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The Chilly Saints

I did a sloppy job of writing this. It’s not that these 3 days are cold, necessarily, but that after they’ve passed there’s no danger of frost.

John Manders' Blog

Happy Mamertus’ Day, everybody!

“Mamertus, Pancras, and Gervais were three early Christian saints. Because their feast days, on May 11, 12, and 13, respectively, are traditionally cold, they have come to be known as the Three Chilly Saints.”

On May 14 it’s okay to plant your tomatoes.

https://www.almanac.com/fact/three-chilly-saints-mamertus-pancras-and-gervais-word-definition

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Resizing the kitchen cabinets

I installed the pantry cabinets. They were the perfect size to fit next to the doorway. I still need a whole lot of storage space. I’m doing this project on a tight budget. The cabinets I took down were too wide. Instead of buying new cabinets, I decided to break down the old ones and rebuild ’em skinnier.

The horizontal pieces—shelves and rails—would need to be shortened. The vertical pieces—walls and stiles—stayed the same height. I wrote down the steps of taking the cabinet apart so I could reverse the order when I put it back together. I’m going to make new doors as soon as I get a router.

More home improvement

Here’s more of my ongoing quest to get my junk organized and stored away. The photos show my kitchen—the wall with a bulkhead and cabinets. You can see the base cabinets jut right into the doorway. The bulkhead is wasted space.

I sent away for a couple of pantry cabinet kits awhile back—they’re only 10 inches deep so they will fit into that awkward spot next to the door. They stack, so I can take advantage of the high ceiling.

First step is to take down the bulkhead. I got my hatchet and my crowbar and went to work—

My little fawn

This morning I said so long to my old girl Lizzie, Elizabeta, the fawn, the dowager princess. I held her in my arms and told her I love her. Dr Sandy gave her a shot and Lizzie drifted off without too much fuss. I was a wreck, of course, and still am.

Lizzie was my foster-failure. She came from the wrong side of the tracks; had had an unhappy life of loneliness and neglect, chained to a stump somewhere. I was supposed to rehabilitate her so that someone would adopt her permanently. It never worked out. Lizzie played me like a violin and I couldn’t bear for her to think I didn’t want her to be mine forever.

Lizzie was already an old girl when I met her. Still, she pranced like a Lipizzaner back then. She loved to walk in the woods as much as Roxie & Gus, but at her own pace. She led a pampered life during the time we had—she enjoyed her chow served always with gravy; a third of an omelette to supplement breakfast; prime rib bones gifted by her Aunt Marian; the knowledge that she’d be safe, warm, valued and cherished no matter what. Age eventually claimed her. The past few months she became blind, deaf and demented. Her back legs betrayed her and she could hardly walk, let alone prance. I held onto her longer than I should have.

Lizzie’s at peace now. I know she waits for me and I’ll see her again someday. Until then—sweet dreams, my good old girl. I love you.

Elizabeta
2006 – January 22, 2022

I’ve been Apple Festivaling

Two apple festivals on two weekends! I had a blast drawing caricatures and am grateful to everyone who sat for one.

My great big handsome boy

My big, sweet, handsome Augustus died in his sleep yesterday evening. These past few weeks have been hard—Gus had terrible pain in his back joints, the curse of big dogs. He was probably 13 or 14 years old. Gus’ previous life was marked by neglect & unhappiness, chained to a peg. I was lucky to be his master for 5ish years. During that too-short time Gus gave me back twice the love I gave him. Gus was a noisy, enthusiastic goofball. His joy was a walk in the woods to chase wild turkeys and was happiest, I think, galloping unleashed in my dad’s big fenced-in yard. Despite his size, he was gentle with my old dad. He trusted me absolutely and would have defended me with his life. Friends, if you ever get the chance to rescue an old dog, seize it. You won’t be sorry. I have no regrets. I cherish every minute Gus & I had together. I miss him terribly.

Let’s raise a glass to Augustus/ his voice you all used to know/ hounds of his kind are very hard to find/ and he’s gone where the good doggies go.

Sweet dreams, my good boy. I love you.
Augustus
2007? – September 23, 2021

Nicolas Jenson

Nicolas Jenson

The mechanized printing press and movable type were such radically different new technologies that printers had to soothe and reassure their customers by making their books’ text look like old-fashioned calligraphy. The metal letters mimicked the way letters are created by a pen or brush. It would take a bit of time before a typefounder said, “Oh, the heck with it” and finally designed a typeface that was meant to be printed on a printing press. No more phony hey-this-looks-like-it-just-rolled-out-of-the-scriptorium fancy-pants calligraphy.

That happened in ad 1470 and the type designer was Nicolas Jenson (zhen-SŌN). He was a Frenchman living in Italy.

Here’s a site with his beautiful type designs. You can download the typeface and there’s even a box where you can keystroke in your name or a phrase and see what it looks like a la Jenson. https://www.dafont.com/1470jenson.font

You can get Jenson’s font from these guys, too. Image credit: https://fontmeme.com/fonts/1470-jenson-font/

Jenson’s type design is inspired by old Roman majuscules for the capital letters. His lowercase letters are sorta-kinda inspired by uncial minuscules (notice Jenson’s lowercase u doesn’t look like a v). We’ll be calling capital letters ‘uppercase’ and little letters ‘lowercase’ now because that’s where they are kept in a job drawer.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Don’t forget: I wrote another Western Civ User’s Guide! Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space.

Doom

The plague doctor was somebody whose job was to venture among the plague victims and keep a tally of the sick and dead. He burned herbs in the end of his mask to discourage plague germs. I’m kind of surprised no one wore one of these get-ups in the past year.*

The Black Death was a proper pandemic. Coffin-makers couldn’t keep up with the business. Bodies needed to be buried in mass graves. Entire towns were left empty. A huge chunk of the Holy Roman Empire’s population just wasn’t there anymore. Church attendance plummeted. Food was in short supply because there weren’t enough serfs left to plant and harvest crops. The devastation was so comprehensive that it took a couple centuries to recover.

* GAAAAH! Update! I did this sketch as a kind of tribute to my pal Chuck Dillon who wrote and illustrated Which Art Student Are You? that features art student stereotypes with all their attributes called out—and then I forgot to mention Chuck when I posted! I tell you, I’m losing my marbles.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

 

There are bad times just around the corner

Everything in the Holy Roman Empire was humming along smoothly—everybody did their jobs according to whatever social class they were born to. If a serf were unhappy with serfdom, there wasn’t much he could do about it. That serf may well have believed no one else shared his feelings. It was difficult to know what the serfs on other manors were thinking because there weren’t many ways to communicate with people other than directly, in person. There weren’t any newspapers. No call-in radio talk show hosts to point out the absurdity of the feudal system. No social media because no internet. A meeting place like a church was strictly controlled by clergy and nobility—the people in charge.

However, a great comfort of studying history is to realize that no matter how bleak things may seem, no state of affairs will last forever. Things can always get worse.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Puppy training

This day in history—753 bc!

John Manders' Blog

Just some sketches. Something softer and more idyllic than my take on the Etruscan statue in the last post. I’m imagining Lupa Capitolina teaching the boys how to become wolves.

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