Friday, November 1, 2013

Urban Sport Center

The family skater visited not long ago, and came home chuckling. He said the security guard who shooed him away from one of those curbs was younger than he.

-30-  More after the jump.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Safety Pin

Photo courtesy Flickr

The design community sees the common safety pin as a great and innovative piece of work. When was the last time you had reason to use one? I carry one in my emergency kit, but usually see them only on people wearing red and black plaid.

A couple of years ago I read a history of punk fashion. The mists of time have obscured the title. The definitive profile for women, as I recall, was a knee length coat worn over trousers. A half-remembered chapter about Vivian Westwood yielded her surprise that the market picked up on wearing safety pins. She said the pin had been a joke. As I recall, one of the punk boutiques evolved from the Sixties’ “Granny Takes A Trip” after their inventory of Victorian vintage had been exhausted. The Beatle boot, by the way, was a line for line copy of the footgear of a Victorian dandy. The most appealing part of that history of punk fashion was the willingness of club-goers’ mums to whip out the sewing machine and produce a costume.

Sticky tape has replaced the pin’s basic sanitary functions, and it’s rare now for a garment to fail to the point of needing a pin to salvage one’s dignity. Clothing is so inexpensive it’s easier to find something for a few pennies than fiddle even with the minor repair using a pin requires.

Pin-wise, early straight pins were double-ended, like conifer needles.

More after the jump.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coming Attraction

A recent visit to Mighty Tieton just outside Yakima yielded a shot of this work in progress. The other end of the cable spool was parked in an obscure corner of the building.


More after the jump.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Coffee Pot

For several years, I wandered past speckled blue coffee pots on the shelves of The Great Big Hiking Co-op’s kitchen section. Nothing says car camping or rental cabin like that kind of cookware. And nothing says a good expedient nineteenth century design is still a good expedient design in 2013 like that particular vessel.

Enameled steel has its limitations, the most significant of which is the risk of contributing a glassy chip to whatever dish one is preparing. With that in mind, however, the light weight and low price of the stuff makes it just right for certain uses, like staking a claim on an unattended campsite.

A change in my cooking technology made a ferrous coffee pot appealing, and I sprang for one a few months ago. I have been delighted to compare it to the original English china coffee pot, the baroque “can” form of which was lifted line for line from an eighteenth-century Asian model. They’re identical, splendid testimony to the fundamental value of, uh, research. The blue pot is featherweight, beautifully balanced, and one heck of good design for under $30.

More after the jump.

Monday, October 28, 2013


More after the jump.