Sunday, October 31, 2010

PRC Navy Shirts

No, no berets in this post, but the new shirts that are now available at South Pacific Berets
Have you ever thought of Chinese made goods as inferior? Think again! These shirts are worn by the PRC's Navy and are not only of excellent quality, but extremely comfortable as well - and very hard to find anywhere outside of China.
They are made in old time Communist era factories and dealing without any knowledge of Chinese (on my side) or English (on their side), the absence of Paypal and frustrating customs regulations made it a long term process to import these shirts into New Zealand.
Read much more about these shirts, their origins, their role in counter- and underground culture at Edge-NeoCha - highly recommended!


Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, primarily in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday All Saints' Day, but is today largely a secular celebration.
Common Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, ghost tours, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, committing pranks, telling ghost stories or other frightening tales, and watching horror films.
Interestingly, there are costume-shops that sell berets (!) specifically for Halloween (and I  mean very plain, black berets; not these rather unconventional pumpkin shaped berets)...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

John Lennon (1)

Do I need to introduce John Lennon? John Winston Ono Lennon, (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, and together with Paul McCartney formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. That already is too much of an introduction...
I came upon this photo (above) and it is hard to believe Lennon is not wearing a stonewashed cotton Tolosa Tupida beret - one of my personal favorites, but they were definitely not around when this picture was taken... Any suggestions would be welcome!
Anyway, this was not the only beret in his collection, having numerous black Basques as well. One of these sold one year ago for an undisclosed sum through Rock 'n Roll Investments

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ramiro Pinilla

Ramiro Pinilla has emerged as one of the most outstanding storytellers in Castilian in the Basque country . The literary work of Ramiro Pinilla has been forged in the shadows, on the outskirts of the commercial channels and through Libropueblo, a small publishing house founded by him and distributed only in Bilbao.
I failed to find any translations in English, but Spanish editions can be foundhere.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tetsugen Bernard Glassman

Tetsugen Bernard Glassman  is a Zen teacher with the White Plum Asanga—the lineage of his late teacher Taizan Maezumi-Roshi, to whom he is a Dharma heir. Glassman-Roshi co-founded the Zen Peacemaker Order in 1996 with his late wife, Sandra Jishu Holmes

Bernard Glassman was born to Jewish immigrants in Brighton Beach, New York in 1939. He attended university at the Brooklyn Polytechnic and received a degree in engineering. Following graduation he moved to California to work as an aeronautical engineer at McDonnell-Douglas. He then received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the UCLA. 
After reading Philip Kapleau's book "The Three Pillars of Zen" in 1967, Glassman sought a local Zen teacher. He found Taizan Maezumi and Glassman became one of the original founding members of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He received Dharma transmission in 1976 from Maezumi and then inka in 1995 shortly before Maezumi's death.
In 1982 he established Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY, a successful business staffed by his students and homeless people of the area which catered to a wealthy clientele. Glassman-Roshi is well-known for his so-called “street retreats,” where he and his students live among homeless people on the streets for extended periods of time. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christmas Beret Shopping

With less than two months away, and the postal service slowing down nearing Christmas, and South Pacific Berets actually being based in the South Pacific, it may be a good idea to think of your Christmas beret shopping now.
We have a huge range of berets available this year and I actually dare to say that South Pacific Berets and South Pacific Cowboy have probably the largest range of berets in the world (please correct me if I am wrong)!
We'll happily Xmas wrap your beret for you - please advise when you make your payment.

Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal (1908 – 2005) was an Austrian-Jewish Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter who pursued Nazi war criminals.
Following four and a half years in the German concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during World War II, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 1947, he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, in order to gather information for future war crime trials. Later he opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. Wiesenthal wrote The Sunflower, which describes a life-changing event he experienced when he was in the camp - a great work on forgiveness (if interested in the subject, listen here to the impressive story of my friend Hector Black). 
But, things are never as simple as they seem. Wiesenthal was in fact frequently on the payroll of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, a new biography asserts. And that's not all; lies about his C.V., education, made up stories about his time spent with partisans and in concentration camps... 
Difficult to find "truth" between the lines, the various opinions and commentators and really, does it matter apart from a historical point of view?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lehendakaris in Euskadi

The hitherto used formula by all lehendakaris "humbled before God, standing on Basque soil, in memory of the ancestors, under the Guernica tree, I swear faithfully my mandate" is considered by the future lehendakari anachronistic and excessive.
So the "Before God humiliated ..." will be discarded in order to escape religious connotations.
In addition, a copy of the Constitution is used - and not the Bible.
Some fresh air enters Euskadi!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dutch Wine

When thinking of quality wines, one doesn't instantly think of the Netherlands.
Unjust, as connoisseurs of the Backerbosch wines would testify. The Backerbosch vineyard is located in Cadier en Keer, near the city of Maastricht in the most southern part of the Netherlands
Confrère Emile Ben Baruch harvesting grapes
The vineyard is named after the Roman Villa "Backerbosch", built around 300 AD, and with it's Roman foundations still present below the actual vineyard. The location for this villa was well chosen, with a beautiful view of the camp Mosae ad Trajectum present day Maastricht). The villa was build from blocks, cut from the underlying marl, thus creating marl caves.
During the 1960's, Roman Catholic 'fathers' began building the vineyard, planted with Optima, Kerner and Riesling grapes which grew out to the Domaine Backerbosch.
The task of the Great Council of the Domaine (pictured above) is to assist the board with the inaugurating of new Confrères and Grand Maitres of the Backerbosch Brotherhood - a system of volunteer workers that enables the vineyard to continue.
Wines of Domaine Backerbosch are bottled annually, and has numbered labels for each year, designed by a renowned local artist.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Green Beret - KCT

The Korps Commandotroepen (KCT) are the elite special forces of the Royal Netherlands Army. It is one of the two principal units tasked with special operations in the Netherlands (the other being the Maritime Special Operations Forces - MARSOF, a unit of the Netherlands Marine Corps). 
The KCT is deployable anywhere in the world under any circumstance, conducting all conceivable missions from the full spectrum of special operations, including counter-terrorism overseas (well, that is what they say themselves...).

The roots of the KCT go back to World War II, when under the name of No.2 (Dutch) Troop, the first Dutch commandos were trained in Achnacarry, Scotland, as part of No.10 Inter-allied Commando. The unit was formed on March 22, 1942, the birthday of the present KCT.

The unit was disbanded in October 1945, but its members continued fighting in the Dutch East Indies, while others formed the Stormschool (1945–1950), located in Bloemendaal; in 1949 relocated to the Engelbrecht van Nassaukazerne in Roosendaal, now the home garrison of the present KCT.
Captain Cees Sisselaar (91), formerly Cdr. Para School and 1st para Bn. in the Dutch Indies 

From 1942–1945 the Korps Insulinde was tasked with conducting guerrilla warfare in Sumatra against the Japanese. After the Japanese capitulation, the Korps Insulinde was tasked with the search and rescue of (Dutch) POWs. In November 1945, the unit was disbanded, and its members hooked up with Depot Speciale Troepen and former members of No.2 (Dutch) Troop to form the Regiment Speciale Troepen (1945–1950). This new unit was involved in the Indonesian independence wars after WW2. After Indonesia's independence was acknowledged by the Dutch government in 1949, the RST returned to the Netherlands. On 1 July 1950, on parliamentary recommendation, the RST merged with theStormschool in Roosendaal to form the present Korps Commandotroepen.

The main icon of the KCT is the green beret, only worn by soldiers who successfully completed the Elementary Commando training at the KCT.
Below the red beret of the para-commando's of the 1st Para Compagnie (KNIL) in Nederlands-Indie, 1947-1949.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Bike Series #7 - Denmark

The Dutch may have the image, but I wonder if there are any less bicycles per capita in Denmark. 

And berets too, flourish in København

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Two out of roughly 500 posts on this blog really stand out for visitor numbers. The Nr.2 is this picture 
on the post Appropriate. I know sex is a selling point for most products us mortals can buy, but berets... It still amazes me.
The Nr.1 I actually find more interesting: the post Baldness and Berets. In my naivety, I thought it would make a good post for April Fools' Day, but I realize now, many 1000's of visitors later, that the subject must be treated with utmost seriousness. 
Well, for all you readers who have real concern about wearing a beret: berets do not cause baldness! It is a myth, and a very strong one at that. I quote the Hair Loss Advisor:
"The myth about headwear causing baldness has been passed around for generations by men who found themselves going bald shortly after entering military service. This of course led to questions about the cause of loss, and theories that tight-fitting military berets were the reason so many military personnel start losing their hair.

Patterns of genetically caused Baldness

Another way that the myth has been spread is through western (so-called “cowboy”) culture. Balding cowboys are fairly common, and because they typically wear cowboy hats, it is part of western folklore that this is what causes a man to lose his tresses, so to speak. The answer to all these questions, though, is that baldness and loss of hair simply do not occur from wearing any sort of hat. Male hair loss causes are related to genetics and heredity, not to the wearing of hats."

The beret certainly did not effect Che Guevara's hair growth...
One possible exemption to the rule is the wearing of a tight fitting (partly)synthetic beret in very warm conditions, but who would like to do this anyway?
I sincerely hope this helps...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Pasarán by Vittorio Giardino

Many berets feature in the comics series "No Pasarán" and "A Jew in Communist Prague", by Italian author Vittorio Giardino

Giardino was born in Bologna, where he graduated in electrical engineering in 1969. At the age of 30, he decided to leave his job and devote himself to comics. Two years later his first short story Pax Romana was published in La Città Futura, a weekly magazine published by the Federazione Giovanile Comunista Italiana and edited by Luigi Bernardi.

In 1982 Giardino created a new character: 
Max Fridman, an ex-secret agent involved in the political struggle in 1930's Europe. His first adventure, Hungarian Rhapsody was serialized in the first four issues of Orient Express and brought Giardino in the limelight of the international comic scene. Max Fridman adventures have been published in 18 countries, and are universally recognised as comic book classics.

Starting in 1984, Giardino produced a number of short stories for the Italian magazine Comic Art, where he introduced Little Ego, a young and sexy girl inspired by Winsor McKay's Little Nemo who stars in one-page dreamy erotic stories.

In 1991 Giardino created a new character, Jonas Fink for the Il Grifo magazine. Jonas is a young Jew in 1950's Prague whose father is arrested by the communist police. He and his mother have to cope with the discrimination and oppression of Stalin's regime. The book won the Angoulème Alfred prize for best foreign work in 1995 as well as an Harvey at San Diego in 1999.

Giardino's maniacal attention to details in both his art and his stories has made him a star even outside the comics community. Unfortunately, it is also the reason of his proverbial slowness: his fans have to wait for years to read the conclusion of his books. Giardino art style recalls the French ligne claire, while his writing owes a lot to famous hard boiled and spy story authors like Dashiell Hammett and John le Carré.