Valet.: Three Common Bag Mistakes to Avoid.

I have the Handmadecraft briefcase. I carry my 15" Macbook in it, along with: a) a plastic lazy susan, for meeting with people at conference tables; b) optional Magic Mouse if the trackpad gets up my nose; c) recharger cable curled in a bag; d) Rhodia Dotpad No. 19, Rhodia graph paper 8x8" notebook (labelled for the particular client), various fountain/ballpoint pens and 0.9mm mechanical pencil (that size never breaks); e) a selection of protein bars; f) optional long USB cable for tethering to my camera(s).

My quick review: It's OK. The leather's thin, but I've abused mine for about a year now and it still looks roughly like it did when I bought it. The snaps are difficult to snap with gear inside. The outside pockets are all but useless; Ostensibly one is supposed to fit a cellphone, but if you're not carrying a small 2000-era flip phone, don't even try.

It carries what I need, for the car-to-coffee-shop walks, and looks appropriately weathered. The strap is long enough for across-the-body use, but not very comfy. If you're going to walk any distance, get a better pad for the top of your shoulder.

Conclusion: More 'hip' than the nylon competition.

PS Mag: 'Segregation's Constant Gardeners' - How White Women Kept Jim Crow Alive.

This bothers me. Brought up a memory I had not thought about for nearly a decade. I remember the mother of one of my 60's classmates exclaiming, after her child was touched by one of my black friends, "Don't touch, the black doesn't wash out." And this was in suburban New Jersey, not the deep South.

I hope that expression is never used again, ever.

Remember my random blogging nights?

Anyone remember I used to do crazy word-association, free-range evenings? Odd links, for about an hour or two? Hits and misses, as usual. I give you:

Ancient Roman Burritos.
Eskimo Buddha.
Surfing Madonna Bricks.
Eyeball Pinball.
Sausage Cats.
Old World Anvils.
Toothpicks are more dangerous than sharks.
You’re on vacation in Bora Bora and you hear a droning ...
Gérard Thibault d’Anvers and the Mysterious Circle.
Reminiscences of a Bengal Civilian.
How to use Zheng Gu Shui (I do).
Headrick Memorial Museum.
Uncle Jumbo was a rapist.
World’s longest dreadlocks.
Hampster Dance! (Someone preserved it on video. Theme song of early Manila blogging.)
Black Lodge Singers: Ask Your Mom For Fifty Cents.
Toys of the ’70’s. (My Vertibird!)

Enough silliness. This particular reflex is a little stiff in the joints. I'll have to do it again. Tonight I found too many interesting tangents and just wanted to read them myself! Enjoy your evening.

Nieman Journalism Lab: Emily Bell thinks public service media today has its most important role to play since World War II.

Okay, I'm going to be crystal clear here.

dangerousmeta! has been a hawk soaring over the landscape of the internet for almost nineteen years now. I've been able to pick off fat rabbit/articles at will.

Today, I can no longer do so.

I will not contest with hard paywalls, and I only use soft paywall sources if I must. If I cannot guarantee a reader can follow me, I will likely never use the source. And that throws me into ad-stuffed, autoplay video, bajillion-tracking-cookie secondary sites. Triangulation with other sites is also now necessary, to be sure I'm getting an accurate picture. Time? You have NO bloody idea, until you do what I still try to do. It's unsustainable now; it's only going to get worse.

I am no longer a hawk. I'm a parakeet in a little bloody cage with a bowl of stale seeds, a giant bag of money sitting on top. Pennies are dropping in the bag, further crushing my cage. If I paid up for services, stacked bundles of dollar bills in the corners, I could maintain or extend my cage a bit ... see a little bit more ... but it is STILL A CAGE.

Look at Amy Siskind's "The List". That's the kind of range I used to have, except my interests soar far beyond just politics. Count up all the subscription costs for her to do what she does, and you're over $1k/year. Privilege talking, without even a blink of recognition of the fact. To do what I used to do, I've already projected over $2k in subscription costs and I'm still finding sources I'd like to reference but cannot. I don't think even a hardened news junkie would ever shell out that much. I can't do that here - I do this in spare time. And I've never monetized in my entire history - in fact, I take a perverse pride in that (folks have said since '02 that it couldn't be done). Far too late now, with reader numbers where they are. And who'd be able to afford to follow me everywhere?

