Book Report: Terse Verse by Roberta Page (1973)

Book coverThis hardback comes from Carleton Press, a self-publishing firm, in 1973. Not only is it a hardback in a dust jacket, but the dust jacket is Mylar-wrapped, so someone thought highly of it. Perhaps Ellen Massey, the teacher extraordinaire, to whom the book is inscribed.

One might think of this as grandmother poetry, based on the photo on the back, but the author bio indicates that she still has a child in the house. I certainly made that mistake; she’s likely in her late thirties or early forties when this book came out, so not grandmother yet.

It doesn’t touch on the normal grandmother poetry themes of religion, patriotism, and so on. Instead we get short (well, terse is right in the title) bits about personal relationships and whatnot. The poems’ lines are not short, so she’s not a Professional, but many of the works are light on imagery and heavy on abstractions and explaining emotions.

So the poetry is not very memorable or compelling to a poetry glutton like me, but she must have been very proud of it, and she pursued her dreams, spending likely thousands of dollars in the process.

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Good Book Hunting, Saturday, December 11, 2021: Christmas Shopping Done Wrong (II)

So yesterday, I had a couple of hours whilst my son was at an event in Republic, Missouri, so I thought I would do some Christmas shopping. My first stop took me to Mike’s Unique, where I bought some records. The second stop was at ABC Books, where a local radio personality, Marla Lucas, was signing her book.

I did my circuit, although I stopped by the local authors and science fiction authors books to see if I could find something for my nephew.

I found some things for me, certainly.

I got:

  • Hope Always Wins by Marla Lucas. She mentioned that she wrote it in 30 days. Meanwhile, I’m up to beyond 30 months on whichever novel I happen to finish next.
  • Hard Start: Mars Intrigue by S.V. Farnsworth, a local author. I usually pick up a copy of something I’ve read an enjoyed during the course of the year for my nephew, but I haven’t read much this year in science fiction or fantasy that wasn’t tied to a movie or television show. So, instead, I bought a copy of this book for both of us. Mrs. E. asked if I had been to her book signing last week, and I had not. To think, I could have gotten a signed copy for myself my nephew. And, confession: ABC Books has been having so many book signings these days that I cannot get to all of them. I feel like I’m letting the proprietrix down.
  • The Inner Game of Fencing by Nick Evangelista. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually done the outer game of fencing.
  • Perry Rhodan: The Wasp Men Attack by W.W. Shols and Atlan #1: Spider Desert by Ernst Vlcek. ABC Books as a lot of old paperbacks in the Perry Rhodan series (which I only know of as a lot of them are at ABC Books). Since I’m running low on Executioner books, perhaps I should look for another midcentury series to waste my time on invest in.

I also got my nephew a copy of Gateway by Frederik Pohl that I enjoyed…in 2013? That’s can’t be right. I just read that, and my beautiful wife got me the others in the series, which I have not yet read, that Christmas.

At any rate, the ratio of Christmas gifts at this stop was 2/4, so I’m getting better. Unfortunately, after running all the way to the north side of town after my stop at the antique mall, I really did not have time to stop anywhere else except to pick up a couple of gift cards for the stockings. So I might have do something like this again next weekend.

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Good Album Hunting, Saturday, December 11, 2021: Christmas Shopping Done Wrong Edition

So I had a couple of hours today between dropping my son off at an event and picking him up, so I thought I would do a little Christmas shopping. As such, I stopped at Mike’s Unique antique mall/flea market. I saw a Marine Corps emblem made of LED lights that I thought I’d get my brother, until I thought, “What kind of Marine would want a Lite Brite eagle on an anchor?” And although I told myself, I would only go through the records at a single booth (and not the records-centric booth at the back), well…

I got:

  • Noël by Nana Mouskouri, a Greek singer. The album itself looks to be German.
  • Communication by Bobby Womack. I already have this one on CD; now I can spin it along with The Poet I & II on the turntable.
  • The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi.
  • La Bella Italia by Sergio Franchi, whose Christmas records I’ve been playing and enjoying this season.
  • Romantic Love Songs by Sergio Franchi. And now when I see his other records, clearly I pick them up.
  • Robert Mitchum Sings by Robert Mitchum. The tough guy actor. One day, I will have all the songs from the Golden Throats series on the original records, werd.
  • The Lamp is Low by Marilyn Maye.
  • Made in France by the Surrey Strings. Which looks to be songs about France, not songs in French or French singers at all.

