Sunday, February 24, 2019

What's with the shroud?

Is it just me or is this not one of the odder decorating choices a person could make? This graphic shows up in IKEA ads on a regular basis. Maybe my mind moves in odd ways, but why would anyone want to hang the Shroud of Turin on their bedroom wall?

Okay, so it's not actually a shroud. Shrouds are more like those oversize fleeces with a hood that resemble the weird hybrid that would result if a blanket mated with a bathrobe, but this thing comes close. The hanging the garment, whatever it might be, so it looks like it's been crucified does not help. It's weird, just flat out weird.

Those Swedes are definitely strange people. I guess there are good reasons for Finns to make fun of them.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Why did we become so boring?

L'Anse High School graduation announcement
I've been puttering away at home scanning and inventorying archival material from the museum because it's too cold to work in the building when the furnace is dead. It must be an effect of aging because I'm noticing the cold more this winter than I did back in 2012-2013 when there was also no gas heat in the building. Back then I managed fine with just an electric space heater in the office.
Open. There's multiple pages including a class roll under that top sheet. 

In any case, I've been hauling stacks of material home, working through it, and then hauling it back. I'm slowly figuring out what all was in a 40-quart Sterlite bin that ostensibly was packed with miscellaneous school-related ephemera.
Naturally, like everything else I've gotten into in the past six years, ostensible and reality are not synonymous. It is mostly school stuff -- graduation announcements, programs from school plays and concerts, school newspapers -- although there is some odd stuff mixed in, like a yearbook from a local church and a set of aviation navigation tools (e.g., a specialized protractor).
What 1932 looks like when open. And, yes, I cringed when I saw that year written on the front in ink. Made absolutely no sense when the year is clearly shown in that triangle at the top. 
There's also the usual issue of confusing labels, like a gallon ziplock bag labeled "L'Anse" when it's actually full of things from Baraga High School, and vice versa.

Some of the material is interesting, some pretty dull, and the process overall is fairly tedious. It's the type of task I'd hate if it was paid job but when I'm doing it as a volunteer with no set schedule, no deadlines, and the ability to get up and walk away any time it starts to feel too boring, I can't complain. At least my home office is warm.
Another one with multiple pages, hence the leather lace binding. 

One thing does have me wondering, though. When did we as a society decide to become so damn boring? From the earliest graduation announcements I've found up until the late 1930's, there's a lot of variety. The announcements are different shapes, different colors. Some are elaborate with multiple folds, some are simple but not bland. Why did we go from using announcements like the ones shown above to every one being happy with something as bland and lifeless as the example below?
Jostens has been around since 1897 as a supplier of school memorabilia -- rings, pins, announcements, yearbook printing. Their logo is embossed on the back of some the announcements I've been scanning. Did they make the decision to turn boring, or was it a case of their more creative competitors going out of business so they felt free to slack off on design work? It's a mystery.

(Actually, I can see it as being a logical business decision. The niftier announcements with multiple pages and lacing to hold them together were definitely more labor intensive, and even a simple one sheet like the 1922 announcement with its two folds involves a special shape for the paper. The boring ones use a standard size paper so can be run off quickly and are easily machine folded. Still, the older announcements were definitely a lot more interesting than the ones graduating seniors send out these days.)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Happy birthday, Val

Time marches on.

Having visions of Fimbulvetr

Looking out the window this morning all I can think is "Christ on crutch, is it ever going to stop snowing?" I'm feeling like we're trapped in a fantasy/horror story I once read about a person who ends mentally stuck inside a snow globe forever. In terms of total inches, it's not actually that bad yet -- our record snow total is about 430 inches for one winter and we're only up to around 150 -- but it has gotten to the point where it's causing problems for us. The S.O. is running out space to shove it out of the way with the plow truck. The driveway is getting narrower and narrower -- I want to order something online but can't because I know perfectly well that at the moment if the UPS truck came in here he wouldn't be able to turn around to get out again. The snowbanks are creeping too far in, and the turnaround has definitely shrunk.

We should order another cord of firewood, but it's the same deal. If the guy we bought the last cord from came in now with his dump trailer, he'd have a horrible time trying to get turned around to get out again. Backing out from our place is not an option when it would require reversing for about 800 feet and negotiating a couple of curves. Not dramatic curves, granted, but still not fun to do when the snowbanks are closing in and if you're off by just a couple inches you're going to get stuck. (We're not going to freeze if we don't have wood delivered. We do have a propane furnace as a back-up, but don't like using it.)

The thing that kind of worries me is this is only the middle of February. What's going to happen in March? March is when we get the spring storms where snowfall gets measured in feet, not inches, and the stuff that falls tend to be slush instead of fluff. Maybe I should be stocking the freezer and prepping for us being basically snowed in for awhile. I know that between the use of the plow truck, an ATV with a plow on it, a snow thrower, and the Yooper scooper we will always be able to get our driveway open eventually, but we could end up with multiple days where it's not possible to get into town. 

I am really missing the county road commission this winter. They stopped doing private driveways a few years ago, but this is the first winter where not having that grader come in occasionally is actually an issue.

Photo is of the S.O. plowing a couple weeks ago. We've gotten a lot more snow since then.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

I don't worry, I know

I don't worry about invisible formatting. I know it's happening. All it takes is looking at what's happening in HTML as a final step in editing and seeing a gazillion formatting commands that are going to do strange things as soon as I hit "publish." 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

How to ensure your political party dies

I did not watch the State of the Union address. It doesn't matter who the President happens to be, I never watch that speech because it's just pure political theater. It has, however, been interesting watching and listening to the after-the-fact responses.

Older Republican men seem to be especially flummoxed by the Democratic women. The amount of ignorance, sexism, and just plain out-of-touch-with-the-real-world bloviating has been a tad unreal. One dude was blathering on about, more or less, "what was with all that white? They looked like the KKK." Holy shit. The stupid, it burns*. Apparently that dude did not bother to listen to any of the women when in the days leading up to the State of the Union they explained  they were going to wear white to honor the history of the suffragettes who pushed for voting rights. No mystery, just a clear cut homage to the women in the past who made it possible for women to be in Congress and the Senate now.

Other male pundits and political establishment men didn't go quite that far into the depths of displaying their ignorance, but there has been an astounding amount of condescension and mockery. Lots and lots of thinly disguised "Oh, how cute. Look at the little girls playing at government." The news media is starting to call the middle-aged white dudes out on their cluelessness and rudeness, but the guys still don't get that they're digging their own political grave. A former Republican Congressman kept referring to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as a "barista," for example, and a reporter  chastised him for not treating Ocasio-Cortez with the respect any elected representative deserves. The Republican's response? He changed the subject. That type of clueless, belittling behavior emphasizes to anyone watching just how misogynistic the current Republican party is. And the more they do it, the more they sneer at women and belittle people like Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, and Ilhan Omar, the easier it becomes for activist groups like Emily's List to recruit more women to run for office.

One reason the Republicans did poorly at the polls in November 2018 is they're managing more and more to be see as the party of out-of-touch, stupid old white men. They used to be able to count on one group of women -- college educated whites -- but even they're jumping ship. If the GOP can't attract minorities of any color, and they're losing women, what's left? Sooner or later the supply of not-very-smart white guys is going to run out. Every so often someone in the GOP will point this out, but apparently the old dudes in office now figure it's not their problem: they're already guaranteed a pension and a cushy lobbying job if they're voted out, so why worry if the party as a whole goes the way of the Whigs?

*The dumbest remark at all may have come from Don jr who criticized Ocasio-Cortez for not wearing a flag lapel pin when, with the exception of the President, no one in the Trump family bothered to wear one either, including Don jr.