Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
I studied Latin in college and it was no picnic. Others might have a natural gift for studying dead languages, but not me. I can remember grueling nights at my desk conjugating verbs, translating passages of Cicero and Suetonius.
I think the toughest part was sticking with my Latin studies when I knew that all that I was learning would have little or no practical use.
This is why I am happier than most people when it comes to the Trump impeachment inquiry. The central question in the impeachment is whether Trump tried to extort the Ukrainians to announce an investigation into Joe Biden as part of a quid pro quo (“this for that”) for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
Here is where my heart sings. Quid pro quo. That’s Latin. I studied that. Maybe it wasn’t such a big waste, after all.
Thanks President Trump!
One of my favorite books is “How Buildings Learn” by Stewart Brand. It is a fascinating volume. He recounts the history of buildings through the centuries and, how, with the march of time, buildings “learn” to adapt to new social realities, new technologies and new people. He has pages devoted to pictures of building over the course of a century. The changes can be dramatic or subtle.
But Brand goes a little wrong. True, as he says, buildings learn. But human beings forget.
Back in the early 1990’s, I bought an old house in Edgar and took the next 16 years fixing it up, room by room. I replaced all of the trim. Every stick was stained with an Ultra Penetrating Stain from Mohawk Finishing Co. This past week, I hired a carpenter to replace two picture windows installed during my 1990’s remodeling project. I now have to finish various trim pieces. But I cannot recall the shade of stain I used. I thought it was Raw Sienna and ordered a quart. That was wrong.
I then recalled the stain color might be Raw Umber or Burnt Umber, but I was unsure. The color swatches at the Mohawk Finishing Co. website didn’t solve the puzzle. I found an old bottle of the stain with less than a teaspoon left. The bottle was so stain-covered I couldn’t make out the stain’s name.
To order the right stain, I now have sent in by mail a chip of wood with some of the old stain on it. A technician there will identify the right color.
Buildings learn, says Brand. Fine, but I just wish they could talk.
Marie Kondo is a huge thing. This petite Japanese woman calls on us to “tidy up” our lives and get rid of the “stuff” that overburdens us.
That’s a good idea.
But I do want to give a plug for holding onto possessions, too.
As I mentioned, I had carpenters replace two old, rotting windows. In the process of installing new windows, the carpenters damaged a few shingles.
Happily, I was able to offer them a small stack of pre-finished, matching cedar shingles to complete the job.
I saved those shingles in my barn for 25 years.
We all have too many things and we’d all benefit to reduce the clutter that bogs down our lives.
Sometimes, though, stuff you save comes in handy.