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.