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Posts Tagged ‘history’

Get Over It!

Posted by Dirck on 25 May, 2018

The Atlantic ocean, that is.  I found myself watching this earlier in the week, and for once Youtube algorithms were not completely out to lunch, because I found it jolly interesting.  I hope you will too (even though he does a little bit of advertising in the middle for his sponsor).

None for me, thanks.  I’ll take my trans-Atlantic flying pressurized.

Today’s pen: Pelikan P1
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire


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Back from the Future, Part II

Posted by Dirck on 20 April, 2018

A little while back, I offered a hair-raising trip through a pedestrian-filled San Francisco of yesteryear.  Let’s have a look at the other coast now.

That some pretty good foley work.  For some reason, I was particularly startled by the horse-drawn vehicles coming off the ferry– Reason says “Well, of course,” but Expectation was completely dumbfounded.

Today’s pen: Waterman Super Master
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Get Outta Here

Posted by Dirck on 9 March, 2018

I may have phrased that poorly.  It’s just that to see the film for today, you’ll have to just click on this link:

San Francisco Before The Fire

It’s quite worth it to see what a bustling North American metropolis looked like around the previous turn of the century.  The person who brought it to my attention noted that it was an era of getting dressed completely; no tossing on t-shirt and sweats for those folks!  What struck me particularly is the fearless attitude of pedestrians in a setting where transport is largely horses or trolleys.  Watch if you will the fellow who disembarks from a cable-car carrying a baby– that’s a guy who is confident in the strength of the pedestrian right-of-way.

Today’s pen: Waterman Super Master
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Generating Controversy

Posted by Dirck on 24 February, 2017

The following film has nothing to do with the elections underway in France.  It’s just a little look at history which will likely get up the noses of French people of most political stripes, offered by a guy I find amusing, because I was amused.

Yep.  Makes me giggle.

Today’s pen (French): Waterman Executive
Today’s ink (also French): Waterman Florida Blue

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History as Warning

Posted by Dirck on 18 November, 2016

I promise I’ll lay off political stuff for a while after this.  Heck, this is hardly political at all.  It’s just a quick look at a major city with a space of nine years between the glimpses.

Nothing political there.  Mere history.

Today’s pen, of a certain age: Sheaffer Balance Defender
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue

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Duelling Magicians, Drooling Comedian

Posted by Dirck on 26 July, 2013

Earlier this week, I mentioned T.A. Edison and his Electric Vendetta– the man really had something up is nose on the subject of alternating current.  The cause of wacky summer fun suggests pursuing this notion by presenting a catastrophically drunk person speaking about the rivalry between notable deaf fellow and Nikola Tesla.  Due to an inexplicable decision of the content’s creator, you’ll have to click the following link and watch it on Youtube itself rather than have it conveniently embedded right here.  This may be to give you a moment to consider if you’re in a place where watching a catastrophically drunk person hold forth on any topic is appropriate.  If the boss is looking over your shoulder, you may be embarrassed.

So, if you’re ready for it, it’s ready for you.

Today’s pen: Pelikan Souverän M600
Today’s ink: Mont Blanc Racing Green 

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The Golden Age

Posted by Dirck on 30 May, 2013

I got around to listening to FP Geeks TV #72 yesterday (aside: this is ever a “listen” experience, as my weekly duties about the house preclude “watch” of any fountain pens I’m not actually holding).  The discussion between the assembled luminaries there got me thinking about the golden age of fountain pens.

Visitors to my site will know that my entirely arbitrary definition of this period opens with the introduction of Parker’s Vacumatic filler until the introduction of Biro’s goop-filled writing device to the North American market– roughly 1932 to 1945.  I stand by this entirely arbitrary definition, as this period has almost all the interesting filling mechanisms pens would ever enjoy appearing (capillary fillers absent hurrah) and the appearance of the most attractive and most durable barrel materials (not the same ones).  I also readily admit that other people’s entirely arbitrary definitions which disagree with this are probably just as valid, but are also just as incorrect in the light of my contemplation.

The question that the Geeks and guests were mulling was not one of history, but of personal chronology, as they were considering what age they were when they took to the fountain pen.  The answer was not universal, but is was near enough unanimity and close enough to my own response to the question that I realized that the golden age of fountain pens is not a set time in the past but a window of susceptibility during one’s development.  Pick up a fountain pen at a given age, and it will be very hard to put down– miss that age, and there’s a good chance that one will feel only indifference with a frosting of befuddled confusion at the delight of others in the item.

This is not an original thought, I’ll admit.  The notion, in almost the terms I’ve used above, was mentioned on the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast extending principle previously developed in connection with comic books, and I find that I agree with it (although I was a little past the best-before date for Lovecraft).  The discovery that the principle extends to fountain pens makes me consider other things that I got stuck on.  Star Wars, for example, hit at the right time and only George Lucas’s herculean efforts to wreck the franchise have cured me.  Tolkien… same thing, thanks to the cartoon rendition of The Hobbit, and my wife’s not touching any of his stuff until she was in university and her indifferent befuddled confusion regarding it bolsters the idea.  The golden age, the personal era of fascination, appears to apply to almost everything.

I haven’t done any studies, of course, so this is only an empirical suggestion; the golden age is 12 ± 4 years.  Roughly.  So maybe there is something in keeping kids out of stuff we don’t want people getting overly involved in, like drink, drugs and politics.  I think I may look into writing a cartoon series centered around some sassy-but-appealing anthropomorphic creatures who travel the world having adventures between rounds of an international calligraphy competition.  Dumber things have taken off….

Today’s pen: Waterman Carène
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Posted by Dirck on 3 May, 2013

Not a film today (because I’ll be you’ve all seen that stop-motion thing with the atoms already, but a bit of arts and crafts.  The good news is that no actual needles are involved:


When I say “Is that not a wonderfully whimsical thing?” I don’t refer to the dubious content but to the fact that a generator of this sort exists.  Editing the text can get a little frustrating, but the options for amusement make it more than worth while.  So, off you go, have some creative fun.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Imperial Triumph
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune


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Bomb Site

Posted by Dirck on 4 January, 2013

In lieu of a film, here’s a little toy I’ve stumbled upon which fits the backward-glancing I’m currently engaged in (and will soon drop).  Some industrious folks have charted out the places in which bombs were dropped during the London Blitz.  A friend of mine (in spite of the so-called generation gap which should yawn between us) who lived in East Finchley during the festivities declares that the bombs on his block are misplaced by a matter of several feet, but we may perhaps forgive a little error seventy years on and perhaps include the old saw about close being good enough for horseshoes to medium and large aerial munitions.

What I find really astonishing about this map is that, at the end of the blitz, there was something recognizably London-ish still standing.  Zoom out until you can see the whole of the city, and join in my amazement.

Today’s pen: Rotring Skynn 
Today’s ink: Lamy green (I just realized… there’s noting in my pocket today that’s not German)

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Progressive Attitude

Posted by Dirck on 28 February, 2012

My son’s peregrinations about YouTube have uncovered a couple of interesting little items from the world of Disney.  Since I’m not here on Friday, I’ll bring in a couple of shorts for your… enjoyment?  I do have comments to make upon them, unlike the usual Friday frivolity.

The less affecting one (perhaps because I’m mad at my vehicle) regards a little blue car’s trials as it passes through a use cycle:

The other one, which keeps knocking my wife and I for a loop every time sonny makes us watch it, is about a little house’s career from one century to the next.  I warn you, if you have a scruple of sentiment in your make-up, this is likely to make you cry:

The reason that these stick in my head is the unexpected attitude towards Progress as a general concept.  Both were made in the early 1950s, when progress seems to have been generally considered as a nearly unmodulated force for good (with a little bit of eyebrow raising towards nuclear power).  Ol’ Uncle Walt’s statements on progress are likewise fairly positive:

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

It is thus rather surprising that we find these two cartoons coming out under his signature with their relatively overt warning that progress for its own sake not only is not necessarily desireable but can be a source of misery.  It is better, suggests the first, to maintain a vehicle than to cast it aside once a lack of maintenance brings it low.  The second offers the notion that what is lost to progress may well be precious and worth reclaiming.  Isn’t that an interesting set of concepts from the chap who was even then drafting out Tomorrowland?

These are not, if a little thought is applied, contradictory positions.  Progress offers promise of improvement, certainly.  So does getting ahold of piles of cash, or going to the gym.  Too focussed a pursuit of any of these things serves to distract from other good aspects of life, and imbalance in life is a true ill.

That’s why I use both vintage and modern fountain pens.

Today’s bridging of the gap between new and old: Parker Frontier
Today’s ink: Sailor Jentle blue-black

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