Archive for October, 2004

Bad Moon Rising

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The Bad Things have started to happen. The cosmic
balance has been upset, the gods are angry, and there’ll be hell to pay.
One day after the triumphant Victory Parade through the rain-drenched
streets of Boston, celebrating the end of an 86 year-old curse, the New
England Patriots were annihilated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending the
longest winning streak in the 84 year history of the NFL.

But we fear there is more to come, and not all on the playing field, further retribution
for a Pyrrhic victory which felt false and hollow even as the storied
St. Louis nine folded like a house of cards. After the final out we felt
like an 86-year old virgin who finally gets some and asks in disgusted
disbelief, "That’s IT?"

Signs of the approaching apocalypse abound; Crazy Harold just checked in from Boca Raton to tell us that HE just received
a call from Red Sox ace Curt Shilling, ordering him to vote for Bush.
Dick Cheney spent 14 hours in the air to attend a 2-hour rally in Hawaii,
which has 4 electoral votes. The race is so close that both sides have
pulled out the Big Guns.  The gloves were dropped long ago. Our
advice at this point is to hunker down and watch the show, but beware
collateral damage.

A Voice from Haiti

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Longtime readers may remember that the Dowbrigade
has long felt underenDOWed in the comments department.  Our single
greatest commenter is our dear Mum, up in Downeast Maine, and it always
surprises us that we are as likely to get comments on the story about
the woman who built the Harley Davidson out of butter we posted last year as about the hot
topic we just posted 15 minutes ago.

But once in a while a comment to an older posting comes
in which deserves a read on its own merits.  The following was in
response to a posting from February titled "Where
are the Haitian Bloggers"?
I nominate
Roy:

Haiti currently is nothing more than a gigantic slum,
a cesspool of misery and disease. I am Haitian and I recognize it, no
need to hide it or pretend anything else, we are only fooling ourself
by pretending otherwise. Images don’t lie. Others may choose to pretend
and overlook the facts, let me be extremely clear with all, I have lived
in haiti, I have lived in other countries and I have travelled the world,
Haiti is truly in bad shape. It is everything you see on TV and more:
endless and object poverty, misery and ignorance.We, as Haitians have
to realize that our so called leaders have failed us. Latortue, Aristide,
Preval, Avril, Cedras, Duvalier…etc they have all failed.why? because
of a winner takes all mentality that is still permeating every aspect
of Haitian society. Let us not blame others for what is truly our own
shortcomings. Haitian society is based on extreme raw survival at the
expense of your fellow men. Decency, honesty and respect are not found
in Haiti instead raw individualism, aggressivity, ignorance and selfisness
abound. Is there any solution? time and time again, when faced with great
dangers,human resiliency usually prevails. It will take a new breed of
Haitian leaders to turn Haiti around. Haiti needs right now a Martin
Luther King, a JFK and a Churchill mixed into one. Haiti needs a leader
with vision who truly loves his country, a leader who will put the welfare
of the island above any other agenda. We do not need a messianic figure
or a strong man, Haiti needs a leader with vision and with a plan. But
only when we as Haitians shock ourself silly then such leader will emerge.
It takes sometimes catastrophic event for good people to emerge and I’m
positive it is where we are headed but for now on, please let us not
pretend to overlook the obvious: Haiti is a socioeconomic basket case.
It is up to us to change this situation. The ball has been in our court
for quite some time now…almost 200 yrs. Roy

Weapons of War

2

The
Dowbrigade is considered an early adopter, at least among the crowd that
shops at K-Mart and nations belonging to the
Andean Pact. On Friday, still flush with the reflected glory of the Beantown
Boys in the World Series and a check from China for some editing work,
we finally bought an iPod, ending three years of unrequited techo-lust.

What took us so long? Well, a teacher’s salary, for
one.  But let’s not dwell on the past.  We’ve joined the iPod
generation! The only thing that bothered us was that in all of the Apple
iPod ads we have seen, as well as most of the young, hip users on the
street, feature the device held loosely in one hand while the head nods
and the body gyrates wildly. Why hold the damn thing in your hand?  Besides
setting yourself up for a snatch and grab, it seems to us immodest techno-exhibitionism.
A brief glimpse of those distinctive white earbuds peeking out of a collar
or sleeve would be so much sexier and classier. Besides, years of operating
in crowds composed of strange and often untrustworthy people has taught us to keep our hands
empty and available for action at all times.

Be that as it may, as far as we can tell from reading
all of the attendant documentation, there is no REQUIREMENT that you
carry it in your hand.  And we love having all of our extensive
and obscure music collection in the palm of our hand, or wherever. Once
we figured out how to connect it to our computer without erasing all
of the music already loaded (this took a while), we were off to the races.

Now that we’ve gotten to know our new toy, we’ve got
to get our good friends Dave Winer and Adam Curry to teach us how to
turn our iPod into a weapon of war.

No, we are not thinking of packing the shell with some
of that HMX explosives gone missing in Iraq, or filing the brushed Titanium
back case to a razor’s edge.  We are talking about a weapon of cultural
war, of media war, of paradigm war. The only real revolutions are in
the minds and hearts of those who believe in them.  We are assembling
the arms of OUR revolution, and the iPod is one of them.

How a Crisis Catches the World’s Attention

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On thing the Dowbrigade has been pondering
for a while now, and which we have concluded is one of the key pressure
points for fixing what ails us, is the
often obscure
process by which the world decides what is worth its attention.

The sad fact is that world public opinion, like most of
the individuals who make it up, has an extrememly short attention span.
For the most part, what occupies that narrow and short-lived band of
attention is determined by the international media conglomerates, with
important contributions from governments, NGO’s and aid agencies and,
hopefully to an increasing degree, by the independent media and the blogosphere.

This importance of this process in determining what we
care about and where we are going to do something about it cannot be overestimated.
The emerging electronic central nervous system of the modern wired world
has for the
first time in the history of the planet created a super-surrogate for
the collective consciousness of the human race. When something important,
pleasureable or dangerous, occurs anywhere on the planet, the messages
will travel over this electronic nervous system to arrive within hours
at the planetary brain, the cerebral consciousness, the awareness of
people
with power
or the illusion of power, who have at least the capability to take action
and affect the situation.

It is obvious that the system which determines which of
the billions of actions and events taking place around the world every
day filters through this system and arrives on the TV screens and newspaper
front pages is key to the very nature and values of the evolving world
consciousness.  It determines what we know about, what we care about,
what we do something about, and ultimately, our usefulness to the universe
as a species and perhaps our proper place if not our continued presence
in it.

An interesting article in todays Los
Angeles Times
explores
the process by which the spotlight of world attention which is constantly
sweeping across the globe stops momentarily to illuminate one or another
of the crises crying for attention. It concerns Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary
for Humanitarian Affairs.

After more than a quarter of a century in human rights
and relief work – he became head of Amnesty International in Norway at
23 – the U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, now 47, has the
trajectory of a disaster down to a science. He can read the warning signs
of a crisis the way a mariner knows that a ring around the moon presages
a storm. And he’s learning to predict which situation will spark an international
response.

Only three causes a year rise to the forefront of international consciousness,
he figures, and then only after nine dire warnings have been largely ignored.
The 10th one, it seems, is the charm.

But even then, to the frustration of aid officials, the severity of a crisis
– the number of dead or injured or starving – is no guarantee that it will win
the attention lottery. According to a wide range of humanitarian officials, a
complex set of circumstances will determine whether the world will care – and
act – to stave off disaster.

The first critical factor is the geopolitical importance of the individuals or
place involved. Kosovo, because it was in Europe, received quick attention. So
did Afghanistan – after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. But
if disaster happens someplace where no countries have a strategic stake, Egeland’s
experience has shown that few will care.

The second variable is the ability of U.N. workers and other advocates to lobby
and act on behalf of the forgotten.

"Most people can’t find Central African Republic or Guinea on a map," Egeland
said. "That leaves us."

Finally, a select group of Western political and media leaders plays a key role.
Once the crisis gets on American television news and the politicians start to
visit, money and aid start rolling in.

from the Los Angeles Times

Dowbrigade, Prophet of Doom

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Police block exits to Kenmore Wed. night (Dowbrigade photo)

Boston awoke today to dark threatening skies
laid thick on a cold, raw mist, a steady drizzle coating the streets
with a slick shiny sheen.
Despite
that fact, up to five million long-frustrated Red Sox fans are expected
to jam the streets of the city for the triumphant World Series victory
parade. Bundled into long johns and rubber-muckers, yellow rain-slickers
and ponchos, they have been lining the 3 mile parade route since long
before dawn, wanting to share the supercharged emotions that have momentarily
sliced through their normal apathy and somnambulistic media overload.
The Dowbrigade will not be among them.

