Happy Birthday, America!

Ordinarily on July 4th, I post a pic of Old Glory with a few words about What It All Means To Me.  However, as there seems to be a surge of Wokescolds who don’t want us to celebrate our national holiday at all, allow me to celebrate the thing in proper fashion, so to speak:

   

Okay, okay… let’s get formal:

Happy Fourth, everybody.

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.

Wonderful Women: W Is For… Well, You Know

As we slide towards the end of our alphabetical review of beauteous women, let’s start with the silent movies, in this case, Wanda Hawley:

Then from a later era, there’s Wendy Barrie:

Moving out of B&W, one of my favorite comedic actresses, former model Wendie Malick:

And of course, there’s our modern girl, Winona Ryder:

Here’s a pic of the redhead with the golden voice (along with her Momma), Wynonna Judd:

Finally, for the naughty part of today’s post, there’s Playboy bunny Willy Rey:

Next week, we’re going really  X-rated.

Quote Of The Day

From The Coldly Furious One, speaking of NASCAR’s ritual self-abasement over nothing:

For the bigwigs at NOOSCAR, it’s extremely difficult to see a downside: they get to piously denounce all those icky, beer-swilling rednecks and their disgusting Rebel flags, suck up to their anticipated new audience of Nee-grows and the white SJWs who take a knee for them, and establish their PC bona-fides without breaking a real sweat. For that, they’ll gladly throw a nonentity like “Bubba” onto the pyre, strike a match, and send his ass floating off downriver.
Nice try and all, but it’s not going to work. And that serves ’em right, far as I’m concerned.

Ditto for the NFL.  Both organizations, flush with TV money, don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about their actual audience.

Naturally, this whole thing is irrelevant to me, as I don’t follow either sport (being of the Europhile heritage, prefer the actual football, and Formula 1).  So I can look at the situation dispassionately and with quiet amusement, treating the doings of both as a marketing exercise.

Not that football and Formula 1 are paragons of righteousness, of course;  I expect them both to succumb to the blowjobs demanded of them by the various foul organizations such as BLM, feminism and Pantifa and their loathsome offshoots.

The nice thing about supporting a sport, however, is that participation is purely voluntary and money not spent on an NFL Redzone subscription can just be spent on ammunition or a new gun — which will really piss off all the Commies.  And as for NASCAR:

Wonderful Women: V Is For Vivaceous

In this case, V does not stand for VIctory, nor even Very Nice, but Va-Va-Voom.  Such as the woman once described as France’s answer to Jane Russell, Viviane Romance:

 

Then there’s one-time Czech skating champion Vera (Hruba) Ralston:

…and the exquisite Virginia Gray (who wasn’t Czech):

Still in that era, there’s the incomparable Veronica Lake:

One more, for the legs?  Oh, why not:

Okay, now we’re off to the modern era, with Italian beauty Virna Lisi:

And from Dallas (the TV show, not the city), Victoria Principal:

 

On a humorous note, SNL’s Victoria Jackson:

Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

And finally, for all you sports fans, Britain’s Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton:

And what a wallop next week’s selection will pack.