Monday, December 31, 2001

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Yeah, happy new year, if I don't get a chance to post before then. Have a better year, stick to your resolutions, drink a little champagne.
KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES: Jupiter will be really bright tonight, says the BBC and the AP. And at right about midnight, too.
INSTAPUNDIT POST OF THE DAY: On the failure of U.S. policy in regards to Argentina. It's right here. And Glenn's got more stuff on Cornel West. I flipped past him "rapping" on tv this weekend, it looked more like a spoken word king of thing.
NEWS: One story and then the follow-up about mass civilian casualties over the weekend in Afghanistan. I don't know how reliable this all is, but the story is out there.
IN BLOG SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM: Brian Linse points out this story by James C. Bennett of UPI about blogging. He draws a historical parallel that I couldn't possibly comment on between the current professional media and academic types and the Church in Europe right before the Reformation. He isn't all bubbly on blogs but he gives them their due, and he talks about the Anglosphere at length --a neat term I can't remember hearing before for the English-speaking nations of the world. This paragraph stuck out:

One of the most interesting and generally unreported aspects of the Weblog phenomenon is its unconscious Anglosphereness. Blog space is pretty much Anglosphere space, in that the network of bloggers, and especially the post-911 "warblogs," publish all over the Anglosphere, and quote freely from media sources across the Anglosphere, but rather sparsely from outside it. (Several redoubtable Norwegians, blogging in English, are the primary exception). For every link to, say, the English edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, there are hundreds to the London Evening Telegraph or the Times.

Which reminds that Bjoern Staerk has covered the latest India-Pakistan brouhaha from the perspective of Indian and Pakistani papers and you should go over there and check it out. Bennett also says that, as a blogger, I am an "early adopter." That's not true, I didn't own a laserdisc player until it was far, far too late.
DOONESBURY EXPLAINED: Dan of Lake Effect points out my Doonesbury-ignorance, saying that "there's SORT of a message [in this Sunday strip] about loopy-liberal Zonker making up with reactionary-right BD over the wreckage. But it's not pushy."
NEW NUCLEAR MATH: This story (found via Drudge) says that India is confident it can win a nuclear war with Pakistan, which reminds me of ex-Iranian president Rafsanjani's recent comments on why the Islamic world could survive a nuclear war with Israel: there's more of us than there are of them, and they can hurt us but it's okay because we can really wipe them out. In the old days we had that Mutually Assured Destruction thing that made sure nuclear holocaust was coming for everybody, so World War III remained the Cold War mostly, and a whole lot of post-apocalyptic science fiction got written. But now here in World War IV we can have a localized apocalypse, or at least speak of one. It's still a lot of posturing but it looks like the math has changed.
HEY: Matthew Edgar's putting all his FDA stuff on one blog.
WHEN YOU FALL OFF BLOGGING FOR A FEW DAYS: And you haven't been online for those days, you don't know where to begin when you get back. I'll just do my own personal what-I'm-catching-up-on watch:

Glenn Reynolds brings the United Nations Bosnian brothels story and the science fiction authors poll on Slashdot. God, none of those guys were prophetic.

Tim Blair has the first 2002 Blog Watch. And a little bit of Fisking.

Joanne Jacobs brings Hitchens' latest from the Atlantic.

Shouting Cross The Potomac has Tony's temp diary.

Brian Linse and Samizdata continue their discussion on guns.

ESPN sent Bill Simmons to a meaningless bowl game in Houston. In that article Simmons also points out that they're not knocking down the Astrodome, merely building the new stadium right next door. Cool. I mean, shouldn't the Astrodome be a national historical site or something? All the other giant ashtray-esque stadiums of that era are gone or going to be gone (like the Vet in Philly).

Moira Breen has a takedown of a goofy article and brings this story about al Jazeera.

Friday, December 28, 2001

FROM THE WAR AGAINST THE WAR AGAINST DRUGS: Jim Henley points this one out. If you can pick up the recent Reason drug issue, do so, it's very good.
FAR SIDE WAS NEVER THIS BAFFLING: Here's Sunday's Doonesbury. It's incomprehensible. At least when I didn't get a Far Side, I could think it was because I didn't know what an ichthyologist was or something. This I just don't get. And it's not snowing in New York.
SECRET POPEYE AND BLUTO TAPES: USA Today runs this article on the new Popeye and Bluto Minute Maid ad, which has them being rather too friendly with each other. What, they can't just be good friends? Next you'll tell me that wrestling is gay.
ARTICLE, MULTI-BLOGGED: This piece by Mark Steyn I read about on Joanne Jacobs' site, who got it from little green footballs. So it's been passed around a bit, but only because it's really good. Here's a disturbing tidbit:

President Bush and co. have been so busy enjoining us not to beat up our Islamic neighbours that they’ve failed to notice an actual as opposed to hypothetical spate of ‘hate crimes’: according to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, more European synagogues have been attacked and burned in the last year than in any year since 1938, the year of Kristallnacht. This doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of press coverage.

What the hey? Anyway, Steyn's points are all about the role of cultural preferences in American and European foreign policies. AND that European criticisms of American resemble older European criticisms of Jews. How encouraging.
RICHARD C. REID UPDATE: His mom is shocked. Link from Drudge. I'd say the oddest thing about Richard C. Reid so far is that his name is, in fact, Richard C. Reid, and that he is British and therefore not Sri Lankan in the least. I mean, I for one thought that we wouldn't be calling him "Reid" for long. The old cliche about not judging books by covers probably applies here. I can't think of any shoe cliches.
WHAT NEXT, "WHERE'S THE BEEF?": Apparently Verizon is introducing an emergencies-only "wireless phone that can identify a person's calling location and phone number to an emergency call center." Is this not --in 2001, almost 2002-- the beloved panic button (I can't remember what it actually was called) of the "I've FALLEN and I CAN'T GET UP" lady of my youth? Which makes me wonder why they think it'll work now. Maybe they're thinking the spread of cell phones and beepers will make a device that bombed fifteen-or-so years ago palatable to consumers now. (I'm assuming it bombed, I don't remember it having any kind of impact besides the annoying-yet-memorable commercial.) Can't you just put 911 on your speed dial? But this new gizmo transmits location too. I dunno, it just sounds like the return of an Eighties Cultural Icon, and John Hughes movies are the best representatives of that particular species.
MISSING LITTLE GIRL UPDATE: They found her unharmed. Finally, a happy ending.
YOUR ANTI-FOUCAULT ITEM OF THE MOMENT: From a book review in The Times Literary Supplement. It's just the first paragraph that's about the goofiness of Foucault. Reading every single Camille Paglia column in Salon has made Foucault-bashing one of my favorite intellectual spectator sports, and if you're a fan as well, you might like this.
POST THAT SHOULD BE READ: From Andrew Hofer over at More Than Zero about the effects of schizophrenia on a friend. It's stories like this that make me think Thomas Szasz might be a crank.
WHEEEE: Blogger works again. Cool.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

