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:: Tuesday, November 30 2004 ::

My favourite math professor in the whole world is headed to Ecuador! Yes, Dr. O'Kennon is leaving at the end of the year/beginning of next year (she says three weeks). Very exciting!
:: David (16:43 in Michigan, 22:43 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[5]

Finished a few more bits of the University of Michigan application trail this evening. One more piece and I'm done. Well, two more. Maybe three. But I'm close, darn it.
:: David (16:41 in Michigan, 22:41 in Paris) - Comment

You know that law that says if you talk smack about someone on a public street, you're going to meet them? That was me. I think she walked by as I used the word 'unqualified' to describe her. Yeah. Feeling good.
:: David (16:40 in Michigan, 22:40 in Paris) - Comment

Tom Velk comments on Canadian Broadcasting that Canadians should welcome Bush with open arms:

Bush is coming. Canadians should line the streets, waving U.S. flags, since the visitor will not be – as John Kerry would have been – coming up to take "outsourced" jobs away from us.

Instead, all he will want is Canadian hot air – "support" for a missile defense program that we couldn't stop no matter how hard we tried, and which won't cost us a cent. He'll want more hot air by way of "support" in Iraq – he won't ask for, since we don't have them to give, any front line troops. He'll be quite happy to get a few Canadian folks way back in the supply line, offering medical care or what have you, just so there can be another nation in the coalition of the willing.

In exchange, we get real stuff – reasonable consideration of our problems with cows, fish and lumber. Something for nothing is a deal we should grab with both hands – or at least with one hand, using the other to wave that flag.

It's an interesting perspective. I much prefer the protesters, of which the CBC reports there will be many, but it is worth remembering that Canada can benefit from just being a friendly neighbour, even if, once the door is closed and the guests have gone home, they talk about them behind their back.
:: David (11:57 in Michigan, 17:57 in Paris) - Comment

Well, I spoke with the folks at the university of Michigan yesterday, and they said the due date on my application was the 15th of December. Whoops! So I got a couple of additional things sent out (a transcript request from my university, which was refreshing, as they have gone to free transcripts, where they used to cost three dollars each) and plan to get the rest out this week. Given that it takes a week for mail to travel to the states, I've not got a whole lot of time to get things finished. But I'm trying. We'll see what happens. At the very least, I was called a 'promising candidate' in a mail from the department.

Truth be told, I hate everything about this process. I would not wish it on anyone. And yet, it does have to be noted that some sort of selection does have to take place - there aren't enough spots for everyone. We'll just get through it, and see where we are on the other side. It's going to be awful tough to leave Paris, though, especially for Michigan.
:: David (01:36 in Michigan, 07:36 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, November 29 2004 ::

So I finally saw Lost in Translation.
:: David (18:03 in Michigan, 00:03 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

Something you should all be thinking about: a water heater that never runs out of hot water. And it's more fuel-efficient, too! I've used them everywhere I've lived (except the US) and they are absolutely marvellous. I hadn't realized they were so much more efficient, although it certainly makes sense.
:: David (12:23 in Michigan, 18:23 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

The BBC has a quiz concerning how environmentally friendly your meals are. According to the quiz,

A typical British family of four emits 4.2 tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from their house each year and 4.4 tonnes from their car. How much is emitted from the production, packaging and distribution of the food they eat?
With the answer being 8 tonnes. Twice as much carbon dioxide is produced by the things you eat as the things you drive. It makes you wonder if we've been following a red herring the whole time. Of course, raising food prices is universally unpopular (and a generally bad idea), whereas attacking gas guzzling automobiles appeals to almost everyone (Humvee owners aside).
:: David (07:23 in Michigan, 13:23 in Paris) - Comment

It was pointed out to me that I had not updated my address so people could send me presents, cards, etc. I'll update the address in my personal section, but in the meantime here it is:

David Barber and Sasha Pfau
30 place Maurice Berteaux
78400 Chatou
:: David (05:28 in Michigan, 11:28 in Paris) - Comment

A movie filmed in France, with a huge French actress, with everyone speaking French. But according to the courts, A Very Long Engagement isn't French. Admittedly, since the whole court battle is about money, there are details on both sides which are... curious... at best. Like why did Warner Brothers (a US company) set up a separate French subsidiary just to make this film? Et cetera.
:: David (01:56 in Michigan, 07:56 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, November 28 2004 ::

That was an awful lot of wine! We went to the Independent Winemakers' exposition today, after church and a lunch with a friend of ours we don't get to see very often (who had gotten engaged in the meantime!) and we drank what can only be called a lot of very good wine. Yum. Sadly, we failed to find anything that amazed us as much as last year - the 2003 wines are really, really sweet! I'm sure they'll settle down, and be amazing, but right now there's so much sugar in them - even the red wine was sweet in some places. But we found some of our favourites (excluding one, who had sold out by the time we got back to him) and dragged ourselves back home for dinner.
:: David (14:19 in Michigan, 20:19 in Paris) - Comment

:: Saturday, November 27 2004 ::

I just realized I wrote "my one failing". Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. Among my many failings are: - you know how this one finishes - fear, surprise, and these nifty red capes....
:: David (18:31 in Michigan, 00:31 in Paris) - Comment

I tried to write my application to grad school this evening. It's better, but it still isn't good. I hate writing garbage. I hate trying to explain to people why I'm cooler than everyone else. My one failing is a huge one - I'm arrogant. Hugely so. And it's darned hard to explain to someone I don't know in a single page why I think I'm so cool. Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow evening and send it in, along with the $60 application fee (isn't that insane?!), and perhaps someday I'll manage to get all my ducks in a row so they can reject me.
:: David (18:30 in Michigan, 00:30 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[5]

We're off to Venise! We booked the tickets this evening, and as of the 26th of December, we'll be headed to Venise, Italy for a week. I'm hoping to make it to Slovenia as well, but we'll have to see what fate brings us.

