Monday, December 22, 2003

Earthquake Halfway Between SF and LA

Thank goodness it's not too populated there -- no where near as congested as San Fran or LA.

CA Earthquake

Whoa! Hope everyone makes it through okay. Sounds rough out there. Boy do I remember those LA quakes we lived through and all the aftershocks in the weeks that followed.

Terrific Day

I had a terrific afternoon meeting up with Kevin Salwen and Anita Sharpe, two local writers and ex-Wall Street Journal reporters who are so full of style and smarts and good ideas. They took me to lunch at Ted's Montana Grill, that being Ted Turner's cool restaurant where they talked me into having a BISON STEAK. Not bad! I mean you need to take a little bit of time and some dental floss to get the fur out of your teeth afterwards, but what the heck.

It was an amazing meal from beginning to end, but as I told them it started with a complete BRAND BLOW-OUT. Here in Atlanta, home of Coke headquarters, they served us Cokes -- real old fashioned Cokes in the green bottles together with big Coke Fountain glasses filled with chipped ice, just like a soda fountain treat and they were so good.

Meanwhile, everyone in Atlanta is so friendly and nice and these two seem to know every single resident. We had so many people come up to us and say hello, it was getting ridiculous. The place was packed too, with holiday lunch eaters and company parties.

The waitress came over and started giving me all the dirt on bison -- she got her first statement mixed up though, assuring me "Bison is very low in calories. It's got less chicken than fat."

I looked at her, "try me again."

"I mean, it's got less fat than chicken."

At this point I asked her if I could have the chicken-fried bison steak, the one that was 100% fat.

Ended up the bison steak, (which IS low-fat) was really good and we had a great meal talking about where this wild economy is going, what the business environment is doing these days and what we can expect in 2004. Sounds very very bullish -- or maybe bisonish -- even better than bullish.

Virtual Intimacy

Been thinking about this and wondering if there's something less real about the friendships we strike up online. Or maybe they are more real as you get deep into head and heart so damned fast.

Oh Hell!

I knew it! I knew Jeneane would out-write me and definately stay up later and get the first blog account on paper. Okay, it's true, I'm a little energetic. But Jeneane is no wallflower either. She is so pretty and smooth and stylish and thoughful. I loved to watch her up close. She has a great wise heart and shares it just right. I was telling her and George about how weird and wonderful it was to meet Gary Turner and how when I first met him to see him up close was so weird when I'd gotten used to flat 2D photos. It was like they'd made this cool blow-up doll toy based on this guy named Gary Turner.

Talking to George about music, how he started playing as a kid, how we wanted every instrument, how he found his way to being a bass player -- very interesting. And musicians see (hear) the world in such a different way from the rest of us, it's always great to hang out with them.

How Lucky Am I!

I finally got to meet Jeneane and George Sessum last night. They are so totally swell and we had just a YUCK-YUCK-YUCK fest. Both are funny and smart and kind and sexy and friendly and great. Only sorry I couldn't meet the famous and fabulous Jenna who's been sick with a cold. I know if Jeneane has written anything about last night on her site it's probably 100% more entertaining. I better go over there and look. They had me laughing and crazy last night.

Small World

The poem below is written by Matthew Epstein, a new friend of mine and a great poet who went to Columbia University's MFA program (master of fine arts) at nearly the same time I did, but we never knew one another there. After Columbia, Matthew worked as an air traffic controller and a pilot, probably a rare if not completely unique skill set for an alum of the writing program (he was in the poetry division, I was in fiction) and has a most interesting background, full of life experiences unlike most poets I know. He also lived in LA, as we figure it, probably about the same time I did. (I love his descriptions of LA roads and canyons in the poem below.) To make a long story short, we ended up running into one another in a bookstore and finding out we live very near one another in the same town, after traveling similar roads for 20 years from New York to California to Boston.

When we talk and when I read his poetry, I find a way to understand, and feel a great sense of homecoming, as to how I see the world. The smallest gesture or an inanimate object in the world is full and ripe with meaning for me often as not. The things of this world hold meaning when the things people say often ring hollow and empty for me. The light on the yuccas and the shaky footing on the docks at Marina del Rey in the poem below say everything about the reality of the world this boy lives in -- despite the words the parents speak repeatedly, "You're safe and loved" when the boy knows this is not at all true.

It's a treasure to know people and make new friends who have a gut level understanding of your way of seeing the world and your work. I don't write that much poetry any more, but a little now and then, but so much of my other writing has this poet's point-of-view, I really appreciate Matthew understanding that and talking to me about it. I hope all people can find friends who "get" the work they are doing and help enjoy and inform the process of their work. It's a blessing.

After My Parents Divorced


-- by Matthew B. Epstein

I’m told I’m safe and loved.

At 11 o’clock on Sunday morning,
my father came late to pick me up
from my mother’s and her new wealthy husband’s
stone and glass-walled house, high up Laurel Canyon,
on top of the Hollywood Hills.

My mother kept my father outside the front door for a long time.
My mother’s new husband was watching the game.
I listened from down the hall over the football noise:

something about late child support.

My father wrote a check
(which later bounced)
and guided me with an encircling arm
to his old Plymouth Valiant without seat belts.

He said I’m safe and loved.

Down we spiraled through Laurel Canyon
to his new wife’s small bungalow
in the flats of Los Angeles.

In the afternoon,
we drove west to Marina del Rey,
stepped lightly on docks lined with sailboat masts,
and strolled out on the stony breakwater.

My father held my hand to steady me
on the uncertain surface.
The sun glared and sparkled off the green ocean.
and he flipped down his clip-on shades,
while my striped shirt billowed in the breeze off the sea
like a drawn curtain before an open window.


Through the Pacific wind I heard
I’m safe and loved.

After dinner that night,
I watched the Disney show on the black and white.

In the kitchen, my father and his new wife
argued about money,
something about late child support.
She spoke clearly above the theme song,
“When You Wish Upon a Star,”

“We only fight when Matthew’s here.”
I listened from the sunken living room.

I know I’m safe and loved.

It was time, at eight o’clock,
to swerve back up the canyon road.
At each curve,
my father’s old Plymouth’s headlight beams
swept the dark yuccas and bougainvillea.

We parked on the steep street
before my mother’s and her new wealthy husband’s
Hawaiian-style house, hunching over Los Angeles.

My father turned the engine off, faced me in the streetlight shadows,
and told me, before he rang the doorbell:
I’m safe and loved.

My mother rushed me in her new house,
greedily, a possession.

No matter what, my mother said
I need to know I was home now and
I’m safe and loved.

Later my mother’s new wealthy husband beat me
with his striped belt:

something about late child support.

My mother watched TV
and didn’t hear me cry
through all of “Upstairs, Downstairs.”

My father was long gone, down the hill forever.

I whispered over and over through tears,
in the dark, till sleep:

I’m safe and loved.
I must be safe and loved.
I’ll always be safe and loved.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Network Intelligence

The same things Bush doesn't understand about terrorists' networks and cells, he doesn't understand about political networks. He thinks you squash them from the top down. The desire of common people -- a network of common people -- to embrace our own democratic action and to take the power of politics back into our own hands is embedded in the Dean network. We are nodes in this network. If Dean walked away tomorrow, we would still have that desire to take action. We would still act. Just as Frank Rich describes in his great piece in The New York Times today, we're about to witness a battle royale of top-down heirarchical politicians against a broad network of grass roots supporters who are just as sick of George Bush as our forefathers were sick of King George.

Ten Reasons I Can't Have a Dean House Party But I'm Having One Anyway



1. I can't have a house party because my house isn't a house, it's an apartment, because I can't afford to buy a house because I'm a divorced single mom with a kid, barely scraping by and my apartment is small and I don't want to have a party in my small apartment and have a lot of people show up with muddy boots and not have enough room for them or enough food -- which makes me stop dead in my tracks and think, I REALLY need Dean to be president.

2. What would I wear? I guess jeans and a tee shirt.

3. What food would I serve? I guess carrots, celery and nachos.

4. What if it snows? I guess it will even prettier then, I'll light candles and I'd ask everyone to leave their boots outside.

5. What music will I play? Easy, Pink's Get The Party Started.

6. What if some of my Republican relatives want to drop by? They're cool, it's okay.

7. What if a lot of radical weirdos wanted to drop by? Highly unlikely, everyone I've met connected with the Dean campaign so far has been kind, reasonable, generous, funny and surprisingly ordinary. They want what I want, to remember how to be a citizen and take back the country and show our kids how democracy works.

8. What if I don't want to talk during the conference call with Dean because I'm feeling shy? No big deal, I'll just listen.

9. What if I feel awkward asking people for money? Well, I might feel awkward but when I gave money to the Dean campaign before and they asked me for other email addresses of people who might want to give and I gave them those names -- those people actually THANKED ME FOR PASSING ALONG THEIR NAMES. That blew my mind, because I don't give anyone's email to anyone usually.

10. What if I had a terrific time and I was really glad I threw a house party for Dean on December 30th? Well, I guess I'll just have to try it and get back to you on that.

Catch you later. I have to go clean up my apartment and get ready to party.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Saturday Night Fever

I forget people really do like to go out on Saturday night. I'm much more of a corny stay-at-home girl I guess.

Gone With The Wind

I made it to this lovely southern village which is so big, international and cool, I forgot how much I love Atlanta!

BARLOW BLOGGING!!!

Now this is a great day! Go John Perry!!!!

Off To Atlanta

Catch you over there. Now remind me if it's 15 degrees there.

Something Pretty

Some days you just need to look at something pretty I think. Right, girls? Right, guys?

[Okay, okay, I'm out of the closet and admit I'm a card-carrying heterosexual. Guilty as charged.]

More From The Oil Wars

Gas up your SUV's kids. And don't miss the next chapter in the oil wars. Yes, thanks to Boris for Moore From The Oil Wars.

Draft Oprah

I've been saying draft Oprah for a long time. It's a no-brainer. I think she's the best.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Happy Chanukah!

Mazel Tov from the uber-shiksa! Have a lovely Chanukah!

No More Santa

I passed rather quickly over the fact that this Christmas is the THE CHRISTMAS that my son figured out, at the ripe old age of 8, and announced to me rather woefully, that there is no Santa. It's a big deal and I've been wanting to write about it all week. There's a complicating issue that he feels he must pretend for his dad (my ex) that he still believes in Santa for some reason, which I found oddly touching and poignant.

I want to go to that place in my heart where all the signs are still posted with messages like SANTA LIVES! and a sign that says SANTA HAS A BIG SURPRISE FOR YOU! and SANTA LOVES YOU! as I know that place is still alive and well. No parent or teacher or grinch managed to shut it down in me, whether they tried to or not. I nodded politely when they told me whatever they told me and looked down at my shiny black patent leather Mary Janes shoes and thought, "Liars! Of course there's Santa and of course he's gonna bring me something incredible."

As a grown-up girl (something my son calls me, which is to underline the fact that he knows I'm a girl and don't like to get punched in the arm or rough-house and roll around wrestling on the floor with him like his dad and other boys do, but also I'm a grown-up and not like the girls in his class, all of which he hates now and will adore in about 3 years) I still get that rush when I look into a big red shiny christmas bulb and see my face stretched smiley red and happy, as I dream up some excellent surprise Old St. Nick has up his sleeve or in his big red bag for me. A girl can wish, right?

And I think all grown-up boys and girls should feel that crazy thrill at this time of year that something perfectly insane and wonderful and unexpected can happen. All it takes is a little imagination. All it takes is stepping outside of our usual routine and doing something nice for someone and letting them do something nice for us.

I want to put my finger on that feeling -- what it would feel like to feel indulged, pampered, showered with an amazing love and kindness -- which is what the Santa Thing is all about. It's getting away from the heavy feelings that paying the bills and the mortgage can bring on; the worries that illnesses, loss of jobs, loss of physical ability can dump on us; the regret at opportunties lost to us, or the just plain sadness of friends or family lost. All that worry and worldly weight. We need a few days a year to throw it all off. We need to get kissed under the mistletoe by someone who really shouldn't be kissing us and we really shouldn't be kissing. We need to let our hearts get giddy with glee like kids ripping open pretty packages. We need to remember all of that can happen.

I guess I'm going to have to sit that kid down and give him a piece of my mind. Tell him he's got it all wrong about there being no Santa. Let him know this is the best Christmas ever, because now he's old enough to be drafted into the Santa Corps where we all learn to dress up in red and white outfits and play Santa for one another.

This Flu Business

There is so much confusion and misinformation and semi-panic swirling around this flu situation, I want to take a long slow look at all the facts today and decide whether I need (I didn't get) or my son needs a flu shot. The CDC has issued a statement about the MRSA staph infection problem. Seems there are antibiotic resistant staph germs that give little kids with flu the 1-2 punch and the real problem is not the flu but these MRSA infections. Jeneane writes about it here.

Just about the time I was going to get a flu shot, (which honestly I almost never get and also don't tend to get the flu) they made it clear that this year's flu shot is not the one that's really infecting people anyway -- it's another strain of flu. And yes, yes, I read that it's good to get the shot even if it's not the exact type of flu strain, still the whole thing is difficult to get a handle on.

My tendancy is as little medicine as possible please, whether it be aspirin, pain killers, whatever. I guess you could say I'm antibiotic resistant too.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'll Be Home For Christmas

I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree

Christmas eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Hero Miles

Just one more reminder, as I'm sure you've read about this before, that you can donate your frequent flyer miles to help solders get home for the holidays. Here's the link.

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I Want My MTV

I love to watch MTV, also VH! for good solid business trend information and leading economic indicators. Seriously, you see stuff there that you don't see anywhere else. For TV, I think both music channels tell you what's new and what's coming down the pike sooner than anything you'd see on Bloomberg or CNBC. Just watch the ads. They tell volumes.

Sting looks so sexy and thin and yoga-ed out and strong. He's a trend all unto himself. He tells you that guys over 50 looking really fit are about to RULE. I have a personal theory about this -- older men are going to start feeling enormous pressure to look good, the way women have always felt they were being judged non-stop on their looks. The high divorce numbers support this. Older men are in the meat market again and if they don't look good -- it's going to be tough on them. Throw Demi Moore into the equation and know that if your a man over 50, you're competing with young men for all women now. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is also about getting men into make-over mode.

Lots of condom public service spots featuring older guys too. We want you guys to get the message. Young girls insist on condoms now. Thank god for that.

Christina Aguilera is great. I love her. But she's really fallen off the trashy girl deep end. I think she's a better singer than all the other gal girls in her neighborhood, Brittney, Beyonce but she's got to go off the spectrum in terms of turning her sexuality inside out to get back to herself. Next year she'll be right in her sweet spot.

Nick Cannon's Gigolo rap video is talking about the end of marriage. We're turning into Date Nation -- ask George Clooney. Marriage as an economic institution is over. Love is getting outsourced out of marriage. This means women needing to support themselves, buy financial products, buy their own houses. Charlies' Angels I video called Independent Women by Destiny's Child already spelled that trend out about 2 years ago. Now the economy's back, and the people who get how to connect to women -- Schwabb, Fidelity -- are going to kick ass.

The Brittney/Madonna video might as well be a corporate board meeting. The chairwoman of the board in her sexy 3 piece white suit -- Madonna -- handing over the rock/porno babe industry to the her heir apparent, Brittney. They seal the deal with a kiss. It's not about sex, it's about commerce. And some passing of knowledge from older to younger babe women. The next big thing may be female mentoring and older women crashing open barriers for their younger sisters.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Kaye Trammell Award Night

Here's a long overdue rave about the now famous blogger Kaye Trammell, who was nothing short of terrific at the BloggerCon conference this past fall. I should have blogrolled her months ago -- so sorry -- and I know you'll all add her to your list and start reading her on a regular basis. Kaye, love your writing and also your pix.

China

Whoa! Lots going on over there. 8% growth -- not bad. China. China. China.

Talking About Simple Stuff

I was talking with someone today about how much you need someone in your life to just talk to about all the simple stuff that happens during your day. There's really something satifying and necessary about the "Honey, I'm home," conversations couples take for granted at the end of the day.

Warren Bennis Spotting!

Lovely lunch today at Casablanca in Harvard Square with excellent witty company. But also extraordinary was looking over and suddenly spotting Warren Bennis a few tables away. I am a big fan of this USC Marshall Business School professor and author of many books. I couldn't resist going over and telling him I'm his biggest fan.

I heard him speak last year on work/life balance and how this current generation of 20-30 year olds -- and especially young men -- are driving this change in the workplace. He's a great speaker. I must have seemed like a silly schoolgirl begging for his autograph -- which I actually resisted getting -- but I can't get enough of the guy.

You And I Both

YOU & I BOTH
words & music by jason mraz

Was it you who spoke the words that things would happen but not to me

Oh things are gonna happen naturally

And taking your advice I'm looking on the bright side

And balancing the whole thing

But often times those words get tangled up in lines

And the bright lights turn to night

Until the dawn it brings

A little bird who'll sing about the magic that was you and me



Cause you and I both loved

What you and I spoke of

What you and I spoke of

Others only dream of the love that I love



See I'm all about them words

Over numbers, unencumbered numbered words

Hundreds of pages, pages, pages forwards

More words then I had ever heard and I feel so alive

Now you and I, you and I

Not so little you and I anymore

And with this silence brings a moral story

more importantly evolving is the glory of a boy



you and I both loved what you and I spoke of

and others just read of and if you could see now

well I'm already finally out of



and it's okay if you have go away

just remember the telephone works both ways

and if I never ever hear it ring

if nothing else I'll think the bells inside

have finally found you someone else and that's okay

cause I'll remember everything you sang



you and I both loved what you and I spoke of

and others just read of and if you could see now

well I'm already finally out of words.

-- Jason Mraz

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hey Atlanta -- Teach Me How To Party

I'm finally getting a chance to visit a favorite town of mine -- Atlanta! I'll be there this weekend for work/fun/family stuff. Jeneane's got a cold, but assures me she'll be well by the weekend. Drop me email if any of you Georgian bloggers will be around -- and also, what's better Saturday 20th or Sunday 21st for a get together?

Shame-faced

I do appreciate it when people drop me email out of the blue, but I always feel terrible when it reminds me that I haven't been keeping up with their blog. Jonathan's been writing some interesting stuff, but I am not au courant. Trotting over there to get up to date.

Courting Delacour

Excellent writer and A-list blogger Jonathan Delacour sent me a very interesting email this morning about this post I wrote, called "Sexual Globalization" and told me it had left him ... pensive ... and that he will be blogging about it. Blog away, sir.

Shave And A Haircut

One of the most interesting details in this unusual wire story on the Chinese Sexual Culture Museum is the suggestion that you can't find a plain old haircut anymore:
The sex industry is thriving as never before. As with elsewhere in Asia, men say finding a barbershop that actually offers haircuts rather than more personal services can be a challenge.

6000 Years Of Sex

Isn't it all a bit much? I don't know if I want the 71-year-old curator of the Chinese Sexual Culture Museum to show me 6000 years of sex. Makes me want to roll over to the other side of the bed and say, "honey, I have a headache."

Monday, December 15, 2003

Naughty Or Nice?

Santa asked me to check with each of you personally. Come on, fess up. You been naughty? You been nice? Maybe you've been naughty and nice? Which is it?

This Is A Joke, Right?

A friend sent this my way today. Hmmm, says I.

Saddam Sims Living Large

So is it true, you can now get the game version where Saddam starts in the palace and ends up in the spider hole? Whoa!

Everyone Gets A Hall Pass Today

This is a crazy day, so everyone gets an excuse today to do something they shouldn't be doing. I'm issuing hall passes for anyone who wants one -- skip any class you want today. I think we're all having a post-Saddam hangover.

Joy Joy Joi

Quitting drinking is very very good. Rah, rah, rah! Joining AA is even better. Remember you have the monolithic Japanese business culture to combat if you decide to stop -- and that's a helluva drinking culture.

Here are some sobering words, Joi. The older I get, the more I see alcohol totally screwing people up. Really smart people. Really nice people. Really creative people. It wrecks them little by little by little. And they put themselves out of business, out of commission, out of a job, out of a friendship, out of a relationship, out on the street.

It's never cool. It's never funny. It's pathetic.

It seems cool at 20. It's workable at 30. It's tricky at 40. It's a disaster most likely by 50. I see it happen every day. I see someone really talented who should have gotten a certain job but they put themselves out of the running because of drinking and someone probably a lot less talented, but sober, gets the job or opportunity or award.

I don't drink very much, I don't like it. I'm very lucky it's not a tempation for me. It's really a serious disease for many people.

Here's how it works with me and why I hate it. If I stay up late for a fancy dinner and get drunk, I get fat from eating too late. I eat too much because I'm drunk. I'm too tired to exercise early in the morning because I'm hung over. I can barely drag my butt out of bed and I lose the whole next day and maybe the day after for exercising. If I stop exercising I feel really lousy and want to feel better so ... you guessed it, I might eat too much and drink. It's a spiral -- DOWNWARD -- instead of the other direction.

If I don't drink, I get up early, I exercise, I feel good, I feed myself carefully that day, I feel better so I don't drink, and since I don't drink, I feel even better, end of the day, I'm tired early because I got up early and since I worked out I sleep like a log.

I'm happy to quit drinking in sympathy with you Joi and you call/email/IRC/IM me any time and I'll teach you how to make my 1/3 cranberry juice, 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 sparling water trompe l'oeil planters punch.

Vanishing Blogrolls -- Selfish UI

More and more weblogs are taking down their blogrolls. What gives? It's a selfish UI to either hide them (inconveniently) on another page or simply get rid of a blogroll completely, especially as more and more new readers are getting turned on to weblogs.

Roach motel thinking -- a reader can check in but never check out. A blogroll-less blogger makes the arrogant assumption they have so much to offer, no one would EVER want to leave their weblog. Yeah, right sure.

School Today

Kids are whining. Parents are saying "Phew!"

The Big Question

School today or not? We've had a pile of weird weather including snow, rain, ice, sleet, you name it. My kid's asleep, but I better flip on the local TV and watch the banner at the bottom of the screen, running school afer school alphabetically, announcing what's closed, what's open and producing happy screams or sad moans in houses all over town.

I Can't Help Thinking

I can't help thinking the "informant" that really sent them to Saddam's spider hole was a WOMAN. Hell hath no fury ...

Doc Round-up

Doc has a great round-up of many of the Iraqi bloggers and websites which really tell it like it is.

Many Gifts

This morning I'm awake and need to remember that even THAT is a gift. But I'm in a skittery-scattery mood. Not good, bothered by many small worries, little things that vex me, Monday things that should have been done Thursday last.

I unroll my purple yoga mat -- I have two, a deep oceany blue, and a royal violet lavendar purple one -- and on that mat do some simple exercises, only a half hour or so of them, but once again, miraculously reset the psyche, remembering all the important things in life, leaving the non-essential behind on the floor. Rememberring my many gifts. My health. My son. My friends. My love of words. My luck. My sense of humor. My sense of fun. My strong body. Actually, I'm battling the "I feel fat" demon. My parents are both gone, but they were there today laughing at my vanity. I feel fatter than usual thanks to winter hibernation, Xmas chocolates and too much sitting around inside and I don't like it. Like a small breeze, I remember My parents' serious worries as they watched me waste away as a kid through many illnesses where I just about died. They see my healthy body of today a little differently. They'd say I was too thin anyway and I should be thankful for a strong, pretty body that keeps me safe and well through winter. Okay, okay, they're right.

One yoga pose has you sitting very still, you have legs stretched out straight. You pull one leg in, wrap your arm around it, turn looking to your right, then further right then even further right until you're about twisted pretzelish, looking behind you actually.

Behind me on my dining room table I see three large round candles flickering yellow light, next to the Christmas tree filled with tiny stars of light as well. The candles on the table stand as tall as the figures next to them, half a wine bottle in height -- roughly carved and painted wise men, angels, a chunky baby jesus. The light is so simple. Might just get one feeling hopeful, thankful, blessed.

My favorite exercise is to roll my mat back up and put it away. I was a bit cranky, a bit worried, a bit fearful when I unrolled the mat this morning, but something else is in the place of that fretfulness now. The day will be fine, if not wonderful. It's all pretty simple. Just be there and be thankful.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Hillary POV

Andrew Sullivan's essay on Hillary Clinton is worth a second read considering today's events, even if you already read it a while back, or worth a first read if you missed it.

We Got Him, But ...

David Weinberger raises some important points to consider after we come down from our "We Got Him" binge.
But just for the record: Our president systematically lied to us in order to get us to go to war; we were told we were in imminent danger when we were not. We went in without a plan for getting out or realistic expectations about what we were letting ourselves in for. We have sold the official looting rights to the administration's closest friends. It all was a cynical distraction from the failure of our war on terrorism. Our unilateralism sets a dangerous precedent and makes us less safe. And we will not know even if the ends justifed the means for years when the ultimate fate of Iraq and the region is clearer.

$750,000 Cash

Yankee dollars no less. Isn't that a lot of pocket money for an old man who lives in a spider hole to be carrying around?

Bush Speech

Short and sweet. Good speech for the occasion. I found the TV artifice of the door opening silently, Bush stepping out ... speaking ... and then the door opening and Bush disappearing behind the door, to be very stagey and weird.

Saddam Lexicon

I'll fill them all in later. Just want to start a list.

Spider Hole = hidden passage hiding place, but not sure if it must be part of a network of passages -- checking

HVT = high value target

Nuremberg Defense = From the trials of the administrators of Hilter's horrors, the Nuremberg defense is the fairly irresponsible and lame posture that "I was just doing what they told me to do."

British Prime Minister Howard Dean?

Interesting gaffe on the ABC News w/Stephanopolis announcing a statement by Dean and cutting to Tony Blair ... whoops!

Dean Weighs In

Statement from Gov. Dean's blog. Is it me, or do I just go to blogs for the update and not TV anymore? TV is not in any way DEEP enough.

Give Me The Story Mom

I give my 8-year-old a simplified version of the Saddam capture story -- bad guys, good guys -- but he says to me right off, "Well if we think on our side that he's the bad guy, doesn't their side think we're the bad guys?" The complexity of a child's world is not to be underestimated.

Holy Newsroom

Can you imagine the hell breaking loose in TV newsrooms when they got this story -- only an hour or so before the Sunday morning political shows air? Yikes. Thank goodness those shows are used to going live anyway. They may just be the most "live" news these days. Most the the evening news programs are canned.

Network Terror

I think we need to resist thinking that once we've got Saddam, the whole thing is a piece of cake, or a cake walk or we can have our cake and eat it too. No seriously, if you think in a heirarchial way, the notion that you get the big guy and the game is over has some validity. But if you think from a network perspective, this may be a very small and dangerous move on a very complicated chess board. You can take out the king, but get taken out by rooks, bishops, knights, you name it. We are not dealing with heirarchical thinkers. We're dealing with a network of evil intelligence which may be outhinking us every step of the game.

No Sullivan, No Searls on Saddam Yet

Jeff Jarvis and Instapundit are all over the story. No Andrew Sullivan yet, no Doc (it's dawn in PST) -- look forward to hearing their take.

Dead Tree Media Stumped on Saddam

I haven't even had a chance to look, but with the release of the Hussein capture early on Sunday morning, I suspect all the paper newspapers have missed the story. This will make it an even more interesting day for blogging.

Captured And Probably Not Invited For Christmas Dinner At The Ranch In Crawford Texas

Seems they've captured Saddam Hussein.

Christmas Quesadilla

This is just how to make one quesadilla. It's very easy. This is what I like to eat for breakfast.

You need one egg, some bacon (or bacon bits), green pepper chopped up, and some shredded cheese or a square of American cheese, also one or two flour tortillas.

I'm calling it a Christmas Quesadilla for no good reason -- actually because it's red and green if you use the bacon bits and green pepper. You can give up on the green pepper -- it a pain to chop anyway, but don't give up on the bacon bits, they make all the difference.

Everything I cook is very easy.

You need a big flat griddle pan or flat saucepan. Best if it's non-stick.

Heat it up to about medium high -- get ready to make a fried egg.

A little butter or oil if you like that and don't have a non-stick pan. Or no lubricant if you're scared of fat.

Crack the egg, let the yellow break, let it run in a few directions until it's about the same diameter as the tortilla. Put the big round flour torilla right on top of the runny egg. The egg should stick to the tortilla NOT the pan. I press it down with my hand to feel the egg bubbling up and getting glued to the underside of the cool tortilla, which gets hot fast, don't let your hand linger there too long. You can use a spatula for this too. You're just making sure the egg is adhering to the tortilla -- this is key to the whole recipe. Let it cook about a minute.

Take the spatula and dig in around the edges to be sure your egg is stuck to your tortilla. If it's not sticking, it's not ready to flip.

If it's stuck flip it.

Now you have a tortilla on the bottom and a fried egg (still slightly gooey) stuck on top of it.

Add shredded cheese (or a square of American Cheese), bacon bits, minced green pepper.

Semi-circle quesadilla -- run out the door version: If you're not that hungry, you can make a semi-circle quesadilla by just folfing the tortilla in half, so the cheese and egg and everything melt together. Cook about 30 seconds. Take out of the pan, put on a paper napkin or thin paper plate, Fold it again like you're wrapping it in a paper napkin blanket, if you're running out the door and want to take it with you fast.

Round quesadilla -- eat at home version: If you're very hungry, put another tortilla on top of this, so you have a tortilla sandwich of sorts with all the stuff in between. This is the "eat at home on a plate" version. I put it on a cutting board and cut it up like a pizza.

Up Up Late Late Late

Not my usual thing, but it's a lovely night, cold shiny moon out there and finally back home in my warm little joint. Big Xmas party night. I'm tired. Ut oh, it's already Sunday.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

I'll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places

I still find it semi-astounding that someone can end up on my weblog a few seconds after doing a search on Yahoo Hong Kong in Chinese. What can they possibly think my weblog is about when they arrive at my doorstep ...

Go Rageboy You Little Collaborative Filterer!

Well, it's a perfect day now. I just bought something at Amazon -- a videogame -- and the following message popped up:

PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THIS ALSO BOUGHT:

C'MON, C'MON -- Sheryl Crowe
DOWN THE ROAD -- Van Morrison
GONZO MARKETING -- Chris Locke

Way to go, man. You sure keep cool company.

Three Pair of Pants

Note to self: ask parents of girls if they are as messy as boys and as messy to be NEAR as boys. It's not even 3:00pm yet and my 8-year-old has now caused enough catastrophic mess near me that I've changed into a third pair of pants since this morning -- rather typical Saturday -- and I wonder why I feel like I spend a lot of time doing laundry. One pair of black corduroy jeans at the bottom of washer covered with yellow mustard. One pair of blue blue jeans with soda poured all down one leg. Third pair of pants on me, but in no way sanguine about them lasting very long.

Also have a bandaid on one finger. Otherwise unscathed. So far.

Never More True

To err is human, to forgive divine.

Thanks to a friend, who just forgave me for doing an utterly boneheaded thing.

Good season for forgiveness. Excellent present, thank you.

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Light Hearts Of Children

Glad to hear Liz is back after a week of mourning the sudden death of her sister's husband -- husband of only six months. Made me think of the time after my mom died and my son was very young, only about 2 and 1/2 and how there was little time to dwell on sadness, but instead toddler needs to attend to.

The babies seem so untouched and during mourning, they can seem almost unseemly in their obliviousness. They cry, they fuss, they giggle, they gurgle along and you resist their light heartedness at first. You can resent how carefree they seem as you suffer. You marvel at their disconnect from time, place, past, future, life, death.

But in the end, I remember being thankful that they restart this weighty loadstone of life rolling again. A meal must be made. A diaper must be changed. A child must be dressed and taken out to the park for a walk. They wear you out and bring solid sleep that others in the same sad house have trouble finding. Before you notice, something sweet and funny they do has you laughing. They levitate your heavy heart with magic little hands these babes. And we think we're wise and they are naive, as to how to live in this world.

Tom Peters' Book Is Full Of It

Really, it's so full of innovation and new ways to see things and so many interesting ideas, it's quite something. I hope you've trotted out to buy it by now, or let your fingers do the clicking. I don't want to keep going on and on about it, but David Weinberger and I got to catch up with Tom last night, since he was here to do a book signing at The Harvard Coop and then we had the treat of being wined and dined by him and his terrific crew of co-creatives.

The book really is an astounding compendium of total wow-a-tude. If you don't know his work (David and I have been fans for way long) and want a good comprehensive jumping in point, get the book. And of course, as wowish as the book is, he's 100% more wowish in person. He makes me feel so old. He's full of good ideas and so OPEN to cool new stuff, he's like hanging out with a goddamned teenage kid. Next time, I'm going to pace myself, maybe bring along a little portable oxygen.

404 Error -- Sorry Clay

I was trying to call someone in Atlanta and looked at my call list in my cell phone of recent incoming/outgoings and saw 404 area code and thought, "That's the one." Nah, got a new friend in Burlington, VT instead of warmer Georgia. Whoops, sorry Clay.

Instapundit Watch

Okay, I just asked Instapundit to put me on his blogroll. It's not the first time -- he's a good guy and he promised me he would. Let's see how long it takes. Synchronize your watches. C'mon, Glenn, just do it.

People Who Curse

They just don't have very good vocabularies I guess. Shame.

Remember Not To Remember This

This Halleyburton story is so much fun. I think I'm going to do a public reading of this Halliburton newswire report -- you know like part of a stand-up comedy routine on open mike night.

But wait, first I have to go fix a little 61 million dollar error in my checkbook. You know how these little things happen.

Ask Book

This is an amazing book I'm reading that I wanted to mention.

Here's the info:

Women Don't Ask : Negotiation and the Gender Divide
by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Lovely Dinner

Wonderful dinner in Cambridge tonight at Rialto. Big thanks to the gracious host. I terrorized everyone when I left telling them I was running home to blog about them -- not so, not so. How uncivilized that would be!

Hilariously smart and funny tableful of folks. Good good company.

Mysteriously at one end of the restaurant, they display plates of food with a video camera hanging ponderously above them. The silent food is splayed nakedly, like poorly paid porno stars to be videotaped in embarrassing positions. You can see right up the skirt of a redleaf lettuce, deep into the crevasses of a starfruit, rawly into seared tuna flesh, breadsticks turgid and erect.

Enchantee de faire votre connassance and off I went, up way too late for my own good.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

10,000! So Are Happy Days Here Again?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finally hit 10,000 today. (Prelim quote: 10006) But does it mean we're really in a bull market? A lot of people doubt it. Is NASDAQ at 2,000 coming next?

Most Egregious Omission

I don't care much about awards, so when I noticed I wasn't in the WizBang Blog lists AT ALL, not as a male blog, not as a female blog, nothing -- I figured Halley's Comment must simply defy all description and classification. She is simply in a class of her own.

Until Kevin told me he was putting me with much chagrin and many apologies into the "Most Egregious Omission" category, which, of course, was even more amusing. So feel free to vote for me and help me lick my wounds of feeling forgotten. (But don't worry, I didn't really mind, especially when I heard people were so insecure about the whole thing as to CHEAT to win. Give it a break!)

This Flu Might Just Keep Us Home

This flu epidemic is so much worse than one would expect. Golly. Especially bad to hear it's hitting kids so hard. How about a little home schooling this winter? Might not be a bad idea. Any parent with a kid knows how fast kids get sick once they start going to school. It's the big germ factory.

Forget Berkman

I've got better things to do tonight than drop in here. The weather stinks -- it's pouring -- and making a heckof a mess of all the grey dirty snow. Don't look for me there. Betsy's busy, Skadz is booked, hey Redhead, next time, or are you still in Canada?

Cerritos, A Little Slice of WiFi Heaven

This is an interesting development. Sounds like a place worth moving to. Cerritos goes wifi all over town.

The Kiss

"No..I don't think I will kiss you. Although you need kissing-badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed-and often-and by someone who knows how."

Oh Rhett!

If you haven't seen GONE WITH THE WIND lately, rent it. It's really something. One quote I liked particularly is at the bottom of the page.

The scene is a big charity ball, with Scarlett in widow's weeds -- dressed in black -- and furious that she has to be on the sidelines and can not dance, as that would be very improper for a new widow. She's only a widow because she married the brother of her rival, Melanie, right after Melanie marries Scarlett's true secret love, Ashley (a girly boy's name to be sure, played by Leslie Howard, who ironically ALSO had a girly boy's name). She couldn't care less for Charles Hamilton and did it only to spite Ashley.

The two guys go off to war immediately and Scarlett's unfortunate husband dies -- good for Scarlett actually. Does he die in an heroic battle? Nah -- he dies of pneumonia, which is even more pathetic. She is a rich, spoiled, self-indulgent girl who Rhett Butler meets and sizes up right away. They are a match made in heaven -- both of them are ruthless, selfish, charming, cunning survivors. Rhett knows and admits this about himself. He's also quick to tell Scarlett she's the same animal, but she will not accept this. She finds him arrogant and obnoxious.

Scarlett hasn't seen Rhett for months until he shows up at the charity ball, much to her disgust. He teases her about what a lousy widow she makes and how it's clear all she wants to do is dance and flirt.

At the charity ball, someone proposes that the men bid for the women as dance partners, giving the money to "the Cause" and Rhett offers the stunning sum of 150 gold Confederate dollars. The room falls silent to hear his choice of partner. He says "Mrs. Charles Hamilton" and no one even knows who he means. Of course this is Scarlett's married and now widowed name. It's obvious no one else knows her in this role or name either. He repeats the name. Finally they get it and they are all shocked. The man running the event says she would never agree, she is in mourning.

Scarlett corrects him and says she'd be happy to dance with Rhett. More shocked faces, dropped jaws and fainting ladies ensue. They do the Virginia reel and Scarlett's striking black dress and Rhett's black dandy suit cut a figure against the rest of the colorful ball gowns.

She tells Rhett, "Another dance and my reputation will be ruined forever. "

And he says, my favorite line, "If you've enough courage, you can do without a reputation."

Happy Birthday Betsy

I knew it was a special day -- it's Betsy's birthday! I'm going to put my party hat on and dance around! Have a great one B!

Alpha Male Analysis Day

I have my white cotton lab coat on and begin some serious research into the alpha male genome project today. The team here at the lab is watching the whole of Gone With The Wind starting at 6:00am. After careful analysis, we've isolated Rhett Butler as our number one sample for the species as a whole.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Berkman Thursday Night With Uncle Dave

Thinking about dropping into Berkman tomorrow night to see the regulars. Trying to talk Betsy Devine into it. Got to bring Dave a pre-Christmas and pre-Chanukah gift. It's the least I can do.

I Hate Politics -- I Love Democracy

That's the interesting thing about the Dean campaign. It's a boot camp for getting back into excellent democratic fitness and American wellness. It's not about politics -- that's the stinky little practice of lying and cheating and lobbying and bullying they do in Washington.

We're sick of that, but we can't get enough of that old time brand new reclaimed democracy.

Go Ahead -- Ask

If there's someone you want to call, a girl you want to date, a guy you want to hear on your phone, a party you don't want to miss, but feel a little shy, but know the perfect pal to drag along with you for courage -- go ahead, ask.

You're already hearing "NO" by not asking. Give yourself the chance to hear "YES" and chalk it up to experience if you get turned down. What the heck, at least you tried.

Have a fun evening.

Not Good News

That 100% guaranteed scientifically-proven astrology forecast doesn't bode well today:

You can expect to be highly voluble today, dear dear Aquarius!
No one will dare contradict you or insinuate that you've taken
your ideas from others! You have the potential to get really angry.
Rather than saying things you might later regret, write down your thoughts
in a diary. And if you do feel the need to make a speech, do it in public.

My Waterfall

Tangra and Shawn were so helpful to me today on IRC watching my waterfall. Thanks again.

Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=125ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=123ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=123ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=120ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=123ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=120ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=121ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=121ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=123ms TTL=48
Reply from 213.28.116.205: bytes=32 time=120ms TTL=48

Vanilla Frosting

I still can't get over this snow. There wasn't nearly as much up in Vermont, so it's been slightly hilarious to return to Boston which is so snow-disabled.

I had not lifted my wooden slat blinds which look out on my porch until mid-day yesterday and when I did -- HOLY HECK! There was a big drifty gob of snow all the way up to the middle of the top of my wooden porch chairs -- looked just like someone had been frosting a big cake (my back yard and porch) with gobs of vanilla frosting. I mean the whole chair was lost in a drift, only saw the top and back of it poking out of the drift.

A Lot of Single Parent Holidays

There will be a lot of soldiers' families celebrating Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa with their dad or mom (or both) away in Iraq or Afgahistan or many other places worldwide. Praying for you guys. What a tough time to be away.

Too Goofy Girlish?

I've got a super fun exciting dinner coming up with a bunch of folks including this guy at this joint here and I want to drag along his book for an autograph. Is that just too goofy girlish for words? Believe me it will not fit in my purse, so it will be obvious. What the heck, I'm taking it.

It's Rather Dull In Town

It's rather dull in town, I think I'll take me to Paree.
Mmmmmm.
The mistress wants to open up the castle in Capri.
Me doctor recommends a quiet summer by the sea!
Mmmm, Mmmm, wouldn't it be loverly?


Forget Paree and the castle in Capri -- you need a good helping of IRC!

Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Fun to sit in my cozy chair, lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of coal making lots of heat -- well, not exactly, but you get the idea -- and then I get to visit with all my friends on #joitio IRC chatroom (when my software isn't crashing or Verizon DSL isn't hiccuping).

It's rather dull in town, I think I'll take me to Paree.
Mmmmmm.
The mistress wants to open up the castle in Capri.
Me doctor recommends a quiet summer by the sea!
Mmmm, Mmmm, wouldn't it be loverly?

All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Lots of choc'lates for me to eat,
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Aow, so loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still.
I would never budge 'till spring
Crept over me windowsill.
Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee,
Warm an' tender as 'e can be. 'ho takes good care of me,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly


-- My Fair Lady, Lerner & Loewe

IRC Is Loverly

Hyrdra IRC gives a good definition for us mere mortals:
An IRC network is a collection of servers connected together. When you log onto an IRC network, you are connecting to one of the servers on that network. Since all the servers are connected to each other you are connected to all the other users even though they may not be connected to the same server as you. All servers on a network share and have access to the same information. Each server knows who is on the network, what channel that user is on, and which server the user is on as well.

A channel is similar to a chat room, when you speak, everyone else in the channel hears you too. You can use IRC to talk in channels, or to talk privately to your friends.

All I Want Is A Room Somewhere

That damned IRC chatroom! I stay away for a nice long while and then I go back to visit and it's really a lot of fun. It lures you back in. Fun to see (hear? type along with?) you guys last night. Thanks for this recommendation, I'll check it out and see if downloading it will make my latency problem go away.

Seinfeld Rumor

Heard a rumor this is coming back in some form. Anyone know the inside dirt?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Teasing Ten Thousand

The Dow Jones just reached up and tickled 10,000 points, only to fall back down. The first time it hit that number was in 1999. The last time we saw it was 2002.

Al Gore's Been Eating His Wheaties!

All Gore sure looked fired up and full of energy. That was the most surprising thing to me this morning about today'a announcement of Gore supporting Dean.

Glad to see Howard and Al together on the stage, pushing this thing closer and closer to The White House.

December 8th, 1980

I wrote some posts below about John Lennon without realizing yesterday was the date of his death. Perhaps it was on my radar, just not consciously.

We miss you, man. Especially thanks for this:

Imagine

Imagine thereÂ’s no heaven,
ItÂ’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine thereÂ’s no countries,
It isnÂ’t hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say IÂ’m a dreamer,
But IÂ’m not the only one,
I hope some day youÂ’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.


Thanks Google

I wrote a post about search engine fetishism and "Boolean Bukkake" below. When I just ran the term in Google, I got a sponsored ... aka PAID result pointing me to something called www.cumonherface.com. I think this has something to do with cooking.

If I Fell

Lennon and McCartney

If I fell in love with you
Would you promise to be true
And help me understand
'Cause I've been in love before
And I found that love was more
Than just holding hands

If I give my heart to you
I must be sure from the very start
That you would love me more than her

If I trust in you, oh please
Don't run and hide
If I love you too, oh please
Don't hurt my pride like her
'Cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain

So I hope you see that I
Would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two
'Cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain

So I hope you see that I
Would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two

If I fell in love with you

Karlin's A Darlin -- But You Knew That

I always like to visit Karlin Lillington's blog, Techno/Culture. She's got an interesting post about George Martin describing the Beatles recording process for Sargent Pepper and she asks the all important question:
Did you have a favourite Beatle? We all had to have one when I was a kid. My cousins and I debated this subject endlessly while listening to worn Beatles LPs on my dad's huge mono record player. I liked George (he always looked kind of quiet and smart, and I liked his moustache and long hair, but I stopped liking him best when he got to that Abbey Road frizzy beard space cadet stage).
Mine was obviously ... come on, you know ... John Lennon. Just too sexy and bad boy for his own good.

And that boy could really sing harmony. Just take a listen to "If I Fell" and John's wonderful pulling weighty voice going bass and south, as Paul went tenor and north. Creates a terrific wrenching tension, that is the epitome of the message of that song and all it's anxiousness. It's as if you can hear him think through the options -- fall for the girl or not -- with the painful fact lingering in the back of his mind, that this could crash and burn like the last time. It takes the most poignant and painful turn in terms of key on the words "LIKE HER" as if we are all plunged into a bittersweet memory of a true love gone wrong and left feeling pretty anxious about the future:

If I trust in you, oh please
Don't run and hide
If I love you too, oh please
Don't hurt my pride like her
'Cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain

Joi's Low Profile

I like what Joi Ito wrote today about how to blog a subject without being a greedy Google pig about it. I guess if you put a certain "zinger" term in your headline, you'll get a much higher ranking. I didn't know this actually.

He wirites "I'm going to make a point to have cryptic titles for entries where I'm talking to my regulars and not to Google."

I guess we need to get used to the enormous egos around this joint and keep resisting the urge to use the power of this medium for promoting one instead of promoting a community of many.

When I worked at Lexis/Nexis from 1987 through 1992 with a hardworking team of MLS's (Masters of Library Science grads) honing the proprietary database of newswires, newspapers, magazines, and financial data, the search engine was designed to bring up the most meaty, substantial and relevant hits. There are days that I miss it's simple ethos and straight forward Boolean logic that put the most informed sources ahead of the more subjective ones. {I can hear you all shifting in your chairs getting ready to jump up and disagree with me, but restrain yourselves a second.)

If we had seen back then the way Google would deliver "most linked" but often off-point results or even worse (horrors!) PAID-RESULTS, I don't think we would have believed our eyes.

Google seems enormously vulnerable in this respect. If there were an alternative database with some SENSE and WISDOM, where I could go and type in "Halley" and get references to the astronomer Edmund Halley FIRST, followed by information on the Halley Artic Observatory, SECOND and then followed way beyond by Halley's Comment -- even I would be happy to see the world set right in this way.

In my opinion, we have reached a level of of near fetishism in terms of search engine tomfoolery. Only insiders seem to be in on the joke. We find ourselves in one endless circle jerk of Boolean bukkake, with pointless results spewing in every direction which only a few find delicious, as they lap up their own juices.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Mad Magazine Of Course

I was trying to figure out where I get that smart-assy blog tone that suddenly creeps up on me ... and then I remembered! Mad Magazine of course! Spent many of my formative years reading it cover-to-cover and then meticiously folding the back cover into the graphic joke. Love you, Alfred E. Newman!

Should You Give Your Boss A Holiday Gift?

Okay, someone tell me please to turn off CNN Headline News -- this is the dumb kind of story they love to do and one they just did a teaser for. Can't wait to hear what they suggest.

Of course, the answer to "Should You Give Your Boss A Holiday Gift?" is yes! It's best to keep it simple -- no big packages -- something small.

If she's a woman boss, try this. And for your male corporate drone of a boss, any of these will do. Be sure to give it to them the night of the Xmas party -- the one your company was too cheap to invite spouses and significant others to. You don't think your gift would give them the wrong idea, do you?!

Now let's see what CNN suggests ....

Gore Endorses Dean

Boy, oh boy, the plot thickens. This is incredible. I have to say, I can't wait to hear Andrew Sullivan on the subject.

CNN Talks Bloggers

CNN is doing a story about Google Bombing with "miserable failure' like a few of us mentioned already today.

The TV anchor lady drops the word "blogger" like she's been saying it her whole life.

Give 'Em Healthcare, Howard

Great slogan! Give them hell in New Hampshire.

Comments

There was a good discussion at the BloggerCon Convention in October about the amazing comments on the Dean Blog. I just witnessed them, growing from 17 comments on a post about tonight's parties, to 45 comments in about 5 minutes to 83 comments. Very interesting.

Also for the old time bloggers here like us, we found it very telling that many of the people using the comments called what they were doing "blogging" -- not commenting -- where the more traditional bloggers among us usually distinguish between blog posts to be "blogging" and comments to "commenting."

What it said to us was that the whole experience of sharing thoughts was a communal, tribal process and there was no sense of authority or dominance by the the first person who posted the first blog post. They were considered an equal with all others in the discussion. This is another bit of evidence as to how Dean is demolishing barriers between people. It's amazing.

Just checked back on the Dean blog -- 105 comments now in about 15 minutes!

Dean Party

This will be great tonight. Absolutely terrific and fun!

The Halley Show

Did a lot of driving this weekend which means a lot of thinking and pondering.

Alan Webber once told me over lunch, "Blogs are performance art." I thought he had hit the nail on the head.

And this weekend, I was thinking they are like having your own 24 hour cable channel -- All Halley All The Time -- which might be incredibly annoying if you don't want to tune into my mind continuously.

Christ and Christmas -- I'm the first one who'll admit even I don't want to tune into my mind 24x7.

So that got me thinking about what a bully this medium is. Blogging is a bully's medium. It lets narcissists and egomaniacs (me included) run wild and pollute your mind with their thoughts. I was thinking of some of the arrogant obnoxious blogs that really get on my nerves -- there are some, but I'm not naming them. But it's like being married to a big arrogant bore who never stops telling the same stupid jokes over dinner. BOR-ing!

Feel free at any moment to turn off The Halley Show.

And Now This -- Unabashed Amy Wohl Pitch

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Amy Wohl at a conference, she's terrific and terrifically smart. (I know, I know, it sounds like a commercial. But I like her! Actually we don't know one another well at all. I just saw her on Daivd's JOHO blogroll while looking at his snow pix and remembered how impressive she is.)

Sentimental Education

I'm not talking about this, but rather this. I have had a sneaking suspicion for a long, long time that Dads are a lot more sentimental about their kids than we give them credit.

I love this picture of Larry Lessig, his baby and his wife on Joi Ito's weblog. The professor is taking up some new concerns. There's a person in his life who surreptiously refers to him as "Dear Old Dad" and one day soon -- and it's always wonderful and spooky when they start to speak -- will say those great syllables. Da-da!

Shall I Crank Up The Machine?

I have built a new machine here that I can't wait to demo for you. And it's high time some innovator got around to building it.

It's simply a black box with a big funnel input device where you can put crazy shit people write on their blogs that pretend to be informed opinion, but are obviously just sour grapes rants and thinly-veiled character assassinations against other bloggers who've achieved some honor or privilege, or hell, even an invitation to a cool party or conference. You flip the switch and it conveniently translates the blog post into one of the following output statements:

"WHY DIDN'T THEY PICK ME?!"

"I HATE HIM BECAUSE HE HAS BIG FLOW!"

'WHY DID THEY INVITE HIM TO SPEAK?!"

"HIS OPINION IS OBVIOUSLY FLAWED AND I HATE HIM BECAUSE HE'S GETTING MORE PUSSY THAN ME."

I think my machine will be a big hit. Now what to call it ... let me think ... I'm sure I can come up with something. Something to do with complaining and whining ... hmmmm ... the ACME COMPLAIN-A-LATOR?

Over The Border

Don't those funny signs that say WELCOME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE and WELCOME TO MASSACHUSETTS with their girly curly scripty font look silly as they welcome you home -- silly and wonderful and much appreciated. The font is a wee bit corny.

I started out this morning at 9:30, not at all sure what to expect, but the drive wasn't bad down from Vermont and I'm back in Boston now.

I've been in complete LOL MODE here because iBoston has SO MUCH SNOW. It's an embarrassement of riches and wet britches. I rented a car for the trip which turned out to be a good idea, since my car is completely buried. Boston's got a heavier, wetter snow than Vermont where it was a lot colder and the snow removal uip there was akin to blowing on a dandelion puff of little white fuzz and all of the little parachute seeds scatter. Not so here. This is serious stuff.

BTW, graphic artists, please take a bow, I was thinking a lot about FONTS on the drive home. Some of the trucks with the better brands really are build on EXCELLENT FONTS AND LOGOS. Just as God created the world with a WORD, it's really essential to clothe your idea in a great font with good design. I was looking at the 18-wheeler spewing grey snow vomit in my face, thanks, man, from MARKETBASKET and their tagline is in this total CHEESEBALL 1950's Helvetica rip-off font saying something like "Good Food For Less" and I was thinking not only how I happened to hate that particular truck, but their markets suck and are dirty, unorganized and shotty like their font.

Hope all you artists (I'm thinking swirly excellent Coca-Cola logo, I'm thinking Apple, I'm thinking simple stuff like John Hancock, with his signature) are getting paid what you deserve. You set expectations for the whole brand experience. You guys are incredible. I salute you today.

Big Thanks Britt

Just wanted to say a big thanks to Britt Blaser for convincing me to come up north to visit, being super-gracious and helpful all weekend to introduce me to folks here at the Dean campaign and especially for being really fun despite certain mishaps -- "Who Towed My Car!?!" and other memorable events on this big snow weekend.

Webber On Dean Web

Alan Webber has a cool piece in USATODAY today (sorry, that sounds confusing, doesn't it?) about Dean's "Super Web Site" -- don't miss it.

I love his analysis of how the other candidates' websites rate. Not happy reading for some of these guys.

We WISH You A Merry Xmas From Dean HQ

Even after a short weekend visit, it's clear these folks know how to work hard and need some convincing to leave their desks and get into the "party hard" mode, but they seemed to make the transition. . Once the party got going, it was a ton of fun. How could you NOT have fun watching Joe Trippi and Cathy Lash dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa, giving us the requisite number of "Ho! Ho! Ho!" 's and handing out gifts? Matt Gross in elfish attire was also not to be missed.

The 20 inches of snow in Burlington VT surely added to the holiday spirit. Right before the party kicked off, everyone had to go out and move their trucks, SUV's, VW bugs and every other kind of car out of the parking lot so the snowplows could take a crack at clearing it.

Joe Trippi knows how to rally his troops and especially how to appreciate them and praise them. Harvard Business School and General Patton combined don't have as much natural gut leadship ability as this guy. He says the right things and it was a moment of family business, so I won't quote it.

After Joe's couch pillow had fallen out of his santa tunic three times, and the room seemed to be near 90 degrees, he decided to retire the very HOT outfit, heading down the hall saying "Santa has to go find that guy Joe Trippi who's missing all the fun."

A group hit the conference room which was decked with all manner of meatballs, hummus, veggies, baked ham, you name it, to warm themselves around the tri-corner hat shaped conferenece phone to call the other Dean state HQs -- Iowa, NH, etc. -- to sing a loud "We WISH You A Merry Xmas" -- of course, not without some terrific spoofs and trick voices to see how well the volunteers on the other end of the line could handle whatever they threw at them.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Get The Party Started

There's a party here at Dean HQ and we still can't get away from the computer. Someone just came up and said, "Guys, we have to ask you to stop taking back the country and come in and join the party."

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started

Get this party started on a Saturday night
Everybody's waitin' for me to arrive
Sendin' out the message to all of my friends
We'll be lookin' flashy in my Mercedes Benz
I got lotsa style, got my gold diamond rings
I can go for miles if you know what I mean
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started

Pumpin up the volume, breakin down' to the beat
Cruisin' through the west side
We'll be checkin' the scene
Boulevard is freakin' as I'm comin' up fast
I'll be burnin' rubber, you'll be kissin' my a**
Pull up to the bumper, get out of the car
License plate says Stunner #1 Superstar

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
Get this party started

Makin' my connection as I enter the room
Everybody's chillin' as I set up the groove
Pumpin' up the volume with this brand new beat
Everybody's dancin' and their dancin' for me
I'm your operator, you can call anytime
I'll be your connection to the party line

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
Get this party started
Get this party started right now
Get this party started
Get this party started
Get this party started right now


-- Pink

Greetings Again From Vermont

[Wrote this this morning about 9:30am, but Blogger was down.]

Safe and sound up here in Burlington VT as my visit to Dean Headquarters begins to grow longer and longer ... VT has serious snow which started yesterday Saturday, around 10:00am, as Mike O'Neill, a Dean guy and I were
watching out the window. Actually I'm happy to report on an early Saturday morning the place wasn't packed and Mike and I almost needed to break-in to get in. We were the early birds, and made it in before
the snow started.

But then it just came down non-stop. At noon, a bunch of folks rolled in just about the time I was ready to
take a break and go for a walk in the snow. It was a fine walk one way, but a stinging snow blowing in your face walk back the other direction. Still it's beautiful stuff -- an inch or two or three of it.

But the stuff won't STOP! I peeked out my hotel room window at different times last night when the
scrapping and clunking metal blades of the snowplows went by. Under a tall light in the parking lot, there was a slightly orange glowing triangle of snow showering down, the cars getting more and more covered, like camels in a sandstorm, heads buried, legs folded beneath them, getting slowly blanketed, just trying to wait it out.

At dawn (still dark) the parking lot was still a snow factory, snow relentlessly pouring like it had all night. For all the snowplows' hard day's night of work, it didn't seem to have made much of a dent.

No room service, as this is a simple hotel (and very cozy and the staff are very very nice btw). I had a meal of vending machine delicacies for supper last night -- two slim jim small salami sticks, trail mix with blue and red M&M's, two bags of big Amish pretzels, 3 cups of Twinings English Breakfast I always stash in my suitcase. Like bathtub gin, I brewed my tea from very hot tub water out of the big tap.

I was starving this morning and the complimentary breakfast was much appreciated.

Rumor has it there's a party this afternoon at Dean HQ which I may attend, now that I'm stuck here. I had originally planned to return to Boston today, but that is certainly NOT in the cards.

Stay safe and warm if you're in a cold climate ... more soon.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Weather Outside Is Frightful

It's really beginning to snow. Heavily. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooohh it's beautiful.

Vermont in snow -- perfect.

About The Snow

I leave Boston yesterday where there was no snow. I arrive in Burlington, VT yesterday where there was no snow. Now Boston's getting pummelled with a big snowstorm. And this morning, I get up in Burlington and THERE'S NO SNOW. First time I've ever travelled NORTH to Vermont to avoid the snow.

Meanwhile, just to give you the up-to-the-minute report. I'm here in Dean HQ again looking out the wnidow and YES, it's snowing finally. Mike O'Neil is here next to me, getting a mailing together. This place keeps on keeping on.

What's Up Doc?

Do you know how long I've resisted that headline ... I've known Doc a while now and I have been tempted SO many times to use it, but today's the day. Cause that's what Doc was doing with us last night, taking a tour of Dean Headquarters and everyone got a chance to say "What's Up, Doc!?"

He was on Britt Blaser's super supped-up MAC with a video cam saying hi to all the folks here. I have to say though, Doc did seem a bit like one of those prisoners cosmonauts on the falling apart MIR space station.


Great to see you man, Britt and I say a big "Hi!"

Friday, December 05, 2003

Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Secret! At Dean HQ!

Secret cool stuff going on. No can tell. Secret sauce. Secret cool blogging happening. Shhhhhhhhhhhh! I'm undercover with my red santa hat on.

