The Empress and I were chatting about events of the day — probably much the same conversations you have been having. What exactly is the difference between a plan and a plot? If the White House categorically denies something, should we just go ahead and assume that it is true? What does etiquette require of one if one inadvertently shoots someone while hunting? Is it worse if one was hunting illegally, having failed to pay for a permit? Is it better if the victim is also an opponent of gun control?

Anyway, the Empress was saying that she thought the U.S would, in our lifetimes, cease to be a World Power.

I should explain, for any international visitors, that in Hamburger-a-go-go-land we divide nations into those which are major players in global politics and those which — while of equal importance by any other reckoning — are not. This distinction is what made Mr. Bush’s talk about “coalition forces,” which pretended that nations such as Tonga and Fiji were joining with us in some sort of international approval of our invasion of Iraq, so ludicrous.

Anyway, The Empress was wondering who might supplant us. The E.U.? China? Wal-Mart?

And I was wondering what would become of us. Would we be like Rome, essentially gone but with reminders of our past glory — perhaps Coca-Cola and the blue jeans so often worn by people shouting “Death to America!” — left behind? Or like Germany, a nation with an embarrassing political past rarely mentioned, but which makes people worry a little lest we regain power? Perhaps we will manage to be like the U.K., a nation which has outgrown its imperialist past but continues to be an important force in world culture.

I’m having a bit of international correspondence. I had an email about genealogical stuff, in French, from a lady in Argentina. After I responded in my limited French, apologizing for its limitations, she answered with a much longer email — in Spanish. Since my Spanish is even more limited than my French, I am afraid I will have to run her through babelfish.

All the Argentineans I have ever met have been very fun people, so I look forward to continuing my conversation with this distant cousin of mine, once we can work out the language question. She certainly sounds livelier in Spanish than in French. In French, she offered me her distinguished compliments (people say that kind of thing in French letters all the time) while in Spanish she finished her missive up with “CCCHHAAAAUUUUUU!” and a kiss. There must be dour and tetchy Argentineans, but I haven’t met any.This lady is a descendant of a fellow who emigrated from France to Argentina in 1890. My family just cannot stay put.

A small family emergency kept me home last night, so I did some more knitting.

I am knitting more, with the Knitting Olympics, and more single-mindedly. Normally, if I had a very twisty-turny knitting project like this going on, I would also have some plain knitting to alternate with, or some sewing, or some altogether different project. In this case, of course, with the honor of Wales on the line, I am knitting these triangles with every spare moment. The result is a sore wrist. It got quite painful last night. I will take a day off — choir practice tonight, anyway — and start up again tomorrow. The triangles are beginning to line up better, but this piece may still have to be felted.

If I end up competent at modular knitting by the end of this project, though, this pretty camisole would be the next modular thing I would make.

This is basically the ubiquitous mitered corner square modular thing which you see all over the web, but the setting and color treatment make it prettier, to me.

And here you can see a very interesting modular knitted hat. All this should prove that, in spite of the appearance of my current project, modular knitting can be done.