Posts from May 2002

And the winner is St-t-t-t-t-t-uttering

And the winner is St-t-t-t-t-t-uttering John!
: Just listened to The Flunkie v. The Junkie in the Brawl at the Trump Taj Mahal (while I was working very hard, of course) on Howard Stern. Brilliant frigging radio. Brilliant.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
: Sarges comes out. Your turn, A.

Spam calling
: You think we have problems with spam. I get the Japan Internet Report newsletter by Tim Clark and he says spam on fabled Japanese mobile phones is torture:

Of the 900 million messages that go through DoCoMo’s servers each day, 880 million (98%) are spam, according to the company. The problem is that, regardless of the source of the message, subscriber phones ring (or vibrate) every time mail arrives. Nearly everyone who owns an Internet-enabled cellular telephone has been inconvenienced as a result….One colleague of mine was being woken up repeatedly during the night by the increasing number of unsolicited messages. After resorting to turning off his phone at night, he would find 20 or more spam messages on his handset in the morning.

Meanwhile, a test conducted by Net Village and Digital Street using an i-mode phone with an as-issued e-mail address ( found that the handset received 857 spam messages in August of last year, 2,898 in December last year, 2,945 in January this year, and 2,578 in February of this year.

Like the landline Internet everywhere else, the mobile Internet in Japan is now awash in junk mail. With e-mail transmissions accounting for 80% of Internet-enabled mobile phone activity, and 98% of that activity spam, we can calculate that more than three-quarters of all data-phone activity is basically garbage.

Harvard jihad
: Matthew Yglesias’ scoop on the Harvard jihad speech makes it into the Washington Post. Matthew beat them to it by nine days.

I’ll be your server…
: I don’t know what they’re up to with this (read: how they’ll make money) but Amazon has a beta of a very nice service displaying hundreds of restaurant menus for five cities: NY, SF, DC, Seattle, Chicago. Via Metafilter.

Star Wars meets graphic geeks:

Star Wars meets graphic geeks
: I don’t speak Spanish but it doesn’t matter; I can see that this is a killer great graphic on Star Wars, tracking the characters and locales through the entire saga. From the graphic geniuses at El Pais.

Friggin’ Bungling Idiots
: I’m watching John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller on FoxNews now. Almost sad. Ashcroft doth protest too much; he’s heaping too much support on Mueller; won’t last. Mueller looks like a nervous account executive giving his final PowerPoint presentation in dire hopes of holding onto an account he messed up. He’s reading his priorities to us.

They both should take lessons from Donald Rumsfeld. Granted, Rummy didn’t get bin Laden or Mullah Omar but he bleeds confidence. These guys ooze insecurity. Not what we need right now.

: Andrew Sullivan is big enough to thank Eric Olsen for pointing out that his permalinks were broken. He says they are fixed. I tried to use them. This link does not take me to the item in which all this happens. It takes me to the previous day. Oh, well.

The exploding Apple
: Just another commute in New York: I arrive on the PATH and they’ve shut down 34th Street and environs — the Empire State Building, Macy’s, Herald Square — because of explosions.

Yes, we all thought what you think we thought. But it’s happening enough that nobody panicked or ran. They just grumbled.

Turns out that manhole covers were blowing off because of other problems underground. It happens. It’s New York.

Impact: I was reading Rossi.

: I was reading Rossi. If you read me regularly, you know that makes me happy. I like her writing. I like her soul.

She started with an observation that echoed mine from the last week, the Week of 100 Terror Warnings. She and I had the same reaction to helicopters. Since 9.11, they seem like bees drawn to bad news, hovering and buzzing over the city, trained like their explosive-sniffing cousins to find 11 o’clock video, their honey. They scare me now because I wonder what they’re buzzing about, I wonder what’s wrong.

Rossi writes:

Now they say the work at ground zero will end and there will be a ceremony and all those men will try to go on with their lives and so will we, and I’m sitting here wondering why I don’t feel happy that the work is ending.

Maybe some part of me feels that as long as there are people there working and searching for bodies and answers, there is some kind of hope.

Hope for what, I don’t know.

It’s been a rough week for me, to tell you the truth.

First there were the terror alerts, rekindling all my paranoias. I climbed the stairs to the roof the morning after the alerts hit the airwaves to have my coffee in the sun. It was a beautiful crisp morning.

It was hard not to feel an eerie deja vu sipping my coffee as countless helicopters whirled by. Most of them whirled about downtown.

The Brooklyn Bridge was just off to the downtown east of me.

The World Trade Center had been just off to the downtown west.

I don’t think the helicopters would have bothered me much if it weren’t such a pretty morning.

Pretty, crisp, sunny mornings tend to make me nervous now.

What I mostly felt, as I watched far too many helicopters whirl by, was lonely.

And this leads to something far more important that Rossi has to say, another observation, another emotion that I’ve shared: The impact of 9.11 is loneliness of one mutation or another.

For Rossi, it’s a very sad loneliness now. But I’ll let her tell you about that.

Pop this!
: Wow, AOL decides that customers may actually deserve respect:

America Online subscribers may finally get some relief from the barrage of aggressive pop-up advertisements that greet them when signing on and off the online service. Reducing the number of pop-up ads is a part of the online service company

A campaign for a new

A campaign for a new Memorial Day
: I want to see Congress and the President expand the role of Memorial Day to commemorate not only Americans in uniform who gave their lives to protect us but also civilian victims of terrorism whose lives were taken in attacks on this country.

It is fitting and proper to remember these heroes as well, for their sacrifice is every bit as great. Without chosing to, they fought our war.

As President Bush said in his Memorial Day proclamation: “The tradition of Memorial Day reinforces our Nation’s resolve to never forget those who gave their last full measure for America.”

These, too, gave their all.

And so at 3 p.m on Monday, at the National Moment of Remembrance, lets us recall and give tribute to the victims of all wars and terrorist attacks.

: And go to Photodude to remember the soldiers who have lost their lives in this war.

Never enough, always too much
: I wonder when and whether I will ever hear too much detail about what happened on 9.11 and whether I will ever hear enough.

Today’s New York Times has an amazing story that ticks down the final 102 minutes in the lives of the victims in the World Trade Center, pieced together from witnesses who escaped, from phone calls, from BlackBerry messages, and from email sent to family and colleagues. It is harrowing and horrifying. But it is also inspiring, for even in the darkest moments of fear and pain, these people tried to help each other. They acted with heroism.

: Two days ago, I heard on NPR a report about a man with the New York coroner’s office who was about a half-block from where I was when the south tower came down. He was struck by large pieces of debris before he could find haven under a fire truck; his head and hand were split open; he was battered all over his body; he lost blood and consciousness. He survived, but he does not know how. And now he is trying desperately to find out how. The radio report recounts how he found the New Jersey State Police trooper who got him from the edge of the river onto a boat and over to Jersey City and a hospital. He got to thank that trooper.

But he still does not know how he made it, injured badly, from the site of his fall to the river.

In his voice, you hear not only gratitude but the desperation that comes from having been so close to the edge.

: And tonight is the HBO’s show about the day. I will watch. I have to watch. Not watching is, for me, unthinkable. It would be like trying to forget. And we can’t forget.

: And so I watched. I had to wait until the children went to bed; we don’t want them to see this. I’ll save it for them when they are older — not old enough to understand; that day will never come.

Watching again brings back all the sadness and fear and anger and pain and admiration and sickness.

I feel ill now, not just about 9.11 but about our distance from it. The farther we get from that day, the more we succeed at returning to normal with everything good and bad that brings. It is the bad side of normal that is harder to bear now — the pettiness, the politics, the sniping, the selfishness — and when I watch this show, when I am reminded of the importance of what happened that day, of the life and death of that day, it only widens the gap between then and now, between the petty and the profound, between heroes and idiots. I don’t have much tolerance for normal right now.

That is why I must watch.

: Mayor Rudolph Guliani on the HBO show, speaking to a memorial service: “The tears have to make you stronger. Every time you cry, you have to remember that we’re right and they are wrong.”

: “People here always thought the enemy was Microsoft, not Mohamed Atta,” said the former vice chair of in Thomas Friedman’s colum on technology after 9.11.

