Saturday, March 29, 2003


On the off chance you have not already seen other bloggers urging you to do this, or if you need an extra nudge to convince you, go read Bill Whittle's latest essay, "History," as soon as your browser will take you there. Go on, what are you waiting for?

Need more convincing? How about a couple of excerpts...

What trick of time and memory, what charm or spell does history possess, that can turn such fields of unremitting violence and terror into places of religious awe and wonder? Why are some people called to these places, in America and around the world, to stand in wonder ? not only at the brutality of war, but at the transcendental, ennobling power of them? How does slaughter and death turn into nobility and sacrifice? Why can we recite the names of places like Roanoke, Harrisburg, Phoenixville, Marseille, Kiev, Vanuatu and Johannesburg with no more passion than we muster while reading the ingredients on the back of a cereal box, while names like Antietam, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Verdun, Stalingrad, Guadalcanal and Rorke’s Drift thunder through time as if the earth itself were being rung like a bell?

"...thunder through time as if the earth itself were being rung like a bell..."

Sheer Poetry. Tearful bliss to read.

We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it.

This reminds me of the time I told my father, quite vehemently though I don't recall anything else about the context, that people in the Soviet Union were alive, but not living. Scarily enough, Bill's essay reminds me of some of what I planned to say in the (far shorter, more generalized) one I mentioned I had started recently. Which is all the more reason to ask that people go read; he makes points dear to me for me, better than I could dream of doing.

So go, read it if you haven't. Get outta here.

Coming Soon To A Bookstore Near You...

Molly at Rainy Oregon Winter has a great post of the cover of "Protesting for Useful Idiots." The archive/direct URL is supposed to be, but archives are down, so go straight to Rainy Oregon Winter . For now it's at the top anyway. This was via Jen.


It's almost 60° right now, almost April for goodness sake, and they just used the "S" word in the forecast on the radio. What's up with that!? Okay, so it was mitgated by the words "possible" and "light," and with the rain around it won't have much of a sticking chance, but still. It's just wrong.

Hmmm... I wonder if they'll get snow way up in Vermont. My brother borrowed my Sentra to drive up there and visit my father; up today, back tomorrow, a good 4 hours each way. His truck, which really belongs to his boss, had the clutch go Friday. Next weekend he's moving to Ohio, which is going to be strange, thus the visit this weekend. He hasn't been up there in several years, since way before my father and stepmother moved from Holland to Derby. Between having 5 kids, no money, little time, shaky transport, and a twistedly antisocial soon to be ex-wife, he never had much chance. I go up there all the time, especially being their tech support. A couple times I've dropped everything to go up for the weekend to make things better. But I digress. "All about my brother" could be its own robust post. Pretend this is a post about the evil white stuff falling out of the sky when it should spare us.

Some People Are Just Whacked

Rachel has a compellingly annoying story of a harassed Navy Mom. What especially got me was when the harasser called 911!

Blogging Tower of Babel - Sepi Seeks Comments

Sepi is speaking at a research conference on blogs, and posts a fascinating abstract. It is titled:
Blogging: an introduction to the potential and pitfalls of web logs

Anyone else care to go over there and add to the comments on the topic? Completely off the cuff, I posted the following in her comments:

I've thought about this topic some. Blogs are cool, but this statement:
"Yet the average person doesn’t know what a blog is."
Is exactly it. I tend to think of blogging as a somewhat incestuous activity so far; fellow bloggers being the ones who most read and comment on other bloggers blogs. This may change as time goes by and more people who will read them, but don't care to create their own, learn about them. Also, of the perhaps million or so blogs that have been started, how many are really kept up? How many are really read by even a significant number of other bloggers? How many will simply be abandoned as people lose interest, can't keep up, or realize it's not for them.

I don't believe it will become commercialized generally, but some blogs will become more commercial. Look at Andrew Sullivan. Conversely, some bloggers will be absorbed into more mainstream media. This can be writing in addition to their blog, their blog being absorbed, or leaving blogging as such behind for paying gigs. There will be some blurring of boundaries. It's already begun.

It's a cool thing, really, as people will be able to pick and choose who to read on different topics; who they relate to, who they believe, whose writing they enjoy. Word is starting to get out, rapidly with the war coverage and all the mainstream articles talking about blogs covering it.

It'll be cool to watch the whole thing play out as time goes by.

Ultimately blogs are a tool of freedom and interconnectedness. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


If you don't care about the above, you could still visit to see the cute Sepi pictures.


Sepi says in her next post that she will cite the smartest comments in her presentation, with credit given them commenters of course. Having more would be good. I'd say go read her abstract and comment if you've anything to say, but comments are currently down. However, she does have her e-mail address on the page and that would presumably work too.

Heck, I'll make it easy. Here's the rest of her post. Read it here, then go there if you have anything to say on the subject, as a blogger or blog fan.

Blogging, or web logging, is the newest media format: A blog is a frequently updated website that usually includes links and personal commentary. Many bloggers believe blogging is it?the Tower of Babel for communication, information, and community. Indeed, blogs about everything?personal to political--exist, and the immediacy and interactivity of blogs fosters an online community. Yet the average person doesn’t know what a blog is. This presentation will examine the future of blogs: will they revolutionize communication or are they merely a fad bound to fade out?

I'm speaking at USC's undergraduate research conference on the topic of blogs.
Any thoughts on the above abstract?

I think it's an interesting, self-examining question/topic. Maybe it's just me.


I've not kept up with posting updated links to material on this, but that isn't so bad as other people are on top of it.

Medpundit posts regularly about it, including these two most recent:
The physician who first recognized there was a new infectious disease has died.
Some perspective on SARS, and counter-perspective.

MSNBC has posted articles regularly. The latest:
SARS Travel Concerns Intensify
(From Washington Post) American SARS Victim Speaks Out
(Travel all the way to China for a blind date? I dunno...)
Asian Economies Feel SARS Impact
Stones Cancel China Concerts
(Speaking of which, I think the Chinese government is absurd to censor their songs. Does nobody ever learn?)

DB's Medical Rants has also been providing SARS links and commentary:
This post links to a Washington Post Q&A on SARS. Usefully, that article has links to other SARS articles in the Washington Post, including today's China Agrees to Release Daily Reports on Disease.
Canada's Response, which links to, exceprts, and comments on a NY Times article on Canada airline passenger screening. That in turn links to other articles, including the latest; Hong Kong Faulted on Response to Illness.
Medrants links to this NY Times article on China's initial response, and with comment to one on airport health screening.
There's more! Those are just the newest posts. Go to Medrants and scroll down. Heck, read the smallpox stuff too while you're there.

The Gweilo Diaries is another great source on SARS. Some of the links will overlap the other sites, and Gweilo suggests also visiting Medpundit. However, he also has a lot of local flavor, including posts with pictures like these.
Mainly just go there, scroll and read.

Guess that's about it for now. If I don't keep up, well, you know where to look. And these guys are actual medical people, or in prime locations. I'm merely interested in the topic.

Well That Was Fun

I'm still up! At the office, too. Just finished working on a proposal of sorts, and I'm tired, but not so tired that I couldn't go have some caffeine and keep going. Or I could nap for a couple hours; the love seat pulls out into a small bed and is actually comfortable. I finally made myself concentrate, and I haven't lost the mental state yet, so I might be better off to play with numbers now.

In any event, if I go home, I'll risk being wide awake when I get there (and Peggy Noonan doesn't help, writing books you can't put down; usually reading puts me right to sleep). Even if I fall right to sleep, I'll sleep all day and feel like a slug. Here's my chance to get something done! Who needs sleep!

I do. Usually.


Welcome, Acidman fans! My stats are looking like a miniature instalanche, even more than when Blogs of War quoted me. Comments are welcome! Acidman has made some very thoughtful ones here.

Also a belated welcome to readers from Jen Speaks, whose link and flattering mention of me has produced a sustained flow of visitors.

