Saturday, March 01, 2003

god is out

Court Lets Stand the Ban on 'God' in Pledge, New York Times.

"Over the vehement objections of nine of its 24 judges, the appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, let stand a slightly modified version of the 2-to-1 decision that a three-judge panel of that court handed down in June. The panel said then that the phrase "under God" in the pledge violated the separation of church and state mandated by the Constitution. Yesterday, the panel shifted the focus to public school decisions that allow the voluntary recitation of the words."

Good. I've always wondered: "which god?"

The Constitution is getting pretty shabby handling these days -- I can only hope this is the start of a backlash against those who would usurp it for some religious or political agenda.
posted by lee on 03/01/03 at 08:22 PM
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Monday, March 03, 2003

cat vs. fish—a cliche for a reason

Stanley took these as he was encouraging the cat to fully investigate my new fish. A beautiful bluey, tealy, aqua betta, aka a Siamese fighting fish.

First, Twitch tried to figure out what this shiny, moving thing could possibly be.

twitchandfishy1.jpg


He stuck his paw in a few times -- he has this habit of hooking one claw on the edge of something and tipping it over. Usually to flip something down to the dog. He hasn't been able to tip the fishbowl over. Yet.

twitchandfishy0.jpg


Twitch couldn't decide whether he wanted to get the fish or drink the water in the fishbowl.

twitchandfishy2.jpg


The worst thing is, Stanley is rooting for his cat. Twitch is the weirdest cat I've ever known. He likes to play in the water, and he often drinks by dipping his paw into whatever liquid interests him and then licks the liquid off his paw. He spears his food with a claw, using it like a fork. Very strange cat.
posted by lee on 03/03/03 at 02:25 AM
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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

See what she sees

Tony has a guest blogger for the next few days over at Beneath Buddha's Eyes. Check out Alifa's story, which begins with the March 4 entry. Alifa hails from Israel and shares her story of trying to find peace in the midst of violence.
posted by lee on 03/05/03 at 12:00 AM
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Thursday, March 06, 2003

crap flash application: macromedia exchange

Macromedia Exchange has never been easy to use -- always slow to load. But at least you could patiently go through the extensions and figure out if there was something you needed there. But they rebuilt Exchange as a Flash application -- and a better advertisement for NOT not not not building web applications in Flash I've yet to see. It's slower than the old exchange by a long shot -- and I'm on a very fast cable modem. It's badly organized -- very difficult to do things such as find a list of Dreamweaver only extensions to look through. Search takes forever. Once there is a list, scrolling through it is a HORRIBLE process -- I don't care what Macromedia claims, scrolls work for crap in Flash. When I searched for email extensions for Dreamweaver, I also got a bunch of Cold Fusion extensions, which made the ordeal much worse since I had to scroll through them to get to the DW extensions -- I did not want CF extensions. The login was SLOW! Everything took so long because all these crap elements had to render -- I don't NEED a pretty scrollbar, the plain old browser scrollbar is just fine. Why do I have to login to get extensions, anyway -- I've paid a fortune for several Macromedia products and I don't want to have to jump through hoops to look through what's available.

Macromedia did a HORRIBLE job on Exchange. I wish they would at least give me the option of using the new version or the old version. What a bummer. And if a client wants a website done in Flash, I'll just refer 'em to Macromedia's sites.
posted by lee on 03/06/03 at 01:24 PM
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Saturday, March 08, 2003

Finally, low-carb chocolate that actually tastes good

Low Carb Chocolates sells Ross chocolates sweetened with maltitol. Thought I'd give them a shot. I assumed I'd be disappointed because of all the stuff I've tried made with splenda or aspartame -- all the claims about how wonderful they taste when they don't. they taste just awful, that horrible chemical aftertaste and they're just too frelling sweet. Atkins bars, for example, taste like bad versions of Little Debbies cakes only more chemically.

The other day I saw sugar-free Russell Stover turtles, made with maltitol, and got one to try. I loved it. As much as the carb-laden "real" turtles. And now the Ross chocolate! I think I like them better than regular chocolate because somehow they taste more chocolate, if that makes any sense. Finally, an antidote for pms. And stress. A reward for hard work. Or for nothing at all. Now if they would just make B&J's Phish Food with maltitol ...
posted by lee on 03/08/03 at 02:01 AM
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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

busy

Too busy with work to write. Too busy to surf. Too busy to respond to my sister's email the way I normally would.

I feel like I've been living in a cave for the past several days.

I suppose this is a Good Thing, as it will keep Ginger supplied with dog biscuits for a while longer.

One thing I've learned is that it's currently extremely impractical to design a website without tables. I would love to do a completely compliant, table- less- except- for- real- tables website. Let the current design gurus sneer at using tables -- they're blowing smoke. My clients don't care if their website conforms to some esoteric web standards or not -- they just want it to work in all browsers and don't wanna hear any whining about how hard it is to do cross-browser blah blah blah.

I would try to make a tableless site if I could figure out how to make a box of indeterminate height fill in the way a table division fills in without having to resort to dhtml tricks such as making the box scroll with the page -- a neat effect, but it always looks jerky and, well, amateur. Maybe there is a way, but I've been too busy to take the time to research it or figure it out.

In this case, faster is profitable, slow is not, so guess which wins. You know, life in the real world ...
posted by lee on 03/11/03 at 01:20 AM
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See, i’m not nuts—Macromedia blew it big time

Revamped Macromedia site irks customers | CNET News.com

A quote:
Tony Lopez, executive producer at Macromedia, said that while the company's developers are working to improve initial load times for the home page, initial usability tests show the site is doing its job. Improved menu structures and inventive use of Web applications allow customers to complete common tasks--such as downloading software extensions or purchasing products--much faster.

"The initial download might take a little longer, but the process of going through there and finding what you want is a lot faster," Lopez said. "The total experience is much faster." [end]

Is he nuts? Using Dreamweaver extensions was one of the most painful processes I've ever had to endure on the web. There was NOTHING fast about ANY part of the entire process -- even on a cable modem.

I NEED to use DW develpment tools -- so this horrendous application is costing me money, too much money.

Not only that, I own Macromedia stock (well, so it's only a few shares), and this bad, bad design is causing so much ill will that share price is sinking -- costing me even more money. I wonder if shareholders are planning any lawsuits against Macromedia for shooting themselves in the foot with this total misapplication of their application. Talk about something not ready for prime time -- this is definitely it.
posted by lee on 03/11/03 at 01:57 AM
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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

hairy krishnas?

I received this message today, from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (I have no idea who this person or entity is):

Call Out Gouranga Be Happy!!!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga
Say Gouranga My Friend
Gouranga ... That Which Brings The Highest Happiness


I had not a clue who or what gouranga is or was, so I googled it. Not much enlightenment there. I found out it has something to do with Hare Krishna. I found some pretty ugly HK screensavers and wallpaper. I found this on a archived Guardian page because, I think, there was/is a plague of guaranga grafitti in England and people were/are wondering what what the frell it's all about:

"In the infamous-at-the-time computer game Grand Theft Auto the award for sucessfully running down an entire group of Krishna followers was known as the 'Gouranga bonus'." Leading the author to guess that it's a publicity campaign for the next installment of Grand Theft Auto.

Another persons says this:
It is krishna for "be happy", and also a divine name: "Gouranga is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu." Apparently, he's the "personification of blissful pastimes. He possesses a beautiful, transcendental complexion as effulgent as molten gold. He is the distributer of the superlative mellows of divine love."

Uh, yeah, sure.

Whatever. I think I've just gotten spam from a Hare Krishna. I guess that's better than an offer from Travelocity offering me one-way airfare to Canton (Ohio) for $54. I'm so excited I could snore. Now if it were Detroit ...
posted by lee on 03/12/03 at 12:23 AM
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Saturday, March 15, 2003

a very good bullshit list

The Millenium Project, from, I think, Australia. Site owner Peter Bowditch devotes an amazing amount of time and energy to listing the worst on the web -- most of it annotated.

A great resource -- Penn & Teller should consult it for their excellent Showtime Bullshit series. Which, by the way, was excellent last night (about creationism). I'm looking forward to next week's show: Self-Helpless.
posted by lee on 03/15/03 at 03:35 AM
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Sunday, March 16, 2003

Junior chooses the wrong roosevelt to emulate
(not that he understands history, anyway)

The Arrogant Empire | Newsweek | March 24, 2003 | by Fareed Zakaria

Does America really want a world in which it gets its way in the face of constant public anger only by twisting arms, offering bribes and allying with dictators?

This article is a balanced look at why most of the rest of the world has gone from predominantly pro-American to predominantly anti-American. Not anti- average- Joe- in- the- street- American, but anti American government. The author takes a look at Clinton's unilateral actions (such as those in Kosovo and Haiti) and why his actions were supported, vs. Bush #2's tactics and why these are blowing up in our faces.

The one thing that I'm still not clear on in what the current administration hopes to gain from destroying 50 years of careful coalition building and diplomacy? Or why its conduct of foreign affairs is so, well, amateur?

What appalls me most is Rumsfield's penchant for conducting world affairs a la Al Capone, whom he quotes: You will get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.Ӕ It's pretty frightening when our Secretary of Defense's hero is an evil gangster.

"There are many specific ways for the United States to rebuild its relations with the world. It can match its military buildup with diplomatic efforts that demonstrate its interest and engagement in the worlds problems. It can stop oversubsidizing American steelworkers, farmers and textile-mill owners, and open its borders to goods from poorer countries. But above all, it must make the world comfortable with its power by leading through consensus. AmericaҒs special role in the worldits ability to buck historyחis based not simply on its great strength, but on a global faith that this power is legitimate. If America squanders that, the loss will outweigh any gains in domestic security. And this next American century could prove to be lonely, brutish and short."

On a side note, the one thing that bothers me a lot about America's current France-bashing frenzy is that we would still be a colony of Great Britain without the considerable aid of France during the Revolution. It also bothers me that so many people think so little of freedom that they persist in making the word insipid enough to apply to deep-fried potatoes.
posted by lee on 03/16/03 at 12:19 PM
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