July 31, 2004

Is the voter dumb?

Here's an interesting interview with Phillip Gourevitch, who wrote the Rwanda book I wrote about a while back. He also recently wrote a profile of John Kerry for the New Yorker. He's talking about the campaign and the press, and he says this:

Then there's always this kind of presumption of the incredible stupidity of American voter, which I don't think is fair by the way -- it's a fault of the press. There's always this sort of notion that people aren't paying attention, they won't pay attention. Of course people won't pay attention if you give them stupid reporting. It seems to be a very strange equation: people aren't interested in foreign policy, therefore we will talk about it in extremely simplistic, boiled-down ways that make it absolutely useless to pay attention. And then people say, "see, they don't want to hear about it." There's an assumption about where America's attention is. When you go out on the campaign trail, whether they're highly informed or modestly informed, people are really, really engaged and wanting to talk about foreign policy this time. Foreign policy, war making, how to respond to the age of terror as it's called, all these things are rather front and center on the minds of not just guys at the Council on Foreign Relations, but the guys in swing states and in blue collar jobs. That's interesting.

Now if only he could persuade the nabobs at the networks and on our local tv stations that politics deserves more time on air.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:15 PM | Comments (1)

July 30, 2004

Sign up to listen

From the WaPo's White House Briefing today:

Vice President Cheney speaks at campaign rallies in Yakima, Wash., and Central Point, Ore., today. On Saturday, he speaks at a Disabled American Veterans convention in Reno, Nev., and then at campaign rallies in Tucson, Ariz., and Rio Rancho, N.M.

Jeff Jones writes in the Albuquerque Journal: "Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney's rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news:

"Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes."

Jones writes that Republicans said they were trying to thwart Democratic operatives, but that "some who left the office . . . without tickets on Thursday said they're not affiliated with an operative group and should have a right to see their vice president without pledging their allegiance to Bush."

Noted without further comment, except that I recommend you read the entire article from Albuquerque.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:17 PM | Comments (3)


In his speech Senator Kerry said this:

We have it in our power to change the world. But only if we're true to our ideals - and that starts by telling the truth to the American people. As president, that is my first pledge to you tonight. As president, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.

That would be damned refreshing, after nearly four years of secrecy and lies.

And he said this:

For four years we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. Values are what we live by. They're about the causes that we champion and the people that we fight for. And it's time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.

You don't value families by kicking kids out of after-school programs and taking cops off the streets so that Enron can get another tax break.

We believe in the family value of caring for our children and protecting the neighborhoods where they walk and they play.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families by denying real prescription-drug coverage to seniors so big drug companies can get another windfall profit.

We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As president, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care or if you tell middle-class families to wait for a tax cut so the wealthiest among us can get even more.

We believe in the value of doing what's right for everyone in the American family.

And that is the choice in this election.

I thought it was a very good speech.

The NYT has put up a useful page of links to the texts of most of the major speeches at the Convention, including Senator Kerry's.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

Miserable Failure watch

Here's Michael Bérubé on USA Today & Ann Coulter, Cal Thomas, and wingnut-skulls-a-poppin'.

Here's Jon Stewart on Bush vs. Bush, in case you haven't seen it.

And for another use of media as featured on Fresh Air today, here's an exhibition of campaign ads from 1952-2004.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:01 PM | Comments (1)

Presidential abuse

I like Ann Richards, the former Governor of Texas. Here's part of what she said about Bush the other day:

"You know," she began, in that famous Texas twang, "for American women in a Republican majority, their president has been like a marriage that's gone from bad to worse. You know the story. The guy has a great line, he's sort of cute, he tells you that life together will be bliss, and then in a few years he's snoring on the couch while the TV blares on the fifth football game of the day and the neighbors are screaming about the yard that never gets mowed, and there's a car up on blocks in the driveway, and your household budget is just stretched to the limit, and he's spending all the money on hunting trips, a new shotgun and a camo jumpsuit, and you're standing there at the sink thinking, 'I must have been out of my mind!' So here we are, almost four years past our shotgun wedding with this White House, and like we say in Texas: Honey, it's time to split the sheets and sign the legal papers."

And yes, I know Bush beat her in an election.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2004

Drops of pepperoni

I've been busy all day trying to figure out how to measure the volume of a single drop of liquid from an eye drop bottle. Did you know that thing has a trademarked name? It's called a "Droptainer."

In the meantime, courtesy of Sue, here's a cautionary tale about your next pizza order.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:21 PM | Comments (5)

July 27, 2004

Day one of the Convention

The best line I've read from a blogger regarding yesterday's events is unquestionably this one from Tom Tomorrow:

"Later, Jimmy Carter arrives, and isn't it strange when you wake up having no idea that you're going to meet a former President of the United States before you go back to bed that night?"

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2004

My science beats your law

If you've been harmed by a drug that FDA has approved, your ability to sue the manufacturer has just been curtailed.

Allowing consumers to sue manufacturers would "undermine public health" and interfere with federal regulation of drugs and devices, by encouraging "lay judges and juries to second-guess" experts at the F.D.A., the government said in siding with the maker of a heart pump sued by the widow of a Pennsylvania man.

Science matters to this Administration only when it serves its broader goal of eliminating lawsuits. Bush to consumer: "Drop Dead. I don't give a rip."

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)

Dems invade Boston

In the "News you can use" department, here are some links to Democratic convention blogs/feeds blatantly stolen from Talk Left:

Technorati may not be quite ready yet; that link goes to a "Coming Soon" sign (or did at 1441hst, July 25).

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2004

Sports notes

Six in a row? The mind boggles. Now let's see Armstrong win when he's got a canvas bag with forty newspapers inside it balanced on his handlebars, like I used to do. He needs some sort of handicap, doesn't he?

More congratulatory notes go to Molly and The Eck, as they were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

Breaking News: Senator Kerry announces on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball (Yankees-Red Sox -- he's at the game) that he doesn't like the designated hitter rule. He just got the baseball traditionalist vote.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:01 PM | Comments (5)

July 24, 2004

A surfeit of non-fiction

I just picked up the 9/11 Commission Report; it was what looked to be the next-to-last copy my local Borders Express (née Waldenbooks) had, and that was at 10:30am. The salesperson said it was the fastest-selling book in the store today. Now I'm trying to decide whether to finish The Mission, Dana Priest's account of how the military became the de facto first option for American diplomacy over the past 15 years, or to put that down and start on the Commission Report.

What else? Oh, yeah, there's Ghost Wars, which has been sitting in the to-be-read pile for a month or so.

Good grief. Where to begin?

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:56 PM | Comments (2)

July 23, 2004

First they came for the Baptists...

Here they go again.

The Republican National Committee has asked Bush-backing Roman Catholics to provide copies of their parish directories to help register Catholics to vote in the November election, a use of personal information not necessarily condoned by dioceses around the country.

In a story posted Thursday [the July 21 column--ed.] on its Web site, the National Catholic Reporter said a GOP official had urged people who attended a Catholic outreach event in January to provide parish directories and membership lists to the political party.

From the NCR column:

In early June, for example, the New York Times reported on a Bush-Cheney appeal to churchgoers. "The Bush-Cheney '04 national headquarters in Virginia has asked us to identify 1600 "Friendly Congregations" in Pennsylvania where voters friendly to President Bush might gather on a regular basis," wrote Luke Bernstein, coalitions coordinator for the Bush campaign in Pennsylvania. "In each of these friendly congregations, we would like to identify a volunteer coordinator who can help distribute general information from other supporters."

"What was striking about the Pennsylvania e-mail message was its directness," said the Times.

No one should be shocked at the lengths each campaign will go to this election to identify and energize their voters. But if asking congregants to help spread a political message is "direct," what does that make asking Catholics to fork over their parish directories to the Republican National Committee?

Did these bastards ever even read the Constitution? Yes, I know it says the government will establish no religion, but the implication has always been there'd be no interference with or subornation of religion for political purposes. Found via Body and Soul, whose post you should also read).

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:29 PM | Comments (2)

Aces and eights

There I was, sitting in front of the television watching the 6:00pmEST edition of Sportscenter while eating my lunch, and ESPN shows me what the upcoming programs will be on the network this evening (afternoon). Fine, you say, that's normal. Well, yeah, but one of the shows is the 2004 World Series of Poker. (It's Texas hold 'em.) Now, I've played my share of poker, although I don't know this version of the game. Five card, seven-card-stud; I've won and lost my share of quarters and up playing those. But whatever the style, here's what I don't get: why is it a spectator sport? What, you're gonna root for a good card to come up in the shuffle? It's not like Jeopardy, where at least you can feel proud of yourself if you know the answer question.

I'd say ESPN's regressing to its early days of programming, when it would show badminton or ping-pong to fill up the hours, except that Bravo, the Travel Channel, and Fox have also recognized the potential.

I don't get it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:58 PM | Comments (3)

July 22, 2004

9/11 Report online

If you want to read the 9/11 report on your monitor screen, you can find links to it from the commission's website. The thing is 7mb in PDF format, so if you're on dialup, go to your neighborhood bookstore. Norton, the publisher, airshipped print editions all over the country last night.

Update: Jason Kottke has put it up in HTML format. (Via Michele).

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2004

Soothe the savage beast

Aha! This classical music binge I'm suddenly on may have added benefits.

A doctor working with cancer patients at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne has teamed up with classical musicians to create a CD designed to calm and relax patients and their families.

Doctor Catherine Crock and Trio Grande have produced Hush Collection.

It is played in the hospital and is also available for sale to the public to help raise funds for research into pain management.

Dr Crock says she has noticed benefits across the board.

"We find that the children are really calm and the parents are quite relaxed," she said.

"An added benefit is that the staff are really relaxed.

"I knew we had the right sort of music when I noticed that the staff were whistling and humming along to the music as we were doing our work."

So the two latest purchases (Skrowaczewski conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in The Music of Ravel and a compilation including Rhapsody in Blue, Warsaw Concerto, El Salon Mexico, Sabre Dance, and Gershwin's Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra) will ease my pain. Good!

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:12 PM | Comments (6)

July 20, 2004

Who's my neighbor?

Who's in Iraq and Afghanistan? Governors express concerns to Pentagon officials. In Washington state, "...62 percent of its 87,000 Army National Guard soldiers are on active duty, including the majority of the guard's best-trained firefighters, at a time when wildfires are beginning to sweep through the state, according to state officials."

Here's the most recent Hawai'i breakdown:

Employers with members of the Hawai'i Air and Army National Guard or Army Reserve:

• Department of Education: 600 (estimated)

• City and County of Honolulu: The city estimated in 2001 that 3 percent of its then 10,579 employees were members of the Guard or Reserve, most in the HPD and HFD.

• Honolulu Police Department: 192 (40 face impending call-up)

• Honolulu Fire Department: 90 (estimated; 10 face impending call-up)

• HECO: 26

• Aloha Airlines: 43 out of 340 pilots.

Not to mention all the self-employed and small business owners.

And Honolulu is a city of some 370,000 people. (Oahu has 874,300 residents). I can imagine the impact on smaller places.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2004

Best short movie of the day

Oh, my. Have you seen the "This Land is Your Land" parody yet? Run, don't walk (as long as you've got a fast connection). A week ago I couldn't have seen this. It's an equal opportunity basher, so prepare to be offended no matter which side of the aisle you prefer.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:25 PM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2004


In my first real foray into classical music as a buyer rather than a casual listener, as I said below, I bought Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, the 1812 Overture and Marche Slave as conducted by Eugene Ormandy. Well, I more or less knew what I was getting there, particularly as I'd just seen Great Performances with Michael Tilton Thomas explaining how Symphony No. 4 was put together, and the 1812 has long been a favorite.

The other CD I bought was a copy of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, as performed by Roberto Michelucci. This was a surprise. As it turns out, I've probably heard Concerto Number 1 ("Spring"), or at least its theme, a few hundred times. This amused me no end, and I wonder how much other music I'd recognize not by name but by note. (Yes, yes, I know about Rossini and the "William Tell Overture"). I'll bet there's a fair bit.

Update: The 1812 Overture as heard through my perfectly-working pair of Pioneer 88 (80-watt) speakers manufactured c. 1973 might knock houses down. Wow.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:20 PM | Comments (9)

Compassionate conservatism redux

I am so sick and tired of this Administration. For the third consecutive year, it's decided (on what is clearly ideology rather than evidence) to withhold family planning money from the UN Population Fund. From the AP via the NYT:

The Bush administration will withhold $34 million in congressionally approved assistance to the U.N. Population Fund because of the fund's connection to China and forced abortions, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday.

The State Department said it was convinced the fund helped China manage programs that involved forced abortions.


The fund called the U.S. allegation baseless. "UNFPA has not, does not and will note [sic] ever condone or support coercive activities of any kind, anywhere," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director.

From the LA Times:

Fund officials said a fact-finding team sent to China two years ago by the U.S. State Department found no evidence that the fund had supported or taken part in management of Chinese programs of coercive abortions, or involuntary sterilization. Investigations by the United Nations, the British Parliament and a group of religious leaders had reached the same conclusion, it said.

Back to the AP story:

Powell said in a letter to Congress that the administration would continue to help women and children around the world through other programs.

The U.N. group estimated the money blocked by the Bush administration could have helped prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies and nearly 800,000 abortions, 4,700 mothers' deaths in childbirth and more than 77,000 infant and child deaths.

This is a sop to the Gary Bauers and Paul Weyrichs of the religious right, nothing more. See that 34 Million Friends button on the left? If you've got a few dollars to spare, click it to help the women of the world; the United States (that's you and me, folks) can't be bothered.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2004

Mass confusion

So lemme get this straight. George W. Bush is the champion of faith because he talks about it (while rarely attending church, if all the reports I've read in the mainstream press are to be believed); John Kerry attends Mass every week (which I know because there was a huge fuss about some bishops trying to deny him the Eucharist when he attends). So in the eyes of the pundits the non-churched candidate is by far the more religious? Mr. Bush talks the talk, but judging by his actions, does he really walk the walk?

This picture is out of focus.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:32 AM | Comments (4)

July 16, 2004

Who needs faulty voting machines?

Felonious Bush. This one's the Florida brother, who has at least given the appearance of attempting to rig the Florida election this fall (to which some of us might say, "What? Again?"). Seems they had a list of felons whose names needed to be purged from the voting rolls, but they didn't want to show it to anyone. CNN and some other civic-minded outfits sued and got copies. Turned out that of the 48,000 or so names on the list, only 50 or so were Hispanic and many of the rest were African-American. Far be it from me to suggest that the voting habits of Hispanics favor Republicans and the voting habits of African-Americans favor Democrats, but...the purge might very well have disproportionately favored the Republicans in Florida. Quel surprise, right? Billmon has much more on the details of all this. At least click over to his site to read the post title; it's clever.

Every time I think I have no more capacity for disbelief at the blatant disregard the Bushes have for election rules, I'm hit with another example.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Inflation in check, my ***

Two days ago I bought $10 worth of gas; that got me slightly over 4 gallons at $2.28/gallon. Today I bought a half-gallon of milk for $4.19. A half-gallon!

The government's Consumer Price Index basket needs to be updated.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:20 PM | Comments (6)

July 14, 2004

The dirty little secret of DSL

One of the major selling points is that voice and data don't conflict on the same line, right? You can talk on your phone while still perusing the Web. This was, in fact, one of the major reasons I finally made the switch; my principal client kept griping about calling the home phone number and "bothering" my mother (that's in quotes because she insists she wasn't bothered at all).

Ok, I've had DSL for about a week now. The tally of voice calls so far?

  • Two outgoing to my client
  • One incoming from my client
  • Five incoming from telemarketers

Remind me this was a smart idea.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:34 PM | Comments (3)

July 13, 2004

Let the dirge begin

You know a musical genre is in trouble when Circuit City devotes 15-20sf to it and the manager at Tower Records blithely says "We don't carry any."

Update: So what's that style? No, not soundtracks, not folk (although that seems to be buried in "pop"), but Classical! I even went to the largest used book/music store in town today, and they don't have a section for music which has been around for a lot longer than rock n' roll or hip hop ever has.


Update #2: For you Hawai'i residents, Borders at Waikele has a fairly good selection at prices somewhat less than the standard. In fact, I got a copy of Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's 4th, the 1812, and Marche Slave for $6.99. I also got a copy of Vivaldi's Four Seasons for $7.99.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:07 PM | Comments (7)

July 12, 2004

Oh, mother!

So even with all the ostensible blazing speed of DSL (and downloads are remarkably faster), I keep getting little reminders of how slow this machine is. If I have more than two windows open and try to open a third I often get a little window which says "there aren't enough system resources to do that."

I've got 128mb of memory and a 333mhz Intel Celeron processor. Should I try to get a new motherboard and install it, or should I just buy a new machine and go through the tedium of migrating data? Geeks? Nerds? Brave explorers of the unknown?

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:15 AM | Comments (8)

July 11, 2004

Roadside attractions

If you're driving around the country this summer and you're looking for unusual museums, try these. The American Medical Association has compiled a partial list of medical museums in most regions; the Mutter is here, of course, but there's a Civil War medicine museum, a surgical museum, and even a country doctor museum. Hey, seeing giant hairballs and representations of MASH units circa 1863 might be fascinating stuff!

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:54 PM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2004


Terry Teachout writes an Arts and Journal blog, and he came up with a quiz which is full of difficult choices. It's 100 questions long, but it's made up of choices between two items, so it's not too arduous. On the other hand, I'd hate to have to choose between some of these, so it's a good thing it's just an internet quiz!

Go to that link to check out the details of the quiz and what he's trying to do. In fact, poke around; he's got lots of interesting material over there. His essay about recovered presents might break your heart.

If you had to choose

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? Kelly
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises? The Sun Also Rises
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington? The Duke
4. Cats or dogs? Dogs
5. Matisse or Picasso? Picasso
6. Yeats or Eliot? Eliot
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin? Chaplin
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike? Updike
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca? Casablanca
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning? de Kooning
11. The Who or the Stones? The Who
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath? Plath by virtue of more familiarity
13. Trollope or Dickens? Dickens
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald? Ella
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy? Oh, the shame: I've read neither
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair? I've seen neither
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham? Balanchine
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers? Burgers
19. Letterman or Leno? Letterman
20. Wilco or Cat Power? Wilco
21. Verdi or Wagner? Verdi
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe? Kelly
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash? Monroe by an eyelash
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis? Kingsley
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando? Mitchum
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp? Tharp
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt? Rembrandt
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin? Tchaikovsky
29. Red wine or white? White
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde? Wilde
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity? I've seen neither
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev? Prokofiev
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev? Baryshnikov by a jeté
34. Constable or Turner? Constable
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo? Rio Bravo
36. Comedy or tragedy? Comedy
37. Fall or spring? In Hawai'i? Fall
38. Manet or Monet? Monet
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons? The Simpsons
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? Gershwins
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James? Conrad
42. Sunset or sunrise? Sunrise
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter? Mercer
44. Mac or PC? PC
45. New York or Los Angeles? LA
46. Partisan Review or Horizon? No data
47. Stax or Motown? Stax
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin? Van Gogh
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello? Steely Dan
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine? Magazine
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier? Olivier
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers? Lovers
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde? Bonnie and Clyde
54. Ghost World or Election? I've seen neither
55. Minimalism or conceptual art? Minimalism
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny? Bugs by a nose
57. Modernism or postmodernism? Modernism
58. Batman or Spider-Man? Spiderman
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams? Emmylou
60. Johnson or Boswell? Boswell
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf? Woolf
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show? Van Dyke
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table? Eames
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity? Double Indemnity
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni? Alas, I've seen neither
66. Blue or green? Blue
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It? As You Like It
68. Ballet or opera? Ballet
69. Film or live theater? Theater
70. Acoustic or electric? Acoustic
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo? North by Northwest
72. Sargent or Whistler? Sargent
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera? I've read neither
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma? The Music Man
75. Sushi, yes or no? No
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn? Wouldn't know the difference
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee? Williams
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove? I've read neither
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham? Who?
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe? van der Rohe
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones? Krall
82. Watercolor or pastel? Watercolor
83. Bus or subway? Subway
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg? Stravinsky
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Smooth
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser? Cather
87. Schubert or Mozart? Mozart
88. The Fifties or the Twenties? Fifties
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick? Huck Finn
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce? Mann
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins? Young
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman? Whitman
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill? Lincoln
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann? I've heard neither
95. Italian or French cooking? French
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord? No data
97. Anchovies, yes or no? No
98. Short novels or long ones? Long
99. Swing or bebop? Swing
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"? "The Last Supper"

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

Reflections on DSL

After 18 months or so (since SBC did a deal with Yahoo after buying Prodigy) of fighting dialup crashes 8-10 times a day, the ability to jump around without having to redial and then connect at speeds as slow as 9600bps is mah-vel-ous. I wonder if part of this plan means I get dialup as a redundant method for those times when DSL might go down.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:27 AM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2004

Which route was that?

DSL installed and running. D-Link Router not. Despite all the blurb about self-configuration, the router software seems to have a conflict with some PPPoE software installed by Verizon. When I check the status of the router it gets to the "connecting" stage, but not as far as "connected."

Time to figure out how to "uninstall" the Verizon WinPoet stuff, I think; that's what the D-Link installation recommended, but did Verizon tell me it was being installed during the process? Not that I recall. Bleah.

Oh, and why would certain sites return 404 pages every time I try them, even though they've always been accessible on dialup?

Update: Children, always update your firmware, even if the gadget is straight out of a shrink-wrapped box. Did that, and it worked with no putzing with WinPoet.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

July 07, 2004


The downside of having a UPS tracking number for a package you're looking for is that you tend to check its progress two or three times a day. This is even sillier when it has to be flown from Philadelphia to Honolulu before it finally gets on a truck. In this particular case, the DSL modem got here last night at 11:00pm, but it hasn't gotten to my door yet, and the airport is only 5 miles away. Grrr.

Update: It was very quietly delivered to my front door while we were eating supper and watching the News Hour. Huzzah! Tomorrow the DSL service is theoretically turned on by Verizon, so maybe, just maybe...assuming I make no mistakes hooking everything up and don't fry any boards...maybe I'll be fast tomorrow.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:02 PM | Comments (7)

Yeah, so?

When you hear the inevitable objection that "Edwards is a trial lawyer," respectfully point out to the speaker that fully 176 Representatives and 59 Senators in the current Congress have law degrees.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

July 06, 2004

Issue Oversubscribed

So as soon as I heard the news this morning I thought I should go get a Kerry-Edwards sticker image to replace that one on the left, but:

**Note** Due to overwhelming support our servers are extremely busy. If you experience any difficulty accessing our online store please try again later. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Thanks again for your support!

Gee, now if that happens again in November...

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:44 AM | Comments (3)

July 05, 2004

Crotchety mutterings

I was watching the various TV depictions of fireworks last night from NY, Washington and Boston. The fireworks were spectacular, but I didn't think much of the rest of the programs. I was thoroughly appalled that I only got to see a single hour of the Boston Pops, and that just the fireworks going off. None of the performance of the 1812 Overture was shown. Ever since CBS bought the rights to that show, it's been downhill. For years it was on PBS, then on A&E. Am I nuts, or when those networks showed it wasn't there much more attention to the music, and wasn't it mostly the orchestra? This trend of turning all of these presentations into showpieces for the latest pop singer (Clay Aiken at the Capitol Fourth? Please!) is hardly what I want to see.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:37 AM | Comments (3)

July 04, 2004

Happy Birthday, America

Note: The image above is the way the Declaration appeared after being typeset by John Dunlap, printer to Congress.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Read the rest. Then come back and learn just who the signatories were and what happened to them.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2004

Journey inside the box

One sound card replaced, one pair of speakers replaced, one Ethernet card successfully installed, one router ordered from Amazon, one DSL modem in transit (from Verizon!), and still the Verizon DLS order status page doesn't think I've ordered the service. Did they offshore the data entry chores, you think?

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004

DOJ, elementary school edition

I can't give you that info because we can't copy our database to disk.

The Center for Public Integrity sought information about lobbying activities available under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, a 1938 law passed in response to German propaganda before World War II. Database records describe details of meetings among foreign lobbyists, the administration and Congress, and payments by foreign governments and some overseas groups for political advertisements and other campaigns.

"Implementing such a request risks a crash that cannot be fixed and could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating," wrote Thomas J. McIntyre, chief in the Justice Department's office for information requests.

Oh, but if you want, you can come see the documents for four hours at a time, and no bets the paper format is current.

I don't know what's worse; the effrontery of this, or the idea that DOJ is unable to back up its data. In the first case it's arrogance of the first order; in the second it's absolute incompetence.

It's not even a novel excuse; kids have been saying things like that about their homework ever since there have been schools outside the home. (Story found over at the former CalPundit.)

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2004

WaPo publishes good stuff!

There's been some good material in the WaPo over the past few days. First the appalling: The Bush campaign has requested church directories from religious volunteers around the country. If that's not skirting the edges of church/state separation...

Milton Cerny, a tax specialist in the Washington office of the law firm Caplin & Drysdale who formerly administered tax-exempt groups for the IRS, said there is nothing in the campaign instructions "that on its face clearly would violate" the law.

"But these activities, if conducted in concert with the church or church leadership, certainly could be construed by the IRS as the church engaging in partisan electioneering," he said. "The devil is in the details."

Much less seriously, unless you care about taxpayers' money, if you're either a baseball fan or a metropolitan DC resident, here's a series of articles for you.

This series will examine the relocation process, [Commissioner Bud] Selig's role in it, and what they reveal about the insular culture that is Major League Baseball, the official name for the business entity that is the national pastime.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

It isn't a pretty tale. It's got corporate welfare in the guise of a taxpayer-funded stadium in Milwaukee, a dictator with nearly absolute power over where teams may move (or not move), and a cabal of like-minded owners who want no infringement on their right to coin money by virtue of the antitrust exemption baseball has.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:02 PM | Comments (2)

GMail Geekery

Want to embellish your shiny new GMail account? Go read Christina's accumulation of links to do wondrous things, like a new mail notification to your systray or the ability to download GMail to your POP3 e-mail client.

The link to that nifty tool I mentioned below is walled up behind a subscription, but Christina (in comments) found another one which does more-or-less the same thing without fighting that battle. It's called BHO Demon, and it comes in two flavors. Version 1 is an itsy-bitsy 479K; Version 2 is 1.4MB. I downloaded the smaller of the two and it works as advertised; it shows you a table with the Browser Helper Objects it finds in your registry, and you can click each BHO for details. If one of them is a bad guy, just rename it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)