History, History as Soap Opera, and Herstory

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The saying, “History is written by the winners.” is intended to  point up the fact that there is some kind of bias and/or some form of agenda in every historical record.  Details are edited out, misrepresented or just plain usurped based on their relevance and/or importance to whatever the agenda happens to be.

Film and television have their own unique agenda and “historical” dramas can be biased in any of a number of ways by any combination of the writers, the actors, or the “funding body” — the network, studio, or sponsors who put up the money for the production.  These dramas are well known for playing fast and loose with historical fact and period costume.  It is ridiculous to expect any but a perfunctory nod to historical accuracy from any historical movie  in general, especially those set in the Medieval period.

I mention this because Wednesday, I watched the first season of the TV series “Reign” purportedly based on the life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland,” which is, as you might suspect, wildly historically inaccurate — as a case in point, it postulates a bastard son of Henri II and a young, sexy Diane de Poitiers (who in reality was 20 years older than Henri), who is called “Bash” — short for Sebastian — upon whom his father dotes at the expense of his legitimate sons by Catherine de’ Medici Francis II is portrayed as blond and soldierly.  He was, in reality, frail, a stutterer, and abnormally short — much shorter than his 5’11” bride — who was two years older than he was.  Mary’s four ladies in waiting are called “Greer,” “Kenna,” “Aylee,” and “Lola.”  (They were, in fact, all named “Mary” — Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingston — which, I’ll grant you, would have been confusing.) The costumes are as, if not more, laughable than the historical accuracy.  You could call it historical soap opera, but I call it “hysterical fiction.”

This historical revision for the purpose of entertainment is nothing new.  Shakespeare is more than a little guilty of it.  Of course, Shakespeare’s sources of information on the later Plantagenet kings (Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V and Richard III) and, in particular, Richard III, have a significant Tudor bias to begin with, but Shakespeare’s Richard III with his withered arm and hunched back has since turned out to be as much theatrical scenery chewing as Tudor propaganda.  When the grave and the remains of Richard III were found, he did indeed have a crooked back — he suffered from scoliosis — but he did not have a withered arm or a “humped” back, and had no anatomical evidence of a limp, which brings up another point:  History is not only written by the winners, but for the winners.

In the course of making it fit the winning agenda, history can be edited — conveniently leaving out inconvenient details, emphasis can be shifted — what we call “spin doctoring,”  contributions by the less powerful group can be “hijacked” by the more powerful group who then take credit for them, outright lies can be promoted as historical fact — we can see this most clearly in the revisionist history of dictators and totalitarian regimes, or the talents and abilities of one group can be systematically minimized, subverted, ignored and glossed over in order to aggrandize the “winners.”   I am thinking here of one group of people, women, whose contributions have been so consistently overlooked, marginalized, subverted and underrepresented for so long — millennia — that we are not even aware of the amount of bias that is built into the world we know.  As a way of emphasizing how pervasive this bias is, works that set the record straight have come to be referred to as “herstory.”

I make this point because December 10th was the 199th birthday of mathematician Ada Byron King.  Her daddy is world famous, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of her.  And December 11th was the 151st birthday of astrophysicist Annie Jump Cannon.  You’ve probably never heard of her either.   I wonder why that is?

 

Worthy Causes and Good Excuses

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IMG_0872I enjoy knitting.  I like the process.  IMG_0870 I like knitting baby booties, especially now that I can do them two at a time using the Magic Loop method.  I have a pattern I worked out that I think meets the two key criteria: They’re cute, and they stay on the baby.  Especially that last criterion.  I make them like bobby socks or crew socks with a long ribbed top that folds down into a cuff.

I like to keep some knitted up just in case.  There’s a lady in the knitting group who just had a baby.  It was a little girl.   I did some for her, and she said they’re the only booties she has that will stay on the baby.  Actually only the bootie itself is knitted.  I crochet an edge on the cuff in a contrasting  color.  What a little cutie!

Here’s the pattern:

Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up Socks

Knit 2 socks at a time on one circular needle (“Magic Loop” method).

Sock Size: US 8-1/2 /UK 6, Euro 39 shoe Using bulky yarn, size 10 US (6.0 mm/UK 4)
Baby booties: fingering yarn on size 2 (2.75 mm/ UK12) needles.

Using the Turkish Cast on method, or “Judy’s Magic Cast on method,”
Cast on 10 stitches (5 stitches on each needle)
Row 1: K. Place a stitch marker to mark the top/instep side of the sock
Row 2-6: Increase by knitting front and back in the 1st and last stitch on each row. (increase from 5 to 15 on each needle, 30 stitches total.)
Row 7- N: K

(try the sock on. With foot flat on the floor, when edge of knitting on the instep touches the leg, begin turning the heel.)

Place a marker on the side where the heel will go.

Fleegle Heel
Increase stitches on the heel needle to 28 (30 minus2). After each increase row on the heel needle, knit on around to get back to that needle to do the next increase row.
Row 1: K2, inc1, k6, inc 1, K to second to last stitch, inc1, K2 (15+3 =18 stitches)
Row 2: K
Row 3: K2, inc1, k to third to last stitch, inc1, K2. (20 stitches)
Row 4: K.
Row 5: K2, inc1, k to third to last stitch, inc1, K2. (22 stitches)
Row 6: K.
Row 7: K2, inc1, k to third to last stitch, inc1, K2. (24 stitches)
Row 8: P.
Row 9: K2, inc1, k to third to last stitch, inc1, K2. (26 stitches)
Row 10: K
Row 11: K2, inc1, k to third to last stitch, inc1, K2. (28 stitches)
Row 12: K

After increase, place marker half way between the stitches (14).
Row 1: Knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, turn work. (27)
Row 2: Slip 1, purl to 2 sts beyond marker, purl 2 tog, P1, turn work. (26)
Row 3: Slip 1, knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, turn work. (25)
Row 4: Slip 1, purl to 2 sts beyond marker, purl 2 tog, P1, turn work. (24)
Row 5: Slip 1, knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, turn work.(23)
Row 6: Slip 1, purl to 2 sts beyond marker, purl 2 tog, P1, turn work. (22)
Row 7: Slip 1, knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, turn work. (21)
Row 8: Slip 1, purl to 2 sts beyond marker, purl 2 tog, P1, turn work. (20)
Row 9: Slip 1, knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, turn work.(19)
Row 10: Slip 1, purl to 2 sts beyond marker, purl 2 tog, P1, turn work. (18)
Row 11: Slip 1, knit to 2 sts beyond marker. Slip, slip, knit 2 slipped sts tog, k1, (17),
continue around the instep.
Row 12: Knit back around to the heel needle, K1, K2 tog (16), K to within 2 stitches of the end of the needle and knit those 2 tog. (15)

Cuff:
Continue knitting around until you want to start ribbing (K1, P1), and knit the ribbing as high as you want it.

Do Stretchy Bind Off to finish the socks.

Crochet edging:

Row 1:  sc very loosely in the top of every knitted stitch (30 sc)
Row 2:  Ch1, sc in each sc.
Row 3:  Ch 1, *sc in first sc,  skip 2 sc, 6 dc in next sc, skip 2 sc, sc in next sc.* Repeat from * four times.  Skip 2 sc, 6 dc in next sc, skip 2 sc, slip stitch in sc at the beginning of the row.  Fasten thread.

Books Read in 2014

At the moment, I’m averaging about a book every 3.235849056643774 days, just FMOI.   I’ve got a bunch of ebooks on my Kindle I really need to be reading . . . .  I also need to reorganize my bookshelves and put the books I’ve gotten since the move into the alphabetical order I had going when I shelved my books following the move.  People say that’s being obsessive, but it isn’t.  It’s being orderly.( . . Do your research, people!).  I like to be able to put my hand on a book quickly when I want it, not have to go rummaging about through the stacks. . .

