Why I hate Norm Abrams

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I used to giggle as I drove past the Berkeley city limits signs that said "A nuclear free zone." to eat lunch on top of a nuclear reactor. The reactor is gone now, replaced by the new CS department building.
The giggle on the government is that ARPA funded a network that could survive a nuclear exchange as well as attempts by any government to control it.
A minor nit pick is that TCP/IP predated BSD Unix by a few years. BSD Unix certainly helped with TCP/IP domination of computer communication.
-- Doug
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On Tue, 25 Aug 2009 16:28:32 -0500, Douglas Johnson

I worked for Watts Bar nuclear plant back in the 80s. A common saying on the job was........The government pays TVA to build the plant, and pays the NRC to make sure they can't do it.
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The thing that scared the crap outta me was an episode on 60 Minutes investigating NRC inspections of powerplant construction, specifically the containment vessels for the nuclear material, the heart of the plant. They interviewed more than one inspector who, years after the fact, admitted to passing sub-standard construction under not so genteel persuasion by shady unions. The ol' "we know where your family lives" kinda thing. No telling how many currently operating plants (do we still have any?) are iffy. A good example of the shaky nuclear power plant industry in this country is Rancho Seco in N CA. The China Syndrome was not bogus science fiction.
Funny we should make fun of France, for they have an excellent nuclear energy record and actually export energy to other countries. "Freedom Fries", my ass.
nb
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On Sun, 23 Aug 2009 13:25:43 -0700, David Nebenzahl

First off I don't think it's fair to lump Hometime in with TOH. The latter no longer offers any educational value whatsoever while the former does a pretty good job. And they have even spent time showing how to assemble knock down cabinets, so if that's over their heads then please don't ever let them touch a hammer. In any case the idea is really to give the homeowner some idea of what goes on so they are better able to ask the right questions of the pros, not necessarily to make them able to do it themselves.
Norm, well I doubt I would be where I am today if it weren't for him. Sure everything always goes swimmingly for him, and really you learn the most from your mistakes and by never showing anything going wrong that opportunity is never presented. As the saying goes, the difference between an amateur and a pro is the pro knows how to fix his mistakes. But for the format of the show it just isn't feasible.
There's a lot of accumulation of knowledge that has to happen. If Norm makes it look easy and people try and give up, that really isn't Norm's fault. But if he gives you a look at what is possible and you find your own way from there, that's a good thing. There's a lot of well equipped shops out there with everything but someone who knows what to do with it, but that's true of every hobby.
-Kevin
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

As has been written here many times, Norm probably didn't frighten Maloof or Krenov a whole lot. We all wince when the glue bottle, the brad nailer, or the poly brush come out, but he probably had more influence on the popularity of hobby woodworking than anybody. Even if a fan never brandishes a jig saw in anger, there can be an appreciation of the effort (and talent) involved involved in making a decent bench or dresser and that can't be bad for those trying to make a buck.
    mahalo,     jo4hn
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Well said. As a matter of fact, I'll bet he never tried to scare either of them.
Norm's job is to inspire. What bonehead thinks you will learn the secrets of fine woodworking, plain woodworking, or anything else actually, buy watching him for 22 minutes a week?
I must say though, when he starts to finish something, I go get a more coffee. He is scary. I see those beautiful woods that are no less than precious down here in S. Texas being slathered with a "special blend of stains" and then covered with several coats of poly... it is painful.
But Norm, Tom and the boys do help me make money. I honestly cannot tell you how many jobs I have gotten where the homeowner started and couldn't finish. I have one waiting on me now where the homeowner was inspired to put Hardie on the back of his house. He put the board on wrong and it leaks. It is broken in places where he tried to pull the nail out that he bent. He didn't paint it, and now it has a bad case of efflorescence. WTF is that, right? It ruins the paint job if it isn't treated. Worse, he bought ALL the siding and stored it improperly. It might be ruined.
He started the project two years ago.
I just finished one where the homeowner tried to do his own roof repairs, fascia replacement, siding replacement and painting of the house. He got exactly one piece of siding out and replaced. Then it was either too hot, too cold, rainy, or not a weekend that was open. His wife signed the contract while he was trying to tell her that he "could get on" some of the remaining work right away. She told me he started 3 years ago!
My own BIL loves to watch those shows, and gets in deep so fast they pay me to fix his "projects". He is a great guy and means well, but he just can't grasp what goes into remodeling/repair. The very first time I worked on their house, my sister gave me a list of things that were in various stages of repair/disrepair that he had started. He likes to go buy a tool, one he saw on the shows, and thinks that will also give him the skills as well.
It is always funny to me how so many men, especially white collar guys, feel like their own job is sophisticated, difficult and takes years of hard work and dedication to master. Yet when they see a blue collar guy, they may respect the work he does but they feel like they can do the same work (or near to it), at just a bit slower pace. Just a bit of practice on the weekends, and they are good to go.
Yeah, right.
But they do indeed make me money. By the time they wave the white flag, they are so sick of having their backsides chewed off by their wives they will gladly pay a fair price if they are assured of actual completion.
So at the guy that "starts the job but can't finish" house, how many entry way doors have I repaired/reinstalled? How many interior doors have I hung/rehung? How much crown molding have I put up that was in the garage for a couple of years? How many cabinets have I installed/ reinstalled? How much refinishing have I redone on cabinets and tables?
Couldn't tell you. But there have been many times these guys have paid my bills! I say long live those guys, and shame on any of you folks that actually think you can get more than a quick snapshot of a good tradesman working in 22 minutes.
Robert
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Did anyone catch the quote from the TV Show "House" about Norm?
House's oncologist friend Wilson was staying with him between marriages. He noted surprise that House had New Yankee Workshop marked as a favorite on his on-screen menu.
He said "Gee House, I never figured you as the woodworking type."
House responded (paraphrase): "Oh yeah. A total moron in a building full of ultra-sharp woodworking machinery. As a physician, the suspense is unbearable!"
But I still like Norm.
RonB
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RonB wrote:

a few shows, they made of point of explaining how some steps could be done with normal tools versus the high-dollar specialty tools, but I haven't seen that lately. But him and his buddy Tom are definitely master carpenters, and if I was a (very) rich man, I'd happily hire them both to build or rebuild a house for me. You can't fake that easy familiarity with the tools, the materials, and the process. I grew up in the business, and saw and worked with enough real carpenters and idiots, to know the difference. Other than making me feel like an inadequate klutz, watching the pros work was always an educational pleasure. Most of them, unless they were on deadline, didn't mind me watching and asking questions. I learned a lot from them.
I liked TOH much better in the early days, in spite of that idiot BV. The projects had something to do with reality back then, and Norm was still a working contractor. (Not sure if Tommy still is- I never see him wearing the 'Silva Brothers' shirts any more.) They also had the owners actually doing work back then, unlike most of the current 'This Old Mansion' projects. The New Orleans arc a couple years ago had a little of that old flavor, with some things actually going wrong. On the out of town projects, they aren't involved as closely, and things still go wrong that can't be edited out.
I think people bitching about the yuppification of TOH is why they started the companion show, Ask TOH. Around here, that has basically driven NYW off the schedule- I only trip across that a few times a year any more, on the local PBS.
-- aem sends....
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I think you are right. My father in law was a machinist for years and then started doing wood. He and Norm have a lot in common in the way they work. While my father in law can turn out some really beautiful pieces often there seems to be something missing. Maybe its that the lines are too straight and the circles too machine perfectly round.
Jimmie
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

you can get the plans and info on the internet most of the time.
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Has the term inspiration become obsolete? After reading the message I think I know what direction I would not look for any. What does Cantor expect? Watch a half hour program and the viewer will have the ability to build anything?
These shows simply demonstrate what can be done if a person is willing to apply themselves.
I don't mind giving Norm and all the others some of the credit for inspiring me. I've watched many of those programs over the last three or four decades and have learned a lot from them.
I started small years ago building furniture, a rec room and various DIY projects, and ended up designing and building the house I live in today.
When I say build I mean I did the building. I hired a contractor to do the foundation. I did most of the rest of the work with help from friends and family.
I'm presently building kitchen cupboards, much the same as I saw Norm building cupboards on his show. I'll post a few photos of the house and some utility room cupboards I built for practice on alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking
As for Mr Cantor, I'd give him the credit for having the ability to discourage someone from ever starting because it will be too hard.
Out of curiosity, has Cantor ever built anything or is he just an inspector?
By the way, I worked all my adult live as a Technician and didn't know the first thing about hanging a picture frame when I started. I learned from my mistakes and kept at it. If Norm can do it so can I.
LdB
David Nebenzahl wrote

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On 8/23/2009 1:25 PM David Nebenzahl spake thus:
[yes, it's Abram, not Abrams. Apparently they didn't name the tank after him.]

Heh; got some junk mail from /Popular Woodworking/ today (don't think I'll subscribe, as I got spoiled from reading /Fine Woodworking/). The pitch features the cover from their August 2005 issue, with a photo of Norm in his shop. The article title is "In the Shop with Norm Abram: We Debunk 7 Myths About TV's Frugal Yankee".
Wonder what the myths are. Anyone have this issue lying around?
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I remember that issue, way back when and they were all softball questions. You know, "Does Norm own the shop" and "Does Norm really have a power tool fetish" and "Does Norm actually build all those projects himself", that kind of thing.
I will say, Popular Woodworking surprised me, I got it on a whim one year and have kept renewing ever since. FWW, PWW and a multi-year subscription to Wood that someone got me is all I read these days.
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On 8/26/2009 1:29 PM Brian Henderson spake thus:

Who needs Playboy or Penthouse when one has a good woodworking magazine to drool over?
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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A sad sign of age. Now, where are my glasses? -- Doug
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Douglas Johnson wrote:

Prior to reading this, I'd taken a slurp of red wine. I'm now viewing the monitor through rose tinted glasses, I think! :)
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wrote:

Over here - I have them. And I'm not looking at any damned woodworking magazine either!
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@windstream.net
  Click to see the full signature.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

steward, the screen's got rosier! :)
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wrote:

FatMax tapes and fat asses both are OK.
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I'm sorry, but no matter how old I get, a cool new tool will never replace a great pair of nipples. When they do, that's the day I take a nail gun to my brain pan. :|
nb
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