Fame: This handout shot

: This handout shot for the Treo has appeared so far in Business Week and the Wall Street Journal. Friends are impressed that I am on this very important calendar.

What’s it all about? Oh, I’m not telling. But it’s big. Very big.

Michael Moore = Jerry Lewis

Michael Moore = Jerry Lewis (+ many pounds)
: Shift, the Canadian mag/site, wonders why Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine, is the first chosen to show at Cannes since 1956.

I say it’s the same reason the French take a shining to Jerry Lewis:

They like things that irritate Americans.

What they didn’t know…
: My wise wife asks: If the families of the 9.11 victims knew what we knew today (so far) about the FBI’s bungling of the unconnected dots of clues leading to the terrorist attack, would they have signed on for government grants of money that came with the stipulation that they cannot sue?

Target: Ramallah
: Ken Layne finds two cogent paragraphs in an LA Times story that says there may be evidence tying shoe-bomber Richard Reid with Hamas and Hezbollah. If that’s the case, Ken says quite rightly, then there should be no difference between our response to bin Laden in Afghanistan and our response to these murderers.

Priests and pain
: Peter Manseau writes at Killing the Buddah about his father the former priest watching TV news today:

My father watches and shakes his head. He knew all these guys, knows some of them still. Together they’d grown from altar boys into men of God. John Geoghan, who once remarked he preferred the children of poor families because they were more affectionate, more in need, was a year ahead of my father at the archdiocese seminary. And Paul Shanley — accused of raping a Catholic school boy in, among other places, a confessional — ministered to junkies and street kids in Boston all through the 60s. So did Dad. And so did his good friend George Spagnolia, who thirty years ago offered his church for the wedding of the priest and the nun who would be my father and mother, and who, just last month, left his parish following allegations of abuse. Few in his parish believed the charges against him, but when he admitted he was gay and had not always been celibate, Catholic assumptions pushed him out the door.

Dad’s even dealt with Cardinal Bernard Law, the man at the center of this mess. While shuffling known child-abusers from church to church to save face and hold the priest-shortage at bay, Cardinal Law sought to get priests like my father off the books. A priest who married and refused to be laicized — refused in a sense to declare that he was unfit to be a priest — was thought to be an embarrassment, a public flouter of the authority of the church. The current cardinal and his predecessors have repeatedly called on my father finally to resign his ordination….

Did He walk on water, or surf it?
: A surfer’s Bible in — you get two guesses; no, not SoCal — Australia:

Make God first and he will blow your mind on a daily basis — without a hangover!

Over to you, Bleah. [via Holy Weblog]

Moving day
: Brian Linse gets his own domain. Update those bookmarks.

[For those of you who don’t know how to update bookmarks, on Internet Explorer, right-click on the line in your favorites, click on properties, and change the address. Repeat for Instapundit.

Poison ivy
: I’ve been busy and so I missed my first opportunity to link to Matthew Yglesias‘ reporting on the Jihad commencement speech at Harvard. The story keeps developing; Yglesias met with mucketymucks at Harvard about it today. Good reading.

Assuming the worst
: An apartment building in Encino explodes into flames. We’re all wondering the same thing: Is this the apartment attack the FBI has been warning about? The FBI is going to the site to investigate.

: I have a miserable, rotten chest cold. No, that’s not news. But I have to say that even that makes me ask stupid, paranoid questions. There have been mysterious piles of a white powdery substance showing up on streets around my neighborhood. Looks like sand. But then I got to hacking and I ask: Anthrax?

Well, more absurd things have happened or threaten to. You can see them all on Drudge:

: Now the FBI warns about scuba-diving terrorists.

They’re watching too much James Bond.

Biting the hand
: Andrew Sullivan (he without the working permalinks) is still whining about not writing for the NY Times after he attacks them (or he’s assuming it’s because he attacks them; could just be because they don’t like is writing; it happens; that’s what editors do). But we haven’t heard a peep from him about the affair of the NY Post columnist who was canned after attacking his paper. I think they should start the Association of Canned Complaining Journalists.

