Monday, April 30, 2018

Sears once sold DIY house kits

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Sears is a company in financial trouble under the pressure of online businesses. It is a bit ironic, because Sears started as largely a catalog business that pressured brick and mortar stores of its day.

One of the many things they used to sell were DIY house kits. From the Messy Nessy article Remember when you could Mail Order an Entire House in a Giant DIY Kit?:
The average kits included approximately 25 tons of materials, with over 30,000 parts including pre-cut and fitted lumber and up to 750 pounds of nails. Plumbing, electrical fixtures and central heating, all new developments in house design in the early 20th century, were included in the kit at an additional cost. No detail was overlooked.

The Sears catalogue homes were truly “modern homes”, although some of the earliest kits like model No. 115 (...) and The Natoma (...) didn’t have bathrooms because such indoor conveniences weren’t yet ‘standard’ in American home life. Expanded floor plans and extra finished living spaces could also be included in the kit at an additional price.

Once delivered, houses were assembled by the new homeowner, but it was traditional to get help from relatives, friends and neighbours, just as rural communities had pitched into help with barn-raisings on farms. Sears Roebuck promised that “a man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days.”
The Messy Nessy link has much more information, more kits and pictures of Sears houses that are still standing.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Which is Chernobyl's monument?

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Sonnet 55 - William Shakespeare

Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
   So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
   You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Riding a motorcycle in Brazil and a hostel tour

Normally I post videos of people walking through a neighborhood, this one features a motorcycle ride instead. It is a trip through a favela in the hills above Rio de Janeiro.

Below is another video when a young lady gives a tour of the hostel she is staying in. The hostel is in a favela about Copacabana beach.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Candle powered toy steam boat

Called pop pop boats, there are a lot of videos of how to make these little toy steam boats. The jaunty music is a bit annoying, you might want to turn down the sound when you watch it.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Bas Relief Battles

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Battles, even forgotten battles, have long been remembered in stone and poetry. Here, and after the jump, are some of those bas relief commemorations and a short poem. Who knows, maybe the self-proclaimed gentle souls that presently topple statues will come for these next.
Lydia Puckett by Edgar Lee Masters

Knowlt Hoheimer ran away to the war
The day before Curl Trenary
Swore out a warrant through Justice Arnett
For stealing hogs.

But that's not the reason he turned a soldier.

He caught me running with Lucius Atherton.

We quarreled and I told him never again
To cross my path.

Then he stole the hogs and went to the war --

Back of every soldier is a woman.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Figure 8 car racing

Now they would be classics, then they were just old clunkers headed to the junkyard in a roundabout manner.