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.: 2001 --> march

march 2001
:: After listening to his speech, Ken reflected on President George W Bush's budget address. Please note that these remarks were written off the top of Ken's head at 3am, and as such do not represent his best thinking. Of course, in my opinion, Ken's worst thinking is better than most of the thinking I see on op-ed pages everywhere else. 03/01/01

Oh, my God! (In case you live under a rock, Seattle had an earthquake yesterday. - Thanks, Lizard!)03/01/01

With dot-coms going under right and left, it's hard for a digeratus to know what to do. Is pink still the new black? Are nerdy glasses in or out? Is it still okay to complain about how hard it is to find a reliable mechanic for your Jag, or should we all be trading them in for used Saturns? The times they are a changing, but Jesse James Garrett is here to help with his latest effort: Wired/Tired special dot-com collapse edition. 03/01/01

:: Moving.... (Thanks to Heather for the pics and boxes.) 03/03/01

Nice information design. 03/03/01

Moving is a dismaying business. Do you know what I own? Far too many clothes, a bunch of books, kitchen stuff, and JUNK. It started well enough, with neat little boxes labeled rcb clothes/books; glassware; file cabinet: bottom drawer. By day three, I dropped all pretense and called it what it was: closet junk; kitchen junk; junk.

Some weeding is in order. 03/07/01

Thank heaven for Tivo! We spent the night before we moved - you know, that dark, boring night when most of what you usually do is packed away, and there's no packing left to busy yourself with - watching The Merchants of Cool. While much of the information was not new to me, having it all laid out in a row was very disturbing.

If you missed the show I highly recommend that you watch it when it airs again May 1, 2001. Meanwhile, dig into the website to find out who owns your brain.

Jason wrote about his concerns after watching the show. I wrote him a note and then spent a little time tonight expanding on those themes. I don't have time to do the subject justice, but here are few thoughts on the subject. 03/07/01

I'm off to SXSW, so I won't be updating for the next week. Come back on the 16th.... 03/08/01

I've suspected this for a long time, but haven't had the background or information to prove it. Yes, the economy has taken a downturn, but this downturn is better than 'normal times' often are. These are the best of bad times (via follow me here) 03/08/01

Bogota, Colombia Mayor Antanas Mockus has devised 'Night Without Men' _ a voluntary curfew this Friday encouraging women to party and men to stay home with the kids and dirty dishes.

Critics and supporters alike say they expected something like this from Mockus, who is known for his goofy civics lessons. During an earlier term as mayor, he strutted about Bogota as ``Super Citizen'' in red and blue tights and posted mimes at stoplights to chastise reckless drivers. 'It seems really stupid. Antanas Mockus is a crazy philosopher,'

(thanks, Lizard!) 03/08/01

:: India's January earthquake killed 30,000 people and reduced countless homes to rubble. Modern homes, that is. It seems that the traditional bhungas - mud homes - are still standing. 03/19/01

Body Decoration

It was only in the second half of the 20th century that attempts were made within the West to challenge this idea that a "real man" must refrain from any form of body decoration that is creative and eye-catching.... But it was the Punks (followed by the New Romantics and Goths) who finally dared a full return to that most ancient of situations in which males are at least as adorned and decorated as are females.


The Budget is a 110 year old weekly newspaper written by volunteer scribes from across the US. Its news is important, but not in the way that you and I have come to expect. Instead, this newspaper details the everyday life of the Amish community.

Even the truly aberrant deed arrives gently, with the lead buried after the inevitable opening weather report.... The dispatch recalled some deadly harassment 21 years ago when an 8-month-old baby was killed by teenagers in a pickup truck who threw clay tiles at Amish buggies.

'The boys didn't realize and probably didn't aim to kill,' Mrs. Wickey gently allowed, even as she wondered what sort of a 21-year-old the victim ó her own granddaughter Adeline, she finally reported ó would have been now. 'They were all local boys and their parents were also heartbroken.'

(via wood s lot) 03/19/01

Robert Bobo: Tuba Legend

what the world is saying...Stereo Review -Performance: astonishing. The man is, no doubt, the Heifetz of the tuba.


