October 20, 2001
I've temporararily disabled the comment feature. I found
a better tool... It'll be back soon.
I'm off to see some art this afternoon.
October 19, 2001
Basket Full Of Puppies
"Before the tragedy of Sept. 11 the only scary thing about
was our bad hair in the 1980s and the Fistful of Metal album
cover...Suddenly our name is not so cool."
October 18, 2001
I got an e-mail from my "girlfriend-in-law" today. I don't
know if she's just feeling alive, or if something happened:
Hi Louis And Denise:
All I can say, is that I am lucky to still be alive and well!!!
Looking down the barrell of a gun is no fun!
Enjoy the day!
The band, not the germ...
in Fayetteville, NC was apparently named after somebody's
favorite band in 1996. Now, it's got a new meaning, and the
Is mapquest.com dead? I went to the site today, and most
of the graphics were missing.
While we're on the subject of maps, the University of Minnesota
has an interesting project online called Maps
in the News.
just turned me on to ShouldExist.org
This is a fun idea.
- or - Information vs Hysteria in the Media
New York Post
New York Times
The leaders who ran away from Anthrax
||Tests Show Anthrax
Exposure in at Least 30 Capitol Workers
RANDom acts of sabotage
First the bottom fell out of the services sector of the web;
now the technology may unravel. The W3C is the organization
that has cultivated the standards that make up the web as
we know it and impact how
it will evolve.
The policy is called "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory",
or RAND, for short. Powerful members of the organization have
for and received patents on what was "royalty-free" technology.
(We're talking about key
technologies, not stuff that's easy to work around.) Now
they want to be able to charge royalties for those technologies,
that would completely
change the nature of the game.
The policy seems to be on a fast track to adoption, and some
of the dealings appear to have been a little underhanded...
...Aside from these substantive changes in policy,
the W3C should also stop using the term "reasonable and non-discriminatory",
because that term white-washes a class of licenses that are
normally neither reasonable nor non-discriminatory....
I just picked my jaw up off the floor... He said this:
``I cannot imagine that humans can use germs against
other humans, whatever the degree of animosity between them...It
is a cowardly, evil and irresponsible action putting in danger
the whole of humanity.''
Who said that? Gaddafi,
Has it seemed to you that the press is being a bit irresponsible
with the anthrax stories? Lots of bluster, and little info?
History shows that "yellow journalism" sells. Still, it's
interesting to find this bit on Poynter.org:
News organizations reporting on anthrax bear several weighty
responsibilities: To share information without crying wolf;
to present complex biological facts and theories with accuracy
and clarity; to protect their own reporters from personal
risk while covering a story that hits very close to home.
Romenesko's Media News ]
October 17, 2001
Yet another elevator story... I think the woman is a secretary.
She was sharply dressed in skirt, blouse, and one-button sweater.
Really, it was more of an embelleshment that draped over her
blouse, than a real sweater. One striking thing about her
was her nails: each one was done up as a miniature American
She was talking to another guy in the elvator about security:
"I mean really..." she said. "Listen, if I'm going to get
frisked, I want a nice-looking GI guy to do it, and they're
just not living up to my standards!"
I ran into Walter today. We chatted about how nice it is
just to be alive today. That was his reply to my query: "What's
new and exciting?" I think more people are in touch with being
alive these days. Folks who were dragging their feet are getting
married. Folks who were dragging their feet are getting divorced.
Folks who were keeping their mouths shut are opening up...
Still no sign of Katie Couric... Her buddies on NBC are simply
saying that she's "taking time off." I think I sensed a little
strain today. At least Maria Schreiver is getting more air
time. [Like she needs the cash!]
Executive resort meets "golden" parachute
I saw a weird piece this morning about an "executive safety
chute" that's being marketed to people who work in high-rise
buildings. Supposedly, it will get you to the ground safely
from the tenth floor or higher. The 'chute is round, so there's
no steering the thing. The demo did not go well. The man's
assistant seemed to have trouble putting the thing on - she
fumbled several times, trying to step into the leg straps.
Then the waist belt seemed to be way too short. She was mouthing
something to an off-camera assistant while the spokesman was
saying "It's OK," trying to calm her down. Assuming you can
put the thing on right, and get the static line properly set-up,
there's one other potential problem: If somebody above you
jumps into your 'chute, it's probably going to collapse, and
you're in serious trouble. Guess that's why they bill it as
a "measure of last resort."
Still, can you picture it?: Some tall
building, like the Sears Tower is in trouble, and dozens of
are streaming out of the building, like dandelion seeds...
Actually, engineers are thingking up a number of creative
I was sitting in my friend Chris' office this afternoon,
when I heard a sound. It was a dull thud, but it had to be
pretty loud, because it came from outside. This is New York.
It's noisy. But in this day and age, it could have been an
explosion. I looked toward the window. Chris said "Oh - you
heard that?" I said "Yeah, what is it?" I moved toward the
window. Below was a barge holding a large crane. On either
side of it were two tub-shaped barges full of what looked
like metallic spaghetti. The crane held what looked like the
cargo portion of a dump truck, suspended by cables. Nearby
was a long, large hauling truck. Chris said "I hear that noise
all day long..." Every so often, we'd hear a screeching sound,
something like in the old Godzilla movies. The "spaghetti"
is metal that's been removed from Ground Zero, being prepared
for the trip to Staten Island.
Bunch of Yahoos
The description reads as follows:
This group is for rednecks like myself to hang out, chat,
laugh at niggers and swap pictures of diffrent things from
us and our buddies to the big trucks shotguns and beer to
Does Yahoo encourage racist groups? Derek
Powazek makes a cogent
argument that they do.
October 16, 2001
Coming into work today, I stepped out of the subway, and
encountered a stream of people headed into the subway station.
I thought nothing of it, until someone else said "There are
a lot of people coming this way. Something must have happened
again. Let's go back to Brooklyn." There were cops around,
but none of them were directing traffic, or making announcements.
Everything was orderly, too. I looked around, and realized
that the crowd was coming from downtown - the Staten Island
ferry had pulled in. That's where these people were coming
In the elevator, I encountered one of the mailroom staff.
He was wearing vinyl gloves - the kind of gloves I wore in
chemistry and biology lab in college. The kind that make your
hands sweat within minutes. He had a cart full of mail, that
he was delivering to various desks. I thought it slightly
odd: he's still wearing the gloves, so he's somewhat protected,
but if any of those packages are dusted with anthrax or some
other bioagent... the recipent is still in trouble. I wonder
if the gloves are the only precaution they're taking down
in the mail room. At lunch, I heard someone in the coffee
shop say that they didn't want to open any of their mail for
the last couple of days.
Whoever has been sending these packages has been effective
in making many of us second-guess our daily lives.
What's up with Katie Couric? I know there's a major woo-fest
going on with several networks, since her contract is coming
due, but I wonder... Yesterday, her co-anchors were saying
that she'd taken the day off, and made it sound like she'd
be back today... This morning, they were saying that Katie
was taking a few days off... Denise's take on it is that Katie's
daughters might be completely freaking out these days, especially
since Tom Brokaw's assistant got anthrax - that's a little
too close to home, and she's taking some time off to take
care of them.
I really like "Win
Ben Stein's Money" on Comedy Central. It's a cheeky riff
on "Jeopardy." Last night, I saw a contestant mop the floor
with Ben, taking the final round 9-4. A few contestants manage
to tie Ben and walk off with an extra $1000. Most contestants
don't go into the third round with more than a few hundred
bucks. The woman who won last night went into round 3 with
$2000. Then she was confident enough to go first, and when
Ben was told that she'd gotten 9 right, he was already talking
like he'd lost. The questions are tough. She ruled.
You learn something every day: Do you
think that "smart"
mean the same thing? So did I. Turns out, intelligence
has more to do with applying knowledge, while smarts has to
do with speed of retrieval.
October 15, 2001
A penny for your thoughts... If
you've sent me e-mails in response to some of my postings,
thanks. I'm starting an experiment. If you have something
to add to the entries, click on "add your $.02." I'm looking
forward to your participation!
What the customer wants? A little while ago, I was
given an Excel file to post on our company's intranet. I know
I could have just posted the straight Excel file, but have
you ever waited while Excel loaded, just to view a spreadsheet
through your browser? Yecch...
We have been converting the files to HTML when we post 'em.
The thing is, when you save a file as HTML from Excel, the
resulting file is so bloated with exotic XML code, it's disgusting.
The same is true for MS Word. The HTML file that resulted
from converting the Excel fle had a lot of blank space on
the right, but there was no obvious way to find out why or,
more importantly where Excel was adding the space,
so there was no way to remove it. I ended up posting the file
with the dumb-looking white space on the right. I'm half expecting
someone to complain... If they complain loudly enough, we
may end up publishing the file in PDF - another terribly abused
format that provides pitiful results for this type of problem.
What's worse is that most of the mystery
XML seems to provide no useful value at present, although
who knows what XP and future Microsoft magic technologies
may hold. Either way, you have to take it the way you get
Heard on the street: "Heart attacks don't
run in my family. We're all fit and trim... We give
heart attacks, we don't get them."
Handspring is about to launch a VCIU (very
cool integrated unit) called "TREO" that combines a PalmOS
device with a phone. The integration is very tight, the miniaturization
is right, and the price looks good. If it won't work with
my current phone service, I might be induced to switch...
Bill Duke of Poetry
Central sent this out today:
Ours is a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.
The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start
to build up new little habits, to have new little hopes.
It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into
the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles.
We've got to live , no matter how many skies have fallen.
- first paragraph of Lady Chaterley's Lover,
Rudy... The mayor received an honorary knighthood this morning.
Mario Cuomo's pitch for Mark Green begins "Our bombs and
missiles have begun to fall in the war against terrorism..."
The next Mayor's will have a lot on his hands. I wonder what
it must have been like to be Mayor of one of London during
It's likely that more businesses will fail in the wake of
the dual whammy of the economic downturn and the restrictions
that have been imposed in response to this mess.
A special 2-hour episode of "Third Watch" features actual
rescuers in their own words.
Tom Brokaw signed off the Nightly News tonight with "In Cipro
we trust." A new spin on the old phrase "Better living through
chemistry." He flashes his medicine bottle like a badge of
courage. It's weird to think that in the future, we may routinely
x-ray and sterilize incoming mail...
October 14, 2001
Tucker will be featured in an upcoming art show in Brooklyn.
The art under the bridge festival looks promising.
Then, on Monday, October 22, 7:30 pm, Cooper Union will present
In a time of Crisis a reading of poems hosted by Alice
Quinn, featuring the following poets:
Poet Laureate Billy Collins
At the Great Hall, 7 East Seventh St at Third Avenue. Tickets
are $10 at the door, $5 for students. The proceeds benefit
the American Red Cross.
The exhibit Brazil: Body and Soul opens at the Guggenheim
on October 19. We were at the museum today, with the exhibit
under construction. We didn't see much of the upcoming show,
but the glimpses we got were impressive.
On the way up to the Guggenheim, the conductor announced
that all trains were bypassing Union Square. As we buzzed
through the station, it appeared that the last three or four
people were leaving the platform. That station is never empty.
We heard something about a Police investigation on someone's
2-way radio. On the way back downtown, everything seemed to
be back to normal at Union Square. If nothing appears in the
news about it, my bet is we witnessed a bomb scare.