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:

InstaPundit
Steven Den Beste
James Lileks
Little Green Footballs
As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
Cold Fury
Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





Book Plugs:




Buy 'em and I get
money. I think.
BSD Mall




 4/21/2014 -  4/23/2014
 4/14/2014 -  4/20/2014
  4/7/2014 -  4/13/2014
 3/31/2014 -   4/6/2014
 3/24/2014 -  3/30/2014
 3/17/2014 -  3/23/2014
 3/10/2014 -  3/16/2014
  3/3/2014 -   3/9/2014
 2/24/2014 -   3/2/2014
 2/17/2014 -  2/23/2014
 2/10/2014 -  2/16/2014
  2/3/2014 -   2/9/2014
 1/27/2014 -   2/2/2014
 1/20/2014 -  1/26/2014
 1/13/2014 -  1/19/2014
  1/6/2014 -  1/12/2014
12/30/2013 -   1/5/2014
12/23/2013 - 12/29/2013
12/16/2013 - 12/22/2013
 12/9/2013 - 12/15/2013
 12/2/2013 -  12/8/2013
11/25/2013 -  12/1/2013
11/18/2013 - 11/24/2013
11/11/2013 - 11/17/2013
 11/4/2013 - 11/10/2013
10/28/2013 -  11/3/2013
10/21/2013 - 10/27/2013
10/14/2013 - 10/20/2013
 10/7/2013 - 10/13/2013
 9/30/2013 -  10/6/2013
 9/23/2013 -  9/29/2013
 9/16/2013 -  9/22/2013
  9/9/2013 -  9/15/2013
  9/2/2013 -   9/8/2013
 8/26/2013 -   9/1/2013
 8/19/2013 -  8/25/2013
 8/12/2013 -  8/18/2013
  8/5/2013 -  8/11/2013
 7/29/2013 -   8/4/2013
 7/22/2013 -  7/28/2013
 7/15/2013 -  7/21/2013
  7/8/2013 -  7/14/2013
  7/1/2013 -   7/7/2013
 6/24/2013 -  6/30/2013
 6/17/2013 -  6/23/2013
 6/10/2013 -  6/16/2013
  6/3/2013 -   6/9/2013
 5/27/2013 -   6/2/2013
 5/20/2013 -  5/26/2013
 5/13/2013 -  5/19/2013
  5/6/2013 -  5/12/2013
 4/29/2013 -   5/5/2013
 4/22/2013 -  4/28/2013
 4/15/2013 -  4/21/2013
  4/8/2013 -  4/14/2013
  4/1/2013 -   4/7/2013
 3/25/2013 -  3/31/2013
 3/18/2013 -  3/24/2013
 3/11/2013 -  3/17/2013
  3/4/2013 -  3/10/2013
 2/25/2013 -   3/3/2013
 2/18/2013 -  2/24/2013
 2/11/2013 -  2/17/2013
  2/4/2013 -  2/10/2013
 1/28/2013 -   2/3/2013
 1/21/2013 -  1/27/2013
 1/14/2013 -  1/20/2013
  1/7/2013 -  1/13/2013
12/31/2012 -   1/6/2013
12/24/2012 - 12/30/2012
12/17/2012 - 12/23/2012
12/10/2012 - 12/16/2012
 12/3/2012 -  12/9/2012
11/26/2012 -  12/2/2012
11/19/2012 - 11/25/2012
11/12/2012 - 11/18/2012
 11/5/2012 - 11/11/2012
10/29/2012 -  11/4/2012
10/22/2012 - 10/28/2012
10/15/2012 - 10/21/2012
 10/8/2012 - 10/14/2012
 10/1/2012 -  10/7/2012
 9/24/2012 -  9/30/2012
 9/17/2012 -  9/23/2012
 9/10/2012 -  9/16/2012
  9/3/2012 -   9/9/2012
 8/27/2012 -   9/2/2012
 8/20/2012 -  8/26/2012
 8/13/2012 -  8/19/2012
  8/6/2012 -  8/12/2012
 7/30/2012 -   8/5/2012
 7/23/2012 -  7/29/2012
 7/16/2012 -  7/22/2012
  7/9/2012 -  7/15/2012
  7/2/2012 -   7/8/2012
 6/25/2012 -   7/1/2012
 6/18/2012 -  6/24/2012
 6/11/2012 -  6/17/2012
  6/4/2012 -  6/10/2012
 5/28/2012 -   6/3/2012
 5/21/2012 -  5/27/2012
 5/14/2012 -  5/20/2012
  5/7/2012 -  5/13/2012
 4/30/2012 -   5/6/2012
 4/23/2012 -  4/29/2012
 4/16/2012 -  4/22/2012
  4/9/2012 -  4/15/2012
  4/2/2012 -   4/8/2012
 3/26/2012 -   4/1/2012
 3/19/2012 -  3/25/2012
 3/12/2012 -  3/18/2012
  3/5/2012 -  3/11/2012
 2/27/2012 -   3/4/2012
 2/20/2012 -  2/26/2012
 2/13/2012 -  2/19/2012
  2/6/2012 -  2/12/2012
 1/30/2012 -   2/5/2012
 1/23/2012 -  1/29/2012
 1/16/2012 -  1/22/2012
  1/9/2012 -  1/15/2012
  1/2/2012 -   1/8/2012
12/26/2011 -   1/1/2011
12/19/2011 - 12/25/2011
12/12/2011 - 12/18/2011
 12/5/2011 - 12/11/2011
11/28/2011 -  12/4/2011
11/21/2011 - 11/27/2011
11/14/2011 - 11/20/2011
 11/7/2011 - 11/13/2011
10/31/2011 -  11/6/2011
10/24/2011 - 10/30/2011
10/17/2011 - 10/23/2011
10/10/2011 - 10/16/2011
 10/3/2011 -  10/9/2011
 9/26/2011 -  10/2/2011
 9/19/2011 -  9/25/2011
 9/12/2011 -  9/18/2011
  9/5/2011 -  9/11/2011
 8/29/2011 -   9/4/2011
 8/22/2011 -  8/28/2011
 8/15/2011 -  8/21/2011
  8/8/2011 -  8/14/2011
  8/1/2011 -   8/7/2011
 7/25/2011 -  7/31/2011
 7/18/2011 -  7/24/2011
 7/11/2011 -  7/17/2011
  7/4/2011 -  7/10/2011
 6/27/2011 -   7/3/2011
 6/20/2011 -  6/26/2011
 6/13/2011 -  6/19/2011
  6/6/2011 -  6/12/2011
 5/30/2011 -   6/5/2011
 5/23/2011 -  5/29/2011
 5/16/2011 -  5/22/2011
  5/9/2011 -  5/15/2011
  5/2/2011 -   5/8/2011
 4/25/2011 -   5/1/2011
 4/18/2011 -  4/24/2011
 4/11/2011 -  4/17/2011
  4/4/2011 -  4/10/2011
 3/28/2011 -   4/3/2011
 3/21/2011 -  3/27/2011
 3/14/2011 -  3/20/2011
  3/7/2011 -  3/13/2011
 2/28/2011 -   3/6/2011
 2/21/2011 -  2/27/2011
 2/14/2011 -  2/20/2011
  2/7/2011 -  2/13/2011
 1/31/2011 -   2/6/2011
 1/24/2011 -  1/30/2011
 1/17/2011 -  1/23/2011
 1/10/2011 -  1/16/2011
  1/3/2011 -   1/9/2011
12/27/2010 -   1/2/2010
12/20/2010 - 12/26/2010
12/13/2010 - 12/19/2010
 12/6/2010 - 12/12/2010
11/29/2010 -  12/5/2010
11/22/2010 - 11/28/2010
11/15/2010 - 11/21/2010
 11/8/2010 - 11/14/2010
 11/1/2010 -  11/7/2010
10/25/2010 - 10/31/2010
10/18/2010 - 10/24/2010
10/11/2010 - 10/17/2010
 10/4/2010 - 10/10/2010
 9/27/2010 -  10/3/2010
 9/20/2010 -  9/26/2010
 9/13/2010 -  9/19/2010
  9/6/2010 -  9/12/2010
 8/30/2010 -   9/5/2010
 8/23/2010 -  8/29/2010
 8/16/2010 -  8/22/2010
  8/9/2010 -  8/15/2010
  8/2/2010 -   8/8/2010
 7/26/2010 -   8/1/2010
 7/19/2010 -  7/25/2010
 7/12/2010 -  7/18/2010
  7/5/2010 -  7/11/2010
 6/28/2010 -   7/4/2010
 6/21/2010 -  6/27/2010
 6/14/2010 -  6/20/2010
  6/7/2010 -  6/13/2010
 5/31/2010 -   6/6/2010
 5/24/2010 -  5/30/2010
 5/17/2010 -  5/23/2010
 5/10/2010 -  5/16/2010
  5/3/2010 -   5/9/2010
 4/26/2010 -   5/2/2010
 4/19/2010 -  4/25/2010
 4/12/2010 -  4/18/2010
  4/5/2010 -  4/11/2010
 3/29/2010 -   4/4/2010
 3/22/2010 -  3/28/2010
 3/15/2010 -  3/21/2010
  3/8/2010 -  3/14/2010
  3/1/2010 -   3/7/2010
 2/22/2010 -  2/28/2010
 2/15/2010 -  2/21/2010
  2/8/2010 -  2/14/2010
  2/1/2010 -   2/7/2010
 1/25/2010 -  1/31/2010
 1/18/2010 -  1/24/2010
 1/11/2010 -  1/17/2010
  1/4/2010 -  1/10/2010
12/28/2009 -   1/3/2009
12/21/2009 - 12/27/2009
12/14/2009 - 12/20/2009
 12/7/2009 - 12/13/2009
11/30/2009 -  12/6/2009
11/23/2009 - 11/29/2009
11/16/2009 - 11/22/2009
 11/9/2009 - 11/15/2009
 11/2/2009 -  11/8/2009
10/26/2009 -  11/1/2009
10/19/2009 - 10/25/2009
10/12/2009 - 10/18/2009
 10/5/2009 - 10/11/2009
 9/28/2009 -  10/4/2009
 9/21/2009 -  9/27/2009
 9/14/2009 -  9/20/2009
  9/7/2009 -  9/13/2009
 8/31/2009 -   9/6/2009
 8/24/2009 -  8/30/2009
 8/17/2009 -  8/23/2009
 8/10/2009 -  8/16/2009
  8/3/2009 -   8/9/2009
 7/27/2009 -   8/2/2009
 7/20/2009 -  7/26/2009
 7/13/2009 -  7/19/2009
  7/6/2009 -  7/12/2009
 6/29/2009 -   7/5/2009
 6/22/2009 -  6/28/2009
 6/15/2009 -  6/21/2009
  6/8/2009 -  6/14/2009
  6/1/2009 -   6/7/2009
 5/25/2009 -  5/31/2009
 5/18/2009 -  5/24/2009
 5/11/2009 -  5/17/2009
  5/4/2009 -  5/10/2009
 4/27/2009 -   5/3/2009
 4/20/2009 -  4/26/2009
 4/13/2009 -  4/19/2009
  4/6/2009 -  4/12/2009
 3/30/2009 -   4/5/2009
 3/23/2009 -  3/29/2009
 3/16/2009 -  3/22/2009
  3/9/2009 -  3/15/2009
  3/2/2009 -   3/8/2009
 2/23/2009 -   3/1/2009
 2/16/2009 -  2/22/2009
  2/9/2009 -  2/15/2009
  2/2/2009 -   2/8/2009
 1/26/2009 -   2/1/2009
 1/19/2009 -  1/25/2009
 1/12/2009 -  1/18/2009
  1/5/2009 -  1/11/2009
12/29/2008 -   1/4/2009
12/22/2008 - 12/28/2008
12/15/2008 - 12/21/2008
 12/8/2008 - 12/14/2008
 12/1/2008 -  12/7/2008
11/24/2008 - 11/30/2008
11/17/2008 - 11/23/2008
11/10/2008 - 11/16/2008
 11/3/2008 -  11/9/2008
10/27/2008 -  11/2/2008
10/20/2008 - 10/26/2008
10/13/2008 - 10/19/2008
 10/6/2008 - 10/12/2008
 9/29/2008 -  10/5/2008
 9/22/2008 -  9/28/2008
 9/15/2008 -  9/21/2008
  9/8/2008 -  9/14/2008
  9/1/2008 -   9/7/2008
 8/25/2008 -  8/31/2008
 8/18/2008 -  8/24/2008
 8/11/2008 -  8/17/2008
  8/4/2008 -  8/10/2008
 7/28/2008 -   8/3/2008
 7/21/2008 -  7/27/2008
 7/14/2008 -  7/20/2008
  7/7/2008 -  7/13/2008
 6/30/2008 -   7/6/2008
 6/23/2008 -  6/29/2008
 6/16/2008 -  6/22/2008
  6/9/2008 -  6/15/2008
  6/2/2008 -   6/8/2008
 5/26/2008 -   6/1/2008
 5/19/2008 -  5/25/2008
 5/12/2008 -  5/18/2008
  5/5/2008 -  5/11/2008
 4/28/2008 -   5/4/2008
 4/21/2008 -  4/27/2008
 4/14/2008 -  4/20/2008
  4/7/2008 -  4/13/2008
 3/31/2008 -   4/6/2008
 3/24/2008 -  3/30/2008
 3/17/2008 -  3/23/2008
 3/10/2008 -  3/16/2008
  3/3/2008 -   3/9/2008
 2/25/2008 -   3/2/2008
 2/18/2008 -  2/24/2008
 2/11/2008 -  2/17/2008
  2/4/2008 -  2/10/2008
 1/28/2008 -   2/3/2008
 1/21/2008 -  1/27/2008
 1/14/2008 -  1/20/2008
  1/7/2008 -  1/13/2008
12/31/2007 -   1/6/2008
12/24/2007 - 12/30/2007
