Saturday, October 30, 2004

Knit Blog Dry Spell

With Marilyn and I being so busy, and Wendy having a dry spell, how are knit blog readers doing out there? Thank goodness for the Yarn Harlot.

Work Woes
I am still having technical difficulties with both work and my new computer. Mostly now, it's just a matter of when I can access various functionality. My client has gotten very picky about which sites I can go to on the web. Hopefully now that I've gotten all the software reloaded onto my laptop, blog entries will resume on a more regular basis.

Blog Friends
James has been up to his old tricks. Look what I received in the mail yesterday, all the way from New Zealand.

He also sent some of that amazing chocolate that was with his last gift. This time it's flavored with apricot and rosemary. It's even nicer than the lavender flavored chocolate he sent the last time.

The best part is the description he included for the gift, entitled, "JOE'S FREEDOM SCARF". I'm keeping that part (and the chocolate) to myself. You can check out James' picture of the scarf here.

Thank you very much for such a thoughtful and nice gift...and the length is PERFECT.

By the way, Thaddeus was intrigued by the cool wrapping paper you used with a local fern frond as the design.

I'm not sure if this is the same thing, but we have something called fiddlehead ferns which are considered quite a delicacy.

Secret Knitting Project
I just finished making up the secret knitting project for my new niece, and sent it off to her this morning. I figure my brother and sister-in-law are way too busy to be checking my knitting blog, so I'll post a picture.

I used these lovely colors to make another pair of those cute leggings I made for Janis' baby, Marina. This pair go to my niece, Lily Bee, along with two baby blankets.

I'll continue working on the third blanket, and sent that off when it's done.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I'm Either PMS or Fed Up

You know those days when you just hate everyone, and you figure it's probably just your own stuff, but you still blame the rest of the world?

Yeah, I'm Having One of Those Days
When my sister calls me and seems to hate the whole world, I ask her if she's PMS. She almost always is. Today, I must be PMS.

Is Mercury in retrograde or something...jeez.

After finally hearing that our tech folks had received AND fixed my laptop, and I'm expecting it via FedEx today. And I got my refund of $45 postage from the U.S. Postal Service. All seemed to be coming back together.

Then, I come into work today to find that my network access at the client has expired. An hour on the phone with help desk gets me re-established.

Then I find out my client has blocked me from accessing any web-based e-mail through their network (even though I've had access to it up until Friday for months).

And the restriction is on all web-based e-mail, including my own company e-mail (which I need to be able to bill the client and update contracts, etc.).

The megalomaniac who refused my request for special access suggested that I forward all my e-mail accounts to my client e-mail account.

Yeah, oh so useful. While I can receive e-mails, any outgoing mail would have to be from my client e-mail address. I don't think so, moron.

Current Knitting
I've got about another hour or two of knitting to finish the suprise project. Sewing up and blocking and wrapping and sending may take another hour.

I'm liking how it's turned out.

Funny thing was that the colors I used, seem to match another project I finished a while ago.

Hopefully, the two will look good together and won't make the child or mother dizzy.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Kitty asks if I checked out either of the yarn stores when I was in Saratoga Springs.

I'm assuming she means:

Stitchin' Post at 17 Phila Street, and
Needle Arts at 494 Broadway

The answer is now. I didn't realize until Kitty's comment that there were yarn stores in that lovely town. Next time I'm up there, I'll check them both out.

As May says...not that I need any more yarn.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


I swear, I was just standing there innocently...

Hemp/Wool Yarn
I was walking around lovely Saratoga Springs with a friend of mine, after a nice Sushi dinner.

He's a bit more Bohemian than I am, and wanted to go into this very granola clothes store, with a lot of hemp-based clothing. As bored as I was with his choice in stores, I browsed anyway.

Lo and behold, I saw two cones of what looked like yarn. In actuality, they were yarn, wool and hemp yarn, in a worsted weight.

