Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Last Bastion of Peace...

...may be falling.  Apparently, the FCC is considering lifting the cell phone ban on airplanes - this is for US flights, particularly. The article on CNET is here. I'm so totally against this... 

Another interesting fact, here, is that the new FCC chairman is (gasp!) a former lobbyist for the cell phone industry. Imagine that. According to several articles, there ARE already some planes in Europe that do allow cell phones. But that doesn't mean we need to do that.

We were just on the plane when we went to France, and it was peaceful. Nobody was talking on the phone. Or arguing. Or just airing dirty laundry. 

The articles on this issue show that polls indicate something interesting. Overwhelmingly, over 60% of people surveyed do NOT want cell phones allowed. I'm fine with your tablet, your Kindle, your iDevice... But really. On the plane, there's no "quiet zone." Oh sure, the airlines can CHARGE for a so-called "quiet zone" but let's just look at the facts: The airplane is a large tin tube. They've got you squeezed in there like sardines anyway.  You don't even have enough space for a good stretch of the legs. What - each seat is about 17 or 18", and they're cram-jammed against each other. 

Do I really want to hear you talk on the phone? Do the flight attendants want even LESS attention? I mean, I'm probably the only one who listens to their schpiel anyway, but in an emergency, there'd be even more chaos.

People would be chattering away and the attendants would try to get everyone to pay attention and leave safely - but some dumbo would be trying to capture the moment the plane flames out on his or her device... For what? You'd likely be dead anyway, and causing more people to die because you want to be the next Ridley Scott or something. 

The other issue is basic common sense. On the METRA and on many local bus routes, you aren't allowed to have extended (or loud) conversations on the phone. And at least on a train, you could perhaps change cars. In the bus, the driver has the right (and actually has, in some instances) to tell you to pipe down. 

On a plane, all that's going to cause is "air rage." Do we really need that? I say no. And so should you. Go to the FCC's page here and make a comment. Stand up for peace on airplane flights. Heaven knows that the process of flying is stressful enough. None of us needs to hear anyone else's life story. Unless you're stuck sitting next to a chatterbox. 

In that case, put a pair of ear buds in, and tuck the ends into your shirt or bag...nobody will know whether you're really "hooked in" or not!

Cuisinart pot
The Splurge...

A little early Christmas gift for me and the Hubby. I've been wanting an electric kettle for some time now. There was a good coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I went ahead and got this kettle. It's nice because it has lots of different temperatures; I drink a variety of teas, and this gives me the option to not stew a more delicate tea. Honestly, the "boiling" is too hot for me, even though it says it's ok for black tea. 

So it's not as cheap as some, but I did look at the glass ones. Yikes! On top of that, we have horribly hard water (yeah, I've been meaning to get a water softener for about 18 years now) and a clear one would be a stinker to clean. At least this one has a nominal filter, and I can descale it with vinegar when I need to. 

I like Cuisinart; I'm not going to lie -- I did kill a blender. And there was this one two-part blender/processor thing that didn't quite live up to expectations. But we have the no-stick (not Teflon) pans and they're workhorses in our kitchen. And Hubby likes his coffee grinder. I think it's a reliable brand and worth the money you pay for the items. 

Hopefully, this thing won't make a liar out of me!


New Nativity
So our main campus decorated. But they do it early anyway. Next week, they're having the "official" lighting ceremony. Understandably, the campus has to get the Facilities guys out doing the job well before any homeowner would do it - though I'd have to debate that this year...

Here's the new Nativity they put up right by the library. Before you get your shorts in a knot, it's a Catholic university. We get to do that. 

However, in a fit of protest, I will complain about the neighbor who put his decorations up on November 1 and has them lighted. A wayyyyyyyyy long time early, mate! The guy down the street from us (in the same block as we are) has already done his as well. 

Gotta love Nordstrom's even though I can't afford to shop there. They have, once again, decided "One Holiday at a Time" is a good thing. Look here for their 2013 campaign. I love this. 

I can't get the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving. Much like phones on planes: Thanksgiving was the one oasis. You had football, turkey, and family. Not commerce. I heard the argument about, "Well, some of the people who shop then need to do that because they need the cheaper prices." 

Marketing, people. The prices are artificially inflated at the moment. They have to have something to "slash" so they jack them up before the holiday. I get that you want deals. I do. I love a good deal. But on the other hand, I love the peace of not fighting crowds. I love to not have chaos. Or at least not the chaos of the commercial enterprise. Family can be enough of its own chaos, thanks. 


The afghan is done. D-O-N-E.... I will, however, need to run it in the dryer and possibly block it a bit. I really do not like Tunisian crochet. It curls like stockinette. Even with a 3-row crochet border. Ugh. Here's a shot of my working along the edge. Miles and miles of stitches, watching the Dr. Who marathon. 

Afghan border
I wonder what the NSA will make of the caption of this picture. 

I'm plugging along on the sock. I did show Hubby the pattern that I want to do with the Lilac silk/wool. I will have to get the name and post it. It's from Ravelry. I'll also have to get a shot of the yarn. I can't wait to get started on it. It's based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's easy baby sweater. It's got a lovely lace pattern on the body and sleeves. 

Also will be working on #2 Teal Sock. I'm done being mad at it now... 


I'm sure you've all heard about the tornado damage in Illinois. Check this story from Slate. The video alone will give you something to think about. The power of Mother Nature - it's changing. There are things going on, and I'm a firm believer that unfortunately, WE are the cause of these things. 

The most recent issue of Business Week talks about the country of Kiribati, which will be drowned as the arctic ice melts. This is scary stuff. 

I know there are debunkers here. But I will have to grab Hubby's glacier pics. He took pictures as a highschooler at Many Glacier. And he took them when we were there almost 20 years ago. "Many" is now "Much-less" -- Heck, I was happy seeing "my" version of Many Glacier. Till he showed me what it used to look like. 

I don't have a solution, except that we should all try to lessen our carbon footprint as much as we can. Garden organically. Limit pesticides. Drive smarter. Recycle. If you can't make an impact even at your local government level, at least do it yourself. 


I haven't even read the paper yet... 

So let's move on to a happier subject.


Currently reading The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. I love her lyrical writing. I love the insight into Chinese culture. And I'm intrigued by the fact that this book, according to an interview she gave to the Chicago Tribune, "...may be part of my grandmother's history." Apparently, there's family legend that Grandma "may" have been a courtesan, though nobody's talking.

Here is the NPR book review, and I will give you a "Spoilers" alert... I just read the review, and I almost wish I hadn't. But truthfully, this is one of Tan's best works. Her loyal readers will remain loyal. 
"I've looked at clouds from both sides now..."

Random Picture...

Just clouds. I took this in May a couple of years ago. It was an interesting formation and I thought I would use it as a backdrop for something, or on a card.

Or maybe for this blog! With a side of Judy Collins for those of you who recognize the song. 

I love looking at clouds. Right now, outside my window, not only is it colder than heck (It's actually 24*, but feels like 11*) - and I know - it'll get colder! But it's also a bit overcast. It was sunny a bit ago, but now it almost looks as if it could snow. The wind is pretty brisk and the trees in the immediate vicinity are bare. Glad I'm inside with a cup of chai.

Nothing on the radar worth mentioning, but the greyness kind of reminds me that it is November, and that we're almost in winter. My favorite season, at any rate. 

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