g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Friday, September 12, 2003
03:36 - Politics from the Land of Make-Believe, with flowers and bells and leprechauns and magic frogs with funny little hats

(top)
Still getting caught back up on all those newsgroup discussions. And lo and behold, on 8/6 there was an "anniversary" piece for the Hiroshima bombing. Centered around and juxtaposed with Bush's statement after we mistakenly bombed that wedding in Afghanistan.

"Fat Man and Little Boy Say: Civilian Casualties Are Unavoidable!", copperplated brashly in the circular border surrounding an iconic, eroticized "riding the bomb" image we all know from Dr. Strangelove.

Followups included deep sentiments like "Bush must be getting better at sticking feet in his mouth."

God, I'm getting tired of this crap.

Civilian casualties are unavoidable. Yeah, so? They bleeding well are.

Especially when the civilians in question are in the immediate vicinity of al Qaeda strongholds, and firing machine guns into the air when there are spotter planes about.

But no, it's all of a piece with Hiroshima. Which was itself just another piece of unwarranted American brutality, to be mocked and satirized and vilified fifty years on.

I honestly don't know what to make of these guys anymore. They seem to have just enough historical awareness to enable them to make accurate reference to dates and events and quotes artfully out of context, but they're totally lacking in the moral weights and balances that underly these decisions ensconced in their circumstances. I can't dismiss it all as simply people regurgitating sound bites they think are cute and visuals they think make for good irony; but nor can I believe that they have all the information necessary and yet have arrived at these dumbfounding ethical conclusions about America's role in the world and conduct during war.

Without knowing which case it is, I can't know whether these people simply want more tactical perfection and more moral consistency in US actions, or if they simply want the US to go away and take its poisonous history and culture with it.

On that note, I seriously need some sleep.


18:46 - ...Or the terrorists win
http://www.whatithinkiknow.com/Archive/WIT20030911.html

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Damien Del Russo has a rather different take on "getting over it":

But that was then - now, I hardly think about it. Weeks go by when Sept. 11th doesn't enter my mind - even media references slide by. And, I think that's fine. Of course I would be much more concerned if our government weren't doing something about it. But even though some of the methods are stupid (e.g. silly airport security) or ineffective, the main action - taking the fight to the terrorists and West-haters in the Middle East - is going well. I trust our military to do the job there, and that's the most important thing at this point. So, I'll do my home improvements, take my daughter for evening walks on perfect days in September, and go on living the good life we have here, now. There's never been a better time to be alive, and if terrorists and dictators had their way, it would be downhill from here. But that won't happen, because we, the victims of 9/11 - Americans - won't let it happen.

Next year, I'll probably write about my daughter, or football. My best hope is that we can continue to remember Sept 11th, as opposed to suffering another national tragedy - that's the best measure of our success and resilience. Never again.

I can get behind that.


18:07 - Pods Untie
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/tsnotes5.html

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Wow! Check out this bandwagon. Hot on the heels of VW's Pods Unite campaign, where they sell you an iPod and matching tape-adapter-based kit with your New Beetle, comes an offer that one-ups it quite neatly: Smart, the French city-car maker, is integrating iPods into their cars, and rather artfully at that.



Apparently this is being done in multiple Smart models, because these pictures show a different kind of console and mounting system than the one above (the MacBidouille site has photos of the iPod being mounted in a little shelf, with an attached radio transmitter, whereas the image above shows a more integrated cradle with audio connected to an auxiliary input port, a bottom-side connector-- so you can read the display properly, how 'bout that-- and power coming straight from the car). More pictures (and a nice close-up) are here.

The big question: whether an iPod or XM Radio will be the audio geek-toy of choice over the coming automotive year?


14:33 - Innocent Infant Artists
http://www.kqed.org/programs/program-landing-local.jsp?progID=RD37

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Normally I don't get to hear the locally-produced, Asian-interest program Pacific Time on my NPR station, because it comes on about a half-hour before I usually leave work. But some days I manage to catch it, because I'm on the road early, for whatever reason.

Usually the show is quite interesting-- and not just because of the funky Sino-rock theme music or the kookily endearing coverage of protests and concerts by Asian activists to "help the North Korean people who are suffering under American oppression". There are some real and worthwhile viewpoints to be had, things the show is frankly quite right to say I don't normally hear in the mainstream news. (Though the question of whether the importation of rice into Japan by Japanese-Americans is a larger issue to most people in the US than, say, Laci Petersen is surely up for debate.)

But yesterday I skipped out early to attend a dinner party up in Berkeley with some old high-school friends, the same ones I'd spent that day on the boat with a couple of weeks ago. (Zachary's Pizza, man. Mmm-mmm.) And that meant I hit the traffic snags in the partially-constructed 237-880 interchange, reducing my speed to a crawl and my engine noise to the level where I could hear the radio, just as Pacific Time came on.

Since the start of the Palestinian intifada and the September 11 attacks, the angry voices of political Islam that have shouted lthe oudest from the Muslim world. But there is a more conciliatory voice urging peace and dialogue with the West, and unequivocally condemning terrorism in all its forms. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a recent conference of mainstream and progressive Islamic scholars put out a message of moderation.

That's the summary of the first segment, as given on the website. And it was quite honestly one of the most refreshing things I've heard in a very long time. Conferences of moderate Muslims, actively coming together to figure out how to combat fundamentalism. An acknowledgment that radical Islam teaches that innovation and new ideas are wrong, an idea which these moderates think is ridiculous-- "You can't develop without new ideas." They talked about the Qur'an admonishing Muslims to seek out not just religious knowledge, but a second kind of knowledge as well-- scientific and technological and medical knowledge-- which, oddly, is something that's completely neglected by Taliban-style theocracies. The Malays interviewed said that they have a long way to go, but that they see 9/11 and the war in Iraq as a turning point for modern Islam-- and a positive one, even. "Radical Muslims have had this idea that by extreme faith, by sacrificing themselves, they can change history. But now, after 9/11 and Iraq, they're starting to realize that they cannot write history in this world." I'm paraphrasing, but that's what the guy more or less said. He sounded wry and optimistic, too, not as fatalistic as my flawed paraphrasing sounds. (Listen to the archived audio if you're interested. This first segment at least is quite worthwhile, and I found it hit the spot yesterday in particular.)

But then... oh, then. Then there was this second segment:

The U.S. has imposed stricter immigration measures since September 11, 2001. While some American artists are able to travel to Indonesia to participate in cultural exchange projects, Indonesian artists have faced a tough time getting U.S. visas.

A bunch of love-beaded American artists, mostly female by the choice of interviewees, departed immediately after 9/11/01 to go to Indonesia, bringing messages of cultural exchange and tolerance and bright pretty colors. They would ride to locations on little scooters, perch on rickety bamboo ladders, and paint huge murals of flowers and butterflies and birds with their Indonesian counterparts, and thereby gain a better understanding of Muslims and Islam in the post-WTC world.

My first reaction was, hey, why Indonesia? Why not go to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan and try this?

The artists, of course, when prompted with a microphone, held forth with great vigor about how wonderful a people the Indonesians were-- how the artists had felt great trepidation about going to a Muslim country post-9/11, but found upon getting there that everybody was just so nice and welcoming and generous and laid-back, and how after a few weeks of living there, they found themselves becoming similarly at ease, the stress and cares of their lives back in America slipping away. "They would drive us around on their scooters every day, and paint with us," one breathy-teen-voiced participant said. "Not being able to reciprocate just made me feel really bad. I felt that these people deserved to be able to, you know, like, travel... much more than I do."

One of them mused in doleful, singsong voice about how badly she wanted her new Indonesian friends to be able to come to the US for their art-exchange program tour. "I want to show them so many things about America. I want them to see all the things that I hate... and then I want to share some things about my childhood and community."

Geez, don't fall all over yourself with jingoism there, you chauvinistic American.

And the big story in this segment was about how the Indonesian artists, when they tried to get their visas to enter the US, faced such a horrible police-state atmosphere that the listener can't imagine why anyone would ever want to enter such a place. As the narrator ominously intoned, young men coming from Muslim countries were suspect. "The interview process was humiliating," one Indonesian artist said. "When you come into our country, it's all based on this idea of, like, friendship and goodwill. But just to go to the US Embassy, it's all surrounded with barbed wire-- it's like going into a war zone. And the entry interview-- I thought it was going to be, you know, a normal conversation. Not like where you go up to a counter to buy a ticket."

I hope Ashcroft and Tom Ridge get the message: 9/11-like rage against America is caused by long lines at Customs.

But they got their visas, and they did their tour of the US, and they showed off their murals and paintings of birds and flowers and trees and butterflies, and it was a big hit. But the stress got to be just too much, and the artists retired to a back alley after a show to smoke and drink and talk.

One of them picked up a cut-out letter E from the ground. So they all started naming words that begin with E. At first it was simple words: entertainment, and easy. Then it went on to more complicated words: eternal, and endless. Soon, though, the reality of the present began to hit home, with words like exit permit and entry visa. Then words like excluded and expelled. And finally, words like embassy... and evil... and empire.

Yeah, excellent. Emissaries with easels, explaining "evil" to expatriates whose experience has been expunged of events in East Timor.

"One-Way Cultural Exchange Between U.S. and Indonesia" is the name of this second segment. Yeah, I'd say that's about right. Only one side learned anything.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
15:39 - Understanding
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,560773,00.html

(top)

13) Check your weapon before you leave and long before you leave. (You must make your knife sharp and must not discomfort your animal during the slaughter).

Via LGF.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
23:50 - My chest hurts
http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=640367

(top)
Fark's topic today: Microsoft High.




18:12 - Perspective and soda
http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/004099.php

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Tim Blair:

The Associated Press reports from Jerusalem:

On the eve of his daughter's wedding, Dr. David Applebaum sat with the young woman late into the evening at a coffee house, offering fatherly advice on marriage before her big day.

Father and daughter were killed late Tuesday when a suicide bomber struck the cafe - one of two attacks that left 15 people dead.

Applebaum had just flown back to Israel after giving a talk at a New York terrorism symposium marking the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dr. Applebaum was the founder and director of Jerusalemís TEREM emergency medical centres. His daughter's funeral will be held on the day she was to be married.

Oh, but I'm sure the AP and Reuters will find a way to tell a similar story of irony and woe and loving family life cut barbarously short when the IDF finally gets Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Mahmoud Zahar.

You know it'll happen.


18:03 - Another day...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/56/32761.html

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...Another three Microsoft security holes.


16:06 - If you can't say anything nice...
http://english.aljazeera.net/Structural+Postings/CartoonDisplayerPopUp.htm?idpage=1&

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Do they have even the slightest idea how offensive this is? How deeply, deeply wrongheaded and inhuman?


Of course not, because we don't preach our outrage on state-sponsored TV. That's not what we do here in the Civilized World. We have to bottle up our anger, you see. We have to keep quiet, smile, take deep breaths, dispense our feelings in small measured doses with warning labels. Because to do otherwise would be hubris.

That's what being Western is all about, apparently. Turning the other cheek. Appeasement. Peace at all costs. Absorbing insult and attack without retaliation.

I think I can still do it. But it's getting awfully hard.

(Just imagine, as a thought experiment, what it would be like if America had responded to 9/11 the way that, say, the Palestinians would have.)


15:40 - Just shut up, McGruder
http://www.ucomics.com/boondocks/2003/09/10/

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Yet another of those things that only sounds ridiculous if you don't think about it.



Right. It can't be something based on actual science, something that's a lot more complex than can be explained in a three-panel comic strip. It must be because those Republicans are so DumbEvilStupidô that they're willing to invent a Topsy-Turvy Town where environmentalist language can be used to justify their desire to cut down trees just because they... hate trees.

Or whatever.


13:47 - Stay Angry
http://www.sheilaomalley.com/archives/000244.html

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Tim Blair found this piece. He says it's that "one thing" that you should read if you only read one 9/11 piece, but there seem to be too many of those to only pick one. (Seems we've already well and truly taken care of that problem identified a couple of weeks ago-- namely, that none of the "official" entertainment organs were planning commemorative pieces. All hail the grass roots, eh?)

Growing anger, anger that got bigger after seeing the images. No wonder they have disappeared. GOD forbid that Americans get angry. We have to stay passive, we have to crumple up handkerchiefs in agony, we have to blubber and mourn the loss. But righteous anger is to be avoided. Americans cannot be trusted to handle their anger. Anger is BAD, right? Anger is NEGATIVE. We have to try to understand WHY, we have to try to see the other side's point of view.

Well, you know what? I do see the other side's point of view, and I hate their point of view. It's like that great Dennis Miller quote from his recent HBO special: "You know what? I hated religious fanatics who wanted to murder me on September 10, okay?"

"Understanding" is not the key to everything. You can understand something and hate it with all your heart just the same. As a matter of fact, the MORE I understand the reasoning of the thugs on those planes, and the ideology behind them, the MORE I hate them.

Seeing those images again made me outraged at those of us who chide others to get over it. I am stunned that anyone could ever look at the carnage on that footage (and I saw the whole damn thing with my actual eyes) - and somehow ... not be changed. Get OVER IT? What? Are you out of your goddamned freaking mind? What is the MATTER with you?

I was a little miffed at myself for so quickly condemning PBS as a whole after that "Muhammad: Portrait of a Peaceful Leader of a Peaceful Religion" or whatever it was, a couple of Decembers ago. But seeing the spreading reaction to this 9/11 special, I'm glad again that I haven't wasted any thought on PBS since then.

On the other hand, I'm glad someone is keeping an eye on them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003
23:30 - We need role models
http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/000307.html

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This piece is getting linked from all over, and with good reason. I guess it's because things like this have come to light in the past two years that I feel as though anything I myself could add or write would just cheapen things.

If you read only one emotional and inspiring story and learn only one name tihs September, though, you could do far, far worse than those of Rick Rescorla.


20:09 - Nothing to see here
http://www.capitalistlion.com/article.cgi?628

(top)
I'm afraid I won't have anything very meaningful to say on the subject of 9/11, now that the second anniversary is rolling over us like the low, solemn clouds that have been inexplicably hanging on the tops of the Santa Cruz mountains for the past couple of days, only this afternoon to start shedding some moisture on our sidewalks.

I wasn't there, after all.

I was asleep, safe in my bed, on the West Coast, where it was only just becoming light at the time that the first plane hit back at the other end of the country. I woke up, stretched, tried to focus on what I was hearing out of my clock-radio-- not classic rock, but what sounded like an extraordinarily agitated news report. There's usually news on at 9:00, at the top of each hour; but it didn't usually sound like the headline-reader was trying to keep from shouting the lines into the microphone.

So I turned on the TV, which was usually perpetually tuned to Cartoon Network; I didn't even remember the channel number for CNN, so I had to use the on-screen guide to get there. And then I sat there staring at the AMERICA UNDER ATTACK banner, and at the plumes of smoke (the towers had already fallen by this time), wondering what the hell kind of "attack" they could possibly mean-- ICBMs? Street riots? What city was this? --for a few dumb minutes before I even turned around to see what was on my computer monitor.

The first thing was a message from CapLion, sent shortly after the first plane hit. Terrible accident, he said. Boy, would traffic suck in Manhattan this morning.

Then there was one more message. It only had two words in it. And then idle.

So what could I do? I woke up my roommate-- "You should probably be awake for this"-- and sat down dumbly to watch his TV for a little while. I filled him in. There wasn't much to say. There were already rumors of footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets, but I shelved that for later. There were still those images of the crashes themselves to process. Eventually I just went back to my room, called my boss, asked what was going on at work, said I'd be in a little later, and just sort of sat there.

I'd bought a PlayStation 2 the previous night. September 10. There it was, the date and the price, right there on the receipt from Fry's. What a set of circumstances under which to try to learn how to play Gran Turismo 3.

I talked to a couple of friends online. Yes, I'd heard what had happened.

Poor Khlau Kalash vendor.

Humor was all I could fall back on. That and the iron object in the back of my dresser, which I realized I might be called upon to dig out. Some of our neighbors were Muslim, you see.

And who knows what an angry mob might decide to do?

Neighbors are neighbors. And even at that point in the day, we knew that we weren't going to be a part of the real war, the one being fought in the urban canyons back East. Perhaps we had to play up our own role. If we had to die in the streets of San Jose fighting off our own vengeful compatriots in the historic violent riots on the Blackest Day in American History, well, so be it.

But, of course, that didn't happen. (I really should have known better. I didn't know anywhere near as much about America two Septembers ago as I do now.) We went to Cosentino's and did some cursory shopping, picking up essentials on the off chance that the country would be locked down or something. The air was still, traffic was light, but it was no different-- oddly-- from how I remember Christmas being in my youth. Normally we'd stayed home and indoors all day. It was Christmas, for crying-out-loud! You didn't drive on Christmas! And so on those rare times in the early years that we did go somewhere, I always found myself staring in fascination at the rare other cars we passed, wondering who was in them, what they were thinking. What could be so important? Why aren't you inside? The whole year has been leading up to this! Get off the road! And though age brought practicality and cynicism about that kind of thing, the same kind of primal nerve got tripped in my mind on that day. Didn't you hear the news? Go home, dammit! Can't it wait?

Eventually I went in to work, though not many people got much done. Most people went home early. Our friends gathered to watch the news until late into the night, hunched around a party tray of snack food, like some kind of macabre Cinco de Mayo festival. Hell, it was practical.

We told the stories we'd heard throughout the day. We waited for new developments, revised numbers, talking-head analysis, categorical denial and apology from cross-legged Taliban officials. We noticed after a couple of hours that there hadn't been any commercials. We wondered if there would ever be commercials again.

But for me, and for a lot of us three thousand miles away from where it happened, the reality of the events was still dull and distant, and-- somehow-- simultaneously loud and touchy and oversaturated. It wasn't like any of us thought it was all just a dream, or anything maudlin like that; it was more like being suddenly inside a sci-fi movie. Who knew when the clouds over the horizon would suddenly light up red and the sky would boil with spreading fire? Who knew when the Golden Gate Bridge would collapse asunder and crash into the Bay? Who knew when our computer screens would all suddenly flash giant skull-and-crossbones icons and shout Allahu akbar! at us? Who knew if anybody could ever watch a movie, or listen to a song, or buy a loaf of bread without feeling somehow guilty about the mundanity of it all? By gum, everything should have meaning now. They'll be writing history books with chapters that start with today's date. That banana you eat, that e-mail you type, that toe you stub might one day be on some kid's final exam.

So it was with no small amount of guilt that I, and probably others, went to bed that night. Guilt that we hadn't been in a position to take a more active part; guilt that we were worried about deadlines at work while people in New York were concerned primarily with finding out whether their family members were alive; guilt that we out here were never actually in any real danger, and especially guilt that we'd acted as though we might be.

And so, although this account has dragged on far longer and become far more self-aggrandized than I'd intended it to, I'd recommend looking elsewhere for apt first-hand descriptions of what it was like on that day where things actually did happen. Where guilt arose only from having the luck to live out the day when others did not.

I can't imagine how I might have handled being in that position. All I know is that I haven't "gotten over it", even having spent the intervening two years here on the sunny West Coast, far away from the battlegrounds, surrounded by those who are ready to dismiss any lingering emotional attachment to 9/11 as some damn faux Madison Avenue white-male sob-story sold by the cable networks and the politicians as an excuse to enslave the world.

I can only imagine what it would take for a New Yorker to "get over it".

No, actually I can't.


16:29 - Sounds awfully familiar to me
http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/5288.htm

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Via VodkaPundit-- Daniel Pipes has a post-mortem on the Oslo accords. Because by now they're not just merely dead, they're really most sincerely dead.

I remember, at the time, that not only were the accords hailed with a kind of festival atmosphere among all those who so desperately wanted to believe that something could work, but there was another side to the public discourse that painted Clinton, not to put too fine a point on it, as Satan. "He will come in the guise of a peacemaker," said the usual Final Days fantasies, triumphantly centering on that "handshake" photo.

I guess he couldn't have known how things would turn out, though naÔvetť may well have played a part. But it can hardly be argued that things are better now because of Oslo.

What went wrong?

Many things, but most important was that the deal rested on a faulty Israeli premise that Palestinians had given up their hope of destroying the Jewish state. This led to the expectation that if Israel offered sufficient financial and political incentives, the Palestinians would formally recognize the Jewish state and close down the conflict.

Israelis therefore pushed themselves to make an array of concessions, in the futile hope that flexibility, restraint and generosity would win Palestinian goodwill. In fact, these steps made matters worse by sending signals of apparent demoralization and weakness. Each concession further reduced Palestinian awe of Israeli might, made Israel seem more vulnerable and incited irredentist dreams of annihilating it.

The result was a radicalized and mobilized Palestinian body politic. In speech and actions, via claims to the entire land of Israel and the murder of Israelis, the hope of destroying Israel acquired ever-more traction.

Thus did the muted Palestinian mood at Oslo's start in 1993 turn into the enraged ambition evident today.

In other words, appeasement doesn't work. Never has, never will.

Maybe the EU's finally tagging Hamas as a terrorist group (following the recent Jerusalem attack) is the sign that we've been looking for (or at least one such sign), namely that what we're dealing with here is a culture for whom terrorism is not just condoned, it's celebrated, inculcated in kids from birth, taught in those "summer camps" that instruct children in bomb-making techniques, painted lavishly in murals, commemorated in street names and schools, and seen as the legitimate way to salvation. As long as the Jews are offered as the scapegoat for the whole of the Arab world and its collective failures, where the world thinks nothing of a "cease-fire" in which dozens of attacks are foiled each day and which is named for a historical "truce" in which Mohammad's forces laid down their arms so as to rebuild their strength for a later sneak attack, and where the last desperate attempt at a humane deterrent against terrorism-- a partition wall-- is condemned and torn at by "peace" protesters, and where the majority of Palestinians believe not in a two-state solution but in the destruction of Israel, trusting to diplomacy and reason and the common human desire for peace is just wishful thinking.

In the spirit of Oslo's 10th anniversary, I propose a radically different approach for the next decade:

* Acknowledge the faulty presumption that underlay both Oslo and the road map (Palestinian acceptance of Israel's existence).

* Resolve not to repeat the same mistake.

* Understand that diplomacy aiming to close down the Arab-Israeli conflict is premature until Palestinians give up their anti-Zionist fantasy.

* Make Palestinian acceptance of Israel's existence the primary goal.

* Impress on Palestinians that the sooner they accept Israel, the better off they will be. Conversely, so long they pursue their horrid goal of extermination, diplomacy will remain moribund and they will receive no financial aid, arms or recognition as a state.

* Give Israel license not just to defend itself but to impress on the Palestinians the hopelessness of their cause.

When, over a long period of time and with complete consistency, the Palestinians prove they accept Israel, negotiations can be re-opened and the issues of the past decade - borders, resources, armaments, sanctities, residential rights - be taken up anew. The sooner we adopt the right policies, the sooner that will be.

In other words, they can't be rewarded for the road they've taken-- they must be defeated. That is, after all, what we're doing with al Qaeda. And this is, after all, part of the same war.

UPDATE: Den Beste has more. One way or another, it always comes back down to Arafat.

UPDATE: It would be interesting to know if anybody can find one instance, just one, of Israelis behaving even remotely like this after any IDF operation against terrorist leaders, no matter how focused, efficient, or successful.

Hell, I can't even imagine Americans acting like this if we got bin Laden.


15:42 - Spam Moment of Zen

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Just received:

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That's all.

15:23 - Now that's presence
http://www.apple.com/retail/northmichiganavenue/gallery1.html

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Holy crap! When did this place open?



Is it just me, or are the Apple retail stores just getting bigger and better every time? Yeah, this Chicago store is one of the flagships, but... I guess it'd be hard to claim the retail experiment has been a flop, eh?

(I'll bet they have dual G5s in stock. Hell, the place even looks like a G5.)

Monday, September 8, 2003
18:54 - Get these people an ad agency

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I think I might know why Apple has come up with that whole new ad packaging for the iPod (the silhouettes of people holding iPods against multicolored backgrounds).

Up until this past weekend, this billboard, south of San Francisco on 101 southbound, just north of the intersection with 280, was an iTunes Music Store ad, featuring that gorgeous starburst guitar and the AppleMusic.com URL.



Then, about five miles further on, just north of the San Francisco Airport, appeared this:



As parodies go, this one is particularly vicious... and particularly inept. It presumes the viewer has seen the TV ad with Tommy Lee smashing Apple's guitar on the stage and screeching like a banshee. But for those who haven't-- what's the message here? As well as Chris and I can determine, it's "BuyMusic.com-- just like the Apple store, only it's broken!"

But now I notice that the AppleMusic.com domain is just a redirect to the iTunes 4 page (which has a section describing the features of the iTMS, but the iconic guitar is nowhere in sight), and all the billboards about the service have been replaced with the new multicolored iPod campaign.

I wonder what happened. I figured the AppleMusic campaign had a lot of life left in it, and that guitar was poised to be one of the most tasteful, most recognizable, most respectable icons in technology branding history.

If they've retired it already purely because of BuyMusic.com's infantile smear, then the latter isn't just guilty of iconicide. They're guilty of doing what happens so often in the technology world: if you can't copy Apple's innovations successfully, just ridicule them until they quit.

#$%^#$&**^, I say.

UPDATE: Of course, the iPod faces some stiff competition from this guy's head.

UPDATE: Kris notes...

Apple changing the iTMS ads Is a great idea, if only to make BuyMusic.com come up with a new ad campaign. FAST. Otherwise, like you pointed out, what do all those lonely broken guitars say about BuyMusic to the uninformed? And if they parody the new ads... what are they parodying? The iPod, which they don't compete against? Let's see if BuyMusic is fast with their fingers because this is an old fashion music duel!

Awright! Battle of the Bands, only with distributors instead of bands!

If only the two companies had different exclusive artists that they could pit against each other in a week-long battle royale!


16:42 - So that's it...
http://www.apple.com/ipod/

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Looks like the iPod is up to 40GB. Yay! And the colorful silhouette ad campaign is the new packaging they're trotting out for it. Kinda odd and uncharacteristic, but hey, I'm not gonna complain.

After all, they've just sold their millionth iPod. The formula's still working, apparently!

Oh, and new speed-bumped iMacs, up to 1.25 GHz. With USB 2.0 and FireWire 400. The hell?

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© Brian Tiemann