December 29, 2004
Thanks to Constantin -- who also has a great list of related links -- for pointing it out to me.
Meanwhile, Benjamin is investigating the effectiveness/efficiency of various charities here.
Thanks to boing boing for that link.
You can also one-click donate to the American Red Cross on Amazon's homepage.
Thanks to C-Lo for the link.
December 22, 2004
Women's Weblog of the Year
Well, okay, maybe it's not exactly like that, but still, we over at blog sisters are feeling pretty good about Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue giving blog sisters the linky love for women's blogging.
Our blogroll is extensive, and even more than the passers-by who read the writing on the site, I am glad they'll have access to so many women's blogs off of our blogroll.
In all of the years blog sisters has been humming along, we've never been recognized--not even nominated--in any of the "same-old-crowd" weblog award extravaganzas. So good. Time's nod is recognition enough.
Most Bloggers Are Women
Men may have taken the lead in the early (read: geeky) days of blogging, but that's not the case now. According to a survey of more than 4 million blogs by Perseus Development, 56% were created by women. More bad news for the boys: men are more likely than women to abandon their blog once it's created. Call blogging a 21st century room of one's own.
GO TO: blogsisters.blogspot.com
In other blog sisters' news, The Crone has stepped down from her job as President and Registrar of blog sisters. Elaine is finding there isn't enough time in the day to keep up, a sentiment I can certainly relate to. We all say thanks for keeping us organized over the years. I know Elaine will still write over on blog sisters when she gets a chance.
In the mean time, she's forwarded me about 15 emails of women wanting to join--which I will get to in time.
An announcement is forthcoming on Elaines replacement. I know you're on pins and needles.
December 21, 2004
Wash Your Hands!
Another reason I didn't post yesterday -- did I the day before? -- it's all a blur -- is that we have ALL had the stomach flu, which began with me, I think on Friday, but it might have been Thursday, what's today? at 2 in the morning with the dreaded throw-ups, followed by the other end, a relentless combo that lasted for 12 hours, at which time fever, dehydration, and delirium took over, until 24 hours had elapsed and I was speaking in tongues.
That was nice.
I made it through and by sometime over the weekend--was it late Saturday night? felt pretty good, or maybe it was Sunday, no it had to be Saturday--Jenna began her 16 hour throw-up extravaganza, the likes of which I hadn't seen before--we counted 23 times, and that was with a phenegren suppository (go google adsense!) and that took us into this morning, at which time I heard George making the now-familiar groaning sounds.
He is currently burning up with fever.
So, the moral of the story is, WASH YOUR HANDS!
--The Mistress of Puke
December 16, 2004
Why a Pig is Not An Ass
I thought of you, dear pig enthusiasts, when I saw Pig out back today frolicking in the leaves. In case you wonder, pigs, or at least this pig, love to run and kick up leaves.
It's funny--today was about 40 degrees--the nights have been very cold. In the 20s. And I've been wondering about Pig. I wondered how pigs handled cold weather. What special provisions they need. Really, I have no idea. But I can tell you the techniques of our pig-owning neighbors.
It appears that the first technique, which I observed as the leaves gave way to an unobscured view of the pig owners' yard, that they have constructed a pen for Pig.
A pig pen, I guess.
Now, the thing is, we've been after them to fix the stockade fence that separates our backyards for a decade now. They claim they don't have the money for that, but they obviously had the money to install a new, ten-foot-tall, 12x12 chain-link pig pen in their back yard. I was unaware pigs could climb. So why 10 feet? I don't know.
It is perhaps the ugliest feature within their very ugly yard.
Anyway, a tip for all of you who may one day own a pig in the winter, the pork-savvy neighbors have now padded the entire square pig pen with hanging blankets. First one appeared. Then another. Then a few days later, the pig pen became a tapestry of thick, hanging, dirty blankets.
I finally figured out it was to protect Pig from the cold. Pigs don't have much hair. So I guess hanging blankets ten feet in the air makes sense.
If you're an idiot.
Anyway, the lady neighbor let Pig out from his pen yesterday to romp in the yard. She stood on the deck. George was at the window in our kitchen watching the touching scene. "He's running right over to her and nuzzling her leg!" he told me. George admires pig. But just about every other day he says, "It's time to call on them. It's just not right."
Problem is, Pig is really the best pet in the neighborhood. Pet? Hell, he's the best neighbor, period. (Except in August when it smells like a zoo at our house.) The majority of the time he's great. He doesn't bark. He doesn't climb on the fence. He doesn't mall children. All he does is push the ground around with his snout. He seems happy. I envy Pig.
Pig isn't an ass--his owners are.
These stubborn, hot-tub-and-pig-pen installing, nasty-mouthed neighbors refuse to replace their now-half-fallen back fence. If they'd just do their neighborly duty, so that animals and at least some of their odors would stay in their yard, we wouldn't mind Pig a lick.
Last week I was out on our back deck when I saw the husband and wife back there fashioning more junk between the holes and missing planks that speckle what's left of the fence. A table leg here, a dining room chair bottom there.
You know you're in redneck territory when...
I said, "HI THERE!" They tried to ignore me. "When are you planning to fix the fence?" I asked.
"When we get the money," said Mz. Personality.
"Well, with the pig and all, it seems like the right time to find the money to fix the fence."
"We've been here ten years now, and the fence hasn't been fixed," I continued.
"We've been here 23 years!" said Mr. Insurance Salesman, proud of his subdivision longevity for some reason.
"Well, 23 years seems like plenty of time to fix a fence then, huh?"
After that, they ignored me. Stupid Boxer had come home for a visit, and I guess they had other things on their very small minds. Like watching the dumb dog bark and leap at the pig pen for the next three hours.
Yep. If I could have it my way, I'd let pig stay and call the County Code Office on his owners.
December 15, 2004
Personal Weblogging Meets the Real World
I respect finely-tuned weblogs. I just don't enjoy reading them. Because something is invariably missing. And that would be the blogger himself or herself.
Because we were fewer in numbers back in 2001, bloggers were, by their very nature, personal. As we hyperlinked across what was a more intimate territory, we came to know and care about those with whom we jammed. That was then, before blogging grew up and became famous.
This, of course, is now.
Now I struggle to remain personal here. With a growing business--and even growing interest from clients in weblogging--I should be writing about, well, business. Marketing stuff, PR stuff. Recent developments. Caveats. Trends. You know, important stuff.
But I don't. And when I do, I don't sustain it for long. And that's because my business is not all that I am.
I'm also a mom. An ex-smoker. A recent griever of a dead pet. A Sicilian. A sister. A child who lost her dad when she was only six. A surgery survivor. A horse lover. A woman who thinks about death three times a day. A finger picker. An occasional Xanax needer. Someone who can keep better time than most drummers. A partner of nearly 20 years to my husband. A liberal. A mixed-marriage contender. A reader. A writer. A 42-year-old with quickly graying hair. A woman who has lost a relationship with her mother and has found herself. Someone who doesn't cry often enough. Someone who wishes she laughed more.
That is what interests me about sustained writing online. It is when we reveal, little by little, all of the parts and pieces, some jagged some smooth, some ghoulish some gorgeous, of who we are. And even better, when we find some of those missing pieces through the act of blogging.
It keeps me here.
I'm not interested in one-dimensional weblogs that feature punditry, business, or politics, because webloggers have begun to hide behind their ideals. They post HTML and leave their heart locked in chains 5 inches thick. They want certainty, not the openness of "what if...?" They want neatly plowed fields, not crop circles. They want a sure thing, not a "we'll see." And they are very big on what they see as decorum and integrity. This is how they hide. This is urging weblogging toward the ho-hum, business-as-usual, mainstream.
That's fine for them. But it's not for me.
So, hello clients or future clients who've wandered in. I know from my site meter and Google that you've been here. I really ought to adjust my prose accordingly. But I'm more happy for you to know me.
And now you know me a little bit better.
Stick around here, and you'll know me way too well.
December 14, 2004
2005 School Calendar--Why Bother?
The answer is no. Essentially, they get a week off every month. You can color it a teacher workday, a student holiday, an early release day, a conference day, or any old Monday, and the point is, school's closed.
What is up? I don't EVER remember being off school. They threatened us all year long, and held the dreaded summer school over our head, as if making it almost into July wasn't enough.
Let me unveil to you our days off next year, and you better believe I'm including early release day since I have to be in the parking lot at 12 noon, which is like, why bother at all? I'm not including weekends. We get those off too though.
August: Student Holiday/Teacher Workday 3, 4, 5, 8, 9. Why they mark those, I don't know. I won't count them.
First official day: 10th
September: 5, 21
October: 5, 14, 17, 18, 19 20, 21
November: 2, 8, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
December: 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 39
Jaunuary: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 16, 25
February: 17, 20
March: 1, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
April: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
May: 27 through to next August.
That's 43 school days off or out early.
That's a month and a half off.
Are we the only state that's lost its mind?
thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Approaching Half a Year
How in the heck did that happen? Six months have nearly flown by. Except for those moments when I've been pulling my hair out at the roots. Although, that activity also makes time pass invisibly. Try it sometime. No long-term health risks, unless you count what could happen at the asylum.
Just yesterday, I was posting in my head about how much I miss the act, how I don't know who I am without it, how in my soul, and in my mind's eye, I will always be a smoker. Just one who's not smoking.
How much a part of me that ritual was. How very much a piece of myself I had to let go with it. This relationship I'd had since I was only 12. How desperately sometimes I want her back. I want her, on the chair on the deck in the sun approaching the moment, flick, light, breathe. Centered. The noise stops. I'm with myself.
I know I know I know I know that's twisted. I know I know I know I know all the good stuff about "not" about being a "non" about living and life and health. I realize I have not been sick since July. I am, and believe me on this one, so very thankful. I realize all of this. And none of it changes the longing.
It's that piece of me I thought I knew. It WAS me for crying out loud. It was the only way I knew how to just "be".
So, a half year later, I'm still trying to figure out how to be. There are rare moments when I think how wonderful it is not to have to extract myself from a moment to go partake. Especially with Jenna. I am not always extracting myself from activities, from talks, from nothing at all even, not marking time with a flame.
I'm also more tired. I relax way too easy. And so I sleep. A lot more.
Oh, and there's the 600 pounds I've gained. Yah, there's that.
Anyway, this is not meant to dissuade anyone from doing what must be done. It is not even meant to throw me off the track (believe it or not). It's not a rationalization. It's not meant to bemoan that place we all come to where we must make changes if we want to keep living.
Really, what I'm describing here isn't any kind of big deal at all.
And at the same time, it has turned me inside out.
if not her,
then who am I?
December 11, 2004
Ohhhh. Please. Someone bring me a piping hot pie with thick stringy mozzarella that pulls for a yard and a half!!!
I can smell it.
December 10, 2004
Who Took My Shit (and other mysteries of December)
The problem, it seems, is that her shit has gone missing.
What shit you ask?
The second good book in two months and a bottle of Biaxin, that's what!
You see, two months ago I was in the middle of a real hair-puller (that's like a page-turner for women) by Jeffrey Deaver, and I was on THE SECOND FROM THE LAST CHAPTER, do you understand me? That's where Deaver always inserts the final plot twist you weren't expecting even when you knew you should be expecting it, and he has this way of zigging when you zagged, and all of a sudden you're like Whoa--there he goes! And of course Lincoln Rhyme knew it all the time and there he comes with his criminologist knowledge and his bad self. HELL that Deaver can spin a yarn.
Anyway, I'm on THAT chapter, and the book disappears. I mean DIS-APPEARS. I mean where the hell did my book go? The same book I've had by my bedside for two weeks? I looked everywhere. I looked under the bed, on top of the bed, over the bed, behind the headboard, under tissues, inside the Kleenex box; I checked the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, bodily orifices. Everywhere. And found nothing.
So I did the unthinkable. I went out and bought a second copy so I could finish it. That's just wrong.
So imagine my terror last night as I searched for my latest hair puller--The Stone Monkey--right where I had left it, on the night stand, and WTF IT IS GONE! It must have fallen. Nope. I must have taken it with me in the car. Nope. Maybe I left it next to the tub. Nope.
In case I haven't mentioned it, crime novels are my new cigarettes. That's right. I'm five months post-smoking, and instead of lighting up and getting sick, I dig into the twisted sickness of criminology and murder. Really, it's all somehow related.
But the point is: I need my books.
Jenna. It HAS to be Jenna. Wanting attention. That's it.
"Jenna, look, I need to ask you something and I want you to tell me TRUE, okay?" She sees I'm visibly shaking now, my God the piglets are running from The Ghost right now, and they just got made by the guy who rented them the apartment, so SHIT WHERE IS MY BOOK?! QUICK BEFORE THEY ALL DIE!
"No mom. I promise. Which one was it?" She spends the next 20 minutes looking for it with me, showing me any number of paperbacks that are NOT it. Finally, I believe her. Just barely. There was that little incident when she was 3 of taking my new box of checks from the bank and hiding it under her bed. But that was then. Right?
Then tonight, it's the bottle of Biaxin. It was on the dresser. It's gone. Same routine. I've checked cupboards and drawers. WHERE IS IT? We don't have a cat. I don't think we have a rat.
Okay maybe we have a rat--but one that reads and takes drugs? How likely is that?
The whole drama has become a household joke between the two of them and me... "Yah, just like I took the blue and white book, honey--ahahahahhhaaaa! Yah, where's the book, mommy? ha ha ha ha!"
Sure, everyone's laughing. Except me.
Were the heck is my shit and who took it?
I want answers!
I'm calling Alex Cross! That's right, I still have three Patterson books left to read. Ha!
In the mean time, if my Stone Monkey has slipped through the Internet wormhole and landed on your end table, could you please send it back?
Does Jeff know who took my shit???
More about software
What's the cheapest way to get Photoshop, ya'll. I lost my, um, old version, um that was sort of on my laptop when the laptop crashed. Jeezelouise I just had to buy Adobe Acrobat Big Wig Version That Can Wash The Laundry in order to edit drafts already in layout for one of my clients. That cost like, oh, $400-something. I had to buy Microsoft Office 2003. I've had to buy and buy and buy and now I want a deal!
I have a graphic that just came via spam I'm just ITCHING to play with. It has uncle rageboy written all over it.
Any cheaper alternatives to Photoshop that Windows users love? I sure would like to know.
Got that itch
I wanna go!!!!
I want a vacation.
Jenna gets out of school next Friday for two weeks.
I WANNA GO FISHING!
The thing is, where? I want it warm, I want a modest cost, I want to fish, I want to swim. Sounds like Florida is the nearest venture to offer all of that. Or is it? I want to see more of the south. I want to see Mississippi. Is there a beach there? Can you fish? Will we be lynched? Oh, how ignorant of me! (right?) I want to get a tan. I'm white. My teeth keep breaking. What's up with that? I don't drink milk. I think I need a calcium supplement. I mean, I'm not losing them. They keep chipping though. Which has nothing to do with a vacation. Unless of course the dentist mentions root canal. In that case, no vacation.
Check out this wonderful sounding vacation in Todos Santos, Mexico. The legendary Hotel California is there, except that the Eagles say their hotel was a metaphor. Anyway, this place sounds fabulous, but rustic.
I don't do rustic all that well.
Did I mention that?
So, please, your best vacation spots in the southeast? For fishing, beach, family-stuff, kids?
And, your favorite calcium suplements'd be a good thing too.
How Time Flies.
Died. Bernard ("Buddy") Rich. (obituary)
Time, April 13, 1987.
via: HighBeam Research
COPYRIGHT 1987 Time, Inc.
That's impossible to believe. It seems like just yesterday he was staring at George's ass on a gig at Rochester's Red Wing Stadium.
The Stadium's gone too.
Buddy played Rochester often. I had a drummer for a brother, and although they usually tried to find a way to leave me home, I saw Buddy play a few times. That Freak.
I'm not sure whether life's too long or too short. One of those though.
Equal Opportunity Disgruntled Software User
All I want is a line wrap within a cell.
December 08, 2004
Let's Play Name that Dictator!
The Gilmore Boys Take Notes
Where have I been? All this time I thought using "Celebrating" and "Lotus Notes" together was an oxymoron!
Having been an on (at unfortunate times during my career) and off (blessedly) again Lotus Notes user since 1991, I can say quite passionately that I'm no fan. I always felt that Lotus Notes was the not-quite program of the 90s, missing the mark on usability, openness, and just plain sensible features for normal people.
My most annoying run with Notes was while I was at Ketchum. As part of the IBM team, we and they communicated exclusively via Notes, in that cryptic, screwed up mail address kind of way that Notes demands, as if communicating with a megacorporation wasn't difficult enough. We couldn't receive Notes messages in any other email program. Couldn't send from anything but Notes. Couldn't export Notes messages or documents to, say, a usable application like MSWord, or even Word Perfect. And good luck trying to copy and paste and have the resulting document look good or make sense.
Even better, since I lived among many worlds at that time, I had to regularly communicate via Outlook and my personal email to see what the world beyond IBM was saying. How annoying. Not to mention all the times it hung. I lost more good ideas in Notes than in any other software medium--except Blogger.
I will say that in it's early days, when I used Notes at Kodak, and when I went to Notes Application Developer training (YES! ME!), Notes was an advancement over what the semi-literate technical communicator had access to. At times, I felt Notes was elegant even, making it easy for non-programmers to create and enhance applications and documents like a semi-professional. Giving that ability to a semi-pro is rarely a good thing, however. Especially when it comes to development.
Lotus Notes is sort of good for many things, but not really great for anything. I guess that's my way of saying, so, happy birthday, Notes.
You can dress them up, and sometimes you can even take them out!
We got a baby sitter, told Jenna we were going to a meeting (it's a long story), and took off for The Tenth Anniversary X-MAS PARTY hosted by the Captain Planet Foundation to raise money for several great causes in town and around the world.
Ted was there--we missed him this time. And there were plenty of C-Suite execs on hand. PLUS some of Atlanta's really pretty people--man, we've got a LOT of them. Why do they all seem so young? Maybe because we're so NOT young.
The live auction featured some kill-for-them items, including the one I would have bid on if I had a disposable income--or, well, a sizable income of any kind. Up for bid was Peter Max's talent. Mr. Max would come to your house and paint your portrait, or the portrait of your family, or whatever portrait you wanted portraitized. It went for around $15K. I was ready to pay a thousand. Only one good lotto ticket away.
The best part of the music of the evening was that George didn't have to play. At most events, I try to become invisible so I don't have to partake in mostly-meaningless social banter, at which I suck, while he's on stage. It was fun to banter with my husband in public for once. Two or three rum-and-cokes helped.
The bands of the evening featured "Tribute bands," which I now understand is another word for bands that not only play copy tunes, but actually dress/look/act the part of the bands they are, well, tributing. Of the three (Beatles, Stones, and Hendrix), the Hendrix band -- Mirror IMIJ Experience -- was really worth listening to. They had fun playing good music well. What a pleasure.
We ate and drank and laughed at some of the way-out costumes. And I mean way out. Because the theme, after all, was Peace, Love, One World, which, although it reminded me of the print on a bottle of Dr. Bonners soap, was really quite cool and extremely well executed. Everything from the lighting to the peace-sign necklaces bathed us in happy trancy 60s ambiance. Nicceee.
What a blast from the past. I'm glad the event went so well, that real money was raised for worthy causes, and I'm really glad that we got to go!
Photos by Rick Diamond Photography.
You musta put voodoo on me....
December 07, 2004
Oooo those race mixers.
Okay, That's how Sam Francis sees it.
Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family and, ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself.
Me? I see it a little differently:
Breaking down the barriers between humans is a major weapon against cultural isolationism, which encourages inbreeding and family dysfunction, and ultimately, the destruction of the culture itself.Of course, I have a pretty biased perspective on this. I've been married to a black man for nearly 18 years, and together for nearly 20. So let's get something straight:
That's a long ass time, I don't care what color you are.
The funny thing is, that I actually agreed with what Sam wrote early on in the post. His premise was that the Monday Night Football incident with blond-towel-dropping and the Eagles definitely-not-white Terrell Owens, was constructed by marketing geniuses in part because Sheridan is a dumb, white, blonde, starved-for-sex American “Desperate Housewife,” and Owens is a muscular, black, younger-than-her, obviously-woman-fucking American athlete.
Yes, Sam, we’re on opposite sides, but that pissed me off too.
Now, Sam won’t link directly to anything that actually quotes Colts coach Dungy's on his opinion that the skit was purposely racially titillating, playing on long-standing stereotypes—and for that reason the coach found the opener offensive.
Sam won't quote Dungy because Sam doesn’t like niggers--unless they sit down and let White Identity rule Amerka like God meant before he sent a bunch of folks to drag the slaves over here.
But I like Dungy fine. So I’ll link to an article here, where the coach with the unfortunate name explains several things:
The ad reinforces the stereotype that a black man will do anything to get a blonde piece of ass.
The ad reinforces the stereotype that black athletes are good for two things: running from the po-lice and sex.
The ad reinforces the stereotype that black men think blondes are better in bed than brunettes (oh wait--I made that one up!)
The ad LEVERAGES the black-man-white-woman stereotype to create BUZZ for the purpose of driving BRAND awareness.
I have a distinct distaste for buzz. Brand awareness too. Oh, and racists. That'd be you, Sam.
The tiny little patch of earth where Sam Francis and I stand together is a patch being inhabited more and more frequently in these days of strong polar opinions and extremes. It is a uniting of two distinctly opposite sides to take on the mainstream--in this case, mainstream television, advertising, and BIG BUSINESS (aka ABC, Disney). It is a perverse meeting of two mindsets that disagree on virtually everything else -- but stand on the same soil when it comes to their perceived right or wrongness of a concept that is highly controversial.
Weird? I know.
Sam thinks the Monday Night Football prank represents the unacceptable moral decay of America.
I think the Monday Night Football prank represents the unacceptable greed and cultural ignorance of Big-B-Bidness.
I haven't figured out if this is a win-win, or a lose-lose.
Mostly I had fun playing with photoshop.
Soukous Radio - Live 365
What is Soukous? See encarta. Or better yet, Wikipedia.
thanks for traveling round the net with me this evening!
Save our sounds...
The Save America's Treasures program of the White House Millenium Council has awarded a grant of $750,000 toward this effort, recognizing these recordings as irreplacable American treasures. We have eighteen months to raise $750,000 in matching funds. We hope that everyone, citizens, musicians, and cultural advocates everywhere, will support this crucial effort.
Check out some of the sounds here.
Get your spoons out and play along with The Stanley Brothers.
Other samples here.
Lay down body
"I know moon-rise, I know star-rise,Lay dis body down. I walk in de moonlight, I walk in de starlight, To lay dis body down. I 'll walk in de graveyard, I 'll walk through de graveyard, To lay dis body down. 'll lie in de grave and stretch out my arms ; Lay dis body down.I go to de judgment in de evenin' of de day, When I lay dis body down ; And my soul and your soul will meet in de day When I lay dis body down."
