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Archive for the ‘Cars, Boats and Miscellaneous’ Category

#90 - Sailing

#90 - Sailing

Sailing
Price: Chapped Lips & Wind Blown Hair

If you think a sloop is a rapper, feel ketch is played with a baseball and glove and believe that yawl is a greeting in the southern American states you are likely not rubbing shoulders with the Rockefellers. If however, you are unfamiliar with rap music, believe that ballpark franks are uncivilized and refuse to associate with Confederate sympathizers, you already know that standing topside in Chesapeake Bay is the perfect summer pastime. If you lean more to the latter than the former you are aware that sailing is among the stuff that rich people love

While port, starboard, stern and bow make the average person’s head spin, these are among the first words out of a trust fund baby’s mouth once the proverbial silver spoon is removed. Rich people that do not learn to sail are as out of place as an Amish couple at a swinger’s party or a West Virginian at a wedding where the bride and groom are not related, it’s awkward for everybody. That said these social anomalies are few and far between. Just as every working class American should have a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, the rich will continue to have a blue water cruiser in every bay and a mooring ball in every harbor. More important, to the rich, than actually sailing their luxury yacht is ensuring that they have the most conspicuous slip at the marina. There is hardly any point in commissioning an 89 foot Oyster yacht if nobody knows it is yours. While size is important, sailing ships are one of the few places that a sense of humor is acceptable in wealthy circles. Witty monikers like Alimony, TARP, and Golden Parachute all convey a playfulness that only money can buy.

The question, as always, is how can sailing help you to befriend the fabulously wealthy without becoming their indentured servant dishing up caviar on the high seas while the aforementioned Alimony is heeling in 45 knot winds. While anyone with a PhD in English literature can land a crew job on a yacht off St. Maarten, it takes a special type of sycophant to ingratiate themselves and secure an aft berth on a month long cruise of the Mediterranean.  To start, learn a few key words like regatta, Maxi class and Top-Sider boat shoes. Next, learn how to tie a bowline, a cleat hitch and a reef knot and know when to use them. Finally, purchase a vintage copy of Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around The World. To bring it all together, plant yourself at the most Jimmy Buffettesque pub in the port reading this month’s copy of Yacht World circling classifieds larger than 45 feet. In no time, you’ll be talking about ports of call in the BVIs with an overweight boat owner wearing the latest Tommy Bahama linen pants and Helly Hansen waterproofs. Word of advice there’s no such thing as a starport jigpole!

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#83 - Flying First Class

#83 - Flying First Class

Flying First Class
Price: Your First Born, Their Pocket Change

Flying isn’t natural. As they say, “If God had meant you to fly he would have given you wings”, Icarus learned this the hard way. Of course, when they said this, they were probably referring to economy class where the masses are crammed into uncomfortable seats with sweaty, broad shouldered, obese individuals who want to talk to you about their 2-star vacation or persistent skin rash that is likely contagious. If this situation is the bookend to your holiday or business trip, you are probably inclined to agree that mankind is better off on terra firma. While the rich certainly prefer the comforts of a private jet, when push comes to shove, a lie-flat seat with noise-reducing headphones, personal media players, fine dining, full bar and a curtain to separate you from the plebs makes commercial flights tolerable.

For the masses that feel they have won the lottery because they managed to “score” a seat in an emergency exit row, there is a belief that the seats on the other side of the curtain are prohibitively expensive because of the roominess and luxury. Rich people know that, while 40” of seat pitch is comfortable, the real reason to sit in first class is that one does not have to associate with people that can’t afford the finer things in life. After all, the food, personalized service and comfort are table stakes in the lives of the wealthy. First class seating is one of the few places that legitimize class segregation, making it extremely attractive to the rich. Having a boarding pass that reads 2B with a flute of champagne in hand is a wonderful reminder that while money can’t buy happiness, it can help you choose your misery which does not include spending time with individuals who think a timeshare is a good investment.

Naturally, if you want to make good with the wealthy the first option is to secure yourself a seat in first class. This can be done in a few ways; buck up for the extra few thousand dollars every time you fly, try to sweet talk the ticketing agent into upgrading you on every flight or start sleeping with a flight attendant. Of course, if you could pull off the latter two options with any level of consistency, you would likely already be on the road to success and riches and able to execute on option A. As back-up,the art of conversation to kick start a discussion with your wealthy counterpart will work wonders. Give your new friend an opportunity to dazzle you with their in-flight experience. Use informed inquiry about flying Emirates or United’s P.S. service while jet setting between the left and right coast and sit back and listen. Make this work and you may never have to hear the question “fish or chicken” again. Enjoy the friendly skies!

