Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Michigan -- I have no words...

     Normally I do my best to stay away from politics, but with the genii in Lansing and their 16 bills (20 according to some sources) aimed to destroy so many in Michigan, the time for silence is no more.
     Under the guise of reforming "public pensions," these bills act in a more diabolical manner.  All local control is lost by township, city, municipality, etc to a three-person board (the Local Government Stability Board).  The  members are appointees by the governor and would serve 4 year terms.  The ability of the LGSB to act is broad;  they are allowed to overrule any wavers given out to municipalities by the state treasurer; they determine whether a city or municipality qualifies as a "financial emergency" and can declare so if they do not like a city's plan.  The LGSB meetings would be exempt under the open meetings act.  (edit: and they would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, even though funded by tax payer dollars.)
     I could continue, but I am getting physically sick to my stomach.
     In effect, a large portion of local control is taken from the local government and given to the state, run by a three-person appointed board, allowed complete secrecy.  I suppose I am very much a child of the 1980s, but does this not smack of a place formerly called the USSR?  It certainly reminds me of the Soviets.  To me, that is more disturbing than the retirement aspect, the alleged purpose of the bills.
     Now to be perfectly honest, yes, the retirement aspect will destroy us.  For quite a few years now, we have been footing 90% of the funds going into Mr. C's retirement plan, from his paycheck.  There is no mention of where the money we have paid in will go, but if I understand the bills correctly, it will not be allowed to remain where it is.  I suppose the "State of Michigan" will take it.
     I haven't had a paycheck to speak of, since the Wonderful State of Michigan completely destroyed my field of chemistry.  (I was recently told by an old friend that he hadn't ever thought about coming back to Michigan since he and his wife would not have jobs here.  They are also chemists.)  I could tell many more stories but this is not the place.  Suffice it to say, since 2003, we have had to rely on Mr. C's paycheck completely.
     I'm not looking for sympathy (which resides between sh*t and syphilis in the dictionary, as they used to say at Central Transport,) but I am thoroughly disgusted that any so-called public official can claim to be American and attempt to set up such a plan.  There are plenty of ways to deal with this issue without snatching local control away from local governments.
Personal commentary:
     Guess it is a good thing I grew up so poor.  I'll figure out how to re-weatherstrip our 20-some year old windows, and I'll expand the garden.  Glad I know how to patch and sew.  I just hope my kids will never have to learn how a spoonful of ketchup warms the stomach and makes one temporarily forget being hungry.  That's how I made it through college.  Too bad the elected genii in Lansing can't say the same thing.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

"As much as I have learned..." The history of St. Peter Ev. Lutheran Church, Richmond MI

Since it hasn't been announced yet, let me say that the book on the history of St. Peter, Richmond, MI is printed and available!  It is 8.5"x11", 144 pages, and covers early history of St. Peter (ca 1850s) until the 1970s.

This isn't just for the members of St. Peter, though.  In putting this book together, I transcribed and have made available for the first time the tape that Carl Gramzow recorded from the 100th anniversary in 1972.  Speakers then included (all now deceased) Pastor Wilfred Junke, of Trinity, Mt. Clemens; his wife, Eleanor Hahn Junke;  Walter Bellhorn (of the Lutheran Deaf Institute); and former Pastor Albert Knoll.  There are some interesting local stories mentioned in their talks, like the Stier-Knust wedding of 1907, and Denewith's bridge.  I even put a chapter in the back of the things I learned while working on this, as in the oddball facts and stories, all the fun and strange things one learns while working on a project such as this.  While it is a book about St. Peter, it just doesn't mention St. Peter.  My only wish is that I could have put everything in, but had I done that, this would have been the length of War and Peace.

Copies are available from the St. Peter church office, 586-727-9693 for $6 each, or available from me for $5.50 (I'm selling them at cost).  Feel free to email me at billandtina41@gmail.com to ask questions.  If you see me around, I always have copies in my car.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Edison Mina fountain pen review

Disclaimer: Everything that follows is my opinion of a pen that I purchased from Edison Pens.  I'm nothing but a satisfied customer, and I received nothing for writing this review but the satisfaction of talking about a pen that I bought.

I've mentioned in another post or two that besides treadle sewing machines and typewriters, I like fountain pens. There are several American pen companies, and the only one I have had experience with is Edison Pen in Ohio.  Their reputation is well-deserved.  They are wonderful people to deal with.

After 3 Edison Production Line pens, I decided I really wanted a Signature Line pen.  It only took me about 3 years of looking through the galleries and acrylics to decide what I wanted.  You read that right.  It really took me 3 years.  I am not a compulsive buyer ;-)  After much back-and-forth with myself, I finally decided on the Edison MinaI really like the design, and that it doesn't post is fine for me.  I wanted a pen that reminded me of the UP, and then I managed to catch the song "Bobcaygeon" on the radio.  You know, where "the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time."  (Hip alert.)  The Indigo Mesh acrylic looked like it would resemble the night sky.  It does.

 The bottom pen is the Mina, the top is the Edison Nouveau Premiere (Fall 2016 Autumn Embers.)  The Nouveau Premiere is there for perspective. 

You can almost see the subtle taper in the center of the Mina.  When the pen arrived Saturday, I caught myself running the pen through my hands, feeling the taper and the smoothness of the pen.  The tolerances are so tight that one can almost not feel where the cap and body meet.  It is so smooth that I had to really get on myself to put the pen down and get back to work.  (For once on a Saturday the mail came before noon, and I was in the middle of moving the bedroom around and Autumn cleaning.  Good ole Murphy's Law...)

 Looks like the sky up north, doesn't it?  I've never been to Bobcaygeon, ON, but I have seen the stars come out on the Lake Superior shoreline.  This is it.
 I even managed to catch the sparkles in the dark side of the pen.  (Any Pink Floyd reference not intended!) 
This picture is the one I wanted when trying to make up my mind, but there wasn't one anywhere. 

I had a really hard time deciding whether to go with the Extended Mina or the Standard Mina, and I finally just decided I was being ridiculous and went with the Standard.  It was a wonderful choice.  It fits my hand nicely, and it is very comfortable to write with.  I haven't given it the 2-3 hour writing test yet, but that's because things got busy around here with the garden and canning.  I did do a small writing sample (you're not seeing the other 3-4 pages.) 

Done on Rhodia with Pilot Blue-Black ink.

Brian of Edison Pen Co. adjusts the nibs in his Signature Line pens, and I have to say I have never written with anything so nice. He did an absolutely wonderful job on the nib.  I don't have the words to explain how wonderful the nib is tuned.  I have other pens that write well, but the Mina just blows them out of the water!  I've tried this pen on Clairefontaine, Rhodia, and my cheap Staples Brazil paper, and it takes them all on.

I have had 3 inks in this pen already since it arrived on Saturday.  First I used J. Herbin Bleu Nuit, one of my favorite inks, and it wrote be-yoo-ti-fully with it, but it wasn't quite the color I was looking for.  Then I moved to Pilot blue-black, and it wrote beautifully again, and it wasn't quite what I was looking for.  (See a pattern?)  So now I'm mixing the perfect color with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue and Pelikan Black, and I'm getting there.  If I weren't buried in ink, I'd find myself shopping for some.

To say that I am happy with this pen is an understatement.  It makes me want to crawl away and write.  Unfortunately, it doesn't have magical powers to silence my kids (and dog) so I can think, but school is starting soon and quiet time will return.   Thank you all at Edison Pen for my perfect pen! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A thought for Thursday

  I know I'm not very good at keeping up on this blog, but that comes from the wife/mother/ now a green belt in karate/ life I lead.  So much to do; so little time; and a rotten internet connection to boot.
  In other news, stay tuned.  "As much as I have learned...": The history of St. Peter Ev. Lutheran, Richmond, MI will be printed soon and will be available.  Those who know me know I have spent a lot of time working on that as well.  (OK, years.)

Today's thought:

I hate computer keyboards.  They are so soulless.
I'm also geek enough that I use fountain pens to write, too.