Powered by Blogger

Ethel the Blog
Observations (and occasional brash opining) on science, computers, books, music and other shiny things that catch my mind's eye. There's a home page with ostensibly more permanent stuff. This is intended to be more functional than decorative. I neither intend nor want to surf on the bleeding edge, keep it real, redefine journalism or attract nyphomaniacal groupies (well, maybe a wee bit of the latter). The occasional cheap laugh, raised eyebrow or provocation of interest are all I'll plead guilty to in the matter of intent. Bene qui latuit bene vixit.

The usual copyright stuff applies, but I probably won't get enraged until I find a clone site with absolutely no attribution (which, by the way, has happened twice with some of my other stuff). Finally, if anyone's offended by anything on this site then please do notify me immediately. I like to keep track of those times when I get something right.

Google!


How to blog?

METABLOGGING

Blog Madness
Blog Portal
linkwatcher
Monitor

BLOGS (YMMV)

abuddhas memes
alamut
apathy
arms and the man
baghdad burning
bifurcated rivets
big left outside
boing boing
booknotes
bovine inversus
bradlands
bushwacker
camworld
cheek
chess log
cogent provocateur
cool tools
counterspin
crooked timber
delong
digby
drat fink
drmike
d-squared
dumbmonkey
electrolite
eschaton
estimated prophet
ezrael
fat planet
flutterby!
follow me here
geegaw
genehack
ghost
glare
gmtplus9
hack the planet
harmful
hauser report
hell for halliburton
honeyguide
hotsy totsy club
juan cole
kestrel's nest
k marx the spot
kuro5hin
lake effect
lambda
large hearted boy
leftbanker
looka
looking glass
macleod
maxspeak
medley
memepool
metagrrrl
mike's
monkeyfist
more like this
mouse farts
my dog
norbizness
off the kuff
orcinus
pandagon
pedantry
peterme
philosoraptor
pith and vinegar
plastic
portage
q
quark soup
quiggin
randomwalks
rip post
rittenhouse
see the forest
shadow o' hegemon
sideshow
simcoe
south knox bubba
slacktivist
smudge
submerging markets
sylloge
synthetic zero
talking points
tbogg
twernt
unknownnews
vacuum
vanitysite
virulent memes
whiskey bar
windowseat tv
wood s lot

TECH

Librenix
use perl
rootprompt
slashdot
freshmeat
Ars Technica
32BitsOnline
UGeek
AnandTech
Linux Today
Tom's Hardware
DevShed


"When they say, 'Gee it's an information explosion!', no, it's not an explosion, it's a disgorgement of the bowels is what it is. Every idiotic thing that anybody could possibly write or say or think can get into the body politic now, where before things would have to have some merit to go through the publishing routine, now, ANYTHING." - Harlan Ellison



JOLLY OLD PALS
Old pals Rumsy and Saddam


Other stuff of mild interest to some:
unusual literature
scientific software blog
physical oceanography glossary
computer-related tutorials and texts

Friday, June 09, 2000

PLEASURE DU JOUR?
Today's CNN
mold spores report:
Very High levels of Mold Spores will occur in southern Texas with High levels in southern Florida, from New York southward to northern Georgia and Alabama, the Midwest and along the western Gulf Coastal region.
explains why the pleasure thing ain't quite kicked in yet. I've slowly been developing one allergy over the last five years, having been free of such things until the age of 35. In the grim accompanying map
mold map
I'm currently living between the towns of HIGH and V. HIGH in south Texas.
posted by Steven Baum 6/9/2000 09:57:08 AM | link

Thursday, June 08, 2000

THE TAX AND SPEND GOP
According to March 1 article on
GovExec, the testimony before a House Budget Committee on problems at the Defense Department was grim stuff. As to the Pentagon's financial management expertise:
Comptroller General David Walker, head of the GAO, told the House Budget panel he would give the Defense Department only a "D+" in the area of financial management, and cited overpayment of defense contractors and acquisition of weapons systems, spare parts and non-combat items as areas where "fundamental problems continue to exist," not only in how those purchases are made, but in the military's failure to use "commercial best financial accounting practices" that are standard in the private sector.

Walker further testified, to the obvious frustration of Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio, that it would take the Defense Department until at least 2003 to be able to provide the department's inspector general and the GAO with consolidated financial statements that accurately account for how defense dollars are spent and detail the extent of financial management problems at the Pentagon and its contractors.

And as to how Congress has "helped" the situation in recent years:
Defense Department Deputy Inspector General Donald Mancuso also testified about how Congress has contributed to the problem through the annual appropriations process by appropriating money for items and programs the department does not need or has not requested.

In the statement Mancuso submitted to the committee, he also mentioned Congress' rejection of the department's request in the last two administration budgets for additional base realignment and closure authority, and noted that the department "is still burdened with the cost of operating more bases than are needed to support the force structure."

So how are those penny-pinching anti-spending hardasses in the GOP going about alleviating the situation? The House overwhelmingly authorized a record $309.9 billion for the Defense Department, $4.5 billion more than the President requested and $21.1 billion above last year. Even an amendment making a mostly symbolic gesture of reducing waste by cutting the procurement and research and development budgets by 1% - the two worst malefactors - was rejected 331 to 88.

Larry Korb - former Assistant Secretary of Defense under noted pacifist Ronald Reagan - has calculated that a strong national defense should only cost around $225 billion. His Ten Myths About Military Spending make most interesting and enlightening reading. For example, he belies a myth about too many soldiers being deployed overseas (you know, because Clinton is using the military to enforce ultra-liberal social policy around the world instead of protecting the commonweal) with:

MYTH FIVE - the services are having retention problems because a much higher percentage of the force is deployed overseas than during the Cold War. The fact of the matter is that in the 1980s over 500,000 (or 25 percent) people out of an active duty force of 2.1 million were deployed outside of the United States. Today that number is below 250,000 or 17 percent of an active force of 1.4 million. A decade ago 58 percent of the Army was in the U.S. Today that figure is over 75 percent. Sailors today spend about the same amount of time at sea as they did a decade ago. Moreover, the net effort of long or hostile duty on retention is actually positive for the Army and Marines and statistically insignificant for the Navy and Air Force.

posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 05:39:53 PM | link

BORK ON BILLY
For those who may have forgotten, reknowned ultra-liberal Robert Bork -
Saturday Night Massacre trigger-puller and author of The Antitrust Paradox - has a most definite opinion on the DOJ vs. Microsoft case. Said opinion can be discovered in both interview form and in Bork's White Paper on DOJ vs. M$.
posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 05:30:02 PM | link

METASTUFF
I've figured out that I compile this metastuff for me. If you're me, you'll find it utterly fascinating; if you're not, YMMV.

posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 10:50:38 AM | link

UNABOMBER - THE PREQUEL!!!
According to J. P. Chaplin's long out-of-print Rumor, Fear and the Madness of Crowds (a 1959 Ballantine paperback original), the
Tedster had a spiritual ancestor (or two):
Sometime between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 PM on the evening of April 25, 1919, two men drove up to a mailbox on 28th Street near 6th Avenue in New York City. The man on the passenger side of the car got out quickly, and, after a glance or two up and down the street, deposited a number of small packages in the box. He hurried back to the car and the two drove across to Broadway, where more of the little brown-paper wrapped cartons were dropped into a box on 29th and Broadway, and again on 32nd and Broadway. After carrying out this seemingly innocent mission, the two men disappeared into the city's millions, never to be identified.
Four days later one of the packages was delivered to Senator Thomas Hardwick (D-Ga.). A maid collected the package and delivered it to Mrs. Hardwick. She glanced at the package, saw that the return address was Gimbel's - a famous New York department store at the time - and that "Sample" was also stamped on it, and then gave it to the maid to open. The maid's hands were blown off and Mrs. Hardwick badly burned. Both were also deeply lacerated by shrapnel, and the furniture was damaged sufficiently for the bomb experts to wonder how the women survived the blast.

The day before a similar package sent to Mayor Ole Hanson of Seattle had been discovered, thought suspicious, and given to the local bomb squad. The following day a postal clerk reading about both incidents in the paper on his way to work thought something oddly familiar. The detailed description of the Seattle package jogged his memory of putting aside 16 similar parcels in the sorting room for lack of proper postage. Upon examining them, he found they were addressed to the likes of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Postmaster-General Burleson, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Kenesaw Mountain Landis (a judge at the time and later baseball commissioner), J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and various other high government officials and industrial magnates.

A nationwide alert went out the next day. The final tally was 36 bombs but only two dead. The bombers (perhaps not having brothers) were never found. I'll be attempting to supply the context for this incident sometime in the next three decades. The date should give you a clue and the link to Palmer an even bigger one. It will suffice for now to say that the event served as a catalyst for Palmer's main claim to (in)fame.
posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 09:18:37 AM | link

PLEASURE DU JOUR
While returning from the grocery emporium to purchase house-brand cimetidine for myself and dog fud for my canine companion, I saw a deer in the student slum neighborhood in which I dwell. For a second I thought it a statue, seeing how my next door neighbors had such a life-size thing in their front yard for several months last year. The "statue reappeared 6 houses down the street" theory vanished quickly when the doe moved upon seeing my vehicle. A sub-pleasure is the jalapeno bagel with cream cheese - the ingredients for which I had also snagged at the store - I enjoyed upon returning home.
posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 09:09:46 AM |
link

ZERO TOLERANCE POWER JUNKIE
In the last three weeks I've forgotten my bike lock (due to bicycle transition reasons I won't detail further) a couple of times and, rather than return home and get it, I've brought my bike inside the building and put it in my office. That makes 3 times in 13 years, by the way. Someone else I know has apparently done this once in the same period. So what does the anal retentive, power junkie asshole building manager do? He puts signs on every door saying how this sort of thing is "VERBOTEN!!!!" This is the same "well loved" individual - whose (as the Simpsons put it) rod up his ass has a rod up its ass - who managed to almost piss me off with another power trip the second time I ever (unfortunately) noticed that he existed. I was picking up some color figures I'd created for a paper at a printer in the Dean's office designated as fair game for such things, although VERBOTEN!!!!!!!!! to students, when said power-crazed individual approached me and asked if I was responsible for a sheaf of papers he held accusingly in his hand. He then launched into a (no doubt) carefully prepared diatribe about how this wasn't for the use of students, after which I - not having been a student for several years - said, "Gee, that's fascinating. Too bad I'm not a student. Have a good one. Bye." I'm tempted to deliberately forget my bike lock a few more times to try to force a confrontation. I'd like to see Senor Assrod confront me personally and see what the gormless weasel thinks he can threaten me with that's any more substantial than a fart in a hurricane. There aren't many things that can piss me off more than tin-pot napolean-wannabes trying to throw imagined weight around.
posted by Steven Baum 6/8/2000 08:45:03 AM |
link

Wednesday, June 07, 2000

IMAGINARY BOOKS
Imaginary books are books mentioned in real books that aren't themselves real. While pondering this in the shower this A.M. I recalled several examples I've encountered which, of course, I can't remember now. So I did the next best thing and did a
Google search for "imaginary books." The results (some of which may even be appropriate) are:
  • The Invisible Library - "a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library walls you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound." This sumbitch beat me to a larger project of cobbling together a site on the topic. He lists several hundred fictional books listed by real author of real book, real book, fictitious author of book, and fictitious book (although he's not yet gotten round to the "fictitious author of real book" category).
  • Fictitious Texts, 1992-1996: Book Sculptures by David Laufer - One of which is the "Pocket Cyclopedia of Systematic Doubt" with misaligned index tabs.
  • Book In-Jokes - "Little jokes that most readers won't notice, hidden in otherwise serious books."
  • Three books by Stanislaw Lem:
  • Silence Descends: The End of the Information Age 2000-2500 by George Case - A novel that is a history of the future written in 2500 in which several books written after 2000 are cited as reference works.
  • Rucker - A Life Fractal by Eli Halberstam - An imaginary book review by John Allen Paulos about a 3200 page novel on fractals.
  • The Book of Sand - A Borges short story about a mysterious book written in an unknown language whose illustrations change every time the book is reopened.
  • The Crimson Hexagon - A section in The Modern Word about the many imaginary books in the writings of Borges.
  • On "Who Put Back the Clock?" by E.H.B. - A review of an imaginary 1889 pre-sciffy novel by sharp and often hilarious critic David Langford.
  • Necronomicon Project - A project dealing with the "Necronomicon," an imaginary book on the occult referred to by H. P. Lovecraft on several occasions.

posted by Steven Baum 6/7/2000 02:07:52 PM | link

PLEASURE DU JOUR
The pleasure of the day (and for at least the next month) is eating warm cherry tomatos right off the vine. This will have to suffice until the habaneros ripen sufficiently to offer an ever-so-slightly different pain-pleasure combination.
posted by Steven Baum 6/7/2000 11:14:15 AM |
link

AGING HIPPIE FESTIVAL
The band wasn't as tight as they were in the same venue a couple of summers ago, but they're still an amazingly tight band for a pack of 50+ year old hippies. The Backyard near Austin is one of the best music venues I've ever enjoyed, and
Jethro Tull one of the best live bands (although, admittedly, I pre-filter most bands I might want to see to avoid the ones with bad reputations for live shows, e.g. the Rolling Stones since 1975). It was an unseasonably cool night in Austin, in contrast to the show two years ago where everyone was wrung out and dead at the end from the oppressive (i.e. typical Texas summer) heat. Ian and the lads came out promptly after the warm-up act, with Ian's voice sounding as strong as it has in years. As I said, everything was fairly tight except for some of the later bits of their extended "Locomotive Breath" suite, and the encore consisting of a medley of various tunes for which some of the seques were less than elegant. I'm sure they'll work the wrinkles out as the tour progresses, especially seeing how Ian hisself has let fly rumors about a live album from this tour.

My only disappointment was that the lads didn't perform "Budapest" which, for whatever reason, has become my Tull favorite. They did have one new wrinkle (other than the ones on their aging visages, that is) which combined a bit of humor with piquant social commentary. A phone rang during the middle of one tune, after which the boys stopped dead. Ian walked over to a stool upon which an old analog phone sat and picked up it, during which moment the rest of the band all pulled out their cell phones to see if it was for them (as did Ian, after he "discovered" it wasn't the analog phone ringing). It "was" Ian's cell phone and, upon answering it, he handed to someone in the first row of the audience after saying, "It's for you."

Although I found this funny, I thought it a bit subtle. Like the opera commercial wherein the Valkyrie hurls a spear that destroys a malefactor's ringing cell phone, they're attacking the symptom instead of the disease, i.e. DESTROY THE MALEFACTOR, FOR CHRISSAKE! The overly self-inflated asswipes who think the planet's survival depends on it being in constant communication with their badass selves, to the point where they'll let it ring in the middle of an orchestral symphony (during which a recent one, by the way, the conductor stopped the orchestra, turned around, and told the asshole to finish so they could) rather than putting it on silent alarm mode and checking every 5-10 minutes or so (or *GASP* switching it off for a couple of hours), need to be "educated" about their self-serving, egomaniacal rudeness. Just decapitate the first two or three perps and put their heads on pikes in clear view of the rest of the audience. There's just no clearer or more direct way of saying, "No, the universe doesn't revolve around you and, yes, you can be replaced, probably with a simple Perl script."

During and after show we were wondering whether the cell phone schtick is planned for every show or is launched upon some signal when a malefactor is sighted. According to our local Tull expert, the Tull newsgroup tells this morning of someone using a cell phone at last night's show to convey the playlist to a comrade. And, being the helicopter-beanie types we are, we were also wondering about the possibilities of making bootleg recordings via a cell phone. While the current standard models don't quite have the bandwidth for properly recording a musical performance, I'll bet the technology is there to develop a specialized wider-band phoney phone to do the job. Do any experts out there care to weigh in on this topic? I promise not to narc to the recording industry. (Speaking of which, when I came up with the idea of getting a black t-shirt with big white letters spelling "NARC" we also wondered whether anyone would be stupid enough to take it seriously at a show.)
posted by Steven Baum 6/7/2000 10:08:12 AM | link

Tuesday, June 06, 2000

TYPICAL
So we were going to leave for tonight's Tull show in Austin (about 2-2.5 hours away) to give us plenty of time to spare. The show starts at 7 PM and I'm sitting here typing this at home at 4:15 PM. On the bright side, I've got three Red Hook Hefe Weizens down and am heading for a fourth. Beer: a damned fine substitute for reality.
posted by Steven Baum 6/6/2000 04:15:52 PM |
link

HOT PUPPIES!!!!!!!
Whether it's timing or just living right (okay, timing), I hit the freaking jackpot tonight over at Hastings. They've shaken up the floor plan and moved things around quite a bit, especially in the CD section. One part is three full, lengthy rows of 2 for $5 CDs. My haul includes:
  • 20 More Explosive Fantastic Rockin' Mega Smash Hit Explosions, a set of 70s hits as done by bands of today (well, circa 1992), e.g. Poi Dog Pondering and Two Nice Girls going George McRae's "Rock Your Baby," King Missile doing Orleans' "Still the One," and the Coal Porters doing Nick Gilder's "Hot Child in the City." Sure it's uneven, but I can remember every damned one of the originals like it was yesterday and, given my memories of the 80s and 90s, it nearly was.
  • Dub Conference Vol. 3 - Harry Mudie Meet King Tubby - The latter is a true dub (and otherwise) pioneer, although this disc is really obscure.
  • Bug Alley by Gary Hoey - I first heard and heard of this guy several years back when I heard a remake of the very old and great Focus tune "Hocus Pocus." I proceeded to buy the album, and can now even get a live version of the remake.
  • A Day With Art Blakey - Vol. 2 - The alumni list of drummer Blakey's jazz messengers is a who's who of hard bop from the mid-1950s to present.
  • Monkjack - Jack Bruce - A strange collaboration between Cream bassist Bruce (on piano, yet) and quintessential funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell
  • Angel Eyes - Jimmy Smith - A 1995 release from the man who made the Hammond organ a jazz instrument 40 years ago.
  • Dig?- Bill Bruford's Earthworks- Earthworks is the long-term jazz-rock project of this former drummer for King Crimson and Yes.
  • The Fabulous Joe Venuti - 15 Jazz Classics - Venuti was the first famous jazz violinist and a major influence on Stephane Grappelli, although most of his work is currently out of print, including this.
  • Chicago and All That Jazz - Lee Konitz - Typical good set from cool jazz survivor Konitz who - like so many other long-term jazz artists - has enjoyed a resurgence in the last decade.
  • Supertrios - McCoy Tyner - First famous as a member of the John Coltrane Quartet, Tyner has been one of the major jazz pianists and composers for several decades.
  • Hot Animal Machine ... Plus - Henry Rollins - America's most reknowned badass dilettante right after he left Black Flag, i.e. before he got uppity.
  • Human Fly - Horse Flies - The album immediately preceding their classic "Gravity Dance," although they've sort of vanished since the death of 17-year member John Hayward in 1997.
  • Tango Nuevo: Music of Astor Piazzollo - The king of the tango's music played by Sylvie Proulx, Robert Aitken, Joseph Petric and others.
  • Citizen Kane: Original Motion Picture Score - Bernard Herrmann - Hitchcock and Herrmann together. The original version of this soundtrack. Ahhhhh.
  • Trespass - Ry Cooder - One of Cooder's many movie soundtracks. Although many (including this) are out of print, Music by Ry Cooder anthologizes the best from all of them.
  • The Song is You - Stan Getz - One of the great tenor saxophonists of our time playing on one of his finest albums with Stanley Cowell on piano, Miroslav Vitous on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums (a lineup that could fart "Jingle Bells" and make it sound good).
  • First Prize - George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band - Gruntz is a swiss bandleader and composer who's been playing professionally since 1963. This interesting if obscure composer has also composed modern classical music and art film soundtracks.
  • Brand New Second-Hand - A 1992 and out-of-print Rykodisk release wherein reggae artists redo cheesy (and non-cheesy) 60s and 70s hit tunes, e.g. Eek-a-Mouse (damn what a great name) does "D'yer Maker," the I-Tones do "Walk on By" and toots and the Maytals do "Take Me Home Country Roads."
  • Big Music - Mike Gibbs Orchestra - A big band with guests John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Kevin Eubanks taking turns lending a modern touch.
  • Iron Storm Dub - Black Uhuru - One of the best and heaviest reggae groups of the last 20 years, with their live shows in the 80s some of the best ever due to the presence of Sly and Robbie (who've got a bigger and heavier bottom end than a frigging rhino).
I'll leave the others 'til later so I can get this egregious bragging on the wire immediately.
posted by Steven Baum 6/6/2000 12:45:12 AM | link

Monday, June 05, 2000

BLOW MONKEY GOES AWOL
The
Boston Globe ran a Shrub-unfriendly story entitled 1-year gap in Bush's Guard duty on May 23 that's only gained legs in the "liberal" media in the last couple of days. On at least two separate occasions, the war hero (who valiantly saved Texas from an invasion from Oklahoma during his National Guard years) has claimed that he flew an F-102 fighter-interceptor airplane from the time he completed his pilot training in June 1970 until he was discharged in October 1973. According to the Globe:
But both accounts are contradicted by copies of Bush's military records, obtained by the Globe. In his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all. And for much of that time, Bush was all but unaccounted for: For a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen.
So what was the Shrub - who declined to be interviewed for the article - doing at the time (other than attending Hunter S. Thompson's Super Bowl drugfest)?
From May to November 1972, Bush was in Alabama working in a US Senate campaign, and was required to attend drills at an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery. But there is no evidence in his record that he did so. And William Turnipseed, the retired general who commanded the Alabama unit back then, said in an interview last week that Bush never appeared for duty there.

After the election, Bush returned to Houston. But seven months later, in May 1973, his two superior officers at Ellington Air Force Base could not perform his annual evaluation covering the year from May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973 because, they wrote, ''Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report.''

And what do the Shrubhandlers have to say? Various things:
[Shrub] recalls coming back to Houston and doing [Guard] duty, though he does not recall if it was on a consistent basis.''

[Shrub] fulfilled all of his requirements in the Guard. If he missed any drills, he made them up later on.

While I'm sure he made something up, I doubt it was the drills. If Shrub did skip the National Guard drills, then under the rules in effect at the time he could be reported to the Selective Service Board and inducted into the Army as a draftee.

The remainder of the article offers further details on the Shrub's missing years. It should be noted that the period in question, i.e. 1972-1973, includes a period from late 1972 through early 1973 during which his autobiography says he held a "civilian job" working for an inner-city, poverty program in Houston. This is also the period during which J. H. Hatfield's Fortunate Son claims Shrub got busted for at least cocaine possession, with the "civilian job" being more accurately described as community service.

So what is the sum total of what the witnesses (except for Shrub whose spokestoady stated that "he does not recall if it [i.e. duty] was on a consistent basis) and evidence have to say? From the Alabama National Guard unit, both retired General Turnipseed and Kenneth Lott - his administrative assistant at the time - have no recall of Bush ever reporting in Alabama during that period. And, from the Texas Air Guard unit from which Bush transferred to Alabama, a retired official has stated, "We cannot find the records to show he fulfilled the requirements in Alabama." Also, while his discharge papers list his service and duty station for each of his first four years in the Guard, there is not record of any training listed after May 1972 and no mention of any service in Alabama. That is, The records for that time are as blank as Bush's memory probably is. (Remember, it was the Shrub who made the bold anti-drug statement that he didn't use any illegal drugs "after 1974," an odd statement if one was proudly clean and wanted everyone to know about it.)

So what are the Shrub spinsters doing about this? What else? Wrap him in flags and war heroes. First, they set up a meeting with Colin Powell during which the man who would have run against Clinton in 1996 if he'd have had any political differences made the appropriate soothing noises, i.e. he didn't punch Gov. Blow Monkey in the nose. Then they got their (as AMPOL put it) "recently purchased War Hero" John McCain to state:

I have no reason to believe the story is true, and I honor the men who served in the National Guard.
McCain didn't offer any reasons why the story of one man who served in the Guard and left with strange blanks in his official record should be believed over the story of two of his superiors whose Guard records are spotless. Nor did he offer any explanation for the blanks in the official record. All he did was make solemn-sounding noises that implicitly smeared Turnipseed and Lott.

Needless to say, if Clinton had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth (i.e. had a daddy powerful enough to guarantee him no-danger service stateside during Vietnam, i.e. plausible deniability against the accusation of being a draft dodger) and had a similarly incomplete record, it would be trumpeted as proof that he was on the Kremlin's payroll and a crack pusher (i.e. pretty much the same accusations his "dishonorable" avoidance method got him). Why should the Shrub get any easier of a ride, especially given his low- or zero-tolerance of anyone else who makes mistakes of the "youthfully indiscreet" variety? If he wants to put cocaine users in jail for 10 to 25 years for the same sort of thing for which he got a slap on the wrist, then Mr. Compassionate Conservative should at least be made a little uncomfortable about it.
posted by Steven Baum 6/5/2000 04:20:20 PM | link

A FOOLISH CONSISTENCY
Having just taken a schoolmarmish attitude about those who engage in the "I'm busy" game all the time, I'll offer some details of my weekend:
I didn't want to be this busy, but things just sort of piled up, partially due to slacking at other times and partially due to being too damned agreeable one drunken evening. Usually I'll just play ultimate and do the brunch thing on Sunday, with the rest of the weekend as relaxed and free-form as I want it to be (i.e. very much so). Hitting the couch Sunday night was one hell of a relief, as it will be tonight, although every other night this week up to and including Saturday has been slotted for one thing or another (although fortunately all but one involve mild boozing).

For the curious (as well as for padding this blog entry), here's the schedule:

  • Tuesday:Drive to Austin to see those venerable old farts Jethro Tull rock and/or roll.
  • Wednesday:Another couple of hours of ultimate frisbee.
  • Thursday:A meeting with a bunch of local computer nerds for "beer, BOFH nubbin, and general frivolity" and, of course, to plan a start-up called "Gimme All Yer Money, Old Economy Boneheads."
  • Friday:A goodbye (for some) and congratulatory (for all) soiree for all who've worked on the Touchstone radio commentaries and the related quarterly magazine over the last several years.
  • Saturday:Moving heavy things from the boss's house to a storage shed and then eating his food and drinking his beer.
The point, though (if one can indeed attach such a thing to this steaming load of mostly unrevealing self-promotional blather) is that I want to do most (if not all) of this stuff and that it just happened to pile up in a narrow temporal window. But you can bet that come the sparse, lazy days of July and August I ain't gonna miss the busy-ness (so as not to confuse with the other meaning of business). I'm busy now because I want to be, and in about a week I'm going to be every bit as much unbusy as I want to be.
posted by Steven Baum 6/5/2000 02:07:36 PM | link

ON HOARDING VACATION DAYS
I don't do the vacation thing much. As a matter of fact, I lose vacation days most years since Texas A&M will only let its employees carry over a set number of vacation days each year. When people ask me why, I usually offer some clever riposte like "piss off, matey" or something similarly glib. Leave it to Robertson Davies (in the guise of
Samuel Marchbanks) to offer a significantly more elegant explanation that I would probably have printed on a business card if the very idea of carrying such things around didn't give me a case of the heebie-jeebies:
Every year, about this time, I take a vacation, as a result of social pressure. I do not really like vacations; I much prefer an occasional day off when I do not feel like working. When I am confronted with a whole week in which I have nothing to do but enjoy myself I do not know where to begin. To me, enjoyment comes fleetingly and unheralded; I cannot deteminedly enjoy myself for a whole week at a time. A day's work when everything goes smoothly, or an evening when I am thoroughly happy and at ease, or an unexpected stroke of luck - these are the things which I enjoy. But when I go after the coy nymph Pleasure with a blunderbuss, determined to make her my mistress for a whole week, she vanishes into her fastnesses, and hurls ordure and makes rude noises at me whenever I approach.
The fact that I actually enjoy my vocation undoubtedly also contributes to my avoidance of lengthy vacations. I could also engage in a bit of a rant about how annoying I find those who take the blunderbuss approach, but I'll save that for another time. For now I'll just say that I go out of my way to avoid those with the "busy all the time" affectation, and it most definitely is an affectation. Trudeau put it nicely in the classic Doonesbury strip where the black maid being lectured by Jane Fonda about not getting enough exercise responds with, "You're busy all the time because you want to be; I'm busy because I have to be."
posted by Steven Baum 6/5/2000 01:41:39 PM | link

LINUX ADVANCED NETWORKING
Some tutorials and overviews on networking with Linux, with a focus on more recent and advanced stuff.
Linux - Advanced Networking Overview
A review of various advanced networking features that have been implemented in recent (2.2.*) versions of the Linux kernel. In the words of the author: "The advanced networking features that have been dealt with in this document include the Quality of Service support in Linux, which encompasses a description of the differentiated services effort, the firewall implementation using ipchains, the VPN implementation using GRE tunnels, and the advanced routing implementation using netlink sockets."
IP Quality of Service: An Overview
An introduction to the various approaches suggested for the provisioning of QoS in IP. The approaches discussed are TOS routing, integrated services, and differentiated services.
Netlink Sockets - Overview
A discussion of netlink sockets from the implementation and usage point of view. Netlink sockets ae used to transfer information between kernel modules and user space processes. They consist of a standard sockets interface for user processes and an internal kernel API for kernel modules.
Linux 2.2 Network Man Pages
Man page format documentation of program interfaces to the newer network functions in 2.2 kernels.
Network Address Translation (NAT)
NAT is a catch-all term for various techniques for connecting addresses on an internal, private network with the larger, outside Internet using proxies, i.e. direct IP-connectivity is not needed. The uses of these techniques include Internet traffic load balancing, database server load balancing, and IP masquerading for firewall security. The following two documents describe the techniques and describe specific available packages.
TrinityOS: A Guide to Configuring Your Linux Server for Performance, Security and Managability
"A complete Linux server configuration, maintenance and security guide for the Linux novice and guru alike. ... This document is tailored as a step-by-step, example driven document instead of a detailed explanation doc on each Linux feature." This will give you the how to complement the whats and whys in the other documents. It covers specific packages and how to use them.

posted by Steven Baum 6/5/2000 01:35:34 PM | link


Comments?
Archive

LISTS

Books
Software

uPORTALS

cider
crime lit
drive-in
fake lit
hurricanes
os
scripting
sherlock
texas music
top 100
weirdsounds
wodehouse

LEISURE

abebooks
alibris
amazon
bibliofind
bookfinder
hamilton
powells

all music guide
best used cds
cd bargains
second spin
raven's links

ampol
arts & letters
atlantic
art history
attrition
bibliomania
bitch
bizarre
bizarro
bloom country
bob 'n' ed
bob the angry flower
callahan
chile pepper
classical music
cnnsi
crackbaby
cult films
culture jamming
discover
disinformation
dismal scientist
electric sheep
espn
exquisite corpse
feed
fine cooking
fishbowl
fluble
fried society
fry and laurie
hotel fred
hotendotey
hypocrisy network
jerkcity
last cereal
leisure town
logos
london times
mappa mundi
miscmedia
mp3lit
mr. chuck show
mr. serpent
national geographic
new scientist
no depression
not bored
obscure store
onion
on-line books
parking lot is full
pearly gates
phrase and fable
probe
red meat
rough guides
salon
Simpleton
sluggy freelance
spacemoose
spike
straight dope
strenua inertia
suck
superosity
tawdry town
too much coffee man
toon inn
verbivore
vidal index
yes minister
you damn kid





Powered by Blogger