A rambling blog post

Our constant hysterical political climate disgusts me.  Trump’s constant braggadocio, petty attacks and rambling , fact-free word salads disgust me.  The Democrats and media hysterical spin about Trump disgusts me.  As far as political commentary or analysis goes, the various smart takes in 2016 remain the same in 2019, as our American political hamster wheel spins round and round.

For the most part lately, I’ve gotten off the daily habit of tracking the partisan spin throughout the day.  Perhaps if something interesting or new happens, I’ll write about it, but fair warning, the rest of this post will be another detour about my efforts to make peace between our consumerist culture and the myriad counter-cultural efforts to combat our wasteful American lifestyle.

Last night I watched a short CNN video on Twitter about a fashion designer, zero waste daniel, who started a clothing design business using only scrap fabric waste.  His approach of sewing together small scraps of fabric to create larger pieces of fabric, from which to construct his clothing designs, while being a trendy environmental-mindful concept, does highlight our society’s love affair with consumer goods, where most of us acquire way more than we consume and live totally unconcerned about our wastefulness.

There’s a common mindset among more conservative Americans and the political right to dismiss everything coming from the liberal environmentalist echo chamber, but perhaps we should all try to be a little more open to listening and considering the merits of ideas, before making snap partisan political judgments.

Many aspects of our environmentally conscious activism do stem from the political left, then take hold in American businesses, who react to the political activism.  Many businesses respond to and embrace the latest politicized framing of appropriate environmentally conscious policies.  This type of political pressure infuriates many on the right.

On the merits, though, pushing all of the politics aside, being less wasteful, using less disposable packaging and taking a more mindful approach to our consumer habits seem like very traditional, conservative American thrifty values, that would even have appealed to Benjamin Franklin and most of our American founders.  The less wasteful approaches definitely were ingrained habits to my parents and grandparents.

Moving to a crafting/needlework blog post, explains why I haven’t been blogging much lately…  I have been stitching away… using all stuff that’s been sitting here for many years.

I struggle with my consumerist mindset and am working to rethink my relationship with purchasing many items, that clutter up my home,  and often have never been used.  However, moving to a zero waste lifestyle takes way more commitment and effort than I will expend, so it’s small steps in my life.

For decades, I purchased loads of craft and needlework supplies, without much concern or thought about the possibility of having too much stuff.  Yet, the thought of parting with my craft and needlework stuff just isn’t happening yet, but I now strive not to buy more, unless it’s some basic supply that I really need.

A few years ago, I began an effort to make projects using only stuff I already have and that’s what that hummingbird cross-stitch picture above is.  I bought a bunch of small Spring-themed counted cross-stitch kits  (and some not so small ones too) on clearance at Walmart, over the many years that I worked there.  I stitched a couple of these a few years ago and posted a photo, but never fear, I have more to go:

I have a hard time seeing to stitch on 18-count, so I used 14 Aida cloth from my supplies for the  hummingbird and a bunny kit last weekend.  I bought two of the bunny kits, for no logical reason…:

I did finish that Diane Graebner Amish design (out of the hoop and needs pressing):

Learning more about finishing my needlework into some useful or decorative item leads me to read a lot of cross-stitch blogs and browse Pinterest frequently.  That habit leads me to want… more new cross stitch stuff, especially the nicer linens and evenweave fabrics and threads.  It takes a constant effort to remind myself that, while stitching on plain old Aida cloth isn’t as nice as stitching on expensive fabrics, these kits and Aida projects still look nice, I think.

Yesterday afternoon, I was torturing myself looking at the blog of a very talented cross stitch designer, Brenda Gervais.  All of her patterns scream, “I want to stitch that!”.  Gervais wrote a short background story to her 2017 series, Summer Schoolhouse ~ Lessons in Abecedarian.  She relates how she found a small children’s book while hunting for antiques, but it wasn’t just any old book.  It was a copy of the oldest children’s book in the Library of Congress and it’s considered to be the oldest children’s book in print.   This book contains the first documented use of the word, baseball.  In the process of browsing cross stitch blogs, I learned a new word: abecedarian and a bit of historical trivia too.

To fill my fix for something new, there are lots of free patterns online.  I stitched this free St.Patrick’s Day cats piece, by Lynn B., twice.  I am going to make them into little decorative pillows or perhaps frame them, but one is for a family member and then I liked these black cats so much, I stitched one for me too:

Yesterday, was another free pattern start, Russian Dolls, this one from DMC:

Plus, I have a bigger cross stitch project of a Liberty Bell, that’s in progress, but that one deserves a fancier Belfast white linen, not plain old Aida cloth.  Just started this, so it’s only the top of Independence Hall and some of the lettering:

Of course, still working on plastic canvas too:

Not sure what I’ll do with this house picture, but it’s a design that I like, so I stitched it…

It’s very hard for me to concentrate on writing lately, but I’ll try to get back to politics soon.


Filed under General Interest

589 responses to “A rambling blog post

  1. JK

    “Putting together the events and participants, I can only marvel at how far we have fallen. This incident is the clearest, most starkly damning example of how poorly our civil systems are functioning. So much had to go wrong for this to happen, and so many people had to fail their basic intelligence rolls to make it come together the way it did. This is a story with absolutely no “good guys.”

    That I agree with. Too bad (if true/accurate) the President offered federal assistance to Wisconsin’s governor and he or she turned his offer down.

    The President it must be borne in mind could have, quite reasonably in my humble opinion, invoked the Insurrection Act and all of this would’ve been moot. This is politics plain and simple. Not only by Trump a sole actor but (in my opinion) the whole and entirety of his opposition.

    Which isn’t the same as saying “It’s the Democrats.”

  2. JK


    Why did I suspect that. Perhaps not specifically that but I did suspect something very similar.

    “White privilege: White kid illegally carrying an AR-15 shoots three people and can’t even get arrested when he surrenders? Hell yeah. That’s gotta be the white privilege gold medal right there. If you don’t think that the same interaction would not have gone MUCH differently for a black man, I encourage you to look up the event that sparked this whole mess in the first place.”

    Actually Mr. Vaillencourt I have “looked up the event that sparked this whole mess” but what you seem to have overlooked is all the contributing and additive events which got us here.

    This isn’t looking like it’s gonna turn out well.

  3. JK


    If accurately reported that, I think you might agree LB, shines “another sort of light” on Colonel Vindman doncha think?

    • There sure seem to be a lot of Dem activists inside the highest levels of our intelligence agencies, at the State Department and among the DC-connected officers at the Pentagon, JK. I’m amazed at the band of Dem retired generals, actively and openly working as Dem spin operatives now. The most amazing aspect of their partisan political activism is they pontificate about Trump politicizing and using the military as a stage prop (which he and most recent presidents have done), while apparently being blind to their own use of their military prestige for purely partisan political efforts. Seems “saving America from the awful Trump” spin efforts take precedence over leading by example with the retired generals.

      I still find a great deal of Trump’s spin antics appalling, but at the same time, these holier-than-thou retired Dem generals are a sight to behold – they completely buy into the Dem & mainstream media spin hysteria and rush right on TV and Twitter, tweeting angry diatribes against Trump – totally believing all these unnamed sources… Imagine generals in the military making decisions based on spin garbage being hyped by Dem operatives, the NYT or WaPo reporting, but that looks like it’s already happening. Some bought into that bullshit Dem spin attack about the Battle of Lafayette Park, when Trump walked to that church for that tacky photo-op. It was a tacky photo-op, and Dems and mainstream media spun that into the worst attack on Americans in history… despite over 150 federal officers injured in DC during that week of protesting.


      There were no deaths on either side and I didn’t see any verified reports of protesters at Lafayette Park hospitalized for injuries inflicted by federal officers. I saw a tweet one day with a photo of some woman’s leg and the reporter claimed the woman said she was at Lafayette Park the day before, during Trump’s tacky photo-op. She had a red mark on her leg, she claimed came from a rubber bullet. The reporter did not give her name or even verify that she had been there the day before, let alone been hit by a rubber bullet. This is the kind of “reporting” the mainstream media excels at – no names, no context, no verification, all just TDS spin garbage.

    • Jk, I meant to comment on Vindman, but went off on a tangent – Vindman sounded like a Dem activist when he testified, looking to Schiff for stage direction. it was quite amazing. As you know I fell completely for the Marie Yovanovitch spun up sob story, but in retrospect, she was part of the Dem spin effort, I suspect. I was also disturbed by Giuliani, as Trump’s personal attorney, traipsing around Ukraine looking for dirt. When people get invested in trying to outdo each other with spin war, well, good judgment evaporates.

      • JK

        I’d … “somewhat disagree” characterizing Vindman’s “performance” was particularly Dem – that he had an agenda and that agenda was definitely not what his CO (who, since Vindman was on the NSC, was ultimately the President) had in mind. The honorable thing to do to my mind would have been to resign in protest – and very publicly (if only to put an exclamation on such a resignation).

        So far as “falling for Ms. Yovanovitch’s sobs” very apparently that was not an uncommon reaction – I’ve heard from many people, on just about every side (and a few on no side) describe her treatment on a scale of something like between “poor” and : “appalling.”

        Only thing protecting/shielding me from falling for her particular shtick was my recalling all those 2016 Nuland/Kent/Yovanovitch/Ciaramello Ukraine shenanigans that,

        given Schiff was producing and directing the theatrics, it was easy to lose sight of so I can’t (and will not) fault you for that.

        Far as Giuliani even finding it “necessary” to even have to go to Ukraine in the first place I never could understand, after all, all “the evidence” was already out and (mostly) open-sourced. Candidly I think whatever Rudy’s ‘mission’ [such as it was] was supposed to be it was in actuality, a sideshow. Kept a bunch of reporters/journos hopping though – for all the good it did ’em – which in the end I don’t much mind.

  4. JK


    Anecdotally (just paying attention through life really) in my opinion I think that study’s conclusions correct.

  5. JK

    Don’t think LB, I’ve ever linked this site to you before but at about ten and a half minutes in Mr. Hayward makes mention of an author I actually do remember calling your attention to:


    • I remember you mentioning that book, JK. And, I bought it and read it too, although I must say, your recommendation of David McCullough’s, Brave Companions: Portraits in History, has led me on more reading adventures than Cultural Literacy, despite its quite extensive appendix.

      The McCullough book includes so many interesting “portraits” and just chapter 10, on Conrad Richter, introduced me to an American writer, whom I knew nothing about and now I’ve read several of his novels and a book of his short stories.

      I want to read McCullough’s, The Pioneers too.

  6. JK

    Thanks for the reminder for me to buy The Pioneers, I’d forgotten about that.

    Here’s something we don’t see much of these days. Sadly.


    Makes me kinda wish I could vote in NC.

  7. JK

    Might you do me (possibly, ‘us’) a favor LB?

    In today’s HillTV video cast (7th segment) there’s a Pew Research Center ‘project?’ ‘study?’ discussed I’d like to take a closer look at. Anyway might you find a link? It appears to be on some kinda twitter thingy but I really don’t know:


    The text under the segment title is ‘Krystal and Saajar: Msnbc Reve …’

  8. JK


    I’m currently listening to something but I’d direct your attention LB to ‘about’ the point of 1:15:00 to about 1:35:00 especially – however much I’ve found all I’ve listened to from the very beginning:


    • Well, JK, This sounds like peak COIN indoctrination to me. There’s a lot of naive ideas encapsulated in this idea that we’re somehow helping these people live “free,” (whatever free means to them) when the same power-brokers in Afghanistan now are the same brutal zealots as before. I still believe we are no closer to defeating radical Islam than we were 19 years ago, because this ideology finds plenty of believers in the Muslim world and frankly, perhaps I’m a hard-nosed realpolitik type, but I think the primary concern needs to be defining American national interests in the region and developing a larger regional strategy, looking at the regional strategic picture.

      A lot of people are very stuck on the democracy in the ME project and the Arab Spring delusions.- especially among American military officers.

      I hadn’t mentioned this before, but with the rapid developments in the Arab world and normalizing relations with Israel, well, the event that I think pushed this isn’t Jared’s ME efforts or Trump, but that massive explosion in Beirut that rocked the region. A lot more hasn’t been said about that explosion and Hezbollah, than has been said, I suspect. It sure seems to have shaken up a lot stuff in the region.

      • JK

        Yes what the guy seemed to be doing was almost precisely as I’ve come to (personally – don’t think I’ve ever put it out on a blog for sure, and probably not in a email either) describing as a ‘on the one hand ______ but on the other hand _____.’ What’s happened I think LB is after these 20 some years of constant warfare the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about has become a means toward a permanent career path. (As I say I don’t think I’ve communicated what at this point is something I’ve just internalized so me attempting to put it into words is gonna be primitively put.)

