Tuesday, November 30, 2004

How could something so wrong be so right?

I want this. (Thanks, Pablo!) Posted by Hello
To My Buffalo Friends:
If you'd like to help a very worthy cause and have the time - why not consider visiting the Lancaster Youths' Art show this weekend? I can't make it, but I am working like the wind to get at least a hat made up. (Thanks, Paula!) Posted by Hello

For those of you who might not be able to see the flyer details clearly:

Lancaster Youths' Art Show Reception
Sunday, December 4th from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Ashton Gallery
9140 Main Street
Clarence, NY 14031

Admission is a hat, a scarf, a pair of mittens - all proceeds will be benefitting the Buffalo City Mission.

Ann Althouse has an interesting post on people's reactions to new security procedures in airports. The NYT article focuses on the invasiveness and inconvenience. I agree with Ann on the 'just getting over it.' Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around you, even if you did buy a ticket. There is a reason for these controls, unfortuntately, and it's not to cause you inconvenience or take you down a peg.

I hear a lot of this same stuff regarding border controls and getting back into the States. People seem to be awfully quick to blame the border guards for any slight - real or imagined. Again, and I'm not trying to defend Homeland Security or anything (I have it on excellent authority that more than a few of the frontline people aren't too pleased with the organisational changes), but - the security people at the borders, whether they be formerly with Customs or INS are generally NOT ignorant, racist, power hungry, etc. In fact, you might be surprised at how well educated/intelligent they are and at what sorts of lives they lead out of uniform. These guards are human, and they have good days and bad days like anyone else. If someone asks you a question twice, it doesn't mean that they are dense - it means that perhaps they didn't hear you or that you might have been unclear. If someone seems curt (though most are pretty pleasant and conversational - at least my experience has been that), remember, it's not their job to make you feel comfortable or loved. You're crossing an international boundary. There's a lot riding on these people's shoulders - and they're often overextended and shortstaffed. The last thing they need is some wisea$$ giving them a difficult time. That's not to say that responsibility doesn't come with authority - and that some don't abuse their positions. Usually, though, when someone is vehemently negative about an experience they've had at the border, my first thought is to wonder what they did to provoke it.

Dinner in my crowded little kitchen. I like this image, because with the lighting and the framing, the arrangement looks more cozy than claustrophobic. I'm really surprised that we pulled this off, to be honest.  Posted by Hello

Instead of a Monday Morning Flower, Hal treated me to Tuesday Turkeys. These were the placecards he made for Thanksgiving dinner.  Posted by Hello
Eh bien, continuons...

Over Thanksgiving, I heard someone from the family who was still reeling over the election say something pretty telling: November's election results are confirmation of what they've had a feeling of right along - that the American Electorate is decidedly anti-intellectual.

It sort of makes me wonder what intellectual means. Does it have to do with quoting French literature? Does it have to do with using a lot of big words in complicated constructions? Does it mean having the wherewithal to afford extensive schooling? I've never been part of their establishment, so it's hard for me to understand the language.

I am fascincated, however, on a few fronts - first, the notion that theory and nuance would be superior to decisionmaking ability and action (for better or for worse) for a critical leadership position. You can be as wise as Solomon, yes, but if I remember my Bible correctly, even Solomon had to make split second decisions.

The second source of interest is what I see as the near complete lack of self examination. The problem isn't that people in the EE camp aren't out of touch with the reality of this place, with the rest of the country or community - it's that everyone else is 'anti intellectual' or stupid or unsophisticated. No Exit and a lot of what my therapy taught me comes to mind, here: if you're in a closed system or alone, of course you're perfect. It's when you need to interact with others that you find your imperfections. There are always choices involved with those discoveries, too. You can consider yourself a work-in-progress and learn to compromise with the world outside, or you can choose denial or projection and lay blame for problems elsewhere. Hell is not other people, but our reactions to them. Taking this into account - there are a lot of very tormented people out there right now.

Finally - that so much of people's identities have been riding on the elections is a bit of a cause for concern. What did people do beforehand? Watch TV? Read? Were there any pastimes outside of this spectacle? For crying out loud - the election is decided and people start talking about 2008. Come on. It's practically December. Get a life.

One last thing that has been an almost constant theme is the scorn for anything other than a pure science/arts/literature background. On several occasions, I've been treated to "well, don't get an MBA - it's a soulless degree, after all, Dubya has one." Or "shouldn't be too hard, as Dubya managed it." Such a degree is like anything else - like their new Forrester - neither intrinsically good or evil, just a tool. A template for thought. The antipathy towards lawyers was set aside for Kerry and Edwards, I'd noticed. At one point, that was an intense dislike, as well.

When I was recounting some of my stories of the weekend to Pablo - he asked about whether anyone had any knowledge of economics or how business works in this group. I told him that I seriously didn't think so. I could be wrong, but that is my impression.


"...The real question is whether there's a figure in the Democratic establishment who's willing to take on the Michael Moore / MoveOn aspects of the part -- or whether those aspects have become, in some important ways, the soul of the party today. If the latter, then the Republicans will achieve the kind of decades-long dominance that Karl Rove seeks. And they'll deserve it."

-Glenn Reynolds. As he likes to say, "read the whole thing."


"People forget that being smart is not enough. You must also love people, all people, the unloved people and the people who hate them. You can hate for hating but then what are you?"

-wise words from the Goose Yard.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Andrew gave me a pretty gift when he arrived on Thursday - a brass candlestick he found somewhere.
Judging by the workmanship and the dating (1927 - Arabic numerals, but western calendar), I'm going to say that it's probably Turkish.

I don't read Arabic. I wonder what the inscription says. Pablo didn't see any reference to Allah. Could it be a poem about a flame? About lighting up a night? I guess I could attempt to transliterate the calligraphy and hopefully be able to, based on that, look it up in a dictionary. What a fun little puzzle.

My musings on this led me to review the Omniglot site. They've done a fair bit of revamping there - go take a look at it. It's ten times more excellent than it was before in its older, pretty darned neato state.

From that, I found links to Berber World. Here, I found a wonderful collection of news on the indigenous North African world - the Tamazights, the Rafs, the Berbers, the Tuaregs. How interesting to see that Tamazight is being taught again in schools in Morocco!

From the monde des berberes, I moved to a different perspective - a French one, but revisiting one of my favorite museums in Paris. This was my first contact with the art and history of the 'Arab' world - from the Palmyrans to the Moors and right on up to modern day Maghrebin culture. My, how I'd love getting back to see what's new there.

Now, I'm thinking of Tahar ben Jalloun. How is it that there seem to be very few if any English translations left of his novels? This needs to be remedied.
Thank Heavens for JCrew. Their knitted stuff is so elementary, even I can poach patterns from pictures.

Golly, Another Swell Musical!

Sunday, after everyone left, I cleaned up and got a nap in, Hal treated me to dinner (manicotti and salad - the antithesis of turkey and trimmings) and a movie. I'm sorry, I know that the Gene Kelly musicals are formulaic, but I just love them! Hal got me Take Me Out to the Ballgame this time around. I know that it followed Anchors Aweigh! character, plot and even music wise - but it was so much fun. In this, we saw that Esther Williams is as graceful on land as she is in water (There was, of course, a pool scene added in - an improbability in a 19th century hotel, but still a necessity if you've got Esther in your film.)

It's so refreshing to see a Hollywood War Effort - such cheerful bolstering up of morale, such wonderful, musical escapism. No one there would be caught dead supporting troops nowadays, it seems.

I'm really looking forward to On the Town when we get it. MGM touts this film as "twice as gay" as "Anchors Aweigh." I'd like to see that.
What did we actually have this year?

I made:

plain bread stuffing, heavy on the celery and sage
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes (mashed with heavy cream, brown sugar, butter, fresh nutmeg)
blue hubbard squash mashed with turnip
green bean casserole
dilled carrots

Hal's aunt Julia brought:

cranberry sauce (cranberry package instructions)
pumpkin pie
green tomato mincemeat (my favorite)

Hal's cousin Andrew made:

the best gravy I've ever tasted

The turkey (got a Shaw's fresh one) was so fatty that I didn't feel so badly about it being slaughtered, as it would have died of heart failure soon anyway.
Someone should get a public health campaign together addressing morbid obesity in the domestic turkey population. I made soup from the carcass and was amazed at how schmaltzy
the broth ended up.

All in all, though, I think the meal turned out well.

A couple other highlights from the weekend were - the serendipitous macaroni and cheese (cheese ends melted in a roux of flour, olive oil, sauteed onion, and to which I added some fresh herbs. Tossed the whole thing with pasta, then stuck in the oven for 20 minutes with a light covering of more of the same cheese grated over it) and the Mexican (well, actually, Guatemalan, since that's where the chocolate came from) hot cocoa. (Andrew saw my molinilla and wanted to try it out.)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sorry for the disappearance - I was in entertainer mode since about last Wednesday. My last guests left this afternoon, so had to clean up and get some serious naptime in. Goodness, I'm not as young as I used to be. (Don't laugh at that.)

On a good note - I didn't have to go anywhere this year. Based on their phoned-in updates, Pablo and his sister Anna Maria have been on the route from Metuchen, NJ to Boston for just about 11 hours now. The post-Thankgsiving traffic, combined with the abyssmal weather, have made getting home feat of epic proportions.

More tomorrow, after having gotten some more rest.
I hope you had a great holiday, or, if you don't celebrate, that you got some much needed down time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Picasso Chill Pill, or "Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté..."

This was sent to me by my comptroller today as a way to calm me down or cheer me up or something. I think that my having stuck my tongue out at him in the hallway earlier might have indicated that I was a bit under my game. Posted by Hello
Maybe I'm missing something here - but it seems to me that these shenanigans would indicate that the protesters might merit less rather than more rights.
Looks like nine people for Thanksgiving this year.

Tentative Menu:

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Bisque (without the dumplings)
Turkey with Cornbread stuffing
Mashed Potatoes (I may make half plain/half garlic, as I like the garlic version, but will be dining with some purists.)
Sweet Potatoes (mashed or baked - haven't decided yet)
Dilled Carrots
Green Bean Casserole
Baked Blue Hubbard Squash
Yeast Rolls

Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin and Mincemeat Pie
Relish Tray/Crudites

I think I'll bake some fruit/squash breads along with the cornbread to have on hand for snacks/breakfast. Maybe some of that nice oatmeal molasses bread that I made last week, as well. We'll see what I'm up for. The house is a mess and I need to get that straightened up.

Took a quick walk during my lunch today - ended up getting a beautiful basket and a pretty new teakettle from the African market (Tropical Dimensions - funny, had it pegged as being Haitian) up the street. I'm so pleased! The basket was a steal at only $10 - anywhere else here would be selling it for at least $30.
Who Will Observe the Observers?

