Saturday, February 17, 2024

Accordion and cardboard

Before Christmas, we were doing some post-dentist shopping at a new-to-us thrift store.  They had two vintage accordions in the store.  I was able to go back to the store in January with Christmas money and some savings.  The brown accordion I was thinking of buying was no longer there, but the other one was.  So now I have a pearly-blue accordion, in good-enough condition.  It is both easy and challenging to play.  Previous musical experience with piano and school band is helping, along with a couple of beginner videos.

My husband around that time brought home very large cardboard boxes from work; enough for each of the children to have one of their own.  It was hard to traverse the living room for a while.  Some of the cardboard became cardboard armor and airplanes and rockets.  The armorer has developed some rather advanced techniques for making helmets and workable elbow joints.

We also made an excursion to the Axman Surplus store.  Some of the kids wanted motors, one wanted plastic clips, and I was pleased to find that they still had some airline china, as I wanted a couple of mini-plates.

I was reluctantly beginning to sew new cushion covers for our glider rocker when several of its joints came unglued and I found that a bushing? was missing.  I found the bushing later, and for now we are enjoying having some extra space in the living room.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

George MacDonald's Lilith

John C. Wright reviews Lilith also, after previously writing two posts about MacDonald's Phantastes. 

Lilith is indeed a very difficult book to understand--I've only read it two or three times, and I no longer own a copy--but at the same time the Lilith character is astonishingly modern in her pride and violence, and one of MacDonald's core messages that runs throughout his writings--obedience to God--is made very clear.

Most of the book is set within a highly-symbolic metaphysical landscape.  Within this landscape are a number of scenes that seem to be intended to express spiritual truths.  One scene that has stuck with me ever since reading the book is a never-ending furious battle between two factions, both of which claim they are on the side of Truth.  This battle has no effect at all on the rest of that world.  The protagonist does not engage in it, goes off on a foolish crusade of his own, and eventually has to simply obey instructions about one small rock, which when properly placed brings a great deal of healing.

My understanding of the Lona character is that she appeared to be about fifteen years old, which in MacDonald's time was sometimes considered a marriageable age.  The two very similar white leopards are also difficult to sort out.  One is Lilith, and I believe the other is the daughter of Adam and Eve who also appeared as the masked lady at the house.

For the Little Ones and the Bags, it is helpful to consider The Princess and Curdie, where Curdie is given the gift of being able to discern a person's moral nature.  A wicked person's hand feels to him like the foot of the beast they are morally descending toward; Curdie's good mother's work-hardened hands feel human, and soft and lovely.  MacDonald was showing how a person could descend into brutishness and a very thorough spiritual dullness. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Not irrelevant

There were a couple of points here in notes on a book about vagabondage that related to sabbaticals; one about negotiating for a sabbatical from work in order to have extended time for travel, and another about making work almost completely subordinate to one's travel-oriented lifestyle.

The Biblical pattern is Six On, One Off, with an extra One Year Off every 50th year.  As I pointed out in my book on sabbatical rest, Israel's 70-year exile in Babylon was to make up for the sabbatical and jubilee years they had failed to observe over the centuries.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Addendum to The Fall of Minneapolis

Earlier post here.  [Edit:  I have added to it a bit.]

Derek Chauvin's wife Kellie entered (and won) the Mrs. Minnesota America pageant in 2018 with the encouragement of her friend and earlier Mrs. Minnesota Andrea Bennett Xiong, whose husband was Tou Ger Xiong, Twin Cities Hmong celebrity.

It has been reported that Tou Ger Xiong was kidnapped, stabbed a dozen times, and thrown down a hill in Columbia; multiple Minnesota Congresspersons have issued statements.

It's very odd that this came only a few weeks after Derek Chauvin was stabbed in prison.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Christmas stuffed

Every year I start to get the house into reasonably-decluttered order in the fall...and then the holidays hit.

This year, I had the idea of filling up the Christmas decoration boxes with regular decor and other stuff, once the Christmas decorations were up.

It's only two small boxes, and within a few minutes I had found enough items to fill them both.  This was not just swapping regular displays for Christmas decor, but also making some areas downright austere to compensate for ornamental elaboration elsewhere.  

There were a couple of small items that I just put up on the Christmas tree.  A few days ago, I moved a wall hanging to the undecorated back entry, to make room for my Christmas sign.

Another idea I had was to put a tray on top of our toaster oven.  We don't use it often for toasting, but it always has lots of smaller things on top of it because we have very little counter space.  Now it can be cleared off and used much more easily.

Similarly, I put a tray on top of the painted crate we hold to hold tea and teacups, which will make it much easier to plug in the toaster oven when we want to use it.  

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Fall of Minneapolis

An alt-news documentary on George Floyd's death and its aftermath is out now:  The Fall of Minneapolis.  It blows the mainstream narrative right out of the water.

Many of the places in it are recognizable.  Fortunately--or Providentially--we moved out of the Third Precinct before 2020 hit.  The government center where Chauvin's trial was, was where I had had jury duty years earlier.  I've been to the bookstore where Keith Ellison found the Antifa handbook.

The documentary is missing some important context:  most importantly, a disclosure that the producer and host, Liz Collin, is married to Bob Kroll, who was head of the Minneapolis police union in 2020.  The protest led by John Thompson that is shown was outside their house.  [Edit:  Thompson's son Derek crashed into and killed a carload of Somali young women earlier this year.]

The portrayal of the police is very positive, but you can see that there is long-standing antagonism between the police and multiple segments of the city's population.

Also there is no city surveillance video from across the street, which was visible in real time to the 911 dispatcher; the camera was at the gas station I guess.  That business with Floyd being kneeled on for 7 minutes 46 seconds, then 8 minutes 46 seconds, and then 9 minutes 29 seconds, was caused by the City of Minneapolis sitting on that video good and hard until Chauvin's trial the following year, and it has never been released to the public.

Later on, after that gas station was closed down, a kidnapped guy was held there for a night or two, in between being driven around to ATMs to withdraw cash.  I'm not sure how to correlate that against the protest/occupation activity in that area.  There's a Minneapolis teacher who has been very dedicated to being right there and being seen and heard.  [Edit:  Marcia Howard]

Darnella Frazier, the black teenager standing on the sidewalk taking the video of Floyd, received a special Pulitzer prize for it.  Later on, her uncle got killed in someone else's police chase while sitting in his car.  As far as I know, that was an accident.

George Floyd's girlfriend worked at the school Daunte Wright attended, and she was back in the media after he was accidentally shot and killed by police.

George Floyd's family, including his mother Larcenia and brother Philonise, received a $27 million settlement from the City of Minneapolis, but for some reason Floyd's roommates were saying months later that his family never came over to get his Bible or other belongings.  [Edit:  I believe Floyd's aunt lives or lived in the Twin Cities metro area.] 

Chauvin's mother Carolyn Pawlenty is a cousin-in-law of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.  Chauvin's now ex-wife Kelly was a Mrs. Minnesota beauty pageant winner.  [Edit:  a little more about that here, including death of Tou Ger Xiong] Chauvin and Floyd used to work security at the same club, which burned down in the riots.

John Thompson's son was recently in big trouble for fleeing police at high speeds in a rented car and T-boning a car full of Somali young women, killing them all.

Liz Collin was interviewed by Candace Owen after being fired from the local CBS station, I think that was later in 2020.

Umbrella Man, who kicked off the window-smashing at the Autozone (more-or-less kitty-corner from the 3rd Precinct police station) was at one point identified as a white supremacist who had previously been in a group harassing a Muslim convert in nearby tourist destination Stillwater, but I haven't heard that he was ever arrested.

Donald Williams, visible among the bystanders on the sidewalk with the boxing club hoodie, was caught on video hitting a police car with a shopping cart, I think it was, during the rioting at the St. Paul Midway Target store.  He's been in legal trouble a couple of times since then:  alleged domestic violence against his girlfriend near the Minnesota State Fair, and recently a disturbance at a suburban school when they wouldn't let him come inside to pick up his kid.

Monday, November 13, 2023

A timely table

I have been thinking for a long time about replacing our kitchen table with a larger, less decrepit, and more washable one, and I had gotten so far as to reject the idea of building a table, and to save up funds for a new used table, and even to write a time to go shopping for it on the calendar.

Then we all got sick, and there were a lot of church activities and things going on, and around the time we were mostly recovered, my husband called and said his boss had a table he was giving away.

He gave me the measurements over the phone, and it was just the size I was looking for.

After various exertions, he got it home and we got it into the house.  The chairs came with it, but they are definitely oversize for the room and I am mostly using our old chairs with it.  

The table itself is just about as big as will fit there.  When fully opened, the fridge door comes within an inch of the table. I am not above taking my drawknife and shaving some wood off the table legs and the bench I made before, to gain an inch or two. The fridge could be moved back a couple of inches also.  Happily, none of those things are necessary.

Theoretically, we can all squeeze in around it, if enough of the smaller children sit on the bench--which hasn't happened yet.  

Another thing I did recently was to unravel a finger-crocheted chenille scarf that I had been given some years back, and re-crochet it into a little mat for a chair seat.  The colors go well with our living room, and it is good to have the scarf being used more.

I have been somewhat surprised to notice that I have not been doing much crafting at all during this sabbatical.  Just more music, more puzzles, and more reading.  I did get a bunch of mending done as I've been watching movies with the elder children.

At one of the church activities, I was talking with an older couple from another church, and it turns out that they were homeschoolers back in the Eighties, before homeschooling was explicitly allowed by law in Minnesota.  They said they had to keep a low profile, and that friends of theirs were investigated by the state.  Later on, one of the larger homeschool co-ops started up, and they were involved in that.