1/31/2011

The Origin of the Modern Sledgehammer (entirely made up by me)

     The modern sledgehammer is a very useful tool, most commonly used for driving spikes, cracking nuts, and de-braining enemies. Yet despite the appreciation felt for such a tool, few of its users seem to understand the many centuries, even millenniums that have built up to the sledgehammer we use today. The hard work, sweat, toil and bloodshed that went into the making of our modern sledgehammer, have been all too easily forgotten, to the point that hardly anyone  knows where it originated.
If you were to ask the average man on the streets where his sledgehammer came from, he would reply that it was made in China. If he was further pressed about where and when the sledgehammer was invented, he would simply state, “I don’t know.” As sledgehammer expert Ryan Mackenzie says, “In the average man’s brain, there is a pitiful lack of information on the sledgehammer.”
    However, as Mackenzie goes on to state, there is actually a large store of information on the sledgehammer, with more being discovered each day.
    It is believed that the first sledgehammer was created five thousand years ago, as cave paintings of this date show stick figures of men carrying an early type of the sledgehammer. These early sledgehammers consisted merely of a heavy stone, which was aimed carefully at an object, and then bodily slammed into it. John Macy of the Sledgehammer Research Association (SRA), defines these early models as, “effective but crude.”
    This opinion was evidently shared by the users of this sledgehammer, as they went on to add handles to their tools. However, it is noted that these handles were very clumsily affixed to the heads; and that the heads tended to escape the handles quite often, flying in unpredictable directions. As this made working with sledgehammers very dangerous, the handle was abandoned for a period of time.
    Later on, perhaps several hundred years later, a method of shaping the sledgehammer stones was developed, in order to make aiming easier and safer. These first shaped stones were not impressive, but the method was continually refined, particularly as the sledgehammer craftsmen came into being.
    Benjamin Harding, also of the SRA specializes in the study of these sledgehammer craftsmen. Harding indicates that these men were one of the single most important factors in the development of the sledgehammer. “They were truly remarkable,” he says. “They persistently adjusted and refined the tool far more than the average man ever would have done. In a large sense, we owe it to them, that we still have the sledgehammer today.” 
     With such men at the helm of sledgehammer development, it was not long before the handle made it’s second appearance. This time it caught on for good, and ‘sledge-stones’, as Macy calls them, became a thing of the past.
    Craftsmen continued to develop the tool, shaping both the handle and head to perfection. Indeed, with such perfection, the story of the sledgehammer might have ended here, if man had not discovered iron, steel, and their uses.
    As with all tools, the sledgehammer underwent a great change as more and more was discovered about metal and how to use it. Over the natural course of time, the sledgehammer craftsman disappeared, and the making of sledgehammers became the duty of those who worked with metal, such as the blacksmith.
    The heads, now made of metal, were much more durable than their stone counterparts. Sledgehammers continued to be a valuable tool, and soon became a favorite worldwide. Since then, sledgehammers have been used for a variety of tasks, from building things such as railroads and bridges, to tearing them down again.
    Today sledgehammers are made in factories. The heads are made of iron and steel, with the best shape for delivering the most accurate and forceful blows. The handles are made of wood or metal, and shaped for maximum grip and comfort. Truly the sledgehammer has become one of the greatest tools in the world.
    In conclusion, no one says it better than Ryan Mackenzie when he declares that “The sledgehammer is truly a triumph of ancient ingenuity, and modern technology. May people the world over always have a place for it as they carry out their tasks.”

1/28/2011

Hurray for me!

