Barely Legal

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We had our first inspection from the Covington fire department this week and were told to fix something I’ve been meaning to get around to for 18 months: an exit sign.

We had a lighted exit sign when I purchased “The Blaze” more than two years ago. But the sign was super nasty, painted in glitter and covered (somehow) with hair. Hair? What the…? I ripped down the sign when I removed the odd ventilation fan (also covered in hair) and about three metric miles of sub-code electrical wiring.

Today we installed a hairless exit sign that was 100 percent to code, and we’re adding an “anti-blowjob” light to the front door to boot. I feel this light needs explanation.

Our shop is on a busy street corner that is used by everyone from elementary school students to prostitutes. When the sun goes down, some of the prostitutes have decided to use our shop’s stoop for their customer service duties. When this happens, the neighbors call the cops, and I get a nastygram from the police about the illegal activity on my property.

If I receive a couple more of those police reports I’m told I might be declared a nuisance by the city.

And so I debated today as to whether I should install a light above our door or monetize the whole thing with a webcam.

We’re going with the light.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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59 Responses to Barely Legal

  1. steverennells says:

    I imagine the local chamber of commerce will appreciate this blog post.

  2. Patrick says:

    Yeah, you’re the nuisance, not the hookers. Not sure how the city would get that to stick in court.

    • Apparently that’s what you get for not having a fenced entrance with barbed wire.

    • Matthew Holbrook says:

      This is what happens when what is evil is called good and what is good is spoken of as evil.
      As far as I can see, the woodworker is good, the prostitutes are bad.

      • wam2b says:

        But, don’t prostitutes work wood? I’m told that, in fact, they often do so by hand. Does Chris not also work wood for money? “Evil,” “bad,” “good,” I suspect are swarf grains that litter the floor of a tiny ax-grinding room and don’t apply here.

        There are all sorts of things to address, I grant you. My main concern is trespass. If itinerant artisanal woodworkers are going to make shavings on the front porch, they should pay a modest lease to the property owner. (I’m not sure of the legal definition of “squatting,” but it’s amusing to think that it might apply since the offenders may be officially squatting by kneeling.) Though a motion-triggered light might satisfy the constabulary, the placement of a small “donation” or “rent” slot in the front door seems a more pleasing arrangement for everyone involved. (An aesthetically anarchical solution, as it were.)

        There are many other lights to shine on this whole predicament, but this little box is small and this venue inappropriate. I’m also distracted by the sudden urge to compose an erotic poem. The working title is “‘Neath the Transom of Lost Arts” and will include references to “stoops.” “crowing,” “polishing.” and “Gallus gallus.” (Gallus gallus works on so many levels, but I don’t want to go for the easy rhyme. We’ll see.)

  3. Metric miles? Aka. nautical miles?

    But that’s right – a good work light always comes in handy!

    • A metric mile is a kilometre. The nautical mile is still an imperial unit of measure.

      • It is a metric joke.

        • Daniel Roy says:

          There are only 2 countries in the world still on the Imperial system. Myanmar and the US.

          • No… You are still on the imperial standard. You are just calling out different units. Check your chisel sizes if you don’t believe me.

            • Kevin says:

              We are all using metric. And I’ll quote Wikipedia also “The mile is an English unit of length of linear measure equal to 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards, and standardised as exactly 1,609.344 metres by international agreement in 1959.” As a side point, I am left handed.

          • Alex A. says:

            The USA is not on the Imperial system.

        • Tim says:

          The nautical mile is one minute of arc on the earth’s surface, and it is accepted for use with the metric system for the purposes of navigation and territorial claims, though not, apparently, for electrical estimating. It was given the official value of 1852 meters in Monaco in 1929. Thus the nautical mile is both an imperial and a metric-derived measure. I hope quoting Wikipedia doesn’t make me a wiener, because my position on the autism spectrum makes it hard for me to figure out things like that.

        • davelehardt says:

          I enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Brian Smith says:

    In addition to the light, maybe an exterior motion alarm and a bb gun by an upstairs window might help?
    Best regards,
    Brian

    • colsdave says:

      A cold shower mounted above the stoop would be as effective and less likely to invite more attention from the Covington City Constabulary.

  5. You can still monetise the activity. Surely the lights will allow clearer images when you install the camera and you’ll be able to charge even more for that quality footage.
    Just a thought…

  6. I’m confused. How exactly can the police hold you responsible?

    • Chuck,

      First know that I’m not complaining. This is city life.

      Ultimately what happens on your property is your problem. The city is very understanding in these situations, but it does want you to remedy the situation.

      My property used to be a bar that was open until the wee hours. So this sort of activity wouldn’t be an issue – it wouldn’t happen because it would block the entrance to the bar. Now we are a workshop and I go home at night.

      A light will likely fix the problem.

  7. G D Blake says:

    I’m confused. I thought you were giving us a second reason to visit your storefront.

  8. The cops nastygram and threaten the owner of the building against which the flouting of the law occurs when they fail to do their job enforcing it. Y’know, sometimes people ask me for the “short version” of the Anarchist critique of institutional power, and I feel like that might do, for an approximation.

    • colsdave says:

      The cops mainly want the phoned-in complaints to stop, so they are sharing the nuisance factor. It’s reasonable for good neighbors to avoid maintaining an attractive nuisance.

      • tpier says:

        I will hazard to guess that the street level prostitutes are something less than an ATTRACTIVE nuisance.

      • jayedcoins says:

        That was certainly my read of Chris’s post… sounds like the police are reasonably doing their jobs by alerting him of the situation, and a simple flood light is a pretty likely and easy fix. That said… if the “nuisance” continues, I would hope the police would be likely to help solve the problem with some collaborative means, not some fines of LAP.

  9. tpobrienjr says:

    If you’re going with a light, let me suggest that it not be … uh … red.

  10. Juatin says:

    Fellas this is a good time to check and make sure you didn’t accidentally screw one of those anti-blowjob bulbs into the bedroom fixtures. They look just like your typical 100w.

  11. Peter says:

    Open the door and let them inside, more money in brothels than in woodwork.

  12. boclocks says:

    Best post I’ve ever seen by a business owner! Yep, business people have it made, just rake in the money. No problem.

    Don’t we wish….

  13. Jon Hershey says:

    Just a different kind of “wood”-working. They might go by the name “Lust Art Press”!

  14. Rich says:

    Hmmmm… Did you ever see the movie “Risky Business”?

  15. spoiler says:

    (sheepishly) When you were selecting your “anti blow job” light you didn’t happen to notice if they had any “consenting blow job” lights did you?

  16. tsstahl says:

    I think one of those fake cameras and the light will stop the trick.

  17. Clifford Logan says:

    A motion light will save you money and help with UN-wanted business transactions. Along with the light I would install a camera because the light can be damaged. I would not spend the time and money putting up a fake camera(s), they can be spotted easily. I know it is a pain in the well, ass, but I would install two cameras, each one aimed at the front door. Word will quickly spread and that should help with UN-wanted traffic. The camera(s) can be set-up to record with motion. If you buy a motion light, buy the motion detector separate and buy a good one. The cheap ones only last about a year. If you can, try to keep the motion detection sensor under an eave away from the direct sunlight and rain. You could, depending on the building, place the motion detector facing the stoop and mount two lights on each corner of the build shinning towards the front door. Most motion detectors have a timer on them, so when they get tripped, they will stay on for the time you have set on them. One other thing you could try is to post a sign, “Smile your on camera” somewhere on the building and see what that does for you.

  18. You don’t often see a group of dudes brainstorming blowjob prevention measures on the internet.

  19. Bill Truitt says:

    hey now, those hookers are working on “wood” relieving stresses

  20. orion Henderson says:

    This thread makes my whole morning.

  21. Craig Regan says:

    If you have a shop in the country, you see mother natures beauty everyday. A shop in the city and you experience the human condition unfiltered.

  22. Jim Slusser says:

    Chris, I so enjoy your blogs. They always bring a smile to my face just like hearing from a friend.

  23. Chad says:

    Now we all understand why the chair class cost what it does 🙂

  24. Eric R says:

    Man O Man, talk about “full service” !
    I kind of quivered a little when I pictured the hair on everything….

  25. David Young says:

    A “full service” wood shop.

  26. JBG says:

    I have a speaker over the back stoop of my shop that plays opera loudly after hours – the various street folk don’t seem to like opera.

  27. Randy says:

    You cityslickers. Your average everyday game camera is available with motion detectors, infrared, still or motion pictures, and even bluetooth to connect to your smart phone. Granted we are usually using them to check for horns instead of horndogs…

  28. Lee Pickart says:

    And it appears we have come to the happy ending.

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