Woo-hoo! I done fixed me

Woo-hoo! I done fixed me blog! I don’t know how it got so screwed up in the first place, but after much futzing around I figured it out. The html was all higgledy-piggledy, with chunks of code dropped here and there like so many internal organs at a Tijuana hospital. But it’s all sewn up now, so to speak.

Okay, apparently neither my “Link

Okay, apparently neither my “Link Me” links nor my “Comment” links work, though they did when I installed them. I haven’t tampered with them since, so…WTF? I’ll look into it and you all can start sending me abuse again in no time.

What’s Become of Waring – Anthony Powell


Anthony Powell waits for the rice to be done.
Image from the Anthony Powell site.

I finished up Anthony Powell‘s What’s Become of Waring, given to me by a certain Mr. C_____, who is a dear fan of his later A Dance to the Music of Time. The novel is set in something like pre-war Britain and follows, in a very laid-back –embarrassments and loves of the upper class–British Comedy way, the efforts of a book editor to track down the title character, a famous writer of travel books who may or may not be dead or real or a plagiarist. Before I read it, I thought the plot sounded a bit post-modern, or even a bit Pynchon-esque, but after reading I realise 1936 is really too early for that sort of narrative. It’s more a shaggy dog story that a deep examination of identity
Very gentle humor, lots of comedy of manners from an age long gone by, characters with names like Winefred, you get the picture.
Some interesting facts about Mr. Powell (that’s pronounced “Pole”): His nephew-in-law is Harold Pinter, one of my favorite playrights. Also, he really liked his own homemade curry, although I disagree on using butter with cooked rice. On the other hand I’ll give him a break because for one thing he’s dead, and the other is I bet he didn’t own an electric rice cooker.
So what should I read next?

While the Pentagon contemplates the

While the Pentagon contemplates the complete annihilation of Baghdad using their “Shock and Awe” plan, it’s time for a look back at a similar event from our history, the Firebombing of Dresden During World War II.

Using the Dresden soccer stadium as a reference point, over 2000 British Lancasters and American Flying Fortresses dropped loads of gasoline bombs every 50 square yards out from this marker. The enormous flame that resulted was eight square miles wide, shooting smoke three miles high. For the next eighteen hours, regular bombs were dropped on top of this strange brew. Twenty-five minutes after the bombing, winds reaching 150 miles-per-hour sucked everything into the heart of the storm. Because the air became superheated and rushed upward, the fire lost most of its oxygen, creating tornadoes of flame that can suck the air right out of human lungs.
Seventy percent of the Dresden dead either suffocated or died from poison gases that turned their bodies green and red. The intense heat melted some bodies into the pavement like bubblegum, or shrunk them into three-foot long charred carcasses. Clean-up crews wore rubber boots to wade through the “human soup” found in nearby caves. In other cases, the superheated air propelled victims skyward only to come down in tiny pieces as far as fifteen miles outside Dresden.
“The flames ate everything organic, everything that would burn,” wrote journalist Phillip Knightley. “People died by the thousands, cooked, incinerated, or suffocated. Then American planes came the next day to machine-gun survivors as they struggled to the banks of the Elbe.”

Reasons to be cheerful. This

Reasons to be cheerful. This speech by Noam Chomsky at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre last week reminds us that the anti-war movement now, as compared to the one during the Vietnam War, is much larger, much more active, and more able to change the world than ever before.
The speech is a bit long, but I think Noam’s right on.

Many decades ago, sweatshirts


Many decades ago, sweatshirts were made with a different process than today. Try on an old sweatshirt from the ’40s and chances are it will still be very soft. Now the only place that still makes ’em the traditional way, using the old machines is a tiny company in the snowy north of Japan. Come take a virtual tour at Loopwheeler.

Okay, maybe I’m the last

Okay, maybe I’m the last to post the link to the Tony Blair–Jeremy Paxman–Concerned Citizens interview that happened a few days ago in the UK.
Blair may be wrong on Iraq, but at least he has the guts, skill, and intelligence to answer questions from a very hostile audience and keep his composure. Could you imagine Chimpy McCokespoon being able to answer anybody’s question on Iraq? Could you imagine him actually being able to form a coherent sentence? Could you imagine an American being allowed to ask a question like the one below to the pResident and not being carted off to Camp X-Ray?

MALE: The three biggest countries against the war at the moment are Russia, China and France and they’ve all signed agreement with Saddam to explore the western oilfields.
Is that why they’re against it because they’re frightened that if the US and Britain go in the contracts will be torn up?
TONY BLAIR: No, I don’t think that’s the reason either actually. Let’s wait and see where France and Russia and China end up on this.
I mean, there have been differences between ourselves and France, between those countries you’ve mentioned and ourselves and the United States.