August 30, 2003

Weird spam

Someone apparently has confused me with the State Department, or a member of the Trilateral Commision, or... I have no idea why "Michael@hotmail.com" has sent me these two email messages:

This one, subject-headed "The Saudi Government" :

The Saudi Government: Is it or is it not linked to terrorism? It’s a question that attracts more questions than answers.

If a link as tenuous as a donation from a charitable organisation finding its way into the hands of a person who may have committed a terrorist act, then quite possibly so. However, that connection is as remote as an American citizen’s purchase of a soft drink and the sales tax finding its way to finance terrorism in El Salvador, sponsored by the US government. The well known patriot Colonel Oliver North knows a bit about that sort of stuff!

The essence of the analysis is whether the donations by charitable organisations to individuals were made knowing that the money was to be used to support terrorist actions. On the micro level, the final use by the end user of every riyal or dollar from a collection box can’t be traced or followed or confirmed with 100 percent accuracy.

So far, nothing useful has been said, insofar as speculation, pages missing from reports and op-ed pieces in the media provide more heat than light and facts are woefully short.

The 27 deleted pages from a congressional are alleged to contain “very direct, very specific links that cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.” They are said by senior US officials to depict a Saudi Government that “not only provided significant money and aid to the 9/11 hijackers, but potentially allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to flow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups through suspect charities and other fronts.”

Potentially? Depict? Potentially, getting out of bed leads to death; safer to stay where you are. Much in the manner of the “weapons of mass destruction” debate and Tony Blair’s much vaunted but now entirely discredited Dossier on Iraq, potential is all that is offered. Depiction or description isn’t the production of fact.

The same congressional investigators that described these “potentials” also admit that they “found no specific evidence” proving that Saudi top officials – notably members of the Royal Family – conspired in any way to fund the Sept. 11 attack or other acts of terrorism.”

Not only has the Saudi government called for the release of the missing pages from the congressional report, so have several dozen US lawmakers.

Speculation feeds the media. Opinions are cheap and plentiful and descriptions of “potentials” very often repackaged and sold as fact at worst or at least knowledgeable comment.

Whilst this feeds up the August news famine, it’s time for some hard, checkable facts....please?

And this one, titled "Confusing accusations" :

Sultan Bin Abdulaziz is something of a hate figure to many western commentators. One of the more confusing accusations is that “he spends more than he earns, and borrows from the Saudi government at will and gives away billions of dollars to his constituents.”

In the west, where that criticism emanates, that is known as ‘deficit budgeting’ and accounts for the National Debt – a feature of every developed economy. Held up for ridicule as “the Saudi modus operandi,” it applies equally well to the rest of the world from whom Saudi Arabia learned how to model its economy. Is this a case of the teacher telling the student that he has taught him the wrong thing – yet continues to practice it while offering ridicule?

These are confused messages. They show a lack of understanding of the traditional social structure of the Kingdom and the Arab/Islamic world. Centralized government – which is on the large scale what tribal government was on the small scale – is the “modus operandi” of the Kingdom.

The ruling family does direct operations – but is subject to the checks and balances operated through the council of ministers and the Majlis Ash Shoura – a body of selected academics and committed professionals from industry and commerce who serve for a four year term. They stay where they are because they fulfil the operational and religious requirements of the Saudi constitution – which, if critics in the west ever chose to read it, is the Qur’an. It allows for the removal of rulers if they do not meet strict demands and cater for the welfare of their people.

Prince Sultan’s personal wealth is often targeted – “he has made more than $60 billion between 1976 and 1993.” If, as his critics say, he spends more than he makes, perhaps that should read “he has given away more than $60 billion between 1976 and 1993.” It would make Bill Gates and his charitable foundation give pause for thought. It would also be anathematic to the Kingdom’s detractors to look at expenditure in any other way than corruption.

Even the detractors admit that to anyone that knows him; Prince Sultan’s outstanding feature is generosity. This is reported as “Prince Sultan is willing to pay in order to keep everyone in check.” Is then charitable donation or salary or commission for services now to be described as bribery? If that’s the case, who is innocent? Certainly not the detractors.

It is quite true that Prince Sultan operates a horizontal management style – is reluctant to delegate. What is odd is that this is offered as a criticism, whereas the “hands on manager” is usually praised in other countries. A review of his early childhood and the kind of environment and tradition he was brought up in would illuminate the reason for this style.

His early years age six to fifteen – were spent in the court of his father, King Abdulaziz – receiving education in the traditional Najd style and learning the realities of political manoeuvring and deal-making from visiting western businessmen with interests to develop – for their own profit. They gave examples of the techniques and these lined up well with the traditional way of governance in the Kingdom.

Tradition is the key word; Saudi traditional society relied on alliances and deals, family bonds and marriage as a way of cementing them. That doesn’t sit too well in the western world – although monarchical and political dynasties abound. However, techniques used by the west in the search for oil-sources only reinforced Saudi traditional social management technique, they didn’t corrupt it.

The truth is that Saudi Arabia and one of its highest profile leaders is an obvious target for shrill criticism, frequently using unsupported allegation, smears and entirely un-defendable personal attacks.

