The New Peace Is War

Aside from all the run-of-the-mill “surprises” about what has not been found in Iraq, what happened to all those virtually identical Saddams? I thought the place was rotten with them. If they found one, how would they know it wasn’t Saddam? If they found one, wouldn’t somebody squeal thinking they got the real one?

Or have they secretly rounded them all up and have a building somewhere with 157 identical guys in it. Wouldn’t that be weird to guard? Would you say “good morning” to someone when you couldn’t be sure that you hadn’t said it to the guy already?

While I think writing on a weblog about others who do so is possibly the lamest thing I might do on a Sunday morning, I have to say that Ian Williams is on fire. His recent use of photos, his generous sharing of both personal political opinion and his prescriptions for meds on top of his daily writing routine are all something I admire.

I write here to write. Ross said to me it exposes something about a need for attention and he may well be right. There is also, however, something about the exercise of writing in itself. For me, Ian makes that something work.


Some of the best writing I have ever read on the web is that of A.A. Gill, the restaurant reviewer in the Style section of the Sunday Times of London. I had stopped reading it for the last few years due to the paper’s use of a survey blocking immediate access to their site. I found him again today without the required layer of personal data extraction.    Gill’s most recent review contains the following passage:

A good cheese trolley was driven by an authentically Japanese-ish person. Now there’s no reason why a Japanese shouldn’t be allowed to drive French curds without supervision, except that the Japanese think fermented milk is more disgusting than licking hospital sheets.


[I am going to find my saved copy of the text of his article on being “heterogay” from the late 1990’s and link to it here later.]  Later. I have found it and I am renewed.


I was delayed on my drive to work this morning by a parade of soldiers in battle fatigue marching up Princess Street past Market Square here in Kingston. D-Day ceremonies. It reminded me that when I was a kid in the early 70’s, Dad’s church in the Annapolis Valley still had WWI vets. In Scotland I would visit my great-uncle John Dobie who had delayed shell shock from his time in the trenches. I have a postcard photo of him in his battle kit from 1917. Later, when I was in highschool, the D-Day vets were my buddies older uncles all in their late 50’s having a Ten Penny waiting for their burgers to be ready on a Saturday afternoon on the deck. Now – 59 years after that day – they are in their early 80’s and fewer and farther between.

Dad once told me about meeting a guy in a nursing home in Dartmouth in the late 80’s who was Nova Scotia Highlander in Normandy. [I think of him as Buddy MacDonald as over 37% of all Nova Scotia Highlanders were actually called Buddy MacDonald.] On the first day after Juno Beach, the lads who Hitler apparently referred to as “the Ladies from Hell” had advanced so far against the SS that they were told to halt to let the rest of the Allies catch up. His position was actually dug in beside the Germans line and he could see that the Germans troops were in their mid-teens. The officers were beating them with rifle butts to keep them to hold where there were. The beatings got worse and worse over 24 hours. Buddy couldn’t handle it so when a particularly nasty and very high ranking officer showed up and threatened the cowering kids in grey, Buddy put a bullet in his temple. The German line collapsed and the Allies advanced. Reminds me who won the war. The Buddies and Ivans and Tommies and GIs. Think of one if you see one.

Owen Sound

On the road writing from the Owen Sound Library here on the shores of Georgian Bay. Not as grand a trip as this or this but you do what you can.It’s grannie-in-law’s 87 and, as she has been a mad hockey fan since before she attended the opening night of Maple Leaf Gardens, it is a good time to be among the caring and knowledgable given Ottawa’s loss of last night. Mrs. Penny is a cousin to Ken an Dave Dryden [1st,R1], Murray Murdoch [3rd], Andy Blair [1st] – who got her Leafs tickets throughout the 30’s – and the Syl Appses Sr. [2nd], Jr.[2nd,R1], III [2nd,R2]and the up and coming Gillian [2nd,R2] all via the one but mi’chty Dryden clan [of which Peter Rukavina is a member and suffers from my fifth cousin in law status.] EP knows her stuff.

Owen Sound is as perfect a small city as I have ever seen. A park in the middle where the river splits the town. A small working port with a car ferry to the North Shore of Lake Huron. A diversity of churches including a corner lot for the Christian Scientists where formerly Lutherans and Temperence Unionists met. An OHL team and a great farmer’s market where I should be now buying asparagus for the pahtay.

PS: Did I tell you she and I did B-52’s on the night the Blue Jays won the World Series?

Logs, Diaries and ‘Zines

Has Google jumped the shark? Every good IT company sooner or later does a odd thing which may herald a downturn of its fortunes. Didn’t Xerox give away windows in the late 60’s because it would never work. Didn’t IMB give away the PC as, surely, no one could reverse engineer their stuff. Apple – well, Apple will overcome one day…

Google may have entered that lofty pantheon as it has started “Googlewashing” by which they are ridding searches of their bloggy results. Why they would care to is a bit understandable – it seems people want “real” answers not opinions on the topic they are looking for…so they go…to the internet. That hotbed of fact. Go figure. Beyond the problem of identification of the media it works within, how will Google know what to wash out of the search? What is a blog?

Some blogs are like the pre-webs topical ‘zines. After friends got married in 1995 or so, I realized I wanted a way to keep in touch collectively after everyone was married off. I started a photocopied ‘zine called “People Who Know Al” – one and a half issues made it to print before I took the on ramp to the information super highway and got email and a browser to call my own. Fellow travellers AOV and CEO Blues are pretty much interactive ‘zines on their relative topics of web related innovation and business theory. Others, like Ian William’s are pretty much a personal exploration through a diary. Still others, such as Tomalak’s Realm, continue the original links concept.

What I don’t get about Googlewashing is this – if I wanted to know what it was like to try and put a movie together, Ian William’s site would be a great resource. If I wanted to know what was new in web related things, AOV is a great resource. Apart from the hubris of believing that it should direct the web substantively based on its definition of what is a blog, what does Google think it is doing making it difficult to find one of the best things the internet does well – provide opinion.