4/20/2002

Debating McKinney, take 2 A blogger named Atrios disagrees with me regarding Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Avedon Carol's defense of her. First, he defends the congresswoman's statement:

What the
[WaPo] article does, and what most people have done, is conflate two entirely separate points she makes, which she herself likely didn't mean to do. She says two basic things:

a) The administration likely knew something beforehand.

and

b) There are people who are close to the administration that stand to profit from the war on Terra.

It is only if you link these two things that her comments were potentially over the line. At least, over the line if she has no further evidence. In doing this, it makes it sound as if McKinney was saying the administration caused or let 9/11 happen in order to reap great profit. Though her radio remarks could be interpreted this way by a reasonable person, I admit, she didn't actually say it. And, her written statement makes quite clear what she meant.

I agree, her written statement does indeed make it quite clear what she meant. Let's go to the videotape, in particular this paragraph:

I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case. For example, it is known that President Bush's father, through the Carlyle Group had -- at the time of the attacks -- joint business interests with the bin Laden construction company and many defense industry holdings, the stocks of which, have soared since September 11.

McKinney is not saying that "people close to the administration stand to profit" from the war. She's suggesting that the President himself as well as members of his administration may be profiting from it. Putting aside the point that Presidents put their assets into a blind trust, the question of financial gain for those close to the administration is unavoidable and irrelevant. Of course people close to the administration will likely profit from the war effort. So what? What would you have had Bush do on September 12, say something like "Well, I'd really like to go after these guys for murdering three thousand of our citizens, but gosh darn it, my old frat brothers are a bit too heavily invested in Boeing and Morton Thiokol, so I guess we'll have to try sanctions for awhile until they can rebalance their portfolios"? Maybe McKinney would like to push for a Constitutional amendment that bars federal officials and everyone they know from holding defense-related stocks, as any military action would be subject to this line of questioning otherwise.

Given that, the subtext of McKinney's charge is that the administration went to war against our enemies because of the profit potential for themselves and their buddies. The rightness of our actions in destroying the Taliban and al Qaeda has nothing whatsoever to do with who might make a buck off of it. To suggest otherwise isn't just wrong, it's obscene. And of course, given that there were advance indicators of the attack, it's a short hop from McKinney's words to the wacky world of conspiracy theory, where Bush et al took action to ensure the attack so they could reap the bounty afterwards. Are you begininng to see why some people took exception to Rep. McKinney's statement?

It's also damaging to the cause of those Democrats who would like to challenge President Bush and his policies more forcefully. Now all the GOP has to do when someone questions the wisdom of attacking Iraq or the mushiness of Bush's Middle East stance is to point at McKinney to discredit what's being said. I made the same point about Samizdata when Dale Amon cited the loopy tax protester group We the People as part of his case against the US income tax. Aligning yourself with wackos and conspiracy theories does more damage to your credibility than good. McKinney has done no favors to legitimate dissent against Bush, which is why Democrats and liberals have rightly distanced themselves from her.

Atrios also thinks that government investigation is more likely to get to the truth of what we knew and when we knew it regarding the 9/11 attack. I actually do think that congressional committees will have a place, but I don't have a lot of faith in their abilities to do the initial legwork. I think they serve better when they're prosecutors rather than researchers. Let's face it: Any revelations about incompetance or interference prior to 9/11 are going to be deeply embarrassing to one party if not both. It's not in the interests of Congress to delve too deeply into that until they are forced to by facts brought to light by outsiders.

Finally, Atrios needs to read my point about Al Gore's oil connections more closely. I did not say that since Gore has oil money all of Bush's actions where oil is involved are excused from scrutiny. What I said was that Cynthia McKinney would not have tried to paint Al Gore as a cynical profiteer in the war on terror if he were president instead of Bush. McKinney was throwing red meat to her base by making unfounded statements about a boogeyman, just as Jerry Falwell used to do when he pitched a videotape which claimed that Bill Clinton was a murderer. It serves no purpose other than to score political points and to distract from the real issues.

The signal-to-noise ratio in politics is dismal enough already. We don't need Cynthia McKinney or anyone else making it worse.

4/19/2002

We must never forget Seven years ago today, a bomb exploded outside the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It killed 168 people, many of whom were children at the building's day care center, and injured hundreds more. At the time, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on Americal soil.

