Lynn's Old Blog
ex Poet & Peasant, ex Lynn Unleashed, Now just the old blog where I run to in dire emergencies.
THE NEW BLOG
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
From The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien:
"I wish it need not have happened in my lifetime," said Frodo.
Time for a Bit of Frivolity
I wasn't going to get involved in the Sexism in the Blogoshpere debate but I decided it might be a good chance for me to lighten up a bit. (not much, just a little bit) As far as I am aware, Dawn started it, N.Z. Bear responded (and again, and again) and several others have chimed in. Meryl has a round up of the participants so far.
Well, if using the word "frivolity" in the title didn't get anyone pissed off at me the rest of this post surely will. I think the whole thing is silly. Bloggers, big or small, male or female, link to other blogs that they are interested in. Why not? If few of them are women then apparently women aren't writing stuff most bloggers are interested in. Most of the blogs I link to are by men. Most of the bloggers who link to me are men also. It seems to me that to say linking is based on sex is sexist in itself.
I'll be honest, (prepare to be pissed off some more) most women bore the crap out of me. In ordinary face to face conversation men are almost always better conversationalists. Women hardly ever talk about anything; they just babble, jumping from one topic to another without ever really discussing anything. On message boards, amoung the regular participants it is usually the women who derail serious discussions with bickering and unrelated trivia. In the blogoshpere there are many very nice blogs by women but most of them are either primarily personal diaries or, like mine, about a variety of topics with little or no consistency. It is understandable that we get fewer links than more serious bloggers.
My heroine amoung female bloggers is Andrea Harris and frankly she writes more like a man than most female bloggers. She's consistent, she writes well and she has a distinctive style. She can write a good rant without coming off sounding simply bitchy.
That's not to say that we should change. Blogging is about doing your own thing. The big guys are all warbloggers. When there are non-warbloggers - bloggers who write about families, kids, lovers, home life, pet peeves and just general stuff - who get as many hits as Andrew Sullivan then the warbloggers won't be getting all the links. I know it's a catch-22 situation - how can you get as many hits as Andrew Sullivan if no one will link to you? Well, don't ask me...I'm just a woman and I only get 80-90 hits on a good day.
More on "Getting Over It"
Joie has some more words for people who think we should all just shut up about September 11. (No permalink. See Monday, Sept. 9)
Update (9/10 12:31pm): N.Z. Bear has not been involved in this little tiff but this post of his says it best. Bravos to the Bear!
Getting Over It
Last night I was disturbed and angry at a couple of insensitive bloggers and was planning to get up this morning and do some serious orifice ripping but you know what....screw 'em. I'm not alone.
It's not so much that I think a year is too soon to be "over it." Everyone's different, right? What really bothers me is the unsympathetic attitude of a few people - the attitude that because they are over it everyone else should be too, or at least should act like they are, and the attitude that public expressions of emotion are somehow undignified. If you're over it good for you but don't act like that makes you superior, or that holding it in is more dignified.
And don't hand me that bullsh** about showing too much emotion sending a message to the terrorists that they have won. That line has been used way way too much, so much that you might as well just say what you really mean: if you don't agree with me the terrorists have won. Additionally, don't tell me that I don't get it. That has got to be the lamest argument ever invented. You think if people disagree with you it has to mean that they don't get it? How arrorgant! Why can't you just accept that it's possible for someone to understand you perfectly and still disagree with you.?
So what about me? How am I doing? In one sense, I have been "over it" for months. At least I'm living my life and not letting September 11 control everything I do, every decision I make. But it's always there, like a shadow over everything, and when I read certain things some of the rage re-surfaces, so of course, since everyone has been writing about it and talking about it more lately it has been surfacing more often. I wonder if maybe that is the real problem the "get over it" group has with the commemoration. Maybe they're not really as over it as they would like to be. They want to be cool about it but all these nasty emotions keep getting in the way.
Well now, perhaps I should change that first line. Would you call that "orifice ripping?" Nah...I could have done much better if I had written this last night when I was really steamed. Anyway, like I said...screw 'em.
Monday, September 09, 2002
I found Freedom Lives via N.Z. Bear's comments. The first post I saw there is on a topic that has been on my mind some lately: plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center. The image, captioned Don't Rebuild, Reimagine like most of the proposals I've seen, except for the 6 universally rejected official proposals, is just another variation on the Twin Towers.
Perhaps surprisingly, I find the subject of rebuilding both depressing and worrisome. I do not want to form an image in my mind of what I think the rebuilt site should look like because I know if I do I will end up being disappointed. But there are several points that I do think are important. 1) A significant part of the site should be reserved for a memorial, but not the entire site. 2)The greater portion of the rebuilt site should be a celebration of life, a place that people will want to come to for its own sake. 3)The building or buildings should should stand proudly above the Manhattan skyline and should be architecturally magnificent in their own right, not an attempt to copy the Twin Towers but to create a new and unique work of art.
Whatever is finally built I am anxious for the decision to be made. I am prepared to be disappointed but I dread years of controversy over the site. No matter what is built a lot of people are going to be dissatisfied. Some people want nothing but a memorial and others want to rebuild the Twin Towers. I doubt that either way would be emotionally healthy. The first is morbid and the second seems like a form of denial.
I am not an architect and I don't have any clear ideas of what might be appropriate but I will say that I am exceedingly tired of every new public building being nothing but another variation on the glass box - square boxes, rectangular boxes, round boxes, pyramidal boxes, skewed boxes and twisted boxes - they're all still just boxes. How about some architectual detail for a change. In my opinion, the most attractive building in New York is the Chrysler building. No I'm not proposing that it be copied but are there no architects alive who have any imagination for detail? There is a void in downtown Manhattan. Let's fill it with something truly beautiful.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
Mozart Requiem Length
I've noticed several Google searches in my Sitemeter stats lately looking for +Mozart+Requiem+length. Searches like this are most welcome, and I'm happy to provide the information in case anyone else finds their way here looking for the same thing. The recording I have by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is just over 50 minutes long.
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
I almost forgot this. Today is the birth anniversary of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. Of all the great composers Dvorak is widely known as the most "down-to-earth." Unlike many composers who are known for bad temper, insanity, infidelity and a variety of unsavory personal characteristics, Dvorak was a devoted family man and an all around pleasant individual.
Dvorak is a special favorite of mine. Like most people who discover Dvorak, I first got hooked on his 9th Symphony, From the New World and his String Quartet No. 12, commonly known as The American String Quartet. He composed these and several more works while he was artistic director at the National Conservatory in New York and during summers spent summers in a Czech community in Spillville Iowa in the early 1890's.
Of his nine symphonies my favorites are the 9th, 8th and the 6th. I'm fond of his Slavonic Dances, especially No. 6 and No. 7, in both the orchestrated version and the original, and rarely heard, four-hand piano version. The last two piano trios, several of the later String Quartets, the quintets and the Serenade for Strings are all on my favorites list.
My overall favorites of all Dvorak's music are his Stabat Mater and his Requiem. The Stabat Mater is the longest of the several hundred known settings of the Stabat Mater at about 80 - 90 minutes depending on the recording. Dvorak lost two young children while he was composing his Stabat Mater, a fact which may account for the very emotional nature of the composition. Dvorak's Requiem, even longer than the Stabat Mater, is less wildly emotional, more somber and reverent.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
Really Weird Search Strings
I was planning to start taking weekends off from blogging but this is just too good to wait until Monday. If there is a prize for the most bizzarre search this one has got to be a winner. Not one of mine. I get a few sickos but nothing this interesting.
Friday, September 06, 2002
Letter to the Editor
This (warning: serious profanity) is why I could never never be a professional writer. I might want to be an editor though....yeah, I could do that.
And another thing...
I keep getting this pop up asking me for a username and password. So far, other than having to close it, it hasn't interfered with anything I'm trying to do but what's the deal? Who is ice9.blogger.com and why would I want to go there? Actually I can think of one reason. I'm thinking that perhaps ice9, whoever he, she or it might be, is in need of an additional bodily orifice.
A Breakdown in Communications
There are a couple of blogs that are having trouble with their comments, just when I really wanted to say something. In each I typed out a couple of paragraphs, clicked the Post button and everything I had typed just disappeared. Okay it happens. But, to add to my frustration, Yahoo mail is having some seriously weird problems and will not let me login. I shouldn't worry since no one ever sends me email anyway but in the unlikely event that you email me this weekend, I might not see it for a while.
Blogs with a Difference
I just found Web of Silence in Blogger's Most Recently Updated list. The main topic seems to be autism but there is more there also - interesting facts and commentary on various topics, even a joke or two.
I stumbled across Medical Rants somewhere earlier this week. I sent the link to a doctor friend of mine and was planning to just forget about it but I went back a couple of times and it's turning out to be more interesting than I expected. Very readable, not just for other physicians. The good doctor has a list of several other medical blogs as well as other health links.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, the world is slowly learning how the Saudi princes have pulled off their grafting of a high-tech cultivar onto medieval roots. It has been accomplished through bribes to clerics, cash to terrorists, welfare to the commons, and largesse to prominent Americans: money in some form to any and all who find the House of Saud either too modern or too backward. Such inducements have been indispensable because the vast wealth that Western petroleum companies developed for the royal family, plus the tourist treasures of Mecca and Medina, brought neither a stable economy nor general prosperity. The kingdom’s accidental boon was not invested broadly in viable industries, secular education, or political reform, but instead lavished on ill-conceived projects and a royal elite who consumed too much of it on luxury cars, houses, clothes, jewels, gambling, and trips abroad—sins against both Islam and Western laws of economic development.
Article by Victor Davis Hanson in Commentary Magazine.
You can't avoid it
Kathy Kinsley has been posting some questions and answers from Islamist sites. Two about music, here and here, are waking up the little devil in me. First off, I think someone should tell these guys about John Cage. Up until now I have never been willing to believe that Cage's 4'33" is actually music, but I've been considering that maybe I should be a little more open minded about it. After all, how can you convince someone of something that you don't believe yourself? And, after reading the two quoted questions and answers linked above, I think that we should make an all out effort to convince the Islamist wackos that silence is music. In fact anything can be music, right?
Aside from whatever fun we might be able to have with weird avante garde compositions, this offers all sorts of entertaining possiblities. Why not fit American tanks with speakers and invade all the Islamist countries with the speakers blasting out a wide variety of American music at top volume - all those catchy tunes that you absolutely cannot keep out of your head no matter how hard you try. Or maybe we could mail "music bombs" - packages containing devices that start playing music as soon as the package is opened.
Okay, I told you before that I fantasize a lot. But doesn't this one sound like fun?
From EdDriscoll.com No comment necessary.
Blogs have a strange way of evolving, of defining themselves. Or am I just trying to abdicate responsibility for my own failure to stay focused? At one point I had decided that I was going to concentrate mainly on artsy stuff, although I don't really know any more about that than anything else. But the world is just so darn interesting right now...and scary and infuriating. There is so much to rant about. I don't expect to change drastically but I would like to make an effort to say something about art and music a little more often.
In the days when I was hooked on message boards I got to know a gentleman a bit younger than myself who was both fascinating and irritating. He was intelligent and sensitive, and constantly depressed about the state of the world, music, art and just about anything else you could name. There were a number of discussions about art in which the gloomy fellow lamented the awful decline in the quality of art in the past century and insisted that a set of "aesthetic criteria" should be applied to art. He was a most irritating person to have a discussion with, neatly evading every question put to him, but with much repetition, nagging, and sneaky manipulation some of us were finally able to come to the conclusion that our modern art critic believed that the only "good" paintings were those with a near photographic realism. I was shocked to find that he included even the lovely paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe amoung "bad modern art." There's just no hope for a guy like that.
I like a variety of different styles of painting, but the less "realistic" paintings have always been much more interesting to me. I enjoy contemplating the relationships of colors and forms. Meaning? A minor consideration for me. I don't put much thought into trying to figure out what art means. I guess I'm more interested in pure aesthetics. That's not to say that I don't think about meaning at all. It's not unimportant, just less important.
For those who are interested in such things, here are four paintings by Leonora Carrington. The first two are weird, dark and creepy. The second two are strangely beautiful, soft and ethereal. Take a break. Take time to contemplate them. A mere glance is not enough. Art shouldn't be rushed.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Two Great Links...
...stolen from Just Some Poor Schmuck.
Europeans bashing Europeans
Just Surfin' the Day Away
I don't even know what this is. Does it have anything to do with the violinist? (Midori) The interesting thing about this quiz is that some of the questions are really bizarre! I still don't understand #7.
* * * * *
Just found this Web ring a while ago. Think I should join?
Where did the time go?
I have spent a large chunk of the morning at Indepundit after following link at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller so I guess I'll add it to my list. Especially interesting is this about Saudia Arabia and the exchange of letters with the Saudi Embassy posted in the comments.
From Right Wing News:
This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century -- Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976
Interesting. Looks like that "global cooling" thing didn't pan out.
Found While Surfing
I like this bit from The Magnificent Melting Object:
So many people I know, particularly of the 'hippy' persuasion, draw a strong dichotomy between natural and artificial. I have a hard time with this. I think, by natural, they usually mean healthy, or harmonious with the Earth's eco-system or some-such, and by artificial they usually mean human or by-product of human endeavor. My argument is simple: humans are animals (weird ones, but hey) so we're a product of nature, then so must our utensils and structures also be. Here's my pull-quote: if a honeycomb is natural, if a beaver dam is natural, then isn't a skyscraper?
I've said stuff like that before and people always look at me real funny. (That's a good thing. If too many people start acting like I'm normal I'll be worried about myself)
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
The Big Whine
There's a Liberal whine-fest going on in Demosthenes' comments. It seems that everyone is "lying" about the poor, innocent, noble patriotic NEA. I posted the following:
The "Left" is becoming increasingly ridiculous. They refuse to face the reality that much of their ideology is mere fantasy. Having no legitimate defense they just whine and cry - "they're lying about us" - "they're trying to shut us up" - "there's no more freedom of speech" - wah wah wah...boo hoo hoo!
