Ctein is off today.
A brief update on the recent Micro 4/3 sale: About 640 prints were sold through direct U.S. orders, and our international "angels" will be ordering between 115 and 155 more. Ctein has his printer running full time. The mailing tubes have arrived at the Little Box Made of Ticky-Tacky*, and Ctein will begin shipping prints early next week.
*Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
—First verse of the song "Little Boxes," by Malvina Reynolds, which became a hit for Pete Seeger in 1964. The song was inspired by the housing developments around Daly City, California, where Ctein and Paula and the psittacines live.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Craig: "Kudos to Ctein for the work load/work ethic."
Featured Comment by Ctein: "Before folks get too wrapped up in their soundbites about communists and the American dream, let me regale you with the ironic history of Daly City. To begin with, it was the result of a forcible redistribution of land and wealth. It was founded a few years after the 1906 earthquake. The San Francisco Bay Area robber barons of that era were not known for playing nice. Look up the amusing histories of the earthquake insurance frauds they committed on the East Coast robber barons and the reasons why San Francisco is both a city and a county.
"Just south of San Francisco were the holdings of one of the land barons, John Daly, a dairyman. After the Great Quake, there was no place in San Francisco to house all the homeless victims, so Daly generously volunteered land to be used for temporary tent cities and housing for the Displaced.
"You can decide how many ironic pairs of quotes there need to be in the previous sentence. I'm figuring three.
"At least they honored him by naming the city and streets after him.
"Fast forward to the middle of the century. John Doelger, inspired by Levittown, buys up the golf courses that then dominated the land here, and starts building tract homes. And all in all, they made Levittown looked like it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Doelger's personal tastes dictated all the designs (which were identical save for minimal variations). Doelger didn't like big lawns or gardens, so every house has a miniscule front yard and a smaller back one. Doelger also apparently had a thing about eastern views—all the houses on my north-south running street have the living room facing east (away from the ocean). On my side of the street, the living rooms face the street, on the other side, the bedrooms. Doelger also dictated what colors the houses could be painted (or repainted).
"Doelger hated fences (he and Rob't. Frost might have had words), so no fences allowed on front lawns. Also, no planters, trees, flower beds, lawn ornaments. Just a lawn.
"With one exception. There was a palmetto tree planted in the middle of each lawn. Dunno why, guess he thought they added a touch of exotic. You were required to have one of these in your yard.
"All of this was written into a covenant you had to sign to buy a house here and was enforced by a homeowners' association, which was empowered to collect annual fees from the owners and levy repair costs and fines if you painted your house a different color or killed your palmetto. The associations didn't go away until the 1990s.
"Talk about your central planning!
"People signed those covenants willingly. But here's the best part. This was a Restricted community. For those too young to know what that means, it meant the covenant you signed asserted that you were of good white Christian stock and you could only sell your house to the same.
"I take the last one kinda personally, since it excluded me, when I was growing up in Silicon Valley.
"So, if you're thinking that Malvina was a bit harsh in her assessments, she coulda been lots worse. Like calling the good locals out for being the racists and religious bigots they were.
"Me, I've always been amused by the song. I like it even better now that I live here.
"If my tone seems a touch more sardonic than usual, yesterday Paula and I watched with dismay as a bank officer, accompanied by burly security guards, evicted our retired neighbor. He'd been there for decades, him and his wife, retired. He worked hard, saved properly, had good health insurance and a proper retirement portfolio. They were okay. Then his wife got sick. Then the dot bomb happened and trashed all sorts of retirement portfolios. Then his wife died. Look up the percentage of bankruptcies that are a result of catastrophic or terminal illness for folks who are carrying 'full' medical insurance; you'll be appalled. Then the 'too big to fail' collapses happened and more retirement plans collapsed.
"So now he's been thrown out of his home. As if the bank has anyone else to sell it to.
"Committed pacifist though I may be, the song that was in my head yesterday was not Malvina Reynolds' 'Little Boxes,' but Bruce Cockburn's 'If I Had A Rocket Launcher.'"