Wednesday, June 30, 2004

374 Wednesday at the Lake

Many more people in the Confucian Ethics class--word is getting around what an outstanding instructor Gene is. Everyone says, "I wish I'd had college instuctors like this!"

He told about how Chinese children are taught to observe the roles by learning music, poetry and calligraphy. You write poetry to prepare for life's major decisions. "He is the best poet in the group," is a sign of who is leader (he may not be a good poet, but receives that honor). The more poetry, the more sophisticated the speech. Calligraphy is taught as character formation. Music and art are ad-ons in our society, and may be the first to be cut.

I've been reading "Locust," all week and have been taking it to the hotel porch and to the coffee shop to read. I'm determined to finish it and find out why the locust swarms, the scourge of the 19th century farmers, disappeared. The author tells many asides, from how he did his research, to the biographies of different entomologists, to environmental disasters stories, but I'm sure he'll reveal his thinking before the final page.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

373 Tuesday at the Lake

Last night we had Wes and Sue over for supper on the deck. They are clients and have the cutest little cottage, just perfect for Lakeside. It is getting a lot of buzz because its style and size are just right for the tiny lots (33') we have in this old community with narrow streets and ancient trees.

We're enjoying a class on Confucian Ethics taught by Dr. Gene Swanger of Wittenberg University. Everyday the class grows larger instead of smaller as is usual in Lakeside. Dr. Swanger teaches American government officials and the military how to interact and live in an Asian environment. We learned there are 3,300 roles for behavior, and no real concept of "individualism" as we understand it in the West.

Art class is shrinking. Today we did figures, and I gave my drawing to the 15 year old model since he was so patient, and he liked it.

Monday, June 28, 2004

372 Monday at the Lake

The day started with a small rain squall, built to a big storm in early afternoon, cleared, thenn we had a big windy wet storm about 4 p.m., but I was already at the art center. The drawing class is a mix of adults and children, and as usual, the kids get pretty discouraged and end up drawing lighthouses or boats instead of the assigned task, which this day was a still life of old blenders, a fan and lunch box.

Last night's program was organist Paul Oakley. Such a beautiful program. We enjoyed him so about 10 years ago when he organized a "Masterclass" of musicians at Lakeside. We found the four chairs we had paid for and they have the names of our family on a plate in the back. These chairs are much nicer and more comfortable than the hard wooden ones.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

371 At Lakeside

The perfect summer day at the Lake--clear blue sky and 72 degrees. Golf carts are becoming more ubiquitous each year, with corresponding restrictions on auto parking, but at least more are battery operated now, thus quieter.

The volunteers have been busy sprucing up the flower gardens. The Hoover Auditorium is 75 years old this summer, and they've really been working hard there. Our impatiens are blooming, but were sort of leggy when planted in May and have stayed that way rather than filling out.

A stroll through the business district (2 blocks) shows some changes. One of the antique dealers gave up because he got such a good offer for his building, and his wife needed to spend more time with her mother and couldn't mind the store. A delightful gift/art shop has been returned to a cottage "for rent." The realty firm on the corner has left that building and it is being remodeled into something that looks like a cottage, but the sign says coffee shop. The cokesbury Bookstore opened two weeks ago for the Methodists' conferences.

Tonight's program is the River City Brass Band from Pennsylvania. I love brass. Hope there is a lot of trombone, my weapon of choice.

Friday, June 25, 2004

370 This is not about Lustrons

You’ve probably seen a Lustron--a steel house of porcelainzed panels built in the late 1940s to help solve the housing shortage after World War II. Here’s a brief story from the Ohio Historical Society web site:
“At the end of the war, a severe housing shortage plagued the United States. Businessman Carl Strandlund sought to solve this problem by mass-producing prefabricated, porcelain-enameled, steel houses. With the support of veterans groups, he received millions of dollars in federal loans to establish his factory, which he modeled after General Motors and Ford. The new Lustron Corporation leased the abandoned Curtiss-Wright factory adjacent to the Port Columbus airport. The government also allocated the new firm a generous supply of rationed steel for its enterprise.”
There have been reunions in Columbus, Ohio, of the designers, builders and owners of Lustrons, and I usually get an invitation because my grandparents built a Lustron in 1949, and for awhile I was part of a listserv concerning Lustrons after my Dad purchased that same home fifty years later, and we needed to do some repairs for him. My home town in Illinois has close to 20 Lustrons and it is a very small town. Pink, blue, yellow and tan--just hose ‘em down when they get dirty.

However, this is not a blog about Lustrons, it is about the WWII housing shortage. All my life I’ve been hearing about housing shortages after the war. I never even questioned it. We had a bit of one ourselves when the people who had been renting our house while Dad was in the service wouldn’t move when we came home, and we had to live with my grandparents.

I’ve been reading Thomas Sowell’s book, Basic Economics (rev. 2004). He says that after WWII, there was no scarcity of housing--severe or otherwise. He says scarcity is when a tornado or earthquake destroys housing, but shortage is created by prices. The ratio between housing and people had not changed (from 1941 to 1945), so there was no greater lack of housing. What had changed was artificially low rents due to rent controls during the war. When rents were low, some people rented larger spaces than they needed, and some landlords took properties off the market because they couldn’t cover maintenance costs and make a profit. So there were just as many housing units, but many people looking for places to live at prices they could afford. He said in different decades, the same thing has happened in Sweden and Australia--the more rent control laws, the more housing shortage.

