Group Writing 20190119: Renovating Memories

 

Scientists now tell us that every time we pull a memory out of long-term storage, we then re-write it, and in this rewriting, it may get changed. This may play into some instances of what has come to be known as the Mandela Effect. Someone asks, “Does the Coca-Cola logo have a hyphen or dash […]

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Bathroom Blues Redux

 

A few days ago, I wrote about my mother’s lavatory renovation project. Probably close to ten years later, my father was finally ready to renovate the lavatory himself. A lot had happened in the meantime. For one thing, my mother had finally decided her children were old enough that she could divorce my father and she moved out. My father had reached retirement age and qualifications. Given he was a police sergeant, that wasn’t as hard as for some occupations. He only needed to be at least fifty years of age and have more than twenty years on the force. He had been counting down the days until he could retire. And then he stayed on the force about another five years. However, in preparing to retire, he wanted to find a small town like the place he had grown up and retire there. He started looking for such a town, taking his weekends and vacations to find a place he liked.

He also started preparing the house to be sold. Part of this meant getting through the backlog of renovation projects and repainting things. It so happened that I was unemployed at the time. The job market was not terribly hot. I had been applying a lot of places but had yet to get any bites. So, I got to stay with him and help with repainting the house and conducting appropriate renovations.

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Quote of the Day: We Were Becoming Like Them … All Talkers and No Workers

 

For my first QotD, I’m going to post a long one. This is Sauk warrior Black Hawk’s surrender speech, given in 1832 after the last of his warriors were defeated at the Bad Axe River in what is now Wisconsin. This defeat marked the end of the Black Hawk War that had been fought across the Illinois territory, and largely ended effective armed Indian resistance in the Great Lakes. He is memorialized in numerous ways in Illinois and Wisconsin, in brands, plaques, statues and place names, even lending his name and likeness to a somewhat famous Chicago hockey team.

I haven’t found a satisfactory resource online about the War, but I will mention briefly that it was fought (as one might guess) over government resettlement plans. Black Hawk did not acknowledge the authority of the Sauk negotiators to sell off a swath of land to the United States in the 1804 Treaty of St. Louis, and took his supporters on the warpath in 1832. He surrendered at Prairie du Chien in August of that year.

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“Emergency” Renovation

 

As Mark Davis says, “Trump makes everyone better.” Well, maybe not the sad section of the “conservative” commentariat driven mad by the Great Big Ugly Man, but his administration has been a refiner’s fire for lifer politicians like “Cocaine Mitch” and Lindsey Grahamnesty. In the same way, his presence has unmasked the long-hidden corruption of our federal law-enforcement and intelligence community, last disinfected in the mid-1970s by the Church Committee. Now, President Trump’s threat — to use two laws (not a pen and a phone), passed in the 1970s and 1980s, to legally reallocate particular current appropriated funds — is sparking a renewed interest in reforming national emergency authority. More goodness!

There are real concerns, from multiple points in political space, about presidents being granted, or asserting, “emergency” powers. Many real concerns seem to arise from confusing language, prompting misunderstanding. All the real concerns should be distinguished from false claims, like those of Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the original illegal alien amnesty “Gang of 8.” His posture of worry about what a future Democratic president will do is a howling fraud, both because he knows everything we will review below, and because he has proven himself allergic to real border and immigration control. Likewise, we may discount CNN, the paper dying in darkness, and all those poor souls discombobulated by the Great Big Ugly Man. Setting all the false fears aside, let us consider the real concerns.

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Renovating the Library

 

Where does this book go? This is a problem that rears its head a few times every year. It’s always an issue in January, but also in September, and usually in May … or even June. Heck, we have a book problem most months. A friend ours once called us “homeschool preppers.” It’s true. When the grid collapses and the power goes out, and everyone is wondering about edible foliage and water purification, come on over — I’ve got a book on that.

My passion for buying books began in September 1995, the month The Lost World by Michael Crichton was released. Until that day, the only book I owned was an unopened Bible. The books I read in high school were from the library and rarely worth the time to read, much less buy. I’m looking at you, Steinbeck.

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Renovation: Bathroom Blues

 

My father had some very good qualities, but when it came to renovating the house in a timely manner, he seemed to have several things going against him. For instance, as a policeman, he worked shift work. Shift work can lead to sleep deprivation, which is especially trying when one is trying to sleep off-hours with dogs, cats, birds, and kids running around the house. In his job, he often dealt with some energy-draining situations. Let’s face it, being a policeman in some cities does not bring one into contact with the finest folks in town. He also tried to get as many “union jobs” as possible to scoop up the extra pay. Union jobs were basically where the police officers could be hired as security for companies. For instance, the local McDonald’s franchise liked to keep spaces open in their parking lots for active customers, which could be difficult on Friday nights with teenagers hanging out. So, they would hire off-duty police officers to walk the lots and keep the kids moving. Poor sleep habits, lots of overtime, and dealing with the dregs of society and teenagers (but I repeat myself) did not make Dad the most energetic guy when he was at home. He wasn’t champing at the bit to keep the house in shape or renovated.

My mother was not someone who believed in nagging. Nagging takes more energy than just doing something for oneself, if one actually has the skills to do it. But my mother really did not have the skills to renovate a room well, but after asking nicely a few times, she just got tired of waiting.

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Renovation Update

 

Shameless plug: January Group Writing: Renovation has lots of open dates. We really don’t need me writing another Charmin post, let alone the next baño bit. Consider yourselves warned. More

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The Renovator

 

I was not one born to the hammer as most General Contractors who specialize in residential renovations are. Instead, as the son of an office jockey, I was plenty happy to spend my days playing sports and riding bikes rather than building tree houses and forts, or earning a few bucks an hour picking up trash on a job site, as most of my peers did in their youth.

What first drew me to building was the income; it was the best summer job a college freshman could wrangle. But it was the sweat and the sawdust that captured me. The tangy smell of wet pine surrendering to the screaming saw and the hot, dusty scent of summer mingled with the pop of nail guns, loud country music, sunscreen, and sweat. This, it seemed to me, is what work should feel like. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was sore, but the cold beer in my hand was well earned and delicious, and there, where once there was just dirt and scrub, sat a freshly framed house.

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Quote of the Day: “I can send you to Viet Nam”

 

When @vectorman reminded me a month or so ago that I was late in uploading my QoTD, I replied that I had had it ready, but it was late since I “had problems with the draft” (i.e. it disappeared). It occured to me later that the phrase “trouble with the draft” used to have a […]

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Josephine Garis Cochrane: American Sorceress for Domestic Life

 

Everyone knows necessity is the mother of innovation, and good help is hard to find. These two idioms must have combined in the mind of Josephine Garis Cochrane who needed clean dishes for the frequent dinner parties she loved to host, despite the careless servants who chipped her china when cleaning up afterwards.

Even though she was a nineteenth century woman of means who was married to a successful businessman, Cochrane was undaunted by the prospect of hard work. She became so frustrated with the incompetence she saw on display in her grand kitchen that she began to wash her own porcelain wares by hand.

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Renovation: Fodder for My Soul

 

As I sit down to eat my lunch, I pause and ask the Lord to bless me and the food I am about to receive as a gift. I like to think of how each particle, each molecule of useful material is used by my body as it performs its active functions and grows new hair, blood, skin. Each nutrient helps to renovate me, with the Lord’s blessing.

In a similar way, I see each moment of my life as fodder for my soul. I am constantly consuming experiences that can be used by me to maintain my active connection to the Lord and help my soul and the souls of those around me flourish and grow.

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QotD: Brainwashed or Light Rinse

 

In honor of Mitt Romney, who really knows how to tick off Republicans, I have a quote from his Dad and the stunning response.

In 1967, as he prepared to challenge President Lyndon Johnson, Romney took a completely different position that U.S. involvement in Vietnam had been a mistake from the beginning. In a TV interview with a Detroit station, he was confronted with the previous statement and basically accused of a flip-flop. (Plus ca change.)

