Its a bad time to be a Syrian official

Some one has slowly and methodically bumping people off in Syria. The latest from the Jerusalem Post…

A mysterious explosion near Damascus on Saturday claimed the lives of at least 17 people, including a brigadier-general, further destabilizing the Syrian regime.

A car bomb carrying 200 kilograms of explosives exploded near the Palestine branch of Syrian Military Intelligence, the London-based daily Asharq Alawsat reported.

The identity of the high-ranking military officer, who was reportedly killed as a result of the explosion, had not yet been revealed

The question is: Who is doing this?

The Syrian regime makes half hearted jabs at blaming Israel, but it is clear they don’t really believe this. In fact, it seems more like they are trying to insult whoever is doing this by accusing them of doing Israel’s dirty work they they trying to whip up anger against Israel. In this case, their exat words are…

“Unfortunately, in the years that followed the American war on terror, terrorism has further spread. These kinds of incidents can occur anywhere and are not indicative of security breaches,” Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told reporters.

Muallem said further that Israel was among the “biggest benefactors” of the attack.

Poem of the Week: 9/28/08-10/4/08

This week’s poem of the week is the Woman in the Forest by G.K. Chesterton.

The great tragedy of this poem is that few today can understand it because they do not know their history. And they do not know their history because modern society does not really think that we can learn anything from history. At best, history is taught to teach people how evil the old ideals are.

Essay of the Week: 9/28/08-10/4/08

References are made to the Great Depression everyday now. But few people seem to know very much about the Great Depression. This does not stop people from sagely declaring that we have forgotten the lessons of the Great Depression or blaming our current problems on the dismantling of regulations that were put into place during the Great Depression. It is for this reason we are making Great Myths of the Great Depression essay of the week.

This essay is not without its flaws. The biggest flaw is that the author is too much an ideologue. Also, the essay is too simplistic to satisfy those who already have a good understanding of the history of the Great Depression.

But these flaws are balanced by the fact that the essay is written in a clear non-academic language that is easily understood and it is full of facts about the Great Depression that everyone should know. For the majority of our audience, it will be something of an eye opener.

You can read the essay piecemeal in html format here if you want to (Clicking on the embedded hyperlink above will take you to a PDF of the Essay).

Dark Brown Wool Skirt

These photos were shot the same day as all the cherry-dress prictures I uploaded. We took a lot less pictures of this; I think it is because it the outfit suited me so much better it seemed less awkard. The lighting was awful though, because it was either too dark in the shade or far too bright out of it.

This garment is held in contrast to the cherry dress in other ways, besides what I mentioned in my last post. After taking such a ridiculously long time making the cherry-dress, I challanged myself to “just do it” for my next garment. Just draft it, cut it, and sew it. No muslins. No obsessing. No looking back. And that’s what I did.

The waist is not snug enough, and the skirt has a tendency to slide down. I didn’t make belt carriers, so I can’t properly belt it into submission. Because it slides down, it is a few inches longer than I meant it to be, which can be frustrating on stairs.

However, I’ve worn it more times than the cherry-dress, and I’ve loved wearing it every time. It is exceptionally comfortable, I find it very flattering, and it is incredibly warm. I always used to pity people who wore skirts in bitterly cold weather, as imagined the icy-cold drafts so easily slipping under the hem. Instead, I was far warmer wearing this skirt; I think it follows the same logic as why mittens are warmer than gloves, for one thing. The only downside to that is while I would be comfortable walking around outside, I would sometimes find myself breaking into a sweat inside of well-heated homes. And if this is a testament to the insulative powers of wool, then I think we should all go back to making the investment in wool clothing, from sweaters to long-underwear, and save about a gazillion dollars in heating bills during the winter.

At some later date, I’ll post pictures showing construction details, but I hope you aren’t looking for too much in the way of instruction, because I always forget to take notes and have to re-figure it out the next time. My only hope is that if I keep sewing often enough, I’ll actually be able to remember how to do thing from garment to garment.

Under the Willow Tree:





Deep red looks better on me than a lighter or brighter red.

on the bridge

Don’t ask me what I was looking at, because I don’t know. You don’t want to see my face anyway, because I was squinting in the harsh sunlight. You do know they predicted an overcast day, don’t you? I suppose that should have been our first clue it wasn’t going to be.

uno Yes, my skirt has pockets! Two of them! They came out very nice, but when it came to working on the next garment with pockets, I didn’t have the foggiest idea how I’d done them before. I’ll show you better pictures later.


Blotchy sunlight makes your face look weird.


Now I’m not blotchy, but it’s far too shady. And my hands are itching to work on something. Standing around doing nothing is counter to my nature. I should have taken along my knitting, or something, but that of course would have obscured the skirt, which we were attempting to document. So my hands hang awkwardly.


The End.

Gas supplies still tight in the South

From the Washington Post….

Gasoline shortages hit towns across the southeastern United States this week, sparking panic buying, long lines and high prices at stations from the small towns of northeast Alabama to Charlotte in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

In Atlanta, half of the gasoline stations were closed, according to AAA, which said the supply disruptions had taken place along two major petroleum product pipelines that have operated well below capacity since the hurricanes knocked offshore oil production and several refineries out of service along the Gulf of Mexico.

Drivers in Charlotte reported lines with as many as 60 cars waiting to fill up late Wednesday night, and a community college in Asheville, N.C., where most of the 25,000 students commute, canceled classes and closed down Wednesday afternoon for the rest of the week. Shortages also hit Nashville, Knoxville and Spartanburg, S.C., AAA said.

Terrance Bragg, a chef in Charlotte, made it to work only because his grandfather drove from a town an hour away with a 5-gallon plastic container of fuel for him. Three of his co-workers called and said they couldn’t make it.

“I drove past nine or ten gasoline stations that were out of gas,” Bragg said. “I had my GPS up looking for any gas in the area, from the mom-and-pop places to the corporate gas stations. Nothing. They were all taped off.”

Liz Clasen-Kelly, associate director of a homeless assistance center in Charlotte, took the bus to work yesterday. On Wednesday night, she and her husband checked five stations that had no gas, passed a long line backed up onto the interstate highway and chose not to wait at an open gas station with 50 to 60 cars still lined up after 11 p.m.

A Test For The Russian Navy

From the AP…

A Russian warship on Friday rushed to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 33 battle tanks and a hoard of ammunition that was seized by pirates off the Horn of Africa — a bold hijacking that again heightened fears about surging piracy and high-seas terrorism.

A U.S. warship is tracking the vessel but there has been no decision about intercepting it, U.S. Defense Department officials said.

The US must want to give the Russians a chance to play the hero. Otherwise intercepting this ship would seem like a no brainier.

Edit: Danger Room has more.

Nobody wants to buy anything

From Macro Man….

This market just gets more and more surreal. Yesterday saw the release of not one, not two, but three pieces of abjectly awful US economic data. So naturally, equities surged higher and government bonds tanked….because of more hopeful noises over the passage of the TARP.

The orders data was wretched on both a headline and core basis. The core shipments figures, which get plugged straight into the GDP calculation, were also awful, prompting at least a couple of immediate Q3 forecast downgrades.

Meanwhile, just when you thought that the housing data had lost its capacity to shock, the new homes sales figures dropped 11.5% month-on-month. The way things are going, they’ll soon be able to publish housing data by name, e.g. “This month Fred and Mavis Smithers bought 687 Walnut Lane in Pig’s Knuckle, Arkansas.” The one housing figure that Macro Man follows is the supply data; as the chart below illustrates, there is no real improvement in sight.