This is not a full day's worth of links, nor am I anywhere near finished with either e-mail or Blogjob (much less blog feed, Google +, Live Journal, Grassfire, or Freedomworks) reading, but I want to get it up on Blogjob and then go and VOTE. U.S. readers, if you've not done it already, please set your computer to "hibernate" mode and VOTE. I'll come back online after voting; more links will appear tomorrow. Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Link, Animals, Books, Crafts, Phenology Links, The Personal Is Political, The Political Is Weird.
Obligatory Fundraising Link
This fundraising campaign was supposed to be fun. This project was supposed to be fun. It's not fun because you're not funding it. So please fund it, and let's get back to the fun part.
Do you have an official State Insect? Do you know which one it is? (I did, yes.) Linked because the fireflies shown here are so much cuter than the firefly image I ganked for yesterday's Blogjob post.
Should I put links to my Blogjob on the Blogspot? Why not? Today's book review was written with yesterday's op-ed post in mind:
Has everyone out there heard of Peace Fleece's international wool yarns?
I don't often knit with 100% wool, because there's little demand for it in this climate. When I do knit with pure wool I like Philosopher's Wool, mainly because it's what used to be on the shelf in the upscale wool shop I used to visit when I could afford to visit upscale wool shops.
Not that I've knitted enough pure wool pieces to have a consistent preference. It's all delightful to handle in winter, when the lanolin in real wool moisturizes the knitter's hands. Some wools I've enjoyed knitting recently--classics that are still available, with live links in this paragraph if the company has its own web page--are Plymouth Galway, La Lana, Cherry Tree Hill, Dale of Norway, Alafoss Lopi, and Colinette. I've not worked with Meg Swansen's wools, Alice Starmore's very own Virtual Yarn or with the classic Jamieson & Smith wool, but they're good quality yarns too. (Back when I was earning good money, I invested some of it in beautiful yarn!) These are fairly "natural" wools--dyed, but not highly processed, with plenty of lanolin and, in most cases, little of the acid bath treatment that really causes what people mistake for "wool allergies." They all work well together; if one manufacturer isn't offering the color you want in the weight you want, no worries, get it from another; if some of it's thinner than the rest, knit two strands of the thinner yarn together.
In my part of the world, people who appreciate 100% wool are definitely a minority. And if you're one of them, you may want to connect with the others online. Hence this batch of links to some people who've been producing beautiful, good-quality wool, consistently, for a long time. And here's today's Amazon book link:
(Why the Philosopher's Wool book instead of Sweaterscapes, a series set up to highlight the colors (then) available from Peace Fleece? Why promote Canadian wool people's venture above a U.S. veteran's wool venture? I'm not, actually. I think traditional abstract multicolor patterns tend to be easier to wear than landscape pictures wrapped around the body...and actually, because the Philosopher's Wool book's approach pushes knitters to make each jacket (or other interpretation of their patterns) unique, knitters are likely to want to mix wools madly if they get into knitting Maine/Canadian-type snowproof sweaters.)
Some of the early signs of spring are here, although this is still only a False Spring, or Thaw. With daytime temperatures around 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit, today I saw robins, crocus, daffodils, a red wasp (Polistes carolinensis), and a little early spring flower in the mint family that I know as "ground ivy."
I've been meaning to post about the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher I saw on Friday, as well. I will post about it, but it won't be a current phenology post when I write about this bird. (It would have been a phenology post, although Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers flit around in the treetops for most of the year here. The gusty winds that pinned the bird in the bush where I could see that it wasn't a mockingbird or chickadee were specific to the last weekend this February.)
The Personal Is Political
This one belongs in a category of its own. Here we have a nice, moderate, reasonable left-winger trying to reason with one of the strange types of "thinkers" found in the Illiberal Left--the bean-counter who thinks s/he is a "Social Justice Warrior," but only for those who conform to the stereotype of their demographic group that serves S.J.W.'s purposes. And mercy, Percy, are those people ever rigid and intolerant and hidebound...
The Political Is Weird
Totalitarian government at work: first mature women--active, healthy, well enough preserved that most of them could probably still pass for graduate students--were told they were too old to work, and then they were told there was an official "approved" way to dance in their...uh-oh. They seem to think they're square dancing. What they're doing, as photographed, is line dancing classes.
(A vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote to bring this kind of thing into these United States.)