Pass the Olives

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

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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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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Pattern in Islamic Art

Pattern in Islamic Art is an online archive of over 5,000 beautiful Islamic patterns. Images sortable by museum, monument, region, town, materials used (ceramic tiles, plasterwork, wood, etc.), or by architectural feature (decorative panel, doors & doorways, lattice-work, etc.) Excellent images and documentation. Images are also available in prints. The image above is from Pattern in Islamic Art: Grand Mosquée de Paris This mosque was founded in 1926 and built […]

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Demographic Data Source

City-data.com is a not too cluttered easy to use comprehensive source of demographic data for cities in the United States. Interactive maps. Links that work. Information on Schools, Neighborhoods, Assessments, Restaurants, and even Sex Offenders. By collecting and analyzing data from a variety of government and private sources, we’re able to create detailed, informative profiles for every city in the United States. From crime rates to weather patterns, you’ll find the […]

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Piping Frosting Lace and Other Patterns

Piping frosting in lace patterns is one of the ways to create an elegant cake. It also takes much more practice than cutting out fondant flowers. From and Craftsy: Everything You Need to Know About Piping Techniques Since piping is most often done on vertical surfaces, practicing on a glass or jar gives the best learning experience. I’m not about to try this but it’s nice to know how if I […]

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Another Hitler? The World Watches in Horror

Hitler with Trump's Hair

Nov 6, 2016 How could an ignorant,  racist, misogynist, isolationist, tax-evading, sex abuser, and financial fraud with orange hair and no respect for factual information be nominated by a major party to become the American President?  Is he another Hitler? I’ve been thanked for my efforts at trying to help international readers understand the American election. I wish I had something reassuring to say about Donald Trump. Admittedly it is not much […]

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Perfect Profile Pictures

Not Just for Dating Anymore With the growth of social media for networking, the profile picture has become a major decision for anyone who participates. Which picture will people click on in LinkedIn? Who will follow me in Twitter? Am I turning people off with my stern look on Facebook? Is my smiley smile too smiley? What do I do with my eyes? What should I wear? On OKCupid, “the […]

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Perfect Popcorn

For too long had I been popping the perfect popcorn in a hot air popper. Fluffy clouds. No fat! No cholesterol! No taste. Until I re-discovered the real stuff. After years and years of this, a friend brought real popcorn to a movie screening: Popped in a pan over a fire with oil. And buttered. Now the hot air popper is reserved for Christmas when we make strings of popcorn […]

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