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December Group Writing Wrap-up: Veneration

 

Many thanks to the members who stepped up in a month full of holiday travel and events, answering the challenge to write on the theme of veneration. Bookmark this one and peruse the uniformly excellent posts if you missed some. There are lots of dates available in January Group Writing: Renovation. Follow the link to […]

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Renovation: A Personal Work-in-Progress

 

I’ve never related to people who want to makeover their bodies: tummy tucks, eye lifts, nose jobs, face lifts, liposuction, and other miscellaneous alterations to the body. I’m certainly not against physical beauty, or even using make-up to enhance whatever attributes nature has given me. But when women say things like, “It makes me feel better about myself” or “I feel like a more complete person.” I have one response: “Really? That’s all it takes?”

We live in a society that thrives on the superficial and elevates those people who are willing to spend thousands of dollars to improve their looks. Some people will say, “Doesn’t she look great?” or “She looks half her age!”

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Quote of the Day : Under the shield of law

 

In a column in the Washington Times ( https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/23/the-plight-of-michael-flynn/ entitled ” The Plight of Michael Flynn”, Ken Allard quoted Montesquieu as writing: There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law.* More

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Restoring a Shipwreck

 

So you have a home restoration project and you think you have troubles? Consider the plight of the marine archaeologist, who has discovered a historically-significant wreck and has to decide whether and how to restore it.

Start at the beginning. You have found a wreck – a historically significant one. A lot of shipwrecks discovered in the Gulf of Mexico are found when a site survey for a planned oil well is done. Alternatively, it was found because a historic wreck was suspected to be in the area, and scanning of the ocean bottom was done. Either way, your wreck is under water. In fact, much of what remains is under the sea bottom by the time you find it. What does it look like?

Figure 1: Remote Sensing Survey Results

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Renovation: Clearing My Spindle, Cleaning My Bowl

 

Let’s be clear: I could write at length about renovation in one of its generally accepted senses. I could write about the house we’ve been building and renovating for over three decades, and which still has a couple of unpainted surfaces of the original drywall for the interested to view at will (don’t call me, I’ll call you). I could write about my almost-complete set of DeWalt 20v Li-Ion cordless tools. Or about my heavy-duty Bosch hammer drill. My three chain saws. My small cement mixer. And I could wax lyrical about all the uses I’ve put each of them, and their dozens of forbears, to since 1986, and what I plan to do with them this year.

But, right now, I’d rather talk about headspace. Mine. Here goes:

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Unexpected renovation; or, a return to writing

 

You might think that starting this off in the obtuse poetry of a balding and portly 20th century academic is a little strange, and you’d probably be right. Wally Stevens can’t compete for notoriety against the likes of Lemmy Kilmister, Jeff Chaucer or Steve Harris, and as for me let’s face it, outside of my […]

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“Must See” Movie: Peter Jackson vs. Ken Burns

 

https://static.wirtualnemedia.pl/media/top/Peter-Jackson-They-Shall-Not-Grow-Old.jpgMany thanks to Ricochet member @ejhill for alerting us in advance, from Britain, to the December US Fathom event showings of Peter Jackson’s World War I Centennial documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. His review put the film on my “must see” list, @she provided a helpful reminder to the community on the first day of the December showings, and @eb provided a brief review. Viewing the film in 2D (it is also available in 3D) prompted reflections on renovation and invited contrast with other war documentaries. Ken Burns’ Vietnam War PBS series especially came to mind, starkly contrasting with Peter Jackson’s big screen documentary.

I respect EJ Hill’s technical assessment but have a slightly different view. Viewing the entire film in 2D, I cannot comment on any 3D issues. Aside from that disclaimer, I wholly endorse Peter Jackson’s vision and technical decisions. If you were turned off by Mortal Engines or soured at some point in the six episode Middle Earth franchise, know that all that money and technical talent has been harnessed to faithfully bring to life the Great War that was said to have inspired Tolkein’s stories.

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