February 27, 2003
looky here -- BBE is a Wander-lust featured site!!

When you go to Wander-lust.com, check out the featured site. None other than Tony Anthony's site, Beneath Buddhas Eyes! Congratulations Tony!

Our second-favorite section on Tony's site (besides his journal) is the gallery, which has photos he took while he was in Vietnam. They're pretty amazing, and just a few of the hundreds, or is it thousands, that he shot. I particularly like the man with the umbrella.

The Temple is pretty neat, too. We're still looking for sounds of temple bells to play in the background when the page loads.

Posted by Lee at 11:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 26, 2003
Phil Phinished on MSNBC. New Architect Dead next month?

MSNBC axes Phil Donahue's talk show. Not enough viewers. All this amidst the general moaning and groaning about there being no talk show (on radio or tv) for liberals. I'm just wondering if the reason talk shows for liberals don't succeed is because most liberals have better things to do than get a daily dose of what to think fed to 'em. Like think, read, write, converse. Maybe, just maybe, it's because most liberals are not sheep, like the herds of dittoheads or the legion of idiots who listen to O'Reilly's braindead ranting?

I got something in my email today informing me that New Architect is dead after the March issue, and do I wanna subscribe to, I think Software Developer instead. Or something like that -- I deep-sixed the message so I don't remember for sure. As much as I won't mourn the demise of New Architect, I sure as hell don't see what a magazine for software developers has to do with internet technologies. I suppose one could stretch it and make a case, but why? I liked NA better when it was Web Techniques -- was much more interesting because it was a little quirky. I still think CMP Media should get some kind of a prize for making NA the most boring-looking site on the planet (the print mag is almost as boring).

Posted by Lee at 01:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 24, 2003
Heroine Bernadette Devlin deported from the US

Finding Trouble in U.S. Newsday.com, by Jimmy Breslin

Bernadette Devlin was seized by government agents in Chicago. They said she was a threat to the United States. Breslin writes:

"She remembered yesterday that she said, 'This is crazy.'

"The older agent said, 'If you tell me one more time that this is crazy, I'll put handcuffs on you and throw you into a cell.'

"'All right, I won't say one more time that this is crazy. But it is crazy,' she said.

"Then Bernadette Devlin, who for so many years showed Catholics in Northern Ireland how to breathe and be as unafraid as she was, and by doing so placed the first jobs they ever had into their lives, this small woman with music for a voice who thrilled so many Irish in New York, wound up in an office, where she was fingerprinted and photographed.

"Humiliate them. Then frighten them. 'I'm going to throw you in prison,' the older man said.

"He tried the wrong party. 'You can't do that,' she said. 'I have rights. I have the right to free movement. I have human rights. I have the right to be protected under the Constitution of the United States.'

"The daughter overheard one of them say, 'After 9/11, nobody has any rights.'

"It was common mouthing and behavior from a government that daily shears people of their rights."

So now were so afraid of anyone who stands up for human rights that we deport heroes? What a shameful and embarrassing action on the part of those incompetent, unelected assholes and their stooges now infesting our government.

Posted by Lee at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
vote for the 2002 darwin award winner

Head for the Darwin Awards and choose your favorite tale of cleaning up the gene pool.

Did you ever notice that there are very few tales of women killing themselves due to moronic accidents? Interesting.

Posted by Lee at 12:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 22, 2003
creature comforts

The animals here are really spoiled. Able to take their comfort wherever they find it. Stanley took these pictures.

Ginger loyally sticks by my side, for the most part, but sometimes the wooden floor of our office isn't very appealing to her, particularly lately as the chill permeates what is, essentially, a converted porch. So she heads upstairs and makes herself comfy:


Twitch is quite adept at finding a comfortable spot to snooze no matter what the circumstance. All he requires is a box-like container (just a shade or two on the snug side) and some padding. You didn't know that a computer bag easily converts into a cat bed, did you?


