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Iris Chacon:
Thursday, March 11, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Metafilter cites a new interview with Ursula K. Le Guin. Seems to be a nice mix of fiction, life, general observations on society, the sublime and the mundane, viz:

Did you know that most of the laugh tracks they use are so old that the people you hear laughing at the sitcom are mostly dead? It seems appropriate.

Does anyone know what's happened to abuddha's memes?

God Hates Figs! (As we've noted in these pages before.)

Remember when dates had like five zeros in a row in them, a few years ago? Weren't those the days, eh?

Sessions sent a letter to Pickle demanding a full explanation of how the media obtained the sensitive file. As a result, the sergeant at arms is facing the oddly postmodern task of investigating a Senate leak of a report on the investigation of a Senate leak.

Another story on the Real Truth Behind Support Lines: "We don't support that". (Salon registration maybe required I dunno.)

More memorable spam subject lines:

Re: fang lawsuit
get your z a n a xcircumcision...scamp

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom; remixes. I especially like the Babelfish one:

I lived rather long time, in order to see the treatment for death; in order to see the increase of the society from Bitchun to, in order to learn ten languages; in order to build three Symphonien up; in order mean dream of the youth of the domicile of the seizure in world from Disney to to carry out; in order to see the death of the work place and the work.

Otherwise Apparently Rational People Department: So I've been reading The Universal Church of Cosmic Uncertainty, and he mentioned this Den Beste dude to me, and I've been reading some of him also. Both these people seem mostly rational and clued and stuff, except that they apparently believe stuff that Our Dear President Says.

Which strikes me as odd, but what do you do? So I have them both on my list of feeds to read, in case I've got something important wrong.

One line from Den Beste caught my eye, as the sort of thing that Tough Republicans often say:

... there's yet another question which must be asked [of the Democratic candidate] before either of those: Do you believe we are in a war?

I'm pretty sure this question is asked in the spirit of a bind: the Democrat will have to answer "no" (in which case e can be accused of being clueless, not caring about the deaths on September 11th, being a coward and a wimp, etc) or to answer "yes" (in which case e will inevitably have to admit that, since we're in a war, sending the army out to distant places to blow shit up must be the right thing to do).

So are we in a war? Well, let's think about that.

In the sense of "are there more or less organized groups of people out there who have killed lots of Americans, and would like to kill many more, using high-energy devices, simply because the targets are Americans?", then yes of course we're in a war.

In the sense of "is there a highly organized and readily identifiable body of troops, associated with and sponsored by an identifiable other country, attempting to gain control over some land that we consider not to belong to them, and willing to kill anyone who tries to prevent them from gaining that control?", then no we aren't in a war.

If the implied question is "should we be taking this external threat seriously?", that's like the first case above, so yes.

If the implied question is "should we be sending the army out, say to Iraq, and blowing shit up?", that's only obviously true in the second case above, and since that case isn't true, this isn't obviously true either.

So yeah we're at war in a sense, but it's a different war than we've ever been in before, and so maybe not all of our automatic thoughts about what you have to do in a war should be assumed to apply, eh?

If these dudes were to actually ask the hypothetical Democrat "Do you believe we are in a war?", the rationally correct answer would be "that depends on what you mean by 'war'".

But it's no longer possible to answer questions that way, or to talk seriously about meanings at all, because the Republicans will just roll their eyes and invoke the spirit of Bill Clinton talking about the definition of sex, and you'll lose the debate.

So pheh.

But anyway. I promise this isn't going to become a warblog or a poliblog or any of them annoying subjectblogs. Next entry we'll return to our usual topic: deconstructing hegemonic and lesbian narratives in the ur-text of "Kung-Fu Motorcycle Wrestling Nuns".

Wednesday, March 10, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

An alert reader writes:

Iris Chacon has stronge advice for you.

Told ya I was sleepy! *8) I even stared at the word "stronge" in Sunday's entry for awhile, trying to figure out why it looked wrong. (Raving about the bellies of young women is also a sign of my extreme sleepiness; or at least that's my excuse.)

your html has italicised the world
Go easy on the italics, fella!
Hey, back to minimal italics - well done fella!

Yeah, thanks; once again bitten by the fact that Opera nicely closes things like i-tags at the ends of paragraphs, whereas other browsers don't. I fixed it upon your kind advice.

I noticed that typing your name into google is turning up different results!

I haven't noticed that myself. On the other hand, I did notice a page called "davidchess" on Metababy (yikes!) the other day. It said something like "David Chess was chosen as the result of a poisson et fromage process." No pictures of anuses or anything, though, so I count myself lucky.

Bush / Cheney posters!

bookslut points us at an Archbishop's non-ranting comments on the Dark Materials series. Quite rational (in some sense): if Pullman is talking about a being who can be sick, and defeated, and controlled by evil spirits, then he's clearly not talking about God, so why should Christians be offended? If some people in the book consider this being to be God, they're merely mistaken; if some people in this world think the same thing and are offended, they're similarly mistaken.

On the other hand, religion-wise:

Here we are in the year 2004 and a small group of religious extremists have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. This web site demonstrates how we got here and how the media, even the progressive media is missing what is the most important story in modern American politics.

Unicycle gang.

Some people think that photographs of nude children are erotic, so photography exhibitions get shut down. In other news, the US and UK governments have moved swiftly to ban shoe stores and leather-goods shops. And if some zoophile is caught with a camera in Petsmart, pet stores are next on the list. (Link from Daze.)

Quote of the day:

...her real name is Ainul Rokhimah; Inul Daratista means "the girl with the breasts"

Medley (and the Democrats) reprint an interesting graph about spin and reality. I can imagine a whole genre of graphs like this (on both sides of the aisle); now that'd be a public service!

Spam subject lines of the day:

wholehearted ugh
Paying way too much for health coverage? chicken
Loneliness has me . i want you to come have your way with me . helicopter

Now there's a dangerous kink.

Your rights have been violated so often, they no longer exist!

According to yesterday's front-page story in the Times, Justice Department attorney Sheila M. Gowan argued before Judge Richard Conway Casey (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York) that "Individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."

Organization name of the day: "the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists."

I find this extremely cool and heartening, even if it's only slightly true:

Nearly half of U.S. Internet users have built Web pages, posted photos, written comments or otherwise added to the enormous variety of material available online, according to a report released on Sunday.

More fun from spam Bayes-blocking:

Suddenly, he disappeared. That could well be the answer. Don't do that, the cat pointed out. The continuation of our species matters more than you can imagine. It is the single most important thing we can do.

Suddenly, she wasn't there. You are not your khakis. I am a single serving friend. And for ten minutes, he was a hero.

Hi, I said to all the animals. He extended his hand by way of introduction. What is the answer? I was just thinking.

But under the circumstances, I'd do it again. We're going to regret this, my friend said. (I'd seen something really weird. :) There's something I should tell you. But this was a long road, and should I walk down it, I might never come back.

A reader writes:

Believe me, I'm speaking as a native here. With rare exception, you don't want to see a lot of the people in Missouri nude. Trust me.

Of course, there are a few.

Nah, I want to see everybody nude. I will not settle for only the few.

Isn't it cute how different parts of Airplane and Hotel and Meeting-Room Land are named after particular distant places, so as to give them a vague air of the exotic, as though you were actually going somewhere different? The last couple of days, I was in the part of Airplane and Hotel and Meeting-Room Land called "North Carolina" (after the state). It was of course indistinguishable from all other parts of the Land; I'm not sure that giving it a different name really helped the atmosphere any, but it was a nice thought.

Sunday, March 7, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

I'm very sleepy.

Daze Reader links to a story (free registration perhaps required) about a bill pending in Missouri that would define "a state of nudity" as involving the display of any skin "below the armpits and above the knees", for the purposes of restricting advertising. (Some Missouri laws appear to have used a somewhat stricter definition.)

We had a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in the Incredibly Huge Mall Across the River today, and I was reflecting that the comely greeters (young women in tight black clothing, low-slung pants and tops that in the modern manner barely fail to meet, revealing just an inch or two of the most succulent imaginable belly-flesh; the kind of young women to whom one is torn between making indecent proposals and delivering stronge advice toward more decent dress) were, in the proposed Missouri sense, in a state of nudity.

(That would make a great license-plate motto: "Missouri: State of Nudity".)

Autogynophilia and the Price of Fame Department: up until like yesterday this link led to a page that offered to take a picture of a guy and convert it into a picture of a girl (I wonder if they can do guys with beards?). But some recent fame (perhaps due to their amusing workup of Our Prez) has caused the site to close most of itself except to Members. Sad!

Aso sad: NPR station fires commentator for saying a naughty word that wasn't bleeped out. Pretty pathetic; I mean, FOX TV I'd expect it of. But NPR? I sent them a disgusted letter, and got back what may or may not have been a form reply, quite truculent and self-righteous in tone. Phht. Maybe I'll post those sometime. Too lazy tonight.

"A Microsoft Word document of SCO's suit against DaimlerChrysler, seen by CNET News.com, originally identified Bank of America as the defendant instead of the automaker. This revision and others in the document can be seen through powerful but often forgotten features in Microsoft Word..."

"The federal grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity has subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer's name was published in a column in July..."

Noun-phrase o' the Day: Gay ex-Republicans.

"I was promised an apocalypse, dammit. What am I supposed to do with all these tubs of margarine and confetti and kazoos?"

(And for an interesting glimpse into the inner workings of sfgate's website, see the backing file.)

Other Noun-phrase o' the Day: The American People.

We're just All Quotes Today! "It was on my PCT section trip (Sonora Pass to Tahoe) that I discovered that the Black Tongue version of the ring rhyme matches *almost* perfectly to the tune of the theme song from the Rocky 'n' Bullwinkle show."

"Tapping the energy of children at play, the pumps can generate upwards of 1,400 litres of water per hour, saving young women time and energy that they would otherwise have spent walking to and from more remote water sources."

And also from Rebecca Blood, the endearing How to Overthrow Corporate Rule in 5 Not-so-easy Steps, which I may or may not have linked to before.

(I know collectivist stuff like this should make me nervous and/or disgusted, but this particular kind always gives me a warm feeling instead. I like their ideal world, even if attempts to achieve it in real life so often have negative consequences.)

And speaking of endearing, here's an autoreply we got (replying, no doubt, or a worm or some forged spam): "Thanks for emailing Midland Tractors. One of our friendly staff will reply to you as soon as possible." Isn't that nice?

Amazon RSS feeds; potentially useful for something, but not very well explained. I've added one to my RSS reader, and every once in awhile a new book appears on it. Okay.

The Blackmun papers. Very cool. Wish I had long hours of time (in that comfortable study with the meadow out the window) to read Supreme Court stuff.

"Excuse me, did we say in Halloween IX that Microsoft's under-the-table payoff to SCO for attacking Linux was just eleven million dollars? Turns out we were off by an order of magnitude -- it was much, much more than that."

Haven't seen much of them classic spam subject lines in awhile, except for this one recent one: "Re: PHTJZ, into a barrel".

Nostalgically enigmatic.


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