Wednesday, March 31, 2004

There's also the matter of the dead bird in the back flower bed.
Since I am a bureaucrat, I spend a lot of time in an office, pushing paper to other bureaucrats. Sometimes I get tunnel vision, as I am in a very small area doing a number of little pieces of jobs. This can really bring a girl down if she's not careful.
Trying to get the thinking out of the quotidien - trying to remember how to be a bit more creative, since that's more in my nature.

Anyhow, though it's more chronologically spring than by looking out the window spring - I reminded myself (a bit late) to get out the seeds for the garden. Surprise, surprise!:

To be started tonight in egg containers:
tomatoes (two varieties)

To be started ASAP outdoors (hopefully by the beginning of next week in a cold frame:

To be started after frost danger's past (everything else):
shasta daisies
fuzzy, purple cattaill-ey perennial

I have my work cut out for me.
This is what happens when you opt against bringing your umbrella along.
Currently pouring out.
Boy, am I cranky today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Sleepy. Before I go to bed though, I want to remind you that Thursday is the start of Poetry Month!

Please take a look here for some poetry and discussion. I'll have it up and going all during April, ¡ojala!
Down Highland Avenue on the way to work this morning, I heard the funniest thing. In front of me were four girls - two black, two white - on their way to school. They were joking around and laughing quite a bit. When I got closer, I heard one of the white girls stating mock emphatically that "Stoplights - invented by a black man." Laughter. Next came "Air conditioning? You like it in the summer? Invented by a black man!" This was followed by more laughter and a 'girl, you're gonna get it!' Did my heart good to hear them joking about this. Did my heart even better to know that they aren't as dumb as adults would like to think sometimes. That they could see humor in the revisionist 'history' that was probably forced down their throats all last month.
Not feeling in full form right now - took 1/2 a day off from the grind to just relax a bit, knit some and look over poetry.
The roommate's got a cold and I fear that that is what I am fighting right now.

Was feeling a bit destructive last night, so hennaed the hair and lopped about two inches of it off. I feel lighter. Still achy and old, but lighter, anyway.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

T minus three days and counting until National Poetry Month!

Friday, March 26, 2004

Sorry for the sporadic at best posts. Have been still not feeling on top of things.
Some good reading to be had:

Hanson calling it like he sees it again.

Oliver Kamm is on a roll again with the Plain English Society.

Lileks has a field day with the Media's coverage of Richard Clarke.

Gosh, I love his style.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Plus ca change...
Still feeling weak and not of this world.
Not much to report. Please read Lileks today, though. Please.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Cannot believe that the weekend is over. The past day and a half were wasted to some sort of stomach bug. I hate having my time taken from me like that. Instead of getting out to Revere for the first time of the season, we stayed home and watched movies again: The Manchurian Candidate, Nights of Cabiria, Down By Law.

Got to thank Lucy Lee over at Mind's Eye Yarns for her sweater pattern in Interweave from a couple years ago. I made three so far and am so pleased with how they came out. She mentioned that she's devoting more time to pattern writing and has submitted about a dozen for the book "Stitch N Bitch II." Good luck to her on that!

The hand is healing up nicely, though it's still too painful to apply much pressure on the right index finger. Keyboarding isn't excruciating anymore - though piano still hurts quite a lot. Guess I'm just going to have to try to take it easier this next week.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Guess we'll now see what the cost of appeasement is:

Al Qaida Group Announces Truce with Spain

via Andrew Sullivan
From Opinion

In light of the momentary triumph of appeasement in Europe, Rudyard Kipling's"Dane-Geld" seems apropos:

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:—
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to says:—

“We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”
More on the New Order in Spain:

On Hearing that Spain Has Capitulated to the Terrorists

From Burgos to Valencia
in the bright Spanish air
The spirit of the Campeador
has journeyed in despair,
The great sword that Alfonso gave
he breaks upon the shore.

El Cid has risen from his tomb,
he's parted with Ximene,
His people, whose bright honor still
has never suffered stain,
Now run from battle, hide their heads:
he is ashamed of Spain.

And now he's passing over sea,
toward the lands of dawn;
A falcon in the falling dusk,
he hears a distant horn;
Another spirit travels there
Roland, the Frankish-born.

High in the snow-swept Pyrenees
where he had thought to lie
Until the last great horn-blast calls
those whose fate is to die,
He's cast the shards of Durandal
into the starry sky,

And in the shades of Roncesvalles
where he kept his last stand
He has renounced his captaincy
and given up command;
For who is there to stand with him
who loves his native land?

And in the night they pass above
the isle of Ithaca,
And over white Naupaktos fades
the rising morning star;
And here the third of the great shades
has met them from afar:

It is the spirit of Don John,
Lepanto's admiral,
Who freed ten thousand galley-slaves
from the grand Turk's long thrall;
He has arisen from his grave
in the Escorial.

