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Friday, June 17, 2005

Free Gift Friday

I live close to a harbor packed with sailing-boats and luxurious
cruisers which are seldom used, because seamanship is a difficult
though rewarding art which their owners have no time to practice. They
bought the boats either as status symbols or as toys, but on discovering
that they were not toys (as advertised) they lost interest. The same is
true of the entire and astounding abundance of pleasure-goods that we
buy. Foodstuffs are prolific, but few know how to cook. Building
materials abound in both quantity and variety, yet most homes look as if
they had been made by someone who had heard of a house but never
seen one. Silks, linens, wools, and cottons are available in colors and
patterns galore, and yet most men dress like divinity students or
undertakers, while women are slaves to the fashion game with its basic
rule, "I have conformed sooner than you." The market for artists and
sculptors has thrived as never before in history, but the paintings look as
if they had been made with excrement or scraps from billboards, and the
sculptures like mangled typewriters or charred lumber from a burneddown
outhouse.(2) We have untold stacks of recorded music from every
age and culture, and the most superb means of playing it. But who
actually listens? Maybe a few pot-smokers.

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