the old, long abandoned blog; I don't come here much anymore
THE NEW BLOG
Friday, May 31, 2002
There has been so much going on in the past day or two that I want to comment on, but everything's too jumbled up to sort out right now. With the official end of the clean up in NYC it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on September 11 and the months since then. I have lots of reflections - too many. Then there's the exchange going on between John Braue and Demosthenes and Andrea Harris that I'm sort of tempted to dive into even though I'm not totally clear on everything invovled there and how I feel about it.
I also had some choice words about the FBI, "Intelligence" and the whole culture of back-scratching, ass-covering government bureaucracy. But screw it for now. Unless I have a sudden epiphany I'm taking the weekend off.
What is WRONG with these people?
Late last night someone found this page with the following Google search: conspiracy oklahoma bridge collapse
Conpiracy? Conspiracy????? Look folks....the barge pilot fell asleep, hit the bridge and it collapsed, dumping cars and trucks into the water. Fourteen men, women and children died. End of story. Freak accidents happen.
Thursday, May 30, 2002
A Great Day in the Blogosphere
A new record for me today: 36 visits so far and the day isn't over yet. That's more than twice my usual "average." Quite a few of those visits were via the Long Haired Country Boy who gave me a nice plug today.
A plug in return
Thanks to Rich of Brain Squeezings for the nice plug. Brain Squeezings is similar to Lynn Unleashed in some ways. No single focus, just comments on life in general. Check it out.
Which is the real No.15?
In the complete set of Mozart's Piano Sonatas performed by Klara Wurtz on the Brilliant Classics label the little Piano Sonata in C major K545 (come on...you know which one it is...yes that one) is listed as No.16. On almost all other sets and individual recordings it is No.15. I haven't researched this at all (I mostly just listen) but as far as I can tell, the "extra" sonata in the Brilliant Classics set is the F Major K533, which is listed as No.15. Hmmm....very intriguing. K533 is certainly as beautiful as any of the others, especially the andante.
By the way this whole set, which is available from Berkshire is fantastic. Klara Wurtz deserves to be more well known. These are absolutely my favorite performances of Mozart's Piano Sonatas, far ahead of anything I've heard by the big name pianists. Don't let the incredible bargain price fool you. No I'm not advertising. I just love this set and think everybody should hear it!
Note to Conspiracy Theorists
I found this very timely quote on Brain Squeezings:
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
Come to think of it...when has that advice ever not been timely?
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Goodbye Vocabula Review
I have deleted the post that I made impulsively just minutes after I discovered that one of my favorite websites, The Vocabula Review, now charges a subscriber fee. Honestly, I know that even in the fantasy universe of the Internet, you have to have money to survive. I've gotten used to paying one negligible monthly fee to have the world at my fingertips - like an infinitely vast library.
The Vocabula Review is a very worthwhile site, but I doubt it could ever be a very popular one. They've tried to avoid charging a fee. They sell books and coffee mugs and beg for donations. I guess it hasn't been enough. I'm sure the only people who read The Vocabula Review are English teachers and a few wackos like me who actually think good language skills are important. I have my doubts that charging a subscription fee is going to save the site. How many people will be willing to pay?
Sadly, it seems that it is mostly the worthwhile sites that are starting to charge fees. Will the "free" Internet eventually be reduced to trash sites and sites run by big corporations who have the money to support them? The same wasteland of bland conformity as commercial TV?
A few months ago a classical music site that I visited daily went down. The site had been struggling to survive financially since the beginning but in the end it was the immaturity of the webmaster, not financial woes that killed the site. He had done well, securing commercial backing, but this had made the site far less worthwhile. There was still good content but the front page looked like a billboard, with promotional material thinly veiled as "articles."
I've got the feeling of having written myself into a corner. I'm not sure how to wind this up. Some profound musings about the future of the Internet? Try to end on a positive note? Or end with a pathetic whine? I'm generally an optimist but I'm not feeling very positve right now. The corporations are winning and the little guys and the intellectuals are selling out, in most cases out of necessity. I've sort of gotten used to this whole Internet thing. I like it just the way it is, but I'm awfully afraid they're going to burn down the library and replace it with 21st century television.
But what does it SAY?
Just found in the Most Recently Updated List - "I will be happy when I hear about..." Some great pictures but the posts are in Farsi. (at least I think that's what it is)
Most Valuable Piece of Paper Ever Sold
I have mixed feelings about this. I am disgusted when I think of all the money that is spent on historical artifacts when there are millions of people homeless and starving and yet, I understand. If I could I would pay anything just for the privilege of holding something like this in my hands for a minute.
Not just another blog
Here is another unique idea in blogging. To be honest I got tired of waiting for all the pictures to load, (maybe later) but I'm blogging with stone knives and bear skins here and I do like the idea. More techologically advanced surfers might have better luck.
"A very large hole..."
The Suburban Limbo has some good pictures of the WTC site and some original and worthwhile comments. For example:
What surprises me is how the endgame of this incident has devolved into catfights between politicians, insulted construction workers and the families of dead firemen while rarely mentioned are the most numerous victims - 2,500 office drones who showed up for work one autumn day and got wacked.
My favorite columnist, Mark Steyn, comments on doomsday predictions:
In 1968, in his best-selling book The Population Bomb, scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines -- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."
In 1972, in their influential landmark study The Limits to Growth, the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and gas by 1993.
In 1977, Jimmy Carter, President of the United States incredible as it may seem, confidently predicted that "we could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade."
Having been proven wrong time after time you would think that the doomsayers would be afraid to risk further embarrassment. Not so. Apparently they have short memories. The new date for the End of the World is 2032. I think we'd do better to look to Mark Steyn for accurate prophesies:
Well, here's my prediction for 2032: Jean Chrétien will be the oldest serving Prime Minister in Commonwealth history. Other than that, I'm inclined to be cautious. But, at the risk of scaremongering, let me say this: unless we change our ways the world faces a future ... where things look pretty darn good. If we change our ways along the lines advocated by the UN, all bets are off.
Personally I don't count on an entirely rosy future but dates for the "End of the World" have passed without incident too many times to take doomsday predictions seriously. I consider myself a sensible optimist. Things usually turn out to be neither as good nor as bad as predicted.
Nothing to Fear
Get those dystopic nightmares about genetically enhanced clone armies out of your sci-fi addled brain. Wipe the chilling phrase "designer baby" out of your short-term memory bank, and at least entertain the possibility that tinkering with our genes might make life longer, healthier, happier and better.
My opinion - genetic engineering will happen whether we like it or not. By trying to block scientific advancement, Bush and his medieval crusaders will accomplish nothing but to put America behind the rest of the civilized world, and sacrifice any ability we have to control how things progress.
It's over/It's just beginning
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Tragedy in Oklahoma
The death toll from the I-40 bridge collapse has risen to 13.
Don't expect something for nothing
Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. The Internet is a vast universe of freebies so it's easy to start feeling "entitled." I have four email addresses, three of them free. I suppose I have no right to expect much from these accounts but when they have an address that contains the word "support," which is supposedly there for when you have problems with your account, I can't help expecting that any email I send to that address will eventually be read by a human being.
That is certainly not the case with email.com. Recently I have received several "failed delivery" notices for emails that I never sent - emails to people like the "condomwarehouse" for example. Of course I complained about this but email.com merely sent two automated responses, the first saying that I would receive a response within 48 hours and the second telling me to forward them a copy of the email in question, complete with full header - something which I had already done.
That sort of thing just makes me so freakin' mad! Why even bother to have a "support" address if they aren't going to give any "support." Why the hell can't they just be honest about it and say "It's free email. No support. Take it or leave it."? That I could accept.
Bridge Collapse on I-40
I'm sure everyone has heard about the bridge collapse on Interstate 40 in Oklahoma by now. Scary stuff. Most of us drive over bridges almost every day and think nothing of it. Bridge collapses are rare but when something like this does happen it makes me extremely nervous. You just never know when a freak accident is going to happen.
I just found Yeah. And Stuff. in the Most Recently Updated Blogs. As I suspected it's another one of those "what's the point?" kind of blogs, but I just had to click on it because of the title. I know someone who ends almost every sentence with the words "...and stuff." He draws it out really long though - "I wuz jus wonderin' whut ya'll wuz doin' this weekend, an' stuuuuuuuuufff." "Sure has been rainin' a lot lately, and stuuuuuffff." (I'm not exaggerating - almost every sentence!)Very annoying person to talk to, especially on the phone.
Anyway, that's my trivial rant for today - a pet peeve I've always wanted to get off my chest. I suppose I probably have some habits that drive other people up the wall too. (such as starting too many sentences with "anyway" and using too many cliches)
Sunday, May 26, 2002
Two Thoughts for Memorial Day
...or a thought expressed two different ways:
The marble keeps merely a cold and sad memory of a man who would else be forgotten. No man who needs a monument ever ought to have one.
Those only deserve a monument who do not need one.
My Most Interesting Google Referral Yet:
massive muscle female wrestlers
I have the feeling that this person did not find what he (or she) was looking for.
Saturday, May 25, 2002
One member of my family frequently walks by when I'm on the computer and asks, "Having fun?" I never know how to answer. Considering what I like to do on the computer it seems like a strange question. I think of "having fun" as an experience associated with playing games or light conversation, trading stories and jokes. I like having fun as much as anyone but generally I enjoy serious pursuits a great deal more. "Fun" becomes boring after a while and so ceases to be fun.
When I'm on the computer I'm usually reading articles or books, writing, sometimes browsing art sites or participating in message board discussions, usually of a serious nature. All of this is enjoyable, fascinating and satisfying, but the word "fun" just doesn't seem to apply. But I can't simply answer "no" to the question "are you having fun?" If it's not fun then why am I doing it? There's nothing better than fun, right?
I'm constantly seeing little tidbits of "wisdom" urging people not to take life too seriously, and above all not to take oneself too seriously. So many people assume that anyone who is serious does not enjoy life. Nonsense! I can't imagine spending life in pursuit of fun - taking it all lightly, tossing off everything with a smile and a quip. How boring! Yeah, I do have fun sometimes....when I don't have anything better to do.
The Power of Being Soft
This is the time of year when my allergies are worst. It starts around the beginning of May and begins to ease up sometime in July. Yesterday I went through the usual ordeal of walking to the mailbox and back. It's a long walk compared to the distance most city folks have to go for their mail; I'm guessing about 200 yards. (or similar distance in meters) I could send one of my kids but I usually enjoy the walk. This time of year though, before I'm half-way back I'm sneezing violently and my eyes are watering and stinging painfully.
So anyway, yestderday I came back in the house groped blindly for the Benadryl then splashed water in my face for 10 or 15 minutes wondering how people ever managed to live without Benadryl. That's when it occurred to me that there are still millions of people in the world who not only have to live without antihistamines of any kind, but also have to suffer far worse deprivation.
There is nothing we Americans dread so much as discomfort. Feel a little discomfort, rush to the medicine cabinet for a pill to fix it. And if it's not the kind of discomfort that can be eased by taking a pill, there is usually some other kind of technology to take care of the problem. We demand that our homes be dry and the perfect temperature. Our beds must be the perfect firmness, never too soft or too hard. Bathrooms must be indoors and hospital clean. And nothing is of more concern than our food. While in much of the world people would be ecstatic to have food that was free of visible vermin, here in America everything must be cooked and seasoned to perfection and visually appealing. We have entire industries devoted solely to insuring our comfort.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking this attitude. I like my lifestyle. I like my air-conditioning, indoor bathrooms, comfortable waterbed and appetizing food. And don't get between me and my Benadryl! But this luxurious lifestyle that we take for granted leads our enemies to believe that we are spoiled and soft. And often we even believe it ourselves. In the first weeks after September 11, didn't many of us worry that we were too accustomed to peace to fight a successful war?
I admit it - I had moments when I feared that before the year was out America as we know it would be no more. But our dread of even minor discomfort - our "softness" - is our greatest motivator. We are willing to make virtually any sacrifice because we cannot bear the thought of living any other way. Our "softness" for which we are so often criticized, far from making us weak, actually makes us strong.
Friday, May 24, 2002
How to Fill the Emptiness
Philip Murphy writes about the plans to rebuild on the WTC site:
What is needed is a building that commemorates the site unflinchingly. A proud muscular building that rises defiantly from the ashes and embraces the future while it pays respect to its legacy. In other words . . . a New York building like they used to make.
I agree wholeheartedly. Against the loss of human life the loss of mere property, no matter how huge, is petty. And yet I can't help feeling the loss of the Towers themselves as a personal loss. Maybe because of all they represent, the whole American way of life. I live far from New York so part of me feels that I have no right to put my two cents worth in on the matter. But I have been anxious about what will be built on the site. I know that many believe that nothing should be built there but a memorial and I can sort of understand that. How could people go about business as usual on the exact place where so many people died? But I believe that to build only a memorial would be wallowing in victimhood. It would be defeatist and un-American. I would like to see a building that rises proudly and defiantly above the Manhatten skyline, perhaps not as tall as the Twin Towers - or perhaps even taller. Whatever is built there, it should be something special and truly beautiful - the most glorious architectural creation ever built in America.
From an article by Robert Fulford in the National Post:
As Schwarz writes in the catalogue, Dali was "an ephemeral, marginal presence" in the movement, and his success created a false public image. In truth, he was the worst calamity that ever befell surrealism.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised at this statement even though I've always sort of liked Dali. The artists who are the most well-known amoung the general public are rarely the best. As I've started to explore other surrealists I'm finding this to be true. I'm certainly no art expert. I'm still new at this but it seems to me that Margritte and Tanguy (for example) both have much more interesting things to say.
Art and Science, Sometimes Inseperable
As the science writer Philip Ball makes clear in his new book Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, without a knowledge of the history, composition, and cultural conventions of painterly color, much can elude even the most observant and otherwise well-informed art critic. Inseparable from the story of art, he argues, is the story of the development of artistic color.
Interesting article. Read it all here.
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.
The internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it.
A Thought on Spam
Attention all geeks: (my heros!) Could someone please invent a "return to sender" feature for email? I want it to be undefeatable. It has to work even if the person who sent the mail hides his real address or blocks incoming mail. Do you see how this might be useful? Imagine a spammer sending out an email to 5000 people and getting it sent back to him by most of the recipients. :-)
Everyone has a dream.
I see another article about the “blogging revolution” almost every day, but whenever I emerge from cyberspace to take a look at what’s going on in real-space I find that nobody out there has even heard of blogging. Even online it seems that the only people who know about blogs are bloggers and jornalists. Most of the people I know from online discussion forums have either never heard of weblogs or don’t understand how a weblog is different from any other website.
Maybe the reason only bloggers know about blogs is that as soon as people learn about blogs they have to start one of their own. I know that’s what happened to me. I read an article about weblogs, that had a link to Blogger.com and I just couldn’t wait to start my own. When I first got started I didn’t even realize that there was a “blogging community.” I started it because I thought it would be a good way to practice writing, and to occasionally rant about the world’s stupidity or publish any outrageous idea that happens to pop into my head.
Fortunately I caught on to the community aspect of blogging almost right away. Lately I’ve seen a lot of criticism of bloggers who don’t link. I’m not sure I agree with all of it. Isn’t having your own webpage all about the freedom to do your own thing? Still, it has always seemed to me that “community” is an important aspect of the Web. The day I got the most visits so far (30) was two days after I added the list of links on the left side of the screen. I guess the big guys like Andrew Sullivan who get hundreds, or even thousands, of hits a day don’t need to be a part of the community. To me they seem the same as the big talking heads in the physical world – too far above us all to actually be a part of us.
I have to admit that I have fantasies of greatness. Yes I want to be one of the big guys. I want hundreds of visits a day. I want to get email….even hate mail. But I know I’m far from having what it takes. About half my hits come from Google searches – mostly people who didn’t find what they were looking for and so never came back. I think most bloggers are just like me and that the “blogging revolution” isn’t about creating new media superstars. It’s about giving everyone a voice even if only five or six people “hear” that voice. It’s about sharing and interaction. This weekend I will, as usual on Memorial Day, go to a family cookout. That’s what the online community is – one great big picnic, where everyone talks to just a few other people at a time. Which is a lot more interesting than having only a few people talking while everyone else just listens.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Wow. Somebody tell the National Enquirer
Here is more proof that some people have way too much time on their hands.
Useful New Word
I don't know if Philip Murphy is actually the one who invented the word ignorati but I'm happy to give him credit since I saw it there first. I like it. You can insult people and at the same time make it sound like they are members of some kind of exclusive club. "Sorry, you're just not Ignorati material. You know too much and...um...sorry, I don't mean to be insulting but sometimes you almost seem to be thinking for yourself. Such tendencies are clearly against the guiding principles of the Ignorati."
Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
-- Paul Tillich
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Most of the blogs on Blogspot.com have been down all day. Mac suggests re-publishing. I have doubts about this working but here goes.
By the way, this got me to thinking about how much greater a tragedy it seems to be when computers go down than when other things we depend on quit, such as electricity or the car or the TV. If the car quits, big fat hairy deal; I can stay home and surf. The TV goes quits; yeah! Who needs it anyway? If there's a power failure that does cut me off from the Internet but I at least have the comfort of knowing that all those wonderful websites are still waiting for me when it comes back on. But when a website goes down it's a cause for major concern. Classical Insites became the victim of a corporate merger three (or is it four) years ago and I'm still boycotting CDNow in protest against their failure to save the message boards like they promised to. (Yes, they did promise. I think I still have the email) Now whenever one of my favorite sites is down I (a confirmed agnostic) suddenly get religion and start praying "Oh please God let it be only temporary!"
It's the same with networks. I used to work at a place with a LAN. Whenever there was a power failure we celebrated. 'Cool! We get to take a break from work and sit in the dark and do nothing.' But let the network go down and it was 'OH MY GOD! THE NETWORK'S DOWN! Do something, quick! How long will it take to get it back up? Oh hurry, hurry! We have to get the network back up NOW!' and so on.
Well, anyway....here's hoping this works.
Monday, May 20, 2002
Another art blog! Modern Art Notes. This is only the second one I've found. The other is Reflections (formerly Art Notes) I'll be keeping an eye on MAN and will probably add it to my list. I just took a quick look but so far I like it.
I finished reading The Burning City by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. I highly recommend it to everyone, even those who don't usually get excited about sci-fi and fantasy. The characters are fairly well-developed and believable. The story is unique and interesting but easy to follow and the social commentary is not heavy-handed.
Now my problem is which book to start next.
Back to the Beginning
A short history of medicine. "I have earache..." 2000BC: Here, eat this root. 1000AD: That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer. 1850AD: Prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion. 1940AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill. 1985AD: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic. 2000AD: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.
And speaking of the X-Files...
Does anyone else out there wish that Fox would give agents Doggett and Reas their own show? I don't mean an X-Files clone. I'd like to see them investigating "normal" cases of domestic terrorism and postal fraud and what-have-you, with one or two paranormal cases thrown in every year so they can whine about how the X-Files will follow them around for the rest of their careers. But most of all, NO more boring, tiresome government conspiracy crap.
Sunday, May 19, 2002
Well, now that all those loose ends are tied up...
I just finished watching the X-Files series finale a few minutes ago. No surprises - just a "trial" as an excuse to re-hash the whole alien/government conspiracy story line and "explain" what has really been going on. The best part was the mildly amusing reappearance near the end of the Cigarette Smoking Man. Amusing because he had to smoke his cigarette through a hole in his throat and yet was somehow able to talk normally!
After Mulder was visited by the ghosts of the Lone Gunmen (a little while before the CSM showed up) I half jokingly suggested to those watching with me that at the end it would be revealed that Mulder had actually spent the past nine years in a padded cell. Dr. Dana Scully would have been his psychiatrist and all the other characters, as well as everything that happened during the entire nine seasons, merely figments of his imagination.
Of course I would have been seriously pissed off if the series had ended like that but it would hardly have been any more of a rip off than the actual ending. So, now I'm left wondering two things: 1) When will the next X-Files movie come out? and 2) How many movies will there be before we get to the "Alien Invasion: 12/22/12"?
Welcome to My List
I just added Long-Haired Country Boy to my list of weblogs. This morning he had this to say:
All of the usual suspects in DC pointing fingers and trying to make political hay out of this---all of them are guilty of not "preventing" 9/11 to one degree or another, and as such, they should all admit their culpability, shuts their yaps, and get flipping serious about protecting this nation.
AMEN! And there's a lot more where that came from.
Cutting Wagner Down to Size
HOW big does Wagner have to be in order to be great? The question is posed by the Eos Orchestra, which presents "The Rhinegold" on Thursday and Saturday at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Conducting the imposing prologue to the "Ring" cycle, in an English-language production staged by Christopher Alden, Jonathan Sheffer will have before him not the original immense forces but just 18 or so players, performing an arrangement of the score by the British composer Jonathan Dove. Here, for once, is chamber Wagner.
I want to comment on this, but I am too stunned to say anything.
Colorful Ancient Greece
I have read before that the ancient Greeks painted their statues and buildings, but I've never been able to get out of my head the images of an ancient Greece filled with clean white marble. This helps just a little. Archeologists have discovered a marble sarcophagus with much of the original paint still intact. There are a couple of pictures with the article.
