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Thursday, January 17, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

At the Wall Street Journal editorial page, presumably, if a colleague announces to the world that he holds the institution and those who work there in contempt, he takes a bit of joshing around the water cooler, then everybody gathers for a group hug and returns to denouncing Tom Daschle.

Dunno why, I just liked that paragraph.

On my question last week about why it's always the left wing pointing out the sins of industry, a reader writes:

Libertarians focus on freedom from government tyranny. It's sort of what defines them. Corporation sins, along with a whole host of evils, falls outside that purview.

Yeah, and I guess that's what I'm complaining about, really. In the ideal world, the Common Consensus would be something like, I dunno, this:

Okay, everyone knows that the way to do a successful civilization is to define some plausible notion of private property, and then give people the freedom to use their stuff as they see fit (modulo rights violations); in practice, this tends to lead to money and corporations and 'capitalism' and stuff, and that's fine, we like that. They produce wealth, and increase happiness.

Now! There are also all sorts of ways that businesses and corporations in this context can abuse the system and do bad things; here are some examples: (examples). So let's think about how to limit this sort of abuse, while still preserving the good things about the system.

But instead we get the "smash global capitalizm!" types on the one hand, and the "corporations can do no wrong" types on the other. Phht.

Hm, am I just complaining that extremes exist, and is my ideal Consensus really something like the actual consensus? I dunno.

giant snakes

But anyway! I'm actually in a pretty good mood today, having just gotten the annual "you didn't entirely suck last year" reassurance at work. So I think I will invigorate the pale underbellies of former Soviet chain-link bridges.

A foundling is, by definition, not something that you would ordinarily keep in a teacup (or two teacups, or the throve of a dromedary). But a chain of foundlings, on the other hand, goes nicely with milk (with milk, with vexation, with a profile of nose-shapes in Central Europe at the time of Uncle Cheeser's fortuitous sneeze), and can be handily carried in the udder-pouch.

(Did I say "udder-pouch? How embarassing!)

One are, two esses. But anyway! I didn't mean to detain you, to take up so much of your time, to keep you from your Angelina Jolie collectibles (oh, sorry, that was someone else), to suggest anything disturbing. It's just that I have this, this what, this unbounded what, this unbounded love for, for what, for all sorts of things, for all things perhaps (prehaps, he says), and for all configurations like:

The tongues of eels
Flaming bottle shapes
Kailash, when it rises
Bollywood movies

Those rounded surfaces, you know. Well!

Say, this is going along quite nicely, isn't it? Out the window you can see the trees; within the trees you can see the windows. Do you see the windows? He sees the windows. She sees the windows. The windows are nice. We like windows. My aunt's pen sees the windows.

So there you are!

Next week, those sharp implements clutched in those ardent feet of those soaring swans, and reader comments on them there digital pictures (pictures of eels! pictures of Temba, his arms wide! don't take any Wotan nickels!!).

Wednesday, January 16, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Lola, running

On the speakers: the soundtrack to Run Lola Run.

I don't believe in promise
I don't believe in chance
I don't believe you can resist
the things that make no sense   --

I loved the movie, and the soundtrack is pretty hoopy too. Very high energy, but not obnoxious thumping.

I'm so far less pleased with Dar Williams' "The Green World". I'm very fond of "Honesty Room"; I guess I'm one of her "folkish" fans who's disappointed by the Popishness of her latest stuff. We'll see if that changes as I listen to it more.

Beth's kid is really really cute.

I've put another picture of me (I'm not as cute) onto the Mirror Project. It may be familiar to especially devoted readers.

What are you holding?

My tongue.
my breath
A grudge.
my heart in my hand
my mouse
my mouse
a mouse
a knockoff leatherman
a dead man's hand - aces and eights

I had a comic book when I was little about some cowboys, and the Dead Man's Hand, and ghosts and Fate and all that kind of thing. It was neat. (Why is it called "the Dead Man's Hand"?)

What are you holding?


the beard on my chin as I read your disquisition on an act I, too, enjoy: baking.

my breath, as i fall in love with my husband all over again, 16 years and counting...

A nice thing. M and I are approaching (what?) twenty years (impossible!).

I was going to say Billionaire - Ha! But in fact I am step related to an MSB and even theugh he is still at MS, he claims to like Linux and if he comes over (very rare possibility) and indeed comes to my computer and my main window (out of 6 - don't you love Linux?) is open the Eterm with it's random background (merrily tail -f syslog) might indeed attract his attention. Wow I hate being anonymous but I seem to be liking this ...signed Konqueror.

Well, cool; we'll be watching for the check!

Lots of good feedback is coming in on yesterday's plea for reactions to the latest pictures; keep it coming! (Even and/or especially if it's not entirely positive; one comment from someone who doesn't like them at all may inspire some woolgathering on the purpose of art in the next few days or decades.)

So why do I have this perverse interest in tax protestors? (The bogus "existing laws don't require people living in the U.S. to pay income tax" kind of tax protestors, that is?) Anyway, here's some more folks who are trying to convince people of this, including one Bob Schulz of whom the site says "[a]t least one hundred fourteen (114) decisions have been rendered in cases he has brought against unconstitutional and illegal governmental behavior". Of course he lost some / most / all of those cases. Sheesh.

On a more rational note, the little daughter and I very much enjoyed Oh My Goddess, volume 1 on DVD. We've both read a bunch of the (paper and ink) manga (in translation), and the (moving) anime is very faithful to it, and fun. We watched it in Japanese, with the English subtitles, which makes us more or less geeky than someone else (see Chart 1). (When to order volume two?)

Tuesday, January 15, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Technically it's still Monday for a few more minutes (the sky dark, the kids and M asleep, the cat warm and purring on my lap, the taste of cold orange juice guiltily snuck after toothbrushing still on my tongue, the floor cold under my toes), but that's okay.

Cold Spring, New York

There's another page of digital pictures over in the pictures section, for your looking-at pleasure. I finally got around to sucking the most recent couple hundred images off of the camera and winnowing through them for ones that wanted to be shown. I've got a couple more put aside for the Mirror Project also.

It's funny; the first few pages of digital images that I put up, I did considerable careful cropping around in Photoshop, picking out three-N by four-N sections of the big 1200 by 1600 originals, deciding just which part of each image was actually The Stuff. With this most recent page, on the other hand, all fifteen images were just the Whole Thing of the shot I'd taken, without cropping. Am I getting better at framing things with the camera itself? Or have my tastes in images changed? Or is it just an artifact of the subjects and pictures I happened to be working with this time?

Anyway! I want to put up a few more pictures on photo.net, and to choose one to put up for comments in their Critique section. And I will let y'all readers choose (or at least give me advice on) which one it should be. Isn't that exciting?

Go over to the digital pictures section, look through the images, and tell me which one I should especially bring to the attention of the photo.net types. You can use whatever criterion you feel like in deciding, and you can tell me your reasons, or not, as you see fit.

Or just type in random reactions of your own to one or more of the pictures; that'd be very neat also! (And if the feedback box doesn't work for you, send me email and let me know; one reader reported mysterious failures that I think I have fixed, but You Never Know.)

Speaking of photographs, I highly recommend Sylloge's recent night photos. The 16-second exposures in particular have this very neat grain or texture or something that I'd love to be able to get myself. I'm not sure if it's possible to tell this camera to do a 16-second shutter; what did I do with the manual?

Tomorrow or after: reader input and more other stuff that isn't pictures or narcissism.

Monday, January 14, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

So if there's, say, a short story called "Blue Whiskers" available online as an e-book somewhere, and the short story is copyrighted in the usual way, which of the following are copies and/or derivative works for copyright purposes:

  • A byte-for-byte copy of the text of the story
  • A copy of the story recoded from ASCII to Unicode
  • A zipped copy of the text
  • A copy with some typos inserted
  • A copy of the story, up to and including the paragraph where Joanne leaves Fred
  • The statement "the story 'Blue Whiskers' really ought to have ended with the paragraph where Joanne leaves Fred"
  • A program which looks through your hard drive for a copy of the story, and if it finds it creates a file containing the story up to and including that paragraph
  • A program which contains the entire story in a very complex encoding, and which decodes it and writes it to a file when executed
  • A program which contains the entire story in a very complex encoding, and which decodes it and writes the part up to and including that paragraph when executed
  • A program which, when run, goes to the publisher's website, purchases a copy of the story, and then creates a file on the hard disk containing only the part up to and including that paragraph
  • A short story in which a character says "you should take that story and print it out, and throw away everything after the paragraph where Joanne leaves Fred".
  • A short story whose plot and diction are very much like "Blue Whiskers", but all the characters are beets

A spammer who at least knows my name writes:


Chances are you'll switch ISPs in the next year. Or possibly change jobs.

This means yet another e-mail address and the inconvenience of notifying all your personal and business contacts.

And free e-mail account providers, including Yahoo and Hotmail, brand themselves, not you or your business! Your e-mail address should be a reflection of you.

Avoid the hassle, and always stand out with your own personalized e-mail address: DAVID@DAVIDCHESS.com Now that's unforgettable!

Click here to get DAVID@DAVIDCHESS.com now.

which is kind of funny, I thought, since of course I'm already david at davidchess.com. I clicked on the link, and in fact they offered to sell me wonderful domain names like "GoDavidChess.net" and "DavidDavidChess.com". Phht.

Why I'm supposed to think that they will be any more stable and less likely to need changing than any given ISP, I'm not entirely clear.

I know there's a bug in some browser or other that puts random things into Referer lines sometimes, but if anyone has a guess as to why I keep finding the International Atomic Energy Agency in my referer log, I'd love to hear it.

Especially if it involves beets.

This morning I came in to work to find a big pile of books on my chair. They looked vaguely Steve-like, and I was afraid that Steve had decided to like give up all of his worldly possessions and enter a monastery or something, but it turns out that he was just doing the kata Clean Office.


There's some really nice stuff in here! I'm honored that Steve decided to break into my office and dump it on my chair rather than, say, auctioning it off on eBay. On the very top we have Borges' "Book of Imaginary Beings", which I already have somewhere, but you can never have too much Borges. Then Anton LaVey's silly but memorable "Satanic Bible", a bunch of Steve Jackson "Sorcery!" books ("if you drink from the left fountain, go to 183; if you drink from the right fountain, go to 277; if you try to awaken the sleeping dragon, go to 9"), and then (my god!) volumes 1 and II of the freaking Arduin Grimoire, and a complete set of the Ur-texts of Dungeons and Dragons: Chainmail itself, and a box containing Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasure, and The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures, as well as Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry. Yipes!

I'd better hide this stuff away before Steve realizes what he's accidentally given away; I'm sure there are wealthy nostalgic geeks who'll pay a fortune for this stuff. Or maybe I'll keep them for myself for "rubbing the hands together and cackling gleefully" purposes.

"Pile of books? What pile of books?"

Friday, January 11, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

I think I'll send them spammers from yesterday merely towards "http://2130706433/cgi-bin/formmail.pl". A little geeky, slightly subtle, slightly annoying, pretty safe. I'm sure more will come along soon, if I want to be nastier to the next batch.

On our incredibly clever URL hack (also from yesterday), a reader writes that e is holding...

my mousebutton down as I click again and again on that "how to pronounce John Ashcroft" link. Oh, my God. I'm also holding my gut as the result of some of the best belly laughs I've had in a while. Spread that meme!

Now that's what we like to hear! I'm doing my bit; I've posted it three times now. *8) I admit I'm disappointed it hasn't shown up on blogdex yet; let's get on the stick ("on the stick")!

Apparently the blogging community is more interested in overblown science about 'the color of the cosmos'. I did rather enjoy reading the Blogger Code, which is currently waaaay out in front of blogdex. I didn't actually answer all the questions (I've never figured out my entire Geek Code, either), but some of them are funny, and it contains yet another version of an "A List".

Computer science topic of the month: Operand Overloading in INTERCAL. Speaks for itself.

Ian or somebody points out an interesting feature of this flash animated Internet timeline: the event for 1987/01/01 is us. Thank you very much. (They got the year wrong, but hey; fame is fame.)

And that's all! I have nothing more to say.

Oh. I've also put up a PDF version of The Novel. But you don't have to print it out and read it or anything. Really. It's okay.


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