Archive for the ‘Furniture’ Category

Service of More and More Shortages

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Local and national news outlets report shortages daily. A dearth of kitchen appliances join lumber as well as microchips that choke manufacturing in auto and computer industries.

According to a segment on 60 Minutes, 75 percent of microchips come from Asia. Intel, which passed on the opportunity to make chips for iPhones early on, doesn’t currently have the ability to make the small chips here.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

A friend ordered a sofa at the end of April and was told to expect it in September. Segments of the furniture industry have a reputation for slow deliveries but lately, a lack of shipping containers is partly to blame.

Not all shortages are pandemic-driven. A three-day fire last August at the Biolab chemical plant in Westlake, Louisiana, crippled operations and impacted availability of chlorine tablets for swimming pools. Most were manufactured there.

We’ve just begun to see changes in our lives as a result of the pandemic. Will we be back in the manufacturing business here? Have we reached the end of the heyday of cheap prices because of our reliance on products made abroad by poorly paid labor? Will we want more control over essential goods? What shortages would impact your life or already have?

Service of Urban Legends

Monday, October 1st, 2012

There are so many urban legends that flourishes. [Snopes is a website that covers urban legends, Internet rumors and the like.] Many come via email but the ones I’m writing about are those that people repeat without checking facts [or consulting their common sense].

One friend is annoyed every time he hears someone chortle the old saw about fruitcakes being doorstops. He says that they wouldn’t say that if they’d tried the fruitcake from Assumption Abbey, Ava Missouri. It’s moist, scrumptious and anything but cement-like.

A house I covet in the country sits right on a fairly busy through-road. It’s over 100 years old and perfectly maintained. It also fits its hilly landscape to perfection. It’s the opposite of most houses that stick out of the ground as if in a young child’s drawing. Yet you’ll hear people tell a real estate agent that they don’t want a house that’s close to the road. I’d buy this house in a second and pass on those without character that are planted way off a thoroughfare.

I’m told of a high-end art and antiques dealer who cringes when she hears trendoids intone, with a sneer and dollop of scorn, what they think of brown furniture: They hate it. They are referring to antique wood chests, sideboards, tables and such.

I heard the term years ago when a gifted interior designer/friend took a first look at our apartment. She was right: Queen Anne and Chippendale-R-Us along with a lot of other old wood pieces, some distressed, some less so. We opt for the simpler versions of all and appreciate how well the furniture is made, how the wood feels, its fine lines, structure and detail. I’ll never forget my excitement after purchasing a gateleg table dated around 1690. I was as intrigued to think that someone over 300 years ago put his/her elbow on this table as I was thrilled by its design and how well the legs fit and tuck in to allow the tabletop to fold down.

In addition, brown furniture isn’t merely brown. The words are boring, deliberately lazy and unimaginative. Antique woods can be caramel colored or mahogany or darkened by years of polish or patterned, as in Birdseye maple.

I haven’t even addressed the value of a piece of furniture that has flourished for centuries. Wonder how a $5,000 piece of new furniture will stand the test of time vs. an antique that has already proved the point?

Can you share any urban legends for which you’d like to set the record straight? Why do you think people feel comfort in holding tight to these legends when they aren’t valid? Is it lack of imagination or education?

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