Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's late late late...

...and I'm tired tired tired - almost passed out several times while in the process of setting up to publish these few pics. I have a few more but will hold them off till tomorrow. I can't hold a coherent thought right now, so I'm gonna give it up and go get some sleep.

My FCEC Shrug

This was the shrug pattern in the latest (and greatest!) edition of Family Circle Easy Crochet (pictured on page 23, pattern on pg 67). The pattern called for Patons "Pooch", but since I had an abundance of Lion Boucle from my scarf projects, I decided to use that instead. I had sold my Taffy scarf (the one that was supposed to be for me) and since the person I bought it from was likely to wear it at work, I decided I'd rather make something else with that yarn. So I made this shrug! Just to personalize it, I decided to trim it with theblue boucle. It took some hunting to find just the right button for it, and I'm very happy with this one, made of bone!
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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Note for those who may attempt this pattern: It's really quite easy, but there was what appears to me to have been some steps ommitted that could cause some confusion. I know it delayed my progress for a few days, until I decided that although they hadn't mentioned it, the shoulder pieces did need to be joined together before starting with the instructions on the sleeves.

Shrug Modelled

I was looking as tired as I felt the day these pics were taken so I requested my photographer to leave my face out of it this time. I received many compliments on it, which was a gratifying feeling,
especially when I got the "You MADE that?! Wow!" responses.

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com
My, how time flies when you're busy! I've been wanting to get an update posted for awhile now, and with everything else going on I just kep running out of hours in the day, or the energy to do anything with the few free ones I found. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post more about it all later in the week or on the weekend. This will be a short post, just wanted to share a few pics of some projects I've been working on - of COURSE I've still been crocheting! But it's been hard to make time for even that, not as many opportunities for it as I crave.

I was going to post my pics here in this message, but for whatever reason, blogger is giving me fits trying - it won't display the pics! I really don't have time for this, and I don't want to put it off yet another day. So I will post them seperately, through photobucket.

Man, it's almost bedtime already - again! It feels sometimes like the hands of the clock are spinning the hours away. Keep up with everything? Fuh-get-about-it!

Ok, the pics - comin' up.

Friday, September 02, 2005

How did it come to be like this?

For the past week, I have sat in numb shock, reading and listening about the devastation going on in New Orleans. What those poor folks are going through makes my own difficulties seem a mere nothing in comparison. Because I generally avoid the mainstream media, except to occasionally check in to see what kind of propaganda spin they are placing on the news of the day, and TOTALLY avoid the likes of the Limbaughs and O'Reillys (because they make me want to puke, they are so disgusting), I have only picked up on some of what Mr. Floyd speaks of below. But as much as I avoid these sources of "news", I still managed to pick it up - and it disgusted me even worse. The sad thing is that far too many people will unconsciously pick up on these messages and parrot them back to friends and family - I know, because I have already seen some of it, and because I have witnessed it numerous times before.

It was heartbreaking today, listening on the news radio as people cried and pleaded for help - for food and water, and to be removed from an unlivable situation. The death toll is going to shock many, it is going to be very high. So far, the media has been downplaying the cost in human lives of this totally avoidable disaster (that will have to be a rant for another occasion). Someone posted to their list
this report which was passed on to them from a friend:

Observers Are Seeing Thousands Of Dead Bodies Along The Gulf Coast

Date sent: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 12:22:14 -0700 (PDT)

Astonishing Exclusive From Mississippi

BREAKING NEWS

It is with heavy heart I write this...
I have finally reconnected with my best friend who is a paramedic who
was sent from Georgia 2 days ago to Gulf Port, Mississippi before the
hurricane hit.

He just reached me within the last 10 mins via emergency cell phone
to tell me he was alive.

Thousands of bodies have been discovered throughout Mississippi in
Gulf Port, Waveland,Hancock County,Bay of St.Louis.

They are hanging in trees and they are pulling them out 30 at a time.
Entire families found drowned in their homes and washing up on shore.

The stories he could tell me were brief.

National Guard is on the scene and arresting anyone seen on the
streets. The numbers are staggering and what I have been told tonight will
shake people to their foundation as the numbers will be coming out in the
next 24-hours of just how many people have actually perished in these
and 3 other beach communities.
***
These reports, as far as I can tell, have still not made it out to the mainstream. They seem to be trickling the news of the level of devastation out in little dribbles, again managing to downplay it as much as possible. I won't get into the speculations on why that is here and now (I should be in bed, but this is leaving me sleepless), other than to suggest politics. There is one person who could be seriously damaged politically by it, though we will refrain at this time from mentioning who that might be..

Along with the above, I heard a report of people interviewed from the Superdome, who spoke of large numbers of bodies of people that expired while supposedly "protected" and evacuated to this facility, mostly elderly folks, people in wheelchairs and small children. The living had been locked up with the dying and dead, like animals in this leaky sports arena - without food or water or ventilation in extreme heat and humidity. They went there for protection from Katrina on Sunday, and were locked up in these conditions ever since! What is wrong with this picture folks?

Like Mr. Floyd, I too have heard people make comments and posit questions about why these people "chose to stay" instead of evacuating ahead of this hurricane. Hello? In the case of the vast majority of them, it was never a matter of choice! I know there are people who believe that poverty is a voluntary condition, gleefully embraced by lazy ne'er-do-wells and welfare queens, usually of color - these are the folks who hang on the disgusting utterances of jackasses such as Rush Limbaugh. But at any rate, the folks that got caught up in this did not do so voluntarily - they had no choice. No money, no car, nowhere else to go. What else can you do under those circumstances, besides pray?

I picked up on the second point a few days ago: the reporting of "looting" that was going on. It was a big topic of coverage today on the news radio station I was listening to. A flooded city, brought to a complete standstill, commerce-wise, and filled with increasingly desperate people battling to survive until some kind of aid arrives. Looting. Breaking into stores for food and medicines and water, maybe some clothes (can you imagine what it's like to be drenched in sewage- and chemical-infested water and have to sit in that for DAYS, unable to shower or change clothes because all you have are the stinky rotting rags on your back???), heck even DIAPERS for the baby - all "looted". Do you catch the irony here? Now, I didn't get to see the newspaper article Mr. Floyd refers to regarding the two pictures which he describes here, but I heard enough to imagine it, and it has totally enraged me. How DARE they portray desperate people fighting for their very lives as LOOTERS!

He said:

"There was the already infamous juxtaposition of captions for wire service photos, where depictions of essentially the same scene ­ desperate people wading through flood waters, clutching plastic bags full of groceries ­ were given markedly different spins. In one picture, a white couple are described as struggling along after finding bread and soda at a grocery store. But beneath an almost identical photo of a young black man with a bag of groceries, we are told that a "looter" wades through the streets after robbing a grocery store. In the photo I saw, this evil miscreant also had a ­ gasp! ­ pack of diapers under his arm."

Finally, comes a disturbing observation from a friend who lives in decidedly "red" Oklahoma, who wondered:

Am I missing something, or does it seem like the states all over the nation galvanized faster and with more enthusiasm for the poor tsunami victims than they are showing for New Orleans? Maybe it's just me. But I surfed through a Chicago station that talked about the huge effort already launched from there but here, much closer to the disaster, Tulsa stations haven't mentioned much about sending supplies or help. I heard only one thing about sending OK Nat'l Guard qualified with how they are already spread thin.

Anyone from Oklahoma reading this that might have evidence to refute this observation? I would love to see it if you do.

Okay, it's way past my bedtime, hopefully I will still be up and at 'em when I'm supposed to tomorrow am.

Love you Kate, sending you lots of {{{{HUGS}}}}, hope you and Robin and family are safe and sound (last I'd heard you were, but haven't been able to reach you still). You are all in my prayers, as well as the many missing and unaccounted for families and friends of others - may they all be found safe and sound as well. And may this misery end for all of those poor people who continue to be trapped in a doomed city. My heart goes out especially to them, for we let them down.

(If any of the formatting is wonky, I will fix it tomorrow - er, later today)

The Perfect Storm

New Orleans and the Death of the Common Good

By CHRIS FLOYD

"The river rose all day,
The river rose all night.
Some people got lost in the flood,
Some people got away all right.
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemine:
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.

"Louisiana, Louisiana,
They're trying to wash us away,
They're trying to wash us away."

-- Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927

The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level.

Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind." Instantly, the situation has been framed with language to flatter the prejudices of the comfortable and deny the reality of the most vulnerable.

It is obvious that the vast majority of those who failed to evacuate are poor: they had nowhere else to go, no way to get there, no means to sustain themselves and their families on strange ground. While there were certainly people who stayed behind by choice, most stayed behind because they had no choice. They were trapped by their poverty ­ and many have paid the price with their lives.

Yet across the media spectrum, the faint hint of disapproval drips from the affluent observers, the clear implication that the victims were just too lazy and shiftless to get out of harm's way. There is simply no understanding ­ not even an attempt at understanding ­ the destitution, the isolation, the immobility of the poor and the sick and the broken among us.

This is from the "respectable" media; the great right-wing echo chamber was even less restrained, of course, leaping straight into giddy convulsions of racism at the first reports of looting in the devastated city. In the pinched-gonad squeals of Rush Limbaugh and his fellow hatemongers, the hard-right media immediately conjured up images of wild-eyed darkies rampaging through the streets in an orgy of violence and thievery.

Not that the mainstreamers ignored the racist angle. There was the already infamous juxtaposition of captions for wire service photos, where depictions of essentially the same scene ­ desperate people wading through flood waters, clutching plastic bags full of groceries ­ were given markedly different spins. In one picture, a white couple are described as struggling along after finding bread and soda at a grocery store. But beneath an almost identical photo of a young black man with a bag of groceries, we are told that a "looter" wades through the streets after robbing a grocery store. In the photo I saw, this evil miscreant also had a ­ gasp! ­ pack of diapers under his arm.

Almost all of the early "looting" was like this: desperate people ­ of all colors ­ stranded by the floodwaters broke into abandoned stores and carried off food, clean water, medicine, clothes. Perhaps they should have left a check on the counter, but then again ­ what exactly was going to happen to all those perishables and consumer goods, sitting around in fetid, diseased water for weeks on end? (The mayor now says it could be up to 16 weeks before people can return to their homes and businesses.) Obviously, most if not all of it would have been thrown away or written off in any case. Later, of course, there was more organized looting by criminal gangs, the type of lawless element ­ of every hue, in every society ­ whose chief victims are, of course, the poor and vulnerable. These criminal operations were quickly conflated with the earlier pilferage to paint a single seamless picture of the American media's favorite horror story: Black Folk Gone Wild.

But here again another question was left unasked: Where were the resources ­ the money, manpower, materiel, transport ­ that could have removed all those forced to stay behind, and given them someplace safe and sustaining to take shelter? Where, indeed, were the resources that could have bolstered the city's defenses and shored up its levees? Where were the National Guard troops that could have secured the streets and directed survivors to food and aid? Where were the public resources ­ the physical manifestation of the citizenry's commitment to the common good ­ that could have greatly mitigated the brutal effects of this natural disaster?

"President Coolidge came down here in a railroad train,
With a little fat man with a notebook in his hand.
The president say, "Little fat man, isn't it a shame
What the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"

Well, we all know what happened to those vital resources. They had been cut back, stripped down, gutted, pilfered ­ looted ­ to pay for a war of aggression, to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest, safest, most protected Americans, to gorge the coffers of a small number of private and corporate fortunes, while letting the public sector ­ the common good ­ wither and die on the vine. These were all specific actions of the Bush Administration ­ including the devastating budget cuts on projects specifically designed to bolster New Orleans' defenses against a catastrophic hurricane. Bush even cut money for strengthening the very levees that broke and delivered the deathblow to the city. All this, in the face of specific warnings of what would happen if these measures were neglected: the city would go down "under 20 feet of water," one expert predicted just a few weeks ago.

But Bush said there was no money for this kind of folderol anymore. The federal budget had been busted by his tax cuts and his war. And this was a deliberate policy: as Bush's mentor Grover Norquist famously put it, the whole Bushist ethos was to starve the federal government of funds, shrinking it down so "we can drown it in the bathtub." As it turned out, the bathtub wasn't quite big enough -- so they drowned it in the streets of New Orleans instead.

But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies ­ kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media ­ can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line.

Again deliberately, with smear, spin and sham, they have sought ­ and succeeded ­ in poisoning the well of the democratic process, turning it into a tabloid melee where only "character counts" while the rapacious policies of Big Money's bought-and-sold candidates are completely ignored. As Big Money solidified its ascendancy over government, pouring billions ­ over and under the table ­ into campaign coffers, politicians could ignore larger and larger swathes of the people. If you can't hook yourself up to a well-funded, coffer-filling interest group, if you can't hire a big-time Beltway player to lobby your cause and get you "a seat at the table," then your voice goes unheard, your concerns are shunted aside. (Apart from a few cynical gestures around election-time, of course.) The poor, the sick, the weak, the vulnerable have become invisible ­ in the media, in the corporate boardroom, "at the table" of the power players in national, state and local governments. The increasingly marginalized and unstable middle class is also fading from the consciousness of the rulers, whose servicing of the elite goes more brazen and frantic all the time.

When unbridled commercial development of delicately balanced environments like the Mississippi Delta is bruited "at the table," whose voice is heard? Not the poor, who, as we have seen this week, will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the overstressed environment. And not the middle class, who might opt for the security of safer, saner development policies to protect their hard-won homes and businesses. No, the only voice that matters is that of the developers themselves, and the elite investors who stand behind them.

"Louisiana, Louisiana,
They're trying to wash us away"

The destruction of New Orleans was a work of nature ­ but a nature that has been worked upon by human hands and human policies. As global climate change continues its deadly symbiosis with unbridled commercial development for elite profit, we will see more such destruction, far more, on an even more devastating scale. As the harsh, aggressive militarism and brutal corporate ethos that Bush has injected into the mainstream of American society continues to spread its poison, we will see fewer and fewer resources available to nurture the common good. As the political process becomes more and more corrupt, ever more a creation of elite puppetmasters and their craven bagmen, we will see the poor and the weak and even the middle class driven further and further into the low ground of society, where every passing storm ­ economic, political, natural ­ will threaten their homes, their livelihoods, their very existence.

"Louisiana, Louisiana,
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away"

Chris Floyd is a columnist for The Moscow Times and regular contributor to CounterPunch. A new, upgraded version of his blog, "Empire Burlesque," can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.