A Poem for the US Supreme Court

Surprise! Members of our Holier-than-thou Supreme Court have been caught meeting, eating and praying with billionaires and their lackeys, and leaking decisions to them so they could get their PR ready. See the NYT story about the same. Here’s a poem for the priestly class wannabees.

This is from Blake’s Songs of Experience:

The Chimney Sweeper


A little black thing among the snow, 

Crying “weep! ‘weep!” in notes of woe! 

“Where are thy father and mother? say?” 

“They are both gone up to the church to pray. 

Because I was happy upon the heath, 

And smil’d among the winter’s snow, 

They clothed me in the clothes of death, 

And taught me to sing the notes of woe. 

And because I am happy and dance and sing, 

They think they have done me no injury, 

And are gone to praise God and his Priest and King, 

Who make up a heaven of our misery.” 

Blake, Songs of Experience

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Black Cherry Salt Grinder

As an afterthought to making the three Pepper grinders as gifts, I made a Salt grinder for ourselves. This one is also made from green wood, and turned on the foot-powered lathe. A scrap piece was made into a small Christmas ornament.

The reason for purchasing a salt grinding mechanism was simple–it was either that, or pay for shipping on the pepper mills. The price of the grinder was almost exactly the price I needed to reach the free shipping total, and this ceramic grinder looked far better than that used in my previous attempt at making one. The other was such a piece of junk, that I threw it away, and I hardly ever throw away anything.

After turning the two pieces for the body, I let both dry for a couple of weeks before doing anything further. This worked well, as well as better than the Sourwood pepper grinders that I made in less time. The finish, which is Blonde shellac, turned out to be nice and shiny.

I broke this in using it on some fried eggs for our three times a week breakfast muffins. My usual pinches of salt from our salt cellar always results in salt scattered all over the stove, and the cutting board the cellar sits on. This time, no mess to clean up, and super fine ground salt. Another great mechanism for Chef’s Specialties of Pennsylvania.

Barely Scraping By, Part Two–A Trio Of Scrapers

When Jacques Pépin began work as a chef in France at the age of thirteen, one of his first tasks was to scrape flesh off of the bones of cooked pieces of meat. Said scraps were then made into rillettes, pates, terrines, and other meat paste delicacies. Then the bones were used for stock. Waste not, want not.

The same sense of economy makes me a huge fan of scrapers. Sandpaper is expensive, and a disposable product as well. The fact that sander dust is a carcinogen doesn’t help the comparison. A scraper which is the cost of a few packs of sandpaper can do literally thousands of scrapping jobs.

Here are three models of scrapers. The big green machine on the lower left is a Kunz #12, a near exact copy of the old Stanley #12. This German made edition is ideal for larger jobs, like the Walnut table top I am currently refinishing. The list price is a hefty $169, but I found this one on flea bay for $25. Being a miser has its advantages. The design is circa 1870, which was the heyday of hand tool design.

Directly above that is the classic Stanley #80 cabinet scraper. This flea market purchase was only a couple of bucks, and these things literally never wear out. The #80 has a more sensitive adjustment mechanism the the #12, and is capable of doing very fine work.

The most versatile of scrapers is the Stanley #82 on the right, which can use any size or shape scraper blade. The current blade in use is the classic Bahco (Sandvick) Swedish card scraper. The #82 will prove very handy when I start my upcoming chair seat carving projects.

When primitive man scraped meat off of animal bones, did they make terrines out of it? Doubtful. However, they certainly used scrapers as one of the earliest tools. They were also barely scraping by.


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