Like September 11, the attack was carried out by a small group of people with careful planning and low-tech equipment. Like September 11, the murderous rage, insane hatred, and utter indifference to human life of the attackers remains incomprehensible to us. Like September 11, the attack was intended as an attack on all of America, with the hope of eventually destroying America's government and society. Like September 11, the attackers failed to acheive this goal.

When news of the attack was first aired, many people thought it was the work of Middle Eastern terrorists. It wasn't. The attackers were American, part of a larger movement of militias, posses, freemen, sovereign citizens, and white supremacists who believed that the American "Zionist-Occupied Government" was dominated by Israel and that the "white race" was threatened by extinction due to racial mixing. Though this movement has declined in force, and though we don't hear much about them today because our attention has been focused outside our borders, they remain a threat. Many of them have expressed regret that they were not part of the September 11 attack, and are using that attack to recruit new members.

Seven years ago today, one hundred and sixty eight people who were going about their everyday lives were wiped off the planet by evil. We must never forget the events of that day and the people who were forever affected by them.

The building in which I work has several large monitors on the walls of the computer operations center. Most of the time these monitors display status and alert information about our many servers. On April 19, 1995, they were tuned to broadcast TV. We watched the scenes of devastation in slack-jawed horror. The only other time that these monitors have been used as televisions was September 11. I cannot tell you how much I hope and pray that they will never be used as televisions again.

In the aftermath of September 11, some Oklahoma City survivors spoke of feeling ignored, as vast charitable donations flowed into New York. Such emotions are surely understandable, but we must make sure they are never necessary. We owe them our remembrance.

There is an official memorial in Oklahoma City to remember its lost brothers and sisters. The Federal Highway Administration remembers the 11 employees it lost on that awful day. You can read a chronology of the events here, and you can read about our homegrown terrorists here. Take a look at this photograph and never ever forget April 19.

We will never forget. We must never forget.
Stupid Texas tricks updates The show may go on after all, as the cast of the now-cancelled showing of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is thinking about finding another place to perform. Break a leg, y'all!

Meanwhile, the Houston area's most famous Stupid White Man, Tom DeLay, is claiming that his remarks about Baylor and Texas A&M were taken out of context.

Last week, DeLay was tape recorded without his knowledge telling 300 people at Pearland's First Baptist Church not to send their children to Baylor or A&M. A male questioner had expressed frustration that major Texas universities do not teach creationism, and asked DeLay for advice.

The Chronicle published Delay's comments Thursday, prompting him to issue the following statement:

"My response to a concerned parent has created a misunderstanding. I was giving advice for the specific type of education they were seeking for their child. Let me make it Texas clear: I've been a longtime supporter of Baylor and Texas A&M. My daughter went to A&M and in Congress I've worked hard to help fund these two prestigious universities. I apologize for any misunderstandings my comments may have caused."

DeLay also urged the churchgoers to pressure state legislators to "throw the PC out and bring God in" at Texas public universities.

DeLay may have finally picked on a group that can fight back hard enough to damage him - Aggies. They have very little sense of humor about their school and its traditions, and they have long memories. Of course, they also tend not to vote Democratic, but maybe enough of them will sit out this year's election to give DeLay concern. It's nice to think about, anyway.

Oh, and if you read the whole article, you'll see that DeLay once attended Baylor but was kicked out for "extracurricular activities" and "too vigorous a social life." Naturally, he denies that this had anything to do with the animosity of his remarks.
Can I get a schmear with that? Read about my dad the bagel tester, as reported to our old hometown newspaper.

4/18/2002

Now that that's out of my system, I'll say something nice about Avedon Carol's weblog, which is certainly worthy of praise. This piece about why David Brock is credible is right on. I've had the same thought all along but never formulated it. Go read what she says, and read the rest of The Sideshow while you're at it.

One more reason to believe David Brock: David Horowitz is calling him a liar. (OK, that's a cheap shot...)
It's not what you say, it's how you say it Avedon Carol has been kind enough to mention my blog a couple of times lately, so I regret that my first mention of her blog is a disagreement. Regarding Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her much-criticized remarks about what the government knew or may have known about the September 11 attacks, Carol quotes from McKinney's statement and then says