Saturday, May 18, 2002
Goodbye, Anne Robinson
So Anne Robinson, host of the NBC gameshow The Weakest Link, thinks Americans are dumb. What a brilliant observation! At times I tend to agree. But we're talking about a freakin' game show! Did it never occur to the intellectually superior Ms. Robinson that they probably chose dumb people for the show on purpose because we love to hear her deliver those scathing insults in that cute British accent? Not to mention the fact that even the most intelligent people can freeze under pressure. Is she really judging all Americans based on the handful of nervous bubbleheads who got picked for her show? How much intelligence does that take?
If I had been unlucky enough to appear on The Weakest Link Her Braininess would have really thought I was dumb! I at least know how many minutes are in a half-hour but I haven't a clue when it comes to all the lame pop culture questions about movies I've never seen, best-sellers I've never read, and pop bands I've never heard of, that made up the bulk of the questions asked on the show.
As further evidence that Americans are dumb Anne offers the fact that only five percent of Americans have passports. Well, why would most of us need passports? I can drive from one coast to the other with no document other than a driver's license, and those nice folks up in Canada are pretty agreeable about letting us in and out of their country whenever we want to visit. Tell me, Anne, what percent of Europeans have been to America? I can imagine what the reaction would be if I suggested that any European who had not visited America is a dummy.
I sort of got a kick out of watching Anne viciously attack contestants on The Weakest Link. That is what the show was all about, not a display of intelligence. When I want to watch an intelligent game show I'll watch Jeopardy, or even Wheel of Fortune. You know....I wonder how Anne would do as a contestant on Jeopardy.
Music for Saturday Morning
Lately I have been wallowing in requiems and Stabat Maters, but Saturday morning seems to demand something light and cheerful. A perfect time for Josef Myslivecek. What? You've never heard of Myslivecek? Oh you poor deprived soul! I have been listening to his Violin Concerti. (Vol. 2 on the Supraphon label) Myslivecek's music sounds like what Vivaldi might have written if he had lived in the Classical era. According to the liner notes for the recording I'm listening to, these violin concerti were only rediscovered in the 1980's. These delightful works deserve a much bigger audience.
By the way, Musica Bona, based in Prague, is one of my favorite online stores. They have a unique selection, good prices and great service. Credit card orders from the United States take about a week and half to two weeks for delivery. (No I don't get anything out of this plug. I just wanted to let you know about another source for great music)
Thursday, May 16, 2002
What will it take?
I've read it so many places today I don't know which link to post. What really bothers me is this:
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have received information suggesting terrorists are planning an attack July 4 on a nuclear power plant, but they do not consider the threat credible enough to warrant a new alert, authorities said yesterday.
I suppose that the people who received information suggesting terrorists were planning the attack on the WTC believed it was "not credible enough" to try and do something about it. Okay, I can forgive them for that. How could any sane person conceive of such a horrible act? I can understand how someone might let themselves believe that it "couldn't really happen." But that was before September 11. Aren't things different now? What ever happened to "sadder but wiser"?
From the Boston Herald:
Markey warned the government to move quickly to safeguard the nation's nuclear plants. National Guard units should be deployed immediately at nuke plants, the congressman wrote in a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Markey said the 10-mile no-fly zone around the plants, used briefly after the Sept. 11 attacks, should be restored. Markey also wants the federal government to take over security at the plants.
Well doesn't that sound like a good idea? Why the hell isn't there a permanent no-fly zone around nuclear power plants? Look boys and girls, the world isn't safe. There are some really nasty people living in it and some of them may be closer than we thought. What will it take before some people finally get that fact through their heads?
"Is this level of angst normal among teen-aged girls? …There's evidently a lot of pain there, but I can't tell if it's normal or abnormal, self-inflicted ot other-inflicted.
When I come across these teenage diaries I usually leave as quickly as I can, but this does seem fairly typical. Compared to many the level of pain doesn’t seem especially high. Teenagers are dealing with a lot of things for the first time and things that adults know are trivial seem very very important to teenagers. I don’t think adults are emotionally all that different from teenagers; the difference is that we are concerned about different things. And most of us eventually grow up and realize that no one wants to hear or read about our feelings.
It’s sort of funny… if these teenagers who keep online diaries had an old-fashioned diary in a book and someone read it they would go ballistic, and yet they have no problem publishing their innermost thoughts on the Web for the whole world to see. But in a way, I can sort of understand. Sometimes you just want to talk to someone who understands your feelings and it’s easier to open up to people online.
I don’t think I was a typical teenager. I know, everybody wants to think they are different, but I've never fit in. For most of my life I’ve felt that the people of my generation are mostly shallow and petty. That's probably a wrong impression. Since I tend to talk about trivia most of the time just like everyone else I probably seem pretty shallow in person too.
I have always preferred being around people a generation older than me. Interestingly, since I started talking to people online the people I enjoy talking to the most are all young men in their late teens and early 20s. I’m not sure why that is, just the individuals themselves I think. Sadly, partly due to the break-up of my favorite online community, I have drifted away from or lost track of several online friends who meant the most to me. Sometimes I do feel like pouring out my emotions on this page or on some message board where I don’t know anyone very well but then I think how juvenile and self-indulgent it would seem and just tell myself “Grow up!”
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
The Wobbly Line Between Tacky and Tasteful
In the first weeks after September 11 one of the most hurtful things I encountered were the disparaging comments denouncing “flag waving.” I can’t explain it to anyone who doesn’t already understand but just seeing the American Flag makes me feel better. I love to see it flying from flag-poles nearly everywhere I go and wearing it and seeing other people wear it on shirts and lapels gives me a sense of sharing.
And yet, some displays of the Flag do seem disrespectful. I’m not particularly bothered by the use of the Flag or the American colors in advertising, a practice that did not just suddenly begin as a response to the surge of patriotism after the Attack on America. Chevrolet has been proclaiming that they are the “heartbeat of America” for years, and red, white and blue have always been popular colors in a lot of advertising. However, the sign I saw last fall in the window of a local Sonic advertising their “Tuesday Special” in large red, white and blue lettering was sickening. Perhaps it was only coincidence that they decided that Tuesday was a good day to have a special, but the paint was too obviously fresh. I have several patriotic t-shirts, but I’m sometimes bothered by uses of the Flag that seem merely decorative, such as the bath towels that I saw at Wal-mart recently.
I have been terribly domestic today. I’m sewing kitchen curtains. We had to do emergency repairs on the kitchen floor this past weekend. In addition to the new vinyl flooring we bought new countertops. Both are blue – the countertop a mottled medium-light blue and the floor more of a blue-gray. Before everything was some shade of brown and I was getting tired of it. Of course I had to have colorful new curtains too. The fabric I chose is a patriotic print. (You thought I was wandering off track didn’t you?) I experienced only a moment’s hesitation as I wondered if I might be violating my principles of not using the flag for strictly decorative purposes? The fabric has a lot of red, white and blue but it also has equal amounts of brown, tan, green and lighter blue in American scenic pictures and little maps of American places. The only actual flags on it are very small, though there are a lot of stars and stripes in heart shapes and there’s red, white and blue lettering. The description of it probably sounds pretty tacky but it doesn’t seem that way to me. Before September 11 I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but nowdays I often stop to consider such things.
Peace and Reverence
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
The Glass Half Full?
Monday, May 13, 2002
Cheers to Lileks' Screed
Found While Browsing
Does anything ever really change?
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Birthday of African-American Composer
Friday, May 10, 2002
Bitten By the Multiple Recordings Bug
Thursday, May 09, 2002
Brand New Blog
One Vote FOR the New EU Flag
Wednesday, May 08, 2002
History and the Future
Community and Family
Thanks to John Fodge for the email cluing me in on one of Sitemeter's little quirks. It now appears that the 14-17 visitors per day that I mentioned previously actually are real readers. Thank you all for reading.
And speaking of "quality" entertainment, Southern style, check this out. It takes a couple of minutes to load so be patient. Hmmm....I've got a feeling I know these two guys.
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Wrestlers Taken Down by Tree Huggers
Classical Music, Sci-fi and Ducks
Monday, May 06, 2002
Colors and Music
Maybe I didn't really want to know
The Reason Why I Didn't Blog This Weekend (as if anyone cared)
Sunday, May 05, 2002
Only those who know the supremacy of the intellectual life -
the life which has a seed of ennobling thought and purpose within it-
can understand the grief of one who falls from that serene activity
into the absorbing, soul-wasting struggle with worldly annoyances.
~George Eliot (1819-1880)
Thursday, May 02, 2002
Interested in becoming a philosopher? Click here.
A Simple Miracle
Wednesday, May 01, 2002
I wish I could be at the upcoming Royal Philharmonic Society dinner to hear Sir Thomas Allen's planned speech attacking the dumbing down and sexing up of classical music. Just reading the article made me want to cheer.
In this month's Smithsonian Magazine