Wednesday, March 30, 2005


It just keeps getting stranger here in the Lone Star State. After driving nearly twenty-five miles of freeway surrounded by concrete strip malls as far as the eye could see, we arrived in downtown Dallas at the Nasher Sculpture Center. At last, an island of big ideas - not big hair, big cars or big box retailers. Pictured above: Jonathan Borofsky's "Walking To the Sky"

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Stranger in a Strange Land

With the Big Ass Van loaded for the Righteous Road Trip to Texas, GHIW and I took off for parts south early Friday morning. We made good time, arriving in Springfield, MO by 5:30 to ensure GHIW plenty of time to settle in for NCAA basketball on the telly. Saturday morning we began the last leg of our journey to Dallas and, I gotta say, the scariest stretch of highway in recent memory. Deep in the heart of Bible-belt land, our "No W" sticker prominently displayed on the back window, I felt like a moving target. Driving through rural Oklahoma, it's hard to fathom how and why people in this area voted overwhelmingly, and against their own economic interests, to support George W. Bush. But there it was, the "disconnect" between their impoverished living conditions and the spanking new Evangelical church complexes rising from the rattiness of the surroundings, displayed town after town along the way. The atmosphere of anti-intellectualism was palpable. We feel safe enough now, having arrived at D & K's fabu new home outside of Dallas, but there is still the small matter of the conservative exorcism to be performed on their house. (They report seeing Ann Coulter books inside the house on one of their pre-purchase visits) So far, no ghostly apparitions have been spotted, but one can never be too cautious about such things.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hysteria + Hypocrisy = Righteous Wrong-Headedness

One last ( I promise) comment on my favorite hypocrisy inherent in all the hoopla surrounding Ms. Schiavo's sad case - that of the "Right to Life" credo that all life is sacred. There is something appealing about the simplicity of the argument, but the argument falls apart when, as so often happens, it is not applied with equal fervor or interest to preserving the lives of everyone. Why should the life of a zygote be more important than the woman carrying the fertilized egg? Why aren't anti-abortion proponents fighting just as hard to reverse laws that allow for criminals to be put to death? Why has the religious right remained supportive of a Bush administration that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of humans in Iraq when it is well-documented that our reasons for going to war were trumped-up falsehoods? Why do leaders like Senator Bill Frist find it necessary to defend their support of Ms. Schiavo's parents based on what he believes is the quality of their daughter's current existence? If one applies the test of conviction that "all life is sacred," then surely the question of whether or not Ms. Schiavo has the functional ability to understand her situation, experience pain or ulitmately recover from her current medical state is completely moot. Life is life. A true believer needn't parse the particulars. But of course, silly me, that isn't at all what any of these "right to life" conniptions are really about, are they?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hey, Bushies! If You're Not Embarrassed, You Should Be

Hubris is a magnificent leveler. Look for instance, at the plight of those unfortunate Republicans and, yes, some Dems, too, who bowed to hysteria among Christian fundamentalists over Terri Schiavo's case by passing the "Act for the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo." The histrionics surrounding passage of this Act even included "W's" trotting out sage bits of advice like, "it is always better to err on the side of life." Wow. This from a man and a Congress responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens killed in a war that still cannot be justified as anything more than an oil resource grab. And do I even need to get started on the death penalty? Human rights violations at Abu Ghraib? Guantanamo Bay? The foray by the President and the Congress into the practice of medicine, and their intrusion into the private lives of the Schiavo's, appears now to be backfiring. It seems that members of the judicial branch - no matter who appointed them - don't like to have a group of Congressional nincompoops telling them how to interpret the law. Nor do they seem to appreciate being second-guessed. It's enough to stir my patriotic heart. Now, how about erring on the side of life by bringing our soldiers safely home from Iraq? I guess that will have to wait until the important issue of steroid use in baseball is resolved by our lawmakers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Congress: A Persistent Vegetative State

It's been decades - decades of waiting for politicians to take action on the abysmal lack of a universal health care system for all Americans. Finally, Congress has solved the problem by declaring that THEY are qualified to practice medicine and will pass laws to enforce their own diagnosis and treatment plans ONE PERSON AT A TIME. Apparently all it takes is the submission of a videotape to Senator Bill Frist. No inconvenient office appointments. No pre-approval by your insurance plan (if you're lucky enough to have one of those). No expensive diagnostic tests. Hell, you don't even have to fill out the four page patient history form for Doc Congress. Wait until they get the videotape of my sorely chapped a**. Richard Cohen's op-ed piece is a must-read: ". . .(this) is a legal case that no longer is about Schiavo. Instead it's about the politics of abortion -- right to life -- and political opportunism. Terri Schiavo lives so that others, notably Frist, can run for higher office."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Spring Storm

still snowing here at threadingwater basecamp . . . Birds huddled at the feeders, tulip noses and snowdrop fingerlings obliterated under inches and inches of fresh snow - spring is tender in Wisconsin. Knitting with cotton is an act of goofy faith.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Antiponcho, AntiGreen & Ante-Up

I know I've regained my health when my cranky index returns to normal. Ready for a dose? First - the poncho. This is a fashion horror that simply will not go away. The mania for these impractical, ridiculous articles reached new heights when Martha Stewart emerged from behind bars sporting a crocheted version last week. Martha, please! - why not a pill box hat? Why not a well-tailored dress? Why this shapeless, artless piece of frippery that DOES NOT hide anyone's hips or a**? Kill poncho. kill, kill, kill . . . OK. I know it's St. Patrick's Day and everyone is supposed to be Irish and happy and gay, but I don't get it. Why the universal love affair with all things Irish? The music all sounds the same, the history of the Irish people is sad and sadder, the lovely Gaelic tongue has all but disappeared and morphed into a mushy English dialect that pretty nearly defines "quaint" and "folksy," and the sight of green beer and face-painted shamrocks makes me queasy. So there. And finally, thanks to reader and cub reporter G. Parker for sending me the counter to the ongoing cost of the Iraqi war. I'm hosting it on If you have the stomach for it, take a look at how the cost of the war compares to what the U.S. spends on public education or kids' health. Did I throw a wet poncho on your day?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pinking the Edge of Sanity

A plague of viruses have descended upon our house, inserting their barbed and misshapen bodies in all sorts of places. There we were sailing merrily through the winter months eating right, exercising vigorously & often, armed with flu shots and a hand-washing routine that bordered on obsessive/compulsive when, BAM! those mutants arrived on the doorstep with a search warrant and a blood hound looking for the weakest link - me. Today, it's GHIW's turn and it makes me wonder where on earth was that CODE ORANGE warning when we needed it? But, here's the really odd thing that I tried to explain to GHIW last night. Despite the viral setbacks and the corresponding lower than bottom of the sea energy levels, when the going is good I've never felt so bursting with energy and creativity and complete and utter joy as I have in the past couple of weeks. I mean, weirdly joyful as in nearly crying at hearing a cardinal singing its spring song at the same time the weather forecast is calling for another three inches of snow. Or, get this, just hanging out in my yarn closet sniffing skeins of wool to decide which one I'm going to play with next. Every molecule in my body is groovin' and smoovin' and, hell, if I got a whack at "Craft Corner Death Match" I just know I'd be crowned the doyenne of decoupage.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Wake Me on Monday

Has it really been more than a week since my last post? Here's what's been shaking. First, the trip north to Hayward-Cable, Wisconsin for the American Birkebeiner race. GHIW races and I volunteer to work at the registration/problem desk the day before the race. See pictures and read more about the event on my home page. We returned Sunday night to find the final architectural drawings for our kitchen and back of house remodeling job awaiting our approval. This is really going to happen! We are busy preparing ourselves mentally for the disruption and deconstruction that is about to descend on us. After struggling through aerobic and weight-lifting classes early in the week, a latent flu bug finally emerged on Wednesday forcing me to apply the brakes to my normal schedule. Yesterday, I completely gave in and crawled into my sickroom bed late in the afternoon. Too weak to knit (imagine!) I could only manage to toggle the TV remote back and forth between "Extreme Makeover" and "This Old House." I drifted off to sleep dreaming about a fireplace that gets a nose job and a kitchen that gets upgraded with 220 wiring and a tummy-tuck. Stay well, everyone. Zzzzzzzzz . . .