Now you Guam and done it again, Marj
Friday March 12th 2021, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

If anyone’s considering putting in quartz countertops–and I would say the majority of kitchens I’ve seen that were clearly remodeled towards putting the house on the market have them–you might want to read NPR’s report on them first. Now that the industry knows their workers’ lungs are getting silicosis, they’re still not doing enough to protect them.

Granite is far safer to work with (and personally I think it’s prettier), and if you get a dark one (scroll down to the bottom for details–I’ve linked to that site before, it’s a good one) if it’s truly all granite you likely will never have to refinish it because it will never absorb a thing.

Meantime, in political news, the ever-loud-and-angry Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene decried our giving foreign aid to undeserving countries like, y’know, Guam!

The representative from Guam decided to gift her with some Guam Chamorro Chip cookies as a warm welcome to the new Representative, and the governor is sending her a history of the territory. All done with island charm, it sounds like.

So you know that means I had to go run look up what a chamorro chip was. Made from some exotic dried fruit or something?

Apparently it’s mini-chips. Of the chocolate, shall we say, persuasion.



Butter emails
Thursday February 25th 2021, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,History,Politics

The question on everyone’s minds, clearly, is this: does your butter still spread on your bread?

Who expected an outcome of the pandemic to be, and I quote, rubbery butter?

Who knew that farmers fed their cows palm oil? But apparently they do, and in Canada it has become an issue.

Since everybody’s home quarantining, more people are baking, and they’re using more butter than normal, and the farmers needed to step up production to meet the demand.

So they increased the palm oil in the animals’ feed, (bbcnews link) which apparently does work at upping the fat content in their milk.

Making the resulting lipids not traditionally soft at room temperature anymore.

The farmers, after saying, hey, the US and the UK do this too and it’s not new made clear their intention towards us consumers: Let them eat cake.



Wizard of awe
Thursday January 21st 2021, 11:06 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

I asked my friend Jane if I could borrow her picture and credit her, and she said, Sure! –But that it was someone else’s artwork.

Oh and: Jill Biden’s coat at the inaugural had the official flowers of every state and territory embroidered on it.



Popping the bubble
Tuesday January 19th 2021, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life,Politics

Oops.

It was only anchored in two places instead of all the way around because I wasn’t actually using it on the mango, nor had I set up its replacement we got under warranty because of a ripped zipper–since we know we’re not traveling anywhere at all, I’ve reverted to frost cover layers with Christmas lights at night. Way cheaper to heat.

So instead I left the old one up to help me kill off winter weed season within its circle. Californian weeds have Darwinian survival to a science: their stabby little sprouts come up before the grass can while their roots can go 18″ deep to grab every bit of water there might be. Depriving them of even what rain there’s been has left me a spot of good ground towards the coming veggie garden season.

And now it’s picked its own spot.

Winds 40-45 everywhere around for hours, gusts at 98 in the hills. I woke up to a big branch on the laurel outside the upper windows there twisted completely backwards again and again. I didn’t know it could do that.

It did not topple.

It’s been so dry that the winds reignited unseen underground embers from last August’s fires and now the firefighters are fighting the CZU complex wildfire all over again on ten fronts and I feel for my friends up in the hills.

But unlike summertime there’s a big rainstorm coming in, Friday if we’re lucky, Sunday through next Thursday after that, nearly three inches’ worth. At long last. Hopefully. And that should do it.

So on a happier note, tomorrow’s going to be SUCH a great day!

And y’know? The frame on that Sunbubble is still in great shape. They don’t sell the covers separately. I wonder–there’s got to be a way I can cut the plastic away and set it up with birdnetting, and that would be absolutely fabulous to have. It won’t be as pretty as if they sold it that way but with the help of the tall guy we can jury-rig that.

Seven Big Boy tomato seedlings have popped up in the last 24 hours and they’ll be happy to take that nice cleared spot in a month or two.

I better move the thing back over there before it rains so I don’t have to fight round two of the pricker-stabbies.

Oh wait.

Might be a little less effective this time.



So blessedly normal
Sunday January 17th 2021, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

The New York Times has a story on the Emhoff/Harris family, with Kamala’s stepkids marveling over seeing their dad on CNN.

Turns out the daughter designs her own knits, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who went, Oh cool!

The son, quoting from the article: “I was a senior when they got together, and I remember I saw a tweet that someone did. It was a photo of Kamala at the Kavanaugh hearing, and someone tweeted, like, “I’d hate to have to look at that face and explain why I’m late for curfew.” And I was thinking, “I’ve literally had to do that.”

The Times asked the daughter what her dad was going to do now.

“I hope he takes up another hobby. I hope he starts knitting, like I do. I think it’ll be a good time for him to slow down and just, I don’t know, like appreciate life. And tap into a lot of the things that he couldn’t do because he was working so much or had these time constraints. I hope that it opens up some of those creative outlets, but that’s obviously just me, the creative child.”

And as I read I kept thinking, I can see why Kamala adores these kids so much.



Thank you ten Republicans
Wednesday January 13th 2021, 10:48 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

The cause of Trump’s second impeachment today, with brief annotations offering bits of context we might not otherwise have known as a lawyer goes through the speech Trump made to instigate the mob.



Thank you Andy Kim
Friday January 08th 2021, 11:43 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Re yesterday’s post: I saw the nutcracker in the kitchen drawer this morning and instantly wondered, those oysters… But maybe shards, so, just as well.

Speaking of awkward methods, if people used Emery boards to try to get into a nut would it make them kernel sanders?

Re after the ransacking of the Capital:

Andy Kim, Representative from New Jersey, the son of immigrants, took in what had been done in the Rotunda, the violations, the trash spewed everywhere–and over there, cops with plastic bags. He asked for one.

When two of his colleagues walked by at 1:00 a.m. noticing the cleanup crew member wearing a suit they suddenly realized it was their friend and colleague. Alone. His parents had left everything they knew to be able to have democracy and this building offered such aspiration towards the best in man.

Putting it aright to the best of his ability when no one was around with a camera or megaphone or any kind of power, before that moment, to see it. It was simply something he profoundly needed to do.

Note that they found him doing so because they themselves were walking around the Capital to thank the staff and all who had done so much to protect and serve on a day like no other.



Tomorrow’s going to be interesting
Wednesday January 06th 2021, 11:36 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Well, that was a day that started off really well–and Ossoff and Warnock’s victories in the Georgia runoffs meant that suddenly Mitch McConnell was making the kind of speech this evening he should have been making his last thirty-plus years in the Senate, calling for bipartisanship and appealing to history and our country’s ideals. Now that he’s finally losing his Majority Leader status.

And after he and those around him had fled for their lives from the rioters (Klobucher, looking at her phone: “Shots fired”) invading the Capital.

After they hustled all the Senators, aides, and reporters present into a secure spot–whoops, it’s not, they’re in there, too, go in over here now–someone realized that Tammy Duckworth wasn’t with them because her wheelchair can’t do the route they took. They sent someone to rescue her from the office she’d had to barricade without legs, with a specific phrase from Sen. Klobuchar to let her know it was okay to open the door. She did indeed get rescued.

Props to the Parliamentarian’s aides who said, Help us grab the electoral votes! in the middle of the craziness. Big heavy boxes.

Note that Trump replaced the head of the Capital police last year, that some of them were taking selfies with the rioters and that there is video of a few of them moving the gates out of the way and letting the rioters in. Note that when Mayor Bowser asked for the DC National Guard to come to their aid, she was denied.

Whose signature was on the order for them to come after all?

Mike Pence’s.

Pence has zero authority to–

–unless–

–unless he’s already signed another paper. Article 25 puts him instantly in charge if they invoked it while they were all huddled down there. Wouldn’t even need the Cabinet in that case.

One can only fervently hope.



Election eve part two
Monday January 04th 2021, 11:42 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Come on, Georgia, we’re counting on you. The whole country will be celebrating with you! And then we can get these vaccinations off the ground.

I was wondering when what tier would go next so I looked it up and was gobsmacked at how few doses there were out there right now.

My state says check with your county. My county says check with your provider’s system. My provider’s system says check with Public Health over at the county. The bottom line: they ain’t got’em and there’s no system and there’s no plan.

In two weeks there will start to be one, if we have the votes in place to make the government govern. Go Georgia!

Meantime, we do have some doses being held for an unspecified other county that doesn’t have the equipment to accept them. So, what, are they going to life-flight them to Monterey to beat the clock on the hours they can be out of the fridge?

I do wonder, though, why the run-off is being held after the new Congress is sworn in: because what that does is make the winners the least-senior members of the Senate. That used to matter in terms of what committee assignments you got to have.

My grandfather was there from 1950-1974 and when he retired, he resigned I forget if it was a day early or a week early so that his successor could have first choice over all the other incoming freshmen and a quicker trajectory towards potential future chairmanships.

It caused a bit of a stir.

Would that today’s Republicans looked for such harmlessness in their loopholes.



There are good ones at Stanford
Friday December 18th 2020, 11:10 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Politics

A dear friend is an attending physician at Stanford and was just offered the Pfizer vaccine.

He has talked about its jaw-dropping success.

He turned it down. Oh yes he absolutely wants it as much as anybody and to protect his wife and kids and he thinks the FDA should have approved those first two vaccines sooner.

But there is such a thing as ethics. He is not on the front lines dealing with covid patients. He’s dealing with a lack of beds for his patients, sure, but he is not directly exposed day in day out one-on-one to a monstrous rush of ferociously infectious people needing so much care and the constant extra shifts and the pressure and the intense grief and lack of sleep and even more exposure.

The residents, the interns, the nurses and the janitorial staff in those areas are, and as headlines all over the country pointed out today, some pointy-haired boss allotted all of 17 shots for those thousands of front liners and saved the rest of their first shipment for People Who Matter More Than You. People who were not working with covid patients at all. Some telecommuting only. People who were as safe as any of us can be right now.

When called on it they blamed it on the computer.

Yeah no. Not his turn. Give his to someone who’s putting their life on the line for their patients and then comes back the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next, to do it all over again.



Uncle Bob
Friday November 13th 2020, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

I am totally going to steal my cousin Jim’s FB post because I know my mom can’t see anything there and it’s about her baby brother who died four years ago; he was the Senator whose seat Mike Lee unfortunately is now in. Plus it’s a hoot.

Note that Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Chris Dodd hashed out the beginnings of what would eventually become the ACA, part of why the Kochs and the Tea Party went after Bob so hard. He said at the time that Americans can’t compete on the world market as long as they know they’re one medical disaster away from losing everything.

Jim wrote:

“So this sounds like the setup for a joke, but it’s actually a true story.
In 2008, four Democratic senators were running for their party’s presidential nomination: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd. Dodd was the longest of longshots, and he was getting depressed that his campaign was going nowhere. My father wanted to make him feel better.
“Tell you what, Chris,” Dad said. “When you’re president, how about you make me Treasury Secretary?”
Dodd smiled. “You got it,” he said.
This began a trend. The next time Dad saw Joe Biden, he said, “Chris Dodd just told me that when he’s president, he’ll make me Secretary of the Treasury. Do you have a better offer?”
“Sure. I’ll make you Chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Biden said.
So Dad approached Obama and said, “So Dodd’s promised me Treasury, and Biden says he’ll make me Chairman of the Federal Reserve. What can you give me?”
“How about Secretary of Defense?” Obama said.
Armed with these three offers, Dad found himself in an elevator with Hillary Clinton, and he reviewed all three of the promises from the other candidates.
“Well, looks like I have no choice, Bob,” Hillary said. “I’m going to have to put you on the ticket.”
In the last days of his life, Dad told this story repeatedly. Whenever Hillary was mentioned in conversation, Dad would say, “I’m her running mate.”
I miss my dad. That’s all.”


With fronds like him who needs anemones
Friday November 13th 2020, 12:03 am
Filed under: Knit,Politics

I know, that’s an old one, but for Rudy it fits.

Meantime..

I fell in love with a pattern (Ravelry link) and bookmarked it months ago, then finally bought it, then did nothing about it for days till it finally bugged me enough because I wanted to know how to do that. Also I wanted to actually do that. I had plans, tentatively, but first I had to find out what it was like to work on and whether it could ever be a brainless carry-around project.

I got the first ridge of the first scale done last night if only because a thing started is easier to continue.

And now I’ve done a lot more. Nowhere near as much as I want (it was slow) but a goodly start.