Well, I did find a single gift at Mike’s Unique, but my ratio there of gifts for others/things for me was 1/9. Far below the ideal 1:1 ratio I strive for. In my defense, some people are hard to shop for, but I always know when I want something.

The records ranged in price between $2 through $8 (the Bobby Womack record); most were $2 or $3, and some discounts were applied. It’s becoming fairly standard, unfortunately, to find records by artists whose names you recognize at about $10. But I’ll still find something inexpensive to take a flier on.

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Book Report: In Praise of East Central Illinois by Alex Sawyer (1976)

Book coverInstead of some grandmother poetry, how about some grandpa poetry instead? Ah, but for the depth of grandmother poetry. This volume has 51 pages of landscapes with little beyond describing the flora of East Central Illinois. Many of the poems within are cinquains, which are short five line verses. Longer than a haiku, but not by much.

Still, the book I have is autographed and is from the third printing, somewhere in the 601st through 800th copies made available. So the fellow sold or gave away more books of poetry than I have amid my two chapbooks and one self-published print-on-demand title, and like At the End of the Rainbow, it’s available on Amazon almost fifty years after publication.

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Book Report: At the End of the Rainbow by Mary Worley Gunn (1974)

Book coverNow this is what you would expect of good grandmother poetry. The book, comb-bound when I was but two years old (but not by my grandmother) runs 94 pages on high-quality cardstock for the most part. It touches on themes of holidays, religion (lightly), family, and patriotism, but not unalloyed with a touch of pain (apparently, she lost a son in World War II). We get the gamut of history in the poems: She married in 1918, in the shadow of World War I, lost a son in World War II, and wonders about kids these days in the 1970s.

The poems are tidy little bits with end rhymes; the introduction says that the author had pieces published in the newspaper; I remember when newspapers published poetry. I will have to admit, of all the papers I take these days, only one drops in a poem from time to time, and of all the magazines I take (which, to be honest, is fewer than the newspapers), only one or two have a poem from time to time. But in the olden days of the last century, gentle reader, you might get your little ditty in the paper, read by people, enjoyed a bit and mostly forgotten. Unlike today, where you pump the poem into a database somewhere to be eventually discarded with a click of a No button instead of a nice form letter, and even if you get it published in a proper place, only other poets will read it.

You know, that’s why I read grandmother poetry and old Ideals magazines. Because I remember when poetry like this was a staple of the people and not The Poets and Power. 1974, maybe 1980, might have been the high mark of this; by the time I was dropping chapbooks in 1994 and 1995, nobody at the coffeeshops was buying.

Compare and contrast: Although you can get a print-on-not-much-demand copy of Coffee House Memories on Amazon, you can actually order a print copy of this book on Amazon. Unrequited and Deep Blue Shadows, my laid-out-and-printed-at-Kinko’s chapbooks, are not available.

Or maybe that’s because they’re more collectible.

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Musical Balance, Q4 2021: Wobble, Wobble, Wobble

As you might remember, gentle reader, I often posit that my musical purchases are evenly balanced between jazz songbirds and heavy metal, although the heavy metal often has female lead singers, so maybe my taste in music is pretty and lovely sounding women.

Well, since the end of August, my music balance has become all a-wobbly as I have bought music outside those simple genres (although in August, I’d admitted to buying jazz music by non-songbirds).

If you’re wondering, here’s what I got:

  • Chapter I: Monarcy by Ad Infinitum. Metal, female lead.
  • American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. Uh, country? Because my oldest son asked my my favorite Johnny Cash song, and I said it was the title track, but then I realized I had no Johnny Cash in my library.
  • The Dana Owens Album by Queen Latifah, after I heard her singing a jazz standard on WSIE.
  • Trav’lin’ Light by Queen Latifah, ibid, although the song I heard came from this album.
  • Chapter 2: Legacy by Ad Infinitum.
  • Welcome to Fat City by Crobot. Hard rock. A couple of the favorites on my gym playlist are from this band.
  • Original Album Classics by Pretty Maids, a five CD set that includes Red, Hot and Heavy, Future World, Jump the Gun, Sin-Decade, and Stripped. My beautiful wife introduced me to the band via Future World fifteen or so years ago; given how much I liked the band, it’s taken me a long time to fill out my collection.
  • Undress Your Madness by Pretty Maids, their 2019 album.
  • Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys (single, MP3).
  • Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys (single, MP3). Funny; I have put these on my gym playlist, but I have not yet downloaded the first Beastie Boys cassette single I bought (“So Whatcha Want?”). I’ve never bought a whole Beastie Boys album.
  • The Pioneer” by Follow the Cipher, who are long overdue for a real CD or album.
  • Independenz by Null Positiv. I ordered the CD directly from Germany and got a signed picture from Elli Berlin for my effort.
  • Mirror, Mirror by Eliane Elias. A jazz songbird and pianist I heard on WSIE; this album is mostly the pianist.
  • American Dream by Diamante. C’mon, man, I warned you.
  • BRKN Love by BRKN Love.

