Five-Minute Betterment: “And none will hear the postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?” – W. H. Auden

[Dear Reader, I encourage you to follow my blog for more That Man Glass wit and wisdom and also recommend it to a friend or two.  I would like to see this grow, but it’s going to take your help.  Thank you in advance. – David Glass]

Even in our digital world, there is still nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail.  Not a bill, not something addressed to Our Neighbor At, a real live genuine stamped postal parcel from someone you actually know.  I don’t get a whole lot of letters.  Holland (Mrs. Glass) and I enjoy sending and receiving postcards, even when it’s from something as low-key as Free Sundays at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (we all really enjoyed that by the way, even and especially Baby Glass).  We sent a few postcards that day and it was nice because they were only a quarter or fifty cents apiece.  So, for a couple of bucks (postcards and postage) we were able to insert a little sunshine into a few family members’ days.

I wrote another FMB post about reaching out to friends which I encourage you to read.  In short, I explain the need to maintain social interactions with the people you care about, even and especially if you only have a few people in your life.

Today I want to encourage you to take a few moments and GO BUY SOME STAMPS!

Stamps, you say?  Yes, stamps.  I always have stamps on me.  If you take a look at this picture

Every single day. #everydaycarry #carry #gerber

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you’ll see my “wallet” which is all of my cards secured with a couple of rubber bands that were once on some asparagus.  As of right now (I just checked) I have 8(!) stamps ready to go for mailing postcards, greeting cards, thank you notes, etc.

The process of actually acquiring a postcard and/or writing a letter is going to take more than five minutes, but buying the stamps won’t.  The stamps themselves will ensure that you’re ready when the mood strikes and will be surprisingly effective at encouraging you to use them.

A couple more reasons to go buy some stamps now:

1.  This past January, the United States Postal Service raised the price of first-class letter-mailing from 46 to 49 cents, the biggest hike in more than a decade.  If you get Forever stamps, they will work, well, forever, and you won’t need additional postage, thereby securing the current rate in the event that the letter-mailing cost goes up again.

2.  Someone is tapping your phone.  Well, probably not tapping it, but there has been some conspiratorial buzz about Google or whoever keeping transcripts of people’s phone calls and text messages.  At the very least, Daily Mail reports that cyber criminals can hack Google’s voice recognition software in Chrome.  So, someone might be listening.  As of right now, there isn’t anyone going in and reading your letters (unless they have a reason to) so they’re probably much more private.  Especially if you Learn Cryptography.  By the way, here‘s an eHow to check if your phone is tapped.

3.  You’ll be more prepared than you were five minutes ago.

Number three is a really important one.  I hope you’re taking the time to follow through on some of these Five-Minute Betterments.  I’m sorry to repeat myself again, but I have mentioned before that preparation begets confidence begets perseverance and it’s true.  The more prepared you are, the better your chances will be of getting through whatever situation you might find yourself in, even if it’s something as simple as needing to send a letter.

Stamped

Glass

P.S. – As you can probably tell, I do have a Manstagram, @thatmanglass . Follow me there for the visual accompaniment to the That Man Glass blog.

Secondhand Sunday! Typewriter Edition Pt. 2

#secondhandsunday

Follow me on Instagram @thatmanglass for more #secondhandsunday finds

This week’s SHS is another member of my typewriter collection. This Rover 5000 Super Deluxe portable manual typewriter was an steal at $5 from a booth at Bussey’s Flea Market north of San Antonio, Texas. Everything is original and in outstanding working order. Definitely a prize.  

   
  
Thanks for stopping by. See you soon..
Briefly,

Glass

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee

Did you know that when you cast a vote in the presidential election, your vote does not go to the actual candidate?  Instead, it goes to a member of the Electoral College who is anticipated, but not obligated, to vote for the candidate that you voted for.  Then, a month later, the electoral votes are counted and the winning candidate is announced.  Should the elector decide that his or her state’s votes would be better suited for the candidate that won the popular vote, they can vote accordingly, thereby negating the popular vote (Remember 2000?).  In its history, the Electoral College has overturned the popular vote FOUR TIMES! (Adams vs Jackson in 1824, Hayes vs Tilden in 1876, Harrison vs Cleveland in 1888, and Bush vs Gore in 2000).

