Monthly Archives: July 2006

Independence Day

The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia from early September to late October 1774. The Second Continental Congress convened in May of 1775. Richard Henry Lee presented a resolution of independence on June 7, 1776, and the Congress convened a committee on June 11 to draft a declaration of such. Thomas Jefferson from Virginia wrote the first draft.

The Committee of Five presented the final draft of the declaration to the full Congress on June 28. The Lee resolution was adopted on July 2, and the Congress, after some debate and changes, adopted the Declaration of Independence itself on July 4, 1776.

A copy of the Declaration, signed by both the president and the secretary of the Congress, was sent to a local printer, John Dunlap, who made up some couple hundred copies. The signed original is no longer extant, and only twenty-five of the Dunlap broadsides are known to still exist.

The Congress ordered on July 19 that a copy be engrossed and signed by the whole Congress, and most of the delegates signed that copy on August 2. Some delegates never signed, while other newer delegates not present at its adoption were later allowed to sign. It is this signed copy that is on display at the National Archives.

That signed copy is much faded and difficult to read, possibly due in large part to a wet transfer method employed by William Stone, commissioned by President John Quincy Adams to make an engraved copy of the Declaration. It is copies of Stone’s engraving that are most familiar to us today.

The painting pictured above is John Trumbull’s oil on canvas The Declaration of Independence, from 1817 or so, which hangs in the Capitol rotunda. It is variously described as either the presentation of the draft by the Committee of Five or the signing of the Declaration itself. It’s what’s on the back of the two-dollar bill.

Mambo Dogface

Another sign of the inexorable aging process this morning. For no apparent reason, I was thinking about an old Steve Martin routine, where he posits speaking only gibberish to a child from birth to school age. Then, the child’s first day of school, he or she speaks up in class, in this nonsensical language.

And I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the child says. Something something banana patch. I could feel the meter, two syllables, trochaic, but couldn’t just maddeningly couldn’t remember the words.

I walked in a funk for a number of minutes before it came to me.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We go to eight-thirty Mass, trying to get a jump on the day’s work. We spot Monsignor on the steps on the way in, and Dawn says that she thought he was already on vacation. Not yet, apparently. We’ve arrived early, too, since Monsignor ends up leading the Mass. No choir, though; they must be gone for the summer. But Jennifer Goltz, the Director of Music, is still our cantor.

There’s an interesting connection to me between the first reading and the Gospel. The first reading is from Wisdom, where it says “the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them.” And in the Gospel, from St. Mark, the woman afflicted with hemorrhages has “suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors.” Odd to me that both mention medicine in some capacity, In the Old Testament it’s about medicine as medication, derived from nature, whereas in the New Testament it’s about medicine as a practice, as derived from and practiced by men, by doctors. (And doctors who actually don’t do any good anyway.)

Also interesting is that in the Gospel, the two stories of healing are intertwined. These same stories are recounted, again intertwined, in both St. Matthew and St. Luke’s Gospels as well. And in both cases, the afflicted woman and the dead girl, the number of twelve years comes up, as in the number of years the woman has been afflicted as well as the age of the little girl. There’s no mention, and indeed no likely reason, why these years are equal, but they are.

Monsignor in his homily goes a little further when he says that the hemorrhaging makes the woman unclean, which to me sounds like it’s some sort of menstrual bleeding. Looking at Leviticus, in Chapter 15, it’s quite explicit: when a woman has her menstrual flow, she is considered unclean for seven days, and if her flow continues outside of her normal period, she is likewise considered unclean. So that too should be taken in the context, as Jesus the observant Jew in this case isn’t observant, or, rather, like in so many other cases, ministers to someone in need rather than blindly observe the Mosaic Law.

Also fascinating is the moment when the woman touches Jesus’ cloak and is cured, and Jesus feels … something. As the Gospel describes it, he is “aware at once that power had gone out from him.” It’s an interesting thing, in that Jesus is generally God and man, both human and divine. But at this moment he is more man than God, knowing that something has happened, but not quite sure what that something is. He has to stop and ask.

Fixing the Walls

We go to Home Depot to look for the plaster repair product that Mr. Connor recommended, something he called “Easy Forty-Five.” We finally deduce that it’s most likely Sheetrock brand lightweight setting-type joint compound. There are a couple of different packages, each denoted by the setting time. There’s “Easy Sand 90,” “Easy Sand 45,” and “Easy Sand 20.” So it’s probably Easy Sand 45 that we want. But, we’ve actually already got about two-thirds of a bag of Easy Sand 90 at home. We’re just going to go ahead and use that.

We pick up some extra drywall mesh tape while we’re here, in case we don’t have any at home. Later at home we’ll find that we already have two rolls of it.

Back at home I dig out the mudpan and taping knives and the joint compound itself from the laundry closet. It’s been quite some time since I played with these toys. It takes a while to get the hang of mixing the compound just right, getting it to the stiffness of cake frosting, as they do on the shows on HGTV. (Candice Olsen even pretended like she was going to eat some once. Yum.) Plus taping the channels in the walls takes longer than I expect, as I work frantically, thinking that the joint compound is setting up in the mudpan. But it’s supposedly got a working time of sixty minutes, more maybe ’cause it’s so hot and humid, so I probably needn’t hurry. But I do anyway.

I end up using just a regular 1ΒΌ” putty knife and the six-inch taping knife for the first application. Tomorrow I’ll use a four-inch putty knife and the twelve-inch taping knife for the second coat.