Coping: A New Book’s Arrival!

Food for the mind, George – Ehor”

There are books and then there are books.  The delightful gift of a book that landed Saturday from my long-time friend Ehor Mazurok was definitely in the latter category.  Published first in 1952, “Metals and How to Weld Them” is occasionally updated by the James A. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation.  Lincoln of Lincoln Welders, one of which – a modest SPT135 – was used again this weekend.  (More on that project tomorrow.)

I was so moved that I wanted to publicly thank Ehor (his email address lost in my multiple “experiences” with Outlook).  Not many people you meet in life are such fine (and smart!) humans.  Offering the math behind the (2001) Muzurok-Ure correlation – the theory that defines long-term erosion of currencies as a parallel phenomenon to the long wave in economics and yet having a fine sense of what matters in engineering.  Rare find as a friend.

The book, no,  make that book, is of that special class published in America during about the first 70-years of the last century.  It’s the way they are developed – how the material flows – plus the typography and even the paper of such a book that sets them apart from all others.

I have several of the type in different subject areas in my modest collection.  They typically are printed not on cheap stock, but  are carefully set upon coated stock. Thicker than glossy magazine pages – more solid.  Meaningful.  It gives them a completely different tactile sense about them.

The pictures, when used (sparingly, to emphasize important matters) are black and white.  None of the typical four-color expense used as publishing puffery nowadays to justify outlandish textbook prices today.

What books are of this genre?

My earliest encounter with such a book was my late father’s copy of “The Blue Jacket’s Manual.:”  The 24th edition may be found at Amazon, but my exposure was to a 1942 copy.  There’s a digital version online (here) but without the pictures, and the feel of the coated stock, the slightly musty smell of the binding…well, it doesn’t draw you in.

Tactility matters – whether young people are conscious of it, or not.  That sense – the very smell of an old book – speaks to the youthful spirit as if going on a great adventure.  The age and the mystique of lost knowledge is an immersive thing.  People don’t study it much, but my first payroll job was shelving books in the Seattle Public Library brand on Beacon Hill in Seattle.  The watchful Mrs. O’Brien ensuring that I didn’t drift and put an M prefixed author in with the N last names.  Fiction was by author last name.

Seattle Public used Dewey at the time, for non-fiction.  But, that was before the lawyers got hold of Dewey’s classification system.

I don’t know if you remember, but the Online Computer Library Center actually sued a New York library-themed hotel for infringement in 2003.  As the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law notes on their IPMall:

“… OCLC acquired the trademark rights to the DDC system when it purchased Forest Press in 1988, and charges license fees to library systems for its use…”

This wasn’t your usual lawyering for money.  As Law360 reported 10-,months later, the New York Library Hotel agreed to acknowledge that the non-profit OCLC owned the classification system – and they made an unspecified donation to further the work of the children’s reading effort. As near a happy ending as you’ll find in the modern world, it seems.

In our own modest collection of about 750 books, we don’t need a classification system.

In my office, economic and reference materials are in shelves to the left of my writing position.

Behind is another shelf with mainly woo-woo and alternative historical books. Anatoly Fomenko’s “History: Fiction or Science” for example.

My friend JB Slear had been looking for Fomenko’s volume #5 of the “History: Fiction of Science?” series.  It has been published and is even in my Kindle collection now. See The Issue with Antiquity. (History; Fiction or Science? Book 5).

I single this out because of the Russian view that much of what we believe to be history is that it was possibly manufactured as Church marketing materials in the early centuries in Europe.

We keep moving through the books, though.  Because the topic is not non-fiction, but rather the “how to get things done” type books – like my newly arrived gift.

The hands-on doing, survival, and prepping are behind me to the right.

Most of one entire shelf is given over to back copies of Electric Radio Magazine.  ER as it’s called, is the definitive source for hints and tricks on the updated, maintenance, repair and use of tube-type ham radio equipment,.

Above that shelf?  The stuff of genius for the hands.

A comparison of the 1967 copy of the Boy Scout’s Fieldbook with my later 2004 edition, underscore the change in fashion regarding printing.  The topics has been changed up, the gloss finish was gone, and the book was chock-full of color in 2004.  Not so in 1967.  It was of the perfected learning and tactility mix we’re kicking around this morning.

“Roadside Geology of Texas” is there with “Secrets of the Soil” and that book I mentioned to Peoplenomics readers in Saturday’s report.

Ehor’s gift will not go on this shelf, but the one above.  It will join Glover’s Ref Desk – the one start-over Civilization book to own, along with “Advanced Machine Shop Methods” and “The Metal Fabricator’s Manual.”

