When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

30 November 2005

Diabetes 'linked to Alzheimer's'

Hey, happy news for diabetics everywhere!
Having diabetes can increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by up to 65%, scientists have found.

The researchers from Chicago's Rush University Medical Center identified the increased risk in a five-year study of more than 800 people.
In (hopefully) unrelated news, I forgot to take my Glucophage tonight.

Diabetes 'linked to Alzheimer's' - BBC News - Health

A plan to win in Iraq

From CNN (and everywhere else) this morning, news that the Administration is releasing a 38-page document, entitled "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (PDF, courtesy CNN) to be followed by an important speech at 9:50 AM ET.
The 38-page released document, titled "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," attempts to define what victory in Iraq means in the short term, the "medium term" and the long term.

The plan calls for pursuing three tracks: political, security and economic. The tracks are broken down into eight pillars, including defeating terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency; helping Iraq strengthen its economy; and increasing international support for Iraq.
CNN.com: Bush speech aims to boost support for Iraq war


Save Darfur

Yesterday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed on the genocide in the Sudan; while the Times article is behind their idiotic TimesSelect firewall, it is reproduced in its entirely at the SaveDarfur.org site.

In 1915, Woodrow Wilson turned a blind eye to the Armenian genocide. In the 1940's, Franklin Roosevelt refused to bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz. In 1994, Bill Clinton turned away from the slaughter in Rwanda. And in 2005, President Bush is acquiescing in the first genocide of the 21st century, in Darfur.

Mr. Bush is paralyzed for the same reasons as his predecessors. There is no great public outcry, there are no neat solutions, we already have our hands full, and it all seems rather distant and hopeless.
Mr. Kristof has some concrete ideas about what can be done. (Read the whole thing.)


Firefox 1.5 is out

The best web browser just got a little better:

Firefox 1.5
is out, with a whole host of nifty new features.
  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Firefox may now be half a megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
  • Faster browser navigation with improvements to back and forward button performance.
  • Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs.
  • Improvements to popup blocking.
  • Clear Private Data feature provides an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.
  • Answers.com is added to the search engine list.
  • Improvements to product usability including descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery, and "Safe Mode" experience.
  • Better accessibility including support for DHTML accessibility and assistive technologies such as the Window-Eyes 5.5 beta screen reader for Microsoft Windows. Screen readers read aloud all available information in applications and documents or show the information on a Braille display, enabling blind and visually impaired users to use equivalent software functionality as their sighted peers.
  • Report a broken Web site wizard to report Web sites that are not working in Firefox.
  • Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.
  • New support for Web Standards including SVG, CSS 2 and CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.
  • Many security enhancements.
You'll want to go get it now.

Go on, we'll wait.

29 November 2005

Propaganda 101

The Strategy Page, Information Warfare division, offers helpful hints on the best rhetorical techniques to use in propaganda.

(I devoutly wish that a good editor had given this article a once-over before posting, but the content is well worth reading nonetheless.)

Example, slightly reformatted and edited by me for ease of reading:
# 2. Backstroke: Systematically belittling the goals of the subject of the article as the goals are being listed. For every step forward for the subject, the propagandist pulls the reader back.


"This year, the political party's stated goal is to give the rally a warm atmosphere. We walked into the cave-like coliseum as the preparations for the rally were taking place. 'We're trying to create a family atmosphere,' said one representative of the party as he squinted into the harsh lights. 'There are the children's rides,' he said happily, pointing to where union workmen smashed open wooden crates with iron crowbars."
The Most Successful Propaganda Techniques (The Strategy Page)

Related resources:
Hat tip: Chapomatic

Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!

(Warning: Long, detailed post about how blogs are ranked. Skip right over this if you're not blog-obsessed.)

There's some de-evolution taking place in the TTLB Ecosystem -- a sort of taxonomy and pecking order for member bloggers, which "automagically" gives you an evaluation of where your blog fits in compared to other member blogs.

Most Ecosystem members display their status prominently on the front pages of their blogs (on enrevanche, it's in the right-hand column near the bottom: "I'm a ____ in the TTLB Ecosystem.")

Well, Ecosystem curator N.Z. Bear is tweaking the algorithms used to rank the members of the Ecosystem, and as a result enrevanche (along with many many other blogs) saw its status plummet overnight.


In our case, even though our numeric rank in the Ecosystem is higher than it has ever been, we went from "Large Mammal" all the way down to "Flappy Bird" in a matter of hours, and I wouldn't be surprised to wake up in the morning and find that I am now a thermophilic aquatic bacterium (one of those odd little microscopic beasties that lives in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.)

A lot of people are up in arms about this (see the comments to N.Z. Bear's post) even though it's far from clear that the refining and the shakeouts are complete, but we're not worried.

First of all, and I truly mean this--I don't blog primarily to bring in an audience, though that's a happy side-effect. I blog because it's cheaper and more effective (for me) than psychotherapy.

Also, I'm not worried because I have a lot of different ways--none of them perfect, but all of them together presenting a useful picture--of measuring how the blog is growing and developing.

First, there's Sitemeter, which measures page views and unique visits, and sometimes captures some other useful information about where visitors are coming from and how they're finding us.


And Sitemeter tells me that, over the last year, our traffic has been slowly building; the trendline is in the right direction. (The spike in April was an aberration; different articles on the site were linked by MSNBC and Slate in the same month.) The number of unique visitors, the value in green, interests me more than total page views, the value in purple, though both are important pieces of information.

Sitemeter tells me that we're building and retaining an audience.

Then there's Technorati, which tells me who is linking to me and in what context. According to Technorati, there are 120 sites linking to enrevanche at the moment, and over 550 links coming in.


And if you check out who's linking to me at any given time, they are, by and large, good, well-written sites that are written, edited and maintained by people I respect. (11,322 may not be the Top of the Pops, but that's out of a claimed 22 million blogs indexed - meaning that we're in the 99.5% + percentile.)

Technorati tells me that we're getting noticed by the right people.

Since I started blogging, I have followed a very simple formula. I write about what interests me, and I put it out there. I don't spend a lot of time or energy promoting the blog; based on what seems to attract visitors, if I were to go whoring after traffic, I think I'd start over with a blog named "Controversy, Bloviation, Vitriol and Kittycat Pictures," but there's enough of that on enrevanche already, I think.

So we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing.

If you've stayed with me this far, thank you for your support.

28 November 2005

Phone sex, pornography and poker

Meet "Ruthie Ruthless" Parasol. The 38-year-old expatriate attorney has quietly become one of the richest people on the planet by selling vices--first over the phone lines, and now the Internet(s).

Her latest venture, an online poker room based in the offshore tax haven of Gibraltar, is making money hand over fist.

Billionaire Plays Her Cards Right in Online 'Gray Market' - Los Angeles Times

Gimme an Rx! (NYT)

Anyone who has seen the parade of sales representatives through a doctor's waiting room has probably noticed that they are frequently female and invariably good looking. Less recognized is the fact that a good many are recruited from the [college] cheerleading ranks.


T. Lynn Williamson, [the] cheering adviser at [the University of] Kentucky, says he regularly gets calls from recruiters looking for talent, mainly from pharmaceutical companies. "They watch to see who's graduating," he said.

"They don't ask what the major is," Mr. Williamson said. Proven cheerleading skills suffice. "Exaggerated motions, exaggerated smiles, exaggerated enthusiasm - they learn those things, and they can get people to do what they want."

Based on this penetrating analysis, I've got a great idea. We're having a hard time selling our foreign policy to the world these days, and our Secretary of Defense isn't the most charismatic fellow in the world, either...

I don't think we're gonna talk Condoleeza Rice into picking up the pompoms.

So. Anybody got the number for Vanna White's agent?

Gimme an Rx! Cheerleaders Pep Up Drug Sales - New York Times

27 November 2005

Carnival of the Cats. 88th edition...

...is now up over at IMAO.

Fahrenheit 1861

What would happen, do you think, if Ken Burns and Michael Moore were to get together and make a documentary?

Wonder no more.
Slave (voiceover): I have food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Life is good! I just hope those awful Republicans don't take it all away...
Ladies and gentlemen, Fahrenheit 1861 (at Google Video, created and produced by the folks at Jikes TV)

Hat tip: Inside Larry's Head

Mother Sheehan's Book Signing

Looks like somebody's 15 minutes are up.


Via Sweetness and Light, with a tip of the enrevanche chapeau to LGF.

High school diploma mills for NCAA athletes

The NCAA's academic eligibility requirements for incoming freshmen have given rise to a whole new species of ugliness and hypocrisy. Meet the modern-day high school diploma mill:
University High, which has no classes and no educational accreditation, appears to have offered the players little more than a speedy academic makeover.

The school's program illustrates that even as the N.C.A.A. presses for academic reforms, its loopholes are quickly recognized and exploited.

Athletes who graduated from University High acknowledged that they learned little there, but were grateful that it enabled them to qualify for college scholarships.

Lorenzo Ferguson, a second-year defensive back at Auburn, said he left Miami Southridge High School for University High, where after one month he had raised his average to 2.6 from 2.0.

"You take each course you failed in ninth or 10th grade," he said. "If it was applied math, you do them on the packets they give you. It didn't take that long. The answers were basically in the book."

The N.C.A.A. has allowed students to use correspondence school courses to meet eligibility requirements since 2000. That year, the N.C.A.A. also shifted the power to determine which classes count as core courses to high school administrators. In doing so, it essentially left schools to determine their own legitimacy.

"We're not the educational accreditation police," Diane Dickman, the N.C.A.A.'s managing director for membership services, said in September.
Clearly not. After reading the rest of this hopelessly sordid article, which documents frauds and forgeries ranging from the insignificant to the probably-felonious, I hope that the "accreditation police"--and perhaps the actual police--will get involved soon.

Poor Grades Aside, Athletes Get Into College on a $399 Diploma - New York Times


This ain't good

A respected Japanese scientist, who works with the World Health Organization, has told New Scientist he fears that China’s official tally of laboratory-confirmed human bird flu fatalities – just three – is only the tip of the iceberg.

Masato Tashiro, head of virology at Tokyo’s National Institute of Infectious Disease – a WHO-collaborating centre for bird flu – showed a slide at a meeting of virologists in Marburg, Germany, on 19 November listing “several dozen” outbreaks in people, 300 deaths, 3000 people placed in isolation, and seven human-to-human transmissions. The meeting was reported in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
New Scientist Breaking News - Official Chinese bird flu deaths could be 'tip of iceberg'


26 November 2005

An alpha male on beta blockers

George Carlin's recent HBO special, "Life is Worth Losing," didn't make me laugh that hard, which is sad. Either he's changed, or I have, or we both have... I used to require supplementary oxygen for one of his shows.

But he did open with a slightly modified version of this tour de force; the old guy still has some grit, wit and spit left in him, along with the fart jokes.

From his recent book When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops? -- George Carlin's "A Modern Man."
George Carlin

I'm a modern man, digital and smoke-free; a man for the millennium. A diversified, multi-cultural, post-modern deconstructionist; politically, anatomically and ecologically incorrect.

I've been uplinked and downloaded, I've been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I'm a high-tech low-life. A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal multi-tasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

I'm new-wave, but I'm old-school; and my inner child is outward-bound.

I'm a hot-wired, heat-seeking, warm-hearted cool customer; voice-activated and bio-degradable.

I interface with my database; my database is in cyberspace; so I'm interactive, I'm hyperactive, and from time to time I'm radioactive.

Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin' the wave, dodgin' the bullet, pushin' the envelope.

I'm on point, on task, on message, and off drugs. I've got no need for coke and speed; I've got no urge to binge and purge.

I'm in the moment, on the edge, over the top, but under the radar.

A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary.

A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom-feeder.

I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, I run victory laps.

I'm a totally ongoing, big-foot, slam-dunk rainmaker with a pro-active outreach.

A raging workaholic, a working rageaholic; out of rehab and in denial.

I've got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant, and a personal agenda.

You can't shut me up; you can't dumb me down.

'Cause I'm tireless, and I'm wireless. I'm an alpha-male on beta-blockers.

I'm a non-believer, I'm an over-achiever; Laid-back and fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home; low-rent, high-maintenance.

I'm super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built to last.

A hands-on, footloose, knee-jerk head case; prematurely post-traumatic, and I have a love child who sends me hate-mail.

But I'm feeling, I'm caring, I'm healing, I'm sharing. A supportive, bonding, nurturing primary caregiver.

My output is down, but my income is up. I take a short position on the long bond, and my revenue stream has its own cash flow.

I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports.

I'm gender-specific, capital-intensive, user-friendly and lactose-intolerant.

I like rough sex; I like tough love. I use the f-word in my e-mail. And the software on my hard drive is hard-core--no soft porn.

I bought a microwave at a mini-mall. I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast food in the slow lane. I'm toll-free, bite-size, ready-to-wear, and I come in all sizes.

A fully equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically proven, scientifically formulated medical miracle.

I've been pre-washed, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped and vacuum-packed.

And . . . I have unlimited broadband capacity.

I'm a rude dude, but I'm the real deal. Lean and mean. Cocked, locked and ready to rock; rough, tough and hard to bluff.

I take it slow, I go with the flow; I ride with the tide, I've got glide in my stride.

Drivin' and movin', sailin' and spinnin'; jivin' and groovin', wailin' and winnin'.

I don't snooze, so I don't lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty, and lunchtime is crunch time.

I'm hangin' in, there ain't no doubt; and I'm hangin' tough. Over and out.

Committee to Protect Bloggers: Ahmad Seyyed Saraj Has Escaped into Turkey

An endangered Iranian blogger has managed to escape to eastern Turkey, per this article from the Committee to Protect Bloggers (pardon the nested quoting):
Ahmad Seyyed Saraj has escaped Iran to the Turkish city of Van, according to S'CAN-IRANIC.
Seraji, in an interview with Tabriz News Agency's Human Rights Bureau (here), confirmed that he had escaped Iran to Turkey illegally, as he did not possess any valid passport. He has already approached the United Nations High Commissioner's office in the city of Van, in eastern Turkey.

He clarified that overall he would be subjected to three years of incarceration. He clarified that his earlier two-year suspended conviction that he had received was mainly because he had enchained himself to the entrance door of the UN mission in Tehran about two years ago.

More importantly, Seraji added that during his arrest, in the summer of 2005, he was kept in the same part of the prison with inmates who were accused of murder, drug-trafficking, and other crimes. Later on, he was moved to another detention centre and was beaten up and tortured. His torturers told him that they could easily cut his veins so that it would appear that he had committed suicide!

I again call for all free-spirited people in the blogosphere to throw their support for Iranian webloggers, and especially Seyyed Ahmad Seyyed Seraji Tabrizi, who is now a fugitive in the city of Van in Turkey.

Anybody got any friends in Turkey, or at the UN?

Committee to Protect Bloggers: Ahmad Seyyed Saraj Has Escaped into Turkey

Also related:

In praise of Kayak.com

On the off chance that you don't already know about it, I'd like to tell you about a wonderful resource for travelers: Kayak.com, the travel search engine.

Kayak is *not* a travel agent, and they don't sell anything (thus, the Kayak corporate motto - Search with us, book with them.™) Their business is 100% advertising-supported, and is free for users; Kayak searches hundreds of travel, airline, hotel and rental car company sites, and consolidates and returns the best offers to you, along with a fairly unobtrusive column of advertisements, when you run a search.

I have been a long-time Expedia user for personal travel, and for business travel, I use a godawful corporate travel agent website that shall remain nameless (if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.) I can generally plan most business *and* personal trips well in advance, meaning that I can do reasonably well for myself most of the time using these comparatively blunt instruments.

I'm finding that Kayak can sometimes do a little better for me even when I'm planning a trip a month in advance; where Kayak really shines, however, is finding the last-minute "drop everything, I gotta go now" fares.

When the travel-agent sites were refusing to show me anything but price-gouging full-fare tickets, Kayak often "knew" about a last-minute deal that the agent sites weren't letting me in on. I saved several hundred dollars on a *single* transaction this fall using Kayak... oh, did I mention that it's free?

Plus, the interface beats the travel agent sites all hollow: you can tweak your search *from the results page* without having to re-start from scratch.

kayak results
Oh, to be in Raleigh, now that winter's here.

Once you find the best fares or deals on Kayak, you can book directly with the airlines, hotels or rental car companies in question: Kayak makes it easy by linking directly to the appropriate site for the fare or deal that you find in your search results.

If your business forces you to use a corporate travel agency (cough, hack, spit) you can use Kayak ahead of time and go to that site (or talk to those folks) armed with the knowledge you need to "massage" your search terms precisely to achieve the desired result.

I don't know how I ever managed without it.

Cheap Airfare, Hotel Reservations, Car Rentals - Kayak.com

(I have no affiliation with Kayak, other than being an extremely satisfied user.)

25 November 2005

George Best, soccer's first superstar, dies

"I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest, I just squandered."

George Best, former Manchester United superstar, died today, aged 59.

George Best, soccer's first superstar, dies (Reuters)

Kindly refrain from Xeroxing your ass

With the office Christmas party right around the corner, some helpful advice from Canon: after you'd had a few, don't get naked and hop up on the office copier for a little xerographic souvenir:
Photocopier supplier Canon is warning customers to take better care of their office equipment during the Christmas period, claiming that the festive season traditionally leads to a 25 percent hike in service calls due to incidents such as the classic backside copying prank.

Such a stunt, a mainstay of the office party, often results in cracked glass on the copier, with 32 percent of Canon technicians claiming to have been called out to fix glass plates during the Christmas period after attempts to copy body parts went wrong.
Confessions of a photocopier repairman >> CNET News.com

Trusting the teacher in the grey-flannel suit (Economist)

Management guru Peter Drucker (who, among many other achievements, was one of the first to spot the shift to the knowledge-based economy, way back in the early 1950s) died earlier this month, at the ripe old age of 95.

There's a lovely remembrance and appreciation of him, and his work, in this week's Economist:
The man who became famous as an American management thinker was really a Viennese Jewish intellectual. The author of this article once visited him in his home in Claremont, California—a modest affair when set beside the mansions of most management gurus. His choice of a restaurant for lunch was more modest still. But as Mr Drucker talked it was easy to forget about the giant plastic wagon wheels that decorated the walls or even the execrable food. He talked with his deep, heavy Teutonic accent about meeting Sigmund Freud (as a boy), John Maynard Keynes and Ludwig Wittgenstein (as a student at Cambridge). He said that he liked to keep his mind fresh by taking up a new subject every three or four years (he was heavily immersed in early medieval Paris at the time). The overall effect was rather like listening to Isaiah Berlin channelled by Henry Kissinger.
Peter Drucker: Trusting the teacher in the grey-flannel suit (The Economist)

Drucker hated the term "guru," of course. He once quipped that people like him were called "gurus" by journalists "because 'charlatan' is too long for a headline" (or, alternatively, "because 'charlatan' is too hard to spell.")


24 November 2005

What Mister Gato is grateful for

He's happy that turkey is such an effective delivery vehicle for the amino acid tryptophan, which seems to induce sleepiness in mammals.

Tryptophan coma

Here, a turkey-stuffed chef and a turkey-stuffed tomcat are sacked out (photo by still-conscious wife; the white object protruding from under the comforter that Mister G. is resting his head on is my enormous, sock-clad foot.)

Be sure to check out the Friday Ark at The Modulator for more bloggers' pets from around the world - and don't miss the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, this week hosted at IMAO.

(If you're a catblogger yourself, don't pass up the chance to join Ferdinand T. Cat's "Cat Lovers Community.")

And add yourself to our Frappr map, won't you?

Check out our Frappr!

Update: Carrie has some additional Mister Gato catblogging this week, for those of you who simply can't get enough.

The bird is the word

So the turkey turned out all right.

Chef with entree, Thanksgiving 2005

For the most part, we had a sensible Thanksgiving dinner; although the traditional cornbread dressing was carb-laden, we had steamed carrots, stewed squash and whole-berry cranberry sauce as sides, and not even my endocrinologist could complain about any of those. I even refrained from making a heavy gravy... though I must confess that I saved the pan drippings, and may not be able to resist doing so tomorrow.