In spite of my post the discussion is still unbalanced and is listing dangerously to port.
Europeans Are Insane
Or at least their governments are apparently insane. Greece has passed a law banning all electronic games, and computer games including online chess and cell phones with built in games. The gaming community is protesting the ban.
Via Ye Olde Phart.
A Quiz You Must Take
The Political Compass. Unfortunately there's no code to copy and paste to show you how I did. My numerical score is Economic Left/Right: -3.50, Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.13. On the chart I'm 4 little squares to the left of the center vertical line and 3 squares below the center horizontal line. You'll have to take the quiz to see what that means. I'm a little surprised that I'm not farther toward the bottom of the chart but I still think it's fairly accurate. Some of the questions were hard for me to answer and could have gone either way.
Science as Art
Bioart is a controversial art form that incorporates science. The artists are usually scientists and their works include images of viruses and photographs of glowing bunnies and mice amoung other creepy creations. The article includes several pictures.
Once again, telling it like it is.
Andrea is in excellent form today.
Want to know what I'm tired of? I'm tired of the America Sux thread that keeps coming up in progressive commentary. Much of it is made by people living right in the heart of Evil Amerikkka, parasitically living off the safeguards we have here for freedom of speech and the press while reviling the bulk of their neighbors as crass, jingoistic, racist, fat, McDonald-eating, Little Children™-hating, fascist, polluting, materialistic -- whatever comes out of the Standard Handbook for Dissing the Bourgeoisie. Some more is written by mandarins of the elites of countries close to us in culture and lifestyle and (on the surface anyway) politics. None of these tirades were written in blood on discarded scraps of indie-newspapers, passed carefully from hand to hand by the secret Freedom Underground Press; they were most likely typed out on a computer. Computers are not hand-carved from recycled oak after having the Sacred Earth Chant said over them either. They were invented here, in Evil Fascist Amerikkka.
And that's only the beginning. It gets better. Go read it; it'll make your day.
Mac Thomason has a brief comment on downtown revitalization, saying that it rarely works.
Tulsa has been talking about downtown revitalization quite a bit in recent months. There is one thing I have noticed missing from all the discussions - the same thing that they always avoid talking about anywhere the subject of "downtown revitalization" comes up - parking. Sometimes revitalization schemes include addtional parking but it's never enough, and it's never free. Yes yes, I know it costs money and that money has to come from somewhere. Simply knowing that fact isn't going to change anyone's habits.
Listen all you brilliant city planners out there: There is more than one reason that people prefer to go to the mall rather than downtown, but the big one is that you can go to the mall and park for free. Malls are a nice place to just walk around and hang out whether you want to buy anything or not. Sometimes you go to the mall with no intention of buying anything and end up spending half your paycheck.
Downtown could be made a nice place to walk around and just hang out and if people did so they might end up spending a lot of money there, which is what downtown revitalizers are interested in. But look people - get this through your thick heads - nobody is going to go downtown just to walk around and hang out for a while if they have to pay several dollars for parking. If they can even find a parking space within half a mile of downtown. Until cities are willing to face this fact and come up with a parking solution that is acceptable to all parties involved they might as well stop wasting money on "downtown revitalization."
From the Recently Updated List
Maybe I should stop reading that list while my list is still somewhat manageable. Is there no end to the great blogs out there? Take a look at Reflections - some notes on sci-fi and fantasy, a series on The Writing Process, a few personal notes. Very well written.
How Dumb Are We?
According to this Andante article two-thirds of British children ages 6 - 14 cannot name a classical composer.
Almost two-thirds of young children cannot name a classical composer while some cite Elvis Presley, Shakespeare and Michael Jackson as one, according to a survey out yesterday. ...
Two things came to my mind when I read this. First, what would an identical survey of American children reveal, and second what would an identical survey of adults show? I suspect that either way there wouldn't be much difference. I also suspect that the dismal results are due mainly to a misunderstanding of the question or of the meaning of the word "classical."
"Classical" is frequently confused with the grossly over-used word "classic." Many people that I have talked to think both words simply mean "old" or "high quality," the latter being defined as "what I personally like best." That would explain Britney Spears being identified as a classical performer.
However, if we blame the survey results on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word classical, that, in my opinion, is even worse. There should be more music and arts education in schools. I believe that it is immensely important. But schools should also be teaching kids proper language skills, including how to recognize when marketers are mis-using the language in order to sell a product.
Thanks to John Braue for helping me get the ad back, although I still don't understand why it was missing in the first place.
Added to the List
Here is an unexpected site - Christians for Cannabis. I have added it to my list under "Political."
Monday, September 02, 2002
I just had to take another lame quiz
This is so not me.
Well, okay...maybe in some ways it is me - the "mysterious" part for example - but do I have to dress like that?
Via Twilight's Ember, which I just happened to see and click on in Blogger's recently updated list.
By the way... if anyone has any idea how to get back the banner ad at the top please help. No I don't like the ad but it's supposed to be there and I'm getting really worried about it.
Sometimes it seems like blogging is taking over my life, but any time I take a day or two off it's always hard to get back into it. Weekends I just do a little quick hit and run blogging, then on Monday I sit down at the computer and start reading blogs and other websites trying to get inspired and think: "I'm really not into this right now."
The last few days I've been working on my re-design, mostly categorizing the blogroll, then about the time I had it finished Blogspot decided to have some kind of tantrum so I gave up for a while and relinquished the computer to other family members for a few hours. Well now I'm back. I've been catching up on other blogs but I don't feel inspired. So I'm just sitting here babbling about nothing. I guess I should call it "writer's block" to make it sound more legitimate.
I've also been stuck on my September 11 post, and time is running out. I was going to save all these template changes until after I had finished that but these ideas just kept nagging at me so I thought maybe if I get this out of the way I could get back to writing. I'm afraid of it being disjointed. I know what I want to say but how do I go smoothly from one thing to the next?
Oh well...my apologies for all this navel gazing. Back to "normal" tomorrow. (or maybe not) I still want to fix a few things on my template, and add a few more links. And I have a lot of reading to catch up on. That's important because reading always helps my writing. But I promise I'll do some real blogging tomorrow so don't go away.
Well, here it is - my new three column layout. Still needs some work, I see. For example, what happened to the banner ad at the top? Not that I care but I don't want to get in trouble for not having it there. Also, how to make the links in the posts the same size as the rest of the text without changing the size of the links in the menu.
No more major changes though. Just a little tweaking here and there and that's it. No more rearranging the furniture.
About my new blog categories
Firsts: A special place of honor for the blogs I've been reading the longest.
The next 3 categories all include blogs of various kinds divided according the typical post length. (although some bloggers may occasionally screw up my system with non-typical posts) :-)
Reciprocity: Blogs I link to mainly because they link to me. Some linked to me first. Others I linked to first but then never spent time getting to know them.
Disturbing Things Found at the Grocery Store
Maybe this is just a sign that I'm getting old but there's something about blue food that's just.... wrong. Blueberries are okay, of course, because those are natural. And I actually thought blue corn chips were sort of cool. They're not glaringly blue, just sort of a dull blue-black color, and that is natural too since the corn they're made from is actually that color. The bright artificially colored stuff though....eeuuwww. (Yeah I know, real eloquent there.) I think the first I saw was the blue cream soda that came out several years ago. Now there's Pepsi Blue, which I will probably get around to trying soon, but it still bothers me that it's blue. Food and drink should not be that color.
Lookin' Good, Sarge
If you haven't visited Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing in a while, go check it out. He's got a great new look - very neat, very appropriate.
Sunday, September 01, 2002
As we begin the month of September and swiftly approach a sad anniversary, it's a good time to post the lyrics to an old song about the way September used to be.
Try to remember the kind of September
I've been playing around with my top secret test blog, so be ready for some changes in a few days.
Saturday, August 31, 2002
Cats are people too.
Well, maybe not quite, but there's evidence that we might be closer than we thought.
But perhaps the most unexpected genome sweepstakes so far is the probe of the house cat. The impetus for the work is an underappreciated genetic similarity between people and cats. ... scientists have found that when it comes to the arrangement of genes on our chromosomes, we’re closer to cats than to any other animal group studied so far except primates.
This is cute. I had to pass it along.
One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on.
Friday, August 30, 2002
A few of today's search requests
see 9 years old kids nude pic for free (sick bastard)
I've been trying to decide whether to comment on a program I saw on OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Association) earlier this week. It was an hour of interviews with Israelis and Palestinians, supposedly to give us an insight into the minds of the two peoples. It was so heavily biased in favor of the Palestinians I nearly turned it off after the first fifteen minutes but I forced myself to watch the entire hour, partly in the hope that they might finally get around to telling both sides of the story. They never did. All of the Palestinians interviewed were intelligent, well-spoken, fairly reasonable people, while all of the Jews interviewed were either Palestinian sympathizers or rabid anti-Palestinian bigots.
I usually avoid mentioning the Jewish-Palestinian conflict because it seems like you have to be either 100% pro-Israel or 100% pro-Palestine and admitting the other side might actually have a point is not allowed. You must believe either a) the Palestinians are poor innocent victims of Israeli aggression and in such a desperate situation that anything they do is excusable, or at least understandable, or b) you must believe that the Jewish people, because of all they have sufferred in the past, are now and forevermore the perpetual victims and therefore can do no wrong and must never be criticised and anyone who doesn't agree is an anti-semite. We are not allowed to think that the leaders on both sides and those who support them are all a bunch of selfish, stubborn, anal retentive, "mine! mine! mine!...me! me! me!" childish brats who, more than anything just need to GROW UP.
In fact, there are few things that I would like more than to get Ariel Sharon and Yassar Arafat together on international TV and say exactly those words to them - You and your supporters are all a bunch of selfish, stubborn, anal retentive, "mine! mine! mine!...me! me! me!" childish brats who, more than anything just need to GROW UP! - and then I would bitch slap the two of them in front of a billion people. (Of course I would be wearing a burqa or some other of those ridiculous face covers since I do want to go on living after this) Then after I had got done with the slapping and everyone else who was so inclined had had a turn, I would have the two of them locked together in a small cell wearing nothing but boxer shorts (that's right, Yassar baby, no head rag) and I would have a big, burly, redneck type American go in with a leather strap and administer an old fashioned Southern form of discipline known as a whuppin' once about every three hours until they both agreed to play nice.
(Fantasies are good for one's mental health)
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Well Deserved Award
Greenpeace has been awarded the Bullshit Trophy.
Johannesburg - African and Asian farmers, and hawkers from across South Africa handed over a "Bullshit Trophy" (yes, that is the trophy's real name) to Greenpeace, the Third World Network and BioWatch for their contribution to the "preservation of poverty" in developing countries.
The Mindless Bureaucrat has announced that he is taking a long long break from blogging. His last day, Wednesday, the 28th, is well worth reading. He has left us with interesting war predictions and some reflections on blogging. Makes me really hope he's not gone too long.
I just spotted this: A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside. Not much yet but, judging by the title, it looks promising and I like the quote from the movie "Clueless." Makes a good point even if every other word is "like."
Alternative to NEA's Anti-Americanism
Fordham (not associated with the university) collected essays from 23 authors addressing the September 11 attack on the U.S. Rather than engaging in sentimentality or political correctness, this teacher's (and parent's — what parent isn't a teacher, too?) helper aims to begin to answer some real-life questions about "one of the defining events of our age, of our nation's history and of [children's] lives": "What happened? Why did it happen? How should we think about it? What are we doing about it? What should we do about it? How can we keep it from happening again?"
I hope teachers will use these suggestions instead of those from the NEA but I don't have a lot of hope. The NEA is a powerful monster. I'm going to make a daring suggestion and ask everyone to spread it around - quick! The NEA nonsense was funded by Johnson & Johnson. Boycott them! More important contact your local schools and insist that they ignore the NEA guidelines.
There is a good discussion of this in the comments at Little Green Footballs.
Just Shut Up and Do It Already
A.C. Douglas has posted an excellent screed on the alleged intention to invade Iraq, although I think he's being a little too kind to our esteemed leaders when he says "they can't really be stupid." Go read it.
Looking at my sitemeter stats this morning I found this page. Someone is translating my blog. That's cool. I wish I could do the same for some other pages but apparently there is software you have to buy. One of my very minor pet peeves is clicking on a blog link with an interesting title, in English and finding that the page is actually written in Farsi. What's up with that, huh? I think it's great that there are Farsi blogs but what's the purpose of having the title in English?
Neighbor to the North
Here's a nice blog from the Kansas Prairie.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
If music were food and drink...
Dvorak would be home made wheat bread, still warm from the oven.
Bach would be very fine tea, subtley flavored, delicately stimulating, not too sweet.
Beethoven would be a hearty meal with roast beef for the main course and a light dessert.
Haydn would be fresh strawberries with whipped topping.
Vivaldi would be a crisp green salad.
Mozart would be chocolate, not just a single kind of chocolate but all the finest chocolates: a light fluffy chocolate mousse, a warm comforting cup of creamy hot chocolate, a dish of rocky road ice cream, dark semi-sweet chocolate with its bitter edge, a rich devil's food cake, a box of the world's most expensive chocolate candies, sweet as the tenderest love, a sensual experience exquisite beyond words.
I just found Conservatives Suck in Blogger's Most Recently Updated List. Some titles you just have to click on. I haven't read much but he must be pretty controversial. Look at his Hot or Not graph. Everyone either loves it or hates it.
Lileks Does it Again
Who's more miserable - the Far Right or the Far Left? James Lileks answers the question in his usual entertaining fashion.
First spotted at the Redwood Dragon.
It's been a while since I last looked in on Mostly Music. (so many blogs, so little time) I was a little disturbed to find this:
One of the pleasures of getting out of the US for a while was being able to avoid thinking about the idiots who run this country taking us into a war against Iraq. How many more days or weeks until American bombs start being dropped on innocent civilians?
A while back I was all hot to go get Saddam and wishing they would quit waiting around and pandering to the Saudis and the Europeans and just go DO IT already! But more recently I've been less sure. It's not that I definitely think we shouldn't go to war with Iraq; it's just that I'm no longer as sure that we should. I'm certainly not a military strategist but I can't help but wonder if some kind of covert operation wouldn't be more effective. We know that as soon as the bombs start dropping that slimy bastard is going to hide. Even if we bomb Iraq until there's nothing left but a huge smoking hole in the ground what guarantee is there that we will get Saddam Hussein?
However, back to the quoted paragraph - it seriously disturbs and angers me to read stuff like that. Yes innocent civilians do get killed in war, but Americans do not deliberately drop bombs on "innocent civilians." I am extremely sick of hearing that particular whine. Last September almost 3000 innocent civilians were killed in New York and Washington DC without warning, and this was after a decade of peace and diplomacy. We should have gone to war after the first World Trade Center bombing, but we took the "high road" and handled things in the "civilized way." Isn't it nice how well they responded to our "doing the right thing"?
One thing I do agree with is that there are idiots in Washington. They are idiots for pussy-footing around, delaying, pandering to so-called "allies" who really aren't, and generally playing politics-as-usual. What happened to the moral clarity we experienced last fall? We've always known it couldn't last forever but we need to maintain a sense of purpose for a while longer. That doesn't mean everyone has to agree but, to be useful, objections need to go beyond the usual worn out cliches and "solutions" that don't apply to the present situation.
Now that I have vented and raked Tom over the coals for that one little paragraph, I have to say that Mostly Music is a very worthwhile site. It's actually unusual to see anything there about politics. In particular, there are a couple of interesting posts on language, one of my favorite topics in spite of the fact that I am, for all practical purposes, mono-lingual.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
More Good News About Caffeine
The research team, all members of the school's department of chemical biology, studied a special strain of hairless mice that had been exposed to ultraviolet B light twice weekly for 20 weeks. This put the mice at risk for tumor formation and skin cancer. After stopping the exposures, the researchers applied caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), two components of green tea, topically to the skin. Both caffeine and EGCG significantly inhibited cancer formation in the mice.
Whoa! Wait a minute! Hold the phone! You mean I have to put it on my skin? On the outside? Okay, that's not bad. At least it's not gross but I'd still prefer to just drink it.
And now for something different...
Weird stuff from Hot Buttered Death:
Also from Hot Buttered Death, something that's not weird, just sad...very sad.
Tunnelling to Oklahoma
Communism-crazed leaders in Red China have reportedly embarked on a bizarre new plan to invade America -- by digging a tunnel right through the center of the Earth!
Gregory then quips:
Bartlesville? Will they turn right around and head back?
Hey! Is that supposed to be funny? Have you ever been to Bartlesville?
Monday Questions, a Day Late
I didn't see these until this morning but they're good questions and I want to answer them.
1. What do you do to make things better when you feel sad and/or lonely?Sometimes I write about it - I think that helps the most - but usually I just sit around and feel sorry for myself for an hour or two and if I'm alone let go and have a good cry. Just giving in to it for a little while helps me get over it more quickly than if I suppress it
2. Are you a "touchy-feely" person? That is, do you like to touch people you don't know that well? And on the flipside of that, do you like being touched by someone you aren't close with?This will probably sound strange. I sort of wish I was but touching, or being touched by, anyone other than family usually makes me uncomfortable.
3. Do you like to have "me" time, time to yourself to be alone and relax? Or do you prefer to just do your own thing with someone else in the room? When was the last "me" time you got and what did you do? Yes, I'm very big on "me" time. Fortunately I have time to myself fairly often. It's the best time for listening to music because you can do so uninterrupted. Most people don't understand that need. People who would consider it rude to unnecessarily interrupt someone who is reading or watching TV think nothing of interrupting you when you're listening to music because they don't understand that you're really listening. They think it's just there for background noise.
4. Generally speaking, how do you feel about the concept of marriage? Are you the marrying type? Do you think the act of getting married means something today or is it simply just "a piece of paper?" Well, I've been married for 25 years so I hope I'm the marrying type.
5. That said, as many as 25 states have passed legislation regulating who they believe should be the "marrying type." What are your thoughts on the banning of same-sex marriages? I sort of have mixed feelings on this one, but basically what it comes down to is that no matter what my feelings I have no right to tell anyone else what to do with their life or what types of contracts they can and can't enter into.
6. If there was one law you had the ability to create or change, what would it be? I'm not sure if this is intended as a general question or related to marriage, but in general I think the purpose of laws should be to protect our rights not restrict them. I would repeal all "nanny" laws that are intended merely to control behavior that does not harm anyone and any laws that are intended to protect corporations from customers, employees or legitimate competition.
7. What would you like someone visiting your Blog for the first time to know about you? Now is your chance! Hmmmm.....That's the only one I'm really not sure how to answer. Just the basics, I guess - female, 44, married, two sons, American and politically don't fit neatly into any category.
Poetry Without Words
Click here for some lovely thoughts on Bach and metaphor, plus a good explanation of the musical term, "fugue."
Monday, August 26, 2002
It's hard to figure out how much public expression of emotion is acceptable. On the one hand, we're always reading that we shouldn't bottle up our emotions, and that we should try to understand the feelings of others - especially if those others happen to be "victims" or members of "oppressed cultures." But on the other hand, when we decide to write about our emotions we feel we have to apologize for "whining" because if we don't someone else will certainly berate us for whining.
What is "whining?" First of all it's an annoying sound, but in writing, what determines the difference between whining and a genuine expression of emotion - a reaching out for understanding. Is "whine" just a label we apply to anything we don't want to hear or read? What is there about some complaints that evokes sympathy while others merely annoy? It varies from one person to the next of course but we each seem to have our own personal whine threshold - a fuzzy line that divides the whiners from those we consider deserving of our sympathy.
I love my life. Like everyone else I wish I had more money, and there are a few details I might change, but overall I wouldn't switch places with anyone. But no one is totally free from the blues, and when they visit me and I want to unload I have to compare the feeling to the reason for it and usually decide that from anyone else's point of view my reasons would be less than petty. So I remain silent. Lynn is not as unleashed as she would like to be.
This past year has been a year for the blues. I'm more than 1500 miles from New York but if you could take everyone's feelings and graph them for comparison you might look at my line on the chart and think I had been there on September 11th. But I never felt like I could really let it all out. The New Yorkers I knew online were all holding up so well, at least publicly, so what right did I have way out here to whine and cry? The people I know off the Internet outwardly didn't seem terribly upset and I kept thinking 'how can they be so calm about it?' but when I think about how I was controlling my own feelings I realized that I probably looked the same to everyone else - like nothing was wrong.
I've been "over it" for months now, as much as it's possible to ever be over it but I've changed. Some things bother me more now than they used to. I can't laugh at idiots anymore. They scare me now. And sometimes they make me angry. I think maybe I've lost some objectivity. I still believe that "everyone has a right to their opinion" but damn I read some opinions and think "damn! I just wish these people would shut the hell up."
There's something that I've been trying to work my way around to and half-way trying to chicken out of. I don't even know how to start. If you've been reading this page for a while you know I love classical music. I still love it but even that has changed. There used to be times when I was so into music that I would walk around for days in a state of euphoria. Even when I wasn't actually listening to music it would be in my head and the world would be in the background; I would go through my usual routine almost like I was on autopilot. This wasn't all the time of course. It was fairly rare in fact - just a few days maybe two or three times a year - but it hasn't happened for a long time now. I think I've lost it. I haven't tried because it's not something I could ever make happen by trying. It just happened sometimes. I'm afraid it might never happen again. It's tempting to blame it on September 11th. That's the obivious thing, but other things have happened too. Music loving friends I used to share with have drifted away. Strangely, the joy has always been just as hard to share as the bad feelings. I needed the right person and that person is no longer there.
Well, I suppose I've "whined" enough. I like to end on a positive note when possible. I really don't spend a lot of time thinking about these things. Tomorrow morning I'll get up, make a cup of tea and stick a CD in the stereo and gaze out the window at the tree tops and smile in contentment. What more could anyone reasonably ask for?
I just found What's Brewing* in Blogger's Most Recently Updated list. I'll be looking in on this one once in a while.
Coincidentally, Jennifer has written a nice essay related to the very thing that I signed in to comment on: writing.
I have most of the fears mentioned, mainly fear that my writing isn't good enough but I still like to write. In fact, I prefer writing over talking as a means of communication. There is no backspace key or delete button when you're talking to someone face to face.
To expand on those comments - I not only prefer writing, it actually feels more natural to me than talking. I sort of go through some of the same process in face to face conversation: I think of something to say and then automatically edit it in my head before I speak. That's a problem because conversation doesn't slow down for editing and more often than not the moment passes before I can get out what I want to say.
There are two different kinds of writing that we do online. There's what I think of as conversational writing - the kind of writing we do on message boards and in chat rooms and sometimes email. I'm not sure what to label the other kind of writing but it's what you do when you just want to write and don't necessarily expect an answer and may not even know who you are writing for. I think blogging is sometimes a mix of these two but mainly the latter. With both kinds I do some editing. If it's conversational I just check for spelling and basic grammar errors, but when I'm doing "serious" writing I spend an unreasonable amount of time on it - rewording some sentences several times, rewriting whole paragraphs, agonizing over the placement of every comma. Funny thing is, even this heavy editing seems perfectly natural. I have an idea in my mind of what I want the finished piece to be like - the ideas I want to get across and the mood I want to convey - and I manipulate the words to acheive that outcome.
When I finally decide that what I'm working on is finished I'm often surprised at how much time has passed. I am also rarely satisfied with the finished product. I was raked over the coals by a couple of other bloggers when I expressed writing angst a while back. It's all hard to explain and I feel like I'm writing myself into a corner right now. It's hard to explain how you can enjoy doing something and feel that it's natural even though you agonize over it and worry every time you do it that it just isn't good enough. That's one of the things I agonize over - the ideas that are difficult to put into words. Some people seem to do it so easily.
Anyway, going back to Jennifer. She wrote about writing letters - the old-fashioned paper and ink kind.
We're more careful with what we say in letters. Whether because they're somewhat more tangible than an email, or whether for the simple reason that stationary is sometimes expensive or has less inherent space in which to write our thoughts. Or perhaps because we know that it might be saved and reread later. If I receive both letters and emails from the same person, I frequently see this difference -- that in an email we're not always careful about how we phrase, how much we ramble, but in a letter we distill and craft. We compose. There's an art to letter writing, and an extra dimension of personality glimmering through the sweep of the handwriting or the choice of stationary or color of ink, in which other forms of communication often fall short.
I don't know about all of that, but I imagine it differs from person to person. In writing letters there is an added dimension to worry about: handwriting. I am so out of practice and my handwriting was never good. I can start out being very careful to make it legible, but after about half a page my hand starts cramping up and the writing gets worse and worse. My letters (the few I write) are rarely more than a single page. I have an aunt who is well into her 70s and still writes letters several pages long on notebook paper and it's all perfectly legible.
I think more of the real me comes out in my emails than in letters because I can type them and watch the words appear on the screen in front of me without thinking about the physical process. I've noticed though that most people don't write "letter" emails. Most people just use email to forward stuff along with a short note, just a line or two at most. I have to plead guilty of that myself. At a family gathering last year I nagged several relatives who have email to actually write something once in a while but I rarely send them "letter" emails. It's strange how I can always think of things to write for strangers but not the people I know.
*Has anyone else noticed that there are a lot of caffeine related blog titles?
The Real Jamie Lee Curtis Stands Up
Movie actress Jamie Lee Curtis is now officially my favorite female celebrity. Well, at least for now. I tend to be fickle where stars are concerned but it will be really hard to top this in my book.
Thanks to Silflay Hraka.
Music for my Other Half
For almost as long as I have known my husband he has from time to time burst into song, always singing these same lines:
How can life be so cold?
He had never mentioned what it was or where he had heard it so I always assumed that it was just some old traditional song of unknown origin. However, recently one of our sons started asking about it and with a little prompting my husband was able to recall that he had heard it sung by a band with the words "creek" and "symphony" in their name. Within a few minutes I managed to locate this site (hmmm....I wonder if Fred knows these guys) and this CD. (the last track is THE song)
Well....it's a little weird hearing this recording of it after all these years. It was one of those things that just IS. It's just slightly disappointing. Those first lines are the best part and the band is too noisy, overwhelming the singers in some parts so that it's hard to understand the words. It's a simple catchy little tune though, easy to understand how it could get stuck in your head for more than 20 years. Now pardon me while I go listen to something to purge my brain, something a little less catchy like, maybe....Beethoven.
Sunday, August 25, 2002
PhotoDude makes a good point about plans to "soften" coverage on the September 11th anniversary.
Either way, as a student of history, I'm somewhat offended by any attempt to alter the portrayal of it on such an anniversary, especially by redaction of the parts that made it history. There's no doubt September 11, 2002, will be a difficult day for millions, and in particular, for those who lost a loved one. But I don't believe it will be made any less difficult by attempting to "soften" the facts of that hard Tuesday. It is indeed tough to go back to that dark day and relive it in any sense. It's difficult to have the hard facts of what happened replayed for you again, with the knowledge of all that's passed since that day.
While I do not think that the images should be shown over and over again as they were on the day the attacks happened, I do think they should be shown at times that will enable those who want to see them again to watch - Once on the morning news, once again on the evening news and perhaps once later in prime time - with sufficient warning so that those who choose not to watch can turn off the TV for a few minutes. There is, after all, an off button. The choice of whether or not to see images of September 11 should be left up to the individual, not made for everyone by media nannies.
More Proof that Online Quizzes are Bogus
Via A Letter From the Olde Country. He's a friggin' genius too.
Read about it at Eeksy-Peeksy.
Saturday, August 24, 2002
Yikes! That's two posts in a row displaying an obsession with rankings and hit counts. Now I feel I should do some "quality" blogging to balance it out but I don't have a lot of time for it. I'm just grabbing a few minutes on the computer here and there. The grandson is over this weekend and it is both an obligation and a pleasure to make sure he is the center of attention while he is here.
It's a dark cloudy day. That's a good thing in Oklahoma in August. We had a brief but fairly violent thunderstorm last night. The thermometer on the back porch was blown off the nail it was hanging on. It's the type that has a large round dial and a big hand pointing to the temp. It now permanently reads 62F. It's tempting to hang it back up and leave it there. I like that temperature.
(Update: I had to change the title of this one. Sometimes it's hard to come up with a clever title. When that happens it's best not to try)
I just discovered BlogStreet. I don't completely understand how it works. Somehow I'm in the same neighborhood as people like Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan and the Drudge Report (I wonder if they know that they are in the same neighborhood as such an illustrious person as myself) but what I really like about this system is that I'm ranked 927 out of 9717. Being 927th may not seem like much to get excited about; it's a long way from #1, but I would be overjoyed just to be in the top 50%.
I am so jealous!
How come I can't get a link from Lileks, or any of the other high traffic blogs? Because I don't write brilliantly worded new-orifice-ripping attacks on idiotarians the way The Rottweiller does; that's why. Congratulations, Mr. Misha.
I did notice something at the Bleat (same page, Wednesday; permalink doesn't work) that gives me a tiny flicker of hope though. This line about Roger Eno: ...he writes spare, weightless piano pieces that sound like Cage’s 4’33” getting pissed off, ... Sorry I have to confess that I don't know who Roger Eno is, but I'm used to getting blank looks from everyone when I mention John Cage or 4'33" so James and I obviously have this one thing in common: we both get 4'33" jokes. I just know any day now he's going to notice me.
I think this is my most perverted referral so far:
I just noticed, from looking at my Sitemeter stats, that I have a permanent link at The Dax Files, and as soon as saw the page I realized I had run across it before, probably mentioned it months ago. I have several more things to add next time I get around to updating my template.
Friday, August 23, 2002
More Musical Favorites
Gregory at A Dog's Life has listed some of his musical favorites and I notice that we share a few. He listed Mozart's Symphony No. 38 as his favorite of Mozart's symphonies. If I could pick just one that would probably be it. He also listed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 which was in my list. Several others there that I love - Bach's Double Violin Concerto, anything by Mozart, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, actually 3 and 5 are my favorties but I love all of them.
Of course we could go on doing this forever. After I finished my list I stared thinking of other things I should have included. I wanted to include Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola, a very special piece for me. Favorite dance, Dvorak's Slavonic Dance No 7 in C minor, preferrably the four hand piano version. My favorite for unaccompanied voice, Rachmaninov's Vespers. English Horn - I haven't heard anything specifically featuring the English Horn as soloist but there is an exquisitely beautiful moment in the second movement of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Ah, well....now that I'm getting down to moments the possiblities are endless. I guess that's enough for now. Thanks for the morning lift, Gregory.
Not Funny Anymore
I came across this line at the Soapbox:
things are not funny anymore. Let's laugh our asses off before they turn off the lights
I know exactly what he's talking about it. September 11 damaged my ability to laugh at certain things. Stupid people used to be funny. You could make jokes about how ridiculous they are. Now stupid people are scary. But we can't stop laughing even when we feel more like screaming. Ridicule might be the best weapon we have against stupid people. Keep on laughing at them. Don't ever let anyone take stupid people seriously.
Thursday, August 22, 2002
Time for a Pleasantly Frivolous Interlude
Please pardon me if I get a little weird in the next two or three weeks. There are times when I get too intense and every little thing seems so damned important. I generally tend toward seriousness anyway. You'll rarely catch me telling someone, "Don't be so serious." More often I'm wishing people would take some things more seriously. But too much seriousness annoys most people, and besides, one needs to relax once in a while.
I have been trying to write my September 11th post. I decided over a month ago that I would need to start writing it ahead of time. I couldn't just sit down at my computer that morning and write it in half an hour. It's going well. I'm getting into this intense state of mind, possessed by an idea, that comes on me rarely and results in what I feel is some of my best writing. It's usually a rush but this time, because of the subject, in order to finish I have to go to a place in my mind where I don't want to go. As the day gets closer and closer I'm afraid I won't be able to finish it.
I don't want to risk losing the mood, but I need a break. So, just because it's a simple pleasant thing to do, here is a musical "favorites" list. (It should be understood that the word "favorites" is used very loosely, meaning "the first thing that comes to mind")
Favorites by form
Symphony: Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"
Piano: Mozart's Piano Sonta No. 11 (Anyone starting to see a pattern here?)
Odds and Ends
Favorite piece that other people love to hate: Pachelbel's Canon in D Major
This might prove to be entertaining: Drudge Watch
I wonder what this person was looking for. This page was the top hit for: Poet and Peasant Can you see the Peasants Living together in
From the Skeptics Dictionary
The post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this) fallacy is based upon the mistaken notion that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was a cause of the second event. Post hoc reasoning is the basis for many superstitions and erroneous beliefs.
Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs.
Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community. The process is independent of whether the claim has been properly researched or is supported by empirical data significant enough to warrant belief by reasonable people.
Could it be that this is happening in the blogoshpere? [me - ACD - GNW - PhotoDude] I'm normally skeptical of excessive skepticism. I feel that much skepticism comes from a fear of appearing ignorant. It's almost a knee-jerk reaction - you automatically disbelieve everything because you don't want to be on the wrong side if turns out not to be true. Or sometimes the simple fear of disappointment makes some of us afraid to believe.
After a few more entries in the little debate about the influence of the blogoshpere over the Georgia congressional primary, I'm tempted to believe that the political bloggers do have good reason to pat themselves on the back but an inner voice keeps nagging at me, saying: "That's what you want to believe so it can't be true."
Maybe I'm too obsessed with my hit counter but I really hate when Sitemeter is screwed up. This morning when I signed in it said that I'd had 56 visits since midnight. WOO-HOO! 56 visits! I usually only have about 10 to 15 first thing in the morning. Apparently my shameless self-promotion in N.Z. Bear's comments had paid off. But when I checked the actual referrals I saw that all those visits were from yesterday. Aw shucks!
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
More on the Power of the Blogs
PhotoDude has lots of news and comments on the Georgia election and the possible influence of bloggers, plus more in the comments at ACD. I think I'm being swayed a bit here. Believing what I want to believe?
(Scroll down to read my earlier post on this topic.)
I am tempted to get this book, The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson, but, on the other hand, stories which are just a backdrop for the author's political views are often annoying - especially if I happen to disagree with the author's political views. This book, an alternative history, does sound interesting though.
I finished reading Jupiter by Ben Bova a few days ago. It's very political but also a fascinating story about the discovery of gargantuan creatures living in Jupiter's ocean, and in this case I happen to agree with the political position of the novel, basically an attack on religious hegemony.
I'm now reading Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon. It's a fantasy in the traditional mold, a genre that doesn't always appeal to me but this one is starting out unusually good. It's fairly thick so I expect to be enjoying it for quite a while.
What's in a Blog Name?
For some reason I expected a blog with a name like The Second Truth From the Left to have more substance. I don't mean to be critical. The design is very nice and it's not badly written. The title just led me to expect something else.
The Power of the Blogosphere?
Writing about Denise Majette's victory over Cynthia McKinney in Georgia's Democratic congressional primary, Howard Owens at Global News Watch says:
I chalk this up as a victory for the blogosphere. Bloggers shined a spot light on McKinney, then on her opponent and put helped raise this election to national prominence. Undoubtedly, this helped give Majette the national exposure she needed for fund raising, which enabled her to mount a serious campaign. Without money, Majette, running against a popular incumbent, would have found it hard to get her message out.
A. C. Douglas responds:
Get a grip!, son. Other bloggers read blogs, not the general public, and in this case the "other bloggers" were largely of the same political persuasion who had all been savaging McKinney from the git-go (a certifiable twit who richly deserved savaging) without any prompting from others in the blogosphere, and would have supported, and if Georgians, have voted for Majette in any case.
I have left comments in both places stating my opinion that this is nothing more than wishful thinking. Oh yeah, I would love to think that I, personally, could have influence (Link to me, please; I just need a few thousand more readers and then I'll be able to take over the world) and I think it might be a pretty good thing if the "blogoshpere" had significant influence on politics since the average blogger seems to be more insightful than the average couch potato, but I haven't seen any evidence that anyone other than bloggers actually read blogs.
I think that it might be possible that blogs could have real influence at some point in the near future but if that happens it will be a very short lived situation because as soon as everyone realizes the power that bloggers have everyone who doesn't already have a blog will rush to set up their own, balancing out any influence bloggers might have. The major news sources will rush in also to set themselves up as "reliable" news sources in this new medium, the majority will believe in them (I know I can trust CNN; why read amateur blogs?) and everything will go back to the way it's always been.
The Legendary Berkshire Record Outlet
On increasingly rare occasions I look in on the Amazon.com discussion boards where I used to go daily. Yesterday I found a discussion about Berkshire Record Outlet, always a popular topic for discussion, with some people relating horror stories while others defend and sing the praises of Berkshire. I am always one of the latter.
I have had nothing but good experiences with BRO and as I mentioned before I used to have to deal with customers myself, so you might consider me biased but I am always inclined to believe that the bad experiences are the customer's fault, though sometimes innocently. Berkshire clearly states their order policy both on the their website and at the front of their paper catalog and yet a large number of customers either ignore the policy or expect them to make exceptions. There are several things that you should keep in mind when ordering from Berkshire:
1.BRO is a relatively small operation with few employees. They don't even have their own online ordering system. They use a service which forwards the orders to them. You can't expect them to operate exactly like Amazon, CDnow and the other big stores or to be as fast. Some orders I have received in as little as two weeks; some as much as eight weeks. Three to four weeks is about normal.
2.Read their order policy. It clearly states that once an order is placed it cannot be changed. Yes, this means you too. You are not special so don't act like a spoiled child if you change your mind about an item you've ordered or find something else you just have to add. The policy applies to everyone. It's just the way their operation works.
3.BRO is an outlet store. While some items, such as the Brilliant Classics sets, are kept in stock over the long term, there are limited quantities of most items and in most cases more customers who want an item than there are copies available. They can afford to piss you off because if you don't buy it somebody else will.
No, I don't work for Berkshire. I actually don't care if you buy from them or not. In fact if you choose not to there will be less competition for the rare items. But personally, I love Berkshire Record Outlet. They have CDs that you can't get anywhere else and many of them for as little as $1.99 each. I once got a rare recording of Rachmaninoff performing his own Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for that price! With a selection like that how could anyone possibly give a damn about customer service? Berkshire can do anything to me they want to. They can send someone to my house to beat me with a stick every time I place an order and I would still order from them, and if necessary grovel at their feet and beg them to please let me order. They're worth it, but the fact is, I have never had any reason to complain.
Rather than interpreting 9-11 as if it were a Clausewitzian act of war, Bush instinctively saw it for what it was: the acting out of demented fantasy. When confronted with the enigma of 9-11 he was able to avoid the temptation of trying to interpret it in terms of our own familiar categories and traditions. Instead of looking for an utterly mythical root cause for 9-11, or seeing it as a purposeful political act on the Clausewitzian model, he grasped its essential nature in one powerful metaphor, offering, in a sense, a kind of counter-fantasy to the American people, one that allowed them to grasp the horror of 9-11 without being misled by false analogies and misplaced metaphors....
You can read all of this long and thought provoking essay by Lee Harris here.
Via A. C. Douglas.
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
This is exciting. An experimental synthetic fuel called Syntroleum will be produced at a pilot plant to be built at the Port of Catoosa, near Tulsa. The Department of Defense wants to use Syntroleum in military diesel and turbine engines.
A Wolf Who Sends Flowers - Lefty but, at first glance, not too far to the Left. Nice design.
Bluegreen Print - South African Lefty.
Seb's Open Research - Ultra geeky.
The Radical: An Expose on European Intolerance - European intolerance? Say it isn't so!
Rhizome.org - Art news.
Most of those found via Sassafrass which is also a recent find.
Meaning of Life (and all that crap)
When I start talking (or writing) like this people usually accuse me of whining. I hope everyone will be kinder than that to Rich. If I could I'd give him a big, warm, sisterly hug but I doubt that would help much.
I suppose that where family is concerned I'm one of the lucky ones. Twenty-five years, two kids. I am by no means over the hill yet. It's possible that I might have as many years ahead of me as I have behind me. But, with my "baby" now 18 and in his last year of high school, I'm in the regrets stage of family life. Whatever chances I had to be a "great mom" are behind me now. I try not to think about it too much. I try to stay focused on those years ahead. However, that seems to be Rich's problem - focusing on the years ahead and not liking where life's road seems to be headed.
This might seem strange coming from a woman but I'm kind of down on women in general. What some women do to nice guys is a horrible shame. We women don't need men the way we used to. That's good but it's bad when we forget that men still need us. They need for us to be loving, loyal, trustworthy, strong, and perhaps most of all, tolerant.
I have a story I've been thinking of telling that's sort of related to this topic. I'm not sure if I should but I probably will sooner or later. Not now though.
Hang in there, Rich. I hope the family thing works out for you but if it doesn't, remember that there are all kinds of ways to make life worthwhile. Volunteer. Somebody out there needs you.
We just want to be liked
The United States is the only major nation I know of that doesn't want to be loved, doesn't want to be feared, really doesn't even care about being respected. More than anything else, we seem to want to be liked. It'll probably surprise anyone who is on the outside looking in, but whenever we hear that some country or another doesn't like us, well, it kind of hurts our feelings, and always surprises us.
Well, I don't know about that last part. It hasn't really surprised me for a long time. It does hurt our feelings though, and what hurts the most is that we know the dislike is usually based on knowledge of us that is either incomplete or totally wrong. As Scott says later in the article:
Nearly every awful thing people in the rest of the world associate with America can be laid directly on the doorstep of big business and marketing. They've built deadly-dangerous polluting plants, knowingly employed slave labor, even overthrown whole governments a few times, all in the name of making a buck.
Well, I can't entirely agree with that, but big business is a big part of the image other countries have of America along with the TV shows we export to every country that will have them. I'm tempted to quote more but I'll just ask you click on the link instead. It's too good not to read the whole thing.