Writer’s Workshop: Bond, Erasable Bond

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

I learned how to type in my freshman year of high school, but was really never too good at it, because the typewriter I had lost its letter "K" at the beginning of sophomore year of high school, and we didn’t get it fixed until I had gotten an electric model when I started college. That was my fault: while I had told my mother that I had the K problem, I didn’t make enough of a stink about it. When it came time for Jim to write his term paper in junior year, Mom borrowed Grandma’s typewriter instead of fixing ours.

Anyway, I was a really awful typist because I hardly did any in high school, and this was a huge problem when I got to college. Even though I had an electric typewriter, I didn’t practice enough, and, being the procrastinator that I am, I wouldn’t start typing a paper until the night before it was due. A task that should have taken no more than a half hour (i.e. typing a 5-page paper) would take me a lot more than that, because I had to keep stopping and correcting errors.

I couldn’t find an efficient way to correct errors. Erasing left ghosts of the incorrect letters on the page, correction tape wasn’t much better, and Liquid Paper tended to go on a little too thick, plus the little bottle was a little too easy to knock over and create a huge mess. My electric typewriter was a Coronamatic, which kept the ribbon in a cartridge, and they came up with the idea of putting correction tape in a similar cartridge, so that, when I made a mistake, I could slide the ribbon cartridge out and slide the correction cartridge in. That way, I could spend countless minutes sliding cartridges in and out of the machine.

That was when someone told me about erasable bond paper. I could go back to using my eraser and wipe the mistakes out that way. Didn’t change the fact that I was making typos every two minutes, but for some reason I found it less stressful.

Still, I wish I had been born about ten years later, so that computers with word-processing software would have been available right when I needed them.

Writer’s Workshop: Give Me A Second To Change

In the absence of anything that actually fits, I give you this abstract art GIF

We got not one, but two words as prompts this week: second and change.

Two expressions that mean essentially the same thing are "just a second" and "just a minute." I think I use the former more than the latter, even though, when I say "second," it usually takes a minute or more. It might be interesting if someone were to give you an exact amount of time, like "just two minutes and 34 seconds."

Or, as Chuck Woolery would say, “Just two-and-two”

Anyway, let’s change the subject… (See what I did there?)

I have these eclectic tastes in music, which makes it difficult when I have to choose what I’m going to listen to. I play one thing (e.g. yacht rock) until I get sick of it, then change to another genre (e.g. smooth jazz) until I get sick of it, etc. etc. ad nauseum. The other day, desperate to find something new, I actually started listening to country music, the relatively modern stuff. I might move to a different platform, like Spotify to YouTube, then to Accuradio… yesterday, I decided to take advantage of Sirius/XM’s "free for three months" offer. I keep debating which service to keep and which one(s) to get rid of.

Hey, when you spend most of your life at home, things like this become important. About the only time I leave the house anymore is when I have some sort of medical appointment. The other day it was the doctor for my annual checkup. The good news is no chage. The bad news is, no change…

Writers Workshop: 6459

6459 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago IL 60626. From Google Maps.

If we were told that we’d have to move out of our house and move back to a place we lived before, this would be it.

We moved to 6459 North Glenwood in October 1962 and lived there until the end of June 1971. A lot of things happened in that time: Dad died, Jim and I both graduated from St. Ignatius Grammar School, we celebrated nine Christmases, Easters, and Thanksgivings, 40 birthdays (9 each for Mom, Jim, Kip, and myself, and 4 for Dad), 3 First Communions and Confirmations, and a lot of days with us just being together.

It was a big place. The living room had a sun parlor where we used to put the tree at Christmas, and when we had parties just about everyone would fit in there. There was a long hallway along which sat our bedrooms and the bathroom, which was split, the toilet in one room, the sink and tub in an adjoining room. We had a good-sized dining room, a pretty good-sized kitchen, and a back porch lined with knotty-pine paneling.

The window to my room, also known as my bachelor pad. Google Maps.

My room was along an alley behind Arthur Avenue. I had a good view of the steeple at St. Ignatius Church, which was exactly one block from home.

So, why there? Why not, say, Mary’s family’s building, where we lived on the second floor? For one thing, it’s gone, torn down about ten years ago. For another, this place is about three times the size of that. Why not the house in Northfield? Again, this was bigger.

The only other place I can think of that I’d like to return to is here…

52 North Ridgeview Drive, Indianapolis IN 46219. We lived behind the door on the left. Google Maps

We only lived here for one year (1959-1960), and it wasn’t an especially happy one, based on what Mom told me, but for some reason I remember it very well. What was my room had a door to an outdoor porch that overlooked the back yard; I’ve always thought that room would make a great home office. It had a partially-finished basement, a big kitchen, a good-sized living room-dining room, and three bedrooms and the bathroom on the second floor, which also had access to an attic via a pull-down staircase.

