“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.”
— Tyler Durden, “Fight Club”
The profession of journalism has some odd quirks you should know about.
They are odd enough in print journalism; in television journalism they are downright bizarre. When I was a newspaper reporter in Greenville, S.C., I made friends with many of the TV reporters in our market. They told me about their generous “clothing allowances,” which was a stipend they were paid every month to keep them looking snappy.
But I was always most amused by their names. One reporter, Anthony, had come to South Carolina from an East Coast market. He had Italian blood, and his first employer was in an Italian market, so they told him his name was “Tony” and he was encouraged to talk and dress “more Italian.”
In South Carolina, the only Italian food is at Fazoli’s, and so they told him to be “Anthony” and to “drop the ethnic stuff.”
After a couple years Anthony left South Carolina for a job in Chicago. One of the first questions at the interview: “Can you be a Hispanic?”
So Anthony had to go by a different on-air name. This time something “Hispanic.”
Over on the print side, we are more boring, but we do have a thing about our names.
I started training for the profession in eighth grade. Getting a spot in the journalism class was tough because if you were admitted, you got to skip Spanish classes. (Wow, was that short-sighted on the school’s part.)
To get in, you had to have good grades (my grades were OK), and you needed the recommendation of your English teacher. Lucky for me, Mrs. Hatfield liked me. Though I was a mediocre student, I read voraciously. And so did she.
So I squeaked by (a common theme in my life) and was admitted to the journalism class. As part of the class, we published the school’s paper, The Cougar Print, and the students did everything: writing, editing, layout, composition, paste-up and photography.
I was pegged as a writer and photographer, so I was sent to the darkroom to learn the lab processes and was trained to write. The first piece I ever did was probably the most ethically suspect story I’ve ever put my name to, but it turned out to be an important bit of writing in my career.
It was a feature on the editor, Stephanie, who was a candidate in the school’s beauty/scholarship pageant. The story was a total puff piece designed to catch the eye of the pageant judges. I didn’t know better, and I played along.
When I turned in the story to the teacher, she sat me down to have a conversation about my byline. I was told that this was the time when I had to pick my byline, and it would be something I should stick with for the rest of my life, even if I changed my birth name.
I had to carefully consider if I should use my middle name, “Martin,” as my first name. Or if I should use “Christopher M. Schwarz” to look more
pretentious grown-up. At the time, everyone called me “Chris,” and they still do. But there was a problem with “Chris.” My voice hadn’t changed yet, and it was really high-pitched. So high, in fact, that people on the phone thought I was a girl.
So I wanted to appear less girly in every way. “Chris” was a girl’s name, so I chose “Christopher.”
But no one calls me “Christopher;” it’s a terrible mouthful of consonants. So when you write, call or see me at a woodworking show, just call me “Chris.”
But whatever you do, don’t ask me if I’m Chinese – another weird and scarring event from my childhood.
— Christopher Schwarz
1. Every man knows something that I do not know.
2. Every thing, living or inanimate, has something to tell me that I do not know.
3. It is better to ask questions of things than of men; but it is better to ask of men than not to ask at all.
— “Asking Questions” from The Manufacturer and Builder, 1870
Some readers have downloaded “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and have asked how to then get it on their iPad or iPhone. The process is manual, but it is easy and quick. Here’s a short tutorial.
1. Find the file named “ATC.epub.” It will probably be in your “Downloads” folder. If you can’t find it that way, try searching your computer for that file.
2. Open the file in iTunes. There are two easy ways to do this. You can simply drag the “ATC.epub” file over the iTunes icon and drop it. That will open iTunes and import the file into iTunes.
The other way to do this is to first launch iTunes, then go to File/Add to Library. That will open a dialog box that will allow you to navigate to your “Downloads” folder or wherever you have put the ATC.epub file. Once you find it, click on “Open” and it will bring the book into iTunes.
3. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer. Your device will then show up in the left sidebar of iTunes. Click on your device and navigate to the “Books” section of your device. You should see “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” there and be able to click the box below it. Then sync your device and you will be ready to read the book in the iBooks app.
— Christopher Schwarz
“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is now available in a completely DRM-free format for your iPad, iPhone, Nook or other reader that can read .epub files.
The price of the ePub version is $16. A Kindle edition will be released shortly. Click here to order the ePub version.
This is exactly the same book – same words, photos and drawings – we have been offering since June 2011. But with the ePub version you will be able to search the entire book, write electronic notes in the margins, change the font size and (of course) carry it with you anywhere on an electronic reader.
Unlike many ePub files, we chose to make ours without DRM – the acronym for “digital rights management.” Many ePub files with DRM are a pain to use. You might have to be connected to the Internet to read the book (that stinks on an airplane), or you can be restricted from copying the file for backup, or even simply copying and pasting passages from the book.
Frankly, DRM doesn’t jibe well with the philosophy of the book or its author.
So what is “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” about?
“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” paints a world where woodworking tools are at the center of an ethical life filled with creating furniture that will last for generations.
Author Christopher Schwarz makes the case that you can build almost anything with a kit of less than 50 high-quality tools, and he shows you how to select real working tools, regardless of their vintage or brand name. “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” will guide you in building a proper chest for your toolkit following the ancient rules that have been forgotten or ignored.
Schwarz argues that woodworking is a rare and radical act in today’s age of cheap, mass-manufacturing and wasteful consumption. He uses the word “anarchist” to describe individuals who “work with their hands, own their tools, and seek to live in a world where making something (anything) is the goal of each day.”
Building a chest and filling it with the right tools just might be the best thing you can do to save our craft.
Note for international customers: You can send $16 via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will process your order from there.