Saturday, January 12, 2013

Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians

Over the past 30 years, I have owned about a half dozen copies of A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. One of the books with the greatest influence on my life, Mr. Stebbins taught me the merits and value of being an ethical amateur naturalist. With this book in hand, a stroll in a suburban backyard can be an expedition. Rather than photos, Stebbins illustrated all the plates in gorgeous detail.

"To attempt to render a scientifically accurate drawing is time consuming... It becomes necessary to draw them (scales) all, faithfully recording size, number, shape and arrangement to obtain a satisfactory result."

Indeed, the Western Blind Snake is illustrated with a single scale between the oculars, while the Texas Blind Snake shows three scales between the oculars. In these days of wild climate change, determining the accurate distribution of reptiles and amphibians is more critical than ever.

If the gila monster is found at the east if the 117 degree west longitude, this is important information about how microclimates are changing and effecting wildlife therein. Websites like California Herps will play an increasingly important role in determining changing wildlife populations. A crowd sourced wild animal distribution database would be monumental.

Modern, revised versions are out there, but I prefer the original to capture all of Stebbins' conversational zeal. The above pictured book was purchased on eBay for $3.50 including shipping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tamiya Sand Scorcher

In 1980, I wanted one of these so bad. I ached.

I still want one, but not $1200 worth of want.

On eBay, no affiliation.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Period Campaign Traveling Desk

Exactly what I need for the trunk of my creaky 1972 Mercedes, a traveling desk to send back reports from the campaign. 

On eBay, no affiliation.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin, another tip from the Carson Ellis' Tumblr, O Grusha

Suggestions for Stuffs and Carpets

At NYPL, tipped by O Grusha, Carson Ellis' Tumblr

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Timm Kolln: The Peloton

Fabian Cancellara by Timm Kolln

Available in at least four versions, it is difficult the parse the differences among them and impossible to map to the out of print $593 Amazon offering. Seems that the cheapest version is 75 pounds for the entry level version.

The cheapest is oogle the dozen or so portraits at Timm Kolln's website.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

From Sartorialist: Layering Jean Jackets (ed. note: add John Bender)

We would add Mr. Judd Nelson's role as John Bender in the Breakfast Club.

In the 1980's, I wore a jean jacket under my grandfather's Carson Pirie Scott winter coat. In the 2010's, I am thinking about it again.

The Satorialist

Monday, October 29, 2012

LA Gear by Teague

The above watch would be a brisk seller at Opening Ceremony today, but in the early eighties, it would have been a brisk seller everywhere. Nice marker work.

Teague Portfolio, tipped by twowheels+

House & Hasami


House and Hasami

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Under Pressure - Bowie/Lennox

Stuart Vevers for Loewe

Per Google translate:

LOEWE by Stuart Vevers Amazona doll with her sac Juillet 2012 / / Madrid La doll was created Loewe by Stuart Vevers taking inspiration from iconic bag home, Amazona. Stuart Vevers was very pleased to participate in this great operation that UNICEF will bring a ray of sunshine to the children of monde.23 x 36 x 15 cm (8.97 x 14.04 x 5.85 in.).

LOEWE par Stuart Vevers - Amazona Poupée

Other interesting work for same UNICEF auction, here.

Ronan and Erwan

At auction, no affiliation

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pininfarina Workshop, Ca. 1960

The legendary stump upon which the most beautiful fenders in the world were coaxed into form.

From Turin: European Metropolis, via things

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hitachino Nest Beer Label Snares Cynic

I'll admit it. Based on no empirical information, I bought this $6 bottle of beer because of the label.

I see something like Arrogant Bastard and have no desire to drink it. From an aesthetic and civility stand point, I must assume that the brewer and I have few overlapping interests.

But the owl. That suckered me good and proper. Then I take a photo of the bottle and glass on my wood counter with my smart phone to post on my blog! Goddimmy! So, Kinfolk. Embarrassing.

(Beer is delicious.)

Locked in Amber - Mating Queen Ant with Drone

An extremely rare event - captured in amber - can be yours for $100k.

Tipped by thingsmagazine tumblr

Abercrombie & Fitch Corduroy Safari Jacket

For those familiar with my epic want list, I have been trying to buy one of these jackets for ten years.

I have a deep interest in Abercrombie & Fitch - not the teen retailer - but the storied outfitter from New York. If you needed a pewter shaving mug or a .300 Weatherby rifle for your Safari, you would find yourself at Abercrombie & Fitch.

In the Ernest Hemingway New Yorker profile, Mr. Hemingway spent most of the article seemingly intoxicated and bumbling around New York. He stopped in Abercrombie on his way to see Marlene Dietrich. Charles Lindburgh bought provisions for his transatlantic flight at A&F. Teddy Roosevelt provisioned for his safaris there. Ernest Shackleton and John Steinbeck. JFK. Abercrombie introduced mahjong to the US market.

Above the door on Madison Avenue read, "Where the blazed trail crosses the boulevard." There was a shooting range in the store. A pool on the roof to learn fly fishing. There was a guy 'camping' on the showroom floor to explain equipment and answer questions. They had a publishing arm. Rebranded Tag Heuer watches. If you were a wealthy New Yorker and needed a crow decoy or croquet set, Abercrombie was the place.

A&F was an epic retailer.

As ridiculous as it sounds, Abecrombie is a model for my modest 600 square foot bike store, Coco's Variety. In a city with 15,000 square foot bike stores, how can we possibly be an epic retailer when we are so overwhelmingly outgunned?

We very consciously try to meditate on what he city cyclist needs. Though we are tiny store, we have room for tools, so we invest heavily in the best modern and vintage tools from a Phil Wood spoke machine to a VAR fender punch. I hire the best that I can and pay better than bike store pay to attract the finest mechanics. We very carefully evaluate our products as we don't have the space for a broad selection. We can't carry 20 different panniers, so we must select a very narrow range of products that are honorable in construction and meet our customers needs at a fair price. I trust in the principle, that if we strive to be the very best, the most patient, the most thorough, that the money will figure itself out. That last bit has doomed every retailer from Winchester Hardware Stores to A&F themselves.

The patchwork jacket epitomizes the Abercrombie & Fitch zeitgeist. Outrageous, expensive, high quality, best of the best for deep pocketed adventurers. Like Hunter Thompson.

Over the years I have come into (internet) contact with 4 jackets:

  • On eBay, bid high but was bested by Heller's Cafe, the legendary vintage clothing retailer in Seattle. Most of their stuff goes to Japan, collectors and companies buying 'inspiration' pieces for contemporary lines. About a year after Heller's won the auction, I wrote Larry to inquire if it was still available. It had been sold to a Japanese store and Larry explained that it would probably be impossible to get it back. Sure enough, soon after that the exact same jacket showed up in a Japanese mag (above.)
  •  A few years later, my man Andy at Reference Library sent me an eBay listing to the LL Bean version. It was not my size, was not Abercrombie and was not in great condition. I let it go. 

  • About 2 years ago, V. sent me an email that they had one for sale (above.) She had seen it on my epic want list. It was my size-ish. Looked amazing. We had a 19 email exchange of my trying to purchase the jacket. Slow communication dropped to a trickle and then culminated in bounced emails. I just tried again, same bounce.
  • This morning, a size 14 women's jacket came up on eBay. I ran for a sport coat and my measuring tape to determine that it was way too small for me. Inches short in the sleeve and overall length. I decided to pass. Then, I measured again. Decided to pass. Then, I measured one more time and studied the photos of the construction. Even though it was way too small, perhaps I could get additional patchwork sections added. I decided to Buy-It-Now and worry about how to get it fit once it was here. If nothing else, I could hold it as I have never seen one in person. I clicked Buy-It-Now and it had already sold. The time elapsed between my first glimpse to my clicking to buy was about 15 minutes. 
I am still looking. Email me

UPDATE: Our man Jesse Thorn of Put This On, points us to TWO of the LL Bean version that have recently sold for otherworldly money. Here and here.

Sweet turnips that is a lot of money!