So that’s 9 rock/metal albums versus 3 jazz records with 1 Johnny Cash album with three singles, of which 2 are rap and 1 is metal. Definitely unbalanced, and unfortunately no metal additions to the gym playlist yet (although I have added the Beastie Boys songs, but mostly for non-intensive workout listening).

But enough about that. Let’s talk about Elli Berlin, Melissa Bonny, and Linda Toni Grahn.

Continue reading “Musical Balance, Q4 2021: Wobble, Wobble, Wobble”

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Exception: Found

Reader’s Digest has a trivia quiz every issue. This one had a couple of questions that caught my eye.

First, the bonus question drove me nuts because I’d just read on a blog somewhere about the name of the guy. Wait, see page 22? I read it in this very issue of Reader’s Digest which is kind of like a printed blog.

But, anyway, it’s question 8 that made me raise my eyebrow. Female reindeer have antlers. Actually, it’s the answer that made me raise my eyebrow.

Fact; reindeer are the only deer species in which females have antlers.

[Laughs in Ozarkian]

16-point deer harvested in Missouri turns out to be doe

So perhaps the answer is that all reindeer does have antlers, but reindeer are not the only species where antlers appear on does.

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To Keep The Spirit Of The Holidays Alive, I Just Need To Write The Check

So, to bring you up to date to the calumnies befalling Nogglestead. Remember our misadventures this holiday season so far:

So what has befallen us lately? Continue reading “To Keep The Spirit Of The Holidays Alive, I Just Need To Write The Check”

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The Same Story From Two Different Points of View

This morning, as I was taking my youngest into school, one of my favorite Elton John songs, if not my favorite Elton John song, came on the radio:

“Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road”. I asked him what he thought it was about; he said, “The Wizard of Oz?” I said it was about a guy of humble origins elevated by a relationship with a wealthy person, but who comes to think that the wealthy person does not care for him, but rather likes the novelty of having a partner of lower origin. So the poet-narrator (if they have such things in songs) is breaking it off and returning to his roots. I pointed out how Elton John and the brown dirt cowboy (Bernie Taupin) used a lot of metaphor in the song, which gives it depth you don’t find in much modern pop.

I changed the radio stations; after we caught the last chorus off “All Star” by Smashmouth, “Don’t You Want Me, Baby?” by Human League came on.

“That’s basically the same story, but from the other perspective,” I told him. A partner with a better station in life elevates a cocktail waitress, but she breaks it off with him. This song presents both sides of the story, though, so one gets sympathy for both sides of view. But it’s not as deep as the Elton John song, probably because of the metaphors and imagery in the former.

Tomorrow, on the way to school, perhaps we will talk about the monomyth in love songs. I mean, the young man has a mind to an engineering track and career, but there’s no reason I cannot infect him with some comparative literary criticism skills for fun.

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To Ask The Question Is To Answer It

Nicklaus: The economy is booming. Why are Americans so glum?

Messenger: Of smoking, masks and shifting views of freedom

And to be honest, using “Booming” to describe how the price of everything has gone up in the last year is a bit of a stretch of optimism.

But, yeah, in an inflationary environment, when the elites and journalists are all about explaining how the inflation is good for you and the loss of freedom is good for you, and you’re a racist anyway, why are Americans glum?

Must be the grey skies with little chance of snow.

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Guilty!

Patrice Lewis asks:

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across an article entitled “Americans Panic-Buy Firewood And Stoves Amid Energy Crisis”: “The global energy crisis has led to a spike in natural gas, heating oil, propane, and power prices, making the cost of heating a home this fall/winter very expensive. As a result, Americans are panic buying cords of wood and stoves to deflect soaring fossil fuel prices.

