Street Life in San Francisco, Paris, New York, Victoria and Vancouver

Steven Pinker be damned! If you’d like evidence that history is more complex than the misguided notion that everything is always magically getting better I’d point you to these  films showing city life before our streets became sewers for cars.

I’ll get right down to my cranky point: they show that our streets and parks are worse and more impoverished since we ceded them to automobile interests.

To us who live in developed countries these street scenes can seem chaotic. I would suggest that instead of chaos they show a city life that’s more democratic. No one form of transit dominates. You can walk, ride a bike, take public transit or ride a horse and not feel like a second class citizen for not owning a car.

Here’s Victoria and Vancouver, Canada in 1907 where loose dogs seem to be a thing:

And New York:

And to notch up the crankiness let me point out that the clothes look a lot better too in the days before “athleisure.”

Saturday Tweets: Rocket Emissions, Tarkovsky and Borges Quoting Furby

Lessons and Carols this Saturday

I have a recurring daydream that the beautiful and just world envisioned by William Morris in his novel News From Nowhere is what we get instead of Costco. When it comes to Christmas, in place of shopping and Jingle Bell Rock, we’d have a winter festival of light and timeless, beautiful music. If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend and would like to get a taste of what the Christmas we all know is possible would look and sound like, drop by St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral at 5 pm this Saturday December 15th for an evening of Lessons and Carols.

The Choir of St. John’s Cathedral presents beautiful lessons & carols for the season of Advent and the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The service begins in darkness and moves toward resplendent light at the high altar, featuring music by Palestrina, Willcocks, Tavener, Howells, and others. Complimentary valet parking and warm reception to follow. All are welcome.

The Cathedral is located at 514 W. Adams Blvd. just across the street from the Metro Expo Line LATTC/Ortho Institute Station. Come if just to see the interior one of the most stunning buildings in Los Angeles.

I Fix It: A Guide for Repairing Electronic Devices

Nothing makes me more cranky than the care, maintenance and repair of all the electronic devices we all just can’t seem to do without. I’m always on the verge, in the words of author Corey Pein, of going, “full Ned Ludd.” So what do you do when one of these slave labor assembled devices stops working?

Yesterday the Apple Trackpad that brings you this blog stopped right clicking resulting in no Monday blog post. Thankfully I found some repair instructions on IFixIt, a handy website that I’ve used many times in the past. IFixIt posts repair instructions for everything from faulty Roombas to cracked iPhones. They’ve even posted directions lifted from Apple’s top secret repair manuals, thereby invoking the ire of the vengeful ghost of Steve Jobs.

In the case of my sticky Trackpad, IFixxIt’s instructions guided me through removing the back panel and adjusting a screw. It took all of five minutes and this post is proof of success.

Suspicious glue gob on CPU chip.

But Apple does not make these repairs easy. The back has to be pried off carefully since the primary CPU chip of the Trackpad is glued to the back panel. Let me pause here to ask why a manufacturer would attach the back panel to the CPU chip with a wad of glue? Would it be cynical to suggest that they want to sabotage any attempt at repair and get you to spend $120 on a new one?

When it comes to repairing electronic devices I’ve found this set of screwdrivers, that I got at the now defunct Radio Shack, handy. IFixIt sells screwdriver sets like this as well as tools for popping open cases. Thank you IFixIt for disrupting the disruptors!

At the risk of an apples to oranges comparison, let me say how much more I like the products of Lie-Neilsen Toolworks. Made in America by workers paid a living wage, Lie-Nielsen manufactures tools built to be taken apart, maintained and repaired by the user. One hundred years from now when the fragmented pieces of plastic from my Trackpad are choking a dolphin, someone will be producing razor thin wood shavings with my #4 Lie-Neilsen hand plane.

Saturday Tweets: Rainy Day Tweets