Mark of the maker

The two women held up a large item partially encased in bubble wrap. “Where does this go?” they asked. I stared. It took a second to recognize the stained glass lamp – because one side of it was caved in. “It hangs above the dining table,” I said. “But … it’s broken.” I was running … read more Mark of the maker

Pictures on the mantel

They aren’t expensive frames. Plain black wood, the kind you have to sort through in the display racks at the drugstore, and check carefully to find a couple that aren’t scratched or dinged. After I’d put the two 8 by 10 prints in the frames, and set them on the mantel, I sat and looked at them … read more Pictures on the mantel

The 8-hour workday

In the fall of 1919, a massive strike shut down the steel industry. The U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor held hearings to investigate the strike while it was in progress. One of the 350,000 striking workers, Andrew Pido, testified: The CHAIRMAN. What is the reason you struck this time? Mr. PIDO. I strike on … read more The 8-hour workday

Scrap heaps

I waded into a quagmire today – and spent six hours in it. It’s been five weeks since the plumbing went to hell, and the pile of wet carpet and water-damaged stuff on the lower deck is starting to stink. Gypsum dust coats everything in the basement and a lot of the main floor, from the drywall cutting for the … read more Scrap heaps

Something doesn’t add up

Since I was a kid, any time I’ve taken an aptitude test I score higher on math than language. My GRE score was highest in analytical, almost as high in quantitative reasoning, and lowest in verbal reasoning. Funny stats for someone who always wanted to be a writer, and whose career involved very little math. … read more Something doesn’t add up