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June 2000

Thursday 6-29
Excellent editorial in today's San Jose Mercury, Few resist faulty logic behind aid to Colombia - it's by Alex Coburn, and he names names - those very few people in Congress who are
unpersuaded by the administration's arguments that the way to win the war on drugs here is to throw money into the bank accounts of Colombian military officers and Pentagon contractors.
Star Wars Origami
(sounds better than it is)

Deciphering Anime, on the "Media Junkies" site. Newcomers curious about the genre will appreciate its section: "What's The Deal With Those Big Eyes?"
(Thanks Pigs & Fishes)

Monday 6-26
The current media focus on Korea reminds me of the (North) Korean Central News Agency -- I've given it the sporadic visit over the years, for a point of view flavored with that Mao-era "running dog Capitalist" rhetoric we'd hear during the Vietnam War -- they're still at it, sounds so archaic today. What's really weird is how this site has a Japanese domain. Meanwhile, down the penninsula, a Marketplace story today described how
A computer game in South Korea has single-handedly jumpstarted that country's Internet industry, making it one of the most dynamic in the world. Korean youth is addicted to StarCraft, a science fiction war game produced by the Southern California Blizzard company.

Sunday 6-25
Current comic shop buys: Last week, new issue of Harvey's American Splendor and this week, Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud, a wonderfully rich pair of tangential extensions off his earlier book, Understanding Comics. It's enormous, 240 pages; I'm absorbing it just a few panels at a time.

"THE resource for digital imaging on the web" - user reviews of all the latest gadgets. Found it by searching on a specific camera's model number. Seems unbiased, with a refreshingly clean design.

Friday 6-23

Apropos of nothing, my favorite Watchmen sequence, offered without explanation:
Watchmen issue #2 page 18 panels 6 & 7
Some personal notes:

  • Java class completed, should now have more time to devote to this site; but work gets ever-busier, leading me to thoughts of an educational sabbatical. Alas, my company doesn't offer sabbatical leave, and I don't want to stick around anyway, so this could mean a period of unemployment, followed perhaps by a relocation? Feeling transitional.
  • And yet, still haven't moved; will be paying a 10% rent increase starting next month; neighbors noisy as ever but there has been one improvement in the ambient soundscape. Management of the apartment building across the street finally did some rooftop maintenance and lubricated the whiney turbine ventilators. (Those mounted on my own building haven't moved in years, seized up by rust.) My doofus landlord's latest antics have involved fencing in the swimming pool.
  • Think I looked chubby in that photo from Japan? No more - I've lost over twenty-five pounds in the last few months, which I attribute to the following regimen: Rigorously following of my every-other-day gym schedule and total replacment of my working-day lunches with nothing but a couple 'nanas and a handful of those mini-carrots. (It certainly can't be due to my recently-developed fondness for Camembert.) Now my "thin" clothes all fit again and my "fat" wardrobe's moved to the closet's nether regions -- I haven't been this svelte since 1993. (Mild fears of the big "D" were calmed by the annual physical last month - my numbers are all fine.)
  • Finally grew weary with replacing my rear spokes and bought a new wheel. Riding a bicycle with true wheels is such a pleasure! At the bike shop, discovered that Specialized is selling a new anti-flat tire called the Armadillo -- recommended.
Wednesday 6-21
Excellent Slate column today by Robert Wright, about the folly of the missle defense system against suitcase bombs, drone aircraft and the precision targeting available to anybody now, via Clinton's recent decision to loosen up the GPS.

The official website of Captain Euro!
Nice mouse-overs.
Thanks memepool

Tuesday 6-20
Excerpt from latest Red Rock Eater/Privacy Forum Digest, dismay with recent electronic signatures legislation:
... and while you're not supposed to be forced to use these hi-tech paper replacements, how long will it be before you find yourself paying more, perhaps much more, if you choose not to do so? The pattern is all too familiar -- first there will be offers of discounts if you'll give up paper, but all too soon the fees for insisting on paper records and physical signatures will become so exorbitant that most of us will give in, whether we really want to or not.
Two pointers from Mike's weblog:
Heathkit Virtual Museum and The Slide Rule Universe.

Great cover on this week's issue of The Economist. Their site's too secure for direct access to the image, but it's at the top of the cover story, "Encounter in Pyongyang" (click quick, that link won't last long). The North Korean Kim-Leader is shown, wearing a green Mao suit, arm raised, Devo-style:

Greetings Earthlings
Sunday 6-18
For the woman who has everything: The TravelMate Device. Now the girls can go just like the boys!
courtesy Mr Pants

West Coast Blimps & Electronics, in Ridgecrest, California: www.indoorblimps.com

Thursday 6-15
My older brother sent me some links, among which was this New York World's Fair site. (Readers interested in this subject should also be familiar with my own.) Turns out the author, Jeffrey Stanton, is not unknown to me - he's done books (and a site) about Venice and Santa Monica, and is a weekend fixture on the Venice boardwalk - I bought my own copy of Coney Island of the Pacific from him there, when it was new. He also has pages about the real Coney Island and Expo 67 - -- the latter's an exceptional reference.

Read some off-hand comment about post-nuclear fiction somewhere, a musing about how many of these stories resemble Stephen Vincent Benet's "By the Waters of Babylon." This was intriguing to me since, naïve lad that I am, the only memory this (probably Biblical) expression triggers is a song from the soundtrack of The Harder They Come. Now I've read the story, and you can too, in a "study guide" format:
By the Waters of Babylon

Generation Jones:
Those born between 1954 and 1965. I think the need for generational labels is kinda lame, but I can't completely reject one which references "Basetball Jones." (And there's pleasure in the discovery that I can deny being labeled a "boomer," an expression for which I have only loathing.)

Blue News
Heard about this one on the radio, a not-unexpected development: Kmart uses the bluelight.com domain. As I instinctively avoid stores like Kmart I was unaware of their "blue light special" and had to have the concept explained, when I first heard the expression. The rare times I've been inside a Kmart have been disappointments - where were the blue lights?

Betrayed by Work in Fast Company:

Until the 20th century, work was secondary to other parts of life. We can see this by looking at the words that mean work in different cultures. The Spanish word for work, 'trabajo,' comes from a Latin word for an instrument of torture. The Irish word, 'job,' took on a dual meaning: a temporary assignment, and excrement.
For those of you hitting the road this summer, the I-95 Exit Guide could prove useful. (For contrast, check the Guide to I-80 in Nevada.)

Searching for enlightenemnt about the expression purdah, I found this site, Sister Noor's Experience -- it's the voice of a young muslim woman, from beyond the veil -- a well-tuned example of the phenomenon of conditioning which William S. Burroughs characterized as the policeman inside your head.

Monday 6-12
Back on line -- Updates to resume shortly.

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