Saturday, April 12, 2003

Nice Analogy

Scott at The Raw Deal has a nice analogy, which apparently has been floating around, but this is the first I'd seen it, on why the Iraq war was necessary.

Important Fusion News

In which deuterium pellets are provoked into non-continuous fusion with a massive X-ray burst, rather than the traditional attempts at continuous fusion using lasers and magnetic plasma containment. Or something like that.

Via Jerry Pournelle's mail page.

I also found two other articles here and here, which have the benefit of not requiring NY Times registration.


I was just thinking...

Do the CNN revelations put the Kevin Sites blog issue in a whole new light? If CNN was that concerned about controlling their Iraq coverage, then of course they'd not want an employee blogging something they might want to hide. Or perhaps I take things a little too far and it really is just a stodgy "old media" not adapting well issue. I love this little snippet from OJR:

At, for example, a spokesperson says that its news executives do not believe in blogs. ? prefers to take a more structured approach to presenting the news,? the spokesperson said. ?We do not blog.

Structured indeed.

Bill Gates and Saddam Connection?

Joe of Attaboy has stunning news on the Iraq/Microsoft connection!


Ren has hopelessly adorable newborn puppy pictures.

On another note, I'd consider "donating," but when am I ever going to be down under? Um... no pun intended... heh.

Visit the Mrs.

Mrs. du Toit has a bunch of great stuff today! And yesterday and the day before, for that matter. If you don't look at anything else there, this is the one you don't want to miss.

Jihad This!

Via The Inscrutable American.

Why Is Politics So Different?

Rob over at BusinessPundit has a great rant today! And he doesn't normally rant...

Happy Birthday Velociman

It's Kim Crawford's birthday today, so you might want to pop over to Velociblog and wish him a great one, make fun of him, or whatever.


There's a Verbosity web ring, of all things!

How do I know this? A referred to my site was this odd Jessica Lynch search. The top result in Google for the search was Fenian Ramblings, which on a whim I clicked. I found it to be pretty decent. After all, someone who likes Rachel enough to permalink her and mention her positively in multiple posts can't be all bad. When I noticed "<< ? Verbosity # >>" at the top left of the page, I had to see what the link was. There it was, a ring page headed by the dictionary entry for verbose.

I have no plans to join the ring, but it's kind of entertaining to me that it exists.

I don't remember if I ever explained the verbosity thing. At a previous job, people decided that I had a /v (slash vee) switch that was always on, for verbose mode. This was a source of great amusement and fond ribbing, and was based on my e-mails and web responses to customers, which tended to be long and detailed. Being known for that was my inspiration. In fact, most of my posts haven't been particularly verbose so far. Go figure. Perhaps it should be a lesson to me that the one that got the most attention was a relatively verbose post...

Switch, It's Easy!

This is hysterical. Um, via Dean if I recall correctly.


Checking the Blogosphere Ecosystem, I am at 592 out of 1736, which is not bad at all for the time I've been blogging. I think another boost in traffic and links awaits more original writing of a compelling, quotable nature. I'll get to that sometime. I'd love to make 2000 or more hits by the end of two months.

Anyway, sometimes when I go check the standings, I wander waaaaay down to the lowly entries that have zero links, and I'll check out a couple. I just opened several in the 0 and 1 link section, and will give mention to any I find interesting...

Experimental Insanity has some fun stuff I haven't seen before, as well as things I have.

Geek News Central is basically a link site, with links to tech-related items, and snippets from or comments on each. It's pretty good, though it could use a wee bit of editing. While there I found this link to something I'd not heard about yet! Some radio stations are running into problems playing the non-standard CDs the industry has started foisting on us, hurting airplay for the artists and songs in question. Heh.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost didn't interest me that much, but there were some interesting comments about students and their teacher evaluations, and this was the first I'd hear about Little Eva's death. I was not aware anyone but Little Eva and Grand Funk Railroad (whose song "Bad Time" has always been a favorite of mine) had recorded Locomotion.

Umm... well, looks like that's all I can mention, which is fewer than half the ones I opened. I also opened Jessica's Well, which was way down the list, but not in the 0-2 realm. It is a most worthy site, and I especially enjoyed this item. Even if I do like watching The West Wing, the real fictitional President is in real life a real loon, and the poster is real appropriate.

Tony Blair is so cool!

Via Eric at Viking Pundit, who also reports that Amish Tech Support has moved but remains reticent about linking to Viking Pundit. That's okay, Laurence Simon doesn't link to me either. Oh wait, neither does Eric! Hrmph.

Take a Canoe and Pictures Too

Fred has some cool pictures in his Okefenokee Journal posts. My sister got a canoe when she was in her teens, and I always loved it. Though first I had to conquer my poor balance and fear of tipping it. We lived relatively near a lake (almost a mile), and it also went with us on a trip or two. It's a serene feeling, and paddling is great exercise.

Friday, April 11, 2003

I Gotta Too!

Shamelessly lifted the following from Acidman, who in turn got it via e-mail:

A squad of American soldiers was patrolling along the Iraqi border. To their surprise, they found the badly mangled dead body of an Iraqi soldier in a ditch along side the road.

A short distance up the road, they found a badly mangled American soldier in a ditch on the other side of the road, who was still barely alive. They ran to him, cradled his blood-covered head and asked him what had happened.

"Well," he whispered, "I was walking down this road, armed to the teeth. I came across this heavily armed Iraqi border guard. I looked him right in the eye and shouted, "Saddam Hussein is an unprincipled, lying piece of shit!"

He looked me right in the eye and shouted back, "Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy and most of your Democrats are unprincipled, lying pieces of shit too!"

"We were standing there shaking hands in the road when the truck hit us."

This List Is Worth Remembering and Revisiting

The good guys, as it were.

Kirsten Implodes


I never said she was intelligent or anything, just amazingly cute. Apparently that doesn't qualify her to think much.

Link thanks to Jessica Lynch's Muscular Trigger Finger

This is Fun

Common spelling errors, how often they turn up in a Google search, and whether they surpass the real spelling. With tangential discussion and additions in the comments, Read it here at, link courtesy of Trademark Blog.

Joe Biden is Evil

And this sort of tacking-on tactictic, to slime your warped agenda sneakily through, is unspeakably wrong. It'd be nice if the practice could be eliminated.

Via various other sites I don't recall off the top of my head, sorry.

This is so EVIL

Rachel and Blaster Are Right, Flood the Zone

Rachel posts this story in full regarding what the press, CNN specifically, knew and did not (could not?) report over the years regarding things in Iraq. I had already read it at the NY Times, but if you go here you can read it without the registration nonsense. It's most compelling.

Blah? I think not...

Scott Chaffin has a lot of very touching "blah" to say about the state of life and the world. Go read it.

Those Goofy Quizzes


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Link thanks to Jen.


My insomnia finally caught up with me. I've been getting sleep in stretches of 3 hours or so. Then I'd be wide awake, but later be a zombie. Then at night I'd be unable to sleep again. Well, this time I fell asleep about 6 AM and didn't wake up until just about 4 PM. It makes for a really weird day, but darn I feel rested finally!


Diane talks about her preference for blogging in anonymity, and now that too many clues have slipped out, declared hiatus.

I've often wondered if I should have stayed more anonymous than I have. For instance, the friends I mentioned in a previous post know about and have read this at least once. They could easily see what I wrote, but I don't think I said anything bad or that they wouldn't already know or expect. Since I avoid talking politics in person, and one of my friends is rabidly "Bush is stupid" liberal, reading it may have been a bit of a shock. Oops, so sorry. Or not.

Many other people know about it too, if only because I mention it in my e-mail sig. I chose potential readers - many of whom would never have read blogs before - over total anonymity. That means perhaps being more diplomatic than otherwise, or leaving out some things. I guess I can handle that, but it has stopped me from some real rants already.

If it gets frustrating to hold back, I figure I can always start another blog for the purpose. Heh.

Sounds Good to Me

Rudy for mayor!

Look Out Left Coast

One of my close friends is considering whether to move out to the San Diego area. Besides surprise, I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. It'll be weird, because I go out to dinner with her and another friend most every Friday, sometimes other days, and we go to movies together, or just hang out. It's almost like having a girlfriend, but without sex, and there's two of them who complement each other. Not that I'd necessarily turn down offers, but then you potentially get into weird territory.

I'm sure I'll get over it, but it'll be like ripping a big chunk of status quo out of my life. There'll still be AIM and e-mail, and sometimes the phone. It'll add to my list of people around the country I can visit; Cincinatti, Seattle, Houston, and now San Diego. Oh, and somewhere in Oklahoma too, come to think of it, and other places if I get in touch with cousins here and there. But basically every Friday things will be different. Every big movie release, things will be different.

It might be good for her. She's been unemployed for more than a year. Supposedly the job market is better there. Anyone know? Boston are versus San Diego area, computer geek whose primary skill is VB programming? That's one impetus. Warmth is another. I could be tempted to move for warmth myself, as long as there aren't swarms of killer mosquitos. And having been invited to share a place with a new friend there is another. In fact, with two other girls there; one from the area and one moving there.

The change of scenery might be good, as far as pushing her into looking harder for work, and making those tough decisions about what to do with her life. If feeling like she'll never get anywhere here becomes a self-fulfilling grind, then that might snap the spell. Ironically, I'd say the other friend needs that kind of a situational shift more; or some kind of rut-breaking motivation. Guess we'll see what happens.


Today I heard from a cool guy I used to work with, when I did VB support and he did SDK and VC++ support. He worked nights most of the time, and would sometimes handle VB calls then too, if it was straightforward enough, or otherwise help the night VB guy. He'd become unemployed so needed to network, and wanted to join my mailing list of people from my former employer. As I mentioned some time ago (or see March 8th, "Fighting Unemployment"), out of a list of about 70 fine people, 16 needed work, then one got hired, but now here's another. And that's just among this group.

Anyway, he's from Pakistan originally; one of the great workplace diversity that included people from Ireland, Pakistan, India, the West Bank, Kenya, and no doubt other places I'm forgetting. I last saw him in Providence last year, at a gathering that probably made The Station feel roomy. Really makes you think.

When I replied, I told him I think about him in light of current events, given where he's from. He said he feels kind of selfish for thinking "thank God we were not there" as his first thought. He was actually in Pakistan when he saw the 9-11 events on the news. That must be a different perspective to have; being a Pakistani-American visiting back home that day. Heck, it must be strange being subject, presumably, to suspicion since then.

He says he hopes and prays something good will come out of all this. I believe it will. I still haven't gotten around to writing the post in which I explain why I believe that, and what I see as the ultimate logic of what President Bush and his team, but I really believe. And I'm a skeptic when it comes to governments.

Perhaps I'll get to discuss with the guy more detail of what 9-11 was like, and what it's been like since for him. I'm curious.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Blog Tour, First Leg

Have you visited Andrew at Belly-Flop? I sometimes check there less often than I should, since Blogrolling doesn't tag him as updated recently the way it does most sites.

Anyway, I enjoy the way he presents the latest on missiles and radioactivity. You know, the kind that are figments, or were planted.

As you read this great site, bear in mind this little detail from the "Who Am I" section of Andrew's FAQ: is written by me, Andrew. I am a freshman in high school who is fascinated with world events and history.

I wish I knew that much, had that well-formed of a wellspring of opinion, and wrote that well when I was his age. That's back in the stone age, when a peanut farmer was failing to be our leader, and we were celebrating the bicentennial.

Office Selection Tip

If you have a choice, when selecting office space, it should not be right next to a daycare center, through thin, unsoundproofed walls, with shared airspace above the ceiling tiles. Trust me. This is especially true if, in addition to screaming, crying, and what sounds literally like bouncing off the walls, there is the playing of mellow-yet-obnoxious music, intended to sooth the little savages, at an excessive volume most of the day. Repetitiously. These things are best avoided. That is all.

Getting Fisked Up in Your Own Web

If you haven't already read it via the Bloglord, join the instalanche and check out this superb fisking of Spider Robinson. I had no idea Spider was such a moron!

101 Things

I've been debating doing a "101 Things About Me" list, having seen it done on other blogs. At first I thought it might be too difficult to come up with that many, but I was mentally composing such a list in the car and having no trouble at all thinking of things. Of course, that all vanished once I got out of the car...

From Whence They Came

The referrer logs are intriguing. A disproportionate amount of hits I get are from other people's referrer logs. There appears to be limited traffic from blogroll type links, unless someone talks me up when first linking to me.

I'm surprised how many hits are from search sites, and what they are for. I get a lot for "OTC Market Alert" because I mentioned it in my post about junk faxes. I get a lot of "french army knife" searches. Today I got a search for "little tiny lies" exclude the word hanson. Odd. Someone searched for "myturbin" and "Iraq" today, perhaps knowing myturbin was part of a humor piece. The search for +"new towns" +iraq +discovered +intelligence gets the same humor item. SQL Slammer? That was a surprise. Boycott French companies is popular. Gamma globulin SARS is a recurring one. Various others with SARS in them, which makes sense as I have posted so much on the topic. Designer surgical masks. Brother Intellifax 2800 opinion.

Of course, now I will mess things up with this post, because the above queries will (also) point to this page that has nothing meaningful to do with them. Heh.

Anyway, time to do some actual work. Or at least have lunch...

They Hardly Even Knew Me

I've only lived in the same place for three years, so when my insurance bill for the Sentra arrived, the post office returned it "attempted unknown." It was addressed correctly, the same as everything else that has been delivered from the insurance company. Very bizarre. The agent is the same one I use for the business, so they called me at work to see if I'd moved (not yet, but I'd like to) and if I'd like them to put it in an envelope and send it to my office (sure, that works).

I don't get it.

Then again, this is the same place where the mail carrier mashes the mail into the (decidedly too small, but not that small) box to make sure it's optimally mangled.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Blog Shares

Ah, looks like my blog is showing up now. I am in the process of claiming it, and this is a gratuitous post to force the template to update.

Blog Shares

I finally joined Blog Shares today. I told it to ping my site, but it seemed to have issues with that. I guess that means I can't be bought.

So far I've bought shares of Gut Rumbles, The Greatest Jeneration, Rachel Lucas, and Jen Speaks, which was a huge bargain.

Afghan Women Hope Computer Will Bring New Dawn

This is very cool and just what's needed. Link via Kathy Kinsley of the always great to read On The Third Hand.

Fruit Cup

Just received this via e-mail. Too funny...

So we're sitting in the IT lab and some woman from Sales walks in,
visibly upset, holding her laptop in her hands. The laptop is totally
messed up. I'm not talking about software or OS problems, the thing is
physically damaged. It looks like she threw it off the roof of a
building. And she's looking out of sorts too. She's been crying, her
mascara is running, her hair is messed up and her coat is all dusty.

Someone asks her, "What the hell happened to you?" and she explains...

Apparently she was walking out to her car in the parking lot talking to
someone on her cell phone which is in her right hand, she has her purse
hanging from her left shoulder, her laptop bag is hanging from her right
shoulder and she's holding a fruit cup with a plastic spoon in it in her
left hand.

She gets to her car and realizes she can't get at her car keys unless
she puts something down so she puts the fruit cup down on the pavement
next to her car door and reaches into her pocket for the keys with her
left hand while still talking on the cell phone in her right hand.

She unlocks the car, opens the car door and instead of taking the laptop
bag and purse off of her shoulders and putting them in the car, she
tries to angle herself and get herself into her car with the laptop bag
and purse still hanging from her shoulders. She successfully gets in the
car, while still talking on the cell phone.

She closes the car door, puts the key in the ignition, starts the car,
depresses the accelerator, the car starts to slowly move forward while
she's still talking on the cell phone.

Then she remembers the fruit cup.

With the car slowly moving forward, she opens the car door, leans out
and tries to grab the fruit cup but can't as it's getting further away
from her 'cause her car is moving.

She leans further out of the car, while still talking on the phone, with
laptop bag and purse over her shoulders and she falls out of the car.

She hits the pavement as does her cellphone, purse and laptop bag.

She rolls out of the way of the slowly moving car just in time to avoid
driving over her own leg, pulls her purse out of the way, kicks her
cellphone out of the way but doesn't get to her laptop bag in time and
the rear wheel of her car slowly rolls over her laptop and crushes it.

The fruit cup was unscathed.


There is a SARSWatch site. Thanks to Aparagirl for the link!

Sheesh... I Missed It

I got paged for a network emergency just as I was getting out of bed this morning. Then when that was under control, I went over to my doctor's house to try to help his wife with a computer problem, except she wasn't there. I didn't hear anything about "Fall of Baghdad" until I happened to flip to 96.9 FM Talk on my way back to the office. Which means I only just read about it on the web in the last hour.

Great news! It's funny seeing the write-ups on how shocked people in some of the other Arab countries are. Heh. Reverse domino theory indeed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

School Daze

My niece, Melissa, who will turn 14 soon, got accepted into the regional vocational technical type of high school. You have to apply and interview, and they're somewhat fussy about who they take, so there was no guarantee. She wants to be in the art program there. She did this picture over a year ago, and I'm told she's dramatically better now. What they do is have you take a little of each thing they offer during your first year, then you choose exactly what you'll study. That's sensible.

One of my vendors has a generic drawing tablet similar to the Wacom Graphire, so I got her one and my brother set it up last weekend. She nearly flipped! I wasn't sure how good it would be, but it works extremely well. The sales rep today said he's had nothing but good feedback, when I made a point to tell him in case anyone else asked. She immediately started drawing up a storm. It amazes my brother, because he can draw slightly, but for her it's completely natural. My father's brother had that and never made real use of it. She'll need a better computer when she gets into high school, but I planned to give her one at the end of this year anyway. Between my brother and I, we can make sure it's closer to top of the line than I'd have done by myself.

My nephew, Daniel, also starts 9th grade this year and recently had to do the whole class selection routine. I remember that! You pick what you want, to the extent you have a choice, and then they put you in what they want. Heh. Actually, what happened to me was this: I was in chorus in 7th and 8th grade, totally loved it except if I had to sing solo, of which I was terrified. I wanted to continue on. I also elected to take the vocational aggie program at the high school, at the suggestion of my brother's first wife.

At the time, 8th and 9th grades were on the afternoon shift, as we had double sessions due to overcrowding. That's why those were my two best years, grade-wise. To my great dismay, I arrived at high school and found I did not have chorus. I went to check on the mistake, and found they had made a decision between that and the vocational class in the same time slot. They made the obvious choice, which in retrospect was the wrong one, but logical enough not to be faulted. The whole vocational thing was a little weird, as my more natural peers were the academic and music oriented students. It didn't help that at least 90% of what I got out of the vocational class happened the first year. One of the teachers got a divorce after that, which affected him to the point where he was no longer any good at teaching. But I digress and have stuff to do.


I mentioned Kashmir previously, but didn't have a picture of her as I did of Brandy. Here is one with both of them, though not the stunning one I know exists. Brandy is on the left, and Kashmir (Kaz) is on the right. Kaz was mother of a national champion at one point. She died a couple years ago of Cushing's disease, which both dogs and humans can get.

A Bit of Humor

Something I received in e-mail...


GOLDEN RETRIEVER: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

BORDER COLLIE: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

DACHSHUND: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!


LAB: Oh, me, me!!! Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I?

GERMAN SHEPHERD: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

TIBETAN TERRIER: Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy.

JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

POODLE: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

COCKER SPANIEL: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

DOBERMAN: While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch.

BOXER: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark......

CHIHUAHUA: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.

IRISH WOLFHOUND: Can somebody else do it? I've got this hangover.....

