As of September 2009, this weblog has moved to the top level of the site.
Please update your bookmarks, if anyone still has one...Meta
Oh my -- Suzanne Vega is blogging, along with several other artists, at a NYTimes weblog called Measure for Measure. How excellent.
2008 Grammy nominees are out! Great place to look for (likely) good music you've never heard of.
They Might Be Giants got a nod for their fun kids album Here Come the 123s.
Was not aware until I went through the list that Lewis Black has a new album (Anticipation), nor that Gwyneth Paltrow did a recording of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (and its sister books), which is one of Marcus' favorites.
For software folk: * 2008 Perl Advent Calendar * 2008 Catalyst Advent Calendar * Day 3: Sparklines in Perl!
I do not know what crazy person thought November was a good month to try and write something every day (NaNoWriMo nuts, I salute you). Holidays? Hello?
Suffice it to say that NaBloPoMo for me was a failure. But it was at least a useful one -- I did post more in November than in any other month for a long long time.2 comment(s) Add a comment...
A man who is always asking 'Is what I do worthwhile?' and 'Am I the right person to do it?' will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others.
A Neil Gaiman interview [PublishersWeekly] on the occasion of Sandman's 20th anniversary:
Gene Weingarten (a sometimes funny humor columnist for the Post) on Twitter:
To test the idea that you can communicate any kind of complex meaning in 140 characters, he applied Twitter's limit to the Gettysburg address:
I thought of his column again today when I saw @brentsimmons sum up Jabberwocky:
Why the Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web [37signals] - I suppose.1 comment(s) Add a comment...
Some tech links I don't want to lose:
Really like this quote from someone I don't know who used my I Voted button.. it's in the context of a writing workshop where everyone was given the same beginning sentences:
Sexual Tension - it's not the sex [Terry Odell]
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Rumors only so far, and a couple of pictures, but apparently there's going to be a new First Car for the 44th President:
Presidential Power on the Road [NYTimes]
(Still not 100% convinced that A) the election is over and B) Obama won. My current thought is that I'm in a weird dream state. Or a coma.)
I did not know ... there's an asphalt shortage.
I would have thought the drop in oil prices would help out with it, but apparently not.
Handing out your twitter login & password to a stranger, even if they make nice-sounding noises about how they won't use it, really, cross their fingers, seems like a bad bad idea.0 comment(s) Add a comment...
...that olive oil is regularly faked:
Slippery Business: The trade in adulterated olive oil [New Yorker] by Tom Mueller, via Flutterby
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Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job [The Onion]
Also, from September, but still relevant (both via Ritholtz, I think):
I missed a day! Oh noes. Will make 2 Sunday posts to catch up.. 0 comment(s) Add a comment...
If I wrote a political weblog, it would look a lot like what Steve Benen (at Washington Monthly; formerly of The Carpetbagger Report) writes. More often than not, if I think of a point I'd like to make about the topic of the day, I go read him and he's made it.
Except unlike me, he posts about a dozen times a day and covers a multitude of topics.
So you should check him out.
(Kind of freaky about the whole "Steve B." thing, I have to say.)
Another weblog you should visit regularly is The Big Picture by Barry Ritholtz. He knows a great deal about the financial sector and is good at explaining things.
He also has a finely tuned BS detector, which is a key thing to hone these days.
If you find yourself wondering why the markets are doing whatever they're doing, or whether the financial crisis or the housing slump is over like the TV people keep claiming, visit The Big Picture.0 comment(s) Add a comment...
No time to write a longer post..
Critic John Leonard has died, at 69. Damn.
I lost touch with his work over the last few years, but I've been a fan. He had a distinctive point of view, a vast store of knowledge, an unusual way with words and a wonderful cadence to his reviews on CBS Sunday Morning.
Here's an attempt I made once at conveying his spoken rhythms in text.
I recently bought an iPod Touch, because I was itching to get an iPhone.
The Touch costs $229, once, versus a couple of thousand dollars for an iPhone over the two years of your contract.
I'm very very happy with it, for reading feeds, following Twitter, following baseball, and much more; if you spend much of your day with access to wifi, it's frankly just as good as an iPhone.
