A Republican fought back
Friday June 19th 2020, 10:59 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Trump is a master at getting information he doesn’t want known released late on Friday nights and at providing distractions away from it.

Thus he stunned the city of Tulsa by announcing that no, they were wrong, there would be no curfew after his rally. This is after saying earlier that “his” National Guard would be there fully armed. He clearly wants the “very fine people on both sides” to do their thing–he has all but incited destruction and rioting.

On social media, peaceful protesters were telling each other, it’s a set-up. Don’t go. Or go protest, but somewhere else; don’t engage. Don’t. Go. There.

All of which demands the question, what does Trump not want us to see in the headlines by the ones he’s trying to create?

Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney of New York who once was a Trump donor, has put Michael Cohen in prison and Roger Stone’s about to be and is investigating Giuliani, is investigating where the extra millions paid into Trump’s inaugural committee that vanished got siphoned off to and is surely investigating Trump, too, found himself seeing a press release late tonight saying he’d been fired. Like Preet Bharara before him.

His response? Too bad. You can’t.

Berman was put in as interim US Attorney. A panel of judges later confirmed him. He’s saying he has investigations to continue to lead and he will leave when the Senate duly confirms his replacement per the rule of law and not a moment before. That the President does not have the power to undo what that panel of judges did. Had Trump brought Berman’s name to the Senate for confirmation, yes, but Trump never did, so, no, he’s not resigning and Trump doesn’t have standing to fire him.

He has work to do and he intends to do it.

Who knew that a Trump appointee could have honor, ethics, and the courage of his convictions–and had this in his pocket all this time to fight Trump off? Go Mr. Berman!

No wonder Trump wanted the headlines buried on the subject. He thought Berman would just quietly leave and it would be over.

But this story has only barely gotten started.

The walls of Jer-echo
Sunday June 07th 2020, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Food,History

And on the subject of why yes, I am still baking too much, we present…


…how to use up sourdough starter when you’ve grown too much of it, a pint of blueberries, a half pint of raspberries, and the dozen or so newly ripe tart cherries off the tree. After Richard tasted one and puckered and went Wow that IS sour! I chopped the rest a bit, sprinkled on a spoonful of sugar, and let them soak it in for about ten minutes before adding to the berries.

It was a great way to use up a full cup of that starter, but since it’s all about the fruit, I would probably either double the fruit or halve the biscuit part of it next time. As is, it fit perfectly in my new deep-dish Mel and Kris pie pan. (With thanks to Anne for getting that to me from them.)

But if you ever need to make just biscuits from that recipe I’m going to say add a few spoonfuls of sugar to the dough. Here, they’re sprinkled on top.

Oh, and completely randomly but in case you missed it, the new sidewalk panels strengthening the Golden Gate have turned the bridge into, as the headline says, a giant kazoo. One that be heard across San Francisco.

Turning point
Saturday June 06th 2020, 10:19 pm
Filed under: History

I’m sure you’ve heard of the lovely, lovely, Rahul Dubey–an immigrant, one who believes strongly in the ideals of America–who threw open his doors in DC and took in dozens of peaceful protesters who were in great danger from the armed angry mob attacking them that was a mixture of police, Bureau of Prisons riot guards, National Guard, and Border patrol officers. Who tried to get in his door, too.

“Literally I can hear skulls being cracked,” Dubey said. 

I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Now who said that?

As Stephen Colbert pointed out, the government does that when they’re afraid of us. For having the moral authority of our being in the right, and being many voices together.

There was also this one-man protest Friday, a Marine standing in the heat with his sign and “I can’t breathe” taped across his mouth at Utah’s Capitol, standing, alone, at attention, saluting the dead, standing, standing, bearing witness in his dark uniform.

As his shoes melted.

Did get some knitting in after all
Thursday June 04th 2020, 11:06 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

The city lifted what was going to be an eleven day curfew after two because the protesters have been relentlessly peaceful.

That let’s call it an anthias fish up at the top there that should have started an inch later but it wanted to be where it is and I let it boss me around like that.

Lafayette Square
Tuesday June 02nd 2020, 10:27 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

The Washington Post compiled quotes from people who had been on the scene in Lafayette Square when Trump, wanting to look like a tough guy in charge, had the peaceful protesters attacked. Tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper balls, shields hitting the unresisting disbelieving faces of people trying to get away when it wasn’t even curfew time and they had every right to be there assembling peacefully. Which is what they were doing. The article doesn’t even mention the medevac helicopter with the Red Cross insignia that buzzed them, sending tree limbs flying at them and besmirching the name of the Red Cross much less the military.

George W. Bush’s old CIA director couldn’t believe his eyes.

Note how conveniently the Reverend Fisher had been decoyed away from St. Johns so as to be unable to object and mess up that photo op.

A former Under Secretary of Defense, until today on Defense Secretary Espy’s Defense Science Board, firmly resigned effective immediately and made his letter public in order to clarify to the country what is at stake and to empower any colleagues who might be dithering to face up to the wrongs done vs our immediate, obvious, beloved, Constitutional rights.

