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Dec 27, 2003 6:43 am


NOTED HERE AND THERE ...



Do they move and reproduce like man and woman? Well, no. Like ocean waves, perhaps? Not that either. Sometimes they pass through each other, like a ghost through a wall. Other times, they co-mingle and reproduce. The New York Times has a fascinating piece about what happens when one sand dune meets another. It's a lesson in the problem of analogies.

You say it happened in the 14th century? Oh Lord, there goes my hockey stick. Reactions to Michael Crichton's Commonwealth Club address led to extended discussions on Cliopatria's comment boards (scroll down). There, Jerome Sternstein recommends this article in Technology Review and its supporting links. Good science proceeds slowly, it argues: on the one hand, but on the other ....

The Economist has an interesting piece which compares the internet to 17th and 18th century European coffee houses. I've thought it more comparable to a library. Mildly Malevolent is skeptical about the coffee house analogy, but like him, I find the Economist piece's point about coffee as the anti-alcohol interesting. Give me a fresh pot of coffee, a little stack of cookies, my keyboard, and I'm ready to get at it. I don't know whether I'm in a coffee house or a library, but it seems like where I ought to be.

It didn't end in 1865. It doesn't happen only in Africa's heart of darkness or Islam's lesser realms. It isn't just Walmart on the sly. It is slavery and it's right down here in the heart of Limbaughland. The Palm Beach Post has a three part series on slavery in 21st century Florida. Isn't this where my generation came in? Edward R. Murrow's "Harvest of Shame," Michael Harrington's The Other America, and all that?

So, this veteran of the civil rights and anti-Viet Nam War movements bequeaths problems more complex than his generation's to that of his much loved, many pierced, tattooed, punk, Green, and post-Goth #2 daughter who works at Brooklyn's Soft Skull Press. She is home for Christmas and, briefly, we are whole again. We are so much alike that there are some things that we simply cannot discuss. One of them is this. Don't tell her I sent you, but as we say here in the South:"Vote early and vote often." And, frankly, my dear, Mort Sahl and Rv. Agnos agree with me that "Al Franken is objectively less funny than Al Haig."


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