Various and miscellaneous.
Archive for the ‘Arts and Aesthetics’ Category
- Intriguing DIY all-terrain cart/carrier. (H/T MJR)
- Drawing — by hand, even doodling — enhances memory and other cognitive functions.
- Remember last week’s remotely hacked Jeep? Chrysler has now recalled … well, basically every car it’s made lately. No need to take your auto to the shop, though: just wait for the USB stick or download the software. OTOH, given the company’s record of mishandling recalls, don’t be too optimistic.
- New micro device delivers drugs directly to the brain. Not my brain, buddy!
- “Don’t Blame Trump; Blame America.” Once you get past the offensive title there’s a lot to agree with. (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
- And yes, the SJWs have gone completely around the bend. Latest target: Dante. The Divine Comedy, one of the great classics of literature*, is no longer fit to be taught in schools because Dante Alighieri, who lived 800 years ago, failed to hold approved modern opinions. Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate indeed!
* Which I once read in the original Italian. Not that I’m bragging or anything. Couldn’t do it today and even then I had to have an Italian dictionary at hand, not to mention a guide to the characters (oddly enough, hell turns out to be largely populated by medieval Italians, many of them Dante’s political enemies). I also skipped most of the Purgatorio and the Paradiso. Nobody, not even Dante, has ever come up with a description of heaven that isn’t a total snooze. The gruesome Inferno is the only part anybody cares about. It may be Great Literature, but entertainmentwise, it’s the medieval equivalent of a slasher flick.
So I linked to (yet another) article about small houses. Which led Joel to link back to me and also to a very funny blog about people who actually live in the things. Which reminded me of tidy-up celebrity Marie Kondo (because you have to be mega-tidy to survive small-house living).
Which reminds me that, now that I’m living in normal-sized houses again, it’s time for another perspective in tiny-house living.
- Okay, these small houses may not be “tiny” in Tumbleweed terms. But boy, I’d take any of ’em in a heartbeat.
- What a diaper-wetting crybaby. Using the government to ease his hurt feelings, of course.
- Upon his 85th birthday, Thomas Sowell looks back on the uneducated people who helped raise him above his roots.
- People who radically change their spending habits via radical rethinking. They’re inspiring. Entertaining. Great examples. But how come they always seem to be young urban dwellers without, you know, gigantic house remodel projects going on? Or six kids to feed? Don’t get me wrong; giving up a daily Starbucks or buying fewer cosmetics can be a big thing to a yuppie & it’s a great mind change. But the rest of us …
- Jim Bovard … theater critic??? (And critic of DC’s empty culture.)
- For those of a certain generation: the story behind Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz.”
For those who need a Joplinesque reminder:
And a bonus, from Reason TV, the TSA’s 12 signs you’re a terrorist:
Been a little quiet lately, I know.
Partly this is to do with the protracted deathwatch for Robbie. He’s 14 and hasn’t been in good health for a long time. His “doggie Alzheimers” gives him anxiety attacks that increasingly override his pharmacopia of meds. He’s got bad legs that look like they shouldn’t hold him up (but somehow do). Now add a hacking cough of mystery origin. But he’s still happy, hungry, and eager to go for walks. Never mind that he spends more time sniffing and peeing than actually walking.
So hard to know what to do or when to do it. Meantime, I’m giving him plenty of extra attention and I’m grateful for furrydoc, from whose clinic I adopted him in 2002. She has lovingly cared for him since he was a cocky young bully and will soon come to the house to give a now-sweet old dog a peaceful farewell.
I’ve also been working on the “Mo Inspiration” table, which is benefiting from paints and other goodies MamaLiberty sent. Expect to have pix of the finished piece later this week.
In spare moments I’m reading Jackie Clay’s Autumn of the Loons, second in her series of westerns featuring Jess Hazzard.
Autumn is a better, more confident novel than Summer of the Eagles. In this volume, Jess returns from a hunting trip to find his beloved wife Julie raped and beaten and their four-year-old son Keith kidnapped. Jess heads out on a relentless pursuit of a villain who has suddenly emerged from Julie’s past.
If you recall Jess’ character from the first book, you’ll know the meaning of “relentless.”
Well done, Jackie. And more to come.
The above book links are Amazon Associates links. You may instead prefer to buy directly from the publisher.
Speaking of Amazon Associates links, July Amazon sales have been pathetic! About 1/4 of a typical month. Yikes! May kinda sucked, too. Can’t complain too much, though, as June was above-average. But really, if you need stuff from Amazon and you’re going to buy it anyhow, might as well enter here. Thanks!
Update on my efforts to destroy the Evil Wasp Civilization. As a couple of people suggested, I was attempting some live-and-let live with the stragglers who survived my first attempt to obliterate the wasps’ nest on the front of my house.
Then Saturday when I was just passing by on the way to walk the dogs, one of the rogues dive-bombed me. Got me on the hand and the chin. That night I donned my spacesuit and hit them again with wasp killer. Sunday afternoon I was able to knock the main part of the nest off the wall with a long pole. A few hardy holdouts were still inside. Tough little critters.
Ironically, the only stings from this adventure were the ones I got while minding my own business. While I was in the act of attempting to wipe out the wasps and all their works, they were utterly uninterested in my existence.
Here’s “Mo” as of this evening.
And here’s where she was yesterday at this time.
A year ago I blogged about finding this future project at a garage sale.
I had to pay a whole $10 for it which in garage sale terms lies somewhere between scandalous extravagance and the threat of being kicked out of the Garage Sale Bargain Hunter’s League, but it looked to be 50s vintage (if not older) and its graceful shape gave me ideas.
Last year I decorated an end table I found in the woods with materials found around the house. It came out so pretty that Commentariat member Pat dubbed it “Doorway to the Sun.” And it won a blue ribbon at the county fair (awwwwwww). The next convert-a-table project would also be done only with housepaint samples and other materials already on hand, but different.
As soon as I brought this table home, I knew it would have a Modigliani-inspired face on its top. And beadwork. In nicely subdued colors, but maybe with a bright bangle or two.
I’s taken forever for me to get to it. Since spring, the stupid ankle and general lassitude have made it hard even to go out into my lumpy backyard and apply a sander.
But finally I’m feeling half decent. Yesterday a neighbor who works at the hardware store (isn’t that a nice convenience for a carless do-it-yourselfer?) brought me fresh sandpaper for the Mouse. And I found the Modigliani I wanted to draw inspiration from:
Now I’m at it. Feels good. I’m not going to copy that Modigliani. Just let it guide and inspire me. Mine probably won’t have the hand, for instance. (Modigliani could paint a hand that looks like a bunch of bananas and have the world swoon. I paint a hand that looks like a bunch of bananas and my high school art teacher’s ghost wafts out of his grave to haunt me.)
My other project is that landfill door. I started stripping paint from it shortly after bringing it home, but between several rainy weeks and the general PITA-ness of the last two months, I got no farther than the rough stripping. That neighborly pack of sandpaper will move that project along, too.
First, the new table (“Mo Inspiration”). Then door. By the time I’ve finished both, there might still be some space to do one of the smaller house projects I’d hoped to get to this year, the tearoff of the last, tiny, leaking, rotted, and utterly ill-conceived addition.
We shall see what the fates have to say about all this hopeful ambition.
But even the fates will probably let me show you some in-progress photos of “Mo” in a few days. (Except, of course, now that I’ve said that we can expect an afternoon plague of locusts, followed by several blood moons, accompanying 10 deadly pestilences, plus … well, you know how it goes.)
I started this post Sunday morning. It’s Sunday evening as I write this addition and — so far — no plagues. OR pestilences! Still a lot more time for blood moons to take over the project, though:
- Hastert may be a criminal. But other feds are worse. (Never mind that Hastert and his ilk made them worse.)
- I admit it. Maeve Binchy, the mega-selling Irish author of simple domestic tales, is one of my guilty girly pleasures. Binchy died in 2012 of heart problems. While looking for something completely unrelated to her health, I stumbled upon this nice article about how she made the best of her initial diagnosis. Inspiring.
- The fedgov has recently made it 5x more expensive to do. But Americans are again surrendering their citizenship in small but record-setting numbers. (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
- “No cloud for me,” says security guru Bruce Schneier. And amen. (Via Brad at WendyMcElroy.com)
- Okay, then, what exactly is the difference in principle between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal?
- This Onion article’s been getting around, but once again it’s too funny not to link and too true to be really funny.
- Can reading make you happier? Hm, dunno. Bibliotherapy??? (H/T PT)
- Trees. Trained to grow into chairs. (H/T SC)
- You knew this was coming, didn’t you? (And not a bad thing, IMHO, though why the government should have anything to do with it, I don’t know.) Same-sex marriage and plural marriage.
- “A Modest Proposal.” If withdrawing just under $10,000 from your bank account should be a crime, then how about … oh, driving just under the speed limit?
- Carol Browne didn’t have to die.
- Creative people. Yes. It’s true. They tend to be crazy. “[A]nd writers, specifically, are likelier to possess some sort of mental illness.” (Thanks a bunch, guys.)
- True, he’s just a Republican politician and it’s nerve-grating to hear him called libertarian. But Rand Paul is still a cut above.
- And finally, via Never Yet Melted, hilariously inappropriate covers of children’s books.
- If somebody in private enterprise did this — let alone did it again and again — heads would roll, congressthings would hotly hold hearings, new regulations would strangle business, and the fedgov would mutter about the need to take over entire fields. But … oopsie! (H/T MJR)
- Here’s one more for the “one term in office and one in jail” concept of term limits. Better yet, former Honorable Speaker Hastert is going down not for some real crime, but for one of those faux crimes that Congress itself invented.
- “In praise of uncertainty.”
- The art of running from the police. Sad truth via LarryA.
- Okay, guys. You want one. I know you do. (Also MJR)
- How to tell whether this week’s Worst! Ever! Drug! stories are telling the truth.
- Woman quits job to build beautiful bamboo houses.
- :-) How investigative journalists justify their existence.
“The Haunted Beach.” (pdf, about 4,600 words)
I submitted this to a short-story contest/anthology a few months ago. It was rejected. Maybe because it was no good. Or maybe because the theme of the anthology was “optimism.”
The rules said submissions could have dark elements but needed to be optimistic overall. I thought this story just bubbled with optimism (after said “dark elements”). But you can probably see why contest judges might disagree.