’s The Window. It’s part of a series they’re calling Personalities.

In the same week, Chicago’s outpost of Refinery29 listed me among the city’s “cutest bloggers.”

Thank you to Emily, Jessica, Jessica, Kim, and Shani. It truly made my day to be featured on your sites.

Hickory and Lessons Learned by Joe Gannon

A spring windstorm late last year removed the top from a tree ten feet from our house.  The house was spared from damage.  The tree was dead where it stood.  Though handy in the woods, I’m not one that can identify a tree based on bark and shape alone.  I need leaves to make my arboreal diagnosis.  The topless trunk sat idle all summer, into fall and winter, before I thought it time to rid the yard of his threat.  A good friend gave me a hand at dropping the 100 foot by 3 foot diameter telephone pole shaped spire.  He showed me how old timers used gunning sticks and cutting techniques only a surgeon could appreciate to drop trees on top of hats.   I needed to just avoid two “good” trees and the kids’ tree house.  As two nervous, albeit excited, little ones watched through sliding glass doors from the safety of the living room, I managed to drop that tree exactly on the spot.  The log thumped heavy on the ground.  A faint echo of the saw and a waft of 2-stroke held in the air as my buddy remarked, “That’s a hickory. Good luck splitting that…[Read more…]