wd-40, grimsby minster, clock towers

A can of WD-40 and historic Grimsby Minster in eastern England.

It’s hard to imagine an era when we couldn’t tell the time by checking our smartphone or wristwatch. But before a watch was even a thing, cities had bell towers that would bong every hour, on the hour, so the town’s folk knew the time.

During the Industrial Revolution, things became more technologically advanced, and clock towers popped up in public places so nobody was late to work.

Twelve years ago, at 12:02, the clock in the central tower at Grimsby Minster in eastern England stopped working. The church dates back to the 12th century and the central tower was added in 1365.

A group of experts that worked on the restoration of London's Big Ben came out to the church and said that it would require scaffolding to get the old clock back in order and the cost would be somewhere between £40,000 ($53,250) and £50,000 ($66,600).


Grimsby Minster.

via Wikimedia Commons

The church feared it would have to throw a massive fundraiser to get enough money to fix its historic clock. However, two guys that work on the church’s bells had a different idea. Rick Haywood, 47, and Jay Foley, 15, were performing routine maintenance on the bells when they decided to give the clock a look.

“We did not think we could do any more damage,” Haywood told The Sun. “We found various dead pigeons gumming up the bearings. Some of the bearings were very dry.”

Foley believes that the clock stopped running because of its age and the fact that its gears were “very dry” and “were not in the right alignment.”

“The minutes, hours, and seconds all have separate sections, which were out of order,” Foley added. “We got the dead pigeons out and it slowly ticked along after we greased it and cleaned it out.”

“We gave it grease and WD-40 and managed to get it running,” Haywood said.

The difference in cost to the church was miraculous. It could have spent tens of thousands of pounds to get the clock running, but all it cost was £6 for two cans of WD-40, and the labor charges for Haywood and Foley.

The workers say the clock runs about two minutes slow because it took a little time to get everything aligned after they looked at their smartphones. The pair are proud of their work and glad they could save the minster a few quid.

“The church had one or two engineers from big clock companies and they were starting at £40-50,000 to get it running again. We saved them at least £40,000 so I am hoping for a meal invite,” Haywood said.

The church’s warden couldn't be more pleased with the duo’s fine work. “It’s amazing because you would not believe how much hassle you get when a church clock is not working,” he said.

I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible about always asking for a second opinion after getting a quote. But it’s sure to be a lesson taught at Grimsby Minster for the foreseeable future.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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