In fact, since we impulsively grabbed our heavy-knit Andean
sweater-coat and headed out to the vicinity of Fenway Park
during the ninth inning
of the
final
game
of
the world championships, drawn by the vague promise of unbridled exuberance,
drunken violence and bared undergraduate breasts, we have have been so
burnt out by the double-barreled emotional assault of the World Series
and the Presidential Elections that we have not blogged or even followed
much of the news for a couple of days.

Not too long ago, the Dowbrigade was so addicted and fanatical
about blogging EVERY day that we forced Dave Winer to exit Interstate
93 on our
way back from a long day covering the primary campaign in New Hampshire,
just so we could get to a computer and blog before midnight. We succeeded
in publishing a note at 11:59:11, and couldn’t understand why Dave thought
we were crazy.  Now we do; at times a dramatic pause in the old
verbiage flow can be healthy for bloggers and readers alike.

So there we were, on Wednesday night, driving directly
into the heart of the madness, Kenmore Square, where thousands of bloody-mined
intoxicated youngsters gathered after every important victory to wreak
a little havoc, where there was guaranteed to be exhibition of undergraduate
idiocy and multiple arrests, where Victoria Snelgrove had been killed
by a Police pellet gun a week earlier, where we had warned our students
to absolutely stay away from, in the unlikely event of a World Series
victory.

Despite the madness and exuberance and joy in the hearts
of all members of Red Sox Nation that magical night, the Dowbrigade was
filled with a gathering sense of dread. Somehow we knew that this epochal
win
represented
a seismic
shift in the karmic landscape of our corner of the universe, and such
fundamental movements in the lines of power and fate which rule our lives
always have counter-balancing repercussions. Something very bad was bound
to happen.

We parked the white whale on a quiet residential street
behind BU, and about a 15 minute walk from Fenway Park.  As we got
closer to the center of the action, the crowd got thicker as hundreds
of students
flooded
towards the square and the ballpark, frantically jabbering into their
ubiquitous cell phones, sharing their joy, mustering forces, gloating
to fans of other teams, or checking in with parents. Although most were
going in our direction, some of fainter heart were turning around
in the face of dangerous, out-of-control behavior already evident more
than 10 blocks from the gathering crowd.  We heard dubious and fearful
mummers of "It’s getting too crazy" and "This might not be such a good
idea" as about a third of the crowd bailed out and looked for calmer
havens to hoist their celebrations.

In Kenmore Square the scene was a Dantesque mixture of
heaven and hell. People were hugging and hi-fiving strangers. The crowd
streamed and bumped together, rising in spontaneous chants at random
times or when someone did something exceptionally visible or stupid.
The favorite sport seemed to be to climb light poles and shimmy out over
the street towards the hanging stop lights, whip out a photo phone,
snap a
shot of the ecstatic
crowd below to prove they’d been there, and shimmied down before the
police could work through the massed bodies to arrest them.

The crowd was definitely getting rowdier, and there was
a lot of physical contact. At one point somebody bumped against our backside
and uttered a sloppy "sorry".  Instinctually, we brushed
our right hand against our rear pocket, to feel for our wallet, and it
wasn’t there. Veteran of hundreds of attempted pocket-picks on foreign
shores, we struggled to remember the details of the contact. Had we even
remembered our wallet when we rushed out of the house at the start of
the ninth? For about five minutes we ran through the mental checklist
of what had to be done after a walletectomy, canceling cards, etc, before
deciding it was a problem we could do nothing about until the following
day, and that we needed to have out wits about us an our mind on the
here and now as the crowd got more and more dangerously excited.

Here and there throughout the mob, brooms and banners
were waving like captured emblems of enemy legions. Girls got up on their
boyfriend’s shoulders, and a few flashed the crowd to sustained cheers.
At the outlets to the Square a massive police presence lurked, lined
up in riot gear, on horses, backed by floodlights and mobile command
centers and armed with gas grenades, shotguns, white batons and some
kind of fancy plastic lariats.

By about an hour after the end of the game, the crowd reached
its peak.  Music was provided by isolated individuals, one with
a tom-tom, another with a saxophone, a third waving a set of bagpipes.  People
were literally dancing in the streets, although considering most of them
were severely intoxicated, rhymthically-challenged white people their
movements more closely resembled St. Vitas than any Arthur Murray
steps.

Smashed football players were cannon balling through the crowd, trying
to high-five people hard enough to knock them over.
We bundled deeper into our protective sweater and concentrated on keeping our
feet. A crewcut celebrant with obliterated eyes wrapped us in a bear
hug, lifted us from the ground, and screamed, "Way to Go, Sweater-Dude,
we’re Number One!" We knew it was time to leave.

As if to reinforce our decision, the forces of order chose
that moment to decide to clear the crowd, moving in tight, coordinated
lines through the square and forcing the human mass down Commonwealth
Ave and away from the ballpark. We went with the flow, as this was the
direction
of our car.

We joined a ragtag band following the bagpiper through
the BU campus, erupting into applause every time he finished a tune and
encouraging him to keep on, keep on. Behind us, it was obvious that some
of the celebrants weren’t ready to go home and were confronting the police
Siriens wailed as ambulances and paddy wagons roared off down the blockaded
street. Our thoughts returned to our missing wallet and we noted our
vague sense of impending doom
was unabated.

We gained our car around 1:45, pleased to see the route
out of the area and towards home was clear of traffic or crowds.  We
had to give a midterm exam at nine, and several sections of the test
were still unfinished.  As we drove down Memorial Drive, along the
river and past Harvard Square, we glanced for the first time at our rear
view mirror. It wasn’t
there.  All that was left was a jagged white plastic stump.  It
had been smashed and ripped from the body of the car.  We pulled
off to the side of the road and inspected the car for body damage.  None.  It
was as though the mirror had been shattered by a sledgehammer, or a crowbar,
or a BASEBALL BAT, while we were at the celebration.

Arriving home a little after two, tired, exhilarated, pissed
off, our emotions still roiled by triumph and rage, we found our wallet
atop the
dresser. Menos mal.  But we still can’t shake this feeling of gathering
doom. The Red Sox are champions of the world, and something is very wrong
in the cosmic balance.

It’s noon now, and still raining.  On the television
scores of delirious fans are mobbing the parade route, following the
amphibious and meteorologically aptly named duck boats down off of Storrow
Drive and into the Charles River. The people crowd close for a glimse
of their heroes, the only heroes they are allowed to have.  Whatever
else can be said about Bush and Kerry, they are not looking terribly
heroic to the teeming masses looking for a lifeline of authentic hope
or pride or vision to cling to.

Its all too depressing for words.  This is the trial
by fire of the TRUE Red Sox fan.  The essential core nature of the
Red Sox fan, what makes us different, and grander, than all other sports
fan is the eternal striving after an unattainable goal. The TRUE Red
Sox fan is paranoid, sun-shy, fatalistic, cynical and morose. Those pathetic
good-time Charlies lining the streets of Boston in the rain are the deluded
fools, dancing around their own downfall.

So we feel not only justified but weirdly righteous in
dwelling on the darker side of the changes sliding swift and silent beneath
the surface of this insane euphoria. We are getting very close to bumping
up against something large and vicious in the dark of our national bedroom,
and we obviously aren’t ready for it. The next few days promise to deliver
us once more into uncharted territory where all our map’s and notes and
accumulated
political wisdom and experience
are
useless.
It could get very ugly.

There are momentous movements underway, on the surface
and deep beneath. Yassir Arafat exits stage left.  Osama Bin Laden
reappears in a lonely spotlight. Massed and poised power shuffles impatiently
in
the wings. The game is afoot, and it doesn’t bode well for the casual
sports fan.

So enjoy the party while it lasts, boys and girls.  For
us, we will not be attending any large public gatherings for a while.  We
will be here, in our living room, on the computer, TV tuned to a news
channel in the background, nervous as a rabbit and ready to bolt at the
first
sign
of
the shit hitting
the fan. And by the way, the fan they had in mind when writing that aphorism
was definitely a Red Sox fan.

Hell Freezes Over

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The Red Sox are nine outs away from winning
the World Series. Our emotions are strong, and mixed, and difficult to
describe. We have been a fanatic of the Sox through thick and thin, since
we moved to Cambridge in 1971, and we know, without a doubt, that a very
real and important part of our adult life is about to change forever.

A significant part of our psyche wants them to lose tonight;
to prolong the delicious anticipation of something so long awaited, to
bring the final games back to Fenway Park and a raucous local celebration,
to avoid an undefined but nagging sense of impending doom should a Sox
win upset some delicate cosmic balance and bring down some inestimal
disaster on the Hub.  Plus, if they sweep tonight, the victory parade
wiil be Friday morning, and we are planning to take our class to Salem
Mass that day for the cultural extravaganza which is Witch City two days
before Halloween.

We have tried to figure a way out of this trip, but the
checks have been cut and the tickets have been bought.  We considered
delaying the trip til Monday, but the day AFTER Halloween the streets
of Salem are a dirty ashtray full of empty candy wrappers and used condoms,
and even the ghosts of the ghosts are sleeping it off somewhere quiet
and safe.

So despite our heartfelt advice to our students to Stay
Away from Kenmore Square, where Victoria Snelgrove was shot dead by police last week after the ALCS-clinching game, if the Red Sox win the series, that is where
we are heading, if the hometown nine can nail these last 9 outs. Er,
8 now. If we can’t be part of the parade (they are talking about 5 million
people), then let us lose ourself tonight in a sea of fellow Sox sufferers,
released and redeemed for all time, beneath the light of a reappearing
moon.

7 outs to go. Stay tuned for a report from the Square

 

The Doctor Weighs In

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Hunter
Thompson has long been one of our literary heroes and role models, ever
since Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas ripped the vinyl horsehide off of "objective journalism" and showed
what could be accomplished by diving headfirst into the moshpit miasma
of modern America and completely erasing the line between coverer and
covered.

That being said, it pains us to note that the Good Doctor
seems to be losing his edge.  Whether this be from skills eroded
by decades of alternately hard and indulgent living or the simple spiraling
of the situation beyond even the ability of one of the greatest satirists
of our age to capture in prose, is not for this humble observer to say,
his commentary in Rolling Stone on the current electoral cycle pales
in comparison to his trailblazing coverage of the Nixon campaigns in
68 and 72, in that same publication.

But then who among us is the same man we were in the late
60’s and early 70’s?  Many of us were never men, then nor now, and
many were not even born 30 odd years ago. Lord knows, if we could afford
the quantities and quality of intoxicants available to Thompson, we would
have degenerated into incoherence long ago.

Still, some of his observations are sharp and some of his
similes still make us smile, and there are flashes of the old fire. Plus,
it’s always worth reading a report from a true master who’s been there,
and done it all:

Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for
rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to
grapple with the
meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid
warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage.
That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate
who ever ran against George Bush — Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain
— all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks.
And
all of them still whining about it.

from Rolling
Stone

White Women Can’t Squat

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Ever on the prowl for scientifically significant research topics, cutting edge anthropologists in Australia are deep into a precise comparison of peeing methods – modern out-house sit-down vs. indigineous natural squatting.

But researchers found westerners could not hold the squat position for more than 30 seconds without falling over.

Prof Ajay Rane, of James Cook University, said: "We were quite sure squatting would be far superior to the Western toilet position, however we have a problem now – one third of the population is unable to squat."

Equipment collected data such as how fast volunteers could urinate, their maximum speed, average speed, how long it took to attain maximum speed and the volume of urine.

Maybe they fall over because of the high heels…..

from Ananova

Cultural Diss-onence

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LHASA, TIBET—Deng Hsu, 14, said Monday that he is “totally getting into Western philosophy.” “I’ve been reading a lot of Kant, Descartes, and Hegel, and it’s blowing my mind,” Hsu said. “It’s so exotic and exciting, not like all that Buddhist ‘being is desire and desire is suffering’ shit my parents have been cramming down my throat all my life. Most of the kids in my school have never even heard of Hume’s views on objectivity or Locke’s tabula rasa.” Hsu said he hopes to one day make an exodus to north London to visit the birthplace of John Stuart Mill.

from Philip Greenspun’s Blog (Don’t forget to read the comments – they’re the best!)

The Nuclear Option

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The situation in Fallujah is a deadly puzzle.  If
anywhere in the world could be called Terrorism Central, this is the
place The entire city and its suburbs has been in the hands of the rebels
since the marines pulled out in April, and since that time Fallujah has
been the headquarters of the insurgency. It has been a gathering place
for jihadists and Iraqi homegrown terrorists, as well as home base for
the thousands of foreign killers and fanatics who have flocked to Iraq
to answer the call of the Mullahs and the Architect of Evil, Osama bin
Laden.

In addition, Fallujah is the presumed location of Abu
Mussib Al Zarqawi
, the gristly author of kidnappings and beheadings
of Americans and our
allies. This is the hard core of international terrorism. This is the
enemy.

They have control of a fully functioning city, with hospitals,
schools, restaurants, metal shops and tons of arms and munitions.  The
resistance was more community based during the fierce battles of the
spring.  Since the marines pulled back and left the city in the
hands of the insurgents, most of the civilian population has fled while
the city itself has been slowly flattened by US artillery and air strikes.

Replacing the civilians has been a steady stream of rebel
fighters, Iraqis filtering in from all corners of the occupied country,
foreigners slipping over the borders of Iran and Syria and veterans of
a thousand battles fresh from blowing up American boys and girls or massacring
Iraqi recruits and looking to kick back in town for whatever R and R
is allowed in a fundamentalist Islamic death cult.

Fallujah is an open sore on the glistening hide of the
American occupation, an open defiance of our aim, our progress, our way
of life.
It is an organizing point for the resistance, and everyone agrees something
must be done about it.  But what.

A full frontal assault on the mazes of ruins and
tunnels which Fallujah has become would wipe out more than half of the
hard core resistance fighters in Iraq, and a majority of the foreign
fanatics who have flocked to the cause. It would also result in the highest
American casualties in he war to date.  Nevertheless, support is
strong for a clean sweep.  "We have all the rats in one maze, and
it would be a major error to let them slip away," according to a source
who declined to be identified.

Quietly, voices within the administration are advocating
an even more radical solution to the problem of Fallujah  "Since
the civilian population have largely fled the city and so many of our
enemies are in one place, this may be the perfect opportunity for a tactical
nuclear weapon," the same unnamed source said.

Personally, we feel the negative repercussions and the
possible retaliations will dissuade the administration from such madness,
but to some it is an attractive option.  With the national mood
one of anxious anticipation of a terrorist nuclear attack on the US,
fed by the Vice President and others, there is a growing feeling that
we
should
nuke
THEM before they nuke US.

Although we don’t think they could get away with it, we
wouldn’t put it past them to try a variation on the plan.  What
if there WAS a terrorist nuclear weapon, and it was in Fallujah, and
it went off "accidentally"? A nice, clean, glowing exorcism, and NOT
OUR
FAULT.This is probably not a practical possibility, but if we were
one of the last remaining residents of Fallujah, and one morning we noticed
all off the American and allied troops pulling WAAAY back, we would be
very worried…..

article from the Boston Globe

Filters Gone Wild

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For
a while there it was looking as though email was becoming obsolete and
impossible to use. Our emailboxes (all half dozen
of them) were filling up constantly with ridiculous come-ons, fantastic
products and transparent scams, and picking out the real messages from
the Spam was like finding the truth on a major candidate’s web site –
it may be there somewhere, but you’ve gotta wade through a whole lotta
shit to find it. We were resigned to going back to snail mail.

Then some unnamed genius named Bayes came up with Bayesian
filtering, and suddenly the three real messages were floating to the
top of the three hundred junkers. It seemed like a miracle! The penis
enlargers
and urgent letters from the ex-Nigerian Finance Ministers were exiled
to a cold and dark corner of our virtual world, to stew and plot
in obscurity. E-mail was back!

Now, alas, the process has come full circle. It came to
our attention, after numerous missed meetings, forgotten birthdays and
unclaimed cash rewards, that a number of extremely NON-JUNK
mails were ending up in the old trash bin! Our filters were out of control!

It took us quite a while to catch on.  At first, when
entire classes of students swore up and down that they had emailed their
essays to me over the weekend, we sneered and called them slackers.  But
when we almost lost an offer of paying work (an editing job from a Dowbrigade
reader in China – the first remuneration produced by our short, sweet life as
a blogger) we
realized something was seriously amiss.

Of course, we were horrified to discover, in our Junk mailbox,
nestled among the Vic*din and the instant PhD’s, our missing messages.
So now we are reduced to not only reviewing our half-dozen inboxes, but
also wading through the bulging Junk mailbox as well! When we find a
misfiled message, it take us three clicks and a drag-and-drop to rescue
the message and supposedly "re-train" our Mail program to avoid these
gaffes in the future.

But it’s not working! We are now spending TWICE as much
time wading through our mail as when the Junk and Not Junk were just
jumbled together into one big box! We are right back to where we started
– only worse.

So let us apologize to all of the slighted relatives,
unanswered students, unresponded-to offers and missed opportunities.  If
we don’t get this figured out soon, we all might have to start buying
stamps again.

Clip o’ the Day: British Kung Fu

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I really can’t think of anything to say about this one, except that it’s worth checking out and still has me laughing. QT6 required.

British Kung Fu