Sunday, November 30, 2014

Elizabeth Barrette's Winterfaire

Is this cool, or is this cool? Elizabeth Barrette is linking as many crafters (and independent writers) as possible to her Live Journal:

If you scroll down through the comments you'll find lots of other cute stuff (note that LJ is global, so some of it's not made in the U.S.A.) as well as links to my knitting posts and Theresa Wiza's crocheting ( ).

I wish I had good news to report from , but I've not seen or heard of any more jewelry being available through this site.

Robert Hurt on the Role of the Executive and Legislative Branches in the Constitution

This is politics...sorry, Freedom Connector has separate rules for elected officials so I can't re-share this e-mail there, and I know some people outside Robert Hurt's district want to read it.

Dear Friend,
We face a crisis across our nation as millions of illegal immigrants have streamed into our country, overwhelming our nation’s resources and often endangering the lives those who make the journey. The failure of this administration and past administrations to secure our border and fully enforce immigration law undermines our sovereignty, public safety, and the economic security of American citizens.
On Thursday night, President Obama addressed the nation and announced that he will issue executive orders to effectively grant legal status to nearly five million illegal immigrants. I am very disappointed by the President’s decision to defy the Constitution and American law by issuing these executive orders, which will only compound these serious problems we already face by inviting more illegal border crossings.
The House has passed legislation to help address the root causes of this crisis - our failure to secure the border and our failure to adhere to the rule of law. Back in August, we passed critical legislation to stop the flow of illegal border crossings by sending targeted resources to bolster our border security personnel, allowing border states to deploy the National Guard, providing persons who illegally entered the country a safe, expeditious return to their home countries, and implementing meaningful reforms that will discourage, rather than encourage, illegal immigration. These bills, like so many others, are still awaiting consideration in the Senate.
President Obama has acknowledged time and time again that the Constitution limits the authority of the executive branch to act unilaterally to change the law, yet he has decided to act contrary to his constitutional powers and without the consent of Congress to effectively grant legal status to nearly five million illegal immigrants. In fact, he has publicly stated at least 22 times that he does not have the ability to act unilaterally or ignore immigration law. Yet, on Thursday night, he told the American people he will do exactly that.
Once again, the President has chosen political expediency over working together with a new duly-elected House and Senate to fix our broken immigration system. This is not the way our government should work. In the Constitution, our Founders established a system of government with separate powers and explicit checks and balances, and this President must abide by the Constitution and act within the bounds established in it. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to stop this affront to our Constitution, to strengthen the security at our border, and to implement an immigration policy that is rooted in the rule of law.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert met with Everlena Ross of Pittsylvania County and Haywood Isler before the presentation of the Freedom Award to Congressman John Lewis.
Robert Hurt"

Food Is Not Politics

Food is not politics. I promised to move most of the political content to Freedom Connector, but here's an e-mail from Patricia Evans about food, followed by one from Tom O'Bryan...

Patricia Evans writes:

Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about Food Freedom with your family and friends. Help Virginia Food Freedom gain support and momentum for 2015.

The 2014 “Virginia Food Freedom Act” was killed in committee, but Del. Bell is bringing the bill back in the upcoming 2015 legislative session as HB 1290.  The bill will go before the Agriculture Subcommittee of the Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee sometime between mid-January and early February.

Bernadette Barber, a Lancaster County farmer and well known Virginia Food Freedom advocate recently spoke at the Russell County Republican Banquet about the benefits of the Virginia Food Freedom Act, HB 1290 sponsored by Del. Rob Bell.
"The ability for people to make foods in their own home and sell them to their family, friends and neighbors can change the whole food scape of Virginia. It stabilizes our economy. People want food choice and when you cannot buy it unless it is only licensed by the government there isn't really a choice."
Dwayne McIntyre, chairman of the Russell County Republican Committee called it "the reset button" to restore our rights we have slowly lost over the last few decades.
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms was the key note speaker. "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal" was the topic.
Other speakers included Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association president, Lois Smith, Delegate Yost, Fauquier County farmer, Martha Boneta, House Agriculture subcommittee member, Del. Will Morefield, Senator Ben Chafin, and Del. Rob Bell.
A Constitutional amendment for the Right to Acquire Foods Directly From Your Farmer has yet to land a sponsor.

Read more here:  and Business News"

 Tom O'Bryan writes:

Good day, Priscilla!
Wait. What? Turkey is just meat and bones and such, right? There's no wheat, barley or rye in a turkey, right? Especially before it's seasoned and cooked, right?
Well, there shouldn't be. Sigh.
But there just might be gluten in your turkey...
Dextrin and starch are two products used in many foods, and may or may not come from gluten sources and contain toxic gluten proteins. Unfortunately, they could also be found in your turkey (e.g., a turkey may be injected with hydrating juices containing gluten to fatten it up creating a hidden, potentially toxic exposure to gluten)*.
Even with the food labeling legislation passed earlier this year, some U.S. government agencies do not regulate the labeling of foods with these allergens. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates meats, eggs and poultry, does not currently enforce allergen labeling. USDA products may have potential gluten sources in them listed in the ingredients as dextrin or starch.
This is not true of FDA-regulated products, where dextrin and starch are required to be labeled as containing a "wheat" product. Companies that put allergen labeling on products with a USDA seal may voluntarily comply with the FDA allergen regulations or they may not. "

Friday, November 28, 2014

Baby Rainbow Cap

In real life the pastel colors are a little brighter than they appear on the computer screen, but yes, this is the "baby rainbow" of pink, coral, lemon yellow, mint green, baby blue, and lilac.

Although the cables draw in and make this a medium-small, snug-fitting cap, human head sizes don't change a great deal and most adults could wear this cap if they so chose.

The material is machine-washable acrylic. It may stretch a little; it won't shrink.

The price is $5 for the cap, $5 for shipping, and you can add a few other things to the package for one $5 shipping fee.

