Archive for November, 2014

SCRABOK, today’s find is quite simply something that I think is the coolest thing I have ever seen and I really really really want one…

…this awesome Wall Scrabble game my dear friend Lynda found for me from Restoration Hardware.

About the Wall Scrabble from Restoration Hardware: “The writing is on the wall. We’ve taken classic Scrabble® to truly Brobdingnagian proportions, and increased the fun factor exponentially. Crafted from wood, with colors and graphics based on the original 1949 edition, this wall-mounted version has everything its tabletop predecessors have, including a fabric bag for the letter tiles. Strong magnets keep the letters in their squares, and a built-in chalkboard lets you keep track of the score.”

I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent playing Scrabble over the years. I played it all the time with my mother growing up, and today I play its cousins Words with Friends every day. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to play with this giant wall version. Now, all I need to do is save my pennies and find a space.

See the Wall Scrabble game available from Restoration Hardware here.

See all the great products of Restoration Hardware here.

MAYI come from a family of post-Thanksgiving dinner game players. Traditionally, the gathered family splinters into camps – some go for a walk, other start to clean dishes, while others prep for dessert or watch some football. But inevitably, we all come back together – well for dessert – but also to play a game or two.

This year I found a twist on the good old board game – a puzzle! I can imagine the whole family gathered around the table piecing together The Mayflower Passengers Puzzle I found from Bob’s Your Uncle.

About The Mayflower Passengers Puzzle: “550 piece puzzle featuring photography by Michele Yeeles. This picture is of a community notice board on Commercial Street in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the town where the Mayflower ship first arrived in 1620. Puzzle size is 18” x 24”.

Ok, well maybe note, but it is a nice thought.

Find the Mayflower Passengers Puzzle from Bob’s Your Uncle here.

See all the cool products available from Bob’s Your Uncle here.

ChurchThere is an old parlor game where you go around the room and ask each person which three people from history – living or dead – they would like to have dinner with. When I am asked this question, two of the three change. I go from Orson Welles to Charles Lindbergh to Better Davis to Harry Truman – there are just so many. However, one of the three is always Winston Churchill.

I am a lifelong fan of the great man and when I arrived here in Kansas City, I was thrilled to discover that the National Churchill Museum is located in nearby Fulton, MO. The dead center of the United States may seem like an odd place for such a museum, however, Fulton is the home of Westminster College, site of one of Churchill’s most enduring post-war speeches where he coined the term The Iron Curtain which characterized the Cold War and the global environment that dominated most of the second half of the 20th Century.

About the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, MO: “In 1946 it was at Westminster College that Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of his long and illustrious career. That address, formally entitled, The Sinews of Peace, but best known for that evocative phrase, ‘An Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent’, effectively marked the beginning of the Cold War and linked, forever, Fulton and Westminster College with Winston Churchill. In the 1960s Westminster College set out to mark what would be the 20th anniversary of Churchill’s visit. After due consideration to traditional modes of commemoration, Westminster College settled on the rather more ambitious notion of moving a Christopher Wren designed Church from London. This Church, St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury, had stood in London since 1677 when it replaced an earlier structure that had sat on the same site since the 12th century. This magnificent building, badly damaged during the London Blitz, was moved stone by stone to Westminster’s campus and rebuilt to Wren’s original specifications. Beneath this Church is the National Churchill Museum itself which, through the imaginative and innovative use of technology, brings to life the story of Winston Churchill and the world he knew. Recently rebuilt from the ground up, the new displays and the permanent exhibition, together with a host of associated historical and cultural activities that support it, was recognized by the United States Congress as America’s permanent tribute to this great man and formally designated as America’s National Churchill Museum.”

The National Churchill Museum is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the man and is well worth the trip. I am always pleased to fine places like this museum that presents history in a way that makes it relevant and alive for new generations.

The National Churchill Museum is located on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

chittyBritish authors Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming are two of the most interesting literary figures of the 20th century and have given the world many great stories and novels. Some other time I will post about their place in history for their efforts during World War II where they shared real-life experiences even more thrilling than the fiction they became known for (let it suffice that they were Ally spies).