Several Audel’s books are here, too,  But the rarest my be the 1883 copy of “Workshop Receipts.”  Which is where you can learn low tech electroplating with gold of “graining a carriage.”

A long discussion?  Perhaps.

Elaine and I don’t look at people superficially as many do..  We are more impressed by book collections than how many CD’s a person has.  Books reflect a sense of curiosity…and that means an awake mind is nearby.

Notice it sometime.  People who you visit with – ask them what they read… you may be surprised – or disappointed.

High value people tend to consume books like other people consume junk TV shows.  To the one, there’s a point and a usefulness. If you’re not sure which, this website my be over your head.

One of these days, promise, I will list our Kindle collection.  That adds another 377 titles to the pile.  Get the big SD card if you buy one.

You can’t remain an interesting person for long without lots and lots of input!

Father’s Day

Made another light crown

You may find this amusing, speaking of tactility:  Notice that I hand-tied waxed cable lacing twine instead of using plastic tie-wraps?

There are just some things better done the old-fashioned way.

Happy belated father’s day.  Hope they all called.  Don’t ask.

Write when you get rich,

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

17 thoughts on “Coping: A New Book’s Arrival!”

  1. There is a ‘habit’ among people that some call readers, involving ‘reading a book’ then tossing said book away. These same people have the opinion – often expressed ‘loudly’ – that keeping books is a waste of space.

    (I’ve had a discussion with this type of person – who seemed amazed that one would regard ‘books’ as to be kept despite all else in one’s life being gone. Having to pry a book from my cold, dead hands comes to mind.)

    Books, especially if well-written, are to be savored, to be read enjoyably time and again. I regard them as ‘keys to the kingdom’ of knowledge.

    • If a book is actually worth reading, I’ll rarely toss it. That said, I’m stuck with literally tons of former trees. Some are on shelves, some are in boxes on shelves. Most are in a spare house that I’m using as a library and electronics bench. Books really do take up a lot of space.

      I vastly prefer to read a book on electronic media. I can read faster using a backlighted large display and can instantly copy/paste something into a browser to get a definition or references. That, and the ability to search forward and backward in the text. It’s just a more effective way to read, IMHO. Backups are important, and thieves are more likely to steal a computer or pad than they are a bunch of books. I’ve never actually enjoyed the tactile feel of a book since elementary school. The other drawback of physical books is the weight of massive tomes such as the standards used in Physics, Medicine, etc.

      • My pet theory is simple: When people say the “read and toss” books 9-times out of 10 they never read it. Literary liars, most folks. Say they read to make ’em feel better about their sheepdumb.

      • As a recent convert to E-Books, many books are perfectly fine being read that way. But – larger ‘picture’ books are better ‘looked at’ on paper – for a book say, on cave art in France. And I have decided that the most fantastic books I must have a paper copy!

    • Since I moved to NC, I have used the local library for book storage since I live close & take my grandson there weekly. Plus they have a nice selection in large print. Even borrowed an electrical wiring book to fix my electrical problem.

    • I’ve a brother who’s a “read and tosser.” AFAIK the only books he keeps around are a dictionary and a Machinery Handbook. The dude read 2500wpm with total, instant recall, at least into his 60s — He’s the only person I’ve ever met who had a true, photographic memory…

      I lack his gift, and honestly, enjoy the “feel” of a good book too much…

  2. THANK YOU George!!

    A close friend of mine (no longer with us) was a welder for 25 years. When I attended first year college in Norwalk, Calif, they had a technical shop for trades as well as lower division engineering courses. Found the tech shop interesting so enrolled in some of their courses. Technical students got 5 credits for a course, I got 1 credit because it was outside my declared major. It didn’t matter, because I would have taken the welding and materials courses for 0 credit. They were extremely interesting, theory with hands on practice was worth more than the credits given.

    In discussions with my welding friend, he was quite surprised about some of the intricate details I knew. Although he was thoroughly experienced, I could see he was missing some fundamentals as to why things were being done the way they were. I remembered the welding book as it was required for the course, tracked it down and gave him one. He was so captivated by the book, especially the theory behind some of the hands on work, he was up to 3AM in the morning reading it!!! I felt it said a lot about the book especially when a professional welder of 25 years found it so interesting.

    When I read about your interest in welding on one of your posts, I knew this book was for you. George, you are one of the few talented individuals I know of that if something interests you, you examine it in intricate detail, not just a surface overview, but with depth worthy of a master practitioner.

    Your Urban Survival is a remarkable site. “You practice what you preach!” You translate knowledge into practical experience. Something very few are able to accomplish with straightforward thinking.

    In today’s world, young people are not sure what they want to do when they “grow up!” Not much is around to interest them. I like the line from “Auntie Mame” (the old version) where in the depth of the depression, unemployment was high, Mame was down in the “dumps” came out with this line, “Life is a Banquet, but the suckers are starving!”

    There was a lot of camaraderie with the neighborhood kids where I grew up and we spent a lot time at the local library reading Morgan books. Electronics captivated our interest and we scoured radio shops in the city asking for old radios that were being thrown out. We took those radios, dismantled them for parts and built many projects described in the Morgan books. An example of what some of those projects are described in the following Morgan books,'s-First-Book-of-Radio-Morgan-1954.pdf

    We were in grade 6 when we found the Morgan books, learned Morse code and dug in the alley regular electrical cable connecting our homes with telegraph sounders built from Morgan specs. Then came “spark gap” transmitters, (much to the chagrin of our neighbors who had to put up with spark gap noise on their AM radios). That didn’t last long, next step was building a Hartley oscillator that was frequency selective. Most of us, still friends, had rewarding professional careers that we attributed to experimentation when we were young. Unless I am mistaken, I do not see the same enthusiasm with most of the young people today. I am sure they are around, but don’t have the knowledge and experimental support we did in our formative years.

    Again, unexpected thanks, most appreciated.

    I remain.

    • I am forever in your debt – a kindred spirit on the quest. Keep in touch! Drop by often – it’;s an honor to have smart people in the room!

    • You have described my childhood, also! My father was upset that I spent my ‘paperboy’ money on electronics kits. He told me to give it up because it was too expensive a hobby! When I continued with my burning interest, he finally relented and bought me a book… Morgan’s “The Boy’s Second Book of Radio & Electronics”. He inscribed it with best wishes for my life’s work. I treasure it to this day.

      • Geez, do I feel blessed. Got my general class, started building linears…my day ran 220 to my basement/bedroom” (with a model 19 and a linear?). He was even proud when age 19 I was one of the chapter founding members of SBE…lucky me…no doubt

  3. When I moved from the big city to retirement ranch, five or six bookcases full came with me. Treasures as early as electronics books from the 60’s that were gifts, signed by my father. Reviewing these gives me nostalgic flashbacks of my youth. I have found the old reference books are the most comprehensive and complete and… well, ‘tactile’ as you say. Finally got myself a copy of Terman’s “Radio Engineering” that was out of print for years. I had a xeroxed (& bound) copy in 1973 that I learned AM Directional radio engineering at my first AM station. And thanks for the ‘Desk Ref’ reco. long ago! That one is a treasure trove.

    • With pleasure – and wait till you read my amp update in the AM -= by 73 and keep ure feet cold

  4. I have 2 bookcases in the den. They house genealogy notebooks and many genealogy books (7 of which are mine; I abstracted old records).

    There’s a large bookcase in the spare bedroom. That contains my Trek and other sci-fi books, my Tudor-era books, some language books, any woo-woo/doomer books and random misc. books including the entire Peanuts hardbound collection of comics. There are also disease-themed books; Ebola, the H1N1 flu during WWI, cholera, etc.

    Bedroom – 2 bookcases (one small). Small one has Andy Capp books, Family circus books, and some classics. The big bookcase has favorites of mine and my childhood set of Trixie Belden book (I even got some older ones because the art was fantastic), and a full set of the Five Little Pepper books, and the Betsy-Tacy series. All of them are childhood/teen year favorites and I do reread them. I also have misc. books in the big bookcase – ones I got at a sale, or still need to read.

    The small bookcase in the walk-in has some Holocaust books, a set of books by Olyphant (who did fantastic political cartoons) and other misc. books.

    The irony is that I gave away about 10 brown paper bags (grocery bags) because it was time and what I posted may seem a lot, but it’s half.

    With the Internet though, I don’t read books as much as I used to do. I’m ashamed of myself for that.

  5. I guess.. LOL I have books everywhere.. the wife complains about them all the time.. LOL LOL I keep fifty or so just by the chair to browse through read them all a few times..
    I love my ebook reader and really love audible.. I can do just about anything and read a book.. everyone gets a funny look when they see me with two headsets on LOL.. listening to one book on one side and the other book on the other side.. Hmm.. I think they think I can’t mulit task and concentrate on both at the same time LOL.. then the paper books.. nothing better than the smell of a good book and the feel of the paper as you turn the pages..

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