Book Review: 101 Things for Girls to Do

Title: 101 Things for Girls to Do
Author: Lillie B. and Arthur C. Horth
Date: 1935
Publisher: J.B. Lippincott
ISBN: none; click here to see it on Amazon
Length: 176 pages, plus index
Illustrations: some diagrams
Quote: “The main purpose of this book is to provide girls of various ages with something to do during leisure hours.”
Boys of various ages would enjoy some of these activities too. They include leatherwork, linoleum printing, “simple jewellery work” and “mounting stones in silver,” and making candy...but you couldn’t publish this as a children’s book today. These authors assume that “girls of various ages,” though reading at a sixth-grade level, would be able to assemble a weaving loom, able to use a fretsaw, likely to have “done a little bookbinding,” and familiar with soldering.
It’s not that college “girls” would not be attracted to these hobbies—indeed, soldering might be a more wholesome thing for a college student to do than broadcasting her secrets into cyberspace. And I’m all in favor of the idea that children’s pastimes are not dictated by “age groups,” that parents are more likely to recommend the right books, toys, and crafts by observing a particular child than by reading generalizations about children of a particular age. Still, even for me, the blithe assumption that a fast-reading third grade girl who found this book in a school library could dive into metalwork as easily as she could take up watercolor painting seems a bit much. The references to “girls,” I think, give readers a certain right to expect instructions for pressed flowers, potato-head figures, and folding paper to make chorus lines of paper dolls. Those crafts are not discussed here. And far be it from me to make the decision for my niece that she’s “too young” to string beads on wire or take wind-up clocks apart, or “too old” to make chorus lines of paper dolls if that’s what amuses her, but personally I don’t think of anything that involves extremely high temperatures and nasty fumes as a pastime for children even with adult supervision.
Teenaged girls who have plenty of pocket money can have lots of fun with this book, but they’ll need teachers who can show them how the more difficult crafts are done. 101 Things for Girls to Do is strong on diagrams for embroidery stitches but weak on detailed instructions for using a fretsaw, keeping bookbinding and babysitting jobs fully separated, or preparing a place to do a bit of soldering. For parents who know how to do these things, this could be an excellent homeschooling book.

101 Things for Girls to Do is definitely in the collector's book price range by now. Although it's too late to offer it as a Fair Trade Book, the best price I can offer online purchasers is $20 for the book + $5 shipping. (But at least you can add other things to the package for that $5.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pink Lace Cap

The colors in this picture are reasonably true. The hat is pale pink. Size is average. Material is machine-washable acrylic. Price is $5 + $5 shipping.

Book Review: 100 People Who Changed America

A Fair Trade Book

Title: 100 People Who Changed America
Author: Scholastic Books staff, primarily Russell Freedman

More about Russell Freedman and his work:
Date: 2004
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 0-439-70999-7
Length: 64 pages
Illustrations: lots of graphics, black-and-white photos
Quote: “The photos and facts included on these pages are snapshot invitations for you to explore more about an individual’s life.”
Russell Freedman, who wrote Lincoln, a Photobiography, wrote several of the mini-biographies in this book.
The best and worst thing about a book like this is the selection of subjects, so here are the people Freedman thinks children should read about: Bill Gates, William Randolph Hearst, John Jay, Juliette Gordon Low, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor, John D. Rockefeller, Muriel Siebert, Madam C.J. Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Benjamin Banneker, Alexanderr Graham Bell, Clarence Birdseye, Nolan Bushnell, Willis Haviland Carrier, George Washington Carver, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Milton Hershey, Steve Jobs, Maya Lin, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Elisha Otis, Noah Webster, Eli Whitney, Frank Lloyd Wright, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Mary McLeod Bethune, Jimmy Carterr, Cesar Chavez, Shirley Chisholm, Frederrick Douglarss, Thomas Jefferson, Helen Keller, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Wilma Mankiller, Rosa Parks, Alice Paul, Pocahontas, Ronald Reagan, Eleanor, Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, George Washington, Maya Angelou, Chuck Berry, Margaret Bourke-White, Emily Dickinson, W.E.B. DuBois, Ella Fitzgerald, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Martha Graham, D.W. Griffith, Jim Henson, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, “Jelly Roll” Morton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elvis Presley, Norman Rockwell, Steven Spielberg, Mark Twain, Andy Warrhol, Walt Whitman, Neil Armstrong, Clara Barton, Rachel Carson, William Clark (why not Meriwether Lewis?), Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Robert Goddard, Mae Jemison, Charles Lindbergh, Sally Ride, Sacajawea,Jonas Salk, James Watson, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Billie Jean King, Bruce Lee, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Tiger Woods, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Obviously, parents who may have thought they could trust Scholastic to pick good role models for children may have some doubts about this list. According to page 41 “Jelly Roll” Morton “worked as gambler, pool shark, and comedian.” There are things about Morton that children might be encouraged to admire and emulate, but do you really want your kids thinking of “gambler” and “pool shark” as career options?
So, this is a book parents need to share with their children. Parents may meet some interesting historical figures whose names they didn’t know. (Did you guess that your air conditioner was named after a man? Did you realize that “Carrier” is a family name? Did you ever wonder who invented air conditioning?) Parents will also think of well-known Americans who might be better role models than the characters discussed in this book—what’s Morton doing in here anyway? Maybe Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were more controversial? If so, why isn’t Marian Anderson mentioned?

Even the facts in this book are not beyond questioning. According to 100 People Who Changed America, Abraham Lincoln was still the tallest President we’d ever elected. That was probably true when Freedman started writing Lincoln, a Photobiography, but it ceased to be true in 1992; Lincoln was 6’4”; Bill Clinton was 6’5”. This kind of thing does not make the book useless. In fact, some children may be attracted to the idea that they need to check and correct a Real Book...but parents should be aware that it is that sort of book.

Scholastic Books tend to be widely distributed, so this one's unlikely to reach the collector price range for a while. As a Fair Trade Book, it will cost $5 + $5 for shipping. (Shipping prices consolidate for as many items as fit into one package.) You can find better prices online, but I'm not aware that any other seller that distributes secondhand books pays royalties to living authors. If you e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo that you want to buy this book here, Freedman or a charity of his choice will receive $1 out of your total cost of $10.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Aqua Lace Cardigan

Don't let the cheap cell phone image fool you. This sweater is actually a pale aqua and silvery-white boucle, even though, when the image comes up on this computer, it looks pink.

Gena Greene adapted this design from a vintage issue of Knitter's magazine (I'm not seeing that specific issue listed at She used Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn; the aqua color of this sweater is shown at the commercial link only as a splotch in a swatch of ombre yarn, and as the sample of a smooth yarn shown at the bottom of the page.

Baby Coordinates is, or was, an acrylic yarn that can be machine laundered.

Size: 36-40" bust, 5'3-5'6"

Price: $60 for the jacket + $5 for shipping. (You can add a few other things to the package for that $5 shipping fee.)

Book Review: Sticks

A Fair Trade Book

Book Title: Sticks
Author: Joan Bauer

Author's web site:
Date: 1996
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell
ISBN: 0-440-41387-7
Length: 182 pages
Quote: “The tournament’s for ten- to thirteen-year-olds and I’m finally old enough to compete., Pool is big stuff in this town.”
Ten-year-old Mickey Vernon has a grandmother who owns a pool hall and is determined to win the pool tournament. Thirteen-year-old Buck Pender, a bully, is also determined to win the tournament. When Pender and two of his friends try physical intimidation on Mickey and one of his friends, Mickey’s late father’s friend, Joseph Alvarez, takes Mickey’s side and offers to coach Mickey for the tournament.
Problems? Well...sort of. We all know that sports stories for boys have to be pretty straight success fantasies; the hero has to win a tough game. In the hands of Joan Bauer, though, even a sports story for boys has some human interest. Mickey thinks Mr. Alvarez is great. Mr. Alvarez has never married. Mickey’s mother has never remarried. Will she...?
It’s a light, mostly cheerful, often funny story, with comic scenes like a lesson on the Boston Tea Party in which the teacher dumps tea bags out of a toy boat into water. Mickey's friend, the math nerd, analyzes the game of pool mathematically for a science project and uses math to win a contest by guessing the number of candies in a jar. Mickey’s sister learns to make enchiladas.

Mostly for middle school readers, this book will amuse kid-friendly adults for the hour or two it takes to read. It's a Fair Trade Book, so the price is $5 for the book + $5 for shipping. (Keep browsing! You can fit other things into the package for that $5.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wool Cables Cap

In real life this natural wool cap is off-white, like a sheep. It's a medium-small size and may need to be stretched back to size to dry.

Price: $5 + $5 shipping.

Book Review: The Divine Yes

Book Title: The Divine Yes
Author: E. Stanley Jones
Date: 1975
Publisher: Abingdon Press
ISBN: 0-687-10988-4
Length: 160 pages
Quote: “I cannot die now. I have to live to complete another book—The Divine Yes.”
Dr. Stanley Jones organized Methodist missions, which he called “Christian ashrams,” in India. He had written more than two dozen books before 1971, when, at 87, he had a stroke. After the stroke he insisted that his daughter, Eunice Jones Matthews, help him finish this last book during the fourteen months before he died. Mrs. Mathews’ introduction reports that he tried writing parts of the manuscript with his right hand, but couldn’t see well enough to write legibly and had to dictate the book on tape.

An ill-natured person commented on the Amazon page that the resulting book was "unjointed" and "free of logic." Er,'s not Mere Christianity by a long stretch, but then it never claims to be. It's the last book by a celebrity author who'd promised his fans, who included Gandhi and Martin Luther King, one more book. That's what you might like, and what you might hate, in a nutshell.
The easiest way to describe how The Divine Yes differs from other books of evangelical Christian sermons is to remember that much of it was written in India; it reflects a dialogue with Hindu audiences. There are quotes from the Vedas and references to respected Asian writers including Rabindranath Tagore, Keshab Chandra Sen, Srinavasa Shastri, and Swami Vivekananda, and some leaders who are left anonymous for obvious reasons.
Most American books are U.S.-centered. We can travel so far without a passport that many of us live our lives without ever having a passport. We have an abstract idea that people live and things happen in other countries, but it’s not quite real to us. We tend to have muddled impressions of countries whose names sound alike, whether they’re neighbors like Zambia and Zimbabwe, or near-polar opposites like Belarus and Belize. Jones was American, and this is an American book, but it’s not U.S.-centered. Jones had listened to what people in many other countries were saying. Sometimes he agreed with them, sometimes he debated with them; anyway, his book has a degree of international literacy seldom achieved by American writers.
The sermon that forms a sort of outline for this book is given as chapter one: Some people had presented Christianity as a series of “no’s,” and Jones wanted to present it as a “yes.” During the last forty years Christians have heard many variations on this theme. It wasn’t really new in the 1970s either; as Kathleen Norris shared in the 1990s, medieval writers found a “yes” quality in even monastic Christianity. It was fresh in the 1970s, a period when the word “sermon” had picked up the image of “fierce, though perhaps Bible-based, denunciation.” During this period some Christians apparently thought “You can’t get to Heaven on roller skates; you’d roll right past the pearly gates” was serious doctrine rather than comic nonsense.
Why did so many preachers focus on “don’t” sermons? Possibly because people who’d already said “yes” to the “yes” of Christianity wondered what more they were to learn at church. In the 1970s one of my relatives announced that she’d graduated from Sunday School. My parents tracked down obscure points of biblical scholarship, and took an interest in fringe groups. Preachers whose audiences did not include real Bible mavens like us, apparently, found it easier to offer “more truth” to the converted by preaching against sins great and small.
An old joke that has multiple versions may be useful here. The story is that one of these preachers, no great scholar, took a job in Kentucky. He preached a good sermon on the evils of liquor. Next week half the congregation stayed home. He asked what he’d done wrong and was told, “Why, half of us work at the distillery. Don’t preach against liquor again.” So he preached against gambling, and the head deacon said, “Half of the people who came here today raise race horses. Please don’t preach against gambling again.” So he preached against murder—and the head deacon said, “Half of the men who came to church today were involved in those coal miners’ strikes, on one side or another. You’ve got to do something different or we’ll have no church left.”
In one version of the joke the preacher went home, read Congo Kitabu, and preached against fishing with dynamite. The head deacon said, “Preacher, what is the matter with you? Don’t you know the only men who still come to church are the ones who spend all their time ‘fishing,’ and the river’s so depleted that the only time they catch a fish is when one of them can steal a stick of dynamite?” So the preacher gave up and joined the Navy.
In another version, the preacher’s next sermon was against joining the Communist Party, and the parishioners began to come back to church, so the preacher spent the rest of his career denouncing the Communist Party.
There are other versions...what I know is that, as a young Christian, I was confused by the “yes, yes, yes” school of preaching and teaching. As an adult I can read this book in context and realize that baptized Christians were supposed to buy it to give to all their unbaptized friends. As a teenager I remember wondering why people gave such books to me. The Divine Yes was written to make Christians, not to educate Christians already made...although it does give Christian book lovers lots of obscure foreign books to track down and read.

Accordingly, The Divine Yes is recommended to vaguely spiritual people who aren’t sure whether they want to be Christians. It particularly addresses Buddhists, Hindus, and Humanists. It is also recommended to older people who may want a souvenir of Stanley Jones’ work, or to younger people who may have heard his name and be interested in one of his books. If you buy The Divine Gift for a young Christian, you may want to identify it as a book to read for its historic value and pass on. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Morgan Griffith's Thanksgiving Message. Sort Of.

U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith gives thanks amidst some bad news...

Giving Thanks, Attitudes are Contagious
While there are many important national issues deserving discussion, this week is a time of Thanksgiving. We all have things for which we should be grateful.  But if you are like most, you or a loved one have likely experienced some trials and tribulations during the last year as well.
I was recently reminded of this when my colleague, Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), returned to the House of Representatives.  While in Washington in early May, Congressman Nunnelee began experiencing nausea and fatigue.  Following consultation with a doctor, Congressman Nunnelee went to a hospital and underwent an MRI scan.  As a result of this scan, doctors found a small abnormality on the right side of his brain, which doctors ultimately confirmed was a small intracranial mass, a brain tumor.
Congressman Nunnelee underwent surgery on June 9, and his doctors were able to successfully remove the mass.  However, as a result of a stroke he suffered during the surgery, Congressman Nunnelee experienced some complications including difficulty with his speech and mobility on his left side.  Congressman Nunnelee spent this summer recovering and undergoing regular therapy in order to improve both his speech and mobility.  Statements released by his office at the time indicate that his doctors were pleased with his progress, but confirmed that his follow-up treatment would require radiation and chemotherapy.  Following his treatment, he has returned to work in our nation’s capital.
According to a June 20 statement from his office, Congressman Nunnelee communicated to his family and staff:
“Attitudes are contagious, so you better make sure yours is worth catching.” 
What a positive, inspiring perspective.
Congressman Nunnelee recently gave the opening prayer at one of the House Republicans’ regular meetings, quoting I Thessalonians 5:18:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I couldn’t help but reflect on this choice and on Congressman Nunnelee’s message that morning. 
“I am glad the scripture in Thessalonians does not say to give thanks for all circumstances,” Congressman Nunnelee says, “because I would have a difficult time being thankful for a tumor or a stroke, much less both.  I have learned the way to approach the difficulty of stroke rehabilitation is to give thanks in all circumstances.”
Though we may not be thankful for hardships such as tumors, strokes, etc., we ought to be thankful in all situations for our blessings and that with which we have been provided in order to deal with health scares and other tribulations.
As Thanksgiving draws near, I am reminded of the many things for which I am grateful, including my wife, my children, and my health.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve our community, first in the state legislature and now in the halls of Congress. 
I am deeply thankful in the Lord for these blessings and others bestowed upon me and my family, and for the blessings on this nation, where a man or woman can determine their fate by the sweat of their brow and their ingenuity.  This is true no matter what family you are born into or whom you are fortunate enough to know.
In preparing this column, I looked into some of my books for additional guidance on Thanksgiving messages.  While doing so, I found the “Old 100th” as a hymn listed under ‘Thanksgiving’ in my 1952 Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
How very meaningful, the familiar words of the “Old 100th.”
Like Congressman Nunnelee, many in the Ninth District have experienced losses that we are not thankful for, but we remain thankful in the Lord for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.  To again borrow from Congressman Nunnelee,
“I am thankful in this circumstance and pray you find yourself doing the same.”
May God bless each and every one of you, and may God bless these United States.  Best wishes to you, your family, and your friends for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at

Lace Ribs Cotton Cap

The color showing on the computer screen is reasonably true to life; this is a white cotton cap with pink and blue flecks.
Size: medium-small--good choice for a chemo cap.
Care: machine wash and dry.
Price: $5 for the cap + $5 for shipping.

Book Review: Peggy's Wish

Book Review: Peggy’s Wish
Author: Alletta Jones
Date: 1949
Publisher: Abingdon-Cokesbury
ISBN: none, but click here to find it on Amazon
Length: 168 pages of text
Illustrations: drawings by Mary Stevens
Quote: “I didn’t suppose I’d ever be any place but the Home until I die.”
Peggy is an orphan. Her wish is to be adopted. Luckily, since she’s a character in a book published for children by a church-sponsored press, we know her wish will come true.
How it comes true is a nice, nostalgic story, full of the good things about traditional American farms. Every cow and chicken could easily be made a pet. Children’s summer chores are done outdoors and are as much fun as games. Games aren’t supervised; the kids catch polliwogs and look for birds’ nests in the pasture. There’s excitement, though, when a bull choses a child up a tree, or children who think it’s fun to explore the empty schoolhouse get locked in and have to slide down a scary oldfashioned fire escape. Going into town is a special treat, with banana splits and penny candy. In Kansas, where this story is set, Gypsies camp in the neighborhood and tell fortunes, and occasionally a “real honest-to-goodness Indian” comes to collect turkey feathers.
The less pleasant things about early twentieth century farm life are here too, but they’re pushed into the background. Peggy’s parents have died; her adoption is a foregone conclusion because the family who invite her to spend the summer on their farm had a daughter about her age (ten) who also died recently. Peggy’s adoptive brother claims to hate all girls; at this historical period hating the opposite sex was considered innocent and cute. Peggy’s foster mother doesn’t seem to mind canning vegetables, or expect the children to work in the steamy kitchen until their faces are flushed too; this was possible, but not typical. The hired man is a nice, kind, cheerful fellow, not one of those whose frustration with low wages and poor marriage prospects led them to drink, steal, and abuse the boss’s animals—or children. And of course, when the bull chases the children, a tree is right where the children need it to be...and even the tornado passes by without doing the characters any harm.
If you’re one of the dedicated few who don’t think that “developing” your family farm into condominiums or a federal facility would be “progress,” you’ll appreciate Peggy’s Wish as a chance to share what you’re trying to do with children. This is one of those short, easy chapter books that encourage fast learners to read and sound out words, even in the first grade. If not ready to read this book before age ten, kids are likely to pass it up in favor of books about the teen scene or the grown-up world. 

However, the book may recover a little respect when you find out that it's become a collector's item. Currently Amazon is listing the "best price" for this book as $79. And was I ever stupid to sell the copy I physically owned, back at the time when the first draft of this review was written, for fifty cents! To buy Peggy's Wish online from me will now cost $80 for the book + $5 shipping...and it's not even a Fair Trade Book, because I can't imagine Alletta Jones having any use for $8.50 by now.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Morgan Griffith on Obama's Executive Action

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9. (My English teacher would not have approved of all those separate quotation marks in one continuing quote, but here I think they do help make it clear that my Congressman's remarks are his own. What do you readers think?)

Thursday, November 20, 2014 – In advance of President Obama’s remarks this evening regarding his plans to move on immigration via executive order, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) today issued the following statement:
“Reports indicate the foundation of President Obama’s legal theory behind his plans on immigration is the criminal law doctrine of prosecutorial discretion.  If these reports are true, the President through his executive actions is refusing, in a blanket form, to prosecute violators of the United States’ immigration laws.”
“I question the authority to make a blanket decision regarding the prosecution of criminal laws, as opposed to making decisions in a specific individual’s case.  Further, prosecutorial discretion does not give authority to grant unprosecuted violators with privileges or benefits such as work permits.  Such benefits granted to unprosecuted violators may be in violation of the law.”
“Additionally, if the President’s theory is in fact prosecutorial discretion, it does not mean that the violations the President is choosing to leave un-enforced are no longer crimes.  A subsequent Administration could choose to prosecute any or all of the people previously not prosecuted.  The President granting benefits to unprosecuted individuals will unintentionally create a registry of unprosecuted individuals which may be used by a subsequent Administration for prosecution.”
“There are a number of actions that the President could and should take regarding illegal immigration.  Among the actions outlined by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in a recent National Review Online article that the President has the authority to undertake but isn’t undertaking:
  • completing and strengthening the southern border fence;
  • tracking foreign visa holders via an exit-entry system;
  • canceling visas to nations that will not take back its own citizens;
  • stopping the issuance of child tax credits to illegal immigrants;
  • targeting those cities that defy immigration law.”
“The President should be defending America’s borders and enforcing our laws.  If he is serious about resolving the illegal immigration issue, why has he not taken the actions above for which he has the authority?”
“President Obama should first work with Congress to stop the unfettered flow of illegal immigrants from around the world into our nation.  Then, working with Congress, we can find a long-term solution.  An unwillingness to deal with the problems at our borders and entry points indicates his current actions have more to do with politics than with seeking real solutions.”
“I am very concerned by reports that later this evening President Obama will announce executive actions on immigration.  Over the next several weeks, I will be closely examining his actions and their legality.  I strongly encourage President Obama and his Administration to respect the Constitution, follow his oath of office, and fulfill his obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our country.”

Should this post be here for overseas readers to read? Yes! This web site wants overseas readers to know that people in the U.S. do not want anybody trying to "immigrate illegally."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Good as Gold

Book Review: Good as Gold
Author: Joseph Heller
Date: 1979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: none, but click here to find it on Amazon
Length: 408 pages
Quote: “Gold longed unreasonably for a blast of arctic induce the abrupt departure for Florida of his father and stepmother.”
How good is Professor Bruce Gold? He’s not heroic. At forty-eight, he’s still as much embarrassed by his family as a fourteen-year-old. As a writer he’s not widely read. As a citizen he thinks he’d leave his home in New York, even his parents, wife, and children there, the minute he got a chance to move to Washington and take a better-paid government job. As a Jew he thinks he might write a book about being Jewish, but he’s not religious and thinks he wants to abandon his family, so how good could any book he'd write about his heritage be?
Gold’s old colleague, Ralph Newsome, a successful “unnamed inside source” who never says anything positively, can just about guarantee Gold the appointment. It might help if Gold were associated not with his loyal, thoroughly Brooklyn working class, wife Belle, but with young, attractive, horsey, academically brilliant, morally retarded, neurotic Andrea Conover, the daughter of a truly loathsome carpetbagger in suburban Virginia.
To his credit, Gold becomes disgusted by the Conovers before Belle finds out that he’s slept with Andrea. He even gets a miracle he can’t be said to deserve; although nobody’s ever counted how many men have already slept with Andrea, he doesn’t seem to have caught anything...well, in the 1970s most venereal diseases were treatable anyway.
To his discredit, Gold has no empathy for Andrea’s howling need for feminist consciousness-raising; he plans to exploit it to get rid of her after using her connections. He also puts up with Pops Conover’s ineluctable loathsomeness to the point of...let’s just say that Conover is a satire not based on the actual or legendary behavior of any real diplomat living or dead, but people who are prone to nausea should have naturally flavored ginger ale within reach while reading any scene in which he appears in the book.
Actually, even the scenes with Conover aren’t as nauseous as parts of Catch-22, but all stories about twentieth century warfare are nauseous, so readers of Catch-22 knew what to expect. Stories about diplomats aren't supposed to be gross-outs.
If the test of a “good” practice of any religion is compassion, as my late husband used to say, then Gold is not a good Jew. He has no compassion for Andrea, little for Newsome. He’s not what in 1979 was known as “warm and caring.” As the plot unfolds he does discover, deep in the basement of his consciousness, tiny amounts of compassion for his family, but nothing you could really call sympathy or affection. Gold is not the man any boy wants to grow up to be; he’s the kind of man male readers might fear becoming, or female readers might fear finding themselves married to.
If that’s how good or bad Gold is, how good or bad is Good as Gold? It has its comic moments; it’s not as hilarious as Catch-22. As a movie it might be rated PG-13; sex takes place outside of the context of pair-bonding, mostly offstage, and some characters have foul mouths...violence is mostly narrated in gross-out lines, especially Conover’s. Kids read worse in the daily newspapers but I’d still recommend this book only to adults, because a big part of its comedy is a long sardonic inside joke that’s never explained and may confuse young readers.
But I'll explain it: There were overtly Jewish diplomats in Washington in 1979. (I used to work for one of them; he'd been there since 1969 or before.) There were, in fact, overtly Jewish diplomats in Washington even in the nineteenth century, as there were in London, and in Richmond during the Civil War. In Washington, by the 1970s, they had a well entrenched social network and seemed to own the suburban town of Wheaton, Maryland. What is doubtful is whether there were working-class diplomats. 

