Random bits of news heartily deserving of extreme vitrolic commentary receive same for price of regular vitrol. My egg nog overdose comes early this year. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Y2K glitch in your PC. Dr. K gets his 60 Minutes of fame. At least he still does house calls. Opinion polls show this is a big plus.
The most amazing thing about the current impeachment frenzy taking place in the nation’s capital are those commentators (including, ahem, Vice President Al Gore) who call for censure instead of impeachment since public opinion polls show that roughly two-thirds of Americans do not want the president to be impeached. Two points: First, there is no constitutional basis for the censure of a president (and the checks-and-balances thing is pretty specifically spelled out), and secondly, the truth is not subject to a plebiscite. (And for that I give most humble thanks to God.)
Say, is anyone else wondering if today’s bombing of Iraq is an attempt by the president to rally the troops (figuratively speaking) around him and stave off impeachment? You’d really like think it didn’t even enter into the debate, but when we’ve got a president who can’t be trusted to tell the truth, things like that tend to pop into the average American brain whether they should or not.
Dr. Kevorkian’s recent 60 Minutes murder of a man suffering from ALS (Lou Gerig’s Disease) is all that more remarkable since most ALS is not normally physically painful condition. It’s physically debilitating, of course, but a number of people, including the preeminent theoretical physicist of our age, Stephen Hawking, have led useful and productive lives despite the affliction. Add this recent Kevorkian kill to the number of those who needed psychological care, not a hangman. I recommend 30 years to life.
The new, under-construction NASA space station is among the great achievements of humankind. I know there are those who believe that space exploration is a colossal waste of money, but it sure beats plowing those dollar bills into nuclear warheads, doesn’t it? And the commercial spin-offs from the space programâ€”and I’m talking about more than just Tang Instant Breakfast Drinkâ€”are a mile long. The colonization of space is the manifest destiny of the coming century, and I mean that only in the most positive sense of the term. (There is a positive sense, right?)
The Pittsburgh Steeler offense has not scored a touchdown in the last two and half games. If anyone would like to fire offensive coordinator Ray Sherman now, I would have no objection.
The Microsoft-Department of Justice trial continues, from most reports, to go exceedingly poorly for Microsoft. My joy at this is somewhat tempered since we’ve not reached the defense phase of the trial yet, but I continue to have great hopes that I’ll live to see Microsoft’s operating system monopoly crushed into dust.
I spent $1300 on my Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4mp laser printer in 1992. That was a ton of money back then (and it’s not exactly chump change now), but it’s been a fantastic purchase. Not only has it virtually eliminated my need to head off to Kinko’s, but the quality of its 600 dpi output is, even today, as professional as it gets. What’s been even more fun lately is that since the 4mp is an AppleTalk printer, I’ve been able to network both Macs, Zeke and Henry, to the printer concurrently. If both computers need to print, we just form a nice little print que and each print job patiently waits its turn. I don’t know what the price of a used LaserJet 4mp is, but it should be under $500, and if anyone’s in the market, I highly recommend them. (The 5mp and the 6mp should be stellar as well.)
The recent news reports of hackers using the Palm Pilot III to make free long distance calls on old pay phones and to break into cars using the infrared communications port are just the latest example of the hyped-up techno-terror we get on an otherwise slow news day. Making free long distance calls on those old pay phones is simply a matter of generating certain tone frequencies (as well as a couple specific coin sounds), and that can be accomplished with a tape recorder. The infrared deal is even more trumped up. Essentially, the Palm Pilot III can act as a learning remote control, which means it can learn to operate your TV and VCR (or other infrared device). This is no different than that universal remote you can get for $14.95 at the local Kmart. And it’s not like the signals can be stolen out of the air. These things have to be placed almost back-to-back for the signal transfer from one remote to the other to work. And finally, it’s a dreadfully inconvenient fact that most cars don’t use infrared but actually rely on radio signals for their remotes.
Speaking of over-hyped technological horror stories, is this “Year 2000” (aka Y2K) thing overblown, or what? So some banks and things will have to update their computers. I would be very surprised if this was more than a minor headache for most institutions and individuals, and of course us Macintosh users have been Y2k-compliant from the get-go. Even the PC crowd, who do have some Y2k issues to deal with, should only be marginally effected. This is more of that same “fear the technology” story that’s been increasingly pushed by media, Hollywood, and politicians (among others) in recent years. Fear not.