Saturday, February 3, 2018
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Length: 248 pages plus index
Illustrations: several black-and-white photographs and sketches
Quote: “Antique porcelain is one of England’s most fascinating but tantalizing treasures...a major delight is the limitless range of [t]his subject.”
Fresh data about old ceramic work is always turning up...and in this book, Therle and Bernard Hughes supply enough detailed data about antique British chinaware for the serious collector.
That’s what you will and won’t love about this book. It explains which of the myriad of brands of porcelain and china on the market have high collection value, and why...with descriptions of the colors each manufacturer used, the techniques, the favored decorative motifs, sometimes the names and biographies of the people who made up each manufacturing company. It's like a guidebook to consult while deciding what to bid on most competitively at an auction.
Since 1955 makers of replicas have had the chance to use this book to make more credible faux antiques, so the Hughes’ work may have become a less reliable guide to separating the replicas from the Real McCoy. (Speaking of which, of course...this book doesn’t discuss U.S. ceramics at all, and never mentions McCoy.) On the other hand, the complexity and expensiveness of antique porcelain production has tended to limit the profitability of fake antiques. Nine out of ten people who buy plates with landscape pictures on them are satisfied with either a friend’s efforts or a mass-produced, frankly plastic piece; for those who want the real thing, a few corners may be cut, but it’s not easy to fake eighteenth-century china without actually making something close to the equivalent of eighteenth-century china.
Current information about what’s selling at what price is, of course, available online. For historical information, still valid, about the antique British trademarks to look for, here’s more than anyone not in the antique business could possibly have asked for about Chelsea, Bow, Longton Hall, Derby, Bristol, Worcester, Caughley, Liverpool, Lowestoft, Nantgarw, Swansea, Madeley, Plymouth, New Hall, Spode, Coalport, Minton, Rockingham, Davenport, and Wedgwood.
You’ll learn why a porcelain owl or pheasant was once an exciting technological breakthrough, which colors could have been used on a china figurine in 1750 and which would only have been available in 1850, which manufacturers always stamped a nice clear label on the bottom of each piece and which ones didn’t, and the precise chemical reasons why some antique china had distinctive tones or textures that might not be found in other antiques from the same year.You’ll learn which brands often identify the work of women artists (sometimes husband-wife or brother-sister teams) and which brand was painted by men who threatened a strike when women artists were hired.
This is the kind of book that belongs under the counter for reference, and would also make ideal bathroom reading, in an antique shop.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Monday, August 14, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
...here's a free cat memory, because today's e-mail contained a publicity "contest" that's just too cute to ignore. Check out the cute picture that set me off here:
That's such an iconic picture of the pet waiting to start off on an adventure with its humans, or waiting at a stopping point in the course of a trip...it's not something I like to see on the actual road, though. If that truck were moving, that dog would be in danger, just like the human children who also like to stick their heads, hands, or feet out to catch the breeze on a hot day.
|"Little" Mo, Heather's brother, didn't seem especially keen on being taken to the house at the end of this ramp in a car. He seemed pleased once he got there, though. He liked the human who had built the ramp.|
For cats, the safest way to transport a cat is in a locked carrier box secured to the floor. Cats who really like riding in cars would, of course, prefer to be on your lap and/or looking out the window. In a crash, those positions offer the cat no security whatsoever and could make the cat more hazardous to humans. And although your cat probably has better sense, cats have been known to jump out even through a crack at the top of a window, even before the vehicle reaches a full stop.
However, Black Magic, the Founding Queen of the Cat Sanctuary, was not only in the minority of cats who are very social, and the minority of cats who hear and respond to specific words, but also the (somewhat larger) minority of cats who just love riding in the car.
That was one of the first things her human godfather noticed when he brought her to me. She was small for a three-month-old kitten, she had mostly white skin under her nearly all black fur, she had a super-loud and almost nonstop purr, she had been brought up as a pet and seemed to like and trust him, and she perched on the back of the passenger seat in his Subaru economy car, purring like all get out, all the way from downtown Kingsport to the house that was not yet a Cat Sanctuary.
I've never been a car person myself, but Magic's human godfather was a native of Kingsport, Tennessee, where all the men and most of the women are seriously into cars. His Dad was one of the investors in the Bristol Motor Speedway. One of his best friends sold Allstate motor insurance. His brother-in-law had a car rental business. Hearing that I liked getting paid to exercise, these people got me a part-time job in a hand car wash, where I modelled NASCAR T-shirts, hung damp chamois rags over my shoulders, and raked in the tips. Magic's human godfather had owned at least one car since the age of fifteen, seldom missed a NASCAR race on television and watched a few races live each year, and collected NASCAR souvenir shirts...including the early Dale Earnhardt (Senior) shirts that presented early Earnhardt cars as "Black Magic" and "Black Velvet," which were the names he and I later gave Magic and another black cat who was living with me that year.
Cars were a big theme in his and my whole relationship. I liked the young man at the time and remember only good things about him, but when I look back our dates seem like an immersion course in Kingsport's car culture. We watched races, he taught me to drive a stick shift, we took road trips, we wore shirts with cars on them, we bought shelves of model cars (NASCAR souvenirs of course) and studied the differences between racing cars' and ordinary cars' engines; we even borrowed or rented different cars to compare the driving experience. Sometimes we'd test-drive cars just for a cheap date.
In addition to the Subaru, that year, we drove Hondas, Toyotas, Chevrolets, Nissans, a Geo, a Plymouth, an Acura, a Hyundai, a Lincoln Continental, a Pontiac Grand Prix, and the Renault Alliance I hated so intensely. Both of us generally liked the economy cars--apart from the Renault, which was old, had cost $200 to buy, and might possibly have been brought up to standard for another $2,000 or maybe $5,000. My rating system had three tiers: Nice and Economical, Nice but More Expensive than Necessary, and That Renault. His was more elaborate, with the Honda Accord in first place, points deducted from all Ford models just because someone his Dad didn't like sold Fords, and the Geo Metro down at the back beside That Renault. (I liked the Geo Metro.)
|This car was invented after Magic's lifetime. The Prius used to be an extremely pricey and prickly model with a lot of bugs, but now I know a perfectly normal couple who have one that's served them well for several years. Can you afford a Prius yet? Find out at https://www.truecar.com/prices-new/toyota/prius-pricing/|
And if Magic didn't ride in every one of those cars with us (which she didn't), it wasn't her fault. Most cats don't like leaving their homes. Magic wanted to go where her humans went, even if large unfriendly cats or dogs were there--somehow other animals always seemed to respect Magic, if they didn't actually bond with her, even when she was a tiny kitten. She always remembered her human godfather and liked to perch on his shoulders too, but her favorite car was one in which I was sitting in the passenger seat, where she alternated between purring on my knees and perching on my shoulders.
We were adults, but we were very young and didn't take Magic to the right vet. It never occurred to us to buy a cat carrier box. We did use seat belts, for ourselves; we didn't think about a well-behaved cat needing one too. And, since we were luckier than we probably deserved to be, nothing ever went wrong on any of Magic's road adventures with us.
Since those long-ago days I've known several other cats who enjoyed visiting friends with me, even seemed to enjoy the actual car trip. Some other cats have even been social enough that the cats who've lived with my human friends have become their friends. Bounce and Pounce liked to bounce and pounce through other people's houses. Mogwai, Iris, and Ivy liked to visit friends.
And Dusty the shelter cat was so good a passenger that, when loaded into a car without the benefit of a secure carrier, she would lie right down on the floor, brace herself between the seats, and purr. She'd sit on my lap if I picked her up, but she knew that her proper place in a car was on the floor!
Dusty was still alive when I acquired my cheap cell phone that takes bad photos; the reason why there's no digital picture of Dusty is that, although she moved from my home to another Pet Sanctuary where she was supposedly up for adoption, by the time I got this phone there was no way Her Human would ever have let anyone adopt Dusty. In a general way, Dusty was the type of cat seen below. If she had any really distinctive feature it was the way she appeared to be a spring kitten when she was rescued from a highway and taken to a shelter, and during the next seven years, until she died of what might have been a geriatric cat disease, she never looked a day older...whether she lived eight years or eighteen years will never be known.
|Blossom from Atlanta...sounds as if she just might be a stolen barn cat. Always double-check before giving money to shelters to make sure an animal wasn't stolen. In summer so many unwanted cats and kittens are legitimately put up for adoption that it's hard to imagine anyone finding time to steal a cat, but cat haters have been known to steal barn cats and place them in shelters: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35770173|
|Nicky from Herndon: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/38965868|
|Bonnie from New York City: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/38375992|
|We knew Dusty had found her Forever Home when Her Human bought one of these...well, the kind that was on the market ten years ago. Dusty loved it! It was almost as if the new human's buying her a carrier box convinced her that he really cared.|
Thursday, August 10, 2017
You need to be sponsoring this blog:
Obviously I can't afford to go on sponsoring e-friends on Patreon, although I'd like to. So I thought I'd post briefly about the experience of sponsoring someone on Patreon, for those who feel afraid to try it:
1. You do need a separate, very small, Paypal-specific bank account, because Paypal will eagerly deliver your bank account information along with your Patreon payment. I hadn't been aware of that. Somehow I'd expected Paypal to process payments to Patreon the way it processes deposits into the bank and/or payments to other individual Paypal users, with a nice straightforward "X has sent you money via Paypal." However, it's always been a good idea to have a Paypal-specific bank account. If you also have large savings or investment accounts, it's a good idea to set up your Paypal bank account at a separate bank.
2. Having linked your Paypal account to your Paypal bank account, then, click on the large rectangular button on the right side of the screen, the one that says "BECOME A PATRON." Follow the instructions that pop up. Don't all web sites that process payments make it very easy to send them money? Patreon certainly does. You'll become an online sponsor in five minutes or less.
3. If your income during the past year was over US$12,000, you should be sending this web site at least one and really more like five dollars a month, anyway. You'd pay that much for a magazine, and although it's impossible for one person to generate a whole magazine as distinct from a newsletter, the Link Logs were certainly delivering more information and entertainment than most magazines. (It was your choice, not mine, to discontinue the Link Logs; they can come back.)
4. If, however, your income was genuinely low, or you're in some sort of ghastly financial straits we don't need to describe in detail here, you may need to be a one-time sponsor. My income was genuinely low, so after sponsoring two e-friends just to show how easy it is, I needed to make sure I was a one-time sponsor. Right. As a sponsor you have a Patreon account of your own. Your account page will show a squarish button with three horizontal lines on it at the top right corner. (I think that's intended to be a widely used Internet symbol that suggests something in the real world, although when I look at it I can't see what.) Clicking on this button will open a menu button that includes "YOUR PLEDGES." Click on those words.
5. If you've sponsored a lot of people, you'll have to cancel each pledge individually. Click on the name of the Patreon account to which you want to stop sending a monthly pledge. The screen that opens will display a menu, on the right side, that will include "Delete Pledge." Click on those words. The system will ask you to confirm that you're deleting the pledge and to choose one from a list of reasons why you're doing that. The list of reasons will include a line like "I intended to pledge for a limited time." If you feel so moved, you can add a line about your income or your dire financial straits.
It should be as easy as that. Now go and support this web site...even if you hate it, the computer is making it clear that you love to hate it, so pay up.
(Should this post include an Amazon book link? Why not?
The Amazon page indicates that this book was not written by a dog, even as it might easily have been nonverbally dictated to the human, and is more "common sense" than funny.)
Oscar Tschirky had no problem with extravagance, snobbery, or inflated prices, and it probably wouldn't bother him at all to know that his memoir has become a collectible book. If you don't demand the first edition, of which I can't guarantee I'll find more than one, a copy of Oscar of the Waldorf will cost $30 per book plus $5 per package (four books of this size can fit into a package) plus $1 per online payment.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
The well-known cartoon "Taz" reflects a short description, not a serious study, of real Tasmanian Devils. They are carnivorous marsupials. They have some "devilish" qualities--they have no capacity for showing or recognizing affection; they are predators, not known to kill humans but well known to eat dead humans; if they're hungry they'll eat their own young. Up to fifty pups ("joeys") are born in one litter; only four can nurse at one time, so if little Tasmanian Devils had any empathy for their siblings they'd starve. Adult "devils" have black coats, reddish eyes, a peculiar gait (that doesn't keep them from moving faster than the average human, when they choose), raucous voices, and big heads and thick necks that allow them to chew up bigger animals' bones. They have been "tamed" to some extent but never become cuddly pets. Nevertheless, Australians find them useful because they quickly remove every trace of carrion.
The Wikipedia article about this endangered species is extensive and recently updated:
|These Tasmanian Devils are not even trying to compete with possums on lack of visual appeal...to my eyes, they're winning that contest! Photo donated to Wikipedia By Willis Lim - http://www.flickr.com/photos/willislim/3172976845/in/photostream/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11454933|
|These three Tasmanian Devils were at peace with one another at the moment when they were photographed By Willis Lim - http://www.flickr.com/photos/willislim/3173810890/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11454863 ...but note the ear closest to the camera.|