In other stuff, I mentioned (I think) that we bought a small rug for the entryway today, so here's a picture:

:: David (18:27 in Michigan, 00:27 in Paris) - Comment

Somebody in the media finally said what I've been saying for a while - media coverage of the events taking place in the Ukraine is biased beyond belief. Read more about it in the Guardian.
:: David (12:48 in Michigan, 18:48 in Paris) - Comment

Well, in the end we wandered around town, bought a rug for the entryway, and in general putzed around. The wine tasting, which takes place in a huge room with no sunlight, just didn't appeal to me after so much time spent indoors this week - I needed to see the sun today. So I did. And now it's time for me to work on my application for university. I hate these things, but it has to be done sometime, and now is as good as any other time.
:: David (12:45 in Michigan, 18:45 in Paris) - Comment

I absolutely love sleeping in! Especially after last week, where we were staying up way past our bedtimes talking with Taymiya. But now I am ready to face the weekend. We're going to head downstairs to the market that takes place each Wednesday and Saturday on the square in front of our house. Sometimes there are things to buy. Sometimes there aren't. We'll see. And then at some point this weekend is the 'salon des vins des vignerons independants' where we will get free wine glasses and the opportunity to taste every wine in France. Well, as many as we can without falling down...
:: David (05:07 in Michigan, 11:07 in Paris) - Comment

:: Friday, November 26 2004 ::

An excerpt from a Boston Globe (?) interview with Garton Ash:

IDEAS: You met with President Bush at the White House in May 2001. How did that come about?

GARTON ASH: It was the most extraordinary thing. I was sitting in my office in Oxford, and I get a telephone call, and someone says, "It's the White House here, could you come and tell President Bush about Europe, uh, next Thursday at 1:45?" So, I said, "Well, I do have a lunch, but if I can move it. . .."

IDEAS: What was the meeting like?

GARTON ASH: We were a group of specialists on Europe -- three Americans, two Brits, no French, no Germans -- and the president was clearly feeling his way, very much sure of himself on some issues like missile defense and the environment -- "Kyoto is mush," he said -- and not on others. . .. But I'll never forget one thing he said, very emphatically, "Do we want the European Union to succeed?" And my British colleague and I said that we certainly did, and we thought the United States should, too. And then he sort of stepped back and said, "That was just a provocation." But actually, I thought that probably not a single president since 1945 would have asked the question in that form.

IDEAS: You write that when you see how foreign policy decisions are made, "you are left with a sense of mild incredulity that this is how the world is run."

GARTON ASH: It's an almighty mess. . .. It's amazing on what little knowledge, and what prejudices, our leaders make their decisions. . .. The diplomacy of the Iraq crisis was a case study of how not to run a world, with terrible mistakes made on all sides, in Washington, Paris and London, Berlin, Beijing.

IDEAS: Would a different generation of leaders have done better?

GARTON ASH: Yes, I actually do think that. An earlier generation -- Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Adenauer, De Gaulle -- had gone through certain very formative experiences. Our leaders, who are 40-something to early 50s, are professional politicians who haven't done much else in their lives and often don't have much international experience. And it shows.

And that is what I find so frightening about the world today.
:: David (13:01 in Michigan, 19:01 in Paris) - Comment

I've been following events in the Ukraine with some interest. Primarily the international media seems quite against the incumbent, although I found this story to do a good job of pointing out that both men have their supporters (even if one of them is busing them in from way outside of town and giving them free vodka to come). Regardless, I don't think people are completely misguided in thinking that a market reformer could be bad for their jobs - rarely have I seen a well-done market reform in a former communist country.
:: David (10:04 in Michigan, 16:04 in Paris) - Comment

So apparently Exeter University (in the UK) is having financial difficulties, to the point where it has decided to axe some academic departments to save money. I know this because I was reading an article about a protest by the students which saw the University put up for sale on eBay. But here's why I'm writing about it: the three departments chosen to be eliminated are music, Italian, and chemistry. Chemistry?! So I figured 'well, it can't be a very good University - must be some back-woods place reserved for kids who have difficulty with the alphabet.' But no - according to the Guardian, "Exeter is the seventh most popular undergraduate university in the country." One of the higher ups at the school, Steve Smith, was quoted as saying "We have some tough decisions to make, but I believe they must be made if Exeter is to continue to be a leading research university." I don't know how to tell him this, but cutting your chemistry department is not the way one remains a 'leading research university'.
:: David (01:51 in Michigan, 07:51 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, November 25 2004 ::

Speaking of the euro, here's two years of euro history (we've been living in France for much of this)

Now I can't decide if I want it to stop, or keep going....
:: David (13:13 in Michigan, 19:13 in Paris) - Comment

Also in the FT today, Yukos continues its path towards nonexistence. Apparently all of the management has left Russia, and are running the country from abroad. As the FT notes in an opinion piece, "well, would you go back?"
:: David (10:06 in Michigan, 16:06 in Paris) - Comment

And before any of you comment, yes, I know - I can't decide whether to capitalize 'Asia' and 'Euro'. I'm sorry.
:: David (08:39 in Michigan, 14:39 in Paris) - Comment

So why is the exchange rate between the dollar and the Euro important? Consider these examples from the Financial Times:

Airbus, which completes all its sales in dollars but incurs costs. in euros, said it was "looking very seriously at the situation". A spokesman said: "We have taken measures to continue profitability despite the exchange rate. We have a strong hedging policy which goes into 2006 and we are making 81.5 billion of cost-savings."
Airbus, a European company, pays its workers in Euros, buys its materials in Euros, etc. But since many of its major clients either work in dollars (airlines from the United States) or a 'non-standard' currency, it has probably made the decision to bill all purchases in dollars. Thus the movement of the dollar means that it is suddenly receiving less money for each plane it sells. Which is why they have a 'strong hedging policy' - agreements made in advance to buy dollars at a fixed price (which is more than likely lower than the current price).

Another interesting example given by the FT concerns clothing makers:

Meanwhile, Adidas-Salomon said: "We are one of the beneficiaries of the strong euro for the simple reason that we source the majority of our products from Asia and we are billed in dollars."
This is a result of the Asian financial crisis of the late '90s, as well as a choice made by many asian companies in order to drum up business by volunteering to take on the currency risk themselves, rather than forcing the companies who might buy their stuff to take on the risk. In the past, it was a good bet for asian companies not only because it meant more customers would be willing to deal with them (due to the lack of uncertainty), but also because more often than not they were the beneficiaries of currency changes - many asian currencies were more likely to fall than to rise, and thus they would receive more money for the same good. But now things are looking to swing the other way:
In the past week, the market has seen a sharp rise in the number of bets that a revaluation [of the Chinese currency, the Yuan] is imminent. Yesterday, the price of the futures contract on the yuan indicated it would rise 9.8% in the next month.
This could put a number of Chinese companies in a bad way, and thus the Chinese government will not allow the Yuan to fall too far. On the other hand, once the yuan starts to move traders will probably get very excited, which may mean China will need to have a lot of reserves handy to defend their currency....
:: David (08:38 in Michigan, 14:38 in Paris) - Comment

So yesterday there was a big meeting of all the data people where I work, which took me away from my computer. Then we went out for sushi, before wandering back to the apartment. Taymiya and Sasha have been doing lots of stuff, wandering here and there and the other place. I've been meeting up with them each day after work for dinner, but I haven't done much by way of touristing. Tonight, of course, we'll be having Thanksgiving day dinner, with everything except the turkey (which is neither a vegetable nor halal, both of which are required). I'm quite looking forward to the pecan pie, which required a bit of searching to find the primary ingredient: apparently Paris does not have a large pecan supply....
:: David (06:38 in Michigan, 12:38 in Paris) - Comment

There's an article I had missed, in fact a news item I had missed, which I should have noticed, as it has a great deal to do with both where I live and what I speak. Apparently, in late October a report was issued in France, called the Thélot report, which made recommendations on how to improve the French educational system. One of the recommendations was that all children in France should be required to learn English. The BBC article Outcry over English lessons sums up the response to that particular recommendation.

What I found particularly interesting was that the BBC only partially reported one of the quotes. According to the BBC Article,

Its conclusions have been challenged by some politicians, including one deputy from the ruling UMP party, Jacques Myard.

He told Le Monde: "English is the most-spoken language today, but that won't last."

He said Spanish, Chinese and Arabic were all growing in importance.

"If we must make a language compulsory, it should be Arabic," he said.

However, what he actually said, in Le Monde, was
"C'est une faute stratégique. L'anglais est aujourd'hui la langue la plus parlée, mais ça ne va pas durer. Le poids de l'espagnol va encore monter aux Etats-Unis. Celui du chinois et du japonais aussi", estime Jacques Myard, député UMP des Yvelines. Qui ajoute : "S'il faut rendre une langue obligatoire, que ce soit l'arabe. En 1914, les officiers français apprenaient l'allemand, ils avaient raison." "It's a faulty strategy. English is, today, the most spoken language, but that won't last. Spanish is becoming ever more important in the US. Chinese and Japanese also", says Jacques Myard, deputy from Yvelines. He added: "If we have to make a language obligatory, It should be arabic. In 1914, French officers learned German, because they had a reason to."
Isn't that just a wonderful piece of selective quoting?

The report actually has a lot of people talking - my French teacher actually mentioned it, and pointed out that what was particularly interesting was the fact that the report was being, by and large, supported. Everyone knows the French educational system is a touch on the hidebound side, so, with the exclusion of the teachers' unions, much of the report is going through without a hitch. The unions, of course, object because they can see a lot of job loss coming their way, as scholls try to get other things through on the same reform. Things like saving money by cutting jobs.
:: David (06:32 in Michigan, 12:32 in Paris) - Comment

The Euro continues to climb against the dollar. I just realized that we had invested in Euros without really meaning to, in that when we moved to Europe we had to put a deposit on our apartment of 1,524 euros. We bought the euros for a price of $1.11 each, thus paying $1,691 for our deposit. Were we to take the deposit on our apartment and sell it, today, we would receive $2,010. Not bad, all things being equal.
:: David (04:54 in Michigan, 10:54 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, November 23 2004 ::

Remember all those old text files you used to pass around at university, or on the bulletin boards, or wherever? There's a guy saving them all so you can find them again. Text Files dot Com makes all the old new again!
:: David (11:30 in Michigan, 17:30 in Paris) - Comment

There is nothing worse than a screwed up delivery. The people who were supposed to deliver our couch never came, and now say the couch won't arrive until the 7th of December. I sent a nasty note to the company but, to be honest, expect nothing from them. I should very much like to get a refund and never do business with them again, but such is life - if we try to change to another company now we won't get a couch before we return to the US, so there we are.
:: David (10:17 in Michigan, 16:17 in Paris) - Comment

The BBC reports that a recent study has found that increased access to computers may actually lead to lower math and science scores. Almost as if teachers might be using those terrible educational CD-Roms, rather than teaching the class properly....
:: David (07:50 in Michigan, 13:50 in Paris) - Comment

I really need to pull a few quotes from an opinion piece in The Economist, talking about the UK government's plan to ban several things simultaneously.

All very well, say those who want tough measures on cigarettes and junk food; but unhealthy people are a burden on the health service, and are therefore subsidised by those who do all that their doctors tell them. That's certainly not true for smokers: they keel over so early and so quickly that, even before the extra tax they pay is taken into account, they probably save the state money. Fat people do cost the health service extra, but then so do people who have children, and the government isn't yet proposing to charge them extra for the privilege.
It is clear from this paragraph that the piece is pulling no punches, but, if you had any doubt, they follow on with this quote, about the government's responsibility to inform people of the dangers they face, and the success this model has had with smokers:
Smokers have been made to feel stupid; which, since they are, is just as it should be.
No quarter asked or given. It's well worth a read, even if you don't much follow politics in Britain.
:: David (07:48 in Michigan, 13:48 in Paris) - Comment

So I thought I would come in to work and have a productive day. But the fates conspired against me. There were problems on the train, and when I finally got to work, I arrived to an office which had been turned into a work zone - my colleague's desk is covered by a plastic tarp and there are currently two men standing ten feet from me doing work on the window in my office. It is, if nothing else, a surprising way to start the day.

At some point today, the last major piece of furniture we have been waiting on will arrive, courtesy of habitat. It's a loveseat that folds out into a bed, and it is difficult to describe how nice it will be to have seating in our apartment. It almost arrived in time for Taymiya, but she had to spend last night on the floor instead. Well, one night isn't so bad.
:: David (04:05 in Michigan, 10:05 in Paris) - Comment

Well, we managed to find her, and now the week of crazy alternation between work and touristing begins. But it's fun to have things to do evenings....
:: David (02:15 in Michigan, 08:15 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, November 22 2004 ::

Well, there's been a slight glitch in the meeting up plans for this evening, in that Sasha has not been able to find her friend Taymiya. I think I'll head over there now and see whether I can find them all. Work is simply too confusing at 6:30pm.
:: David (12:28 in Michigan, 18:28 in Paris) - Comment

People, in the woods, with guns:

A dispute among deer hunters over a tree stand in northwestern Wisconsin erupted Sunday in a series of shootings that left five people dead and three wounded, officials said.
The Chicago Tribune reports. I'll be really interested to see if they can come up with more details on this, or if it really is as basic as 'hey! You! Outta my tree!' followed by gunfire....
:: David (07:48 in Michigan, 13:48 in Paris) - Comment

Arts and Letters Daily has once again pointed me to an excellent story, in the New Yorker, written by someone who was plaigarized for a broadway story. The twist is that it calls into question whether or not there was plaigarism involved - and whether or not we've gone too far in protecting ideas. It's a long article, but it's really worth reading.
:: David (01:51 in Michigan, 07:51 in Paris) - Comment

The BBC might be getting a little overexcited, but this is still fairly big news: "The death of the video cassette recorder appears to be in sight after the UK's largest electrical chain said it is to stop selling them."

Apparently Dixon's has decided to focus on DVD players and will cease to sell the VCR. The company indicated it has stocks to last perhaps through Christmas, and then it will be over. Of course, there are a multitude of other electronics stores in the UK, but I suspect this may point towards the demise of the VCR. Which is interesting, in that right now there are no substitutes - the PVR (or whatever you want to call Tivo and its brethren) doesn't allow you to share, and is frankly more complicated. And let's not forget that most of the new digital technology will probably have locks to prevent file sharing....
:: David (01:27 in Michigan, 07:27 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, November 21 2004 ::

Dag burn it! I'm going to miss shopping with Tammy again this year! That's OK - next year, come 4am the day after Turkey day, I will be there with bells on!
:: David (17:43 in Michigan, 23:43 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

Hm. I seem to have spent all my money before my next paycheck arrives. My bank balance today is negative 300. Sad. I shall have to be more careful in future not to do silly things like go on three holidays in a single month. Ah well. I managed to talk to Fin and Misty this evening, and my family yesterday - it's been a busy phone weekend. This week Taymiya will be here, and then I think we have another weekend off from holiday-making. And soon, it'll be Christmas!!! Hooray! Oh - I guess this week is Thanksgiving for folks in the states, so happy holidays!
:: David (17:42 in Michigan, 23:42 in Paris) - Comment

:: Saturday, November 20 2004 ::

Well, they finally posted the dates for the next French Open, so from 23rd May 2005 I expect I will lose Sasha to the television most days, except those days when we are at the open (tickets go on sale in March).
:: David (14:15 in Michigan, 20:15 in Paris) - Comment

Well, it took a good part of the morning, but the apartment is clean. We had boxes from all the various furniture we have acquired, which are now in the recycling. We also managed to put all the clothes into the various places clothes live, and suddenly the apartment is huge again. It's quite nice, actually. I took a photo of our sitting room, so you can see our nifty chair and dresser.
:: David (06:52 in Michigan, 12:52 in Paris) - Comment

An article in the Observer talks about why the French aren't fat. Of course, this topic is really, really old, but I found it interesting that they said that the time taken made you feel like you had eaten more. It reminded me of one of our dinners in La Rochelle, which ended up taking a full three hours for three courses.
:: David (04:46 in Michigan, 10:46 in Paris) - Comment

The Christian Science Monitor has a great article on the history of the TV dinner:

It came, it thawed, it conquered. Americans loved those prepackaged turkey meals almost as much as they loved Lucy. As families gathered around their 8-inch black and white Philcos to watch "You Bet Your Life" and "The Bob Hope Show," they ate from those familiar trays.
Having eaten more than my share of pre-packaged food, there is a special place in my heart for the questionable offerings in their segmented trays. It's also interesting reading about how in the world the whole thing started: blame it on Thanksgiving.
:: David (04:41 in Michigan, 10:41 in Paris) - Comment

Well there! I managed to put some photos up! And with text and everything, no less! You can read all about our trip down to Bordeaux to see Lisa and drink tasty wines.
:: David (19:50 in Michigan, 01:50 in Paris) - Comment

:: Friday, November 19 2004 ::

We just watched Italiensk for begyndere (Italian for Beginners) on one of the movie channels we seem to have. What a delightful film. I highly recommend it. It was interesting also, because we watched it in Danish, with French subtitles, and I was still able to get all of it. Not because my Danish is good, of course, but because the French was actually quite easy. Fun for a Friday night!
:: David (17:36 in Michigan, 23:36 in Paris) - Comment

Will people please stop using any phrase even remotely connected to 'perfect storm'? Please?
:: David (01:53 in Michigan, 07:53 in Paris) - Comment

You know, I use Thunderbird for all my email needs, and have since version 0.5 or something, and I'm always amazed, when I put it back on a computer that I've just erased or whatever, that my 300 megs of email (dating back to 1999) just appear, like magic. Such a nice, friendly program. It doesn't mind in the least if you're an idiot like me who reinstalls the operating system once a week. For me, Thunderbird, even more than the rest of the mozilla family, is what open source is all about.
:: David (20:12 in Michigan, 02:12 in Paris) - Comment

Oh - speaking of wine (see the comment Lisa left), I saw the first batch of Beaujoulais Nouveau in the stores today. I hadn't realized they were out (or maybe the Villages have a different release schedule). Either way, time once again for crazy fruity wine that goes bad in six months. I've got a bunch of notes on last year's batch in my wine section (which I haven't updated in a while, but ought to).
:: David (19:42 in Michigan, 01:42 in Paris) - Comment

It worked! It worked! I can watch movies again on my computer! Hooray! I am pleased.
:: David (19:32 in Michigan, 01:32 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, November 18 2004 ::

Hm. So far, so good - my computer is much faster than it was pre-format. I might even be able to get some pictures on the web this week, because now it zips through them, whereas before it took six months to look at a single directory. So now the question is: do I do La Rochelle, or Bordeaux...?
:: David (17:57 in Michigan, 23:57 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

The computer has been erased, and a new fresh clean install put on. Will it work? Stay tuned....
:: David (17:17 in Michigan, 23:17 in Paris) - Comment

For example (I choose a recent posting):

But the basic idea of attacking the guerrillas holding up in that city is not in and of itself criminal or irresponsible. A significant proportion of the absolutely horrible car bombings that have killed hundreds and thousands of innocent Iraqis, especially Shiites, were planned and executed from Fallujah. There were serious and heavily armed forces in Fallujah planning out ways of killing hundreds to prevent elections from being held in January. These are mass murderers, serial murderers. If they were fighting only to defend Fallujah, that would be one thing; even the Marines would respect them for that. They aren't, or at least, a significant proportion of them aren't. They are killing civilians elsewhere in order to throw Iraq into chaos and avoid the enfranchisement of the Kurds and Shiites.

Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. That's not the way the world is. It is often grey, and very bleak.

Note that in the first paragraph he paints a picture of a black and white world, then says there are no absolutes. As I said - the logic is faulty, but the translations are top-notch.
:: David (12:38 in Michigan, 18:38 in Paris) - Comment

As you may have noted, I have added a link to the blog of Juan Cole. Dr. Cole is a professor at U of M, and thus people I know work with him. Dr. Cole speaks arabic, and blogs about what he finds in the Arabic press. MSNBC recently cited him in an article about the continued violence in Falluja:

Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who is an expert on Arab media, noted that at one point an anchor on Al-Jazeera "was almost having a heart attack, he was so angry," about the video showing the shooting by the Marine.

“He said, "Where are the Arabs? Where are the Arab states, why is nobody complaining about this?" Cole noted, speaking on the Public Broadcasting Service.

What makes his blog so interesting to read are the sources he draws from, which are for the most part in Arabic. He translates some terribly interesting things each day, and then (in my opinion) draws misguided conclusions from them. But at least you get the original source, from which you can draw your own conclusions.
:: David (12:26 in Michigan, 18:26 in Paris) - Comment

International incident? I don't know. Obviously Egypt is going to be somewhat peeved that Israel shot and killed three of its soldiers patrolling along the border (with a tank, no less) but whether anything besides irritation will come of it, I suspect not. It's truly frustrating that a country can be so careless with lives (take your pick on which country I refer to with that statement - it applies equally well to the US in Iraq).
:: David (04:28 in Michigan, 10:28 in Paris) - Comment

Does anyone besides me find it incredible that once again, the US is saying a country is working on nuclear weapons, based on credible evidence, and wants to send the whole batch to the UN security council, while the EU and inspectors have said there is no weapons program? Could this parallel any more closely what happened last time? And does the US really think it can do anything about Iran, with its army already spread across two other countries? Hubris.
:: David (02:27 in Michigan, 08:27 in Paris) - Comment

I have begun the lenghty process of backing up my entire computer, in anticipation of erasing the hard drive this evening. I still haven't been able to make it play video correctly, and anything to do with explorer has been deathly slow, so now I'm going to erase absolutely everything and start over. If it all works, great. If it doesn't, I'm going to take Sarah up on her offer to drag a new laptop across the pond with her. Since laptops are about $500 cheaper in the states than they are in France, I had thought I simply would wait until I came back. But my computer is really useless - I can't even work on photos without it dying horribly. So something drastic needs to happen. If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know the computer is dead, dead, dead. Let's hope it doesn't come to that....
:: David (01:44 in Michigan, 07:44 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Wednesday, November 17 2004 ::

Some of you may have heard that Chirac said that the world was more, rather than less, dangerous after the invasion of Iraq. I read it on the BBC, but then went to MSNBC to see what the American news was saying. Then for a giggle I headed over to Fox News to take in a diatribe.
:: David (12:09 in Michigan, 18:09 in Paris) - Comment

Visitors, visitors, visitors! We've got people coming next week, for Christmas, in January, in February, in April. Paris is a great place to live if you want to be sure everyone comes to see you!
:: David (01:43 in Michigan, 07:43 in Paris) - Comment

So I was reading one of those stories the BBC does on yet another problem to grip the British countryside, this one on the fact that all the milk producers in Britain are quitting and wondering whether milk production in Britain is at an end, and I realized they have an entire section devoted to the problems of rural life including one person's attempt to go around rural England by public transport (don't try this one at home, folks - I speak from experience!) It's entertaining to see the way each country in its own way romanticizes life in rural areas, even as the same people who claim they would love to save the countryside continue to do things that harm the countryside. Fresh eggs, for example, are very nice until they cost more than the mass-produced ones. It's the same story all over. I'm very curious what's going to happen here when they remove the farm subsidies that keep many of the farmers in the EU in business....
:: David (01:41 in Michigan, 07:41 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, November 16 2004 ::

Every now and again I am reminded that war is truly awful. It is dehumanizing. It is sick. There can be no goodness in war. There can be results, and some of the results might even be judged good in the long term. But there is no goodness in war. I am revolted.
:: David (11:43 in Michigan, 17:43 in Paris) - Comment

I'd like to think that Colin Powell served as a moderating influence on the Bush administration. I'd like to think good of him, because by and large he seemed headed in the right direction. He just never got there, and didn't have the ability (or the moral certitude) to make a stand on some of the issues which were most important. In the end I'm sad to say I think Powell should never have joined the cabinet. The only positive I think that came of it was that someone more insane didn't occupy the spot during Bush's first term. Now we'll see what happens when we get Ms. Rice as Secretary of State. I'm only slightly nervous. Well, maybe a bit more than slightly. In fact, I might be terrified....
:: David (01:27 in Michigan, 07:27 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, November 15 2004 ::

You know, if I ever have the time to deal with it properly, I am so finding another hosting company. I recognize the old adage 'you get what you pay for' but I had thought a couple of bucks per month would be fine. Thankfully it cuts both ways, as my disk usage has not yet caused a problem either. I just can't understand why it's so difficult....
:: David (14:58 in Michigan, 20:58 in Paris) - Comment

Battle of the Big Cities - Paris, New York, Madrid, Moscow and London will submit their olympic bid for the 2012 games, according to the BBC. We were reminded that there would be an impact felt throughout France on our trip this weekend to La Rochelle, which is in the West of France. The city would be home to all of the sailing etc. events. Apparently it has the largest sport harbour in Europe (or something like that). So lots of money would flow down South. And it's only an hour (at most) from Bordeaux, which certainly wouldn't make tourists (or wine producers of the region) unhappy....
:: David (10:16 in Michigan, 16:16 in Paris) - Comment

Because the election isn't truly over until everyone is happy: apparently a number of websites have been set up to counter the 'sorry, world' campaign. The BBC reports that several distinct sites have been set up to say, well, all the usual garbage. I think the image the BBC chose really says it all - guy with cowboy hat holding a sign that says "we're not sorry!" I am amused that the sorry, everybody website has gotten so much traffic - I hope it makes the kid some money!
:: David (09:16 in Michigan, 15:16 in Paris) - Comment

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Channel Tunnel, from wikipedia and from the BBC. I post this because the BBC is reporting that, after 10 years, Eurostar is still in the red.
:: David (07:50 in Michigan, 13:50 in Paris) - Comment

Jimmy Hoffa did better than professional fund managers? This may not come as a surprise - you repaid Jimmy Hoffa if he made you a loan. But it turns out that the professional fund managers brought in to replace him in managing the pension fund of teamsters have done a downright bad job - despite being closely monitored by the government. The full story is in the New York Times, but here's the gist: the government monitored every investment, and made sure they weren't overextended in fly-by-night operations, but didn't make sure that any individual investment was secure. In addition, because people were retiring, and new people were not entering, what seemed like a viable investment strategy to the fund managers wasn't. And finally, it seems that 'safe' investments don't generate as much profit for the managers as more risky investments do. Thus they try to maximize their profit while maximizing the fund's profits. Which works until the whole market experiences a downturn, at which point they get caught out, and because they have to continue to pay people their monthly pension, they can't keep enough investments on the books to benefit from the upswing that is certain to follow.

This information only adds to my belief that a private investment scheme for social security (or whatever you want to call your national pension scheme) is a bad idea. If professionals (with strict oversight, no less!) can't see the big picture enough to prevent these kinds of losses, what hope have small investors with their private pensions?

I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to privately manage your pension, I'm just saying it shouldn't be encouraged in the general population. I don't consider myself particularly un-savvy in the mechinations of the market, and my investment hasn't made money since I put it in six years ago. The fact is, there's just too much risk involved to allow your average pensioner-to-be to lose it all. And the question remains, what do you do with them then? Let them live in poverty?
:: David (03:30 in Michigan, 09:30 in Paris) - Comment

Made it back to Paris, and ran like mad people to catch the last train to Chatou. All the running was worth it, though - we made it with minutes to spare, and now we're home without having to take (another) expensive taxi ride. More on that when I post all the stuff on La Rochelle. Goodnight!
:: David (19:21 in Michigan, 01:21 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, November 11 2004 ::

...and we're off! Back on Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone, especially my sister, who's having a birthday!
:: David (03:21 in Michigan, 09:21 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

Farewell, Yasser Arafat.
:: David (03:03 in Michigan, 09:03 in Paris) - Comment

Speaking of Canada, I went to their immigration page today to see how tough it is to get in. Not too bad, really - I qualify for a work visa as a 'skilled worker'. Looks like the computer programmers are home free.
:: David (19:49 in Michigan, 01:49 in Paris) - Comment

Canada moves to head off a pathetic end run by the United States:

"To me it is a matter of common sense that Canada cannot be the drugstore of the United States. Neither American consumers nor Canadian suppliers should have any illusions otherwise," Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said in a speech at Harvard University.

"It is difficult for me to conceive of how a small country like Canada could meet the prescription drug needs of approximately 280 million Americans without putting our own supply at serious risk," he said in his first address to an American audience as minister.

The article, on MSNBC, goes on to state that there may also be some scaremongering going on in Canada, to make the issue seem more dire than it currently is.
:: David (19:41 in Michigan, 01:41 in Paris) - Comment

I have mentioned, from time to time, that some of the folks who work in my particular portion of the organization do work on childcare and family friendly employment policies. Recently, a new version of the publication came out in New Zealand, and caused quite a stir. You can read more about the stir caused in the New Zealand Herald, for example. The person responsible (or held responsible, as the case may be) was also interviewed on one of New Zealand's radio stations (it's the second long story, so you may want to skip ahead).

So, all of this culminated, for me, in a letter passed around the office today from someone who had written in to say that all policy in NZ was trying to promote the gay agenda, and that we were all servants of "the evil one". I think, were I in the service of Satan, that I would be better paid. With a flash sports car in the garage of my chateau. Which would also have a vineyard.

On the other hand, perhaps we just didn't read the employment contract closely enough when we signed on....
:: David (19:35 in Michigan, 01:35 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, November 10 2004 ::

Here's something: Sorry, everybody!. A little apology from the American left to the rest of the world, one photo at a time....
:: David (09:41 in Michigan, 15:41 in Paris) - Comment

Farewell, John:

Mr Ashcroft, who has been a lightening-rod for criticism in the administration, wrote in a five-page handwritten letter to Mr Bush that "the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved".

"Yet I believe that the Department of Justice would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration," said Mr Ashcroft.

Evidently he lives in the same place where the war in Iraq is going well. Apparently the American people, who were, up until the election, in danger (from wolves, no less), are now secure from all that. And crime too! You can start carrying your wallet in your back pocket again, folks - we got rid of the pickpockets too!

Thank goodness he's gone. My only fear is that the next person will be an equally insane opponent of personal freedoms....
:: David (01:32 in Michigan, 07:32 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, November 9 2004 ::

Perhaps you've heard the 'purple america' term at some point or another. There are a number of maps out there with how the states divide. But this one at princeton, goes county by county, using the final results to calculate a color between red and blue (and green). It's really interesting to see where the truly red states are (there aren't many of them). It's the purple that kills....
:: David (17:05 in Michigan, 23:05 in Paris) - Comment

Foreign Policy magazine thinks blogs might change the world.
:: David (16:37 in Michigan, 22:37 in Paris) - Comment

So, satellite radio. To begin with, there is no worldwide broadcaster (the US has XM and Sirius, but those don't even go to Canada, let alone Europe). But, given that little geographic limitation, which I confess does not limit other people as much as it limits me, there are still questions in my mind. One, the cost of hardware. Delfi has just released a portable XM radio, but it costs (are you ready for this?) $350 dollars! Which, with the fall of the dollar is better than it used to be, but still! And then, the thing that really kills me, is that the hardware is useless if you don't then pay for a subscription to the service (an additional $8-$10 per month). And (there's more) that's per radio! If you have two, they expect you to pay for each one. Based on this, I suspect I'll be sticking to good old FM for a while. Even if there are advertisements....
:: David (11:55 in Michigan, 17:55 in Paris) - Comment

So how about this - did you know the Wright brothers, and in fact the Americans, might not have been first to do powered flight?

On or about 31st March 1903 a reclusive New Zealand farmer Richard Pearse climbed into a self-built monoplane and flew for about 140 metres before crashing into a gorse hedge on his Waitohi property . [...] There is uncertainty about whether it met the definitions of sustained flight, but it came eight months before the Wright Brothers entered the record books at Kitty Hawk North Carolina on 17th December 1903.
One of those fun little tidbits you run across while looking for other things. The New Zealand Edge has a detailed biography of the man who might have been the first to fly.
:: David (08:55 in Michigan, 14:55 in Paris) - Comment

Here's something random but interesting - country profiles provided by the UN - random facts like population density, birth rate, and carbon dioxide emissions, all in a pretty, compact little two page document.
:: David (07:40 in Michigan, 13:40 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, November 8 2004 ::

Well, we're going to La Rochelle. I don't know what's there, and we don't have a hotel, but we have a train ticket....
:: David (15:52 in Michigan, 21:52 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but here you go: Marry An American is a Canadian website asking Canadians to give all those liberal Americans a place to call home. Very droll.
:: David (11:54 in Michigan, 17:54 in Paris) - Comment

The economist this week has a very interesting article about productivity. Productivity, as you might guess, is the measure of how productive the workers in an economy are, and is usually measured in value produced per unit of time (i.e. if person A produces $6 of goods/hour and person B $5 of goods/hour, person A is more productive). The article points out that, as with most things, there is more than one way to measure productivity, and that, by some measures, Europe is more productive than the US.
:: David (04:20 in Michigan, 10:20 in Paris) - Comment

CNN is reporting that foreign student enrollment in graduate programs in the US fell for the third straight year, after a decade of growth prior to that. According to the article,

Experts believe a major factor is the difficulty -- or at least perceived difficulty -- of getting student visas under tightened U.S. immigration policies. Other factors include anti-Americanism abroad, and increasing competitiveness from universities in India, China and Europe.
The article then goes on to document what universities are doing to try and make the process easier for foreign students.

This, in the immortal words of somebody, is costing us money. A number of universities draw a major portion of their coffers from foreign students. But the idea that a trip home for the holidays might end your university studies because you can't get back in due to overzealous US immigration people is very convincing. And not in a good way. And if Notre Dame can't get a professor they have hired in, what are they going to be able to do for a student?
:: David (01:32 in Michigan, 07:32 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, November 7 2004 ::

Wil Wheaton posted over on his weblog recently that he was unhappy with the presidential election results. Someone then posted a comment which asked "How would Bush have to be different to get your vote?" which I thought was an interesting question, in that I have been pondering it for some time. I of course work at an economic think tank, so I have some thoughts on the economic implications of the Bush presidency, but there are myriad other reasons. So I'm curious - anybody out there have any thoughts on how Bush could have been someone they would have voted for?
:: David (17:13 in Michigan, 23:13 in Paris) - Comment

I started writing my 'statement of purpose' for my application to the University of Michigan today. I filled out the first few sections of the application, which were inane - I don't know, nor should anyone care, what academic awards, honors, etc. I have received. On the other hand, were I coming in straight from college, they would be a great way to show I was a good guy, even if I had no resumé to speak of. So I'll forgive them. I've also got my list of people to write me letter of recommendation, which is quite honestly the bane of my existence. I hate asking people to waste their time writing platitudes about me. But, the colleges love it, for reasons that are beyond me.
:: David (16:02 in Michigan, 22:02 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

The nice thing about writing your own software is that you never find it down for maintenence when you want it. You may find it broken, and eating children in the street, but it will never be down for maintenence unexpectedly.

Speaking of broken, I have found that my blog software is not perfect. Oh - it works, and it's been pretty robust (I've been using the same code for over a year now (the comments are, as you might expect, cribbed from the blog code). But if you look at the source html of my blog, everything is indented several lines. And it eats the first line *chomp* - I dunno why. But, in the end, despite my love of making things perfect in my code (I even indent and comment - at least in my day job), I may just let it eat the first line, and put random spaces at the beginning of lines. A sacrifice to the computer gods.

I'm still awake because my mom took the opportunity to call at 1am this morning. Well, partially - I'm also awake because I'm something of an insomniac. But the phone call didn't help - I answered it in one of those 'are you a drunk french person who has mis-dialled' kind of answers. But it wasn't. And in the end I got details about home, so it was all good. I should really turn in now, tho. Goodnight all. Pleasant Saturday night adventures to you all!
:: David (19:38 in Michigan, 01:38 in Paris) - Comment

:: Saturday, November 6 2004 ::

Another day passes. We went to the market that takes place each Saturday on the square in front of our house. We then went for a little wander all around the town of Chatou (where we live), and then headed in to La Defense to do some serious shopping. It didn't really mean to be serious, it just sort of ended up that way. I stopped at a store which does men's clothing, and the next thing you know I've spent $100 and have joined their frequent buyer program. Yikes! Then it was off to the supermarket (Auchon) to acquire the random bits and pieces, and suddenly we're buying a box (six bottles) of wine to go with everything else. I don't really know what went wrong. On the upside, we now have food and clothing, both of which are necessities, right? So we managed to only buy necessities today. I'll keep telling myself that....

I took a few photos of Chatou while we were wandering around today. Nothing special, but kind of fun.
:: David (12:32 in Michigan, 18:32 in Paris) - Comment

Good news for me, bad news for Sasha: the dollar has hit a record low against the Euro. It now takes $1.30 to purchase a single Euro.
:: David (03:16 in Michigan, 09:16 in Paris) - Comment

:: Friday, November 5 2004 ::

The BBC has a wonderful article with quotes from dozens of newspapers around the world, reacting to the re-election of president Bush. I was going to quote some here, but there are just too many - it would move from 'excerpt' to 'plagiarism'. So you should just go read the article yourself.
:: David (11:44 in Michigan, 17:44 in Paris) - Comment

Only in Japan could McDonald's market bigger burgers these days. Which is still an interesting development, given that the Japanese are starting to have obesity issues. The story which prompts this is on the BBC, and suggests that the Japanese arm of McDonald's has turned a larger profit by introducing burgers as large as those found in other McDonald's markets.
:: David (08:38 in Michigan, 14:38 in Paris) - Comment

Remember the Canadian citizen who was deported to Syria by the US government? The Canadian government has been conducting an inquiry, and you can view a timeline here. It's interesting, because there are now also concerns about how much access the US government has to information on Canadian citizens. And from the sounds of it, it is in fact quite a lot of access. The fact that flying to the US now allows the US government to access an amazing amount of information about you. Which is fine, so long as you don't have, for example, dual citizenship. But if you do, you too could end up in Syria....
:: David (05:32 in Michigan, 11:32 in Paris) - Comment

There's a wonderful FinnAir advertisment which shows a lost reindeer being led back to his family by the light of one of their planes. Of course, when he's wandering around in the forest it shows the wolves and how scared our little lost reindeer is. And the first time I saw it, I thought it was the Bush/Cheney 'wolves' ad. Very amusing.

Less amusing is that all those crazy people could vote for someone who uses friggin' wolves circling as an advertisement. Argh!
:: David (01:58 in Michigan, 07:58 in Paris) - Comment

Yasser Arafat. As the French morning press stated, 'he is not officially dead yet'. But when you say something like that, it carries a certain amount of implication. Which means we're going to be hearing a great deal about his life and times. And what are they going to say? The truth will never be told - too many people have a stake in him not being lionized. Of course, it's also fairly likely that facts exist to prevent him being too greatly lauded. On the other hand, after everything, he's been a power for as long as anyone can remember, in a place where holding power isn't exactly easy. And he's been the other pole to some seriously crazy Israeli leaders, sitting in a burned out building for the last three years. But he's also probably had a hand in some very dirty deeds. Which has never stopped the public at large from holding someone in esteem before, if they so choose. I don't know, but I'll be quite interested to see what is said, if it comes time to say something.
:: David (01:55 in Michigan, 07:55 in Paris) - Comment

So what in the world is 'cialis', anyway? Because if I get one more piece of spam trying to sell it to me, I'm going to go postal!

Speaking of going postal, I just finished the new Terry Pratchett book, Going Postal, which was quite a laugh, and highly recommended. I didn't like his last one, so it was nice to get a book that I felt was back in form for him.
:: David (01:22 in Michigan, 07:22 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

:: Thursday, November 4 2004 ::

I sold my stock in Halliburton this evening. Nike too. Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart were in there, as was Pfizer and Fannie Mae. Exxon, McDonald's, Merck. My mutual fund was like a list of every company I've ever called 'evil'. It pays to read your annual report, if you invest, and see where your money is going. I hadn't. The only upside of the whole thing is that I lost a good deal of money on the investment, which theoretically means that, as a whole, so did the companies I had my money in. But honestly, that's not enough of an upside to make you feel good about finding out you hold shares of Wal-Mart. But it's all out now, rolled over into some aggressive Asian funds. I like Asia, because I know it's all crazy rough and tumble. It's just as evil as large cap holdings, but at least everyone is equally evil, so there's balance.
:: David (18:22 in Michigan, 00:22 in Paris) - Comment

I know for a fact that all of my friends have, at one time or another, uttered the term 'crack baby'. So imagine my surprise when I discovered the whole thing was a myth.Turns out drinking during pregnancy is much more damaging.
:: David (11:37 in Michigan, 17:37 in Paris) - Comment

Here's an indicative result. The BBC asked Brits to comment on the results of the American election. One man responded with what I think is the going concept in many people's minds, though I doubt all of them would say it so... accurately. "Andy Fee, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, said: 'I think Bush is doing well. He's a strong president - you fight terror with terror.'"

The solution is simple. As long as you're willing to be that kind of person. Or that kind of country.
:: David (11:15 in Michigan, 17:15 in Paris) - Comment

From the BBC - governments respond to Bush being re-elected:

Moody Awori, Kenyan Vice-President

To me, I think we are going to see more dictatorship on an international scale. We are going to see more extremism come out of there.

We are going to see even more isolationism where America will not bother about the United Nations. To me that is a very sad affair.

Jesus Perez, Venezuelan Foreign Minister

We are dancing the tango. When you are dancing the tango and your toe is stepped on, hurting your toe, you complain. If it is stepped on harder, you complain again. There's a whole game, but we are prepared to continue dancing the tango.

So there you have some of the less excited voices concerning the re-election.
:: David (04:09 in Michigan, 10:09 in Paris) - Comment

I don't know if you are all aware of the Cato Institute, but you should be. It's a libertarian (yes, libertarian) think tank. For those who don't know, the basic Libertarian line is 'the smaller the government, the better' and 'privitization always works better'. They put out some truly fun stuff, as long as you can be amused by stuff like 'all universities should be privately run'. Recently, a story on the BBC quoted one of their publications which stated:

A relatively stable level of extreme ignorance has persisted for decades, even in the face of massive increases in educational attainment and the quality and quantity of information available.
Which really does cover things nicely, doesn't it? Are you all sure you want everyone to vote?
:: David (01:49 in Michigan, 07:49 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, November 3 2004 ::

Well, after two system re-installs and some other stuff, I finally deleted all my old registry entries from all the other times I had re-installed windows, and now my computer can almost do moving pictures (movies, tv shows) again. Sick and wrong, that even a new installation of the operating system can't kill configuration problems these days. Oh well - the computer seems to be humming along. Sadly, it looks like Stargate is on hiatus right now (those silly 10-week-long seasons with a two month break between) so there's nothing really to watch. Guess I'll have to fill out my grad school application instead....
:: David (16:54 in Michigan, 22:54 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

Well, that's it, then:

Kerry admits US election defeat

Nothing to do now but move to Canada. Or France, as the case may be....
:: David (11:57 in Michigan, 17:57 in Paris) - Comment

I'm sure you're all aware of this, because it hashit a number of the major news outlets, but I thought I would add a link anyway, because it amuses me. The Queen of the Sky was a stewardess on one of the major airlines, who was also a blogger. For reasons that I'm not quite sure of, her employer decided they didn't like what she was saying, and fired her. Fun, fun, fun, and a free speech court case if ever I saw one....
:: David (06:45 in Michigan, 12:45 in Paris) - Comment

There's actually other interesting things happening in the world right now, although still related to the US. You may remember the bizarre situation where an American soldier had defected to North Korea in 1965, but had come to Japan with his Japanese wife (who, as I recall, had been kidnapped by the North Koreans). Well, he has been tried, and plead guilty, and received a 30 day sentence, which is probably the best way it could have been done. You can read the BBC's coverage of the story here.
:: David (06:08 in Michigan, 12:08 in Paris) - Comment

Why is it everyone is reporting the gay marriage ballot issue, but noone is reporting the gambling issue? There are two proposals on Michigan's ballot - one to ban gay marriage (or any other form of partnership other than marriage, if I remember correctly) and one to require a full vote whenever the state wanted to introduce new gambling (like opening a casino, or starting a new lottery). It looks like both measures will pass by a large margin (60-40), and yet in all the press, I can only find the gay marriage issue. They both seem interesting to me....
:: David (04:09 in Michigan, 10:09 in Paris) - Comment

Well, obviously my projections were wrong. No landslide for Kerry. Truly it's terrrifying. I think Kerry can still win, given that a number of other states seem to be leaning that way, but it is far from certain. I'm given to understand that it will be ten days before Ohio counts a number of their ballots, because the rule is that your ballot only has to be postmarked by today. Thus they give those ballots time to arrive, so the count starts ten days after election day. So unless Kerry manages to win everything else, we're in for a wait....
:: David (02:18 in Michigan, 08:18 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, November 2 2004 ::

We're back! Bordeaux was a riot, and it was good to see Lisa again. We bought more than 20 bottles of wine, which proves that we shouldn't be allowed to go to wine-making regions. Now I have to go back to work, sadly, but at least this week is short, and next week is shorter (three days instead of four) so I have a little time to ramp up to full five-day work weeks.

OK - PSA time. Go Vote! Don't give me your piddly excuses like 'I don't know where my polling station is' or 'I'm not an American citizen'! I don't want to hear it! Just go!
:: David (02:14 in Michigan, 08:14 in Paris) - Comment

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