For the weary...
a Negro Spiritual
Shine on Me
Intro (last line of chorus)
Chorus Shine on me. Shine on me.
Let the Light from the lighthouse shine on me.
Shine on me. Shine on me.
Let the Light from the lighthouse shine on me.
Verse 1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto to Me and rest.
Lay down thou weary one lay down
Thy head upon My breast.”
Chorus (ritard at END)
Verse 2 With pitying eyes the Prince of Peace
(optional) Beheld our helpless grief
He saw, and O amazing love!
He came to our relief.
Oh, You Want to Know
To date, he's received more than 32,000 messages. Each one is personal, but most of the people who write in—like the underslept student who started it all—fall into one of a few familiar categories.
There's the overworked parent:
Because I work two jobs and have two kids. My husband is a 13 year old trapped in a thirty year old body. My sister lives with us and doesn't work or take care of herself. My kids are great, but between my other two jobs and this house I'm exhausted. I went to school as a single mom, finished high school with my son, finished college with him. I didn't get married until I graduated college, and I can't find a good paying job without relocating. You can't relocate without a good paying job. It's a vicious circle and it's eating me alive!
The world-weary teen, the site's fastest-growing demographic:
when you're a 16 year old girl who from the looks of things, doesnt have a single pproblem, people think you're strange and maybe even high. I am tired of counselors. tired of hearing about political and economical problems the world has. tired of being expected to put family before friends. SO tired of other females no matter what the age feeling as though every other woman is competition. Tired of my best friends mother jealous of her 16 year old daughter. This, my friend, is only the very tip of the iceberg.
And, of course, the guy who's had a few too many:
I'm sick and tired of all this homophobia shit.
When are we all just going to be people? WHEN?
Also I could get more sleep at night.
Who the hell's asking?
December 06, 2004
I love it when I'm right
I hated this idea from the outset because I saw it as much ado about absolutely nothing--and at the same time I knew that the link hounds of blogland would swoop upon the chance to see their names in PDF.
My gripe with this project from day one has had more to do with the HYPERBOLE describing what's being done than with the format the writing is delivered in. I took issue with SethCo dubbing these downloads as "manifestos" (oh. god.) Just look at the sidebar on the site and revel in the marketing-speak. My responses, one by one, are in blue:
So now, a PDF by Halley inspired a useful rant about the uselessness of PDFs by Doc, to which Seth--Mr. Listen to Your Customers--says, tough titties.
ChangeThis is creating a new kind of media.
No you're not. You're putting PDFs on the Web.
A form of media that uses existing tools (like PDFs, blogs and the web)...
No you're not--this is a non-searchable PDF file that we can download from your website. We've had those for a really long time. And the Web is more than "an existing tool."
...to challenge the way ideas are created and spread.
DOC: I'm in a bad mood today about people breaking the Web. One way they do it is by taking writing off the Web and offering it only as a .pdf "download".The neat thing about the Web is that pundits without substance can't sustain themselves over the long haul. They out themselves with poor thinking and their staunchness in defending it.
Seth: I know they're not in HTML. There are 6 trillion other web pages to choose from if you want that.
Seth, we have the opportunity to move things f-o-r-w-a-r-d here. You might do well to listen to some folks who've been around. Maybe offer more than one o-p-t-i-o-n for your partakers.... Hmmmm. What a concept. Landmark even.
For my part, I believe PDF's have a place on the web. They are handy for forms, for long documents, for samples, even for books. And of course, using them is your choice.
But please don't confuse breaking the web with a groundbreaking idea.
My other thought: Seth, shut up and listen.
December 04, 2004
On Writing Well
I began my mental countdown-to-hangup: onethousandone, onethousandtwo, onethousandandCLICK, but I never got that far. A familiar voice answered a, "Hello, Jeneane," to my "Hello?"
I had been thinking about Ceil just last week. We hadn't spoken in what, a year? Two? I'd received the yellow postcard announcing her move from Rochester to Florida, but, no surprise to Ceil, I'd lost it a week after it came. It went the way of all my important correspondence--I put it somewhere safe.
The timeliness of Ceil's call was uncanny. I'd been thinking about her because of my new business venture. You see, Ceil taught me everything I know about writing well. She would tell you, no, not true, because she's modest that way.
A professional editor, Ceil began editing me when I was 22 and just starting out in a publishing business geared to the education market. It was Ceil's job to tweak, refine, help define, and bless every piece of writing that left our amateur paws.
In those days, editing was on hard copy, and Ceil used a color scheme along with proofreader marks to indicate the difference between a must-do edit (a typo or grammatical faux-pas) and a suggested edit (poor construction, lame writing). A third color would indicate inconsistencies throughout a document--as in, pick a way and stick with it--I recommend you do it THIS way.
And she was always right.
Over the next several years, a less mechanical form of communication developed between us--as it often does between writers and editors working closely together--a vibe that allows the two to anticipate meaning and intention (on her part) and self-correct according to the editor's keen standards (on my part).
As a writer, a young writer at that time, having the eagle eye of a professional editor--not just for errors, but also for awkwardness and sensibility--was career altering. Really. For years after we stopped working together regularly, I would hear Ceil's voice, see her perfectly-shaped proofer's marks, intuitively mark my own awkward sentences in green, reconfigure them, rethink them, and usually remove them, according to her now-ingrained standards.
In my 30s, what I learned from Ceil became so much a part of my own professional writer's soul, that I stopped hearing her voice, seeing her marks, coloring my phrases. What she taught me became inherent. I carry it with me. It informs what I say even now, even here.
But Ceil is more than a top-notch editor. She is a wise woman, well-traveled through business and life, with an eye as finely tuned to people and intentions as to misdirected prose. I am so glad I know her.
I told Ceil about weblogging today. I've urged her to jump on the party bus with us. Because she has a lot to say. It's her turn to come out from behind the color-coded key and astute corrections and have her say. Exercise her own voice. Maybe even scream some.
And in the mean time, if you're looking for editing help from the best editor you've never met, email me and I'll put you in touch with Ceil.
Thank you, Ceil. For everything.
(p.s., mark this up and send it back to me, kay?) ;-)
December 03, 2004
CBO. Taking us to new places. Because he can.
Bonus Points: Fun games you can play with the word CBO:
Did you CBO? (as in did you "see Bo?") No, I didn't see him. Does he have any crack?
We Bo for CBO!
Get out from behind that CBO befo it falls on you.
December 02, 2004
Blogger and Yaccs
As much as I beat on Blogger lately for being so slow, it's amazing really that I'm still here. And even though mcd says in a comment below that he hates my comment facility, I have some loyalty to YACCS because Hossein "Made Commenting Simple" (and free) for those new to Push Button Publishing before anyone else did.
I don't know Hossein, but I could always tell by the weird way YACCS was a subdomain within the Rate Your Music site, that he must like music. A lot.
Another plus, from my perspective. Plus, the guy has kept a low profile and has done nice things for people without jumping up and down about it.
Anyway, since I could actually USE blogger this evening, I thought I'd remind myself that, besides Microsoft Office and Adobe, there aren't too many software products I've liked enough to stick with 365 days a year for 3 or 4 years.
bonus points: What company did Adobe buy to get PageMaker?
December 01, 2004
What have They done for us lately?
I was going to give you an earful about Marqui and why I am glad to see bloggers getting paid and us getting used to it and what the hell has Amazon done for us, we bloggers who've been hawking their wares and loving on them all of these years?
$20. That’s how much I’ve made as an affiliate. Affiliate nothing--they should call us losers. And what about Google's Adsense? A month later, I look at my report and find out I’ve made a buck. A frigging buck? Every pixel we type into the Blogger window adds value to Google. Thanks for understanding how much I care. MOTHERFUCK YOU.
As a reader, you’re going to read the bloggers you always read. If a blogger starts sounding like a snake oil salesman, no one’s going to be left reading except the snakes’ relatives. The beauty of the net is that it’s self-correcting. When the model’s fucked, it’s quickly either righted or outed. In the mean time, nothing wrong with getting some dough.
When I complain about the professionalization of weblogging, I don't figure money into the equation. Online, our currency is different. And the currency that ruins voice here isn't necessarily dollars. It's aligning yourself with the mass media/big business model. It's sucking up. Getting $800 to perform well isn't always whoring. Sometimes, well, whoring is whoring. I think in this space, you can remain biased and hell, untethered to affiliations you may have that pay cash, AND be happy to get paid. That's what I think.
At least Marc's counsel has resulted in Marqui's attempt to pay some real money—-rent or health insurance premium money—and according to what I’ve read, you write what you want as long as you write about their stuff regularly.
Let them up the ante for these other filthy rich friends of ours who could have thrown us a bone years ago.
To the folks at Marqui, I say: please read Gonzo Marketing so you don’t screw this up.
To the bloggers getting paid, I say: good for you.
I said it a lot better last night, but the folks at Blogger must have been off figuring out new ways for me to make a dollar, and I couldn’t get into my blog.
Read also: Shelley
Marek bedtime story
Iraq and Poland
I grew up in a tradition of pacifism. I grew up in Poland, a country where two world wars stole many bedtime stories away from children who never heard the voices of their fathers. Millions died because reason turned to madness, people turned to ashes and disappeared and were heard from no more. I decided I was never going to be in a business of stealing stories from children to whom they were to be told by their fathers. Perhaps pacifism chose me because as a 10 year old boy I overheard a story an old woman whom I used to visit with my mother told how she survived Nazi concentration camp running away from Treblinka in the dead of winter, a teenage girl sleeping high up in the branches of a tree so the wolves would not attack her.
I grew up in a "NO MORE WAR" tradition that rejected violence as a solution. It is that tradition that adopted me. I chose it to sustain me. It is something that gives me hope. It's always there to breathe life into my daily existence. It is I believe my Polish Nation's shared commitment to living in peace, our social remembrance of a once charted course and our willingness to continue the work. It's a tradition I can not run away from. It is a tradition we can not run away from.
It is in the spirit of this tradition that I ask you my Polish Nation: What the fuck are you doing in IRAQ?
They will tell you it is about freedom. That they are there defending freedom. Don't believe them. Freedom was coopted in 2001. It no longer has meaning. They stomped on it. It means something else now. It's New Hampshire on steroids. Live free or die, motherfucker. Free. Born Free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the medical care will be that covers your two bloody stumps with bandages. Born free to follow your heart as it's blown out of your chest. Yah. They'll use that word. A lot.
Don't listen to them. They stole your freedom word.
You keep talking. Use all the other words you can.
Frank Wrote the Book on Why We Blog
Tom: To continue to hold out hope that something of a different spirit could animate what is, at the moment, a less than inspiring prospect? There’s a very long pan used by Fellini in Satyricon, I think, which moved across a giant apartment complex in ancient Rome, from one home to the next, each living room filled with screaming Romans, a vast columbarial hive of vociferousness whose apex of roaring expressivity was a self-canceling volume of amplitude resolving itself into an indecipherable hum.
Maybe it can be more
I am sorry I can’t talk to you right now. I have two hot babes on my lap and they are making me very busy. I am showing them your blog and they just love it.
Read it. This compendium needs to join wikipedia if it hasn't.
November 30, 2004
Blogger's Latest Feature: Blog Lots at Once
When asked what she thinks of the BLO feature, blogger Jeneane Sessum said the new functionality was sorely needed. "The way I see it, you might as well post all of your writing for the whole year once you get into Blogger, BECAUSE IT'S SO FUCKING SLOW LATELY THAT YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF OR JUST PLAIN FORGET IT. FORGET YOU EVER KNEW HOW TO WRITE. FORGET BLOGGING. FORGET YOUR FLEEETING THOUGHTS. EITHER USE THE BLO FEATURE OR GIVE THE FUCK UP!"
Then she slammed her laptop closed.
November 29, 2004
You just call out my name, you shithead...
1. When you are sad - I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue - I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile - I will know you finally got laid.
4. When you are scared - I will rag on you about it every chance I get.
5. When you are worried - I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be and to quit whining.
6. When you are confused - I will use little words.
7. When you are sick - Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall - I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.
This is my oath...I pledge it till the end. Why? You may ask. Because you are my friend.
Send this to 10 of your closest friends, then get depressed because you can only think of two and one of them isn't speaking to you right now anyway.
Remember: A good friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body. Let me know if I ever need to bring a shovel.
Onward Chris and Soldiers...
But I do know about highbeam thanks to C-BO, and I can say that it has saved my ass looking up some arcane items this past week that I'd like to write about as soon as I figure out how to use the blog this item button.
I have an email into the CBO about it. I hear you don't even have to go through his receptionist if you call his office. He answers the phone himself--right from his home office couch.
Technology. It's so cool.
Blogger's Slow Again...
November 28, 2004
Take Christianity Back from the Right
I am a Christian, too
It's time to take religion back from the haters, killers and temple money-changers
BY JOHN F. SUGG
There's a bit of schoolin' that God-fearing folks in Cobb County and the rest of the nation should pay heed to as they cheer the creationist team in a federal lawsuit heard last week.
The legal spat, over a warning plastered in Cobb schools' biology texts that evolution is merely a "theory" and not a "fact," has the world press in a tizzy now that evangelicals are perceived as political 900-pound gorillas (probably not a great metaphor when talking about evolution).
Thank God (so to speak) for Cobb County, always good for when scribes need a bit of bizarre to substitute for news.
Still, there is a "gol darn, I didn't know that!" lesson hidden in the Cobb evolution brouhaha, one that should be important to every Christian. It's a gem from the earlier "monkey" trial, the 1925 drama that starred teacher John Scopes, who challenged Tennessee's anti-evolution statute. The advocate for the religious side was William Jennings Bryan, one of the great men of principle in American history.
But, oh, heavens, Bryan was a died-in-the-wool liberal. He generally was described as a "populist," but in the parlance of the late 19th century, that meant liberal. Bryan volunteered in the Spanish-American War; that experience turned him into a fervent pacifist bitterly opposed to the nascent American imperialism. As Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state, he jawboned the 30 leading world powers to agree to a one-year cooling-off period before going to war -- no pre-emptive slaughter for Bryan.
Dubbed "the Great Commoner," he castigated the capitalists as enemies of common folk. Among his most ardent allies in a 1896 presidential bid was American socialist leader Eugene V. Debs.
In short, Bryan was a man who would have earned the scorn of Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Trent Lott. If he was reincarnated and ran today for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, Saxby Chambliss would air commercials putting Bryan's mug alongside Saddam's and Osama's -- just as he did to Max Cleland.
But hold on a minute. Bryan also was a fundamentalist Christian. At the Scopes trial, he thundered, "I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there." He was born again, he was an evangelical.
The nation, especially the South, bestowed great reverence on Bryan, who died a few months after the Scopes trial. Country and western balladeer Andrew Jenkins, a Georgia boy, sang these words in tribute: "Oh, who will go and end this fight, oh, who will be the man?/To face the learned and mighty foe, and for the Bible stand?"
Let's wind forward 79 years. Bob Jones III is president of the racist Bob Jones University in Greenville, a favorite haunt of George Bush. Jones, a storm trooper of the religious reich-wing vanguard that claims ownership of Bush, sternly admonished the president after the election, "You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." Ah, I get it. Bush & Co. own Christ.
The letter also underscores the message hammered home so successfully by the GOP during the recent campaign: Liberals despise Christ.That's a lie.
The example of William Jennings Bryan -- and millions of others -- makes clear that ultra-conservatives don't have an exclusive claim on Christ. It's time for Christians to start giving witness to that fact.
I've warmed you up with a little literary napalm. But what I'm going to write next isn't easy. It's the sort of thing journalists aren't comfortable acknowledging. Here it goes ...
I testify that I am a Christian. I have been ever since I came forward at a Billy Graham revival when I was 8 years old. I later fell from grace and had a lot of dark years I'll have to account for on Judgment Day. My life did not turn around until, 14 years ago, I got down on my knees and prayed. That's something I do every day now. I prefer small churches to the show palaces; Christ said to pray in private. I've felt called to be a minister, but figure I'd get to do less preaching than with this gig.
I don't pay heed to the false prophets such as Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye of the Left Behind books because Christ said to beware of charlatans claiming to know when He is coming again.
The "rapture" isn't in the Bible, so it's not in my theology. I find it hard to conceive of Jesus returning to save a few smug Pharisees such as Jerry Falwell while brutally slaying billions of my brothers and sisters. The heaven I believe in has ample room for all men and women of all faiths who seek God and try to live good lives.
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus said, "Not everyone who saith 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father ... ." He told us his Father's will was to be meek; to be peacemakers; to take care of the weak, the poor, the afflicted; to sheathe the sword.
I believe there is truth in every word of the Bible, but as Bryan said during the Scopes trial, "Some of the Bible is given illustratively." I also believe there is truth in other faiths' scriptures, and I study them, too.
All Americans are invested in the debate over "values." It's time for Christians to take back our religion from people who have commandeered it simply to squeeze political advantage.
I believe the Ten Commandments have more impact if they are carved on our hearts than if they are hung in government buildings. I believe our leaders have broken one of those commandments by bearing false witness in concocting lies out of whole cloth that led us into war. I believe that "elective" war is another word for murder, and war to grab other peoples' oil is coveting and theft -- more broken commandments.
Thanks to Craig for the pointer.
November 27, 2004
Burn Down the Mission -- currently playing. Tune in. You already missed Take Me to the Pilot. Hurry!
Some people say they are Elton John fans. I'll show you my original liner notes from Captain Fantastic.
November 24, 2004
Remembering Diva Today
I remember writing this last year when Diva was almost 13. She was so darn cute.
I keep hearing her today. "Diva, quit that bark.... oh."
Thanks for all of your kind words. We're really okay today. I cleaned up the dining room, washed out her dishes, vacuumed the downstairs, watched the vacuum take away her stray hairs a clump at a time, swollowed the lump in my throat, smiled, knowing her hair will never all be gone. She was just too fuzzy.
This is the first animal we've had who died at home of old age. Something nice about it. She curled up on her favorite spot and took a long nap. I said to Tom, she got it right.
Bando is lost though. He's nearly 4 now and has never spent a day without his surrogate mother. We got him at the pound when he was 8 weeks old. We figured Diva could teach him some things. She was patient with him. He's not the smartest biscuit in the box, but he loved his Diva.
Bando howled last night. He stands at the gate and yips like a puppy. After the holiday, I told Jenna, we'll get him cleaned up. Let him spend some more time inside. I got him a chew toy today to keep him busy. He was happy to see that we hadn't disappeared too.
Bando was the one who showed George where she was. He stayed by her side while George checked her out. He watched over her until we took her away.
Bando grew up yesterday.
I feel worse for him.
November 23, 2004
It wasn't like that. Two blocks from the Rochester public market, where quite a few dogs roam free looking for scraps from the open air market, I saw the most adorable fuzzy tiny puppy out in the rain, drenched, the cold Rochester spring rain pounding the sidewalk, this poor little dog in obvious intestinal distress.
I got out of my car, picked her up, oh dear, oh my, she was so sweet, so I naturally walked the neighborhood, up and down both sides of the street, "Hello? Is this anyone's puppy?" I came upon one man who lived on the street, but he said he'd never seen the puppy.
I tried to leave her on the sidewalk and go on my way. I got back in my car. We didn't need a puppy.
But she stayed so close to my car that I couldn't see her and didn't dare pull away from the curb for fear of running her over.
I got out and took her.
I took that sweet puppy right away from that lonely street and directly to our vet, who said she was just 7 or 8 weeks old, and from her paws and state of health, she'd most likely been living outside on the streets. He said that I'd done a good deed. Of course, he knew me. What else was he going to say?
For all his blustering about my criminal intent, George fell in love with her when he came back from Boston and saw her face, this little black-and-brown-fuzzball-shepherd-mix-good-old-fashioned-big-hearted mutt.
We named her Diva. She was a sweet and dainty doll.
Diva has seen us through so many changes; she watched me go through my late 20s, 30s, and early 40s. That's a long road to travel together.
Two weeks ago we took Diva to the vet to get her skin, hearing and general health checked. The vet assured us that given her age, she was hanging in there pretty well. We got some medicine for her skin problems--Diva, the queen of hot spots. He advised us to let her keep on going, since she was happy and not in any serious pain. We were prepared to say goodbye that day. But we took his advice and brought her home. She did well on the medicine and her skin cleared up.
Last night Diva didn't come in for dinner. This wasn't so unusual for her the last few months. More than once I had to hunt her down outside. I'd walk up to her, see her curled up on an old dog bed we have out back. I'd suck in my breath, thinking, "Oh no, she's dead." And I'd say, "Diva? DIVA?" Her head would pop up and she'd look at me over her shoulder as if to say, "Oh you! Is it time to eat already?"
She'd gone mostly deaf, and it usually took me slapping the house or going down the back steps to get her attention to come on up the deck for supper.
This morning George went out to get her. Her dinner from last night was still waiting. I heard him put on his boots and go out the door to find her.
He found her under our bedroom window.
She was curled up under the big overhang--her favorite cool and dry place in the yard.
This time when he called her name, she didn't look up over her shoulder. She didn't raise her ears or wag her tail.
Her soft nose was tucked into her paws, her eyes closed, just as she napped nearly every day for just shy of 14 years.
From what we can tell, she took her last breath sometime early this morning.
Our good good girl.
I'm sorry I wasn't with you last night, or there to pat your head this morning.
But I am glad that I stole you when you were a pup. And I'm honored to have had you by my side for all of these years.
November 19, 2004
Any ideas? Leave links and I'll share findings.
more to come...working like crazy here...
Also, atlanta area writers--and I mean good folks with tight skills in PR/Marketing writing especially in tech--send me links to your samples if you want to be considered for some upcoming writing project opportunities.
No time to 'splain. more news anon. Ask Stu what anon means.
November 18, 2004
Write Your Own Caption
"Mmmmm, I love it when you talk redneck to me, Bubba."
November 17, 2004
Possible monetary disclaimer:
I made 23,000US dollars last year, of which 2000.00 was from weblogging; the other 21,000 came from selling myself on the street corner at 5.00 a blowjob. I regret this, though; I feel so cheap for taking money for weblogging.
We are here and not in traditional media because we are biased. Most of us were drawn here by the unique opportunity to explore voice/writing/opinion/conversation.
As a reader of this weblog, please understand the following: Right here is the place where I say what I want, about whom I want and what I want, and on the occasion that someone decides to sponsor one of my writings, projects or brilliant ideas with cold hard cash, I have not only the right but the inherent responsibility to jump up and down in my own living room telling Jenna that it's present time.
(Read Gonzo Marketing, kay?)
David Weinberger has a nearly 600-word disclaimer/disclosure, the short take of which is, if you trust him as one of his readers, then you don't need to worry unless he tells you to.
For my part, I'll take any money I damn well please from anyone I damn well please. I'll decline any money I damn well please, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. Those who decide to give me money have no control over me, which, they would know if they had been reading me for any length of time, making the entire exercise of disclosure irrelevant.
