Saturday, January 10, 2004

Here are some of the things people have searched for when reaching my blog:

Valerie Plame Photo [it's here, by the way]
Cafe Tulip Prague
skynet CORE
"Barrandov" "Hollywood"
svetlana ceca+sex
what is koblihy [on Ask Jeeves]
my friend's wedding party in kurdish
jim lowney photographer
"leon weiseltier"
blogspot "blackout"

There were some funnier ones yesterday but I forget what they were. There's also the weird, weird fact that yesterday somebody was accessing the site from the GMT -2 time zone, which as far as I can tell includes only Fernando de Noronna island off Brazil, the South Georgie and South Sandwich Islands, and Eastern Greenland.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I probably won't be blogging today either, but I do have one little announcement to make, which is that I've been formally invited to join the group blog Fistful of Euros, which by the way is up for a Koufax Award (looks like an award given out annually to left-leaning political bloggers) in the Group Blog category.

On MTV you can "click for 'Chasing Liberty' photos" to see a shot of Mandy Moore riding down Jilská (or is it Husová?) on the back of a scooter. This was the silly teen movie I blogged about a few times last year. It shot here in Prague and used to be called "First Daughter," but another movie in production took that name first. The film is completely and utterly inconsequential.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Clark closes in...: "Dean still tops the Democratic field in the national survey, at 24%, but the 21-point lead he held over Clark less than a month ago has narrowed to just 4 percentage points, within the poll's margin of error."

Hot damn!
Minimal blogging today. (I'm now on two types of antibiotics, in case you care.)

Did anybody else notice how all the Beagle 2 dudes look like they still listen to Credence Clearwater Revival?

Oh, I wrote something for Fistful of Euros about the Czech Communists.

And while I don't agree with every word of The New Republic's endorsement of Joe Lieberman -- Lieberman's always sort of given me the creeps -- they're right about the direction the American Democratic Party is heading.

Political quote of the day, from Kevin Drum on Calpundit:

When liberals talk about their goals they talk about what they really want. When George Bush talks, he hides his goals behind surprisingly liberal rhetoric. What does that say about which direction the country is really going? And how long do you think conservatives can keep it up before their carefully erected facade disintegrates?
That's why you have to read conservative blogs to get an honest sense of how George Bush really thinks.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Via Dougie, it's the one and only Olšanské námìstí web cam!!!
I might as well post this on my blog. Tulip Cafe is looking to fill two kitchen positions, one head chef and one sous chef. For the first position, I'm looking for somebody who has several years of experience running a kitchen and can really prepare nice food (i.e. better than Tulip's average). For the latter, a fair amount of kitchen experience combined with skills and enthusiasm will do the trick. If you know anybody's who's interested, or even if you just have some suggestions of where to look, drop me a line at scott - AT - tulipcafe - DOT - cee-zee.
Josh Marshall has a excellent, far-reaching post up, written yesterday, about the frustration of trying to engage in debate with people who have no desire to engage in any sort of serious discussion. (I was accused of something similar in my comments section recently, by the way, and I sort of pleaded guilty. But in the end, I responded.)

Take somebody like Mark Steyn, who wrote a polemic in The Daily Telegraph a few days ago that sounded nothing short of hysterical. ("How the West will win and continue to deny it")

Never mind events that have not yet occurred: we now live in a world where there is no agreement on events that have already happened.
Indeed. I wonder how that happened. Could it have anything to do with so many commentators (and politicians) on the Anglo-American right who deny certain facts that are staring us in the face -- or in the case of this guy, exploding in his face?

For example, last year I thought the Americans won an amazing military victory in Iraq; the European media, by contrast, thought the Yanks were bogged down in a bloody Vietnam-style quagmire from which there was no escape save ignominious retreat.
OK. Since we're having fun with straw arguments, here's one of my own.

Some of us read the papers and are concerned about what's going on in Iraq. Others on the lunatic right insist there's nothing to be concerned about, that Iraq is a completely safe and orderly, and that speaking of lawlessness and insecurity in Iraq is simply spreading the lies of the liberal media. Indeed, when these people write about "lawlessness" and "insecurity," they actually put these words in mocking quotation marks, as if both were make-believe.

