Saturday, January 30, 2010
Where does the phrase, "Cut through the red tape" come from? Well, in a time before file folders, file cabinets and the easy access to paper, legal documents were kept by rolling or folding them up and tying them with a red cloth ribbon.
Thick legal documents were bound or tied with red cloth tape so when someone spoke of cutting through the red tape, they meant it in a very literal sense.
Kings would have important documents signed and wrapped up with red ribbon and red wax dripped on it to seal it. The king would press his seal ring into the soft wax. The recipient would then know if the document had been tampered with if the ribbon was cut or the seal broken.
Henry VIII besieged Pope Clement VII with around eighty or so petitions for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Guess what those petitions were wrapped and sealed with? Red tape.
Today we mean excessive regulations, rigid adherence to pointless bureaucratic regulations and procedures; unnecessary and time consuming paperwork; obstacles that delay results. We want to cut through the red tape and get to the core of the matter and act straight away.
My Aunt Eloise died this week. She was married to my Dad's brother, Lee Huneycutt. We have many wonderful memories of her. She was the kindest woman who always had a laugh. She was such a lady. She worked a fulltime job but still kept their home spotless. After they retired, she and Uncle Lee travelled with their nice RV. They saw a lot of the country doing that. She was very active in her Baptist church. I know, one day, I will see her again in heaven.
Mary Eloise Coggins Huneycutt (2/13/1928-1/27/2010) married to Lee Wilson Huneycutt (7/15/1928- ) on 3/12/1949. They had been married a little over 50 years.
Friday, January 29, 2010
An Instance Of The Fingerpost by Iain Pears
The book is four distinct memoirs-seemingly written in about 1680-that recalls an event during 1663, the murder of Dr. Grove in Oxford, England. Four major characters give their views on what happened. You know the game of starting a whisper at one end of a line of people and then it's passed down the line until the last person speaks outloud what they hear. This game shows how people can get something twisted when information is passed through others. This book is somewhat like that. The same event happens (the murder) and yet it gets filtered by the 4 characters' experiences, biases and their circumstances.
Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician. Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution. Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories. And, Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian. "Instance of the fingerpost"' quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility." A fingerpost is one of those tall road markers with narrow, arrow-like signs at the top pointing the way.
Set in 17th century England these events happened in Oxford shortly after the Restoration of Charles II to the monarchy in 1660. Dr. Grove is murdered by arsenic and clues point to Sarah Blundy, a servant girl who used to work for Dr. Grove. Sarah is found guilty and is hanged in public. She is the daughter of Ned and Ann Blundy. Ned Blundy was a part of the rebellion and was eventually captured and put to death. Ann Blundy had evidently been a firecracker when she was younger and they had raised Sarah to be much more independent and free than women were allowed to be back then. Ann and Sarah barely survive and were on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Being beautiful attracted men's attention and yet she wasn't interested in their attentions. Due to her low station, she knew they just wanted a play thing. In fact, during the entire book, she was never treated with respect by any men but was abused by them all, one way or another. She was raped by Jack Prescott who thought it was his right because he was in a superior position. Even Anthony Wood, who thought he was in love with her and carried on an affair with her, still felt that she was just a servant and could be nothing else. He hired her as a housekeeper so he could be near her. But he believed the worst when Prescott told him that she was prostituting herself with others and carrying on with her other employer, Dr. Grove. That really hurt her, especially after the rape (which he knew nothing of). Their relationship is a strange one. He treats her better than all the other men but still in a weird way.
Cola comes into town and meets up with Richard Lower and they begin to discuss and experiment with autopsies and blood transfusions. Ann Blundy has broken her leg and is dying. Sarah Blundy goes to ask for a physician who refuses to come but Cola overhears her. He offers to examine her mother. He says there is no hope for her unless they allow him to do an experimental procedure of blood transfusion. Sarah agrees and Lower helps him transfer blood from Sarah to Anne. They had no idea about blood compatibility. The mother and daughter had the same blood type and Anne seemed to get better. But, later, Cola did another blood transfusion using someone else who wasn't the same blood type and Anne died.
Jack Prescott's father was accused of being a traitor and had to run to the continent leaving his wife and son behind. Prescott was desperate to find evidence that his father wasn't a traitor and to have his good name and fortunes returned. Dr. Wallis, the cryptographer, becomes convinced that Cola is in England to assassinate the king for Spain. But he finally changed his mind and thought Cola was there to assassinate Lord Clarendon. He sees conspiracies every where.
This book is a long book. And it's pretty complex. I had a hard time remembering all the characters and I kept taking notes in the margins. I got tired of it halfway through and stopped for awhile and that didn't help me remember. It's one of those books that you have to keep slogging through...all the way through...or you lose the train of thought. There is definitely a Messianic complex which makes it quite blasphemous but you will have to find that out yourself. I'm ready to move on.
Don't get me wrong, it was well written and the memoir premise is a clever one. The stories are believable. But it was a little dense and I was ready for it to be over.
Most of us don't use clotheslines any more and therefore we don't use clothespins. But clothespins can be used in many ways. We just forget about this handy little tool because we don't use it everyday. I found some good ways to use the old wooden clothespin:
Using a wire tomato stake turned upside down and lined with clothespins made this lamp. What an idea, especially in a modern house!
Use clothespins to anchor something while it dries.
Using clothespin to fashion a curtain out of some string and vintage tableclothes
To cover a bowl that has no lid
For holding ribbon remnants
Have you ever wondered about string? We don't know when the first cord, twine, string was created. Probably by plaiting strands of plant fiber, but it's an ancient way of securing something. The first patent for a glue was in 1750. An adhesive for surgical tape was developed in 1845 by Horace Day. Bandaids were developed in 1921. In 1925 masking tape was designed and in 1930 came the clear tape, both developed by Richard Drew. Duct tape came out in 1942. So how did people secure things before tape, staples, glue, etc? String or twine! And it was completely recycleable. People would re-use string by adding it to a ball of string that everyone kept in their home. Balls of string and bales of twine were common in households. When you recieved something tied with string, you removed the string and added it to your ball of string. People would often have some type of string dispensers like these:
You can also buy or make your own string holders.
A string bobbin
People used string and twine a lot more in the older days when they didn't have tape.
But there are still many uses for string. You can buy food safe, cotton string for kitchen use:
You can use string and twine in the garden or yard to tie up plants, trellis plants, draw a straight line, etc
And then there is:
Here are some other uses of string or twine:
Hanging wreaths on your door
If you go camping, take string along to use for a temporary clothesline
Use string tied between two screws or nails and then use clothespins to pin up notes, shopping lists, tickets, etc.
Create a child's mobile
Hang a plant
Cut a cake
After you've folded a napkin, use a piece of string to tie it up with a bow and, voila!, you have your own napkin ring
To tie up magazines into bundles
Use with paper tags to attach to anything. I've seen paper tags use as price tags at antique malls. Here is a site with 102 uses for baling twine: http://www.silhouettefarm.com/102usesforbaling.html
It can be dyed and used to make jewelry:
Do Google search on "string art", "string craft", "string jewelry", etc. and get ideas on how to use STRING!!
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