Where once the great guns of the fleets
crashed out in victory
Three spirits come in grief to seek
reburial at sea,
For Spain has turned her back upon
their antique chivalry.

And who will speak their requiem?
A poet who bore a gun:
Miguel Cervantes, who was there
in fifteen seventy-one
And boarded the great galley when
the fight was not yet won.

"My masters, on the golden hills
of Leon and Castile
The windmills now unchallenged turn,
the Don in fear will kneel
Before a wooden giant who
is nothing but a wheel;

"But you have kept your honor bright,
and though it was in vain
To guard the walls of Europe then
that would fall down again,
In exile and forgetfulness,
where you are, there is Spain."


-Frederick Turner
Poetry in honor of the New Order in Spain:


MINSTREL: [singing]
Brave Zapatero ran away,
Bravely ran away, away.
When danger reared its ugly head,
he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Zapatero turned about
And gallantly, he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Zapatero.

With apologies to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

-Andrew Sullivan

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Who am I? I am a woman in her early thirties. Sometimes I feel like a woman, sometimes a girl, it depends on the day. Mostly, though, I just am. I get up in the morning, drink my coffee, take the walk to my job, spend the day hopefully being productive. I enjoy being useful. Some evenings, I go straight home to my books, my piano, my knitting and my cats. Other days, I may go out to dinner with friends - both male and female. Or I might catch a movie. Or wander through a book store. Or maybe even get a drink. When the weather warms up, I'll put on some scruffy clothes and dig around in my landlord's dirt.

I'm not wealthy - I make enough to live on, though, with a bit of wiggle room. I am actively saving for my retirement. My discretionary money goes to all sorts of different things - not often to makeup. Never learned how to wear that. I do like perfume oils, though - mainly flower smells. Every now and again, I may henna my hair to make it shinier and bring out the reddish color. It looks pretty nice, if I do say so myself. I am also a yarn fiend. As any of my friends will attest - I have quite a stash. From this, I might make something new for me to wear, sweaters for little toys that I might send to a variety of different charities, gifts for friends.

Another thing I enjoy doing is taking my body out and working it. I enjoy all sorts of things, as I am a big sheepdog of a girl who needs to be run around a lot in order to be happy. Cycling, rowing, running, hiking, even bellydancing are favorites.

I have a boyfriend. He is a tall, handsome, quiet man. He gives me a great amount of freedom - or is it rope with which to hang myself? I'm particularly happy that he doesn't pressure me to have children or to stay at home all the time. If he is jealous of the attention of my male friends, he sure does hide it well.

My friends are very special to me. They come from all walks of life, to be sure. I think that they're evenly divided genderwise. Some are gay, some are straight, some bi, some just plain not interested.

Although my job isn't perfect (what job is?) and it has very little to do with what I studied in college (will transcribe a song off the radio or translate that poem for cash!) - I am learning things from it. Good, practical stuff. I appreciate that three of my mentors in the work world are women. Strong, smart, eloquently outspoken women.

I love that none of my girlfriends are quiet, shrinking violet types. It makes for lively debate. I can count among them lawyers, accountants, businesswomen, artists, literary types, social workers, musicians, doctors. No dumb bunnies in the lot of them. Some are mothers, some are not.

I am told by some that I am beautiful. It is fun every now and again stopping traffic on the way to or from work. Sometimes I even enjoy flirting. It tickles me that people might find me attractive. I am very pleased that this does not tend to affect my working relationships, that the men that I know (and some women, too) can look beyond how I look and see that I am useful, relatively intelligent and sometimes somewhat insightful. I appreciate that if, while I'm out working in my front dirt plot, some man asks me out, that I can say no thank you to him and not worry about him hassling me. Or that if he does, friends or neighbors will help to set him straight.

For a person of humble means and background, I have had incredible opportunities - to travel, to study, to use what I have been given to help myself to help others. I have freedom to move around, to dispense of my money as I like, to go out and have fun, to believe in whatever god I see fit. I have the ability to confront people I disagree with, to air opinions, to silently demur. No one is stopping me from doing anything but me.

I contrast my situation with those of the women in other places - from Afghanistan under the Taliban, where women were denied education, the ability to support themselves, medical care to Iran where not wearing a veil could lead to beatings by the morality police to Saudi Arabia, where, over the last year, girls were pushed back into a burning building and their deaths in order to guard their 'honor'.

I see how well assimilation is going in Europe - from sociology professors in Scandinavia laying the blame for attacks of women by immigrant men on the women themselves, to the next to lawless banlieue in France where girls may well be murdered by male relatives for looking at or talking to non muslim boys.

It would be nice if the so called feminist intellectuals here could move beyond painting themselves as perpetual victims and their shameless navel gazing to perhaps use their fame and position to take a stand for women elsewhere. To look beyond often hysterical hatred of the current administration or even this country as a whole and understand that we are pretty darned lucky to have what we do, even if things could be better. To understand that here, unlike many other places we have the ability to be both sublime and ridiculous. That as imperfect as our world may be here - it is worth fighting for if we wish to continue to enjoy the freedoms and privileges we do now.

Differing Reactions

Conventional wisdom has it that al Qaida is going to attempt to influence our elections with an 'October Surprise' attack much like what happened in Madrid last week. Sadly, this is probably true. The question is, though, how would it affect the outcome?

We know how it has for one European nation, of course. Some over there seem to think that something similar would happen here. Somehow, I don't think so. Much as there is that faction (mainly on the coasts and in academic institutions) that would like no better than to roll over and play dead, I think we've got a fair bit more backbone than that as a whole. At least I hope that we do.

As always, Andrew Sullivan calls a spade a spade.

Guardian Fisk
Tired. Achy. Paint fumes are making my throat hurt.
Want to go home.
Apparently there's a big storm a brewing...up to 12 inches of snow by the end of tomorrow.
I'm not hurting yet. One would think that the headaches would have started by now.

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Sorry for all the links...found this one interesting given the highlighting of the American approach to the Peace Bridge. My mother's company is one of the evil corporate entities that designed this. Of course, a number of family members are those ignorant flunkies (if you're talking to a coastal (limousine) leftist or a Canadian at this point) of the Fascist Machine who see to it that denizens of that far more cosmopolitan, egalitarian society's rights are trampled upon, as well.

I should bring this up next time I visit.
More food for thought from smarter people than I am on the subject:

Oliver Kamm

Belmont Club

Roger L Simon
Lileks from Friday

I had meant to link to this sooner. Excellent food for thought.
Three movie weekend:

Bucket of Blood
Some Like it Hot
The Saragossa Manuscript

Hal got a copy of The Seventh Seal (arf!) as well.
We'll watch that next weekend, ojala.
So, it appears that five people have been arrested in connection with the Madrid bombings. Three Moroccans, two Indians. It also appears as though the Socialist party candidate has been elected into office.

As Glenn Reynolds put it - this short sighted and cowardly move on the part of the Spanish electorate could have awful repurcussions on western democracy. This sort of thing gives terrorists positive reinforcement for their actions - it shows them that they can in fact influence elections through actions of mass, catastrophic terror.

Boy, oh boy, is it going to be interesting here over the next few months. I wonder what is being hatched for us.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Telegraph Opinion Article

Whether it be the ETA or Al Qaida, I guess it really doesn't matter. Hopefully this will turn European (and American) know nothingness around and make them realise that this isn't about America vs the World. That there are people out there who for whatever sick reasons they have hate us and want to see us dead. That there are people that you just cannot reason with and that you must use force to strike back. That we cannot afford to ignore what is happening in the hopes that it will go away.

Though it seemed on first look to be the work of The Base, pundits are claiming that this horrible attack is looking more and more like the work of either the ETA on its own or in conjunction with some Islamist group. If that is the case, I'm sorry, my sympathy for the ETA's cause has gone the way of my sympathy for the cause of the Palestinians in Israel. I have absolutely no cause with those who will further their agenda with violence against innocents like the Thursday commuters. People in nightclubs. Stock traders, cab drivers or waiters.

I'll continue to pray, think good thoughts for the victims and their families. I will continue to hope that we keep our man in office, as the opposition is obviously not serious with regards to this (most important to me now) or much anything else. I will continue to pray, think good thoughts for my friends here and abroad, that they make it home every evening safe and sound. I will continue to hope for justice to be done and for an eventual end to these awful times.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Rolling back the inquision?
Bringing back the caliphate?
Retaliation for Spain's alliance with us?

200 dead, 900 injured. Bastards.
I'm ready to go out and fight.
I'd gather that you have heard about the horrible train bombing outside of Madrid the other day. The Spanish authorities had at first stated that it was the work of the ETA (Basque separatist movement). Didn't seem right to me, as the ETA seemed to be hitting military installations and government buildings. They also would claim responsability for the attack very soon after. Turns out that an al-qaida related group is claiming this one.

Glenn Reynolds has posted what I think is a good idea - send condolences to either the Spanish Embassy in DC, or if you live in a large city, to send condolences to the consulate. Here is the link to the embassy:

Spanish Embassy

The consulate in Boston is: 545 Boylston Street, Suite 803. Boston, MA 02116

I'm going to try to head over to sign the book of condolences today.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

A glorious couple of days were spent out of the house this weekend. I have hopes for an actual spring this year.

Two films:
Black Orpheus
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Not too much else to report on. I'm madly working on baby sweater #2 (of four). Since I know that #2 baby is a girl, it's an easy one with a bit of picot lace edging. #1 is a forest green aran.
I've no idea as to what #s 3 and 4 are going to be.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Have been amusing myself more with reading lately than writing.
So much happening in a relatively slow news period that I don't even know where to start. Naomi Wolf? Howard Stern? Ralph Nader? "Micro Aggression?" LA Times's take on "Die Frau Ohne Schatten? The parties offended by the Bush ads for reelection? Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Three babies due in the next week. Have been crazy knitting little sweaters again. One, for the little irish one, is coming out well - moss green aran. I'm going to be finishing up a pink little seed stitched thingy over the weekend for the most imminent arrival. Then, a little kimono (and if I get around to them) leggings for the future little second cousin in Ithaca. (I'm sure she'll be gorgeous.)

Off to light a candle for a few folks. Please think good thoughts for them:

Ness - took the NYS Bar. Of course she'll pass. She's not just another pretty face. She's brilliant. And she's got grit to boot.

Mom - who all knows what the heck is the matter with her. She's just plain sick.

Karen - she's lucky she's in as good a shape as she is, yes, but could be better. Damn horse.

The three moms to be. Everything will be just fine with them.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Quicky puzzler here: which came first, man or society?
What is society comprised of?
I'm always curious, when people start going off on that 'it's society's fault' riff, who they think makes up 'society.' Did it just show up like some big, ugly Venus on a nuclear clamshell?
How do you propose to rid man of the scourge of society so that s/he can live nobly and less savagely? What do you propose to take its place for structure? Who is going to run it? Oh, all men will be *empowered* to work together? Who are you proposing to manage and direct the newly empowered men who are now working together? Will they be getting their inspiration directly from The Source? Able to work like ants? Or will there still be the God -> Mediator -> Population model? In which case, and let me restate the question, who will be the Mediator?
Went to see a preview of "Starsky and Hutch" last night. You know, any plot is just a vehicle for the gags in a Ben Stiller movie - and that's okay with me. It wasn't as good as some of the older stuff, but it was still pretty darned funny. Owen Wilson plays such a great partner/straight guy to Stiller. A large part of what I enjoy about watching him is that his pretty standard gorgeousness is tempered by the goofiness. Wil Ferrell had a small part again. Again, like in "Zoolander," it was weird. There were even cameos from the original Starsky and Hutch. For me, though, it was Snoop Dog who stole the show as Huggy Bear. Oh, those one liners...Dolomite one-liners. He really should stay off the drugs, because when he's on, he's on.

In all - if you liked the original series, you'll be tickled by this one. I'd say to check it out at a cheapie theater or during a matinee, however.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Finally made it to the Roberto Matta exhibition at Boston College yesterday.

Matta: Making the Invisible Visible

I am generally very enthusiastic about the holistic nature of the McMullen Gallery's exhibits. They do a wonderful job contextualizing the art - through collaboration sometimes with the history department, literature, archaeology, whatever seems appropriate. I always leave impressed, even if the subject matter was not something that I'd ordinarily be interested in.

Their treatment of Matta is no exception. To describe this Chileno painter as merely a surrealist or abstract expressionist is to not do him justice. His work straddles a number of realms, just as one might say that he straddles genres - exploring and, in my view, very effectively communicating the tension of being caught between two differing and oppositional systems.

A prevailing theme is the biomorphic figure with the arms outstretched - either bringing to mind a crucifixion or breaking out walls that are enclosing it. Matta himself was interested in tensions between the Id and the Superego, between an individual's identity to him/her self and their role in society. He viewed conscious thought as 'reading a blueprint', straight, rectilinear, clearly structured. Subconsciousness as something multidimensional, mellifluous. Throughout his work, to different degrees, this is brought to life, sometimes humorously, sometimes in a manner that would make one feel uncomfortable.

As always, there is sufficient explanation of the exhibit, from artistic, historical, biographical and psychological standpoints. Not so much as to distract from the aesthetics of the pieces.

The show runs until May 24th and, unfortunately, there isn't a lecture series associated with it. I may try to get out on a Friday to go on a docent-led tour, however.

More on Matta's life and work
On an antithesis of Oscar note: saw another amazing action/suspense movie over the weekend.

Wages of Fear

Was it the 'macho realism,' the stark clarity that is imparted by the black and white film and great camera work? Was it the scoring by Georges Auric? (Prolific film scorer and member of "Les Six")? Probably a mélange of all of the above. This film struck me like the great heist film 'Rafifi' did - balance between all out action and food for thought. Not at all bombastic despite the subject matter. The only thing that I didn't much care for was the ending - like they didn't know how to end it, so they relied on formula. Very unsatisfying. Aside from that, a darn good example of how a good action film could be made.
Lord of the Rings Sweeps Oscars, etc.

Yeah, like we didn't see that one coming.