It’s part of the price of leadership.

Thank god for copy-and-paste; through the magic of click-and-drag I can transfer both wads of boring text from my email to this blog without actually have to read any of it. What, is FreeRepublic.com down?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:02 PM | Comments (6)

Chivalry for all?

The chivalry of men towards their female friends is a wonderful thing to behold. But I wonder -- would there be a similar linking of arms and presenting of shields for a single mother-to-be who was a not-particularly-attractive or intelligent person of no importance who was unknown to any of these doughty males?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:59 PM | Comments (6)

August 28, 2003

Priorities, people

Michael Totten has some advice for anti-war protesters.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 27, 2003

Ken's In

Oooh, I am liking Ken Layne's new site look. It's not really too different from the old black-and-white look, but the red gives it a certain... something. Now I'm kinda wanting to go minimal again... I also wish I could spare the few bucks to buy the cd, but I am saving up for an apartment downpayment. But soon...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

The terrorists have another fan

You know, it's really sad when you see someone proudly wearing the Hat of Ass. Well, no, actually, it's hilarious. It's been a long time since I saw someone write something as sanctimonious yet retarded as:

But the instituions that comprise the American government, that's a different matter. They've committed far to many crimes to be forgotten. Literally millions dead at their hands, entire countrysides laid waste and baren due to their presence, sovereign nations and cultures interferred with to suit American purposes.

What I am saying, is that America (the governent) has waged war upon the world for a long time now, and America (the people) have done nothing about it. I'm saying that it's not surprising that religious and extremist groups are starting to do to America...exactly what America has done to them.

Michele isn't amused, though. And actually, I'm not really amused either. This kind of malicious lie-mongering (which is all this complete disregard for reality is) can't remain unchallenged. Every time some yutz like this opens his yap, some terrorist asshole somewhere smiles.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:36 PM | Comments (6)

August 26, 2003

Not getting over it

One of the many reasons I mostly don't bother with the so-called professional media any more -- I don't watch teevee news, I don't watch teevee crap like Survivor and Stupid Shrill Boring People Feed Each Other to Cannibals Island, I have even quit listening to the local rock station in the car since it became an All-Nickelback-All-Day station:

With the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks only three weeks away, TV networks have planned nearly no special programming to commemorate the horrible events of that day.

Rachel Lucas is pissed, as well she might be. I remember the Our Di Died 24/7 coverage, the endless footage of the pile of sodden teddy bears in front of Buckingham Palace, the crowds of assholes demanding that the Queen get down in the slog with them and cry like the fucking babies they were... And don't even get me started on the Laci Peterson thing. See, when it comes to a dead celeb, or a gruesome murder of someone these journos don't know, then it's meal ticket time. "We won't have to think up a story for weeks! Years, maybe!" But let something happen that makes the media mavens themselves remember they are human (and thus can be killed), then suddenly they pull out the "We think it's time for some closure" shtick. Fucking swellheads.

Then again, as Rachel says:

And you know, that's fine. Their version wouldn't be right, anyway. They'd edit and splice. They'd add moving music and make montages of moving moments. They'd do voiceovers and talk about all manner of ancillary facts that didn't really matter on that day. Blah, blah, blah, they'd do their "thing" and the end result would be a Hallmark card. No thanks, I think I prefer my own unedited tapes.

So maybe it's a good thing. But they are still a bunch of fucking swellheads. Me, I think I'll commemorate the anniversary by buying 9/11. (I have it on video but it was from really crappy antenna reception. I didn't have cable when it was aired.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:27 PM | Comments (4)

The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre

Looks like Mel Gibson is pouring on the Buckets O' Blood in his new Jeebus movie. My reaction: woah, tacky. I guess Gibson wants to draw in the Jason/Freddie crowd. Diana Moon is worried about the reaction in the country when the movie is released. I don't know -- I'm a little more sanguine (no pun intended! pinky swear!) about this, but then again I come from an era where the Jesus Movie was a genre to make fun of. (Jesus Christ Superstar, anyone? And how about all those Blue-Eyed Jesuses -- Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Powell... ) It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept of anyone taking a Mel Gibson movie seriously, no matter its subject. But then again, there is all this respectful (both the anti- and the pro-) scholarly commentary on the thing. You know, sometimes the only way to make the devil flee (whatever your devil is) is to laugh at it.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:24 AM | Comments (20)

August 25, 2003

Seeds of our demise, part 79191

Excuse me, I have to go stick skewers in my eyes now.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:45 PM | Comments (9)

August 24, 2003

Uncoliath

This is so very, very wrong.

(PS: add to your geek cred by guessing where I got the title pun from! Both sources.)

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

Bore to Pieces

Aldahlia reads War and Peace. I've been tring to read it too, in my sort of half-hearted campaign to read all the Dead White Male-penned classics. But I am afraid I have come to the same conclusions she has: the Borodins et al are as dumb and dull as rocks.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 04:22 PM | Comments (1)

Lord of the Rings images

The OneRing.net has a whole passel of images from the extended version of The Two Towers and the Return of the King trailer. (No permalink to the entry -- it's among those for today's date. Look for "spoilers!" in red.)

Here's a sample (click for full size):

Can you guess the scene? Win fabulous prizes! (Well, not really. But being right is its own reward, so they are always telling me...)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:55 AM | Comments (5)

The back of him

I tried to read this bilious, anti-American good-bye letter by some bloke named Ed Vulliamy but I find bad writing (and people who think that the Allman Brothers are "cool" because people who worked for the Clinton administration listened to them) boring. Doesn't the Guardian/Observer have editors?

(Via BuzzMachine... by Jeff Jarvis.)

Update: hee hee hee hee!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:04 AM | Comments (9)

Things that make me go "argh"

The phrase "hat tip." I see it everywhere. Make it die.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:31 AM | Comments (17)

August 23, 2003

Work notes

Okay, the php randomizer script works just fine. That's one task down. (I wanted to find a really simple php randomizer script for loading random images or text. See the line at the top of the page; refresh a few times and you should get a new one.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Gather, darkness!

Okay, that's all for now. Yes, I know it's dark. I feel like dark. Go here for blinding white light. More changes coming soon -- there might even be content!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:44 PM | Comments (6)

Do not adjust your screen

Ooh, yes, I am once again in the mood for a site redesign. And later I'll be working on some other sites around here too. Oh yes, I will. You can't stop me! Bwahahaahahaaaa!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Pin

I couldn't help it.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

Happiness in slavery

You have got to read jaw-droppingly adulatory paean to Cuba, the "thriving, happy haven." No really -- you have to; I can't even do justice to the brain-damaged prose of "Juanita Rodriguez." I'll just quote:

I recently returned from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the July 26, 1953 Cuban revolution at the Moncada in Santiago de Cuba. This was a holiday that began on the eve of the 25th. Neighbors blocked off streets and welcomed musicians, poets and dancers. Huge pots of a community stew brewed over open flames, and people danced and awaited the midnight hour, when everyone stopped and respectfully sang the national anthem.

There is unmistakable pride and dignity shared by these people, who have suffered through an illegal trade blockade by the United States for the past 44 years, yet who still stand strong in defense of their rights and sovereignty.

Cuba has no homelessness, drug abuse, alcoholism, graffiti or littering! The people are healthy looking, bright, zesty and full of life and laughter. There is music and dancing everywhere, at all hours. Every neighborhood has a family doctor living — as well as practicing — locally.

Wow, guess Castro showed up that silly old God person -- he's created a paradise right here on earth! Those mean old Americans are just jealous, them and their "illegal" blockade. I just wonder why there is no mention of Cuba's popular version of the Big Brother program, which allows wealthy foreigners to sponsor and mentor adolescent girls. You can even see the happy couples on their nightly strolls up and down Varadero Beach. (For the health of the girls, of course -- everyone is well-exercised in the People's Paradise!)

Via Charles Austin.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2003

Why I want a comments registration system

To stave off crap like this. I'm sick of garbage like this on blogs I run, taking up valuable server space, and (often) enticing other commenters to start pointless arguments with assheads who like as not should be chained to their beds with thorazine drips in their arms.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:30 AM | Comments (5)

August 21, 2003

Rules are for the peons, pt. 244788

Proof that rightwingers are just as susceptible to Iamthecenteroftheuniversitis as any of the hated Babyboomer tribe, NRO's Jonah Goldberg recounts his tribulations and sufferings on a jaunt to a national park, where he was forced to submit to -- horrors! -- rules and regulations governing speeding and unleashed dogs, just like all the little people. After this I expect silence from Mr. Goldberg on the subject of how the lack of personal accountability in today's society is all the fault of those evil liberals.

(Via Scott Chaffin.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:29 PM | Comments (5)

Reruns of summer

Ilyka Damen is tired of seeing/hearing/reading the same old idiot arguments, and is suffering from a case of Blogger's Burnout. So am I, which is why I haven't been posting much lately. Yesterday's headline in the Orlando Sentinel concerning the terrorist bombings in Baghdad and Jerusalem were almost as large as the ones for (I think -- I never was able to get my hands on a copy of that day's edition) those for World Trade Center attack front page articles. All I could muster up was the thought: "Gee, didn't know they cared so much," and weak irritation at the usual whinings about how this will mess up the "road map" -- which I believe refers to the latest appeasement peace plan, not AAA's newest Middle East travel edition. Whatever. Palestinian pals, Castro cuddlers, Saddamite sycophants, Islamist loon lovers -- it is pointless to argue with them, and by now you know what I think of the lot. (If you don't, consult the archives.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:18 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2003

An MT question

Does anyone know of a script or plugin that can implement something for Movable Type like the member registration capability that Pmachine uses? So far the closest plugin (or hack, or whatever it is) that I have found for MT is one which puts new comments on hold until the blog owner can review them. I'm more interested in something that makes people have to register in order to comment -- and that needs a real email address so the password can be sent to them. In other words, I am sick of pseudonymous posters who use fake email addresses to troll the blogs I run, and I'd rather not switch the site over to Pmachine (which I'd have to pay for if I wanted to run more than one blog from it) unless I absolutely have to.

