Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Panamanian uprising

A suitable replacement for my daily straw hat has been found.

It's a genuine "Panama" hat from Ecuador via the USA (woven and formed in Ecuador, trimmed and banded in the USofA), marketed by Pantropic of Northern California, and trimmed in Massachusetts.

The 3" brim is the perfect width. The just slightly open weave allows ventilation. The fedora pinched crown meets my fashion sense (not too tall), and the 3/4 inch black silk hatband looks less formal than the standard 1-1/4 inch variety fitted to Panamas.

Now to overcome my fear of wearing it out (by wearing it out).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Old soldiers never die, they just become yardwork hats.

A suitable replacement hat has been found (soon to be unveiled on these pages), and this old favorite will now be consigned to die an ugly death protecting my head when I do yard work.

Adios, mis amigo. Vaya con Dios.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Falling a 1/4 inch short.

Ultimately, it just didn't make the cut, falling about a 1/4 inch short. I tried, but the slightly insecure feeling of the forced-fitting on my inflated cranium led to failure.

But Pantropic makes nice hats. Quality straw, all natural materials in sweatband and headband, with an understated style on many levels. Maybe I'll find another Pantropic, one more suitable to a bloated skull.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shades of things to comes?

A contender returns. This is the Pantropic Ecuadoran Panama that is sized L, but is just slightly too small. Also problematic is the lanyard (while functional, I dislike the look and bother). But it's a handsome hat.

I wore it today to Fredericksburg, where the temp hit 101°. It did a good job providing portable shade, and might bode well for the future.

P.S. Sam Bass was born, and died, on this date. He robbed the UP train.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Rejection

I want it to work. Really I do. I like so much about it. The cloth headband, the darker straw. The vent holes. Alas. Brim too narrow, crown too tall.

It certainly works as a centerpiece, just not as a headpiece. But relief is on the way (?).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Road kill

As the search for a new straw hat winds down (a winner to be revealed soon... hopefully), I nonetheless keep my eyes open for other cancer-preventing head coverings. I spied this company-issue hat along the side of Farm-to-Market Road 1626 the other day. I washed it in the dishwasher twice. For novelty use only.

Black cotton brushed-twill ball cap, embroidered logo, manufactured by Cintas.

In college, I dined at Church's with great regularity. I'd buy a two-piece snack-box with a wing, a drumstick, a yeast roll, and a jalapeño for $1.19. At that time, Church's was a San Antonio-based company, and their fried chicken was the best chain-chicken on the market. They over-expanded, and fell into the hands of their major competitor, Popeye's Chicken out of Louisiana. Swamp-death to the brand, as Popeye's made Church's the "lowest priced" fried chicken place... with low-price quality.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Could'a been a contender: Audition No. 3

Another authentic 'Panama' hat (woven in Ecuador) that I've had for a few years, but don't wear much. It's 'made' by Pantropic Hats, and is a roll-up travel Panama with chinstrap. It's a wonderful hat that I bought on clearance at REI, but it has one serious drawback, and one less serious one.

Minor drawback: I don't like chinstraps, even though they can be wonderfully functional. For me, they mostly just get in the way.

Major drawback: It's a size large. My true hat size in 60cm. My S/M/L/XL hat size is XL. I have a big head (but you knew that already, right?).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Smokin' Dope: Audition No. 2

Another hat from the closet. This genuine "Panama" straw hat is from Ecuador, and made with toquilla straw, like all authentic Panama hats. It's a one-size-fits-all from Orvis (elastic sweat band self-adjusts for size... even my XL).

I've had this hat since about 1995, but it's just never "stuck" with me. The crown seems too big, and the brim seems too small. But it's going to get a serious work-out as the search continues.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Replacement Fuse is lit: Audition No. 1

As I begin the process of finding a straw hat to replace my decaying Dorfman Pacific Panama-style hat, various cats and caps will have auditions for my effections/affections. A ball cap won't be the replacement, but I am trying out hats I seldom use as a stop gap measure. This hat was a gift from a friend who does inside sales for Fuseco. It's a heavy-weight, brushed twill cap, with a nice camo bill. It's probably better suited for use in the winter than the summer.

It does have good sweat-absorption properties.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Storm clouds of the End Times

My Dorfman-Pacific straw hat, with the Stetson pheasant feathered band, is about to die. The toyo straw is breaking down, and will soon be unwearable.

This has been a great hat, a true 'signature' hat for me, rivaling my Kierkegaard ball cap. Anticipating the inevitable, I have been searching for a replacement for a few years, but with no luck. The combination of pinched crown, a soft and fairly open weave that breathes easily (plus vent holes), and a broad shade-producing brim with thin band, appears to be a rarity.

The search will now intensify. It must.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Major Morris

Today's featured ball cap sports the logo of the extinct Morris Motors, founded and based in Oxford, England. Many only know Morris Motors from the sports car division, Morris Garage, commonly known by the initials M.G. The shield depicts an ox crossing the Isis River (known as the Thames River further down stream), the river ford being the reason for the town's establishment during Saxon times. 

When I was growing up, my older brother (by almost a decade) owned two Morris Minor convertibles; a powder blue 1949, and a pale yellow 1958. The car I learned to drive in was that 1949 (as well as a 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon with a 352 c.i. V8, and no 'power' anything except the big V8). The Morris' were delightfully British vehicles, made outside of Oxford, England. The Minor was designed by the brilliant and innovative Sir Alec Issigonis. It was a car that had many advantages over it's similarly-sized Germanic competition, the Volkswagen Type I... and several crippling disadvantages.

There was a rare model of the Morris Minor that I've always wanted, the Morris Minor Traveller. It was the 'wagon' version, with real wood framing on the outside of the wagon box, and 'barn doors' in the rear.

Morris went on to produce the Mini Minor (again designed by Alec Issigonis), an even smaller car that revolutionized small car engineering, being the first transverse-engined, front-wheel-drive car, a design that is now almost universal, even for today's 'full-sized' cars. There was also a Mini Traveller, with the same wood-framed, barn-doored design of the larger Morris Traveller.

Morris became part of BMC, and then part of British Leyland, then part of Austin Rover, and finally the marque was split off and purchased by a Chinese company. BMW purchased Rover/Land Rover (and the former Morris plant in Oxford), and inherited a preliminary modern Mini design from Austin Rover, modified it using some designs they had done for a small FWD car, and re-launched the company as MINI. After several years, BMW created an all-new MINI, this time 100% BMW engineered. With the relaunch, a successor to the Traveller was created. having failed to buy the rights to the Traveller name, BMW called the slightly longer MINI the 'Clubman'.

I recently bought a MINI Cooper S Clubman, in part to fulfill my old longing for a Morris Minor Traveller. Still made in Oxfordshire, and to me... still a Morris at heart, even if it was designed by BMW in Munich, and not by Sir Alec in Oxford.

And there you have it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gimmie shelter.

I support an Audio Enthusiast's internet forum. They cover my scalp.