Old Stuff

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After admiring an old Kalashnikov rifle that’s still in active use, C.J. Chivers asks:

Can you think of tools that last this long, or that you expect to? Your pickup truck? Cell phone? Refrigerator? Television? Laptop? Do you own anything that was manufactured in the 1950s and still is in regular, active use in your life?

Yes! My beloved reading chair. Unfortunately, it’s out being recovered right now, which means I don’t have a reading chair at the moment. And this in turn means that I’m not reading as much as usual, because I really don’t have any other place in the house that I find comfortable for extended loafing. Buying a new chair probably would have been cheaper than recovering the old one, and I thought about it, but then Marian reminded me that (a) I really like this chair and (b) I always hate new stuff because it’s made like crap and doesn’t last. She was right! Almost without exception, every time I buy something new, the workmanship of the new item is annoyingly shoddy (and she has to listen to me gripe about it). It doesn’t really seem to matter how much I paid, either, which is why I don’t bother buying expensive things. It’s almost all junky, so why bother?

But this chair? Built like a rock and it has spring cushions. It’ll probably collapse about the same time as the heat death of the universe.

Anything else that old? Not really. My grandfather’s wristwatch still works, but I don’t actually wear it on a regular basis. Maybe a few old tools that we inherited. Nothing else I can think of. How about you?

(Via Sullivan.)

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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