March 20th, 2003



"We don't have Scud missiles and why they were fired, I don't know." - Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed

I wonder if this is a translation error, or if *shock!* Iraq actually did have banned weapons the UN inspectors couldn't find.

Update: Foreign language newspapers carry the same quote, but attribute it to different people. Smells very, very suspicious to me.

Nachrichten aus'm Ausland.

I haven't read a lot of European newspapers recently, but what I'm finding this morning is that I had absolutely no idea just how much shit Bush and company have started. This is the kind of damage that takes years, decades to undo; it's as if suddenly our involvement in World War II is forgotten, the Marshall Plan undone. It's truly breathtaking how much trust and respect the USA have managed to throw out the window in just a year or so. And why? I'm still not entirely clear as to how Iraq suddenly became a huge problem that had to be solved through war. What was wrong with just ignoring it as per usual?

Der Spiegel is Germany's most respected newsweekly, and usually an interesting, reliable source of information. The stuff they've got in their pages is pretty horrifying. Reports of German exchange students being harassed in American schools, crushingly horrible reports of American ignorance. Articles by legal experts talking about the illegality of attacking Iraq [Bush seems to justify it in terms of self-defense, but don't you really have to wait for an attack before retaliating?]. Now there's political talk of refusing Poland entry into the EU as they've sent soldiers to Iraq [that is not acceptable behavior for prospective EU member states, taking part in non-defensive military action].

Sometimes I really do wonder. I know that the USA leads the Western world in terms of ignorance and fanatical religion. And something tells me that headlines like "USA bombs Iraq, gives $10bn to Israel" just isn't going to make anyone happy... ugh. Better shut up now. This is all very, very irritating.

A public correction/apology.

A week or two back, I privately chastised nfotxn for suggesting that OpenType had something to do with Unicode™. Much to my chagrin, as things turned out, I was totally wrong. One of the major OpenType features [compared to TrueType] was support for Unicode.

Just goes to show you that grizzled QA engineers do screw up from time to time, and that it's too easy to fall into the trap of assuming that young'uns can't possibly know more about a given subject than you do. It should go without saying that one of life's ongoing difficulties is trying hard to remember that you don't always know as much as you thought, and that other people can and often do know more than you do about things. It's never easy practising self-criticism, but I need to do a better job of it.

New Dan Murphy's in Sydney!

I just received a v. amusing E-mail:

Dear Christopher,

My name is Justine B and I work for the advertising agency Red Jelly Partners.

We are currently undertaking work for the roll-out of two new Dan Murphy's stores into New South Wales - the first two stores for the Sydney metropolitan area.

I have been provided with a copy of an e-mail that you sent to Dan Murphy's through website feedback back in February. We were so impressed with your comment that we plan to use it in some of our advertising for the two new stores. The comment will end with Christopher, California (your surname will not be used).

I trust that you will not have any objections to this, however if you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.


Justine B
Red Jelly Partners