Guys. It isn’t just tightening the red rows between, it’s sideways i-cord, and then you pick up along its sides while counting and trying to space right and not only that, you don’t just push the three stitches to the other end of the needle, you have to knit them and then move them onto the other needle repeat repeat repeat all the way across. And make new stitches with e-wraps, which have to be wound really tight or they create this growing loose flappy hanging stuff between stitches but, tight, it’s really hard to jab the needle tip into. I know, you already knew that. So did I.

Their photo says do it tight.

I am definitely not making an i-cord afghan at my house anytime soon–I’ve done my time-blowing project for the year.

But it is quite pretty. And absolutely ingenious on the part of the person who thought it up: who took the natural curl of i-cord and thought, y’know? That’s what the hide of a dragon should look like.

It’s a cross between Feather and Fan lace and pool noodles.

But while we’re waiting on my phone to cough up the photo (edit in the morning: here you go), I’ll mention the Four Seasons Landscaping (spoof) account. Because, yeah.



Goodbye Alex Trebek
Sunday November 08th 2020, 11:52 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Other than the unseasonal warmth having given away to a potential unusually early freeze tonight and I have seven unripe butternut squashes pleading for mercy out there, it’s been a pretty quiet day.

Except for the sounds of my guffawing over this news article that two people had way too much fun writing. The guy from Four Seasons Total Landscaping (not Hotel) answered the reporter about when Trump’s campaign had called. (Note: when you say, Siri, give me the Four Seasons, you really ought to listen to how Siri answers.)

Question on some future Jeopardy episode: Who is, “I was pretty happy because it got me out of Bible study.”



A new world
Saturday November 07th 2020, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life,Politics

Four years ago I was at a doctor’s for what was probably her last appointment of the day. She always took time to really listen and really ask questions, but that meant the number of minutes late piled up. I knew that. I expected that. It meant someone else was getting the care they needed and she loved that from my point of view, it also meant I got to knit: take your time.

It was going on past 5:00 on election day.

The nurse walking by was a tall African-American woman who looked absolutely stricken, putting one foot in front of the other and just trying to get through the day without bursting into tears. I learned from her face in that instant just what it must really feel like to know that Trump, whose daddy had been in the KKK, was actually close to becoming President. After Obama, no less.

So I held up my phone and assured her, It’s looking good. It’s close, but this and this and this toss-up state, it’s blue, she’s got this.

I didn’t know her at all but in that moment we were friends.

Later that evening, though, state after state blipped and flipped and turned unfathomably red after all. I felt almost as if I had betrayed her in my inability to personally keep it how it had been.

One of the great things about all those paper ballots this time is that they are counted on machines not connected to the internet. There is no wondering about hacking, the vote is what the voter said. You can run them through again. It’s all good.

I’ve been thinking of that nurse a lot these last few days.

Chris S was the first to tell me this morning that the race had been called; the Washington Post had not yet. I ran to go look, and thanks to her got to see Van Jones on CNN. Don’t miss it. That’s it, right there.

On a different note: our grandnephew Benjamin arrived last night at 33 weeks 1 day. He is in the NICU to give his lungs some time to play catch up. He is beautiful, we are thrilled, and all those crowds today across the country and even other countries calling out windows in cities banging pans dancing in the streets honking horns singing making music waving celebrating welcoming joining dancing some more–welcome to our world, little one. That was for your future. The terrible man who hated your beautiful brown skin has lost his power. I think you’ll like it here now. You couldn’t wait to see it for yourself.



Glued
Tuesday November 03rd 2020, 11:32 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

A rollercoaster of a night. Way up, then down, watching Texas being blue, flipping red/blue/red/blue/red and holding (so far), Florida quite blue then flipping red, Ohio and North Carolina too at long last. Virginia? What’s up with Virginia?! Oh, they hadn’t counted the parts near DC yet. Blue. Phew.

For awhile there it looked like Biden might win the Electoral College and unfathomably lose the popular vote–and I thought, now, that’s the one way that would get those small states to vote to amend the Constitution to get rid of it! But as I type it is 219 to 168 EV and 49.8% for Biden vs. 48.7%. Pennsylvania says it might not be done counting mail-ins till possibly next Monday. California certainly won’t be, but nobody worries about California; we may be 1/16 of Wyomingians but we still speak up.

We’ll know more in the morning. But at least I think I’ll be able to sleep tonight after all.

One of my hopes out of this election is that we’ll get the Fairness Doctrine updated and reinstated.