March 2003 Archives

No time to extensively comment on any one thing (see the diary for whinging about mail clients and messed-up workstations (and new baby pictures)), but I have been seeing some thought-provoking stuff and I figure I might as well point at it.

This morning’s CNN war update increased the “pucker factor” a bit, at least for me: what looks like the beginning of mission creep in Basra, and (former NATO supreme commander) Gen. Clark (ret’d) talking about “extensive logistics problems”. I haven’t done a tremendous amount of military history reading, but from what little bit I have done, I can say that you almost never see “logistics problems” mentioned anywhere close to “rapid and decisive victory” — at least now when both phrases are referring to the same side of the engagement.

John Perry Barlow (you might have heard of him…) on “CONTEMPLATING WAR IN THE LAND OF PEACE”.

Danny “NTK” O’Brien on low bandwidth info-interfaces to the war, and how they affect your perception of unfolding events.

Meanwhile, back in the land of the Free, some states are deciding that elections might just be too expensive to bother with. (Via the recently on-fire-and-burnin’-up Medley.)

Also in the “no time to do things right” column, the Justice department has let the FBI know that there’s no need to be too picky about what info goes into the main criminal database in the country. Rumors that Ashcroft said, “We’re going to store that info on everybody sooner rather than later anyway, so they might as well get a head start” could apparently not be confirmed at presstime.

I’ve still got significant backlog of “hey, should blog this” stuff in both the mail and news clients, but that’s going to have to wait for another day; it’s goto work time now.

In the shower this morning (just let it lie), I got to thinking about the “French military victories” thread over on Flutterby (direct link to the thread elided, to avoid pouring any more Google juice on that fire), and I realized something. All the things that Americans stereotypically hate about the French — their disdain for other cultures, their need to have things their own way — their essential Gallic arrogance — these are the French peoples’ most American qualities.

Make of that what you will.

There probably won’t be a great deal of war talk here; right now, I’m feeling quite a bit like I did post-9/11: like I just want to hole up and ignore the world and hope it goes away. (Not a terribly enlightened reaction, I’m the first to admit.) But something of this magnitude deserves some sort of acknowledgement, some sort of commentary, maybe especially from fence-sitters like me, who can’t quite make up their minds about the whole thing. So here’s something I sent to a mailing list I’m on, which comprises my current state of opinion vis a vis Gulf War:TNG:

I don’t disagree that Mr Hussein is a very, very bad man. I don’t disagree that Iraq, and the rest of the world, would be measureably better off if he was dead. I do question the timing of this action. I do question its relevance to the “war on terror”. I do question the high-handed bully-boy way we’ve gone about trying to achieve our stated, inarguably good, goal. I do question if the long-term costs to our economy and our standing in the global community outweigh the benefits of doing this good, noble thing in this way, at this time.

And I don’t think the ends ever justify the means.

This week’s Photo Friday assignment is ‘garbage’. Of course, since we’ve got a baby, and we’ve just moved, there’s no shortage of garbage around the old homestead. Here’s what about 15 minutes of walking around yielded:

First stop, the child’s new room. She’s normally a cloth diaper baby, but she’s been in disposables all this week because of the headaches posed by dealing with cloth diapers during the move-in processe. Disposables == big piles of trash, kids.

what lurks beneath the green dor?diaper-rama
A totally different ‘green door’ than the one you may be used to thinking of…

Second stop, the garage, which is currently The Place The Boxes Go To Die. Many boxens died for this move! (And not a few wrapping papers. And, yes, we’re trying to give the boxes away to people planning on moving in the future; otherwise, the cardboard will get recycled. Mail me if you’re in metro DC and want some of the boxes.)


My submission is the second trash can shot, the open lid one.

So, for a while now, I’ve been repeating Dan Lyke’s contention that “XML is the subset of SGML that was understandable by Microsoft’s programmers”. Looks like I might have to stop doing that; Tim Bray (co-developer of XML) says “XML Is Too Hard For Programmers”.

Guess they should have picked a smaller subset.

this is, signing off. See you on the house side.

Things are likely to be rather quiet here over the next week or so. (Unless y’all start a mass of chatterin’ in the comments, or something. Be my guest.) We’re gearing up for the end days of our move — the truck roll is on Thursday — and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have other assigned tasks aside from blogging. See you on the other side.


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I was wondering why I kept getting posts to the discussion thread for the recent ‘get yer fake id here…’ post. Then I checked my referral log, and found out that I’m number five in a Google search for “how to get a fake id”, which is kind of interesting. And the discussion page doesn’t have the post on it, because I’ve never gotten around to reworking that template. I wonder how many more requests I’ll accumulate… 8^)=

I’m thinking I’ll be taking part in Photo Friday, at least when I remember to. (The site will be showing up in the dose during weekends, which should help.) This week’s challenge was “stapler”, and I happened to come across my stapler while unpacking some things at the new house yesterday. TheBaby was hanging out with me while I unpacked, and inspiration struck…


Here’s the shot I actually ended up submitting:


Lots more pictures of TheBaby (and a few of the house interior) over on today’s diary entry, BTW.

Why does the address change form for Maryland driver’s licenses present (at least the appearance of) the option to change the state part of your address?

The Science Fiction Book Club has a list of the top 50 science fiction and fantasy books of the last 50 years. I’d quibble with some of the choices (The Silmarillion? Please.), but there really are a lot of ones on there that they got right.

(Link via Ghost in the Machine)

From the Rational Neo-Graphic, the thrilling story of Sunflower, Mountain of Doom.

(For those of you not from Kansas or the surrounding environs, Mt. Sunflower is the highest point in the state. It’s in the middle of a field, just south of the middle of no-frickin’-where. It’s also on the list of Places To Go Someday.)

The Transportation Security Administration and Delta Airlines are testing a new program that runs background checks on people traveling via Delta planes. If the test is “successful”, these checks would presumably become industry-wide. This, to put it mildly, would be bad. Really, really, words fail me, capital ‘b’ Bad.

Fortunately, the folks over at BOYCOTT DELTA are on the case. They’ve got a snappy slogan (“Less Leg Room, No Privacy — Guaranteed”) and a list of things that you can do to protest this database — things from writing your Congresscritter to divesting yourself of Delta stock. Please go over there and do some of them, please.

Frequently flyers should take special note of this, as the new system involves doing a credit check, possibly once per flight. Repeated, frequent credit checks actually damage your credit. You do the math.

(Link via Interesting People list)

Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie.

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization.

Found at Rebecca’s Pocket; just a little something to keep in mind as you make your way around the Net of a Million Lies…

A man was arrested and charged with trespassing yesterday in an Albany mall, after he refused to remove a T-shirt that said “Give Peace A Chance”. (Aside: Both ABCnews [prev. link] and FOX are running the same AP copy about this story. On ABCnews, it’s a “peace” shirt; over on FOX, it’s an “anti-war” shirt. Go figure.) Bonus irony points come from the fact that the shirt had been purchased in the mall.

There’s an on-going Ebola outbreak in the Congo. Everytime I hear about one of these, I wonder if this is the “big one”: airborne Ebola.

So far, this just looks like good old fashioned 90% mortality blood-and-fluid-borne Ebola, though, so don’t worry too much.

Did anybody else notice that the Caught on Film: The Bush Credibility Gap thing currently making the rounds was produced by the House Appropriations Committee?

Three healthcare providers have had adverse reactions following smallpox vaccinations, although only one of them is clearly related to the smallpox vaccine.

This article, like the one I linked previously reports extremely low participation — nationwide, only 7,000-odd healthcare professionals have opted in to the vaccination program.

Hey, Al, you getting the shot?

In a fifty-years-since-discovery-of-DNA-structure interview airing on British television, James Watson (still head of Cold Spring Harbor) says low intelligence is genetically inheirited, and that it’s the duty of molecular biologists to figure out how to eliminate it. And then he vanished in a puff of logic. Oh, wait, that’s a different joke…

He also wants to get rid of the ugly women — err, I mean, “girls”; apparently ugly men aren’t objectionable to him.

And now I have to go out and get my irony meter re-calibrated, as it’s suddenly gotten all wonky from overload.

All I can say is, this better not be a set-up for some sort of Wizard of Oz/”it was all a dream”/Dallas/deus ex machina thing in the last episode of the season. Otherwise, damn! but this is a good show.

Yesterday, we finished painting two more rooms over at the new house. (Well, finished except for some touch-up work that can be done after we move in.) There’s only one room remaining that has to be painted before we move in (in a little under two weeks), so it looks like we’ll make it — at least on that front. Whether or not we’ll be packed in time for the movers is still a bit of an open question…

the back living room, which is where the big blue couch is going to live.another view of the back living room. those doors lead out onto the deck behind the house.the front living room, looking out into the entryway. yes, the whole room is that blue.