Late at night I exchange texts with one of my oldest friends, who among other things spins, dyes, and weaves. I send her progress reports on my Christmas projects, lately the puppet stage panel paintings, and she shows me what she's quilting or weaving. Last night she sent these ravishing pictures of a cotton/silk fabric dyed with indigo. She didn't spin the thread, but she did weave them on one of her astounding number of looms. She's trying to figure out how to line them with velvet and use them in a protective drape for a concert grand.
My husband alerted me to this story about woven fabrics excavated in Turkey that appear to date from at least 6500 B.C. The fiber is oak bast. Bast is a fiber found on the inner surface of the bark or outer material of "dicotedonous" flowering plants, which are about half of the flowering plants, I take it. Wiki tells me that people have extracted bast fibre from "flax (from which linen is made), hemp, jute, kenaf, kudzu, linden, milkweed, nettle, okra, paper mulberry, ramie, and roselle hemp." My weaving friend adds yucca.

An Institutional Pattern

Like other large institutions that have had members commit sex crimes against children, the CIA tended to handle things internally -- leading to minimal consequences for horrific crimes.
One employee had sexual contact with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. He was fired. A second employee purchased three sexually explicit videos of young girls, filmed by their mothers. He resigned. A third employee estimated that he had viewed up to 1,400 sexually abusive images of children while on agency assignments. The records do not say what action, if any, the CIA took against him. A contractor who arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child had his contract revoked.
At least there were some consequences, I guess, unlike with the IRS targeting scandal or (thus far) Russiagate. 

False Flag Terror is an Old Problem

The Weather Underground plotted an assassination by their white members in blackface, in order to spark a revolution.

Helpful Advice

"Fed up with higher gas prices? Get over it."

We understand that for many people $3 a gallon is painful — especially lower-wage earners with older, bigger cars that get poor gas mileage. But help is on the way in cleaner-burning cars with tax incentives to bring down their price.

Ford just provided some welcome and telling evidence of that. It’s building an all-electric F-150 truck for 2022. So we won’t have to give up popular pickups to help ease climate change.

As part of his “Build Back Better” spending plan that recently cleared the House, Biden hopes to offer up to $12,500 per electric vehicle to spur consumer demand.

Hear that, low wage workers? If the President's agenda passes, which will drive inflation to unheard of new heights, you'll get $12,500 off the new electric vehicle you won't be able to afford. Base price is north of $39,000.

Don't get me wrong -- the new electric Ford may well be great. Electric trucks are outperforming expectations. There's still the huge issue of much of that electricity being generated by burning coal or fuel oil, but in places where hydropower is widely available -- like here -- it might be a viable choice for those who can drop tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle. The range is looking respectable, and there is plenty of power in that model. 

It's not going to solve the problem of lower-wage earners dying on the vine as inflation eats their wages, though. Those subsidies are not going to enable poor people to buy a brand new truck. The BBB agenda will only worsen their problems, should it pass, by further driving costs for necessities through the roof. 

Limited Hangout

Lee Smith continues his excellent reporting on Russiagate. 

Today’s Beer


A Dagger of Rome

I always love these archeological weapon finds. 

The Irish Art of Lilting and What it Means For You

 Thought some here might be interested in this ...

A 50-year mistake

Although we probably won't see a decision until this summer, the newly dominant conservative members of the Supreme Court appear to be responding well to Mississippi's argument that the issue of abortion should be left to the states: 

But rather than painting an ideological argument framed around complex philosophical, ethical and moral considerations, Stewart argued the court should itself simply be neutral. Abortion, he said, should be outside of the court’s jurisdiction entirely, because the constitution places responsibility for these types of issues, which represent the intersection of changing science, theology, morality and medicine, not with judicial fiat, but with the democratic process.
“On hard issue, after hard issue, the people make this country work,” he said. “Abortion is a hard issue. It demands the best from all of us, not a judgment by just a few of us.”

Inclusive Language

Poor old Bernie.

The one commenter says that "It's not hard to use trans-inclusive language," but it really is for those of us born before yesterday. What exactly are you supposed to say here? "If you are a woman -- or a man -- who might be giving birth..."? 

This was literally a Monty Python sketch within our lifetimes, kids. They were on your team back when your team recognized physical reality as a relevant factor. This whole thing was a sendup of Christianity, not at all conservative. Bishops came out to protest it. BBC specials were done about whether or not this kind of discourse was acceptable in polite society, and not because it treated women as the only ones who could have babies.

An Advent Calendar

My sister sends this unique calendar, which is also a case of beer.

The first beer describes itself as a “grumpy German helles.”

More puppet scenes

 At this rate I may manage to get both puppet stages in the mail in time for Christmas.

Paintings From the Hall

Speaking of paintings, which rarely enter my mind, my wife is having a sale on her fine art paintings. Both her landscapes and her work from life are on sale (and on display, if any of you happen by Asheville, both at the Asheville Gallery of Art and on Woolworth’s Walk). 

The latter includes this fellow, which I’ll be sad if she sells because he currently hangs in my stairwell. A soulful hound is a fine companion. 

She loves to paint portraits of striking dogs and horses, by the way, so if you have one you’d like painted she does sometimes take commissions for such orders. 

Crafty time of year

At Christmas the urge to paint often comes over me. This year I'm working on a couple of puppet stages for a toddler great-niece. I found on Etsy a clever folding stage with wings that open up, which seemed to lend itself toward painting different sets on each panel. I ordered two, thinking I wouldn't have time to paint one before Christmas, so I'd send the blank one for now and follow up later with the other after painting it, but the work is going so quickly that it seems I'll have time to let the first one dry in time to wrap and ship it. The first one has just three panels: Then it occurred to me that I can paint the back side, too, and she can turn it around. I've just started on the second stage now, having completed the first panel of six.

The Feast of St. Andrew

It is often remarked that Andrew was a strange choice for a patron of Scotland, which has several native saints of her own. 

All the same. 

A Hopeful Tale

Wretchard writes that all powers may be collapsing, ‘a failure not of this or that hegemony but of hegemony itself.’


Today being the first Sunday of Advent I got some initial decorating done. The lights at least are hung, and a small tree set up and given a first-pass decoration. We lit a candle at dinner in the Advent wreath. 

We are still eating Thanksgiving leftovers -- at this point leftover-leftovers, as the leftovers I made into Turkey chorizo and nachos still had some life in them for dinner tonight. I've got one more meal's worth of turkey on the carcass, which I can turn into a leftovers dish; and then if there are leftovers of that as well, we'll have eaten from Thursday to Tuesday on the same bird.

It occurred to me as I was carving meat from the bird that I did not know if turkeys had a carving word. In the Middle Ages, there were a whole host of these terms for different animals, and carving was considered a sort of Aristotelian science. Turkeys are a New World bird, though, and I don't see one on at least this list. Here are some that are close: 
  • allay a pheasant
  • disfigure a peacock
  • display a quail
  • fract a chicken
  • rear a goose
  • sauce a capon
  • spoil a hen
  • unbrace a mallard
  • wing a partridge
I would say that turkeys are probably closer to geese than any of the others, but in our present culture 'to rear a turkey' would inevitably be taken as a euphemism for a despicable practice. Plus it should really have its own name, that being in the spirit of the thing. Perhaps one might 'leftover a turkey.' 

Soon I will begin the holiday baking, so that we can send cookies and the like out to all and sundry. Once the Yuletide proper gets here, there will be meat pies to be served in the Hall itself. For now, though, it is only the beginning of the time of preparation.