God Save the Children!!!

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
Or ... Kabbaz Really goes off the Deep End This Time

What the heck does being a bespoke shirtmaker have to do with God; much less with Saving the Children? It certainly does. For you see, I am a son and I am a father (too damn many times - but that a story for another day). Something set me to reflecting a few weeks ago. Something one does over the age of 50. The reflecting tool tends to work better than the remembering tool. And I reflected that one of the more notable aspects of AskAndyAboutClothes is the virtually predictable response of a certain group of "newbies". The majority group who, infallibly, make a post after a few days which goes something like this:
I can't believe I found this site. I've been reading for a while and all of a sudden I realize that when it comes to clothes I don't know squat! Before I got here, Men's Warehouse was the ultimate clothier. Now I know it's really the Men's Whorehouse and I've thrown every article of wearing apparel I owned in the trash. Thank God I found this place!"
And I wondered, "How the hell did we get this way? It certainly wasn't that way when I was young." But alas ... it really was. Remembering back to when I was 7-8-9 Yes, that remembering tool works fine. It's trying to remember what color underwear I put on this morning which causes the difficulties. And so I remembered back to 7-8-9 and what did I come up with? Well, there was Grandad. Always in a three-piece suit, even on Sunday mornings for the reading of the Times while Grandma went to church. But hey! He was, even to his adoring grandson, a total anachronism. A barrelchested, tea-drinking Welchman with an office in the Cunard building at 25 Broadway where he did - stuff - with papers. What kinda stuff? Hadn't a clue. And then there was Dad. Brown cords, some kinda rumpled shirt, and that tattered maroon cardigan. The one with the big brown crosscut genuine leather buttons and the holes. And he wore it ... always. I don't even remember if he wore a tie I was so focussed on the Holes. The "I'm a shrink and I know better than you what you're thinking look". And with Holes. Lotsa holes. A veritable museum masterpiece of mothwork.

So those were the minor influences in my sartorial life. And then there were the major influences: Bozo the Clown was one. Howdy Doody was another. Mr Rogers and his tattered maroon cardigan hadn't yet even seen the light of day. And then there was the overriding influence: Penny! You know, Penny. From Sky King and Penny of course.

Whatever does this have to do with God and Saving Children? That was the first childhood I could remember. My own. No suits ... sack or otherwise ... except for the British influence of Grandad. Yes - we all wore leather shoes but that's just because Michael Jordan hadn't yet been invented. If I were pressed to remember, I would recall the general attire of the youth of the 1950's to be collarless shirts and short coveralls for all waking hours except church. For church there was the shirt with a collar and the rest remained the same:

So that was the first part of the Children. Me as the son. Bozo. Doody. And Sky King. Let's fast-forward to the 1980's and the birth of my first son. Casual Fridays was a phrase just begining to be heard. A movement underway. And coupled with it the beginning of the Reign of the Sports Kings. By the time Damien was 7-8-9 in the early 1990s, the calico glory of the Cabbage Patch Kids was all the rage and the standard attire of Children was sheeny polyester satin basketball shorts, loudly logo-ed polyester satin sports jerseys, and sneakers which rivalled today's cost of a pair of RTW John Lobbs. Preferably with the word Jordan emblazoned across the collarless shirt back in six inch high block letters. I'll save the gory details. Another generation lost.

Moving on, then came Conrad and Daniel, children of the 1990's. No more gory details. Just think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the entire picture will snap into focus. Basically puke green skin with black leather double bandoliers and handsful of ninchucks. The generation where clothes weren't secondary; weren't even terciary to the important matter of the decade: How fast your thumbs could move on a videogame controller in order that your steel-clad robot could kill his titanium terminator before the world ended.

So this, that day a few weeks ago, is what this 56 year-old parent and allegedly decent maker of fine clothing found cause to reflect upon after reading the umpteenth post by a thirty-somethingth newbie declaring that he had just achieved is first clothing orgasm on Arrival at the Temple of Andy. And I whispered to myself, probably more loudly than I'm willing to admit, God Save the Children.

But the tale doesn't end there. Because God answered. Yeah, you got that right. God actually answered! No sh*t. And I had only whispered aloud. Didn't even have my hands folded. In the form of a not-so-small two year-old named Tucker (yes, we're done now) who came up to me and said, "Dad. Will you watch Thomas with me?" "Sure", I replied, picturing 45 minutes of pretending to stare at a blue talking train chugging merrily around the Island of Sodor bantering all the way with water towers, tunnels, trucks, and other inanimate objects. And then I saw him! Sir Topham Hatt.

Literally, my jaw dropped. "Damn" I must have uttered out loud for Tucker shook his finger at me, "the guy's dressed to kill. I mean, he's actually showing cuff. On both sleeves no less!" "Look", I thought. "Spectators. Pocket square. Watch chain. And a shirt with a collar. What is going on here?" And as I watched, fearing the worst: that Hatt, like my anachronism of a grandfather, was the sole defender of days long gone ... I simply marvelled. I was never more wrong. For throughout the entire 45 minutes, in-between talking trains, babbling water towers, muttering tunnels and bantering trucks, was a parade of tailored clothing the likes of which would make an Apparel Arts afficionado jealous. Everyone in the entire animated cast, from Topham Hatt down to the lowliest unloader of trucks, is properly dressed. From the man waving at the train whilst waiting at the railroad crossing, to the schoolchildren staring down from the bridges, to the commuters awaiting transport at the train stations, the influence which is being brought to bear on my youngest child during his formative years ain't no Bozo. No Doody for Tucker!

In 2006, this is where we stand. The Reverend W. Aubrey's Thomas and Friends series is the most popular series among young boys today. Sponge Bob is dead, the Mutant Turtles long gone, video games on the wane ... and my two year-old is receiving a sartorial education the likes of which took me a lifetime to acquire. As I look forward to future members of AskAndy I am pleased. For they will come with knowledge in hand and with certainty that proper dressing is exactly that. Proper.

Without further ado, a short but pleasurable trip through the world of Thomas the Train, sent by God to Save the Children.

If only we can now figure out who's going to save Kabbaz.

Thanks for slogging through. I would be really interested to hear of other examples of this phenomenon you may have observed.

Copyright © 2006 Alexander Kabbaz
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Honors Member
I'm glad to be the first to congratulate Kabbaz the Kurmudgeon!:icon_smile_big: We all love having you here, and we're all certainly the richer for your presence! See you at 4K, Sir Moderator.


Inactive user
It's almost an hour pass the witching hour here on the west coast. The first few days of summer temperatures are rapidly turning green hillsides into tweed bolts of fading green, brown and specks of white yuccas in blossom. I can't sleep. The ceiling fan is going in Casablanca circles, assorted liquid concoctions in the fridge give lukewarm comfort compared to garden hose tapwater and my poor cats are suffering from an unexpected assault by an explosion of fleas. Jack Benny is on some late night old time radio programme. They have to catch the train for a hot business deal on the west coast that won't wait beyond three days travel. Naturally it is interupted by my work issued cellphone erupting in what I think is an electronic version of navajo flute music. I answer and it goes dead. This repeats itself 3 times. I finally call back the recorded number. " Yes? You just called me three times. Oh, well I had the wrong number. Well, don't you think you could apologise for bothering me? Hey! this is supposed to be my friend's number followed by an expletive." The line, except there is no 'line' again goes dead. I wonder if the now banned .50 target rifles could take out a low orbiting communications satelite ? My very skin itches and feels out of sorts in spite of an afternoon's combat with foggers, perimeter sprays, direct topicals for my cats and 3 showers. What I need, cannot yet afford, is a shirt; white in 100% cotton, pressed with proper placket buttons, no breast pocket and a left sleeve compensating for my watch. I have shoes decent enough to stand judgement with that watch by the matrons at the greek orthodox church I am attending. But I need this shirt. Congrats on 3000.
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The Gabba Goul

Elite Member
Perhaps we could develop a AAAC mascot based on sir Topham Hat, with a little Kabbaz thrown in to make him more interesting (somebody who's good at photoshop Pleeeeeze do this, it would be priceless)...

Congrats on MMM, here's to many many more...Cheers!!!


Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Indeed, how appropriate...watching the suns' first rays splash across the sleeping forms of my three grandkids, in the final hours of a campout in the "tall grass" (carpet) of Papas' den. After all, their cartoon friend "Caiou" had a sleepout at his house and Papa even has animals hanging on his walls...just like in the jungle. So we're sleeping out in our makeshift jungle, I fire up the computer and bring up AAAC, while I drink my first cup of coffee, and the first post to greet me is Alex (his 3000th, no less) talking about the foundations of a sense of sartorial excellence for the younger generation(s) being instilled through watching Thomas the tank engine and Sir Topham Hat, and suggesting other appropriate animated features be consideration to further such knowledge.

As always Alex, your 3000th post is both entertaining and instructional, I think...perhaps I will know after my second cup of Joe. I look forward to the future humor and knowledge your future posts will bring to us. Congratulations!!


Super Member
I wouldn't ascribe flipping to the 3000th post. Alex clearly flipped ages ago! Congratulations on number 3000. Certainly an accomplishment for yourself but really a gift for this community. In between all the sass is a tremendous amount of knowledge that you have given to all who have asked (and even some who didnt). Cheers!


Super Member
Great Article!

Thanks Mr K, for the article, and for all else that you have done for us on the Forum. Best wishes for continued good health and fortune for the next 3000, or so.


Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member

Due to a technical glitch on the new Forums software all post counts will have to be reset to -10. Thank you.


Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
Kongrats Kabbaz!!!

You have be come a golden asset to those of us here on AskAndy and personally to me from your above and beyond efforts in the annual "Collection of Sartorial Excellence" AskAndy event!

It's great to finally have a brother!

I remember Sky King and even had a "genuwine" turquoise code ring. Had to send in Shredded Wheat box tops!

Don't worry Alex stay here on these Forums and we'll save you. Plus would it be so bad if we all started dressing like Sir Topham Hatt?
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Super Member
Wonderful post, Alex, as always. Please keep the sartorial (not to mention sociological) insights coming! We look forward to the next 3K. :icon_smile:


Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
I think I liked Sir Topham better when he was still The Fat Controller.

A hearty congratulations to our newest Honors Member. The club continues to swell.


Active Member with Corp. Privileges

Congrats, Alex!... if congratulations are actually in order for prodigious posting on an internet menswear forum!

Actually, I was congratulating you on the sweet, warm (Alex, is that really YOU??!!) prose. My favorite part is your ready agreement to watch "Thomas" with little Tucker. I know you're really a teddy bear at heart, but I try not to reveal that publically! ;) But in any case, I completely understand and empathise. "Miss Jill, do you wanna watch "Travelling Pants" again??" "Sure, Honey! Sounds great!!"

Anyway, thanks for all you bring to our silly community here! You're a real treasure.

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