Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Yes, Frieda


[Peanuts, March 4, 1970.]

Yesterday’s Peanuts is today’s Peanuts. Yesterday’s March 4 is today’s March 1. Angst is for always. Which reminds me of Ted Berrigan’s great one-line poem “Angst”:

I had angst.
The complete run of Peanuts, starting with October 2, 1950, is online at GoComics.

Related reading
All OCA Pinboard posts (Pinboard)

[“Angst” appears in A Certain Slant of Sunlight (Oakland, CA: O Books, 1988).]

DropCopy for Mac and iOS

DropCopy and DropCopy Mobile allow for easy transfer of files and folders between Macs, iPads, and iPhones on the same network. I found my way to these apps after spending too much time trying to figure out why AirDrop worked with two Macs, with two phones, but not with my Mac and my phone. (And reading many accounts of the same problem.) And then I saw the bad news on the Apple website: “To send items to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or to receive items from those devices, you need a 2012 or later Mac model with OS X Yosemite or later, excluding the Mac Pro (Mid 2012).”

The good news is that DropCopy is fast and uncomplicated. DropCopy for Mac: free (limited to three simultaneous users). DropCopy Pro for Mac: $4.99. DropCopy Lite for iOS: free. DropCopy for iOS: $4.99. I was happy to pay for the iOS version and support the developer, 10base-t interactive.

Oxo Jar Opener

The Oxo Jar Opener with Base Pad makes jar-opening easy. Put the jar on the Base Pad, slide the Opener onto the lid, and turn.

I bought an OJO last year after developing a case of trigger thumb — which turned into a much worse case when I tried to open an impossible jar. My thumb is back in operation, but I continue to use this tool. Every jar should have one.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Calling Congress

In the March 6 New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz writes about what happens when people call or e-mail or write to Congress. In “normal times” (not these), she says, writing is better than calling. In some circumstances, calling is better. Mass e-mails and online petitions count for little. Does any of it make a difference?

When I asked past and present Congress members and high-level staffers if constituent input mattered, all of them emphasized that it absolutely does. But when I asked them to name a time that a legislator had changed his or her vote on the basis of such input, I got, in every instance, a laugh, and then a very long pause.
Schulz adds though that “For all that, constituents are not voiceless in a democracy, and every once in a while they do score major legislative wins.” And she has examples.

“The Letter,” revised

The text of “The Letter,” a poem by Charles William Eliot, revised by Woodrow Wilson, is inscribed on the façade of the Old City Post Office in Washington, D.C., now the National Postal Museum:

Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life
Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and
    Nations

Text as reproduced in Winifred Gallagher, How the Post Office Created America: A History (New York: Penguin, 2016).
As someone who still writes and receives letters, I think that the text of this poem should be better known. The only reference to it on the NPM’s website appears on an FAQ page, right before a brief account of a now-abandoned Graceful Envelope Contest.

I found a thoughtful commentary on “The Letter” by Eliza D. Keith, a self-identified “San Francisco schoolteacher” who had the nerve to rethink Eliot’s and Wilson’s words. In doing so, she was taking on two presidents. (Eliot was the president of Harvard when he wrote this poem). I love the cheeky reminder that “The cat may look at the king.” Which text do you prefer: Eliot’s, Wilson’s, or Keith’s?


[Eliza D, Keith, “Wilson’s Revision of Dr. Eliot’s English.” The Western Journal of Education 19, no.2 (February 1914). There’s an obvious glitch in the “For the East Pavilion” text: the first “Promoter of mutual acquaintance” should be removed. The Butler quoted at the end: another president, Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University.]

Eliza D. Keith did a fair amount of writing. Her newspaper contribution “7,000,000 Women Bread Winners Need the Ballot” (The San Francisco Call, August 7, 1911) may be read online. An excerpt:
It has never seemed to me that the question of equal suffrage — votes for women as well as men — calls for any argument. It is self-evident.

The struggle is for women to obtain what belongs to them as human beings, as individuals, as citizens taxed to support a government in which they have no representation.
The Call proclaimed Keith a “Real Leader Among Suffragists.” And she was. The byline for this piece identifies her as a Past Grand President of the Native Daughters of the Golden West and, yes, “Teacher in San Francisco School Department.”

Related viewing
Photographs of the inscription: 1, 2 (Flickr)

[I couldn’t have assembled and tidied up the columns of Keith’s piece without the great Mac app Acorn.]

My (male) female intuition

Elaine and I have finished watching Gilmore Girls, all of it, the seven seasons and the four new episodes. I am pleased with myself for having predicted, long before the end of Season 7, how things would go (not resolve) for Lorelai and Rory. I got everything right: Lorelai’s love life, Rory’s love life, and Rory’s post-Yale career. I wasn’t as successful with the new episodes. I again called Lorelai’s love life, Rory’s love life, and (more or less) Rory’s career, but I missed a plot twist that I doubt anyone could have anticipated — though when I think back, I see the hints. I hope there’s more Gilmore to come. But not yet. It’s nice to have more time not to watch TV.

I know that I’m not the only male-type person who likes — okay, loves — Gilmore Girls. There are two guys who are making something of a career of it, with podcasts, merch, and a tour. A story of male Gilmore fandom that I like much better: that of a Marine unit watching the show in Iraq, as told to This American Life by Luke Huisenga.

Related reading
All OCA Gilmore Girls posts (Pinboard)

Monday, February 27, 2017

“An enemy of the people”

The New York Times traces the history of the phrase “an enemy of the people.” Long story short: the French Revolution, an Ibsen play, Lenin, Stalin, and sometimes Mao. Roy Peter Clark recently wrote at greater length about Ibsen, Trump’s rhetoric, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

And let us not forget Richard Nixon’s remark that “The press is the enemy.” “Write that on a blackboard one hundred times,” he told Henry Kissinger.

I’ll repeat what I wrote in a post about the slogan “America first”: Words have history. History has history.

The S.S. Lurk

Elaine’s idea that Gilmore Girls is Gilligan’s Island looks more and more plausible. From the episode “Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?” (February 27, 2007). Kirk is telling Lorelai that he has bought a boat:

“Yeah, the S.S. Lurk. It’s a combination of my name and Luke’s, since it used to be his boat.”

“Oh, you bought Luke’s boat.”

“Yeah, she needs a little more work before she’s seaworthy, but as soon as she is, I’ll take you out. You can be Ginger to Lulu’s Mary Ann. Let’s lock down dates now. When are you free?”
Related reading
All OCA Gilmore Girls posts (Pinboard)

[My transcription.]

Civility at work

A short interview from To the Best of Our Knowledge: Christine Porath talks about civility in the workplace. And there’s an online questionnaire.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Best Picture

Moonlight. Moonlight. Moonlight.

A related post
Movies, twelve of them (Including Moonlight)