New York City, says Sowell, has had rent control longer than any other American city with the consequence that turnover of apartments there is less than half the national average and it contributes to homelessness, because the small guys who might have housing the poor could afford, are pushed out of the market. People are sleeping outdoors, while buildings stand empty. Very wealthy people keep their rent controlled apartments just because they can, but don’t live there. San Francisco also has rent control, which drives up the cost of living there for everyone.

Also, when price controls on meat were ended in 1946, all of a sudden there was enough meat for everyone because it killed the black market. He also says there was no gasoline shortage in the 1970s. Price controls led to a cutback on the hours that filling stations remained open, so they could stay open for a few hours a day instead of having the costs of being open 12 or 24 hours, and make the same profit.

I never knew that about Lustrons. The government created the shortage, and then supplied the loans to relieve the shortage. I never knew there really wasn’t a housing shortage (less housing) after WWII. I’ll have to think about that and try to undo a lifetime of indoctrination.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

369 Low Carb Hysteria

Partnership for Essential Nutrition is a group of non-profits concerned with health and nutrition that hope to bring some common sense to this low-carb stuff. I have no idea if it is legit, or just another “follow the money” group getting funded by the food industry.

I’m now getting a low-carb biz newsletter because I asked for their premiere issue of their print publication, and I’ve been surprised by the push and rush to low carb. Especially I’m surprised at how bad the commercially prepared low-carb foods taste. Panera’s is putting out two low carb bagels for samples in the morning, and I’ve tried them both. The asagio cheese bagel is my all time favorite, but low carb, it tastes like library paste. The result of eating low-carb food is the same as eating fat-free--taste free and leaves a craving which will in turn cause many people to eat more. I purchased a loaf of low-carb bread, and threw it away after we ate some. I bought low-carb yogurt for my husband, and he said, “Tastes like your foot’s asleep.”

There’s only one way to lose weight, and it always works, and it works for anyone. Burn more calories than you consume, and that means Eat Less, Move More. ELMM. But there is no way to market it and it does require some motivation and will power.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

368 The job jar dwindles--pt. 3, Getting ready for the painter

I adore my son-in-law. After I handed my husband the list of 14 major in-house moves necessary before the painter comes, tastefully illustrated with clip art of a painter putting paint on the wall, he called Mark. He is very strong, cheerful, and formerly worked for a moving company. He knows every trick in the book. And I get a big sweaty hug when he is finished. Major moves so the painter could get to the walls included the desk, on which resided 2 printers, 2 speakers, a router and a scanner, as well as all the computer stuff; 2 large dressers and a dressing table; miscellaneous framed pictures; a double bed; a bookcase full of photo albums; an exercycle and an aerobo-something (like a rowing machine); and all the stuff that resided under the double bed--including the porta-crib.

I had forgotten the porta-crib and my decision to stop grieving about not ever being a grandmother, but there it was: 37 years old and waiting like an abandoned puppy, reminding me about why I'd saved it all these years. It's in the garage now, and it is a toss up whether it will go to a garage sale or the trash pick-up. No one uses wooden portable cribs anymore, and you probably can't find a mattress for one. They fit beautifully in the back seat of a sedan, with two legs on the floor, but it is illegal to let a cranky baby sleep like that without being strapped in sitting up the way we did in the 60s.

I suppose you could restrain a dog in one of these, but even my grand-puppy is an 18 year old chihuahua.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

367 Noted in the language

What's with the words "her then," as "She came to this country with her then husband in 1987." What ever happened to "former" or simply, ex? I see this frequently.

I saw an ad today asking for "hysterecotmized women."

Joe Blundo says that if Clinton were Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address would have been longer than the battle.

There was a huge crowd in town yesterday to hear Zig Ziglar, Jessica Lynch, Jim Tressel and Rudy Guiliani. Outside the event there was a man holding up a sign, "College grad--will work for $40,000." Must not be a librarian--they'll work for much less.

I saw cookie recipes from Laura Bush and Teresa Kerry last week. Surely, we can get beyond that. However, Ms. Heinz-Kerry's did look awfully good--Pumpkin Spice Cookies.

Dow Jones, the owner of the Wall Street Journal was having a labor dispute with the union that represents its reporters last week. They wrote for the paper, but without a by-line. I don't get it.

The black-out last summer that affected northern Ohio, Michigan and many eastern states, caused cleaner air. It sharply reduced the concentrations of ozone and sulfur dioxide. Maybe we could just shut everything down for a week every August and forget all the rules and regulations, if it is that easy.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Friendship

We've been friends for over 30 years, having met in a women's Bible study group. Early on, we learned we shared a very important quirk--we'd drop everything when the other called and "go for coffee." We'd dump everything on each other that we figured our husbands didn't want to hear.

Although our age difference isn't significant--particularly at our current ages--her parents were about 20 years older than mine. I listened carefully as she worked her way through the "sandwich" generation stage. I was well prepared for what was to come. Although my parents lived to an older age than hers, I learned a lot by what happened to my friend. The same with schools and our children. I learned from her about negotiating nursery schools, elementary teachers, high school cliques, and college sororities--it was really comforting to have a pathfinder as a friend.

She also moved in different social circles. Actually, I hardly moved at all, truth be known, and really didn't care that much. I'd always liked having one or two really close friends. She cared deeply about social position and status in the community. So I listened and learned--about fashion trends, popular themes in home decor, and investment ideas--even technology. The very first VCR I ever saw was in her home. ("What would you do with it?" I whispered.) She belongs to an investment club, her college sorority alumnae group, and several women's clubs, one of which is over 100 years old. She's traveled more than I can even dream about--China, Russia, Europe, South America. When her children have had jobs in interesting cities like New York, DC, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco and Knoxville, I've listened patiently all these many years about her visits and their activities. Perhaps I was just a bit smug that my own daughter works two miles from here and can stop by for lunch. She's had season tickets for the various musical and sporting events around the city, so I keep up on what's going on around town--by listening, but not sharing in the seats.

However, there was a tiny crack developing, and as I look back I think it is because of our positions within our original families. I am the third of four siblings and am accustomed to jostling for attention and space, to arguing, to "kiss and make-up" discussions. She is an only child. This means she has a sense of entitlement that is totally foreign to me. Eldest children in larger families have this too--it is not confined to "onlies." They are completely unaware of their behavior, and will deny it if you point it out. So this meant that if she decided against discussing a topic, that was it. Done deal. Finished. Sometimes I wouldn't catch on--I'd continue rambling on, and then she'd say louder and more firmly, like a school teacher talking down to a child, "We're not going to argue about this any further, Norma." I was usually caught short since I hadn't been aware we were arguing. She had her opinion; I had mine. Or that's what I thought. I let it slide--just let her be "boss," because I enjoyed her company, she was well-read, intelligent, and cared about many of things I cared about.

After about 25 years of being the "little sister" to a woman who never had a sister, I began to rebel in the only way I knew how. I stopped calling. The alpha-female usually doesn't do the calling, so the effect of this was we saw a lot less of each other. Instead of getting together once or twice a week, we get together several times a year. We're doing lunch today and I'll listen and nod and smile--I can turn off my mouth for 30-40 minutes, especially when it is filled with food. I'll feel sad because I really miss her. And for the first time in 30 years, I had to look up her phone number.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

366 What Librarians do when they get together

The American Library Association (ALA) claims it represents 64,000 members, many of them librarians, but as the name implies, it isn’t an association of librarians, but of libraries. What it really needs is a taxpayers’ action group, TAG (not TAGS, which is an ALA group to teach teen-agers how to be political activists), to put its bloated bureaucracy that lives on alphabet soup on a diet.

I never joined ALA, because even in 1966, it was beyond the pale for me, then a liberal Democrat. Soon they, or it, will be meeting in Orlando, Florida, world of fantasy and make believe, where librarians will meet to pretend that our society will some day pay them what they are worth if they make everyone else's business their own.

I shouldn't poke fun. Disney World is lots of fun, even for librarians. So therefore it is appropriate that . . .

“Fahrenheit 9/11 will be shown at ALA in the Auditorium at the Convention Center, Sunday night, June 27, at 10 pm, two days after it opens nationwide. There will be a $10 donation that will go to ALA's efforts in the areas of the First Amendment, Intellectual Freedom, and the struggle against the USA PATRIOT Act.”

Also, the GODORT (government documents) folks will be fussing about access to government information considering current security concerns, and

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered people will be protecting and pushing gay books for children and

The AILA (American Indian) will be honoring their elders and tracing their roots and

CALA (Chinese American) is establishing sister relationships with libraries in China, Australia, and other countries, but seem to only be a support group organized by ethnicity, and

SRRT (Social Responsibilities) is supposed to working to make ALA more democratic, but that is a huge joke because they are so left wing democracy is an endangered species needing protection and should be on the environmentalism sub-committee, and

The Ethics Committee, which says it distinguishes between personal convictions and professional responsibilities, has a special sub-group (its only sub-group) on Ethnic and Multicultural Information that has an extremely long set of by-laws and list of committees, but no accomplishments listed and

The Literacy group, which has an expanded vision for library users which includes technology and information needs as well as reading, has a web site that doesn’t work, and

ANSS (I wonder how they pronounce that) is the Anthropology and Sociology Section which seems to be doing library stuff like bibliographies and indexing rather than lobbying about social issues, as the name might suggest, and

The Black Caucus is all caught up in the Brown issues.

Friday, June 18, 2004

365 Dump and Run Sale

Ton of cast offs--that's what OSU students have left in 25 dormitories. To keep it out of landfills and to raise money for several charities, volunteers are gathering the junk into bins for recycling and sales.

There is enough clothing to fill a Good Will store, including a size 40DD bra with the tags still on it, according to the Columbus Dispatch June 18. There are similar sales at other colleges.

I wonder if parents know how much of the "gotta have this" stuff ends up sold for junk or charity? Whatever. It is still a good plan and I'm glad to see the young volunteers taking this seriously.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

364 A tribute to a mentor

I certainly didn’t become a librarian because of Miss Coblentz. When I first met her, she seemed rather stoney-faced, mousey and plain, with an unattractive voice and demeanor. I have no idea how old she was--I turned 18 that fall, so anyone over 30 appeared up in years. But she was definitely older than my rather elderly, 45-year old parents, who were so ancient they could remember the bells tolling at the end of World War I!

