Handmade Tales – Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?

Most things we use in the course of regular life are not handmade. Many were not handmade, even a couple of hundred years ago. Factories have been around a long time. The industrial revolution started in England in 1688. By the mid 1800s, most ordinary household items were and still are, made in factories.

Bedroom door

What is still made by loving hands? Art. Any form of art. Painting, sculpture, pottery … all unique. Photography is finished on computers, but it originates with a single artist’s vision. Despite electronic tools, the output remains part of the artist’s creativity.

I will never buy a mass-produced “art print” if I have any chance of buying an artist’s original. Even people who have little or no money can find original art at flea markets and yard sales. You never need to buy a factory reproduction when there is real art to be found.

In this house, all the painting and pottery are original, some new, most old, handmade, and one of a kind. Each piece has its own story to tell. I, in turn, have stories to tell about them.

By far the most unique, completely individual things of all, are the people in our lives, each of whom can never to be duplicated or replaced.

As long as that remains true, there is hope for this old world!


Share Your World – 2014 Week 30

List 2 things you have to be happy about.

Against all odds and despite one of the world’s epic runs of bad luck, we’re still here. And we look pretty good. I wouldn’t have put money on it, but so far, so good.

Friends. We have friends, alive and about as well as anyone is at this age and stage of life. Who’d’ve thunk it?

List at least 2 things in nature do you find most beautiful.

Water flowing over a dam or waterfall.

Manchaug dam

The glory of a New England autumn.

Autumn gold


Show us a 2 of your favorites photographs. Explain why they are your favorite.   If you are not a photographer (serious or otherwise), think of a two favorite scenes in your life and tell us about them.


The heavy rolling mist coming in from the ocean while the pre-dawn sky shows the most delicate pink, like the inside of a shell. The runners and walkers on the beach. The seagulls, the sand. This shot captures a time and place so ephemeral, if it weren’t for the pictures I would not be sure it really occurred.


I saw the moment coming. I knew the rising sun would be bisected by that slender bit of cloud. I stood there, trying not to move despite at least a million mosquitoes chomping on me. It was just before 5 in the morning on the 4th of July. Garry was sound asleep and other than the few fisherman beginning readying their nets, I was the only person awake and upright inj Rockport Harbor.

Then, it happened. The rising sun met the cloud. Click, click, click. A perfect moment captured, never to be repeated.

List 2 of your best personality traits.

I almost never lose my sense of humor, no matter how awful things get or how terrible I feel.

I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know and am never afraid (or embarrassed) to admit it. Because my education will never be over.


190 Days Later – Back on January 21st, we asked you to predict what day #211 would be like. Well, July 30th is that day — how have your predictions held up so far? If you didn’t reply to the prompt at the time, is this year turning out to be as you’d expected?

I checked to make sure. I didn’t write this prompt. I didn’t write it because I had all kinds of heart surgery coming up and wasn’t sure I’d be alive now, much less writing posts in a blog.

As we see, I’m here.


This year has been almost exactly what I expected, both the good and the bad of it. The winter was worse, the spring nasty and wet … but summer has been lovely and I’m hoping for an excellent, perhaps an award-winning Autumn.

With just a wee bit o’ luck, I’ll make it through the whole year and still be here to complain about it.



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Earth or the Harvest Season

I do so love the autumn. From the crisp smell in the air, to the amber color of the sun, to the huge harvest moon as it hangs over us. I wait every year for autumn to come and mourn its departure. It is never long enough. If it lasted all year, it would then, finally, be long enough!

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Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond

by Scott Allen Nollen

Three Bad Men

As big a fan of these three men as I am, there is a level of revisionist history that is impossible for me to accept.

I had to stop reading the book. At least for a while. It’s a temporary interruption I’m sure, but I needed to back off from Three Bad Men. I need to take a few deep breaths and calm down before continuing.

This book chronicles the lives and friendships of John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond. Two great actors and one extraordinary director. It’s an interesting read. I have been reading, as is my habit, slowly, savoring. I was enjoying it.

Until I got to the section in which the author claims Ford used Stepin Fetchit and other minorities to “slyly mock America’s racism”.

That’s absolutely untrue.

What I see — and have always seen — is the perpetuation of racism by Pappy. As much as I love John Ford’s westerns, there’s no escaping the racism in his films.

They were still calling Woody Strode “boy” as late as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Even considering his belated attempt to make reparations with Cheyenne Autumn, it was much too little, way too late.

I’ll get back to the book in a while, when I have calmed down a bit. Right now, I’m sorry. I simply can’t continue reading it.


Back to Life – After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

TimeTravelIt’s all the fault of the damned Chrono-Guard. They keep messing around with my life’s timeline. Good grief, how in the world can I be back in school? What malevolent fate has done this to me? I served my time. I even got a damned degree, against all odds.

I’m sure everyone who knew me was betting against me (ha! gotcha that time!), but I graduated in what had to be the world’s most insipid ceremony. I don’t remember who spoke.

It was probably one of our professors. An especially hoary old one who’d been gathering moss for fifty odd years … though with the way Those People are bending time, it could easily have been 250 years. Maybe old Broadus could write so authoritatively about Alexander Hamilton because he used to hang out with him. Maybe he was the one who shot him!

Exams? Again? For the past 40 years — or however many — it’s hard to figure given the confusion about when was when and the non-linearity of the past, I’ve had a repeating nightmare in which I find myself in a classroom, ready to take a final exam. Not only am I stark naked (which no one seems to notice) but I realize I’ve never attended that class and have no idea what subject is being tested. I always wake up sweating and screaming.

Those dreams are not a bad summary of my collegiate experience, minus the nudity, of course. I’m pretty sure if I’d shown up for a final naked, someone would have noticed. The professor at least. They were a horny lot.

I think what I need to feel human again is to convince the Chrono-Guard I do not want to work for them. I do not want to do any more time traveling. Ever. Leave me alone and get out of my head once and for all.

What’s the one thing that would make me feel better?

GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE! Put my life back in order. How will I know when — or if — to send birthday cards if I don’t even know what century I’m living in? Eh? Did you ever consider that, you time whores?

I hate the Chrono-Guard. I really do.