POINTER: I see it, there it is, there it is, right there....

GREYHOUND: It isn't moving. Who cares?

AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...

OLD ENGLISH SHEEP DOG: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb.

HOUND DOG: ZZZZZZzzzzz.z.z.z..z..z..z...z

WESTIE: If it helps you pay more attention to me I'll do it.

CAT: Dogs do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So the question is:
How long will it be before I can expect light?



I just received notice that my insurance is going up. Again. It had gone up twice before I ever used it for the first time. This is the third increase in two years. It started out reasonable; not excessive even for the crappy coverage. At 22% higher than it started two years ago May 1st, it is no longer a bargain for the coverage. If I am going to pay this much, I may as well have better insurance. Even with all my activity the past several months, they haven't spent as much on me as I've paid in.

Alliance for Affordable Services? Yeah, right.

Cockroach SARS Carriers?

According to this article, cockroaches are being eyed as a possible reason for the rapid spread of the disease in an apartment complex. Link courtesy of Gweilo Diaries.

Friday Five

I know, I know... it's not Friday any more. I've been seeing this different places subsequent to Friday and thought it was an interesting set of questions.

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?

11 unless I count living in the same place at two widely disparate times as 2, in which case it becomes 12.

2. Which was your favorite and why?

The house I grew up in, from the age of 2 to the age of 20, for sentimental reasons. In some ways it was a horrible place, but in the earlier years, we had no neighbors, the surrounding woods and wetlands were our domain.

My first apartment, because it was the proportionately cheapest place for the size that I have ever had. $225 plus utilities for a large 5 rooms, plus an unfinished, unheated "porch" room, plus a small deck area, in 1981.

Ft. Myers only because in the dead of winter it was around 80 most days, and for whatever reason my chronic sinus-oriented sickness disappeared while I was there. Otherwise it wasn't great because I was basically crashing in a friend's living room.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?

Stressful. It's always stressful, even if there's always a degree of excitement. Plus the proportion depends from where to where. I was nothing but excited, moving to my first apartment. Right now I am stressed about the idea of moving, even though I need to find a better place, because packing and moving is a pain in the butt, and there's always the risk a new situation won't be an improvement after all.

4. What's more important, location or price?

Price. I can't afford housing choices primarily location-based.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?

I want a pool. I wouldn't mind a tennis court. Mostly, though, massive acreage; as much as I could get, assuming money was no object. I learned young that the only realistic, legitimate way to control what happens to land - for instance, leaving it undeveloped - is to own it.

Monday, April 07, 2003

A Pet Peeve

When people use neato "look what I can do" scrolling text in the browser status bar, it messes with the normal URL display functionality in the status bar when the mouse is above a link. It probably shouldn't bother me, and yet it does, all out of proportion with the offense.

First They Came for the Foreigners...

Go over and read what Moorish Girl has to say.


I stumbled across this item about Jessica Lynch and her brother having been FFA members. Even if this means nothing to most people, and even though I've left anything connected to that waaaay behind, I was once president of my high school's FFA chapter. So I thought it was kind of cool seeing this.


Lagniappe has moved to Corante and is now called "In The Pipeline." If you have never read Derek Lowe, he covers the drug industry and related topics. Worth visiting from time to time. Recently he covered issues to do with chemical weapos; detection, effectiveness, etc., which you will find on the new site if you scroll a bit.

I'll update my links over on the side next time I get around to it.

SARS Update and More

There are tons of super new SARS entries at Medpundit, DB's Medical Rants, and Futurepundit. Check those out for details. Not so much new at Gweilo Diaries today, but there often is.

On another note, I expect posting to be nil to light today and probably tomorrow as I am busy. My audience had fallen off anyway, so this won't affect many of you. Heh. One of these days I must write something original and compelling again.

And on yet another note, I started reading John Adams and blew through the first 50-odd pages with it impossible to put down. What really struck me was how much the descriptions of Adams sounded like descriptions of me. That was kind of freaky.

Sunday, April 06, 2003


I keep forgetting that polio isn't completely dead yet. The weird thing in the article is this:

Muslims, India's largest minority, have also resisted the campaign, fearing that the vaccines are part of a government plan to limit the Muslim population in this Hindu-majority nation.

Just because you think they're out to get you, that doesn't mean they are. It could be that you're just being... stupid maybe? Ignorant? Sheesh.

Polio tends to grab my attention when I see an article about it, because my father had it when he was a kid. He's right handed, but it ruined his right arm and he had to learn to be left handed. He had some use of his right hand, but where his left is big and strong, his right is shriveled, weak, and has actually been more of a problem as his age advanced.

Despite being virtually one-handed, he started a body shop, ran and worked in it for something like 35 years, played sports, and pretty much didn't let it get in his way. He was a talented pitcher. He would have the glove tucked under his arm, throw the ball with the left, then put the glove on after each throw to also catch with the left. It meant things like having to modify the controls of each snowmobile he bought, when he got hooked on that. (That's what eventually led to his moving to Vermont.) It also affected the decision to have a new house built. A single floor, with the master bath already equipped for handicapped people, wide, easy access to everything, easy to add a ramp, all in case he gets hit hard with post-polio syndrome and ends up in a wheelchair.

Can Men and Women Be Friends?

Trivial Pursuits writes extensively and well on the topic. It's currently near the top, so just look for it, as the archive link doesn't work. The there are good comments too, including the cool coinage of "ex-sortas."


I finished Peggy Noonan's book, When character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan, which I mentioned in a previous post. It was awesome. I kept seeing paragraphs in it that could be quoted as totally relevant to today, or to things I could write about. Anyway, I just picked up John Adams and read a page or two.

Before the text starts, there is a family tree. That got me thinking.

Chances are, I will never have children of my own, and will remain merely a doting uncle. When looked upon a certain way, that's cataclysmic, reaching down through subsequent history, eliminating generations that might have been, but now won't be. I had also lately been thinking that is the sacrifice made by a young, childless soldier who dies in battle. I'll be a genealogical dead end, but without heroics.

I have, subject to possible inaccuracy, my paternal line back to something like 1435; the first two generations apparently even preceding adoption of the surname. Through the many subsequent generations there are such dead ends, and those are of no interest the way the ones that flow through are. So in 200 years I will be one of those "oh, that one didn't have any kids... next" blips. My grandchildren will never be President, or part of the Mars terraforming initiative, or part of the first first ark ship to another earth-like planet.

To be of any significance beyond saving space in a family tree graphic, I guess I would have to be a Hetty Green, Havelock Ellis, William Ellis, Thomas Cranmer, K.C. Irving, William Cullen Bryant; notable despite leaving no progeny. Odd way to look at things, perhaps.

On the other hand, we affect people and events in little ways, even when posterity won't remember us for it.

I read somewhere, during the past year, that about 20% of all people in the past can be traced to no living ancestors today. As for the rest, apparently if you trace back as little as 800 years, we're all related. That's an amazingly short time. I forget where I read it, and I have no idea the veracity of it.

We are all pivot points in history. If you think about the vastness of the future stretching out ahead of us, each and every one of us, in what we do or fail to do, affects the weave of what's to be. We are all living, breathing points of departure between history as it will be, and alternate histories that could be.


Flying Chair has some stuff on SARS from a regional perspective.

Delete <> Delete?

I accidentally hit post and publish on a completely unfinished post, then went onto Blogger to delete it. It seems to be refusing to accept that it is no longer there, kind of like a dead madman or something. So this is a test to see if making a subsequent post actually forces it to be gone.

Siege Me Not

Den Beste has a superlative historical discussion of siege warfare, and an analysis of Baghdad and Basra in that light. Go see.


I finally got around to removing non-blogs (if I got them all) from Blogrolling and put them in their own area in the template. Actually, that's so easy I have been tempted to do the same with all of them, and categorize them. Trouble is, with Blogrolling I get the "last updated" time for many of the links and have become addicted to that.

Now at some point I'll add additional non-blog links, if only for my convenience.