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The answer to the question seems obvious; how else would offspring get genetic contributions from both parents? This answer just raises another question; why is it important that offspring be constructed from the genetic contribution of two, usually unrelated parents? The accepted answer to this second question is that combining the genes of two unrelated parents promotes genetic diversity, which is recognized to be health and fitness enhancing both in the individual and the population.

The findings of the Human Genome Project make this answer a little more complex.

Decoding of the entire genome of a few selected individuals would…


Possible that you need to look up the definition, you obviously don't know it. I'll make it easy for you though, a fiat currency is one that is not backed up by specie (look it up), gold for example. Of course both gold and BTC are "worth" what people are willing to pay for them, their value is a function of human belief. Now gold HAS a couple of practical uses, which means that it HAS a value based in measurable reality. What would you say the practical use of BTC is? …


Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

The door into Michael’s arts and crafts doesn’t feel like a portal to “high art”. Crafting seems to be for dilettantes while the modern “artist” often seems to sneer at the practice of craft. To me, art and craft are inseparable. It’s just not possible to make quality art without mastery of your craft, and while not all products of craft are works of art, all pieces of art are products of craft.

Fiction, poetry, even the most prosaic piece of writing can be art as well, and hard to produce without mastery of the craft of writing. The woodworker…


I'm pretty much a finish idiot, have used BLO with wax over for my tool handles which leaves a sexy smooth matte finish, is traditional but probably needs maintenance. I have used various polys on carpentry projects, trim, stair parts, but I want a home friendly set of go to finishes. Polymerizing oils like BLO, Watco and some Tung oil finishes interest me but I want them without the nasty drying agents. The Real Milk Paint Co. has some cool looking products. Which brings me back to seed Lac...mix your own shellac as needed, easily repaired if somewhat vulnerable to hot wet vessels, always the undercoat for violins/guitars. My old luthier buddies made both their shellac and their varnish.


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Set and Setting in the Sixties

There were two schools of psychedelia in the late sixties, the Baba Ram Das/Timothy Leary East Coast spiritual school, and the West Coast Ken Kesey blow your mind school. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area so of course I was loyal to the Prankster dharma, the let it wail, superhero mindset. At the League for Spiritual Discovery, Leary and Ram Das would carefully manage what they called set and setting, the guided psychedelic trip that is very similar to the therapeutic and personal growth trips resurgent today. Out west we tended to “drop” a tab and then drop…


Everything Old is New Again

For uncounted generations people have passed their trades and crafts down from the old and experienced to the young and eager. The industrial revolution dismantled this reality and remanufactured it, substituting interchangeable parts for hand fitted ones, and user manuals for traditional knowledge passed from teacher to student. Woodworkers once learned from journeymen, or if they were lucky, from masters. In the process they developed a carpenter’s eye capable of visualizing the increments of length rather than just transferring them from a measuring tape, hands that felt fine gradations of thickness with a well tutored finger, not a feeler gauge.


The Beast

How Far Gone is Too Far Gone?

Not long after I plunged into hand tool wood working I realized I would need some hand tools. I had minimally restored the Stanley #7 joiner plane that started this madness, jointed and glued up the 2x4s for the top of my low Roman Work Bench (thanks Rex Krueger), and now I needed to flatten and smooth that top. Off to Ebay for some shopping, and before too long I had a fairly clean #5, also known as a “jack plane” to whip into shape. …


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One can be good, the other can be dangerous

For all the news of the recent thaw between Israel and Arab states like Saudi Arabia I’ve seen no mention of the sort of alliance forming from these deals. The Trump administration chose to hold Saudi Arabia close, so close that the U.S. wouldn’t lodge a protest over the Saudi murder and dismemberment of journalist and U.S. resident, Jamal Koshoggi. With the addition of Bahrain, the UAE and Sudan to the list of Muslim countries making deals with Israel, the Trump administration has established a clear strategic thrust, possibly on purpose.


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How about reparations for the 20th century?

I’ve been doing my pandemic house cleaning lately and I stop every so often to peruse an artifact dug up from the rubble; a week ago it was my Mom’s 1947 UCLA year book. I flipped to the index listing the pages where the undergrads could be seen, and riffling through to find her Freshman Class Vice President pic I became aware of the sea of white faces.


Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

This Ill Wind Blew Some Good My Way

Four decades ago I spent a summer in the Oregon mountains harvesting wood for bowed instruments like violins, violas and string basses. The tops of these instruments, also called bellies, are carved from spruce, a light coniferous wood with a superior weight to strength ratio. I worked with a brilliant and crazy old guy who taught me the careful selection necessary for this kind of timber. We would use an “increment borer” to drill the trunk and extract a core section, looking for evenly and closely spaced growth rings. He would turn a practiced eye up the tree to calculate…

John Griswold

Master carpenter, watercolor artist, beat up old jock and somewhat reluctant care giver, owned by Black Lab Bo who considers two tennis balls a minimum mouthful

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