October 25, 2006

These are the stakes

The ad that Lynden Johnson ran in 1964 that targeted the Barry Goldwater campaign only ran once but likely remains the most famous political television ad in broadcast history.

The newest round of Republican campaign ads begin with the same four words.

"These are the stakes."

I wonder if we all truly feel quite the same existential fear as the television viewers of fourty-two years ago experienced, there at the height of the Cold War. Perhaps older relatives and friends can better inform me. Or residents of New York, Washington and London. And Madrid, Mumbai, Baghdad, Kabul and Tel Aviv. Or any of the parents whose sons and daughters have died in those lands as journalists, aid workers, contractors and in the armed services.

I do know that I've certainly never felt truly safe since 9/11.

I'm waiting for something like it to happen again, in any of the thousands of scenarios played out in film and pulp fiction by 24 and Tom Clancy.

Perhaps "existential fear" does describe it accurately.

October 17, 2006

Google for Music

Lifehacker is one of the most interesting - and useful sites -- out there. I always find amazing tips and tweaks to save time or do neat things with my PCs and other gadgets. I loved Napster when it was at its height in 1999. Other P2P applications have never quite measured up, though YouTube and .torrent clients have certainly taken video sharing to a place that Shawn Fanning may never have dreamed about in his undergrad days over at Northeastern.

But what if you only needed a Web browser and a fast Internet connection to harvest .MP3s online? Try out this great Google hack from Wendy Boswell. Enter the following text into the Google search field.
* -inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Nirvana"
Exchange the term "Nirvana" for any band or singer you want to search for and you'll find open indices of songs.

Pretty neat. It worked like a charm when I looked for Gnarles Barkley. Thanks, Wendy - and Marc and Angel, where she originally found the search string.

October 5, 2006

The war in Iraq and its critics

Whether or not you agree with his analysis of current events in Iraq and around the world, VDH brings the lens of historical perspective acutely to bear upon the most recent spate of books and pundits eviscerating the Bush administration's conduct before, during and after the end of "major operations" in Iraq. Read the article here.

While I see his point with regards to proper footnoting and attribution, given the current state of affairs in the federal government and American military, it's not hard to see why sources would prefer to remain anonymous and military officials to keep their names out of print.

On the other hand, I've read Cobra II, Fiasco and Woodward's first two books, Bush at War and Plan of Attack (still waiting to get my hands on State of Denial) and I find it somewhat remarkable that VDH dismisses the concerns, timelines and details to be found within blithely.

October 4, 2006

Vidly: Brilliant Pranks Video

A coworker just turned me on to Vidly.com, a daily dose of video entertainment. This clip made me laugh out loud so many times that I gave up and posted it here too.

October 2, 2006


Duncan Rawlinson has done something really nifty using RSS and OPML with the Grazr plug-in tool that I've used on this blog.

In constructing the plug-in, he chose RSS feeds that all had "meta-juice" on them, so to speak, where each represented an outside filter that selected for the most popular, forwarded, bookmarked or otherwise selected-for stories at the top of the pile of electonic chaff. Like I said, really nifty and terrific for discovery new ideas, stories and voices with very little effort. In a world suffering from extreme information overload, tapping into the power of metafilters is one of the few effective strategies I've found for staying aware, informed and entertained.

Hat tip for the link and discovery to Micropersuasion.