Pass the Olives

A Jumble of Opinions on Living, Thinking, Reading, and Making Things

My Grandmother’s House

My grandmother’s house was a white frame cottage, very neat and tidy, on the corner of two unpaved roads and with an outhouse in the backyard next to an apple tree. A rusted barrel was used to burn trash. The neighborhood smelled of burning coal all winter. To the west were acres of cornfields; to the east a block of 12 identical houses, six on each side of the street. […]

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Update on COVID-19 Protection

COVID-19 protection is not exactly cohousing, but it’s the best place to post this so others can find it. The Cohousing-L list doesn’t take attachments. There is a Google Docs link in the text and later a PDF you can download. It was circulated on the Historic Takoma neighborhood list in Washington, DC, with this introduction: Attaching a link to a newly updated set of guidelines set out in a […]

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Depressed for No Good Reason: Hiding in Plain Sight

Well, not exactly depressed for no good reason. It’s the fifty-first day of my shelter-in-place sojourn for covid and I finished reading Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America this morning. As a specialist, Kendzior explains the development of autocracies and kleptocracies and chronicles all the steps in Donald Trump’s rise to power. Good book but not an upper. Hiding in Plain Sight is […]

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Coronavirus Counting Game, Watching the News

Watching the News Coronavirus Counting Game It will make watching the news worth it when there isn’t any. Which journalists have books on their walls? Or paintings? Or photographs? Or certificates? How many books by Stephen King can you count? By Rachel Maddow? About Trump? How many mix fiction and nonfiction? New and old? And do you see any old books? Percentage of unadorned white walls to bookshelves? Are certificates framed, […]

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Craftsman Books & Software

The Craftsman Book Company has been publishing books & software for the construction industry for 70 years. Craftsman has over 500 publications. They are used by contractors, remodelers, custom builders, appraisers, adjusters, estimators, architects, engineers and other construction professionals in the United States and Canada. Uniquely for one price you have access to all their books for one year. At this writing, the cost for this service is $129.99. The […]

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USDA Farm Real Estate Values

Every year, the USDA publishes the average land values for farm real estate. The statistics are broken down into types of land—pasture, cropland, irrigated/non-irrigated, land and buildings.  The attached copy of the 2019 report includes all the statistics, including trends, some from 2015-2019 and others from 2005-2019. This map is a snapshot of farm real estate values in different states. The report includes more such maps. USDA Land Values 2019 PDF […]

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Windows: Can You See Outside?

City vew from office building

Sometimes the best information comes from off-topic sources. When I was painting, I read the New York Review of Books more often than Art Forum. The principles of creative work are the same across the arts, but also different. Enough the same to transfer back and forth and enough off-topic to provide an intriguing side view. I came across a research study today in Fast Company that raised a side […]

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The best music video ever made: Viewing Grand Rapids

Roger Ebert ranked this of “Views of Grand Rapids” the best music video ever made. After Newsweek pronounced the city one of the top ten dying the cities in the nation, residents sang and danced back. This world-record setting 9+ minute lip dub features every willing resident of Grand Rapids and they sing, dance, and move in formation to Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie. In the background is Grand Rapids—probably […]

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