Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Ralph, Coffee, Jazz and Poetry

Ralph Alfonso has lived in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Oakville.

Ralph is a beatnik poet, musician, writer, designer, photographer, illustrator, record label owner and more.

For over 10 years, he lovingly hand printed a monthly zine (Ralph, Coffee, Jazz and Poetry) on a 1940s Gestetner Mimeograph machine.

Currently in Montreal, Ralph is still all over the pop culture map. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Kevin Rowland

Kevin Rowland (1953) is a British singer and musician best known as the frontman for the pop band Dexys Midnight Runners (currently called Dexys).

The band had several hits in the early 1980s, the most notable being "Geno" and "Come On Eileen", both of which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.

Many of the group's songs were inspired by Rowland's Irish ancestry and were recognisable through Rowland's idiosyncratic vocal style.

Kevin Rowland & Madeleine Hyland

When Dexys disbanded in 1987, Rowland recorded a solo album, The Wanderer, which, together with its three singles, was a commercial failure. His next release was not until 1999 when he recorded a collection of interpretations of classic songs called My Beauty, a record mocked by the music press at the time for the choice of songs, Rowland’s earnest delivery and, above all else, the fact he chose to wear stockings and a pearl necklace for the cover image.

Before his music career, Rowland worked as a hairdresser.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Charles Ferdinand Ramuz

Charles Ferdinand Ramuz (1878 –1947) was a French-speaking Swiss writer.

Ramuz was born and educated in Lausanne in the canton of Vaud. He taught briefly in nearby Aubonne, and then in Weimar, Germany. In 1903, he left for Paris and remained there until World War I. As part of his studies in Paris he wrote a thesis on the poet Maurice de Guérin. In 1903, he published Le petit village, a collection of poems.

In 1914, he returned to Switzerland. He wrote the libretto for Igor Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Xiang-Ping Li is a Professor at the ECNU School of Social Development, Head of the Department of Sociology, and Director of the Center on Religion and Society at East China Normal University.

Dr. Li also holds many academic and professional positions, including being a board member of the Society of Religion in China and Vice President of the Society of Religion in Shanghai, among others.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Wang Ruowang (王若望)

Wang Ruowang (1918 –2001) was a Chinese author and dissident who was imprisoned various times for political reasons by both the Kuomintang and the Communist government of China for advocating reform and liberalization.

He was most commonly known by his pen name, "Ruowang", as a prolific essayist and literary critic.

Wang was a member of the Chinese Communist Party from 1937 to 1957, when he was expelled for holding "rightist views". He rejoined the Communist Party 1979, but in 1987 he was again expelled by Deng Xiaoping for promoting "bourgeois liberalization".

After his death in exile in New York City, he was widely eulogized as one of the Chinese government's most significant social and political critics.

Friday, May 26, 2023


Not much background on these dollar notes, or "Military Payment Certificate" as they were called.

Only for use in United States military establishments - by United States authorized personnel in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

Nice to see a beret on a dollar bill though! 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Hillel Furstenberg

Hillel (Harry) Furstenberg was born to German Jews in Nazi Germany, in 1935 (originally named "Fürstenberg").

In 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht, his family escaped to the United States and settled in New York City, escaping the Holocaust. Furstenberg is a mathematician and professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a laureate of the Abel Prize and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics.

Furstenberg gained attention at an early stage in his career for producing an innovative topological proof of the infinitude of prime numbers in 1955.

Thanks Frans

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Field Leveling

The secrets and history of field leveling.

Not just in beret, but a good sample of 'bleu de France' workwear.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


There was a time that any self-respecting Roman Catholic priest wore a Basque beret...

Monday, May 22, 2023

Anthony "Spice" Adams

Anthony "Spice" Adams (1980) is an American television host, actor, comedian, and former football defensive tackle.

After playing college football for Penn State, he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, for whom he played four seasons, followed by the Chicago Bears from 2007 to 2011.

After his playing career, he became involved in social media and television. He is now a co-host of The Great American Baking Show, the American adaptation of the popular Great British Bake Off.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Suspenders / Braces

Suspenders (American, Canadian English), or braces (British, Australian English) are fabric or leather straps worn over the shoulders to hold up skirts or trousers. The straps may be elasticated, either entirely or only at attachment ends, and most straps are of woven cloth forming an X or Y shape at the back.

