Forbes Magazine / North Shore Agency SUCK

March 16th, 2011

Some yeas ago I was in a profession that required reading lots of financial stuff and Forbes Magazine was one of my favorites  So about a year or so ago I got a special offer for 12 issues for $9.00. I checked the “12 issues” box and mailed off a personnel check.  Before I even got the first issue, I started getting letters suggesting I send even more money for a 3 year subscription.  This was distasteful and frankly, their journalism was not as good as I remembered, so I ignored all the “Your subscription is about up” junk-mail I continued to get.  Yesterday, they took it up a notch. I got a letter from North Shore Agency explaining that Forbes “has placed your account with this agency.” and all manner of the standard threatening language.

How sad.  Any doubts I had about dis-trusting Forbes for journalistic truth are thoroughly confirmed with this little perversion of reality.

Test

November 15th, 2010



I’d LOVE to hear from you about any ideas you have on the subject of gift-giving. Either gifts you have given, of it’s you that’s the collector, terrific gifts that you have gotten that support your collecting habit.


If you need ideas, check out…

Gift Giving for the Collector in Your Life

and

Last Minute Gifts for the Collector -and for Kid Collectors too!

A Slew of Shadow Boxes:

October 24th, 2010

I don’t know if it’s serendipity, or the ebb and flow of the internet, but it seems I get a bunch of the same sort of work all at once. Shaker coffee tables in cherry last month, this week, it’s shadow boxes. For instance, consider following picture. The gray boxes with cherry frames and custom shelves was a commission for a woman who is dividing up her husband’s model car between her four children as a memento to the gentleman. The tall black box with a dark oak frame and upholstered insert is for a brass doorknob collection. Finally, the small one with the mahogany frame is for the sailor’s hat a woman’s father wore in the USN during WWII and the Korean war, as well as various organizational & social pins.

Some Pretty Dang Serious Work in Conservation:

September 30th, 2010


The Art Conservation Research Center at Carnegie Mellon University is all full of PhD’s and what not.  If you have something real valuable and think it might be slipping away, and have a question, and speak PhD chemistry, you might find this to be a good resource.  If you don’t happen to have the right initials behind your name, you will probably have to hit the Yellow Pages (?) or Google to find a local preservation expert.  But read my articles on Armature Preservation first.  Cheaper then an expert and I don’t speak PhD either!

Gaylord Brothers / Curating Books etc.

September 30th, 2010


If I had to admit to collect something -other than wood-working tools, it would be books. Very worthy collectible I must say. And very worthy of curatorial care.  I need to tout Gaylord Brothers (http://www.gaylord.com/lobby_gaylordmart.asp?), in this direction.  It seems their biggest market is libraries of every stripe, but they have interesting products.

Of more importance, however, are a couple of free resources -down-loadable .pdf’s actually.  I highly recommend…

Book Craft

I actually recommended this before, but they have a new one….

Guide to Collections Care 

…which is a bit broader in subject -covers photos, paper, and fabric and all.

(One never knows how links might come across in a blog, so if these links don’t get’er done for you, hit their homepage and click on  Request a Catalog -they are at the bottom.

Bill

UNION JOBS

September 12th, 2010


I’ve heard enough all I can stand from congress and its leadership about the jobs it’s created.  The census hires people one week, fires them the next, and rehires them the third -over and over again.  This counts as multiplw!?!!  Auto companies keep thousands of over-paid union workers by raping the shareholders.  I’ll only mention school-district rubber rooms all over the country and say no more because my doctor wants me to keep my blood pressure down.  But I will tell an illustrative story of some years back.

It was when I was just starting my business, (and money was tight), that I did a trade show in a mid-western city.  It was not a city where-in you would guess the unions had a lot of influence -just a nice mid-western city every one has heard of and perhaps driven through, but not what you would think of as a ‘destination’ like New York, Chicago, or Las Vegas.  They were, however, trying to become a destination city and somehow felt they needed unionized to a fair-thee-well.  (I’ll break the suspense right now -they failed.  Their convention center is now boarded up awaiting the wrecking ball.)

What I remember most vividly about this town and this trade show was that it cost me more money for some schmoe w/ a pallet jack to get the crate that held my exhibit across the loading dock and to my booth then it did to have it picked up at my business in Denver and transported to that dock a couple of states away.  This happy charge was added after I sent the promoter a check and he was a little embarrassed, but apparently there was nothing he could have done to have anticipated it, nor anything he could have about it after the fact.  Union rules and all.  After I got the crate to my booth and was setting up, an electrician came by and asked if I wanted electricity.  I told him I had checked  the little box on the exhibitor’s registration that said, “110V / 10 amp electric service,” and paid an extra fee.  I had brought my own extension cords etc., and in fact had already plugged in the 2 or 3 modest lights I needed.  He said I could use my own extension cords, but he would have to connect them, and that would be $20 please.  Somewhat stupefied, I handed him a $20 and watched him unplug my lights, plug them back in, and wander off to provide the next exhibitor the skills & benefits of the local electrical workers union.

These are the sort of jobs this country in going even further into debt to save.

TEACHING BALLET

September 12th, 2010


How it is that a young man -a defensive tackle actually- came to be a ballet dancer is a story for another time, but suffice it to say, some years ago I came to teach -or help teach- young women pas de deux, (French for ’steps for two’ -partner dancing), in the toe-shoe and tutu world.  This was in no way because I was a particularly good dancer.  I was slow.  I had good form and terrific turn-out, but a stately adagio (Italian this time -means SLOW), was as close to my forte as anything. (And for that matter, I wasn’t a particularly good tackle either for much the same reason.)  But what I was good at, was lifting young women.  While being able to press a young over-head is a rare ability in general, it was exceedingly rare in most dance studios where there are few men to begin with, those men who are in such classes are pretty young, and finally, those few that were there, were… may we say “lithe.”  So I got hired to teach in a couple of dance studios.

When a young woman is ready to learn to dance with a partner, she has quite a few years invested in dance classes, so most of my pupils were 15 - 20.  It is the job of a ballerina to look light-as-a-feather.  Trust me on this -it’s an illusion.  These women are athletes with a capitol ath and built solid -often quite solid.  Not to be confused with the pretty little things hanging out by the pool.

Pas de deux involves more then lifting, but lifting is a big part of it -either just far enough off the ground for her to do a grand jette -where she does that pretty front-to-back spread-eagle things with her legs. Or it may be only as high as lifting her to the guys’ shoulders in preparation for the “fish” -an ugly word for another pretty thing where she slides down into a position where he kind’a waves her around like her face was a metal-detector. (You have seen it and it’s pretty -trust me.) Or finally, the big lift.  Straight up -as high as he can lift her. In my case, this means that her waist -where you held her- would go from maybe 3 feet up to 8 feet up in about a beat.  Eye level from 5 feet something to more then 10 feet right now.  What fun!

Now you must understand that nobody -don’t care man nor woman, not a weight-lifter nor lithe little danseur, (more French -a male ballet dancer), has any strength until the weight is at least at chest level.  So the girl has to jump the first 18″ on her own. The guy can help a little and once he can get under her, up she goes, but she has to do her bit.

What usually happened -once we had gotten all warmed up and ready, was the main teacher (always a woman and always a well built ballerina herself) and I would demonstrate, and I would lift the students one at a time.  They would give me the required jump and up they would go.  SCREAMING.  The other students would giggle and I have no doubt, assure themselves that they would not scream when it came to be their turn.  And they would scream too.  After I had worked my way through the class once -and it was rarely more then 6 or so girls- I would come back to the first girl for her second go.  But rather then giving me a starting jump, she would inevitably -perhaps instinctively- hunch over, I would lift her about two inches and put her back down a half step forward with both of us off balance and staggering toward the mirrors -where the audience would be.  I’d work my way through the rest of the class, first picking each of them up 2 inches, and then maybe 4 inches on the second run-through, and then 8 inches and then finally after an evening of dead-weight-lifting, getting some of them back up where they belonged.  Some -sadly- never overcame their fear.  They often would go on to become jazz dancers.  Knew one who would go on to become a successful stripper! But this is another story.

Taking Care of BOOKS:

September 3rd, 2010

If I had to admit to collect something -other than wood-working tools, it would be books. Very worthy collectible I must say. And very worthy of curatorial care.  I need to tout Gaylord Brothers (http://www.gaylord.com/lobby_gaylordmart.asp?), in this direction.  It seems their biggest market is labraries of every stripe, but they have interesting products.

Of more importance, however, are a couple of free resources -down-loadable .pdf’s actually.  I highly recommend…

Book Craft

I actually reccomended this before, but they have a new one….

Guide to Collections Care 

…which is a bit broader in subject -covers photos, paper, and fabric and all.

(One never knows how links might come across in a blog, so if these links don’t get’er done for you, hit their homepage and click on  Request a Catalog -they are at the bottom.

Bill

DOGS I Have Known:

August 31st, 2010


I have read with much interest the recent literature on the subject of how smart dogs, birds, dolphins etc. might be.  It seems that while dogs and humans are textbook examples of both Darwinism and a successful symbiotic association, in some ways, dogs have gotten the short end of the stick -to use an apt metaphor.  Compared to wolves, our pets are dumb as posts and -not to put too fine a point on its -pussies.

When I first read this -or saw it on PBS or where-ever, I was a little troubled by what lab-coat guys had to say.  You can’t pick up a Reader’s Digest with out reading about some brave dog who saved some (human) member of his pack from some dire calamity at no small risk to himself.   I like the motion of a heroic dog better then the notion of the pussy-dog, but you can’t argue with science.

But what prompts this ‘ticular dog-blog was an every day incident that occurred this AM while I was tending to chores in the back yard.  Our dogs –we have a main, large, & extra-dumb hound, an emergency back-up medium-sized terrier, and an auxiliary little Scotty that alternately ignores and hides from me– attend me to varying degrees when I am in the back yard.  They all try to help.  Or try to understand.  Or just piss on it if understanding eludes them. They do this for a few minutes anyway, before they drift through the dog-door back inside where it is either cooler of warmer depending on the time of the year.

This morning, T. J. -our main dog- was looking at the dog door.  As I finished what ever minor task of the moment, I happened to look again and saw that TJ was still looking at the dog-door.  For all I know, he may have been watching an ant crawl by and was pondering pissing on it.  In his fuzzy wee brain, he might well have debated for some time, because he knew pissing on the house was a bad thing -unlike pissing on the hot-tub 2 feet away, which despite my best efforts to discourage, remained in all our dog’s minds, not a bad thing.

Or he may have had a plan that involved going inside and as he got to the door, he forgot why he was going inside.  (TJ is a sweet dog, but not the smartest in our little pack.  And the bar is set pretty low in this particular pack.)  Now I may be guilty attributing human motives to animal behavior, but heaven knows, I do this all the time.  Usually at the top or the bottom of some staircase.  And usually when I get there and have realized I have forgotten why I schlepped there, and I stand there with a dumb look on my face.  A look just like TJ’s.  Usually, after my dumb-look-moment, bad language and an angry schlep back up or down follows.

TJ, however, lay down in the morning’s sun and took a nap.  Admirable wisdom I think.

THE GROUND-ZERO MOSQUE

August 25th, 2010

Everyone else has weighed in on it, I might as well.  It’s absurd for ‘those people’  to build a mosque there, but if they own the property, it is their right.  In the long run, I find more to fear in a country where-in someone -either the enlightened liberal left, or the fundamentalist Christians right can make enough noise to set aside the rule of law and dictate what people can or can not do with their own property.  Even if what ‘those people’ want to do is utterly baffling and their goals beyond comprehension.

But if the mosque is absurd, the actions of the port authority are obscene.  They “fast-tracked” the approval process for the mosque in about a week.  A Greek Orthodox church built in 1917 was destroyed when a tail section off one of the jets crashed on it.  As of today, almost 9 years later, the port authority has not yet given them permission to rebuild.