Both cones were the same size, and very heavy. The first one had a price of $80 on it. I figured, there's no way I'm paying that much. But the second one had a price of $30. MUCH more reasonable, so I had to have it...right?

Not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I figure since it was my friend's fault that this yarn happened to me, I should make him something with it.

Current Knitting
The surprise knitting project is moving a little less quickly than I'd hoped. I anticipate I'll finish it this coming week and send it off.

Hopefully by then I'll have my laptop back, and I'll have loaded my camera software.

PC Issues
Just as an update.

After recognizing that I couldn't reverse the damage I had done, I mailed my laptop to my home office tech guys to have them re-image it on Wednesday. The post office gave me a guaranteed delivery date of noon on Thursday.

Since I didn't know how much the laptop was worth, I insured it for $1,200.

By noon of Thursday, my laptop hadn't arrived. Tracking the package on the USPS web site only indicated that the package had been accepted at the receiving office, but had no other activity.

I started to sweat that night when there was still no sign of the laptop, and no updated.

By Friday morning, when no one could tell me where my package was, I thought it might be interesting to find out how much it was worth. Wouldn't you know, it's a $1,500 machine.

Finally, the package arrived in my home office at around 1:30 on Friday afternoon, much to my relief.

Our tech guys were able to fix the problem, and it's winging its way to me right now (via FedEx this time), and I should have it by Monday. Yay tech team.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Needle Felting

Rhinebeck had a lot of vendors who were into needle felting this year. There were felted pumpkins and ghoblins for the season and various other felted items, including this useful election-season pen holder

(in case you didn't notice the "sarcasm font", this isn't really an example of needle felting, it was just my poorly disguised reason for putting this funny picture on the blog).

Sheep & Wool Festivals
By far, I had a much better time at Rhinebeck than I did at Maryland Sheep & Wool.

Rhinebeck seemed to have a lot more vendors and access to the Dutchess County site in New York was somewhat easier. With Morehouse Merino being in close proximity to Rhinebeck, that is definitely a point on the positive side. The food vendors in New York were also better.

However, I have to say that I thought MDS&W had better fiber vendors. The small vendors with handspun yarns and the amount of booths with fiber in all states of preparedness seemed more extensive at Maryland. If I was planning on buying another spinning wheel, I think Maryland had a lot more wheel vendors. There was also no charge for the MDS&W.

I asked Thaddeus his opinion, and he thought Maryland had better vendors overall as well, and the booths were easier to navigate than New York, although he had a better time in New York as well.

So, in my opinion, I think Maryland Sheep & Wool is a better festival than Rhinebeck, however, I still had a much better time in New York...and that was largely because of the fiber-friends I met up with there.

In conclusion, make sure whichever place you go, you surround yourself with excellent people, because either place will offer you ample opportunity to spend money on fiber, but spending time with fun friends definitely makes the time more enjoyable.

Thanks Diane for asking the question.

Vogue Knitting
I picked up a copy of Vogue Knitting last week in my local grocers. An absolute waste of money. I can't even recall what was in it, as there was nothing that even caught my interest in the smallest way. I think there were some bad things in there, but I couldn't even say.

Save your money unless you're one of those people that wants every issue.

Computer Woes
There's good news and bad news.

The good news is that my company gave me a new laptop this past Monday which is much nicer than my old one, and much faster.

The bad news is that I was able to much more quickly hose the entire Windows operating system by trying to add client software, which will require me to return it for a complete re-imaging. What's even worse is I have to work in Albany this weekend again, so the earliest I can bring my laptop in for repairs is next FRIDAY...ugh!

What this means for you?

Pictures will be MUCH more difficult to come by for the blog, since the software for downloading pictures from my cameras doesn't work at the moment.

I'll still be able to post blog entries, and I will attempt to load camera software onto my client PC to get some pictures of WIP's, but I can't promise anything.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Great Time Was Had By All

Except for one "scolding the Curmudgeon" incident, Rhinebeck was a blast and a half.

