Dr. Fisher I Presume?

Dr. Fisher is the sort of man who would become lost in Africa, only to turn up in ten unexpected places all at once. I met him when he turned up in Philadelphia for a residency in radiation oncology.

Dr. Fisher in purple tie, likely contemplating Thoreau.

I got to know him when we worked together mentoring a group of young men. He was young, slim, and came off as quiet to the point of being non-communicative. He had this magical ability to either have slightly shaggy, longish, hair or a buzz cut, never in between. I saw him mostly at church on Sundays where he would normally wear a white shirt, tie, and khakis rarely ironed but all were always well fitted.

I recall once seeing him wearing the skinniest tie I had ever seen. As I shook his hand hello he just smiled slightly and continued on his way. As he walked away I realized it was a draw string tied in a full Windsor around his neck. Neither of us ever mentioned the draw string. He rarely mentions anything.

It is natural to assume that those who don’t mention things have nothing to talk about. I guess many made this mistake with Dr. Fisher.

The first time my family ate at his home I noticed a sculpture in the entryway. It was a figure with an up stretched arm and clenched fist, the head had short hair in knots about his scalp. The entire figure was greyish, made of hard straight lines, and looked much like a three dimensional figure pulled from La Guernica. There was a poem hand written down the arm and onto the torso. In his living room was a painting or rather a mixed media collage of two people, trees, and text, another of more trees, both by him. They were good. Positioned in one corner of the room was an upright cannon barrel with a bright red bowling ball perched on top.

I have admittedly not spent time in the homes of many doctors but this was obviously the home of an artist.


Dr. Fisher spent a summer living in a VW bus after high school. He can recite lengthy Thoreau poems on demand. And he cures cancer.
on Mt. Ranier

A couple years ago he started a non-profit called “Radiating Hope.” It is a partnership program that raises money to send used radiation machines to third world countries. Turns out America replaces machines regularly with newer and better models.
Some nations don’t replace machines with new ones because they never had any to begin with.

in Panama

In fine Fisher fashion he doesn’t just “raise money”, that would be normal. He fund raises by climbing mountains. Big mountains. He has sights set on the seven summits.

at Drexel

I am writing this from an air conditioned/heated office, sitting in a padded chair, and I’m sure Dr. Fisher is busy doing something better. He is the sort of person who doesn’t just let things go. He acts. He acts while most of us just pose.

Hunting Season and Menswear as Punishment

Mom could always sew and her skill kept clothes on our back. Dad could hunt and his skill kept food on the table.

Them in 80’s. Not the 1880’s… the 1980’s.

She was making him a nice navy jacket. We called such clothing church clothes and Dad would look quite respectable in this piece. As she sat at the machine threading needles he went off to the woods with some friends.

As the tale gets retold, and knowing what I know of my father, I’m sure the hunting party’s staying out through Sunday was a surprise to dad. Perhaps a truck got stuck in the mud on Saturday forcing them to stay the night.

Mother suffered his lingering over the Sabbath in silence and finished father’s gift.

When the jacket was presented to Dad he found that the lining of the coat was hunter’s orange. It would be rude of him not to wear it and when on, no one could see the blinding insides. But when sitting in the pews, if Dad felt the desire to put his arm around his wife, the Bishop behind the pulpit would get a fluorescent flash from Dad’s jacket reminding everyone of my father’s transgression.

Happy hunting everyone.

Them playing dress up.

Rutgers: Queen’s College and the King of games

In 1766 Dutch reformers formed a college in New Jersey. It was called Queen’s college in honor of Charlotte of Mechlenburg. Some time after the revolution the name was changed to Rutgers in honor of a revolutionary war hero.

The college became New Jersey’s land-grant college in 1864. Of the colleges founded before our country’s constitution was written, only Rutgers and WIlliam and Mary are now state schools.

But none of this is what you should really know about Rutgers. What you should know is that Rutgers is responsible for the bloody lip I got this Thanksgiving morning.

The Turkey bowl started at 9am. 30 or so folks of all ages arrived at the field, including a continngent of teenaged boys wearing under armor and cleats. There was the usual complaininng that “I was open!!” despite being double covered, and an occasional complaint of pass interferance any time there was an interception. The teenage competativeness was for the most part balanced out by fat old men and their 8 year old children.

Except for that one kid who decided to be an all-star at defensive line.

You can spot these kinds of kids at any touch football game as soon as they get in a three point stance. Three alligators were for the most part enough to give the QB some time and we fat old men just sort of rolled our eyes when he would hit the afterburners at two and a half. When the man assigned to blocking him had to leave to run turkey day morning errands, I figured I would step in.

He blitzed on first down. His shoulders were low so I stepped back and let his high octane motor drive itself right into the ground. He did not like this. I was a little surprised when he blitzed again on second down, you only get one blitz per series. Learning from last down he tried to swim me. When his arm was raised above his head, I caught it, shoved hard, and watched as he spun around and fell over flat on his back. I was not surprised when he blitzed for the third time in a row. This time I just caught him directly and held my ground while he drove his feet to no avail.

By this time others took notice and started to ask the kid what his deal was. When the quarterback questioned his following the one blitz per down rule I just waived them off. I figured this kid was wound up and I was no longer bored.

When the game finally ended this kid had gotten zero sacks and I had somehow gotten a bloody lip. As I wiped off my face I realized my lip looked a little like Angelina Jolie, the kid was kneeling on the ground with his face in the grass. I asked him if he was okay and his only response was to stand up and give me a manly hug and then walk away never saying a word or looking me in the eye.

It was at this point I fully realized our mismatch. When he hugged me his head only came up to my chest, but still, take it easy kid.

