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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Saturday, September 11, 2004
19:54 - "We were supposed to get the TNG future, not the B5 one"
http://ravishinglight.blogspot.com/2004/09/memory.html

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I'm not going to post anything today, or at least about today... partly because I'm just too swamped in projects, and partly because I don't think I have anything original to say this time around.

But Paul Denton does; and though it is his own unique tale, he may as well have been speaking for me, because his perspective is one that's quite close to my own heart. He makes observations that I wish I'd thought of making. And he describes a mental process, shaped by pop-cultural forces I find all too familiar, that I underwent in parallel.

So just go read it already.

Friday, September 10, 2004
16:48 - Now that's some irony
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/007782.php

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Powerline, which has been one of the big movers in the memo-forgery scandal still being unwrapped, has discovered that the handwriting-analysis expert that CBS got to verify the authenticity of the memos is this guy.

It's so surreal, I keep expecting to wake up any moment now. I mean, read the article... and then consider the context.

I swear. I am just sitting here with my face in my palms, slowly weaving side to side as the credibility of the news organization I spent every evening of my pre-college life with crashes to earth.

Every minute brings some new revelation. I don't have anything to add—just posting something because I have the feeling this will be one of those moments I'll want to look back on from the comfortable distance of several years in the future, so I can see what I was doing when...


13:29 - Why wait?
http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/#3

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Well, halle-frickin'-lujah.

Michael Eisner has informed the Disney board of directors that he intends to step down as chief executive in Sept. 2006, when his current contract expires, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Friday). "It has been a fantastic Disney ride for the past 20 years," he wrote. "Ups and downs to be sure, but filled with great satisfaction in building this wonderful creator of classic American culture into one of the premiere entertainment-oriented companies in the world." [...And then destroying it again! —Ed.] Much of Eisner's letter reads like a pep-talk, and it ends, "I can only conclude by telling you what I am doing next 'I'm going to Disneyland!'" There was no immediate comment from Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, the former Disney board members who have been leading a battle to oust Eisner. However, the New York Post quoted Disney, the 74-year-old nephew of the company founder, as saying on Thursday, before word of the Eisner letter was disclosed, that "we will definitely continue in our battle" to remove him. "We believe he's doing an awful job. ... and we wouldn't be in this battle if we didn't think we can win it." In an interview with the Journal, Eisner maintained that the Disney-Gold campaign and other controversial issues affecting the company played no role in his decision to step down. He said that his purpose in announcing his retirement two years in advance was to ensure that "there will be a comfortable period of succession." He repeated his belief that Disney President Robert Iger would make "a worthy successor" but he added that the final decision on that score rests with the board.

About damn time. And you know that the first thing that'll happen, the very next business day, is the reopening of Feature Animation under the management of Roy Disney.

This is turning out to be a pretty good day.


13:15 - Good start
http://worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_12.html

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If this holds any water, it's exactly what I and so many of us have been wanting to see for three years now.

This September 11 marks the third unforgettable anniversary of the worst mass murder in American history.

After September 11, many in the Muslim world chose denial and hallucination rather than face up to the sad fact that Muslims perpetrated the 9-11 terrorist acts and that we have an enormous problem with extremism and support for terrorism. Many Muslims, including religious leaders, and “intellectuals” blamed 9-11 on a Jewish conspiracy and went as far as fabricating a tale that 4000 Jews did not show up for work in the World Trade Center on 9-11. Yet others blamed 9-11 on an American right wing conspiracy or the U.S. Government which allegedly wanted an excuse to invade Iraq and “steal” Iraqi oil.

After numerous admissions of guilt by Bin Laden and numerous corroborating admissions by captured top level Al-Qaida operatives, we wonder, does the Muslim leadership have the dignity and courage to apologize for 9-11?

. . .

Only moderate Muslims can challenge and defeat extremist Muslims. We can no longer afford to be silent. If we remain silent to the extremism within our community then we should not expect anyone to listen to us when we complain of stereotyping and discrimination by non-Muslims; we should not be surprised when the world treats all of us as terrorists; we should not be surprised when we are profiled at airports.

Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against terror, we need to take the lead in this war.

As to apologizing, we will no longer wait for our religious leaders and “intellectuals” to do the right thing. Instead, we will start by apologizing for 9-11.

We are so sorry that 3000 people were murdered in our name. We will never forget the sight of people jumping from two of the highest buildings in the world hoping against hope that if they moved their arms fast enough that they may fly and survive a certain death from burning.

. . .

We are so sorry.

For more information visit our website at: www.freemuslims.org

This had better be for real. I'd hate to have gotten my hopes up for nothing. Right now, though, the server linked above isn't responding to pings, so who knows. This might or might not be earnest, or it might or might not represent a statistically significant number of Muslims. I'll have to wait to find out, though; after all, as we know, stuff can be forged.

But this is the solution we've all wanted: Muslims taking the lead in weeding out their own ranks, perceiving it as being in their own interest to confront their rogue element and present a benign face to the world. Any corporation or government body would aggressively subject itself to rigorous vetting to maintain moral consistency and honor; CEOs step down, Senators resign, maverick employees are fired. It's a system that's served the Western world very well: in a free market of ideas, it's in your own interest as an organized body to hold your members to strict standards, to expect every member to be a good representative of your group, and to own up in good faith to failures on that count. It's a system, however, that has until now eluded the Muslim community, whose leaders prefer instead to chant mantras of Islam being a "religion of peace" and the perpetrators of terrorist attacks being "not really Muslims" and the victims of such attacks being "legitimate targets" (often all in the same breath). In a culture where admission of culpability is the worst possible failing, these kinds of reactions can possibly be seen as rational, which is not to excuse them. ("The soft bigotry of low expectations", anyone?)

But this is the modern world, and it's ruled by modern notions such as the free market of ideas to a degree far greater than we really realize, without the benefit of first-hand historical context. In the age of mass media and light-speed communications, the world's most repressed societies are far more aware of how different life can be in other parts of the world than even the enlightened societies of the Middle Ages were. It's in this environment that it has to sink in that applying Western-style standards of conduct to one's own religious group, no matter how huge or decentralized, is the only way to resolve this clash of civilizations without the world erupting into a conflagration. (I'm not sure how this can be accomplished without a mechanism such as excommunication by which members, if they value their faith, can be kept in line—but at least nobody's ruling out the adoption of a more flexible, possibly more centralized form of Islam that's still considered "legitimate", which seems necessary in any case.)

The War on Terror has been a bleak prospect, though a necessary one, these past three years: regardless of successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in decreasing terrorists' power worldwide and defending our own borders against any major attacks since 9/11, there's always been a vague feeling that we weren't going to get out of this without at least a couple of cities, somewhere, going up in a mushroom cloud. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, but within our lifetimes.

I really hope this "Free Muslims" group is for real. Because they've got the right idea, and their position catching on is what our world's future depends upon. They need all the encouragement they can get. And so from them at least, if not from the entire Muslim world yet (for clearly they don't speak for all of it), I say—with full awareness of the gravity implied—"apology accepted".


10:01 - I'm dyin' here...
http://acepilots.com/mt/archives/001216.html

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Just unearthed! Secret memo proving John Kerry was in Cambodia for Christmas!


09:41 - That's my company

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A month ago, Apple announced the free availability of the audio speeches from the Democratic National Convention via the iTunes Music Store, with the following article in the monthly QuickTime newsletter:

Last week in Boston, the Democratic National Convention radiated energy and new ideas. Grasp the feeling of attending the convention in person with five dramatic audio QuickTime VRs.

For the New York Times, photojournalist Chris Ramirez captured major highlights from the convention: the candlelight 9/11 vigil, greeting Hillary Clinton, John Kerry arriving in Boston, Ohio casts the deciding vote and John Kerry accepting the Presidential nomination.

Amazingly, Ramirez used 10 Canon S60 digital cameras to simultaneously photograph a panoramic image. Learn more about the EventCam technology that made this project possible.

