Things My Father Taught Me: James B. Stewart

When I learned I’d be able to attend the university of my choice, my father familiarized me with the work of one of its most famous living alums, Mr. James B. Stewart, then front page editor of the Wall Street Journal. My father had a vested interest in Mr. Stewart. They grew up in the same town in western Illinois, one year apart in age. Though in their formative years they’d never met, years later, after meeting Mr. Stewart at an alumni event in New York, we arrived at the conclusion that he and my father had once been neighbors, and my aunts would occasionally look after him.

In the years that followed, he’s become a mentor to me, there with career advice or a critical ear. Also in that time, I’ve read almost everything Jim has written and always utterly in awe. And for his part, he has graciously kept me in mind when considering wardrobe updates, including, if I remember correctly, a lengthy e-mail exchange while he considered an upgrade to his eyewear. Eventually, he did settle on one of my suggestions: a classically styled tortoise shell frame.

He attacks life’s tasks with this level of care and precision. I followed along in 2011, as Jim, a classically trained pianist, delightedly participated in many areas of the production of Heart of a Soldier, an opera inspired by one of his more recent works.

Needless to say, to ask someone I consider a valued mentor to write about his father for my blog appeared at the outset to be too daunting. However, upon receiving his piece, I am glad I asked. After reading a bit about his relationship with his father, it’s clear his dogged pursuit of a job-well-done may have derived from his father’s attempts to encourage perfection: sartorially or otherwise.

And so it is without further ado, I share Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist James B. Stewart’s “Things My Father Taught Me.”

Things My Father Taught Me: Matt Hranek

Passionate, considerate, consistent, solid: four words to describe someone with whom I’ve only recently had the opportunity to spend some time, but someone from whom I’ve already garnered a wealth of knowledge. Photographer Matt Hranek, who writes the blog The William Brown Project, shoots straight, keeps it brief, and means it.

A little over a month ago, I was fortunate to spend a day with Matt in Chicago, driving around in borrowed Alpha Romeo. Stopping at some of my favorite spots in town, the conversation bounced around a lot: cars, art, music, girls, wrist watches, local politics, archery, booze, career advice, and mostly a lot of talk about our families. This is a guy who has a passion for life and a life of many passions.

It’s with much pleasure I share Matt Hranek’s “Things My Father Taught Me.”

Things My Father Taught Me: Liza Corsillo

In my mind, Designer and Illustrator George Corsillo looms large in his legend. Upon first hearing stories of him relayed from his sons, Emil and Sandy, I became an instant fan. Since that time, I’ve followed along through his kids, and now, thanks to Instagram, through his own photos, as he’s demonstrated a voracious appetite for design, for family, for life. To be a fly on the wall at Christmas in the Corsillo household, watching as they admire one another’s mind-blowing wrap jobs, would be a true joy.

Here, his daughter Liza, an accomplished illustrator in her own right, shares some thoughts and lessons learned from her dad.

Things My Father Taught Me: Carolina Mariana

When I asked Carolina when she learned to use a camera, she replied with excitement, “My father taught me.” Intrigued, I asked if she still had any of her dad’s old photos. That’s when she showed me the pictures she shares here taken by a young man, curious about the world around him. As I looked at the photos, I realized, Carolina is a lot like her father. She lets her photos do the talking. And what beautiful things they have to say.

Things My Father Taught Me: Alex Beh

Though Al and I have been pals for more than a decade, it was only about five years ago that I first met Holmes. Yes, “Holmes.” They all call him “Holmes.” Some people are “Dad.” My dad is just “Dad.” You look at the guy, and you say, “Obviously, a dad.” You look at Alex’s dad, and you can’t help it. He’s a “Holmes.”

Not five seconds into meeting Holmes, he and I were talking about my dad’s 911 Targa. And from then on, Holmes was showing me one car or another, a man obsessed. He wore a Ferrari belt buckle to his daughter’s wedding for cryin’ out loud.

A piece centered on cars, I made sure to highlight all the mentions of automobiles – color, make, model, and sometimes the year. Alex’s father talks like this, as does Alex. They’re obsessive. It’s the family business.

Terrapin Stationers

TS Bloodhound 3

Thanks to the work I’ve been able to do with Basil Hayden’s this year, I was finally able to spend some time visiting Terrapin Stationers’ Ted Harrington and my old pal, Heather Pieske — you may remember her from the Baja Fish Taco Party.

TS Bloodhound 1

Read the story of the bloodhound business cards.
Here is a full album of photos from my visit.

TS Bloodhound 2

Extra special thanks to Christine Mitchell for illustrating the bloodhound.

Be sure to check out Terrapin Stationers for more of their great work.


Early on in this blog’s life, I wrote about Apolis. In fact, one fateful evening, I met Shea Parton from Apolis, Ryan Huber from Context Clothing, James Wilson from Secret Forts, and Chris Olberding from Gitman Vintage. That meeting lead to lasting relationships with all four and many fortunate experiences.

However, until earlier this year, I’d never been afforded the opportunity to visit Shea and brother Raan’s shop on Traction Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. Thankfully, the good folks at Basil Hayden’s provided just such an opportunity, and it was great to see Raan and catch up on all things Apolis. Head over to Whiskey…. Among Other Things for more of my visit.