Archive | May, 2008

My heart, it swells

22 May

Interesting article comparing Obama to JFK and McCain to Goldwater re: foreign policy.

We need a leader who recognizes “that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient, that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind, that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity, and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.” A president who understands that “equating negotiations with appeasement and substituting rigidity for firmness” is “the pathway to war.”

Must be time for a roadtrip

22 May

I need to tell you about my car. It finally works. At least it did yesterday. Apparently I’ve found the shadiest mechanics in the Midwest, but each one is slightly better than the one before. I know this is a boring subject, but here’s a run down of the last four visits.

Mechanic 1, Kankakee, IL: Installs new battery after it died in Kankakee.
I barely make it home. Battery light is on again.

Mechanic 2, Iowa City, IA: “Who the hell installed this battery? Did you do this? We fixed it. I promise you will make it to Madison, no problem.”
I drive to Madison, battery dies again.

Mechanic 3, Madison, WI: “Really? Someone looked at your car yesterday and they didn’t notice your toasted alternator?”
New alternator. I barely make it home again. Battery light is on again.

Mechanic 4, Iowa City, IA: “This alternator is crap. It’s overcharging your battery. We found a bunch of other stuff wrong, too.”
I got a new alternator, which was mostly on the house because NAPA guaranteed the part. They also took out a fuse for my interior lights because they were constantly draining the battery. But that fuse happened to also power my radio. Not acceptable. So they took the lightbulbs out instead. Simplest solution = best.

Do I have a car problem or a mechanic problem? Or is it me? Am I not using my big girl voice?

More postcards

21 May

I’m done with classes. What does the phrase “by the skin of my teeth” really refer to? Let’s look it up.

“The source of the phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is indeed the Book of Job, although the precise phrase Job used was “My bone cleaveth to my skin, and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (not “by”). Just what the “skin” of one’s teeth might be is a bit unclear, but it probably refers to the thin porcelain exterior of the tooth, not the gums. Job evidently kept his teeth, but just barely. It is also possible that he was saying that the margin of his escape was as narrow as the “skin” of a tooth is shallow — the equivalent of a “hair’s breadth.” In any case, Job clearly meant that he’d had a very hard time of it, and the phrase has been used ever since to mean a very narrow or arduous escape.” From the word detective.

Reading that made my teeth hurt. Anyway, I had a very hard time of it. But now, now I have time for things like scanning postcards I bought at a junk shop called Granny’s. They have shoeboxes full of postcards sorted by state – I could have spent hours going through them, but I found these in the Iowa and Wisconsin boxes in about 20 minutes. I hope to go back for more before Granny retires this summer. It’s hard to read the date stamps but I think they range from 1912-1966.

Dam at Iowa City, Iowa

Dam at Iowa City, Iowa (back)

Dear Sabina,
As I have not had time to write you a letter I will send you a few lines to let you know that I will try and take time to answer your letter soon. Suppose you will be into the Circus thursday. I intend to go in the evening if I do not change my mind. Please answer soon. Your chum, Hegel.

Why doesn’t Hegel just answer Sabina’s letter if she is taking the time to write a postcard? Is she going to the circus or not? I doubt Sabina is surprised by her indecisiveness. If she hasn’t answered Sabina’s letter, then why does she urge Sabina to answer soon? It’s still your turn, Hegel. I hope Sabina had a great time at the circus without her.

Law Building, University of Iowa

Law Building, University of Iowa (back)

Dear Sister,
I received the package all right yesterday. I am ironing today. How is Chauncey’s hogs? I hope the Sumac did them good and made them stop dying. With love and haste, Isabel.

The best part of this one is the closing, with love and haste. I’ve started using it in emails.

College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin

College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin (back)

Dear Leona —
Am hard at work and am not in the humor. I guess I don’t like to study anymore. I want you to write me as soon as you have time. Best regards to all and love to yourself, Florence Steiner

I wish I could buy Florence a beer.

Picnic Point - Lake Mendota

Picnic Point - Lake Mendota (back)

Boy is it cold it’s awful I am resting hope you got rested after your party. I shall have the headache but it will get better I hope. Be seeing you. Love from Maggie. Thurs.

What makes this one really great is the caption for the photo on the front (Picnic Point – Lake Mendota). “Looking over the Men’s Residence Halls of the University of Wisconsin we see Picnic Point, a famed rendezvous for those week end outings.” I think what Maggie is really saying with this card is that she was wasted but thanks for the sex. She’s sorry if she did anything weird.

Sweater Thursday XXVI.ii.

1 May

This is my instructor for electronic publishing. He’s a regular participant in Sweater Thursday but he pretends not to know anything about it. This is the first time his sweater has been documented. I don’t want to say anything nice about it because he gave me a B on a paper. But it’s hard to stay mad because of the elbow patches.

Why I get excited

1 May

From an interview with Iranian blogger Omid Memarian.

Many Iranians are obsessed with Barack Obama. If he goes to Iran, I’m sure he could fill Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, which has a capacity of 100,000. To a large extent this is because of the nature of Obama’s message about change and hope. Iranian people truly want to change their situation, get rid of decades of marginalization and restore their reputation in the world. They feel connected to his message of change. They are tired of living under the threat of economic sanctions and military attacks. Obama’s remark about initiating a dialogue with Iran translated for many Iranians into hopes of normalizing the relationship between the countries and Iran rejoining the international community.

He blogs in Farsi.

Sweater Thursday XXVI.

1 May

I didn’t think we’d make it past twenty-five but the Taco Instructor saved this installment of sweater Thursday. If this is the last sweater post, it’s because this cardigan cannot be followed. Bejeweled on the front.

Lacy on the back.

I want this sweater. She won’t give it to me. Why can’t I have it?