If you’d like to hear the 2004 Democratic National Convention speeches from Bill Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and others, visit the iTunes Music Store to download them for free.


I wondered whether they'd do the same for the RNC. Sure enough, the free speeches turned up in the store, though their prominent icon was quickly replaced on the main page by Jon Stewart's America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. But I had my doubts as to whether they'd make the announcement in the QuickTime newsletter with the same gusto as their breathless endorsement of the DNC.

Well, here we go:

This past week in New York City, the Republican National Convention kicked off at Madison Square Garden despite the anticipated protests.

Photojournalist Chris Ramirez captured major highlights from the convention in panoramic QuickTime VRs for the New York Times: President George W. Bush accepting the presidential nomination, street scenes outside the Garden, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accepting a welcome and protests near the Gardens.

Amazingly, Ramirez used 10 Canon S60 digital cameras to simultaneously photograph a panoramic image. Learn more about the EventCam technology that made this project possible.

At the iTunes Music Store, you can download for free 2004 Republican National Convention speeches from First Lady Laura Bush, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former President George P. Bush, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Senator John McCain and others.

Huh. Despite the anticipated protests... versus radiated energy and new ideas. That's what I call "going through the motions". But at least in objective scoring, Apple gets full marks after all.

(Heh. They forgot to make "EventCam" into a link.)

Thursday, September 9, 2004
14:24 - Sir, we have achieved total meme penetration
http://www.ucomics.com/boondocks/2004/09/09/

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Aaron McGruder once more deftly demonstrates the depth of his logical and critical thinking skills, and his estimation of those of his readers:



Boy, I sure can't wait till the animated version of this stomps its way onto Adult Swim.


10:56 - "Senator, I direct your attention to this damning Flash animation dated March 3, 1971..."
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12526_Bush_Guard_Documents-_Forged

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Boston Globe, CBS, you goddamn putzes.

You call yourselves "journalists".
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
00:46 - Cola Wars '04

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Now, I'm not prepared to make a taste judgment on Coke vs. Pepsi. I've got my own preference, but growing up in the 80s taught me that while Democrats vs. Republicans and Macs vs. PCs might be perfectly reasonable and enjoyable topics for discussion, Coke vs. Pepsi is well beyond the pale for polite conversation.

But I'd just like to note something about the current "half-diet" cola race. Pepsi has Pepsi Edge, and Coke has C2—essentially the same thing, regular cola with half regular sugar and half Splenda. Cool, fine; you get to market it as having half the bad stuff and all the taste of the real thing, and it's totally legit. Perfectly above board.

But look at the two ad campaigns. Coke is marketing C2 as being "half the carbs, half the cals, all the taste" of Coke Classic; the ads show people dancing around and being athletic and having fun. They compare the new product to the original Coke (a tacit disparagement of Diet Coke if I've ever seen one, but that's an aside), and don't even mention Pepsi.

Whereas the Pepsi ad shows a guy with a house full of Coke paraphernalia and collectibles—an irrational zealot—"cheating" on his chosen cola by drinking a Pepsi Edge. And the voice-over says that Pepsi Edge has half the sugar and carbs of Coke.

Not of Pepsi. Of Coke.

Once again, I'm making no value judgments about the relative tastes of these drinks. But one of these ads, it seems to me, is taking a teensy bit of a dishonest tack here.


16:40 - It had to be said

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I didn't even watch the second episode of Father of the Pride; I figured I'd learn everything I needed to know about it from friends within five minutes of it being over anyway, and I was right. As for reaction, I'm hearing quite positive and quite negative, plus everything in between. In other words, the jury's still quite far out.

Now, I know it's silly for me to keep posting about something I don't have that much interest in, but I just have to say something to Siegfried and Roy:

Lose that ridiculous name Sarmoti. Just... drop it. Yes, yes, I get it—it's your little acronym for your show; very cute. But I've seen your show, live... and endlessly braying this nonce word, and using it as a character name in property after property after property, does not magically serve to turn it into a hip cultural meme that kids shout to each other across the schoolyard and get embroidered into their backpacks. It's just not gonna happen. Give it a frickin' rest, all right?

Gyeesh.


15:47 - That's what I'm talkin' 'bout
http://www.opinioneditorials.com/freedomwriters/bstock_20040902.html

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Via B.C.:

On July 29, 2004, it happened. John Forbes Kerry came to the podium at the Democratic Convention and uttered three words that made many Viet Nam vets skin crawl: “Reporting for Duty!” At last the time had come for these long-suffering veterans.

The past was staring back at these wrongly disgraced vets from their television sets. The face it bore was that of John Kerry, the man who had shredded their honor without a thought and climbed over the bodies of their fallen friends to launch a political career. Kerry had stripped them of their dignity the day he sat before Congress in his fatigues and portrayed them as “baby killers” and “murderers.” Kerry did the unspeakable. He had publicly turned on his fellow vets while they were still in harm’s way and American prisoners were still in the hands of the enemy. Kerry accused them all of being out-of-control animals, killing, raping, and pillaging Viet Nam at will. The anti-war movement--the protesters--had their hero and he was a Viet Nam War veteran, an officer, a medal winner, a wounded warrior: John Forbes Kerry.

. . .

All across America, soiled uniforms and memories of being shamed and humiliated have resurfaced and Vietnam vets demand their rightful place in history. John Kerry seems bewildered by the reaction of his “fellow vets.” He has become defensive and angry because now his service and honor are being questioned. Kerry seems oblivious to the pain he caused three decades ago when he stole all honor and dignity from those same “fellow vets” for personal gain. Now he wants to use them again, for the same reason.

All across America, Viet Nam vets are smiling. At last, perhaps they can bury their demons. These angry vets are demanding that this man who sentenced them to being shunned as criminals, tell the world that he was wrong and that he is sorry for what he did to them. Kerry must admit that he lied about them.

For many, it would still not be enough. Satisfaction and hopefully peace will come when Viet Nam vets see and hear John F. Kerry give his concession speech the night of November 2, 2004 with the knowledge that it was their votes that helped defeat him. There are approximately 2.5 million Viet Nam veterans in America and they have not forgotten.

Kerry might serve an invaluable purpose to history after all.


11:15 - Now do it without looking
http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=0BBD9B6E-029F-4215-BED81FACC63EF81F&titl

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While the Kerry campaign runs around in circles devouring its own and contradicting itself and throwing bigoted tantrums and covering its tracks, it seems all Bush has to do to gain points in the polls is sit back and ignore the campaign entirely, because if he gets too close all he'll end up doing is getting his hands muddy. But, y'know, sometimes you just can't help yourself... if the ball is at thigh level and just floating in firm and straight, how can you not take a swing?

"When the heat got on in the Democratic primary, he declared himself the anti-war candidate. More recently, he switched again, saying he would have voted for the war even knowing everything we know today. And he woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position. And this one is not even his own. It is that of his one-time rival, Howard Dean. He even used the same words Howard Dean did back when he supposedly disagreed with him."

Talk about bringing a gun to a slap-fight.

Now if only he can do stuff like this in the debates, where the remarks aren't prepared in advance...

Tuesday, September 7, 2004
16:38 - Don't tell me they're losing SA
http://www.somethingawful.com/articles.php?a=2362

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SomethingAwful's Lowtax is mad... and he's fun to read when he's mad.

It's very refreshing, too. I love the smell of backlash in the morning.


13:39 - WinNuke
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/06/ams_goes_windows_for_warships/

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It seems that the Royal Navy has rebuffed all findings that its decision to run all its warships and submarines on Windows is ill-advised, and is throwing open the throttle:

Almost three years ago the naval systems arm of major UK defence contractor BAE Systems took the decision to standardise future development on Microsoft Windows. an immediate effect was to commit BAE's joint venture CMS subsidiary, AMS, who specialise in naval Combat Management Systems, to implementing a Windows 2000-based CMS system for the new Type 45 Destroyer. But this prompted strong internal opposition from some of AMS' engineers, who had a sound background in Unix and who had, despite resource starvation and a companywide policy to standardise on Windows, been investigating open source alternatives as a foundation for future combat systems.

