Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy New Year

Cory Doctorow is younger than I am, but just as aware of how dire things are in this world. I am grateful for his optimism.
Crappy economies are often the home of wonderful Bohemias. Two recessions ago, I dropped out of school to become a computer programmer. In the last one, I quit the company I'd co-founded and went to work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Now that I'm a parent -- and now that I'm a little older -- I feel the risk a lot more keenly than I did then. But I just keep on remembering that we live in the best time in the history of the world to have a worst time: the time when collective action is cheaper and easier than ever, the time when more information and better access to tools, ideas and communities are at our fingertips than they've ever been.

This is an experiment to see if I can actually continue on a separate page with a post, adding things that do not appear on the main page. Shit, guess not. Still, I shall persist. I think it's possible.

He Doesn't Know

pickle juice from pimple pus and other instant, creative cliches are now available here. Endless hours of mindless fun with words.

Let's Try Cheney

who this week proudly, defiantly acknowledged his role in torture.
Followed closely by John Dean's call for prosecution, and FBI Mueller's reluctant admission that none of it was productive.
this exchange with FBI director Robert Mueller:
I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been
disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?
“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”
Mueller is “reluctant to answer” because he knows that Cheney and other administration spokespersons have repeatedly made that claim. And he knows that it is a lie which has been advanced for a specific reason: to cloak their criminal conduct.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weather Ahead: Jeebus

The storm expected tomorrow includes extremely high winds, which means power loss in the middle of the deep freeze. I have access to wood-fired heat at two other residences, but can we get there in the middle of a storm?
The region — expected to stay below freezing in the meantime — will again be hit not only by snow and ice pellets Saturday night into Sunday morning, but by winds that could reach 50 to 70 mph, with peak gusts of 90, in the foothills.
"This next system could actually be worse than what we just had," said Jeff Michalski, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It Was Al All The Time

From TPM:
A series of recent developments, notably the poor quality of Norm Coleman's ballot challenges, have helped Al Franken close the gap to just 5 votes in the near-interminable Minnesota recount, after he entered the process down by 215. Counting resumes Friday, but the race is now Franken's to lose.

Do The Right Thing

Taplin comments on the auto industry planned, managed bankruptcies:
This is the smartest move to come out of the White House in 7 years.

Sometimes I Just Don't Know

how I find things on the Net. One minute I was reviewing Myrvald's treatise on Peking duck and other wonders Chinese and the next thing I know I'm reading Calvin Trillin's delightful profile of Kenny Shropsin and his Greenwich Village restaurant. I'd like to try the Sister's Blisters, but hell, he's got 900 items on the menu.
“If somebody
comes in here and is flabbergasted by the number of things on
the menu and tells me, ‘How can I choose?’ “ he has said, “I
realize that they’re essentially in the wrong restaurant.”
It's a pdf and will download once you click on it from the Amazon link I'm giving you.

Without The Internet

I would never have heard of this. I'm not saying I understand anything, but at least I can recognize the reference if I ever see it again.
There are two inspirations for the design of the Water Cube. The exterior surface is a bubble-like skin of translucent plastic, arrayed as Voronoi polygons drawn from seemingly random points. Gregory Voronoi was a 19th-century Ukrainian mathematician who studied what we now call computational geometry. Voronoi studied what happens when you throw points at a plane and then break the plane into regions where each region is the area that is closest to its point. This creates a natural polygonal division of the plane. You see this pattern very clearly in the polygonal patterns of light, known technically as caustics, that play across the bottom of a well-lit pool or pond. Voronoi polygon patterns are also found on giraffes and in the veins in leaves. I made a recursive Voronoi fractal for one of the staircases in my house.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Snow of Season 2008

My Liberty apple tree.

Slate, Cont'd.

I ended up over at their Web site because of Hitchens who, despite my link below, is not worth reading after all.
Note to self: Always read the entire piece before linking.
Anyway, I liked this review of robotic toys better and especially this video.
Spoiler: You get what you pay for. In this case, $370.

Have A Laff

I really hate Christopher Hitchens for any number of very good reasons (he's a fascist, maybe, he keeps defending Iraq, he thinks he knows about things he doesn't know about) but he made me laugh out loud or, rather, his account of Phyllis Diller's Xmas card did, so I refer you to the entire piece on Christmas aversion, which I share.

I had never before been a special fan of that great comedian Phyllis Diller, but she utterly won my heart this week by sending me an envelope that, when opened, contained a torn-off square of brown-bag paper of the kind suitable for latrine duty in an ill-run correctional facility. Duly unfurled, it carried a handwritten salutation reading as follows:

Money's scarce
Times are hard
Here's your f******
Xmas card

Who Is Hyman Minsky

and what does he have to do with all this economic meltdown stuff?
Lawyers always say you should never ask a question that you don't already know the answer to.
(Inelegant writing, I know, I should go back to bed.)
I don't know who Hyman Minsky is, but this guy does.
For those of you able to bear it, there's an enlightening and probably useful discussion going on over at TPM Cafe focused on the reissue of Krugman's book on the Depression (Great Depression? were there minor depressions? then what's a recession? Hyman Minsky? Huh?)
Some have called this current crisis the "Minsky Moment", but actually it is more accurate to recognize this as the culmination of the "Minsky Half-Century".

Minsky, schminsky, I just always loved the name Hyman. If I were to have a son, I would surely name him Hyman.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Tellin' Mom!

I witnessed a bit of history just minutes ago. The famous Shiba Inus of San Francisco were busy being mischivous while, er, Home Alone, when one of them, the boy most likely, kept attacking the camera behind the fence that looks out on them.
Suddenly, after much biting and pawing, the view is of the ceiling.
I know, I know, I'm obsessed.


It is too disturbing to write about even though with a new Senate report just out, Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald and Scott Horton are all keeping on it, especially Sullivan.
I know just enough to decide not to read any more.
Like this:
It seems likely that Mr. Kenami died of positional asphyxia because of how he was restrained, hooded, and positioned. Positional asphyxia looks just like death by a natural heart attack except for those telltale conjunctival hemorrhages in his eyes.

Corrections And Other Fact-Based Journalism

It's Regret the Error's annual round-up, with this year's "correction of the year" award going to Dave Barry for this explanation:
In yesterday’s column about badminton, I misspelled the name of Guatemalan player Kevin Cordon. I apologize. In my defense, I want to note that in the same column I correctly spelled Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarak, Poompat Sapkulchananart and Porntip Buranapraseatsuk. So by the time I got to Kevin Cordon, my fingers were exhausted.
The operator of this site also has named an annual prize after the long-time author of the British The Guardian's corrections, since he sets the standard:
Deep depression: Our economics editor has officially gone from recession to depression. By mangling the names of two of history’s most highly decorated economists, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, we not only created an economy of truth but blamed poor Milton Keynes for having “crazy” ideas (We can all learn from Depression, Opinion, page 21, September 29). Milton Keynes is an English town famous not only for its grid system of roads and its herd of concrete cows but because in 1998 it was deemed so boring that even chartered accountants refused to move there. The “crazy” ideas comment was intended for John Maynard Keynes, who was voted one of Time Magazine’s most important people of the 20th century - and who was not boring.
Altogether, the entire piece qualifies as the best read I've had in a long time.


a dissenting view. I was a young adult during this period. I don't remember if I watched the interviews. I'm not even sure I ever paid enough attention (through my full, liberal contempt for the man) to understand it as Elizabeth Drew does.
That's why it's important to know that what's being presented is seen by many experts as an unacceptably distorted version of the truth.
The film's plot is a contrivance; its telling is so riddled with departures from what actually happened as to be fundamentally dishonest; and its climactic moment is purely and simply a lie. Literary license in the name of drama or entertainment is one thing; the issue comes down to what one is taking license with, and the degree of license being taken.

Food Blogs: The List

Monday, December 15, 2008

Puppies, Cont'd.

Ignore, but I got the new embed code and wanted to mention that the live SFShiba cam has been on several top video lists this year and mentioned on network TV. Brian Williams, that tool, seems to think all the puppies do is sleep. Obviously he's relying on second-hand reports.
The owners have been keeping viewers updated on a blog if you're interested. Okay, I know, I know, I'm obsessed.

Free TV : Ustream

Headline O' Teh Day

US anti-kidnapping expert kidnapped in Mexico

The Purpose Of Life

Our “purpose,” so to speak, is to redistribute energy on the Earth, which is in between a huge potential energy difference caused by the hot Sun and cold space.
h/t Andrew Sullivan, or one of his fans actually


She's as pure as the driven snow. B-bu-but she's a Kennedy. Well, one of the three possible alternatives is Cuomo's son. The other two are, while possibly talented, clearly political hacks.
So, I like her as the next senator from New York.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Reprise, the Shiba Inus of San Fran, because I'm not a techie and am usure of what I've done.
Free video streaming by Ustream

Three Still Left

The Shiba Inus of San Fran have been my obsession the last couple of weeks. Of the original six, three remain since Monday. And when they go off the air, I get all teary, thinking I will never see them again. Pretty soon, that will be true.
Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Is It Right to Mock Blind People?

Is it fair? Come on, it's art, it's anarchy. If it isn't anarchy, it isn't art.
This made me laugh until it hurt last night. (Yes, I stayed up for Hugh Laurie because I loved, not House, but Bertie Wooster.) So, before posting I just had to see if it checked out the next day. It hurts, it hurts!
The Brits have a word for this. Brilliant.

Oops, wrong embed. Children, always check your work. Exception: Blogging.

Who's A Dick?

I knew there was something called Dickipedia, but until a friend of mine today complained about David Gregory having Carly Fiorina on Meet the Press, of which he is the new official host, I hadn't really thought about it.
David Gregory (born August 24, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA) is the moderator of "Meet the Press," NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, and a dick. In Canada and the United Kingdom, his profession would more accurately be called a "news reader," as most of what he does is read copy that is researched and written for him by others. But these other people can be very annoying with their "knowledge of the world" and their "advanced degrees," so it's only fitting that David take the credit. And the money.

He is married to Beth Wilkinson. Though you may not know her, you paid her for years, while she was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Fannie Mae. She held this position until September of 2008, when she resigned after the troubled giant was taken over by the government, giving her more time to spend with her troubled giant at home.

Until this time, I'd thought of David Gregory as that asshole TV reporter who participated in that critically unfunny anti-rapping pseudo rapping spoof with K-K-Karl Rove at the Washington correspondents hoopla a couple years ago (last year? 2006? recent anyway).
I don't watch the Sunday morning talking heads because Jason Linkins does it for me, and I am eternally grateful for that.
I told my friend to quit watching that crap and be very critical of what she reads, too.
But I am going one step further. Alway, always check out Dickipedia.
I don't really like Arianna, find her accent irritating, but she hires good people who hire good people. Check out Dickipedia regularly. Rinse. Repeat.

Never Look At The Internet

Or, Quote O' Teh Day.
There are days when I read so much really good writing, often about really good writing, that I just want to  quit using words altogether because of my own inadequacy.
This NYT piece on Clint clinched it for me this morning. (Yes, clinched just rolled out after Clint, and it is, as a friend of mine said years ago, "all chemistry.")

Despite what you might have read on Wikipedia, Mr. Eastwood is not a vegan, and he looked slightly aghast when told exactly what a vegan is. “I never look at the Internet for just that reason,” he said.