Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Good Advice from ‘The Moderator’

 

Recently, as I was on my way to Looking Up One Thing On The Internet,™ I came across Something Else™ that really tickled my fancy, even though, or perhaps exactly because, it had nothing to do with the object of my search. This is something that frequently happens to me, and which I usually roll along with, because when it all pans out, I sometimes come across stuff that interests me more, and enlightens me more, than the thing I started out investigating. And what I ran across this time was a Google Books citation of Volume XXII-No. 2, of the “Michigan School Moderator.” A bit more noodling around, and I learned that Volume XIV was from 1893, and so I think “my” issue is from 1902 or thereabouts.

It’s one of those marvelous compendiums of knowledge, example, and character-building advice that was so common in the late-nineteenth, and early-twentieth century, in which everyone assumed that the reader actually could (read), and no-one talked down to the common citizenry who was expected to absorb, understand, and learn from, the contents thereof. I love these sorts of books and periodicals, and when I run across them in second-hand bookstores, I usually buy them. (The most recent example of this sort of things that springs to mind is Bill Bennett’s Book of Virtues, but if you know of other recent and similar attempts (Heather Has Two Mommies doesn’t cut it), please include them in the comments. When my ship comes in, I’ll build another bookshelf and make a volume purchase.)

Of course, the name of the organ, “The Moderator,” caught my eye, lol out loud. (For newbies, and those who’ve recently emigrated from the Planet Zygax, I’ll just mention that I did my turn in the barrel as one on this site, but relieved myself of my duties [as moderators here mostly do, after a time, and that is perfectly OK], last March.)

And as I perused it, I was fascinated to discover improving articles, like the one by Mrs. Dwight Goss on “The Value of Truant Schools.” (She looks like a tough old bird, and I have a sense that she’d have made a good Marine Corps Drill Instructor, if what Mr. She has told me about them is true. Come to think of it, her vision of “the truant school” does sound an awful lot like boot camp.) Or Mrs. Bernice Shank’s discourse upon why it’s so important to teach “Language in Elementary School.” (She’s talking about English–what a novel idea.) And Miss Lucy Sloan’s “Study of [James Russell] Lowell’s ‘Vision of Sir Launfal.'” There’s Science. And Literature. And Mathematics. And Music. And Poetry. Interspersed throughout with news of the schools, invitations to sign up for correspondence courses, and news of current affairs. And all in forms, and at levels that I just can’t imagine being accessible to, or worse yet, of the remotest interest to, a substantial portion of the population today, even though so many of them are written by women, and none of them, at least that I have found, diminish the importance of female education in any way. In fact, they do quite the reverse, as so much of the intellectual, substantive, and thoughtful content of the issue is written by women who obviously expect what they say to be treated as worthwhile and with respect.

Is their advice perfect? Are their opinions uniformly commendable to our modern sensibilities and, in some cases, greater understanding? No, of course not. But what a solid foundation to start from and build on. (I didn’t see any strictures on the proper placement of prepositions in the English sentence, so I don’t expect any blowback from what, just there, I’m guilty of. Thanks very much for holding your fire.)

What really engaged my attention and made me chuckle, and what I recalled following an exchange in the comments section of a recent post by @jennastocker about modern feminism, and roles and expectations for women, was this delightful little excerpt, titled “These Must Go.”

A trade magazine gives a list of the boys who are the first to lose their situations in any well-ordered business house. Here are a few of them:

The exquisite young man who parts his hair in the middle and is shocked at the idea of soiling his hands by a little honest work.

The luxurious youth who has twenty-dollar-a-week tastes and habits and a ten-dollar-a-week salary.

The young man who hasn’t sense enough to do anything unless he is ordered to do it; and the young man who is always doing things contrary to orders.

The remarkable youth, who invariably knows what a customer wants better than he does himself.

The young man who is ignorant of the use of soap and water, and hairbrush and comb and other toilet requisites, and the young man who is so wrapped up in the use of these that he has thought for little else.

The young man who wears flashy jewelry, exhales and odor of musk, wears wide stripes, daring cravats, violent checks, and is generally “horsey.”

To this may be added: The young man whose lusterless eyes and soiled fingers proclaim him a cigaret smoker.

It looks to me as if this list could be considered, in today’s phrase, quite “gender neutral,” and with the addition of a few more strictures, might still be of use.

I’d probably add something about “the young man with with a safety pin through his nose, and triangular metal blocks surgically inserted under his scalp, and who thinks himself a coxcomb in all senses of the word,” and “the young man who is constantly jawboning with his co-workers about how much he hates his job, at the same time as he is ‘serving’ a customer.” I daresay we could come up with many more of these if we put our minds to it. Advice for the ages, indeed.

Do you have a weakness for, or a collection of, old books or periodicals? A favorite second-hand bookstore or Internet source for same? Do you collect because you’re researching for a job or avocation, for financial reasons, or as a hobby, or do you simply collect what interests you?

Please share.

Just don’t be immoderate with your responses. And for heavens sake, don’t be “horsey.” Whatever that means in this context.

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There are 39 comments.

  1. PHCheese Member

    My brother in-law had a very stressful position as the director of the Applied Research Lab at Penn State. He took up collecting books as a mental diversion . He began on the weekend ends going to garage sales and flea markets. Towards the end he was buying private libraries. When he retired he and my sister had 60,000 books. They managed to sell 20,000 on Amazon and eBay before they moved to Florida. They hired a complete moving van just for the books and moved 40,000 to Florida. They are currently down to about 10,000 having sold the balance at a local mall. Because they have found so many first editions and signed copies of famous books they have reported a profit to the IRS. Talk about a hobby getting away from you.

    • #1
    • January 19, 2020, at 8:48 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. Kephalithos Member

    If there’s such a thing as Lileks bait, this thread is (or will be) it.

    Ephemera is great. Sometimes, it contains surprising wisdom; more often, it’s good for a laugh. One of my favorites is Dutch Boy’s pro-lead coloring book:

    As for moral education, there’s always Francis Hawkins’ Youths Behaviour, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men (famously copied by the young George Washington):

    Neither shake thy head, feet, or legs; Rowl not thine eyes. Lift not one of thine eye-browes higher than thine other. Wry not the mouth. Take heed that with thy spittle thou bedew not his face with whom thou speakest, and to that end approach not too nigh him.

    • #2
    • January 19, 2020, at 8:54 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Good advice is all very well, but bad advice is usually more appealing. 

    • #3
    • January 19, 2020, at 9:24 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: And all in forms, and at levels that I just can’t imagine being accessible to, or worse yet, of the remotest interest to, a substantial portion of the population today, even though so many of them are written by women, and none of them, at least that I have found, diminish the importance of female education in any way. In fact, they do quite the reverse, as so much of the intellectual, substantive, and thoughtful content of the issue is written by women who obviously expect what they say to be treated as worthwhile and with respect.

    Many things we are told about our forebears are just untrue, chiefly the idea that they were illiterate. They not only could read well they did so and thought deeply about what they read. Many were farmers or had other laborious occupations but their evenings were well spent with newspapers and books that were filled with actual useful information. The modern ‘education’ establishment has dumbed down entire generations to our shame. The current crop of Americans could learn a thing or two from past generations if they weren’t so sure of their superiority. It is both the ignorance and self satisfaction prevalent today that makes a population easily mis-lead.

    • #4
    • January 19, 2020, at 9:43 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. KentForrester Moderator

    I’m from the planet Zygax so had no idea that you were once a big shot on Ricochet. If I had known that, I would have treated you with more deference. So right now I want to apologize for making fun of your Britishisms, for chiding you for misspelling “criminently,”and for — well anything else that may have offended your overly developed sense of Self.

    As for your post, it’s a little too long and too singular for my taste. I’m just kidding. I read every word and found it mildly amusing. (I know that Pope’s “damn with faint praise” comment comes to your mind here.) I’m kidding again. I found it amusing. I particularly enjoyed the list of things that must go.

    By the way (or BTW for the internet cognoscenti), as far as I know, no one in the history of the English language has ever written a grammar book in which the readers were told that writers shouldn’t end sentences with a preposition, though Winston Churchill must have had some particular pedant in mind when he wrote his famous “up with which I shall not put” rejoinder to persnickety rule makers.

    I once wrote a grammar book, so I’ve made up rules myself. Here’s one in my book: “A semicolon is not a small intestine.” I insisted that my students not confuse the two. And I was such a good teacher that none of my students ever did.

    • #5
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:00 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    She: And all in forms, and at levels that I just can’t imagine being accessible to, or worse yet, of the remotest interest to, a substantial portion of the population today, even though so many of them are written by women, and none of them, at least that I have found, diminish the importance of female education in any way. In fact, they do quite the reverse, as so much of the intellectual, substantive, and thoughtful content of the issue is written by women who obviously expect what they say to be treated as worthwhile and with respect.

    Many things we are told about our forebears are just untrue, chiefly the idea that they were illiterate. They not only could read well they did so and thought deeply about what they read. Many were farmers or had other laborious occupations but their evenings were well spent with newspapers and books that were filled with actual useful information. The modern ‘education’ establishment has dumbed down entire generations to our shame. The current crop of Americans could learn a thing or two from past generations if they weren’t so sure of their superiority. It is both the ignorance and self satisfaction prevalent today that makes a population easily mis-lead.

    Very true. All you have to do is look at old schoolbooks such as the McGuffey Eclectic Readers to see this. (Full disclosure: I live in the McGuffey School District, only a couple of miles from where the great man was born.) Much of what’s in them would be considered far beyond the reach of children of the same age today.

    When I was in high school and college (late 60s and early 70s), my family used to summer in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and we were good friends with a family of fishermen on the North Shore. There were five brothers in the family, and I don’t think any of them passed beyond eighth grade, because they were needed to work the family business. One of them clearly had learning disabilities, and was the exception, having not got beyond third-grade himself (he wasn’t stupid; in fact, in a business sense he was quite shrewd, but he didn’t have “book learning.”) The other four were remarkably well read as were their father and mother. The oldest used to enjoy competing with Dad to see who could recite the most yards of poetry from memory. Dad didn’t always win.

     

    • #6
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:11 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    It’s not an advice guide, really, but this is a book my mom was recommended in college and my dad uses to supplement lectures for his ultrasound students:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Literacy-Every-American-Needs/dp/0394758439

    • #7
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    My brother in-law had a very stressful position as the director of the Applied Research Lab at Penn State. He took up collecting books as a mental diversion . He began on the weekend ends going to garage sales and flea markets. Towards the end he was buying private libraries. When he retired he and my sister had 60,000 books. They managed to sell 20,000 on Amazon and eBay before they moved to Florida. They hired a complete moving van just for the books and moved 40,000 to Florida. They are currently down to about 10,000 having sold the balance at a local mall. Because they have found so many first editions and signed copies of famous books they have reported a profit to the IRS. Talk about a hobby getting away from you.

    Wow. I’ve only known one person who carried his hobby to this extent, so I have an idea of what this entails. Unfortunately, our friend died suddenly in 2012, and his widow has spent huge amounts of time divesting herself of the library, making sure that it is put to as good a use as possible. Good for your brother-in-law for turning a profit!

    • #8
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I’m from the planet Zygax

    I’d never have guessed!

    Thanks for the kind words.

    • #9
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:24 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #10
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. PHCheese Member

    She (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    My brother in-law had a very stressful position as the director of the Applied Research Lab at Penn State. He took up collecting books as a mental diversion . He began on the weekend ends going to garage sales and flea markets. Towards the end he was buying private libraries. When he retired he and my sister had 60,000 books. They managed to sell 20,000 on Amazon and eBay before they moved to Florida. They hired a complete moving van just for the books and moved 40,000 to Florida. They are currently down to about 10,000 having sold the balance at a local mall. Because they have found so many first editions and signed copies of famous books they have reported a profit to the IRS. Talk about a hobby getting away from you.

    Wow. I’ve only known one person who carried his hobby to this extent, so I have an idea of what this entails. Unfortunately, our friend died suddenly in 2012, and his widow has spent huge amounts of time divesting herself of the library, making sure that it is put to as good a use as possible. Good for your brother-in-law for turning a profit!

    It was a small profit and only because he never paid my sister .

    • #11
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I might have guessed.

    • #12
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like old history books and encyclopedias. Have a 1930s Comptons set that belonged to my grandfather (he read them all cover to cover many times). The 1890s history text is a snapshot of how America once thought of itself and the world, best described as jingoist and racist. The old machinist handbooks and more massive reference works are marvels too.

    • #13
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:16 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):
    I might have guessed.

    So, you’re saying I’m predictable?

    • #14
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:18 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. James Lileks Contributor

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    If there’s such a thing as Lileks bait, this thread is (or will be) it.

    Ephemera is great. Sometimes, it contains surprising wisdom; more often, it’s good for a laugh. One of my favorites is Dutch Boy’s pro-lead coloring book:

    Dutch Boy put out a magazine – the “Painter,” big surprise – for many years and it’s an interesting source of bygone and forgotten info, like store displays. I pick up paint chip sets whenever I find them, because it’s amusing to note how they have the same colors as today, perhaps few gradients, and the same sort of gauzy names. 

    Google Books has digitized a lot of obscure trade journals, which are fascinating; they have niche ads for products you can’t imagine ever thinking existed, and you can go down bottomless rabbit holes googling the history of the companies, finding the old buildings on Street View. Or so I hear some people do, anyway.

    • #15
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:48 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like old maps.

    This one is still hanging in my old bedroom at my parents’ house.

    • #16
    • January 19, 2020, at 12:00 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have a 1938 book called “Television: A Struggle for Power”. The inside flap of the dust jacket boldly declares, “Television isn’t a rocket to the Moon! It’s already a scientific reality! In mere moments it will be on the air!” It’s a pretty good book, reasonably accurate with its predictions, some of which were over-timid (underestimating how many people would be able to afford TV sets, and how many hours a day they’d be in use) and a few of which were over-confident (“A lecturer in a distant city will appear in your child’s classroom, full sized and in color, just as if he were there”). 

    Much of the volume is taken up with what amounted to hard-hitting Thirties political disputes and the era’s obsession with the power of “the trusts”. They saw TV as a struggle between telephone, radio, and motion picture interests, all with shadowy bankers and investors pulling the strings behind the scenes. They weren’t entirely wrong, and each of these groups would have some role in shaping television, but for a bunch of capitalists the authors and their sources seemed awfully susceptible to Marxism-lite. One minor howler of a bad guess was wondering if commercials would really have a place in TV broadcasting, as it seemed dubious that people would permit what amounted to a moving, blaring billboard selling products in their living rooms. 

    • #17
    • January 19, 2020, at 1:51 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    I have a 1938 book called “Television: A Struggle for Power”. The inside flap of the dust jacket boldly declares, “Television isn’t a rocket to the Moon! It’s already a scientific reality! In mere moments it will be on the air!” It’s a pretty good book, reasonably accurate with its predictions, some of which were over-timid (underestimating how many people would be able to afford TV sets, and how many hours a day they’d be in use) and a few of which were over-confident (“A lecturer in a distant city will appear in your child’s classroom, full sized and in color, just as if he were there”).

    Much of the volume is taken up with what amounted to hard-hitting Thirties political disputes and the era’s obsession with the power of “the trusts”. They saw TV as a struggle between telephone, radio, and motion picture interests, all with shadowy bankers and investors pulling the strings behind the scenes. They weren’t entirely wrong, and each of these groups would have some role in shaping television, but for a bunch of capitalists the authors and their sources seemed awfully susceptible to Marxism-lite. One minor howler of a bad guess was wondering if commercials would really have a place in TV broadcasting, as it seemed dubious that people would permit what amounted to a moving, blaring billboard selling products in their living rooms.

    I’d attribute the miss on the lecturer to a lack of imagination. Seeing the lecturer isn’t as important as seeing what he’s written on the blackboard.

    And in 1938, everybody was a Lefty. Even the Righties were Lefties. 

    • #18
    • January 19, 2020, at 2:07 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have a copy of the Domesday Book (not a first edition, I hasten to add) for the county of Worcestershire. It was second-hand, and not at all special, but I was fascinated by the descriptions of locales I know, described in what are still, after a thousand years, recognizable terms. Some of the descriptions of the households and the industries are quite charming.

    I’m also proud of a book I picked up, somewhere in the UK, of “Poetic Gems” from William McGonagall, generally recognized as the worst poet ever, and author of, among other things, “The Beautiful Sun” which starts out:

    Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
    To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
    For thou nourisheth all the creation,
    Wherever there is found to be animation.

    Without thy heat we could not live,
    Then praise to God we ought to give;
    For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
    To nourish all creatures on earth below.

    Thou makest the hearts of the old feel glad,
    Likewise the young child and the lad,
    And the face of Nature to look green and gay,
    And the little children to sport and play.

    Thou also givest light unto the Moon,
    Which certainly is a very great boon
    To all God’s creatures here below,
    Throughout the world where’er they go.

    And it goes on. At some length.

    His poem, on the origin of the “forget-me-not” flower, if you can find it, will make you weep. I won’t promise with what, but it will make you weep.

     

     

    • #19
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:59 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Cow Girl Thatcher

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Many things we are told about our forebears are just untrue, chiefly the idea that they were illiterate. They not only could read well they did so and thought deeply about what they read. Many were farmers or had other laborious occupations but their evenings were well spent with newspapers and books that were filled with actual useful information. The modern ‘education’ establishment has dumbed down entire generations to our shame. The current crop of Americans could learn a thing or two from past generations if they weren’t so sure of their superiority. It is both the ignorance and self satisfaction prevalent today that makes a population easily mis-lead.

    My grandfather was one of these forebears who was literate beyond what many adults are today. He was born in 1889 on a farm on the Idaho side of the highway that divides his little town in Wyoming/Idaho. Across the road, in Wyoming, was the church, school and store. Also, many, many cousins. Anyway, this little town was one of 12 in this small mountain valley, and the Wyoming town where the high school stood was 40 miles south. When he finished 8th grade, his family didn’t have the means to send him to the town with the high school, and pay for him to board with someone. Also, he was needed on the farm to milk cows and feed animals. So 8th grade was the end of his formal schooling.

    I was born to his youngest daughter when he was 63. So I mostly knew this grandpa as an old guy, whose house we’d visit on Sundays in the summer. (In the winter, he and my grandma started migrating to Arizona for her health.) I LOVED visiting their house because it was packed with books! Both my grandparents loved to read and so did I! So, after we ate, I’d just disappear into the book shelves until it was time to head back to our house (47 miles south) for the evening milking.

    Grandpa also wrote letters to hoards of people–with a fountain pen–in beautiful cursive. I still have some of them. When they were in Arizona in the winters, he’d write to all of us grandchildren (at least 30) twice a winter. And he’d also send a letter to his three daughters and his two sons every single week. The man was a literate person! He inspired me. I love to write stories, and I still write letters to people.

    It doesn’t take a formal education to be well-read and a good writer, but after teaching school for 24 years in two different states, I can tell you that many kids today are not as motivated to read and write when there is so much on a screen to divert their attention. This doesn’t mean that every kid is not reading–but parents make the difference.

    • #20
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:01 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  21. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    My grandfather was one of these forebears who was literate beyond what many adults are today. He was born in 1889 on a farm on the Idaho side of the highway that divides his little town in Wyoming/Idaho. Across the road was the church, school and store. Also, many, many cousins. Anyway, this little town was one of 12 in this small mountain valley, and the town where the high school stood was 40 miles south. When he finished 8th grade, his family didn’t have the means to send him to the town where the high school and pay for him to board with someone. Also, he was needed on the farm to milk cows and feed animals. So 8th grade was the end of his formal schooling.

    I was born to his youngest daughter when he was 63. So I mostly knew this grandpa as an old guy, whose house we’d visit on Sundays in the summer. (In the winter, he and my grandma started migrating to Arizona for her health.) I LOVED visiting their house, because it was packed with books! Both my grandparents loved to read, and so did I! So, I’d just disappear into the book shelves until it was time to head back to our house (47 miles south) for the evening milking.

    Grandpa also wrote letters to hoards of people–with a fountain pen, in beautiful cursive. I still have some of them. When they were in Arizona in the winters, he’d write to all of us grandchildren (at least 30) twice a winter. And he’d also send a letter to his three daughters and his two sons every single week. The man was a literate person! He inspired me. I love to write stories, and I still write letters to people.

    It doesn’t take a formal education to be well-read and a good writer, but after teaching school for 24 years in two different states, I can tell you that many kids today are not as motivated to read and write when there is so much on a screen to divert their attention. This doesn’t mean that every kid is not reading–but parents make the difference.

     A wonderful comment, thanks for sharing this. And what treasures your Grandpa’s letters must be. Yes, I think the handwriting of the old-timers was very special, and shows a care and self-aware attention to detail that is very rare these days. First, handwriting went by the board, and turned into illegible and higgledy-piggeldy scribbles, or all caps, and now, even literate communication through the keyboard seems largely to have gone with the wind, as punctuation, capitalization, grammar, syntax, and clarity are all sacrificed for speed and impact, and as those of us who make even the least bit of a fuss are excoriated as privileged and joyless scolds, and as grammar you-know-whats. Thank goodness for literate little backwaters like Ricochet is what I say.

    • #21
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:18 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):

    I have a copy of the Domesday Book (not a first edition, I hasten to add) for the county of Worcestershire. It was second-hand, and not at all special, but I was fascinated by the descriptions of locales I know, described in what are still, after a thousand years, recognizable terms. Some of the descriptions of the households and the industries are quite charming.

    I’m also proud of a book I picked up, somewhere in the UK, of “Poetic Gems” from William McGonagall, generally recognized as the worst poet ever, and author of, among other things, “The Beautiful Sun” which starts out:

    Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
    To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
    For thou nourisheth all the creation,
    Wherever there is found to be animation.

    Without thy heat we could not live,
    Then praise to God we ought to give;
    For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
    To nourish all creatures on earth below.

    Thou makest the hearts of the old feel glad,
    Likewise the young child and the lad,
    And the face of Nature to look green and gay,
    And the little children to sport and play.

    Thou also givest light unto the Moon,
    Which certainly is a very great boon
    To all God’s creatures here below,
    Throughout the world where’er they go.

    And it goes on. At some length.

    His poem, on the origin of the “forget-me-not” flower, if you can find it, will make you weep. I won’t promise with what, but it will make you weep.

     

     

    I’ve read worse.

    Karl Marx thought himself a poet, after all.

    So did Herman Melville.

    • #22
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Cow Girl Thatcher

    She (View Comment):
    First, handwriting went by the board, and turned into illegible and higgledy-piggeldy scribbles, or all caps,

    When he writes by hand, my husband uses all caps. He can write as quickly as I can in cursive. He learned to do that in the Navy (a long time ago) before everything was done on computers. He was taught to do it like that so it would be legible and intelligible to anyone.

    • #23
    • January 19, 2020, at 9:40 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    First, handwriting went by the board, and turned into illegible and higgledy-piggeldy scribbles, or all caps,

    When he writes by hand, my husband uses all caps. He can write as quickly as I can in cursive. He learned to do that in the Navy (a long time ago) before everything was done on computers. He was taught to do it like that so it would be legible and intelligible to anyone.

    I picked up that skill in college so as to be able to read my class notes. My handwriting is illegible, even to me, sorry to say. Whenever something needs to be written out, I ask Mrs. OS to do the task if legibility is important. When I worked for a Dr. in OKC I told him he should learn to use a computer as his handwriting was almost as bad as mine. He never took the ‘hint’.

    • #24
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:51 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    First, handwriting went by the board, and turned into illegible and higgledy-piggeldy scribbles, or all caps,

    When he writes by hand, my husband uses all caps. He can write as quickly as I can in cursive. He learned to do that in the Navy (a long time ago) before everything was done on computers. He was taught to do it like that so it would be legible and intelligible to anyone.

    Yes, I know what you mean. Mr. She began his training as an engineer (before he joined the Marines, and then ended up as a college English professor, go figure). His “all caps” are a thing of beauty. I have some drawings he did before we built the house, and I can barely tell the difference between the ones he did by hand and the ones that were put on, and then printed out from, the computer. (In some cases, I think his are tidier.)

    I was talking more about the scribbles that I see from some of my relations and friends’ children, and some of the job applications I’ve read through in my time, apparently put together by those who don’t seem to have been taught that their handwriting says something about them, and that you only get one chance to make a first impression.

    • #25
    • January 20, 2020, at 5:35 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Front Seat Cat Member

    While always loving to read, my sister got me “collecting” in recent years. She lives in a different state but we both hit library sales and she scours junk shops etc. She said she can’t pass up an old book, so much so, that one of her bookshelves was so loaded it came away from the wall. She has sent me them as gifts, and we swap. She taught me to look for old worn jackets, check the dates. She can sniff out a good book quicker than a truffle-sniffing pig. She instinctively dug through a pile of used books at a shop to seize upon Berlinski’s book Menace in Europe. We’d never heard of her. I like and read just about any subject.

    I subscribed to British Country Living a few times, and ordered two books from their ads – they were Make Do and Mend, Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations (you never know) and Eating for Victory which contain reproductions of official WWII instructions. In one book I read about the government manipulating the price of milk and mothers went on strike – they marched and kicked up a fuss, and they lowered the price. This was in the US. I have a beat up book called McGuffeys Fourth Eclectic Reader, dated 1879. Lots of pencil doodles in it, but it is a one stop shop for learning – manners, ethics, morals, math, reading writing, grammar. I can imagine it being toted in the hands of a small boy named Stuart (his name is written in perfect script on the inside) through all kinds of weather. I love the feel and smell of an old book, the graphics and sketches. We love the thrill of the hunt. You’ll never get this experience from downloading to a Nook or Kindle.

    The simple teaching of the most basic principles has been lost. Just the wisdom in Little Men would go a long way today. Your post speaks volumes, no pun intended, and there aren’t enough Likes for me to describe how much I loved it !!

    • #26
    • January 20, 2020, at 6:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Kephalithos Member

    She (View Comment): First, handwriting went by the board, and turned into illegible and higgledy-piggeldy scribbles, or all caps, and now, even literate communication through the keyboard seems largely to have gone with the wind, as punctuation, capitalization, grammar, syntax, and clarity are all sacrificed for speed and impact, and as those of us who make even the least bit of a fuss are excoriated as privileged and joyless scolds, and as grammar you-know-whats.

    It’s worse than that.

    Those of us who cling bitterly to our commas and capitals aren’t just dismissed as uptight scolds; we’re accused of breaching the social contract. We’re psychoanalyzed as “insincere” and “cold” (and probably psychopathic) — merely because we’ve decided not to take part in the race to the bottom which is Internet communication; merely because we’ve exempted ourselves from the performative sloppiness of modern society.

    Fine, I say. I’ll take these people’s insults as compliments. As Roger Scruton once said, it’s sometimes good to be disliked. And it’s especially good to be disliked by Twitter addicts and tech-savvy kids.

    • #27
    • January 20, 2020, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member