SPREE AND P.J. SHAKE HANDS: Well how nice. I was wondering where P.J. was these days (working for NBC) as I'm a long time Seton Hall fan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE ECONOMIST: Of course the article's title is Is Santa a deadweight loss? Apparently somebody tried to figure out what percent of gifts actually go unused and thus constitute "deadweight." Then the article points out alternate considerations, like the uncalculated sentimental gifts and the gifts that give the recipients preferences they didn't have before:

Some of the best gifts, after all, are the unexpected items that you would never have thought of buying, but which turn out to be especially well picked. And preferences can change. So by giving a jazz CD, for example, the giver may be encouraging the recipient to enjoy something that was shunned before. This, and a desire to build skills, is presumably the hope held by the many parents who ignore their children's pleas for video games and buy them books instead.

Of course, some people will tell you that video games build hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, so I guess it depends on whether the parents want to raise humanities professors or fighter pilots. I guess a combination of both would produce creative scientists. Speaking ideally, of course, as if input X always leads to output Y.

By the way, who writes The Economist? There's never any actual names in there if you get the magazine. Never any photo credits either. Is it one guy in his basement? Crazed geneticist who has cloned himself? Crazed physicist who creates alternate-universe versions of himself and then collapses them back into his "one" "true" "self"? I mean, I just don't see how you can build a resume writing for The Economist.
RICHARD C. REID, SHOE COBBLER: Here's a better picture of Dick Reid. He looks a lot less zoned this time.
STUFF: I got a few jackets, gift certificates and this Merlin Donald book I'd been asking for. It's all over now; time for Nervous Anticipation to meet Stark Reality.
KING PONG: The BBC points out Blinkenlights, a giant Pong game on the side of a building in Berlin. Neat.
IT'S THE CONSPIRACY, STUPID: Great little post from Unqualified Offerings on who tends to believe in conspiracy theories and who tends to join the military (they're the same people.)
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE GIVING, OR SOMETHING: Here's an utterly non-Christmas but completely worthwhile post by Natalija Radic over on Samizdata. It's all about --you know, um, S-E-X. Oh god, I can't even TYPE it. I must be a Western socialist. (Joke that only tends toward being funny after you read the post.)
ONION COMET, ONION CUPID, ONION DONNER AND BLITZEN: Here's a little Christmas entry from The Onion:

Parent Mad 6-Year-Old Didn't Like Peanuts Special
ROSE HILL, VA—Bruce Pillard, 34, was angered Tuesday over his 6-year-old daughter's indifferent reaction to A Charlie Brown Christmas. "That show is a classic and an annual tradition!" an incensed Pillard told daughter Courtney after watching the program on CBS. "It is not 'boring,' and the voices do not sound 'weird.' What the hell is wrong with you?" Courtney was then sent to her room for the remainder of the evening.

I love the Peanuts Christmas special myself and look forward to it every year, but I was wondering when I watched it this time how dated it could get. There's two really dated references, to bubble gum cards (is Topps still making that nasty gum?) and to aluminum Christmas trees (that I've never seen at the K-Mart.) Everything else is Beethoven and Bible quotes.
MERRY CHRISTMAS: It's 12:30 Christmas morning and it must be a holiday, I'm getting sick again. Have a good Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2001

HOLY CRAP!: Somebody bought my ad off the top of my page. Is this the big media conspiracy? Rupert Murdoch? Gerald Levin? Ted Turner? To whose opinions do I now have to kowtow --maybe not right away, but subtly, slowly, until I am simply a mouthpiece for the party line? (That's quasi-paraphrasing Philip K. Dick at his paranoid best around the end of Radio Free Albemuth.) I guess this isn't an Insovent Republic anymore. My Mystery Benefactor has my thanks.

UPDATE: Mystery Benefactor revealed to be Brian Linse of AintNoBadDude. Thanks, Brian! Now all I need is a Mystery HTML Benefactor to tell me where in my template I can go to change the color above here from blue to something else. Anybody?
WHO'S HANDS ARE IN WHAT POCKETS: If you've ever wondered which media conglomerates own which companies, The Nation provides this flash thingie. I love having this kind of information --it makes for great conspiracy theories-- but dang if The Nation didn't use the tiniest font ever in coming up with this thing, I guess so they could flashify it. "People won't read this stuff on their own. They like bells and whistles. Hey --let's use FLASH! Then they'll read it! Then they'll KNOW!"

The Mark Crispin Miller article that accompanies it is sure to boil the blood of some, I reckon. My beef with it is that he seems to confuse web services with web content, as if who owned as ISP is the same as who uses an ISP. Actually, he doesn't have much to say about the Internet at all.

This paragraph is annoying me:

Thus what we have today is not a problem wholly new in kind but rather the disastrous upshot of an evolutionary process whereby that old problem has become considerably larger--and that great quantitative change, with just a few huge players now co-directing all the nation's media, has brought about enormous qualitative changes. For one thing, the cartel's rise has made extremely rare the sort of marvelous exception that has always popped up, unexpectedly, to startle and revivify the culture--the genuine independents among record labels, radio stations, movie theaters, newspapers, book publishers and so on. Those that don't fail nowadays are so remarkable that they inspire not emulation but amazement. Otherwise, the monoculture, endlessly and noisily triumphant, offers, by and large, a lot of nothing, whether packaged as "the news" or "entertainment."

This monoculture thing --I'm not seeing it.

UPDATE: Here's a better who-owns-what from the Columbia Journalism Review. I spot one factual inaccuracy right away: The New England Sea Wolves are now the Toronto Phantoms, and owned by local Toronto businessmen and not Cablevision.
NEW POSTREL: Virginia takes on SUVs, calls attention to advances in diaper design, and writes the latest chapter in Our Friends The Saudis. She introduces me, anyway, to Ginger Stampley's blog and to this post in particular. Read the whole thing; here's an excerpt:

I will hate SUVs (and pickups, and vans, and other large light-truck class vehicles) as long as they are big, because their drivers are collectively rude and inconsiderate. Most SUV drivers treat their vehicles like they're little sports cars, and they're not. Their size means they require a greater clearance to be safe to change lanes and follow, and other drivers need consideration from them.

Plus they think they can park the stupid things anywhere, as this guy did this weekend at the liquor store (I was looking for the Anchor Steam Chistmas beer) --just left his giant Cadillac whatever-it-is in a non-parking space in front of the store. So I had to figure out why the hell he was stopping and then pull around him, cursing him silently in the cold vacuum of my brother's car (a giant Olds Cutlass.) I am reminded of this old Camille Paglia Salon entry:

My quarrel with the SUV is that 75 percent of East Coast owners don't know how the hell to drive it. I go white with fear a dozen times a week as some white, middle-class soccer mom in a trance rockets past in an SUV with one hand on the wheel and the other on a cell phone pressed to her ear: She can neither signal nor safely steer through turns, which the massive, high-held weight of the SUV makes especially tricky.

Monica Lewinsky's embarrassing wipeout on a California highway last year shows that the problem is not the SUV; it's ditzy owners of both sexes who need primers on how to handle a quasi-military vehicle. I blame auto companies not for making and selling the SUV but for their failure to educate the public about the difficulties and dangers of driving an armored tank on the open road.

I've always dug Paglia, by the way, but she gets additional props from me for introducing me to Reason and Virgina Postrel in the first place, who, in turn, turned me on to Glenn Reynolds and the whole bloggerverse. Links really are the lifelines of the Internet.
JAPAN ATTACKED UPDATE: It looks more like it was a North Korean spy ship rather than Chinese smugglers, according to this article. Link from Drudge. Pyongyang must be pissed about being left out of the World Cup.

Hey, the same thing happened to South Korea a few years back.
TRACKING MY TEARS (AND EVERYTHING ELSE): Glenn Reynolds passes on this article about why national ID cards are not going to work. Such cards are only as good as the documents they're based on, like birth certificates, which can be easily forged and/or messed around with. That's why, ultimately, we're all going to need to have little tiny microchips implanted subcutaneously that can track all our movements and can helpfully be wired to explosives that only detonate when we leave the fifty states. It's our only option. (Sarcasm.)

But, I mean, if the argument against national ID cards is that they won't work, how can you argue against national little tiny social-security-number-emitting microchips that probably will work? I can see the use of something like this if you have a latex allergy or something and need medical people to be kept aware of that. I guess the best argument against it is that yes, eventually, a ID microchip could be faked too, so why force it on everyone. And the firm in the article is mainly pushing for medical applications right now, though hopes to develop personal identification applications eventually, and some futurist is quoted talking about the fashion applications of the little chip. So I don't have to worry about living in a "bad science fiction film" (as the article puts it) yet. (Like it couldn't happen in a good science fiction film. That's as big a cliche as the old "Biff! Wam! Zoom! Comics aren't just for kids anymore" in every annual read-comics news story.)

Hey, little chips "are already used to track cattle, house pets and salmon." Oh the HORRIBLE FUTURE --when we're no better than a pack of FLOPPING SALMON. And Charlton Heston can come from the past to rescue us: "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty SALMON. The proud human race, reduced to school of god-damned pink fish. MANIACS!" And Obi-Wan (played by Sir Alec Guiness, of course) can be all dismayed: "He's more salmon now than man."
META BLOGGING: Dawson wonders (in passing) if there's a better word for "one who blogs" than "blogger." We could go with "blogman" but we'd have to change it to "blogperson" eventually (or "blogfighter" or "blog carrier.") Same with "bloggerman." I dunno, I like blogger, and I contend that the spread of blogging is directly related to the use of the word "blog" over the word "me-zine" --which does not roll off the keyboard. Nor can you make into a verb easily. ("Blog" is like "smurf" in this regard.) And what sounds more intriguing: Someone calls you up and you say "Hey, I'm working on my blog" or you say "Hey, I'm working on my me-zine." Me-zine sounds dorktacular, blog strangely fascinating and --dare I say?-- manly. Of course, once you explain that you're goofing around on the Internet you've immediately moved into the lonely, windswept plains of nerdistan. But at least you can hold it off for what, seven seconds? Maybe.
GREAT CHRISTMAS POST: On Jeff Jarvis's Warlog: World War III. Explains the story of the man behind this phrase: "When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned." Information I did not know.

Sunday, December 23, 2001

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY: Joanne Jacobs points out this goofy piece by Stephanie Salter where Jesus talks to W. Joanne takes it apart far better than I could. I love this exchange:

SALTER: Dear brother, you are right to want to stop evil. The tricky part for humans has always been, what is the best way to stop it? My four-letter answer is written, over and over, in the Bible, but it has been ignored by potentates, peons and sometimes popes for 2,000 years. Why? Because it contradicts the human instinct for vengeance.

JACOBS: I'm good with crossword puzzles, but I had a hard time with the four-letter answer. "Peace" is too long. So is "cheek," as in "turn the other." "Pray" would work. But I think she means "love.'' (Hey, I'm Jewish. "Love'' doesn't appear all that often in our Bible; "smite'' gets more play, though it's five letters.)

I'm noticing that Jesus is not claiming to be the son of Allah, called the "One Who Creates All" in the Salter creative-writing thing. I'm glad He clarified that. Anyway, if you read it, read it in the Bill Cosby voice of God ("Noah." "WHAT?") or the Holy Grail voice of God. Or maybe the South Park voice of Jesus. It's funnier that way.
CORRECTION: Bruce R. writes in response to Matthew's response to the lead-made-bin Laden do it story below. Bruce says:

Yer both wrong. Buddy Ebsen (the original Tin Woodsman) was hospitalized due to an adverse reaction to his high-aluminum content makeup. He didn't die, and it wasn't lead.

I should point out that the Osama-wears-lead-paint story is still conjecture at this point; the guy in the article said it looked like he was wearing it. But it's an interesting angle nonetheless.
SHOUT OUT 'CROSS THE POTOMAC: Hey, I made Blog Watch II this morning. Thanks.