Have others noticed this? Is anyone transitionng [sic] to wood heat this winter in response to energy prices?

Well, I wouldn’t say panic buying, but I did lay some extra wood up.

Although I haven’t even bothered to light a fireplace candle the last few nights as the daytime temperatures hereabouts have been in the upper 60s or lower 70s for the last week. Which does not warrant a little flickering light in the family room no matter how early it gets dark.

Still, in one of the phrases that my boys will someday say “My father always said,” it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

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The Wrong Funny Hats

Apparently, because I wear a fedora, Facebook thinks I like funny hats.

I’ve gotten this ad a bunch, and I don’t know why. I’ve never worn a scully. Well, I had a corduroy hat with a sloping front when I was in eighth grade, but I didn’t wear that hat very often–although I once drew a self portrait for an art class that actually looked like me, and I was wearing that hat. So maybe it just looked like the hat. My friend Shaun favored hats like that–I think there’s a photo of us together, and he’s wearing a hat like that. But, c’mon, man, do I look like some guy out of Southie? Don’t answer that.

I also get ads for some novelty headgear as well.

I’ve also gotten some ads for top hats and steampunk abhorrations.

I am definitely not the target audience for these hats. I take a classic fedora, 2″ brim, 4″ c-crown, black. I accept no substitutions.

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Book Report: Edward Hopper: A Modern Master by Ita G. Berkow (2006)

Book coverI saw someone–perhaps the Ace of Spades Midmorning Art Thread–mention Edward Hopper. Of course, I knew about “The Nighthawks”, which the particular post mentioned. So when I got a chance to pick up this book at Hooked on Books, I did.

The book mixes biographical text with large renderings of the paintings as well as some detailed close-ups. It definitely uses the page effectively; some books have fairly large margins and tiny reproductions of the art, but this book really illustrates how to do a monograph. Of course, it is from the 21st century. Clearly, printing has improved since the 1970s and 1980s, when a lot of the monographs I review were published.

The author of this book talks about how grim and isolated, how despondent the people in the paintings are, and he lays out a good argument for that, but I think the scenes are not quite as bleak as the author would have us believe. They’re scenes of working people, often urban or newly developed areas, and they depict not portraits but moments in time in the urban landscapes and in the peoples’ lives. The almost impressionistic blurring of the lines works well, and this author indicates that Hopper might have influenced Noir cinema instead of vice versa.

So I liked the book. Of course, I live in the country now, so city living is but a memory, which might be why I like the gauzy focus urban paintings–paintings from a time way past when I lived in the city, but how I imagined myself in that city even as I lived there and even now.

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Book Report: Masters of World Painting: Antoine Watteau (1980)

Book coverYou know, ABC Books has amongst its dwindling artists section a thick volume on Watteau, and I felt a bit like a traitor when I bought this book at Hooked on Books two weeks ago. Of course, that’s odd, since I was a Hooked on Books patron before I even moved here, twenty-some years ago when I came to Springfield with my beautiful-then-girlfriend. So perhaps I should feel like a traitor to Hooked on Books for buying so much at ABC Books, but Hooked on Books has changed hands once or twice since then, and ABC Books has not changed hands since I’ve known of it.

At any rate, watteau to say about this artist. A late seventeenth and early eighteenth century French artist–Voltaire might have thought him old school. You know, if I read and remember enough of these monographs I will see he’s more Gainsborough than Caravaggio. The brief text introduction in the book explains how he was misunderestimated in his age, but how he’s really a towering figure. Except fewer people remember his name than Caravaggio, probably.

Not bad to look at; group scenes where you can tell the subjects are people. I don’t know that I would hang any reprints of his work in my home if I were to come upon one somewhere. But I probably wouldn’t, as, c’mon, it’s Watteau.

The book, though, is nominally a Harry N. Abrams book, but it’s also credited to Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad. Most of the pieces depcited on the plates were in Soviet museums, and this was a nice, artificialish “We like art, too” reach across the Iron Curtain where the book was published in the Soviet Union, but the art images are all pasted in by work-from-home people circa 1979. I have mentioned before that I dated a girl in the 1990s who caught on with one of these publishers who would send her books and art plates to paste into them, and the girl would get dinged on quality control if the plates were a little crooked, so it wasn’t something you could do while watching television (as the ads in the magazines promised).

