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March 31, 2008

Politics Links (3/31)

Cash-strapped Clinton fails to pay bills.

Obama supports eliminating the penny.

I honestly don't remember whether I posted this before, but if not: it's a very interesting history/analysis of Obama's views on education.

Gore launches $300 million campaign for climate protection.

Posted by Kat at 05:46 PM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2008

Politics Links (3/28)

Leahy says Clinton should withdraw!

Bob Casey endorses Obama

Obama's law school title is officially clarified (in Obama's favor).

Slate has launched the Hillary Deathwatch.

The Obama campaign hilariously annotates a Clinton campaign e-mail.

A teacher spreads the Obama-Muslim rumors.

Clinton donors threaten Pelosi about whether superdelegates should overturn the pledged delegate decision.

My dad points us to a must-read by Peggy Noonan on "getting" Hillary Clinton. (Thanks Dad!)

On the Bus with McCain.

McCain: The first postmodernist candidate?

Word counting on Clinton's schedules.

Posted by Kat at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

Do not want!

I know it's not at all unusual to get snow in New Hampshire in late March, but this much snow seems excessive. The radio people all need to stop saying we're going to get "an inch or two," because there are at least four inches already, and it's not showing any times of stopping soon. To add insult to injury, the trees kept dropping clumps of snow on my while I was cleaning off my car. And the melting of all the other snow earlier in the week meant that this morning my car was in several inches of snow on top of very wet mud, which made it difficult to get the car out of the driveway in yet another way. Sigh. Spring please?

Posted by Kat at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2008

Politics Links (3/27)

I know we're probably all sick of the Bosnia lying discussion, but I'm just amused by the pilot saying "there wasn't a bumblebee" in the air when the plane was landing, nevermind a bullet.

Clinton again hints that she'll try to poach pledged delegates.

Gravel is running again - as a Libertarian.

Noam Scheiber says the Democrats are Slouching Toward Denver.

George Packer wants everyone to just calm down already. Kristof sort of does too.

A Gore-led ticket? I doubt it, unless somehow both candidates are obviously irreparably smeared.

Maureen Dowd: Hillary or nobody?

The political costs of primping.

I'm not sure why this sort of thing always seems so shocking to people: Yes, lots of people are related to lots of other people, and odds are some of them are famous..

The history of the "smoke-filled room". And of controversial religious figures who have affected American politics.

Posted by Kat at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

The Net Generation

I've never been happy with the "Millennial" thing, generationally. My brother is one, sure, but it just doesn't seem to fit most of the people I know who are around my age. Joshua Glenn instead dubs us (1974-1983) the Net Generation, and I think his characterization is right on. Opinions?

Posted by Kat at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2008

Wednesday Randoms (3/26)

* Today's forecast? "Snow, with a high of 50." I freaking love New Hampshire.

* Is it just me, or does it seem like sometimes random songs are suddenly played on the radio constantly? Not new ones, either. This week, for me, it's been "Come Sail Away," "Sultans of Swing," and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Seriously, every other song that comes on the radio is one of those. What's going on?

* There is a "Tea Bar" opening up near work. I'm not entirely sure what this will consist of, but I'm excited. Yay tea!

* Look! My friend wearing the shrug I made her at her wedding.

* I'm making cupcakes tomorrow for a work thing. What kind should I make?

As always, I feel like there were a whole bunch of other things I was planning to post about, until I opened this up and actually started writing...

Posted by Kat at 02:01 PM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2008

Chinese food? Maybe?

There's a Chinese restaurant in the center of my little town; I hear that a bit ago, someone new bought it and it was closed for remodeling, or something. Today I noticed several signs in the windows with the following message:


Um, what? Does that mean it's open now? Wouldn't it be more useful to say that they will open in several weeks? Or that they are currently closed? Or something? A lovely case of grammatical issues making it unclear what the message is even supposed to be... unless they really are just telling us that they have been closed for several weeks. I think that is in fact true, but I don't see how it helps me know when I'll be able to get some lo mein.

Posted by Kat at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2008

Politics Links (3/24)

The Feminist Case for Obama

Is Pelosi really neutral? How about Edwards?

Idaho politician changes his name to Pro-Life. Literally.

After the Richardson endorsement, Carville equates Richardson with Judas. Really. And then he proudly stands by his words when given the chance to be, you know, civil.

The Times looks at McCain's supposed flirtations with the Democrats.

Clinton admits that she "misspoke" about what happened in Bosnia.

Yglesias on the case for partisanship.

Posted by Kat at 05:43 PM | Comments (1)

Structured Procrastination

This has been around for years, apparently, but I just came across it today: structured procrastination. It's really quite clever.

Posted by Kat at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

Rock Creek Yarn is open!

Check out the new Rock Creek Yarn! There's some lovely hand-dyed sock yarn and handmade stitch markers - I just ordered some Cherry Blossom sock yarn. (Disclosure: the proprietress is the wife of a dear friend from high school. I was thrilled to reconnect with him recently and discover that he had married a knitter!)

Posted by Kat at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

March 22, 2008

And off I go...

I'm heading to my parents' house for Easter, so I might not get a chance to post again until Monday. I hope everyone who celebrates has a blessed Easter, and everyone else has a great weekend!

Posted by Kat at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2008

Pretty green stirfry

Supper tonight:

Pretty green stirfry
Posted by Kat at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

Politics Links (3/21)

State Dept. employees fired for snooping in Obama's passport files.

Hee: Onward to Guam!

Finally released: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's Daily Schedules

Interesting alliance: Huckabee defends Obama/Wright.

The ultimate smear e-mail: Obama as Antichrist. Sigh.

The Times has a profile of Obama's mother.

What Obama's bracket might (but probably doesn't) mean.

What's going on with the Clinton myth?

Posted by Kat at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

Ten Most Historically Inaccurate Movies

At least according to Yahoo. I'm not sure I agree - 2001 wasn't going for historical accuracy, for one thing. And what about Tristan and Isolde? King Arthur? What are your nominations for least accurate?

Posted by Kat at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Richardson Endorses Obama

Former candidate Gov. Richardson endorses Obama. I'm not sure how much difference it will make at this point, but hey, can't hurt. If nothing else, that's one more superdelegate...

Posted by Kat at 06:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

Yay, it's spring! Theoretically, at least. Actually, it is feeling very vaguely springlike outside here today - the snow is melting, and it's somewhat rainy but warm enough to wear a corduroy jacket instead of a parka. Now, it's no secret that I love winter, but this winter has been extra-snowy, and I'm just... done with it, I think. So I am way more excited about the coming of spring than I usually am.

Is it springlike yet where you are?

Posted by Kat at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2008

I guess I like rules.

My feelings on two of the big political stories from the past few weeks keep coming back to one thing: I seem to feel that people should follow rules, or at least be willing to accept the consequences if they knowingly break rules. This seems very clear-cut to me, so I sort of don't understand some of the big controversies going on.

Eliot Spitzer: Regardless of anyone's personal feelings about whether prostitution should be legal, it is completely incontrovertible that hiring a prostitute is, in fact, illegal, and that Spitzer knew this, and did it anyway. Some are arguing that it's a "victimless crime;" some say the victims are Spitzer's family, the people of New York, etc. - but I don't see why that matters. Spitzer knowingly broke laws and should be held accountable. On the other hand, I also don't think he should be punished more than others might be, just because he has made a career of battling crime and corruption. It makes it a better story, sure, but it doesn't actually matter.

Michigan and Florida: Why all the angst? There were rules. The Democratic state parties Michigan and Florida agreed to these rules. Then they broke them. Now they don't want the consequences. So? Sure, they thought the DNC wouldn't actually impose the punishments they said they would impose. But isn't that their problem?

Posted by Kat at 09:26 AM | Comments (3)

March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke has died.

The Times article is here. I hadn't known he lived in Sri Lanka. And because of the time difference, it appears in the article as though he died in the future. Appropriate, I suppose.

Posted by Kat at 07:23 PM | Comments (1)

Obama's speech

Here's the text of Obama's race speech. Impressive.

Posted by Kat at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

Politics Links (3/17)

Seriously, Rendell? "But, Tim, you run against uncommitted, that's the toughest election to win. I'd rather run against an opponent anytime than against uncommitted, and Hillary Clinton got 55 percent of the vote against uncommitted."

Would the GOP rather face Clinton or Obama?

A fascinating Times profile of one of Washington's blog houses.

Mutual Contempt: The history of the McCain/Obama feud.

Obama and education.

Posted by Kat at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2008

Not jinxing it.

Hello from my hotel room! I'm in MA for a friend's wedding. As I was packing, I checked the weather, and it looked like it was going to be pretty warm all weekend. (I mean, relatively. Warm for New England in March, which is not really "warm" by any objective standards.) And I almost did the unthinkable - I considered not bringing my parka. Now, I'm a good New Englander, so I immediately realized that if I left my parka at home, there would be a sudden unexpected blizzard, and my friend's wedding would be ruined, and it would be ALL MY FAULT. So don't worry: my parka is hanging here in my closet at the hotel.

Posted by Kat at 08:04 PM | Comments (2)

A sad sign...

Several months ago, when he was still a viable candidate, I put a John Edwards bumper sticker on my car. I hadn't bothered to take it off, but a few days ago it started peeling pretty badly. Now, here's the problem - it was covering another sticker, one that I really don't want on my car anymore but that just won't come off. (No, nothing political - it just identified me as part of an online group to which I no longer belong.) So I've been waiting to take the Edwards sticker completely off until I found something else to put over the yucky sticker. Except I still didn't have anything, and I was going to be driving all over this weekend and shuttling around lots of friends and such, so it was driving me crazy. So I did the only other thing I could think of - yes, the Edwards sticker is now held to my car by Scotch tape. A sad commentary on the current state of affairs. (And yes, I know it's out of date and silly to have it on there, but since I still like Edwards, I'd rather have that than have the yucky sticker exposed.)

Posted by Kat at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2008

15 minutes of blog fame...

Hello, everyone finding me through the Achenblog link! I'm afraid you've happened by at a bad time, as I'm leaving for a trip tomorrow and posting will be sporadic. I'll try to put up my thoughts on Eliot Spitzer before that, though...

Posted by Kat at 10:37 PM | Comments (3)

March 11, 2008

Spring Knitty!

Spring Knitty is up!

My favorites, on first look: Jaden, Yosemite, Honeycomb, Laminaria, Brighton.

Posted by Kat at 04:37 PM | Comments (3)

Calendar issues

I seem to be having trouble with the calendar recently:

1. Daylight Savings Time. I'm hearing this from practically everyone - it's been really really hard to get up or go to bed at a reasonable time this week. Bah. I am enjoying having more light after work, but I think I'd really rather it be light when I'm trying to wake up.

2. Easter is too freaking early. Not only does this mean that it doesn't feel like spring yet - and it's supposed to be springlike on Easter, at least in my head - but it means it coincides with my big sports weekend of the year. Yeah. The only sports I really follow on TV are figure skating and auto racing. (NOT Nascar, just for the record. I'm snobby about my auto racing.) This usually works well becuse skating is a winter sport and racing is a summer sport. But there's always a weekend when the figure skating world championships coincide with one of the first races of the season, and this year that weekend is Easter weekend. So I have to clear tons of space on the TiVo before I leave for Easter, and then I'll have lots of quality knitting/blog-reading time while catching up on everything when I get back. Sigh. (I know, I know, of all problems to have, this is totally a non-issue, but it's still vaguely frustrating.)

Posted by Kat at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

Sock blockers?

I've seen some nice wooden sock blockers around the blogs, with various shapes cut out of the top - cats, or whatever. I seem to remember that someone said they come from eBay, but I'm not sure of the seller's name or anything. Help?

Posted by Kat at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2008

Why is it...

... that when I'm tired or not feeling great or have had a particularly trying day, Dewey has to be a little brat and make the evening even more difficult? Why can't those be the nights when he's all calm and cuddly? He's lucky he's cute.

Posted by Kat at 10:11 PM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2008

Oh, I love semicolons.

You Are a Semi-Colon
You are elegant, understated, and subtle in your communication.
You're very smart (and you know it), but you don't often showcase your brilliance.

Instead, you carefully construct your arguments, ideas, and theories – until they are bulletproof.
You see your words as an expression of yourself, and you are careful not to waste them.

You friends see you as enlightened, logical, and shrewd.
(But what you're saying often goes right over their heads.)

You excel in: The Arts

You get along best with: The Colon
Posted by Kat at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2008

March 07, 2008

Small miracles

I checked the 10 day weather forecast this morning, and I was astonished to notice that the predicted high was above freezing on every one of those days. This is one of the reasons why I love New England so much: even though I know it will happen, every time the seasons change it feels like a miracle.

Posted by Kat at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Hero

Today's question:

Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

I first looked at this question a few hours ago, and thought "Oh, I have no idea," but then I just looked at it again and the answer(s) seemed clear: Cadfael and Gregor Demarkian.

Cadfael is the main character in the series of the same name by Ellis Peters. The books are set in the 12th century, around the English/Welsh border. Cadfael is a former Crusader and adventurer who become a monk late in life. The books themselves are wonderful, and I could go on, but the question was about the hero. I like Cadfael because of his ability to blend all of the disparate parts of his life into a cohesive whole, and because of his devotion to both faith and intellect.

Gregor Demarkian is the main character in Jane Haddam's mystery series. He's a retired FBI agent who is now a somewhat famous consultant for various high-profile murder cases. I like him because of his incredible intellect (seeing a pattern?), as well as his basic human decency and loyalty to the Armenian-American neighborhood in which he grew up. And just as a character, he's very complex in a believable way.

Posted by Kat at 02:16 PM | Comments (3)

Movie: The Other Boleyn Girl

A friend and I saw The Other Boleyn Girl last night. Quick take: It's awful. Don't bother.

Some background: I read the book on which the movie was based a few years ago, and thought it was okay, but not great. And in general, I've read a fair amount about the Tudors, but I'm no expert.

So, the movie: it was faithful neither to the novel nor to history. Now, I'm okay with movies or books that take liberties with historical fact, as long as there is clear narrative reason for doing so. In this case, there wasn't. At all. It made the story disjointed and boring. Of all the stories to make boring! There's no excuse for that. The actors did a reasonably good job with what they were given, but the whole thing just felt rushed and half-hearted. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, especially of the various interpersonal relationships. It made the whole thing pretty unbelievable. And really, they just changed EVERYTHING, often for no apparent reason.

There were a few good points: The clothes and scenery were gorgeous. I liked Eric Bana as Henry. And in a few scenes, the banter between Henry and Anne seemed spot-on. But these few things didn't make up for the awfulness of the rest.

Posted by Kat at 10:28 AM | Comments (5)

March 05, 2008

February Books

Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson
Genre: Politics, memoir
Pages: 411
Rating: 4.5
Comments: Wilson was the CIA agent outed after her husband, Joe Wilson, was seen as opposing the Bush administration. It was fascinating to read her side of the story, and I understand what happened with the whole convoluted affair much better now. It was very difficult to read parts of the book, though, because of the CIA editing - instead of trying to rewrite her book, Wilson published the original manuscript with lines blacked out by CIA censors. There's an afterword written by someone else that fills in much of the deleted information, as most of it is on the public record.

Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 106
Rating: 4.8
Comments: I first discovered Lee's work back in high school, so I was thrilled to find this new book of his in the library. The main theme of the book is ostensibly immigration, but recurring themes include family, religion, language, and identity. As always, Lee's poems are haunting and lyrical. Highly recommended.

Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt
Genre: Christian fiction, women's fiction
Pages: 349
Rating: 3.8
Comments: After a tough divorce and job loss, a woman unexpectedly inherits a funeral home. She takes her mother and two young sons to the small Florida town where the home is located, planning to just fix it up and sell it. I'm sure you can figure out where the plot goes from there. It was a nice feel-good read, and I'll probably look for by this author. One thing I particularly liked was the way the characters' beliefs and faith were woven into the story in a natural way - the reader isn't hit over the head with it as happens in much "Christian fiction."

They Did It with Love by Kate Morgenroth
Genre: Mystery, literary
Pages: 317
Rating: 4.6
Comments: This literary mystery is set amongst a book club in hoity-toity Greenwich, CT. It revolves in point of view between many characters, focusing on Sofie, a recent transplant from New York. Various secrets and complications are revealed as the characters try to figure out what happened to one of their book club members. Some of the characterization was a bit superficial and facile, but overall the book was quite good. And it had my favorite kind of ending for a mystery: it almost completely surprised me, but when I looked back at the plot, I realized it was cleverly set up all along.

The Cult of Perfection by Cooper Lawrence
Genre: Self-help
Pages: 247
Rating: 3.2
Comments: Lawrence discusses various aspects of the perfectionist "lifestyle," trying to take the stigma away from the idea. She provides some pop-psychology reasons why one might be a perfectionist, and some strategies for making these tendencies work to your advantage. Some of it was interesting, but overall it was pretty blah.

Posted by Kat at 03:17 PM | Comments (1)

March 04, 2008

Politics Links (3/4)

Looks like it'll be a nailbiter tonight. Here are a few things to read in the meantime...

Judy Blume's endorsement: "I haven't been as excited about a candidate as I am about Barack Obama since I was voting in my first presidential election for John Kennedy. . . . There are some women who think if you're a feminist you should only be supporting Hillary. I think being a feminist means we've evolved to the point where we get to choose who we think will be the best candidate and make the best president, regardless of gender, race, or anything else." Well said.

Clinton tries to claim the endorsement of Ann Richards. (Who died in 2006.)

The story behind the TImes's Clinton endorsement.

Achenbach fears the permanent campaign.

LOLcats for Obama

Posted by Kat at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

A few works in progress...

Here are pictures taken on Saturday of the things I worked on last week other than the two finishes I already posted.

River stole:

River Stole as of 3/1

Arugula socks:

Arugula sock as of 3/1

Posted by Kat at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2008

First challah

Last week I was reading about various teachings on the observance of the Lord's Day (more about that later, perhaps), which led me into reading about Jewish Shabbat practices, which made me want to learn to bake challah. The booklet that came with my bread machine had a recipe; the machine did the dough part and then I took it out to shape and bake. Here's the result:

My first challah

Honestly, I don't know if it's "right" because I've rarely tasted challah before, but it's yummy! I think the top is a bit browner than it's supposed to be, because I was having oven temperature regulation issues. Overall, though, I think it was quite a successful experiment.

Posted by Kat at 04:15 PM | Comments (6)

February socks done!

I was falling asleep on the couch on the 29th while weaving in ends, but I finished them in February! Yay!

Slytherin Socks

Yarn: Dye-namics Slythern Stripe, sport weight
Needles: US 2
Pattern: I thought the cuff pattern was from Sensational Knitted Socks, but I can't find it. Hmm. The rest of it is just a basic sock.
For: A friend who really likes Slytherin stuff.

I love love love this yarn, and I'm happy with the way these came out.

Posted by Kat at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2008

Another late Christmas present done!

I finished Dad's scarf a few days ago:

Rib and Braid Scarf

I'm quite pleased with the result. Yarn is Patons Shetland Chunky; pattern is my own. I was thinking of possibly making the pattern available for download on Ravelry... think it's interesting enough?

Posted by Kat at 09:46 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2008

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