Posted by Lee at 07:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
800-650-8375 scam -- more info

Thanks to Stanley for this article: House GOP Fundraisers Put a Price On Honors (washingtonpost.com), which goes into more detail about the Tom DeLay Republican Business Advisory Council telemarketing scam.

Stanley said he can't believe how many suckers actually pay the money for this "honor," and that for just a couple of million, he knows this Nigerian bank account those people can have ...

I think people should call the 800 number (in the title) just to cost the Republican National Committee some money -- maybe make it too expensive for them to continue this tactic? I keep getting crap in the mail from them, and make sure I send it back to them in the postage-paid envelope.

The actual telemarketing is done by Akron, Ohio-based InfoCision, according to the article.

"It is not just some recipients who are angry. Lawyers for Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal, contacted NRCC officials before Christmas to ask them to stop using the Journal masthead, saying they were "misstating a connection between the award and the Wall Street Journal," said Brigitte Trafford, a Dow Jones spokeswoman. Flesch said he received his "Wall Street Journal" ad fax this month. Trafford said Dow Jones lawyers would be back in contact with the NRCC.

"Some honorees who contributed have complained that they never received their promised "handsome framed certificate." Others said they welcomed the attention regardless of its value."

Posted by Lee at 04:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Still trying to get MT 2.6.2 to work Let's see if it does yet -- I still don't have any choices for "text formatting" in the drop-down list ... but I fixed an entry that was screwed up way back in November when I upgraded to 2.5.
Posted by Lee at 01:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Of Mice and Maniacs

The Morning News - Schrödinger's Iraq, by Matthew Baldwin (aka Defective Yeti).

"Bush: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I realize that my press conferences are something of a rarity, and know that many of you equate my reticence to hold them as tantamount to evasion. I would nonetheless like to take this opportunity to address any questions you may have regarding the policies and activities of this administration ... "

Read it all -- it's funny. It's a surreal thing.

Posted by Lee at 02:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 21, 2003
what's going on here ... Something strange. Why would my MT layout get all messed up? I haven't touched the stylesheet in a week, and I posted just fine after the upgrade to 2.6.1 ... why are the titles suddenly on the same line ... what fresh hell is this?
Posted by Lee at 09:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Metacritic metacritique A redesign over at metacritic: Film Reviews, Game Reviews, Music Reviews, DVD Reviews. It looks pretty, but it's so frelling HARD TO READ: that teeny, tiny, condensed white type on a navy blue background, and I couldn't resize the type. The designer should be taken out back and shot. He/she forgot it's the content, stupid. Too bad. Rating: 30. Is it enough to make me stop visiting the site? Yep, a lot easier and faster to type in the URLs of the reviewers I read regularly than sit there squinting at a screen trying to decipher those white blurs.
Posted by Lee at 07:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 19, 2003
W3C CSS specs pages - a rant

The W3C just posted a new version of its CSS specs: Cascading Style Sheets. The big flap is it doesn't look right in IE6, which many say is a smack in the chops for Microsoft because IE6 isn't completely standards-compliant. However, if you look at the page in Netscape 6, it looks like crap as well. In Opera 6, it looks better. But it's still crappy looking. Maybe it's the DESIGN ITSELF that's bad and not compliance issues with the browsers?

Maybe if the standards were ever FINISHED it wouldn't be such a problem? Why do I have to download some obscure, weird browser to see what CSS is SUPPOSED to look like? Maybe the W3C has gone off so far into esoteria-land it's become impossible to comply with all the standards? What about taking into consideration the REAL world of web users? Is it really an issue of standards, or is the underlying issue really Microsoft-bashing?

All I know is I'm sick to death of having to make CSS work in every flipping browser out there. For neurotwitch, I decided to hell with it, I coded for IE because, frankly, the vast majority of visitors to not just this site, but to ALL sites, visit with IE browsers.

The W3C CSS standards have become limitations because I cannot use so many of them and have any hope at keeping all of my clients' sites up to date and compliant. CSS is supposed to make my job easier -- but all it has done is make my job a hell of a lot harder. Sure, I would love it if every browser was completely compliant with whatever crap the W3C decides to issue--but it's never going to happen.

Posted by Lee at 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 18, 2003
more reasons why suv owners are selfish pigs

A List Some Carmakers Don't Covet, New York Times, Danny Hakim, 2/18/03

"The Environmental Protection Agency rates every vehicle according to the amount of pollutants coming out of the tailpipe that contribute to smog, which can worsen asthma and lead to cancer and lung damage. Many popular sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks rank at the bottom on the 0-to-10 scale. Among them are a number of recently introduced — and highly profitable — models."


"The low ratings mean that these vehicles emit at best 21 pounds of pollutants for every 15,000 miles driven, the E.P.A. says, and have 2 to 10 times the emissions of most Honda Civics."


Posted by Lee at 01:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Daniel Dumps a Load

News 12 News:

"The significant snowfall has come to an end across southwestern Connecticut. Final accumulations across the state indicate that Fairfield County was hardest hit. Reports show area snowfall amounts ranged from 19 inches in Norwalk to 25 inches in Stamford. Winds will pickup in the overnight hours and snowdrifts could get as high as five or six feet."

I wonder how many pounds of snow we shoveled this afternoon?

What REALLY sucks about this storm, which didn't charm me in the least, is that it's supposed to get into the 40s in a couple of days and stay there for a while. That means at least a week of slop, ice, flooding, mud, yuck. If we didn't have a deadline coming up, we'd be on our way to Panama City Beach: Hi Mom, hi Dad!

This season, so far, we've shoveled about four feet of snow away (Stanley did most of the shoveling). This month alone we shoveled 28 inches.

I know, I know -- we live in New England. I've been spoiled by the last two non-winters. And we didn't get hit as hard as other areas. The one good thing about this winter is it finally got cold enough to kill ticks.

Posted by Lee at 12:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 16, 2003
very clever!

The Flash Mind Reader is very well done! I wish I could remember the algorithm behind this, though--it's driving me nuts!

Posted by Lee at 07:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 15, 2003

A site that's beautiful in its simplicity, TaoTeChing is well worth a visit. "Lessons" are arranged by topic on the home page. Here's one:

Manage a great nation as you would cook a delicate fish.

To govern men in accord with nature
It is best to be restrained;
Restraint makes agreement easy to attain,
And easy agreement builds harmonious relationships;
With sufficient harmony no resistance will arise;
When no resistance arises,
then you possess the heart of the nation,
And when you possess the nation's heart,
your influence will long endure:
Deeply rooted and firmly established.
This is the method of far sight and long life.

One could only hope ...

What's interesting is that there is a webring, Wandring Daoist, which has more than 100 sites related in some way, however tenuous, to taoism. And many of these sites belong to other webrings devoted to taoism, buddishm, and on an on. One could spend days just clicking links while looking for enlightenment. Who knows? It might be there to find on any one of these links!

Posted by Lee at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 14, 2003
Senator Kennedy's Feb. 13th Floor Statement in response to Bush's Comment on Iraq

He's eloquent--and right. Here is an excerpt (you can read the whole thing in "more"):

Al Qaeda - not Iraq - is the most imminent threat to our national security. Our citizens are asked to protect themselves from Osama bin Ladin at home with a roll of duct tape, while the Administration sends the most deadly and sophisticated army in the world to go to war with Saddam Hussein. Those are the wrong priorities.

On Monday, Tom Ridge, the Secretary of Homeland Security said that the heightened security warning that has millions of Americans stocking up on food, water, duct tape, and plastic sheeting is connected to Al Qaeda and not "the possibility of military involvement with Iraq."

On Tuesday, FBI Director Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that "the Al Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most immediate and serious threat facing this country."

(end of excerpt)

Mr. President, tomorrow, the United Nations inspectors will report to the Security Council about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In all likelihood we will continue to hear from Mr. Hans Blix that the inspections are proceeding, but that Iraqi authorities need to be much more cooperative. We know that the Administration is lobbying Mr. Blix to submit the strongest possible case that Iraq is not cooperating.

We all agree that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous and deceptive dictator. We live in a dangerous world and Saddam must be disarmed. The question is how to do it in a way that minimizes the risks to the American people at home, to our armed forces, and to our allies.

I'm still hopeful that we can avoid war. War should always be a last resort.

Earlier today, President Bush quoted President Kennedy and referred to the Cuban missile crisis. President Bush praised my brother for understanding that the dangers to freedom had to be confronted early and decisively.

President Kennedy did understand this. But he also genuinely believed that war must always be the last resort. When Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba - missiles for more threatening to us than anything Saddam has today - some leaders in the highest councils of our government urged an immediate and unilateral strike. Instead, the United States took its case to the United Nations, won the endorsement of the Organization of American States, and persuaded even our most skeptical allies. We imposed a blockade, demanded inspection, and insisted on the removal of the missiles - all without resorting to full-scale war.

As he said then, "Action is required-and these actions [now] may only be the beginning. We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of, war-but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced."

I continue to be concerned that the Bush Administration is persisting in its rush to war with Iraq, even as we face grave threats from Al Qaeda terrorism and North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The Administration has done far too little to tell Congress and the American people about what our country and our troops will face in going to war with Iraq, especially if we have little genuine support from our allies.

We're nearing decision time. I urge President Bush to come clean with the American people about this war. Before endangering the nation's sons and daughters in the Iraqi desert, our citizens deserve full answers to four questions.

First, the President must explain what he considers victory in Iraq. The American people deserve at least this much. Is it disarmament? Is it the overthrow of Saddam? Is it the establishment of a stable, democratic government? If we get rid of Saddam, but leave his bureaucracy in power, will that be a victory? Or, as General Zinni has said, will we be doing what we did in Afghanistan - drive the old Soviet Union out and let something arguably worse emerge?

This should be a basic consideration in committing American lives to this war. Our country should know what we are fighting for. But the Administration has failed to define even this most basic question for the American people.

Second, the President must explain whether we are doing all we can to see that America will be secure at home. A war in Iraq may well strengthen Al Qaeda terrorists, not weaken them, especially if the Muslim world opposes us. We have not broken Osama bin Ladin's will to kill Americans. Our nation has just gone on new and higher alert because of the increased overall threat from Al Qaeda. What if Al Qaeda decides to time its next attack for the day we go to war?

In fact, our nation's intelligence experts have maintained consistently since 9/11 that Al Qaeda terrorism is the greatest threat to our security here at home. They also fear that an American attack on Iraq will only make matters worse by inflaming anti-American sentiments across the Arab world.

Third, the President must fully explain how long, even after the war ends, we will have to commit our forces and economic resources to deal with the consequences of the war. This war will be different than the Gulf War. We will not stop short of Baghdad. If we want to change the regime, we may well have to fight in Baghdad and engage in hand-to-hand combat and urban guerrilla warfare. When the war is over, our troops will become an occupying force, possibly for many years. The tribal, ethnic, and religious fault lines that Saddam has held together through repression may fall apart - much as they did in the brutal civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda, and other countries.

Will the United States have to manage Iraq for years to come on our own? Are we prepared to commit billions of American dollars to Iraq for years to come? Will our troops be part of a United Nations force? Will they become sitting targets for terrorists?

Finally, the President must explain whether our nation is prepared to use this war as the new foreign and defense policy for the future. Are we prepared to invade any nation that poses a threat? Iran, Libya, Syria and other countries have weapons of mass destruction programs. Will we attack them too?

Are we really prepared, as the Administration is considering, to radically change our nuclear weapons policy and use nuclear weapons in Iraq and other conflicts? Even contemplating the first use of nuclear weapons in Iraq under current circumstances and against a non-nuclear nation dangerously undermines the crucial and historical distinction between conventional and nuclear arms. It undermines our international commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If we use the nation's nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented way in Iraq, it will be the most fateful decision since the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

On each of these questions, the President must reassure the American people. They deserve to know that we are not stepping into quicksand and that this military operation is well thought out. He must convince the nation that we are putting as much effort into thinking about how we get out of Iraq as we are about getting into Iraq.

We must take both the short-term and the long-term view of this enormous problem. Whether war with Iraq will be a sprint or a marathon, we must always remember the finish line.

There is no more important decision by Congress or the President under the Constitution than the decision to send our men and women in uniform to war. The Administration must make a compelling case that war with Iraq is now the only alternative and explain it to the American people.

The Administration says we can fight a war in Iraq without undermining our most pressing national security priority - the ongoing war against the international Al Qaeda terrorist network.

Al Qaeda - not Iraq - is the most imminent threat to our national security. Our citizens are asked to protect themselves from Osama bin Ladin at home with a roll of duct tape, while the Administration sends the most deadly and sophisticated army in the world to go to war with Saddam Hussein. Those are the wrong priorities.

On Monday, Tom Ridge, the Secretary of Homeland Security said that the heightened security warning that has millions of Americans stocking up on food, water, duct tape, and plastic sheeting is connected to Al Qaeda and not "the possibility of military involvement with Iraq."

On Tuesday, FBI Director Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that "the Al Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most immediate and serious threat facing this country."

On Wednesday, CIA Director Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the heightened alert issued this week is because of the threat from Al Qaeda - not Iraq.

In addition to threatening American lives, Saudi Arabia has indicated that it will ask American troops to leave its soil. NATO's division over war has threatened the alliance. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, has said that uncertainty over Iraq is slowing our nation's economic growth. Osama Bin Ladin's successes remind us of our own shortfalls in the war against terrorism.

Even before war has begun, we hear of possible threats from a wave of suicide bombers. War with Iraq could swell the ranks of terrorists and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts. As General Wesley Clark told the Senate Armed Services Committee last September 23, war with Iraq could "super-charge recruiting for Al Qaeda."

These are real dangers - dangers that the Administration has minimized in its determination to attack Iraq.

The Administration maintains that there are convincing links between Al Qaeda and Iraq that justify war. But Al Qaeda activists are present in more than 60 countries, including Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and also in the United States. Even in the Administration, there are skeptics about the links with Iraq. Intelligence analysts are concerned that intelligence is being politicized to justify war.

Although the U.N. inspectors have found no evidence so far of a revived nuclear weapons program in Iraq, there is ample evidence in North Korea. North Korea possesses 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods capable of being re-processed, by May, into enough plutonium to make up to six nuclear bombs. With inspectors gone and North Korea gone from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we face an urgent crisis, with nothing to prevent that nation from quickly producing a significant amount of nuclear materials and nuclear weapons for its own use, or for terrorists hostile to America and our allies. North Korea has already provided missiles to deliver chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons to terrorist states, including Iran, Syria, and Libya. Desperate and strapped for cash, North Korea can easily provide nuclear weapons or weapons grade plutonium to terrorist groups, which could be used against us in the future.

Despite these alarm bells, the Administration refuses to call the situation on the Korean peninsula what it is - a genuine crisis. If this is not a crisis, I don't know what is.

The Administration refuses to directly engage the North Koreans in talks to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear program. By ignoring the North Korean crisis in order to keep the focus on Iraq, the Administration has kept its eye on the wrong place.

It is far from clear that we will be safer by attacking Iraq. In an October 7, 2002 letter to the Senate Committee on Intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said the probability of Saddam Hussein initiating an attack on the United States was low. But his letter said, "should Saddam Hussein conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions."

Yesterday, Admiral Jacoby, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Saddam Hussein would use weapons of mass destruction "when he makes the decision that the regime is in jeopardy." CIA Director Tenet agreed with this assessment.

This assessment begs the question: if Saddam will not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States until his regime is about to fall, why is it in our national security interest to provoke him into using them?

The Administration must be more forthcoming about the potential human costs of war with Iraq, especially if it pushes Saddam into unleashing whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses. The Administration has released no casualty estimates, and they could be extremely high. Many military experts have predicted urban guerrilla warfare - a scenario which retired General Joseph Hoar, who had responsibility for Iraq before the Gulf War, says could look "like the last 15 minutes of 'Saving Private Ryan.' "

Nor has the Administration fully explained the ramifications of large-scale mobilization of the National Guard and Reserve - especially its effect on police, firefighters and others who will be on duty for Iraq, but who are needed on the front lines if there is a terrorist attack on the homeland. In Massachusetts, 2000 citizens have been called to active duty in the armed forces.

Nor has the Administration been candid about the humanitarian crisis that could result from war. Refugee organizations are desperately trying to prepare for a flood of as many as 900,000 refugees. Billions of dollars and years of commitment may well be needed to achieve a peaceful post-war Iraq, but the American people still do not know how that process will unfold and who will pay for it.

No war can be successfully waged if it lacks the strong support of the American people. Before pulling the trigger on war, the Administration must tell the American people the full story about Iraq. So far, it has not.

Posted by Lee at 11:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Chocolates with filling are an ideal conduit for fissile material

Anti-Terrorism Valentine's Day Tips - The Office of Homeland Security explains it all for you. by Timothy Noah

Office of Homeland Security:
Recommended Valentine's Day Precautions

A valentine is an ideal conduit for coded messages. A capital "C," for instance, denotes the crescent moon, a well-known symbol of Islam. If your Christian name begins with the letter "C" (examples: Caroline, Charles, Colin, Condi), do not accept valentines from anybody.
If your name begins with one of the other 25 letters of the alphabet, you may accept valentines, provided you:

  • Do not accept a valentine from any registered foreign national.

  • Open the envelope outdoors, no closer than 20 feet from any other individual.

A bouquet is an ideal conduit for toxins, some of which may occur naturally. It is strongly recommended that you accept no flowers at all, and that you report immediately the name of anyone offering you flowers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Recognizing, however, that some will ignore this warning, we urge these individuals to spray their flowers with a quick-drying sealant, wrap them tightly in Saran Wrap, and place on a very high shelf.

There's more in this Slate article. Think about it: it isn't any sillier than the crap the government has been feeding us.

Happy Valentine's Day to Stanley!

Posted by Lee at 01:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 13, 2003
If war is inevitable, Start drafting SUV drivers now

GlaserRed-PrintIt.gifThe World Says No to War: Anti-War Rally this Saturday at Noon!
February 15th, New York City, Assemble at noon:
First Avenue stretching north from 49th Street

This graphic is by Milton Glaser, a NYC-based graphic designer. You can get this and other posters for peace at Another Poster for Peace.

A color-coded alert system instruction guide is presented at Working for Change (Mark Fiore's latest).

I wonder what the counts are going to be for the Saturday rally in NYC? Whatever gets reported on Fox "News," multiply by ten or 15, and that will be the accurate count.

Posted by Lee at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
why do i watch west wing when it just depresses me?

Hardware stores are busy selling supplies to cautious residents, according to WTNH (New Haven, CT).

Kind of like silly people rushing out to fill their vehicle gas tank just before a blizzard hits: where the hell are they gonna go on that full tank of gas during a blizzard?

In order to protect themselves from the next terrorist attack, the sheep are buying duct tape and rolls of plastic by the truckload. So rooms can be sealed off. Yeah, right. The only way to effectively seal ourselves off from any outside air in our sieve of a house (it's two hundred years old) would be to wrap the plastic around our heads and secure it with duct tape. I suspect the same is true for most houses and I know it's true for the McMansions around here.

Stanley thinks creating a panic and sending people out to buy lots of useless stuff in case of emergency (Our tv station recommended a portable television. For real. They said get that portable tv and just stick it in that big plastic box in case you're attacked by a terrorist.) is Bush's plan for jumpstarting the economy. Don't forget that Tupperware tub, you know, the one on wheels! And be sure to buy up all the bottled water you can in case the terrorists contaminate our water supply--like if they did you would even be able to buy enough water to last until they could clean it up. Meanwhile, they're still running the Indian Point nuclear power plant with no disaster plan in place. Stanley says he's waiting for the stories of terror-panic profiteering.

West Wing was interesting, but I've got to stop watching it because I get so depressed because it so highlights the difference between what our government ought to be like and what it actually is like. Idealism, democracy, integrity, and honor on the tv version. Greed, authoritarianism, duplicity, and immorality in the real White House.

Posted by Lee at 12:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 11, 2003
there are aliens. i have proof.

Penn and Teller are wrong. There are aliens, and I have proof. I wasn't looking for aliens, just looking at the snow this evening. Here's one view from the porch:


But things seemed uneasy. Odd occurrences that I could actually capture with my camera:


I could sense the presence of something strange, something otherwordly. So could Ginger, who frantically started trying to get to the bottom of it:


There was an eerie light in the distance--one I could not explain. It was coming from the north:


Then, from behind the wisteria, I heard this unearthly sound, and saw this:


Oh, sure, a cat you say. Yeah, it LOOKS like a cat, but look closer:


There you have it. Proof that an alien is among us. Most of the time it appears to be Stanley's typical tabby Twitch [from the depths of hell]. But when it thinks no one is looking, its mask drops and its true being shines forth from the eyes. Proof. Like I said.

Posted by Lee at 12:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 10, 2003
Poka-yoke: find out what this means

John Grout put up a Mistake-proofing Center, with lots of resources and examples.

Poka is Japanese for "inadvertent mistake". Yokeru is Japanese for "to avoid." It is often used as a synonym for ZQC (Zero Quality Control), error-proofing, or mistake-proofing.

Look, it's not the greatest website design in the world. In fact, the design is definitely not Poka-yoke. But the content is interesting and very much related to usability.

Posted by Lee at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 08, 2003
Asscroft is trying to rewrite the consititution--again

Boston Globe Online | Justice Dept. eyes expansion of its domestic surveillance
"According to the Center for Public Integrity, the draft expansion of the Patriot Act would be called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003.

"Among other things, it would prohibit disclosure of information regarding people detained as terrorist suspects and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from distributing ''worst-case scenario'' information to the public about a nearby private company's use of chemicals.

"In addition, the measure would create a DNA database of ''suspected terrorists;'' force suspects to prove why they should be released on bail, rather than have the prosecution prove why they should be held; and allow the deportation of US citizens who become members of or help terrorist groups."
If this is actually introduced, Congress should use it as an opportunity to review and repeal, or at least amend, the Patriot Act. And then throw this piece of fascist legislation into the shredder.

Read the proposed legislation yourself. You can download the documents here.

Posted by Lee at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 06, 2003
watching out so you don't have to

Consumer WebWatch, brought to you by the folks at Consumer Reports and The Pew Charitable Trust, is on a mission to investigate and improve the credibility of information on the web. They list guidelines for judging a website's credibility and kind of serve as a clearinghouse for web credibility initiatives (there are many). Definitely worth a look, especially if you're building a website other than a personal site.

Posted by Lee at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 05, 2003
very useful site for designers

PBDSAMPLE.gifThe Fontscape typeface directory is nicely organized. Brought to you by the same friendly folks who run Identifont. Identifont is pretty good, but not good enough yet to identify a font we need for a client. Do you know this font?

Identifont is a creation of information design company Human-Computer Interface Limited.

I've uploaded the font above in WhatTheFont at MyFonts.com. Voila! I followed the directions, and found the font. It's Enviro! A Linotype font. Owned by Letraset (which I assumed pretty much since our sample is a printed business card). And MyFonts.com has it for $21.00, good. Lemmesee, upper case only, designed by F. Scott Garland. Okay, off I go to buy it ...

Posted by Lee at 11:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 02, 2003
alien landscape

"Drive north from Las Vegas for a hundred fifty miles or so. No trees, no towns, no humans or a goddamned bit of greenery to speak of. You call this straight road miserable, but you haven't yet been to Rachel, pop. 100, whose only claim to fame is that it is the closest town to Area 51, America's famously secret experimental military installation."

So begins Eric Gauger's latest issue of Notes from the Road. This issue is a trip through Nevada, specifically southern Nevada, titled "Rocks & Mythology in the Nevada Desert."

This is one of my favorite sites. Besides always being interesting, and always providing good maps and good information, Eric's webpages are beautiful, with oft-times magnificent photography.

After you've read his latest essay, check out the rest of the site.

Posted by Lee at 07:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
all about gangs

I stumbled upon this site, GangRule, while looking at Gawker, which I got to via Kottke's portfolio, which I got to via Webword. (Got that?)

GangRule.com is a very pretty site. And it's apparent that it's just a beginning and still a very long way from definitive. (Or even substantial--but these things take time.)

And probably the information is very interesting (I went to look at the maps--I'm not particularly interested in gangs except the gangs of Detroit during the Depression). The maps were interesting, but also frustrating since they don't display large enough to actually read.

But I don't have (or couldn't find) a clue as to why the site owner, whom I think is Jon Black, put up this site unless maybe it's to sell used books about gangs? It doesn't really matter, it just interests me--why people build the sites they do.

The navigation on this site is bizarre and extremely confusing. Navs and content switch from side to side. I don't think the navigation is interesting or even serves any kind of a purpose--I just think it's lazy and annoying. [The site was designed by MagnetStudio, whose own website is bizarre and annoying and so two years ago it's kind of spooky and, with so many broken links in the portfolio, sure wouldn't inspire me to hire them.] The font is tiny and very difficult to read (black on dark gray, for the most part, and fixed, of course) and it actually appears as if the people who run the site are doing their damndest to make visitors go away.

There are lots of images, most without attribution of any kind though a big blue box says not to steal them (like they weren't lifted from the Library of Congress and other places like that). The images are small, and the enlargements are, for the most part, so small it's not worth the click to see the larger version. I love old pictures of places I know, so I was kind of disappointed in them.

This site could be very cool, and very interesting, and maybe it'll generate enough interest and contributions to make it worthwhile to improve the navigation and make the words and pictures big enough to see without going blind. Right now the GUI is so anal retentive it's actually funny. Belongs in Web Pages that Suck: The 2nd Generation.

Posted by Lee at 01:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 01, 2003
just remember, half fall on the left side of the bell curve

Abracadabra, Your Money Is Gone

"BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) -- A woman who says she bought magic wands from a self-described psychic to erase negative thoughts says $5,400 of her money was all that disappeared ... "

Since her brain cells obviously disappeared years ago, that's all that COULD have dissappeared.

Shorter telomeres mean shorter life

"Old people can expect to die sooner if they have shorter telomeres, pieces of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes."

Sure, I know what telomeres are ... not. At least not from this article: A telomere is a repeated sequence of five bases that preserves the integrity of genes during DNA replication, rather like the glue that prevents the ends of shoelaces unravelling. There's nothing one can do to make those telomeres longer, is there? Will this give rise to telomere envy?

One more that caused me to shake my head:
Doctor sued for branding uterus defends actions

"LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) -- A surgeon being sued for branding a patient's uterus with the initials of his alma mater -- the University of Kentucky -- defended his actions Tuesday as a routine part of a hysterectomy.

Dr. Michael Guiler said in a statement that marking the uterus gives doctors a point of reference before it is removed.

"Guiler, who used a cauterizing instrument to brand "UK" on Stephanie Means' uterus, said the letters marked the organ's midline and distinguished its left and right side.

"Not only am I always able to remain oriented for the patient's safety, I felt this was honorable since it made reference to the college of medicine where I received my medical degree," he said in the statement, which he read to reporters ... "

How about the letters "L" and "R" or something that might actually make sense? But what I'm wondering about, too, is why the branded woman was watching a videotape of her hysterectomy. Is that common? And of course she's suing--this is America, after all. On what grounds the article doesn't specify. What ever happened to just filing a complaint? Does this lady plan to retire on the proceeds of the lawsuit? Probably.

Posted by Lee at 02:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack