log (2005/04/08 to 2005/04/14)

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Were you fooled?
Thursday, April 14, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

Amptoons and Susie Bright both have thoughtful entries, with voluminous comments, about the death of Andrea Dworkin (Susie Bright even has a comment from Nina Hartley).

I remember reading the beginning of "Woman Hating" in a used book store somewhere near Boston (and buying it and taking it home). It was fascinating. The tone was great, furious and energetic and certain. If she'd been right on her facts, if coitus were inevitably violent and the rules of punctuation really fetters on the human spirit, she would have been a hero. As many commentators have said, even as wrong as she was about stuff she was wrong in a way that serves, or may well serve, an odd kind of purpose.

Still she has significant negative connotations in my mind (as this log can attest); not so much for what she said herself (although I have no reason to doubt those who tell stories about the harm her words directly did), but more for how her words were abused. Abused by people who would eagerly use her arguments against pornography, but only after stripping them from their wider context that also included arguments against the nuclear family and the nation-state. Hypocrites.

(I wonder if I read "Woman Hating" on the way up toward Maine that very first year? After all, the Dworkin Device ("Deconstructing the Hegemony of Text") is one of the oldest things on the site(s).)

Monday, April 11, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So in the old days, there was this wire between your house and the switchboard, and if you wanted to call someone a machine, or even a person, would attach your wire to another wire, and you could talk.

Now we're wireless!

And today in this house we have three cellphones and one landline, and although each of them seems to be able to call and be called by any other phone in the world, the cellphones can't call the landline (or any other landline in the immediate neighborhood), and the landline (and the other landlines in the immediate neighborhood) can't call any of the cellphones. Or rather, they can call, and the called number rings, but the caller doesn't hear the ring, and when the callee picks up neither end can hear the other talking.

The cellphones have no trouble calling each other.

I called aye tee and tee slash cingular [sic] support three times (each time I had to listen to Barbie's recorded voice suggest that I try unplugging the battery and the SIM card). First-level support was baffled: the first time they repeated Barbie's suggestion, the second time they "did a diagnose on the device", and the third time they sent me off to second-level. (First-level was very friendly and helpful, but the problem description they passed on to second-level was completely wrong, and I had to tell the story all over again.)

Second-level couldn't find anything either, and has "put in a trouble ticket" to have some human perhaps actually look at some wires or something. I guess there's a particular bridge between the network that serves our cellphones and the one that serves our landline, and it's subtly broken enough to not work, but not enough to cause failover to something else. And it's so specific to that particular connection that the phones work for everything else. And it's not some particular cell tower, because the problem first happened when I was down in Hawthorne with my cellphone, but it continues now that I'm here at home N miles north, definitely on a different tower.

Clearly the technology is much too complicated.

What we really need is telepathy.

Also flying cars.

Very simple and reliable flying cars.

Preferably with tail-fins.

Saturday, April 9, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So today was utterly breathtakingly wine-sweet gorgeous, and I managed to spend a good chunk of it outside, slowly and thoroughly cleaning out and cleaning up and neatening my car, with all the doors open and Jethro Tull blasting on the speakers and the sun streaming down. I thought I'd been doing this more or less every year, but some of the stuff that I found seemed to have been in there for Quite Some Time. (And I'm still very puzzled about why there were five identical little capacitors sitting in the dust under one of the seats, not attached to anything and looking entirely unused. I have no memory at all that could account for them being there.)

So now it's been through the carwash, and it has new emergency flashlights, and the good umbrella is all folded up and the bad umbrella is finally thrown away, and it has maps less than fifteen years old, and a new fire extinguisher, and it's been thoroughly swept and vacuumed, and a new First Aid kit, and all those thousands of grimy napkins and the empty soda cans are gone, and the fraying old maps of various local hiking trails are in a nice plastic folder, and a couple dollars' worth of change has been moved from under the seats to the change drawer. And like that.

Looks pretty good for having over 100,000 miles on it and all.

Sam Ruby points out that

My webpage is valid XHTML 1.1, validates, and does not include an <?xml line...

which is quite right. I'd forgotten that XML documents don't actually need the <?xml frob (the "XML Declaration") in order to validate. But somehow it seems so wrong to leave it off. I mean, if there's not going to be an XML Declaration, might as well just make it HTML in the first place.

Nancy Ames, I Never Will Marry

So someone in the house this evening said something about never getting married, and that reminded me of the song "I Never Will Marry" that was often playing in the house in my childhood, and I looked on the Web and the most common cover of that song seems to be by Linda Ronstadt. I listened to thirty seconds of that version on iTunes, and it definitely wasn't The One. I thought maybe it was Judy Collins, but I looked around the Web and iTunes and found no evidence that she ever covered it.

Then another local minimum occurred in my head somewhere, and I remembered "Cottonmill Girls" being sung by the same voice. Searching on "never will marry" "cottonmill girls" didn't get any hits, but "never will marry" "cotton mill girls" got lots, and the rest of the songs listed on that Nancy Ames album were definitely It. So hurrah!

Neither iTunes nor Amazon had Nancy Ames' "I Never Will Marry". But of the fourteen hits on "Nancy Ames" on eBay, two of them were it (and seeing the album cover was futher confirmation). In vinyl, bizarrely enough; I see no evidence anywhere that it's ever been put out on CD. (Is that even legal?)

So now I've got a bid in on it. Waiting nearly a week to see if I win it will be good for my patience. *8) And then figuring out how best to get it into bits (does our old turntable even work anymore?) will be good for my ingenuity...

Waiting Outside the Atlas Café: A Study in Community
Having just returned from two years living in Bulgaria, where outdoor cafés dominate the social life, the author narrates his experiences joining a café community in Fayetteville, Arkansas. What emerges from the study is more than a description of one American café's social meaning, but insights into the nature of community in the United States.

The Old Freedom Monastery.

Support Free Expression on Cable Television and the Internet!

From Reason, an update on what's up lately with the PATRIOT act. Eternal vigilance and all...

Widely linked: "Democratizing Innovation", an interesting-sounding book available online under a Creative Commons license.

Today's WTF from the referer log: Vacuum Diagrams. Could someone explain to me again why people create pages like this?

Freedom to Tinker fills us in on annoying doings at ICANN:

ICANN Cut Secret Domain Deal

ICANN, depending on whom you ask, is either a technical coordination agency for Internet naming, or the closest thing we have to a government for the Net. One of ICANN's jobs is to decide whether and how to create new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). TLDs, such as ".com", ".edu", and ".uk" are the roots of the Internet's name space. Whether ICANN is a standards body or a government, it is supposed to follow certain principles of fairness and transparency, as set down in its own bylaws. Apparently it has broken those rules in this case, and has done so in order to grant an unfair advantage in the TLD award process to a particular group.

More on the story here. So if, speaking purely hypothetically, one did want to dissolve ICANN and replace it with something better, how would one do that, and with what would one replace it?

From dwl, something funny:

xml:mustUnderstand="4" - reciever may claim to understand the message fragment one or more times and then begin issuing failure responses. The failure responses should indicate that the message was never understood and assert that the receivers behavior has been consistent in this regard all along. This has many applications in the media and in academia.

From the wonderfully offensive fafblog, we find a betting site offering odds on the identity of Pope George Ringo.

NTK reminds us of the also wonderfully offensive bash dot org top list. (And subsequent experience reminds us not to read that list while in a room with other people who are trying to concentrate on something.)

I know I'm never going to be able to come back in this channel again after this, but damn was it worth it to see that...

The consensus at dinner last might was that this one must be an urban legend:

<DaZE> at my school.. the cop from DARE passed around 3 joints to show everyone... and he said "if i dont get all three of these back this schools getting locked down and everyones getting searched till i find it.." and like 30 minutes later when everyone got to see 'em and they got passed back the cop had 4

Enter message:

I need to find something that will make *me* feel like an undergrad again (and the Oldest Child heading off to college in the fall is not likely to be it, but will definitely precipitate a more focused search on my part).

Bullshit sessions can be very fun…that is when they happen on a commuter train, or a café, or maybe in a Laundromat (certainly in a college dorm over a 2nd pint of Guinness.) Yet when they are written, the reader loses the ability of immediate response, without which he is subjected to the entire unmitigated tirade. (But I guess you meant fun for you!)

"lots of fun"

my best time on minesweeper us 92, bt that's on expert

.. .-. .. ... -.-. .... .- -.- --- -.

desperately Seeking Susan was a great movie!

Exit meaning.

A similar technique for finding random pictures is using the word count on one's latest novel/short story: http://images.google.com/images?q=40256

(so did I know this Livejournal poster also? surely you know who this is....)

Who are you calling Shirley? I have no idea who anyone is.

It was indeed a very good movie; M got it from NetFlix for me and I watched it the other night and enjoyed it very much. While Iris Chacon doesn't have much screen time, I think it's accurate to say that while she's on camera she completely dominates the action.

On the speakers: Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Best of the Vanguard Years. Found on iTunes while looking in vain for Nancy Ames.

Ain't no use to sit and wonder why, Baby.


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