Friday, October 31, 2003

You might want to take a look - Oh My!

This story from the local, ahem, "News" channel has convinced me of a grave danger to the morals of society. A local "reporter" shoves the latest Abercrombie and Fitch catalog in people's faces, for no readily apparent reason, pointing out the semi-clothed photos. Creepy reporters.

Duane Pohlman: "Have you seen the catalog?"
Parent: "I have not seen the catalog before.
Parent: "No."
Pohlman: You might want to take a look.
"Oh well! This is a catalog... For clothes?"
"Oh my!"
I'm assuming that Duane isn't auditioning for the Daily Show here. I think the days of profit minded reporters showing smut to innocent parents needs to come to a close. For God's sake, won't someone think of the children?

Costumes I'd like to see include...

The Federal Deficit - now this is truly scary
Greg Easterbrook - admittedly making a costumer of someone making an ill-advised blog-posting could be tricky
Michael Medved's Outrage - it is isn't fluffy bunnies on celluloid, to him it's destroying the next generation
WalMart's HR department
Bob Novak's Hope Chest
An angry librarian
Eighty Seven billion dollars

You remember that 38 billion dollar California budget deficit? The one trumpeted by local and national news media alike? If they had a shred of real reporter in them, they would have checked it and found it was not so - or else they knew it wasn't so, but repeated it anyway. But of course they are naturally better at reporting the news because unlike the lowly bloggers, they have editors.

Nick Confessore reports that the Democrats and Republicans are hoping CBS does an accurate portrayal of Ronald Reagan in their upcoming show. I think US Rep John Dingell's letter could be set to the tune "End of the World as We Know it"..

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Bill Callahan has another way of looking at the attempts to raise the Cleveland convention center idea from the grave. They claim it will create hotel and restaurant jobs, but Bill points out these tend to be dead-end jobs. I also don't see how a few more hotel jobs will lead to any other businesses, and the low wages lead to more local spending. That is, aside from taxpayer spending on yet another downtown edifice.

There's a new Carnival of the Vanities hosted by Who Censored Blogger Rabbit. More links than a sausage factory!

As per Meryl Yourish the term "quiet" is relative in Israel. It's the kind of relative you don't invite to family dinner.

The fight over the Lakewood, Ohio West end will be on the ballot next Tuesday, but a third issue will not.
Lakewood - The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday rejected a plea from West End development critics to place a third referendum on Tuesday's ballot.
The justices ruled 6-0 that City Council and other officials acted within the authority of the city charter by placing the proposed referendum on the March 2, 2004, ballot.

As proposed, the referendum would repeal legislation that declared the West End neighborhood blighted and paved the way for public financing for the $151 million complex of condominiums, shops and offices.
Although the designation of the area of blighted is pretty dubious, I fully support the right of the city to eminent domain. Some oppose this saying that cities should only be allowed to use this tool when building power lines and public venues. As cities grow more developed, it may be one of the only tools cities have to renew themselves.

George over at Brewed Fresh Daily always has a boatload of North East Ohio blogs on the left hand side of his page. If you are interested in local bloggers this siet should be part of your patrols. He's currently looking at the idea of the creative class "saving" Cleveland.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Neat e-zine on the local underground arts scene in Cleveland - called Don't Blame Cleveland.

Reading Harry Potter causing headaches? I think it's all the cliches.

Lorain cops are apparently cracking down on kids with toy guns. They see a nine year old with a toy gun, he wasn't aiming it at anyone, then "An officer aimed his weapon at the boy's head". Then they cuffed him, arrested him, and generally treated him and his mom not so well. Michele is expressing the outrage this requires...

Blame the media, old school style. Sam Fullwood III parrots reports on the danger of the media. If Reverend Lovejoy's wife were here, I'm sure she'd be asking us to think of the children. Let's take a look at some of the arguments James Steyer has:
"Roaming among TVs, VCRs, the Internet, radios, CD players, movie screens and electronic games, kids can easily spend more time in this vast mediascape than in the real world and, not surprisingly, far more time than they spend in direct contact with their parents," he said.
I guess books are ok? Or only certain kinds of books? Is all media bad, or will he provide with a list of what is good and bad? Should someone approve everything we view in advance?

Q - What percentage of children have TV in their bedrooms?

A - 65 percent, which is 100 percent too many.
I am tempted to ask "too many for what purpose?"

Q - What percentage of families with children eat all their meals with the television on in the background?

A - 58 percent. Given the violence and sex on television, it's incredible those families can keep their food down.
So people are sickened by the shows they have on during dinner. Too bad TV's don't come with a special safety device to prevent this horror, say like an Off button.

Q - What percentage of young people over age 10 agree that media-driven images have an influence on their attitudes about sexual behavior?

A - A whopping 75 percent say their moral training is heavily influenced by television, movies and recorded music and other forms of pop culture that arrive via the media.
I wonder what percent of kids over ten think homework blows. I wonder what percent think polls like this should create policy. To quote Norm McDonald, "86% percent of people surveyed think restaurants should give away food for free".

