Friday, July 26, 2002

Today's top story on AOL's splash page:
Mary Kate is left-handed, but Ashley is right-handed.

Wish I could give you a link, but it's an "AOL Exclusive". You're welcome.
...and only half as decorative
You know, when I was a young 'un, sayin' that someone was "funny as a crutch" meant they weren't very funny. Did that change? 'Cause Terry Frazier at Blunt Force Trauma says it like its a ringing endorsement. I kinda hope it is, 'cause I like his stuff too.

Ah, well. You too, Terry, I guess. *sinks back into his bananas*
The scenery in Munich
Apparently, the Alps ain't what they used to be.

Decline in Nudists Threatens Tourist Attraction
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - The naked sunbathers who once filled Munich's central park on warm summer days are turning their backs on Germany's famous open-air celebration to nudity.
..."We've lost many of the nudists who made the English Garden a special place," said park director Thomas Koester. "Especially good-looking young women and men who made it such an attraction aren't here as much anymore. It's becoming a real problem."

You hear that, all you German nudists? You're threatening the entire Munich tourism industry! Think of all those visitors from around the world who'll go home disappointed that they didn't get to see your naked butt! Where's your patriotism?

..."Before you would see whole families wandering around naked or young nude people sitting in the beer gardens here," Koester said. "Society has become more prudish. You don't see as many attractive young Munich girls anymore. I hope they'll come back."

Hm. I find this juxtaposition of "whole families" and "young Munich girls" disturbing. How young are you talkin', here, Koester?

...A number of hotels on the English Garden even advertise their rooms with clear views of the nude sections.

Well, who wouldn't want to be an unpaid tourist attraction? Who could possibly object to that?

(Do they have signs that say, "Please Do Not Feed The Bares"?)
Other useful applications of the McKinney defense
The man who ran the Tri-State Crematorium, the man "charged with 398 felony counts, including theft by deception and abuse of a body, for allegedly accepting money and never performing the cremations" -- says it's all about race.

"We live in the South and I'm a black man,'' Brent Marsh said Thursday, the day Cobb County Superior Court Judge James G. Bodiford set bond for him at $159,200. "A lot of people don't like me because I am me.''

I wonder if any of those bodies are black.
The personals
Monday Mission 2.29:
1. Do you remember your first encounter with computers? Tell me about that.
I was the Meridies Kingdom Chronicler (that is to say, the editor of the southeast regional newsletter for the Society for Creative Anachronism), and I was using a friend's Apple II to maintain the Officers' Address List as it appeared in that publication. How primitive that seems now.

2. How late can you stay up and still be functional the next day? Do you do that very often?
That depends on the reason I'm staying up. I've done all-nighters, but not frequently. I work until 1:00 am, rarely get to bed before 2:00 am. Often I'm not even home yet.

3. When was the last really good hug you got from another adult? Who was it and what was the situation?
Having been recently released from the hospital after a week's stay following a mild heart attack, I'm getting more than my quota of hugs at present -- although each and every one of them is well appreciated.

4. One thing about children is that they all like to draw. We all shared the same ability and skill level at one time. Do you still like to draw? (Not do you think you draw well, or do others, but do you like to?) If not, how come? Did you get discouraged at some point?
I like to. I'm not particularly good at it. I indulge myself with PhotoShop.

5. I way overslept today. I had to head to work with no shower (don't get too close), and I am not in the best of moods. Have you ever overslept on a day you had something important going on? What's the story there?
Sleep is a precious commodity around here. However, in the name of changing personal habits for health reasons, I'm trying to stabilize that. There is no "story" to oversleeping. If I don't wake up when the alarm rings, there's no telling when I will.

6. Ever go shopping for something you know you can't afford? You look at it and even think about how it will look when you get it home, somehow you justify the cost and believe it can happen? And just before you get to the counter come to your senses? What was the last thing you almost bought, but thought better of it? And why the heck do we do that to ourselves?
Because every medium we subject ourselves to tells us in all capitals that we won't be happy unless we BUY SOMETHING! At the moment, the thing it takes me all my will power not to buy is a portable combination CD/MP3 player. I'm not all that interested in a pure MP3 player, but I am interested in having a unit that will play a CD full of MP3s. I don't have time (or enough CDs) to convert every MP3 I have into audio CD format so that I can listen to it in the car.

7. (It begins again...) It's all such a blur now. I'd asked you to help me wake up but the alarm didn't go off. It was 10 till and just I knew I'd be late. Somehow you got me here on time. How did you do that?
I didn't. You must be thinking of some other guy.

BONUS: Can't you see, you belong to me?
No, but I do, for the record, feel the pain of the scars that won't heal.

Thursday Threesome:
Onesome. all - all the world's a stage... So what types of issues put you on your soapbox?
Look, if you don't want to read the blog, you don't have to, but don't ask me for the Reader's Digest version. Media bias is obviously a biggie, as is self-important tripe, and let's not forget all those people spending my money for my own good (government) and all those other people begging me for what money the government doesn't take at gunpoint...

Twosome. things - what sort of things are you most likely to purchase "spur of the moment" when shopping?
Books, comic books and DVDs.

Threesome. girl - sugar and spice and everything nice? Come now, what are YOU really made of?
Do you get many men answering these things? A rag, a bone, and a hank of (ever-receding) hair.

The Friday Five:
1. How long have you had a weblog?
Since October 2001. It was my birthday present to me.

2. What was your first post about?
It was about the irony of recording an audio adaptation of Robert A Heinlein's "Solution Unsatisfactory" in the days immediately following September 11.

33. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one?
Minor changes in the template layout and color scheme, nothing dramatic.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else?
I'm still on Blogger / BlogSpot. It's the best there is for the price -- but I am weighing my options. Unfortunately, most of 'em involve purchasing my own domain, which I'm not prepared to do right now. I'm also not looking forward to retooling my template to work with a different system.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place?
If it's good writing, I'll read it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Conversations you don't have to finish
[SOUND: Shuffle of slippered feet to the door, door unlocked and opened]
[VISUAL: Outside, two earnest females of college age, one blonde and one brunette, the blonde carrying a clipboard. Inside, gray middle-aged me.]
ME: Yes?
BLONDE: Hello. We're conducting a survey on behalf of an environmental group. The environment is in greater danger than it has ever been, but since President Bush...

Friday, July 19, 2002

The personals
Monday Mission 2.28:
1. Have you ever sold anything through an online auction? What did you sell and did you make very much?

2. Have you ever bought anything through an online auction? How was your experience?
Occasionally. Always pleasant. As a matter of fact, I'm reading a book right now that I bought through eBay. (DC Comics' "The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told", if you must know.)

3. Do you like the sun? Getting a suntan? Have you ever had a bad sunburn?
Do I like the sun? I'm sure glad it's there, although I don't spend much time out in it unprotected.
Getting a suntan is highly overrated.
I'm a fair-skinned blond. I get sunburn from my refrigerator light.

4. Are you a vegetarian? Why? If not, have you ever considered it?
No. And I feel no need to rise to your second question. In my opinion, it is those who advocate it who have the 'splainin' to do.

5. Suppose you are getting into your car after you've just made your purchase from a store you visit twice a week. You suddenly realize you had a .35� item in your hand and you forgot to pay for it. What would you do next? (what *would* you do, not what *should* you do)
Assuming I were in no critical hurry, I would march right back in there and pay for it.

6. Sometimes it seems that there is just not enough time to do everything that must be done. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish this weekend that didn't get done?
I have a print deadline with which I would have liked to have gotten further along... But they let me out of the hospital on Friday, so everything else is gravy. (So to speak, considering gravy is on my restricted list now.)

7. What is your favorite game to play with a group and/or an individual? (board game, computer game, athletic, etc.)
Games are things I play with the computer when I am *very* bored. I'm trying to remember the last game I actually played with someone else... Probably checkers, with my son.

BONUS: One headline why believe it?
Why is a mouse when it spins? This question needs a little context or further information to be answerable.

Thursday Threesome:
Onesome. A Clear - In the last few months, what have you muddled over that suddenly became a clear, focused picture or plan of action?
Well, that heart attack on Monday the 8th brought a lot of things into focus. I've decided I'd rather not have another one.

Twosome. And Present - what is the coolest present you've ever gotten and/or given?
Gotten: I don't think I can tell you. It involves MP3s of questionable status. Hi, Jerry. Hi, Mike.
Given: I gave my parents a copy of a radio drama I appeared in with Harlan Ellison, adapted from a story by Robert Heinlein. I don't think I'll ever top that.

