(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘underwear

“Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look.”*…

With a tip of the hat to James Burke

European civilization is built on ham and cheese, which allowed protein to be stored throughout the icy winters.

Without this, urban societies in most of central Europe would simply not have been possible.

This is also why we have hardback books. Here’s why…

Ham, cheese, snails, underwear, Jesus, spectacles– the ingredients in the birth of the book as we know it: a wonderful thread from the wonderful Incunabula (@incunabula) TotH to @inevernu.

* James Burke, Connections


As we ponder precedents, we might send inventive birthday greetings to Marvin P. Middlemark; he was born on this date in 1919.

Old Westbury tinkerer Marvin Middlemark invented the “rabbit ears” TV antenna in 1953, helping millions of Americans get the fuzz, or some of it, out of their pre-cable television reception. Though not completely original – the design was based on the dipole antenna invented by Heinrich Hertz in 1886 – the update made Middlemark a wealthy man.

Middlemark was awarded 62 patents in his lifetime, but his other inventions, including a water-powered potato peeler and a technique for resuscitating gone-soft tennis balls, didn’t muster the same commercial appeal. He sold his antenna company, All Channel Products Corp., in the mid-1960s, parked the proceeds in municipal bonds, and retired to his wooded 12-acre estate, where he kept miniature horses, collected stained glass windows and housed a pet chimpanzee named Josie who liked to finish unwary guests’ drinks.

Middlemark died in 1989, leaving behind a $5 million fortune and, inexplicably, 1,000 pairs of woolen gloves. His son, second wife and her son from another marriage fought over the will for years. Highlights: Planted drugs and weapons, death threats and at least one choking attempt. And all that was by the widow. The stepson, a prominent North Hempstead political operative, pleaded guilty to perjury and was sentenced to two years in jail.

“Every lawyer has read ‘Bleak House,’ ” Neal Johnston, an attorney for Middlemark’s son said at the time. “This is as close as I’ve come to living it.”…

Long Island Press


Tea and Koans…

Julian Fellowes (with his wife Emma Joy Kitchener)

Julian Fellowes is a man of many talents:  after a career as an actor, he lifted his pen to write plays (including the book for the West End/Broadway production of Mary Poppins), films (e.g., Gosford Park, for which he won an Oscar), novels (including the wonderful Past Imperfect), and television series (among them, Downton Abbey, now running on Masterpiece Theater).

Fellowes, who has been married since 1990 to the great-great-niece of the 1st Earl Kitchener, a Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Michael of Kent, was recently elevated in the Queen’s Honors List to Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.

But surely he will be remembered for this insight, quoted in the New York Times [January 7, 2011]:

… there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing – it’s nearly as good.

[TotH to World Wide Words for the lead to the quote]

As we deliberate over Debrett’s, we might recall that it was on this date in 1935 that Coopers Inc. sold the world’s first “briefs” (at the Marshall Field’s State Street store in downtown Chicago).  Designed by apparel engineer Arthur Kneibler, who’d been inspired by a postcard he’d received in 1934 from the French Riviera (featuring a man in bikini trunks), briefs dispensed with leg sections of traditional men’s underpants and had a Y-shaped overlapping fly.  The company dubbed the design “the Jockey,” as it offered a degree of support that had previously only been available from a jockstrap.  Jockey briefs proved so popular that over 30,000 pairs were sold within three months of their introduction; shortly thereafter, Coopers changed its corporate name to Jockey.



Community Countermands Commandos!…

The musical director Busby Berkeley’s attention to authenticity and detail was the stuff of legend.  Berkeley was reportedly accosted by his production accountant one day on the set:  “$2,000 for silk underwear for the girls!  Mr. B, no one can see it, no one will know that they’re wearing silk underwear!”  To which the director replied, “Not so– the girls will know…”

Surely it was this same impulse to quality that moved the City Council of Brooksville, Florida (about 45 miles north of Tampa, not too far from where you’re marooned correspondent is typing this) to pass a dress code for city employees insisting that:

* underwear is now required;
* employees must use deodorant;
* no halter tops or Spandex at work;
* no skirts worn “below the waistline”;
* no other clothing that may be “distracting, offensive or revealing”;
* only ears may be visibly pierced; and, perhaps most disturbingly,
* all cuts or wounds must now be covered.

See Lowering the Bar for the full story.

As we rethink our vacation itineraries, we might recall that it was on this date in 1633 that the Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo Galilei to recant his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe. Galileo is said to have muttered “Eppur si muove!” (“Yet, still, it moves!”).

Cristiano Banti’s 1857 painting Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition

Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 22, 2009 at 12:01 am

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