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sun 20 may 01

thanks, dave, you're a mensch (if i got it right). i'm not going anywhere; there *is* too much to do. like go to bed ... (grin) ... after all, tomorrow is a new day ...

good barbecue tonight. oh, and for those hitting this blog looking for 'titanium rimless glasses', yeah, they look cool. mine are the springy kind. the most fiddly dang things i've ever owned. i hate them. can't wait to wear them out.

i apologize for anyone who bit based on my linkage. it's funny now, to look back at xmas, when i linked to sending money to "luna", the giant redwood. i remember feeling guilty i wasn't linking to kaycee.

we all feel duped, cheated, misled. we each, in our own way, gave credibility to the fiction just by our belief, our faith. our trust was violated. it will be hard for people to regain that trust. anybody believe there'll be a chance in hell that any weblog'll be able to make money now? even for a 'good' cause? and that's a shame. that's what this kind of mischief does. it hurts those who are neediest.

not that i believe anyone's seriously worried about it, but you never can tell.

just because the kaycee controversy has shaken many, i want you to be sure i tell you the truth. my father's obituary in the princeton alumni weekly. scroll down to find theodore demott vreeland. they don't mention leukemia, but dad was diagnosed with myelodysplasia, which turned to severe leukemia in the last three days of his life. i've mentioned his participation in tarawa before, though they got the division wrong. dad was second wave to the beach, by the pier. if he'd been first wave, you wouldn't be reading this. and 86 babies? yes, i've diapered more white, black, brown, red and yellow butts than i care to think about. the special thing about dad, however, was that the children's home society of new jersey is where *he* was adopted from. we took care of kids to give back what they had given him, when he was neediest. my time growing up in the midst of foster children is my family's private matter; they are our stories, our mythology. but for the little of my life i've talked about here, this should be sufficient.

and, tomorrow's garbage day. going to get the can, i tilted it back, and what did i hear? yes, not oscar this time, but a rattlesnake. young. i think a western diamondback. i'll refrain from naming it with a 'k', and call it throckmorton. just to be perverse. i hustled him on his way with a stick.

happy birthday, jan-willem! it's still sunday here, so i think i'm not too late ...

--- hours of separation from internet ---

i'm disgusted. off to do analog things.

vanderwoning: the end of the whole mess. so, the doubters were right to doubt. my gut was wrong. my sincere apologies. once again, i eat my words, cold. is there any integrity to be found on the web anymore? if you read my post below, it's obvious i should have read more closely. or then again, maybe not.

some further taoist instruction, from zhuang-zhi, excerpted:

let's take a look at the eight shortcoming and four failings ...

to do what you shouldn't is called intemperance

to talk ceaselessly even though people don't listen is called obsequiousness

to speak only what other people wish to hear in order to gain favor is called sycophancy

to follow others without question is called flattery

to enjoy gossiping about other people's shortcomings is called calumny

to break up other people's relationships is called iniquity

to praise the treacherous and discriminate against those you dislike is called malevolence

to curry favor without regard for good or evil is called perfidy

extended outward, these eight shortcomings will wreak havoc on other people and, directed inward, they will do great harm to the inmost self. they are things the wise never approach.

and the four failings are:

to seek fame through great deeds is called ostentation

to act with reckless disregard for others, selfishly carrying out your own plans is called avarice

to see your own mistakes, but not change, to hear advice but not act on it is called obstinacy

to call right those opinions in congruence with yours and call wrong those opinions that are not in agreement with yours, even though they may be good, is called arrogance

this sits on my wall, at work. one can learn great things, in making the attempt to avoid these pitfalls.

santa fe new mexican: pueblos thrive on timber project.

nytimes: too funny. 'the attack of bridezilla: requiring perfection.'

happy anniversary, jeremy (and spouse)!!!

vaults of parnassus: xml forms for webware.

kuro5hin: can you afford to know the law?

and now, maybe some random linkage in a while.

--- this is a contiguous post. read top to bottom ---

been doing a deal of thinking; we often forget that what we write on our weblogs is equivalent to standing in front of a room of (your number of daily readers here) and decrying your opinions. have you ever stood before an audience of that size? for most of us, probably not. but it does give one pause ... i teleprompted for many years, and i can tell you the average person siezes up before 30 people, much less 500. add to that an imaginary press, creating a record of your statements, videotaping those opinions in association with your name and likeness.

'the island of the day before' is the perfect book to be reading right now, because the section i'm reading talks about dissimulation, and there are many parallels to weblogging. the 'me' you read here is not the 'real' me. you don't know the real me, and you will not unless we meet in person. even then, it takes a lot of time to know a person. we invest a great deal of time in each other's weblogs; so then, who or what do we know? usually nothing; often what we think we 'know' is taken on faith.

and the word 'faith' tends to raise the hackles of the logicians present. yet any scientist using scientific methods has to rely on faith. she/he looks at the preponderance of evidence, and has faith that an experiment is worthy of further study.

someone else once said it; just getting out of bed every morning is a great act of faith.

well, by the preponderance of evidence, i believe in all the weblogs i read and link to. i have faith in you. [but only after i've gotten out of bed.]

some seem to believe that if your records don't exist in the silicon, you don't exist at all. if you can't 'link' your life, what good are you? who ever declared the internet an 'authoritative' source? i never heard the gong. you can justify almost any viewpoint by googling. was hitler a humanitarian? sure, there are sites. was jfk a closet communist, implanted with alien devices? yep. black helicopters? oh, yeah. but all of us seem to be willing to accept one area of the internet as authoritative, while another is not ... what is the basis of that judgment? are we all using the same scales to weigh facts? of course not. but it's even more complicated ...

in a world where everything can be altered, at any time ... there is no persistence. 'truth' is becoming a commodity, subject to profit motive, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ... and now the time factor; even expedience. 'hey, these are the facts at 5 o'clock; tune in at 6 to see the home page change with new facts.' simple trust is being mortgaged. i now hit at least three news sources before i link anything about political news ... just to make sure there's no obvious bias. and even that fails me oftentimes. during the chinese spy plane brouhaha, the facts changed by the quarter-hour.

so how are we to judge in the face of little or no evidence, just opinion or personal anecdote? usually, based on education, experience ... and faith. some places, some people still hold that 'your word is your bond.' some may call that naive, but i like that a whole lot better than the other options. i go by my gut. terribly scientific, that. but what else is there? when i have time, i run back to my bookshelf, to check. but that's not always available or convenient. in many cases, however, accuracy is being set aside because of time constraints, deadlines. most are editorializing, 'guesstimating', rather than just reporting facts ... because they don't have any; and don't spend the time to research. weaving a fiction to fit the circumstantial bits and pieces at hand. like an ill-prepared prosecutor. i think we all do it, at one time or another.

what brought all this on? that whole metafilter thread about kaycee. it's been burning my cerebellum for a day or so, but i thought i'd share it. top of mind: the fact that we write public weblogs ... what rights do we forfeit for this privilege? our privacy? our likeness? our intellectual property? our very existence? i'd love to hear jeremy's thoughts on what rights we tacitly sign over when we start a weblog.

good lord, i've never considered having to defend my identity. all the more reason to separate the personal from the public; ultimately that may make weblogs less appealing. outside of my weblog postings, noone knows much about me. one other weblogger has met me; bet you don't know who it is. i've spoken on the phone with three who frequent this page. do i exist? i ask myself that daily, anyway.

zhuang-zhi says, "do not use the brightness of your wisdom to show up other people's faults; of course people won't accept you for it."

to some, kaycee was too good to be true. and she was ... god, she was. which is why we, who even peripherally knew her, loved her. but that same taoist maxim holds true for her critics, and will affect their credibility.

my father died of leukemia, similar to kaycee's. i couldn't read her blog on a daily basis, because it hurt too damned much. dad had liver complications as well. i have never needed to question her veracity. her words are enough, and always will be.

-- end ---

it is foggy and raining. very unusual. i love it.