July 31, 2003

Is the Pope Catholic?

So Glenn Reynolds disapproves of the Pope's stance on gay marriage. Hey, he's entitled. But why is it always such a surprise when the Pope says some traditional pope thing like "don't take the Pill," "abortions are wrong," "no I'm not going to let priests get married," and so forth. For one thing, he's about a thousand years old or something like that. Not that that means anything in itself: some old people go out with a bang, doing all the crazy things (in so far as they are able) they didn't dare do when they were younger. Obviously John Paul 2 isn't one of these old people. He's not going to disturb his final moments by issuing a papal decree that says that everyone has to get naked at mass.

But he is -- if you will excuse me for pointing this out -- Catholic. Last I heard, there were a whole lot of things that were prohibited by the Catholic church that are still not only legal but practiced by many Catholics. So yay, the pope has declared that Catholics must rise up against the idea of gay marriage just as they have to rise up against abortion, birth control, divorce, and so on. Also, the earth made one more complete revolution yesterday, and I still don't understand why Seinfeld was so popular.

Face it, world, if you are looking to people in traditional positions of authority to give your rad new societal change the thumbs up, you'll be looking at the backs of their heads for a long time. There are better and faster ways of getting what you want.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:03 PM | Comments (40)

July 30, 2003

Whitespace

Oops, there's no entry today. Well, that's because I cut down the blog's index display to just one day's entries, and I haven't posted anything. Well, here's an entry. Remember, write something, even if it's nothing. At least I'll get typing practice in. (And I haven't had any good ideas today, nothing that I feel like writing about right now, anyway. Talk amongst yourselves.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:40 PM | Comments (7)

July 28, 2003

I am the internet!

So, bloggers are self-absorbed and narcissy... narsa... narcotic... narsil... self-involved, according to Ye Auncient Webbe Gooroo John Dvorak, speaking to us (or at least, the crowd at Gnomedex, as well as to the two or three persons who still brave the thickets of pop-up ads to read his columns) from his vast store of wisdom gathered over the decades. As to that I say, yay us. So we are only interested in ourselves, and have big egos, and so on and so forth, and this is supposed to drive us into what, a pool of introspective guilt? At least we are honest about our egotism, unlike people who would actually type the following with apparent sincerity in the comments to Tom Bridge's post:

If blogging isn't self-absorbed or self-aggrandizing, what is it? Is it selfless? Is it a public service? Are the lives of the poor enhanced, are the sick healed, is the world a better place? Come on!

Oh please, you care so much about the poor and the sick. Give me a break.

(Via A Small Victory.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:04 PM | Comments (10)

Surfacing briefly

I may have to stop reading most blogs. Not only am I using "I gotta finish reading the blogs" as an excuse to not write in my own, I often find myself getting pissed off, and there aren't enough hours in the day, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I can talk about it now that one whole day has passed: I have a job. Sure, right now it's temp work, but there is the possibility of -- dare I breath it? -- a permanent position, and at the very least I am learning an office routine and getting a normal lunch hour and figuring out how to set up the coffee maker and everything, and that is what I need right now. That and a paycheck.

Anyway, I didn't want to say anything about it until I had shown up for my first day and not been told "Oh! Didn't the temp place call you? We found out we didn't need anyone after all." Because each time before that it looked as if I might have a position I told someone and then the thing fell through. Call me superstitious.

As for me writing, it looks as if staying up until 4am is over, but I was tired of that anyway. I am trying to get back into writing mode; I've been sort of preoccupied lately, as you can see. And there will be some changes around here. (Cue ominous music.) Stay tuned... (Yes, I know I've said it before.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:21 PM | Comments (10)

Wascawwy Wabbit

Some of you may have seen a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head, sometimes with the caption, "I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about, so here's a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head." Well, here is that rabbit's website. His name was Oolong... many and varied were his adventures.

(Via Beermary.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:12 AM | Comments (3)

July 27, 2003

Oh, one more note

You have to read E. Nough's comment (number 105, if the link doesn't go to the right target for some reason).

And here's his weblog, by the way. Go and read.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

And on that note

So it's been eleven days already. Hey, I moved, packed a whole 5'X10' storage room with four rooms of my junk (okay I threw out half of it), had to have my computer hooked up at a friend's, cancelled my Earthlink account, waited for job calls, comforted my traumatized cat, have my friend's chihuahua sleeping on my lap (thus severely curtailing movement, but it's the only way to keep her from jumping around like an overheated molecule), and you still see an entry from me every day! Writer's block my foot. The trick, see, is to stop caring about the quality of what you post. Let your inner driveler free! Just post stuff! No matter what it is, it can't be as bad as the things I've been reading today.

(Yes, I am trying guilt. Evil of me, but I was driven to read an entry on Kos's blog -- Kos, I tell you. Is Blogville dead or what?)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:54 PM | Comments (4)

Everyone sucks but me

In the Middle Ages, at least the flagellants used to use real whips on themselves; at least they provided non-participants with an entertaining spectacle. Modern day wielders of the holy scourge prefer to take the leather strap to others rather than themselves. Today's target is Americans -- excepting, of course, those citizens of that nation who have Removed Their Blindfolds™ and have therefore been able to see The Truth™ that the rest of us still deny:

We subscribe to nothing. We have no attention span, no sense of history, no sense of posterity.

Arrogant, indifferent, disconnected, aimless, self-absorbed, our lives are arranged around familiar pastimes ... and the occasional search for new pastimes.

Can you feel the love? Favorite quote from the comment thread, from someone fakenamed 'M. Aurelius': "Imagine, a nice warm cup of coffee in one hand, and in the other a joystick with a trigger being pulled to send hot metal shrapnel through the bodies of little brown people half a world away."

I'm not sure that the original M. Aurelius would have put it that way.

(Via Marduk's Babylonian Musings.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:39 PM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2003

Weirdness

Okay, that was weird. I just tried to post an entry with a trackback to someone and links and stuff and I got a "index.php parse error on line 92" code where my blog used to be. I was able to get into the management area just fine, I deleted the offending post and rebuilt the site, and everything was back to normal. Whatever. I think that this blog might be getting to "full" -- in any case, I may have to unveil my "surprise" earlier than I meant. Stay tuned...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:32 PM | Comments (6)

test

Okay, test entry

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

What's going on

Changes a-comin'. Stay tuned.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2003

It's all part of the Plan

Tim Blair has stalkers. No, really -- there are actually people who set up websites solely to "debunk" (or something) a personal blog. Hilarious.

And here is another Blair obsessive; perhaps the same person who runs the other blogs, it's so hard to tell. This one does occasionally post on other issues -- such as an approving survey of the conservatives-are-crazy report. Ah, nothing like dipping one's toes into the waters of Bizarro World.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

Load up the trucks

David Janes had the same thought that I did about this report by "researchers" on what supposedly defines a political conservative. As he says, the thing basically states that conservatism is a mental disorder.

The point is to lay the groundwork so "conservatives" can be forced into treatment to "cure" their mental condition.

Then he links to an article on how the Chinese are sending dissidents to mental hospitals, which is not exactly a new practice in any communist country. So leftist academics are dreaming of the day they can load up people like William F. Buckley into a padded truck, what a surprise.

That being said, let's take a brief look at the list of "symptoms" these learned beings came up with. [JEFF FOXWORTHY VOICE] You might be a conservative [/JEFF FOXWORTHY VOICE] if you have these 'psychological factors':

  • Fear and aggression
  • Dogmatism and intolerance if ambiguity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Terror management

Okay. John Collins already did a lengthy examination of these points. I haven't much to add to his rundown, and I am having trouble thinking of words at this hour anyway. But I am afraid that I must inform the learned minds that came up with this crap that "fear and aggression" is not unique to conservatives, but a main component of human nature (and if you don't believe me just go up to your nearest peace moron and ask them what they think of George W. Bush); "dogmatism" and "intolerance of ambiguity" are two different things and should each have a line of their own; "uncertainty avoidance" is -- how can I say this -- normal, as well as being another standard component of that icky, unchanging human nature thing; as is the "need for cognitive closure" (are these people seriously saying that there is something wrong with this?); and I am not sure what "terror management" is supposed to be -- if they are talking about the current political and military situation, that is not a "psychological event," but if they are talking about controlling one's own response to one's fears, they seem to be saying that there is something wrong with that. Fine. You guys stay with the hysterics. I'll hang out here with the people who can control themselves.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:35 AM | Comments (3)

Now for a word from our sponsors

Remember that Honda web ad that everyone was yakking about? This is a "similar" effort. Yeah, similar...

(Via Tex at Whacking Day.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

Seeds of Our Demise, Part 8996

These eyes have just beheld the most interesting (I use that for want of a better word) example of anti-religious bigotry yet. It occured in the comment thread to this post. One "Zeke" wrote:

All those good men you mentioned are dead because there are Islamic fanatics that hate us and everything we stand for. I don't pretend to understand them, or feel anything for them except the need to destroy them. But U. and Q., for all their despicable qualities, were not religious fanatics.

Then someone named "Valencia" chimed in:

I agree with Zeke. While I liked this piece overall (especially the bits about the firehouse, which I thought were very touching), I thought it conflated a lot of disparate elements under the Islamic extremist banner. I don't think the reason Hussein & crew were so nasty to their people had much to do with religious extremism, whereas the attack on WTC certainly did

So being raped, tortured, and killed by a religious fanatic is worse than having same done to one by an agnostic thug. Mm-hm, I see.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:05 AM | Comments (7)

July 24, 2003

A loss

One of my readers had a tragic loss in his family: read the details here.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

Deadlier than the male

Via the comments to this post, a news report on the capture of an Iraqi general -- by a soldier named Heather. You don't mess with Heathers, man.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:33 PM | Comments (3)

July 23, 2003

Celebrate

Well, I've been pretty occupied with moving, and today was the rent-the-Uhaul-and-cart-the-heavy-stuff-to-storage day. I'm so tired I can barely type. I haven't even had a chance to answer my email or check on any of the comment threads or anything. And I missed the chance to enjoy the deaths of Uday and Qusay, the Psychotic Duo. I also got to miss the apparent fact that many antiwar folks, anti-Bush fellows, or just plain antis are actually a bit down in the dumps about the demise of these two. (Just look around the blogs. I'm too tired to link.) Incredible. What, did Uday owe you guys money or something? Was Qusay really that much of an asset to the world? Don't they even deserve the sneering sendoff that Strom Thurmond got? I mean gee, Thurmond was no angel, that much is true, but AFAIK he never fed anyone alive into an industrial plastic shredder and sat around to watch and enjoy the screams. Whatever.

Anyway, tomorrow I lay waste to the comments and make war upon the blogospherical thingy! Or maybe not. Gotta keep you lot on your toes. Oh --- one last thing. I am going to announce it here, in case he reads my index page: to Mike at Mindpring.com, please stop posting comments here for a while unless you can say something about events that happened in, say, the last three months. I refuse to let my blog get bogged down in a comment hamster wheel of "Bush stole the election/lied about connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda/we shouldn't have gone to war" obsession. The volume of your comments indicates that you have plenty of free time to start a blog of your own, and much to say with it. While it was fun at first to review recent history with you it looks as if you are taking the discussion here off its rails because, obviously, you remain pissed at the many things you have no control over, as well as frustrated that you can't seem to get anyone to agree with you. I'm not going to ban you or anything like that; I'm going to try asking nicely. Drop it. I have said everything I want to say, and everything on the subjects under discussion have been done to death over the past twenty or so months. I am getting bored, and I have limited server space. If you and someone else still feels the need to bicker over these issues, there is this thing called email.

This site is not a public service; it is my personal blog where I express my thoughts and work out my issues and comment on things. I could password protect it quite easily, or shut off comments. However, I do like feedback from people, so I have left the site open and comments on. I don't mind a little bit of snark, but I do object to being harangued. This site is not a message board, and it is certainly not a free-for-all. I control this website; if you don't like it, there are many, many free blogging services out there. You can set up your own site and say whatever you want.

And please, no more pathetic comments on how I "don't like being disagreed with" or how I want to quell your free speech rights. I don't mind being disagreed with, I mind being hectored and abused because what I wrote does not meet with someone else's standard of approval. A bit of raillery is one thing, but people who pull out the above wet towel defenses I tend to dismiss as sad cases not worth my time.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:20 PM | Comments (6)

Moveblog 1 Entry 5

Okay, guys, I'm moved and hooked up. most of my possessions, however, still need to be destroyed put into storage, so you won't be seeing much from me today. Really. Honest. I promise. Gotta go now.

Okay, in a minute.

(Talk amongst yourselves -- oh, I see that you already are. Carry on.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003

A thought

I have just had an evil thought. While in an argument with a troll in this post, I mentioned that the shriekers in the press and in antiwar groups and so on used as one of their antiwar arguments the idea that Saddam Hussein would loose his WMDs at the coalition forces and the result would be millions of soldiers killed by nukes and poisonous gas and anthrax and, I don't know, armies of undead zombies and such. Well, as we all know this didn't happen, and so far it seems that it will not happen, either because Saddam's WMD capabilities were overestimated (which I am certainly willing to believe, considering what an egotistical blowhard he was, and how difficult it is to get clear intelligence out of that area) or the remaining loyalist forces can't get their hands on wherever these things have been stashed.

The evil thought I had was this: of all the people who seemed most to believe in the Imminent Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction coming from Iraq, it seemed to be the antiwar groups (leftwing, rightwing, and wingnut) who were the most fervent in their fear -- well, their stated fear -- that these horrors would be unleashed upon the world due to the rash actions of the United States. All of the war supporters I have read all were of the opinion that the Iraqi forces would prove to be more bark than bite, though there was the chance that WMDs could be used. Guess who turned out to be right? So I think that the antiwar forces are miffed at the lack of the piles of corpses on our side. I think that they are pissed that they were so gullible -- they are the ones who sucked down the government's spin on the "imminent threat" (or misunderstood just what the administration meant by "imminent threat" -- I doubt they thought it meant that Saddam had nukes primed and ready to fire at Washington). So they are snarling and snapping now about the WMDs and the "sixteen words" and waving around the corpses of soldiers killed in "guerilla war" and shoving reports of grumpy soldiers (as if the normal state of military personnel is some sort of happy Disneyland in fatigues) and stuff like that because they can't stand how they have consistently been proved wrong.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:59 AM | Comments (48)

By the pricking of my thumbs...

Look who has gained the courage to peek out of their caves -- two of my trolls have come creeping back. Let's see if I can draw more: Noam sux! Bush rox! Down with the UN and Barbara Streisand! Support gay marriage!*

*Why do I have to have just one species of troll?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)

July 21, 2003

Moveblog 1 Entry 4

Sigh.

DUMPING.jpg

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

Don't go there

Oh isn't this special. Suddenly the UN is all for the US sending troops to a foreign country -- Liberia. Let's see, the UN so far has thrown pissy-faced and stampy-footed tantrums over the battles we have fought so far. They not only didn't shut up when we were both successful and brought the battles in "under budget" (ie, with much less time spent and loss of life than expected), they and their lackeys in the press continued to fume and fuss at us for every smashed pot and discomfitted ex-Baathist who now has to clean toilets for a living. Now suddenly Kofi Annan is proclaiming that we just have to send troops to poor, beleaguered Liberia; this (proposed) battle gets their seal of approval. Can you smell something traplike, children? I sure can. Normally I am all for us going to some cracked up place and setting it straight, but this time my instincts say: "Run away! Run away!"

(Via Steven Den Beste.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:20 PM | Comments (23)

Toastmasters Toast

A Tale of Two Speeches...

There has been a lot of fuss over two speeches in the past few days. One fuss, unfavorable, has been over Bush's pre-Iraq-invasion speech with the famous "Sixteen Words" (aka, the "Bush Liiieeddddd!!!™ speech). The other fuss, generally favorable, has been over "Our Tony" Blair's recent speech, with the oft-quoted pro-liberty, pro-democracy passage. Now I am not going to say anything either pro or con about the content or intended audience of either speech.* I'd just like to focus on the notion that admirers of the second and detractors of the first seem to share: the idea that political decisions still hinge in any sgnificant way on a politician's formal oration about it. (I am not including debate on an issue in this category; that's a different thing.)

I can only speak for myself, but I have never had my mind made up on any issue, easy or difficult, by hearing some pol give a speech about it. These days, by the time a pol has given a speech about something -- unless he is running for office -- it is either to summarize or explain a process that has already been set in motion (the Bush speech) or to summarize and declaim on some event that has already occurred (the Blair speech). People who are in a frenzy over Bush's speech and the so-called "lie" (which by the way anyone with the discernment abilities of a reasonably bright elementary school student could tell is merely a statement of acceptance of someone's -- in this case, British intelligence's -- report, but let's leave that aside for now) are acting as if the decision to go to war on Iraq had not already been made months before that speech. Mes amis, I must inform you that speech or no speech we were off to war.

The paeans and hosannas across Blogville for Tony Blair's speech are a tribute, perhaps, to his rhetorical gifts. I did catch a few minutes of his speech on C-Span and it did sound quite good, but I have little attention span for such things. (Besides, there is always a blog somewhere where I can get the rundown on whatever it was I was too lazy to watch.) But I don't see that his words made a difference one way or the other, except, of course, to give some of us pleasure and reassure us that he is, at least in the War on Terror endeavor, on "our side." Perhaps at least he recognizes that it's Britain's neck on the line as well as America's. But anyway, he is otherwise by all reports a socialist who is slowly leading the UK into the clutches of some semi-totalitarian future state, so I am not as ready to join the Tony Blair fan club as are some other people.

In any case, the anti-Bush, anti-war contingent should be horrified and the pro-Bush, hawkish club should be reassured at what the future probably holds. At this point we are in too deep to backtrack now. Even if it so happens that the economy tanks even further and the mopping-up in Iraq turns into some sort of Quagmire™ and Bush doesn't get elected for a second term, whatever Democrat candidate gets into office will be met with the same unpleasant reality that clonked Bush over the head: once terrorists from a foreign country kill thousands of your own citizens in your own country, there is no way you can go back to appeasing them with "just enough" carrots (in the form of aid and diplomatic tricks) to keep them out of your hair. For decades the West tried to pretend that the Middle East was a) not there, or b) not so bad as all that. They were wrong. Now we are in it for the long haul. A Democrat in the White House won't change a thing.

*Update: well, not much anyway.

Up-freakin'-date 2: Jebus, I can't win for losing. I thought I was pretty impartial in my bashing of the left and right sides when it came to their current pet issues. But I might as well have filled an entire post with "Noam sux, Bush rox!" written five hundred times. (Read my very first commenter to see what I mean.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:00 PM | Comments (3)

Sir, your drool bucket is full

Peter Salomon has come upon the latest incoherent, frothing-at-the-mouth rant from the Arab News, this time supposedly written by a "former high school teacher" named Mark Glenn. All you need to know about the content of the "editorial" is "Monica Lewinsky, Israeli agent."

(Via Daily Pundit.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:13 PM | Comments (5)

Stratego

Don't mess with a man who knows how to make an outline. Steven Den Beste has the plan. (This also heralds the return of that Hesiod Theogeny (sic) guy. Hadn't heard from him in a while. Oh joy.)

To continue: this assessment of the War on Terror's "root causes" and goals will strike those people who think in terms of Big Bully USA vs. Small, Weak, Helpless (if Terrorist-Harboring) Nations as lacking in elements conducive to feelings of warm fuzziness, but such is life.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)

AOLusers, redux

As an addendum to the AOL-blogging fuss, here is the experimental AOL blog run by media and blog maven/guy/commentator/thing Jeff Jarvis. So far no teenage trolls seem to have commented, but these are early days.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:24 AM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2003

Did you or did you not chop down that cherry tree?

I have very little to say about the Bush Liiieeedddd!!!™ pseudo-controversy. For one thing, I don't care. For another thing, other people have already said plenty. So far I like Steve H.'s take the best.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:15 PM | Comments (3)

One way of doing it

Bono has been given an honorary degree by Trinity College in Dublin:

· Mr. Paul Hewson (Bono) LL.D. (Doctor in Laws)
Lead singer of internationally acclaimed rock group, U2, Bono is an outspoken fundraiser for Third World problems. Founder of DATA (Debt, Aid, Trade for Africa), a non-profit debt-relief advocacy group, he has been instrumental in the Drop the Dept campaign which wiped out millions of dollars of international debt owed by Third World governments. He has lobbied world leaders to encourage them to contribute more aid relief to developing countries. He has been nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize.

What does the man himself say about this? I know you're all dying to know:

(Bono)... was so delighted at the award that he declined to put on his mortar board, in case it didn't fit. "My head has swollen such is the treatment I have got from the college," he said.

(Well, at least he is honest. Heh...)

Pretty good for a guy who never actually went to any classes at any university AFAIK. Let's see, he's forty-three, I'm forty... I'll still get my degree in less time so nyah!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

Blog Valley High

[Yes I am still here. Actual moving out will be Wednesday or Thursday, due to the lack of availability of persons with the requisite upper body strength to help me drag certain large items into a U-haul before then.]

Internet snobbery and cliquishness is on full-color display over at Bill's Content. The "Peoria Pundit" is much exercised over the advent of America Online's new blogging utility for its members. "this will not raise the level of social discourse in the blogosphere" he admonishes. Further down he declares that

Personally, I plan to use IP banning to block all AOL customers. If I lose regulars, fine. That should be another incentive to switch to a real ISP.

Good lord, get the smelling salts!

Ah, there is nothing like I like better than the smell of a The "'Real Internet' Versus Those Primitive AOLers" conflict in the morning. It is incidents like these that convince me that for Americans, the one central formative experience that binds us all together is high school, and that many of us never really leave those hallowed halls. For them there will always be the Cliques: the Valedictorian/Student Government clique (the so-called "elite" bloggers), the nerds (the techie bloggers), the jocks (the "right wing" bloggers), the drama club (the "left wing" bloggers), the Odd Men Out -- which could either be the Cool Kids or the Outcasts, sometimes both at once -- all those bloggers who refuse, or say they refuse, to consider themselves part of a "group," and the Special Ed kids (whose mantle used to be worn by Live Journal users, but this will now obviously be passed to the new AOL bloggers). And of course there are the Popular Kids, who cull the best and the brightest from the the other groups and whose dicta rule the school. Bill obviously thinks he is one of the blogosphere's arbiters of status; he has the "we can't let just anyone into the group" shtick down pat.

PS: Bill's trackback is broken.

(Via a small victory.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:50 AM | Comments (13)

July 19, 2003

Moveblog 1 Entry 2

Still here. Feel like crap. To be specific: I feel like I am coming down with something. Oh, that would be really convenient.

Update: to compound my pain, on Cold Case Files the narrator just said "Outside a small New Hampshire town, inside a small and tiny house..." My aching head.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:50 PM | Comments (1)

Double standard bearer

When is it okay to censor art? Mary Abbe explains it all to you, in an article entitled "Gun show at Minneapolis Institute of Arts misfires":

The show is... impeccably grounded in cultural history and museum practice. Even so, it feels wrong in both time and place. Minnesota's recent gun-law changes make the museum look especially hypocritical. Like most cultural organizations, it bans guns and displays signs to that effect at each entrance. Yet the show celebrates and fetishizes certain types of guns: rich people's.

The exhibition, which the museum organized, was in the works long before the new gun law was passed, but the debate about the role of guns in American life is age-old. For an art museum to start buying and showing guns -- even beautifully crafted, historically resonant models -- can be read only as an endorsement of gun culture. That's both unnecessary and offensive.

Ew! Guns and rich people! Hide the children! Perhaps Our Betters would find it acceptable if each gun was displayed immersed in a vat of urine. Stupid cow.

(Via Gregory Hlatky.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

My day so far

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

throwing.gif
bonfire_anim64_147by141_sml.gif

(Bonfire animation from this site.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

I see a new blog theme...

My pirate name is Iron Anne Bonney.

Arrr!

(Yes, I am packing. Shut up.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:15 AM | Comments (4)

The day the music died

By the way, I have Vh-1 on, because it is the only thing that currently doesn't have either infomercials or some kiddie fare on (and I refuse to watch news while I am in my fragile morning state) and they just played a snippet of Mariah Carey doing Def Lepard's "Bringing on the Heartbreak." This is worse, much worse, than that time (thanks to a "friend" of mine) that I saw a video of Celine Dion and some other pop-skank (name mercifully forgotten) doing a live cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me (All Night Long)." Just close your eyes and imagine the Canadian wailer shrieking "knocking me out with those American thighs!" Damn, people, just destroy my entire past, why don't you?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:49 AM | Comments (5)

Trying to turn back the clock

I'm trying to wake up here. (It takes about a pot of coffee.) Then I must commence shredding -- uh, I mean packing. In the meantime, read Dipnut. He's pissed at Time magazine (the second item down the page) and some blog creature called Billmon. And, after reading his pieces, so am I. (By the way, unless you feel like discovering a whole new reason to hate humanity, don't go to Billmon's site and read his commenters. Man, what a collection of pissants, sourballs, and near-sociopaths. It's not a question of nothing being sacred to these people; it's the fact that they don't seem to think that there is anything that is deserving of even a modicum of respect. Whatever.)

Anyway, my synopsis of what Dipnut has uncovered is: the press in the UK and in the US (at least in Time and in the British publication he links to) are trying their best to transform the current situation into a repeat of the Vietnam War, when America was an evil fuckup, soldiers were considered to be pathetic psychopaths, and the journalist was king.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

You can't go that way

Ladies and Gentlemen: Zork. Oddly compelling.

(Via a small victory.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:00 AM | Comments (2)

July 18, 2003

Movelog 1 Entry 1

I
Hate
Packing.

Also the power just came back on after being out for about an hour due to what they call a severe thunder storm. My cat has only now just ventured out from under the bed. It's not so much the scary loud noises and flashing lights she dislikes as it is the fact that she can tell I am up to no good. Wait until she finds out she's going to be spending some time in a place where there is another cat, a dog, and a guinea pig, not to mention an assortment of strange humans.

Anyway, all I did today was dismantle my desk (one of those powder-coated metal jobs), cart some crap off to the Goodwill, pawn one of my old teevees (don't ask how I end up with three tvs when I am one person; okay, one was so old I had to give it to the Goodwill, the other was old but they gave me 20 bucks for it), sell a bunch of my cds (goth cds are in demand, go figure) and pay my car payment. Of course this entailed me allowing the 96-degrees-Fahrenheit-but-feels-like-100 (per the Weather Channel) outside air to touch my skin several times today, which means I feel as if I have walked across Death Valley. So I am going beddy bye.

Thanks for everyone's good wishes, by the way. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes!

Update: did I actually write "this entailed me allowing..."? I guess I did. I really need some sleep.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:45 PM | Comments (3)

Upheavals in meatspace

Things are going to be slow around the Spleenville torture-and-roast-'em camp for a couple of days, because I have to move out of my apartment. Yes, there is still no job, and I had to decide between my car and my apartment. You can always stay with friends, but in Florida you're sunk without a car. But no worries, fans -- I'll be staying with friends who have cable internet access, and they are going to put me on their network. So posting will be light while I commence piling my possessions in the parking lot, pouring lighter fluid on them, and setting them on fire packing. So stay tuned! (PS: some Secret Projects are in the works also.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:14 PM | Comments (8)

Headache Hotel

Okay, the headache is finally better, but now I am exhausted. I think I will break with tradition and go to bed early. I have a gajillion things to do tomorrow anyway.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

Crushing my head

I do not like it when I have the sinus headache that will not go away.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Some thanks are in order

To the person who sent me Musique de la Grèce Antique, and the other benefactor who sent me both Machavelli's The Prince, and Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

I say we start a club

Call it "Bloggers Unjobbed." Andy at The World Wide Rant is the latest to be handed a chance to practice his job interviewing skilz. Go give him a visit and maybe hit that tip jar of his.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:05 PM | Comments (3)

Blogger distress signal

Moira Breen of Inappropriate Response is having some technical difficulties at the moment; her site will be back up as soon as the requisite exorcism ceremonies have been performed and/or the Elder Gods of the Internet have been appeased with the appropriate sacrifices.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:40 PM | Comments (2)

Paint it black

Steve H. is bummed out for various reasons, among which is illness-induced feelings of depression. That reminded me of the time I had a flu-caused depression/anxiety attack that was bad enough that the doctor decided to put me on tranquilizers for a week. And then I remembered something else: a news report I heard on the teevee (I was doing something in the kitchen and was only listening) about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I never thought that had anything to do with my problems, because I always perk up in the winter months (such as we have in Florida), and then the guy said something about the fact that some sufferers got depressed in the summer instead of the winter. And that, as I explained to Steve, sure does seem to explain my entire life.

PS: I am working on a new, more personal webdiary blog site thingage, which will be password-protected, where I will be shunting off this me stuff to. Then I can return TMTD to its regular schedule of fluff and geekitude and trollbait and whatever else this site was supposed to be.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:46 AM | Comments (13)

Now that's what I call service

Wow. All I did was send a note to Hostmatters help desk saying I couldn't get my web protect utility to work, and they promptly set me up with a whole new control panel with more functionality! Kewl. icon_mrgreen.gif

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

Glam elf

Hey, Orlando (squeal! Legolas!) Bloom freaks, Check out Face magazine. Say, Border's sells Face. Hm...

And here's more, from some publication called Flaunt. Heh heh -- brunettes have more fun...

This is just a sample of my new All Fluff, All the Time™ blog policy! Tell me what you think.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:36 AM | Comments (7)

July 16, 2003

I see London, I see France...

Okay, I have a question. It's about this softcore anime pr0n thing. If they can draw bouncing boobies and closeups of short-short-clad bottoms, when what the frack is it with the insectoid anime-creature face? All eyes and hardly any mouth or nose -- sorry, but the facial features -- or lack thereof -- of most anime characters totally turn me off, I don't care how well the bodies are drawn.

(Note: I actually like the rest of the picture that I linked to on AstreaEdge's site. but that noseless, mouthless face... {shudder}.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:38 PM | Comments (23)

License to pollute

Guess who is proposing to trash a historic neighborhood in order to build a toxic-emission-emitting complex in Providence? Big Tobacco? Dow Chemical? Halliburton? Some other Eville Capitalist Entity? No: Brown University.

Here is more.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

Everything that rises must converge

Christ, people piss me off sometimes. It's enough to seriously make me consider setting up one of those password-protected blog things, so the sensitive of the earth won't be bothered by my personal whinings, and leave this blog for all the fluffy politics, war, and culture crap.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

The NYT Steps in the Fetchit

Wow. Remember when you could get into deep doo-doo for suggesting that black people be segregated off into specialized areas, such as "their music" and "their dancing"? Well, I sure do. But it looks as if the New York Times forgot. Oh well -- how can we expect them to remember such things? We all know that it is impossible for racism to exist north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Missing the point

Another pun missed. Sigh. (The post she refers to is now located here.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:35 AM | Comments (5)

Buzz cut

Hey, what do you know, Elrond was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. (Or Agent Smith, if you prefer.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:10 AM | Comments (8)

Life Plan Part 96214

So, I was talking to the lady from the bank, arranging for me not to have my car repo'd right away, and telling her of my jobless woes, and she said "It's too bad you don't live here, we're hiring." Now she was in Birmingham. I've never been there, so I don't know what it's like, but she said something about being within relatively easy access to mountains and beaches. I know some people who lived in Birmingham and didn't care for it, but my needs are simple: electricity, plumbing, cable access (internet, I don't care about tv), air-conditioning. Maybe I should move out of Florida.

So I went to Apartments.com to check out Birmingham. Prices seem reasonable... But is there a state income tax? Florida is one of the few states without a state income tax.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:29 AM | Comments (23)

July 15, 2003

Maybe I'll pitch a tent...

Well, look who's famous: CNN has gotten wind of Scott's "tiny bidness." Uh oh -- will celebrities inundate his campground? Will fame Go to His Head? Will he start blogging about "doing lunch" with "J. Lo"? Will he start wearing sunglasses at night? Well heck, if anyone deserves a slice of the good life, Scott does.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)

Addition to the site

If you look over to the left you'll see I've added a little blogroll. This has samples from my Top Secret Blogroll™, chosen at random. I will be changing the links from time to time, for no particular reason.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Attrition

Okay, time for a my-so-called-life entry. This is all personal complaints and whines so feel free not to read the rest.

I had the cable people come and get the digital cable box -- I simply was not watching any of the digital channels. There was a time when I would have killed to have three extra music video channels, but that was when 1) I still cared about the current music scene, and 2) there was still music to care about. I stopped caring about music some time in the late nineties; the last concert I went to was the U2 one in Lexington in May 2001, but I had more than one reason for taking that trip. I haven't been to a concert since. Having all those extra channels is useless to me now.

Anyway, the box is gone; after some thought I decided to keep the standard cable, because I do watch A&E, the Hallmark Channel, and Discovery. In any case, I'm not sure how long I will still be here; I still don't have a job, and rent is a problem. (It's like, not paid yet. My manager wasn't in his office when I sashayed over there today; he's going to be thrilled.) I could barely afford this place on student loans and a part time job; now I have neither. Also, I have a car payment that must be paid, and I think it's going to win out over rent. As things stand now, I need my car more than I need an apartment. I can always drive to a friend's house and stay there. But without a car I can't get a decent job (not the way the laughable public transportation system is set up in Orlando -- but there isn't a city in Florida where the public transportation system doesn't suck, this is a car state).

Anyway, I've been getting myself into the state of mind where I can think about moving. After all: one day last week I came home after a job interview to find out that the maintenance crew had hacked all the lower branches off the lacebark elm tree in front of my apartment. Their excuse was that they had to trim all the branches that were touching the building because of carpenter ants and termites. That is all well and good, but I observed later that they haven't trimmed the branches from any of the other trees in the place, not so I can tell, and some of those branches (like the bottlebrush tree on the other side of my unit) are touching the roof. Maybe carpenter ants don't like bottlebrush tree bark.

Of course the tree crew didn't bother to move my last two feeble potted plants. Falling branches had knocked them both to the ground: the geranium had actually put out a flower which was broken off, and the spider plant had been dumped out of its pot. Anyway, I picked it up and scraped as much of the dirt as I could and repotted it, and the geranium too. Then I had to go inside to comfort my terrified cat, who must have thought the world had come to an end. She actually crept out of her hiding place on her belly, very pathetic.

So: they have hacked up my pretty tree, the better for the outside lights to glare in my window. And I have never sat in my patio area on my plastic chair next to my nice plastic table; it's either raining really hard, or too hot, or the mosquitos are out. What I have decided I'd prefer is some place I could get a screened-in porch. That way I could "be outside" without having to actually be outside in the evil Florida weather. That being said, I do like my neighborhood, which is quiet and near a part and has lots of trees (I require trees), but -- oh well.

I've looked around on Apartments.com and seen some less-expensive studios (yes, I might go back to a studio or an efficiency, if I can shed half my possessions -- and if I get a job, ever) that are not in Orange County. (I refuse to live in Orange County. I'd live in Polk County before I lived in Orange. People who live here will know what I am talking about.)

So yay, I might move. Whatever -- I don't care as long as I can get internet access, hey! Also, to make my life perfect, I had to get a new cell phone -- and a new cell phone plan, because Sprint's (my previous provider) cheapest phone is a hundred bucks. What happened was: my antediluvian cell phone finally up and died. Without a phone I'm sunk; I need that to get job interview calls. (I have no land line; I got rid of it since I had the cell.) So I went to T-Mobile and got a Nokia for $29.00. It was their cheapest phone, and it freaks me out, all the stuff it comes with. I have games, and I can compose my own ringtone, and I can even use AIM with it. So I may be homeless, but I'll have a cell phone! Maybe I should trade this machine in for a laptop with wireless access and become a vagabond. I'll trade the car in for a converted van... I'll change the name of the blog to "Have Blog, Will Travel." Or maybe "Vagablog." Hey...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:53 PM | Comments (2)

Site stuffage

The "closecomments" script (found here if you want to play with it) has been re-implemented. Now I can close comments on all my blogs at once. (It's been set to close comment threads older than 15 days.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Unnatural

A thought just occurred to me upon reading this discourse upon the problem with the "it's unnatural" argument against homosexuality. Eugene Volokh says that people who use this argument are actually hiding their "religious, moral, and practical judgments" behind (I think) a pseudo-scientific position that heterosexuality is natural (because it leads to procreation, and so on) while homosexuality is not. But he doesn't say anything about the fact that in history, or Christian history anyway, the "natural" -- ie, the physical world, the "world of the flesh" -- was always what mankind was supposed to resist, pray for protection from, strive to escape from. Christianity, Islam, other non-Western religions (Buddhism, Hinduism) caution against attaching too much importance to the physical world, which is seen as imperfect, tainted, and corrupt. Despite the fact that in general technology has progressed enough that at least in the Western world we can afford to think of Mother Nature as our good buddy, the focus of most of the worlds' major religions is still the eventual leaving of life upon this imperfect earth to a "better life" in some sort of heavenly afterworld. I don't think that religious objectors to homosexuality are consciously using the argument from nature in a way that contradicts their own teachings; at some point "it's natural" became a good rather than a bad thing, and objections to physicality got broken down into specifics (certain sex acts are "unnatural," but the sex act itself -- as long as you follow the rules -- is not seen to be corrupted by its physicality; greed is bad, but it is a good thing to make a lot of money as long as you work hard and live an otherwise moral life, and so on).

Oops, posted too soon. What I meant to end with was: saying that homosexuality was natural is actually an argument against that state, or it would be if people were still consistent on how they regarded nature. But they aren't; the meanings of "natural" and "unnatural" are continuously shifting, and mostly seem to be synonyms for "I like it" and "ew!" Underneath the approved modern tendency to label good things as "natural," though, is still an instinctive resistance in many people to emulating "the beasts of the field." In this case the example of the bonobo monkeys would not only not be a selling position on the normalcy of homosexuality, it would be another argument against homosexuality.

(Via Rand Simberg.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:14 PM | Comments (14)

Good-bye, so long, auf wiedersehn...

Well, I guess this sort of thing is better than just mysteriously ceasing to add new posts and thus leaving people wondering if you are dead or something. Or saying one will be gone "for a week or two" and then never being seen again.

Then again, Spoons couldn't stay away.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:44 PM | Comments (2)

The ping's the thing

Okay, I've decided to manually ping for now, because I'm tired of all the pinging errors I'd get when I'd post from my site with auto-ping on, and also my new posts load faster if they don't have to ping every time. Weblogs.com's ping form seems to be having problems, but blo.gs and blogrolling.com's ping forms worked just fine. Now you'll see a little sign in your blogroll, if I remember to ping, anyway.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:14 PM | Comments (2)

The Big Kaboom

Dang, that was one loud thunderclap. It made the walls shake and set off car alarms. It also gave me a headache.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

OCD's Paradise

Tim Blair has found what one reader calls a gold mine: the ummah's answer to Ann Landers, Ask the Imam. If you go by this site, the Muslim world seems to be geared towards the sort of person who has to count all the table and chair legs in the room before leaving, and who sorts her used twisties by color and length. Sample question:

Is the embroidery stitching technique called "cross-stitch" forbidden in Islam ?

I am a muslim women who likes to do embroidery at home. One of those embroidery is called "cross-stitching" which consist to do "X" stitching on a cloth in order to have as a finished product a geometric pattern or floral pattern on many parts of the cloth (like a tablecloth for example). You have to criss-cross strands of cotton in order to make a pattern. The reason i am asking this question is that a sister came forward and told me that it was forbidden because the stitching technique looks like crosses (actually it's little X's that you make wich doesn't appear much because of the tickness of the strands).The patterns that i do are not of human or animal kinds. Only geometric and floral. Allah knows best.

Answer:

It is permissible to do the 'cross stitch' technique in embroidery.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
FATWA DEPT.

Well I sure am relieved about that. And here's something for you anal-retentives out there:

I need to know whether a person can read an english magazine while passing stools in the bathroom 2.Also if the magazine has a subscribtion label which has muslim names like muhammed so will it be wrong to take this magazine in the bathroom? 3. Also if we can throw these magazines or letters with names like muhammed or other sahaba names in the garbage? will it be unrespectful? 4.also if a women can keep her face open only during ihram if it is very hard to cover with the baseball cap being with small children? 5.I recently was applying super glue to something and after 4 or 5 days noticed a small amount about 2 or 3 mustard seed size spot on my fingernail, I scratched it witg my teeth and it came off, my question is will this very thin layer of super glue on my nail make all my salats and ghusl void? will I have to repeat all the past 4 or 5 days salats?If u can also give me some dua for being afraid at the smallest things and the dark. Jazakallah amd MAy Allah reward u for your time and effort. Ameen

Spelling and punctuation quoted as is. The answer:

1. He is not allowed to read any type of book or magazine whilst in the toilet.

2. Refer 1 above.

3. To some extent, it would be disrespectful to dispose of them in the garbage. If the magazine is an un-Islamic magazine, you may dispose of it in the trash can.

4. It is permissible for her to leave her face exposed in the state of Ihraam.

5. This thin layer of glue would have prevented water penetrating. Hence, the Salaats performed since then should be repeated.

6. Recite Aayaatul Kursi in abundance – especially after every Fardh Salaat and before you retire at night.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Muhammad Kadwa
FATWA DEPT.

CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Well that's it then -- Dad would never have converted; there would have been no way he would have willingly forgone his morning reading hour. (By the way, why do I get the feeling that this site is one giant spoof, set up by a doofy guy in a satellite with his robot friends, and that when this question came up they danced around shouting "a Daktari stool! Ha ha!")

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:02 PM | Comments (4)

Donation updates

Someone donated to me through Yahoo! PayDirect, so I had to set up an account. The person who donated said that it was easier than Paypal for people who don't want to give all their bank info (I have never tried it myself) so I've added a link for people who'd rather not use PayPal.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

Site fix

I've gone and reinstalled Textile, so now the old entries have the proper formatting.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Links problem

Aargh! Something I didn't expect to happen, and can't really figure out either, but importing all my Movable Type entries from the old site to the new site somehow changed all the filenames. (What was "http://www.spleenville.com/journal/archives/004067.php" is now apparently "http://spleenville.com/journal/archives/001865.php." I had no idea this would happen, but I did a fresh install of MT and imported the entries instead of just gzipping the files and moving them over, because I thought it would be easier. Oy. Sorry, guys.

Update: And any images I had loaded with popups don't work now. The thumbnails work, but the popup scripts don't. I may reload them one by one, or I may not.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:28 PM | Comments (5)

July 14, 2003

Art Thugs

Here's an interesting post on sadistic "artists" doing things that would get an ordinary "non-artist" person arrested or beaten up. I have nothing to add to it; it's too well-written. (I don't know, though, that "misanthropes" is really a proper designation for these people, since they need to have other human beings to do their dirty work on. A true misanthrope wouldn't be able to stand the presence of another human being long enough to torture him.)

(Via Dean Esmay.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:04 PM | Comments (2)

Site announcement

Okay, the spleenville.com domain is now resolving to the new site. Reset your bookmarks.

PS: I haven't re-selected the weblogs.com or the blo.gs pinging utility. I may not do so; I have noticed that posts load up much faster if each one doesn't have to ping. But you all visit my site religiously every hour, right?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:07 AM | Comments (6)

Dim

Okay, goddammit. I have had it up to hear with this "bright" crap. Note to Dean: I hereby proclaim that the theme to your continued poking and prodding at this particular monkey cage will be the old Smiths song, "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore." It's just irritating me now; you wanted to know, so now I'm telling you. And unlike Pejman I am not even interested in the non-believers' rudeness to believers aspect to this matter. As for Max Power, I don't know why he has such a bug up his ass about Pejman's argument, and at this point I don't care. (I do find it funny that he would get all bent out of shape about other people getting bent out of shape on something.)

Here is my absolute last word on the subject: I don't care about the fragile souls of uni-coddled academics who are afraid of scary religious people, or whatever their damage is. I don't particularly care about the hurt feelings of believers either: it is my observation that the world is rather hard on peoples' ideas about life, the universe, and everything. It would be nice if it were otherwise, but it isn't; that's just the way it is. Deal.

But I do care about the English language, what is left of it anyway. But don't listen to me (obviously nothing I say penetrates anyway); listen to C.S. Lewis. Here's what he had to say about this sort of thing, in the preface to Mere Christianity:

The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone "a gentleman" you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact[...] But then there came people who said -- so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully -- "Ah, but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? "[...] They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. [...] When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object.
And so on -- you can read the entire passage here.

See, we don't need to take a perfectly good word -- "bright" -- which already has several different meanings attached to it, and give it yet another meaning. Especially when we already have plenty of perfectly useful words for the thing the "bright" advocates want to describe -- atheist, agnostic, naturalist, secular humanist, humanist, and so on. New terminology won't change the fact that some people are unfavorably disposed towards these words, because it is the ideas behind those words that they object to, not the words themselves. No fulminating Bible-thumper is going to change his mind about atheists being Godless sinners if atheists start calling themselves something else. No fanatical Muslim is going to sing songs of praise for secular humanists if they start calling themselves "cigars" or "Molly" instead. The Brighters are going to be sneered at by a certain segment of the population no matter what they do, and the cutesy smugness of their stance certainly is adding people to that number.

(My previous posts on the subject are here and here.) And before you comment, yes, I know that there are no line breaks; those posts were done in Textile formatting, and I have to reinstall it.)

Update: okay, the last last last last word.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 04:09 AM | Comments (31)

July 13, 2003

Retro Stove

Oh yes, when I have made my millions and I finally have that dream cabin in the woods, one of these will be installed in my kitchen.

Betcha can't think of me being all domestic and shit, can ya?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:10 PM | Comments (9)

Let me see your ID

Wow, that's some set of cojones the British Parliament has. They are planning to make everyone in the UK carry a "universal ID card." But that's not what stands out to me (the fact that Britain is inching towards Big Brotherism is old news now); what I can't believe is that they are going to make everyone pay for it:

The ID card will be required by everyone over 16 -- more than 40 million people -- and cost around 」40, though with concessions for the elderly and the poor.
Can you imagine the outcry in the US if the government decided to charge everyone for their social security card? (It's free here. And yes, I know that "free" in the context of a government service means "paid for by taxes," but at least we don't have to fork over another US$65.00, which is about what 」40.00 is according to the current exchange rate.)

(Via Kim du Toit.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:42 PM | Comments (8)

Day by Day hiatus

Chris Muir, author of day by day, is going to be out of commission for 30 days due to surgery. Wish him a speedy recovery (and that's an order!).

Brought to you by the Yes I Think "Day By Day" is a Funny and Well-Drawn Cartoon Brigade.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

Things

I just realized why none of my imported posts have "convert line breaks" on; because they weren't saved that way, I had Textile installed on the other server. I haven't re-installed the plugin yet here. D'oh!

I meant to sleep all day, but I was awakened around 9am by some moron sounding their car horn over and over. Whoever it was is lucky I can't function without a pot of coffee in me. I was going for a walk, but the temperature is now in the nineties, so there is no way I'm leaving the house unless it is to get into my airconditioned car and drive somewhere else airconditioned.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

First new entry on the new site

Okay, that was fun. I reinstalled MT from scratch, imported my entries (old and new -- I also copied the ones from the old Spleenville World Domination HQ blog over, into its own site) and Tim Blair's as well. I redirected the domain name but it will take a day or two to resolve to the new nameservers so my blog is here (http://63.247.131.180/~lilith33/journal/) and Tim's is here (http://63.247.131.180/~lilith33/timblair/).

Further changes: I am not sure I'm going to keep the webmistress-at-spleenville.com address; for now just use my main Earthlink one (it's on the sidebar). I also changed my primary address on Paypal to the Earthlink address, so I updated the donation code.

Another thing: I was going to keep this particular blog for a year, but I have been experimenting with different blogging software, ones built with php, and I might open a new blog in a new folder. We'll see.

I still have to install my plugins and the close-multiple comment script and a few other things. I am doing all of this for fun, right? ;P

Oops, forgot: all the images I had on the other server are still sitting on my hardrive, I have to upload them, right now my old entries that had pictures with them will show pathetic broken image links. Oh well.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:26 AM | Comments (5)

July 12, 2003

Moving site

Okay, folks, I'll be moving the site tonight. If you get some weird messages just or the site won't load or a demon possesses your computer briefly and causes it to levitate, don't worry, all will be well eventually.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:18 PM | Comments (3)

As the blog turns

I just wanted to send a brief thanks to everyone who is sending me advice, suggestions, hosting offers, and donations -- thank you thank you thank you!

I have already set up compression on the site's main index page using the php thing from this site, and the leknor site confirms that it is now gzipped, so that should help. The spambot/spider/etc. usage is under investigation as we speak. I am still shopping possible new hosts. Repeat after me: chaos is our friend, chaos is our friend, chaos is our friend...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:22 AM | Comments (6)

July 11, 2003

Bandwidth problems

I need some help here: I just got a notification from my web administrator that this site is pulling 1 GB of bandwidth per day. My account allows 3 GB per month -- I can't afford this sort of thing. I will probably be moving the site soon, but even the plan I found only allows a little under 15 GB of bandwidth usage a month. Any suggestions of what could be causing this (beyond the rampant popularity of Tim Blair's site). I was thinking DNS attacks and things liket that; also is there anything I can do to make this site not so resource-intensive, if that will do anything about this problem.

Update: I took a look at the logfile for Tim's site for just today and one thing I did notice what that something called QuepasaCreep v0.9.14 hit the site hundreds of times just today. (I lost count after 110, and I was only a fraction into the logfile.) It seems to be some sort of search engine for Spanish websites -- I don't know why it's hitting this site, since it is not in Spanish. I found instances of other search engines hitting the site today, but they only seemed to do it once or twice. I wonder if that could be the culprit.

Update 2: this is another interesting page full of info. I need to learn how to set up an .htaccess file or edit my robots.txt or something, that is for sure.

Update 3: I've had a communiqu (I use that term 'cos it's neat) with the web administrator over at Cornerhost. He set up a bad bot-blocking thing on the .htaccess file, so maybe that will help; I also cut down the amount of entries showing on Tim Blair's main page, because it was getting pretty huge and just viewing it was sucking bandwidth. Question: would it help if I put some sort of file compression on the blog? Something like the various methods described on this site. I saw the magic phrase "curb your bandwidth usage," so I think I will try out one or the other of these.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:41 AM | Comments (26)

July 10, 2003

Rockshow

I want to go to a Laynefest. The hell with that Lollapalulu shizzat.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:26 PM | Comments (1)

The Purple and the Red

You know, when I am an old woman I am going to do whatever I goddamn well please, just the same as I have always done.

(Via Velociworld.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:09 PM | Comments (6)

My addiction

Now this is dedication to blogging. He'd better not go into that "I'm gonna hang up my blog hat" crap again because then I will just have to laugh and laugh at him.

As for me, I can't imagine giving up my blog over something like trolls making nasty comments or family members complaining that I never spend time with them anymore (that's one of the advantages of having family members consisting of one cat -- when she whines I just pick her up and hold her upside down for a while; she hates that), or snooty columns about how bloggers are narcoleptic -- no, narcotic -- no! "narcissistic," that's it -- and by some coincidence the writers of these snooty columns often happen to be people who have had a Webbe Logge since the days when the internet was chiseled onto sandstone tablets with flint tools, and the only people who even owned computers were men whose t-shirts never completely fit over their bellies. Anyway, none of those jokers will ever make me stop blogging. I mean, blogging annoys so many people -- why would I ever think of stopping?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:50 PM | Comments (5)

Possible future site changes?

I could take this site completely dynamic, completely php. It worked for Erica. But it would be a big step to take -- it would mean bye-bye MT tags, hello total dependence on the efficient working of my mysql database. Dare I mess around? Maybe someday, when I get up the nerve...

Update: well, it worked on my test blog -- kinda. There are still some kinks to work out, but they (and all other site tinkering) will have to wait until I take care of some other business.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:50 AM | Comments (15)

July 09, 2003

The latest marketing trend

Okay, this is for Sean. (It's work safe!) Anyway, that being said, let me tell you what I think I saw on teevee last night.

I wasn't really paying attention, and one of those booze commercials came on. It was for one of those beerish drinks they are always trying to sell -- this was (I forget the name) Hard Lemonade. Anyway, it was the usual scenario of the un-airconditioned apartment and the sweaty guy going to the fridge to get out the product. Then, as I glanced at the screen, I could swear I saw this: the shot of the guy holding the bottle next to his t-shirt-clad torso was showing that, um, thing that happens when a person's chestal area is hit by a blast of cold air. Then the camera pans up to the guy's face, and he gets this thoughtful grin, and then he calls into the other room something like (I forget the exact words): "Honey, would you like a hard lemonade?" I do remember the emphasis on the "hard." I know ad companies are always trying new things to get attention, but this struck me as a little... out there.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

She's back

Letter from Gotham, that is.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Music for the Masses

Now Ken Layne's gone and done a CD of music stuff. He sings and everything, but don't be afraid, because he can actually sing, unlike some "real" "hit" "song" "artists" (cough Britney Christina That Guy In Tool cough). And you get lots of songs for cheap. If I have any money left over from paying rent (or storage space for my stuff while I bed down in my car) I plan to buy it. And you know how picky I am. What, you didn't know? Well I am!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:49 PM | Comments (1)

No blog is an island, or something

Is my blog gay? I mean, I'm not gay, but considering the constant Elijah Wood motif, my blog might be gay. Then again, I have been doing a lot of design-tweaking. Now excuse me, I have to go polish my combat boots with neet's-foot oil. Go be diverse and shit.

Random: I don't think there is anything wrong with the blog island analogy. That way I can use the word "Blogipelago," which I am sure I just coined. I could be wrong. But if I am I'll just deny everything so don't even think of starting with me.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:51 AM | Comments (12)

Fear and Trembling

Hey everyone, make sure you celebrate Frank's history of his pathetic need for affirmation in the form of hit counts and Google rankings Blogiversansary -- Blogiviver -- Bloga-- oh, whatever the word is, it's been an entire dreadful, horrible amazing year for Frank. Go say hi! Link to his site! (Really, I mean it -- you'd better link to his site. I can't be responsible for what happens if you don't. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get out of the way for the firemen and the hazmat crew. Long story. Jeez what a hair-trigger temper, it was just a lightly mocking email, he didn't have to take it so seriously...)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:05 AM | Comments (3)

D'orcs

Oh god, another useless column that strings together a bunch of words so the writer can make a paycheck and the publication can fill some white space and drag some eyes to its adverts. This time the publication in question is This is London, and the subject is J.R.R. Tolkien vs. J.K. Rowling. There are (all together now) several inaccuracies in this little thing. One: both authors did not feature "a young, innocent hero." The only version of Lord of the Rings where Frodo is both young and innocent is the current movie version. In the books Frodo is actually nearly fifty, which in "hobbit years" is meant to represent a period of past youth but not middle age -- say, equivalent to a human in his mid-thirties. Obviously, this Malcolm Burgess fellow has not bothered to do the most cursory research before he typed up his column. I daresay he would not even have had to read the actual book to find out Frodo's actual age; he could probably have found a fan site on the internet with more info than he needed or wanted.

"Lots of places with Capital Letters." Er, what? English grammar rules demand capitalization of place names, of made-up countries as well as real ones. I'm not getting this. It's filler in a filler column.

Evidence for the assertion that people who read Rowlings books will be reading "only one book this year" comes from where?

Crickets chirping.

I see.

The rest is crap. Into the Fiery Mountain with it.

(Via the Onering.net.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:30 AM | Comments (7)

July 08, 2003

Adult children, childish adults

Stephen Pollard is a fucking snob.

I don't care how expert he is in whatever area of Important Grownup Hey I Said This Is Important Will You Kids Sit Still and Listen to Me? Hey! Hey! Where Do You Think You Are Going?! shit he writes about. Anyone who has the gall to tell people that they should "be ashamed of themselves" for reading a so-called "children's book" in public has invalidated themselves in my eyes as anyone whose opinion on any subject I should care about. So he "worries" for adults who read books he doesn't approve of, does he? Paternalistic swot.

Yes I am just a little sick of these people.

By the way, here's my short review of the Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, which is another one Rowling/Tolkien-haters are always flogging as an example of "all fantasy should be written this way": first book good, second book eh, third book sucked and blowed. I promise to give a longer review later.

One last thing: apparently Pollard went to see The Two Towers having fuckall idea that it had to do with elves, "monsters" and other sorts of fantasy things, and stomped out in a huff because he expected to see, I don't know, something like The Brothers Karamazov, or maybe the latest Jean-Luc Godard brow-crinkler. (And he also says he "avoided the first movie" -- so apparently he had no idea that he was seeing part two of a continuous film. I can't even begin to understand the sort of mental reasoning behind this.) You know, there's this thing I do before I go see a movie: I read up on it to get a kind of idea of what I am to see. And if I don't, I don't get mad because I didn't see what I thought I would see. But what do I know. I read "children's books," I can't understand all that grownup stuff.

Scroll down this page for some feedback on this entry. Sample:

I wasn't going to jump in on this, really I wasn't, but it struck me that this piece was a glaring example of the fallacy of the excluded middle. (David Gillies.)

And:
So, reading Potter and Pullman, watching Lord of The Rings etc is infantile, less than adult and part of a general downgrading of the cultural life of the country [...] Watching Spurs, on the other hand, isn't. (John Durkin.)

Oh but I say, sport is an important, grown up activity. Chasing a ball around a field helps one memorize Kant, develop new theories in quantum physics, balance one's checkbook, and clears up acne. But reading the wrong books makes baby Jeebus cry and will cause the dead to rise from their graves, cats and dogs to live together, and streams of pink and green ectoplasmic goo to cover the earth!

(Link to Natalie Solent's post, where she was much, much too nice to the guy, found via Sasha and Andrew's Round Table.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:47 PM | Comments (10)

Potted Author follies

There is so much that is wrong with this criticism of the Harry Potter novels by A.S. Byatt that I don't know where to begin. Well actually, I do -- with the title: "Harry Potter and the Childish Adult." I do realize that most articles that appear in the pro news media have their titles chosen by someone other than the author, but this time the title at least reflects the central thesis of the piece, which is that tired, flabby notion that the reading of so-called "childrens' books" by those over the age of eighteen is supposedly indicative of some sort of immaturity of outlook, or merely an assuaging of some creature called the "child within."

I would like to state here and now that I do not believe that the onset of adulthood means that the child one was the day before one's eighteenth birthday (or whatever age one's society decides one becomes an adult) is somehow destroyed or subsumed. I believe that people keep their same personalities from birth to death, barring severe brain damage. As one grows older one accumulates more life experience and knowledge, and hopefully these things increase one's understanding as well. A certain level of mental, emotional, and physical maturity being necessary, however, before a human being can fully participate in society, human beings have therefore created an idea of there being a transition at some clearly demarcated point that is referred to as "becoming an adult." In olden days, when life was simpler, this time was chosen to more or less coincide with a person's sexual maturity, which happens around age thirteen. But as society became more complex, this solution became less satisfactory. (For one thing, the mental and emotional maturity of human beings lags far behind their physical maturity. In fact, few people -- some would say no people -- finish developing in those areas.) That is one reason why traditional religious ceremonies marking a child's becoming a full participant in their community's activities -- the bar mitzvah, first confirmation, and so on -- occurs either in preteen or early adolescent years, but secular society doesn't consider a person to be an adult until they reach at least the age of eighteen.

Anyway, I don't believe in this fencing off of "childish" literature. In fact, I believe that at least in Western society the idea of childrens' literature is a relatively recent development, and goes back no earlier than the Victorian Age. That was when there was finally a middle class large enough and prosperous enough to affect the market in a significant way. Before then children read the same things adults read, if they read at all. The stories known as "fairy tales," shunted off to the nursery, were merely the old stories and myths of the countryside, passed on to children by their nannies and therefore becoming "childrens' tales" by default. (If you want to read more about this idea in depth, read J.R.R. Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories." Currently it is to be found as an introduction to his story "Tree and Leaf," in The Tolkien Reader. He pretty much cuts to pieces the idea of childhood as a special state alien to adults, and thus the idea of special "childrens'" literature.)

Anyway, to get back to the Byatt piece. I have a problem with it the first sentence going in:

What is the secret of the explosive and worldwide success of the Harry Potter books?

First of all, it is my personal opinion that the word "explosive" has become hackneyed, and a moratorium should be placed on its use in referring to anything other than describing the use of incendiary devices, or diarrhea. But let us move on, to the next sentence, which wonders at the "much harder question" of why so many adults read the Harry Potter books. Byatt comes to the conclusion that one reason adults read them is because they are "comforting" --

Childhood reading remains potent for most of us. In a recent BBC survey of the top 100 "best reads," more than a quarter were children's books. We like to regress. I know that part of the reason I read Tolkien when I'm ill is that there is an almost total absence of sexuality in his world, which is restful.

Well, everyone reads Tolkien for their own reasons, I guess... though I can think of a lot of things I read that have no sex in them. Personally, I read H.P. Lovecraft's stories when I'm sick -- I find that restful, make of that what you will.

I have, incidentally, deliberately passed the extended Freudian approach to the reason why the Potter plot is so popular among children. I try to pass over Freudian cites without commenting as often as I can. My attitude towards Freud's theories, at least whenever they are used to back up someone's critique of a movie or a book, these days somewhat resembles that of Robert De Niro's character in Analyze This.

But see, see the stuff about "regression"? That's what I mean. My inner Paul Vitti (other people have "inner children" -- I have an inner gangster, go figure) wants to whack this kind of crap right now. Bada bing.

But that's not all. Next we get to the Today's Generation Sucks theme. See, in Byatt's day, grownups read proper stuff that made them feel all oogy and uncomfortable but in a squidgy, superior sort of way that they called "edgy" among their knowing, Culturally and PsychoSexually Aware friends. Oops. I meant, "literature" was once properly Dark and In Touch With Our Earlier Culture, and got us to know Good and Evil, and Everything Was Magical. But today, people are just a bunch of mundane sheep:

Ms. Rowling, I think, speaks to an adult generation that hasn't known, and doesn't care about, mystery. They are inhabitants of urban jungles, not of the real wild. They don't have the skills to tell ersatz magic from the real thing, for as children they daily invested the ersatz with what imagination they had.

Good god, I haven't seen the phrase "urban jungle" in print since the seventies.

See, if you read something Byatt thinks is worthless, you are also worthless. It's a strange world Byatt inhabits. I would say that people who read pretentious "adult" literature are themselves pretentious twits who eat salads made with substances called "arugula" and have tasteful erotic art books on their coffee tables, but I actually know many people who read such literature and they are otherwise quite down to earth, have been known to buy and eat fast food, and don't think to themselves "I am getting in touch with my wild ancestors" when they go on hunting trips. I will refrain from wondering if Byatt is as snooty in person as she sounds here in print.

At the very least, though, she could have approached her subject with a little more care. Byatt seems to have barely skimmed the Potter books, because she gets several things wrong. The "magic" in the Potter books is by no means "confined to school grounds" (in the very first section of the fifth book evil magical creatures attack Harry and his cousin in their own neighborhood, far from Hogwarts), nor is it no less a "force" than the magic in Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books -- which also features a school for wizards, by the way -- since just as in LeGuin's stories magic is recognized as something that the persons endowed with these powers must be taught to control and focus. This isn't some tossed-off idea buried in a paragraph towards the back of, say, the fourth book -- it's only the entire premise of the main setting of the books, the Hogwarts School, not to mention one of the major underpinnings of the books as a whole. Harry must learn to control his powers lest they -- through the books' representation of a person's potential for evil, Voldemort -- control him, and he becomes evil like Voldemort. So there are no serious themes, no struggle between good and evil, in the Potter books? Fine, whatever.

I am not going to argue here that Rowlings is a writer on par with Thackeray (or Terry Pratchett, whose work if you ask me is only nominally fantasy; I think people like him for all the cute asides and in-jokes myself. Personally, I can only take Pratchett in small doses). She is no stylist -- she uses English the way most people use it, to describe what happened and what people thought and did and said about it. The prose is workmanlike, no better. If you are turned on by "amazing sentences" you won't care much for any of the Potter books, nor for a lot things. For my own part, I grow tired of "amazing sentences" and other such attention-getting tricks and sometimes would like to just sit down and read a story. If I feel "comforted" rather than depressed and drained -- as is my reaction to a lot of "real" literature -- I don't think that means that I am immature, unable to handle myself in the "real wild" (I'd like to know what the reaction of this flower of English letters would be if she were to end up somehow in the "real wild"), or "without the skills to tell ersatz magic from the real thing." I think I do pretty good in the telling apart of the ersatz from the authentic, especially when it comes to criticism of sort.

(Via Crooked Timber.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:01 PM | Comments (12)

July 07, 2003

Swamp thing

Well, still no job, but lots of calls from people I owe money to! Including a fun dispatch from the student loan people, who are under the impression that I have not been enrolled at UCF since February. I beg to differ: I held out for a week longer than that... And then I get to go explain to my landlord why I don't have the rent, and god knows when I will have the rent. Hah hah! I am loving life right now, I can tell you.

And later, I may tell you all about my car trip yesterday. Yeah, since it's only money, I decided to drive around Central Florida. After getting a look at the area off the main highways, I think I am going to start referring to my home as "Mirkwood," or maybe "Fangorn." We do like our trees here. (Here is an example of what I mean. This is a picture of the Ocala National Forest. Or maybe it's a picture of one of Lake, Sumter, or Marion County's many small towns. Sometimes you can glimpse the wall of a house or the corner of a roof. The picture isn't mine, I snagged it off the internet somewhere.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:38 AM | Comments (5)

The end is near: sign no. 7845

Brought to you by the Internet (the gift that just keeps on giving): Testicle Theater.

Do not blame Meryl -- she is but a victim of forces of evil greater than mortals can resist.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:39 AM | Comments (5)

Military syntax

You know, I hate the word "blouse." I always have. As a person of the female gender I am supposed to refer to certain of my torso-covering garments as "blouses" but since I hate that word I never do. I have t-shirts and shirts but I don't have "blouses." (I don't care much for the word "top" either. It sounds like an adjective looking for a noun.) Anyway, chalk this up to Reason No. 4571 why I would never have made it in the military .

(Via Meryl Yourish.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:31 AM | Comments (8)

July 06, 2003

Meals on Wheels

O-kay, someone clearly needs to take a course in efficient time management:

A woman given a ticket for breast-feeding her daughter while driving on the Ohio Turnpike last month could have gone on her merry way with a slap on the wrist and a $100 fine.

And by the way, the hubby's being a real asshole just to avoid paying a $100 fine:

The woman's husband, however, is trying to make a federal case out of it -- literally -- by claiming she is not the real defendant.

He said he is.

He made that claim, citing Mosaic law from the Old Testament and writings from the days of the Founding Fathers because of the couple's ``deeply held spiritual beliefs'' that the husband is ``the sole head of the family'' and the only one who can punish the wife for a public act.

Needless to say, neither he nor his ostensibly god-bothering helpmeet seem to be at all concerned that if the car had crashed mid-suck, their little infanta would have most likely been gruesomely killed. I generally object to most nanny-state laws, but when it comes to laws about infant safety-seats, they exist for a reason, and a good one. (When it comes to adult seat-belt laws I am more sanguine; I say let 'em strap in or not as they please, and let Deity sort them out. And yes, I wear mine.)

(Via The Cranky Professor.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

That grand old absolutely dangerous, totally meaningless flag

Heh. Look at what they're up to at UCF:

A plan by a student group to install hundreds of American flags at the University of Central Florida is provoking a debate over whether the idea is an exercise in patriotism or political intimidation.

Members of Rebuilding On a Conservative Kornerstone, or ROCK, have received the blessing of President John Hitt to spend up to $7,500 in student-government fees to place flags in every lab, classroom and auditorium on campus.

And to think that I am not taking any summer classes, so I get to miss all the fun. Of course, it doesn't help "ROCK's" cause when their members say dumb things like this:

"Anyone who says they don't want the flag in the classroom runs the risk of being anti-American," said UCF ROCK member Jered Beaird, 21, a junior nursing student from Vero Beach. "You don't want to be seen as antipatriotic."

Way to be an ass, dude. In any case, UCF is a somewhat more conservative campus than that of other universities in the state. It may be "conservative" by default -- a lot of the students there are transient, many of them only taking a semester or two there and then returning to Florida State or UF or someplace like that. Most of the students here aren't particularly attached to the campus, and even its football team has nowhere near the reputation as the Hurricanes (the University of Miami), the Gators (UF), or the Seminoles (Florida State). And that suits me just fine...

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:18 PM | Comments (1)

Crapping all the way to the bank

America, what a country -- we'll not only sell you anything, we'll buy anything, or at least our guilt-ridden, peer-haunted, deep-pocketed liberal elite will. Observe, the shit-artists are at it again:

NEW YORK -- Four years ago, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani blasted the Brooklyn Museum of Art for hanging a painting of the Virgin Mary that was decorated with elephant dung.

An exhibit that opened at the Whitney this week strikes back - with a portrait of Giuliani that has elephant dung painted on it.

"Libertas, De Te Servent!" (Liberty, May the Gods Protect You!), by Chinese artist Zhou Tiehai, is part of an exhibition about America's global image at the Whitney Museum of American Art through Oct. 12.

