Speaking of courtesy

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The Happy Tutor has written a longish weblog posting regarding my earlier posting, The Lost Art of Courtesy.

Happy writes:

I wonder, though, BB, are courteous blogs “scaleable”? If we want to reach an audience of 10-20 personable losers, and we all constantly comment on each other’s posts, then it would be cozy, but closed. Let’s say that 400-4,000 people read a blog, could the author possibly be “courteous” to all, going to their blog, and exchanging bland comments and notes?

Sigh. I never know with Happy Tutor postings whether he’s agreeing with me, or disagreeing with me. Should I respond to the Happy Tutor persona, who disagrees with agreement, compliments that which is to be despised? Or should I respond to the person behind the Happy Tutor persona, who has real opinions and real thoughts.

If I’m in a playful mood, I’ll usually respond directly to Happy, and fun is had by all. However, when I’m in a more thoughtful or somber mood, I find the persona to be irritating.

Are blogs online simply to be overheard? Or are they an extraordinarily exhibitionistic way to maintain a small social network? If you want to exchange pleasantries with a few friends, why not use email or a listserv? Why post personal conversations where millions could read and where every banal remark will be permanently archived in Google or the Wayback Machine? Why not keep a paper diary and circulate it by snail mail to your friends, and have them do the same?

Weblogging – Open door communities, with no borders or boundaries. Does this scale? Who gives a shit.

Now, Happy – you want more, knock at my door, and as password give your name and true opinion, and we’ll talk.

Political Technology

Bush-Cheney-Gates: We are watching you

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Dave Winer can sometimes be over the top at times (in truth, so can I), but he’s not far off the mark when he writes“…foreclosure. That’s what MS is doing with everything we hold dear.”.

What Dave’s talking about is Palladium, Microsoft’s newest innovation.

What’s it all mean? Well, think about that machine you’re using to look at this post. Now think of it modified to include a “security chip” that will most likely, among other things, have a unique identifier that lets anyone know, anyone, where you’ve been and what you’ve done with your machine. In addition, that nice open protocol that you used to gain access to the Internet? Well, kiss it good-bye and see it replaced with something developed under the benevolent auspices of Microsoft.

This is the worst piece of technology-related news I’ve heard in a long time. This is also an example of how corporations can manipulate the US while the American citizens are hiding with their heads in the sand.

While we give Bush et al high marks for “doing a good job”, our beloved president and his gang are selling this country to the highest bidder – in this case, Bill Gates and Microsoft. And as we let the Bush gang manipulate and discard the Constitution and our freedoms in order to wage “war on terrorism”, so now we’re allowing Microsoft do the same to wage war on hackers.


Microsoft’s Palladium: A new security Initiative
Palladium: Microsoft’s Big Plan for the PC
Who trusts Microsoft’s Palladium? Not me
Microsoft Security: Will it be different this time?
Cringely: I told you so
The Big Secret
Why Intel loves Palladium

Diversity Just Shelley

Older, Taller, Richer, Wiser

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

My divorce has been final for over a year, which means I feel that it’s now “safe” for me to consider dating again. And as much as I think my weblogging male friends are the most wonderful, sexiest, interesting people in the world, I don’t want to snuggle up to a warm monitor on a Saturday night.

Dating again – this is something I haven’t done since I was in my 20’s, and I’m not sure what’s changed since then and now. What are the rules today? Do women ask men out? Who pays? Is the first date too soon for…

…holding hands?

(What did you think I’d say, you nasty minded folk.)

Years ago it was all so much less complicated – women simply followed the older, taller, richer, and wiser rule.

Men are Older

If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, who’s the older – the woman or man? Chances are very good that the man is the older, a trend that transcends cultures.

Back in olden times, the rule of the man being older than the woman made sense; after all, women tended to die younger due to childbirth and attendant complications. Additionally, men were considered unstable when they were younger, and women wanted a man who had “sown the oats” – was ready to settle down and be a good provider, father, and mate.

However, today, women have more control over childbirth and statistically have a longer lifespan than men. In addition, women come into their peak sexually at an older age, men at a younger age.

So, based on these considerations, should I be dating a younger man? Or should I continue with the tried but true older man? How about a man exactly my age?

(Scratch the last one – limiting myself to men who are exactly my age is going to decrease the available selection rather harshly, and being a woman in my 40’s already makes me more likely to be hit by a meteor than to meet someone more intelligent than an amoeba.)

I’m not interested in dating men who are ready to retire to the rocking chair; however, the thought of dating someone much younger leaves me cold. What’s a fair age difference today – plus or minus ten years? Twenty? Should I just be happy that they’re still breathing?

Of course once the issue of age is resolved, next comes…

Men are Taller

As far back as recorded history, men have historically been taller than women – at least within western civilization. Genectic selectivity most likely ensured this as women looked for men who are physically capable of protecting them as well as performing the manual toil necessary to support them.

Of course, as with the issue of age, men being taller – or stronger – than a woman is no longer the necessity it once was. Who needs protection through a man when one has a warm gun, to quote the Beatles. Still, old habits die hard.

Now, height isn’t necessarily as much of an issue as age because the average height of a woman is 5’8″ tall, the average height of a man is 5’10”. However, this is changing. Over the last two generations the average height for men has remained relatively stable while women’s has been increasing. The Age of the Amazon is upon us.

Of course, with me, the Age of the Amazon is already here – I’m 5’11” tall. In other words, I’m taller than the average guy. (Please, no jokes such as, “How’s the rain up there” – I’ve been known to spit on people and say “Not bad. How is it down there?”)

Rather than lurking about professional Basketball player locker rooms, I decided to do away with the “man must be taller” years ago. Just too many interesting guys who were shorter than me. Of course, the gentleman in question must also be beyond worries and considerations of being shorter than the woman – I wonder if this is more likely than me being hit by a meteor?

Men are Richer

When I was younger, the thing among us young babes was to marry a “successful” young man someday, have 2 kids, station wagon, dogs, the whole bit. Then we got older, and a hell of a lot smarter, but the image of “marrying success” still seems to linger here and there in and amidst different cultures.

The necessity of marrying well is very understandable when you consider that in the US, as with most countries, women were restricted in regards to profession as well as ownership of property. For the most part, women worked as teachers, maids, or prostitutes. Additionally, women were considered property of father, brother, or husband. If a woman had wealth through her father, it became the property of her husband when they married, or was managed by a male relative if the woman was single.

The best a woman could hope for was marrying a man who didn’t beat her, who could support her and the children, and didn’t screw around in front of her.

As the song says, the times they are a changing. Now both men and women look to marry well so that they can have twin BMWs parked in the driveway to impress the neighbors.

For myself, I’d rather date a man who’s interesting and fun to talk to than one who’s rich. And I’m more than willing to pay my own way on a date – as long as the guy assures me that we won’t be hit by a meteor while we’re out and about.

Men are Wiser

Discussing the classic work, The Tale of Genji, Jonathon writes:

Genji’s friend To-no-Chujo tells of a lover who bore him a daughter but who, ironically, lost his affection through being too meek and accommodating. The ideal woman, they conclude, “does not try to display her scanty knowledge in full,” nor does she “scribble off Chinese characters,” rather she shows taste and restraint and is prepared to “feign a little ignorance.”

A thousand years later, and not a lot has changed – the concept of dumbing down in order to attract guys was far too common when I was in school; the fact that women are disproportionally under-represented in the hard sciences today leads me to believe that this nasty little rule still lurks about.

Frankly, I’d rather curl up against a warm monitor for the rest of my life than to dumb down to attract a guy. End of story on this one.


Since the reliable older, taller, richer, and wiser rule just doesn’t work for me, I guess I’ll have to settle for dating people because of who they are rather than what category they fall into. It may not be as simple, but at least it promises not to be boring.

Of course, I could always get hit by a meteor, first.