There have been several precursors to suspenders throughout the past 300 years, but modern suspenders were first popularised as "braces" in 1822 by a London haberdasher Albert Thurston. They were once almost universally worn, due to the high cut of mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century skirts and trousers that made a belt impractical.

During the nineteenth century, suspenders were sometimes called galluses. Samuel Clemens, known for his work as the author Mark Twain, patented "Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" (ADSG), becoming one of the first to receive a United States patent for suspenders in 1871.

After losing popularity during World War I, when men became accustomed to uniform belts, suspenders were still regular attire throughout the 1920s.

Life magazine stated in 1938 that 60% of American men chose belts over suspenders. Though the return of fuller-cut trousers in the 1940s revived suspenders, they did not dominate over belts again to the same extent. However, in the UK they remained the norm to wear with suits and dress trousers.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Abdul-Qadir Wiswall

Abdul-Qadir is a language learning specialist living in Providence, Rhode Island.

Abdul has been a musician and teacher for many years in 7 countries around the world, with a love for wearing berets (especially the ecoJapanese models).

“Berets look amazing with every outfit and are great to wear in the summer. They are casual enough to wear riding a bike or teaching a class. The adjustable headband is great too because I cut my hair short once a year and that way, I can always have a comfortable fit.”

Friday, May 19, 2023

Pouroto Ngaropo

Dr. Pouroto Ngaropo (Mataatua, Te Arawa, Tainui, Takitimu, Ngātokimatawhaorua) is a leading cultural ambassador for knowledge in mātauranga Māori, kawa and tikanga. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Ngaropo drove the re-establishment of the breathtaking Iramoko Marae. This marae is nestled in the hills of Manawahe which provides a tranquil environment and a place of spiritual healing. Ngaropo also offers trail hikes and wairua guidance.

Iramoko Marae (Māori meeting house)

Ngaropo has been deputy chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. He participated in settlement negotiations for the iwi, and played a significant role in creating Māori health strategies that involved iwi throughout what was then the Bay of Plenty District Health Board region.

In 2019, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for contributions to Māori and governance. 

Pouroto Ngaropo wears a charcoal Flamingo Chobo400

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Lana Bastašić

Lana Bastašić (1986) is a Bosnian and Serbian writer, novelist and translator.

Lana was born in Zagreb to a Serbian family in 1986 and immigrated to Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina as a young child.

She studied English at the University of Banja Luka and received an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Belgrade. In addition to novels, Bastašić has written in many different genres: short stories, children’s stories, poetry, and stage plays. Her debut novel Catch the Rabbit was published in Belgrade in 2018, and then reprinted in Sarajevo. The structure of the book draws inspiration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with themes of exile, identity, and is divided into twelve chapters, as is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It won the 2020 EU Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the NIN Award.[5] It was translated into English by Bastašić herself and published by Picador in the UK and Restless Books in the US.

She currently resides in Switzerland.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


'Cecil', by South African artist Willie Bester.

Medium: Metal, Found Objects, Oil on Canvas Size: 38 x 28 cm’s

Au revoir les enfants ("Goodbye, Children")

 Au revoir les enfants ("Goodbye, Children") is an autobiographical 1987 film written, produced and directed by Louis Malle. It is based on the actions of Père Jacques, a French priest and headmaster who attempted to shelter Jewish children during the Holocaust. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

The film is based on events in the childhood of the director, Louis Malle, who at age 11 was attending a Roman Catholic boarding school near Fontainebleau. One day, he witnessed a Gestapo raid in which three Jewish students and a Jewish teacher were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz. 

The school's headmaster, Père Jacques, was arrested for harboring them and sent to the concentration camp at Mauthausen. He died shortly after the camp was liberated by the U.S. Army, having refused to leave until the last French prisoner was repatriated. Forty years later Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, granted Père Jacques the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Merci, Frans

Tuesday, May 16, 2023


In 1930, the three brothers Alfred, Victor and Gabriel Lafuma created the eponymous backpack brand in their small workshop in Anneyron in the Drôme. 

With the invention of the metal frame, they revolutionize the backpack. With the introduction of the first paid holidays, this backpack becomes a major player in the first leisure activities. 

In the collective unconscious, Lafuma is the factory of memories: it's the Grandfather's bag, the school bag, the equipment for the first family camping outings... Lafuma tells transgenerational stories and recalls good times shared.

Since 1930, the Lafuma logo has undergone various changes, at more or less regular intervals. 

This evolution is, to the delight of collectors, well documented on the brand's website. The logo with the boinero skier was in use from 1930-1949.