Thursday, September 25, 2008

Palin Drone

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities."--Bill Maher

I'll leave my thoughts about this week's economic morass to Super Jeenyus, if he gets off his ass and writes something for our blog. Otherwise, I may be forced to spew.

Palinesque Open Mic Thursday
I must admit, I was amused at Joe's post comparing me and Carol to Caribou Barbie:

I know it's odd, but I've always liked strong, opinionated women who are well-spoken and a bit sarcastic. I mean really, aren't Carol and Marilyn a little like Sarah? "

Sure. Very little. I do seek out the facts before I open my mouth and proclaim my words the Gospel truth. And I would argue that Sarah ain't quite as well spoken as we two are. After all, I've had plenty of experience with public speaking. When you are a technical trainer, you're on stage in front of strangers. You'd fucking better have the answers to their questions as well. God knows Carol can hold her own, too. You don't want to get into a pissing contest with her, either. After all, she does hold a law degree from the University of Michigan, right C?

The sarcasm of this half-baked Alaskan soccer mom is grist for my mill.

I see Caribou Barbie as the worst sort of KnitDweeb ever. I really hope to God she doesn't knit. If she does, I'd sure love to see some of her stuff.

So, my skanks, use your imagination.

What would Sarah Palin knit?

It's almost as good as WWJK, dontcha think? I'm sure there are plenty of KnitDweeb-worthy projects out there that you can find or conjure up. I see her using LB Homespun, that fine, folksy ackrilic crap. You know, faux wool. Just as she's faux almost everything.

By the way, I simply can't vote for someone who consistently ends her sentences with prepositions. As in her unintelligible interview tonight with Katie Couric, where she babbled:

I see our country being able to represent those things that can be looked to … as that leadership, that light needed across the world.


Obligatory Knitting Shit
This week, it's been work as usual--manuals, manuals, manuals. And a reasonable amount of knitting done. Three pieces to the Princess jacket finished, on the right front, with a sleeve to go. And some minor spinning activity. That's about it.

When I have a chance, possibly this weekend, I'll take some pictures of the Loden Mist Jacket, which is finished. I'm happy with the fit, although I'm a bit concerned about wearing it here and there, since it's a mite fragile.

Still biting away at Rock Sox, plus the autobiography. It seems that the ratio of writing to knitting is 10:1, or so. In many ways, it's easier to sit at the computer and write, especially if I've been doing it most of the day, anyway.

But the books are moving along. Maybe they'll be done in time for my 60th birthday, which Ellie takes great delight in reminding me that it's only a year and a half away. Fortunately, at the doctor's yesterday, he made the wonderful mistake of asking me if I had any premenapausal problems. This dialogue followed:

Me: Um, no, Dr. B.
Dr. B.: Why not?
Me: Because I'm five years into menopause.
Dr. B: Oh, I thought you were 46. Let me check your chart. Ah, 1950. My, you don't look your age at all.
Me: Thanks! It's always good to fool your doctor.

It's one thing when your friends tell you that you look great. But a doctor? That's creditable.

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind
I was down in Lambertville/New Hope last Sunday on a lunch date with a very lovely man. We had a fabulous time. As he walked me to my car later in the afternoon, someone called out my name and I turned around. There were two women and two men standing to my right. One of the women said, "Hi Marilyn! I read your blog all the time. I didn't want to bother you in the restaurant but I really wanted to say hi." Well, I was quite taken aback but truly thrilled. Hey, Susan from Roxbury, it was so nice to meet you! I always enjoy meeting readers and I can't wait for Rhinebeck. Please, hit me on the head and say hello.

I only bite assholes. Really.

I've been pining for my loom, which remains folded up in my bedroom. There's no likelihood that I can unfold it to warp it, either. So my fix is this: I'm going to buy a rigid heddle loom, hopefully at Rhinebeck. Any recommendations? I'm looking closely at the Kromski Harp, but would like the weavers among you to give me your opinions.

