unraveling

30.Nov.2000

With friends like this... Bob Herbert says we should get to know Tom DeLay (a.k.a. "the Hammer"). That's the problem with "compassionate conservatism," the company it keeps.

Even Safire is expressing misgivings about the "putative" administration Bush/Cheney administration. That is not a good sign. Putting the two columns together, it's hard to imagine the Senate exhibiting the "divine comity" he says is required, to confirm any major Democrats to Bush's cabinet.

Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, and W. will get a chance to demonstrate that bipartisan flair he was advertising before Florida went pear-shaped on him.

Is it just me, or does the news seem pretty dire today? A cold is just leaning into me, and the market has been gouging out my investments, so I might just have a bad attitude. The lead story, As Mad Cow Disease Spreads in Europe, Consumers Panic doesn't sound good. (And I had the beef roulade for lunch.)

How long before we find out that it's in the U.S.? I can't believe our practices are so different that we've excluded it. But I suppose just to wonder about such a thing without evidence is a crime now.

The Space Station Alpha's solar arrays are on the way.

NASA needs to talk to the Associated Press about putting some launch photos in there to liven up the coverage. I just happened to see the NYT online's front page with Endeavor sitting under lights, ready for go, and then an hour later, moments after liftoff. Cool sequence. Tough to beat rocket science for the pinnacle of technological achievement.

Looking around for some video, I got talking heads in a press conference, and a complete hosejob of my Win95 session -- all the window decoration and popup control menus text disappeared (although I could still watch the video, and page through some of the IE windows). I shut down as cleanly as I could, and uninstalled the Real G2 player... two and a half years since this was new, the gremlins are starting to give it indigestion. :-(

28.Nov.2000

Most of the mobile telecomm wonder stories I've heard are out of Scandinavia, but here's one from Hong Kong. When do you suppose things will catch on over here?

Red Herring welcomes us to the post-Nasdaq economy.

27.Nov.2000

Well, it would appear to be over, with the Florida vote certified. There is still some wrangling to be had, and there is simply no way around the fact that the vote was a statistical tie in that state. We can never know what the true outcome was, only what the practical result is: Bush seems to have received more votes, and is the apparent winner.

Baker's little song and dance about "the will of the people" was a bit over the top, though. The only clearly discernible expression of will was that ever so slightly more people in the country wanted Gore than Bush. Funny how the rule of law overrides that.

Why shouldn't Gore contest the results and keep trying? The main reason is that the Republicans won't give up; they've tasted this victory for 8 long years, for whatever quirks of timing it seemed to be theirs at first, and now... The lawyers and courts can't do any better for us than we did for ourselves. Give Shrub his 4 years and than off to the dustbin with him.

It'll be a good time for pundits and comedians, at least. Maureen Dowd:

How rich to see W., whose campaign was steeped in skepticism about Washington, the federal government and trial lawyers, send his lawyers to Washington to petition a states' rights Supreme Court to overturn a state decision.

The Republican "activism" has provided some strange vignettes. Story about a surgeon from out of state who felt the need to join the fray, calls (or perhaps had his office call?) 20 or so patients - sorry folks, the operation will have to wait.

A paid Bush staffer trying to pass himself off as "just a volunteer," so we might all imagine this is from the grass roots.

You can join the movement, too!

(If the coup d'etat doesn't materialize, there's always the one-world government bogeyman to worry about.)

The Florida Supreme Court's decision is online.

The big Supremes don't want recording devices in their court. They cheat their employers, as far as I'm concerned. Aside from the general public interest, print reports simply can not capture all that goes on in this sort of proceeding. I saw quite a bit that was interesting to me in the Florida Supreme Court which went unremarked in the mainstream coverage.

Gore's contest complaint; how could it ever fly?

26.Nov.2000

We survived the busiest day of air travel in history, flying out of light fog in Spokane, to SFO. We got an Orange-ade deicing bath after loading up only 15 minutes behind schedule, which seemed "early" after they'd told us an hour delay at check-in.

For a while it looked like we'd make up all the time, but the pattern over the Bay was somewhat retarded, and then our gate wasn't clear. (Imagine planes talking to one another... "excuse me, you're in my spot.") We parked about 10:02, just as the last Caltrain shuttle for the 10:30 train left. That's OK, we didn't want to run through the airport anyway.

Bathroom break, and a good long line for the urinals. It's a busy place this mid-morning.

