Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Heron

I really wish I could get a photo of this guy. He's so tall and dramatic looking - like a beaky man in a long white tux. He stands perfectly still and beautiful next to the water of the pond that's slowly receding from last week's floods.

Problem is, I only ever pass by his pond at 45 mph on the way to work. There isn't really an acceptable pull-off spot on the road near there, and even if there were, I don't think he'd hang around. They tend to fly off when they suspect someone might attack with a digital camera.

But these birds weren't here 40 years ago when I was a kid. We never saw hawks or herons or even those pretty little yellow and black birds that I don't know their names. RARELY we would see a Cardinal (the State Bird!) and more often just a few house sparrows and robins. Now there are hordes of mourning doves and BIG BLACK crows/ravens - and these magnificent white herons.

40 years ago these birds didn't live here. The skies around Gary were brown and red and filled with a stench from the factories that stained the clouds and hurt the throat as we drove past on our way to Clear Lake or the Warren Dunes.

40 years ago there was more cornfield, more forest, and fewer birds. Fewer deer too. The American Bald Eagle was almost extinct. The Cuyahoga River caught fire every summer, and Lake Erie was dead.

While it is fashionable to wring one's hands and cry about the horrors of "Global Warming" and agonize over one's "carbon footprint", the reality is that in many ways we have pulled back from that "brink" and FIXED things that had been done wrong. Of course we have not fixed them all. Of course there is much, much more to be fixed. But hand wringing and agonizing, fingerpointing and name-calling arent' the way to accomplish them.

"Global Warming" is too big of an issue. While it IS a huge issue, it is too big, and the majority of people won't see it as something they can personally affect, either positively or negatively - and so they will do nothing.

On the other hand, there are lots of small ways that people can clean up their own communities, and turn them into cleaner, more efficient, less polluting areas. Plant some trees to help offset those being murdered in the Amazon, perhaps.


Now... here's a thought. If the so-called "Palestinians" (There is not now, nor has there EVER BEEN a country called "Palestine" - just FYI), and the Iraqis and the Saudis, would all band together under Allah and work toward turning the middle-east into this "paradise" that they would like - wouldn't that just be about the same amount of area that the morons in Brazil are burning out of the rainforest? Imagine shifting the Air-Filter properties of trees and plants into those (currently) desert areas - thereby making things nicer for the people, making habitat for animals, and bringing tourists, ....

Takes a bit of effort to do that though. You couldn't do it while at the same time being suicide bombers and dancing in the streets and marching around in your pajamas screaming anti-american slogans.

Yes, I'm babbling. It's my blog. I can!

508 days

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brown People

More than once, both here and elsewhere, I have made it abundantly clear that I do not support amnesty for illegal aliens. It is my position that if the VERY FIRST ACT that you perform upon entering this country is to break the law, then that tells me exactly everything I need to know about how much you respect the rule of law in general, and the laws of this country in particular.

Because of this stance, I have been called a "racist" and a "nazi", a "Hater of brown people", by those who purport to be progressive liberals, Godwin's Law notwithstanding.

This week marks the 2 year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. At this point in time, there are still over 30,000 families who have not been able to return to their homes because of the water, wind and other storm damage. The vast majority of these people were from the area known as the "Ninth Ward" - a predominantly black and/or "brown" area.

Now, first off - let me say - This whole "brown people" thing really cracks me up. They're not black, so now in order to claim that I (who am actually a rather pinky shade of light beigy/tan) am a "racist" you have to make up a whole new race called "brown" people? You, my dear NeoLib moron... are a moron.

Back to my point.

The people from the 9th ward weren't rich folks. They were in many cases very, very poor people. People who couldn't afford luxuries like spending two years living in a hotel room in Arkansas. People who couldn't afford 100% replacement guarantee insurance. People who lived in low-rent apartment houses, and some of whom, no doubt, were unemployed.

We can't seem to get the federal government to grow the cajones necessary to help these people. We have shuffled them off to parts unknown, then "lost" their paperwork, refused to rebuild their homes, used the money supposedly earmarked for their welfare and given it to wealthy sports fans to build luxury condos.

We can't take care of OUR OWN black and brown people. We have shuffled them into formaldehyde-soaked deathtrap trailers, and then threatened them with eviction from THOSE.

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU NEO-LIBS THAT YOU CHOOSE TO SUPPORT ILLEGAL CRIMINAL TRESPASSERS - when we can't even take care of the poor and displaced AMERICAN CITIZENS - who happen to be black and brown people?

WHY THE BLOODY FUCK don't you oppose allowing even ONE MORE illegal criminal trespasser into this country - until this country takes care of the AMERICAN CITIZENS that it has so callously cast aside because they made the collosal mistake of being born in the Louisiana Bayou?


Chicken Soup

It's SUMMER time. I shouldn't have to eat chicken soup. But I do - I will - I must. This cold is finally starting to let up some. Being a hermit crab here at work is key - that and the huge bottle of Lavendar/Chamomile hand sanitizer.