12/17/2007 - 12/23/2007
12/10/2007 - 12/16/2007
 12/3/2007 -  12/9/2007
11/26/2007 -  12/2/2007
11/19/2007 - 11/25/2007
11/12/2007 - 11/18/2007
 11/5/2007 - 11/11/2007
10/29/2007 -  11/4/2007
10/22/2007 - 10/28/2007
10/15/2007 - 10/21/2007
 10/8/2007 - 10/14/2007
 10/1/2007 -  10/7/2007
 9/24/2007 -  9/30/2007
 9/17/2007 -  9/23/2007
 9/10/2007 -  9/16/2007
  9/3/2007 -   9/9/2007
 8/27/2007 -   9/2/2007
 8/20/2007 -  8/26/2007
 8/13/2007 -  8/19/2007
  8/6/2007 -  8/12/2007
 7/30/2007 -   8/5/2007
 7/23/2007 -  7/29/2007
 7/16/2007 -  7/22/2007
  7/9/2007 -  7/15/2007
  7/2/2007 -   7/8/2007
 6/25/2007 -   7/1/2007
 6/18/2007 -  6/24/2007
 6/11/2007 -  6/17/2007
  6/4/2007 -  6/10/2007
 5/28/2007 -   6/3/2007
 5/21/2007 -  5/27/2007
 5/14/2007 -  5/20/2007
  5/7/2007 -  5/13/2007
 4/30/2007 -   5/6/2007
 4/23/2007 -  4/29/2007
 4/16/2007 -  4/22/2007
  4/9/2007 -  4/15/2007
  4/2/2007 -   4/8/2007
 3/26/2007 -   4/1/2007
 3/19/2007 -  3/25/2007
 3/12/2007 -  3/18/2007
  3/5/2007 -  3/11/2007
 2/26/2007 -   3/4/2007
 2/19/2007 -  2/25/2007
 2/12/2007 -  2/18/2007
  2/5/2007 -  2/11/2007
 1/29/2007 -   2/4/2007
 1/22/2007 -  1/28/2007
 1/15/2007 -  1/21/2007
  1/8/2007 -  1/14/2007
  1/1/2007 -   1/7/2007
12/25/2006 - 12/31/2006
12/18/2006 - 12/24/2006
12/11/2006 - 12/17/2006
 12/4/2006 - 12/10/2006
11/27/2006 -  12/3/2006
11/20/2006 - 11/26/2006
11/13/2006 - 11/19/2006
 11/6/2006 - 11/12/2006
10/30/2006 -  11/5/2006
10/23/2006 - 10/29/2006
10/16/2006 - 10/22/2006
 10/9/2006 - 10/15/2006
 10/2/2006 -  10/8/2006
 9/25/2006 -  10/1/2006
 9/18/2006 -  9/24/2006
 9/11/2006 -  9/17/2006
  9/4/2006 -  9/10/2006
 8/28/2006 -   9/3/2006
 8/21/2006 -  8/27/2006
 8/14/2006 -  8/20/2006
  8/7/2006 -  8/13/2006
 7/31/2006 -   8/6/2006
 7/24/2006 -  7/30/2006
 7/17/2006 -  7/23/2006
 7/10/2006 -  7/16/2006
  7/3/2006 -   7/9/2006
 6/26/2006 -   7/2/2006
 6/19/2006 -  6/25/2006
 6/12/2006 -  6/18/2006
  6/5/2006 -  6/11/2006
 5/29/2006 -   6/4/2006
 5/22/2006 -  5/28/2006
 5/15/2006 -  5/21/2006
  5/8/2006 -  5/14/2006
  5/1/2006 -   5/7/2006
 4/24/2006 -  4/30/2006
 4/17/2006 -  4/23/2006
 4/10/2006 -  4/16/2006
  4/3/2006 -   4/9/2006
 3/27/2006 -   4/2/2006
 3/20/2006 -  3/26/2006
 3/13/2006 -  3/19/2006
  3/6/2006 -  3/12/2006
 2/27/2006 -   3/5/2006
 2/20/2006 -  2/26/2006
 2/13/2006 -  2/19/2006
  2/6/2006 -  2/12/2006
 1/30/2006 -   2/5/2006
 1/23/2006 -  1/29/2006
 1/16/2006 -  1/22/2006
  1/9/2006 -  1/15/2006
  1/2/2006 -   1/8/2006
12/26/2005 -   1/1/2005
12/19/2005 - 12/25/2005
12/12/2005 - 12/18/2005
 12/5/2005 - 12/11/2005
11/28/2005 -  12/4/2005
11/21/2005 - 11/27/2005
11/14/2005 - 11/20/2005
 11/7/2005 - 11/13/2005
10/31/2005 -  11/6/2005
10/24/2005 - 10/30/2005
10/17/2005 - 10/23/2005
10/10/2005 - 10/16/2005
 10/3/2005 -  10/9/2005
 9/26/2005 -  10/2/2005
 9/19/2005 -  9/25/2005
 9/12/2005 -  9/18/2005
  9/5/2005 -  9/11/2005
 8/29/2005 -   9/4/2005
 8/22/2005 -  8/28/2005
 8/15/2005 -  8/21/2005
  8/8/2005 -  8/14/2005
  8/1/2005 -   8/7/2005
 7/25/2005 -  7/31/2005
 7/18/2005 -  7/24/2005
 7/11/2005 -  7/17/2005
  7/4/2005 -  7/10/2005
 6/27/2005 -   7/3/2005
 6/20/2005 -  6/26/2005
 6/13/2005 -  6/19/2005
  6/6/2005 -  6/12/2005
 5/30/2005 -   6/5/2005
 5/23/2005 -  5/29/2005
 5/16/2005 -  5/22/2005
  5/9/2005 -  5/15/2005
  5/2/2005 -   5/8/2005
 4/25/2005 -   5/1/2005
 4/18/2005 -  4/24/2005
 4/11/2005 -  4/17/2005
  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
 9/27/2004 -  10/3/2004
 9/20/2004 -  9/26/2004
 9/13/2004 -  9/19/2004
  9/6/2004 -  9/12/2004
 8/30/2004 -   9/5/2004
 8/23/2004 -  8/29/2004
 8/16/2004 -  8/22/2004
  8/9/2004 -  8/15/2004
  8/2/2004 -   8/8/2004
 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
  3/8/2004 -  3/14/2004
  3/1/2004 -   3/7/2004
 2/23/2004 -  2/29/2004
 2/16/2004 -  2/22/2004
  2/9/2004 -  2/15/2004
  2/2/2004 -   2/8/2004
 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
 11/3/2003 -  11/9/2003
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
  9/1/2003 -   9/7/2003
 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, May 23, 2004
17:47 - Yeah, that's what I thought

(top)
Okay, so maybe this (and not this) is the real California.



Tells an interesting little story there, doesn't it?

UPDATE: Several people have commented that this could simply be the house of a local high school athletics coach, whose property gets TP'ed as part of the usual traditions around this time of year. Considering that the festooning was left intact all day, with nobody making any attempts to clean it up, I guess that's the more likely explanation. The TP is a flag, in its own way...


12:53 - I never metaphor I didn't like
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/05/23/CMG8S5TM1B1.DTL

(top)
Wow. First it was the "car" metaphor for Macs in the Windows world (you know, the whole "BMW has a small market share, but nobody maligns BMWs!" thing—'scuse me, plenty of people malign BMWs). And now, to add to the "strained Mac metaphors" shelf, here's an SFGate article by Asma Gull Hasan about how the Mac is just like Islam.

The Mac operating system was created from scratch with the goal of being simple. When you turn a Mac on, the desktop is not an artificial environment created to navigate through DOS but is, in fact, the actual environment. Muslims are encouraged by the Koran to look at the world with curiosity and wonder, not to be afraid of scientific discovery. God's creations are "signs" to us of his design, which God wants us to explore and theorize about. The Koran liberates us to ask, "Why?" This accessibility to God is a major attraction for many Muslim converts. Being Muslim, and also being a Mac user, is empowering because both put me in control.

You know, something tells me that as long as there are majorities and minorities of anything in this world, there will always be topics for high school term papers. And SFGate articles.

Via Mark O.

UPDATE: Mike Silverman offers perspective. Also, Marcus notes that Islam's innovations ended about 800 years ago, whereas Apple's last innovation was only 800 years ago in Internet time or something...

Saturday, May 22, 2004
03:09 - Time for a snifter of choicest Engrish

(top)
Chris has in his hands one of the finest examples of Engrish I've ever seen. It's a toy wind-up car from China, which flips and spins and does other kooky stuff.

Like "take the ex-round clockwise hover around", and "empress round", and "refresh the bore", and "vacillating stunt".



Beware, though—"play attention, you of finger, hair, clothes, etc." Jun Long Toys wants you to know that "if the car dash to piecesed, and should pass by the per son check or profession personnel maintain the rear can continue to use." Oh, and "Is not suitable for the 3 years old and the following child."

Chris showed the manual to a Chinese co-worker, and he assured us that the Chinese in it is just as bad. So there's balance, somehow, in the world.


02:53 - Silence, you fool
http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/006788.php

(top)
What is it about John Kerry, that he can't prevent himself from issuing snide and deeply embarrassing comments in front of reporters whenever anyone—or he—falls down?

Alert Kerry-watchers will recall his snowboarding holiday two months ago, in which he explained a fall by telling the cameras that "that son of a bitch"—referring to one of the Secret Service agents charged with defending his life, even though he isn't even the official candidate yet—"knocked me over."

Then there was that incident when he fell off his bike, which was immediately rushed to the emergency room.

No embarrassing comments were immediately forthcoming. But that's just for context. Because today, Bush fell off his bike. (On mile 16 of a 17-mile ride, at that.)

If Drudge is to be believed, Kerry went in front of the cameras, eager to reap the PR windfall somehow, and chortlingly said, "Did the training wheels fall off?"

I hope the Democrats are pleased with themselves: they've selected a candidate with the maturity level of an Indymedia commenter.

This man is a candidate for the highest and most powerful office in the free world. Remember how the 2000 election was supposed to be about "bringing some dignity back to the White House"? If Kerry wins, we're going to get something far worse than a Bubba who can't keep Slick Willy under wraps: we'll get a combination of genteel, nuanced rhetoric and juvenile schoolyard taunts. Presumably to be used alternately upon foreign countries that he likes and dislikes, respectively. (It's the French way.)

If Kerry is interested in winning the Presidency, perhaps his best bet is to keep his fool mouth shut from right this moment until Election Day. Every time he opens it, a foot hurls itself in. Which just makes him look all the more dorky.

I guess I know now why Bush has put so little effort into campaigning, or communicating at all with the American people: he figures that all he has to do is sit back and watch Kerry talk himself right out of a job.

Via Tim Blair.


00:06 - The kernel should be limited to defending the coasts and delivering the mail, and Ken Brown should shut up
http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/

(top)
Via JMH—apparently Microsoft, in its ongoing, blunderingly "clandestine" attempt to prop up SCO long enough to knife Linux in whatever way possible, is sponsoring a book by Ken Brown that posits that Linux Torvalds didn't write Linux after all, and "stole" it from UNIX and MINIX.

So they sent Brown winging his way to Amsterdam to talk to Andy Tanenbaum, author of MINIX, to see if the disgruntled professor (who never recovered from his murderous grudge against Linus for stealing his thunder and the glory and commercial success that should have been due to his MINIX) would spill him some dirt in the hopes of tearing down his rival. And to Microsoft would go the spoils.

Well, problem: Tanenbaum doesn't hold any grudge against Linus or Linux, and he never intended MINIX to be anything but a teaching tool for his own university course.

So he's written up this page (and a followup here) which firmly make this point, for anyone who cares to listen to it rather than to Brown's upcoming book. It's pretty amusing.

He wanted to go on about the ownership issue, but he was also trying to avoid telling me what his real purpose was, so he didn't phrase his questions very well. Finally he asked me if I thought Linus wrote Linux. I said that to the best of my knowledge, Linus wrote the whole kernel himself, but after it was released, other people began improving the kernel, which was very primitive initially, and adding new software to the system--essentially the same development model as MINIX. Then he began to focus on this, with questions like: "Didn't he steal pieces of MINIX without permission." I told him that MINIX had clearly had a huge influence on Linux in many ways, from the layout of the file system to the names in the source tree, but I didn't think Linus had used any of my code. Linus also used MINIX as his development platform initially, but there was nothing wrong with that. He asked if I objected to that and I said no, I didn't, people were free to use it as they wished for noncommercial purposes. Later MINIX was released under the Berkeley license, which freed it up for all purposes. It is still in surprisingly wide use, both for education and in the Third World, where millions of people are happy as a clam to have an old castoff 1-MB 386, on which MINIX runs just fine. The MINIX home page cited above still gets more than 1000 hits a week.

Finally, Brown began to focus sharply. He kept asking, in different forms, how one person could write an operating system all by himself. He simply didn't believe that was possible. So I had to give him more history, sigh. To start with, Ken Thompson wrote UNICS for the PDP-7 all by himself. When it was later moved to the PDP-11 and rewritten in C, Dennis Ritchie joined the team, but primarily focused on designing the C language, writing the C compiler, and writing the I/O system and device drivers. Ken wrote nearly all of the kernel himself.

If Microsoft, SCO, or the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution are as clueless and obvious in their intentions as Brown is, it's hardly surprising—it's just like Microsoft to try to destroy through FUD what would have taken just one of their more competent employees to create in a month if they so chose—but thoroughly revolting. I know Microsoft has more or less shrugged off all attempts by rivals or the grass roots to paint them as the epitome of evil corporations in recent years, but couldn't they at least try to fake being honest? I mean, they're not even trying.

