1907: ‘The Day of the Electric Kitchen…’

Good Housekeeping, Volume 45

Front Cover
C. W. Bryan & Company, 1907

Written at a time when electricity was still fairly new and not always a given, I find this article interesting for the things it brings up that we might take for granted today, so much so it doesn’t even occur to us (the lack of heat! the promiscuous use of matches in closets!).  It also kind of makes me think of the architect in the movie Christmas in Connecticut and how he wanted his own column in the housekeeping magazine.
To Keep Down the Light Bill By Ralph S Mueller

IN planning your house do not stint on the amount set aside for electric wiring. Any additional money spent while building for the purpose of arranging the wiring circuits and switches for the economical use of the electric current will pay a handsome return on the investment with each monthly service bill. Electric lighting is desirable not only because of its cleanliness, its comparative freedom from heat, and the safety in its use, but principally because of its all round convenience. When burned as freely as other illuminants electricity is expensive, but because of the ease with which it may be controlled it is possible so to wire and equip a house that all the features of its convenience may be enjoyed at a very reasonable cost. Most architects are not fully alive to all that may be done in this direction, and it is the purpose of this article to point out certain wiring provisions that should be embodied in one’s plans and specifications when building, as the work can be done at that time with a comparatively small additional expense.


In the first place, every hallway stairway and closet in the house should be wired for at least one lamp outlet, not forgetting the attic. This is worth while from the standpoint of fire protection alone as it does away with the promiscuous lighting of matches especially in closets full of inflammable clothing. The location of lamps in stairways and hallways, particularly cellar stairways, is further worth while as a means of preventing accidents. Under a flat rate system of charging the expense of operating such a general installation of lamps would be prohibitive but the flat rate system is now practiced only in comparatively few of the smaller towns. Under the straight meter system or the maximum demand system of charging it would work no hardship on the householder. In some cities the premises of each subscriber are given a rating which is in direct proportion to the number and candle power of the lamps installed. A certain price per unit is charged for up to a consumption equal to the subscriber’s rating and a certain reduced price per unit for all current in excess of the rating.  But even under this system hallway and closet lamps and any other lamps in similar locations are not considered when arriving at the rating. As the lamps in these locations may be of low candle power and as they are used so infrequently and then only for a moment practically the total expense of the pleasure they give is the cost of the original installation, certainly a small price to pay for the convenience and the fire and accident insurance they afford.

Do not fail to provide for a light in the ceiling of the front porch. It should be controlled by a switch placed just inside the front door. Such a light enables the departing guest to get safely down the porch stairs, and in the case of women being alone in the house they can size up a night caller before opening the door and refuse to open if he looks at all suspicious.  In the library, living room, and dining room one or more outlets should be wired in the baseboard to take the plugs of portable reading lamps, electric fans, and electric candelabra for dining table or sideboard. In the kitchen,  in addition to a drop light from the center of the ceiling, a bracket light near the sink is found to be very convenient. While the day of the electric kitchen is hardly at hand it would at least be well to plan for and conveniently locate an outlet for an electric flat iron.

For a night light in the bath room or upper hallway it is a good plan to use a two candle power lamp. One of these gives plenty of light for the purpose and when burning alone does not take enough current to start the mechanism of the meter so that nothing is recorded. No one now plans a bedroom without providing suitable locations for the bed dresser and chiffonier . These pieces of furniture being located the wiring can be planned. Bracket lights on each side of the dresser and chiffonier are an unending source of comfort. An outlet in the baseboard near the bed should not be overlooked. Frequent use for this will be found for a number of devices which are used with extension cords such as

 an electric hot water bottle or heating pad, an electric fan, electric massage machine, or an extension lamp with shade for those who read in bed. For the closet light the automatic door switch has not been found satisfactory. The lamp should be suspended from the ceiling by a cord and a socket containing a switch should be specified. The basement room into which the cellar stairs open should be illuminated by means of a lamp which is controlled by a switch at the head of the stairway. Such an arrangement renders it possible to make both the up and down trip on well lighted stairs. The lamp in the reception hall should be wired to switches which permit of turning it either off or on from either the head or foot of the front stairway. With these provisions a considerable economy may be effected as it is not necessary to let the lamp burn all evening yet the convenient switches save one from stumbling up or down an unlighted stairway.

Do not forget the telephone. While your electric light wiring is being installed, call in the telephone company to whose service you expect to subscribe. The company will gladly put in its wires at that time without charge and the advantage to you lies in the fact that they may be entirely concealed in the walls. If you are to have a combination front and back stairway locate the telephone if possible at the common platform. The bell may then be heard from any point in the lower or upper floors .  The maid may readily answer the calls from the kitchen and a trip only half way up or down the stairs is all that is necessary to reach the instrument.  In the case of a physician’s home wiring for an extension telephone set in the bedroom should be installed.

In some cities the annual charge for an extension set may be avoided by paying the telephone company a nominal charge for installing jacks at the respective downstairs and bedside locations. Then the one desk set type of telephone may be used downstairs in the day time and carried upstairs and plugged into the jack in the bedroom at night. A bedside telephone to call the police is much appreciated by a timid woman.

Clusters of lamps on electroliers should be divided into two or more groups and each group controlled by a separate switch. In the case of all lamps controlled by a switch in the socket the chain pull type of socket switch will be found the most convenient. Direct rays from an electric light with a clear globe are very irritating to the eyes For this reason frosted lamps should be used on all side wall or bracket lamps which are not to be fitted with shades. The frosting cuts down the efficiency of the lamp by ten or twelve per cent but the mellow restful light resulting makes the sacrifice well worth while. One of the most effective means of keeping down the monthly light bill is the judicious use of low candle power lamps. In the basement attic and closets eight candle power lamps will be found sufficient while ten candle power lamps may be used in the kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, and the bathroom.  The present day fashion calls for a large heavy ornamental shade hung directly over the dining room table.  While an ordinary thirty two candle power lamp is generally seen in this fixture it is better to use one of the reflecior type lamps which the electrical supply stores are now offering.  In this particular use downward light is all that is desired, any upward light is wasted. These reflector lamps can be had which give thirty two candle power of downward light but consume only as much current as the ordinary sixteen candle power lamp.

Another point to watch is the efficiency of the lamps you use. Of two lamps giving sixteen candle power one may take twenty five per cent more current than the other. It is well worth while to buy the better grade of lamps even though they may cOst a trifle more and will not last as long. The reason is that the saving in meter bills with the use of the high efficiency lamps more than offsets the extra expenss for the lamps. In some cities the electric light company furnishes renewal lamps free. But even in cities where they do not they offer lamps for sale and it is always best to buy of them because with what has been called enlightened self interest they offer only lamps that give their rated candle power with the least practical consumption of current TO KEEP DOWN THE LIGHT BILL

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What if we just do not enjoy that book?

It depends on the reason.  Is it a book nobody much could enjoy and never has?  Is it unpleasant because it is a bad story, poorly told, formulaic? Drop it.

Is it a book others have enjoyed over a wide span of time? Is it possible the attention span is lacking and not the book? Is it hard work?  Keep it.  Enjoyment is fleeting, and is not really the best standard for deciding whether or not to stick to a school book. Hard books that require a child to dig and labour are good material for growth.


Here is Charlotte Mason on the topic:

“I think we owe it to children to let them dig their knowledge, of whatever subject, for themselves out of the fit book; and this is for two reasons: What a child digs for is his own possession; what is poured into his ear, like the idle song of a pleasant singer, floats out as lightly as it came in, and is rarely assimilated.” (volume 3)

“Children must Labour.––This, of getting ideas out of them, is by no means all we must do with books. ‘In all labour there is profit,’ at any rate in some labour; and the labour of thought is what his book must induce in the child. He must generalise, classify, infer, judge, visualise, discriminate, labour in one way or another, with that capable mind of his, until the substance of his book is assimilated or rejected, according as he shall determine; for the determination rests with him and not with his teacher. (volume 3)

Perhaps it is not wholesome or quite honest for a teacher to pose as a source of all knowledge and to give ‘lovely’ lessons. Such lessons are titillating for the moment, but they give children the minimum of mental labour, and the result is much the same as that left on older persons by the reading of a magazine. We find, on the other hand, that in working through a considerable book, which may take two or three years to master, the interest of boys and girls is well sustained to the end; they develop an intelligent curiosity as to causes and consequences, and are in fact educating themselves. (also volume 3)

But boys get knowledge only as they dig for it. Labour prepares the way for assimilation, that mental process which converts information into knowledge; and the effort of taking in the sequence of thought of his author is worth to the boy a great deal of oral teaching. (volume 3)

It’s easy to be attentive when we love the book and cannot wait for the next part. It requires some more maturity and strength of character to stick to a book that is worthwhile, but we simply do not enjoy it.

“Hard ideas define a culture — that of serious reading, an institution vital to democracy itself. In a recent article, Stephen L. Carter, Yale law professor and novelist, underscores “the importance of reading books that are difficult. Long books. Hard books. Books with which we have to struggle. The hard work of serious reading mirrors the hard work of serious governing — and, in a democracy, governing is a responsibility all citizens share.”” (http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39b01001.htm)

It might also help your student to know if a  book was never written for children. Robinson Crusoe is like this. DeFoe wrote the story for adults, and he was as surprised as anybody when children took to it and called it one of their own. A number of books we think of as children’s books got their start that way, once upon a time. The book was published 300 years ago, and it is something marvelous to be in touch with one of the great literary minds of 3 centuries ago. It’s going to be a bit of work, but that work is well worth the effort, and your young scholars will find themselves stretched by it, but if one quits it because she doesn’t enjoy it, she will not get that stretching, and next year will be all the harder for it.

Something else that I think makes these works intended for adults by adopted by the children especially valuable to read is their outlook. Because they were written for adults, they have a grown up point of view, a mature way of looking at life and people. They stretch a child in a way that today’s books written for children just don’t, although certainly today’s children’s books are far more amusing and entertaining than yesteryear’s. There’s nothing wrong with reading books for fun, for entertainment. If I am hungry and it’s the middle of the day and I have an otherwise good diet, it’s not particularly harmful if I have a couple of cookies instead of a plate of raw broccoli. But if I eat only sweets because I have never learned to appreciate any vegetables or simple but nourishing foods such as pumpkin soup, roasted vegetables, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, or a nice bit of roasted fish, then that is a problem.

What children in the past enjoyed, they can be brought to enjoy again (and so can the adults)- stretch them a bit, give them something to grow on.

I will also share my experience with making a child continue with a book they are not enjoying- one of mine, when introduced to Plutarch, began the year by crying whenever I got out Plutarch. We changed how we approached it, but we did continue. I shortened readings, did some more careful background introductions before each reading (this was before Anne White’s lovely study guides), had her read with a bookmark with key names and definitions written down, and so forth. By the end of the year Plutarch was not only her favourite book, she didn’t even remember that she had hated it at the beginning of the year.


I am not saying that it is always a mistake to drop a book from your schoolyear.  Sometimes it is the right thing to do. I am saying the children’s  current tastes are not the best standard for school readings. We are seeking to educate, broaden,and inform those tastes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Random Excerpts from Parents’ Review Magazines

Random notes from perusing hard copies I once had in my possession:

I’m finding myself very interested in Mrs. Steinthal- the Aunt Mai in the children’s section and one of the names Miss Mason lists as being involved from the beginning.

I found this in the preface of vol. 6-This is how the late Mrs. Francis Steinthal, who was the happy instigator of the movement in Council Schools, wrote,-” Think of the meaning of this in the lives of the children,-disciplined lives, and no lawless strikes, justice, an end to class warfare, developed intellects, and no market for trashy and corrupt literature! We shall, or rather they will, live in a redeemed world.” This was written in a moment of enthusiasm on hearing that a certain County Council had accepted a scheme of work for this pioneer school; enthusiasm sees in advance the fields white to the harvest, but indeed the event is likely to justify high expectations. Though less than nine years have passed since that pioneer school made the bold attempt, already many thousands of children working under numerous County Councils are finding that “Studies serve for delight”

The  Armitt Library holds a whole bunch of Charlote Mason archival stuff? Sophia Armitt was a regular contributor of nature writing in the PR. More about her here.


Other sidelines: At one point a Miss E. Stewart Woods offered to take up the art criticism of students’ work for older students, those who had graduated from Mrs. STeinthal’s teaching. I’d like to think I found some of her work here: http://www.artis-jgg.co.nz/j_grant/pics/eng_landscape.html



From the P.N.E.U. Notes of no. 7:

Richmond and Kew branch: “….Mrs. Edward Sieveking lectured on the “Practical Relation of Parents in the Educated Classes towards the Nursery.” …dwelt on the importance of mothers in the upper classes being more with their children and not relegating all their own duties to paid substitutes. Mothers lost a great deal by not doing more themselves for their children, as in many cases the children the children were more attached to the nurse than to the mother, which was only natural, the former being constantly with them. French and German mothers set a much better example. A German lady told Mrs. Sieveking that in her house there was no such thing as a nursery, the children lived entirely with their parents, and she expressed surprise that English children were left so much to servants….Mothers gave many excuses for not occupying themselves in their nurseries– health, claims of society, etc., A book which could be recommended to all mothers as the greatest help in the nursery was Miss Mason’s “Home Education.”….

Still, she also stresses the need to choose your nurse wisely, talks much about what the nurses can and should do and hoped that at some time ‘a large percentage of the educated classes would take up the nursery as a profession….’  Mrs. Edward Sieveking may possibly have been married to this Edward Sieveking, a prominent London physician who did some important work in the field of epilepsy research.

The P.N.E.U. had only 2,000 members at that time.

Miss Blogg, the secretary who later married G. K. Chesterton, gave a talk on the work of the main office. At the close of her speech Mrs. Steinthal thanked Miss Blogg and remarked “…We are constantly getting letters from mothers and others saying that she has quite won them over to our side by her nice letters.”

(sidenote:She also had a letter expressing her regret at leaving the work, not exactly regret, since she was happy to be marrying, but you know what I mean- and saying that just because she was leaving the secretarial position that did not mean she would not still be furthering the work of the Union and its ideals in any way she could.)

At the same meeting Miss Mason added that Mrs. Steinthal’s work was also very important. “The portfolio and the various sewing, cooking and gardening clubs are the great delights of children in many homes. I have known children who seize on the Parents’ Review before the parents get a chance, so keen are they to see what “Aunt Mai” has to say…” Miss Mason also said that a House of Education student had told her that a student’s improvement should be credited to The influence of the Union generally, and above all to ‘Aunt Mai….’ Miss Mason further added that “Aunt Mai’s” work is at the very heart of the Union.

Here’s a sample of one of Aunt Mai’s letters

“My Dear Children, — I must first of all wish you a very Happy New Year. The happiness depends on yourselves, does it not? If you make good resolutions that you will be very obedient, very orderly, and that you will help everybody younger and weaker than yourselves, then the year 1897 will be a very happy one, and mother and father will before pleased with their boys and girls.

We now begin all our new work, and I hope that many new nieces will join our extensive family. Many children have learned to love sewing while making the clothes for the wax and the live dolls.

I should like suggestions to be sent to me this month of new competitions you would like to work for. Aunts have so much thinking to do, that sometimes they feel that they can invent nothing more, and then they are delighted if young brains set to work and help them, and the old ladies begin to feel quite young and fresh again.

Your loving

Auntie Mai.”


Vol. VIII, No. 11

Miss Mason writes in the letter bag that “It has long been our custom here to have a Sunday afternoon reading which we find very helpful, as giving us subjects in common for thought, prayer, and endeavour, increasing our interest in the Bible, enabling us to deal better with the doubts and difficulties which are in the air, and , above all, deepening our spiritual life. It is our habit to read through, from Sunday to Sunday, one of the four Gospels, with comments which are more in the nature of a practical meditation than of a lecture or of a lesson.” She further calls this a ‘weekly stimulus to a higher life….” And is offering to mail out their weekly readings to mothers and House of Education graduates in the field who may be interested in sharing.

From a Pater Junior (certainly a pen-name), who writes regularly to the letter-bag apparently in the nature of a clipping service on education related articles in other publications shares this:

“Mr. Quiller-Couch discourse pleasantly of education, classical, technical, maternal, not forgetting that branch of physical training which is concerned with the birch-rod….The following will appeal to teachers:– A distinguished pedagogue once observed that boys are usually amenable to reason, masters sometimes, parents never. I take it, he had his eye on the modern parent, who imagines technical instruction to be an excellent substitute for education, and that the study of the humanities can be profitably replaced by Sir. Isaac Pitman’s Shorthand. Education, which converts ‘the small apple-eating urchin, whom we know’ into an orderly citizen, respecting himself and his neighbour, is a gradual process not easily tested by examination papers. Technical instruction is far brisker, is quite easily tested, and produces the pleasantest immediate results in the shape of hard cash. The parent fascinated by these cheap advantages, is generally ill to deal with; and while the parent asks for shorthand, and the head-master for a free hand, there is bound to be some friction of temper.”

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (he was knighted in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s I think, for his work in the literary and educational fields) is the editor of the Oxford Anthology of English verse, used by CM in her schools and by HE in the upper years. He is also the “Q” referred to in ’84 Charing Cross Road’ and/or its sequel.

In Leeds a “Mrs. Mirrlees gave an address to mothers  on ‘Heart Culture.'”

And this article, the opening paragraph of which warms my heart:

“When I lived in what is sometimes called a “state of single bliss,” I used to find it easier to exhort parents– and especially mothers– about their parental duties, than I find it now. How many a time, as an inexperienced bachelor, did I almost wax eloquent in the enunciation of ideal principles which should guide parents in the important matter of training up a child in the way it should go! Since I became a parent myself and have got a look from the inside at the difficulties and responsibilities of a parent, and especially of a mother, I find I am not quite so ready of tongue to lecture parents, though my hear beats with fuller sympathy for them now than it ever did in bachelor days….It is easy to be a doctrinaire on the subject of parental duties, but to be a prophet one must graduate in the university of the nursery, where the professors are one’s own babies….”

Miss Mason spoke at several branch meetings in the fall; her topic was on Letting Alone. According to the report of the Harrow secretary, she said ‘that she thought that children are just a little too much to the front nowadays, and that we sacrifice the children’s virtues for the sake of developing our own– a suggestion behind which lies the deep waters of a seldom-thought-upon truth. She went on to remark that the “wistful mothers” of the present day are a little apt to wear on the children’s nerves. The lecture throughout was listened to with quiet, thoughtful attention…”

A Mr. Tufnail lectured two different branches on toadstools, and the secretaries of both branches referred to his lecture as suggestive and stimulating. I know this seems silly, but a suggestive and stimulating lecture on toadstools by a Mr. Tufnail struck my funny bone. I was equally amused by another report which was held with a Rev. Somebody Bird in the chair (chairing the meeting). I think somebody else noticed this, too, because the _next_ report from the branch was reworded- ‘in the chair was Rev. Somebody Bird.’

The PR had many clubs, one of which intrigued me was a foreign language translation group. They were set a passage in German to translate each month, mailed their translations in to be graded in some fashion and announcements were made in the PR as to who had done exceptionally well.

A new edition of Maria Edgeworth’s Helps for Parents comes in for some mild, but friendly praise in the book reviews.


Regarding movies: I note also that many of the local chapter meetings include ‘lime light’ shows- a form of slide show (One also featured everybody getting x-rayed and looking at their bones- sounds like a jolly meeting).

More on discipline and how things have changed…

Vol.. VIII, no.3: At the Derby branch of the PNEU: “… The results of scientific observation and experience in the matter of education should be widely known, because people could not now, as too often had been the habit, throw all the blame on parents, and say that the fault rested entirely with them….

Miss Barnette…delivered a… Lecture on “Training and Inheritance.”… ‘…and said that sometimes what was mistaken for heredity was merely imitation, and therefore it was beneficial to a child to be sent away from home for a time before its character was formed.”

She delivered this same lecture later in the month, at the Wallasey branch, so it must have been generally accepted by _somebody_ as PNEU compatible.


From an article on obedience in Vol. VIII, no. 4: “I find no difficulty in securing obedience from my children,” says one. ….”Suppose my little boy is playing in the drawing room, I tell him, ‘you may play as long as you’re good.’ He begins to be naughty. I ring the bell; the nurse comes down and the boy goes up. He forfeits the pleasure of my company. The plan is simplicity itself.”

Riiiiiight.  Of course it would be very easy to have your children always obedient in your presence if you banished them the second you find them tiresome and left them in somebody else’s care.  really, what an obnoxious, smug person.

For the Sol-fa people, here are a couple mentions of  Mrs. Curwen:

Volume VIII, No. 4, notes on the local PNEU groups:

Richmond and Kew branch:…”Mrs. Spencer Curwen, who had kindly consented to fill a blank at the last moment, delivered an interesting address on “Children’s Music.”…the first introduction to musical notation should be through the singing class, the tonic sol-fa notation and method being the best for this purpose. There was not advantage in beginning instrumental work at five or six years of age. Bad habits of technique might be formed by beginning too early. The first pianoforte lessons were often spoken of as drudgery…something wrong in the teaching.”

A reference to teaching foreign language in  Vol. VIII, no. 4;

Wimbledon branch had a lecture on teaching foreign language. Mdlle. Duriaux addressed previous defects in the teaching of foreign language based on long, tedious grammar rules and translations. Instead, she had prepared ‘ a course of quite short lessons, each consisting of a short series of actions that a child could easily follow and remember. One of these short series she then proceeded to give to a class of four little boys, and thereby unmistakeably [sic] proved the truth of what she had been saying. It was evident at once how interesting and intelligible such lessons must be to children, and how quickly they could learn to repeat and understand the few short sentences without word having been “translated” to them.”

This sounds exactly like a program I used to have,  but I can’t recall the name.

And this more general bit of info on the PNEU and the first conference has many little tidbits of information one could glean:

Vol VIII, No. 7; on the first PNEU Conference:

…”in framing the programme, the object kept in view was to tell members ‘what the P.N.E.U. Is,’ and how branches can bring its teaching before their members. The groundwork of the arrangements was the leaflet which is published each month in the Parents’ Review…

…To carry out this idea, Miss Helen Webb, M. B. [my note: she delivered the talk to nurses that I shared earlier], and Miss Mason were asked to read papers, which should help parents in working out the underlying principle of the Union, “That character is everything.” Miss Mason also gave definite help to branch secretaries as to the best subjects to put before their members when arranging for monthly lectures on the physical, mental, moral and spiritual development of children.

Mrs. Steinthal [note: Aunt Mai, who did the ‘Budget’, the children’s section of teh PR] emphasized the value of art and manual training in education, and the best method for securing it.”

From Sir Vincent Kennett Barrington’s remarks: “Miss Mason has told us that the Union lays no claim to any exclusive methods; she reminds us that we are a progressive body, and that we are going on by the help of modern thinkers…” ———————————–

I both enjoyed the browsing and found it discouraging at the same time. I wrote to myself: “I  think I need to get _much_ better organized. I think I need to get up at 5 a.m. and put the kitchen in order, get a crockpot meal going, have a breakfast casserole made, or maybe start once a month cooking again. I need to plan and prepare various tasks in advance for the purpose of distracting the children. You know, when I see that look in the macknae’s eye, I _could_ send him to the crockpot- I could have a dish of spices or cut up veggies ready and waiting for him to add. I could have salad stuff ready for them to mix, I could have a letter ready for somebody to go put in the mail box, a plant to be watered, a pickle to put in daddy’s lunch box for the next day…. Sigh. This all requires so much _forethought_ and I am so much a loosey-goosey type who has wonderful ideas- but at best,  two hours after the time to implement them…. I think I need a nurse. And an under-nurse. And a cook. And a gardener. And definitely a housemaid.



Posted in Charlotte Mason, Parents' Review Articles | Leave a comment


This is just for fun, but a survey of British vegetarians finds that 1/3 of them eat meat when they get drunk.


Not at all funny: Puerto Rico may be without electricity for four to six months.  Things are really, really bad.

Earthquake in Mexico kills over 200 people (so far)

In Miami, one city bureaucracy was up and running on speed within hours after Hurricane Irma- and ticketing residents for code violations for their yard conditions.  Jerks.

In Spain, gov’t cracks down on Catalan independence efforts. 

Amazon is removing unfavorable reviews of Hilary Clinton’s book.  They do not typically do this for other customers.

Climate scientists admit the models were wrong, warming lower than expected, doomsday now 20 years further off.  Never mind that this means climate ‘skeptics’ were right, we should keep believing the guys who have been wrong.


Media’s tap dancing on a high wire with the Trump wire-tapping story.
Obama and his administration knew what they were doing was illegal, which is why they had to continue.


Trump’s U.N. Speech

My favourite part:

We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela.


The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

(Scattered applause)

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests and their wellbeing, including their prosperity.

Bill Rhodes’ negative reactions

Politico on evil dictator Kim Il Jung’s side.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

small things

I love this kitchen tip- put a quarter on top of a cup of ice in your freezer if the quarter ever drops down in the cup you will know that your freezer has thawed and then refrozen.

It’s a good tip.  But it’s interesting the assumption that most people aren’t going to notice.

I’ve shared before about back when we were very poor, so poor we picked up money off the street to do laundry or pay for toiletries, so poor we didn’t have electricity, and I sometimes washed a load of clothes in the bathtub.  I was in a Bible study with a group of Filipino friends, all of them are professionals (a different group from the congregation where we worship).  The class was on money and I had mentioned our former poverty a couple times.  I realized at one point I needed to explain.
“I know,” I said, “that being poor in America is nothing like being poor in the Philippines. I know that.  We were not as poor as the most poverty stricken here.  But we were poor in ways not entirely typical for America, either.” I explained about the lack of food and the no electricity (but we did have gas and running water and a solid roof).  It helped to put things in some perspective.  And even in our more dire than typical circumstances, some of them were so dire because we wouldn’t ask for help.  In the Philippines, there are people living in shanties and shacks with no running water or electricity ankle deep in flood water after an average rain storm, and anybody they might ask for help is living in the same circumstances.

Later when we were chatting, I said one other interesting difference I had noticed is that when we were so poor, we could collect some change, enough to do a load of laundry or two, or buy cheap shampoo by picking up change in the road or parking lots of stores, or near vending machines.  I haven’t seen vending machines here, and I also have never seen any change in the street at all.  Not so much as a centavo (it takes about ten of them to make up a 2 cent coin).   You see less change in the U.S. these days because we are less and less of a cash based society. People use cards for everything now, sometimes even vending machines.  But the Philippines is a cash based economy.  We pay our utilities and rent in cash. We have to go to the office to pay the utility bills, including the internet.  Occasionally we find a place that takes a card, but it’s not common, and it’s not often.  And yet, nobody leaves coins on the ground.

The helpful tip above about leaving a quarter on the top of a cup of ice is so much a tip from a well developed, wealthy nation.  I’m not talking about  presuming a refrigerator, we had an ice chest back in the day, but the refrigerator is a different category of thing.  I’m talking about the money.  It’s the quarter that catches my attention.  Why does it need to be a unit of money? You could use a stone, a pebble, a screw, a paperclip, a metal washer,  a magnet, a marble, anything at all that sinks in water.  That sort of easy, careless attitude about money is only possible in a comfortable economy like America’s.

But it’s only a quarter, you say?


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: