Thursday, March 8, 2018

Episode 201, Colluding With Catastrophe

Pretty much everyone not in the employ of CNN or MSNBC now agrees that neither Donald Trump nor his campaign or transition people colluded with the Russians to throw the election.  In fact, if anyone prominent did collude with Russia, it was Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
That’s not what this show is about.  There is a much larger and more important collusion going on right now, a factual, actual collusion, with an army of important participants, and that is America’s ongoing collusion with catastrophe.  It’s part political, part social, part economic, part ideological, and part psychological.

Unlike the Russians, catastrophe is an outcome, not an agent, so I’m playing a little fast and loose with the catch phrase Colluding with Catastrophe, something you can’t actually do. But colluding ON BEHALF OF catastrophe, or colluding IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE catastrophe don’t have the same ring as Colluding With Catastrophe, so let’s just go with it. 

(BTW, that kitchen cart pictured was something I recently built from scratch, using reclaimed barn wood. Not perfect, but not bad.  Two major mistakes, described in this show.)


  1. What do these TV shows have in common?

    Mayberry/The Andy Griffith show
    Perry Mason
    My Little Margie
    Our Miss Brooks
    The Real McCoys
    Bachelor Father
    My Three sons
    The Golden Girls
    The Odd Couple
    Mary Tyler Moore Show
    Star Trek
    Family Affair

    Answer: no married couples in any of them. I excuse 'Fraser' as Niles marriage was only portrayed as a disaster and the wife was never on the show. His marriage to Daphne in the later seasons was perhaps why the show went into the tank. I think 'Mash' had a marriage, but was about infidelity. There many, many more.

    1. Interesting list, Richard. I'd say I've seen about 2/3rds of these shows at one time or another. Some were what they used to call "appointment TV": My Three Sons, Mash (the early seasons), Taxi, and Seinfeld. I could have sworn that The Real McCoys had a married couple. Never heard of Wings. I guess the legacy '60's shows I was thinking of were shows like Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Dick Van Dyke, The Munsters, and maybe Mr. Ed.

  2. You are correct, the McCoys had a married couple. My choices were TV shows that had unmarried men and women in ordinary situations; which eliminated a lot of westerns, detective shows, military shows, etc. I think of those as two different genres and the family shows that you mention as the third. I had this list put together before I heard this episode as I have long speculated on how the TV shows I watched growing up had influenced me. "Wings" by the way was a comedy of two 'hip' brothers that operated a small airline, with actress Crystal Bernard and various others girlfriends for the guys. A similar format as Taxi.

  3. Makes sense Richard, and I really whiffed on Crystal Bernard, yikes. Thanks very much for listening to the show!

  4. Pete: Crystal was one of my TV infatuations, Marilu Henner another one. But on to the show; you mention a desire to return to Catholicism, but an earlier more 'pure' version. Let say it another way, a new version that is relevant with it's roots in the original. You want the furniture to be milled appropriately for the structure but the origin of the wood, barnwood, to be evident. You don't want a brand new looking board, religion, concealing or erasing, milling out it's identity, roots. The defects, man-made mistakes, can detract from the whole purpose and appearance of both, for practical reason we have to accept them as throwing them out for the flaws is not a solution. Am I stretching this comparison too far?

    I've been a woodworker my whole life, had my own furniture shop and employed as a cabinetmaker. I did antique repair and reproductions, my customers placed great value on the authenticity of antique pieces, even in reproductions that faked authenticity. There were some pieces that were in need of repair not so much from the years of use, but from poor structural construction. Table tops for example were sometimes one large slab, such as your cart, that would crack because they were not built to allow for movement. I would have to remove the top, cut it apart and re-glue it and reassemble the table re-engineered to allow for movement. The old antique was made salvageable with new, unseen, structure so that it would be placed in their home and admired for it's solidity and a tribute to the old ways. Visitors would remark "they just don't make them like they used to". Of course not, we can do it better, but we don't always. Instead of going back to the fundamentally sound characteristics, a new design can come along at a rate of two-per-day and will never approach the longevity of treasures of old that were based upon solidly desirable design and function.

    Some of these new religions have flaws they just leave exposed cause they don't know what to do about them, like those pocket hole screw slots. They try to do something to detract your attention from them, like attaching that hook above those slots. But they are still there, sometimes made even more obvious, by cluttering it up. A full apron disguise isn't suitable as function supersedes visual flaws, perhaps one little square piece of barnwood would cover them up and the hooks could be removed before somebody eventually gets snagged on them. Their function after all in this application is that of distraction, not for their intended purpose.

    Collusion or collision? There is obviously nefarious intentions of the cultural makers, a collusion that will result in a collision with catastrophe. The TV shows I grew up with had a subtle message that influenced me without my being aware of it at the time; the normalcy of those happy, functional traditional families was boring and predictable. Mom wore an apron and was in the kitchen doing the dishes. Dad wore a suit and tie and sat on the couch reading the newspaper. and father always knew best. TV shows with a non-family format were more fun to watch. The characters had a lot of character and the situational humor was brilliant and they were always in fun places to be. Were these themes intentional? They certainly were not realistic, in fact they collided with reality and as I sought to replicate the fun single life portrayed in those shows, it led only to catastrophe. The pocket screw scars couldn't be covered up. The functional family life however is solid, like mortise and tenon joinery. Defects were not inherent, but an aberration; and forgiveness replaces the need for excuses. For sure some knots to deal with, some splinters here and there, some rough surfaces that like lightly-planed barnwood tell a story of endurance. The traditional family can be as solid as any piece of furniture that the carpenters' Son made.

    Thanks for the show and keep "Shrugging Out".

  5. Very interesting comparisons and analogies, Richard, fun to read.

    Perhaps whatever draws me to reclaimed barn wood furniture is at play in my preference for Christian denominations, but maybe just a coincidence.

    I regretted putting those hooks on the cart immediately and have since removed them. I've thought of hand carving some decorative blocks to cover the pocket hole scars, but for now I am just going to take my lumps for poor planning. It will at least be authentic, and the next piece will be better for the learning.

    I wonder if you think this was a good idea for preventing the cart top from splitting--I drilled holes up through the frame so that I could screw the top to the frame from underneath--but I made the holes in the frame significantly larger than the screws, so that they could could move a little without cracking. Screwed down tightly the top is snug, but not too tight to resist a little swelling or shrinkage as humidity changes. We'll see.

    I appreciate your comments and many thanks for listening to the show!


    1. Sounds like you did right with the top, it should be okay. It's a very handsome piece, nice wood, color, satin finish and of course the design.

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  7. I like the table. The legs have a deceptively simple shape, but they do not look easy to make. Same with the sides and their curves in three dimensions. I concur that integrity does not imply longevity.

  8. I removed my previous comment because I needed the Dropbox storage. In that post I stated that 'longevity is not necessarily an indication of integrity, in furniture or in beliefs'; which isn't the same statement as 'integrity does not imply longevity', sort of the reverse. This I stated in the context of a discussion about a personal pursuit of..... very obviously an undefined objective. What is this pursuit about? Is it about finding a church home that is agreeable with your beliefs, or is it to satisfy a need for spiritual longevity by connecting with a tradition that has it's roots in distant history. Or is it a search for truth? What are you looking for? Once you can define what you are searching for you will acquire the tools and skills necessary to find it. "God-thirst" drives a restless soul to search for.... God! Loneliness drives one to seek companionship, hunger drives one to find food, a need for relevance and community is often satisfied by finding the right church, the right group, the right social contacts. Define your search. Don't confuse one for the other. A search for the right religious church, experience is not necessarily, and most like is not, a search for a relationship with God.
    Not to be mistaken as a sermon, this is written as a summary of my personal experience.