Thursday, April 18, 2013

Honing The Parka

Photo courtesy Flickr

Several years ago I ran across a photograph of a prominent twentieth century French photographer in his skiing outfit. I was impressed by the custom fit of the hood on his jacket. Not long after that, clothing designer Rick Owen brought out the “scuba hood”, a close-fitting version of the usual sloppy blinder.

Dinosaur brought out a revolutionary bonded-wool winter coat with a close-fitting integral hood. Last week I surfed an Italian clothing site that has gone urban field gear one better: they cut the sleeves longer on the upside for better cycling performance.

The climbing expedition that found the body of George Mallory near the summit of Mt. Everest marveled that he had been able to get so far wearing wool clothing and leather boots. A subsequent expedition experimented with low-tech clothing and concluded that custom-cut low-tech outerwear is very efficient.

As a voluntary pedestrian and frequent rider of city busses, I appreciate the hood as a sanitary layer between my hair and whatever remains on the public headrest

P.S. Around 1990, I saw a couple of Inuit tourists wearing their best not far from the train station. Their just above the knee custom parkas were closely tailored of  half-inch cotton patches finer even than Seminole work, and the two women looked like a million dollars.

More after the jump.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For Pete's Sake!

Photo courtesy Flickr

Would you hand your address book to a complete stranger? 

BCC your friends and relations on that E-mail.

-30-  More after the jump.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Photo courtesy Flickr

There’s a special purgatory using a computer to do one’s taxes on the fifteenth of April. It’s inhabited by security programs and software updates. Sometimes filing involves purging to free capacity and a lengthy backup before even starting to work. The process spins out further with the slow internet connection of a busy day and the hunt for and sorting of paper evidence.

This year, I was uncharacteristically timely in filing. Sitting down to start the process, though, brought to mind one of John Hunter’s most vivid chapters in his autobiography about hunting big game in early twentieth century Africa. He had wounded a buffalo, the most dangerous animal on the savannah. The animal fled into a thicket of wait-a-bit brush, and Hunter describes crawling exhausted through hundreds of yards of stems covered with recurved thorns that must be removed one by one from the clothing and skin, all the while wondering whether he would outwit the furious ungulate he was stalking. I won’t spoil the story by describing the outcome. Swap laptop for bush and Internal Revenue Service for buffalo, and you can play the game in real life.

-30- More after the jump.