Tue, Apr
12
2005

A Safe Bet

Tue, Apr 12, 2005

Exercise: start with the phrase “it is a safe bet” and start writing. Write for ten minutes. Don’t revise. Don’t cross out. Just write. Now go.

It is a safe bet that the world tends towards disorder. The plans of mice and men always go awry. The world turns just a little off center, and the house of cards always come tumbling down. You can’t plan for every contingency. Things will go wrong. You are going to have egg on your face if you say that everything is going to be all right. You invite disaster when you say “what could possibly go wrong.”

It is a safe bet to say that the world is coming to an end. Everything comes to an end, but we’re never sure when. The Yellowstone volcano will erupt. Maybe tomorrow, or maybe in ten thousand years. Canada has been in a state of permanent separation anxiety since before the sixties, and we’re still here. Our spending was out of control, but we’re still in surplus. The Conservatives represent the death of the country — but Britain survived Margaret Thatcher and Ontario Mike Harris. The United States will survive George Bush.

Predictions are a fools game, but we are all fools. We can’t resist saying what tomorrow will be like, letting our vision get tainted with our dreams and our nightmares. We look to the future for revelations. We count down. We draw checklists. We wait for the dominos to fall. We assume there is a plan. And we pounce on every item we can find that shows evidence of that plan. There is no plan.

We should instead just live. The world has muddled through for millions of years, through asteroid and ice age, through solar flare and flood. We’ve muddled through holocaust and moon landing, corruption and brilliance, hatred and love. We are all in this battle together.

Some of us will be here tomorrow. Some of us won’t. Some of us will smile tomorrow and some of us won’t. And some of us who won’t will smile the day after that.

It’s called real life, love. Much predicted. Never controlled.


Hard Drive Rock

People who fondly remember Schoolhouse Rock are going to love this. Nice nostalgia kick, and it heralds a new technological achievement to boot. Hat tip to Geek News Central


Open Office Goes 2.0 Beta

I’ve long been impressed by the freeware office suite OpenOffice. Under the teutalige of Sun Microsystems and their MS Office competitor StarOffice, a substantial open source community has been carefully upgrading and improving this suite of products. If you can’t afford Microsoft’s Word, Excel and Outlook, and don’t appreciate the big company’s preditory ways, OpenOffice is a strong alternative. The program also works on Windows, Linux, Mac OsX and Solaris.

These guys have released a beta version of OpenOffice 2.0, which updates the program and makes it even more feature rich. There’s still a learning curve in understanding how the program works, and if you want to have your documents checked in Canadian English, you’ll need to download a separate dictionary, but you can’t beat the price.

OpenOffice effectively replaces Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It also features a database program and a graphics program. Those looking to replace their copies of Outlook won’t find a replacement here, but with the Mozilla suite going strong, you have no worries there. The OpenOffice suite is rapidly becoming ready for prime time. Microsoft doesn’t need to dominate your desktop if you don’t want it to.


William Poole Update

The William Poole story continues to unfold, slowly but surely. The recent flurry of activity in the media has been around the judge’s decision to order that the $5000 bond placed on Poole’s behalf be forfeited. Poole violated the terms of his bond when he was spotted accompanying a friend to an elementary school to pick up the friend’s sister. Poole is now serving a six month contempt sentence for his mistake.

Jeffrey Russell, who posted the bond on behalf of an unnamed California civil liberties organization, says that the case remains one of first amendment rights to him and the group he represents.

We’ll keep following this.


On This Day

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