Technology Weblogging


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I like Movable Type’s trackback, but the problem with it is that now there’s two areas whereby the popularity of a posting is judged – the comment count AND the trackback count.

If a posting is a zip-zip, should it just quietly fold its tent, wonder off into the desert – the dog seeking an elegant death? Or is the posting so powerful, graceful, and eloquent that the readers are literally struck silent by the sheer beauty of it.

(In this crowd? Are you kidding? The only way to strike this crowd silent is to hit them with a 2 x 4.)

This same issue comes to mind with ThreadNeedle – the very fact that you register a posting with ThreadNeedle implies that you think the posting is strong enough to generate comment, but what happens when the weather’s nice, the readers are lazy, and you score zip. If you use Movable Type and allow comments, your score would then be:


Geez, only the strongest and most confident personality could survive this with ego unscathed.

This is changing one of my overall views of how to incorporate ThreadNeedle into a weblog. What I did NOT want from ThreadNeedle was another measure of ‘popularity’, which I dislike.

Thanks to Ben and Mena for the cool new technology. Also thanks for opening my eyes to a potential new problem with ThreadNeedle.

(Should I track this? Huh? Huh? Should I? Should I? Go ahead, you know you want to…)

Political Social Media

Verbal weaponry in the war against terrorism

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I knew something was up when I kept getting all these hits from Josh Trevino’s weblog. Seems Josh has been using me for an adjective again.

(I do seem to generate all these strong feelings, don’t I? How nice to know that I generate such love/hate – leaves me all warm and tingley all over, as if I’ve been rubbed down with a loofah sponge, or licked with a particularly rough tongue.)

Since Josh was kind enough to open up a conduit to this weblog from the bible totin, gun packin, flag wavin, war lovin, All American crowd, I thought that now would be the ideal time for me to roll out the first installment of The Bird’s Tips to being a Good American: Verbal Weaponry in the War Against Terrorism.

Before proceeding with the tips, it’s essential that you keep one thing in mind – a Good American has a duty to find and root out evil; to correct the misinformed; to stifle disagreement; and to do all that’s possible to prevent the weakoning of America’s resolve in this our War Against Terrorism.

Now, pay attention:

Tip 1: Never whisper when you can shout

Never use clash, when you can use near-riot. Never use near-riot, when you can use riot. Try to work violence into the mix if you can.

Whatever degree of adjective is used by the neutral, up the ante by adding at least five decibles (plus or minus) of noise when describing the event.

Don’t leave your audience confused about possible viewpoints and opinions – if you yell loud enough, they won’t be able to hear themselves think, a state preferred for Good Americans.

Tip 2: Never retreat – Attack! Attack! Attack!

When your opponent uses reason, use passion. When your opponent disagrees, no matter how gently, use extreme prejudice and take him or her down. Grab the person by the privates, trash them, bash them, and make them bleed. Verbally, of course.

If you respond mildly to another’s writing, your reading audience may assume that the person has a legitimate opinion. This might lead to your audience listening with an open mind. Do not allow this! Good Americans do not have Open Minds.

An Open Mind might lead to people questioning the government’s current actions, and other subversive, dangerous activities.

Tip 3: Degrade and Mock

The most effective weapon against respect is to degrade and mock. This is also an effective way to make the opponent seem less human, and therefore less sympathetic.

If you feel you’re losing the battle, resort to a personal attack, and don’t forget to add a sneer to your voice – do a good job and you get bonus points.

Tip 4: What facts?

Why use fact when innuendo will do?. Nothing better than a cold rumor presented as argument stated as heresay published as fact.

As a precaution, use one of the following phrases to cover your butt:

– could be
– rumor to the effect
– a reader passed this one to me but I haven’t been able to substantiate it yet
– someone ought to look into this
– it seems to me
– where there’s smoke…
– I was there

And if you’re caught out, say “…I’m just a weblogger expressing my opinion”. Works everytime.

Tip 5: If you’re not Pro, you’re Anti – If you’re not with us, you’re ag’in us

This one is my personal favorite because it’s practically indefensible. If a person says, “Well, I don’t support all of Israel’s moves”, you label them anti-Semitic or pro-terrorist. If the person doesn’t support Bush or Ashcroft, you call them a bleeding heart liberal and anti-American. If the person just plain disagrees with you, call them a moron or an idiot (interchange these or people will catch on that you’re using a script – note this is interchangeable with Tip 3).

And if the person says “I want to understand all the issues”, then you bring out the big guns and say (all together class, you know what’s coming):

Moral Equivalency!

Since no one knows exactly what “moral equivalency” is, they can’t fight the term, and you can’t be sued. Slick, eh?

That’s it for the tips. Study them. Use them.

Sadly for all Good Americans, there is one defense against all of these verbal weapons, and this was provided by Mike Sanders, a long time ago, in a universe that’s now far far away:

It is impossible to be objective about ourselves. Others can see things that we never can. If we want to improve our writing and thinking it is helpful to be judged by others. If what they say is valuable, we can apply it. If it is without merit, we can ignore it.

Remember: Only You can prevent Moral Equivalency



Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

DSL is still a problem. The phone company will be coming out to test for a short in the line, and I’m on modem until then.

Also working on ThreadNeedle, which I want to finish and put out so that others can grab and manipulate and improve. Big whoop.