Sheep & Wool Festival Highlights
First of all, I have to say that that folks that read my blog (at least the ones I met at Rhinebeck) are amazing folks. I finally got a chance to meet Selma (the axe murderer), Deb (yentala) and of course Marilyn and Kathy were there.

Here's a picture of the group, including my partner Thaddeus.

From left to right, there's Marilyn, Selma, Kathy (she was having a good time...really!), Thaddeus and Deb.

Unfortunately, I only got to spend a little time with Deb, but she was a doll. Selma, who I had never met before, but I've known for years from her correspondence on the KnitList was wonderful. She has an excellent eye for color, especially colors she looks good in. The hat she's wearing in the picture is an amazing mix of colors, although completely not visible in the picture.

I also got a chance to meet Stephanie Pearl at the show. She's as spunky and funny in person as she is in her writing (unlike myself).

I actually felt hungover the day after the festival from the frenetic shopping and actual purchases.

I actually went through all of the vendor booths without making a single purchase. Then I went back and made my biggest purchase of all (saved for the end).

My first yarn purchase was some Icelandic Roving in a gorgeous shade of green.

Even though there's not enough for a full man's sweater, I had to have it.

Then, I purchased some merino top in a mixture of colors that will spin/ply up in a beautful tweedy sort of way. I can't wait to start working with this fiber.

Other than the initial purchase, that's all I bought at the actual festival (if you exclude a bratwurst with everything and fried dough).

But I did end up ordering a spinning wheel. Not just any wheel, of course, but a Robin wheel.

This wheel is made from an amazing wood that he calls sparled curly maple. The rich luster of the wood just can't be captured in my lousy web pictures, or in my pathetic attempts at description. But ask Marilyn, or Kathy or Selma and they will tell you how beautiful this wheel is.

Now, of course, I don't have to pay anything but a $100 deposit on this wheel now, and the balance in about 18 months. Yes, 18 months is how long their waiting list is, but I'm kind of glad to get some additional Louet experience under my belt before delivery of the new masterpiece.

Other Purchases
Just because I bought yarn at a sheep and wool festival, doesn't mean I stopped myself from making a couple of other purchases at Morehouse Merino on our "after-festival" visit to this wonderful shop.

If you're ever up in the area of upstate New York, and want to see QueerJoe's idea of the perfect yarn store, stop in at this shop. It's spacious, well lit, has great designs using their own yarns and has amazingly beautiful yarn. The salespeople were completely crazed with all the festival business, but that didn't stop them from being both knowledgeable, helpful and nice.

There may be some who recall I had a less-than-positive experience with one of the woman at Morehouse Merino at the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. She was no where to be seen at either of the Morehouse's booths, nor at the store. The other folks were nothing less than perfectly pleasant (as opposed to the hag at the booth where Marilyn got her wrist slapped).

Anyway, I bought these two items at the Morehouse retail store.

The first is a sweater's worth of their awesome merino in a deep pine color. The color is rich and amazing and the softness of their yarn indescribeably wonderful. The second is their famous laceweight merino that I will use to make a lacey wrap for someone in my family.

Personal Knitting/Spinning
Just so you don't think I slacked off all weekend, I was able to finish plying the two large hanks of Jacob select singles and wash and hang them to dry.

I also got some work done on the special surprise knitting project, which I will be able to hopefully show you by the end of this week.

Finally, I leave you with my favorite picture from the weekend.

It shows the two curmudgeons in my life AND it's the closest to a modelling of his new sweater I was able to get.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Knitting - Finally

Okay, I finally got to the "knitting" part of a my knitting blog.

Current Project
I finished the cranberry, Morehouse Merino sweater for Thaddeus this past weekend. Unfortunately, all I have is one lousy picture of it on the floor.

I'll try to get a picture of my handsome partner to model it for the vast and yearning masses. Sometimes I wish he had just a little bit of would be so much easier to get him to model for the blog.

New Knitting Books
As mentioned in my last "knitting-related" entry last Thursday, I was looking forward to getting home to my new Unicorn books, Simply Shetland and Simply Knit 3. I was not disappointed (in any way).

I had seen proofs of the books way before they made their way to yarn stores, and I was't overly thrilled. I've changed my mind and I really like both books a lot.

The biggest and nicest surprises are Gregory Courtney's designs in Simply Shetland. He has two very nice men's sweaters and one of them I will probably make. Of course, Thaddeus likes the other one better, but fortunately, I have the last word in which sweaters I knit.

Despite my earlier misgivings, I would highly recommend both of these books.

See my post from Thursday, October 7th for ordering information, if you don't have a source of your own.

Old Koigu Scarf Patterns
Theresa, the Keyboard Biologist, has made one of my Koigu scarf patterns, and many folks have wanted to purchase the pattern from me, especially now that Simply Knit isn't in business any longer.

Check out Theresa's archives for her September 8, 2003 post on the completion of the scarf (great pictures).

For anyone interested in either of two Koigu scarf kits, you can now go to Threadbear Fiber Arts, and they have the rights to give the pattern away free with the purchase of 2 or 3 skeins of Koigu.

Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival
Thaddeus and I are heading up to Rhinebeck, NY this coming Saturday to check out spinning wheels, fibers and boutique yarns.

More importantly, I'll be meeting up with Marilyn, Kathy, Deb (Yentala), Stephanie (Yarn Harlot, and the local axe murderer, Selma.

Prior to hacking our bodies to pieces, Selma has graciously arranged a visit to Morehouse Farms, where I will be looking to find some of their laceweight merino, if not other things.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Aubergine mentions that his set of US 0, surina wood needles is very sharp.

That hasn't been my experience so far. In my experience, the points are very similar to the Crystal Palace bamboo doublepointed needles in terms of the point. In fact, if you have Crystal Palace bamboo sock needles, and you like them, I would recommend that you not buy the Surina wood.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

First Things First

I know I said I'd blog about spinning today (which I will), but it is politics season, and I'm hunting politicians.

Points of View
I got an e-mail forwarded to my work e-mail address that started off with the following paragraph:

Not since the days of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln has a president put so much stock in his Christian faith and prayer life for making decisions and leading the United States in its hour of crisis. According to BBC correspondent Justin Webb: "Nobody spends more time on his knees than George W. Bush. The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer. Prayer meetings take place day and night. It's not uncommon to see White House functionaries hurrying down corridors carrying Bibles."

Now I thought, "God, how freakin' awful...this e-mail might be interesting."

Until I read further and realized the e-mail was saying this was a GOOD thing. Ugh!

I'm all for prayer and spirituality, but please God, don't we have enough fanaticism with Al Quaeda?

Back to Spinning
Anyway, this past weekend, I was planning on devoting most of my time to knitting...until...

Flea Market Find
Thaddeus is incredibly thoughtful.

As we wandered through the flea market on Saturday, there were very few vendors. The weather was misty, and for some reason, Saturdays aren't very popular days for this particular flea market.

But he did spot this:

He said, "wouldn't that make a good spinning chair?"

After testing it out on my ass, and realizing it was, in fact, perfect for a spinning chair, it didn't leave Thaddeus much bargaining room with the seller.

We paid $30, and it inspired me to do...

Spinning Progress
I set back to work on the Jacob Select in the deep brown color, and after seemingly no time at all, I had filled up two full bobbins.

The combined singles equate to about 1,000 meters of singles, and after double-plying, will be about 500 meters of finished yarn.

I am having trouble holding off starting a new sweater with the first hank of this yarn I finished a few weeks ago.

Sock Needle Orders
I have to say, I'm overwhelmed with how enthusiastic folks have been about the new wooden sock needle venture.

Thank you all for the orders, and I can't wait till you get to use them.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Speaking of which, Kim mentions that a few folks with knitting blogs have been spammed by my needle exporters.

The company hasn't promised exculisivity at all on importing these needles, so there may be other suppliers in the states for them. I'm only doing this because I like the needles, and I had the skill set to bring them to market here relatively quickly. I'm not concerned about others selling them as this isn't a critical business for me.

Charlotte asks, what are the prices for the needles, and what sizes are they?

On the web site, it details that the needles are 5 inches in length, and come in US needle sizes zero through six with two half sizes (US 1.5 and US 2.5) for those of you for whom .25 millimeters is important.

Finally, Debi asks if there are any other lenghts except 5".

I can get the longer needles, and will on my next order, but I don't anticipate that will be for a month or so. I'll let y'all know when I do.

Next Blog Entry - Knitting Update

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Oh So Freakin' Busy

Honestly, I have been working on fiber activity, but the time to blog about it has been extremely limited.

Blog Schedule
This past weekend was a weekend chock full of fiber stuff, despite the fact that I didn't go to Stitches East.

The activities break down into three categories:

1. New fiber-related venture
2. Spinning
3. Knitting

Today, I will only be discussing the new fiber-related venture, since it it really what has been taking up untold numbers of hours in my life.

I'm an Importer
A while back, I got an offer from an India-based firm to start importing wooden knitting needles. I wasn't sure how legitimate the company was, nor what the quality of the needles was, but since they were willing to send samples, I was willing to take a look at importing them.

Well, it turns out, the needles are of a very fine quality wood from areas around Southeast Asia, called Surina wood.

Surina has many of the same qualities of bamboo, in terms of the texture of the wood, but it's harder and more durable.

It has some of the fine qualities of birch and walnut as well, without the brittle, snapping qualities, even on US0 needles.

Suffice it to say, I was impressed enough with the needles to place an initial order of sock knitting needles, and begin selling them under the name of "DoublePointed" sock knitting needles.

Sock Needle Ordering
I was debating as to whether I should offer these through retail sales, or through wholesale marketing, and I've decided that I can do both.

Given my lousy technical skills in HTML programming, I've been able to put together a lame web site to market the needles. Right now, I only have the ability to accept PayPal payments (thus, the reason I have been looking carefully at their record of civil responsibility).

Check out the web site, and feel free to try out these needles, or if you'd be interested in placing a wholesale order, send me an e-mail for minimum purchase orders and pricing.

Rhinebeck Here I come
This coming Saturday, Thaddeus and I will be going up to Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool to meet up with Marilyn, Kathy, Carol S, Selma, and Stephanie. We will also be taking a sidetrip to Morehouse Merino on Saturday evening, just in case we don't find enough fiber at the main event.

I'm very much looking forward to the day of Fiber-fun.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the short-row instructions.

I was very glad to see Marcia's tip on reverse wrapping of to-be-purled stitches. I will have to try that, and see if I can do that more easily.

Next Blog Entry - Spinning Update

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Knitting Technique - Short Rows

With the recent use of short rows on the sleeves of Thaddeus' sweater, I thought some might enjoy a little primer.

Short Row Tips
Short rows simply means not waiting till you get to the end of a row before turning and going back the other way.

The technique is used for shaping, most typically on sock heels and for putting a downward slope on shoulders.

How To Do a Short Row
Here is a typical instruction for doing a short row (assuming that Stockinette Stitch is being used throughout):

From RS, K up to the last 10 sts, Slip the next st, bring the yarn forward and then slip the stitch back to the left-hand needle (effectively wrapping the stitch). Turn your work and P back...

After finishing all of your short rows, typically there is some instructions such as:
On the next RS row, K across. When you come to a wrapped stitch, knit both the stitch and the wrap together.

If you've ever used this technique, it falls short in two ways:
1. It creates little holes or less-than-attractive stitches at the wrapped stitch.
2. If you're short-rowing on both sides of a piece of fabric, as with shoulder shaping on the back of a sweater, it doesn't describe what to do with wrapped stitches on the purl row.

