g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
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12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
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11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
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11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
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10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
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 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, September 15, 2002
16:46 - Well shut my mouth.

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Not five minutes after I posted that last entry, a member of the list sent a message through in response to the WSJ article.

"Oh good," I thought. "Finally, some condemnation."

Well, I was right: condemnation of the US. The poster wanted to make clear that the Finsbury Park gathering was a media circus that ended up conveying a very negative portrayal of what was going on in the crowd and those organizing the event. He also wanted, just by the way, to pass on and endorse a document from the event's organizer explaining how America is evil, 9/11 is all America's fault, Israel is a nation of murderers that everybody hated before 9/11 and now everyone is sympathetic to because of the evil media, etc, etc. Oh, and "Perhaps the rapid rise of Islam and Muslim converts in the West is an indication of a future under the Shariíah, where everyoneís life, wealth and honour is protected and where Muslims and non-Muslims can live side by side in under the divine justice and beauty of Islam."

Boy, that sure makes me feel a whole lot better.




Oh, by the by-- there was another post commemorating the deaths of all Muslims who died on 9/11, giving their names and telling their stories and explaining how the survivors have been subjected to a life of unjust racial profiling and prejudice ever since.

Not a word about anybody else who died that day, though.



16:12 - The silence hurts my ears

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A couple of days ago, someone on the Ar-Rahman list worriedly made a post which shakily asked other members of the list to comment upon a Wall Street Journal article from September 13th. This was the article that described the gathering of Muslims at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, celebrating 9/11 and calling it a great victory for the cause of global Islam.

I should clarify again that the Ar-Rahman list, to which I was subscribed a while back without my knowing, does not appear to be a hotbed of raving hardliners; nor does it appear to be a bunch of bloodthirsty youths like the ones at Clear Guidance. Its content includes stuff like cooking tips, advice on the rightness/wrongness of various lifestyle habits, repostings of articles, and so on (though it also has its fair share of hate-filled anti-Semitic propaganda that would make Goebbels proud-- and that nobody seems inclined to denounce on the list).

The poster's subtext was clear: "Please, somebody, explain that this is not actually what all Muslims want. Tell everybody here that this is wrong." This coming on the heels of the posts which I passed on here on the Eleventh, in which all the posters in question sneered at America's sadness and anger over 9/11, in light of the horrors that America had visited upon the rest of the world through its deadly Coca-Cola-- it was eye-opening. I don't know if anybody expected it, or what. But she asked those on the list who seemed to know what they were talking about to please comment. Please denounce it...

(She transcribed the article by hand; I'm not sure why.)

"A celebration of Terror"
By Farrukh Dhondy

an obscene spectacle took place in North London on Wed. A thousand Musims gathered at the Finsbury Park mosque to 'celebrate' the bombing of the World Trade Center. The metropolitan police deployed a force 500 strong to protect the meeting, called 'a towering day in history', from disruption. Adozen or so menacing-looking men with kaffiyehs over their faces stood on the mosque's steps to prevent unfriendly journalists from entering.

the 'celebration' began promptly at 1 pm so that participants could applaud the action fo the WTC bombers at exactly 1:46pm london time the exact hour a year earlier when the first plane hit its target in ny.

the gettogether wasnt just muslim solidarity either. charing the meeting was Abu Hamza, and egyptian-born engineer turnted muslim mullah, who presides ove the notorious finsbury park mosque.

Finsbury park first became known earlier this year when it came out that several of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were captured fighting for the taliban and al qaeda had received their theological training there.

Hamza also reportedly recruited to the jihad richard reid the wouldbe shoebomber who failed to blow up an american airlines flight from paris to miami on dece 22, 2001. and the good imam is implicated in the training of zacarias moussaoui under arrest on suspicion of conspiring iwth the 19 murderers of sept. 11.

the fbi has applied for hamza's extradition from britain for questioning in the us (the mullah has been a british subject since 1985) but he is sitll at large in london, free not only to address his congregation but to celebrate the events of 9-11. he told the press that saudi muslims financed the celebration in the hope that from it will arise an organization that represents 'the real views of muslims in britain.'

I've held off from posting this for a couple of days now, waiting to see what the responses would be. I was sure that somebody on the list would step forth and ... I don't know. Say something.

There hasn't been a word. Not one.




Now, I may be expecting too much of this list. Maybe I overreact to the things I see there. Maybe I shouldn't be treating it as anything even resembling a cross-section of popular Muslim thought.

But I would just like to see, once, just once, someone on the list say without qualification that Islam condemned what happened on 9/11 last year, and that world domination is not what most Muslims want. Yes, I've heard it from the very literate. But not from people like the ones on this list.

I don't want to be told how nice it will be when the global Caliphate is established and everybody is a Muslim. I'm not interested in hearing how all I and my fellow Americans and everybody else in the world has to do is submit to the will of Allah and everything will make sense and be good. Everything did make sense, everything was good right up until about a year ago. And it wasn't us who brought that age to an end. It wasn't elected American leaders flying those planes.

I don't want to be told that a theocracy is in our future, whether we like it or not. I just don't. Instead, I want to be told that Muslims are willing to accept a world that does not involve a global Caliphate. That's all I want to hear.

14:32 - Radio Debut Redux
http://www.grotto11.com/pc20020508.mp3

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Well, at long last, the radio show I did on Point & Click Radio on KZYX back in May is now MP3'ed and online. (Here are the related posts from that day.) It's an hour-long show, and I haven't listened to it myself, so I don't know how much of an idiot I made of myself. But now it's public, and my idiocy belongs to the ages.

Thanks to Bob Laughton for hosting the show and for getting it archived for me!

12:42 - Terrorism-O-Meter
http://www.ExitToShell.com/products/

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Well, this is more than a little bit morbid. It's a little OS X toolbar doodad called "Homeland Security Alert".

It gets its information from this site. Gee, swell-- now I can know whether it's safe to leave my house just by looking at my menu bar... or for that matter, whether it's safe to stay in my house.

Yeesh.

12:29 - Reality check
http://www.instapundit.com/archives/003857.php#003857

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Anybody who thinks that our civil liberties are being unprecedentedly eroded away by the horrifically invasive legislation passed since 9/11, and that we've all become willing pawns in Ashcroft's chess-game of a budding police state, needs to read this InstaPundit post.

No wonder Europeans are leery of doing anything substantive nowaways, when they have this to contend with.

12:20 - The lengths to which some people will go...
http://uber.nu/docs/do.cgi/20020826

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Okay, this is cute. Though it hits awfully close to home.

You know you've thought about it. You go out of your way to drive past the building on your way to work every day. For thirty minutes each morning, you feel like you work there as you wait in traffic with actual Apple employees before you head to your un-magical office park.

Most people take the conventional route of applying for an open position. This, however, does not work. Apple knows there are millions of crazed zealots around the world who dream of life in a Windows-free office (aside from their cubicles). So the company makes things more challenging. Apple only hires people who know Apple employees. So how do you meet an Apple employee? That's the tricky part.

At first I tried hanging out at the Donut Wheel across the street...

Lord knows I've felt as though I'm in this kind of boat. And the Donut Wheel is about a block down from where I work, too.

Considering the ordeal Jordan Hubbard had to go through in order to get his job working on OS X... I'm sure I don't have a ghost of a chance. But a guy can dream, can't he?
Thursday, September 12, 2002
17:31 - Beacons of Technological Genius

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I had a rude surprise today.

In the server room, one of my servers rebooted (for reasons which remain unclear, but which aren't important). This is a Dell PowerEdge 1550, the workhorse 1U box that Dell claims to be the great value leader in the marketplace, making upper-middle-managers out of bean-counting schmoozers and forging lucrative business deals on golf courses.

Those smarmy Dell server ads never seem to mention little things like:

If you take the front panel off the machine, the BIOS detects this. It's a security feature. It warns you, upon the next boot, that "Alert! Cover was previously removed. Strike F1 to continue."