There's a way to link to books without linking to describes:
This union catalog brings together over 120 million records describing over 42 million unique titles from library and museum holdings worldwide. A search will give you a list of materials, suggested subject headings, and other miscellanea. You can then check holdings at your local library
Link to the site described at

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Greg Easterbrook is apparently he's also into "Intelligent Design". In a nutshell it's the idea that the universe was um, *poof*....evolve, evolve, evolve, by God, who left his calling card in the form of the exquisite beauty of his design, like in the hundreds of species of ticks in the world. It's more than a century later and they still can't deal with what Chuck told us. One proponent of ID is Michael Behe, who wrote a book positing Intelligent design is basically dressing up an old argument in scientific cloth, but as the prof notes:
In short, Behe has old wine in a new skin: the argument from design wrapped in biochemistry. His argument is no more scientific than any other variant of the argument from design. In fact, most scientists, including scientists who are Christians, think Behe should cease patting himself on the back. As with all other such arguments, Behe's begs the question. He must assume design in order to prove a designer.

Margaret Wente in Iraq gives a pretty clear eyed view of what's happening.
Some journalists call these attacks the Iraqi resistance. That is grotesque. A resistance movement has a political objective. These killers have none. Their only goal is anarchy and chaos. And yet their tactics are politically brilliant. Although they have captured not a single military base, they've captured something much more important: newspaper headlines and prime-time television. Whatever stories the journalists have planned about the good news in Iraq (and, believe it or not, there is some) will have to wait.

The Iranian Parliament criticized the person most likely behind the murder of a Canadian journalist in Iran.

The parliament criticized Mr. Mortazavi for accusing Ms. Kazemi of spying for foreign intelligence agencies, lacking official permission to work and announcing the cause of her death as stroke. A presidential-appointed committee later concluded she died of head injuries sustained while in custody.
Will this mean he'll get convicted of anything? You must be mistaking Iran for a liberal democracy with an effective justice system. Count on the mullahs covering for their thugs in this case.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Ripped off from Kelley:
A-ACTOR (favorite) - John Malkovich

B-BOYHOOD (or girlhood, I assume) IDOLS (in the non-biblical sense): Spiderman, Ray Bradbury, The Police, Miles Davis


D-DAD'S NAME: Same as mine


F-FAVE ACTRESS: Jodie Foster


H-HOMETOWN: Truro, Nova Scotia

I-INSTRUMENTS YOU PLAY: Trombone, piano (not so well)

J-JOB TITLE: BB Admin, SQL monkey, tech guy

K-KIDS: I have not grown so angry with the world so as to form my own people.

L-LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: House in an inner ring suburb. No McMansion, that's for sure.

M-MOM'S NAME: Different than mine.

N-# OF PEOPLE YOU'VE SLEPT WITH: I'll let my biographer print this when I die, ala Kate Hepburn.


P-PHOBIA: Heights

Q-QUOTE YOU LIKE: "Do not multiply entities unnecessarily" - William of Ockham. This has nothing to do with kids, I swear.


S-SIBLINGS: 1, 3, or 5 depending on how you look at it

T-TIME YOU WAKE UP: 6 AM. Yay capitalism.

U-UNIQUE HABIT: Reading relatively dry reference books for no apparent reason


W-WORST HABIT: Blogging.

X-X-RAYS YOU'VE HAD: Discounting teeth, one on my ankle that I would have been better off breaking

Y-YUMMY FOOD YOU MAKE: Garlic chicken, Also perhaps "only food I make"


Check out Kelley's cul-de sac for a Gashlycrumb Tinies inspired "A to Z" of blogger links.

The PeeDee recycles a story published in Crain's Cleveland. It's about Labor complaining that the zombie Convention center plan here in Cleveland was not backed by the mayor when it became clear the idea had no popular support. Maybe the people don't care how many special interests or other parties come banging on their doors for extra taxes to fund projects with dubious chances of doing anything very positive for the local economy. But don't take my word for it, the backers themselves say:
In the wake of the Gateway development, which promised thousands of jobs it failed to deliver, union officials are aware that overblown employment estimates will backfire.
But they go on to say, "this one is different". If we keep feeding this pig, as with baseball park, the football stadium, and the other tax funded monstrosities downtown, they'll be back for more chow later. As in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, when Bullwinkle says "I'm going to pull a rabbit out of my hat", the retort from Rocky is "that trick never works!". Let's ignore Bullwinkle's lame reply of "This time for sure!".

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Daniel Pipes has some thoughts on the pervasive teaching of anti-Semitism in Mulim countries. The interview with the three year old girl, who has been taught some hideous things about Jewish people already, indicates the danger of ignoring propaganda.

Margaret Wente reports from Iraq that things are not that bad. She says that most people are more afraid of crime than terror attacks. The people appreciate Americans being there:
Despite the crime, the terrorists, and all the other postwar problems, people have told me that Iraqi resentment of the Americans has been greatly exaggerated. I decide to put it to a straw poll. By now, we're surrounded by two or three dozen high-school girls bursting with opinions. “Do you understand how to vote?” I ask. “Yes!” they chorus. So I ask all those in favour of the Americans to raise their hands, and then all those not in favour of the Americans to do the same. The Americans carry the day, by a margin that looks to be three or four to one. The schoolgirls have spoken.
Let's hope we can get rid of some of the thugs and terrorist so they can continue to speak their mind.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Permalinks were down but now they seem to be working again...

Friday, October 24, 2003

In Florida the meddling in the Schiavo case by the legislature and the Governor is simply unconscionable. Dahlia Lithwick boils it down:
Take away all the high-minded rhetoric in this case and it is no different than any child custody case. There are a number of people seeking to assert control—all of whom have a legitimate and passionate interest in the outcome. But that doesn't mean they all get a vote. This is why the courts have wisely limited guardianship to just one decision-maker—Schiavo's spouse. The decision to terminate a life is not a popular referendum. Nor is it subject to a recount. The Florida Legislature should understand that better than anyone.
I'm pretty sure when anyone gets married they are not saying "in case of emergency, see what the politicians and polls are saying".

Fox News, delicate creatures that they are, wanted to sue Fox - more specifically the Simpsons.
The Fox News Network did back down on its threat, although it has told The Simpsons creators that in the future, cartoon series will not be allowed to include a 'news crawl' along the bottom of the screen, which might 'confuse the viewers'.
I assume next they will be suing people like the Capitol Steps, whose audience might think they are seeing a Fox News Broadcast during one of their song parodies. Link via Hit and Run.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

They are trying, the newly freed media of Iraq. The still have to compete with propaganda mills with the pretense of being news organizations like Al-Jazeera though...

Mr. Mansour runs his shop as a rolling object lesson in democracy. Awhile back, the Americans banned Al-Jazeera from their press conferences for a couple of weeks. Was that democratic? His reporters debated, and decided yes. Al-Jazeera had hurled inflammatory accusations at a couple of people on the Governing Council, then more or less told the audience where they lived. 'They were convincing other people to assassinate them,' his team concluded. Since another Governing Council member had been assassinated recently, this was not a hypothetical problem.

It is best not to underestimate the power propaganda can have. The best tools for combating it are as many points of view as possible....

Kate has decreed that the letter of the day is B.

B is for Brill - hey - no cuts!
B is for Bunyips
B is for Boykin
B is for Booze, now available on Sunday
B is for Budget Surplus. Hrm, too late, I left there already.
B is for Black Hole, a cure for the previous item

Over at Suburban Blight Kelley is thinking of a Blog Tour of sorts

What are you doing in January? I'm thinking that soon, I want to travel around the country with my camera and my laptop, meeting bloggers. Meeting people one on one, putting faces and hearts with the people who come and go through here. Blogging about the world of reality behind these cyberspace avatars that we so carelessly insult in the comments section or laud to the heavens with our trackbacks.

I was going to take a camera to a recent Cleveland area bloggers meetup, but since only four people showed I thought it might be a bit sad. On the topic of comments, I've thought of adding them, but 1. I don't get nearly enough traffic that I think many people would want them; and 2. I'm not sure I want to police posts.

But back to Kelley - anyone else thinking of a blog tour?

Update: 5:24 PM
Trying out Haloscan's comment post a comment, if you so desire.

Rachel Lucas is taking a break from blogging after getting a broken thumb. Ouch.

Money is moving out of Cleveland, according to this map (link via Working With Words). Just as the WwW author notes, cities like Lakewood are going to need projects like the West End to reinvigorate themselves. Is the way they are going about that very palatable, by calling homes "blighted" when they are clearly not? No. Will Lakewood vote for this particular project? We'll find out on November 4th. Development in a completely developed city will always involve some painful choices, unlike, say, in SimCity where the population is theoretical. However unless we plan on having new businesses based on the waves of Lake Erie, we'll have to weight the costs and benefits to the future a bit coldly. Our competitors in neighbouring cities will be doing the same.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Come on people - we have to protect passwords better than this. Hackers are not getting them through clever programs, but by asking the user to give them the password:

And the bad news is that users are still very much the weak link when it comes to choosing and protecting their passwords, according to the results of a survey of IT security experts.
It found that 15 per cent of those asked in an online questionnaire to give their network passwords in order to be entered into a prize draw happily clicked through to the page ready to divulge the information.

Remember 1. Never give out your password 2. Always do backups 3. Don't let your cat on your keyboard.

Yet another Carnival of the Vanities! More blog postings and links from across the blogosphere - some great reading here. Hosted by Eric Berlin.

As noted in the motto above, I’m from Canada, living in the US. My wife happens to be a US Citizen, and when people hear this they say, “So you’re automatically a citizen too, right?”. Ahem. HA! First you have to be a permanent resident. After procuring some expensive legal assistance we filled out the pounds of paperwork and hundreds of dollars in fees back in July of 2002. Mind you, when waiting for them to grant you an interview, I couldn’t leave the country because:
1. If I left, this would be a sign that I have abandoned my intent to immigrate, even if I had just hopped in Niagara Falls for a two minute visit to Canada.
2. When I tried to come back, they would assume that I intended to immigrate since my wife lived here, and would not let me back in
So I had to apply for something called, I kid you not, “Advanced Parole”. Otherwise I’d have missed my brother’s wedding. Since the time to get this after you apply is a non-negotiable, unpredictable amount of time up to three months. If your grandma is sick, she better hold on for a few months I guess.

