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May 22, 2013

Bill Blass — Once upon a time in France in World War II


Below, excerpts from Cathy Horyn's May 17 New York Times story about the iconic designer's wartime exploits before he became "Bill Blass."

Above, Blass in wartime France.


In the fall of 2000, I began a series of conversations with Bill Blass for his memoir, "Bare Blass."

One topic I was eager to explore was Bill's war years. He had enlisted in 1942, his fashion career barely begun. The Army had decided that Bill, along with hundreds of other artists, illustrators, designers, and architects... were to use their creative skills to help fool the Germans.

The idea was that they would create convoys of fake tanks and trucks from portable materials like inflatable rubber and use these decoy units, which were enhanced by fake radio signals and sound effects, to trick the Germans into thinking the Allies were in the neighborhood. Such deceptions allowed actual units time to maneuver. Between June 1944 and the spring of 1945, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops performed 20 such operations, saving an untold number of American lives.

Their remarkable story is the subject of "The Ghost Army," an hourlong documentary by Rick Beyer shown Tuesday on PBS. Mr. Beyer, who has produced films for the History Channel and National Geographic, spent eight years interviewing members of the 23rd and rooting around the National Archives.

For Bill... Army service was an episode in an extraordinarily eventful life. Anyway, I think for Bill, who had grown up surrounded by women and had felt keenly the absence of male figures, the war years represented something quite personal, and at the heart of his character. As he said to me, handing back my first inept draft of the war chapter: "Kid, I don't know if you can understand what this period meant to me. It's really a man's story."

Below left,


Blass with fellow 23rd Headquarters Special Troops member Bob Tompkins in France during World War II.

May 22, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mutewatch — Invisible functions

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That's different.

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From the website:


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Mutewatch is a watch that couldn't be more minimalistic and futuristic: all of its functions are controlled by a touchscreen which flows nearly seamlessly into the simple bracelet's design.

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The LED displays of the Mutewatch are generally invisible.

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The Mutewatch consists of matte rubber and synthetics.

The display automatically adapts to the brightness of its surroundings.

Time, timer and alarm are activated by touching the touchscreen or turning the arm 90°.

This intuitive controlling was extremely important to the Swedish creators of the Mutewatch.

The alarm and timer are easy to regulate and signals are transmitted by means of a vibration alarm.

The vibration alarm is connected to a movement sensor so that the signal becomes stronger if the wearer is sleeps or doing sports.

The battery lasts approximately four days in regular usage and can be recharged by using the USB plug at the closure of the watch (charging time: approximately two hours).

Features and Details:

• Touchscreen

• Movement sensor

• Weight: 40 grams

• LED display: 100 Hz

• Water-resistant to 100 meters

• Automatic brightness adjustment

• Suitable for wrists of 10–18.5 cm circumference


In action below.

Red, Grey, or Black: €199.

May 22, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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I cannot tell a lie: this is my tumblr.

For whatever reason, it sits unused and abandoned, like my Pinterest and MySpace and Flickr and God knows how many other sites I've signed up for to try them out and then left after finding they didn't make my heart palpitate.

No worries: I'm sure there will always be new ones emerging from the virtual quantum foam.

Which is pretty much redundant, now that I think about it.

May 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Macallan x Oakley Carbon Fiber Flask


OK, not just carbon fiber: Oakley created this über-flask for Macallan by wrapping it in aerospace-grade aluminum, food-grade steel, and a carbon fiber composite.

"Features include a rubberized bottom to keep it from sliding around, a double-sprung cap, and a machined aluminum funnel that threads into the mouthpiece and sports a small air vent on the side." 

Passes the drop test with flying colors.

Also the wee dram test.

£600 ("Note: This product contains no whisky").

[via Uncrate]

May 22, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

HiddenMenu — Easter Eggs at your favorite restaurants


Created by Kathrina Manalac who wrote "Shhh! We're uncovering secret menu items at your favorite restaurants and showing you the most awesome real life Easter Eggs."

I'll have some of that.

Alas, that's the good news.

The bad news is that the most recent post appeared on April 5, 2013.

Oh, well: great idea while it lasted.

Pictured up top is Kimchi Stew from Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City, featured on March 5 as follows:

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Want something hidden and wonderful in my Podunk town?

Try the Haricot Vert Tempura at TEN during Sushi Hour Monday through Thursday 5–6:30 p.m. in the Bar & Lounge: ultra-delicate and just perfectly done.

FunFact: Tempura must be eaten within minutes after leaving the cooking surface; once it cools to room temperature you might as well call it something else.

May 22, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What are they?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box

Another: not ceramic.

A third: inedible.

May 22, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

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