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Friday, October 17, 2003
3:45 PM      

Oh yeah, I forgot I had this screenshot from the Apple Site:

Looks like Apple just widened their footprint in the music downloading world.

[ link | e-me ]

3:39 PM      

I'm told that Beaujolais Nouveau goes great with peanut butter.

Sorèlle Bardolino is a very tasty wine, made up of 70% Corvena, 15% Rondinella, 5% Mollinara, 5% Barbera, and 5% Sangiovese. It goes well with a range of foods, but we found it didn't hit its stride until we'd allowed it to breathe in a decanter for at least an hour and a half. Once it opened, it was also good the next day, still chilled from the refrigerator. (We stopper our remaining wine with a Vac-U-Vin.)

The blurb on the back label says “Try a cool glass with a nice salami sandwich, like a real Italian!”



Former Ambassador Wilson says he plans to circulate the text of a briefing by analyst Sam Gardiner that suggests the White House and Pentagon made up or distorted over 50 war stories... Like how defense officials said the first Iraqi unit marines encountered, the 51st Mechanized Infantry Division, had surrendered four days before it actually did... Reported on


With Leaders Like These...
(or, Every Once in a While, These Guys Really let You Know how they Think)

“I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.”

General Boykin made the above comments about a 1993 battle with a Muslim militia leader in Somalia. Since then, he's described the counter-terrorist war as a battle with Satan, delivering some speeches to evangelical Christian churches in military uniform.

This guy is the Pentagon's new deputy undersecretary for intelligence. Not exactly the kind of speech that diminishes the perception that America is at war with Muslims. Not exactly the kind of language that reaffirms that the US Government is against hate speech. Now, the General says he'll tone-down his speech, and the Pentagon is busy making excuses for him.


...and you thought break-dancing was dead


Overheard the other day
A man, a girl about seven years old, and a woman, probably her grandmother have all been chatting at the bookstore. The woman and girl are about to leave.

Man: Don't grow up too fast.

Girl: [silent.]

Woman: They don't listen to that... c'mon, baby.


you know the drill

robot sneak-attack?

[ link | e-me ]

Thursday, October 16, 2003
10:49 AM      

“Klaatu Verada Nicto”
The headline doesn't say “Returns to Earth–” makes it sound like China is another planet. That's pretty funny. And, what's with repeating the headline? They link to two slightly different edits of the same story. Looks like a version control problem to me.

Seeing the reports of China's first manned space flight makes me think of the days when I watched the Gemini and Apollo missions on TV. It gives me a vague sense of the kind of nationalist pride and wonder that many Chinese must be feeling right now.

I watched every minute of the moon landing. We had an RCA console television. The remote control worked by high frequency sounds – it essentially had dog whistles mounted inside. We discovered that dropping pins or on the floor or jingling certain metallic objects at the right distance from the set made the channels change. About three days after we got the brand new set, one of us three brothers bounced something hard against the picture tube and left a mark that looked like a bullet graze near the bottom center of the screen. We watched TV that way for years.

Those were amazing times in this country. The original Star Trek series aired. Kids wanted to grow up to be scientists and astronauts. As a nation, it seemed we were more interested in discovery than destruction in the name of self-defense or maximizing corporate interests' desire for global domination. But, Vietnam was raging, and things weren't exactly as they seemed.


Tim Davis spoke at New School last night.His images are fascinating in their own right, but listening to him speak is a treat – he is certainly the most engaging photographer I've heard yet. He reminds me just a bit of John Malkovich. (Don't know if he'd appreciate that or not.) He's a poet too. Ironically he dislikes writing.

On his site, he writes:

In Ionesco's children's book, Story #2, "Papa teaches Josette the real meaning of words." He tells her that the bets on all names of things are off. She makes up the names. Ever since that book was dropped in my papoose, I've favored renaming everything. It's a way to resist authority. Visually, it's distrusting design. Less grandly, it's loving looking at things you're not supposed to. Architecture, for example, is a form for controlling human behavior. It's ideological. Try just noticing in every room you enter how some cognitive force has anticipated every move you make. Then notice how your presence in that room alters the grand design in infinite ways no architect could anticipate. You scratch surfaces. You add images. You misuse. That is how I feel about photography. It is the mapping of the way humans rename every syntax the designers can toss at us.

There's a lot here to savor. I, too love to look at things I'm not supposed to. But I've always been in love with words, and I'm fanatical (anal?) about applying the right word to a thing. I think it would be an interesting experiment to spend a week or two renaming everything.