Some companies can create; others only know how to destroy.

Sheesh.

Oh, and by the way, Tanenbaum's pages contain a minor amount of philosophy about microkernels (like MINIX, classic BSD UNIX, and—heh—the Mach kernel in your Mac), and monolithic kernels like the one in Linux. Check out what happens when you replace the word "kernel" with "government"...

Friday, May 21, 2004
18:00 - Ivory Tower of Peace and Tolerance
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/issues/2004-05-19/feature.html/1/index.html

(top)
Then again, who needs wargames? Just read this massive four-page article by Anneli Rufus in the East Bay Express (via LGF), and try to keep from picturing yourself as a student walking the halls and courtyards of UC Berkeley, head down, hands in pockets so nobody can see them clenching into fists.

After the lecture, attendees filed out of the hall to discover that the protesters had massed so as to allow only a narrow passage between themselves and a retaining wall. In effect, all those leaving the lecture were forced to walk a gauntlet. Some ducked their heads, others set their jaws in anger, squeezing past the dozens of assembled faces chanting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" as fists pumped the air in unison.

A young woman in a kaffiyeh screamed up at a Jewish student significantly larger than herself. Her lips were wet with fury. "If I don't agree with you, then you call it anti-Semitism!" she shouted, as friends arrived to support her. The young man was surrounded. "You call it anti-Semitismmm!" she raged. "Why can't you tolerate anti-Semitismmm?"

"I can tolerate it," the student replied, his voice a low, tired rumble. "I have to. It exists. I just don't have to like it."

Why do I keep trying to post examples of why I think California is so cool? Because I feel so filthy living so near to Berkeley.

I need to go do something to take my mind off this. Really. I don't think it would be healthy for me to dwell on it any further.


16:45 - Gaming realism
http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/games/wargames.html

(top)
I didn't go and read this item/article/gem when Den Beste linked it a few days ago, for some reason; but I'm starting to run into it on quite a few blogs now, and having followed the link this time, I can see why.

It's worth your time.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
19:37 - I wanna know

(top)
WHY are there always SHOES on the side of the freeway?!



I mean, what the hell?


17:32 - Well, that kinda sucks.

(top)
Remember this? The Russian chick who likes to ride her ZX-11 through the Chernobyl Dead Zone?

Well, apparently it was more or less a hoax.

I am sorry to report that much of Elena's story is not true. She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration. She made one trip there with her husband and a friend. They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.

She did, however, bring a motorcycle helmet. They organized their trip through a Kyiv travel agency and the administration of the Chornobyl zone (and not her father). They were given the same standard excursion that most Chernobyl tourists receive. When the Web site appeared, Zone Administration personnel were in an uproar over who approved a motorcycle trip in the zone. When it turned out that the motorcycle story was an invention, they were even less pleased about this fantasy Web site.

Most of the reaction from the forum where this appears seems to be from people disappointed to hear that she has a husband.

Ah well... at least the story helped me sell the ZX-11.


17:13 - More of this, please
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005102

(top)
Via Dean Esmay—Irshad Manji has a piece in the WSJ calling for Muslims to face up to the possibility that the Quran may not, in fact, be as "perfect" as the faith always claims it to be.

It's not the end of the world if it isn't, guys. Seriously.

All it means is that you get to be one more religion among many, tolerant of the others' existence, and able to admit flaws in your own. That's the big piece of cognitive dissonance preventing Islamic leaders from spreading stern denunciations—that stick—of terrorism. It needs to happen now.

This is one frickin' tolerant modern world for religious diversity; more so than ever in history. There's never been a better time to bring Islam out of the closet and quit acting like admitting flaws in its texts will be fatal to it. It'll turn Islam into something modern that can coexist with the rest of the world peacefully, preserve it for the future, and protect the rest of us from the fanatics. The sooner this reformation comes, the better for every human on Earth.

...Or, you can always put out a fatwa on Ms. Manji. Your call.


13:32 - First sings first, ve vill kill all ze lawyers
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/05/update_on_gov_s.html

(top)
Holy crap! Arnie is whipping out the big guns on punitive damages. He's proposing a 75% tax on them.

• Of the eight states (Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon and Utah) that currently impose similar taxes, seven let the lawyers eat first (the state takes their share only after attorneys' fees are paid). California would join Indiana in taking its 75% share before the payment of attorneys' fees.

• The article predicts that Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposal may succeed if the tax is whittled down to 50% and the lawyers are allowed to eat first.

So frivolous lawsuits (currently bleeding us dry as a country, as well as building the ever-more-entrenched Zero-Fault Society, where every problem can be solved by suing somebody) are squarely in the Gov's cybernetic crosshairs; but not only that, he intends to use them as an engine, for as long as they last before the tax drives them away, for replenishing the state's bank account. If it works, brilliant.

Especially if he can push it through without allowing the lawyers to "eat first". Wouldn't that be catastrophic for the personal-injury-lawyer industry? Halle-frickin'-lujah.

Lance has often spoken of a solution whereby punitive damages are paid to a public charity, rather than awarded in the form of lottery winnings to the plaintiff. Real damages, yes, fine—medical bills, property damage, lost employment, all that stuff, that's as it should be. But punitive damages—the penalties imposed on the losing defendant purely as punishment? Why should those go to the plaintiff? Better they get reinvested back into the system, so the rest of us can benefit from the money, not just the lawyers and the people who see a door ding as the clarion call of Payday.

Sounds like this proposal is pretty damn close to just that. Now if only we can keep the lawyers out...


13:21 - Welcome aboard, sort of...
http://wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,63456,00.html

(top)
Steven reminds me that this is probably worth mentioning.

Released last week, PearPC is the first software emulator to allow Apple Computer's OS X to run on an Intel- or AMD-based machine.

The free, open-source software allows Intel- and AMD-based PCs to run several operating systems compatible with the PowerPC, including Mandrake Linux, BSD, Darwin and, most importantly, Apple's Mac OS X.

Users can download and install a copy of PearPC, and then install a boxed copy of OS X, which can be purchased from Apple for $130.

"Installation (of OS X) works beautifully but takes about four hours on a 1300 Athlon," said Weyergraf, referring to a PC with a 1.3GHz AMD Athlon chip. "I must admit 10.3 (OS X Panther) still has problems.... Some program crashes at startup and makes Panther restart it, over and over. We are working on this."

Biallas and Weyergraf warn PearPC is only a version 0.1 release and is still very experimental. By their admission, it is incomplete, unstable and painfully slow -- running about 500 times slower than the host system.

Since it's so slow as to be effectively unusable (and it's far from clear how much of the PC hardware the emulation layer is able to allow OS X to access), one can only conclude that the sole purpose of this is to allow adventuresome geeks to play with OS X's built-in UI tricks. Because I can't imagine that things like iTunes and iPhoto are what's driving this (FireWire and USB support are bound to be sketchy at best), and things like Final Cut Pro certainly require the speed of a native Mac. And it's not like people are doing this so as to access the massive library of games available on the Mac.

