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Blessed are the weird people…

SON RAFI, HIS BEAUTIFUL CHANDRA, AND ME

My San Francisco kids visited at Xmas. It turned out to be a White one and Rafi, Chandra, and grandson Remy loved walking in the snow. (It doesn’t snow in S. F.) On one of their many excursions, they passed a sign in my neighbour John’s window. Rafi, of course, had to take a photo of it.


John is one of those special, interesting and multi-talented individuals who is interested in everything and everyone. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know him, but what I like best about John is his kindness to others — including me.


I first saw John acting onstage when I was writing a column covering the arts. Aside from that his photography is so beautiful, if I had any more room on my walls, I’d try to purchase one from him if he’d sell it. What else does he do well? I don’t at all know because the guy never brags. I asked John if he had written the words in the sign below. He said he hadn’t. If you know who did, do let me know.

In case the photo of the sign is difficult for you to read, this is what it says:

B L E S S E D
* A R E T H E *
Weird People
The Poets & Misfits
T H E A R T I S T S
T H E W R I T E R S
& MUSIC MAKERS
The dreamers & the
O U T S I D E R S
For they force us to see
THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

I know you’re dying to know about —

safety pincolorpinsI feel a need to honour the single reliable safety pin which has loyally served me for  years by now. I use it to secure my pedometer to my slacks since the widget that came with it broke down within a year. I’ve never had to replace the safety pin. Think about that….

Well, I thunk on it and was moved to find

Walter Hunt, inventor of Safety Pin

Walter Hunt, my unsung hero

out more about this humble servant. It was invented in 1849 by American Walter Hunt, (1796-1859) who, because he owed some guy $15, sold the rights to it for $400. (now worth about $13,000.) Others went on to earn a fortune for what seems like a simple pin.

This was a pattern with Hunt, who also invented a rifle that

SingersewingmachinebyHunt

Singer Sewing Machine

same year, (later used in the Civil War). It also made oodles of dough for someone else. He invented an improved oil lamp, a portable knife sharpener, the sewing machine, better bullets and goodness knows how many other inventions.

The man was a prolific, talented inventor, however without much education or perhaps an ability to garner support for his ideas, he continued selling them for a pittance.

He did, however, finally win an out-of-court settlement in 1858 with the Singer Sewing Machine Co. for $50,000 (well over a million today) for copying his original sewing machine design. Unfortunately, he died of pneumonia soon afterwards and before he was paid. (At least his family did profit this time.)

diaperpins

cloth diapers used when I had babies

Unlike many other inventions, the

pinsdiapers

Never stuck any of my little ones

safety pin maintains it original design to this day. I used to use them to secure the cloth diapers we had for our babies when I was a young mother. I don’t recall ever sticking one of my treasured little ones with one. Disposable diapers came later.

Think about that too…..

Desperate measures for desperate times…

funny lady at computer

Life during COVID:19

There’s a saying: Man plans and God laughs. If ever there were truer words, find them for me.

My children live in a different country. I’ve been an avid reader forever. I’ve owned many books. I decided if I got rid of them, it would be easier for my kids when I need to move or pop off. If I decide to do something, I usually do.

I gave away books — many books.

Zhuangzi, 4th century BC

Zhuangzi, 4th century BC

Well, I’m hunkered down for the duration of COVID:19 and the libraries are closed. I’ve finished the few books waiting around to be read, so what next?

Going through my half-empty shelves, I saw ‘Zhuangzi: Basic Writings’, a textbook from a Chinese philosophy class I audited at UBC some 20 years ago. What the heck. It had been interesting, so I decided to revisit it.

FriedrichNietzche1844-1900

Nietzche, 1844-1900

What I found most fascinating were my own notes. This class had followed another I took about Western Philosophers, which included people like Freud, Nietzche, and even a contemporary well-known Canadian thinker, Charles Taylor.

 

‘Woman was God’s second mistake.’ Nietzche.

CharlesTaylor1931

Charles Taylor, born 1931

In my  notes on Zhuangzi, I’d noticed how similar  his written thoughts and those of Nietzche were, who came along hundreds of years later. Could it be? Had Nietzche read the ancient Chinese thinker and borrowed from him? Perhaps. Probably. Well, I, for one, thought so….

We stand on the shoulders of those who come before us.

xunzi

Xunzi, maybe 310 BC

 

‘The noble person uses things, the lesser man is used by things.’ Xunzi. (Actual birth date unknown.)