Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Sunday, February 23, 2003day link 

 Smoking
picture It is a couple of years since I sold my motorcycle and started driving a car again. Don't have a good reason to wear a leather jacket. And I haven't had a cigarette for a year or so. I'm a bit afraid I'm losing touch with my more rebellious side. Well, I kind of have a need for balancing things out, because people too easily assume I'm just this nice, decent, boring guy, and they get shocked if I say fuck or something. Well, maybe I just AM nice and boring, and I just imagine myself being a rebel. I don't know. But as to the smoking, now being pretty much a non-smoker, I can safely mention that a fairly significant motivation for me to smoke was to protest the nearly total brainwashing of the American population on that subject. Nobody believed it when I was smoking, that it would be my small way of giving a raised middle finger to the media-driven American bourgeoisie. Yeah, a pathetic small finger maybe, but nevertheless. A vote for freedom. Mostly I smoked because I enjoyed it, and because the plusses outweighed the minuses at the time. Smoking is very addictive. I'd believe it is as addictive as heroin. Very hard to stop. And you smell like an ashtray and you've got to work harder to be in shape. I don't think anybody actually thinks smoking is healthy. But, well, it isn't healthy either to drive sports cars, or to skydive or to go river rafting or to walk around barefooted in the Amazon jungle. Messy, dangerous, and fun. There are a lot of things that make life more full, more exciting, more worth living. Many of those things require that one accepts the possibility of death. But in the United States, billions of dollars of advertising and millions of reformed smokers have turned smoking into not just another risky but pleasurable choice, like whisky and mountain climbing, but into the most despised plague they can imagine. No dignity left in smoking in the U.S. I got really tired of otherwise well-meaning friends and strangers who again and again would walk up to me and say, essentially, "YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!!!". Well, I know I'm going to die. The death rate is 100%, both for smokers and non-smokers. But many ex-smokers, who themselves managed to quit only by implanting their own minds with horrible pictures of imminent death and great suffering associated with smoking, actually believe that it will help others that they curse them whenever they see them smoking. I'm sensitive to such things, as I'm trained in NLP and hypnosis, and I know very well what great power there is in the things we tell ourselves and others, particularly the things we say like we really mean it, and that we say again and again and again and again. And the power of peer pressure and advertising. So, American smokers are mostly a miserable lot by now, apologetic addicts who need to sneak outside on the sidewalk like homeless outcasts. Disheveled losers without will power. Good citizens will grimace and cough when they're within 50 feet, and will take their children over to the other sidewalk.
[ | 2003-02-23 23:59 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 BlogTalk in Austria
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There will be a European conference on weblogs, BlogTalk in Vienna, Austria on May 23-24. Probably doesn't work for me to go, unless some unexpected cash appears. But sounds very good. A number of names I recognize there. It is about "web-based publishing, communication and collaboration tools for professional and private use. The primary goal of BlogTalk is to inventory the current and emerging uses of blogs. Active bloggers as well as people from the fields of business and education are invited to attend."
[ | 2003-02-23 23:59 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Long or short RSS
(For the uninitiated, RSS is the format used to create syndicated "feeds" from weblogs, which can be picked up by "aggregator" programs.) Joi Ito asked his readers about opinions on whether it is nice to include full text in one's RSS feeds or not. I had been thinking about the same. Some feeds have only a one line summary, others have full, long articles. I've been a bit uncertain on how to configure my own program here, to make most people happy. Seems like the answer Joi got was to make several feeds, so people can get what they want.

One remaining question I would have is what to do about pictures. Most of my posts have pictures, but I leave those out of the RSS feed, because I figure some people would feel they don't belong in the news feed itself. Some people post lots of huge pictures in their feed. Hm, I suppose the answer is the same: to have multiple feeds with different options.
[ | 2003-02-23 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Protest pictures
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Lots of pictures from the peace protests last week. Above is a picture from the air from the beach here in Santa Monica. I woke up too late to make it, unfortunately.
[ | 2003-02-23 23:59 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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