Mr. Dahl went on to be the beloved children’s author of such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Mr. Fleming, of course, is best known for giving the world James Bond.

But is interesting to note that Mr. Fleming strayed into his friend’s Mr. Dahl’s world with his book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

I am most familiar with Chitty from the musical film version I first saw as a kid. To this day I am traumatised by the depiction of the evil Child Catcher in the film – seriously the scariest thing I ever seen on screen. As part of the BBC’s honoring of the film’s golden anniversary, I learned that the Child Catcher was added to the book by Dahl when Fleming asked for input. Suddenly, the world makes a little more sense. The Child Catcher is very Dahl and Fleming never wrote another children’s book.

Meanwhile, there is a great piece about Ian Fleming’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 50 years on from publication, posted on the website of the BBC that is well worth a listen,

About the BBC’s recognition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 50: “Most of us know the film of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its inventor father, Caractacus Potts, the twins Jemima and Jeremy and their adventures in their flying car. But few realise that Ian Fleming’s original book is quite different. Potts was ‘Pott’ (or Crack Pott) in the book, the original manuscript’s adventures take place in Kent and Northern France, and it was screenwriter Roald Dahl who added the characters of the Child Catcher and Truly Scrumptious. Brian Sibley speaks to Fleming’s nieces, Lucy Fleming and Kate Grimond, and to Ian Fleming bibliographer Jon Gilbert, to hear how Fleming’s only children’s book was written and published. Fleming told the original story aurally to his son Caspar, and he only decided to write it down long hand when he was convalescing after serious illness. The book coincided with the last years of Fleming’s life and contain some of the elements of the Bond Books – a great adventure story at its heart and the love of cars. The vehicle itself was inspired by Fleming watching the racing at Brooklands and a legendary driver called Count Zborowksi, who had a car named Chitty Bang Bang.”

Listen to BBC Radio’s celebration of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 50 here.

Meanwhile, the book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – which incidentally is one of my lifelong friend Lynda’s favourite books – is still in publication after all these years including a new hardcover edition released in honor of the anniversary.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

buffI have (oddly) posted before about how much I love a store that has a taxidermy department, and I truly do. But that is only one of many reasons to love Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings in Weston, MO.

About Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings in Weston, MO: “We want Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings to be your destination location for everything you need to decorate your mountain cabin, lake house, or just a room or special corner of your home. We carry a distinctive variety of antiques, western-inspired art and rustic décor. We have hair on hide covered furniture, leather goods, bedding, artisan jewelry, gifts and collectibles, as well as a unique collection of taxidermy mounts that is not to be missed. Many of our items are one-of-a-kind so the selection frequently changes.”

A trip to Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings’ store will inspire you to run out and purchase a cabin just to furnish it with all the cool stuff you’ll find. Although the retail store in Weston, MO has a ton of great stuff, lucky for us, Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings does sell a limited number of items in their online store.

Buffalo Ranch Rustic Home Furnishings is located at 417 Main Street in the charming town of Weston, MO.

FF: The Artisan-Style Gourmet Peanut Butter from Squirrel Brand

SQIIf you like peanut butter you are going to adore the Artisan-Style Gourmet Peanut Butter I found from Squirrel Brand – it is sooooo good. If you know someone that loves PB this stuff makes a great gift and it comes in a decorative bag with a spreader.

About the Artisan-Style Gourmet Peanut Butter from Squirrel Brand: “Artisan-Style Gourmet Peanut Butter is all-natural and it is hand-crafted as the first peanut butter meant to be served warm. It is so luxurious, a buffalo horn spreader is included with the optional gift packaging so the luscious flavor will not be tainted with common metal…not unlike how caviar is to be enjoyed. Ground with an antique mill, the final product is somewhere between creamy and crunchy to settle all of the debates.”

See all the great nut-based and nut-inspired products of Squirrel Brand here.

