I'm not ANGRY, I'm not angry anymore... Well, actually, I am angry again. But as long as the song's in my head, let me take this opportunity to point out, for the uninitiated, that Elvis Costello's early music is excellent stuff, and not just "Pump It Up" and "Alison," either...
All right, where to begin, where to begin... OK, you knew it was coming. The Russians are regressing to Soviet-era levels of stupidity and belligerence. It's been eight months since Moscow invaded Chechnya, and still the 'bandits' are making a mockery of the Russian war machine. How will you dig yourself out of this one without losing face, Ivan? Take the hint from the U.S.' ill-fated intervention in Vietnam, or your own incursion into Afghanistan twenty-one years ago. Speaking of which... What, attempting to wrest back control of Chechnya isn't enough, Moscow needs to antagonize the Taliban, too? I think Russia is having enough problems dealing with the mujahideen on its doorstep; perhaps encouraging more to join them isn't such a hot idea...
It's really starting to look like peaceful harmonious co-existence really is a pipe dream. China continues to antagonize and threaten Taiwan, Milosevic is still cracking down on his own people, Fujimori and Mugabe are entrenching themselves in their positions, there's nastiness in Fiji, and the Philippines, and Sierra Leone, and Eritrea... On the plus side, an appeals court in Chile has apparently ruled that Pinochet is not immune from prosecution. If true, and if this decision is not overturned by their supreme court, maybe the bastard will finally get at least a small taste of justice... In other good news, Northern Ireland seems to be heading in the right direction again, and Israel did the right thing and (finally) pulled out of Lebanon as promised. I hope the Lebanese eventually accept their victory gracefully.
And can't Charley Heston shut up and age gracefully? You're not a cowboy, Mr. Heston, and you and your actions are quite damaging to your reputation. Granted, I still think of the lines, "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" and "Aw, damn you! Damn you all to hell!" from 'Planet of the Apes,' and "Soylent Green is people!" from 'Soylent Green' when I think of ol' Chuck, and that somewhat redeems him in my eyes, but... No one wants to think of such an accomplished and talented actor as a right-wing nut. "Put the gun down, Mr. Heston. Everything's going to be OK..."
I received an E-mail yesterday morning from an established reseller of computer hardware and software (who shall remain nameless) that really irritated me. I like this company and the products it sells, I've ordered from them in the past, and that's why I'm on their mailing list now. But I'd never seen them misspell 'definitely' as 'definately' before, and it pissed me off. In my occasional jaunts on IRC, I notice this misspelling very often, and I suppose I can't expect too much better from the masses, but a BUSINESS?!? If they can't hire people who know better, can't they at least afford a word processor with a spell checker?
I write, obviously, and as a self-editing writer I pick up on typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors almost unconsciously. These things are a nuisance when consistently perpetrated by the common man, but an outrage when they get past someone who, at least in theory, wants to project a professional image. A friend and I were discussing recently the tragedy of professionally printed signs which contain misspellings. Most printers will state up front that they will not proofread or edit and will not be liable for errors, which is fine, but that means that these businesses don't care enough about their image to make sure that their signs are accurate. I for one will tend to avoid such places on principle.
What is it about me that makes women fall asleep next to me on the bus?
Having come face to face with the 'iloveyou' virus (my boss, no IT slouch himself, conveniently walked it through the front door, to my chagrin) I hope they catch the son of a bitch who wrote it. I examined the code myself, have a copy on disk, and it's a nasty piece of work. This is personal now. ;) These crackers seem to be the modern-day graffiti artists, only their vandalism is on a much greater scale. Both groups are exceedingly proud of showcasing their 'art' at the expense of someone else's property; I won't deny the talents of either group, but they should buy their own canvases.
And, finally... I was standing on line at a Wendy's in Clifton today when the elderly woman behind me started complaining, bitterly and not exactly under her breath, about the signs in Spanish directly in front of us. "What is this crap?" she denounced. "This is America, not Puerto Rico!" I think she was waiting for me, the token white boy, to agree with her sympathetically; it was all I could do to refrain from pointing out that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, however. The fact is, a business has the right to work in any language it chooses. If I were to open a restaurant in a part of town inhabited and frequented by a large percentage of Germans, it would perhaps be a smart business move to print some menus in German, and maybe hire a waiter or two who spoke the language. I firmly believe that anyone who moves to a new country is well-advised to learn the language spoken by the majority of that country's residents, and that a minimum of kowtowing by the government should be permitted, but business is another matter. If she were that upset, she could have found another fast-food joint that had English-only signs. And, with a bit of searching, I'm sure she could have found someplace with signs in Italian as well, as she muttered to no one in particular. - A