Random Linkage

Oxonia Illustrata – Oxford illustrations and a poem

Historic Moments – 48 fascinating photographs

Sexy Keepers of Death – a rather interesting Tumblr

Man of little brain – Amazing. You’ve gotta wonder how many apparently normal (or at least functional) people there are with brains like this.

The secret of the “crying Indian” – Wow. I had no idea.

It’s the thought that counts – Heh. I’m not sure what to think of this one.

Anna-Marie Adda – a fascinating little art gallery

Cleaning a huge chandelier – and you think you hate to dust

Distracted by Ponies – Ha! Surely this could inspire some fan fic mashup stories.

7 Fake Quotes – I actually sort of hate these kinds of posts. People almost never said the things we wish they had said.

Thought For the Week

One of my high school classmates, trying to start an off topic conversation, commented that we have no way of knowing whether the colors we see look the same to everyone. We all learn when we are very young that the sky is blue but might not what we call blue look completely different to other people? (This particular teacher often allowed us to spend the entire hour off topic but not that time.)

That is sort of an intriguing idea. I’m pretty sure we all see the same colors but what about taste. To some people (me, for example) onions are absolutely essential. Some foods just need onions. A hamburger without a nice slice of onion on it is sad and disappointing. But to other people onion is apparently one of the most frightening things on Earth. Seriously, in the grocery store deli where I worked in the early 80’s one customer became violent and had to be escorted from the store because my co-worker could not tell her whether or not there were onions in the potato salad. (Okay, so she had other issues.) But anyway… Is this merely a difference in preference or do onions actually taste different to different people?

But back to color vision. Because they see fewer colors than we do, we can get an idea of what dogs see by manipulating photographs. But what do butterflies see? And mantis shrimp? Frankly, I am eaten up with curiosity to know what the world looks like to the mantis shrimp. But we can never know, just as we can’t really know exactly how anyone else, human or animal, experiences the world – not just taste and color but all our senses and our emotional reactions.

That is my thought for the week: We can’t know how anyone else experiences the world. It might be helpful to keep that in mind when trying to deal with difficult people.

Not Sewing


I have not done any sewing (not counting a little quilting) in more than a week. In my entire sewing life that’s not unusual. There have been times when I went for several weeks without sewing. When I had what people like to call “a real job” there may have been months long sewing droughts. (I really can’t remember.) But now, having spent many months of always having at least one project in progress, and having not done everything I had in mind to do this summer, it’s a little disturbing to not be working on anything.

I am in that confusing between seasons phase. With temps still in the 90’s F, I have been in the mood to keep on sewing summer dresses but because I know it won’t last much longer I don’t want to sew something I might wear once and then put away for six months. Today it’s cool and feels very much like fall so I should be inspired to start fall sewing but still, I don’t know what I want to sew next. The cure for this of course is more shopping and I have a couple of ideas – things I could get excited about right away – that would require purchasing more fabric but I grew up in a penny pinching household and I still have that instinct. I feel guilty about every purchase, even necessary ones. Besides, I have extremely limited storage space for fabric.

So maybe I should just forget it for a while and spend more time working on the quilts, one of which I really, seriously need to finish because it was supposed to be a Christmas present two years ago. I lost my enthusiasm for it because it’s not looking as great in reality as it did in my head. But I will finish it. Other than that, I’m working on a baby quilt that is coming along pretty fast and I have a couple of tops planned (one already started) that I could work on. So it really wouldn’t hurt to just work on nothing but quilting for a while but there’s still that voice in my head saying, “Sew something. Come on, hurry up and start something else – a dress, a blouse, pants. Come on, sew, sew, sew!”

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I just found out about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge yesterday (Thanks Rochelle) and it just so happens that I do have cat fabric in my stash – two pieces, in fact. One is from my mother’s stash. I’ve already cut up part of it for a quilt top but there’s about a yard left and I want to match it with something else to make something to wear but I want it to turn out to be something I love so I’m not going to rush into it. The other cat fabric is some I purchased this year and already know what I’m going to make with it. The colors are spring not fall but I’m thinking of making it for the challenge anyway.

Quotes From Here and There

Surely, someone who believes that saying “Satan,” repeatedly, to a glass of water will alter the water’s physical properties needs to be treated with a dash of skepticism—no?here

Of course it being the dictum that on the editorial front one must kill ones babies you’d think I should attack these sections more, or that later editorial input would see them getting chopped up. This is not the case, because that dictum is crap.there

What exactly went on in this room, with its wall of windows, high work tables, and piles of fabric on the side?here

It is a short trip, however, from banning someone for being a genuine troll, to using the label “troll” to ban someone who is simply expressing a contrary opinion. This can go from basic hygiene to sanitizing a site of any impurity of thought or opinion.there

The labelling of classical tracks on Amazon, where they offer you little snippets to listen to, is routinely done by naming the pieces with such things as their tempo or loudness markings, while neglecting to tell you what the piece is or what number movement it is. They just can’t be bothered to get it right.here

It is great to be around machines that make you laugh. We spend most of our days with machines that haven’t a funny bone in their bodies, machines that turn us into dour button-pushers, machines that conceal their workings in casings that cannot be opened, machines that invalidate their warranties if you even think about repairing them on your own, machines that are more likely to evoke a groan than a smile.there

From the Other Side

I enjoy reading Mind the Gap: A Brit’s Guide to Surviving America because, although it’s written specifically for British expats, it gives a pretty good sampling of how they see us. In some cases it’s hilariously obvious that the writer of an article really hasn’t seen much of America or had much contact with Americans but that’s fun too.

I was especially delighted by the latest article Which American Literary Classics Should Every Brit Read? It’s a short list. Of the six books listed I have only read one: Of Mice and Men. The author asks for more suggestions and the commenters add some good ones and, inevitably someone complains that the list is too highbrow and gender biased, even though the list includes three female authors. I was tempted to respond to that person with, “Highbrow is not a bad thing you lowbrow twit,” but I’d probably be banned for being a troll.

“Oh!” – “I see, said the blind man.”

I had a 7th grade teacher who, whenever he would explain something to a student one-on-one and they would say, “Oh,” would respond, “I see said the blind man.” I suppose some students might have found this annoying but I always thought it was hilarious and I loved him for it. He was also one of my first Black teachers (I had two that year) and one of my first male teachers.

But that’s not what this is about. I just happened to think of it when I read this. That line from Star Wars, that the Millennium Falcon “made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs,” has always bothered me. I mean seriously bothered me. A parsec is a measure of distance, not time. Things like this, to me, are worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.

Well, in fact, it does make sense. And I’m feeling quite annoyed at myself for being such a scientifically illiterate numbskull. This is rather obvious.

The main criticism of the line is that a parsec is a distance. Han saying that he made the run in 12 parsecs is like a runner saying she ran a marathon in 26.2 miles. This would be a legitimate criticism if the Kessel Run was a set distance like a marathon. In most cases, there are several different paths from point A to point B. For example, I live next to a lake, and there is a house across this lake. The direct route from my house to this house is to swim across the lake, but swimming is not an option for me because I can’t swim. To get to this house, I have to walk or drive. The same applies to the closest Target, which is a little over a mile away. To walk directly there, I would have to swim across a lake (a different one; I live in Minnesota) and walk across a freeway. Again, driving five miles is the best way for me to go to Target. On Earth, certain obstacles prevent a straight course; instead, a path around these impediments is the best way to travel.

In space, the obstacles are numerous. Planets, asteroids, comets, meteors, and black holes are just a few of the features a pilot has to navigate around in order to arrive at a destination safely. When Han has to get away from Tatooine, he tells Luke, “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy. Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that’d end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?” According to the material in the expanded ‘Star Wars’ universe, the Maw is a cluster of black holes on one of the possible routes to Kessel. The safest course is approximately 18 parsecs. For Han to have completed the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, he would have had to travel near this cluster of black holes, which is dangerous. A black hole has a strong gravitational pull, and getting too close to one could result in the ship either being destroyed or pulled into the black hole to face an unknown fate. Traveling a direct route in space can be risky, and it takes a skilled navigator to plot a course that will get a ship to its destination in one piece.

The author goes on to say that Han’s boast “doesn’t sell him as a great pilot.” I don’t care. This line that has bugged me for over three decades now makes sense to me. Rays of glorious light shone down from Heaven and angels sang. You can’t take that away from me. Not even by going back to the time vs. distance issue:

The problem with the Kessel Run claim is the fact that Han says the line as an answer to a question about speed. Obi-Wan says he is looking for passage on a fast ship. Han asks, “Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?” Obi-Wan replies, “Should I have?” Then Han says the famous line, “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” A parsec is a unit of distance, and distance is distance. You drive 60 miles; it could take you three hours if you go 20mph or one hour if you go 60mph, but you still travel 60 miles. Speed is determined by the relationship between time and distance. Again, without knowing how much time it took Han to complete the Kessel Run, the comment is an attribute to his navigating skills and not the performance of the ship. If Han has said, “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in 11.7 parsecs in 3 days,” then the speed the Millennium Falcon could be determined, giving Obi-Wan an actual answer to his inquiry.

Okay, so she has a point. Sort of. But note the specific wording of the statement. “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” “The ship.” As if it was the only one that ever did it. A historic stunt that everyone is expected to have heard of, including other details, like time, that are not given in Han’s brief statement. Anyway, that’s how I make sense of it and I’m happy now. Star Wars is officially perfect.

Thought For the Week

Ever notice how it’s so much easier to think about the things we don’t have than it is to think about the things we do have? It has occurred to me that we can blame this on evolution. Just as we evolved to crave foods that are not good for us, because those foods were harder to get in prehistoric times, we evolved to want things we don’t have. Every bit of progress in the history of the world happened because someone was dissatisfied in some way. Most of the jobs in the world exist because people want things. So wanting is not entirely a bad thing; only overindulging in it is bad. Just as we can decide to pick up an apple instead of a chocolate bar, we can decide to spend more time enjoying what we have and less time wanting. Not that we should stop wanting; just that we should not spend so much time wanting that we don’t think about what we already have.

Quotes From Here and There

Somewhere between Salvador Dalí’s illustrations of Montaigne, the weird and wonderful Codex Seraphinianus, and the visual history of Gotham’s imaginary apocalypse, the book is a singular shrine to some of the most eternal of human hopes and fears, and, above all, our immutable longing for grace, for mercy, for the miraculous.here

When the aliens come, as they must, I’ll remind them that this world of ours is so incredibly diverse that there’s a disambiguation page for “Puke.”there

apparently there was a lot of peeing going on in that duplexhere

(This post kinda went downhill after that first quote didn’t it?)

I have decided that I don’t believe in UFOs. (Spaceships are another story.)there

The Last Dress of Summer?

I took a whole bunch of photos using the timer on my camera and most of them were too close and I don’t want to go back out and set up again. So, here’s my close-up.

And here’s the one halfway good picture that shows almost all of the dress.

This is another Simplicity 1882, my second and probably last. You can see the first one here. I wanted more skirt so I cut it a little bit wider and added pairs of pleats to both the front and back. I still didn’t get the fit of the bodice quite right. Overall though, I like it.

This fabric – the abstract print and the color combination – is a little different for me. It’s funny how we occasionally find ourselves attracted to something that we normally think of as “not my thing”. I was originally thinking of having the trim match the lighter green but I couldn’t find that exact color. I still think it might have been better with the lighter green but I’m satisfied with the way this turned out. This was one of the older pieces of fabric in my stash. There’s something especially satisfying about going to the “bottom of the stash” and finally finishing something I bought a long time ago.

I have three more dress projects that I had planned to make this summer but now it’s September and, as always, I’m torn between making “one more dress” (because, after all, it is still in the upper 90’s and will be for at least another week or two) or moving on to the fall sewing. I know I have some fall and winter fabrics in the stash but right now I can’t make my mind focus on them and think about fall sewing. Hmmmm… maybe a multi-season top…

Perfect Forgiveness

He’s had a rough week. Saturday evening he came in on three legs, not touching the floor with his left rear foot. The first cruelty (from his point of view) was that I would not let him go outside. Then Tuesday morning I forced him into a carrier and took him for a car ride (horrors!) to the vet who pressed and pulled on his sore leg and gave him an antibiotic shot. And now I have to shove a pill down his throat twice a day. (Prednisolone to reduce swelling) And through all this he’s still been my little buddy – cuddly, affectionate, and always happy to see me. This is why we love cats and dogs.

He’s actually really good about taking the pill. Tip (from our vet): if you ever have to give a cat a pill, coat it with olive oil to make it go down easier.

Bizarre Things

I saw on Facebook this morning that Betty White had died. No, put away the tissues; Betty White is alive and well. Sheesh! I think someone needs to start an official Celebrity Life Status site. Sort of like the one for Abe Vigoda but for all celebrities. And by the way, when Abe Vigoda does really die will anyone believe it?

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Oh here’s a good one: The Ice Bucket Challenge is a Satanic Ritual. And Oprah is Satan. Or something like that. I don’t even know what to say about this, folks, except that it’s really, really effed up. Someone please go dump a bucket – no, a trash can – full of ice over Selena Owens’ head. Maybe the ritual will reboot her brain.

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Ah… perhaps it wasn’t the dryer that ate all the missing socks. And speaking of socks. Well at least there’s one place in the world where appropriate dress is still required.

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99 bottles of… No, wait! They’re cans.

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and finally…

Never Tell Me What Not to Say!

I am getting really tired of all the Things You Should Never Say lists. Some of them contain good advice but my immediate reaction when I see one of those titles is, “I’m an adult and I’ll say whatever I damn well please.” Okay, so that’s my issue. But seriously, a lot of them are basically just, “I don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.”

So, just for fun, let’s go through a list that applies to me. (or could have at one time. My kids are adults now) 13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents

1. Ugh. No way. I don’t ever want to have kids. Like, ever. – This is just fine. In fact, if this is your opinion it’s likely a good thing if you don’t reproduce.

2. What do you mean you haven’t seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? – I actually love when people do this. I get a little snob cred for not having seen the show that everybody is watching.

3. You never call anymore. – No one ever says this to me because I rarely call anyone but I can see how this could be annoying. It sounds needy.

4. We’re having an afternoon picnic in our back yard, but it’s strictly an adult-only event. – There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an adults only event. Yes, it might be a hassle for parents but most parents do enjoy getting away from the kids for a couple of hours once in a while. However, the article does have a good point about outdoor events and if all of your events are adults only your friends who have kids might not continue to be your friends.

5. We’re thinking of having a baby, so we’re getting a puppy first to see if we’re cut out for the job. – Okay, this is just stupid but go ahead and say it. We parents will have great fun talking about you later.

6. You’re not going to start buying “mom jeans”/”dad shorts” now, are you? – Well, you know… some of us grow up and some of us don’t. Whether or not we have kids doesn’t have much to do with it.

7. It must be so relaxing to be home all day with the kids. – This one just makes us feel smug so please do say it.

8. Don’t be so lame! You’re kid-free tonight! Light weight… – Kind of pushy and rude but if you would say this I’m sure we already knew that about you.

9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! – Very often justified. It’s true that even good parents have kids who are not always good in public but these days too many parents just don’t even try. So please do say this. Say it out loud so everyone can hear. The innocent will understand. The guilty will be offended. But maybe if they hear it often enough… (ADDED: It depends on the age of the kid. You must keep in mind that until about age 3 or 4 “out of control” is completely normal.)

10. Try to be here on time. – Oh yes, everyone please do try to be on time, always. Having kids is no excuse for habitual lateness. I was almost always on time when my kids were little because I allowed myself extra time for the inevitable delays. And because I was almost always on time my kids are now adults who understand the importance of being on time.

11. I didn’t invite you because you never say yes. – Well, this one is a little sad.

12. You look tired. Are you feeling OK? – A polite expression of concern. Nothing wrong with it. I do hate to be asked “Are you okay?” If I’m not lying on the floor turning blue then, yes, I’m okay. But a simple, “You look tired”? A little sympathy is always nice as long as you’re not creepy and smothering.

13. Well, when I have kids, I’m gonna ____, and my kids will never ____, and the rules will be ____. – Ah, this is another one of those things that make us feel smug and superior. Please go ahead and say it. We parents will have a good laugh at your expense later.

So you see, it’s all about attitude. You can spend your life whining about how mean people are to you and how they just don’t understand or you can respect other people’s right to have and express opinions and find ways to deal with them or even have fun with them.

Random Linkage

Erik Johansson – Surreal photography. Wonderful.

Kesh Angels – Moroccan girl bikers. Interesting.

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake – must try

Dumb Science Jokes – a fun blog. I like this one.

Cloud Shadows – photos from the International Space Station

Michal Karcz – digital art. I love these.

Panorama Fail – Smartphone photo fails. Or maybe some of them were done on purpose?

White Temple – Amazing. Also amazing: that there are places this amazing that I have not yet seen pictures of.

Internet Archive Book Images – Over 2 and a half million images

Wait! What? September Already?!

It seems like August just started a few days ago. And summer just a few weeks ago. I keep seeing all these things on Facebook that say, “Share if you are ready for fall?” No! No, I am not ready! I’m a summer person. Yes, fall is nice – pretty colors and all that – but it doesn’t last long. You get four to six weeks of nice weather, maybe two or three weeks of pretty colors and then the leaves all fall off and it gets COLD long before official winter arrives. And don’t tell me, “Cold is better than heat because when it’s cold you can put on more clothes.” That’s not a feature; it’s a bug! That’s part of the problem. I don’t want to put on more clothes! As long as it’s just “shirt sleeve weather” that’s okay but I hate coats and jackets.

Okay, sorry, I didn’t mean to complain that much. It just all came out. Today is pretty nice. It’s raining. We needed that. Yesterday we had a lovely family cookout. I wish more of the family could have been there but it was nice anyway and I ate too much. As Kelly said,I can generally eat about two of these before I get that “OMG I just ate an entire hippopotamus” feeling. (except we didn’t have s’mores) In my case it’s two of, or in some cases only one of, almost anything. And yet, that usually doesn’t stop me from eating several. (Those cookies were so good and, gosh, I really want another piece of that cake.) Well, anyway, that was fun but for the next month or two I need to try really hard to be “good” and not eat every delicious thing in sight because the food holidays are coming! Oh no!

Well, anyway… I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend. Just goof off today if you can. That’s what today is for.

Quotes From Here and There

As an aside, it’s interesting to note how nationalism could be such a potent force in driving the creation of some of the most wonderful music ever written, and yet, in politics, the nationalism of the late 1800s eventually led straight to the staggering catastrophe that was World War I.here

…blessed are the easily amused for they shall have no shortage of things to laugh at.there

My point is not that everyone must accept the legitimacy of abortion and same-sex intimacy. Reasonable people can disagree on these issues. My point is only that those who oppose abortion and same-sex intimacy should not look to the Bible to support their positions. That support is simply not there.here

The word alone evokes a “get off my lawn, you damn kids” reaction in so many people, and some cultural commentators even insist it’s a sign of our increasingly narcissistic times.there

Tiny Top

A little top I made last week. The pattern is Simplicity 2668.

The pattern shows it as a dress but made it a little shorter and when I saw her crawling around in it I’m glad I did. A dress would be a problem for a crawling baby. This was a very old (20+ years) scrap of fabric. I was disappointed that I didn’t have enough to make matching bloomers. I still do have a small strip of it left but not enough.

Here’s a picture of her wearing it. (with her mom, my daughter-in-law) She was happier than she looks in this photo. She was smiling just a second before. The colors in the first photo are more true. The colors of the little top are washed out in this photo, even though everything else looks fine.

Thought for the Week

Thinking about incidents in the news… actually thought about writing something about it… but what I had to say really just boils down to this and it doesn’t apply only to one particular incident or people.

Like it or not you are a representative of your group. We all belong to groups: your race, your religion, your political party, your home state. And even if you’re not religious or don’t support any particular political party those are groups too. You don’t necessarily put yourself in these groups. It also can be what other people see you as. Whatever group or category other people identify you with, you are a representative of that group. What you do affects how people who are not in your group think about people like you. If you are a religious person and you support candidates who say they will pass laws that will take away the rights of some citizens, people may think that members of your religion are closed-minded and don’t care about other people. If you are an atheist and you swear a lot and generally break the rules of decent society, people may think that all atheists are immoral. If you happen to be a cop and you shoot an unarmed person several times, people who are not cops may fear and hate cops because of what you did. If a member of your group suffers an injustice and you and a few other members of your group riot and loot, people who are not members of your group may think that people in your group are more likely to be thugs and criminals. If you threaten, intimidate, and kill people and you talk about your religion a lot people who are not of your religion will think that believers in your religion are more likely to be terrorists.

That’s stereotyping. It’s not fair and it’s not right but you can’t end it by just saying, “Stereotyping is wrong. Don’t do it,” because that’s just how people are made. Even people who know it’s wrong are affected by what they observe in the world. They may know most cops are not murderers, most black people are not thugs, most white people are not racists, most Muslims are not terrorists but still notice these behaviors and be affected by them. Whoever you are, you are a representative of your group. Be, at all times, the kind of person you want other people to consider “typical” of your group.