politics (45)

99 Years Ago…

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

–H.L. Mencken,
Baltimore Evening Sun
July 26, 1920

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On the Road Again – NYC

Just landed in Newark. I got a business class ticket with United frequent flier miles. So this is how the rich and mighty travel. Boy! Priority check in, Boeing 757, seat that reclines to flat position. So comfortable.

I watched “The Post,” about the Pentagon Papers, the stories in the New York Times and Washington Post in 1971 that revealed the lies of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon/Kissinger administrations about the Vietnam war.

The press prevailed when the Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of freedom of the press. I felt great sadness thinking that the good guys prevailed back then, and that we are in the midst of this horrible nightmare right now with just about every decent thing bering unravelled by this corrupt, bigoted administration. I try to stay away from politics in this blog, but every once in a while, it comes bubbling up. Believe me, I refrain a lot; I bite my tongue. I dread reading the paper each morning.

Onward: Then I watched “Bending it for Beckham,” a happy, feel-good film, which ended just as we touched down (and just after this sunrise).

I come to NYC once a year, partially for Book Expo America and maybe largely because I love the city. This was the red-eye flight, landing at 5:30 AM. I can never sleep on airplanes, and my M.O. is to not nap, stay up until nighttime east coast time. That plus some vigorous walking (or running) eliminates jet lag. Today being Memorial Day, I’ll drop off my luggage (Super Shuttle $25) get some coffee in the Village, and head out to Brooklyn for the King’s County Memorial day Parade in Bay Ridge (in its i51st year). I do love parades.

Stay tuned for the adventures of the west coast boy in the east coast metropolis. I am excited!

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The Lost Files

I was looking through one of my many filing cabinets (which contain old school file folders containing papers and photos) the other day and discovered about 15 folders on a book I started to write in the late ’70s. It was going to be called Home Work* and was about my building experiences, starting with my first building (studio with a “living roof” in 1962), then building homes over the next 17-18 years. I took them out of the filing cabinet and put them in this box:

Back then, I felt that I could offer guidance to novice builders, based on the fact that I started building from scratch. No carpentry training or previous construction experience.

I’d made a lot of mistakes that I could warn first-time builders about, and I had ideas for simple homes based on practicality and economy– and ones that felt good.

I wanted to encourage people to use their own hands to build their own homes. I’d done it, and never had a bank mortgage or paid rent.

The project got interrupted by my publishing Stretching by Bob Anderson in 1980 and then 20 years of publishing fitness books. Karma, I guess.

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Letter From a Prisoner

A letter like this makes it all seem worthwhile. This is from a prisoner at a multi-security prison in New Hampshire. We sent him 3 building books. (We have a long-standing policy of sending free books to any inmates that request them.)

I apologize for the delay in responding to your last letter. It’s just that you left me in a state of shock, so all I can say is: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

It is easy to become dehumanized in this place. After a while we all buy into the rhetoric about how useless we are, So when someone comes along and does something that reminds us that we are still human and worth something (if only in the hearts of a few), it can be disorienting.

Thank you for disorienting me!

I have finished with all three books, and they have now been donated to our library. I have an entire composition book full of notes and designs based on these books.With the present status of my case, I have no idea when I am getting out. However, when I do get out, I will have a plan, and your books will have been a significant contributor to that plan. Who knows, maybe I’ll build something that will eventually appear in one of your future books.

Anyway thank you! Not only for helping me, but for creating a ray of hope for others in this place.

Shalom aleichem,

JZ

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