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Welcome to my latest, and hopefully my bestest blog.

My intent is to write about camping, overland, bushcraft, travel, 4WD vehicles, mountain climbing, clothing, gear, militaria, vintage stuff, food, drink…and etc. However, I may veer off course on occasion and write about something completely different.john.cleese1

So, check back occasionally for updates!

Sorry France (désolé France)

I hear there’s a mustard shortage in your country. I’m not sure there’s one here in the United States, as I was just able to buy some Maille at a WalMart. And it does seem to be available via Amazon. I’m not trying to be smug or mean by mentioning this, but it seems rather cruel that certain brands are available in other countries besides where they’re produced (and well-loved).

For the reader’s information, the shortage is due to a lack of mustard seeds needed to produce the condiment. Poor harvests in Canada and France has mainly been the cause of this. French producers had hoped to import mustard seeds from Russia or Ukraine to make up for the shortfall, but since the invasion this has not been possible. Read more about that in this recent BBC article.

An odd mustard fact: There’s a mustard museum here in the United States! It’s located in Middleton, Wisconsin. I’ve not been and likely never will go, but I find it both cool and amusing (but not shocked) that there is one.

By the way, in case you’re wondering what some of my other favorite condiments are, I only have one strong opinion: Regarding store-bought mayonnaise, it’s Duke’s Mayonnaise and nothing else. I’m still looking for an ultimate store-bought ketchup, but haven’t found one that seems superior to the others. I just typically buy Heinz Organic or something similar, one without HFCS. Of course, any suggestions by readers is welcome.

Thank you Angelo Moriondo, [sometimes] you’re my only hope…

June 6 (UPI)

Monday’s Google Doodle is a tribute to Italian inventor Angelo Moriondo on his 171st birthday.

Because Moriondo is credited with patenting the earliest known espresso machine, Google chose sepia-toned animated images of complicated-looking machines dripping coffee and filling cups for the top of its web page.

Moriondo was born in 1851 into a family of entrepreneurs in Turin.

“Following in his family’s footsteps, Moriondo purchased two establishments: the Grand-Hotel Ligure in the city-center Piazza Carlo Felice and the American Bar in the Galleria Nazionale of Via Roma,” Google noted.

“Despite coffee’s popularity in Italy, the time spent waiting for coffee to brew inconvenienced customers. Moriondo figured that making multiple cups of coffee at once would allow him to serve more customers at a faster pace, giving him an edge over his competitors.”

His invention won a bronze medal at the General Expo of Turin in 1884. He died in 1914.

Saving the Sounds of an Ancient City

“When cities grow and change, it is easy to take stock only of what is distinctly visible: new buildings, new bridges, new roads.

What fades away more gradually are the sounds that define these places — noises that may seem to live in the background of our experiences but in fact have the power to evoke some of our most visceral memories and feelings.

In Cairo, one of the world’s great ancient cities — and one of its noisiest — ambitious development goals and a soaring population have led to dramatic urban changes in recent years.”

Read (and listen to) the rest of the amazing multimedia article at the Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2022/saving-sounds-an-ancient-city/?itid=hp_special-topic-chain-2

It’s that time of year again…

…it’s the MONACO GRAND PRIX!

Today, May 27th, were the practice runs, tomorrow is qualifying, and Sunday the 29th is the big race!

Over 78 laps, the cars travel a distance of 260km (161.5 miles), and the race itself lasts around two hours. Monaco is run entirely on public roads, on the narrow city streets of Monte Carlo.

The two drivers to keep an eye on are Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Verstappen currently has a six-point lead over Leclerc. And, Verstappen won last year, but that means nothing in this sport, as anything could happen (engine failure, bad tires, crash, etc.).

My favored pilot for this race? Leclerc! While I have never been to Monaco nor likely will I ever, it’s likely the most classic (run since 1929!) and exciting races in the world.

Senegal’s Dakar Biennale

One of the largest events in the African modern art world, the Dakar Biennale, has returned for its 14th edition – after a four-year gap because of the coronavirus pandemic – featuring hundreds of pieces from artists from around the world.

The theme for this year is Ndaffa, which means “to forge out of the fire” in the Serer language. Exhibits have popped up throughout Senegal’s capital, including in galleries, fine art centers, restaurants, and hotels.

Read the rest of the article (where the information from above is from) by Annika Hammerschlag at BBC News: bbc.com/news/world-africa-61549269

Sculpture by Senegalese artist Diadji Diop; photo by Annika Hammerschlag

Analog Africa

Analog Africa is a collection of songs from across Africa compiled by Tunisian-born Samy Ben Redjeb. The aim of Analog Africa is to find and digitize recordings of songs from between 1971 to 1991 so that they can be preserved and enjoyed beyond local communities in Africa.

(The above is taken from a great article about Samy Ben Redjeb’s saving of recordings from Radio Mogadishu and compiling them into the album Mogadishu Night Fever – The Shining Light of Mogadisco.)

To read about and listen to more, check out:

analogafrica.com

youtube.com/user/AnalogAfrica

open.spotify.com/user/analogafrica

Black Ivy: Style, Substance, and Subversion

Via Real Art Press, via Loupe Magazine

How the preppy look was adopted and reworked by African-American campaigners as they fought for racial equality in the 1960s.

The cover of Milestones, Miles Davis’ 1958 album

Subversion takes many forms. From 1930s Chicago gangsters wearing double-breasted suits to south-London herberts adopting ‘Edwardian’ drape coats (hence ‘teddy boys’), nothing annoys the elite more than the lower orders looking better in their clothes than they do. But one way the oppressed have always made their mark is by copying the wardrobe of society’s elite – and then adding their own spin.

And few did this better than the generation of campaigning black musicians, writers, actors and politicians that emerged in mid-20th century America. While many – though not all – of these men had been brought up in poverty, they adopted the pared-down, Ivy-League style favoured by the wealthy east coast elite.

Now, these pioneers are finally getting their dues in a beautifully illustrated new book, Black Ivy: A Revolt In Style, authored by British writer and blogger Jason Jules, alongside art director Graham Marsh.

“It’s a story about a generation of people challenging the status quo, demanding racial equality and civil rights,” says Jules. “It’s the story of one of the most volatile and incendiary periods in American history, but it’s also a story about dignity and the fight for self-determination. For the first time, we explore the major role this style of clothing played during this period of upheaval and social change, and what these clothes said about the men who wore them.”

The Ivy or preppy look had developed from the Savile Row/country-gentleman style imported from Britain, and by the 1920s, had been adopted by students at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Fast forward to the early 1960s, and the classic Ivy look is in place: Brooks Brothers button-down shirt, Bass Weejun loafers; unstructured, soft-shouldered jacket; slim knitted-silk tie, and – for leisure and pleasure – polo shirts, chinos, and pumps.

As the civil rights movement grew and an increasingly confident African-American population fought for equality, the likes of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Sidney Poitier entered the public arena. And they looked sharp. From Davis’s green button-down shirt on the cover of Milestones to Sydney Poitier’s immaculate suit in [To] Sir With Love, this was Ivy turned up to 11.

Today, a flick through Black Ivy shows a generation fighting injustice and demanding to be heard – while doing so in some of the most beautiful men’s clothes ever made.

“The old adage, it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it, is never truer than in the case of ‘Black Ivy’ style,” says Jason Jules. “The classic Ivy wardrobe was comprehensively raided and then remixed and re-envisioned, away from its elitist confines, away from its mass-market popularity, and into something heavily coded and intentionally revolutionary.”

Who says F1 is a rich person’s sport?

Having Grands Prix like Saudi Arabia and Miami (not to mention Monaco, but I’ll let that classic race slide) pretty much sums it up, as does having sponsors like Rolex. There are too many people in attendance at the Grands Prix that have too much money but too little soul.

But hey, F1 is an expensive sport to participate in for the constructors, so they need as much money as they can get, from sponsors and the public. Of course, those running F1 (Formula One Group and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) get their cut…

To see some of what I’m talking about, check out this excellent article (by Jerry Perez of The Drive) on the spectacle of the Miami Grand Prix: The Miami F1 Grand Prix Was an Overwhelming Success, Like It or Not.

It’s definitely one of the several reasons that “lower level” motorsport events like IndyCar are gaining in popularity.

What’s the best thing about the Kentucky Derby?

Why, the Mint Julep cocktail, of course!

The mint julep originated in the southern United States, probably during the eighteenth century, with the earliest known mention being from 1770. I shant go further into the generic history of the drink, as one can do one’s own research regarding that.

The connection of the drink with the Kentucky Derby can be read on Wikipedia. It is interesting to see how various bourbon producers vie for the contract to be the bourbon used in the “official mint julep of the Kentucky Derby” (it is currently Woodford Reserve, which is an excellent whisky).

The classic recipe is rather simple; it consists of mint sprigs, sugar cubes or simple syrup, bourbon, and ice.

The type of ingredients and the preparation is up to the individual, although there are those fastidious cocktail creators out there that would beg to differ. Some people prefer the cocktail in a silver or pewter or copper cup, but again, I leave such details up to you, the drinker.

I like this classic and simple version from The Spruce Eats, but just dig through some books or Google around and find one that suits your taste.

Just remember to drink responsibly, as this 1952 song by the Clovers can attest to:

Director Neill Blomkamp

I’ve really enjoyed Neill Blomkamp’s films (with only a few gripes, which is practically unheard of from me!); the only feature film of his I haven’t yet seen is Demonic.

Blomkamp was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the age of sixteen, he met Sharlto Copley, while attending high school together. Copley provided Blomkamp with the use of computers at his production company, which enabled Blomkamp to pursue his passion and talent for 3D animation and design. In return, Blomkamp assisted Copley in creating 3D work for pitches on various projects. Blomkamp was 18 when he moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he enrolled at the Vancouver Film School.

In the late 1990s, Blomkamp started working in the film industry as a special effects artist and 3D animator. His animation credits include Stargate SG-1 (1998), First Wave (1998), Mercy Point (1998) and Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1999). In 2000, he garnered his first role of lead animator for the Dark Angel TV series (2000). He was the lead 3D animator for 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001).

OK, enough of his background. I’m more interested in his post-2005(-ish) work.

His latest (since 2017) project/film studio/whatever is Oats Studios; its stated goal is that it “was created with the goal of distributing experimental short films via YouTube and Steam in order to gauge the community for interest and feedback as to which of them are viable for expansion into feature films.” Many of his short films can now (2022) also be watched on Netflix.

Additionally, many of his short films and commercials are all on YouTube; here are a few: