Monday, March 30, 2009

An Open Letter

To Every Single Person Who's Ever Entered the Parking Garage Before Me in the Morning:

Look, it's the morning, it is safe to surmise that folks are coming TO work, not driving AWAY from work. To that end, if the spaces on the lower levels are full, drive on up to the top. It is a foolish and irksome practice to inch your way slowly up the parking lot, peering anxiously around the big cars, expecting someone to pull out. No one is leaving those spaces. They've all gone to the office. Drive to the top. There are LOTS of spaces there. And there's an elevator.

Further to this, if you are a lumberjack or serial killer or whatever profession you've landed in that requires you to drive a vehicle the size of a small village (I'm talking to you, asshole in the Escalade) you're not going to fit into that spot. Stop trying. Drive to the top. Better yet, keep your obnoxious, outsized vehicle off in the hinterlands where it belongs.

That is all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Late Night Post

This morning I was on an hour and a half long webex. This happens to me a lot and I'm not ashamed to say that when Webexes stretch on into infinity like that, I am not afraid to surf the internet.

We're going to see the latest Disney movie this weekend and the Trib panned it. So, I thought I'd pop over to this website I used to visit all the time, Pajiba. They do pretty good movie reviews and while I was sure they'd hate the movie, I'd probably be able to figure out if I'd be able to tolerate it.

I used to be what they call a "Pajabite" as I sort of hung out on the site and commented a lot. There were lots of regulars on this site. Many hilarious, some intolerable. But there was this one woman with the internet moniker, Alabama Pink.

She had leukemia. She was this beautiful, young woman. This hilarious, pop culture virtuoso. And so lovely, the mother of this three year old boy.

When I popped over today, I found out that she died. And I had to fake another call because I was totally overcome. I couldn't stop crying. I still can't. And I never met her!

When the site posted that she'd been diagnosed with leukemia, I sent her an email telling her that this random woman in Chicago was rooting for her. And I was. It's my nature to believe these things will work out. It just seems too cruel that the universe would take away this woman away from her son. When she was so fun, so funny, so in love with her family. And maybe because I discovered her on a pop culture site, a movie review site, I'd just sort of figured it would work out like in the movies. She'd, of course, survive it. She's been hanging around in the back of my mind for months now, and I was always sure she'd beat it.

God, it's so sad.

I'm no dummy and know that probably a lot of this bereavement comes from how much I related to her. I guess when anyone dies, it makes us confront our own mortality, our own realization that death comes when it comes, with no regard to the right time, the fair time.

Hours later, and she's still with me. I never met her. And I hadn't visited her blog in months. But, still, I'm going to miss her. My heart breaks for her family.

I'm going to go lie down next to my daughter and cry and be so grateful to be with her.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-SC): Underpants Gnome

Actual graph from the GOP recovery plan:

Which brings to mind my (and many other's) favorite episode of South Park:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When You're Having a Shitty Day

I am having a shitty day. And then I remembered how much I love the intertubes because you can do a quick google and find your favorite scene from any movie ever and watch it and feel better.

This scene from Almost Famous never fails to give me the warm fuzzies. It's so lovely. So full of forgiveness and friendship and really good music. Sigh, it almost makes me like Kate Hudson again.

Seriously, this is my favorite scene in filmdom. I think it's perfect.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I came across this from Atrios:

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is being held in a super-max wing of the Manhattan federal lockup - a unit so tough it drives hardened criminals mad, the Daily News has learned.
It’s known as 10 South.
Located on the 10th floor of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the high-security wing has housed the city’s toughest mobsters and most bloodthirsty terrorists.
On 10 South, the 70-year-old Madoff is treated more like a lab rat than a vaunted Wall Street financier once entrusted with billions of investment dollars.
The lights burn 24 hours a day, and an inmate’s every move is caught on video. Madoff gets just 60 minutes a day outside his 8-by-8-foot cell - in wrist shackles.
Windows are blacked out so disoriented inmates can’t catch even a glimpse of the world outside.
What passes for food is slipped through a narrow slit in a stainless steel door that fronts a spartan cell - cold in winter, scorching hot in summer.
No interaction is permitted between inmates or guards. Only a ranking officer is allowed to remove a prisoner from his tiny cell.
Lawyer visits are few and far between. Reading material is almost nonexistent.
The squalid conditions are enough to make blood-stained tough guys cry - never mind a pampered ex-billionaire.

And, like not-Atrios, I don't think anyone should be treated like this.

I often make the mistake of assuming universality for my own thoughts, so maybe I'm wrong here, maybe people are happy to see him suffer. But, suffering gives me no pleasure, no matter how evil the motherfucker suffering is. What I think I want is remorse. And I suspect that's what a lot of people want. And that is something that cannot be forced.

If someone bigger and meaner than you punches you in the face, it might make you feel better to have your friends hold his hands behind his back so you can punch him back. But that won't make him feel bad for punching you, it just makes him feel bad for getting hit (and humiliated). In the meantime, you'll still have your black eye or fat lip and probably a good helping of guilt too for thinking that you can stop a bully by being a bully.

And That's All She Wrote. Really? (BSG spoilers abound)

So, with quivery anticipation, I sat down last night to watch the Series Finale of the second greatest television show I've ever seen, and my favorite of all time (I give the overall edge to The Wire, but I have loved BSG more).

Shockingly, I hated it. Well, I hated part of it. And I hated it so much that the stuff I loved got splashed by the excess hatey mchate and ended up compromised: When Lee started in on how they couldn't form a cohesive society on earth because technology and science have always raced ahead of human development, I wanted to throw things at the TV. Because, Jesus, that makes no sense! And I hate that that was presented as a moral of this series so much I wanted to cry. I still do.

On the other hand, I thought that the idea behind "This has all happened before and will happen again" was lovely. God's plan, in the BSG world, is to keep spurring human evolution until we learn not to kill each other off. I don't believe in God, but that does seem like a believable path for the universe. I just wish Lee hadn't gone and blamed the tendency for people to blow each other up on science and technology.

Some other thoughts:

I found Laura's death deeply moving at the same time Bill's burying her and pretending they were in the cabin deeply confusing. I think everyone expected him to fly that raptor into a mountain or something. And, what was with the cheap sex and the cigarette on New Caprica. I didn't get what that meant. Maybe her failure to connect with anyone after the death of her family?

I wish Lee and Starbuck could have had that life they failed to have on New Caprica, even though I understand that Starbuck, the angel, had to go, since Starbuck, the woman, was already gone. I thought it was great that we saw how frakked up these two were as humans before the fall. And I loved the image of the bird as Starbuck.

I liked the wrap up of the Ellen and Saul love story. I loved how their back story showed that they were all wrapped up in booze and sex and loud, loud parties, but at their core, all they wanted was each other. I did really like that.

All in all, I think the back stories did resonate. We learned from them that heroes are made not born, I guess. And who knows how worthless these people would have been had it not been for, you know, the destruction of humanity.

OK, we all hated Tory. She was useless. But, honestly, none of the final five were pissed at Chief for not just waiting until they were done with the upload before offing her? I understand that in order to move forward, the other cylons had to die off. But, was that the best way?

And why did Cavil shoot himself? I mean, I loved it, but why?

I liked Head Six and Head Giaus as emissaries of God. And I also found Gaius' acceptance of himself as a farmer really touching too. It's wonderful that he finally got there.

And, I think the whole Earth fakeout was awesome. Nicely done, RDM.

Mitochondial Eve: Is it that Hera grows up and makes a baby with some pre-verbal caveman. That's gross. No matter how sure Lee is that they can give the pre-verbal cavemen language. It's still gross. And confusing! Did no one else have any babies? There were 38,000 people in the fleet.

OK, complaining aside, I'll echo what Jacob over at Television Without Pity said. It doesn't matter that I was unsatisfied with the end, because, really, it was never about the end. It was about the journey. And, it was a great fracking television show and I'm really going to fracking miss it.

So say we all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Danger of Perception

Last weekend I went to drop off clothes at the dry cleaners, where Hirish (the drycleaner) greeted me warmly: "You look wonderful! Did you lose weight?"

Which is always nice to hear. But, as I left, it occurred to me that people say that to me a lot. If I haven't seen a person in a few months, they usually ask me if I've lost weight. My mother asks me if I've lost weight every time I see her.

I have to concur that people remember me as a lot fatter than I am. I wonder about this patina of corpulence that rests upon my memory. Whence cometh it?

I am not particularly thin. Frequently, strangers offer congratulations on my pregnancy (which, dudes, makes me want to cut a bitch). But, I'm also not particularly fat. Figuring weight for age, I think I'm pretty average.

And yet (Hi, Dave!), people remember me as a fatty. Am I jolly? I must be jolly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gay Marriage: Or, If It Weren't For All the Nuance!

This morning, Rex Huppke had a front page story in the Tribune all about teh gay marriage. I was interested when I read this:

Each side in this debate tends to broad-brush the other: radical, bigoted, asking too much, giving too little. But in the calm reflections of the Creswells [straight] and Neubeckers [gay], a more nuanced disagreement can be found. And while it may not be settled, it can at least be better understood.

Oooh, "nuanced disagreement." Love it!

Let's get all up in the Creswells' nuance!

They've seen firsthand how the legal definition of a family can work against people bound by love and support but not necessarily blood or formal documents.

Ah, but:

"It seems inconceivable to me that you'd say, 'OK, let's redefine marriage, let's go further with this experiment,' and then the next day there wouldn't be a polygamist at the door saying, 'What about me?'

Ah, I see. By nuanced disagreement, Rex Huppke means "the same tired and easily refuted (each petition for amending legal marriage should be taken on its own merits. KaDUH!) argument that's been made against gay marriage for the past 20 years or so."

For too long, this "nuanced" discussion has been led by towering intellects who oppose gay marriage because if two dudes get married than it's inevitable that your next reservation at Spiaggia will just be RUINED when a dude and his goat wife are seated at the next table. I am sick to death of treating these arguments (oh, who am I kidding: this argument) as legitimate. You can't win a debate with these people. It's time to stop having it.

Traditional media has recently glommed onto the idea that weirdo sex freaks who are not skeeved out by two men kissing have been making for years: get government out of marriage all together.

It's time to go full on Ron Paul up on this. If we can't stop legitimizing "it's a shame for the homos, but if we let them get married than all my weird, sick fantasies will surely come true", then it's time to give the argument up all together. No more legal marriage. Civil unions for all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Minute Clinic: A Rave

This morning I woke up and my right ear felt all stopped up. So, of course, I assumed that a bug crawled in there because that is what it's like to live in my world. As the day went on I grew more and more skeeved out by the idea. But, the question was, was I skeeved out enough to try and get a doctor's appointment?

It's not easy getting a doctor's appointment. I wonder how hypochondriacs do it.

Then I remembered that CVS has this awesome thing called a Minute Clinic. Basically, certain CVS branches have a nurse practioner on site and you can go visit him or her with your minor ailments. You got a sore throat and want to rule out strep? Want someone to take that bug out of your ear? Visit your local CVS. Either you pay a copay or $59. A visit is about 15 minutes. My nurse practioner, Jessica, was awesome.*

I think I read somewhere that this concept is part of the Obama health plan. It's one of those things that seem so obvious you wonder why no one thought of them before. I blame the insurance companies. Insurance companies, in case you didn't know, are locked in mortal combat with credit card companies as they vie for favorite minion status from their evil lord, Beezelbub. It's true. I just put it on the internet!

Anyhoo, if you have a scratchy throat or a bug in your ear (I didn't have a bug in my ear) check out the Minute Clinic.

*Jessica is one of those names. I've never met someone named Jessica I didn't like. If I have another kid (I'm not having another kid) I might seriously think of the name Jessica. Even if it's a boy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Relevance of the Funnies

I'm an old school comics reader. I've been reading pretty much the entire comics section since high school. As Don and I settled into marriage one of our goofier habits was that we both read For Better or For Worse and would often, only semi-ironically, discuss the various trials and triumphs and Lizzie and Michael and April.

Recently, due to health and emotional reasons, Lynn Johnston, the cartoonist behind the strip, stopped creating new strips and started recycling, with loose edits, cartoons from earlier in the strip's cycle. Today's strip got me thinking about the problem with modern newspapers. Let's take a look (if too small to read, go here):

Just rife with that weird, anachronistic 80s feminism when we were supposed to be so proud of our men for not being misogynistic fuckwits (for more examples of this see Show: The Cosby). In the past 25 years, we've progressed to the point where we just expect men not to be misogynistic fuckwits and when they are (see O'Reilly, Bill) we mock them for it roundly.

Then I flipped over to the other page of the funnies where I read Shoe, a strip frequently set in singles bars where men bemoan their alimony-grubbing ex-wives (you know, topical!) or Hagar the Horrible where the women shop, nag and have awful, awful mothers.

Feminist issues aside, I think we can all agree that these comics are dated to the point of anachronism as well as being just plain not funny.

Which leads me to the point. As newspapers spend time blaming the goddamn free internet for the increasingly clamorous death tolls all around them, maybe they should take a look at the funnies.

Newspapers have clung desperately to the approval of old farts who mourned bitterly when their papers stopped running Beatle Bailey while simultaneously driven to the vapors by The Boondocks. In the meantime, today's Berkley Breatheds and Bill Wattersons are squeezed off the pages of the funnies so we can watch Dagwood make himself another damn sandwich.

Tell me again, why aren't the young folk subscribing to their various city's dailies?

I'll leave you with this. Enjoy!

Jon Stewart

By now, I imagine you've all seen it. But in case you haven't, allow me to be one of the gabillion embedders:

You know what the difference was between this and Meet the Press? Jon Stewart wasn't doing this because he wanted to, he wasn't fomenting controversy to up his ratings. He wasn't doing it to shore up an ideological position. He wasn't doing it to be one of the kewl kids. There was nothing, in short, cynical about it.

He did it because, goddammit, it needed to be done.

I wonder if David Gregory was watching?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Screed

Look, I don't believe in god or much of anything supernatural. But the devil walks among us and he is running the credit card companies. Today, I came home to the second notice in as many days that a credit card company "in order to maintain profitability" is upping our interest rate to 24%, about twice what it had been.

Now, we have us some debt. But we pay our bills. Every month. Nary a late payment. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but we just shoveled BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars into the banks so they would start loaning again.

A long, long time ago, the Bons borrowed from the American Banking Shylocks in order to fund an adoption. It is impossible to regret that since we ended up with the littlest Bon. But, all things being equal, I wish we'd borrowed it from Fat Tony. I suspect he handles his business with a stronger moral code and more finely tuned business acumen.

Bastards. We are raiding the 401K to get out from under the thumb of credit card companies. The situation is such that it makes good financial sense to borrow against our own future than it does to leave our debt in the hands of the evil motherfuckers who are running the banks nowadays.

If I could have one wish come true, the entire upper echelon of banking management would Go Galt and get eaten by wolves. Or poor people. Or me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Screed or Why I Might Move to Arizona Even though it's SO Crazy Hot There

You know, when I started this thing I decided I would try to avoid ranting. The problem with a rant is that, in the history of the world, a rant has never changed anyone's mind. For example, Ayn Rand ranted via John Galt and only managed to rally up an army of adolescent thinkers for whom the only thing more awesome than their own awesome awesomeness is the awesomer awesomeness of Ayn Rand. The rest of us found it magnificently tedious*. Rants, in other words, can fire up people who already agree with you, and, really, what's the point of that?

That said, I feel ranty. I feel like a screed. Just call me Screedy McRantyPants. And, here is why: I HATE daylight savings time. I hate it with a liquid white hot passion. I hate it so much that if I met it walking down the street I would punch it in the nuts with no preliminaries. And as it lay on the ground, writhing in pain, I would laugh. Haughtily.

Here is why:

- This morning I had to wake up in the dark
- This morning I had to wake my daughter up in the dark
- This morning the sun was in a weird and annoying place as I drove in.
- This morning I sat in a conference room for 10 minutes wondering why no one in the UK was dialing into our conference call
- This evening I had to put Laney to bed while it was light out
- There are at least two clocks in this house I do not know how to change
- This July fireworks will start at 9:00 pm, at least an hour after the child is ready for full on meltdown.

I. Hate. Daylight. Savings. Time.

I heard a rumor that the president was thinking about getting rid of it since it makes no logical sense. Turns out some science types just said he OUGHT to get rid of it.

Now I'm disappointed. I wish he'd get rid of it.

* This entirely off topic slam of Atlas Shrugged brought to you by the fact that I have hated that schmaltzy book for about 15 years now since an old boyfriend made me read it and lately there's been much intertoobz chatter about all these dimwitted righty types who are waxing rhapsodic about Going Galt to which I would like to say, using my favorite eloquent farewell: smell ya later, ya big dummies, and the sooner the better.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

That's So Gay

At the CPAC convention Ann Coulter cracked the crowd up with this little bon mot:

I’ve bee[n] watching the MSNBC coverage of CPAC. Is there any other network where you know every host was at the alternative prom

Where are these people from? I mean, the only places where "yer so gay" really plays as an insult is either 1985 or high school (which, to be fair, is the same thing for me).

I'm beginning to think that CPAC was probably actually held under a rock because I just don't see it playing in regular, grown up America.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Becoming a Pod Person

Let me put it this way: I can get myself around a PC. I am a better-than-average PC user. For example, I almost never have to touch a mouse when I'm using a PC. If I'm being really honest, I scoff and snort when I watch people take their hands off their keyboard. Losers.

I'm always using the mouse when I'm on my Mac. Obviously, this has nothing to do with me. Macs are for losers.

Except for this stuff that Macs do really well. For example, if I put the top down on my PC laptop and then decide a few minutes later to pop it back open, I have to wait a few minutes while it rrrreessssuuuummmmeeeeessss. And then I have to Ctrl+Alt+Delete. And then I have to wait for a few minutes while it stretches, rubs its eyes, scratches its balls, has a cup of coffee and then I'm able to begin talking to it (come to think of it, I might love my PC laptop so much because it reminds me of my husband).*

My Mac, on the other hand, snaps immediately and cheerfully to attention.

I've even grown to prefer Finder windows Explorer windows.

And that thing where you drag your mouse up into the corner to display all the open windows. Gorgeous!

I've been toying with doing as my colleague and fellow-nerd Roger did and putting aside the PC to serve mainly as a server and using my Mac for my day-to-day computing. I'm pretty confident in my ability to learn to navigate in the Mac OS as easily as I do in a Windows environment.

But, you guys, I don't WANT to be a Mac person. Mac people are just so proud of being Mac people, members of some exclusive club made up of people who just get it better than the rest of us Microsoft crashware lovers. And they just want to tell you about it. On and on. Liberally sprinkling their Macxhortations with supercilious guffaws.

But Macs are so so so pretty. And I love my iPhone so much. But, me and PCs, we fit so well. We know each other inside and out. I feel.... feel...

*Yes, yes.... I know I could turn off some services, cleanup my startup controls, etc. I've tried. It's still stupid slow

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Technology is Gonna Getcha

I'm one of them there Gen-X-ers; those of us who, according to Wikipedia, were born between 1964 and 1974.

As a member of Gen-X, and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, right smack in the middle of it, here's a quick list of the things I've been told will ruin American society and make me an antisocial, mildly retarded buffoon:

1. MTV
2. Walkmen
3. Video Games
4. Cable

And then when I was already on the verge of old fart, the list grew more techno-centric:

5. Computers
6. Internet
7. Cell Phones
8. iPods
9. Facebook
10. Twitter

I can remember being 19 and deeply annoyed with the inevitable Baby Boomer yammering about how were awesome they were and how they changed the world and ended a war and that we were, tsk tsk, going to regret not growing up exactly the same way they did. But really, we were just living in the world they left us and doing out best to make it our own.

As we creep past relevance, this is what grown-ups do. We disparage the stuff kids do instead of giving the kids credit for talking to each other in their own way, for making the world their own.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the day you're an old fart is the day you privilege your own way of growing up over the way the kids have forged for themselves.

All that said, young people, and with much respect for the world you're making, just one thing, please: stop with the mid-1980's fashion. We looked stupid. You look stupid. If you're going to go old school, go with late-70s and early-80s. You're young! You can pull off those skinny jeans. Only Joan Collins can pull off shoulder pads.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Those Hazy, Crazy Streeters Days

So, picture this: Laney and I are in the kitchen.  I'm exhausting my culinary skills by boiling noodles and heating frozen broccoli.  Laney is playing with some dolls.  I had my iTunes player shuffling through my music which alternates between kinda cool and unbelievably hokey.  And then  the Commodore's Easy came on.

I love that song.  Back in the old days when I was bartending at Streeter's, my friend Richard used to play it in the wee early hours of the morning, when the night all around us was winding down.  We would sing that song so loud.  

There's something about being in a bar at 4:00 in the morning, when you're sober (or, if I'm being honest, only lightly buzzed) and you get that feeling of being part of a very small, exclusive group: people who finish their workday at 4:00 am with a pile of cash in their pocket and no responsibilities beyond paying the rent.  Sometimes there was dancing.

I told Laney a little about it and showed her a picture of Richard, which keep on the fridge. Those were good times we had at that bar, which is a concept best left unexplored with your five year old.  But, boy we did.  

Aw, go ahead and listen to the song.  Sing along.  It's awesome.  I recommend ignoring the video since it's all about the 70s and I'm talking about the 90s, which were VERY different times (unlike the 70s and now which are VERY similar times... but that's a post for another day)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Books I Been Reading...

(Sidenote: The Best of Tracy Morgan is on my TV right now.  That dude kills me.  He's so weird and hilarious.  I'm glad Tina Fey thinks he's as funny as I do. I'm Brian Fellowe).

So, let me begin this little review with a quick anecdote.  Yesterday, Laney and I went to the Art Institute after our graceful turns on the ice skating rink.  I usually have to drag Laney through the museum, but I got the idea to let her take pictures while we were there, knowing she'd love that.  We were standing by a Jackson Pollack and I was pointing the camera to the floor trying to figure out how to get the flash off.  A kind security guard called over to me (and this is a pretty direct quote): "Ask one of those young people to help you... get a kid!"  She then came over and directed a student who was sketching in front of the Pollack to help me out.  The 20 year old girl took my camera and kindly turned the flash off for me.

I've never felt so old.  And amused.  Old and amused.

I finished reading Cory Doctorow*'s "Little Brother" today.  This might seem like a non-sequitor, but stay with me for a minute.  The book takes place in San Francisco, in the present, during and following a terrorist attack on the Bay Bridge.  The main character is a 17 year old gamer/hacker named Marcus who ends up spending a few days in "Gitmo-By-The Bay." When he is released back into San Fransisco he's been terrorized into keeping quiet about what happened but gradually finds hmself leading the hacker rebellion when he discovers that every citizen is being tracked in some way, via debit cards and transit cards and iPasses and the million electronic ways that we can be tracked now.  The kids launch a full on hackery assault on the Department of Homeland Security.  It's awesome.

The motto of his army is "Don't trust anyone over 25."  I took a subtext of that as "they're too stupid to even master the limited technology of their digital cameras."

If I'd read this in 2007, I think I would have been even more unsettled by it than I was reading it now... and it was pretty fucking unsettling even now.  Unsettling, because it seemed so likely, so honest, the logical end of extraordinary rendition and the overturning of habeus corpus.  We spent a great deal of this decade fighting the notion that trading freedom for security was a good deal.  Countless thousands of Americans (including, I bet, one Joe the Plumber**) told us that if we didn't have anything to hide, it was no big deal for the government to spy on us at will. 

Little Brother does a great job of taking us to the logical end of this.   And it's scary.  And if it's scary to a 40 year old white woman, imagine how scary it would be to a kid or a brown person!

Your goverment cannot guarantee your safety.  But it can manipulate your fears to do whatever it wants: launch illegal wars, cheat on budgets, arrest you, fly you away to Syria and torture you. But, government works for us, and if they continue to shit on us, we can fire the bastards.

Another thing this book preaches is that if you can be bothered to understand technology, it can make your life so much richer.  Technology is not an enemy.  Over the past 20 years or so, there's been an all out assault from the media  on technology: first cell phones were going to be the demise of civilized society to Facebook is going to be the demise of civilized society.  But technology works for you and is only what you make of it. Just like the government.

See what I did there?

It's a great book. Exciting and thoughtful.  And if you have a technonerd inside you (and I confess I do), reading about the technology is kind of thrilling.  So many times I wondered if what he were writing about was real or not.  I didn't look a thing up... but I bet it all is.  

* Cory Doctorow is also the co-editor of a WONDERFUL website called  It really is a directory of wonderful things.
** I got to that link about Joe the Plumber by googling Joe the Dumbass Plumber. I got a lot of results.