In theory Americans detest elitism as much as we do the other forms of bigotry; in practice we’ve opened up and discussed and formally condemned the other forms of bigotry, but we’ve never confronted elitism and we’re still actively practicing it; we tend to feel that people without some experience handling large amounts of their own money can’t be trusted to handle public or corporate money. And Gold never understands this fundamental defining fact of his situation. Throughout the book, anyone who knew Washington in or close to this period would know that Gold’s being Jewish has nothing to do with his chance at a diplomatic post, that his thinking it has is evidence of his cluelessness, and that Newsome’s failure to give him a clue is proof of Newsome’s satanic function in the story...but Gold never guesses this, and for Heller, obviously, it all goes without saying.

Because Good as Gold is a real novel, not just a farce, Gold will grow and improve over the course of the book...but not much. Readers learn, although Gold doesn’t, that Gold has had mediocre success because he is a mediocre man. Readers will need some psychological astuteness, because this is never made explicit in the book either, to notice that Newsome plays the tempter to an old and true friend because his own bad choices have already made him a profoundly unhappy man and he’d like company in his misery. Ultimately Good as Gold has a solid moral, but Heller avoids belaboring the well that the kind of reader who’s bothered by lots of foul language and frank talk about immoral behavior probably won’t notice the moral.

Heller no longer needs a dollar, and to sell this book online I'd have to charge $5 for the book + $5 shipping, so go ahead and buy it cheaper if you can.  

Santa Fe Jacket

This is a woman's batwing-style jacket. The shape came from a back issue of Fashion Knitting, in which the title was "Santa Fe"--I think (going by that magazine's editorial practice at the time) this referred to a novelty yarn that was made that year. In this photo I focussed on a detail of the front in order to show the colors, and sure enough, on this computer the brown, tan, and cream yarn is showing up realistically, at least in the middle third of the picture. The jacket has a round neckline, a wide center front panel with room for either one or two rows of snap fasteners, and full-length batwing sleeves.

Material: 100% acrylic. Machine wash and dry.

Size: 40-44" bust, 5'6"-5'9"

Price: $25 for the jacket, $5 for shipping. (Yes, you could fit something small, such as a cap, into the package with this jacket and pay only one $5 for shipping.)

By the way, would anyone like to see better photos of the handcrafts available through this web site? E-mail salolianigodagewi (at yahoo) to donate a better-quality digital camera, and we'll post them. These were snapped with a $5 Tracfone.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Does Izea work?

Will make this blog profitable? Wouldn't it be about time something did?

Here's a link you can use to find out more about Izea:

Book Review: Season of Ponies

Title: Season of Ponies
Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Date: 1964
Publisher: Atheneum
ISBN: none (click here to find a newer edition on Amazon)
Length: 133 pages
Illustrations: watercolors by Alton Raible
Quote: “Give the searching heart an eye, and magic fills a summer’s sky.”
Pamela would rather travel with her father, a salesman, than live with her Aunt Sarah on a failing farm where the only horses left are the model horses on Pamela’s bookshelves. Guess where she has to spend the summer anyway. But she meets a mysterious boy whose only family seems to be a herd of strange-looking, slim, dainty, odd-colored ponies. He lives in fear of a wicked witch, the Pig Woman, who sings a terribly beautiful song that causes males of all species to give up their free will and turn into pigs. These pigs are as different from any real pigs you may know as the Ponyboy’s ponies are from real ponies, but the Ponyboy’s magic doesn’t turn Pamela into a pony, as seems indicated. He only needs her energy to help him resist the Pig Woman.
All fairy tales have to get their inspiration somewhere. This one, which seems most closely related to the myth of Circe on the surface, really taps into the early 1960s fear that women who made decisions for themselves would “lose their femininity” and make bad decisions.
At the same time, it’s still a simple but well-written fantasy. You’ll wonder whether the real Zilpha Keatley Snyder ever had a real pony, but you’ll love her glass and china ponies come to life.
What about the innocence of Pamela’s sneaking off alone to meet the Ponyboy? This was heady stuff in the 1960s. Some parents wanted to believe that preadolescent children were too innocent to be in any danger. Some would say that, the more innocent children are when they sneak off to be alone with just one other child, the worse the results might be.
Maybe, although this fantasy was written to entertain third and fourth grade readers, it’s best enjoyed by adults. The misogyny may be too toxic, and the children may be undesirable role models, for children. And yet...when I was about the age of Pamela, I enjoyed this book, just for the delightful fantasy ponies. And it did not cause me to sneak around with boys, or turn anybody into a pig.

