Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Someone get this person a t.v. show

an Zeus said "What the hell would you do with a jetpack?" an the ostrich said "Dunno, fly around and fight crime" an Zeus said "Get off my porch, birdboy."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


See? See???

Gallup: In Shift, More Americans Now Call Themselves Democrats
By E&P Staff
Published: March 29, 2006 12:15 PM ET
NEW YORK In a (perhaps) historic shift, more Americans now consider themselves Democrats than Republicans, the Gallup organization revealed today.

Republicans had gained the upper hand in recent years, but 33% of Americans, in the latest Gallup poll, now call themselves Democrats, with those favoring the GOP one point behind. But Gallup says this widens a bit more "once the leanings of Independents are taken into account."

Independents now make up 34% of the population. When asked if they lean in a certain direction, their answers pushed the Democrat numbers to 49% with Republicans at 42%. One year ago, the parties were dead even at 46% each.

This shift indicates, Gallup says, why its polls show Democrats leading in this year's congressional races.

The latest poll was taken from January to March 2006, with a national sample of about 1,000 adults.

Told ya.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I can top that

Kevin Drum delves into the riveting question of just when Republicans began the juvenile habit of calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat Party." This brings back heartwarming memories of my childhood in College Station Texas, where the Aggies still think it's cute to refer to the University of Texas as "t.u." rather than UT."

So, in the spirit of juvenile name-calling, I offer the following:

They're not Republican Party--they're Republican't Party.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Enjoy the buffet.

Rock on, Jane Smiley

Wonderful cathartic essay over at the Huffington Post, addressed to "converts" who have suddenly Seen the Light of W's incompetence:

Now you are fleeing him, but it's only because he's got the earmarks of a loser. Your problem is that you don't know why he's losing. You think he's made mistakes. But no. He's losing because the ideas that you taught him and demonstrated for him are bad ideas, self-destructive ideas, and even suicidal ideas. And they are immoral ideas. You should be ashamed of yourselves because not only have your ideas not worked to make the world a better place, they were inhumane and cruel to begin with, and they have served to cultivate and excuse the inhumane and cruel character traits of those who profess them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Doctor

I am hooked on the new series of Doctor Who now running on the SciFi Channel.

Christopher Eccleston is the first Doctor since Tom Baker who's seemed like The Doctor to me. In fact, I think Eccleston's my favorite now. Why, you ask? Let's just compare him to the list of Essential Attributes a Man Needs to be Sexy:

1) Mysterious past?


2) Daredevil attitude combined with obvious, deep caretaker urges?


3) Arsenal of gadgets that allow him to wrest triumph from even the most dire predicaments?


4) Black leather jacket?

Yes ma'am.

What I said

Finally, someone picks up on the question I've been asking:
Conservative activists get mad at media polls that don't sample "enough" self-identified Republicans, but it might just be the case that "enough" folks aren't willing to identify themselves as Republicans.
Who wants to identify with the party of losers, after all? Hunter S. Thompson said this is why Americans would eventually turn against Bush: because the one thing Americans won't forgive is losing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Phil Ochs

I rediscovered Phil Ochs last year, and if it wasn't enough that one person wrote "Here's to the State of Mississippi," "Draft Dodger's Rag," "Love Me, I'm a Liberal," "Ringing of Revolution," and "Cops of the World," it turns out he also wrote a little ditty called "I Like Hitler." Because, he said, "There's supposedly a wave of conservatism sweeping the country (sounds familar) and as the groups move farther and farther to the right, they find fewer and fewer songs that can be sung by people or groups as a whole...and when they finally arrive, I'd like to...I wrote this song for them, so they can sing when they get together."

I had heard some of his humorous songs before, but I got a surprise when I finally heard all the lyrics to "Cops of the World"; I had just thought it seemed like an appropriate sentiment for the current times. I'd forgotten what a perjorative term "cop" was in the Sixties. When I heard the line in the second verse, "Just take off your clothes and lay down on your backs/'cause we're the cops of the world, boys," I realized Phil Ochs was a much bigger force than I'd reckoned.

If this world can kill people like Phil Ochs we should all be very frightened.

Natural fibers, first attempt

So, here's my first attempt at a sweater in non-acrylic yarn:

That's Lily 100% cotton yarn (Lily being the brand name; Lilly is wearing the sweater). Colors are grape, hot blue, hot green, and hot orange. At $1.27 per skein, I used not quite six skeins, so the grand total was $8.23 with tax. I keep track of these things because my goal is to make the perfect sweater for under five bucks (can you tell why I've shied away from natural fibers in the past?). The yarn was great to work with; I finally got smart and got some bamboo needles too, which are in fact much easier on the hands. The pattern was from Lion Brand; couldn't find their cotton so I had to use Lily's (and changed the colors); sorry guys, but the pattern was great, thanks.

Here's a rear view, slightly less rumpled:

And another front vew, because my daughter is too cute:

So, so far, I'm sold on cotton at least. But I've started another sweater in some totally funky jive-ass Red Heart acrylic, don't ask me why. I have this fetish for acrylic yarn, partly because it's cheap and easy to get, partly because I enjoy the challenge of trying to make something out of acrylic that doesn't look like shit with buttons on it. Maybe it's the same impulse that drives people to reform alcoholics or run for elected office; I don't know. Maybe it's because I have a 98-year-old great aunt who made afghans for my family for 40 or 50 years, always in acrylic yarn, so I feel I'm being true to my heritage. Perhaps it's because I'm currently blessed with a small and uncomplaining daughter who will wear anything I make her, but who will also get everything she wears totally filthy, so washability is important. Anyway, just to keep you guessing, here's the pattern I'm working from; now you can stay up nights trying to imagine some combination of yarns that wouldn't look utterly hideous in this pattern.

And yes, Lilly's eyes do look red in this photo--she had eye surgery a few days before the picture was taken. That's one reason I finished the sweater in, I think, eight days: compulsive hospital knitting.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Write your own!

I love that Pew does this:

President Bush's declining image also is reflected in the single-word descriptions people use to describe their impression of the president. Three years ago, positive one-word descriptions of Bush far outnumbered negative ones. Over the past two years, the positive-negative balance has been roughly equal. But the one-word characterizations have turned decidedly negative since last July.

Currently, 48% use a negative word to describe Bush compared with just 28% who use a positive term, and 10% who use neutral language.

The changing impressions of the president can best be viewed by tracking over time how often words come up in these top-of-the-mind associations. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was "honest," but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as "integrity" are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as "excellent" or "great" ­ terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

The chart is a must-see; Blogger won't let me post it at the moment, so go see for yourself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

But other than that, what is it that makes you think he's stupid?

The Lovenstein Institute documents the obvious:
his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary, his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Toddler surgery update

I'm pleased to report that the daughter survived her eye surgery in great shape this week, and is in fact already back in school. Slightly cross-eyed, but expected to make a full recovery. Whew. Nothing like a ten-minute conversation with your child's anesthesiologist to get those parental gray hairs sprouting.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I want to play too

And I'm pitching next:

It's an AFP photo montage; the four-shot sequence at the WaPo gives you more of the reaction. And the long version at the BBC contains much Monkeyboy fun. Naturally, only the BBC bothers to point out that:

Separately, Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan was placed under house arrest for trying to lead a protest against Mr Bush's visit.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fun Friday website

Is your FBI file bigger than Elvis's?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I am unworthy, yet egotistical

All the great knitting blogs out there have made me once again realize how deeply, deeply ashamed I should be of my feeble textile skills and my pathetic reliance on synthetic yarns. I am going to try to do better this year. I hope to once again brave Hill Country Weavers, this time with a friend, so I don't have to worry about going berserk and walking out with thousands of dollars' worth of yarn. And I'm going to learn to knit socks, to get that knitting-in-the-round monkey off my back. Circular needles and cables are but a haze on the distant horizon at this point though.

Still, since everyone else posts photos of their projects, I thought I should put one up:

This isn't knit, of course; it's crochet. So sue me. I'm proud of it because I adapted it from a relatively hideous daisy pattern in Leslie Linsley's "A Rainbow of Afghans." And I made it with some truly squirrely yarn, I think it was Carron Babysoft, which has a terribly loose twist and was a pain in the butt to work with. But it came out cute and the new parents I gave it to were pleased. Since it's worked in squares, I was able to take it on the bus sometimes. I don't do that anymore; I get into enough weird conversations as it is.

I have a couple of knit projects but the only one worthy of posting is a sweater I made for my daughter; unfortunately, in the photo I have her eyes are half closed, so she looks like a tiny Jim Anchower, so I'm not going to post them. I don't want her to have to spend her college fund on therapy. But here is a picture of her in a cloche I crocheted over Christmas vacation (it was my "keep Mommy from going insane in the snow-bound cabin" project):

This was done with Lion Brand Homespun, one of the many synthetic "fun yarns" that have come out lately. I've made a couple of things with it, but only in crochet. The sticky, thready quality of the stuff utterly defeats my knitting skills. Another good reason to go natural.