Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
There you go.
What I've been trying to articulate for the past year. The music industry is obsolete. The internet has made the middle man unnecessary. Artists can run their own websites and sell downloads for a dollar per. The production expense for music dropped the minute MP3s became widespread. The iPod will finish the job. When I can get a stereo for my car that plays MP3s I don't need CDs or tapes or records. Distribution was all the music industry had to offer and no one needs it anymore. Unfortunately you have a huge parasitic industry with the power and the money to sue and sue and sue in an attempt to stave off its own demise. Ultimately though I think it's over.
"When you watch the Grammy Awards on Wednesday, you might want to tape it — and not just because Jon Stewart will be a swell host. The record industry has squandered the faith of its artists and its customers. We all grew up hearing music for free on the radio and teevee and now we can save it via the Internet. When we like something, we'll pay to have our own copy — or to see the artist play live. Few will weep when the Record Industry collapses."

posted by Rachel 9/09/2003
. . .
Preach it brother!
" ON ATTACKS AND MINDSETS 
       With the Sept. 11 anniversary coming up, don’t miss the reminiscences in Michele Catalano’s Voices blog, which collects them. Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens is warning us not to be sentimental, because the war isn’t over yet. Jeff Jarvis agrees, and notes: “The people who died on September 11th died in the war on terror. And, for that matter, so did scores before on the Cole and in the Beirut barracks. And that’s just the attacks aimed at America. Add the victims and soldiers of this war on terror in the rest of the world and that’s a helluva lot more than 433. This war didn’t start yesterday. This war is not over yet. This war is bigger than we are admitting. This, let’s remind ourselves, is World War III.” Or maybe World War IV, as some people in the military are calling it. People want things to go back to normal — but for quite a while yet, this will be normal.
       
       Meanwhile, people’s mindsets are too passive for their own, and others’, safety. The recent mass shooting in Chicago — which, like many mass shootings, took place where there was no one with a gun to stop it — wasn’t a terrorist attack as such. But it could have been, and blogger Tom Perry thinks that anti-gun propaganda had the effect of making people respond passively when resisting might have saved lives: “It seems the victims in this case were completely demoralized by the mere sight of a gun let alone being shot.” If you’re conditioned to think of guns as magic talismans of death, that’s a natural response. As Perry notes, they’re something less than that in reality, and nonresistance can be more dangerous than fighting back. He observes:
       
       What bothers me most about this story is, that seven American men in a row didn’t have a fighting mindset between them.
       A fighting mindset is easily cultivated. All you have to do is think about these things for a while, and make up your mind to be alert, fierce and sudden in the defense of your own. You don’t need weapons or combat training (though these help), you just need to make up your mind.
       The crucial thing is, you need to make up your mind in advance, and keep it made up every day.

       
       Thinking about such things isn’t comfortable — but being an adult in a dangerous world isn’t about always being comfortable. It’s about doing what is necessary. That’s something to remember as September 11 approaches. It was true on Sept. 11, 2001, as this classic essay by Brad Todd about Flight 93 from that week makes clear:
       
       Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism — the most deadly yet invented — came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective.
       Deconstructed, unengineered, thwarted, and put into the dust bin of history. By Americans. In 109 minutes.
       And in retrospect, they did it in the most American of ways. They used a credit card to rent a fancy cell phone to get information just minutes old, courtesy of the ubiquitous 24-hour news phenomenon. Then they took a vote. When the vote called for sacrifice to protect country and others, there apparently wasn’t a shortage of volunteers. Their action was swift. It was decisive. And it was effective.
       United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. It did not terrorize a city, despite the best drawn plans of the world’s most innovative madmen. Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who’d had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction.
       And the next time a hijacker full of hate pulls the same stunt with a single knife, he’ll get the same treatment and meet the same result as those on United Flight 93. Dead, yes. Murderous, yes. But successful? No.

       
       That’s if Americans retain the approach that they showed that day, and that Tom Perry reminds us we need to keep in mind every day. Comfortable? No. But neither is a seatbelt — and as we’ve seen below, there’s no wishing those away, either."
The issue of mindset doesn't just have to do with terrorism. For women especially, it has to do with the commitment to yourself that no one gets to hurt you for free. You might not stop them from hurting you, but they are by god going to pay the highest price you can exact. That commitment is the most essential ingredient in self-defense. It doesn't matter what tools or training you have. You must have the will to survive. That's the difference between being a victim and being a survivor.

Most people who are shot don't die. Most people who are stabbed don't die. Run. Fight. Own your life.

posted by Rachel 9/09/2003
. . .
A delicious
rant.

One thing she neglects to point out is the anti-terrorism impact of this idiotic new law. After all the pushes to have social security numbers and biometric id features and all the other anti fraud practices implemented for every state's driver's licenses, now California has opened a gaping hole to allow anyone to get fake legal ID. Thanks California!

I wouldn't be surprised if the Feds intervene to put a stop to this. If it's the judicial system, well and good, but if it ends up having to be the justice department squashing this nonsense Bush is going to be crucified. Ah well. I love the 1984 excerpt.
"In the ramifications of Party doctrine she had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed.

If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep. She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant.

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird."
That was certainly the vast majority of my fellow students. I need to make another stab at that book. When I tried to read it the first time I didn't have the frame of reference to appreciate it.

posted by Rachel 9/09/2003
. . .
Well it's finally time to get a new furnace and get the house painted (the trim at least.) Of course doing those things requires other minor tasks be done as well. The stucco has a crack and a hole that need filling. The windows need a little wood filler here and there. A couple of windowpanes need to be reglazed. A few places need new caulk. There are a few gaps in the basement that need insulation stuffed in them. All minor inexpensive things but they collectively conspire to send me whirling off into Home Depot delirium.

About once a year I get possessed by the nesting bug. Usually sometime between September and January, a project or two that have been silently bothering me for months or years, must suddenly be completed NOW. I think it's a form of cabin fever. Winter starts closing in and the thought of the long confinement spent staring at these deficiencies sends me and my wallet to Home Depot and Benno heading for the hills.

I cannot wait until we get an Ikea and a Lowes. Mwuahaha.

posted by Rachel 9/09/2003
. . .
Our phone number is the number of a local taxi company with the last two digits transposed. Every Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Year, and St. Patrick's Day I expect at least one call around bar close.

Once in awhile though, we get one out of the blue. Why anyone would be too drunk to dial on a random monday night in September, I don't know. I'm glad they aren't driving.

Everytime the phone rings after midnight I experience this conflict. Should I answer it and growl at the drunk I'm 99% sure is calling. Should I ignore it? What if it's an emergency? I always answer and it's never an emergency.

posted by Rachel 9/09/2003
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