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#59 - Being Condescending

#59 - Being Condescending

Being Condescending
Price: Nobody Likes You

Imagine being engaged in conversation with a relative stranger. You mention that you are taking a trip or going back to school. Now imagine that the person you are speaking with tells you they only stay at 5 star resorts, never fly economy or that unless you are attending Harvard you’ll be wasting your time. Given that you are staying at a Holiday Inn, travelling by bus and attending state you are likely thinking, “what a dick!” You aren’t wrong; rich people are condescending!

For most people a conversation like this is a disaster but like rich people say, when life gives you lemons have your chef make lemonade. A common response to condescending rich people is to blush and mumble about how nice that sounds. At the other end of the etiquette spectrum is abruptly ending the conversation with a few choice four letter words. While both are options, it is much more fun to play the one-upmanship game. Here’s how it works; they say 5 star, you say 5 diamond. They say Harvard, you prefer the London School of Economics. They won’t fly economy, trump first class by asking if they own a private jet. While this doesn’t immediately seem like a suitable tactic to forge friendships you will be surprised how effective piquing their interest can be.

A little mystery can go a long way when engaging in one-upping, so tread softly. You will want to verse yourself in the finer things in life. Conversational knowledge of Bugatti automobiles, French Chateaus, armored vehicles and private islands will provide ample material for sparring with your conceited adversary. An important point to remember, never lie about partaking in such luxuries. Alluding to enjoying the lifestyle is much more effective and keeps the sharks from smelling weakness. While you don’t want to be known as the jackass that fabricates stories about climbing Everest without oxygen or setting free dive depth records, it is perfectly acceptable to showcase your knowledge of pampered wealth. Finally, this knowledge is like achieving a black belt in martial arts; only use it in self-defense. With a little training you will be as lethal as Bruce Lee and as debonair as James Bond.

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#55 - Scorning New Money

#55 - Scorning New Money

Scorning New Money
Price: Rich Grandparents

To most, someone with stacks of Ben Franklins is wealthy and money is money but for rich people there is ‘old money’ and there is ‘new money’. Old money smells like rich mahogany, leather bound books and has always had money while new money went to public school, didn’t have a nanny and clawed their way out of a tortuous middle class upbringing. As far as real rich people are concerned, the nouveaux riche are classless underlings and second class citizens. In fact, old money would rather spend time with their chauffeurs and gardeners than invite a pastel-wearing, Lamborghini driving, loud-mouthed, hedge fund millionaire into their home when the only thing they have in common is their bank balance.

If you intend to befriend the wealthy you must become adept at recognizing the telltale signs of generational wealth vs. the self-made man. Old money is proper, cultured and knows things like when to wear seersucker. Both groups own luxury vehicles but new money opts for aftermarket ‘spinner’ rims and bright colors. Old money would rather wear white after Labor Day than be seen in a yellow Ferrari. Essentially, old money is conservative while new money flaunts their wealth with public displays of opulence.

It is imperative that you choose sides; with whom will you ingratiate yourself? Do you opt for smoking cigars surrounded by hooker-hot blondes on the city’s most popular patios or for lounging in a private library with snifters of Brandy discussing the Fed’s monetary policy? What about ringside seats at UFC in Vegas or is the loge for Bizet’s Carmen more your style? Just as all US citizens are either Republican or anti-American, rich people are new money or old but never both; neither is wrong but they don’t agree on anything. I take that back, both are repulsed by poor people and believe white pants are stylish for men.

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#52 - Range Rover

#52 - Range Rover

2009 Range Rover
Price: $114,300

Rich people love Range Rover. They hold a privileged place in the heart of the wealthy by coupling the social presence of a Maserati with the convenience of a minivan, which they would never drive. The spaciousness of the vehicle is an important factor in deciding to domesticate the family garage. With over 74 cubic feet of loadspace volume and a towing capacity of nearly 8,000 lbs, it is the perfect vehicle to carry one’s Hermès or Bottega purse on the front seat.

It is ironic that rich people like Range Rover because they hate to get dirty. In fact, you will find more bottles of hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes in a Range Rover than the nurses station in an Intensive Care Unit. The rich are so obsessive about sanitizing and sterilizing that if you see dust defacing one of these luxury automobiles, expect that “the help” is getting fired; you can imagine the consequences of finding mud! Knowing that Range Rovers aren’t driven for their off-road prowess and that the nanny isn’t toting the children around in the family SUV there are only two explanations; Range Rovers are an elite status symbol or the rich think they need to be safer than the lower classes! Good news, you’re both right!