PS: in other site news, I have made the individual comments linkable from the individual entry pages.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:40 PM | Comments (5)

August 17, 2003

Internet Memo

Subj: Even more appalling
Date: Eternity
From: Me
To: Internet creeps everywhere

Ooh, threats now. That's mature. Could all internet bullies, cretins, and psychos do the rest of us a favor and go back to hell?

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

Appalled, again

Jesus

H.

Christ.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:30 AM | Comments (5)

August 16, 2003

Public Service Announcement

Do not -- I repeat, do not -- drink Lipton's Orange and Spice Tea. Unless you like severe heartburn. I've been pounding Tagamet like it was Tic-Tacs. I don't know what they put in that stuff (my guess is lye), but whatever it is, it's deadly. I never have indigestion like this.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:13 AM | Comments (4)

Like, Oh m' gawd!

It's.... Back to the 80s : Get Thee To A DeLorean!!.

How funny. Just last night on Court TV there was one of the ubiquitous Jon-Benet Ramsey things on, and the show was featuring some detective who worked on the case. His car is a DeLorean. All I can think is, how can he get parts?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:09 AM | Comments (6)

Newsflash: I don't know everything

For instance, I had never encountered this word before. But I must say it describes me rather well.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:06 AM | Comments (3)

August 15, 2003

Not drowning but waving

No, Florida (or my web page, wherever it resides)wasn't at all affected by the Blackout of 2003, I've just been very, very busy. More later; now I must go to work.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 13, 2003

Scalability

The abuse dished out at Spleenville will always be fair and balanced.

(Michele made me do it.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:55 PM | Comments (3)

August 12, 2003

Dial tone

2 tired 2 post.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:57 PM | Comments (2)

Waiting for Frodo

Obsessed? I don't know what you mean...

(Via Solonor's Ink Well.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2003

Fear of Flags

It looks as if my decision to take a couple of semesters off was a wise one.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2003

I'm jealous

When am I going to get my own personal blog bitch?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

Things to do in Denver before you're dead

I've never beat up on Stephen Green. It's time.

Why do people make lists like this? Let's look this over:

Slum through Europe

No thanks. I'd rather four-star-hotel through Europe.

Skydive solo without a static line

Skydive without a parachute. Now that would be a thrill.

Drink your age in Jell-O shots*

Yuck. No. I hate those noxious things, and drunkenness ceased to be amusing for me about fifteen years ago.

Own a classic convertible*

That would be nice.

Total said convertible, walk away, and laugh*

That would really piss me off. No thanks.

Buy a bottle of the real Absinthe

See about drunkenness above. I also hear that this stuff tastes like ass, and life really is too short to spend money on stuff that tastes like ass.

Pilot an airplane

No thank you.

Change careers*

Since I don't have one, that won't be difficult.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge*

What's with all this stuff to do in midair? No. Thank you.

Have sex in public without getting caught*

Ummmm... no. Not even with Elijah Wood. Not even if he asked us nicely.

Get caught

No asterisk? (These denote things Stephen has already done.) Shyeah, right.

Do something regrettable in Vegas*

I don't even want to do something I'd be proud of in Vegas. I don't want to go to Vegas. As a destination, Las Vegas ranks for me somewhere behind Ulan Bator. In fact, I'd much rather visit Ulan Bator.

Fail completely at something big*

I'm sure I could do that with no trouble, but I am not sure why this is on a list of things one should do. To each their own.

Succeed at something even bigger*

That would be nice.

Make a pass at a clergyman or woman

Um -- no. Just.... no.

Have kids and love them to death

"Are there any women in the audience who aren't turned into bundles of mush by the cuteness of this?" (Raises hand.) No thanks.

Change a stranger's flat tire

Can I let the air out of their tires first?

Join an improv comedy troupe*

I thought I was a comedy troupe.

Build a fort*

Only if I can have a moat filled with alligators, and real artillery emplacements.

Ride in a hot air balloon

Again with the high-up-in-the-air stuff. Look, I'm acrophobic. No.

Spend a day at a spa

Let me tell you how I fucking hate beauty salons, and people "tending" to me, and being touched and massaged by strangers, and having to spend an entire day anywhere (unless it is in front of my computer with the coffee machine nearby).

Sneak into a movie*

I've done it. The movie sucked too. Yay, big thrill, now I can die.

Have a drink thrown in your face*

Huh? Masochism now. And he doesn't follow that with "beat to a pulp the bitch who does that" so, no thanks.

Jump in a river/lake/ocean fully dressed*

Er. No.

Win over a hostile crowd*

I'd rather send them into a panicked run.

Spend a summer as a Renaissance Fair geek

Oh right. Spend an entire summer, which in most of the continental US is usually scorchingly hot and humid, walking around outdoors dressed in heavy long dresses with my bosom squeezed up. No.

Drive from coast to coast

Okay, this I'd like to do.

Laugh because it hurts*

Only if it's because I'm hurting someone else.

Eat at a diner called "Mom's"

Sure, why not.

Look for buried treasure

Been there, done that, got sand in my crack, found no treasure. It's not fun, and if you are one of the unlucky people who actually finds a sunken stash of pirate loot, the tax regulations will make you wish you had died before fulfilling this requirement.

