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Tuesday, 05/31/05

Kottke's review of Primer is only slightly more effusive than mine would be if I'd written one. I watched it twice and I'm still puzzled by a few small elements (who was it that "wanted it more"?) but I was impressed and a little thrilled by the quality of the dialogue. There's almost nothing said between Abe and Aaron that doesn't have the intimate, shorthand quality of two people who are deeply invested in a shared technical project, and the ability to craft a scary, challenging story out of those elements is a virtuoso achievement all by itself.

I loved Memento, against which comparisons are inevitable but inapt. Primer's recursive complexity makes Memento look like baby's first möbius strip. Here's your Netflix link. 10:42AM «

Monday, 05/23/05

Via Josh Marshall, an excerpt from the jolly "Dobson fatwa":

"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. [...] The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals."

What a maroon -- disingenuous constitutionality chatter aside, it's almost as if he doesn't have any wonky staffers around to tell him, you know, Scalia was confirmed on a 98-0 vote, and Rehnquist, at 68-28, was still filibuster-proof. In fact, if they'd had Rehnquist's numbers today, the GOP could have changed the filibuster rules by the book, with one vote to spare.

On the other hand, if Janice Rogers Brown does get confirmed as a result of this deal, I'm going to be less happy with it, not least because she'll wind up on my very own ninth circuit. Mark Schmitt has two writeups touching on Brown's highly distinctive worldview, here and here, both recommended by myself. 10:25PM «

Sunday, 05/22/05

Dan Senor

Google hired Dan Senor as VP of communications. According to Search Engine Watch, Senor "recently served as advisor to the US presidential envoy in Iraq", which is a polite way of saying he was a PR apparatchik, paid by my government to go on my television and feed me happy lies. I have come to associate his triangular, brush-cut head with an unceasing stream of bullshit. He's Ari Fleischer without the charm.

It's understandable for Google to avoid Microsoft's experience of neglecting Washington until circumstances forced them to build a lobbying operation overnight, but hiring this guy is a repulsive move. 11:22AM «

Friday, 05/20/05

Several factors compel me to clean up my primary drive, in an attempt to satisfy a complex backup scheme that metaphorically resembles squeezing into a sport coat not worn in a decade. One of the signs that I have put off this process for too long is an Excel document, in the top level of my home directory, dated 1/22/05 and named "Workbook3.xls". It consists of exactly one worksheet, which contains the following data on consecutive lines:

Buckle my shoe

Naturally, I have no idea what it's doing there. Explanations seem unlikely, but would be welcome, especially from anyone with ready access to my laptop. 03:53PM «

Monday, 05/02/05

Netflix's "Friends" feature recently saw a quiet upgrade, allowing your reciprocal friends to see your whole queue, and highlighting recent additions and ratings. Because you still can't view your own account's Friends page (a feature that existed in testing but was pulled before launch), people on your list have better insight into your recent activity than you do.

There's also a nifty consolidated view of all of your friends' ratings, optionally constrained to recent decisions, or to particular star ratings.

I like the changes, but they seem likely to constrict the range of people with whom making Friends is appropriate. Netflix upped the ante on Kellan's early prediction of "an increasing disconnect between what people rate high, and what they watch", which he made when your Friends were only aware of movies you'd explicitly rated. Now, if you go on a Baywatch binge, there's no hiding it from your compañeros.

I went through my queue looking for anything I'd be ashamed to disclose, scrubbing the Attack of the Clones bonus disc and a couple of movies I'd already seen. So, now that I'm ideologically correct, if you've got a Netflix account and we've ever discussed a movie, I believe I'm man enough to put you on my now-more-invasive-than-ever friends list. Send me a note.

(Update: I made that Baywatch reference before doublechecking, and it appears Netflix only stocks one Baywatch production, a movie made years after the show ended. How peculiar that the series isn't on DVD. It was number one in the world for a few years -- not that I saw any of it, of course, at least after Erika Eleniak left.) 09:44AM «

Sunday, 05/01/05

From Frank Rich's current column, a story that will undoubtedly be labeled apocryphal by future generations:

[Leading up to the 2004 election, the] right had Bo Derek, Pat Boone and Jessica Simpson, who, upon meeting the secretary of the interior, Gale Norton, congratulated her for doing "a nice job decorating the White House."

OMFG. 09:03PM «

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