All posts by history

Day two: Junk under the TV stand

New lessons:

1. I knew this but a 1×10″ isn’t really a 1×10″. It’s a 1 x 9 1/4″. When does this knowledge of what you’re actually buying seep into your consciousness? When do the measurements of wood become automatic?
2. When you use this kind of piping, it’s shipped with a lot of grease, to prevent rust, I guess? That grease will get all over your wood.
3. Joints. Sigh. I wanted to do box joints here but realized that learning the hand craft of cutting a box joint might take me into my 50s. Dado set, here I come.

Building some stuff

I saw this in a Crate and Barrel catalog. I’m going to build a smaller version for our living room. I’m going to use 3/4″ pipe and flanges in the middle instead of that iron bar.

Challenges/things I want to learn:

*These finger joints on the end — I want to make a smaller version.
*What did people do before Home Depot’s/Lowe’s selection of crappy milled wood? Are there lumberyards where everything is cut well so that you don’t have to spend twenty minutes finding the least bad pieces?

Re-reading David Blight

Saw the latest Twitter blast and had to pull Professor Blight off the shelf. From the prologue:

“In many ways, this is a story of how in American culture romance triumphed over reality, sentimental remembrance won over ideological memory. For Americans broadly, the Civil War has been a defining event upon which we have often imposed unity and continuity; as a culture, we have often preferred its music and pathos to its enduring challenges, the theme of reconciled conflict to resurgent, unresolved legacies. The greatest enthusiasts for Civil War history and memory often displace complicated consequences by focusing on the contest itself…

Over time, Americans have needed deflections from the deeper meaning of the Civil War. It haunts us still; we feel it, to borrow from Warren, but often do not face it.”

David Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), 4.

Richard Sennett, part two

Finished reading yesterday and thought a lot about his distinction between authority and autonomy within a workshop. (Much joy at having a chapter called The Workshop).

This is the question we grapple with all the time. You want kids to become autonomous but you know that they’re not always ready. If you turn them loose too soon, you lose them, and it’s project-based learning going wrong. If you assume too much authority, it pretty quickly devolves into school and disengagement. We spend lots of time in PD discussing the nature of authority and how it’s earned; as teachers in a project-based school we have a number of our own projects that should serve as a model and as a source of authority.

I’m lazy, so I’m not typing this entire quote, but here it is:

I’ll use these two paragraphs in our opening week as try and figure out what rules the school sets, what expectations I have based on my authority as a teacher/project makes, and how they can begin to establish “legitimate authority in the flesh.”

Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 54.

Richard Sennett

Reading The Craftsman. Great C. Wright Mills quote:

“The laborer with a sense of craft becomes engaged in the work in and for itself, the satisfaction of working are their own reward, the details of their daily labour are connected in the worker’s mind to the end product, the worker can control his or her own actions at work; skill develops within the work process; work is connected to the freedom to experiment; finally, finally, community and politics are measured by the standards of inner satisfaction, coherence, and experiment in craft labor.”

Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).

The Wolf in Winter

I read to try and find ways to link all that I do together. I love a good thriller and if you add a bit of ancient religion, I’ll read them all.

This is a good quote about social work but really any non-profit work:

Stephen was clearly a good kid, but he had the egotism of youth. The world revolved around him, and consequently he believed that he had the power to change how it worked. And, in the way of the young, he had made another’s pain about himself, even if he did so for what seemed the best of reasons. Time and age would change him; if they didn’t, he wouldn’t be working in soup kitchens and shelters much longer. His frustrations would get the better of him and force him out. He’d blame others for it, but it would be his own fault.

John Connolly, The Wolf in Winter (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014), 115.

Only in Philadelphia

Only in Philly do you congratulate yourself on identifying the only DMV that’s open on Monday’s near you only to arrive and find the office closed. Because someone crashed their car into the DMV building. Through a window and door.

I get that people use that lot to practice driving, but seriously, you can’t make this up.

Quote on resilience

From a terrific novel, Universal Harvester:

If you work with or around children, you often hear a lot about how resilient they are. It’s true: I’ve met children who’ve been through things that would drive most adults to the brink. They look and act, most of the time, like any other children. In this sense — that they don’t succumb to despair, that they don’t demand a space for their pain — it’s very true that children are resilient.

But resiliency only means that a thin retains it shape. That it doesn’t break, or lose its ability to function. It doesn’t mean a child forgets the time she shared in the backyard with her mother gardening, or the fun they had together watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the Astro. It just means she learns to bear it. The mechanism that allowed Lisa Sampson to keep her head above water in the wake of her mother’s departure has not been described by scientists. It’s efficient, flexible, and probably transferrable from one person to another should they catch the scent on each other. But the rest of the details about it aren’t observable from the outside. You have to be closer than you really want to get to see how it works.

John Darnielle, Universal Harvester (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2017),137.