26 August 2008

Why a Crow?

Here's a great article that shows what I've known all along. Duh.

Some of you--even my closest friends--may not understand why crows resonate so strongly. The answer, like any good answer, is multi-faceted and rich with connections.

The noble crow was the child of Apollo, god of wisdom, prophecy, art, dance, and masculine beauty. He once sent the crow--who was originally white with a beautiful song--on an errand to fetch a cup of water. The crow was Apollo's sacred bird but, being a crow, became distracted by a fig tree and lingered long on his quest, keeping the god waiting. When he finally returned, Apollo punished him by staining his fine white feathers a deep black, and transforming his song into a raucous cry. Some believe the crow delivered news of an affair for which the disbelieving Apollo punished him and all his kind. Knowing Apollo--and crows--I think either one is possible: gossip or distraction, a crow is often up to mischief.

Because of this history, the crow is a symbol of Apollo, to whom I feel a strong affinity. Crows are also just plain likeable: Ever hear crows squawking first thing in the morning? They're very social animals, with which I identify. They're smart, like the one I saw in Rome trying to crack open a nut by dropping it from above. That's not the best part--it wasn't working because the crow was dropping it on plywood; the bird flew down and investigated, then took its nut to a stone surface! So smart!!

Apollo, that masculine paragon, was the most visible of the Greek gods who took male lovers. Alas that things don't always work well for mortals who have gods for lovers. His lover Hyancith--a gilded youth--was struck and killed while playing discus by the jealous west wind, Zephyr, and the grieving Apollo turned him into a flower.

As the god of wisdom and prophecy, Apollo was also the instructor of the centaur Chiron. Chiron--half man and half horse--had renounced the bestial ways of his kind and became one of the greatest teachers and astrologers in Greek lore. His students, famous servants of Apollo, included Achilles (who also took a male lover, Patrocles) and the hero Jason. When Chiron died, Apollo rewarded him with the greatest honor that could be bestowed on a mortal: he became the constellation Sagittarius.

So now, dear Reader, you have lots of links: crows, Apollo, Chiron, Sagittarius, and a lot of gay.

And proof that the bird is a soul-connection for me, the article linked above points out that crows have an "unusually keen ability to recognize one another, even after many months of separation." The perfect soul-symbol for a seeker in this big world.

Take that Andy Rooney.

25 August 2008

Behind the Scenes

There are times in a fashionisto's life when he gets to see and do remarkable things: getting to walk the red carpet at a gala honoring Giorgio Armani in Beverly Hills; going to Roberto Cavalli's Halloween party; hosting his family at a swank benefit.

Sunday was such a day.

I had the distinct pleasure of having lunch with both Diabolina and Weezer Monkey at a fabulous restaurant: Gordon Ramsay at the London

Their husbands (and mama Diabolina!) were also in attendance.

And while they had a fun time doing what they do--fashion and food--I had a fun time observing THEM. Too much Dexter lately...

Weezer took photos of food with her fancy camera.

Diabolina took photos of us...

And edited the shots that gave us too many chins or nose hair.

Mr. & Mrs. Weezer Monkey seem so well-mannered...

More behind the scenes! There's Mr. Diabolina, chomping away. He managed to steer pretty clear of the shenanigans.

Diabolina thought it was hi-LAR-ious! Little did she know that I wasn't kidding.

Weezer knew I wasn't kidding.

Mr. Weezer took a bite out of the mango marshmallows they gave us and PUT IT BACK ON THE COMMUNAL PLATE. F. Those are his TEETH marks. F.


Incidentally, they've decided I'm the gay Andy Rooney. Hrmph. I'll need to do a blog about how much Andy Rooney bugs me. Crotchety old man. Then again, those who know me know that I am, too.

See those fashion magazines? He's mailing in the subscription forms blank, too. Andy Rooney is my homeboy.

These men are my gay role models. When I was little, I used to imagine that's how happy gay couples aged. In a red-velvet draped VIP booth, with a comment for everything, loving their own stories, and forever picking on each other...

23 August 2008

Civil Disobedience

Comrades and Brothers!

There is a long tradition in this country of civil disobedience to protest practices we believe are immoral, harmful, or just plain irritating. My latest cause: those stupid cards that fall out of magazines.

Surely, they irritate you too?! They are a waste of paper, and it's never made sense to me why one magazine would have six subscription cards! Are there six buyers? Did someone do a study to find that we ignore the first five, but submit the sixth? And worst of all, they are a waste of the Reader's time. And the time of MY Readers is a precious commodity in these inflationary times.

But I have a simple, almost elegantly diabolical solution. If we popularize this practice, my friends, we will certainly be rid of these nuisances by this time next year.

So I call on you, my brothers, to help me in this cause! Tell your friends! Email them the link to this blog entry. To arms, my fashionistas! To the battlments, my stylists!

The answer is easy, and kinda fun--as good civil disobedience must be. These blank and irritating cards are postage paid, so I say to you, my comrades: SEND THEM BACK BLANK, AND SPREAD THE WORD.

My flying monkeys. Look at this pile! Just from a few current magazines!

This pretty much sums it up.

22 August 2008

Stuff I Like

A new feature, dear Reader! In this section, we'll play one of those memory games, only it's not a hard one: I'm not going to play it with those little cards you have to turn over to remember what's where. No! Instead, I'm going to show you pictures of what I like, and then you're going to go out into the world and think about it when you see it. And you'll think: "Oh yeah, that guy I was reading said he liked that. What was his name? Simple something. Supple Crow? That's not it... Well, anyway, he was right."

Shawl-collared sweaters. Trust me. In the finest material you can find. In black or gray.

I just bought this hat. Really, I have a problem: No impulse control and GREAT taste.

Cuzco, where I'll be in a week...

...where local textile craftsmen...

...will knit me hats like this, in soft gray alpaca wool...

...and like this, in black.

I like his pants.

See these shoes? Actually, they're a reference to Bottega Venetta, and are woven leather. Yum. I also love his lordly great coat. I had one made for me two years ago from black shearling that looks a lot like this one. I'm just saying...

I also like this lordly great coat; more tailored. And I love that he's carrying his gloves. Sexy.

Speaking of sexy... I like this tennis guy.

And this guy because he smiles. And carries his gloves.

And I love Ray LaMontagne. He looks like the Unabomber, but sings like a fallen angel. Ray, I still don't know what love means, either. But I think it has something to do with recognizing beauty in the world. After all, a man needs something he can hold on to...

Ladies, if you can get a man to sing for you like that, please keep him. Even if he looks like the Unabomber.

18 August 2008

Editorial Correction

Dear Readers:

Ms. Peace Corps (not Americorps) has kindly redirected your humble Sable Crow, who is now flying in roughly the right direction--as the crow flies, of course.

Dear Sable Crow:

I did Peace Corps not Americorps. Americorps is for poor people staying in the United States who make a liveable salary and get something like $5,000 per year for tuition. Peace Corps is for middle class American who want to "experience life" and adventure while earning a salary that sits firmly below the poverty level on any scale while the interest piles up on their student loans.

Also I'm glad that you like the theory of primacy and I would love to take credit for it, but it's actually rooted in attachment theory which is a theory that is in the vein of evolution (meaning there's something of substance linking up to it). Parenting from the inside out as well Keeping the love you find are two good "self-help" books on this subject.


Dear Ms. Peace Corps:

The fact-checking staff at Sable Crow is terribly understaffed, abysmally underfunded, and is sadly ill-informed about the distinction between Peace Corps and Americorps. We here at Sable Crow were simply glad we spelled "corps" right because frankly it's like "knife" or "yacht" and doesn't make any damn sense. We freely invite you to rely on our counsel regarding ties or the macroeconomy, and not on federal government agencies or programs.

We graciously accept your recommendation for self-help books, and have added the following to our Amazon wish-list as educational pick-me-ups after making embarassingly public errors about our friends' lives: Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle and this gem, Gay and Single...Forever?

I've provided hotlinks to Amazon for the zealous among you; you know who you are.

We here at Sable Crow deeply value our readers and friends, apologize for our errors, and welcome your suggestions for further self-help books.

- The Editorial Staff at Sable Crow

16 August 2008

Dear Sable Crow...

My first "Dear Sable Crow," wherein a boy asks what's okay to wear, or a girl asks me to justify what she's already told her boyfriend...

Dear Sable Crow,
Is it ok for a man to wear a black suit to a midday wedding? Does the black exclusion apply to men? I almost just bought a b-eaut-i-ful Canali suit about 5 minutes ago for my cousin's wedding in September but it's black so I became insecure and backed off at the last second. Follow-up question: If it is ok - what color shirt would I want to wear? Go for a light pastel-y type thing to offset it? I'd rather not do white - too boring.
Mr. Flower

A navy suit is perhaps more standard for a midday wedding, but I feel a classic black suit is perfectly appropriate for a September (read: fall) wedding, especially if the weather is cool. I am a great fan of black, and wore a black suit yesterday to work. I’m tired of summer.

I assume it’s a wool gabardine, with no texture. I might suggest pairing it with a monochromatic shirt with a little bit of texture. You’re right to stay away from white. I find with a black suit that an ice-blue shirt works well for my coloring, but I’m sure others would be just fine.
The Canali site is showing my current favorite thing: pocket squares. Try breaking up the black with a pocket square: coordinate it to the shirt to harmonize, or coordinate it with the tie to make it pop. Never match a pocket square. See the guy below (from the Canali site): pocket square coordinates with the subtle blue dots on the tie. It does not match. PERFECT.

But Sable Crow, you say, I've seen many men on the cover of Men's Vogue wear a white pocket square that matches their shirt?

White pocket squares with white shirts are always the exception the match-y rule, and they are usually paired with a patterened, traditional suit (double-breasted even!).

12 August 2008


When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher. So last weekend I went to Joshua Tree and spent the night under the stars. Yup. That's right. Tarp. Sleeping bag. Sheet. No tent. No bug repellent. No padding.

Take THAT Nellie Olson.

I went with my friend Mr. Adventrepreneur (that's gonna really hurt when I have to type it again and again) and we arrived late on Friday night. It was very Blair Witch: Sable Crow and Mr. Adventrepreneur parking the car in a deserted parking lot, loading up their packs, and hiking miles in the dark with two flashlight jerkily lighting the alien terrain. Our directions (from a friend of his) were not so clear, but delicious in their possibilities. It was like following a treasure map:

"Park at the far parking lot, but don't take the main trail. Follow right-hand trail about a mile to ruined house. Find path behind ruined house and follow to secluded valley for camping."

It was better than an away mission on Star Trek. The sky was insanely clear and there was a meteor shower that night; they were sometimes so large that they left streaks in the sky, like night-time contrails. I saw the Milky Way reach up and over the black Joshua trees around me, high above my head, then plunge into the horizon beyond. It was staggering.

We woke with the sunrise at 6am, gathered our things, and started our hike. I've always been prejudiced against the desert. Too dry and colorless. I prefer old-growth forests, not redwoods, but branching deciduous trees and thick undergrowth. So imagine my surprise to find life and color in this waterless grave. What struck me was that this was not just any life--it was hard, tough, strong life. No wimpy green here! Here, in this desert dry, even the color works hard against the heat and dust. There was life, and it wasn't easy. It was inspirational in a way I hadn't expected. It was beautiful in a way I'd never seen.

I've been reluctant to write, which is my explanation for the long stretch of two weeks that's gone between this and the last entry. Too much to address. Too afraid to open up the old wounds. My journey work--my adventures--haven't just been physical; they've also been emotional. Nightmares stalk my sleep. Elevators go up, up, up from labyrinthine parking garages only to open on black, angry skies and shattered glass towers. Babies cry and things crawl under my skin. I am angry in these dreams: determined to fight the ghosts I face, with fists or words or just by making it through to morning.

Not surprisingly, I've been walled up lately like the Gates of Mordor. The walls are high and dark, and war trolls storm the battlements.

My heart lately

It is not a pleasant place to be. I had a conversation tonight with Ms. Peace Corps, a brilliant and attractive friend of mine from high school. She lives in NYC now, and we were talking about dating. I told her a few days ago that it feels like most of my emotional progress comes from breakups. I said it was like fission, this terrible release of creative and destructive energy; I said that I wanted growth in the future to come from fusion, instead. I dream about a self-sustaining, rather than destructive, system.

Nuclear Fission = Not so good

Nuclear Fusion=A harmonious, self-sustaining system

She shared that this concept intrigued her, and she began to observe where HER progress occurred. She also shared what I called the Power of Primacy: that our first experiences--especially in love--color and shape our future experiences. She provided an example: If I were rejected by my first love, then that's how I'd see love for the rest of my life; it would be my emotional foundation. If--on the other hand--I had a successful love and broke it off, then I'd have a very different foundation. This idea, too, intrigued me, and has started a whole new line of thinking.

It's now very late for Sable Crow, who is squawking away when he should be sleeping, or at the very least enjoying one of the books I'm currently reading:

It has everything a guy could want: handsome and charming vampires, high school drama, and the subtle threat that is love.

On one final note, there were some special guests on the hike, sharing a meal and clearly a pair. They were quite happy to see me, as I was to see them.