Thursday, September 30, 2021

When I'm Sixty-Four

A month from now I'll turn 64. I find that impossible to believe but my driver's license says it's true. Fortunately, The Beatles wrote a song for me over fifty years ago; it goes...

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

("When I'm Sixty-Four," The Beatles, 1967)

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Glass Art

I collected my first truly major work of art today. It's spectacular.

The piece was crafted by the greatest glass artist in the world, Lino Tagliapietra. Now 86, Lino retired last year after seventy years of making glass art. His work is internationally renowned and exhibited by more than 50 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lino not only made great art, he invented new techniques of Venetian glass-blowing. Several documentaries have been made about him and he's taught at the highest level.

Lino is having a show next month at the most prestigious glass art gallery in New York (Heller Gallery). I was given a private preview of the offered work. I eagerly bought an amazing piece that elates me every time I look at it. I plan to enjoy this art-work for years to come.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cool Watch

Old objects possess history, a story, and the more you learn about their history, the more interesting they become.

I recently discovered a "pocket watch" that is unlike any you know. The watch is not round; it's rectangular. The watch is manual but doesn't wind by twisting a wheel. And, very smartly, the watch is covered with a selection of exotic materials like crocodile skin, precious metal (platinum, gold, silver) or polished ceramic.

This watch is the "Ermeto" and was invented by Movado, a famous Swiss watch-maker. Movado began making watches in 1881 and, in 1926, created the Ermeto. The Ermeto was designed to be carried in either a man's pocket or a woman's purse. Unlike previous pocket watches made exclusively for men, this one was expressly unisex and was advertised heavily toward women. It came in four different sizes including a "Baby Ermeto" which is small enough for a tiny clutch purse.

The Ermeto achieved horological and commercial success. Its mechanics are top-notch and the design was sold for four decades. The Ermeto bridges the gap between pocket watches and wrist-watches: it can use a chain but doesn't have to and its square shape distinguishes it from round pocket watches. A protective case slides open to expose the watch-face and the watch is attached to the case so it can withstand any mishandling.

For me, the coolest thing about the Ermeto is how it works. You wind it not by twisting a wheel but instead by opening and closing its case. Doing that physically winds the inner mechanism for four hours time. Opening the watch a few times is enough to keep it running all day.

Many famous people owned Ermetos, like Pope Pius XI, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein and Queen Elizabeth. What else unites such a motley crew?!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Pocket Watches

Did you know that before World War I wristwatches were worn exclusively by women? They were considered feminine jewelry. Manufacturers didn't make wristwatches for men.

So how did men keep time? With pocket watches. For several hundred years (17th-20th Centuries) men carried pocket watches. Today men wear wristwatches: when and why did that change?

It was World War I. In that conflict the military realized soldiers could do their jobs better if they could keep track of time without digging into pockets. A glance at a wrist told them the time while keeping their hands free to carry and use weapons. Not insignificantly WWI was the first modern conflict to use precise timing in military operations so this change in watches offered important strategic advantage. After the War, soldiers continued wearing wristwatches and sellers saw a lucrative new market.

When I was a teenager I carried a pocket watch in homage to horological history. I'm currently acquiring a new antique pocket watch and have found a rare, unusual example. It'll be a subject for future conversation.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are delicious. They taste better than ordinary tomatoes and are more nutritious. If you go to local farms, you can find some as big as pumpkins!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Great Book

The best book I’ve read in years was just published: “About Time,” by British historian David Rooney (Norton; 2021).

It’s an entertaining, educational walk through history using time as its prism. The book examines how the concept and recording of time (with, e.g., clocks) changed societies, built empires, enabled commerce, spread religion and deeply affected our lives. I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

New Shirt

Most men's clothing, to use a term popular among transwomen long ago, is drab. The clothes usually lack style and color.

I just found a terrific men's shirt from my favorite shirt-maker (Paul Fredrick). It's made of linen and, contrary to practically all men's shirts, has an asymmetrical design. It just arrived and looks great on me.

What do you think?