Wednesday, September 30

workingman's dead

Growing up in Vermont in the 70's/80's you were exposed to a lot of tie dye and taped Dead shows; which can backfire... but the more stripped down Workingman's Dead was a keeper from the first listen. The fourth studio album by the Grateful Dead was released in 1970 and featured no space jams, noodling nor drum solos. It was songs of pit men and train drivers and almost rootsy tunes. Oh, and great freekin Mouse and Kelley cover. Rhino Records reissued WMD in 2003 w a bunch of bonus tracks.

Original LP tracks:
Uncle John's Band
High Time (not my fave)
Dire Wolf
New Speedway Boogie
Cumberland Blues
Black Peter
Easy Wind
Casey Jones

Laurence Upton describes it well: "Any ill-informed Dead Head who bought this upon its release in June 1970, expecting more of the acid-drenched blues and psychedelia of such recent predecessors as Anthem Of The Sun and Aoxomoxoa, must have had a considerable shock when they dropped the needle into the groove, and track one, Uncle John's Band, began to play.

The Dead had gone back to their roots, the music they grew up with, and their lyricist, Robert Hunter, had risen to the challenge with songs about miners and engineers that belonged within a rich musical tradition, largely forgotten, that was being re-invented by artists like the Band and Ry Cooder.

When they entered the studios behind the Fillmore for two weeks in February 1970 they had been coached in harmony by Crosby, Stills and Nash, knew all the songs they were to record and even the order they were to appear on the album, and were completely focused on their mission."

2009 world porridge making championship -oct 11

No, The Golden Spurtle is not some kind of Harry Potter celebration (though slightly snicker inducing name... I mean come on) it is in fact the 16th Annual World Porridge Making Championship.

"The 2009 annual World Porridge Making Championships will take place in Carrbridge, Inverness-shire, Scotland, on 'World Porridge Day', Sunday 11th October 2009. The competition is organised by the Carrbridge and Vicinity Community Council. The main sponsor is oatmeal producers Hamlyns of Scotland." -via GoldenSpurtle.

The spurtle (also called a theevil by the threadcounting crowd) is a wooden stick used to stir porridge (synonymous with oatmeal). Wood so it won't mark or scratch your pots and pans. Stir clockwise. Made of beech, sycamore or maple they are inexpensive (around $10??) and bring a little WTF to your cutlery drawer...

Incase you were not aware, in Scotland it is traditional to have salt on your porridge rather than syrup or cinnamon/apple or sugar or whatever. It really is what you are accustomed to though, and we have plenty back-to-the-land friends that can't face salt; but Oma eats it that way. We have caved and use maple syrup...

Monday, September 28

factor films -they came from...

File under N for next level... Love the mix of huge jumps and sillypress trickery. From Factor Films. Bonus, They Came From... will be released in a 3D version. Bosh.

cheaping out?

I burned through a pair of the DieHards 2 years ago, and reviewers say that the soles are still a little wimpy... Wish Sears would buck up and make these shoes that can take a beating but maybe that is why they are $60 not $200 or whatever the Red Wings turn out to be. More on the tasty Red Wing oxfords via HYRCollective.

"In 1967, Sears revolutionized the automotive battery replacement category with the introduction of DieHard. The battery's tough, thin-walled translucent plastic case was 50% thinner than conventional black, rubber- type battery enclosures available at the time. The result: bigger plates, more acid and extra starting power. More than nine years of research and development was conducted prior to the launch of DieHard in 1967." -via Sears

"The name DieHard came about after the battery underwent intensive testing without failure. Technicians did not report a single failure in more than 26,000 starts at temperatures ranging from sub-zero to more than 100 degrees. Sears marketed DieHard through a series of innovative advertisements ranging from batteries frozen in ice, to batteries in Baja racecars.

In the 1990s, the DieHard brand expanded to include flashlights, flashlight batteries, rechargeable batteries, gel cel batteries, and recently, work boots." -via Sears Archives.

Friday, September 25

roger kastel

Iconic work... put it in the dictionary under S for stone cold classic. Longer bio here, but in a nutshell illustrator Roger Kastel was working for Bantam when asked to do the paperback cover for Peter Benchley’s JAWS. Universal Studios purchased the right to use this image as a movie poster for the movie JAWS, and the image has had major legs... (Sly fishhook reference in that J of Jaws I think too.) Roger's other pop-culture claim to fame is the lush Empire Strikes Back poster, version A, dubbed Gone with the Wind; you can see why below. This print is super collectible as it failed to include Billy Dee Williams who had a contractual right to appear in the poster, which was later reworked. That was all news to me...

If you never saw the cheeky Jaws/fashion post from a while back, it may amuse.

Thursday, September 24

red gold

"The Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska is home to the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers, the two most prolific sockeye salmon runs left in the world. Mining companies Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American have partnered to propose development of an open-pit and underground mine at the headwaters of the two river systems. The exploration site is the second largest combined deposit of copper, gold, and molybdenum ever discovered and has an estimated value of more than $300 billion.

Despite promises of a clean project by officials, the accident-plagued history of hard rock mining has wrought one of the biggest land use battles Alaska has ever faced. Documenting the growing unrest among native, commercial, and sport-fishermen, Red Gold is a portrait of a unique way of life that will not survive if the salmon don’t return with Bristol Bay’s tide." -abstract via Red Gold Film.

Interviews with people on the ground. Saw a clip walking through the Orvis store earlier (they and Patagonia are sponsors for this) had not heard of it till today. Felt Soul Media (the filmers) have a bunch of other great stuff; check their vimeo.

etsy find -fieldy tweed

Etsy seamstress Fieldy Tweed out of Glasgow, Scotland (2 posts on Glasvegas today... not sure why) has some crafty (ouch.. ed.) ideas for Harris Tweed. Hot water bottle covers, almost time. Coffee-press cozy, for the man who has everything. Made from scraps of (non-production?)Harris Tweed the colors are much brighter and varied than the usual browns and blues out there. Natch' this smart lady has a blog, start here.
[Update from Suzanne: "I used to buy all my tweed direct from the mill in Stornoway which has since closed - I have quite a stockpile! The Harris tweed labels come with the tweed - there is a quota of 4 labels per meter of tweed which will soon be going up to 8 labels per meter. Hope this answers your question."]

swift one -variety bar

Photo from LindaKuster on flickr
Photo from Hollabb on flickr.
Interior shot from TGKW on flickr. No idea who that dude is.
The Variety Bar is an oasis of art deco fronted/old man drinking/chinese restaurant goldflake decor/lp playing country music on fridays/yer pal used to tend bar there calm at the west end of Glasgow's Sauchiehall St. Daytime calm at least. (Sauchiehall St. is a mass of shops, pubs, dodgy pubs, lunch places, the Center For Contemporary Arts and nearby is the Glasgow School of Art.) Hell no, the Variety does not have a website... but the kitchen does not get above its station, and drinks are inexpensive pints and small ones. Description here captures it. Def' add to your list...

Bonus is the similarly deco Kings Cafe next door. Out of this world potato fritters. Photo below from Cumbo on flickr.

Wednesday, September 23

that w.a.m. look

Running a couple of errands before the w/e hits hence the Walking Around Money (WAM) look. The eternal question, "do you get your board tuned before the season starts?" Or too likely to catch an edge those first few days... I wait myself. Used to see GrindRite machines all around, they have now been swallowed up by Wintersteiger (d/b/a Kalow Technologies I believe?). Loved the GrindRite logos, remember that dungaree clad buzzcut guy?

Carhartt Detroit jacket. I think the patches are holding it together.
Chamois shirt. Shammy... Hard to get slim ones, New Old Stock is key...
Sucker for slim wintery gloves. Drop Mfg.
Filson Mackinaw hat. Not too much at all, the thing is great. Hadn't looked up definition of Mackinaw till now...

"Etymology: Mackinaw (Mackinac), trading post at site of Mackinaw City, Michigan.
Date: 1833
1 : a heavy woolen blanket formerly distributed by the United States government to the Indians
2 a : a heavy cloth of wool or wool and other fibers often with a plaid design and usually heavily napped and felted b : a short coat of mackinaw or similar heavy fabric" -via Websters.

Pocket knife inherited from grandpa... A pipe smoker's knife, by Rodgers of Sheffield. The butted end is a tamper, also a small blunt ended knife and pick folded in.
Slim belt from Billykirk. Might be it for my buckle and western...
Chippewa cordovan boots via Three Wood.
Ragg socks
Evisu re-launched jeans.
Done. Or flip the scheme as below. Substitute gingham shirt, beaten up brogues and gimme cap.

leo timmers

Picked out a few books for the groms written and illustrated by Leo Timmers, but he has plenty others. You will no doubt recognize the work by this sometimes commercial artist, more at his website.

Tuesday, September 22

school lunch -uncle buck style

A rotten banana, a mayo jar full of milk, a pickle and its juice in a ziploc, a baggy of bacon, and god knows what is in that sandwich. Oh and a can of sardines... Forgot how gross this lunch looked. For the 'rents out there, I definitely commiserate over trying to find good, easy food to send w the groms for lunch. I really want to send pickles in a bag... 'Grab from Uncle Buck. So underrated.

Monday, September 21

lands end -windpoint

This Windpoint series from Lands' End looks *cough* COOL... heathery faux-tweedy snowpants and more for the kids. No surprise that the grommits will be better dressed than me... And as usual for Lands' End, very rea$onable.

revere ware

"REVERE® cookware have been part of American history since patriot and silversmith Paul Revere started making copper sheathing for naval vessels in 1801. Paul founded Revere Copper Company which evolved into Copper and Brass, Inc., the makers of Revere Ware Copper Clad Stainless Steel Cookware.

Designed by W. Archibald Welden and introduced in 1939, the REVERE copper-bottom stainless steel cooking utensils not only represented great advances in both technical and aesthetic cookware design, but proved to be incredibly durable without being heavy." via Revere Ware. These stainless steel/copper pots are good enough for what we do, and cheap too... V v lucky to have a larger set grandfathered to us.

My mental checklist for any thrift store goes, 1) wool shirts 2) french cuff shirts (easy to spot with their arms hanging so long) 3) blanket lined denim and 4) Revere Ware pots. Bingo. Add some copper cleaner and elbow grease = $2.50 well spent. (before above, after below.) Anyone know what the little numbers by the size measurement mean?? f93 etc... thinking it is related to year produced, emailed them to check. [Update 9/23/09: heard back from WorldKitchenInc. "The number you are referring to is a batch number. This is not the year the vessel was made."]

Friday, September 18

sprig toys

Found these recently, and as well as looking pretty ballsy these Sprig toys have a cool backstory in that their Adventure Series is made of a wood-plastic thermoplastic biocomposite (you know, like fake decking...) of organic fibre byproducts and recycled plastics (from Canadian JER Envirotech). Sprig Toys Inc. is a trio of Colorado toy designers who are producing battery free (lights and noises come from revving kid power), paint free and environmentally responsible vehicles and playsets. Datamining below.

constructive eating

The bulldozer "pusher" thingy is the best. Our kids eat it up... [ouch -ed.] From Constructive Eating. (No paint, no lead, no Bisplenol A (BPA), no PVC, and no Phthalates.)

Thursday, September 17


Often derided as a shameless vanity project, Homeboy (1988) written by Mickey Rourke [under the pseudonym Eddie Cook -ed.] is a major guilty pleasure here. Throwing out the bad (too many moody lingering shots of the star) there really is some good fun to be had. And considering this was shot right after Barfly you have to tip your hat to his workout regime. This is Rourke pre-tattoos, pre-surgery and pre-HGH. (I wore out my VHS copy years ago, but Homeboy has been reintroduced on dvd since the Wrestler. I believe the "piece of meat" scene is filmed at the same location as some of this film.)

Cowboy boxer, Johnny Walker, transplants to New Jersey and falls in love with an Indian cycle riding fairground owner (played by Debra Feuer -Rourke's wife at the time, who also starred in the undervalued To Live and Die in LA). Tough/tender guy falls for girl next door type running the carnival... late 80's this was right in my wheelhouse. Plenty of old man B-reel shots (in diners, boxing clubs, bars), lots of Chris Walken (the dinosaur and Aristotle monologues, great stuff), Ruben Blades in a brilliant scene as the doctor, John Polita nails it as the greasy fight promoter; and finally Rourke's ever rotating denim collection is practically its own character, awesome. Man, I want that shirt with the pony hide elbow patches... That is what this post is really about. Have to tread pretty carefully here as don't want to suggest that Johnny Walker (great name) with cowboy boots et. al. is my sartorial hero... but enjoy the workgloves, blanket-lined Lee Storm Riders, Redman and rabbits foot... He also carries a Bruce Banner-esque holdall that seems able to fit all this.

Am I certifiable if I bought an identical Tiddledy Winks game to travel with? Well sign me up then. Bosh.