The thing is, they are all legitimate questions. The suggestion of impropriety in the Bush family relationship to the Carlyle Group and the bin Ladens is certainly more compelling than the one that still obsesses the Republicans about the Rich pardon, but there shouldn't even be questions asked? The warnings from before September 11 are well known and were known at the time even to observant members of the public. The FBI itself has complained about being actively prevented both before and after 9/11 from investigating the bin Ladens - including Osama. And George Bush's arrogance toward other world leaders, both before the tragedy at the WTC and since then, has not exactly ameliorated world tension. He appears to be throwing away the victory in Afghanistan and to have exacerbated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I've heard it said that McKinney is just blaming "us" for the attacks on 9/11, but I seem to have missed the part where she says that. As far as I can see, it's pretty generally accepted that bad guys arranged for those planes to fly into those buildings, and those bad guys aren't "us" - there is no need to keep reiterating this. But if there was incompetence and neglect in Washington that left us unnecessarily vulnerable to actions against us by others (or even natural disasters), then we need to know about it and make sure it is corrected. The absence of an investigation is itself more neglect. In fact, it is astonishing that there is anyone who is resisting such an investigation - unless, of course, they actually have something to hide. If you don't believe me, just ask your insurance company how they feel about you leaving your car unattended with the doors open.

Once again: The people who planned and executed the 9/11 attacks are the ones who are responsible for the attacks. But if the administration's neglect resulted in leaving us more vulnerable and unable to prevent the attacks or the amount of damage they did, we need to know - and if it's true, than it's not "us" who is responsible for that neglect, it's them. I'm not George Bush and I take no responsibility for his arrogance and incompetence. After all, we didn't even elect this guy.

I've read McKinney's statement, and I've read the WaPo article which contains a few juicier quotes. I agree with Carol that McKinney asks some good questions, but I don't think a government investigation is needed to answer them. I'm quite sure there are plenty of reporters and writers who are looking into all of these questions and more, and should any of them find something damning to the Bush presidency, I've no doubt it will the top story for weeks. If there's one thing we did learn from the Enron investigation, it's that Congressional committees are more about facetime for the panel chairs than getting to the bottom of things. Our press corps is frequently and justly maligned here in blogland, but there are a lot of pros working out there, and an actual smoking gun would be a hell of a coup for one of them.

Beyond that, it's the way McKinney framed her charges. It's not that she's blaming "us", it's that she's charging deliberate negligence on the part of the administration for the purpose of enriching their cronies in the oil and defense industries. That's a pretty damn serious charge to make, and it's also a pretty damn disingenuous one. McKinney is playing the game of throwing out a lot of disjointed facts and suggesting that there must be some kind of intent behind them. It's not quite as sleazy as the Clinton Death List, assuming that all of the things she alleges are in fact true, but it's first cousin to it. There is such a thing as coincidence in this world, and what's more there is such a thing as simple incompetence. There are likely many reasons why intelligence about the 9/11 attacks didn't get to the right people, and why those people didn't take action when they did know. I'm willing to bet a fair amount that most of those reasons boil down to the old saw about never attributing to malevolence that which can be ascribed to stupidity.

(Again, this is not to say that the reasons shouldn't be looked into and the guilty parties, such as they are, held responsible. If some State Department flunky buried a memo or impeded the FBI, that person should be fired. If the problem goes higher than that, I have faith it will come out and the political price will be paid.)

And I said that McKinney's charge was disingenuous. I say that because I'm also willing to bet that Al Gore, who is no stranger to oil money himself, has friends and cronies in the same businesses that are profiting right now from the war and related buildup in defense spending. Politics is full of rich people, and many of them have a few questionable income sources in their pasts and presents. We here on the left-hand side of the equation frequently point out that the GOP loves to score points off Democratic misdeeds while overlooking the same peccadilloes when a fellow Republican is involved, so I have to ask: Would McKinney be saying the same thing if 9/11 had gone down as it did with Al Gore in the White House? I kinda doubt it.

If Cynthia McKinney had merely spoken about the need to understand all that we could about how we can prevent another 9/11, no one would be up in arms about it. That's partly because no one would have heard what she said, since that wouldn't have been particularly newsworthy. McKinney knew how to get attention, and she got it. The fact that she had something worthwhile to say doesn't mitigate the slimy way in which she said it.
Why piracy isn't the problem Britney Spears. Mariah Carey. Coming soon, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

And movie executives blame piracy for profit worries? Who in their right minds would pay any price for this crap?
Stupid Texas tricks, part deux The director and almost all of the cast of a Conroe production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" have quit after the theater's board of directors demanded that they trim naughty words out of the script. There were also concerns that some of the girls cast as employees of the infamous Chicken Ranch were under 18.