On November 6th, 1869 on the field where this building now stands, was held the first college football game in history. Rutgers beat Princeton 6 to 4. Since that day the world has been a better place, bloody lips and all. Were it not for Rutgers Thanksgiving may have never had any association with the Detroit Lions.

Yes, that is a ridiculous sentence. Just as ridiculous as getting a bloody lip the morning of the best meal of the year.

Mt. Holyoke: the big sister

One of my family’s favorite people went here. Half Iranian Baha’i girls who studied Hip-Hop aesthetics and linguistics don’t grow on trees… they grow at Mt. Holyoke.


Mt. Holyoke is the oldest of the seven sisters. It was founded (1837) in a time when college was only for young men and there was a prevailing idea that education caused infertility in women.

Perhaps this was a classic case of both correlation/causation confusion and self fulfilling prophesy. Maybe most men of the day thought women’s frailty could not endure big ideas and once women got more education they would no longer suffer fools… which could look a little bit like “infertility”.


Philadelphia Tweed Ride

I do not ride a bike, nor do I own any tweed, but I knew where to wait this afternoon.

There was plaid, some trad, but sadly no penny-farthing.

A cordial group out for an autumns ride through town, followed by a picnic. How grand.




Sorry… I can’t help myself with this one:


I Did Not Know it Was Homecoming: Howard University

I normally wander onto campus, attend my event, perhaps have a meeting or two. There is rarely fanfare or crowds.

Then there was Howard.

I stood out quite a bit when I visited Wellesley, I stuck out even more at Howard. No one cared, not even the checker when I purchased a Howard Alumni pennant. She smiled and took my money.

Howard University

Every news watching American should attend homecoming at an HBCU. There were thousands of people there of all ages and I did not see one stabbing, shooting, gang sign, or even any public sex. This was nothing like the Black world normally seen on TV.

I was there looking for S.T.E.M. students. They have them there. They also had a block party that I was not looking for but still took advantage of.


I Call Him Easy E: I don’t think he knows who that is

One day I received an unsolicited gift in the mail. It was a copy of the book, Gary Cooper, a Daughter Remembers. I knew very little about Gary Cooper other than than his name being sung by Dr. Fraankenshteeeen in a Mel Brooks movie. A little note read that the sender thought Coop was my kind of guy and that because of this I might enjoy the images. The sender was right.

Chris Cox

Cooper was from the rural West, liked to hunt, fish, paint, and ski. Yes Mr. Cox, my kind of guy.

I was once again in Richmond and we had lunch.

He has great taste in art.

I have posted about him before, linked to his sight and such, but this afternoon we stopped by his tailor’s.


Mr. Cox has designed his own line of suits, the “Icon Collection.” It consists of updates on old classics. Stuff for people like Gary Cooper.

the line

The man loves what he does.

Chris is the first blogger I ever called out of the blue to meet in person. I did so because I got the feeling from his sight that he wasn’t faking it, and I had no idea what the world he lives in is like. So I called to ask him if I could have a peek.

comfort is elegant

Since that day our families have met, he has fed me several times, and I now consider him a friend. His world is not all that different than anyone else’s, but it is definitely much better groomed than mine, and likely yours too. But he would never knock yours. I’ve tried to egg him on. He won’t do it. He really is too nice.

the sporting jacket

HE has a knack for making other people feel comfortable. That’s a great skill to have. He wants the world to look a little nicer too. I suppose I’m with him on that one. Or at least I would like to look a little better myself.

Finding the book “The Suit”

When leaving his home on one trip my wife looked over at me and said, “Babe, we gotta step up our game when people come by our house. They just showed us how it is done and we got a lot of work to do.”

She was right. We still have a long way to go but at least we know where to look for examples.

What Does One Wear?

Dad claims it started when he was in college and was looking for something interesting to paint. He says a friend knew where a bunch of strange looking people hung out and that Dad should come along to take photographs. Surely he would find some interesting subjects to subject to watercoloring.

That was before I was born and I cannot attest to the truthfulness of that tale. All I know is that by the time I came on the scene tee pees and tomahawks were a regular part of our existence.

I was doomed

With those sorts of roots one cannot afford to take ones self too seriously. Nor can one make fun of what ever anyone else chooses to wear. I for one wear what I want- strike that- I wear what I can afford.

Sandy was scheduled to hit our home Sunday night. Monday morning I woke under the safe roof as always and checked my flight status. United flight 2109 to  Hartford was “on time.” In disbelief I got  online, because we had had electricity, and saw that the airport was in fact open. I dragged myself out of bed and into the car. No one else did the same.

I drove on empty roads to an empty airport. I drug my bags past the TSA guards who were busy herding no one into empty body scanners. I arrived at the United counter to find it deserted and covered in clear plastic.

Of course.

There was no one to talk to so I dialed them up.

“Hello may I help you.”

“Yes. I was supposed to be on flight 2109 and need to re-book, cancel, whatever you are doing.”

“Sorry sir, that flight is listed for an on-time departure.”

“I know. That’s why I drove to the airport.”

“Okay. So what can I do for you?”

“Um yeah… ”

I drove back home.

At home my small crew of creative women were determined that with Dad home and no school our best option was a formal lunch complete with invitations delivered by the 8 year old. This is the same 8 year old who kept complaining last night that the power wasn’t going out. She sat disappointed holding her flashlight.

I have learned I cannot afford to resist such invitations.I feel very much the same in my Black Watch jacket as I did in buckskins. I would argue they aren’t all that far apart.

We are all to some extent wearing a costume, it just depends on the event. Bow ties or plastic fangs are both fine depending upon the venue. I was once at a U Penn event and saw an MBA student wearing a madras jacket with no shirt underneath. He looked very appropriately appointed as he leaped from a balcony at the Blue Horizon into the middle of the boxing ring whilst the fight was in progress. What else would one wear while acting a fool?