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August 2002


Thursday, 1 August 2002, 6:30 am

To welcome the tired old month of August, a fresh new Vent with a tired old premise.

Thursday, 1 August 2002, 5:45 pm

Is anyone at all surprised at this? An attorney from Ashland, Ohio is suing Delta Airlines for $9500 for making him sit next to a fat guy. The plaintiff suffered, he says, "embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress." I've had dates like that, though not lately.

Should Delta have charged the Person of Size for two seats, the way Southwest does? Maybe. On the other hand, as a Person on the Cusp of Bulkiness, I'd like to suggest that if I buy two seats, I should be accorded some sort of quantity discount, unless I'm on the absolute cheapest fare available.

Friday, 2 August 2002, 12:55 pm

So we got the spiel from the New Health Care Provider, and for one fleeting moment I thought they'd sent us a rep from the phone company; there's a whole lot of Ernestine-esque "We don't care, we don't have to" in this package. Undoubtedly this attitude is what sold it to upper management, which resents the hell out of paying people, let alone providing benefits.

The most important thing, they kept telling us, was "Make sure you seek services in the network," which of course will be uppermost in my mind next time I'm bleeding to death. It might have been easier just to opt for one of those Neverpay policies to begin with.

Friday, 2 August 2002, 9:45 pm

I've been rethinking this quantity-rate business for chunky-style airline passengers, and I'm starting to think that they should pitch it as a Comfort Option ("We guarantee only two to a row!"). People might actually buy that, even if they don't need two seats.

Then again, I haven't flown for two years, and frankly, I don't feel the urge these days; it's nice to jet up and see the kids in Kansas City, but add the time it takes to get checked in at OKC to the time it takes to get checked out at MCI, plus one hour of actual flight time, and suddenly you're perilously close to the time it takes to drive, on maybe one $20 tank of unleaded. And my car has never lost my baggage.

Saturday, 3 August 2002, 10:00 am

I have to assume that the Return of the Occasional Nightmare means that I'm gradually returning to normal (well, normal for me, anyway) sleep patterns. The most recent example is suitably bizarre: I am attempting to buy this huge house about 18 miles from here (the address doesn't actually exist, but it could) which is actually two houses fused together, though not well, and I discover that not only is the construction dubious, but just beyond the next block is some ultra-secret government installation (I'm not even sure whose government it is) and a fenced-in area containing thousands of rusty barrels. If this means anything, I don't want to know what it might be.

And it's time I added the World Wide Rant to the blogroll. They've had some interesting, thought-provoking material lately, and best of all, it's terse. No thousand-word screeds for these guys.

Saturday, 3 August 2002, 2:20 pm

Eventually, the record industry will come to its senses or be beaten senseless, which is probably more emotionally gratifying in the short run and finally I'll be able to snag a fresh new copy of Billy Strange's 1965 Goldfinger album.

Strange, now seventy-two, was one of the key session guitarists and ace arrangers on the L.A. scene for many years. Under contract to Gene Norman's GNP Crescendo label for his solo work, he turned out a series of albums that hover somewhere between pop and what we now call "lounge"; Goldfinger (GNP 2006) is one of the best of the lot, featuring Billy's twangy take on that classic James Bond theme (which charted at #55 as single GNP 334), an original melody to commemorate Bond's erstwhile friend Pussy Galore, a couple of TV themes ("The Munsters" was the B-side of the "Goldfinger" single), and maybe best of all, an orchestral rave-up (there's no other word for it) on Elmer Bernstein's theme for The Man with the Golden Arm. I'd much rather pay $20 for this than, say, $18.98 for some tedious hip-hop number that the industry thinks it's necessary to inflict on my children.

Saturday, 3 August 2002, 5:00 pm

Some mindsets I can comprehend with a little analysis. Others take longer. But I'm having some trouble with the notion that it's somehow wrong to contemplate the forcible replacement of the government of Iraq, inasmuch as Saddam Hussein doesn't actually appear in any of the Al-Qaeda promotional videos and, what's more, actually writes novels and stuff, which means he can't really be all that bad, can he?

Which begs the question: does this same thought process apply to immunizations? "Tetanus, schmetanus. I'm not infected with anything. Keep your damn shots." By all means, let's give the bacteria a fighting chance. Sheesh.

Sunday, 4 August 2002, 9:45 am

Should the Bush administration decide to replace Norm Mineta as Secretary of Transportation, an act which should require no more deliberation than deciding to toss out a broken egg found in a supermarket carton, I nominate the honorable Tony Woodlief for the position. At the very least, he has some idea of how airports should work, a concept which up to now seems to have escaped Mr Mineta.

Sunday, 4 August 2002, 5:00 pm

There is a tendency among those of us who aren't of a conservative-Christian bent to lump the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson together, despite the fact that they don't actually hew to the same doctrinal lines. I tend to be harder on Robertson, mostly because he had a hand (and God knows what other body parts) in the Christian Coalition all those years, and I can't think of any kind word I've ever had for the Coalition, nor any reason why I should have had one. Still, they live on, side by side, in the dustbin off to the side of the back of my mind.

Meanwhile, Christian blogger Joshua Claybourn, observing that Jerry and Pat are spokesmen for conservative Christians only in the sense that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are spokesmen for African-Americans in other words, because they're constantly trotted out by media types and treated as such recently solicited comments from the field, and I think the most pertinent line of demarcation between Falwell and Robertson was drawn by Ben Domenech, who said, among other things, this:

"Robertson has no redeemable value. He's a hypocrite who gambles, invests in Red China, and is a complete loon when it comes to theology. He hasn't accurately represented the Christian Right for more than a decade.
"I think Falwell is sometimes wrong and sometimes right, but the difference from my perspective is that Falwell (like D. James Kennedy and other Christian spokesman) actually has a church body. Robertson is like Jesse Jackson -- he's nobody's Reverend. But Falwell has a church that's large and healthy, and he's done more good for his community than anyone will ever know."

(Disclosure: The first of Mr Domenech's links is not precisely the same link referenced in his original comment, but it points to the same document.)

>Comment from Andy:
I find myself forced to lump them together for appearing on the same television stage and blaming me (an atheist) for the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon.

They can backpedal on what was said all they like - their loathing of all things non-Christian (as they define it) was made clear on that day. And I will forever hold them in disdain for it.

Sunday, 4 August 2002, 7:20 pm

Computer vandals of recent years have occasionally, upon conviction, been barred from owning or using personal computers and other networkable devices for extended periods of time. Game machines, single-minded boxes that they are, would seem to be permissible. Not anymore. At the Defcon hacker convention in Las Vegas, two security consultants demonstrated a software patch for Sega's old Dreamcast console with the optional broadband adapter that, when loaded via CD-R, allows the machine to be used for network access. And who's going to suspect an obsolete game box? That old printer-based virus hoax may wind up being uncomfortably close to reality someday soon.

Monday, 5 August 2002, 5:15 pm

We're shuffling PCs at 42nd and Treadmill again, and perhaps atypically for a corporate entity, the more powerful machines are being assigned on the basis of perceived need rather than position within the hierarchy. Of course, we can get away with this because much of the staff wouldn't know Athlon from athlete's foot.

Most of the new boxes come bearing Windows XP, which is the very model of a modern mixed blessing: we have flung ourselves to the bottom of the learning curve in exchange for the promise of fewer crashes. My notebook runs XP, and indeed it has never served up a Blue Screen of Death, but damn, it gets finicky when you try to do things Microsoft thinks you don't need to be doing. And I persist in the absurd notion that the computer is the servant, not the master.

Tuesday, 6 August 2002, 2:30 pm

Shannon Miller, who has won just about every conceivable award as a gymnast, including seven Olympic medals (two gold), says she'd like to go into politics. Nothing too unusual about that: lots of Oklahoma athletes have wound up in the public sector in just this manner. And if nothing else, she's already proven herself to be, um, flexible.

Tuesday, 6 August 2002, 8:40 pm

Nearly a million people will turn out for this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There will be over twenty thousand different performances during the three-week festival, but none, I think, will be quite like drag queen Tina C's remembrance of September 11th, featuring selections from the nonexistent tribute album 9/11: 24/7.

I rather expect this show to be thoroughly excoriated in the American press, especially by those who haven't seen it, and most especially in Oklahoma, which takes criticism from without very poorly indeed.

Wednesday, 7 August 2002, 7:30 am

Damn. And to think I've been blaming Bill Gates all these years.

Wednesday, 7 August 2002, 3:30 pm

How do you reboot a roller coaster? Cascade Investment, which is to say Bill Gates, has taken an 8.6 percent stake in amusement-park operator Six Flags, and while this may be just to shore up the family portfolio, I can't help but wonder if Windows-based rides are in the future and if you'll have to activate them before you can use them.

>Comment from DavidMSC:
Uh we'll be hearing/seeing the "Blue Car of Death." Or you'll get to the top of the roller coaster, and be required to login again in order to enjoy the ride down. And so on...

>Comment from Chaz:
There's a "Service Pack" joke in here somewhere, but I'm not going to touch it.

Wednesday, 7 August 2002, 4:30 pm

Mike over at Cold Fury is coldly furious at the upwardly-mobile types whose grandiose plans for the future have been stymied by recent stock-market declines:

"For the most part, these people took a gamble on the stock market hoping for riches and early retirement, but somewhere along the line somebody forget to tell their stupid asses that the stock market occasionally and regularly goes down as well as up....I have absolutely no sympathy for feckless yuppie-puppies who thought that just because things had always gone their way to this point, they could safely assume that that would forever be the case."

Well, it's better than letting Uncle Sugar's Social Security take care of everything, but what's most annoying about these people, I think, is that ten years from now they're going to be regaling us with their first-hand reports of the Great 21st Century Depression and other fairy tales, even while the daily indices are climbing to numbers undreamed of in 2002, or even in 2000. It's the day-trader mentality in its purest, most pernicious form: "Woe is me, what will become of me? My portfolio dropped three percent today." Those who don't have a portfolio Mike can tell you what it's like shrug and go back to work, like they do every day.

Thursday, 8 August 2002, 7:20 am

Another pithy Mark Steyn pronouncement:

"[T]he left has an hilarious bumper sticker: 'Celebrate Diversity.' In the newsrooms of America, they celebrate diversity of race, diversity of gender, diversity of orientation, diversity of everything except the only diversity that matters: diversity of thought."

Not just the newsrooms, I suspect.

Thursday, 8 August 2002, 12:55 pm

I'd like to know the answer to this one myself: if Jim Traficant is now living in Pennsylvania, courtesy of Club Fed, can he still run for his old House seat in Ohio? "The Constitution," says Traficant's attorney, "is nebulous on this."

Thursday, 8 August 2002, 7:00 pm

Today's Life Lesson: 1 manager = 1,000,000 micromanagers.

Should I post my résumé? Is it a waste of time, is it too tacky for words, is it too obviously a plea for help?

Friday, 9 August 2002, 7:30 am

You may think fashion is mere faddism; you may think it's ruthless fascism. Me, I think it's an excuse to have fun.

>Comment from Tea:
hey! I happen to appear in denim and Birkenstocks every day. I've never made a fashion or anti fashion statement in my life. I've always dressed for me and what feels good for me. I don't sneer as a rule because it tends to exaggerate my lines and wrinkles. :)

>Comment from Chaz:
Well, it certainly beats dressing for someone else - and if it works for you, I'm the next-to-the-last person to complain. I do admit to sneering a lot, though.

Friday, 9 August 2002, 9:00 am

UPI's Arnaud de Borchgrave brings out the rose-colored glasses for a look at the House of Saud:

"Saudi Arabia is clearly not the United Kingdom. But it has stood by the United States in countless geopolitical crises. Its problem is a flat-earth clergy that has indeed ladled out billions to religious schools at home and abroad that produce brain-challenged youngsters who believe the extremist gospel that the Judeo-Christian world is out to destroy Islam....The answer is not a U.S. occupation of the Saudi oil fields, but the democratization of an absolute monarchy and its rapid evolution to a constitutional monarchy."

Quana Jones thinks this is a load of crap:

"Could you name a couple of these 'geopolitical crises' for us?"

Don't hold your breath waiting for a list. And Quana isn't through, not by a long shot:

"If the House of Saud wanted to be a constitutional monarchy, they would already be one. They?ve had plenty of time and plenty of money with which to accomplish this, if it was what they wanted. They have, in fact, spent their effort in ensuring that NO democracy will be able to flourish in Arabia under their rule and not for a long time after their expulsion, either. Exploding population, no jobs, the restriction on loaning money at interest and the fact they have allowed the filth that passes for 'religious' teaching to proliferate is because it is WHAT THEY BELIEVE! This is the way they want it to be! Get it?"

As George W. Bush might have said, sometimes it takes a Texan.

Friday, 9 August 2002, 7:00 pm

Jessica at The Blog of Chlöe and Pete covered this last week, but sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in.

Start with this quote from W. H. Auden: "If equal affection cannot be, / Let the more loving one be me." I've never been able to quantify affection myself it's always struck me, correctly or not, as purely binary but Jessica seems to have more of a grip on the mathematics thereof:

"There's a difference between a partner who feels lucky to have you and a partner who thinks he doesn't deserve you; between the two, I'll take the former."

I suppose I could disassociate myself from this whole notion by pointing out that I don't have a partner and don't expect to get one. But in so doing, I'm actually proving her point; there is, at least with some people, a limit on Non sum dignus. Whether this counts as a self-fulfilling prophecy, I leave to the historians. In the meantime, I have an empty sky to contemplate.

Friday, 9 August 2002, 9:50 pm

Mike at Cold Fury has thoughtfully provided the full text of Charlton Heston's not-quite-farewell address today. No matter what you may think of him or what you may think he stands for, read it. It's a gentle reminder of how eloquent a man can be as he nears the end of his days, knowing he's done his best to make them good days.

Thanks, Chuck. And you too, Mike.

Saturday, 10 August 2002, 10:35 am

What makes spam possible is the fact that spammers don't have to pay the cost of transmission; they just dump it out on the Net, and eventually it finds its way to my Deleted Items folder. It's highly unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon, and anyway, the cost of sending one individual item is at best nominal; it's the sending of thousands, even millions, that causes havoc in the system.

So ignore for the moment the cost of transmission, and imagine a different scenario. Suppose it cost money, not to send spam, but to have it delivered. What if you could charge a nickel for every piece of email received? Your friends and family would happily, or at least less grumpily, fork over the five cents, but the purveyors of porn and stock touts and genitalia enhancements and all that other worthless crap would be so far in the hole that they might actually have to get real jobs.

How could a system like this be created, and how could anyone keep track of it? It might go something like this.

(Muchas gracias: Ipse Dixit, via Transterrestrial Musings.)

Saturday, 10 August 2002, 5:00 pm

Small-town AM radio, at least in Oklahoma, continues on a path toward extinction. As mentioned back in May, Guymon's KGYN is seeking to move to Oklahoma City, leaving the town with a single FM facility. Now KWCO in Chickasha, a couple of counties away, wants in as well, which will leave the town with a single FM facility. (KWCO is owned by Tyler Broadcasting, which has previously "moved in" stations from Clinton and Ada.) And Anadarko's KJON has applied to move all the way to Carrollton, Texas, to serve the Dallas/Fort Worth market. This will leave Indian City with, yes, you guessed it, a single FM facility.

Sunday, 11 August 2002, 9:30 am

James Lileks once wrote a piece called "Thin Metal Tubes of Certain Death", in which he expresses certain reservations about flying as a mode of transportation "i.e., it's safer than doing some welding while standing up to your knees in gasoline." This was, of course, before the current Rush to Security, which has supplemented in-flight torture with pre-flight torture: just ask Laura Crane, who was randomly selected by airport screeners for, um, grossly inept handling. (Muchas gracias: Glenn Reynolds.)

Sunday, 11 August 2002, 12:15 pm

Maybe the real problem with AOL Time Warner is its name. Jeff Jarvis explains:

"[T]he company has no idea what it is or wants to be; it can't even decide whether it is AOL, an out-of-date online company; or Time, a once-venerable publishing company; or Warner, a once unstoppable entertainment company. It wants to be a media company. The first thing it needs is a clear plan from the top: no fake synergy, no fake accounting, no fake promises, just a clear plan for profitability in each division and a clear vision for growth and the future. And with that should come a new name. I say just call it Time. It's simple. It's clear. It has credibility. It's Time."

At least two-thirds of the corporate egos involved will go into world-class hissy fits. Reason enough to do the deed right there, I reckon.

Sunday, 11 August 2002, 4:00 pm

Never one to avoid stirring the pot, Patrick Ruffini is posting odds on potential Republican successors to George W. Bush, and there's plenty of room for argument on almost all of them. Ruffini's top pick (at 6:1) is Vice President Dick Cheney, with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at 8:1 and Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge at 10:1.

Of the three, I'd have to put my money on Rice. Cheney is hobbled by heart problems and Halliburton, and Ridge, up to this point, hasn't demonstrated much of anything beyond the ability to manipulate a color chart. Condi Rice may lack visibility, but she's a solid member of the team, she's a Deep Thinker at a time when Deep Thinkers are about to come back into vogue, and the very idea of putting an African-American woman on the top of the ticket would strike abject fear into the hearts of Democratic planners.

Three Oklahoma hangers-on are accorded perfunctory listings on Ruffini's chart, the highest being Senator Don Nickles, an 80:1 shot. Personally, I don't think Nickles would be interested in the job; he hates having to explain things to people, especially people asking questions. So does Representative J. C. Watts (100:1), but Watts is ostensibly returning to private life, where he won't have to. That leaves Representative (and candidate for Governor) Steve Largent (100:1), and I can think of very few who more greatly deserve to be left.

Monday, 12 August 2002, 7:30 am

I've been here in central Oklahoma for half a lifetime, a quarter of a century, time enough to have seen every weather phenomenon this side of tsunami. But nothing catches me off-guard quite like the pre-dawn thunderstorm, when the sky turns blacker than black and then suddenly explodes in lightning flashes that make Hollywood special effects look like fifty-nine-cent Chinese fireworks.

And then the rain starts. Two, three drops as a test; then the clouds open up with a vengeance. The ground, baked to a crackly crunch by the summer heat, tries its best to reject the watery intrusion. For a while, they fight to a standstill; but the rain has gravity on its side, and eventually earth yields to water. Streams and rivers are replenished, the air is freshened, and finally the sun comes up and calls a halt to all this nighttime folderol. There are rumblings of protest off in the distance, but no matter: the storm is over, and the day is begun.

All this happens maybe a dozen times a year, which means I've seen three hundred such storms. And every time, they take me by surprise. Often as not, they catch our hotshot meteorologists with their Dopplers down, too. That's summer in Soonerland for you.

>Comment from DavidMSC:
Truly one of my *favorite* things about just can't beat Oklahoma for mind-blowing storms. I'll see what Montana has to offer in the way of thunder-boomers and gully-washers and report back in the spring :-) .

>Comment from Chaz:
As the dimwit who was standing *outside* when the May '99 F5/F6 tornado blew through, I think "mind-blowing" is probably more accurate than you realize. :)

Monday, 12 August 2002, 1:40 pm

The threat of a players' strike once again looms over major-league baseball. Fortunately, the minors go on, and if you ask me, the minor leagues can be a lot more fun than The Show. Consider this: The Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, are holding "Jim Traficant Night" on Wednesday of this week, to which sons of truck drivers and wearers of hairpieces will be admitted free. You just can't get this kind of entertainment in the big leagues.

Tuesday, 13 August 2002, 7:50 am

Once again, we fall back on net.shtick and answer another survey.

And if you had any worries about the Department of Homeland Security, Jonathan Rauch would like to ease your mind: everything, it appears, is Under Control.

Tuesday, 13 August 2002, 11:55 am

This seems like as good a time as any to offer congratulations, best wishes, and all that good stuff to, the first organized music (and music industry) review in the Blogosphere". Bloggers, as everyone should know by now, are an incredibly diverse group, but more importantly, they're an opinionated bunch, so at the very least, BlogCritics can be expected to cover a wide range of music, in and out of the mainstream, with no holds barred.

Before you ask: No, I'm not part of the group; while I have a reasonably authoritative reputation in some fairly limited areas, and I'm certainly opinionated, I don't think I have a great deal to offer at this time. I figure I'm doing well enough to figure out Karl Haas' Mystery Composer once a year.

Tuesday, 13 August 2002, 3:35 pm

Something I missed earlier, from Fusilier Pundit:

"[D]ating, courting, finding someone to share your time and happiness with, is an acquired skill set. Some people seem to be born with it, others must teach themselves assiduously, others never quite get the knack. Of these last, some manage to find happiness with a significant other anyway, but statistically the prospects are not good, unless there is some milieu, such as work, church, or some shared intense experience to draw people together who otherwise could not give each other the time of day."

Um, it's twenty-five (or six) to four.

>Comment from Fuze:
it's not like I live under a rock, or have not been around the block a time or two, but I haven't the most remote notion of what you meant.

>Comment from Christopher Kanis:
I never understood what that song was about.

>Comment from Chaz:
Robert Lamm, who wrote it, has always insisted that it was about the experience of being up late enough to be, um, waiting for the break of day, and that people who were reading drug references into it were simply imagining things. (The Straight Dope covered this once, I seem to recall.)

Wednesday, 14 August 2002, 4:30 pm

"No one likes us," observed Randy Newman in "Political Science". In fact, "even our old friends put us down." Blogdom has been occasionally inflamed by blatant examples of hostility from our putative allies, particularly in the European Community, and I admit that I've often been puzzled by them: what did we ever do to deserve this?

I stumbled upon some insight into this attitude, courtesy of P. J. O'Rourke, who said this at the Cato Institute's 25th Anniversary bash:

"Hardly anyone wanted to come to America. Even the original inhabitants were just following a mammoth farther than they meant to. The rest of us were dragged here as slaves and bondservants. We were exiled here as heretics and criminals. We were chased here by poverty and oppression. And we came here because no place else would take us. We're a bunch of losers and bums, the off-scourings of the planet. And now we are the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Why? Is it because we're collectively good? No. It's because we're individually free."

Our friends in Europe, I surmise, probably still think of us, despite our manifest accomplishments and our occasional tendency to save their keisters from fates equal to or worse than death, as losers and bums. Under circumstances such as these, it's hard not to see some wisdom in Newman's solution: "Let's drop the big one and see what happens."

Thursday, 15 August 2002, 7:15 am

The Topic of Obsession this past week has been the pseudonym, and whether a blogger loses credibility by using one.

The short answer: no.

At least, not to any substantial extent. The credibility of any blog derives, less from the presumed personality of the blogger, than from the value of the links provided and the commentary attached thereto. (There's room for both linkers and thinkers, named and unnamed.) It seems at least plausible that pseudonymous bloggers may, in the eyes of some, start with a slight disadvantage, but for most of them, it is easily overcome. I don't believe that my credibility, such as it is, is in any way enhanced by the fact that I'm listed in the phone book.

Then again, back in the middle Eighties, I secured a white-pages listing for one of my own pseudonyms, mostly to reinforce the notion that this fairly normal person with a fairly normal name actually existed somewhere beyond my own imagination. The experiment was more successful than it deserved to be.

>Comment from Christopher Kanis:
I've avoided commenting on this issue, because I can't figure out where I fit in in the spectrum. My website doesn't use my name (it uses my college nickname), but I do have a picture, and I frequently comment (as here) with my real name (which many people know and some bloggers use when linking to me).

What does that make me?

>Comment from Timekeeper:
I have refrained from getting involved in this debate (again).

Anyone who has exchanged e-mail with me knows my first name, and there are a dozen or more bloggers who know my full name. Anyone who cannot contain themselves can find out who I am, but I don't wish to associate my name directly with the blog, for professional reasons.

>Comment from Chaz:
There are any number of reasons why someone might want to blog pseudonymously, and frankly, I don't see the problem with the vast majority of them. One's credibility as a blogger depends on quality of posts and comments, not upon ease of identification.

Take the case of Dr. Weevil. It should be perfectly obvious what he does for a living and what his academic specialty is; his exact affiliation and location are, I think, largely irrelevant. Some people, however, are not satisfied with the evidence before their eyes.

Friday, 16 August 2002, 7:30 am

Joshua Claybourn describes the following as "Random Opinions Based Solely on Opinion," but I think there's probably more to them than that:

  1. NewsNight with Aaron Brown is BORING.
  2. The Beatles are the greatest musical group in human history.
  3. Wendy's offers the best burger.
  4. Indiana Univ.'s student body has the most attractive women.
  5. David Letterman is funnier than Jay Leno.
  6. MTV is a Communist plot to rot America's minds.
  7. Posts like this are more popular than serious ones like the one below.
  8. The French, as a rule, are ignorant.
  9. Michael Jackson is an alien.

