Inspired by an email I got today regarding the sentiment of “it’s not whether you win or lose…” I was reminded of David Lee Roth’s now famous quote from an awards show sometime in the 1980s: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how good you look.” The reminder sent me down a rabbit hole, starting with the gems produced a Google image search of “david lee roth,” coupled with listening to old Van Halen albums in the process. What did I learn? David Lee Roth was a really fun rock star with an inimitable style.
In this episode of the podcast, I also discuss the onslaught of comments produced by a piece I wrote about riding a bicycle without a helmet (“So I Don’t Wear a Helmet. Get Off My Ass,” May 30, 2013). Along with some great comments on the piece, both agreeing and disagreeing with my point of view, my approach to this hot-button issue apparently inspires some really low-grade, badly-spelled and poorly punctuated vitriol. I’m fine with all opinions that differ from my own or those of my readers. But I draw the line when commenters use internet anonymity as a license to be a crude asshole. While the internet at large is a wonderful and democratic medium, georgehahn.com is not a democracy. Commenters are guests in my house. Any disrespect or simple bad manners aimed at me or, most importantly, my readers goes unrewarded, unpublished and unseen.
Aside from that… I’m loving the summer season so far, and I hope you all are, too.
It’s Bike to Work week, with the official Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17. This means more cyclists on the streets of New York City, which we love. And hopefully, after NYC Bike Share officially launches later this month, we’ll have even more people getting around the city more efficiently.
After tweeting out some photos to promote the idea and perhaps encourage and inspire city guys to get on a bike, some followers posed a couple of important questions about getting and arriving to work on a bike with their style unscathed. Here is my video response…
Dressed for work, I pedaled at a leisurely pace up a very busy 6th Avenue at the height of the congested work day. I wanted to see how hard/easy/fast/slow the bicycle felt as a legit way to commute around midtown. Even though there is no protected (or even designated) bike lane on 6th or 5th Avenues in midtown, I managed to blow past cars stuck in traffic, getting where I needed to go, without breaking a sweat in my lowest gear, observing all traffic signals and cycling with courtesy and respect. We all know that bicycles create a minimal physical footprint and a non-existent carbon footprint, unlike cars or, especially, SUVs. On the bike, I’m getting to my destination more efficiently, inexpensively, in a better mood and several calories lighter. The car-in-the-city model is expensive, dangerous, spatially inefficient, impractical, dirty and broken. With the population of New York City expected to increase by another million in the next couple of decades, the time is ripe for change if NYC is going to catch up to other European cities as a more livable city. Better buses, better subways, better bike lanes = better city living.
After a witchy winter, spring has sprung, including a little flirtation with 80º F earlier in the week. With the warmer weather come shorts and flip-flops, about which I have some definite feelings I express in this episode. And though I did enjoy the time with my partner-in-crime at this year’s New York International Auto Show, I discuss the vanilla experience of the show overall, which exhibited fleets of boring-looking luxury cars, stripped of all character and sex appeal and in desperate need of design CPR. Also on my mind, and on the radar of media/entertainment reporters lately, is Aereo, a brilliant (and affordable) service that provides live broadcast television over the internet to computers, iPads, iPhones, and the Roku. It’s a beautiful disruption to the stale broadcast and cable subscription models that has networks and cable providers really pissed. And finally… just when you think you’re going to learn something new in a magazine or on a blog about getting the perfect shave, just remember: you’re not. It’s all been said before, and there is nothing new to say or learn. (But it won’t stop me from writing my own “definitive” piece on getting the perfect shave. Stay tuned for that nonsense.)
Thanks for listening!
“Love’s Theme” by Barry White & The Love Unlimited Orchestra – iTunes | Amazon
AMC just released a stunning set of promotional photos for the coming sixth season of Mad Men. In the gallery below, the color set depicts the cast at a black tie affair, and the black and white images capture the gang in day-to-day business kit.
As the story moves further into the 1960s and closer to the 1970s, it’s interesting to see the progression of the hair, makeup and dress on the women while the men remain, for the most part, largely unchanged in their sartorial choices. As I’ve argued on this blog, the timeless, trend-proof suit has been somewhat locked since the dawn of the modern suit in the late 1950s, with minor fluctuations (and major misfires in judgment) in widths and lengths over the decades. Surely we’ll see ties and lapels start to get wider in this season, and, as far as grooming, we might see more sideburns start to drop, like Pete Campbell’s in the photos.
Season 6 of Mad Men kicks off with a special two-hour premiere on Sunday, April 7, 9/8c. It looks like Don & Co. will be making 1967 look awfully good…
All photos by Frank Ockenfels for AMC.
Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley), Betty Francis (January Jones), Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm), plus kids Sally (Kiernan Shipka), Gene (Evan & Ryder Londo) and Bobby (Mason Vale Cotton).
Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm).
Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré).
Rich Sommer as Harry Crane, Jay R. Ferguson as Stan Rizzo (now with beard!), Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg, and Aaron Staton as Ken Cosgrove.
Alison Brie (Trudy) and Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell.
Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).
Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss).
Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell.
John Slattery as Roger Sterling.
Robert Morse as Bert Cooper.
Christopher Stanley as Henry Francis.
Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton), Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) and his beard, Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) and Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman).
As someone who promotes the virtues of the bicycle as the ultimate mode of city transportation, it is to my advantage to take my own suggestion and not just talk the talk but to also walk the walk. (Or is it ride the ride?)
Last week, I was on my way to a meeting in the West Village on my bike. Unbeknownst to me, New York Roll Models photographer Billy Powers happened to be at the corner of Bank and Bleecker Streets as I rode through the intersection. Armed with his Nikon like any good street photographer, Billy snapped this photo. This morning, he sent it to me.
These days – between security cameras, smartphone cameras, cameras of ubiquitous street style photographers and all the other ones – cameras are everywhere. I’ve often joked that, since cameras are everywhere, we might as well dress for it. As a guy who is the face of a “brand” of sorts, I always make the effort to step out “in character,” as it were. On this particular day, I’m relieved that I was prepared.