Speak Truth To Power

Saturday was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. According to the official AP story, the evening featured light-hearted banter with President Bush and his Doppelgänger, comedian Steve Bridges. If you read the New York Times version of events, that’s all that occurred.

It’s always a strangely disturbing feeling to see a disconnect between events and the reporting of them. When it comes to technical subjects, this to to be expected, as few reporters are selected for their technical acumen. When it comes to political events, there can be little doubt that the scrubbing of “undesirable elements” from news is not an accident of ignorance.

So, here’s what was left out. Stephen Colbert, featured entertainer for the evening and host of The Colbert Report, delivered a monologue of exceptional bite. (Favorite quote: “reality has a well-known liberal bias”.) Transcript here.

Tiny-footed People

Absolion cleats

Soccer season is back, our first practice was last Thursday! I had to stop by a couple of stores to find shoes in the right size. Apparently the average soccer player wears a size 39, because that was the one size decently represented on the shelves. (You might think the opposite, but the shelves were quite well stocked. It wasn’t a case of a gaping hole where the 45s should have been.) I managed to find a single (1!) pair that fit; a pair of blue Adidas boots that cost far too much.

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Update From the Monastery

Now that I can log into soda again, I’ve been catching up on some of my favorite newsgroups. Presented here are some of the finer snippets, à la a non-numeric Harper’s Index:

  • Favorite description of a world leader:

    I suspect he’s not working on cheap power for the people, so much as petaJoule buckets of sunshine for sale to other nations and groups, for eventual delivery to various locations in the US. –Mike Andrews

  • Favorite euphemism for said buckets:

    “Instant sunshine”–Shalon Wood

  • Other new words:

    The “Ohnosecond” has been suggested for that moment of realisation that comes from firing off a recursive file-delete in the utterly wrong directory — though I’d rather like to suggest the “Sphinctosecond” to reflect that brief arse-tightening sensation which inevitably accompanies the realisation that Things Have Just Become Not What They Should Be And It’s Your Fault.–Tanuki

Houses and Hedges

My last post on the wonderful housing market we are having was back in November. That Autumn I had decided to declare the market peaked, and still feel that that was a correct call. Of course, these things take time to work their way through the system, especially with people awaiting a Spring bounce. Things have remained mostly quiet these past few months, and I’ve been busy adding more optimistic positions to my small portfolio. What I’ve been holding off on adding is a hedge against a housing downturn.

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One of the projects I would eventually like to attempt is a general computer literacy program. It is unfortunate that few exist, creating a situation similar to that of literacy in the Middle Ages. This article is an attempt to identify the failings of existing courses, and to create a curriculum that can produce literate individuals.

There are cultures that maintain high levels of technical literacy, and it is perhaps unfair to hold all users to such high standards. Your average person would not be expected to sit down and churn out text in the style of Tolkien, much less be able to advance to Saramago’s creative disregard for punctuation. One would, however, expect them to be able to read such texts with a decent degree of comprehension.

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