Hot Date With Howard, Rob And Joe

Talk about a hot date with three Alpha Males! Howard Dean, Rob Reiner and Joe Trippi all in the same room, all on the same night! Looks like they're booking my dance card on December 8th. But it's hush-hush so I better not talk about it. Of course, we love Howard and Rob ... but Joe's the Alpha Male heavy hitter of that group.

Stocking Stuffers For Girls Who Misbehave

There are a few paperbacks I want rolled up and tied with a big red ribbon and slipped into my Christmas stocking this year. For starters, and let's give credit where it's due, Betsy Devine told me to get this one. Women Don't Ask: Negotiation And The Gender Divide -- this one is a humdinger about how women don't get what they want NOT because men or anyone else is taking it away from them, but because they just don't ask. Wait, it's not a paperback, but hard cover. No problem, just wrapped it up and slip it under the tree.

And then there's always. Why Good Girls Dont Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do. It's one of those books that give it to you in NINE steps. I love that kind of thing ... 18 Easy Lessons ... 10 Easy Steps ... 3 large easy-to-swallow pills ... 5 easy payments of $87 Billion Dollars.

and you can't do all books and no music, got to be sure to get this too: Christmas The Cowboy Way

Kwanzaa yenn iwe ha heri!

I'll bet you didn't know all this stuff about Kwanzaa. I know a lot of it was news to me. Hallmark Cards has the scoop on Kwanzaa here. It sounds fun. Maybe I better STOP Dreaming Of A White Christmas.

More than 15 million people in various countries now celebrate the holiday, which begins on December 26 and ends on January 1. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, and though families and friends exchange gifts during Kwanzaa, it's not a substitute for Christmas. It is a time for people of African heritage to come together and celebrate the unique cultural identity and heritage that they share.

Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to celebrating one of the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles, which represent values and beliefs traditionally found in African cultures. These principles, which are all described using the African language Swahili, are:

Umoja (unity)
Kujichagulia (self-determination)
Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
Nia (purpose)
Kuumba (creativity)
Imani (faith)

Kwanzaa begins on December 26 with the lighting of the first candle in the kinara, the special candleholder that holds seven candles. It continues for seven nights, and each night, more candles are lit. The candles are black, red and green — black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for their future and their hope. The kinara, along with six other important Kwanzaa symbols, is displayed on the Kwanzaa table. Each night, all of the people at the celebration talk about what that day's principle means to them. On December 31, families and communities hold a Karamu, a special feast including readings, remembrances and a festive meal.

O Tannenbaum

I have to say, I just love my Christmas tree. It's only been here a week and when we got it I thought I was jumping the gun, but it's so cheerful and pretty and elegant in it's dark green velvety majesty, turning one end of my livingroom into the dark, mysterious winter forest. The little white romantic restaurant lights make it all the more dreamy. And NOW, it's got a big necklace of brightly wrapped presents at the base, boxes just ready for shaking and guessing at. All the familiar ornaments are like old friends visiting for one big holiday party and instead of breaking up the place and drinking too much, they are politely hanging off one branch or another with metal hooks in their scalps. I especially appreciate Barbie doing this, since she can be a bit of a wild party girl.

One ornament in particular that I love, and I might do a tree next year completely in thess ornaments alone -- is the tiny Dunkin Donuts white stryofoam coffee cups -- about 2 1/2 inches tall, suspended on a green ribbon, complete with the take-away lid on top.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

And Once More For The West Coast

Love to watch my stats on my site meter as they track to Pacific Standard Time. You can really forget the West Coast tracks three hours back. And everyone seems to wait until they're at work to read blogs. Don't worry I won't tell your boss.

Vermont-bound With Pie

Heading up north tomorrow. Want to talk to these guys about weblogs and women. I'm baking Matt Gross and Britt Blaser an apple pie. Nothing as American as motherhood and apple pie, right?

Just Wait

I keep getting very funny email about my post below -- Kitchen Closed -- where I described how my 8-year-old is eating everything not nailed down.

Every email says, "JUST WAIT!" and then tells me by the time my kid's a teenager, it will be nearly impossible to keep him in food and drink. A friend just mentioned that their mom actually rationed the milk -- only reasonable considering he could nearly drink A GALLON of the stuff in a day or two.

I'll have to get a cow.

This is Turning Out To Be Some Flu Season

In case you weren't worried enough about war, terrorism, economic disaster, or slipping on a bar of soap in your bathroom, check out this sad story about an 8-year-old boy dead from flu in record time. Colorado sounds like it's getting hit hard.

Paternity Fraud: When Men, Women, Technology and The Law Part Ways

Interesting piece in Men's Journal by Paige Williams about Paternity Fraud which puts you front and center in the midst of a hot issue -- how DNA testing is letting men find out if their kids are theirs or NOT.

She profiles a dad who's been paying a hefty chunk of child support to his ex-wife for the benefit of a much-loved daughter, only to find out, you guessed it, the 11-year-old daughter is not his biological daughter.

What I found particularly interesting is that the law has not caught up with technology. The law in most states would not allow a father to STOP paying support even if the technology allows him to prove he is NOT the father of a particular child.

One interesting pull-out quote:
It's said that 10 percent of the U.S. population are not the biological offspring of the men they presume are their fathers.
You may not know much about child support, but start with the hypothetical that you might be a spouse for 2 years, father or mother a child, get divorced and end up paying child support until that 2-year-old is 18, or more likely 21. You pay or you go to jail. As tough as that is, imagine finding out you never were the biological father!

Next Gen Conference


TTI Vanguard's Next Generation Technology Conference kicks off today in Arizona. Here's some of the schedule
THURSDAY, December 4 - CONFERENCE

8:30 am Conference Welcome and Introduction
Leonard Kleinrock, Vanguard Advisory Board

8:45 am Conference Overview
Gordon Bell and Peter Cochrane, Vanguard Advisory Board

9:00 am The Million Book Digital Library Project
Raj Reddy, Professor of Computer Science and Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University

9:45 am Flexible Electronic Displays
Emily De Rotstein, CEO, Commotion Displays

10:45 am TensorTextures and TensorFaces: New Ways to See
Alex Vasilescu, Research Scientist, New York University

11:15 pm How to Understand 100 Years of World History in 10 Seconds
Ola Rosling, Software Inventor and Designer, Gapminder.com

11:45 pm Label-Free Intrinsic Imaging
Stuart Hassard, Head Biologist, deltaDOT, Ltd.

12:15 pm Bridging the Healthcare Information Gap: Wearable Body Monitoring Hits its Stride
Astro Teller, CEO, BodyMedia

2:00 pm The Value and Realization of Large Displays
Gary Starkweather, Member, Hardware Visualization Group, Microsoft Research

2:45 pm Human-Computer Interaction for Large Display Surfaces
Mary Czerwinski, Senior Researcher and Manager, Visualization and Interaction Research Group, Microsoft Research

3:30 pm The Future of Storage
Michael Leonhardt, StorageTek Fellow, Storage Technology Corporation

Stephen Petranek, Editor-in-Chief, Discover
7:00 pm Reception and Dinner

FRIDAY, December 5 - CONFERENCE

8:45 am Nano-Switch/Matrix Technology
Stan Williams, Senior HP Fellow and Director, Quantum Science Research, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

9:30 am Nanostructured Materials
Daniel Branagan, Chief Technical Officer, The Nanosteel Company

10:00 am The Next Generation of Global Positioning System
Per Enge, Co-Director, GPS Laboratory, Stanford University

11:00 am High Degree-of-Freedom Interaction with Graphical Models
Ravin Balakrishnan, Professor of Computer Science, University of Toronto

11:30 pm Real-Time Language Translation
Robert Levin, CEO, Transclick, Inc.

12:00 pm Technologies That Rewrite The Rules
Padmasree Warrior, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Motorola, Inc.

12:45 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Automated Machine Invention Techniques
James Kowalick, Founder, Renaissance Leadership Institute

2:30pm Next Generation Space Exploration
Daniel Clancy, Director, Information Sciences Directorate, NASA Ames Research Center

3:00 pm Interactive Alert Systems
Rob Welton, Executive VP Marketing & Sales, Knowledge Vector, Inc.

3:30 pm Conference Wrap-Up
Bob Lucky, Vanguard Advisory Board


Hey, bloggers, who's blogging it?

[Disclaimer: I used to be Regional Sales Director for Vanguard. They're a great group.]

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Kitchen Closed

This kid will eat me out of house and home, one of these days, I swear. He can eat so much already at 8 years old -- what future am I looking at? The worst part is he chows down pretty darned well at 6:00 and then wants another meal at 8:00! He had potatoes and roast chicken for dinner and then just begged me for a Halley's Comment Egg McMuffin, egg, cheese, bacon on white bread (sorry, man, no English Muffins).

I know he's growing and he needs to eat, but it keeps me in the kitchen for hours on end and makes me EAT things I should NOT be eating.