FF: The Shop at NYC’s Giovanni Rana Pastifcio & Cucina

ranaNext time you are strolling through New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, do yourself a favor and stop by the Shop at NYC’s Giovanni Rana Pastifcio & Cucina (at 75 9th Ave.). You may not have a kitchen in your New York hotel room, but you will wish you did when you see all the great Italian products. At least you will be inspired to buy a few things to ship home. Oh yeah, and this is just the shop off the restaurant – stay for a nice lunch or dinner.

About the Shop at NYC’s Giovanni Rana Pastifcio & Cucina: “Nestled off the dining room near the restaurant’s pastificio, guests will find A Casa Mia, a thoughtfully curated shop offering the essential pantry staples needed to make delicious Italian meals in the comfort of your own kitchen, many of which were hand-selected by Giovanni Rana himself. The shop offers rare regional Italian finds such as red cow Parmigiano Reggiano, aged balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia, Krumiri biscuits from Turin, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto chocolate from Sicily, and the Rana family’s own special reserve extra virgin olive oil from Garda Lake, as well as designer Italian kitchen tools and accessories like hand-crafted ceramic bowls and hammered copper pots.”

The Shop at NYC’s Giovanni Rana Pastifcio & Cucina is located at 75 9th Avenue in New York, NY.

FF: The Cinnamon Coffee Bar Soap from Meow Tweet

meowFinally today, I present the fine and fun Cinnamon Coffee Bar Soap from Meow Meow Tweet – which is worth it for the packaging if not for the fine product that it is – it smells good enough to eat… but don’t!

About Cinnamon Coffee Bar Soap from Meow Meow Tweet: “Modeled after our favorite morning brew, the Mexican coffee, this soap is chock full of moisturizing cocoa butter, fair trade coffee grounds, and cinnamon. A great hand soap for bike mechanics, painters, and chefs- this bar neutralizes smells and gets rid of grease. Not only a hand soap, it can be used as an all-over exfoliator to promote circulation and soft skin. Wake up and get scrubbing!”

Find all the organic soaps from Meow Meow Tweet here.

BRIARMy love for the seaside town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod is well documented in the posts here on Lost Cowboy. Sometimes I feel like I could dedicate a whole blog to the joys of the place and all the things my friends and I have found there over the years.

But alas, I will settle for peppering my Wellfleet finds here and there – like today’s find, Briar Lane Jams and Jellies.

About Briar Lane Jams and Jellies of Cape Cod: “Briar Lane Jams and Jellies has been making the same fine Handmade Gourmet Jams, Jellies, and Marmalades since 1932 and we still use the same recipes, stir each pot and pour every jar by hand just as it was done since the first day. Located in Wellfleet, Massachusetts (CapeCod) on Route 6. Briar Lane is a long- established (1932), family- run business. We have over 45 kinds of homemade jams, jellies and marmalades. We also have Wild Maine blueberries, Cranberry Chutney, Peach Chutney, etc. We NEVER use artificial flavors and there are no preservatives. We only use PURE Cane Sugar–not Corn Syrup! We have been rated by the N.Y.T. travel section twice as the number one spot on Cape Cod to get Jellies. We also have been featured in the Boston Globe, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, and numerous other fine publications!”

Briar Lane sells their wares out of a roadside shack in Wellfleet which is a must stop for us every year on our visit there. Thankfully for us you can order a Briar Lane gift basket online. The basket includes: Beach Plum Jelly, Blackberry Jam, Peach & Raspberry Jam, Strawberry Jam, Wild Blueberry Jam, and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

Visit Briar Lane Jams and Jellies of Cape Cod online here.

gravOne of my favorite films of the last couple of decades is Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe’s homage to the glory days of rock and roll as told through the story of a young correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine. It’s a great film on its own, but it also opened up a whole world to me, that of rock and roll journalists. Sure I have read books and many articles about and by this crowd, but never placed myself in their world until that film. Ever since I have been further drawn to the memoirs of these music writers and have been struck by how they have been written exclusively by men. Until now…

Legendary music writer Lisa Robinson has stepped out with her story in There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll – her memoir of more than 40 years in the business. Any fan of rock and roll music over the past few decades, heck any fan of social histories, popular culture, or journalism will be delighted by Ms. Robinson’s candid accounting of her career as a witness to some of the greatest musicians of our time.

About There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson: “From a legendary music journalist with four decades of unprecedented access, an insider’s behind-the-scenes look at the major personalities of rock and roll. Lisa Robinson has interviewed the biggest names in music–including Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Patti Smith, U2, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Jay Z and Kanye West. She visited the teenage Michael Jackson many times at his Encino home. She spent hours talking to John Lennon at his Dakota apartment–and in recording studios just weeks before his murder. She introduced David Bowie to Lou Reed at a private dinner in a Manhattan restaurant, helped the Clash and Elvis Costello get their record deals, was with the Rolling Stones on their jet during a frightening storm, and was mid-flight with Led Zeppelin when their tour manager pulled out a gun. A pioneering female journalist in an exclusive boys’ club, Lisa Robinson is a preeminent authority on the personalities and influences that have shaped the music world; she has been recognized as rock journalism’s ultimate insider.”

The stories Ms. Robinson tells are so incredibly interesting, sometimes unbelievable, but you never question them as she was there and her job was to chronicle events. You are left only wishing you could have dinner with the author as even though the stories she relates in her memoir are great – you know there are even better stories she had to leave out.

There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

DwarfFor some reason I always wanted a small citrus tree in my home. I think it is because winters are so long that the idea of having a fruit baring tree in the house would make the cold a little easier to deal with. This is the year! I am going to order a Dwarf Citrus Tree from Four Winds Growers.

About the Dwarf Citrus trees from Four Winds Growers: “We produce smaller trees with delicious, full-sized fruit for your garden Four Winds Growers is a family owned and operated citrus nursery in California. In the late 1940s, our founder developed the world’s first Dwarf Citrus trees. Today, we offer more than 60 varieties of fine Citrus trees online. These include a selection of rare and unusual Citrus varieties, some of which are not yet available at retail nurseries in California.”

I like the Organic Washington Navel – Three Year Old Tree: “The Washington Navel is the ‘classic’ navel orange tree, first cultivated commercially in Riverside California in the late 1800’s. It is considered an Heirloom Variety. Three Year-Old Tree Four Winds Growers’ Organic Dwarf Citrus trees are third-party certified Organic by Yolo Certified Organic Agriculture (YCOA). These trees have been grown under strict guidelines approved for organic production using all natural Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) approved materials.”

Learn more about Four Winds Growers here.

Visit Four Winds Growers’ online store here.

har1If you ever really need an excuse to visit the great City by the Bay that is San Francisco – I have a pretty good one today: the current Keith Haring: The Political Line exhibition at the de Young Museum.

About The Keith Haring: The Political Line exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum:Keith Haring: The Political Line has its US premiere at the de Young and is the first major Haring show on the West Coast in nearly two decades. Many of the works are on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation, New York, with supplemental loans from public and private collections. Several pieces have not been published or on public view since the artist’s death, in 1990. The Political Line will feature more than 130 works, including large-scale paintings on tarpaulins and canvases, sculptures, and a number of the artist’s subway drawings. The exhibition creates a narrative that explores Haring’s responses to nuclear proliferation, racial inequality, the excesses of capitalism, environmental degradation, and other issues of deep personal concern.”

I am a big fan of Mr. Haring and have been for many years. It is amazing how influential his works has been over the past 30 years. It hard to look at Haring’s work and not see how well before its time it was and feel sad about all the art that was not created due to his untimely death.

However, we still get to be treated with major exhibitions of his work like the one currently at the de Young and I am going to do everything I can to get out to see it.

har2

Keith Haring: The Political Line continues at the de Young through February 16, 2015.

The de Young Museum (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) is located in Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in the great city of San Francisco, CA.