Saturday, May 24, 2008

del *.*

After college I worked for some years as a PC software programmer, mostly coding smallish database applications in environments like dBase and Foxpro, Access and Visual Basic. I enjoyed the work, which was very satisfying when it went well (and maddening when it didn't).

I started the job in the very last days of MS-DOS, which meant I developed some facility with the DOS command line. That was where I did basic PC housekeeping, the copying and deleting of files, and also where I did the more complicated work of maintaining configuration files, setting up networking and so forth.

And all these years later, I'm still at the command line. Microsoft Windows makes it easy to move files around by dragging and dropping, but I find it's much more satisfying -- and faster -- to type abstruse commands at what I still think of as the DOS prompt. (In Windows XP you bring it up by clicking Start and Run, and then typing cmd and clicking OK.)

Sometimes people at the office see me typing commands in the little black window and ask what I'm up to. I show them the DOS prompt and show them how, if I press Alt-Enter, the black window takes over the whole screen, and suddenly it's 1989 again and time to do a mail merge in WordPerfect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sleepy Fred

I'm amused at today's Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Fred Thompson, titled "The Death of Conservatism is Greatly Exaggerated." Referring to conservative principles, he writes:
They also helped to establish liberal trade policies and to meld idealism and realism in our foreign and military policies.
Um, which is it, Fred? In foreign policy, the tenets of realism ("the strong do what they will") and idealism ("yay human rights and international institutions") are DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED.

Unless, of course, they're melded. Wake me when November ends.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good word

"The sin of newspaper people is almost invariably the sin of envy."

-- David Remnick

Monday, May 19, 2008


Peggy Noonan on yesterday's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos":
Raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, for the past 40 years he didn't really share, Obama, the American experience in a lot of ways that other people did, in cultural ways, almost being entwined with the country.
Yes, how on earth would Obama have shared the American experience in Hawaii?

It's a moronic comment because it implies not only that Hawaiians aren't Americans, but also that the South Side of Chicago, Obama's home for many years, is somehow not part of the American experience. As a South Sider of ten years I can tell you: The place is quintessentially American, sometimes tragically so.
The race is on

I'm really grateful to everyone who came out Saturday night to see the Junkers one more time. The bar was packed, the dance floor filled. It was great to see old friends and fans, and sing the familiar tunes again.