I am proud of myself. I finally made enough blog posts to make two pages! Ha to certain boys who made fun of my blog. And I figured out all by myself how to change the background to the lovely birds, and how add photos, and how to edit my profile, and how to follow my friend's blog. Well, maybe I had a little help from Sam on the photos. Okay, a lot. But!... From now on I know how to do it myself. Hurray! I am beginning to discover that I actually am talented and intelligent. Just kidding. I only said that to push people's buttons. (a bad habit of mine) Some of my friends and relatives don't like it if I say I'm stupid. I guess that's a good thing. :-)

My Stolen Rights

Seeing as I am the oldest child, and also the only girl, I am naturally a bossy boots. The sad thing is, my brothers are not easy to boss. In fact, sometimes they upset the natural order of things, and boss me! That, of course, is unacceptable. Oldest children have an inherent right to be bossy. However, it’s quite impertinent for a younger child to assume they do!
    I remember the day Sam decided he no longer had to obey me. It was pretty awful. I cried. We must have been around seven and eight; we were going to play a game, and he was going to be the monkey. I’m not sure what kind of game it was, but it involved a monkey. Unfortunately, Sam did not want to be the monkey. I thought it was simple: I had told him to be the monkey, so he would be the monkey. But tragically, it had just dawned on Sam that he didn’t have to obey me, and so he refused to be the monkey. And that’s how my reign of bossiness ended.
    There’s still the two younger boys, but they were kind of spoiled by Sam’s example. Consequently, I can boss all I want, but nobody listens to me. It’s rather depressing, and I wonder, “why did this happen to me?” I know lots of girls my age who are still bossing their brothers. On the other hand, their brothers aren’t named Sam, and that makes a difference.
    Anyway, I thought I would share that with you. I think I’m scarred for life by it. Maybe I should go to therapy to help me work through the trauma. On the other hand, maybe not. Maybe I should send my brothers to therapy. They’re the ones with the problem. I mean, I’m quite capable of fulfilling my role as Chief Bossy Boots. They just won’t accept their role as The Ones To Be Bossed.
    I really don’t understand it. What did I ever do? Maybe I should become a baby-sitter, and vent my pent-up bossiness on poor innocent children. No, that’s not fair. I should just work up my courage, and persist in bossing my brothers, and they will just have to accept that. No, that won’t work either... Well, just forget I brought it up. My case is hopeless. I’ll just *sniff*, be nice to them and, *sniff*, try not to cry because my.... Waaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

                            I’m okay. Really, I’m okay. I’m sorry if I got hysterical. I’m okay, I’m okay...

1/27/2011

Modern Day Confederates

    When I was little, Abraham Lincoln was my hero, and I believed that the war was about slavery, and freeing the slaves. Consequently, I was quite sure that the Union was right, and the Confederates were wrong. It was perfectly clear and logical to me. I never knew that there were people who saw it differently; and I was quite shocked when I encountered people who called themselves Confederates, and thought it ridiculous that I would take the Union’s side.
    I had many debates and arguments with my ‘Confederate’ friends about it, and I imagine I made quite a pest of myself. I did start to learn that the Civil War was a lot more complex than I thought, and that was good for me. It didn’t change my opinion much, though. Maybe there were people who were fighting for state’s rights, but so what? The underlying issue was still slavery. And as for state’s rights, the only reason Southerners were kicking up a fuss was because they wanted state’s rights to practice slavery.
    When I got tired of arguing, I just stated happily that the war was over, so it didn’t really matter whether they were Confederates or not. I think for the most part, that’s my opinion now. The war is over, and the Confederates lost it. As to what it was about, or who was right, that’s hard to say. I don’t think any war is ever about one issue or event. It turns into a big tangle of issues and events, and no one quite knows how to fit them together. Who knows what exactly the leaders were fighting for, much less what each soldier out of millions of soldiers were fighting for?
    What I do know is that the Union was fighting to preserve the country, and to resolve once and for all issues that had been festering since the beginning of our country. And I’m quite positive that the biggest issue was slavery. Am I still glad that Lincoln abolished slavery, and that the Union won? You better believe it! I may be a little more vague about what I think, but it does always seem to come down to that, and that’s why I will never be a Confederate.  
   

1/26/2011

A Lie for a Life?


