Category Archive 'Sippican Cottage'

25 Jul 2015

Sad, But Accurate, Metaphor

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Jalopy

Sippi imagines today’s America as a beat-up old junker.

So, I passed United States. The United States was driving fifteen miles an hour in the breakdown lane with the flashers on. The Baby on Board suction cup had gone south and the laminated placard flopped on the rear deck like a fish on the beach. The back seat was full of unread newspapers and bees and sticky empties with no deposits. Three tires were bald and the fourth was a solid rubber tricycle wheel and half as effective.

All the windows of the United States that weren’t shot out were rolled down and you could hear the AM radio tuned to NEWSTALK RADIO! doodoodoodoo-doo offering to paint somebody else’s favorite car for $49.99 including rims and doorjambs if you had any. There was enough smoke for a new pope coming out of the gossamer remains of the tailpipe. The United States saw no point in pulling over because the gas gauge read E-and-a-half and the spare was on the car already and the tire iron was in a police evidence room somewhere.

Read the whole thing.

Of course, the old jalopy looked just about as bad back in 1979, but we elected Ronald Reagan and he performed the kind of transformative restoration that the tall Limey Edd does on the tv show Wheeler Dealers.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

12 Jan 2014

Latest Report From Rumford

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Winter in Rumford, Maine brings out the best of Sippi‘s repartee.

Winter came like a postcard a long time ago. The snow drifted down in slow motion, the big, fat flakes parachuting in and accumulating gently on the frosted earth. There was a lot, all at once, and in the morning the birdhouse wore a pope’s hat, and the birdbath was a cheesecake. The sun shone and the trees wore their coat of flakes like ermine.

Then the rain came. It turned the pope’s hat to a drunkard’s fedora, and the cheesecake to a dog’s breakfast. It came down mechanically, at an angle that could be measured anywhere along its route, as methodical as a secret policeman; the icicles on the eaves turned from a little fringe to dragon’s teeth. The trees threw their coats on the ground with their shivering, and left craters like the moon in the slumping snow.

Then it did it all again. Snow fell on top of the icy film over the styrofoam snow, and brought Currier and Ives back to town. Then the ice came and put Currier and Ives in the stocks in the town square for the crime of being jolly out of turn, and pelted them with everything handy. The roads turned to suggestions. The pavement was just the bottom layer of an arctic lasagne of sand and ice and mud and snow and general corruption. My wife’s car and my truck told me to shove it more than once when I turned their keys.

Then the thermometer began a truth or dare phase. It had been ten degrees below normal for months, but now it wanted to impress people. Pinch the unwary. Show you who’s in charge around here. Twice it showed me twenty below and kept going, and days ticked off the calendar, one after another, without ever reaching the number one. The ladder to spring had been drawn up into the calendar’s treehouse. We’d have to set a spell and wait for it.

There is no heat but what we can make. I shoveled the logs into the stove like a man in the belly of some great, dripping, iron ship, while icebergs passed by the portholes in first class. Nothing you could do could touch twenty below. You could set your house itself on fire and not raise the temperature in the living room ninety degrees. What chance do you and your disassembled birches and beeches have? But one bails a leaky rowboat whether you have a bucket or a teaspoon.

05 Aug 2011

Product as Opposed to Process

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Detail of Connecticut 18th century armchair

The author of Sippican Cottage lives in Rumford, Maine and builds furniture for a living. Looking at a YouTube of a wood-working shop, absolutely stuffed with tools, he was moved to reflection.

Unlike most of the world, I am not allowed to have the Process be the Product. At the end of the day there has to be something tangibly different with the world or we don’t eat. Sometimes we don’t eat anyway. Most of the world we inhabit now is all Process and no Product. What is Twitter, or Tumblr, or Facebook, or a million other things you could name that consist solely of: This is how I go, when I go like this.

The federal government thinks the process is the entire product. The public school system can produce only public school teachers. The EPA is now supposed to protect the air from humans. The Department of Energy doesn’t make any, and would prefer you didn’t as well –or else. Cities like Detroit are trying to exist with no population now. Search your mind. You’ll have to search hard to find exceptions, not examples.

Via Vanderleun.


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