The board met several times after rehearsals were under way and began questioning the propriety of the profanity and the casting of several teen-age girls as prostitutes, [director David Fernachak] said.

Fernachak added that rumors had been swirling in the community that he intended to shock the community with a pornographic production.

[...]

He said board members were satisfied when they learned that the parents of actors younger than 18 were at the auditions and were aware of the musical's content.

Board members insisted that the profanity -- the ultimate four-letter word was used three times in the script and g--damn 27 times -- be removed from the script, Fernachak said.

Fernachak agreed to remove the four-letter word, [Ric] Sadler [who portrays Sheriff Earl Dodd] said.

"He had even come up with some places where we could soften" the other profanity, he said.

But Fernachak refused to remove all of them, arguing that they were central to the understanding of the play.

According to the play, the Chicken Ranch closed after an outcry over the sheriff's use of profanity toward Zindler while the cameras were rolling.

"In a scene following that, other characters talk about how nobody would have cared how we had a whorehouse, but the one thing you can't do is say bad words on television," Fernachak said.

Conroe is a mostly rural community about fifty miles north of Houston. There is hope for its future, though:

The board issued Fernachak an ultimatum at a Monday meeting: Delete the words or resign as director, he said.

Fernachak chose to resign and [theater board president Don] Hampton agreed to break the news to the cast at Tuesday's meeting.

Learning of the decision, some of the teen-age cast members called Hampton's attention to the name of the play and how its title advertised its adult theme.

"What were you people thinking?" he recalled one teen asking.

Texas has bluenosed head-up-the-ass people in it. Lord have mercy on our souls.
Stupid Texas tricks, part I Tom DeLay thinks that Baylor and Texas A&M are too liberal, and that parents who want to protect their young'uns from the pernicious effects of premarital sex and evolution should look elsewhere.

At Friday's gathering, DeLay said his daughter attended A&M and was appalled to discover that students have sex in dormitories.

"Texas A&M used to be a conservative university," he said. "It's lost all of its conservatism, and it's renounced its traditions. It's really sad. My daughter went there, you know, she had horrible experiences with coed dorms and guys who spent the weekends in the rooms with girls, and all this kind of stuff went on there. It's just unbelievable."

Well, y'know, some old-time Aggies think the school started on its road to perdition when they were forced to accept girls in the first place. After all, students couldn't have sex in the dorms if there werre no girls to have sex with, right? They'd have to do it like Clayton Williams did and go down to Mexico to get "serviced" by hookers.

I'm pretty sure than the current and former students at A&M (there are no Aggie alumni; you're an Aggie for life, so when you graduate you become a former student) will be surprised to hear that A&M has renounced its traditions. But I suppose if Tom DeLay says so it must be true.

And if you do visit that den of iniquity in College Station, do drop by the George Bush Presidential Library and tell them what DeLay says. I'm sure once they understand what an unsuitable location they're in they'll decide to move.

4/17/2002

Girls and glasses Salon has an article about how women who wear glasses are indeed sexy. I couldn't agree more. I got glasses when I was ten. A couple of years after I got them, I noticed a framed, autographed photo of 1979 Playboy Playmate Missy Cleveland (this is a 1999 picture) in my opthamologist's office. She was wearing glasses. I've been hooked ever since.

Here's some advice from a married guy to women: Men don't like just one look. Lots of us find the kind of women who don't appear on magazine covers sexy. Don't assume that a given guy does or does not like a particular feature. Ask. You might be surprised. And whatever you do, never ever pay attention to women who have no clue about men but write about them anyway as if they do.

I note that Ginger is also happy to see this Salonarticle. You tell 'em, Ginger!
And at 3 there's a lecture on supply-side economics on the Lido Deck After reading my post below, Duncan Fitzgerald emailed me to point me to this ad by The National Review for "the National Review Post-Election Mexican Cruise", where you can rub elbows and consume fruity rum drinks with the likes of Kenneth Starr, Bill Buckley, Dan Quayle and Kate O'Beirne. I'm trying real hard not to make a cheap joke about Ann Coulter and Wicked Weasel bikinis, but I don't think I'm going to be able to stop myself.
A fine Australian whine Matt Welch points to an interview with his buddy Tim Blair about life, the bloggyverse, and everything. Blair's a funny guy, and the interview is largely amusing, but Blair seems to suffer the same tired sense of victimization that many conservatives wrap themselves in:

John Hawkins: Why do you think that so many of the popular political websites on the web are conservative?

