small d, Big J

What Steven desJardins is interested in.
Friday, July 18, 2003
To make up for that last post, cat people, I humbly submit the following link for you approval: My Cat Hates You

Thursday, July 17, 2003
The headline seems implausible, but the story looks real: Live kittens used to lure giant catfish

The cruel practice came to light when police boarded a fishing boat on the Po River in Northern Italy and found a stash of frightened kittens ready to be placed on hooks.

The case, which police say is not isolated, has outraged European animal rights groups.

Police believe greedy fishermen are using kittens as bait because their anguished thrashings attract catfish, the flesh of which is regarded as a delicacyItalian police officer Giuseppe Lagana, who detected the first case of kitten-baiting in May, said the incident was not isolated.


He told the European Independent Digital news organisation many fishermen using live kittens were taking desperate measures to avoid detection.

"During a nocturnal patrol this week, one boat managed to evade our checks," Mr Lagana said. "It ignored warnings and cleared off with its lights extinguished.

"We suspect this was also one of these fishermen without a conscience. Using live kittens to catch sheatfish is an unheard-of cruelty."

Mr Lagana said authorities had little hope of stamping out the practice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
There are some interesting nuggets in this Washington Post article on campaign fundraising. Bush raised more money than all the Democratic candidates combined (I had thought it was the other way), but the totals are reasonably close. I think Democrats will rally around whoever the eventual nominee is, so the amount of "kick Bush out" money that the candidate gets could be truly staggering.

The opening of the article emphasized the number of celebrities contributing to Dean, with the really interesting facts buried on page 8. Dean had 73,226 contributors in the last quarter, compared to about 23,000 for Kerry (who raised about 3/4 as much money), and 60% of the total comes from contributions eligible for federal matching funds (the first $250/person). According to the article, a normal matching rate would be 25% to 33%. So Dean is getting many, many more small contributions, which I think is a very positive sign.

On a related note, I saw my first campaign volunteer handing out literature at a subway stop. The on-the-ground index is of course extremely personal and not statistically reliable, but on the same principle that Fox uses when announcing the results of their online polls, I can state categorically that the current front-runner appears to be Lyndon LaRouche. Remember, you heard it here first.

Monday, July 14, 2003
Cool link: The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online

"On this day in 1731, John Piggot was tried for murdering a boy with a billiard cue." With a link to the court record of the trial, with summaries of the witness testimony.

I've been giving some thought to the unacceptable level of clutter in my home, and I've made two decisions. The first is to establish a weekly 'To Do' list with one or two items to accomplish over the course of the week, to post it on my weblog, and to follow up the next week with a report on my progress. For instance, my goal this week is to clean out the metal basket by the door, which was intended to hold my mail until I sorted it, but is now overflowing with stuff and junk. (Stuff is things I want to keep, but which are not in their proper place. Junk is things that I'll throw out as soon as I take a good look at them. If I put all the stuff in its proper place and throw all the junk out, my apartment will be acceptably neat. It will also be at least 50% larger, because I don't have enough room for all my stuff.)

My second decision is to box up all my pre-2003 magazines, except the ones I throw out. It would be very nice to have them all filed and shelved in neat chronological order, so that if I had a hankering to read all my L. Timmel Duchamp short stories I could look them up in an online index and pull all those magazines. But the value of a disorganized collection of magazines, only some of which are shelved, is considerably less, and in practical terms I just don't look up old stories that often. So until I have the time and space to sort them properly, it's probably best to put them in storage.


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