Formula One Legends: Jim Clark

There were few things I craved more as a child than speed, competition, and a sense of ever-present danger.  Incidentally, none of those desires have devolved much in the time since, having found but different avenues of exploration.

Bike crashes were the norm growing up, as were visits to the ER; so frequent were the visits that at one point my parents were questioned by Child Services under suspicion of abuse.  I’ve had stitches (thrice – narrowly avoiding a fourth time by having my eyebrow pieced together with super glue), my jaw wired shut after being crushed by a tractor, my gums split open twice and teeth knocked loose once, and two titanium plates and twelve screws in my right forearm.  I’m also pretty sure I now have a tear in my left knee. C’est la vie.

Just the same – thanks in part to the aforementioned desires and largely to a favorite daily-reader, Silodrome – Formula One has recently captured my attention.  It is fraught with what I love – speed, cars, innovation, danger, great style and championship – and has a history that is purely fascinating.

One of the greatest F1 drivers of all time comes from an early period of the sport, beginning his career in the decade following the War.  Jim Clark was in many regards different than other drivers.  His path to the sport was unconventional, his spirit indomitable, and he was considered by friend and foe alike, while fierce, a gentleman racer.

His involvement in a deadly crash early in his career provided an experience and guilt that would stick with Clark for the rest of his life.  Eventually, he was, like many great drivers of the era, killed in his prime, leaving behind an astounding legacy with 25 wins on 33 pole positions and 72 Grand Prix starts.

Feel free to have a look for yourself at Jim Clark: The Quiet Champion

(Thanks to BBC and Silodrome)

Supercharged: Grand Prix Cars 1924-1939

This is a short film (50 minutes) highlighting the technological development of Grand Prix cars from 1924 to the beginning of the Second World War.  Any interest in motor sports will be livened by this.

Heads up: some accidents shown are graphic in nature, including possible fatalities.

(Hat-tip to Silodrome)

“Dear Son,…”

I considered keeping this for myself, but it’s too pretty to smother with my selfishness.

A bit about the designer, from Kaufmann Mercantile, where I discovered it:

Artist and designer Stephen Kenn moved from his native Canada to pursue a career in denim and leather accessories design in Los Angeles. He started his own line when an industry friend let him in on a little known secret: a stockpile of leftover fabrics and textiles from World War II was ferreted away in a downtown warehouse. Awed by this discovery, Stephen visited the warehouse several times, sitting atop a mountain of surplus material and pondering the war heroes that once donned these garments. Eventually, he was inspired to create a line of minimal, comfortable furniture using these recycled fabrics. His product line has now expanded to include bags and accessories, which also pay homage to military aesthetics.

I was curious what video could possibly be made about a bag.  I still don’t have an answer to that, because this video is so much more:

 

C|P

Veneficium! or, Who Gets The House?

The Code of Hammurabi (18th c. BC) prescribes for sorcery that the person on whom the spell was cast should be made to walk into the river.  Should the river consume him and thus find him guilty, the man who cast the spell should acquire the guilty man’s house.  Should he live and be found not guilty, then the accused shall get the house, and the man who cast the spell put to death.

But that’s not to say the Babylonians had anything unique going on; in the twenty centuries succeeding the laws put forth by the king, tens of thousands more would be put to death for sorcery – or even the mere allegation of it.  Ancient Egypt followed close on the Babylonian style, and pagan Rome perhaps leads them all in executions on suspicion of sorcery, especially if the crops were bad.  The Middle Ages define for many of us the image of the witch hunt, if not the Salem Witch Trials of early America.

But for much of the civilized world, witch hunts largely ceased after the mid-18th century.  In England, the last executions for witchcraft occurred at Exeter in 1682 when three woman were put to death.  Nearly thirty years later, in 1711, Joseph Addison would publish an article in the highly respected The Spectator journal (No. 117) criticizing the irrationality and social injustice in treating elderly and feeble women as witches.

Still, not everybody gets The Spectator. (*NSFW Warning: May Be Graphic To Some Viewers)

Witch hunts still happen today, particularly in places where the belief in magic is prevalent – largely Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea (though it should be noted that Saudi Arabia is the sole remaining country where witchcraft is legally punishable by death).  A 2010 estimate places the number of “witches” put to death annually in India at around 200; and the Simbu province of Papua New Guinea alone! accounts for nearly 150 deaths annually for acts and accusations of witchcraft.

Just the same, it’s hard from where I sit to imagine such a thing.  We read about it in old books and forget about it as quick as it came upon us.  Hell, the idea of witches and witch hunting is more foreign to most of us than walking on the moon.  Think about that.

Still, don’t think I have looked beyond the evil that swells upon our own shores; everyday callous people rape and torture and murder other human beings for nothing more than sport; they target strangers in a now-popularized “game”; they shoot up schools and malls and public places because they are unhappy.  Or perhaps because they’ll become famous.

Considering that, perhaps it isn’t the action that still shocks me so much as the inaction.  That people would walk themselves to their death, never giving back the fight.  It’s sad, really, that a person can be made to be that way.

Lord help the men who come to take me to the pyre.

You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

– General Sir Charles Napier

C|P