Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Map

Wow. Try wrapping your brain around this one:
It shows the population of China's provinces compared with countries' populations. For the whole story look here.

I wonder what India looks like now/will look like when it surpasses China in population ...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Possibly my favorite scene ever done by Paul Newman ... although I really, really like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - the whole thing ... and The Sting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And The Award Goes To ...

Debate or No? Bail Out or No?

What to do, what to do ...?

Seriously, Letterman is petty and infantile. But if the McCain people think it was not a night for comedy, why didn't they say so at the beginning?

What, exactly is going on with the McCain campaign - total meltdown because of some bad numbers?

Which scenario is worse in the long run, to bail out or not to bail out?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home, Not Alone

So I was home with a sick Boy-child today; P usually does sick child duty, since he works at home, but he had a mid-day commitment, so I stayed home to monitor the situation. (I think teenagers, at times, need as much supervision as toddlers). Anyway, he was in bed, wouldn't eat and was generally looking poorly until about 6:30 tonight. Hopefully he'll be off and running tomorrow.

I did various things while he slept. I took pictures of my favorite clematis:

This particular flower was a mistake - I never meant to purchase white. I like the colorful stuff for maximum butterfly attraction. Now it's my favorite because it has fragrant, delicate flowers and it blooms late in the season - the final sigh of summer. I love it when summer is over, the weather cools and we have sunny days like today. The weather today was perfect.
I received a package today from my good friend Rosemary, who has abandoned Minnesota for Colorado (much to her dismay as well as mine). The book looks very promising; I may have to put aside my current novel and take a look at it tonight. Did you know, RCK, that the Guardian, where the articles were first published, is a bastion of liberalism ? ;-)
I'm hoping that the book really is funny, and that it doesn't make me cry. Last Sunday's visit to Mom was pretty depressing. I guess I look at the Alzheimer's thing as a new window into hell.

To while away the time in between checking on The Boy and making phone calls to shore up my mother's dismal financial situation, I seriously got going on the cardigan that I promised myself I would make this year: Yes, I know I'm not going to look like her when it's done, but isn't it a great sweater? It's the one Harlot made and then wore on her book tour last winter/spring.

And it is NOT a sock.

I am diversifying.

I managed to get three pages of instructions, including two charts that had to be blown up about 1,000%, to this single page of guidance:

Funny how easy it is to memorize a pattern and make sense of reading the stitches when you have a good sized block of time on your hands to parse it all out. I managed to make it to the end of the 26th row, which is the longest pattern repeat of the various panels . Here's the back so far:

The upper picture is pretty true to color, the lower picture shows the stitch definition a bit better:
Hopefully I will be back to the salt mines tomorrow.

I guess.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Knit Apologia

I'm sorry I keep posting depressing stuff about the election. I keep telling myself I'll stop, but then I find another little something in the news that pushes all my buttons and I find myself ranting again.

In an attempt to lighten things up, this is the main color for my two-colored mittens which I will learn to make on a cruise down the Mississippi; it's booked for early next month. I have a little bit of homework to do before the big day: I am looking VERY forward to the outing - almost in a little kid way.

And here is a shot of the Extremely Boring All Black Socks For Boy-Child (ExBaBSfBc). This is my third attempt at making something that will fit his foot in a fabric I like:
In stark contrast, a pair started for Girl-child:

And a pair started for P - there's actually quite a bit of blue in the yarn that doesn't seem to be visible in the picture. It's a Claudia hand-paint which I have never worked with before but seems to be deliciously sproingy: In movies, we saw New World, which has some beautiful cinematography. Today we bought a fancy new TV so now we have to find another movie with beautiful cinematography so we can appreciate it on an LCD widescreen.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Politics of Hate and Fear

Another disgraceful ad (note there are no clips of Obama speaking):

It is playing in Spanish in Florida this week.

For the record, read here that Chavez does not look kindly on an Obama win ... and read here that the add is helping Chavez hate us even more (even though McCain, in the audio of the clip below, claims to maintain good relations with other nations in the hemisphere ... wait a minute...which hemisphere is Venezuela in?)

The Rain in Spain Falls in Which Hemisphere?

A mis amigos en España y Latinoamérica sólo quiero decir que yo no entiendo tampoco.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where I Continue to be Confuzzled

So do people really believe that Obama is going to put himself before country? What part of his track record would indicate that he's selfish? Why can the Republicans not give up on the un-patriotic part of their slams? I would think it's because they have to make sh** up because there is nothing else to go on. Today, in Blaine, MN, McCain was quoted in the StarTribune saying:

"A vote for Senator Obama will guarantee higher taxes, fewer jobs and a bigger federal government. His policies will deepen our recession," McCain said. "A vote for me will guarantee that the forces that brought down our economy will be out of business. I will end the corrupt practices on Wall Street and the backroom deals in Washington, D.C."
Huh? Wasn't it Senator McCain that pushed for less regulation on Wall Street? Wasn't it that lack of regulation, coupled with greed and lack of long-term vision that lead to the recent crisis? Isn't it the Republicans who are making the government unfathomably big by buying out these failing companies? I mean, government ownership of industry, well, that was called Communism not so long ago ... am I the only one who is confused?

