Craftsmanship: The Lost Art

Sawzall. Mortise and Tenon. Battledore. Repoussé. Patina. Camber. Kerf. These aren’t just nonsense terms your grandpa used to keep you kiddos on your toes. These are real Ron Swanson tested things. Real terms used by professionals of craftsmanship. That something is woodworking, metal working, glass blowing, carpentry. Shop talk. And dammit if it isn’t one of the most satisfying things a man can do.

Fixing something with your own two hands is a purely satisfying feeling. Once you’ve mastered purely satisfying, you can move on to magic: rapping like Kendrick, or crafting something practical and handsome with your bare hands. Turning those soft mitts into rough and tough paws that mould metal and lumber to your own divine will? I got sawdust inside my DNA.

Just like writing lyrics, time is what it takes to woodwork. Time and effort. Thought and care. It’s not for the impatient. Some projects, like shelves, take a half hour. Some take weeks, or even years (looking at you, Lincoln log cabins.) There’s work to be done before you even buy the wood. Plans upon plans. Redrafting and redesigning. Remembering to factor in the width of the wood. Forgetting that you can’t angle jig a 1x1 or else you’ll split it. Guys. I love free-styling, but let’s be honest: planning is huge.

Ask any number of carpenters or blacksmiths, tanners or glass blowers why they do what they do. It’s almost a guarantee they do it for the love of the game. It probably started out as a hobby, or a construction job, maybe a family trade, and turned into a deeply rooted love of crafting and creating. Over the years, they got better at certain things and began to hone their skills as a novice, many projects and years later deemed by others to be a master. Though most would say that learning never stops. Perhaps they haven’t ever made money on their “hobby,” or perhaps they have made a comfortable living from it after they left the 8 mile.

There is no end to knowledge about woodworking. There is always something more intricate to be built or invented. The depths of wisdom to be learned from your own experiences is ceaseless. Mistakes will always be made. Edges can always be finer, tighter, sharper. Whittling a toy for your son could be a bit neater. Lathing a bowl for your brother could be a little smoother. Carving a canoe…well. We all need a hand carved canoe. Hanging your coat every day on a red oak coat rack you willed into being from a single piece of tree? That’s living.

Building something with purpose and practicality is just the basics, and yet the benefits are immense. Building something with style, design, sturdiness, and wisdom is art. We all want to build something that lasts, just like Kanye. Start small. Make a box to hold your wallet and keys. Build up to shelves, tables, chairs, or even cabins. Enjoy the thought process of making plans, making cuts, and using your hands. And once you are skilled enough, you can slide those freestyles into all your projects when the plans don’t go as planned. My career of rapping about woodworking is just beginning.

The Hardest Question Facebook Has to Answer

In the wake of yet another data privacy scandal, Facebook faces legal repercussions for failing to hold data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica accountable for holding over 50 million users’ personal data records back in 2015. Whether or not Cambridge Analytica obtained the data illegally, they breached the lines of privacy in the users’ eyes.

The Zuck: Hot or Not? Definitely Not.

What originally started as a “Hot or Not?” website on Harvard’s campus in 2003 quickly became something vastly different in the next five years. 145 million users later in 2008 and Facebook has become The social platform that everyone, and soon to be their mothers, too, are on.

Tack on a number of years (2, carry the 9, plus 4?) and Facebook has 2.20 billion active users in 2018 (the same “B” we use to count the world’s population.)

With nearly a third of the entire Earth’s humans having a Facebook account, this begs the question: What is Facebook now?

Advertiser and data seller? Social media platform? News roundup? Future streaming service and virtual platform?

Facebook has been through many iterations and painful, time-ticking updates. Pivoting, and pivoting again is not new, especially for companies born out of Silicon Valley. But following this privacy scandal and losing Tesla, SpaceX, Playboy and Will Ferrell’s pages due to their owners’ literally deleting their pages, Facebook is at a massive, bubble-worthy crossroads–one that is more concerning than a chronological feed.

As advertisers the world over hunker down to weather the storm of these privacy scandals in relation to data practices and a regulated Facebook, other advertisers like Google, Amazon, and Netflix took stock hits by association. Where do these companies go from here? Who do these companies work for? My advice? Don’t cheat the people (users) who got you famous. Stick to what made us love you in the first place, Facebook: connecting me with old classmates and my Aunt Susan.

Welcome to Smashville

It’s October 10, 1998, Nashville, TN. The Bell South Tower is alight and looming ever vigilant over the dawn of a new era below. You can hear the hooves of carriage horses clapping down the street as the Cumberland river meanders endlessly by. The wales and croons ooze out of the bars strung along Broadway. And if you listen closely, you can hear a different rumble. A new roar. A sold out crowd. And the resounding loss of the Nashville Predator’s first game, 0–1. What followed was second-to-last place in the Western Conference for the 1998–99 season.

Flash forward and pick through a myriad of NHL publications in the spring of 2017 and you’d see the Nashville Predators are tearing through the playoffs, leaving the Blackhawks and Ducks in their wake, on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. And if you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of grown men sobbing and children throwing tantrums because the Predators lost the Cup.

What makes Nashville into Smashville? Dedication. Hard work. And the fans telling every opposing goalie that he, indeed, sucks. From Cellblock 303 to the Lexus Lounge, we’ve seen a number of players come and go, hundreds upon hundreds of bands take the stage, one head coach change, and one long lasting, winningest GM in David Poilie. Nashville is tradition and vigor and a whole lot of passion.

Those sobs and tears, those tantrums and downtrodden children are what make Nashville Smashville. A level of care so deep and guttural that grown men rocking beards and camo are brought to their knees by the loss of their precious team. What started as an expansion team two decades ago is now the pride and joy of Music City. What once was a sizable city with a small town feel is now a burgeoning metropolis full of award winning chefs, the biggest stars in the world, and the boys in gold holding down the fort.

Flash forward to today. The Preds have already clinched a playoff birth and lead the NHL in points. Playoff tickets are already sold out. There is a waitlist for next year’s season tickets. And legendary captain and longtime Predator Mike Fisher has come out of retirement to help Smashville take what is rightfully theirs. A Stanley Cup.