Back here I mentioned breaking a tooth; the dentist put some sealant on it and said come back after insurance approves the crown. The insurer has done so, so I went back today for the mold to be taken and a temporary aluminum crown put on. I demanded a porcelain crown, even though the insurance people will only pay for gold. After looking in the mirror, I decided gold would make me look like a 50 year-old white rap artist, and the thought does not appeal.
If you knew or were a woman in college who was a scholarship recipient, particularly an athletic one, stop and bow your head today in honor of Patsy Mink, D-Hawai'i. She co-wrote the provision in Title IX requiring those scholarships be made available to women, among her many other accomplishments.
THINK I can safely say personal transportation has been and will be a huge industry forever in this country. Just for my own interest, I decided to try to find photos of the motorized vehicles I've used since my first driver's license was issued (on the 2nd try; I couldn't parallel-park well enough the first time out).
In 1967 I was a junior in high school with a paper route. 50 or so newspapers were hard to balance on a two-wheel bicycle, so when the opportunity arose (I think it was a going-out-of-business sale) to buy a 50cc motorbike with a Harley-Davidson nameplate on it for $150, I persuaded my parents to let me buy the thing. As it turned out, it was the product of an Italian company called Aermacchi, and Harley owned a half-interest in the firm, but what did that matter? It said H-D on it, right? Anyway, I bought it, rode it for about six months while delivering my papers, and then it was stolen from my carport. Imagine my heartbreak! The amusing thing was, it had been insured for $175, so I actually made money on the theft (and no, I did not and still do not know who the thief was!). The photo shows a bike very similar in appearance, but with a 250cc engine. That?s as close as I could get; the color and styling are very close.
The next vehicle was a 1961 Ford Falcon 2-door, bought in 1970 for a transportation car to get to my construction jobs around the island of Oahu, where the family had moved. I was there for the summer, and got a job with Del Webb & Co., which was building housing units at various military bases. Scroll down a little to see the 1961 model. Believe me, my white one never looked this slick. Some previous owner had, however, installed hood locks on it; since it was a 170 cubic inch engine, that gesture showed either a good sense of humor or delusions of grandeur. Due to the construction work, that poor thing had so much red clay embedded in the upholstery by the end of the summer the kindest thing to do would have been replace both seats. Instead, I sold it for about 100 bucks.
I am not going to try to find a picture of the little Daihatsu I owned in Japan while in the Navy; I have no idea what year the car was. I learned how to drive and shift on the "wrong" side in that dependable little thing, so it done me well while I owned it. It was from that car that an entire seabag full of dirty laundry was stolen the day before a month-long leave, meaning I had a single change of underwear in my bag when I arrived in Honolulu for a vacation.
On Kwajalein there were no privately-owned vehicles; everyone used a bike, so the next car wasn't necessary till I moved back to Hawaii to finish the undergraduate degree. Some of that Kwajalein money went towards a '74 MG Midget; there are several here which are dead ringers, particularly the orange one in the driveway about 15 photos down.
My first job after finishing college (so it took 11 years from start to finish; there were some interesting places in between!) afforded me the chance to borrow money and buy a car with the prospect of paying the loan off. Being a 30-year-old single guy, and the MG beginning to require more care than I wanted to keep up with, I bought a 1979 Triumph Spitfire; mine was the classic British Racing Green. It displayed a remarkable tendency to wear out master brake cylinders, and after the second replacement, I said enough and traded it in for a brand-new 1986 Ford Thunderbird. I had driven one on vacation through the Sierra Nevada Mountains the previous summer, and I fell in love with it.
Alas, along about 1993, all manner of things began to happen. My Dad became too ill to drive, and my Mom never did drive, so I quit my job and became a full-time caregiver till he passed away that summer. The vaunted 1990's economic expansion never moved West from California, so finding a job was difficult, and, as you may know, the longer you're without, the harder it becomes. The T-Bird began to need routine repairs, then serious repairs, then to die from neglect. I had to start driving my Dad's old Chrysler LeBaron (no pictures; I hated that car!). I drove it all through the next job, until 1998, when I traded it in for the current little "roller-skate on wheels," a 1997 Geo Metro sedan. Obviously, this one lives in a colder climate than mine! I bought it off the Budget Rent-A-Car lot; the salesman (this is where you nod your head knowingly) assured me it had not been previously owned by a rental firm. Now, when you open the driver-side door to get in, you're probably assured of seeing the door jamb, right? Smack-dab on the inside of the center post is a National Car sticker. However, since he was fool enough to take that awful Chrysler off my hands for $100, I bought it with 13,000 miles on it in May of 1998. Four years later, the odometer has made it all the way to 36,500 miles. That's island living for you!
There it is; pure self-indulgence. There's no reason anyone might be interested in that little tale, but what the hell; it was fun to look up the pictures.
ORPHEUS, Kazaa and LimeWire users, take note: the programs may be skimming commissions. It appears to come from product sales made at websites affiliated with the likes of Amazon and Coldwater Creek. The software apparently flags the sale in such a way that the purchase seems to be made using those affiliates, even if it was not. That seems pretty insidious to me.
If you're a Photoshop maven, or otherwise interested in digital photography, check out Nikon's Small World gallery; it has the entrants and winners of its annual contest for microscopic photography on display. And MIT has a small basket of facts about new technical prototypes emerging from labs, including 250KW batteries, supercapacitors, and new materials for holographic disks.
And finally, today's doom and gloom: Blondes are an endangered species! Bottled blondes blamed!
If you're looking for an internal CD-RW drive, here's a review of some of the newer ones. And have you ever wondered how close Hollywood is to reality when you see those nifty gizmos on screen? All (well, most) is revealed.
That's it...prescriptions pick-up day for me.
Today's personal hygiene tip is: crabshell-based toothpaste! Then there's a claim by London researchers that coffee reduces pain, if you're of the feminine persuasion. Yes, yes; you'll thank me later. On a more serious note, here are a few anecdotal arguments for prescription drug coverage: their names are Lauterbach, Sanchez, Leyva, and Turner.
Subscription services for online music are starting to encroach on the peer-to-peer ones, it appears. Are there any comments from users out there?
If you want to know how entrepreneurial you are, try this quiz from Fortune. No nifty buttons, though.
Is it any wonder the administration is trying to focus attention on Iraq? Poverty in the U.S. jumps. Meanwhile, consumer confidence falls and the recession is worse than thought, but never mind, Bush says, and oh by the way, it's all Clinton's fault anyway.
In the "I didn't need to know that" category, here's an answer to the question "how disease-free is my coin laundry?" Believe it or not, these sorts of questions were also being asked in 1902, although then the issue was the relative health merits of a "walking" versus "trailing" skirt. Will someone please show me a picture of a trailing skirt?
If you haven't run into the wacky world of Medicare reimbursements, you probably will at some point. "Under Medicare, a hospital normally receives a fixed amount of money, set in advance, for each outpatient service." In unrelated but interesting medical news, got a spare $712K? For that small fee, you can have your genetic code on a CD.
If you're the Dep't. of Justice and you don't like crime statistics, sit on 'em. That's a worry for the career employees at the agencies which compile the data (it's also instructive that one of the political appointees doing the alleged sitting is Mitch Daniels' sister. Mr. Daniels, of course, is Bush's Director of OMB). Oh, and if you're Ashcroft, allow your own religious beliefs to interfere with state law and a court decision which has gone against you once already. And isn't there a war on terrorism going on?
Here's a profile of Paul Wolfowitz; it doesn't persuade me that I should agree with him, but it fleshes out the man behind the views.
Long after the attacks of last year, I realized that September 11 was the date of an entirely different sort of horror nine years earlier. It was on that date in 1992 that a Category 4 hurricane hit the island of Kaua'i, brushing the leeward coast of O'ahu. It took forty minutes to pass over the island, directly or indirectly killed seven people, did several billion dollars in property damage, and destroyed the island's economy for nearly half a decade. I was here at the time, and I remember the day very well.
And finally, the Greek government seems to think that all computer games are evil and prone to exploitation by gamblers: it's now confiscating computers from Internet cafés in defiance of common sense, as well as the EU. All this because some member of the ruling party was "caught on tape," as a CNN graphic would put it, gambling in some illegal shop earlier this year.
"...just 63 advertisers were responsible for 80 percent of all pop-ups..." Who'd a thunk that? More advertising news: RealNetworks will sell audio/video streaming technology to AOL. You might want to keep those AOL 8.0 CDs; they'll have the stuff bundled on them.
I sent off an e-mail to the WashPost White House correspondent after reading this article, which I found through JeanNINE. My e-mail asked why we'd not read any of this in the Post, while numbers of trees have died to print stories about Cheney and his refusal to disclose details of his energy policy task force. (I have yet to receive a reply). I went over to the website of the PNAC and looked up the report mentioned in the story (Acrobat required). We pretty much knew that the administration's energy policy had been written by the extractive industries; now it appears that administration foreign policy was written by a think tank whose president is William Kristol of the Weekly Standard. I don't think I want policy written by newspaper publishers of any ideology, but that's apparently what we've gotten here. The report is 90 pages long, is an offshoot of one started while Cheney was still SecDef in 1992, and basically states the case for American imperialism all over the globe.
Ok, having learned all that, we now read in today's Post that Bush is hell-bent to do what he wants in Iraq, with no stinking UN resolutions to impede him. Lovely. He's certainly following the PNAC blueprint. Can anyone spell impeachment? After all, Clinton was impeached, and he didn't send off our soldiers to a war the entire world thinks is unnecessary.
Ever wonder why the conservatives and neo-conservatives trash the media (particularly the NYT) as liberal? It may because of the background they share. If this article is to be believed, few have ever been journalists in the usual sense; most have spent their professional lives in politics or political advocacy organizations, so their view is that all media has an agenda, just as they have had.
"The quest for dignity is a powerful force in human relations." That's Friedman in the NYT, and I agree with the premise he puts forth: Iraq isn't the primary enemy right now. The primary enemy is what Friedman calls the "undeterrables," young men frustrated by anti-democratic and anti-modern elites.
"Judge Orders Release or Open Hearing for Detainee" The judge disagreed with a ruling from an immigration judge back in September that all immigration hearings could be held in secret. It's one more attempt to rein in Ashcroft and his minions.
Any longtime General Hospital fans out there? Here's an update on young Tommy Baldwin's post-soap career. And as a public service, if you're an amateur volcanologist or a potential Big Island tourist, you can find the daily USGS info about Kilauea over on my home page.
The wiretap court of appeals will make its opinion public. That's the judiciary, though; the White House is still refusing to allow Powell and Rumsfeld to testify publicly before the joint House-Senate intelligence committee investigating the failure to predict the attacks.
I find articles about archiving and preserving digital material of interest, probably in part because I'm the son of a librarian, but also because I think it's going to be a huge problem. For example, you know the JPEG images you've captured with your nifty new digicam? Guess what? They are already being superceded by a new format called JPEG 2000. Anyway, I noticed this one from MIT, and was reading along when I suddenly recognized, prominently mentioned, the name of a high school classmate. Now that's an odd experience.
In my seemingly never-ending effort to record bits of Hawai'i history which have been inexplicably ignored by serious scholars, I have put together a few pages of baseball frivolity from Honolulu's past. Go over here; select "Islanders."
I have no idea why I thought of this tonight, but...
When I was out in the Marshall Islands I spent the last six months working on Meck, an island north of Kwajalein itself. I used to commute every morning on a DeHavilland Caribou. No traffic snarls to speak of, but that runway was pretty short. On the other hand, a guaranteed 2.5 hours of time-and-a-half OT pay five days a week made up for a lot.
I just looked at my referral logs, which I rarely do. There are five or six google searches for the Billy Collins poem, one for hedgehog omelet (I posted a recipe), and some other rather odd ones (tongue piercing horror? women wearing dental braces? "Ralph Nader" Iraq September 2002?). All hail Google, I suppose.
Next time you hear Richard Armitage (Deputy Sec'y of State) interviewed, take note of the form of address he uses to his interviewer. He's very formal. He was on the Today show this morning talking to Matt Lauer, and when they ended, he said, "Thank you, Mr. Lauer." He addressed Margaret Warner of The News Hour as Ms. Warner under similar circumstances the other night. It's so unusual it's almost jarring. In this era in which it seems like everyone wants to be on a first name basis with everyone else, I find it refreshing.
If you want a few tears this morning, go over here and look at the signs posted in British storefronts on September 11.
This from that Republican house organ, the Wall Street Journal?? "Here are some results so far: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined by nearly 2000 points since he took office; unemployment has risen to 5.7% from 4.2%. In the six quarters of the Bush presidency, growth of gross domestic product has averaged 1.1%, down from 3.6% in the last six quarters of the Clinton presidency. In the Journal/NBC poll, only 38% of Americans believe the country is safer than a year ago." Sorry, I can't give a link, because the WSJ is subscription only; I got the quote from ABC's Sept. 11 edition of The Note. The Note, by the way, is a daily newsletter from the political unit of ABC News; if you're a junkie like I am, it's fun. Lots of links, sarcasm and irreverent attitude.
This is an interesting portrait of Washington at war; it doesn't quite feel like war, the reporter says. One thing that's different from Washington at war after Pearl Harbor: no serious Congressional or blue-ribbon panel has yet undertaken an investigation to discover all the details of the tragedy.
"The motive, clearly, is hatred..." That's one of the points made in this retrospective op/ed by Bernard Lewis; he's a Princeton Near Eastern studies scholar, sometimes respected, sometimes reviled.
Michele has excerpted quotations from comments left in response to her request for personal remembrances of that day. Please visit. Other sites are mentioned in today's NYT. News.com also has a story with many remembrance sites listed.
May the prayers of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, avail for the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins and make them to be sharers in Thy Redemption.
From the Daily Mass for the Dead
In case you missed it: this column from Dave Barry (yes, the humorist) ran on the front page of our Sunday editorial section last weekend. It's quite a moving tribute to the passengers of Flight 93.
Just to get the frivolity out of the way before tomorrow:
Some of those are from personal knowledge; some are from citizen lunchbox.
1. Bobby--Greyfriar's Bobby. Faithful Skye Terrier guarded his master's grave in Edinburgh for 14 years.
2. Jip--Mongrel in Hugh Lofting's Dr. Dolittle books. Also Dora's dog in David Copperfield.
3. Laika--First dog in space, Sputnik 2, Nov. 3, 1957
4. Fala--FDR's Scottie
5. Tyke--Buster Brown's dog
6. Asta--Schnauzer in "The Thin Man", William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles.
7. Laddie Boy--Warren G. Harding's dog (presumably not implicated in Teapot Dome); a copper statue of the dog is enshrined in the Smithsonian
8. Bingo--Cracker Jacks dog; title character of children's song; 1991 movie title character
9. Bob--Nuthanger Farm dog in Richard Adams' Watership Down
10. Sandy--Little Orphan Annie's dog
Here is the business address of today's entreaty: ENERGY NATIONAL RESOURCE ORGANIZATION OF COTE D IVOIRE From: Dr.Musa Abubakar Office of E.N.R.O.N. Director. Arthur Andersen is mentioned in the body of the letter. I'm hard-pressed to determine whether this is deliberate satire or a (dis)honest attempt to capitalize on notoriety, since it contains the usual request for bank numbers and confidentiality.
Treat your bank as it treats you: an advisory letter from a dissatisfied customer. I'm not sure I have the courage to send it to my bank, but it sure as hell is funny.
I think the Gettysburg Address is stirring, and one of America's best examples of political oratory. I have been puzzled by its inclusion during commemorations of 9/11. Safire makes the case. I still wonder why none of our current politicians (and their speechwriters) have felt compelled to find their own voices in original language.
Another poem, this one from Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate from 1997-2000.
He can be heard reading the poem on the Magazine home page at washingtonpost.com and will be conducting a chat at 1 p.m. on Monday at washingtonpost.com/liveonline.
We adore images, we like the spectacle
Of speed and size, the working of prodigious
Systems. So on television we watched
The terrible spectacle, repetitiously gazing
Until we were sick not only of the sight
Of our prodigious systems turned against us
But of the very systems of our watching.
The date became a word, an anniversary
That we inscribed with meanings--who keep so few,
More likely to name an airport for an actor
Or athlete than "First of May" or "Fourth of July."
In the movies we dream up, our captured heroes
Tell the interrogator their commanding officer's name
Is Colonel Donald Duck--he writes it down, code
Of a lowbrow memory so assured it's nearly
Aristocratic. Some say the doomed firefighters
Before they hurried into the doomed towers wrote
Their Social Security numbers on their forearms.
Easy to imagine them kidding about it a little,
As if they were filling out some workday form.
Will Rogers was a Cherokee, a survivor
Of expropriation. A roper, a card. For some,
A hero. He had turned sixteen the year
That Frederick Douglass died. Douglass was twelve
When Emily Dickinson was born. Is even Donald
Half-forgotten?--Who are the Americans, not
A people by blood or religion? As it turned out,
The donated blood not needed, except as meaning.
And on the other side that morning the guy
Who shaved off all his body hair and screamed
The name of God with his boxcutter in his hand.
O Americans--as Marianne Moore would say,
Whence is our courage? Is what holds us together
A gluttonous dreamy thriving? Whence our being?
In the dark roots of our music, impudent and profound?--
Or in the Eighteenth Century clarities
And mystic Masonic totems of the Founders:
The Eye of the Pyramid watching over us,
Hexagram of Stars protecting the Eagle's head
From terror of pox, from plague and radiation.
And if they blow up the Statue of Liberty--
Then the survivors might likely in grief, terror
And excess build a dozen more, or produce
A catchy song about it, its meaning as beyond
Meaning as those symbols, or Ray Charles singing "America
The Beautiful." Alabaster cities, amber waves,
Purple majesty. The back-up singers in sequins
And high heels for a performance--or in the studio
In sneakers and headphones, engineers at soundboards,
Musicians, all concentrating, faces as grave
With purpose as the harbor Statue herself.
When a professional comedian gets angry, it's worth reading. In the same vein, "The Do-Nothing 106th Congress has passed its baton. All hail the Question-Nothing 107th Congress."
The Worker's Paradise is in danger of going the route of godless capitalism and automobile worship (godless and worship in the same prepositional phrase? Hmm.), ignoring the U.S. example. Since the People's Republic also relies heavily on coal for energy needs, I shudder to think of the health and environmental consequences.
Speaking as a former (not old, dammit) programmer, musically debugging programs seems intriguing.
I've gone missing while this game is on the tube.
Billy Collins is poet laureate of the United States. This poem will be read before Congress today at its joint session in New York City.
Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A fine rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name —
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner —
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in green rows in a field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.
"When Ralph Nader's Greens equated a Bush presidency with a Gore presidency, they took leave of any practical connection to America."So says a former SDS-er who thinks the progressive liberal movement has become reflexively negative towards America.
Friedman has some 9/11 thoughts (as who doesn't), but he puts them in the form of a lesson plan. Maureen Dowd has an idea some (including me) have had for some time: "It seems that Mr. Cheney now regards the end of the gulf war as a great historic gaffe and wants to earn his immortality correcting it."
Hey, college students and parents of same: how about an empty washing machine notification system? Not to say that college students are Neanderthal or untidy (hey, I was one once), and there's no connection between the previous item and this one, but a 40,000-year-old baby skeleton has just been rediscovered in a museum 90 years after it was "lost." Want more technology? Meet Annie and Bertha. They are the two machines boring an extension of the Channel Tunnel into London. Since the machines are to meet from opposite ends, it's somewhat reminiscent of the Central and Union Pacific railroads meeting at Promontory Point in Utah.
I posted something about the punditry and its bellicosity way back here; the New Hampshire Gazette has published what it calls the Chicken Hawk database, summarizing the military service experience of the Administration and its "Iraq Now!" supporters. Enlightening. The database doesn't sort by attitude toward the First Amendment, but I'll bet those included agree with the 49% of Americans who think it goes too far. That terrifies me. Are all these people sheep?
There will be hundreds of articles published about the aftermath of the September 11 attacks over the next two weeks: here's one about the impact they had on foreign policy, based on interviews with foreign officials and correspondents as well as administration officials and outside experts. "The major broadcast networks will provide day-long coverage", and many other channels and papers will be doing similar things. The story gives a brief rundown of what's planned.
This is all Shelley's fault...
And that leads to a dog quiz! (For those keeping score at home, I did a cat quiz a month ago).
Identify the dog:
7. Laddie Boy