Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Dusting Off: The Pneumatic Tube

Pneumatic Tube

Countless devices have become obsolete since the advent of the digital age, but one of the most overlooked casualties has to be the pneumatic tube.

It went the way of the telegram decades ago (you’ll still find a few intact tube systems here or there—in a Midwestern packing plant or an old airport terminal—but even those are rarely used nowadays). This was the instant messenger that predated AOL by a century, thanks to some Industrial Age ingenuity and a giant air compressor. And we think it needs to make a comeback.

A case for dusting off the pneumatic tube.»

The State of the Kite

Kites

It’s nearly picnic season again.

And suddenly we’re reminded of when picnicking was a bona fide event: your parents would pack snacks and drive the whole gang to the park, or the beach, or whatever breezy venue felt most appropriate. You’d munch. You’d enjoy the sun. And you’d fly some damn kites.

Good times were had by all.

Soon enough, it’ll be you in the driver’s seat. You’re probably not entirely there yet—what without the wife and the kids and the station wagon and everything—but there’s still nothing stopping you from a little high-flying glory of your own. Because the game’s the same: just run like hell until the darn thing stays aloft. However, your old box-kite might not cut it anymore.

Lucky for you, we’ve taken stock of today's kite market and rounded up your best options.»

Gentlemanly Poets, Charting the Strokes and Buzz Bissinger Goes Off the Shallow End

The Strokes

Cultured Club: The three poets every man should read, courtesy of Barack Obama’s inaugural poet Richard Blanco and Men’s Journal.

Different Strokes: Grantland tracks the career arc of the Strokes as they release their latest album (coincidentally, a Spring Must-Have).

Gucci Main: Buzz Bissinger, Friday Night Lights author, delves into his deepest, darkest, shallowest obsession: Gucci.

“In” Box: Men’s Health makes the case for upgrading your digital lifestyle the same way you would your clothes and furniture.

The State of the Sled

News of yesterday’s record-setting snowball fight in Seattle got us thinking about how there was a time in our lives when snow in the forecast was an exciting thing—instead of just a notice to allot a few extra minutes for our morning commute.

And more specifically, it got us thinking about the holiest of snow-day pastimes: sledding (hey, we did make a sled a winter must-have). After some cursory research, we were surprised to learn that the sledding industry is alive and thriving—possibly as strong as it has ever been. In fact, the options are nearly endless, from the old-school variety to the sort of snow-bullet you’d imagine someone named Sven spent his life perfecting. There are even concept snow sleds.

So we slalomed through them all and found the five finest sleds for whatever snow-centric endeavors you might have planned in the near future.»

Not That, This: In Defense of Low-Tech

Clothing has seen a lot of great technological advancement in the past century—new-age nylon, moisture-wicking fleece, genetically modified gloves that work on touchscreens—more often than not, sacrificing some handsomeness in the process.

But last week’s post on tweed trumping tech in the blazer game reminded us that sometimes the choice between high-tech and high-handsome doesn’t have to be made—because the best-looking option also happens to work just as well as any newfangled technology.

So, herewith, your high-handsome alternatives to today’s high-tech jackets, sweaters and more.»

The 1984 iPhone

That iPhone 5 sure is a powerful, sexy machine.

But so is the entirety of Sony’s 1984 audio/visual collection, like the Beta Hi-Fi video cassette player which, as advertised, “blows you away” with its better-than-movie-theater sound. You’ll be “engulfed in the power and action of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark... the pulsating rhythms of Flashdance... the dramatic intensity of An Officer and a Gentleman... the spectacular rock video of David Bowie.”

There you are, sitting in a tin can, far above the world...»

French Artists in 1899 Visualize the Year 2000

In preparation for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, a group of French artists were asked to create a series of futuristic pictures depicting life in the year 2000. For example, here we have a robotic tailor spitting out a sharp salmon dinner jacket for a customer based on measurements gathered from... well, your guess is as good as ours.

Let’s just say the absinthe was flowing steadily back in 1899...»

Croakies for Your iPhone

Here’s a great way to make sure your charging cord never gets lost in the shuffle—or ends up on someone else’s desk by mistake.

These new textile cords from Eastern Collective are like putting croakies on your iPhone (or iAnything). Since they look nothing like the ubiquitous white ones that always seem to be floating off to the island of lost cords, you’ll be sure to have one on hand the next time you’re staring at a 10% battery level warning.

Or you'll finally learn who the office cord hoarder is.