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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 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, June 20, 2004
14:19 - Another use for iSight
http://ichat.twosailors.com/

(top)
Hey, iChat users! Getting bored with video chats using your iSight? Finding that it's a neat feature that everyone tries once and then never bothers with again? Is your iSight sitting on a shelf next to your monitor, gathering dust?

Well, wipe it off and start making your buddy icon dynamic!

With the help of iChat Streaming Icon an ordinary chat room suddenly becomes a video conference. The meaning of "away" is immediately visible. Anybody can see your video or animation - even non-iChat users (i.e. on Windows). And if you don't have a camera, you can still replace your static icon with a nice animation.

The secret scheme of the Axis of Steevil is revealed: to immobilize Mac users by sucking away all their free time, thus allowing the Stonecutters to move into positions of power in world governments.


14:15 - This is not satire
http://www.Gravett.org/yobbo/archives/004468.html

(top)
"They just don't know any better. How can they be expected to follow our white-man laws?"

From Yobbo:

South Australia's Court of Criminal Appeal has reduced a jail sentence given to a man who broke into an elderly couple's house because he is Aboriginal.

The Appeal Court ruled that Aborigines are at greater disadvantage in society that whites.

Darren Clarke, 29, broke into the Port Pirie house of a couple in their 70s in November 2002 by smashing the back door.

He ransacked two rooms and stole alcohol and money.

The couple was terrified and traumatised.

Clark was sentenced to three years with a non-parole period of 23 months.

He appealed against that sentence and one of his grounds was that he was Aboriginal.

The Court of Criminal Appeal agreed saying an offender's aboriginality could be relevant.

So much for "racial equality", huh? Some races, apparently, aren't capable of comprehending the modern world we live in. So says the all-knowing State, which knows how best to spend our tax dollars to keep from hearing those petty complaints from The People.

This all started with affirmative action, which seemed like such a benevolent thing at the time, and people who warned of a slippery slope were denounced as racists. But here we are now... and it's going to get worse and worse, because it makes everyone involved feel virtuous, and because the only person an outcome like this victimizes is the person who's in the racial majority. (The person who was a victim in the first place.) And hey, what's wrong with that?

Twenty years from now, once we've all become accustomed to Sharia courts issuing binding legal decisions in Canada and people being acquitted of burglary and murder throughout Europe and Australia and the US because they're from "disadvantaged social groups", what do you suppose the odds are that we'll still all be chanting that minorities always get tougher sentences for the same crimes?

Pretty good, I'll warrant.

Saturday, June 19, 2004
02:10 - Wrong. Bah. Sufficient.
http://www.livejournal.com/users/level_head/130347.html

(top)
Zjonni pointed me at this analysis by LiveJournal user "level_head" of the miasma swirling about the Mohammed Atta/al-Ani meeting in Prague and the purported transfer of $100,000 in planning funds from Saddam to the 9/11 conspirators. It seems pretty solid; but it's over a month old, and I'm getting really sick of seeing seemingly hugely relevant stories like this get glossed over and ignored, and the charge for keeping them burning turned over to the tender mercies of the blogosphere. Where the hell are FDR's "fireside chats"? Why do we have to rely for our filtration and delivery of the news in this all-important world-shaking war on private news sources with naked biases and clear agendas? Why doesn't Bush feel it necessary to defend himself once in a while? Peh.

Anyway: this discussion still focuses to a sigh-inducing degree on the idea that attacking Iraq was a matter of revenge for 9/11, when I place a lot more importance on the aspects of the war that involve ridding the Middle East of a dictator who sought to combine the worst features of Hitler and Stalin into a single man, adding only incompetence as his own special personal touch. But if direct causality on the 9/11 axis is what makes your duck quack, it's a good thing to at least read over and ponder.

But read through the comments as well, particularly the thread started by the "no_intentions" guy. Man... what a piece of work. The way the argument ends—I'm telling you, credits need to roll.


05:43 - What's it like, not comprehending Americans in the slightest?
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=533087

(top)
Via Tim Blair, Andrew Gumbel of The Independent, regarding Paul Johnson's beheading:

Is this the horror that will finally undo George Bush's presidency?

What must go through the head of someone who can write a sentence like this? Who sees yet another Islamic terrorist atrocity committed against an American citizen (reportedly, one who was so sympathetic to Islam as to have been thinking of converting)—and can't contain his excitement that it might mean bad news for Bush?

And how is it that someone can imagine that seeing things like this will make us less willing to fight Islamic terrorism, more willing to capitulate and go home, and resolved to boot out the President on whose watch such a "horror" occurred?

It's been what, 228 years? And the wits across the pond still don't have any idea what we're like.

It's of a piece with opinionators everywhere who seem to take it as read that any bad thing that happens in Iraq—from valuables going missing from the Baghdad Museum to an IED going off in Fallujah to Abu Ghraib—is a tick mark in the column of "reasons we shouldn't have gone to Iraq."

As though the only condition under which invading Iraq was acceptable was that it would be completely effortless and bloodless and over before they had a chance to put out a new issue of Newsweek.

Listen: if my understanding of the situation is correct, to most Americans, setbacks in Iraq are an entirely different problem from the argument over whether we should or should not have invaded. I don't think any realistic-minded person in this country honestly thought there would be no bad news, no disappointments—in order to get that impression, after all, they'd have had to listen to all of Bush's and Rumsfeld's and everybody's speeches and statements and press conferences, and somehow hear the exact opposite of every word any of them ever said. (Which I guess explains how people can still get mileage out of the "Bush said Iraq posed an imminent threat!" thing, as Lewis Black did tonight. What's the weather like over in Bizarro World? How do those plastic turkeys taste?)

Abu Ghraib and the ongoing body-count and such things are setbacks we all knew were likely to happen, things we'd have to brace ourselves for. But ask yourself this: If we knew, in March last year, that Abu Ghraib was to occur a year later—would we have halted the invasion? Would it have changed our minds about the necessity of removing the regime that at the time had filled that very prison with people who were at that moment having their thumbs cut off, their tongues cut out, their arms broken, and a whole range of other creative forms of mutilation prescribed for crimes such as writing poems insufficiently obsequious toward Saddam?

Even if it were revealed to us that the military we were preparing to use in the invasion were a bunch of heartless SS shock troops, or a legion of Uruk-hai, would it have made us suddenly think that removing Saddam was no longer a worthwhile, honorable, and necessary goal?

It might make us address the problems with the military, sure. It might make us undergo a lightning-quick retraining process, costing us months of downtime and billions of dollars, as well as the element of surprise. We'd probably have done it. But would it have "invalidated" the underlying premise of the war?

No way.

Operational details about how the war would be won are an entirely separate question from whether the war should be fought at all. This is why so many Americans react with bemusement when columnists in foreign papers point at the atrocities and say, with giddy confidence, "See? See?! You were wrong to invade after all! Look what's happened!" To us, that's like saying that we shouldn't have gone to the moon because Apollo 13 later malfunctioned. It's ludicrous.

One thing we do understand, when we read an article like Gumbel's, is that people like him are more concerned with seeing Bush defeated than they are with installing democracy in the Middle East. They would rather see Saddam in power than Bush. And they'll use any news item in current events to try to drive home that point.

They'll never understand why those moronic Americans hold them in such contempt.

Thursday, June 17, 2004
01:50 - I promised I wouldn't, but...

(top)
...Is it just me, or did tonight's "Family Guy" episode (the one where the Pope comes to visit Boston) just feature a joke about the name "Jeebus" appearing in the Bible?

Astonishing.


UPDATE: Then again... even more astonishing, I suppose, is that the FG episode in question aired before the relevant Simpsons episode. About five months before.

Not enough time for it not to be just a bizarre coincidence...


01:35 - Self-portrait
http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleID.18078/article_detail.asp

(top)
I think I agree with Mike: this is some damned fine Lileks right here. More so than usual, and that's saying something.

Remember when "sincerity" was an admirable thing? When we didn't automatically assume it was a veneer over some malignant and contemptible vileness from a stupid age in the dim past? When irony and "subversiveness" were appreciated in small doses, but not presumed to be the highest possible form of art and culture?

Remember when a concept like the "Great Pumpkin" could have been written new, and people found it comprehensible?

At least somebody does.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
17:37 - 100% Canadian Content TV
http://ravishinglight.blogspot.com/

(top)
Paul Denton has some absolutely fascinating live-blogged coverage of yesterday's Prime Ministerial debate up North. Go down to "Oratory" and scroll up.