My first job in the Manchester College Library was something she considered very important--shelf reading. She believed tidy, well-placed books helped my fellow students find what they needed. Imagine that! I think the job included dusting. From shelving tasks which gave me a sense of subject arrangement, I moved “up” to helping at the circulation desk, something I‘d learned in the public library of my home town, and from there I received the rather favored job of helping in Miss Coblentz’s office writing classification numbers on books with a stylus and sheet of white marking paper. I may be one of the select few in the world who can appreciate and understand the Cutter system, and with effort, I can still do a pretty good imitation of a well-placed Dewey number.

This technical services student job provided an opportunity to take an occasional trip to the bindery, and also an opportunity to meet and know the other “adult” staff. I was invited to Miss Coblentz’s home, which was a wonderful, large gracious early 20th century home on North Wayne within walking distance of the campus. Miss Coblentz had holiday teas for her student staff--and being typical teen-agers who never had enough to eat, we really loved that. Over time, I came to see her kindness, scholarship and skill--and even if I didn’t appreciate it when I was 18, I certainly do now because isn‘t hindsight 20/20?

Memorable moments with Miss Coblentz. My boyfriend was attending the University of Illinois (where I transferred and graduated). I decided I wanted to send him a package of Rice Krispies squares--the kind made with rice cereal, butter, and melted marshmallows mixed in a very large bowl. My roommate, Jo-Ella, and I were pretty good about building a stash of the small containers of cereal, but managing the rest of the task was beyond what we could do in our dorm room with a hot plate. Miss Coblentz to the rescue. She let me use her kitchen and utensils to create this magnificent treat for the boyfriend of her silly employee. She even attempted to teach me to needlepoint--something that gave her much pleasure and covered her dining room chair seats, but I never had the patience or interest (still don’t).

After I left Manchester at the end of my freshman year, we corresponded on holidays, and I sent her an invitation to my wedding, notice of my graduation later, and the birth of my first child. My memory is fuzzy here, but I think she knew I went back for my MLS later and became a librarian. She probably thought she had a hand in that career choice. Imagine that.

Update: I contacted the current librarian, Robin J. Grantz, who wrote:
"In my own 15 years as library director at MC, I’ve come to admire all the things she accomplished. Chief among them was her wonderful planning for this 1966 building, which we renovated in 1999. So many things were done well in the original plan, and I’m sure she never received the credit she deserved. I’m passing your blog on to the library staff, who continue to supervise a wonderful group of student assistants.

Ruth Coblentz (Manchester BA ’27), came as “Chief Librarian” in 1945. She served until 1970, all of the years in that position, except for 1957 and the last year, when she was cataloging librarian. She died in 1994."
(Note: if you google “Ruth Coblentz” you’ll find that she had a mentor at Manchester who influenced her and many others to become librarians.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

363 Abu Ghraib prison video

Abu Ghraib prison video was shown for the benefit of journalists by the American Enterprise Institute, but most didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and those who did got ill and had to leave. Of course, it was video of when Saddam Hussein's thugs ruled the prison and limbs and tongues and fingers were being chopped off.

Why does the press harp on American abuses and ignore Saddam's? Deborah Orin, a reporter who did attend the showing quotes AEI's Michael Ledeen as saying it's because most journalists "want Bush to lose."
Reported by James Taranto at Best of the Web.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

362 The big book shift--pt. 2, Getting ready for the painter

Today I set up temporary shelving in my garage so my office can be painted sometime in July. I had a minimum of 30 ft of books to relocate, and another 12 ft of miscellaneous (photos, collectibles, audio gear, TV, paper supplies, and magazines). I figured I had about 26 ft of useable space in the garage, by clearing counter tops of garden tools, empty boxes, kitty litter, etc. and setting up folding chairs to hold 10 ft of boards. However, by using my Illios (yearbooks from the University of Illinois) and a board, I was able to create extra shelving and fit all the books on top of the counter and didn't need the chairs. I cleared out one lower cabinet for magazines.

I found many interesting things that caused me to stop my work and sit down, which is good, because with A-fib, the heart rate goes crazy with lifting and changing positions.

  • A letter from my sister Carol written for my 16th birthday when she was 18 and in Brethren Volunteer Service training in Maryland.
  • A really interesting book by Luther Mott on American best-selling authors, including an item about Harold Bell Wright, whose book That Printer of Udell's, influenced Ronald Reagan.
  • A really wonderful article on the name of Jesus as " The Lamb" which will really help in the dedication of our two new paintings purchased for church.
  • Various certificates of perfect attendance.
  • A lot of outdated financial stuff I'll need to work through.
  • A package of ink cartridges for my HP 5550 that I'd forgotten I had.
  • Having lived for 34 years in a house with no attic or basement, I learned how to weed, winnow and remove anything not needed. But once we moved here, with lots of built in storage for books and an attic over the garage, I just lost all that good training.

    My daughter is having a garage sale this coming week-end, and maybe I can find a home for 40 yards of drapery fabric.

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    361 Mixed metaphor

    "We had hybrid cabbage, but cauliflower is a different kettle of fish," said Dickson, who retired in 1995. "If you don't have the right parents, you don't necessarily get a nice color, you get a pale, pukey color." Story here.

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    360 How it played out in 1957

    Erin Moriarity of CBS News is the graduation speaker for 7,000+ graduates at The Ohio State University today. In 1957, Ronald Reagan spoke to the graduates of Eureka College in Illinois. I reviewed that speech today and was amazed at how "right on" he was, even then. In 1957, I don't think anyone thought he was too special--sure, he was a graduate who had made good, but his movie career was over and he was a spokesman for General Electric Theater on TV. He reminded the class of 1957 that when he was a student there in the Depression, the teachers often went without pay, and most of the students were poor. And even in 1957, he sounded like the President he became:
    Now today as you prepare to leave your Alma Mater, you go into a world in which, due to our carelessness and apathy, a great many of our freedoms have been lost. It isn't that an outside enemy has taken them. It's just that there is something inherent in government which makes it, when it isn't controlled, continue to grow. So today for every seven of us sitting here in this lovely outdoor theater, there is one public servant, and 31 cents of every dollar earned in America goes in taxes. To support the multitudinous and gigantic functions of government, taxation is levied which tends to dry up the very sources of contributions and donations to colleges like Eureka. So in this time of prosperity we find these church schools, these small independent colleges and even the larger universities, hard put to maintain themselves and to continue doing the job they have done so unselfishly and well for all these years. Observe the contrast between these small church colleges and our government, because, as I have said before, these have always given far more than was ever given to them in return.

    Saturday, June 12, 2004

    359 Saturday clean-up--pt.1 Getting ready for the painter

    When painters paint, they need to be able to get to the walls, ceilings and closets. This means emptying a room. So today I've been trying to find spaces to store the contents of the guest room. I just can't believe that after three years I am still debating about what to do with the gay guys drapes! They had wonderful, expensive, Architectural Digest taste. I'm sure it would look great in a Budapest Hotel (I heard they won an award for that one), but we are beige people, with touches of taupe or cream. Feeling wild or crazy, I might add a touch of moss green or French blue.

    And then there are the shirts I'm hiding from my husband which should have made the trip out the door in the Kidney Foundation sack some time ago. I selected three as work shirts and took them to his office. "See these," I said. "They are either worn out, ugly as sin, or they make you look dead." "Oh no," he exclaimed, "my favorites." "So don't you dare drag them back upstairs," I warned.

    I had an empty shelf (top) in my closet which I can't comfortably reach. I climbed up--Whew! Really dusty. So I cleaned that off and am stashing the new Martha Stewart bedding (for the after-the-painter unveiling) up there. I still have to find homes for all the Christmas decorations, extra paintings that didn't fit in the other storage areas, and the hat, gloves and shoes I wore on my wedding trip.

    I plan to use my parents' bedroom set in this room, half of which is at our lake house. Then I need to decide if the double bed will fit up there with the dresser I can't bear to give up (my daughter's nursery furniture). In my mind's eye, it looks fabulous, but through my glasses, it sure is a mess.

    + + +

    I made up a pie recipe yesterday--tastes pretty good on a hot day. We went out to eat with our daughter last night and then had dessert here.
    Peach Fluff Pie

    Crust: Keebler shortbread crust

  • Peel and slice about 4 or 5 ripe peaches, cook over low heat in 2 T. margarine and 2 T. orange juice until soft. Mash and add 1/4 t. vanilla. Set aside to cool.
  • Small (.3 oz) pkg. Sugar free orange Jell-o, dissolved in 1/2 C. boiling water. Refrigerate until it starts to set.
  • Stir in 1 1/2 C fat free sour cream.
  • Stir in the cooled, cooked fruit.
  • Pour into pie crust and refrigerate.
  • I added some Cool Whip, just because I had some on hand, which fluffs it up a bit.

    This would taste more "peachy" if you used peach jello, but it doesn't come in sugar free. You could probably use lemon, but I liked the color.

    Serves 6

  • 358 Ban the Butts in Columbus

    One of the reasons I gave up on the Democrats (a small reason--the big one was you can't be a pro-life Democrat) is that nothing I worked or voted for or supported over 40 years was ever enough for them. Take smoking, for example. I hate it.

    We had a white couch for 13 years. We gave it to our son about a year ago--now it is a pale yellow ochre. I shudder to think what his lungs must look like. And I'm thrilled that store clerks and library staff no longer blow smoke in my face while serving me (yes, Ohio State University Libraries staff used to be allowed to smoke in public service areas, not just in offices and cubicles.) I'm glad I can go to a restaurant and not hang my clothes in the garage before returning them to the closet.

    But enough is enough my clean air friends and advocates. It's pointless to protest the most recent proposed bans on ALL indoor smoking, or smoking within 20 ft. of a non-smoking establishment. They will eventually want 50 ft. then 20 miles. And the fines and the supervision by police already stretched--$750 for a third violation, will only grow.

    How do I know Democrats are behind Columbus' draconian smoking ban? Their footprints are all over it. Take an issue no one can disagree with--cleaner air, safer automobiles, better schools, higher minimum wage, safer streets, better welfare for lab beagles, improved skills for minorities and women and then rachet up the goal, keep it ever moving upward so that those comparative terms, the ones with the -er endings, must grow to superlative endings, the ones with the -est endings.

    These folks will never stop. It is a religion. I don't know who their diety is, but I know the name of their devil. Personal Responsibility.

    And soon they'll want my fat. Are these folks obsessed with butts?