Tim Blair: Because conservatives are starved for conservative content and analysis in the general media. Lefties always point out Rush and O’Reilly and Will in the US and the few con pundits who exist in Australia, but these people are massively outweighed by the liberal bias of the non-pundit mainstream press. And, for that matter, by the non-con punditry as well. I don’t see the government helping fund a right-wing NPR.

Remember those red-lensed glasses with cardboard frames you'd get as a kid that let you see "secret messages"? The secret messages were hidden under red ink, so putting the special glasses on allowed you to filter out the red ink and see what was there. I swear, conservatives must wear some kind of special glasses that filters out "conservative content and analysis in the general media" and makes them see nothing but NPR and Maureen Dowd. It doesn't matter that all evidence suggests that there's plenty of conservative voices in the newspapers' op-ed pages, conservatives will complain that they're starved for conservative content.

When Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North et al started dominating talk radio, it was because conservatives are starved for conservative content and analysis in the general media.

When FoxNews launched with its "we report, you decide" slogan and started killing CNN in the ratings, it was because conservatives are starved for conservative content and analysis in the general media.

When right-wing publications like the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, and the Weekly Standard created popular web sites, it was because conservatives are starved for conservative content and analysis in the general media.

Now that blogland is awash in highly-trafficked conservative and libertarian sites, including Blair's, it's because conservatives are starved for conservative content and analysis in the general media.

Hey, Blair. Is there any point at which you guys are gonna start eating and stop whining?

4/16/2002

Creating innovative revenue streams Wal-Mart is praised far and wide, including in blogdom, for its innovation, its selection, its low prices, and its shareholder value. Indeed, Wal-Mart is now ranked first in the Fortune 500 for all of these reasons.

Turns out Wal-Mart is innovative in less obvious ways as well. Did you know that Wal-Mart routinely took out life insurance policies on low-level employees? The families of these employees often didn't know that. Wal-Mart is now being sued by these families to collect some of those benefits. As of January, according to this story, Wal-Mart no longer buys this kind of insurance. You can read that as a simple economic decision. Or you can believe that Wal-Mart recognized that it was in a hole and, being the smart company that it is, decided to obey the First Law of Holes: When you find yourself in one, stop digging.
Who wants to be a mathematical millionaire? This morning on NPR's Morning Edition, I heard a story about how a British mathematician claims to have solved one of math's great unanswered questions, the Poincare Conjecture. You can listen to the story here. They spoke to Arthur Jaffe of the Clay Mathematics Institute, which is offering a $1 million prize for each of seven great unsolved problems, about this problem and its possible solution.

Like many great unsolved problems, the Poincare Conjecture can be broken down into a bunch of smaller problems. With some of these conjectures, if one solves a smaller, more focused question, one gets the desired larger result. That was the case with the so-called Last Theorem of Fermat (it can now be properly called a Theorem since it has been proven; before that it was merely a conjecture), which was solved by Andrew Wiles by proving the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture.

Poincare's Conjecture differs from Fermat's in that most of it has already been solved. The Conjecture has to do with classifying geometric things known as "manifolds". One talks about manifolds of a certain number of dimensions. For example, a two-dimensional sphere is just what you think it is - something that looks like a beach ball. The object itself is represented in three dimensions, which is how we see it, but is called a two-dimensional object because its surface is similar to the two-dimensional plane. (Mathematicians say that any neighborhood on the two-dimensional sphere is like the two-dimensional plane. This should be apparent to you because as far as you can see, the surface of the Earth on which you now sit looks flat.)

Anyway, the Conjecture attempts to state when two manifolds are mathematically the same thing and when they are not. A two-dimensional sphere is mathematically the same thing as a two-dimensional box because you can transform one to the other without poking holes or tearing the surface. You can't change a beach ball into an inner tube by squishing or stretching or flattening it, so they're considered different mathematical structures. of course, mathematicians need more exactness than this, so Poincare developed a way of identifying each manifold with a "group", which is a set of numbers and an operation (such as addition) that follows certain rules. (That's an oversimplification, but it'll do.) The benefit here is that it's easier mathematically to deal with groups. Two manifolds are said to be "isomorphic", which is a fancy way of saying "identical", if they have the same "fundamental group" associated with them.

