Monday, February 22, 2021

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Snow Thoughts

There is something about snow that always brings me back to my childhood: I could not wait to put a couple of bread sacks between two layers of socks and get out in it. Out in it till the point that I couldn’t wait to get back in the warm house -- hours and hours later.

This morning, as I looked out the window at the current wonderland, I saw them: Snow Diamonds = ice crystals sparkling in the sunshine. Interesting, at least to me, is how only a handful of crystals choose to sparkle for me at any given time. Out of thousands of square yards of snow blanketing the backyard and field behinds us, only a handful of “diamonds” sparkle at any given time. I see them as tiny glimmers (reminders) that there is still beauty in this world.  

We’ve been reminded over and over this past year that, as Sara Raasch is quoted, “Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”  A blizzard started with a virus, a blizzard started with a brutal killing, a blizzard started with words . . .

Blizzards disrupt our lives. Blizzards put our lives at a standstill. But, when the blizzard is over and the sun shines, there are glimmers of hope.  

Blizzards offer of day or two of slowing down -- giving us time to reflect our inner light — or at least a reflection on how we can offer little “diamonds” to brighten the lives of our fellow “flakes” in this sometimes frozen world.

In the meantime,
WATCH OUT WHERE THE HUSKIES GO
AN' DON'T YOU EAT THAT YELLOW SNOW
    -- Frank Zappa

Do people still save bread sacks for playing in the snow?

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Super Bowl, Collecting, Stuff . . .

Well, I broke down and watched the Super Bowl.  Tradition.  
 
A few of takeaways: 
1) I haven't really missed anything all year.
2) The NFL is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try to correct something -- though I'm not sure where all the money is going.
3) The halftime show was ???
 
I used to love professional sports.  Even to the point that collecting baseball cards was a major passion of mine.  A short story:
 
When I was maybe twelve, I read an ad in the back of a comic book. Send in money for postage, and  someone by the name of Ken M (last name withheld to protect the innocent) would send you his HUGE catalog full of comic books, non-sport cards, sports cards, etc.  So, I did.  What I receive was AMAZING.  Some of it typed, single spaced, two-sided pages and others hand-written -- FULL of stuff you could buy. That started a several year love affair with Mr. M and his amazing catalogs.  

We'd work our tails off around the house and neighborhood to earn money to send off for a cards.  Then, a few weeks later, a small box would arrive full of cards.  A lot of it really old and now somewhat valuable.  Including early Topps Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays . . .   

For once in my life, I was the kid who had access to a gold mine of treasure that none of my "rich" friends had -- and I certainly wasn't sharing that information!  Okay, I did share with a few close friends. 

Turn the page to this past December.  I was visiting one of those old friends and asked if he remembered Ken M.  "Not only that, I'm sure I still have one of his catalogs in a box in the attic!"  Off we went.  Not only did he find one, hen he handed it to me, I saw that it was addressed to me. 
It was one of mine that I had shared with him in 1974.  "I wonder if he's still alive?"
 
That question prompted an internet search and the finding of ONE Ken M.  So, I wrote to him (if he were in fact the same man) to let me know how much he and his catalogs meant to me.  Last week came the reply.  YES!  Mr. M is alive.  He couldn't believe that "someone out there" still remembered him.  Turns out that in the early 70s he was right out of the service and wanted to prove to his parents that he could start and run his own business.  It didn't last long, but he said he still had a collection and building of stuff -- all to be turned into a museum.  

Collections.

I'm reminded of all this because my grandchildren are in town and they found this:


A box full of something else I collected years ago:  PEZ.  Maybe a couple of hundred.  

Collections.  At least for a few hours on this cold and icy day, providing enjoyment.  Who knows, maybe some day all that stuff will end up in a museum?
 
And what WAS up with that halftime show?  

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

 


Monday, February 1, 2021

Science

 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, 
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, 
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science,  
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, 
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science,  
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, 
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, 
 Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science,  Science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science, science...
 
Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 
 


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Think ON the box!

Well, I accidentally saw who was playing in the Super Bowl.  I’ve successfully gone the entire season without watching a minute of the NFL.  Will that change in a couple of Sundays?  We shall see.  Again, not a peaceful protest of professional sports (we know who peaceful protests turn out these days).  More of a "what-can-I-do-instead" protest. 

So, I thought I introduce you to yet another Cigar Box Guitar build I’m attempting.  This one is long from finished, but I thought I’d show it off  — for the history of it. 
 
Oh, the guitar itself will never make history, but the box offers a lot of Evansville history.
First, it’s a H. Fendrich Cigar Company box.  Est. in 1850, the Fendrich factory once employed 1,500 people.  The factory was shut down in 1969. 

One of their most iconic brands was Charles Denby.

Colonel Charles Denby (June 16, 1830 – January 13, 1904) was a U.S. Union officer in the Civil War and diplomat to China.  Evidently, he was quite an individual.  From the net:  In 1853, he removed to Evansville, Indiana, which remained his home until his death. Evansville was then a town of six thousand inhabitants, which, from its position on the Ohio River, at the terminus of the Wabash and Erie Canal, seemed destined to a great development. At Evansville, Denby devoted himself to the study of law and to newspaper work. He represented his county in the Indiana House of Representatives during the session of 1856-57.

Back to the cigar box guitar  I’m attempting a fretless slide guitar w/ a piezo.  I opted to make my own neck out of maple and walnut fret-less board.  Tuners were extra from a pack of six I bought for the last build. I don’t know what I’m eventually going to do with the nut and bridge.  Like I said, it’s a work in progress.  

You all remain well out there.  

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Mystery at the Museum (My Museum)

January is my month of purging.  Though I rarely throw anything away -- or even better organize things for that matter -- it is, if nothing else, a trip down memory lane.  The three hours I'm spending not watching NFL this season is giving me more time than ever to go through boxes of treasures.
 
This very well could be the RAREST item in my collection:
 
But, it’s just a ballpoint pen!
 

True. However, every item I've saved tells a story (even if I can’t remember what that story is now). This one is special!

First of all, I believe the ballpoint pen changed the world — and not for the better. A pen was once a valuable and sacred object to be nurtured and cared for. You only had one, so you took great care of it. If you wanted to write, you needed your pen. Also, because pens were so messy, or at least potentially messy, you had better take your time. Be mindful.

The ballpoint pen changed all that. It was so cheap it was even sold in multi-packs. They were so cheap that companies would put their names on them and give them away. Give them away!  They seemed to multiply like Tribbles (A late-60s TV show reference). As a result, if you lost one, no bother. Just go get another one. 

Ballpoint pens were practically trouble-free, so you would write with reckless speed and abandon. Mindlessness — at least for me.

And then there was the cap. It wasn’t secure. Caps routinely got taken off and placed somewhere — lost. No worries, the thing worked without one.  Another cool feature about the ballpoint pen was that they could be turned into weapons: Take off the two end caps and pull out the ink cartridge and you have a spitball rifle barrel. 

So, as you can see, these things didn’t survive intact for very long. This brings me back to this particular object: This is the ONLY ballpoint pen I’ve ever owned that was purchased new, used all the ink, all while retaining all the original parts. The ONLY one. The ONLY one, to my knowledge, in the history of the world. Go ahead, ask around. I challenge you to find another one -- at least this old (mid 70s). 

Take a moment to look around your own life. How many pens do you see in your environment? 

Next time you pick a pen up, wonder about it.  Slow down.  Be mindful.

Take a few minutes to study the history of pens and writing. It’s quite a story. And you’re looking at perhaps the most wondrous of them all!


Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn


 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Joy of Un-Decorating Christmas

 Another Non-NFL story (this should be ending soon, right?).

Another holiday is behind us.  Some would say different, but we've gone through different before.  Christmas seems to be that one holiday that measures "different."  Every Christmases is a "first" for something:  Age-appropriate gifts change through the years, Grandparents pass away, spouses enter, kids enter, kids believe in Santa, kids stop believing in Santa, kids leave for college or careers, parents pass, a virus shows up instead of Santa, . . .  

At some point, it's time to take down the decorations.  That's what we did this weekend at my Mother-in-law's and at our house.  A lot of people decorate with enthusiasm and undecorate with a sense of sadness and emptiness.  I don't know, I rather enjoy the undecorating part as well.  It's an affirmation that this is a new year.  A new opportunity to do and discover new things.  To continue practicing this thing we call life.

Happy New Year!

- - - 
Oh, I've had a very old cigar box lying around for years.  I've looked at that thing and moved it out of my way so many times.  It's even been in the donate pile.  Still, I couldn't help thinking,  "Someday, I'm going to do something with that!"  This past week I did: 

This project presented plenty of unplanned opportunities to come up with creative solutions.  Now, I just need to learn to play the darn thing.  Yes, a new opportunity to do and discover new things.  A new year to continue practicing this thing we call life. 

 

Carpe diem Life,

David Kuhn