We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
“The American boy of 1854 stood closer to the year 1 than to the year 1900.” Soon, almost no one in America will have a visceral understanding of what 1854 was like, and what the heck Henry Adams was talking about.
A typical boy of 1854 knew what farming was like and may well have worked on a farm, knew horses and other animals, and learned how to maintain and fix things, from houses to wagons to furniture. A typical young man of 1947 had been in the army, knew people who lived on farms, could tune and maintain his own car, and could change the fan belt on the refrigerator and refill it with Freon. Both the boy and the young man had some feel for the technologies that were developing and changing around them, since the technologies were often sized on a human scale and involved mechanical processes that they had some acquaintance with.
To an important extent, this is no longer true. You can’t fix an iPod the way you can fix a record player; indeed you can’t even easily open up an iPod to understand it, as you could unscrew the turntable cover to figure out how 33 1/3 rpm became 45 rpm. Nor can you fool around with a Toyota Prius the same way you could try to replace a 283 with a 327 in a ‘57 Chevy.
Well, Barrister ... Not a typical, but not a particularly unusual girl of 1952 in America could, and did, reassemble the valve-in-head engine in her 1941 Chevy so it would run, after her dreamy, impractical artist husband had disassembled it so we could have the valves reground.,and then couldn't figure out how to reassemble it
Back then, we were close enough to the original invention of automobiles that, with the help of Motors Auto Repair Manual, I could figure out how to reassemble it well enough to make it work. Did have help [not from my artist husband] re-gapping and adjusting the spark plugs and fine-tuning the engine, from one of the engineers at the Electronic Computer Project in The Institute for Advanced Study where I worked at the time. The automobile and I separated a year later, but it ran quite well until then.
But I have no idea how to work on a modern car engine, and, at 80, no real ambition to know. Or an iPod either.
We get further and further away from our roots, don't we?