Monthly Archives: October 2008

Quotes From Here and There

“Life is easy if you live it the hard way and hard if you live it the easy way.” here

In, up, up, out – what a peculiar language ours is.there (I also love the title of that post. I almost made that the quote.)

…it’s only a short step from there to “chocohol.here

“He is not Dracula from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula.” I wanted to explain unhelpfully. “But Dracula from the WalMart discount coupon leaflet that was stuffed inside last Sunday’s Boston Herald.”there

Our Next President

This is good. I wish I had written it.

They only look as if they inhabit our galaxy. In truth, the men who would be President have been running for months in a parallel universe, a place where a Chief Executive changes laws by waving a hand and reorders society at the stroke of a pen. “When I am President,” the candidates declare – and off they go into dreamspeak, describing tax codes down to the last decimal point and sketching health-care reforms far beyond the power of any single person to enact. In their imaginary, reassuring cosmos, America is always a mere 10 years – and one new President – away from energy independence. And the ills of the federal budget can be cured simply by having an eagle-eyed leader go through it line by line.

Then one of them wins the election.

In an instant, the winner is sucked through a wormhole back into the real world. A world in which Congress, not the President, writes all the laws and gets the last word on the budget. Where consumers decide which cars to drive and how many lights to burn. And where the clash of powerful interest groups makes it easier to do nothing about big problems than to tackle them.

And people believe them. That always amazes me – that so many people act like they’re eight years old and have never seen an election before. Some people seem to actually believe that their candidate, if elected, can and will do everything he is saying he’ll do, not to mention believing everything their candidate says about the other candidate as well as believing a lot of other stuff that someone not connected with either campaign just made up.

It’s a fairly long article. It contains a good analysis of what might happen in an Obama administration and in a McCain administration.

I like this bit near the end too. It makes a good quote of the week.

A sad fact of contemporary politics is that we’ve lost the ability to get through a campaign without transforming honorable alternatives into cartoons of good and evil. Disagreement is out; denunciation is in. The distinctive tune of our day is hysteria with a drumbeat of hyperbole, all set in the key of bad faith.

EDITED 11:45am

Maybe I’m Getting Inspired…

There’s nothing like looking at other people’s quilting projects to get one inspired to start working on stuff. (Or at least planning stuff.) I want to make a quilt for our bed but I can’t decide what pattern or what colors I want to use. I want to make one for Number One Son also and I found some fabric that I wanted to use but I’m not sure it would go well with the pattern he wants. Those will both be queen size quilts. I’ve never done one that big before and it’s a little scary. I don’t know why. It shouldn’t be but just thinking about working on a quilt that large I feel a bit intimidated.

I need to do a lot more regular sewing. I’m working on a plain brown knit top now. I like three-quarter length sleeves. In the winter when I’m working in the kitchen I’m constantly pushing up my sleeves and they’re constantly falling back down. Some can be rolled up and they stay but I don’t like rolling up long sleeves either. So I decided to make several tops with three-quarter length sleeves.

I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make. After all these years I finally, just this week, figured out how to hand sew a stretch stitch. You see, I sew on an antique machine – no zig-zag, no button hole stitch, no stretch stitch. I do button holes by hand but I’ve always had to work around not having a stretch stitch. It’s only a problem with necklines. You can’t have a crew-neck or turtleneck. If I’m making a knit top with a high neckline I either put a zipper in back or a short slit with a single button. Finally it occurred to me that there must be a way to do a stretch stitch by hand. (DUH!) As usual the answer is on the Internet. The backstitch and the herringbone stitch were suggested. At first I was skeptical of the backstitch. I thought, “How can that stretch,” but I tried it on a scrap of cotton knit fabric and it works perfectly. I sewed the top together yesterday and today I’ll do the neckline.

I also have quite a bit of stash from Wal-mart’s bargain fabric table. I really, honestly don’t buy fabric very often but somehow it piles up. The first step, cutting, is the least fun part of sewing and it’s easy to find an excuse to put off starting a project and sometimes a reason, not an excuse. Often I’m waiting on the guys to get their stuff off the table. I suppose the logical thing to do would be to cut several projects at once when I have the chance but usually after I finish cutting out one thing I’ve had more than enough cutting for a while.