And I've noticed I'm using the same template as Will and Tony, as well as their esteemed Punditwatch. Same as Flit as well. I swear I'm not copying. It's more like back in high school when you'd show up wearing the same shirt as somebody else. I'm so EMBARRASSED. Kidding, kidding. I'd switch to orange and purple or something, and will, as soon as I learn HTML.
THE MAN WHOSE SHOES WERE BOMBS: Ken Layne points out this picture, where "Richard Reid" is apparently signalling secret Popeye-brigades to eat spinach en masse and beat up whoever their particular Blutos happen to be. He looks a little better in this picture and this picture, though a little woozy. All the sedation, maybe? MSNBC is saying he's a Sri Lankan.

The MSNBC news head (who is not the divine Jeannie Ohm) just said that new security protocols will require anyone who trips an airport metal detector to take their shoes off. Yeah, that'll work. I like Jeff Jarvis's suggestion about flying naked better.
LITTLE OPINIONJOURNAL THING: American girls raised into Saudi women. I think this is what Snoopy meant by "poor blighters." This is an older story --I swear I've heard it before-- but it's kind of more important now, what with Saudi princesses running amok. In the "Taste" section, for some reason.
A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MUSIC TRIVIA: Another holiday song is Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis, Queens," and I just heard tonight on the UPenn station the song where the persistent sample in that song comes from, Clarence Carter's "Backdoor Santa." You can listen it to it here.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

ANOTHER SHOT OUT: Thanks to for mentioning this page. The secret Ann Coulter-David Horowitz love tapes are in the mail.
EAST TIMOR UPDATE: Phillips (the gas company) is investing a bundle in a pipeline there. This has to be good news for the two-year old nation. Right?

Okay, no more from the Yahoo/BBC Asia section.
NEW ZEALAND ACCIDENTALLY ENTERS PROHIBITION: No, really. Due to a typo. Apparently Parliament was rushing through an anti-public drinking law and got an "and" and an "or" confused. The New Zealand Herald has more:

The error [in the law] is in the clause defining a public place. It says:

"A place is a designated public place if it is ...

a) a public place in the district of a territorial authority and for which the territorial authority is responsible, or

b) is identified in an order made by a territorial authority ... "

The "or" should have read "and".

More here.
JAPAN ATTACKED, SORT OF: A "mystery ship" entered Japanese waters (down at the southern tip) and fired shots and was fired upon. This report says Korean characters were found on the life jacket of a body retrieved from the water, while this report says Chinese characters were on the boat itself. Curious.
THE WAITRESSES: I am always reminded of the Waitresses this time of the year, since "Christmas Wrappings" is my favorite holiday song. Here's one site about them. Here's another. I had no idea they sang "I Know What Boys Like."

My other favorites are "Snoopy and the Red Baron" by the Royal Guardsmen and that one by the Kinks --it don't know the title, it's the one that goes "father Christmas, give me some money." I always leave these two, or three, on the radio.
THIS NINERS-EAGLES GAME: The refs have thrown flags and subsequently denied, after conferring, there was a penalty three times --picked up the flag, as they say. Either this is a good officiating crew or the NFL is encouraging officials to make sure they're making the right call after that Cleveland debacle. I'm guessing the former is more likely.
I BLOG PRETTY SOME DAY: Matthew Edgar responds:

Thought you might like a response to your question about the FDA and lead. Simply put, hell no! In more detail (if you want that) the FDA was not the first by any means organization to discover led was bad for you and could poison your brain. The FDA did nothing to restrict the use of lead, doctors and hospitals and makeup organizations have voluntarily gone away from lead use and have encouraged the reduction of use. In fact the Wizard of Oz contributed more to this than anything else because the original tin man died because of lead poisoning. (Crazy, huh?) The FDA hopped on the band wagon late and claimed that it was the champion of this cause.

Matthew also counter-blogged a response on his site to the lead-made-Bin-Laden-crazy story below. Preview: The FDA does not get off easy.

Hey, the first e-mail response to my blog. And I hardly begged at all.
BOMB SCARE: I just saw on MSNBC that a guy on a plane from Paris to Miami was trying to light his shoes on fire (which happened to be made of C-4), bit a flight attendant, got gang-tackled and then strapped in a chair while the plane got diverted to Boston. I guess the new eternal vigilance system (as opposed to the old take-my-wallet-just-don't-hurt-me system) is working out. Meanwhile, the Blogistan Insolvent Press is reporting that Jeannie Ohm is a total fox.
OLD PEKAR: Here's an old Harvey Pekar review of Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. His reaction to Pynchon reminds me of mine to Don DeLillo's White Noise, who also throws in a lot of useless trade names in his books (or he did in White Noise, at least. I have a copy of Underworld I haven't started yet.) Here's Pekar:

The way Pynchon jams information into his books doesn't have much purpose, other than to attempt to dazzle readers. Joyce, on the other hand, uses his immense knowledge far more subtly in the process of creating symbols. Merely citing a bunch of product names like Stacey Adams shoes and Count Chocula, as Pynchon does, isn't a great feat, nor is his giving cutesy names to people and places like Benny Profane and the Bohdi Dharma Pizza Parlor. Anyone can just sit around for 10 years and read, like Pynchon; his reclusiveness has aided in building his reputation, and then write a novel filled with the factual information picked up.

There's a Pekar article collection at the Austin Chronicle too.
HOT DIGGETY: The Grizz beat the Lakers and the Spurs have the best record in the NBA. Not that I'm a Spurs fan, but I'm a Laker anti-fan.
LATEST WHY THEY HATE US: It's the chemistry, stupid. Lead poisoning is apparently an ingrained part of Middle East culture:

"Does lead poisoning explain Osama bin Laden's madness?
Dr. Simanonok writes, "When I managed the blood lab at a northern California clinic for the poor, Pakistani children were often found to be contaminated with lead from the black makeup called 'kohl' that their mothers applied around their eyes. Middle Eastern mothers use it on their boys just as much as their girls.
"Lead poisoning is especially bad for children because it can reduce their IQs dramatically and cause developmental problems. In both children and adults, problems associated with lead poisoning increase with blood levels, from behavioral and learning disorders to various physical ailments including high blood pressure and kidney problems, even at moderate levels. At very high levels, lead can cause convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.
"Besides the fact that many Arab cultures have a history of prolonged lead exposure through kohl (with nothing like our EPA or FDA to limit any of it), lead poisoning should especially be considered a possible factor in recent events because many Arab fighters, including some of the Taliban, traditionally use kohl around their eyes.
"Some pictures of Osama bin Laden certainly suggest he might be wearing kohl, and it is known that he suffers from kidney problems. Lead poisoning could explain bin Laden's kidney problems and could only contribute to the madness of suicide bombers under the influence of malignant religious views."

I hope the doctor isn't conflating Pakistanis with Arabs, though. (I wonder if Matthew Edgar agrees this is a good reason for the FDA's existence.) Unisci provides this article on the further mental-incapacitation effects of good old Pb.
POOP NEARING FAN: India and Pakistan get closer to war. Link from Drudge. The only possible upside is that at least Pakistan can't press for any Taliban in the new Afghan government. The downside --a big freaking war-- is of course huge.
WHO'S NEXT: Apparently, the Philippines are. The Abu Sayyaf come off more like a gang here than anything else.
EASY TARGETS: The latest sound beatings of Robert Fisk and Ted Rall. It's like watching a hit-the-jerk dunk tank at a carnival. And doesn't the dunkee usually benefit from that? They don't do it for free. Fisk is probably just doing his job as he understands it and serving his audience (while entertaining his detractors.) Rall, on the other hand, is a lot better known now than he was before the attacks and he might be playing up to his new audience, who might be nothing but his detractors, while still entertaining his old audience, Comic Relief and alt-weekly newspaper readers (the comics are in the back by the non-sexual massage ads.) He's at least an unpredictable guy, as that Ken Layne summary above illustrates.

I mean, I've always liked his comics. I don't always agree with them but his and Tom Tomorrow's are the alt political strips I check out pretty regularly. And he might be right about Art Spiegelman. Or I could just be a knee-jerk Harvey Pekar fan. But if that original Rall attack on Spiegelman was as out-of-the-blue as some said it was, then there's always been a self-promoting streak there on Rall's part.

Friday, December 21, 2001

THE JACKSONIAN TRADITION: Charles over at little green footballs reminds me of this article by Walter Russell Mead I heard about via Virgina Postrel back in April. It's all about competing strains in our foreign policy, named Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian. Mead is introducing the Jacksonian tradition in his article, after Andrew Jackson. If you haven't read it yet, please do so, it's really good.

UPDATE: Lake Effect Dan points out this talk given by one of Mead's collaborators, Sherle Schwenninger. It seems like Schwenninger and Mead are notable for trying to move past isolationism versus interventionism in describing American foreign policy:

Let me begin by introducing some broad notions of American foreign policy, deal with some of the catch notions which you've probably all come across in your study of the United States, but which I think may not be fully adequate in helping you understand the American foreign policy tradition and process and the evolution of American foreign policy, particularly during this period of time. It's often heard that the U.S. struggles between isolationism and internationalism, between withdrawal from the world and a very activist approach. It's also often posed that the United States has to choose between a moralist tradition that emphasizes values and human rights, and a more realist tradition that's concerned about hardcore interests and geopolitics. And often you'll hear, as you do in the current debate, particularly over the concern with the popularity of Pat Buchanan, about the risk of isolationism in American foreign policy today.

Well again, I believe this sort of oversimplifies what has gone on historically, and I think it's important to understand that there's a richer tradition of American involvement in the world that sort of defies these two categories. And I would break it up by saying that there's three sort of cultural traditions that the United States draws from and that you see manifested in its foreign policy. One is called the Hamiltonian tradition, which is named after Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who represented sort of the big monied interests of the United States, the central banks, the sort of high politics of finance and geopolitics. This is the American equivalent of realism; it represented the tradition of the Anglo-American elite, the house of Morgan--Morgan was one of the largest Anglo-American banks, it had enormous influence on the early development of the United States; it was later represented by Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. It's very much in the American great power tradition, that's concerned about the expansion of trade, but also building political alliances that underpin that trade.

But that's not the only tradition, or even the dominant one. There's also a very strong what I call Jeffersonian tradition in American foreign policy, and here's perhaps where people draw the relationship to the moralistic streaks of American foreign policy, the concerns about human rights, about international law, the Wilsonian tradition, Wilson is often to some degree associated with [the Jeffersonian tradition], named after Thomas Jefferson, who though he wanted to avoid entangling alliances, was very much concerned that American values inform the larger international order. Now I think the Jeffersonian tradition is best represented by the American missionary spirit. There's a rich history, even during the period when the United States was considered the most "isolationist," you had American missionaries on all the continents, very prominent in China in the 19th century, but also in Africa and Latin America,the tradition of going and spreading the American way of life and also the American religion. Today's equivalents of this missionary spirit are the human rights groups and the sort of transnational civil society that is predominantly, there's a lot of Anglo-French involvement in the NGO's, human rights and humanitarian organizations, but you'll notice that many of them are American. And I think this was perhaps well illustrated in the first days after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of democracy in Central Europe, you had a lot of twenty-something Americans as well as a lot of foundations, both individuals and institutions poured into the region to spread the American ethos of democracy and market economy.

The third tradition may be less noble, and I think this is where Pat Buchanan draws much of his resonance, and that is what I call the Jacksonian tradition, named after Andrew Jackson, who was president of the United States in the early 19th century. It's a populist, anti-internationalist, slightly paranoid, inward-looking, somewhat xenophobic, anti-immigrant tradition in the United States that has deep roots. It's often also aligned against the great banks. William Jennings Bryan, in the late 19th century, who ran for president in 1896 on the platform of doing away with the gold standard, which was a conspiracy by the Anglo-American banks to bankrupt American farmers and small businessmen, is part of that tradition. In a strange way, Jessie Jackson borrows some of those attributes, though he also borrows heavily from the Jeffersonian tradition. There was an element of paranoia in this American Jacksonian tradition that is also familiar to people from the Central European region, and I think was reinforced by a lot of refugees from the Second World War who brought a lot of anxieties about having lived in the shadow of German Nazism and Soviet Stalinism and reinforced that tradition, surprisingly.

Read it in full. It's good background reading if you were intrigued by what James Woolsey was saying in that Jerusalem Post article.
IN THIS HUNDREDTH YEAR OF UNCLE WALT: The Midwest Conservative Journal offers this comment:

EUROPE LAND - Forget the European Union. According to this Robert Kagen column in the Washington Post, Europe ought to declare itself a historical theme park, make every European a park employee, charge admission and be done with it. The Euro could be the European Disney Dollar or something.

Now I read the article in question and don't see that exact suggestion being made. I am, on the other hand, pretty dense. BUT that doesn't stop it from being a really good idea. At least that would keep them out of trouble and from conquering the world anymore. (See Instapundit's defense of Euro-bashing. But then Glenn shoots Euro-bashing in the foot by putting up pictures of the all-new all-different Swedish Bikini Team.) All we'd have to really watch out for is replacing all the citizens with robot doppelgangers and we'd be all set. Thank Michael Crichton for pointing that out.

What else have we learned from Michael Crichton? Let's see--

--Cloning dinosaurs is bad.
--Alien artifacts are bad.
--Some, but not all, monkeys are bad.
--Alien germs are bad.
--Never work in an E.R.
--Never buy Japanese products.
--Sexual harassment cuts both ways like a knife.

There you go.
BLAME BOTH YOUR PARENTS: This article says a father's love/lack of love is as important to forming a child's personality as a mother's. It's a Reuters story, and doesn't go into what, if any, are the substantial differences between father's love versus mother's love (how the loss of one, for example, tends to affect a child's personality as opposed to the loss of the other) save for this paragraph:

The team further found that in certain instances, the love of a father plays an even more important role than that of the mother. Many studies found a father's love to be the sole determining factor when it came to a child's problems with personality, conduct, delinquency or substance abuse. They said future research is needed to explain this observation.

I'd love to hear more on this. I mean, we've all seen Psycho and about a zillion other movies, we all know --anecdotally at least-- about people who seemed to listen to one parent more than the other. Stuff like this may give us more of a handle on what's going on when there is a parental affection problem, now that we're all post-Freudians and have to, you know, actually do research on things like this and not mythologize endlessly.

SO BEAR THAT IN MIND: When reading this article (link from Joanne Jacobs):

NOT THAT IT MATTERS a whit to us here in the cool, gray city of love what Frank Lindh, daddy of the Taliban warrior from Marin, does, did or dreams of doing with other consenting adults, but shouldn't he come clean with us about all the facts in the odd odyssey of his son?

Frank Lindh has been quoted time and again as saying it was his son John's reading of the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" when John was 16 in 1997 that turned his son's head and heart towards Islam. But something else then going on in the family's life may be have been just as pertinent.

When Frank Lindh left his family in 1997, it was to move in with a male companion. Yep. ... The man with whom Lindh lived has since been described as "a family friend," but other family friends say the men lived as a gay couple.

It would take a specialist in family issues to map the constellations of feelings and problems that would describe John Walker's path toward Islam in 1997, but sources close to the family say the father's turn of life from married man to modern gay man startled and flustered the 16-year-old.

Given the pummeling that the Walkers and marvy Marin County have taken from the national press over their wayward son, you can't blame the old man for wanting to suppress reporting on his sexuality. ...

Joanne finishes with: "Johnny Walker eventually joined the Taliban, which executed homosexuals by crushing under a stone wall or throwing them off a high building." (What was up with his goofy fake foreign accent in that tape, anyway? Weird.) This Johnny Walker thing may or may not be a subject for serious armchair psychoanalysis. Right now, the circumstantial evidence is making it a poser thick with irony, shall we say. Maybe the irony is so obvious I'd want to dismiss this twist a little too quickly, but ever since planes were driven into buildings I'll consider anything.
CONFIRMING EVIDENCE: MSNBC is reporting a second translation of the Bin Laden tape confirms the use of the phrase “jalad alhayaa” (meaning, the article says, Saudi "religious police") in reference to the guy who smuggled Khaled Al Harbi into Afghanistan. Logically, the smuggled-by-Saudis was the more likely translation over the Iran-did-it one. What's more, "A member of the team that translated the tape for the Pentagon said the additional translation by ABC was consistent with parts not yet released by U.S. officials." So there you go.
MAP OF SPRINGFIELD: Can be found here, courtesy of the DVDVR message board. It seems to be a topographical version of every Springfield location mentioned on The Simpsons and not anything you can really match up with the show, where they've always played fast and loose with where 742 Evergreen Terrace really was. The Simpsons producers have always tried to geek-proof their show by having minimal continuity and by featuring the straw geek of the Comic Shop Guy prominently. But geeks will keep on geekin', as this map shows.
WHO SMUGGLED IN KHALID AL HARBI?: A Ken Layne reader points out differences between the Washington Post and ABC News versions of the Bin Laden tape. One says Iranian police smuggled the Saudi dissident Al Harbi (the legless guy, right?) in, the other says the Saudi police did. The former is against the usual wisdom about Iran, that it's a Shiite nation strongly suspicious of the hyper-puritanical Wahhabi Sunni Saudis, so it's just kind of weird. The latter makes more sense; the stories about a gulf between what the Saudis say to us and what they say to themselves are becoming pretty common. This would be one more log on the fire. Ken also suggests attacking Saudi Arabia, which makes more sense than attacking France. Though it's doubtless much less difficult.

Ken Layne also has a link to his friend Tony Pierce's blog. This is a good blog. It's not a blog I could do, but it's a very good blog. Current stories: hockey fights; Tony Pierce's life; monkey drinks Coke.
MORE ON CHOMSKY HATERS: Chomsky hate is like Duke-men's-basketball hate. It's a hatred tinged with respect for the quality work the object of hate actually has accomplished, which is totally outweighed by the additional hatred for said hate-object's obnoxious friggin' fans. (Certain parties excluded.) This is similar to Denver Broncos hatred (more pleasurable when the Broncos were good, though) and hatred of anybody excessively linked-to on zmag. It's a different animal, by the way, from LA Lakers/Dallas Cowboys hatred, whose fans are too apathetic to really hate.
SPEAKING OF ON-LINE FIGHTS: Perry de Havilland noted recently that Christopher Hitchens' attacks on Noam Chomsky were lots worse than the recent Horowitz/Radosh one. Mostly because Hitchens was supposed to be on Chomsky's "team," but Hitch made Noam look like an ass in their on-line debate (Chomsky basically resorted to wishing Hitchens' points away. It was a slaughter.) Not only that, but the fact that this was an intrasquad scuffle sort of made Chomsky look even weaker, which may explain his status as a favorite blog-target. Hitchens really opened the floodgates for Chomsky-haters, I think, just by rendering him, in essence, speechless. Not that there's anything wrong with Chomsky loathing. My favorite bit: Matt Welch's Happy Birthday, Gnome! --if only for the title.
GOLDBERG VS. LIBERTARIANS: Here's Nick Gillespie's closing argument to the court of public opinion and final Goldberg-rejoinder.
MURDOCH IN CHINA: Apparently James Murdoch's Falun Gong anti-pimping has impressed the cadres sufficiently, since Rupert Murdoch and Star have been granted a license to broadcast to a wealthy portion of China. Do you think they do the same self styled purveryor of honest journalism/actual serving a previously-underserved conservative audience schtick they do here? Cause it seems to me the Chinese version would have to me more liberal than what they have now and not less, or else it's just one more version of what they already have. Right?

