Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hillary Clinton: Compassionate Misanthrope

“Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before me, [...] So far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and one-half of withdrawn simplicity.”

Hillary Clinton's letters to a former high school classmate during her college years have been released. They make the self-lamenting sighings of Lisa Simpson seem like the mouth-breathings of a soccer hooligan by comparison. They are peppered with.. oh how should one who would never release his high-school writings if the world depended on it put it.... an unfortunate use of flowery constructs and unnecessary $10 words. These were days before the Kaplan Review and paranoid cramming for the SAT were commonplace so one can only assume that young Ms. Rodham's logorrhea were a result of too much of the wrong kind of reading.

It is well fitting the observed life to note this karmapimple: that the person who used to be Hillary Rodham, college student and expert on all things ennui, will spend the next 16 months trying to impress crowds at BBQs, turkey weighing contests, county fairs, simple-minded special-interest rallies, and generally speaking into TV cameras using short sentences composed entirely of short words for the benefit of those she used to dismiss as “[knowing] a lot about ‘self’ and nothing about ‘man’ ”.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Politics, Twenty Minutes into the Future

In the Max Headroom movies & shows (one each, on each side of the Atlantic) almost exactly twenty years ago, a number of prescient futuristic predictions, one by one, have proven accurate to the point of making them seem like hindsight.

On this primary season one more fulfilled prediction that might have flown under TV viewers' radars was realized when people who watched the debate via the Web instead of the broadcast/cable channels were treated (if so they chose) to superimposed graphics of real-time feedback from focus groups (delivered via dimmer switches, where each of the 100-odd individuals expressed their approval as a matter of degree by rotating the wheel, or somesuch device, in their hand) as they themselves watched the debate. (post link goes to web page with many atomic examples of this).

This is the same opinion/emotion gathering technique used by marketers and TV programming experts (and political strategists, which is the same as the previous two groups) for decades to save them the trouble of actually having to know anything in order to do their job.

What I'm keen on is that, through the Web, the political process now saves EVERYBODY the trouble of having to know anything. It neatly closes the feedback loop circuit of people basing what they think on what other people think.

(I admit I happened to find out about this Monday night out of necessity because the Demo debate was shown on CNN and I don't have cable, not because I watch the debates on the Web just so I don't have to get up from my desk chair, which is somehow less shameful to me; guess which one I'll be using from now on?)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Trifecta, anyone?

three for three? what disaster shall await us today?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This really has me all steamed up
(link above goes to this video link)

I was working in midtown today... but on the west side, "safely" about a mile away in the early PM when this happened. Had no idea about it until the other half called me from work to see where I was (he works in an E.R. so he's privy to these things more immediately than yours truly boring web developer). You can still (midnight now!) hear firetrucks go by outside MY HOUSE IN BROOKLYN rolling in to help out.

My proposal for a tourist season slogan: "New York City: Home of the 27-alarm fire". What we'll do is implode a building every year at the exact same time, like the New Year's ball drop, and invite people from all over the world to come see it. The twist is we don't tell them which building. Seeking a good vantage point for the event then becomes as much an effort in game theory / positioning as that of having a good exit strategy. No other city in the world could pull it off; we don't just have a handful of oversize skyscrapers... we have MOST of them. I'm sure the t-shirt sales would produce a healthy net gain after just a few years of promotional losses.

a very bad day for somebody

The Tam airline's Airbus-320 skidded off the runway at Congonhas airport, then crossed a busy road at the height of rush hour in South America's largest city before slamming into a gas station.

I don't personally know any Brazo transportation safety officials but I'm sure they all know where to find the want-ad classifieds. Unfortunately for them (and us) we have all of our entry-level transportation safety positions filled.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: