Friday, April 25, 2003

It's Clueless Git Time!

DOD: Iran tries to derail Iraqi democracy

So. American-style democracy is the One True Path, is that it?

I'm sorry, it's getting really hard to tell extremist bad guys from the good guys these days.

How about -- bear with me, here, I know it's a revolutionary idea -- asking the Iraqi people what kind of government they'd like? For all I know, the current structure just needs a new president. (Much like my own country...but I digress.)

Y'know, as a rather more detailed side comment: the first time I heard the the US is planning on splitting Iraq up into 3 administrative regions I was

a. appalled;
b. not surprised that this would seem logical to a desk-jockey half the world away. "There, that's tidy, isn't it?"

B., I hope, is self-explanatory. A., however, is apparently less so. What happens when you lump together regions and associations that may have very little in common beyond geographical proximity and force them into a new province?

They're going to point at each other and argue, or worse. "Oh, I'm not in his group. No, no no. He's a fill-in-the-blank."

Why is it necessary to modify the country's existing systems into a new structure that literally is the result of some poor schmuck at the Pentagon drawing a few lines on the map of a place they know nothing about? That's just begging for internecine squabbling.

Why is it necessary to recreate the idea of region or province or state or county with new boundaries?

Why cannot the previously-existing 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) of Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, and Wasit continue to exist as such?

One of these things seems a hell of a lot easier and sensible than the other.

Breast as Sexual Object

A remarkable couple of entries over at Alas, A Blog on breast-feeding.

Breast-Feeding at a Business Meeting (Ampersand)

More on the Trials and Tribulations of Breast-Feeding (Bean)

Bean's right. The breast has been sexualized so thoroughly (at least in white American culture) that you literally cannot see a breast without it automatically being perceived as sexual.

A breast doesn't exist for you to oogle. Breasts exist as vehicles for milk delivery to potential offspring. Female mammals have 'em. Period. Full stop.

So, what choice can a reasonable mother make -- nurse or let baby go hungry because some asshole who can't see past his elbow to the fact that all that sexualization of the breast is not only gravy but completely irrelevant to the task at hand, might get a stiffy? Aw, poor stiffy. It makes about as much sense as getting turned on by watching someone drink from a bottle of water.

Is it the bottle of water that's the problem, or the eye of the beholder?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Window to Your Soul

Lovely essay by Jeffrey Gordon on the importance of communication skills -- Articulation acts as window to soul. I'll go a few steps further than he does: being able to speak clearly implies -- quite rightly -- that you are able to think clearly.

Another Fusion Reaction tip. Thanks, Faz!

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Faz asks, what do you collect?

I collect maps (I've waxed rhapsodic on the subject before, I know), cookbooks, and foreign-language dictionaries, mostly. The dictionaries, I think are an outgrowth of my earlier collection of 'thank you' in different languages. I just like language, I guess.

I would like to collect sheet music. Interesting that everything on this list is made of paper, isn't it?

I guess the biggest thing I collect, really, is interesting experiences, which aren't exactly things you put on the coffee table and admire, although I always bring back a momento from my sojourns and put it on the coffee table.

Anyway. What else do I collect? Oh, yeah. *blush* Film versions of "Wuthering Heights".

Monday, April 21, 2003

I get it!

Scalzi wrote:
...particularly among the dim-witted who cannot hold two thoughts in their brain at the same time. the course of some other remarks worth reading. I just stopped and had an epiphany (good thing I was stopped, first). Why can't these people hold two thoughts in their brain at the same time?

Then it hit me, like a neutrino through 16 zillion cubic centimeters of anxious water. Duh.

It's a Pauli Exclusion thing at work here. Makes perfect sense. Two fermion-like thoughts cannot exist in the same brain at the same time!

Ha! One more of life's conundrums solved.
Ok, darn cool

Odd things in Pitt's libraries, via Breaching the Web.

Know what got me? The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society. Doesn't that just sound neat?

Sometimes I wish I worked in a library.