Carnival of the Vanities #15

Fresh Ideas for 2003

It's been quite an inaugural year here at Solonor's Ink Well.

2002 brought our birth into the blogosphere (or blogiverse, if you prefer), our very own URL, some wildly successful projects and some not so... I became a BlogCritic, a monkey devotee and a master of minions. And, most importantly, I met some of the greatest people in the real universe (or meatspace, if you prefer).

So, how the hell am I supposed to top that??

Fortunately, whenever you need something around here, there are dozens of volunteers jumping in to help. If I needed, say, a bunch of bloggers to give me suggestions for New Year's resolutions, they'd be crawling out of the woodwork almost like it's Carnival of the Vanities #15!
(Born at Silflay Hraka, currently on tour around blogland, also seen at BlogCritics.)

The Management regrets the snarky tone of this week's Carnival. Those responsible have been sacked.

Terrorism Advice

Chuck Simmins advises us to watch out for the special interests in the smallpox scare in Follow the Money - I knew this was going to happen. When I saw plans to vaccinate hospital janitors, and hospital unions demanding two days off with pay for their vaccinated members, I just knew. This is the deal, folks. You're contagious with smallpox when you feel awful. Most people will feel so bad that they will not be able to move around. So, they'll call the ambulance. And I'll show up, unvaccinated, along with the fire guys and the cops. And some ward clerk in OB/GYN will have received the vaccine.
I resolve to avoid getting smallpox at all costs in 2003.

Diane at Everything Must Go wonders What would happen if everyone in Israel carried a handgun? - ...the terrorist apparently intended to detonate a small bomb in the supermarket and then blow himself up with the explosive belt when police forces came to the scene...a tragedy that was averted when a woman shopping in the packed supermarket apparently saw the terrorist trying to set off a second explosion and shot him twice in the head from close range.
I resolve to remain the chicken I am and not go to Israel in 2003.

The collaborators at Silent Running pay tribute to Noam Apter, an Israeli army sergeant who lost his life buying precious time for others to escape a terrorist attack, in A True Shaheed - Noam had a pistol, but instead of drawing it and defending himself, he turned his back on the terrorists and locked the door so they could not get through. They shot him in the back. His selfless action saved many lives at the cost of his own.
I resolve to remember there is such a thing as good and bad martyrdom in 2003.

Cultural Advice

Jim at The Eleven Day Empire reminds me in Who Are We? that for all Europe's whining about invasive American influences, like McDonald's, it's their own damned fault - Hey, it wasn't Americans who made David Hasselhoff a best-selling recording artist. The Germans did that all on their own.
I resolve not to blame myself if the French want fries in 2003.

He goes on to tell the world his idea of Peace on Earth - ...we don't wish for peace on Earth. Our wish is that our leaders contiune to work for, and fight for, a world where we can have peace, a world where our real foes - so-called "leaders" who oppress and steal from their own people, while at the same time blaming us for all their ills - are consigned to the dustbin of history...
I resolve to convince Saddam Hussein to play nice or not to play at all in 2003.

Our fearless leader, Bigwig, of Silflay Hraka, highlights the inconsistency of thought in the argument of certain Islamic extremists when doing battle with anti-Islamic propagandists in Something In The Water - Less than a week after condemning NC boy made good Doug Marlette for his political cartoon depicting Mohammad driving a bomb-laden truck, Cair has flexed its mighty political muscles and convinced the Guilford County Republican Party to remove a link to Islam Exposed. Apparently Shafiq Mohammad is a devoted follower of the moral principle of "Do as I say, not as I do."
I resolve to keep my anti-ANTI tendencies from clouding my view of hate mongerers in 2003. No matter which side they're on.

Military Advice

The Eleven Day Empire also asks us to think about the use of torture when questioning Al Qaeda prisoners in What Price Principles? - If we had good reason to believe that a 9/11-scale attack was imminent, and that a prisoner in our custody had information about that attack that, if we learned it, could be used to prevent the attack (or, let's make it more specific; if we had captured someone high up in al Qaeda in August of 2001, knowing that a major attack was in the works, which we had good reason to believe at the time), would it then be acceptable? Would it be acceptable to use torture to save 3,000 lives?
I resolve to use torture as a last resort in 2003... right after this post...

Dave at Clubbeaux tells us that we should be aiming our missiles at a country with real links to terror (and it ain't Iraq) in Sorry, but I don't get it - If it’s al-Qaeda and militant Islam you’re worried about, take out the House of Saud. Saudis fund terrorism to the tune of millions of dollars annually, Saudi Arabia’s an incubator for anti-American hatred, the vast majority of 9/11 perpetrators were Saudi, the Saudi government’s not doing jack to stop any terrorism, there’s your problem right there. Overthrow the rotted kleptocrat dictators in Saudi Arabia, remove the kingdom as the world’s primary source of terror funding and you’ve dealt al-Qaeda a vicious body blow.
I resolve to remember who the real enemies are in 2003.

Rick at The Rant suggests that there is be reason to believe we might be better off Caging Saddam - The authors make the point that Saddam, not unlike other dictators such as Castro, can be contained. They argue that even a nuclear armed Hussein could be effectively contained and one of the fascinating sources they use to back up this claim is a Jan/Feb 2000 Article in Foreign Affairs magazine written by current Bush National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
In 2003, I resolve to make policy makers live by the words they write.

Scientific Advice

Jack at The People's Republic of Seabrook has found a website that tells you how to make a Thought Screen Helmet. Thus his vow to Stop Alien Abductions - Well, I missed this Christmas, but I certainly know what I'm going to be asking for NEXT year. I imagine that the thought screen helmets will be standard issue at the next Texas Republican Party convention. Certainly those Wingnuts will be able to appreciate the beauty and understated simplicity of the thought screen helmet. Now, if I could just find me one of them anal probe deflectors....
I resolve not to let aliens (or Republicans) eat my brain in 2003.

Vegard, the Norwegian Blogger found a scientifically proven way to lose weight after recording I AM ALIVE! And apparently overweight... - Wally staggered up and went to the bathroom, there he discovered something really odd, apparently there was a label attached to the toilet, curious he bent down to look "Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking." Standing up again he shook his head and was about to do his business when he noticed another text inside the bowl itself, he leaned down and read it "Being knocked out by the toilet lid while brushing your teeth might cause drowning".
I resolve to never, EVER have to stay in the same motel room with a drunken Norwegian in 2003.

John of Dissecting Leftism reports that at least we don't have to worry about the poles melting on us, as the Russians Nix Global Warming - What their figures show is that the temperature of the Arctic oscillates but that it is now actually lower than it has been for long periods within the last century. It has been clear for a while now that ANTarctica is not warming up so this really should put the lid on global warming once and for all --- among those who are interested in the facts anyway.
I resolve to stop worrying about polar meltdown in 2003. Now, if I could just stop worrying about Social Justice, Community-Based Economics, Nonviolence, Decentralisation, Future Focus/Sustainability, Feminism/Egalitarianism, Personal and Global Responsibility, Respect for Diversity, Grassroots Democracy and Ecological Responsibility...

Political Advice

Spoons of The Spoons Experience uses the sharp sword of satire in Archie Bunker and the Supreme Court - I been hearin' a lot about dis Alberto R. Gonzales, kid. Ain't none of the crybabies gonna be able to call us bigots once we put a wetback on the Court, heh? Course, none of the udder judges are gonna have any hubcaps left on der limos, butcha can't please everybody!
I resolve to continue to judge others without regard to race in 2003.

More such advice is given by Andy of The World Wide Rant, who tells us in A Whole Lott of Christmas - Nothing says "Seasons Greetings" quite like a card featuring a disgraced political figure and a made-up speech of attrition to all of America's minorities.
I resolve to continue to heap scorn upon clueless politicians in 2003.

The Eleven Day Empire returns, asking those running against The Shrub in 2003, Well, What Would They Do? - Certainly it's a fair argument; there's a lot the Administration has done (or not done) which can be criticized. But for men who want to be in Mr. Bush's chair in 23 months, criticism is not enough; they have to offer better alternatives, which they haven't done all that much of...
I resolve to come up with an actual plan to fight the War on Terror™ should I choose to run for President in 2003.

Meanwhile, Alex at Heretical Ideas asks What Is A Democrat, Anyway? - ...when somebody tells you they're a Democrat--you still don't know a goddamned thing. There are large numbers of Democrats that sound like the Greens. There are large numbers of Democrats that sound kinda like Republicans. There are large numbers of Democrats that stand somewhere in between. The result is a party with a muddled message, muddled leadership, and muddled membership.
I resolve not to be muddled (or pigeonholed) in my politics in 2003.

Seth at The Talking Dog cautions our Beloved President™ against taking too many bribes from the Saudis, lest we think something untoward might be happening (perish the thought!), in The Prince Alalweed Extra - ...either we can look for yet another Saudi hook into our President (at a key moment, perhaps, intended to alter our Middle Eastern or Iraq policy in some way); or perhaps there is a small child in the Prince's life that he needs to get into a good school, and all the seats were taken in the Little Red Madrassa.
I resolve to take as much money as anyone will throw at me in 2003. Bribes rule.

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is jumping up and down over the seemingly unreported dip in the President's approval rating. I got it straight from the marsupial's mouth - update on cnn/time poll - many (all right, two) blogs are discussing the cnn/time poll which puts poor mr. bush's approval rating at a mere 55%, and the fact that it appears only in the dead trees version of time magazine, and not anywhere else in the entire physical world, nor on the time or cnn's websites.
I resolve not to ignore the nice poll takers the next time they ask me about the President in 2003.

Diane at is concerned that the Family Leave Act will allow some workers to take extra time off at the expense of others - The problem with good attendance in a bureaucracy like Kaiser is that you get worked to death doing forced overtime to cover for the people who take every minute of their paid sick leave and then some. It's a political thing. If your supervisor likes you, and at Kaiser Oakland, that means if you're not white or Jewish, you get to take all your sick leave, and a socially unpopular Jew will come in weekends to run your desk.
I resolve to take all the leave I can get my hands on in 2003... just to spite Diane.

Life Advice

Michael Finley reveals personal struggles with achievement and doubt in Nincompoops - But a phrase from Latin flutters down to me from on high--non compotens, meaning unable, or incompetent. It is what we all are in our time, no matter what our best gifts obscure. We are all nincompoops about our true purpose, and the invisible thread that binds us all. Plato glimpsed it, on the walls of the cave. Jesus lifted it up the sun for us to see.
I resolve to let my spirit run naked and free in 2003--without reproach from within or without.

Lynn at Reflections in D Minor asks us What's in a name? - Have you seen the NFL Playoffs commercial on Fox with the guy talking about the name “Joe?” He talks about the term “average Joe” and the kind of guy who fits that image, then he goes on to talk about a certain legendary football player named Joe. He concludes: “They took the name Joe… and made it Joe." That started me thinking about how our sense of a particular name, even how the name sounds to us, is affected by the people we have known by that name.
I resolve to make people think happy thoughts when they hear my name (real or pen) in 2003.

Fran at Northwest Notes reminds us of the simple joys of a stroll in Ravenna Park - About halfway down the length of the park, there they were, on the side of the ravine, on the path in front of us, on the boardwalk footbridge, and on the higher trails: all the caped, masked swordfighters, chasing and clashing.
I resolve to get out and see the world in 2003. You never know what you might stumble across.