With this, my 6th post in 6 days, I will note that I'm trying for NaBloPoMo - a post every day for the entire month. (I wasn't going to bother mentioning it until I could demonstrate some actual activity.)
Wish me luck.2 comment(s) Add a comment...
Mark Penn, strategist/poller for Hillary Clinton, back during the primaries:
James Wolcott, Vanity Fair
The Poor Man:
Hilzoy, blogger @ Washington Monthly:
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Since Rafe isn't doing one, I will try it out..
Just a reminder, anyone who wants to is welcome to use one of these voting button images. It's easy, all you have to do is use one of these image tags in a post.
(These two are the most popular; follow the link for more, including high-resolution printable versions.)
Just change the
(I've decided that I'm OK with other people loading the image directly from nowthis.com. I'm not a heavy-bandwidth user normally, so I don't expect it'll go anywhere near my limit.)0 comment(s) Add a comment...
This election article (from July) jumped with both feet into the category I call "Making Everyone Dumber":
It is? Really? I didn't see any Obama debate performance in the primary (or since) that would make that easy to imagine. Is it easy to imagine just because Will Smith is black too?
Or, one might not. One might be a movie reviewer trying really hard to shoehorn a political subject into one's area of expertise. And one might come up with nothing the least bit illuminating or useful in several hundred words.
Even looking at the picture which accompanied it in the print edition (above) can start to make you dumber... Associating Presidential candidates with superficially similar movie stars ("Yes, Will Smith is black too!") and then pretending the movie stars' qualities give you insight into the candidates is really... useless.
...practically designed to give results with little relation to reality.
What was the point of this article? What value did it add, to anyone?
The Post has pushed more than a few of these idiot articles over the campaign, often (but not always) in its "Style" section, famed home of fashion critiques of public figures. (Why such things are deemed worth printing: a mystery.)
Here's another, also from July:
'The One'? Take a Number, Sen. Obama by David Montgomery [WPost]
At least it's upfront about its source. It takes a weird claim which the McCain camp made up and trumpeted but which Obama does not himself make, then proceeds to both make fun of and scold Obama for not living up to the claim. Is this any way to run a newspaper?
Uh... he is?
At this point I am now dumber for having read this article.
To pad the word count, it gets all Joseph Campbell on us, tells about the journey a "One" usually takes, and throws in several lines from The Matrix. Just because, I guess.
For good measure, the Obama headline is paired with pictures of: Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Keanu/Neo and Roger Daltrey as Tommy (??!).
Why this article was printed -- aside from giving free amplification to a nonsensical political attack -- is difficult to understand.
Thankfully I've stopped being exposed to much of this deeply stupid writing lately because we recently canceled delivery of the daily Washington Post (we still get Sundays).
If you feel you must associate a candidate with an actor, you really ought to work at it hard enough that you can draw more parallels than the most obvious & superficial. (Will Smith!)
The Daily Show did a more thorough job of matching John McCain's career with... Marlon Brando's.
John McCain: Reformed Maverick
When I saw this in September, the closing footage was really striking.
I remembered the 2000-era McCain somewhat favorably. He seemed to have at least some principles I could appreciate.
But he's pretty systematically dismembered that version of himself since then. See Steve Benen's list of McCain's position-switches in the last few years (currently holding at 76), almost all toward the right wing of the party.
I had read plenty of coverage of his reversals, but the clips the Daily Show used to contrast then (1999-2004) & now really brought it home to me.
He's really not the same guy at all.
If you were everything you say0 comment(s) Add a comment...
Virginia Republicans down in Richmond got balls:
Phony flier says Virginians vote on different days [Virginian Pilot Online, via TPMMuckraker]
This part's nice:
Two seconds of thinking should lead people to wonder about several things:
And of course, once you start suspecting it's bogus:
But of course, lots of people just won't think that hard about it.
That's one reason I'm glad voting is always on the same weekday every time; makes it less likely someone can be fooled with "No, really ma'am, it's on Thursday this time."
Candorville (a Sunday comic here in the Post) replayed some well-worn anti-voter tricks last weekend (and look, this is the very first one!):2 comment(s) Add a comment...
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