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July 09, 2004
I Would Have

I would have talked about this story (“Act Now to Stop Dying on a Massive Scale in Darfur, U.S. Lawmakers Urge”) and this story (“Why both Blair and the left have been silent on Sudan”) but my computer chose otherwise.

I would have said, “No wonder this guy was “disembedded” by the UsofA army for “incorrect editorial style.” (Via Cursor.)

I’d be angry over this and this, and scoffing over this.

Having read a couple of her books, I’d have advised you to listen to Helen Thomas because she knows what she’s talking about.

I would have said a lot of things, but it’s not going to happen. After inflicting the Blue Screen of Death on me frequently over the past couple of months, my laptop finally gave up even trying. I’m on a borrowed PC at the moment with no idea what computer I’ll be using when I get back.

I’m going on vacation on Sunday you know. July 11-14, I’ll be completely off the net with firm instructions (from myself) to relax for a few days. (Someone has apparently designated the days between July 9 and July 15 as, “Nude Recreation Week” but I don’t intend to go that far.)

July 12, as a stand-alone day of celebration, is thus far unclaimed by any group or individual. Those of you with a silly holiday in mind but unwilling to crowd the schedule of a more popular day might consider the merits of July 12. An unpretentious little 24-hour interval that is sure to mature into something special in a few years.

July 13 is “Fools Paradise Day.” I’ll in the mountains, which is a paradise for more than fools.

July 14 is Bastille Day and I regret I won't be here to give you my insights on this significant French occasion. For what it’s worth, I do intend to storm Starbucks in a particularly egalitarian fashion to commemorate the day.

I could, of course, spend some of my downtime pondering imponderables. Like…why am I so popular in Finland? And what is it with the growing number of hits from the US military? Why doesn’t the United Kingdom love me?

I might regret that I’ve never actually explained the “nuking of vegetables” so that two seekers after knowledge on that subject would understand that irradiating vegetables is not precisely “nuking” them. I’m not an expert on the subject, but I would have been willing to make the effort.

In passing, let me mention that people who are “just voting against Kerry” are on the wrong site. Also, to the person who thirsted for more details on Hightower saying, “first let’s get rid of Bush then let’s get rid of Kerry.” I suppose he might have said such a thing, but you won’t find that attitude supported here. I wouldn’t suggest voting for someone if I’d already decided they were going to be a disaster, okay?

I see that “Zena Mahlangu” is back in the public’s thoughts. At least, it looks that way, with 124 searches for information on her. Possibly because the, um, “happy couple” tied the knot late last month.

(I’m a bit puzzled by some of the searches that appear in my stats. I’ve never written on “refusing to participate in employee barbeques.” Is there need for advice on this topic?)

Anyhow. I'll be back on-line July 15, which is also, “Cow Appreciation Day” when we're supposed to eat a really good steak and be happy. (Oh…no…wait…you're supposed to hug a cow. My mistake.)

Until then, try to keep the country from falling apart, okay?

Posted by AnneZook at 01:35 PM | Comments (4)
July 08, 2004
No Phones, No Pool, No Pets

I'm sorry about the relative scarcity of blogging these days.

Since we installed our new and improved phone and internet access system, our phone and internet access have become increasingly unreliable. In particular, they're both prone to not being functional first thing in the morning. Since I show up at around 7:30 and, as a rule, no one else shows their little face until around 9:00 or 9:30, I'm really the only one inconvenienced.

While this doesn't stop me from making a pest of myself, unreasonably demanding that the systems work all the time, it does mean that it hasn't been the priority for others that it might have been.

I wouldn't want you to think we aren't making progress, though. Today part of the phone system was working when I arrived. I can't check my voicemail or anything, but should the urge to make a call come over me, the lines are functional. In a way, this is rather a shame since the phone lines are the only part of the new system that I've learned to tinker with. I mean, had the phone lines been down when I arrived, I could have resolved that problem.

No one has taught me what to do when the internet access is down. I'll have to demand that knowledge today.

In the meantime, I'm blogging without purpose, as you've probably figured out.

I'm in the middle of six books, none of which I have with me, so I can't start on a book review.

NPR this morning offered a story about yet another bombing in Iraq. Four soldiers from the 1st Battalion killed, at last report.

They also offered a story about the opening of the Science Fiction Museum in...I believe it was Seattle, I'm not certain. (I tuned in after the story had started.)

Not much to say about that except that I would have liked to hear some coverage of Golden Age science fiction literature but, as is habitual with broadcast media, their coverage went no farther than broadcast media. To be specific, Disney's Tomorrowland.

That's fair enough, I suppose. I've gotten endless hours of amusement from watching cheesy SF movies myself. The really good ones, of course, are the ones from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. Nothing produced in the last 25 years really qualifies. (Not that some of them aren't good but they're just not in the same class of entertainment as something like Journey To the Center Of the Earth or The People That Time Forgot.)

I have an ongoing passion for Golden Age SF literature. It's not only or even mostly the sense of innocence; it's the sense of wonder, the sense of the limitless potential of our abilities. The sense that we could accomplish You just don't get that in fiction any more.

Today it's all grim urban angst and post-apocalyptic suffering. In keeping, one presumes, with "modern times," modern SF is full disease, death, and destruction.

Like the world we live on, our speculative literature is obsessed with the possibility of world-wide war, of planet-destroying ecological disaster, and of incurable, contagious plagues.

I've always thought about science fiction as being the literature exploring the possibilities of what we might achieve.

I liked it better when what we might achieve wasn't limited to the myriads of ways we're discovering to destroy ourselves and the planet we live on.

I liked us better when we weren't so depressed.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:06 AM | Comments (5)
July 07, 2004
Child Abuse

Looks like that little story I linked to yesterday, about the prisoner abuse in Iraq including children, is starting to expand.

This person posted video (I don't think that's the kind of thing I could watch, myself.) and had other links to offer.

Still no mention of it in the So-Called Liberal Media here in the USofA, though.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)
Coffee and Complaining

(I'm not writing about coffee…I'm drinking it. And I didn't bring enough for everyone, sorry.)

Given the choice, religious extremists (of almost all religions) would prefer we abandon television and tight jeans for prayer meetings but it's never made sense to me that religious Muslim extremists halfway around the world were actually more interested in "American freedoms" than in life in their own countries. This makes perfect sense to me. 9/11 wasn't about us...it was about them. (And it remains an interesting theory that Bush, in invading the Middle East, has played right into the terrorists' long-term plans. This isn't the first time I've heard this suggested.)

Nor is it a surprise to me to hear that "foreign jihadists" aren't being captured in Iraq in large numbers, indicating that the 'insurgency' is actually being mounted by Iraqis, contrary to the Bush Administration's claims that fighters pouring over Iraq's borders are responsible for the ongoing violence in the country.

I would suggest, of course, that a handful of capable foreigners connecting with the relevant unhappy Iraqi population could create damage completely out of proportion to their numbers.

I would also suggest that it strikes me as odd that those "suicide bombers" we hear so much about aren't coming out in more force. (Contrary to what viewing headlines of the Israel-Palestine conflict might make you think, it seems there are few Muslims actually willing to sacrifice themselves, secure in the knowledge that there's a houri-infested paradise waiting for them on the other side.)

I mean, either those suicide attacks were a blip on the radar or...surely not…the media isn't telling us about them any more.

On the other hand, the precarious peace in Sri Lanka has been endangered by a suicide bomber. Let's hope both sides remain calm.

Well, take a look at this:

U.S. Response to Insurgency Called a Failure
Some top Bush officials and military experts say the Pentagon has no coherent strategy.

That's…that's just painful to read. I mean, the entire world figured out that the Bush Administration had no coherent strategy six or eight months ago, right? And it took the Bush Administration this long to figure out they needed to blame it on someone else?

How incompetent do you have to be when you can't even cover your ass?

By the way, in case the USofA media doesn't report it, Tony Blair has announced that he thinks we oughta close Guantanamo.

I'm finding the Right's panic-attack over Edwards pretty entertaining. Some publications are jumping through some pretty entertaining hoops to explain, very earnestly, why he's going to be so damaging to Kerry.

Said populations are, of course, desperate to avoid saying the real thing they don't like about Edwards. He's dangerously close to being an actual liberal!

The Guardian has a nice round-up of media opinions on the subject.

(Terry Jones is on-stage at the Guardian again today, as well.)

Is the voting population taking a left turn? We can only hope.

Thanks to a note from Professor Kim (blog linked on the left) in the comments below, I found this site. It's fascinating and I only regret that I can't sit here all day today and browse the archives.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:29 AM | Comments (1)
July 06, 2004
So, In Today's Headlines

Tony Blair tries to surprise us with the news that WMD may never be found in Iraq. Well, duh.

Governments should be issuing fewer condemnations of the situation in Darfur and instead start providing support for the victims of the conflict - helicopters, vehicles and hard cash - said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland after visiting Sudan's Darfur region and eastern Chad with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Well, duh.

The International Criminal Court is being urged to investigate "a campaign of extermination" against pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Attempted genocide seems to be in the news these days, doesn't it?

And in the "here we go again" category, take a look at this:

German television aired footage of American abuse of children in jails in Iraq Monday.

Annoyingly, I can't find anything else about this on the web, not even on Deutsche Welle.

Kerry has decided it's Edwards he needs on the ticket with him in November. (I'm pretty sure I predicted that a while back.)

In the wake of Blair's support of the Bush Administration's war on Iraq, John Kampfner at the Guardian is suggesting a debate on when the UK should use their military force. We need to do that here, too.

And I'm with Bella. Anyone who wants my vote had better forget about my underwear and address the issues that matter to me.

On the other hand, clothes do matter to me. For one thing, I need them before I'm allowed to go to the grocery store. Even in this day of 'business casual' dress in offices, Denver is notable for the amazingly casual dress code it adopts. The more formal business establishments ask for shirts with collars and still reserve Fridays for blue jeans, but most companies just ask that you not wear a tee-shirt with obscene or offensive material stenciled onto it.

And yet, even at that, there are still days when you have to "dress for the office." I'm a bit bitter that after my bout with weight-loss last year, I'm finding it so amazingly difficult to replace my "business" wardrobe. All I'm asking for is two or three outfits I can wear when I travel to a client's office. I've spent a year on this quest and I'm still looking.

You know what a lot of my problem is? It's that no matter how many malls I visit, I find the same stores. The clothes I rejected in Denver are shoved in my face in Houston.

As far as that goes, I've traveled all over this country, when it comes to the "major cities," and I'm appalled by the extent to which, for instance, Dallas and LA seem to be interchangeable to the business traveler (assuming you don't catch a glimpse of the dirty gray ocean in the latter).

I've been to Kansas City and Miami and it if hadn't been for Miami's infatuation with a Miami Vice color scheme at the time, I'm not sure I would have remembered each morning which city I was in.

Was that St. Louis or Omaha? Who knows? Does it matter?

If a city is lucky enough to have identity and character, it should be preserved.

The honor system at work in Utah.

In other news, I should mention that I'll be on vacation (and offline) from Saturday through Wednesday next week. I've decided I want to start my vacation, before I leave town, with a visit to Rock Bottom Brewery Friday after work. (They make the world's best root beer, among other things.)

Now all I have to do is survey friends and acquaintances, none of whom work anywhere near downtown, and find one willing to make the trek on Friday.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:12 AM | Comments (2)