Monday, February 26, 2007

The Surge

Sometimes reading doesn’t pay off, at least not in a positive way. I was just reading the latest edition of the NYRB (3-15-2007); the first article is “The Surge” by Peter W. Gailbraith about Bush’s Iraq policy (in case you had some other surge in mind). He relates the following about General Petraeus (hopefully this quote doesn't piss the copyright gods off):

“Petraeus, on whom so much now rests, served two previous tours in Iraq. As the American commander in Mosul in 2003 and 2004, he earned adulatory press coverage — including a Newsweek cover story captioned “Can This Man Save Iraq?” — for taming the Sunni-majority city. Petraeus ignored warnings from America’s Kurdish allies that he was appointing the wrong people to key positions in Mosul’s local government and police. A few months after he left the city, the Petraeus-appointed local police commander defected to the insurgency while the Sunni Arab police handed their weapons and uniforms over en masse to the insurgents. Neither this episode nor the evident failure of the training programs for the Iraqi army and police which he ran in his next assignment seemed to have damaged the general’s reputation.”

Not that I actually thought the surge strategy would be successful but, without a doubt, Bush picked someone to lead it who is pretty much guaranteed to make sure it’s a failure. Of course, the Democrats are holding lots of hearings about Petraeus mismanagement of his previous Iraqi assignments – or not. Definitely not.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Delancey Scarf (Minverva Bk 36, 1934)

{It was pointed out to me that there was a missing asterisk on the row 9 instructions; I have corrected it, and I apologize to anyone who was wondering why it wasn't knitting up properly!}

Cast on 36 sts. Knit 6 rows (3 ribs), then work in pattern for 29 inches {or desired length}, knit 6 rows, bind off.

Stitch Pattern

Row 1: K2, * yo, k2tog; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: P

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

Row 9: K1, *k2tog (k through back of sts), yo; repeat from *, end with k1.

Row 10: P

Repeat these two rows 3 more times; there are 16 rows to one complete pattern.

{Below are photos of my Delancey WIP, unblocked. I'm working it on some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino that I had left from another project. I like the way the direction of the decreases automatically forms the nifty, jagged border - it's a very easy stitch pattern.}

Everybody's Happy Nowadays

Recently I've been seeing an AARP ad which uses the chorus "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" from the Buzzcocks' song. I wonder if anyone involved in making this ad paid any attention to the lyric content of the rest of the song; if I remember correctly, the chorus was meant to be ironic, right? Admittedly, I haven't listened to my Buzzcock's recordings since the early '90's, but I thought the verses of the song had a rather dystopic, or at least disillusioned content, and that the 'happiness' everyone seems to be experiencing stems from a disengagement from reality. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; or if you have the inclination to search for the lyrics, please post them and let me know that I've totally missed the point.)

I like to think that the AARP is perhaps trying some subliminal advertising*; that the future holds little for us as we age that is positive, and that banding together in a radical body is the only chance we have of happiness that isn't an illusion - that otherwise, we really do have No Future**, just decades of personal and societal disappointment.

*This bit of fantasy on my part shows a complete disengagement from the nature of advertising, and reality in general; warning to the reader, an ex-boyfriend once told me I had a "rich inner life" and he did not mean it as a compliment. On the other hand, I like harboring images of the AARP turning into something like Hamas for older, non-wealthy Americans.

**Please reference the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen."

And while I'm on the topic of the Buzzcocks, didn't they have a line in a song that was "same as it never was?" Heh, Jennifer 'Sexpot' Hewitt seems to have kiped that for the name of her store on "Ghost Whisperer."

{God, I've been watching too much TV - this has to stop, I tell you!}

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I don't know about other countries, but Americans seem obsessed with resolutions for the new year. I try not to set up too many, or I try to keep the ones I have flexible. Part of my problem is I'll forget the resolution. If I make a list of resolutions, I'll forget that I made it most likely, or if I remember its exiestence, I'll forget where I put it until I eventually forget I wrote them down. Anyway, I'll try posting something on the blog I never write to (another resolution, but I'll spare the unfortunate reader the details), in hopes of coming up with better results.

So, like all knitters, I've got stash, too much for an apartment the size of a walk-in closet (not much of an exaggeration - really!). Below is my own personal version of Wendy Johnson's Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon (

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31st, 2007 -- a period of 12 months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

  • Sock yarn does not count. (If I end up with a box of new sock yarn, I may have to change/delete this exception.)
  • If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
  • If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.
  • I get two "Get Out of Jail Free" cards -- I am allowed to fall off the wagon twice. {Wendy's is set for nine months - mine is set for 12; I figure I deserve two tumbles off said yarn wagon.}

3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Trading stash is allowed.

5. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt. {Heh heh, I just took up cunning plan is to spin if I can't control the need to acquire more yarn...bwa ha ha ha!}

6. I will finish all UFOs, or frog them, and get them out of my life!

It remains to be seen how long this will last; I bought some yarn Saturday (nothing exciting) for a pillow I had promised last year, long before I came across KFYS. I suspect the gift one will be the one to cause me the most trouble and trips to the yarn shop. Also, this does not cover books, magazine, needles and other knitting toys. I'll keep track of those purchases here, too - not that I think they'll be interesting reading but if I'm going to shame myself publicly, I might as well do it well and thoroughly, instead of half-assed. I certainly consider myself a half-assed knitter; someone else has claimed the title {} so I'll just have to be one without the honorific. I'll start posting photos and readers can see for themselves what half-assed truly is. Who knows, the only attention I may get as a knitter could be as an example of how not to knit.