Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Color explosion

I've been browsing in Cecile Meraglia's blog, Aventures Textiles. She's posted some white-on-white embroideries that are breathtaking in their austere beauty... but they're not good inspirations for me at
this time of year. Too bleak!

The Christmas season has been difficult for me ever since my father died on a Christmas Eve. It was a long time ago, but... well, he did not have an easy or a peaceful death, and in the days leading up to Christmas each year I tend to get hit by flashes of memory that I could well do without. So I'm in a mood
for color and noise and lots of it. This piece of Cecile's, titled, "Red Sun," suits me today. I like the bright colors popping out against the black.

And it reminds me that even a black mood can be overlaid with brightness.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


"Mom, she's crawling!"
"Yeah, right."
For the last month the Youngest Grandchild has been getting up on her knees and elbows and rocking back and forth as if putting all that energy into the project will magically create forward motion. I've stopped holding my breath in anticipation of this particular milestone.
"No, she's really crawling! Wait till you see the video! She figured out how to move her knees and she went right across the room and filled both hands with her big brother's toys!"
(thoughtful pause)
"Lego blocks. Crayons. Choking hazards everywhere to be picked up...I'm screwed, aren't I?"
"Yes, dear."

And now, having watched the video a mere five or six times, I think I'll get down on my knees and elbows and rock back and forth for a while. Who knows, maybe it'll magically create forward motion in this morass of a half-plotted book.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The death of humor... plus ça change...

By Adolf Schrödter - http://www.hampel-auctions.com/

IdahoBeauty's comments to the last post caused me to reflect that although she didn't put it quite like this, the proportion in so-called "news" publications of actual news to opinion, innuendo, and repetition is like the proportion of bread to wine in Falstaff's inn tab. Then, because my memory is failing, I had to look up the "bread and sack" quotation so as to be sure I got the words right. And that search led me to a magazine article from 1780 that might have been dictated by one of the humorless scolds we were decrying.

In a comment on the "bread and sack" scene the writer says, "The effects we feel at what I next quote, are sufficient to convince us how dangerous wit and humour are in the power of knaves. They take our hearts in despite of our senses. Although we know them to be all that is bad, yet we cannot withhold our affections."

Oh, okay, we could go back to Plato for examples of the ruling classes distrusting artists. Heck, there's probably something to that effect in the epic of Gilgamesh. But for today, The Lady's Magazine suffices to remind me that the scolds are always with us. God forbid anybody should be funny. Humor is too dangerous to be allowed out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I cannot tolerate these intolerant songs!

I was gonna do a Christmas songs post... but somebody beat me to it! (Stumbled upon this at Bookworm Room, lack the twitter/internet skills to trace it back and give credit to the originator.)

All I've got left is a few words of censure for the incorrect attitudes implied by traditional Christmas carols.

Royalist: "Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King"

Elitist: "The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay"

Misogynist and transphobic: "Round yon virgin mother and child" - privileging chastity? And why celebrate Mary for doing something so trivial as giving birth? This attitude is hateful towards childless women, women who want to shout their abortions, and most of all, womyn without wombs or even X-chromosomes.

Anti-Satanist: "To save us all from Satan's toils, when we were gone astray" - blatantly prejudiced. Why does no one ever speak up for the Prince of Darkness?

Oh, sorry about that last. I guess I forgot. The entire outrage mob is already speaking up for him, all the time. Or should that be "xim?"

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Wonderful...Witches?... of Oz

It's one of the perks of marriage: the First Reader reads the Guardian, so I don't have to. He sent me this brilliant commentary on The Wizard of Oz. I must admit to being surprised by the timing. I mean, it's December. I thought we were supposed to be outraged by racism and bullying ("Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer), date rape (Baby, It's Cold Outside) and more racism (I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas). But no, the outrage industry isn't busy enough banning creche displays and pushing African "traditions" like Kwanzaa. They have to go after nonseasonal outrages as well.

"...the film revels in the violent deaths of “ugly” women, who have houses dumped on them or drown in water that melts them like acid, while the greatest deceiver, the Wizard, simply shrugs and floats away at the end of the film."

Because, I guess, nothing says "empowered woman" like sending your flying monkeys to capture a little girl and her dog and kill her friends.

(Toto could not be reached for comment.)

Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The insufficiently woke Mr. Tolkien

The First Reader found this parody conversation from McSweeneys recently -- I have no idea how, because he's not a Tolkien fan. It's old, but I hadn't seen it before. Here's a sample:

ZINN: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

CHOMSKY: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

ZINN: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire’s pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor’s unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

CHOMSKY: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf’s pipe-weed ring. He’s trying to divert it.

ZINN: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf’s interest to keep Middle Earth hooked.


Monday, November 26, 2018

I actually finished something!

No, not a book this time. Lacking a decent sense of humility, I will brag that since resuming a writing career in 2017 I've established a decent track record for not only finishing books but getting them out there. Eight books out in that time period, five of them published this year; three more in the queue to get covers and formatting; and a twelfth book on track to be done by next week.

No, it's the piece of embroidery up above, which I currently love so much that I'm thinking of making it my header pic. In the course of cleaning up the sewing room and tackling the mountain of things to be mended or altered, I came across this piece of "fabric" which I made during the years before back problems knocked me out of doing anything at all. It's actually a conglomeration of different fabric scraps, some painted and dyed silk, some dryer-wrinkled, some insubstantial bits of net, all fused to a felt background and held down by a ton of ribbons, stitching, and rose montee crystals.

Hmm. Felt-backed, pretty, about the size of an opened book; what to do with that? Well, my current favorite writing spot is one end of the new couch, with its handy footrests that rise at the push of a button. It's got broad arms suitable for holding a cup of coffee, but the catch is that if I keep drinking coffee there the upholstery will eventually have coffee-colored stains. Enter this little piece. With a bit more embroidery to hold everything in place, and a blue cotton back cover from the fabric stash, it's almost perfect to lay across the arm of the couch right where I want to keep a cup or glass.

"Almost," because the surface is just a bit scratchy. So, eventually it will probably be replaced by something less decorative but smoother to the touch; one of the cotton prints I brought back from India should work. But for now, I'm going to admire my pretty turquoise fantasia... and stitch on the unfinished crazy quilt blocks I unearthed at the same time, which make a nice break from summarizing A Revolution of Rubies to send off to the cover artist.
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