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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12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, March 30, 2003
23:05 - Now that's cat
http://www.jimmcneill.com/dance.html

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Cute Flash of the day: "Lap Dance". Immediate first-hand familiarity for anybody who's ever had a cat.


22:17 - Only the purest of motives
http://www.ripburnrespect.com/

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Well, good God.

Rember Apple's "Rip. Mix. Burn" campaign from a couple of years ago, when iTunes was only just getting going?

Well, apparently Gateway does: "Rip, Burn, Respect".

From the look of it, it's a marketing gimmick dressed up as an independent education-about-MP3-ethics site with commercial music-download tie-ins.

I don't doubt this is premature of me, but it looks to me as though this, coupled with their funky new pricing scheme, are signs that Gateway is flailing about for a strategy on the way to oblivion.


20:33 - I'm such a tool
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48367-2003Mar29.html

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I'm a dupe of American propaganda.

Or at least, that's the only rational explanation-- isn't it?-- for why I feel such helpless fuming bitterness and (yes) rage upon reading this story, via LGF.
"Mr. Bush has lost us. We are gone. Enough. That's the end," said Diaa Rashwan, head of the comparative politics unit at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "If America starts winning tomorrow, there will be suicide bombing that will start in America the next day. It is a whole new level now."

The anger was a clear sign that U.S.-Arab relations, despite the Bush administration's campaign to win hearts and minds, was at a low point.

"Bush is an occupier and terrorist. He thought he was playing a video game," said George Elnaber, 36, a Arab Christian and the owner of a supermarket in Amman. "We hate Americans more than we hate Saddam now," he said, referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The popular al-Jazeera satellite television network broadcast the funerals of those killed at the market. It repeatedly showed pictures of severed body parts and wounded toddlers bandaged and crying in hospital beds.

"Those pictures have showed that America's war is not only against the Iraqi regime and the Iraqi army, but also against the Iraqi children and elderly. How can we trust them now?" said Mahmoud Sahiouny, 19, a Syrian computer science student who lives in Beirut.
It's because of my blind and fatuous belief in our own media and the obviously flawed information found everywhere online and from a million deceitful mouths, that I find it so maddening that these people are so convinced of their culture's rightness and the deep inhuman evil of ours.

How dare I believe that our forces are taking such pains to avoid civilian casualties that they're putting themselves at greatly increased risk and taking much more damage themselves than they otherwise would have? How can I blindly accept that even Iraqi estimates of civilian deaths are only about 70, or listen to the wags when they suggest that there's something fishy about how our "errant" missiles always seem to land in "crowded marketplaces"? How blinkered of me to smile politely but nervously and back away when told with a sneer to tune in to Al-Jazeera for the real unbiased reporting! How can I remain skeptical of the fact that we are trying to exterminate the Iraqi people-- after all, isn't that what I, a typical bloodthirsty American, really want?

If only I were so worldly and learned as these clear-eyed individuals; if only I could see the light and realize the truth of America's willful and cold-blooded massacres of Iraqi civilians, committed just to satisfy our own bloodlust and yearning to kill Muslims wherever they are to be found.

But no... I'm a lost cause. I'm just too blind, too deeply brainwashed.

And nowhere near as willing to take up arms because of what I see on TV.

And that's why we're doomed, when the real war comes.
Someone on the radio just said, "Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." Well, ours was nice, wasn't it?.

Saturday, March 29, 2003
01:15 - An open (silly) question

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I've never been good at the subtle art of the comic pun; as though to illustrate that, I'm not at all sure anymore that this is as funny as I thought it was when I first thought of it:


I'd originally thought it might make a good UN flag, but I'm not so sure that the premise works as well as I'd hoped. Hmm...

Who else might it work for? Anybody?

Bueller?
UPDATE: This is pretty interesting:
"And following the name was the fascination of the flag. The Reverend Slaughter happened to come across a February 25, 1776, copy of the London 'Morning Chronicle,' and in it he saw, as he called it, 'a remarkable article in these words': 'The Americans have a flag with a snake with 13 rattles on it, in the attitude to strike, and with the motto, "Don't tread on me." It is a rule in heraldry that the worthy properties of an animal on a crest should alone be considered. The rattlesnake is an emblem of America, being found in no other part of the world. The eye excels in brightness. It has no eye-lids, and is therefore an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, and never surrenders, and is therefore an emblem of magnanimity. She never wounds until she has given warning. Her weapons are not displayed until drawn for defence. Her power of fascination resembles America - those who look steadily on her are involuntarily drawn towards, and having once approached, never leave her. She is beautiful in youth, and her beauty increases with age. Her tongue is forked as lightning.'"
Whether history shows we've lived up to this or not, it's still a striking ideal.

(Sorry.)

01:06 - Spare us the cleansing purges
http://www.right-thinking.com/comments.php?id=P947_0_1_0

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This is one of the most refreshing and stress-relieving things I've seen in a long time.




18:54 - Da Slogans

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I saw some real humdingers on the way back through Pleasanton-- more overt than any that I've seen here in the Bay Area, in fact. I'm not sure how that works.

Some of the window/bumper slogans were long and weird enough to make me wish I had a British-spec car with the driver's seat on the right, so I could roll down my window at highway speeds and have words with the driver.

How will killing Iraqi babies with cruise missiles bring peace? Hmm-- didn't we just cover a very similar question in a certain radio interview a short time ago? And in any case, if I had a big thick marker and some paper and some Scotch tape to scribble a reply message to hang in my own back window, and a third arm so I could tape it up without veering off the road, it would say, It won't-- that's why we're trying so hard not to do that! No country has ever gone to such absurd lengths to avoid harming civilians in a war-- and that's why we're vulnerable to terrorist tactics like suicide-bombing and dressing combatants as civilians. If we didn't care about civilian casualties, these things would not concern us! Hmm. Maybe I'd have to shorten it a bit.

And this one really cracked me up: Are We Kinder & Gentler Yet? Hey, buddy, it was being "kinder and gentler" that got us into this mess in the first place. Why do you think Osama thought he could get away with knocking down the WTC without us doing so much as whine about it?

And there were several that said Peace Is Patriotic. To those I wanted to reply that To the Iraqis, "Peace" is Death.

And, of course, a No Blood For Oil. On a Toyota with the second "O" modified into a peace symbol, naturally. I'd guess this is someone who would point with a smirk at the fact that Halliburton is up for a contract to rebuild Iraq after the war-- and probably would accuse me of "stifling dissent" if I mentioned that Halliburton was only one of several candidates being considered, and that as of yesterday (I believe) they're out of the running.

Ugh. I'm of half a mind to make up a banner to hang in my rear window that says, simply, Think Beyond The Slogans. But then, I'd be tempted to write up a dozen more signs, each with more words and a smaller font than the last, and paste them all across my rear window so cars would crash into me trying to read them and I'd never see them coming.


18:33 - Star Spangled Ice Cream
http://www.starspangledicecream.com/

(top)

I heard about this on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me while driving towards Sacramento for a ballgame. Apparently, some guys in Baltimore have gotten fed up with Ben & Jerry's political stance, even though they like the ice cream and the wacky flavors it comes in. So they've partnered with Moxley's to create "Star Spangled Ice Cream", with flavors like:
  • I Hate the French Vanilla
  • Iraqi Road
  • Smaller GovernMint
  • Nutty Environmentalist

It would seem that at least these are for real; they've got a page with more flavor ideas for the future, which go to show just how not-seriously they're taking themselves. ("School Prayerleen"... "Gun Nut"?)

Thankfully, as someone on the show noted, there aren't any flavors with "Freedom" in the name.

Friday, March 28, 2003
02:42 - "I Was Wrong"
http://assyrianchristians.com/i_was_wrong_mar_26_03.htm

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Something tells me we're going to see plenty more stories like this before all's said and done.

`Look at it this way. No matter how bad it is we will not all die. We have hoped for some other way but nothing has worked. 12 years ago it went almost all the way but failed. We cannot wait anymore. We want the war and we want it now`

Coming back to family members and telling them of progress in the talks at the United Nations on working some sort of compromise with Iraq I was welcomed not with joy but anger. `No, there is no other way! We want the war! It is the only way he will get out of our lives`

. . .

From a former member of the Army to a person working with the police to taxi drivers to store owners to mothers to government officials without exception when allowed to speak freely the message was the same - `Please bring on the war. We are ready. We have suffered long enough. We may lose our lives but some of us will survive and for our children's sake please,, please end our misery.

. . .

But what of their feelings towards the United States and Britain? Those feelings are clearly mixed. They have no love for the British or the Americans but they trust them.

`We are not afraid of the American bombing. They will bomb carefully and not purposely target the people. What we are afraid of is Saddam Hussein and what he and the Baath Party will do when the war begins. But even then we want the war. It is the only way to escape our hell. Please tell them to hurry. We have been through war so many times,but this time it will give us hope`.

Imagine, if you will, being the one to tell these people that we're backing out. Again.

Oh, and another thing. One might be forgiven for discounting the opinions of those who have been pro-war from the start, and who have never themselves been to Iraq. Well, since these people were anti-war until they went to Iraq, upon which they changed their minds... doesn't that make them the most worthy sources of all, except for the Iraqis themselves?


01:53 - Burnination

(top)
The weirdest things show up on Chris' Whiteboard of Doom.



...Oh, and his last name is Cogdon. I should have mentioned that.

See, 'cause otherwise it makes no sense.


...Okay, fine.



01:43 - New Family Member

(top)
Well, Lance brought Capri home today.



I've never been a dog person, really-- for me and my family it's always been cats. But I could get used to this.

22:02 - Oh, those politically incorrect Photoshop Goons...
http://www.somethingawful.com/articles.php?a=1367

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Yikes. This week's Photoshop Phriday is "Religious Toys". Some of these guys are vicious:

Yowch.

21:55 - Realism
http://ps2.ign.com/articles/391/391500p1.html

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So there's a new game from Capcom-- "Auto Modellista"-- that lets you make your own VR rice-rockets and race them. And it's cel-shaded. Now that we've mastered fully realistic racing games, now we're doing cel-shaded.

Which is fine, really. I'm a big believer in the idea of stylization in virtual worlds, of not trying to achieve the absolute greatest humanly possible amount of realism. Once we can do fully immersive interactive VR worlds and walk around in holodeck-like towns and historical situations like Lileks has rooted for, that'll be one thing; but there will always be the need for video games that don't instill any more of a sense of realism than Super Mario Bros. does.

Sure, today's more realistic VR simulation games can come dang close to the real experience. But lemme tell you something:

Today, as I was driving back from the house up the Death Star trench that is Interstate 85, I heard up ahead of me an odd, high-pitched buzzing noise, the frequency wavering up and down. I cranked my window down a bit to listen harder. Was it some kid blasting his way between lanes at 90 mph, sweeping for cops? No, it wasn't pulling any further ahead of me as I drove. I recognized the telltale throatiness, under the needling whine, of what had to be a high-revving, unmuffled V-8. Either someone was barreling down the freeway in third gear in a truck, or...

Then the car ahead of me jumped aside into the carpool lane, and right in front of it was a Ferrari F355 F1 coupe. Ahhh, now I remembered that sound.

There were enough cars and few enough lanes on that freeway that he couldn't scoot out and pass everybody, so I pulled up close behind him and rolled my window down all the way. Ahhh, that sound. Having driven one of these once before (CapLion can attest to this), I know what it's like having that engine sound right up close to you, right behind you. I know what it's like to be going highway speed and sounding like you're revving at about 8K. I know what it's like to be eye-level with everyone else's door handles. I know why the balding guy in the driver's seat had that mysterious little smile, even with nobody in the passenger place.

So I trailed him for some five miles, pulling up alongside for some of it, dropping back again, just enjoying the sight and the sound. The F355 is not, in my opinion, the best-looking Ferrari ever; but it's one of the redheaded greats, and I was sorry to see it go when I peeled off at my exit.

Striving for realism in a video game is a great thing; but I'll quite honestly take a fleeting real-life experience on a chance once-in-a-year encounter over the most realistic always-available game any day.

Thursday, March 27, 2003
00:42 - Mac guys rally
http://www.igeek.com/articles/Politics/TimeForWar.txt

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David K. Every, better known as the iGeek, has registered his stance on the war-- and it's a jim-dandy.

Look, I'm not some zealous patriot that thinks the U.S. is always right, or that you can't criticize the Government, and so on. Before this war is started, you can criticize all you want, when this war is over we can discuss/evaluate the tradeoffs of what was accomplished. During this war, stay the hell out of the way, and watch what you say. Indecisiveness in war is a way to get more people killed, so it should be treated as the life threatening mamby-pambyisms that it is.

I enjoy looking at problems from many sides, sometimes I even enjoy diplomacy and debate. But war is what happens when diplomacy and debate have failed; and they have failed. Our armies are trained to take land, kill people and break things; that's their job. When it is time for them to do their job, all else pales. Warriors understand this, some other people don't. This isn't the 60s sit-in, and is not a time for us all to remember our youths. Frankly, the peaceniks got many more killed than they helped anyways. If you don't like this war, so what? I don't like tax & spend policies, economic mugging that is a progressive tax system, and so on. There's a time and place to talk about it, and a time not to. This is the time to shut up. When the doves come out in a time of war, you don't get your hymnal, you get your shotgun.

I've always looked up to Every, with his MacKiDo site and its shrines of knowledge and computing philosophy. It does my heart good to see that this is the side he's come down on.

I agree with Kris, too: his conclusion kicks ass.


For the record, no, I don't endorse statements like "watch what you say"-- particularly taken out of context. I agree with Every's primary point, that a lack of commitment to the objective will make the war take longer and cost more lives; that supporting the troops ought to take precedence over trying to sway the government from the course we've taken. I don't agree that everybody should just shut up if they have a dissenting opinion during wartime for fear of jackboots at the door. And I don't think that's what he was saying in any case.

Disagree with the war's circumstances or motives, sure. Wave signs, fine, if you have to, if you don't mind the thought of the troops seeing you on TV and wondering whether the country is behind them or what. But don't throw rocks at National Guardsmen.


15:18 - The real human tragedy

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Reading this latest post to the Ar-Rahman list, I've been trying to figure out how I feel about it. And finally I've come to the conclusion that what I feel is something that's rather new for me in this kind of situation: pity. Not anger, not bitterness, not derision-- pity. The kind of pity you feel for a rain-soaked, injured cat that you're trying to rescue, but it absolutely refuses to believe you're not an enemy. All you get is scratches and hate-filled glares for your trouble, and it would rather run back out into traffic than accept that you're trying to help it.

It's enough to bring tears to the eyes.
Dear IRAQ ! What can I do to Help?

  1. Hope: At this critical juncture when war is the buzz word of the War Mongers, many Muslims are left in despair and in a state of hopelessness. It may seem that the death of millions of innocents is now inevitable, but we must continue to strive our utmost to defend them and to spread the truth about this immoral war. Above all, we must remember that Allah Ta'ala has control over all things and can provide help in ways we do not even understand. Not even the 'greatest' superpower can overpower Him! No falsehood is to remain forever. No oppression is to remain forever. After hardship comes ease. The bitter reality of the Muslim nation will come to an end, and tomorrow will be definitely better than today. We should have HOPE in the ALL encompassing MERCY and HELP of Allah Ta'ala under all circumstances, whether it be in victory, defeat, happiness or sadness.
    Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas(radhiyallahu anhu) reported that : " I was(once) behind Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) when he said to me: 'O son ! I shall inform of a few things: Remember Allah, and He will protect you. Remember Allah, and you will find Him close to you. When you have to ask for something, ask of Allah Ta'ala. When you require aid, seek His aid. Believe firmly that if all the creation desires to benefit you in anything, they can never benefit you, but, that which Allah has decreed for you. If they ALL unite to harm you, they will not be able to harm you in anything, but that which Allah has decreed for you." (Tirmizi)
  2. Duaa: Make ernest, sincere duaa. Try to shed tears and beg Allah Ta'ala to alleviate the suffering of the Muslims in Iraq; and other places where Muslims are oppressed, not forgetting to make duaa for the brave "Human shields ". Beg Allah Ta'ala with sincerity.(like a child begging his mother). Also, conscientise the family and the children at home to also make duaa.
  3. Nafl Salaat: Even if;one is not a regular performer of Tahajjud salaat; atleast for the sake of the lives of the innocents; get up at the time of Tahajjud and perform two rakaats of salaah; contemplate on the sufferings,that the Ummah is facing today; beg Allah Ta'ala for His Divine Help and assisstance.Shed some tears; Ask for Forgiveness and help for the Abstention from sin and for Allah Ta'ala's Divine Solution.
  4. Participate in Peace Rallies and Anti -war campaigns: keeping in mind the shariah injunctions of good character, proper conduct, hijab, peace etc.
  5. Charity(Sadaqah): Give some charity(sadaqah) on behalf of the Muslims in Iraq; on behalf of the orphans; the widows;the martyrs and those that are the victims of oppression. This sadaqah may even be a loaf of bread or bottle of milk to a needy person in your area.
  6. Fast: Keep a nafl fast on any day of one's choice. At the time of breaking one's fast ;Beg Almighty Allah Ta'ala, to alleviate the sufferings of the Muslim Ummah in Iraq and other parts of the world where Muslims are unjustly being oppressed.
  7. Relief and Financial Aid: The lives;homes and infra-structure of the people of Iraq have been devastated over the last 12-15 years. Assist by aiding financially to a legitimate Relief agency in your area. Spare ourselves from over indulgences and financially aid our Brothers and sisters in this hour of need.
  8. Make News outlets Aware: Keep a vigilant eye on the news outlets; magazines etc. and respond timeously to their bias comments and views. Participate in phone-in sessions on the Radio. If one is unable to do so; make those who are able to do so; aware of such comments; articles etc. so that timeous responses are made. Forward pertinent and relevant articles you come across to the International and local media outlets.


