Tag Archives: fashion

Tokyo uppercrust fashion challenges of the future

Blue, or yellow? Which goes best with white? Which does the discriminating Tokyo party-goer find contributes to the alpha image?

Keeping up with the latest footware fads is becoming a challenge in Japan.  As the Nipponese citizenry leans increasingly to the clothing styles depicted in the photograph weighty fashion decisions will be required.

Old Jules

Philosophy by Limerick – Dante Disneyland

Minnie Mouse can be open-minded
And wabbits can sometimes be blinded
By synthetic passion
Of this or that fashion:
Uncle Scrooge accepts plastic! [Reminded!]

Old Jules

What’s with the pointy nightcaps? Sensible Sleep Headgear

Every year I wonder about these pictures of Scrooge and others wearing pointee nightcaps.  It’s a subject dear to my heart because I became an aficionado of sleeping hats when I used to do my slumbering outdoors a lot.

The function of a nightcap is to keep a person from losing his body heat through his exposed scalp and hair.  Besides doing that it needs to stay on the head while you toss and turn.  Those pointed hats do none of that.

I’ve tried a lot of different types of sleeping caps through the years and found it’s not easy to find one that satisfies all the minimum criteria:

This one’s sheepskin and I’ve used it for 30 years when the weather’s cold enough.  But it’s stiff and doesn’t stay on all that well because one of the straps for tying under the chin broke off sometime way back there and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it.  The temperature has to be not-too-warm or it becomes a cranial sweat lodge and not-too-cold because it doesn’t provide any protection to the exposed part of the neck.

A balaclava solves some of that, but it’s only one layer thick, somewhat expensive, and tends to wear out at the chin.  When the ambient temperature gets down around freezing it needs some help.

They make those fleece caps for women and I find them in thrift stores for a buck frequently.  When I find them, I buy them and wear them a lot, outdoors, indoors and as sleeping caps when the weather’s cold, but not cold enough for something more extreme.

During this last cold snap when the water froze inside the house I came up with this, and I like it a lot.  It’s a fleece blanket folded four times lengthwise, wrapped around the head and tucked into/zipped in to the fleece vest.  It stays in place and is warmer than anything I’ve ever found.  It’s tempting to drag out the scissors, needle and thread and cut it down to a four-layer balaclava, but I hate to mess up that fleece blanket.  The “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” school of winter headgear might apply here.

When the weather’s cool but not cold, the stocking cap is a seductive option, even though they don’t ride out the night well.  I keep a stack of a dozen of them on the bookshelf above the bed so I can reach up and find one for a quick reload without turning on the light.  Same concept as a fresh clip of ammo for a rifle near at hand.

Pointee hats are talk.  As Tuco observed in The Good, Bad and Ugly, “When you’re going to shoot, shoot.  Don’t talk.”

Old Jules


Black Plague and Plague Crosses

About the time the light you see when you look for Orion and see Rigel was beginning its 800 year journey to rendezvous with your eye, these small lead crosses were being poured and carried as a protection against Black Plague:

These are found all over Europe, probably many from mass grave sites.  But during modern times they’ve become available to collectors.  Gale’s accumulated these over several years.

He uses them to make molds in his silversmithing work, casts modern, Sterling Silver plague crosses from them:

I planned to say a lot more on the subject of Black Plague, plague crosses and Gale’s silversmithing but my eyesight’s been giving me fits for the last few days and this screen’s mostly a blur this morning.

Maybe some future post.

Old Jules




Discarded Jewelry

Ruidoso Steak-House
Glanced at her reflection
In the plate-glass window
New squash-blossom turquoise
Sassy Stetson
Patted 50ish blonde curls
And wished
They’d eaten at the casino
Where this didn’t happen
Wrinkled pretty nose
Don’t give him anything
He’ll just get drunk!” Stage whispered
To her Houston lady friend
As though he wasn’t there
She was right of course
Except the old man Mescalero
Was already drunk
He turned away
Then turned back and mumbled
Sing the Song of Life each day
Or when the time arrives you won’t know how
To sing the Song of Death.”

Old Jules


Hats You Can’t Wear Sideways or Backwards

For a number of years I’ve watched people wearing ball caps turned backward and sideways, nobody raising an eyebrow.  I’m not sure why they do it because the purpose of the visor on a ball cap is to protect the nose from Old Sol’s battering.  But I gradually began to wonder if people just didn’t know which piece of a hat is the front, which is the side, and which is the back.

Eventually I decided to perform an experiment.  I carefully selected a hat for my next trip to town, determined to wear it backward all day, seemingly oblivious to that.  I wanted particularly to corner-of-my-eye observe the reactions of people wearing their ball caps backward and sideways.

My findings weren’t ambiguous.  From my first stops of the day I saw that people of every age and gender did double-takes, then attempted to surreptitiously call the attention of someone else to the fact I was wearing my hat backward.  If they had no companion they’d nudge a stranger to share it.  Not once did anyone sidle up to me and whisper, “You’ve got your hat on backward,” as they’d have done if my fly was unzipped.

If I’m wearing a hat when I eat in town I usually take it off a moment while I briefly acknowledge gratitude.  On this occasion the hat was on backward when I entered and took my seat, ordered my food and waited to be served.  The café was well populated and though I pretended to be reading I observed the hat was a subject of notice and concealed, smiling discussion at almost every table.

When the food arrived, after the waitress left, I removed the hat and bowed my head a moment, then replaced it, facing forward.  But, pretending to notice I’d put it on forward, I took it off, looked at it, then turned it backward again on my head, and began eating while still occupied with my book, watching the other patrons.

This brought giggles and laughter, even among those wearing ball caps turned backward and sideways.

My conclusion from this study is that people don’t know what is the front and what is the back of a ball cap, but they do know the front from the back of western-style headgear.  I believe the findings are important enough to justify more in-depth study by PHD candidates in anthropology, sociology and fashion.

This is Jack Swilling, founder of Phoenix, Arizona, who died in prison awaiting trial for homicide.  He was posthumously acquitted.  However, Swilling’s hat is the issue here.  There’s a bullet hole in it, and it’s been ripped almost in half and sewn back together.  Swilling’s hat could be worn backward, forward or sideways and nobody at all would allow himself to notice.

Here are some other examples of non-ball caps that might be worn backward without concern:

Manny Gammage of Texas Hatters made this hat for me in 1971, or 1972.  The style was dubbed The High-Roller.

Here it is today with the original Mystic Weave band Manny put on it when he made it.  I’ll leave it to your judgement and the judgement of the PHD candidates whether it ‘works’ backward.

Other possible backward hats:

This pic was taken around 1976 worn conventionally.

Here’s the same hat today, backward.  Your call.

Straw John B. Stetson backward.

Felt John B. Stetson backward.  These last two and the next one are hats I inherited from dead men sent me through thrift stores and flea markets and arranged by the Coincidence Coordinators.

This one is Guatamala palm leaf bought for a dollar in a thrift store.  Maybe the best straw hat ever made.

Backward’s not much different.

This is a Tilley, the best canvas hat made anywhere.  It can be worn backward or forward without fear.

This is a Tilley knockoff.  Can’t be worn backward or forward with pride.

Gale gave me this dead man hat he picked up somewhere.  Here it’s worn backward.  You can just never tell.

Old Jules

Carl Sandburg, Hats:

HATS, where do you belong?
what is under you?

On the rim of a skyscraper’s forehead
I looked down and saw: hats: fifty thousand hats:
Swarming with a noise of bees and sheep, cattle and waterfalls,
Stopping with a silence of sea grass, a silence of prairie corn.
Hats: tell me your high hopes.

Carl Sandburg, Hats are Sky Pieces:

Proudly the fedoras march on the heads of the some-
what careless men.
Proudly the slouches march on the heads of the still
more careless men.
Proudly the panamas perch on the noggins of dapper
debonair men.
Comically somber the derbies gloom on the earnest solemn noodles.
And the sombrero, most proud, most careless, most dapper and debonair of all, somberly the sombrero marches on the heads of important men who know
what they want.
Hats are sky-pieces; hats have a destiny; wish your hat
slowly; your hat is you.

Joe Cocker–You Can Leave Your Hat On


Lyle Lovett– Don’t Touch my Hat

Shaving with sheep shears

I don’t get to town all that often, so I naturally like to put on the dog, spiff myself up a bit.  Sometimes that includes shaving, but I’ve found the average electric just doesn’t do the job.  Add to that the fact the disposables and the replaceable blade razors leave a person with a dangerous piece of throwaway I’ve not yet figured out any use for.

Still, I like to look nice when I go to town, so I use the tool I also use to remove a lot of clogged hair from the two longhaired cats I share the place with.  The shorthairs consider it a blessing to be exempt.

Starting out here’s how it appears:

After.  You can see there’s a difference if you look closely.

Add a John B Stetson, a cleanest shirt and bluejeans, galluses, a pair of deadman’s boots from some thrift store and I’ll have the hearts of the town  ladies all a-flutter with the fantods.

Gotta get moving, dress up and walk up the hill to see if Little Red’s available for the borrowing.  Later this day maybe I’ll tell you what exciting happened there.

Old Jules

The Trap of ‘Wanting’

A person used to hear young men say, “I’d give my left nut for [fill in the blank]” and everyone knew precisely what he was saying. 

Sometime over the past few decades I filtered out allowing myself to precisely  ‘want’ anything without consciously intending to do it.  When I get the silly-assed notion I ‘need’ or ‘want’ something I just stuff it into a file folder in my mind marked, ‘tentative’, and go into a patience mode.  That just involves waiting for the Universe to drop whatever it was, or the components to fabricate it into my life.  Which the Universe consistently indulges eventually.

But yesterday in town I saw this and it stopped me in my tracks.  “Wow!” thinks I.  “That thing could wash a lot of clothes at once, and it has a wringer.”

I’ve been using the Thrift Store busted near-freebee 1947 Kenmore for some time and I’m generally tickled pea-green with it:  Clean Underwear and Hard Times.  But it has the decided disadvantage of not having a wringer.  This results in not getting so much water out of the clothes, so they take a lot longer to dry on the line.

I tagged and numbered the concept of the washer above and sent an order for something along those lines out to the Universe.  But as I thought about it driving away it dawned on me what I actually ‘need’ if I were going to do some needing is a carwash chamois wringer.

Or this:


But the cheapest of those new runs almost $100, which doesn’t fit into any strong likelihoods of me ever forking out.  Even on EBay they run that price and upward.

But those things appear to be built to last.  I’m betting when car washes go out of business they end up in places nobody expected, taking up space and not getting much use.  I’m going to watch for them at flea-markets, auctions and garage sales.  And maybe I’ll post something on the Yahoo FreeCycle groups for Kerrville and Fredericksburg.

I wouldn’t give my left nut for one of those wringers, but if I wanted one I might.

Steve Goodman knew all about the trap of wanting dream things, though.  In this song he just about says it all:

Steve Goodman — Vegematic [Live]


Old Jules