Book Corner 2019.47

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Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

From Wikipedia: “Edward Joseph Snowden is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA…”

He is now living in Russia, as he is wanted in the US for espionage. Here’s his very engrossing story of how and why he did what he did. Once he decided on the right thing to do, and once he decided that he’d actually do it, there was no turning back. It’s amazing to hear the tenacity it took him to get all the incriminating information together, and get it out of the NSA without being detected; he used a smartphone and a tiny chip. He flew to Hong Kong to make his revelation, and waited a painful number of days for the appropriate journalists to fly out and meet him and get his story out to the world. From there he tried to get to Ecuador, but was detained in Russia, and there he stays.

He does use a lot of acronyms and go into a lot of technical detail, but does a pretty good job of simplifying it and not letting his story get bogged down.

There’s a happy ending. His girlfriend eventually joined him in Russia and married him. She does seem like a keeper, if the two make an apparently odd pair – he’s a techno guy, she’s some kind of artist into yoga and pole dancing. Whatever; they met on the website HotOrNot, and the rest was history. ( )

Doubling Down

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This was a couple of nights ago.  There are only five things on that plate:

  • Carrots from my garden
  • Kale from my garden
  • Pasta from Grand Isle, VT
  • Butter from Cabot, VT
  • Garlic from…  Sara.  “Blue Apron”  – so god knows where.

The beer is from our visit to Ellsworth, ME.

Doubling down on local food.

Vermont Sheep & Wool 2019

I never posted anything about the Fair.  Let’s talk about the handspun contest.  Since the Fair theme this year was rare breeds, you got extra points for spinning a Shave ’em to Save ’em breed fleece.  Well, I was already doing that!  All I had to do was make sure I conformed to one of their categories.  I chose “medium-weight plied.”

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Second place!  OK, it was tied for second.  And there may well have been only four entrants.  But even so, it came in better than third place!  You gotta be in it to win it.

OK, let’s move on to the feedback.  Turns out the judge is the same guy who buys mohair for us from Green Mountain Spinnery.  The comments say, “Color – good!  Tighter ply would be more balanced.”  This is appropriate and unsurprising feedback given my experience, as I never ply, but I dye all the time.

I got 4 points out of 5 for “Aesthetics,” “Originality,” and “Complexity”.  3 points for “Mastery of Craft,” as I suck at plying.  I got 5 points for 100% heritage breed fiber.  And I get a zillion points for participating, because that’s what it’s all about.

Speaking of “it’s participating that counts,” it wasn’t a very profitable year for my booth.  Maybe it’s because the needle felting craze has come and gone.  Maybe my Greener Shades colors weren’t so much eye-candy as my Pro Chem ones used to be.  It wasn’t lack of attendance – the gate keeps increasing every year, they report.  I’ll chalk a bit of the loss up to my location, though.  I am close to but no longer on the end – they put some bunnies there!!  And my space was miniscule.  It was so narrow that once my table was in place, you could only fit one person wide in front of it.  And unfortunately, I made a bad choice of orientation on the first day, having my mohair face away from my own pen.  That meant it was facing the next pen, which was Shetland sheep being peddled by two sweet grandmas (I believe the farm name was “Two Grandmas Farm” or something thereabouts).  Two CHATTY grandmas.  I’ve never seen people so interested in Shetland sheep.  People were constantly in my space to look at the sheep and chat chat chat with the grandmas.  At one point, one of the grandmas herself was not only in my space, but leaning on my merchandise obliviously while she chatted away.

I think this cut down on impulse buys, since nobody could see my full display or comfortably come in half the time.  I remedied the orientation on Sunday, but Saturday is the big day to sell.

 

Book Corner 2019.46

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The Unknown Rockwell by James “Buddy” Edgerton and Nan O’Brien

Interesting as a slice-of-life memoir of a rural Vermont childhood spanning the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I never knew or had much interest in Norman Rockwell, so the links to the famous guy were just part of the picture for me. I had to Google the images of many of the illustrations to which the author referred, not being at all familiar with them – then I discovered that many are included among the photos in the book’s middle.

For background, this is the memoir of someone who grew up next door to the Rockwell family in Arlington, Vermont. It’s written as a recollection in vignettes by “Buddy” Edgerton as an old man, with assistance from a writer. Some of the vignettes were rather dull. “That’s just the way he was” as the tag line, describing Norman, got a little old by the end. Edgerton tries to make you feel that his life really was a Rockwell painting come to life; not just because he, his family, and his neighbors were models for so many pictures, but because life really was like that. I found myself buying it; then I remembered facts like the fact that Buddy, the Boy Scout model for so many illustrations, was never a Boy Scout. What other things are left out of the story, perhaps uncomfortable things? Vermonters don’t talk about uncomfortable things – that was made very clear.

But I love memoirs, and this one will make me look twice next time I see an old Vermonter or read one’s obituary. ( )