Latest column in the almost daily: the sounds of winter include hacking and barfing.
"Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth."
-- Simone de Beauvoir, which was quoted by Debora Halbert in her 2006 thesis "Feminist Interpretations of Intellectual Property," which is actually fascinating reading and deals with the (among other things) copyright w/r/t knitting and quilting patterns.
Anyhoo, during Ace of Cakes one of the decorators was carving a cake into a manatee shape. "It's easy," she said, "I just cut away the bits that don't look like a manatee." Which is one of those things sculptors always say. Still.
Right now I'm in the phase of book writing where I'm cutting the way the bits that don't look like a manatee. Sadly, I'm trying to do this while having no idea what a manatee actually looks like, which is one advantage cake sculptors have over writers.
The other advantage, of course, is access to cake. I have no cake.
I do have a nearly completed cross-stitch item:
I now have to decide if the screwed-up spacing in the f-g-h row will make me nuts. I suspect it will, which means I'll have to rip back to the "l," which is where I apparently lost my ability to count. Stupid counting.
Two things to make the day better, tho:
- A Slate series on Japanese craftsmen (there may be some women later in the week. Right now, tho, just men.) Today's installment is about indigo dying. Fascinating.
- Fantasia sings "Lady Marmalade." I dare you to not crack a smile when she goes over to Patti LaBelle.
1) In news that will be a surprise to no one, it is snowing here. If I can remember, I'll break out the (taller) snow giraffe after class and snap some pictures.
2) It appears that the Pie Goddess and the Grill Master are coming over to our place to watch the Superbowl, since we now have a very large tv. The PG and the GM are from Iowa. I would like to make something from my beloved home city that showcases its eclectic approach to food. Problem is, I can't think of what that should be. Not sure I have the stamina to make all of the fixin' for Primanti sandwiches. I also can't get chipped chopped ham here. Anyone have any suggestions?
3) Speaking of suggestions, I'm in the process of putting together my book order and syllabus for the Advanced Journalism class I'll be teaching at Hartwick. (While SUCO started its Spring term three weeks ago, Hartwick doesn't start its until Feb. 9 because they have a mini-term in January.) The main text will be Jack Hart's A Writer's Coach, which I recommend for anyone who wants to be a more effective non-fiction writer.
My plan also includes assigning actual examples of great reporting -- and this is where I could stand some input. So far, the list is:
Selections from Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel
The title essay (or the Illinois State Fair one) from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by DFW
"A Fleet of One" by John McPhee
This class is a practical class, not a survey of modern journalism. Still, I'd like to give them a sense of what can be done. Anything leap to mind?
A reminder for local book-lovin' ladies: The Green Toad Bookstore is having its Book Triva night this Thursday. Anyone wanna form a team? Bring on the book trash-talk. I got your Yeats right here.
* These shoes would be better with live goldfish.
* Yet another reason to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup: It might be full of mercury.
* If you've ever wondered what Slate's Seth Steveson looks like, now's your chance. The picture also proves that it's impossible to look suave on a Segway.
* Can fasting flush the toxins out of your body? Or just the cash out of your wallet? (caveat: I don't understand why people fast, nor do I buy that you can leach toxins out through the bottoms of your feet. I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of anatomy isn't as strong as it could be but none of these methods of "cleansing" pass my personal sniff test.)
* Where does faith end and abuse begin?
* It's not survival of the fittest. It's survival of the most adaptable. (Who would then become the fittest -- but I'm picking nits).
* Jennifer Weiner hits the nail on its tiny-yet-proverbial head with this analysis of the reviews of male v. female memoirisists. Wonder if she wants a copy of my book...
Last Tuesday, the Hub got the stomach bug that's been circling Oneonta. I got it on Friday. You dont' really want the gritty details but it has been a loooooong couple of days. So far -- picture me knocking every wooden surface in the house -- the kids have been spared. It's just a matter of time, however.
In lieu of any real content, some pictures, which may only be of interest to the grands:
Cory tries out his new Fierce* Ninja costume:
And, in honor of the Asian Lunar New Year,** Maddy tried out the chopsticks and silk dress that my MIL brought back from her trip to China this summer:
Yes, yes, I know that chopsticks are utensils, not hair ornaments. But these are a) specifically labeled to "NOT BE USED WITH FOOD" and b) she's six and they're cute.
The dress seems to defy all attempts to photograph it. This one is the best:
Finally, your reward for reading this far is this clip.
* Picture my snapping my fingers a la Tyra when you read that.
** I wrote a story for the almost-daily about local Asian Lunar New Year traditions. I also managed to misquote someone for the first time in a long time (that I know of), to which I say: well, crap.
-- Harper's Weekly Review (Jan. 20) by Gemma Seiff
I can only begin to explain how much I'd like to go to the Bohus exhibit in Minneapolis. Click on that link and take a look at those sweaters. Now imagine what they look like in person. You want to go now, too, don't you?
I can almost justify a trip out there as "research." Almost.
But what's really holding me back is a) the semester has started and getting away for longer than 24 hours is tricky, b) it's colder there than here (and it's really flippin' cold here) and c) I have a book I've got to finish writing.
Still. I can feel my justification engines working overtime on this one. Perhaps if I have a nice lie-down it will all go away.
Apropos of none of that -- Ellen Kushner linked to an On The Media piece about Dubya and the media. What amazes me is how many of those abuses I'd blocked out. I'm starting to wonder if I remember the last eight years at all. Maybe Dana Perino's Men in Black light flashy thingie works better than I thought.
First - the Dizzy Sheep is seeking knitters and crocheters to add squares to their Blanket of Change. I'm representing for the Empire State. There are still states in need of love. I'm looking at you Tennessee.
Second - I was completely thrown off guard yesterday while watching the Inauguration. About 11:45, I burst into happy tears and didn't really stop until the "...so help me God." It's like my disgust and cynicism finally let down its shields enough to let actual emotion seep out. I know there's a metric ton of work to be done and that we may all look back in 4 years and wonder what the heck we were thinking -- but, still, it's nice to care.
Last - The Diva lost another tooth over the long weekend. She then spent the next 24 hours complaining that the Tooth Fairy leaves her friends more than the $1 she gets, which is, to her, one of the great indignities of the universe. I suggested she send her teeth out for a competitive bid. I also pointed out that the bottom has totally dropped out of the baby tooth market and that, if she's lucky, she might get $1 per cubic meter of baby teeth but there are no guarantees in this economy. I was once again informed that I am "weird." She did drop the subject, however, which proves that it's always better to baffle than to argue.
* A quote in honor of the inauguration: "The peaceful transfer of power in the democracy should always be celebrated with cupcakes." Said by Peg Hambright, genius behind Magpies cakes, which is the best baked good in Knoxville and, quite possibly, east Tennessee, even, perhaps, the entire Eastern Time zone, but I've not made an exhaustive study. But Peg's frosting is the frosting of my dreams.
* Also in honor of the inaug., John Oliver talks to the BBC about how comedy will fare in the age of Obama.
* My mind, it appears, can be easily blown. All it takes is a demonstration of dyeing the yarn after you knit the shawl. That's just crazy talk! Fabulous, fabulous crazy talk!
* The producers of Bones talk about the Fox censors. Hilarity ensues.
* Why sometimes, when it comes to children, the best thing to do is nothing other than provide hot soup and a warm lap.
* I don't know why it took a fancy study to prove this but novels teach us the social rules of our culture. In other news, water still wet.
* Speaking of great statements of the obvious, women no longer know how to be thrifty in the kitchen. What this article leaves out, of course, is that men are also perfectly capable of a) cooking and b) thrift but why should we encourage them to worry their pretty little heads about it.