Friday, September 30, 2005

Benefits of Blogging

Work continues to be a pain in the tuchus. But we will not muddy a lovely fall evening with chatter about that.

Scribble, Scribble

I think it's grand that you've been enjoying the little cartoons, because I like making them. As Birdfarm will tell you, I drew incessantly through college, which explains the marks I got on some of my papers. (She's no slouch in the sketching department, either. Some of her letters to me resemble the Book of Kells in terms of exuberant decoration. I will have to pull some out of safekeeping and post them.)

And yes indeed, even before you so kindly asked I had determined to work up a couple of knitting cartoon shirt designs. I have been working on them tonight. I'll let you know via the blog when they're ready.

There will also (thank you for asking, Linda) be a woman's version of the "Don't mess with..." shirt, as nobody ought to mess with a knitter of either gender, if you ask me.

Joanne is among those who have suggested a book of cartoons. I'm not ruling it out, though my puzzle at the moment would be turning the little I know about knitting into enough funny stuff to make it work. But we shall see.


I am completely floored by the quality and variety of suggestions for dealing with the recalcitrant lower edge of my sweater. I'm going to devote time this weekend to deciding which course to pursue. This is for Greg, Jove, Sir Edwin Pegasus, June, Selma, Kathy, Dianna, Irv, Uncle Joey, Anonymous (2), Margie, Marilyn, Lee Ann, Sean, Sahara, and Joe, who weighed in with suggestions. And it's also for all of you who just chimed in with sympathy, because sometimes that's just as good.

Good grief, I hope I didn't miss anybody. It's dreadfully late as I write this and my eyes are a bit wonky.

Recommended Reading

Sahara, who writes with authority and style, has just published the best blog entry on construction and finishing I've ever read. Go read it, particularly if you're a newbie like me.

I also found Jean Miles' words (part of a blog dialogue with Obscure) on lace knitting very inspiring. I've become very enamored of knitting lace but felt guilty about it because I can't use it after I knit it. I'm a combat-boots sort of guy, so mantillas and fichus are not going to blend readily into my wardrobe. And neither my mother nor my sister, the only women I have to knit for, are given to gadding about draped in shawls.

Then I read that Jean, a woman who has turned out enough lace singlehandedly to give Belgium a run for its money, finds herself in the same quandary. And she simply decided to go ahead and make lace because it is beautiful.

Ars gratia artis. With my fondness for Latin tags, you'd think I might have remembered that one.

Even boys can dream about lace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Knitting Life, An Update

Sorry about the teeny-weeny, sporadic posts. We've just gone through a gigantic crunch period at work and for me, as Web dude, it's not completely over yet.

But does this mean I have not been knitting? Oh, mais non!

Bedside Reading

In preparing my article for the magazine, I need biographical information about Mary Thomas (she of the Knitting Book and Book of Knitting Patterns) and the only source anyone (even Marilyn) could come up with was Richard Rutt's History of Hand Knitting. I ordered a miraculously inexpensive copy from Powell's in Seattle but had to set it aside unread, except for the Mrs. Thomas passages, until the past few days.

Now I'm devouring it.

I'm a sucker for history, and this is history plus knitting patterns. Not whole patterns, mind you, mostly just colorwork patterns from old (in some cases very old, as in ancient Egypt) sources. But I am, and forever have been, enamored of making new things (food and photographs mostly) using historical sources and/or materials.

Man vs. Sweater, Round Two: The Neckline

Not long after the evening I did the sweater dance, I arrived at the neckline. Mind you, I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmerman on a daily basis for months. Even though this is my first sweater, her directions are burned into my brain and I can say with confidence that I followed them exactly.

So when I got to the neckline, and had finished the decreases precisely as directed and was left with 100 stitches for the border, it seemed wrong to me. After all, her standard percentage for the neckline is about 40%, and 100 was well over that amount.

So I tried it on (placing it on waste yarn) and sure enough, the top was open enough that it slipped right off one shoulder. I looked like one of the Go-Gos.

So, as dear Mrs. Zimmerman is mum on specific suggestions but does encourage one to think and then act, I figured out the 40% and did a few more decrease rounds until I had that many stitches left, and it looked peachy. I worked the collar in 2x2 rib for about an inch and then tried it on.

Sort of.

Although the sweater was dilated 10 centimeters, I was the one who was ready for an epidural.

This round does have a happy ending, though. You may, if you've been reading this for a while, remember that I had a fear of ripping. On this night, determined I was not going to sleep until the [expletive] collar went over my [expletive] head, I ripped. I ripped with gusto. And I did it over.

And I won.

Man vs. Sweater, Round Three: Help?

For the hemline, I worked with the combined assistance of Maggie Righetti and Elizabeth Zimmerman. I picked up stitches, I used smaller needles, I decreased 10 percent. I did it all just like I was supposed to.

And I know have a hemline that flips up where the hem stitches are sewn to the sweater body. And yes, I sewed them loosely. I worked the hem on Susan's toque the same way and didn't have the flipping.

And I also have this going on:

From the front, the sweater looks perfect. It fits better than any sweater I've ever owned. At the back, it flares. I am, in a word, pissed. On the videotape Greg leant me, Elizabeth Zimmerman does say to begin the sweater with 10% fewer stitches and increase to full width. However, she does not say to do this in Knitting Without Tears and by the time I saw the video I was already halfway up the body.

I figured the decrease in the hem would deal with the flare. Obviously, I was wrong.

The flipping, flaring hem needs to be dealt with. Here is the best solution I can puzzle out. It's not perfect, but I want desperately to save this project. I figure I should:
  1. Get rid of the current hem.
  2. Pick up stitches around the bottom and knit down, working in a 10% or 20% decrease in 2x2 ribbing
I don't love this solution, though, because:
  1. The length of the body at present (when the hem isn't flipping up) is perfect. I mean, so perfect it almost made me cry. I am a short guy, with a short waist, and this is the first sweater I have ever put on that doesn't hang too low and bunch up over my Italian rococo posterior. So I don't want to make it longer, though an extra inch or two wouldn't kill me I suppose.

  2. I didn't want to rib the bottom. I wanted the bottom to be flat, with a hem. Dammit.
So, all you gurus out there: what's your advice? I need some, and I need it quick. Rhinebeck approacheth. Ack.

Yarn Storage

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with solutions to the pile of yarn that is beginning to ooze out from behind the sofa. When I hear about rooms, rooms full of yarn, I blanch. Mind you, this is not and never will be an option for a city dweller of limited means. But I think between some cute little bins from Target and a shelf I've just moved into the end of the bedroom we euphemistically call the "office," I should be set for a little while.

When that shelf is full, I may begin colonizing the space outside the freight elevator. Nobody else is using it. Finder's keepers.

And Before I Forget to Mention It

The t-shirt I made for Colorado Jon as a Stitches present is now available for purchase through my new little shop. There will be other designs very soon, including some for women and some for either sex. We're all about equal opportunity here at The Panopticon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tidal Wave on the Fifteenth Floor

A mysterious parcel arrived from Denver which, when opened, it threatened to swamp the place, thus:

Poor, put-upon Victoria. All those years of being smothered by smoke in London pub, and now she lives in Chicago in mortal peril from flood tides of yarn. This is no way for a queen to live. And believe me, I should know.

We got Rowan Cork, we got Kidsilk Haze, we got Jo Sharp DK Aran in exactly the colors I needed to complete the line-up for Susan's wrap. We got enough yarn here to necessitate the buying of storage bins because chucking everything behind the sofa in bags is no longer working. I am knitting as fast as I can, yet the pile grows higher.

Very odd, encountering Lady Bountiful in the guise of a guy from Colorado. Isn't the knitting world strange?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Messieurs-dames, je vous presente...

my Web site.

This is what we call a "soft launch" - meaning a great deal of work remains to be done, most of it to do with posting the remaining portfolios and shuffling about the ones that are there.

I'm doing this because I know myself well enough to realize that if I continue to hold the launch until the site is in a state of pristine finish, nobody will ever see it except my family.

If you visit, I promise you won't encounter any little animated "under construction" banners.

Coming on Monday...

More knitting!

At work, we're in the throes of reunions right now, which means even though I'm a web design person, I am being called out of the attic to lend a hand in fetching and carrying and kowtowing and bootlicking* and all the other fun stuff that is foisted upon the professional staff.

This means very little personal time for me, which means you have to wait until Monday to see the perfectly splendid gift (I will not call it an RAOK - nothing this lovely happens randomly) bestowed on me by a certain Mile High blogger.

You'll also (I think) get the first photos of the Rhinebeck Sweater in something akin to a finished state. I picked up the stitches for the body hem last night, and would raise a great fuss about it were it not for the example of people like Jean Miles, who pick up 850 laces stitches as though it were child's play.

Now do please go play with my Web site. Just mind the paint, some of it is still wet.

*Not the fun kind. We don't have stuff like that at reunions. If only.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Man vs. Sweater

On Monday night I was sitting in my favorite chair, placidly knitting away on the Rhinebeck Sweater and watching an episode of To the Manor Born.

In the middle of a shoulder decrease row I was seized with the sudden urge to try the sweater on and see how it was shaping up.

Normally, of course, I'd have picked up some waste yarn and moved the stitches onto it before doing a fitting. But that night I was feeling confident and experienced and devil-may-care and all those other things you feel just before your project Goes Terribly Wrong.

One rogue part of my brain, the same part that back in 1974 accepted a nursery school dare to see what would happen if I stuck a rock up my nose, decided it would be easier to just leave the sweater on the needle and try it on that way.

It was all going fine, and then:

Shades of Pooh, stuck in Rabbit's front door. No matter. I'd simply shrug it off and go on with my knitting.

Just...a little...shrug...

No good. Maybe a little maneuver we like to call the "Martha Graham."

Or did I mean Bob Fosse?

My contortions, while increasingly extreme, were perhaps not without an occasional grace note.

Was this how Mummenschanz began?

After several minutes without progress, emotions became somewhat heated.

And then at last:

Ahhh. Sweet victory. Man 1, Sweater 0.

On Tuesday morning, by the way, it rained. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Where Did the Last Post Go?

I deleted it, for two reasons.

The first: career rants bore everyone, including me.

The second: discretion is the better part of valor.

Not to mention that it's far more effective to actually post a résumé than merely to announce one is going to do so.

I am reminded of the reason I don't post on the fly from the office. Much better to write the night before and consider, consider.

And now for some nuns.

Passau Cathedral, 2004

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I'm cheating a little. I wrote this last fall after an encounter with three sets of parents in a row who drove me right up the wall. Yesterday, an encounter on the way home from work reminded me why I wrote it.

The years roll by, but the students (and their parents) change not.

Handy Info for New Students and Their Parents

1. Contrary to appearances, I am not a member of the janitorial or groundskeeping staffs. I know this will come as a shock to you, as your sheltered life in the upper Midwest leads to you believe all persons less white than a bar of Ivory soap arrived yesterday from Mexico or Africa and aspire to careers in leaf blowing. But you're in the big city now. So try to adapt. (And by the way, don't talk to the janitors or gardeners that way, either.)

2. Yes, thank you, I do speak excellent English. I can write it, too! Isn't a Harvard education a wonderful thing?

3. No, I am not looking at your daughter like that. Now that you've pointed her out, I do question your wisdom at letting her wear an ill-fitting belly shirt and droopy sweat pants with the name of the school written across the seat. If one's ass is wide enough to serve as a billboard for the lengthy name of a prominent university, one should probably not emphasize it.

4. Yes, I am gay. No, I'm not the first one you've ever seen. I may, however, be the first one you've seen who isn't married (possibly to your wife) and lying about it.

5. I'm not looking at your son that way, either. He should be so lucky.

6. I arrived at college with a steamer trunk, five boxes of books, and a suitcase. It is not my fault that your child could not travel as lightly. If you require help in carrying your kid's Disney Princess bidet up five flights of stairs, don't hesitate to ask for assistance. From somebody else.

7. Here in Chicago we are fond of the concept of "walking distance." The space between Point A to Point B, if it can be covered in roughly five minutes or less, is "walking distance." If you insist on driving your Hummer the three blocks from your hotel to the dormitory and then cannot find any place to park, don't look to me for sympathy.

8. There is no McDonald's in the neighborhood. No, seriously. You may have to try eating actual food for lunch. I'm terribly sorry. Please stop crying.

9. For the student. If you are going to ask me a question, please do the following first. 1) Take the earphones out of your ears. 2) Hang up the cell phone. 3) Stop text messaging your best friend Caitlin at Michigan State. What's that you say? Multitasking? Well, I can multitask, too. I can write a memo, get my job done, and ignore your rude ass all at the same time.

10. For the parents. News flash: Within 24 hours of your departure, your little darling will either have gotten profoundly drunk or participated in an orgy. Or more likely done both simultaneously. We call this "multitasking."

Welcome to the University! Have a pleasant year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Knitting Is the New Mental Jujitsu

Last night I worked mostly on the Web site but also accomplished two things with the sweater.
  1. The body and sleeve are now joined into one piece on the large circular needle.

  2. I finished the chart for the thing I'm going with the chest.
Is it just me, or does a seamless sweater feel miserably unstable until you've got about four rounds completed following the joins? I was in mortal terror of stretching or breaking the joining stitches, especially while working that first round.

The charting process was such a good mental workout. I have never, to put it mildly, been fond of mathematics (Mom! Dad! Remember all the fun with long division?) so I was surprised to find myself feeling invigorated by the rigors of calculating and adjusting, calculating and adjusting.

All told, I think it took four hours to finish the chart. To my great surprise, it bears a family resemblance to what I had in mind. Now all I have to do is knit from it.

With all this extra work, my housekeeping has gone straight to hell this week, but I'm trying not to let it bother me. C keeps showing up and hasn't made any Grey Gardens jokes yet, so perhaps the situation is worse in my head than in reality.

Gee, that would be a first.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sneak Preview

Moi, Dot Com

Coming soon to a browser near you.

Since I'm sure you haven't been able to sleep wondering what it will look like, here's a screen grab of my embryonic Web site. The design is final, but the page contents are not.

What remains is to prepare the images and build the pages. I am hoping for a launch some time next week. No, it don't look like much right now. Just you wait.

Point Well Taken

I've received so much encouragement from those of you who read my blog, and I've soaked up every word like a sponge. One recent comment really made me stop and think. This was from QueerJoe, in his characteristic tell-it-like-it-is tone:

"I'm convinced that success in the world of art is much more about marketing and balls than about talent. How many incredible artists do you know who have no exposure whatsoever?"

Joe's right. I've known this was true in the back of my mind for years. After all, for the length of recorded history (and possibly longer) art and commerce have been inseparably linked. The propagation of a good reputation was vital to survival for Rubens, Titian and Rembrandt and that's still the case today, unless one wants to be an "outsider artist." (I don't.)

And of course, the reverse is also true. I can think of dozens of artists in all media who have no talent or skill whatever,* yet who have been pumped into prominence through the power of aggressive marketing.

This comment reminded me why I'm busting my ass putting all this stuff together. I may not have the best camera or the best eye, but I'll be damned if I'm going to miss an opportunity because I don't have promotional materials that are the best they I can make them. Twelve years of work in marketing and PR has got to benefit me in some way sooner or later.

Sweater News

Last night, I finished sleeve two of the Rhinebeck sweater, and tonight the two sleeves and the body get joined together in preparation for the final march to the collar.

You won't see any more photos of the sweater until it's done. I'm doing some stuff with it that I have never seen done before, and I'd like to keep the design sub rosa until it's complete. Nothing is new in knitting, but this is weird enough that if it works, it may at least be fairly unusual.

Of course, if something goes wrong you can bet you'll read about it here.

*Sorry, Britney. It's not my fault you were put on this earth solely to demonstrate that P.T. Barnum was right. Although judging from your record sales, we're now up to two or three every minute.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I've been a busy boy. I'm going to continue to be busy, which probably means the luxury of long posts will not be one I can afford for a little while. But it's good busy. Really good.

Photography first:
  1. The Danube porfolio is finished. All prints printed, mounted, captioned.

  2. I have a Web site and a domain name. The site is far from ready to launch, although the basic design is complete. I'm facing the formidable task of readying about 50 photos for online display, and also putting together the first view of the portrait project. Now that I have the domain name, I can finally get my business cards printed.

  3. I schmoozed a little. My neighborhood's Chamber of Commerce sponsored a fairly large art fair this weekend, running right down the busiest part of Broadway (one of our two main arteries - the other being the famous Halsted Street, which sports several dozen gay clubs). I spoke to a nice woman at the Chamber's tent about exhibiting next year. Just doing that took all my gumption. She asked me, "Are you an artist?" and I said, "Yes." That was the first time I've ever said that, instead of giving my standard reply, "No–just a devoted amateur."

  4. I realized that I no longer hate my own work. C and I meandered through the stuff on display and for once I didn't look at all of it and think, that's so much better than what I do. I won't say I'm satisfied with myself. I never will be. I don't think anybody who does anything creative ever should be "satisfied." But I don't think my stuff is entirely without merit or completely derivative, either. (You are welcome to think so, of course. That's your prerogative.)
Now knitting:

  1. The first sleeve of the Rhinebeck sweater is finished. I frogged back about five rows. No big deal.

  2. The second sleeve is 3/4 finished. Much smoother sailing than the first one. Most happily, they match.

  3. I like the new Knitty. Probably the best yet. I won't offer my opinions on particular designs. Visit the usual suspects for more learned piece-by-piece analysis than I can give; or better still, make up your own damn mind. But I do think this online publication is finding its feet, and that makes me happy. (Ladies, I'm very much looking forward to the next men's issue. Your first was a well-intentioned product of very uneven quality. I'm confident that your next will be something to treasure. Just don't think you're off the hook forever for throwing us one meatless bone.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005


So yesterday, riding the train home after work, I pulled out the neverending sleeve, which had been sitting absolutely untouched in my bag all day.

I worked one row, and thought to myself, "This suddenly seems rather lengthy, doesn't it?"

I tried it on, and it was an inch too long.

The Knitting Gods are totally fucking with me.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Chains of Sleevery

I am trying to come to terms with the sorry fact that I will never, ever finish the first sleeve of the Rhinebeck sweater.

Not because I am out of yarn, or because I suddenly hate knitting, or because my right hand simply fell off and disappeared through a crack in the floor.

It's just that no matter how much I knit, the damned thing refuses to get any longer.

The sleeve will be "finished" (ready to join to the body) at 18 inches. After working on it yesterday morning on the train, it was 16 inches. I gave it about two hours last night, then an hour this morning on the train, and it's still 16 inches.

You want pictures? I got pictures.

This is what it looks like to a normal person:

And here's what it looks like to me:

I think it may be time to take a break and go knit a little lace.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day Knitting Notes

C's Tweedy Scarf

Photographer: C is for Camera. Model: Istvan.
Styling/Makeup: Monsieur Pierre for Salon de la Pouffe.
Fragrance: CK Purl

This weekend was replete with delights of every sort, a fitting end to a summer that, for once, went right more than it went wrong. I don't have time to gush about it now, though, so here's a small knitting report.

C's Tweedy Scarf, above, is finished. Istvan has appropriated it and may not give it up without a fuss. He has a definite noli me tangere air about him at the moment. I suppose it comes of having nothing to do all day except sit around C's apartment watching Prince videos. That sort of example is bound to tell on a bear's personality.

I also finished up the lower body for the Rhinebeck sweater, and I'm halfway up the first sleeve.

Maggie Righetti says in Knitting in Plain English that when making a fitted garment you need to try the thing on from time to time, instead of just knitting away in breathless suspense about whether you're doing it right or not. Sensible woman, and I'm glad I read her book. About halfway up the body (7 inches or so) I took the piece off the needles and put it on a piece of waste yarn and tried it on. It fit. Sigh of relief.

Putting it back on the needles wasn't exactly fun, but it did give me a chance to try my hand at fixing twisted and dropped stitches. (My previous tactic in both situations was to hope very much that they would not happen.) I now feel comfortable enough working the dropped stitches with a crochet hook that I may try Zimmerman's phoney seams down the sides of the sweater.

I started the first sleeve on a set of Brittany double-points that I picked up for a song. I'd never used Brittany needles before, and they have nearly knocked Addi turbos right out of the number one spot in my affections. Knitting with them is positively sensual. I like them so much that I stuck with them long after I could have switched over to a Clover circular.

It's a very pleasant thing, knitting a sleeve in the round. However, I should note that I did depart from Zimmerman's direction to cast on 20% of the total body stitches to make the sleeve cuff. At that circumference, even my quite small hand wouldn't have gone through comfortably, so I upped the figure to 25%. Marilyn and Greg both warned me this might be the case, and they were right.

I can only assume that Anglo-Saxons and Nords like the Zimmerman/Swansen bunch must have unusually slender and willowy extremities, at least in comparison to this stocky Italian/Arab peasant. I like them anyway.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Delayed Reaction

I don't flatter myself that this blog is any sort of media hub, and so I didn't rush to link to the Red Cross or anything right after Katrina hit. You who read this are all very intelligent people, all six of you, and you can find your way to the donations links without my help.

I didn't even want to post anything about the hurricane. I usually stick to three topics in here: knitting, photography, and weird shit that happens to me. I suppose you can file what follows in that third category.

Last night around midnight I went to bed as usual, having worked more of the Rhinebeck sweater. I was drifting off mostly with mental images of what I'm going to do with the chest band of the sweater floating about in my head and out of the blue I started crying.

My first partner had a theory about how useful denial (a process he was deeply in touch with) can be, saying it was a protective mechanism in the brain. Denial, he believed, kept things from overwhelming a person, keeping them functional until such time as the brain would be able to deal with whatever it was denying.

I guess last night my brain was finally able to confront the fact that New Orleans as we knew it is gone.

Mind you, I don't have roots there, or relations, or friends. I was there exactly once in my life, for five days. One hesitates to make a tragedy happening to others many, many miles away into a three-act drama starring oneself, and that's not at all what I mean to do.

This is just a personal tribute, that's all.

From childhood, there were only three American cities I really ever cared to visit. The first was New York, the second San Francisco, the third New Orleans. Of the three, New Orleans was the most alluring. I knew it mostly from pictures, both modern ones of the sort that show up in the newspaper travel section, and very old ones like Bellocq's photos of prostitutes. It all built up to an image that was very much the stereotype of the place, with all the attendant cliché words–magical, mysterious, and so forth.

Of my personal Big Three, New Orleans was the last I visited. Not so many years ago - two, I believe - my employer sent me down there for a conference. Out of my own pocket, I paid for a few extra days in the hotel so I could do some sightseeing. Of course, at that point I'd grown up enough to realize that few places ever live up to their publicized images. I was expecting to have fun, but not to find the city I'd dreamed about.

Imagine my surprise. It was wonderful. It really was as it was supposed to be, from the easy hospitality of the citizenry to the graceful, fragile architecture and the sultry atmosphere. (It can't really be gone, can it? Not all gone? Not really? Please?)

I love cities that Are Very Much What They Are, that have managed in the face of conformity and standarization to hang on to their own points of view and ways of doing things. New Orleans was exactly that. Outside the French Quarter, of course, it was no series of postcard views. The effects of long-term economic depression had done dreadful things to the Central Business District. It was hardly a dreamy Neverland. Storefronts were preserved along Canal Street, but the ones that were occupied usually had dingy chain outlets and dodgy electronics shops in them.

But...the people. Oh, the people.

Friendly to a fault. Mellow. Welcoming.

I was down there accompanied. I was in the first stages of what proved to be a very short-lived long distance thing with a guy who, for a couple months, put stars in my eyes. He was extremely shy and even semi-closeted (note: bad idea). But down there, in New Orleans, for the first and only time, he loosened up.

We were walking over to the French Market for beignets and feeling terribly lovey-dovey but of course not holding hands in public, when suddenly this fellow who was sitting on a bench near the river walk shouted good-naturedly, "Go ahead and hold hands, boys! Down here we don't give a shit!"

I thought my whateveryouwannacallhim was going to drop dead from a mixture of fright and embarrassment, but no. Instead, he reached over and grabbed my hand. I nearly dropped dead of surprise.

After three days in New Orleans, he'd gotten to a point where he spontaneously kissed me in front of the cathedral and the bells went off. I'm sure it was pure coincidence, but it didn't feel like it at the time.

It was the only time I ever saw my poor ex-whateveryouwannacallhim happy with himself and the world. After the trip, he went back north to a Very Cold City where he resumed being semi-closeted and utterly guilt-ridden, living a very buttoned-down life in a more typical American setting.

Alas, wouldn't you know that by not shooting us dead for loving each other, the people of the city of New Orleans sealed their doom? Yes, it's true. I read all about it online. You can read it for yourself here.

According to a group of fundamentalist Christians, Katrina wasn't a natural phenomenon. It is direct evidence of God's wrath against a city that welcomed wickedness. They see the demolition of New Orleans–a unique and beautiful city, home to millions and cradle of so much American culture–as not all bad. It is, in their opinion, more of the silver lining in the cloud.

An exact quote:
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," said Repent America director Michael Marcavage on the organization's Web site.
You know, that's true, when you think about it. Lots and lots of dead people, destroyed lives and businesses, lost history and art, illness, financial disaster, and displacement is not so bad when you consider that it wiped out a place where men were known to kiss in the street. When you look at it that way, it's a sort of mini-Rapture. Pretty cool.

I'm sure Michael Marcavage will sleep more soundly tonight, knowing New Orleans has been punished and that he himself is utterly pure in the sight of God. (One presumes he must think the same of his city or town, or he'd have moved out to avoid the inevitable.)

Isn't that right, Michael Marcavage? That you're perfect in the sight of God?

Is it right that God, who can see to the bottom of your soul and the depths of your heart, will find there only perfection, purity, not even a single thought or action that you wouldn't be happy to display to the entire world?

This had better be so, because as you've pointed out, God hates people with loose morals and kills them off. I'm sure you can support this with lots of Biblical evidence, too, like that story about the time your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ beat that fallen woman to death with a brick, and the time He and the Pharisees burned down the house of that tax collector.

No? Oh, I were thinking of Sodom and Gomorrah. Check your text again, Mr. Marcavage. Better still, consult a reputable scholar or historian who has read the source texts and seen beyond several centuries of accrued mistranslation. The sin of Sodom? It wasn't ass fucking. It was a lack of hospitality. A lack of compassion for displaced persons.

Sleep well tonight, Mr. Marcavage. I'm sure you're perfectly safe.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rhinebeck Sweater Status Report

Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Percentage sweater (Knitting Without Tears), raglan top

Jo Sharp DK Wool

Needle: Clover bamboo US7 circular

Working on:

Swatch gauge: 5.5 stitches/inch

Currently knitting at: 5.5 stitches/inch (yay)

Desired circumference: 39 inches

Achieved circumference:
39 inches (yay)

Desired body length from hem to underarm: 13.5"

Current body length: 6" on the dot

Number of times gauge has been measured: 4,567

Surprises: Iridescent purplish ply in otherwise blue yarn. Swear it was not there when looked at yarn at Stitches Midwest Market.

Programs watched in whole or part while knitting:
"The Forsyte Saga" (original version, 3 episodes), Hirschfeld: The Line King, "Absolutely Fabulous" Season One (2 episodes), "The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization," "In the Footsteps of Alexander" (final episode)