It used to be that a hammer might be the first tool you pick up when tackling a home improvement project. Today it is the Internet. It's really the first tool in the home improvement tool box.
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It used to be that a hammer might be the first tool you pick up when tackling a home improvement project. Today it is the Internet. It’s really the first tool in the home improvement tool box.

-Tom Kraeutler

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He couldn’t have known it, but among the original run of The History of Love, at least one copy was destined to change a life.This particular book was one of the last of the two thousand to be printed, and sat for longer than the rest in a warehouse in the outskirts of Santiago, absorbing the humidity. From there it was finally sent to a bookstore in Buenos Aires. The careless owner hardly noticed it, and for some years it languished on the shelves, acquiring a pattern of mildew across the cover. It was a slim volume, and its position on the shelf wasn’t exactly prime: crowded on the left by an overweight biography of a minor actress, and on the right by the once-bestselling novel of an author that everyone had since forgotten, it hardly left its spine visible to even the most rigorous browser. When the store changed owners it fell victim to a massive clearance, and was trucked off to another warehouse, foul, dingy, crawling with daddy longlegs, where it remained in the dark and damp before finally being sent to a small secondhand bookstore not far from the home of the writer Jorge Luis Borges. The owner took her time unpacking the books she’d bought cheaply and in bulk from the warehouse. One morning, going through the boxes, she discovered the mildewed copy of The History of Love. She’d never heard of it, but the title caught her eye. She put it aside, and during a slow hour in the shop she read the opening chapter, called 'The Age of Silence.' The owner of the secondhand bookstore lowered the volume of the radio. She flipped to the back flap of the book to find out more about the author, but all it said was that Zvi Litvinoff had been born in Poland and moved to Chile in 1941, where he still lived today. There was no photograph. That day, in between helping customers, she finished the book. Before locking up the shop that evening, she placed it in the window, a little wistful about having to part with it.The next morning, the first rays of the rising sun fell across the cover of The History of Love. The first of many flies alighted on its jacket. Its mildewed pages began to dry out in the heat as the blue-gray Persian cat who lorded over the shop brushed past it to lay claim to a pool of sunlight. A few hours later, the first of many passersby gave it a cursory glance as they went by the window.The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a book could easily be dismissed or, worse, go unread. Instead she let it sit where it was in the hope that the right reader might discover it.And that’s what happened. One afternoon a tall young man saw the book in the window. He came into the shop, picked it up, read a few pages, and brought it to the register. When he spoke to the owner, she couldn’t place his accent. She asked where he was from, curious about the person who was taking the book away. Israel, he told her, explaining that he’d recently finished his time in the army and was traveling around South America for a few months. The owner was about to put the book in a bag, but the young man said he didn’t need one, and slipped it into his backpack. The door chimes were still tinkling as she watched him disappear, his sandals slapping against the hot, bright street.That night, shirtless in his rented room, under a fan lazily pushing around the hot air, the young man opened the book and, in a flourish he had been fine-tuning for years, signed his name: David Singer.Filled with restlessness and longing, he began to read.

-Nicole Krauss

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[Four of the 13 Patriots on the injury list didn't make the trip to Pittsburgh and are definitely out of today's game. Cornerbacks Randall Gay and Tyrone Poole , and safety James Sanders will sit with ankle injuries, while receiver Andre' Davis remained home because of an injured foot. Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (knee) practiced this week, even participating on special teams, and could play for the first time. Reserve tackle Brandon Gorin (thigh) hasn't played and didn't travel to Carolina a week ago, but made the trip here . . . Miller, who banged up his shoulder last week attempting to make a tackle, said he should be OK today. Adam Vinatieri is the emergency punter. He was the kicker and punter at South Dakota State. Vinatieri has two punts to his credit in the NFL, both pooch kicks . . . Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is tied for the league lead in sacks with three. The Steelers blitz often, with players coming from a variety of positions. The Patriots often keep a running back in to pick up blitzes, but tight ends are asked to monitor the blitz and, of course, quarterback Tom Brady and his receivers are charged with exploiting blitzes when they see them. ''They've had a bunch of secondary sacks here in these first couple of games,] Belichick said. ''Even if you blitz a lot out of the secondary, it's still only eight, 10 times a game. There's just not that many opportunities. Polamalu has hit them all. ... Staley told the paper. ''I don't know how much. I can't make that decision, but I'll go out and see where I'm at.

-Duce Staley

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And one cold Tuesday in December, when Marie-Laure has been blind for over a year, her father walks her up rue Cuvier to the edge of the Jardin des Plantes."Here, ma chérie, is the path we take every morning. Through the cedars up ahead is the Grand Gallery.""I know, Papa."He picks her up and spins her around three times. "Now," he says, "you're going to take us home."Her mouth drops open."I want you to think of the model, Marie.""But I can't possibly!""I'm one step behind you. I won't let anything happen. You have your cane. You know where you are.""I do not!""You do."Exasperation. She cannot even say if the gardens are ahead or behind."Calm yourself, Marie. One centimeter at a time.""I'm far, Papa. Six blocks, at least.""Six blocks is exactly right. Use logic. Which way should we go first?"The world pivots and rumbles. Crows shout, brakes hiss, someone to her left bangs something metal with what might be a hammer. She shuffles forward until the tip of her cane floats in space. The edge of a curb? A pond, a staircase, a cliff? She turns ninety degrees. Three steps forward. Now her cane finds the base of a wall. "Papa?""I'm here."Six paces seven paces eight. A roar of noise - an exterminator just leaving a house, pump bellowing - overtakes them. Twelve paces farther on, the bell tied around the handle of a shop door rings, and two women came out, jostling her as they pass.Marie-Laure drops her cane; she begins to cry. Her father lifts her, holds her to his narrow chest."It's so big," she whispers."You can do this, Marie."She cannot.

-Anthony Doerr

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