Entries from May 2003
My friend Elaine of Kalilily lays claim to crone-dom, but never seems to grow old. Everytime I turn around she’s up to some new adventure–planting a garden, joining the Dean team (yay!)–now she’s taking a poetry course. I like this one so much I want to share it, but do yourself a favor, go over and check out the other good stuff in her blog!
The fabric of our lives.
I sent a package
to my second cousin,
stationed in Iraq
six pairs of
white cotton underpants
and a package of
vitamin C lozenges,
because even though
I protest this vile war,
urge presidential impeachment,
and grieve for those collaterally damaged,
I remember her
before the wars — that
feisty tow-headed toddler,
mindful motherless girl,
adventuresome young woman,
who took a calculated risk
that tossed her into desert dirt,
and a longing for
fresh, clean underwear.
(copyright EF 2003)
Footnote: Have you heard about the peaceniks who hate our soldiers? I sure have–Right-wingers claim they’re lurking on every corner! Really? Gosh! When one guy at Columbia announced he hoped for US defeat, he made world headlines because it was so unusual….
Tags: Heroes and funny folks
May 18th, 2003 · Comments Off
Why do Google searches turn up lots of bloggers? Is it because bloggers are basically one big link farm, sucking up bandwidth from real news sources and putting Andrew Orlowski’s knickers in a twist?
Dave Winer links today to two other theories–both suggest that “respectable” papers like the New York Times are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to page rank.
First, Dave quotes Doc: “The ‘googlewashing’ Orlowski talks about was done by the Times, not by Google, and not by bloggers.” Google indexes pages that are on the Web. When the Times hides its archives so you have to pay-to-view, Google can’t find them. Open the archives, and those pages will start showing up in Google again.
Second, Dave cites a Microdocs study of what pages Google leaves out when it does searches. The telling point here is that Google often ignores pages that haven’t been updated in the past few months.
I use Manila, so my old stories are stored–not just in a page based on the month I wrote them–but also in “departments” that get updated each time I write a new story. By putting this story in my “Life, the universe, and everything” department, I am calling Google’s attention all over again to similar stories I wrote some months ago.
So the whole problem can be solved if the NYT turns into a blog and (this is my idea, not Dave’s, I want the credit!) starts using Manila. No, don’t bother to thank me, Mr. Orlowski–all in a days work for this hard-working blogger.
If I hear one more “Democratic” pundit claim that Dean can’t win….
First, how good are they at predicting politics? Would they have predicted
- that Bush with his history of drinks, drugs, and AWOL would end up President?
- that the Religious Right would trash McCain and go for Bush?
- that millionaire Yalie Bush would successfully paint Gore as a dishonest elitist?
Second, is Dean the “lefty” that they claim? Dean, who balanced the Vermont budget and gets top ratings from the NRA? Dean is a guy with beliefs he actually believes in, and principles he has spent years trying to live by. He’s not a toe-the-line lefty, or righty, or centrist.
And that’s the real problem for the self-styled “Democratic Leadership Council.”
Dean is not a paranoid Bush-lite Democrat. He’s not a DLC sock puppet afraid to blow his nose without a focus group telling him how loud to honk.
I have baaaaaad news for the DLC:
- It costs big money to get sock puppets elected.
- The Republicans are the party with the big money.
- Democrats win by running a candidate people want to vote for, who runs on a clear honest platform of social justice.
That’s how Carter won, it’s how Clinton won, and it’s how Dean is going to win.
Tags: Invisible primary
May 17th, 2003 · Comments Off
Tags: Not what it seems...
That flight suit photo-op story is hitting the blogs in a form the dead-tree press most likely won’t, er, touch. Oh yeah, both the WSJ and the NYT recycled the “Bush-in-flight-suit-sexy” meme–to quote Maureen Dowd
Lisa Schiffren, a Quayle speechwriter who wrote the “Murphy Brown” rant, gushed in a Wall Street Journal piece entitled “Hey, Flyboy” that President Bush in a flight suit was “really hot . . . as in virile, sexy and powerful.”
She polled her soccer-mom girlfriends in Manhattan and got the same reaction. “He’s a hottie,” said one. “Hot? SO HOT!!!!! THAT UNIFORM!” said another. And a third panted, “That swagger. George Bush in a pair of jeans is a treat to watch.” (If it gets any hotter, Wal-Mart may have to ban The Journal.)
But will they pick up on “Republicans bring back the codpiece”?
Will they take up the growing speculation that Bush’s flight suit was–errrr–strategically enhanced?
For more visuals of the Bush Top Gun display, check out this WhiteHouse.org parody, scroll down, and click on “hunky flight suit sausage strut.”
Yet another Bush campaign photo op, paid for by taxes.
Tags: Not what it seems...
May 15th, 2003 · Comments Off
||The self-styled “Democratic Leadership Committee” decided to attack both Dean and Gephardt. Why? Because liberals are “elitist,” and spending money on health care is “pandering.” Can’t we wait for Republicans to say stuff like that? (Washington Post writeup)
||Funny ha-ha: Top 10 Things I Hate About Star Trek from Dan at Happy Fun Pundit. For example:
10. Noisy doors.
You can’t walk three feet in a starship without some door whooshing or screeching at you. My office building has automatic sliding doors. They’re dead silent. If those doors went “wheet!” every time a person walked through them, about once a month some guy in accounting would snap and go on a shooting rampage. Sorry Scotty, the IEEE has revoked your membership until you learn to master WD-40.
(Thanks to Paul Boutin for the link.)
|| “ Some Audience Members Told Not to Wear Ties for Bush Speech ” reported Jim Stella of Indiana’s top news site. Bush made an Indianapolis speech about his tax cut, and he wanted the image it helps “ordinary people.”
“”These are V.I.P.’s right, ordinary people aren’t up on stage behind the president of the United States when he’s speaking but the trick is to make V.I.P.’s look like they’re ordinary people,” said Bill Bloomquist, political scientist. That’s why everyone sitting behind the president wearing a necktie was instructed to take it off.”
Our tax dollars are paying for Bush campaign photo ops.
|| At HappyFunPundit, I found a fun comment by Tom. So I headed on over to Tom’s blog. The first post I found was “Bush calls for War on Tornadoes“:
” Pressed for details on how tornado prevention would actually work, Bush acknowledged that it would focus on tax cuts for the rich.”
||My supersmart daughter, whose blog you will love, posted such a nice birthday message today. So let me just join her and say, Happy Birthday, Frank!
Tags: Good versus Evil
To the Romans, “Rosa” meant a generic five-petaled flower. In fact, almost any five-petaled flower you see is from the “Rosaceae” family.
And May is the month when their flowers are everywhere.
The family includes such wildflowers as “cream bush, toyon, cinquefoil, horkelia, blackberry, thimbleberry and strawberries.“
Nerds like me will enjoy even more taxonomy
“The fruits formed from the Rosaceae flowers …include apples (Malus), almonds, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, sloe, and prunes (Prunus), pears (Pyrus), blackberry, loganberry, boysenberry, raspberry (Rubus), strawberries (Fragaria), quince (Cydonia), loquat (Eriobotrya), rose hips (Rosa), medlar (Mespilus)…. Rosaceae also account at least one nut, the almonds (Prunus)….
“The Rosaceae family includes four subfamilies.
- Rosoideae: many shrubs, perennial herbs, few annual, deep hypanthium, fruit hip, flat-like appearance, including genus Rosa, Rubus, Geum.
- Prunoideae: woody plants, trees or shrubs, one carpel, pit, includes peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, almonds.
- Spiraeoideae: mostly woody trees and shrubs with a few herbaceous perennials, flat like appearance, including genus Aruncus, Spiraea.
- Maloideae: trees and shrubs, fruit pome, including genus Aronia, Crataegus, Malus, Sorbus.”
Tags: Life, the universe, and everything
May 12th, 2003 · Comments Off
I still remember my astonishment when I learned the actual meaning of this sentence:
“I can give you a very good price on this fine used car.”
You know about iron deficiency. I grew up with irony deficiency. A lot of kids get that, growing in New Hampshire. It’s a side-effect of high-minded New England parents.
It’s not that New England parents never lie–it’s that they truly believe “Nice people don’t lie.”*
“Nice people don’t…” is a strong and wide-ranging New England anathema. For example:
- Nice people don’t hurt other people’s feelings.
- Nice people don’t make rude faces out the car window.
- Nice people don’t wear white shoes after Labor Day.
For me, growing up was learning that nice people do. Human frailty isn’t something as rare, tragic, and final as a train wreck. It’s as common and often as funny as little kids getting chocolate on their chins.
Digression #1: [rant]The Republican Astroturf guys weren’t chocolate-y children. Their scheme to con small-town newspapers and their readers was carefully planned, by people who made good money as a result. Grrrrr. [endrant]
Digression #2: Another deception that floats around doing harm is the long-discredited claim that “venting” anger is good. BZZZT! Wrong. Encouraging people to talk about how angry they are, or to act it out in symbolic ways, actually makes them more angry and violent, not less so.
Digression #3: So maybe I should take my own advice and shut up about stuff I get mad at, like those Republican Astroturf guys? Nahhhhh….
Tags: New Hampshire!
May 10th, 2003 · Comments Off
I went to BlogLunch with Halley Suitt and Scott Johnson, and both sides of my brain now feel so good:
|LEFT BRAIN PLEASURES
RIGHT BRAIN DELIGHTS
- Woodman’s onion rings (crunchy! salty!) are even better when shared.
- Jumping from topic to topic to topic is fun when nobody gets confused by no-matter-what segue.
- The sand at Crane’s Beach is toasty warm on top, cool and damp just a centimeter down. My bare feet reveled in total sensory pleasure.
- Beaching out with cute young guy in a Hawaiian shirt and a babe in a tiny bikini–I felt soooo cool.
- Tiny kids flying big kites are fun to watch–and I’m glad my own two kids are big kids now.
- Taking the time, making the time, to waste time together actual fun human people face to face–it’s worth the time. I promise.
- Sunshine. No fancy words needed, you know just what that means–Sun–Shine. I wish the same pleasure for everyone reading this blog.
Tags: Heroes and funny folks
May 9th, 2003 · Comments Off
Baby pigs goofing around with a peaceful tiger? This image came from Sukree Sukplang/Reuters–here’s their explanation:
“Sai Mai, a 26-month-old female tiger, plays with baby pigs at a zoo in Chonburi province, 50 miles east of Bangkok, May 7, 2003. The Royal Bengali tigress was born in captivity and breast-fed by a female pig for four months after her birth.”
No kidding–at the Sriracha Tiger Farm (Thailand), you can visit those tiger-and-pig mixed families.
amazing moments as the comely, but scarred lass feeds a croc.”)
How many times have you heard the pious hope that bringing diverse groups together would make people friendly? BZZZT! Wrong! People are much too smart (or too stupid) for this.
Ethnic groups in close contact rarely share space like good-natured tigers and happy little pigs. Pakistan glowers at India–Argentina smolders at neighboring Chile.
Who hates Northern Irish Protestants? Northern Irish Catholics, that’s who! Neighbours who ride the same bus routes and love the same tin-can brands of instant coffee and rice pudding.
I’m tired of pious hopes for cheap solutions. I can imagine human groups finding peace–IFF (scientific jargon for “if and only if”) they aren’t in conflict for the same scarce resources. If I see your needs as a threat to the needs of my kids–I’m not going to like you. No matter how well I know you, I’m not going to like you.
Tags: Life, the universe, and everything