First Aid Kit

Thursday 03.29.12

Last night I went with my husband and a few friends to hear First Aid Kit perform to a sold out house at Webster Hall in NYC. The band comprises two gifted Swedish sisters – Johanna and Klara Söderberg – who, along with a drummer, perform in a folky, indie-rock style. But, aside from those classifications, the music is very much their own. My husband attributes their unique sound to the kind of vocal harmonies that can only come from siblings singing together. I very much agree. I first saw them in this video (posted by a colleague of mine) on Facebook back around 2009, and I was instantly charmed. Anyway, here is their first performance on Swedish television in 2008 when they were 15 and 17 respectively. They are far more polished and self assured now, but no less compelling. They have a new album called The Lion’s Roar. It’s good.

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Present & Correct

Wednesday 03.28.12

I don’t know where to begin. So, what I will say is that I have fallen particularly hard for Present & Correct and their corresponding blog. The store has an abundance of quirky office ephemera, both old and new. And the blog is a virtual treasure trove of images. Many that I have not seen before. No easy feat in this era of ubiquity. These items are but a teeny example of what’s in the shop. Those numbered tags and pins are the best things I’ve seen in awhile. All photos from Present & Correct.

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The Modern Skateboard

Tuesday 03.27.12

I read the obituaries in the NYT every day. And I know I’m not alone. I take heart when those, to whom tribute is paid, were at least over 90 when they died. And I find even deeper inspiration from those who were still working away at something they loved. One of the best obituaries I ever read was for a blacksmith by the name of Francis Whitaker. He worked almost right up to the end and, miraculously, grasped a hammer on his deathbed. Today’s obits required two full pages. Never good. Some names held meaning for me in a distant way. Others I had never heard of. Larry Stevenson is one of the latter. I learned that in the Southern California of the early 1960s, he went from lifeguard to successful and innovative skateboard designer in the most linear of careers. He began building surfboard-like skateboards, but by 1969 he introduced a new design that incorporated a “kicktail”: that singular modification to the standard surfboard shape that allowed skateboarders to embark on those crazy airborne tricks that demarcate the skateboarding style that we see today. To his credit, he patented both the single and double kicktail. RIP Mr. Stevenson. Photos courtesy of Lion City Skaters.

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More Cigarette Cards

Friday 03.23.12

More from the NYPL digital archives. I’ve successfully worked my way through 1021 pages out of 2478. Don’t think these need much commentary beyond the fact that the colored badges represent the various regional/local football clubs in the UK. If you need to see which colors correspond with which football club, go here.

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Cigarette Cards

Thursday 03.22.12

HELP! The NY Public Library has a visual archive that stretches from here to who knows where. I dipped my toe in yesterday and I immediately got pulled into the undertow. It took all my strength and willpower to get out. As an example, they have 2478 pages of cigarette cards. About 20 to a page. That’s 49,560 cards…give or take a few. Here is but one, front and back. Stay tuned for more.

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A really good documentary takes a subject, no matter how obscure or seemingly uninteresting, and draws you in. I saw Buck last year, and it has stayed with me ever since. The richness of the personal narrative and the overall arc of the movie are seamlessly rendered. I like the fact that the filmmakers don’t rely on sentimentality to convey the depth of the story. Saw the trailer on Everything. All The Time.

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Numbers All Around

Tuesday 03.20.12

Whether one realizes it or not, we live in a world suffused with numbers. They are all around us. Some more blatant than others. Used to classify everything from a corrugated box to a tube of toothpaste, they have little or no relevance to either me or you. But they sure are pretty. My archive is steadily growing.

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