You know what? I have forgotten Watteau since I started typing this review. Which explains why it’s the only monograph left at ABC Books besides the $30 “comic” art one (which I will probably buy in 2022). So, consider that the ultimate meh.

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Book Report: Little Thoughts with Love by Anne Geddes (1998)

Book coverC’mon, man, it’s like Checkov’s gun. If the man buys a twee collection of tweerific baby pictures as an artist’s “monograph” on Saturday, you have to know he’s going to browse it during the football game the next day. And, the best part is that this book, which counts in my simple annual total as much as Wuthering Heights or David Copperfield. Well, no, that’s not the best part.

All right, all right, all right. Anne Geddes has made a life of making books like this, books with staged photos of infants and newborns. She got her start at the turn of the century with calendars and whatnot, and one of her books was featured on Oprah. Which was a television program of some influence, although it’s mostly forgotten now.

So if you dig pictures of babies dressed like butterflies and perched on something looking like a tree branch or babies made to look like flowers posed in a field, this is definitely the book for you. Or if you’re interested in spending $4 to get a quick entry onto the annual reading list.

The best part about this book, though, was my family’s reaction to it and to my reading it. My beautiful wife recognized the photographer’s name and said the photographer’s works creeped her out. And as I sat on the sofa, watching the Packers victory this weekend, my youngest sat next to me, playing on his Nintendo Switch, and every couple of pages, I would say, “Aw, look at that baby dressed up like an insect!” and show it to him, and he would look but shake his head. That alone was worth the price of the book and the hit my reputation took for reading it.

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All I Want For Christmas Is A New Credit Card

I mentioned that the son of one of my wife’s friends is a wide receiver at Ohio State University. So after I saw a couple of posts on Saturday, I thought that Buckeyes jerseys with his name and number on them would be a good Christmas present for the family. So I did a little Internet searching, and although the big retailers didn’t offer his name on a jersey, I found a store that offered custom jerseys and let you choose from members of the current roster. So I selected four different jersey styles and added them to the cart. Although the store had a PayPal logo on it, it didn’t offer it as a payment option during checkout.

So I entered my credit card information with a touch of trepidation, but I’ve been fairly lucky with online stores to this point, so….

The browser’s address bar goes to some Chinese processing company and ends with a screen that says System Exception. And, nothing. No email confirming the transaction, oh boy.

A little while later, my beautiful wife asks me to look at something. The credit card company has sent her a potential fraud alert. A payment to some company name not visible on the Web site in the amount of the transaction. I told her to decline it, which put us on the fraud path, which cancelled my existing credit card. I should get a new one sometime soon.

The best possible result is that this was simply a Chinese manufacturer that hid its name behind an American sounding storefront and was not actually harvesting Buckeyes’ fans credit cards.

But what makes this a particular Noggle Christmas story is that I told my wife what I had ordered, and she told me that her mother had been caught by the same site. My wife, unknown to me, had thought that a #86 Buckeyes jersey would make a good Christmas gift for me, so she asked her mother to find one, buy it, and wrap it for her. And her mother, who is fairly Internet savvy, ordered from the same online store. And her credit card company processed the payment without a potential fraud alert, and she had to not only get a replacement card, but she had to work with her credit card company to get a refund.

We have a history of getting each other the same things for Christmas, so we kept in the spirit of that by getting each other credit card fraud for the holidays.

In other news, my holiday spending and one-for-me, one-for-you protocol has been suspended for the nonce. Ah, well, everyone has enough from me already anyway.

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Good Book Hunting, November 27, 2021: ABC Books

As I mentioned, I was going to go and went to ABC Books on Saturday for a book signing.

So I picked up a couple of books, but no Leibniz.

I got:

  • Little Thoughts With Love by Anne Geddes. Brian J., are you getting collections of twee staged baby pictures paired with meme wisdom to pad out your annual book reading total? Of course I am! Watch for an equally twee book report this week as I review this book during today’s football game.
  • Terse Verse, poems by Roberta Page. A Carleton Press book, which is an old timey vanity press where you designed, laid out, and printed a couple hundred copies of your book to try to sell. None of that self-published print-on-demand wussy stuff you have today. Back then, you really had to believe and pay cash up front.
  • In Praise of East Central Illinois, a 1976 chapbook by Alex Sawyer.
  • The Poetry Home Reoair Manual by Ted Kooser. The subtitle is Practical Advice for Beginning Poets. I might find some useful tips in here, or I might throw it across the room. A quick flip indicates poetry with very short lines, so at least I will learn the justification for crap.
  • What Comes Before Dawn by Addison Michael, a mystery by a local author.
  • The Science of Takedowns, Throws & Grappling for Self-Defense by Martina Sprague. Apparently, ABC Books got a single new martial arts book, and I bought it. When Mrs. E. saw that I grabbed it, she smiled, because we’ve talked about how fast martial arts books move through the store before.
  • Philosophical Problems of Natural Science edited, presumably, by Dudley Shapere. A collection of essays about philosophy and natural science by probably philosophers contemporaneous to the publication date of 1965. I don’t recognize any of the names.
  • Change for the Poor by Mark F. McKnelly, the signing author. He works for a local organization helping the homeless. It’s been decades since I read Opting for the Poor, a Catholic call to action for helping the poor. I am not sure how soon I will dig into this one.

Earlier this year, I made a point of trying to read all the books I bought at ABC Books on various trips. However, as this trip brought some heady material as well as an increasing number of books per trip, I don’t know that I’ll get through all of these any time soon.

Ah, well, I still have a faint hope that medical science will keep me alive for the centuries it will take me to read all my books.

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Nogglestead Escapes Brown Friday, Unfortunately

Thanksgiving dinner was served late at Nogglestead; my beautiful wife was a bit under the weather and was napping when she meant to put the turkey in the roaster. As it was only the four of us this year, we were very flexible. So we ate late, 7:30 or so, after dark. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and gravy.

As is my wont, I finish the meal the fastest, and I got started on the dishes. It wasn’t lost on me that in addition to the normal detritus we were going to wash down the garbage disposal, we were including some bit of mashed potato boiling water thick with starch effluvia along with the resultant remnant mashed potato paste and store-boughten brown gravy. I got to thinking that the last backup at Nogglestead, earlier this year, came on an evening where we’d had a nice Sunday dinner but that required a lot of dishwashing.

Apparently, plumbers call the day after Thanksgiving Brown Friday:

“The term Brown Friday, the first time I heard about it was probably a few years ago,” said Chad Farrell with Roto-Rooter Plumbing.

Local plumbers say the day after Thanksgiving is one of their busiest days of the year. That’s because many households experience drain and pipe clogs in their bathrooms and kitchen sinks during the holiday.

So that was in the forefront of my mind as I washed the large turkey platter and the large turkey roaster pan. I thought I might send one of the boys down to the bar sink to watch for backup while I finished the dishes.

Then I turned on the garbage disposal, and when I turned it off, it drained really quickly. That’s the new garbage disposal I installed this summer, a little oversized perhaps, and not the whisper quiet one because I didn’t want to spend $100 to have ten seconds of whisper quiet every couple of days instead of normal volume garbage disposing.

Now, the linked article says stay away from using your garbage disposal, and I do, for the most part stemming from my time in Old Trees, where the wastewater lines there backed up several times a year. I was aghast when I saw my recently passed (two years? already?) aunt putting whole potato peels down the disposal there when helping with dinner.

So I flipped on the disposal just to clear out whatever bits of effluvia were slowing the draining (hopefully, it was that and not a blockage down the line somewhere). Then I rinsed a dish, and the resulting water drained quickly. Notably quickly. I was surprised and pleased.

Until.

Until my beautiful wife, barefoot, brought over some dishes and noticed the floor was wet. I checked to see if it was rolling off of the counter top, but no.

I looked beneath the sink. The garbage disposal was sitting on a can of cleaner and hanging by its PVC discharge tube. Apparently, over the months, it was unbalanced enough or loose enough to vibrate itself off of the mounting ring that holds it to the sink (its whole weight hangs from the sink, which seems risky enough engineering to me as it is). And the contents of the sink were inside the cabinet and on the floor.

Ah, gentle reader, there is a life lesson in this: Do not worry about what might happen, because something entirely different is likely to go wrong.

I remounted the disposal–the bucket and wood that I used to lift it into place were still together in the garage as I am slow to clean the garage and don’t tend to put things where they belong because other things that don’t belong are already there.

So I will go into this holiday season not only thinking about my dwindling extended family, but also my seeming incompetence to do basic home maintenance chores without disastrous results and spoiling the holiday.

If anyone needs me, I shall be outside, wishing for holiday snow that rarely comes to these lands.

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