Learn how to paint

I already have. Yay me, I've lived!

Comfort someone who is dying*

Don't ask them if they've done any of these things.

Commit all seven deadly sins in one afternoon*

I can handle gluttony and sloth, but the others involve either effort or (like adultery) close contact with other people, so, no thanks.

Take ballroom dance lessons

See above about other people. No.

Smack Carson Daly with a brick

That would involve having to be in the same room with Carson Daly. No.

Buy a $500 bottle of wine

Only if I have somehow come into enough money to make $500 seem like pocket change.

Drink a $500 bottle of wine*

Sure, if someone else buys.

Roll down a hill of freshly-cut grass*

There are no hills where I live.

As an adult*

So much for the hard-won dignity of adulthood.

Pilfer office supplies*

I still need to keep my job. No.

Get a pedicure

No.

See a movie at a drive-in*

I rarely see movies as it is, and I prefer the comfort of my own home, dvd player, and coffee machine.

Get a tattoo in the Philippines

No... what the fuck?

50 over the posted limit*

I drive a rice-burner, and this speed thing seems to be a guy thing anyway, so I'll pass.

Do something gentlemanly for a hooker*

This does not at all apply to me, and anyway -- dude, TMI. And pretentious.

Eat all the green M&Ms

Yeah, okay, whatever...

Abuse your authority

I don't have any, but I really don't think that this would be something I'd be into. It would sort of invalidate (at least in my own mind) any complaints about authority abusing me, so, no thanks.

Be subpoenaed by Congress

I don't want to. How's about that?

Try for four in one night after age 30*

This would seem to refer to the sort of activity that involves more than one person, so, no thank you.

Sleep in until at least Tuesday*

I get a backache if I stay in bed too long.

Update: WWAD? (What Would Australians Do?)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:09 PM | Comments (17)

The dangers of personal blogging

I have been considering setting up a password-protected blog for some time. I still haven't decided whether or not to do so; if I do it will be to keep a journal of personal details such as I never have talked about on any of my online sites, so you wouldn't be missing anything anyway. Here is an article on some bloggers who have set up private blogs, and their reasons for doing so. It's a decent article (for once, neither clueless nor condescending).

(Via Tampatantrum.com.)

Update: Robyn has some links to various ways to password-protect websites.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:20 PM | Comments (1)

Naked old people

I guess they really don't have anything else to fix in that country (I almost typed "down under"):

Australia’s leading relationship counselling body is urging lonely older single women to become lesbians.

"Whyyyyy???" I can hear the last two or three sensible people in the universe moan, as they reach for the extra-strength Tylenol. Well, according to the august wisdom of the Aussie Posse, it's because:

Relationships Australia spokesman Jack Carney said men's shorter life spans, and their pursuit of much younger women, meant women in their twilight years were often forced to turn to other women for love and companionship.

Which do not necessarily have to include muff-diving, but anyway. And what a blatant display of the undermining efforts of the Helpists we have here: God forbid women be allowed to have even one second alone, or assurance and self-discipline be encouraged in "lonely older single women" instead of clingy codependance. That would dry up the government-groups-no-one-needs cash cow.

(Via Tim Blair, who is going to get all sorts of interesting traffic from the title of his post on this.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:29 AM | Comments (9)

August 09, 2003

Melting brains

Britain, and I assume the rest of Europe, is suffering a heat wave, with temps in Florida-summer-range. Apparently the heat is taking its toll on the ability of people to think clearly, if the predictions of the country's breweries are accurate:

...parched Britons are working up a big thirst, with breweries saying an extra three million pints will be consumed over the weekend.

And boy are people cranky when they get a little toasty: when I in turn predicted (in the comments to the above-linked post) a rise in episodes of dehydration and heatstroke that will be the result of this extra consumption of alcohol, a citizen of the UK took umbrage, thinking that I was dissing British beer. What-ever.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:56 PM | Comments (4)

We wantss your votes, Precioussss...

Oops, Arnie's got some some competition:

129.jpg

A sample of his, erm, campaign platform:

He proposes to rid California of “nasssty industrial factories” and return the area to its natural state, or a slightly altered version: swampland. He also proposes a new solution to the energy crisis that has plagued the state for some time: “When the yellow face goes down…nasssty lights stay off.” When the problem of the decreasing school budgets arose Gollum merely replied, “Teach them about fisssshesss…” In fact, Gollum would like to see California return to the bartering system, using fish as currency instead of dollars.

I wonder how many votes he'll get...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:02 PM | Comments (4)

Thou shalt not do one damn thing, just sit there okay?

Frequent commenter to the Tim Blair website "Gabor" has raised quite a stink here over the pending death-by-firing-squad of one of the Bali terrorists. Oh, excuse me -- the pending murder of the Bali terrorists. See, killing is wrong at all times, in all circumstances -- that is basically Gabor's argument. I assume Gabor lives on a diet of salt and filtered water.

By the way, the best refuting argument comes from E. Nough, whose unfrequently updated blog also deserves to be read. (Note to self: implement comment permalinking on Tim's blog.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

Gasbag on Blogs

Rush Limbaugh is still a big, fat idiot. And he inspires idiocy in his more sycophantic members. And his website design does suck -- but it resembles the standard ad-chocked, busy-menued newsmedia site, so maybe that's the reason behind the chaos. I'm being nice here, just because Lileks' compliment on the look of Tim Blair's blog gave me a nice warm glow. Not that I can take much credit for the design; all I did was tweak one of Movable Type's standard templates a little. But anyway, take that, Rush, you gassy windbag! Neener. ;P (Yeah, like he's ever going to read this site.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:34 AM | Comments (6)

Drive-by blogging

There is only one reason to visit the blog of Max Sawicky, and that is for Andrew Northrup's comment to this post.

By the way, of course one can criticise a movie one has never seen. I do it all the time. I used to have a web page devoted to "Movies I Won't Be Seeing." Maybe I'll revive it again. I would criticize the films based on their trailers, which, since they usually show the best parts, are an economical and convenient way to criticize movies.

(Via Marduk.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

Secrets of the South

Acidman tells the world the truth about chitlins. No, I've never eaten them. Yes, I knew what they were.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:21 AM | Comments (3)

August 08, 2003

The Gay DivorcÚ, continued

Well, what can I say, Mike at Begging to Differ is obviously a much nicer, more understanding, and tolerant human being than either I or James Lileks. His post has everything except Childe Robinson being chased across the ice by an evil gaybasher. As for the struggle with the sex thing and the marriage and the breakup and the apparent abundance of wonderfulness that oozed out of the pores of everyone concerned (except for the unnamed meanies who made Robinson feel bad about his urges when he was a sharecropper lad), there's a movie script in there just waiting for that rumored new gay cable channel, though if they can get Susan Blakely or Rebecca Arquette to play the suffering wife they can put it on Lifetime.

Oh, go ahead, call me cruel. Look, I don't care what Gene Robinson does with his peepee. I don't care about the Anglican church; if they want to become the Church of All-Inclusive Kewlness in order to fill up the pews ("Announcement: the ritual human sacrifice to Baal has been postponed until Thursday; the Orgiastic Rite of Ishtar will go ahead as scheduled Sunday at 10pm") that is their problem. Isn't the thing about Episcopalians supposed to be that they are "Catholic but without the guilt"? I always thought that just meant you could have married priests, like the father of my fifth-grade best friend, but that was a long time ago and I see things have changed... I don't even care, much, about the offended sensibilities of other people concerning this man. But I do object to this ongoing softening of standards everywhere in favor of sanctimonious posturing about how "fair," "open," and "honest" we all are. I've always thought that people who paraded their "honesty" and "openness" and "refusal to live lies" to be hiding a basic self-centeredness and a tendency to look upon the world as owing them a favor. Who is Lileks or anyone else to judge, Mike asks back to the James in that annoying ooh-look-I'm-so-clever-I'll-toss-his-statement-right-back-at-him! way these moral levellers have. Okay, Mike, since Lileks doesn't blog on weekends, I'll tell you who he thinks he is: a father of a kid who is appalled that other fathers of kids could voluntarily leave their children and the mothers of their children for a reason he finds frivolous, and I do believe that he finds Robinson's desire to, well, fulfill his desires (if he didn't leave his family for another man right away, don't you bother to tell me he didn't plan to find a man eventually -- and he did, wow, a whole eighteen months later) to be frivolous. You don't like it? Welcome to the world.

(Via an email sent, perhaps unwisely, to me from Mike himself.)

Update: here are some other links to people on this and related subjects. Steve H. thinks this whole thing is crazy, and he would really like an explanation, because as far as he was always told, the Bible didn't have much nice to say concerning homosexuality ([TROLL WARD-OFF] I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but that book is still the owner's manual for the Christian vehicle, right? [/TROLL WARD-OFF]); here's more sensible stuff about marriage and love from Moira Breen; Jeff Jarvis is all into the tolerance and the exclusiveness and the so on and so forth; Donald Sensing isn't all too thrilled (no permalinks, just scroll and look for "gay bishop" and so on). And in reply to some people who commented in my previous post on the subject: no, I am not advocating that divorce be banned, or that all marriages be kept together "for the Children™ no matter what the circumstances. I just think that our society on the whole would be better served by whatever authority figures we put over aspects of our lives if said authority figures would take life and their actions in it a little more seriously.

Oh -- one last thing, for David Strain: yes, I also agree with Lileks that "life-intentioned" is a horrid phrase. Here are my reasons: it sounds godawful -- clunky, gallumphing, clumsily "sincere" like something a high-school guidance counselor would come up with to replace gender-specific references in the departmental newsletter. Just more debasing of the language. Here are a couple of words that already exist, and suit the situation quite well enough: lover -- as in "I am Father Gene Robinson, and this is my lover of n years, blah blah": or, if they are really now celibate, "friend," or "roommate." Sure, they aren't very specific, or descriptive terms, at least not in the personal-detail-parsing way we've come to demand from everyone who opens their yap about their S.O., but I think they are fine. I can also see an objection to "life-intentioned" from the viewpoint of the man's own church: just what is "life" supposed to be intentioning here? I thought that Christians believed that "life" didn't "intend" things, God "intended" things -- he intended life to exist, for one thing. It sounds like Robinson didn't trust in his relationship all that much; wouldn't he have said it was "god-intended?" (That's the correct form of the word, buy the way -- you don't "intention" things, you "intend" them. The grammar is incorrect too -- the final blow, so far as I am concerned, but the man's awkwardness with his own mother tongue may simply endear him to his motley congregation and reassure them further that those stuffy robe-wearing fellows are really no better than us folk down here in the mud.)

Update 2: Justin Katz has a gone further in depth with the story, and has unearthed some interesting quotes. My favorite (that's a sarcastic "favorite") is the line from one of Robinson's daughters.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:31 PM | Comments (6)

Reading between, under, and over the lines

Then again, maybe there is something to the notion that adults shouldn't read childrens' books.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)

Those Evil Americans, Pt. 78946545

Okay, now we are bad because our Hollywood movies cast all the heroes as Americans and all the villains as British. Uh huh. One of the examples the writer uses is Pirates of the Caribbean, totally ignoring the fact that one of the the heroes of the story (the standard-type hero as opposed to the anti-hero type hero played by Johnny Depp) is played by Orlando Bloom, who would surely be surprised to discover that he is American not British.

(Via Steven Den Beste.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:56 AM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2003

Popular books

Oprah is going to be publishing literary classics. Yup, that's right -- Oprah is going to reissue the Dead White Male Hegemonical Oppressor Canon under her own publishing company. Damn. Just when I thought it was safe to go back to hating Oprah, she does something like this.

(Via Erin O'Connor.)

Update: it would be nice if I posted a link to the actual story, wouldn't it?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:57 PM | Comments (3)

Love and Marriage

Lileks is back from his server woes exile, and he has a take on that gay-bishop fuss that I haven't seen from anyone else so far. You know what? I agree with him.

Just 'cos I'm in a good mood, I'll leave comments open for this one. Have at it. But try to stay on topic.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:30 AM | Comments (10)

Stat this

You know what I hate? I hate all those stat thingies on websites. You know, the ones from Bravenet and Sitemeter and whatnot. I am so freaking tired of websites not loading completely because the stat site's server is down or something. Sometimes just hitting the "stop" button works, sometimes it doesn't -- for whatever reason, the site I am trying to get to won't load its content unless the stat link finishes loading.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2003

They're on the move

People continue to flee Blogspot (or "grow out of it," if you prefer). The latest to do so is John Weidner's Random Jottings.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2003

And that's that

Okay, I have decided to close comments on all the posts until further notice. I just don't have time for either trollfights or normal discussion right now. I may not be posting here much from now on; this journal will be closed down or something close to that state very shortly. I thought I could make it last out the year but now the concept feels stale and I am getting that cramped feeling that is the equivalent of running out of pages in a diary and having to cram the last few entries on the endpaper.

Don't worry, when the new journal site is ready (yeah, I'm not about to stop writing, so you trolls can put the champagne back in the fridge) I will be putting up the announcement.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2003

Don't even bother

Whoever "yabba@hotmail.com" at IP address 210.50.216.165 is, your comment has been deleted and this IP banned. Yes, I get all my comments emailed to me automatically. I don't know who you are and I don't trust people who leave comments consisting solely of the word "test" in old posts on my blog. Also, your IP is too much like that of some joker I banned yesterday. If you keep it up, I'll ban your access to this entire domain. (That's in case you are the shithead who has been making an ass out of yourself over on Tim Blair's blog.)

Just so you know.

Update: yes, I was serious. (The relevant comments have been deleted. Don't worry, they weren't at all interesting, and the commenter knows what he/she said.)

Heh. Now anyone banned from the site -- the entire domain, mind -- will get redirected to this page. It's not much now, but I'll be dressing it up some later.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2003

Trashing the victim

When Michele asked me to fisk this person I blithely agreed, but I've been sitting here for an hour or so wondering just how to properly approach this particular example of idiocy. First, some background:

Michele commented on a post on Merde in France about some buttmunch by the name of Frédéric Beigbeder who has written one of those "controversial" novels the French are so (in)famous for. (In this case "controversial" means "lots of people having sex while babbling on pretentiously about the meaning of life. The word "voluptuous" is a staple, as is the scene where someone cries "The meaning of life is nothing!" -- which sounds so sexy in French. Kind of like one of those Zalman King movies in novelette format.) This time the setting of the "controversial" novel is not the coast of France in the off-season or Algeria during one of its civil wars but the restaurant that was at the top of the World Trade Center on the day that complex was destroyed by the sort of people who would gladly put a bullet through the clever, postmodern brainettes of pseudo-artistes like this monkey. The conceit of Beigbeder is that the people in the restaurant met their fate not, as is well known, by calling their loved ones on cell phones to say goodbye and then either dying by jumping out of the windows or when the towers collapsed, but by having "furious sex." No doubt this will be interspersed by a great deal of psychotically abstruse and pointless philosophizing.