Having simply OODLES of fun pulling tomatoes off the small plants. Unfortunately I'm too spooked by that weird maggoty hornworm to actually eat any of them anymore, as they have all split down the side from the excessive water the last few weeks. Boo, hiss.

Spent the last couple evenings putting together cheap furniture. I got a little shelf dealie for my DVD's, and another bookshelf. The DVD dealie is like a bookshelf, but very narrow, and not very tall. Probably 4' tall and about 10 inches by 8 inches. But it keeps all the DVD's in their little DVD homes all nice and neat and looking kind of like books in a shelf - as opposed to looking like cluttered piles of DVD's sitting on all the endtables.

The bookshelf is a necessity. The 4-shelf system I've put on the wall in my bedroom is now so overloaded that I fully expect it all to come crashing down onto my computer in the middle of the night one of these days. 5 ft. long shelves, stacked double-layer deep with just those little wall-socket plastic brackets to hold them up...

I need my very own library. Seriously.

Stopped at JoAnn last nite on the way home. Needed some brown fabric. I hate brown. Mom used to always dress me up in brown and beige and tan when I was a kid, when I really wanted pink and yellow and green and stuff. So of course, I now hate brown and beige and tan - so I seldom buy any. But the Mystery Quilt has taken over my psyche, and I'm making it along with the rest of you (if there are any rest of you) and I'm using mint green, pink and now... brown. It's a nice pinky brown, and has green leaves on it, so it all fits together nicely.

Of course, I needed more fabric in much the same way that an eskimo needs more ice cubes - but that's neither here nor there... and we shall ignore the fact that I also picked up 2 1/2 yards of this delicious green and cream cloverleaf print, and a yard of some Randy-Loud black with mardi-gras beads...

Hello, my name is Sewmouse, and I am a fabric-aholic.

Hellooooo, Sewmouse.

Someone in the comments section at Firedoglake this morning mentioned they too have been gifted with a BushRegime countdown keychain:

509 days.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales is Gone-zales

And Chertoff is gonna replace him? Right. Mr. I-Lost-Over-Half-The-DHS-Budget-And-Have-No-Idea-Where-It-Went is going to replace Mr. I Can't Recall?

I wonder if tomorrow morning Gonzo will be able to recall his resignation?

Something is about to happen, people.
Something Big
Something UGLY
Something earthshattering.
And when the Excrement hits the Oscillating Unit ...

Lea sent me this link... scary stuff - The Government training Clergy to Quell Dissent

511 days?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mystery Quilt 2007 - Part 3

It's Sunday - that means it's time for Mystery Quilt Part 3!
If you missed Parts 1 and 2, they are here (part 1) and here(part 2)

Ok, you have a lot of strips of cloth and a lot of triangles. Today we will combine a few. But first, lets talk about sewing.

When you put the pieces together, you're going to want to put the "good" side of the fabric pieces facing each other. This makes sure that your seams are on the inside, so your quilt doesn't look all funky and frazzley. We also need to measure carefully where 1/4" from the POINT of the sewingmachine needle is on both sides of the sewingmachine platform. You want to be certain you are only using 1/4 inch seams, because that will help you to "match points" by keeping the pieces all the same size. I have used a piece of pink paper and tape to mark my machine.

If your fabric seems to fray easily, sew once with a 1/4" seam, then sew again INSIDE the seam to give it double strength.

Keeping the 1/4 inch seam allowance consistant is also important so that we don't get that "off by just a bit" problem that multiplies on us. Keep your cutting tools handy, we will use them again today as well.

OK! Off we go. First off, you should have 12 pieces each of A and C that are about 45 inches long and exactly 2 1/2 inches wide. Starting with these, put 2 strips face-to-face (right sides together) and sew a nice straight 1/4 inch line all the way down ONE LONG side. When you get done, you should have a 4 1/2 inch by ~45 inch long skinny strip. It is possible that one or the other of the fabrics will be longer than the other color. This is ok. Just put the long strips together and cut off any extra length when you're done, before you iron it.

Do the same with all the other 2 1/2 x 45 inch pieces of A and C. You will end up with 12 long two-tone pieces.


A note about ironing.

When you have sewn ANY two pieces together, make sure you iron them after. Iron the seam allowance toward the DARKER of the colors. Don't wiggle the iron around when you iron. This makes the seam wiggly. You want them to be straight. I usually will hold the piece open with my fingers, guiding the iron toward the seam and sliding SLOWLY and GENTLY across the fabric, then hold for a couple seconds and remove the iron.

Iron all 12 of your pieces.

Now square up the corners on one end of the long strips, and then cut them into 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch two-tone squares.

The goal is to have 100 horizontal-two-tone 4 1/2 inch squares. There will be excess - just put it to the side.


Ok! That's all for this week. Hope it all goes well for everyone. Please - if you have any questions at all, post a comment and I'll get back to you within 24 hours!