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Over Easy: Radio as Art

By: cmaukonen Tuesday September 16, 2014 4:50 am

1937 Airline Miracle – flickr creative commons

Good Morning All

With all the insanity in the world today I thought I would go back when life was considerably more sane and calm and comforting. When Art Deco reached its peak and Radio was king.

The Art Deco movement influenced nearly everything, from auto-mobile design to skyscrapers. And of course radios, large and small. The internals of these radios did not vary much from model to model or even from manufacturer to manufacturer but the cabinetry was quite elegant. Like this high-end Philco or the crème de la crème, the Zenith 1000 Stratosphere – Zenith’s top of the line model for 1935. Manufacturers wanted their radios to look good as well as sound good.

There were classic table models and cathedral designs and the so called tombstone models as well. Or this chair side radio by Zenith.

The wood cabinets were handmade in a lot of cases and had inlays and very fine finishing. For someone with the bucks to spend they still can be had but for a price. Some going for in excess of a thousand dollars restored. They are very, very collectible and people will go to extremes to restore and refinish the cabinets. I even found a web site that documented one person taking the radio chassis inside completely apart down to the last nut and bolt and cleaning and rebuilding it. OY!

Here are a few of the more unusual ones.

RCA Worlds Fair

RCA San Francisco

Zenith Louis XV

Stewart Warner


And many others, including Bakelite cabinets and plastic. But by the late 1960s fancy cabinetry was all but gone.  Replaced by simple, mostly plastic shells. Functionality and cost-conscious consumers ruled the day. Even the large console televisions were on the way out.

So if you will remove your ear buds for a minute, here is what radio use to be like.

Off topic is on topic here. What’s on every one’s mind?


From 2009. Matt Taibbi – The peasant mentality lives on in America

By: cmaukonen Friday September 12, 2014 5:18 pm

Peasant Woman – flickr creative commons

I came across this today for the first time as a link in Naked Capitalism. The original link was busted but one of the commenters found it and posted a working link. That is one that still works but may disappear in the future.

In keeping with the rules and such of this site, I will not post the entire piece but the highlights.  One of the best explanations of the mind set of especially the conservatives and right wing I have read in a long while.

Here now is some of the best parts of this piece.

The peasant mentality lives on in America
Conservatives and the Right
by Matt Taibbi | April 14, 2009 – 5:16pm

You have to somehow explain the Geithner/Paulson decisions to hand over trillions of taxpayer dollars to the rich bankers as the formal policy expression of progressive rage against the rich. Not easy. In order to pull off this argument, in fact, you have to grease the wheels with a lot of apocalyptic language and imagery, invoking as Beck did massive pictures of Stalin and Orwell and Mussolini (side by side with shots of Geithner, Obama and Bernanke), scenes of workers storming the Winter Palace interspersed with anti-AIG protests, etc. — and then maybe you have to add a crazy new twist, like switching from complaints of “socialism” to warnings of “fascism.” Rhetorically, this is the equivalent of trying to paint a picture by hurling huge handfuls of paint at the canvas. It’s desperate, last-ditch-ish behavior.


That’s why even people like Beck’s audience, who I’d wager are mostly lower-income people, can’t imagine themselves protesting against the Wall Street barons who in actuality are the ones who fucked them over. Beck pointedly compared the AIG protesters to Bolsheviks: “[The Communists] basically said ‘Eat the rich, they did this to you, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” He then said the AIG and G20 protesters were identical: “It’s a different style, but the sentiments are exactly the same: Find ‘em, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.

But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires.

Matt said this in 2009 and it still holds true today. Maybe even more so. All mixed in with a bit of misogamy, racism and homophobia for good measure.

If the above link does not work, here is a link to my personal blog.

Over Easy: Home Made !

By: cmaukonen Tuesday September 9, 2014 4:45 am

Amish Gifts and Baked Goods

Morning Firedogs !

Took a trip the other day out to a little Amish shop just past Middlefield. Small and quaint, a place my cousin found. Not the first time I had been there. Stopped by once before after going to the Fair with her and my brother. Located on a farm in a converted barn like structure.

They had baked goods up front and home made clothes behind that. In the back was gifts and blankets and home made quilts. Home made preserves as well. All made by Amish folks in the area.

The baked goods were make the traditional way and baked in wood fired cast iron ovens. And I must say are very good. Especially the breads, which I bought four loaves of this time. Three cinnamon raisin and one wheat.

There is just something about home made bread that anything you get in even a bakery cannot match. The flavor and texture is so much better. I have yet to master the baking of bread but when the weather gets cooler, I will attempt it again. Baking is an art as much as a science. I can make Finnish Pula sweet bread pretty well but other breads not so much. You really have to learn how to get the necessary texture and moistness. The correct volume when rising it and the temperature when baking. Recipes are a guide but that is all. It does take practice to get it right. I have a slice of the cinnamon raisin in the morning with my breakfast and it is good !

I also looked at the quilts there, one of which is being raffled of as a prize to a local festival.  They are pretty pricey but well worth the money. I love quilts to keep warm in the winter. And a couple of hand make rocking chairs too. Carpentry I am sad to say is NOT one of my best things.

When I go to the fair I am sure to go through the crafts exhibits and I always marvel at the items there.

So what has anyone made lately ?

As always any subject is fine here.

VIDEO: Joan Rivers, Dead at 81

By: cmaukonen Thursday September 4, 2014 2:59 pm

Comedian Joan Rivers has died after being on life support following a botched medical procedure.

I remember her appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. A quick wit and intelligent. Few subjects were off limits to Joan’s sarcastic humor.

RIP Joan Rivers

The Country and the City

By: cmaukonen Wednesday September 3, 2014 7:09 pm


I moved from Florida back to North Eastern Ohio around 4 years ago. Now living in an up stairs apartment of a duplex in Garfield Heights, an older suburb of Cleveland. Just a bit east of do south of the city center. At then end of a street with a bigger than usual side yard and lots of natural green beyond that.

Cleveland and it’s suburbs are served by the RTA transit system, a fair public transportation system with buses and light and heavy rail. Health care available here is better than most with The Metrohealth system, Cleveland Clinic and its affiliated hospitals and University Hospital. All highly rated. If one has to get ill or have an accident, this is place to do it.

A the Cleveland Metro Parks AKA The Emerald Necklace is also very nice and quite extensive. Running from Lake Erie on the West side, down south to the Cuyahoga Valley National Forest on the southern end and up to Lake County on the eastern end. One of my favorites is the Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation with it’s Nature Center and picnic areas and even a wet lands area. All of the parks AKA Reservations have these as well as an extensive hiking and biking trail system. Some even interconnected.

Amish boys

Out east of the city about 24 miles from where I live, you come to Geauga County. Out past Hunting Valley and Chagrin Falls. Around 10 miles further east you come to Middlefield Ohio, the center of Amish country in Geauga County and the third largest settlement of Amish in the US. This is the country and very rural as well. Amish farms and shops and lots of Amish Buggies. There are both old order and new order Amish in Geauga County. Though they live off grid and have no phones or TV or radio, they do make use of other forms of electric generation for the shops and farms. Particularly solar power.

The shops sell furniture and clothes and blankets and quilts. All hand made. As well as baked goods baked in traditional wood fired cast iron ovens. And I can tell you it is delicious. Although not Amish another local business is White House Chocolate. Where they make and sell their own chocolate right there, with some of the best dark chocolate I have ever tasted.

And Geauga Family Farms which sells all local grown produce and meats and poultry. There are also other Amish farms that sell various fruits and vegetables and eggs and poultry scattered along the country side. All vastly superior to anything you would get in the city.

Yes this is the country where once you get away from the village, you can go for miles between houses and you really do need to be able to take care of your self.

No public transportation or big hospitals or big box stores around the corner, though Middlefield now has a Giant Eagle. But it  is quiet and slower paced. Nearly all houses have some land, that is no postage size lots.

The city has lots going for it, services and convenience. The country does as well, rural atmosphere, cleaner air and locally grown food etc.

Both also have their draw backs. Is one better than the other ? I would say that depends greatly on ones point of view.

Going to the Fair

By: cmaukonen Sunday August 31, 2014 9:59 am

Went out to the Geauga County Fair the other day. My brother and a cousin came up from Florida and NC to go and were staying at the Red Maple Inn in Burton Ohio. I have stayed there as well and it is very nice. My knees being in some what more horrible condition since I took a small spill and landed on them, I was not able to see as much as previous years.  I do not remember when I first went to the fair there. I was very young and must have gone with my aunt and cousins initially.  Originally geared more toward the rural population of the area with large pavilions for 4H and FFA [Future Farmers of America], it now is more of a family C&W [Country and Western] themed with the 4H exhibits off to the side. And a much larger Midway.

Fair Midway

And a large area for farm equipment. There were the usual rabbit, dairy, turkey, chicken, sheep, and goat exhibit areas though. Something new from what I remember as a kid, Alpaca and Llamas now too.   They even had a sky diver too. You do not get the feeling of serious farming that you did in the past, though.

You do not see many – if any – minorities at the fair. Nor do you see many Amish there either, even though it is on the skirts of Amish country in NE Ohio.

Speaking of Amish, after we left and had dinner I was able to crash in my cousin’s room at the Inn and make use of her jacuzzi-type tub for nearly an hour. The next day we all went to the next township over, Middlefield. The heart of Amish country in NE Ohio. We went to a number of small Amish shops run by them including the Original Amish Cheese factory, a large cooperative on the out skirts of Middlefield village, with just about any kind of cheese one would want. And then to a small shop on one of the farms that had baked goods, handmade clothes, handmade furniture and quilts. The quilts ! Beautifully done but pricey ! Maybe one day I will be able to get one when I have enough money. They are all handmade, so well worth it. Lots of Amish buggies.

My cousin seemed to know more of the Amish shops and where they were than I and I have been up here for four years. The last place we visited was a Mennonite chocolate factory where you could get just about any chocolate confection you would wish. And they are extra special delicious, I can tell you. Truly decadent.

After lunch at a local eatery, we went back to the Inn where I had a bit of a lay down and then said our good byes. I needed to get back to my place in Garfield Heights and take my medicine and such, they will be there another day and then return. Hopefully we can get together next year as well.

Culture of Resentment, Culture of Apartheid

By: cmaukonen Sunday August 24, 2014 2:32 pm

We Want White Tennants

Up through the mid 1960s segregation was the norm. Especially in  the southern states. Separate schools for black and white, separate housing for black and white, separate hospitals for black and white, separate restrooms for black and white, separate drinking fountains for black and white…separate everything for black and white. Nearly all of it of inferior quality.

Buy things were not much different across the Mason Dixon line where blacks and other minorities were kept out of decent jobs, hotels, health care and housing. Even parks and the downtown areas and public transportation.

This was a White Christian country and if you were not of that persuasion, you need not apply. Up here in Cleveland you rarely saw any minorities downtown unless the worked there. You never saw them in the big stores shopping or even at the drugstore soda fountain. You rarely saw them on the buses or the rapid transit.

After the passage of the civil rights acts and fair housing acts minorities could not legally be kept out of traditionally white areas. You began to see them downtown and in white neighborhood schools. White America responded by moving more and more to the suburbs. They could not legal have the restrictive covenants any more but kept housing prices hight and began real estate steering. Making sure minorities could not buy housing in their little all white enclaves. Banks would only lend for particular neighborhoods. Housing was still segregated.

As minorities began to move into these suburbs the whites moved further out. Into areas where the zoning laws were such that the property was much more expensive and multi family housing was limited or even forbidden altogether.

With the cities being abandoned by the white middle class and businesses, the Federal Government tried to revitalize them with what was called Urban Renewal. It had some successes but mostly failures. The whites would not bite and the minorities could not afford the new properties and banks had strict rules.  Even the FHA would not lend in most cases. All keeping the minorities in minority housing. Usually government projects of badly kept highrises and the tradition poor neighborhoods.

Now there is rumoured that the Obama administration will force integration of these white enclaves. By over riding local zoning laws. With the desegregation of local schools and health care and even parks, there is now heave resentment. And it’s exactly what these white enclaves feared would happen with the election of a black man. And of course they fear that this will add to the deflation of the housing value.

What is more they are losing the Federal Monies they got for their schools and hospitals and libraries and parks. And they are furious. The election of Obama was the last straw as far as they are concerned.

The ones who can, have been moving put of state to Florida or Arizona or Colorado or Minnesota in hopes of creating a mostly white “christian straight” state that the Federal Government cannot touch. Electing Senators and Representatives to say no to anything that might prevent this.

A lot of what people don’t get is that these whites don’t Hate blacks, they just don’t want them around. In their schools or parks or hospitals or neighborhoods or anywhere. It’s not only racism, but classism as well. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and I’ll bet even still Jews in some cases. And they surely do not want their taxes helping them.

And they are making sure to get the message out that minorities are not welcome.

Horse-pitals and Ferguson Missouri and the dollar

By: cmaukonen Thursday August 21, 2014 5:39 pm

Marymount Hospital

Went to the ER of the local hospital on Sunday afternoon because I wanted a problem looked at before my appointment with my health care provider on Tuesday afternoon.  I’d been having some fairly intense pain on my right side under my right arm pit and it seemed to be taking a awfully long time to heal. After all I have Medicare and a supplement and what the heck, may as well check it out just in case.