So finally in October in 2003 they grant me an interview (after I paid for the Advanced Parole of course) and they approved me – except the doctor who signed ff on my medical filled it out wrong, and has to redo it. Of course, this is a doctor from an INS list of approved “Civil Surgeons”, not a doctor I picked. Those who say the border between the US and Canada is undefended, let it be known a wall of red tape holds up us law-abiding types quite well.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Like many, I often wonder what makes Lynn of "Reflections in d minor" tick. Wonder no longer, these internet quiz results reveal her as a psychic, alien, city, wood spirit type. Hrm.

The Project that would not die - The Cleveland Convention Center - has a new backer in the form of Labor Unions.

'It is incredible that this project, which has and should have the support of labor, business and all political parties, has been scuttled because the elected leadership did not make a determined effort to make a public case for it,' the letter reads.

It's also incredible that some people don't think that elected officials making decisions on behalf of the public - when it's clear what the public wants - is a good idea. The whole screw-what-everyone-wants-and-ram-this-through meme isn't gathering any support from what I can tell. One thing I don't think Cleveland needs are more taxpayer funded, ill advised, megabuildings that could never get private support. Link via Brewed Fresh Daily.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Dick Feagler whines in today's PeeDee about, ahem, "God-haters". I take a few issues with parts of his, ahem, thoughts.
Let's talk sense. In the first place, there is no such thing as a 9-year-old atheist. I mean, really, is there?
Yes. Also, there are newborn atheists every day. Most of them require extensive training to become otherwise. Next question?
But God belongs to no particular church or state.
So the problem is that he doesn't believe in God, and your response is that God is stateless. You seem to be leaving out a key point here, namely, whether God exists or not. Hrm
God doesn't care whether He's in the Pledge or not. Perhaps He was pleased when, in 1954, His name was added to the Pledge. But, looking back on the decades since, it didn't do Him a hell of a lot of good, did it?
So now you've gone from not needing to prove God exists to knowing specific things about his motivations and emotions. I'm curious what your source is...
But that's not good enough for the God-haters. The God-haters think that, even if a kid doesn't mention God's name, the kid is subjected to second- hand God fumes from the utterances of her classmates. Second-hand God, like second-hand smoke, offends anybody in the vicinity.
I suppose you could have called us puppy-haters. I'm not sure how anyone is supposed to hate anything that doesn't exist. I don't hate the talent behind the movie Gigli, for example. Well at least you haven't delved into non-issue glommed from some anonymous emailer that have nothing to do with the subject you started out talking about...right?
And, God knows, we are a nation easily offended. There are perils to the right and left of us. Perils that didn't used to be there at all.
Not to stomp on your new perils meme, but did you want us to always be facing the same perils? Are you thinking fighting polio, black plague, the Soviet Union, Police Academy Sequels, or what?
I'm indebted to an anonymous e- mailer who sent me a list of things we never used to worry about. Part of it goes like this:
Is he your source for God being pleased with the change in the pledge? I'm just asking.
"People over 40 should be dead! According to today's regulators, we never should have survived.

"Our baby cribs were covered with bright-colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. When we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
OK, so no on e has died from these things? Or there is too much regulation for these things? Every regulation is a cost-benefit question, obviously. and perhaps we are over-regulated....I'm trying to think of what this has to do with your God-in-the-pledge column. Are you saying if we lick your column, we may die?

"We drank water from the garden hose and not from a plastic bottle. Horrors!

"We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth. And there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were just accidents. Remember accidents?"
Yes, accidents. Where nothing is preordained or controlled by some outside entity, it just happens to occur. Yep, where no one at all is looking after us, or deciding our fate....this may not help your God argument so much.
"Little League had tryouts and not everybody made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

He continued, "We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!"
Here I'm wondering what part of the God-Pledge lawsuit dealt with issuing cellphones. Here I'm afraid you've lost me again. Must have been my brightly coloured crib when I was a child.
"Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that! "

"Please pass this on to others who had the luck to grow up as kids. Before lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors."
Well I have to agree with you here, Mr. Feagler. Let's keep the regulators out of the business of telling us what to do. Say, by forcing us to read a list of rules to follow everyday. Imagine that!
The anonymous e-mailer is right. God and our parents kept a stern (but detached) eye on us.
I'm picturing a detached eye and it's frankly giving me the creeps. I'm also wondering how your got from cribs to a detached but stern eye. Perhaps the non sequiturs are too old-school for me to comprehend? Did you keep this one in a file marked "in case of idea shortage, toss in this"? It's probably time to blame the "current" generation about now.
Now, in this generation of the easily offended and the fancied slight, our Supreme Court is going to rule on God. Is He legal or illegal?

