Litlets

October 31, 2007

Words in the mainstream: detainees

Filed under: Politics,words — crcb @ 10:40 pm
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Mood: who cares?

<orwell>Thank goodness we don’t have prisoners at Gitmo (or elsewhere). Prisoners are liable to be mistreated, maybe even tortured, but we’re just hosting some detainees. They’ve been detained. Traffic was heavy, and they’re running late. </orwell>

Even relatively liberal sources, such as NPR, use this word.

Whoever frames the terms of the debate, wins.

October 28, 2007

Sour on Apple (1,000,000th blogger to use that pun)

Filed under: General,Technical — crcb @ 8:11 pm
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Mood: combobulated

Apple (neé Apple Computer) was founded in 1976. During that time, they have shot themselves in the foot, by my count, approximately 8,753 times.

Their technology has consistently been years ahead of the competition. Heck, Mac OS 8.6, on my ancient iBook, is still superior to Windows XP. (Naturally it’s better than Vista. Windows 3.1 is better than Vista. Vista is Windows Millenium Edition for the new millenium.) When it comes to getting and retaining customers, however, Apple is, and always has been, clueless. This has been evident from its early refusal to license its operating system, to its iTunes lock-in with iPods, to the latest — a refusal to accept cash for iPhones in an attempt to limit purchases for resale.

Hold on a second, let me check the currency in my wallet… Yep. The government still says it’s “legal tender for all debts, public and private.” I’m no lawyer, but this seems plain to me. Apparently, however, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, Apple’s new policy is perfectly legal.

I plan to load Ubuntu Linux on my new laptop because I don’t like Microsoft installing updates against my wishes and without my knowledge. The only thing that’s kept me from buying a Mac, up to now, has been the price. Now, it’s a matter of principle.

 

October 25, 2007

Link of the Random Interval of Time (LotRIoT)

Filed under: Links,LotRIoT — crcb @ 9:18 pm
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Mood: artifically sweetened

The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/index.php): “The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” Most famously this is the home of the Wayback Machine, containing archives of (often vanished) web pages dating to 1996. They also host archives of moving images, audio files, text files, software, and education resources. I guess I can stop cruising around the web for a while. I’ll be spending my next few years here.

October 19, 2007

Advice to poets on reading

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — crcb @ 10:25 pm
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Mood: aciculate

Poetry readings every day: could be a description of heaven or hell. I’ve been going to readings for twenty years now, and taken part in quite a few myself. I think I’m qualified to offer a little advice to the readers, in self-defense if nothing else.

  1. You may say a few words to introduce a piece or define unfamiliar terms, but don’t explain the poem. If the poem doesn’t speak for itself, you have more work to do. Do not make the intro longer than the poem.
  2. Don’t frame a poem with both an introduction and an epilogue. Go on to the next one.
  3. Don’t apologize for a poem. If you don’t like it, why are you making us listen to it?
  4. Don’t dedicate every poem to a member of your writing group.
  5. Pick out your poems beforehand. Nothing says, “I didn’t care enough to prepare” like making the audience wait while you decide what to read.
  6. Rehearse. At least once. We all like to surprise ourselves in the act of writing, but surprising yourself in the act of reading does not make for a smooth delivery.
  7. You want to “perform” your poetry? Go for it; I like risk-taking. The best you can hope for, however, is that only 20% of the audience will find it pretentious.
  8. Do try to animate your delivery a little. My computer writes poetry, but I don’t let it read it out loud.
  9. Don’t come in late, or leave the moment you’ve read your poems.
  10. Don’t go over your allotted time (or, for an open mic, your allotted number of poems). Don’t say, “just two more,” then read three or four. That’s just cruel.

October 12, 2007

I miss those brutal, ignorant days

Filed under: Litlets,Prose — crcb @ 5:26 am
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Mood: ichorous

 The 21st century is no place for a soul with taste. Remember those medieval years, when we were the center and purpose of the cosmos? We meant something then. Life, short and painful, was a thin film over unspeakable joys and unbearable terrors. We shared our world with now-extinct demons, angels, ghosts, fairies, a host of pseudo-humans, and they were obsessed with us. We need those incommensurable equals; we need monsters and ministers. We listen for them among the stars, but they live only in the middle of things. We looked too hard, and every center disappeared.

October 11, 2007

Link of the Random Interval of Time

Filed under: words — crcb @ 10:06 pm
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Mood: nocent

If you’re teaching a computer to write poetry, need to name characters for a role-playing game, or just enjoy browsing specialized dictionaries, COTSE-Word Lists is a place you’ll want to visit. Among the useful and/or entertaining lists: nouns from the Iliad, common passwords to avoid, dog-related words, medieval German names, movie characters, and words from Monty Python. No definitions, and no citations, just the lists.

October 5, 2007

Explanation

Filed under: Litlets,Prose — crcb @ 6:05 am
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Mood: damine

Midway upon life’s journey I found myself in a dark parking lot, having lost my Toyota. A guard offered to help me look. We kept the wall to our left and followed it down, circle after circle. When I found my car, I drove a long and winding way to the top, where I met Betty. We chatted, then I came home and wrote a book about it. That’s why I’m late today.

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