|main ... archive ... Scribbles ... directory ... about||Last modified on 8/6/08; 9:25:17 AM Central|
News, Pointers & Commentary Archive: September 1998
|29 September 1998||"I just wish Harry [Caray] and Jack [Brickhouse] were here."|
-- Mark Grace
Mark McGwire, beach bum...
Cubs win! Cubs win!
- Magical season rolls on for Cubs [ESPN Sportszone, from Scripting News]
|25 September 1998||"Why doesn't DOS ever say 'EXCELLENT command or filename'?"|
"Is anal retentive hyphenated?"
Out of nowhere, a New Scribble: Under New Management, or the Net's Not There Yet
Hey! Tuesday was the five-year anniversary of my apartment being flooded. Instead of thinking (well in advance) of having a Flood Party to commemorate the occasion, I actually didn't remember the occasion until Wednesday.
Progress, of a sort.
Too long for a daily quote, but a fun exchange that I was reminded of yesterday:(Epicurus and Plato are walking through the Athenian market)
Philosopher 1: Greetings, brother thinkers! Have you come for a bit of dispute?
Philosopher 2: Yes! We feel the need to exercise our brains!
Epicurus: Well, actually...we could discuss the gods...
Philosopher 1: Excellent choice! Though I argue with the use of the term 'discuss...'
Philosopher 2: Well, I argue with the use of the term 'choice!'
Philosopher 3: And I argue with the use of the term 'term!'
Plato: (Oh, no...sophists!)
from Epicurus the Sage, a graphic novel by William Messner-Loebs and Sam Keith, Piranha Press, 1989.
|23 September 1998||Well there's a line that you must toe|
and it'll soon be time to go
--"Complicated Shadows", Elvis Costello, from All This Useless Beauty
For the Robin Williams fans in the audience (including me):
- From 'Mork' to Oscar, a look at Robin Williams' Career [CNN]
It was 20 years ago this month when Williams first greeted audiences with the words "Nanu, nanu" on his new ABC sitcom.
He'll be seen next in "What Dreams May Come," which opens nationwide on October 2.
Ubik-uity? Carl Steadman with his ironic/satiric take on:
- Building the Brand [The Industry Standard]
"I'm interested," I reply. "As soon as we launch the new version ..." // "Forget the new version. Your current position doesn't exist anymore," Glen says. "I'm laying off your whole team. We'll be outsourcing everything, even R&D. The only development we're investing in from now on is brand development."
Personally, I think the word 'brandwidth' should be struck from the record.
I've only read one of Steve Martin's New Yorker essays, but I liked it. Now he's got a book of them. Salon mostly liked it. I might get it.
- Pure Drivel [Salon]
In Martin's world, a Mars probe reveals that the red planet is home to some 27 3-month-old kittens: "Modern kitten theory suggests several explanations for the kittens' existence on Mars. The first ... suggests that kittens occur both everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. In other words, we see evidence of kitten existence, but measuring their behavior is another matter. Just when the scientists point their instruments in a kitten's direction it is gone, only to be found later in another place, perhaps at the top of drapes."
"Times Roman Font Announces Shortage of Periods" should be declared a national treasure by copy editors and proofreaders everywhere.
Finally, Garrison Keillor outdoes himself with his latest Mr. Blue column. I laughed very, very hard.
- Am I too smart to be loved? [Salon]
Nothing to quote from it - it's all good.
|21 September 1998||With every glance you throw my heart gets stirred |
But every word you say shoots pain right up my spine
-- "You and Me" by Chris Tess, a great 'mad but in love but mad' song
- Move over, Susan B. Anthony [Salon]
Yes, the changes to the $100 and $50 bill might have affected briefcase-toting Masters of the Universe or Uzi-toting drug dealers, but most of the rest of us have precious little contact with the Big Bills. Our day of reckoning is nigh, however. On Sept. 24, the Treasury will debut the new $20 bill.
The new dollar coin will feature a female representation of "Liberty," inspired by the much more coin-ogenic Native American heroine Sacajawea (the Shoshone Indian who helped Lewis and Clark find the Pacific passage) and, to distinguish itself from the 25-cent piece, will be "golden in color, with a distinctive edge." The Susan B. Anthony will officially be given the boot as soon as its inventory is depleted in the U.S. Mint -- as there are approximately 83 million Susan B.'s still left, a mint source expects Sacajawea to take over around 2000 or 2001.