Threesome. Danger - have you ever been in a dangerous situation?
I am in danger every time I drive. I wish more people felt the same way: We might, collectively, be in less danger if people drove as if they thought they might be hurt.

The Friday Five:
1. Where were you born?
Right here in Atlanta GA. I'm a native. Specifically, I was born in what was then Georgia Baptist Hospital, less than a mile from my current home.

2. If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don't live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not?
I am happy here. I could do with being further in the country, but I've no desire to leave the Atlanta area. If I were forced to leave but allowed to pick a destination? Athens, GA and Charlotte, NC are lovely cities. Tampa / St Pete has the advantage of the nearby Gulf Coast.

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest?
In my boyhood home, McDonough GA, it is still possible to find neighborhoods where there is no need to lock the doors.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled?
Not especially.

5. Where is the most interesting place you've been?
New Orleans.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

The personals
Monday Mission 2.27:
Boy, are these interesting questions (especially in light of where I was when you posted them).

1. Have you had to repair anything lately? Did you do it yourself or have someone else do it?
A cardial artery. I had someone else do it. :)

2. Do you work out or exercise? Or is there anything you do each day for your health?
No, but that's about to change (see above).

3. Are you a modest person? That is, would you be embarrassed for someone (an acquaintance, a friend, a stranger) to see you nude?
Generally, yes, I am a modest person. However, in the last week in Crawford Long hospital's cardiac unit, a fairly steady stream of people have seen me nude. Oddly, after the first one, it no longer mattered. So I'd have to say it depends on the context.

4. What are some odors that you just can not stand to smell?
Tobacco smoke.

5. Are there any social situations that make you uncomfortable?
There are few that don't.

6. Has a friend or an employer ever asked you to do something you felt was unethical or? What was it and what happened?
Not that I can recall.


(new saga) I've had it, this place is just wearing me out. You too? We need a break! Let's head out and go someplace new. You make the plans, I'll get things ready. So what do you have it mind, and did you want me to pick up anything special to pack for the trip?
Let's just head south. I feel a craving for a beach chair in the shade, and the Gulf Coast is only eight hours away at most.

(continued) Well, we are not yet at our destination, though the way you described it, it sounds simply amazing. What is the first thing we should do once we get there?
Picnic lunch. You can't nap in the afternoon shade if you haven't eaten first.

BONUS: In this whole world, what is fair?
Overall, everything is fair. You get what you pay for, and you reap what you sow. Only in details and trivia does apparent unfairness appear. You're just not looking at a big enough picture.

Thursday Threesome:
Onesome. Long--Long tall drink. What's your favorite beverage, alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic?
I don't drink alcohol. Nothing religious or moral about the decision: Life is short, be there for it. I've never met anyone whose personality was improved by it.
Non-alcoholic, there is no contest. Iced tea. Luzianne decaf iced tea.

Twosome. Hot--Do you like it hot? Spicy hot food, that is!

Threesome. Summer--Summer makes you think of what food? What's your favorite summer recipe?
Summer is hot dog weather.

No Friday Five this week.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Home again
Daniel here, with a short note to let you know that I'm back home and feeling pretty well. I am far from back to normal, if only because this is the kind of event that forces you to redefine "normal."

I am expected to recover fully, with the assistance of the finest pharmeceuticals insurance can buy. There is now a stent in place, and thanks to modern angioplastic techniques my recovery time will be measured in weeks, not months.

I'm very grateful for the well-wishes. I hope to post later with more details than anyone would ever want to know.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Oreta here again. Daniel says thanks for all the concern. He is still doing well. His color is good and he is moving around on his own two feet, albeit a bit shakily. He doesn�t bend over well, but that�s because of the location of the incision to do the cardiac catheterization. They will be releasing him on Friday. Apparently he is supposed to relax for a couple of weeks and then get to work reducing his weight and exercising.

Daniel should be back to blogging soon. (Actually if the laptop hadn�t died a few months ago, he�d already be back.)

Thanks, everyone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Hi, folks. This is not Daniel. This is Oreta, his wife. First things first, Daniel is okay.

Second things...Well, let's define okay....

Daniel had a heart attack on the way to work Monday afternoon. He parked the car and called his boss who called the ambulance, which took him to the closest hospital, Kennestone. Kennestone stablilized him and sent him to Crawford W. Long. They did a heart catheterization and found the clot. They did the angioplasty and put in a stent then and there. Daniel did ask for a room with an internet connection but the nurses just laughed. :-)

Late last night they moved him to a "regular" room". He may be coming home today. Maybe. There are some tests they want to run.

There is some possibility that he may have type II diabetes. His blood sugar is very high and they were certain he had diabetes but his blood sugar has been going down so it may be a stress reaction. They are running a blood test to try and determine that.

Daniel should be back to blogging soon.


Saturday, July 06, 2002

"Women and minorities hardest hit"
I'm sure you've heard this:

God decided He was finally fed up with the human race and decided to end it for good. He called up a reporter at the New York Times to tell him the news: The world would end the day after tomorrow.
The reporter tried to talk God out of it, but God was firm and wouldn't be swayed. The reporter then asked if he had an exclusive. God said that He was going to call three other newspapers.
Headlines the next day:
The New York Times: "God says world to end tomorrow; story and analysis on page B11."
The Wall Street Journal: "God says world to end tomorrow; market to close early"
USA Today: "IT'S OVER!"
The Washington Post: "God says world to end tomorrow; women and minorities hardest hit."

I can just hear some of my friends thinking, "That's not funny."

Neither is this. Janis Ian and Courtney Love, unlikely to be mentioned together in any other context, have both published lengthy and cogent essays protesting the fact that record companies make far more money than their artists do -- and they even own the music in perpetuity.

Michael Jackson has recently been moved to comment on this same issue -- sort of.

Michael Jackson Slams Treatment of Black Artists
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The self-ordained King of Pop Michael Jackson lashed out at the music industry's treatment of black artists -- including himself -- in an appearance on Saturday with New York civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton.
"The record companies really do conspire against the artists," Jackson, 43, told an adoring crowd of around 350 people inside Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. "Especially the black artists."

Mr Jackson has picked an odd time to remember what color he used to be. I mean, I applaud him for speaking up on behalf of artists who can't afford to challenge their record labels, but...

The former boy wonder of the Jackson Five [...] called attention to his own dispute with label Sony Music.
"When you fight for me, you're fighting for all black people, dead and alive," Jackson said. that really what he's doing? Doesn't that sound a little arrogant?

At least people are beginning to figure out what a sweet racket the music industry is... for everyone but the musicians.

Friday, July 05, 2002

Can't wait for Harry Potter 5?
Go to Beijing, where "copyright" and "trademark" are just words. The fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and Leopard walk up to Dragon, is available there. The Chinese got tired of waiting, so they wrote one.

The opening paragraph:

Harry doesn�t know how long it will take to wash the sticky cream cake off his face. For a civilised young man it is disgusting to have dirt on any part of his body. He lies in the high-quality china bathtub, keeps wiping his face, and thinks about Dali�s face, which is as fat as the bottom of Aunt Penny.

Harry, stop thinking about your Aunt Penny's bottom. This isn't that kind of book. I hope.

I don't think even Harry Potter can defeat the Chinese intellectual property pirates. But he's gonna try.
I love PowerPoint
I spent three years working for Microsoft performing technical support for PowerPoint, versions 4.0, 95, and 97. I had a ball. However, it must be said, most people don't need PowerPoint. And many of the people who are using PowerPoint should not be.

Anyway, because I lived it for three years, I notice things like this:

Click to Add Title is a friendly competition in an unusual medium: PowerPoint presentations.

The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation is proof positive that whatever else you can accomplish with PowerPoint, being statesmanlike and inspirational is beyond its reach.

You may have heard of "Yours is a Very Bad Hotel", a complaint to the hotel manager as PowerPoint presentation. And the authors thought only a couple of people would see it... (The original version with names named is still around, too...)

UWTV produces television-ready PowerPoint presentations -- and has valuable advice for users trying to do that on their own.

Sean D'Souza knows what PowerPoint is all about.

(By the way, you'll have to have either PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer to see these in all their glory...)
The personals
Monday Mission:

1. In the United States of America, it was recently ruled that the phrase "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. Do you agree with this ruling? Should the phrase "under God" be removed? Why?
I agree with the ruling. See previous comments for the reasons.

2. When was the last time you took a road trip? Where did you go and what did you do?
A year ago. I went to the National Audio Theater Festivals Audio Theater Workshop in Fulton, Mo.

3. Do you have any vacations planned for this summer? Already gone? Where to and what?

4. What is the most drastic change to your appearance that you have ever made? Are you brave enough to post a photo?
I grew a beard twenty years ago. I've still got it.

5. Tell me about something to which you are committed?
My family.

6. Now tell me about something you just flat-out gave up on.
I'm too optimistic to just give up on anything. But occasionally they slip away.

7. (new saga) I've had it, this place is just wearing me out. You too? We need a break! Let's head out and go someplace new. You make the plans, I'll get things ready. So what do you have it mind, and did you want me to pick up anything special to pack for the trip?
Let's just head south. I feel a craving for a beach chair in the shade, and the Gulf Coast is only eight hours away at most.

BONUS: Where is my hairbrush?
In the car, under the back seat cushion.

Thursday Threesome:
Onesome. The Birds. So, when did you realize there really was a difference between boys and girls?
I can't remember ever not knowing.

Twosome. The Bees. So when did you hear about the "bodily function" things that were gonna happen to you? And how long was it before you learned that the opposite sex had changes, too?
Must have been high school. I had no social life, so there are no embarrassing stories to tell.

Threesome. The Flowers and the Trees. Did you know where babies came from? What stories did you hear (and believe) - and how old were you when you really learned the truth?
The truth was the first story I ever heard and believed. The stork and cabbage patch thing never caught my interest.

The Friday Five:
1. Where are you right now?
Right here. Where are you?

2. What have you lost recently?

3. What was the first CD you ever purchased? Does that embarrass you now?
Carly Simon, "Anticipation". Why should it?

4. What is your favorite kind of writing pen?
Dell. :)

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Pralines and cream.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

An anthology for the Fourth
Take a look at a flag so big you need a satellite to see it. (Thanks to Photodude.)

Peggy Noonan writes about the lights that didn't fail.

Dinesh D'Souza gives ten great reasons to celebrate.

James Lileks puts it in his own words.

Franck Lohsen McCrery, Architects, has a vision for Liberty Square, proposed to occupy the now-vacant site of the World Trade Center.

C. Dodd Harris has a collection of documents you should be familiar with.

Why the ICC won't fly here, by John Hawkins, Steven den Beste, and Emily Jones (indirectly: search the page for "Euro-weenies").

And as a counterpoint:
Eric Raymond on Islam. And when the Palestinians say "End of Occupation" what do they mean?
Buffy, season two
Yes, I finally got it. It's about the best buy in the DVD world, with 22 hours of television (the entire second season) for about $40.

This show seems to hang around the edges of popular awareness, never being described as an unqualified hit (it's always "good ratings considering it's on WB/UPN"), yet increasing numbers of people are finding out about it. I count myself in that number: The episode that caught my attention was the groundbreaking largely-wordless episode "Hush", so these first and second season box sets are completely new to me.

Somebody tell me why I was watching "Ally McBeal" while these were on...?

The Independent News describes a growing academic awareness. (To our UK friends: Don't judge season six by any single episode: Wait and take it as a whole. It won't disappoint.)

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

One nation, divisible by god
Do you suppose that Judge Goodwin knew what a furor he would inspire by his ruling? (It appears so. Here's an interview with Judge Goodwin, and here's Eugene Volokh's summary and comments.)

It does no one any good to render it in shorthand as "The Pledge of Allegiance is Unconstitutional." It is no such thing, and the judge did not say so. I can recite it whenever I choose, free of repercussions. So can you. So can anyone, freely and of his own will, pledge allegiance to this eminently worthy country, and he may swear by whatever god he cares to name, or none at all, in doing so. This right is exactly what the First Amendment was written to define.

Freedom of speech is also the freedom to remain silent. So the framers intended, I believe, and so the courts have subsequently ruled. We usually encounter this in a defendant's right to withhold self-incriminating testimony, a special case specifically guaranteed in the fifth amendment (made famous in so many Hollywood movies). If the words "under God" bother me, I have a constitutionally-protected right not to say it. It doesn't bother me, and I do say it, but that remains my decision.

The phrase "under God" was added to the pledge in 1954, to differentiate this "Christian" nation from our biggest enemy at the time, the "godless" Communists. It was a mistake then: It's a mistake now.

And now, as we still contemplate the aftermath of the events of 9-11-01, I think it's appropriate to examine this issue. The world is watching to see just how hypocritical we are. The United States of America is the first superpower of its kind, a nation that does not seek to build an empire, a nation that does not impose a faith on its satellites -- or even on its own citizens. At least, that's what we keep telling 'em -- under God.

E pluribus unum. Allegiance to this country should not require devotion to its majority faith.

In Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it isn't exactly illegal to be Christian, but it's illegal if anyone can tell. What is the opposite of that?

This: The United States has no official state-sponsored religion. It would be unconstitutional to name one.

The guy who brought this lawsuit in the first place appears to be a loon -- but a stopped clock is right twice a day. Public schools are government agencies. School attendance is required by law. Bad enough that government schools are requiring students to pledge allegiance to itself (how often do they discuss what the words actually mean?), worse that they require students to swear by God in doing so.

That's the part that's unconstitutional: The fact that the Government is making them say it. Such coercion, either directly by force of law or indirectly via social pressure, is illegal.

(I've merely poked at the extremities: Eugene Volokh drives a stake through its heart.)

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

"Hello, my name is Mohamed"
Perhaps some of you remember a television game show called "To Tell the Truth." It's a classic from the golden age of television, recently remade and last seen, as I recall, on Oxygen.

If you don't remember it, there were three contestants, one of whom gives his right name and occupation. The other two give the same name and occupation. The celebrity panel, through a short round of questioning, has to figure out who's telling the truth: The contestants' prize money depends on how many panelists they fool.

This story reminds me of that:

Spelling slows war on terror
WASHINGTON -- As U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies try to prevent the next terrorist attack, they have a basic problem to solve: how to spell the enemy's name.
Computerized databases at the FBI, CIA, Immigration and Naturalization Service and other agencies bulge with lists of suspected terrorists. Some of the names identify actual terrorists. Others are aliases, misspellings, alternative spellings or misidentifications of putative bad guys. And without extensive fieldwork, there is no way to tell them apart.
...In the weeks after Sept. 11, Justice and Treasury officials compiled a list of two dozen alleged al-Qaeda operatives and financiers.
...A State Department official with knowledge of the episode said the list amounted to a bunch of nicknames, Arabic versions of mobster handles such as ''Vinny the Chin.''
There were also several named ''Mohammed al-Haji,'' not a family name but a term of honor indicating a person has made the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
When the State Department passed on the list, the Saudis greeted the request with laughter. They said the ''names'' were of no help in finding terrorist bank accounts, the official said.



Yeah, I guess from the Saudi point of view this must be pretty funny.

I've been trying to turn this around in my head. Let's say I worked for the US State Department, and a foreign official handed me a list of names. "We got these names from incoming mail at the suspects' addresses. We need to track down these aliases. These people are responsible for, or connected to, the deaths of thousands."

The list says "Occupant", "Resident", "Home Owner" and "Undeliverable As Addressed".

Would I laugh? Would I laugh in the face of someone trying to apprehend murderers and prevent further violence, over a mistake that a native English speaker would not make?

Would you?
"They're going to try to trick us."
Yeah, it was a pretty clever trick the Transportation Security Agency played on screeners at 32 airports: They threw weapons and simulated bombs into their luggage as if they were so many pairs of socks. They didn't try to hide them at all.

And 25-30% of them still got through.

''There seems to be a belief that just because TSA is looking at things, things are going to be significantly different,'' [aviation security analyst Jack] Plaxe says. ''The reality is that you may be paying screeners more, but you're still using the same people. I don't know why people would expect to see things differently than before.''

Fire 'em all. Fire everybody, up to and including Norman Mineta if you have to, and hire people who know what a bomb looks like.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Summer vacation?
What's that?

I tell you, I am so jealous of my children. I work in a retail-related industry (I don't deal with shoppers directly, but I support those who do), so I can't take holidays off, like some people I could name. (At least Lileks is still there.) In fact, I'll be at work while you're enjoying Fourth of July fireworks.

It occurs to me that this might be a golden opportunity to load up my blog with content, the better to attract roving eyeballs whose regular haunts are growing stale -- but then, you're probably on vacation too, with better things to do than hop on the computer to find out what some idiot in Atlanta thinks of the Pledge of Allegiance ruling. (I agree with it, much to my surprise.)