Wait, what?  I’m sorry, but that just seems like a total crock.  Not to say that I disagree with how the elections turned out, but I just have a hard time understanding the reasoning behind the over-200 year old EC in modern times.  The author of the above article mentions that we shouldn’t get rid of the EC because even though there those four elections that didn’t go with the popular vote, every other election did.  I want to know why we still need it if the vast majority of the elections have just gone with the popular vote anyway.  It just seems like having that electionary middle man is getting in the way of our freedom.

I’m sure the Electoral College had a purpose two hundred years ago, when democracy was new and people didn’t know how the process worked or didn’t care, but this is the age of information and we all have a basic understanding of how this voting thing works.  Why do we need other people to pass the vote on for us?  In my opinion, we don’t.  It’s an antiquated system and it’s a waste of time.  Let’s simplify the process and let the voice of the people truly be heard.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of simplification.  If we are going to have a government that is going to be as efficient as we are ourselves, we’ve got to start objectively searching out and eliminating redundancies and other major time-wasters because time is money and government officials are burning through both like there’s no tomorrow.

This is a small part of a bigger problem that I will continue to discuss over time.  Topics to come will include welfare, unemployment, bipartisanship, Congressional reform, and much, much more!  Be sure to follow my blog for more insights and visit me on Instagram @thatmanglass for the visual accompaniment.  I appreciate your time and I know that together we can stop wasting it.

Thoughtfully,

D. Glass

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I am a musician.  I don’t mean I play music or that I really really like music.  I mean that music is ingrained in my soul.  The space between my atoms vibrates, resonates, and is amplified through my bones and flows in my blood.  Musical expression has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember and it continues to be now.  I used to be in a ska-reggae band and a punk band for a little bit, but now I write dirt rock music, an amalgamation of folk rock, my Texas roots, and the punk/grunge frustration that has, along with me, become more focused and mature.  I have a bunch of songs (that you all will hear soon) with my “band” (just me), David Glass and the Half-Empties.  Maybe one day you’ll see my playing live in your city and you can think back to this moment reflectively.

The following venues are pretty much my dream venues, but they are also damn fine venues that have seen a lot of exceptional musicians.  My intention here is to encourage you to track down the performances of your favorite musician or band and see if they’ve played there.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

KEXP

KEXP is a THE Seattle-based radio station that you should be listening to.  Thy have some pretty intimate sets in their Seattle studio and the studio in Iceland as well as fuller, larger performances that as equally high-quality.  I also really enjoy the interviews that happen between songs.  The questions are deeper than most and offer a refreshing perspective on the artists and their music.  They have their own YouTube channel with a lot of their shows on it, which include some of my favorites like The Lumineers, Dr. Dog, Florence and the Machine and lots more.  Here’s one for you:

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

I tend to watch Tiny Desk performances every day before work.  They are only about 10-15 minutes long at both extremes, but they pack a lot of glorious stuff into that short amount of time.  KEXP and Tiny Desk are actually the two venues that inspired this post, which should give you an idea of how awesome I think they are.  Tiny Desk Concerts are really cool because you get that stripped down, streamlined version of songs that already awesome which is something I usually enjoy.  The crew also does an excellent job of interviewing with meaningful questions and getting some solid info from the bands.  Artists range from indie rock icons The Decemberists, to newer bands like Phox and St. James and the Broken Bones, and even some hip-hop stars like T-Pain and Macklemore.  All around good stuff.  Here Tallest Man on Earth, one of the first Tiny Desks I ever watched.

