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

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

gata and anagata

Happy New Year


2020 wasn't all that bad. Seriously. My commitment to not watching the news, following politics or pro sports, etc. paid off, I think. Some people might say I'm in the dark. Instead, I prefer to think of it as being in the light. At least my light and my immediate family's light.


So, I find myself at the trailhead of 2021. Time to, among other things, revisit one of my favorite books that I've honestly only read a few pages of: Walking One Step at a Time by Erling Kagge.


According to Kagge, placing one foot in front of the other, embarking on the journey of discovery, and experiencing the joy of explorations -- these activities are intrinsic to our nature. Our ancestors traveled long distances on foot, gaining new experiences and learning from them.  

Language reflects the idea that life is one single walk: the word "journey" comes from the distance we travel in the course of a single day. Plus, walking is a natural accompaniment to creativity -- thinking.

In Sanskrit, one of the world's oldest languages, the past tense is designated as the word gata, "that which we have walked." The future is anagata, "that which we have not yet walked."


                                                          Carved this little guy on a hike last year (gata)


This year I plan to embark on the journey of discovery and experience the joy of exploration -- in nature, learning music, working on a project in the shop, being with family and friends (eventually).


Placing one foot in front of the other.


Carpe diem Life,

David Kuhn