We trundled on, went for the 2nd, low-cost, public transit choice: the KX bus, with an hour from SFO to Stanford Shopping Center, and most of an hour waiting for the VTA #35 bus to give us almost door to door service, for $2.35 each.

The connections get you, but while riding (or patiently waiting), I made progress on Lester Thurow's Building Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals, Companies and Nations in a Knowledge-based Economy. I'd been reading it late a night, and found it soporific. In the sunshine, it was more interesting, although some of the reviewers at Amazon were happy to pan it. I'll connect some of its dots a little later.

Also on the traveling-technology front, I was humbled to want to use a damn pay phone on the way over, and (a) not know how, and (b) not have a chance to read what instructions there might have been, in hideously small print and bad light.

The brute force, sucker's way out was to buy an AT&T phone card for 40 minutes at $20; at least with no expiration date, like the first phone card I used once upon a time. (I think that was some sort of promotion.) I should have just got a pocketful of change and went at it. (I used to have my work credit card number memorized, but travelling less erased that register.)

But I was better off than the poor Japanese couple, trying to figure out how to call a number in L.A., and asking for help from a likely looking native - me - and getting none.

Is it just me, or do pay phones pretty much suck in any country?

23.Nov.2000

Thanksgiving
Grandson Dane waking us up, bouncing on the bed between us, shouting, "It's today! It's today! It's today!" :-)

21.Nov.2000

The New York Times has a good account of the session with the Florida Supremes, capturing the drama that we watched.

And, about the contest for public opinion. I don't see the Republicans as holding the moral high ground in that one, and I think the governor of Montana should go home and shut up. But that's just my opinion...

20.Nov.2000

While I agree with my dad that a manual recount of all of Florida's ballots, or none of them, might be fairest, I don't think "none" is really an option at this point, nor do I think "all" is practical, or necessary.

I think the best-case scenario is that a few major recount efforts proceed, and slosh a few tens or hundreds of votes around, but don't change the result of the tallies to date. The Republicans are working the system at least as disingenuously as the Democrats, dispensing innuendo freely, even as the recounts proceed in an orderly fashion.

This is not to say that I think we'll be better off with Bush as president. I think he lacks the experience, intellectual ability and moral character to be president. I don't particularly care for his friends, either. I have reservations about Gore as well, but I think he'd be a better president.

Neither candidate can escape the taint from the uncertainty of a close race, however, and it seems better to me to maintain the narrowest of margins through whatever recount process we end up with, than to gain victory through equivocal court decisions and partial recounting. The voters have spoken as clearly as they could, that either (or neither) candidate could be president. So be it.

Jeanette suggested an alternative which would probably satisfy the electorate: let Judge Judy decide the case. :-) (Of course, there is a dissenting view to that, too.)

With the day off from work, I took the opportunity to watch the hearing before the Florida State Supreme Court. It was exciting! It's not often we get the chance to see history transpire like this. Hats off to ABC News for their uninterrupted coverage of the 2-1/2 hour session, with what seemed to me to be concise and unbiased analysis from a small team in the studio, during the recess, and afterwards.

I appreciated the opportunity to see David Boies in action. He's been on both sides of landmark anti-trust cases against IBM (for the defense) and Microsoft (for the DOJ), and argued Gore's case. He's good, rattled off the sections and subsections of Florida's statute from memory and describing what he thought the Justices needed to do, and what the law allowed them to do.

There were attorneys for the Florida Attorney General (seems a bit odd, why wouldn't the AG represent himself?), a couple of counties, the Secretary of State and "a voter" (! How'd he get in there?) as well.

The Bush attorneys seemed the weekest of the lot, to me. Michael Carvin was particularly lame, giving emotional appeals in a venue that called for dispassionate attention to detail. He also didn't get the basic Supreme Court rule of decorum which says the Judges get to speak whenever they want to, and the lawyers have to listen, and ideally answer their questions. When asked about Texas law concerning manual recounting, his answer was "I really don't know anything about Texas law." Ouch, bubba! Sure, this is Florida, but that was weak.

The second Bush lawyer, Barry Richard, seemed ready to do a William Jennings Bryan schtick, but got sharply cut off by questions from the bench (as did everyone else, before they were able to hit a bloviating stride). His argument was that SC had no business overriding the Florida Legislature and its delegation of power to the Executive.

Perhaps Florida AG Bob Butterworth sent his lawyer to the Supreme Court because he was busy with his letter to Florida counties, telling them to count military absentee ballots with no postmark. That could leave the Supreme Court's ruling moot.

Hours of fun or at least minutes, laughing at collected jargon. "Dog food has been verbed." Thanks to peterme, the guy who (at least says he) coined the term "blog."

18.Nov.2000

JR with a handfull of Mr. P.

Doing some file cleanup, I found this badly tinted but still charming view of Jeanette holding Mr. P some years back. He didn't put up with this sort of thing for long, but the shot is near the catnip, so he might have been a little stoned.

J. reports from the homestead that there is a new white-faced black cat in the neighborhood, this time adopted a few doors down, but happy to visit our house. Reincarnation?!

Time for the finale, perhaps? We won't be going out in style, though.

Some counties said they were unaware of Ms. Harris's directive, others said they considered it wrong and chose to disregard it, others complied with it, and still others took it to mean that no postmark was required even on civilian ballots.

Philip W. Johnston writes from firsthand experience about dimpled chads. As we prepare for ballot technology upgrades, let's keep what should have been stunningly obvious a long time ago clear in our minds:

(B)allots that are subject to judgment calls by election officials and judges taint the electoral process.

Frank Rich's take on all the Sturm und Drang is entertaining, and seems spot on to me: May the Best Man Lose.

Time for beer, I went across the street to the grocery store too convenient for me to dislike for long. They had a sale on my favorite brand, $1.50 off with a Club Card. "Do you have a club card?" Ah, no, but my wife does. "What's your phone number?" Two tries and it didn't ring me up, Jeanette must have demurred on that parameter.

He politely explained that it was $1.50 off, but I needed a Club card... asked me how I wanted to proceed. "You're in charge man, make a decision," I said, prepared to pay retail rather than join the Club.

He puzzled a moment over how to meet his twin checker objectives, to satisfy customers, and to follow the Club rules. "I could give you a refund, after I ring you up..." as he proceeded to do the first step, and generate change for my twenty.

"Would you like a dollar and a half?" he asked. "Sure," I said, and he pressed some more buttons, and more money came out. "Oh, it was $1.62, there was tax on that, too."

I thanked him sincerely, and left a satisfied customer.

17.Nov.2000

Time to talk about something besides the election, eh? Besides, the suspense is almost over, and all that's left are the tedious court proceedings.

I've signed up to be notified about new content on Write the Web, and checking up on it today, I was struck by just how useful this site is. The design is free of all the extraneous garbage that clutters up most commercial space, the information is succinctly presented, and each page makes multiple things of interest readily accessible, with enough information to help you decide whether you want to look into it.

Some sample topics:

Of course, the big problem with a good site is that it leads to another, and another, and you fall further behind. If you're looking to do that, too, you can try Jim Romenesko's Media News for news about news. I suppose someone's doing news about news about news, too, the blog-squared.

Here's a great place to put a train cam! (The live image was a bit spotty at 10:30pm, but I think I did get to see a train go by - just a couple images with the headlight's illumination, and then lots of dark cars passing. :-)

16.Nov.2000

The election drags on, with more questions than answers. The Florida Supremes OK hand-counting, but other cases may obviate their results. Somehow, I found my way to Michael Reagan's conservative outpost, and an interesting theory about all those double-punched ballots in Palm Beach County.

It's a bit on the histrionic side, and has trouble staying on the same side of hypothetical vs. proved line, but it does offer a potentially more plausible theory of how it happened that PBC so many voided ballots. Somebody altered them, after the fact.

It also sounds like a raving conspiracy theory, but cut 'em some slack for a bit as you go through it.

"Explicit statistical evidence of massive ballot tampering" is conjectured, if not proved. And the not-so-subtle point about how long it would take to gore 45,000 of them is glossed over.

My guess is if you had a good punch and die setup you could probably handle punch 50 at a time, and you might be able to do 6 bundles of 50 in a minute once you got rolling. That would take... two and a half hours, rather than a quick 15 minutes in a back room.

The essential data -- what was the distribution of double punches? -- are not presented here, nor have I seen them anywhere else. This piece does suggest some good questions to ask if and when those data are made public.

The more general observation -- that elections are inexact -- is also getting a lot of exposure from this. From a NYTimes piece:

"Congress leaves it to the states, states leave it to the cities and counties, and the cities and counties leave it to, let's face it, fairly low-level political patronage employees with very weak budgets."

