Daily Archives: May 8, 2014

Before I go

I checked Gideon’s web site just now to see if it’s been active lately and found this mean-spirited jibe at an earnest realtor trying his very best to represent an Old Greenwich (31 Sound Beach Avenue) home. Hey, for a piddly-ass, million-dollar listing, who do you expect Sotheby’s to send out: Ansel Friggin’ Adams, for crissake?

You'll have to replenish the toilet paper - that stuff's expensive!

You’ll have to replenish the toilet paper – that stuff’s expensive!

See how spacious the counters are? They can accommodate all your cleaning products

See how spacious the counters are? They can accommodate all your cleaning products and empty water bottles


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Taking off for a few days, back on Sunday

FWIW crack hunting team

FWIW crack hunting team

Boston on business, then a few days in the drizzle annoying turkeys. Light blogging until then. Pester brother Gideon to get his blog back up and running.


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A dog like that ….




Lost North Dakota toddler kept warm through the night by “Cooper” 

The family dog kept a 3-year-old safe, warm and dry as a search party combed more than 2,000 acres of North Dakota farmland for the lost boy during a dark, rainy night. The mother of Carson Urness can’t believe the family’s dog, Cooper, never left the boy’s side during the late night escapade that brought an army of volunteers on foot, horseback, air and all-terrain vehicles to their farm house in Griggs County.

“I just didn’t realize that he would actually be keeping him warm and protecting him,” Courtney Urness told WDAY-TV about Cooper, their golden retriever and German shepherd mix. Courtney Urness and her husband, Brock, adopted Cooper as a puppy after he was abandoned on the side of the road. The dog and her son became best friends, and even inseparable as they wandered away during playtime Monday night.

All of which reminds me of the “A pig like that” joke:

A traveling salesman stays overnight with a farm family. When the family gathers to eat there’s a pig seated at the table. And the pig has three medals hanging around his neck and a peg leg. The salesman says, “Um, I see you have a pig having dinner with you.”

“Yes,” says the farmer. “That’s because he’s a very special pig. You see those medals around his neck? Well, the first medal is from when our youngest son fell in the pond, and he was drowning, and that pig swam out and saved his life. The second medal, that’s from when the barn caught fire and our little daughter was trapped in there and the pig ran inside, carried her out and saved her life. And the third medal, that’s from when our oldest boy was cornered in the stock yard by a mean bull, and that pig ran under the fence and bit the bull on the tail and saved the boy’s life.”

“Yes,” says the salesman, “I can see why you let that pig sit right at the table and have dinner with you. And I can see why you awarded him the medals. But how did he get the peg leg?”

“Well,” says, the farmer, “a pig like that–you don’t et him up all at once.”


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Why myth matters.

Tell me a story

Tell me a story

Sarah Hoyt, in linking to this article, answers, “because humans aren’t wired to function on logic alone.” I think that’s right.

….. The problem with these [myth debunker] reductionist theorists is that they did not understand the deeper significance and function of myth within the human psyche. Carl Jung with his depth psychology was more sanguine about myth. He suggested that mythical stories connected individuals and societies with the “collective unconscious” in which all humans partake, and were one of mankind’s ways of interacting with the vast unseen world.

Romanian thinker Mircea Eliade went further, theorizing that myth helped individuals know how to make sense of their world and how to behave in their society.  Combined with religious ritual, myth helped them connect with deep shared societal events, memories, and values.

The mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) built on the work of Jung. Like Eliade, he argued that myth has an important function in society in four ways: it evokes a sense of awe, it supports a religious cosmology, it supports the social order and it introduces individuals to the spiritual path of enlightenment.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Joseph Campbell’s work was a great influence on Star Wars film maker George Lucas. Lucas claimed that in the Star Wars saga he wanted to create a “myth for modern man.” Campbell was also a major influence on Christopher Vogler, a script doctor for Disney studios, whose work The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers is a central text in Hollywood.

Myth died, but myth has risen. Dozens of movies follow Vogler’s mythic structure for plot and characterization. Comic book heroes and the movies derived from them are myths re-enacted and writ large for the silver screen. The exploits of superheroes in their great battles with evil are modern examples of the drama and power of myth. The technology of both production and distribution have turned modern myth-making through movies into a cultural tsunami. The brains of the early twentieth century could never have imagined myth making such a comeback.

Working in Oxford only slightly later than Tylor and Müller was another philologist and author—J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien and his friend, C.S. Lewis were fascinated with the power of myth.  Tolkien consciously intentionally devised his great epic The Lord of the Rings as a myth for the English people, to replace the Arthurian cycle.

Against all odds, through popular culture, myth is more potent and omnipresent in modern society than anyone could have imagined. Why? Because in an increasingly global society, myth is a universal language. Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Spiderman and Batman transcend cultural divides. Mythic heroes in movies communicate universal values in their fight against evil. In a culture where the abstract theories of academics are out of touch and meaningless, stories communicate more effectively and more universally.

Furthermore, in an increasingly irreligious age, mythical movies and literature carry the truths that religion had traditionally conveyed. People who would not set foot in a church go to the movies. They share vicariously in the hero’s quest and go through a cathartic transformation. They follow the hero as he makes his moral choices and so decide (even unconsciously) that they live in a moral universe.

The importance of the resurgence of myth for religion was not lost on Tolkien. In his essay on fairy stories, he explained that the viewer or reader of myth comes to understand that there is not only a plot and meaning to the story, but there is a plot and meaning to life, and if his life has a plot and meaning, then the cosmos has a plot and meaning, and if the cosmos has a plot and meaning, then there is Someone who plotted the story—someone who knows its ultimate meaning, because He is the ultimate meaning.

Dwight Longenecker


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Teamwork is everything


Coming soon to a theater near you!

Coming soon to a theater near you!

But in this case, the team member was working for the bad guys.Armored car guard robbed at gunpoint after his “partner” drives off, leaving him standing on the sidewalk with a bag of cash.

Police are investigating the driver.


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Smaller homes?


Mom and the kids enjoy the family conversation pit

Mom and the kids enjoy the family conversation pit

Interesting interview in Greenwich Time of several area builders on housing trends. I’d say that what they’re observing in New Canaan and other area towns is what I see going on around here – the demand for huge houses is way down.

“In my business people are looking for smaller,” Mark Fox, owner of Brookside Builders in Darien, said. “Four thousand square feet seems to be where people want to be, right around 4,000.”

“I think that families are smaller. “I think that taxes on the big houses are a factor.”

But it’s not just money that’s motivating the change. Fox said his clientele is younger, with a lot of them looking at their first or second house in which to raise the family.

“People aren’t caring so much about property, as they are neighborhood,” he said. Large tracts of land are no longer a priority, but a livable family-oriented area is something that many people want.

“We see a trend in homeowners that previously wanted a 10,000-square-foot house on a large lot are now looking for homes in the 5,000-square-foot range that are closer to town,” Kim Bova, of T.R. Build in New Canaan, said.

Eppley noted that “need” for space is a relative term. “Basically people are not as willing to put in all this space that they’re not going to use or need on a daily basis,” he said.

….  “People are not as interested in these massive houses that they’ve got to heat and cool and maintain,” with attention to energy efficiency also relating directly to savings.

When reductions are made, builders agree they are much more likely to come in bedroom sizes, or possibly supplemental rooms, such as formal dining rooms. On the other hand, shared communal space remains a big priority across the board.

“That’s the number-one driver of what people want because they want their kids around them,” Fox said.

“The important rooms are the family room-kitchen combination,” he said.

“People want modern and luxurious amenities in efficiently designed spaces that work with how their families live,” Bova said. “Mudrooms are in great demand to keep families with kids and pets organized. Open floor plans and relaxed entertaining areas — both indoor and outdoor — are more desirable than formal living and dining rooms that are rarely used.”

“Gathering space is still very important,” Hobbs said, “but how people allocate that space has changed … There are more people who don’t have a formally dedicated living room and dining room.”

Eppley added, “Living rooms are certainly much less of a concern. We’re taking a lot of these big living rooms that no one ever went into and we’re cutting them in half.”

My caveat, coming from a family of five children and the memory of converting a closet under the stairs to a reading room of my own, is that too much “family togetherness space” can be a bad thing: a space for privacy, even for young children, is a treasure.


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