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Author: Claire

Silliness, art, and eggs

Do you ever put off — and work up a big dread for — something that turns out to be simple, even pleasant? I’ve been doing that for the last 10 days with my venture into egg-tempera painting. Not venturing. I had an excuse, if that counts for anything. The powdered pigments arrived the day The Wandering Monk and I started on the last (knock wood) really grueling project. I wanted to wait to give full attention to paint making. I did mix up rabbit-skin glue and French chalk and prepared a gesso board, a process that took a few…


Two bad things (and one small, bitter laugh)

You may have heard that this week Jeff Sessions’ Justice (sic) Department rolled back the Obama-era directive that had curbed one of the worst aspects of asset forfeiture. The federal government will once again be “adopting” forfeitures made by thieving police departments in states that have attempted to curb forfeiture abuse. Cops who want more toys and higher salaries can again thumb their noses at state laws — and of course at the very concept of due process. Says C.J. Claramella at Reason: The Justice Department, rolling back an Obama-era directive, will seize more cash and property from suspected criminals,…


And now a word from Downton Abbey

I gather from the lack of response when I mentioned the show that few around here are devotees of Downton Abbey, the great Masterpiece series that ran for six big-hit years before its creators decided gracefully to bow out. In a way I’m not surprised at the lack of a Living Freedom Downton Abbey Rah Rah Fan Club. Outwardly Downton has nothing to do with freedom. It’s also a kitchen-and-drawing-room drama, offputting for you, my largely male readership. So I’m not saying everyone should just rush right out and binge-stream Downton Abbey until they’ve gained 50 pounds from all the…


A simple, quiet, sunshiny day

Is that boring, or what? Isn’t it funny that the parts of life that are the best often make the dullest reading? Boy and girl meet and never have a moment’s discord. Who wants to read that? Towering couple screaming at each other as if they were actors in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Couple being pulled separately through the gates of hell. That’s what we like. Even oil-and-water rom-com cuties finding their way through dating mishaps to True Love. The good stuff is boooooooring. War stories. Murder mysteries. Tragic or violent family sagas. That’s what we really like. But…


Tuesday links

  • Uber and Lyft are not just disrupting longstanding “taxi control” in New York City. They’re disrupting lenders who have profited from the insane medallion fees.
  • Ha ha ha. You know all those well-heeled people who are always spouting about how everybody should pay higher taxes? Well guess what happens when they’re invited to volunteer more of their own dough?
  • This planet’s a crazy place. When it’s time to leave, is it feasible to terraform Mars?… 14 Comments
  • My Mrs. Winchester gene

    Six months after my family moved into the first brand-new house my parents ever bought, Mom started directing my father to remove or move walls and change various other things. This was a perfectly ordinary three-bedroom tract house in a blue-collar neighborhood. It was laid out in a fairly obvious way. There was not much you could do with it. But for the next 20 years my mother conducted a ceaseless rebuilding campaign. She joked that she was born with the Mrs. Winchester gene. I believed it. And early on it was clear I’d inherited it. Other women move furniture,…


    It is not encouraging …

    … that whenever I ask The Wandering Monk, handyman extraordinaire, how to handle a house problem, his answer involves matches. And sometimes accelerants. Nevertheless — progress. I can now state that the foundation of the house is as stable, level, and rot-free as it’s ever going to get. Additions to the understructure have been done with ground-contact treated materials. Dubious portions of the periphery that couldn’t be fully corrected with new wood have been bug sprayed and preservative treated to the max. Whew. There’s still more to do on the current phase of The Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project.…