Wednesday, April 5, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Thieving

Quick note for the Crawford Coward: about those supposedly non-existent European rendition camps of yours...We'll be getting back to you on this one.

But today it's all about poor Tom. Tom Delay is feeling hard done by, fearful of carrying on with a "nasty" election campaign in which he might actually have to debate ideas, policies, and certain personal practices that may flutter around the topic of professional ethics, rather like moths around a candle. He is sacrificing himself and his place on Capitol Hill, because, as he put it, "every seat is precious."

I never knew that neocons were so sensitive, so emotional, so tender in their sensibilities. But life is full of such lessons, you know. Some are more difficult than others, but all of them have something to teach us.

So young Tom's dark night has begun, and a small corner of the field is clear for some light to arrive. But if the Democrats are going to continue to exult and indulge themselves in name-calling over this still minor and hollow victory, then they too deserve to fall. My message to the Democrats: shut up with the vapid and sniping self-congratulation and formulate an agenda, a message, that we will be ready to hear and understand. But if you are going to rely on our votes as the demon with the shortest tail and the palest shade of red, then you will be still sitting in the minority this November.

Fools, all of you—rank, sightless, infantile fools.


Geek Wednesday

Perhaps you noticed Newsweek's "How Geeky Are You" quiz earlier this week. Well, if you took it, you might have realized that it couldn't identify a real geek if one jumped up and bit it in the ass. That quiz was a lame measure of technophilia, not geekdom. I'm trying to prod the guys at work (real geeks, that is) into putting questions together for a true test of geekdom. If you have anything to offer in this vein, write me and I'll put something together for next week.

Speaking of geeky-looking fellows, there's none like Harry Potter, whose story may now be coming to digital media. I've been wanting a searchable copy of the Potter tomes for a long time now.

You may have also noticed my post the other day about that Defense Against the Dark Arts Class being offered at usenix in Boston (I'll post the graphic again to refresh your memory). Well, I stopped by there again, and wouldn't you know they had a different teacher in there. Here's a sampling from what I saw and heard on my second visit to DADA for Geeks:

(students sitting around a PC; on the monitor is a browser window open with one of those shaking graphical ads that say "you have just won a video iPod wrapped in Jessica Simpson's here to claim your prize". Professor Lupin addresses the class:)

LUPIN: Now, can anyone tell me what might be in that IE window there?
STUDENT: That's a boggart, that is.
LUPIN: Excellent, Mr. Thomas. Now, can someone tell me what will happen when I click on that graphic and download its contents?
HERMIONE: You'll be faced with your greatest fear...with whatever you fear more than anything else.
LUPIN: Very good, Miss Granger; ten points to Gryffindor. Fortunately, there is a simple charm that will repel a is called the Re-Dell-culus charm. Now, who would like to demonstrate the way to defend oneself against a boggart with the help of Re-Dell-culus? Mr. Longbottom, could you join me?
NEVILLE: Um...I think I have to go to the bathroom...
LUPIN: Nonsense Neville, you'll be fine. Now, what is the thing you fear the most of anything?
NEVILLE: Mr. Gates.
LUPIN: Ah, Mr. Gates. Yes, he fills us all with fear. Now, Neville, I want you to picture Mr. Gates carefully and clearly in your mind, and then...(whispers to Neville)
NEVILLE: You're mad...I mean, okay.
LUPIN: There's a good fellow. Now, when I click on the link, the boggart will be released...ready, Neville? Now! (clicks; the browser window swells green and oily, and Bill Gates' face fills the window, wearing his usual Borg eyepiece and headgear) Now, Neville, the charm—now!
NEVILLE: (points his slide rule at screen) Re-Dell-culus!!!
(the image of Gates changes as the IE browser window morphs to a brushed-metal Safari window; Uncle Bill's face sprouts a beard as his body is covered in a black turtleneck shirt and jeans; he is now seen standing before a dark theater screen with an enormous Apple logo on it and a picture of a video iPod)
LUPIN: Well done, Neville, that was very amusing indeed! (sniffs the air, and adds, in an undertone:) And perhaps you should go to the bathroom now...

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