And speaking of cutting, I could cut some more tiny squares of fabric for my “maybe someday” postage stamp quilt. I’m tempted to start sewing some of those together but I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. What if later on I get some fabric that I wish I could put next to a piece that’s already sewn together? So, for now, more cutting. Cutting quilt pieces doesn’t take the whole table so I don’t have any excuse.

Strange Species

20 of the Weirdest Endangered Species – It always amazes me to discover species that I hadn’t heard of before. The world is so full of different kinds of animals. I did already know about most of these but there are a few that are new to me. The monito del monte is almost cute but a bit too rat-like to be truly cute. The yellow-eyed penguin is rather striking. All are very interesting.

Via AMCGLTD

He just “reported the facts”

Will Rogers:

“I don’t tell jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

* * *

“I’m not a member of any organized political party; I’m a Democrat.”

* * *

“I was born on election day. That’s why I’ve always had it in for politicians.”

Will Rogers was born on November 4, 1879 near Oologah, Oklahoma. This year once again election day is on November 4th. Keep Will in mind when you go vote.

Nervous Anticipation

One week from now we will know who our next president will be unless it’s another too-close-to-call election. I’m ready for all the campaigning to be over but at the same time I’m not sure I’m ready to see how it turns out. As long as the election is still in the future I can keep on hoping that it will go the way I want it to.

I’m trying to keep in mind what I said before – that no matter who is elected life will go on pretty much as it’s always been – but I will be very disappointed if we get stuck with McCain and that’s still possible even though Obama is ahead in the polls. I would like to think that McCain will go back to being the old, more moderate, McCain if he is elected but I’m afraid he could never be moderate enough to suit me. I doubt I would like anyone McCain might appoint to the Supreme Court. And of course there’s Sarah Palin to worry about.

I’m in a red state so my vote won’t count but I’m going to vote anyway and I wish I could convince everyone who is not voting because they think their vote won’t count to vote anyway. Our votes might not count but they will be counted. The polls say that 30 percent of Oklahomans are planning to vote for Obama. That’s a significant number even if it’s a minority. And I think it would be nice if we could push that number up a few percentage points; enough to surprise people and worry conservative politicians.

I’m less sure about local elections. We always have one or two mud-slinging matches in which whoever screams “liberal” about his opponent first and most often wins, but mostly we’re expected to decide who to vote for based on yard signs and reassurances from the candidates that they are good conservative, church attending, family men whose families have lived in Oklahoma for at least three generations. By the time October rolls around in an election year I’m so sick of hearing, “Conservative values” and “Oklahoma values” I’m ready to go out and start slapping people.

I considered writing a letter to Jim Inhofe telling him that his commercials calling Andrew Rice a liberal made me decide to vote for Andrew Rice. What’s really ridiculous is the tone. They say “liberal” like it was the worst thing in the world, worse than “Communist” or “Nazi” or “terrorist”. It’s like they’re telling us these people, these horrible liberals, have come up from the depths of Hell to destroy Oklahoma. Another funny one is the way Georgiana Oliver is being painted as an outsider “trying to steal our congressional seat” because she has lived in Washington DC. If you ever want to run for office in Oklahoma you’d better have been born here, your parents, grandparents and great grandparents better have been born here and you must never, ever live anywhere else but Oklahoma. (By the way, Obama has at least one ancestor who lived in Oklahoma. (image 2 of 15) That should be worth a percentage point or two.)

Both of the men running for sheriff of my county seem to be decent and well-qualified enough. County clerk? I have no idea. That sounds like the kind of job you get by submitting a resumé and being interviewed, not by being elected to it. Judges are the most difficult of all. There’s usually no information unless you dig for it. They don’t even list their party affiliation on the ballot. Most people go into the voting booth never having heard of the judicial candidates. I don’t live in a town so I don’t get to vote for Mayor or city council. That’s about it I think. I’ve got some research to do in these last few days.

Keep On Surfin’

HA! I’m not wasting time, I’m exercising my brain.

A University of California Los Angeles team found searching the web stimulated centres in the brain that controlled decision-making and complex reasoning.