Day 77: I think the full official lockdown is over today but I didn’t get an official pronouncement
Monday June 01st 2020, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Garden,History,Politics

Biden broke quarantine to get out and talk to protesters and to advocate for peacemaking–and I imagine to protect them, as well, which was sorely needed today in too many places.

In Wichita, on the other hand, the cops and the protesters held a cookout together and talked.

Me, after feeling overwhelmed at 45’s mendacities today, I think I’m going to go post the plum tree my kids planted for me. And this peach.

When a citrus tree is new and vulnerable it sends out thorns to protect itself; once it’s grown, oranges generally don’t have any.

The rootstock on my Page mandarin started taking over and sending up stabbiness and later than I should have, I cut those branches off to protect the health of my tree.

And let me tell you, they are sharp.

The peaches were getting bigger and beginning to be targets and those thorns suddenly showed me why I’d let them grow.

Lockdown day 75: Blessed are the peacemakers
Saturday May 30th 2020, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,History

In Kansas, there was no violence nor looting. The people holding up the sign demanding End Police Brutality–were the cops.

In Santa Cruz over the mountains from here there was a peaceful demonstration that stayed peaceful. The chief of police, with no riot gear and no back up, met with the protestors and took a knee right along with them.

Meantime, my friend Catherine offered rhubarb from her garden and asked only that it actually be used. So I got it home and a few hours later teased her about my strawberry celery pie.

Note to self: mixing the flour/sugar mixture with the fruit and letting it soak in for awhile and then stirring again before putting it in the crust was absolutely the way to go. Never again just pop it straight in the oven.

Lockdown day 74: Thank you Colin Kaepernick for showing us how
Friday May 29th 2020, 10:40 pm
Filed under: History,Politics


While the news about George Floyd was everywhere, did you see the police dashcam of the young man in Midland Texas who was driving to his grandmother’s? He was accused of running stop signs–he hadn’t, but the cop behind him had–and after pulling into her driveway found himself facing drawn guns from not one but three cop cars. He raised his hands high over his head, but they ordered him to come over to them. As the guns stayed trained on him.

He wasn’t that stupid! Are you kidding me! He laid down spread-eagled on the ground while they persisted. The kid’s 90-year-old grandmother, barely walking with a cane, came out to be with her grandbaby and fell, and at that age a fall can kill a person.

The kid had done not one thing wrong but they arrested him anyway because, Texas cops.

I didn’t have to tell you what color he was, did I.

Those protests needed to happen, and they need to be peaceful to be the most effective, and most of those protesting were.

In Louisville tonight the cops aimed their rubber bullets directly at the cameras of the reporters covering the event, escalating from the Minneapolis cops’ having arrested the CNN reporter and camera crew live on air–but not the white CNN reporter in the next block.

Journalism. The Constitution. The First Amendment is first because it matters most.

We’ve spent these months quarantining against the possibility of spreading covid deaths, those of us doing it right and wearing masks to protect others agonizing over those who refuse to see, who dare the virus to try to get them. Even while 104,166 of their fellow Americans have died so far of Covid-19 but they don’t care because they don’t believe it can happen to them.

Just like they blame police brutality on its victims. Tell it to that grandmother. She grew up under Jim Crow.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to spend every day of your life knowing that you could be killed on impulse at any moment because of the color of your skin–but damn if the worst among racist cops aren’t trying hard to teach me. It took the nineteenth violent episode to get Chauvin off the force, much less accused? George Floyd was not the first to die at his hands.

The children of some old friends participated in the then-peaceful march in Minneapolis and I am very proud of them.

There was a large protest in San Jose today at City Hall, and when one one protester got violent–I note that he was white–the police started to be, too, then started using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd–which started to run–

–and then about twenty of them (if not more out of camera range) stopped. And turned.

And took a knee together in a line before the line of officers.

I hope that picture is on every front page tomorrow.

Lockdown day 59: cue the corny jokes
Thursday May 14th 2020, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Food,History

It turns out that the mill George Washington built is still in operation–and that it was cutting-edge technology in its time.

Turns out you can buy cornmeal from that mill. Add in shipping and it wasn’t the most cost-effective way to go, but then I haven’t bought cornmeal in years so I figured two pounds was the right size to last me for awhile. Besides. It was just so cool.

I do like making cornbread that is all or almost all cornmeal, no or almost no flour: it’s tasty but very crumbly, and I tend to throw in an extra egg to hold it together and extra butter, but I haven’t had teenagers to feed in awhile so it’s kind of fallen by the wayside.

My order came today. Somehow the bubble wrap felt like a severe anachronism. Really? I mean, really? (The shipping peanuts were the potato-starch type, which was great.)

But then I cut through to what was underneath those bubbles and, yes, they were right–they absolutely needed to keep that thing from bursting out all over, because a historic-style tie made out of a strip of muslin is only going to get you so far; it needed to be held as still as possible as it bumped through the mail.

I should be typing this to you with a review of how the cornbread came out, but the bag was just too pretty to wreck its very first day here so there’s sourdough rising in the kitchen instead.


Lockdown day 54: Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!
Saturday May 09th 2020, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Food,History

Another Milk Pail pick-up day, and the blueberries got turned into the compote for these custard cups. Almost no guilt and quite good.

Meantime, my cousin Heidi stumbled across this article about a real-life Lord of the Flies situation in 1966, except that that book was written by a violent alcoholic.

Six young boys from Tonga got shipwrecked together for fifteen months onto what was literally a deserted isle: it had previously been populated–till a slave dealer had kidnapped everybody, leaving behind the crops and the chickens whose descendants later helped sustain the kids till the day a boat captain just felt like going a bit out of the usual route that day.

The kids had prayed together; they had given themselves timeouts when they found themselves starting to fight rather than letting it continue. They behaved the way their mothers had clearly taught them.

They totally rocked that intense shelter-in-place.

Lockdown day 51
Wednesday May 06th 2020, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,History,Life

They are ubiquitous where I grew up, but here, you have to be willing to buy new bulbs every fall or dig the old ones up and store them in your fridge all winter and not mistakenly use them for dinner. They’re poisonous, so you really don’t want to make that mistake.

But not to the local squirrels, who go straight for them as soon as they’re in the ground. I tried to plant some years ago and found it a lost cause.

But today brought a surprise.

One of my kids sent me a picture of two beautiful flowers in loud, random-brushstroke stripes, a petal on each curling and twisting while the others grew straighter, with the question, did I know what these were?


I said that historically, tulipmania in Holland four hundred years ago was set off by the search for specimens like these. They were gorgeous.

I went back to my afghan–I finished a fish, yay! I just need to tighten up the strands running behind so they don’t show–and thought about all the new random variants in a short time that made ordinary flowers into something never seen before, more beautiful, each as individual as the next, costly and highly sought after.

Caused by a virus.


Lockdown day 37: raisin sourdough
Tuesday April 21st 2020, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Food,History,Knit,Life

That sourdough starter needed to be used, right? (Hey look, a personal XKCD cartoon!)

The pumpkin in that last loaf didn’t strongly flavor it but it did help keep it moist from Thursday to Monday–not bad for a no-fat bread. The birthday boy requested cinnamon bread; I used a stronger cinnamon (Penzey’s, not Costco this time) and doubled the amount but kept the pumpkin for the moment, since I need to use that up. It definitely passed inspection. This could get to be a habit.

The seahorse looks much better with eyes now.

The former President of Stanford University died of COVID-19 today.

Suddenly my patience with staying home went right back up again to where it needed to be.

I’m going to go knit another row.

Lockdown day 29: the way to spend a day at the beach (and not get $1000 fine)
Monday April 13th 2020, 9:33 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

When you can’t draw and you’re kind of flying by the seat of your pants but you do know that an octopus should have eight arms and trying to pretend one or two of them would be hiding on the other side of it would be cheating. But I had no intention of making the original baby-centric version. No cutesy bug-eyes, either. Those have their place, but I want something that won’t be outgrown.

The very loosely followed pattern is Sea Blanket by ShoeDiva on Ravelry, the yarn is Malabrigo Rios, my favorite worsted, washable merino, needles are US 6/4mm. One bag of Cian colorway was clearly nowhere near enough, sea creatures or no, so a second bag is on order from Imagiknit and I’ll make currents out of the two dye lots.

That waiting and not knowing exactly how what I’ll get will go with what I’ve got has helped slow this project down. That and the million tangling strands per row. There are nine seaweed plants and the tail of a seahorse gripping one of them at the other end.

Lockdown day 19: silver lining edition
Friday April 03rd 2020, 10:23 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Politics

(My Page orange tree.)

I’ve heard others marveling over the same thing I’d noticed: the sudden, stunning absence of spammers that had been calling relentlessly all day long for years.

Their greed apparently finally veered too close to political wounds. Their latest scam had been trying to monetize the coronavirus: the new pitches were for fake testing, fake cures, fake insurance, anything people would be desperate to have in the pandemic that they could make a quick buck over and run.

Which could make the administration look bad, and we can’t have that, so the FCC–you know, the same FCC that under Trump thought that it was peachy fine to let companies both sell and throttle our data, that killed net neutrality–told those guys’ providers that if all overseas robocalls weren’t stopped within two days those American companies that were enabling them would lose all access to American telecom systems. Period.

And in our social distancing isolation, when the phone rings now, it’s actually a call you want to take, and you answer.

It had been that easy all along; the FCC just had had to want to do it.

May we never go back.

Joe ByeDon
Thursday March 12th 2020, 9:45 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

He laid out in detail what should be being done, what will be done under him, and invited Trump to follow up on his suggestions–he didn’t care nor need the credit for it, he just wanted the right thing done.

C-Span link: I’d almost forgotten what it looks like to see someone Presidenting.