Tim and I connected briefly before the session started. I'd drawn this doodle in my journal, and he spotted it. He looked at me and said something like “I often feel that way.” We have that in common.

A few other things that struck me from his talk:

• Baseball and photography were invented in the same year: 1839
• Tim showed a photograph of a mural on the side of an LA taco stand featuring a likenesses of Martin Luther King (I think JFK was there too) with the headline “ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE ONE TACO, ONE DESTINY.” – a different angle to the relationship between commerce and political discourse in this country.
• Manhattan has quietly transformed into a gated community
• All art can be looked at in terms of how it celebrates and criticizes the culture.
• Tim said “As an artist, you can't stay away from the things that stupidly attract you.” [Boy, did he ever describe me there!] He went on to suggest that sometimes you make a photograph just because, and discover later what it's about and call it art.


The exact cause of the 3:20 p.m. accident was not clear last night. But law enforcement officials said the ferry's pilot fled the scene to his home in the Westerleigh neighborhood of Staten Island, barricaded himself in a bathroom, slit his wrists and shot himself twice in the chest with a powerful pellet gun. - NY Times article [requires registration]

The first I heard of this, was on the train home from Tim's talk. The train announcer was saying “Because of an ongoing investigation on the Staten Island Ferry, ferry service is suspended in both directions...” The announcement went on to direct riders to 86th Street in brooklyn, where they could transfer... and I don't recall what else.

I was glad I didn't live in Staten Island, and wondered what could possibly have happened. I had no idea it was as bad as it turned out to be. Often I've heard announcements about “ongoing police investigations” and seen a thing about the incident afterward in the news. It's not quite business as usual, but it's easy to become numb to such announcements.


Microsoft began offering Windows XP users a single, convenient patch that combines 22 previous updates. It was aimed at customers who haven't diligently applied every software patch or who recently bought a new computer or recently installed Windows from scratch.

Well, if I were more reliant on my Virtual PC software, I suppose I'd worry about installing those patches. After all, that is real Win 98 running on a virtual CPU, so it's as vulnerable to Windows viruses as any wintel box.

In another story, I read about something like 30,000 known Windows viruses. Sheesh! I'm just glad I don't work in IT, or rely heavily on 'doze. This is one case where I don't mind that virus developers don't bother to write Mac-compatible code.


“Conquered Greece took her rude captor captive.”
Reading in The Annotated Mona Lisa, I was struck by the parallels between the relationship between Greek and Roman art, compared with that of the Mac and wintel:

Author Carol Strickland describes Roman art as being less idealized and intellectual, more secular and functional than Classical Greek art. She goes on to say that where the Greeks shined at innovation, the Romans' forte was administration.

It's not a perfect parallel, but it's not uncommon to hear folks describe once-frequent Mac-vs-PC discussions as “religious debates.”


Check out the work of Sködt McNalty at

[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
3:00 PM      

Forget what I told you about using that bit of CSS to put nice little borders around your images by default. It completely blows up on IE5/Win 98, and I suspect it does so on other versions of IE, too. I'm back to hand-coding my borders, unless I find a different way to code borders in CSS.

Virtual PC came in handy again. Denise called me up and told me that all she saw were a big blue and black boxes with bits of text scattered in- between on her machine at work. I have no wintel machines here, but it was a simple matter to launch Virtual PC and pull up the blog in Win98. Once I did, I could immediately see that things were not right, even though they had looked so beautiful on Safari.

I've been using Transmit to manage my FTP, for some time, and I've gone ga-ga over the direct editing feature in version 2.6.0. Instead of 1) downloading my CSS file, 2) opening it with an editor, 3) saving it, and 4) FTPing it back to the server, I can simply click "Edit," and the file opens in a text editing window. When I've completed my changes, I choose "Save" from the menu, and Transmit FTPs the changes back to the server.



Brought to you by the new color of money
I was standing at the bank teller window yesterday, when a woman at the next window noisily responded to the fuss about the new color scheme on the $20 bill. “I thought it was going to be a lot more colorful than that,” she said.

It is kind of funny, to see the government taking out $millions in advertising to let everyone know that they've added additional colors to our once all-green money. For one person, at least, the hype resulted in the typical let-down.