Poincare himself proved the Conjecture for all two-dimensional manifolds. They are spheres (beach balls), toruses (inner tubes) and projective planes, which is what you get when you take a Moebius strip and glue its edges together. Unlike its other two-dimensional siblings, you cannot represent the projective plane in three dimensions, so I can't give you a better picture of what it looks like than that.

The Conjecture is known to be true in all dimensions other than three. Six dimensions and higher were fairly easy to solve. Five dimensions and four dimensions were harder to solve and were accomplished fairly recently, in 1960 by Stephen Smale and in 1980 by Michael Freedman (for which he won a MacArthur Genius Grant), respectively.

The three-dimensional case is the really tricky one. One thing that makes it tricky is that there's more than one kind of "fundamental group" which can be associated with manifolds. In the three-dimensional case, Poincare found an object which has one kind of fundamental group identical to the three-dimensional sphere, but not another. For whatever the reason, the three-dimensional case is more complex than that of other dimensions.

You may ask what the point of all this is. Why do we care about these silly things? I can (as Albert Jaffe did) point out that an awful lot of abstract math has turned out to have applications in unexpected places, like particle physics and cryptography, but I believe there is value in learning for its own sake. The mathematician G.H. Hardy wrote a book called A Mathematician's Apology in which he expressed regret for not doing anything useful but was proud that he added to the world's knowledge. Turns out Hardy spoke too soon - his work in number theory has had wide application in cryptography. So who can say where Poincare may eventually lead us?

As a math major and math geek (as if you couldn't tell), I'm always happy to hear about my favorite subject in the news. Math doesn't get a lot of mainstream respect. I'd love to see a TV show make math look sexy in the way CSI glamorizes science, but even I'm hard-pressed to imagine how it could be done. For now, I'll settle for an NPR segment on one of the subject's enduring challenges, and the thought that some now-obscure professor may be on his way to claiming a million bucks.
Dennis Hopper joins the cast of 24 for the remaining five episodes of the season. Strangely, he's been cast as a psycho bad guy. Whoda thunk of that? Anyway, the article failes to mention Hopper's previous experience with star Kiefer Sutherland, though considering that it was the movie Flashback, maybe that was a kindness.

4/15/2002

Why Texas politics is such fertile ground for writers It's not new information, but until I read today's Chron I didn't know that Land Commissioner and Republican candidate for Lt. Governor David Dewhurst worked for the CIA in Bolivia in the early 1970s. There were some bad things going on down there in that era, such as the US-backed coup that overthrew the Bolivian government in 1971, but no evidence that Dewhurst was involved in any of them. He says he was basically a "glorified clerk who read newspapers and wrote reports to send back to CIA headquarters". The CIA, for its part, is typically helpful:

A Houston Chronicle Freedom of Information request to the CIA seeking information on Dewhurst's service received a reply that the agency could neither confirm nor deny that he had ever worked there.

Considering that Dewhurst and his Democratic opponent John Sharp combine to have less charisma than Norman Mineta on antihistamines, we should be thankful for stories like this. It's a long time until November.
Home sweet home The domino chain of closings fell in its prescribed order, and so without an excess of hubbub we are the proud owners of our new home. We managed to move everything yesterday without breaking anything (that we know of), and are slowly starting to figure out where everything goes. The first night here was a bit weird. After nearly five years in a house, there's a lot about it that one takes for granted. Now we're learning a new system without a manual or an instructor. It'll take some time to find a groove and fit into it.

Harry has been staying with Tiffany's sister since Saturday. Packing was traumatic enough. We get him back tomorrow. I think not having him around contributes to the feeling that this isn't quite right just yet. He had his favored places in the old house, such as the closet in the den, which was where he'd go to hide during thunderstorms. We've been trying to guess where he'll pick to hang out here.

All the utilities got switched over without apparent problem. The cable was hooked up today. Dealing with AOLTimeWarner of Borg is never a pleasant experience, but at least the damn thing is working. And just in time - there's (at long last) a new episode of Angel tonight. Woo hoo!

We're still missing a few things, and it'll be a long time before things like books get unpacked - we have a ton of books and a lot less bookshelf space here since the old house had builtins. But we're moving along and feeling a sense of accomplishment. And on the odd chance that we miss packing things, we get to give my inlaws some quid for their pro quo this weekend, as they are about to embark on a renovation of their downstairs. The fun just never ends around here.