In the mail last week arrived a press packet announcing the opening of a new Jack Spade outlet in Portland.
No, I had never heard of the chain either.
But the media materials included both a Venus fly trap kit — I am not kidding — and a little orange booklet titled “Jack Spade General Information,” that explains:
“Jack Spade began in 1996 out of a warehouse on Warren Street in New York City. It was inspired by hardware stores and the timeless, practical utility of the goods they sell. Jack Spade set out to make products that are simple in function, that people will use over and over again, and will gain character with time. … Today, Jack Spade has grown to include clothing, small goods and accessories.”
The book also mysteriously includes, among other things:
– Information on how to care for canvas, leather, nylon and waxed cotton, apparently four of JS’s favorite materials.
– A glossary of CB radio code words, some of which I knew, like “bear in the air” for an aviator cop “back off the hammer” for slow down).
– A list of “hobo marks” and their meanings; I guess this is how the more sophisticated transients communicate with each other in such a way that others won’t horn in on the understanding.
– A car depreciation calculator (it loses 9 percent of its value within a minute of being driven off the lot, and 60 percent after five years).
– An explanation of model train scales.
– A listing of New York City pawn shops and hourly/daily rate motels.
– A rundown on the Vallee UFO Classification System.
– A Scrabble cheat sheet (Q words that don’t require a U, and two-letter words).
– A list of chess openings, including the Four Knights Game, Pirc Defense and Modern Benoni, which sound like they ought to be obscure Summer Olympics events.
And now, our Catch of the Day, No. 30, a circa 1960 Wilson A2000 that I got at Play it Again Sports in Corvallis a few months ago for $30: