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April 27, 2009

Daily Reading (4/16/09)

Oops. Obviously, I put this together a while ago and forgot to post...

The Case for Memorizing Poetry
Obama's Conversation Starter
John Dickerson took his kids to the White House easter egg roll and lived to tell about it.
Slate reviews Beowulf, in verse.
What do we mean when we say we need female justices?
America is not a Christian nation.
Another lethal April, another failure to ask why.

Posted by Kat at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2009


So much for Blog Every Day April. I went home to visit family for Easter and totally missed two days. Ah well. I'll try to get back on track . . .

Posted by Kat at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2009

Daily Reading (4/10/09)

The Onion: Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play
NOT The Onion: When Rock Stars Read Edmund Spenser Which really made me want to go read Edmund Spenser, actually. Or Anne of Green Gables. (Extra credit to whomever gets the connection! Hi Rachel!)
There's a sequel to A Little Princess coming out. I am curious, but mostly appalled. But I'm sure I will read it anyway. (So will Alison Flood.)
Aaron Sorkin's [Possible] Return to Television I loved this quote: "Studio 60 is about Aaron Sorkin characters speaking Aaron Sorkin dialog about the issues which matter to Aaron Sorkin. It doesn’t matter whether these characters are in the White House or on the set of a television show." Yes, exactly. I've been watching a lot of Sports Night over the past few months and it's equally true of that show. Which is why I LOVE THEM ALL.

Posted by Kat at 12:39 PM | Comments (3)

April 09, 2009

Daily Reading (4/9/09)

Much Ado About Levi
2009: The Year America Discovered Mexico
Spencer Ackerman and Matt Yglesias perfectly encapsulate my feelings on phone calls and voice mail: "If I see I have a voice message on my phone, I resent the caller for making me listen to it."
President Obama's Passover Letter
An interesting profile of/interview with UN Ambassador Susan Rice
Marx vs. Rand

Posted by Kat at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Quick Favor...

If you have about thirty seconds to spare, would you follow this link, click the big red "Click Here to Vote" button, go through the slideshow (only two slides! It's quick!) and then vote for couple number two? It's my mom's friend's son and his fiancee, and a free reception like that would help them out a bunch. Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 06:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2009

Are you a food snob?

Time Out New York will tell you. I got:

Sorry to break it to you, but you’re a Bona Fide Foodie Elitist. Looks like your love of fancy foods has given you a bit of a tude, hasn’t it? Go sit in the corner with your shad roe.

Posted by Kat at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2009


I have a mailbox! And the mail carrier left mail in it! No, really. You have no idea how exciting this is. My mailbox was defeated by a plow back in December, and then the ground was frozen and snow-covered, and anyway I felt that as a renter, things like putting up mailboxes shouldn't really be my problem. So for months now, I've been picking up the mail at the post office about once a week. And of course the post office isn't open at any convenient times, so it was really all unspeakably annoying.

But! It is warmer out and the snow is mostly gone and my landlord had some time last weekend, so now! We! Have! A! Mailbox!

(Yes, I really am that excited about it.)

Posted by Kat at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2009

Something I Forgot to Show You

I finished these fingerless mitts for my dad back in January:

Dad's Fingerless Mitts

Yarn is Patons Classic Wool. Pattern is just made up as I went along. Ravelry page here.

Posted by Kat at 09:31 PM | Comments (4)

April 05, 2009

Some words for Palm Sunday . . .

Bradley Whitford:

Declaring oneself a Christian is easy. Putting Christian values to work in a dangerous and violent world is not.

Perhaps the best response to the tragedy of 9/11 was a preemptive war against a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Tens of thousands of deaths later, perhaps it is still the right decision.

But it is not Christian.

Perhaps it is good economics to give me, an actor on a television show, over a quarter of a million dollars in tax relief over the last five years as the poverty rate climbs, as we burden our children with structural budget deficits and cut services for our most vulnerable citizens.

But it is not Christian.

Perhaps the death penalty is an acceptable way to punish criminals.

But it is not Christian.

Jesus Christ was the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of Preemptive War. He was an advocate for the poor, not of supply-side economics. And let's not forget that Jesus himself died in a bogus death-penalty rap. His was the original "bleeding heart," yet I am afraid he would be described pejoratively by many today as a "do-gooder."

Posted by Kat at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2009

Review: What I Know Now

I'm going to try writing little reviews of books as I read them, instead of waiting until the end of the month. We'll see how it goes.

What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self edited by Ellyn Spragins
Genre: Essays
Pages: 183
Rating: 3.7

This book consists of letters written by famous women to themselves at a particular point in their past. I will admit that I requested it from the library solely because I had read that Jane Kaczmarek had a letter in it and I wanted to see if she had anything to say about her husband, Bradley Whitford. She did:

And, the best lesson of all: You'll find you can like people and let them into your world, even if they aren't big success stories. Because of that, someone different will enter your life. He won't have the trappings of success that you used to think you needed to have in a man. On your first date, he'll ride you home on the handlebars of his bike, because he has no car and can't afford to hire one. But he's really funny, smart, and has amazing integrity. Because of this horrible year, Jane, you'll be willing to pay attention to the guy you're going to marry.
All together now: Awwww. (And maybe a chuckle at Brad Whitford as "unsuccessful." Yes, they met well before he started making millions of dollars a year on West Wing.) Anyway, I did read the rest of the book as well. There were submissions from a bunch of businesswomen, some actors, a few politicians, etc., and of course some of the letters were more interesting than others. It did get a little repetitive - popular themes include "believe in yourself;" "make time for your family and yourself;" "appreciate what you have;" "follow your dreams;" etc. The letters were short - one to three pages - and therefore necessarily somewhat simplistic; I think it would have been a more useful book with fewer, longer letters that went into greater detail about the writers' experiences. But it was a quick, inspirational read that certainly included some ideas worth contemplation.

Posted by Kat at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2009

March Books

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young adult
Pages: 422
Rating: 4.8
Okay, I know I posted this last month, but that was a mistake - I actually finished it in March.
Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors, and she certainly doesn't disappoint with this one. 17-year-old Ruby is abandoned by her mother and sent to live with Cora, the older sister she barely knows. After years of living a marginal existence with her addict mother, Ruby has to learn to trust people and become part of Cora's world. She has some help from Nate, the boy next door who is hiding his own secrets, and is wonderfully but believably appealing, as Dessen's male leads tend to be. Cora's husband Jamie is a great secondary character as well.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Genre: Juvenile
Pages: 275
Rating: 3.4
I had somehow never read this one as a kid - not sure why. I read it with a few of the fifth graders I work with, and they completely adored it. They pretty much thought it was the best thing ever. Now, I'm not generally a fan of animal stories in general (at least this kind of talking animal story - I love, say, the Saddle Club), but I thought this one was pretty good. It was charming, and obviously well-written - it is White, after all. When I was trying to describe it to some adults, I started realizing just how weird some of the plot elements were - bondage! self-mutilation! - but the kids didn't seem to pick up on any of that. So I don't know. My feelings were mixed. Come to think of it, I never liked Charlotte's Web as much as I thought I should have, and the concept of Stuart Little always creeped me out a little so I never actually read it. Maybe White's children's books just don't do it for me. I'll stick with Here Is New York. Or, you know, The Elements of Style.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Genre: Science fiction
Pages: 211
Rating: 4.8
This was a reread, obviously. I convinced one of my fifth grade reading buddies to give it a try, and I read it along with him. He was hesitant at first because it was "so old," but he wound up loving it, so I was pleased. I find it hard to come up with anything coherent to say about this book - other than "It's so good! What do you mean you've never read it? You have to read it!" - partially because I wrote a thesis on L'Engle and . . . I don't know. But you have to read it! L'Engle herself called it her "love letter to God" and it's the best one-volume synthesis of her philosophy and theology, in addition to being a darn good sci fi/adventure story.

Posted by Kat at 08:33 PM | Comments (1)

Daily Reading (4/3/09)

I know I've been linking to practically every Gail Collins column recently, but I love her. The People Have Mumbled
Dahlia Lithwick tells us why we should be worried about the attacks on Howard Koh.
Sasha Frere-Jones on U2: The Longest Run
The Secret History of Bagels

Posted by Kat at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Library Week

Today's question:

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

Okay, let's take these one by one . . .

1) I use my public library a few times a week. I tend to request lots of things online and then go in every few days to pick up the ones that have come in and return things that are due. I take out way, way too many books. Way. I only end up having time to read a fraction of them. It's a sickness, I tell you. I'm working on it. Seriously. Sort of.

2) I love coffeehouses and bookstores but they have in no way replaced the library. For one thing, you can find books in the library that are a) old and b) free. Both of which are very good things, at least in my book. (Book! Hah! I'm cracking myself up here.)

3) Yes. Often. My dad once told me that the first place they took me (other than, you know, the hospital and then home) was the library. I'm assuming this is because my mom needed things to read, not because they wanted to make me a library addict from day one, but hey, it worked.

4) Particular memories? Uh, yes. Too many to count. I'm having trouble coming up with any interesting enough (but not too personal) to share, though. But hey, I saw Bill Richardson speak in a library.

5) I love pretty much all libraries, but honestly, I do prefer the older ones.

Posted by Kat at 12:57 PM | Comments (3)

April 01, 2009

First Sock Madness Socks!

I'm participating in the Dye-namics Sock Madness contest, and I've finished my socks for the first round:

Daisy socks

Yarn is Dye-namics fingering weight in Daisy and pattern is the one provided for the contest (Beaded Rib Socks by Allison Sarnoff). You can see them on Ravelry here.

Posted by Kat at 09:54 PM | Comments (2)

Blog Every Day April

I've been wanting to get back into blogging regularly, so I decided I'm going to give Maureen Johnson's Blog Every Day April a whirl. Who's with me?

Posted by Kat at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

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