Yeah, our system down here has its quirks; probably nine people in ten on the street couldn't explain the Electrical College. But boy oh boy, politics in Canada involve some intricacies and sand-pits that would make me run screaming whenever an election was called. Hats off to those with the fortitude to swim through it all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
13:19 - Well, that was fun

(top)
Last night I drove down to Glendale and back. All in one evening.

Yes, it was that important. Well, for me it was.

See, last night, in the heart of the animation Mecca, ASIFA Hollywood held an event the like of which I knew I'd never get the chance to attend again: a 10th-anniversary reunion of the directors, producers, and animators of The Lion King, in a panel discussion where they could reminisce about the headiest days of Disney Feature Animation, when everything looked rosy and there was no stopping them.

In attendance were producer Don Hahn, executive-dude-at-the-time Jeffrey Katzenberg, directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers, screenplay writer Irene Mecchi, animators Andreas Deja and Tony Bancroft (and Alex Kuperschmidt too, but he was just in the audience, along with a bunch of other folks who hadn't been explicitly put on the panel), and CGI developer Scott Johnston. The whole thing was moderated by Tom Sito, one of the story developers.

A great time was had by all; the directors were every bit the clowns I expected them to be from all I'd seen, and there were a lot of behind-the-scenes stories that I'd never heard. Just getting to meet these guys face-to-face was somewhat of a milestone for me, since I've been following a lot of their careers for ten years now.

And it was for a good cause, too. One of the most poignant (while funny at the same time) bits of the evening was the original "Wrap Party" video that Minkoff and Allers shot at the end of production in 1994, getting clips of the denizens of the Disney Feature Animation building mugging for the camera, playing ping-pong, and generally acting goofy. It was interspersed with little congratulatory speeches by the voice actors, producers, and executives; when Katzenberg gave his speech, he talked about how it had only been ten years before then that he'd come to the studio and seen it grow from a slumping, backwater pit of misery to the high-flying powerhouse it had become in 1994, particularly with this very release. In the background of his reminiscing were clips of the Feature Animation building being built in time-lapse, rising next to the 134 freeway, truly a symbol of the studio's explosive renaissance if there ever was one. But as we watch that video just ten short years later, the Feature Animation building itself is derelict and abandoned, with a huge ABC building that resembles nothing so much as a Stalinist wedding-cake building looming over it from its very front parking lot. (When Michael Eisner came on-screen to do his laudatory speech, oh, the hissing that came from the audience...)

So in that spirit of bittersweetness, coordinator Stephen Worth opened the evening with a stirring speech about how traditional 2-D animation is not dead (needless to say, virtually everybody in the room was a die-hard fan of traditional animation); he claimed, interestingly, that 2-D is no more replaceable by 3-D CG animation than drawing and painting are by photography. It's a distinct and rich art form that transcends any attempts to characterize it as a mere "technique" that can be replaced.

So the panel was also a fundraiser for the project for which Worth is the director, the Animation Archive Project. It's proposed to be a digitized online museum of archival quality scans of as much animation art that ASIFA can scrounge up from the past century of work: sketches, cels, pencil tests, demo reels, everything they can get their hands on. They're only just now kicking it off, and they need $20K before they can buy the equipment and fund the initial development. But judging by the enthusiastic attendance last night, I don't think they'll have any trouble reaching their goal. One day they hope to turn it into a real, brick-and-mortar Animation Museum, and I think that's bound to succeed too. Animation, after all, is a civic treasure for Glendale, Burbank, and Hollywood; there's no way any of the local city fathers could fail to see the importance of preserving something that only ten years ago seemed to be here to stay forever, but today looks all but moribund. 2006, fellow audience members said ominously, is the last slated release date for any traditionally-animated US feature film; after that, nobody's planning anything new.

I'm going to be seeing what I can do to contribute. Hey, maybe they could use some help hacking databases...

Anyway, a thrilling evening all around, and absolutely worth making the drive for, even if it meant getting home at 3:00 AM on a work night. I'll be writing up a more in-depth account of the panel discussion, along with photos, if anyone wants me to mail it to them.

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© Brian Tiemann