Thursday, August 23, 2007

my new favorite show

I love feathers

High price of cashmere

I found a Really depressing story at the Chicago Tribune about the high cost of cheap cashmere.

My co-worker, who has family in South Korea and plans to return someday, was especially distressed by this story and the environmental damage caused by the cashmere goats. She says China's growing deserts are really frightening, that especially in the Spring and Fall in Seoul for a month it is so dusty you have to cover your face when you go outside. And she says in China at that time its much worse you have to cover yourself fron head to toe to go out and when you get back you are covered in a thick layer of dust and sand.

from the story:

The country's enormous herds of cashmere-producing goats have slashed the price of sweaters. But they also have helped graze Chinese grasslands down to a moonscape, unleashing some of the worst dust storms on record. This in turn fuels a plume of pollution heavy enough to reach the skies over North America.


Every product--every T-shirt, every SUV, every child's toy--has a global footprint defined by the resources and energy used to make it. In the case of cashmere, America snapped up a record-smashing 10.5 million Chinese sweaters last year, 15 times as many as a decade ago, and far more than every cashmere sweater imported last year from Italy and the United Kingdom combined.

It's impossible to say how much any single product contributes to China's choking air pollution. But the spike in demand for cashmere is taking a toll on the soil, air and water in China as well as the U.S.--a cost that never appears on any store's tag. And many consumers are unaware of the link.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

somedays, I miss the midwest

If You Grew Up in the Midwest......

…You know how to polka, but never tried it sober.

…You know what knee-high by the Fourth of July means.

…You know it is traditional for the bride and groom to go bar hopping between the reception and wedding dance.

…You know the difference between "Green" and "Red" farm machinery, and would fight with your friends on the playground over which was better!
[ahem, lets not forget the orange]

…You buy Christmas presents at Fleet Farm.

…You spent more on beer & liquor than you did on food at your wedding.

…You hear someone use the word "oof-dah" and you don't break into uncontrollable laughter.

…You or someone you know was a "Dairy Princess" at the county fair.

…You know that "combine" is a noun.

…You let your older siblings talk you into putting your tongue on a steel post in the middle of winter.

…You think Lutheran and Catholic are THE major religions.

…You know that "creek" rhymes with "pick".

…Football schedules, hunting season, and harvest, are all taken into consideration before wedding dates are set.

…A Friday night date is getting a six-pack and taking your girlfriend shining for deer.

…Saturday you go to your local bowling alley.

…There was at least one, if not several, in your class who had to help milk cows in the morning.

…You have driven your car on the lake.

…Every wedding dance you have ever been to has the hokey pokey and the chicken dance.

…Your definition of a small town is one that only has one bar.

…The local gas station sells live bait.

…At least twice a year some part of your home doubles as a meat processing plant.

…You think that the start of deer season is a national holiday.

…You actually understand these jokes and will forward them to all your Midwestern friends!!!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Go Waterbuffalos!

I shaved the 3 week beard


Yes, I shaved the 3 week beard. I couldn't take it anymore. (hmm maybe the august heat had something to do with that?) It felt so patriarchal or something. It's kind of strange how much a simple beard affects ones identity. On one hand it made me feel pretty non-mainstream, un-middle class, which was cool. (People definitely treat you differently. In walgreens I was the crazy misanthrope with the beard, the cashier said: here let me do that for you, when I fumbled swiping my card.) But it wasn't really the sub-cultures I'm into. Ah, the strange worlds of beard culture: from hippies, to daddies, to orthodox patriarchy and wild crazy-eyed mountain men. Okay, now I'm starting to miss it. But as my co-workers say, "Oh, Bart, the beards just 2 weeks away," and I still want to be blackbeard for Halloween ...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

finished knitting a new hat

first of the season... its almost fall...

Steven and new hat

that's Steven modeling it.

Ethanol fueling higher farmland prices

Well, there goes that pipe dream for a while. The NY Times has a story about how the ethanol boom is fueling sky rocketing farm land prices.

“For everyone who doesn’t own an acre of land, these prices mean it gets a little harder to get into,” Mr. Aupperle added. “For an entry-level land owner or a renter, there’s a bit of a thought right now that the train is leaving and I’m not on it.”

In Iowa, which produces more corn and is home to more ethanol plants than any other state, farm rental prices are mimicking purchase prices: they were up about 10 percent this spring over a year ago, according to a study by William Edwards, a professor at Iowa State University who said it was the largest jump since he started tracking farm rents in 1994.

In the back of my head, for the last few months has been the idea of renting a farm for a year and seeing if I somehow liked it better than IT. I thought perhaps I'd find some farm, buy a Jersey to milk, a flock of chickens, and a few pigs to raise for market and grow some vegetables. But the ethanol craze is looking like it may put a lot of people off of that idea. Pretty much anyone that isn't directly related to a farm.

Well, I'll keep my I on this.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fox Attacks Bloggers

Sweet! judge silences navy sonar

from the BBC

The US Navy has been ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar equipment during training exercises off the coast of California until the end of 2009.


In a statement, the navy said it already took steps to minimise risks to marine mammals.

It added that it had monitored the waters off southern California for 40 years, and had not seen any whale injuries resulting from the use of sonar equipment.

This is utter bunk. There is no doubt the sonar kills whales. This is from a Mother Jones story from last year:

The pilot whales began coming ashore last January, on North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, not far from Whalebone Junction, where fishermen make the turn toward the marina at Oregon Inlet. Short-finned with distinctly rounded heads and long, stocky dark bodies, some were almost 20 feet long, weighing up to three tons. By the time they were discovered in the surf near a lonely five-mile stretch of beach, 15 pilot whales—6 of them pregnant—were dead. Seven more had to be euthanized by veterinarians. During the next two days, a newborn minke whale and two dwarf sperm whales also died in one of the largest beaching events ever documented along this coastline.

Scientists arrived to gather tissue; after the necropsies, the whales were buried on the beach. “It’s curious to have three different kinds of whales strand, and a number of possible causes are being examined. Sonar is certainly one of them,” said Connie Barclay, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

On the day the strandings began, several Navy ships conducted submarine-hunting exercises off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, using loudspeakers to send mid-frequency sonar sound waves across ten or even a hundred miles of ocean. Sonar devices can locate an enemy’s sophisticated, almost-silent diesel submarines by, ironically, making a deafening noise—sometimes above 230 decibels, as loud as a Saturn V rocket blasting off. (Underwater noise of only 120 decibels—a level billions of times less intense—has been known to disrupt whale behavior.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Why we're in Iraq

(from Jim Hightower)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

camping, fiddle lesson, csa

We (Steven, Bonnie and I) went camping up in the Poudre Canyon over the weekend. We had car trouble fri and had to stay overnight at Steven's dad's house and then borrowed his jeep on Saturday. It was a fun experience, we just car-camped up in the Roosevelt Natl Forest and hung out around a campfire in the evenings, (Bonnie's very talented with camp fires, just so you know.) We broiled veggies wrapped in tinfoil (buried in the coals.) They were so good cooked that way (green beans, potatoes, summer squash, red onions all from the CSA).

Sunday we came home, and I harvested the first big haul of tomatoes and jalapenos.

On Monday night I had my first fiddle lesson in years. I'd been really looking forward to it too. It was kindly disappointing. We basically went over my bad, self-taught fiddle form, (no hold your thumb this way, no bend your right thumb,) and then she had to take a cell phone call in the middle of the lesson, WTF? Granted changing habits will be good and make playing easier, but its still lame.

Last night we got a huge haul from the CSA Farm, including 3 muskmelons and 4 watermelons. (that would be the full shares weeks supply.)