I saw a picture of the Elephant Dung Madonna in one of my textbooks. Grant you, I realize that a picture in a book, even if it is in color, is no substitute for the original, but I am still pretty sure it is one of the most hideous things I have ever seen. (Here's an image of the thing: see what you think.)

Anyway, now some Chinese guy has reached into his diapers to pull out a get-rich-quick scheme. Some might say that it takes colossal gall to come from a country where such shenanigans can land you in a labor camp to one where you are given free reign to not only criticize the government, but to (figuratively) defecate on it. Of course, to say that is to risk being labelled a square, a philistine, a (shudder) Republican. Nevertheless, I say it. Mr. Zhou, you may be otherwise talented (if this is the same artist some of his work is quite good) but your latest production should be flushed down the toilet.

Via Right-Thinking.com. By the way, a commenter in the post on Right-thinking points out that the article in the Seattle PI doesn't mention that Giuliani's complaint focused on the use of taxpayer money to fund the the shit-madonna exhibit, but of course to artists and their sycophants even the faintest threat that the American public cash cow might decide to refuse to give more milk is the same as clapping artists in irons and throwing them in jail. As far as the liberal elite artistic community is concerned, the average American is a blight on the landscape, a Disney-worshipping, fast-food-gnawing, teevee-sitcom-watching swine, whose only purpose is to pay artists to throw the equivalent of feces at them. Back in the late fifties and throughout the sixties, the complaint was that Americans didn't like or understand art, its artists were abused, neglected, and worst of all, forced to work mundane "real" jobs and live among those who thought they were "weird." Well, government bodies and committees of the guilty rich were formed, artists were coddled, fêted, given grants and legacies and treated like the kings and nobles we supposedly had cast off in 1776. How strange people act when they get everything they want.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:34 AM | Comments (10)

July 05, 2003

Dispatches from the Doldrums

Well, it's been quiet as a country cemetery here in Spleenville Central. The silence is unnerving; all the kids in my apartment complex are either still asleep (having had their breakfast milk drugged so mother and dad could recover from their own hangovers) or they've all gone off to Disney World. I'm sure the silence won't last, though. There is no way everyone used up their fireworks last night.

Etc.: I am working on a new site design, as well as some other things. (Cue ominous music.) Also, still no job, rent is late, cable is unpaid -- all is as usual.

PS: I'd like to thank the benefactor who sent me (via Amazon and, I think, my intermittently updated wish list) Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy.

On to other things...

Update: well, this is it so far. I'm not too pleased with the colors, though. I had to set the two columns to absolute widths, but that shouldn't be a real problem for most regular browser settings. It is still readable with Lynx, which is the most primitive setup I can think of. As always I will still be tweaking.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:35 PM | Comments (2)

Now where was I?

Well, the so-far-unexplained site downage is now apparently over. So far.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2003

Going to the grocery store

I grew up in Miami and lived there until 1999. As everyone knows, there are a lot of Cuban-Americans there. And just about every Cuban-American family still has relatives in Cuba, and just about every one of those families has a story like this one. (Note: "guajira" means something like "country bumpkin" in Cuban Spanish.)

I got to hear a lot of similar stories from friends and coworkers, and have even met their relatives who were either "fresh off the boat" or "just visiting." This is why the admiration that many so-called liberals have for Castro will always remain incomprehensible to me.

(Via David Strain.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:54 PM | Comments (4)

Best quote on True Believers ever

From Social Reject:

If being a Christian turns you on, makes your day, gets you going, motivates you, lights your fire...hey, TERRIFIC! Just don't be such a damn BITCH about it.

Yes. (You can substitute "Buddhist," "atheist," "Libertarian," "Muslim," "Wiccan," "Republican," "Democrat," and so on for "Christian.")

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:42 PM | Comments (6)

Another reason to celebrate the 4th

How about the fact that this sort of thing can still happen in modern, secular Britain? (The Times article is registration-only for people outside the UK. I'm not sure if it's free to register any more; their registration process is confusing.) Here's an excerpt:

A COUPLE are to be ordered to pay £95,000 for repairs to a 13th-century parish church because their nearby farm was formerly church land.
The House of Lords ruled yesterday that ancient laws meant that Gail and Andrew Wallbank are liable to help with the upkeep of St John the Baptist Church in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire.

The test case affects thousands of smallholders. About 5,000 parish churches could now enforce similar orders on private individuals who own former glebe land — church land that was often rented out to bring in funds for parish maintenance. The decision relieves hundreds of Church of England congregations, already struggling to pay clergy stipends and pensions, from yet more crippling liabilities.

Mr Wallbank said: “We are pretty appalled and devastated. Everyone agrees this is a bad law but no one seems to be able to do anything about it. We will have to sell the farm to pay for it.”

The Wallbanks became liable for the repairs to the church chancel when they inherited Glebe Farm in Aston Cantlow — where Shakespeare’s parents were married — from Mrs Wallbank’s father. The land is a quarter of a mile from the church but it formerly belonged to the church as glebe land. After the Reformation, the glebe land passed into private ownership and the owner was appointed “lay rector” of the parish.

Lovely.

(Via Cronaca.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 03:31 PM | Comments (7)

Celebrate

227.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Changes to the comments

Note to all commenters to this blog, past, present, and future: I have added the MT tag that shows commenters' ISPs in the "posted by" line to the comments template. If you are nervous about revealing your IP, don't comment here, or use Anonymizer or something to read this site.

Update: if you would like to comment but don't want your IP to show, just email the comment to me (webmistress-at-spleenville.com) and I will add your comment to the discussion at my end. At my discretion, of course.

This is, by the way, part of my anti-troll policy.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:36 PM | Comments (11)

July 03, 2003

Comment tard

I deleted a comment to the post below because I decided that it had fuckall to do with the subject, which was -- to review -- "Harry Potter vs. the Fundies." Also, I do not plan to have any "random comment" posts, or anything like that. My blog, my rules, etc.

Oh -- and using a cutesy fake email address that says "foundyou@hidingplace.com" because you followed me from some other site's comments just makes you look like a total twat, because I put my URL into the "your site" field wherever I comment, so yeah, duh, you "found" me. Wooh! You're a regular Sherlock Holmes, you know how to click a couple of links; give yourself a gold star.

The poster in question has clarified his comment, so the above post can now be considered defunct.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:49 AM | Comments (7)

Harry Potter vs. the Fundies

I left a version of this as a comment in this post of Tim's reporting the shenanigans of a "conservative Christian" school's administration re: the Harry Potter books. I've no beef with Christian fundamentalists, in general, but I have had it up to here with this "Harry Potter's magical powers = real witchcraft" garbage. I will first offer these caveats:


  • I do not believe in witchcraft or magical powers.

  • I am not a member of any religious faith.

  • I do not care about anyone else's children -- that is the job of their parents. My parents had a couple of great lines for dealing with my desire for exposure to things they did not think I was ready for: "When you're older," and, "No." They did not ask anyone else to do this for them. It never occurred to them to do so. Likewise they did not think it necessary to confine the rest of the world in a padded cell along with their fragile, impressionable kiddies which seems to be the attitude of so many people these days from Christian anti-Potter hysterics to fear-crazed Safety Nazis.


That being said, here is what I have to say to the actions of the "Maranatha Christian College" and so many others, including some commenters to Tim's post who compared J.K. Rowlings to such luminaries as Larry Flynt Jr. and Karl Marx:

I am going to only say this once: the "magic" in the Harry Potter books is NOT REAL, nor does it correspond either to the rituals and practices of pre-Christian pagan peoples, to the supposed remnants of those rituals and practices engaged in by people accused of being witches and sorcerers in Europe and America's past, nor to the rituals and practices of the various contemporary pagan faiths (for instance, Wicca, Magick, the "Old Religion," and so forth). As a matter of fact, the "magic" and "witchcraft" in the Harry Potter books come straight out of popular culture's idea of such things -- aka Disney, Warner Brothers, Hollywood, and thousands of children's stories and fairy tales. And furthermore, as has already been pointed out but I'll repeat it here, the "magic" is a literary device -- actually, a metaphor, for something that Rowlings is trying to say about being a kid and growing up and dealing with life, albeit in a light-hearted manner.

And last of all, the Harry Potter books are FICTION. Yes: FICTION FICTION FICTION FICTION. They are not: manuals for casting magical spells on people, calls to join an evil, godless -- excuse me, Godless -- cult, or any of that shizzat. Jesus H. Christ, will you people get a grip?

Update: and if it isn't the religious nuts, it's the "grownups shouldn't read childrens' books" cretins. Let me add this final caveat: I don't believe in segregating books by age group or by any other group. I will read what I damn well please. Your fear of being considered uncool, or whatever it is that drives you, is not my problem.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:23 AM | Comments (12)

July 01, 2003

Full disclosure

In honor of Tim Blair's latest efforts to reach out to his audience, I hereby offer you all this picture of myself:

LOTRPaleOrc.gif

Yes, I've been having a stressful week, why do you ask?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:40 PM | Comments (11)

The Campaign to Remove Fun From All of Life, cont.

"Drowning pools"? Jesus H. -- oh, forget it. Why don't we just nail peoples' doors shut? Then they can't leave the house and possibly get hurt and sue somebody.

(Via this guy marc, okay. Curses, foiled again...)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:19 PM | Comments (9)

This explains so much

Well dang: even the cosmos is pissed off. (Click for larger pic.)

(Via Scott Chaffin, via Charles Hill, via Greeblie Blog. (Mmm, blogcest...)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:55 PM | Comments (3)

Forget something, Monsieur?

Charming. Those Frenchies sure are more cultured and civilized than us.

Oops, and so they are.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:07 AM | Comments (6)

Emyn Muil



Frodo contemplates his last paycheck from the Fellowship:
Nothing to say today. I wasn't home anyway. I had to get out of the house. No job yet; the one place that called me is "still reviewing applications"; they'll call me tomorrow or Wednesday or maybe never. I did my obligatory Pick me! Pick me! dance already, so I went ahead and contacted some more temp agencies. I have an interview tomorrow with one. Hey, what are bills anyway.

Update: at least I'm in with the In Crowd!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:19 AM | Comments (5)