Thursday, May 29, 2008

Not Much, Including a Meditation, with Bad Pictures

I finished the first of the Thelonious socks early yesterday. I kept going with the traveling motif on the top of the foot until the two lace panels were closer together. Just felt like it.

Here's a more pulled back shot, although it's really hard to get a good photo of a sock on one's own foot.

I liked the pattern (from Cookie A.) and the yarn (Shibuiknits sock). Looking at the yarn in the skein, I didn't expect it to stripe the way it did. I'm glad the color tones were so close, or I wouldn't have liked the pattern in this yarn at all. I had a feeling that the new Socks that Rock club package would arrive today, so I didn't cast on for the second Thelonious. This left me pretty knit-less :(

I dealt with this by doing some spinning. I finished the first bobbin of my merlot merino a while ago, but hadn't started on the second. It took me a while to get the mechanics correct, but I think I finally managed. (Getting the wheel tension and brake tension right was tough today for some reason.) Here's a picture of the bit that I've done so far today:

Still, with the bad pictures. I took one without the flash that would have been better had it actually been in focus. I'm still not completely satisfied that I have everything right for spinning this the way the first bobbin was spun, but I'm making a singles that looks like the first, so it'll have to do.

And I was correct: the STR package arrived today, with some very purple yarn. It looks very pretty in the skein, but that's never a predictor of what the final fabric will look like. The sock pattern that came with it looks interesting. I'll probably wind that up and hopefully get a chance to cast on tonight.

Obligatory Baseball Report

Last night was Sr. Jr.'s last regular season game. His team was set to play the team that was currently in last place in the league. At game time, we only had 8 kids. There was one kid who showed up for a practice and a game or so, then we never heard from him again. Another was still away for a Memorial Day getaway. Two other kids, brothers, didn't come because the game was starting late (7:30) on a school night, and Virginia kids are taking SOLs this week. SOLs are those stupid tests that schools use to measure progress under the stupid No Child Left Behind Act. Since the tests mostly measure the school's progress and not the child's, I don't put any pressure on my kids to do well on them. (Sr. Jr. does well anyway.) I guess that was the long way of saying that we were on the verge of forfeiting, which would have given us a loss to this team and put us in last place.

Luckily, there was a family there from the previous game that had a younger kid who could be "called up" to our league and play in the game. The game didn't start well, but it finished nicely. Our team won, 10-7. Sr. Jr. didn't pitch, because the coaches want to save him for the playoffs. But he made a couple of good fielding plays to help out the team.

Tonight is Jr. Jr.'s game.

A Meditation on the Evening News

A lot has been written about the "demise" of the evening newscast as it currently exists on network television. Fewer and fewer people are tuning in at 7:00 pm to watch the roundup of the day's news. Blame has been cast at the 24 hour news channels, at the Internet, at the short attention span of today's youth, etc. I'd say all of that could be true. But part of it is the changing nature of the news available today. As a whole, we have breaking news available to us 24 hours a day through the cable channels and the Internet. Why would we need to tune in for a half an hour of 90 second blurbs on what we already know? Nothing in the evening newscast gets covered in depth (not that it does on cable, either, but with 24 hours to kill, they have the time and the ability to provide more information). It's the video equivalent of just reading the headlines in the newspaper, without reading the full article.

Add to that the way the press has fallen short of doing its duty during the Bush Administration. No in depth reporting was done during the run-up and aftermath of the war in Iraq. Very few people, and none in the mainstream media, dared to investigate whether what the Administration was telling the American people was true. The press let questions about its patriotism cow it into submission.

Pundits complain that more and more people get their news from "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," but they're ignoring that those shows do something that the mainstream media does not -- question the crap that comes out of politician's mouths. Those shows may be "comedy" shows, but they take the time to find the contradictory statements and changes of position. In short, they have a bullshit detector that the mainstream media needs to get. A news broadcast shouldn't just report on what a politician says in a speech, but should also tell us whether there's evidence that the politician means what she says, or if that politician is playing fast and loose with the facts. In its attempt to be nonpartisan, the press shies away from challenging anyone.

Personally, I want to know more about what's going on that can be provided in a 30 minute broadcast (less commercial time). I value newspapers and magazines like the New Yorker, which can give depth and breadth to the issues they cover. I'd love it if the cable channels could be more like that, but they seem to be very personality-driven these days. I watch a fair bit of cable news, but stay away from the likes of Larry King, Chris Matthews, and Anderson Cooper. (I'm fond of Keith Olbermann, though. Ooh, and CNN's hurricane hottie, Rob Marciano.)

Problem is, I don't think there's a way to "fix" broadcast news. The economics just don't favor it. There's little money in the news, so budgets get slashed. The more budgets get slashed, the less in-depth reporting can be done, and the more viewers turn away. Competition from cable ensures that people who turn there during the other 23.5 hours of the day will generally find what they need. Networks have absolutely no incentive to support the news. Maybe it's just time to accept the inevitable.


kippi said...

YAY for winning the baseball game!! That is so very exciting and surely beats having to forfeit. That would be a terrible way to lose. Whatever happened to making a kid complete a commitment?

Totally agree with you about nightly news. Although My guess is that in the Central Time Zone more people watch it because it comes on at 6pm instead of 7pm. Larry King needs to retire as I don't think even he is interested in what he is doing. Chris Matthews can be annoying on his show, but when he is having a discussion on another show (like the Today show) he is much more interesting and there seems to be a more thorough examination of issues. Anderson Cooper is as cute as a gay man can be, although is weird breathing pattern distracts me more than his perfectly coifed hair. I like Olberman because he has Celiac so I feel a kinship, but feel most of the time he is going for the sarcasm instead of pertinent information. So I just read my news and come to my own conclusions.

I received my STR club kit today and I like it! I'm not usually a purple person, but this one is okay. I really do like the pattern though. FINALLY a pattern I like. And it looks like I will be able to adjust the stitch count easily if I need to. WHEW. Have you cast on yet? You will finish your way before I finish mine. You speed demon you.

Love the spinning. It amazes me that you can do that. I really need to find my lonely Thelonius. It is the color of the darker stripe in your yarn, which, btw, is lovely. You have good yarn taste.

Sharon said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your "news broadcast" comments. There are times when I feel I'm getting all of my "news" from the New Yorker, because I get fed up with wading through all the non-news BS in the local papers, the local news, and even cable (I detest Lou Dobbs and Wolf puts me to sleep, even though I find him unobjectionable). My husband accuses me of prefacing every current events discussion with "well, I read in the New Yorker . . ."

Hate those SOLs too--as do most of the teachers I've spoken with. Another one of Bush's harebrained schemes to divert attention from his criminal activity.

Loren T said...


I get downright twitchy when my New Yorker is late, like it was this week.

SOLs drive me bananas. Our school has "SOL clubs" and test taking classes for the kids who need extra assistance. It consumes the entire spring for some kids! Just let teachers teach, as far as I'm concerned.