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April 2001

Sunday 4-29
Locate extant architectural teepees on the image map at Wig-Wam Nation.

New hardware has been issued at work, with software upgrade and -- a sound card!!! I can hear the internet again! Immediate priority is catching up on Joe Frank, whose "Other Side" program got real interesting last year with his extended episodes of "Karma," detailing his relatations with Kate (and featuring lots of his phone calls with Larry Block).There's RealAudio access to most of his recent material at the KCRW site but all Karma has been commented out -- the joe frank rOx page has the extracted, still-working links. (Its site features a number of curiosities, including the chairs and a Pachinko page.) Intercut throughout "Karma" are segments of lectures by the spiritual Jack Kornfield; some may not like this (I do, though) and this thread at joefrank.net has discussion of what that's all about. More Joe: the author of this page, also with audio links, takes a stab at that elusive task -- summarizing Joe Frank radio shows. Plus: a multitude of Joe links are listed here.

Found a good place for movie reviews, Net-Monster. Looks like he's only been at it for a year or two; I found my way in via searching for a title which matched one of the few in the classic films section. Elsewhere on his site, some interesting essays, including Avoiding Jury Duty.

Friday 4-27
Certain web sites, including some weblogs I don't follow, are down this week while their authors retool as part of the May 1st Reboot. Although a periodic new look is definitely a good thing, and perhaps vital to retaining and increasing one's wwweb audience, doing it as a group, on a schedule, seems a little hinky to me.

A review of new book about the NSA, Body of Secrets, mentions the 1967 Israeli attack on the Liberty, how "Enemy of the State" exerted a positive influence, and the recent spy-plane in China debacle.

Life-sized battery-powered salaryman-droid used by performance artist Momoyo Torimitsu -- she makes it crawl around, as she stands nearby wearing a nurse uniform.

The robot, inspired by GI Joe toys and Japanese pop culture, acts as a kind of cultural barometer, tapping into different national fears, she says. For many Japanese his appearance provokes anger, raising deep insecurities about public shame and job losses in a worsening recession.

Wednesday 4-25
Continuing ISP troubles and a (floppy) media failure are inhibiting updates, but here's a good link -- New Statesman commentary on the Cult of Miles.
Davis, however, was dissatisfied, as he watched the hitherto teenage rock market begin to turn into a mature, album-orientated audience. With the arrival of Jimi Hendrix, Davis was dismayed: he was no longer the coolest black musician on the planet.
Monday 4-23
Opinion column on how anti-Satan prosletyzers disrupted a sunset drumming session in Florida (with some discussion of the "BC" Easter cartoon).

Great NASA Astro-Pic -- Io: Moon Over Jupiter.

Sunday 4-22
CONUS map depictinjg the distribution of Soda vs. Pop (and note Coke area, centered on Atlanta).

From the Asimov FAQ:

[Isaac] was claustrophiliac, meaning that he was fond of enclosed places. He was quite comfortable in small rooms with no windows, and always insisted on using artificial lighting when he worked. He considered the underground cities on Earth in The Caves of Steel as the ultimate windowless enclosures.

Friday 4-20
Back from a brief Easter sojourn to North Carolina, for an exploration of Asheville (with its scenic, literary, architectural and counterculture aspects) and visits with my god-daughter's family, -- they all congregate in Charlotte, at the home of their matriarch, my English teacher in both ninth and twelfth grades.

Readers of these pages will notice an assumed familiarity and enthusiasm for the literary works of William Gibson, the author who coined the term "cyberspace." In the latest Science Fiction Weekly the "Classics" column features a review of Neuromancer, his first book.

Two good links from Pigs&Fishes

Tim McVeigh's execution is less than a month away, and the media spotlight's beginning to focus on the site: Terra Haute, Indiana, of all places. (This will ever remind me of the great lost Cole Porter musical, Fifty Million Frenchmen -- it's the source of "You Do Something To Me." A new recording of the show was released in 1991, and among the many other fine numbers we became familiar with then was "The Queen of Terra Haute," a weird lament.) The explosion in Oklahoma City's one of those perplexing recent-history tragedies (like Waco and the JFK assassination) whose official explanation doesn't pass the smell test, so the transcript of McVeigh's last words will be interesting (they're gonna give him a couple minutes). Tuning in a will be a mass compulsion.

Saturday 4-14
Slate posts a fascinating "Letter from Berlin," an in-depth report on the history, status and precise location of the Führerbunker complex -- Hitler Slept Here.

Public radio broadcasts an arbitrary hour of the BBC's signal weeknights -- I enjoy tuning in, getting that desirable and ever-elusive alternate viewpoint. Last night I heard a bit where they interviewed an irate Norfolk policeman about the authorities' preparations, apparently his jurisdiction (Norfolk) is a magnet for the Traveller community over Easter weekend -- he repeatedly spoke of how they "took over car parks" and behaved offensively, but never got specific. I first heard of 'Travellers' via Andy's report from their English honeymoon -- a visit to Stonehenge was almost thwarted due to an imminent Traveller congregation. Tash has more information about them at the Travellers Situation.

Thursday 4-12
Japan from the Driver's Seat has many images, snapped by its driver-author, who also writes for Gate 39 -- a magazine with "Original Features, Commentary and Information About Japan -- in English." Another repository of personal photographs from Nihon is a home page called Treasure Every Meeting -- check the Junk Boxes for his imagery, and the Ordinary Diary for haiku-esque journal entries -- for example, last February 16:
It was raining.

When I was attending a meeting in the afternoon, I was looking out of the window
without concentrating my attention on the subject.
Suddenly, the rain turned to snow.
I heard myself saying, "Snow!" just like a little kid.

Recently my mind is too occupied with my own affairs.
Too busy? Too tired? I don't know.
I loss gentle gaze, capacity for tolerance?

Soon, spring come.

Wednesday 4-11
My 2¢ on the estate tax debate:
This is being framed by the aganda-setters as an either-or issue, but instead of repealing the tax all that's needed is an adjustment to the rate, and the level at which it kicks in -- I heard these havn't been changed since 1970 so an index for inflation is long overdue. But it shouldn't be abolished (personally I tend to agree with my uncle, who favors a 100% estate tax in order to encourage independence and foster self-reliance).
Friday 4-6
Justin in Japan: great stuff on his subway page. Also Japanese (via GMT+9), amazing Design of Robotnik. (But what is it? Explore and find out.)

The Washington Post reports the first official conjecture / acknowledgement / tentative specification of Metro's Purple Line, or a segment thereof, to be a component of the new Wilson Bridge -- county supervisors on the Virginia side are furious.

Thursday 4-5
Modern Boys and Mobile Girls is a new article by William Gibson from the Guardian, about Japan, why we're fascinated, and its relationship with Britain -- mentions Muji (which has a few outlets in the UK) and otaku. ("Mobile" is the contemporary British lingo for a cellular phone -- rhymes with "while.")
Wednesday 4-4
This past weekend's Aurora Gallery -- check those latitudes! NC, Texas, AZ and Sacto! Even San Diego! (At sunset?! What a show!)

The last Doggie Diner head fell down! (And I glanced over to check on it, driving past, earlier the same day.)

Tuesday 4-3
PowerPoint is a Microsoft product used to create 'slides' (or transparencies) typically displayed via an 'overhead' (or overhead projector) during briefings, meetings, etc. The PowerPoint application can also be used to send its .ppt image files directly to the video projectors with which more sophisticated conference rooms are now equiped, in a controlled sequence, augmented with flashy, animated 'wipes' -- my understanding is this feature has led to some organizations' competitive consternation, especially in the Defense department, where the slides' content is being overshadowed by the visual presentation. I just got out of a fairly boring two-day training session put on by a member of the old school, who used primitive, monochrome slides which he actually wrote upon, for effect, like my teachers used to do, back when the overhead technology was new -- he railed against the modern practice of slapping up the slides (or sequencing them with PowerPoint) while standing off to the side -- and worst of all, insulting the intelligence of the audience by merely reading aloud their content. This story of a mother in middle management who disciplines her family via PowerPoint presentations reminded me of the universal, generic slide posted a while back by Jason at kottke.org. (Click to zoom.)
Sunday 4-1
Mr Pants has added a new artifact to his collection: Nothing beats a baby made to look like a middle-aged man (with a combover). He also points at Things Not To Do (On a Unicycle). I have no interest in one-wheeled vehicles, since my reaction after trying is, keeping one vertical requires skills I'll never possess; but #28 is notable as it features the "Brew Thru" in Nags Head, an establishment I've described to some peoples' disbelief. There it is, folks.

Speaking of balancing on single wheels, haven't seen anyone wearing 'em yet, but these shoes -- "Heeleys" are supposedly the next big thing. Did see a display with their packaging, however -- the boxes have a sticker which relieves the manufacturer of all liability.

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