If You Like Negronis, You (Might) Love This Tweed

The Negroni Tweed is a collab between Matt Hranek and Fox Brothers. The latter is a British cloth maker founded in 1772, but who is Hranek? Well, his job titles have included “luxury editor,” he has a cool prefab house in upstate New York, and he started his own magazine. Also, he truly loves the Negroni. So why not make a fabric out of it? The resulting tweed entwines Campari red, orange, lemon peel yellow, and gray (gin is essentially colorless, so…).

The Negroni tweed. Source: Fox Brothers & Co., Ltd.

Need to learn how to concoct a Negroni?

The Eternal Struggle: History vs. Ghost Stories

Was N.J.’s Spy House one of the most haunted spots in the country? That’s up for debate

The Seabrook-Wilson House, a.k.a the Spy House, was built in the early 1700s. Over the years, archaeology and historical research has uncovered much of the true history of the house. Now part of Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth, New Jersey, the historic house museum has a slate of free history and science programs scheduled, including their new History on Tap series, beginning with Famous and Forgotten Shipwrecks of New Jersey, an Archaeological Perspective on November 14.

The Seabrook-Wilson House. Source: ScottCAbel [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Ain’t No Haint Gonna Run Me Off: Three Alternatives to Overplayed Halloween Songs

If you’re getting tired of the same old Halloween songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller, here are three alternatives.

(It’s a) Monster’s Holiday should not be confused with Monster’s Holiday, which was Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Christmas-themed sequel to Monster Mash. Buck Owen’s 1974 hit assembles the usual monster lineup, and throws in dragons for good measure.

When a ghost (or is it an alien?) tries to scare Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (no, not the Demon bassist from Kiss) out of the Haunted House he just bought, Gene doesn’t need to call Ghostbusters, he handles the situation himself.

Haunted House was written by record producer Bob Geddins and first recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1958. Simmons’ version was released in 1964.

The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the subject of Lou Reed’s 1989 song, which also serves as an elegy for people who died during the 1980s AIDS crisis.

More Bogs, More Barrens

At the Cranberry Bogs along Mt. Misery trail. Source: TCM

Fall colors are appearing in the Pine Barrens. I rode about 10 miles on parts of the Mt. Misery trail and Glass House Road in Brendan Byrne State Forest, which provide a mix of paved roads, wide graded sand roads, and single track closely hemmed by bushes and trees. I must have been the first visitor that morning, because I was constantly riding through webs spanning the trail and when I stopped for a bit, there were at least three spiders still hanging on to the front of my bike.

The RadMini alongside the bogs. Source: TCM
Sand road along cranberry bog
Riding through the cranberry bogs in Brendan Byrne State Forest. Source: TCM
cranberry bog
Another view of the bogs. Source: TCM

Near the end of the ride, the Reeves cranberry bogs provided a peerless photographic opportunity. The bogs were created by William H. Reeves at the beginning of the twentieth century and remained in operation for at least half a century.

The roads around the bogs had some soft sand. The RadMini did not seem to have a problem with it, but I did almost wipe out plowing through a turn a little too fast.

Sand road blocked by water
Time to turn around. Source: TCM

Two Passenger Pigeon Specimens in England

I recently stumbled upon two more passenger pigeon mounts I was unaware of. The Horninam Museum and Gardens in London, England, has two mounted passenger pigeons, a male and a female. Photos of the birds (NH.Z. 1768 and 1769) can be seen at the museum website.

The two pigeons are part of a natural history collection amassed by Samuel Prout Newcombe in the nineteenth century. Newcombe had owned a number of photography studios in London in the mid 1800s. He also was a writer, and in 1851 wrote a guide to the The Great Exhibition (also known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition) that focused on foods of the world, including an entry on the passenger pigeon. Around 1870, Newcombe sold his photography studios and retired to life a leisure.

Keenly interested in natural history, Samuel Prout Newcombe had amassed a large collection of specimens and books on natural history. … “Nature“, the International Journal of Science, reported in 1899 that: “Mr. S. Prout Newcombe has offered the London County Council his educational collection of natural history specimens and literature. This collection, which consists of about 21,000 objects, included a considerable number of works on natural history subjects“. 

https://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/Hastings_Newcombe.htm

The Horniman received the Newcombe collection in 1905.

Fireside facts from the Great Exhibition : Being an amusing series of object lessons on the food and clothing of all nations in the year 1851. Samuel Prout Newcombe 1851:90.

It Took a Long, Long, Time

Finally finished Volume 2 of Gary Giddins’ masterful biography of Bing Crosby. To celebrate, here’s Bing singing It’s Been a Long, Long Time. Inspired by VE Day in 1945, Bing’s version, featuring Les Paul on guitar and not much else, hit #1 on the charts in December of that year. According to Giddins, “Bing saw immediately that the lyric worked equally well as the entreaty of Odysseus to Penelope or Penelope to Odysseus.”