David at Clubbeaux serves up a memorial to a punk god in Joe Strummer, R.I.P. - Neil Young got it wrong – Johnny Rotten wasn’t the epitome of punk. Joe Strummer was. The heart and soul of punk died today. But to call Joe Strummer a punk is to call Pablo Picasso a Cubist. Picasso, whatever word the art critics were enamored of when he came along, is an artist for the ages. When Joe Strummer co-wrote and recorded The Clash punk happened to be the word editors were badgering their hacks to work into copy. Joe Strummer doesn’t stand with Richard Hell, The Damned, The Minutemen and other forgotten punk acts. He stands with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan as someone who moved rock music forward.
I resolve to steel myself for the loss of more Harrisons, Ramones and Strummers in 2003. Damn it all to hell.

Craig of makes this old liberal feel all warm and squishy, as he teaches his offspring to do the right thing in Waxing Philosophical - We are trying to raise our kids to be polite, generous, and to do the Right Thing(tm). Most of all, we try to set a good example for them, and reinforce what they are being told at home, and at church. So, this weekend, when we went to get the doughnuts, a perfect opportunity arose. We left the store with our glorious booty of two maple bars, two chocolate bars, replete with two Pershings: one chocolate, and one maple. On the way out, a man approached us, and asked if we had spare change. I said that I didn't, but if he was hungry, he was welcome to a doughnut or two, and I offered him the box.
I resolve to live up to my high ideals in 2003. If a lowly conservative can do it, so can I, dammit!

Of course, Arthur at The Light of Reason goes way beyond the usual lightweight drivel found at my site with What If ... Imagination, Tolerance, and an Unpredictable -- But Possibly Glorious -- Future - The possibilities are limitless, and so the choice is a simple one: you can either focus primarily on what is wrong with the world now, or you can ask yourself: What if...? And the answers to that seemingly simple question are bounded only by your imagination.
I resolve to be Arthur Silber when I grow up. Don't look for that in 2003.

Business Advice

Diane at Everything Must Go steers us in the direction of organic, free-range dairy farms with a reflection on the story of the deaths of 3 immigrant workers - Sergio Ortiz died in a stew of liquefied manure on the job in Gustine (Merced County), a modest dairy town on a narrow highway that slices through cow country like a razor. His death came just 18 months after a similar incident claimed two workers at another Gustine dairy farm. All were overcome by toxic wastewater gases, then drowned, after climbing inside concrete structures where manure slurry is pumped from vast waste lagoons.
I resolve to pay more attention to where my food comes from in 2003.

Dave at Clubbeaux snidely suggests that the most prolific hitter in the history of baseball has been given his due in Pete Rose voted into the Hall of Fame - In a world exclusive Clubbeaux has learned that noted sports gambler Pete Rose has been tapped for induction in the Gamblers’ Hall of Fame, located in Reno, Nevada. “Yeah, well, we was tired of seein’ Pete get beat up, y’know?” said Sammy Marcetti, curator of the Hall of Fame. “Dere was all dis talk about does Pete belong in the Hall or not. Hell, lemme tell you dere ain’t nobody alive who belongs in dis Hall of Fame more than Pete Rose.”
I resolve to get back into the truly meaningful world of baseball debates in 2003.

Moe at Occam's Toothbrush helps us to uncover the evil plot of fast food companies to make us fat in a controversial missive on December 30 - Well here it comes. Shannon Brownlee, in The Washington Post, writes the first (that I’ve seen) of what is sure to be many arguments that attempt to give some intellectual covering fire to the plaintiff’s attorneys. She argues that the food companies have in fact been guilty of cynically manipulating the average American into becoming a porker.
I resolve to throw off the yoke of corporate junk food oppression in 2003... right after I finish this Whopper™...

Steve, the author of Helloooo Chapter Two!, has proof that Canada has moral superiority over the U.S. in Morality Schmorality - If an American company had been engaging in acts like this against a Canadian one, surely the Canadians would have understood that American companies have the right to act as they wish regardless of who they affect, and would have forgiven the fictional company for "slamming" customers. They might have even sent some aid money to this company, which must have been incredibly disadvantaged to have to resort to such tactics (there's no other possible reason, is there?). Instead, us barbaric Americans went to our notoriously corrupt and bloodthirsty courts and, in a fit of rage, declared the poor misguided "Domain Registry of America" to be in violation of America's immoral laws. Will we never learn?
I resolve to Blame Canada! for everything in 2003.

C. Dodd Harris IV, the mind behind the mask at Ipse Dixit, foolishly tries to reason with an airline in This Must Be That "New Math" - It seems that, according to Airline Logic™, my offer to surrender my seats on two flights - which they could then sell again - was some sort of trickery on my part to get a cheaper fare.
I resolve to save all logical arguments for businesses that can understand them in 2003. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Funny Advice

Hilatron, the space-age robot that runs blogatron, gives us a primer on How To Be A Customer - During the course of my time on Earth, I have spent a certain amount of time being someone who provides customer service of one kind or another, mostly in the form of standing behind a counter and fetching things for people and helping the people to pay for the things. Being on the dealing-with-customers end of transactions has taught me a number of things about how to be a good customer. Most of these things were learned using a method similar to the concept of negative space: I learned what to do by seeing innumerable permutations of what not to do. It seems to me that many a human must have had similar experiences, and yet, I am consistently amazed by how few seem to have actually learned anything. If you are one of the unschooled, I present you with the following tips and techniques to help you be a customer.
I resolve to be a better customer in 2003. The robot behind the counter might have a ray gun!

Laurence, the space-age polymer that runs Amish Tech Support, wonders why every blogger has an Amazon and/or PayPal link, but they all shy away from such a crass experiment in morbidity as the Amish Tech Support Dead Pool? - Scoring is by a declared death, announced in the media. Vegetative state brain death or vanishing entirely does not count. You will receive 100 points minus one point for each year of age of the individual.
I resolve to win my fair share of the giant Hearse O'Prizes in 2003. Bring out yer dead!

Fred, the space-age wonder drug of Fragments From Floyd, recounts for us the bizarre (yet, supposedly true) story of one man's battle with the elements in Down the Slippery Slope - The Rest of the Story - In a last twilight of consciousness before total indifference consented to defeat, I spotted an old shovel under the steps. I was able to reach it, though by this time I was not very well able to feel it in my frozen fingers. With considerable force, I busted through the ice enough to rough it up and expose a little of the wood underneath to give a wee bit of traction. Each step was one small step for man, one small step for man. I was grateful for each one I conquered, as if it had been an Alpine peak. At the top of the steps, I fumbled in the dark for some time with the key in the door lock and it occurred to me in my growing stupor that maybe I was even at the wrong house. The world was under a New Order for the last few hours, possibly under control of the White Witch of Narnia. I wouldn't know for sure until I got inside this door.
I resolve to never read this again in 2003. It makes me homesick for Maine. AS IF!

South Knox Bubba (who thinks TV remotes are space-age) gives us a list that puts Nostradamus into the wannabe class with Predictions for the New Year - Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck will star in "Star Wars Episode XIV: Death Star v. The Titanic at Pearl Harbor", which will be co-directed by Spielberg, Lucas, and Cameron. The movie will cost $12 billion to produce and will gross $23 billion on opening day. Hollywood will stop producing movies and go exclusively into video game production as the perfect movie that can never be equaled will have been made.
I resolve to never mix cold medicine and Scotch in 2003.

Meanwhile, Dave, the space-age miracle at greeblie blog has used his extensive knowledge of Jungian (or is it Hegelian?) philosophy applied to underwear in a thoughtful missive entitled Oh, The Humanity! - Most of us have this bland little box in the back of our house and we all take it for granted. We pitch our stiff, reeking clothes into it, throw in some fragrant syrup and out comes clean (but damp) garments. But just think for a second about what's going on here. Let’s run it down, shall we?
I resolve NEVER to be this bored in 2003.

Spiritual Advice

John at Dissecting Leftism tells us not to get too upset if we're not in the 700 Club with How Necessary is Christianity? - Sorry to all you American churchgoers but people CAN be moral and decent without someone either putting the fear of God into them or inspiring them with the love of Christ.
I resolve to be nice to people without resorting to evangelism in 2003.

Meanwhile, The Raving Atheist says it doesn't matter anyway, since a Painting of Dogs Playing Poker Miraculously Spared in Blaze finally puts it ahead of Velvet Elvis as the Supreme Being - Homeowner Pauline Mallory says the miracle proves that Dogs Playing Poker rule the universe. "My house, my husband, my four kids, and all of my possessions were reduced to a mound of black soot, except for that picture," she noted. "Praise be to Dogs Playing Poker."
I resolve to put things in proper perspective like that in 2003.

Media Advice

Nikita Demosthenes ticks off a Review of the Two Towers (including point-by-point summary of where the plot went astray from the position of a well-read Tolkein scholar) - Having said this, The Two Towers movie has the kind of scenes that send a thrill through the viewer - indicative for me of those rarest of top-shelf movies. Bottom line: go see it, and strap yourself in for one heck of a good movie - full of non-stop, beautifully-filmed action.
I resolve to see Two Towers over-and-over again in 2003.

Michele of A Small Victory begins her multi-part series My Year in Comics, Part One: Preacher, wherein she extols the virtues of her favorite comic book - Preacher is not for the faint of heart. It is violent, sexually graphic and deviant and contains healthy doses of religion, war and mysticism, often invoking a stark sense of the old west or great war movies. Oh, vampires and Bill Hicks, too. There are some characters in this series that would give even the most stoic person nightmares.
I resolve to return to my old ways and pick up a few good comics in 2003. (Shhh! Don't tell my wallet!)

Tim at Where Worlds Collide leaps to the defense of prog rock's innate boogie-ness with But you can't dance to it! - It seems to be 'conventional wisdom' that prog-rock is crap 'because you can't dance to it'. Clearly nobody has told my seven-year old niece, who spontaniously danced very elegantly to King Crimson's "Epitaph" and the title track on the classic "In the Court of the Crimson King".
I resolve to listen to more progrock in 2003. Since you can dance to it...

He also shows off a couple of cool model trains in The Old Workhorse - This picture of class 37 No 37058 at Crewe was posted on the ModMod mailing list, as a comparison with the poorly-received (by the rivet-counters on the list, at least) new Bachmann model. It's a fine detail shot for modellers, showing a lot of bogie and front end detail. But it struck me as a good character shot as well; of a old and battered locomotive nearing the end of it's working life.
I resolve to find out what the hell "bogie" is in 2003.

Blogging Advice

Lynn at Reflections in D Minor warns us of what happens to those who offend the mighty Google Empire in Banned By Google - Jorggy has shut down the Argentina Diary because it has been banned by Google. Jorggy, if you are reading this please don't give up. Being banned by Google is not the end of the world.
I resolve to be nice to Google (the greatest search engine in the world) in 2003.

Damned Good Advice

Loretta at Observations of a Misfit picked up a booklet called Deadly Distractions, reminding us that we should not drink and bake, er, drive - 4. Driving with children. They are the most distracting, especially when they yell at me to "Look, Mom!!" and I have to remind them that I can't look right now because I'm driving. They drop things on the floor and expect me to reach back with my GUMBY arms and retrieve them while still steering and looking out the windshield. If they escape their car seats, I just slow down, slam on the brakes, and watch them fly through the air and hit the seat backs. That usually scares them into getting back in a seat belt!
I resolve to stop playing Civilization III on my laptop while driving in 2003.

Well, that about wraps up the promisizin' for this year. Do I plan on keeping any of these resolutions? You betcha! I'll just leave it to you to figure out which...

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by none other than The Eleven Day Empire!

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