Short Row Tips
To make the little gaps less noticeable on short rows, I follow instructions on a pattern by Danny Ouellette. After wrapping the stitch and turning your work, slip the first stitch instead of working it as a Purl or Knit stitch. This has the effect of putting a more gradual step between the unworked portion of the row and the short row.

For working wrapped stitches on the purl side, it's a little tricky to pick up both the stitch and the wrap before purling them together. I typically drop the wrapped stitch, allowing it to become unwrapped, and then pick up both loops and purl them together.

Short Row Swatch Exercise
If you want to try this technique, follow these instructions, which simulates shoulder shaping on the back of a stockinette sweater (graph courtesy of Marilyn's helpful tutorial):

Cast on 25 sts and work stockinette stitch for about an inch ending with a WS row.

On the next row, K20 sts, sl1, bring the yarn forward and then slip the slipped stitch back to the left-hand needle. Turn your work, SL1, P14, Sl1, bring yarn forward and then slip the slipped stitch back to the left-hand needle, turn work.

Next row, SL1, K9 sts, sl1, bring the yarn forward and then slip the slipped stitch back to the left-hand needle. Turn your work, SL1, P4, Sl1, bring yarn forward and then slip the slipped stitch back to the left-hand needle, turn work.

Next row, SL1, K to the endo of the row, and whenever you come to a wrapped stitch, knit the stitch and the wrap together.

Next row, Purl to the end, and whenever you come to a wrapped stitch, purl the stitch and the wrap together (using the drop-stitch technique described above).

I did make some progress on the sleeve, but the painful ennui of showing a picture won't allow me to today. As I head home this evening, I should be able to finish up this sweater and hopefully get a picture of my dear partner to model it for the admiring masses.

New Knitting Books
I just ordered my "hot-off-the-press" copies of Simply Knit III and the latest Simply Shetland books. While I've seen proofs, and know most of the designs already, I still wanted to maintain a full collection of these beautifully published books.

I ordered mine at Nadine's store, Woolplay, by phone at 856-428-0110.

They are already waiting for me when I get home.

PayPal Update
A number of folks wrote to PayPal to discuss their concerns about possible GLBT discrimination.

The most recent reply from PayPal indicates that they are trying to completely extricate themselves from any adult materials sales.

This decision annoys me in two ways:

First, it seems incredibly judgmental and self-righteous. Sounds way too conservative for my tastes.

Second, it appears that they definitely targeted GLBT site first in their purge of these sites. I'm still not convinced that Belhue Press had any adult materials on their site at all, so it will be interesting to see if PayPal is consistent in their approach to closing accounts.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Mary F. asks if I will ever tell about the secret project.

It's being kept secret, since it's a gift. As soon as the recipient has received it, I will show pictures.

Stephanie asks if I had ever seen the article on the World's opinion on the U.S. president.

I had heard these global poll results before, and it should come as no surprise that the rebumblican incumbent has alienated the rest of the planet. I'm looking forward to meeting the Yarn Harlot in person at Rhinebeck.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Moral Judgments

Who the hell has the right to make moral judgments on behalf of others?

Self Righteousness
Most of you know that I'm one of the most judgmental pricks on the planet.

I have very strong opinions about style and intelligence and driving skills and any host of other topics, and I'm not at all timid about sharing them with the remainder of the world.

What I have no tolerance for is folks that feel that their concept of moral right and wrong should be held by everyone else, or it's some infringement on their world.

There has been a recent occurrence where PayPal has closed down the account of an author and publisher because of user-agreement violations. Stating that there was inappropriate (read "naughty") material on their web site. The publisher and author both say there was nothing more lewd on their site than dozens of similar PayPal enabled sites, and as such, PayPal is run by right-wing, self-righteous prudes who are homophobic.

If what the publisher and author claim is true, it makes me worry that the most popular internet banking company is attempting to dictate moral values.

