Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Read the News Backwards

If there's a gruesome crime today in Florida, Nebraska or even the Yukon I can count on the media to tell me about it before bedtime and again the next morning, and for days on end if the story is good enough. But will I ever hear about the fireman who saved a life, the teacher who helped a troubled child, the farmer who cleared his debts, or the woman who survived breast cancer in those places?
What good is news about people and places we have little notion of, and are not likely to ever meet? Information without intention is only gossip. That was the opinion of Henry David Thoreau nearly 150 years ago:
"If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, we need never read of another. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for the myriad instances and applications?"

Continued at... Read the News Backwards

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past: Thoreau
Artwork: Farmer 1931

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Any Given Name

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Juliet, upon her balcony, wishes Romeo would give up his family name and change it to some other. He, in turn, offers to be "new baptiz'd" with some other name than Montague? But does he follow through? Does he change either his Romeo or his Montague? Naw.

Not for love or for the sake of their two warring families do the star-crossed lovers change their names. They'll go to any extreme, even drink poison if they must, to avoid that end.

What's in a name? Just about everything

Continued at... Any Given Name

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Artwork: What's in a Name?
Out of the Past: What's in a Name?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

For the Love of Tractors

Many old-timers came of age in the seat of an Allis-Chalmers, a Farmall or even a Poppin' Johhny. Wisconsin folk historian Jerry Apps' first tractor was a homemade contraption sculpted from the remains of old trucks, spare parts and down-home know-how.

Apps was only eight years old at the time and the tractor was the creation of a local welder-blacksmith, Jim Colligan, who fashioned it from an old Model A Ford truck.
"He shortened the truck's frame. In place of regular truck tires, he acquired a pair of huge old tires that the county discarded from one of its snowplows," Apps recalls. "Colligan bolted these tires to the truck wheels and left them flat, to provide more traction for the tractor. With some sheet metal, he fashioned a hood to cover the engine, and he made a seat for the operator to sit on. He covered the whole thing with aluminum paint and drove it out to the farm one summer day in 1942."

Continued at... For the Love of Tractors

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Old Iron Disease

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Canine Alter Ego

When Ulysses, that ancient Greek king, returned home in disguise after being on the road for twenty years only his faithful dog -- Argos -- recognized the hero in beggar's clothing.
External trappings don't mean much to the canine species. Rich or poor, famous or ordinary, your dog still responds to character and performance. There's no fooling Fido.
"The fact that dogs haven't given up on humans completely and still make people their friends shows there must be some hope for the human race," said President Lyndon Johnson, whose beagles stood by him despite that awful ear pulling.

This ability to see beneath the surface of humans probably explains why dogs, almost invariably, resemble their masters.

Continued at... Canine Alter Ego

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Pet Supply
Artwork: President Lyndon Johnson Pulling Dogs' Ears