Posts tagged #from-blosxom

These posts are from version 1.0 of mahnamahna.net, when the site’s blog was powered by Blosxom. Everything here dates to 2010 and earlier. Expect broken links, and in a few cases, broken/missing site functionality.

Mad Props: 2010 General Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
19 - YES
20 - YES
21 - NO
22 - NO
23 - NO
24 - YES
25 - YES
26 - NO
27 - NO
Howdy, voters! It’s election time! Time to get informed! Time to offset the votes of the ignorant, the greedy, and the mean — hopefully coming up with a few votes extra on this side so that We the People collectively pass up the opportunity to inflict grievous harm upon our beloved state.

Mad Props is your 100% independent guide to California’s ballot propositions. Here are our suggestions for how you should vote, and why. (And remember, by “suggestions” I mean “vote this way, or you’re part of the problem!”)
  • Proposition 19: The Peter Tosh Memorial Initiative (Legalizes Marijuana Under California Law). (info @ Ballotpedia)
    You Should Vote: YES
    Why:
    It’s difficult to believe this day has arrived this …
read full post…

Bears In the News

I haven’t taken note of a bear-related news story in a coupla years. The Denver Post has a great one with a don’t-miss photo of the bear during the actual caper.
… as the bear shuffled around the car looking for a way out, he bumped into the gear shift and put the automatic transmission into neutral, sending the car rolling 125 feet back down a hill …
Interesting: On Bay Area Newspaper Group sites, this story has been retitled as “Bear gets into car for peanut butter and jelly sandwich, honks horn, goes on short joyride.” After a headline like that, what’s the fun of reading the story?

I Went to India!

me at the Taj Mahal It takes a long time to cull through hundreds of pictures, sort ’em, caption ’em, and upload them over a shitty DSL connection, but it’s finally all done, and I now present (over in the museyroom) photographic proof that I finally made my way to and across the Indian subcontinent! Visit the index or begin with the first shot.

Mad Props: 2010 Primary Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
13 - YES
14 - NO
15 - YES
16 - NO
17 - NO
It’s election time! Once again, the people of California have an opportunity to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state through the initiative process, and once again, Mad Props is here to stand in the way. Confused by the ballot propositions? I’ll cut through the bullshit and tell you which box you should check—and why. [previous editions of Mad Props: Feb ’08 · Oct ’08 · May ’09]

Here are the Mad Props recommendations for our upcoming Primary Election—and remember, by “recommendations,” I mean, “vote this way or you’re part of the problem”:
  • Proposition 13: Changes Budget Process. (info @ Ballotpedia)
    You Should Vote: YES
    Why:
    This one’s pretty easy. Under current law, owners of unreinforced masonry buildings can see their property taxes rise if they undertake seismic improvements. …
read full post…

Space

Give yourself the space to be who you are. Give others the space to be what they are. And if others do not give you the space to be who you are … give them the space to not give you the space to be who you are, and give yourself the space to be who you are.”
— Tenshin Reb Anderson

[thanks to Adam-roshi for posting this on his Facebook a few weeks back (while we were both in India!)]

Facebook Without Facebook

JWZ‘s Christmas present to the whole interwebs is a post detailing how to get all your Facebook updates without logging in to Facebook. Yep, all those notes, links, and status updates can flow into your feed reader of choice, where you can read up without the lunacy of The Facebook Experience. Perfect.

[What’s that, you say? You like logging in to Facebook, spending time there? I see. You and I are not wired up similarly. You also like going to the mall this time of year, yes?]

Great News: Pretty Much Everything’s Cool

It’s odd to think back on the time—not so long ago—when there were distinct stylistic trends, such as “this season’s colour” or “abstract expressionism” or “psychedelic music.” It seems we don’t think like that any more. There are just too many styles around, and they keep mutating too fast to assume that kind of dominance… . We’re living in a stylistic tropics. There’s a whole generation of people able to access almost anything from almost anywhere, and they don’t have the same localised stylistic sense that my generation grew up with. It’s all alive, all “now,” in an ever-expanding present, be it Hildegard of Bingen or a Bollywood soundtrack. The idea that something is uncool because it’s old or foreign has left the collective consciousness.
— Brian Eno on The Death of Uncool. I love this idea; I hope he’s right.

[spotted at The Morning News; emphasis mine]

Justice (or something like it)

I will never forget the date that my longtime colleague Rex Farrance was murdered: It happened on my birthday in 2007. The better part of a year passed before we had suspects in custody. Of the three, one turned state’s evidence, and the other two, including the alleged shooter, stood trial earlier this year. I attended a portion of that trial, which ended in conviction for the shooter and a hung jury for the accomplice. Said accomplice was retried and convicted earlier this month. Today came sentencing. Both men will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. No possibility for parole. The accomplice who testified against his cohorts will also spend a decade or two in a cage. A fourth accomplice was never identified or apprehended. Rex is still dead. Families are forever scarred. Nobody wins. Nobody wins.

[Thank you, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewitt, for … read full post…

Dear Literature Geeks

Are there any of you out there? Folks who crave a challenging, somewhat traumatic, and ultimately immeasurably-rewarding reading experience? Let me recommend something on the highest possible terms: Infinite Summer is your chance to spend the summer reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest with online guidance and support sponsored by The Morning News and An Event Apart.

After Wallace’s death last fall, I pulled my copy of the Jest off the shelf. Its bookmarks (yes, plural; you need two to read this book) were still right where I’d left them; I’d quit a few years back, less than a fifth of the way through. But the tail-end of 2008 turned out to be the right time for me to tackle the thing again, and when I finished it early this year, all I really knew was that I’d never had a literary experience so meaningful. (This from someone who’s … read full post…

Mad Props: Special Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
1A - NO
1B - YES
1C - NO
1D - NO
1E - NO
1F - NO
Oohwee! Look, folks! It’s a Special Election! Meaning, in this case, the people of California have a special, bonus chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process. Is this your first time with Mad Props? Then just know that as a native Californian and lifelong student of politics, I’ve come to view statewide ballot measures as something of a menace. In several elections, I’ve voted NO on every single proposition; any given measure has a very steep uphill climb to convince me it’s worth a YES. [previous editions of Mad Props: Feb ’08 · Oct ’08]

This time around, we’ve got six propositions presented to us by the Democrats in the state legislature, six Republicans called the Sacramento Six, and good old … read full post…

A Note On Presidential Pets

We all remember George W.’s dog, Barney, and most of us remember the senior Bushes’ scribal pooch, Millie. The Clintons of course had Chelsea’s cat, Socks, and Buddy, the chocolate Lab that Bill got himself after everything went all wrong and he needed a friend. But can you name any of Reagan’s six dogs? (Only a Republican could name a Golden Retriever “Victory.” That poor, poor creature.) Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy had a cat called Misty Malarky Ying Yang, which is a bit of a hoot, but as always, deeper history is far more entertaining. So:

Herbert Hoover had a Setter he called Eaglehurst Gillette. Calvin Coolidge had two raccoons, Rebecca and Horace, and two lion cubs, Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. (Coolidge’s menagerie also included a wallaby, a bear, and a pygmy hippo.) Teddy Roosevelt, who apparently liked full names for his critters, had a garter snake named Emily … read full post…

Things I Have Read Recently That You Should Read Too

  • ITEM: What does one trillion dollars look like?
  • ITEM: I cannot visit New York right now, but reading a first-hand account of a subway adventure helps dull that pain. (Once again, yay for blogs.)
  • ITEM: Obama’s gift to Prime Minister Brown ruined by DVD region encoding.
  • ITEM: “Brain decline” begins at age 27, sez a University of Virginia study.
  • ITEM: Ray Ratto reminds us the present owner of the Oakland Athletics is a scoundrel.
  • ITEM: If you are a “content person” or a “Web 2.0 person” you have already read it; now everybody who loves newspapers needs to read it, too: Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”
  • ITEM: The wise man was wise indeed: Frankincense relieves anxiety and depression.
  • ITEM: Children with older fathers have lower IQs (and some health risks too). (And then again, IQ tests are shite.)

Fix Screwy Fonts in Firefox 3.1 on Ubuntu

Firefox 3.1 beta 3 is expected to arrive this week. If you’re running the current version of Ubuntu Linux, this new Firefox edition (codenamed ‘Shiretoko‘) is already easily installable via an unofficial package repository.

However, due to an oddity in Ubuntu’s default font settings, the fonts in Firefox 3.1 look spindly and kinda bizarre (though in no way unreadable) on Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10) machines. (The same apparently happens in the nascent Jaunty (9.04) version of Ubuntu; it’s being treated as a bug.) This issue has been noticed over at Ubuntu Forums but no simple solution was forthcoming. Until now.

Here is a simple fix for the spindly, messed-up fonts you see in Firefox 3.1 if you install it under Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10). In a Terminal window, issue these commands:

sudo mkdir /etc/fonts/conf.disabled
sudo mv /etc/fonts/conf.d/10-* /etc/fonts/conf.disabled
sudo mv /etc/fonts/conf.d/53-* /etc/fonts/conf.disabled
You’ll need to restart X (press Control-Alt-Backspace after … read full post…

Instant Bliss In Every Atom”

I learned many-many things from “The Unfinished,” a piece by D.T. Max about the late David Foster Wallace in this week’s New Yorker, but I want to focus on one. I learned that Wallace in fact knew something about true happiness. He was writing about it. It was the subject of his incomplete novel. Quoting:
A typed note that Wallace left in his papers laid out the novel’s idea: “Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”
(Wanna … read full post…

Mad Props: A No-Bullshit Guide to California’s Ballot Measures

It’s election season, which means the people of California once again have the chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process. As I explained in the first edition of Mad Props, as a native Californian and lifelong student of politics, I’ve come to view statewide ballot measures as something of a menace. In several elections, I’ve voted NO on every single proposition; any given measure has a very steep uphill climb to convince me it’s worth a YES.

This time around, there are five propositions worth voting for. Here, then, are my recommendations, and remember, by “recommendations,” I mean, “vote this way or you’re part of the problem”:

  • Proposition 1A: High-Speed Rail. (info @ Ballotpedia)
    You Should Vote: YES
    Why:
    Make no mistake, this proposition represents California’s last chance at building a high-speed rail link between the Bay Area and Southern …
read full post…

Man Stuff

Esquire’s list of The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master is surprisingly good. (Also surprising: They present it all on one Web page.)

It seems I score a 53, or 70%. A few data points:

Things I am proud to be able to do: score a baseball game, recite a poem from memory, build a campfire, iron a shirt, give advice that matters in one sentence, cook meat somewhere other than the grill, dress a wound, caress a woman’s neck, and know my poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope.

Things I have not mastered (or have not tried) and am ambivalent about: play gin with an old guy, deliver a eulogy, throw a punch, and understand quantum physics well enough to accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped.

Things I wish I could do: tell a woman’s dress size, hit … read full post…