13:33 - My worldview is changed

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Some spams are sent to make money; some are viruses intended to cause harm. Some are chain letters for the superstitious. No matter how bizarre the message, they all have an underlying reason.

But I just have to wonder: what is it that would cause a person to go to the trouble of sending out a mass mailing like the following?

Call out Gouranga be happy.
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga.
Say Gouranga my friend..
Gouranga.......That which brings the highest happiness.

Um... Gouranga!

I feel better already.

UPDATE: Ah.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003
00:33 - Civic Beautification Projects
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/03/26/sprj.irq.mural/index.html

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Certainly this doesn't prove Iraq is in any way connected to 9/11 or anything, of course. But still.

The plane's logo and coloring resembled that of Iraqi Airlines, said Getty Images News Service executive Brian Felber, based in New York.

The photograph, showing two rifle-toting Marines in front of the mural, was shot by staff photographer Joe Raedle, who is accompanying the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from Task Force Tarawa.

Looks like how someone might draw 9/11 who only had it described to him over the phone.


10:43 - Encouraging

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NPR's Forum this morning, while full of the to-be-expected teeth-gnashing over how our dictatorial government is totally ignoring the wishes of our loudest citizens (never mind that it isn't the majority), had an unexpectedly encouraging undercurrent.

The gist was that while the anti-war Left (or at least, the rational segment of it, which suffers from being drowned out by the sloganeers just as much as the Right does) still thinks that going to war was a bad idea, they also think that removing Saddam Hussein from power is an honorable goal. So now that we're at war, now that war is a given, they see it as in their interest to support the troops in whatever ways can help bring the war to a rapid and successful conclusion. Which, golly gee, is exactly what the pro-war side wants too.

It's kinda funny: pretty much everybody agrees on the second most important issue here, that of Saddam Hussein. But it's a polar division on the most important issue, that of going to war in the first place. And now that that topmost issue is stripped out of the equation, there's going to emerge a startling consensus. Now that the war is actually going on, not even the most petulant sign-wavers are going to be able to make a case for abruptly backing out and leaving Saddam in power, or less still for prosecuting an inept war that drags on forever and costs tons of lives on both sides. Only the most spiteful and morally bankrupt could root for the latter. And if they do, they'll be unmasked with all the more vehemence.

In other words, I think the worst of the domestic debate is over. I could even be made to see that this was part of the plan all along.

I could be wrong, but I hope I'm not.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
23:19 - Are those sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads?
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apmideast_story.asp?category=1107&slug=War%20

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I see this story is starting to get some wider play, at least:

U.S. forces in Iraq are using specially trained dolphins to help look for anti-ship mines in the waters off the key southern port of Umm Qasr. But it's not the first time such creatures have been used by the military.

The U.S. military has used intelligent sea creatures for three decades, including sea lions brought to the Persian Gulf to guard against attack by providing early warning of enemy saboteurs. Many sea lions have been trained to come to the surface to signal an intruder.

For the U.S.-led war in Iraq, having dolphins locate the mines would make it easier for troops to clear them. That would make it safer for military and humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Umm Qasr or another port city.

But you know what really got me about this? When I first saw it mentioned on the CNN news crawl a couple of days ago, did it use the word "dolphins"? Noooo. It said NAVY USING MAMMALS TO SEARCH FOR UNDERWATER MINES.

Because you know what would have happened if they'd said "dolphins". Oh, the poor cute hyperintelligent beings! Being forced to endanger their own lives for the evil military! Watching this, my roommates and I were wondering aloud whether there might be some way to harness unicorns or possibly even rainbows for military purposes; that'd really piss them off.

I'm put in mind of that story that's been told to me a number of times, in which a group of particularly persistent sign-wavers gathered outside a university lab where they'd gotten wind that experimentation on animals was taking place. They picketed the building all day, screeching at the top of their lungs for the researchers to set the animals free.

Finally, one of the scientists came out to talk to them. He listened to their demands, then said, "Fine"-- and walked back inside. The protesters sent up a great whoop of victory. And then-- the researcher came back outside, holding a large shallow tray.

"I hope you'll give them a good home," he said, as he upended the tray and dumped a mound of wet mud and nematodes on the protesters' feet.

But I'm sure I'm being unfair. After all, has PETA complained about the Moroccan Mine Monkeys yet?

If not, only a cynic would suggest that it's only because that one doesn't involve Americans.


21:52 - I thought this was the Information Age!
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/24/iraq/main541815.shtml

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As of 7:58pm CST yesterday, as linked from Blogs of War, this page at CBS News was a report on the "E-bomb"-- the long-rumored EMP-based weapon-- being used to disable Iraqi TV. It was a fairly detailed analysis, with a quote from Tommy Franks (disclaiming knowledge of the weapon), and reports that the TV station had gone off the air for four hours, only to reappear later at much reduced broadcasting power. The link was worded "The E-bomb is in the Hiz-ouse."

Now, however, the page only describes a modest and unremarkable conventional strike on the TV station.

What happened, CBS? Did the Pentagon send you a strongly-worded request to take down that information? Or did someone at the web desk get just a tad bit overenthusiastic in his reporting?


21:47 - Hey, did you know we're losing?
http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news069.htm

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Hey, look-- a Russian intelligence site run by "a group of journalists and military experts", which is full of detailed information on the war which could only mean there are secret Russian spy satellite and descrambling equipment and signal interceptors everywhere from Basra to Nasiriya to Tommy Franks' lap.

And wouldn't you know it, it describes the war-- in great technical detail-- to be going decisively in the Iraqis' favor. Far from being dug in and immobilized, the Iraqi army is highly proactive, maneuver-based, and destroying US tanks by the dozen. We still haven't taken Basra or Umm Qasr, and Franks has ordered the troops to ermergency defensive postures on multiple occasions. Didn't know a T-72 could take out an M1 Abrams? Thought even we had trouble scuttling those things using our own tanks? Well, wonder no more, because these guys have the scoop.

It's really quite fascinating. It's like The Onion, only for military news, and not funny.


10:59 - Dead Man's Party

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This is a little less than timely, but the other day Edgar Burke sent me the following thoughts on the Saddam video that was played a couple of days ago, and what its chances are of being current:

I was not impressed. The video was introduced by the Minister of Information, who told us to wait for an important and "historic" speech from Saddam. It then cuts to the - what's it called - station ID playing the national anthem for a least a couple of minutes. Only then do we get to the actual video.

A couple of things struck me about it. If the translation was right, Saddam refers to the invasion starting "today"; of course, the video was being shown several days after the start of the invasion. Also, lots of names were thrown out, but nothing specific. He did mention Umm Qasr and there has been strong resistance there, but he made no specific reference to that. Finally, he made no mention of the American POWs, a sure way to alert the world that he was alive and in control.

The CNN pundit (with one of those sneering British accents Lileks has been talking about) seemed overly impressed. She was certain that this proved Saddam was alive. After all, he mentioned Umm Qasr and Mosul! (Though nothing specific about Mosul.)

A different idea sprung into my mind: This was a tape created before the start of the war. A number of different tapes were created at that time, each with a different set of names and places. After the start of the war, the tapes with the most relevant names could be played. It would be kind of a propaganda mix tape. In a few days we'll probably get another tape full of vague references to current events but nothing specific.

I especially like how he praised the "bravery" of one of the division commanders, who was actually the one who surrendered his whole 8,000-man unit early on. If that's what Saddam likes to see from his people, he's either on our side or dead.

On another note, Jeremy Levy sent me this link, Saddam's biography page from the official Iraq website. At the bottom, it has the following interesting quote:

"Led his country in confrontation the aggression launched by 33 countries led by US. which waged war against Iraq, the Iraqis' confrontation of which is called by Arabs and Iraqis as the Battle of Battles (Um Al-Ma' arik) , where Iraq stood fast against the invasion, maintaining its sovereignty and political system. "

If that's the last entry Saddam's made in his blog, it's eerily fitting.

The site seems to be down now, though. I wonder how that could be.

Monday, March 24, 2003
14:13 - An unfair tactic
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-war-callhome24mar24004422,1,3509140

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You know, what really sickens me about the anti-war movement is their callous blatant disregard for the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians. What's especially galling is that they seem to think they're saving lives by trying to avert a war.

There-- how's that for snarkily turning the argument back in on itself?

Ooh-ooh! I've got another one: How many more innocents must die because of your commitment to peace?

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© Brian Tiemann