They lost. Acting as spokesman for the concerned engineers Gerald Wilson compiled a 50 page dossier detailing the unsuitability of Windows as a foundation for a naval command system, and arguing that BAE's Unix history and expertise made open source UN*X a logical and viable way forward. The company then made him redundant. In May of this year Wilson reiterated his concerns to the board of BAE Systems at the company's AGM, pointing out that Windows is "proprietary technology owned by a foreign corporation", has "many and continuing security flaws", and is not even warranted by Microsoft itself for safety-related use. Why then, he asked, is AMS "shunning established engineering practice" by developing the Type 45's CMS on Windows.

I'm sure we all know why. Because the word "Windows" makes pen-pushing executives feel all firm in the pocket. Why, it's what my office-manager uses, right? And she seems happy enough! Besides, that fellow from Redmond certainly did sparkle on the golf course.

Just when I thought sanity was healthily outdistancing graft... now we get to worry about nuclear submarines and battleships with unplugged security holes in desktop apps running on their operational computers. After all, it's not like naval software is vetted very well...


13:24 - Prank Politician

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First (well, not first, but less recently) there was this, the page where the Kerry campaign helpfully listed all of Bush's accomplishments, with a tacit and unspoken disclaimer that they forgot to include that presumably would have said that they were all lies (including such gems as "John Kerry is Weak on the War" and "Bush Good for Immigrants"), except that instead of bothering to write such a disclaimer, they eventually deleted the page. Sort of. Or not. Who the hell knows.

And then there's this:

"Everybody told me, 'God, if you're coming to Canonsburg, you've got to find time to go to Toy's, and he'll take care of you,'" Mr. Kerry said, dropping the name of a restaurant his motorcade had passed on the way in. "I understand it's my kind of place, because you don't have to - you know, when they give you the menu, I'm always struggling: Ah, what do you want?

"He just gives you what he's got, right?" Mr. Kerry added, continuing steadily off a gangplank of his own making: "And you don't have to worry, it's whatever he's cooked up that day. And I think that's the way it ought to work, for confused people like me who can't make up our minds."

Reynolds says, "Is there anyone running this campaign?" I've been suspecting, for some time now, that this isn't a campaign at all. It's an Ivy League frat party. It's a self-congratulatory bunch of mutual back-slappers who are so convinced they deserve to win the Presidency that none of them has even given any thought to the notion that anyone might need to be convinced of it. It's like a guy with a physics degree applying for a job at Barnes & Noble: "What do you mean, I don't have the qualifications? Haven't you seen my credentials?"

I'd always been under the impression that Presidential campaigns, more so than just about any marketing or PR genre on the planet, were so carefully and spotlessly run, and the candidate so well-rehearsed and groomed and prepped with can't-miss material, that you expected that whichever candidate won, you'd be getting a package as shiny and smoothy shrink-wrapped as to put a Mac box to shame. By comparison, Kerry's looking like a six-year-old Pentium II machine cobbled together from nameless generic junk you found in your garage. Not pretty, but without any substance to redeem its appearance either. If I had to put a name on it, I'd say that Kerry seems to have built himself up with self-aggrandizing fantasy and cadres of sycophants to the point where if things don't go his way, he's too utterly floored by the very possibility that he freezes up and babbles. We already know that he assumed the media wouldn't allow the Swift Vets to score any points against him, so he was staggered when they did; now that his defenses are thrown wide, he's running out of people to blame for these failures, which seem to be coming closer and closer together.

This is just historically inept. Hell, Perot embarrassed himself less often. If I were a Kerry supporter, I'd be so mortified right now I'd be taking down all my bumper stickers and yard signs and planning a nice, long vacation on some island somewhere so I wouldn't have to face my neighbors' stares until all this had blown over.

UPDATE: The man is really beginning to make me nauseous.

The betrayed ghosts of Vietnam are restless and hungry, and this whole election and all its bile might prove to be worth it if by Kerry's sacrifice they can be laid peacefully to rest at last.

UPDATE: Oh, and let's not forget this gem. If Kerry thinks making fun of Southern accents is the way to campaign, John Edwards might not even vote for him.

You know how a twelve-year-old who knows he's in the wrong will "defend" against his opponent by mimicking his speech in a nasal, high-pitched, Cartman-like voice? "You said I could have it this weekend!" "Yyw syyyw yyy haayy yyy wwwkwnd!" Isn't that all that Kerry's defense has turned out to amount to? I mean, how stupefyingly juvenile can you get?


11:19 - Sea change?
http://vodkapundit.com/archives/006652.php

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Reading the comments on this Stephen Green post, one might almost think that Apple has made some rather serious inroads into the market segment of mentally-agile computer geeks, and shed whatever credibility problems it's had for the past twenty years.

I always feel vaguely queasy issuing too glowing a recommendation of a Mac, because any "conversion" experience can go sour, and then I'd have blown my credibility as well as lots of a friend's money and good will. But lots of bloggers and blog commenters seem to be unashamedly throwing their hats into the ring these days...

I have one friend in Toronto who is so eager to get his hands on my old 500-MHz iBook, once I trade up from it, that I spend most of my time demonstrating what sucks about it—just to try to keep him from having absurdly inflated expectations about what it'll do.


11:04 - How I Spent My Labor Day

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This was a momentous crisscrossing of ley lines on the calendar, because finally—at long last—I've made some headway in getting my custom master suite under control.



These bookshelves are second-hand, bought from a couple of friends who have a mansion in Scotts Valley—seriously, I think their house is too damn big for these shelves or something. But they're very serviceable; quite heavy-duty, attractive, and modular. I can expand them with gear from the Organized Living store at the Valley Fair mall, and I think I'll be doing just that later today, to get a couple more of those short shelves for the stack on the left. I may also see if they have this set in waist-high varieties, so I can add another unit along the arch wall.

When all this is done, I'll have organized all my shelvable goods such that the attractive stuff—large hardcovers, boxed sets, encyclopedias, etc—will be out here on these shelves, with lots of space around them set off by nice bookends that I need to go track down; and the less picturesque stuff, like the software boxes, will go into seclusion in the better hidden bookshelves in my bedroom.

And this is really only the first step of the dressing for this wall. I fancy one of these for the TV to sit on, instead of this too-tall table with all its useless space underneath; that'll bring it down by eight inches and let me make still better use of the shelf space above. And this matching armoire will sit off to the right, solving my clothes-storage problems quite attractively. But that's a $450 outlay all told, and I can wait till next month before plunging. Right now I'm still reveling in the uncommon joy of not having piles of books and boxes and CDs and other assorted crap covering every square inch of carpet in the north side of the room. I can walk around the couch on all sides now! I can sit on the floor! Capri can sprawl in front of the TV, instead of wedging himself between the coffee table and the chair I'm sitting in! Woo-hoo!

I think it's serendipitous how well the stereo unit fits on that shelf, too, don't you? I am so very very happy.

Monday, September 6, 2004
01:24 - I've worked myself into a nice little rut here
http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2004/09/all-in-same-eu-boat-part-6.html

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Several acquaintances have mentioned that they might move to Europe if the November elections should go a way they don't approve of; it's so much more "progressive" there, don'tcha know. It's all about the progress. Now crank up that Progressive Rock and pour me a Progress Cola.

They'll find themselves in a paradise where their toilets verbally admonish them to observe proper hygiene practices and castigate them for peeing standing up; and where words like "thin" and "hard-working" are banned from dictionaries because they discriminate against lazy people and mock the underweight.

Some days, to overanalyze the old joke, I'll take Congress over progress in a heartbeat.

UPDATE: And it's from the land of nuance that we get things like this. This must be some of that "humor" stuff that I've heard so much about.

But, hey, I console myself with the knowledge that I know more about the etymological history of the word aluminum than he does.

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© Brian Tiemann