The Thing With Feathers

Finally, archeologists have found something in China that may soften the fierce image of the famous T. Rex. The nasty tempered terrible lizard had a fine feathered cousin.

Said to be the largest feathered creature ever to walk the Earth at 30 feet long and weighing in at a ton and a half, this critter couldn’t fly but I wouldn’t make a big deal out of that if I were you. A massive feeling of inadequacy might lead a fluffy fellow to overcompensate in the tearing-things-to-bits department.

Notice has been issued to all of history’s other so-called “big” avians – you better run!

This new discovery will surely take its place alongside Kim Jong Il’s Beanie Baby collection as a fresh emblem of the sometimes odd collision of viciousness and preciousness. Think Slobodan Milošević in Minnie Pearl’s Hat.

Yes, he was a killer, but oh so charming!

Good accessorizing can help change even the most severe negative impression, and feathers, especially the downy, baby-chick like fuzz attributed to Yutyrannus, can make a huge difference.

In fact, an account in the New York Times notes that the name of this creature is Yutyrannus huali, a melding of Latin and Mandarin which means “beautiful feathered tyrant”.

Yes, style matters, even for dictators and despots.

What do you put on when you want to win them over with your plumage?

85 thoughts on “The Thing With Feathers”

  1. Now I’m going to spend the whole day pondering “when I want to win them over with my plumage”!!!

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    1. yeah, me too. I prefer my dressed down and dirty gardening style. Plants don’t seem to mind and it seems to knock the attitude right out of some of my hard-headed mentees. One young guy and I still laugh about how he showed up in his best designer stuff and helped me carry in firewood 2 logs at a time, one in each hand, arms held straight out in front of him so no sawdust would get on his clothes; he was walking like a zombie.

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      1. Me, too! I can’t pick a weed without getting all covered with mud so I dress accordingly. How do some people work outdoors all afternoon with nary a wrinkle? It’s a mystery to me. Actually I think some people stoop and garden, whereas I sit in the dirt, so that might explain a lot.

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  2. Good morning to all. I’m no good at dressing to impress people. I almost always just wear blue jeans and a shirt of some kind. I have a few sweaters that are a little dressy that I might wear. I do own a suit and a sports jacket, but I never wear either of these. I would only wear the suit or sports jacket if I had to go some places where every man was dressed in a suit or sports jacket. To be a little more formal I might wear dress pants in place of blue jeans with one of my better looking shirts.

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    1. blue jeans and a shirt of some kind says it all jim. if you skip either of these you have an entirely different presnetation,
      my hat is the plumage i add for the finishing touch. i wear a sports coat because i have so much crap in the pockets. it is like some ladies purses. the transfer from todays jacket from the one i wore yesterday wil involve multiple handfuls of unresolved snippits and a george kastanza wallet with an overload wallet just ot carry the extra. once the jacket and jeans are in place i look to the hat rack at the options available and factor in the weather the agenda for the day ( if im working in a field where the hat comes into contact with greasy hands i choose from on e pile if not there is a whole nother stack of hats that will come back looking good at the end of the day. i choose the hat based color style emotion and aim to create just the right balance of attitude and panache. i a not a big plumage guy and i would say i pull the feather on about 50% of my hats. the red accent in the side of the black or gray hat works sometimes and sometimes it is a distraction. i have a drawer full of the feather plumes that i have pulled from other hats and occasionally i will spiff up a hat that needs just that special something but usually the drawer accumuates rather than accomadates.

      A person hears only what they understand.
      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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  3. Rise and Strut Your Stuff Baboons!

    I’m not sure any more. At this age plumage is much less fun to don than it was 30 years ago. There are just more pounds, wrinkles, and sags that interfere with showing off the plumage to win them over. I did keep the bright red dress I wore to a dance the night I met my husband — that won many admirers. But could I even button it now? I doubt it. I also have an old bikini in a drawer that once upon a time looked fantastic on my slimmer young self laying by the pool.

    I was actually relieved when I turned 40 years old. I thought, “My babe days are over” and I gave up wearing mascara to celebrate. Being old and eccentric is much more fun. The plumage is lower maintainance.

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    1. it is nice to have those days behind you. i feel sorry for the peope who have identity all bundled up in their appearance. it must be hard as they start the downhill slide. the babes who go through life looking for people to follow their walk and buy them drinks are able to go through life depending on the plumage they flaunt to get them by. kim kardahsian is on today show speak of the devil. joan baez is more my cup of tea.

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    2. So true, Jacque! I’m clean. Most of the time. If I’m gardening and covered with dirt, you won’t catch me changing clothes to go to Home Depot for compost. Most of the time it’s easier to have a simple signature outfit, like black pants and top and just change out a scarf or something for color. I don’t plan meals ahead either. Just let Husband cook. :-) Simplify, simplify.

      This post reminds me of theater stuff. Some people really like being on stage. Some prefer to be behind the scenes. It’s fine either way, once you figure out where you’re
      most comfortable.

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  4. milosevic in minnie pearls hat makes me wonder if they told the family of the guy whose heart went to dick cheney that his contribution went ot further the existance of a halaburtan rock star and empire of evil hall of famer .
    cheney looks as appropriate as a gaunt and needy has been as he did when he dripped with self importance and multiple chins. i dont think id want to know where my organs went neccessarily but there is not knowing and there is not knowing.

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    1. That of course is Cheney’s internal plumage. Or plumming. Perhaps the new dontated heart will change his behavior? But what if the new heart belonged to another sociopath? Then he might double his majestic evilry. My hope is that he obtained the heart of a sensitive new age guy and spends his dotage weeping over his evil Halliburton record.

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  5. I have a few different hats. I do the same as tim and keep at least one hat in reserve which I don’t wear when I am doing something that might get it dirty. I still haven’t gotten up the nerve to wear the beret that I bought many years ago. I almost always wear a hat when I am outside to shade my eyes and I always wear one on sunny days instead of wearing sun glasses. I like hats that only have a bill in the front because hats with more rim on them tend to blow off my head if there is any wind.

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  6. Well, that certainly depends on who “them” are. For a Halloween party many, many moons ago, I dressed up in a bouffant, blond wig, a ruffled blouse that showed a lot of cleavage (augmented by tennis sox) a blue, faux-leather mini skirt, and white patent leather go-go boots. I don’t normally wear make-up, but that evening I showed little restraint, especially with eyeliner and mascara.

    I had a blast that evening; the costume allowed me to act as silly and frivolous as I felt wearing it. On a dare and a bet, I wen’t to an employment agency the following week, dressed in that same outfit, to see what kind of reception I would receive. To my great disappointment, my typing test was good enough that no one commented on my attire. Go figure.

    Nowadays, my plumage is rather drab. A friend of mine tried to remedy that while I was in the hospital. I needed some large shirts that buttoned down the front (the fractured arm prevents me from pulling a blouse on over my head). She came back from the Goodwill Store with three rather colorful Hawaiian themed shirts.

    I do own one rather extravagant hat, given to me by one of my former bosses. It’s a big, dark green, expensive, felt affair adorned with a pheasant feather. I rarely wear it, it’s just more plumage than I can pull off; when I wear it my body language screams “I’m really uncomfortable with this thing on my head.”

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    1. YEs, a broken wing does impair plumage doesn’t it. I was glad when my sling came of and PT started. Now I can get t-shirts on again.

      I hope you continue to heal well.

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  7. PJ, you’re typing well these days! That’s a good sign.

    Plumage is not my strong suit either, never has been. My wedding dress was lime green polyester, and homemade which was possibly a new fashion low even in 1970. It’s not in my dna. I often wonder how my daughters manage to look so put together at a moment’s notice because they certainly didn’t get their fashion sense from me.

    I DO have hat envy, though. Hats of all kinds look awkward and ill fitting on me. Those English ladies wear the most astonishing and bizarre hats with such aplomb. I’m in awe! It’s the best part of the royal weddings.

    My grandfather was formal old school; he always wore a three piece suit, summer or winter, morning or evening, indoors or out. He was well into his 80’s when I was born. He used to water his roses for hours, standing in the front yard wearing suit pants with suspenders and vest (removed suit jacket for yard work), shirt sleeves rolled up, and always that ubiquitous hat (fedora? with a wide brim). Husband says rolling up your shirtsleeves was akin to going out in your underwear to that generation of men, but to us he was always dignified, remote, and rarely hatless.

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    1. I love that picture of your grandfather in his garden.

      I bought a lime green polyester dress at Ragstock as a costume for a “Bridesmaids” party (we had to dress as bridesmaids and we watched the movie).

      It appeared homemade. I wonder if it was yours.

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      1. That would be hilarious! If it WAS my wedding dress, I have to apologize for the construction. My father dubbed me “the fastest seam in the west” back in the 60’s when I could churn out a mini skirt and vest from one yard of fabric in one hour. The wedding dress I cut 8 inches too short in the back and patched in a panel at the bottom. Then to cover that mistake I sewed a floor length sleeveless lace over-vest. Then I never wore the dress again :-)

        My sewing was much improved by the time I was doing costuming in the 80’s and 90’s, but I think my ability to turn on a dime and improvise was equally important in theater as sewing technique.

