Welcome to Signals, my attempt to package up some of the interesting bits from the past few weeks.
Thanks to everyone who participated in Office Hours yesterday. There were a lot of interesting questions and it’s fun to see everyone jump in and share intel and other comments. You can read everything here if you missed it.
I. Smelly Barbour.
The Barbour smell topic came up yesterday in the Q&A and I shared a post from this woman on TikTok, of all places. She’s some sort of a cleaning expert and I found her advice as to how to remove the smell from an old jacket to be interesting. At the very least she seemed very confident and certainly no bullsh/t. Her advice is here.
Alternatively, New England Reproofers or Orvis can help with this sort of thing.
II. Let it Be
I watched the entirety of The Beatles doc Get Back on Disney+ and I have some questions:
The band seems to get along fairly well throughout most of this filming. Was it all just them being nice for the camera? George almost never gets a word in and I couldn’t help buy to key-in on that.
Was it annoying that Yoko was there sitting next to John almost the entire time? At moments it seemed endearing and at others it was odd.
Billy Preston was almost the 5th Beatle. He just smiled the whole time. What an amazing opportunity to be in the room and play on that album.
Who made the hiking boots Paul was wearing for several days?
Fun to see Apple Corps HQ on Savile Row in the doc.
III. Should Americans Be Living More Like Europeans?
This opinion piece in Bloomberg had people freaking out. Sorry to be talking so much about consumption related things while simultaneously doing freaking gift guides. Though to be fair, people are going to give gifts and I think it’s worth highlighting some small brands who make quality products.
Anyway, I think it’s obvious that the American approach to consumption is pretty absurd. Massive houses to hold all of the junk we accumulate, the massive cars etc. Imagine the opportunity for embarrassment if you had to lead a contingent of Europeans on a shopping trip to Costco. We really don’t need most of this stuff and one of the best things that I have done in the last year is thinking hard about what I really do need, what makes me happy and what is just a symptom of boredom. I think a lot of people probably arrived at that idea as well and it’s one of the few silver linings of COVID for me.
IV. Three Newsletters
✅ Recomendo — Just like the name implies, this newsletter recommends a few random things each week. The picks come from a bunch of different contributors and vary from kitchen tools, things to watch, life pro tips and all sorts of other useful things.
⛳️ The Quadrilateral — The only golf related newsletter you will need to read. Written by Geoff Shackelford, The Quadrilateral is centered around the major golf championships, but it goes into so much more that surrounds golf. Geoff is so knowledgeable and funny it’s one of the best subscriptions out there.
🔪 A Small and Simple Thing — Chef, restauranteur, cocktail lover Brooks Reitz’s very modern cooking and food newsletter is a winner.
My gift guide has been updated and a section of gifts for women has been added. I will continue to add new ideas as we get further into December.
Jon Caramanica’s story on the passing of Virgil Abolh was moving. I didn’t know Virgil well, but I admired his work, his attitude, the example he set, the kindness he offered every single person and the man he was. It’s amazing to see people share the encouraging messages he would send so frequently. If there’s one thing I take away from his life it’s that kindness matters. His legacy of lifting people up will reverberate for a long time. I hope I can leave as much of a positive impact as he did.
Cannondale is bringing bicycle assembly back to the U.S.
A Japanese coffee shop which only makes one type of drink. Simplification appreciation from Brian Morrissey.
There’s another Bloomberg opinion piece about how this author thinks savings and Reddit are driving the massive watch shortage that’s been going on for a while. Rolex actually commented (which is a fairly rare occurrence) on its shortage when a Yahoo Finance report actually asked them about it. I guess the watch media didn’t think to ask about it. LOL
This Amanda Greeley story lamenting the sadness of “cyber week” and the rapidly disappearing American Middle class aligns with much of my thinking. This week I watched the documentary Life of Crime on HBO and it was really depressing to see how drugs have (and continue) to ruin so many lives in America. In a lot of ways the things I saw in this film remind me of things I saw growing up with the de-industrialization of America. What Amanda says in her essay is not necessarily about drugs or post-industrial Newark but the shit from a manufacturing based economy to a service and consumption based system seem to have (obviously) left a lot of people behind. It makes me even more sad about the on-demand world I see everyday and the destruction of the middle of everything in this country.
One last thing. If you need me, I’ll be in my WFH van.
Late post on this thread. I am headed to Milan for Christmas and would like to find a navy blue unstructured blazer. Sort of a go-to daily jacket. Any recommendations?