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This is my 2003 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug

Also available: 2002 2001 2000 1990s 1980s

Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2003 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.
29 April 2003
Whining Strategies

I found the following in Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, Perennial, 2002, pg 44:
In his book Kids as Consumers (1992), [James U.] McNeal provides marketers with a thorough analysis of "children's requesting styles and appeals." He classifies juvenile nagging tactics into seven major categories. A pleading nag is one accompanied by repetitions of words like "please" or "mom, mom, mom." A persistent nag involves constant requests for the coveted product and may include the phrase "I'm going to ask just one more time." Forceful nags are extremely pushy and may include subtle threats, like "Well, then, I'll go and ask Dad." Demonstrative nags are the most high-risk, often characterized by full-blown tantrums in public places, breath-holding, tears, [or] a refusal to leave the store. Sugar-coated nags promise affection in return for a purchase and may rely on seemingly heartfelt declarations like "You're the best dad in the world." Threatening nags are youthful forms of blackmail, vows of eternal hatred and of running away if something isn't bought. Pity nags claim the child will heartbroken, teased, or socially stunted if the parent refuses to buy a certain item. "All of these appeals and styles may be used in combination," McNeal's research has discovered, "but kids tend to stick to one or two of each that prove most effective...for their own parents."

29 April 2003
Mackenzie Green Bail Bonds

The proprietress of this little business, just down the street from the San Francisco Hall of Justice and a stone's throw from the loft (where I'm typing this message), was featured in an article in the 13 April 2003 New Yorker magazine.

Content copied from the New Yorker magazine's web site:
In his inaugural Letter From California, "Manhunter," Tad Friend introduces us to Mackenzie Green, a five-foot tall, sixty-year-old bail-bond agent and bounty hunter, who works out of San Francisco. Searching for an alleged car thief named Juan Zabala, Green focusses her attention on Rodrigo Hernandez, explaining to Friend, "Rodrigo's the best friend, so he'll know where Juan is. We threaten to cuff him, search his room, violate his rights. Maybe he has dope, maybe he's illegal. Tell him, 'You can talk to us or I.N.S.' " Green loves her work. "When she fills out a bail application," Friend writes, "she often jots down the barest of information, no more than the defendant's name, address, and phone number—seeming not only to dare her clients to run but also to give them a sporting head start." Green says, "Writing bonds is really boring. But chasing skips is an incredibly exciting head game," adding, "They—the courts, the cops, the phone company—have all these rules, and if you're an adrenaline junkie like me you have to beat them to get your high." Once, Friend reports, "when a man named Tomas tried her patience by insisting he had no idea where his fugitive brother Rojilio was, Green had her guys drive Tomas to Oakland and hand him over to the cops as Rojilio. "They don't check fingerprints over there," she says. "So I punished him by keeping him in jail for a few days." Toughness isn't everything, though. "People trust you more if you're a woman," Green tells Friend. "Would you open the door if I knocked? Sure you would. But women are much tougher than guys. A woman who's been on the street is mean in a way a man could never be."

13 April 2003
The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516)

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
An exact chronology of Bosch's surviving work is difficult because, of the approximately 35 to 40 paintings attributed to him, only 7 are signed and none are dated....

10 April 2003
Parking Lot Sign on Ritch Street, near PacBell Park, San Francisco

      Giants Tickets                    $40
      Lunch at the game                 $20
      Parking here                      FREE
      Finding your car at city towing   PRICELESS
Note added 29 April 2003: I went back and took a photo. Looks like I got the wording wrong a bit.

9 April 2003
The Healing Brush

I bought Photoshop 7, which has added a "healing brush" (amongst other things).

As an experiment, in a few seconds, I removed the writing on Marc Goldburg's shirt.

Marc writes:

Pretty cool ... How is the healing brush's general function described?

I replied:

It's sort of a painting tool that draws info from a corresponding point at a fixed displacement (x,y) from wherever you're painting. So if I had chosen the displacement incorrectly, say straight above, I would have painted your head over the picture. You can see the displacement point as you use the paintbrush so it is easy to stop before you make a mistake.

8 April 2003
bin Laden, Entanglement, and two psychic cats

In a Yahoo! "Premonitions" discussion group—I just happened to be passing by, you understand—I found the following:
From: Osher Doctorow, Fri. Feb. 1, 2002 11:09PM

Look up Yazd, Iran on the Internet—just the two words Yazd Iran without a comma (I don't suppose a comma will change anything, though). It's the nuclear research department (headquartered at a university) and in the center of a uranium region.

Today, before looking up Yazd (I never heard of it until after the incident which I will now describe), I asked my smaller, female psychic cat where bin Laden is. I have mentioned previously that she does almost entirely visual psychic stuff, while the big (formerly male) cat does both. I'll try to explain someday why I think they are different in this respect (it probably has to do with their *childhoods* or *infancy*). After about 3 tries in rapid succession a picture came into my mind and a location around the center of the nation. Not knowing which nation it was, I tried Yemen. Not the place. I was about to try Pakistan, but for some reason I tried Iran next. Bingo! Yazd. For those who want to look, try

There's a slight catch to this. The smaller cat probably knows by now that I am looking for bin Laden, but I couldn't swear that she wouldn't regard somebody *entangled* with him (a main ally) as good enough. By the way, I do not mention their names for a rather simple reason - they were named after relatives and/or personal events/things.

The way I see it, bin Laden's top assistant (if not commander - one never knows) is at or near Yazd. That puts him about equally distant from Mashhad, the holiest city of Iran, from western Afghanistan where there has been recent activity by pro-Talibans, from Tehran (the largest city of Iran) and close to Esfahan (third largest city of Iran after Mashhad), while Pakistan is only a little further away to the southeast. Yazd was well chosen. It is part of the smallest population region of the east Iran, but close enough to the more populous west and northwest Iran including Tehran and Esfahan to hide rather easily if necessary in cities. Presumably the desert has tunnels (especially if there is nuclear launching capability).

If all this is accurate, then the *game plan* was perhaps roughly Pakistan --> Iran --> Yemen or Israel/Palestine in terms of nuclear strike capability. Pakistan developed it or borrowed it, then gave it to Iran and burrowed underground to act *nice*, and bin Laden left Iran by submarine for Yemen to deliver - guess what! Miniature nuclear bombs. Yemen would be a center for striking Israel, Saudi Arabia if necessary, Egypt, and would join with Somalia, Syria, Libya perhaps, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, and would try to overthrow Egypt during the ensuing crisis.

Why more people can't weld together facts, speculation, and psychic cats to produce a few interesting paragraphs has always been a mystery to me. Richard Brautigan knew how to do it. But Osher Doctorow makes it look easy.

He's obviously on to something with the 'entanglement' and his (presumably Schroedinger) cats—for the moment, both Saddam Hussein and bin Laden are in a weird superposition of being both alive and dead. Hussein flipped from being dead to being alive again just a few hours ago—"Saddam survived attack on building say British intelligence sources" is a top headline the Guardian right now, as I type this.

If they're truly entangled, it might be that if you observe bin Laden alive, it immediately implies Hussein is dead, and conversely.

6 April 2003
Today's Sunday New York Times Crossword


Clues such as

whose answers were 6 and 11 letters long, respectively.

For the first, TOILET, ignoring the 'Denver' (it instead referred to the next across clue, seemingly missing in the clue list, with answer NBATEAM);

For the second, DONUTSHAPES, ignoring the 'Spelling', and using that for the next (also 'unlisted') Across answer, CLASSWORK.

Joe DiPietro is listed as the creator of this little abomination.

5 April 2003

Always on the lookout for San Francisco's more unusual street names, I spotted


stamped into the concrete in front of me as I walked to Davies Symphony Hall.

"Damn, that's a a good one," I thought.

Next, I wished I had my camera. I could have taken a photo similar to this one.

Then I realized I was looking at it upside down.

5 April 2003
Neue Bahnen (New Paths)

"I have always thought that some day, a person would be bound to suddenly appear, one called to articulate in ideal form the spirit of his time, one whose mastery would not reveal itself to us step by step, but who, like Athene, would spring fully armed from the head of Zeus. And he is come, a young man over whose cradle graces and heroes have stood watch. His name is ______________, and he bears even outwardly those signs that proclaim: here is one of the elect."

[[who wrote it, and about whom?].

1 April 2003
The Unabomber Security Hierarchy

The Homeland Security Department's exceedingly lame Advisory System
Low Condition (Green)
Guarded Condition (Blue)
Elevated Condition (Yellow)
High Condition (Orange)
Severe Condition (Red)
looks more like a intensive-care nursing protocol than a useful security tool.

As usual, government officials have ignored the earlier contributions of US citizens, even those contributions already extensively analyzed by other branches of the US Security Apparatus. I found the following in Alston Chase's Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist, pg 117:
As the [FBI] searchers continued their inventory [of Kaczynski's cabin], they found tableware, a pillow and blanket, three mittens, two scarves, a container of salt, a metal frying pan, a radio, waterproof matches, four measuring spoons, a red hat, a straw hat, a flashlight, and a bottle of Trazadone antidepressant. And they found notations in Kaczynski's handwriting, in which he outlined a carefully structured security classification system:
Class 1. Hide carefully far from home.
Class 2. Hide carefully far from home, but can be destroyed in a pinch.
Class 3. Hide carefully, far from home, but can be burned in a pinch.
Class 4. Burn away from home.
Class 5. Burn in stove, eventually.
Class 6. Burn with glass jars.
Class 7. Destroy.
Class 8. Treat to make safe.
Class 9. Burn in stove, then dispose of remains.
Class 10. Dump in trash far from home.
QQ Super Queer.
Q Very Queer.
R Moderately Queer.
S Slightly Queer.
B Burnable.
NB Not burnable.
See? No duct tape required.

Note added 10 April 2003: More on the Unabomber, from the math-fun mailing list.