I love this:

It is "not meant for productive use," the pair caution on the site. "Don't use it on important data, it WILL destroy them sooner or later!"

Mostly, it seems, this is a "Because we can" sort of thing. And, hey! More power to 'em. The developers seem to be explicitly intending this to be a "First time's free" sort of thing, an introduction that gets people hooked on the OS and then drives them to buy a real Mac. If that's what ends up happening, well, huzzah!

OS X has allowed Apple to tap into the true geek bloodstream. If this is part of the dividend that's paid by that move, I doubt Steve is complaining.


11:24 - Just a dumb question

(top)
Okay, so this has been nagging at me for a little while.

Remember in Bowling for Columbine, when Michael Moore was interviewing that wild-eyed, backwoodsy, soybean-farming brother/cousin/whatever of Terry Nichols, asking him about the rationale behind Americans owning guns? Remember when Nichols stared back at him and intoned with a twitchy, breathy voice that "The people will rise up in furious anger against a tyrannical government!"? Remember when Moore said, "Well, what about Gandhi? Wasn't he able to bring down the whole British Empire, without firing a single shot?" (And remember how Nichols just stared back like a deer on train tracks and said, "I don't know nothin' 'bout that"?)

Well, I was wondering: How does one reconcile that with Moore's later statement that The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win?

Maybe someone should let al-Sadr know that Gandhi's methods are a lot more effective, huh? Maybe, if they want to drive out the American invaders, they should sit cross-legged in village squares and refuse to move? Maybe they should live on ashrams and go on hunger strikes? Moore doesn't approve of them defending themselves with weapons.

Oh, wait. I remember now. Everybody's allowed to have guns, is what Moore says... except for Americans.


11:05 - Ho for the old days

(top)
Heh. He wants to talk about post-postmodernism? About buildings that don't look so much like "buildings" as "things"? Okay, well, his example is pretty horrendous; no disputing that. But for your edification I present: the Gehry Building at MIT!



Check out this NY Times article. It positively glows. "A toybox at dawn!" "A Disney animation!" "A medieval Italian hill town rising amid the gray rectangular sameness of its section of campus in an industrial part of Cambridge!" And Victor Zue, one of the staff inhabitants, says, "Every week I'm in this building, I feel happier than the week before."

According to my Caltech-grad friends who now live in Boston, though, Zue is just about alone in his sentiment. The students and the faculty loathe this building, which in my friend Erik's words looks, simply, like a "pile". On the inside, it's designed to a bizarre utopian ideal that states that all spaces should be "public" spaces—so as to encourage interaction between people of all stations—and the result is that the people who would normally want private offices and cubicles no longer have any place where they can concentrate. It's always noisy, there's always traffic, and there's no privacy.

Erik also described the architectural scheme as "a combination of communism and Colorforms," and it sure sounds (and looks) that way. (And not just because it went something like 5x over budget, mostly because nobody could figure out how to build all those insane shapes—and because the architect insisted that they be built in place, rather than built on the ground and hoisted up once completed, which naturally stretched the limits of the contractors' sanity. But Stalin would have been proud.) If everybody is the same in the eyes of the State—er, the architect—then nobody needs privacy! Privacy is a tool of the bourgeoisie. All spaces belong to all people. The vision is more important than function. Never mind if masses of students are already drawing up petitions to have this horrible building decommissioned, or at least to have themselves moved to a building a little less deranged.

Caltech's Avery House had the same sort of goal—encourage interaction between undergrads, grad students, faculty, and staff, by building lots of public areas and having them all live in the same sorts of rooms interspersed throughout the building—but whether that idea itself is sound or not, at least Avery looks just like one of the Kaufman-designed South Houses, built in the early 30s. It refers back to the same blueprints, even: stucco arches, red-tile corridor floors, Corinthian pillars, wrought-iron railings and bars, all surrounding a Mediterranean-style courtyard with olive trees and cypresses. It looks like it could have been built on the same contract. (Granted, it was built a lot more cheaply; I didn't know you could even get 1/8-inch drywall.) The functional concept may or may not make sense, but at least the building looks like a building.

It's using that avant-garde "building" motif that's all the rage in some quarters.

I think it may be just about time for people like Gehry to observe the business end of an onrushing cultural backlash.

UPDATE: J Greely sends another example of "progressive architecture" run amok. Sweet merciful crap, I'm beginning to loathe the word progressive...

UPDATE: Keith & Fred send this previous Gehry concoction, which "hangs over the Mississippi, looking like a
derelict car stuck on the bank among the trees".

UPDATE: More thoughts from Sissy Willis, in response to this and Lileks' followup assessment. Yikes—I've never seen a groundswell of crosslinkage like this, around these parts. I guess Gehry wouldn't be too pleased to hear of it.

AFTERTHOUGHT: What do you suppose we'll think of these buildings in, say, twenty or fifty years?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
11:29 - Be right, or be popular?

(top)
It is (or ought to be) the practice of every blogger to spend a good deal of time in someone else's brain, trying to figure out how the world looks from behind their eyes. It can ease the eventual solution to an argument and bring it about quicker, by showing both sides exactly what their opponent's sticking points are, even if the opponent may be unwilling or unable to articulate it himself.

It's hard, though, to figure out anti-Americanism from within the confines of America. Unless you're a college student who has developed a mental model of America so hideous that the news out of Abu Ghraib excites you rather than horrifies you (because it means you get to tell all your European friends that you knew it, you were right all along, most Americans are evil, but you're one of the good JewsAmericans, which ought to make you good and popular), it's not that easy to see where this resentment of America—which existed prior to the Iraq war, but was given a convenient subtext for release when the war began—comes from.

I think I might have figured out a perspective shift that helps explain it, though, or at least to me.

I've had European friends sniffily tell me, and I quote, that "Patriotism is the feeling that your country is superior simply because you were born there." (Steven Den Beste had someone send him a slightly more, er, diplomatic version of the same sentiment recently.) My first reaction to such a statement is, Well, yeah—but it is! I mean, I'm quite convinced that the American system of government and society is the best yet developed by mankind, and I don't think that my being born here has much to do with that; I like to think that if I were born elsewhere, I'd come to the same conclusion, if I started from the same premise of "freedom is good" and "man has basic human rights". But would I? On sober reflection, the answer isn't so clear.

America is fairly unique in the world in that it's a country founded not on accidents of ethnicity, language, culture, and incidental boundary lines, but on an ideology. You're an "American" in name if you're born here, but philosophically being "American" has only superficially to do with your citizenship in the United States, as Den Beste observed a while ago. You can be "American" even if you live in Spain or Russia or Iraq, and you can be "un-American" even if you live inside the United States, in a way that it doesn't make much sense to call an analogous person in France "un-French". European countries mostly have socialist semi-democratic governments run by members of a ruling elite, from whom the voters pick the aristocrat they like best, rather than dreaming of growing up to be President themselves. These countries are defined along cultural/linguistic/ethnic lines, and ideology plays only a small role in how the citizens think their government should work. It's the way it is largely through accident and default.

It wasn't always that way, though. The USSR, too, was a country founded on an ideology. Like America, the Soviet Union thought it had "the right idea"; it thought it had the solution to all the world's problems, and it thought everyone would eventually come to be just like it. If other countries didn't come around to its way of thinking, their citizens would flock to the Worker's Paradise once they saw how great it could be. Never mind that the country people still flocked to throughout the 20th century, just as throughout the 19th, was America; the Soviets still believed in their ideology just as strongly as the Americans did in theirs. And the rest of the world, in their non-ideologically-defined countries, looked on with more than passing interest, to see which one of these artificial, experimental national constructs would turn out to be right.

Well, now that the Cold War is over, we know the answer to that. We're right. We don't apologize for it, either. We think we've figured it out: a way of being a country and a society that defers more to a piece of 230-year-old parchment than to any common bonds of birth or language or skin color, and that elevates the idea that the individual person is the most powerful and most honorable force within that country, rather than a ruling government. We've stuck to this ideology for over two centuries, and it's remarkably similar today to when it was first written down; it still speaks just as strongly both to us native-born Americans, and to those Americans in spirit who live abroad, as it did when it was drafted. And at the same time, we've managed to become so powerful, so rich, so happy, that we've inherited the global-policeman role that Rome once had—nature's way of identifying the winner in a survival-of-the-fittest-country contest if there ever was one. We never even had to exterminate our "undesirables", or send any "political prisoners" or "dissidents" to the gulags. So we have a hard time taking seriously claims from outside that we're doing things the wrong way.

But how does this look from the outside? Sure, most people in Europe or Asia or Africa might, on sober reflection, believe that America is on balance a force for good in the world. But there's still the glaring fact that it's not their countries that have won; it's some other country, way off across the ocean. It's some young upstart nation without any ethnic/cultural/linguistic heritage that it considers to be crucial to its identity—no "team colors", as it were. It would be one thing if, say, the country that "won" were the British Empire, or the Chinese; at least then there would be a traditional nation on top of the heap, citing its cultural—or tribal—identity as the reason why it's won; and at least that people could deal with (because, like it or not, tribalism is still the kind of side-taking that people have more of a reptile-brain affinity for; it's the kind of thing we feel we understand implicitly). But that's not how it's worked out. What's won isn't a natural "tribal" construct (which would have been easy to hate), but a modern, human-made construct: the worship of a piece of paper. And not just any worship of a piece of paper: the wrong one, in many people's estimation. Not the one that guarantees equality of wealth and equality of success, but the proposition that all men are created equal. And because it's a human construct, other "tribal" countries don't know how to relate to it: hate it? Admire it? Envy it? Reject it? It's like seeing a robot win the chess championship: Okay, so you're smarter than us mere humans. But can you dance? But regardless, the Americans have won, and they know they've won; just try to tell 'em different.

So: on to the inevitable metaphor. America, then, is the national equivalent of a born-again Christian, walking smugly down the sidewalk. (I'm being stereotypical here; bear with me.) He meets various people in his travels; they tell him, "Well, um, I'm Jewish," or "I'm Muslim," or "I'm Buddhist." And the Christian looks at them, smiles sadly, and says, "Well, I'm sure you're a nice person and all... but I'm afraid you're going to Hell."

And nobody likes to hear that.

The world at large might look at us and see someone who's got it made: rich, powerful, self-possessed, insanely happy. But it's not them. They'd love to be in that position too; but that would mean giving up their own identity, renouncing all they hold dear. In other words, converting.

Even if someone can convince himself that converting is the only way to achieve that kind of power and confidence and happiness, he still isn't going to want to do it. He'd much rather his own position come naturally to that same level.

And if it doesn't, well, he can always scowl darkly at the Christian in his suit and tie and draw up reasons why his adopted persona is immoral, selfish, overbearing, shallow, obnoxious, insensitive to others, and stupid.

It's a form of "sour grapes", yes; but it's also a perfectly understandable defense mechanism. If I lived in Canada or Brazil or Greece, and I didn't particularly want to move to America to get a better life for myself and my family, certainly I wouldn't spend all my time convincing myself why I should move. I'd more likely concentrate on finding reasons to justify staying put, and beyond that, not sucking up to the Great Deceiver. "It's not so great," I'd tell myself. "Just look at how they act. Is that what you want for yourself?" The shortcomings of my own country would cease to be relevant, because they're a given; what's important is finding reasons not to be so attracted to America.

But as an American, what am I supposed to do? If I were interested in winning the approval of the people in other countries who despise me because of my country's success (and success in spite of a lack of cultural depth, the way they see it—McDonald's and Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola are of a piece with America being an artificial construct of the modern human mind right from the get-go), I'd have to renounce what I believe are the reasons why America has won. That means standing up and telling the world that I think all the things we believe in, the things that have been integral to our society's growth, are shams. Individual liberty. Capitalism. Manifest Destiny. Rugged Individualism. Westerns. Big Macs. Guns.

I can't do that, though. I'm quite convinced that these things are our culture; the fact that they sprang from whole cloth in the latter 18th century doesn't make them any less valid than the Code of Hammurabi or the Magna Carta. These things are our culture, and we are a real country. The only difference between us and the rest of the world is that we believe more strongly in the piece of paper that describes our government than in our government itself; anybody else who feels the same way, we welcome here with open arms. You can be an American no matter where you live, as long as you believe what we do.

And just like the born-again Christian with the benevolent smile and the dark suit and the big hair and the pocket full of cash, we know we're right. We know we've got something special, something worth promulgating and defending. But are we willing to throw all that away just so people won't resent us so much?

We don't believe in punishing success by taking away the winner's winnings and giving it to the losers; that's part of our ideology right there. So it stands to reason that we're not about to back down from what we think is right because we feel sorry for the rest of the world and want to level the playing field. That's not in us. If it were, we wouldn't have won.

It's our curse, then, to remain self-righteous, as well as our blessing. As long as we hold to this same attitude as a country, we'll stay on top—and the rest of the world will resent us. Anyone who resents self-righteousness will resent us. But it's unavoidable. It's just the nature of the beast.

The rest of the world, though, is welcome to join us at any time.

UPDATE: Paul Denton appears willing. Deserves a blogroll link, too.

UPDATE: A response from Alisa in Wonderland.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
22:08 - Dude!
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004223179,00.html

(top)
I guess it's not just the El Salvadorans who are serious hardasses when outnumbered and out of ammo:

OUTNUMBERED British soldiers killed 35 Iraqi attackers in the Army’s first bayonet charge since the Falklands War 22 years ago.

The fearless Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stormed rebel positions after being ambushed and pinned down.

Despite being outnumbered five to one, they suffered only three minor wounds in the hand-to-hand fighting near the city of Amara.

The battle erupted after Land Rovers carrying 20 Argylls came under attack on a highway.