The irony of this situation is so rich. I loved the author's mention that his only previous exposure to Kazakhs before this point was the Sasha Baron-Cohen character.

(Thanks, Pablo, for loaning your dead tree version to me!)

Monday, November 22, 2004

Okay folks: Sunday night, we went to the Somerville Theater to see Huun Huur Tu, probably one of the best known of the Tuvan throat singing groups out there. What else can I say, but these guys are rock stars?

I know very little about Tuvan (or Mongolian or any other Central Asian) musical styles, and I certainly have no idea on how to produce the overtones with my voice as they do. You can check out more on that at this site.

The program had stated that music from this part of the world tends to be less abstract, more concrete than western music, and that it could be considered a sort of 'aural map' of the surroundings. This makes perfect sense to me, as the music was very evocative of horses galloping, camels in a caravan, even different animals in a boreal forest and breaking storms overhead. Amazing the pictures painted with sounds. I'd sit back and close my eyes, travelling with the horses, thinking about the transport of goods, of histories, of music and instruments even, over to our part of the world, where they'd be modified and eventually evolve into something more familiar to us.

Hal saw in the culture behind the music parallels to the cowboys, the plains riders here. Both are solitary, even lonely existences in a land with a big sky. In a lot of the 'country' music, you've got occurrences of overtones from yodelling and even modified throat singing by some.

Like most unfamiliar at first music, it takes a bit of time to accustom your ears to it. It is so worth the effort, though, between the similar themes wrapped up in different melodies and the sheer power of the musicians themselves. I had not forgotten myself at a concert in a long time - it was great to be able to do so last night.
History According to Hollywood

Wretchard on Oliver Stone's latest film. Hal got passes to see Alexander tonight, but neither of us is up to seeing it, it looks so bad. I guess that that makes us 'red staters,' or something.
"I need an ocean to teach me whatever it is I need to know, be it music or consciousness." - Pablo Neruda

I'd like to add to this something else: A mountain summit to help me keep my world in perspective. Saturday, we made it out to Monadnock for what I think will be the last hike until Spring. I was a bit worried about my left knee and my sprained left ankle and right foot, yes, but they managed extremely well. So as to get the hard work done first, we ascended on white cross (what I injured my knee on descending in September), and descended on Pumpelly and Cascade. The weather was perfect, with the predicted rain holding up until we were halfway home.

This image is to the northeast - in the direction of the White Mountains. Doesn't it look like some sort of tableland mirage done in watercolors?  Posted by Hello

Me, looking west to Vermont.  Posted by Hello

Another celebrity sighting. First we see the Cream of Wheat Guy using a payphone in Bar Harbor, Maine. Then we catch van Gogh peering through some reeds looking, for all the world like Roger Whittaker up in Lubec, Maine. Now, John Denver (or is this Nigel Tufnel?) eating a granola bar, tying some kid's shoe on top of a mountain in New Hampshire. Posted by Hello
Two great films this weekend:

knowing what a fan of Gene Kelly I am, Hal's been picking up whatever he sees at the library starring him. Last week, we caught "An American in Paris," which neither of us really cared for. This week's choice,Anchors Aweigh, was a delight, however. Of couse, Gene was a dream. What surprised me, however, was Frank Sinatra's performance. Though I know he's 'old blue eyes,' and I'm familiar with his crooning, I've only seen him in his more serious roles. To see him so young, keeping up with Gene Kelly in that wonderful dance number in the USO dormitory was a treat. I'm angling now for Take Me Out to the Ballgame and On the Town.

We also watched It Happened One Night. Again, another delight! A couple things amazed me on this one - first, that it was shot in just about a month on minimal sets, with only two costume changes for Colbert. Secondly, that she really disliked this vehicle that netted her an Oscar for best actress. She really did put on a good show - there was wonderful chemistry between her and Gable.

I've decided that, as a result of this last film, it would be a good idea to resurrect 1930s slang. If anyone can help me with the origins of the term "gashouse palooka," I'd more than glad to use it regularly, believe you me.

It's going to be a rough winter, I fear. Lots of big, fat, slow squirrels everywhere. This guy was sitting outside Hal's window on Sunday morning longingly looking in, it seemed. Of course, he might have just wanted to watch movies with us; you never know. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 19, 2004

Of Local Interest.

A treasure from the West Coast residing in the storage place across from my building for 13 years. Gosh, you just can't make this stuff up. It has to write itself.
You know, if I didn't need the money or the references, I'd have walked out of here long ago.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Posting's been kind of sporadic, as I'm tired from the leg healing, some sort of allergy, the lack of light, the impending holidays. I've never been good with holidays. At work, too, there are some 'turf wars' going on - my department being the turf. I can handle either the in work or the out of work alright - both together is a bit of a challenge.

It also hit me that I'm not nearly as far as I'd like to be knitwise. I've two halfway finished sweaters (green turtleneck, blue homespun cable knit), one completely finished one (spice colored stripes), and one more that I need to get started by Thanksgiving - an aran. This one is going to be very interesting in that I'm using a sweater that I was given as a gift last year as the pattern. With a few modifications, it'll be perfect for the person I'm intending it for.
There are a few hats, scarves, things like that, too, that I need to get a move on. Small projects to go between the bigger ones.

Found this while talking about Gerberas with a couple coworkers. Frogs and flowers. What more could a girl ask for? Posted by Hello

Monday, November 15, 2004

Proust Memory Jogger

I was remembering collecting chestnuts around the neighborhood of my alp. Peeling the fruits and cooking them into a paste. Creating a confiture so unlike anything I'd ever had in my life.

Last week in Chinatown, I bought a pound of chestnuts (they were ridiculously cheap and wonderfully fresh - almost felt like Mexican jumping beans) to see if I could remember how to make my beloved crème de marrons. I figured that, at $3.50 a pound, I could afford to take the hit if things didn't turn out as I'd planned.

The worst thing (and I'd forgotten what rotten work this was) was peeling the blessed fruits. I had to slit the shells and steam them for something like 20 minutes. Then peel the shells off with a knife, taking as much skin off as possible (bitter and stringy) and excising worms if need be. After I accomplished this task, I put the nut meats into a pot with a couple cups of water.
After cooking till the material was soft, I ran it all through a food mill to get rid of the bits of skin I missed.

To this stuff, I added enough water to make roughly four cups of paste. To this, I added 3/4 cups of brown sugar for every cup of paste, brought everything to a boil, then simmered it for 45-50 minutes. When done cooking, I put the paste into clean, sterile jars, capped them, then processed in a boiling water bath for roughly 1/2 hour (hopefully enough time). I got roughly six cups of paste out of this. Not bad, since, expensive as chestnuts are fresh, the paste or sweetened comfiture is extortionate here. I think that my homemade stuff tastes a fair bit better, too. Just more artisanal looking, as it's not as smooth and is a lot darker than the 'industrial' chestnut paste. Will I make it again? Probably. It's delicious on bread, crackers, plain cookies, ice cream (as in 'coup Mont Blanc' - vanilla ice cream with chestnut paste and whipped cream.) I might try a bit of vanilla in it next time, too - if my vanilla's good enough for it.

I also made two loaves of the standard Fanny Farmer yeasted oatmeal bread.

Yes, the house smelled delicious, and I really enjoyed the kitchen activity. Unfortunately, like so many other of my more fulfilling pastimes, this one seems to have fallen by the wayside.

All this, and I forgot to pick up the drycleaning, too.

Don't you just hate it when one of your coworkers wanders around the office with this expression on their face? I refer people around here to this painting pretty often. Usually they get a lecture on Catholicism, as well. Haven't gotten into the gay subtext or Mishima or anything like that, though. Should try that sometime. Posted by Hello
Question for Catholics:

Have you ever had a fantasy of, during the moment of silence after Eucharest, standing up and yelling "You Sunk My Battleship?"

I have, and for most of my life. I've not yet acted on it, however.
What a compliment!

One of my bosses today told me that with my new eyeglasses and haircut, I reminded him of Lina Wertmueller. All I can say is that, if I could age half as gracefully as she has, I'd be very lucky indeed. Posted by Hello

While we're on the subject of celebrity look alikes: I was recently looking over some photos I'd acquired from my mom and it really struck me how much she looked like Anouk Aimee when she was my age. Uncanny. (This will embarass the guy, but what the heck. It's a cute story: he found an old picture of a beautiful young woman on the beach and made some comment like "wow, who WAS that girl? She's really pretty." - my mom answered a little bit coy-like: "I was young once, too, you know.")

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I've not been feeling so hot lately, so I just sort of lay low this weekend.
Small stuff happened, and if I feel like writing about it, I will in a bit.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's shaping up to be one of those days.

I find myself in the middle of a fight ostensibly about some financial minutia, but more likely over resentfulness due to the fact that we're working on a holiday.
If you are in the same boat as we are and find yourself about ready to blow your top, why not stop, take a breather, take a look at these little sweeties. You'll feel better in no time flat.

Good things come in threes

Remember how I said that given my luck, I'd be playing the lottery? Well - I didn't win the jackpot. My roommate, however, who works for Big Television, put his name in the hat for an office raffle and won us a brand new, whiz-bang, programmable VCR. That'll do, don't you think?
Happy Veterans Day

(Thanks, Dad!)

If you remembered to take the day off - enjoy it. If not - well, next year it'll fall on a Friday.

Another wonderful image from Instapundit's Afghan correspondant. If they keep this good work up - I may someday get to visit. I hope so, I really do.
Say nothing but good of the dead.

Joan Crawford is dead. Good.

-attributed to Bette Davis

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Happiness is a 20 pound heater cat lying by your side on a chilly fall night.

Mamasan's not only sleeping in my bed again - he's crawling under the covers to curl up next to me. Bliss.

Sometimes Ampersand will sleep at my feet, too. This is a relatively new thing for her. I like it.
I never mentioned what a nice weekend I had. Silly me.

Dim sum.

Two movies - one very good (The Cuckoo). The other, extraordinary (Les Enfants du Paradis).

Some fun little purchases in Chinatown.

I'll elaborate later. Need to go to bed now.


Had to break out the winter coat and the tights today. I held out for quite a while, though. The heat went on this morning, too, sadly.

Got an eye exam and picked out new glasses - I got dark blue frames that are a cross between 'sexy librarian' and 'cat lady.' They look much nicer than the ones I've been using (NASA Engineer ca. the Apollo missions)out of desperation.

Last night's appointment with Shelley had me feeling pretty unhappy. Two months after my knee injury, I twist my ankle. That's braced now, and walking is pretty painful. In that fall, I managed to wrench my left shoulder and hurt the arm, as well. I'm back up to weekly to twice weekly chiropractic again.

On a good note, however, I did spend a pleasant couple hours eating vegetarian chili and discussing nutrition/winter recipes. Let's see - essentially, it was tomato paste or canned tomatoes, peppers, onion, chili powder, kidney beans left in a crock pot to simmer for several hours. Very easy. Very large quantities. Very comforting.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Precious! (at least I think so.)

9:09: Gnat enters my studio. “Knock Knock.”

“Who’s there.”


“Banana don’t change your diaper.”

“Yes, it’s the only one you own. You might use it if you feel better. When you get home.”


“That’s not funny.”

“No, or particularly compelling in the musical or lyrical sense, either. I never really liked Steely Dan, hon. Didn’t dislike them, but while I appreciated that cool distance that set them off from the heart-on-the-sleeve troubadours or the glam rockers, I was never drawn in to their oeuvre. “Reelin’ in the Years” excepted, of course, but you could ascribe the appeal of that seminal tune to Elliot Randall’s guitar playing. If ever there was an example of the masterful use of tone, that was it; the notes were hot and wet, each one detonating like ripe grapes filled with quicksilver.”


“I have new underwear!” (runs from room.)

I think that’s the best possible response to all rock criticism. I have new underwear! Let’s try it: “While Fagen and Becker’s work leave me impressed but unmoved, why does Fagen’s ‘Nightfly’ – in particular, ‘New Frontier’ and the bittersweet ‘IGY’ - strike such a chord with me? They’re indistinguishable from Steely Dan tunes, really. Perhaps it’s the lyrics; perhaps the oblique and cryptic nature of Steely Dan’s lyrics put me off, and the relatively open and honest sentiments of Fagen’s solo work made the chilled tasteful irony of the arrangements seem more human.”

(Pause. All together now)


Tanya at work's been rooting some tradescantia for me. The slips were in good enough condition to travel, so she brought them in today. In keeping with my mom's peculiarity with these plants, I've collectively named mine Henry Kissinger. I also have a Swedish Ivy that I call Stockholm SyndromePosted by Hello
Ann Althouse notes that it's safe to go back into bookstores again, now that the election's over.

I do have to admit - I've been buying more stuff via library sales and Amazon, as I was kind of tired of going into my favorite place due to the piles of Anti Authority stuff out. I'm an easy to please girl - just give me a cup of coffee, my knitting journals and a copy of Foreign Affairs, and I'm generally pretty happy to let the academic (anti)industrial complex's biases flow by me. Heck, it's a free country. Eventually, though, the agitprop product placement got to me, and I just started spending my money elsewhere.

The overstocking of this stuff, however, might work out to my advantage. If I can find dollar copies of The Great Unravelling or Lying Liars and the Liars Who Love Them, etc - I'm all set for part of my Christmas list.

(One brilliant law professor via another.)
Jonah on Sore Loserdom.

One might ask if the Democrats really want to place so much emphasis on "ignorance" of the base as a defining difference between the parties. By all means let's break out the number-two pencils and pit the homeschoolers, tractor drivers, and Sunday-school teachers against the voters who wouldn't have shown up at the polls lest they miss a chance to meet P-Diddy.

Please do read the whole thing. (Thanks Pablo!) Also, take a look at Virginia Postrel's post on the the America-Hating Party's chances of winning elections. It ties in nicely with this.

Monday Morning Flower - (yes, on Tuesday.) Hal's pelargonium. A nice winter bloom for this chilly day. Posted by Hello
Girl Stuff Crisis Day

Okay, folks: I'm wearing 18 shades of blue and none of them match. My hair's a mess; I got it cut in layers (what ever posessed me to do that?) and it's in 'transition phase.' My face is broken out like a teenager's. My eyeglasses make me look like one of the Proclaimers. I want to cry.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Ja, und jetzt 'Jesusland' ist Deutsch fuer 'USA.'(via Davids Medienkritik.)It's interesting, too, that in the original article, they post the fake IQ data table that's been going around. To their credit I guess, they do mention that the numbers are 'unverifiable.' Still - it leaves no doubt in one's mind what the editors of der Spiegel think of the US electorate if they're even printing this sort of stuff.
I really, really need a new pair of glasses.
Lost them sometime last week and am trying desperately to get an eye appointment.
On wandering into work, I took another flying leap and took out the ankle.

I hate having to either 'use the force' or depend on the old (nearly 10 years old) glasses - not only is the prescription weaker than what I need, I look like one of the Proclaimers in the frames.
I laughed till I cried...

Pablo sent me Mark Steyn's latest on the new 'outreach efforts' on the part of European media for the new Bush term.

I've noticed an 'evolution' of sorts, of late. It seems that as one slur gets termed politically correct, another one is inventented to mean the same thing:

stupid Micks/Polacks > blondes > White Trash > Republicans.

Glenn Reynolds has some interesting //s to make between what's considered the values of middle America and the values of the Scots/Irish. As I've not read Albion's Seed before - strictly from a musical standpoint, you find a very strong Scottish / Irish influence in Appalachia, for what it's worth. Guess it would stand to reason that other values would have crossed over as well.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Hal was telling me that there were lava sightings at Mount St. Helens recently. Here's a link to the Volcano Cam if you'd like to take a look. Some sort of eruption is imminent; I wonder when it will happen and how spectacular it will be. The one that took place when I was a kid was quite a cataclysmic event and even effected sunsets as far west as where I was living at the time (Buffalo, NY), if I remember correctly.
In case you're wondering -

My tribute to the Red Sox victory netted me four quarts of pie filling!

I put the stuff I'd rendered earlier in the week through the food mill again, then simmered it for about 45 minutes with unmeasured pinches of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg. My, how wonderful my kitchen smelled - all homey and warm.

Since pumpkin's not acidic and I didn't figure I'd want to keep the stuff in the fridge for an indeterminate amount of time, I processed the jars in a boiling water bath for an hour. That should be fine, don't you think?
A Weekend Reading List (and a music lesson):

Daniel Henniger's article on how Blue lost to Red in the 60s.

I'd seen a lot of commentary over the past few months about this election being "1968 all over again." I'm wondering if this was a way for many to rekindle their salad days or was perhaps even due to flashbacks from all the drugs taken back then?

This article goes well with this one as an explanation as to why celebrity endorsement + peddling falsehood/hyperbole + insulting the intelligence of those whose vote you're trying to court < > winning over that constituency.

I'd say that anything by VDH is worth reading. For now, though, why not get started with American Exeptionalism and, from his 'private papers,' Bruce Thornton's interpretation of election returns.

Thank heavens Mark Steyn's not going to quit writing! He's upset, though, that Bush didn't win by a wider margin. I wonder if he isn't taking into account the 15% of the vote Evan Thomas of Newsweek mentioned that the media were going to try to deliver to Kerry. Factor that out, as the media did do their darndest between Rathergate, Al Qa-Qaa, (funny how we're not hearing so much about that one anymore, now that the election's over), the incessant, almost fetishist coverage of Abu Ghraib (among other things)...and Bush would have been elected by a landslide.

Ann Althouse on the media spin of the election results. Her conclusion - "can we please get a grip?"

Finally: if all this political stuff's got your head spinning, why not try singing a song? (also, why not stop by and say hello to Dana - think good thoughts for her and her mom, too. They could use them.)
Semantics, Semantics

Over soup and dumplings at Wang's last night, Pablo and I discussed the meaning of the term "moral values." Paul was a fair bit confused, first because it *is* a vague term, and secondly, because, though there is a wide gamut of interpretations, the media and the members of the losing party seem to be homing in on one narrow one.

Myself, I see the term 'moral values' (as stated on the exit polls) as being a variety of things - personal integrity, resolve in the face of crisis, keeping up with what you believe to be right, regardless of what others may think. Constancy and trustworthiness.

This is why I believe that many people voted for Bush over Kerry. Even if they didn't believe in all of the above for Bush - they certainly felt that Kerry posessed them to an even lesser degree.

Religion didn't play a role in it for me, a lapsed Catholic who's in a relationship with a spiritual agnostic and who counts among her friends people who embrace many types of faith - from Islam to Atheism.

Gay Marriage and Homosexuality didn't either. I'd be very happy to see same sex civil partnerships in order to reward committed couples regardless of gender makeup the same protections (power of attorney, health coverage, etc) as marriage offers heterosexual couples. I do, however, have a problem with this issue being decided by a number of judges so small, I can count them on my one hand and not include my thumb.

From what I've seen in looking around on the web, this seems jibe with how a lot of others feel - particularly among disaffected liberals and 'neo conservatives.'

Why, then, the rush to paint us all as bible-thumping, gay-haters?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Hmm. Since my team won the World Series, and my man won the Presidency with one of the highest numbers of votes since..., I get the feeling I should play the lottery or something.
I could never stand her voice, anyway.

If Baez were at the turn of the 20th century doing this sort of stuff, I'm sure that most of her current fan base would be boycotting her as being 'racist' and 'bigoted.' Trust me, I've dealt with threats to that affect from music teachers for my company's publishing music by Carrie Jacobs Bond and Stephen Foster.
These numbers don't run or read at a 10th grade level

This chart has been making the rounds again as a sort of salve to the wounded egos of the losing party. (I've received several copies of it, now).

What I find interesting (aside from the notion that the IQ test hoax one was 'fake but uncannily accurate' - hmm, where did we hear that one before?) is the assumption that education attainment is indicitive of intelligence. After all, these don't look like knuckle dragging "red-staters," now, do they?


Pablo brought up an interesting point (first made by John Derbyshire when this 'data' originally came out): "Isn't it funny how embracing of intelligence testing 'liberals' are when it's to their advantage?


Should this make some of the 'happy few' feel even more isolated, or more thankful for the electoral college system that they were calling for the abolition of in 2000?

Isn't this the prettiest lamp? Regardless of the fact that I have absolutely nowhere to put it, I'd like one.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I didn't realize that the Mirror had such a high readership.

(via LGF.) Posted by Hello
Plus ca change...

(Thanks, Pablo!)
I found this article interesting on Tom Wolfe's reasons for supporting Bush.
I'm finding my patience starting to run thin.


One friend called me to tell me that he was profoundly disturbed at the election results, because it showed that rampant fundamentalism had taken over the country. An acquaintance emailed me to express his disappointment that we were going to continue along the route of empire building, and that he didn't know what it would take to discourage the American People from being so warlike. One girlfriend was hysterical because Bush being in office again meant that we'd be denied abortions and that rape would be legalized.

A neighbor emailed me this.

Yet another acquaintance emailed me to say that what he learned from this election is that there is a large swath of this country that is hopelessly uninformed. I reminded him that I'm from flyover, and that he's on several occasions mentioned that what I was explaining to him was beyond his grasp and knowledge - and the reply was eerily similar to that that I'd heard from my European friends: you're different. You're not like the rest. (How would you know if you've not met any others?) When I mentioned that there was a good part of the left that believed in way blown out of proportion stuff like the girl with the abortion debacle, he countered with, "well, there's a whole part of the population that believes that gay marriage will lead to sanctified sex with dogs."

I don't even know how to process this stuff anymore. It's really, really disheartening.

Oliver Kamm today has a couple of droll posts on a 'sense of proportion' or lack thereof among British Liberals.

Ann Althouse writes on the emotions running high in Madison and Manhattan, with a common theme:

"... a lot of self-flattery that goes into the belief that your side is the sophisticated, savvy side. My view is that all human beings indulge in self-flattery and stoke their own self-esteem by visualizing those on the other side as ignorant and inept. If only you would think straight and get some information, you would agree with me!"

Wretchard has a couple very pointed posts on the election results being more a message to those who would force their agenda on the majority of the population


November 3 Presidential Election

Than a mandate for empire and social conservatism.
He closes the November 3 essay with the following lines:

Thoughtful people within the Liberal establishment must now accept, or at least seriously consider the possibility that:

the world is indeed facing a new fascist threat in the shape of radical Islam. It is not imaginary;

chaos and disorder are threatening to engulf large parts of the Third World and international institutions, like the World Bank and the UN have proved incapable to deal with it; and

the populations of Europe and America, or America at least, retain certain core beliefs -- never mind what these are for the present -- which are absolutely nonnegotiable and which will not be surrendered under any circumstances.

On this basis all men of goodwill can work together to build a 21st century society that will face the new aggressors; use the power of the markets and technology to bring material prosperity to the billions of impoverished people in the Third World; and acknowledge that we, like all our ancestors from the day we first learned to bury our dead under a cairn of stones are still entitled to ask the eternal questions. That we desire, not to be New Soviet or Post-modern Men, but simply Men, as ever we were.

People really would do well to give some thought to this. Because the president is open about his faith in God, that does not make him an equivalent to the Taliban. Under this administration, women were able to vote for the first time (in how long? ever?)in Afghanistan, and schools are being built specifically for them. I think that this evidence flies in the face of the notion that it is anti woman.

It takes a lot to look at one's self and to admit that maybe one's one views may need adjusting. That maybe one does not know better than the rest. Perhaps it is just easier to fall back into thinking, rather than the election being stolen this time around, that one's neighbors are just simply stupid. That "in God we trust" is the basis of a theocracy, that women not playing golf at Augusta drives us back into the middle ages and that the passing of gay marriage bans in different states doesn't mean so much that the people in those states hate gays as that, perhaps there is a problem with a few judges up in Massachusetts are looking to change the fundamental meaning of a word, a tradition that has millenia behind it (right or wrong) and impose their judgement on the populace, rather than looking for a compromise.



"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar."
"It's Our Choice."

You want comity? You want progress? Enough with the catastrophe rhetoric, then. Enough with the nonsense. Enough with the gasbag fantasies. Reading the Klemperer diaries make me realize again what real true perfidy looks like, and how those who view a Bush victory as “four more years of evil” are parading their petulant variety of moral idiocy for the approval of the claque. They’re the modern Rumpelstiltskins, ripping themselves in half in anger to protest the price of pants.

It’s a great & rare idea: one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. I think we can hammer out the particulars in a spirit of good will, eh? Or not. Our choice.

Read the whole thing; it's moving, it's touching.
Also, take a look at his new book, Interior Desecrations.
Just like Regrettable Food, it's make-you-almost-pee-your-pants funny.

Another Perspective: (and one I'm far more exposed to here.)

"Ach," says Oliver James, the clinical psychologist. "I was too depressed to even speak this morning. I thought of my late mother, who read Mein Kampf when it came out in the 1930s and thought, 'Why doesn't anyone see where this is leading?'"

-from a Guardian posting of Liberal British feelings towards the election.

via that "small corner of liberal Britain that is the Kamm household...as unflappable and cheery as ever."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From Ann Althouse this morning:

Time for good people to show what graceful winning and graceful losing look like.

Those of you who are happy with the outcome of the election, please don't gloat. Those of you who have lost, I know how you feel. I've had preferences in presidential elections since 1960. That is 12 elections, and until Bill Clinton won, I had never supported a winner. This year is only the third election out of twelve, where my candidate has won. If you're a young voter or a new voter and you feel burned, let me tell you, I was over forty years old before a candidate I supported won the presidency. You have to absorb a lot of losses in politics. Life goes on, and there is much more that we Americans share than the politicos of the right and left have wanted us to see for the last year or so. Think good thoughts today.

And, Senator Kerry: please help us out with a fine and memorable concession speech as soon as possible.

Four years ago, I remember thinking - well, the man I voted for didn't get in. Hopefully the one who will be running the country will turn out better than I think him to be. What I had hoped for actually happened (but under what circumstances!), and I ended up voting for him this year. If he'd have lost, I would have had the same hopes for Kerry. Such is life. No sense getting all worked up over these things. Stuff can't always go your way and part of life is figuring out how to navigate through an imperfect world.


"In American elections there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates win or lose, the next morning we wake up as Americans."

-From Kerry's concession speech (when I find a transcript of that and of Bush's victory speech, I'll post them). I agree with instapundit - very nice.
"The Poor Voter on Election Day."

To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!

-John Greenleaf Whittier

(via Andrew Sullivan.)



At the Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, one woman got to skip to the front of along line because she was in labor, election judge Nancy Carlson said.

``Two minutes labor and she's still in line to vote,'' Carlson said.

Once the woman cast her ballot, she was put into a wheelchair and carted away, Carlson said.

(again, via Andrew.)
A look at the numbers:

100% of Precincts Reporting
Bush 51% 2,794,346
Kerry 48% 2,658,125

99% of Precincts Reporting
Bush 51% 58,527,956
Kerry 48% 54,992,753

Electoral Breakdown

(via Drudge)
Finally Over.

I didn't watch last night. Figured on a protracted legal battle. Just heard, however, that Kerry called Bush to concede. Thank you, Mr. Kerry. My opinion of you has gone up.

My hope now is that things will calm down and that the "move on" contingent will not act up.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Call me cynical

I get this feeling that, with his having 'cleaned up' some and his new Michael-Moore styled 'rhetoric' (not to mention possibly swaying the elections here), Bin Laden may well be in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Hey - it worked for Arafat, didn't it?

Just a niggling feeling.
Stood in line at my polling place for a half hour this morning - boy was the line long. Happily, though, it moved quickly and I had my knitting along to keep me occupied. (Think I fascinated a couple kids with what I was working on.) Everyone was quick, pleasant - the policeman who helped me get my ballot into the reader was lovely. I love voting - it leaves me with this feeling of exhiliration not unlike I'd get after going to confession when I used to do that.

I definately feel like a lone voice, however. Not only at work, but in my neighborhood as well. I could be wrong, as most people who are voting as I did tend to keep their mouths shut. There is also the prevailing assumption that if you're in a certain milieu/educational background, you're going to vote a certain way. Works for me.

In Perspective

Keep this in mind the next time you talk about Censorship here.
New Links

It's my goal in life to be both 'smart and pretty' and I look to Virginia Postrel as a role model. She hooked me when I first caught CSPAN coverage of her talking about her latest book a couple years ago. The Substance of Style affected me much like Guns, Germs and Steel did - blew open a window in my mind and caused a great change in my perception of things. Read it, please! Also, please visit her site.

I found Dana at Note-It-Posts while spelunking around the Carnival of the Recipes.
She's an intelligent person with a multitude of insights, interests. Oh, and quite a full life, too. The content of her site is pretty diverse, and I'm drawn to it because, well, it reminds me of mine. Please go take a look.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I was going work over some of my favorite anti-Bush lines (the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq being all about oil and started for Cheney and Halliburton...Bush family having ties with Hitler and as being war profiteers...Bush being a moron...his having gone AWOL from the ANG back in the early 70s, his keeping secret an impending reinstatement of the draft...his administration having squandered the good will of the world...tax cuts for the rich at the expense of Pell Grants/bullet proof vests for the troops/name a pet cause...), but I decided that, ultimately that all really didn't matter. I mean - you want something to be true? You'll believe in it with all your heart, like God, like Santa Claus, like the practicality of the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, I thought I'd leave you all with the words of some of the people whose opinions I greatly respect:

Virginia Postrel, who isn't looking for a boyfriend.

Oliver Kamm, who brings up a couple other good arguments, as well.

Charles Johnson, who underwent a change of heart after 09/11/01.

Bill Whittle, a "former liberal whose worldview has been hit by heat-seeking reality..."

Roger L. Simon, one of Bush's "new friends" in the blogosphere

Lileks, who just wants us to get out and vote, gosh darnit.

He's Proud of This.

No shame, no shame whatsoever. He got his pieces of silver, why should he care?

The jack o' lantern is in the fridge, having been rendered into pulp which will soon find itself spiced, sweetened and jarred for this year's holiday pies.

The house smells a bit smoky from the scorched squash skin.

My eyes are getting heavy. I'm not ready to sleep just yet, but soon I'll be tired enough. Tomorrow I need to get up early in order to get my civic duty in before work.

Let's see: California polls close at 11:00 pm our time. Hawaii, three hours after. I don't like thinking of protracted recounts under the eyes of 'armies of lawyers.' I want it to be quick, clean and decisive. Please make it be so.

Brush teeth, knit a bit (a sweater of earthy blue Homespun yarn, all lustrous and with undulating cables), lay down. Think good thoughts on tomorrow. Whatever happens, we'll survive. We just have to live through it first, and that's the hardest sometimes.

This week's Monday Morning Flower. What it lacks in aesthetic value, it more than makes up for in heart. Go Sox! Posted by Hello
Polar Opposites or Bipolar Complementaries?

The softer, nurturing, more sensitive face of Judenhass


The Macho, Out-in-the-Open, Forceful face.

(both via LGF)
My mom's got two second interviews today.
Think good thoughts for her, please.
"I love it when the parade goes into the water. Man, are we so spoiled here."

-a comment overheard during the 'rolling rally' for the Sox on Saturday. Boy, can Boston throw a party.

Be and her roving photojournalist, Hal, before the festivities.  Posted by Hello

The broom, of course, is a reference to the Sox having swept the series. Posted by Hello

How lovely to have this raining down on us. Posted by Hello

The Champions Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

(Bit out of order) The Starters Posted by Hello

Some more of Our Heroes Posted by Hello