Archives for August 2011 | A Continuous Lean.

Victory Mail Revisited

Aug 31st, 2011 | Categories: History, WWII | by Michael Williams

In 2009 I wrote about V-Mail, the U.S. Postal system’s answer to the hundreds of thousands of letters that were being exchanged between families on the home-front and service men and women all over the world during WWII.

A person who wanted to send a letter by airgraph or V-Mail would obtain the standard, pre-printed form from the local post office or five and dime store on request. The form contained space for a letter of about 100 to 300 words, the address of the serviceman or -woman to whom the letter was to be delivered, the address of the sender, and a circular area for the censor’s stamp of approval. Once the message was written, the form was to be folded and sealed. It then made its way to a processing center where the form was re-opened and fed through a machine that photographed the letters on 16mm film.

Change is Bad: 21′s New Bar

Aug 31st, 2011 | Categories: Drinking, New York City | by Michael Williams

After 81 years, the famous New York establishment 21 Club is finally getting a few bar stools. Glenn Collins at The New York Times reports on some new developments at 21 which include a new bar in the lounge, complete with places to sit and drink.

“The bar was for drinking, not for resting,” said a customer of 36 years, Thomas Moran, the chief executive of Mutual of America.

In the era of the three-martini lunch, the standing elbow-benders were three-deep at the bar, nearly as much a part of the lore of “21” as its checked tablecloths and the ceiling dangling with dozens of toy airplanes, patrons’ sports memorabilia and other curios (they are dusted twice a month). “I’ve served many people who ate a whole meal standing up,” said Tara Wright, a bartender there for the last six years. The tradition was “that you’d made it when you could stand at the bar,” she said. “You’d arrived.”

The Exit 70 Flea

Aug 29th, 2011 | Categories: Americana | by Michael Williams

With my apartment positioned squarely within a Zone A of New York’s hurricane evacuation area, I decided to head to Ohio for the weekend to visit my folks and avoid all of the kerfuffle in the city. I got up early on Saturday, grabbed my car and headed west on Interstate 80. I wanted to get out of the city to avoid traffic before everyone was up and about, which meant that I got a quick start and made great time across the state of Pennsylvania. Around exit 70 I saw a sign for a flea market (a diversion that I have been able to successfully ignore on many previous occasions) but being as this was an unplanned trip and I had time on my side, I decided to peek in and see what this place had to offer.

To my surprise, the flea market had a good selection and was situated next to one of the best looking painted barns I have ever seen. There weren’t any crowds or obnoxious yuppies (not counting me anyway) and no food trucks serving lobster rolls — just a bunch of old stuff to peruse. The exit 70 flea is made up of four long stalls each staffed by an old timer that would happily accept conversation over a sale, a transaction I was happy to provide after five hours on I-80.

In the end I did pick up a few small items — resisting the two great lanterns below – took a few snaps of the barn and was on my way a happy man. If you ever find your self running from a massively over-hyped piece of weather and end up near exit 70 on I-80 in Pennsylvania (on a Saturday or Sunday in the spring, summer or fall), stop and check out that old barn and the flea. You won’t be disappointed.

Wanted & Acquired | X100 Accoutrements

Aug 26th, 2011 | Categories: Camera, Gear | by Michael Williams

Three things have been on my list of wanted items to compliment my newish Fujifilm X100 camera: a leather strap, lens hood & adapter and a leather case. The X100 has quickly become my preferred camera because of it’s light weight, ease of transport and amazing ability to take great photos. In fact, it has prevented the Canon 5D from coming on all but one of my recent trips. This is further compounded by the fact that the X100 is a lot of fun to shoot and not at all bad to look at. I don’t think I have ever owned any single thing that has garnered more attention; everyone asks about it.

Shopping Project Wooster

Aug 25th, 2011 | Categories: Las Vegas, Menswear | by Michael Williams

By the time the trade show circuit rotates to Las Vegas you basically feel like you’ve seen everything you could possibly see. After going to so many shows you sort of feel uninspired and unmotivated, even though you are seeing clothes that won’t be available to buy for months. Thankfully, Nick Wooster took it upon himself to inject a little excitement and a little Pitti into this most recent Project Las Vegas with his directional Project Wooster. The special section culled together 32 different menswear brands in what felt — enjoyably — much more like an actual shop than a trade show. Wooster merchandised established brands like Isaia, Boglioli, Mackintosh and Levi’s Vintage Clothing with new collections from Raif Adelberg and Todd Snyder to create an interesting mix of tailored and casual menswear. It is definitely — in my opinion — the precise direction men’s style / retail is headed.


Aug 22nd, 2011 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

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The Great Outdoors | Yakima Ridge Runners

Aug 21st, 2011 | Categories: Americana, Autos, Video | by Michael Williams

The Yakima Ridge Runners off-road club was not afraid to have a good time driving-hard through the rugged lands of Washington State.

Filmed in the late 1940s or 1950s, these two amazing videos feature all kinds of fun with Willys CJs over all types of terrain. The films represent a look into life of another time — a free spirited American adventure. The old school clothing (which includes gratuitous amounts of khaki and wool plaid jackets), camping and of course off-roading is all incredible to see. In between the log jumping, river crossing and winching I noticed a few signs from Snoqualmie National Forest. Probably safe to say that the current stewards of our National Parks would frown upon this type of activity today.