January 31, 2005
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 -- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
....A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.
The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.
Nick McDonald, 1928-2005
Kodachrome & Volleyball
Here's a site that says it has 4000 Quicktime panoramas. They seem to all be in western North America and Hawaii. As a test, I selected Hawaii, narrowed it down to Kauai, and was disappointed to see he has NONE of Waimea Canyon, but has 6 of Waimea. Once I got there, it looked fairly boring (I wanted Waimea Canyon, dammit!) so I quit looking. If you poke through it and find something nice, do let us all know.
Another Thing About Firefox...
...that I don't like.
I get a message like this when a site fails to load. It seems to be trying to protect me from the sometimes informative 404 (or other) message from the website. The main trouble with this message is that the URL I requested is buried in the muck. I can keep clicking idiotically on the "Try again" link, but sometimes I like to grab the URL and try it in another browser, or save it in a text file to try later. I can do that from Firefox only by copying the "Try again" link and then editing it in a text file to cut off the muck surrounding it. Why do I need this? It does me no good and feels so very AOL-ish.
Here's what the "Try again" link contains in this instance (I've inserted a break so that it will wrap): "chrome://global/content/netError.xhtml?e=connectionFailure&u=http%3A//www.daypop.com/top.htm &d=The%20connection%20was%20refused%20when%20attempting%20to%20contact%20www.daypop.com.#"
George Soros Has Something To Say
I don't know if Soros never got the word that Democrats were supposed to kind of tone down their standard infighting, or if he thinks that dropping $26 million on the campaign entitles him to a bit more bitching than other Americans. Basically he blames Kerry...and Greenspan.
The Washington Post has an article indicating some concern about costumes that appeared at the Halloween party last October at Virginia Military Institute. There were mock-Nazi uniforms, fairies, and US Navy uniforms modified so as to suggest the practice of sodomy was part of naval routine.
While the mock-Nazi costumes were clearly wrong, the fairy outfits and sailors uniforms would have been totally appropriate at most parties I would attend, so how could I criticize?
You can see some photos of the outfits here. But it seems the actual photos have been rapidly disappearing from the web as VMI cadets pull them down, and as traffic overwhelms some sites. In order to facilitate your understanding of the issues, I've preserved 2 of the images that I don't find objectionable on my Flickr site.
Some of the articles will point you to the Webshots site, but most of the photos have been pulled from there. Still I found some from VMI that might be of interest. Here is what looks like a hazing scene. Probably NSFW. Here a cadet shows us how he holds his saber. A cadet in drag at the Halloween party.
Right There In Chelsea, Massachusetts
In a remarkable display of an inability to perceive reality, The Rev. Jerome Gillespie, [former] pastor at St. John the Evangelist Church [a Roman Catholic establishment] in Swampscott, Massachusetts, propositioned a 12-year-old girl and her mother for sex while dining at Floramo's in Chelsea. The mother and daughter were seated near, but not dining with the priest. Apparently money was offered, as he has been charged with "solicitation of sex for a fee" as well as enticement of a child under age 16 and accosting a person of the opposite sex. The, uh, incident occurred last Tuesday. The priest resigned on Friday, the same day Chelsea police issued the summons.
As is usual policy in these situations, a church higher-up (Auxiliary Bishop Francis X. Irwin this time) came out to the parish to say good things about the accused.
"Here is a man whose brother just had heart problems. He took no days off, he worked under tremendous pressure to be a good and available pastor. I know he is the same good man after as he was before this terrible incident," Irwin said.
Coachella Valley Music Festival
The line-up for the 2005 festival has finally been announced, and David Bowie isn't on the list.
January 30, 2005
The founder and chairman of the MIT Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, is the man behind a plan to build a $100 PC running Linux with 14-inch color screen. He has the support of AMD, Google, Motorola, Samsung, and News Corp. But wait, before you get your hopes too high...the targeted consumer is education ministries, and the minimum purchase will be 1 million units. China is at the top of the list, but it doesn't say how many they've ordered.
Palm Springs Cams
Somehow I have overlooked these Palm Springs cams until now, when I discovered them via a Canadian snowbird website! They've got 7 of them working now. Cameras 1 and 2 are at South Palm Canyon and Mesquite; 3 and 4 are downtown on Palm Canyon; 5 and 6 are at the visitor's center at the north end of town; and #7 looks like it's at the north end of the airport. I don't know if the cameras move, but right now #7 is pointed right at Murray Peak, #6 is pointed south towards Palm Springs, and #5 is pointed across the windmills directly at Mt. San Gorgonio. Unlike many webcams, these seem fairly fast and not buggy.
La Brea & Page Museum
January 29, 2005
Your Gay News
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
It's located in San Francisco on Mission Street in an 8,000 square foot space. Founded in 1985, it's got Frank Jordan's tasseled loafer. Here's the Society's website.
Possible Purge at the Office of Special Counsel
The OSC is the office that is supposed to protect federal employees from discrimination. The Bush-appointed director, Scott J. Bloch, believes that the rules forbidding discrimination against gays are, um, well, sort of non-existent. Unfortunately for him, there are career civil servants who disagree with him. He's given them 60 days to re-locate or resign. Meanwhile, Bloch has been "hiring all of his new high-level officials...through a non-competitive process that circumvents the traditional civil service hiring process."
Exporting Rightwing Bigotry
Focus on the Family and other rightwing groups are being distracted by the rapid advance of gay marriage rights in Canada. They say Canadians can fight gay marriage by praying and sending money to Focus on the Family. Yeah, they don't export for free!
A few students at James A. Farley Middle School in Stony Point, New York, organized a SpongeBob Support Day. They showed their support by wearing SpongeBob gear, the color yellow or a tie.
SpongeBob Support Day was the idea of seventh-grade class president Jordan Uffer, who wanted to protest opinions expressed about the character's link to homosexuality.
"He's a cartoon," the 12-year-old Uffer, attired in SpongeBob pajamas, said. "I felt there was no reason for them to say that he was homosexual, and there isn't a real difference between gay people and not-gay people. We're all human beings."
Meanwhile, In Ohio
The United Church of Christ has welcome SpongeBob.
"The UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob," the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."Photos here.
For that matter, Thomas explained, the 1.3-million-member church, if given the opportunity, would warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky-Winky, Clifford the Big Red Dog or, for that matter, any who have experienced the Christian message as a harsh word of judgment rather than Jesus' offering of grace.
Cross-dressing Nazi Slayer
He's 90-years old now, but during WWII he used his cross-dressing and show business skills to escape from the Warsaw ghetto and kill Nazi officers. There's a film of his life entitled Er Tanzte Das Leben which does not yet seem to be available in the U.S.
Cutest Couple Are Lesbians
At Murray High in Murray, Utah, Kortni Coats and Taunica Crump have been voted cutest couple in the best of the seniors election. There was some dispute surrounding the election, and when they went to conduct a recount they discovered that the original ballots had been destroyed. So a re-vote was in order, and the girls clearly won. There were detractors, of course: "'Knowing two girls want to be in a the yearbook because of their lesbian disorder, that's just sick,' said Travis Howland."
Wal-Mart Makes Progress
The giant retailer now recognizes domestic partnerships and civil unions. Here's the essential bit from their policy (with emphasis added):
Immediate family members include (whether by birth, adoption, marriage or Domestic Partnership or Civil Union, if recognized by your state or other local law) your spouse, children, parents, siblings, mothers and fathers-in-law, sons and daughters-in-law and brothers and sisters-in-law.
Wal-Mart expanded its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation in 2003.
In Vadodara, India, a youth accompanied a co-worker who had invited him to come to some abandoned railway quarters and engage in an "unnatural act." The youth agreed, and went along, bringing a knife and spare clothes. When they had reached their destination the youth attacked his co-worker, and used the knife to remove the victim's head. Upon apprehension the youth confessed to the crime.
The Snow Is Real
Two friends, Frank and Ed, are visiting from Boston now. They were tram virgins, so you know what happened. Up on Mt. San Jacinto it's COLD, and the snow is very real. Frank & Ed said it looked just like Boston, except there are more parking spaces in Boston. Here are a couple of photos at the upper tram station. They were running the tram cars as frequently as possible, which they claimed was every 10 minutes. But since the trip itself is about 11 minutes, I think they were stretching. But my point is that when they are running at max like this, they herd you out to the boarding platform BEFORE the tram car arrives, giving me new photo opportunites.
Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting
This photo must be an architect's rendering, because the bridge won't be lighted until tomorrow...although, sure they could have lighted it for a test and had somebody stationed with a camera. Maybe.
It's the Vincent Thomas Bridge which I first heard about only moments ago, via the Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting weblog. There we learn the lights will be turned on tomorrow, January 30, and that the lights will be LEDs powered by "energy-conscious solar panels." (I never knew solar panels could be conscious of anything!) But what don't we find? The location of the bridge. Well, yes, it's in San Pedro, which is fully descriptive, I guess, for someone familiar with Los Angeles. But let's pretend somebody from out of town wants to see the lighting. They (meaning me) would be lost.
I'm clever enough to follow some links, of course. And that brought us to this news article in which we learn there have been various private projects to raise funding for the lighting since 1988! "Oh," we think, "this is NOT a new bridge." The article says it will be lighted with "160 blue LED lights." We think that's not correct, because 160 LED lights wouldn't look any more impressive than a small group of bike riders at a distance...worse even, since blue would seem dimmer than red. We think they might mean 16,000 LED lights, or maybe 160,000, or maybe 160 globs of LEDs (containing an unspecified number of LED bulbs). [We are glad they rejected the suggestion to light the bridge with "synchronized laser beams that would mimic the wings of a flying bird or ocean waves."] But there's no suggestion on where one should go to watch the lighting.
But we moved on to the Port of Los Angeles website, which is where we lifted that photo. From that site we got this unnecessarily large PDF file (what's wrong with JPEG?) where we learn the ceremony will be at the "Cruise Ship Promenade" at Harbor Boulevard at Swinford Street in San Pedro (and we have been assuming that San Pedro is a neighborhood of L.A. and not a separate municipality, but our assumption may be incorrect).
And finally we somehow got to the San Pedro Waterfront website which has a little map of the area, including the Vincent Thomas Bridge, although it's almost too small to be useful (what's wrong with BIGGER jpegs?).
That ought to be be enough for me to find it, although it will require a bit of tapping about with a white cane, I'm sure.
- - -
Update, January 30:
I e-mailed the Vincent Thomas Bridge Committee and asked about the best place from which to view the lighting. I got this reply.
No, traffic will not be stopped. Almost anywhere you can see the bridge will be good, Ports O'Call, etc. Of course, the ceremony will take place next to the Lane Victory, under the bridge.
Of course, next to the Lane Victory. Everybody knew that.
I hope this news gets to you all in time for this evening's plans.
January 28, 2005
I Respond To Popular Will
One of my Johnny Ramone gravesite photos has skyrocketed to become my most popular photo. In order to try to fuel downloading frenzy, I've created group of photos of Johnny Ramone's grave in Hollywood.
We Learn From CanadaThe Ottawa Citizen tells us about...a thing, which is:
- An absorbing hobby,
- Third most popular collecting hobby,
- Modern ones are called "Continentals,"
- After 1939 they are called "chromes" so they say,
- You don't have to worry about your computer crashing,
- And is called deltiology.
This Is What Sets Genius Apart
Ron Gilbert (oh, so very much not me!) did a marathon session of LOTR, and I think it was Platinum...AND HE TOOK PHOTOS! None of us are worthy.
You Know You Want To Know
The West Valley View (which is "The weekly newspaper of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park & Tolleson, Arizona") has this poll question on its front page today.