Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nearly three decades of Republican dominance may be coming to an end:

The central con of the political coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan and maintained by his successors was that government was a common enemy. Middle-class social conservatives loathed the government for legalizing abortion, forbidding prayer in schools, and coddling minorities through welfare and affirmative action. Upper-class libertarian conservatives loathed the government for soaking the rich through the income tax and weakening businesses through burdensome regulation. The only useful function of the federal government was to provide for the common defense. This was a con for two reasons.

First, the middle and upper classes were both dependent on the federal government for a variety of benefits, including Social Security, trade protection, scientific research, and assorted localized spending (termed "pork barrel" by those who don't receive it and "economic development" by those who do).

Second, the distribution of this government largesse greatly favored the rich. In the April 1992 Atlantic, Neil Howe and Philip Longman, citing unpublished data from the Congressional Budget Office, reported that U.S. households with incomes above $100,000 received, on average, slightly more in federal cash and in-kind benefits ($5,690) than households with incomes below $10,000 ($5,560). This was four years before the Clinton administration eliminated Aid to Families With Dependent Children, the principal income-support program for the poor. When tax breaks were added to the tally, households with incomes above $100,000 received considerably more ($9,280) than households with incomes below $10,000 ($5,690). Clinton subsequently expanded tax subsidies to the poor through the Earned Income Tax Credit, but not enough to undo this disparity. "[I]f the federal government wanted to flatten the nation's income distribution," Howe and Longman concluded, "it would do better to mail all its checks to random addresses."

Storms Loom Over Boston
Feingold Bill Would Limit Searches of Travelers' Laptops - September 30, 2008 - The New York Sun:

Under a 29-page bill Mr. Feingold introduced on Friday, customs agents at airports and borders would need to document a "reasonable suspicion" before inspecting a computer or similar device carried by an American resident and could only hold on to the device for 24 hours before starting the process of seeking a warrant from a judge.

"Requiring citizens and other legal residents of the United States to submit to a government review and analysis of thousands of pages of their most personal information without any suspicion of wrongdoing is incompatible with the values of liberty and personal freedom on which the United States was founded," a preamble to the bill declares.
Financial crisis: Western world will become significantly less wealthy - Telegraph:

The free market can be very creative but it can also be immensely destructive. This is one of those points where the scale of destruction is potentially so great that it could set the economy back years.

This is why so many people – and not just the politicians putting the deal together – are warning that if the deal fails entirely we could be facing a second Great Depression.

The big mistake policymakers made in the 1930s was to allow too many banks to fail. This caused such a financial earthquake that it led to a decade of hardship.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program was not a perfect template for dealing with struggling banks. However, to dangle it in front of markets and then snatch it back again was an improbably unwise move.
Commentary: Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer - CNN.com:

The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

In contrast, a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources.
Please Keep Your Voice Down, My Poor Retarded Child Is Sleeping:


Could you please stop tearing apart my record so loudly? I just put my special needs child down for a nap. You remember my poor, Down syndrome baby, don't you? The developmentally disabled child I carried to term despite knowing that he had special needs? The child who would be helpless without my constant care and attention? Well, he's just nodded off, and if you continue to provide such damning evidence of my inexperience in both foreign and domestic policy, you'll wake him.

You wouldn't want him to start crying, would you?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yin Yang
From a bathroom at Microsoft:

Ross Douthat (September 29, 2008) - Three Scenarios (Politics):

The most likely scenario, as of 3 PM this afternoon: The stock market continues to drop. Some version of the bailout passes in the next week. The American economy staggers into a recession, but passes through the storm without 1930s-style suffering; the Republican Party is not so fortunate. Even though most Americans claim to oppose the bailout [update: not anymore], the House GOP's obstructionism is widely viewed as having worsened the economic situation; the fact that these are contradictory positions does not faze an electorate that wraps all of the country's current troubles up, ties them with a bow, and lays them at the feet of the Bush-led GOP. John McCain loses by a landslide in November. The Democratic Party regains years or even decades worth of ground among the white working class, consolidates the Hispanic vote, and locks up a large chunk of highly-educated voters who might otherwise lean conservative. The much-discussed liberal realignment happens. And a politician running on a Ron Paul-style economic platform does very, very well in the GOP primaries of 2012.
Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Homeownership - Yahoo! Real Estate:

I have something un-American to confess: I rent an apartment, despite having enough money to buy a house. I plan to keep renting for as long as I can. I'm not just holding out for better prices. Renting will make me richer.

I normally write about stocks for SmartMoney.com, but the boss asked me to explain to readers my reason for renting. Here goes: Businesses are great investments while houses are poor ones, so I'd rather rent the latter and own the former.
Actor wears 10 hats in play about gentrification in Williamsburg:

Danny Hoch - actor, playwright, Williamsburg resident and founder of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival - is giving a free performance of his one-man show, "Taking Over," in his own backyard - and at other spots around the city.

Hoch will give free performances in Queens and the Bronx, before the show's Nov. 7 opening at the Public Theater in Manhattan.

"To have the show be successful in the Public Theater, I know I have to get the support of people in the boroughs first," said Hoch, 37. "Tourists won't be my bread and butter, but [it's the] New Yorkers, who feel their stories are being told on stage."
The Paul Newman Scene I Can't Get Out of My Head:

But the scene I kept coming back to sets up the whole film. It's hardly noticeable. Newman is intent on bedding a fellow barfly played by Charlotte Rampling. He buys her dinner the night before voir dire, and for the first time in the film, we come up close to Newman's face. The deep-set mask of middle-aged failure softens. Watch Newman here, ye who would be actors; study him. Where does this come from? "See, the jury believes. The jury wants to believe." The lines are almost inconsequential. But Newman is giving us evidence that Galvin is still alive. "It is something to see. I have to go down there tomorrow and pick out 12 of them. All of them—all their lives—say, 'It's a sham, it's rigged, you can't fight city hall. But when they step into that jury box … you just barely see it in their eyes. Maybe, maybe …" Rampling leans imperceptibly forward. "Maybe what?" And Newman exhales—just a little—putting a lifetime of defeat into that exhale, and suddenly Frank Galvin is talking about himself. "Maybe I could do something right."
Steve Jobs and the Portal to the Invisible - Esquire:

The thing is, nobody should have been surprised. Steve Jobs has been saying that Steve Jobs is dying for years. From the beginning, death has been the hellhound on his trail; from the beginning, he has based his claim on immortality on the knowledge that he isn't going to make it. In the commencement speech he gave to the graduates of Stanford University a year after his cancer surgery, he diagnosed himself as "fine now," and hopeful to live "a few more decades." At the same time, he spoke of death as though it were a new Apple product -- that is, as "very likely the single best invention of life." He said that since he was seventeen, "I've looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I'm about to do today?"

Okay, people say things like that all the time in commencement speeches. But there's no doubt Jobs meant it; he has spoken this way often and since he was a young man, and his awareness of mortality has informed not just his life but every product his company has ever made. The aesthetics that he has demanded of his machines are not the frippery of corporate identity; they are the aesthetics he's demanded of himself. They are a response to something -- something deeply personal -- which is why they remain mysterious and impossible to duplicate.
thousand points of light
The Lies And Lies And Lies Of Sarah Palin:

I'm posting this because none of the direct, indisputably proven, factual untruths that Palin has uttered has yet to be retracted by this candidate or her running mate. When you have a leading politician running on a record of outright lies, and those lies are deemed irrelevant, you have a problem. Each one has been fact-checked to near-death. They are not the usual political lie - hyperbole, parsing, exaggeration, spin. They are factual, checkable, indisputable untruths.

Palin could not have asked her girls for permission to accept McCain's veep offer if she also says she accepted the offer unblinkingly and right away. Palin did fire a police chief even as she insisted to a reporter she hadn't. She did violate the confidential medical records of Mike Wooten. She hasn't met with any trade missions from Russia. She does not have any gay friends that anyone can find. She did not oppose the Bridge to Nowhere. She did not sell that plane on eBay. Her Teleprompter did not fail in her convention speech. Alaska's state scientists did not conclude that polar bears were in no danger. She did deny publicly that humans had anything to do with climate change.

Alaska does not provide "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy," as she claimed. The gas pipeline she touts as her major "mission accomplished" has not broken ground and may never do so. She did not take a pay-cut as mayor of Wasilla. And on and on. Anyone with Google can check all of these out. Including reporters.

These are all documented, bald-faced factually irrefutable lies.
The City Visible - A New Generation of Lolitas Makes a Fashion Statement - NYTimes.com:

The Lolitas are here and in full bloom. Theirs is a world in which the childhood fantasy of Alice in Wonderland seems to collide full force with the Addams Family. Its myriad influences include Victorian children’s wear, the French Rococo period, goth-inspired darkness and Japanese anime. Many Lolitas make their own clothes or have them specially commissioned.

Nancy Ramos, a 22-year-old photographer’s assistant who lives in Co-op City in the Bronx, was first drawn to Lolitas at Genericon, an anime convention in Troy, N.Y.

“I saw a girl dressed as a Lolita and thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” Ms. Ramos said. “She was wearing a pair of rocking-horse ballerina shoes, and I had never seen anything like them before. I was fascinated that you could walk with your heel missing.”

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Business & Technology | Back to My Mac needs to go back for improvements | Seattle Times Newspaper:

Any two Leopard computers with Back to My Mac activated and logged in to the same MobileMe account can connect for file sharing, remote screen sharing and any other Mac service that can advertise its ability over a local network using Apple's Bonjour.

After nearly a year of using Back to My Mac, writing and revising a long electronic book on the topic, and answering several hundred e-mails about the service from readers of this newspaper and my book, I have to conclude Back to My Mac isn't a solution for most users.

I don't have a single colleague who uses it to reach any of their machines remotely.
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Five minutes before the first presidential debate.
I finally got to read "How Theatre Saved America, Part 2" in this month's American Theatre Magazine, which features Sheila and Itamar on the cover—Sheila looks a little like she's in a very intense Pinter play, and Itamar looks like he just got expelled from the seminary.

I kid. They both look great.

Anyway, if I seem light it's because I have little to discuss. You'll all recall the sturm und drang of my response to Part 1...so I've been wondering what Part 2 would have in store.

The answer: not much. It's about nothing that even remotely has to do with the topics of my show anymore—one suspects that once Ms. Eyring was bitten for her illogic and poor judgment by both me and a number of other folks, she simply shifted gears.

We'll never know. What I do know is that the second part bears no resemblance or connection to the first, and is substantially about how art allows us to humanize one another, and can allow people from different cultures to communicate. It also posits that touching a few people deeply is more significant than many lightly, though it doesn't do anything with this idea beyond stating it.

I agree with it, but it's pablum. I won't argue with it, because it is a waste of time and energy, and because I agree with much of it—that's the point of pablum, to find the things absolutely everyone agrees about and repeat them. Peace is good. War is bad. Art is warm. Socks are nice.

The article ends with this:

"A few small international gestures that make a big impact lead to more such gestures and more such impact. And it builds exponentially over time, all contributing to how theatre has saved and can save America."

The only thing missing is a PS that reads:

"Also unicorns are awesome, and rainbows, and these are also contributing to saving America."
Iyss Americantheatre

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Price of Garden Access in Brooklyn, Part I:

You can break up a party: make like a sitcom housewife and bang on the ceiling with a broom, then walk upstairs in your bathrobe, and say, “listen, I don’t mean to be a bitch, but it’s 3 a.m.” If all else fails, you can call the police. They won’t show up for an hour or more, but at least you’ll feel you’re taking action.

An orgasm, however, is a different matter, an entitlement with which you cannot interfere. These are the truths I pondered last May as I lay beneath a 4 a.m. sex marathon that earplugs wouldn’t block out. I knew because I was wearing some.

The man cried, “oh yeah, baby. Like that, baby.” Shoes clomped. Springs clink-clanked. The girl let out shrieks the likes of which I hadn’t heard since I lived under the same roof as a Moluccan cockatoo back in Miami. I thought about the bird as I drifted back to sleep: the way she raised her crest and danced back and forth on the perch, screaming, “Ah, ah, ah, ah,” as the sun came up every morning.
It's always worth carrying one at all times.

"We're very careful not to throw words around like 'meltdown' and 'free fall,' " CNN correspondent Ali Velshi, who is getting mucho face time thanks to the meltdown and free fall, told the New York Times. The Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal is engaging in un-Murdochian restraint, banishing words like crash and pandemonium.

Maybe I have a limited vocabulary, but I'm not sure how else to characterize a month in which the country's largest financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had to be nationalized; Lehman Bros., the fourth-largest investment bank, filed for Chapter 11; AIG, a component of the Dow Jones Indsutrial Average, had to turn over most of its stock to the government in exchange for an $85 billion loan; the government had to guarantee money-market funds to stop people from hoarding cash under their mattresses; the nation's largest savings and loan, Washington Mutual, failed; and the nation's greatest financial minds declare that a bailout the size of the Netherlands' GDP is needed to stop the bleeding.

Yes, we have to be careful about crying fire in a crowded theater. But calling Wall Street's a meltdown a meltdown is more like crying fire in a crowded inferno.
view from the beach...
He used his fame to give away his fortune:

Newman loved those stories. He loved to talk about the little kids who had no clue who he was, this friendly old guy who kept showing up at camp to take them fishing. While their counselors stammered, star-struck, the campers indulged Newman the way they'd have indulged a particularly friendly hospital blood technician. It took me years to understand why Newman loved being at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. It was for precisely the same reason these kids did. When the campers showed up, they became regular kids, despite the catheters and wheelchairs and prosthetic legs. And when Newman showed up, he was a regular guy with blue eyes, despite the Oscar and the racecars and the burgeoning marinara empire. The most striking thing about Paul Newman was that a man who could have blasted through his life demanding "Have you any idea who I am?" invariably wanted to hang out with folks—often little ones—who neither knew nor cared.
Mini-Microsoft: Compensatory Arrangements of Certain (Microsoft) Officers:

Given the feckless vote of confidence that a bunch of screw-ups like Yahoo! got at their recent shareholder's meeting, I don't have much confidence in our shareholders challenging our leadership. Stock price? Don't care, got mine. What kind of performance targets must the company reach to achieve the rewards? Not gonna tell you.

First SPSA. Now this. Microsoft is dying from the inside, and the folks sucking it dry have zero motivation to change things. It's working out pretty damn well for them.
The class of 2012 is super wired:

Out of 438 incoming freshman students at Amherst College, 432 of them are on Facebook and only 5 have landlines.

6. Number of students in the class of 2012 who brought desktop computers to campus: 14.
7. Number that brought iPhones/iTouches: 93.
8. Likelihood that a student with an iPhone/iTouch is in the class of 2012: approximately 1 in 2.
Poetry Bailout Will Restore Confidence of Readers—By Charles Bernstein (Harper's Magazine):

Chairman Lehman, Secretary Polito, distinguished poets and readers—I regret having to interrupt the celebrations tonight with an important announcement. As you know, the glut of illiquid, insolvent, and troubled poems is clogging the literary arteries of the West. These debt-ridden poems threaten to infect other areas of the literary sector and ultimately to topple our culture industry.

Cultural leaders have come together to announce a massive poetry buyout: leveraged and unsecured poems, poetry derivatives, delinquent poems, and subprime poems will be removed from circulation in the biggest poetry bailout since the Victorian era. We believe the plan is a comprehensive approach to relieving the stresses on our literary institutions and markets.

Let there be no mistake:
the fundamentals of our poetry are sound. The problem is not poetry but poems. The crisis has been precipitated by the escalation of poetry debt—poems that circulate in the market at an economic loss due to their difficulty, incompetence, or irrelevance.
The Blindness Of David Brooks:

Brooks: McCain is "a humble man".  Is Brooks really saying that a humble man would come back from Vietnam and among his first actions write a massive piece about his heroism in US News and then "write" five memoirs detailing his own heroism?  Does a humble man bring up the Hanoi Hilton even when discussing his own many houses today? Real heroes never talk about their war records. McCain has milked and milked and milked his shamelessly for political advantage from the minute he got home. Men of the Greatest Generation wouldn't dream of this disgusting exploitation.

Brooks cites his legislative achevements but omits the fact that this torture victim was critical in putting into American law the first legalization of torture of prisoners by the American government in 2006, a betrayal of ancient principles so deep only a man without any integrity at all could have agreed to it. Someone somewhere is being tortured right now because John McCain made it happen. Standing over the shoulder of the torturer is the presence of McCain, as the pain and terror of the torture victim is milked for false confessions, then used for political purposes. That is integrity?

And Brooks, of course, omits Palin: the worst act of political judgment in my lifetime. She is indefensible. By any standards and by any reasonable person. No candidate with an ounce of concern for his own country would have selected her with such insouciance, cynicism and incompetence.

Friday, September 26, 2008

They are coming...
27th of ramadan
Britain will make foreigners carry RFID identity cards and will put us in a huge, Orwellian database: the rest of Britain will be next - Boing Boing:

Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students and we spousal visa holders (government is looking to curtail spousal visas altogether, capping all visas at 20,000 per year, including spousal visas, denying Britons the right to bring their spouses into the country once the quota has been filled). The card will be eventually linked to all of the national databases -- credit, health, driving, spending. These are the same databases that the government has been repeatedly losing and haemmorhaging by the tens of million (literally).

My family fled the Soviet Union after the war. They were displaced people (my father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan) who destroyed their papers to protect themselves from the draconian authorities who sought to limit their travel and migration. I used to think it was ironic that my family had gone from Europe to Canada and back to Europe again in a generation, but now I don't know how long the Doctorows will be staying in Europe -- or at least in the UK. The green and pleasant land has suspended habeas corpus, instituted street searches without particularlized suspicion, encourages its citizens to spy and snitch on each other, and now has issued mandatory universal papers that will track we dirty immigrants as we move around our adopted "home," as part of a xenophobic campaign to arouse fear and resentment against migrants.

To my friends, I say this: your Labour Party has taken my biometrics and will force me to carry the papers my grandparents destroyed when they fled the Soviet Union. In living memory, my family has been chased from its home by governments whose policies and justification the Labour Party has aped. Your Labour Party has made me afraid in Britain, and has made me seriously reconsider my settlement here. I am the father of a British citizen and the husband of a British citizen. I pay my tax. I am a natural-born citizen of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party ought not to treat me -- nor any other migrant -- in a way that violates our fundamental liberties. The Labour Party is unmaking Britain, turning it into the surveillance society that Britain's foremost prophet of doom, George Orwell, warned against. Labour admits that we migrants are only the first step, and that every indignity that they visit upon us will be visited upon you, too. If you want to live and thrive in a free country, you must defend us too: we must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ramona's Silvery Veil
Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online : Claymates Deal With Their Gay Grief:

High-pitched shrieks and excited OMGs could be heard all through America's suburbs yesterday as Clay Aiken admitted that he's gay, on the cover of People. Aiken's rabid fanbase, who call themselves Claymates, have taken to the message boards to deal with this shocking (to them) news. Many professed their undying support for the man they find talented, kind, and yes, sexy. But others are having trouble reconciling the news with comments Aiken made to Rolling Stone in 2004, when he denied having homosexual leanings. Nearly all Claymates are at one stage or another of the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle, whether they're denying the truth of the story, raging at their hero himself, or coming to accept that he's a sinner. Examples follow:
Happy Tears
Alan Moore on 'Watchmen' movie: 'I will be spitting venom all over it' | Hero Complex | Los Angeles Times:

Moore said that with "Watchmen," he told the epic tale of a large number of characters over decades of history with "a range of techniques" that cannot be translated to the movie screen, among them the "book within a book" technique, which took readers through a second, interior story as well as documents and the writings of characters. He also said he was offended by the amount of money and resources that go into the Hollywood projects. "They take an idea, bowdlerize it, blow it up, make it infantile and spend $100 million to give people a brief escape from their boring and often demeaning lives at work. It's obscene and it's offensive. This is not the culture I signed up for. I'm sure I sound like Bobby Fischer talking about chess "
Ward 1
Playbill News: RSC Announces New Three-Year Acting Ensemble Plus an Emphasis on New Work:

Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd has announced the formation of a brand-new ensemble – who are being contracted to work together for 30 months and will work on a balanced combination of Shakespeare and new work (the latter being presented in the temporary Courtyard Theatre for the first time) — with embedded writers also being taken on to work closely with and write specially for a company of actors, as Shakespeare did.
ratita de biblioteca

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wed Sep 24 2008 17:41:58 ET

David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, "Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?"

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, "You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves." And he joked: "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."

"He can't run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?"

"What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"
Seattle Yoga Bitch@Re-bar - Events:

Alternately side-splitting and stomach-curdling, writer/actress Suzanne Morrison’s autobiographical monologue is savagely funny. Narrating her decision to quit her job, drain her bank account, and put her relationship on hold while she trains as a yoga instructor in Bali, Yoga Bitch is the story of a career move which, it turns out, makes pursuing ambitions of solo theater look sane and pragmatic by comparison. Morrison introduces a cast of lunatic characters and leads them through a host of eccentric practices, from the exorcism of kitchen appliances to “urine therapy,” with candor, humor, and a flair for a punchline. Through sheer force of talent and personality, she is able to shock and horrify patrons without sacrificing their implicit faith in the complete and total logic of each decision that she makes. Ambitious, ballsy, and hilarious, Yoga Bitch is surely the best one-woman show I’ve seen all year.
There is one place i wan`t to be in everyday.......Home!
Breaking: McCain Bails on First Debate:

John McCain has asked that this Friday's first presidential debate be postponed. He says it needs to be put off in order for him to "focus on the financial crisis," and he needs that time to fix this mess in his position as a Senator without any authority over any of it. Wtf. According to MSNBC, he's returning to Washington right now to personally solve this bailout thing. So—"country first," right? No time for debating, because Senator McCain—who is not on the Joint Economic Committee btw!—is asking Obama to join him in Washington. Jesus Christ. We're thinking this will very quickly come off as a "political stunt," and also make McCain look like a moron next time he trots out the "I lie about Obama because he wouldn't debate me 100 times from now until the election" line.
Pinhole skull-camera - Boing Boing:

Wayne Martin Belger makes pinhole cameras using a variety of materials including precious stones, metals, human organs, and bone. This piece, entitled Third Eye, features many of these materials, all constructed around the 150 year-old skull of a 13 year-old girl. The film is exposed to light through titular ocular cavity making a Polaroid momento mori. The photos taken with this camera (one of which is after the jump) stay with the theme, their blurriness and patina making them look as if they were snatched from the memories of the dead.

Get Your Cowboy On:

Every day you see stuff in Mongolia that screams cowboy. In the morning, cowboys on horseback herd yaks, sheep, or camels out for grazing, and in the evening, the women go out and milk the beasts. Now and then, you may see men breaking in a bucking wild horse. In the small towns—often just a few buildings set out on the plains—you run into old cowboys wandering around drunk, as if you're in Tombstone, Ariz., and they've just come back from boozing with Doc Holliday.

That said, I'll admit that being in Central Asia does require certain adjustments. The horse saddles are generally made of wood. You don't pound whisky in the saloon; instead, you drink fermented horse milk in a ger. And the guns you'll see are old Soviet bolt-action models, not Winchester repeaters.

Traveling through deeper Mongolia is also a chance in this life to see what it is about the "endless plains" that once inspired so much writing and thought. There are places in America that are pretty empty. But endlessly empty is different. It means land free of any road or fence as far as the eye can see, and then beyond that, and then beyond that. The plains begin to feel more like ocean than land, open to being crossed in any way you'd like, free and unending. You start to realize how much your daily decisions are driven by paths, streets, and fences. Forget about the road less traveled and think no road at all.

After about a week of driving mixed with riding, we'd reached that mountain we spotted on the map back in Ulan Bator. We had reached the edge of the Altai range, just out of the Gobi desert, near the Chinese border. There we camped in a high plateau next to a single family's gers, sheep, and horses. We were their first foreign visitors in 17 years—the last was a Japanese fellow who lived in a tent for a year to study marmots.
inessential.com: ‘Beneath Apple’:

When I read that Apple’s solution to the problem of the negative press around apps being rejected from the App Store was to add an NDA warning, I thought it was satire. It couldn’t be true.

But it appears to be true. If so, then someone is making a mistake. This behavior is definitely beneath the company that makes the software and hardware I adore and love developing for.
Childish Thoughts