At the time when I wrote this review, Season of Ponies would have been a Fair Trade Book. I had the first hardcover edition, too. Together with a Gena Greene Recycled doll dressed like Pamela, it sold for $5. I hope the person who bought that copy of the book checks out the current price of the first hardcover edition on Amazon. You got a real bargain. In order to keep things real at this web site, what I can now offer to sell online will be a recent paperback reprint, $5 + $5 shipping, and if you find a better price, go for it. Zilpha Keatley Snyder no longer needs a dollar. 

Maine Pines Cardigan

This is one of the designs in Maine Island Classics, which you can buy from me as a Fair Trade Book ($5 for the book, $5 for shipping). In real life the main color is dark blue, with a light summer-sky blue yoke, white sailboat, and blue-green trees knitted in.

Size: 36-38" bust/chest, 5'3"-5'6". Gena Greene did not add a sleeve gusset to this sweater. We've been advised that some women with 36-38" busts think all the women's sweaters in Maine Island Classics needed sleeve gussets...the designers were young. (In my twenties I knitted some jackets with waistlines a lot of women hated, too.) If you have trim, firm upper arms and want to show them off, wearing this lightweight cardigan over a short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt is a nice subtle way. If you have wide upper arms, we can insert the gussets.

Material: acrylic--machine wash and dry

Price: $25 for the sweater, $5 for shipping, $5 to add buttons, $10 to add sleeve gussets.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Easy Crafts

Title: Easy Crafts
Author: Ellsworth Jaeger
Date: 1949
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: none, but click here to see a copy with a dust jacket that shows the author's name as "Jaeger Ellsworth." (Probably the pen name of a writing team, since the inside front page of my copy has "Ellsworth Jaeger" and so has the dust jacket of the companion volume.)
Length: 129 pages with black-and-white illustrations and diagrams
Quote: “Simple craft suggestions...that untrained hands may undertake with materials easily secured.”
These are the crafts people my age learned at summer camp: smoke printing (with grease), spatter painting, potato printing, shelf-fungus sculptures, track casting, insect collections, tin-can birdhouses, bird feeders, baskets, sock animals, clay pots, cornhusk dolls, cardboard weaving, fuzz sticks, and green-twig toasting forks.
The beauty and usefulness of these objects varies considerably even when they’re made well. Usually they weren’t made well. Many of them, being made from all-organic materials, weren’t meant to last long. A green-twig toasting fork has two uses: it teaches us that, if metal toasting forks weren’t available, we could still toast things; and it teaches us why our ancestors celebrated the cleverness of the first few humans who thought of making metal toasting forks.
Anyway, the objects are fun to make, even if some materials (blueprint paper, blotters, inky coprinus mushrooms) are harder to find than they seem to have been in 1949.
Some materials are, in fact, so much harder to find that making these projects now seems unthinkable. Spruce roots and willow bark are not to be wasted on beginners’ baskets that could be made with phragmite reeds and honeysuckle vines. The idea of killing butterflies for a collection is disgusting to most people today, although my brother and I filled a large case with butterflies and moths that we found in good condition after the short-lived animals died. Even though wild birds normally shed and replace all their feathers every summer, and many are likely to drop lovely little feathers at camp sites where a feeder has been set up, using feathers that aren’t obviously the dyed feathers of white chickens now seems tasteless.
On the other hand children can still enjoy recycling outgrown socks into toys, cutting scraps of paper into snowflakes, tying cornhusks into fanciful shapes, weaving, beading, braiding, and similar crarfts described in this book.
No attempt to “grade” the projects has been made. (Children who are growing up on their own schedule always appreciate things that aren’t limited to some arbitrarily defined “age group.”) Directions for things four-year-olds can do without much supervision, like shaping clay pots, are interspersed with directions for crafts that require strength and coordination, like snipping tin and sewing leather. Know the children with whom you share this book. My brother shaped some cute fuzz sticks when he was six, and did not hurt himself, but fuzz sticks are made with a sharp knife. In the eighteenth century little girls made elaborate alphabet samplers while learning the alphabet, at ages four to eight, but embroidering with a blunt plastic needle on plastic mesh may be a safer way for a whole first-grade class to learn the craft than embroidering with a sharp sewing needle would be.

With appropriate adult supervision, Easy Crafts is an excellent book for all ages. 

Whoever Ellsworth Jaeger, or Jaeger Ellsworth, or Jaeger and Ellsworth were, it's unlikely that they have any use for a dollar. To buy Easy Crafts (and/or Nature Crafts) from me online will cost $5 for each volume plus $5 for shipping. 

Little Moose Vest

From a design by Helene Rush. In real life the background color is a bright deep blue, like the U.S. flag, and the moose are brown...on this computer this photo actually looks like the sweater. (Helene Rush's design in Maine Woods Woolies was originally a jacket; Gena Greene had enough of this yarn to make a vest.)

Material: 100% acrylic; machine wash and dry. May stretch while wet. Will not shrink.

Size: average two-year-old child

Price: $10 + $5 shipping. (Shipping price is per package, and you could fit other things in a package with this vest.) For an extra $5 we'll add snappers, and for another $5 decorative buttons.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The blogger known as Arlene from Israel was not the first to share reports of this morning's very bad news. The first couple of reports read like abridgments of the one that's currently at the top of this site:

This web site officially offers our condolences to the families affected by these cowardly murders--U.S., Israeli, and otherwise.

This web site officially calls on Muslims of good will to denounce the ways that are not affected by the different possible understandings of words. I read that under Islamic law the penalty for murder is supposed to be negotiated with the bereaved family. Right. If the families seriously, coolheadedly think that the kind of penalties Arlene from Israel is recommending today are appropriate, then the Muslim leaders should walk their talk and do as their law prescribes.

