August 1st, 2005


Red Dawn

I went into the Yacht Club saturday night to give my ears a break from Gabes until Mahar Mar played, and they had Red Dawn playing on the big screen. I remember enjoying this when it came out over 20 years ago, but this time it made me feel a little queasy.

Why? Because it showed American teenagers -- Patrick Swayzey and Charlie Sheen, no less -- doing exactly what Iraqi kids are doing to American soldiers in Iraq. The plot comes down to this: Russians Invade, High School Kids hijack a weapons train and mount an insurgency.

It even includes a Nicaraguan Officer musing about how you can never defeat an insurgency.

This movie is apparently a big thing among right-wing militias, as it outlined the dominant scenario fueling their paranoia before the fall of Communisim. Now they must worry about Michael Moore and Sean Penn leading a convoy of hybrid cars over the mountains to make them like Caramel Lattes, but they no doubt are every bit as well armed.


Into every life a few tipping points must fall. The whole RSS craze has been going for some time now. At my advanced age I've spent sweat learning stuff only to have it become obsolete so many times that I've learned to just ignore stuff until they're on my own personal critical path, or they become so blindingly easy to use that I can use them without thinking hard.

Well, thanks to Google, anyone can use RSS feeds. If you have a google account (e.g. you have a GMail account) you have a customized home page. In the upper left hand corner is a link labeled 'Add Content.' One of the things you can add is the URL of any RSS feed. Then you can drag a box with the RSS feed around until you have things arranged the way you like them.

So it's an easy, straightforward way to have an RSS feed you can access anywhere there's a browser and web access, and you can get other crap like the local weather as well. The only moderately heavy lifting involved is finding the RSS feed URLS -- a lot of sites have RSS feeds but don't really advertise them. Luckily google search generally finds these for you if you search on ' rss"

Once again I have to say Google comes up with cool stuff that's very easy to use. When was the last time Microsoft did that?