Schneier on Security

NSA Crossword Puzzles

Schneier on Security

Two puzzles from a 1977 issue of Cryptolog.

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All Points Blog

Triposo (ex-Googlers) Teams with skobbler

All Points Blog
I do not see anything official from skobbler on its website (there is this press release on the wires), but GigaOm and Upstart tell the story. (Beware: the latter in error notes: "Skobbler, the creator of OpenStreetMap"). This is the first I've heard of Triposo. Triposo, a company... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Ghana Launches ArcGIS Online Platform for Agriculture

All Points Blog
The website, jointly created by the USAID/ADVANCE and the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) of the University of Ghana, Legon, aims to provide agricultural related spatial data set in a user friendly mode to stakeholders of the sector. The site... Continue reading
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The Ancestry Insider

Land That I Love: RootsTech Tabernacle Choir Mini-Concert

The Ancestry Insider

Mormon Tabernacle Choir RootsTech Mini-ConcertOne of several events Thursday night of RootsTech was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir min-concert, “Land That I Love.” The theme was immigration, to spotlight the need for indexers to help with the FamilySearch U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Community Project. My memory is getting pretty foggy, so I hope I don’t mess up the facts too badly.

We heard the choir sing “High On the Mountain Top.”

Land That I Love - Mormon Tabernacle Choir Mini-ConcertWe watched a short video presentation about immigration in general and Irving Berlin in particular. We heard the choir sing, “God Bless America.”

We heard short remarks from Elder Allan F. Packer, FamilySearch chairman of the board, and a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He mentioned research done at Emory University by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush. They found that the more children know about their family history, the greater their self-esteem and well being. (See “Do You Know…: The power of family history in adolescent identity and well-being.”)

Elder Packer also quoted Alex Haley:

In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.

Elder Packer reminded us of the great success of the 1940 U.S. Census Indexing Project. He then invited us to help out with the immigration project.

The choir finished with what I consider to be their trademark piece; it is one of my favorites. We heard them sing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

For more detail about the concert, see “RootsTech Irving Berlin Concert Highlights Need to Index Immigration Records.”


Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com for other important legal notices.
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The Art of Manliness

AoM Month of Sandwiches Day #3: Bratwurst Sandwich

The Art of Manliness

finished

Welcome to Day #3 of the AoM sandwich project. Last month we asked readers for their best sandwich recommendations. Out of 483 submissions, we picked 20 to highlight here on the site each weekday during the month of April. At the end, we’ll publish all the entries into an epic man-sandwich cookbook. Enjoy.

Today’s Sandwich: The Bratwurst Sandwich by Dylan Huff

Any sandwich that features bratwurst as the main ingredient will definitely pique my interest. Dylan’s German Delight seemed to have the potential to be both simple and delicious. Let’s see if it delivered.

The Ingredients

ingredients

  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Bratwurst sausage
  • German mustard
  • Sauerkraut

Step 1: Slice the Brats

sliced

Slice the sausage in half length-wise.

Step 2: Fry the Brats

frying

Fry the sausage on both sides.

Step 4: Spread German Mustard

mustard

Add your German mustard to one slice of pumpernickel.

Step 5: Stack the Brats

stackedsausage

Stack your fried sausage on your bread.

Step 6: Pile on the Sauerkraut

kraut

Pile on the sauerkraut.

Step 7: Top With Bread

finished

That looks amazing.

Step 8: Eat!

eating

Taster’s Thoughts

Oh, man. This is an amazing sandwich. It’s like eating an Oktoberfest platter from the palm of your hand. I was admittedly a bit dubious about the fried bratwursts; I’ve only eaten them grilled. But they were awesome! I could have used some bigger slices of bread; all the fillings kept falling out. Will definitely be adding this sandwich to my regular lineup. Thanks Dylan!

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The Art of Manliness

Outfitted & Equipped: Linking Up at The Barrelhouse Flat in Chicago

The Art of Manliness

Barrelhouse Flat 2



Brought to you by Jameson Black Barrel.

This is the second in a series of three editions of Outfitted and Equipped where I’ve asked three of my favorite men’s lifestyle bloggers to curate an edition based on what they would wear and carry when linking up with friends at their favorite hometown hangout. This one is from Seth Putnam from The Midwest Style.

The Barrelhouse Flat is a bustling corner den of Prohibition-era cocktail alchemy in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. It’s a perfect place to meet up with an out-of-town colleague, a first date, or a friend who enjoys the finer things. Though it’s relatively new, it brings a decidedly familiar feeling, with a bottom level where antique tile and big, farm-style tables invoke the atmosphere of a comfortable community watering hole. Upstairs offers a different story: an intimate speakeasy with plush furniture and hardwood accents. If this were the 1930s, you could envision an old Chicago mayor revising the city’s tax structure on the back of a napkin while sipping a Negroni.

How does Outfitted and Equipped work? The FAQ.

1. The Watch: Timex Weekender. I finally did the adult thing and bought a watch a couple of years ago, and now I glance at it for the time, not my phone. This one’s been serving me well, and the red second hand gives it a little extra personality.

2. The Shirt: Slim-Fit Plaid Edward Shirt. Blue is my color, but I need a little extra noise with some color. Sleeves rolled way up. It’s finally spring, after all. (Or at least I wish it felt like it.)

3. The Belt: No. 150 Claw Buckle Belt. This belt was inspired by a rifle strap and the fixtures on a horse’s bridle. Shooting and horseback riding—two pastimes rooted deep in my Missouri upbringing.

4. The Pants: Dockers Alpha Khaki in Riffle Green. The fit is perfect for my soccer-playing thighs and my skinny calves. In fact, I like these so much I’ve got two pairs; one in green and the other in their signature British Khaki. They look like trousers, but they wear like jeans. And they’re affordable, too.

5. The Money Clip: Slim Clip. I converted to the money clip when my college roommate generously gave me an extra that he got from a botched order. I know something you get off an infomercial doesn’t really fit with the “curated lifestyle,” but it’s been 5 years and the clip shows no signs of slowing down.

6. The Comb: The Comb from Buckshot Sonny’s. A couple of years ago I never thought I’d be one to carry a comb. But since embracing the side-part (the same one I used to loathe during childhood haircuts from Dad), it’s become essential. This one is sold by my good friend Max Wastler, and it gets its tagline from a Charlie Daniels song. Oh, and one comes free with every order.

7. The Drink: Jameson Whiskey. Having spent some time in Dublin, the taste is a nostalgic reminder of the Emerald Isle.

8. The Pen: Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen. As a journalist, I never really know when I’ll need to record an idea. That’s why I always have a pen. (Plus, I write most of my stories in longhand for the first draft.) Lately, I’ve been working with these disposable fountain pens, which don’t sting as much when you lose them.

9. The Pocket Notebook: Field Notes. Not that they need the exposure, but it really is the perfect size to slip in a blazer or a back pocket. And writing is so much more fun than thumbing a phone.

10: The Shoes: Grenson Sharp Boots. They’re expensive, but this level of quality and detail comes at a premium.

________________________________

Seth Putnam is a magazine writer and editor who works regularly for Chicago magazine, and the Sun-Times, among many others. He’s the editor of TheMidwestyle.com, and the co-proprietor of the Overserved Society, a roving cocktail party. He lives in the Windy City, where he writes about living well—reporting on everything from Jay Leno’s garage to folks who dress up in medieval armor and go to war on the weekends.

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Schneier on Security

IT for Oppression

Schneier on Security

Whether it's Syria using Facebook to help identify and arrest dissidents or China using its "Great Firewall" to limit access to international news throughout the country, repressive regimes all over the world are using the Internet to more efficiently implement surveillance, censorship, propaganda, and control. They're getting really good at it, and the IT industry is helping. We're helping by creating business applications -- categories of applications, really -- that are being repurposed by oppressive governments for their own use:

  • What is called censorship when practiced by a government is content filtering when practiced by an organization. Many companies want to keep their employees from viewing porn or updating their Facebook pages while at work. In the other direction, data loss prevention software keeps employees from sending proprietary corporate information outside the network and also serves as a censorship tool. Governments can use these products for their own ends.
  • Propaganda is really just another name for marketing. All sorts of companies offer social media-based marketing services designed to fool consumers into believing there is "buzz" around a product or brand. The only thing different in a government propaganda campaign is the content of the messages.
  • Surveillance is necessary for personalized marketing, the primary profit stream of the Internet. Companies have built massive Internet surveillance systems designed to track users' behavior all over the Internet and closely monitor their habits. These systems track not only individuals but also relationships between individuals, to deduce their interests so as to advertise to them more effectively. It's a totalitarian's dream.
  • Control is how companies protect their business models by limiting what people can do with their computers. These same technologies can easily be co-opted by governments that want to ensure that only certain computer programs are run inside their countries or that their citizens never see particular news programs.

Technology magnifies power, and there's no technical difference between a government and a corporation wielding it. This is how commercial security equipment from companies like BlueCoat and Sophos end up being used by the Syrian and other oppressive governments to surveil -- in order to arrest -- and censor their citizens. This is how the same face-recognition technology that Disney uses in its theme parks ends up identifying protesters in China and Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York.

There are no easy technical solutions, especially because these four applications -- censorship, propaganda, surveillance, and control -- are intertwined; it can be hard to affect one without also affecting the others. Anonymity helps prevent surveillance, but it also makes propaganda easier. Systems that block propaganda can facilitate censorship. And giving users the ability to run untrusted software on their computers makes it easier for governments -- and criminals -- to install spyware.

We need more research into how to circumvent these technologies, but it's a hard sell to both the corporations and governments that rely on them. For example, law enforcement in the US wants drones that can identify and track people, even as we decry China's use of the same technology. Indeed, the battleground is often economic and political rather than technical; sometimes circumvention research is itself illegal.

The social issues are large. Power is using the Internet to increase its power, and we haven't yet figured out how to correct the imbalances among government, corporate, and individual interests in our digital world. Cyberspace is still waiting for its Gandhi, its Martin Luther King, and a convincing path from the present to a better future.

This essay previously appeared in IEEE Computers & Society.

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All Points Blog

Queensland Puts its Data On Google Earth

All Points Blog
THE State Government says the launch of a new computer program will open up a vault of spatial data and provide countless opportunities across the property, development, education and tourism sectors. Premier Campbell Newman today launched the free Queensland Globe computer... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Texas Tribune Revamps Maps for All Devices

All Points Blog
The folks at the Texas Tribune (one of those papers funded by contributors) are showing of their new mapping platform today, with a map of Disposal Wells. Here's why they are excited: Today Ryan Murphy, the Trib's chief data reporter, leads us into an exciting new chapter of... Continue reading
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The Ancestry Insider

RootsTech: Ancestry.com Search Tools

The Ancestry Insider

Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story on Ancestry.comI have to apologize to Anne Mitchell, presenter from Ancestry.com. Every conference my article on her presentation is, well, wanting. It’s no fault of hers. She gives great presentations.

During the conference it is all I can do to keep up writing about the keynote sessions. In the days immediately following the conference I next turn to newsy sessions about Ancestry.com and FamilySearch that announced new and upcoming features. These are usually presented by product managers. Ancestry.com product managers don’t present; FamilySearch product managers do. That means FamilySearch gets more than an even share of articles.

By the time I’ve been home a week my memory has faded. My notes don’t make any sense. I’m bored with conference articles. I’m ready to move on. That’s when Mitchell’s presentation inevitably comes up. Sorry, Anne.

Well, that time has come.

Fortunately, Anne has posted her slides online. With slides in hand, for once my notes make sense! You can find them at http://ancestry-reference-desk.com/links/slides-from-presentations/. (The Ancestry.com Reference Desk website is Mitchell’s new blog about using Ancestry.com or Fold3 in a library or institution.)

While Mitchell’s overall presentation was about writing up our Ancestors’ stories, I was most interested in the numerous search tips and tools (slides 8-26).

“There is not one perfect way to search,” said Mitchell. “If anyone tells you differently, just smile at them.”

Search tools #3 and #4 concern local and family history books. “Local histories and surname histories are great resources,” said Mitchell. In my experience Ancestry’s normal search is not likely to find your ancestors in these books. You need to first identify a book of interest and then read or search it. First, find the book by going to the card catalog. Filter by Stories, Memories, & Histories. Type in the name of the place or surname in the Keywords field—not the titles field. Once you have found the book, try searching, but don’t ignore the index found at the back of the book.

Search tool #7 is One World Tree (OWT). OWT is a combination (like FamilySearch’s Ancestral File) of the submissions of many people, stitched together by a computer into a single tree of all humanity. I wasn’t able to find OWT in the Card Catalog. To find it, I clicked on Search, I scrolled down until I found “Family Trees” in the right-hand column. Underneath it I clicked on “More…” Then in the right-hand column I clicked on OneWorldTree. What you can find through the card catalog is Ancestry World Tree (aka RootsWeb WorldConnect) which is one of the sources for OWT. OWT hasn’t been updated in a long time, but to the extent that people update their RootsWeb WorldConnect trees, they are more current. Try searching these two tree systems, particularly the Ancestry World Trees marked with a Sources icon.

“Can I guarantee you that every tree out there is correct?” asked Mitchell. “No. Can I promise you that you can find absolutely amazing stuff? Yes.”

Search tool #15 is to read the database search form to see what is indexed and searchable. Select Show Advanced. “If you’re here at a conference, you are capable enough to never do anything but an advanced search,” she said. Then look at all of the fields listed.

As an example, look at “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.” Beyond the standard things, you can search on:

  • Arrival year, month, and day
  • Arrival port
  • Departure port
  • Origin
  • Destination
  • Ship name

(Try searching on Ship’s name on FamilySearch. Don’t get me started on how poor their search forms are.)

I have a question about one thing Anne said. She said that if it isn’t listed, it wasn’t indexed for searching. That wasn’t true when I worked at Ancestry.com. The Keyword field was provided for searching a few miscellaneous fields that aren’t used enough or useful enough to warrant their own search field. Is that no longer the case?

She gave another, unnumbered, tip I wanted to mention. Sometimes its nice to know how big a place is when you’re creating theories about unique identity. To find the number of people in Smithfield, Utah in 1910 I would search the 1910 census, set Lived In to Smithfield, Cache, Utah, USA (restrict to that exact place), and leave the name fields blank. Above the results it says “Matches 1–20 of 2,067.” That tells me the number of people in town. Now I know that Smithfield’s a pretty small place, so everyone probably knows everyone. That’s useful to know.

Say I have a record about John Pitcher of Smithfield. Does that uniquely identify a person? I could add the name (restrict to exact) and find out there are three John Pitchers in town. No. I need more information to determine which John is spoken of. If there were only one, then I would know all the details of the record applied to that one person.

Thanks, Anne, for all these tips.

Again, you can see the slides for yourself. They are posted on Anne’s blog.


Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com for other important legal notices.
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The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness en Español: Ahora Más Varonil

The Art of Manliness

aomespanol

As our audience has grown over these past five years, we’ve discovered that more and more of our readers live outside the United States and that many reside in Spanish-speaking countries. We’ve gotten a ton of requests to please make a version of AoM in their native tongue. We listened and instead of forcing these fine gentlemen to rely on the often incorrect Google Translate to translate our articles from English to Spanish, we decided to create an official Spanish version of the Art of Manliness.

Si quieres leer este post introducción en español, por favor haga clic aquí.

The Vision for the Art of Manliness en Español

At the outset, I want to say that creating a foreign language version of The Art of Manliness is an experiment for us. We’re learning as we go. My hope is that by offering a language and cultural-specific version of AoM, we can better serve more of the great men who believe in The Art of Manliness way of life.

I’d like to share with you how I see the creation and development of The Art of Manliness en Español going. Right now, there are two planned phases of development.

Phase I of my plan is to simply translate past articles from our English site and publish them on the Spanish site. We’ll only be translating and re-publishing the very best from the archives that cross cultural boundaries. The primary goal during Phase I is to build up a core audience for The Art of Manliness en Español so that we have the web traffic to support this venture. I imagine this taking from three to six months.

After we’ve established our core audience, we’ll move into Phase II. The goal during Phase II is to create original content that’s geared specifically towards Spanish-speaking men. I’m well aware that much of our content on the English version of the Art of Manliness is geared towards an Anglo, and particularly an American audience. I want to make sure that the content we provide on The Art of Manliness en Español resonates with all our Spanish-speaking readers — those living in Spain, Latin America, and even here in the States as well. So for example, instead of doing a Lessons in Manliness article about some famous American man, I’d love to see a Lessons in Manliness article about great men from the Spanish-speaking world. I also want to recreate our 100 Books Every Man Should Read list, but include significant Spanish authors in the mix.

To fulfill this goal of creating original content, I plan on soliciting article submissions directly from the AoM en Español audience. If you’re an aspiring writer/blogger who speaks (and writes!) Spanish, stay tuned.

How You Can Help

We don’t have an advertising or marketing budget to promote this site, so we’ll need as much help from you to spread the word about The Art of Manliness en Español as possible. The faster we can build up our audience, the sooner we can begin rolling out new features and original content. If you’re a Spanish-speaking reader, please like our Art of Manliness en Español Facebook Page, follow AoM Español on Twitter, and sign up for our weekly email newsletter. If you have Spanish-speaking friends, please let them know about the Art of Manliness en Español.

Thank you all for your continued support of The Art of Manliness. We look forward to offering even more additions to the site that will help men from different cultural backgrounds become the best men they can be.

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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #9: The Long Sickness

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

Jack London followed up the resounding success of The Call of the Wild with two more popular novels: The Sea-Wolf and White Fang. He continued to publish numerous short stories, articles, essays, and poems in magazines across the country as well. Now thirty years old, he was the highest paid writer in the country and a national celebrity. All the rich and famous, the movers and shakers, wanted to meet him, to dine with him, to have him attend their parties.

As Jack rubbed shoulders with society’s upper crust – ladies and gentlemen who would not have even looked in his direction just a few years before — he expected to feel elation. Everything he had worked for was finally his. Yet what he experienced instead was utter emptiness. He looked around and saw only “sycophants, well-dressed, well-mannered and glib.” He had thought that rising to the top of his profession would fulfill that aching for greatness that had been urging him on since boyhood. But he realized, with a rising sense of panic, that fame and recognition did not satisfy:

“The things I had fought for and burned my midnight oil for had failed me. Success — I despised it. Recognition — I was appalled by their unlovely mental mediocrity. Love of woman — it was like all the rest. Money — I could only sleep in one bed at a time, and of what worth an income of a hundred porterhouses a day when I could eat only one?”

jackportrait

Jack London had come to a realization experienced by many who spend years focusing all their energies on a singular goal: the climb can be far more satisfying than the summit itself. Astronauts and Olympic athletes often become depressed after they return from space or win a medal. After devoting years of their life to reaching that achievement, they are then faced with a new challenge: navigating a featureless landscape and the yawning question of “What now?” So it was with London. He fell into a dark depression, which he termed his “Long Sickness.” For the first time in this vital man’s life, the world felt repulsively hollow. And while his thoughts did not turn to John Barleycorn as a solution to his gnawing emptiness during this time, he obsessed about something far more serious: “my revolver, the crashing eternal darkness of a bullet.”

Four things would ultimately pull Jack out of his Long Sickness: his passion for Socialism, the land, physical exercise, and his soulmate.

Recovering from the Long Sickness

jackstanding2

Of the all the ideals Jack had once held in his youth, only his socialist political views continued to burn within him:

“It can be seen how very sick I was. I was born a fighter. The things I had fought for had proved not worth the fight. Remained the People. My fight was finished, yet something was left still to fight for—the People…the People saved me. By the People was I handcuffed to life. There was still one fight left in me, and here was the thing for which to fight.”

Jack threw himself with “fiercer zeal into the fight for socialism,” passionately stumping for it in speeches and in his writing. Although his publishers warned him that his rhetoric was a turn-off to a large segment of the population, and would cost him a good deal of money (perhaps in the hundreds of thousands of dollars), Jack persisted in crusading for his beloved cause. Doing so helped him maintain a sense of purpose and provided an outlet with which to keep the embers of his thumos smoldering.

Even more beneficial, however, was finding the next great challenge of his life: ranching. Thumos is not designed to run full throttle day in and day out, but rather to gallop along steadily, waiting to be called up to full service in certain seasons when all of its energy, fight, and drive are needed. To recover from such taxing seasons, men throughout history have found it wise to give their thumos some pasturage – quite literally — by turning to the land and to nature. Think of Cincinnatus returning to the plow he had left behind after being summoned from his farm to don his senatorial toga and then successfully leading the Romans in battle. Or George Washington’s desire to leave public life behind and retire to Mount Vernon after commanding the Continental Army. Even modern day soldiers have found nature to be an effective curative in healing the trauma of war. Working the land can be restorative for a man’s spirit, while at the same time offering him the challenge of pitting himself against the elements of nature. It allows him to exercise his thumos, but to do so in a steady, calming way that doesn’t exhaust it in the same way that human battles do, and brings satisfactions different than the honor and awards of the civilized world.

jackandpigs

Jack and his pigs at Beauty Ranch.

London had been relentlessly driving the white horse of his thumos towards success for nearly a decade. It was tired and so was he. He was also drained by the strain of being in the public eye and dealing with the constant criticism of his work and personal life. He “grew tired of cities and people” and being surrounded by what increasingly felt like the grating superficialities of modern life. Jack called the city a “man trap,” and all he wanted “was a quiet place in the country to write and loaf in and get out of Nature that something which we all need, only the most of us don’t know it.” So in 1903 Jack bought 1,000 acres of land in Sonoma Valley – his Beauty Ranch. As Charmian put it, because of his “disheartenment with human beings, both in the mass and as individuals in the main, he turned to the soil to save himself.” London intended to create a true working ranch and successful business enterprise. He planned for stands of eucalyptus trees, a giant barn, a blacksmith shop, two grain silos, and a pig enclosure for herds of swine. As his biographer put it, Jack was “always at his best when setting himself seemingly impossible tasks,” and “he threw himself body and soul at this new challenge.” “I am trying to master this soil and the crops and animals that spring from it,” Jack said himself, “as I strove to master the sea, the men, and women, and the books, and all the face of life that I could stamp with my ‘will to do.’”

jackhorseback

Jack looks over the Valley of the Moon at his ranch in Glen Ellen, California.

In addition to the exercise he got managing his ranch, London also found that bouts of purposeful physical activity of all sorts lifted his spirits greatly. He took joy in riding horseback over his land, hiking over its hills, and swimming in its watering holes. He boxed, and fenced, and shot guns. He practiced diving — working on his forward and backwards somersaults, walked on his hands to strengthen his arm muscles, and rode his bike out into the countryside. With his good friends, he tramped through the woods, roughhoused, and flew kites. At night they would sit around the campfire reading and talking, and would then fall asleep under the stars. He bought a stout sloop, The Spray, and would spend weeks living aboard the boat and sailing around the bay. Jack wrote to a friend about his new regimen: “It is Voltaire, I believe, who said: ‘The body of an athlete and the soul of a sage; that is happiness.’”

If fighting for socialism, working the land, and getting out and exercising, began his “convalescence” from depression, it took “the love of woman to complete the cure and lull my pessimism asleep for many a long day.”

The Final Piece to His Happiness: Jacks Meets His Mate-Woman

jackandcharmian2

Jack and Charmian

Jack believed that were two types of females: Mother-Woman and Mate-Woman. The former was pure, sweet, and domestic – well-suited to raising children. The latter was strong, clever, lusty, and full of life – the kind of woman London could see partnering up with primal man in the primitive days of yore.

Jack’s first wife was a Mother-Woman. When he was 24 and his writing career was just beginning to take off, he tied the knot with Bess Maddern. When it comes to successfully guiding the chariot of one’s soul, the charioteer should let reason guide his thumos, which is the seat of love and emotion. But reason shouldn’t entirely usurp the role of the white horse. Young Jack had gotten the idea into his head that love was too unstable an emotion on which to build a marriage, and that a man should take a wife on purely rational grounds. He felt the restraint of marriage would add further steadiness to the life of discipline he was creating for himself at the time and would make him a more “wholesome” man. Jack did not love Bess, and she did not love him, and both openly acknowledged that fact. They liked each other well enough, he thought Bess would be a good mother, and he figured those two things would form a sufficient enough foundation for a lifetime of marital happiness.

Jack and Bess conceived two daughters together but it did not take long for London to realize he had made a big mistake. She was indeed the doting mother he had imagined, but she had no time or interest in anything outside of their children – Jack’s ideas, hobbies, friends, and, most dishearteningly, his sexual advances. Jack was a highly virile man who had enjoyed many a fling in his youth and scoffed at what he felt were society’s overly prudish views of sex. But Bess was not interested in sexual exploration or even basic intercourse, which even within the bounds of marriage she saw as debase. Sex was thus a rarity for the couple. Jack described Bess to friends as “a gossip, mean-spirited, and cold as the Klondike,” and felt as though he were suffocating in the relationship.

jackandchar snark

Jack and Charmian sit on the yacht they were building in hopes of sailing it around the world.

As Jack’s marriage to Bess dissolved, he met his perfect match, his Mate-Woman: Charmian Kittredge. Charmian worked independently as a stenographer, and was everything Bessie, and most other women of the day, was not. Her contemporaries described her as unattractive, but Jack was smitten with this woman who was able to keep up with his need for physical and intellectual stimulation. Charmian was sexually uninhibited, far from demure, and would not get hysterical when things took a turn for the dangerous or the simply annoying. As such, she made the perfect travel partner and adventure companion. She sailed, hiked, rode horses, and even boxed with Jack throughout their marriage. She was well-read and well-educated and became his helpmate professionally – transcribing and editing his writings. In his Mate-Woman, Jack found “a rare soul…who never bored me and who was always a source of new and unending surprise and delight.”

london and jack plan

Jack and his Mate-Woman plan their voyage.

Plato believed that communion with one’s lover was essential to growing back the wings of your horses when your chariot had fallen to earth, and it was Charmian that at last pulled Jack out of his Long Sickness. Together they found new ways to satisfy London’s hunger for adventure and challenge. In 1907, they took off in a yacht on what they hoped to be a seven-year voyage around the world. Jack wished to get away from public life altogether, and to test himself again in a new endeavor. He taught himself navigation and piloted the yacht on the open water to Hawaii, the Solomon and Marquesas Islands and several small islands in between, where they encountered primitive and even cannibalistic tribes. Unfortunately, because of an incredibly severe sunburn Jack developed in Hawaii, when he discovered the new sport of surfing and obsessively rode the waves until burnt to a crisp, and an equally severe case of psoriasis that swelled his hands to twice their size, the couple had to cut their voyage short. Jack recuperated in Australia, and then he and Charmian sailed back home, arriving two years after they had shipped out.

In 1912, three years after returning from their last big adventure, Jack and Charmian signed on as crew to one of the last remaining tall ships sailing the ocean which was carrying cargo on a five-month journey from New York, around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, and finally up to Seattle. Together the couple worked, talked, read (Jack brought along 50 books), and made love. Jack spent much time in the high perch of the mizzen-top mast, reflecting on life. In the mornings he wrote his 1,000 words and Charmian typed them up.

london and charmian on snark

Ranching, loving, and adventuring, London remembered these times as ‘”far and away” the happiest of his life. “Life went well with me,” he said. “I took delight in little things. The big things I declined to take too seriously.”

But it was not, sadly, a happiness that would last. Despite his efforts to pull out of his depression, Jack’s balanced hold on his thumos and his appetites would remain tenuous. He would soon lose his grip on them, leading to an ascension in power of his dark horse, a tragic imbalance in the forces of his soul, and an early demise.

 

_____________________

Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

 

 

Related posts:

  1. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #1: Introduction
  2. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #3: Oyster Pirate
  3. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #2: Boyhood
  4. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #5: On the Road
  5. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #6: Back to School
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Basic Instructions

How to Explore Your Cultural Heritage

Basic Instructions

I am overwhelmed by the reception my novel, which is available for the Kindle (USUK) the Nook, and in old-school, dead tree form, and as a free sample, has received. Thanks you all very much.

And thanks again for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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Joel on Software

The Patent Protection Racket

Joel on Software

The fastest growing industry in the US right now, even during this time of slow economic growth, is probably the patent troll protection racket industry. Lawsuits surrounding software patents have more than tripled since 1999.

It’s a great business model.

Step one: buy a software patent. There are millions of them, and they’re all quite vague and impossible to understand.

Step two: FedEx a carefully crafted letter to a few thousand small software companies, iPhone app developers, and Internet startups. This is where it gets a tiny bit tricky, because the recipients of the letter need to think that it’s a threat to sue if they don’t pay up, but in court, the letter has to look like an invitation to license some exciting new technology. In other words it has to be just on this side of extortion.

Step three: wait patiently while a few thousand small software companies call their lawyers, and learn that it’s probably better just to pay off the troll, because even beginning to fight the thing using the legal system is going to cost a million dollars.

Step four: Profit!

What does this sound like? Yes, it’s a textbook case of a protection racket. It is organized crime, plain and simple. It is an abuse of the legal system, an abuse of the patent system, and a moral affront.

In the face of organized crime, civilized people don’t pay up. When you pay up, you’re funding the criminals, which makes you complicit in their next attacks. I know, you’re just trying to write a little app for the iPhone with in-app purchases, and you didn’t ask for this fight to be yours, but if you pay the trolls, giving them money and comfort to go after the next round of indie developers, you’re not just being “pragmatic,” you have actually gone over to the dark side. Sorry. Life is a bit hard sometimes, and sometimes you have to step up and fight fights that you never signed up for.

Civilized people don’t pay up. They band together, and fight, and eliminate the problem. The EFF is launching a major initiative to reform the patent system. At Stack Exchange, we’re trying to help with Ask Patents, which will hopefully block a few bad patents before they get issued.

The Application Developers Alliance (of which I am currently serving as the chairman of the board) is also getting involved with a series of Developer Patent Summits, a nationwide tour of 15 cities, which will kick off a long term program to band together to fight patent trolls. Come to the summit in your city—I’ll be at the San Francisco event on April 9th—and find out what you can do to help.

Need to hire a really great programmer? Want a job that doesn't drive you crazy? Visit the Joel on Software Job Board: Great software jobs, great people.

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The Art of Manliness

AoM Month of Sandwiches Day #2: The Bleu Cheese & Teriyaki Meatball

The Art of Manliness

meatball7

Welcome to Day #2 of the AoM sandwich project. Last month we asked readers for their best sandwich recommendations. Out of 483 submissions, we picked 20 to highlight here on the site each weekday during the month of April. At the end, we’ll publish all the entries into an epic man-sandwich cookbook. Enjoy.

Today’s Sandwich: The Bleu Cheese & Teriyaki Meatball by Ben

When I saw this entry I didn’t even have to think about whether this would make my cut. I knew it would. Meatballs, two kinds of cheeses, an English muffin. It combines all my favorite things! Can it live up to the hype I’ve created, though?

The Ingredients

meatball1

  • English muffin
  • Bleu cheese dressing
  • Swiss cheese
  • Teriyaki meatballs (couldn’t find pre-teriyaki-flavored ones as Ben recommended, so I bought meatballs and sauce and mixed them together)

Step 1: Toast and Schmear the Muffin with Dressing

meatball3

Toast the English muffin and “give each side a thorough schmear” with the bleu cheese dressing.

Step 2: Get the Meatballs Ready

meatball4

I believe Ben used some leftover teriyaki meatballs for his creation, but I didn’t have that convenience. I mixed together some cooked (in the microwave) beef meatballs with a good helping of teriyaki sauce. Did the job just fine, if I don’t say so myself.

Step 3: Put Meatballs on Muffin

meatball5

Place meatballs onto the muffin. I made two sandwiches, mainly because I was hungry. Ben suggested 4-5 per sandwich, and that’s exactly what I did. He also suggested cutting them in half, but they were small and tender enough that I figured I would be alright.

Step 4: Add Swiss and Top 

meatball6

Add a slice of Swiss cheese to the top, let it melt for a few seconds, and then top with the other half of your muffin.

Step 5: Enjoy!

meatball7

Taster’s Thoughts

This was an excellent sandwich, overall. The meatball/bleu cheese combo was fantastic, but it was really the teriyaki flavor that stole the show. And in a good way. I love teriyaki, so it was perfect. If I had to change anything, I might use a croissant to better catch the juices, and I might use real, crumbly bleu cheese instead of dressing. What a great jumping off point for combining flavors though! Thanks, Ben!

No related posts.

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Schneier on Security

Narratives of Secrecy

Schneier on Security

How people talked about the secrecy surrounding the Manhattan project.

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All Points Blog

Iowa Cancer Maps and other Health GIS News

All Points Blog
And in the case of these cancer maps released every year by the University of Iowa, you can find sadness, sickness, and recovery; everything that can come with cancer. You can also find which factors correlate with cancer: lower income, rural areas. - WOI TV Esri Ireland is... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Updated User Friendly GIS for Monroe, MI and other Government GIS News

All Points Blog
There's a new GIS in Monroe, MI. Known as GIS, the system has been maintained by the city’s engineering depart­ment since 2004, but re­cently it was overhauled and made more user-friendly. I confess I find it a bit overwhelming - at least from the graphic provided with the... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Old Fashioned Geography Teaching in Colorado and other Education GIS News

All Points Blog
The second graders in Frederick, CO are recieving postcards from the U.S. and abroad and attaching them to a large map in the hall. Why? Revised geography guidelines and a lack of social studies textbooks left [teacher Theresa] Rudolph searching for a way to teach the curriculum in... Continue reading
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Twin Cities Maker

Members to Exhibit at Minne-Faire

Twin Cities Maker

Dear Members,

Several of you have asked if there will be a table dedicated for our members to exhibit their finish projects/hacked hardware. Yes, there will be!

We still need you to sign up using our exhibitor sign up form — just make a note that you want to display on the TC Maker/Hack Factory table and be sure to include the size of the space it will consume. Space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Please do so by April 7th, as this helps us to plan our space appropriately. By signing up, you also get the advantage of exhibitor pricing ($5 for 2 admissions, which is a steal!).

Please note: you must pre-register or contact us prior to the fair to exhibit 

If you have any problems filling out the form, Laura, Riley or David would be happy to help you!

Thank you,
Laura
Minne-Faire Co-Chair

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The Art of Manliness

Manly Art: 18 Virile Artists from the Past to the Present

The Art of Manliness

cowboy

Editor’s note: This post was a collaboration between AoM and Sam Gambino, a manly artist in his own right.

My first exposure to art was in grade school when we had “art time.” My teachers were kind, middle-aged ladies who taught me to trace my hand and add colorful feathers to make a whimsical Thanksgiving turkey to take home to mom and dad. I finger-painted and made colorful Chinese lanterns. There were always big, bold, primary colors. The canvas of choice? Construction paper. While I enjoyed creating this simple, primitive art, I knew that there had to be more to it…that there had to be “real” art out there beyond just my amateur creations.

I then saw the Keep On Truckin’ image with those struttin’, free-wheelin’ bald guys, each with a huge left foot. There was a funny, “cool dude” vibe to the image that I liked.

Keep-On-Truckin--the-70s-482814_713_348
From that point on, I started looking for cool “man art” in everything from TV Guide to humorous Wacky Packages and MAD magazine. As time passed, my search progressed into a quest for different representations of manly art. I noticed the artwork featured in old Perry Mason episodes. It was back there on the wall behind some guy who was either holding a glass of Scotch or lighting a cigarette with the clank of a Zippo. Sometimes, there was violence and despair in the slashes of paint on those abstract pieces. Ironically, though, the finished piece ended as one of sheer elegance and sophistication. I soon realized that manly art didn’t necessarily have to look like a caveman’s dinosaur sketch on a rock wall. I also liked the dark, moody paintings that were featured at the beginning of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. I guess the darker subject matter represented the “snakes, snails, and puppy-dog tails” aspect of art for me. I later got my hands on some old Man’s Life, Popular Mechanics, and Field and Stream magazines from the 1950s. The illustrations depicted guys who were fishing, hunting, or in gut-wrenching peril out in the wild. With all of these images burned into my mind, my own interpretation of masculine art began to take shape.

I came to realize that in my case, masculine art could encompass one or more of the following: humor, danger, despair, violence, aggression (in depiction or technique), manly activities, and anything else of interest to a man. There was also sophistication, elegance, and beauty. So, who’s to say what constitutes manly art? Below we’ve shared more than a dozen artists, both classic and modern, famous and less well known, some of which have shaped my own art, and all of which have a special quality that Brett and I feel connects with the masculine spirit.

George Bellows (1882 – 1925)

Bellows was a member of the “Ashcan School” — a group of artists who sought to realistically portray the working-class neighborhoods of New York City. Bellows most famously applied this gritty realism to boxing matches — showcased with a dark atmosphere into which the fighters had been placed with bright, forceful brushstrokes.

dempsey

“Dempsey and Firpo” depicts the historic fight between Jack Dempsey and Luis Angel Firpo in 1923. At the end of the first round Firpo knocked Dempsey out of the ring with a right to his chin.

boxing

“Club Night”

LeRoy Neiman (1921 – 2012)

LeRoy Neiman first decided to be an artist while serving as a cook during World War II. When he wasn’t making pots of mashed potatoes, he painted murals on the kitchen walls, as well as on sets for Red Cross shows. After the war, he became one of the most popular artists in America, known for his colorful, impressionistic take on what he called scenes from the “good life” — oftentimes athletic events, but also leisure time and celebrities as well.

sinatra

“Frank Sinatra”

ali

“Homage to Ali” mingles color and texture with raw power, impact, and strength. Neiman successfully depicted pure masculinity using the most elegant of brush and palette strokes.

Jake Weidmann (1984 -)

We featured Jake Weidmann in our So You Want My Job series last fall, and his interview easily became the most popular of all time. Clearly we were not alone in admiring Jake’s disciplined quest to become one of only eleven “Master Penmen” in the world. Jake’s beautiful art combines his exquisite penmanship with evocative imagery — his pieces are truly one of a kind.

ship

A 16th century poem of Eleanor Perry-Smith, rendered in Spencerian script, whispers out an ancient sailor’s tale.

weid2

Thomas Moran (1837 – 1926)

Thomas Moran was a member of the Hudson River School, a movement of artists who strove to capture one of the manliest of themes: the sublimity and majesty of nature. Moran’s paintings of the West pulsated with the energy of exploration and discovery, as well as the feeling of man’s smallness besides such awesome natural features. The inspiration that such scenes can impart is palpable.

yellowstone

“Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” — American landscape painters helped inspire the movement to preserve the most beautiful parts of the country’s wilderness and to create a national park system in order to do so. The sketches made by Thomas Moran when he accompanied a geological survey team into the then unknown Yellowstone area were later used to convince Congress to turn Yellowstone into a national park.

Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)

Lichtenstein was an American pop artist who became a leading figure of the new art movement of the 60s. He drew inspiration from comics and advertising.

His most famous work, "Whaam" was taken from DC Comics' "All American Men of War," published in 1962.

His most famous work, “Whaam” was taken from DC Comics’ “All American Men of War,” published in 1962.

Lichenstein took one of the simplest of hardware store items and turned it into art for his painting "Electric Cord." It's so simple, bold and shameless that no background color is needed. Interesting, "Electric Cord" was lost for 42 years after its owner sent it out to be cleaned and it never returned, and was just discovered in a warehouse last year.

Lichtenstein took one of the simplest of hardware store items and turned it into art for his painting “Electric Cord.” It’s so simple, bold and shameless that no background color is needed. Interestingly, “Electric Cord” was lost for 42 years after its owner sent it out to be cleaned and it never returned. It was just discovered in a warehouse last year.


C.E. Monroe

Monroe’s art appeared on numerous covers of Field and Stream magazine during the 1950s and 1960s. He also created classic ad art for Winchester rifles and Savage Arms during those years. His work respectfully depicts men at work and play during a period of the 20th century when men were unapologetically depicted as not only strong, but as living examples of class and style.

fish

monroe

Frederic Remington (1861 – 1909)

The preeminent artist of the Old West, Frederic Remington is most famous for his depictions of cowboys and Native Americans. Unlike his contemporaries, he focused on the men and animals of the West, rather than the landscape. He also painted military scenes; commanders of the Western Army would invite him into the field to do their portraits. He even went along with Theodore Roosevelt, an admirer of his work, as a war correspondent during the Spanish-American War, and captured the Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill.

"Dash for Timber"

“Dash for Timber”

"Ridden Down"

“Ridden Down”

Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957)

Rivera was a controversial Mexican artist — both praised for his rich, storytelling murals and frescoes, and criticized for his left-leaning politics. He often depicted the heroism and struggle of the worker, and preferred public murals as his medium for their ability to bring art to the masses.

Rivera considered one of his finest works to be "Detroit Industry." A series of 27 fresco panels, covering 447 square yards, it was completed with the support of Henry Ford between 1932-1933 for the Detroit Institute of Arts. In the epic mural, he expertly captured men of differing skills and ethnicity all toiling together in a cavernous automobile factory to achieve the same end result: putting America on wheels and down the road. One can almost smell the oil, soot and metal dust when standing in front of this huge, striking snapshot of a day in the life of 1930's industrial America.

Rivera considered one of his finest works to be “Detroit Industry.” A series of 27 fresco panels, covering 447 square yards, it was completed with the support of Henry Ford between 1932-1933 for the Detroit Institute of Arts. In the epic mural, he expertly captured men of differing skills and ethnicity all toiling together in a cavernous automobile factory to achieve the same end result: putting America on wheels and down the road. One can almost smell the oil, soot, and metal dust when standing in front of this huge, striking snapshot of a day in the life of 1930s industrial America.

mural2


Ernie Barnes (1938 – 2009)

Ernie Barnes was one interesting cat. Not too many men become both an NFL football player and a renowned professional artist. Growing up under Jim Crow laws in North Carolina, Barnes had to study art only in books; his race barred him from museums. Bullied in high school, he got involved in athletics when a masonry teacher and weightlifting coach encouraged him to build his body. By senior year he was the captain of the football team, and went on to play in college and then professionally for the Colts, Titans, Chargers, and Broncos. He would sometimes get in trouble with his coaches for sketching during team meetings and even timeouts during games. After his playing days were through in 1965, his art finally took center stage — the league actually decided to keep him on as a salaried player, but commissioned him to do paintings rather than be on the field. Barnes’ art career took off, and he spent the next decades doing sports-themed pieces, depictions of life in black communities, and even album covers.

Barnes credited his football playing career with greatly influencing his work; during games he was hype-aware of how his body was moving and took notes on the feelings, attitude, and expression these movements created alone and as he collided with others. In Sunday's Heroes he depicts determination, danger, competition and camaraderie all with paint and brush. The characters actually appear to be moving on the canvas.

Barnes credited his football playing career with greatly influencing his work; during games he was hyper-aware of how his body was moving and took notes on the feelings, attitudes, and expressions these movements created alone and as he collided with others. In “Sunday’s Heroes” he depicts determination, danger, competition, and camaraderie, all with paint and brush. The characters actually appear to be moving on the canvas.

When Barnes was eighteen he visited the recently desegregated North Carolina Museum of Art. When he asked the docent where he could find "paintings by Negro artists," she replied. "Your people don’t express themselves that way." Twenty-two years later he was given a solo exhibition at the same museum, hosted by the governor of North Carolina.

When Barnes was eighteen he visited the recently de-segregated North Carolina Museum of Art. When he asked the docent where he could find “paintings by Negro artists,” she replied, “Your people don’t express themselves that way.” Twenty-two years later he was given a solo exhibition at the same museum, hosted by the governor of North Carolina.

Nicholas Coleman (1978 – )

Nicholas Coleman is a modern artist I discovered because he follows the Art of Manliness on Twitter. I really dig his work, which aims to preserve the history of the American West and reminds me of my grandfather. Coleman says he works to give his pieces a sense of realism as well as a “certain amount of spontaneity and a slight impressionistic feel…that lets the viewer participate in the work.” He endeavors to create “a connection between his paintings and the observer by invoking a mood that the viewer can walk into.”

intheshadow
bear


Jim Flora (1914 – 1998)

Jim Flora was a children’s book author and illustrator, a commercial illustrator, and a fine artist, but is most well known for inking the covers of  cool jazz and classical LPs in the 1940s and ’50s. He infused fun, mischief, music, and movement into his work with playful abandon.

This piece is from his Dig You Later series of illustrations created in 1955. Each illustration features a "dude" who's having a ball while creating the coolest sounds around with the jazzy instrument of his own choosing.

This piece is from his “Dig You Later” series of illustrations created in 1955. Each illustration features a “dude” who’s having a ball while creating the coolest sounds around with the jazzy instrument of his own choosing.

Both pieces used with permission. © The Heirs of James Flora; courtesy JimFlora.com.

Both pieces used with permission. © The Heirs of James Flora; courtesy JimFlora.com.

C.M. Coolidge (1844 – 1934)

How could a list of manly art be complete without some dogs playing poker? Commissioned in 1903 by Brown & Bigelow to advertise cigars, the sixteen-part series of oil paintings was done by C.M. Coolidge, an artist with little formal training. The pieces feature anthropomorphized dogs smoking cigars and drinking while playing high-stakes poker. The painting “A Friend in Need” even depicts “cheating for charity.” Should a man compromise his character to help the underdog? Evidently, Coolidge thought so. Either way, this series is timeless and isn’t expected to fade away for at least another one hundred and nine years.

"A Bold Bluff"

“A Bold Bluff”

"A Bold Bluff"

“A Friend in Need”


Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

The famous Van Gogh may not be the first artist that leaps to mind when you think of manly art, but his style had rough beauty that was both eloquent and often rather masculine.

"Skull With Burning Cigarette"

“Skull With Burning Cigarette”

Van Gogh's subject matter covered all bases, but one of my all-time favorites of his is "The Night Cafe." There are beautiful brush strokes and colors, but it's unmistakably masculine. I despise the term "man cave," but I can almost smell the whiskey and pipe tobacco when I look into this painting with its parlor of tables and billiard balls waiting for the "break."

Van Gogh’s subject matter covered all bases, but one of my all-time favorites of his is “The Night Cafe.” There are beautiful brush strokes and colors, but it’s unmistakably masculine. I can almost smell the whiskey and pipe tobacco when I look into this painting with its parlor of tables and billiard balls waiting for the break.


Norm Saunders (1907 – 1989)

Saunders illustrated for pulp magazines, comic books, trading cards, crime novels, and men’s adventure magazines, most notably beginning in the 1930s, and continuing through the 1960s. He was a master at depicting a moment of desperation or distress between shady or campy characters, with his work being marked by a masculine and even risque edge (he was known for illustrating beautiful dames). Saunders could arguably be categorized as the “Mickey Spillane” of the art world.

 

saunders2
SONY DSC

Robert Williams (1943 – )

Williams is classified as an “underground” or lowbrow artist who got his start as an illustrator, oil painter, and cartoonist in the 1960s. Having been kicked out of school in the ninth grade, he headed to California where he would end up rubbing shoulders with other anti-establishment cartoonists like R. Crumb and become immersed in the state’s hot-rod culture. His car-themed pieces tend to tell an irreverent story of speed, danger, and sometimes, revenge.

 

hot rod

Robert Wood (1889 – 1979)

English-born, when Robert Wood emigrated the United States, he criss-crossed the continent, looking for beautiful landscapes to capture. He was a prolific artist, sometimes finishing a painting every day, and had completed over 5,000 works by the time of his death. His beautiful landscapes were some of the most reproduced of the 20th century. His seascapes can be moody and unsettling at times with waves crashing under a threatening sky.  However dramatic, much of Wood’s work has a bold, aggressive beauty that sets it apart from the work of other landscape artists.

ocean

wood

Arnold Friberg (1913 – 2010)

Friberg studied with Norman Rockwell at the Grand Central School of Art and his paintings have the same kind of idealized richness that the latter was famous for, but with a little more realism and ruggedness. During WWII, he was given the chance to be a captain and stay stateside illustrating recruitment posters, but decided to go to the front instead, though he still employed his artistic skills there in drawing maps. He also spent three years working on the pre-visualization posters for Cecille DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.

We didn’t hear back from the Friberg estate with permission to reproduce a couple of his paintings in time for the publication of this article, but you can see a whole bunch of his work on this article we did  a few years ago dedicated to him.

Sam Gambino

As an artist myself, I like to use my love of classic ad art to take a humorous “jab” at men and their weaknesses, egos, insecurities, and/or shortcomings. Frequently using unattractive characters from obscure pop culture sources, I look for humor in depicting them as common men who are dealing with normal issues of the average joe. This condition can be seen in the painting “Insecurity”.
sam1
I also have a definite appreciation for still life art that centers around classic and vintage objects of the classic male: cigars, vintage ashtrays, playing cards, even vintage matchbooks, to name a few. “The Back Room at the Belmar” is one such example.

 

backroom at belmar
What are your favorite examples of manly art? Tell us below!

Related posts:

  1. The Manly Art of Arnold Friberg
  2. So You Want My Job: Comic Book Artist
  3. Are Video Games Manly?
  4. So You Want My Job: Songwriter
  5. Manvotional: A Manly Boy
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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #8: Success at Last

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move.” –Jack London, The Call of the Wild

2013-04-01_2245

Jack London’s most popular novel, The Call of the Wild, is a tale of a domesticated dog, Buck, who is thrust into the wilderness. He is forced to learn the brutal rules of a new world and how to mush mightily in front of a dogsled, and eventually breaks away to become the leader of a wild wolf pack. Jack said it was a story of “the dominant primordial beast,” and as such it is his story as well. Like Buck, Jack would pass through a crucible of difficulty, learn to thrive and delight in the harness of discipline, and harken to the deep-seated call to become the best of the best. He would outwork everyone else to earn a position at the head of the pack through skill and prowess and fight.

Jack’s fight began soon after he returned from the Klondike. After months of sitting in the “White Silence” of the Great North, pondering what he wanted out of life, he had returned home committed to either becoming a writer or perishing in the attempt.

Forging a Life of Discipline

jackwrite

London sat down at his desk, pulled out his old typewriter, and resumed the life of iron-clad discipline he had embraced while studying for his collegiate entrance exams, which, if you’ll remember, consisted of 5am wake-up calls and 19-hours of daily toil.

Though he had been living in the wilderness for the last year, Jack did not chafe at returning to being holed up in a room from sunup to sundown. One of the things London’s friends marveled at was this great dichotomy of his character – how he could take his unfettered spirit, his fierce thumos, and channel it at will into a rigidly disciplined, unwavering drive for success. As his friend Anna Strunksy put it:

“His standard of life was high. He for one would have the happiness of power, of genius, of love, and the vast comforts and ease of wealth. Napoleon and Nietzsche had a part in him…and it was by the force of his Napoleonic temperament that he conceived the idea of incredible success, and had the will to achieve it. Sensitive and emotional as his nature was, he forbade himself any deviation from the course that would lead him to his goal. He systematized his life. Such colossal energy, and yet…He lived by rule. Law, Order and Restraint was the creed of this vital, passionate youth.”

Yet while London was an ardent “disciple of regular work,” this did not mean that such self-mastery came naturally to him. “Temperamentally,” Jack said, “I am not only careless and irregular, but melancholy.” “Still,” he added, “I have fought both down.” One way he mastered his penchant for irregularity was establishing a fixed goal of writing at least a thousand words every day, six days a week (sometimes on Sundays and holidays too). He wrote to a friend: “I am sure a man can turn out more and much better in the long run, working this way, than if he works by fits and starts.” London would keep this habit of writing 1,000 words a day for the rest of his life, no matter his physical or mental conditions – whether he was tired, sick, hung-over, traveling aboard a ship rocking violently in a storm, vacationing in Hawaii, or covering a war in Japan. It especially did not matter whether he was feeling “inspired” on a given day; London thought the idea of creative inspiration was bunkum – the complaint of its absence an excuse of the lazy and cowardly. Success in writing, or any other vocation, London argued, was all about effort and willpower – “digging” as he liked to put it:

“A strong will can accomplish anything…There is no such thing as inspiration and very little genius. Dig, blooming under opportunity, results in what appears to be the former, and certainly makes possible the development of what original modicum of the latter one may possess. Dig is a wonderful thing, and will move more mountains than faith ever dreamed of. In fact, Dig should be the legitimate father of all self-faith.”

A large part of Jack’s own digging and refinement process involved studying the work of other great writers (Rudyard Kipling in particular) with an eye towards improving his own. Besides developing one’s philosophy of life, Jack considered this kind of study of one’s “mentors” the second great key to success in life. He described his own process through his fictional alter ego, Martin Eden:

“Reading the works of men who had arrived, he noted every result achieved by them, and worked out the tricks by which they had been achieved — the tricks of narrative, of exposition, of style, the points of view, the contrasts, the epigrams; and of all these he made lists for study. He did not ape. He sought principles. He drew up lists of effective and fetching mannerisms, till out of many such, culled from many writers, he was able to induce the general principle of mannerism, and, thus equipped, to cast about for new and original ones of his own, and to weigh and measure and appraise them properly. In similar manner he collected lists of strong phrases, the phrases of living language, phrases that bit like acid and scorched like flame, or that glowed and were mellow and luscious in the midst of the arid desert of common speech. He sought always for the principle that lay behind and beneath. He wanted to know how the thing was done; after that he could do it for himself. He was not content with the fair face of beauty. He dissected beauty in his crowded little bedroom laboratory…and, having dissected, and learned the anatomy of beauty, he was nearer being able to create beauty itself.”

After London had soaked his brain with the elements of great writing he admired, he set about trying to create his own. Jack sought to develop a different style from the popular fiction of the time — work that was full of the “the fancies and beauties of imagination…an impassioned realism, shot through with human aspiration and faith.” He endeavored to capture “life as it was, with all its spirit-groping and soul-reaching left in.”

Day after day London refined his style and dug through his brain, pulling out memories of the raging waves of the Pacific and the harsh cold of the Klondike. He feverishly banged out essays, articles, poems, short stories, and serialized fiction on his rickety typewriter. Except for “breaks” to visit the library, “he wrote prolifically, intensely, from morning till night, and late at night.” Just as Buck learned to pull sleds in the Klondike, Jack “worked faithfully in the harness, for the toil had become a delight to him.” “Life was pitched high” he wrote in Martin Eden. “The joy of creation that is supposed to belong to the gods was his.”

The Sting of Rejection

Unfortunately, the joy he sent out into the world was not reciprocated. Each time he placed a new piece inside an envelope and sent it off to newspapers, magazines, and journals around the country, his heart would swell with hopes that it would be accepted. And each day as he opened his mailbox to see yet another round of rejection notices, his heart would sink. One editor even took the time to write that the quality of his work was such that he really ought to find a different profession. Jack would try to shake off the constant rebuffs, place the rejection notices in a file and the returned manuscripts in a pile of “retired” work, and then begin pounding at his typewriter once more.

Yet, months of rejections coupled with his merciless work schedule slowly began to take their toll – exhausting him both mentally and physically. His skin grew pallid from a lack of fresh air and sunlight. He had to pawn many of his possessions to buy food, and still found himself in debt with the grocer. His cheekbones became more pronounced and his muscles withered as he tried to get by eating as little as possible. His energy and optimism dropped along with his weight, and at times he felt he should give up altogether — not just writing, but life itself. What depressed him most was how lonely he felt – he had no one to help him with his writing or even to simply offer encouragement. As he wrote in a letter to a friend:

“Nor has anybody ever understood. The whole thing has been by itself. Duty said ‘Do not go on; go to work.’ So said others, though they would not say it to my face. Everybody looked askance; though they did not speak, I knew what they thought. Not a word of approval, but much of disapproval. If only some one had said, ‘I understand.’ From the hunger of my childhood, cold eyes have looked upon me, or questioned, or snickered and sneered. What hurt above all was that they were some of my friends—not professed but real friends. I have calloused my exterior and receive the strokes as though they were not; as to how they hurt, no one knows but my own soul and me… for good or ill, it shall be as it has been—alone.”

In spite of all this failure, and as we have seen, true to his character, London would poke at the embers of his determination and find the will to continue striving. He concluded the letter above by saying:

“So be it. The end is not yet. If I die I shall die hard, fighting to the last, and hell shall receive no fitter inmate than myself.”

fang

Success Begins to Make Itself Known

Still, as a hedge against the potential of failure, and to please the family and friends who told him to quit this fruitless writing business and get a “real” job, he took the civil service exams and passed with flying colors. The manager of the post office called to offer Jack a position as a mail carrier. London was conflicted. He had just turned 23 and his friends were settling down, getting married, and starting good professions. Being a mailman would bring decent, steady pay, and his family needed money. He considered continuing to write, but doing so just as a hobby instead. Most sobering of all, he had to face the fact that in his five months of trying, and in sending out dozens upon dozens of articles, he had only succeeded in having one piece published, and that in a magazine for children. But his mother, surprisingly, encouraged him to turn the job down – to finally take a chance on his own dreams after years of dutifully supporting the family. They would get by, she told him. So he rejected the offer. London would have no plan B, no back-up day job if success was not soon forthcoming. He would put all of his chips into becoming a writer.

At last, six months after returning from the Klondike, Jack received news that his gamble might just pay off. The Overland Monthly agreed to publish London’s “To the Man on Trail,” and then also accepted “The White Silence.” Jack’s fresh, virile style began to attract notice. “I would rather have written ‘The White Silence,’” the literary critic of The San Francisco Chronicle confessed, “than anything that has appeared in fiction in the last ten years.” The Overland Monthly requested six more of Jack’s articles. They’d paid just $7.50 per piece for them, but as the premier literary journal of the West – one that was read by many movers and shakers in the publishing industry – the deal promised beneficial exposure.