Almost forgot! Welcome readers coming my way via Slackergurl. I'm not really a beancounter; just went to school for it. Worked for a while for a CPA when I was still in college, while I was taking Intermediate Accounting 2 and Auditing, doing about everything except actual tax preparation and stuff you had to be a CPA to do. Then I did some bookkeeping type of work later, and tax preparation for a few people and relatives. My heart wasn't really in it after a while, and whatever I do now is incidental to running a business and being too small to pay someone else.

But I digress. Welcome one and all!


I forgot to mention Kim Crawford, of Velociblog. He returned from vacation, noticed I had linked him, e-mailed to introduce himself and praise eclecticism, and linked right back at me. I appreciate it. More recently, he noticed my post a while back about Natalie Merchant, a mostly unfamiliar artist to me. That was before comments, so he wanted to let me know her album Tiger Lily is his most favorite of the last 20 years. I'll have to keep that in mind!

Friday, March 28, 2003

RIAA Madness

Go read this excellent post by Megan McArdle on RIAA antics and related matters.

War Comparisons for the Impatient

Wonderful list comparing various military operations, with start and end dates for each. From Lori Anne Byrnes at Rumination.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

An Alternate History Since 9/11

Please go here now to read, enjoy, be intrigued by, and comment upon Dixie Flatline's partially complete story of a very different recent history. He'd like to know if he ought to continue writing it. Go. Scoot!

A Quick Post Before I Disappear Again analyzes blogger bias with respect to linking about the reported checmical plant found in Iraq, finding that the more conservative bloggers tended to link the original discovery but not the retraction that soon followed, more liberal bloggers tended to link the retraction but not the original find, and libertarian or mixed bloggers tended to link both. I was included in those who linked one of the initial articles about discovery of the plant, on the 24th.

I posted the following to their comments:

Cool idea for analysis. I'm confused though. I saw that the "no it's not" stuff appeared after I'd posted the link, and thought about adding that, but then I got the impression that the "yes it is" won out. So I decided not to be a yo-yo, and let people see the news for themselves as it played out, rather than mentioning it again either way.

My current impression is that nothing specific has been found to indicate that the chemical plant contains or was used for making weapons, beyond whatever is implied by the Iraqi military people posted there, but that they're far from done going through the place. I haven't read anything more recently than yesterday on it, so who knows where it stands now.

I probably should have followed my impulse to link the changed status of the story, but then it changed back again, and if there's been a definitive announcement again saying that indeed the chemical plant is not a chemical plant, and is not suspected of making weapons, and is not still being inspected in an effort to ascertain its status with complete certainty, then I have not yet seen it. For the past day or so I haven't followed the news as closely, but I'll catch up at some point.

Blogging Is Work

Well, I've been reading everyone else and following things, but been busy and uninspired enough not to have posted as much as sometimes. I have a geopolitical, way of looking at the world and history type of commentary I started brewing a couple days ago that I'll finish and post when I get a chance. I also still have down the road something I mentally title "my life as a libertarian" to compose and post.

If I come up with anything brief and remotely clever to post in the next day or three, I shall, but I'll mostly try to focus on necessaries to get out of the way. Just remember to come back even if I gafiate for a couple days.

I notice I'm getting some interesting Google hits. Someone got me, near the top of the list, with:
cox forkum

I see by querying SARS in Google News that in places like Singapore the stock market is starting to suffer in reaction, and the travel industry is expected to suffer badly if it's not out of the way in the next couple months. Go query the same if you're curious.

I'd love to see more links to me from other sites. (Hint, hint...)

I think I need to limit the links to quiz result pictures to one a week, to speed the page loading for those of us without broadband. I got carried away the other day with two in a row, and Snuffy was still on the page too. For those who are new here and enjoy them, there are various links to quizzes sprinkled through the archives. Plus the results for me can be insightful.

Anyway, expect some light posting. Really this time. Possibly even through the weekend if things are hectic enough. In addition to summarizing things and doing taxes, I have a computer to finish setting up and deliver (to my sister in law, which is why she gets to wait), billing to do, assorted client work to do, possibly a new computer to completely plan and build for early next week, shopping to do, and I have a possible customer for software we never got past beta before the potential market shrunk.

At least I don't prepare other people's taxes any more. That was always fun at this time of year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Megan Making Sense

As usual; this time in regard to war costs.

Sharp Increase in China SARS Cases

As reported in this MSNBC article. Doesn't sound like new cases so much as a determination that prior cases were part of the outbreak, but that's bad because it means it's had all the more opportunity to spread. China isn't the most cooperative, which seems strange for this kind of thing. The article also includes a general roundup of current status on cases, and theories on cause and spread.

One Month Down

I just realized that I started this blog on February 25th, so it's now been a month. Wow! Doesn't seem that long.

But I didn't expect it to be so addictive, even though I love writing in general, and commenting on things, whether in brief or at length. Once upon a time, before the web, before most people heard of what would become the Internet, I wrote thousands of pages of letters. On paper. With a TRS-80, or a 286, or - gasp! - a pen. Much of it was to friends. Some of it was to pen pals, other people interested in SF and Fantasy, contacted through the Writer's Digest Book Club newsletter.

Some of it was highly personal, embarrassing, silly, even unpleasant. Surprisingly large chunks were about economics, philosophy, and such things as the space program, privatization, terraforming; things of that nature. More than a little was mundane ramblings, interesting or not, on daily life. I'd love to read some of the lengthy things I wrote on economics, philosophy and government way back when, if it still existed. Come to think of it, the earliest letter writing started about late 1978. The bulk was from 1985 through 1991.

Someday perhaps I'll put the concerted planning, effort and concentration required into writing a book, rather than mere letters, e-mails, web-based tech support responses, or this blog. In the meantime, it's fun.

Those Goofy Quizzes

Which band member am I?

you're the bassist!

what band member are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Blogger Code

My blogger code is:

B1 d- t- k s+ u f++ i o x e- l c--

This is sort of like a goofy quiz, but different.

Those Goofy Quizzes

Which book of the bible are you? Via LilacRose.

I removed the graphic. Too hard to read, too reluctant to load.

You are Romans
You have insight on what
it means to turn your life around
and try to live for God.
You really want people to understand
the deeper things of God,
but have a tendency to come across
as pushy and prideful... and at time,
maybe your are. But you know your
weakness and work hard at trying
to temper it with grace and compassion.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Interview With An Iraqi

Dean Esmay has a reprint, courtesy of Punning Pundit, of a moving interview with an Assyrian Iraqi expatriate. Go check it out, on place or the other.

SARS - More Casual Transmission Than Thought?

HONG KONG, March 25 ? Concerns grew Tuesday about how the new flu-like disease spreads after more passengers on an airplane and school children in Asia became ill.
Full Article

Again, CDC has a page on SARS with info and advisories.

The latest advisory from the World Health Organization.

The Agonist

I had meant to put The Agonist on my blogroll and somehow managed not to. Now I see he's overloaded, so for your convenience I have placed all three mirror site links to him over on the left in the "A" section. Those mirror links via Electolite. They will remain as long as needed.

Saddam Blogs

And he's quite entertaining.

Via somone or another, I forget. Actually, I saw it mentioned in baout 3 places before I decided to investigate myself.

Great Minds Think Alike

Jane Galt has a post today that says basically the same as I did in this one yesterday, regarding the stock market not being the same as the economy. She also points out that performance of the market is not a reflection on how the war is progressing.

Instapundit Mentions SARS Now

Instapundit here points out this article on travel restrictions, with a roundup of some of the measures and cases.

Also Medpundit, always a good site to keep an eye on, had an update posted this morning that overlapped my post yesterday on SARS, but includes a couple different links.


Portable computing pioneer Adam Osborne is dead. Obits here and here, via Jerry Pournelle.

Cisco Eats Linksys

The cover story of this week's Computer Reseller News is the purchase of Linksys by Cisco, to give Cisco dominance in the wireless lan market. I'm amazed that this is the first I've heard of it.

Moore Coverage

Good Tech Central Station article exposing moore today.

Monday, March 24, 2003


It's amusing, in an irritating sort of way, to hear the local news equate "the economy" with "Wall Street." Oops, economy is struggling today because we didn't have an Instawar! Stocks plummeted over 300 points! Brokers are throwing themselves under bulldozers out of despair!

It's just the stock market people. It matters, but it does not equal "the economy."


Possible newly identified cause of SARS identified. A new form of coronavirus, as reported in this MSNBC article.

Some of the hits in a Google search would seem to indicate that this is a common virus in pets.

This seems like a useful page about, and linking elsewhere on, coronavirus.

Under a Blackened Sky today points to a NY Times article on increasing fear and consequences from SARS in Hong Kong.

Finally, there are some other new articles, most no more than an hour old as I write this, one six hours old, that refer to coronavirus and SARS. One of them is this CDC press release.


DB's Medical Rants has a SARS update today, as well as previous posts on it, and is a cool site overall. I'll add it to the links, when isn't overloaded as it seems to be now.

Zander has some cute Iraqi jokes

Conquer and Divide?

Letter From Gotham has a post about whether democracy in Iraq is possible. The sticking point is the disparate ethnicities and religions.

I say why is it imperative to leave the artificial construct of Iraq as it currently is; why not divide it into smaller countries along the lines of predominant ethno-religious divisions?

The Other War

What is up with...

When I go to a Washington Post story, and the browser comes up its default size, I maximize for ease of reading. Unlike any other web site, Washington Post does a complete refresh, so I have to wait for it to load the page again. How silly. (For what it's worth, I had gone to read this article on warbloggers, to which I had seen a link somewhere, but I no longer remember where.)


This cold really sucks. At least my BP is only 110/73 this morning.

Meant to Mention...

I enjoyed the new Pepsi commercial with Beyonce Knowles. A comment I just saw on Too Much To Dream reminded me. That was one of the highlights of Oscar night.

Moore to Ponder

Cox & Forkum wasted no time!

The truth about Bowling for Columbine.

Julie Neidlinger has a roundup of links to Moore posts and material. Each "Michael Moore is a big fat idiot" links to a different item.

Here's What Moore Said


Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to ? they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.

If the Academy has any sense, they will investigate enough to find that his movie doesn't quite qualify as a documentary, and rescind the award. Such irony, those words above, when his non-fiction is not purely so. In any event, it's easy to doubt he'll be nominated again.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Michael Moore is a Fucking Scumbag Lowlife Moron

I'm watching the Oscars. I have never seen his movie, only heard about it and his depravities like the open letter to "Governor" Bush. It takes some real doing to go from a mostly standing ovation when your award is announced, to being booed off the stage by people who are in large part on your side.


Command Post

It is now at

Whereas This Guy Gets It...

Again via RealClear Politics, Jack Kelly writes of the greater war and larger point to the Iraq operation.

What a Maroon

This commentary by Ricardo Pimentel, via RealClear Politics, makes him sound not merely like a "maroon," but like he's reaching, grasping. There's a rhythm and flow to the writing that feels like a discontinuous series of attempts to reach for various verbal weapons of dubious force. Ironically he brushes up against some truths in his maunderings.

I once had a crush on a girl named Ellie Pimentel. Probably no relation. I certainly hope not.

Operation Civilian Support

Irish Girl has a link to Operation Civilian Support, which of course is a good cause.

Similarly, Virginia Postrel has Operation Homefront.

U.S. Troops Capture Chemical Plant

Naw, must be a mass hallucination. It's really a baby formula plant, right?

I suspected as much

Iran says stray missile was Iraqi, not U.S. Link(sort of) via The Command Post, which I see is moving to a new server and domain, but the existing URL will redirect there. Apart from the hourlong pause in posts, it's probably the single best warblogging source if you only want to keep up on one. I know I can't keep up and won't try to do more than random comments or snippets in amongst the other topics.

Note that the article doesn't rule out all possible strays; we're still investigating others, but there's a high level of cooperation with the Iranians.

A Man Enjoying His Work...

Dean Esmay has fun ripping Michael Moore a new one.


Good NY Times article (registration required) on away messages, via Dandelion Wine. One of my favorites goes something like:

"Sorry, I am indisposed right now. I'm not sure where that is exactly, but I'll be back soon."

Looks like I lost it when I reinstalled my machine onto a new drive, so now all my interesting away messages are at the office.