Ready to blog again; comment note

Good weekend, and I’m about to have my second Lotus sabbatical, so I’m actually, really, honest-to-goodness, finally, really mean it this time, start blogging again.  No, really.  I definitely mean it this time.

Heck, I’ll even leave this post as ‘Uncategorized’, hinting (mostly to myself) that someday this will be a site of rich content from Shane, and that I don’t need to count such a simple and pointless post in my future categories.  Not that most blogs aren’t personal, and sometimes seem pointless to the outside observer: that’s a key point to the idea of a blog.  You write, people might read.

Anyway, I wanted to mention that I’ve added a new auto-spam word to my comment system: “m y  s p a c e”.  Any comments with those characters in them will be silently and efficently dev/null’d.  The rest of the few spams that get through my spamsystem are either infrequent enough or amusing enough that I’ll moderate them away now and then.  But some luzer M-S type came and went through the whole darn site and spammed, so that’s not worth my time.  Plus, the whole M-S image of the net is so far away from my world that I just don’t need it.  Useful service for some, perhaps, but it still feels like it’s too frequently mis- or poorly-used to be valuable on the larger scale.

This is too funny to pass up

Normally I don’t blog on politics, although I have my favored political blog sources I keep up on sometimes.  But these two snippets were just too darn funny to not link to (at least out of context, re: the recent terrorisim alert level scare tactics and being – or not being – terrorized):

Kung Fu Monkey: “Wait, Aren’t You Scared?”

FDR: Oh, I’m sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we’re coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How’s that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We’ll be in the pub, flipping you off. I’m slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I’m sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

Must be my old WW2 history reading catching up to me, but those were almost priceless comparisons of good leadership (in public appearances) of old versus the (expletives deleted) leadership of now.

Where has all the good stuff gone?

More to the point: why don’t they make things as well and with as much craftsmanship as they used to?  Every now and then the benefits of mass production (and marketing) seem to have lost some essence of class or soul in the design of things.

Two – completely random – points that struck me recently.  First, there’s our house.  Built in 1940, it may not be the most coherent of design (especially with the grandmother’s wallpaper from the 1960’s), but it definitely has style.  It’s also incredibly solidly built: although it has the original windows (with the lead weights), it’s not drafty at all.  In fact, of all the windows in the house, only one lead weight was broken, and every single window still opens nicely.  While most new houses are smooth and finely finished on the surface, they sure don’t feel as solid as our house does.

Second, something completely small that kind of bothers me out of all proportion.  On my commute home many evenings I pass by Harvard’s Engineering Sciences building.

Engineering Sciences Building, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center.

The building itself is striking – much more so in person.  But what really got me was the door.  The original door was a marvel of engineering itself: double doors made of machined brass in alternating rows of angled panels.  It was unique, and very intricate – something that would inspire engineers in design thought.

Just a couple of months ago, the doors were gone.  Replaced during a recent interior office renovation with a pair of plain boring glass doors with no style or soul at all.  Why the heck did they do that?  Since I’ve hung out in that area of HSq for years, it was very jarring to see the beautiful set of doors missing one day as I drove by.

It just seems that the majority of items built today just don’t have the same thought and care put into their design.  I suppose that makes sense in the larger scale, but sometimes it’s a bit disappointing.

Congratulations Matt & MaryHelen!

Well, actually it was like a week and a half ago, but they didn’t send the email to the friends@ list until a couple of days ago. They definitely have much more artistic first-week baby pictures then we did! Also, they sound suspiciously chipper in the email, although it is indeed written in the silly team-player motif. I did appreciate the shot of mom and baby with the Guinness: “Nursing mothers need their iron and B vitamins”.

Mazeltov, my old friend!