Archives for March 2013 | A Continuous Lean.

Made in Brooklyn Since 1945.

Mar 30th, 2013 | Categories: Brooklyn, Video | by Michael Williams

The Made in Brooklyn series from filmmaker Dustin Cohen won’t stop telling good stories. The subject this time is Frank Catalfumo of F&C Shoe Rebuilding in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who’s been making and fixing footwear out of his little shop since 1945. Despite being 91 years old (or ninety and a half as he says), Frank is still going strong working five days a week alongside his son Michael. It’s really interesting to hear about how the neighborhood has changed in the nearly seventy years since he’s been there. While Bensonhurst may not have stayed the same, Frank with his sunny outlook has persevered.


shoemaker_16  shoemaker_03

The Most Famous Ship that Didn’t Sink.

Mar 29th, 2013 | Categories: Americana, History, Kate Dulin | by Kate Dulin


Last month, CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on the history and dire current state of the SS United States, “the most famous ship that didn’t sink”. Even with that motto, the SS United States is relatively unknown by today largely because the popularity of jet travel made ocean liners unnecessary shortly after it first set sail. It remains obscure despite the fact that the S.S. United States still holds the record for the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic. Obsolete almost from the minute the champagne bottle broke across her bow, the once great ship is now in danger of disappearing altogether.

First launched in 1952 after only two years of construction, the SS United States’s fanatical architect William Francis Gibbs had it built secretly, out of public view, on a dry dock in Newport News to strict U.S. Naval standards and his own obsessive guidelines. The glamorous ship had the capacity to hold 3,016 passengers, though it could be converted to carry 15,000 troops during wartime if the need arose. It was longer than the Titanic by 100 feet and faster by fifteen miles per hour, and completely fireproof on the interior (aside from a special fireproof mahogany used on the SS United States’s specially made Steinway pianos, no wood was used on the ship at all). Her famous passengers included John Wayne, Grace Kelly, Salvador Dalí, and John F. Kennedy. Seemingly every detail of the ship was meticulously planned and executed during construction to ensure that the SS United States would secure its place in history as the greatest passenger vessel of all time.



Mar 28th, 2013 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

  • Rare photos of Michael Caine from 1966. [LIFE] [Pictured]
  • Paper Plane: Atlanta’s most handsome new bar. [Jack Rudy via Eater ATL]
  • Gerber’s Daily Carry — so sharp, so strong. [Gear Junkie]
  • Meet IWC’s new Portuguese Chronograph Classic. File this under need. [Hodinkee]
  • The world’s toughest and most secretive trail race. [The New York Times]

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The Hunt | iPad Mini Cases

Mar 27th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, Technology, The Hunt, Travel | by Michael Williams

The Hunt is a series that aims to find the best-in-breed products that we’re all searching for — let’s dig deeper.

It’s surprising that I have such a difficult time finding cases that I like for my technology. Everything is either too synthetic or too complicated for my taste. There are certainly a lot of options out there and I’m sure plenty of good things I have yet to discover (feel free to comment and suggest). Gear Patrol did a nice round up of options a while back which I referenced a lot (and seriously considered a few), and Lotuff makes a few really good options, but much of what I see is just too logo-heavy and or is made from materials too synthetic. I wanted something simple from natural materials that fit with all of the other stuff I wear in my daily life. For the past few years the undisputed champion of my iPad protection program has been Portland, Oregon-based The Good Flock and its simple wool sleeves. I’ve traveled all over the world with the iWooly and couldn’t be happier with it. Then came the iPad mini and I was back in the market looking for a new case.


Mar 27th, 2013 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams


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Charting Chicago

Mar 24th, 2013 | Categories: Chicago, History | by Michael Williams


The Library of Congress: Everyday a new discovery and a new treasure. It’s not exactly easy to navigate, but it is amazing what shows up doing random keyword searches in the LOC archive. The “Bird’s Eye View” maps have long been a favorite, but a deeper dive into the maps pages with a Chicago search turned up all of these beautiful old maps.

The most intriguing of which is directly below, showing the sections of the city that fire destroyed because Catherine O’Leary left a lit lantern within leg-shot of her cow in 1871. The conflagration wasn’t actually her fault, but it did start in her barn. At any rate, the map shows the huge swath of the city that burnt in the blaze. The perspectives and design of this old ephemera, along with the LOC as a whole, continues to inspire.



Sonoma’s Indie Scene | Scribe Winery

Mar 22nd, 2013 | Categories: Food, Wine | by Michael Williams


Scribe_Winery_02 Scribe_Winery_03
Part I of II.

My hypothesis was that the grounds of Scribe Winery in Sonoma provide an exceptional setting for an enjoyable lunch in Northern California. To find out if my theory proved true I challenged myself to make the trip up to the two hundred acre farm to eat and drink with founder Andrew Mariani and the rest of the Scribe camp. It was a tough assignment, but I’m very committed to the truth so I made the trip. I can say with certainty, that after extensive testing of the various Scribe wines throughout the property, it is indeed an outstanding experience.

If you are interested in wine and good food, do yourself a favor and visit Scribe at some point. Take your better half and visit for the weekend. I can assure you that it is one of the better places you will ever discover. If you belong to the Scribe Viticultural Society (their wine club) you can dine with the Scribe folks when you pick-up your wine. Much of the Scribe production sells out, so joining the SVS is a smart move even if you don’t end up dining at the farm.