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        1. PS Lisa, check out the bottom back of the dress for an “extra” panel. Also the sleeves would have been bell bottom. I love to think that that dress might have come back full circle to haunt me.

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      1. Okay — Hair down to my waist, barefoot, outdoor hippy wedding pulled together in 3 weeks. Green polyester for an August wedding was a poor choice for 100 degrees in the shade. And sadly the photos are almost non existent. A friend of my sister had a new camera and had recently seen “Blow Up” which seemed like kismet at the time. He dodged around taking informal “art” shots from behind bushes and up in the tree branches so most of the photos were either impossibly distant or had large branches slashing across the foreground. Also developed the film himself and didn’t “fix” the negatives or the prints properly so everything has faded away over the years. Luckily a few of the guests had their wits and their cameras about them and a few pictures have survived. That was 1970, so I guess more to the point is that the marriage has survived despite a somewhat inauspicious beginning. :-)

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      1. It was unbelievably fun. The event was a church auction item. The hostesses are some of the most creative people I know and they pulled out all the stops. A couple of husbands were dressed sort of like Chippendales, bare chests, suspenders, white collar and bow ties. They took our coats and served us exotic drinks with umbrellas. These were 45-60 age-range Chippendales, not Chris Farley but not Patrick Swayze, either. Guys I know who had a good time playing the roles (and then boogied out of there to go to a guy movie). We had been instructed to dress as bridesmaids, whatever that meant to us, and bring a wrapped “gift” (white elephant) and come with a back story. One person was worried about being cold so she wore a coat that looked something like a dress and explained that her bride had decided to have a Polar destination wedding.

        At certain points in the movie when a prop was being featured (cupcakes, carrots, puppies), they would appear with similar things to toss to each of us (we got stuffed puppies, of course). As the characters were about to enter a restaurant, we broke for a marvelous dinner. We had been scarfing down incredible appetizers, not knowing that there was a meal (and cupcakes and carrots) to follow. For anyone who has seen this hysterical movie, they wisely served us dinner before it got really gross.

        We watched the rest of the movie, we did a Yankee swap to choose and trade our gifts, and then had some incredible wedding cake that they had made.
        Over the top and a riot.

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        1. I love these kinds of creative parties. About thirty years ago, husband and I hosted a Rocky Horror Picture Show dinner. Everyone came dressed as some character in the movie, and after dinner, fortified with bags of rice, slices of toasted baguettes, etc. we made our way to the Uptown Theatre. It was a most memorable evening and lots and lots of fun. I especially love the audience participation throughout the show. Anyone interested in going this fall?

          http://www.rockyhorrorminneapolis.com/

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    2. lady hats on ebay are unbelievably cheap. beautiful old hats with style and class or wild feathers and veils with wide brims pillbox, little 50’s numbers that you attatch with combs and hatpins. i love it when i see those on people out in the world.

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  8. Darn these floaters and evolving cataracts – I read the title of the blog as “The Thing with FATHERS”. I thought, “whoa, here we go…”.

    Nevermind.

    I tend not to be flashy. Greens and purples are my almost exclusive colors. Anything else and I feel like I’m trying to say “look at me!”.

    About a month ago, I went to a movie with friends. Afterwards, they said, let’s go shopping. Normally, that’s the last thing I want to do but I like these guys and thought it might be fun.
    Once we got in the store (pretty upscale), they decided they didn’t want to shop for themselves, they wanted to shop for me. For THREE HOURS I was their paper doll, taking more items into the dressing room than I have purchased in 5 years. Then the staff got involved, suggesting and vetoing items.
    I ended up buying items I would NEVER have tried on, let alone purchased. Way out of my comfort zone – fabrics, colors, styles. Two complete outfits including accessories (I normally never wear jewelry or scarves).

    I’ve worn each outfit a couple of times and have had the most enthusiastic compliments.

    Sometimes it’s good to get a little wild.

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      1. He would have LOVED it. He was quite the flamboyant dresser, always loving to be the center of attention. During hippie days, he had paisley ascots and flowered pants. Mortifying to his children, of course.
        He once gave me a fake-fur coat, white with black spots (I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, perhaps a cross between a golden retriever and a dalmation). I was so upset that he didn’t know me well enough to know what I would like that I couldn’t even fake gratitude. I returned it to the store and bought a plain trench coat.
        He also thought that I was quite a prude never to have tried pot.

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  9. I had a friend who said he didn’t want to wear any clothes that he couldn’t get dirty. I would like to follow his plan, but I don’t. I have some jeans and shirts that I don’t wear when doing dirty work so that they will stay nice to “empress” people. I’ve been told I should not wear my baggy loose fitting jeans when going out in public. I do have tighter fitting jeans to wear in public which are a little bit uncomfortable.

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    1. i have white clothes and that simply should not be allowed. i had a sales anager years ago who i would meet at the airport and he would come over to see what i had eaten so far that day by inspecting my shirt. white shorts forget it. i had a friend who had 5 year old white shorts athat looked like the day he bought them and i had to shake my head in disbelief. my other problem is that i am completely unaware of this on a daily functioning level. i do wear nice clothes but i will carry firewood in my suit. crawl under the car with a piece of cardboard on the ground or something like that. i like to dress comfortably but i do allow the shake of the dice to decide if they will survive the trauma of life on my body. i have to laugh whenever i need a painting shirt. they are ready for the rag bag the way i abuse them but i cant banish them to the paint smock status.

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  10. Some of the most fun for watching the local fauna in their finest plumage is to go to a science fiction convention. It’s not just the Trekkies in their stitch-perfect costumes, there are storm troopers who have replicated everything head to toe (hate to think how warm it gets inside those get ups), steam punks in fabulously inventive stuff, anime fans attempting to recreate an animated character in the real world, the odd Outfit You Don’t Want Your Kid to See (or lack of outfit)…and yeah, folks who just like to wear funky, whacky stuff. It’s a fashion free-for-all, and makes for great people watching. Even the “everyday wear” has t-shirts emblazoned to fly your fan flag for a favored character, show or book. I use it as an excuse on a Saturday night to go out and dance with my pals (there are usually a few good parties with good dancing) and wear something slightly outrageous, or at least outside of my normal wardrobe choices. Last year I went with a simple black cocktail dress (with a deep neckline) and lots of rhinestones…I usually don’t wind up wearing something “fannish” but something that is still fun.

    Wish I had more excuses to wear hats – I like wearing them, but just don’t have the opportunity to wear hats beyond those one might wear for sun in the summer or warmth in the winter. Wore one for my wedding – just because I could. :)

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    1. My supervisor is currently on a cruise in the north Atlantic retracing the voyage of the Titanic. She had an Edwardian wardrobe made for her by a local costumer, complete with hats and headdresses, so as to look authentic while she was on board. I hate to think how much she had to pay for hauling the luggage and hat boxes on the flight to England.

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      1. I am drawn to hat boxes…can’t imagine trying to travel with them, with all the current restrictions about how weights, sizes, etc., but how elegant.

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        1. Hat boxes are elegant, aren’t they? I got rid of a number of them a couple years ago when we unloaded a bunch of our reenactment clothing. I could have given them to you, Anna! Still have some of the bonnets I made, but there are precious few occasions to wear 19th c clothing these days. Clothing from another era always seems more elegant somehow.

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      1. Indeed – glad that my plumage there did not involve boning or velvet. The plumage of a village idiot is much easier to move around in. :)

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    2. you dont need an excuse to wear hats you just do it. it makes it fun. the variety and possibilities are endless. wear one to work next week …just because you can

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  11. Dale, you are in fine form today. I had to testify in a court hearing in a very small town on Wednesday, and it was fun to see how the attorneys involved displayed their plumage. One attorney was a younger woman from Bismarck, nattily attired in the current version of a power suit, very tight and form fitting, complete with very elongated and pointy stiletto heels. Her female assistant was similarly attired. Both were blonde. The attorneys who had subpoened me were a father-son duo from the town in which I live, father being well over 80, probably with early Parkinson’s, in an old, loose, brown suit that I have seen him wear to court for 25 years. His son, about 40, was dressed in a normal suit, and seemed pretty traditional until I noticed that he wasn’t wearing any socks. I talked to the regional court administrator about this last night at church (we are both altos in the choir), and she said he never wears socks in court, just these funny shoes that look like they have monkey toes. The Bismarck attorney made it clear she thought she was in a backwater, an attitiude the elderly judge took offense to, and every time he sustained an objection from the sockless wonder,or his shaky dad, she made an adolescent huffing noise and tossed her head like an offended Miss Piggy. I got to watch these antics for three hours before I was called to the stand. I wore grey trousers and a navy twin-set, professional, not flashy, and comfortable. I was not in stiletto heels.

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    1. my ebay store evolved into a haberdashery. hats sport coats top coats shoes and boots. i cant believe how cheap you can buy this stuff on ebay and then i sell it for what it should be sold for. i buy 10 and sell 1 for as much as i paid for the 10. i end up with more inventory on to fuel my habbit but i suspect it will work out well. and i get to wear designer sports coats. those stupidly expensive comfortable shoes or good looking boots, hats that as describer by one of my fellow hat fanatics come in an endless range of soft hues of grays browns blues and greens that have such subtle difference that the common viewer would not see the difference but ah… to the aficionado a magic blend of style distinctive unto itself. you would think for all the stuff i have to choose from i would look good but instead i just enjoy the stuff i choose.

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  12. Pretty much everything that I have been thinking has been said (except the lime green dress thing).

    The best thing that happened at my job this past year was the relaxation of the dress code. If you don’t have a client or supplier in, you can wear jeans (no t-shirts or tennis shoes yet). This has made my mornings so much easier… I probably wear jeans 3 days a week.

    The teenager despairs about my lack of style. I got grief last week for wearing socks with my Birkenstocks and hardly a week goes by in which she isn’t trying to convince me to wear make-up, cut my hair, dye my hair, get a manicure…. the list seems endless to me.

    This is the long way to say, no plumage here.

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  13. I tried plumage, in the form of make-up, heels, etc. in high school, college, and the first year of teaching. By then, though, I was in Hippie California, where I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks, let my hair grow out straight, threw away the make-up, and pretty much went to wearing jeans except when teaching (but even there a long denim skirt won out on many days). Much to my mother’s dismay, but comfort reigns.

    Now “dressing up” usually means a nice pair of black pants, a clean sweater, and slip-ons.

    It’s been fun to play with the granddaughters every day this week. They too are still at an age when plumage is minimal, although they invariably want to wear the same shirt… I don’t envy them growing up in the midst of the 5-inch stiletto styles.

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    1. Sounds like you’re enjoying every minute, Barbara. I’ll bet you’re pooped at the end of the day, though. :-) When will you be home?

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  14. OT but thank the Lord it is raining! We have been so dry, and now there is a light rain falling. I hope there are no more range fires.

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  15. …the heat was on in our room, for a change. It felt sort of cosy. I took off my coat and my tie and unbuttoned my shirt collar, and then I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning, It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks. I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddamn foils. It only cost me a buck. The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back – very corny, I’ll admit, but I liked it that way. I looked good in it that way.

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    1. …Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch’s teat, especially on top of that stupid hill. I only had on my reversible and no gloves or anything. The week before that, somebody’d stolen my camel’s-hair coat right out of my room, with my fur-lined gloves right in the pocket and all. Pencey was full of crooks…

      (how did you get the italics, Linda?)

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      1. Type an i between a “less than” and a “greater than” symbol (a comma and a period with the shift key held down, respectively) to open the italics. Then /i between a “less than” and a “greater than” symbol to close the italics.

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  16. I had a good raincoat then, a Burberry I got in London in 1959. Elizabeth thought I looked like a spider in it. That was probably why she wouldn’t go to Greece with me. It hung more heroically when I took out the lining, and achieved glory when the frayed sleeves were repaired with a little leather. Things were clear. I knew how to dress in those days.

    – Leonard Cohen

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    1. Leonard is from Montreal. You can book in to the hotel where he and Suzanne stayed. It is in the old port. I have seen the building.

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  17. The last time we saw you
    you looked so much older
    your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder

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  18. “What counts is that one perceives excellence and dares to give it expression, which sounds little but is in fact a great deal.”
    ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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      1. it will be interesting to see if he missed a topic. i believe it is possible to say everything about everything if you are broad reaching enough. just write stuff down and sooner or later it will sound like you knew what you were talking about. …i’m counting on it

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  19. There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.
    Virginia Woolf

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  20. Evening. Morning.
    I’m still at work and want to go home but had to finish reading through these post first. As always, very fun. Thanks everyone for contributing. And Thanks Dale for the inspiration.

    ‘Win them over with my plumage?’ Yeah… that ain’t gonna happen. You’ll know what you’re getting with me; seed cap (Meyer’s Seeds, Potsdam MN), sleeveless shirt and jeans.
    Last Wednesday at the college staff meeting I wore my ‘Theater Staff’ black shirt (with sleeves) and spent most of the day with the facilities crew. I got many comments on my nice shirt and teased about the sleeves. One guy said it wasn’t checkered like most of my shirts and another asked if I had one without sleeves.
    The sleeveless look is frowned upon here. But what length actually makes it a “sleeve” HMMMM? That’s my question.
    Night night.

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