Slipping the Surly Bonds of Earth
I was a freshman in high school in January of 1986. I remember being in the hallway between classes and passing Jonathon Silberlicht — a name I probably would have forgotten long ago otherwise — one day when he asked me what I thought about the Space Shuttle. He seemed rather glib, and I hadn't heard any news yet, so the weight of the question didn't sink in and I don't think I even bothered to say anything to him.

So within the next hour every TV in the school was on and we were being given an opportunity to talk about the Challenger disaster even as much of the news of what had happened and how was still trickling out. It was really significant, since that was the flight with Christa McAuliffe, and the launch had been in the news and somewhat relevant to high school students.

I remember quite a bit of the aftermath, when there were discussions of whether the Shuttle should have been designed with an escape hatch (chances are such an accident wouldn't have been survivable even if there were one), whether the Shuttle program would be restarted, the early talk of O-rings, all of it. I especially remember that President Reagan — if nothing else a great orator — had quoted from High Flight in his address to the nation, and since I'd been a night owl and a fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I knew that poem well from the signoff on the Tulsa PBS affiliate (KOED).

Because of this I'm not looking forward to the inevitable statement from George W. Bush. Reagan's address was well-written and well-delivered. Bush will be lucky to have a good speech (I haven't been all that impressed so far) and it's going to be beyond his abilities, I fear, to carry it off with any sort of gravitas.

More ... (11:52 EST, Sat 1 February 2003)

Censoring the Simpsons?!
This is getting out of hand. The local FOX affiliate apparently chose to edit this bit from Wild Barts Can't Be Broken:

Wiggum: (On television, after being asked by Kent Brockman if there are any suspects in the trashing of the school) None. That's why we're jumping to the conclusion that this was the work of no-good punk kids.
Lisa: Kids?!
Wiggum: Therefore, effective immediately, I am imposing a curfew. Any kid caught on the street after dark will be shot. Or, returned to their parents, as the situation may warrant.

The word "shot" was blanked. It's not as if Clancy Wiggum is held up as an example of what any police force is actually like — he's generally a model of incompetence and has, in other episodes, suggested that citizens take the law into their own hands, been unable to determine the true identity of serial graffitist El Barto, failed to take action at the corruption of Springfield's mayor (Diamond Joe Quimby), etc.

Somehow, however, WTTG (or FOX itself) decided that the word "shot" — while just another example of the ridiculousness of the character Chief Wiggum — was just too inflammatory for the notably sensitive audience of The Simpsons.


link (22:38 EST, Friday, 24 January 2003)

A note on the timeline around here
So. I had a diary and then I lost interest. Well, I actually didn't lose interest so much as lose interesting — I felt like I was starting to repeat myself. So then I started a weblog, but I hated the software I used for it and I ended up never doing anything about it (unless you consider continued inaction itself an action). A year passed, and I thought about this, and posted this article on Diaryland to keep things alive, but then I continued not to do anything about either the diary or the weblog (and its backend) for nigh another year. But I did do a lot of what should have been posted to one or the other and sent it out as email to various individuals or mailing lists.

Since I'm now a little better sorted on the email front, and I think I have a system I like well enough on the web front, I may be plugging entries in where they belong chronologically as I find them whilst sorting through those 10,000 email messages I have archived. If that gets out of hand I'll figure out a way to indicate new "old" articles on the site.

If you know me well enough it's all probably stuff you've heard from me before in one way or another anyway.

link (23:29 EST, Monday, 20 January 2003)

Goodness. I've had a bad habit for a while of not cleaning out my email boxes. When a mailbox gets too full, I copy the whole file to an archive and just delete everything, then start over.

So last night I converted all those archived mailboxes into the Maildir format my IMAP server uses, so I can access them from any of my computers easily. If Entourage isn't lying, I have over 10,000 messages online now. Eek.

link (15:55 EST, Monday, 20 January 2003)

Looking for something?
If you were looking for my diaryland diary or got here through a search, the content you were trying to find is all here (just moved around a bit, and in the case of diaryland moved to another server entirely). Sorry about the redirection, but it's better than taking down the pages entirely.

The search and navigation tools work (links for the previous and next documents appear automagically when you're looking at any page for an individual article) so have a look around. You should be able to find the material you were looking for.

And if you're new, there's some really old cruft as a result of the diaryland move. Enjoy your look around.

link (01:25 EST, Sunday, 19 January 2003)