In Praise Of Eccentricity

In one of my favorite scenes in Bull Durham, Crash Davis upbraids rookie Nuke LaLouche for having filthy shower shoes along these lines:  “When you’re in the Majors, you can have dirty shower shoes and they’ll call you ‘eccentric’.  Until that time, you’re just a slob.”

Nuke’s not alone.  The awful Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, is often called “eccentric” by the fools in the entertainment media;  but what doesn’t show in the photographs is that because she hardly ever showers or uses deodorant, she has body odor that can stop a buffalo.  Ditto Johnny Depp, who seems to confuse his Jack Sparrow character with real life.  Apparently he seldom brushes his teeth,  which means the unfortunate female co-stars who have to kiss him in a love scene should demand danger pay because of his toxic bad breath.

They’re not eccentric;  they’re just slobs.

I love eccentric people — or to be precise, I love people who do eccentric things.  The above two don’t qualify, but the other night I watched a Brit TV series called A Stitch in Time, in which a “fashion historian” gets period clothing made for her by a team of seamstresses so that she can see what is must have been like to wear them.  But the seamstresses don’t make the clothing using modern technology or material;  they make them by hand, using only the tools and materials available at the time.  So, for example, cotton thread has to be run through wax so that it doesn’t fray or come apart, and buttons and such have to be manufactured to be as historically accurate as possible.  (New Wife was astonished that I would not only watch such a show, but enjoy it utterly;  but as I explained to her, I’m a historian, and seeing how clothing was made and worn is as interesting to me as seeing how contemporaneous weapons were made and used.  It’s all history, and I’m quite promiscuous about the topics thereof.)

And they were very ambitious projects.  Here are a couple of the dresses they made:

The Amalfini Portrait

La Chemise De La Reine

What I loved about the show was not just the garments, lovely though they were.  What got to me was that this group of seamstresses has spent literally decades learning how people made clothing in every period of history, not just contenting themselves with the tailoring skills, but learning all about the materials, the dyeing processes and the constraints which faced the tailors and seamstresses of the various eras.

And it wasn’t just them.  At one point, the head seamstress pulled a book off the (very full) shelf, and I caught the title of the book next door to it, entitled something like “Dressing Customs In The Restoration”.  I asked myself:  “Who would be driven to write a book like that?” And there were lots of books on the shelves, in similar vein.

That, my friends, is true eccentricity:  doing something that’s so different, so outside the modern idiom that perhaps only a few people in the whole world have done it, let alone mastered it.

Here’s another example of eccentricity:

A Victorian-obsessed graduate has snubbed the 9-5 life to pursue her dream of living like a 19th century duchess in a country mansion.
Jacqueline Brown, 25, from St. Louis City, Missouri always thought she’d take an office job after university, but decided to pursue her passion for the Victorian era after coming across the opportunity to be the live-in caretaker of a 19th century manor house.
The graphic design graduate, who estimates she has spent over $5,000 on period clothing in the last three years, whiles away her days showing guests around the 1853-built Oakland House and tending to the property’s upkeep.
And her time staying at the house has made Jacqueline re-think her ambitions and she now hopes to move to the home of the Victorians themselves — Britain — to work in a museum devoted to her favorite period in history.

Here she is:

Jacqueline said: ‘Living in a Victorian mansion was never my original career plan, but it has allowed me the opportunity to live my dream.
“I’ve been the caretaker here for just under two years and I don’t want to leave. I’m in love with everything about the Victorian era. The clothing is my favorite thing. I love the shape of the dresses. I love that women were feminine and I love the romance of courtship. I try and dress in a historical way whatever I’m doing and I almost never wear trousers.”

Is this not wonderful, this eccentricity?  Is she not magnificent?

I have often said that if it were possible, I’d like to live as a gentleman in the Edwardian era (1900-1913) in Britain or the U.S., because I like everything about the period:  the manners, the clothing, the way of life, the conservative outlook, everything.  I might not live that life openly — I don’t wear the clothing and so on — but in every other way, I am as obsessed with the period as young Jacqueline is about the Victorians.  I’m not eccentric, at least not truly eccentric.