Antique Road Fraud

Voter.com is going under, and as a result, their user database - complete with zip codes and political affilations will go to the highest bidder. 03/19/01

I met abdul 03/19/01

So, what do you do when you're a divorced mother of two and a high school dropout, and your brother is wrongfully convicted of murder? You get your law degree and prove his innocence. (PS - is there a dream you think you don't have the time or ability to pursue? You do.) 03/19/01

Who's following you around the web? And who's tracking your clicks? Here's the list. I recognize most of these names from their frequent appearance in my status bar as I wait impatiently for pages to load. While you're digesting the article, head over to debris.org and diligently work your way through the list of opt-out pages thoughtfully collected there for you. 03/19/01

:: Creating Perception: Mr Bush engineers a 'recession'. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]

The Labor Department reported that 135,000 jobs were created in February, and the unemployment rate remained low at 4.2 percent. Retail sales remain relatively strong, particularly for big-ticket items like cars. Almost certainly, given the growth in jobs, the economy is not now in a recession.

But Mr. Bush and his advisers clearly decided a while back that the best shot they had for getting the public to support and Congress to approve a large tax cut was to argue that the measure was essential to bolster a sagging economy.


How much space do 40 people take? Well, it depends....

On a quiet Sunday morning, you think to yourself that very few people are out, when what you mean is that their cars and trucks aren't crowding the roads. There are probably more people out in their yards or on the sidewalks. As the photographs on this page illustrate, what we call urban congestion is not too many people, but too many vehicles in too small an area.

(via randomwalks) 03/20/01

Inspiration: Living off the Grid 03/20/01

When you're a woman in politics, size still matters

...WLF found that while male and female gubernatorial candidates received about the same amount of coverage, 'newspapers paid more attention to female candidates' personal characteristics, such as their age, personality and attire,' while they 'received less coverage outlining where they stood on public policy issues.'

Additionally, WLF found that reporters quoted male and female candidates differently. 'Because male candidates were more likely than were female candidates to be quoted supporting their claims -- whether it be justifications for welfare reform or a defense of current education policy -- they may have appeared more informed and qualified,'

I can't quote enough from this article, go read it. The dress size stuff is a hoot. 03/20/01

Disgraceful 03/20/01

Robert L. Woodson Sr, one of the early backers of the President's faith-based initiative, indicates that the President's legislation has it wrong. He espouses what I think is a sensible approach to the inclusion of faith-based programs in government spending: client vouchers.

The question has been whether the government can fund such groups without violating church-state separation.

Woodson says it's the wrong question. Instead of trying to figure out how to fund the programs, he'd fund the clients, empowering them to take their vouchers to any program of their choosing.

That's how it was with the GI Bill. Returning veterans could take their education "vouchers" not just to the state universities but to Notre Dame or Southern Methodist or Yeshiva. And nobody worried about breaching the wall between church and state.


Remember the internet before the web? Remember that very funny email that circulated, about a hapless hotel guest who wishes only that the maid would stop leaving soap in his bathroom? Herewith presented for your pleasure: Soap. Very moist. 03/20/01

:: I added sections on my film, books, and music pages for the recommendations my readers have sent me in the past few years. Otherwise, they languish in my 'recommendations' folder, plus I thought you might be interested in what others think I may like. 03/21/01

You can't imagine how ruthless I'm being. Not as ruthless as God can be. But I have three new boxes to give away.

It's funny about getting rid of stuff. I find that I can do it, but there are certain things that require another person to be in the room. Someone to listen to the story of how I acquired the piece, or during what time of my life I wore it, and what it meant to me, before I put it in the 'giveaway' pile.

It's refreshing to weed through my things and send them out the door, the things I no longer need, the things that no longer express the my personality. But Dinah very wisely said to me in Austin that the difficulty in giving away your objects lies not in the thing itself, but in the part of you it represents. The waitress who wore that brooch every night; the young woman who was desperately in love the summer she wore that scarf; the knock-out I planned to be when I bought that pair of heels.

