Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

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Monday 11 November 2002

When poverty strikes, it's tempting to think of cutting out things that are bad for one's health, financial and physical. Then The Git read the following. Bear in mind that he's in the high risk category for type 2 diabetes:

From globeandmail.com, Friday, November 8, 2002

Lots of coffee may help prevent diabetes, researchers find

CAROLYN ABRAHAM MEDICAL REPORTER

Science has brewed up some fine news for the coffee addicts among us.

Those cherished mugs of java may actually cut your risk of developing diabetes -- as long as you keep drinking them all day, according to a surprising study that wasn't funded by Starbucks.

Researchers at the Institute of Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands report today in the journal Lancet that people who drink more than seven cups of coffee a day are 50 per cent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than the moderates who quaff two cups or less.

But the researchers acknowledge that important questions remain: Can seven cups of coffee a day truly be good for you? You may, for example, reduce your risk of diabetes, but would you ever get a good night's sleep?

"Our finding of an inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of Type 2 diabetes could have important public-health implications," lead author Rob van Dam wrote. "However, our findings need to be replicated and possible adverse effects on other health aspects should be considered in the choice to consume coffee."

Coffee is rarely touted for its health benefits. Yet the researchers note that it contains magnesium and other micronutrients and that caffeine is known to be a source of antioxidants.

But too much caffeine can be hazardous to your health, leading to withdrawal symptoms that include jitters, headaches, insomnia and heart palpitations.

The researchers say they are not certain that caffeine is in fact the compound that offers the apparent protective benefit. So whether other caffeinated drinks, such as tea or colas, have similar effects remains unknown. Coffee, for example, contains other elements such as chlorogenic acid, which helps the body metabolize glucose.

David Kitts, a nutritional scientist at the University of British Columbia, said the study was well done but cautioned that the people who drink seven cups a day may be atypical.

"It would be interesting to know what kind of stress levels these people were under, and whether hormones related to stress could be having an effect," Dr. Kitts said. "We have to note that this is an effect seen in this group of people."

Dr. van Dam and colleagues reached their conclusions after following 17,111 Dutch men and women from the ages of 30 to 60 at intervals from 1987 to 2000. They found the big coffee drinkers tended to be male who smoked, carried extra weight, ate poorly, used more alcohol and exercised less.

-oOo-

Yesterday was a day of surprises. My friend Robert arrived, not just with the promised 2nd hand Epson Stylus Pro XL A3 inkjet printer, but news of a startling nature. Our mutual friend, Esse, has managed to cause a fire in his home, devastating the living/computer room! Fortunately, he was uninjured, though he was hospitalised for shock.

Sadly, The Git's long-distance spectacles and most of his Jethro Tull albums were in that room. Also some very notable other music and computer memorabilia and a brand new computer. At least my friend is alive and relatively unscathed for which The Git is truly grateful. Esse was best man at our wedding. The other men were pretty cool, too, but the ladies were all stunning! :-)

More good news: the gale force winds have gone away, at least temporarily -- The Git's sale has resulted in at least one item sold -- and he has found a part-time job to apply for. Oh, and he has been offered some other work.

More bad news is that The Git's son, Thomas, has a dead computer. It has been intermittently sick for some time, occasionally refusing to POST, but always requiring at least ten minutes after power-down before becoming restartable. Likely it's the A-Open motherboard, but the 700 MHz AMD slot A Athlon CPU isn't worth much, nor are new MoBos available these days. Given our current parlous financial state, it means he has to complete the project of gutting the old 486 and installing a MoBo with a P133 he acquired some time ago. He was saving up for a better video card.

The most likely cause of the MoBo demise was that it had video cards installed and uninstalled, NICs likewise, and it was carted to and from a number of LAN parties. Computers prefer an easier life than that, and generally last much longer if they are interfered with as little as possible.

The Git compared two motherboard/CPU combos:

A Micro-Star Socket370 MS6337LE5 with a Pentium III/Tualatin 1.13GHz would allow us to keep the 133 MHz SDRAM in the current machine. Cost: $A517

A Micro-Star Socket A KT3 Ultra2 with a AMD K7 Athlon XP 1600+and 256MB Apacer PC2100 DDR-SDRAM comes to $A495, and we get to sell the old DIMMs.

Comments welcome.

The Epson Stylus Pro XL prints from Win2k using the driver that comes with Win2k, but the results are awful. The latest driver from Epson is for Win98! The Git set up a virtual machine with VMWare, but couldn't persuade VMWare to use the parallel port. <sigh>. If there was room next to the "server", we could have (reluctantly) converted that to Win98, but there's only room for the LaserJet 5 MP. It looks like The Git's workstation will become a Win98/Win2k dual boot again for the few occasions that colour printing is needed.

Thought for the day:

Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.

Seneca

Current Listening:

The Who -- Quadrophenia


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Tuesday 12 November 2002

John Dominick writes:

First off, do you need some computer hardware? I'm looking around at a big pile of stuff -- about thirty computers, right now. Some are functional 486s, some are less so. I'm unsure the export duties, etc., and whether or not the whole project would be worthwhile, but I'm thinking these things are mostly junk here. Another 486 or two could leave you with a Win98 box for just printing, etc...

If you've experience in the area in question, let me know, we can see what we can do... --- John Dominik 

Oy, friendship knows no boundaries. Please, please, please, don't take this the wrong way. 486s and low end Pentiums are as big a glut here as they are there. They are cheaper than the cost of transport between our respective countries, even for the cheapest 6-8 week sea voyage. What's in short supply here and likely there as well, are higher density memory sticks for those old boxen.

Thomas is temporarily "restricted" to a 400 MHz K6/2 with 128 MB of RAM and a Matrox Millennium II video card. He can do his homework (word processing and Java programming) and personal development (ANSI C), but not play the latest and greatest first person shooters. And it's final examination fortnight! This may in fact be a hint from Big G himself! Oh, and because I insisted he leave the installed hard drive in place, he can only install two of his three 17 GB drives. We also have a P75 laptop that gets very little use and the "entertainment" box for playing DVDs and MP3s in the Great Hall is a 200 MHz Pentium MMX -- also used relatively infrequently and could be lived without for a "higher purpose". No *great* shortage of computers around here. Perhaps I wailed too loud!

In the event, a long overdue account was paid today and I'm emailing the supplier of the replacement DVD burner to hold sending it until Wednesday so we can put the money in his account for the new MoBo, Athlon CPU and 256 MB of DDR SDRAM. Wanna buy 384 MB of 133 MHz SDRAM? ;-)

When I use the word "poor" it's a very relative term. Certainly several of my US Internet acquaintances perceive us as incorrigible dwellers in mud huts 8-) I might add that SWMBO doesn't help very much. When I point at the months I banked $A10-15,000, she always points at the month I banked $15. Mind you, the last few months have been zero (for the first time in a very long time) and even The Git started to lose faith a teensy-weensy bit ;-)

Your friendship, like several of the Internet variety, is worth a lot to me. Your blood's worth bottling as they say around here.

-oOo-

In the event, we ordered a Micro-Star Socket A KT4 Ultra, (DDR, AGP8x/Audio/USB2) with AMD K7 Athlon XP 1700+ with Dr. Thermal TI-V77N Cooler and Apacer DDR-SDRAM PC2100 256MB. Thomas provided the extra few dollars for the better MoBo and I realised the cooler on the existing K7 can be sold with it if we find a buyer. The last of the Athlon XP 1600+sold out earlier in the day. It would have been nice to spend a bit extra on fast Corsair RAM, but Thomas is saving for a better video card -- again! A new video card every year appears to be the rule with 3D game-players.

-oOo-

Back in 2000, The Git wrote about a time some 20 odd years ago:

Margie and I share an interest in gardening although mine was untested at that time. Curiously, I had picked up two issues of an organic gardening magazine while passing through airports that just happened to be the two missing from Margie's collection. We decided that since I was likely to remain poor for the near future, that we would be better off living in the country. Finding the right place took almost 12 months.

The farmlet we bought was a hovel on 10 acres of good strong land. For two years I fixed the cottage and developed a small market garden completely with hand tools. Only the initial ground-breaking was done with power machinery borrowed from neighbours. When Margie conceived, we decided to plunge fully into "poverty" and she gave up her job in the city. Our frugal life was tough, but we often reflected on how sorry we felt for the poor "rich" people as we toasted each other with home-made wine and ate a meal from food that we had produced.

When we had guests they would invariably say: "That's the best lamb we ever tasted". It would amuse me to tell them that it wasn't. It was goat!

A friend originally from America took a trip back to the States around this time. He said that Thanksgiving was particularly hard to endure. His sister had proudly prepared the meal "from scratch". This entailed instant mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables and frozen turkey. My friend said all he could think about was helping me slaughter the meat and pick those peas and dig those carrots and it was all real food with real flavour.

I suspect, though this is verging perilously close to New Age BS, that food cooked with a wood fire is qualitatively different from that cooked with electricity. I can readily explain the flavour difference with hard science about organic production, but not the difference that the wood fire has on the available energy from food so cooked.

When for several years I became a proselyte for the the organic farming movement, I would talk science to the farmers and agricultural scientists. But when I talked to consumers, I talked politics:

"If you grow your own potatoes, you have done several quite important things. You have removed the necessity to earn the dollars to buy those potatoes and if your income is subject to your control, you can then choose to pay less taxes. If, like me, you grew them organically, you have no need of the agrochemical inputs and so you have reduced the income of the agrochemical companies and in turn their taxes. You have had useful physical exercise that improves your health and so reduces the necessity to visit the doctor. You have saved transporting the potatoes from the farmer's paddock, to the warehouse, to the supermarket and home, reducing the amount of fossil fuel burned. The most profoundly political act you can make is not to vote for Tweedle Dumb or Tweedle Dumber, or protest about what you can never control, but to grow your own food and take control of your own life."

When asked about the certification of organic produce, Vermont's Eliot Coleman said: "Get to know the first name of the person growing your food, then you won't have to worry about how it's grown". A wise man.

Mrs Git's wardrobe comes almost exclusively from what is known as The Op Shop in Australia. Op Shops sell others' cast-offs and Mrs Git's purchases, while not the height of fashion, are of highest quality and cost a minute fraction the original purchaser paid. Australian men are not quite so fashion-conscious and are loath to discard any garment and usually they are secretly disposed of by the Significant Other in their lives. Consequently, The Git tries to purchase clothing that lasts. He fully expects his tweed jackets, woollen dress slacks and dress shoes to still have plenty of wear in them when he shuffles off this mortal coil. His usual attire of work clothes that takes the most wear is far from expensive.

Thomas was put in charge of his own annual budget when he turned twelve, so he is as fashionable as he chooses to be. Due to his own priorities, he might be described as being on the scruffy side some of the time, but The Git recalls that looking scruffy has been fashionable in the past and among the young may very well be so today. Certainly, he looks no different to his peer group, who are notably all computer geeks like himself, expecting to complete a university education and live comfortable, middle-class lives.

We know people with incomes several times greater than our own and people whose income is a fraction of ours. So by the standards of some we are poor -- others perceive us as well-off. By the standards we set for ourselves, we are rich, almost embarrassingly so. Our greatest riches consist in having brought the land that we own into greater productivity: of food and aesthetic value -- and friendships, both in our local community and with visitors from overseas (virtual and "real"). Temporary interruptions to our income are good for us as a reminder of these things.

Thought for the day:

The avaricious man is like the barren sandy ground of the desert which sucks in all the rain and dew with greediness, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.

Zeno

Current Listening:

Steve Hillage -- Motivation Radio


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Wednesday 13 November 2002

Yesterday's blog was written by 8 am and The Git spent the day gardening. The temperature rose to the low thirties and the wind was moderate to strong, so all the weeds shrivelled and died quite quickly. I made a new asparagus bed to replace the old that's become somewhat neglected. This time, I'll be leaving all the male plants to grow on where they are sown and only digging out the female plants, misogynist that I am. Female plants are said to produce smaller spears, but my experience indicates that there's enough variability that some males are out produced by some female plants. The real bug-bear is the seeds that sprout readily wherever they fall, or are carried by the birds.

Other seeds sown were Romano French beans, a new planting of scarlet runner beans as the old plants are well past their prime and the first of the cauliflower seed. The Git is inordinately fond of cauliflower and justifiably proud of those he grows. Over the years, he has tried many of the faster growing varieties, but none have come close in texture and flavour to the slower growers. These days, that means Paleface (aka Paleleaf). The key to successful cauliflower growing is lots of compost and an early foliar feed of something with a bit of molybdenum in it where that is deficient. If you don't get it on soon enough, the appropriate enzymes don't form and the plant will at best be below par and at worst suffer from the severe leaf distortion called whiptail, or strapleaf.

The carrots sown a week or so ago had been covered with discarded carpet to keep the moisture in and that came off today. The beetroot sown the same day has started to break the soil surface. Carrot seed is very fine and best sown shallow, but that means they can readily dry out. The carpet keeps that moisture in, and the weed seeds that have germinated since are killed outright by weather conditions like today. Hopefully, today will see some parsnips sown. When sown too early, they are prone to mildew here, so the window of opportunity is only around 4-6 weeks. We like our parsnips to have plenty of weight before the onset of cooler weather puts them to sleep.

Also on today's agenda is pumpkin (actually Red Hubbard Squash) using seed saved a couple of years ago, a couple of zucchini plants (Lebanese) and basil -- lots of basil. The store-bought basil never has the aroma of home-dried basil and when you grow your own, it's much cheaper, so you can be quite profligate in its use with tomato dishes. Oh, and summer savory needs a corner somewhere. Green beans without savory when it's so easy to grow would be tragic.

Late in the day, I cut grass and weeds on the rough ground in front of the house with the brush-cutter. By six o'clock, I was ready to call it a day and poured myself a nice, cold chardonnay and water. Was it a look of approval I detected in the swallows' eyes as they came and sat on the deck railings?

-oOo-

Robert had a theory that Thomas's computer may have been suffering from a shorted out reset button when he discovered he could emulate the exact same symptoms on his own machine. Sadly, the idea didn't pan out and Thomas's replacement parts have been ordered.

The Epson Stylus Pro XL has been persuaded to work satisfactorily, though not brilliantly, with Win2k. Under Printing preferences, Advanced, right at the bottom is an entry: Driver color adjustment... There's no obvious thing to change until you click on it, whereupon you can adjust saturation, brightness, contrast and the relative level of the colours. Somewhat less advanced than Epson's own printer drivers, but running Win98 instead of Win2k seems to me only marginally better than watching TV while poking myself in the eye with a pencil.

Thought for the day:

Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.

Mary Ann Brussat

Current Listening:

Terry Oldfield -- Resonance


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Thursday 14 November 2002

What a nightmare it was! Paying for the computer parts for Thomas's machine that is. Usually, The Git uses his credit card, but on this occasion, it had insufficient funds available. Mrs Git has been extolling the virtues of phone banking/bill paying and pointed out that The Git had successfully transferred money between two of our accounts the day before. That first foray into phone banking wasn't so hard. Why not do things the modern, efficient way?

The copy of the order from EYO had the BILLPAY code at the top and after entering it, he heard a message that he was being transferred to a telephone operator. The operator explained that the system was telling her that the code did not exist, and asked for the company name so she could look it up. She assured The Git that EYO do not have a BILLPAY facility. Neither the code, nor a lookup on the name had produced a result. "Well how about we transfer the funds direct from my account to EYO's bank account?" The Git suggested hopefully. "Oh, no! You can't do that over the telephone", she said. Perhaps you'd better contact EYO."

EYO assured me that they did have BILLPAY facility and had done so for around six months! "Why not try using the Internet to pay the bill?" 

"What a good idea!" The Git mused while reminiscing about those long ago days when rules were administered by humans and could be bent to allow such transactions to happen. But he mused on the fact that this was all in the name of being efficient.

Logging onto the BILLPAY website was quite confusing compared to the POSTBILLPAY website that The Git erroneously thought was being referred to. He had set up an account the other day, given it the account details he would be using, typed in the biller code and customer reference number. That was it. Well, apart from being glacially slow, allowing plenty of time to ponder the deeper meaning of the word "efficiency". BILLPAY, as distinct from POSTBILLPAY, requires you to telephone your bank and request permission to use the service to pay your bills! Permission takes two working days, "Assuming 100% efficiency on the part of the bank," surmised The Git.

Having successfully transferred money from our cheque account into SWMBO's credit card account the day before, it should have been just as easy, one might have thought, to transfer funds into The Git's credit card account. But no! The Git's Credit card doesn't exist according to this super-efficient, computerised system from Hell! Did I mention that all of these accounts, including EYO, are with the same fsking bank?

The Git telephoned Mrs Git (aka SWMBO) and asked permission to use her credit card (grovelled is the term) and thankfully, she acquiesced without demanding The Git undertake to act as her complete slave for eternity, or asking 100 questions. Back on the telephone to EYO, they declined to accept the credit card details by phone, but would accept them by fax, along with a signature. The Git hates faxing and doesn't have one apart from the fax/modem and he was reluctant to struggle with that at this point in time. All he wanted was to pay this fsking account ASAP! In any event, he's not into forging anyone's signature, never mind SWMBO's. Asking SWMBO to fax from work is also one of those things done only in a dire emergency. In any event, she doesn't have the EYO account, that's here with The Git.

In a sane world, the simplest way forward at this point would have been Cash on Delivery, but that's a service EYO no longer provide. They suggested I cancel the original order and reorder using SWMBO's credit card, so that's what The Git proceeded to do. All was well until we got to the credit card bit. While The Git had almost all the required information, he didn't have the three digit confirmation code from the back of the card and Mrs Git has the card. So, it was log off the Internet, phone Mrs Git, grovel, marvel at the lack of 100 questions, log back onto the Internet... At last, the transaction is finished.

While he's logged in, The Git thinks to check on the status of the CD-burner order that mysteriously cost twice as much for shipping as the current order. It should have been here by yesterday at that price. Sure enough, it shipped "overnight" two days ago! Since The Git has been home since a week ago Sunday, the bastards have probably left it at the Post Office. Did I mention that EYO don't ship to Post offices. In a pig's eye they don't! Around half of these "door-to-door" consignments end up there because the carrier, presumably in the name of the God "efficiency", is too fsking lazy to drive here.

Ah well, the exercise of the three mile walk will do some good for the waistline one supposes. The Git would do it now except the Post Office will be closed by the time he gets there. Perhaps Friday and time it so he can have a beer with Richard. It's weeks since the last time. Richard used to have a computer, but for some reason he's managed to increase his efficiency since getting rid of it! He should get a laugh out of the modern definition of "overnight" being five days.

Hmmm... five days... That's how long overnight from the US to the Post Office takes. And most computer parts are cheaper in the US. Time for The Git to get more efficient, he thinks :-)

-oOo-

Addendum to the above. From my friend Barry in Melbourne:

Jonathan

Next time you want parts let me know as I think I can get them cheaper than EYO if the price that they list on the web is what you are paying

Barry

Thanks Barry. Nikol Su at EYO and I go back a long way in computer industry terms. My and my friends few forays purchasing "cheaper" elsewhere have not been particularly fortuitous!

I ordered a SCSI adapter and after waiting two weeks, phoned the "supplier". They had sold out, they told me, while waiting for my "confirmation of order". They had banked the cheque sent as payment for the adapter!

My friend Tim "saved" $200 purchasing a complete system. The "ASUS" MoBo turned out to be an anonymous board with no distinguishing part number to be found anywhere on the visible surface. The Thunderbird processor was a slower speed Duron. The front panel of the case had a large impact fracture some 100 mm in diameter, though the box it came in was undamaged. It took some four weeks before a satisfactory compromise was reached, though the MoBo was still not that originally ordered.

About six months after first ordering from Nikol (the business was called Frank's Compware in those days) he sent me a machine with a 2 GB hard disk instead of the 3 GB drive that I had ordered. He cheerfully sent me the replacement drive before I returned the one erroneously supplied. When EYO has on rare occasions been out of stock, they haven't billed my card until the stock arrived, the reverse of the many businesses that appear to carry no stock on hand at all.