Nice. Good little feature. Useful.

Unless, of course, there is no way to CLEAR this error.

That's right. The Dell PowerEdge servers, or at the very least the 1550s, provide no way to clear the cover-removed error and boot-pause after it has occurred. Our IT architect called Dell to try to resolve this problem, to find out how we can restore the (seemingly natural) ability of our rack-mounted servers to reboot automatically and come back to full working capacity after a remote reboot or a power failure.

And Dell's tech support had no idea how to do this.

In other words, if you ever take the front cover off of your 1550, even once... from that moment on, your server will never again auto-boot.

I guess that's what makes Dell such a value leader, though. People love cheap crap-- they prefer paying less over having more quality. Always have.

Sigh. <F1>

10:10 - Rhetorical Paralysis
http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/2002_09_08_blogarc.htm#85438971

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InstaPundit yesterday linked to this piece by Tony Pierce-- a speech "by" Bush in which he calls Osama out, WWE-style, High Noon style, American style.

Unfortunately, it has this bit:

im going to grab you with my own hands and prove to you, and to the world, that even though we are both sons of millionaire oil men, there's a difference between you and i.

you are a slimy, lying, gutless, cheap-shot artist who hides behind religion and ignorance in your sick quest to have others murder innocent people under your twisted leadership.

The trouble is that even though the author clearly tried really hard to write it so this wouldn't be possible, it's still way too easy for a reader to snort, smirk, and say, So who's saying this, anyway-- Dubya or Osama?

'Cause, like, you can apply the same statement to Bush, man. See, it's all the same.

That's the problem with finding moral clarity here. It should be so easy, considering what happened to us. If we didn't have to be so intellectual about it, if we could just react from our moral centers as dictated by our gut feelings and our hearts, we'd be able to get somewhere. And believe it or not, in this case we'd be right to do it, no matter what your ethical system. I'm not a big fan of thinking with one's guts in a general context, But for God's sake, Islamists hijacked commercial fucking jets and destroyed the two largest and most recognizable and symbolic office buildings in the world and all the people in them. I don't care what someone's personal definitions of "good" and "evil" are. It shouldn't even be necessary to decide whether 9/11 was "evil" or just "another in a long series of the same or worse perpetrated by lots of people, including the US, throughout history". None of that crap is relevant. Didn't anybody's mother tell them how "it doesn't matter who started it, what you did is wrong"?

But looking at passages like the one above, it's just too compelling to educated people-- or just those who think they're too clever for their shirt-- to twist the words around and apply them in new and deliciously ironic ways. Look, if you apply this filter to the statement, suddenly it becomes a clear condemnation of all US policy in the world at large since the War of 1812! That kind of thing is what college English and Literature classes are about. It's all about finding new angles on the same old crap, about interpreting things in new and exciting ways, and about writing papers about these observations that shakes up the academic community and makes a name for oneself.

It's just so tempting to look at 9/11 and see it as an awesome opportunity to show how un-sheep-like one is. "I don't subscribe to your traditionalist views of 'good' and 'evil'. I see this whole event in a way that you visceral, reptilian demagogues stuck in the 1940s just can't grasp." As a recent college grad myself, and as someone who tries to write his thoughts down on a fairly regular basis and make them be at least a little bit unique, believe me-- I know that feeling.

The following is going to be my personal justification and mandate for the War on Terror, and I suspect it's one of the shortest such around:

You want to talk about "root causes"? The biggest root cause of 9/11 is that the terrorists thought they could get away with it. They thought they had a real chance at realizing their sick fantasy of a goal. The only way to address this root cause is to show them that they cannot get away with it. A spanking. The rest will follow.


Our mission is clearer now than it's been since WWII-- possibly ever in history. This is a bigger war, conceptually, than fighting fascism ever was. This is war against theocracy. One of the oldest concepts on the planet.

We need to can the bullshit, pull on our wading boots, and start getting our hands dirty. Raising martinis on the lanai wearing dinner jackets and fezzes doesn't help one bit.

