Sidecar Conversation.

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I don’t know if you can tell from some of my recent posts– but I really need to hit the open road.  Soon.  This picture makes me especially itchy.  Must.  Get.  Out.

When I was a boy there were certain things that were just cool to you.  Tents, campers, convertibles, BB guns, slot cars, Indian arrowheads, Zippo lighters, hermit crabs, anything to do with a CO2 cartridge… well, you get the picture.  But if I had to pick just one thing, it would probably be a motorcycle with a sidecar. Continue reading

Name, Rank, Serial Number and Much More.

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I’m writing this because of a recent experience I had.  A friend that is an avid antique collector handed me an old I.D. tag and said– “check this out.”  I wasn’t ready for the emotion and humility that overcame me as I held the old tarnished tag in my hand.  I realized it was much more than a piece of stamped metal– it was someone’s personal story of sacrifice,  for whom I may very well absolutely owe my own freedom too.  I stood there for a second, unable to speak.  

It was humbling to say the least. 

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The image above was taken in 1945, and shows American infantrymen lining up to drop their personal belongings (pictures and letters from loved ones back home, wallets, etc.) into boxes for safe keeping, and in accordance with regulations.  Any items (except dog tags) that could identify a soldier were strictly forbidden on special missions.  The soldiers here were stationed in Italy and preparing to embark on a night raid of German positions. Continue reading

Wanted- A Place in the Sun.

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You won’t fide a whole lot of actual shade at The Shady Dell, but you will find an artsy, desert haven down in Bisbee AZ.  If I had the dough, I’d pack up and head there right now to escape my winter blues.   Once New Year’s has come and gone, I am officially over it and ready for the sun.

The Shady Dell is run by a young, retro couple with a passion for 50s vintage living.  There are 9 fully-restored campers ranging from a ’49 Airstream to a ’57 El Ray— often mistaken for an Airstream, but actually more rare and coveted.  

Nestled perfectly within walking distance from each trailer is Dot’s Diner. Built in the 1950s by the pride of Wichita Kansas, The Valentine Manufacturing Company, this authentic diner was originally purchased by John Hart in 1957 and delivered to the corner of Ventura and Topanga Canyon Blvd in Los Angeles. The diner was transported by flatbed truck to the Shady Dell in November, 1996.

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Digging for Denim.

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This is just an incredible read from the January issue of Outside magazine.  It’s all about mining for the vintage denim and duds of old miners!  

Brit Eaton is the best of a curious breed of fortune hunters combing old mine shafts and barns across the West for vintage denim. He’s discovered $50,000 worth of clothes in a single day, and his clients include Ralph Lauren and Levi’s.

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VINTAGE 1940s DEADSTOCK WRANGLER 11MW JEANS | SAME LEVI’s ARCUATE

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1940s Deadstock Wrangler

check out the back pockets-


Handsome back pocket- I like the cool leather patch placement.

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Back then, Wrangler jeans (and Lee as well, for that matter) used the same double arcuate stitch design as Levi Strauss on the back pockets.  Tsk, tsk.  I like the Wrangler coin/watch pocket shape and stitching in the picture above.  It looks very clean and modern for it’s time.  Wrangler was button-fly up until 1947 when they introduced a new model- the 13MWZ zipper front.

Link to Wrangler Company History

ART ICON JACKSON POLLOCK | AKA “JACK THE DRIPPER”

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Jackson Pollack in his Springs, NY studio- 1949.

Artist Jackson Pollock painting in his Springs, NY studio --1949.

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Jackson Pollock was a major force in the abstract expressionism movement, and a dark and moody maverick.  He was undeniably an innovative artistic genius and more.  His technique has been carefully studied and it’s been determined that some works contain properties of mathematical fractals, and that the works become more fractal-like chronologically.  Some goes as far to speculate that he may have been aware of the nature of chaotic motion, and through his paintings was creating what he perceived as perfect representations of mathematical chaos- and all this more than 10 years before Chaos Theory was discovered.  So much for the critics that casually dismiss his work as mere paint drippings.

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VINTAGE LEVI’S 501 JEANS | AN AMERICAN FASHION ICON

1950s Levi's Vintage 501 - front. Courtesy of Warehouse website

 

1950s Levi’s Vintage 501 – front. Check the leg twist you’d get with old, un-sanforized denim.

1950s Levi's Vintage 501, back- Courtesy of Warehouse website.

Back view of a vintage Levi’s 501 jean.

Why do I love vintage Levi 501 jeans you ask?  Let me count the ways-

  • The capital “E’ on the red tab, introduced in 1936 and produced up until 1971.
  • The brown leather patch- changed to “leather-like” cardstock in the mid-late 1950s.
  • The red selvedge 10 oz denim woven by Cone Mills, North Carolina on 29″ wide looms.  I wish it were a little denser- but I’m not complainin’.
  • The incredible leg-twist that you get on a pair of vintage non-sanforized 501 jeans.
  • The great tracks produced by the selvedge outseams from wear and bruising of the denim.
  • The Arcuate stitching or “double arcs” on the back pockets- one of the oldest apparel trademarks still in use today.  During WWII it was actually painted on to due to government rationing.
  • The very narrow hem at the bottom leg opening, and all the great bunching and bruising from shrinkage and wear.

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