Monday, November 30, 2009

Antique Telephone Stand

The H.T. Cushman Manufacturing Company was founded in North Bennington, VT by Henry Theodore Cushman, after his service in the Civil War, about 1867. The company was famous for its oddity inventions and unique furniture. For example, the Cushman Company invented erasers, to place at the end of lead pencils. In the late 1800's the company also made coat hangers, pencil boxes, coat racks, towel racks, and foot rests and stools.

At the turn of the century Cushman began manufacturing more substantial furniture. For example, they made 'smokers,' which were stands to store smoking supplies, and the Shynezy chair, which had a storage space for shoe shining supplies. Another piece was the 'Betumal' 'Beat em all" telephone stand, which I acquired from my friend the other day. This unique piece has a hinged stool which fits under the small stand when not in use, and has a glass top inset. I would surmise my telephone stand was made between 1911 & 1913. Underneath the table there's a label that says: "H.T. Cushman. #207."

H.T. Cushman Manufacturing Co. was in business until 1980, and was largely family owned and operated.
MK enjoying the chair.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It was a somber Thanksgiving weekend for the nation 46 years ago today, as Americans mourned the loss of JFK. I was only a few months old, but my father has told me many times about that weekend. He was devastated, as were so many other Americans of all creeds. Here is a compilation of television news reports of that day, from local Dallas stations. It's pretty amazing to me how often the newsmen make foreboding comments about something happening. Too bad JFK didn't opt to use the 'bubble' that day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chicken Soup With Rice

"Chicken Soup With Rice," by Maurice Sendak, is a children's favorite. Though "Where the Wild Things Are" is getting more attention lately, it bodes well not to forget Sendak's other classics. My friend was feeling sick today, and I thought of this poem/ song for her.

We were also talking about Carol King the other night, while singing karaoke. She turned Maurice Sendak's story into a great song.

In January it's so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice

To sip hot chicken soup with rice

Sipping once, sipping twice

Sipping chicken soup with rice

In February it will be
My snowman's anniversary

With cake for him and soup for me!
Happy once, happy twice

Happy chicken soup with rice


In March the wind blows down the door

And spills my soup upon the floor
It laps it up and roars for more
Blowing once, blowing twice

Blowing chicken soup with rice


In April I will go away
To far off Spain or old Bombay

And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice

Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice


In May I truly think it best

To be a robin lightly dressed

Concocting soup inside my nest

Mix it once, mix it twice

Mix that chicken soup with rice

In June I saw a charming group

Of roses all begin to droop

I pepped them up with chicken soup!
Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice

Sprinkle chicken soup with rice


In July I'll take a peep

Into the cool and fishy deep
Where chicken soup is selling cheap
Selling once, selling twice
Selling chicken soup with rice


In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot
Cooking soup of course-why not?
Cooking once, cooking twice

Cooking chicken soup with rice


In September, for a while
I will ride a crocodile
Down the chicken soup-y Nile

Paddle once, paddle twice
Paddle chicken soup with rice

In October I'll be host

To witches, goblins and a ghost

I'll serve them chicken soup on toast
once, whoopy twice

chicken soup with rice


In November's gusty gale
I will flop my flippy tail

And spout hot soup-I'll be a whale!

Spouting once, spouting twice

Spouting chicken soup with rice


In December I will be
A baubled, bangled Christmas tree

With soup bowls draped all over me

Merry once, merry twice

Merry chicken soup with rice

I told you once, I told you twice
All seasons of the year are nice

For eating chicken soup with rice!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

Multiple Intelligences Theory, developed originally by psychologist Howard Gardner of Harvard University, is one of the coolest theories about intelligence. Traditional intelligence tests (such as the Stanford-Binet) assess only spatial and verbal intelligence. These areas are typically the areas (vocabulary, listening skills, memory, math, spatial skills) that are emphasized in school.

Gardner's theory expanded human intelligence to include other areas such as artistic,
kinesthetic, and musical. Of course these areas are more difficult to test, but exist as strengths and weaknesses in all of us. For example, many of the students I work with have linguistic weaknesses, and reading and learning problems, but have have superb artistic, musical, kinesthetic, or interpersonal skills. Here are the various aspects of Multiple Intelligences, according to the BBC Science & Nature Homepage.

Logical-Mathematical Thinkers

Logical-Mathematical thinkers:

  • Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
  • Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
  • Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively

Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include
Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include

Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer Programmer, Engineer, Inventor

Linguistic Thinkers

Linguistic thinkers:

  • Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Other Linguistic Thinkers include
William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank

Careers which suit Linguistic thinkers include
Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist

Interpersonal Thinkers

Interpersonal thinkers:

  • Like to think about other people, and try to understand them
  • Recognize differences between individuals and appreciate that different people have different perspectives
  • Make an effort to cultivate effective relationships with family, friends and colleagues

Other Interpersonal thinkers include
Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare

Careers which suit Interpersonal thinkers include
Politician, Psychologist, Nurse, Counselor, Teacher

Intrapersonal thinkers

Intrapersonal thinkers:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
  • Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
  • You understand how your behavior affects your relationships with others

Other Intrapersonal thinkers include
Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include
Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child Care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist

Naturalist Thinkers

Naturalist Thinkers:

  • Like to understand the natural world, and the living beings that inhabit it
  • have an aptitude for communicating with animals
  • You try to understand patterns of life and natural forces

Other Naturalist thinkers include
Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Johnny Morris, David Attenborough

Careers which suit Naturalist thinkers include
Biologist, Meteorologist, Forester, Farmer, Astronomer, Alternative therapist

Existential Thinkers

Existential thinkers:

  • Like to spend time thinking about philosophical issues such as "What is the meaning of life?"
  • Try to see beyond the 'here and now', and understand deeper meanings
  • consider moral and ethical implications of problems as well as practical solutions

Other Existential Thinkers include
The Buddha, Gandhi, Plato, Socrates, Martin Luther King

Careers which suit Existential Thinkers include
Philosopher, Religious Leader, Head of state, Artist, Writer

Musical Thinkers

Musical thinkers:

  • Tend to think in sounds, and may also think in rhythms and melodies
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.
  • Feel a strong connection between music and emotions

Other Musical Thinkers include
Mozart, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix

Careers which suit Musical Thinkers include

Musician, Music teacher, Sound engineer, Recording technician

Spatial Thinkers

Spatial Thinkers:

  • Tend to think in pictures, and can develop good mental models of the physical world.
  • Think well in three dimensions
  • Have a flair for working with objects

Other Spatial Thinkers include
Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Careers which suit Spatial Thinkers include
Mechanic, Photographer, Artist, Architect, Engineer, Builder, Set designer

Kinaesthetic Thinkers

Kinesthetic thinkers:

  • Think in movements.
  • Like to use their bodies in skilful and expressive ways
  • Have an aptitude for working with your hands

Other Kinesthetic Thinkers include
Houdini, Rudolph Nureyev, David Beckham

Careers which suit Kinesthetic Thinkers include
Sportsperson, Craftsperson, Surgeon, Actor, Dancer, Coach, Physiotherapist

I took the "What Kind of Thinker Are You?" quiz to find out which multiple intelligence is my strength. Here is the result.

You are an Intrapersonal thinker

Intrapersonal thinkers:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
  • Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
  • You understand how your behavior affects your relationships with others

Other Intrapersonal thinkers include
Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include
Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist

Take the quiz yourself!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Separation of Church and State

The separation of church and state, and religious freedom, are sacred American principles. The founders of the United States constitution saw these principles as sacred because these ideas were the antithesis of all the experience and history they knew in Europe.