Keystone Pipeline Viewpoints

Oh, the annoyance. Freedom Connector still isn't working. (That's where the political content of this web site was supposed to go.) So what'm I supposed to do with press releases from our elected officials? Sit on them? File them as spam? Sorry...I know major shareholders in the Internet, e.g. Al Gore, want to keep all "conservative" political content off the'Net, but I don't support that effort.

At least this post is balanced. First, from Senator Tim Kaine:

Tim Kaine: United States Senator for Virginia - Newsletter

Keep Up With Tim

11.18.14 Why Keystone XL Is Not In Our National Interest

Dear Friends,
Today, I will go to the Senate floor to make the case for why approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is not in our national interest. This pipeline would transport Canadian tar sands oil, which is 15-20% dirtier than conventional oil. We need to continue the transition from dirty energy to cleaner energy – quickly enough to preempt serious harm to the climate, while allowing enough time for our economy to adjust. This is particularly relevant in Virginia where drastic increases in sea level rise pose a serious threat to the Hampton Roads economy and the center of American naval power.
Keystone XL would take us in the opposite direction of where we need to go, which is generating cleaner energy tomorrow than we do today.  We can do better.
You can watch my Senate floor speech here at 4:15 PM.
Senator Tim Kaine

Now, from Congressman Morgan Griffith:

"Monday, November 17, 2014 –         
Keystone XL Pipeline – Solutions

On Friday, November 14, the House of Representatives again passed legislation (H.R. 5682) to approve the application for the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been slow-walked by President Obama and the State Department for more than six years.  This is despite other pipeline projects requiring a Presidential Permit having taken 18 to 24 months to review and approve.

The House has now voted nine times to advance this landmark jobs and energy project.  31 House Democrats voted in favor of this bill, and the Senate is now expecting to consider a similar measure.

At a recent press conference in Myanmar, President Obama is reported as having said that his position hasn’t changed on the Keystone pipeline.  As far as I am aware, however, he has not taken an opinion publicly, only saying that the proposed pipeline should be studied more.  According to the New York Times, the President said in a major speech on the environment in the summer of 2013 that “…he would approve the pipeline only if it would not ‘significantly exacerbate’ the problem of carbon pollution.  He said the pipeline’s net effects on the climate would be ‘absolutely critical’ to his decision.”

Of course, the State Department in late January found – again – that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly worsen carbon pollution.  And yet the President has not made a decision.

The pipeline has been studied, and the facts are in.  It is time to build Keystone XL pipeline, creating jobs and a more energy-independent North America.

The House knows a solution to create jobs and energy is to work with our friends in Canada, and we have voted repeatedly to do so.  Because there is a runoff election in Louisiana, the Senate may finally join the House in agreeing to this solution for jobs and energy.  Then we’ll see what the real opinion of the President is when he gets his chance to use his pen and veto this pro-jobs bill. "

Which one does this web site support? Actually, the position of this web site is that good things may come out of the debate.

Book Review: Under the Tuscan Sun

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Under the Tuscan Sun
Author: Frances Mayes
Date: 1996
Publisher: Broadway / Bantam Doubleday Dell
ISBN: 0-7679-0038-3
Length: 280 pages
Quote: “My reader, I hope, is like a friend who comes to visit, learns to mound flour on the thick marble counter and work in the egg.”
Frances Mayes bought a house in Italy. More people wanted to visit her than she could entertain, so she wrote a book about the house. This book has been a bestseller, even though it’s family-friendly with only occasional flashes of dry humor. It’s not likely to make any college reading lists, but it’s a very enjoyable read, a sensory tour of a big country house written skillfully enough to give readers a wholesome mental escape from their boring commute or dismal hospital stays. It’s an almost perfect pillow book. Sort of ironic, in view of recent news stories from Tuscany, but a pleasant read.
Its one flaw as a pillow book might be the continual references to Real Italian Food, or specifically Tuscan food, the delicacies that grow in Tuscany and wouldn’t be the same in other parts of Italy. The secret is all those fresh vegetables. Our protagonists live in the country and have masses of vegetables to use up. “We no longer measure, but just cook...ingredients of the moment are the best guides” to creating their own new, authentic Italian dishes. Simmer chicken and vegetable scraps, skim the broth, add tomatoes and herbs as available, and sup. Cook pasta until it’s soft enough, add greens, cream, cooked meat, and grated cheese, toss them together and eat. Shell peas, mince shallots, soften them in butter, add a little mint, salt and pepper, chop this into a paste, and spread it on toast. Absolutely nothing to it...if you have garden-fresh vegetables. If you have to buy vegetables in a supermarket the recipes won’t turn out half as good. And if you don’t need to think about food when you’re not cooking or eating, Under the Tuscan Sun qualifies as “food porn.”
But of course Italians do other things as well as eat. Our protagonists settle in, and see the sights in the nearby towns. They go to night concerts in the town square, visit a museum and describe the elaborate fourth-century candelabrum, go to what’s ordinarily the movie theatre and watch the ballet. Nothing more “exciting” or like the plot of a novel happens to them than the renovation of the house, but it’s all fresh and new to Americans and it all feels good.

This book was a bestseller because everyone enjoys reading it once. So, Under the Tuscan Sun is recommended to anyone who hasn’t read it. It's tasteful, it's tasty, it's a Fair Trade Book, and if you buy it here for $5 + $5 shipping we'll send Mayes or a charity of her choice $1. And you can add a few other things to the package for that $5 shipping cost, too.

Striped Cap Family

In real life these caps are white, black, and a medium gray-green. (And they're photographed lying on a wooden table.) They are a small, medium, and large size, but there's not much variation in head sizes and knitting is fairly forgiving, so most people could wear whichever of these hats they fancy. On me the ribbing around the small (gray-green) cap would look stretched, and the ribbing on the large (black) cap would need to be rolled up.

All three caps are 100% acrylic, machine washable and dryable. They'll stretch if worn while wet. They will not shrink.

Price: $5 each + $5 shipping...only one $5 per package, and there's room for a sweater or a few books in the package with these caps, even if you buy all three.