You pay a steep price for being first. You put in the effort and expense of inventing something, only for interlopers to copy your invention, improve it, and net better results on the back of your effort. In the 20th century, China's People's Liberation Army has usually been the parvenu who wisely refines others' innovations... Continue Reading →
From Fourth Republic to Banana Republic: France’s Bush Hat
A further installment in our series on Hats of Defeat and the charms of French surplus gear. Not even a quagmire. France's Fourth Republic didn't survive this, but its bush hat became a favorite with American yuppies.(AP, 1951. CC) It’s 1949. France grasps at torn shreds of empire like a gut-shot man clutches spilled entrails.... Continue Reading →
Let’s Sing the Surplus Song!
To the tune of "My Favorite Things"* East German jackboots and green Czech suspenders,Norwegian trousers for snowy weekenders,Bundeswehr base layer, Steppentarn scarf,On French army snow shoes I'll hike til I barf! Finnish boot grease!Swedish rucksack!From your grandfather's day.For ten lousy bucks you can buy it all upAnd head for the hills to play! *Acknowledgement to... Continue Reading →