They Don’t Care

Posted in Americana, Economics, Urbanism on September 4th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Quite often, sport boosters try to paint themselves as the epitome of civic pride: they love their team, they support their city. This is often the root argument when tempers flare over sport-facility-based redevelopment projects. “We love our Downtown and we want to make it livlier with our team”.

Would that it were true. The reality I’ve observed is more complicated. Most sport fans don’t exactly care one way or another which team they’re supporting - rather, they just want their stadium to be there so they have somewhere to take the kids, pick up chicks, eat junk food, or watch steroid-riddled humanoids engage in gladiatorial combat. Which colors the combatants are wearing and which city they hail from are largely incidental - otherwise the existence of a native son on the “local” team would be the rule rather than the vast exception.

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You Go, Herr Schro’

Posted in Russophilia on September 5th, 2008 by Дмитрий

A good interview with former German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder, which provides another good perspective that the mainstream media is simply failing to broadcast. An especially astute observation about why Russia matters to the West:

“I see Russia as part of Europe, more than as part of any other constellation…  And we in Germany and Europe should interpret this as an opportunity. Russia has an Asian alternative, but Europe does not. Besides, such a constellation does not necessarily have to lead to Europe distancing itself from the United States.”

Russia is a part of the European order, regardless of what Washington tries to claim to the contrary. Having Russia as a partner with our existing European allies would be far preferable to an estranges Russia that seeks better integration and partnership with Asia instead. The same could be argued about Latin America for the past couple decades - another issue that is falling by the wayside as successive American administrations repeatedly ignore the region as irrelevant (despite persistent growth and better global integration of all its consitituent economies).

I have said before that a McCain presidency would not bother me, but over the past few months I have changed my mind: he is trying to campaign as the war hero, here to save the country - as if it was still 12 September 2001 and we were all still reeling from some direct hit. What better target that poor wounded Russia, only now getting its strength back after two decades of abuse by the Western business-military-crime syndicates. He will certainly gain the old geezer vote, as millions of codgers who miss their cold war will cast a ballot in favor of starting a new one…

Good God.

Posted in Mac on September 11th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Does someone at Apple just sit around saying “how can we eliminate the best and most usable features of our software or make it buggier and more resource-intensive?”

iTunes took away the only view I used - album view. I loved that because I like list view but I also like to see the album covers (mainly so I can easily see which albums I’m missing covers for without having to lose the song details and still be able to sort by whatever field I choose).

I’m beginning to consider alternatives

Welcome to 2006!

Posted in Geekdom on September 13th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I’ve finally got this journal caught up to the same point at which I’d caught up my iWeb site. Took me far less time and I actually like this much better and am still motivated to continue working on it.

Though, admittedly, I still have my two most prolific years left to update.


Posted in Uncategorized on September 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I have finished completely back-populating my old journal entries. I still have a lot of fixing to do in terms of formatting entries and removing the gawdawful crap that iWeb did to the text (and in some cases it’s affecting the WordPress stylesheets even), but that will take a bit longer to complete.

In the meantime, now I can start with real updates. Right…

Random Early Morning Monday

Posted in A Life More Boring, Health, Travel on September 22nd, 2008 by Дмитрий
  • Can someone remind me what it’s like not having to press the ‘pause’ button on my life for two weeks after every weekend I spend at home? I’ve forgotten.
  • Why is it that most of the nurses I see outside of Winston Salem’s two large institutional hospitals are either obese or smoking or both? Shouldn’t anyone taking the hippocratic oath be required to first apply it to themselves?
  • How many years you expect it will be until no one bothers washing their hands at public restrooms anymore due to the ubiquity of the non-functioning ‘motion sensor’ or ‘automatic’ faucets or soap dispensers or towel dispensers (not to mention those stupid blow dryers that pretty much do nothing but make your pants wet when you have to dry your hands on them)?
  • Asheville is sort of like a really pretty antique vase that you race to hold and admire, only to run away screaming once you realize it’s been filled with dog shit.

Slender Times for Cities

Posted in Americana, Economics, Urbanism on September 22nd, 2008 by Дмитрий

“Who’s Your City” asks Richard Florida in his new book. Yes, it’s another Richard-Florida-bashing screed from your favorite uncreative classless git.

I’m probably more guilty of committing these sort of ‘city hunting’ atrocities - described by Florida as the most important thing a person will ever do. I’m aware, however, that this habit of mine is unhealthy and I am rather alarmed that this master of the positive reinforcement of vices is encouraging more people to take the plunge and relocate, for the dubious and self-destructive reasons he cites as what cities ‘offer’ to their residents. Richard Florida, and many neo-urbanists of his ilk, are partaking too copiously in the bourgoise fantasy of the never-ending ephemeral city of leisure.

I’ve often wondered why the theory that economic booms and entrepeneurial originality could best arise in large, busy, ‘culturally rich’ cities held any water at all. My own observations of cities told me that they were filled mostly with debt-laden alcoholic youths and overgrown Peter Pans. I’ve always hated this, since I love looking at cities, I just hate being in them, or in any sort of proximity to the type of human beings that tend to congregate in them.

Lately, though, I think I am starting to understand the role of the city in economic growth and capitalism in the post-suburban world: it’s not that cities necessarily produce innovation or spark creativity; rather, it’s that the class of individuals who engage in entrepeneurial and creative work tend to both have a choice in where they live and they make that choice based on ephemeral desires revolving around what they plan to do with their leisure time.

Which begs the question: why do entrepeneurial businessmen and creative professionals travel? If they want to recreate at the corner bar or bistro, why do they need a Mini Cooper to escape the city in every weekend, or a nearby airport for that annual or semi-annual trip to the tropics? Why do they need to vacate when their chosen homes are so fucking edgy and engaging?

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Dark Age Ahead?

Posted in Economics on September 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Courtesy of Amber, a nice, easy-to-read overview of the stinky stuff happening on Wall Street

My Vote

Posted in Americana on September 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I’ve either gone psycho or come to my senses. Decide for yourself; but I really, really like Cynthia McKinney. She is the first politician I’ve heard that actually seems to be the anti-populist. Neither does she seem an idealogue.

Sure, there are certain general aspects to any Green Party policies that seem excessively statist without visiting the negative repercussions on civil liberties such ideas imbue, but I can forgive that for several concrete overriding reasons:

I must now decide whether to vote for her (probably by write-in since (practically speaking) NC does not allow third parties) or “waste” my vote on Obama. Do I go for the vote that will gain me the respect of my peers and the nebulous masses, or the vote that will gain me the respect of myself?

The San Francisco Armoury

Posted in San Francisco, Sods on September 28th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Ah… It’s nice that there’s someone putting money into this building - and a lot of it by the looks of the window treatments.

The Armoury was a place used by operative governments for the purpose of storing weapons that kill and maim people. But we, as free and enlightened sodomites, are taught to make use of the Armoury for the more noble and glorious purpose of teaching present and future generations the wonders of BDSM.

Who Is Paul K?

Posted in Fucking Moron on September 28th, 2008 by Дмитрий

…And why would I want to taste him?

Drill Drill Drill Said the Populist to the SUV Owner

Posted in Americana on September 30th, 2008 by Дмитрий

It’s not very surprising that so many Americans are such fans of the “Drill Now! Drill Everywhere” mentality to ’solving’ gas prices. Most people know nothing about market economics and this also explains why so many people continue to puff up over ‘price gouging’ and other conspiracy theories.

See, there’s these two countries called China and India that have more people than America. They are making more money these days and they want to drive cars to work like we do. So they’re starting to. Oh, and Global crude production has peaked. So in about 5 years there will be 5 or 6 Americas trying to use the oil that one is using now. Thus dearer oil.

At current usage rates, there isn’t much oil left. Most of the world economy is dependent on cheap energy. The internet uses about 15% of American energy production, so ‘development’ isn’t exactly synonymous with efficiency; and most ‘alternative’ energy sources are heavily dependent upon fossil fuels for their raw materials and production processes. In other words, we’re sorta fucked.

Oil is gonna be mighty pricy in 10 years’ time. There just isn’t much left. That’s why we should stop drilling anywhere that the US has territorial control of. We should import ALL of our oil, and be the last oil-possessing nation on earth when Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Canada run out. Think of the windfall we could make then.

But then, I’m used to basing my decisions on future gains rather than short-term comfort - just look at the life I’ve led for many years now. Would that Joe SUV Owner would have the same perspective. I’m glad Obama and McKinney haven’t fallen for this populist line (yet).

Let Them In

Posted in Americana, Economics, Media on September 30th, 2008 by Дмитрий

…Is the argument made very poetically by Jason L. Riley. My own views on the issue are largely identical, so this was an easy read.

But my favorite quote was the one that opened the book. A shiney nickel if you can guess who said it:

America is really many Americas. We call ourselves a nation of immigrants, and that’s truly what we are. We have drawn people from every corner of the Earth. We’re composed of virtually every race and religion, and not in small numbers, but large. We have a statue in New York Harbour that speaks of this - a statue of a woman holding a torch of welcome to those who enter our country to become Americans. She has greeted millions upon millions of immigrants to our country. She welcomes them still. She represents our open door.

All of the immigrants who came to us brought their own music, literature, customs, and ideas. And the marvelous thing, a thing of which we’re proud, is they did not have to relinquish these things in order to fit in. In fact, what they brought to America became American. And this diversity has more than enriched us; it has literally shaped us.

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