less than a single angular degree
Wednesday, February 19 2003
I was working on more finishing details in the house today, more odds and ends that I've been putting off. It was amazing how much better the bedroom collar ties looked after I'd painted them with white primer.
Meanwhile I had CNN on the television to see how this build up to war is being propagandized. The issues being discussed were largely restricted to technical matters of American troop deployment and what Tom Ridge suggested we might do in the case of an unspecified terrorist attack. Compared to the sort of news coverage with which I am familiar (the internet and public radio), it was the visual/auditory equivalent of frosted rice crispies - visually stimulative, particularly for children or someone of limited mental facility, but altogether unsubstantial for anyone with a logical or inquiring mind. In this highly-simplified, emotionally-driven format, the easiest thing to do is tell Americans we're the only nation that matters while making the administration's case for war. Sadly, this is precisely the sort of news coverage best suited to the collection of eyeballs and thus the placement of advertising. It reflects an underlying defect in the human brain, one that allows tyrannies to rise unchallenged from the foundations of democracy and supposed press freedom. The only glimmer of hope in all of this is the globalizing effect of the internet, which places the interests of chest-thumping American patriots (and the eye-candy they consider news) in a distinct global minority.
Later this evening I finally began the long-delayed "top of the stairs bannister project." I'd been dithering on how to do this for weeks, not having any easy technique for bolting an upright solidly to the floor. But today I'd bought a couple ten inch lag bolts from Hertzog hardware in Kingston. These were two full inches longer than the lag bolts offered by Lowes or P&T Surplus, and finally I had hardware substantial enough to be worth trying. I cut out a four inch square of carpet and then, to this exposed subfloor, I bolted a three-foot tall oak four by four using one of the bolts. It worked better even than I'd expected, holding the four by four so tightly that I could only manage to wiggle it back and forth less than a single angular degree.
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