Archive for March 31, 2003

Hulkmania Lives

Because the media seems to be attempting equal parts overwhelming war coverage and overwhelming distraction from war coverage, I doubt anyone missed the insane hype for the “immortal” WWE Hulk Hogan/Vince McMahon match. As a public service to all of my raised-in-the-eighties readers who are fighting their involuntary curiosity over whether Hulkamania will be declared dead, I’ve done the web search so that you don’t have to, and Hogan won. Excuse me while I now go dunk my browser in rubbing alcohol….

A Lovely Spring

snowMany of the journals and weblogs I read have been sharing their pictures of spring, celebrating the warmth and flowers and green, and I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. There was a particuarly lovely view off my deck this morning, I think. We’d only accumulated three to four inches by this time, but don’t worry, it didn’t actually stop snowing until early evening.
The sad thing is, I honestly did still think it was really pretty.

Victorious Cornell

Wooooooooo! Not that you would know it from watching television, but basketball isn’t the only sport with NCAA finals going on, and Cornell just won its way into the NCAA ice hockey Frozen Four, with a beautiful double-overtime goal shot from pratically behind the goal line. The entire post-season has been exciting this year.
My enjoyment of the games, though, hasn’t been helped by Time Warner Cable. Cornell’s got their first chance to do well in the tournament in decades, and at least Time Warner Cable decided to air it on their local station, but they haven’t actually followed through and made sure the games were aired in their entirety, or with watchable video coverage. Yesterday’s coverage only started 15 minutes into the second period, the first half of the game being plauged with technical difficulties so bad they recommended people just listen to the game on the radio. Today’s game had audio the whole way through, but the video varied between four-frames a second jerkiness, checkerboard interference, and at its best was so over-exposed you could hardly see the lines against the glaring white ice. Yes, Time Warner Cable garnered a great deal of hatred from local hockey fans over the past two days. At least they managed to air all of their commercial breaks successfully….

Book Journals

On the one hand, I hate the idea of perfectly good books being destroyed, but on the other hand, I can’t help oogling the old books rebound as blank journals being sold at Ex Libris Anonymous. I love the one from The Secret of Skeleton Island, and the bizarre Hair Styling cover featuring a woman aiming a gun.[via not martha]

Affordable Knitting Yarns

Mantaining my sanity lately has involved a lot of knitting, and I’ve fallen in love with J&P Coats LusterSheen. It’s an acrylic sport-weight yarn, but it looks and acts like crochet thread (and is usually stocked in stores with the crochet thread, next to the Speed-Cro-Sheen and Knit-Cro-Sheen). It’s soft and comes in pretty colors and knits up into a beautiful fabric that shows off fancy stiches really nicely. I’ve been looking for a light-weight yarn that I could substitute for the expensive stuff in all of the knitting magazines, and was almost going to break down and try out Lion Brand’s Microspun (this stuff is beautiful and only slightly pricey) but Lustersheen is available everywhere and relatively affordable (Herrschners sells their 1.75 oz/100 yd ball for $1.79 and you can get many of their colors in a 8 oz/680 yd cone for $8.99).

Kuwait Photos

I’m not sure how a freelance photographer working in Kuwait manages to maintain a website of photos from the past few days, but its interesting viewing.

Imperative to Rebuild

It’s pretty clear that everyone has had their minds made up about this war for a while, and we’ve now reached the “talking-past-each-other” phase of debate, but we’ve also reached a point where our options are fairly narrow. I’m upset that events have proceeded such that the only moral thing I think the US has left to do is completely demolish the Iraqi government, but seeing the destruction and chaos, we’ve pretty much guaranteed misery and suffering for the people there if we don’t manage to get our own food and aid into the country. I think that humanitarian concerns were pretty far down on the list of reasons for invading Iraq, but it is now imperative that we follow through with any resources necessary to help the Iraqi people – in the long term as well as the next few weeks. I certainly hope that everyone supporting this war remembers to be equally supportive of large amounts of their tax dollars going overseas in less violent packages over the coming years. Tearing something down is always easier than putting something better up in its place.

Deconstructing Particle Man

I spent the past few days on a mini-vacation involving a lot of time in the car listening to music, and I got to listen to TMBG’s “Particle Man” for the first time in many years. It’s a cute song, but after a few repeats and the general boredom of a long ride, I started wondering what it meant. Being a good liberal-arts alum, I was of course able to come up with a semi-plausible interpretation wherein Particle Man, as the fundamental unit of matter, clearly represents the physical world and Triangle Man alludes to Christianity’s trinity and refers to God. This explains why Triangle Man always wins when up against Particle Man or Person Man (obviously representing humanity). To understand Universe Man, it is necessary to look at the lyrics a little more closely. It is striking that Triangle Man hates Particle Man and Person Man – we are reminded of the often vindictive and destructive nature of Christianity’s old testament diety. In contrast, we are told that Universe Man is “usually kind to a smaller man” but does not appear to interfere in his existence, and is timeless with his watch with an eon hand. Universe Man is the true underlying power, not God.
Once I got back, a quick surf of the internet indicated what I feared, that the song was never meant to be taken so seriously. This interview with They Might Be Giants says:

We’ll be trying to write a real direct song, and people will think that there must be some hidden meaning, because the obvious meaning doesn’t make enough sense. [...] I think “Particle Man” is probably the song that people talk about the most, and yet has the least to offer. Basically it’s just a song about characters in the most obvious sense. They’re not real people; it’s not Animal Farm. It’s not like they represent other people.

Not that that stops anyone, as evidenced by this brilliant interpretation of “Particle Man” as a retelling of Flatland.

Free Flight Changes

Wow – I was just checking a flight arrival time on the US Airways site and found this press release linked on their front page: US Airways Implements ‘Peace of Mind’ Flexible Travel Policy.

ARLINGTON, Va., March 18, 2003 — US Airways announced today that it has implemented the 90-day “Peace of Mind” flexible travel period, effective tomorrow. The “Peace of Mind” flexible travel policy, which is being implemented due to the conflict in Iraq, allows customers to make changes to itineraries for travel originating March 19 through June 17, 2003, without incurring standard change fees. Travel within the U.S. or between the U.S. and Canada may be rescheduled to originate on or before June 17, 2003.

Made of Real Gorilla Chest

See My Vest I hid from last weeks parting blast from winter by watching Buffy re-runs and knitting this vest, dubbed the Zipper “See My” Vest due to the spontaneous outbursts from the Simpson’s soundtrack that this project seemed to enduce in onlookers. My full project writeup includes a link to the source pattern, which I found online. It’s a great basic pattern that I’d encourage any knitter to check out.