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
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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  4/4/2005 -  4/10/2005
 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
 3/21/2005 -  3/27/2005
 3/14/2005 -  3/20/2005
  3/7/2005 -  3/13/2005
 2/28/2005 -   3/6/2005
 2/21/2005 -  2/27/2005
 2/14/2005 -  2/20/2005
  2/7/2005 -  2/13/2005
 1/31/2005 -   2/6/2005
 1/24/2005 -  1/30/2005
 1/17/2005 -  1/23/2005
 1/10/2005 -  1/16/2005
  1/3/2005 -   1/9/2005
12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
 12/6/2004 - 12/12/2004
11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
 11/8/2004 - 11/14/2004
 11/1/2004 -  11/7/2004
10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
 10/4/2004 - 10/10/2004
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 9/13/2004 -  9/19/2004
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 8/16/2004 -  8/22/2004
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 7/26/2004 -   8/1/2004
 7/19/2004 -  7/25/2004
 7/12/2004 -  7/18/2004
  7/5/2004 -  7/11/2004
 6/28/2004 -   7/4/2004
 6/21/2004 -  6/27/2004
 6/14/2004 -  6/20/2004
  6/7/2004 -  6/13/2004
 5/31/2004 -   6/6/2004
 5/24/2004 -  5/30/2004
 5/17/2004 -  5/23/2004
 5/10/2004 -  5/16/2004
  5/3/2004 -   5/9/2004
 4/26/2004 -   5/2/2004
 4/19/2004 -  4/25/2004
 4/12/2004 -  4/18/2004
  4/5/2004 -  4/11/2004
 3/29/2004 -   4/4/2004
 3/22/2004 -  3/28/2004
 3/15/2004 -  3/21/2004
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 2/16/2004 -  2/22/2004
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 1/26/2004 -   2/1/2004
 1/19/2004 -  1/25/2004
 1/12/2004 -  1/18/2004
  1/5/2004 -  1/11/2004
12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
 12/8/2003 - 12/14/2003
 12/1/2003 -  12/7/2003
11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/10/2003 - 11/16/2003
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10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
10/20/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
 10/6/2003 - 10/12/2003
 9/29/2003 -  10/5/2003
 9/22/2003 -  9/28/2003
 9/15/2003 -  9/21/2003
  9/8/2003 -  9/14/2003
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 8/25/2003 -  8/31/2003
 8/18/2003 -  8/24/2003
 8/11/2003 -  8/17/2003
  8/4/2003 -  8/10/2003
 7/28/2003 -   8/3/2003
 7/21/2003 -  7/27/2003
 7/14/2003 -  7/20/2003
  7/7/2003 -  7/13/2003
 6/30/2003 -   7/6/2003
 6/23/2003 -  6/29/2003
 6/16/2003 -  6/22/2003
  6/9/2003 -  6/15/2003
  6/2/2003 -   6/8/2003
 5/26/2003 -   6/1/2003
 5/19/2003 -  5/25/2003
 5/12/2003 -  5/18/2003
  5/5/2003 -  5/11/2003
 4/28/2003 -   5/4/2003
 4/21/2003 -  4/27/2003
 4/14/2003 -  4/20/2003
  4/7/2003 -  4/13/2003
 3/31/2003 -   4/6/2003
 3/24/2003 -  3/30/2003
 3/17/2003 -  3/23/2003
 3/10/2003 -  3/16/2003
  3/3/2003 -   3/9/2003
 2/24/2003 -   3/2/2003
 2/17/2003 -  2/23/2003
 2/10/2003 -  2/16/2003
  2/3/2003 -   2/9/2003
 1/27/2003 -   2/2/2003
 1/20/2003 -  1/26/2003
 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
  1/6/2003 -  1/12/2003
12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
 12/9/2002 - 12/15/2002
 12/2/2002 -  12/8/2002
11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 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, February 2, 2003
03:26 - A-suh-puh-ring is here

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Today was probably the clearest, most gorgeous day I've seen all year-- possibly for a couple of years now. Around lunchtime I went up Quimby Road to get the lay of the land, and I found to my pleasant surprise that I could see Mt. Tamalpais quite sharply from my vantage point in the East San Jose hills. I didn't have my camera with me, but-- well, here's a photo from last year, so you can get an idea of the view I'm talking about:


Today was like this, only-- see that faint mountain line along the horizon? See how it's all sort of hazy and vague? Well, pretend instead that it's as vivid and clear a panorama as anything you've seen from 30,000 feet over New Mexico. See that lump of heights over at the right, just above the house with the kickass view but the awful commute? That's Mt. Tam, and it's north of San Francisco. Today, not only could I make out the striations of treelines on the mountain's slopes; I could see individual buildings in downtown San Francisco, right in front of the mountain from my perspective. I could see where Pac Bell Park was. I could see individual neighborhoods. At sixty or seventy miles' distance as I was, I couldn't identify any particular buildings; but I'd know there was a city there, and if I were an alien visitor with the power of unassisted bodily flight, I'd beeline straight for it.

If you follow the mountain line toward the left, southward along the Peninsula, you see a couple of lowish rises-- the hills in the middle of the City, Twin Peaks and the one Sutro Tower is on-- and further left still are the San Bruno Mountains, the line of hills that form the southern boundary of the City, the bulwark that separates SF from South San Francisco: THE INDUSTRIAL CITY. Today, I could see the green of the grass on those hills. I could see the transmission towers on top of them.

I could almost see the Cow Palace, down at the foot of that ridge on the northern side, tucked away into a little sheltered valley-- a Mediterranean seaport town with rich folks living on perches overlooking the Bay from a thousand feet up, minutes from the airport (just head south around the foot of the San Brunos) and just out of reach of the bleak sprawl of the South-of-Market freeway portal that leads into the City's southern quarter. You can take a road up from the Cow Palace into the hillside balcony rows of tract homes, then let the road take you down the ridge of the foothills, aiming you eastward right across the Bay, with its blue water and the houses clinging to the steep hillsides ringing the little cove region south of Candlestick Point and north of the San Brunos. I was just up there yesterday, listening somberly to the ongoing coverage of the Shuttle cleanup and damage-control effort with Lance as we drove home from the Golden Gate Kennel Club show at the Cow Palace. (We'd been there out of more or less idle curiosity-- what with the new house and all, and the marked lack of a landlord other than myself to forbid such things, we've been thinking of getting a dog or two to add to the household. Fun show, indeed-- got to meet a lot of interesting breeds. I nearly got adopted by a Borzoi in the benching area, where he was standing up on two feet so he could match me in height, and he decided my hand was just the thing to lean his head against and force me to plant my feet under his weight like some macho guy on the subway who refuses to grab a handle when the train jolts to a stop.)

So, yeah. It's been a beautiful weekend, with skies of clearest blue, hills of lush springtime green, and trees flowering in the grocery store parking lot. There was a brisk wind blowing all day, which I'm sure is what contributed most to the clarity of the air; that's fine with me, but I wish we could have it more throughout the year, or at least to predict when it'll happen. 'Cause though the fog-rolling-over-the-Peninsula-ridgeline summertime weather patterns play a strong hand, I'm leaning like a Borzoi toward this time of year being my favorite around here.

I've got to stop leaving my camera at work.


11:08 - Yeah, real compassionate there, guys
http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=22449

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Aziz Poonawalla sends this editorial from the Arab News, and it's encouraging: unequivocated sorrow and reflection, with nary a but to be found.
It is highly probable that yesterday's crash will cause a major setback in the ISS program. Even if another design flaw is not found to be at the heart of the Columbia wreck, it is certain that the other shuttles will be grounded for at least a year. Columbia was, in fact, the oldest ship in NASA's shuttle fleet, built in 1981, five years before the Challenger tragedy. Though extensively refitted several times, most recently with a new cockpit, some sort of structural fatigue seems a strong possibility. It may well be that scientists still have much to learn about the huge stresses placed on metal which has to endure phenomenal stresses at launch and re-entry as well as the unique pressures of life in orbital space.

The immediate lesson remains, however, that this is a tragedy for everyone, not just the United States, India and Israel. We have all lost in this disaster. A technological challenge has been thrown down and once again, a warning given that in the unforgiving region of space, nothing can be taken for granted. The solutions may be a long time coming.

They will come. The struggle to conquer the space will go on. All that we can hope for is that, when the battle is won, the knowledge gained in the process will add to human happiness, not to human misery.
Aaahhh. A breath of fresh air before diving back into the breach. With, namely, another Arab News article on the crash, posted the same day (forwarded by Steven Den Beste):
7 Astronauts die in shuttle blast over 'Palestine'

[Love the mockery-quotes. -ed]

"Once again we see that space technology can fail," Bruce Gagnon, international coordinator for the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, told Arab News last night. "I'm troubled because the Bush Administration has recently announced a program called the 'Nuclear Systems Initiative', a $1 billion research and development program to expand the launching of nuclear power into space. The problem is that as you increase the numbers of launches carrying nuclear payloads into space, but you are also going to dramatically increase the chances of a catastrophic Chernobyl in the sky."

Asked why NASA was advising extreme precaution at the crash sites, Gagnon said: "We haven't heard that there was a nuclear payload on this shuttle, but one of the great hallmarks of the Bush administration is increased secrecy. I must admit that when NASA said no one should go near a site because of the toxic potential of the fuels and 'other reasons,' I couldn't help but wonder what those reasons are."

Due to cuts in NASA's budget in recent years, NASA has been forced to turn to the Pentagon for increased funding, said Gagnon. The result is that the space shuttles are now also NASA missions and carry both military and civilian technologies.

"What you have now is the military takeover of the space program. NASA is not just about gazing at the stars, it now also has a political and military agenda." What is of concern, he said, is that the Pentagon in now working on a program called the 'Space Based Laser.' "Its nickname is the 'Death Star,' and its job is to destroy other country's satellites, and also hit targets on the Earth below. NASA hopes to have the first operational tests by 2016 or 2017," Gagnon explained.

"This would give the US full control and domination of space and the earth below, because whoever controls space will control the Earth."
C'mon, Arab News, pick a side. It's either the conspiracy theorists or the human beings.

Steven and I once joked about this. It's no joke anymore, apparently.

Criminy.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Palestinians have expressed their heartwarming condolences, via LGF.

Saturday, February 1, 2003
02:01 - Damage control
http://www.apple.com

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CapLion points out that sometime during the course of today, Apple changed the mock-up image on the Power Mac displays depicted on their official website to this nice one of Mt. Rainier.

What was it before? The Space Shuttle launch.

I'm sure glad I'm not in marketing.


01:57 - They try so hard...
http://home.online.no/~gremmem/engrish_ttt_captions/

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This webpage celebrates the wonderful engrish subtitles featured in an asian bootleg DVD of Lord of The Rings - The Two Towers. What you see is exactly what appears on the TV screen. The first half of the movie has the most screengrabs, as there is more action than talking later on, and the subtitle writers eventually started getting the name of the characters right. Have fun!

Via Marcus. Engrish fans, don't miss this one.


16:47 - Not In Vain
http://www.israelnewsagency.com/israelastronautilanramon.html

(top)
If there's any consolation to be had, it's that the Shuttle's mission was in fact complete-- which means that the symbolism of Ilan Ramon's flight, including the journey into space of Petr Ginz' "Moon Landscape" drawing, remain intact. And though the experiments and research carried out during this sixteen-day mission was ground-breaking and every piece newsworthy in any less cynical a time, and every member of the crew a hero for accepting the risk inherent in the pioneering nature of the space program in the first place, Ramon's family and country can be particularly proud that he and the crew he flew with died bringing this one symbolic objective to fulfillment.


The art won't be returning to Earth, but it's met an end more poetic than any museum could give it.


16:27 - I hate being right

(top)
Steven Den Beste mailed me links to several sightings of exactly what I'd hoped not (but morbidly expected) to see: the dancing-in-the-streets of just about everybody who is willing to stoop to this subhuman level of pettiness just to grind their anti-US axe.

First up, as InstaPundit caught early on, was a CBC interviewer in Canada who asked the interview subject whether the accident could be pinned on American "arrogance".
I am watching coverage on different networks. CBC Newsworld just interviewed writer Robert Sawyer for his reflections on the shuttle program and potential causes of the disaster. The Newsworld interviewer asked Sawyer whether the cause was "arrogance" on the part of the U.S. government. (Sawyer said no.) This is one of the most odious questions I can imagine. It took minutes for the CBC to twist a tragedy into a politically motivated theatre of hate. Talk about manufacturing consent.

Furthermore... the interviewer linked American "arrogance" explicitly to current potential conflict in the Middle East. My only surprise is the CBC did not manage to sneer at the death of Israel's first astronaut in the same breath.
Then comes the bitter sniping from those comment-forum-dwellers who are protected from being strangled by a vengeful mob only by the fact that they live in an evil country that doesn't permit that kind of thing:
What's bush up to?
I am not afraid to say this -

I guess bush's SOTU speech went over so poorly, he needed a disaster to distract us from his horrible actions and lies.

I am getting sick of this bull. How many more Americans must die for bush to look legit? How often will he need to kill to keep up his legitimacy?

How convenient that the first Israeli citizen was on the shuttle, too. Everybody rally behind Sharon and don't question or speak against him, either.
Just how deep can someone's resentment over not getting his way possibly run? I'd thought we'd seen the worst of what acidic hatred the human frame could sustain in the course of the last couple of years, but I fear we're seeing now that the human capacity for ghoulishness knows no measurable bounds.

Finally, though I didn't really expect not to see something like this, we've got Iraq's enlightened take.
Immediate popular reaction in Baghdad on Saturday to the loss of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew -- including the first Israeli in space -- was that its was God's retribution on Americans.

"We are happy that it broke up," government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said.

"God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us," he said.

Car mechanic Mohammed Jaber al-Tamini noted Israeli air force Colonel Ilan Ramon was among the dead when the shuttle broke up shortly before its return to earth.

"Israel launched an aggression on us when it raided our nuclear reactor without any reason (in 1981), now time has come and God has retaliated to their aggression," Tamini said.
How many Iraqi "minders" were present when these statements were taken, I wonder? Just how "popular" was this sentiment? We've been saying all along that our quarrel is with Saddam Hussein, and not with the Iraqi people; but this is not a good thing to do if you're interested in keeping the game on those terms, guys.

We'll show you some "God's vengeance," by golly, real soon now. In fact, we might stamp that phrase on some of our Saddam's-bedroom-window-seeking missiles. And I guarantee we've got more of those than we do Space Shuttles-- besides which, they're designed to explode.

Awright. Hamas? Arafat? Who's next up? How 'bout France? Yeah, we'll have to come hat-in-hand asking for some Arianes next, eh?

Christ. And here I'd thought 9-11 would have turned out to be a great unifying event which would wake up the vast majority of the world that identifies itself as human and rally it as one. How disillusioned we all must be if I can't even curb my cynicism about what opportunistic bastards some people are willing to make of themselves in response to a Space Shuttle accident.


08:27 - Pointing fingers
http://www.fas.org/spp/civil/congress/1997_h/hsy274160_0.htm

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How long before someone brings this up?
The specific reason for this hearing is to provide our witnesses with the opportunity to report on the shuttle and the shuttle safety in context of repeated transfers of funds from the shuttle program to the International Space Station. This spring NASA took $190 million out of the Fiscal Year 1997 shuttle budget--and that was over the objections of this Committee, I might add--and this was done to pay for Russian non-performance of the International Space Station. And just last week, the Appropriations Conference Committee on VAHUD, acting at NASA's request, cut another $50 million from the Space Shuttle Program for Fiscal Year 1998 and gave it to the International Space Station. Since most of these funds were going to be spent on upgrades which would improve the shuttle's safety and reliability, it seems self-evident that such cuts will have some impact on safety sooner or later. The only question seems to be, ''How many more times can the cookie jar be raided before we get punished?''
This won't be pretty.


08:03 - Well...
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/02/01/shuttle.columbia/index.html

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Another one of "those days" for NASA. The kind of day that changes the course of the space effort-- and at least for a long time, not for the better. Unless we can use this as a reminder of the importance of properly supporting the space program at the ideological as well as the financial level, the whole idea of a space "shuttle"-- an unsexy, utilitarian mode of space travel, a space bus-- is going to be at odds with any desire to afford it the appropriate attention to prevent accidents like this.

The big question is going to be "Well, Ilan Ramon, the Israeli, was on board. Was there any terrorism-related sabotage?"

Nobody's making that claim yet; nobody's saying word one in that direction. They're explicitly denying it over and over. And that's all to the good; the circumstances (the point at which the accident occurred, after all the mission objectives had been completed; the "debris hit wing on launch" thing; and the fact that the breakup happened at the single most dangerous place in any given space flight) are such that sabotage just isn't an issue.

However... I dare anybody to dance in the streets over this.

We'll just see.

Contextual oddity: Just last night, I was watching the MST3K of 12 To the Moon, a 50s B-film about a moon shot where twelve of the World's Finest Ethnically Diverse Scientists banded together to symbolize Earth's unity in spaaaace. Now, the plot points themselves were laughable, but there was a subplot involving an Israeli scientist and a German whose father was a Nazi higher-up. The two nearly came to blows a number of times, but eventually had to reconcile and give their lives together in a maneuver to save the Earth. Clumsy writing, but a nice sentiment-- and one you probably won't see in movies made today.

(On top of that, the French astronaut turned traitor and tried to get the German to join with him and condemn the North American continent to being frozen by the Moon people, so the old European powers could have their glory back. The German refused and the American helped subdue him. Wait, when was this movie made?

Friday, January 31, 2003
16:29 - Ask a silly question...
http://www.apple.com/ilife

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I look away from my iMac for a few minutes, turn around, and there's this:


Ah yes. There you are.


13:00 - Get an iLife
http://www.apple.com/ilife

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So according to various sources, including Think Secret's earlier report as well as word from a friend who works in an Apple reseller store, that the new updated iLife apps will be available for download and boxed purchase today. (Apparently the boxes have been in retail stores for a week or two now, just waiting for the green-light from Cupertino.)

So where are they?

I want my new iMovie, dagnabbit.

Thursday, January 30, 2003
19:16 - It was a simpler time

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...Or perhaps a more complex one. Depends on how you look at it. Either way, it's just a memory now. And when you run across a relic from that time, as with so many dim memories, all you remember is the good.


This is a video adapter that let you use PC monitors (with standard VGA connectors) on a Mac, whose video connectors had several more pins than VGA's fifteen.

This adapter has a DIP switch, which allowed you to configure the pins which would normally (on a Mac monitor) auto-sense the display resolution and color depth and pass it from OS to monitor and back again. Those auto-sensing pins are not to be found in VGA, and so PC monitors never had the built-in configurability that in Windows had to be built into the operating system instead.

Of course, this was also the era of what a co-worker called "connector-of-the-week club" at Apple; every few weeks, it seemed, there was some trick new interface standard for all the third-party developers to have to code around, like the PDS slots and daughterboards which seemed specifically engineered so as to prevent any third party from selling any add-on components which might compete with Apple's own. (A friend who worked at one such third-party company at the time said that "Apple is no different fundamentally, from a business sense, from Microsoft. The only difference is that Microsoft pulled it off.")

But still. Look at that adapter, will you? Look at it. Damn.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
01:16 - It was all just a dream

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This morning, when I woke up, it was with great startlement. I'd been immersed in one of those dreams that seemed utterly plausible when in progress, and even managed to retain much of its plausibility long into the day.

It started with Bush, or maybe one of the White House advisers-- actually, it was probably Rumsfeld-- on some interview show like Face the Nation. He looked tired, haggard, hunted; it was the day after the SOTU, just as in real life, but for all intents and purposes you'd think the speech had been one of surrender.

The interviewer asked a few questions, beating around the bush; the interviewee dodged them without making eye contact. Finally, whoever it was holding the microphone said, point blank: Are we going to war in Iraq?

And Rumsfeld, or Fleischer, or whoever-it-was, said: No.

This caught the interviewer by surprise. He asked for elaboration.

"We just can't go to war in good conscience," Rumsfleischerbush said. "We can't ignore the fact that so many of our own people are demonstrating so loudly outside these very doors, demanding that we stop."

I suspect I was lying in a pool of sweat at this point. But he went on:

"We still believe war is absolutely justified-- all our evidence and intelligence still tells us that the only way to secure peace in the Middle East and for the American people is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, eliminating the threat of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of al Qaeda. We believe that failing to act against him right now would be a grievous mistake and an act of reckless endangerment of our people bordering on high treason.

"But... we simply can't allow ourselves to go into the history books of future American and European children as being a government, supposedly elected by the people, who steadfastly refused to listen to those very people when their voices rang out the loudest they had done in decades. We cannot take an action that, even if it is justified by our internal classified intelligence, will be widely viewed by the public as an imperialistic power play or a grab for oil. We cannot abide the hypocrisy of our own nation for having nuclear weapons while we forbid Iraq and North Korea from having that same power. We cannot deny that action by the US military in a foreign country, no matter what the justification, is morally equivalent to any terrorist attack perpetrated against our own nation. Public opinion must be held in higher regard than the strategic recommendations of our most senior advisers and experts, and must absolutely trump any prior pledge by our President. The President serves the people, and he cannot serve the people unless he obeys their momentary demands before obeying the mandate of defending the Constitution that he assumed at his inauguration.

"Never let it be said that we dared to claim to know what was best for our own people. Never let it be said that we allowed our own privileged, insider information on world affairs take precedence over the clearly expressed wishes of huge crowds of our citizens and those of our brother nations in Europe, thronged in the streets of the world's cities. Never let it be said that the US Government presumed to know more about how to end terrorism than the university students of the world did. Never let it be said that we did what we knew was right instead of what our loudest people asserted was right."

I remember seeing news reports covering this exchange. I remember seeing unbelievable outpourings of support gush forth from the streets formerly trod by A.N.S.W.E.R. I remember seeing Bush's approval rating soar, the plummeting to zero of warbloggers' opinion of him being muffled to inconsequence by the immense flowering of goodwill from the Left.

I remember blogging about it, but I don't remember what I said. I just remember the onset of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, along with the strange unaccountable desire to move to Montana.

It was about at this stage that I woke up.

I tell you... no more generic-label pickles before bed for me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
20:17 - Expelliarmus
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/01/28/sotu.transcript/index.html

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We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.
And while we're at it, maybe we can dis-leg him, and possibly dis-head him too.

(Sorry-- this is what happens when I get a ride home from Kris.)

16:07 - Bringing New Meaning to "Do Not Forward"
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/56/29073.html

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Ah yes, now we see why the logo of The Register is a vulture.

Here's a stream of internal Microsoft IT memos that circulated on Saturday the 25th, as the Slammer worm spread around the Net (including within Microsoft). How the heck did they leak? Who in Microsoft's IT department would be so willing to pass compromising info like this on to The Register of all people? (Then again, the recipient lists on a lot of these messages are fairly extensive. I'm sure there are a nonzero number of self-haters among the lot.)

It's certainly revealing to see the dynamics of how Microsoft tried to get on top of this. But as John Leyden says:
Those who blame system admins for the spread of the worm might do well to ponder on the fact even Microsoft had not applied its fix which, it's now clear, was far from easy to apply.
Plus, as CapLion wryly noted, when was the last time you heard of an Oracle or DB2 worm taking down the Net?

11:52 - Stopping the Gap
http://www.apple.com/powermac/

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Okay, it's not a very exciting announcement-- but I suppose that's why they call it a "speed bump".

Power Macs are now up to 1.42 GHz. Whoopee, I hear you cry. Well, yeah, that's pretty respectable-- but it's still "polishing a turd", as Marcus puts it. This machine won't do much to leapfrog Apple back to the forefront of the speed game or anything, not that those who "get" what the Mac is about really mind much. Mac people understand all too well that speed does not equal usability; it's a factor, yes, but it's not the only factor. Not remotely. Well-designed, intuitive, integrated software with predictable and standardized hardware (and all the benefits that come with it, such as iPods and ColorSync) on a machine where you have to see the rainbow pinwheel occasionally is a fine alternative to spending three days trying to upgrade Windows on a machine that pops up its error dialogs instantaneously.

Where this will hurt is in potential converts. This machine still won't cut much of a dash in speed bake-offs; it won't attract gamers, nor will it woo back the graphic designers who have decided that a lack of reliable color-matching technology and a butt-ugly MDI interface on Photoshop is a small price to pay for a little more speed on Gaussian blurs. Plus the way they've lowered the price on the bottom-end machine is to make it single-CPU again, which is not the straightest pitch I've ever seen Apple hurl. No, this is no savior machine; we won't have such a thing until we can get those faster buses and faster disks (c'mon-- still ATA/100? And only on one of the channels?). And that won't happen until the 970 is ready, and that can't come soon enough. But unless it's this fall or so, there'll be problems; one more speed bump is probably all we can expect Apple to be able to squeeze out of these things.

That said, though, there are lots of nice, welcome additions to the new machines. 800 Mbps FireWire, for one thing. That'll help quell the rising tide of USB2 devices, maybe even reminding people of the benefits of having integrated power that requires no wall-leech A/C adapter, and daisy-chainability, and loopability/sharability independent of central CPU control, and so on. Or at least, maybe it'll help quell it.

And there's 802.11g ('scuse me, AirPort Extreeeeeeme!), and integrated BlueTooth, and a 4X SuperDrive, and so on. It's certainly a more attractive machine than it was before; it's just no showstopper.

What does really make me sit up and take notice, however, is the new display lineup. 17" is now as small as it gets, for $699 (formerly $1000). There's a new 20" widescreen Cinema Display, at $1299. And the 23" Cinema HD Display, the one with pixel-for-pixel HDTV compatibility for DVCAM editing and such, is now down from $3500 to $1999.

I wonder where that price break came from? Has their new Taiwanese LCD contractor had some kind of new manufacturing breakthrough? Whatever the explanation, this is damned good news. It's hard to deny, even among the most skeptical, that Apple displays are some of the best in the business. They always have been; it's a point of pride for Apple. The only sticking point has always been price: I can get a top-of-the-line Apple monitor for $1000, or I can get one that's almost as good-- and has analog inputs as well as DVI, and has picture-in-picture and integrated speakers and stuff-- for $800. It's been a hard game for Apple to play-- very much the same battle they've had to fight for so long now. Subjective quality is what they charge so much for, but subjective quality doesn't show up in the bulleted lists in the glossy brochures. From a 30,000-foot view, Apple products look like bad deals. They're not, but it's just far too easy to get the impression that they are.

But, well, whatever miracle they've pulled off to get the pricing on the displays into this range, it's a serious coup. Now Apple displays are a good deal again, even on paper.

So it's not a bad day at all.


11:16 - Redmond Justice
http://finance.lycos.com/home/news/story.asp?story=31168037

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Ahh, now this is the kind of thing that puts a twisted smile on my lips. It's only a partial consolation for the network's damage at the hands of the SQL Slammer worm; but it does melt the ice surrounding my wrought-iron heart just a little.
Microsoft Corp. itself was exposed to the virus-like attack that crippled global Internet activity last weekend because it failed to install crucial fixes to its own software on many Microsoft computer servers.

Although Microsoft contends its failure to keep up with its own updates did not cause major problems, security experts said it points to a larger issue: Microsoft's process for keeping customers' software secure is hugely flawed.

The virus-like attack, called "slammer" or "sapphire," exploited a known flaw in Microsoft's "SQL Server 2000" database software, used by businesses, government agencies, universities and others around the world. Microsoft had issued a patch for the flaw in July, but many _ including some units within Microsoft _ had failed to install it.

The result was that the attacking software scanned for victim computers so randomly and so aggressively that it saturated many of the Internet's largest data pipelines, slowing e-mail and Web surfing around the world.

Microsoft spokesman Rick Miller declined to say which areas or how many computers at Microsoft were affected. He acknowledged that some servers were left unfixed because administrators "didn't get around to it when they should have."
Not that this will do anything in the long term to change anybody's approach to proper administrative habits. Oh, sure, it'll put the fear of God into a few IT guys, for a few months. Lots of techs will get sent to security training seminars; lots of consultants will make lots of money.

But sooner or later, everyone will go back to the tried-and-true method of using whatever software came preinstalled on their servers, hiring MCSEs to maintain it who follow little flowcharts and leave root passwords on Post-it Notes stuck to their monitors, and relying on service contracts and lawsuits to cover their asses in the event of anything bad happening.

It's cheaper that way, of course. It's how the insurance industry works. Hope for the best, but pay a tax and gamble that it'll explode, because someone else will take care of it if it does.

Meanwhile, we on the Internet get stuck in traffic jams behind massive auto pileups, and nobody's raising the premiums.


11:08 - The Sordid Underbelly of Video Games
http://www.seanbaby.com/nes/naughty.htm

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Seanbaby strikes again! This time, he's got a rundown of the Top Ten Naughtiest Games of All Time. The long and storied history of pornographic video games, in all their (ahem) glory.

And yes, it includes "Boong-ga Boong-ga". Though it inexplicably only came in at #2. ...Okay, well, maybe it's totally understandable, considering what won #1.

Not Safe For Work, naturally-- but more because of how loud your laughter will be than because of the illustrations and screenshots.
Getting these sluts out of their panties requires such a fantastic level of hand-eye coordination and rapid reflexes that it becomes a death trap. Because if you masturbated using your amazing dexterity, there's a good chance it'll end with a pleasure-induced brain seizure and a fucking disturbing corpse for your landlord to find.
Seanbaby rocks my world.

Monday, January 27, 2003
15:19 - Bang

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This is cute; just had it forwarded to me.
DEBATING THE WAR ON TERROR

Question You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner and is running at you while screaming obscenities. In your hand is a Sig .40 and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?

Liberal Answer
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that is inspiring him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me or would he just be content to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days to try to come to a conclusion.



Conservative Answer
BANG!


Texan's Answer
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click... (sounds of clip being ejected and fresh clip installed)

Wife "Sweetheart, he looks like he's still moving, what do you kids think?"

Son "Mom's right Dad, I saw it too..."

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Daughter "Nice grouping Daddy!

UPDATE: Via CapLion; here's what happens when you apply this theory Oklahoma style. ('Course, just watch-- the hero will get flung in the hoosegow.)

"Westbound on Brady," though. I like that.


09:20 - American sports fans show how mature they are
http://www.msnbc.com/news/864816.asp?0cv=CB10

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And to think I had felt self-righteous about our lack of British soccer fans trashing stadiums and crushing other fans, or of Toronto hockey fans turning downtown into a circus of drunken death. Here I'd thought hey, that could never happen here. Yeah, we have football; but at least people just sit calmly at home and drink their own beer and pass out afterwards instead of going out and killing people.
About 10 vehicles were set on fire, and crowds broke the windows of at least one television news van, police and witnesses said. One group of young men set debris on fire in the middle of a street and then posed for news photographers. Rioters broke nearly every window at a McDonald?s restaurant, which was also set on fire.

Tear gas wafted through the area, and some witnesses picked up rubber bullets fired by police.
Maybe it's because Oakland is so close to Berkeley, and the fans have picked up on their brethren's spirit of non-violent protests for peace (e.g. smashing the windows of the INS)?

What the hell country is this again?

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© Brian Tiemann