Here's what it all looked like plated up.

Plated Up
Could have been worse.

Definition of South, Southern Is Changing (AP)

CARY, N.C. Nov 23, 2005 — The joke around here is that this town's name is really an acronym for "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees." As far as Vernon Yates is concerned, they haven't been contained well enough.

Nearly surrounded by pricey subdivisions, the cinderblock Yates Grocery and Farm Supply sells neither anymore. As if things weren't bad enough, style maven Martha Stewart has chosen this Raleigh suburb to build a signature neighborhood of houses designed after her homes in Maine and New York.
I grew up right around the corner from Cary, and I remember when it was a sleepy rural town that was just beginning to develop as a bedroom community for Research Triangle Park commuters.

And now it's getting a Martha Stewart-branded subdivision? Oy.

This is a very good story about changing ways in the South, and Cary was the perfect example to pick. (AP writer Allen Breed is based in Raleigh, NC, my hometown.)

Definition of South, Southern is Changing (AP, via ABC News)

Things to be thankful for

In a lot of ways, 2005 hasn't been the best year for me. I got quite sick this spring and was diagnosed as a diabetic; both of my parents were hospitalized and wound up doing extended stays in nursing homes, and late last month my father passed away.

Despite all the personal turmoil and upheaval, however, I have many things to be thankful for.

And as I drink my morning coffee and contemplate the preparation of the annual Thanksgiving meal (low-carb version) here's a short and non-all-inclusive list:

Loved ones. My wonderful wife, two dogs and a cat--whom I have been together with in peace and harmony for 10 years (wife), 9 years (Chow Chows), and almost 2 years (irascible tomcat) respectively.

family portrait
Worth a thousand words.

Also, thank God, my Mom is still alive and strong (and back home now), and I'm also grateful for my extended biological family... and not least for my extended family of *choice*, the friends I've known forever and whom I love like blood kin (and in some cases... nah, we won't go there.)

Health. I continue to struggle with issues related to my diabetes, but things are going much better than they were; I am very lucky to live in a place where I have access to, and the means to pay for, excellent medical care. And as for Carrie, the light of my life, this past summer we celebrated five years of excellent health after a bad scare.

Work. I bitch about it, but I like my job and the people I work with. I also remember a time, in the not too distant past (after the collapse of the dot-com companies, closely followed by 9/11) when it was hard to get work. That was a bad, crazy time, and I'd much rather have too much work to do than not enough.

Geography. Not the subject in school, but the fact that I was incredibly fortunate enough to be born in a free, wealthy, and diverse country, and that I now live on a very nice small island off the coast of that country. These accidents of geography mean that I am free to think and say what I want and live as I wish, for the most part. (And that I can get a pastrami sandwich delivered to my door by a pre-operative transsexual at 3 in the morning, should I so choose.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Firearms: A poor substitute for bolt-cutters

A comparative study of various kinds of personal armament vs. inexpensive hardware-store padlocks.

One rifle round (a .308) blew the bottom of
the lock clean off... but it held.

Lessons learned:

1. "How hard is it to shoot off a lock?" Answer: Very hard.

2. Pistols won't shoot a lock off or even penetrate the lock.

3. Pistols are pistols and rifles are rifles. Enough said.

4. I now understand why our troops are often seen carrying "breeching [sic] shotguns" on their backs and a rifle in their hands. Shotguns will blow a lock off. Rifles will blow holes through a lock, but will not reliably shoot one off.

5. The rifles went through the locks with ease. It is obvious that you could "knaw" [sic] off the lock, little by little with a rifle, but a shotgun does it with one shot.
The Box O' Truth #5 - The Locks O' Truth

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

Back in Pajamas again

So, the ill-fated launch lurches on... backpedaling furiously from the "Open Source Media" backlash, the wise heads behind the "Pajamas Media" revolution have decided to rebrand their company as...

Pajamas Media.

You know, I was available for consulting on this renaming thing, but nobody asked me.

Too bad, because I have the perfect name... a concept that blends both "Open Source" *and* "Pajamas."

Ladies and gentlemen... "Open Kimono Media."
[to go open kimono]

v. To reveal everything to someone. Once you have
gone open kimono, you have nothing more to hide. (This is the more common sense.)

v. To give someone a tantalising glimpse of a project (i.e., enough to get him interested but not enough to give any secrets.)

This is an interesting example of the same IBM JARGON* having two rather different meanings. This may, and does, cause amusing misunderstandings at times.

Source: IBM Jargon file
Originally a term of art at Big Blue (where I started my IT careeer), "Open Kimono," as a concept, has now spread throughout the computer and consulting industry.

Come on, admit it. You love it. It's perfect. It's exhibitionistic, self-contradictory, and fun.

23 November 2005

Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Updated

On Monday, Microsoft released a new version of its Windows AntiSpyware tool (reportedly soon to be renamed Windows Defender.)

If you're not currently using an active-defense anti-spyware tool on your Windows PC or if you're using an older version of the Microsoft AntiSpyware tool, you'll want to get this:

Windows AntiSpyware Beta Updated (Nov 21, 2005)

Main improvements: The expiration date for this version is July 31, 2006... and it finds and removes the Sony DRM rootkit.

For the record, I actually prefer and recommend CounterSpy, which costs $20 and is well worth it, as the standard anti-spyware tool of choice for Windows machines. It's built on the same codebase, from Giant Software, as the Microsoft tool, but has more stringent and aggressive rules for spyware identification and removal. And Counterspy's publisher sells a second copy half-price for two-computer households; you can protect your desktop and your laptop for $30.

Reason #4,321 why I love New York

Carrie brought something home from the office that we both thought was a cold, but now it seems like Something More. Not to put too fine a point on it, I spent an extremely unpleasant night with GI distress, and am home sick from the office today.

I just called up our preferred neighborhood deli to order a few things for delivery - whole wheat bread for toast, skim milk, Saltine crackers, bananas, etc.

Clearly, I was ordering for a (temporary) invalid. "Ach, you're not feeling well!" the nice Lebanese man who runs the deli says to me on the phone. "We have homemade chicken soup today. I'm sending you some."

New York: the city where even Muslim grocerymen are Jewish mothers.

Bill in Exile: Terrence at Red One

Scott over at Bill In Exile (ordinarily NSFW, but not these links, unless you consider stomach-wrenching descriptions of combat casualties NSFW) takes a little time off from his tales of hot man-on-man action at the gym to describe quite *another* kind of man-on-man action that is quite a *different* kind of "hot," in this trio of posts recounting a fellow Marine's experiences at the Battle of Tarawa in 1943:
Much more than a "so there I was, no shit..." war story, this is an epic story of manhood and bravery above and beyond the call.
When we got to the beach it was like walking from Hell into an even worse Hell. I’m telling you Scott the water washing up on shore was purple with blood and there were bodies and body parts of Marines everywhere. The guys from Kilo Company and India Company that had hit the beach first were all mixed together and hiding behind this seawall made out of coconut logs and reinforced concrete and the Japs were just plastering the beach with artillery and machine gun fire. Everyone was huddled behind the wall and I was right next to Sergeant Keller who had just had his wound treated and I was huddling with Jimmy Quinn and trying to keep us both from getting killed.

There were times in the first fifteen or twenty minutes on that beach that Jimmy and I just held onto each other for dear life and when we took some artillery hits really close we were both screaming at the tops of our lungs. They taught you to do that to keep from bursting your ear drums from the concussion but also because you were scared shitless and couldn’t do much else other than scream.
Go read them all. And then ask yourselves the rhetorical question that Scott asks at the end of part 3.

22 November 2005

Adios, Ted Koppel

So tonight is Ted Koppel's last Nightline show. (See, e.g., the AP story for the kind of wet, sloppy farewell sendoff he's been getting in the media for the last several days.)

I am old enough to remember Nightline before it had that name... back when it was a nightly briefing about the Iranian Embassy crisis called "America Held Hostage: Day (#)" (where the number represented the number of days the hostages had been in captivity.)

Like any program that's been on the air for twenty-five years plus, Nightline has had its ups and downs, but it has consistently been one of the most intelligent news shows on network television.

In all the coverage of Koppel's legacy, however, I haven't read or heard *anyone* make, to me, what is the most pertinent observation. (And pardon me while I channel Joe Franklin for just one second...)

My friends, Koppel is the only person in the history of the television medium to go up against Johnny Carson, in Carson's time slot, and survive.

In fact, moving Nightline onto the permanent roster in 1980 was a masterstroke of counterprogramming. Nobody was going to compete with Johnny in a talk-show format. But it turned out that there was a late-night audience for hard news, and Nightline found it, and developed it, and made a bunch of money for ABC over the years.

Take off that tinfoil hat!

Attention, conspiracy-minded readers:

It's worse, much worse than we thought.

Here. Read this. Empirical evidence (from MIT researchers) that tin-foil hats actually make the government's mind-control signals more effective.
Abstract: Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.
On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

Author and researcher Ali Rahimi
at his workbench.

Pencil Roving: Back when the Village was bohemian

Carrie points to Robert Otter's glorious, vintage photographs of a Greenwich Village past:

Pencil Roving: Back when the Village was bohemian

"Finding Peace In Canada"

Part three of the series I mentioned earlier, on French Jews fleeing France for Canada, is now up at the National Post:

National Post: Finding Peace In Canada
Mr. Saadoun knew they had made the right decision last month. He had attended a Jewish New Year service with his eight-year-old son, Yoni. Upon leaving the synagogue, he says, "Yoni looked at me and he said, very alarmed, 'Papa! You are wearing your skullcap on the street. You must take it off! It is not safe!' "

"I told him that in Canada you can wear a kippa on the street with no fear of danger. When I said it, I immediately thought, Thank goodness we're here. It will be good for us here."

InformationWeek: Scotch Tape Stymies Sony Copy Protection

enrevanche reader and pal Anne points us to this article in InformationWeek:

InformationWeek > Sony CD Security > Scotch Tape Stymies Sony Copy Protection > November 21, 2005
Sony BMG Music's controversial copy-protection scheme can be defeated with a small piece of tape, a research firm said Monday in a demonstration of the futility of digital rights management (DRM).

According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony's XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.
This represents a major security advancement over Sony's earlier security method, which could be defeated by--I am not making this up--drawing on the outer rim of the CD with a Sharpie.

21 November 2005

McCain, Graham Warn: GOP May Be In Trouble (AP)

The two Senators (John McCain and Lindsey Graham) were interviewed in South Carolina, where they were campaigning together for a Republican candidate for state office. They predicted tough times ahead for the GOP if things stay on their current path.
"[W]e can recover," McCain said. "Reagan recovered. Clinton recovered. We can recover."

The party must show "progress in Iraq, we need a comprehensive energy package and we need to stop this profligate spending," he warned.

"If the election were tomorrow, we'd be in trouble," agreed Graham, who said the party must work to cut spending.

Their prescription, in addition to restoring a measure of fiscal sanity? Honesty about Iraq, including lessons learned from the mistakes we've made and straight talk about the necessity of success and the consequences of failure:

The party, [Graham] said, must be honest enough to admit that things aren't going as well as hoped in Iraq.

"Democrats who have this cut-and-run strategy--the public doesn't want to follow that. They want to follow Republicans who understand the war is not going as well as it should but who understand that our security is better off with a successful outcome in Iraq," he said.

The message in Iraq, McCain said, "is we are making progress, we have to make progress and we regret the loss of every single young American. But the benefits of success are enormous."

Quick, somebody, anybody, please... get these guys a bigger microphone.

McCain, Graham Warn: GOP May Be In Trouble (AP)

French Jews, bailing out

Many French Jews have had enough of anti-Semitism in their home country, and they're voting with their feet. Some are going to Israel, of course, and some to the United States (there's a huge established French Jewish community in Miami, already - who knew?) but an increasing number of them are heading straight for Montréal.

Canada's National Post is running a three-part series on the growing wave of French Jewish emigration. Part one ran on Monday, and part two ran today. (Part three is anticipated tomorrow.)

Here, for example, is an assessment of the current situation on the ground in Paris, from the soft-spoken principal of a Jewish school:

Mr. Barthel explains the buddy system instituted at the Benvenuti school for children both arriving and leaving the premises. The students must travel in a pack and are not allowed to wear visible skullcaps or Stars of David anywhere but inside the school. They are also discouraged from dressing in a manner that Mr. Barthel calls "Shalala," meaning that they asked to refrain from dressing in a style which in North American parlance might be termed "Jappy."

"The Diesel jeans, the tight bomber jackets, these things can also make them look like Jews," he says. "They must look more quiet now, for safety."

Not surprisingly, many are choosing to leave.
Paris was burning for two weeks this month. But Jewish Paris has been burning for five years -- a steady, fiery precursor that went largely ignored by the French authorities. The rise of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 sparked a wave of mainly Muslim-led, anti-Jewish violence in France that has since brought forth thousands of hateful acts aimed at French Jews and their places of business, study, recreation, prayer and burial.
I think these guys have sussed out the situation accurately:
"[O]ur future here is hard to envision, even if [we are] just looking at demographics." There are 500,000 to 600,000 Jews living in France, and the population is dwindling. "There are six million Muslims," he says, "and their population is growing." Mr. Malka says even though most Muslims in France are moderate, "for Jews this is still not a comfortable situation, even from the standpoint of politics. For politicians, it's plain where the votes are."

"Sometimes it's best," says Mr. Barthel, "to just look clearly and say, 'OK, it's been nice in the past, but now it's time to move on.'

"In the span of history," he adds, "this is a not an altogether unfamiliar situation for us."

National Post: Barricaded in Paris (Part One) - Nov 19, 2005

National Post: Taking leave of 'the fear' (Part Two) - Nov 21, 2005

Hat tip: Metafilter

UPDATE, November 22: Part three of the series is now up:

National Post: Finding Peace In Canada (Part Three) - Nov 22, 2005

enrevanche reviews: Michelin Guide, New York City 2006

Reviewed: Michelin Red Guide 2006 New York City: Hotels and Restaurants

I've happily used Michelin Guides when travelling in Europe, and as a New York City resident and something of a foodie (okay, glutton) I looked forward to Michelin's recently published New York City Guide with a great deal of interest. The writeups for the restaurants that I'm familiar with seem accurate for the most part, though one could quibble endlessly about who got stars and who didn't.

The overall results are mixed, however.

Graphically, the book is unquestionably the most attractive and readable of the New York City guidebooks, and the included maps and color photographs only add to the pleasing effect of the presentation. Including recipes from some of the starred properties is an especially nice touch.

The guide is *heavily* Manhattan-centric, however, making only token mentions of restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens and leaving the Bronx and Staten Island off almost entirely; the Bronx's very fine Arthur Avenue restaurant scene is represented by a single restaurant, Roberto's, for instance, and the guide suffers in general from what feels to me like a lack of local knowledge (e.g., some howlers, such as calling the NYC Subway the "Metro," should have been picked up and corrected by a local editor who knows the area... and are there really only *two* restaurants of interest in the entire neighborhood of Harlem? Real New Yorkers know there are more.)

If you're a real foodie visiting New York City, you'll want at least two restaurant books in addition to, or instead of, the Michelin Guide:
As a general New York City map and guidebook, I also heartily recommend the Not for Tourists Guide to New York City 2006 which, despite the title, adventurous tourists will find indispensable.


Combining the best of Digg, Slashdot, and del.icio.us, meet Diggdot.us:
Why diggdot.us?

Digg, slashdot, and del.icio.us/popular - this is a constant browsing cycle for us. So why not combine them into a unified format without all the extra chrome? We can eliminate dupes and add some extra niceities.

A Turducken for Thanksgiving

It's behind the Wall Street Journal's pay firewall, or I'd be blogging the hell out of a story from last Friday: the Journal asked five top management consulting firms how to get through Thanksgiving with maximum enjoyment and minimal stress, and they responded--oh boy, did they respond--with PowerPoint presenstations, charts and graphs. It's complete fabulosity, but, as I said, behind the for-pay firewall. (sigh)

Psst. Drop me a line if you'd like a copy.

Here's a pre-Thanksgiving tidbit to get your tastebuds working: a recipe and an unusually coherent set of instructions for assembling and cooking a Turducken--a turkey stuffed with a duck which is in turn stuffed with a chicken and all of it stuffed with, well, stuffing.
The Turducken will need to cook for approximately 9 hours at 225 degrees F so begin preparation well in advance. The fowls can be deboned the day before and kept refrigerated overnight. Save the turkey carcass for making stock and some duck skin to render fat. We sometimes make the sausage stuffing the night before and store it in the refrigerator, but it helps to warm it in the microwave before final assembly.
I have always wanted to make one of these damned things. Someday, when I'm feeding 15 or more for Thanksgiving dinner, you can bet I will.

Turducken - Thanksgiving or Christmas Eating (Lynn Garry Salmon)

20 November 2005

Nabaztag, the talking WiFi bunny

From some genuinely insane developers in France comes Nabaztag, a small robot rabbit who lives on your WiFi network and wiggles his ears and lights up when you get an e-mail.

Once the e-mail arrives, he can read it aloud to you (in English or en Francais) as well play MP3 music and do other nifty tricks, like automatically retrieve the local weather report for you.
I'm a newborn bunny, one of a unique species of intelligent, smart objects. I'm 23 cm tall, I wriggle my ears, I sing, I talk and my body lights up and pulsates with hundreds of colours.

Thanks to Wi-Fi technology, I'm always connected to the Internet. Oh, and I'll only set you back 95 €. Set me up in your home or office and I'll be your personal companion.

Nabaztag est un petit lapin intelligent
connecté à Internet en Wifi.

So far, you can only buy him in France, though some retailers will happily ship worldwide. (Let me know, enrevanche readers, if any of you will be dropping by a FNAC store any time soon... I have a proposition for you...)


Knowledge Worker Toolbox: Updated

The Knowledge Worker Free/Open Source Toolbox, a modest little resource that I maintain, was updated today, November 20.

Additions: a few new freeware programs added to the list; updated prices of commercial products in the comparison table, and linked to some interesting related articles.

If you diddle information for a living, and would like some alternatives to commonly used (and very expensive) commercial software, check it out.

19 November 2005

Mudville Gazette: A Brief History of a Long War

Greyhawk, at the Mudville Gazette, has posted the first iteration of what will hopefully be an evolving document: A Brief History of a Long War (Iraq, 1990-2003.)

Those of us who supported, and continue to support, the current intervention in Iraq, are obligated to advance our arguments based on the facts. While Greyhawk's timeline (at the moment) ends in 2003, I hope that he carries it forward, with a frank acknowledgement of the mistakes that have been made, the lessons that have been successfully learned and corrections applied, and the many real successes that have been achieved so far.

Mudville Gazette: A Brief History of a Long War (Iraq, 1990-2003)

Hat tip: Chapomatic.

A Mailable Feast

Back in New York City... I'm sitting down with a big cup of coffee and a plate of steak and eggs (no cholesterol problem here!) and the first thing I see in the news this morning is this horrifying specimen:
Thanksgiving dinner has a new, mail-order twist. More retailers are offering all-in-one, fully prepared feasts -- shipped on dry ice or ice packs -- that require little more than reheating. Since Hickory Farms launched its holiday-geared "Create Your Own Dinner" spreads in 2003, it has seen sales for the line rise 15% a year. Niche retailers, too, are playing holiday caterers: California-based Diamond Organics sends dinners with organic wine, while New York's 2nd Avenue Deli says it ships about 80 kosher turkeys a year, some as far as Alaska.
The writer and his colleagues proceed to taste-test the mail-order cookery, with predictably disastrous results.

Look here, y'all. I realize that with these crazed postmodern lives we lead, there isn't always a lot of time to make an elaborate production out of cooking dinner, but this is just pathetic. It's THANKSGIVING.

Given the requirements of business and personal travel that I have coming up, between now and the second week of January, 2006 I am going to be out of New York City much more often than I'm in it, but as Thanksgiving is one of those days I'm here, I'm planning on cooking a full dinner with all the trimmings, including Grandma Addie's famous cornbread dressing.

A "Thanksgiving MRE," as one of the taste-testers quipped, absolutely does not cut it, unless you are on survival rations somewhere far, far from home. Dust off your copies of "The Joy of Cooking" and get your collective asses into the kitchen, America.

A Mailable Feast (Wall St Journal Weekend via Yahoo! News)

18 November 2005

Sync: Meet the IT Gigolo

Q: So, how long have you been a tech-support manwhore?

A: A few months. A friend was having trouble connecting to the Internet, this really attractive girl, and the idea just popped into my head: "Wow, it would be really nice if I could get sex for this." I placed an ad on Craigslist that read, "WILL FIX COMPUTERS FOR SEXUAL FAVORS," and I've had an overwhelming number of responses.
This seems like a good idea to me, except that many/most of the requests I get for tech support come from people who are either male and/or in my extended family, and while I am Southern and live in the West Village (which residence automatically shifts your Kinsey number one place to the right, regardless) I am not Southern or gay *enough,* I don't think, to do this.

Meet the IT Gigolo

(Hat tip: enrevanche reader and pal Clay.)

17 November 2005

Pencil Roving: Mister Gato versus the Wild Shoelace

Fans of Mister Gato, don't despair:

Carrie has the Campbell family catblogging covered this week over at Pencil Roving. Go visit the Irascible One at her place.

Pencil Roving: Mister Gato versus the Wild Shoelace

Odds and ends from a Dallas high-rise

A few little odds and ends, posted from my Dallas hotel room, up on the 26th floor. (The nice people at the Adam's Mark Dallas have given me a hotel room that's larger than our apartment back in NYC, and I'm rattling around in this huge space like the last jellybean in the jar. Thank God for in-room coffeemakers... the hotel restaurant doesn't open for another hour, and neither does the Starbucks in the lobby.)
  • My goodness, Sony certainly stepped on their collective corporate johnson-sans with the current Digital Rights Management (DRM) fiasco... Sony's copy-protection scheme, discovered and "outed" by blogger Mark Russinovich in late October, installs "rootkit" software on PCs, which creates all kinds of nasty vulnerabilities.

    Law of unintended consequences department: It appears that, for the time being, at least, until this godawful mess is unwound, the only safe way to use Sony's music is to steal it.

    Strange bedfellows department: This is one of the few situations where techies appear to be pulling *for* a class action lawsuit against a technology company from California's overpopulation of commercial tort attorneys.

    Mark's site, linked above, is the best place to go for detailed information, but other geek sites are covering this like white on rice (see, e.g., Slashdot.) Boing Boing has probably the best running summary for non-propellorhead users: Sony Rootkit Roundup.

    Or there's always the MSM: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek.

  • I see that the New York Times automotive section just covered the new Chevrolet HHR, Chevy's answer to the PT Cruiser ("2006 Chevrolet HHR: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.")

    I drove one of these odd little beasts for two weeks during my recent sojourn in Raleigh (it was all the rental car company had to offer me) and I have to say, it grew on me: there was plenty of interior room in that small vehicle for this large driver, and the retro styling didn't get in the way of a very nicely designed console with good ergonomics. Plus, I thought it had *plenty* of pickup and zip, and handled nimbly, not nervously... I guess the bottom line is, I liked it a little better than the Times' reviewer did.

    (Related site: Chevrolet's HHR page.)

    Stray thought - people who travel on business a lot and rent a lot of different car models would make interesting amateur car reviewers, potentially. Group blog, anyone?

  • Carrie is taking up the Catblogger's Burden this week; look for pix of Mister Gato at her site later on Thursday or early Friday. (I know y'all get cranky when there aren't plenty of Gato pix around.)

16 November 2005

Forecast: light blogging

Partly cloudy, with occasional autumn rants, breaking out in the next few days.

Headed out to catch a 7AM flight to Dallas. Back Friday night.

15 November 2005

The Bruni Digest reviewed by AP

Julia Langbein's savage, merciless and incredibly funny The Bruni Digest, in which she blogs in counterpoint to each of Frank Bruni's eminently mockable New York Times restaurant reviews, got a glowing mention by the Associated Press over the weekend.

AP, via Newsday.com: Sassy blogger takes on NYT chief food critic

Orange Méchanique (Reason Magazine)

I feel strongly that Tim Cavanaugh, writing in Reason Magazine, has a point or two worth making.

His subject? The ongoing rioting in France.
So you've got underemployed but well fed kids with plenty of time on their hands, the depraved indifference of a welfare state that usurps the role of parents but provides no useful structure for the youth, a housing-project culture that sees itself (not without reason) as a defenseless ward of the state, politicians who veer between mealy-mouthed coddling of sociopaths and vicious denunciation of people with legitimate grievances, and kids who react to it all with theatrical violence. Clearly, the last century's great prophetic novel was not George Orwell's 1984 but Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.
A badly needed rhetorical whack upside the head, y'all. I can't resist quoting one more paragraph, and then I'm sending you off to read the whole thing.
What makes Alex [the protagonist/antihero of A Clockwork Orange - bc] an engaging narrator, though, is not just his linguistic invention or the mordant wit of his observations, but that he harbors no illusions about the world he lives in—an overwhelmed, politically calcified welfare state where teenagers menace the streets when they're not being shuffled between public schools and juvenile detention centers. From page one, Alex recognizes a central fact about the state that provides his food, shelter, schooling, and jail time: The people in charge don't give a crap whether he lives or dies. They don't even care, really, whether he commits crimes. They just want to make sure he doesn't cause them trouble.
Reason: Orange Méchanique (via Hit and Run)

Kazakhstan protests Borat

The government of КАЗАХСТАН... er, Kazakhstan... is hopping mad about one of Sacha Baron Cohen's comic characters... Borat Sagdiyev, roving telejournalist and "Kazakhstan's sixth most famous man."
Kazakhstan's foreign ministry held a press conference Monday to condemn Cohen's brand of politically incorrect buffoonery.

"We do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way," ministry spokesman Yerzham Ashykbayev told reporters.

What specifically peeved the officials was Cohen's gig hosting the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards as Borat earlier this month in Lisbon. Appearing in the guise of the well meaning foreign correspondent with an avid curiosity of all things Western, Cohen arrived at the show on an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot holding a vodka bottle.

Following Madonna's show-opening number, the mustachioed faux newsman said: "That singer before me. Who was it? It was very courageous of MTV to start the show with a genuine transvestite. He was very convincing. It was only his hands and his testisatchels that gave it away." And he signed off by saying: "To the world, I love you! Apart from Uzbekistan. Assholes."
Borat loves you, New York City!

Lighten up, Yerzham. (I don't think that the foreign minister of Kazakhstan is entirely hip to the fact that he has just helped kick off the publicity campaign for the upcoming Borat, The Movie.)

