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Dance on Patricia Smith's grave

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 06/23/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

On June 18, the Boston Globe booted (OK, “asked for and received the
resignation of”) columnist Patricia Smith from her longtime twice-weekly
gig in the Globe’s Metro/Region section. It seems that, like the New
Republic’s Stephen Glass, award-winning Pulitzer finalist Smith has been
“fabricating material,” i.e., making stuff up, i.e., lying through her
teeth. For years.

Boston being more or less my hometown, I’ve spent a lot of cumulative
years watching this disgusting excuse for a journalist exploit and
exacerbate Boston’s racial divisions, and I can tell you, this
revelation of the full extent of her lack of integrity wasn’t much of a
surprise.

It will be interesting to see whether the story, along with the
nauseous and drunken-sounding “apology” that is Smith’s final column,
will be made available to online Globe readers
beyond its day of appearance, June 19.
(The Globe does maintain archives of stories that are no longer posted
at its site, but it requires registration and the payment of a fee for
access to such archived material.) If the story is no longer freely
accessible by the time you read these words, well, it’ll just show how
well the Globe and Patricia Smith suited one another. In such an event,
any WorldNetDaily reader who would like to read the Globe’s alternately
sheepish and blustering story on the Smith affair, along with Smith’s
bizarre apology, without having to pay the Globe for the privilege, may
email me for copies of same.

Letters to the editor of the Globe can be sent via the convenient
online form here.
Break out your tap shoes, folks, and go to it.

Blake, Blake, burning bright

I’m bowled over, ecstatic, overjoyed, and just generally in a state
of extreme bliss to have discovered the gorgeous and intelligent William
Blake Archive
online. Go
immediately and without fail to this economically and efficiently
designed University of Virginia site and feast your Web-wearied eyes
upon the many beautiful, high-quality digital reproductions of Blake’s
drawings and paintings. These can be searched, enlarged, enhanced, and
compared to one another with impressive ease — a particularly vital
advantage when examining Blake, who often produced the same book, say
“Songs of Innocence,” in several different versions which vary
considerably in color, page order, etc.

Here is today’s “hypertext” anticipated by two hundred years: there’s
not much we could have taught Blake about the artistic potential of
multimedia. Contemporary technology very often feels vulgar, shallow,
and flattening when it’s used to explain or describe any art that’s more
than about twenty minutes old — but its use here is eminently
well-judged, appropriate, and illuminating.

Assessing computer deals

Anyone buying a computer online encounters such a wide and confusing
range of prices, models, and sales methods that it can be hard to figure
out whether a given deal is a steal or a ripoff.

Price Watch describes itself as a
“street price search engine” for computer shopping. It’s not a search
engine at all; it’s a moderately useful collection of advertisements.
Dealers input pricing data directly into the Price Watch site
themselves, so it’s by no means guaranteed to list the best price
available, but it does give you some data for a ballpark estimate.

I was happy to discover the PC laptop I’d bought the previous evening
through Auction Warehouse “street-priced” by
Price Watch at 158% of the price I actually bid and paid for it — and I
was almost as pleased to find that the memory upgrade I still wanted was
available via mail order for exactly half the price my new notebook’s
manufacturer was asking.

Savvy computer shoppers, however, will prefer to check out the new
CNET SHOPPER.COM, which offers much more
thorough comparison-shopping guidance than Price Watch. It offered me,
personally, the deflating news that I’d saved myself rather less than
I’d thought by buying at auction: my laptop was listed by CNET as
available out there for a lot less moolah than Price Watch’s cited
figure had suggested. Oh well, I consoled myself, even minor savings are
still savings.

Stop counting sheep

As a lifelong, chronic insomniac, I’ve tried a startling number of
sleep aids, from warm milk right up through the kind of prescription
that makes your pharmacist look at you all beady-eyed when you take it
to be filled. Most don’t work, and those that do generally make you feel
groggy and drugged and unable to focus next day. This is never good if
you work for a living.

The best answer I’ve come across over the last twelve years is a cup
of strong valerian tea at bedtime, made by pouring boiling water over
about a teaspoonful of bulk, cut-and-sifted valerian root and steeping
for one to three minutes. As a reliable online botanicals source, I
suggest the San Francisco Herbal Company outlet store. It carries a large no-nonsense assortment of
herbs, spices, oils, etc., at surprisingly reasonable rates: even St
John’s wort, grotesquely overpriced just about everywhere since the
Prozac-substitute hype hit the media, goes for an eminently sane $5.50 a
pound.

Pet project

At the evolution simulator TechnoSphere, you can use free, site-based tools to
design your own artificial life form. Then “release” it into the virtual
3D world TechnoSphere III, created by a group of British electronic
artists, where it will compete with other Web users’ creatures for
survival. In this cyberenvironment, your pet creature will forage, mate,
fight, and reproduce — and will even email you from time to time with
any news about itself. Charming.


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