106. The Chrestomanci Chonicles III, Wynne Jones, Diana
105. Underground (Greywalker #3), Richardson, Kat
104. Across the Great Barrier: Frontier Magic #2, Wrede, Patricia
103. The Chrestomanci Chonicles III, Wynne Jones, Diana
102. Outcast, Sutcliff, Rosemary
101. A Conspiracy of Kings, Turner, Megan Whalen
100. The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief, Book 3), Turner, Megan Whalen
99. Vanished (Greywalker #4), Richardson, Kat
98. The Thirteenth Child: Frontier Magic #1, Wrede, Patricia
97. The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief, Book 2), Turner, Megan Whalen
96. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1), Turner, Megan Whalen
95. The Face in the Frost, Bellars, John
94. The Pedant and the Shuffly, Bellairs, John
93. The Chrestomanci Chonicles I, Wynne Jones, Diana
92. House of Many Ways, Wynne Jones, Diana
91. Poltergeist (Greywalker #2), Richardson, Kat
90. Howl’s Moving Castle, Wynne Jones, Diana
89. Greywalker (Greywalker #1), Richardson, Kat
88. Frontier Wolf, Sutcliff, Rosemary
87. Dawn Wind, Sutcliff, Rosemary
86. Slow River, Griffith, Nicola
85. Ten Ever-lovin’ Blue-eyed Years with Pogo, Kelly, Walt (re-re-…re-reread)
84. Stay, Griffith, Nicola
83. The Return of Mr. Campion, Allingham, Margery
82. Traitor’s Purse: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
81. The Mind Readers: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
80. The Case of the Late Pig: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
79. The Witches of Karres, Schmitz, James H.
78. The Blue Place, Griffith, Nicola
77. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Black, Holly
76. Meet Me in the Moon Room, Vukcevich, Ray
75. Kushiel’s Chosen, Carey, Jacqueline
74. The Golem and the Jinni, Wecker, Helene
73. Kushiel’s Dart, Carey, Jacqueline
72. Fearsome Journeys (The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 1), Bear, Elizabeth, et. al.
71. Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
70. The Beckoning Lady: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
69. Dancers in Mourning: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
68. Sweet Danger: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
67. Mystery Mile: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
66. The Fashion in Shrouds: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
65. Look to the Lady: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
64. Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Short Stories, Allingham, Margery
63. More Work for the Undertaker: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
62. Tiger in the Smoke: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
61. Death of a Ghost: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
60. Police at the Funeral: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
59. Flowers for the Judge: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
58. Pearls Before Swine: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
57. Miss Buncle Married, Stevenson, D. E.
56. Miss Buncle’s Book, Stevenson, D. E.
55. Vampires in the Lemon Grove, (short story anthology),Russell, Karen
54. Troubled Waters, Shinn, Sharon
53. Wakulla Springs (Novella), Duncan Andy, Klages, Ellen
52. Sethra Lavode, Book 3 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
51. The Lord of Castle Black, Book 2 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
50. Peacemaker, (Foreigner #15), Cherryh, C. J.
49. The Paths of the Dead, Book 1 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
48. The Manual of Detection, Berry, Jedediah
47. Summer at Fairacre. Book 2 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
46. Village Centenary, Book 1 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
45. Assassin’s Assistant, Hobb, Robin
44. No Holly For Miss Quinn, Book 3 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
43. The Christmas Mouse, Book 2 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
42. Village Christmas, Book 1 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
41. Life After Life, Atkinson, Kate
40. Storm in the Village, Book 3 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
39. Village Diary, Book 2 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
38. Village School, Book 1 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
37. *Shadow Magic, Wrede, Patricia
36. Harfang Book #1, Demilly, Aurore (graphic novel)
35. Iorich, Brust, Steven
34. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia
33. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille, Brust, Steven
32. Jhegaala, Book 2 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
31. Dzur, Book 1 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
30. Tiassa, Brust, Steven
29. Issola, Book 2 of The Book of Dragon, Steven Brust
28. Dragon, Book 1 of The Book of Dragon, Brust, Steven
27. Orca, Book 2 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
26. Athyra, Book 1 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
25. Phoenix, Book 2 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
24. Taltos, Book 1 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10. A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9. Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8. Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, Patricia
7. Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6. Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5. Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4. *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3. *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2. *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1. *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher

*ebook

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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Rhapsody has gone to new software that I don’t like.  For one thing, it won’t let you upload songs from your own hard drive into playlists anymore.   Like all the Welcome to Night Vale cuts I’ve edited the “commercials” out of that I have in a folder on my desktop.  Which means I can’t get to them at all from my my Kindle without downloading them and using up hard drive space I’d rather use for books, and I can’t access them on my internet radio unless I set the durn thing up to access my hard drive.   For another thing, this stupid new software doesn’t display both segments of my Sanza Clip Zip — the 8 GB of built in memory and the 32 GB card — which the other one did.  It also doesn’t seem to want to load playlists.  Just songs.  The Rhapsody software is built off Internet Explorer, which I detest.  (I’m a Firefox Girl all the way.)  They’re phasing everybody over from their old software,  so it doesn’t work any more.  It just tells you to download an update.  I downloaded the update, and now I can’t get the durn new software to load at all.  Grumble.  Grumble.  Grumble.

This voice recognition software I use for work continues to underperform. According to it, a doctor says,  “I’m going to see me back in six weeks.”  At least half the time, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.   On the other hand, sometimes you hear interesting things in the background, like a cuckoo clock. . .

Weird dream last night.  I dreamed that in my back yard, I first had a two legged foal (front and back diagonal) being fostered by what was supposed to be a raven (but which looked pretty bedraggled and albatross-y), that somehow morphed into a six legged foal (in-line like a centipede) fostered by a cat.  A man came over demanding to see it, and slammed a door to “flush it out of hiding” with the noise.  I had to almost literally run him out to get rid of him.  Then a group of hausfrauen, including Brooke Shields* showed up at my door wanting to see my house because it had been listed as being for sale without my knowledge by some real estate guy on the make.  They were all irate because I wasn’t selling my house after they had been told I was.  I like to never got rid of them.  Scattered in and amongst these scenes were incidents where I had to remove an unwilling cat or dog from where it didn’t belong., or deal with somebody’s obnoxious pets (“Oh, ha-ha! Isn’t he cute when he does that?” — Uh, no. ).

 

*Obviously, I’ve been watching too many Lazy Boy commercials.

Fun and Games on a Saturday Afternoon

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One of the ER doctors I do is an excellent dictator, speaks plainly at a conversational rate, and the Voice Recognition software likes him.  Still, every now and then, he pitches one low and inside and the VR pops it up into the stands, like so, “She denies swimming or getting her ears excessively wet, although she does obviously date on a regular basis.”  Should have been “bathe on a regular basis . . .”  On another report, according to VR, “The patient smokes for the government.”

I’ve been doing a spate of Emergency Room notes and in one such, “Hibiclens,” which they use for wound cleansing in the ER, hit the spellchecker like a ton of bricks.  Best guess was “icicles.”  Which led, as things will, to a chorus or two of . . .

If you like your smooth jazz light and tuneful with a touch of whimsy in the lyrics,  Michael Franks is your go-to guy.

And third time’s the charm for the folks up East who have had snow. . .

I could knit for hours to this kind of music.  Good thing I have a Michael Franks playlist in Rhapsody and my Squeezebox internet radio can access it . . .

 

Bet You’ve Never Seen An Owl Swimming!

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It’s a great horned owl, but still . . . .

Photos and video taken by Steve Spitzer, who captured the footage from Loyola Park Beach in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, after spotting the owl in the water, where it reportedly took refuge to escape peregrine falcons.

owlThe story did have a happy ending as it happens.   The owl did make it to shore and was unharmed.  It flew away shortly thereafter, grumpy but unbowed.  I’m surprised it’s not any wetter than it is.

 

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs, and Other Gleanings

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6a00d8341c4ea853ef01bb07bc4fd9970d-700wi The song inspired the rug for the youngest Soule at Soulemama.  If you think the saga of seven Soules (+ granny) on a farm in Maine, where gardening and raising sheep, and shearing, spinning and dying wool and knitting and cooking happens, along with a good deal else of interest, then wander over and check out the blog.  Now I’m going to have to close Winamp, so I can open Rhapsody (Rhapsody doesn’t like Winamp for some reason), and see what Rhapsody has by The Be Good Tanyas and listen to it.

Terry windling and tillyWriters and their companimals.  C.J. and Jane and two kitties,  Terri Windling and Tilly (see left), Bear and the Giant Ridiculous Dog.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller and a quartet of Maine Coons.

I neologized that word a while ago:  “companimals” — companion + animal.   I like it.  I’d like it to become the name of the cats, dogs, ferrets, bunnies, rats, guinea pigs, etc., who share our space and our lives with us, who become our companions, confidants, sidekicks.

nq140802

Non Sequitur comic strip © 2014 Wiley Miller

The above one is relevant to me and to the baby girl, the grey one, who has been sneezing a lot more than I have lately, bless her.

Peter de Seve

“Something Familiar” © 2013 Peter de Sève

I love this.  I love his art.  If you take The New Yorker magazine, you’ll have seen his covers.

Screenshot_1

I’d put this on my Tumblr blog, but it bears repeating … until the world finally gets it.

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For my bro. Sometimes broken cellos need company until they’re fixed.

A little symmetry never goes amiss.

A Sigh of Relief, Sort Of

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Yesterday evening I called my friend JT, to ask if he knew of anyone willing to catsit for me while mom and I are away in Pearland.  He promptly (and very graciously!) volunteered his services.   It won’t be the first time he’s cat sat, although it will be the first time in this apartment.   He looked after them on several occasions while I lived on 66th Street.  The kitties know him.  He knows how the poop box works, too. ( I told him he could score big points by turning the water on in the bathroom sink and letting the white one drink from it. )

Apart from the $300 expense of boarding three cats for five nights, I just don’t like the idea of taking the kitties to a pet hotel.  It’s strange, frightening, disruptive and there are all sorts of unknown animals in close proximity, which just adds another layer of stress to what is already a very stressful situation.  Besides that, the place is, no doubt, swarming with all kinds of germs which the attendants unwittingly carry from cat to cat as they tend them.  Stress plus germs is not a good combination.  Far, far better to let them remain in their home amid familiar surroundings while a person they know comes and tends to them.   None of my kitties needs that kind of stress, particularly the grey one, who is skittish and high strung to begin with, and especially the white one, who is going on 16 years old.

That’s one less worry about the upcoming trip.  It’s going to be a 10-hour marathon, and I haven’t had nearly enough practice judging how fast I’m going.  It’s difficult for me to judge in this new car.  I go tooling along at what  I think is a nice sedate speed, look down at the speedometer and discover I’m doing 50 mph/80 kph!  Oddly enough, the 2015 Corolla we didn’t get also had cruise control as well as keyless entry.

In other news, I put 20 books up for sale on Amazon on November 3rd, and I’ve already sold 9 of them.  Whatever of that 20 that hasn’t sold by February 3, 2015 is getting donated to Friends of the Library.  Get them while they’re hot, folks.

I’ve ripped out everything I had done on the vest I’m making for my mom.  I found out I was doing “M1’s” wrong.  I was increasing by casting on a stitch when I should have been picking up the bar between the two stitches on the previous row.  Ghod, I love the interwebs!  Today is knitting group and I would like to do some work on my shrug and get it to the part where I start doing the sleeves, but then again, I want to work on my mom’s vest, too, . . .

Building Bridges

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"A Delicate Balance" Image © 2014 by G. C. Myers, all rights reserved.

Building Bridges

A bridge requires two things
As you should know,
A place to come from
And a place to go.
But as to which is which,
With fickle imprecision
The bridge can never
Come to a decision.

 

Poem © 2014 The Owl Underground
Image “A Delicate Balance” © 2014 by G. C. Myers, all rights reserved.

Tyops and No More Vembers

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The author Elizabeth Bear, whose blogs I follow, sometimes makes note of what she refers to as “tyops” — typographical errors that she runs across while proofreading which strike her as noteworthy for one reason or another.  I ran across one today editing some “voice recognition” stuff at work:  “typothyroidism.”

It’s interesting to see what speech recognition software does with some of these doctors’ dictation.  Typically,  when you combine the accent of an English-second-language dictator from, say, India or the middle east or southeast Asia with the fact that most dictators hate dictating and talk as fast as humanly possible to get it over with as quickly as possible, it comes through the speech recognition engine looking like a train wreck.  This is true even of native English speakers who have worked up a good head of steam and sail through about a page and a half’s worth of typing in about 2 minutes. Speech recognition software has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go to compete with the speech recognition engine hardwired into the brain of a well-trained medical transcrip … erm … make that “medical language specialist.”

The last day of November has wound to a close.  My dad’s been gone over two months now.  It seems a lot longer than that.

The grey kitty has been sneezing.  She’s not alone.  I’ve been having a flare of my allergies.  I put mine down to cotton being harvested and ginned, which two activities throw a huge amount of dirt, plant particles and cotton fibers into the air, 99% of it coated with a witch’s brew of agricultural chemicals — insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, defoliants . . .  About 3.2 million acres of cotton (4.3 million bales*) were harvested in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains last year.  Couldn’t find a figure for this year, but it would be roughly the same.

In case you’re interested, below are a series of links to videos that take the cotton from the field through the gin (or you can just skip the next two paragraphs and go straight to today’s earworm . . .). The first video is a little long, but it points up all the intricacies of the process of taking the cotton out of the fields and how finely tuned the equipment is for doing the job.  The first shot is of the truck that the stripper dumps its load of stripped cotton into, which is then taken to the module compressor to be pressed into long rectangular modules at the edge of the field.   Then we have all about the stripper and how it  works to pick the cotton.   At the end, we have the truck loading the modules of cotton to take them to the gin.  I would also point out the haze of dust on the horizon and that all these machines have enclosed, air-conditioned cabs.

The new thing is round modules instead of rectangular ones.  This video and the previous one were taken about 20 miles southeast of where I live. These next two videos were taken about 90 miles southwest of me at one of the many co-op gins.   The round modules are unwrapped and fed into the gin equipment.   Here’s where the seeds are stripped from the fiber — these machines are based on the principle of the cotton “gin” that Eli Whitney patented.  Toward the middle of the film, you see the ginned cotton being compressed into bales*.  There’s a reason all the people in this video are wearing masks.

Today’s earworm comes to you from Irving Berlin by way of ‘”ol Blue Eyes.”  It’s a rather haunting little waltz with poignant lyrics, typical of Berlin.

* a bale of cotton weighs about 500 pounds.
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