Well, whatever the ruling, He'll be around.
Now I'm slightly confused. The Court is ruling on whether he exists, or whether my tax dollars will pay to say he does exists in a specific form dictated by a certain religious group, even if that contradicts other religious groups, or non-religious groups. OH wait, I see - it's a holy war. We all know how well those turn out.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

NBC is stealing the BBC show the Office, and, ahem, 'Adapting' it for American viewers. This following the stunning success of their 'Coupling' adaptation. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but aren't the majority of BBC shows in English? Why do we need them redone in 'American'? Are they afraid people will run screaming and befuddled from hearing people on shows talk about lifts and the word "bloody"?

Ok, so I don’t have much to say about the news or local politics right now, so I’ll tell you what I did today, hopefully without delving into kitty-blog territory.

We went up to Cedar Point where R_ P& R_ R rode many roller coasters. Their verdict was that the raptor is scary as hell, Magnum was excellent, and the Mantis was painful – for some odd reason, concentrating pain in their calves. K_, M_ and myself wandered around the park and noticed the average age of the crowd was ten twenty years under us. We consoled ourselves by winning a frog lamp. We also found the food stands were specialized on one food item each. One stand sold only fries, one sold only corn dogs (assuming you consider them food), so you got to queue and queue again. We watched the Top Thrill Dragster ride, which seems to hit around 120+ MPH as it sends people up a 90 degree steel rail. I also wondered if people on the inverted coasters (where your feet hang free) could pose a danger if a shoe came lose and nailed someone on the ground below. I was left with a wish I had tried some of the coasters. It may have been like that thought that makes you buy cotton candy, not remembering the sickly sweet, sticky mess it turns out to be in the end.

The Cleveland PeeDee is unhappy with the US Senate's decision to make part of the 87 billion package to Iraq a loan rather than a grant. They point out, correctly, that

What could be wrong, its 51 supporters asked, with couching just $10 billion of that massive aid package as a loan that would be forgiven if the administration persuades the rest of the world to forgive the $200 billion or so it is owed by the former government of Iraq?

The short answer is, plenty.

I agree it's a bad idea to actually make a loan part of the money going to Iraq. However, one thing not mentioned in the PeeDee editorial is that undoing Dubya's tax cut would basically pay for the whole amount.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Lynn has a pick for a good classical CD with a theme. The theme is Classics from the Crypt, a good idea for Halloween music.

For those who like watching the spectacle of fall here in North East Ohio, we're getting near the peak of leaf colours soon.

First Energy - the Ohio company associated somewhat with the August 2003 blackout - was the subject of a report destroyed by the office that supposedly protects Ohio energy consumers. "Ohio Consumers' Counsel Rob Tongren conceded yesterday that his office got rid of the document in late July ". It may have saved consumers billions (that's billions, with a b).
The shredded report, which cost taxpayers $579,000, included the consultant's recommendations on how much FirstEnergy Corp. should be allowed to collect from its customers to recoup investments made before deregulation of the electricity market in 2000.
Several sources familiar with the report said it recommended that FirstEnergy be allowed to collect $2 billion to $4 billion for these investments, known as 'stranded costs"
And why was a taxpayer funded report hidden then destroyed? Good question.

Well cry me a river.

Lewis, 70, an insurance executive from suburban Beachwood, has given millions to charities in other cities, including New York.

He stopped giving to charities in Cleveland last year over dissatisfaction with the leadership of the private Case Western Reserve University.
Lewis became upset over cost overruns at a campus building for which he gave nearly $37 million. The cost jumped from $25 million to $61.7 million for the Peter B. Lewis Building, a metallic, swirling home of the Weatherhead School of Management designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Reminds me of this kid I used to play street baseball with...if things didn't go his way he'd pout and take his bats home. I guess he taught us a lesson.

OK, I give up, I wish I was in Hawaii.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Kids try out the games of our youth, Here's their spin on Tetris

Tim: Which button do I press to make the blocks explode?
EGM: Sorry, they don't explode.
Becky: This is boring. Maybe if it had characters and stuff and different levels, it would be OK. If things blew up or something or—
Sheldon: If there were bombs.

Their take on Donkey King is hilarious. Link via the lovely and the talented Michele.

Charles Paul Freund takes apart a recent list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time put out by the Guardian in the UK.

Ah, but in this case the arbitrariness of taste making is exactly the point. Britain's Guardian site features a list of—supposedly—the 100 greatest novels ever, one that tries to transcend the matter of literary taste itself. It's probably impossible to pull off a trick like that, but the result is nevertheless noteworthy. The effort is an example of middlebrow culture at the end of its tether. In fact, snapping its tether: This is a reading list for nobrows.

Personally I think the list lacks much depth or insight into why the choices were made. Plus I think there can really be no such list with a strong basis in truth. Novels, like many art forms, are resistant to quantification.

Have problems? Want to ImpH0ve your 1ife? Just Ask the Spammer. (Link via GeekPress).

The Cleveland visitor's bureau is making some odd claims, as reported in Cleveland Scene's First punch:

The CVB is prone to ludicrous assertions, such as the notion that tourism employs 67,000 people here. If this were true, tourism would be a larger employer than University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, the City of Cleveland, the Catholic Diocese, KeyCorp, First Energy, and Tops -- combined.

Cleveland is a great city - but I don't think our tourist industry is quite this massive.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

A new Carnival of the Vanities is up: Priorities & Frivolities is proud to present the 56th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities! This is a massive collection of choice posts hand picked by nearly more bloggers than you can imagine.

An Ontario farmer doesn't want a digital photo of him taken for a driver's license. The reason? Satan.

George Bothwell told a packed press conference in Toronto on Wednesday that the Book of Revelations warns that any such use of an individual's image automatically aligns him with Satan.

Does blogging about him and digitally storing his name make me an agent of you-know-who? One can only hope

Death to piped in music, aka elevator music. This often omnipresent noise is the auditory equivalent of blood sucking ticks. The less of it, the better! (link via Reflections in d minor).

It's blogger meetup day! If you're near University Circle today drop by as per this website.. It's at Arabica at Univ Circle, 11300 Juniper Rd, Cleveland, OH, on Wednesday, October 15 @ 7:00PM. Coffee is like mother's milk to me, to misquote Auntie Mame.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sam Fulwood jumps on the bandwagon on cell phones with cameras:

The outside world - and that goes double for cell phones and digital cameras - should be forbidden. People who insist on bringing those high-tech toys into the gym should be stripped and forced to jog on the treadmill.

He's on about it because an area city councilman in Seven Hills (just south of Cleveland) wants to ban Camera phones in places like locker rooms. Because it's proving to be a problem? No. Because there's been a case of one being used for nefarious purposes? No. Because anyone complained? No. Because local pols think it's their job to sit around and muse about what laws they can pass for crimes no one has tried yet.This reminds me of those laws they put on the books when cars were new, and they wrote regulations stating someone had to precede the car on foot firing off flares every 500 feet. I suppose they could do the same for camera phones - this could give a pickup to the fireworks industry when it's not July 4th.

Want to explore a haunted house at your desktop? No Problem.

Monday, October 13, 2003

A plethora of links from Lynn. Always worthwhile stopping by her site!

Fascinating interview in Salon today with Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi on the causes of bankruptcy. It's not a consumer culture, as they point out that

"The data show, however, that today's families are actually spending less on consumption that their parents spent a generation ago: 22 percent less on clothing, 21 percent less on food, including eating out, 44 percent less on appliances, less on furniture, less on floor coverings. ".

The cause has to do with the rising fixed costs of mortgages and insurance...

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Amy Sullivan is shocked, shocked I tell you - at the GOP's favouritism of energy companies over the environment, and the deceptive words they use to describe such policies.

Charles at Little Green Footballs is angry at the US government’s recent map of Saudi Arabia. Why? Though it labels every country in the region, even Eritrea, and the UAE, Israel is conspicuously not labeled. Some Anti-Semitic schools in the region have been known to leave the name of Israel's name off maps of the Middle East, but their positions and hatred are already well known. The US needs to label Israel on maps – this is a basic piece of knowledge with profound philosophical impact. Concessions to our, um, “allies” in the Middle East need not erasing their enemies from maps.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Dahlia Lithwick has a read on a Greg Easterbrook column where he claims that no isn't sufficient anymore. Dahlia points out that the meaning of the word no is no. I wouldn't have thought this such a subtle point but as she says:

The law is perfectly clear: When a woman says "no," even—take note, Kobe's lawyers—after 5 minutes of necking, she really means no. If Kobe, or Easterbrook, or any other man chooses to hear "try more wine," then by all means, bring out the Chianti. But if a man chooses to hear it as "forge ahead, and force me, I may just be kidding," then he'd best be prepared for the consequences. The notion that men are hard-wired to dominate and overcome ambivalent women stopped being cute about 10,000 years ago.

Worthwhile reading, Dahlia, as usual.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Random notes
Dawn Olsen is not impressed with the way Kobe Bryant's defense lawyer is conducting business in the trial. Since my legal expertise consists of watching The Practice and reading Eugene Volokh And Dahlia Lithwick, I'll defer to others on the question.

Speaking of snaky behaviour, a box label claims to hold the skin of the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. '"Specifically, the label says, "Peau du serpent qui a seduit la premiere femme"--which, if you're Francais isn't as superb as mine, means "Skin of the serpent who seduced the first woman."'. Labels don't lie, right?

William Hopper delves into more mythology on Halloween. 'Most modern Christians will tell you that the holiness of this night has been co-opted over the years by evil influences. Historically, it's actually the other way around. It was the Catholic Church that tried to change what they saw as an "evil" festival into a good and holy Christian celebration. It didn't work.'. Natch. What's I'm looking for are theme ideas for decorating our porch this candy begging Halloween night.

Speaking of tempting tings and thoughts, Susan Kitchens finds an MRI study that shows when we try not to think about something, like say, my grade 7 French teacher's dark, dreamy eyes, it makes you think about it more. Damn brain!

