Saturday, August 31, 2002

Sorry for my lack of posts, I've been sick with the influenza or some other hideous bug.

Posting will return to normal shortly.

Friday, August 30, 2002

To a NFL player, the most dreaded sentence in the English language is this: The Coach wants to see you, and bring your playbook. The business world equivalent of this would be the boss sending for an employee fifteen minutes before quitting time on a Friday; it means, "You're going to be cut from the team."

Well, it means that most of the time, anyway....

NPR's Present at the Creation series has been interesting me lately, with its examination of fairly minor things that are nevertheless part of the American landscape. The current program is particularly apropos given the impending implosion of Major League Baseball, Cracker Jack.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

(Forgive the "gallows humor".)

So I wonder if they'll talk about the one that got away? Or maybe they'll tell the story of how they caught one "this big"?

My family and I will be on vacation for the next week: therefore, there will be neither much posting nor much commenting, if any, from me. Peace!
I'm here to tell you it wasn't Edward de Vere

If literature matters to you at all, then Shakespeare probably matters to you. If Shakespeare matters to you, then the question of whether he wrote the canon attributed to him has probably come to your attention. As an English major, I've had to endure questions about how I plan to use my major in real life; as a sometime-student of Renaissance lit, I've had to endure questions about who really wrote Hamlet. I come down firmly on the side of William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author of the plays. Here's a terrific website that explains why: ShakespeareAuthorship.com. (To be fair, here's a website that offers the opposite opinion: ShakespeareAuthorship.org.)
An amazing poem . . .

Thule, the period of cosmography,
Doth vaunt of Hecla, whose sulphureous fire
Doth melt the frozen clime and thaw the sky;
Trinacrian Etna's flames ascend not higher:
These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with fear doth freeze, with love doth fry.

The Andalusian merchant, that returns
Laden with cochineal and china dishes,
Reports in Spain how strangely Fogo burns
Amidst an ocean full of flying fishes:
These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with fear doth freeze, with love doth fry.

--Thomas Weelkes (1576?-1623)

(text from Representative Poetry On-line)

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Regardless of politics, how can anyone seriously maintain that George W. Bush should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? He was a part-owner of a team, for less than ten years, that has enjoyed sporadic success (and not even much of that -- the Rangers have never won a pennant, much less a World Series) in its history. For this he deserves consideration for the Hall? Well, in that case, then make a spot for Kevin Costner, who has starred in not one but two of the best movies about baseball ever made.
Courtesy MSN: an article, complete with slideshow, about why the "Statehood" Quarters are so ugly. Now, a few of them really are ugly, but not all of them are; Connecticut's and Virginia's are the best so far, and I actually like Vermont's, New Hampshire's, Louisiana's, and New York's. (Yeah, I live in New York, so that's my home state and all, but I like the fact that instead of a simple outline of the state they went for a relief map with the Erie Canal clearly marked. I wonder if the WTC Towers would have been on the coin had 11 September 2001 preceded the coin's design, however....) Pennsylvania's is the most boring of the quarters thus far, in my view. What do you all think?

(Oh, by the way, my first encounter with a Statehood quarter came when I was counting money after closing a the restaurant I used to manage. I came across the Delaware quarter and, not knowing anything about the whole project, set it aside with a note for the opening manager that read, "Is this thing for real?")
Bringing Men into the Conversation About Spousal Abuse

The Family Violence Prevention Fund and the Ad Council are calling on fathers, uncles, coaches, teachers, brothers and mentors to talk to boys about violence against women, Ms. Magazine reports. The tagline of these ads? "The best time to get involved is now. Teach boys that violence against women is wrong. Teach Early. Call 1-800-End-Abuse."

I find this a worthy cause, but I wonder how effective these ads are going to be? At least it may get the issue more out in the open. The only times you hear about spousal abuse these days is when a pro athlete or actor get arrested. It's never discussed as to what has happened, why it happened, or what some possible solutions may be. What's the best way to go about resolving these issues?

Need some motivation to get concerned? EndAbuse.org lists, among its stats, that 1 in 5 women reported that they had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. One in five. Have five women that you're close to? I have had a handfull of friends that have been raped or assaulted, and it really is an emotionally damaging ordeal. Now, what can we do?
Sorry, ya'll. Been awful busy, so here is my belated bio:

Born of Mexican and Vietnamese parents in the second-to-last Year of the Rat in the twentieth century (1972), I lived in San Antonio until eighteen. So desirous was I of leaving Texas that I moved to lovely Michiana (Northern Indiana) and enrolled at Notre Dame for four years of reading philosphy, dabbling in organic chemistry, diving into drinking, and drowning in college football. During those years, I became deeply interested in communities, given the close atmosphere of that particular university as well as my studies in ethics.

After graduation, looking to spend a year to "find myself", I came to Cleveland to live in L'Arche, a residential faith-centered community where people with and without intellectual disabilities live with one another. Six years later, I was still living in community, having learned much more from the folks with whom I lived than from the learned college professors.

Presently, I am an urban planner, working on projects promoting sustainability in Cleveland. I still maintain contact with L'Arche through my fiancee, and spend my brief free time watching baseball, reading, cycling, and cooking, sometimes all at once.

Monday, August 26, 2002


Famous faces

This was Michael Jackson

After reading this article, I'm wondering just to what degree the general decay of grammar can be traced to pop music.
I'm surprised this hasn't been suggest before: putting nuclear waste on the Moon. This seems to me a fairly bad idea, simply because -- as anyone familiar with the history of the space age can attest -- rockets don't always make it into space. I'd sure hate to have a rocket with a ton or so of this stuff as its payload explode while still in the atmosphere, or pretty much anywhere in Earth orbit unless said orbit is a spectacularly safe one that won't lead to meteor showers that glow in the dark a bit more than usual.

And the futurist in me, that sees lunar colonization as likely in the next century, doesn't want to see possible complications with said colonization by the presence of a large stockpile of nuclear waste on the Moon.

(Besides, if we can launch it to the Moon, could we not also launch it into an orbital path that would take it directly into the Sun?)

Yo! John 'lagado' Hardy added a picture to his profile. Check him out!
British Telecom loses its bid to own the World Wide Web, that's good and it's how things should be.

Now if only the same could be said for JPEG.
Slipped a Mickey
Copyright in the United States was built upon a constitutional requirement that its protection be for limited times, originally it was limited to fourteen years, then to twenty eight years, then forty two years, and in 1909 it went to fifty six years. Since 1962, the term has been expanded eleven times and extended to cover not only new works but also existing works. The most recent extension was the Sonny Bono copyright term extension act, otherwise known as the Mickey Mouse protection act.

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School delivers a keynote speech on how the corporations have locked up the ownership of culture forever, or at least "forever minus one day".

Alternatively, you could just get the news from Mickey himself.
Half a billion Americans?
America's census in 2000 contained a shock. The population turned out to be rising faster than anyone had expected when the 1990 census was taken. There are disputes about exactly why this was (more on that shortly). What is not in doubt is that a gap is beginning to open with Europe. America's fertility rate is rising. Europe's is falling. America's immigration outstrips Europe's and its immigrant population is reproducing faster than native-born Americans. America's population will soon be getting younger. Europe's is ageing.
Unless things change substantially, these trends will accelerate over coming decades, driving the two sides of the Atlantic farther apart. By 2040, and possibly earlier, America will overtake Europe in population and will come to look remarkably (and, in many ways, worryingly) different from the Old World. Read more...

Sunday, August 25, 2002


The Owl and the Pussy Cat

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

II
Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.



Edward Lear's Nonsense Poetry and Art Page