Subversion

No, not the kind you are thinking of. It’s an upstart source control management system that is intended to address some of the shortcomings of the stolid, ubiquitous but aging CVS. These guys look like they have really thought it through from the ground up, deciding what are the important things for a SCM to do. One of the beautiful things about Subversion is that it versions directories. Moving or deleting files is no longer a big deal. If you check out a version where the file exists in that directory, you get it. If you check out a version after it has been deleted or moved, you don’t. In CVS, since the file history is attached to the file, you can’t do this. It is a huge hassle to move things around, which leads to people learning to live with bad directory organization since changing it is so much work.

I’ve been following this project from a distance for over a year. I tried a while back to install it on my Red Hat box from an RPM but it had library conflicts and wouldn’t go. Following this tip from my programming partner Darin I gave it another shot. It has matured a lot. I built it from the tarball source, and everything seems to be working fine. I have a test repository and did a few minor things to it and it all seemed to work right. I believe I’m going to start using it in earnest for my projects around the house. We’ll see how this goes, but I expect good things from it. I’d love if in a few years this becomes the defacto standard. They did a good job of keeping the interface as much like CVS as they could, so the learning curve of migrating to it is very shallow.

Nigergate

The White House now completely abandons any pretense of behaving like responsible government officials. There’s been lots of rhetoric about “holding ourselves to the highest level of ethics.” When it comes time to test that, they stonewall and pretend like it didn’t happen. I love this headline on CNN – “Administration vows cooperation in probe of intelligence leak”. OK. that’s reasonable, right? Then the first paragraph is a perfect Bush administration of doing the opposite of what they say.

The White House will cooperate with the Justice Department in its initial inquiry into who leaked the classified identity of a CIA operative, but will not launch an internal probe and will not ask for an independent investigation, a spokesman said Monday.

“The president believes if someone leaked classified information, particularly of this nature, that it is a serious matter and it should be looked into and pursued to the fullest extent possible,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

The President believes this is serious and should be looked into. However, the White House refuses to look into it and will instead only answer the questions DOJ poses. Right. Am I the only one who notices a glaring contradictory message between “it should be looked into and pursued to the fullest extent possible” and ” will not launch an internal probe and will not ask for an independent investigation”? Not launching an investigation is the fullest extent possible? Fuller than launching it? This is downright insane.

I’ve been watching Scott McLellan twist in the wind for a while on CSPAN. He is just not the bald (no pun intended) liar that Ari Fleischer was. When asked by reporters “why not ask the dozen people that could have leaked it who did it?” he said “We can’t go down the White House directory and look at everyone.” Bullshit! In the first place, the whole White House doesn’t have access to lists of CIA field agents. Even if they did, of course you could talk to every White House employee. McLellan dismissed the story because it was based on an anonymous source, which is nicely circular logic. A story about how the White House retaliates against people who speak on the record is dismissed because it is anoymously sourced. It is time for Washington DC to go for the “I am Spartacus” play. Everyone needs to spill it simultaneously, so that there are too many people to retaliate against individually.

Fugitives and Refugees

I finished this book yesterday. It is a short book, bordering on the insubstatial – I read it in about 90 minutes. I wish this book had been available when I lived in Portland. There is a lot of crazy shit going on that you’d never know. I found it interesting some of the wild things that happen in buildings I have walked past one hundred times without noticing. Really, my favorite part of the book was the “postcards” sections, short anecdotes of the real life Palahniuk describing working in a hospice, getting beat up, being part of a “Santa Rampage”, exploring the Shanghai tunnels under the city. It was a fun read, and I’ll have to keep some of this in mind if/when I go back for Orycon in November. I’d recommend this to anyone, but if you are planning a visit to Portland anytime soon it is a must read. I’m so bummed – the 24 hour Church of Elvis is closed!

American Splendor

We saw this last Friday. I figured I would enjoy it, being a long time fan of the series and with such universally good reviews. My only real concern was whether I could table my dislike of Paul Giamatti. I was pleasantly surprised. I found that he is much less annoying while playing an explicitly annoying character than the “lovable” schlubs he specializes in. I thought Hope Davis did a particularly fine job as Joyce Brabner, and James Urbaniak as Robert Crumb captured his weird detachment quite well.

I think I was less taken with the conceit of having the real Pekar in the movie than most. While I appreciated the theme of the multiple representations (made very explicit when Joyce wonders which artists’ rendition Harvey will look most like), in a lot of ways having the real Harvey in there weakened the fictional parts for me. The scene where Harvey and Toby are talking about jelly beans while the actors sit behind them was an example – I couldn’t forget that I found the two real guys talking about nothing more engaging than the actors performing a script. When the voiceover mentions about Crumb “Oh, he had a movie made about him” I was thinking that I might rather see 100 minutes of a Harvey documentary rather than the psuedo-fictional narrative.

All in all, I liked the film and thought it was worthy of the very good body of source material. I might be slightly less taken than the average reviewer, but I would still recommend it highly. I honestly hope that some of the audience will pick up the graphic novel collections. It’s good stuff.

Fox Vs. Tucker Carlson

You know, I have nothing but contempt for Tucker Carlson. Even so, I wouldn’t have done what Fox did by publishing his home phone number on their website. His prank of giving out the Fox Washington bureau number on the air and saying it was his number at the house was stupid, but reasonable retaliation on Fox’s part would have been to give out CNN’s number, or even Carlson’s CNN office number. Giving out the home number so his wife and children could get harangued by lockstep Fox zombies is bullshit. The stupid bastards at Fox seem to be systematically attempting to destroy what tiny bit of credibility they have, and have outed themselves as a bunch of whiny, litigious, partisan, mean-spirited peckerheads. I’ll never watch them again after their absurd, unethical behavior of the last 9 months or so. I’m also going to quit writing about them here. This is the last entry about them, because I’m wishing them into the cornfield.

Galleries and Galleries and Galleries

I’m trying to clear out my huge backlog of posts in my FeedOnFeeds. I have hundreds of things I might like to blog in there, so I don’t mark them as read and then eventually there are so many that the whole thing becomes unusable. Here’s a list of a bunch of interesting galleries that have shown up lately.

October Ball

Well, September but you know what I mean. My postseason dream was realized as the Cubs meet the Braves in the playoffs. I just wish it wasn’t in the first round, because as a new resident of Chicagoland, I’ll hate to see the Cubs get sent home so early. I wish instead the Braves were to beat them in the league championships.

More on Palahniuk

I’ve seen a few references to this piece on MemeFirst about Palahniuk’s audioblog coming out, on Bill Shunn’s weblog and others. I blogged about this right as it was happening, before the original audioblog entry was taken down. I don’t really agree with the Memefirst post and think it is needlessly negative, with pissy asides like “I can’t seem to access that message any more: maybe Palahniuk is trying to crawl back into the closet .” Chuck posted followups stating that the message was removed because he made statements about the Entertainment Weekly reporter that were untrue, and didn’t want to be spreading slander and because his more hotheaded fans were threatening her and he wanted that to stop. Maybe I just start from a different place, but I don’t think the original message was so much angry as sad and melancholy and awkwardly touching.

My undefinitive take (only Chuck knows for sure) is that Chuck wouldn’t have done this if he hadn’t wanted to. Maybe his (erroneous) belief that Entertainment Weekly was outing him affected the timing, but I don’t think it created something from thin air that he didn’t want to do at all. In the now gone original message, he mentions “saving a fortune in blackmail money” now that he’s gone public. All in all, I hope this makes his life simpler and easier.

It’s interesting how the take on this story differs. The Memefirst and similar pieces seem to be taking the tack of “Ha ha, look at how the hothead fucked up!” On the CP forum on his site, the discussion is more of the “We’re still with you, Chuck” form. I’m not sure if it is his reputation as an ubermacho writer of ubermacho fiction that is causing such schadenfreude from certain circles. I’m also not sure I agree with the premise that this is a fuckup. I suspect that once the furor over the manner this went down is over, everything will be back to the way it was except that Chuck will be able to be more candid and less guarded about the way he lives his life. Is this bad? All I know is that I’m going to start reading Fugitives and Refugees this morning and that I expect good things from it.

PS – If you see the Entertainment Weekly article, the photo of the people at the reading prominently features my friend and proprietor of Assclown Cockfight JonnyX and his girlfriend Jackie. That’s them, right up front and to the right of the photo.

Jaime Hernandez Interview at SuicideGirls

Jaime Hernandez is interviewed at SuicideGirls.com. I like Jaime and have for most of the 25 years they’ve done Love and Rockets. As I drift in and out of the world of comics, and have the ever more frequent experience of walking into a shop with lots of money in my pocket and leaving empty handed because I don’t know what I want, I have always stuck with Los Bros Hernandez. I still need to get a replacement for the threadbare “Maggie the Mechanic” L&R shirt that I finally through away, after wearing the hell out of it for 17 years.

I can definitely trace part of my fascination with Mexican and Latino pop culture back to them. I found Lucha Libre through their comics, first read One Hundred Years of Solitude because the characters talked about it. I was a little surprised to find that Jaime doesn’t speak or read Spanish fluently. It’s a good interview, but looking at the text with my interviewer hat on, and looking at the ratio of question to answer, what I see is a poor schlub interviewer working his ass off.

US Poverty Rises

Ah, Bush administration economic policies at work. For the second straight year, the number of Americans in poverty rose. While the administration focuses on making sure that rich Americans pay less tax, getting American citizens to pay for needlessly destroying Iraqi infrastructure and then pay for rebuilding it, the number of poor Americans rises.

In a related story, the National Priorities Project has a list of what the new round of funding (the additional $87 billion that the administration is stumpoing for) could buy if it was spent domestically.

$15.0 billion for school construction resulting in 356,475 new jobs,
AND
105,319 new affordable housing units, creating 257,820 new jobs,

AND

$15.0 billion for local and state roads and bridges, creating 423,131 new jobs,

AND

418,060 new firefighters,

AND
health care coverage for 5,723,077 people.

Like the Letterman joke goes “Bush is asking for $87 billion to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure, to improve their police and school systems. Then, if it works over there, we’ll do it here.”

Both links via the Daily Kos

Frame the Debate

Here’s an interesting piece by George Lakoff about framing the Democratic Agenda. It includes insights on why no one on the left should ever dignify the term “tax relief” (a term that implies that taxes are an unwarranted burden on the rich) and on how to think about and talk about progressive issues. Use this kind of thinking to clarify your thinking about the cheap labor right.

What Goes Around Comes Around

After the tackiness of the Iraqi “Most Wanted” deck of cards (and the complete nonsense that was every US news organization always reporting what card any Iraqi official was when apprehended as if it was important), others have gotten into the act. There is a Russian deck of American figures featuring Bush administration officials, family members and cronies. There is also a French deck of ‘most dangerous’ US leaders. The guy behind the French cards is most likely a nut, since he claims that no plane hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and that the US military planned the attacks. I do agree with the statement of the French nut when he says:

“I found it completely indecent to present a manhunt as a game,” said Thierry Meyssan, the man behind the French deck. “We thought this card game would allow us to … explain why we consider the government of George Bush a threat to international security.”

I got very sick of hearing about this deck of cards all spring, think it was downright disrepectful to be throwing these things around an Islamic country, and that it trivialized and made jaunty what should have been a gravely serious matter. I hope this tweaks the noses of the assholes responsible for the original deck.

Indigo Girls on WREK

This is a timely link – at this writing and until about 8 PM EST on October 2, 20003, an old performance of Indigo Girls from 1989 is available via streaming from WREK’s archive of their program The Underground Recordings. You can stream either high bandwidth or a low bandwidth suitable for dialups. For you fans of Indigo Girls, this is a must listen document. Don’t dawdle on this, you have five days until the archive gets overwritten by next weeks episode.

What I most like about this show, since they tend to focus on WREK in-studio performances from 1985 to about 1990, is hearing ones that I remember being in the studio for. It’s possible, although I don’t have clear memories of it, that I was there for this one. I know I was there for most or all of the Michelle Malone shows in that period. There’s one episide where I jumped up on the desk in the office area and started dancing, and she yelled something like “They’re dancing on the tables in the studio! You at home, get up and dance!” If they ever re-air that one, I’m the male go-go dancer that provokes that outburst. Ah, memories!

Who Walks the Line?

Here is a beautiful and profound post on Slacktivist comparing the professions of faith by Johnny Cash and George W. Bush. Why do we believe that Cash had an honest and sincere devotion to the lord while for President Bush treats his faith like a hat, easy to put on for show and take off when inconvenient? An excerpt:

Yes, as Fields points out, Bush and Cash both speak out for “the words that Jesus said” — but those words seem to have very different implications for the two men.

If there’s one thing President Bush insists upon — one thing that he wants the world to know about him — it is that he has a “good heart.” (See here for more on Bush’s obsession with “good-heartedness.”)

Cash never made such a claim. “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine,” he sang in “I Walk the Line.” He always viewed his own heart with a wary suspicion, serving more often than not as the anti-hero of his own songs. Like many a great bluesman, Cash sang of faithlessness — but that faithlessness was his own. He was never a victim crying for pity, but a sinner crying out for grace.

Good stuff. I found this via LaGringa.

Hedwig Lyric of the day

I’m relistening to my soundtrack album of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. These songs are all superb, and a number of them are very emotionally engaging. “Wicked Little Town,” “Midnight Radio,” and “Wig in a Box” really get to me. Another melancholy song that I like a lot is “Long Grift” – it packs an awful lot of pain and disillusionment in a few words and chords. Here is an excerpt:

I’m just another john you’ve gypped,
another sucker stiffed,
a walk on role in the script
to your long, long grift.
The love that had me in your grip
was just a long, long grift.

Silly Diminutives

Here’s an expression that bugs the living hell out of me. I see it and hear it all that time, and I cringe every time. “Addy” used for “address”. I just saw it in a couple of postings and mails. “I’ll send you my email addy” and such. It sounds stupid, it is no shorter than the full word spoken and saves a scant three characters written, and it is just plain annoying. This isn’t a full boil clock tower thing, but just one of those low level annoyances that slowly irks the crap out of me.

Teleread

I discovered a new blog today via the referer list – it is one devoted to ebook issues called TeleRead. My post about RSS and how “devangelists” who loudly proclaim that “technology X will kill technology Y” harm their causes was linked by them. Backtracking I found a nice sensible blog full of much coverage of the issues of electronic text. I’m honored to be linked by them, long may they wave. Yet another blog for the must read stack – time to mint another hour in the day.

Andy Heidel

Continuing the tour of people I liked very much dealing with in my radio days, here is the webpage of Andy Heidel. I dealt with him when he was doing publicity for Avon, and he was always a great guy. I believe I got almost every interview I ever asked for, and Andy was always fun to talk to. I saw a reference to his webpage today on Colleen Lindsay’s Lagringa weblog and explored Andy’s site. Here’s an odd statement from his CV:

Handled publicity for Neil GaimanŽâ€™s lawsuit against Todd McFarlane and his companies.

Dear god, I didn’t realize lawsuits had publicists! This is truly an odd world, and further proof that Andy can do anything.

Bionic Office

From Joel Spolsky comes this tale of the new office space they built for Fog Creek. The space does look very nice and I particularly like the clever way all the offices get faux corner offices by allowing people a window to see out the neighboring office’s window. I don’t believe I have ever worked in what I would call “good” office space in the software industry. What I have right now, in my office which is the whole basement of this house, with my desk overlooking floor to ceiling windows onto a backyard full of birds, squirrels, chipmonks and the occasional rabbit – this beats the best space I’ve ever had provided for me by a company.

I might be more sensitive to location than most. When my last office moved from Piedmont Center in Buckhead Atlanta, out to the Perimeter Mall area, I found this a huge step down. For me, living in Midtown it was a much longer drive on which I had to take congested interstates where I could get to Buckhead via surface streets. Walking even across the street was dangerous, where we had a number of restaurants and things to do walking distance in Buckhead. Actually, we had stuff the same distance at Perimeter but with a punishing hazardous walk that I made but always thought I was crazy for doing. For me, happiness is always increased by having things close enough to walk to. People don’t understand when I am equally happy in small towns and inside city centers that this is the common factor. For me, I’m least happy in suburbs way away from anything where anything you do involves first getting in a car. The less car involvement in my life, the happier I am.