Once France was known, and deservedly so, for being home to the culture of reason and civilization. What they seemed to lack in strength and innovation they at least made up for by having the most exquisite society, cuisine, and literature in Europe. But by all reports this reputation has not been deserved for some time. I suppose the rot started after World War 2, or maybe it was the Sixties that ruined the country. But the French seem (or at least their artistic, intellectual, and political elite seems) to have backslid to their French-Revolutionary-era crudity.

But enough of this fellow. The reaction of most people in Michele's comments, unsurprisingly, has been distaste and anger. September 11th was not some happening back in the mists of time; it occurred less than two years ago. We know what the people in the towers were really doing in their last moments, and it wasn't having "furious sex." That this novel was written merely to attract attention to yet another overgrown toddler in grownup clothes who wants praise for the painting he has made with shit pulled out of his own diapers is obvious. If this does become a bestseller, even for a brief time due to the curiosity of the crowd, it only means that people are crass all over, not in the US.

Lilli Marleen, however, has had a reaction to this that is bizarre, bizarre. For some reason she has decided that it is "self-centered" of Americans to be upset about what happened on September 11th and to take umbrage about some foreigner trashing the event for his own aggrandization because -- get this -- we made tv series like Hogan's Heroes and something called "Cowboy Comedies" that "made fun of Native Americans."

Now I am not going to defend that tacky tv show -- though I will note that it was made about forty years ago and people today can hardly be blamed for its existence. As for the movie genre she refers to; from her comment about Little Big Horn, she seems to be referring to Little Big Man, which if she were not so -- I was going to say stupid, but I realize that she is foreign, (she's German) so I will say if she were not so unused to American humor -- would realize is a satire attacking the stereotypical Good-Cowboy/Bad-Indian western, and far from a vehicle meant to "make fun" of Native Americans. It even used real Native American actors to play the Native American roles, unlike many standard Westerns of the old school. But all this is to say, what the fuck do old movies and tv shows have to do with the continued trashing by foreign so-called "artists" of the events of September 11th? Is she actually trying to imply that the horror of bad American tv and movies outweighs the actual deaths of real living people that this cretin is making light of with his tarted-up trash novel? Is she indignant over the admittedly silly stereotypes of Germans perpetuated by Hogan's Heroes? Does her indignation weigh more, or equally, than what a wife, husband, or child of one of the people who died on September 11th 2001 will feel when they find out what M. Beigbeder has done to the memory of their dead relatives? I don't fucking think so.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Lilli Marleen has displayed evidence that all she knows about America is what she gets from exported tv series and movies. I learned about Germany and other cultures the old fashioned way -- by studying its history in school, taking the language, reading reports, and so on. I have seen more than a few German movies. But if I were to base my knowledge of Germany on just what I had seen on the screen, I'd think they were all Vampires with red-dyed hair running as fast as they can to stop their boyfriends from holding up a factory in which the workers all had to turn a giant dial and then there was a female robot who danced and the cellars flooded and everyone lived in a submarine which really sucked. Fortunately, I can tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

PS: here is the list of September 11th victims. Unlike certain French "novelists" I try not to get my jollies -- oh, excuse me, make "important philosophical and cultural statements" -- about an atrocity by making up scenarios in which the victims have an orgy. I guess I'm selfish that way.

Update: because of constant harrassment by some pathetic, small-penised fool (IP addresses used so far: 208.184.25.41, 64.124.162.136, 210.50.201.45, 210.50.112.64, 210.50.216.165, 210.50.203.245, 216.110.36.120, 66.150.0.245, 210.50.112.64) comments on this post are now closed.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:31 PM | Comments (13)

Schlong-ida

Actually, Diana, that joke is older than either of us. I used to work for a mortgage company in Miami and my boss there, who was a New York Jew from the Bronx, used to joke about Florida's resemblance to the organ of male pleasure at least once a week.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:09 PM | Comments (5)

August 02, 2003

Down and out

Nothing like a sinus headache to ruin my day. And I was craving pasta with homemade (by me) marinara sauce, but I felt too weak to make it. So I had Raisin Bran instead. Maybe I'll make it tomorrow, if I feel up to it.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

Aaaand... he's off!

Charles Austin has moved into Spleenville. Dang, it's getting classy around here. I guess now I'll have to mow the lawn and have those rusted-out car bodies hauled away.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)

August 01, 2003

I love trouble

So, what should my next controversial post be about? Possible topics:

  • Ann Coulter, hot conservative chick, or anorexic rightwing skank?
  • Would an episode of Survivor called "Israelis vs. Palestinians" be: 1) thought-provoking, or 2) incredibly crass and tacky?
  • Michael Moore -- is he fat, or what? Discuss.
  • I think we should change "abortion on demand" to mean that we can demand that other people get abortions. For example: the guests and audiences of shows like Jerry Springer and The Rikki Lake Show should all be forced to abort any current pregnancies and then be sterilized. They could make it a two-hour prime-time special. I'd watch.
  • Raise the voting age to 37, or lower it to twelve? Discuss.

Go ahead and suggest more topics! (Seriously, the conversation in my previous post is quite civilized. I'm the one who's not civilized.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:16 PM | Comments (11)