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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, July 15, 2017 12:01 am

The reading list

“With the rise of industrialism and home consumer goods, closets became storage spaces for clothing, personal effects, and household equipment — boxes, glasses, pots, bottles, jugs, conserve jars, and so forth. 12 They took on specialized identities, too: the dressing room, the study, the library, the gallery. 13 Yet according to Henry Urbach, the closet as a “new spatial type,” a wall cavity adjacent to a proper room, did not emerge until around 1840 in the United States. The newly subservient closet obscured itself by receding into the wall, and it attempted to “disappear” the family's stuff. Now householders could relish in consumption and enjoy their material possessions, while also moderating the objects' display and maintaining a semblance of frugality and moral propriety. The 'non-room' closet housed things (and gluttonous vices) 'that threaten[ed] to soil the room' (and the family's reputation).

“As consumption increased in postwar America, storage became ever more critical for managing clutter, particularly the intrusion of new media devices. Home economics experts were happy to supply advice. In 1953, the Small Homes Council recommended that families use their living room closets to store books, magazines, business papers, desk supplies, radios, record players, and records, along with table linens, dinnerware, musical instruments, and a card table and folding chairs.”

— From “Closet Archive” at placesjournal.org

A quiz

What doubles in a person between birth and age 2, doubles again by age 10, and doubles yet again during puberty, finally reaching its peak around age 30?

Wisdom of the ages

“The problem in our country isn't with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” — Ray Bradbury

Current wisdom

“My son is a high-quality person, and I applaud his transparency.” — President Trump, on Donald Jr.'s now-infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Quiz answer

Bone mass.

Snob words

ameliorate (uh-MEEL-yuh-reyt), v. — to make or become better, more bearable or more satisfactory; improve, as in: “The politician's soothing words did not ameliorate the editorial writer's deep cynicism.”

Today in history

On this date in 1964, Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater for president; seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now you know

According to legend, tea was discovered in 2737 B.C. by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung. Purportedly, he discovered the beverage when tea leaves accidentally blew into his pot of boiling water.


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