"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quote of the Month

"Elsewhere, Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed a bill that would have made English the official language of the city, saying that it would have discouraged President Bush from visiting."
--the Borowitz Report, 02/12/2007

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Thursday, February 15, 2007


My mom raised me to not spend money I don't have. Sensible, no? And that sensible philosophy saw me through my twenties with only a student loan on my back. Growing up (and I include my twenties in that!) living the pay-as-you-go maxim imbued me with a deep distrust, even fear, of credit cards.

We all know someone who thought "hey, free money!" when that first credit offer arrived days after their first job started, and later learned how NOT free that money is. They're sneaky, those cards. Blow a thousand bucks in one place, and pay only $25 a month thereafter! How nifty! How keen! Pay that twenty five bucks a month until it stacks up to thrice the purchase price. How evil.

But I want to buy a house someday, and I want that someday to be while I'm still young enough to really enjoy the damn thing. A student loan isn't (alas) enough of a credit history to get a mortgage, and being responsible enough not to get into debt in the first place (double-alas) counts for precisely nothing in today's America.

So. I got a credit card.

And for the last year that credit card has been sitting in my wallet like a ticking time bomb, pulled out gingerly at great intervals and only after the most solemn forethought, only to be paid off with an alacrity most people reserve for pulling their firstborn out of traffic.

But the siren's song of credit finally got me.

My first mistake was browing Amazon.com while, ah, less than flush in the pocket. My second mistake was taking a "quick peek" onto my Wishlist, "just to remind myself" of what I wanted.

(You see where this is going, don't you?)

Lo, upon what did my longing glance alight but a book and a kitchen implement (a bake-your-own taco shells rack), both of which I have been sighing over these many weeks. My thought process at that point went something like this:

If I get the free super-saver shipping, it'd be okay...

But no, I really shouldn't be spending on non-necessities right now. I can wait until I get paid again.

But I REALLY want to read that book. And I loves me some tacos.

It can wait.

I could read the book while eating tacos.

That sounds fabulous. But I'm kind of broke.

I'm only kind of broke because I paid ten times the minimum payment on my Visa last week.

Which means...


Which means, I have a shitload of room on my Visa now.

And that, friends and neighbors, is how I got seduced on Valentine's Day.

I'm hoping for something a little more traditional next year.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One Down, Two to Go

Mauer Signed to 4-Year Deal

There was one thing that catcher Joe Mauer couldn't wait to tell Twins general manager Terry Ryan when he talked to him on Sunday morning -- that he couldn't be more excited to be behind the plate for the opening of the team's new ballpark.

Mauer gave himself that opportunity when he agreed to a four-year, $33 million deal with the club on Sunday. The contract will keep the St. Paul native in Minnesota through at least the 2010 season, when the team's new ballpark is scheduled to open.

"To know that I'll be playing in Minnesota for the next four years is a great feeling," Mauer said. "Just to be able to be behind the plate when the new stadium opens is something that I'm really looking forward to. Growing up here as a fan, I've been waiting for an outdoor stadium. And having watched all that's transpired to get it, it's going to be special to be playing when it opens."

Mauer, 23, became the first catcher to win an American League batting title and the first catcher to lead the Majors in hitting with a .347 average last season, along with 13 home runs and 84 RBIs. It was a season full of accolades for the No. 1 pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft as he was also named to the AL All-Star team.

All offseason the Twins had made clear that one of their goals was to sign some of their young talent to long-term deals and Mauer's contract was the first that the club was able to accomplish.

Given his accomplishments, and how much he'd be likely to command on the market in a couple of years, this is (barring injury/sudden suckage) a good deal for all concerned. It's a lot of money for such a young player, but the Twins are not in a position where they can afford to lose someone who puts as many butts in the Metrodome's hideous seats as Mauer does. It's profit-sharing, really.

Now, if we can lock down Morneau and Santana next offseason, we might be onto something...

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Knitblogging, With Pictures

OTN ("on the needles")

The Radiant Circle Throw. Since it's knitted in the round on circular needles, I can't lay it flat, but you get the idea.

The Moda Dea acrylic mitts. These will probably be finished tonight.

The Sweater. Body, and the beginnings of sleeves.

Recently Completed

The Delicious Irony Mitts, with an organic cotton hat I finished in November, but which I included because a) I love love love it and b) it's my very own pattern! Yay, me!

Fingerless mitts made from Fortissima Socka. Serving as a second layer to a pair of plain black gloves, on account of FS being comprised largely of wool.

The petal dishcloth, in Sugar & Cream cotton yarn.

The petal dishcloth pattern, worked up in Patons Soy Wool Stripes on size 11 needles, and felted into a hotpad.

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Outdoor Baseball?

We've been hearing hints for some time now that all is not well in NewBallparkLand. The evening news gives us soundbites about "difficulties agreeing on a purchase price for the land" and the daily newspapers are scarcely more informative. All anyone seems sure of is that somehow, after all the wrangling in the Legislature, all the commercials and the petitions and the triumphant signing ceremonies, the Twins don't yet own the land they want to start building on.

So what's going on? The new stadium has been presented as a sure thing, but is it really? Could we open the 2010 season in the Metrodome? The City Pages cover story this week attempts to answer those questions.

"Groundbreaking for the stadium is slated to begin in March 2007, just a few weeks from now, but the county has not yet acquired the land where it will be built. And its owners seem nowhere near reaching an agreement to sell it."
That's the issue in a nutshell. But the story of how it got to this point is long and weird and frankly disturbing. You should read it.

And you may want to reconsider laying in that stock of sunscreen.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I really should be writing more, but this cold snap has gotten me into a knitting frenzy. Which, considering my normal knitting project load, is saying something.

At the moment, I'm working on a Radiant Circle Throw made with yarns from my stash, so it's going to come out in entirely different colors and textures than the designers intended. But I'm pretty pleased with it so far, and let's face it--anything that clears twelve skeins out of my stash and doesn't involve the fire department is a good thing.

I've picked up the sweater (it's my first and only, so it gets to be "the" sweater) again and have finally completed the body and started on the sleeves. I started it in the fall of '05 and have worked on it sporadically since. Will this be the winter I finally get to wear it? Stay tuned.

I finally found a 100% acrylic self-striping yarn and am using it--specifically the "Lucky" colorway--to make fingerless gloves. Why all the excitement about this lone acrylic, when there are hundreds of self-striping wool blends out there? I don't know if I'm actually allergic to wool or if spending the first half of my life in Texas just deprived me of the opportunity to toughen up against it, but regardless, I find that even "superwash" wool is only slightly less itchy than, say, poison ivy. So, if I want something I can actually wear next to my skin, wool is straight out.

I just finished a petal dishcloth and was so excited by the magic of short-rowing that I dug out some of my leftover Patons Soy Wool Stripes and whipped up a bigger, floppier version of the same pattern which I then felted into a hotpad. It's pretty, I'll have to get a picture up sometime. I also finished a pair of mittens from yarn I bought in south Texas (I call them my Delicious Irony Mitts) and have scads of yarn left over, so I think I'll try flip-top mittens out of the same stuff.

On deck, I have some Misti Alpaca #8934 just begging to be turned into leg warmers, some heavy cotton I'm going to knit up into Fair Isle hat for spring, this gorgeous hat pattern which I simply must match up with a yarn or three from my stash, and of course the ever-present temptation of Lion Brand's new organic cotton. No, I haven't ordered any. Yet.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

"I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point -- race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything."

"Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?
Oh, it's just that your life is at stake."

"You want moral leadership? Try the clergy. It's their job."

"I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives."

"I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults."

"The poor man who is currently our president has reached such a point of befuddlement that he thinks stem cell research is the same as taking human lives, but that 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians are progress toward democracy."

"Many people did not care for Pat Buchanan's speech; it probably sounded better in the original German."

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."

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