I understand the importance of telling the truth, and I know that lying is a sin; but what if someone’s life is at stake? Would you lie in order to save someone’s life? I’m almost positive I would. For example, suppose you were in the place of Corrie Ten Boom. I imagine she had to lie more than once to protect the lives of the people she was hiding. Does that make her any less a hero? I don’t think so. In fact, maybe it makes her more of one, because she was willing to tell a lie for the sake of others.
                Then of course, there’s Rahab in the Bible, who hid the spies on her roof: she lied to save them. And then there’s my favorite story about the midwives in Exodus, who refused to throw the baby boys in the Nile, and told pharaoh it was “because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can get to them.” I love that. It’s such a creative lie, and I have always admired them for it.
                   Once  I had a conversation with someone about this same topic. She said that it wouldn’t be acceptable to tell a lie, wrong never makes right, God is in charge of someone’s life anyway, and he can take care of it, etc. etc. But guess what? It specifically says that God blessed the midwives for what they did, and only Rahab and her family were saved from the destruction of Jericho, because of what she did for the spies. Make of that what you will.
                I would sound a lot more righteous if I said I would never tell a lie, even to save a life. However, my personal opinion is that God would overlook a little lie in such a situation. Besides, how could you ever live with yourself if someone died because you were such a stickler for truth? Besides, if you were concerned about telling a lie, you could always refuse to say anything. I don’t believe the Bible lists that as a sin. If it does, I’m a worst sinner than I thought. :-)




P.S. Thankfully nobody depends on me to save their life. Just thought I'd mention that. ;-)


A walk with Piper in the snow.

Piper playing in the snow.

She moved her head, right when it took the pic. Aren't her gold ears so pretty?

Piper's idea of a walk. I walk on the paths, and she runs off and pokes around.

Awww!!

I tried to take a picture of us, and she licked my face, of course.

Say hello to Matilda!


1/25/2011

Eutychus

 Note: in order for this to make sense, read the post below first. Thank you. :-)
Oopsie-doodles. Jefferson has already disappeared. I am re-naming him Eutychus, after the guy in the Bible who fell out of the window. I had to look that up. Dad knew what his name was, but of course he couldn't spell it. Poor Eutychus. First he fell out of the window, and now we can't even spell his name. At least Matilda is still in the lawn chair sporting her stocking cap, Hawaiian lei, and celery stick arms. Hopefully the dogs won't eat her. Tune in tomorrow for the next post on the fate of the Hawaiian snowman, and her cousin, the window-dwelling Eutychus.

Late night snowmen

Tonight it snowed. Sam and I made snowmen in the dark when we put the dogs to bed. The one on the front porch in the lawn chair is named Matilda, and the tiny one we put on the sill, peeping through the boy's window is named Jefferson. Sam said his name was Jack, but that's too boring. The little boys should be surprised, providing Jefferson doesn't fall off his perch in the night. Also I will post a photo of Jefferson and Matilda tomorrow, if they don't come to calamity. Can't take pics now because it's dark, and the boys (Ben and Jason) are asleep already. Happy snow evening to us! See you tomorrow...

Complicated History

Sometimes I wonder about history. How do we know that’s the way it happened?  Why do we trust the account of a historian who wasn’t even there? In the same way, why do we trust the accounts of people who were there? Almost everything someone remembers, someone else remembers differently. And who’s to say which person is right, or is telling the truth? Maybe neither of them are, or maybe both of them are. It starts to seem like history is just an enormous bundle of perspectives. Someone had this perspective, someone had this one. Someone said this was fact, someone said this was.
    We all know that humans lie, and exaggerate, and twist things. Not only that, every single human being has their own opinion on things. So the people who were present have their own opinion, the people who listened to those opinions have their own opinions, the people who finally wrote it down as history have their own opinions, and the people who read the history have their own opinions!
    Stories and situations get complicated enough when they’re happening right now, in front of your very eyes. And the more people and opinions and perspectives you add, the more complicated it gets. If history is the story of the whole world, think how complicated that is. 
    I’m not saying that history is useless or unreliable; in fact I find it fascinating, and I think it’s important for us to know it well. It is interesting to wonder though... 