Unlike the author and his close acquaintances, I like the new $100s and $50s I've seen; I think they're much more interesting to look at, and I have no problems with the portraiture. I'm looking forward to the new $20 bill myself.
From the Salon archives, a heck of a story about the apparently unusual practice of married people keeping their finances separate. Lots of interesting discussion, with a list of books to read.
- Separate checkbooks [Salon]
Money means very different things to different people. It's the fuel of our society, the bane and bread of our existence. But among couples it's supposed to be an invisible issue: In love's test tube we expect money's reactive chemicals to neutralize. Yet according to the PBS documentary "Affluenza," in 90 percent of divorce cases, arguments about money play a prominent role in the breakup of the relationship.
[Though she now makes more than me], her income doesn't tempt me to suggest we begin to share. If I was spending her money, she'd have the power. I can't have that; the power must be equal. Just as I couldn't love and respect someone if she were financially dependent on me, if I were dependent on her, I'd lose respect for myself. // Although Carol earns more than me, her spending habits cancel this out ... lunches, lattes, Thai dinners, presents for friends and family members, a gym membership that she never uses ... If we shared money, I'd be constantly screaming, "Why are you wasting our future on this garbage?" We'd fight eternally.
FileMaker Pro finally has ODBC connectivity? Hmmmmm.... That's the main thing I've felt it's lacked that's kept me from using it as a solution at work. Could be very cool.
- FileMaker Pro 4.1 Press Release [FileMaker]
|18 September 1998||"There are 2 rules to success in life: |
1) Don't tell people everything you know."
Oh my God, or "Vader? Here?":
(Note: When comparing someone to Darth Vader, it should be emphasized that in the end Darth was not all bad...just mostly.)
- Bill Gates to Speak at WU Field House [Student Life]
|16 September 1998||"Success is never final." -- Winston Churchill|
"Failure is rarely fatal" -- Joseph McRae Mellichamp, Ph.D.
I'm doing a little jig because Andy Ihnatko is back on the air, now a columnist for MacCentral. He has a unique way with words...
His best column so far is #2:The thing about computers, though, is that as obsolete as they become, they remain the perfect solution to the narrow set of problems they were initially designed to address.
I know that saying "The UN has secret helicopters full of doctors who criss-cross the country surgically removing the butts from cows in the dead of night" doesn't damage your credibility as much as claiming that Newton handwriting recognition actually works, but there it is nonetheless. Using my Palm III, I am more or less resigned to a world in which the guick brown fox juaps ouer the lizy dog and one never uses quotes or apostrophes for fear of angering a vengeful god, or something.
What comes after the iMac? The MacWeek rumor column has some predictions:
- It was 30 days ago today [MacWeek/iMacWorld]
...the Knife is currently guessing that iMac Mach II will run at 300 MHz and pack a 6- to 8-Gbyte hard drive as well as a minimum of 64 Mbytes of RAM.
|15 September 1998||Fool me once, shame on you.|
Fool me twice, shame on me.
A collection of intriguing articles I should read but haven't yet had the time:
From the piece on intuition:
- The Unconscious Mind [New Scientist, from scripting.com][Researchers] showed a video of a bank robbery to a group of people, some of whom were asked to describe the robber's face in as much detail as possible, while others occupied themselves by naming the US states. In the recognition test that followed, those who described the robber's face were about 26 per cent poorer at picking out the target from seven similar photos than those running through from Alabama to Wisconsin. "Verbalisation has a very specific effect," says Schooler. "It impairs judgment based on intuition."
Microsoft's posted a patch for the Access data corruption bug from a few weeks ago:
Dan Savage [ABCnews] points out rightly that Monica owes Hillary an apology too. (permanent location)
Ever feel like you're in a blooper reel?
You're going along, having a conversation, and you look at your fellow 'actor' and see something (a private joke, a dangerously amused spark, whatever) in his or her eyes that just shatters your train of thought and you both suddenly have to stifle laughter because you've forgotten what you're 'supposed' to be talking about?
I get that sometimes.
|14 September 1998||"I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not! But I'm sick and tired of being told that I am!"|
The hits keep on coming: Salon is consistently one of the more rewarding sites I visit. Here's some more of their good stuff from recent weeks:
- The St*r Report [Salon], a musing on the reduction of thoughtful criticism of works of art to a rating between 1 and 5.
I will not stretch human charity by expecting you to pity the critic. But consider this: What other writer is regularly expected to append his work with a shorthand tag to help people avoid reading it altogether?
Granted, the fiction that complex critical judgments can be reduced to stars or bananas or whatever is often a useful one: If I can see in a half-second that a critic I trust hates "54," well, more time for me to do the crossword.
- Ken Starr, Web Porn Purveyor [Salon], on the release of the Starr Report on the Internet.
I wouldn't blame the public for itching to read this stuff; that's just irrepressible human nature. But there is some ghastly cosmic joke in the spectacle of Congress' conservative Republicans rushing to become purveyors of Net porn, all the while intoning that they are performing their constitutional duties. After all, it's less than three years since these same legislators overwhelmingly passed the notorious Communications Decency Act -- whose ban on distributing "indecent" and "offensive" material online in forms accessible to minors might well have covered the Starr report.
- The iMac debate rages on [Salon] contains a thoughtful critique of not only the iMac but the mentality of excitable Apple fans.
Apple's more extreme followers have adopted a bizarre corporate loyalty program under which they not only maintain that the company can do no wrong but also believe that Apple is locked in a Manichaean struggle with Microsoft in which only one company can survive.
- Ballad of a fat man [Salon] does a great job of convincing me I should see Orson Welles' 'Touch of Evil'.
[Welles] plays up the public's perception of him as a wreck, while behind the camera, his inventiveness unleashes one jolt after another. If his sympathy for Quinlan is genuine, that's because he understands him as someone who, like himself, can't operate by the book, and who doesn't gain a damn thing by insisting on things his way, but who gets results that nobody else could.
|12 September 1998||"If 'friendship' is A, 'sleeping together' is not B. 'Sleeping together' is Z or maybe V. Between, there's a whole alphabet of approach, affection and adventure to be explored, even if you never make it to K. The magic of dancing new words and sentences with someone is what keeps me interested. ... Marriage is a novel. Not everybody reads novels."|
--Jimmy Wakefield, The Rolling Stone Interview
Ran across The English Server, eserver.org, thanks to a Small Dog newsletter. Interesting resource; the front page is a little cryptic but at least it has a search engine.
In particular, they mentioned that eserver has the inaugural speeches of all the Presidents. Cool, but it's one long 832K document. Somebody should split it up into individual speeches.
Ran across this in the same search; I remember hearing her read this in '93:
- Inaugural Poem - A Rock, a River, A Tree by Maya Angelou [The English Server]
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
And now for the Language Cop portion of this week's broadcast.
Note the ever-popular phrase "sneak peak", a.k.a. a surreptitious mountain or covert hilltop, a.k.a. a NONSENSICAL PAIRING OF WORDS.
- Adobe Systems Restates Its Commitment to the Macintosh [Adobe]
And, just last week, Adobe showed a sneak peak of its upcoming page-layout technology, code-named K2, during Steve Jobs' keynote address at the Seybold publishing conference.
Grrrrrrrrrrrr. This is in a press release?!?
Somebody needs a better editor.
On a more positive note, Language Cop points out, FYE (for your edification):
An abbreviation I never see used:a.i. = ad interim = in the meantime.Ran across it in the dictionary but never have in real life.
Ever wonder what those other two-letter things are? People often use them interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings:i.e. = id est = that is</FYE>
e.g. = exempli gratia = for example
What a week! Ran out of time to do much writing. I hope to post some more Sunday or Monday, so watch then.
And, coming in a few weeks - a useful surprise!
|8 September 1998||"Knowledge may give you weight, but accomplishments give luster"|
Dan Gillmor on how to make sure your e-mail gets read:
- Fanning flames of e-mail obsession [SJ Merc]
First: put real information into the subject line. You would be amazed how many people leave it blank or make the subject so content-free that I begin yawning even before opening the message. Spammers are getting better at faking subject lines. But I'm getting better at recognizing spam. The war goes on.
Five good rules. Worth reading.
Dave Winer on McGwire/Sosa:
- The Baseball God is Laughing Again [DaveNet]
...more and more of what we experience is orchestrated, not real, not spontaneous. Everything is compared against our expectations, as if our expectations had any reality to them.
No, I don't believe they could have orchestrated the timing, but I totally believe they would have if they could.
Charles Martin on the lack of USB device availability for the iMac:
- Dear Steve #20 - "You're Seriously Blowin' it" [MacCentral]
We are only about a week away from the 1-month anniversary of the iMac, and there is still only one printer and one scanner in the retail channel. That's it. // If we do not act very fast on this, many iMac units will be returned, and many more people will simply choose something else - yeah, it's cute, but I can't do anything with it, they'll say. And they'll be right.
|7 September 1998||"Never be critical of someone else until you've walked three hundred miles in their shoes...that way you'll be 300 miles away from them, and have their pair of shoes."|
--Rockapella concert banter
Clearing the Cache: Some thought-provoking Salon articles, some older than normal:Together We Can Defeat Capitalism...? Yes, Virginia, there are still topics you can't discuss.
- Dis Capital [Salon]
But the notion that capitalism ... might have its limits has developed the taint of the unspeakable. Which would make you more uncomfortable, your date explaining over martinis the benefits of his stock-option plan or suggesting that drinking $8 cocktails was a questionable habit so long as hunger still exists?
...pedophiles get air time. Journalists love child-abuse stories. But when are we going to see the socialist, the anarchist and the Wall Street broker trading blows -- or at least getting makeovers -- on Jerry, Jenny, Sally or Ricki? // Believe it or not, there was a time when socialism, anarchy and communism were important parts of the national debate, each ideology sustaining viable movements and counting significant numbers as members.
It's so hard not to take prosperity for granted if you're, well, my age:
- Glutton for Luxury: One woman's necessity is another woman's excess [Salon]
What my grandmother would have considered outrageous extravagances are to me facts of life: high-quality coffee beans, call waiting, recreational shopping, the occasional load of fluff 'n' fold laundry, sushi.
Though it's hubris, on some level I consider myself irrevocably prosperous. ... On some level, despite history and despite the copious evidence of poverty in America, I cannot really imagine a time when I won't be able to earn a living.
They say you are what you buy, but maybe in a culture where buying is the national pastime, it's more accurate to say you are what you don't buy.
Dating politics: When is it appropriate to ask out someone you've just met? Or is it ever?
- Scheming Chitchat [Salon]
"...a friendly chat is fine, but why can't they just leave at that? Why is it that men feel compelled to take it one step further every time they meet a woman with a common interest?"
"So, beautiful people can ask people out, but the rest of us slobs have to just hope that a love connection can be made in some unspoken way. Is that what you're saying?" // "I guess so," she said doubtfully.
Insights into many Salon things, including why Salon is so anti-Starr, in an interview with the founder and editor:
- Salon to Starr: No, You Shut Up [New York Press, from RobotWisdom]
I think what we are now is awash in babble and opinion and commentary. [Hey! I resemble that remark.] There's not enough hard information for people to make up their own minds with. So you have all these cable shows that are just filled full of shrieking babblers every night. The Internet as well. Now I can understand economically why you would do that because it's cheaper just to throw up your opinion than it is to invest in reporting.
Bill Clinton, in some ways, merged the Republican and Democratic Parties. That, in some ways, will be his legacy. He did things that were very centrist. He was the scourge of the liberal left wing of the Democratic Party. But the Republican Party has been taken over by zealots ... Bill Clinton to them, as half-assed and wishy-washy as a lot of liberals think he is, Bill Clinton to them is the embodiment of everything evil they think that's out there in America. One guy told us, I can't tell who because we're going to write about this later, but I'll tell you this one quote: One of these Arkansas guys who's involved with the Arkansas Project said to our reporter, "You tell your friend Bill Clinton the reason we're doing this to him is cause he's a nigger lover."
8.5 is coming in October: See what all the fuss is about:
The main thing I like about it is that it's going to be faster on the same hardware. I can always use faster.
The Doctor Fun Page is on hiatus. What is it with people who think they need breaks? I don't get it. (JOKE!)
MacMAME.org has its own domain now. MacMAME is the freeware arcade-game emulator that lets you play all the good old games with infinite quarters at your disposal. Very, very cool.
Millipede is still my all-time favorite. Xenophobe was added to the compatibility list recently too, which was a nice surprise.
Yes, there's a Windows version.
How do you know when there are singers outside your door?
They can't find the key and they don't know when to come in.
Today's quotes are courtesy of the fine folks at rec.music.a-cappella.
And yes, this month's colors are iMac-ish. 'Cause it's cool.
|5 September 1998||"There's only one way to have a happy marriage, and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again."|
Sorry for the quietude. I'll post a big update before the end of the Labor Day weekend, I promise.