More stamp indexing

I didn’t really do much today, or, not much besides

  • practicing piano — a few measures of the second strain of “The Entertainer”, which have been very rough when I play through the whole piece. I need to get the fingering right so the whole section is smoother and I get all the harmony in place
  • practicing trumpet, just the lip flexibility exercise. I sounded terrible on it today, getting a poor tone on the high C. I can often hear the D, and pretty frequently hit a Db (2nd valve) but neither of those today.
  • recording a few measures of the Candide overture for SymBa on euphonium.
  • working on my Shiny application, with the goal of adding a graph for vaccination statistics.
  • Indexing 20 stamp mounts. How about that:

They came out particularly sharp! I’m running low on ink; yesterday I scraped dried ink off the top of the ink in the can (it’s an oil-based printers ink) and ended up with little bits of hard ink when I rolled it out. Today I got good ink only, rolled it out smoothly, and got super good results.

Here’s the ink. We’ve been using it since 1999 or earlier, Great Western Ink’s Soy Hi Tech T-12 Dense Black:

I googled Great Western Ink before I phoned, and looked at the map besides. Their Seattle address looks like a side street in an industrial area, but here’s their headquarters in Portland. You can see the “G” and “western” on the sign to the left in the Google Street View — being able to do this cracks me up.

Mostly making stamps

We got two stamp orders yesterday. That was once a frequent occurrence, but the art stamp industry has almost vanished in the last several years and particularly this year, when no crafts fairs have been going on. At any rate, Arlene and I had to do some stamp making. We had received an order of cushion recently, but used up the first half a sheet, so I needed to put adhesive on half a sheet. The adhesive we use is double-sided tape twelve inches wide. Cushion is sponge rubber 1/8 of an inch thick which we buy in sheets 36 by 44 inches. That works out well for twelve inch tape. I also needed to cut wood for mounting the stamps on. I use a hollow ground planer blade on a seven inch table saw to cut 18 inch lengths of maple to the right length. The blade leaves a cut cleaner than I get with 100 grit sandpaper. I’m more than half done now with stamping the images of twelve stamps on (mostly) four to six blocks of each image.

I got a couple of mail order packages today, a pack of 4 rechargable AA batteries for my computer mouse and a pack of 100 sets of magnetic snaps for making bags. The snaps are things I could get at a fabric store, but they were so much less expensive in quantity that I think four packs of two at a fabric store would have cost about the same as I paid for the whole lot.

Emerging from the Pandemic Year

Yesterday, March 15, 2021, was two weeks after my second dose of COVID-19 vaccine (the Pfizer one, so it was three weeks after the first one, which was February 8). That means I had two weeks after the second one for my immune system to do as much as it was going to (or at least to cross whatever threshold the FDA or CDC or Pfizer scientists had set).

I celebrated the occasion for going for a haircut today! I had my hair cut four times in the previous year, twice by Arlene with the old hair cutting set with clippers that I already had when I was in grad school and twice by a hairdresser who came to Anne’s house and cut our hair in the backyard (the COVID safety recommendations are to avoid being indoors with anyone).

Earlier in the day we walked around Longfellow Pond in Wellesley. It had been cold overnight and yesterday (and was a little cold for mid March today, just in the low 30s) after several unseasonably warm days, and the pond was iced over. The first time we went there was in the late fall, when birders had been reporting good ducks on it. We saw several hooded mergansers at that time, but nothing today.

Beaver work

I cooked eggplant parm for supper tonight, the third time I’ve made it. It takes time with breading and frying the eggplant, not to mention sprinkling salt on the eggplant slices and letting them sit to get rid of excess water and bitterness.

We got two rubber stamp orders today, the first in several weeks. I started tidying up my workbench in the cellar so as to have room to index stamp mounts.

The biggest news came around 10 PM. Anne and Matt had gone to North Carolina for a week to see if they wanted to buy a house with room for horses, and they did get one, or at least have one under contract, near Tryon NC which is on the SC border. Their place has a Columbus NC address, but looks from Google Maps as though it’s closer to Tryon than Columbus and closer to Landrum, SC than either of them! I’m looking forward to visiting them there!

Mimi’s Lamp Article

My Aunt Mimi went to Europe just before the end of WWII with the USO to draw pictures of wounded GIs for them to send home.  I knew that a year or two later she went back, hired by Standard Oil to paint for an article about the effects of the postwar shortage of oil that was going to be in their company magazine The Lamp. I don’t remember ever seeing what she did, except this one that was on the cover. My mom had saved a copy! This was the cover illustration:

Cover illustration of Jan 1948 The Lamp, Mimi Korach; Place Ste Germaine Des Pres, Paris
M. Korach ’47 Place Ste Germain Des Prés Paris

Mimi wrote a wonderful memoir in 2012 including a detailed story of how the article came to be. In it she says that the magazine received more requests for copies of that picture than any other cover picture they had used. Although the memoir includes delightful descriptions of how she hung out in the cockpit of the plane going to Europe sketching the pilot and co-pilot and how the luxury dining room on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth gradually emptied out as the sea became rougher from one day to the next on the way home, it does not have all the pictures from the magazine. Here they are, with her captions.

“His gasoline ration exhausted, the doctor makes his rounds by bicycle.”
“On the farm the penury of fuel is deeply felt, and many farmers must fall back on the old horse-drawn plowshare to till their soil while the bright red tractor, often of American manufacture, remains idle in the barn. The farmer protested, when I asked him to move one of his tractors into the courtyard for the sketch, that no Frenchman would be stupid enough to leave a tractor out when it is not in use.”
“Milk is rationed to assure the children getting as much as possible. There is no shortage at the farms but it is impossible to transport enough to the large towns and cities. Due to lack of gasoline, a horse-drawn cart replaces the more efficient Diesel or gasoline truck. Average rations are half a liter (about a pint) for children under ten; quarter-liter for ten-year-olds; there is nothing for those over twelve.”
“The Place De L’Etoile in Paris presents this familiar scene every evening. The people line up for blocks in orderly fashion and wait their turn for the busses into the outskirts. Lowering of the gasoline allowance has reduced the circulation of private cars and listed the number of busses on normal service. As a result, a great deal of patience is needed for the journey home after the day’s work is done.”
“These pensioners owned a pretty cottage that was destroyed during the war. They live now in one miserable room; no water, no gas, no electricity. Bits of driftwood are the only fuel for warmth.”
“In the big towns one can often see, early in the morning, the ‘No Milk’ sign in front of the dairyman’s shop. On such days the meager distribution of milk to children and sick people is suspended.”
“St. Lo is a city of cellars and caves. In this little hut four people live. There is only rain water to drink and wash with. For light, there is a ration of half a liter of kerosene a month for a family.” [If you look closely over the door, you can see the name of the house, “El Rancho Grande” — DeanB]
“Today I found a queue waiting to buy materials for warm clothing, wool to guard against the bitter cold of the Paris winter. Whenever the cloth arrives (it is rationed) lines of patient people form.”
“This is the depot of a hauling and trucking company in Le Havre. The owner has fifty trucks which would be usable but for the lack of motive force. Twenty-three trucks are now idle. Reconstruction of the harbor and piers, sorely needed for the import of necessary cargoes, has been halted for lack of oil. It is shocking to see the sunken ships and ruined waterfront of such a perfect harbor.” [and if you didn’t know, Mimi grew up a block from Long Island Sound in Milford, Connecticut, which had a harbor with a small fishing fleet as well as pleasure boats]
“Tragedy hits you hard in Le Havre. I found it to be a most terrible, indescribably dead city, as are most of the destroyed towns of Normandy. The fact that people can live and laugh in these places is a great wonder to me. On the site of great devastation, construction was started of many permanent buildings — the new Le Havre. But now work has been slowed down because of lack of fuel.”
“Most Breton fishing vessels burn oil. Because fish are an essential food, the fishing fleets rate a high priority in the allocation of the available supplies of oil. But despite priorities, the boats are sometimes laid up for lack of the oil to run them, as is shown in this sketch of the idle sardine fleet in Concarneau Harbor near the Atlantic tip of Brittany. Such lay-ups have a direct effect on the food supply ashore.”

— to see how things have changed, Google Map “Concarneau, France”. If you stroll along Quai Peneroff in street view you can believe it’s the same place, but seventy years have made a difference.

Joan’s PBK congratulations

One of the things we found in the latest carton of stuff we got from my mother’s house when Rachel and Luanna cleaned it out was the congratulations card from her family for when she was named to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary society at Smith College. The symbol of Phi Beta Kappa is the Phi Beta Kappa Key, once something useful — a key to wind a pocket watch with. Even when she became a member in 1939 that was obsolete, but since it was still the symbol, it makes sense that the congratulations were in the form of five cutout cardbord key shapes with a message from each member of her family.

Here’s what they say:

Dearest Joanie!

A very small, faint voice insisted all this time that you’ll make it and when the news came, it was like the fulfillment of some precious hope.

We hope that these keys open the various locks to your hearts desire. We’re awf’ly proud of you.

Your loving Dad.

Dearest Joanie, If you are walking on air over the marvellous good fortune of earning your Phi Beta Kappa Key, we to are thrilled beyond words! Never did we expect anything like this to happen to a Korach! May great success be yours always.

Love Mother

Dear Joan,

It is very annoying to have a sister who always makes you work. In high school you had to start something we had to live up to and now you have to get this slight honor. Of course, we realize that practically every girl in school gets the same thing. Honestly, though we were just as excited as you must have been, and you know that it is only on great occasions that I write at all. All I can say is “That’s my sister”!!!!

Your worshipping brother Malc.

Dearest Joanie!!

Many ,many congratulations on your swell job but it’s going to be mighty hard on your little sister. Already people are holding you up to me as a good example and asking me if I’ll ever do as well. I sadly shake my head and say it is impossible. I also thank my lucky stars that I am going to study only art. But all fooling aside I’m really very, very proud of my big sister.

The best of everything to you – Mim

And, if you’re counting we’re only up to four so far. The fifth is a dog’s pawprint in blue ink, “Queenie, her mark!”

Covfefe explanation

Disclaimer: I did not see this happen. I do not have a keylogger on Trump’s computer to watch keystroke by keystroke. This is just my hypothetical reconstruction of what happened.

Claimer: I have not read this elsewhere. This is original work. To the extent this may correspond with any other explanation, it merely corroborates the plausibility of that other explanation.

So, to understand what happened, we need the context:

“… bad press covfefe”

Is that so mysterious?

“… bad press cov…” — now we can read it. Undoubtedly “coverage.”

So, here we are, in the Oval Office at 3 AM. Trump types

“… bad press coverage.”

What’s next? His famously short attention span has given out, and he can’t remember what he was thinking of.

[One finger rests on the backspace key. It auto-repeats five times.]

“… bad press cov”

[Absentmindedly drums fingers on the desk. Except they’re not on the desk, they’re on the “f” and “e” keys]

“bad press covfefe”

[Dozes off]
[Wakes up]

Huh? I never finished sending this!

[No need to look at it. Hits “Tweet”]

… and that’s how it happened.

Dear Editor,

I had a letter to the editor published in the Boston Globe today!

Here you are:

[supplied by the paper] The ‘broken window theory’ works both ways

[my letter] In the discussion of the Ferguson and Staten Island police behavior, I’ve seen a lot about the “broken window theory” — the notion that, since small nuisance offenses change the public attitude and make the public less law-abiding, being tough on minor offenses reduces significant crime as well.

I would like the police to recognize the opposite side of it: Any overreach by police reduces the public’s respect for police and willingness to cooperate. This goes for unnecessary traffic stops, an “accidental” blow in the course of making an arrest, and any other, more minor excess. It’s the same psychology, people.

photo of newspaper

HTML Tagging my neighborhood

As part of the P2PU web design challenge, I took pictures of some things in the real world that vaguely represent  HTML tags. I didn’t get all the tags that the assignment listed, but I did like some of the results.

<bq> and <ul>:
blockquote and unordered list

The words at the top of the stone look like some formal text that needs to be set off in a big blockquote. Besides, it’s on a block of stone! The names are a list that doesn’t need a particular order.

<ul>: It was the day before Halloween. This porch looks like a <ul> of pumpkins.

unordered list

<ol>: Traffic was heavy on my way home. I was the third car in an ordered list of cars at a traffic light. This picture really has two OLs in it, because there are two lanes of traffic.
ordered list

<q>: Here’s some text, quote:

<q>: Here’s the window of a store that’s closing after many years. Customers have written goodbye notes to it on the windows, quote: “Brussels Sprouts is my favorite store. I’ll miss you. Bye.”
lots of quotes

<img> and <q>: For Halloween, stores around the city encourage kids to paint pictures on their windows (under supervision, I guess). That results in an <img>, and this one as a bonus has two word balloons, <q>.
image and quotes

<img>: This house is painted so as to be an attention-getting visual statement, not just a house, so I think it counts as an <img> all by itself:

<div> and <span>: The porch is divided into two <div>s, and the arches and sunburst triangle above them span those divs and the entrance div.
div and span

Dudes, where’s my <nav>? I’ll be lost without it!

Phew, the transit authority posts these at every streetcar stop to help people navigate the system:

Web 101 – text editor

I already own BBEdit for my main computer (and laptop). It has all the features of TextWrangler, which is by the same people, and a lot more; so there’s not attraction to TextWrangler instead.

I liked the word completion from Text Mate a lot, and very likely would have picked it if I were starting from scratch. The completion for Sublime Text was just about as good, for this simple task, after I changed the configuration (settings, I should say) file to have completion-on-enter-tab or whatever it was — wait a second and I’ll open the editor, look at the settings file, and get it right — the whole line was

“auto_complete_commit_on_tab”: true

which wasn’t totally obvious from the help file, and a little long to spell out.

A big attraction of Sublime Text is that it is available for Mac, Windows and Linux with a single license fee per user, so I could buy a license and use it all over the place. That could be a reason to get it right there.

So, I guess the bottom line is, BBEdit chose me just by being there on my computer in the first place, but I will likely get Sublime Text also.