On Fox News in particular, I guess I'm of the school that they're just finding an audience turned off by Jennings-like nth-degree impartiality. I just hate the fact that a geriatric Australian knows the American tv-watching audience better than the native media barons. Or maybe I'm just bitter about Wendi Deng. These two are married? I type the sound of gritting teeth.
RED SOX SOLD: To a group that includes former Marlin-owner John Henry, producer Tom Werner and the New York Times. This was Bill Simmons' nightmare scenario:

We're vehemently against [the Werner and John Henry] group, for a variety of reasons:

1. Werner was the principal owner of the San Diego Padres in the early/mid-'90s, nearly driving them into the ground because of the mammoth ownership group he assembled (which didn't have nearly enough working capital to operate a successful baseball team). In 1993, the Pads jettisoned many of their top players, including Fred McGriff and Garry Sheffield, and some season-ticket holders actually sued the team. Even Chris Farley ran his company better during the first hour of "Tommy Boy."

2. John Henry owned the Marlins until about five minutes ago, when Team Selig expedited his sale of the team so he could be involved with Werner's group. That led everyone here to wonder if the proverbial "fix" was in (that Selig and Company were aboard and Team Werner's eventual approval was a done deal). We love coming up with conspiracy theories here in Boston.

3. I mean ... John Henry? Would you want someone co-owning your team named "John Henry"? Is that a stage name?

4. One of the limited partners in this group? The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe. Here's what Beth Healy wrote in a feature about the Henry group for yesterday's Globe: "The Times Co. has stressed that it is primarily interested in the team's controlling stake in the New England Sports Network, which is included in the sale, and has said it would not interfere with coverage of the Red Sox." And if you pull this leg, it plays "Jingle Bells."

5. Duquette is reportedly tight with the Werner group. 'Nuff said.

6. According to some reports, Team Werner plans on renovating Fenway Park, rather than building a new stadium. In all honesty, I can't even discuss this premise rationally; the only way I would attend a baseball game at Renovated Fenway is if they staged "Lob Plastic Bags of Your Own Urine At the New Owners" Night.

7. Werner made his money as a TV producer, so he gives off that "Mr. Hollywood who wants to own the Red Sox to impress his buddies" vibe. Yuk. If that's not bad enough, Werner is engaged to Katie Couric, which could potentially make Katie the First Lady of the Boston Red Sox. I will now light myself on fire.

END QUOTE. Check out his latest: the Sports Guy's DVD picks.
LARGE SQUID BAFFLES, AMUSES SCIENTISTS: The article somehow lives up to that great headline. Check out the picture. Is the abyss staring back at us? (My favorite James Cameron movie, by the way. "SHE HAS A STRONG HEART! SHE WANTS TO LIVE!")

By the way, getting that Abyss link brought up four pop-ups on the IMDB. I guess their business model involves annoying people into joining the pay version.
FUNNIEST JOKE FOUND: Actually the funniest joke that these guys found when they studied humor scientifically, according to Nature. The more important point is that the study found one of those male-female division in humor-apprehension: men prefer put-downs (like your momma jokes, I guess), women prefer puns. I thought that was the more important point of the article, anyway, since this is the current funniest joke in the world:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up. "Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce." Watson says, "I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life." Holmes replied: "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our tent!"

It's pretty good but I don't think this beats the great German pre-war joke. "My dog's got no nose." "How's it smell?" "Awful." HA HA HA HA oh man, it's still effective sixty years later.
SHOUT OUT: To Andrea See for putting my big fat newbie URL on her page. Hey, she's a lefty too. AND a non-Mensa member. Good thing I got them disorder-tendencies to compensate for my lack of I.Q. At least I'll be entertained by the persistent cave paintings on the interior of my skull.
READ KEN LAYNE'S POSTS: Read them here, actually. Then read them in Crow T. Robot's voice. It's great. And "jackhole" --I have no idea if he invented it or not, but I swear it's the funniest insult ever.
THERE'S TWO ACTUALLY: This one's more topical and less technology-oriented. And it's got a link to a conspiracy theory I haven't seen elsewhere about insider trading on United Airlines stock before the attacks.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR HAS A BLOG: In the science section, and it's pretty good. If sparsely updated. Top stores: XP has big gaping security flaw; an obituary for; Europeans won't pay to download info on their cell phones.
FLIT ON SULLIVAN ON HOROWITZ ON CHOMSKY: Flit's take on David Horowitz's expose of Noam Chomsky --and Andrew Sullivan's one-sentence thumbs-up on it on his site-- is very worthwhile. I started scanning through that article (meaning stopped reading it closely) once it got to the Nicaragua part. Flit scores it at 1-2-2 for Horowitz; in hockey terms that's 4 points --certainly better than two or three, but not the ten points an all-out winning streak would have been. Got the link to Flit off Samizdata, by the way.
JUST WALKED IN ON SMACKDOWN: And I agree with jdw, two belts look cooler than one.
QUESTIONS OF THE HOUR: From Andrea See's blog:

"Questions: do you save? Do you have a savings plan? Does a bank (or something similar) take care of it?"

ANSWERS: No, no, and no. I have been plan-free for years and reading this commencement address I stumbled across while researching an economics paper made me think I really need to get one. Ten percent of my income I'm supposed to save? I really need to get cracking.

"Not that I'm really expecting answers from anyone (rather personal subject, this), but I was just thinking about it. I was brought up fairly privileged, and am a bit of a spendthrift. Trying to plan my life (for the next six months, anyway) has brought that into sharp focus: I can't faff around, I need savings to live reasonably comfortably."

Being a total spendthrift brought up semi-privileged myself I can't help but agree. My current dumb plan is to get a decent income by acquring better job skills and hence greater marketability via further schooling. It'll take a while, but I'm kind of okay in science and I figure it's about time I put my brain to good use. And --wow-- Andrea can plan six months ahead --something I can only dream of. Two weeks is about my limit right now.

"This whole 'adult-responsibility' thing is a bit of a nose-wrinkler."

TOTAL nose-wrinkler. Maybe self-discipline is the only good answer, even if it's the least fun. I dunno.
HERNANDO DE SOTO QUOTE OF THE DAY: "In spite of their obvious poverty, even those who live under the most grossly unequal regimes possess far more than anybody has ever understood. These possessions, however, are not represented in such a way as to produce additional value. When you step out the door of the Nile Hilton, what you are leaving behind is not the high-technology world of fax machines, ice makers, television, and antibiotics. The people of Cairo have access to all those things. What you are really leaving behind is the world of legally enforceable transactions on property rights. In Cairo and similar cities, mortgages and accountable addresses are unavailable even to people who would probably strike you as quite rich." Check out more of his stuff off the publications page of his thinktank, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. His particular take on 9-11 was a take I think only he could make, especially the stuff about terrorist politicians. I really need to read his book.
MY FAVORITE NUTTY NBA OWNER: Known Shaq-baiter and computer billionaire Mark Cuban is apparently subjecting NBA officiating to rigorous statistical analysis. I would love to hear the results of this, as NBA refs are my least favorite species of referee, what with their blatant superstar-favoring that made me really hate Michael Jordan back in the day. It also puts a number on money lost by Cuban to NBA fines last year: a half a million. Crikey.
NEW JERSEY NETS LEAVING, MAYBE: Thinking of going back to New York, in fact, where the franchise started back in the ABA. Here I thought that new stadium in Newark was a done deal. Not that you can really blame them, attendance for the Nets has usually been fairly stinky --and for the Devils too, who actually have been good for a while (except this year) so we can't use the Nets-stink argument to explain the fact that nobody shows up. It's just the apathy, I guess, of the citizens of my home state. Or maybe people will pay to see a good Nets team (basketball being more popular than hockey) and a good Nets team is what we now have, thanks to the Jason Kidd trade. We'll just have to sit everybody down and explain to them that --brace yourself-- the Nets are good this year and see what happens. So maybe that's why YankeesNets is pressing the issue, as opposed to when the Nets stunk: now they maybe can blackmail a new building out of the state. But I can't imagine any New Jersey governor standing up for one of our franchises, though I would've loved to see what Schundler would have done.
ANOTHER WASHINGTON MONTHLY ARTICLE: This one's about the possible return of baseball to the D.C. area. I wonder if they'll go with Senators again for the nickname (which is fine with me) or maybe that's too offensive these days for the District populace, like the Bullets becoming the Wizards. I mean, holy crap: "Bullets" is bad but "Redskins" is acceptable? Perhaps the new MLB franchise will follow the NBA team into whimsical mysticism and be the Washington Trolls. Or Elves. Or Wraiths. Maybe not.
NAVY WEAPONS WORK, OTHER SERVICES' ARE RATHER YUGO-LIKE: The Navy altered it's testing procedures a while back and so their airplanes actually work, according to this piece mentioned on Slate. Navy planes have flown 1500 missions in Afghanistan, while the B-2 (an Air Force plane) has flown six, and there's Ospreys sitting idle here in the States due to their persistent crashing problem. And I didn't know those Predators have been crashing, or that B-2s fall apart in the rain, or --most importantly-- there are no bathrooms in the B-2. It's like that part in "The Right Stuff" where the almost-astronauts have to argue the German scientist to put a window on the capsule. Apparently the Navy's new methods are the same as what private industry's been using for years --which may explain a lot.
CHARLOTTE CHURCH: If --like me-- you had heard that Charlotte Church (everyone's favorite teenage classical music star) had said something contra common sense about the attacks, and you weren't quite sure what, here's something about it. I mean, she's fifteen, right? She mostly sounds like it, displaying the lack of empathy and all-around ignorance thought common to the proto-adult. But her Paul McCartney-bashing appeals to my hideous sense of generational envy, and I hope she nurtures it into her adult years.
HANDEDNESS: Apparently chimps have a preference for one hand or the other, according to this item from Discover. Actually all primates do, and the proportions vary by species (lemurs are mostly lefties, humans are mostly righties). But here's the kicker: "Among humans, lefties are more likely than righties to suffer from dyslexia, schizophrenia, stuttering, and other disorders." This explains....a little too much for my tastes.....
LAST HUNDRED YEARS IN AMERICAN HISTORY EXPLAINED: In this article Ralph Peters tears into the often great distance between American ideals and American foreign policy, and highlights the Spanish-American War as the beginning of a century of decidedly hypocritical actions on the part of the U.S. (propping up thugs, valuing the devil we know way too much, putting business interests that benefit a tiny percentage of the American public first.) From Parameters, the U.S. Army Way College's own magazine. Glenn Reynolds --who has hipped me to so much different stuff in the past three months-- turned me on to this as well.
AWRIGHT IT WORKS: Cool. Now I can start blogging. I was reading Jay Zibler's admission that he finally "gets" the ending of 2001 over at Mind Over What Matters. Back in school the theory offered to me was that Kubrick had this real belief in the circularity of history and that the evolution from gorilla to spaceman to giant baby was just him saying that the wheel had come full circle and that the net progress of humankind ended up as zero. That's the first time giant baby made any kind of sense to me, anyway.
TEST COOLIDGE: Seeing if my theory about posting-to-save-changes is right. This is probably mentioned really explicitly somewhere, but darned if televsion hasn't ruined my attention span. Okay....
COOLIDGE: Apparently you have to post something to get your template change to show up. Lemme mess around here a minute....
TESTING AGAIN: This sidebar thing --I'm not getting it.
HTML: My ignorance is now coming around to bite me on the ass, because I can't figure out how to add links on the side of the page. That's half the fun of doing this, checking out the stuff other people have come across. Tarnation....
STILL TESTING: Hey, it does work. And I still don't know dink about html. That's cool, though my ignorance isn't doing anything for my resume. And the links open in the same window, which I vastly prefer over the open-in-new-window thing. Neat.
TESTING: One, two, three. Can you hear me in the back? And does this thing make links?