Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Super Slow Motion Lightning

This is amazing, you can clearly see the leader
from the cloud inching down until it completes
the ground connection and starts the current flow.

Bob Kramer Custom Chef Knives

Located in Olympia Washington, Kramer makes custom chef's knives that are considered by many to be the best in the world. Even the self consciously earnest Cooks Illustrated gave them the thumbs up. There is currently a 3 year waiting list for his knives which, start at $500 and can run to over $1000 for Damascus Steel (real not faux). I first heard about Bob Kramer via a fascinating article on his quest for the perfect steel and edge in the New Yorker. It's a great article and you can read it here and Bob Kramer's site is here

Friday, April 3, 2009

The High Fivin White Guys

Seattle, late 80's

The Volswagen GX3 - The Coolest Car Never Built

Developed by VW's North America based Moonraker team and designed to help VW overcome it's fusty image in the U.S. The three wheeled GX3 received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception from the automotive punditry and looked to be bound for production. Unfortunately, VW's corporate lawyers, apoplectic over the potential for liability, managed to quash production of the innovative little GX3. Made with lightweight carbon fiber and powered by a 125hp engine, the GX3 could scoot to 60 in 5.7 seconds and muster 1.25g's of cornering force.

Doctor Fish Pedicure

Pelican Sabrelight 2000 Zenon Flashlight

I got one of these a few years back after I got tired of replacing Mag lights and I have to say this is the best flashlight I have ever owned. Designed for use in hazardous environments, diving or households with small children, it is water proof, heat resistant, impervious to chemicals and small fingers and comes in black, red and yellow with a glow in the dark bezel (as pictured). It is also bright.

Very Silly, Very Funny

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Poisonous Queen
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

Namiki (Pilot) Fountain Pens

Namiki Vanishing Point Retractable Fountain Pen

Namiki Yukari Royale

Best known in the U.S. for their plastic roller ball pens, the Pilot pen company of Japan also produces a well respected line of high end pens under the Namiki brand.  As somewhat of a closeted pen geek, albeit an impoverished geek, I have always liked to write with something nice.  Maybe it was all those pre-computer 20 page book reports scratched out with shitty half dead Bic's, you know, the kind you have to push down on so hard that you can read the words from the impression embossed on the next page in those stupid blue exam books.

 Huh, whaddya know, Go Figure-check it out

Anyway, nothing is as easy and satisfying to write with as a good fountain pen (unless you're a lefty).  Almost no pressure is required, the ink just flows out onto the page.  The principle drawback to fountain pens is of course their fidgetiness, if you leave the cap off, the ink in the nib dries out and it doesn't work right away, that and messy ink wells.  The Namiki Vanishing point is the best of both worlds, the smoothness of a fountain pen and the convenience of a Bic.  With a solid gold nib it is extremely smooth  (nb-steel nib fountain pens suck to write with, I don't know why, just trust me-they do.) and because the nib retracts like a ballpoint click pen, it's never messy and always writes instantly.  The best part of the vanishing point is that at around 100 bucks, it's cheap for a gold nib pen.  If you run a bit more spendy, Namiki also makes some of the most expensive pens on the planet.  The three pictured above, retail for a modest five grand and are each hand painted and lacquered individually in the traditional Japanese style.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Amesbury Dory Skiff

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 70's I had a couple of these in succession, a 14 footer and a 16 footer. Seaworthy, utilitarian and relatively fast with a modestly powered outboard, they were ideal boats for just banging around. Fishing, Snorkeling, running up creeks, pretty much everything you might want to do when messing about in a boat. Once ubiquitous, they were starting to become uncommon when I had mine, I can only think of a handful of others in our harbor at the time. The 13 foot Boston Whaler's and Aluminum Boats had largely supplanted the dory skiff as the default kids boats by that time. By now, most of the Dory skiff's have long since rotted away and been sent up the chimney by way of the wood stove. It's amazing how quickly an unmaintained wooden boat will disappear when exposed to the elements. Luckily, Lowell's boat shop in Amesbury, founded in 1793,  still makes them out of wood, a 16 footer will set you back around $10K.  Stur-Dee Boats also makes a kindof clunky fiberglass knockoff  as well.   Link: Lowell's Boat Shop

From 1982 , Good God This Makes Me Feel Old !!

From the Modern Mechanix Blog where you can read the whole article if you like

"Blown Away" by Steve Steigman for Maxell

This has to be one of the most popular ad campaigns ever originally done in 1978 it ran
through the 80's.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Panasonic Toot-A-Loop Transistor Radio

I didn't get the point of this radio when it came out in the 1970's and quite honestly, I still don't.
It closes so you can wear it as a kindof ugly, heavy bracelet that you could ponce around with.

Check out Funny or Die for April 1st

Priceless ! Funny or Die

Thompson's Clam Bar - Wychmere Harbor Harwichport, MA

This place was a real Cape institution, a real shame when it closed in 1990 to make way for
a private club.  The location on the water was unbelievable.  The the Clam Bar theme that
played ad nauseum for years on the Cape radio stations would make you crazy stuck in 
summer tourist traffic snarls.  To be transported back to 1970's Cape Cod, click the
postcard to hear the song

Wooden Racquets & Racquet Presses

Something you don't see much anymore

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New England Style Hot Dogs

The Crown Jewel of the New England culinary compendium is without question the New England Style Hot Dog (caps warranted).  For those of you unfortunate enough to be born and reside outside of New England, you simply have not lived a full life until you have had a properly prepared NE Hot Dog (often referred to as a "Frank").  A properly prepared NE frank begins with a proper foundation, in this case the NE Hot Dog Roll (pictured below) and available in fine stores everywhere.  Acceptable results cannot be achieved with the gastronomical apostasy that is the rounded "bun".  Said roll should then be buttered on the outside and then cooked on a griddle in the manner of a grilled cheese, until crispy as pictured (right).  The second crucial ingredient is a "Natural Casing" (don't ask) hot dog, easily identified by it's characteristic "snap" when biting into the cooked hot dog.  For god's sake cook the dog in the butter left over from the roll, this is a crucial step and is required to achieve the all important "fond" prized by epicures the world around.  The cooked dog, should then be placed in the bun, gently so as to avoid bruising.  Properly prepared it should be topped with diced onion and mustard (relish optional).  For bonus points it is ideally served in an open ended paper hot dog cozy to preserve it's delicate texture.

Nicely Done

324. Once a mime, always a mime.

                          From 1001 rules for my unborn son

Radiology ART

Pictures of various things in CT machines : Radiology Art

Edward Steichen

Justifiably famous for his iconic work like "The Flatiron", Steichen 1879 - 1973 was incredibly prolific.  I suppose because photographic technology was rapidly evolving early in his career, there is alot of variability in his early pictures.  It's rare in my opinion to find a modern day artist who's work is so consistently excellent in so many styles.  I was going to pick one of his more famous photo's like "Pond- Moonlight" which sold recently for 2.9 Million.  But then I saw the photo below called "The Blue Sky".  The photo is of Dana Desboro Glover a young actress, in 1923, the year she and Steichen were married.  There is so much raw affection in the way it's composed.  I guess today it would be considered trite or cliche, but I find it touching.  Here are a few links if you want to see & learn more.

Larger Flatiron
A nice assortment
Some of the earliest color photos

Porsche 550 Spyder Replica's

The 1950's Porsche 550 Spyder was Porsche's first  sportscar purpose built for racing.  Though underpowered compared to the competition, the car's light weight allowed it to frequently outperform the competition and gave Porsche it's first overall win in 1956.   The Spyder is extremely small (1 foot shorter than a Miata!) and low to the ground a fact which allowed a driver to drive under a railroad crossing gate during a race.  The Spyder is also infamous as being the car James Dean was driving when he was killed.  In the 1980's Greg Beck started building high quality custom replica's of the 550 and it remains an extremely popular "kit car".   The beautiful car above is a replica from Thunder Ranch built and photographed by Aaron Aslanian.  The kit cars generally perform well, hitting 60mph between 5-6 seconds with a souped up VW Beetle motor.  Personally I would love to have one of these, just for the hell of it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

1970's Nescafe Globe Mug

When I was in Elementary and Middle School, I longed for one of these coffee mugs
featured in the Nescafe ads of the day.  I still think they are pretty cool !  Turns out
you can get them pretty easily on E-Bay, I am gonna have to find me one !!

The VW Thing

Also known as the Trekker in Britain, the Safari in Mexico and the Type 181, The Thing was imported to the U.S. starting in 1972, and though popular was taken off the market in 1975. Because the Thing was classified as a passenger car ,rather than a light truck like the Jeep, it had to meet much stricter new safety rules than was possible with it's utilitarian, outdoor ready interior. Still it must have made an impression in those two years because they are among the most popular classic VW's around. Originally conceived to meet the needs of the German Military for a cheap, rugged and reliable utility vehicle in the vein of the original KubelWagen, VW realized that it would also be popular with the outdoor lifestyle folks (Jeeps were extremely popular around this time) and customers in emerging markets which needed a more rugged vehicle. VW had a hit on their hands and the car was sold into the the 80's both to military organizations and the public. I wish VW would issue a remake based on the Toureg running gear but with a true Thing like styling and simplicity.

Nakamichi Cassette Decks

Cassette tapes where at the apogee of their popularity around the time I was in High
School.  The bane of the cassette was "hiss", that incredibly distracting high frequency
noise present during playback.  Attempts to rid the tape of hiss and thus gain market
share lead to a technological arms race amongst manufacturers of the day.  Predictably,
this lead to a byzantine array of competing technologies and standards.   We had "Chrome"
(Cr02) ,  "Metal", TDK "Avylin"(my favorite) tapes, various incarnations of Dolby noise
reduction and of course increasingly costly and sophisticated tape decks.  The most
sophisticated decks where made by Nakamichi.  As black and high tech as a stealth
fighter, and costing nearly as much, these decks were THE ones to have.  I can vividly
remember going to the local stereo store (remember those?) and seeing the model
below on display.  I think my head exploded when the sales guy demonstrated the flip
mechanism pictured in this ad.  It seems like a simple thing, but it was soo damn cool.
I swear to god we would go into the store regularly just to hit the reverse button to
see the tape door open, the tape spin around, close and resume playback.   Even today
these tape decks are collectors items with a huge fanboy following and numerous
discussion forums. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Tomcar & The Scorpion 4x4

This rugged little unit is called the "Tomcar".  Designed to be lightweight, flexible, simple and rugged, it is sold in Military/Commercial and Civilian models.  One aspect of the design that is interesting and somewhat unusual is the low center of gravity for stability.  Comes in 2 seater, 4 seater and pickup configuration.  The Tomcar is a nice alternative to a custom built 4x4 for pretty extreme off roading.

More at www.tomcar.com

This is a relatively new diesel version of the supremely capable Scorpion 4x4.  The Scorpion is designed to navigate extreme terrain and it's heritage is from Rock crawling vehicles.  The articulation has to be seen to be believed.  
Check it out @ http://www.scorpion4x4.com

Banana Buggies AKA Amphibious ATV

Readers of a certain age will no doubt recognize these vehicles as the default "futuristic" vehicle of 1970's TV shows, and perhaps most famously as the Banana Buggies from "Banana Splits". Still being churned out with 6 or 8 wheels and actually capable of movement in the water (albeit slowly) these are a fun & quirky alternative to those 4 wheeled motorcycle style ATV's.
As an added (non AIG style) bonus, check out the video of the epic Banana Splits Buggy Race Below.
For More.....ARGO ATV's