Grrrrrr: Extremely, extraordinarily, excessively, extra

: Extremely, extraordinarily, excessively, extra grumpy today. I have my reasons. Sparing you that and my growling posts. Be grateful. Damnit.

Educating Europe: As Bush lands

Educating Europe
: As Bush lands in Germany, David Warren educates Europe on American determination:

I am struck both by the number of web readers I have in New York, and by what they write to me. On Sept. 11th, at least 20 million people could actually see the smoke and debris uttering from the former WTC with their own eyes. It is now written into each of their souls. I have yet to hear from even one of them who is not willing, in reply to further such attacks from the same family of terrorist fanatics, to take out every single Islamic regime, whether “radical” or “moderate”. I don’t think we in Canada, let alone those in Europe, fully appreciate the “commitment” there. That e.g. the moment the U.S. enters Iraq, Hillary Clinton will cry: “Get ‘im!”

: Just heard on NBC news that the target of the Pennsylvania jet was the White House.

Remember that bin Laden goes after targets he misses until he gets them.

The administration should warn itself.

Batteries included
: I’m nominated as sexiest male blogger. Vote early. Vote often. (on the right-hand column.)

Gray beards are very sexy. Ignore the picture of me on the site. Character acting, you know.

: So I stopped by Bryant Park to see David Blaine standing atop a 90-foot tower with no ropes, no nets, for 36 hours before he jumps off in the dying embers of prime time tonight.

It’s New York.

Everybody’s trying very hard to be blase. (Or maybe watching a guy standing there is just boring). Some folks are standing around looking up. The chairs in the park are all turned to the tower where Blaine is statueing. Many are trying to read papers. There are plenty of factotums behind the barricades who are trying to act all rock-show important with their IDs and walkie-talkies and dress blacks. Just another day in New York.

But then it hit me: What if he does, God forbid, fall?

The last thing New York needs is another person falling to his death. The poll he’s standing on even looks like a pillar of the World Trade Center.

I’ve seen enough of that for a lifetime, for eternity. I could not bear seeing it again. The chills came back.

And so, you see, that is what life in New York is really like these days. We find our distractions where we may (and you have to work hard to distract a New Yorker). But even so, even in an absurd event such as this, everything points back to Then.

Does this remind you of Then? Where were you Then? Are you OK since Then? You can’t escape Then.

: In the greatest tradition of tabloids, the New York Post tells New Yorkers to keep a stiff upper lip and stiff middle finger aimed at the terrorist threats against our city.

New York stood, stout-hearted, when the Twin Towers fell.

Ah, but now comes word from Washington – from the FBI itself – meant to send New Yorkers scuttering headlong into hiding.

To fear fear itself.

Threats against New York City have been made by terrorists, says the FBI.

No specifics, apart from the usual suspects – the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and so on.

But run anyway – run and hide!

Hadn’t FBI Director Robert Mueller already warned all of America that additional terrorist violence is “inevitable.”

“We will not be able to stop it!” exclaimed the director.

Mr. Director! Please!

There is a war on.

That’s defeatist talk – and defeatism is not the American way.

It most certainly is not the New York way.

New Yorkers don’t hide!…

Go away, Mr. Mueller.

Come back when you have something useful to say – or don’t come back at all.

New Yorkers aren’t afraid.

Not of fear.

Not of anything.

Well, we talk a good game.

Lileks and Layne both write about New York, wondering what it’s like to live there these days.

It’s OK — until we get a reminder of what it’s really like, until we see a shrine at a firehouse, as Lileks did; until we read yet more profiles of victims in Times; until we see the pictures of Ground Zero on the TV most every night; until we get another warning and threat and, no matter how stupid or cynical or absurd the warnings are, we have to take it seriously; it happened here.

So the impact is still real. I wanted to take my kids into the city this weekend. Probably won’t now. I get sweaty palms on the PATH train. I walk faster past the Empire State Building.

But I’ll get past it. I’m going to wander by Bryant Park and see David Blaine standing on a ten-story pole with, according to Howard, lots of beautiful babes at the base.

Fight absurdity with absurdity. That’s the New York way.

American knowhow
: Atta cased the World Trade Center days before the attack so he could use his American-made global positioning system to bring them down.