January 08, 2004



It has been decreed and it shall be ever thus: this year will be the Year of the Sombrero.

Decreed by whom? Well, myself and my friend Alan at the always brilliant Hudsonian.

Anticipate a jubilee like you haven't seen since the turn of the millennium.

There will be parties. And poker games. And pool tournaments. A bike marathon. Watersports. And possibly announcements of celebrity endorsements.

Details are still in development, but trust me on this one small thing: It will be very, very big.

For the uninitiated, there is a long and tawdry story behind all this:

Back in the early 1990s, Alan and I developed a common fascination for the often swollen-tongued Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray. Alan and I shared a joke about the time Harry decided that instead of calling a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the 9th in a 3-2 game with bases loaded, he'd make a remark about a certain head adornment on a fan in the stands.

"Haaaaaaayyyy, didja get a look at the guy in the sombrero?" Harry remarked. "Now THERE'S a good-lookin' fella."


This anectdote amused Alan and I to no end. It sparked months and years of Harry impersonations between us over the phone and in public conversations. It's stupid, I know, but we're guys.

Anyway, the bit accelerated one year when I mailed Alan a straw sombrero for the holidays. Sumbitch cost me almost $100 to mail because of the size of the box. It was that big.

Alan, who by then was living in Denver, responded by sending me an authentic Mexican sombrero that weighed, roughly, 4 tons.

And it still does. But that's part of the allure, of course.

The sombrero inspired me to develop two theories:

1. Everyone looks great in a sombrero.

2. Everyone looks happier than they were before they put the sombrero on.

About a year ago, I decided to use the sombrero in a photo project I was doing at work, and it stayed on a hat rack next to my desk. When I got a digital camera for my birthday a year ago, I decided that I needed to prove my theories by shooting photo of everyone who passed by my desk. Of course, they had to wear the 'brero. Thus The Sombrero Project was born.

I badgered, I cajoled, I needled and I flat-out bribed people to put it on. Some looked better than others. Some took on super-hero qualities with it on their head. Others, well, would rather have been caught dead with it on. And some were actually dead at the time.

You can see the the first online gallery of the project here. The first part was followed, as logic would have it, by Part Dos, Part Tres, Part Quatro and Part Cinco.

The 'brero has been to parties, to Bucs games, to restaurant reviews. It has even posed with the Lombardi Trophy.

And that was just in 2003.

Imagine the possibilities for 2004.

Consider last year just a warm-up.

Posted by Jeff at January 8, 2004 08:02 AM | TrackBack

Great idea! 2004 is the year of the monkey, according to those animal calendars on Chinese restaurant placemats, so...


Posted by: Mike at January 8, 2004 06:39 PM

I thought it was the year of the Doodles.

Posted by: Pat at January 8, 2004 07:32 PM