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16 October 2000

This has probably happened a number of times before, but it's the first time I've noticed: in the print ads for Stallone's new movie Get Carter, instead of the usual selective, out-of-context praise from newspaper/TV/magazine reviewers, the ad contains a couple of weak pull-quotes from dot-com movie sites. I don't have the paper handy any more, but I swear the quotes were like: "Cool action scenes!" -- Ah yes. High praise.

I'd already heard that it was a poorly-reviewed film, but I've never seen a studio stoop to quoting web dilettantes before. They must have been pretty hard up.

I'm getting very tired of dealing with Netscape 4.x. I mean, I'm trying to be a good web-designer-type and do things in valid HTML 4.01 Transitional (not true for this site yet, but it'll happen), moving font faces and colors and such into cascading style sheets, but one particular bug in Netscape's handling of CSS keeps tripping me up: transparent backgrounds in table cells. If you specify a table cell's background as transparent, IE and Mozilla handle it properly but Netscape shows it as solid black, something rather different from the specified setting, transparent. Bah!

My workaround for my most recent run-in with the problem was to take the text that was supposed to surround an image and incorporate it into the graphic itself, making it a GIF with a transparent background. Very bad practice -- photos should always be JPEGs! text should not be trapped in graphics! -- but it does produce consistent (and adequate-looking) results in IE and Netscape, and that's what I'm after. If Mozilla were 1.0 by now and spreading like wildfire (as I think it might when it comes out), I wouldn't feel so much pressure to stoop to stupid, kludgey workarounds.

I'm getting very, very tired of dealing with Netscape 4.x.

It occurred to me Saturday when jiggling a phone wire to make sure it was still firmly seated that the old suspense/horror/action-film trick of the villain cutting the wires to a structure's phone system so the victim(s) can't call for help is no longer going to be believable in a movie/TV-show; the target likely as not owns a cellular phone.

That's good. I'm all in favor of scriptwriters having to think a little harder, even if it is only to the point of having a cell phone's battery run out at a dramatic moment.

Site name idea (for a weblog or journal or whatever): Stress Related

Debate question I'd like to see Jim Lehrer ask George W. Bush: "Given that the technical pioneers of the Internet, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, are declaring Al Gore's claim to have taken the initiative in its creation to be essentially true, and given that he never said he 'invented' it, can you tell us why you are still making exaggerations and misleading jokes about it?"

  • Did Gore invent the Internet? [Salon]
    Several of the people who could claim to have "invented" the Internet, or key pieces of its protocols -- in particular, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn -- are out there on the Net today defending Gore, asserting that he was the politician in Washington who took the "initiative" to support the Net in its early days.

    [The Internet] emerged from the world of government-subsidized university research, and every step of the way along its passage from academic network to global information infrastructure was shepherded by the state.

Debate question it amuses me to contemplate, courtesy of Dave Taylor, former bandmate:

"Governor Bush, do you think it is possible that in your term as governor you have let stand the execution of someone from whom you obtained illegal drugs before 1974?"

This concert review succeeded in evoking a strange, discomfiting evening with Leonard Slatkin, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic:

The Republican mayor of my hometown (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is one of the few Republicans I've heard that actually has the guts to publicly state anything negative about Bush; even more surprising, she's gone as far as endorsing Gore:

  • Gore Again Alters Day to Meet on Middle East [NY Times]
    In a year of few cross-party endorsements, Mr. Gore received the backing today of the Republican mayor of Cedar Rapids, Lee Clancey. In remarks before Mr. Gore's address, Ms. Clancey leveled a blistering critique of Mr. Bush.

    "I wanted a president who has the intelligence to understand the issues," she said, "who has the ability to articulate those issues, who has the wisdom to make good decisions on those issues."

Salon brings up five things Bush said in the the second pseudo-Presidential debate which bear further scrutiny:

  • Say what? [Salon]
    Bush also claimed he supported gun show background checks at the debate. "I don't think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn't have them," he said. "That's why I support instant background checks at gun shows."

    In fact, Bush let a gun show background check bill die in the state Legislature on April 20, 1999 -- coincidentally, the same night as the Columbine shootings. After the legislation went down, Bush announced his support, but claimed it was too late in the legislative session to do anything about it.

Not to mention Bush's idiotic tarring of the Internet as the cause of Dylan & Klebold's 'dark hearts'...

People keep saying Bush is such a personable, likable guy. I still don't see it; he's exactly the kind of spoiled, smug know-nothing I would never want to waste my time with in real life. Gack.

Hanging out with Gore would be annoying in many ways, but I would at least feel like I was having a battle of wits with an armed man.

And hey, let's not forget Ronald Reagan's propensity for not-so stories:

  • Reagan's Whoppers [Washington Post]
    He told Israel's Menachem Begin that he had been present at the liberation of a concentration camp when he had only seen a film of the event. ... In Reagan's case, these stories were dismissed by his supporters and characterized as charming eccentricities. Yet, some of the same people and editorial organs now get the vapors when confronting one of Al Gore's exaggerations. Gore, for some reason, is a liar while Reagan was just a marvelous storyteller.

Okay, last political link for a little while... this captures well my continued disappointment with the whole political process:

  • Sadly, Our Next President is Going to Be a Boy by Lance Morrow (October 6) [Time]
    With each week that passes, it becomes clearer that neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore is a satisfactory candidate for President of the United States. ... We hurtle on into October, heading for November, with a sense that a terrible mistake has been made.

    We cannot rewind the tape and start over again, rewriting the scenario, removing Bush and Gore and replacing them with ... whom? John McCain and Bill Bradley? That, in my view, would be a vast improvement in both parties. McCain and Bradley are both grownups, not the unseasoned, uncentered ones we have leading the tickets.

    But we cannot have a better choice now. It's a disgusting situation. If the Constitution permitted Bill Clinton to run for a third term, he would, sullied as he is, win the election -- maybe in a landslide. The stupid thing is that he would deserve it, and so would we.

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