Friday, June 29, 2012

Play Smarter: Fantasy Baseball - Francisco Liriano

Twins SP and RP.  Well lookey here - methinks a fantasy zombie has arisen from the dead.  Check out Liriano's stats for the past 30 days: 2.41 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 9.64 K/9 and 2.86 K/BB.  Plus this nugget from Matthew Berry: Liriano's 29.7 swing and miss rate is the best in baseball, even higher than Stephen Strasburg.  And he's RP eligible, meaning in weekly leagues you can use him to load up on the counting stats (IP, K, W).  Only 20% owned in ESPN leagues as of today, get him now.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dress Smarter: The Wingtip Boot

Why the Wingtip Boot?  Because it's the perfect balance between casual and dressy, between office wear and weekend wear.  Goes with a fall/winter wool suit just as well with jeans and khakis.
I've seen two problems when buying wingtip boots, though: 1) if affordable (like the $35 UO boot), they tend to rise up too high on the ankle, giving them a hiking boot rather than dress shoe feel, or 2) the boots are gorgeous but way too pricey for something you might need to wear in rain/mud/snow (AE Dalton, I'm talking to you).

Florsheim, however, seems to have struck just the right balance, getting lots of brogue detailing in a hightop-high boot. In the Florsheim Limited line, there's the Gaffney Boot in chestnut, $140 through Zappos but can be had for about $100 with code NEXT20 on website.  Rates fives stars on both sites.  Yes, it has a lug sole but the chestnut is perfectly colored and the uppers polish up nice.
Then there's the major upgrade: the Brogue Boot in the "Florsheim by Duckie Brown" line.  Normally $475, you can scrounge one up for $200 on eBay and on Neiman Marcus and LastCall - but who knows what colors and sizes will be available.

Luckily, is running an insane deal right now on the Broken-In Brogue Boot in Brown - only $79.  Yeah, $400 off - making it even cheaper than the Gaffney for a boot that's leather-soled, Goodyear welted, and made with Horween leather.  Both the Gaffney and Brogue Boot run large and wide by a half-size, so be sure to size down when you buy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Play Smarter: Fantasy Baseball - Geraldo Parra

Arizona OF.  If Quintin Berry and Ben Revere are already taken in your league and you want steals without a gaping flaw in average or power (ruling our Rajai Davis, Juan Pierre and Tony Campana), give Campana a look.  A career .282 hitter, this year he's at .274/.341/.421 with 10 SBs, 31 R and 4 HRs thrown in.  Only 13.3% owned in ESPN leagues.

Play Smarter: Fantasy Baseball - Ben Revere

Minnesota OF.  Revere is riding to the rescue (couldn't help myself) for owners in need of steals help: In only 107 ABs, the speedster has 9 SBs, scored 17 times, and has shown a good eye with a .327 AVG and 4/6 BB/K ratio.  Think Rajai Davis with a better AVG, or Juan Pierre with a better SLG, or Tony Campana with a better batting AVG and SLG.  Only 10.9% owned in ESPN leagues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dress Smarter: Allen Edmonds - Walnut Strand

Why is it called the Strand?  Because if you were stranded on a desert island and had to wear only one pair of dress shoes for the rest of your life, this would be it.  Dollar-for-dollar, no other American shoemaker beats Allen Edmonds in quality, and the walnut-color Strand is on its way to joining the Park Avenue as AE's iconic dress shoe.

What's so good about the Strand?  Beautiful, top-quality calf (doesn't crease much, takes a gorgeous shine), Goodyear welted, made in the USA, a durable leather sole, and - best of all - it will last you decades because for $100 AE will recraft it to look like new.  Plus the Walnut color goes with almost any suit (except solid black).

Where to buy it?  Whatever you do, don't pay the full $335 retail price.  AE's outlets sometimes sell second-quality Strands for $199, and Nordstrom and Amazon usually have new Strands around $200 once a year.

But the best place to score a new pair is at, where military service members can always buy new Strands direct from AE at $200 a pop (in any color and size) - see screen shot below. Of course, most people aren't in the military and you can't even view the site without a login, so ring up your Army/Navy buddy and have him buy you one.  The best thing of all?  MilExchange is always running online coupons of at least 10% off - and for February 29 this year, 29% off - meaning that you can get your new Strands for as little as $142 a pair, an amazing value.  The Strand runs long and narrow, so a 12E was perfect for my normally 13D feet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dress Smarter: Italian-Made Silk Knit Ties

It's never a bad idea to take a fashion cue from Tom Ford.  Yeah, I can't afford his $4000 three-piece suits, either - but the silver knit silk tie is definitely a game-changer that can be done at an affordable price.

Why silk knit ties?  Because unlike your normal, shiny silk ties, knit ties 1) are seen far less frequently (and therefore noticed more, even in dark, solid colors), 2) add a whole new level of depth and texture to your shirt/suit combo and 3) work in both dressy and casual environments.  A great solid-color knit tie gets noticed in a good way; a loud shiny silk tie gets noticed in a bad way.

Ideally, the only knit ties you in your closet should be 100% silk, made in Italy, 2.75" wide, affordable, and come with an unlimited return policy in case it ends up defective.  Lands End's silk knits are the only ones I know of that fit the bill, coming in at less than $30 on sale.

Take the plunge; once you start wearing Italian silk knits you'll find normal ties hard to go back to.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dress Smarter: Lands End - No Iron Tailored Dress Shirts

A pretty simple question: what's everything you want in the ideal dress shirt?  The answer (I hope) is: slim fit, non-iron, monogram-able, unbreakable buttons, an unlimited return policy, and about $35 or less.

Now who can offer all that?  Brooks Brothers and Charles Tyrwhitt offer great shirts, but you pay a premium just for the brand. Lands End's Dress Shirts, on the other hand, hit all of these marks at the right price.

Even better: for Father's Day, LE is offering $20 off of $75 plus free shipping no minimum with code FATHER and pin 2610.