A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Saturday, August 16, 2003 :::
A Mind That Suits has had a productive week out here in Lotus Land, and so should be free to blog more regularly very soon. He has been heartened by the good wishes he has received from all of you out in the bloggosphere, and wishes to return them.

Blogging has of course been restricted as Blogspot, while in many ways an accomodating host, does not exactly provide full editing capabilities on Mac, so A Mind That Suits has has to engage in bare-bones blogging, depending on the scintillating quality of his writing, and not his ability to link to more worthwhile sites.

Ah, but if A Mind That Suits had been home, using his office PC, then he might have run into Blaster, might he not have? Which brings forth the following thought.

Shortly after 9/11, A Mind That Suits had breakfast every morning with a brilliant older chap who was working front and center inthe fight agains the anthrax attack. And, as they hashed over what was happening, they both agreed that people need to be prepared, no matter what. The older chap carried with him a month's supply of his heart medecine at all times, which certainly made sense. A Mind That Suits, for his part, hit every e-mail address he had with this warning: be prepared. Never let your gas tank go below half empty, have money one hand, water in the house, non-perishable food, candles, flashlights, etc, etc, etc.

Many of his friends thought he was crazy. Indeed, a co-worker, an Arab Muslim who despised Osama bin-Laden and all his ways, said that A Mind That Suits was playing into the terrorists hands. But this Arab was an IT network specialist, and so A Mind That Suits asked him simply how many people he had to pull out of holes into which they had dug themselves. The Arab's voice trailed off mid-reply.

A Mind That Suits has also found that people assume that, because they can pay on-line, they should not keep records. Ah, but paying on-line is not what it seems, and often the payer is merely authorizing one company to ask the other to send it a check, which it does. I mean, a real, physical check in the mail. So things are not what they seem. Plus, hackers are getting better. Your electronic records are not safe.

Which brings us back to this weekend. In the space of 24 hours, a disgruntled computer hacker, presumably a male between the ages of 15 and 25, has crippled millions of computers just as a squirrel or something has robbed 50 million people of their power.

A squirrel, you laugh? The indispensible Wall Street Journal had an article some time ago about how squirrels are a persisent problem as the charming rodents--rats with cute faces and furry tails, please remember--insist on using power lines for purposes for which they were not intended. And nothing seems to stop them. They give their lives for their stupidity, it is true, but not without hurting a lot of humans who take electrical power for granted.

But in 1940, somewhere around half the United States did not have electical power. It is not a gift of nature. And it is not at all out of the question that a squirrel chose just the right transformer to off himself, leading to "cascading outtages" which resulted in blackouts in high rise buildings that were invented by Louis Sullivan not so very long ago in Chicago and are among the greatest engineering feats in the history of mankind.

And you were worried about Osama bin Laden. Worry about Chirpy been-Chewin'-the-Wires.

And have all the supplies around that you should.

A Mind That Suits was reminded by yet another Californian that in this, at least, California is well-ahead of the nation. Because of the very recent set of earthquakes, they are constantly exhorted to be prepared--not, she admitted, that everyone is. But they do think about it.

And A Mind That Suits must admit that she had a point. He himself, as a college senior, or something, participated in the first ever campus-wide emergency preparedness drill at dear old Stanford University. There is a particularly charming picture of him somewhere in the files of the Stanford Daily, all decorated out to look as if his face had been burned. That was 25 years ago, and California has not stopped working on this. Go, thou, and do likewise.

But simply do not, do not, do not vote the way these people do out here. Please.

A Mind That Suits must confess that he is always surprised that an entire culture can be prepared to plan ahead because he lives in Washington, DC, which is thrown into a panic by the impending arrival of 3 inches of snow. Store shelves are stripped bare. Now, the idea that you will not be able to get around is not irrational, in that the DC area seldom has serious storms, and so there is no good reason for the government to have equipment they will only use once every two years. The thing is, nearly all professionals in DC are from points North, yet they apparently do not, in the dead of winter, have three days' supply of food in the house, or they do, but they panic nonetheless. So DC attracts stupid neurotics? That would explain a lot.

As for his eariler endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger, A Mind That Suits must recant. He completely forgot that Bill Simon, Jr, is in the race. Mr. Simon is the son of the famed Treasury Secratary, and displays the same impatience with the normal inanities of life, making politics an odd career choice. But he got 44 percent of the vote, and said the right things, in teh last gubernatorial election. So he should get the vote of any thinking person.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 2:38 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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