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  ' Carrots For Breakfast '

November 2001

Friday 11-30
In yesterday's entry (scroll down), Scott Anderson describes the movement afoot in the Fatherland to get men to sit when they tinkle, to avoid the stray splashing which occurs in those weirdly-designed German toilets.

We know it crashed, but not why -- a Philadelphia Daily News article catalogs the mysteries of flight 93.

Good news article from Wired, Why Copyright Laws Hurt Culture:

American copyright laws have gotten so out of hand that they are causing the death of culture and the loss of the world's intellectual history.

Wednesday 11-28
Latest Zompist rant, Islam: What up with that?:
...this allows Islam to take the place of Scary Foreign Menace previously filled by communism, drugs, and Japan. To be effective, the scaremongering must make Islam seem alien and merciless -- a milennial, inscrutable enemy of modernity which has never renounced jihad. And don't forget to use the line "Islam isn't just a religion -- it's a way of life."

If your religion isn't a way of life, it's not much of a religion. The key to understanding Islam is that it's very, very much like Christianity. There are differences, of course. Historically, for instance, Islam has been much more tolerant. Christian Europe barely tolerated the Jews and suffered no resident Muslim communities at all; Islam gladly accepted resident Christian and Jewish minorities.

Report in Dawn on Noam Chomsky's lecture last Saturday in Lahore, Pakistan.

Jorn's pointer to Roger Ebert's Glossary of Movie Terms (another Google Groups archive) calls them clichés but the most common is omitted, and if you're meteorologically aware, it's painful once pointed out -- in the style of this amusing Glossary, I'd call it the Lightning Rule: Sound is accelerated to the speed of light during electrical storms. In other words, Hollywood always makes the boom and flash simultaneous -- my idea as to why is, since thunderstorms are so rare in the LA Basin, TV show- and film-makers there are unaware of the usual delay between the two events.

Monday 11-26
All Fall Down, the Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion -- great post to misc.activism.progressive (archived by Google Groups), an excerpt from William Thomas' new book, What Now?
We didn't ask why a plane supposedly driven by its passengers into two separate crash sites in the Pennsylvania countryside came apart in mid-air. Or why the president of the United States remained more interested in the story of a pet goat than reports of airliners crashing into Manhattan skyscrapers and the Pentagon.

The mind reals -- check this Yahoo!News photo of EoS11 plastic figures available in Beijing.

Also at Yahoo!News:

Italy's ambassador to Saudi Arabia has converted to Islam, the second time in seven years that an envoy of Rome to the land of Mecca has adopted its religion.

In a recent Living Hell, in reaction to the anthrax scare, Legeros sorts the leading causes of death by statistical odds. (Motor vehicle is first, 'conflagration' fourteenth; "in bed or cradle" is way down the list, like 50th, of a higher probability than "Caught in or between objects.")

Saturday 11-24
Back safely from a holiday Journey to the East, lots of fun except for the last couple days when a flu-ish 'bug' I picked up manifested itself -- I'm so sick! A highlight of the trip was touring the Ukiyo-e show at the Library of Congress -- can you believe it was this long-time resident and DC native's first visit to that institution? That site essentially mirrors the show's brochure, which doesn't include any information about the attractive 'signature' image -- this poster child's a rendition of Lady Oshichi, an interesting tale. (She was burned at the stake for burning down the house, like the Martin Hewitt character in "Endless Love" -- arson was a capital crime in 17th c. Tokyo.) I like her kimono -- she always seems to be pictured wearing that classic, geodesic asanoha pattern, which was inspired by the shape of hemp leaves. Anyway, the flights went without incident, one observation: the headphones (or 'headsets' in airline-speak) are free on United now, back in steerage -- is this a reaction to the EoS11? (Not that anything they were screening was worth watching.)
Thursday 11-15
Random aside from an unknown Chinese person's email, which was forwarded to me today:
In life, isn't it true that you have one thing better, the other is always not as good???

My Indian co-worker surreptitiously checks this Daily Serial site on the communal PC we use -- she's very discreet, but the URL storage on the browser's location bar pulldown uncovers her tracks. (I always whip up a fast HTML doc containing any link I choose to visit, and then delete it to avoid the evidence.) The big 'back' arrow at the bottom leads to much more -- but what does it all mean? No telling, unless you can read that language, but my guess is some kind of 'soap opera.'

Three links to editorial views I share:

  • On what legal meat does this our Ceasar feed? -- William Safire in yesterday's NY Times.
  • Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne speaks out on current events with his usual refreshing clarity.
  • Jon Carroll writes about the raging hypocrisy spouted by the ruling elite:
    [The shrub] gives a speech in which he urges volunteerism on citizens. He suggests tutoring a child, working at a hospital or helping out at a military base. At the same time, he supports tax legislation that gives huge breaks to large corporations. He does not ask them to voluntarily give up their wealth so that the government will have more money to pay soldiers and upgrade the FBI.

Wednesday 11-14
Ted Rall, the political cartoonist I've dicussed before, on his status -- death threats, his phone tapped --
We're living in dangerous times, and this neo-McCarthyist trend toward blacklists, the silencing of dissent, and government attacks on personal freedom represents an even greater threat to our country than terrorism.
Tuesday 11-13
Finally finished up moving today, and had my first matresectomy at the podiatrist -- large left toe, left side.
Saturday 11-10
RIP Ken Kesey

English Words from Arabic and Words Borrowed from Other Languages.

Reading a great Winston, Son of the Stars, by Raymond F. Jones -- kind of like a combination of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "The Blob" -- president of a hot-rod club (and amateur scientist) finds a wrecked flying saucer and befriends Clonar, the only survivor -- the kids and rural-foothill setting are reminiscent of a Stephen Meader story. (Didn't realize Jones also wrote This Island Earth.)

Great excitement -- plans are shaping up for a return to Japan -- and this time, continuing on to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur!

Wednesday 11-7
On my way into work today I was forced to endure the indignity of a "random vehicle search." Two kapos looked under the hood (flipping open the windshield washer reservoir and and positive battery terminal cover), into my trunk (removing almost everything so they could get at the spare tire), under the seats, behind the fuel flap & etc. Naturally they found nothing (by fortunate happenstance there wasn't any provacatuve cargo), and I was sent on my way. I consider this incident simple employee harassment, utterly useless. Unlike the many passengers available at our airports now (if the media's to be believed), increased hassles like this don't make me "feel safer." Although I doubt the efficacy of the actions it proposes, the introduction of this ACLU bulletin sums up the deteriorating situation quite well:
Legislation being considered by Congress after the September terrorist attacks continues to revolve around the misguided perception that giving expanded, unchecked authority to those who enforce our laws will necessarily make us safer.
They're worried about "profiling," but the problem's more with management which doesn't trust security personnel to use their brains at all -- as if a random search would actually snag the one vehicle carrying the suitcase nuke or fertilizer bomb.
Tuesday 11-6
Massive 'Things That Suck' page from Dr Phil Agre, Minor Annoyances and What They Teach Us. Certain of the 30 things' rants are excellent; all are interesting.

Another crazy car from the Tokyo Motor Show - the Honda Unibox:

... radical design that looks more like a wheeled storage system for a utility room.

Monday 11-5
How I was Politically Educated by "The Prisoner" -- essay by Megan Shaw Prelinger -- a little too academic for me, but still interesting reading.
I paid close attention to the world of The Prisoner, a world that was as staged and predictable as any other show, but that also engaged a theoretical realm which I was extremely curious about and eager to enter. It therefore worked as a transitional object in my intellectual development.
* * *

While the media talks quite a bit about the importance of drug money in funding the guerilla actions of bin Laden and others, there is no mention of the obvious corollary: one easy way to defund these organization is to collapse the price of drugs through decriminalization. Drug prohibition is keeping the guerillas in business...
That's Sam Smith in his Progressive Review, the beginning of a musing triggered by a letter to Washington's City Paper he quotes, by Redford Givens -- also very interesting (and sad) is his quote from Pravda, a portion of an article by Dmitri Litvinovich, translated from the Russian.

Yahoo! reprint of NY Times article, "Hijackers' Meticulous Strategy of Brains, Muscle and Practice" -- a detailed description.

Enlightening Usenet post to ba.food on the difference between Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean flavoring.

Thursday 11-1
Republicans raiding the national treasury -- commentary and enlightenment from Paul Krugman, in a Common Dreams reprint of his NY Times column.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed bearded man with a limp is king.
He's referring to the Vice President.
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