March 30, 2003
politics is only one avenue

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
~Edmund Burke (1729–1797), Irish philosopher, statesman

And I'm looking for other avenues. But I respectfully don't think looking inward is the answer other than to center oneself in order to sustain the effort needed to do SOMETHING -- even if it's just writing in a journal or sharing the memories of the horrors of war seen firsthand -- as on a television show. Telling is doing something.

Posted by Lee at 04:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 29, 2003
one today - will there be other congresspeople
taking a stand against evil?

Press Release -- Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (OH10) -- Kucinich: This War is Wrong And Must End

Today, at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who leads opposition to the war in Iraq, issued the following statement:

“This Administration has never made its case for war against Iraq. It is an unjustified war, which the Administration continues to misrepresent and exaggerate. The most recent example is the Administration's characterization of international coalition support for this war.

“This morning, President Bush once again exaggerated the extent of support for the war stating that the coalition of countries supporting this war is larger than the 1991 Gulf War. What Bush failed to mention was that back in 1991, all of the 34 coalition members offered military force, by contributing troops on the ground, aircraft, ships or medics.

“This war involves the troops of only the U.S., Britain, Australia, Poland and Albania. Not even the three members of the Security Council that support the war, Spain, Italy, and Bulgaria are committing military support.

“This Bush Administration has been adding coalition member to their list based on statements of “moral” support. As the Washington Post reported last week, if this type of criteria was used back in 1991, the size of the coalition would likely have topped 100 countries.

“Further, the total cost of the Gulf War to the United States was around $4 billion dollars. This time, the President has come to Congress requesting a $75 billion bill, all of which will be paid by U. S. taxpayers. Clearly, military and economic support from countries is far more important than statements of “well-wishes”.

“This war must end now. It was unjust when it started last week, and is still unjust today. The U.S. should get out now and try to save the lives of American troops and Iraqi citizens. Most importantly, ending the war now and resuming weapons inspections could salvage world opinion of the United States, which has been deteriorating since the talk of war began. After all, the greatest threat to the United States at this time is terrorism, which is breeding from this war.”

And today:
Kucinich: Stop War Now,
Bring Troops Home

Today, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who leads opposition in the House to the war in Iraq, issued the following statement:

“This war is illegal and wrong, we must stop it now and bring our troops home.

“As the human and fiscal costs of this war become clear, now more than ever it is urgent that the United States bring our troops home. We must end this war and allow the United Nations (UN) to search for suspected weapons of mass destruction and provide humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq.

“We are at a critical point in this war. Our troops are poised on the edge of what almost all military experts say will be the toughest and potentially most deadly phase of this war. This war must end now. It was unjust when it started last week, and is still unjust today. The U.S. should get out now and try to save the lives of American troops and Iraqi citizens.”

Posted by Lee at 01:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 28, 2003
Eminently silly - a perfect matinee

I wrote a review of The Core, which Stanley and I went to see this afternoon (we played hooky). But, when I hit the save button, the frelling browser crashed before anything was sent to the server. Internet Explorer 6 is a suckass browser -- I've had nothing but trouble with it, almost as if it's designed to crash on Win98 systems so we rush right out and buy XP. (Ain't gonna happen -- I'll switch to Lindows before I'll shell out money for XP.)

At any rate, The Core was fun, a great matinee movie, don't pay full price to see it but do see it on the big screen, suspend disbelief, enjoy. Maybe I'll reconstruct my review one of these days, but I really don't have the heart to do it now.

Posted by Lee at 07:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 27, 2003
one o' those bad pet days

Ginger loves peanut butter cookies (well, ANY cookie will do). So does Stanley. Stanley put three boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the counter, then checked his email. Went back to put the cookies away, but there was one box missing. Ginger helped herself to about half a box of cookies. It didn't make Stanley's disposition any nicer when I couldn't stop laughing about it.

Then, as we were coming home from the library, I saw a look of horror cross Stanley's face, then caught sight of a gray streak out of the corner of my eye. Twitch! He somehow slipped past us as we were coming in the door and made his big escape, probably headed for the poison ivy jungle at the back of the yard. Twitch is not allowed outside because he'd get killed on the busy street we live on. Fortunately, Stanley managed to snag Twitch before he got too far off into the dark for us to find. It's a miracle we even saw him at all.

Poor Stanley! [I'm STILL laughing about both incidents!]

Posted by Lee at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
eyewitness to crimes against humanity

Robert Fisk, in Baghdad, in The Independent: "'It was an outrage, an obscenity' The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smouldering car.

"Two missiles from an American jet killed them all“ by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians, torn to pieces before they could be 'liberated' by the nation that destroyed their lives. Who dares, I ask myself, to call this 'collateral damage'? Abu Taleb Street was packed with pedestrians and motorists when the American pilot approached through the dense sandstorm that covered northern Baghdad in a cloak of red and yellow dust and rain yesterday morning."

"Conservative figures for those killed in air-raids on Baghdad stand at around 100. The number of dead and wounded among the allied forces is infinitely smaller at fewer than 50 so far, but the numbers mount daily."

What are we supposed to be doing there, again?

Posted by Lee at 07:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've been busy trying to wrap up stuff, so have woefully neglected this journal, reading, cleaning the house, breathing ... I have to pay more attention to working a set number of hours each day and no more -- since I'm not a medical professional, NOTHING is so urgent that it can't wait another day. At least, nothing I have to do. So here are a couple of odds & ends that have been on my mind.

I've learned recently that there are some people who don't appreciate the value of something unless they've paid for it, whether it's website work, design work, opinions, or advice that THEY'VE asked you for (the latter two are otherwise known as consulting, if you're being paid for it). It's hard to know who these people are in advance -- especially if these people are friends and you don't want to think badly of them. I've done what I could, gratis, for friends, colleagues, and family members when asked (especially when it was a way I COULD help in their time of need) and had never been burned for it -- until today. Someone I believed in and thought better of decided to go off on a stupid power trip and excoriated me for, essentially, not doing these free things fast enough to satisfy him -- give me the CD artwork NOW ... The asshole. No more freebies for him, no way. He can pay my going rates. He shot himself in the foot, the jerk.

Stanley has been writing about a scam that's been bugging us -- put on by the pond scum of a company called World Wide Source when it sets up the scam and American Solutions Information when it tries to collect on the scam. They've been calling every day and when we feel like it, we answer the phone. Sometimes we just hang up, sometimes we make demands of them. Depends on our mood. I think Stanley's next step is to get them to send us a couple of more documents and then turn them over to the Connecticut Attorney General. Who issued a press release about this scam.

CT A.G. Blumenthal wants, I think I've read, to run for governor -- maybe in the next race (when hopefully the citizens of this state will finally realize that Rowland is a shitty administrator). The problem is that Blumenthal is so good at being an attorney general that people just won't want to see him as governor -- why should we when he does more good for the citizens of CT in one week as A.G. than a governor could ever do (especially Rowland)?

Support our troops: bring them home NOW.

Posted by Lee at 01:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 22, 2003
BigFix works

BigFix is software that runs in your system tray and notifies you when there's a new update or security patch that needs installing. I installed it a few months ago (I don't remember how I learned about it, maybe TechTV?) to give it a whirl since I get so tired of eternally trying to track down, access, and install relevant MS security patchs (seemingly almost daily).

BigFix is designed to "automatically check your computer for bugs, configuration conflicts, and security holes." The company's trademarked tagline is "Fix it before it fails." I gotta say it does its job quite well, at a cost that can't be beat: for personal use, the cost is zilch. Nada. As in $0.

Why, you may wonder? Because they're really after the big boys -- the enterprises that find managing and installing patches and upgrades a logistical nightmare. As in BigFix is a "patch management solution." So I guess giving it away to the little people is a way of 1) evangelizing and 2) testing. Okay by me. So far it's offered in several flavors of Windows, but, according to their FAQ, they'll soon be offering a version for Macs.

So, it works and I'll keep using it for free -- but I would pay for it as it's become as essential to me as my anti-virus program, ZoneAlarmPro, and Ad-Aware. I'm willing to pay for programs like these because business that actually generate revenue tend to stay in business and therefore support and upgrade their products.

Posted by Lee at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 20, 2003
Breathing room, finally

Had two big deadlines, both of which we met! The first was getting up a new website for the Massachusetts/Israel company Bandwiz: We're pretty proud of this site. We still have a bit more work to do on it, but it's all under-the-hood stuff. For the most part. Building this site is a pleasure because the folks there are so cool and so easy to work with.

The other deadline met was the completion of a back-of-the-book index for a financial book to be published, in June, I think, by John Wiley & Co. When it gets closer to release, I'll post more details -- but I will say the book is about trading stock options and it was written by S. A. Johnston and that it's a fascinating book that's written very well.

It was a little discombobulating at times, being pulled into two different media: print and online. Thinking about both projects at once, juggling ... all the while trying to pay attention to this obscenity of a war foisted on the world by the lunatics in the White House.

Why is it that if we oppose the war, people assume we don't support our troops? That's absurd. Each and every military person over there is a volunteer and has signed up to do what they perceive as their duty. This is both noble and honorable and I admire them for this.

I don't, however, admire the president for sending these honorable men and women off to possibly die in a war that is both morally wrong and unnecessary. I believe that's tantamont to murder. I believe it's a crime against humanity.

Do I support our troops? Absolutely. Do I believe in this war? Absolutely not. The best way to support our troops is to end this disaster now and get them out of harm's way as quickly as possible.

If there were some tangible way for me to show support, a way that would actually benefit even one military person thrown into hell by the president, I would do so. All of a sudden saying we support the president when we didn't, and still don't, is NOT supporting our troops. It's actually the same as spitting in their faces since we would not be exercising the duties and rights we have as Americans -- which the troops enlisted to protect.

So, support our troops: BRING THEM HOME NOW.

Posted by Lee at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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.” 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 world’s 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. America’s special role in the world—its ability to buck history—is 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 at 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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 at 03:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 12, 2003
hairy krishnas?

I received this message today, from (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 at 12:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 11, 2003
See, i'm not nuts -- Macromedia blew it big time

Revamped Macromedia site irks customers | CNET

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 at 01:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 at 01:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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 at 02:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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 at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 04, 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 at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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.


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.


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


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 at 02:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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 at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack