Movable Type 3.2
November 30, 2007
Politics Links (11/30)
Slate criticizes CNNPolitics.com's description of Politico. (Got that? Heh.)
Hillary supporters try to pay for positive blog comments...
Breaking News: Hostages Taken at Clinton Office
Right here in New Hampshire. How bizarre. More as I hear more...
Update: It looks like at least some of the hostages have been released.
How much for the Twelve Days of Christmas?
$78,100, according to CNN. Hee.
Years ago, our deacon gave a homily explaining the Catholic meaning behind the words of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and I really liked that, but unfortunately Snopes has pretty much debunked that story. Oh well. It's still a pretty song - but more fun to sing along at a party than hear on the radio, I've realized. (When it's just one person singing it, without any participation, it gets a bit boring.)
November 29, 2007
Politics Links (11/29)
The CBS 12/10 debate is officially canceled.
Virginia tries to force Republican primary voters to vote Republican in the general election.
Slate digs deeper on candidates' TV preferences.
Slate's Trailhead blog thinks maybe Duncan Hunter should just go home.
Booking Through Thursday: Rolling
This week's question:
Sometimes. I will often do this by genre or subject - I'll get in the mood for a bunch of cozy mysteries, or classic children's lit, or things to do with a certain time period. But sometimes my reading seems pretty random, and I'm generally reading several things from different genres at once.
November 28, 2007
Officially "one of those days"
Remember how I said earlier today that I was so crazybusy this week that my highest aspiration for the day was to have time to stop for milk? Well, I did, but shortly after I left the store I realized that the jug was punctured somewhere, and leaking. So tomorrow I get to spend my lunch break exchanging milk. Yeah. That kind of day.
Politics Links (11/28)
A nice bit about life on the road with the Romneys, with an extremely cute passage about grandson Parker.
And more Romney news: he doesn't think there needs to be a Muslim in his cabinet. Which was, um, not the question at all that was asked. What he was asked was whether he would consider a qualified Muslim candidate for an already-existing position. And he didn't really answer that.
The writers' strike(s) may effectively cancel the next Democratic debate.
The Massachusetts primary joins practically everyone else on February 5.
Barbra Streisand endorses Clinton. (Does anyone care what Barbra Streisand thinks about politics, really? Huh.)
New Edwards site: America Belongs to Us
A nuw! Mae bywell yn fy mhen i!
This has probably been around a million times and I'm just oblivious, but I just came across it and it made me giggle, so I figured I'd share: How to say "Oh my God! There's an axe in my head! in lots of languages.
Sleepy Wednesday Randoms
1. Blah, sleepy. Oh well. This week is crazy busy and it's not going to get better any time soon. My big dream for the day is that I might have time to stop for milk on my way home tonight. Yeah.
2. Speaking of sleepy: I got a surprise transcription job last night. The good news is that it will about cover the tires I had to buy last week. The bad news is that there goes most of my knitting time (and a bit of my sleeping time) for the next week or so.
3. My Christmas knitting list is scaring me. My goal is that by the end of this coming weekend I will have fewer projects to finish than days left. We'll see.
4. I have at least finally purchased all of the supplies and tools I need for holiday gifts. I think. Of course, as soon as I post this I will realize that I need another set of needles or something.
5. I want to make fudge. (Because obviously I don't have enough to do.) Anyone have a favorite recipe?
November 27, 2007
Doctor Who News: Rose is back!
Missing the Department Store
In time for the "shopping season," here's an essay on bygone department store culture. I'm too young to have experienced the things she discusses, of course, but even I remember that department stores (and shopping in general) were different twenty years ago.
A case in point: last week, I was in Macy's (my new default now that it took over Filene's, which in turn took the place of the G. Fox I dimmly remember from childhood), and wandered to the Intimates section to look for a few slips. I couldn't find any. I asked the young woman at the desk if they sold slips, and she just said "No," with a look that clearly said she thought I was asking for something crazy. No?? How can Macy's not sell slips? I ended up checking out in another section, and the clerk asked whether I'd found everything. I usually just say "Yes" to that question regardless, but in this case I figured I might as well mention my disappointment at the lack of slips. The clerk and her coworker, both older ladies, were stunned and appalled when I said they didn't sell them, so I felt slightly better that I wasn't the only person in the world who thought that slips were a logical thing for a department store to sell.
And, actually, if anyone knows where to buy slips, let me know...
What's your zip code like?
Find out at Zipskinny. It gives you all sorts of census data for your zip code and lets you compare to neighboring zips, your state, the whole country, or any zip code you enter. (I had fun comparing my hometown in CT to where I live now in NH.) Fascinating!
I have an awful time chopping onions. Awful. It takes me forever, because I keep having to stop to wash my face. So I'm rather excited to see these onion goggles. I'm tempted...
I swear that there used to be a way to put your feeds in various orders - alphabetical, most recently updated, maybe something else. (Or maybe just those two.) But now I cannot for the life of me figure out how to change that setting. Anyone? Did I make this up?
Update: Found it under Edit. (I had been looking in Options.) Thank you, Sandy and Theresa!
November 26, 2007
Commitment to Loveliness, November 25
1. Start writing my Christmas cards.
How was your Thanksgiving? I hope everyone had a great weekend. I was enjoying a nice visit with my family and didn't have time to do much online except briefly check my e-mail a few times; sorry I disappeared on you. The traffic was awful yesterday, but I finally made it home around 8:30 pm. And now I'm back at work and quite tired. Ah well. It was a good holiday overall. Now for the Christmas knitting...
November 20, 2007
Politics Links (11/20)
Some interesting background on the dumb diamonds and pearls question
What effect does the writers' strike have on the campaign?
A possible Clinton/Clark ticket?
Interesting when "Clinton answers a non-planted question!" becomes a headline...
It was a nailbiter: NHPR and the iGoogle weather widget were predicting snow, but Weather.com insisted it would just rain. But lo and behold, it started to snow as I was getting ready for work. It's supposed to turn to rain soon, but for now, it's coming down steadily and even sticking, so I'm thrilled. It's definitely starting to feel like a holiday week now!
November 17, 2007
Pretend this looks good, 'kay?
Here's the deadline project I was talking about last weekend. It's actually a practice version of the shrug my friend will be wearing with her wedding dress. (The real thing will be blue.) The reason for the rush was so she could try it on with the dress at a fitting. And yay, it fits!
The picture I snapped before I sent it off, however, really doesn't look so great:
Trust me, it looks better in person. And I suspect it looks even better actually on a person. It's I Do from Knitty, expect that the increasing and decreasing directions didn't work at all, so I had to basically rewrite the pattern. Once I got over that, though, it was a pretty quick knit.
So now I have about a month for holiday knitting, and then I get to start this all over again, in blue!
Politics Links (11/16)
Hee! Plants for Hillary. Done by the Edwards campaign.
Why don't I get memos like this?
Republicans buy Hastert a boat as a retirement gift.
Update: Plants for Hillary is already gone. Very sad, especially since parts of it were actually quite funny.
November 16, 2007
We're supposed to get some snow showers mixed in with our rain today, which means that I'll be jumping up to look out the office window every few minutes so I don't miss it. And I brought my camera in to work to document the event. Don't worry; I'll keep you updated. :)
Update: Never mind. We're well past the time for which snow was predicted, and we didn't get any.
November 15, 2007
Politics Links (11/15)
How much to buy an NYU student's vote?
Huckabee's wife and the grenade launcher
Glassbooth.org: a new issues quiz that tells you which candidate matches your views. Blah blah. I know, there are a ton of these, but they're fun, and this one is a bit more nuanced than most - and gives very detailed results.
Newsweek hires Karl Rove - to balance Markos of the Daily Kos.
Sugar cookie tea!
Celestial Seasonings has added Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride to its holiday tea lineup. Have I mentioned how I'm a sucker for anything holiday themed? Yeah. I pretty much want them all. I think I've had the most of the others in the past, but the sugar cookie one sounds particularly acute in its potential to be either disgusting or wonderful. If I find it, I'll try some and report back.
Booking Through Thursday: Preservatives
I'm still relatively new to this meme so I'm not sure if this has been asked yet, but I'm curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?
I do not generally write in books. I was known to do so in college on occasion, but I'm generally a Preservationist. I usually take notes in a notebook and/or put in bunches of small pieces of paper to mark page I want to revisit.
SimCity + Climate Change
The new version of SimCity lets you make various environmental decisions and see how they affect your simulated world. Read about it on the Bits blog here. Sounds like fun!
November 14, 2007
Politics Links (11/14)
The legal truth behind the whole Obama hand-on-heart issue
In what year do you belong?
It can be hard to picture what women's lives are actually like in other parts of the world. This site tries to bridge that gap. You can entire information about your own life and browse similar elements (work, family, education, etc.) of women's lives around the world.
November 13, 2007
Politics Links (11/13)
Caucus: The Musical! Really.
Edwards has a new ad out threatening Congress if they don't fix health care.
A hilarious and fascinating look at the candidates' partners: America's next top spouse
Holiday Reading Lists
I've been in the mood for holiday-themed books, so I thought I'd share a few links I've found that are good sources of holiday (not just Christmas) book lists.
Holiday Reading Ideas on MyShelf.com
Commitment to Loveliness, November 11
Coming in a little late again... ah well. Mine for the week mostly have to do with preparations for winter and the holidays:
1. Work out a new routine for weekly chores and laundry. I've been doing the bulk of it on weekends, but through the end of the year I'm away for most weekends so I have to start doing more during the week.
November 12, 2007
Politics Links (11/12)
Arianna Huffington sums up the current administration with a haiku.
What kind of ice cream would John Edwards be?
Who's really delaying Clinton papers from being released from the archives? Conspiracy theorists! No, really.
The Times has some relatively in-depth comments from Huckabee.
None of the senators running for president bothered to vote on Mukasey's confirmation. Disappointing, but not overly surprising.
Which candidate would you trust to babysit your child?
Anyone else having problems with Bloglines? They seem to have republished thousands of posts. Ack.
Remembering World War I
Veterans Day, of course, used to be Armistice Day, in honor of the armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. We don't seem to talk about World War I much - it hasn't captured the national imagination in the same way as the Revolutionary War or the Civil War or World War II. Richard Rubin has a nice piece in the Times today about this void and the last WWI veteran.
This Year's Department Store Knitwear
I was at Macy's the other day waiting to meet a friend, so I decided to see what was "in" as far as scarves and things. I was very pleased - there were virtually none of the long skinny boring scarves of the past few years, and lots of fair isle and wonderful cables. A few of my favorites:
Charter Club Vintage Cabled Hat, Muffler & Glove
Alas, I couldn't find my favorite - a Ralph Lauren scarf that was basically like a sampler, with a bunch of different complex cable and lace patterns.
Sorry about the messed up entries over the weekend. I ended up deciding last-minute to go visit my family, and I posted those two entries right before I left, and didn't notice that the links were all messed up.
November 10, 2007
RIP Norman Mailer
From the Times: Norman Mailer dead at age 84. I have to admit that I've never actually read Mailer, but he's been on my "I really need to read..." list for years. And who can forget his appearance on Gilmore Girls?
Any of you Mailer fans out there? Which book should I try first?
What would Ma Ingalls do?
Sometimes when I find myself getting whiny about my really-pretty-easy life, I ask myself "What would Ma Ingalls do?" ("What would Marilla say?" works pretty well too.) I've found it's a good way to make myself just do the dishes already, or to get out of bed in a timely manner when the house is a bit cold. I've been reading the Little House books over and over for almost twenty years now, and as I get older I become more and more aware of how amazing Ma seemed to be, packing up over and over, following her husband to frontier after frontier, always making ends meet, making a happy life for her family. And the knowledge of how ridiculously easy my life is compared to that generally shames me into just sucking it up and getting on with things. (Yes, I know the historicity of some elements of the Little House books is debatable, but I'm using this as literary inspiration, not historical.)
For example, if Ma were faced with half a bag of apples that weren't as good as expected in the first place and were now getting overripe, would she throw them out? No, she wouldn't, because they're perfectly good food and we do not throw out food. She'd do something like cook them into apples 'n' onions* instead:
The only problem with this method of self-motivation is that it sometimes breaks down when it comes to more newfangled "should do"s. The answer to "What would Ma Ingalls do?" is generally not "do yoga" or "cook tofu" or even "exercise," since Lord knows she got enough of a workout in her everyday life that it would just be silly for her to expend more energy when she didn't have to. Although, now that I think about it, she probably would approve of physical exertion as a way to raise body temperature and cut down on heating fuel consumption...
Man, I've got to pull out my Little House books and reread them all. It's been way too long. By which I mean maybe a year, but... still.
November 09, 2007
Politics Links (11/9)
Giuliani tries to praise Bono, but can't actually remember his name.
Some thoughts at Daily Kos about Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani.
The Times's campaign blog has been posting some interesting Q&A about the process of covering the campaign.
Richardson falsely claims that his state is the only one "following" Kyoto. When he already has a good environmental record, why exaggerate like this? Sigh.
No, not here. But Courtney over at Zuzu's Perch posted these pictures of her yard yesterday, and that, combined with the fact that it has been snowing elsewhere in my state, is good enough for me. I started reading a Christmas-themed book last night.
UPDATE: My dad just texted me (wait - my dad texted me. That is not something I ever really expected to happen) to tell me that they had snow at their house this morning. As they are south of me, I do not think this is fair. But it totally means that it's time for Christmas stuff.
November 08, 2007
Harry Potter in Pakistan
Pakistani schoolchildren equate their president with Voldemort. Wow.
Directory of NPR Streaming Music
I just noticed that the new NPR music site has this nice directory of streaming all-music stations. I'm always looking for good sources of classical and Celtic music, and thanks to this page I now know that WGBH, which is even fairly local to me, has a 24-hour classical stream and a weekly three-hour Celtic show. Yay!
Mexican Folk Music with Led Zeppelin and Bach
No, really. If you didn't already hear it on Morning Edition, I'd urge you to take a look/listen to NPR's story on Sones de Mexico, a Chicago Mexican folk band. They base their music on the Mexican son tradition, but their new album also includes versions of one of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, a Led Zeppelin song, and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." The band was extremely interesting and likeable in the interview, and the music was catchy and unique at the same time. I'll definitely be buying this album; it would also make a great holiday gift for the music enthusiast on your list.
November 07, 2007
Politics Links (11/7)
New ads are aimed at getting single women to vote. Come on, people! Why aren't we voting? It's not that hard!
Yesterday marked the very first veto override of Bush's presidency.
An interesting look at White House protocol and security and Bush's isolation
Holiday Knitting Reality Check
There are 48 knitting days before Christmas. Breathe. (That counts today but doesn't count Christmas Day, just for the record.) I have greatly reduced my knitting list, but there are still almost 60 items on it. I persist in thinking that this is doable because 1/3 are ornaments and 1/3 are dishcloths, but we'll see. So. This is what I'm attempting:
A baby sweater, done
So... that's totally doable, right? (You are correct in assuming that anything that doesn't say "in progress" or "done" hasn't been started.) The ornaments go quickly - I can probably knock out half a dozen in a devoted evening, or a dozen on a weekend day. The dishcloths also go quickly when I get around to actually doing them. I've been having trouble figuring out priorities here. Obviously, the most important items are the ones for my immediate family, but they're also the ones with the latest deadline, since we exchange gifts on Christmas morning. So do I do the ones that need to be shipped first? Probably. But then I worry that I won't get the really important things done. Sigh.
Clearly What I Need Is a Plan:
So, how's your Christmas crafting going?
Wednesday (Holiday-Themed) Randoms
1. Elsewhere in my state, it snowed 11 inches yesterday! Okay, it was on top of a mountain, but still. I have been haunting weather.com for any hint of snow for days now. Actually, my iGoogle weather widget seems to think it might snow here on Friday, but I can't find any corroboration of that anywhere. Hmm.
2. Dewey and I are still struggling with the time change. This morning I managed to stay in bed until six and not feed him until almost 6:30, so at least we're making progress...
3. Anyone have any leads on non-girly tam patterns? I have Mary Rowe's Knitted Tams, and it looks very interesting and I promise I will read it, but Christmas is quickly approaching and I don't have time to read a whole book in order to knit one present.
4. Speaking of which - ack. Christmas is approaching really quickly. Later today I'll try to face facts and post a list of exactly what I'm trying to knit by then.
5. This weekend will be a knitting marathon - but not even of Christmas stuff. I'm knitting a shrug for a friend to wear with her wedding dress, and she has a fitting next Thursday, so my practice version needs to be done by Monday so I can get it to her in time. It's about 3/4 done, so it shouldn't be too bad, but I shouldn't even think that because then something will get horribly messed up. Sigh.
6. Anyone have ideas for affordable, kitten-proof Christmas decorations? A tree is out of the question, obviously. I'm thinking a few wreaths and a few strands of lights around doorways or whatever will substitute nicely. And I always turn my bulletin board in my living room into a collage of cards as they come in.
7. I'm currently arguing with myself about when it's acceptable to start with Christmas books, movies, and music. My godmother's rule, which I've mostly adopted, is that it's okay to listen to Christmas music once you see the first snowflake. But I'm having trouble holding out. But I don't want to get sick of it by Christmas, either. Hmm. Anyone else have traditions about this?
November 06, 2007
Politics Links (11/6)
One year until the election! Wheeeee!
An interesting article about Washington high society: When Washington Was Fun
Will our NH primary be on Orthodox Christmas? (Scroll down a bit to get to that part of the article.)
Politico on politics in Second Life.
Has Fred Thompson spent enough time in New Hampshire? I'm unsure about this whole line of complaint. Sure, I suppose lots of exciting appearances are a sign of a candidate's passion. (Passion for winning, at least. Is that what we want candidates to be passionate about, really?) But I'm not crazy about the whole "must understand New Hampshire and talk about our issues" thing. I want my governor to be thinking about New Hampshire's specific issues. I want my president to be thinking about the whole country.
An interesting feature on Jenna Bush. She seems to be remarkably positive and down-to-earth, given how tough I'm sure the last several years have been for her in some ways.
My version of the furnace wars is over for the year. I'd been doing okay, ish, sleeping in several layers, hugging the kitten for warmth, etc., but I was just on the phone with my mom and she made me admit to the temperature in my apartment. And the conversation resolved with something like "I am sending you money for oil and you are turning on the heat right now, young lady." Well, maybe the "young lady" part was implied rather than stated. Still. I don't argue with my mom when she uses that tone of voice. I turned it on while we were talking, and then after we got off the phone did the "oh wait! Did I put anything flammable on the vents over the summer?" mad dash, and now it's a balmy 62 degrees in here, and I might not have to deplete my new car savings fund to get through the winter after all. Thanks Mom!
Vegetarian Stuffing and Gravy?
I've been thinking about Thanksgiving, and what I would and wouldn't be able to eat, and what I actually cared about. I quickly realized that I never really liked turkey, even when I ate meat, so that's no loss. I do like stuffing and gravy, though. (And most of the rest of the meal is pretty veggie-friendly.) So I've decided that I should make and bring some vegetarian stuffing and gravy - enough to share, of course, and if no one else wants it, I guess I'll have lots of leftovers. Yum. I want to try a few different options so I know that what I bring actually tastes good. Anyone have any favorites? I have a few options from various cookbooks, but it's always nice to know of personal recommendations.
I'll let you know what I try and how it works!
November 05, 2007
Politics Links (11/5)
I've been spending a lot of time reading and thinking and talking about politics recently, so I keep coming across things that I want to share. But I know that a substantial number of my readers disagree with me about most things political, and others just aren't really interested. So I'm going to start posting a few political links together, probably most evenings. I hope that keeps things in a reasonable balance. Feel free to respond to any of the links, but please be nice to each other, and keep your political comments on the politics posts. Thanks!
So true (and funny!): Stop Lying to Yourself. You Love Dennis Kucinich.
A fun candidate match game. I like how you can see the little heads bobbing up and down as you answer the questions.
Word fun AND a good deed!
Go look at Free Rice It's sort of like those sites for the rainforest and what have you where you click and they donate a penny or something. But this one is more fun, because you have to take a vocabulary quiz and get things right for your donation to count! Okay, maybe that's not fun for everyone, but I'm loving it. Me, a nerd? What? (Thanks to Chappysmom for the link!)
My review of ABC by David Plante is here. No, I don't know why it says Amy Diaz at the top - if you scroll down, you'll see that my name appears correctly at the end.
November 04, 2007
I realized we hadn't had any kitten pictures in a while, so I thought I'd show you one of Dewey not understanding the whole "We get to sleep for an extra hour today!" concept.
He's lucky he's cute.
November 03, 2007
Recipe: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Apricot Cookies
I was in one of those "must bake!" moods today, so here's what I came up with:
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Apricot Cookies
This is loosely based on the Oatmeal Cookies recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, which is my all-purpose go-to cookbook. I made some substitutions in order to not use white flour or sugar, and I added the apricots and nutmeg and generally played with some of the quantities, etc.
1. Preheat oven to 375.
Makes about three dozen yummy cookies.
November 02, 2007
The Politics of Parsing
(This is the first time I've tried embedded video. Let's see how it works.)
Yes, I'm leaning toward Edwards, but I thought this video was very well done regardless. It also gave me hope for Edwards's campaign strategies, given that I've been less than impressed by some of the mechanics of his campaigning so far.
Victoria is back!
Recipe: Artichoke Ricotta Pasta
I found myself craving red pepper flakes yesterday, oddly enough, so I decided I had to make something that involved them for dinner. This is what I ended up with. Note: I didn't actually measure anything as I was going, so the amounts are estimates. Use more or less of whatever, based on what you have or what you like.
1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
Simple but tasty weeknight meal!
November 01, 2007
Booking Through Thursday: Oh, Horror!
Booking Through Thursday:
I don't generally read horror, no. I do read lots of mysteries and some thrillers that thoroughly scare me, though. Since I live alone, this sometimes does mean that I have trouble sleeping. Or showering, or turning the lights off...
Who's writing your encyclopedia?
As a librarian, my feelings on Wikipedia are somewhat mixed. On one hand, I find the blurring of authority in reference sources to be somewhat frightening. I like knowing where my information comes from, and while I know that many people don't necessarily feel as strongly about this as I do, I think that makes it all the more important that proper distinctions are maintained between authoritative and non-authoritative sources, and that people, especially students, are educated about these differences.
On the other hand, I love Wikipedia and I use it all the freaking time. When nothing actually depends on whether the information found is correct, Wikipedia can be great, and it often has more information about pop culture than can be found in more traditional sources. It definitely has its uses. I just don't want students citing it in research papers.
Anyway, my actual point here is to show you WikipediaVision. It's a Google map that shows almost-realtime edits to Wikipedia. Right now, it's telling me that two minutes ago, someone in Lithuania edited the "Disk formatting" article and then someone in the U.K. edited the "Oasis (band)" article. Of course, it doesn't tell you anything about the credentials of the editor, so it doesn't actually help you determine the quality of the information. But it's fascinating in and of itself, in much the same way as is Watch WorldCat Grow. Watching the map can be mesmerizing, and if there's an article title that catches your fancy, you can click on the provided link to see the entry itself or details about the edit that was just made. Ooh, someone in Lancaster, CA just edited the article about Rome. Off to see what they said...
Hey, it's November!
Wow! How did that happen? Guess I'd better get going on all that holiday knitting, huh? Actually, I have been working on it, but most of the people for whom I'm knitting at least check here from time to time, so I don't want to post pictures. We'll see.
(Sorry for disappearing on you. I think I'm sort of back.)
Update: Two more signs of the season: I heard my first snow prediction on the way home today (not for here, but for elsewhere in my very small state, so it counts), and the winter Interweave Knits arrived! Wheee!