    Friday, June 11, 2004

    357 Miscellaneous musings

    A national holiday--we have the Farewell to President Reagan on--playing the Navy hymn (Melita) as the casket goes by "Glad hymns of praise from land and sea" or "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand" as we sing in church. President or pauper, that is all we have in the end.

    Trying to install drapery rods today. I think we're too old for this. Two ladders, two people.

    I switched printers here again. The HP LaserJet 4L has come home and the HP 722C will go to the Lakehouse. Crawling around under the desk looking for cords to disconnect from surge protector, and then lying on the floor half in the bathroom to disconnect and reconnect from the CPU. Like trying to untangle spaghetti. I KNOW I'm too old for this.

    More rain today. My artificial lilies and pansies are holding up well. Haven't faded and don't droop.

    Thursday, June 10, 2004

    356 Have you seen Eight Little Indians?

    The next time you’re in a public library take a look to see if it has "Eight Little Indians" by Josephine Lovell, illustrated by Roger Vernam, published by Platt & Munk Co., Inc. 1935-36. Other than finding some for sale on the internet, I've been able to find nothing about either the author or the illustrator. I'm beginning to wonder if they are pseudonyms.

    I must have read this book 100 times when I was little--it belonged to my sister, Carol. I was crazy about the horse pictures and tried to imitate some of the activities I read about, like creating pottery.

    About 10 years ago I found 2 or 3 of the chapters at an antique store, but in rather poor condition, which made me realize the chapters had been published separately, before appearing in book form. Even so, I bought them.

    Wednesday I had an urge to go to the Acorn Used Book Store. Instead of first browsing the Ohioiana and children's books like I usually do, I went to the art books. Piled next to them were a stack of these small 10 page, beautifully illustrated books.

    I bought the 8 Indian stories, and left the rest (all in mint condition), so obviously Platt & Munk and Roger Vernam had done others. Lovell's name doesn't appear on any of the individual titles (Watlala, an Indian of the Northwest; Gray Bird, a little Plains Indian; Winona, a little Indian of the prairies; Micco, a Seminole Indian boy; Nigalek, a little Eskimo boy; Antelope, a Navaho Indian boy; Morning Star, a little Pueblo girl; and Leaping Trout, a little Iroquois boy.

    I would sure like to know something about the author and illustrator.

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    355 Partisanship in the news

    Partisanship is in the eye of the beholder and Peter Johnson of USAToday doesn't see his own. If we were talking splinters and planks here the way the Bible does, he'd be writing in Braille.

    Today (June 9) he reports that Fox cable news is partisan because 52% of its viewers consider themselves to be conservatives, compared to 36% of CNN viewers.

    But that would make 48% of Fox liberal (or some mix), and 64% of CNN liberal (or some mix), and he doesn't say CNN is liberal, only that Fox is conservative. The audience is certainly more balanced at Fox, even if the news isn't.

    I think the figures came from a Pew study, however, Editor and Publisher website presents a different set of statistics also from that study, so who knows?

    Political Slogans

    I heard a political slogan on the radio today, a joke I assume, that went something like, "George W. Bush wants to buy your vote by doing good things for the country. Don't be fooled."

    Also, heard comments on the PBS coverage of the Reagan years which apparently had some footage of protesters and pols after Reagan's get tough, evil empire speeches. The commentator said that if you put Kerry's face on Mondale, who was saying we needed to cooperate with other countries and negotiate, they would have been interchangeable. Also the protestors gathering in Washington appeared to be the same folks as today. Maybe they are.

    354 Have you ever read the fine print?

    I saw a newsletter (free) on a topic (could be anything--travel, horses, genealogy, publishing) that looked interesting. Now, I know these sites are only fronts for advertising--they provide free information on the internet or sent to my mail box, in order to collect readers, who will then click on ads, and the website receives a return on its investment. It is really just a modern magazine, which for a hundred years has been articles wrapped in advertising for subscribers whose names were freely sold to other advertisers.

    Here’s the deal:
    It wants my name, e-mail address, some demographics, etc. and recommends I read the disclaimer.

    First it assures me that my privacy is very important to this company, and then goes on to explain how very unprivate all this is.

    It doesn’t collect identifiable information unless I provide it (by subscribing).

    It won’t sell or rent my information to a 3rd party.

    It will only use my information to notify me of updates and for marketing purposes (that’s really pretty broad).

    It isn’t responsible for the policies of websites to which it links.

    It doesn’t use cookies to recognize visitors (but if I’m a subscriber, I assume I’m not a visitor?)

    It will assist me by providing on-line shopping opportunities and advertising related to the information I’m reading about.

    It will share aggregated research data, such as a my domain name and the Web site pages I have visited with advertisers or business partners.
    Now here’s the big one:
    as a general rule, it will not disclose any of my personally-identifiable information other than as set forth above except
  • when I specifically grant permission (like if I forget to check off not to share it) or
  • if it is required, such as when there is a good faith belief that the law requires it. It is that phrase, “as a general rule,” that sounds a bit squishy to me.
  • Advertisers or Web sites that have links to this newsletter’s web site may collect personally identifiable information about me. The information practices of the Web sites linked to this newsletter are not covered by its privacy policy.

    If I make a purchase from a merchant or service provider listed on its Web site, the information obtained during my visit to the merchant or service provider's Web site - including tracking information, cookies and credit card number and contact information - is provided so that the purchase transaction may occur. Each merchant or service provider has a separate privacy and information collection practice.

    There is a hosting company (unidentified) that protects the data about me that this company has collected.

    I think the final statement is something about the above not being legal advice.

    Everyday we give away our privacy, which is why I'm not too worried about the Patriot Act. We HAVE no private information. We gave it all away when we became enamored with the internet.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    353 Curb service

    Sunday I was sitting by the window at Caribou about 7 a.m. and a 15 passenger van drove up from Holiday Inn on Lane Ave. (across the street from Ohio State University). There was one passenger and she hopped out, came inside, got a latte, got back in the van and they left. That hotel has a coffee shop and hosts a lot of conferences, so apparently she just had to have Caribou (would have passed a Starbucks on the way). She didn't leave her bag in the van, and carried it inside. I was happy to see it was full of books and not a computer. I thought perhaps she was on her way to the Memorial Tournament (in Dublin), but it looked as though the van was going back east rather than north. Probably a rich librarian (an oxymoron).

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    351 Government (state) run amok

    My husband paints barns (watercolor). He'll slam on the brakes, whip out his camera, and jump out of the car for a "Mail Pouch" barn tucked into a hillside with a little fog rising. The State of Ohio wants to tax the owners of such barns as outdoor advertising. The Office of Contract Sales, Ohio Department of Transportation, will actually waste our tax dollars driving around Ohio's rural roads looking for non-compliant barns--supposedly it generates $1.375 million for ODOT. But it infuriates photographers, painters, and horse owners. These barns probably bring tourists to the area.

    ODOT needs to go after those kids blocking streets with their lemon-aid stands. Kerry Yoakum of Office of Contract Sales, shame on you!

    Sunday, June 06, 2004

    350 Rice on D-Day and Reagan

    "It's been really so touching. I've seen these elderly gentlemen here, some of them in wheelchairs, some of them barely able to stand, but still determined to salute the flag. And I just have an image in my mind of these young men who sat there, about to cross onto these beaches and about to meet enemy fire. I can't even imagine what it was like.

    And it just reminds us, and these crosses and Stars of David behind us remind us the price of the sacrifice for freedom. It reminds us that nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice, that liberty has to be defended.

    It comes, as you said, at the same time that we've lost Ronald Reagan, one of the great battlers for freedom. . . I was a young Soviet specialist when he had the confidence, the nerve really, to say that communism would end up on the ash heap of history. At that time, it seemed pretty unlikely. It must have seemed pretty unlikely that this Normandy landing was actually going to succeed and end up overthrowing Adolf Hitler. But when people who are committed to liberty set their minds to it, they can do a lot."

    Dr. Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor, with Chris Wallace on FoxTV interview, June 6, 2004

    Saturday, June 05, 2004

    349 Summers at Camp Emmaus in Northern Illinois

    Today I received the newsletter from the Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren where I was baptized and married, and it included a registration form for Camp Emmaus, the camp for the Northern Illinois and Wisconsin district of that denomination. That really brought back the memories--of homesickness, of being a camper in the cabins, of crafts, singing, campfires, bugs in the food, of working as an assistant cook, of being a junior camp counselor, and of climbing the fence to check on my horse which was boarded at the farm next door. I recall the sights and smells and sounds that only are experienced deep in the woods of northern Illinois--cedar, pine, maple, ash, oak of many varieties, elm, linden, poplar, and walnut dropping piles of decaying leaves and numerous shrubs with sharp points if you get too far off the path.

    The mother of one of my best friends, Ada Masterson Thomas, wrote a history of Camp Emmaus in 1979 (1), and the introduction is by Carl E. Myers, the minister who married us, formerly the minister of the Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren. Mrs. Thomas, and her husband Grover, were both wonderful writers who compiled a lot of local history, he for the town newspaper and she for the church and organizations. She reports that the churches of the denomination in the 1940s had rented camp sites for its children, but proposed to find a site it could develop for God’s work with children. First the committee looked at a 160 acre farm 10 miles from Mt. Morris, but the price per acre was too high. Then Robert Fridley, a lay leader in the Mt. Morris church offered 67 acres to which he would retain some pasturing and timber rights within his lifetime. So in 1946 the dream of a camp began 3 miles from Mt. Morris in Ogle County. The Fridley land was part of the original Maryland settlement of northern Illinois of the 1830s.

    As I look through Ada’s careful history I see many names that even after 50 years, I recognize--Foster Statler who baptized me, Vernon Hohnadel, a neighbor, Orion Stover whose children went to college where I attended, Earl Buck, a layman from Franklin Grove Church where my grandparents attended, Forest Kinsey who was my junior high Sunday school teacher, Kenny Zellers from my home church, Evan Kinsley, my high school principal and Latin teacher and John Dickson, my uncle.

    Twenty seven churches sent 125 members to Mt. Morris to launch a campaign to raise money in 1947. By August 1948, 9,000 man-hours of labor had been donated, and the electricity was turned on and cabins were being built. The first camp of 1948 was lively teen-agers and they all had work assignments which included clearing brush, making paths, painting, and grading a ball field. By 1949 there were 8 cabins and I was attending camp there in 1950, staying in the original small lodge where meals were prepared, and becoming violently ill from extreme homesickness. Fees were $10.50 a week and there was an official list of acceptable clothing which included pedal pushers, slacks, and jeans. Today’s 2004 recommendations are: bedding, Bible, personal items, flashlight, long pants, swim suits, and towels, and fees are still a very reasonable $138.

    A new lodge was built in 1951, and one of my earliest memories of it was sitting down for dinner one day in July 1953 and seeing the note on the blackboard, “Give thanks. The Korean War is Over.” The lower level which was the kitchen and dining room was a walk-out with a large fire place at the end. Food seemed to be plentiful with a “runner” assigned to each table to get seconds and extra milk.

    A lake was created and later a swimming pool, which opened in 1954. A manager’s home was built near the camp entrance, and I believe my brother and his family lived there for awhile in 1965 when he was the camp manager. The current camp manager, Bill Hare, was one of my camp mates back in the 1950s.

    I’m so happy to see that children are still enjoying the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Camp Emmaus. For photos of the 2003 season, look here.

    1. Thomas, Ada Masterson, comp. The founding and development of Camp Emmaus. [Mt. Morris, IL, 1979]. This book contains a list of the original 1948 teen-age campers and their leaders, an appendix of the known plants, and a natural history of the area.

    Friday, June 04, 2004

    348 I feel like such a slug

    On the internet, it is easy to forget how you got to a particular blog or website, but just now I bumped into "All my light bulbs". The author is recovering from brain surgery and posted a list of 11 things she wanted to accomplish while recuperating. They run the gamut from learning Italian, to reading Rule of Four (I think that's how I wandered into her space looking at reviews of that book), to finishing some crochet projects (I haven't crocheted since I was 8) to writing an inspirational book about her experience.

    Thursday, June 03, 2004

    347 He said, She said

    The June 1 New York Times reported that Katherine L. Milkman, a senior at Princeton, used mathematical models in her senior thesis to analyze the fiction in The New Yorker. She read “442 stories printed in The New Yorker from Oct. 5, 1992, to Sept. 17, 2001, and built a substantial database. She then constructed a series of rococo mathematical tests to discern, among other things, whether certain fiction editors at the magazine had a specific impact on the type of fiction that was published, the sex of authors and the race of characters. The study was long on statistics and short on epiphanies: one main conclusion was that male editors generally publish male authors who write about male characters who are supported by female characters.” Full story here(requires registration).

    I thought this was very interesting, considering my recent rant about how unhappy I am with my subscription to The New Yorker. I don't know how to do statistical analysis but I've noticed the different writing styles in the investment & markets section of the Wall Street Journal between women and men and the stories they are assigned. The males writers are much more idiomatic, particularly in the opening paragraphs, using idioms from gambling, agriculture, sports, horse racing and betting, war, and violence, and the women write much more straight forward, factual pieces. I have no idea why, except I would assume women don't use those idioms in normal, everyday speech, and therefore their writing style is less interesting to men, who are probably the editors assigning the tasks, and the majority of the readers. The idioms give the male style a more gossipy, tipster tone; the female style is sort of dull and school-marmish.

    Male writer
    “making with big bets”
    “ramping up”
    “capture a bigger share”
    “grease the palms”
    “stream of abuses”
    “money on the table”
    “raising their game”
    “blowout data”
    “exit velocity”
    “road show meeting”
    “bidding war”
    “bit the bullet”
    “took the reins”
    “pushing costs down, not a slope, but over a cliff”
    Stocks and markets, of course, rebound, boost, rally, plunge, surge, retreat, advance and weaken

    Female writer
    straight forward, non-idiomatic language
    Uses idioms in quotes, usually from men

    Male and Female co-authors
    some idioms, but non-typical
    “dipped into the talent pool”

    I'm sure someone has written a senior thesis on this topic, analyzing a huge amount of data and comes to the same conclusion I have.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    346 Don't leave the house!

    When I got ready to scrape wallpaper today, I decided that instead of my 23 year old cotton slacks and a mismatched $1 t-shirt, I'd wear one of my exercise outfits--a brilliant red, fuscia, orange and lime green stretchy pair of capri pants and a red polo shirt. My, I look fine. And the work is much, much easier. But my husband suggested that I not leave the house.

    If I hang on to those cotton slacks another 7 years, maybe I can sell them at Rusty Zipper.

    Tuesday, June 01, 2004

    345 Back to the Drawing Board

    We finally got an estimate on painting my office, half-bath, and the guest room--over $3,800! When I recovered from the shock, I began looking for another estimate. Our deceased neighbor's daughter stopped by to inquire about something, and I knew they had removed wallpaper and painted the condo to put it on the market. She gave me the name of the painter who they were quite pleased with, so I've given him a call and will get another estimate. In the meanwhile, I've started stripping the wallpaper in the office. He mentioned that he would charge $20/hour for that task, so since I have enough talent to pull wallpaper from the wall, I thought I could at lease get started on that. Also, it will give him an idea of the repair that will need to be done.

    When we purchased our condo, the office was the lightest, cheeriest room in the house because all the other rooms were so dark. Now that we've lightened up the rest of it, this room looks awfully dark. Taking out all the books and moving the desk will definitely be no fun.

    I put a CD on while working, "The Good Life" by Max McLean. He has a voice of silk dipped in honey. I usually don't find audio versions of scripture very satisfying because after a few paragraphs the words all sound alike, but he is different. Listen here for a minute or three.