More legal wranglings over the fate of the 60-minutes-profiled West End Development. In a nutshell, the Mayor and City Council want to use eminent domain to take over some land (and businesses and houses) to allow a developer to build condos and new shops, to increase the tax base. There is little-to-no undeveloped land in Lakewood, so they feel this is the only way to develop. The fight is continuing however:

Lakewood- A lawyer for residents seeking a third ballot issue on the proposed West End development has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to force City Council to put the initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Last night, City Council voted to place the issue on the March 2, 2004, ballot, saying petitioners missed the deadline set in the city charter for the November election.

Not only that, the want special ballot items for all future developments of this type. Ridiculous. I've said before the whole blighted issues was pretty stupid on the city government's part, but I think they do need to be able to use the power of eminent domain. If you don't like the plans the mayor and city council have come up with you can always toss them out in the next election. The Mayor recently ran second in a non-partisan primary to a city councilman challenging her for top dog. The councilman in question, Tom George, has capitalized on some of the anti-Cain sentiment. As far as ascribing that to anti-West End development sentiment I'm not so sure - George voted for the project.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Having this done would take a pair...

"Smart people who play stupid are extremely irritating. ". Exactly. Ted of Crooked Timber dissects a Mark Steyn piece on the Plame affair. It was full of the usual tripe, like "she wasn't really undercover", "they had no motive to out her". Needless to say, it's worth reading as ammo against some of the very weak arguments that the affair is not a big deal.

Sam Fullwood III of the Cleveland PeeDee has a bone to pick with California voters

Arnold is California's governor-elect, but not because he has any demonstrated ability to govern better than the lackluster Democrat Gov. Gray Davis.

So you have to be an elected official to have the experience to be an elected see the kind of Mobius paradox this represents.

No, the man who plays an action hero is going to be the chief executive of the most populous state simply because he's famous.
Voters are so sick and tired of career politicians who fail to live up to their word, they're willing to send in the clowns and make a live-action cartoon of politics.

First of all, I think we should let everyone know that every single human being on the face of the earth has heard enough of the "circus" meme in relation to the California elections. Drop it. Or is it that the usual gang of pundits fears the public will no longer take their word for who s best to govern, or worse yet, wants to shake up the existing establishment? Without saying whether Arnold will be a good leader or not will have to wait the same way it's have to wait for anyone elected to office - let's see what he does.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Thank you for leaving us your leftover food!

Whoever took these items should be ashamed of themselves. These lunches were not for employees but for the visiting clients.

Whenever we have clients and food is left over I ALWAYS send an email out to let everyone know that there is food in the kitchens.

Will work for scrapings?

Another PeeDee columnist talking about the so-called "Quiet Crisis". Currently this is shorthand for "let us run a taxpayer funded (with new taxes, naturally) big bet project".

After all, the big project - the "big bet" as the late Richard Shatten dubbed these efforts during our first "A Quiet Crisis" roundtable discussion more than two years ago - has been a Cleveland hallmark for at least a generation.

And the results have been undeniably impressive: Tower City and the Galleria, Playhouse Square, Gateway, North Coast Harbor, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Browns Stadium. Collectively, they fueled Cleveland's Comeback City image in the 1990s.

Oh, I think it's deniable. Just look on their own "Quiet Crisis" webpage:

I'm not seeing a giant explosion of growth in the 90s. So why are we still throwing out the meme that we need a publicly funded "focal point" to save Cleveland? The credulity given this idea in the local media keeps raising the convention center out of the grave. I even saw one participant musing about the old Mayor's carousel on the waterfront idea again. Is there a civic equivalent of a vampire slayer available?

Update: 1:24 PM
George had this quote up, seems appropriate for the thoughts of the Quiet Crisis gang...
'The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.'
- Frank Herbert

The PeeDee taking shots at Mayor Jane Campbell of Cleveland? Check. They do a story about a proposal to make more street parking free or available downtown. OK. But then they sideswipe the mayor, whining how she didn't come up with the idea first:
There are a lot of places to look for leadership on this issue, but the mayor's office isn't one of them. Mayor Jane Campbell never took a stand where she clearly should have.

There are many reasons people won't come downtown, and parking is one of the biggest ones. City Hall needs to act before more businesses flee downtown. The last thing Cleveland needs is the Warehouse District looking like Euclid Avenue.

Thank goodness the city's legislative branch realizes this, even if the mayor hasn't.
Guess they haven't forgiven her for pulling her support for the Convention Center idea. I guess we can look forward more bitchy asides for the rest of her term in office.

Josh notes that the way the White House is going to be doling out information to the Justice Department, investigating the Plame Affair, seems suspect:
But it seems from the description in the article that the White House is getting to decide which documents the investigators get and which they don’t without having to go to the trouble, the contest, or the political fall-out of actually exerting privilege.
Needless to say, it worth reading Josh's whole take...

She sure doesn't sound like 'just an analyst', does she?

Plame underwent training at 'The Farm,' as the facility near Williamsburg, Va., is known to its graduates. As part of her courses, the new spy was taken hostage and taught how to reduce messages to microdots. She became expert at firing an AK-47. She learned to blow up cars and drive under fire -- all to see if she could handle the rigors of being an undercover case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, or DO.

The more you hear about it, the more damaging blowing her cover seems to be....

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

A Washington Post writer likes Cleveland (Link via George N). Ever since I moved here, I have to try and convince people who were born here to get over their inferiority complex. Here's some of what Gary Lee of the WaPo had to say:

The better-known arts locales didn’t disappoint, either. At the Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the country’s finest and most accessible venues for visual arts, I saw an exhibition of Japanese photos and some poignant new acquisitions, including “Gamin,” a well-known sculpture of a young African American by Harlem Renaissance master Augusta Savage. The theater scene offered so many choices I ended up seeing two shows in 12 hours: a spectacular traveling performance of “The Lion King” at the gargantuan Playhouse Square Center and a wonderful ballet of “Cinderella” at the more intimate Cleveland Play House. With tickets running half what they would have in New York and some good performances in both, I was glad to catch them here. Cleveland’s world-famous orchestra was on vacation, but I was able to sneak a tour of Severance Hall, its commanding home.

As some say, indeed.

Internet worm causes productivity?

'In all my years, I've never seen anything like this,' said Price Stern Sloan system administrator Andrew Walton, whose effort to restore web service to his company's network was repeatedly hampered by employees busily working at their computers. 'The local-access network is functioning, so people can transfer work projects to one another, but there's no e-mail, no eBay, no It's pretty much every office worker's worst nightmare.'

Monday, October 06, 2003

Josh with a few choice words on the current investigation of the Plame Affair by the Justice department...

We now have the farcical spectacle of the Justice Department initiating a massive investigation --- with the net thrown almost comically wide --- in order to find out what the president could find out in a few hours, tops.
That's the whole story right there.
The president has said he wants to get to the bottom of this. Yet he has done nothing to get to the bottom of it. The only credible explanation is the obvious one: that he doesn't want to get to the bottom of it.
Whether the Justice Department can find the culprits on its own is an interesting legal chess game. But no more.

Needless to say, if you are interested in this story, Josh is all over it...

Blogger StevenJ is on the scene to take in some damage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from Hurricane Juan. I had some pictures but the ones Steve has are even worse.As he says, "And most heartbreaking; Halifax's pride and joy, Point Pleasant Park was almost completely flattened."

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.
like this Cleveland area attorney did.:

Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, stung by critics who say the county commissioners are obstructing progress on many issues, had plenty to say to community leaders last week at a meeting of the city's Job Creation and Retention Task Force.
Maybe too much. Dimora went on about the need for regionalism and county involvement and when Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell tried to speak - it was her meeting and she wanted her turn - he kept on talking.
Lawyer Margaret Wong took matters into her own hand, using it to cover Dimora's mouth. It was a humorous moment that diffused the tension, Wong said. 'And it worked. He did shut up.'


Friday, October 03, 2003

You need to be reading Josh Marshall on the Plame Affair:

One of the failings of ideologues is their inability to see that everyone else isn't necessarily an ideologue like them. So when the analysts at Langley didn't find evidence to support the White House's brainstorms, the folks at the White House assumed that the analysts were just Saddam-hugging ideologues rather than trained professionals --- albeit with their own very real biases and assumptions --- who were in most cases acting on their own inability to find any evidence to substantiate what the White House was so desperate to prove.

Needles to say, worthwhile reading.

A nice golden parachute for the Cleveland Visitors Center chief being forced out due to disputed bills

The bureau has agreed to pay for 15 weeks of additional salary- about $55,000; plus a $50,000 bonus; up to $15,000 for job placement assistance; and health insurance for Nolan and his family until the end of 2004 or until he finds another job.

I don't think I ever got a layoff bonus - I never had any disputed charges hanging over me. Ah, to be living off taxpayer funds...

So they want top pump Carbon Dioxide gas into the earth, they say. Energy companies are behind it, but I'm a little leery of doing things that could turn out to have big implications later when the parties doing the research have vested interest. In this case it's the power companies who'd rather not cut down so much on emissions as put them beneath the misty mountains to sit in caves, more or less. One amusing quote:
It's unclear what impact pumping the gas underground would have on the environment. It's also not known whether such an effort would slow global warming and what impact it would have on utility bills.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Just found some pictures of the ravages (pictures moved to Yahoo photo album, under Hurricane Juan) of Hurricane Juan on Halifax, Nova Scotia (photgrapher unknown, pictures found via my mom) . My wife and I just visited there in mid September and she (a first timer) loved the beautiful Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road, now with many huge, ancient trees torn up like weeds, and damage to the waterfront.

Continuing to have webhosting problems. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to upload a picture gallery of the aftermath of Hurricane Juan on Halifax, Nova Scotia (my old stomping grounds). The destruction of so many trees, especially in the Public Gardens, is tough to look at...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Continued power problems in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the aftermath from Hurricane Juan. I love the picture in the story - what vital supply are people lining up for in this time of disaster? Tim Horton's coffee. I'm still waiting for pictures from my relatives in Truro of the damage around there. Two large tree were uprooted in the backyard, also smashing a fence. I'm glad we had my brothers wedding pictures taken while they were still there.