When I have someone to tell these stories, I can give the objects of my past away. But I need to remember and honor who I was in order to do so. 03/21/01

:: A candy company has approached NBA player Rasheed Wallace inquiring whether he would be interested in tattooing their corporate logo on his arm.

'We do not allow commercial advertising on our uniforms, our coaches or our playing floors,' a league spokesman said, 'so there's no reason to think we'll allow it on our players.' Actually, the logos of league-sanctioned manufacturers appear on the uniform, but the league gets paid for those.

But players can't be paid for a tattoo? I'm as disenchanted with hyper-materialism and ad creep as anyone I know, but this is one issue I don't think the NBA gets to decide...especially since it would appear to be based on the fact that there's no payoff for them in the deal. 03/22/01

The window cleaner so accident-prone, he took an ad out in a desperate attempt to retain his customers. 03/22/01

Remember the movie The Game? Now Majestic is the first generation of an immersive, real-time computer/phone/fax/AIM game. (thanks, Lizard!) 03/22/01

Happy Birthday, Writing! 03/22/01

This Just In: Money does not buy happiness. 03/22/01

'The only way corporations are going to overcome online privacy issues is to share more, not less, of their customer data. Guess who with? Their customers.'

For instance, if we could download all of our current customer metadata from Amazon into a standardized file format compatible not only with other retail vendors...we could also start to see...a veritable plethora of personalized recommendations, e-commerce opportunities, and real-world experiences being presented to customers. (Like the music of Brazilian chanteuse Bebel Gilberto? How about thirty percent off dinner for two at a new Brazilian restaurant in your city?)


Native Americans continue to fight sports and school mascots that demean their culture and religious figures and rites. American society has become less and less tolerant of other blatant race and gender stereotypes, but for some reason, Indian stereotypes fly right under the radar. I suppose it's because we're so inured to them - but we were inured to the image of Step N Fetchit only fifty years ago.

A figure of a black, a Jew or Latino comparable to the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo mascot would not be tolerated by society, just as the use of the name of a person of another race who was as revered as Crazy Horse is by American-Indians to advertise an alcoholic beverage or strip club would be met by outrage....


Sporting Chances: The Cost of College Athletics (thanks, bruce!) 03/22/01

:: He wanted to travel round the world. He had no money. He put up a web page. Now he's being hosted by strangers from around the world. (File under 'taking a page from jessamyn'.) 03/26/01

Dr. Howard Frumkin has reviewed the literature and he thinks that physicians are overlooking an obvious source of healing for many of their patients: nature.

Frumkin says these studies are not very common in the literature because government funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies tend to favor more traditional drug- or technology-based interventions. The findings from the studies, such as pet ownership or walks in the park, are not often 'prescribed.'


What's wrong with the Greens? They're too damn nice.

When a builder in Quintana Roo or Phuket, Thailand covets a piece of beachfront property, he does whatever necessary to get the necessary approvals, produces an environmental impact study that suggests that sewage is good for coral reefs, and then builds. When environmentalists find some natural treasure, they hold conferences, fund surveys and censuses, seek consensus with locals, and then, maybe, end up with a protected area, but no money for protection.


Smokers and bar and restaurant owners in NYC are protesting proposed further restrictions on smoking in public places.

'A lot of my customers are French or sophisticated and they want to smoke after a good meal and if I don't let them they won't come here.'

Either or. 03/26/01

Not French or Sophisticated News: The suspect refused to give a saliva sample, kept his cigarette butts after smoking, didn't drink out of a water bottle the police gave him, and declined to lick an envelope. Then he spit on the ground during a work break. 03/26/01

@The evolution of alphabets. Choose one of the links to see an animation of the evolution of an ancient alphabet to it's modern form. Super cool. (via blog.org) 03/26/01

Neat! News: Why do cats purr? It heals and makes stronger their bones and organs. 'Exposure to similar sound frequencies is known to improve bone density in humans.' I wonder if it follows that a kitty sleeping on your stomach will improve your digestion? (via tripping) 03/26/01

A new study finds that oats and vitamin E consumed after a fatty meal open the arteries. 03/26/01

'Kids whose parents donít let them watch R-rated movies are five times less likely to try cigarettes or alcohol than youngsters who are allowed to watch whatever they want, a new study found.'

Dalton found one result particularly startling: 'Eighth graders with complete restriction were less likely to smoke or drink than fifth graders who were allowed to watch R movies. Thatís striking. It suggests maybe they wonít try it if the parents restrict their media.'


:: Jesus: Big in Japan

Four years ago [Suzuki] and seven other former gangsters founded Mission Barabas.... Under the slogan, 'Our boss is God', they have adapted yakuza virtues of loyalty and discipline to their activities. 'Our allegiances have changed, but in many other ways we are still yakuza,' says Suzuki, dressed in a white robe and dog collar. 'There are many similarities. We call each other "brother", we are bound by blood - though this time it is Christ's not our own - and we fight for our boss, but not physically against other gangs as in the past, but spiritually against Satan.'

(thanks, lizard!) 03/28/01

This is it! This the neighborhood bindery I imagined back in the eighties, when I suddenly realized what computers could do to free and distribute information. I imagined that the buyer could go in and order a book, any book ever published, to their preferred specifications, hard-bound, paperback, large type, illustrations by her preferred artist.

Mr Epstein envisions a world in which 'machines that can print and bind single copies of texts will eventually be household items, like fax machines today.' He predicts that 'readers in Ulan Bator, Samoa, and Nome will have the same access to books as readers in Berkeley and Cambridge. No book need ever go out of print.'

(via new pages) 03/28/01

Las Vegas, inextricably linked to the showgirl, is watching an era end as showgirl productions give way to travelling stage productions. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket] 03/28/01

Did the evolution of alphabets whet your appetite for more? Here's a website devoted to Ancient Scripts of the World. Writing systems, historical linguistics, and more. 03/28/01

While producing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, James Schamus spent his spare time prducing another dream: 'to build a modest house with standard materials that would put on display unstandard thinking about energy efficiency and comfortable design - on a budget as strict as an independent film's.' Although $500,000 USD hardly sounds affordable to me, this story is still inspiring and very, very interesting. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket] 03/28/01

:: Tonight two angels appeared at my door. 03/30/01

President Bush is calling on Palestinians to stop the violence in the mideast. I want both sides to stop, but I will just take a minute to note that in six months of fighting, the death toll stands at 358 Palestinians and 60 Israeli Jews. You know that this is wrong, don't you? No matter which side of the conflict you support, you can see the unfairness of this? 03/30/01

Here's the world's shortest recycling list. Very useful. Linked in domestic. 03/30/01

You are probably aware that the US federal appeals court ruled that anti-abortion sites listing names and home addresses of doctors who perform abortions can remain online, ruling that 'If defendants threatened to commit violent acts, by working alone or with others, then their statements could properly support the verdict. But if their statements merely encouraged unrelated terrorists, then their words are protected by the First Amendment.'

I keep wondering whether the court would have made the same ruling if the site had been run by some Muslim faction, listing prominent Jews or successful businessmen on Wanted posters.

I'm not commenting on the ruling itself (which I believe to be misguided), but rather on the difficulty of intepreting the law fairly, and the ways in which our inherent stereotypes can affect the balance of the scales. 03/30/01

Read about Ca Rru, a 600-year-old form of sung poetry, once hugely popular in Vietnam, but now know to only a handful of masters. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]

Her husband dead, her children grown, her era past, Mrs. Mui, 85, is alone in the dark on her broad wooden bed with only her past for company. She sings of mandarins and courtesans, love and loneliness, great wars and teasing dalliances, tapping the jaunty rhythms of her songs with the tip of one finger.


Have you seen nofont? This month's experiment is Ergonomy of a Book Will Kill You! But poke around. From Everyday Typography to my favorite, Temper in Typography, there's plenty here to enjoy. 03/30/01

Bullshit 03/30/01

Amsterdam police have a novel approach to the ever growing problem of stolen cellphones: they send a text message every three minutes that reads 'This handset was nicked, buying or selling is a crime. The police.' 03/30/01