After radioing for back-up, they fixed bayonets and charged at 100 rebels using tactics learned in drills.

When the fighting ended bodies lay all over the highway — and more were floating in a nearby river. Nine rebels were captured.

An Army spokesman said: “This was an intense engagement.”

The last bayonet charge was by the Scots Guards and the Paras against Argentinian positions.

William Wallace lives on, it seems.

What kind of media would we have to have for stories like this not to be trumpeted with pride, outside the Foxes and Suns of the spectrum?

(Don't answer that. Probably the same kind that would only print this story if it could follow it with a reminder that evil empires throughout history and fiction have always reported superhuman deeds with huge kill ratios like this to their bedazzled populaces.)

I guess we'd better keep looking for adjectives.

Via Emperor Misha I.


11:10 - Black is white, up is down, and short is long
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/22/1082616260498.html?from=top5

(top)
Tim Blair may have already given this a righteous poking, as it's a month or so old, but still. It's another one of those instructive things, instructive in that it really shows how the deft use of language can have you singing that the sky is made of mud and the sun revolves around the moon.

I'm sure the author, one David Campbell of Australia's The Age, got an A from his Sarcastic Journalism 201 professor for numerous pieces just like this.

It's genius in its way. I mean, if anybody can read this piece—in which we conclude that through the pure and innocent eyes of The Children™, the real terrorists are us—and not see the fallacies on which it's predicated for what they are, and the piece for the insidious bit of fluffery that it is, then he or she is truly beyond reasoning with. But look at the sheer brilliance of it: by casting the Socratic conversation into the voice of a child with no sense of historical perspective or handy facts at his disposal, you can be sure you'll never have to hear the tricky questions:
  • "Daddy, wasn't Saddam in violation of 17 UN resolutions, and repeatedly violating the cease-fire agreement?"
  • "Aren't chemical and biological weapons really easy to conceal, and just as easy to store as harmless components?"
  • "What about that sarin bomb that blew up on a roadside? Doesn't that count?"
  • "Remember Somalia? Isn't there something to be said for being extremely firm, and a little bit overeager, in response to 9/11—because the fact that we retreated whenever we got bloody noses like in Somalia is exactly why 9/11 occurred?"
  • "What about Ansar Al-Islam? Haven't there been all kinds of links drawn between al Qaeda and Iraq?"
  • "Even if Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, wasn't it worth getting rid of him for all the crimes he'd already committed, and just in case he decided that if 17 UN resolutions against him weren't going to be enforced, then there was no point in trying to avoid incurring an 18th?"
  • "Isn't it a good idea, when the Middle East is exporting Islamic terrorism daily, to make sure that there aren't any avowedly anti-US dictatorships operating in the Middle East, whether they're sponsoring terrorism or not?"
  • "How is one of our soldiers making fun of an Iraqi prisoner's wee-wee to get information about terrorists remotely the same thing as Saddam feeding people feet-first into shredders for failing to agree with him?"
  • "Daddy, this is Iraq we're talking about! Saddam Hussein! The guy who gassed his own people and killed 300,000 of his citizens! The guy who's been the personification of evil in every sitcom and stand-up routine produced in the 90s! The guy that all America's been aching to get rid of ever since 1991! And now all of a sudden it's a bad thing, because we actually seem to be willing to do it?"

Kids don't say these sorts of things, see. Because they involve a certain amount of historical awareness and moral surety. We're doing a great job, though, of making sure our kids grow up with the ability to see the good in 9/11 and the evil in saving a million lives.

Yeah, this piece is old. But it just showed up as a forwarded item in my inbox. Courtesy of whom? The Ar-Rahman list, naturally.

Monday, May 17, 2004
01:15 - Boom boom boom

(top)
If there's any valid point to this, it's the following obliquely connected one:

For someone to spend every day reading people like Lileks and Charles Johnson, to digest all their words, follow their links, and yet to conclude that they're all just "warbloggers" full of "misinformation" whose ideological drums are now "falling silent" in futility at the bleakness of the news—well, yeah, that's bound to discourage a guy.

The idea that all these man-years of dutifully posting hundreds or thousands of words per day, sourcing links, moderating comments, following-up on back stories, tying yesterday's news in with today's to underscore a point, and painstakingly researching facts with which to pick apart an opponent's argument have made no more an impression on some day-to-day readers' heads than a ping-pong ball fired out of a toy bazooka... it makes one think: Who's the fool here? The reader who still isn't convinced or even swayed by any of this hard-won evidence and reasoning, or me for thinking they can be convinced?

I'll keep at it because I find it rewarding for more reasons than just the possibility of convincing people. I know that people scouring the web for opinions about the war are doing so to find people who agree with what they already believe, rather than to seek opposing viewpoints and try them on one after the other, seeing which one fits best. I know that the people reading this are most likely already predilected to my own leanings, or else they'd have buggered off long ago. But still, I like to entertain a fantasy that I might be able to sway someone here or there, to make a point that has a chance of sticking, however small it might be.

And it's no fun to discover that there's nothing to that fantasy but wishful thinking.

UPDATE: Greg Kihn is having similar thoughts; apparently he's taking all kinds of heat from listeners via e-mail regarding his opinions that he injects between the classic-rock tracks, and he's likening them to his second ex-wife who used to respond to things she didn't want to hear by sticking her fingers in her ears and going LA-LA-LA-LA-LA! "There's no money. We're going bankrupt!" "LA-LA-LA-LA! I can't hear you!"

It's like the airwaves are filled with Rage Addicts...


16:34 - P-P-P-Powerbook!!
http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dumbmrblah/Scamming%20the%20Scammer.htm

(top)
Says the site: "It started with a scam, and turned into the greatest prank ever."

Having been directed to this item via Mark O., I must say I agree with hand over heart.

The tale is only a week or so old, and it's already got several mirrors and its own domain name. Mac lovers and Mac haters alike, this one is worth your time. The eyes, how they stream. The sides, how they ache.

And it's instructive, too. On subjects such as: Ebay scam techniques and how to recognize them! Proper international FedEx shipping practices! And the potential for the grass-roots power of TEH INTARWEB, when wielded by a global network of SomethingAwful goons armed with digital cameras, multi-linguistic friends-of-friends, and foot presence all over the world, right where they need to be!

Like the RIAA's underhanded attempts to "poison" P2P networks with MP3s ostensibly of popular songs, but that instead contain nothing but static or ads, this is a fantastic example of a grass-roots solution arising in response to a grass-roots problem. There is, as Chris says, balance in the world.

"Safari Internet Adventure!" Dear, dear me. And get a load of the "Bluetooth mouse"...

Kris points out, by the way, that if the scammer were smart and/or ballsy, he'd recognize the street value of the P-P-P-Powerbook!! and put it on Ebay. He'd probably make back the money he lost...


10:21 - "It's a gazebo!" "Quick, cast Magic Missile!"

(top)
Well, well—look what got finished while I wasn't around to see (or take part, or slow down progress)?



Is that cool, or is that cool?

Previous Week...


© Brian Tiemann