Girl-child recently sent me this e-mail that is being passed around:

  • What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
  • What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
  • What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
  • What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?
  • What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
  • What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
  • What if Obama were a member of the 'Keating 5'?
  • What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today's Clips from The Onion and Others

To show unbiased coverage (yeah, right), here's the profile on Joe Biden from this week's Onion: I especially like:

If You Click "Meet Joe Biden" Link On : Joe Biden appears at your door within 3 hours

Apparently Palin is pointing out how old Joe Biden is ?!?!? Wow.

And believe it or not, I'd like to thank Chuck Hagel for noticing that Palin only got her first passport last year ... (I felt, until today, like I was the only one who thought this was odd for someone claiming to have more foreign policy experience than Obama).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Movies and Books and MKG

In my continued attempt to cease and desist with the political ranting, let me chat about movies and books and such ...

Although I am not particularly fond of the Coen brothers' very dark sense of humor, we went to see Burn After Reading last weekend. It was dark and quirky without being oppressive; I loved it. I also re-watched The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) which is a great art-crime thriller. Renee Russo doesn't do much for me but Pierce Brosnan is another story...

Book club read Eric Clapton's recently released autobiography (link on the right) which will be discussed tonight. Honestly, it's a miracle the man is still alive. It's an interesting story but it kind of wore me out. In stark contrast to that, I perused Custom Knits the other night (still trying to decide what to do with that Cascade 220) and I started La Otra Mano de Lepanto (link on the right). Next month's book club selection is A Prayer for Owen Meany which I have read before; I liked it very much but I will not re-read it at the moment.

And last night was the September meeting of Minnesota Knitters' Guild, which is the mother of all meetings being that everyone brings in their State Fair submissions, shows them off and discusses the comments from the judges. What a lot of talented people we have! I'm always inspired and think I'll try something other than socks ... we'll see if anything materializes. Unfortunately my friend and I were sitting in front of a pair who WOULD NOT STOP TALKING THE ENTIRE MEETING. Sheeesh, how rude!

So that's it for now. I won't discuss the imminent demise of the economy or anything like that...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yarn and Socks and Stuff Not Political

So, Boy-child wants a pair of plain black socks. I may die of boredom. To make matters worse, the yarn I got didn't make a very good fabric with size 1-1/2 needles, so I'm working on zeros. To spice up what seems to be a hopeless situation, I purchased a little Hiya circular needle to see if I like it:
That didn't seem to spruce things upenough, however, so I cast on an orange sock for Girl-child. It was going to be a surprise, but it seems impossible to keep such a secret (sorry Sweet Pea!). At least I'll have some color to work with:
And then P decided he wants another pair. He wanted a variegated purple, but I didn't find anything particularly good. I came home with this:
And this:
He's going with the latter, although I haven't cast that on, and I have promised myself that I won't cast it on until I've finished the Back to School socks (maybe in a week or two)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain and Whoopi on Interpreting the Constitution

From The View, Sept. 12 (and I don't really know what The View is, but this piece was fun):

And who is the young McCain supporter on the right (so to speak) ?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I admit it, I'm obsessed. But could somebody please explain to me why no one has come up with an ad about Palin being the biggest celebrity in the world? Please? Paris Hilton did a great job with that last video, why doesn't she do another one? McCain was obviously jealous of Obama getting all the press before ... does he have what he wants now? Now that his trophy running mate has split off from him, is anyone listening to McCain? Will issues ever be discussed again, or only lipstick?

This is from today's Onion:

I love The Onion.

Many good links today - one from P, who is ever-hopeful (even tho the writer was the head of Mondale's campaign in 1984) and the other from KMKat, who has library connections, although I can't remember how. And finally, there is this one from Amy and this one from Susan. (Actually, I've received so much stuff on Palin this week I can't remember what's what and how much overlap there is, but there you have it).

Tomorrow there will be knitting....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Comedy Central

Because I just can't help myself (I found this during lunch today):

First Time Voter + Sock Update

Girl-child made it home yesterday to vote in the Primary.

First time voting. How exciting is that!?!?

And since no one votes in Primaries it was a perfect way to have a dry-run before the rush in November.

In the meantime I finished the triple-berry socks and the first of the back to school socks (the colors are fairly accurate):

I had a close call yesterday; on a packed bus my reinforcing thread popped out of my bag and started rolling around. Wow, how embarrassing would that be, to have half the bus tangled up in my sock-in-progress? Luckily, when the driver stopped I was able to step on it to regain control of the spool...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Open Letter to Leo Cavanaugh

Forty years ago today Mrs. Colombo stopped me on my way home from school. She gave me a glass of 7-Up. She told me something had happened to you. She walked me to the house. Mom was there, people were there, everyone was crying.

Lots of things happen over 40 years. I always feel this way when certain milestones are passed. Now I have a blog where I can post a letter to you.

It’s a big anniversary, so here’s my update:

I had my First Communion. I finished grade school, junior and senior high. I was an exchange student to South America. I went to college. I lived in Spain. I got married. I have two children.

My girl just went off to college and my boy has three years of high school left. They’re really interesting and fun people; I know you’d like them. Boy-child is fascinated with your history, particularly about your stint in the service during WWII. You never talked about it that I know of, so we can only speculate. We “borrowed” my girlfriend Bonnie’s dad once to talk to us about his time in Papua New Guinea during the war, but of course it wasn’t the same as it would have been talking with you.

People don’t get dressed up anymore; no one wears hats. Television missed its potential and is a waste of time. We landed on the moon and now look beyond the moon with unmanned spacecraft. Computers are smaller than a briefcase and everybody has them. We are all connected through the web. We passed into the 21st century and nothing of note happened, but everything is changed.

You were spared living through the day when Humphrey lost. I wish you were here to see Obama. I always wished we could talk politics; this year would be particularly interesting. The Republican National Convention was in St. Paul this year. More people were arrested here in 2008 than in Chicago in 1968.

You have two grandsons who have done overseas service in wartime; one is back from Iraq and another has just left. One of your sons served during peacetime, after the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam. Yes, we lost that one. The Cold-War is over. Terrorism is the new war.

Mom was diagnosed with mid-level Alzheimer’s this summer. She’s in a nursing home. My brothers don’t live in town. We didn’t hold together very well as a family after you were gone. Too many stresses, not enough glue.

There are not many family members around from when I was a kid – Auntie moved back from Washington, D.C. in the 1970s and we are very close, but that’s about it. I feel like I’m too young to be the last one left. Milton is still around too. Remember Milton? He turned out to be a true, true friend. He took me under his wing when I was a teenager. He made a real difference in my life. He’s still around, but he’s not well.

My children will carry us forward and I trust them to do a good job. They are intellectually curious. We have traveled the world. We have a home in St. Paul and one in Chile. I work at the University. I have lots of friends from all aspects of my life: the airline people, the knitters, the librarians, book club. It’s a good life; I just wish you had been able to participate in it more.

So that’s it. Just a note to let you know we’re thinking about you. Still miss you after all these years.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Movies and Socks

I am going to try to extricate myself, now that the conventions are over, from election news and post about something else.

We'll start with movies. At some point we went to see Vicky Christina Barcelona, Woody Allen's latest. It was fantastic, possibly his best movie ever. After a rather dry spell (creatively) it seems as though he has found new energy in Europe and in his new muse, Scarlett Johansson. (Match Point was good too, but not this good.) He's obviously been paying attention to what Pedro Almodovar has done as well. The energy between Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and newcomer Rebecca Hall (at least I had never heard of her before) was great.

Last night we went to see Transsiberian which was unbelievably intense. Very well done with a fabulous ending. I will say no more as it is in theaters and you should go.

In the sock world, I am almost done with the Triple Berries (although I haven't worked on them all week):
And Girl-child's Back to School socks are coming along nicely (with matching cuffs):
I also wound AND swatched some Cascade 220 that maybe will become a cardigan some day and I wound a hank of hand painted Misti Alpaca fingering weight for a scarf - or something that isn't socks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Don't Understand

Not so long ago Sarah wasn't sure about the job of V.P.:

But now she's ready:

Everyone seems to love her.

What is it that I don't get?

(Thank you, Scott Bateman, for doing such a great job!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

March on the RNC

We had a good time marching downtown St Paul Monday.

There was a certain tourist-y feel to it, being that it started at the Capitol:
The crowd was large and took a while to get organized:

But the parade finally got started with this up front (it was a peaceful group, no matter what the media says. Most of the people there were peaceniks)

There were veterans of all ages:

There were Men in Black:

There were puppets:

Some of the puppets even had pets:

And there were dancers to entertain us along the way:

There were moments when it didn't feel like we were in Lake Wobegon any more:

I'm sure I've never seen full riot gear in the U. S. before:

This guy was ready to arrest people:

I think some of these people were arrested later on (I told Girl-child to keep her distance):

In the end, we were allowed freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and we did not prevent anyone from participating in the political process, or destroy anyone's property.