Cute, huh? Except.... that's not a straw argument at all. Here's Steyn again, several paragraphs down:

Those do-gooders who fret about "lawlessness" and "insecurity" in Baghdad would be better off turning their attention to the United Kingdom: the demand of Radio 4's Today listeners for the entirely reasonable right to kill burglars reminds us that there are huge electoral rewards for a party willing to liberate the middle-class from Britain's social decay...
This appears in a British newspapers, so I reckon there's pretty good chance Telegraph readers have a better sense than I do of what the hell Steyn is talking about.

But let's be serious for a moment and compare apples to apples, shall we? Regardless of the state of Britain's alleged "social decay," Britain is not Iraq, a country that does indeed have a real problem with insecurity and lawlessness. Not "insecurity" and "lawlessness."

You knew that. So does Steyn. That's why this is not an argument. It's simply entertainment -- a pseudo-sermon aimed at a disturbingly large choir.
Aha! It came from Canada...

Blogger Question: When you post something on Blogger and click "Mark this post as a draft," what happens to the post? I have a nice little rant stored away, maybe, that I wrote a few days ago about BSE. But it seems Blogger's just swallowed it. Where's the beef??
Forbes.com: U.S. asks France to hunt airline terror suspect

Oh yeah right! As if France would ever lift a finger for us! France hates us and wants us all to die!

And just look at the byline. "Thierry Leveque." What a load of garbage. And they say there's no liberal media.
As you might have noticed, that Onion article "Mom finds out about blog" (the link to the article in the Onion archives is dead) just happened to me. Granted, I told them both my parents about it long ago, but I sort of figured they'd forgotten. So...

WARNING: This blog is NOT intended for parental consumption. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The Czech crown is at 25.6 against the dollar. That's incredible. When I moved here in 1996, it was 26 to the dollar. (It's crashed and hit 40 since then).
I really impressed the doctor today with my wheeze. He's a rather taciturn man (ironically named "Sasek" or "clown") who doesn't seem fazed by much, but when he listened to my chest and back with his stethoscope, he was all like, "Woah."

Monday, January 05, 2004

This is apparently old stuff, but I've been out of the loop. It's a report on September 11 Detainees' Allegations of Abuse at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York (not Damascus.) And it's a report from the Department of Justice, not Amnesty International.

In sum, we concluded, based on videotape evidence, detainees' statements, witnesses' observations, and staff members who corroborated some allegations of abuse, that some MDC staff members slammed and bounced detainees into the walls at the MDC and inappropriately pressed detainees' heads against walls. We also found that some officers inappropriately twisted and bent detainees' arms, hands, wrists, and fingers, and caused them unnecessary physical pain; inappropriately carried or lifted detainees; and raised or pulled detainees' arms in painful ways. In addition, we believe some officers improperly used handcuffs, occasionally stepped on compliant detainees' leg restraint chains, and were needlessly forceful and rough with the detainees...
While I wouldn't expect you to read the full report (I didn't -- too depressing), it's worth skimming the table of contents.

Link courtesy of Stickfinger, who rightly is especially outraged by the "T-Shirt with Flag and Slogan" section. Send these assholes to jail -- including everybody who stood by and did nothing. Instead the DOJ recommends "appropriate administrative action should be taken against those employees."
I have a dumb question for smart people. You know the ones, like Doug Arellanes or Geoff Goodfellow. What kind of internet connection should I get for Tulip Cafe? I don't need to do anything that can't be accomplished with a dial-up, but the problem is, I can't realistically use a dial-up without getting a second telephone line if I don't want to create all sorts of problems for customers that might want to make a reservation or pay with a credit card. I don't need streaming media and fast downloads. I just need access to email and the option of surfing blogs from my new (ahem) "office." (It's literally a closet.)

Goodfellow wrote a post in August that made me want to avoid Czech Telecom's ADSL offer like a rotten turnip, but I still wonder if that's not the best route to go -- or more likely, the only available option -- in my situation.

At home I have a UPC cable connection, and while it's generally accepted that their customer service sucks ass, I can't complain too much. The connection dies about once a week, but with patience, it always comes back. And it's only 1000 Kc. Price is very much a factor. Thing is, UPC is not available on Opatovicka.

Of course there are fancier options, like turning Tulip into a Wi-Fi hotspot. But that's something about which I know next to nothing.

Congratulations to Mr. Goodfellow, by the way, on selling his stake in Alcohol Bar. Wish I could be so lucky!

If I sound curmudgeonly it's because I'm deathly ill again. Wheezing, hacking up phlegm, fever, sore throat, can't sleep, moaning and groaning -- you know the drill. I'm not sure if I'm going to make it this time...