November 01, 2003

Alcohol Makes Me Ramble

Posted by shonk at 03:47 AM in Ramblings | TrackBack

Random observations after a few Mackesons:

- Will blogs have a big impact on the 2004 presidential election? Probably a little, but, since the majority of people aren't into the blog scene, I don't think it'll be particularly noticeable unless the election is extremely tight. Excellent observation from the article:

A managed community works about as well as a managed economy. So the challenge is to find a way to build community without the community feeling built.
The first sentence is right on, the second a reminder that the author has forgotten his own lesson.

- I walked by what I assume was the Philadelphia Critical Mass Halloween ride on my way home from the office today. They were blocking all three lanes of Walnut over the bridge, riding as slow as possible, most in costume. I have to admit it was pretty funny, especially when I overheard one driver growling that "they oughtta be locked up".

- On that same bridge, I noticed that the crushed and increasingly weather-exposed box of Club crackers I first noticed on Monday was finally gone tonight. That thing survived a major rainstorm and a couple of minor ones, plus the considerable foot-traffic that crosses the bridge in the course of a week. Maybe that says something about Philly's street-cleaners. Or maybe it says something about the hundreds of people that walked around and over that green box without a single one thinking to toss the thing (myself included). Okay, that was only funny to me, I guess.

- Math jokes can be funny. But only the ones on the Simpsons. I've heard more than my share of groaners, but was disappointed to hear from an older grad student the other day that "they only get worse the longer you're here."

- If you're disappointed that I have links to so much literature in Spanish in my "Literature Online" section, you'll be heartened to hear that Spanglish is going to take over. The author of Spanglish, Ilan Stavans, identifies one of my fascinations with language and linguistics:

Language is the most democratic of human endeavours. It is by the people and for the people
As opposed to, say, that other thing that had that label applied to it.

- We've passed over into November, but the sickness to the stomach that millions of kids are surely feeling now as a result of eating their Halloween candy too quickly probably serves as little consolation to Moscow's disappointed trick-or-treaters. Of course, Halloween is an imported holiday in Russia, so that probably makes it easier to ban. I'm just waiting for the protests against the Peace Corps volunteers that introduced it: "They're infiltrating our schools, brainwashing the minds of elementary school kids with their satanic propaganda, rotting their teeth with candy, etc."

- How exactly does a civil union, currently legal in Vermont and being proposed in many other states, vary, other than in terminology, from a marriage? I'm convinced this is newspeak invented by politicians so that they can claim to be against gay marriage (appeasing the religious right), while actually proposing to make gay marriage legal. Needless to say, I'm not surprised it seems to be working. Nor do I applaud this rather gutless tactic; grow a pair, will ya?

- Speaking of politics, how fitting is it that some bit of regulation is a major reason why the Southern California fires got out of control?

- Finally, it seems only appropriate to end this post with a link to an end-of-the-world animation. As usual, I'm blaming the French (and feeling sorry for Hawaii).