Saturday, we went out with good friends, and never mentioned the war once.
After weeks of angst, annoyance, and anger over the manipulations and misrepresentations
that led to and continue to propel the operation overseas, I think there just
wasn't anything new to say. Instead, we lived our lives: we had a good meal,
listened to music, had some laughs.
War of words:
There seems to be an amazing inertia behind what's going on. Thousands turn
out in protest while pro-war demonstrations number in the hundreds, but somehow
it gets reported as if there is overwhelming support for this organized killing.
A father whose son died in the World Trade Center represents his death this
way: "My son was the first casualty of war in this extended war that we're
in now. And I want the whole world to know as far as I'm concerned, those people
- especially in this city of New York - who condemn what's going on show total
disrespect for my son, the first casualty of war, whose name is listed on these
walls as a hero."
I have sympathy for all of the innocents who have died, be they Muslim, Arab,
Palestinian, Israeli or American. We will get nowhere, so long as the fiction
continues. There is a difference between a victim and a hero. If you're going
to use the "extended war" metaphor, it doesn't make sense that the
second attack on the World Trade Center should mark the beginning of
that war. There is a difference between supporting our troops and validating
a war that's being fought for fictitious reasons. I think they realize that
they'd never get authorization to bring the fight on the basis of their real
motivations, so they spin a web of confusion and appeal to people's irrational
I struggle with the notion of whether my fellow citizens are stupid, or simply
susceptible. When an oblique suggestion of a threat is sufficient to justify
the authorization of this level of aggression (the total tonnage of bombs dropped
in the first 4 days of the assault on Baghdad equaled that of the bomb dropped
on Hiroshima), things seem a little out of kilter. But then I realize that justified
murder has always been the business of the state, and it makes for good politics.
It gets votes.
So do photo-op's with babies. On the cover of the Post and the New York Times,
pictures of soldiers carrying babies have run. You'd think the military itself
is running for office, or maybe the press is just confusing soldiers with firemen.
And irony of ironies: a few days ago, the post decried the release of a picture
showing an Iraqi soldier standing over the bodies of several American soldiers.
They ran that same picture on the cover. Though many claimed it was inappropriate
to publish pictures of the enemy in that way, a day or so later, the New York
Times ran a picture of a dead Iraqi soldier on its cover. Babies and gore sell,
and not just papers. Now, I wonder if there's a way to get a sex angle going:
How 'bout "strippers in support of the war"? Or, maybe "West
Coast porn directors churn out pro-war smut"...
God Bless America, and No Place Else
Chris Rock's "Head of State" is a good laugh. Its' politics are in
your face, and that's part of what makes the movie work. The plot is so full
of holes, that you can drive your SUV through it. No, this isn't reality. It's
a farce, in case you don't know the difference. Like much of good comedy, there's
palpable pain just beneath the surface. And like all good satire, Rock doesn't
pull a punch when he throws one. Think of it as a fractured fairy-tale.
Go see it. Leave your disbelief at the door. Have some fun.
On the tech side, I'm sinking my teeth into PHP
and MySQL Web Development by Welling and Thomson. I decided on the book
by skimming the TOC first, then looking at selected sections. Like a page-turner
novel, I could open to just about any page, and find something appealing. When
I got it home and started reading the Intro, I came across this paragraph:
"We wrote this book because we were tired of finding books on PHP that
were basically a function reference... they don't help when your boss or client
has said 'go build me a shopping cart.'... Many of the code examples can be
directly used in your Web site...."
The clincher came in the next section: "We chose [these projects] because
we believe they represent eight of the most common web-based applications built
Having looked into how Flash can integrate with a PHP back-end via the loadVars
object, I figure I'm in for a tasty ride...
When I was in junior high school wood shop, I remember the shop instructor
telling us one of those secrets of life: use the right tool for the job, and
you'll get a better result with a lot less heartache.
I'm back into Fireworks in a big way. It had been my workhorse web graphics
tool until I started to understand Photoshop, then I got lost in all the creative
freedoms that Photoshop offered. But there were a few nagging issues: sometimes
Photoshop seemed to have problems with optimization that just don't happen with
Fireworks. And the integration between Fireworks and Dreamweaver are just superb.
Speaking with my friend Thomas last week, I complained about problems I was
having with getting clean rules going from Illustrator to Photoshop to the web,
and he pointed out that it's an anti-alias problem related to Photoshop. He
said he does all his comp work in Fireworks. That was enough to bring me back
for a closer look.
What had taken me down the path to Photoshop, was the fact that I couldn't
get an Illustrator logo to import directly into Fireworks without serious distortion.
So, I brought just the logo into Photoshop and converted it into a nice, clean
bitmap. That copied perfectly over to Fireworks, thank you very much. The rest
was a cake-walk.