10 thoughts on “Wednesday, May 18, 2022

  1. Hi, Chris. I’m always on the lookout for Skyriters because they’re easy to take apart for repainting. They rarely turn up on Ebay UK. But now that you’ve told me they contain asbestos, I’m not so sure I want to open one up!

    1. Hi Leo – I’m just assuming those mats contain asbestos! Maybe they don’t… but in my opinion there’s a good chance they do, considering how widespread it was used as an insulation material in the 1950s. I haven’t done any typewriter specific research though. And I haven’t had these analyzed by a lab 😉 With a fibrous mat like Smith-Corona used, I’m told it’s safe to be around unless you crumble it and release small particles into the air, and then breathe them. If you leave the material alone then there’s no real danger. This is not professional health & safety advice, just my understanding!

    2. I have only seen tar paper, felt and foam for sound deadening material inside typewriters. All, much cheaper than asbestos for this purpose.

      Daniel B.

      1. I just felt the felt on my two Skyriters (hmm, that sounds kind of kinky) and I think it’s cotton felt. It doesn’t have that mineral texture that asbestos does.

    3. Well let’s say my use of “asbestos” was artistic license then… I’m still not going to crumble up the felt or snort any!

  2. Ferrick: Those of Irish heritage are compelled to speak up for James Joyce, but… reading trying to read Ulysses in a single day??? That sounds like a punishment that my grade school nuns might have substituted in lieu of being struck on the knuckles with a ruler.

    Re: abortion — much strong response to the poem posted yesterday. I’m ambivalent towards the poem, but not towards the issue.

    The core inescapable issue of abortion is whether the unborn child deserves protection from being killed. (Terms like “murder” etc. are legalisms and not germane to the discussion.)

    Our feelings about abortion or personal experiences with it don’t change that calculus, nor do personal anecdotes about truly monstrous behavior in response to unwanted pregnancies — people who commit such atrocities were not “good” folks who simply snapped under pressure, but horrible people doing what horrible people do.

    The scales come down to whether a woman may potentially be deprived of some degree of liberty, which may be restored, versus the unborn child being absolutely deprived of life, which can never be restored.

    With respect for those who disagree, I’ll cast my lot on the side of the weakest and smallest who deserve basic and fundamental protections.

    1. An interesting thought Brendan, and a little more about the couple who used to run Bloom’s Day. They had both left their religious orders, married and started a book store in Townsville (Queensland, Australia). I have no idea if it is still there. Perhaps they liked seeing us as a group (generally about twenty or so) struggle with the reading. Cheers!

  3. Ferrick, Many years ago, I took a graduate level class which read, studied and discusses two (2) pages of Finegan’s Wake per semester at UC Berkeley Extension. There is still an on-going reading group The Berkeley Tuesday Night Finnegans Wake Group. “Each Tuesday, we meet for an hour and a half to read and discuss roughly one page of James Joyce’s final work.”

  4. Brendan, I thought I would provide a few bullet points on what is at stake regarding the abortion topic. In the Mississippi abortion case currently before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the calculus is being re-calibrated. The issues include:
    • re-defining “viability” and “pre-viability of the fetus and thereby reduce the ban on abortions from 25 weeks to 15 weeks
    • examining “undue burden” of the mother and the state’s roll in women’s health
    • reviewing an amicus curiae briefing on whether or not an “unborn child” is a “person” entitled to rights, due process and equal protection as accorded in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution

    However, SCOTUS has decided to take up the one and only the first petition that the State submitted:
    • whether all pre-viability bans on elective abortions violate the Constitution

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