THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 475 July 16 - 22, 2007
Highlights this week:
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This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
July 16, 2007
I should be writing a column today but I have many other things to get done. The Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag is quite good, though. I'll get the column done when I get it done. Inferno comes first and before that I need to run some errands.
Our morning walk took us past Ed Begley's house so I got a couple of snapshots of his new skylight and wind generator.
There are three of these small skylights. Ed says they light up the rooms nicely, and he's been on the roof flooding them with the hose but hasn't found any leaks. The little vertical wind generator produces 500 Watts when it's working (which isn't all that often in Studio City). It wouldn't be worth while unless you have a solar power system and batteries and such like; but of course he already had that.
My guess is that the interest on the capital investments of his energy-independent house would pay the electrical bills for most of the people on his block, but of course that's not the point he's trying to make.
While we were out I got a shot of Sable and Cantura street. Cantura is the street where they filmed Malcolm in the Middle, and is often used when the media want stock shots of the southern part of the San Fernando Valley. Interestingly, when they did the pilot of the (never produced) TV series "Sherman Oaks" it was filmed here in Studio City, much of it on Cantura street. Sherman Oaks is the name of the next bedroom community west of Studio City. Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, are all strung out along Ventura Blvd., which used to be Highway 101, the main highway to Santa Barbara and points north. Then came the Ventura Freeway, about half a mile north of Ventura Blvd., and Ventura was no longer a highway.
We used to have a lot of motels in Studio City, but over the years I have been here they deteriorated. No longer being on a highway, they had no tourist business; and as the Valley became filled up with houses, while the freeway system made it easy to get here, there was no real need for motel housing for actors and film crews. After a while the motels became eyesores and cheap assignation destinations, and the residents association worked to get rid of them. They are mostly gone now; a couple have become expensive assignation destinations with various high tech sex toys and hot tubs, all discreetly advertised.
For all that, Studio City remains a village, and in my judgment the best place to live in Los Angeles.
And now I have work to do. There's some mail.
I note that the web is very slow today; it's taking a lot of time to upload this.
MIT have designed a new spacesuit giving the wearer greatly improved mobility.
I expect it's new to them. I wore such a suit in 1962 or thereabouts, and I have described such suits in many novels including Birth of Fire and Exiles to Glory. Ah well.
The Internet is hideously slow today. Anyone else notice? Or is it only here? Everything takes forever.
|This week:||Tuesday, July
Happy Anniversary Roberta
There's work to do, and we have the Hollywood Bowl symphony tonight. And I have errands.
Be sure to read the report of our formerly anonymous California High School Student. This is a busy day.
The Internet was as slow as glue today. I just went in and power cycled both modem and router. That seems to have helped.
Just ran across this
And this raises an interesting question:
Lind: The Folly
of Maximalist Objectives.
And if you missed this...
July 18, 2007
Couldn't sleep. Cleaning up old mail.
Afternoon. Hiked with Niven, then lunch. We know what needs to be done with Inferno II. About half done. I will put my sentiments on the church scandals in Inferno...
There's a lot of good mail from last night and today.
: Quote of the Day...
As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.
-- Dave Barry
We are Grinding on Inferno II. Long hike (6 miles) with Niven yesterday; I think we have solved all the problems in the sense that we understand what needs doing. Doing it well and cleverly isn't as easy as understanding what must be done -- or perhaps it is. Actually doing it is merely work and requires professional writing skills, which God knows we have if any such thing exists. Understanding what the problems are and what must be done about them is more in the "creative" side of things.
I suspect that "creative writing" classes may be of some help in learning how to gain such insights. I wouldn't know; I've never been part of one. I was able to avoid Bonehead English when I entered university. Perhaps that was a mistake, but I don't think so. Instead of English Composition (I think that was the title that the University of Iowa used for Bonehead English) I got core courses in literature. Greeks and the Bible, Masterpieces of English Literature, and two others whose exact titles I have forgotten. And of course I had term papers. I was required to write, and fairly frequently.
I doubt I would have learned much in English Composition, but that is largely due to the through training I got from the Christian Brothers in high school.
My point in all this is that those who want to write need to know the mechanics of writing. That is a learnable skill for a large part of the population, probably 60% and possibly larger. Being able to write clear and comprehensible sentences can be learned. Learning what to write about may or may not be a teachable skill.
I have other thoughts on this in my essay on how to get my job.
On the other hand, I do seem to be missing my own deadlines. Let's say that the Chaos Manor Reviews columns are monthly. We try to have something every week and often manage that.
Moving on to Inferno. I will probably be looking for a new telephone service. AT&T seems to have become The Phone Company without Bell Labs. More in the column.
I'm going for a walk. There's mail.
Once we walked on the Moon. When I was in high school in the 1940's I read science fiction and knew that I would live to see the first man on the Moon. I did not know I would live to see the last one.
NASA ate the dream. It is not lack of money. It is NASA, turf wars, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.
We have spent enough since Apollo to be half way to Alpha Centauri. We cannot even go back to the Moon.
July 21, 2007
Harry Potter Day
Thank you, Joanne Rowling, for getting people to read...
|This week:||Sunday, July
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain
village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And
she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at
Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
The Sons of Martha
The Sons of Mary seldom bother,
I have done the letter column, and I am doing next week's column, having skipped a week. Then I get to work on Inferno. And then I get to read Harry Potter. I've read the first few chapters, including where Ginny decides to give Harry a very memorable birthday present.
I hate to say I told you so, but I have no choice. It was stupid to invade Iraq. National Review and the egregious Frum to the contrary, this took no brains to understand. It only took some analysis of upsides and downsides, and questioning the "intelligence" provided by Chalabi the Thief and the Iraqi Exile community.
I'll be working on an essay on the disastrous consequences of the Iraq invasion, and the dreary alternatives we now face as a result of the neocon Jacobinism that sent us in there. Note that the difference between Republicans and Democrats was that while both professed to believe in Jacobinism -- Clinton sent us in to bomb Serbs in order to force them to make territorial concessions to Albania -- the neocons got control of the government and acted as if they really believed their Jacobin slogans. Iraq would fall, and the people would rise up and welcome us as liberators. Within every heart burns this desire for freedom. We would bring them freedom. They would not use the freedom to count coup on their enemies and settle old scores. Instead they would submit to the rule of law, vote for social progress, and all would be well, and all would be well. We would have an ally in the Middle East, a place to build watch towers and station the fleet East of Suez, and all would be well, and all would be well.
Instead we have boosted the fortunes of al Qaeda; formerly merely a detested surreptitious ally of Saddam who saw them only as a means of striking back at his enemies, al Qaeda has become something else, and the resources we might have used in Afghanistan to end al Qaeda forever when we had them on the run were squandered in Mesopotamia, so that we did not complete the Afghan recovery.
It is still the case that the best place to fight your enemies is on someone else's territory. When you upset a wasp nest you must kill the wasps, or they will sting you. See mail.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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