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Tough Talk

I don’t care what they say, I stand by my opinion: bin Laden is dead.

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Brave New America

John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has written a very interesting rant about the recent congressional vote over extending the presidential powers for carte blanche war with Iraq. Here is an excerpt: Despite the fact that we have been exposed to far worse during our history – whether by Bloody Old England, the Kaiser, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, Red China, or, hell, France on a bad day – we have never before declared war without being attacked nor have we extended an American President the right to do so at his pleasure. He goes on, pointing out the Orwellian overtones that the government and the media are spoon-feeding us, but then he talks about how the government, or Empire, as he calls it, is totally willing to just ignore us, because we are so unimportant. This wasn’t Orwell, this was Huxley. Everyone brings up 1984, but apart from me, and Roger Waters, no one seems to remember the book that spelled it out like it is happening: Brave New World. Lessee: Drugs replace desire for sex? Check. Government represses free-thought with entertainment? Check. Children are produced in bulk by genetic and tinkering? Check. Non-whites are considered savages? Check. It may be a mix between Orwell and Huxley that we’re living in right now, but I do believe that the government, if we ignore John Ashcroft, would rather we amuse ourselves to coma, just because it is easier to manage. The media sleeps so well and cozy with our government, and both our government and our media are the biggest and the baddest out there. Barlow gets it right near the end of his screed, but he never acknowledges Huxley. Of course, it doesn’t really matter in light of what is happening, but I just wanted to point out that I recognized this brave new pattern 15 years ago. Aren’t I so smart?

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TIPS-top shape

I was going to rant a bit about Eunice Stone, the busybody cum patriot, but I found a better, over-the-top, column about it, here. An excerpt: But no one spoke of charging Eunice Stone with perpetrating a hoax. Because Stone is a portly blond nurse in her mid-forties and the three young men were dark skinned West and Central Asian-Americans, the burden of proof fell on the Muslims to defend themselves against the accusations of a ‘real American.’ Welcome to the new America.

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Shiver me timbers

Suddenly, I get stage freight. I’m not sure why. It isn’t writer’s block, because I know all sorts of funny little anecdotes that I’d like to put up on this blog. There is the great Pinkhaus story. Observations about the nutty bird that shares a house with my girlfriend and me. And yet, I fall silent.

It’s temporary, I’m sure. Just by writing this simple note, I feel the performance anxiety die down.

What caused it? Why silence for two weeks? Laziness cannot be discounted, but I’m able to rationalize two other factors. The first is posting to my blog now sends notifications to two other web sites (here and here), potentially, but not necessarily, increasing my audience (Hi, Mom!). The second factor is someone, somewhere, anonymously sent me a copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, which I just spoke of in my last blog entry.

Thank you, Mr. Anon. I will treasure it, but I am not sure of the message conveyed. Well, it is likely that I will get back into this. The Pinkhaus story to come shortly.

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Metablogs

Six Courses, One Stomach

While the Zoloft has helped my mood, nothing has ever been able to help me stay organized. My Palm molders on my nightstand. I find hand written phone numbers on scraps of paper with no identification to whom those numbers belong to. I have idea, after idea, after idea, and cannot work the alchemy to transform those ideas into material.

But this is all good news, really. I picture myself as a kind of mad genius, so I don’t really expect me to be organized or consistent. However, if the ideas go lacking, then I feel dried up and useless. This happened to me this past November to January. And this is why I’m near ecstatic that my muses are pelting me left and right with fantastic concepts. I only hope that I can realize some of these to fruition.

Towards that end, I’m going to note a couple (two-three) things, here, that I hope to achieve in the next few weeks. In a month or so, I’ll give a progress report.

  1. Lounge renovations: The Lounge is an anchor to my site. It is a shame that I let it flounder so long. But no more. I plan a Flash interface, hosted by Balby, with music and humor. I will also only put sections in the Lounge that are complete and have decent content. No more teasing. Finally, long-suffering Thom deserves a significant thank you from me for giving me so many good reviews. I hope he continues to do so, and I have a couple of surprises planned for him and his readers.

  2. Wystica: Wysitca is a fantasy world that a couple of my friends and I are setting up. I plan to post what we create in the creative section of my site. I have a couple of mythologies that I have to finalize, as well.

  3. Dystopia: A novel that I’m working on. I’d like to post it in installments in Creative, and get some feedback. I understand Dickens worked like that.

  4. Living Things, Bastille Day: And sure, why not continue and/or finish these as well.

  5. 15kB of Fame: Now that I’m getting comfortable with PHP and MySQL, I’m looking forward to having a robust bulletin board that completes my vision for 15kB of Fame.

  6. Writing emails, calling family and friends: The toughest challenge. But I will try. I will try. –JR

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The Horror of the Entities

This is pure HTML-geek stuff, so if you’re not interested, skip down to the previous entry, which is a lot more silly. Anyway, I was wondering why my apostrophes weren’t working with Movable Type (this very system for the blog). It isn’t that they wouldn’t show up correctly, but the XML syndication-thingy wasn’t working right through PHP. Hmmm… well, the best thing to do, I thought, was ignore it, and just use the stupid hash marks that everyone thinks are apostrophes, but really aren’t. Can you see the difference between these two things? 1. A hash mark:   ′   2. An apostrophe (or single-right quote):   ’   Well, I sure can. I hate hash marks, but I was using them anyway, because they were parsing better in the blog excerpt on my portal page. But then, innocently, I was testing some of my pages for HTML and CSS compliance, and I found out, horrors of horrors, that I was using the wrong thing all along anyway. I’ve always been making my apostrophes by using ’, but this is very bad, apparently, and will eventually cause browsers to choke and rotate their heads 360° and all that. What I, and everyone else, should be using is ’. I never even knew that the HTML entities could even get that large. But, if you’re still reading this, and the only two people I know who would be are Keith and, maybe, Dan, the complete list is at http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/guide/entities.html. Check it out, if you’re interested. It opened my eyes. And thanks to A List Apart, without which, I would still be blind. –JR

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It Sure Is Fun

Well, I surprised myself by writing a flat-out essay on Saturday night/Sunday morning. I didn’t think I had it in me. Now all I need are some readers. Is there anybody out there?

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A Blog for the Rest of Me

I’ll be honest: Blogs are all over the place, and I didn’t think it necessary to have one, myself. I kind of thought that they were a bit pretentious, and the owners of blogs were pretty self-centered. But then, I realized that my WHOLE Web site was self-centered and pretentious. So I added this blog. I can rationalize it, of course—I need to write more, since I haven’t added a poem or essay in over a year. If I could write just a little blog entry every day, it may grow into bigger things. All five of my loyal viewers would be happy to read what I have to say every couple of days or so. And hey! I’m interesting, dammit! Blah, blah, blah. So for now, it’s an experiment. If it gets my creative juices flowing (ugh, not a pretty picture), then it is worth the exercise is self-adsorption; otherwise, I’m just spitting against the wind. –JR