Accuracy estimates for vote counting machines: they range as high as 99.99% - 600 votes out of Florida's 6 million - down to 99.9% (6000 votes), to 99.5% (in one actual test; that would be 30,000 votes in error out of 6 million), to "rates of 1 percent and higher," according to the president of Cardamation, which makes punch card readers.

The good news - I guess - is that only 3 and half million of Florida's votes were done on punch cards, so cut all those totals in halfish. (So... what about the rest?)

Duval County had big problems, too. The Times seems happy to blame it on voter ignorance, with handy anecdotes, but no showing of their work.

This one had multiple pages of candidates for president, in succession, rather than facing.

15.Nov.2000

Bigger news than the election: Mr. Rogers plans to hang it up. Thank goodness for reruns. You can still visit him on the web, too.

Ok, let's do the numbers. Florida's Secretary of State, Kathleen Harris, has reported the latest numbers from the 67 counties (as of her 5pm Tuesday deadline) showing Bush ahead by 300 votes, out of 6 million cast.

That's 1 in 20,000, or 0.005%.

The difference in the popular vote (so far) is a landslide, by comparison. Gore ahead by 230 thousand out of 100 million votes cast: 0.23%.

What's an acceptable error? Some say as high as 2 to 5%, as long as "the error is evenly distributed across all of the candidates." In other words, we hope we get lucky, and the errors all cancel out. As Florida is showing us, the alternative beyond hoping we get lucky is exceedingly complex.

CNN reports that Gore picked up 6 votes in a recount of 5,871 ballots just three precincts in Miami-Dade County.

That's a tenth of a percent, twenty times the margin that Bush now enjoys. Four hundred times the lower limit of what some say is acceptable error. (The AP story doesn't really say "some say," of course: this 2-5% is a hearsay factoid, but it's probably not wrong by a factor of 10.)

Also in that CNN story, Volusia County's manual count of 184,000 ballots reduced Bush's statewide lead by 98 votes; that's 0.05%, ten times the Bush's "official" interim margin. ("Interim," because there are still some thousands of overseas absentee ballots to be counted by Florida.)

How the numbers are tested, recounted, or "reinvented" is a matter of some partisan bickering, and a growing number of lawsuits. I agree with Harris that the suits should all be packed up and delivered to the Florida Supremes, to come up with the best possible speedy resolution. Lawyers can prolong things when they want to, far beyond what seems appropriate or just in this instance.

Did Palm Beach's election board member Carol Roberts "mishandle" and "compromise" ballots as the Republicans charge? Surely there is an opportunity for mischief when "pregnant chad" is ruled to be up to the "discretion" of local boards, even with as much scrutiny as the process is being given. As ballots are handled, evidence is being tampered with. Multiple runs through a machine counter might be expected to converge (within 0.005%?!) on a single value. Recounting them by hand may well never converge.

If a manual recount is done, it should probably be for the whole state. 6 million ballots, oh my. The pain and expense should go quite a way toward encouraging Florida to come up with a better system.

There's a lot to be said for not doing a manual recount of 6 million votes, but the Bush people are in a bit of an awkward situation there. It seems Texas passed legislation touting the virtue of manual recounts on W.'s watch. D'OH!

With both candidates making appearances tonight, and trying their best to act presidential, I think the best deal is for them to quickly agree on accepting an outcome neither can be sure of: the count as certified so far, plus the remaining absentee ballots. Let the chips fall where they may.

The alternative may well be the House of Representatives and no one should want those bozos to finish the election. They can't get their damn budget done within two months of the annual deadline, for Pete's sake. Tom DeLay thinks maybe the House could just toss Florida's electors if the results not to their liking... That could make for an interesting 2002 Congressional election.

14.Nov.2000

Adbusters continues to provoke awareness, as well as amuse. The Zen TV experiment offers a new way to pay attention.

Perhaps
watching TV
produces
the
equivalent
mental condition
of
w e i g h t l e s s n e s s
for
the human mind.

"It is easier to shorten attention spans and increase distraction than to lengthen attention spans, increase concentration, and calm, quiet and still the mind.... The question to ask is: What is the good of a jumpy, volatile, scattered and hyper monkey-mind?"

Rather a funny question to pose in a weblog, which is about as close to "fast cuts" as you can get in a textual medium. Never mind the flashing banner ads, those are (almost universally) not entertaining. Yet. It may be a race between viewers and ad technology for that one; we may learn to be amused.

What would the Zen web experiment be?

I don't need to keep talking about the election, of course, everyone's doing it without my help. I did enjoy Joe Conason's Republican rules of order from Salon, though. Not that one party has a lock on hypocrisy, or anything, but the observation that if we could count all the votes in Florida accurately, Bush would lose was interesting.

The current process is demonstrably fraught with error. Whether the errors are biased one way or another, and whether there is any scenario under which we can find the truth here are open, and unanswerable questions, I imagine.

At least the election has a nice theme song.

12.Nov.2000

How it looked across the pond, to the Guardian:

"The truth, bluntly, is that Bush is an irresponsible know-nothing."

I wonder if Cheney found time to vote last Tuesday, or if he was too busy.. Not that his vote would have mattered in his home state of Tex -er- Wyoming.

Bryce and Zion in snow. What a wonderful day that must have been. I wouldn't have wanted to follow it up with a visit to Las Vegas, though. One Comdex was plenty, for me.

Helen may be done with Congress, but we haven't seen the last of her and her ilk. "What you're seeing with the Jarbidge road is an attempt by the international community to control every life in every country." Reported by the Statesman, which may not bother to maintain their older stories on the web...

More than 80% of Ada County voters cast ballots in this election. Canyon County was over 80, too. Wow! Almost like a democracy. Except for the fact that Idaho's gone to a one party system... "Saddam Hussein could get 60 percent of the vote if he were running as a Republican in Canyon County," LiCalzi said.

10.Nov.2000

Netscape teased me to the AP story with the headline "Gore urged to concede." Urged by the Bush camp, unsurprisingly. James Baker made the threat clear enough, that if Gore challenges Florida, why the Republicans would start challenging other states that had close races, won by Gore. I do expect a recount in Wisconsin and Iowa, certainly, and anywhere else where the difference was less than 0.1%.

Watching Baker on the Newshour, I was struck by his performance; it was beyond partisan, as he got a sly smile on his face when he launched into the veiled threat. I never liked his politics, but this made him dislike -- to say nothing of distrust -- him deeply. This is the sort of thing you just can't get from print media, who trot out Baker's "former Secretary" honorific and give his words an imprimatur. Watch for the video, watch the nuances on the man's face, and see if you don't agree with me.

It is ugly.

William Daley said the kinds of things you'd expect Gore's campaign chairman to say, with a laundry list of complaints they'd thought up about the Florida process. (Or were they just culled from the Chicago playbook?) Warren Christopher, on the other hand, seemed a genuine elder statesman and calm voice of reason.

Since it's the states that get to say how they determine electors, we have to ask the states - what do your laws say? That sort of question gets answered by judges. Ain't no way around it. As for "getting tied up in the courts," that too is up to the judges.

This isn't rocket science: we wait for Florida to certify an official and final count, and then go with it. There's plenty to discuss about ballot usability, but realistically, it will have to be fixed next time. The affidavits and citizen challenges in Palm Beach County are a touching tribute to loyalty to a candidate, but I'm confident any reasonable Florida jurist will dismiss them.

We don't need to rush this important question. The emphasis should be on getting the right answer. (Never mind that "none of the above" may still look like the best choice.)

Bush and his "camp" are pretty damn presumptuous, if you ask me. If they won the election, we'll know for sure in a week. Rather than thinking up with righteous ways for Gore to behave, they should try modeling ethical behavior.

While we're waiting for that to happen, and Florida (et al.) to finish (re)counting, the Curmudgeon seems to have the best show on the web. All of a sudden, statistics are interesting! :-)

Oh, and I have to qualify that bit about the print media. Maureen Dowd covers the nuances, oh so nicely:

The most banal race in history has produced the most electrifying election in history, with the presidency dancing on the head of a pin for mere handfuls of votes, precisely because the matched set of dauphins were so inadequate and indistinct that they were preordained to collide on the runway.

9.Nov.2000

Cringely adds another explanation for the Electoral College: "to perpetuate smarmy political paternalism and to make it easier to rig elections."

The latest? information, with 66 of 67 Florida counties recounted, shows a margin of 229 votes, Bush still ahead. TBO.com notes that this is all unofficial, of course.

And how about the Florida state law that gives "overseas" voters a couple weeks to get their ballots in?! My absentee ballot in Idaho had to be there by election day, or it wouldn't be counted.

I hope I punched the right holes.

What an interesting thing this Federal system is. Looks like we'll have a couple weeks to reflect on that.

8.Nov.2000

Pity the poor morning newspaper, with a deadline to meet. The Palo Alto Daily News did a nice job with last night's problem: 90pt type, reading

CLIFFHANGER

The people who thought they knew better turned out to be wrong, and wrong more than once, as Florida was chalked up for Gore, then taken down and chalked up for Bush. As I write, C-SPAN's site is showing an update as of 4:13pm EST today with the margin in Florida less than 2000 votes, out of almost 6 million votes cast. One part in 3,000, less than 0.04%.

Not much to say but "wow!"

Back in my native state of Wisconsin, Gore prevailed, but not by much; a little over 6,000 votes in a two and a half million. Perhaps my nephew was among the 90+ thousand who voted for Nader, I don't know. But my brother's vote turned out as useless as my own, cast for Gore, in Idaho.

Idaho is a special (if not a basket) case. The electorate shows a decidedly anti-intellectual bent, and regularly sends politicians who they know can do no harm (and no good) to Washington. The nation was split 50-50 on the Bush/Gore thing, and Idaho... Idaho was 68% for G.W.

You can tell the NYT whether you thought your vote counted.

Was it my imagination, or did the 'net get really slow yesterday (and still slow tonight), while everyone was checking 5 web sites to see who had the next morsel of news? Dave Winer ticked off a bunch of places with election results on his ScriptingNews.

A curmudgeon looks at something fishy in Florida, possibly a ballot useability problem.

How many different explanations are there for the Electoral College? I've come across 4 in the last two days:

Listening to the discussion on the Newshour, I was wondering just what Kalb's problem is. This race was closer than any we'd experienced, it can't be surprising that mistakes were made. What difference does it make if the networks make a forecast and it turns out to be wrong? It happens over the weather all the time, and somehow life goes on. If someone calls a state for X, and an hour or a day or a week later it turns out it really went for Y... so what?

It's as if he forgot we were talking about an election rather than news.

7.Nov.2000

Election day, and here in exile, we have no Democrat parties to go to. They're always grim affairs in Idaho, I'm betting they're a lot more fun in California. Whatever happens to the Golden State, though, the US is headed in another direction, it would seem.

It's still too close to call, or at least was last time I heard a report. (Salon: Why is this race even close?) This seems a more pleasant moment than knowing, really, and I've a mind to make it last as long as I can.

I'm still enjoying a bit of euphoria from the Packers Monday Night Football miracle over the Vikings at Lambeau Field. It wasn't pretty, but it sure was fun if you're a cheese-head at heart. If only politics were that easy, or that meaningless...

I tried a little last minute influence, with a call to Wisconsin during half-time. My brother said "I'm not voting for a lying sack of ****!" and didn't seem to get it when I said "so, you're not voting tomorrow?" I did get to pass on some avuncular wisdom to his son, but at 18, the pull toward Nader's idealism may well be stronger than the real politic of voting for Gore.

A curmudgeon at work pointed out that the doom and gloom when Reagan was elected didn't pan out, and instead of WWIII, we had the end of the Cold War. The most drastic changes in American life were brought about by FDR and LBJ, he noted.

So, maybe we'll survive a reign of George II, everyman who wants to put a dollar in your pocket and ten in his own. Maybe, as Paul Krugman pointed out was the best possible scenario, his fuzzy math on Social Security was nothing more than a blatant bait and switch routine, and we won't have the markets exercising their franchise when Bush tries to carry out his amazingly inept plan to invest contributions and pay them out at the same time.

We'll see.

5.Nov.2000

Ornamental grass flowers

How low can you go? Joel Spolsky tracks the bottom of Silicon Alley stocks. I anticipated the bursting bubble, wilting tulips and so on, back when I was watching Yahoo! floating around in the top 100 of market capitalization, and wrote about market momentum in early 1999.

Not like it did me much good to "know" it was coming, at some unspecified time. I'm often too quick for my own good, sprinting when I should be pacing myself. If I'd thought to watch for genuine signs of a downturn, I could've ridden the wave for another year. Instead, I retrenched for Y2K with plenty of leadtime to avoid getting trampled by the herd. That at least wasn't a problem.

4.Nov.2000

Did some volunteer work for the Savoyards today, moving the set for H.M.S. Pinafore from scene shop to Dinkelspiel, in two truckloads. Theater has always been an adventure in organization, in my experience. I suppose professionals are more organized than volunteers, but I suspect they just apply more brute force, with paid workforces.

I showed up at 9am, as I'd been asked to, and as I'd promised, in spite of a fair amount of reluctance after committing, to sacrificing my Saturday morning (let alone the whole day). The few other stalwarts seemed a little shocked that anyone would show up like that, and be sort of enthusiastic, to boot.

Of course, the sacrifice had already been made, and now I wanted to move, since that's what I was there for. Others on the crew knew they'd be there for a lot more than 7 hours, and had a slower, more thoughtful pace.

I tend to bounce off the walls, actually. "WhaddoIdo, whaddoIdo?" I like the combination of defined, quantifiable task and the requirement for large muscle activity. (Just the antidote from a workweek with two much deskwork in it.) But by midafternoon, I was running out of gas, and no longer had patience of the wait states while the group organism figured out "what next?"

Plus, I wanted to go home before dark, having not brought my bike light. I took my time rolling home, the sun at my back, and the fall colors a delight to the eye and soul.

2.Nov.2000

While waiting for my password for my soon-to-be-new-free-site on Free-conversant, I pulled up the New York Times.

Bush acknowledges driving while drunk - no big surprise there, but a pleasant dose of Schadenfreude watching him squirm. Yes, W., it's "real interesting" that this came up now, but so what? It's the best moment to get political mileage out of it, what the hell did you expect. It probably isn't the worst that could be dredged up, now is it?

Here's the funny thing. When asked why he hadn't disclosed it sooner, he claims to have been protecting his daughters. That is, "...I didn't want my daughters doing the kinds of things that I did."

If they'd known he'd been arrested from drunk driving, they'd want to do that, too? The man is certainly not a deep thinker, but it remains to be seen whether the majority of the electorate perceive that as any sort of problem.

The first astronauts, Russians and Americans together, arriving on board the unnameable space station is going to be a much more durable entry when history gets written, but it hardly seems to garner any attention in the present.

The advent of the Hypercosm media player to view some 3D animations on the NYT site is probably the other end of the historical significance scale. Download software? Puhleese. I've already got 4 things that should be sufficient, battling it out in the Registry every time I look the other way.

Paul Krugman observes that the big lie seems to be working for W. Wherever the Guv's credibility comes from, it's not accuracy or understanding economics. One trillion, or half a trillion. Well, shoot, half of something's not so big, is it. $500,000,000,000 seems like a fairly big number, but what's that got to do with half a trillion? Just think of Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Jim Clark getting together on one of their yachts and sailing off the edge of the earth...

My guess is that if elected, Mr. Bush will try to govern as he has campaigned. The accounts will simply be fudged until the financial markets, alarmed by America's rapidly deteriorating finances, deliver a message that cannot be ignored.

Doesn't sound pleasant, really, but then not much about another George Bush in the White House does.

1.Nov.2000

Darkness.

By 6 o'clock, when I wrap things up at work, it's solidly dark, and time for the flashLED taillight, and a genuine headlight. The tradeoff is that I get to ride to work in pleasant sunlight and fall colors. If I have to pick one or the other, I'd go with light in the morning.

I stayed up late last night, putting finishing touches on my photos from Yosemite, broke them into 6 pages, and decided to remove the links to larger (max 800x600) versions, since those would use up half my 25MB deal at Westhost. It took long enough as it was to get the 3+ MB uploaded, and I'm guessing most of my traffic has the same sort of slow connection I do. (That's 56k... which once was blazing fast, compared to 28, 14, and slower, of course.)

Checking the pages from work, the size and speed is not an issue, but the pix look kind of dark. The difference between my home low ambient, and work high ambient, I guess. I also noticed that the JPEG banding was not nearly as noticeable. I have a better monitor and graphics card at work, but I didn't expect that much difference.

Life's full of surprises, like a co-worker telling me about a cat his family had that could've been Mr. P's brother; same looks, same attitude, same poundage. The first thing he said about him was "we had a cat that was just like a dog," which is how I used to describe Mr. P.

raveling

Tom von Alten      tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org

http://www.anybrowser.org/

Monday, 01-Jan-2001 22:43:25 MST
http://www.fortboise.org/blog/200011.html