Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cry Me a River...

So Tony "I Want My Life Back" Hayward has left the position of CEO of BP. Don't bother shedding any tears for the man. He leaves, after totally screwing up one of our most precious resources, with a platinum parachute: he'll get a year's salary of about $1.6 million (yes, one-point-six million dollars) as part of his severance package. And he gets his pension, and retains his rights to stock options.

Nice work for messing up the Gulf of Mexico and being a walking gaffe in action every time he opened his mouth.

He's being reassigned to Russia working on a joint venture. I think with his severance, he can afford a pretty nice place over there.

Just a reminder of what he's leaving: 
Oil-covered pelican

Blown well polluting the Gulf

Clean-up crew (notice no haz-mat gear?)

Well on fire

I'm thinking this is a pretty good day's work for Tony. He has nothing to regret for his tour as BP's CEO.  Quoting a former president, "Heckuva job, Tony!"

I hope he can sleep at night.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Down...

Yay for me!! The hats for the kids are D-O-N-E!  But there's a funny thing. Look at the picture.
Christmas Hats in Superwash Wool

You may think "wow, the blue one is bigger." And it is, a little. But look at the blue stripes - there are 2 stripes per color on each hat. For some reason - and maybe it's me, but I think it's the yarn - the brown stripes are "thicker" than the blue ones. The blue hat took a whole extra pattern round to get to the 6.25" from the cast-on edge. Same pattern; same brand of yarn; same needles.

Anyway, they're done. I'm chugging along on the Learning Sweater; taking my time finishing it. And frankly, I need to. I'm kind of sick of looking at it right now, and I need to work on some other projects.

Speaking of work --- I really need to get Dear Hubby to look at this laptop's keyboard. It hasn't been the same since the Puppy Drop Test... it works much better when I have an external keyboard attached; otherwise, it feels like I'm banging away on it. Yeesh; just like the shoemaker's kid; it'll take me several rounds of "strongly suggesting" that he look at it!! LOL -- poor guy; he really doesn't need me to nag.

He just needs to fix my keyboard.

Back to knitting - I'm on a roll with a baby car-seat-sized blanket!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Smell of Irony...

So the Republican'ts can't seem to force themselves to vote to extend unemployment benefits because it only "encourages laziness" among the worker-bees.

This is the group (along with any Democrazies who vote against it) who have LIFETIME health and retirement benefits, and pretty much life-time jobs as long as they don't screw up too badly.

They've just appointed a temporary seat-warmer for Robert Byrd's seat (the recently deceased Senator who became the longest-serving US Senator in the history of the US in 2009) - and they'll have to hold a special election to fill the seat permanently.

Now, you have to realize, this temporary seat-warmer will be a senator for about 6 months. Lucky for him, he won't serve long enough to receive either a pension or health benefits. According to http://usgovinfo.about.com/ members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans as other federal employees. They are not eligible for a pension till they reach age 50, but only with 20+ years of service. Without doing a crap-load of digging, I can't tell you if the temp-guy gets health benefits, but somehow, I don't think so.

Thank goodness.

However, my kid - an unemployed welder - could be denied further unemployment benefits because some rich fat white guys/gals (and that's not racist: look up the percentage of minorities in Congress) decide that he (my kid) will "become lazy." I snort in the general direction of those people. Those people who have lifetime pensions larger than I'm likely to receive; who have lifetime health care likely better than I will receive. They want to deny people with and without families who are suffering in this nasty economy a basic right to which they have contributed. There's something both ironic and mean-spirited about that. Don't even give me any bunk about "contributing to the deficit." Particularly if you subscribe to the new Republican't mantra of "It's the Democrats spending like crazy."

Are the Republican'ts that tone-deaf? They're getting as bad as the Democrazies who are unable to get a  coalition of the willing together, even WITH an instruction booklet. Hey, Dems - the Repubs are NOT interested in bipartisanship.

Here's more in the smell of irony category. Apparently, Newt Gingrich, who wants to run for Prez in 2012,  says on the Today Show that the bank bailout is Obama's fault. So is the war in Iraq. Newtie, Newtie, NEWTIE... Can you count, dude?? The bailout was a last-ditch effort of Shrub's to leave Obama with a steaming pile of manure. And that "drunken sailor" remark in regard to Democrat spending??? I do believe Shrub was spending all that money on a preemptive war of dubious worth in Iraq.

Let's look at those pesky facts. Shrub invaded Iraq in 2003. Obama got elected in 2008. Simple math: 2008 - 2003 = FIVE. FIVE YEARS of Shrub's War. Not Obama's.

Right now, I'm not a total fan of Obama's - he needs to play rough, and he can't. Adding the abortion clause to the health care legislation is playing along with (R)s who wouldn't pee on him if he was on fire. Sorry - it's the bald truth.

On October 3, 2008, the Senate passed the $700 BILLION bank bailout bill. Obama got elected on NOVEMBER 2, 2008.  That bailout was done under Shrub's watch TWENTY-NINE days prior to the 2008 election. And even after the election, Obama wasn't sworn in till January, 2009. Again - Shrub's Bailout. Not Obama's.

I realize how when the smoke of the burning irony gets into the eyes, it's hard to see the facts. But they're there. And we can easily find them. Finding those facts, from reputable non-partisan websites, took me all of 5 minutes using Bing.

Before you wholeheartedly put your vote or support behind a political party, please do some basic research. Before you listen to a talking head, no matter what TV or radio station, please help yourself by researching the topics.

The political talk is going to get uglier, if you can believe that. And I truly AM a cranky piece of work when it comes to my kids and what will happen to them. I'm all for them not being pampered, but trust me - unemployment is not pampering my kid. He's lost his home; he's lost his vehicle (an old Ford F150 pickup); he has bills which we are NOT paying for him. He's living in our basement. I'm telling you - he's feeling awfully ashamed of himself, and there is nothing he did wrong. He's a victim of an economy that went into the crapper and he has a lot of company.

Finding a way out of this mess will cost money that Obama has to spend. It's not entirely his fault. Afghanistan IS his baby. The economy and Iraq are not. In order for us to make and keep our nation great, we can't sit back and be spoon-fed. We need to wake up and smell the irony.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Of hats, booties and news...

Good news: The Learning Sweater is done! Not assembled, but done. I will put it together next week with the help of my knitting teacher. I won't be able to wear it till fall. Since the joke at the shop is that it was a "Two-year sweater project," it's probably better that I have a season to let the sweater sit.

So, on the Project List, we can cross off TWO items! Well, one actually done: the hat pictured here. This is for Kid One; Kid Two's hat is on the needles now. It looks small, but it's a beanie hat, from Knitting for Him by Martin Storey & Wendy Baker. I did it in 3 colors of SandesGarn "smart" super-wash wool. Since the kids do their own laundry, it's bound to happen that a hat will end up in the wash. And if it's in regular wool, it'll be a Barbie-hat!!

I didn't want my hard work to go through the rinse cycle, and I wanted the hats to be warm and durable. Acrylic wasn't an option. My LYS owner suggested this superwash, which is kind of a unique feel to me, since I've lately been knitting with either a cotton/merino blend or a pima cotton. What a "scratchy" yarn, I thought. Till I washed it. It softened up really nicely.

Kid One wanted "browns and greens." Kid Two wanted something to sort of match his winter coat. His will be navy as the base color, tan to match his coat and gold. So far, I think I honestly like the first version better, but maybe that'll change as the second hat moves along. Remarkably, it's knit flat, and seamed. All in all, it's a super-quick hat - a faster knitter would've had it done in a weekend. I carried the colors up the side, since you change every 2 rows. No sense spending time and effort weaving in a gazillion ends. I thought about ripping Kid Two's hat out and starting with tan as the base color, but I really like the idea of a darker base color.

And the leftover yarn will be used for (insert drum roll here): my new great-neice or nephew! My sister is beating me to the Grandma-Train, which is certainly fine by me. She couldn't contain herself, and told me. The kids are happy with the news and will wait a bit to announce to the family at-large. So, after the announcement, my Inner Granny (which I thought was somewhat dormant, but I guess after the afghan and quilt I did for friends' kids, and the bib/burp cloth combo, that Inner Granny does stir once in a while) --- well, my Inner Granny went nuts.

I have a list of things which will be knitted for the wee one: I'm using the leftover hat yarn for some simple booties; the colors are kind of non-gender-specific, and even if I only use the gold and tan, they'll be nice additions for the youngster. I'm also doing a car-seat-sized afghan in a really pretty (but not girly, just in case) lace pattern - which will probably be done in the pima cotton for ease of care. And I'll do a bonnet and mitts. Those are also non-gender-specific, because they'll be a simple basket-weave, if I can find the flyer I'm looking for!!

The flyer was a hand-over from a nun friend of mine. When her mom died, she left an abundance of crochet hooks and knitting needles, a selection of old (I'm talking 40+ years old) patterns and some stash. I used the stash as pet afghans, which were appreciated by the dogs that got them. I have been using the needles and hooks, and the baby patterns will now come in handy - but I have to find them!!

If I get really ambitious and ahead of schedule, the little one will also have a simple quilt.

My kids have already announced that I shouldn't wait for grandkids. Kid One announced it first, and said to Kid Two: "It's all you, buddy." Was my world rocked? Not really. I like to think that I raised my kids to live their own lives. I'm not pining for grandkids. I can be the crazy great-aunt who knits for the rest of the family.

Kid One already said he knows he's not "father material." And yeah - that can change if he meets the right girl and the circumstances are right. The only thing I told him was to keep an open mind and make sure that there were no instances where he was "surprised."

Kid Two has a while yet. :)  He may or may not follow that path, and I'm ok with whatever they decide. My wish is that they have a job they love, income enough to be comfortable, and with any luck: someone to make them happy.

I like to think that my Inner Granny is channeling my own Grandma. This August will be a year since she died. It was at least 6 years prior to her death that she laid down her needles and hooks, and gave in to the blindness that caused her so much pain. I'm the only grandkid who picked up the implements and I feel like I'm carrying on her legacy.

Grandma, you'd have loved to have been a great-great-grandma! I'll keep you in mind as I knit these things for the little one to come.