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Hairway to Steven

Johnny Rotten’s unlikely foray into reality television may be the bell stroke that sounds off the death of punk (and everything it stood for—or was that Green Day?), but former Led Zeppelin front man, Robert Plant—being the humble, articulate, and funny person that he is—seems well-content with his place in the world. In a recent Fresh Air Interview to promote his new album Sixty Six to Timbuktu, the blues-inspired singer reveals an admirable sense of humor.

Throughout the years, various artists including Tiny Tim, have created songs in twisted deference to Zep’s best known track “Stairway to Heaven” including one of Plant’s admitted favorites, Stairway to Gilligan. It’s refreshing to hear such down-to-earthness coming from a rock star. Somehow his referencing of the song as a well-deserved target for “hoots of derision” amplifies its original power for me rather than diminishing it.


culture

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Justice Finally Comes for Lenny Bruce

During a semi-intelligent rant concerning the FCC’s new fining policy on Howard Stern’s radio show the other morning, it was mentioned that Lenny Bruce was given a posthumous pardon. NYC Governer George Pataki vindicated the comic for what was known at the time as "word crimes." Too young to remember this bleak point in the American justice system? During the 60′s, the irreverent, often socially-minded commentator was considered so obscene that he actually got thrown in jail. That’s right, he did time for speaking his mind and telling dirty jokes.

Richard Kuh, a man who’s apparently so lame he forgot to add another syllable to his last name and who also prosecuted Bruce in court (effectively ruining him), doesn’t want to make any statements concerning the pardon. However, Ronald Collins, author of the book The Trials of Lenny Bruce and a co-sponsor of the petition had this to say.

It wasn’t that Lenny Bruce was colorful, it wasn’t that Lenny Bruce was using four-letter words, it was that Lenny Bruce was [angering] people in power. He was saying things about race, about religion, about politicians that offended people. It is precisely that which the First Amendment is designed to protect.


Leveling Power With Linux

Sidenote: This closet Eagles fan was very, very sad today. :-(

Well, if the plan to find IT jobs on Mars doesn’t pan out, I guess we’ll have to find it within ourselves to jumpstart the tech industry. Doug Chick over at OS Views ponders a hope in Linux.

I believe, as do many others, that the only way we will keep our jobs is to take that control away from the software vendors and put it in the hands of the computer professional. We already have that power, but many of us lack the courage to exercise it. As long as the software giants continue to control the computer desktop, they will also control our careers. I am now convinced that the only way to keep computer jobs in America is to shift the balance of power by implementing Linux as a corporate desktop operating system.

Can Linux Save IT Jobs in America?


VT Testimonial

Virginia Tech has definitely got it going on when it comes to research.

Not only do they sport a tricked-out G5 cluster, the third fastest supercomputer in the world (and a measly 5.1 mill’ at that), but I’ve been using one of their open source programs, VT Survey, to conduct research for my wife as she writes her Master’s thesis. After reviewing several similar products, VT Survey turned out to be the only one that did everything we needed— plus it had the advantage of being free.

It requires Tomcat and JDK 1.4, which can run on just about anything, including Mac OS X. Impressive still is the fact that it stores survey data in convenient "no-db-required" XML files. Very nice.


politics

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Insurgency

Professor Nagl’s War is a New York Times magazine article about Major John Nagl, a counter-insurgency expert who’s currently putting theory into practice in Iraq.

He is like a paleontologist given the chance to go back in time and walk with the dinosaurs. But Nagl can’t simply stand around and take notes. He is responsible, with the rest of his battalion, for taming an insurgency, which is as difficult as teaching dinosaurs to dance.

Whether or not you buy the so-called "hard-liner" doctrine for preemptive war, which I definitely do not, the nature of war is changing. As journalist Peter Maass levelheadedly explains, occupying forces straddle a dangerous and uniquley complicated line between chaos and order.

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