        Anyway back when we were young adults – 20 to say 30 – our fathers returning home from war had just accepted that to feed the family they’d need become farmers, plumbers, carpenters, (doctors), whatever. But nowadays what with the increase in the size of the budget, along with the commensurate increases in the size of government itself plus the number of “jobs” it has taken on – Department of Homeland Security being probably the most obvious example – there’s really no need anymore for anyone to, even consider what comes “after.”

        (Thoughts remaining un-arrayed, with much that needs be put between) [S]o now it’s got to a point that there isn’t any after anymore only, ‘so how can I figure out a way to never leave service?’ [Aside from becoming an incumbent politician!]

        – – –

        However that said – primitively put aside – much of that three hour conversation contained some bits of gold; widely scattered about I’d have to certainly admit but I’m happier than sad about having listened to the entire thing. (Would I willingly/enthusiastically do a repeat listen? No but I’d kinda like having a transcript.)

        – – –

        Yeah that Beirut explosion I reckon achieved more in the space of seventy nanoseconds than what seventy years of “diplomacy” has achieved.

        Don’t put it into a blog post (or, if you do don’t ‘credit’ me) but I’ve found myself engaging in a thought experiment going something like this, ‘What if that happened as the result of a joint Israel-Russia covert operation?’

        Of course it’s possible, I guess, that Lebanon’s primary port getting blown to smithereens was a pure accident. But it’s hard for me to associate the words Beirut and pure in a single sentence.

  9. JK

    I’d gotten to this sooner LB but my kids were in this weekend.

    Lots to think about here:


    • JK, Does this last bit sound like we’re moving back to the “small American military footprint” approach in the ME again?

      • JK

        I’ve not taken enough time looking into the details of exactly what the Joint Chiefs have been tasked to do, what their force requirements are, etc.


        I note Erdogan is recently signalling he’s “inclined” to de-escalate the Turkish-Greek situation (what’s so suddenly happened that’s led him to re-consider his ‘designs’ on all those oil resources around Cyprus, I dunno perhaps the seeming re-alignment of the various Arab states “strategy”? Plus there’s the question of exactly what’s meant by “small footprint” given our recent decades of history.

        Personally, my opinion of Turkey (and their designs) tends me to thinking they’re no longer a ‘dependable ally.’ Still, I’ve heard no talk of abandoning Incirlik (which actually, I would prefer we make preparations as conditions dictate to carry out) but for now we’ve got a rather considerable contingent of USAF assets there.

        The US 5th Fleet is Bahraini-based which means a carrier task group which also means there’ll be a Marine Expeditionary Group on constant duty. (I may mis-spell this) Too there’ll be that Al Udied ‘air base[?] on Qatar. So that makes up a not inconsiderable set of assets which I can’t really bring myself to characterize as a “small footprint.”

        Almost forgot. There’s almost certainly a quite sizeable contingent of Seabees and SOCOM with their supporting equipment/force protection assets hanging around the ME generally so there’s that too.

        Then lastly we need bear in mind – “Trump’s wishes” to the contrary – when he proclaimed ‘US Forces will be pulled outta Syria’ that turned out to not quite mean we’d actually totally abandon the place (as much as that might’ve been the best course pre-Russian invasion). So – as I understood the situation back when Trump was being roundly demonized for “abandoning the Kurds” (which incidentally didn’t happen either as all the ‘pulling out of Syria’ only turned out to be we’d pull back to Dawr az Zahr and insert an Armored Combat Brigade down on the Syria/Jordanian border town of Al Tanf – which armored combat brigade almost certainly means there’s “a bunch” of support assets got themselves a well-stocked pantry somewhere ‘up north’ in Jordan’s desert country.

        And though it’s not been much mentioned these days I don’t recall anybody saying ‘there’s no US Forces in [Iraq] the Kurdish Autonomous Zone.’

        So towards me and you LB getting to conclude that “Yes it looks like a small footprint” I think we better wait and see how all this recent maneuverings looks like its gonna shake out.

      • ” I think we better wait and see how all this recent maneuverings looks like its gonna shake out.”

        So true, JK, and all these maneuverings won’t mean much of anything, I suspect, if Biden wins in November. We’ll then be back to the Obama magic carpet ride territory… and I certainly never wanted a repeat of that fiasco.

        There seem to be powerful entrenched forces inside the beltway that keep America wedded to failed ME policies, and regardless which party holds the reins, it’s all just rinse and repeat the same failed policies. It’s amazing how the world didn’t end with Trump’s Soleimani decision.

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