Neil Stephenson: Wired | cryptonomicon | Salon - “deep code”

I've got some catching-up to do. I really liked “Mona Lisa Overdrive” and “Snowcrash.” The man's been busy, and getting more and more ambitious.The Baroque Cycle sounds amazing. Along the way, I'll probably have to read Pynchon's “Gravity's Rainbow,” just to see what the fuss is all about.



At the bookstore yesterday, I noticed that both Chaka Khan and Donna Summer have autobiographies out. The P.A. soulfully intoned “...none of us are free if one of us is chained.” My bet – Solomon Burke.

Amazon even figured out that fans might want to read both, so they put together a little promotion. By the way, there's no additional savings for buying them together – that $34.24 is the same price you'd pay, if you bought them in two separate transactions.

The funniest book sighting yesterday? “The Natural History of the Rich” by Richard Conniff. The cover alone is hilarious, but the premise takes the cake: Conniff makes a behavioral analogy between the super-rich and various species of the animal kingdom.

[ link | e-me ]

Monday, October 13, 2003
10:08 PM      

The Salam Pax book made the New Releases table at the Court Street Barnes & Noble in Brooklyn Heights. Looks like they made some changes to the original cover art. Leaving out the reference to blogging in the title probably gives it a broader appeal. I'm not so sure that it should be referred to as a “clandestine diary,” though. Seems a very large part of the world knew of the “Where is Raed” blog. Maybe “anonymous diary” would have been more fitting.


Good links

Chris Vande Guchte brings anatomically correct baby dolls to life. He also demonstrates the story telling power of a skilled craftsman. These images are amazing.

His show, “Sweetie Baby,” at ASpace Gallery, has been extended through November 2. You have to see these images "in the flesh" to get their full impact. These are superb quality selenium-toned gelatin-silver prints.

Another emerging Brooklyn photographer is Elizabeth White, whose black and white photography evokes a peaceful, meditative mood.


Scene around Brooklyn

'nuff said

Portrait of the Jedi as a young girl

Not your typical giraffe-iti

Who ya gonna call?

[ link | e-me ]

Sunday, October 12, 2003
8:24 PM      

- Turkish proverb

CD Spin
It only took a Princeton grad student three days to figure out how to disable SunnComm Technologies Inc.'s MediaMax CD-3 copy protection. BMG recently released its first CD using the technology a few weeks ago.The trick? – Holding down the shift key when you insert the CD.

Now the spin: “SunnComm president Bill Whitmore said the technology was more about enabling consumers' rights rather than preventing all copying...” Hmmm...


Fulton Ferry Landing

Parents can really go to contortions to get a good shot of their kid

Photography unites cultures?



Pat Robertson, Terrorista?
I think Pat's slipping – you know, losing it. During an interview on his show "The 700 Club" with Joel Mowbray, author of "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security," he said this:

"I read your book. When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer.' I mean, you get through this, and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.'" article

Maybe he'd just watched Monty Python's the Holy Grail, and got carried away with the Holy hand grenade metaphor.

Just to be clear, Robertson is a Bush supporter. I guess he's merely anti- State Department. This is the same Pat Robertson that put out a prayer hit on the Supreme Court a few weeks ago. Why doesn't he just issue a fatwa? Does he believe God is a mobster?



Still think using a phone to take a pic looks silly


Spotted this in a magazine, and it made me laugh: “I thought I would marry you until you told me that 'Jenny from the Block' was the song you related to most.


Today's CSS Treat
I've been hand-coding the border attributes on each of my photos for a long time, because I had a control issue – I knew how to set a default border attribute for an image in CSS, but if I used it inside a link, the border would take on the <a> tag behavior. Here's my solution:

img { border: 1px solid 666666; }
a:link img { border: 1px solid 666666; }
a:visited img { border: 1px solid 666666; }
a:hover img { border: 1px solid 000066; }

Now, I don't have to code border attributes for each image, unless I specifically want to override the standard CSS (almost never).

[Nice idea, but it doesn't work.This code craps out on IE5/Win 98, which is a huge portion of the installed base of web browsers. Interestingly, it's OK on IE5/Mac, as well as Safari... Looks like I've still got my control issue...]


The Cro-Neanderthal in Me
In The Annotated Mona Lisa, author Carol Strickland tells us that the urge to make images began 25,000 years ago with the Cro-Magnon. Earlier still, were the Neanderthals – whose obsession was tool making. I'd say I have a healthy dose of each of those urges.



[ link | e-me ]
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