On commenting, Fflwff's claws in my arse and dream blogs

by Suw on May 14, 2003

I have the option of either finishing off today’s work now and not having to do it in the morning, or procrastinating by reading some blogs and writing my own. Difficult choice. I think you can tell which path I’m taking.

I couldn’t resist commenting Joho The Blog’s blog. (Is he like Jones the Coal?) It seems that the American government, its collective IQ having been flushed down the pan a long time ago by Bush’s fanaticism, gave the FBI the power to “the power to search your library and book-buying records without probable cause of any crime or intent to commit a crime” in the Patriot Act.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting back with a campaign to restore American’s right to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover in private without hoards of agents descending upon them and accusing them of commie pinko leanings. Oops, sorry, wrong decade. But you get the point.

I remember reading a while back, when our very own Quasident (like a president but with a browner nose and less spine) was hoping to push through similar legislation to allow any ol’ Dick, Dickwit or Dickless Idiot civil servant to plough through our emails in search of incriminating evidence, that it is in practice impossible to gain any useful information out of such a large amount of data.

It doesn’t matter how swanky you think your algorithms are, we send so much shite by email every second that there just isn’t the processing power available to sieve it all for useful information, even if it was possibly to identify which information would be useful, which it isn’t. The chances of the government finding out anything crucial via data mining are about as good as the chances of NASA ever being able to tell the difference between centimeters and inches.

I can’t help but assume the same is true of trying to data-mine America’s reading list.

The Patriot Act, like so much of Bush’s policy these days, seems less to do with what’s good for the country, and everything to do with him trying to prove that his bollocks are bigger than anyone else’s. Why the fuck can’t someone neuter him? Please? You’ll be doing us all a favour. Maybe if someone snuck up on him during the night and gave him a hefty dose of oestrogen that might do a similar trick.

Anyway, a blog I found at random today was LastManDancing, which is well worth reading, and not only for the tasty cat.

Talking of cats, is there anyway to untrain a cat? Fflwff has developed some very bad habits over the last year and I have no idea how to persuade her to cease her activities. I think it’s because I’m permanently here and therefore permanently available for harassment. I think I’ve mentioned that when she wants me to do something, she creeps up behind me and sinks her claws in my arse in order to get my attention. And I think I’ve mentioned that it works every fucking time.

She’s also now perfected the ‘claw scraping down blackboard’ tactic, substituting the front door for the blackboard but pretty much capturing that teeth-jarringly painful sound quite accurately. Again, I leap to attention because it’s less painful than trying to make her wait.

Finally, as a way of asking to go out she’s started scratching at the carpet by the front door. That’s only if she can’t be arsed to come and puncture mine, of course. I am trying really hard to deal with that one. I can cope with the scars on my butt, and having my entire jaw set on edge by nasty squeaks, but I have £1200 tied up in bond on this place and I do not want my landlord docking cash for a ruined carpet when it comes time to move out.

I should nail something over the offensively frayed section of carpet. I suspect that something should be Fflwff.

Finally, I’ve been thinking a bit recently about people that I wished would blog. Top of my list would be Steven Pinker. I think he’d write a great blog. I really liked Words and Rules and The Language Instinct, both of which have really given me a useful insight into the learning of languages and the way in which our minds work when processing language. Indeed, I’ve been intending for the last year or so to plough through them both and pull out some of the more practical points, and apply them to Get Fluent, but I’ve not had the chance. Another task to go on the end of a frighteningly long list.

I’d also like to see Elliott Smith blog, but I would guess that he's too self-effacing to blog. I suspect that if the idea were ever suggested to him he'd look slightly agog and then explain that he didn’t have anything remotely interesting to say. If only he’d just blog and let us be the judge of that!

(Actually, I’m convinced I have nothing remotely interesting to say either, but I don’t let a little niggle like that stop me. I figure all writing is good practice, and besides, I’m really getting into my stride with this blog thing now.)

Finally, it would have been amazing if Douglas Adams had ever blogged. Such an amazing talent, such wit and perspicacity. A huge loss, even now. There’s no doubt his blog would have been a work of wonder, awe and the kind of immense, cavernous, belly-rippling laughter that results in pulled muscles and gasping for breath.

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