London’s real break came in November 1899, when the Atlantic Monthly decided to publish “An Odyssey of the North.” This piece broke the dam, and at last the publishers came calling. London signed a deal with Houghton Mifflin to put together a collection of his short stories: The Son of the Wolf. After facing so many rejections, the positive reviews brought the sweet music of vindication to Jack’s ears: “These stories are realism, without the usual falsity of realism,” praised The New York Times. “You cannot get away from the fascination of these tales,” The San Francisco Chronicle effused. The public loved Jack’s punchy, muscular prose, and felt as though his stories stirred something long dormant within them. As they read of his protagonists pitting their mettle against the elements of nature, they felt their own call to the wild – a keen desire to have an adventure themselves.

Finally, A Dream Realized

In three years of “studying immensely and intensely,” Jack had made himself into a full-time writer, and more opportunities came his way. A month after The Son of the Wolf was released, Cosmopolitan (which at this time was a well-regarded magazine for the whole family) offered him a plumb position as editor and staff writer. London turned it down without hesitation. Like Buck, after gathering strength in the discipline of the harness, he desired to exercise that strength with minimal restraint and full independence. As he wrote to a friend, “Of course I shall not accept it. I do not wish to be bound…I want to be free, to write of what delights me, whensoever and wheresoever it delights me. No office work for me; no routine; no doing this set task and that set task. No man over me.”

wild

Over the next few years, Jack continued to sleep but five hours a night (“There was so much to learn, so much to be done… I blessed the man who invented alarm clocks”) and his profile continued to rise as he successfully published numerous articles and several short story collections and novels. His books sold decently, but were not blockbusters. Stratospheric success would arrive with the 1903 publication of The Call of the Wild. Jack had intended it to be another of his short stories, “but it got away from me, and instead of 4,000 words it ran 32,000 before I could call a halt.” The novel became an instant classic. Its story reverberated through a society anxious that it had become too refined, too civilized, too domesticated and had lost its rugged, pioneering spirit. Such a theme has pricked the hearts of each succeeding modern generation, and the book has been in print continuously for over a century, sold millions of copies, and become the most widely read of the American classics.

Now 27 years old, Jack London had reached the pinnacle of the literary world. By venturing more and fearing less, by working longer and harder than anyone else, he had overcome his humble past and risen head and shoulders above his peers. By harnessing his thumos, and embracing his identity as the lone wolf, he had made himself stronger and more powerful than the average man. The same thrill of dominance that enlivened Buck coursed through him as well:

“When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.”

 

_________________________________

Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

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The Art of Manliness

AoM Month of Sandwiches Day #1: The Breakfast Reuben

The Art of Manliness

finished

Welcome to the first day of the Art of Manliness Month of Sandwiches!

A few weeks ago I published my suggestions on upgrading the humble bologna sandwich. At the end of the post I asked readers to leave a comment with their favorite sandwich recipe. 483 of you deliciously delivered. Jeremy (AoM’s newish editor and community manager) and I then combed through all of the sandwich submissions and picked 20 that we’re going to highlight during April. Each weekday this month you’ll find a new delicious sandwich recipe complete with photo instructions on how to construct it. I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve already made a few of these user-submitted sandwiches and all of them have been fantastic. Hopefully you’ll glean some new ideas to add to your sammich repertoire.

At the end of the series we plan to compile all the sandwich submissions into an epic man-sandwich recipe book.

A note to all those who shared a sandwich I’m going to be highlighting: I know I won’t make it as well as you, with all your exact signature touches. This is just one guy’s first-time go at it.

Today’s Sandwich: The Breakfast Reuben by Dan W.

I love breakfast and I love Reubens, so I had high hopes for this sandwich. Did Dan W. let me down? Let’s find out.

The Ingredients ingredients

  • Rye bread. Marbled is Dan’s preferred rye of choice, but he says dark or light rye work great, too. I couldn’t find any marbled rye, so I just went with dark.
  • Swiss cheese or emmentaler (I used Swiss)
  • 1 egg
  • Pastrami, corn beef, and roast beef (I just used a bit of pastrami and corn beef)
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Sauerkraut

Step 1: Fry Your Egg

fry

This is what makes the Breakfast Reuben a Breakfast Reuben. Fry up an over-medium egg. Dan suggests keeping the yolk a little runny. Don’t know how to cook an over-medium egg? Check out our comprehensive guide on how to cook eggs.

Step 2: Place Cheese and Egg on Piece of Rye Bread

eggcheese

I over-cooked the egg a little. Oh well.

Step 3: Layer Meats and Kraut

meatkraut

Add your pastrami, corn beef, and roast beef. Be as generous as you want. Top it off with a big heap of sauerkraut.

Step 4: Add Ketchup and Horseradish Sauce

sauce

Add your “Russian Sauce” by squirting some ketchup and horseradish sauce on top of your glorious pile of cheese, egg, meat, and kraut. I could have taken the extra step of mixing the ketchup and horseradish sauce together, but I was hungry.

Step 5: Top with Bread

finished

Ain’t she a beaut?

Step 6: Eat!

eating1

Taster’s Thoughts

This is a solid sandwich. Savory and filling. The addition of a fried egg to a traditional Reuben sandwich is a deft touch. Despite being called the “Breakfast Reuben,” I probably wouldn’t eat this sandwich for breakfast. It’s too salty for my tastes to start my day off with. It’s a great sammy for a lazy Saturday lunch, though. Two thumbs up!

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Schneier on Security

Sixth Movie-Plot Threat Contest

Schneier on Security

It's back, after a two-year hiatus. Terrorism is boring; cyberwar is in. Cyberwar, and its kin: cyber Pearl Harbor, cyber 9/11, cyber Armageddon. (Or make up your own: a cyber Black Plague, cyber Ragnarok, cyber comet-hits-the-earth.) This is how we get budget and power for militaries. This is how we convince people to give up their freedoms and liberties. This is how we sell-sell-sell computer security products and services. Cyberwar is hot, and it's super scary. And now, you can help!

For this year's contest, I want a cyberwar movie-plot threat. (For those who don't know, a movie-plot threat is a scare story that would make a great movie plot, but is much too specific to build security policy around.) Not the Chinese attacking our power grid or shutting off 911 emergency services -- people are already scaring our legislators with that sort of stuff. I want something good, something no one has thought of before.

Entries are limited to 500 words, and should be posted in the comments. In a month I'll choose some semi-finalists, and we can all vote and pick the winner.

Good luck.

History: The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Fifth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner.

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Twin Cities Maker

The Mill is Closing…

Twin Cities Maker

If you haven’t seen the news already, The Mill will be closing it’s doors April, 20, 2013.  We are very sad to hear that this space is closing.  It’s super important to have a space like The Mill in our metro area, as it provides growth to inventors and innovators.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.32.21 AMThe Hack Factory is a space for people to prototype, invent, share, learn, teach, and improve upon our community by empowering people.  Once a prototype has been developed in our space, and a production line is needed, The Mill would be any professional makers next step, and it will leave a void in our community.  However, we will be in talks with Brian to identify what works for our group, and how we can best support the community.

That said, we do welcome anyone to stop by The Hack Factory, and check the space out to see if it’s right for you.  Our Minne Faire is April 13th & 14th, and we have open houses every Wednesday from 7-9pm.

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Schneier on Security

What I've Been Thinking About

Schneier on Security

I'm starting to think about my next book, which will be about power and the Internet -- from the perspective of security. My objective will be to describe current trends, explain where those trends are leading us, and discuss alternatives for avoiding that outcome. Many of my recent essays have touched on various facets of this, although I’m still looking for synthesis. These facets include:

  1. The relationship between the Internet and power: how the Internet affects power, and how power affects the Internet. Increasingly, those in power are using information technology to increase their power.

  2. A feudal model of security that leaves users with little control over their data or computing platforms, forcing them to trust the companies that sell the hardware, software, and systems -- and allowing those companies to abuse that trust.

  3. The rise of nationalism on the Internet and a cyberwar arms race, both of which play on our fears and which are resulting in increased military involvement in our information infrastructure.

  4. Ubiquitous surveillance for both government and corporate purposes -- aided by cloud computing, social networking, and Internet-enabled everything -- resulting in a world without any real privacy.

  5. The four tools of Internet oppression -- surveillance, censorship, propaganda, and use control -- have both government and corporate uses. And these are interrelated; often building tools to fight one as the side effect of facilitating another.

  6. Ill-conceived laws and regulations on behalf of either government or corporate power, either to prop up their business models (copyright protections), fight crime (increased police access to data), or control our actions in cyberspace.

  7. The need for leaks: both whistleblowers and FOIA suits. So much of what the government does to us is shrouded in secrecy, and leaks are the only we know what's going on. This also applies to the corporate algorithms and systems and control much of our lives.

On the one hand, we need new regimes of trust in the information age. (I wrote about the extensively in my most recent book, Liars and Outliers.) On the other hand, the risks associated with increasing technology might mean that the fear of catastrophic attack will make us unable to create those new regimes.

I believe society is headed down a dangerous path, and that we -- as members of society -- need to make some hard choices about what sort of world we want to live in. If we maintain our current trajectory, the future does not look good. It's not clear if we have the social or political will to address the intertwined issues of power, security, and technology, or even have the conversations necessary to understand the decisions we need to make. Writing about topics like this is what I do best, and I hope that a book on this topic will have a positive effect on the discourse.

The working title of the book is Power.com -- although that might be too similar to the book Power, Inc. for the final title.

These thoughts are still in draft, and not yet part of a coherent whole. For me, the writing process is how I understand a topic, and the shape of this book will almost certainly change substantially as I write. I’m very interested in what people think about this, especially in terms of solutions. Please pass this around to interested people, and leave comments to this blog post.

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All Points Blog

GIS and Geospatial Stories I’m Reading - 4/1/13

All Points Blog
The AAG's Doug Richardson argues for  a separate curriculum for geography in Tennessee  Profile of Grant Thrall, Ph.D., who pioneered the study of business geography  28,000 rivers wiped off the map of China  Google hopes that one day Android phones will use weather info... Continue reading
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The Ancestry Insider

Did Your Ancestor Fall Out of the Sky?

The Ancestry Insider

Joseph Kittinger BrazelEver feel like your dead-end ancestor must have fallen out of the sky? That’s how Bill Brazel feels about his grandfather, Joseph Kittinger Brazel. There’s even a family legend that he had.

“Joseph just kind of appeared out of nowhere,” says Bill of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Joseph showed up living about 80 miles north of Carlsbad, New Mexico when he started keeping a journal.

“Grandpa Joe’s journal is a real gem,” Bill says. “He meticulously kept track of the weather and the movement of the stars and planets. He was curious about everything and made beautiful drawings of plants and animals.”

“Unfortunately, I’ve found no record of him prior to that time,” says Bill.

Joseph appears in all the normal places, marrying, having children, and buying and selling land. He even appears in some recently declassified military documents. During World War II he worked as a civilian contractor at the White Sands military base. He was present at the testing of the first atomic bomb and was censured for watching the detonation from outside the safety bunker. He seemed to have suffered no ill effects, living cancer free his entire life. The brightness alone should have blinded him. Joseph is mentioned in an interesting newspaper article, having gone missing in early July of 1947. When he was found the next day in the desert he had no memory of what had happened.

But no document mentions parents, nativity, siblings, or prior residence. Bill says he’s tried to find friends, family, or neighbors associated with him from before that time, but keeps coming up empty. According to Bill’s father, Grandpa Joe never spoke about his early life.

“In an attempt to break through the brick wall, I had DNA tests done,” says Bill. Unfortunately, the tests were a bust and may have been messed up by the lab. To believe the test results, Bill has no close relatives anywhere on the planet and a full fourth of his ethnicity is unknown.

The answer to the mystery may best be answered by the last thing Joseph Kittinger Brazel wrote in his journal: This is an April Fools  work of fiction and in any resemblance to real persons no disrespect is intended.


Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com for other important legal notices.
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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #7: Into the Klondike

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.

When the ship Excelsior docked in San Francisco in 1897, it carried word that would grant Jack London salvation from his mindless toil in a steam laundry: gold had been discovered in the Klondike.

The whole country was quickly seized with gold fever, and Jack was not immune. The North called to him as a chance for adventure, as well as an opportunity to earn the fortune that would finally allow his family to live comfortably, and free him to make a career as a writer without having to worry about the constant press of bills and hunger.

Venturing to the Great North

goldmap

London secured the funds for his venture from his stepsister in return for agreeing to take her sickly 60-something husband along with him. Jack used the money to outfit a nearly 2,000-pound kit of supplies for the two men, and then boarded a steamship for the 8-day voyage up to Seattle and on to Juneau. Once he and his brother-in-law landed, they climbed into 17-foot canoes and were paddled by the natives 100 miles to the Dyea beachhead — a site of complete chaos. Three thousand “cheechakos” — the derisive native term for tenderfeet from the lower 48 — swarmed about. Many in their naivety did not realize that the Klondike was not located anywhere near where their ship would dock, but was in fact situated more than 500 miles to the north in the heart of the Canadian Yukon. Faced with an arduous trek by foot and boat, some men, including Jack’s brother-in-law, turned right around and went home.

Having studied up on the geography of the land and a former miner’s account before setting out, Jack was better prepared than most. He had an idea of what was coming, and knew that the first leg of the journey was a 28-mile uphill hike to Lake Lindeman. Most of the new arrivals had figured they would be able to pay the natives at reasonable rates to shoulder their packs for them along the way. But the indigenous porters, taking advantage of the enormous demand for their services, were charging a hefty thirty cents per pound. With the Canadian Mounties requiring those who wished to cross the border to have a year’s supply of food and equipment, the assistance could cost the equivalent of a man’s entire salary for the year. Without the necessary funds or the physical strength to carry their own supplies, another large cohort of would-be prospectors were defeated before they had even begun.

Not Jack. He had already settled in his mind the physically demanding method he would use to shoulder his supplies himself. He divided up his half-ton kit into around a dozen smaller loads, and would take each load a mile, cache it, and then return for another. This meant that every mile of forward progress required nearly 25 miles of hiking, half of them while shouldering 75-100 pounds of supplies. Jack relished the physical challenge, however, and took pride in his ability to outpace many of the native porters.

JackLondonSheepCamp

London is thought to be the young man at the forefront of the group on the right. The men are at Sheep’s Camp, a resting place a few miles from the arduous Chilkoot Pass.

For the first six miles, London and several friends he had met along the way were luckily able to pull their supplies along in a boat down a river. Then Jack began his double-back trekking method for the next eight miles, carrying load after load up an incline, through mud and rain, and around boulders. In three weeks the men reached the first rest camp, and there gathered strength for the most arduous part of the trek – a single-file ascent of the Chilkoot Pass.

chilkoot

Three-quarters of a mile in length at a 45-degree angle, sourdoughs referred to the Chilkoot Pass as “the worst trail this side of hell.”

Three-quarters of a mile in length at a 45-degree angle, sourdoughs referred to it as “the worst trail this side of hell.” The weaker among the would-be prospectors collapsed. Hordes beat a trail back to Dyea in defeat and others went mad and even shot themselves. Jack simply bore down in determination, put one foot in front of the other, and ignored the burn in his legs and back as he carried a half-ton of supplies to the summit, 100 pounds at a time.

singlechilkoot

To get his half-ton of supplies to the top of the pass, Jack made around a dozen trips up and back.

From the top of the pass it was nine more miles of trekking through a steep canyon to the banks of Lake Lindeman, the headwaters of the Yukon River. It had been three weeks since Jack left Dyea, but the journey was truly just beginning. He now had to float, sail, and navigate the 500 miles of lakes and waterways en route to Dawson, which sat 50 miles from the goldfields.

If Jack’s physical strength and grit had been an asset so far, now his technical skills and sailing experience became a huge advantage. He and his comrades felled some trees and made two boats to convey them on their voyage. Although he was but 21 years old, Jack’s confidence and skill made him a natural leader, and the older men trusted him to pilot them safely through the treacherous waters. It was a trust greatly tested – Jack chose to shoot the boat over six-foot ridges of water and turbulent rapids, between rocky reefs and sheer cliff walls, and through two powerful whirlpools. The men had seen several boats ahead of theirs broken to bits, their passengers drowned right before their eyes, and most of the other prospectors chose to portage around these man-slaying dangers. But when it came to a choice between several days of portaging or two minutes of running the shoots, Jack chose the latter. Having departed in mid-summer, the early Arctic winter was setting in fast, and they needed to make it to Dawson before the waterways sealed with ice.

Charmian recounts Jack’s feverish race against time:

“By unabating zeal the boys kept just ahead of the forbidding freeze-up that set a bar of iron to the progress of the less forehanded. Lakes froze on their flying heels, so slim was the margin. Jack learned what it meant to pit one’s raging impotence against the imperturbability of nature. Never a waking moment did they lose, and allowed no more time for sleep than was absolutely required…

Their sternest battle was across Lake Laberge, the freeze-up of which threatened in the gale. Three days they had been thrown back by cresting seas that fell aboard in tinkling ice. On the fourth Jack said: ‘To-day we’ve got to make it—or we camp here all winter with the others.’ They almost died at the oars, but ‘died to live again’ and fight on. All night, like driven automatons they pulled, and at daybreak entered the river, with behind them a fast frozen lake. And their pilot, from what I know of him, I can swear did not realize half his weariness, so elated must he have been to be thus forward—one of the very few who had made it through.”

After barely making it over Lake Laberge, London and his partners decided to settle in and hole up in the cabins of an abandoned mining camp. They were just 75 miles from Dawson, but the Yukon River was quickly freezing up. The men figured they’d try their hand where they were; they had encountered discouraged Klondikers on a return journey who informed them that supplies were non-existent for weathering the winter in town, and that the best claims further up the Yukon had already been staked. Jack found a bit of gold dust in nearby Henderson Creek and staked a claim there. A few days later he took his boat to Dawson to register it.

By the time Jack had completed an arduous hike through the snow to return to camp (an experience he would later draw on to write his best short story, “To Build a Fire”), winter had thoroughly set in, and there was nothing left to do but ride it out. When the weather was fairer Jack would venture out to the creek, huddle in an old dugout, and spend the time panning for gold and thinking about life. The impenetrable stillness and silence of his surroundings — what he called nature’s “White Silence” — was overwhelming:

“Nothing stirred. The Yukon slept under a coat of ice three feet thick. No breath of wind blew. Nor did the sap move in the hearts of the spruce trees that forested the river banks on either hand. The trees, burdened with the last infinitesimal pennyweight of snow their branches could hold, stood in absolute petrifaction.”

Such an empty, lonely landscape stirred deep, humbling introspection for Jack:

“Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity, — the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven’s artillery, — but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot’s life, nothing more. Strange thoughts arise unsummoned, and the mystery of all things strives for utterance. And the fear of death, of God, of the universe, comes over him, — the hope of the Resurrection and the Life, the yearning for immortality, the vain striving of the imprisoned essence, — it is then, if ever, man walks alone with God.”

When weeklong blizzards raged and the temperature dipped to 60 degrees below zero, Jack hunkered down in his cabin, wrapped himself in thick blankets, and wiled away the time trading stories and debating life’s big questions with his companions. The men’s cabins were a frequent destination for visitors – natives, fellow prospectors, and gritty trappers would stop by to break the tedium of winter. One who met and tested wits with London during this time was W.B. Hargrave, who offers a portrait of London during this time that is worth quoting at length (we even included it in the Manvotionals book), for it truly offers a snapshot of Jack in the very prime of his manhood:

london

“No other man has left so indelible an impression upon my memory as Jack London. He was but a boy then, in years . . . But he possessed the mental equipment of a mature man, and I have never thought of him as a boy except in the heart of him . . . the clean, joyous, tender, unembittered heart of youth. His personality would challenge attention anywhere. Not only in his beauty for he was a handsome lad but there was about him that indefinable something that distinguishes genius from mediocrity. Though a youth, he displayed none of the insolent egotism of youth; he was an idealist who went after the attainable; a dreamer who was a man among strong men; a man who faced life with superb assurance and who could face death serenely imperturbable. These were my first impressions; which months of companionship only confirmed.

I remember well the first time I entered [his cabin]…One of his partners, Goodman, was preparing a meal, and the other, Sloper, was doing some carpentry work. From the few words which I overheard as I entered, I surmised that Jack had challenged some of Goodman’s orthodox views, and that the latter was doggedly defending himself in an unequal contest of wits. Many times afterward I myself felt the rapier thrust of London’s, and knew how to sympathize with Goodman.

Jack interrupted the conversation to welcome me, and his hospitality was so cordial, his smile so genial, his good fellowship so real, that it instantly dispelled all reserve. I was invited to participate in the discussion, which I did, much to my subsequent discomfiture.

That day—the day on which our friendship began—has become consecrated in my memory. I find it difficult to write about Jack without laying myself open to the charge of adulation. During the course of my life . . . I have met men who were worth while; but Jack was the one man with whom I have come in personal contact who possessed the qualities of heart and mind that made him one of the world’s overshadowing geniuses.

He was intrinsically kind and irrationally generous.  . . . With an innate refinement, a gentleness that had survived the roughest of associations. Sometimes he would become silent and reflective, but he was never morose or sullen. His silence was an attentive silence. I have known him to end a discussion by merely assuming the attitude of a courteous listener, and when his indiscreet opponent had tangled himself in the web of his own illogic, and had perhaps fallen back upon invective to bolster his position, Jack would calmly roll another cigarette, and throwing his head back, give vent to infectious laughter—infectious because it was never bitter or derisive. . . . He was always good-natured; he was more — he was charmingly cheerful. If in those days he was beset by melancholia, he concealed it from his companions.

Inasmuch as Louis Savard’s cabin was the largest and most comfortable it became the popular meeting place for the denizens of the camp. Louis had constructed a large fireplace, and my recollections of London are intertwined with the many hours we spent together in front of its cheerful light. Many a long night he and I, outlasting the vigil of the others, sat before the blazing spruce logs, and talked the hours away. A brave figure of a man he was, lounging by the crude fireplace, its light playing on his handsome features—a face that one would look at twice even in the crowded city street. In appearance older than his years; a body lithe and strong; neck bared at the throat; a tangled cluster of brown hair that fell low over his brow and which he was wont to brush back impatiently when engaged in animated conversation; a sensitive mouth, but lips, nevertheless, that could set in serious and masterful lines; a radiant smile, marred by two missing teeth (lost, he told me, in a fight on shipboard); eyes that often carried an introspective expression; the face of an artist and a dreamer, but with strong lines denoting will power and boundless energy. An outdoor man—in short, a real man, a man’s man.

He had a mental craving for the truth. He applied one test to religion, to economics, to everything. “What is the truth?” “What is just?” It was with these questions that he confronted the baffling enigma of life. He could think great thoughts. One could not meet him without feeling the impact of a superior intellect.

Many and diverse were the subjects we discussed, often with the silent Louis as our only listener. Our views did not always coincide, and on one occasion when argument had waxed long and hot and London had finally left us, with only the memory of his glorious smile to salve my defeat, Louis looked up from his game of solitaire (which I think he played because it required no conversation) and became veritably verbose. This is what he said: ‘You mak’ ver’ good talk, but zat London he too damn smart for you.’”

Weakened in Body, Strengthened in Spirit

bond

Two brothers London met in Dawson, or more accurately, their canine companion, would feature prominently in Jack’s future. Louis and Marshall Bond’s dog (seen with Marshall on the left), a huge half collie, half St. Bernard mix, would become the inspiration for Call of the Wild’s protagonist, Buck.

As the long winter wore on, the vitality Hargrave so admired in London began to ebb. His skin grew sallow, his teeth loosened, his gums bled, and his joints ached. Having subsisted on a diet of bacon, beans, and biscuits for months, Jack had developed a severe case of scurvy. As soon as the ice began to break up in the river, he partially dismantled his cabin and built a raft to float to Dawson in order to have himself examined. A priest there who offered medical care ameliorated his condition with some raw potatoes, but he advised Jack to get home as quickly as possible if he valued his life – fresh food was scarce and astronomically expensive in Dawson. Jack being Jack, he still stayed on for a few weeks to soak in the colorful life of a remote boomtown before beginning his journey back to the States. He could have returned the way he had come, but as Charmian put it, “he seldom retraced a road.” Instead, he and a friend decided to pilot a small skiff 1,800 miles down the entire length of the Yukon and out to the Bering Sea. After passing numerous native villages, taking in beautiful vistas, being nearly eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos, and having a whole other set of adventures, Jack arrived at the port of St. Michael, Alaska, and boarded a steamship back to San Francisco. He paid for his passage by stoking coal, until his weakened body finally gave way and the sympathetic crew allowed him to knock off and recuperate.

After being away for nearly a year, London arrived back home debilitated and broke; his trip to the Klondike had netted him but $4.50 in gold dust. But the experience had provided him with things far more valuable – seeds that would soon bear spectacular fruit. Most obviously, the adventure burnished him with a cache of rich material that he would mine again and again, spinning his observations of the icy North into bestselling stories that would catapult him to the heights of success. But the confidence to even attempt to transform those stories into literary gold was also born in the Yukon. “In the Klondike,” Jack said, “I found myself.” The journey had taxed his stamina and determination and employed his technical skills — pushing his mental and physical abilities to their limits. It had strengthened the heart of an already powerful thumic confidence and hardened his conviction of making it as a writer. If he could scale Chilkoot Pass, navigate thousands of miles of river, and weather an Arctic winter, he could struggle with words until he had become their master. London was ready to take on the fight for his future, and he had already determined its outcome. Before he left his cabin in the Klondike, he carved this on a beam:

inscrip

Jack London, Miner, Author, Jan 27, 1898

 

____________________________

Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

 

 

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Basic Instructions

How to Keep Your Secret Project Secret

Basic Instructions

That’s right. I’ve written a novel.

No, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

It’s called Off to Be the Wizard. It is about hackers, time travel, and wizards, and it is definitely NOT an April Fool’s Day joke.

It’s available for the Kindle (US, UK) the Nook, and in old-school, dead tree form. If you don’t feel like risking four to ten dollars on a first time novelist, you can download a free sample.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Now I have, and I am ridiculously proud of it. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Thank you for your time, and for understanding that THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKE!

Oh, and thanks as always for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #6: Back to School

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.

The students of Oakland High School did not know what to make of their new peer. He was older than them, nineteen, and wholly unlike anyone else who walked the halls. With a handsome, bronzed face, disheveled curly hair, a mouth full of chewing tobacco, a salty vocabulary, and a series of adventures under his belt of the kind they had only read about, students were either repulsed or magnetically attracted to him – often both.

It had been five years since Jack London had been in enrolled in school, and his life in the intervening time had created a gulf between him and his fellow students, whom he found naïve and often callow in comparison. It wasn’t just his age and experience that set him apart; while most of the other students came from middle and upper class backgrounds, with nothing to burden them but their studies, Jack became the janitor’s assistant to support his family, cleaning his peers’ toilets after they headed home for the day.

But when it came to sharpness of mind and pure ambition, London had no rival. He was determined to develop his intellectual capacities to their fullest extent and enroll in college – strengthening his mind so that he might make a living with it. He once again became the Oakland library’s most regular patron, checking out armfuls of books at a time. He used what little money he was able to keep for himself to purchase a dictionary, and he made it a goal to learn 20 new words a day. He studied and copied old poetry, and wrote his own as well. He penned articles for the school’s prestigious journal, many of which were accepted for publication (even if his raw tales of skinning seals and clinging to rail cars shocked many of his peers). He joined a local debating society that was largely composed of professionals and university students, and there he made several friends who were drawn to his guileless sincerity. They helped polish his grammar and tutor him in classes.

Jack honed his debating skills by speaking on a soapbox outside Oakland’s city hall to passersby, beseeching them to hear him out on the principles of socialism. His rhetoric and passion drew him larger crowds than any other speaker. But it also landed him in jail when the police decided he had violated a law against conducting public meetings without the mayor’s approval. He asked for a jury trial, served as his own defense, and was acquitted.

Yet, the story of his arrest scandalized parents of pupils at the high school who were already anxious about their children rubbing shoulders with this older, socialistic former hobo. London felt pressure from the administration to leave and decided to drop out.

Now twenty, London was not in the least bit discouraged from his goal of attending college. He enrolled in the University Academy of Alameda, a “cramming” prep school in which students could complete four years of high school in only two. Ever ambitious, Jack received permission to finish all the requirements in just a single semester. He plunged headfirst into the coursework, but was expelled just five weeks later, told by the superintendent that while he was to be commended for how well he was excelling, allowing him to complete two years of coursework in only a few months was creating resentment amongst the other students. It simply wouldn’t do to have a working class tough besting his well-heeled peers.

Jack was devastated, but still undeterred from his path. His college friends, just as indignant about this ill-treatment as he was, rallied around him, promising to tutor him in preparation to take the University of California’s rigorous entrance exams – passage of which was the only requirement for admission.

While Jack London’s wanderlust could run to overflowing on occasion, when it was time to get to work, he was able to channel his thumos into a laser-sharp singularity of purpose. His discipline could be as boundless as his quest for adventure.

In truth, autodidactic-mode was London’s most natural setting – and he eagerly buckled in for what can only be called a superhuman effort. Holed up in a small room at the back of his parents’ house, he sat at a small table with a stack of books and old entrance exams, and studied for nineteen hours straight, seven days a week, for three months. As Jack wrote of his fictional alter ego, Martin Eden, “Never had the spirit of adventure lured him more strongly than on this amazing exploration of the realm of the mind.” Despite his Spartan schedule, Jack relished the journey, and only wished he could squeeze more hours out of the day to study. He had a difficult time closing his notebooks and calling it a night, and would jump out of bed as soon as his alarm went off in the morning, eager for another nineteen-hour bout with the books:

“Though he slept soundly, he awoke instantly, like a cat, and he awoke eagerly, glad that the five hours of unconsciousness were gone. He hated the oblivion of sleep. There was too much to do, too much of life to live. He grudged every moment of life sleep robbed him of, and before the clock had ceased its clattering he was head and ears in the wash-basin and thrilling to the cold bite of the water.”

English, science, math, and history – Jack downloaded it all into his brain. As he worked through chemical formulas and quadratic equations with only scant rest, “his vitality,” Charmian wrote, “was taxed almost to bursting. His muscles twitched as once before they had nearly twitched into St. Vitus’ dance. Even those dependable sailor-eyes wavered and quivered and saw jumbled spots, but as always through life, he won out.”

The Herculean toil paid off. London passed the three-day entrance exams with distinction and was granted entry to the University of California. From cannery boy, to oyster pirate, to schooner sailor, to Berkeley student: Jack accomplished whatever he put his mind to. Many a man will claim that distinction, but very few can claim it to be utter truth in the way Jack London could.

He borrowed the money for tuition from his old friend Johnny Heinold, and set foot on campus with unbounded enthusiasm – he wanted to take practically every course the school had to offer. A fellow student admired London’s “open frankness that was like a flood of sunshine,” and described him as “radiating light and warmth” as he talked about his plan to tackle as much of the curriculum as possible.

The semester went well, but it would turn out to be London’s one and only. His family’s financial situation had declined, and they again needed Jack to forgo school in order to get a full-time job. For his part, Jack said he left with little regret. College had not lived up to his high hopes – he had found the courses full of superficialities and that he often knew more than the professors. He realized he had, and could, learn more through self-study than by sitting in a classroom.

On His Way to Becoming a Writer

jacksit

With his short stint in formal education behind him, Jack felt it was time to make a full attempt at earning a living with his mind. He had thought about doing something with music, but didn’t feel he had the talent for it, and settled on giving writing another go. He just needed to figure out what he should write – philosophy, poetry, politics, or fiction? He decided there was no better way to find out than to start writing, and to write as much as possible. London vividly describes the mental and even physical strains of his complete immersion into the craft:

“I wrote, I wrote everything—ponderous essays, scientific and sociological, short stories, humorous verse, verse of all sorts from triolets and sonnets to blank verse tragedy and elephantine epics in Spenserian stanzas. On occasion I composed steadily, day after day, for fifteen hours a day. At times I forgot to eat, or refused to tear myself away from my passionate outpouring in order to eat.

And then there was the matter of typewriting. My brother-in-law owned a machine which he used in the daytime. In the night I was free to use it. That machine was a wonder. I could weep now as I recollect my wrestlings with it…

How my back used to ache with it! Prior to that experience, my back had been good for every violent strain put upon it in a none too gentle career. But that typewriter proved to me that I had a pipe-stem for a back. Also, it made me doubt my shoulders. They ached as with rheumatism after every bout. The keys of that machine had to be hit so hard that to one outside the house it sounded like distant thunder or someone breaking up the furniture. I had to hit the keys so hard that I strained my first fingers to the elbows, while the ends of my fingers were blisters burst and blistered again. Had it been my machine I’d have operated it with a carpenter’s hammer.

The worst of it was that I was actually typing my manuscripts at the same time I was trying to master that machine. It was a feat of physical endurance and a brain storm combined to type a thousand words, and I was composing thousands of words every day which just had to be typed for the waiting editors.”

Despite the taxing nature of Jack’s disciplined effort, this new kind of “adventure-path” did not lead him to John Barleycorn, even when it became clear that the undertaking would not immediately bear the kind of fruit he had hoped for; his animated, well-harnessed thumos was galloping in command, pulling the dark horse of his appetites into line with its noble stride:

“Oh, between the writing and the typewriting I was well a-weary. I had brain- and nerve-fag, and body-fag as well, and yet the thought of drink never suggested itself. I was living too high to stand in need of an anodyne. All my waking hours, except those with that infernal typewriter, were spent in a creative heaven. And along with this I had no desire for drink, because I still believed in many things—in the love of all men and women in the matter of man and woman love; in fatherhood; in human justice; in art—in the whole host of fond illusions that keep the world turning around.

But the waiting editors elected to keep on waiting. My manuscripts made amazing round-trip records between the Pacific and the Atlantic. It might have been the weirdness of the typewriting that prevented the editors from accepting at least one little offering of mine. I don’t know, and goodness knows the stuff I wrote was as weird as its typing. I sold my hard-bought school books for ridiculous sums to second-hand bookmen. I borrowed small sums of money wherever I could, and suffered my old father to feed me with the meager returns of his failing strength.

It didn’t last long, only a few weeks, when I had to surrender and go to work. Yet I was unaware of any need for the drink-anodyne. I was not disappointed. My career was retarded, that was all. Perhaps I did need further preparation. I had learned enough from the books to realize that I had only touched the hem of knowledge’s garment. I still lived on the heights. My waking hours, and most of the hours I should have used for sleep, were spent with the books.”

Jack’s second short experiment with becoming a writer had ended just like his first: with a pile of rejection notices. But he understood why – that what he was producing was not yet up to par. He had no one to tell him “you are all wrong, herein you err; there is your mistake,” as he groped along alone in his craft. Thus he was discouraged, but true to form, not dismayed; this was not the end but only a delay.

The Cold Reality of Life Strikes Again

What Jack needed was more experience and study to refine his skills. But while the editors were content to wait, his bills were not. He was forced to take a job at a steam laundry, one located, ironically enough, at a prep academy. Each day he sweated away pressing the clothes of students whose only cares were for classes and gossip. At first he was determined to keep up his independent studies once he got home from work, continuing to parcel out just five hours of sleep at night in order to have time to hit the books. But he found himself too exhausted to keep his eyes open, even when he read “lighter” material. Life became the steam laundry and his bed. As he wrote of Martin Eden, he could feel the progress he had made slipping away and the keen muscles of his thumos atrophying:

“He was too dazed to think, though he was aware that he did not like himself. He was self-repelled, as though he had undergone some degradation or was intrinsically foul. All that was god-like in him was blotted out. The spur of ambition was blunted; he had no vitality with which to feel the prod of it. He was dead. His soul seemed dead. He was a beast, a work-beast. He saw no beauty in the sunshine sifting down through the green leaves, nor did the azure vault of the sky whisper as of old and hint of cosmic vastness and secrets trembling to disclosure. Life was intolerably dull and stupid, and its taste was bad in his mouth. A black screen was drawn across his mirror of inner vision, and fancy lay in a darkened sick-room where entered no ray of light.”

Jack was never one to suffer such stagnation for long. What he needed was enough money to provide a distraction-free space in which to write, without the press of bills hanging over his head. When news reached the shores of California of gold discovered in the Great North, it seemed to Jack that such an opportunity, as well as a brand new adventure, had arrived.

 

____________________________

Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

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Twin Cities Maker

Convergence Costume Countdown Camp

Twin Cities Maker

Ok, way too many “C’s” I know. But I am trying to gauge interest in creating a workshop/class that goes over creating “your” costume for this years Convergence convention in July. I know, I like to work with like minded artists while creating costume designs. Thinking this could be an interesting group to put together and at the end show off our collective maker-foo at this years event.

We could go over topics like:
Sewing (yes sewing is fun and guys can be good at it)
Pattern making
Making molds and copies
Fabricating appliances
Latex mask creation
Leather masks
Airbrushing
How to not pass out from heat exhaustion.

I’d like to put this together more like a camp. Where there is a topic and it starts with information, but the rest of the day is spent with as much or as little time “making” as you need. A lot of the time a person just needs direction to get from one place to another.

To give an example: You want to make a Mystique from X-Men costume. How would you make her signature skull belt? Well with silicone/latex molding of course. But were do you get molding supplies, and how does it work. Then how do you make copies? These were question I had and I am guessing there are a lot of people interested in coplay but do not know how to get the idea into reality.

Hey, if you are interested, leave a comment. Its never too early to start making a costume, but its often too late…

Shironuri No 96
Image is of the Maker (going by the name of No 96). photo taken by Tokyo Fashion

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Schneier on Security

Changes to the Blog

Schneier on Security

I have made a few changes to my blog that I'd like to talk about.

The first is the various buttons associated with each post: a Facebook Like button, a Retweet button, and so on. These buttons are ubiquitous on the Internet now. We publishers like them because it makes it easier for our readers to share our content. I especially like them because I can obsessively watch the totals see how my writings are spreading out across the Internet.

The problem is that these buttons use images, scripts, and/or iframes hosted on the social media site's own servers. This is partly for webmasters' convenience; it makes adoption as easy as copy-and-pasting a few lines of code. But it also gives Facebook, Twitter, Google, and so on a way to track you -- even if you don't click on the button. Remember that: if you see sharing buttons on a webpage, that page is almost certainly being tracked by social media sites or a service like AddThis. Or both.

What I'm using instead is SocialSharePrivacy, which was created by the German website Heise Online and adapted by Mathias Panzenböck. The page shows a grayed-out mockup of a sharing button. You click once to activate it, then a second time to share the page. If you don't click, nothing is loaded from the social media site, so it can't track your visit. If you don't care about the privacy issues, you can click on the Settings icon and enable the sharing buttons permanently.

It's not a perfect solution -- two clicks instead of one -- but it's much more privacy-friendly.

(If you're thinking of doing something similar on your own site, another option to consider is shareNice. ShareNice can be copied to your own webserver; but if you prefer, you can use their hosted version, which makes it as easy to install as AddThis. The difference is that shareNice doesn't set cookies or even log IP addresses -- though you'll have to trust them on the logging part. The problem is that it can't display the aggregate totals.)

The second change is the search function. I changed the site's search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo, which doesn't even store IP addresses. Again, you have to trust them on that, but I'm inclined to.

The third change is to the feed. Starting now, if you click the feed icon in the right-hand column of my blog, you'll be subscribing to a feed that's hosted locally on schneier.com, instead of one produced by Google's Feedburner service. Again, this reduces the amount of data Google collects about you. Over the next couple of days, I will transition existing subscribers off of Feedburner, but since some of you are subscribed directly to a Feedburner URL, I recommend resubscribing to the new link to be sure. And if by chance you have trouble with the new feed, this legacy link will always point to the Feedburner version.

Fighting against the massive amount of surveillance data collected about us as we surf the Internet is hard, and possibly even fruitless. But I think it's important to try.

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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #5: On the Road

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.

As Jack London worked more than ten hours a day, seven days a week keeping thread wrapped around bobbins in a jute mill, his deep sea voyage, and with it his life of adventure, began to seem very far away. It was back to being a “Work Beast” with no time for sailing, reading, or anything else but sleep.

When Jack’s mother saw a contest announced in a local newspaper calling for the best descriptive article by a young writer twenty-two and under, she encouraged her son to enter. He frequently reminisced about his experience piloting the Sophie Sutherland through the typhoon anyway, she argued, so why not put the memory down on paper? London was hesitant at first; he hadn’t yet given much thought to writing at this point in his life and working on the article would mean sacrificing precious sleep. Finally he relented and stayed up two nights in a row to pen the piece – he was practically delirious by the time it was finished. When the contest results were announced, Jack, the eighteen-year-old, largely self-educated autodidact, had taken first prize, besting students from Berkeley and Stanford. Along with the honor, he won $25 – an intoxicating amount of money that almost equaled an entire month toiling at the mill.

Encouraged by his success, Jack furiously typed up several more articles and sent them out to magazines and newspapers. But all he received in reply was a spate of rejection notices. Perhaps, Jack thought, the moment of success had just been a fluke.

London decided he needed to pursue a more stable and lucrative professional career. Like many young men his age, he had grown up reading rags-to-riches stories of Horatio Alger-type success – tales in which a young lad, full of perseverance and pluck, starts at the bottom of a company and tirelessly works his way to the top. Jack figured it was time for him to start his own similarly bootstrapped ascent. Becoming an electrician interested him, so he “bade farewell forever to the adventure-path” and called on the supervisor of an electric railway company. Jack told him of his desire to work his way through the ranks and his willingness to begin on the very lowest rung on the ladder. The supervisor commended Jack for his attitude and promised him that such advancement was certainly possible if he would labor diligently. He put London to work shoveling coal in the powerhouse seven days a week, with one day off per month. He was supposed to receive $30 a month for ten hours a day of labor, but he was paid by the amount of coal shoveled, and they regularly gave him more than twelve hours of coal to work through every day. But just as he had on the Sophie Sutherland, Jack was determined to show he was up to the task and had what it took to get ahead. Hour after hour he shoveled, until his body dripped with sweat, his muscles cramped up, and he was forced to don thick leather splints to brace up his badly aching wrists. When he rode the streetcar home at night, his knees would buckle from sheer exhaustion.

Eventually a fireman at the plant took pity on the bone-wearied young man and told him the truth of the situation. Before the supervisor had hired him, his job has been the work of two grown men, each of whom made $40 a month. “The superintendent, bent on an economical administration, had persuaded me to do the work of both men for thirty dollars a month,” Jack bitterly recalled. “I thought he was making an electrician of me. In truth and fact, he was saving fifty dollars a month operating expenses to the company.” Even worse, one of the men Jack had displaced had committed suicide – despondent he couldn’t find work to support his family. The fireman apologized for not telling Jack sooner, saying the supervisor had warned everyone not to, and that he’d been sure Jack would quit on his own after just a day or two of the crushing toil.

Jack left the job in disgust. He felt exploited and like something of a scab. Thoroughly disillusioned with toiling as a wage slave, he left the working world behind entirely for life on the road. Traveling by foot and rail, he set out to join up with “Kelly’s Army.” The “army” was a contingent of protestors that were headed across the country to meet up with a larger march in Washington D.C. led by Jacob Coxey. Coxey was leading a movement decrying the rampant unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893 and petitioning the government to create public works jobs. London himself set out not so much because of sympathy with the cause, but simply because his wanderlust was calling once more.

There was much to this new life of tramping that appealed to London’s adventurous sensibilities. Seeing parts of the country he had never before beheld inspired his native curiosity and sense of wonder, and he especially enjoyed gaining the prowess required to ride the rails without being killed. It was a daring adult game of hide n’seek, with the hobos trying to stay out of sight and the conductors and brakemen looking to ferret them out and toss them off the train. Jack often traveled undetected by clinging to struts underneath the cars, with only inches between him and the tracks below. “His agility in ducking under rapidly moving cars,” Charmian said, “always remained a matter of pride to him, calling as it did for the smoothest coordination of nerve and muscle.”

Jack equally took pleasure in meeting new people from all walks of life. When the “army” made camp at night in open fields, the men would sit around the fire talking about their lives, complaining about the conditions in their old jobs, and voicing their displeasure with the current economic system. Jack had never thought much about politics before, and this was his first full exposure to the ideas of socialism – an exposure that would grow into a lifelong, thumos-fueled passion. London’s socialism tends to be a fixation for some people, and as it is not possible to understand him, or the arc of his thumos, without understanding his views on the subject, let us pause here and explain more about it.

Jack London: Socialist Superman

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London believed that one of the master keys to success was finding a “philosophy of life.” As a young man he first developed his own philosophical outlook by reading works by Darwin, Nietzsche, and Spencer. From his studies of these thinkers, London came to view the world in terms of biological evolution, and believed that despite the thin veneer of civilization, people were still driven by the same primal urges that had motivated their ancestors. Modern people, London believed, could still be stirred by the now faint “Call of the Wild.” Just like the dog Buck in that story, a man could sometimes sense the misty shadows of his primitive past reaching out to him, filling “him with a great unrest and strange desires,” causing him to “feel a vague, sweet gladness,” and bringing to him an awareness “of wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not what.” And just like in that “other and dimly remembered world,” success was a matter of the survival of the fittest. The strongest and brightest, those with the most courage and fight, could become leaders of the pack – perfected, Nietzschean Supermen. Transforming himself into such a god-like figure would be the guiding aim of London’s life:

 ”To be a man was to write man in large capitals on my heart. To adventure like a man, and fight like a man and do a man’s work — these were things that reached right in and gripped hold of me as no other thing could. And I looked ahead into long vistas of a hazy interminable future in which, playing what I conceived to be a man’s game, I should continue to travel with unfailing health, without accidents, and with muscles ever vigorous…This future was interminable. I could only see myself raging through life without end. Lustfully roving and conquering by sheer superiority and strength.”

Forged in his youth, Jack’s primal, survival of the fittest philosophy would remain his core belief throughout his life. It was softened, but not supplanted, by his socialism. Before leaving to tramp across the country, his own grinding work experiences had convinced him the current system was unfair and inhumane. Out on the road, Jack saw men who had once been healthy and strong like he was, but who had been crippled by accident or illness. Unfit for labor, they had been tossed aside by society, and Jack realized that he too could suffer a similar fate – even doing the grueling factory work he despised might become impossible. From the seeds of this sobering observation grew London’s belief that all people deserved a fairer shake in life.

Socialism at the turn of the century did not have the same connotations as it does today, and Jack’s views on the subject were complex. He advocated for things like regulations against child labor (his time as the pickle cannery ever at the back of his mind), more honest and transparent elections, and the municipal ownership of utilities (so that a young lad wouldn’t be stuck, say, shoveling coal for 12 hours a day). He liked to think of himself as a radical, but as a reporter who listened to Jack’s speeches wrote, “Any man, in the opinion of London, is a socialist who strives for a better form of government than the one he is living under.” While stumping for socialism in his later years, he bought a large yacht, a ranch, and kept a manservant to attend to his needs. A couple of quotes from two of his biographers can help sum up the various strains of London’s thinking as succinctly as possible:

“[His] was never the socialism of the slacker. He did not oppose the finer things in life, indeed he wanted them for himself…But everyone, he believed, should have an equal opportunity for the good life, which the current system of labor exploitation rendered manifestly impossible. Fortunes gained by sweat and brilliance were acceptable; fortunes gained by capitalizing on the desperation of others were not.”

“He took a backseat to none in his insistence on equality of opportunity and dignified treatment in the workplace, but to him socialism was not about banning wealth; it was about banning wealth accrued by exploiting others.”

Although London’s competing philosophies may seem contradictory (indeed, even his fellow contemporary socialists criticized his enjoyment of the luxuries his literary wealth made possible) London himself did not see his desire to be a Superman and his passionate socialism as being at odds. He could enjoy the wealth he created for himself with a clear conscience, he said, because he had not earned it on the backs of others. And it also served as a means to an end, as Charmian explained: “He would himself first climb out of the pit, that he might live to reach a hand to the fellow who could not rise by himself.” In other words, London worked hard to gain the good life for himself, not simply because he enjoyed it, but because he believed his success would put him in a better position to help others as well; he thought a man should strive mightily for greatness, but not live solely for himself. He would become a Superman, yes, but a socialist Superman — one who would not let fame and success blind him to a concern for the less fortunate. In short, he took “survival of the fittest” as his private governing philosophy, while advocating for socialism as the governing principle of the public sphere. He was, one friend said, “the most inherently individualistic” and “unsocialistic of all the Socialists I have met.”

Whether one personally agrees with London’s socialism or not is in fact immaterial, at least in the context of the specific subject of this series. Thumos sparks a man’s passionate fight for causes of a social, political, and religious nature, but it may call one man one way, and another man another. It is thumos, too, that provokes man’s desire to argue about who has gotten it right and who has misdirected this force!

Home Again, Home Again

The seeds of Jack’s socialism had been firmly planted, but hungry and disillusioned with the way he felt the leader of Kelly’s Army had been putting on airs, he deserted the march in Missouri, and rode the rails alone to Chicago, and then to New York. After some more adventuresome tramping (and a month-long stay in jail for vagrancy – an experience that outraged Jack when he was denied a trial), London traveled by freight train 3,000 miles through the icy Canadian landscape to Vancouver, and then worked aboard a steamship to earn his passage back to California.

London’s time tramping had been another rite of passage that had heightened his curiosity about the world even further and given him clarity about what to do with his future. The broken lives of his fellow hobos had been a clear warning to Jack, and he saw that a life of physical labor was too precarious. Instead, he would make a living, and rise to greatness, using the power of his mind. To do so, he needed to get that mind in fighting condition. It was time to go back to school.

 

_______________________________

Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

 

Related posts:

  1. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #1: Introduction
  2. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #3: Oyster Pirate
  3. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #2: Boyhood
  4. The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #4: Pacific Voyage
  5. Manvotional: Jack London on Success
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Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: Bomb Discovered in Squid at Market

Schneier on Security

Really:

An unexploded bomb was found inside a squid when the fish was slaughtered at a fish market in Guangdong province.

Oddly enough, this doesn't seem to be the work of terrorists:

The stall owner, who has been selling fish for 10 years, told the newspaper the 1-meter-long squid might have mistaken the bomb for food.

Clearly there's much to this story that remains unreported.

More news articles.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

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The Art of Manliness

Outfitted & Equipped: Linking Up at the Round Robin Bar in Washington, D.C.

The Art of Manliness

Round Robin Bar 2



This post is brought to you by Jameson . Click here for more information.

Editor’s note: This gallery is curated by Walker Lamond from Rules for My Unborn Son.

The next three editions of Outfitted and Equipped will be a special series that I’m excited about. I’ve asked three of my favorite men’s lifestyle bloggers to curate an edition based on what they would wear and carry when linking up with friends at their favorite hometown hangout. First up is Walker Lamond, author of one of my favorite blogs and books, Rules for My Unborn Son. Walker hails from Washington, D.C. and is a big fan of the historical Round Robin Bar there:

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel has been around awhile. Mark Twain drank here. So did Walt Whitman, and legend has it that this is where Henry Clay introduced the Mint Julep to Washington. Just sitting at the round mahogany bar will make you feel manly. The decidedly non-hipster bartender serves up sidecars and gin rickeys without irony, and it’s still my special occasion bar of choice. Which these days means pretty much any time I get a pass to hit the town. Here’s how I like to dress and what I like carry with me when I pay the bar a visit.

How does Outfitted and Equipped work? The FAQ.

1. The Sunglasses: Shuron Freeways. Made in the USA and unchanged from when they didn’t look retro.

2. The Tie: Knitted – Kelly Green. I’m a sucker for solids. And with this one no one will try to guess your party affiliation. Plus you wont worry about wrinkling it when you toss it in your bag after a few rounds.

3. The Accessory: Rope Boardwalk Bracelet. Reminds me to never stray too far from the beach, at least in my mind.

4. The Golf Tee: I always seem to have a couple golf tees in my pocket. They’re not really handy for anything but golf. But they speak volumes when they spill out of your billfold.

5. The Watch: Timex Easy Reader. This is the same watch I’ve worn since high school. I swap the strap out every couple years.

6. The Cologne: Royall Muske. Two dabs behind the ear. Just remember to tighten the cap before you put it back in your bag.

7. The Boot: Clark’s Desert Boot. The most comfortable warm weather shoe in the world. I wear them everyday.

8. The Pocketknife: Key Knife. Washington has a no-knife law so this one sneaks on my keychain. Good for opening champagne and subpoenas.

9. The Swim Shorts: Birdwell Beach Britches. I’m an optimist, so I always carry a bathing suit in my bag wherever I go. I’ve worn Birdwells since I was a kid, and they haven’t changed a lick. Plus, red trunks make me feel like a lifeguard.

10. The Shirt: Sid Mashburn Spread Collar Dress Shirt. Simply, the perfect shirt.

11. The Jacket: Navy Seersucker Suit Blazer. A soft-shouldered cotton jacket is my go-to for most occasions. I had my tailor whip up one for me in a lightweight seersucker, but this one from Club Monaco has all the right details and isn’t too expensive.

12. The Cap: Quaker Marine Swordfish Cap. Never know when someone will invite you to the beach or the ballpark. Be prepared.

13. The Handkerchief: Bandana of your choice. The hankie in your breast pocket is for her. This one’s for you. I always carry one in my back pocket. It will come in handy on a sweltering DC summer day.

14. The Pants: Levi’s 501 Jeans. These jeans are so versatile I wear them almost every day when the temps are above 70. And in the summertime, they dress up very well. Wearing a suit is fine, but in Washington, you’ll look like you just got off work on the Hill.

15. The Beverage: Jameson Whisky. Something to wet the whistle.

16. The Bag: Wm. J. Mills Flight Bag. My go-bag of choice. No frills and durable as hell.

17. The Pen: Montblanc Black Rollerball Pen. Sure a Bic does the trick, but every guy needs one fancy thing. This is mine.

18. The Check-In: Postcard from the Willard. I try to end any dinner or night out with a postcard to a friend. It beats checking in on Facebook or Foursquare.

______________________________________________

Walker Lamond is a writer, television producer, and author of the book Rules for My Unborn Son, based on his popular blog. His television credits include programs for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and HBO. His most important credit, of course, is dad.

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The Art of Manliness

The Weekly Huckberry Giveaway: March 29, 2013

The Art of Manliness

huckberry

The winner of last week’s giveaway was:

Jason from Oxford, MS. Jason chose the popular ITS Tactical Discreet Messenger Bag. Jason said he’s been looking at that bag for a long. long time, and couldn’t pull the trigger and was happy we decided for him. Glad to be service, sir.

My Picks This Week

Huckberry_500_3-28-13

Once again, Huckberry is jam-packed with some incredibly awesome stuff this week. My favorites include hammers (and a hatchet) from Hardcore Hammers, which are designed for maximum longevity by a carpenter and are entirely forged, sourced, hand-ground and assembled in the USA; the vintage plaid playing cards from Dan and Dave which feature unique extras like a majestic Buck joker card, crossword puzzles, and an Ace of Spades stainless steel bottle opener card; and a beautiful maple and walnut coat rack and organizer from Meriwether that’s handcrafted in Montana. Another gem are the incredible wallets from Fielder’s Choice, which are made from the re-purposed vintage Rawlings Leather of old baseball gloves. These babies always sell out in a blink — you’ve really got to be quick on the draw. They’re all gone, and more won’t be coming in, but if you select one in the  giveaway, Huckberry will hook you up. Fielder’s Choice makes a nice belt too.

The Prize

Any item currently available in the Huckberry Store. Be sure to check out the current line-up of items as it changes every week.

How to Enter

Leave a comment sharing what you’d like to win.

  • Sign up for Huckberry to gain access to their  store. You have to sign up because the store and the discounted prices are not available to the public. Just so we’re clear, if you sign up for Huckberry, you’re opting into receiving weekly emails from Huckberry on their exclusive deals. You can unsubscribe anytime you want.
  • Take a look around, pick one item you’d like, and leave a comment on this post sharing your selection.
  • Do not make multiple comments. All comments are moderated, so your comment will not show up instantly, but will show up later once it’s approved.
  • If you are an email subscriber, do not reply to this email to make your entry. You must click on the title of this post, which will take you to the post on our web page. You must make your comment on the post on our web page to be entered.

Deadline to enter is April 4, 2013 at 5PM CDT.

We’ll then draw one random comment to select the winner. This lucky gent will get the item they selected and shared in the comments. Good luck!

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Schneier on Security

The Dangers of Surveillance

Schneier on Security

Interesting article, "The Dangers of Surveillance," by Neil M. Richards, Harvard Law Review, 2013. From the abstract:

....We need a better account of the dangers of surveillance.

This article offers such an account. Drawing on law, history, literature, and the work of scholars in the emerging interdisciplinary field of "surveillance studies," I explain what those harms are and why they matter. At the level of theory, I explain when surveillance is particularly dangerous, and when it is not. Surveillance is harmful because it can chill the exercise of our civil liberties, especially our intellectual privacy. It is also gives the watcher power over the watched, creating the the risk of a variety of other harms, such as discrimination, coercion, and the threat of selective enforcement, where critics of the government can be prosecuted or blackmailed for wrongdoing unrelated to the purpose of the surveillance.

At a practical level, I propose a set of four principles that should guide the future development of surveillance law, allowing for a more appropriate balance between the costs and benefits of government surveillance. First, we must recognize that surveillance transcends the public-private divide. Even if we are ultimately more concerned with government surveillance, any solution must grapple with the complex relationships between government and corporate watchers. Second, we must recognize that secret surveillance is illegitimate, and prohibit the creation of any domestic surveillance programs whose existence is secret. Third, we should recognize that total surveillance is illegitimate and reject the idea that it is acceptable for the government to record all Internet activity without authorization. Fourth, we must recognize that surveillance is harmful. Surveillance menaces intellectual privacy and increases the risk of blackmail, coercion, and discrimination; accordingly, we must recognize surveillance as a harm in constitutional standing doctrine.

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Schneier on Security

New RC4 Attack

Schneier on Security

This is a really clever attack on the RC4 encryption algorithm as used in TLS.

We have found a new attack against TLS that allows an attacker to recover a limited amount of plaintext from a TLS connection when RC4 encryption is used. The attacks arise from statistical flaws in the keystream generated by the RC4 algorithm which become apparent in TLS ciphertexts when the same plaintext is repeatedly encrypted at a fixed location across many TLS sessions.

The attack is very specialized:

The attack is a multi-session attack, which means that we require a target plaintext to be repeatedly sent in the same position in the plaintext stream in multiple TLS sessions. The attack currently only targets the first 256 bytes of the plaintext stream in sessions. Since the first 36 bytes of plaintext are formed from an unpredictable Finished message when SHA-1 is the selected hashing algorithm in the TLS Record Protocol, these first 36 bytes cannot be recovered. This means that the attack can recover 220 bytes of TLS-encrypted plaintext.

The number of sessions needed to reliably recover these plaintext bytes is around 230, but already with only 224 sessions, certain bytes can be recovered reliably.

Is this a big deal? Yes and no. The attack requires the identical plaintext to be repeatedly encrypted. Normally, this would make for an impractical attack in the real world, but http messages often have stylized headers that are identical across a conversation -- for example, cookies. On the other hand, those are the only bits that can be decrypted. Currently, this attack is pretty raw and unoptimized -- so it's likely to become faster and better.

There's no reason to panic here. But let's start to move away from RC4 to something like AES.

There are lots of press articles on the attack.

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All Points Blog

Changes at Location-based Gaming Company Booyah

All Points Blog
One of the few recognizable names in LBS games in the past few years was Booyah, creator of MyTown. The well funded startup ($30M) is making some changes.   Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Brian Morrisroe will take over as CEO, "replacing Jason Willig, the former EA and Hasbro... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Mapping Lung Cancer Spread in the Body and other Health GIS News

All Points Blog
A team of researchers used an algorithm similar to the Google PageRank and to the Viterbi Algorithm for digital communication to gain important insights about the spread patterns of lung cancer. The team includes experts from the University of Southern California (USC), Scripps... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

Newspaper School Security Map Taken Down after 20 Minutes

All Points Blog
Iowa's biggest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, pulled an interactive map of school security measures off of its website after 20 minutes due to reader concerns. The article (with some nasty comments) is still online.   WHO radio host Simon Conway described the publication of... Continue reading
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All Points Blog

New Director of Location Intelligence and GIS at Pitney Bowes

All Points Blog
Zacks reports a bit of reorganzation at Pitney Bowes LI and GIS Division: A few days back Pitney Bowes appointed James Brayshaw as the Director and GM of its Location Intelligence (LI) and GIS division. James, a chartered civil engineer with 30 years of rich experience, had been... Continue reading
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The Ancestry Insider

#RootsTech – Ron Tanner: Go Fish

The Ancestry Insider

Ron Tanner talks at RootsTech 2013Why are 1.2 million comedians out of work? Because FamilySearch Family Tree product manager, Ron Tanner, will do it for free. His presentations are always entertaining and informative.

“If genealogists played cards, what game would they play?” Tanner asked. “Genealogists play Go Fish.”

“Do you have any sources for John?”

“Go fish!”

“How about for Ann?”

“Do I have to give you all my sources about Ann?”

“Yes. It’s ‘Go Fish'.’”

-—- o -—-

“[FamilySearch] Family Tree is different than most trees,” said Tanner. “Family Tree is not a bunch of trees that you can search. Instead we put them all together into one, shared tree.” He said the purpose of Family Tree is to document accurately the genealogy of the world and preserve it someplace safe.

“Approximately 80% of all research done in genealogy is duplication,” he said. Family Tree prevents duplication of research.

Tanner walked through various features that are designed to make sharing and collaboration easier. There are mechanisms allowing researchers to communicate, to monitor changes in ancestors, to track changes and the users making them, and to restore deleterious changes. Family Tree asks users to explain their changes and facilitates use of sources.

Change notifications are currently sent once a week, but daily and maybe hourly are being considered.

I have problems with one limitation of Family Tree. Tanner said that alternate values for vital events are no longer allowed. He said a person can only be born once and “there are clear genealogical rules to determine which date to pick.” I disagree. No set of codified rules is above interpretation and no codified rules exist for genealogy. Back in PAF 1.0 days the injunction that always followed product deficiency was “stick it in the notes.” Will that be the recommendation this time around?

Meanwhile, back to Tanner’s presentation…

Records and images from FamilySearch historical records can be linked to individuals in the tree by placing the record in the Source Box, then taking it back out and attaching it to an individual. (I wish I could do it in one step. And I wish I could attach the source to a piece of evidence rather than the person.)

“Our URLs on FamilySearch will not go bad,” said Tanner. “That’s our promise.” (Have I talked about this before? I’m not certain FamilySearch has ever said this publicly before, so I may not have. I understand it applies only to URLs that have “pal” in them. It stands for persistent archival links. I find pals in URLs for records and images, but not other stuff.) 

Merging two people takes a lot of effort (to do correctly). This is intentional. (In New FamilySearch a misguided soul could combine people with a few mouse clicks. Undoing the damage took many times the effort. In Family Tree, designers have reversed that. They made it hard to inflict the damage, and easy—just a few mouse clicks—to undo it.)

FamilySearch is working on the ability to upload scanned images of source documents. (While you can upload scanned documents today as photographs, I’m told it is best to wait until they can be uploaded and linked to sources.) In speaking of the importance of photos and stories Tanner said that after four generations no one knows you. “You are just a name.” He showed an example obituary and photograph he entered to preserve the memory of a close loved one.

Tanner showed the new Fan Chart feature and indicated the goal is to have this out in the next month or so. Over the next couple of months they hope to add the ability to print real pedigree charts and family group records in PDF format.

“If we’re going to work together on a shared family tree, is there anything we’re going to have to do differently? The answer is ‘yes,’” said Tanner. “We need to stop playing Go Fish and play 52-card Share-em.”

“With all of us doing all the parts we can do, we can do amazing things,” he said. “We can build an amazing tree of human kind.”


Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com for other important legal notices.
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The Art of Manliness

Common Clothing Stains and How to Remove Them

The Art of Manliness

stainheader

Plop.

That’s the sound of BBQ sauce landing on your brand new blazer coat as you’re chowing down on some mouthwatering ribs.

Dadgummit. You need to wear that jacket to a business presentation at the end of the week. What to do?

From sliding into first base to finding a leaky pen in your pocket, everybody stains their clothing from time to time. But stains aren’t just common annoyances; if you can’t get them out, they can cut short the life of otherwise perfectly nice (and sometimes expensive) duds.

The key to preventing yourself from throwing money out the window along with your stained clothes is to learn how to tackle stains as soon as possible and in the right way. Today we’re going to show you how to treat and remove common stains so you can get as much mileage out of your wardrobe as possible.

Key Steps to Prevent Setting

mustard-stain-400

The most important thing, no matter what kind of stain you’re dealing with, is to prevent it from setting. “Setting” is an informal term that refers to the staining material forming a chemical bond with the fabric. At that point it is effectively permanent. Removing the discoloration will require removing the discolored fabric itself. Sometimes you can remove a set stain by scrubbing until the stained fibers are worn off, leaving unstained ones visible; other times the stain will remain in the fabric unless you physically cut the stained fabric out and put a patch in its place. To prevent having to throw away a garment with a permanent stain, follow these general guidelines:

  • Treat any stain immediately with water, or with the proper solvent if it is available (different types of solvents are discussed below, but water is always better than nothing).
  • Avoid direct heat. Heat will speed most types of stains’ bonding. Do not place stained clothing near radiant heat sources, and try to only use room temperature or lukewarm solvents.
  • Avoid pressure. Apply solvents gently, dabbing them onto the stain and letting them soak in rather than scrubbing forcefully.

If the stain occurs at home, you can go straight to treating it. If you’re out and about, get to a restroom and gently dab water onto the stained area with tissue paper or paper towels until the stain is thoroughly saturated. Yes, it may be more visible with water dabbed on it, but it will prevent the stain from becoming permanent, saving you garment repair or replacement in the long run.

Detailed Stain Removal

Acting at once to prevent the stain from setting is necessary, but not sufficient. Most common stains won’t be removed completely just by dabbing some water on them and going about your business.

There are three basic steps toward effective stain removal, regardless of the nature of the stain:

  1. Select the appropriate solvent.
  2. Use the appropriate application method.
  3. Seek necessary after-care.

For most household stains this doesn’t require too much research or investment. Common commercial products (and even some basic food supplies) will treat a large percentage of stains. It’s simply a matter of knowing which product to put on the stain, and how to put it there without damaging the cloth.

Selecting the Appropriate Solvent

Picking the right solvent requires you to know two things: 1) what will dissolve the stain in question, 2) and what is safe to use on the cloth you’re working with.

What Each Fabric Requires

Use the wrong product and you can end up damaging your cloth worse than the original stain. Most clothes are made from fairly sturdy materials, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Always check the label. It’s your best guide in most cases. If it doesn’t provide any specific instructions, go by fabric type:

fabric-examples

Cotton: can endure soaking, drying, and heat (though you want to avoid the latter for most stains — warm water is fine, but dry heat just sets the stain). It’s easy to bleach white cotton, but very hard on the fabric, so use chlorine bleaches as a last resort, and dilute them well. The best stain treatments for cotton are detergents and light acids (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.).

Wool: is much more heat-sensitive than cotton, and needs to be treated gently. You can soak it, but you have to lay it flat as it dries to prevent distortion. Use only wool-safe detergents and lukewarm (not hot) water — bleaches and acidic treatments will damage the wool permanently. Treat with water or a wool detergent as soon as possible, and then get the garment to the dry cleaner at the first opportunity.

Synthetics: vary depending on the material. Rayon and polyester can be washed and scrubbed more harshly than cotton, but will be destroyed by oxidizing bleaches like hydrogen peroxide. It’s usually best to clean them with a standard laundry detergent, or with dish soap for grease-heavy stains.

Silk: is exceedingly temperamental. You can treat stains on silk with water, but rather than letting the wet spot dry on its own, rinse the whole garment thoroughly — otherwise you’ll get water spotting, nearly as bad as the original stain. Glycerin stain remover is also effective and neutral.

No matter what you’re using, test the stain remover on an inside patch of the cloth or an unobtrusive seam before applying it to the stain to make sure it doesn’t do anything damaging to the fabric. Water is the only thing you can automatically apply — and even then make sure it’s the right temperature.

Types of Solvents (And the Stains They Remove)

wet-rag-400

Here are the major families of stain removers and solvents, and the kinds of stains they’re most effective at cleaning:

Water: Universal, safe to use on basically everything, and cheap. Effective as an immediate treatment to prevent stain setting. Needs prolonged soaking to have much effect on grease/oil stains, but reduces the effect of dyes (lipstick, hair dye, bleed from other clothes, etc.) considerably. Usually not a 100% effective treatment all on its own.

Salt: Cheap and almost everyone has it. Can be applied on top of a wetted stain to give the chemicals something to leech into. Effective on sweat/deodorant armpit stains, red wine, and blood stains.

Vinegar/Lemon Juice: Mild acids are great against coffee and tea, grass stains, and sticky residues like tape and glue. Vinegar is also effective against mildew — perfect for laundry that sat wet too long. Remember, though, don’t use on wool.

Detergent: Laundry and dish detergents are similar enough to use interchangeably in most situations. Dish detergent is usually harsher, and may make very delicate fabrics worse if you don’t wash it out thoroughly. Both are particularly effective against grease stains, so use them on everything from gravy and burger juice to chocolate smears.

Shirt-stain-400

Oxidizing Bleaches: Hydrogen peroxide is the most common example here. They’re effective at removing color, making them ideal for makeup stains, grass stains, and other pigment-based damage. They’re less effective against grease, and can damage delicate fabrics. Dilute as needed for a milder treatment.

Glycerin: A neutral, commercially available treatment that helps to draw stains out of fabrics. Good on ink and dye stains. Many commercial “stain sticks” are glycerin, or a combination of glycerin and detergent.

Mineral Spirits: An intense treatment for very stubborn greases (asphalt/tar stains, etc.). Too strong for delicate fabrics. Wash the clothing thoroughly after treatment and air-dry.

Digestants/Enzyme Cleaners: Commercial products sold under a variety of names. Highly effective on organic stains, and on stains with an odor (egg yolk, pet urine, blood, sweat, etc.). Cannot be used on wool or silk — the cleaner feeds on proteins, and both wool and silk are made from proteins.

Dry Cleaning Solvents: These are sold in a diluted form for home treatment of stains. Use them with caution — you’re rarely better off using commercially sold dry cleaning solution than you are taking the clothes to a professional cleaner.

Chlorine Bleaches: A harsh, last-ditch remedy. Use with caution. Can damage fabric and discolor non-white cloth. Always test a small, hidden area first, and only if the tag does not say “No Bleach” or “Chlorine Free” on it.

Not all stains are going to give way easily to one kind of treatment. Some will require multiple treatments for multiple problems: many lipsticks, for example, have both an oil component and a dye component.

In general, treat dyes before oils — chocolate, for example, is best treated with a lukewarm water soak and then with a bit of detergent applied directly to the stain.

Getting Rid of the Stain

The right product applied the wrong way can make the stain set worse.

Most of the time this boils down to a very simple concept: never apply direct force.

Dab gently or soak indirectly, rather than scrubbing with a cloth or your fingers.

That said, you can get better results if you use a series of steps designed specifically to draw the stain out of the fabric and into something else:

  • Soak the stain with water immediately while you are still wearing it. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Always dab some room temperature water onto the stain with a bit of toilet paper or tissue as soon as possible. Make sure the whole stain gets soaked, and that the water soaks all the way through the fabric rather than just sitting on the surface.
  • When you remove the garment, re-wet the stain and apply an absorbent. Salt is the most common and cheapest, but some people use cornstarch or talcum powder for a similar effect. This works best on smooth fabrics like cotton knits — applying salt to a wool, tweed jacket is just going to be a pain to scrape off later. Let the absorbent sit for ten or fifteen minutes, then scrape the bulk of it off and rinse the rest out with water.
  • Apply your solvent lightly to the back of the garment, underneath the stain. You want it to be soaking through and driving the stain back toward the surface, not deeper into the garment. Applying it to the inside also gives you a little more security in case the solvent ends up discoloring the fabric (but you checked first on an unobtrusive area like we told you to, right?)
  • Lay the garment face down on a clean paper towel. Like the absorbent, this gives the chemicals that are actually causing the stain something to soak into. If you don’t provide that blank medium, all you’re really doing is spreading the stain out so thin that it’s not immediately visible — it’s still there in the cloth. The paper towel gives it somewhere else to go.
  • Let the garment rest face down on the paper towel for an hour or so. Different solvents have different reaction times, but give it a while. The only real guideline here is to get back for your final rinse before the solvent dries completely. Keep an eye on it. If it is allowed to completely dry, you may just end up with a bigger, lighter-colored stain than before.
  • Give the garment a final water rinse to remove both the stain and the solvent. If you can, immediately wash it, either in a laundry machine or by taking it in for dry cleaning.

Some stains can be removed simply by a wash or a dry cleaning, but it’s best to apply the specific treatment as well. In the case of delicate wools or silks, that may mean nothing but water.

10 Common Stains and How to Treat Them

To give you a few examples of how to use the knowledge above, here are ten of the most common stains a man can expect to encounter. These could affect everything from his grungy work jeans to his best business suit.

Always take the type of fabric into account, and seek professional cleaning if you’re not sure what you can and can’t apply — it’s a lot cheaper to pay $10 for a professional’s help than it is to replace a suit because you used the wrong cleaner on it!

But if you have your heart set on home cleaning, here’s some general tips how to tackle common stains. The examples can be applied to other stains as well. Again, remember to adjust according to the directions above depending on the type of fabric the stain is on.

  1. Blood: Rinse immediately with cool water. If possible, immerse in room temperature water with detergent and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Spot-treat with an enzyme cleaner if possible, or with household ammonia. Launder in a separate load.
  2. Butter/Lard/Cooking Oil: Treat immediately with lukewarm water. If possible, immerse in warm water with detergent, using a spray or stick pre-treatment if available. Remove and gently dab stain with detergent; place face down on a paper towel and let stand. Repeat as needed. For persistent stains, carefully apply bleach or dry cleaning solvent from the inside of the garment and rest face down on paper towels, then wash thoroughly.
  3. Coffee: Soak immediately with lukewarm water. Gently dab stain with detergent or with vinegar diluted in water. Wash in the hottest water recommended for the fabric and repeat as needed. Avoid bar or powder soap, which can set the stain permanently.
  4. Sweat/Armpit Stains and Collar Yellowing: Wash with hot water and detergent. If yellowing persists, soak in warm water and let stand with a dusting of salt, or apply an enzyme cleaner. Bleach can be used to remove staining on whites as a last-ditch solution.
  5. Tomato-Based: Remove excess sauce/paste carefully with a butter knife of spoon. Dab liquid detergent onto the stain. Rinse with cold water from underneath the stain; again, you don’t want to push it back into the fabric. Launder normally, according to the tag. grease-stain-400
  6. Engine Grease/Machine Oil: Treat immediately with warm water. As soon as possible, soak in warm water with heavy-duty detergent. Remove, treat stained area with detergent directly, and lay face-down on paper towels. Launder separately. Repeat as needed.
  7. Mud/Dirt: Soak and agitate (shake around) in lukewarm water to remove as much as possible. Apply detergent to remaining stains and let soak for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and repeat. Launder normally, and treat any remaining stains with bleach if possible.
  8. Wine: Treat immediately with warm water. Salt stain and let stand if possible. Rinse salt out, dab gently with detergent or glycerin, and lay face down on a paper towel. Rinse again and launder normally. Avoid bar or flake soaps, which can set the stain permanently.
  9. Urine and Feces: Remove and rinse immediately in cool water. Avoid heat, which can set the proteins permanently. Soak and agitate in cool water with detergent. Drain and soak again, letting stand for 20-30 minutes. Launder immediately. Bleach if necessary, but rewash afterward in the case of diapers — bleach is too harsh for babies’ skin.
  10. Odors: Not all stains are visible. For odors that persist through a normal laundering, apply calcium carbonate crystals or activated charcoal and let stand for several hours (or several days, as needed). Shake off and use a gentle hand vacuum to clean residue. If there is a visible stain along with the odor, use an enzyme cleaner. Febreze can also work wonders here.

Treating Stains on the Go

You can’t always rush home to remove a stain from your clothes, and if you’re stuck with a big attention-grabbing stain on your clothes for hours on end without any chance to change, it can be embarrassing. Consider packing something like the Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover stick in your dopp kit and to keep in your car. It can remove several common food and drink stains from your clothes with an easy and quick application.

Conclusion: Immediate Action is the Best Product

Nothing treats a stain as well as immediate action. Get some room temperature water on it right away and you’re doing well. Once you’ve got the stain thoroughly soaked, you can take the time to look up the appropriate treatment, or get it to a professional cleaner. Don’t damage expensive clothing by trying elaborate home remedies when one commercial product or one trip to the dry cleaner will take care of everything.

__________

Written By Antonio Centeno
Founder of Real Men Real Style
Creator of The Internet’s Best Style Videos

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Twin Cities Maker

Raspberry Pi Powered Cat Feeder

Twin Cities Maker

Back in February I started teaching my Raspberry Pi 101 class at The Hack Factory.  After the first class I think I had Pi on the brain, I was scheduled for a quick weekend trip out of town with my girlfriend, and she was due to leave her two cats behind.  She said that she was going to leave a large bowl of cat food out, and with that I suggested that I build an automated cat feeder for them.  Cat:Human Feeder - 47

Ya know, so the cats don’t over eat, and maybe have a mixture of food, and it’s super cool! (Did I mention that it’s cool!?)  So… five days before leaving town, I purchased the food hopper, and very quickly ran out of time to complete the project before leaving on vacation.  So plan B it was, a large bowl of cat food , and water.

However, I did stick with my original plan, and saw the build to completion well before my next trip out of town.  In this blog post, I’ll list out the step-by-step (for the most part) process to building your very own Wifi Enabled Raspberry Pi Powered Cat/Human Feeder. I’ve published a Google spreadsheet here, that lists the specific parts and components that you need to acquire for this project.  It’s really simple, and can be easily assymbled in about 4-6 hours once you have all the parts.

Tools required:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Drill
  • 1/2″ drill bit
  • 1″ drill bit (for push button switch, optional)
  • Hot glue gun + glue
  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers

Prerequisites for the build:

Mount the servos!

The continuous rotation servos need to be attached to the handles to rotate the flapper wheel.  First thing fist, test to see if the servo is powerful enough to move the flapper handle.  I grabbed some gaffer tape in this case, and taped it to the front of the handle, and held on to it, while telling the servo to run.
Cat:Human Feeder - 09
Cat:Human Feeder - 10

This at least told me that the servo could move the flapper around without to much of an issue.  Granted there isn’t a load on this, as we don’t have any food stuff in it.

Next I decided that the handles should be on the back side, so that they are not exposed to someone hitting or bumping them (or getting caught).  So I moved the handles to the back side.  By moving the handles to the back, I needed to remove about 3/4″ on each end.  This way the handle could easily rotate in a 360deg circle.Cat:Human Feeder - 07Cat:Human Feeder - 19Cat:Human Feeder - 21Now lets cut out a channel for the servo head…

Cat:Human Feeder - 22 I eventually ended up cutting out about 2mm into the channel, and basically making an outline for where the servo should sit.  This was mostly so that when I stick this guy on with hot glue, it has something to push against, where as if it were placed on the surface, it would not have the leverage and it would break very quickly.  Hot glue is great for holding things in place, but not for making strong mechanical joints.  I also added two zip ties, and for support after the hot glue had started to set.  Cat:Human Feeder - 26As you can see I’ve made a channel for the servo header, and attempted to make the servo shaft as close to center as possible.

Wire it all up!

I used a “Small-Size Perma-Proto Raspberry Pi Breadboard PCB Kit” from Adafruit on this one.  Start by adding a three pin header to the board for each servo.  This makes it easy to plug/unplug the servos.  Cat:Human Feeder - 67 Cat:Human Feeder - 37Back side of the board….


Cat:Human Feeder - 72
If you look a the back side, where I soldered the Servo headers, I made one of them a 5V solder bridge (from the 5V rail on up), A Ground Solder bridge, and a link to the first hole, where I wired the GPIO outs from PINs 18 and 23.

To make this work, you first need to use a nippers (side cutters or dyke) and carefully clip the traces on the top two rows.  Once the traces are gone, you can then solder in the header connections for the servos.

Cat:Human Feeder - 79
Next, we need to add on in a current limiting resistor for the LED lights, as we don’t want to blow them up!  A 390Ohm resistor soldered on to a wire works great!

Cat:Human Feeder - 64

Make sure you add some heat shrink tube before you solder the resistor on…

 

Cat:Human Feeder - 61
In this case, I replaced the incandesiant with and LED, just open the switch (easier said then done), and swap out the bulb for an LED and add a little bit of solder.  Connect the resistor side of the LEDs to pins 4 and 27 on the breakout board.  Connect the negative side to the negative rail (don’t forget to connect the negative rail to GND).

Cat:Human Feeder - 82
Now, we want to have a button that does something when someone pushes it.  In this case, we are using that same 390ohm resistor as what’s called a pull down resistor.  The resistor is connected to grond, and ensures that our input pin doesn’t “float” in a state of high, but not really high.  Then we hook the other side of the switch up to the 3v rail.  When the switch is pushed it is read as “High” in our system or “True” in python.

Cat:Human Feeder - 83Cat:Human Feeder - 92

Lastly hookup your beeper to pin 24, and ground.
Cat:Human Feeder - 90

Now, once everything is soldered, and you have tested it all by pushing buttons and such, now you can begin to modify your feeder case, and stick it all back together… I drilled holes for the USB power cable, the servo headers, and the side buttons.

Cat:Human Feeder - 84 And then I jammed it all into the one pillar…

Cat:Human Feeder - 85

Now it looks like this:
Cat:Human Feeder - 99Cat:Human Feeder - 96

Now, set it up and test it!

Full Flickr Photo set here.

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Basic Instructions

How to Get to Know a Place

Basic Instructions

Thanks as always for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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You have to cook it right

Elk Liverwurst

You have to cook it right
It happened again, another strange phone call from a friend telling me that they had some strange ingredient that they thought I would want. This time it was one of the ladies I work with who had mentioned to me some time ago that her father raised elk and from time to time would butcher an elk. I had asked her  what he did with the offal and if he would be willing to part with it. Apparently he was willing to part with it because after our conversation I found an elk liver, heart and tongue in the freezer at work waiting for me. Needless to say I was beyond excited.  I love heart and tongue and to get one from an elk was a special treat. I have never been elk hunting and the only elk I have ever eaten was from the ones my uncle had shot. Elk is some of the best meat I have ever tasted and I could only imagine how good the offal was going to be.

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When I got home I had to figure out what I was going to do with all of it. It took some time but after St. Patty's day I decided to corn the tongue, so it is sitting in a brine right now and will be ready in a few days. The heart and liver were a little harder to decide what to do with. I love grilled heart and was thinking about making a sausage of some sort with the liver. Unlike a the deer and antelope offal I am used to dealing with the elk heart and liver are much larger. A deer heart is about 8-10 ounces and very manageable for one person to enjoy grilled or fried. The elk heart on the other hand was 2 1/2 pounds and would be a little bit more than one person could handle. My wife is willing to try most things but probably wasn't going to eat a whole pound of heart. The liver was massive, it weighed in at 4 1/2 pounds and I know I wasn't going to be able to eat all that myself. 


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I had recently picked up Michael Symon's new cookbook, Carnivore and as I was paging through it I saw a recipe for liverwurst. I had never made liverwurst before but had it on my list of things to try and make. In the book the recipe calls for pork liver, pork shoulder and back fat so I figured I could modify that to use elk liver and elk heart and I have a good supply of pork fat so I thought I'd give it a try. The process of making liverwurst isn't that different from making most sausages although Chef Symon's recipe called for grinding the meat three different times. I am not nearly that patient so my mixture was only ground twice, once through a medium grinding plate and once again through a fine grinding plate.

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What I ended up with was a delicious sausage, I don't know that I have ever had Liverwurst before so I don't have anything to compare it to. I have had braunschweiger and that is apparently similar, and the biggest difference between mine and what I have had in the past was texture. My Liverwurst was good but didn't have that soft almost creamy texture that braunschweiger has and maybe its not supposed to. By itself it has a very mild and pleasant flavor but i think it needs more fat, because the heart is so lean I think I should have use more fat. I also boiled them all together and had a hard time controlling the temperature of the large pot of water I was using. The next time I make this I am going to use a smaller pot and only do a couple at a time. Over all I am extremely happy with the results but I can definitely see room for improvement. 

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After eating a bunch of it plain I started thinking about what would go well with it, no surprise whole grain mustard and pickles seemed to work well. As did the pickled fennel and horseradish, but my favorite was on a piece of grilled bread with a slice of grilled apple and a smear of port and honey jelly with a little sage. I also grilled the Liverwurst just to give it a little warmth. 

Elk Liverwurst (inspired by Michael Symon's From his book Carnivore)

3 pounds elk liver
2 pounds elk heart
1 pound pork fat back
2 large white onions
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 ounce instacure #1
1 tablespoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 whole nutmeg ground 
1 tablespoon coriander (toasted and ground)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup powdered milk

1. cut the heart, liver, fat and onion into 1 inch cubes and place in the freezer for on hour
2. grind the liver, heart, fat and onion through a medium grinding plate
3. thoroughly mix the rest of the ingredients into the meat mixture cover and refrigerate overnight. 
4. the next day grind the meat mixture through a fine grinding plate then stuff into whatever casing you want to use, I used 2 inch bologna casings.
5. bring a pot of salted water to a boil and place the sausages in the boiling water, bring the water back to a boil then turn down to a low simmer, I cooked mine for about an hour. 
6. let the sausages cool and hang them up to dry for a couple of hours. If you aren't going to use them right away they should be stored in the freezer.

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The Art of Manliness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #4: Pacific Voyage

The Art of Manliness

JackLondonCredo500

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.

On January 12, 1893, his seventeenth birthday, Jack London signed onto the Sophie Sutherland, a splendid three-topmast schooner bound for seal hunting in the Bering Sea, and ultimately Japan. Jack was three years shy in experience and two years short in age of the minimum requirements for seamen, but his old friend Johnny Heinold vouched for Jack’s prowess on the water and unique character. And when the captain of the Sophie Sutherland met with Jack himself, he was greatly impressed with the young man’s maturity and determination and welcomed him aboard.

Jack knew that while he was technically their equal according to the ship’s articles, his new mates would view his youth and inexperience with resentment. They had earned their standing by serving their fellows on previous voyages, being hazed, and learning the ropes firsthand; he, on the other hand, was a landlubber by comparison who had never ventured into the deep sea. Jack could see that he had to prove he could carry his own weight from the get-go, or endure “seven months of hell at their hands.” He decided to work in such a way that none of his companions would be able to find fault with him:

“My method was deliberate, and simple, and drastic. In the first place, I resolved to do my work, no matter how hard or dangerous it might be, so well that no man would be called upon to do it for me. Further, I put ginger in my muscles. I never malingered when pulling on a rope, for I knew the eagle eyes of my forecastle mates were squinting for just such evidence of my inferiority. I made it a point to be among the first of the watch going on deck, among the last going below, never leaving a sheet or tackle for someone else to coil over a pin. I was always eager for the run aloft for the shifting of topsail sheets and tacks, or for the setting or taking in of topsails; and in these matters I did more than my share.”

Because Jack did all that was asked of him and more, his thumic pride and sense of honor demanded that he be treated with respect, not as one of the other sailors’ servants. If there was any question of this in his shipmates’ minds, it was convincingly resolved one afternoon down below deck. Red John, an enormous and imposing Swede, had been looking for trouble with Jack since the Sophie Sutherland set sail. On his “peggy day,” in which he was responsible for cleaning the kitchen’s dishes and the sailors’ quarters, Red John decided that Jack ought to do the chores for him. Several times he gave his gruff command, but Jack, who was relaxing on his bed weaving a rope mat, did not offer the slightest acknowledgement to the Swede’s entreaties.

Red John, in his anger, threw down the coffee pot he was holding and backhanded the recalcitrant youth across the mouth. London, exhibiting the kind of cat-like reflexes he would later ascribe to the “Sea Wolf,” landed a blow right between the other man’s eyes, dodged his sledgehammer-like counter, and then leapt onto his shoulders. Jack wrapped his legs around Red John’s ox-like neck, and began choking him and digging at his eyes with his fingers. Red John fought back by ferociously ramming Jack against the cabin’s beams, opening up wounds on the teenager’s scalp and upper body. Though blood dripped down his face, Jack simply squeezed all the harder, and would not give in until his opponent finally gurgled an assent to his repeated query: “Will y’leave me alone, now? Will y’let up on me for keeps? Will y’leave me be?—Will yuh Will yuh?”

Jack’s stand won him enormous respect from his shipmates, including Red John himself, who was thoroughly impressed with this “wild cat” who refused to be whipped. “It was my pride that I was taken in as an equal, in spirit as well as in fact,” Jack recalled. “From then on, everything was beautiful, and the voyage promised to be a happy one.”

John Barleycorn on the Adventure Path

The Sophie Sutherland carried no alcohol, and Jack didn’t mind at all. He felt his foggy mind clearing and sharpening up once more, and was content to spend his free time reading the small library of books he had brought along, including Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and most appropriately, Moby-Dick.

Yet when the ship would pull into port, it was a different story. London discovered once more that “the adventure-path” is “one of John Barleycorn’s favorite stomping grounds.” As he had observed along the waterfront back home, Jack found that alcohol was both a constant accompaniment to the life of exploration, and a detractor from it.

When the ship pulled into harbor in the Bonin Islands, around 600 miles south of Japan’s mainland, for water and repairs, Jack gazed with wonder upon the jungle-covered volcanic peaks, and breathed in the new, exotic scent of the tropics. “It was my first foreign land,” Jack remembered. “I had won to the other side of the world, and I would see all I had read in the books come true. I was wild to get ashore.”

Jack and his two best mates spotted “a pathway that disappeared up a wild canyon, emerged on a steep, bare lava-slope, and thereafter appeared and disappeared, ever climbing, among the palms and flowers.” The men were stirred to follow the path wherever it might lead, sure that they would come across “beautiful scenery, and strange native villages, and find Heaven alone knew what adventure at the end.” Jack was excited and “keen for anything.”

But as the young men rowed onto the beach, they came first to the island’s small town, where sailors from around the world were riotously drinking, singing, and dancing. Jack’s companions suggested they have a drink before starting on their hike, and London felt he could not decline “these two chesty shipmates”: “Drinking together, glass in hand, put the seal on comradeship. It was the way of life.”

Jack and his friends made it no further ashore. Over the next ten days, they camped out at the small bars in town and drank their fill. One of his friends practically went mad with booze and destroyed some local property that they had to pitch in and replace. Jack lost his shoes, pants, and belt. And they never did, Jack recalled with regret, “climb that lava path among the flowers.”

It was the same story when the Sophie Sutherland landed in Japan. After the ship had hunted seals for three months in the Bering Sea and filled its holds with their skins, it pulled into port at Yokohama. Jack was eager to get off the ship and explore the country, but stopped first at a public house to have just a couple of drinks with the boys. Two weeks later, all he had seen of Japan was “a drinking-place which was very like a drinking place at home or anywhere else over the world.”

Jack Takes the Helm

JackLondonQuote2-350

If Jack missed out on some degrees of adventure, there were still plenty to be had during his voyage of the Pacific. Its apex, what Jack would later recall as his “moment of highest living,” occurred when the Sophie Sutherland sailed into the thick of a typhoon off the coast of Japan. The seas were so rough, the ship so taxing to control, that each man could take but a one-hour shift at the wheel before requiring rest, and every crew member had to take a turn. Finally at seven in the morning, Jack was called up from his quarters to man the helm. A seventeen-year-old greenhorn, it was up to him alone to battle nature’s fiercest elements and pilot the ship and its passengers safely through the storm:

“Not a stitch of canvas was set. We were running before [the storm] with bare poles, yet the schooner fairly tore along. The seas were all of an eighth of a mile apart, and the wind snatched the whitecaps from their summits, filling the air so thick with driving spray that it was impossible to see more than two waves at a time. The schooner was almost unmanageable, rolling her rail under to starboard and to port, veering and yawing anywhere between southeast and southwest, and threatening when the huge seas lifted under her quarter, to broach to. Had she broached to, she would ultimately have been reported lost with all hands and no tidings.

I took the wheel. The sailing master watched me for a space. He was afraid of my youth, feared that I lacked the strength and the nerve. But when he saw me successfully wrestle the schooner through several bouts, he went below to breakfast. Fore and aft, all hands were below at breakfast. Had she broached to, not one of them would ever have reached the deck. For forty minutes I stood there alone at the wheel, in my grasp the wildly careering schooner and the lives of twenty-two men. Once we were pooped. I saw it coming, and, half-drowned, with tons of water crushing me, I checked the schooner’s rush to broach to. At the end of the hour, sweating and played out, I was relieved. But I had done it! With my own hands I had done the trick at the wheel and guided a hundred tons of wood and iron through a few million tons of wind and waves.”

London would later say that this experience was “possibly the proudest achievement of my life”:

“My delight was in that I had done it, not in the fact that twenty-two men knew I had done it. Within the year, over half of them were dead and gone, and yet my pride in the thing performed was not diminished by half…This delight is peculiarly my own and does not depend upon witnesses. When I have done some such thing, I am exalted. I glow all over. I am aware of a pride in myself that is mine and mine alone. It is organic; every fiber of me is thrilling with it…

Life that lives is life successful, and success is the breath in its nostrils. The achievement of a difficult feat is successful adjustment to a sternly exacting environment. The more difficult the feat, the greater the satisfaction at its accomplishment.”

Return Home

The Sophie Sutherland arrived back to San Francisco on August 26, 1893. Jack had been away for seven months, and in that time had become a man among men. He would always see this voyage as a seminal turning point in his life – a rite of passage. Charmian wrote:

“The pleasure of camaraderie with his fellows below or on deck, or aloft in the shrieking rigging in a gale, was not to be calculated. No exhausting strain could dampen the ardor of holding his own with the best in sheer muscular rivalry. Even in middle age, for him to be able to say, ‘I have toiled all night, both watches on deck, off the coast of Japan,’ meant more to him than the best passage he had ever written.”

Unfortunately, Jack’s high-flying life of adventure came quickly to a halt once he was home. The money he had earned on his voyage, handed dutifully over to his family, was quickly gone. The country had plunged into an economic depression, and professional work of any kind was nearly impossible to come by. Many of Jack’s friends had been killed or gone to jail while he had been away, and risking a similar fate by returning to the life of an oyster pirate held no appeal. Jack needed a regular job to support his family, and was finally forced to take work in a jute mill factory wrapping the vegetable fiber around bobbins, making ten cents an hour…the same wage he had earned at the pickle cannery a few years earlier. Everything had changed, and nothing had.

 

 

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Sources:

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley 

Jack London: A Life by Alex Kershaw

The Book of Jack London, Volumes 1 & 2 by Charmian London (free in the public domain)

Complete Works of Jack London (all of London’s works are available free in the public domain, or you can download his hundreds of writings all in one place for $3, which is just plain awesome)

 

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All Points Blog

Esri Announces Winners of 100 Lines of Code or Less Challenge

All Points Blog
If I understand correctly, there were 37 entries to Esri's contest seeking the best app in 100 lines or fewer of ArcGIS API for JavaScript code.  The contest was part of this year's Developer Summit and managed on GitHub. Judges selected winners based on  Effective use of the... Continue reading
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