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Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 14, 2006. Monday, August 14, 2006

Sounds like the SEC is wanting to re-invent RSS? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

News.com: "Few people really need 1 terabyte of storage. But it sounds cool--sort of like you could be running a ballistic missile tracking site in your den." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

David Weinberger: "If I had a nickel for every million dollar idea I've had, I'd be rich by now!" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Will we survive George Bush? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Every time George Bush opens his mouth I think of how many Americans are going to have to die to pay for that gaffe, and how many billions it's going to cost us to dig out of all the messes he's already created and the ones he's yet to create.

The latest, Lebanon, really was Israel's problem, but he's insisting on getting us on the hook for that one too. After helping get a cease-fire, working with France (bravo!), he says that Hezbollah was responsible for all the death and destruction, and they lost the war! Holy shit. Now we have to back that up? With what? More money and more death?

Everything we do seems predicated on the assumption that we have an infinite amount of money, and that an American (or British or Israeli) life is worth an infinite number of Muslim lives. We don't have an infinite amount of money, and an American life and an Arab life have exactly the same value.

Inspiration from new places Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm working my way through Ken Burns's documentary about baseball. As a lifelong fan of the sport, I've been learning a lot, filling in huge blanks in my knowledge of the history of the sport.

No one knows who invented baseball. An early commissioner of professional baseball, a man named Spalding, created a myth that a Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday invented it in Cooperstown, which is why the Hall of Fame is there, but it's not true. The game had already been invented when he supposedly invented it.

Babe Ruth wanted to be a manager, but for some reason they wouldn't let him. He spent his last year in Boston, playing for the Braves, that's where he hit the 714th home run. The Yankees must not have known how great Ruth was. His greatness is still something you can feel, so many years later. But he sat by the phone, in retirement, waiting for a call that would never come.

A very wise man said that baseball isn't a matter of life and death, but the Red Sox are. So true. That explains the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, imho.

A picture named robinsonStealingHome.jpgI come from a family of Brooklyn Dodger fans, on both sides, and having just watched episode 6 of the Burns series, I understand why this is a matter of great pride, because the Dodgers were the team that broke the race barrier in baseball. Of course I knew the basic facts, everyone who cares about baseball knows that Jackie Robinson was a great courageous player, but what I didn't know is that, according to Arthur Ashe, they were, unequivocally, black America's baseball team, because of their act of greatness. But that's not the point of this piece.

What was remarkable to me was how this got to me emotionally. I'm white, not black, and in my lifetime baseball has always been integrated. Robinson wasn't just a great player in that he could hit and run, and was smart on the bases, he was a great man because he didn't play for himself as much as he played for his race. And they so desperately wanted to be part of our country, how they rose to the good news! The Negro League no longer was needed, as long as Jackie Robinson was playing on the Dodgers. It's just a feeling, there's so much love around the memory, and it's not even my memory, it's my parents memory, and their parents.

Then I thought of something that grabbed my heart in the same way, at Gnomedex earlier this summer. I didn't fully understand why until a few minutes ago, watching the story of Jackie Robinson.

Probably because it's a user conference and because Seattle is so close to British Columbia, this year there were lots of Canadians at Gnomedex. They're different from us, but you can't tell from looking at them, because they look exactly like us, unlike black people who usually have darker skin. That they're different is something I've come to appreciate, having spent considerable (for me) time in Canada over the last couple of years. They don't seem to mind that we think they're just like us, but they don't feel that we're just like them.

A picture named kaliya.jpgAnyway, the last day of Gnomedex happened to fall on Canada Day, and in celebration, Chris and Ponzi brought out a big cake and the Canadians rose, and sang their national anthem, Oh Canada. I had heard it before, but never in its entirety and for some reason this time it really grabbed me. Patriotism is moving, even when it's not your patriotism. Maybe even more so, because it doesn't get all mixed up with personal stuff, you get to experience love of country through someone else's eyes, and it's really beautiful. But then I saw a friend of mine from Berkeley, Kaliya Hamlin, standing, and singing. I had to look twice and think, and then I remembered, she's Canadian! That's right. I'll never forget that image, Kaliya is tall and strong, opinionated, a bit nutty (in a nice way), a leader, and underneath it all, she's even more different from me than Jackie Robinson was, because she's patriotic to a different country, and Robinson and I are both from the United States.

We can be very different from each other, and loyal to what makes us different, as Robinson was to his race, and Kaliya to her country, but then that devotion can be an inspiration even if you aren't black and aren't a Canadian.


Last update: Monday, August 14, 2006 at 11:44 PM Pacific.

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