There's more to buying goods than price alone. Locally, computer part prices are high and the service is usually abysmal! Low prices don't make up for shitty service. I will of course try anyone you can recommend that resembles the business Nikol was running when I first came across him. Huge business growth appears to inevitably be accompanied by a decline in service, though my story was really about the level of service provided by four separate businesses:

Consider that Tony, our local Post Master, is under no obligation to sign for the goods on my behalf. Or place a card in our mailbox to tell us the goods have arrived. He's not even under any obligation to accept the goods and consequently, some responsibility for their safe-keeping. One imagines that in the event of an insurance claim, they would not be covered by his insurance. He doesn't get paid for this extra service. But then Tony is, like most of his customers, a little old-fashioned. He actually cares about the people he deals with.

Of course, there's a positive side to all of this. It gives The Git something to write about. Much easier to just record what's happening than to have to invent it all as fiction writers do :-)

-oOo-

On a separate note, reader Craig Amos writes:

Hi Jonathan,

The website is great - I will be sending some money as I have gotton a lot out of it over the past year. FYI ... www.sturmsoft.com/franklinfriends took me to a porn site ... either you have some very interesting friends or a nasty dns glitch.

Wish I had more time to ramble ... anyhow a cheque for $50 is on it's way. Enjoy !

Rgds, Craig

At this time, the Franklin and Friends URL is still poisoned. In the meantime, www.sturmsoft.com/franklinfriends works as intended. 

Thanks for the money to help keep this website afloat and thanks to everyone else who has contributed so far. In fact, thanks to all my readers, for your interest and fascinating correspondence over the years. If you haven't made a contribution yet, please consider doing so. This is far from a profitable enterprise -- rather the reverse financially. Presumably you are getting at least as much as The Git out of this or you wouldn't be reading this.

If those who contributed so far and haven't been mentioned want me to do so in some way, please let me know. Maybe an honour-roll page of supporters. A special Certificate you can print out even.

-oOo-

The Git very rarely reads much poetry, but this poem is special:

A Moment of Silence by Emmanuel Ortiz

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing 
A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.

Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S. embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem, two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, where homeland security made them aliens in their own country

Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin and the survivors went on as if alive.

A year of silence for the millions of dead in Viet Nam - a people, not a war - for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war ... ssssshhhhh ... Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.

Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem, 
An hour of silence for El Salvador ... 
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...

Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos ... None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years. 
45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas

25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky. There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.

And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west ... 100 years of silence ... For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here, Whose land and lives were stolen, In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears. Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence? 
And we are all left speechless 
Our tongues snatched from our mouths 
Our eyes stapled shut

A moment of silence 
And the poets have all been laid to rest 
The drums disintegrating into dust

Before I begin this poem, 
You want a moment of silence 
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same

And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be. 
Not like it always has been

Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem 
This is a 9/10 poem, 
It is a 9/9 poem, 
A 9/8 poem, 
A 9/7 poem

This is a 1492 poem. 
This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written

And if this is a 9/11 poem, then 
This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971 
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977 
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971. 
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes 
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told 
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks 
The 110 stories that that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored 
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead? 
We could give you lifetimes of empty: 
The unmarked graves 
The lost languages 
The uprooted trees and histories 
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children

Before I start this poem we could be silent forever 
Or just long enough to hunger, 
For the dust to bury us 
And you would still ask us 
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence 
Then stop the oil pumps 
Turn off the engines and the televisions 
Sink the cruise ships 
Crash the stock markets 
Unplug the marquee lights, 
Delete the instant messages, 
Derail the trains, the light rail transit

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell, 
And pay the workers for wages lost 
Tear down the liquor stores, 
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence, 
Then take it On Super Bowl Sunday, 
The Fourth of July During Dayton's 13 hour sale 
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful people have gathered

You want a moment of silence 
Then take it 
Now, 
Before this poem begins. 
Here, in the echo of my voice, 
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand 
In the space between bodies in embrace,

Here is your silence 
Take it. 
But take it all 
Don't cut in line. 
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.

But we, 
Tonight we will keep right on singing 
For our dead.

By Emmanuel Ortiz 9.11.02

From Neil Baird

Thought for the day:

But groundless hope, like unconditional love, is the only kind worth having.

John Perry Barlow

Current Listening:

Kevin Coyne -- Sanity Stomp


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Friday 15 November 2002

Nikol Su from EYO wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

Nice piece written!:)

I think the problem could be the BILLPAY and BPAY confusion. I am not sure how BILLPAY or POSTBILLPAY work, one thing I am certain is our one is BPAY, and is nothing to do with BILLPAY.

Please have a look the BPAY site:

============= Who can use BPAY ?

Any registered phone banker or Internet banker with a participating financial institution can use BPAY**. ==========================

Basically if you use phone banking or internet banking, you can pay our order just as your water bill.:)

Let me know if there is still any hassle with your order. I will personally look into it.

Cheers

Nikol was correct, that I was using the incorrect nomenclature, what I meant to type was BPAY rather than BILLPAY. And it was EYO's BPAY Biller Code that was rejected by the Commonwealth Bank's system. POSTBILLPAY is entirely different in that you do not access it through the bank, but through the POSTBILLPAY website.

The Git wrote back to Nikol:

Nikol

You are correct that yours is BPAY and that is the what I told the operator who came online when the system burped after I keyed in your Biller Code: 504985. She said you definitely do not exist in the system. All sorted in the end, but it took 2 1/2 hours to get there!

My wife took time off work to collect the CD burner from the Post Office. $29.13 seems an extraordinary amount to pay for postage and packaging -- I am sure Australia Post charges are far lower than whatever you are paying the carrier.

I am looking forward to receiving yesterday's consignment. The walk to the Post Office should be quite pleasant if the weather fines up.

Cheers

Jonathan

The Git logged onto Australia Post's website to confirm what he surmised about their charges. A 3-5 day 3 kg Parcel Post Satchel costs $7.50 and a next business day3 kg Express Post Satchel costs $9.30.

There are many advantages to living where The Git lives. The air is clean, I can see the mountain that dominates the skyline of Hobart, Tasmania's capital some 30 miles and forty minutes drive away. All but 280 metres of that road are blacktop so perhaps that 280 metres of gravel road is what is so frightening to the carriers that refuse to deliver here. It's a perfectly normal, reasonably well-kept council road. True, it's a little narrow, but the traffic flow is negligible, being largely confined to four or five passenger vehicles, three or four tractors, a ride-on lawnmower and a four wheel motorbike. The Git has yet to see more than three of these on the road at any one time.

The Git finds it frustrating that these days almost no business will deliver to a postal address, insisting on a street address. Yet, almost every single one of their deliveries are to the Post Office they claim they cannot possibly deliver to. This is one of life's Great Mysteries. Do these businesses seriously expect their clients to believe the lie that they cannot deliver to postal addresses merely because they repeat it like a mantra? It's certainly far from impossible to deliver to The House of Steel. Only the truck from Stramit with its 10 metre long load of steel had to reverse back down the 280 metres of gravel road.

-oOo-

The Git learned a very hard lesson today. The domain name www.sturmsoft.com/franklinfriends expired and was purchased by someone else. Unlike the sturmsoft domain where the reminders started three months before it expired! So, if you have a domain registered, it's best that you set yourself a firm reminder well in advance. This has cost The Git a sponsorship and possibly a client. Not the best start to a day.

There's a parcel at the Post Office -- presumably the parts for Thomas's computer repair. The weather report is for fine weather to replace yesterday's gales. By the time I have done some gardening, I will be well-primed for the walk and the beer with Richard after visiting the Post Office.

-oOo-

The new Sony CRX175A1 CD-burner performs well. Since Thomas has temporarily purloined the machine it was to be installed in, The Git replaced the DVD drive in his workstation. Each of the two other 5.25" drive bays are occupied with hard disks surrounded by lots of cooling air, so it wasn't possible to just add the drive. 

Before using the drive, a download of the latest version of Nero was called for and that was duly installed. Much to The Git's surprise, there's lots been added since he last downloaded a new version. More surprising was that online help didn't work -- the nero.hlp file didn't exist. Despite that, there's an excellent manual in PDF format. One wonders how long upgrades to version 5 of Nero will remain free for existing licence-holders. It's certainly refreshing comparing this to the blood-sucking and gouging that seems so prevalent elsewhere!

The Sony drive burns CD-RW at 10x and two of those were used to back up the current dataset. Then it was on to duplicating some CDs and that entailed using the burner as the reader to make an image on one of the hard drives. No problems, very fast except that since the new drive is IDE rather than SCSI, the performance of anything else running on the machine took a big hit. This won't be a problem when the drive is on the file/print server, but it was annoying that even Freecell became very sluggish.

-oOo-

Nikol Su wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

There was a mistake in our database regarding the weight for the Sony writer. The freight should be $15 ex GST. So there is some credit for you. Do you want us to refund the extra freight or use that for the next order? :)

To which The Git replied:

Better make it a refund. I hadn't expected to be spending on the computer system until well into the new year. These were replacement parts for those that died :-(

Thanks

-oOo-

One really good thing -- the wind has died! This spring, wind speeds have reached storm force -- greater than 90km/h -- on 17 days since September 1 and gale force -- greater than 63km/h -- has been reached on 46 days. That's extraordinary, even for Tasmania at this time of year.

Thought for the day:

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.

Edith Sitwell

Current Listening:

John Cale -- Music for a New Society


Top

Saturday 16 November 2002

The issue with franklinfriends.com turned out to be that the domain had expired and the registrars, Domain Techs hadn't sent a reminder. Contrast this with snail-mail reminders starting three months ahead from NetSol/Verisign, the registrars for sturmsoft.com. The new owners of my expired domain wrote:

I'm not sure why our software purchased this domain name If the domain was yours and it has expired I don't mind returning just send over the info you want to appear on the whois info and what dns servers you want it pointed at, I can change these immediately, then have the domain transferred back to your control.

Regards Craig

The Git remains uncertain whether they want money, or not. No doubt we will find out in the course of time.

Domain Techs are/were also the hosting service for this website: American Web Hosting. Purely by coincidence, the owner of Factory 55, Matt Beland, made The Git an offer he couldn't refuse, so this website will be moving some time in the next few days. This means unavoidable downtime while the new DNS records propagate, so please accept my apologies.

-oOo-

The Git discovered why he felt so strongly the urge to walk to the pub yesterday -- it was Richard's 52nd birthday! I thoroughly enjoyed my long walk, though the publican gave me a welcome lift in her car for the last thousand metres. Her beer went down very well, as did the company in the bar.

When Mrs Git arrived to drive The Git home, we purchased fish and chips for tea from the new fish and chip shop that opened this week. These in no way resembled the usual greasy fare from the usual fish and chippie. They were presented in brown paper cones, looking for all the world like wrapped bunches of flowers! The Git suspects that while this may appeal to the tourists when they commence arriving, the local yokels are leas than impressed. But then they were raised on Arthur's fish and chips. Arthur keeps his fryer running at a fairly low temperature to conserve the energy cost. To further reduce costs, the fish and chips are "cooked" for as short a time as possible making the end result as far removed from Jenny and Giovanni's gourmet fare as can be.

The Git marvelled at the several new coffee shops/eateries that the village has sprouted in the months since SWMBO drove into him. He wonders how many will survive, long-term, given that the population of the village of Franklin is far too small to support them. While the tourist trade has increased considerably over the last twelve months, the real unmet demand is for accommodation rather than more food outlets.

Right now, The Git is very sore from yesterday's exertions, but what an extraordinary week!

-oOo-

An excellent piece of writing: The Logic of Empire by Roderick T Long has been mistakenly attributed to The Git. While The Git approves heartily of what is said in Rod's "unblog", The Git merely brought it to the attention of an editor who failed to follow the link The Git provided.

-oOo-

The Git wrote yesterday about the latest Nero being devoid of online help. Al Valerio from Nero responded promptly:

Dear customer,

Go to our download page at www.nero.com/en/download.htm and download and install our latest language files that correspond to your system. This will also install 'Help Files' for Nero, the Cover Designer, and our Wave Editor

Regards, Al

Thought for the day:

True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Current Listening:

Captain Beefheart -- Ice Cream for Crow


Top

Sunday 17 November 2002

 

Thought for the day:

 

Current Listening:

 


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Jonathan Sturm 2002

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Jonathan Sturm 2002