The war is real. Get used to it.

09:25 - From the mouths of comic artists...
http://www.kevinandkell.com/2002/kk0911.html

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A lot of comics yesterday (of both the online and the traditional variety, though there aren't many left that are exclusively paper-based) featured commemorative 9/11 strips. Many were tasteful, but a lot more were sarcastic, petulant, eye-rolling pieces of root-causing moral-equivalencing self-blaming negativity. Yeah, thanks, guys <coughBoondockscough>. We sure needed that.

Fortunately, though, there were good ones. The best one I think I saw was Kevin & Kell:



Yeah. That's the stuff.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
19:33 - Can't... see straight...

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The Ar-Rahman list came the hell alive today.

A day of remembrance has been called for those who died in the September 11th 2001 attacks and will be marked by a minutes silence. It is clear from this that the Western Capitalist states only remember the deaths of their own citizens whilst they ignore the hundreds of thousands killed by their hands. Indeed, it seems they have even colonised human sympathy.

Who will remember the 200,000 people killed by America when it dropped Nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? Who will remember the 200,000 people killed in 1991 during the 'Desert' Storm' campaign spearheaded by the US against Iraq? Who will remember the innocent civilians bombed in Afghanistan? Who will remember the tens of thousands killed by US corporate greed in Bhopal? Who will stand silent for the thousands of babies that have died at the hands of America in Iraq?

If we were to stand in silence for all the victims of Capitalism then we would never sit down again!

Muslims have a responsibility not to blindly follow the practices of the Capitalist West but rather to be at the forefront of exposing the contradictions of the Capitalist ideology and its colonialist worldview.

I can't say anything. I couldn't. I'm too angry.

its true how is Islam is being tarnished by false media reports ... one thing about islam, its perfect .. one should get this straight that if some one can critisize islam then he or she doesnot know about it .. islam is uncriticizable if learnt to the max or atleast understood ...

One should remeber that man is a individual .. on theday of judgement every one will be judged as individual and not a group ... The deeds count and islam does not support any thing wrong .. to summarize islam in few forward i would say EVERYTHING GOOD IS ISLAM

if a man is judged by the religion .. then what kidn of religion does support men like hitler , julius ceaser, alexzander, the romans in general, the vikibngs and napolean bonepart.. if we see things straight we will find that there were no muslims like napolean and hitler ever in the history ...

... No, still can't manage it...

Where Indonesia is concerned, it is a country
plagued with the american curse. a country forced
to accept debt from the world bank and
consequenty its downfall. plz do remember that
any country in the world that accepted loans from
the world bank has only seen its downfall, never
progress. world bank, by giving loans, enters
into the political scene of the country,
squeezing as much out for the american cause as
possible not caring about the lives of the
millions it destroys. if i, as a person, face soo
much lack of concern from someone else, i really
doubt that id feel any obligation to be nice to
them - if only for humanity. no i do not advocate
revenge but when world bank doesnt show humanity
neither does indonesia.

Let us not forget the innumerable hate crimes,
burnt mosques etc in America during the post sept
11 period. Where America advocates democracy,
sept 11 is all but farceness and greed in the
name of democracy! Afghan has oil so lets
advocate democracy there... where was this
democracy when rawanda was dying of hunger and
starvation? where is the democracy for the
starving, AIDS infested african countries? Name
me one afghani involved in the plane crash. all
names mentioned were saudi... so y afghanistan?
aboive all, the first three lists of people dead
in the aircraft sept 11 aircrafts had not ONE
saudi names. moreover, the cnn website for the
longest time carried a banner on the top
apologizing for the misprinting of names. some of
the names mentioned in the list were found to be
survivors having moved bak to saudi 4-5 years
ago. one of the names mentioned was a 7 year old
child! Studies in the last two days show that the
pentagon attacks were through american misslies.
numerous articles and pictures prove such.
try visiting these sites:
http://www.asile.org/citoyens/numero13/pentagone/erreurs_en.htm
http://www.ummahnews.com/viewarticle.php?sid=4195

It's just not coming to me...

Why the entire world is waging war? u ask
yourself this. go bak in time to the ottoman
empire and even before that. the time of Mohammed
(peace be upon him) was the time where the world
prospered the greatest. all atronomical,
numerical discoveries go bak to this age through
muslim scientists. all the theories of light and
vision u study in physics today, were discovered
by musli scientists. Ibn Batoota, a muslim
traveller covered 7 times as much as his
contemporary Marco polo. Islam is not a religion
limited to sunday (friday in our case) practices.
its a whole way of life. it is a system not only
outlining our religious obligations but our
social and political practices too. This
threatens america because our system is against
capitalism which is based on non existent money.
we consider that cheating people - remember the
stock market crashes across the world? remeber
the artificially caused one in 1997 which
throttled indonesia and malaysia? our system, if
practiced, doesnt cheat people. remember that our
political leaders in most muslim coutries are
american puppets. if they were to follow islam
instead of america.. wat u see today wouldnt be!
and sitting in america u dont see american
hypocricy... try getting a a channel like al
jazeera to tell the brutal masacres in palestine,
afghanistan, kashmir etc by america! ull be
astonished!



<hyperventilate> <hyperventilate> <hyperventilate>

No, words just won't work. Not today.

Wait, I've got one:

Care for a cigarette, you odious, insufferable hypocrites?

16:30 - iCal
http://www.apple.com/ical/

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There was a time, like about two years ago, when word was that Apple's market researchers had determined that the "i" moniker branding had reached saturation among consumers and was now on the way down in people's estimation. People were evidently sick of seeing "i"-everything. iTunes was the last thing Apple had released with such a naming scheme, and many people figured that that was the last that we'd see: we expected Apple to start phasing out the "i" names like they've been phasing out the "Think Different" slogan, and replace it with some new Next Big Thing.

Well, now it's two years later, and it seems that if anything the iBranding has only grown thicker. We now have an entire suite of iApps, to say nothing of the iPod, and little not-quite-iApp-but-interesting-nonetheless tools like iChat. The iMac is still with us. Only iTools has bit the big one, and it looks like a casualty of restructuring rather than a concerted push to eradicate the iNames.


So now we've got iCal. It's pretty slick, I must say. I'm used to Meeting Maker, in which you can't do things like drag events from one location in the week to another, and in which the horrible fugly MDI interface on Windows actively impedes my ability to get anything done. But at least it's networked, and iCal isn't.

Well, not entirely, anyway. See, iCal does have some very neato networking stuff: you can "subscribe" to various calendars, including those published by your friends via .Mac, and it will keep in sync with all of those as your friends update them. When you create a meeting and invite people, it sends out e-mail notifications via Mail, which contain attachment files which are subscription scripts that you click on-- and it inputs the meeting into your attendees' iCals. Pretty slick, I think (it uses AppleScript to send the notifications in the background). And Apple has a page full of interesting-to-the-public calendars that you can subscribe to, with things like movie/DVD release dates, US holidays (hey, you never know when those might change), music tours, SAT/ACT schedules, and so on.

You can also web-publish your calendars, so people without iCal can view them. It's all done via WebDAV, so it's not dependent upon .Mac (provided you can set up WebDAV properly). You can also import and export calendars in the standard "ical" and "vcal" formats.

Not bad, not bad indeed. But it's not really going to reach its full potential until it can do things like sync to your Palm or your iPod (which will come later this month when the beta of iSync is released, which can also sync to cellphones so your meeting reminder alarms can go off in movie theaters), and with Exchange servers. If iCal worked with Exchange, there would be a lot of happy Mac users here in the company who could do all their calendaring in an app that works really well, instead of having to use Outlook and constantly wipe off the thick layer of virus slime that it leaves upon one's skin.

It's a nice little app. Nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, but with very clever use of what resources Apple can bring to the table (not just OS X transparency and stuff, but centralized publishing, hosting, and interconnectivity).

Who knows what the strategy looks like that this is a part of? Because surely nobody within Apple considered iCal to be a killer app that would drive Switchers. It's not that kind of thing, and it was clearly never intended to be.

But now that Phillips has begun incorporating OS X-based Rendezvous into home entertainment devices, and the big three printer makers are already on board, this could be part of a push by Apple to make big, powerful friends in the industry. And that, more than anything else, is what will keep Apple buoyant against the Redmond Tide.



Oh, and this Jobs quote was interesting:

"We're not sure the tablet PC will be successful. It's turned into a notebook that you can write on. Do you want to handwrite all your e-mail? We have all the technology ourselves to do that - we just don't know whether it will be successful."

In other words, "Yeah, we know handwriting recognition is useless. But it's all there in OS X anyway, and it's really good. Just so the technology isn't dead, in case it becomes useful later. We just want to give people those kinds of options and that kind of power, if they choose to use it."



11:46 - Better than real statistics? Maybe...
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/good_guys/macintosh.htm

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Kris pointed me to ConsumerAffairs.com, a site that claims to be a private non-non-profit watchdog group whose mission is to "watch for trends -- consumer problems that seem to be representative, so that someone can read through the site and find situations that he or she might very well encounter." No doubt this means they've got their biases. But still...

Apple's consumer-comments page, linked above, is listed as the prime link under "Good Guys" on the main page; that rarefied brotherhood only has twenty or thirty other such companies, whose customer base has consistently nominated them as examples of someone who "sells great products and provides outstanding service at reasonable prices". Apple's page is full of testimonials from satisfied customers, and nary a one complaint:

Very few Macanatics defect to the dread Wintel world and a look at the user reports below tells why -- Apple machines work right out of the box and when there's a problem Apple fixes it ... pronto. Can't beat that.

But what's really fun about this site is that if you take a look at the "Good Guys" page, Dell is listed... or, rather, Dell is listed. Click on the link, and you will discover that:

Sorry. We've had so many complaints about Dell that they've been ejected from the Good Guys section and banished to the Rogues Gallery.

Said Rogue's Gallery is unfortunately a great deal larger than the "Good Guys" page. Of course I'd rather they were all Good Guys.

But it's not a perfect world, and we've got to stick by the companies that stick by us.

10:58 - Where do they get these people?

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Maybe I shouldn't have been listening to NPR on the way in to work today.

On Forum, the discussion featured in place of prominence an Arnold Zinn, professor of God-knows-what, speaking in that kind of infuriatingly calm and knowing and smug way about how all of our reaction since 9/11 has been entirely inappropriate. Our attack on Afghanistan was "blind" and "stupid", Prof. Zinn said, and it was an entirely "arbitrary" action: We got attacked by people from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but we went and killed people in Afghanistan. Like we just pulled that target out of our ass, like we had some existing agenda there and were just looking for an excuse to go kill Afghan civilians. It could have been North Koreans launching missiles over Alaska, and we still would have gone on our murderous rampage in Afghanistan, apparently. See, the only people responsible for the 9/11 attacks were those 19 hijackers. Everybody else is innocent, because they didn't do anything, see? Attacking Aghanistan accomplished nothing-- nothing at all-- except deepening anti-American hatred in the world and killing a lot of civilians. It didn't disrupt terrorism in the slightest.

I guess all those al Qaeda corpses in Tora Bora count as "civilians", or maybe "freedom fighters", because they certainly hadn't taken part in any anti-American activities. Not until we brutally attacked them, out of the blue.

According to this guy, it's a good thing that the Taliban fell, that the women were liberated, that they have schools and medicine and music and barbershops now that the Taliban are gone. But, said he, it's all rendered a fatal failure because we did it through military action. Bombing places around the world, throwing our military weight around, being a bullying imperialist nation-- that's what causes terrorism. We should stop all that flying around the world for fun and just bombing the shit out of any old place we feel like, just for target practice. That's got to stop, man! We must become a humanitarian nation, giving food and medicine to the poor all over the world! Then nobody will hate us!

Fortunately, his opponent was a Howard Bikeman (?), whose strident shrieks of disbelief were a very welcome thing to hear. When he asked incredulously whether Zinn condoned the Taliban, or whether he thought there was any better model out there for a democracy than the US (with all its flaws), or whether the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt actively support and promote and harbor terrorism like the Taliban did, whether we should have stood back and allowed Hitler and Tojo to march all over us while we rolled over on our backs and peed on ourselves, Zinn stuttered and scrambled and tried to change the subject and reiterate his stupid points. I think Zinn came out of the discussion looking like a complete ass. As well he should have. He sat there on 9/11 and told a nation full of listeners how we were entirely wrong to go and oust the Taliban, how our obviously deliberate bombing of civilians in Afghanistan was every bit as reprehensible and unwarranted as the 9/11 attacks themselves.

The callers were equally stupid. One woman shrieked about the 9/11/73 thing in Chile. Another guy said that in ten years, we won't consider 9/11 to be any more than a footnote in history-- it'll be entirely forgotten. And another guy said that "We won't get behind a war in Iraq because we don't have George Washington, we have George Bush. And Bush wasn't even there! We don't even know where he was a year ago today! He knew this was going to happen!" Er, guy, we did know where Bush was on 9/11/01. He was at a school, talking at some event or other. We have photos of his aides coming up to him and whispering in his ear that "another plane just hit the other tower". We saw the expression on his face. We saw how terrified he looked when he addressed the nation that day at noon.

Goddamned conspiracy theorists. Except now they're on the other side of the political spectrum.

At least the US flags and banners are back up on the freeway overpasses today. Not quite in the same way that they were a year ago, but in a symbolic, evocative kind of way. Remember when we did this before? Remember how we felt?


Yeah, I'm glad somebody does.

09:26 - True Colors
http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/001943.html

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I wonder whether this is happening in France or Germany or Canada or Belgium?

Probably it is. But the degree of it is the question-- how spontaneous is it? How heartfelt? How unalloyed by suffixes of "But you have to understand..."?

I remember speeches coming out of Canada a year ago to the effect that Canada was standing by us at this time of need, and I remember Glenn Reynolds saying "When the chips are down, you learn who you can count on. I won't forget this." Britain has certainly shown the same spirit now, a year later, now that the morality is a lot more muddled. I'd be curious to know what everybody else is doing... or if it's just Britain.

Michael Drout posts this in the comments on the linked article:

"Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren... and never has any league of peoples been more blessed, so that neither has ever failed the other, nor shall fail."

--J.R.R. Tolkien

Now that's interestingly apt.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
22:32 - Just a guess
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/02/0902/091102.html#091102

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I don't know what I'm basing this on, but I suspect I'm not far off in thinking that Lileks' 9/11/2002 post is probably the most anticipated thing in the blogosphere. We know it's going to be art, but we don't know quite what form it will take. We know it will be poignant but reassuring, grim but in a steely kind of way, and run through with references to Jasperwood that can so easily be replaced with any reader's home address.

And so it is. It's posted now, and I suspect ol' James will have a hell of a bandwidth bill to pay come the end of the month.

Tip-jar the man.

21:49 - Not exactly a ringing coup
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,509951,00.asp

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From what I'm hearing, the Gateway Profile 4 ads are getting just as much derision from the public as the "Switch" ads did at their unveiling, and without any of the popular grassroots support in response. The Profile 4's attack on the iMac looks even to the casual observer like a rather desparate gambit by a panicking company-- one who seems to have completely missed the point of the iMac's design, even though it's now admitted quite freely that what it's trying to do is eclipse the iMac out of existence through the force of "bigger hard drive!" and "Bigger screen!" and "Cheaper!" Anybody who has been paying any attention at all can discern that the iMac's screen and hard drives are better quality, widescreen in the case of the 17", and comes with things like-- oh, I don't know-- DVD drives. And the whole point of the design is its fully adjustable neck, not just one that scoots up and down on a tiny little angle swingarm, like a checkbox item on a spec sheet that had to be filled in on a minimal budget. It looks like a pretender, even in the eyes of someone who only knows the name "Apple" from the Ellen Feiss ad or oblique Simpsons references.

And on that note, here's a recent Stephen Katt cartoon from eWeek:


Yeah, Katt's a Mac guy. But this is still funny.

21:28 - What am I doing here?

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It feels like I should write something for the occasion, considering what day it is and all. Everybody's doin' it. In fact, I even had a post earlier today that I was working on, but I stepped back halfway through, concluded that it was too sappy and derivative and brought nothing original to the table, and I closed down the browser window without another thought.

It's not that I'm unemotional about 9/11. Really, I'm not. I'm not one of those people who thinks we should all just "move on", like it was an earthquake or a hurricane or something-- a terrible disaster that killed a lot of people, but it's nobody's fault, really, except maybe our own, and so we'd best just pick up the pieces and maybe don't build in a floodplain next time. No, that's not me.

I guess what makes me a little uneasy-- and, simply, not in a writing mood lately-- well, except for the obvious, which is that I've been doing nothing but writing for the past two weeks, and in a not-for-fun kind of context, and I'm not out of the woods yet-- is that I don't feel like 9/11 is a blogging kind of "thing" for me. It just doesn't feel right. I wasn't writing last September. I didn't start until late December, when I had a Lileks column to tell me what blogs were and a Peter Jackson movie to babble inanely about. A year ago I wasn't posting my thoughts as events unfolded. I was watching the news, reloading cnn.com, fitfully trying to develop some database code for features that I knew still had due dates, ICQing grimly with friends, trying to keep some kind of lightness to the situation: "You know what this means? The guy selling Klau Khalash is dead."

I wasn't among those who had been writing personal columns since before there was TCP/IP. I wasn't even one of those who furiously started blogging on 9/12. On September 10th last year, on my way home from work, I stopped by Fry's and bought a PlayStation 2. I'd set it up that night, played Gran Turismo 3 for a couple of hours, and then I went to sleep. When I woke up next, everything having happened on Eastern Time and therefore before I woke up, glancing over at the PS2 told me that no matter how hard I tried, I'd never really be able to enjoy it properly, and so I got rid of it a few months later. I still have the receipt for it, though, with it's 9/10/2001 date stamp. One of those things I'll probably never have occasion to look at again, but I know it's in my receipts drawer somewhere, and that's the extent of my nostalgia for the Halcyon Days. I'm not one to weep for those things that are forever lost. I do believe in moving on, but not because I have no sensibility to what we're moving on from.

So I don't feel right about writing about 9/11 specifically, not now, not tomorrow. I'd feel too much like an outsider who comes in after the fact and tells everybody what they're doing wrong. I'd feel like the "efficiency expert" that the pointy-haired boss hires to come into the company to interview everybody and find out who can safely be fired without shooting up the place. I figure other people are already doing the event justice far better than I could.

I'll stay on the sidelines tomorrow, I think. It's what I was doing then, and if I'm going to try to commemorate what life was like last September 10th, maybe that's the best I can do.

"Blog, or the terrorists win!" At least we're not hearing that kind of crap anymore.

10:00 - <pant pant pant>

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Last night, around 3AM, I finally finished proofing the new Databases chapter and touching up the illustration sketches, zipped them up, and shipped them off to the editor. Then I collapsed unceremoniously into bed.

This chapter took 26 hours to write this weekend, and another three to finish properly last night. (Though that wasn't the only reason I wasn't blogging-- a friend and I watched We Were Soldiers, a film we found oddly forgettable, with a confusing tactic about the usual war-movie clichés, which Randall Wallace decided to play out to the hilt rather than try to avoid even in the slightest-- we couldn't figure out whether this was intentional and ironic, or just inept. Great Lieutenant-Colonel character, though.)

So this morning I'm going to celebrate the wrapping-up of the late-evening season, which I've taken advantage of far too little this summer, by motorcycling in to work.

And I'll download iCal when I get there.
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© Brian Tiemann