Compared to the people above, I’m nothing.  But at least I am never a slob.


A Stitch In Time is on Amazon Prime.  And by the way, I always believed that the merchant’s wife in the first painting was pregnant.  She isn’t.  Watch the show to see why.

Not Quite The Message

Several people have pointed me towards this article:

B.J. Baldwin, a defensive pistol practitioner and champion off-road racer, said he and his girlfriend had just grabbed a late-night dinner at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant and were in a parking lot catching up on emails and social media when their ordeal began around 1:46 a.m. April 22.
He said his girlfriend noticed two hooded men pointing a gun at her and charging in her direction from across the parking lot. Once she was able to alert him, the men were 15 yards away with the gun pointed at her and smiling, he said. He said they appeared intent on doing harm.
Upon sensing the danger, Baldwin said he pulled his licensed concealed firearm and the shooting broke out. The gunman fired two shots at his girlfriend and six shots at Baldwin, he said.
“I knew there was a high probability that he would miss because I was returning fire and getting hits on him,” Baldwin said. “I wish I wasn’t at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I’m glad it was me instead of a less-skilled defensive pistol practitioner.”
The gunman died after being hit with 10 shots in a shootout that Baldwin estimated lasted about four seconds.Each shot Baldwin fired at the gunman hit its target, including nine to the chest and one to “the central nervous system.” (The second suspect fled.)

While this incident is undoubtedly a Righteous Shooting, I have a slightly different take.  Here’s what bothers me.  While I am glad that Our Hero got all ten shots into the target goblin, the salient point is this:

Said choirboy took nine shots to the chest.  Assuming at least six were center-mass hits… that’s an awful lot of times to be hit and still be alive and functioning to where additional shots are needed to put the animal down.

I guess that these wondernine guns have high-capacity mags because they need all those bullets to get the job done.

Me, I’m sticking with my .45 1911.  I “only” have eight rounds in the mag, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t need all eight in a similar situation, assuming I could hit the asshole as accurately as Our Hero did.

Also, while Baldwin isn’t being charged — which is all well and good — something about this story just doesn’t jibe with me.  I hope I’m wrong.

Not Much

I see that all the Press are getting all bent out of shape about the God-Emperor taking hydroxychloroquine as a potential prophylactic (in English, as a preventative) for the Chinkvirus.  I don’t know why they’re getting all excited because if the shit did kill him, we’d be seeing a lockdown-style run on tissues at supermarkets because they’d be wanking themselves to a standstill.

But that’s not what I want to talk about, here.  I used to take hydroxychloroquine or something very much like it against malaria, back when I were a troopie in the Seffrican Army, way back when we’d just made the change from shooting Redcoats to shooting Zulus.   You nah waddeye mean.

Other than some really strange dreams — I mean the kind that you get when you’re sick with a fever, real acid-trip stuff — nothing happened to me, healthwise.  And I never did get malaria, even though there were times when my mosquito bites resembled smallpox sores.

So it’s highly unlikely that POTUS will get sick from the stuff — although if what happened to me happens to him, his tweets are going to be really fun for a while.

Which will piss the establishment media off even more, so it’s a win-win all round.

Constitution 1, California 0

For this round, anyway:

A federal judge in California ruled that a law requiring background checks to purchase ammunition violates the Second Amendment.
Voters approved toughening California firearms laws to include background checks on ammo purchases in 2016, and the restrictions took effect last July. The California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit against the state shortly after.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez called the law “onerous and convoluted” and “constitutionally defective.”
“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez, a Bush appointee, wrote in the ruling.

Suggestion to Californian gun owners:  get ’em while you can.  In your state, there are no guarantees against gun-control fuckwittery.

Wise Words

One of the many pleasures of reading Instapundit is Glenn Reynolds’s use of (mostly) single sentences as pithy commentary on whatever link he posts.  Here’s an example:

…and:

In the latter, he’s talking about the Chinkvirus pandemic models, but of course it’s equally applicable to the climate change versions, and just about all the other government- and academic models as well.

“Wise Words”, therefore, is going to become a regular feature on this back porch, gathered under the “Quote Of The Day” umbrella.