I need to do some weaving and it's driving me nuts that I can't. Super Jeenyus suggested that I put the Mighty Wolf out on the back porch, where I'd have more room. Sure, that's bright. Let the elements have their way with it. He can be rare and handy, when his mind doesn't trip over his shoelaces. Christ.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Three's a Charm?

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.--Gloria Steinem

Well, often when I'm writing for work, I feel like I should be mopping the kitchen floor.

Otherwise, I don't give a rat's ass about anything else in the proverbial queue when I'm writing for me. Including the kitchen floor.

Recently I threatened to bring Super Jeenyus into the blogging world. It's a done deal now and I may have opened a major Pandora's Box. Yes, Super Jeenyus & Wabbette is up and running. I wrote the first entry yesterday and Neal was hot on my heels, after I showed him how to use Blogger.

My boy has a lot to say and frankly, I hear it every night. Now it's your turn. We are admitted news junkies. News time is sacred. No phones are answered. But it's always the Super Jeenyus and Wabbette running commentary, the flavor of which has been translated into a blog. I daresay that Neal is a fine writer, and I've been up his ass for a long time about putting his mouth on cyber paper. (Of course, he can't spell to save his life but then, he's an audio guy, so cut him some slack.)

So come on over and feel free to scourge the budding blogger. Or me. As it is here, we welcome intelligent comments and debate. He's as opinionated as I am. If not worse. But he's already beat me up about my use of profanity in print. Like he doesn't say those words, ever. Hmph. Fuck you.

Gansey Star
Jeez, you never know who you'll run into when you're shopping in E'burg. Last Saturday, I spent a few hours running around doing some shopping in preparation for my trip to Iowa. I needed #6 circs because my KnitPicks pair kept coming unscrewed on the Princess cardigan and it was driving me nuts.

One block from my apartment is Mountain Knits and Pearls, a lovely little yarn shop and the only one in the Poconos. So I stopped in to grab my needles. And who was there, teaching?

Beth Brown-Reisel. Whoa. The shop owner, Joanne, graciously invited me into the class and I finally got to meet Beth. When I designed the Nasty German's Gansey, almost six years ago, it was Beth's book that kept me on track.

One of my next planned projects is to design a Gansey-patterned shawl in Harrisville Shetland 2-ply. I want a heavier weight shawl and it had occurred to me that doing a Gansey shawl would not only be a challenge but something that would work great with jeans, my usual preferred outfit. I threw this past Beth and she thought it was a great idea. And gave me some advice, too. Which I will take, with many thanks.

So you just never know who in the knitting world might be lurking about your town on any given Saturday.

Open Mic Thursday
I do a hell of a lot of knitting when traveling, be it on plane or train. On Monday, I flew from Allentown to Chicago to Des Moines on business and the knitting was constant. Inevitably, a flight attendant will make a comment, as will fellow travelers. Nine times out of ten, the comment ends with "That's beautiful but I'd NEVER have the patience to do that."

My theory is that not having "patience" to do something often equates to fear of trying something new. Or simply not wanting to be bothered. Many years ago, when I was in junior high school, I felt that way about sewing. Once I gave it a shot because I wanted to have a greater choice in the clothes I wore, I learned to be patient and follow all the steps. Like pressing open seams, something that I found a complete bore at 14 but learned to do at 16.

There are still crafts for which I will claim I have no patience. Or interest. Specifically, needlepoint, which I have done and found uninteresting. My sister does scrapbooking. I couldn't be bothered. I don't have the "patience."

For what craft or needlework do you not have patience?

(I really don't like ending sentences with prepositions, if I can help it. So forgive the formal wording.)

I'm probably never going to do candlewicking, either.

Rhinebeck Cometh
I need this so badly. I haven't seen anyone since Franklin's 1000 Knitters photo shoot last April, when I got to see him and Carol.

So, who all of you are going? I'll do the Rhinebeck Bingo again this year. It's fun to meet readers. As Joe always says, I'm much nicer in person than he is and he's much nicer in print than I am. This is true. I wouldn't argue with my gay brother. Much. And I'm thrilled that Knitterguy Ted is coming again. That makes it all the more special. I know Mel will be there, with David. I'm aiming to be their first customer again this year.

October is Fiber Month for me. The Garden State Sheep Breeder show October 3-4, then the SOAR market the following Saturday at Pocono Manor (can't do the workshop/retreat this year, maybe next), and then Rhinebeck.

Some rare and handy events. But no Stitches. I'm very done with that. Don't even know when it is this year. And don't care.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blood, Smoke, and Tears

Best Quote I Heard All Day
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.--Martin Luther King

A soft-minded man has led us down the primrose path. Seven years ago today, as we wept for the lost souls of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flights 127, 11, and 93, we were all as one, waiting for the leadership that never materialized from a man who spoke loud words of hope and unity that day and then wasted our faith and togetherness as a country. May God forgive him. I don't know that I can. We must regain that faith in ourselves as a country united.

For the past few years, I've written a September 11th entry. It will forever be a day of mourning and remembrance for me, as it should be for all Americans. As I walk by the Hudson River on my way to my Jersey City office, I can never again view the New York skyline with innocent eyes. The eyes of a little girl who was born in New York City, who loved to watch the great liners sail down the Hudson to the sea, danced up and down the sidewalks while her grandmother remonstrated, who stared up at the skyscrapers in total amazement, and who ran the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looking for the mummies. The city of my birth and my childhood happinesses.

I was thinking about that day in 2001 yesterday on my way to work in JC. And remembering it exactly. Because after all, in my life, there have been too many of these times that have been forever burned into my brain, each with its own cerebral minute-by-minute video. The assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, John Lennon. And the horrifying deaths of 2,974 people on that sunny, magnificent September day.

My day started out like everyone else's, probably. Got up, showered, kissed Jimmy good-bye, and off we both went to work. I was working at the corporate offices of The Chubb Institute at the time, a proprietary computer school system headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, a scant 27 miles from Manhattan. Jimmy had recently started a new job as a marine designer at an engineering firm in Scotch Plains, a fair distance from Parsippany.

My boss, Pat, and I had a very early conference call with a vendor in Baltimore that morning--8:30. We locked ourselves up in his office and started the call. Suddenly, about a half hour into the call, one of our vendor's employees said, "Oh my God, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center." Jesus! I ran out to my desk, where the phone was ringing. It was the wife of my previous boss there, looking for him. She had been watching TV and told me that it looked as if it was an attack, not an accident. Could I find her husband for her and have him call her?

I found her husband glued to a computer, looking at the dreadful first images on the internet. Everyone was wandering around, dazed, frightened, confused. And then the internet was jammed up. When the second tower was hit and then the Pentagon, we were told to leave the building immediately and go home.

The local state highway was jammed with people desperate to get home. I tried to call Jimmy on my cellphone and couldn't get through. I had no idea where he was, whether the attacks were going to continue, and if we were all going to die. The cellphone lines were jammed, too.

When I got home, I called my children, made sure they were safe, and then turned on the TV. Shortly thereafter, Jimmy walked through the door. I cried tears of relief and we sat down together to watch the horror.

In the days after, I watched the widows and bled for them and their children, little realizing that it would be a scant four months before I joined their ranks. To lose a husband was unimaginable. To lose a beloved son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, who had gone to work as innocently as I had that morning, in an inferno that was caused by hatred-driven fanatics, was beyond anyone's comprehension. And still is. At least Jimmy died far more easily. I take comfort from that. Those who lost someone on September 11, 2001, cannot.

So since it is Open Mic Thursday, let's do this:

Share your remembrances and thoughts of September 11, 2001.

Write as much as you'd like. Some days, knitting just doesn't count for much in the scheme of life.

No matter what your beliefs may be, today is a day to speak to your higher power and remember the lost and their families. The politicization of this sacred day by the Republican Party is anathema. As Keith Olbermann said last night in his Special Comment: 9/11 TM. The disgusting video shown at the RNC, calculated to inculcate fear and terror, is indicative of their shabby, opportunistic, Rovian methods. Let's be the Can-Do nation again and rise up against tactics of fear, as a tribute to the dead of 9/11, if nothing else.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Best Quote I Heard All Day
If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. --Hunter S. Thompson

Other than Keith Olbermann, I'm convinced that most journalists have lost the ability to do true investigative reporting. Media-crity rules.

The truth is, there's a lot more to learn about Caribou Barbie, methinks. Will the media end its fixation on her pregnant daughter and start thumping away at the real issues?
I no longer have hopes that the media will return to its long-ago level of competence. Why? Super Jeenyus, in his ellipsical way, said it perfectly and passionately in an e-mail to someone who wrote a long treatise to him on the sorry shape of the media. And I quote verbatim, ellipses, e-mail shouting, and all:

There is an even MORE important reason for the lack of depth in current media, particularly TV and Radio. I worked in Radio and network Television for almost 30 years starting in the mid 70's. In 1976, you were only allowed to own 7 of each AM, FM and TV stations nation wide and NO MORE than one newspaper in any city that you had those 3 already.

Ownership regulations for these outlets has been removed allowing the current configuration of corporate ownership...that ALL the 5 major networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN as well as just about all others and most of the radio stations in the US are owned, operated or controlled economically by 3 corporate conglomorates, Time/Warner, Disney and News Corp. Think about who has been responsible for the gutting of those regulations...and who has profited???

There's been some discussion about doing a Super Jeenyus and Wabbette political blog, Wabbette being me. Yes, there is a Looney Tunes connection.

We'll see. Lately, I've been consumed by my obsession with politics. But with the little free time I have, I don't know that I could add a third blog to my palette. Tough enough to write for the two I have.
Outrageous Copyright Infringement
[Note: This has now been resolved. And I publicly admit that I over-reacted. I have removed this piece and apologized to Cass. However, her readers, who have slobbered all over the comments, are not welcome.]

So WTF Have I Been Doing?
I wish less work-related writing. I thought I was done with travel. No. And that's OK. After all, they do give me money every two weeks. The week after next, I'll be spending three days in Des Moines. Next week, possibly a run to Connecticut. I yearn for the day when I can spend all of my time writing about what matters to me: fiberart, mental health issues, and politics.

However, I have gotten a fair amount of important shit done, like finishing the Loden Mist jacket, one sleeve, two side seams to go.

I'm close to finishing the back to the Princess jacket. The color is a bit off--it's a much richer burgundy and not so much a barn red.

Having made the corrections to the directions, fixed the one chart that was wrong, and redoing all of the hand-drawn charts on Knit Visualizer, I'm probably going to give them to Kraemer Yarns when I have a chance. I've already sent the charts to a couple of readers who have expressed interest. Shoot me an e-mail if you want them.


The classic George Carlin routine, always worth watching. Simply substitute the word "yarn" for "stuff" when you watch. It works for me.

So living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment now, do I need more stuff? Sure. There's a fabulous antique market in Stroudsburg, the Olde Engine Works Market Place, where I went the other week to sniff out old buttons and old knitting pamphlets or magazines. Topeka.

The white buttons are of course plastic. But I thought very nice. The metal buttons above did not photograph as well. They are actually silver, not the weird mult-color that the flash produced.

But this booklet was a real find, published in 1939 by The Spool Cotton Company. A little Googling determined who this company was.

I'm making those gloves, even though I've had problems crocheting with the ole CTS. Never mind, I want them. Too fucking funky.

Flogging the Public Domain

Yikes, I've been asked to produce Knitting Curmudgeon quotes on shit. As you all know, I have in the past eschewed doing stuff like that. But WTF. So I'll do the Cafe Press thing, I suppose. Watch this space for info. "Shut Up, I'm Counting" will definitely be one quote.