Last year about this time — specifically, in Vent #437 — I ran a few excerpts from the first few months of daily bloggage at this site, partly to call attention to the fact that daily bloggage had been going on for nearly five years by then, but mostly because I didn't have a topic fall readily to hand when I started typing. The same, as you've no doubt inferred, holds true today, and while I have a topic at hand — "those who are no people," in Deuteronomy 32:21, foreshadows 20th-century Palestinians — the thought of having to expand this into 8k or so without falling back on sheer venom is at the very least daunting.

So it's another clip show for now, from a slightly later period: mid-2001, which, conveniently, is five years ago. Enjoy.

8 May 2001:

Most of the things I pass on to others, or that I mention here, are neither rib-ticklers nor French ticklers; they're simply things I thought were worth repeating. I suspect most operators of serious Web logs (I don't think this little backwater of mine qualifies as "serious" just yet) use similar criteria; they share what they think, filtered (or metafiltered) through their particular worldview, is worth sharing. It's impossible for me to read a good online journal, even if the topics are wrenchingly painful, without being grateful to the person who made it available to you and me.

And this, perhaps, is why I don't worry so much about the Net subsuming all human interaction in a vast miasma of strained superficiality. No, I don't know the writers the way I know my best friends; but were it not for the Net, I wouldn't know them at all. Even with a screen or two and however many lines of wire, of fiber, of code between us, we still connect to one another. Surely that's worth something in this alleged Age of Isolation.

12 May 2001:

The guys who tend my 401(k) have sent me an application for one of their new Web-based checking accouts. It has evidently never occurred to them that the only way I could possibly have built said 401(k) into the low five figures was by keeping my checking account in the high two.

20 June 2001:

Whom the gods would destroy, they first scare spitless.

I got a nice case of dry mouth trying to get home from work today, on the sensible basis that any time you have a fire engine blocking your path, it's a good time to be apprehensive. During the time it took me to do three-lefts-equal-one-right, I managed to go from uneasy to downright panic-stricken, and matters weren't helped much when I saw that the building being hosed down was mine.

However, the mere fact that I'm able to do an update today should tell you that I managed to slide by with an incredibly tiny amount of destruction. (There's a light coating of sooty dust — or dusty soot — on the kitchen floor, and the faint smell of char-broiled furniture from the opposite end of the building pervades the place.) I've called my insurance agent, but it's not like I've got $500 worth of damage to fill up the deductible or anything, so here I sit, waiting for the promised thunderstorms tonight to cool things off.

25 June 2001:

Has anyone in the history of the world actually bought a pink-sheet stock just because some snippy little piece of email said it was about to rocket upwards? I get about a dozen of these per week, usually with prices around four cents and "target" prices straight out of Dreamland, and I duly file them in the bit bucket, but somebody must be going for these things, else the spammers wouldn't be shoveling them out left and right.

28 June 2001:

For some years now, I have suspected that clothing itself is merely a secondary player in clothing catalogs. Way back in 1997, I wrote up my reactions to the Coldwater Creek catalog, which devoted as much space to lyrical descriptions of where the garments might be worn as to the prosaic details of the garments themselves. To be honest, I found it fascinating, which I suppose demonstrates that I'm a sucker for high-quality mystique.

Today I got my first look at the A&F Quarterly, published by L.L. Bean wannabe-turned-Banana Republic wannabe Abercrombie & Fitch. In one respect, it's Coldwater Creek in reverse: while Coldwater Creek shows you clothing with no individuals, A&F devotes quite a few pages to individuals with no clothing. For a clothing vendor, this takes a certain amount of, um, cheek; I am reminded (though not much) of the early Infiniti ads that never showed any actual cars.

4 July 2001:

Why are porn banners always so utterly hideous-looking? The ones I see, anyway, are about as erotic as ads for oil filters — not unlike the actual porn, now that I think about it. Erica Jong, who knows about such things, dismissed porn films: "After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live." Which suggests to me that the blinkered Philistines pushing abstinence in lieu of actual sex education have it exactly backwards; turn off the Internet filters, disable the V-chips, and the kids will likely be so turned off by the inane portrayals of the actual process that they won't even think about doing it themselves.

And remember: it's not a rerun if you didn't see it the first time.

The Vent

#483
  1 May 2006



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