[...]

Lead researcher Professor Gary Small said: “The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerised technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.

“Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.”

Not that I’m “aging” (haha) but a little extra brain activity at any age can’t hurt.

Hope and Disappointment

Dr. Weevil: If Obama is elected, at least one million of those who voted for him will deeply regret having done so before he is inaugurated, just three months from today.

I think I disagree with that but I am certain that no matter who is elected many (probably at least one million) of the people who voted for him will be disappointed very soon after he is inaugurated. There are several reasons. 1) Those with the highest hopes and the most enthusiasm are often disappointed because no candidate can possibly meet their high expectations and for this reason I think it’s likely that more people will be disappointed with Obama if he is elected because he has generated the highest hopes. 2)The most extreme voters, who also tend to be the most enthusiastic, no matter which end of the political spectrum they’re on, always discover that their candidate, once he becomes president, is not as extreme as they had hoped. 3) A good president will immediately realize that his job is to lead the whole country not just the slightly more (or sometimes less) than half who voted for him. 4) The president can’t just wave a magic wand and make things happen.

Now I’m going to make a prediction. Keep in mind that I am not any good at all at making predictions. I predict that unless something spectacularly good happens our next president will be a one term president. The next president will have to stimulate the economy, solve the credit crisis, create tens of thousands of new jobs and lead us into an era of unprecedented prosperity or else he will not be reelected. Furthermore, he (especially if he is Obama) will have to do something especially notable or historically significant, on the same level of significance as Kennedy launching the space program.

That’s a tall order but I think that’s what it will take. At least that’s the way it looks to me right now. We American voters are a fickle bunch and we have short memories. It could be that any noticeable improvement will be enough.

Sexual Preferences

Did that title get your attention? Sorry to disappoint but it’s only a silly pet post. Question: Do pets seem to prefer humans of the opposite sex?

As I’ve mentioned before, Dax is often very demanding of my attention but lately that’s only when I’m the only one here. When my husband is home she definitely prefers to sit in his lap. Kes, when she’s not hiding or cringing in terror, prefers Number Two Son. Crash, the only male cat we’ve had, rarely wanted to sit on anyone’s lap but I was definitely his favorite human. He would come to me and demand petting then lay down at my feet. Spot liked my husband best. I can’t remember whether or not Isis had a favorite human. Number One Son’s dog Zoe just loves everybody. A lot.

Okay, audience, it’s your turn. Tell me about your pets.

List of Lists

A list of music lists – lots of lists, even classical! There’s a 100 Greatest Composers list. My top three would be in a slightly different order but all three are so great, so iconic, that you might as well say they’re tied for first place. Dvorak would be in my top 10, Wagner would not. But you know how it goes with lists; everyone has a different opinion.

I have a big complaint about the Greatest Composers by Era lists. The Classical, Baroque, Renaissance and Medieval eras are all listed together as “Pre 1820″. Beethoven and Mozart are on the same list as Byrd, Tallis, Monteverdi and Hildegard von Bingen. On the other end of music history, the entire 20th century is listed under “Modern”. This is common I suppose but isn’t it about time we stopped referring to music that is nearly 100 years old as “modern”?

There are about a dozen more classical lists, every one of which I could argue with but I won’t bother, and a great many other lists in rock and roll, blues, jazz and others. A fun site for anyone who likes music lists.

A Few More Blogs

The Defibrillator – a new blog I bookmarked a while back because it looked like it had potential but, sadly, the author doesn’t seem to have much time to devote to it.

And We Heard Nothing While the World Changed – science fiction, fantasy and, occasionally, other stuff

Bramblestitches – gardening, recipes, sewing, knitting, family life

Consumer Law & Policy Blog – exactly what the title says

Full Room – travel, architecture, nature, art, etc. Lots of great photos. It takes a long time for them all to load but it’s worth the wait. I love the header image too.

Faster Than Light Blog – only one post so far, about FTL travel

Lists Galore! – fun and interesting lists of all kinds and a few photos

Oh Fransson – a quilting blog! Thanks to Fillyjonk for this one.

FuturePundit – science news and commentary