1/24/2011

Minis!!!!

I love miniatures. Don't ask why, because I don't know. It's a strange obsession. And several years ago, I found out that not only are there wonderful things called minis, you can actually make them yourself! Hurray! So anyway, I thought I would share the minis I've made with you. Or at least the ones that are halfway decent. :-)
This is my orange-shaped teapot. It's made out of polymer clay.

My round robin teapot.

A new twist on paper quilling. Hopefully you can tell that these are tulips :-)

A house plant of some sort.

A round hatbox made out of cardstock.

One of my favorites, a yellow piggy bank

Cinnamon rolls. Yum!

Baskets, obviously

Another amazing quilling creation :-)

 In real life, this clown toy would have a bell inside, and wobble around and make annoying noises. :-)

Cake made out of polymer clay. The powdered sugar is ground up chalk. Delicious, huh?

Summer sausage

Salad, for healthiness.

My best pieces of fruit. I had another pear, but the stem broke off. :-(


1/22/2011

Learning how to post photos...

Today I'm experimenting with posting photos, (with a little help). This is my little brother Ben.

This is Sam's German Shepherd puppy Phoebe. She's quite a bit bigger now, this is her a month or so ago.

Here's all the boys on a backhoe. Sam's orange, Ben's blue, Jason's red, and the one with the beard is Dad :-)

This is Phoebe again, with my dog Piper. They have an interesting relationship.
By the way, their eyes aren't really that color. It's just the camera.


This is Jason :-)

Somehow I got two of these on here...

1/21/2011

Good Things

Laughing, or making someone laugh
Hugging a puppy
Pretending anything and everything you want to
Arriving where you’re going
Being outrageously creative
Smiling because you can’t help it
Using words to say something well
Knowing what grace is
Finding your new absolute favorite book
Dreaming about all the lovely things that could happen to you
Waving at airplanes or helicopters
Getting a letter from a friend
Doing things that make your little brothers giggle, (even if they are boys!)
Using words that aren’t actually words
Giggling helplessly for fifteen minutes straight
Knowing people who love unconditionally
Watching old television shows
Having a good argument with somebody
Going to bed late, and sleeping in
Being okay with who you are
Exploring antique stores
Having a private joke with yourself
Writing a good story
Staying up until you’re slaphappy
Stepping out to a day that makes you smile
Doing things simply for your own satisfaction. :-)

My first blog post! (written Jan. 17)

My brothers were sadly unimpressed by the announcement that I was going to start a blog. They said things like,
    “What are you going to do with a blog?” “Why would somebody want to read about you?” So I stuck my nose in the air and said,
    “I’ll have you know I’m doing it simply for my own satisfaction!” And thus the name of my blog came into being. Of course then I had to create the blog, and I got very exceedingly frustrated and annoyed, because I don’t know how to customize the backgrounds and stuff, and all of the usual backgrounds are boring and un-unique. Un-unique is not a word, but it describes their stupid backgrounds and colors and stuff very well.
    Anyway, moving on to happier subjects, I came up with a password, and then I forgot it. Wait, that’s not happier! And to make it even worse, our e-mail is down, and so I have no way to ask what it was. I thought about just starting over, but my wonderful name has already been taken, (by me, the little jerk.)

    Sigh. It’s no wonder my brothers were unimpressed by my high ambitions. I am determined, however, that the story of my blog is going to have a happy ending. Or should I say a happy ending to the beginning. I’d rather not have an ending because that would mean I’ve lost my password for good!
    Well, eventually our e-mail will have to work again, and then I can get my password, and then I can sign in and post this on my blog, and then you will know that my troubles are over, except you’ll only just be hearing of them!