....But you know if I was twins, we'd fight.
Old Grouch has a terrific photo-edit and good collection of post-Blogmeet links, including Brigid on starting big radial aircraft engines (as compared to jets). I used to liken my MGB to a small private aircraft, especially in the need to do a proper set of preflight checks, but the big planes are a whole 'nuther world. Like a locomotive (or a big old genset, something I do have a little experience with, including fun failure modes) that flies!
This morning, we're enjoying Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, snuck past the Customs station along the Monon by Turk (few North American Customs officers are willing to check a camel really closely and the ones from Turonistan are especially ill-tempered. Camels, not Customs officials, although y'know...). Yum! It was way more than worth last night's quick trip to BigBoxStore for a coffee grinder.
At the Greenfield Hamfest Sunday, I found William Edward Mead's Elementary Composition and Rhetoric, a high-school text from 1894. It's a gem! Not nearly as stiff-necked as might be thought: "Some slang is more picturesque and forcible than more dignified phrases; and some terms once regarded as slang are now counted among our most valued words. In serious composition, however, all phrases of doubtful propriety must be avoided, though probably no one but a pedant excludes them entirely from his conversation." [Mead, op. cit., p. 18] The book has 3- and 4-word summaries of each new thought set along the outside edges of each page and Dr. Mead often includes footnotes inviting the reader to question the word choice and phrasing of the quotes he uses as examples: "Is this the best word?" "Position of this clause?"
With this book atop my collection of swag, an older ham I know approached me as I was digging though a box of hand-wound radio coils -- "Does your starship company use those? Have a look at this book--" And he handed me McGuffey's High School and Literary Reader. I knew what it was, in a general sort of way but a glance at the table of contents -- Shakespeare, Poe, Daniel Webster, Defoe, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel Langhorne Clemens -- confirmed that here was indeed The Good Stuff.
"It's wonderful," I said, "what do you want for it?"
"Oh, you can have it; it's yours."
"Oh, gosh -- thank you! Very much!"
These readers were turned out in their millions. It was a sad day when they stopped being standard texts. And this one's missing most of the cover at the spine and is right before losing the front and back covers, not an easy repair for a very amateur bookbinder. But the pages are all there and the content.... Well, you can't do much better. You just can't.
And with that, I'm more than outta time, yet again. More, later.
1. Of course, if you get an MGB up to about 65 mph and pull back gently on the steering wheel, the only exciting thing that might happen is, it would fall off in your hand. Also they don't travel as far after sudden engine failure; the upside is, you don't have to land 'em. Usually you don't...
2. You have to have read Twain's essay "The Literary Excesses Of James Fenimore Cooper" to fully grasp my amusment at seeing them between the same covers. I think the essay itself is a must for anyone doing descriptive writing. Title is from memory; I'll link to it later if I can find it online.
He Worked On A Starship
1 month ago