a left argument for gun rights.

I’ve had an essay in the works for weeks now. It’s mostly for my liberal and left-leaning friends and lays out in great detail why opposition to civilian gun ownership is fundamentally un-progressive, historically and philosophically speaking.

And out comes The Polemicist with an article that precisely lays out the argument for gun ownership from a left-socialist perspective, thereby blowing all my work away.

It’s a very good and thorough read, and immensely thought-provoking.

god’s gift to women, that one.

One Joshua Becker, a student at USF in Tampa, apparently thinks it’s fun to sexually harass strange women over the Internets. Only the target of his dubious attention didn’t take his shit lying down (no pun intended) and posted screen shots of the entire exchange online. She also pledged to send the evidence to both his mother and grandmother. (He wasn’t smart enough to use an anonymous ID, and his victim figured out his Facebook page rather quickly. Oops.)

Sadly, if Joshua Becker of Tampa learns anything from this, it probably won’t be “don’t harass women over the Internet”, or “don’t post or send anything online you wouldn’t put on a poster board in your front yard”, or “gee, maybe I am a tacky, self-entitled dweeb, and I should probably fix my character flaws.” He’ll just learn to be more careful next time.

I’ve been online since 1995, and I’ve never had an unwanted IM from a stranger proposing that I perform sexual favors on them. It’s pretty fucking sad that so many women can’t say the same thing. Being female and online should not mean having to put up with over-testosteroned brodudes trolling the Net and doing the virtual equivalent of a lewd ass-grab in a crowded subway car.

analog data: the longevity thereof.

One of my regular reads from the old Fatherland has an interesting article today about a letter that took 71 years to deliver. (link is in German)

In WWII, German troops occupied the Channel island of Jersey for five years. Some of the local yoots decided to steal a bag of German military mail as an act of defiance. They didn’t destroy the letters, but kept them safely stashed away. One of the former defiant yoots turned a bunch of them in to the Jersey archives 70 years later. They made copies, translated what they could, and then contacted the post office. The Jersey post office got in touch with the German Mail, and together they came up with the idea to deliver whatever letters they still could. Some of the recipients couldn’t be located, some letters went to (now luckily defunct) National Socialist organizations and offices and definitely couldn’t be delivered anymore, but ten of the letters found their way to the addressees or their descendants.

I’ve mentioned the hand-written recipe books my wife owns—they were written by her maternal grandmother before she emigrated to the United States in the early 1920s. Not only can I still read them (with a little difficulty—the Sütterlin script taught in schools back then can be a bit hard to decipher even for a German speaker), but it’s really neat to be able to hold and own an object that she owned and filled with her own handwriting. The postcard story above reinforces to me that the analog ways of data recording and transmission not only still have value, but also advantages that digital data lacks. Imagine if your descendants go through some old stuff in the attic in seventy years and find a USB stick with your writings or drawings on it. Will they be able to extract the data on whatever computers they use in 2082?

(I have a set of Jaz disks in a box in the attic that have some of Robin’s college and grad school stuff on them. I’m quite handy with a computer, but even I don’t have the necessary hardware and drivers to extract that data. How about a bunch of 5.25” floppies with WordStar documents on them? Or maybe a 3.5” disk formatted for AmigaOS?)

Handwritten notes, however, will still be perfectly legible and accessible, providing they’re stored in a dry spot.

That assumes, of course, that our descendants in 2082 can still read.

africa for norway.

I love this so much, I can hardly put it into words. The perfect send-up of self-congratulatory, condescending Bono-type soy latte activism:

“jackass” auf deutsch.

This video of a German dude doing a hop into a frozen pool—with fairly predictable results regarding personal injury—kicked over my giggle box this morning. If only there was a German word for glee or joy at the misfortune of others…

At least he’s a good enough sport to laugh at his own idiocy. Rock on, German Speedo Dude.

the little essay that keeps getting borrowed.

I really dislike people who write guest columns that use someone else’s material, especially when that material came out of my head, not theirs.

One Mr. James W. King wrote a guest column for the Albany Herald. I use the loosest possible definition of the word “wrote”, because for his column, Mr. King limited his writing work to copying and pasting my “Why the Gun is Civilization” essay. This is not just unoriginal, it’s dishonest, and thievery to boot.

The Albany Herald didn’t ask for permission to use the essay. Neither did Mr. King. I don’t usually get all hot under the collar when “Major Caudill” gets quoted on some Internet forum, but the most cursory Google search by the editor would have turned up the proper authorship. I am thinking about sending my very first DMCA take-down notice.

(UPDATE: The link is dead now. May have something to do with all those emails the editor has been getting.)

careful, your mascara is running.

I avoided looking at the display model iPhones on the way in, and averted my gaze from everyone elses iPhones. I wanted to enrich the experience of opening my own iPhone 5, and make it more special than it already would be…

You know you’re a pampered, entitled little whiner when you go to buy a new iPhone and feel compelled to write a tear-soaked blog post on how the AT&T rep “ruined” your first impressions of the phone by carelessly unwrapping everything prior to setting it up. ZOMG! He didn’t leave the protective film on it so I could peel it off in a quasi-religious trance! He unwrapped my USB cord so I was deprived of the experience! WAAAA! This is followed by a list of “How To” tips that outline how the experience should have gone. (In this kid’s ideal world, the salesguy should practically avoid eye contact and treat you like you’re in a bank opening a precious lockbox.)

The folks at the phone store don’t have the time to let every customer spend fifteen minutes ritually unpacking and getting to know their new iPhone. On iPhone launch day, these places are wall-to-wall with hipster kids looking to pick up their new phones between hitting Starbucks and pretending to go to class. You don’t want to make them late for their Ethnic Basketweaving 101 class so you can smell the packaging on your new iPhone.