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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

How Do You Know How to Do What You Do?

In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on April 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

SpliceMy friend informs me that the most obnoxious phrase in my lexicon is ”Let me tell/show you how the big boys do it.”

There are acts we perform we cannot unattach from the memory of the man who taught us it and a certainty that we know how to do it correctly.

Hitting a golf ball, digging a hole, parking a car, loading a gun, planing a board and casting a lure are all activities that have me
channelling a mentor.

What do you do that is forever a tribute to a teacher?

In the course of my day I had the opportunity to discuss my concept of the “stick gene” which moved me a long way towards my belief that there is a very real difference between men and women and it is nature not nurture. The “stick gene” observation is based upon my Irish Twins. My daughter first emerged to walk the yard and picked up a few sticks and carried them or but them down with indifference, my son picked up a stick and wailed hell out of a bush the first chance he got, he jabbed the stick into the ground and found another and built a rudimentary something. My observations came about in discussing the emasculation of young men and their ultimate frustration arising from the dampening of the “stick gene” and that men cannot be fulfilled without expressing their innate “do” urge…..
You dudes are missing your stick genes- or something as prosaic as discussing what you do rather than expressing your deep thoughts and grand ideas is boring.
I mark a board for trimming by running a finger & pencil scribe and think of Ray Curry.
I put on a bandaid & think of Uncle Ed.
I sharpen and carry a pocket knife and think of my Dad who never carried a pocket knife but taught me to.
I load a revolver and think of Jim Keeling, born in a tent in a mining camp,where his father was the law.
I sight a rifle and think of Tom Kudrowski who learned the business in the SE Asia games.
I flick a zippo & think of a thug named Donnie.
I put a wrench on a bolt on a car & think about Cass Smith and breaking bolts.
I tie a knot and think of Frank Powdrell & Art Burbick- Scout Masters.
I trust a young guy and think about school disciplinarian Art Russo.
I coach wrestling and channel Marty Jacobsen, Lacrosse and think of Kal Wynot & Red Wylie, Soccer and that jerk I couldn’t stand.
I coached baseball and thought of that asshole in the mirrored aviators berating me.
I ease up on the clutch and think of John Evans as I do when I run any two or four stroke engine.
I plane a door & set the hinges and think of how much better at it I became than that smug Paul Bowles.
I foot a column of numbers on an AIA703 and think of Michelle Williams who taught me the term foot.
I love my dog without cutesy BS & baby talk and think of Victor Roggio.
I see a pitch fork and think of Victor’s Native American buddy who killed a red neck with one for trifling with his sister and then returned to the real world from prison to capture wild horses and build carriages.
if I ever nut another steer in this life I will think of Jack Stroh, similarly if I ever shoot another rattle snake I will thing of Jim keeling and if I ever roll a joint again I will think of Chuck Novack the Polish Pope.
If I ever pluck out a bartender’s eye I will think of long gone Jerry the Seal who I saw do that.
If I change a diaper again I will think of my Mother who taught me that chore and how to sew, iron, make stuffing & prepare a turkey dinner.
If I ever sing again in public I will think of Art O’Hanlon who wanted my early changed voice in choir and whose invitation fell on my deaf ears.
When I fold my shirt cuffs it is into my sleeves, more secure and safe from chalk dust as Bob Cressey taught me.
If I put my thoughts to paper, or keyboard, I think of the Real Ken Follett.

PS April 2013

I saw a man today who I met 50 years ago. He was the older brother of a classmate and I was terrified of him. Today he is a tiny Buddhist, who led chants, at his Father’s wake.
I had reason to think of him last month when I had use for an axe on a stump; Mark taught me and Paul to sharpen a Boy Scout hatchet which he probably threw at us like Ed Ames…..
He showed us the file & whet stone method, I used an angle grinder and a belt sander– but I still honored him…

This is taken from a poorly received piece I did at the GMP where 1/2 the readers think a set screw is choreographed sex.

Mid- October Tweets

In Did You See This?, Fleshed Out Tweets on October 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

Honestly it is no wonder that women hate men- what passes for acceptable, if not handsome, among men is a lot broader than the yardstick for women. So according to this- shoulders are sexy; good for me as mine are still broad, if hairy.
@GoodMenProject: What Makes a Man Attractive? — There are few questions more frustrating than “What’s he got that I ain’t got?”

I’m in favor of American Males being circumcised aside from the health issues circumcision is a shibboleth. Frankly, I suspected the fathers of guys who weren’t circumcised of having brown shirts in their closets.
@standup2p: Justin Cascio getting back to,writing….The Circumcised Poet and Other Tales via @goodmenproject

Right here was to be a compilation of tweets about a young woman who committed suicide after being bullied- but I can’t sully her reputation by including her in these maunderings.

“Put the White back in the White House” T-Shirt…
I could conceive of wearing this for it’s absurdity and shock value…..
@standup2p: Yes it is wrong- and worst is I find it humorous on some level

Pick up and examine something dead when you don’t need to & maybe you can do it when you do need to. My mother would describe children as light as a bird- and this couldn’t have weighed 2 ounces….
@standup2p: A bird in the hand ….


Do it Yourself, America

In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm


This piece originally appeared in the good men project.

In a world where anyone can watch fifteen ways to sharpen a hand saw or to build a rail gun, is craftsmanship lost?

The New York Times reports that we are losing our craftsmanship skill set and spirit: the spirit that enabled GIs to modify tanks in Normandy to cut through hedgerows without needing Defense Contractor Consultants; the same spirit that had GIs up-armoring Humvees sixty years later on their own in what was essentially an act of mutiny.

We haven’t lost American ingenuity and capacity. We have stopped fostering it.

In a world of piano lessons and travel soccer starting at age 7, there Isn’t a lot of time to fix your bicycle.

With a helicopter mommy over your shoulder, one is unlikely to make a tennis ball cannon.

It’s hard to get excited by making thirty-five dollars an hour in a world of Money Guys making thirty-five bucks a minute. School districts have been only too happy to jettison Shop class as a sexist, dangerous, essentializing, vestigial skill set. We have gutted the trade unions and the apprentice system, and made it obvious that working for a living is tough to get excited about. As Jody Collier of welding tips and tricks points out, where the hell are the certified welders who can pass a drug test?

The intrigue of Norm Abrams is not that he is a master craftsman, it is that he’s a guy who does. Norm is no rocket scientist; he is a guy who for some reason decided to make a living that included sweat. Abrams was the most vilified and divisive subject in the annals of the magazine Fine Woodworking—which is sort of the Harvard Law Review for it’s own subject.

Myself, I disagree with how he does some things—but then I spent 20 years in a tool belt and the next 20 supervising construction. I greatly admire his growth as an artisan and his practicality. Not everyone chooses to bring furniture to the masses under the nose of The North Bennet Street School—the MIT of furniture-making.

There is a resurgence in interest in traditional trades that is part a rediscovery of Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and part a practical reaction to the concept “you can’t turn a wrench over

the Internet”. Additionally there is simple fact of the economy that the Money Guys are going to have to pay $135/hr for a plumber and the 99% will have to do it themselves. Without it being taught in schools, increasingly people are becoming aware that the 1% don’t create wealth: they play games with the wealth the rest of us forge from raw materials.

While we have disconnected from grandfathers and local shops that knew how to do things, the spirit of self-sufficiency and craftmanship is thriving in the virtual village. There are 10 million do it your-selfers wielding hand and battery driven tools, bragging about and sharing their prowess on YouTube. The only greater number of home-made videos belonging to such enthusiastic do it your-selfers are in various stages of undress as they also wield battery-powered tools with  confidence.

Home Depot is like the soft porn you can get on the restricted channels at name brand hotels. Not quite the real down and dirty, but it has made tools and materials accessible to the masses. Clean, fresh smelling and well-lit, it has seduced a generation into thinking they “can do it.” While Home Depot and Lowes have gutted the corner hardware stores and local lumber yards of this country for its helpful souls and crabby old

guys who bent more nails than you’ll ever pound, it has allowed a nation of people the opportunity to dream of capability. And led more than a few to the real thing—which as often as not is accessible via the internet.



Creepy Old Guy- update

In Mobile Updates on June 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Old Guy Tricks

I notice today, my ability to hear is inversely proportionate to the expanse of the cashier‘s cleavage. I guess I’m not looking at her lips. And I’m not turning my good ear entirely her way. Now that I’ve noticed this; I’ll have to check if I try for leans forward & repeats. I had no problem with the guy at the Bodega this morning. The brown-skinned cashier at the bank with the cafe au lait rolling praries and the  red-head with freckled bonny braes at the coffee bar had to holler to make themselves understood.
6/29 Update. I’m definitely a COG… Dash into Kohls last night while talking with a friend via the phone bud in my good ear. The cashier is a lovely girl, but she is little Miss 5×5 in a high neck blouse and I have no problem whatsoever understanding her and the woman on the other end of the phone remarks “guess she wasn’t much of a looker” .
I check my sex appeal by shooting myself in the foot- an inane comment is the litmus test.
If she chuckles, I’m a harmless old guy.
If she shrinks back, I’m just weird, but I might have been interesting.
I’m like a dog chasing a bus, don’t really want to catch it so this toe in the water works.
I scout what the people, on the train, are reading.
Until I saw the SNL Mother’s Day skit, I thought there was a female surge in Civil War lit. Shades of Gray indeed, one woman’s Victorian Romantic fantasy is gel shot picnics, another’s is a rattan spanking.

OR with my luck………..


Watching Her Walk in Her Sexual Power seems to suggest that a woman showing off her stuff is empowering if not an actual victory…

But if Nathan Graziano notices a woman from Yoga Pants Nation strutting her stuff he’s a pervert, or maybe just confused.

wanderlust is simply genetic diffussion? – mobile draft

In Fleshed Out Tweets on June 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

I’ve spent time, the past year, with reacquainted friends of the all mighty American faith….

Good Clubs, Schools, Hobbies, Clothes, Looks & Grooming- when Black Kids started wearing Polo Ralph Lauren I was unsurprised, I’d seen many people don camoflauge.

They each of them come from the Christian side of an extended family.

That is to say that for whatever reason one patriarch decided to become
(it all sounds so sordid)
While his brother remained Jewish……
And today I’m thinking that from a Darwinian point it was a brilliant, selfish and altruistic decision.
Your nephew has about as much common DNA with you as does your grandson.
Nobody would question a grandparent’s decision to take actions designed to assure the future procreation of their grandchildren.
So by donning new mufti the old boy lengthened the chance that someone was going to survive to old age while getting a chance to Shtup and produce Kinder.
I guess there is also a better chance that someone will make it to some afterlife and be able to beg the case with some dominant entity for the souls of his ancestors.
And it is so American….
The Amerinds put their backs to Asia, (or France if you keeping abreast of developments) and took their genes to a place that was different.
And all of our forebears did so as well….
OK, I’m not addressing the Middle Passage and we fail to remember that a significant number of black people, in the US are the progeny of later volunteer immigration from South America and the Caribbean.

Maybe not safer, but subject to different calamities.
So what- wanderlust is simply genetic diffusion?

My Sun Going Down

In Fleshed Out Tweets on April 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

Reading this morning- Sun Going Down by Jack Todd.
Cora Paint gives birth to twin sons while her husband is off cutting wood.
And I get to remembering Tom K, who had a rough patch in SE Asia. As he legs healed he decided on mules as a way to get around.
He and his wife were living in the Gunnison forest.
He returned, in a blizzard, from elk hunting to find her in a difficult labor.
Sensibly, he removed the hood from a truck and sleighed her over the snow to a road.
He flagged someone down.
Got her to the hospital.
Saw his son born.
And called a friend to go deal with the mules.
The hood never did close quite right ever after it was rehung.
Pip was rambunctious enough to be in prison today.
I can’t remember her name- Tom did beat her.
I write this in a suit on the LIRR.
Equally I wonder how I ever knew people like them and that I don’t anymore.
Oh but I love reading- remember it was all about states rights. Been reading on and off for 50 yrs about the Civil War and last night is the 1st I heard of this.
Cover of "Sun Going Down: A Novel"

Cover of Sun Going Down: A Novel

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Look what’s happening out in the streets

In Did You See This?, Fleshed Out Tweets on October 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Recent Tweets

Volunteers (Jefferson Airplane album)