Range Rover is the only vehicle to hold royal warrants at Blenheim Palace (status…check!) and they boast safety features like driver’s side knee air bag, parking aid and a radio-frequency keyset with rolling codes (safety…check!). The rich can rest assured that they couldn’t be safer driving from their home in their gated community to the yoga studio in their gated community. In the event that you encounter a rich person during a particularly inclement day, take the opportunity to comment on the poor roads and ask how they managed in such conditions? This provides them the opportunity to empathize with you and suggest that they weren’t sure their 20 inch wheels, Terrain Response System and self-adjusting suspension would get them there in one piece. Refrain from rolling your eyes and take solace knowing that they have never driven a lemon and believe that driving themselves is roughing it. After all, even their driver needs a day off once in a while.

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#26 - Driving Gloves

#26 - Driving Gloves

Moreschi Monza Driving Gloves
Price: $395

Rich people love exotic automobiles so it should come as no surprise that rich people love driving gloves. Driving gloves are extremely recognizable and therefore an easy means to forge friendships with the wealthy and to identify you as a compatriot of the cultured. Driving gloves have four identifying characteristics; leather construction, holes at the knuckles, snap wrist closures and ownership by drivers who believe 150 km/h is a moderate pace! Driving glove owners are most certainly automobile aficionados who, as an example, will wax poetic about the Ferrari 250 GT SWB as the last true GT and discuss Pininfarina styling with such passion you would be forgiven the belief that such discourse could supplant their need for Viagra, if only their wife loved cars.

As they say, if you don’t know the past, you don’t know the present and therefore the future. Driving gloves were originally conceived to counter unreliable heaters, ungraspable steering wheels and adrenaline fueled sweaty palms. While these may have been problems in classic automobiles, two of these issues have gone the way of the dodo, while the third has been relegated to first dates, interviews and hedge fund audits. Despite technological advances inside the car, social progression of vehicular couture is slower and as such there remains a place in every enthusiast’s wardrobe for Moreschi Monza driving gloves.

To make friends, focus on the the crux of the driving glove debate, color choice. This is where you can put yourself in the social driver’s seat. The rich can spend hours discussing the merits of aligning glove color with the interior appointments of their Bugatti Veyron versus matching to their Loro Piana jacket and Zegna trousers. This high brow debate will be spirited and if you want to blow their minds ask why one would stray from a single pair as performance favors consistency. You will receive a hearty “hear hear!” and the altercation will conclude with a gentleman’s agreement to disagree. The lesser B-type of the group, likely nicknamed “Big Pussy” since boarding school, will offer to buy a conciliatory round of 40-year old Macallans and you will be discussing summer homes in Montauk and the merits of live-in nannies faster than you can say Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction!

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#13 - Private Jets

#13 - Private Jets

Gulfstream G550
Price: $51,900,000

There comes a point in every rich person’s life when having a personal assistant book airline tickets, waiting in the Emirates lounge, sampling vintages in the Grand Cru at the Dubai Airport and flying first class becomes tiresome. It is time to visit Gulfstream in Madison, Connecticut, 2003 winners of the Robert J. Collier award for outstanding innovation in aeronautics in America. A private jet is convenient and damned civilized; if you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Gulfstream manufactures seven models with the Gulfstream G650 scheduled for release in 2012. For now, the G550 is the most exclusive jet available to billionaires. With a range of 6,760 nautical miles and cruising altitude of 41,000 ft no destination is too far. Such range dictates that comfort is top-of-mind for the wealthy jet set. The G550 will accommodate 18 passengers with 7 berthing seats and is available in any custom configuration one desires. Should owners require Phillipe Starck fixtures, elephant skin seats, Malmaison flatware, persian carpets or Louis XIV desks…the designers at Gulfstream will bring your dreams to life.

To combat effects of jetlag, the cabin is pressurized to 6,000 ft and 100% fresh air is pumped throughout the plane while you watch DVDs on built-in LCD televisions and enjoy hot food on exquisite china. Advanced soundproofing and signature oval windows keep noise levels low while the jet cruises at up to Mach 0.87 or 926 km/h. This powerful thrust is provided by Rolls-Royce engines which have helped the Gulfstream G550 break 39 (and counting) city pair speed records including West Hampton to Beijing and Honolulu to Higüey. Interestingly, while this jet is well suited for international flights, the espresso machine is optional.

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