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Thursday, September 13, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Still not quite up to being, ready to be, either wise or witty. Fiddling around more with the music; nice meaning-free music.

Go read Debra and Steve for wisdom; read Ethel for the complexities. Tomorrow maybe I'll find the energy to be more talkative...

Wednesday, September 12, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Thanks to the folks who wrote wondering; we're all unharmed, way up north of where the bad things happened.

How do you know when it's okay to think about something else, to make silly jokes again, to laugh when it's not hiding tears? Hard to imagine ever feeling normal again, although in fact we will, soon enough to feel guilty about it.

I want to disagree with the TV pundits who said it's a different country now, and things will never be the same. If that's true, the bad guys did what they set out to do. I hope it'll stay the same country, we'll stay the same people, more cautious and resolute, knowing as we always have that evil exists and planes can be hijacked. But maybe doing more about it. I can't give blood, because I just did a few weeks ago. So helpless, so unable to help.

Thanks to Debra Hyde who mentioned in her weblog that we're okay. We're just not well connected to the net for some reason, maybe or maybe not related to problems in NYC.

Carry on.

Monday, September 10, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

"There's some evidence, however, that exploding head syndrome is far more common than the scanty printed reports suggest."

At least the fourth article on the local stripper scandal, in the Sunday paper, was below the fold on the front page. This one is about how sex and booze are just two signs of the spreading influence of evil and decadence over our once-pure suburbs, and how children must be vigilantly protected against everything at all times.

"'Mr. Oxford University' Loses Rights to Domain Name".

Malcolm Jones, panning a Garrison Keillor novel in the 2001/08/26 New York Times Book Review:

Reading a book is something altogether different. Reading a book means turning off the television, ignoring the puppy that wants to play and saying to hell with the dishes. This puts a big burden of proof on a book. Show me, you say, prove that you are worth my valuable time.

Definitely to hell with the dishes.

We took our six hundred bucks of tax cut and divvied it up in little bits. In the "discretionary spending" bit, each adult got $50 to do whatever they wanted with, and each kid got $25 (kids are smaller). The little daughter is still rubbing her hands together and figuratively cackling over hers; the little boy immediately went out and bought "The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Grapefruit" or whatever it is for his GameThing. M bought part of a coat. I bought part of a bunch of books and stuff (surprise, surprise):

Green Snake

Greg Egan's "Diaspora", just because you can never have too much paperback SF lying around,

Nin's "Delta of Venus" ("You saw the movie, now read the book!"),

Iain M. Banks's latest, "Look to Windward", because I really really like Banks, even enough to buy him in hardcover now and then,

Obscenity and Pornography Decisions of the United States Supreme Court for the obvious reasons,

Moxy Fruvous's "Bargainville", since it's "the best album for a listener new to Moxy Fruvous" and "Moxy Fruvous" is a really silly name, and someone somewhere once recommended it to me, and

Green Snake, which has been on my wishlist for so long that I've completely forgotten why, but it looks neat (I also just now when it's too late notice that it would have been cheaper on DVD, wurra wurra wurra).

So that's all about that.

Friday, September 7, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

The stripper story is on the front page of the local paper (above the fold) for the third day in a row. Today's main story concentrates on the guy who runs the agency that they hired the stripper through. Some memorable quotes.

"It's amazing that some high school kids and a stripper and some nitwit parents can bring about this kind of thing," said Agnello, who has been contacted by producers from CNN, the "O'Reilly Factor" and "20/20" since the arrest of Robert and Rochelle Wien. "I feel like Gary Condit, except nobody thinks I killed anyone."

There was another related article on the front page of the physical paper (I can't find it online). It concentrated on the people who live in the neighborhood where the Big Scandal took place, wailing and gnashing their teeth that such a Horrible Thing could happen in the sterile sheltered world that they pay so much to live in. I gotta quote the stripper agency guy again:

"Do you think we'd be here if a bunch of kids from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers got a stripper?" he said. "It all has to do with the snootiness of the people who live in the community. You go to the poor areas of the world, and nobody gives a (expletive)."

Shouldn't that be "an (expletive)"?

The new improved music generator that I mentioned in the the Anniversary Issue is finally available in the CGI version, so you can be amazed first-hand at its virtuosity. It knows a tiny bit about chords, even less about chord progressions, and just the barest epsilon about cadences. But once in awhile the random-number generator gets inspired...

a back

Also in the Feats of Creativity department, I have a new Windows wallpaper, based on a photograph from Declan McCullagh's abstract nudes page. Surprising how hard it is to find a good hi-res picture of an unclothed back on the Web; for some reason the porn sites seem to neglect that area of the human form. (Although surely there's a back-fetishist web site out there somewhere?)

I tried to be a Good Person by adding a jpeg comment to the image, saying "From a photo by Declan McCullagh"; but aside from the program that I used to insert the comment, none of the things that show me images give any hint that the message is there. So my guilt is not entirely assuaged. What I need to do is finally buy a digital camera and take a back-picture of my own.

Don't tape that beating! Steve linked the other day to this story about a person arrested for taping some police officers harassing him. Seem you're not allowed to record people talking in Massachusetts, even if they're state actors abusing you. I hope it does go to the Supremes and they grant cert.

We were speculating at lunch on just how the law could be attacked. Someone suggested Freedom of Speech, but I don't see a really clear case in that direction: is making a recording speech? Maybe a slightly different part of the First Amendment, the bit about "Congress shall make no law... abridging... the right of the people... to petition the government for a redress of grievances". Would that be violated by a law that forbade gathering evidence to support such a petition? Or is there other Constitutional case law on the right to keep an eye on the government?

More on the evil that is the DMCA: Anti-DMCA.org, and a very cogent letter from the very cogent Ray Davis. The government, on the other hand, would rather we withheld judgement until the fait gets a bit more accompli: "In a report mandated by Congress, government lawyers said it is too early to assess whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is a success or a failure" (link from Gigalaw Daily News).

Also from Gigalaw, a related monster under the bed: Bill Would Require Copyright Controls on Technology.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation, which is in staff discussions during the congressional August recess, consumer electronics and computer makers, along with content providers, would be required to develop technology that would prevent people from making illegal copies of music, films and other content available via the Internet, DVDs, etc.

Note that the required technology would prevent illegal copies. How clever of it! Just think; a lawyer embedded in every DVD player...


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