Not Me, But Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought Of It

Self-storage units surge in Milwaukee because ‘people don’t like to get rid of stuff’

As you might know, gentle reader, I like to retain things as artifacts of my youth as I’m a few decades ahead of my peers in not having many friends or family with whom I can reminisce. So I have bunches of things from my dead family members on mantels and shelves and in boxes in my closets. I also collect a lot of things, from comic books to old computers, that take up space in our store room. I don’t like to let things go.

But strangely enough, the only time I’ve considered renting storage space is to clear space in my garage, where we have boxes of children’s or my beautiful wife’s books, some kitchen stuff not in frequent (that is, once in a decade) use, and some craft gear that I’m not actively using, and some furniture that I’ve been meaning to refinish for the last twenty years (what, you say–have I really moved these articles four times? Yes.). If I put them in a storage unit, I can make room in the garage for me to actually do things in it.

But so far, no. I’m afraid of what would happen were I to get one storage unit. I fear it would be like putting the first item in the bag at a book sale’s bag day.

So I’ll just have to resign myself to the remedy that we’ve used over the years: buy a bigger house.

Another Movie Review, Another Parable About Republicans

Last week, Land of the Dead exemplified something bad about Republicans. Now, Joe Williams explains how War of the Worlds symbolizes 9/11:

    It’s a thrilling ride, but even those viewers who aren’t troubled that the most expensive film ever made is a parable of American victimhood may grow weary of the family’s close-call heroics.

There you have it, you crude reader of this blog. 9/11 is a parable of American victimhood, not a trespass to which America responded. If you’re reading this blog, you wouldn’t be troubled to equate something with 9/11, although victimhood would be another matter. But you’re not a cognac-swilling intellectual paid to write criticism of cinema in a dwindling major paper in a diminishing city in the middle America.

I didn’t catch his review, gentle reader, of Herbie Fully Loaded, but I surmise it was a parable of environmentally-conscious and fuel-efficient small cars fighting pluckily against the Republican Big Oil machine.

Former Television Critic Wants To Send Social Security Checks to China

Well, one could assume that when one reads the latest column from Eric Mink, the television critic turned commentary editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Writing a rather standard piece attacking Cheney for Guantanamo Bay, Mink madlibs:

    “They got a brand new facility down at Guantanamo,” Cheney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last Thursday. “We spent a lot of money to build it. They’re very well-treated down there. They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want.”

    I kind of wish the ever-dizzy Blitzer had asked a couple of follow-ups: “Everything they could possibly want, Mr. Vice President? Like a fair and impartial process to see if they even belong there?

I assume that Mink means right to the United States court system (since military tribunals and so on would not be impartial enough). Of course, the people at Gunatanamo Bay are (everybody sing the chorus) illegal combatants, not even covered under the Geneva Conventions, but Mink wants to convey the benefits of U.S. citizenship upon people who dedicated themselves to killing American soldiers and , aside from the concrete practice of shooting American soldiers (not like killing citizens), who dedicated themselves in theory to destroying Christendom or the United States (great Satan and so forth).

No word on whether Mink would convey other benefits of citizenship upon other citizens of the world, such as sending Social Security checks to China (think how it would help prevent parents from killing little girl children who could not take care of them in old age!)

As long as Mink continues to help perpetrate his columnular identity as a stereotypical knee-jerk liberal lover of humanity, but not so much a keen observer of its nature, I will help. I think he would.

Dysophisticate

Don’t you hate it when, in a crowd of other young suburban professional aesthetes, you say topo gigio instead of pinot grigio?

No wonder the other tiny-glassesed IT professionals and accountant types beat me up in the parking lot outside the Whole Foods.

Great Moments in Interface Design

Thousands held improperly in crowded jail booking room through scroll bar error:


    Thousands of men and women were improperly detained for more than 30 hours each in a crowded county jail booking room because a sheriff’s deputy never moved his computer scroll bar, court records show.

    “I think if — if I may impose on court and counsel’s experience, sometimes when the information presented is wider than the screen, there’s a little slide bar at the bottom of the computer,” Assistant Corporation Counsel John Schapekahm told Circuit Judge Clare Fiorenza. “He never push the slide bar apparently.”

    . . . .

    Information about how long inmates were held in booking was available via computer, Schapekahm said. But that particular piece of information was in the eighth column of a table, and only seven columns showed on the computer that a deputy used to track inmates.

Interface design can impair a person’s ability to do the job with which the computer software is supposed to assist the person. Too often we in the computer industry think of the person on the other side of the interface as computer user, which implies a familiarity with computers and a time and attention allotment that isn’t always there. Although they use the software, it’s often only a small part of an otherwise busy, complicated, and multi-tasked job.

(Link seen on Boots and Sabers.)

Summer of the …?

Summer of the Pit Bull continues: Woman recovering from pit bull attack:

    A San Jose woman was recovering from bites to her hands and arms after her 8-month-old pit bull mix attacked her in her home Sunday, police said.

    The 36-year-old woman, who was not identified by police, was cleaning up after the dog got sick in the house in the 0-100 block of George Street when the dog attacked her about 6 p.m., according to San Jose Police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten.

    “For some reason, the dog ended up turning on her and attacking her,” Tepoorten said.

Not to be outdone, we get a sequel to the Summer of the Shark: Shark Attacks 2nd Teen Off Fla. Panhandle:

    A teenage boy was bitten and critically injured Monday in the second shark attack in three days along the Florida Panhandle.

Man, I cannot wait till the hysteredia brings us the climactic conclusion in two years: Shark Vs. Pit Bull: The Reckoning (tagline: “People were only the appetizer”).

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Maybe He Should Have Looked in the Trunk

I should have sympathy for the father of three children who were found dead in a car trunk in New Jersey. However, he and the media are all too happy to blame the police:

Dad: ‘Maybe they should have looked in the trunk’: Father of 1 of 3 boys found dead questions police methods:

    As authorities began investigating why police failed to search a car trunk where three missing boys were found dead, the father of one of the children said Sunday he could not understand how they died so close to home.

    Anibal Cruz, 38, said the family assumed that police looked in the trunk of the car that was parked just steps from where the boys were last seen playing.

    “That was the first place to look,” Cruz said. “You can look through the windows and check inside. That is simple. Maybe they should have looked in the trunk.”

I want to stay away from personally impugning the parenting skills required in this endeavor, since I wasn’t there and I only get the understanding and facts of the situation as provided by the media.

I do wonder why it’s necessary to fault the police for the children’s deaths. If this explodes into a lawsuit against the police, then I will impugn the parents of the children. But not now, damn it. He lost three children and grieves, lashing out. Hopefully, he’ll recognize that the police weren’t at fault and to blame them at a time like this disservices them and his children’s memory.

The media should take steps to keep him from looking bad, too, during this emotional time and not amplifying his comments into an indictment of sloppy police work.

Can State Laws Prevent Eminent Domain Abuse?

Some bloggers think that restrictive state statutes might prevent eminent domain abuse. Like Owen at Boots and Sabers:

    As this ruling states, “for more than a century,” the high court has favored “affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power.”

That a nice hope. I’ll dash it with two words: interstate commerce.

Because believe you me that the first time the City of Podunk wants to hand a nationwide company a set of tract homes and small businesses so it can build a plant or office complex but cannot because the state has restricted it, some cabal of coporate lawyers are gonna shriek that the state’s laws restrict interstate commerce.

Dustbury also wrestles with this. I hope I’ve helped settle the question, although it’s not the answer any citizen of this country should enjoy.

Fightin’ Words

Spoons sez:

    DC fans are conservative, Marvel fans are liberal. Discuss.

I won’t rejoin that, although I encourage you to do so, gentle reader, with all the righteous anger my fellow Marvelites can muster.

I will admit something interesting: I am a Marvelite, and my beautiful wife is a DC chick.

I don’t know how our marriage works, but it does. And lest you wonder, my collection is larger than hers.

Symbols for Republicans Continue to Shamble

From a review of Land of the Dead:

    Then again, maybe you’re one of those people who are incapable of running. In director George Romero’s parallel universe, “walkers” are the living dead, the zombies who are slowly invading Pittsburgh. They’ve been doing it since 1968, biting and converting one victim at a time. As the zombies have become increasingly resourceful in tracking human prey, they’ve also been increasingly potent symbols of the conformity and consumerism that Romero sees as sucking the life out of America.

    The fourth installment in the series (not counting the recent remake of “Dawn of the Dead”) is his most unmistakably symbolic movie yet, a savage indictment of the bunker mentality that has zombified the United States in the age of terror.

In the Nixon years, it was conformity and consumerism. In the George W. Bush years, it’s the bunker mentality. Undoubtedly, for most of the Clinton years, they represented the restrictive legislators and their government protection limitation. One wonders what the zombies represented between 1992 and 1994. Probably the undead menace of “Republican Democracy” that could erupt at any time and did.

UPDATE: In a later review by the same “critic,” War of the Worlds becomes a symbol of Republicans run amok, too.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Agrees with Kelo

PROPERTY RIGHTS: Tear down the castle:

    Conservatives have been trying for years to breathe more life into the constitutional protection of property rights. Many saw the sympathetic cause of the New London homeowners as a foot in the door. But their view could have handcuffed economic development.

    The court’s decision may fuel the trend for big box stores to displace little businesses and homes, as in Sunset Hills. But it also will help cities improve their economic health or aesthetics. In essence, the decision is a bow to modernity. There aren’t castles anymore.

Bowing to modernity. Apt. All should bow to our new overlords, for whom the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has always been the voice, supporting eminent domain to build ballparks for private companies and to revitalize downtown St. Louis.

There aren’t any castles any more for the common man, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch undoubtedly looks forward to the days when the serfs learn their places as bound to the land of their lords.

Related Query III

So can local governments now take intellectual property rights and give them to others? Because think of how much more profitable a movie theater would be if it didn’t have to pay the studios 90% of the ticket price….and how much more tax money for public use the local government would get….

And all that expensive software they need to run? Eminent domain! It’s all free!

Related Query II

Does the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision mean that my municipal government can determine that food products I have already ingested could better serve the public as fertilizer in the flower bed in the median of the Maryland Heights Expressway and compel me to report, finger in throat, to expel the contents of my stomach for public use?

If so, I hope the soil is very basic as I drink a lot of coffee and don’t want to burn the petunias.