A Junk Knife

Or as I usually refer to it, a cr@p-knife. Something to use for cutting packing tape, prying open boxes, and those things you really do not want to use a good knife for. I hate having to get tape residue off a good knife. And thus was created the cr@p-knife.

It needs to be cheap yet functional, something that if it gets gunked up or dull, doesn’t really make a difference. I prefer fixed blade knives, since junk folding knives seem to have hinges that break or springs that fail at the worst possible moment in the worst possible way. I don’t want the blade snapping loose as I try to defeat UPS’s box adhesive, for instance. Stabbing myself is not the goal. Continue reading

Green Beer Day

OK, not really. For some this is a day to honor one’s Irish ancestry and heritage, and to eat corned beef and cabbage and potatoes, drink good beer (Guinness, Harp, et al), listen to Irish music, and honor the efforts of an early Christian missionary who is associated with Ireland although he is a Briton. If you are a politician in Boston or New York City, you’d better be seen at an Irish event, or your absence Will Be Noted.

Yes, this is an Orthodox icon of an Irish saint from Britain. Next question?

Continue reading

Scribble, Scribble, Scrunch into Corner

So there I was, peering over Old NFO’s elbow, trying to read the accession number on the little tag hanging off the 1878 Smith and Wesson .44 Russian, so I could record it along with the fountain of information pouring forth, but the floodgate had opened, hands were moving and it was all I could do to write down numbers, names, and details. Peter Grant was looking at another revolver, inspecting some modifications, and I couldn’t remember if I’d written that one down yet or not. Five more revolvers lay on the counter in front of us, swords and spears and a few maces hung from brackets on the wall, and Dorothy Grant had wisely tucked herself into the corner with a book, well clear of overflows of enthusiasm. The curator alternated between making note of what had been looked at and asking questions. I had unleashed a monster: knowledgable experts with nearly unlimited examples to inspect, poke, and teach from. What hath Alma wrought?!? Continue reading

Cheap Clothes: Musing on the Luxury of Modern Life

While picking up something at Le Mart du Wal (as we refer to it around Redquarters), I started thinking about the price of clothing, comparing now to history. The short version? Incredibly, unimaginably inexpensive to cheap in terms of time needed to make it, labor needed to make it, and the amount that can be produced. When it comes to textiles, Earth has never been so fabulously wealthy. How we got here is a fascinating story. Continue reading

Smoke on the Horizon

What no one from the High or Great Plains ever wants to see…

This is starting to look dreadfully like 2006, when over a million acres (the state of Rhode Island is 700,000 acres) burned and over a dozen people died in the fires or in wrecks caused by smoke across the road. As of writing this, seven people have died in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, three of them on one ranch when they were trapped by flame as they tried to save some cattle. The flames move with the wind, and when the wind gusts over fifty miles an hour, you can’t outrun the flame front. Continue reading

Thoughts on Pushing One’s Cardio Workout in Order to See Where One Maxes Out…


So there I was, trotting away, and since I can now handle a 15 degree incline at three miles an hour without reaching my target heart rate, I said to my self, “Self, I wonder what it takes now to max out?”

Smart people hear that little inner voice and strangle it before anything bad can happen. I’m not that smart. Continue reading

In Praise of Breathing

I had a series of head-colds, exacerbated by allergy problems, for over a month. As is usual with head colds, they made breathing rather challenging. Not “I’m having an anxiety attack and can’t slow down my breathing and this is terrifying” challenging, or “asthma attack from h-ll” or “Wasp sting! Grab the Epi-Pen!” challenging, but difficult. It reminded me that I take breathing easily for granted. Continue reading