I had been in hospital a number of times. Mostly so so experiences  A few kind of horrible. So it goes. Was in hospital when I was 18 for a pretty bad motor scooter accident for 6 weeks in South Florida. That was the horrible one since I was in severe pain 4 or so of those weeks and very sick from it. Though I cannot entirely blame the hospital for this. It was small and the doctor who initially had my case – an orthopedist - took a powder the minute I started getting really sick. Fortunately he turned my case over to my family doctor who was significantly more astute and wise. The old country GP type who had moved to Fl. from up north some place.  The nursing staff though competent, was not that responsive or sympathetic. The care being adequate at best.

I was very happy to be discharged.

The second major occasion was when my mother had a heart attack. This was in Central Florida. Her post operative care was adequate at best. She had 3 stents put in and after a day or so, sent home.

The third occasion was an appendectomy I had. The ER experience was one mild interest bordering on disinterest by the ER staff. Though my surgeon was a very nice fellow and told me all about the procedure and what to expect and had a very good bed side manor.  He had been called by my primary doctor ahead of time and knew all about it. Acute appendicitis.  We talk and then eventually I was wheeled down to the OR, put to sleep and out it came. Laparoscopic surgery.

The fourth time was when my mother fell and broke her hip. She was admitted to the hospital and scheduled for surgery but her blood salt was very low and they would not do surgery until they were normal. She eventually had the surgery which went fine but would not release her until she had an normal BM. [Bowel movement] After many enemas she finally did and was released to a rehab facility. But she had contracted a bowel infection along the way. Clostridium difficile which killed her. This did upset me greatly because of the circumstances and the lack of medical competence. Why when she had trouble with her BM did they NOT investigate as to why ? Why was there no a CT done ? Or wasn’t an internal medicine specialist consulted ?

The fifth time was recently as stated above. The ER staff was very competent and very nice and caring but focused on my heart rather than my pains. I can understand this. For one thing cardiology and heart problems are their thing but it would have been nice if they listened more to understand and less to respond. The stay was as pleasant as one could expect under the circumstances. I had the whole cardiac bit with numerous EKGs. Blood workups. Three just to check c-reactive-protein to make sure I did not have a heart attack now or recently. Echo-cardiogram with EKG and a chemical stress test.

All turned out just fine. But the care was great. Nurses coming in not just to take my vitals and draw blood but to make sure I was comfortable, had enough ice water, get me a snack since it was a bit late for dinner and I had mine already anyway. Explain what test I would have and why and when. One even to take my medical history and that of my family. The doctors and technicians came in to explain the procedures and why. The cardiologist on call came in and told me he did not think my problem was heart related since my EKG(s) looked fine but wanted the test done anyway just to make sure. I had not had them done for a number of years, so it really was about time.

My only real problem in that area was high BP when in a stressed or anxious situation. A family thing that my brothers, sisters and cousins all have.  The procedures went well and the people were very nice.

And here is the thing. Not once was payment mentioned. While in the ER a lady came in, I pointed her to my plastic, she took it and did her thing. Whereas in Florida one of the very first things you see is the finance person. And you better have access to money or insurance.

This is where the reference to the events in Ferguson come in and one of the glaring differences between Northern cities and the South.

It’s an attitude and belief that everyone – especially the government – is out to rip them off and enslave them. WHY…because it’s exactly what they would do if give half a chance.  After all, that’s exactly what the federal government has done in the past. And they feel completely justified in this. Since they were ripped off by those damn Yankees before.

They treat blacks and black protesters like filth since that is exactly the way they expect to be treated under similar circumstances and often were.

This attitude is very pervasive in the south and lingers still. It infects nearly everything even health care. Seeing all those they deem below them as malingerers at best.

I was fortunate in that I had a health care provider that had as little use for the hospitals in Florida as I did and saw to it that I spent as little time there as necessary.

I am very fortunate now that I live in an area and have a health care provider that I have a good relationship with and the hospitals are actually concerned about the patients.

I really do not know what can be done about this but it’s a split that is fracturing the country.

The biggest difference in hospital treatment was the ones in Florida were focused on their bottom line instead of the patient. And protecting it at all costs. Even to the patient.

It’s not that I condone their behavior. It is what it is.

And because I like the song.