While I have been unable to verify the claims of the publisher, that they didn't have x-rated materials on their site (which is a violation of PayPal policy), I am definitely going to be watching PayPal carefully for any indication of GLBT discrimination.

With one sleeve completed and another one having a strong start, I'm humming along on Thaddeus' red Morehouse merino pullover.

He tried it on for sleeve sizing this past weekend and it looked quite fetching on him, if I do say so myself.

While I love how this garment is looking, I hate the fact that it doesn't look like I've made any progress what-so-freakin'-ever, despite having added a couple of inches to the jacket.

I will be very happy once I get to the point where I'm only working on the back or the front. With over 250 stitches per row, these single crochets are going to kill me.

You'll also note, the toilet paper roll for exploding yarn balls is helping quite a bit.

New Project
I did end up swatching for the new, surprise project, and I'm liking the yarn quite a bit. This will be an enjoyable project, except in that I can't share it with y'all.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Marta from Germany asks a few questions:

1. Do we say "I am skeptic" in English?
A. Almost, we say "I am a skeptic", but we definitely understood your intent.

2. He's (Kerry) a veteran, isn't he?
A. Yes, an honorable and highly decorated veteran of the Viet Nam war.

3. He did not promise to take back the soldiers from Iraq, did he?
A. No, although he did say that if things work out as he hoped, he'd be looking to start sending some of the troops home as early as next year.

4. Do you think he can actually be a good president or will he be just the minor evil?
A. I do believe he'll be a good president. It's hard to tell until someone takes on such an office, but all indications are that he'll be a good president.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Timing Is Everything

For months, I've had grave worries that Kerry would peak too early and like the clearly more speedy hare, be beaten by the slow and moronic tortoise.

Video Rental Insider Information
For those of you who don't know, my partner Thaddeus works in a video rental place. It's not one of the chains, but a "mom and pop" place with a much broader selection of videos than you'd ever find at Blockbuster.

For years, we rented videos at this place before Thaddeus took his "semi-retirement" job there. Now that he works there, obviously, we rent our videos/DVD's for free.

One thing he told me absolutely floored me.

Do you know where they make their most money?

Is it on children's videos that get rented over and over and over by the same family because of the insistent child?

Is it on consistently renting out the entire selection of the most recently released hits?

Is it on their extensive selection of pornographic movies?

Is it on the candy and snacks they sell at gouging prices to renters?

Not any of those...they make the lion's share of money on late fees.

I know, how boring, right. But that fact just amazed me. I think in all the years that we rented movies, we paid one late fee. So you can imagine my amazement when he tells me that folks regularly keep movies out for WEEKS after they're due. He often charges customers the full cost of the movie in late fees, AND they don't get to keep the movie.

I will never understand such an incredible waste of money. Money that could easily be spent on fiber addictions.

I think, like a good practitioner of the sexual arts, Mr. Kerry is timing his "peak" like a consummate professional (I'm NOT calling him a hooker).

The debates last night left the Rebumblican incumbent looking incredibly stupid a number of times. He'd whine for Jim Lehrer to give him the 30 second rebuttal time, and then have very little to say. He repeated over and over what "hard work" it was telling families they had to send their brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons to war. He attacked with the newest rendition of the term "flip flop".

For the older readers on this list, I kept picturing the Shrub as Alfred E. Newman...all he needed was the gap between his teeth and a caption saying "What, me worry?"

Kerry did an excellent job. He told it like it is. He maintained the exact correct level of respect, and still made the president look like a moron. Whoever told him to speak directly to Jim Lehrer, and use his name should be given a medal. It was very effective. It gives me hope that John Kerry will be our next president, and it gives me even greater hope that the country isn't going down the toilet for another four years.

Sheesh...just the thought of having to pay off the debt caused by outsourcing the war to Haliburton is depressing enough without having to take out additional mortgages on our countries homeland.

Update tomorrow with pictures,