Archive for December 2007
When I was a kid Saturday was the greatest day of the week. The Capitol Heights Seat Pleasant Boys Club had Duckpin Bowling Leagues, and heading to the lanes was a perpetually anticipated trip. If you are reading this in some areas of the country, Duckpin Bowling is foreign. To learn more, go to Duckin‘ and check it out. The game is fun; but I really like the shirts.
Some of you may not think of a person in a bowling shirt as a Paragon of Fashion. Well, you’re wrong. The shirts have a distinctive look, resembling Italian knits or Banlon, without the exposed underarm stitching. Typically in two colors, emphasizing wide stripes, but often times multi-colored; they invariably have the embroidered name over the left nipple. Mine always read Bake or Mr. Fish, depending on whether or not the league was a “first name basis” or more formal institution.
Great thinking goes into the design. Consideration has to be given to comfort, style, fabric breathing, ability to withstand numerous wears, metamorphosing of the body caused by mass consumption of beer, and perspiration absorption (I don’t think they use aluminum like in deodorant).
This distinctive apparel can be recognized from miles away. Any criminal act while wearing a bowling shirt could lead to swift capture. Witnesses will surely recall either the stitched name, or the design and color. There can’t be more than three people in the immediate vicinity of the crime wearing such apparel, narrowing down the suspects. The point is, don’t commit a felony in Bowlwear. You will not escape.
It seems there is a campaign in place to hold a Best Bowling Shirt competition in Staley’s Ford, Nevada in 2009. A date has not been set. Awards will be given for Best Tie Dye, Best Color Combination and Best Durability.
To test the durability of a shirt, the contestants submit the entry to the committee three weeks prior to the judging. The item is subjected to 500 hours of exposure to bowling conditions. On the day of the competition, the shirts are tested for fraying, and that with the least, wins the award. Tie Dye and Best Color Combination are obvious.
In addition to the Best Bowling Shirt awards, there is a movement afoot to erect a Museum in Reno to showcase The History of Bowling Shirts (there is gossip Homer Simpson will cut the ribbon). A special room will be devoted to one of Baltimore’s Best Duckpin Enthusiasts . . . The Babe. Although Babe Ruth was not considered to have made much of a fashion statement, his subsequent career in Major League Baseball overcame his lack of runway thinking.
One day the world will appreciate Bowlwear. It will take all of us, working together, to make it happen. I urge you to stop by your local bowling alley and survey what is being worn. Stop anyone who is not wearing bowl-worthy tops. Tell that person of the movement and win them over. This will work. I assure you. There will be Pradaesque bowling shirts.
Bake My Fish
On December 25, 0000 there was a historically significant event in a place named O Little Town of Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary Christ were blessed with the birth of a bouncing baby boy, who they christened Jesus. To this day we celebrate his birthday around the world and honor his lifetime accomplishments. I think he might be pleased how glamorous and sordid we have become.
As reported in numerous publications, there were Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the newborn in the family’s temporary quarters, known as The Manger. Mary and Joseph were forced to settle for the modest accommodations because the annual convention of International Stoning Enthusiasts was in town and there were no vacancies at any of the local hotels. Nevertheless, the Christs made the best of it. Somehow overlooked was the fourth Wise Man we now celebrate in song.
Jingle Kringle was a local shack-to-shack jug brush salesman who just happened on the scene during a sales venture. He sold a wide variety of brushes made from animal hair, but had invented one using a shiny material he called aluminum. The aluminum brush was not a very good product. It didn’t absorb the soap very well, and the water always ran off. Jingle was stuck with a gross of unsold, worthless brushes he was determined could be put to some use.
There was something special about this child, and the giving of birth offerings was a long-standing tradition among the people of O Little Town of Bethlehem, so Jingle had to come up with something of value. Ah, but Jingle was an artistic sort, and formed the brushes into a tree like those he had seen in the mountains. Several wooden bells (another failed Jingle invention) were hung from the brushes, and the beautiful gift was presented to the Savior. The Aluminum Christmas Tree, featuring Jingle’s bells, was born.
At the Gifting Ceremony, one of the Wise Men, Carl, gave a really nice four-colored wheel, made from a thin and kind of see-through material. Carl laid it in front of the oil lamp, where the family cat was lying nearby enjoying the heat, and its swaying tail kept brushing against the wheel, causing it to spin. The flicker of the lamp, combined with the spinning of the colored wheel provided the entire group with a visual spectacle when the resulting light reflected on the Jug Brush Tree. Ooooo. Ahhhh. Soon, the lamp burned out, no oil reserve was available and everyone simultaneously scratched their heads. There was no way to light the wheel and Ben Franklin will not be born for another 1,706 years. Interest in the phenomenon waned.
The Jug Brush Tree and the four-colored wheel were stashed in a donkey-skin bag in the loft along with the other boring and non-functioning child toys. The gifts given by the two other Wise Men, Godfried and Fennel, were a nice wooden dreidel and a wind-up Shepherd Ice Skating Rink. Fennel had an obsession with ice skating ever since his recent trip to Barrow, Alaska (which at the time was an uncharted territory known only by Wise Men). Barrow experiences 67 straight days of night (November 18th – January 23rd), giving Fennel more stars to wish upon in a shorter period of time. Fennel interrupted his vacation to attend the birth of Jesus.
The toy was a good idea, but the skates on the shepherd figurines kept breaking off, there was no glue, and Jingle had eaten all the paste. Mr. Christ did not have time to mix more adhesive, because he had a ticket to attend The Stoning of an Adulteress playing at the O Little Town of Bethlehem Cinema that evening, and Mrs. Christ was busy with the baby. The thrill of the ice rink quickly fizzled.
Although Jingle Kringle’s tree was not a big hit at the time, he can take solace in the fact his Greatest Grandson, Kris (pictured to the left in his company uniform), was the first to domesticate reindeer and train them to help with his occupation as a door-to-door philanthropic delivery man. Kris moved to Barrow, Alaska after reading The Travels of Fennel, eventually migrating to the North Pole, to enjoy even more endless nights. Kris preferred to make his deliveries in the evening to beat the traffic, and the increased number of business nights allowed for even more stops. The clean, cold air of the North Pole worked out for Kris, giving him eternal life. After several years, people around the world nicknamed him Santa Claus, which is Aramaic for Deliverer of Free Stuff. In 1857, Kris commissioned James Lord Pierpont to compose a song in his Greatest Grandfather’s memory, known today as Jingle’s Bells. The song was originally titled One Horse Open Sleigh, but it didn’t make sense. Once Lord Pierpont was made aware of the climatic conditions of O Little Town of Bethlehem during Jingle’s era, it became clear the name should be changed.
The bag of bad toys remained in the loft and through the years the property was abandoned, leveled, and at some point became part of the landscape. In 1954 there was an Archaeological dig at the site; the mission being to disprove history. The leader of the expedition, Frahg Leggs, a scientist from The Institute of Debunked Theories, was convinced aluminum was discovered and in use prior to the isolation of the element by Friedrich Wohler in 1827. Frahg made his discovery and the wheels of commercial Aluminum Christmas Tree history began to spin.
The Jug Brush Tree was the proof Frahg was seeking and he would now be forever known. Frahg tossed aside the Shepherd Ice Skating Rink because he already had one at home. The wooden dreidel and Jingle’s bells had disintegrated due to weathering. But, the Jug Brush Tree and the four-colored wheel were in pretty good shape. Frahg had a friend, Tom Gannon, the toy sales manager at Aluminum Specialty Company, of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, who would probably be interested in his find.
Tom took the tree to his boss, and he loved it. The company developed the Evergleam Christmas Tree (left), which they began selling commercially in 1959. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a problem. Season celebrators like to light their trees, but the combination of the highly conductive aluminum of the new product and the juice from the electric lights was quite a shocking experience. Something had to be done. A tree without light was a horrifying thought and scientific heads began to meld.
The four-colored wheel unearthed by Frahg Leggs at the site of The Manger, was misunderstood. No one from Jingle’s day was still around, and the memory of the light spectacle enjoyed by the cat tail-induced lighting of the Jug Brush Tree was buried with the dead. Tom Gannon was a pretty handy fellow and converted the wheel into a coffee table. Then one morning Tom dropped the match while lighting his cigarette, causing a small fire right under the Colored Wheel Coffee Table. He quickly extinguished the flame with his slipper, but marveled at the beauty of the light reflecting through the wheel onto the ceiling, and thought to himself, “This could help with our Christmas tree light difficulty.”
Tom contacted his friend, Lester Edison, who owned the Intown Electrical Contracting Company, in Boise, Idaho, and together they patented an electrified, four-colored wheel used to reflect colored light on the Evergleam. Tom’s partnership with Lester evolved into a multi-million dollar windfall for the decade or so of Aluminum Christmas Tree popularity, while Frahg Leggs was given a finder’s fee of $150 for discovering the Jug Brush Tree and his name was forgotten. Leggs failed to sign an agreement with Tom Gannon or ASC; thereby, surrendering his rights to any of the proceeds and/or fame to which he would otherwise be entitled.
Have a Happy Holiday Season, and be sure to don your gay apparel. Jingle all the way.
Bake My Fish
* This post was inspired by a coworker and the majority of “facts” presented here are make-believe; however, some are true.