I just hope I don’t have to move again…

Writers Workshop: Blogging Time

Why yes… yes I do…

My first blog post, which was little more than an announcement that I was going to start blogging, was on January 5, 2012. So this blog has been going for ten years, four months, and 28 days. However, I consider the real start date to be July 1, 2014, the day I started blogging every day, so I’ve been blogging daily for seven years, eleven months, and one day.

That’s a long time. It’s also over 5000 posts, even deducting the ones that I put up before 7/1/14. And I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Lately I’ve been joining a bunch of blog hops where the questions allow me to be the smartass I’ve always been. I’ve gone from my posts being a great wall o’ text to having little text and a lot of pictures, GIF’s, and videos.

An old friend dropped by to say hello the other day. He had been in Oliver Twist when he was in high school, and he used to say “Please sir, may I have some more?” all the time. This is for him…

What’s changed a lot has been my whole attitude toward the blog and writing in general. I thought I’d be a great fiction writer (stop me if you’ve heard this), but after a while I realized I don’t like fiction and I suck at it anyway. So I started talking about music a lot, and spending hours on YouTube building playlists to be used here. (They’re all here if you want to watch them, although a few are not mine.) I still rarely address The Great Issues Of Our Time, because I hate writing about politics and damn near every issue these days is tied to politics one way or another. Besides, I like ya’ll too much.

So, that’s the story, morning glory…

Writers Workshop: Flat As The Brim Of Your Hat

I think the guy that made this was making designs for countertops. Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Do you remember the Disney cartoon about Columbus where he was trying to get funding for a trip where he was going to sail west and reach India, rather than around Cape Horn, which was a long and treacherous way to go? Of course, he never actually reached India, he reached the east coast of North America and some of the islands in the Caribbean, something he hadn’t counted on being here. Still, he had the right idea: it’s a lot easier to go around that way. When I flew to Singapore, I flew from Atlanta to Chicago, then Chicago over the top of the world to Hong Kong, and then on to Singapore…

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Anyway, in this cartoon (which I couldn’t find on YouTube), he persists in singing the line "The world is round like a ball!" and the people who didn’t want to give him the money answer with "The world is flat like the brim of my hat!" Back then, they believed that the world was flat and anyone foolhardy enough to sail west would fall off the edge and never be heard from again. Maybe they were hoping that he’d stop singing "The world is round like a ball!" and sail off the edge of the world and gave him the money, I’m not sure.

There are, of course, those who still insist that the world is flat, and they make some pretty interesting arguments on behalf of that belief. I don’t believe the world is flat, but I don’t see any harm in believing it. Besides, the world is neither round nor flat, it’s pear-shaped. We think of it as being round because it’s easier to make a round globe than a pear-shaped one, and besides, portraying the world as a ball is close enough for folk music, horseshoes, hand grenades, and government work.

I got to thinking about it, and even though we sit still for significant portions of the day, we’re still moving, because the Earth is rotating on its axis as it revolves around the Sun, the Sun is revolving around the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way galaxy is revolving around the center of the universe. And we’re booking, too. It feels like we aren’t going anywhere, but that’s because everything is moving.

I didn’t make that up, I learned that in Physics in my junior year of high school from Mr. Heikkinen, who demonstrated it with vectors, which are kind of like rays in Geometry. Mr. Heikkinen had kind of a square head, and I always thought it was appropriate that we could draw pictures of him with a ruler, which is used to draw vectors. He was the person who told us that Physics would be a lot easier if we bought and learned to use a slide rule to do many of the calculations. There were electronic calculators by 1972, but they cost more than a house payment. So I bought an inexpensive slide rule and learned to use it, and yes, it made Physics easier.

Everyone called him "Heik," which sounds like "hike," which was appropriate because he was a football coach as well as a Physics teacher. He was also a proud son of Finland, though he was born in the US, in a town right at the western tip of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost in Minnesota. Finlanders have a reputation for being laconic and not especially outgoing. An instructor I had once said that an extroverted Finlander stares at your shoes.

There I go again… Today is Ascension Thursday, the day when Christians believe that Jesus, having been crucified and risen from the dead, ascended into Heaven with the Apostles watching. (The Catholic Church moved the observance to the following Sunday, because so many people weren’t going on Thursday, but that’s beside the point.) Back in the Sixties when there weren’t many songs written for the New Rite of the Mass, music ministers would play whatever they knew. A friend of mine told me that he heard this at a Mass for Ascension Thursday…

Okay, it’s way off the subject, but don’t you love the song? The Fifth Dimension has always been a favorite of mine. Happy Ascension Thursday!