Austin City Limits

Enough said.  ACL has been around forever and is undoubtedly part of the reason why Austin is the Live Music Capital of the WORLD.  Yeah, I said it.  Of the World.  Here’s an oldie but goodie:

That’s Willie Nelson on the ACL pilot, October 1974.

Stubb’s

I’ve seen a bunch of shows at Stubb’s and I will continue to go there until one of us quits for good.  There is something really special about the layout, location and history of Stubb’s and it really adds to the overall greatness of the experience.  Most of the videos you’ll find on YouTube are from people’s phones and whatnot, but definitely get out there and see a show if you ever have the chance.

Backseat Jukebox

As far as I can find, Backseat Jukebox is in Houston and hasn’t put anything out in a while.  The stuff they do have is awesome.  I put two of my favorites on here because they really embody the experience and show you how, well, the bands are just riding around in the back of a van or car or something playing their music.  I like it a lot.

Sleepover shows

The excerpt from the About Us section of the Sleepover Shows website speaks volumes:

“As well as posting interviews and news, we also film acoustic or stripped down versions performed by bands that we love as they make their way through Boston. Though it started as something we did when bands needed a place to crash on the night of their shows, we now film the sessions before or after a show and let the bands find their own ways home.

Basically, we try to use our spaces as creatively as we can.  We’ve filmed in the back seats of cars, on top of playground equipment, in doorways and alleys, in bathtubs and stairwells.  We try our best to get the bands to take their music outside of the confines of the studio and have some fun.
And that’s the point: to capture some great music that maybe isn’t always as polished, but shows these artists having a good time doing what they love. We’re doing what we love too, and hope you enjoy the videos!

Here’s mewithoutYou, my favorite band of all time.

eTown

I first stumble on eTown on the way to work one day about five years ago.  The San Antonio College radio station was playing one of their broadcasts and it sucked me right in.  What was cool about that show was that it introduced me to Cloud Cult, which since then has been ranked pretty high on my list of favorite bands.  ETown is based in Boulder, Colorado and they have performances in their solar powered venue.  They also do a lot of educational programs and community engagement/outreach.  Awesome.

The aforementioned:

Peel Sessions

John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, known by his professional name John Peel is one of the greatest supporters of independent music in its history.  He hosted a radio show on BBC Radio and invited bands and artists to record “Peel Sessions” from 1967 to 2004.  These performances are some of the most intense and emotional that I’ve heard and once again they provide the audience with an alternate version of a familiar song that oftentimes outshines the original.  Wikipedia has a list of bands that recorded with him here so there’s probably a pretty good chance that you’ll find something you like.  Of the top of my head, my top three favorite Peel Sessions would be Joy Division, Interpol, and Clouddead, which I’ve included below:

Weathervane Music

Weathervane isn’t so much a venue as a non-profit community out of Philadelphia that unites a wide collection of independent musicians.  They have a project called Shaking Through that will have highlight individual musicians or brings together people from different bands to do collaborations.  Scott McMicken from Dr. Dog curated one of the very first ones and it happened to include the guys from mewithoutYou and a bunch of other amazing bands from the Philadelphia area.  I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW AND EXPERIENCE THIS FANTASTIC MUSICAL EXPERIENCE!  I tried to summarize it but there are too many people and bands to mention and it makes me too excited to write.  So check it out.

http://weathervanemusic.org/shakingthrough/themansuits

I hope you enjoy these musical adventures!  Please feel free to comment with your own recommendations and make sure to follow for more goodness.

Harmoniously,

David Glass

Secondhand Sunday!

I did it again.  I’m a day behind on my SHS post for this week.  Mother’s Day took priority yesterday so I didn’t get around to writing.  I want to take a minute to tell you all that my wife, Holland Glass, is one hell of a mother.  Day in and day out, she’s constantly on her motherhood grind.  I am so grateful that she has been willing and able to stay home and raise our daughter and I am ecstatically anticipating our next child together!  She is my perfect match and I feel like our daughter is so magical because our souls go together like locks and keys.  I love you, Holland.  With everything I’ve got.

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all the other supermoms out there!

I got this week’s SHS item the same day that we found the blasting cap box.  It was a different sale, but we were on a serious roll that day so we were able to hit some great sales.

#secondhandsunday #acme workshop #lamp #estatesale #madeinAmerica #Chicago

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#secondhandsunday #acme #vintage #lamp #madeinAmerica #Chicago

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#secondhandsunday #acme #vintage #lamp #madeinAmerica #Chicago

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#secondhandsunday #vintage #lamp #madeinAmerica #Chicago

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This Acme lamp is really amazing.  It telescopes from maybe a foot and a half to five feet tall.  You can see the great etching on the knobs.  I love the industrial look and the fact that it was made in America.  It works, too, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t shoot a bunch of sparks the first time I plugged it in and turned it out.  All that means is that I’ll have to switch out the cord, but as I’m typing this, I think I might use the original cord and shorten it to take care of the frayed wiring.  No big deal.

I hope you enjoy this piece and be sure to follow for more great finds.

Exploringly,

D. Glass

Secondhand Sunday

#secondhandsunday

Today’s (yesterday’s) SHS is another awesome one.  I took Friday off from work because I wasn’t feeling well and there has been a lot of negativity at work lately.  So we three Glasses set out looking for estate sales amongst other things.  We hit three really good sales and got a really solid haul. I want to take the time to focus on each of the more substantial pieces, so I’ll start here.

Mrs. Glass spotted this box at our last stop and was immediately drawn to it.  It is crate that once contained 500 DuPont blasting caps.  She feels an extra attachment to it because her grandfather, known to all as BP, was a dynamite man back in the 1970s.  Yeah, I said it.  A Dynamite Man.  How cool is that?  If you’ve ever been to the western side of Austin, Texas, you’re probably familiar with the cliff faces that line the major thoroughfares in that area.  Do you know who had a hand in creating those beautiful geological edifices?  That’s right.  BP.  At the time, BP was employed by a company called J. C. Evans that did a lot of the blasting in Austin and the surrounding towns.  He was talented in his trade and did a lot of work in Central Texas, costing him much of his hearing, but making the area more navigable for the rest of us.

BP was around 90 years old when he passed a couple of years ago.  He was a great man and he will be missed.

His story makes me wonder about the story of the man whose estate was being dissolved.  Did he work in demolition?  Where and for how long?  What kind of a man was he?  These kinds of questions are a big part of what makes secondhand-ing such a thrill.  You never know what you’re going to find, but there’s a good chance it’ll have some history attached to it.

Appreciatively,

David Glass

If there was a worthy cause for to give to may I be so bold as to say ‘The givers not knowing where their money’s going is as sinful as throwing away'”

Or:  Where Has All The Money Gone?

The David Glass Guide to Fixing a Nation

Step Two:  Restructuring Government Spending

We’re broke!  Not we, the Family Glass.  We, the United States of America, are broke.  Beyond broke.  To the tune of just over $19 trillion.  That’s 19,000,000,000,000.  Twelve zeroes.  There are two sites I would really like for you to look at and I’m going to include the links:

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

http://demonocracy.info/infographics/usa/us_debt/us_debt.html

The first is a real-time National Debt clock for the United States.  At that site, you can sit and watch the estimated national debt climb at about $100,000 every ten seconds.  You can also watch estimations of increasing unemployment and student loans.  It’s all very nerve-wracking but also mesmerizing.  In fact, I’m going to go watch it get worse for a few minutes…

Ok, I’m back.

Whenever I think about outrageous outstanding debts our nation’s I think of a sagacious saying that my mother-in-law passed down to my wife which truly encapsulates our attitude towards unreasonable balances owed and the entities that attempt to collect them: “they can whistle for it.”

Example:

I went through the hellacious ordeal of ejecting a kidney stone maybe about a year and a half ago.  A trip to the ER got me enough of a prescription to get through about half of the week-long ordeal.  Dr. Jack Daniel’s took care of the rest.  That was maybe more painful than the times I’ve broken bones because there was really no relief and I couldn’t sleep more than a half an hour at a time.  Anyways, I didn’t (don’t) have health insurance because health insurance is a huge scam that I will cover in another post so I just got a couple of bills for the visit and the CT scan and everything.  A bill that has since fallen to the wayside.  Not that I wouldn’t like to pay them for their services.  I just can’t right now is all.  So, for now, they’re just gonna have to whistle for it.  Meaning that they can send all the bills they want, I just don’t have the money to pay that off right now.

I tell you this in confidence and hope that we’ve learned enough about one another by now that you understand that I’m not the kind of person that would purposefully shirk a financial obligation.  But times are tough and we need other things more than I need to pay off some ridiculous bill for hospital visit that worked less than a bottle of whiskey but cost a hundred times more.

I also tell you this because I think it’s important to prioritize one’s personal debt (I’m talking to you America).  Let’s look at it like this:  Yes, other countries, we owe you money and whatnot, but for now, [wait for it..] you’re just gonna have to whistle for it.  HA!  If we take some time and revisit how we spend the money we do have, we wouldn’t be so reliant on the global market anyway.

Here we go.

The government is too big and there are too many branches and agencies that don’t communicate.  A bunch of ‘elected’ officials [Electoral College rant to come] are being paid six figures to warm the leather (i. e. sitting in armchairs not doing anything. just made that up, by the way. feel free to use it.) and not make any real impact on, well, anything really.  Oh, and Congress can give themselves raises.  Because that makes sense.

I think that we need to weed out the redundancies in the government at all levels. There is too much time, energy, and money going into a government that isn’t really churning out much success.  We, the People, are like stockholders in a company.  We provide the capital, we should be able to expect dividends.  Obviously not monetary ones, but at least something more tangible than what we see now.  Maybe we should streamline the whole organization and have the government just provide basic services for now.  The military could stay and stave off any enemy attacks.  The USPS could stay to deliver the mail.  Maybe we could rotate out security/intelligence agencies so that each one can do an internal audit.  Because we need to be able to gather information regarding threats to our country, but they’re just doing kind of a sloppy job of it.  You know who needs some sprucing up is the FDA.  If you have a chance, just do a little research on how little research the FDA really does into companies and products and how limited their resources are compared to how many of their ‘approvals’ are coming out.  What else?  The Healthcare Marketplace.  The Department of Education (public education is awful said everyone ever).  The United States is ranked an estimated 50TH! in literacy rates worldwide.  The estimated literacy rate in the US is 99% but I think that’s a pretty high estimate.  The Treasury Department is worrisome.  The Department of Energy needs to embrace renewable energies.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

It’s the same thing I said about culture and commercial products.  We have to have higher standards and expect more from the people to whom we give our money.  Or they will continue to swindle us until the proverbial cows come home.  Oh yeah! The Department of Agriculture! They give subsidies to landowners so that those landowners won’t grow fruit, nuts, or other vegetables on land that has been reserved for corn, wheat, rice, and I think soy crops.  Notice I said landowners because these subsidies (which originate from taxpayer dollars) go to (sometimes fairly well-off) people in residential areas who live on land that was once subsidized by the government.  Seriously.

But as I was saying, expect more from your government.  Let’s promote accountability and a more efficient system.  It’ll be good for America and good for us, too.

Fiscally,

Glass

P.S.- Just a quick reminder that I really do love being an America.  I think that being unhappy with the way things are makes me more patriotic than a lot of people because I know how great this country can be if we can get back in control of it.  America has kind of gotten away from us, but it’s not too far gone.  Not by a long shot.  God Bless America.