Image via Wikipedia

standup2p Observations
700 arrested after protest on NY’s Brooklyn Bridge Wow Arab Spring, U.S. Fall…
standup2p Observations
“It wasn’t a march, it was a police riot,” Rudy Cops Out On Review Bd. – New York Daily… via@ArchiveDigger
standup2p Observations
Trying to get a handle on 700 arrests in NYC last night and wondering how many of the cops were marching @ the Dinkins riot on same bridge

standup2p Observations

Occupy Wall Street: A Tea Party for the Left? via@TIMEPolitics
The fact is I’ve been in street fights better orgqnized than this- wait maybe this is a street fight,
Some of the quotes I’ve heard today include and I paraphrase…
Not too many down trodden masses at the protest- they’re all at work…
“Wall Street: All these years we’ve been complaining about the apathy of the younger generation, that if it had been up to them the Freedom Rides would have been Beemer ragtops and tailgate picnics at polo matches. Well, for all its faults and confusions and contradictions and ignorances, the Wall Street protest does respond to that. Not exactly the March on Washington, but it may become a good point of departure. Even if some of them – based on personal observation a few nights ago – are indeed wearing Polo. It was, too, much easier just to say end the war in Vietnam.”
Jefferson Airplane:
Look what’s happening out in the streets
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Hey I’m dancing down the streets
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Ain’t it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolution Got to revolution
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it’s time for you and me
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Come on now we’re marching to the sea
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of America

9-11 I had a Camera that Day

In Did You See This?, Pictures, Thoughtful- Items I'd Like you to Read on September 11, 2011 at 12:31 am


I’m driving down the road talking on the phone and look up to see smoke from the North Tower. I ask the guy on the other end if he’s heard anything about a fire at the World Trade Center. He hadn’t. After our conversation  I tune to 1010WINS  to hear that a sightseeing plane hit the WTC. I call one of my employees who informs me that an engineer in the building, where he is, saw the plane coming down the river and that it was a commercial jet. I get to thinking of the assassination of Massoud the Lion of Panjshir and the dynamiting of the Buddhas. I grab my camera and take a few shots, turn the radio back on, and out of the corner of my eye, see the south tower hit.

I end up stopped, with the rest of the inbound traffic, at the causeway leading to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. We’re watching in silence for the most part.

I notice a brown-skinned Pakistani or Indian looking Dial Car Driver and wonder “Am I the only one thinking this?” I walk over to him and say that I know he had nothing to do with this; but I can’t vouch for the feelings of the rest of the crowd. He bursts into tears, insists he had nothing to do with this and asks what he should do.  I suggest he goes home, locks his doors, turns off the lights and keeps his head down for a few days.

I head back home and on the way, withdraw cash  from the bank, fill up my tank, buy 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition and a dark gray suit.  I tell the poor kid at the gas station, that day, that the Bill of Rights is going to take a beating

Being wired into the NYC Construction industry I know there were no volunteers working on the recovery by 9.13; the unions clamped it all down tight starting that evening. I know terrible stories that poison the overall valor of most “First Responders”. I think it was criminal to send firemen into the towers with hoses that were just set dressing.  A friend announced she was going downtown to cook for the volunteers. I still feel badly about asking, “What volunteers? The only volunteers are those handing out free meals and clothing to people on the clock”. I know firsthand that a lot of Laborers, Cops and Firemen took home boots, pants and jackets sized too small for them and that a lot of the children of these Heroes were color coordinated that Christmas in browns by Timberland and Carhart.

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Hand to Hand 2.1

In Mobile Updates, Pictures on August 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I am fond of this little camera- 95% found items. I practice an arcane art; tracking. I find and see things others don’t. I find owl castings in tall grass.

I have never found and arrow head. I mentioned this once in a Pennsylvania field and one of the guys with whom I’m hunting says “Like this” as he bends down and comes up with a beautiful little white one.

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For a brutal assessment of my opinion on photographers see this.


In Did You See This?, Mobile Updates on August 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Enjoying the heck out of  Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, 
Just as was discussed in “Manthropology” there is a decline in our desire and ability to memorize since the advent of the written word. Of course prior to the writing one had to take the narrator’s word for it in re what an actual bona fide recitation occurred. In any case while memorization as a skill set has been denigrated in education are calculating “tricks” we, or at least anyone reading this online, all agree that the amount of facts we now memorize is deminimus compared to what we carried around in past years. A few months ago I reposted an item about Degree accreditation on a construction management board asking if it is really necessary in a world where the library of congress is accessible on a device smaller than a pack of smokes and it generated hundreds of comments. [This outpouring may say as much about the economy as it does about the subject.]
Froer’s characters are for the most part practitioners of an arcane and lost art- memorization. He does meander on occasion to discuss the rare “Rain Man“. Me my memory is awful- 20 years ago I knew 100 telephone numbers rote, today I have my children’s written on a card in my wallet in case I lose my phone.

img 20110815 00112

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