Thanks to Janet Napolitano for declaring a Public Health Emergency in order to prepare for a potential swine flu epidemic. I am especially grateful because this will mean that there is Tamiflu available for the latest strain, which is apparently a swine-human-avian flu virus. What happens when you cross swine flu and avian flu? Flying Pig Flu. That's right, people. No more of this "when pigs fly" crap. They are already in the air. Borne aloft on the breeze, they will spread from person to person. Soon we should start to see a number of other highly improbable events come to pass, including:
1) Kim Jong-Il will realize he's a crazed, megalomaniacal demagogue and have himself committed for the sake of his people and all the peoples of the world. (That's demagogue, not demigod, you puny, freakish moron) 2) Angelina Jolie will admit that she's nothing but a talentless set of walking knockers and will stop making babies to cover up that fact. 3) Dick Cheney will admit he was President of the United States for eight years, and 4) that yeah, that whole WMD thing really was just an excuse to get Halliburton in control of a huge segment of the Middle Eastern oil industry. 5) Indian conglomerates will snap up failing U.S. businesses, become world leaders of industry, and start outsourcing their labor to economically depressed regions like North America. 6) American Idol will be canceled because people realize it's brain-killing, peurile crap designed to keep them from paying attention to the general shittiness of their lives and from actually getting off their asses and doing something about it. Then they will rise in the streets and the revolution will start. 7) The Democratic Party of the United States will nominate a vibrant, idealistic black man for president before they nominate an experienced, politically savvy white woman and 8) American citizens elect him rather than an even-more-experienced, down-to-earth, establishment-approved white man.
You know how you happen to glance at something and suddenly, without any rumination whatsoever, an idea will pop into your head fully-formed? Well, J's iChat avatar this week (for part of it, anyway) was the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. His quote was "With the thoughts I'd be thinkin', I could be another Lincoln..." Now, some might disupute that J could be another Lincoln, but as he is my only reader, I will not.
Well, for whatever reason, seeing the Scarecrow suddenly and without transition brought a question/concern/conundrum into my head. Dorothy flies to Oz, lands her house on the Wicked Witch of the East, and kills her. Glenda asks if she’s a good witch or a bad witch, but of course she’s neither—she’s an outsider from another world. So Dorothy then goes on a journey through this mystical land, and ends up killing the other Bad Witch, which nobody in Oz had apparently thought to do for themselves. Then she flies away again, this time in a balloon piloted by another outsider who has until recently been dictator-for-life. So here's my issue:
Dorothy isn't even from there. She's not a citizen, she doesn't pay taxes, she comes in without so much as a by-your-leave, completely disrupts the status quo and balance of power, and then disappears. What about the people left behind who suddenly have to deal with the power vacuum? How long would the two good witches actually remain good with all that BadWitch real estate opening up? The whole system of checks and balances would crumble and fall apart and you'd end up with a pair of tyrants floating around in bubbles forcing people to starch their skirts and wear glitter.
So what seems like a fairy tale about being transported to a magical land and becoming a hero by killing the baddies, is, from the Ozian’s perspective, nothing more than the machinations of a foreign power to impose its own moral imperative and system of governance. And of course the Ozians are all dancing with exuberance at the end, because the book was written by a white male Westerner and of course those poor downtrodden yoiks are thrilled to be liberated from tyranny and intellectual and moral stagnation.
Of course what really happened is that as soon as the balloon was out of sight, anarchy set in and the Emerald City became an unpoliced criminal paradise since with his new brains the Scarecrow realized that the Emerald Guard needed something to do now that the Witch was dead, and why not turn them into a mercenary army and make a little money off it; the GoodWitches put all of the Munchkins into indentured servitude in the poppy fields to make heroin; the Tin Woodsman chopped down the talking trees to burn them for charcoal so that he could sell it to buy food for the law-abiding but now homeless noncriminal refugees from the City; the lion went on a fearless heroin-driven rampage and had to be put down; and the flying monkeys ruled the air, throwing poop bombs at everyone with impunity.
I haven't blogged in a bit, but that's not because I'm trying to imitate Franklin Habit (Franklin, where are you?). Nor is it because I don't have anything to say. I am currently working on a theory whereby knitting is like writing a sonnet but it's not quite ready for public consumption yet.
Also not quite ready yet are the Ruffled Stole and Edwardian Teddy Bear with Swimsuit. Since I couldn't decide on the next project I figured I'd do two at once. As with the Snuggie Monster and Peep-Bo, I figured I'd do one project that had a lot of boring repetition and one that had a lot of interesting things going on. The problem is that both are full of boring repetition, with the occasional dropped stitch on the stole enlivening things by requiring a bunch of un-knitting (the yarn's too fluffy and I'm too inexperienced to figure out where things have gone wrong), and the increases and decreases on the swath of stockinette that will eventually be the bear requiring a certain degree of focus.
So far, what I have learned is that when making a bear in pieces, one must be mindful of one's tension, or the bear will have one leg slightly shorter than the other. Not enough shorter to do the whole thing over again, just shorter enough that if he were wearing shoes he'd need one sole thicker than the other. Another important item of information is that I am not knitting the swimsuit. I think it's ridiculous to put a bear knitted in wool into a swimsuit. So I'm going to knit him a sweater instead. Or possibly just let him run around naked, given my problems with sweaters.
The Ruffled Stole, on the other hand, is turning out just about perfectly thanks to my willingness to rip, and looks nice half-finished on my coffee table as well. My main concern is that it is too lacy and lavender and Great-Aunt-Eunice, but we'll see what happens when it is actually done. (BTW, I don't have a Great-Aunt-Eunice, but there was a very nice lady named Eunice at the nursing home Mom used to take us to visit when I was a kid who would give us raisins and who had extremely long, perfectly straight, perfectly white hair. My actual great-aunts, who were, at one happy time, legion, would never, ever wear this thing. They were all ball-busters. Props to Aunt Frances, Aunt Virginia, my other Aunt Virginia who we called Aunt Louise because she hated that she had been named Virginia, and whose friends all called her "Kelly", and my other Aunt Frances. And while I'm at it, props to the Grammas as well. Love and miss you, and why did none of you ever teach me to knit? Oh yeah. Ball-busters.)
Two things have really, really irked me this week. Well, it was really one thing that irked me for the last two weeks and one thing that's irking me as of today, but if you take the average it all works out. 1) People who assign moral value to their caloric intake. Last week I bought a package of peanut butter cups out of the vending machine. In a valiant display of self-sacrifice and generosity I offered one of the said peanut butter cups to a companion, who responded, "No, thanks, I'm being good today." Will someone please tell me how not eating a peanut butter cup makes you "good?" Does the fact that I then ate both make me a sinkhole of moral filth and contagion?
I'm sure it's part of our essentially Puritanical streak (this is New England after all) that whispers to us that anything pleasurable is evil. But you'd think they'd appreciate the fact that by consuming 260 delicious calories of peanut butter-and-chocolate confection, I was giving jobs to all of the hard-working people involved in making, packaging, warehousing, transporting, and selling said candy. I was also giving jobs to all the people involved in managing, stocking, and cleaning my gym, where I burned off that 260 calories in 45 minutes on the treadmill.
The real reason we assign these moral values is this: It makes us feel superior. If my friend had said "No thanks, I'm trying to lose five pounds," then the unspoken admission would be that she is self-conscious about her weight. By making the refusal a moral issue, she doesn't have to admit that it's about her weight at all--it's about being "good," which is more noble than being worried about how she looks. The fact that we think of food in terms of "good" and "bad" at all shows that we're a lot less healthy than we ought to be.
2)Writers who can't be bothered to cite things properly. I've got a freelance gig copyediting a textbook. There is a famous quotation in this book that was cited in the references. This citation listed the author's name incorrectly. It also listed the date of the publication from which the quote was taken incorrectly. The publication from which the quote was taken was an anthology of quotations. Not only could these experts in their field not get the name of the author right, they also couldn't be bothered to take 5 minutes and look online for the original source. (I know it only took 5 minutes because I did it and fixed it for them.) I realize that morally speaking this does not compare with eating peanut butter cups, but I think it's shockingly sloppy for someone writing a textbook, and I have no patience for this kind of laziness and shoddy scholarship.
Now I've got that off my chest, I can settle back down to my Doritos and the Chicago Manual of Style.
I examined the beginner-ish stash last weekend. There is a surprising amount of yarn in it given that to date I have knitted 1 weird messenger bag type thing, 3 scarves, 1 pair of mittens, 1 hat, 1 Snuggie Monster, 1 sheep, and 1 cute little bag.
Given that I should have plenty of yarn to choose from, it should be easy to determine the next project.
1) 1 ginormous fluffy ball of Lion Brand Romance, which I could make a lovely ruffled stole from 2) 2 skeins sock yarn, socks, for the knitting of, which I am scared to attempt 3) what I hope is enough yarn to make the Debbie Bliss "Edwardian Bear" 4) 1 skein Lion Brand homespun to make my mom a hat with 5) Tons more moonlight mohair with interesting contrasting DK to make another cute little bag 6) 1 skein Patons Kroy sock yarn in Summer Moss which isn't enough for socks but which I love 7) 4 skeins Blue Sky alpaca which are Sacred unto the Unknown Project 8) 2 skeins Cascade Yarns Peruvian Wool which I'm not sure I have enough of to make anything I want but which I also love 9) 1 skein Patons SWS in a pretty purplish color which I thought I was going to make arm warmers out of but now I'm not sure I have enough 10) 12 skeins Red Heart Designer Sport in Brick, which is obviously the next sweater project except that I'm now traumatized by the Snuggie Monster and have an inferiority complex given by Interweave Knits Knitter's Daily, where all they talk about is how the pattern should be adjusted here and there to fit better and I don't even know my measurements and it's all just TOO HARD but not really it's just a lot of time invested in something that may or may not look good so I'm not going to knit that sweater just yet. 11) Random half-balls and extra skeins from other projects that will molder away until I find a "stash buster" project that doesn't look like it was knit by a color-blind rhesus monkey
I also have several books of patterns, not to mention the binder I'm putting together of projects found in the library and online, and I've got nothing. No idea. I am not inspired. I'm worried that I'm going to make something I don't care about just because I need to be knitting. That's like drinking bad whisky because you're an alcoholic.
SO clearly I will have to meditate on the subject. Perhaps tomorrow I will enter a craft store and buy another skein of the Patons Kroy Summer Moss sock yarn. No one will notice if the dye lots don't match because they're on separate feet, right? Or maybe I can knit the feet of each sock from one skein and the legs from the other? Anything is possible.
Obviously what I really need to do is go cook a pork chop and watch Lost while eating it. And here's the turkey who lives in my apartment complex showing off. I love spring.