I came across this in a newsletter from the American Booksellers Association that was in today’s e-mail. It’s a long but interesting essay by the author Sarah Paretsky, of the V I Warshawski novels, all about current events and the Patriot Act from her point of view as a writer, called Truth, Lies and Duct Tape.

Here’s a representative quote:

At the same time that he is relentlessly pursuing the nation’s readers, the Attorney-General has blocked all efforts to track gun ownership. Perhaps the NRA can adopt a new slogan: guns don’t endanger America, books do.

If you aren’t watching Joan of Arcadia, you need to please do that.Joan of Arcadia Do it for me, OK? It’s one of those shows we love like Cupid or Mr. & Mrs. Smith that always gets cancelled because CBS and ABC can’t pick a demographic, while the worst most lamest shit runs on NBC and Fox for seasons eternal. Let me put it this way, Friends, Dr. Phil, CSI, and Survivor don’t need your help.

Here’s a sample quote from god:

“Humility isn’t actually humility unless you’re good enough at something to be humble.”

Tonight was interesting, in that ‘different is interesting’ sort of way. The town we live in had gotten it into their heads that they should have a ‘Historic Design Review Process’ for Our humble abode.certain areas around our ‘historic’ downtown Auburn area, and our street accidentally got included.

Well, that’s all well and good. It’s cool that Auburn, California is associated with the gold rush and Sutter’s Mill and all that, and that we have a lot of really interesting old neighborhoods with older houses. We actually bought our house because the street we live on reminds me of the Iowa neighborhoods I grew up in, with things like trees that arch out over a narrow street and having a big front porch.

But what they were trying to do was divvy up the city into ‘historic preservation districts’ that would be zoned in such a way that you’d have to go before a design committee for such simple things as what color you could paint your house. One of the reasons we bought this crappy old run-down house, other than the fact that we loved the street and the porch and the school up at the corner was that we aren’t under any kind of CC&Rs or part of any homeowners group. We do as we darn well please and bitch about it to each other and fix the worst of it, just as God herself intended.

So me and five of our closest neighbors and about 50 other people from the affected ‘historical districts’ showed up tonight for the city planning commission meeting, people spoke well, and we actually got it (unanimously) voted down. (Phew.)

I said a lot of things, mostly about how arbitrary it was for a task force to hand pick historic zoning areas, and what was considered historic. I think my main point was that there’s a big difference between an 1890s Victorian where a President slept, and someone who’s dealing with trying to fix up a crappy old house.

Now, I should be quick to point out that since we have replaced the oil-burning furnace and electric water heater with all new gas, replaced all of the plumbing including the sewer, installed an attic fan, replaced the siding, put in a new kitchen, and remodeled the bathroom to include a bathtub, our house is considerably less crappy. We kinda love it now.

I lost one of my favorite radio stations last week. It was kind of a bizarre thing anyway – the same radio station had a deal where they appeared a half a MHz apart on the FM, and they advertised it as ‘pick whichever one comes in best,’ but they both came in the same here, and they were playing different songs. Anyway, in a fit of passion, I reprogrammed the six buttons on my car radio to mostly oldies and classic rock, so now the earworms are things like Phil Collins and Lionel Richie, which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, compared to ‘these five words in my head scream, “Are we having fun yet?”‘ 24/7.

But add to that that Mrs. Asparagus Pee has gotten me hooked on reading a 500 page novel called Fingersmith about a young 19th century girl from London who grew up among thieves and gets embroiled in an elaborate plot with all kinds of interwoven stuff going on, and I don’t even know who I am anymore. (Please help me… Send money, buy me a beer, and watch Joan of Arcadia. Please do something.)

So I got sucked into downloading Mozilla’s Firbird 7.0 today, and finally got it to work. Turns out whenever I’ve tried to use it, it’s because someone blog-popular has highly promoted it, like today, and when I try to start it for the first time, it tries to download the webpage that everyone is trying to download it from, so it appears to lock itself up for like two and a half minutes at 1.44 Mbit broadband. I thought it wasn’t going to work at all.

OK, so I love that it’s not Microsoft, but here’s the deal breaker: I have a Dell laptop with a Synaptics touchpad that has become an extension of my index finger, and Firebird doesn’t scroll the window when I drag my finger down the side of the pad. That’s the kiss of death for me – can’t use it… doesn’t work.

Now MyIE2 is interesting – I’m not sure I appreciate the efficacy of tabbed pages yet, but it’s quick and it seems to have nice features. My big complaint with it was that it seemed to go too far the other way. Whenever I called it up, I’d try to scroll by dragging my finger, but the focus went first to the URL object and I’d end up scrolling down to some web page that came up seemingly by itself that was not work appropriate, but I think I’ve found a fix for that in one of the setup options, so Bill had better look out (like you need to worry when you have enough money to bail us out on Iraq with a good forward-looking investment strategy).

Links you say? Oh, very well, why not?

Here’s Colin Powell’s top aide a former Iraqi weapons expert telling us that he was in on misleading the American public into war: Colin’s in on it too? Boy, sometimes poor ol’ Dubbya just can’t buy a break.

Turns out my night-owl hate of the break of day may be genetic: Why Some of Us Are Early Risers.

Or this one, about creative people being easily distracted (guilty as charged): Latent Inhibition & Creativity.

Or what $87 Billion really means? How much was that again? Really?

Or this amazing essay on ‘power?