Saturday, September 28, 2002


Robert Brown talks about talking about leukemia.

She paused at the bottom of the steps. I'm glad you lived so you could grow up to be my Dad.

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He Came Here Often

A white birch tree stands over the grass and canebrake by the edge of the blackwater pool. With no branches left. With no leaves. A branchless, leafless, lifeless trunk, shining white in the sun, standing dead beside the water.

What did you see in your days down here: by the swamp, in the grass, amid the ferns, a stone's throw away from the hemlock grove, in front of the poplar and oaks and maple trees growing on the hill? What did you see?

Did you see my grandfather walking by? He came here often.

He must have been by many times while your leaves still rustled on bending limbs, while you still felt the blowing wind. He must have been by many times while you were here, before this pond, before these cattail reeds, before the swamp water pooled black at your feet. He was a man of steady hand and silent gaze. He made plans hatched from private thoughts collected during his walks and wanderings. You must have seen him.

Did you see him conceiving this pond and this log cabin that you likely never lived to see, planning them, silently and steadily? He usually wore a hat, my grandfather did. He wore it when he walked in the woods. And he would stop to smell the air and view the land and stand still with that gaze and those thoughts and his plans. You would have recognized him.

You must have seen him. He came here often.

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 Friday, September 27, 2002

Land of Roots

Those are the lands of my roots, the northern reaches of the subcontinent, but I can speak with a Texas twang or maybe even a bit of that Chicago-sounding thing. Raised amid the cornfields but long-now living in Texas, I can speak one way or the other or somewhere in between. My eyes and hair and olive-colored skin obscure the place of my birth and ambiguously hint at one part of my roots.

Those are the lands of my roots, where armies stare each other down down over mountain peaks and across the valleys in between, armies of brown-eyed, brown-haired, brown-skinned soldiers spewing their hatred across dotted lines on the map, where bombs and assassinations and communal violence are commonplace. Those are the lands and the people of part of my ancestry, but I do not understand them.

Behind arrayed nuclear weaponry, behind the mumbling of coup-installed presidents and double-speaking ministers, behind the religious zealots and fighters and martyrs there is no humanity left, only poverty, misery and death.

But then, where is the humanity in Palestine? Where is the humanity in Ireland? Where was the humanity in Oklahoma when the tears of nations fell and no one saw and still too few care.

Those are the lands of my roots. And those are the lands of yours. Hatred lurks deep within us all, just waiting for an opportunity.

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Like Father, Unlike Son

Democracy did not exactly flourish in Morocco under King Hasan, a condition sadly typical of most Islamic regimes in the world. Under his son, however, things are changing -- for the better, one can only hope.

Over 14 million Moroccan voters will head Friday for polling stations across the country to elect their representatives in the future 325-house of representatives, a vote set to be a decisive turning point in the construction of democratic Morocco.

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Google News

Go to a school. Ask the kids to look for something on the web. Tell them to "google" for this or that. They'll know what you mean. Google is great, and it's more than just their great name.

Now they're using their technology to gather news stories, trolling the web for breaking stories and grouping related stories from different sources together under single headlines along with an indication of how long ago (in minutes!) the news was gathered. For example, their world news page.

And here's the cool part. Scroll to the bottom of their page and you'll see this:

This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors. No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page.

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First in Line

The plane was mostly full. The overhead bins were overflowing. The boarding passengers left in the aisles were looking anxiously for seats and a place to put their bags.

An elderly couple got on at the end. They must have come late to the airport. Gray-haired, walking slowly, looking forlornly for two seats together, they began a hopeless walk to the back.

There was a single seat next to me and another one in the row in front, so I patted the man on the arm and held up two fingers, pointing to the empty seat and mine as I stood up. He smiled and said thank you as I moved my stuff and sat down.

The flight was quick -- one of those up-and-down ones that Southwest flies so many of. The boys in the front had barely finished their hot cocoa when the pilot announced our descent, and we were on the ground less than 30 minutes after we had taken off. As usual, the plane had barely pulled up to the gate when the aisles were full of pushing passengers making a dash for the front.

I had never seen the dash close-up before. Usually I sit behind the wing well away from the rush, but this time I was in the second row and saw it all firsthand. It's a spectacle I've never quite understood.

I stood up.

And there I stood in the second row as people dashed up from behind and blocked the aisles for everyone else. There I stood in the second row as the distinguished gray-haired man and his quiet wife elbowed their way from their row behind me to stand in the aisle in front of me so that they could get off first.

You're welcome, I thought but kept the words to myself.

They squirmed around so to be the first to deplane, and when I finally managed to get off myself, I saw them sitting in seats several gates down the concourse waiting for a connecting flight. The gate where they sat was not open yet, so the two of them sat in the front row nearest to the counter, waiting.

My connecting flight was leaving from across the hall, and I saw them sit there for 30 minutes before the gate finally opened. They were first in line.

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 Thursday, September 26, 2002


He carried a leather shoulder bag, distinguished looking but worn. It was overstuffed with papers. A day-planner stuck out of the top. He wore shiny leather shoes and baggy wool dress slacks and a white shirt, crisp even at the end of the day. A tweed sport coat was slung over his arm, and his other hand was in his pocket. He had thin wire frame glasses that amplified his lawyer aura. He stood at the corner of the bar with his left foot propped up on the brass foot rail in front of the stool on which his leather satchel sat.

She was working behind the bar, pouring drinks, checking IDs, selling packs of cigarettes to addicted suicidal customers who nervously tapped them against their hands as they prepared to light up and share their habit with everyone around them. She rung up orders on the cash register one after another, tapping on the glowing computer touch screen that sat perched on the counter between the mirrors on the wall, under the neatly arrayed bottles with expensive looking labels, beneath the shining brass bell that hung silent while the rolling hubbub of the place filled in the brief moments of silence between the music of an Irish folk band coming from the back.

He stood patiently there keeping an eye on her while she walked up and back, up and back, never stopping to catch a breath, filling glasses, tossing out empty bottles of beer, making change, sliding food across the bar. After a long while, she stopped briefly and saw him standing there waiting for that moment. She returned his gaze with flashes of light and a hint of a grin.

Did you get my message? she asked.

I did, he answered with a satisfied smile on his face. But in the time it took to speak those words she had gone back to the other end of the bar to deal with something that needed dealing with down there.

So he reassumed his patient stance, waiting for the next snippet of time she could share with him. But it never came, and after half an hour of waiting, he picked up his bag and sat at a table where some other people were gathering and talking and drinking and eating and winding down the end of their day. They greeted him loudly when he walked up.

His work day was done. Hers was just beginning.

O'Shea's Irish Pub on Charles Street, Baltimore MD
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 Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Alone in No-Man's-Land

The old woman sat in a wheelchair. She had short gray hair and drooping shoulders. Her eyes flashed as she turned her head back and forth watching the activity in the concourse. She wore a blue cotton T-shirt that was too large for her and was probably why her shoulders seemed to slump so much.

Behind the wheelchair, a younger woman pushed the old woman in black and pulled a suitcase of her own. She wore khaki shorts and a loose-fitting black top. She wheeled the chair alongside a row of empty seats.

In the distance ahead a TV blared, and a throng of people was crowding to board a plane. In the distance behind another TV blared, and a crowd sat before it mesmerized. Here, where the old and the younger woman sat between the blaring TVs, there was nobody else around. Here, in no-man's-land, was where the wheelchair got parked.

Ok, the younger woman announced. She towered over the old woman. Her face was several feet away as she spoke. What do you want to eat?

The old woman in blue turned her head and looked up at the woman in black with a blank expression on her face -- not an empty one: a tentative, I'm-thinking-about-it look. This was an airport, after all, and they were in a barren no-man's-land. What were the choices? Before she could answer, the younger woman in black said, Do you want a hamburger? The old woman in black nodded, and the younger one walked off, leaving the old woman behind sitting alone in no-man's-land.

Five minutes are so passed, and the younger woman in black returned. She had two bottles of water and a single, plain hot dog in a bun, which she thrust into the old woman's hands.

I got you a hot dog, she said. And water.

She handed her one of the bottles and walked off again in the direction of the phones. The old woman in blue sat alone in her wheelchair eating her hotdog in no-man's-land.

Hobby Airport, Houston TX
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 Tuesday, September 24, 2002

No Tears

At Bunka's grave again, we pull in on the white gravel and park under the white pine trees at the edge of the cemetery. She discretely looks over at me as we roll to a stop.

I know what she is thinking. I know what she is looking for. My grandfather's grave is here, and she is watching my eyes for tears.

This is it, I tell her, pointing to the gravestones sitting in the shade in the grass amid ajuga and already-bloomed lilies and blooming hastas.

We walk up the hill. I pick up some sticks and rub the gravestone lichen off the top of one stone.

Then we leave. Gone for another year.

Fairlawn Cemetery, Walkerville MI (summer 2002)
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I don't have a TV. I can't watch the difference that he's struggling to make. I can read this speech that he gave last year.

But this is their game. They're counting on your patriotism to distract you from their plunder. They're counting on you to be standing at attention with your hand over your heart, pledging allegiance to the flag, while they pick your pocket!

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 Monday, September 23, 2002

Our Interests: Oil

Funny how this doesn't get any play in the press. It's time for a war, you see. Our national interests are at stake. National interests. At stake. Yup.

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Timothy and the Kids

Timothy had a comforting manner. His voice was calm. His expressions were friendly. When he spoke to the passengers there was a confident zaniness in the words he chose. He pretended that he didn't know where the airplane was going next. He insisted that all bags be crammed or kicked under the seats. He radiated a sincere smile without end.

In Jackson, Mississippi the plane landed for twenty minutes. A few people got off and a few got on: tall, burly football player looking guys, old gray haired ladies, young women with bleach-blonde hair in skippy outfits they would soon regret, young women with babies on their hips, college student looking kids, business men and women in impeccable suits looking a bit worn and wrinkled at the end of the day. And there were the unaccompanied minors.

On Southwest, the unaccompanied children always board first. This time there were four: two girls and two boys. The edges in his voice softened when they came thru the door, and Timothy welcomed each one by name. Then he took their bags and found them seats. He sat the girls together on the right and the boys on the left.

When they needed gum from their bags stashed overhead, Timothy found it for them. When they had garbage pinched between their knees, he took it. When they didn't know just what to drink he knelt before them, eye to eye, and slowly named every drink he had. When they dropped their rubber eyeballs under their seats, he searched the rows for them.

With his words and his eyes, Timothy made those four kids comfortable from the start. And once the plane was in the air, they were long since settled in and never stopped talking until they were home.

Southwest Airlines, Baltimore-Jackson-Houston-Austin
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 Saturday, September 14, 2002


Michael wonders about crying:

Two days ago in the gym, some damn song came on the radio about giving love one more chance, so I had to walk of the room and quietly weep on the stairs. I was nervous the whole time that someone would come up behind me.

So here I was, one day a week ago or so, driving home after a long run along the lake. I was exhausted, weak, hungry, sore and tired. As I rounded the bend in the road, to my left was the Austin High School marching band practicing in the sun in the parking lot. There were golden susaphones glittering in the sun; there were drums rattling off marching cadences; there was a line of flags fluttering from the poles of the drill team. The band was arrayed in crisp squads of four. I broke into tears and couldn't make myself stop.

At least for Michael it was about love. At least he was at the gym!

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Morning Fog

I woke up on this morning as I often do, stiff, congested, feeling the mold and pollen in the air. In such a state, it is impossible to move, impossible to think, and especially impossible to smile. I am not a morning person, anyway. All I could do was sit up against the head of the bed. And wait.

Trudy came in the room. She had been up a long time, as is usually the case in the morning, here. She came in the room and smiled and offered a hug and a kiss when she saw me sitting there. It was the kind of greeting we were always presented with when I was young.

When we were kids and we ventured out of our beds into the dining rooms or living rooms or back yards of our childhoods, our mothers and aunts and our grandmother would always stop what they were doing. They would set down their coffee cups. They would stop spooning jelly on their toast. They would suspend their conversations and would turn to us and exclaim, Good morning, sunshine!

Each morning they did that for us when we gathered together, cousins and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and grandparents. Christmas. Easter. Summer. Thanksgiving. Every morning they put aside their adult lives and welcomed the children into the world.

So this morning, Trudy did that for me, and those mornings of welcome and exclaim came rushing back. And I sat there stiff, as I did back then, waiting for the fog to lift. It was all I could do to muster the strength to walk into the dining room before she left for the day.

But now, the sun is out, throwing patches of light green onto the growing grass in the yard. The sky is blue, although a midwestern haze is turning the horizons brown. The leaves on the trees are rustling gently in some kind of early autumn breeze. And Trudy's coffee is hot in the pot.

I think I have waited long enough. It's finally time to start the day.

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 Friday, September 13, 2002

DRM dreams

Doc Searls has some interesting perspectives on what the real meaning of Digitial Rights Management is. He believes a DRM-governed future is a bleak one -- but one that is exactly what the RIAA, the MPAA, Hollywood, Disney, and the rest of the content cartel want. He feels strongly about this, and he wants us to understand precisely what is really going on:

they want to move the PC into the consumer electronics cartel they know so well. They want to succeed where dot-coms failed, at the biggest fantasy of the era: TV with a buy button. Stereos too. Also MP3 players. All of it.

Money makes the world go 'round. If what you're doing doesn't contribute, then what you're doing must be regulated into oblivion -- in the interest of prosperity, in the interest of profits, in the interest of a return to the boom days when the big-wigs sat on their high-rise thrones and reaped billions for waking up in the morning and brushing their teeth.
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Playing the Game

Britt Blaser has an interesting post on his weblog, Escapable Logic, about the structure of our society and the rewards it gives to people who realize that nothing is fundamentally important and consequently pursue life as an abstract game, a game whose rewards are richer in direct proportion to the irrelevance of its moves to the general human condition:

So are we ready to say that we have a privileged part of our society dealing with numbingly complex issues that don't matter [...]

That's the conclusion I can no longer avoid. If you are willing and able to manipulate increasingly complex symbols of decreasing real-world significance, then you get promoted to the next rung on the academic/socioeconomic ladder. If you drop out of that silliness at an early age, probably abandoning whatever native symbolic-manipulation skills you might have, then you are destined for a tackier, scrappier, nastier future. [Blaser]

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 Thursday, September 12, 2002


A slice of sky and a patch of well-watered ground. Shelter from the wind and from thirsty, encroaching grass. Leaves of dark green and a narrow trunk of gray.

With chaos swirling all around. With the times changing. With people wondering. With storm clouds on the horizon and ominous water lapping at the shore.

A little Oak tree grows.

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 Wednesday, September 11, 2002

One Year Later

From this vantage point on this day it feels like a flood, like a rising, ebbless tide creeping up the shore. The waters of sadness and hatred and misery are rising. And the huddled masses are gathered together in the center of this island with no place else to go.

They have no place to go.

So they push and pull. They cry and yell. Some are standing above the rising waters on the dock in the bay looking out to sea and shaking their fists. Some are building great concrete piers on the last few patches of dry ground, fortified with gates around them and mighty skyscrapers of metal and glass perched on top. Some are sitting singing songs and smelling roses that suddenly seem so sweet. Some are waving banners and singing different songs with a feeling they realize they never quite felt before. And some are bumping. And some are shoving. And some are holding. And some are sheltering the others about them who cannot or will not push or pull for themselves. And some are just quiet, ignoring the clamor and remembering the day when the water was still and far away.

But the water has come.
And the water is rising.
And from the water we have no place to hide.

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Freedom of the Press

The Associated Press has posted these snippets that provide a glimpse of what they're up against in this new world order.

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 Monday, September 9, 2002

I Will Stop Here

The cable has been turned off. And although it has remained off for a very long time, the television is now unplugged and gone. Only the connector remains on the wall.

So I will not watch the pictures or listen to the commentators when that day comes around, one year after the day. I have read this, and perhaps it is enough.

[He] walks from the bright field into the hemlock woods just beyond the barren spot where Flight 93 slammed into the earth. It's mid-afternoon, but the woods are in permanent dusk, the tall trees allowing only a dim, gloomy light to filter down to the lush green ferns that blanket the ground. [D. Barry]

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The Last Two Miles

The arms of Fay are overhead, but her latest rains have come and gone. The rain barrel on the side of the house was full once more this morning. The sky is gray and the air, although thick, is mercifully cool compared to what is was like a few weeks ago.

Underneath the arching pedestrian bridge over Barton Creek, the blue-green water is whipped into waves blowing upstream from the north. Flotsam and jetsam and a few ducks and turtles bob and float and swim in the water by the shore. Far overhead the leaves of the Cottonwood trees quake in the breeze.

From across the river the sound of the horn of the northbound Amtrak train blows. They're only running two hours late. Two toots of the horn and they leave for the north toward Ft. Worth, and St. Louis and Chicago Union Station.

I wonder what's happening in the dining car.

My shorts and shirt are dripping wet, and my feet slosh with each step from the sweat that has been running down my legs. But most of my miles are behind me, and cold Gatorade beckons.

Town Lake, Austin TX
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 Friday, September 6, 2002

Security and Simplicity

A Microsoft official is quoted here, confessing the sad state of the company's software with respect to security:

I'm not proud [...] We really haven't done everything we could to protect our customers [...] Our products just aren't engineered for security.

Oh, how that's a quotable quote. But frankly, Microsoft is just too easy to pick on, here. Just what is it that makes software secure?

D.J. Bernstein has some ideas that make a lot of sense, paramount amoung them: simplicity.

Now who amoung us would contend that Microsoft is the only one writing complex software? I for one am putting down my stone.

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Welcome to Middle School

Back and forth. Forth and back. City to country. Country to city. Country to river. River to country. I drilled him on what he was supposed to know for the quiz.

Which is further west, the Indus or Ganges? You can remember if you remember Alexander the Great on his eastward march.

Where is Bucharest? You can remember if you know that roman is a word (in some languages) for novel. I gave the book a rest in Romania.

Niger! It's a soft 'g', like Nigeria.

Lima is in Peru. They both have four letters.

Quick! What are the two rivers near the capital of Iraq? What is the name of that city? Where in the world is it?

He climbed into his bunk later than usual. He had done a lot of work: reading, trombone, and now this quizzing for his first quiz. After he got to the top and I gave him his hug and turned out the light and walked back into the computer room, he said,

This sixth grade thing is really going to burn some new paths in my neurons. I like it.

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Technology that works for me

Steve Pilgrim writes here about looking at technology from a less geeky perspective, about making it not only work but also work for us:

It's finally dawned on many of us that our software has fallen behind our infrastructure [...]

Software that embraces mobility, synchronization, security, and manageability as transparent core attributes.  Software that recognizes "people" as being just as important as "documents". 

Funny. Yesterday John Siracusa had some interesting things to say about Mac OS X 1.2 and said this about Apple's Rendezvous and in particular quoted Stuart Cheshire, an Apple employee and key contributer to the IETF's effort to bring zero-configuration networking to the masses:

The IETF is generally populated by people who care very little for ease-of-use [...] Even today, it remains something of a minority view in the IETF. [Cheshire]

Apple's implementation of Rendezvous forces their infrastructure to be more useful in the sense above. Maybe I'll upgrade after all.

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Just Say Off

Go Tara!

[...] here is a little known secret that no network wants you to know---On every television set there is a little button, usually larger than all others.  Some T.V.'s have knobs you turn.  Press this button and your television disruption is over for your entire household.  Just look for the words Power or Off.  If that doesn't work, just pull the plug!

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Carter Speaks

Is any one listening to what he says?

Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as "enemy combatants," incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel.

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 Thursday, September 5, 2002

He's On To Something

d-squared says in this essay:

lots of important economic quantities can't be measured in a non-question-begging way, and this is just one more Damned Problem; it's very arguable that many important economic phenomena just are Damned Things that happen to be that way because they happened to get that way.

And he's at it again (on Thursday 29aug2002, but I can't get the link to work),

Or maybe, we should grow up a bit and accept that History is just one Damned Thing after another; it is a horrendous engine that eats unrealised possibilities. We the living are the tiny, lucky tip of an enormous iceberg of disastrous outcomes and missed opportunities, and there is more or less nothing that anyone can do about it.

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Payback Time

In the morning, says he, It's payback time! And there's a rattle of dog tags and a clatter of claws on the living room floor and the bedroom door opens a crack and into the previous silence comes a bounding dog, wag-tailing and face-kissing and jumping around where he's not allowed to be.

Payback time.

Whatever did I do?

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What's good for Oil is good for America! And electric vehicles don't fit the bill.

The future of zero-emission vehicles is grim:

when the camera lights go out, the auto companies roll these vehicles back into moth balls and come up with a pre-arranged set of excuses as to how they failed to develop and market them

Indeed, as discussed this Salon article, GM and Ford and Honda have pulled their electric vehicles from the market.

The big boys behind the surge in the high-polluntant, high-capacity, high-cost, high-profit SUV/truck market have whined that there is no market for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Salon points out that their energies (and substantial resources) have been focused elsewhere:

California state regulators forced automakers to bring electric cars to market. [...]

The automakers and dealers currently have state and federal lawsuits pending to prevent the California regulations from going into effect [...] even though those requirements represent a significant retreat from California's original zero-emissions vehicle mandate of 1990

And while all this is going on, look what's going on on the other side of the world: it's time to have another war! The Guardian has a provocative piece on how to interpret the latest:

Since September 11, however, it has become increasingly apparent to the US administration that the Saudi regime is vulnerable. [...] The love affair with America is ending. [...] The possibility of the world's largest oil reserves falling into the hands of an anti-American, militant Islamist government is becoming ever more likely - and this is unacceptable.

The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must therefore hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the government.

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 Wednesday, September 4, 2002

RIAA Wants to Watch

Verizon is fighting RIAA's attempt to enlist the courts in RIAA's desire to watch what we read and write and share. In their brief to the court, Verizon lawyers write,

The extraordinary scope of RIAA's desired construction can only be appreciated when it is understood that (i) everyone can be a copyright owner; and (ii) every transmission on the Internet implicates activities within the scope of the exclusive rights of copyright owners. [...]

If RIAA were correct in its construction [...], the potential for uncontrollable abuse would be enormous. It would not be difficult for any copyright owner (i.e., virtually anyone) to contrive asserted copyright infringements in order to obtain identifying information about private citizens using the Internet.

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August's End

The sky was dark overhead. In the west, a slight sliver of blue-gray sky hung over the horizon. Venus was bright in the sky. As we drove down the highway with the windows down, the hot summer air rushed about us.

In the seat next to me, the wind blew thru Trudy's hair. It whipped about, and every once in a while her hair stood on end. With her arm hanging out the window and the dark sky overhead, with the light of bright Venus peering thru the windshield, the highway took us over Barton Creek.

And there, with the oak and elm and juniper of the greenbelt standing in their nighttime gloom, the temperatures dropped, and the car was suddenly full of coolness, and the wind whipping thru our hair felt good, and it made us smile, and we breathed deeply and hoped that it might stay for a while.

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 Tuesday, September 3, 2002

The Fool

She had blonde hair -- shaved on the sides and back and tied in short, court-jester clumps on top. She wore neon-colored tights and a top that matched, tie-died in orange, chartreuse and pink. A smile was on her face, extending from ear to ear.

She stood in front of a growing crowd in the center of a circular plaza. A big boom box blared at her feet. While the audience waited, she leaned over and cranked up the volume. She looked up sheepishly at the expectant faces looking back at her.

And now a little warm-up, she said. The audience remained quiet, still waiting.

Her first act was jumping rope. The rope matched the colors of her clothes and hung down behind her as she stepped onto a pedestal.

Now for some workout jumping rope, she said. The audience remained quiet.

The music got loud and the she swung the rope in a circle beside her, catching the rhythm of the song and getting herself psyched up. After a measure or two, she began to jump standard rope. The crowd remained silent, waiting for something worth watching.

Then she began with the double jumps, but she tripped on the rope and had to try again. She tripped again, but she kept on trying, and she kept on smiling, and she started cracking jokes. The crowd was silent. So she switched to skipping around the plaza for a change of pace. The music continued, but the rope kept hitting the back of her feet.

With the crowd still silent, she chuckled and looked around, "Well it's a free country, folks! You don't have to stay."

I decided it was time to leave.


An hour or more later, I wandered back. The crowd was larger and cheering a bit. With her music still blaring, she stood in the center standing on a board balanced on a ball juggling three torches. But the torches kept falling, and she stumbled off the board.

Still, her smile was relentless, and she cracked good jokes making fun of herself until at last her show was over. The clapping was sparse at best, and the crowd began to walk away. Only a few children, mostly toddlers with mothers encouraging them from behind, walked up to shake her hand and drop some coins in her hat.

As the children and the crowd walked away, I walked down to the plaza and dropped two dollars in her hat. Her smile, at least, was worth that much.

You've got guts, I said.

Or I am a fool!

The Inner Harbor. Baltimore, MD
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