When the state uses religious beliefs to govern, tyranny ensues. Think of Queen "Bloody" Mary in England in the late 1500's. When she became the Catholic queen, hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake and persecuted. The opposite occurred when her sister, Elizabeth I, became queen. Throughout history, very few positive examples of a church dominated state can be found, in which certain minorities or groups are not oppressed or even murdered. Think of the Inquisition and the Crusades.

Along with religious belief comes deeply held moral thoughts about right and wrong, philosophical beliefs about the origin of life, and beliefs about how to conduct one's life. (By the way, nonreligious people have these ideals too!) I am
passionately in support of an individual's right to decide what those religious beliefs might be. However, at the same time one person's religious fervor should never infringe on another person's access to state and federal institutions.

Should a religious majority be able to vote to strip away civil privileges from a minority? Any American's answer should be a resounding
no way! However, this is exactly what just occurred in Maine last week, and has occurred in 30 other states. The voters of Maine repealed a bill that allowed gay people to get married legally in their the state. This law was passed by the Maine state legislature in the spring of 2009. The vote to repeal gay marriage passed by a 53% to 43% margin. When polled later, the majority of folks who voted to repeal gay marriage rights cited religious reasons for their vote.

Marriage is indeed an 'institution' associated with religious rites, but
that is a matter of choice. Many people do not marry in a church, nor do they have to. Yet, along with marriage comes many civil benefits from the state and the government. Throughout history, this may not have been the case. At one time marriage was just recognized by one's chosen church (in the 17th and 18th centuries). Today, however, there are over 500 civil benefits, rights, and privileges associated with marrying a spouse. The solution is either to allow all people access to state benefits, or have marriage only be a church rite with no civil associations.

Would heterosexual married folks be willing to give up all the state and federal associated with their marriage? Hardly likely. Some people scoff and belittle the importance of these rights, and say, "Well, some of those 'rights' are burdens too! Gay people are lucky not to bother with them!" Still, I do not see any heterosexual couples lining up to ask the state to strip away their 'burdensome' property, tax, legal, medical, and child-care privileges once they marry. Of course people wish to keep these privileges. How many widows are begging the government to stop paying them their deceased husband's social security benefits!

It is the purpose of the state and federal courts and legislatures to act as neutral and non-religious parties to interpret the state and federal constitutions, and to make laws to protect the rights of all-- minority or majority. The Maine legislature did its just job by granting a minority group equal access to an institution that provides civil and federal benefits to its citizens. Civil rights issues should not be subjected to the popular vote. In fact, all throughout American history most civil rights advances have been the result of court or legislative rulings. In most cases, the court has deemed a group's lack of equal access to certain state and federal institutions (schools, universities, voting, marriage) unconstitutional. If women's rights, property and voting rights for people of color, and equal access to schools and public facilities for minorities had been put to the popular vote, America would still be in the Dark Ages regarding civil rights.

It may be okay for the majority to rule in cases of trash collection, electing representatives, raising taxes, or changing the name of the state, but the popular vote should not determine citizen's access to state and federal benefits. To me, this is a gross injustice. It is especially ironic when people (usually the majority) vote to take away a right from others, that they themselves possess and enjoy! How pompous and self-righteous!

The fact that the United States is a 'Christian' nation is simply a matter of historical consequence. For the sake of example, how would Maine voters feel if the tables were turned? What if Maine suddenly became dominated by an influx of Buddhists? Would the people mind if yoga and meditation practices were instituted in all schools? Would the people mind if the Buddhist majority voted that the state would not recognize any marriage conducted in a Christian church? Of course these propositions seem absurd, yet this is exactly what has occurred in many states.

We are left with the words of the great Thomas Jefferson, who is quoted as writing: "though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." Amen sister!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trinket Drawer

A couple of weeks ago in Vermont I went antiquing, and bought an old printer's drawer. My friend also bought one. These old drawers are magnificent, and can be easily transformed into a trinket art display. Last week I was going to start on cleaning and staining my drawer, but I wasn't feeling well. Here is a drawer that is similar to mine, and some examples of what others have done.