What the linked article is missing, and I am calling out here, is that NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times and more are foundationary organizations.

Virtually the entire national conversation is based on these - not the free sites - and they are out of reach for me (for the most part) except on the first days of any given month, because of paywalls.

As a citizen of the US in these troubled political times, as a human being on this globe, certain news needs to be freely accessible. Thank goodness for AP, Reuters and The Guardian/US. They're about all I've got left for definitive sourcing.

But for how much longer? Because I cannot comment on what's being passed around from the prime sources, my irrelevance grows. The days of my purposefully limited blog style have been numbered; journos always felt bloggers were vultures in the '00's. Well, now I'm like the last dodo bird still singing in what's left of the jungle. When the commercial interests pave me over, you'll never hear a sound. But for today, I'm snapping my beak at their approaching ankles, and I must confess it feels good.

News orgs should have thought of package deals by now, but they're too busy desiring to create their own Fox News-like echo chambers. Or perhaps it's just another great idea they haven't thought of yet.

SF New Mexican: Foreclosure suit threatens Galisteo Basin Preserve.

This is my go-to decompression spot! I missed this news article, was alerted to it by our local Vistas magazine.

Whether the original folks develop it, or the bank forecloses, much was not going to be preserved anyway. We'll fight for now, but no matter our efforts, the landscape will be developed at some point. I suppose we have to be grateful we got to enjoy it for this 'grace' period between building booms.

It's a place where one can still find absolute solitude and quiet within a few minutes' drive.

The loss, at some future date, will mean my days in Santa Fe are numbered. #NewMexicoTrue has beshat upon all our other 'solitude' locations. I need to move further out into the boonies. There is not a trail left where you can escape the piles of mummified dog leavings and MTB gel-packs.

Buying used leather gear.

Here's a tip I learned from my late uncle in Tennessee. Say you go to a flea market and see two pairs of leather shoes. One looks great, relatively clean, but dry and cracked leather sitting next to a totally gross pair covered in dark green mold ... which do you buy?

He said, "Garret, never buy the good looking stuff. The cracked leather is dry, has lost all its moisture. You'll buy it, it'll fail. But the gross moldy stuff, take it home, clean it off. Mold can only grow on moist leather, and you'll have a slightly used-looking but perfectly serviceable pair of shoes for a very long time, if you keep 'em saddle soaped."

Thought some others might appreciate that bit of advice. It has prevented me from wasting many a $5 bill at flea markets. Came up in a discussion with my barber today.

Dissent Mag: The Collective Power of #MeToo.

The reason for telling stories about men we thought were “good” is not to permanently etch their names into some list of “shitty men,” though the lack of real justice means those lists are often all we get. The reason is for us to understand deep in our bones that there are no “good” and “bad” men or “good” and “bad” people. To repair the harms done is going to take change from all of us. We can’t just pat ourselves on the back for not being as bad as Weinstein.

The initial extremes of anger seem to be abating. Yes, I'm a male. I grew up in red-blooded full-throated patriarchy. I routinely use phrases and act in ways that are disrespectful through today's lens. To be honest, even through yesterday's lens; my old man fought in WWII, an era and ethic that has died off. I have autopilot reactions, things I mimicked from him because he was my father; there is no conscious thought or personal ill-will behind them, they are reflexes and simply need disruption. I appreciate when people point them out. I don't get angry.

I was writing an article over the weekend, and started to use 'hysteria' in a description. In light of #metoo, I realized (given an extensive background in Latin) that term is now more outmoded than ever, should only be used in very specific limited range.

I crossed it out and replaced it with 'deranged'. 

Cultural change always starts small, with individuals. Women can lead the male horses to water and try to make them drink, but the changes will only start when men become self-aware of their behaviors.

Guys, we have to try. Harder.

PVC: Sony to revive 3/4” U-Matic tape format at NAB 2018?

I sat with one of these on my desk for near ten years (the one at the top). Not five feet away, I have a stack of these tapes that contain all my portfolio materials from the '90's. I'm afraid to ever have them transcoded; I'll probably be horrified with what we were doing back then. Breaking every rule to get what video effects we could - it'll look like Playskool now.

Mashable: Millennials have created a form of written English that's as expressive as spoken English.

While we're abandoning capitals for things that typically always required them, we're using them to add emphasis or humour to written sentences.

[Autoplay audio/video] Um, I was doing this here fifteen years ago, copying the '90's experiments of the graphic artists of NYC. To play with emphasis and priority. Bugged the crap out of many readers. I dropped it because the style started bleeding over into my business writing, and the effort to turn the two styles off and on was getting onerous.

And I'm at the tail end of the Boomers.

From the dangerousmeta! archives, 2002: Kenosis — On the Subject of Politikblogging and "Empty Protest."

[I wrote this as the 'warbloggers' gradually overtook our original weblog network and turned the tech we built to their own narrow, tight focus on hawkish, conservative foreign policy goals (building their own A-lists, their own ratings systems, to support these goals), with the assistance of new-to-blogs journalists seeking newsworthy content. The drumbeats for war in Iraq were already underway. I think this post still holds water today, and serves as a reminder to not take political blogging to heart.]

I’ve been thinking about the concept of kenosis, as interpreted by James Hillman. Comparing it to political weblogging styles. He concieves there are three political states: passive on the sidelines, toeing the party line ... and kenosis, what Hillman defines as “empty protest.” Having no answers, not knowing the correct course to follow, but knowing there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.

Politikblogs are as ineffective as Hamlet, worrying his desire for public justice like a dog with his favorite toothsome discard. They rage on impotently, endlessly, simply for the sake of releasing emotions. No utopia at the end of the journey; just neverending protests. Today, now, this link is the alpha and omega. When the issue drops from the public eye, the politikblog drops it as well. There are no threads to follow, no connection to a past or a future, no resolution, no responsibility.

Hillman calls empty protest ‘via negativa’, the negative way. I see no politikblogger achieving public justice for any major issue; what I keep coming across is simply a string of petty private revenges.

At the present time, politikbloggers devour each other over the actions of politicians who don’t even know they exist, by reinterpreting carefully selected articles and opinion pieces generated by one of a double-handful of monopolistic media machines, as seen through the rose-colored glasses of their particular political caste.

Truly, “empty protest” ... as is this entire paragraph. Politikbloggers are not alone; you see, I do Hamlet well too.


[Why did I repost this? I don't need to shout at the landscape; I have no control over its contours. I needed this reminder to watch the stars.]

From the DM! archives ... 2000.

A history of medicine.

2000 b.c. - "Here, eat this root."

1000 a.d. - "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."

1850 a.d. - "That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion."

1920 a.d. - "That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."

1945 a.d. - "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this penicillin."

1955 a.d. - "Oops ... mutation. Here, take this tetracycline."

1960 to 1999 a.d. - Thirty-nine more mutations. "Here, take this more powerful antibiotic."

2000 a.d. - The bugs have won. "Here, eat this root."

Anonymous, quoted in "Overcoming Antimicrobial Resistance", World Health Report on Infectious Disease, 2000.

Old blog posts: Startup to the Iraq War. 15 years, already.

Remember to read from bottom-up. Old style blogging. The context is, we bloggers pretty much went over the evidence for months, convinced it was a cobbled-up setup job (those of us outside the drumming Warblogger cadre). Now go and read from that knowledge:

March 17, March 18, March 19 (war began at midnight, and we stayed up, anticipating it), March 20, March 21.

This was back near the height of my traffic draw; when I was still a huge influencer of worldwide internet memes. The numbers were off the charts. I note I was still using Rebecca Blood's quick permalink technique (the +/- character) that she shared with me.

Later: Here's a blast from ye olde past. Those posts, as they looked at the time, courtesy Wayback Machine.