The ends meet in the middle
Perusal of upscale real estate listings reveals that it is now considered modern and chic to have entire extra outdoor living rooms complete with nice furniture and television set-ups. Outdoors, exposed to the elements! The message of which, to me, is “We have so much money that we really don’t know what to do with it and have not found suitable charities. Also, we have no concern of our expensive stuff being ruined or stolen anymore.”
I was mulling this over on my walk, when I noticed that the row of scrappy older houses I was passing also had many outdoor living rooms, in the form of indoor furniture like recliners, couches, and dining sets spilling out onto porches and front lawns in Beverly Hillbillies fashion.
I wonder if the chic outdoor living room dwellers realize that they are just putting a little gold fringe on a proud Jed Clampett tradition.
They call it upcycling
I often tire of trendy terms, conveying old ideas, that suddenly appear on everyone’s lips. Take upcycling, which is “to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item : to create an object of greater value from (a discarded object of lesser value).”
If I make a new planter box or birdhouse from old wood that would have been headed to the dump, am I “upcycling” or just reusing what’s already here to avoid wasting it and then needing to buy more new stuff later? And, either way, isn’t this what people without heaps of excess money to throw around have always done? Use what you’ve got and make it work somehow to fulfill your current needs?
I have now used the same set of metal brackets in a planter box (until I didn’t need it anymore), an improvised bookcase (until I didn’t need it anymore), and a porch shelf. I did not credit myself with any great ingenuity for doing so. They were the brackets I had. What was I going to do, go buy new ones like some kind of nut?
I guess it’s good if a new term can help people reconnect with an old idea. But, as a small talk abstentionist of long standing, the proportion of time spent verbally crediting oneself with doing a thing versus the time spent actually doing the (fairly obvious) thing can seem out of whack.
Recent sidewalk acquisitions have included a sturdy wooden stool and a rather peculiar wooden box, the exact design logic of which eludes (but nevertheless intrigues) me. The box is approximately phone book-sized, with a glass top and wire mesh sides all framed in wood. Any ideas on what one would use such a box for?
They might all be the same person
Half the time when a house sells around here, it seems to be bought by a guy with the same sunglasses, same big truck, same fifth wheel, same bunch of friends coming to check out the new place, same bright new flag hung by the door, same dirt bike in the garage, same general demeanor. I am always so thrilled to find anyone doing anything interesting for a change.
There’s a house around the corner that has a live goat, dog, tortoise, and cat all hanging out together in the front yard. See? That’s interesting. Give me something, something on which to hang some semblance of personality or particularity.
I’ve been reading a classic magic text from the 1940s in which a whole chapter is devoted to tricks with cigarettes. Therein, I am reliably informed that cigarettes are an ideal prop for the casual magician because everyone always has them on hand to be borrowed. Also, for the grand finale of a more formal performance, you can bring a smile to everyone’s face by producing a whole bunch of cigarettes and passing them out to everyone in the audience. Good to know!
I don’t reckon they hinder your health
Also from the 1940s, when there was (I think) a law that men had to be called Tex: