Monthly Archives: May 2014

MFL is goin’ mobile

We know a lot of you do your blog reading on a mobile device and we wanted to make that experience cleaner, quicker and richer (as they say in browser-speak). So we’ve created a mobile version of the site that’s easy to navigate and easy on the eyes, making it a breeze to track topics at a glance with associated thumbnails. You don’t have to do anything on your end, just continue to go to our bookmark on your mobile device and the new format will automatically kick in. And of course you can still access the full desktop version from a link at the bottom of the page if you prefer.

We hope this makes it easier for you to keep up with MFL and a more enjoyable experience when you’re on the go. And we’ll keep striving to constantly improve the site with our readers in mind — however gradual that may be since we are mainly a pack of beer drinking luddites — because we appreciate you spending a little of your valuable time with us. Thanks as always for dropping by and we hope you enjoy MFL mobile.

And now for putting up with such a dry blog announcement, without further ado, here’s The Who:

Watch Collector’s Notebook — Tissot “Navigator” World Time

The advent of Rolex’s GMT-Master in 1955 was the culmination of a creative arms race in the Swiss watch industry to come up with unique complications for telling time in two different timezones. The newly-dawned jet airliner age enabled intercontinental travel to explode in popularity and created demand for this complication in a wristwatch . A dual timezone watch, therefore, became a tool for the sophisticated world traveling gentleman or international man of action and was marketed by the manufacturers to exactly that putative clientele. Among the most enduring alternatives to an extra fixed 24-hour hand was the concept of rotating time zone discs or bezels with the names of cities representing the world’s different temporal regions. And among the handsomest and most clever produced during this burst of invention was the original Tissot “Navigator” World Time watch, which debuted in 1953 and therefore predates the GMT-Master by a few years.

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Featuring an oversized 36mm x 44mm beefy lug screwed steel case (sometimes also found in gold top or solid gold) the Navigator achieved its dual time capabilities via an inner rotating world time disc that was calibrated to the 24-hour scale on the face of the watch. Continue reading

What we’re listening to — Hoodoo Gurus

There is nothing particularly revolutionary about the Hoodoo Gurus but they were one of the most purely fun bands to emerge from the often gloomy 1980s music scene (Depeche Mode they are not). Hailing from Australia and featuring a distinctly surf & garage influenced brand of guitar rock, the Gurus pumped out catchy hit after catchy hit for college radio even if they never quite hit the big time Stateside. The main asset for the HG’s was their chief songwriter and inimitably adenoidal, ever-so-slightly kitschy singer David Faulkner and his well-penned half sincere/half ironic tributes to 60s Americana, Australiana and disposable pop culture in general.

Perhaps the one essential album would be their extra strong sophomore effort, 1985’s Mars Needs Guitars, but really there are one or two great tracks on pretty much every Gurus album. So much so that I’d recommend tracking down the now out-of-print 2-disc CD compilation, AmpologyBecause sometimes all you want to do is hear the hits and Ampology distills down the HG’s prodigious output to its essential pop-rock essence just as any well-chosen greatest hits collection should.

Not really a hard rock band but definitely a band that rocks hard without taking itself too seriously, the Hoodoo Gurus are well worth rediscovering and just in time for summer’s tasty waves and beach cookouts, as well. Soon enough you and your mates may well find yourselves singing “Like wow-Wipeout!” at the end of a pleasantly sunburnt day.

RIP Sir Jack Brabham, 1926 – 2014

The Australian triple Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham has passed away at the age of 88. Among his many accomplishments, Sir Jack was the first and only man to win the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in a car of his own design (1966).

From his son David, a fantastic racer in his own right:

On behalf of the family, Jack’s youngest son David said: “It’s a very sad day for all of us. My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning. He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.

What more can one say? Sir Jack raced in the greatest era of Formula 1 against the best drivers, won 3 championships, left on his own terms and lived to become a beloved figure in his golden years. He may have departed this world but he goes on now to join his rivals and friends Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt among others in that great paddock in the sky. What a legacy and we should all be as lucky to shuffle off this mortal coil as accomplished and fulfilled as this great man. He truly left nothing undone. Godspeed, Sir Jack.

tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — May selection, Pt. II

The word “rare” gets thrown around a lot when folks are pitching vintage watches. But this circa 1952 Omega Seamaster definitely fits the definition: Jumbo 36mm case (90% are 34mm during this era), rare reference that is extremely hard to find (2521), solid 18 karat pink gold with screwed water resistant case, and Chronometer-certified movement and original signed “waffle” dial (very uncommon for a 1950s Seamaster, as almost all the Chronometers for Omega during this era are in the Constellation line). Run these attributes through the Google and you won’t find many matches. In fact, I’ve yet to see another 2521 in pink gold. So not an inexpensive watch by any means. But, as the old saying goes, find me another.

NOW ON SALE! Rare Vintage Omega ref. 2521 18k Pink Gold JUMBO Seamaster Chronometer — Click here for the Timezone Showcase ad with complete description and many more high res pictures. SOLD 

Motorsport Books — The Cruel Sport by Robert Daley

The companion piece to Robert Daley’s seminal Cars at Speed, The Cruel Sport is ostensibly more of a coffee table picture book. With its oversized dimensions featuring beautiful black and white photos of Formula 1′s golden era taken while Daley was a correspondent for the New York Times in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, The Cruel Sport captures the romance and danger of Grand Prix motor racing during its mythic past. Shots of the greatest drivers of the era — Phil Hill, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Dan Gurney, Jackie Stewart, et al — doing what they do best make up the bulk of this great tome with the text secondary and spare.

Scene from 1964 GP of Holland (Photo by Robert Daly)

Scene from 1964 GP of Holland (Photo by Robert Daley)

The fantastic record of the state-of-the-art cars of this era — thin, gasoline-filled aluminum monocoques surrounding the driver like a casket with a giant engine newly moved to behind his back — pay tribute to the beauty of the Ferraris, Lotuses, BRMs and all the other land rockets of the pre-safety, pre-downforce era. Interspersed throughout are brief profiles of the drivers and circuits written in Daley’s inimitable wry, Hemingway-esque prose. Showing through, as in all his writing on motorsport, is the paradoxical ambivalence of at once being highly attracted to the derring-do of the men’s wondrous achievements as pilots and revulsion at the wonton waste of life inherent during this era of Formula 1, when the death of drivers and spectators was nearly guaranteed several times a season.

Death of Lorenzo Bandini, Monaco, 1967 (Photo by Robert Daley)

In fact, the footnotes to the photos in the closing “Photo Identification” section are practically another book unto themselves, with detailed ruminations about the deaths of Graham Hill by plane accident in the 1970s and Jim Clark at Hockenheim in a Formula 2 race in 1968, among many other anecdotes. And Daley’s quietly devastating recounting of the death of Lorenzo Bandini in a Ferrari at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix and his journalistic need to photograph it (the horrifying shot of Bandini trapped beneath his burning Ferrari is the fitting endpaper of the book) makes for essential reading in and of itself as a shattering piece of self-reflective journalism, motorsports notwithstanding. In short, along with Cars at Speed, The Cruel Sport is a must have volume for any serious racing fan and anyone who cherishes the bittersweet history of Formula 1 and the men who lived & died it in its most glorious years, as told by its finest, most clear-eyed chronicler.

Check out more of Robert Daley’s life and work at his website, robertdaleyauthor.com.

Notable passings — Walter R. Walsh

Introducing a new feature here on MFL to celebrate some truly amazing men who may not be “famous” in the general sense of that word but who have made a significant impact on the world at the time of their passing. These are men whose exploits, adventures and expertise we can admire and possibly even emulate but never duplicate. In short, they embody the very definition of a life well lived and we salute them and honor their accomplishments. Their like won’t come again and it’s important that we recognize and celebrate their deeds.

From The New York Times, the story of one of the baddest good guys you could ever hope to meet and a marksman nonpareil:

 

 (Courtesy of American Rifleman Magazine)

Walter R. Walsh, a world-class marksman who shot clothespins off laundry lines as a boy and went on to become an F.B.I. legend in shootouts with gangsters in the 1930s, an Olympic competitor and a trainer of generations of Marine Corps sharpshooters, died on Tuesday at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 106.

His son Walter confirmed the death.

Mr. Walsh was still winning handgun awards and coaching Olympic marksmen at 90, and aside from some hearing and memory loss, he was fit and continued to live alone at home. At the centennial of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2008, he was recognized not only as the oldest living former agent, but also as older than the organization itself by more than a year.

He joined the F.B.I. in 1934, a short, feisty James Cagney tough guy fresh out of Rutgers Law School. A natural left-hander, he was already a dead shot who could cut the center of a bull’s-eye at 75 yards with a rifle and blaze away at moving targets with a pistol in each hand — an enormous advantage in a bureau that was just breaking in its first class of agents authorized to carry guns. Continue reading

Gorgeous Lady of the Week — Jessica Paré

With the iconic 1960s advertising series Mad Men winding down to its final episode, it seems entirely fitting that we pay tribute to one of the loveliest actresses to grace that or any other television series, the stunning Jessica Paré. With her lean and lithe body, huge green eyes gazing out from above high cheekbones and mischievous gap-toothed smile, Ms. Paré is at once a classic beauty and a unique one.

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A native of Montreal, Quebec, the 33-year-old ingénue was raised bilingual in French and English and caught the acting bug as a child helping her father, a drama teacher and actor, rehearsing his lines. She quickly found success in Canada with 2000’s satire about beauty and fame, Stardomopposite Dan Ackroyd. This led to more featured roles in 2001’s adolescent lesbian love story, Lost and Delirious, and her Hollywood debut in 2004 as Josh Hartnett’s jilted fiancé in Wicker Park.

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After keeping busy if not quite breaking through in subsequent years with good parts in the TV series Jack and Bobby, the vampire comedy Suck and memorably topless in Hot Tub Time Machine, Jessica made a massive impact when she debuted as Megan Calvet in 2010’s Season 4 of Mad Men. Looking stunning in mod costume, Jessica imbued her fellow French Canadian character with coltish naiveté balanced by observant ambition. In short, Megan Calvet was a revelation and it’s no wonder Don Draper proposed to her after she was so good with his kids in Disneyland despite it shattering the lovely and intelligent market researcher Faye Miller’s heart (played by the lovely and intelligent Cara Buono). And in a case of life seeming to imitate art, or at least art imitating itself, it seemed as if the show ditched January Jones in subsequent seasons almost as completely as Don ditched the former wife, Betty, that she played to such early fame.

Semi-Exclusive... Jon Hamm & Jessica Pare On Set in Hawaii

With Megan separated from Don in Hollywood and the entire cast of characters facing an uncertain future at the dawn of the 70s, Jessica Paré has done her finest, most emotionally challenging work to date this season. We’re not sure where she’ll pop up next but we’re fairly certain that even bigger things are on the horizon for this brunette beauty. We’ll certainly be watching the final Mad Men episodes with interest and hoping that certain Charles Manson/Sharon Tate-related rumors about her character’s fate are not true. And if we were lucky enough to be Megan’s chosen mate, we’d probably give up New York for the sunny L.A. climate and that beguiling, uncorrected smile. Heck, we might even give up advertising entirely. It’s not that hard with such a sweet incentive.