The following provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act take effect beginning January 1, 2011:
Source: Center for Health Transformation [PDF]
My mother has an addiction. Each year, she must see how far the laws of physics will stretch. She will not be satisfied unless she manages to push them further than the previous year.
Her obsession is with Christmas trees.
Every year of my life (except last year, when we were in Italy), we have had a live Christmas tree. For the past 10 years, it has always been a particular sort of tree, an aibes concolor, from a particular tree farm about a 30 minutes’ drive from her house. She loves this particular model of tree (and so do I) because it is resilient–the needles do not drop for a long time as long as it is regularly watered; because it has long but fat needles; because it is a typically dense model; and most importantly, because it smells of oranges. Yes, oranges. Christmas isn’t Christmas without a concolor fir.
But every year, she must get a bigger one than the previous year. We’ve been through tree stands like you wouldn’t believe. This year, she really managed to push it.
Mom always goes for an eight foot tree, because the ceiling in her living room is nine feet high. But this year, the tree farm didn’t have a lot of trees. Something about deer eating things, and the economy, and crap like that. So if we wanted one that big, we’d have to go out into the field and pick one to cut down. All the trees in the field were 12–18′ high, but they said to pick one and they’d sell us the top eight feet.
We found a lovely one and they cut it down and home it went. Foreboding music cue here.
The diameter of the cut trunk ended up being a full three inches bigger than the largest tree stand in our collection, and our collection was (we presumed) quite extensive. After Mother’s Husband left (cursing a storm and decrying the whole practice of live trees), Mother convinced me to help her bring it in the house without him, and then figure out the stand issue “later.”
The tree is fully nine feet across at the bottom–wider than it is tall. These sorts of things cannot be baled to temporarily reduce their diameters. And we had to squeeze it through the (admittedly large for a front door) four foot wide front door. This took an hour and a half of shoving, pulling, squeezing, and otherwise being mightily unpleasant. Fortunately, being very freshly cut, it was quite resilient and, after much ado, managed to get it’s fat ass in the door and lie pathetically on the living room floor.
We first tried a new plastic stand alleged to hold trees “up to 10 feet”. This we bought from the Lowe’s for $25. It promptly collapsed, plastic rent and twisted beyond all hope in a matter of seconds. So we called a small, local garden store. And they told us about this:
They called it “The Last Stand.”* As in, the last one you’ll ever have to buy. And boy howdy was it.
The thing weighs easily 30 pounds. It’s steel. Thick steel. Welded. And the bolts are thick. Really thick. We drilled out a half-inch hole, about one inch deep, in the center of the bottom of the cut stump of the tree, attached the stand, then tipped the tree up. It took all of five minutes. I grabbed the thing and shook it hard and slow to see if it was likely to tip. It was rock solid. If you buy big trees, get one of these stands. It will change your life.**
And so I play enabler to my mother the giant tree addict for yet another year. Here’s the tree, complete with decorations and presents. And yes, this is actually how wide it is. I did not stretch the photo for comedic effect.
*Warning: This link goes to what appears to be a vintage 1996 website, complete with embedded midi Christmas music player, cursor-chasing text, and animated GIFs. What the company lacks in web design skills they make up for in yuletide arboreal erection competence.
**The company didn’t give me anything at all to get me to say that. We bought ours. We paid less than they charge on the website, because we bought it locally and didn’t have to pay for shipping.
I have knitted several of these. The one pictured is my personal Ravenclaw, in blue and bronze. The films use blue and silver for Ravenclaw, but every True Ravenclaw knows the colors are really blue and bronze. The finished scarf is about 10′ long. One day, I’ll take better pictures of it, under proper lighting.
The pattern is adapted, with significant alterations, from a pattern that appeared at a site called atypically.knit, which, alas, no longer exists.
CO 114 sts in MC on 16″ US4 circular needles. Use whatever CO method you prefer, I use a cable cast-on. Your CO edge will be covered by tassels when you’re done, so it doesn’t really matter.
Set your row marker.
*[Knit in the round for 36 rows in MC.
Switch to CC, knit 4 rows.
Switch back to MC, knit 6 rows.
Switch to CC, knit 4 rows.]
Repeat from * 13 more times (until you have 14 pairs of CC bands).
Knit 36 rows in MC. Bind off.
I have 14 tassels on each end (I chose that number for symmetry — it’s impossible to tell how many tassels are on the on-screen scarves). Just cut 10 or so equal lengths of yarn per tassel, pull them all through at roughly equal intervals and loop ‘em. I recommend blocking. Gives a nice smooth finish.
I use Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport weight 100% wool yarn. Here are colors:
–MC: N04 Blue Knight (Blue)
–CC: N94 Bev’s Bear (Bronze)
(Use 107 Silver Sage for CC if you want one like in the movie)
–MC: N25 Enchanted Forest (Green)
–CC: 107 Silver Sage (Silver)
–MC: 200 Bordeaux (Red)
–CC: 308 Sunburst Gold (Gold)
–MC: 305 Impasse Yellow (Yellow)
–CC: 601 Pepper (Black)
(You can switch these — I can’t remember how they looked in the movie)
If you want to be hyperpedantic, stills from the Blu-Ray disc show that the scarves in the film are actually [35–8-4–8]*14–35, not [36–4-6–4]*14–36, but I think the latter looks better.
Edit: I neglected to mention yarn quantities.
You will need a cone of MC and four balls of CC. A cone equals 10 balls. My source for cones has dried up, but your local yarn shop may be able to order it.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), requires that law enforcement officers read certain warnings to suspects before subjecting them to custodial interrogation. Failure to do so renders the defendant’s statements elicited thereby inadmissible in court. One of the key factors in determining whether Miranda applies to a particular situation is whether that situation is “custodial.” The standard for whether a situation is “custodial” is basically this: if the person is not free to leave, the situation is custodial.
In this article, A regional TSA spokesperson out of Miami is quoted as saying that “once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave that process.”
I contend therefore that the TSA screening process is now admittedly custodial, and that Miranda may now apply to all questions asked of passengers by TSA agents at airport security. Of course, travelers should probably not rely on that and make potentially incriminating statements to TSA agents, whether they’ve been Mirandized or not. I doubt TSA will be Mirandizing people.
Practically, the above-quoted statement is definitely evidence that the TSA process is becoming more and more adversarial. It is not merely infringing of passenger’s rights–it threatens future violations as well. I know that if I am ever called upon to fly (and the circumstances would have to be dire to get me on a plane), I will not be answering TSA questions. Instead I will be unambiguously invoking my right to not make a statement and to have an attorney present during any further questioning.
This will in all likelihood be my only commentary on The Autumnal Unpleasantness. If you don’t know what that is, try and keep it that way.
First this tweet:
And that remains the sum of my evaluation of the matter. I know that the events have been of very significant importance to people about whom I care. But the fact remains that the whole affair, including the questions of who made the error, how, and why, does not affect me personally. I am not an academic, and I am not an activist. I am not a philosopher in the heavy sense of the word. I live according to my judgment, and judging this simply hasn’t been relevant.
If I read LL, which I probably will, I will judge its content then, not before, and I will base that judgment on the book’s content, not its pedigree. Moreover, I will only bother to read it if I think it will have some value to me; that is, if it will improve my ability to live. A good theory of induction would very likely do that, so I am interested. But the commentary (to use that word quite broadly), including that of LP, DH, YB, JM, CB, and even that of my friends the Drs. H, SL, TP, and RH, has failed to interest me. I recognize that the subject matter of The Unpleasantness has been of great importance to the lives of people I value, but it just hasn’t been for mine. Throughout I found myself more concerned for the well-being of the people I prefer to call my friends.