Read Gonzo Marketing, kay? Because if someone trys to exert that control in a micromarket that is informed by whipsers, yelps, rants, and conversations, it doesn't work. Black eye to them. Bully for us.
To Chris, it's time to put the whole book online.
To Shelley, it fucking figures.
November 15, 2004
Write Your Own Caption
"You mean I gotta talk into the motherfucking microphone that goes into the box on that cracker's back?"
Settling the Score
It's the University of Iowa's Jumbotron, starting bid just $10K.
I hope the lucky bidder puts it to good use.
November 14, 2004
The International Association of Dissociation
I'm sorry; my mind was someplace else.
November 13, 2004
why so inconsistent, jeneane?
It will grow into something very, very cool. I know it will. Time. Energy. Focus. Gotta get better at all three. More soon, anon.
Ask tom what anon means.
Neither of us is certain.
He thinks it may be related to hey nonny nonny.
I think he may be right.
November 11, 2004
Write Your Own Caption
"Sure he's a wetback, but he's my wetback."
November 10, 2004
And a little something for the Missus.
I feel your pain.
Is this my Blogger?
You promised it would get faster, and it looks like you've delivered.
If Blogger keeps up its hippity-hop speed like this, I might actually start writing again.
[[that is not an invitation to tweak it backwards.]]
Oh No, Did I Miss It?
It seems my classmate Frank was there, as evidenced by his photos on flickr.
I'm sorry, Frank, I had to tag this one as potentially offensive.
I never new you were into this kind of thing.
November 08, 2004
Talk Radio & Clear Channel vs Reality
This morning, I was driving home from carpool while listening to the morning radio host on 640AM. He was polling listeners about today's court date for Cobb County's evolution disclaimer (and the constitutionality thereof) for school textbooks. The disclaimer inspiring debate reads as follows:
I live in Cobb County. I think the courts and the schools could be doing more meaningful things. But that's not really the point. What stunned me was the nutjobs who showed up in force on on the radio to defend the disclaimer. That they wish to defend the disclaimer doesn't bother me. Heck, the disclaimer itself doesn't even bother me. It's the symantics of righteousness and hatred I heard that made me sick.
One caller from a neighboring county said this: "On election day, the citizens of this country DECLARED that the United States is a Christian country. I'm so sick of these liberals and their attitudes, I think it's time we start putting liberals in prison."
HELLO, CHRIST CALLING?
The radio host feigned dismay--"Well, that's a bit Draconian I think," and yet, the screener knew excactly what this caller was going to say. Bet on it. It's not just another isolated incident.
Which brings me to zealots.
Which brings me to wondering, what does a zealot stop at in his quest to advance his noble cause?
Which brings me to mounting evidence that they did it again, referenced by Tom.
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.
"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers. Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on national television, "you have all the different voting machines at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?"
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."
"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official program that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.
November 05, 2004
allied is 3 years old today.
Time for an emotional fractal party.
Hey class of 2001, children of RageBoy--Happy anniversary to all of yous too.
Caffine chips and puffs
It's time to move my office again. I've been working on the king-size bed over the last month. I relocated from the living room couch in early October. I do this every so often for a change of scene. It's a lot easier than getting a new job, especially since this job is the best one I've ever had because I have no boss. Except me. And I'm a pushover.
George tells me that when you reheat day old coffee, especially in the microwave, it has less caffine in it. I get expensive coffee, so I rarely waste it. Which means that every other day I'm reheating day-old coffee, and I'm wondering if what he says is true. That would explain my dumb-headed sleepiness every couple of days.
During my siesta, I dreamed that I smoked. November 4 was my 4 month anniversary. How weird. This dream wasn't your typical "oops, i smoked" dream. It was luxurious and enjoyable, and if I didn't know better, I'd think somehow I really did smoke. It felt, tasted and looked so real, so familiar. I even remembered that I wasn't supposed to be doing it, but not with a jolt--with more like an oh yeah. I remember quitting. This sure tastes nice.
At dinner tonight I chipped my bottom tooth. Not the old chipped tooth, but a new one. I did it by being over excited about the eggplant parmesian from Whole Foods. Half way through I bit down on the fork with such gusto that I jammed the prong right down into my lower tooth. What's up with that? Suddenly I've got Arnold jaw? BAM! One chew, and chaos ensued.
Jenna followed me up to the bathroom convinced that she saw me lose my entire bottom tooth right before her eyes. "OH YAH, OH YAH MOM, YOUR TOOTH IS G-O-N-E!" She mistook a piece of chicken breast for my tooth, thankfully, although she still steals glances at my mouth every hour or so to make sure my teeth are all there. "I really thought I saw your tooth gone, mom. That was so freaky!"
Anyway, it's not a big chip, and it wasn't a big nap, and I don't have dental insurance, and it wasn't a real cigarette, but all of these events added up in their smallness to lend some excitement to what has been a state of numbness these post-election days.
I'm grateful for that.
Diebold, Rangers and Pioneers, and "The Fox Guarding the Henhouse"
Published on Thursday, August 28, 2003 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Voting Machine Controversy
by Julie Carr Smyth
COLUMBUS - The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election.
O'Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush benefactors - known as Rangers and Pioneers - at the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month. The next week, he penned invitations to a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio Republican Party's federal campaign fund - partially benefiting Bush - at his mansion in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington.
The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican, was set to qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell upgraded electronic voting machines to Ohio counties in time for the 2004 election.
Blackwell's announcement is still in limbo because of a court challenge over the fairness of the selection process by a disqualified bidder, Sequoia Voting Systems.
In his invitation letter, O'Dell asked guests to consider donating or raising up to $10,000 each for the federal account that the state GOP will use to help Bush and other federal candidates - money that legislative Democratic leaders charged could come back to benefit Blackwell.
They urged Blackwell to remove Diebold from the field of voting-machine companies eligible to sell to Ohio counties.
This is the second such request in as many months. State Sen. Jeff Jacobson, a Dayton-area Republican, asked Blackwell in July to disqualify Diebold after security concerns arose over its equipment.
"Ordinary Ohioans may infer that Blackwell's office is looking past Diebold's security issues because its CEO is seeking $10,000 donations for Blackwell's party - donations that could be made with statewide elected officials right there in the same room," said Senate Democratic Leader Greg DiDonato.
Diebold spokeswoman Michelle Griggy said O'Dell - who was unavailable to comment personally - has held fund-raisers in his home for many causes, including the Columbus Zoo, Op era Columbus, Catholic Social Services and Ohio State University.
Ohio GOP spokesman Jason Mauk said the party approached O'Dell about hosting the event at his home, the historic Cotswold Manor, and not the other way around. Mauk said that under federal campaign finance rules, the party cannot use any money from its federal account for state- level candidates.
"To think that Diebold is somehow tainted because they have a couple folks on their board who support the president is just unfair," Mauk said.
Griggy said in an e-mail statement that Diebold could not comment on the political contributions of individual company employees.
Blackwell said Diebold is not the only company with political connections - noting that lobbyists for voting-machine makers read like a who's who of Columbus' powerful and politically connected.
"Let me put it to you this way: If there was one person uniquely involved in the political process, that might be troubling," he said. "But there's no one that hasn't used every legitimate avenue and bit of leverage that they could legally use to get their product looked at. Believe me, if there is a political lever to be pulled, all of them have pulled it."
Blackwell said he stands by the process used for selecting voting machine vendors as fair, thorough and impartial.
As of yesterday, however, that determination lay with Ohio Court of Claims Judge Fred Shoemaker.
He heard closing arguments yesterday over whether Sequoia was unfairly eliminated by Blackwell midway through the final phase of negotiations.
Shoemaker extended a temporary restraining order in the case for 14 days, but said he hopes to issue his opinion sooner than that.
© 2003 The Plain Dealer
[[More on Rangers and Pioneers]]
November 04, 2004
A Wave of New Voices--GOOD!
The best thing that could happen is that more and more intelligent voices emerge and grow strong between now and 2008. That they inform, move, resonate. And the new wave of the rule of Bush may inspire just that.
And for you dumbfounded folks overseas...
Yah, well, imagine being you and living here. That's what it's like for the rest of us.
In this time of turmoil for half the nation...
Let us remember: Stavros' folks' place is still for sale.
We get the top bunk!
Walkin' in a Wiki Wonderland.
Hold on girl.
WIKI. I've been reluctant, worried that I'd slip into collaboration nirvana never to reappear. I thought'd be hard. But it wasn't.
mmmmm. it was sweet.
I feel compassionate all over.
Naming Is Power
COMPASSION: The symantics of Compassionate Conservatism must be demystified and destroyed. I had a soccer-mom explain to me on the phone last week that she was voting for Bush because she considers herself a Compassionate Conservative--a term she thought she had just invented until I let her know that Bush and Pubes before him have been using the term -- along with many other phrases that make the simple minded feel important -- for years..
Publicans, please understand that I don't want your compassion; I don't need your compassion. To show me such, in your eyes, gives you power over me. So save it. Keep your pitty, your tolerance, and your motherfucking compassion. I'll do just fine without it.
HE CAN RUN BUT HE CAN'T HIDE: It was very easy for "W." toss this phrase about in the final four weeks of the election. He got a hard on simply from being able to remember it. He used it and saw that it jazzed up his base of elitests and idiots quite nicely on the final leg of the campaign trail. Well, I am claiming it now. Mr. Bush, you can run but you can't hide. Unlike your friend Bin Laden, who, it seems, can both run AND hide, thanks to you.
PRAYER: I talked with a woman checking me out at Walgreens this morning. I see her there frequently--she works lots of hours. When she asked how I was doing, I said tired and pissed about the election. She said, "You're tellin me." And we began talking. What do we do now. Can you believe it. There were no color lines between us. We talked about the war and her boys. And when I took my bag she reminded me--what we do now is pray. THAT'S RIGHT, WE PRAY TOO. Publicans, you do not have a monopoly on prayer or God. You do not have a monopoly on Christ. You do not have a monopoly on salvation or forgiveness.
Those are the three I'd like to add right now.
I'd also like to add GET OVER IT to my list. Get Over It is the most frequently employed post-election mantra on the part of the publicans. "Get Over It" was also their rhetorical weapon of choice after W. stole the 2000 election. I am reframing it to mean Get Over Yourselves, and directing it at the hypocritical members of the right like Rush It's-Vicodin-Time Limbaugh, and Bill I-Like-Your-Tits O'Reilly, and Alan Cheney-Raised-an-Abomination-But-Vote-For-Him-Anyway Keyes. All of you and all of yours, get over your pseudo-moralistic selves before I do it for you.
One of the bright lights during camaign season just got bad news.
Like that family hasn't been through enough.
Sudan Government Prayed for a Bush Victory
How does he sleep at night?
...The ruling elite in Khartoum prefers a Republicans in the White House because it is seen as not as harsh as the Democrats.
Guess they haven't seen him with his flight suit on.
Lost Memo 2
November 03, 2004
Who's in the zoo? Us or him?
Just About Right, All About George.
"They elected a polite David Duke in Louisiana, and someone who doesn't believe gay people should teach school in South Carolina, and a creep in Oklahoma, and somebody who's fairly obviously drifting into the fog in Kentucky. The pretty clearly indictable DeLay tactics in Texas worked like a charm. These are all victories won on grounds on which we cannot compete. When gay marriage trumps dead soldiers in Iraq, how do you run a race without dissolving into fantasy?"
For the rest of us... some things to read.
Live online where you will find communities of smart people.
David does language. Weinberger/AKMA in 2008.
democrat.com on the fascist motherfuckers in power.
The Rich, Dumb, and Faithful Re-elect Bush: "As Senator John F. Kerry prepared his concession speech Wednesday morning, it became clear that the rich got in bed with the dumb and the faithful to deliver power over every branch of the United States government to a corrupt Republican Party that will do anything, including steal votes and lie, to gain and hold political power."
InterimTom: "Part of the mystery of strongly divided elections is understanding how anyone can vote for the other guy. Part of the reality check USians will face is, how realistic is the rhetoric of healing and union that new-waveian solutions spout with such facility?"
Not. And thank God.
Resist the Borg.
And for every blog pundit online calling for cooperation and civil discourse, an end to disagreements, and a need for pledges among bloggers and citizens to unite us, I say:
You want a mandate of unbiased blather, go get your journalism degree and write for print, kay?
And while you're at it, take your bastions of morality with you--Bill Adulterer O'Reilly and Rush Drug-Addict Limbaugh. Save a seat at media training camp for George DUI Bush. They could all use a refresher course.
Unite this, you sack of hypocrites.
I can't wait...
October 30, 2004
allied turns 3 years old on Friday.
"Okay, so blogs can get tiresome--I'll give you that. But that's because this blogging thing is part of an evolution. It's not the answer. The destination. It's not anything really except another platform for voice--a really no-cost-entry easy-to-use platform for anyone who knows how to open a browser. Does that mean the rifraf can get in? Oh yeh. There goes the neighborhood. Good."
Still believe it.
In all of this time, I have learned so so much about a few good friends whom I might not have come upon any other way. I've learned so so much about myself, whom I might not have come upon any other way.
For these things alone, I'm glad I took the joy ride.
Of course, I'm no richer for it.
Somebody owes me some doggone green.
I am grateful for the voices
"I said in comments to someone else's blog a few days ago, that some months ago, I'd taken in a young dog, and had become aware that if his life expectancy is normal for his species, there is a fair chance he will outlive me; in other words, I'm no longer the middle aged guy I've described myself as being for some time, I'm a guy on his last dog."
"But in the pocket microscope, I caught a glimpse of that old scar, and found it had a complexity and strangeness I've long ignored. In a strong light, I examined it freshly through the little lens, and looked anew at its spidery, faint contours, memories carved in my flesh of my own various stupidities, but a record I didn't control in its making, that is its own map of that day. I became momentarily fascinated by the rest of my hand, marked all over with the bad outcomes of accidents, investigations, and procedures or equipment not well enough understood. My hands are ugly enough at the normal scale, but examined a millimeter at a time, they are each a living horror, tolerable only for being abstract in their grotesquery, under a twenty power lens. After more than fifty years of living, I realized that there is no part of my left hand that hasn't been, at some time or another, at least superficially injured. That hand is literally one big collection of small, forgotten scars, but continues to stubbornly embody a stoic power for its functions. And I thought that was a pretty good description of my larger self, as well. I am become, all over, scARboi, stubbornly plodding along."
"For better or worse, I am the subject of all my pictures, even those in which I'm nowhere visible."
And Jessamyn, simply beautiful:
"I drive past a beaver dam on my way to work. It's in a little lake area and looks quite lovely, set against the foliage backdrop, very rural, picturesque. Today when I drove by I could see that it had new sticks on it. Someone actually lived there. This wasn't stunt nature, this was the beavers living nearby, and doing their beaver things. It's one thing to have a little tree sticking out of a sidewalk that provides some shade and stands in for the forests that used to be where the newspaper boxes now are...."
"I read a book recently about how to co-exist with wild animals. The author starts from the position that at some level, we have moved into the homes of the wild animals, so we should not be surprised that they see our territory as theirs. All of this is just a roundabout way of saying that I like living here, where the beaver builds its home within viewing distance of the road, and where the bear eats the fish that we think we can just "grow" for ourselves."