December 31, 2003
Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat

I bought "Pop Art" the Pet Shop Boys 3-disc greatest hits collection just before christmas. A lot of people (among them Just) stare back at you incredulously when you tell them you think Pet Shop Boys are great and there are many cheesy hits among their songs, but also some of the greatest moments in pop, and they just seem to get better with each album. The latest album "Release" was one of the best albums of 2002. Pop was never purer.
The "Pop Art" collection is much more than just a greatest hits collection. All the old songs have been remastered, and it is amazing to listen to brilliant tracks like " What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in glorious remastered punchyness. Pop needs to sound fresh and the remastering makes sure that it does.

Posted by Claus at 03:49 PM
Do You like to take stock or do You like to remember?

It's the last day of the year, so it is time to take stock of 2003. I'll spare you the diary entries and instead post a little note about what taking stock of 2003 is supposed to mean.
People are always talking about new years resolutions. You're supposed to be an optimistic forward looking, self improving, progress loving, spirited individual and for that reason you're supposed to be thinking about the opportunities for the future and not about the past. Personally I will gladly admit to caring a great deal about the past. So much in fact that I often approach the future with the direct intention of making it past as soon as possible. If I want to give it a positive spin I say that I'm goal oriented but often it feels more like the negative spin is closer to home: I dislike uncertainty which is why I'm anxious to see the future turned into past to dissolve the uncertainty.
So I actually like taking stock a good deal - which adds another pleasure to the end of the year (apart from the parties, the fireworks, the drinking and the 15 hour database upgrades).
I've spent some time thinking about the perfect stock taking question. Just asking "How was 2003 for you?" doesn't seem to cut it. The problem to be solved is striking the right balance betweeen savoring the good times of the past (sentimental memory) and counting up accomplishments and disappointments to arrive at a final score (uncertainty hating score keeping). I have landed at the following simple question: "Did 2003 end in a better way than it started?". The question serves a few purposes: It balances the sentimental and the rational looks at the past, although I'll grant that the score keeping is perhaps too emphasized. It manages to add a not of outlook on the future since it asks you to think about change. And most importantly, it is not that common a question so people have to actually stop and think about what its supposed to mean - which gets you a much more careful and much more interesting response in general.

Posted by Claus at 02:30 AM
December 29, 2003
"The Århus Guggenheim"

In the city of Århus (second largest city in Denmark) the local museum of art is about to reopen in a new building. The building is new, but the interior was actually designed many years ago and built in New York.

Take a look at the pictures and you will see a bad case of Guggenheim envy - of the Frank Lloyd Wright kind - in the interior spiral. Whether this is a nice postmodern joke or a tragic inabilty to actually foster new ideas is unclear to me. I live in a city with several historical pastiche buildings and they add a lot of character to the city, so it's not like i think it's a bad idea in general to imitate, but I think one needs to take a walk through the building to see whether it feels like amusing inspiration or cheap knockoff.

Posted by Claus at 03:21 PM
December 23, 2003
Scientific ethics committee told it was wrong to comment on Lomborg

For the record, the recent review and retraction of a finding by a Danish committee on scientific standards (that "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjørn Lomborg was bogus science) does not in any way make Lomborg's book a better book. He still abuses an absurd agglomeration of statictics with a clear political purpose. I still think what I wrote about it whan the commotion was at its peak is true. Lomborg is making undefensible claims about the quality of his own work in a way completely unfitting for anyone seriously interested in a balanced view of the subject matter he is supposedly interested in.
His book is non-science. That should have been his own position and that should have been the response by the committee. The committee should have refrained from issuing a position on those grounds.

Posted by Claus at 09:43 PM
Man being eaten by alligator

A recent Slashdot thread tells the story of a famous sound effect, a particularly ghastly scream known as "The Wilhelm". In an amusing two year old radio segment plenty of samples of the use of the scream is given, and it's origin as a sound effect titled "Man being eaten by alligator". The scream has been the last sound emitted by numerous film villains, and then there are some high camp samples of sound editors working the scream into a film, like the appearance in a silent moment of a Judy Garland song in "A Star is Born". Apparantly the sound has become sort of a sound editors gag - a sound that editors try to work into projects like some kind of auditive graffiti.

Posted by Claus at 09:19 PM
Web even older

Usually Vannevar Bush's idea of the Memex is credited as the earliest concrete envisioning of the Web. But an article on Boxes and Arrows suggests an earlier example, namely that of Belgian man of letters Paul Otlet who envisioned a device remarkably similar to the Memex - but in 1934, years before publication of "As We May Think" in 1945.
One has to be careful in these claims though. First of all - Bush's Memex is more important, since it was a direct influence on later inventions of hypertext and not just a similar idea. Secondly, one shouldn't get too carried a way. The notion of 'universal systems' and classification is much older. Immediate forefathers may be found in the works of the Enlightenment. In fact during the Enlightenment it was the central concept. The Encyclopédie of Diderot is an attempt to construct such a 'universal book', Leibniz dreamed of languages of universals to describe all knowledge and automated discovery of new ideas, and Carl vno Linné founded the study of taxonomy.
You can look further, back to Greek philosophy and imperial inventories of Egypt and China. The urge to classify, collect and compare runs very deep.

Posted by Claus at 08:48 AM
December 22, 2003
Decidedly Medieval Copyright Acts

The darkness of the copyright wars gets deeper:

Starting Jan. 1, toting a camcorder into a movie theater will be a crime in California. Under the law, moviegoers who see a person with a camcorder in a theater may make a citizen's arrest. Those convicted could spend a maximum of a year in jail and be fined up to $2,500.

Have Californian legislators lost their minds? Sure, the movie industry and music industry is important in California, but come on. First of all, the price (in loss of personal freedom) paid through measures like this far outweigh the damage of copying. Secondly, the legislation will most likely not work.
Meanwhile, it becomes more and more clear that the current strategies of MPAA and RIAA to protect their property is working to their disadvantage. The strategy seems to be to make "One last stand" at the curren tmedia formats - adding copy control and watermarking to CDs and DVDs - but these formats are beginning to be obsoleted by networked storage and new devices like MP3 players and new networked 'entertainment centers' like this and this.
Soon an argument for pirating your music is that you only need the CD or DVD as proof of purchase. You never use the information on the disk for anything because it is just not compatible with your media playback devices.

That innovation is a great destructor of value is nothing new. The telegraph was famously obsoleted by telephones and railways (at least for personal transport) by cars and planes. By not adapting their products to new technology the movie and music industries are building another exampe of this. It is not a given, nor should be a requirement, that new technology supports old businessmodels. Television makes an interesting example: Suppose media owners of the time had tried a use based pricing scheme. Broadcast television made use based pricing unmanageble and use based rights regulation unenforceable. Insted the advertising model was invented, and that model was a perfect match for broadcast television. Televison was not built on the businessmodel of cinema or live performance and it would have been a complete failure if it had. The fact that the new businessmodel has been such a success may lead one to forget that television did destroy a lot of businesses, namely movie theaters. I'm sure one can find complaints from disgruntled theater owners at the time, that television was killing their industry, that sound almost similar to the current complaints about internet based media devices.

Posted by Claus at 04:51 PM
December 21, 2003
Til angreb p? julekynismen

Fornylig i Politiken skrevmin storebror en l?ngere historie om hvor meget han hader julegaver. I den forbindelse fik han sagt meget forkert om traditionerne i vores familie, om julegaver i?vrigt og julegaver til b?rn i s?rdeleshed. Det skal vi lige have rettet op p?:
Lad os begynde med begyndelse, nemlig:de dahlske juletraditioner. Af hensyn til forst?elsen vil jeg gennemg? traditionerne med idylmeteret sat p? maximum, s? kan forbeholdene komme bagefter.
Som Henrik skriver er ?nskesedler ikke noget vi l?gger v?gt p? i familiien Dahl. Det h?nger sammen med at julegavegivningen i den dahlske tradition altid har handlet om gl?den ved at give, ikke om gl?den ved at f?. Gl?den ved at give best?r af to ting - dels best?r den i forn?jelsen ved at t?nke p? den man giver til mens man leder efter gaver. Det er anledning til at pr?ve p? at komme i tanke om hvem ens n?re egentlig er. og hvad de gl?des over, eller hvad man, med ?ndelig opbyggelse for ?je, mener de burde blive glade for. Forn?jelsen i den del af julegaveriet er egentlig ganske egoistisk. Man tager jo sin egen id? om sine k?re, og tvinger med sin gave dem ind i den rolle man nu selv synes de har i familien. I heldige situationer passer ens forst?else af den anden med den andens forst?else af sig selv, eller (og det er n?sten endnu bedre) det passer med den andens forst?else af hvorden man helst ville v?re.
Den anden gavegl?de i den dahlske tradition er lige netop gl?den ved at se hvem de andre tror man er. Det kan da v?re en frustrerende oplevelse n?r regnestykket ikke g?r op, men den forbedres meget af det psykologiske forhold at mennesker som helhed har en meget kort erindring af meningsl?se begivenheder, og en meget lang erindring af meningsfulde begivenheder. D?rlige gaver er lige pr?cis meningsl?se, mens de gode er fyldt med mening.
?nskesedlen (og da navnlig den mellem halvvoksne og voksne) g?r det af med begge gl?der. For giveren er kun udgiften tilbage - gaven er ikke l?ngere i nogen betydningsfuld forstand fra en til en anden. For modtageren er kun afkrydsningen mod ?nskesedlen tilbage - s? man kan regne ud hvilke gaver der skal byttes til hvilke andre 27/12, og hvilke gaver man er n?dt til selv at k?be til halv pris i januar.
Bruger man ikke ?nskesedler, som vi ikke gjorde derhjemme efter vi forlod leget?jsbarndommen, s? kan man omvendt ikke forlange at f? "lige det man har ?nsket sig", det eneste man kan bede om er at giveren i det mindste t?nkte p? en da gaven blev k?bt og blev givet, og det er jo det der i virkeligheden er gaven. Jeg kan kun huske f? eksempler p? misforst?elser af hvad det er rimeligt at bede om, og jeg kan slet ikke huske nogensinde af gavegivningen i julen har v?ret pr?get af angst og skyld, som Henrik siger den har.

Hvis man ikke synes at ovenn?vnte forn?jelser er forn?jelser, s? st?r man selvf?lgelig, som en d?v i en pladebutik, i et alvorligt problem. Oven i det antager gavem?ngden i en stor familie et volumen der f?r enhver bare moderat forbrugsbevidst (eller logistikansvarlig) person til at overveje om man m?ske skulle ?ndre de h?vdvundne gaveprincipper. Vi har pr?vet juleaften med 400-500 gaver under tr?et, og det kan ikke blive for alvor hyggeligt.
Sidste ?r kom gavegivningen i den Dahlske storfamilie derfor, som omtalt i Henriks artikel til diskussion. Vi besluttede at oph?ve den generelle gavegivning og g?re det op til individual aftale p? tomandsh?nd om man vedblev at give gaver Vi blve bekr?ftet i at systemet er godt og meget lidt angstprovokerende ved det at alle - p?n?r Henrik - lynhurtigt aftalte at blive ved at at give til hinanden fordi vi helst ikke vil undv?re at give.

I?vrigt st?r der andet forkert i artiklen, f.eks. at b?rn kun t?nker p? om gaver er dyre eller billige. Det er ikke alene forkert - det forholder sig diametralt modsat. Hvis b?rn t?nker p? pengev?rdi n?r de ser deres julegaver, s? har de l?rt at g?re det af deres for?ldre.

Posted by Claus at 12:31 PM
December 19, 2003
Better linkage

Incidentally, I'm trying really hard to adapt my hyperlinking style, so that I link off the verb phrases not the noun phrases. The blog convention seems to be
NP => at most link to some kind of contextual front page,
VP => specific link to topic of sentence.
So in the previous story I would have written before that

Tim Bray mentions....
I will try to rework that into
Tim Bray mentions
whenever I can remember to. If the link collision is not too blatant I'll add general contextual linkage such as
Tim Bray, XML godfather, mentions

I'm curious where I got the old NP convention from. Obviously a piece of text is a thing not an action, but in the direct style of the blog, inactive phrases like "In a recent essay, by XML godfather Tim Bray a reference is made to...". I am trying to detect some kind of deep, philosophical "this is evidence to my particular feeling about life and writing"-style conclusion here, but I think it is mainly a case of mental economy: I have the link on my mind and in my clipboard and I want to get rid of it as fast as I possibly can, wherefore I drop it at the earliest possible convenience - which is the NP in the simple direct language of blog link-dropping.

I'll spare you the "Isn't it interesting how a text, clearly a thing, is interpretable directly as the action of writing it. The reification of intent." supersmart and way too long post for now.

Posted by Claus at 02:34 AM
How the world got its nervous system

Tim Bray mentions a Wired essay by Neal Stephenson on the laying of all the cable to ferry the information that we are so dependent on. I didn't remember reading it and a quick check of my "past issues of Wired" collection revelas that the closest to issue 4.12 I could get was 4.11 (The cover of which asks of failed boom time contender Marimba "The Next Netscape?" (both companies ultimate failed but still exist in much reduced form, so now we know the answer: Yes! Marimba was the next Netscape, just not in the sprit intended)) - an issue containing the great "Greetings from Burning Man" essay by Bruce Sterling. Wired was having a good year, obviously.
Enough with the past issue dropping. The bottom line is that I am looking forward to this as much as I looked forward to reading the now classic In the Beginning was the Command Line.

Posted by Claus at 01:27 AM
December 18, 2003
Combatting cold, reading for geeks, going in circles

So I left work early to combat a vicious cold. When I got home I scanned once again
1) the recent discussion with Justeren and BoSD on VeriSign's i-Nav plugin, and how the entire OS should just support unicode from the ground up. BoSD mentions
2) Joelonsoftware's Unicode rant. I had read that before, but now had time to read it again. I also had time to catch up on Joel's writing in general and found
3) a favorable review of
4) Eric S. Raymond's Art of Unix Programming which looks like a fun, if ideosyncratic, read. Part of that book is
5) the telling of the story of Plan 9, the planned replacement for Unix from "The Makers of Unix". Buried among the anecdotes was
6) the story of how UTF-8 came into existence as the native character set of Plan 9.
And thus we come full circle: Yes, all the clever guys agree (that group includes by the telling of this story at least Ken Thompson, Rob Pike and Dan Bernstein) that Unicode should not be a hack but just a basic fact of the operating system. They came to that conclusion years ago and here we are still fighting vendor and application specific plugins for DNS/Unicode integration.
How's that for fortuitous circular linkage?

Posted by Claus at 05:19 PM
December 17, 2003
VeriSign sucks again

If you use Internet Explorer you may have installed VeriSign's i-Nav plugin to resolve internationalized domain names you will have discovered this week that VeriSign's recent SiteFinder abomination is not unique but rather typical of their behaviour.
Hidden somewhere in a EULA, and in their i-Nav FAQ is the fact that the I-Nav plugin is "...automatically updated without you having to worry about it".
What is less clear from the FAQ is that in VeriSign's world that also means that they believe the company has the right to install/enable additional plugins. This week VeriSign added the i-Nav plugin to MS Outlook without asking me if I wanted that enabled (the timing is due to the fact that the migration from RACE to Punycode has begun last weekend). So the i-Nav plugin is actually a trojan on your system and VeriSign believes it has the right to modify your applications as the company sees fit. Truly annoying.

I am unsure to what extent they just enabled the plugin and to what extent they actually installed. The net effect is the same

Learn more about the hidden connection between whitbeer (aka weissbier) and i-Nav in the comments

Posted by Claus at 05:08 PM
December 16, 2003
To historier

Der er en fyr her der påstår at der kun findes to historier. Den tror jeg ikke på. Enten er der kun en - døden, fordi alle historier slutter - eller også er der mere end to.

Tak til Justeren for ren zen.

Posted by Claus at 05:56 PM
And finally, counterpoint

Note how the telecom regulation story and the Sims Online story provide nice counterpoint to one another. One suggests we need government because even without governemt there will be power, and it is better to have power of the people, for the people, by the people. The other story however indicates that the power that will be is the problem in and of itself, whether it is corporate power og government power. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Posted by Claus at 02:38 AM
Is the SCO lawsuit dying?

Publicized in many places, a judge has ordered SCO to turn over the code they claim IBM has violated rights to, as reported on CNET. What I hadn't seen was that SCO has actually produced the documentation on 1 million sheets of paper in a ridiculous delaying tactic. If you needed convincing that SCO is only in this game to extract money by strong arming nervous linux users, this ought to do it.
As pointed out by one commenter on Dan Gillmor's blog IBM resorted to the same tactics back in 1975, producing a staggering 41 linear feet of documents. By my count the SCO source should take up considerably more space than that (closer to 300 linear feet of paper)

Posted by Claus at 02:27 AM
The beginning of the regulated internet

Some notes on JOHO the Blog concerning the regulation of Voice over IP, as telephony is set to disappear completely as an independent infrastructure. Kevin Werbach is absolutely right in saying:

...the real issue is the transformation from the Internet as a subset of telecom to telecom as a subset of the Internet. That means treating voice as an application that can run on any platform, not as the platform itself. The regulatory status of VOIP is just the tip of the iceberg.

The reflex "But how do we control this" seems completely out of place when viewing VoIP from an Internet perspective. If heavyhanded regulation is implemented, the arms race of P2P (in the guise of filesharing) against the music industry will be duplicated as an arms race of P2P (in the guise of voice messaging) against governments. The opportunities to circumvent VoIP regulation are simply too many for any local and fair regulation to be possible, and I frankly don't see how governments can win and serve the interests of their citizens at the same time:
If wiretap provisions were extended to the IP network of the internet, would public access points at libraries and schools be shut down? What about access through company networks. Cryptography enables information hiding on so may levels that it seems absurd to legislate other than through a complete ban.

Posted by Claus at 01:11 AM
Life in Disneyland?

It's easy to see why people find the story of Peter Ludlow and his banishment from Sims Online - a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game - interesting. Ludlow was banished for running a newspaper on the virtual world, detailing some of the sleazier aspects of the game with the exposure of minors posing as adults offering virtual prostitution as a high point. It is easy to see the kind of corporate intervention that Ludlow experiences as a warning of times to com. Physical artificial communities with highly restrictive bylaws are already a reality even if your human rights would of course be protected in an actual artificial setting. The economics of defending your rights may however make it economically unfeasible to protect them.
The story is covered in a recent piece in Salon (Premium - nonfree registration required) and also covered on the Copyfight blog.
It reads like an advertisement for big government. Somebody has to provide balance against corporate interests.

Posted by Claus at 12:53 AM
Apple bigger than Lenin?

At least Apple can make people queue as if they were at the Lenin Mausoleum. Watch this amazing movie (Quicktime) of Japanese Mac fans queuing for the first Apple store in the Ginza district. A very, very long line. Everybody waiting with perfect patience. The line is broken at numerous stree crossings, something that would never work here in Copenhagen.

Posted by Claus at 12:41 AM
December 15, 2003
We need new words for "Holy F**king Shit"

Not for the faint at heart, but this "whiff of the crazy" a preview of "Return of The King" must set some kind of record for outrageousness. It sounds like one of the characters from South Park grew real and grew up. Adding to the fun is the ton of trash culture references used to properly understand the greatness of "Hobbit-Man: The King Returns" as the film is called. Among them some kind of running gag of confusing Golem (as in Karel Capek) with Gollum (as in J.R.R. Tolkien) which works very well in a great, if completely off topic, review.

Posted by Claus at 10:54 AM
December 13, 2003
War laundering?

Just has started a whole new trand, war laundering, i.e. finding WiFI hotspost all over Vesterbro, and in particular finding a hotspot at the local laundromat. Turns out our neighbourhood has quite a lot of connections, which makes sense since it is very much a student neighbourhood. Must have one of those smart laptops.

Posted by Claus at 02:48 PM
December 11, 2003
The anti-Bush insurgence

Obviously my media selection is biased. But I can't seem to recall a similar depth and breadth of criticism being waged on the current Bush's father when he was president as one can find now. It's not just micropublishing:

  • An anti-Bush documentary was on display recently in an orchestrated 2600 screen "open home viewing". It has sold quite well also

  • Al Franken's and Michael Moore's recent anti-Bush books have been consistent bestsellers for a longish time

  • There is that Dean phenomenon after all, bloggers, fundraisers and all

So is this only bias or is it actual public opinion?

Posted by Claus at 12:41 AM
December 10, 2003
Salon, Sundman, Sequences (of nucleotides)

I had forgotten to renew my Salon membership, but finally did today, only to find that I had not been reading Salon enough. Whenever I finally do, I am always overwhelmed by the enormous amounts of material available. If you're a bleeding heart liberal like me and like to read (but don't all bleeding heart liberals?) you really should subscribe. Right now I am reading a great two-part piece by John Sundman on DNA and genetic technology. Sundman is quite a treasure, being the author of other great stories also.

There's a Salon newsfeed also - I don't know if they have good department channel feeds.

Posted by Claus at 10:33 PM
Political Google Bombing

The digital equivalent of a million man march is the political google bombing, i.e. a concerted effort to make a specific search term refer to a particular page by social engineering. Joi Ito informs us that the much publicized top google ranking of "Miserable Failure" George Bush is a google bomb. It's pretty evident from the second to 10th ranked page by the way.

Posted by Claus at 10:08 PM
Blogging at peak of hypemeter

I think it is time to apply the Gartner Hype Cycle to blogging. Weblogging has now gone sufficiently mainstream to be useful in mainstream advertising (in the Bay Area at least). That marks a new highpoint in public expectation of weblogging. So we're at peak 1 or peak 2. Now presumable everybody will blog, will appear and AOL will regain profitability because of a new AOL blogging craze, and the ensuing cacophony will disappoint - whereafter blogging will find a realistic place in the world of networked media.

Not that I'm looking for bad news; but a plausible onset of a downturn would be the failure of the Dean grassrots campaign to gather sufficient online momentum to fuel a victory offline. I'm rooting for grassrots on this one - but the immediate future (next year or so) will be interesting.

link via CommonMe.

Posted by Claus at 09:48 PM
Are all DVD-RW applications really crap?

Why on earth should I have to know so much tech stuff to use my DVD rewritable drive as a backup device. Where is the simple, easy to use "Just use your DVD-RW drive as another disk drive" application that used to ship with my old CD-RW drive? Why are all the DVD applications stupid hacks in comparison. And finally why the hell is the situation getting worse not better? When will software and hardware vendors get a grip?
Suggestions for non-crappy apps are welcome. Comment spammers will be censored.

Posted by Claus at 01:02 AM
A little referrer surprise

I found this search in my referrer log.

  • Note the display in glorious right to left writing

  • Note how inappropriate a match my site is for this much too specific search

  • The search came up three times today. How strange

Posted by Claus at 12:08 AM
December 09, 2003
Gore goes left

Al Gore goes left by endorsing Howard Dean in the primaries.
A presidential race with a non-apologetic democrat, proud of democratic values would be at least be interesting if not close. What's also interesting is whether or not (i think it was) Stewart Brand's prediction that the discontent with the current political climate is deep enough that the presidential election will be won by the "I'm not G.W. Bush" candiate will hold true. If anybody needs it, it's probably Dean.

Posted by Claus at 02:58 PM
Breakbeat directory

How cool is this: A searchable directory of breakbeats. As an example, here's a solid list of Herbie Hancock samples. I found it trying to locate The 900 Number by Mark The 45 King, with the amazing sax break from "Unwind Yourself". I've heard the sax but never the track that made it famous. That bugs me. Anyone know of a decent compilation that is available e.g. on Amazon and contains that number?

Posted by Claus at 01:11 AM
December 08, 2003
Den udklippede salme

TV2-Lorry havde idag en historie der ville være et fremragende afsæt til en novellefilm: I Anisse Kirke har nogen klippet "Det er så yndigt at følges ad" ud af alle kirkens salmebøger. Man ser for sig en vred forsmået ægtemand der bryder ind i kirken og fjerner den løgnagtige salme i bar raseri og fortvivelse.

Posted by Claus at 08:53 PM
December 06, 2003
Slowdown in the tech sector

It is a rather natural conclusion: As the tech sector's GDP share of economic activity approaches a "soft limit" (the only known hard limit is 100%), the growth in the tech sector will start to slow to a level comparable to general levels of growth. Technology of course induces growth in other sectors but not as much growth as technology has been able to create for itself, so the final result is a long term irreversible slowdown in the tech sector. This seems to have been a dominant meme of 2003.
Carly Fiorina commented on that at the beginning of this interview (streaming video) and in other media. Before they closed down The Red Herring carried this piece on Moore's law and how the economics of the law may start to slow down the technological promise of the law.

[UPDATE] It seems there may even be visible technical barriers to Moore's Law.

Posted by Claus at 01:38 PM
December 04, 2003
Blog rocking beats

Trommeslageren i det hedengange Poul Dissing revival orkester har en blog. Han får hele tiden stjålet sin cykel. Og har en fremsynet chef som lige har opfundet en applikationsserver i Prolog. Hey Søren mand - få dig et ordentligt job. Herude er det udviklerne der opfinder de dybe tallerkner!

Posted by Claus at 11:36 PM
En julehistorie

For nogen år siden kørte i Weekendavisen en serie artikler under den fælles overskrift "Mit bedste måltid", hvor kulturpersonligheder gengav en oplevelse de havde haft med et godt måltid mad. Jeg syntes så godt om serien, at jeg skrev mit eget bud ned på sådan en oplevelse. Det er en julehistorie.

Mit bedste måltid var i virkeligheden en kæde af måltider, der fandt sted 2. juledag, for nogen år siden.
Jeg kommer fra en stor familie og vi har altid holdt jul sammen. Syv søskende, og vores mor - min far døde for mange år siden - og så hvad man kan få skrabet sammen af koner og kærester. På det tidspunkt denne historie finder sted er alle involverede stadig så unge, at man vælger at skilles fra kæresten i julen, så begge parter kan blive som børn igen - eller dvs. næsten alle, men det kommer jeg til.
Det har jo alle dage været målet med julen at alt kan blive som det var engang. Illusionen om søskendehed og fællesskab, og alt som før, bliver sværere og sværere at ramme med årene. Denne jul, da måltidet fandt sted, krævedes allerede en del skuespil og gode miner.

Illusionen om søskendehed og fællesskab, og alt som før, bliver sværere og sværere at ramme med årene. Denne jul, da måltidet fandt sted, krævedes allerede en del skuespil og gode miner.
Alle var rejst fra København til provinsen for igen at samles i det fædrende hjem - eller det vil sige, fædrende hjem var det ikke. Min far døde da hans børn befandt sig i alderen fra 23 til 10, og derfor blev bømeflokken skåret midt over i den gruppe der havde nået flyvefærdighed og var fløjet fra reden, og de der stadig var afhængige af forældres beskyttelse og boede hjemme. Så nu holdt vi jul i det nye hus, som tre af bømeflokken aldrig havde haft som hjem, og det gjorde jo ikke illusionen om fortid mindre usandsynlig.
Men jul blev det, som tilforn, og hjem drog vi, som altid, til Dronning Dagmars by, Ribe, hvor det nye hus stod, som skulle rumme en familie det aldrig havde rummet i sin helhed i nogen længde af tid. Huset var i virkeligheden også en anelse for lille til os alle sammen. Det krævede igen god vilje overhovedet at finde plads til alle. Og forsøget blev egentlig aldrig nogen sinde gjort fuldt ud. En af mine brødre var dengang kæreste med en pige fra Ribe, så de drog ud til hendes forældre for at bo, og kom så kun til måltiderne, og måske til juleaften.
Når man sådan bliver ældre, så er det ikke bare uskyldstabet der ligeså langsomt æder juleglæden op. Det er også savnet af den fælles hverdag der mangler mellem de ti eller tolv der er samlet omkring julen. Og den manglende hverdag understreges blot, dulmes ikke, som man tænker sig den skal, af det overbud af.fællesskab man nyder i højtiden. Det er som om den rituelle fortætning man søger i julen, blot bliver en klagesang over de manglende kommunikationer mellem de ti's hud og hørelse og andre sanser. Alt det der ikke bliver sagt, bliver væk, dukker aldrig op, medmindre man gør sig en ekstraordinær anstrengelse for at nå frem til det, og denne anstrengelse må jo vel at mærke altid være en anstrengelse om noget andet,
siger man det højt, der skal være usagt, så er det først for alvor væk
for siger man det højt, der skal være usagt, så er det først for alvor væk.
Dette førsøg på at fange røgskyer med et sommerfuglenet, eller hvad man nu skal kalde det, er det vilkår man tager til juleugen med tankerne på. Og alt afhængig af humør, varme, vejrlig, gaver, vanillekranse, konfekt, musik og medgæster fortager afstanden sig så over nogen dage, for først at være væk når man rejser bort igen med porerne åbne af julens anderledeshed.
På denne dag, 2. juledag, for nogen år siden, har vi forlængst passeret juleaftenens forventningsbarriere,og første juledags frokostparadis, og vi kører på den sidste sikre tradition, den eneste der ikke har med almindelig sådan-gør-man-i-hele-landet jul at gøre, men blot er en fast lokal form på den tredie og sidste dag i den statsanbefalede juleferie for travle mennesker, der foreskriver hjemrejse 3. juledag - til nød 4. juledag, hvis behovet for braklægning af ens udpinte sjæl er særlig udtalt. I familien Dahl tager denne dag sin begyndelse ved 13-tiden, omkring et varmt måltid, uden undtagelse udgjort af hamburgerryg, grønlangkål, brunede og hvide kartofler. Måltidets tilvirken er henlagt under den kvindelige mystik: Min mor og til nød mine søstre, måske en enkelt svigerdatter, står for det, så det er slet ikke det der for mig løfter dagen op over det almindelige. Det er heller ikke nogle særlige sansninger, forberedelser, symbolladede bemærkninger eller andre uniciteter, men derimod et velkendt og særlig probat middel til sansefortætning og ophøjelse: Alkohol.

Det var vist det jeg glemte at nævne. Efterhånden som barneuskylden fortager sig, efterhånden som gaver og chokolademælk ikke længere kan danne det fuldstændige fokus for ens opmærksomhed, opdager man nye former for fokusering, rigere og mere sanseforstærkende end hvad barnet har behov. Og med dem ændrer julen uundgåeligt karakter. Man sørger for rigelige mængder alkohol, og ved det sker der også nogle forskydninger i julens betydning, henimod en tilstandsoplevelse, istedet for den objektfokusering - gaver og chokolademælk - som barnet lever ind i julen. Forstå mig ret, barnets lykketilstand er efter alt at dømme stærkere, men det er barnets utålmodighed også, og derfor må denne lykketilstand for barnet nødvendigvis formidles over i særligt skinnende genstande, særligt eftertragtede objekter, der fuldstændigt kan katalysere lykken for den lille purk. Den tilstandsglæde den voksne har er anderledes i karakter, og mere i hver enkelt hvilende. Og alkoholens rolle i den er ikke at danne fokus for glæden, på samme made som gaven danner fokus for barnets glæde. Det er et opløftelsesmiddel, der gør det muligt at overkomme den barriere af hverdagsfravær og forskellighed, der præger egensindige mennesker som mig og mine søskende. Man bliver ikke mindre kritisk, men anderledes kritisk af sin beruselse, og med en noget søgt sproglig pointe, drejer det sig jo simpelthen om at barnets evne til at beruses af hvadsomhelst tit er svækket i den voksne, der så må beruses af alkohol.
Altså: Det er anden juledag, klokken er tretten, der er 15 flasker rødvin klar, vi er ti mennesker i lokalet. Der er kort sagt mad. Og man sætter sig, fylder i glassene, nyder maden - den er blevet god det år, og ikke de forskellige inkarnationer af vand man i tidligere år har fået præsenteret som henholdsvis hamburgerryg, grønlangkål og kartofler - og tiden går. Samtalen, der knagede så meget lillejuleaften, ude af træning med hinandens manerer som man er kommet gennem et travlt efterår, glider nu frit. Alle kommer til fadet, får sagt deres bid, og man husker den glæde man altid har haft ved at være så mange: At man kan føre flere samtaler samtidig, og at man kan holde pauser i samtalen, vidende at der er andre der fører den videre mens man hviler hovedet.

sådan begynder eftermiddagen langsomt at gå, for siden, under indflydelse af 15 flasker rødvin, at forsvinde
Og sådan begynder eftermiddagen langsomt at gå, for siden, under indflydelse af 15 flasker rødvin, at forsvinde og blive til aften. Undervejs kommer broderen med kæreste til bordet, lige netop som hele selskabet har besluttet at holde pause samtidig, og al æderi er ophørt. De bringer nyt fra nogle andres jul, og så kører samtalen igen. Som dag bliver til aften har der givetvis været en pause, men jeg husker den ikke, for hele 2. juledag står som eet måltid for mig. Som aftenen skrider frem, har de kulinariske minder fra aftermiddagen dog fortaget sig, og vi der holder stædigt ud - selskabet er vel nede på en fire stykker nu - beslutter, i stedet for at genoplive middagen, at lave en reprise af gårsdagens frokost. Det er midnat nu, og vi tager hul på den sidste halve kasse af Albanis fortræffelige Blålys, og den sidste smule snaps. Min ene broder tager Johs. V. Jensen frem, som man kan have trang til, og skønt jeg er lidt ældre end jeg strengt taget har lov til at være, for at kunne tænke på mig selv som en dreng, er jeg stadig tilstrækkeligt dreng til at få 'Ved Frokosten', med dets vidunderlige 'Jeg omfatter min KelIner med sympati' for allerførste gang, denne 2. juledag. Digtet rammer lige i hjertet, og i det øjeblik jeg hører det, ved jeg at det er lykkedes: Jeg er kommet hjem til jul, og stemningen flyder frit fra os fire. Julestemningen, som den kan ligge og lure i et godt måltid mad, i den iskolde snaps, og det ravgule øl, der fosser om tænderne. Den er pludselig tilstede, evig som før. Den er lige da som en stemning der vil klinge evindeligt.

Og dog bliver klokken 4 næste morgen, og øllet slipper op, og vi går ud for at få en sidste øl i byen, og vi mærker hvor bidende koldt det er, hvor sent og hvor øde, og vi er berusede - ikke opløftede, blot vaklende. Og vi er pludselig efter et måltid, ikke midt i det. Og toget kører imorgen.

Posted by Claus at 12:18 PM
December 03, 2003
e-Voting: Just say no III

How on earth can a voting machine manufacturer think it is acceptable to be a strong supporter of a political party. The CEO of much criticized voting machine manufacturer Diebold plants foot in mouth.

Be insanely afraid.

Posted by Claus at 12:56 AM
XAML does enable content/styling separation

Don Box is doing a lot of work protecting XAML from misperception and ridicule. The latest installment informs us that suspicions like my own or that of luminaries like Sam Ruby are wrong: XAML can separate style and content as well as CSS/HTML can.

Posted by Claus at 12:45 AM
December 02, 2003
Hvem er de nyttigste idioter?

Og i forlængelse heraf og i samtidig forlængelse af virakken omkring Henrik Gade Jensens afgang som rådgiver for Tove Fergo må man spørge: Hvem er egentlig de nyttigste idioter? Dem til højre eller dem til venstre?

Når de stilles rigtigt op kan idealer for både højrefløj og venstrefløj bringes til at lyde rimelige, og når de føres ud i livet kan samme idealer bringes til at begrunde de forfærdeligste handlinger. Det siges i disse år mest om venstrefløjen og mest med vægt på de forfærdelige ting socialistiske og kommunistiske idealer har begrundet (og bemærk venligst at jeg ikke tager det sædvanlige forbehold man hører ovre fra fløjen omkring en fordrejning da det kom til rædslerne. Idealerne var med hele vejen).
I den anden retning er der for tiden mere medvind til idealerne end til kritikken af eventuelle rædsler de kan bruges til at udløse. På det allerseneste har Henrik Gade Jensen dog måttet bære ganske mange historiske byrder, og læser man en udpluk af hans debatindlæg som de præsenterede på hans hjemmeside for ca et år siden (og et stort hurra i den anledning for The Wayback Machine) så står der mange rimelige og fornuftige ting om at være borger først og stammemedlem siden; altså om ikke at forgifte sin integritet med et eller flere begrænsende og udsynslukkende "identitesskaber". Iblandet de rimelige ting står så alligevel et forsvar for Danskheden, som er begrundet ud fra den frie ret til at danne samfund af ligesindede med danskere, dansk sprog og dansk historie om et eksempel.
Man kan bare ikke blive fri for den mistanke at Henrik Gade Jensen, er ligeså meget af en nyttig idiot i kløerne på en virkelig negativ og ubehagelig og udadvendt aggresiv nationalisme, som hans modpoler til venstre har været det for en repressiv og undertrykkede socialisme. Det skærer mod hans kritik af identitetspolitik, for truslen om den er ligeså reel til højre som til venstre.
Et lignende tilfælde er Søren Krarup. For nylig gik Krarup endu en gang i rette med karakteriseringen af sig selv som fundamentalist. Som ærkelutheransk hardliner er han det stik modsatte og siger:

Just evangelisk-luthersk kristendom er sekulariseringens forudsætning, adskillelsen af Guds og kejserens rige, sondringen mellem det hellige og det verdslige, forskellen på at føre politik i hellighedens navn (islam) og at føre politik i eget navn (Vesterlandets tradition).Eftersom denne principielle forskel er så ganske afgørende, er det ikke uden mening at fastslå Vesterlandets tradition som kristen.
Igen: Det er pænt og nydeligt altsammen. Idealet, sat pænt op, lader sig ikke beklikke. MEN også mistanken kommer igen: Kan Krarup virkelig ikke se hvad det er for en vogn han lader sig spænde for? Krarups nydelige kristendom og Dansk Folkepartis nyfundne kirkelighed er fundet frem som det endelige og ubestikkelige våben der tillader at man klart siger fra overfor nogen andre som man har for søgt med alle tænkelige argumenter (fra "de tager vores arbejde" til "de stjæler vores piger") til at sige fra overfor i mange år. Det er ren belejlighed der har fået Pia til at høre efter.

Idiotibalancen er svær at gøre op. Hvem er nyttigst for den rædselsfulde virkelighed de truer med at begrunde? Kommunismems og islamismens apologeter eller de den fordummede traditionalismes apologeter?

Posted by Claus at 01:50 AM
Hemmelighed åbenhed

Berlingerens historie om Giordano Bruno Selskabet - en anti-Islam mailingliste for danske samfundsdebattører - slutter med et til det komiske uforsigtigt citat af Jette Plesner Dali:

Vi har en bekymring over, om vi som et åbent, demokratisk samfund bliver et paradis for organisationer, som har en anden dagsorden,« siger hun.
Ja, lad os da lave nogen flere hemmelige samfund til at kæmpe for åbenheden.
Det står naturligvis hvem som helst frit for at danne debatgrupper, men den komiske selvmodsigelse i citatet står tilbage.

Posted by Claus at 12:40 AM