Sue Got Married -- the link's to a site with
photos and NoCal location IDs. Been watching the
library videotape, and finding it rather
intense, emotionally (especially when
she's with her grandparents. I'd sure
like to visit mine
again, like she got to). I didn't really 'get'
this movie when it first came out: Nicolas Cage's
performance was so off-putting, and my
disappointment with Peggy Sue's inabilty
to ditch him so great, I dismissed the whole
film. I'm used to the guy now, and realize the
importance of a repeat viewing, so one can
compare the "then" characters with their
too-briefly seen "now" versions. (They
could've all showed up around Peggy Sue's
hospital bed at the end, like in "The Wizard
of Oz," but maybe that would've diluted the
scene). The story is a powerful realization of the
subjective time-travel dream, not just going
back as a tourist, but inhabiting one's
former self, like the soft porn of "Doing It
All Over" I linked to
Dr. Gridlock writes a column in the
Washington Post about local driving
issues -- he has a tendency to
print a lot of fluffy filler, like vanity tag
observations & speculations on their meanings;
and although it gives writers-in an outlet
to complain, positive change for the DC driver
seems nearly impossible. Occasionally he reports
something unique, like
outrageous tale of a handicapped person being
accosted in one of the
The stranger pointed at the knee brace and said,
"Do you think that is enough of a disability for
you to use the handicap parking spaces?"
It's a problem with these highly visible, desirable
entitlements -- they bring out the prick in certain
already-prone personalities. Does any other type
monitor these parking spaces for abuse? Like the
larger stall in the public restroom, I use 'em
too -- not often, since the penalties are severe,
but unlike the stall there's always a lot more
handicapped parking spaces available, so why not?
I said, "Yes, I do. I have an artificial leg."
I barely had time to say this when he came up to me,
leaned down and pulled my knee brace down to my ankle.
Of course the artificial leg slipped off, and I fell
down on top of him, with my mail spilling to the
From another advice column letter, this time in
the latest Slate "Dear
Prudence" column. (She addressed
the handicapped restroom stall issue a while back.)
Regarding the letter you got about the
neighbor's barking dog, they should do what
we did. We found out the phone number of the
nitwit neighbor (city directories have this), then
when we knew she had gone to work, called her
house, and loaded her answering machine with
calls that were nothing but barking. She moved
very soon thereafter.
I'm sure we just want the dogs to move on.
Image Release from Galileo -- Io, the Jovian moon.
- Huge Mars .jpeg (252K)
- The International Space Station is finally
happening -- its first occupants arrive this week.
From a broadcast email I received at work:
Expedition One Launch & Docking
The Expedition One Crew -- Commander Bill
Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and
Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev -- is scheduled
for launch at approximately 2:53 AM EST,
October 31, atop a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch initiates a
two-day flight to the station, culminating in a
docking on November 2. Once docked to the new
facility, the crewmembers will begin a four-month
stay, beginning the permanent occupancy of the
international complex. Launch coverage on October 31
will begin at 2 AM EST, anchored from the Russian
Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow,
and the ISS Flight Control Room at NASA's Johnson
Space Center, Houston, TX.
A black-and-white camera on the Soyuz should
provide live TV of the docking itself.
Approximately 90 minutes after
docking, the Expedition One crew will open the
hatch to Zvezda, but no live TV will be available.
A video replay of the historic hatch opening may
be provided by the crew on subsequent orbits
through Russian ground stations.
The primary method for distributing mission commentary will be
through the human space flight website at
Air-to-ground conversations between the crewmembers
and flight controllers in Houston and Korolev
will be distributed in real time on Mission Audio
circuits and as streaming audio on the human
space flight website.
Television will be sporadic during the course of
the Expedition One mission, transmitted through
either Russian ground stations periodically
or by a slow-scan video system available
through the ISS early S-band communications system.
The crew is scheduled to return to Earth on the
STS-102 mission to the ISS, scheduled for launch
in February 2001 to bring the Expedition Two
crew to the station.
The black&white camera will add some
Apollo-era ambiance to the historic
event... but doesn't "Expedition One"
sound a little pretentious? My impression
is the term implies exploration,
as "In which Christopher Robin leads
an Expotion to the North Pole" -- extended
occupancy of an orbiting cylinder doesn't
seem to qualify, with a label like that the
destination should be Alpha Centauri. Newspaper
articles hint at forthcoming culture clashes, a
collision between the uptight, mission-controlled
astronauts and the more laid-back cosmonauts,
who've been known to smuggle wodka into
The unofficial TRON Web Page has stills
from the deleted
Lite-Brite -- the
tactile sensation of the mouse clickings aren't
quite as aesthetically pleasing as pushing the
the tinted plastic prongs through the black
paper; on the other hand the tedious need to
replace that paper is eliminated. Brought
to you by the San
Francisco Production Group.
I've decided my choice is Big Al,
having come to the conclusion
that encouraging the Ralph vote is
dangerous -- the election will be too
close, the idea of four more years
of "dubya" media exposure intolerable.
Don "Savage (Love")
While it may not be much fun having to choose
between the lesser of two evils, that's the
choice adult voters are faced with. Ralph Nader
is a vanity candidate running a vanity campaign
for a Potemkin party, the Greens. And while Al
Gore may not be perfect, he's better than Bush.
If Nader voters manage to put Bush in the White
House next year, some of your fellow citizens
(women, queers, the poor) are going to pay a high
price for your refusal to grow up and make the
real choice you're faced with, which, again, is
between Bush and Gore. You may have to grit your
teeth when you vote Gore, but that's a small price
to keep the environment, the poor, and the English
language from the harm George W. will surely do all
More details on this issue can be had in a lengthy
article in The Nation:
or Gore: Does It Matter? (Conclusion:
yes, in big ways.)
This weekend I saw "Almost Famous" and
I've been trying to write about, but
it's difficult -- I keep going off on tangents.
I liked the film, and think it'll make
a great Y2K/70s-nostalgia yin-yang double
feature, when paired with "The Virgin
review Mr. Cranky asks, Is
Cameron Crowe trying to tell me that a band like
Stillwater would actually sing an Elton John song?
song? And they'd all know the lyrics? Please.
Any band on the road would relate to the blues
of "Holiday Inn," from the same record; but this stuff
was just too lightweight -- those hard rockers
would've jeered it off the stereo. Magnolia
was responsible for this -- let's hope the
sing-along trend fades out fast.
A must-read: Breathing
Life Into Technical Books -- the author
writes PL/SQL books for O'Reilly and has begun
replacing the standard example's context
(employee/department) with something
entirely different -- he's asking all
the right questions (and getting the
typical conservative feedback).
Why is it so difficult for people, especially
those in the United States, to hear viewpoints
that make them uncomfortable?
Frances Farmer, the
5 of Pentacles.
She's naturally a member of the Lobotomy
Hall of Fame. Sorry,
fans, it's real people only, no mention of
J. Frank Parnell.
Walking around in Tokyo one finds clusters of
posted near public telephones.
How do they make crop circles? I want
to see like a TV show about this, on PBS.
best of 2000, from the Crop Circle Connector
About the two Ohio kids put in
detention for refusing to watch
Channel One -- there's a site
all about it at www.tvorjail.com.
Has names & addresses to direct irate
mail towards, and someone's quoted there
saying "When the government
sends children to a juvenile detention
center because they don't want to watch
advertising, that is both Orwellian and
more than a little sick."
In these schools, students spend the equivalent
of about one class week each year watching Channel One, including one full school day just
Electric Stuff has all manner of
interesting pages, including one on
tubes. He's really into the more exotic
types of what're called "valves" in his
homeland (stateside, they're known as
And speaking of things electric (from
the same place and tasteless like
this one from
check this remarkable news item from Taiwan:
war on the cold front!
I'm actually looking to buy one of those
fancy heaters, but have been so far unable
to find one in a nearby shop.
Went past that house in Los Altos again tonight,
driving home from school -- I thought that they
were red but now I think they're really orange,
not Christmas but Halloween
lights. (It's the 'icicle' kind, with
a dubious tint -- for the true orange
there's really no other option -- they
need those classic little blobs of
I've had the usual encounters over the years
with material about old, no-longer-used but
still there subway stations under New York
City -- of course London has the world's
oldest subterranean rail system, the "Tube" --
History is well-designed and reveals all,
with lots about their many ghost stations.
On the other hand, although references are
frequent in books about prototype automobile
designs like Cars Detroit Never Built
up until now I've never seen a good source on
the GM Motoramas of the 1950s, where their
dream cars were displayed -- this
History even offers a videotape.
This site's great -- Retro
...a concept based
on a simple question: what happened to all that
futuristic stuff which was supposed to
change our lives by the year 2000?
Check the archive page for pointers to
all the previous features, like
has become an essential tool, consulted at
least after every film seen; some call up the
reference, and now there's the
the Celebrity Nudity Database.
article about Akihabara covers a lot of ground;
amidst the usual overwhelmed reaction to Tokyo's
"Electric Town" market district are many interesting
details, celphones in Japan are now as cheap as
¥10 (that's a dime but I guess it's
just like here, where the phone is sometimes free,
they get payment via the service fees), they're using
'em for (a lot of trivial) email and people pay for
an ever-changing supply of new wallpapers for the
phones' tiny screens, a lot of people, so
some of those suppliers are doing very well.
Yesterday's paper had a special "In Depth" Pacfic
Rim section featuring Japan, with an article I found
especially interesting about those huge crows I've
seen mornings, scavenging the garbage Tokyo
merchants set out the night before. Says they're
"jungle crows" and the problem's getting worse,
now they're attacking cyclists and small children.
Couldn't locate this stuff on the website, their links
expire really quick anyway; but this
Times story from August covers the same
territory. Another article described the new
John Lennon museum outside Tokyo, on the occasion
of its opening Monday -- some fans may find its
Yoko-centric viewpoint offensive --
the focus on Ono as an inspiration is unlikely
to sit comfortably with lovers of the Beatles
elsewhere in the world.
...but I'm intrigued, adding this to the list
for the next trip, which may happen as soon
page from the museum's site shows the
location and also what it looks like from
the outside (a big new building, the museum
must be just a small part of).
With another Bush in the news those whispers
about the family's links to Hitler's Germany
are becoming audible again.
Bush Nazi Connection is a page at a Libertarian
Party site, which will immediately disqualify the
information's authenticity to some and reenforce
it to others, but it's a good starting point to
become familiar with the players, like grampa
Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker, generous
supporter of the NSDAP and 'dubya's namesake. Plus:
read up more about those weird Yale "Bonesmen"
(Like his dad, the shrub is a member.)
GettingIt quotes a new British
study to answer in the affirmative:
potheads better drivers?
issue of Discover has several projections
of twenties for the year 2020: "20 Ways the World Could
End," "20 Things That Will Be Obsolete in 20 years," and
my favorite, Twenty
things that won't change in the next twenty years. Says
we'll still have pencils -- a good thing, too, since that's
what's in my shirt pocket, don't like pens, need that eraser.
6:18PM -- First of the season's Christmas
lights sighted, trimming a house in Los Altos.
Meme wishes to expose
Christianity for what it really is -- a
mind virus that controls human behavior
to facilitate its own survival.
Sunday's Chronicle featured an excellent
editorial by Chalmers Johnson,
Might Makes Wrong -- Americans
are bold. We are brash. And to the rest of the world,
we are clueless.
Museum of Unnatural Mystery has a
of Babel page which says it was
stuff about the Seven Wonders and many other
Mysteries, with images reflecting contemporary
speculations on the appearance with some 3D
angle in there somewhere.
Guide to Disneyland includes some insider
info extracted from former and/or friendly
Geoff took this
amazing picture up on
Half Dome last weekend, in Yosemite. All
the little people on the final ascent
cables remind me of the opening shots of the conquistadors'
procession through the jungle in
The Wrath of God, or maybe a vision from
Speaking of the Amazon, from
latest of Camille Paglia's periodic, erudite rants:
European art films were an enormous part of my education
outside the classroom, and it is tragic that they have
dropped so far off the radar screen for today's American
students, marooned in their sterile mall culture.
Couldn't agree more; my sentiments exactly.
Ready for SLC? Planning for the next olympics has
already begun -- check its three mascots,
Copper, and Coal -- they're
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