On the front page of this site, somewhere in the middle of the left-hand column, used to be a list of "Irritations." It occurs to me that some of these might warrant additional discussion, so here's the list again, with annotations as needed:

Theocrats: We have a few homegrown types around, mostly adherents of so-called "dominion theology" and variations thereof. While they make a fair amount of noise, their actual influence on American governance is small; even some conservative Christians find them a bit spooky and seek to dissociate themselves from the movement. That leaves the crown to the Islamists anxious to reestablish the Caliphate and incorporate the rest of the world into it. Few Muslims actually take part in this sort of thing, but few Muslims will oppose it either.

Commercial radio: It's pretty much always been true that radio stations see advertisers, not listeners, as their customers, but there were days when station owners would try different, occasionally even innovative, ways of attracting listener. Not anymore. As the number of owners shrinks, the number of stations willing to buck trends shrinks faster; if a consultant could guarantee a top-50 market station a 10 share playing nothing but Britney Spears records backwards, there'd be 50 such stations in a fortnight. About the only thing I bother with on commercial radio anymore is sports.

Multiple banner ads: Nowadays, the technique of a Webmaster desperate to scare up advertising dollars. At least they're usually at the bottom of the page.

Streisand since about '84: The decline, I think, began with that godawful duet with Barry Gibb, slowed down a bit with The Broadway Album, and accelerated after the relatively unsuccessful film Nuts. Today, she's half self-parody and half political hack, and I'm not sure which half is more annoying.

28.8 connections: Still a fact of life on the road, as I discover during my occasional road trips. Sometimes it's even worse.

Photo radar: The presence of such things is prima facie evidence that the municipality which allowed them to be installed is far more interested in the revenue stream than in actual safety considerations.

Any ketchup other than Heinz: There are not many consumer products where there is one clearly superior choice. This is one. (The other is Fritos corn chips.)

"Personalized" spam: There isn't as much of this as there used to be, but I object in principle to having my name used in vain. Besides, all spam is an offense unto all that is holy, and inasmuch as spammers have proven, merely by being spammers, that they are sociopaths who seek to live off the labor of others, I think they should be put to death as cruelly as possible.

Script kiddies: Same for these guys, though not quite for the same reason: they're sociopaths, yes, but they're not motivated by pecuniary considerations.

Excessive whining: You're soaking in it.

The Vent

  8 January 2007

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