“The English Plane” -by Brian Meeks In a tiny shop north of London townAt a maple bench stood young man proud.Off cobble stone road sat a flower girlA comb in her hair from mother of pearl He’d returned from the war a scar on his faceHe’d flown a camel; they’d called him an Ace.At the museum she’d once spent a dayThe artist she saw was named Claude Monet On way to his shop, each day he passed byHe oft thought of how, he might catch her eyeShe noticed his walk and his hat pulle...
In 1972 October 20, Pete Rose hit a leadoff home run, and then hit a single in the ninth inning. This was game 5 of the World Series, and the Cincinnati Reds had just staved off elimination, thanks to my child hood hero’s efforts. The Reds would win game 6 to send it to a decisive game 7 in Riverfront stadium. I was 5 years old. On October 22, in front of 56,040 fans, and at least one little boy at home watching on TV, the Oakland A’s captured their first World Series since 1930, beat...
Since I began blogging, I have taken to carrying around a small notebook, pencil, sharpener and eraser. I am more of a pen person, but using a pencil feels right to me. I was at the bar in the Dublin Underground, drinking an RC, no straw, my usual drink. This is my favorite place in Iowa City. It is a friendly place. I was really focused on writing down some thoughts about possible future blog posts. I didn’t notice the woman taking off her coat and sitting down one seat over on m...
Last evening, as if some mysterious and mischievous deity were looking in on me and saw how giddy I was over my new Festool PSB 300EQ, the power went out. Not just a little outage, one where the deity could chuckle for a few minutes as I sit in the dark with my unusable power tool, but a major ‘the house gets really cold’ outage. I went to bed. It was warm. I thought about using my new saw. At 7:37 am the electricity flowed into the house, bringing with it heat, computing power, a...
It seemed like a long time ago. The year was 637 AD, and I was studying under the master Ninja and Carpenter, Sado Asuka. His philosophy was, ‘To master the blade of the Ninja, one must master the tools of the Carpenter’. He said this often. We built a Shinto shrine in his back yard and a rumpus room, for his kids. It was strange that he spoke English, but I digress. One day I was using the hand tools, as I was told, practicing my Miyajim-tsugi, or as the master said, in his best Eas...
Staring out across the frozen tundra that is Martelle in January, I began to apply layers of clothing to my frame, as protection against the bitterness. This, like many of my missives, is a complete exaggeration, it is actually around 25 degrees and not bitter at all. (Now, back to the story) Fearing certain death, or worse, disappointment, I took a pull of diet dew and was about to leave, when suddenly, much to my surprise, the familiar bong of an arriving email caught my attention. ...
What drives your woodworking? I just want to be great at it. I have no idea if I will make furniture, turn bowls, chisel sculptures, or build tiny pieces of art. Each time I see something beautiful that is what I want to do. Woodworking has so many paths. It is easy to recognize that dabbling in everything will lead to a mastery of nothing. The importance of focus keeps me on my path of discovery. When the temptation to stray pokes its head out of a magazine article, I give it ...
My wife, Rita, manages a daily program that keeps adults with developmental disabilities busy. She works personally with these individuals and we see first hand how this program enriches the lives of the participants and their families. Most of them are affected by down syndrome. We choose to support this program every year with donations for the fundraising auction. This year I donated the red bamboo sofa table. This was originally made with the intention of it being a donation. ...
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment” -Jim Rohn I thought I would spend the day continuing to work on my Krenov saw horses, since I didn’t have any new DVDs or books on woodworking. For those that stopped by hoping to see a rant about John Lively’s company The Taunton Press, you will be disappointed to know that I am too happy today to gripe about their inefficiency. Because Monday is a holiday, I won’t get them be...
Today I drove across Martelle, to the office of post, where I again stared into a cubbyhole filled with emptiness. No DVDs and books for me, in the ‘Soup Nazi’ voice, ran through my head. After coming home, through rush hour traffic, I sat in my comfy green computer chair, defeated. I know from my days of working in the marketing department at GEICO that the travel time for a piece of mail, from anywhere city, in the continental U.S., to the hamlet of someplace, takes no longer than 6 ...
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