In order of appearance:

  1. Almost everything on CNN is dull. (Almost everything on Fox News is dull, but at least they have some reasonably-attractive presenters. No, I don't mean you, Sean.)
  2. I suppose I could make a case for Les Six, but it would require me to admit that I've heard next to nothing by Durey and not a whole lot of Tailleferre.
  3. In the absence of Whataburger, and I assume Josh is, Wendy's is peerless.
  4. Insufficient data for meaningful response.
  5. No question: Dave gets to the heart of the situation while Jay pokes around the edges.
  6. The Communists would have come up with something less commercial, if equally brain-rotting.
  7. Nothing I post is particularly popular at all.
  8. The French, as a rule, go their own way, unaffected by world opinion and occasionally immune to facts.
  9. Well, he's certainly alienating.

>Comment from Mike:
I think I like your nine better than his. I do find myself wondering about number four too, I must say.

Friday, 16 August 2002, 6:15 pm

Yet another twist in the ongoing Oklahoma City radio saga. While longtime oldies station KOMA (1520 kHz, 50 kw, weird directional pattern) is still pumping out that Sixties stuff, it looks like they may be getting ready to give up the music in favor of a news/talk format. The tunes will continue on KOMA's FM facility at 92.5, but there won't be any more calls to the Saturday Night Sock Hop from Duluth.

(Muchas gracias: Glenn Hauser.)

Friday, 16 August 2002, 8:30 pm

What's elusive? Curly Putman's dreams? Bob Lind's butterfly of love? Today, what proved to be most elusive was a type 362 battery for my watch, which is apparently stocked locally only by stores that had some left over from the Gulf War. Those of you who mock me for keeping equipment well past its shelf date now have one more reason, inasmuch as this is approximately the twentieth battery I've installed in this watch, which was acquired about the time my son was born. And he's old enough to drink now.

Saturday, 17 August 2002, 9:45 am

Well, shucks. The Boston Globe reports this morning that the FBI is holding the remains of nine of the September 11 hijackers, five recovered from the Pentagon and four from the Pennsylvania crash of Flight 93. Eight of the nine have Saudi ties, says the Bureau; the ninth is Lebanese. No one has stepped forward to claim the remains.

Meanwhile, the eminent Fred Pruitt at Rantburg offers the following recommendation:

"I think we're being entirely too sensitive about this. Just toss them out with the rest of the garbage and forget about them."

Serves 'em right.

Saturday, 17 August 2002, 9:00 pm

And now, four nice things about singer/songwriter Cory Sipper:

  1. She owns her own label, Drumdrum Records, whose logo contains a stylized drawing of wait for it a guitar.
  2. She has an incredible vocal range, but she doesn't feel compelled to beat you over the head with how incredible it is.
  3. She writes lines like "See those trees move in the breeze / An army marching in the name of love / I can't help but see such uncanny things / Is there more to life than the imagining?"
  4. She was once described by some industry bigwig as "not angry enough".

All this based on one album: Orbiter (1999). I can't wait to hear the other three. And anyway, Drumdrum is named after one of her cats. I think.

Sunday, 18 August 2002, 8:45 am

A Nevada ballot initiative this fall seeks to decriminalize possession of up to three ounces of marijuana for anyone over 21. It's getting a mixed response in the Silver State the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs first endorsed, then backed away from, the measure but the one person whose BVDs seem most greatly knotted over the prospect is Clark County Deputy District Attorney Gary Booker, who warned that passing the referendum would turn Nevada into a "stoner haven". And then he came up with this whopper:

"It would be like enacting a constitutional amendment that legalizes slavery. It's illegal and it will still be illegal."

I think what he meant by this tortured sliver of rhetoric was that the law would have no effect, since Federal laws presumably would overrule it, but "slavery"? Rachel Lewis thinks this is a truly asinine comparison:

"That's almost as dumb as saying waving away a fly is like impaling your kitten with a butcher knife. If you want to use analogies, fine. But for the love of god, make your analogies at least come from the same universe."

I'm still trying to figure out what's so horrible about a "stoner haven", myself.

Sunday, 18 August 2002, 1:30 pm

The commenting system has been hiccuping lately, and while I don't get quite as exercised about these outages as others might, I decided it might be a really good time to archive all the June and July comments, lest they be lost for all eternity. If you posted one, it's now on the same page as the archived log entry, indented slightly to reduce illegibility. I kept Web links, but threw out email links and IP addresses. The August comments will be similarly flushed sometime in September.

Sunday, 18 August 2002, 6:30 pm

Oh, dear God, NO!

Can't they just let it die?


 | Copyright © 2002 by Charles G. Hill