Besides, Kazakhstan, you need to get ready for your closeup... with 26 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and right next door to China, too, everybody's going to be Really Interested in you soon enough!

Kazakhstan on Borat: Not Nice (E! Online via Yahoo News)

14 November 2005

Sully goes to Time, Inc.

From today's New York Post:
Andrew Sullivan, an early proponent of alternative media, will move more into the mainstream, starting in January, when he begins posting his blog, known as the Daily Dish, on Time.com.

Time managing editor Jim Kelly said, in a statement, that he hopes Sullivan's blog will be the first of a "blog neighborhood" on Time.com, offering readers opinions from all points of view.

"This deal is the first to really connect the established independent blogosphere with a big media company," Sullivan said. "I have a feeling it won't be the last."

Sullivan, who began publishing his blog in 2000 and has been a Time contributor and essayist since 2003, will maintain full control over the content of his postings, Time said yesterday in a news release.

Curiouser & Curiouser - Carnival of the Cats

The 86th edition of the Carnival of the Cats is up at Curiouser & Curiouser.

The Strata-Sphere » RINO Sightings 11/14/05

This week's batch of RINO Sightings are up over at The Strata-Sphere.

13 November 2005

Heading back to NYC

I've been in North Carolina since October 22nd, when my father passed away; after taking a week of bereavement leave, I've been working from the back bedroom of the house I grew up in ever since.

My bags are packed, and I'm leaving the land of barbecue for the land of bagels in a couple of hours.

There is still so very much to be done here... but we've made a good start.

Mom is coming home from the nursing home next week, thank God, to continue her recovery from back surgery in the comfort of her own home. I've done all that I can to make sure that her transition home will be a smooth one.

I've got business travel coming up -- I'll be on the road for a few days this month, much of December and part of January, and it's just time for me to return to NYC and start taking care of business there.

Alito's "Libertarian Streak"

More encouraging news on Samuel Alito, from, of all places, the New York Times. He seems to really be fond of the First Amendment.
"Judge Alito is part of the new breed of conservative libertarian jurists who are sensitive to safeguarding our free-speech freedoms," said Ronald K. L. Collins, a scholar at the First Amendment Center, a research and advocacy group in Virginia. "They're particularly sensitive when it comes to issues involving speech and commerce and political orthodoxy."

These judges tend to be very protective of speech rights when they involve the marketplace of ideas, or the core of the First Amendment, said Jesse H. Choper, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bush's Conservative Judge Harbors Libertarian Streak - New York Times

12 November 2005

Wired News: Biodiesel Keeps Home Fire Burning

Biodiesel, the vegetable-oil alternative to diesel that sparked a small, grass-roots movement, is exploding onto the commercial marketplace and rapidly gaining widespread acceptance. But not as an alternative to gasoline, as many had envisioned. This clean-burning, renewable fuel is making its way into a growing number of American homes as a substitute for residential heating oil.
Wired News: Biodiesel Keeps Home Fire Burning

11 November 2005

Carrie's catblogging

Carrie has a catblogging post up this week about...gasp... a cat that isn't Mister Gato.

In fact, she met this cat about a year before Mister Gato came into our lives.

Pencil Roving: Oh, I've been through the jungle with a cat with no name

Thank you, Veterans

To all enrevanche readers on active duty or retired from military service -

Thank you for your service, and your sacrifice, and all that you have done to protect our country and its citizens.

e pluribus unum

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 , in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918 , is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

Source: The History of Veterans' Day

Armistice Day became "Veterans Day" by act of Congress in 1954.


Robertson to Dover, PA: Go to hell

enrevanche reader John V., on a quick troll through CNN this morning, notes that TV preacher/professional nutcase Pat Robertson has just told the good citizens of Dover, PA that, having disrespected God, they'd better watch out:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.
Wow. Who knew that God, Our Father who art in Heaven was so much like The Godfather?
Corleone: We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or for help. I can't remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let's be frank here. You never wanted my friendship. And uh, you were afraid to be in my debt.
Bonasera: I didn't want to get into trouble.
Corleone: I understand. You found paradise in America, you had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. And you didn't need a friend like me. But uh, now you come to me and you say - 'Don Corleone, give me justice.' But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you, uh, ask me to do murder for money.
Bonasera: I ask you for justice.
Corleone: That is not justice. Your daughter is still alive.
Bonasera: Let them suffer then, as she suffers. How much shall I pay you?
Corleone (after standing and turning his back): Bonasera, Bonasera. What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you.
Bonasera: Be my friend - - Godfather. (The Don shrugs. Bonasera bows toward the Don and kisses the Don's hand.)
Corleone: Good. (The Don puts his hand on Bonasera's shoulder.) Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day - accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day.
Bonasera: Grazie, Godfather.
Corleone: Prego.

Pew's Political Typologies

"The Party of Sam's Club" (the Weekly Standard story referenced in the post below) refers to the Pew Research Center's recent breakdown of the American public into nine "political typologies."

Intrigued, I went over to the Pew Research Center's web site and found the results of the study, entitled "Beyond Red vs. Blue," in which they asked a bunch of questions of a random sample of Americans and then assigned them their politico-demographic pigeonholes.

It will surprise none of you, I'm sure, to learn that "Principled Libertarian" is not listed as one of their typologies.

In fact, on their quick-and-dirty online test, I actually scored as a "Liberal" (!) despite my enthusiastic endorsement of horrific violence and officious meddling as important tools for foreign policy, my rah-rah boosterism of Big Business, my utter disregard for the environment ("the Earth can hack it") and my "screw the poor" attitude towards the provision of government services.

(I think that my positions on so-called "social issues" - homosexuality is fine, dirty books are fun, immigrants make our society healthier, etc. - pushed me solidly into the New York Review of Books crowd. Gah.)

See how you do.

And check out Profiles of the Typology Groups: Beyond Red vs. Blue to learn about Enterprisers, Disaffecteds, and Bystanders, among others.

I'll have what she's having

A little deeper drink
Originally uploaded by enrevanche.
"I'll have what she's having."

For some people, a statement of barroom conviviality; a way to show that you are an easygoing, kindred spirit.

For others, the phrase resonates as the coda and punchline (delivered by the director's mother!) to Meg Ryan's famous fake-orgasm scene in "When Harry Met Sally."

But for Mister Gato, it is a way of life.

Here, Carrie has snapped a couple of pictures of Mister G. helping himself to a glass of ice water that, strictly speaking, she hadn't really fixed for him.

But Gato's favorite drink is whatever is in *your* glass.

The deepest drink of all
About time for a refill... I can't get my
head in here much farther.

Be sure to check out the Friday Ark at The Modulator for more bloggers' pets from around the world - and don't miss the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, this week hosted at Curiouser & Curiouser.

(And if you're a catblogger yourself, don't pass up the chance to join Ferdinand T. Cat's "Cat Lovers Community.")

Check out our Frappr!