Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Union's coverage of development of the fire plan

Not local, but relevant: Wired on predicting the path of wildfires:
Cohen thought it would be a good idea to erect a couple of prefab garage kits in the path of a wildfire... To compare how different materials react to intense heat and flames, Cohen added vinyl and cedar siding and composite shingles onto each structure...added double-pane plate-glass windows...tested whether smoldering pine needles ignited composite shingles; the temperature at which plate-glass windows would shatter; how quickly flames melted vinyl siding...compiling the results of his work into a modeling program called SIAM (Structure Ignition Assessment Model) that will help builders produce structures less prone to catch fire. The program takes into account home dimensions, number and size of windows and doors, construction materials, location and types of surrounding vegetation, and proximity to other homes, then generates recommendations. These might include redesigning a deck or using specific types of fire-resistant siding.
Does the Fire Plan make use of this info?


Just collecting the links in 1 place...

The usual caveats (regarding the blogger's accuracy and The Union's
silently defective Search page) apply.

  • Opinion | September 23, 2004:
    Collaborative effort for fire plan
    It had all the appearance of business as usual at the Board of Supervisors meeting a few weeks ago, but in fact something extraordinary was about to happen. Something that was almost unheard of in Nevada County, where polarization and divisiveness...

  • News | August 4, 2004:
    Fire plan gives meaning to defensible space
    Fire officials hope the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will approve the county's first fire plan on Aug. 17.

  • News | May 27, 2004:
    County fire plan simmers
    A fire safety proposal for Nevada County could demand that landowners clear blaze-causing fuels like brush and small trees for all parcels up to 10 acres.

  • News | February 6, 2004:
    Candidate wants fire-safe home labels (interesting idea, although not part of the Plan as far as I know)

  • Opinion | December 18, 2003:
    Acting now on wildfire safety
    In the recent catastrophic wild fires in Southern California 1,200 square miles were charred. This is an area larger than our Nevada County's 958 square miles. At the peak of the fires 80,000, a number nearly equal to Nevada County's population,...

  • News | November 14, 2003:
    County starts fire-safe plan
    In the aftermath of the recent Southern California firestorms, the first meeting of Nevada County's Fire Plan Committee today is almost eerie in its timeliness.

  • Opinion | March 22, 2003:
    Fire Safe Plan for county needed
    As spring rains end and fire season begins, we all worry about the potential for another devastating forest fire, a fire that could threaten our homes, families and businesses, like the 49er fire did in 1988. The most recent grand jury report and...

  • News | March 5, 2003:
    Forest policy altered
    An amended plan for the 11 national forests of the Sierra - including the Tahoe National Forest - could call for additional logging and thinning, purportedly to avert catastrophic wildfire.

  • News | November 14, 2002:
    Fire safe plan for county advances
    A Nevada County board Wednesday took a step toward a countywide fire safe plan.

  • Opinion | August 8, 2002:
    [county-wide] Fire plan's premises wrong (A letter to the editor)
    A recent The Union editorial stated: "...A uniform countywide standard that everyone can understand might be preferable to establishing different standards for different areas..." We disagree. Different standards for different areas is the essence of good county planning...

  • News | July 6, 2002:
    County fire-safe plan will be considered
    What may be the first county-sponsored fire-safe plan in the state will be considered Tuesday by Nevada County supervisors.

  • News | May 25, 2002:
    NC area fire-safe plan is adopted
    The first of its kind, one Nevada City neighborhood has its own plan to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Fire plan recommendations to the Board of Supervisors

At the Nevada County govt website, the Nevada County fire plan (sorry, it's PDF; you can use Adobe's PDF to HTML form to convert it, but some parts may be lost in the conversion)

The following is a rough summary of the recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. This post does not address the impact of the plan; if you decipher the appendices (not covered in this post) you may be able to make such prognostications yourself. No guarantees as to accuracy of the following, except to say that errors were not deliberate.

Goal I. Reduce fire severity through fuels management (thinning trees, cutting brush etc)

Objective A: Improve public awareness and understanding
  • Recommendation #1. develop school curriculum to educate on wildfire
  • Recommendation #2. student laboratory to study fire
  • Recommendation #3. hold seminars for landowners on good stewardship techniques
  • Recommendation #4. create a Video Lending Library (??? Hot news flash - there's this thing called the "web") on this material

Objective B: ...develop a vegetation management prescription for defensible space around structures
  • Recommendation #5. Defensible Space around structures: Get Supervisors to adopt Fuel Mgmt prescription (appendix B)

Objective C: Develop prescription for defensible community-level fuel modifications on the wildland portion of all parcels 10 acres or less. Require parcels larger than 10 acres which are immediately adjacent to parcels 10 acres or less to provide fuels management to the maximums under this recommendation.
  • Recommendation #6. [extend Defensible Space into nearby parcels:] Board of Supervisors adopt a fuel management prescription (found in Appendix C) as the foundation for a new ordinance for wildland fuels management on improved and vacant parcels in and adjacent to communities or neighborhoods of ten acres or less and on parcels greater than 10 acres that are immediately adjacent to smaller parcels.

Objective D:
Phase it in over 5 years, starting with education; ultimate implementation
through education, assistance and enforcement.
  • Recommendation #7: The FPC recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt as a
    fire risk reduction policy the following implementation timeline:

    Year 1:
    Public Education
    Assistance Program .
    Enforcement of Defensible Space

    Year 2: adds
    Point Of Sale Disclosure For Developed And Undeveloped Parcels
    Enforcement at Building Permit Issuance

    Years 3,4: adds
    General Enforcement Emphasized In Very High Hazard Severity Zones

    Years 5 and up: adds
    General Enforcement Emphasized In High Hazard Severity Zones
    General Enforcement Of Community/ Neighborhood Fuel Management

Objective E:
Provide fuel management consulting service contacts for private property owners
of parcels greater than 10 acres in size.
  • Recommendation 8: The FPC recommends that resource agencies...jointly develop guidelines for fuel management on large parcels. These guidelines must take into account variations based upon fuel types, differing land management objectives and proximity to communities/ neighborhoods.
  • Recommendation 9: The FPC recommends that the Resource agencies provide
    training to fuels management contractors on the guidelines for fuel management on
    large parcels, and after successful completion of training, placed on a published hiring
  • Recommendation 10: The FPC recommends that the Resource agencies prepare and
    make available to the public a directory of Agency Advisors, Private Consultants and
    Fuels Management Companies to assist landowners in being proper stewards of their

Objective F (and a pony too - sorry, the duct tape is slipping)
Develop, organize and fund, a property owner assistance program.
  • Recommendation 11: In recognition of the relationship between fuel reduction and public safety, the FPC recommends that the Board of Supervisors seek a permanent funding mechanism for the provision of chipper services or alternative services at a reduced rate and free fuels management advising services to the landowners of Nevada County.
  • Recommendation 12: Provide consulting services for private landowners for the
    restoration and rehabilitation of wildlands impacted by fire, insect, and disease.
  • Recommendation 13: Create Directory of Assistance of Programs for large landowners
    i. e. Vegetation Management Program, California Forest Improvement Program,
    Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
  • Recommendation 14: Provide financial aid for community based fuel reduction to
    those landowners who can demonstrate financial need based upon established criteria
    and who are incapable of accomplishing the fuels management on their own.


  • [Recommendation 15: identify County maintained roads that are not good enough, and improve them when we can afford to]

Ensure that private roads that are required as a condition of approval through the
Subdivision Map Act are maintained to the design standard that they were originally required to be built to.

  • Recommendation #17: Review private roads that have offers for dedication placed upon them and develop mechanisms for [having county take over and maintain the ones that are important]
  • Recommendation #18: [try to figure out how to pay for this]

  • Recommendation 19: [figure out how to pay for a countywide rural fire protection water storage tanks...stop requiring ones on individual parcels]
  • Recommendation 20: Include water tank inspection along with fuels management(brush) inspection

Develop an emergency public notification system and educate about it
  • Recommendation 21: ...automated emergency public notification system which uses the phone system to distribute information to user identified zones...purchase this system with Office of Homeland Security Grant funds...

Create a business environment that encourages the development of a sustainable
fuels management industry...
  • Recommendation 22: ...workshops for fuel reduction contractors


The four methods of interface fire hazard mitigation most often associated with
increased structure survival are:
1. Defensible space around structures
2. Landscape level fuel management
3. Ignition resistant building construction
4. Defensive actions by firefighters during the wildfire exposure.
However, it is important to have reasonable expectations of mitigation measures. A one-third or two-third reduction in historic loss patterns is reasonable with full
implementation of both fuel reduction and improved building construction.

Review and revise, as needed, existing wildland fire related codes and ordinances
to address the recognized hazards of building and living in the wildland urban
  • Recommendation 24: ...adopt recommended changes
  • Recommendation 25: prefer green waste pickup, mulching or composting
  • Recommendation 26: Provide green waste pickup services or drop off days

Consider new fire safety Codes and Ordinances to meet the county's fire safe
  • Recommendation 27: ...expanded defensible space ordinance
  • Recommendation 28: after 5 years, evaluate whether or not things have improved enough that the rules can be loosened


Develop[ed] A Template for A Community/ Neighborhood Fire Safe Plan (evacuation plans, safety zones, public education etc)

GOAL: V get agencies to work together on this

  • Recommendation 41: Review the effectiveness of the fire plan in a minimum of five years and each five years thereafter.
  • Recommendation 42: if it gets better, loosen the restrictions

LA Times on Nevada County fire plan

A big thanks to Yubanet for pointing to this Sept. 27 LA Times article on Nevada County's new Fire Plan,
Strict Fire Rules Are Fuel for Debate ("Rural county's proposed plan for brush removal is called a 'strategy for deforestation.'")
With authorities in scenic Gold Country warning that the stage is set for another catastrophic wildfire, Nevada County recently approved one of the most aggressive fire safety plans ever drafted.

The plan, which may not become law until next year, would require that brush be cleared at least 100 to 200 feet around structures - three times the minimum state requirements. It would also demand that property owners remove and thin 80% of the vegetation on lots up to 10 acres in size, potentially costing them thousands of dollars a year.

"Some people say we are killing the forest to save it," said Nevada County Supervisor Peter Van Zant. "But this is a very complex issue."
County authorities, seeking to avoid a repeat of the '49er fire of 1988, which destroyed 180 structures and charred 30,000 acres, concede that they approved a plan they have no funds to implement, let alone enforce.

Beyond that, critics say it unfairly burdens homeowners by failing to apply the same guidelines on brush clearance to lots larger than 10 acres and all but ignores the importance of fire-resistant building materials in a region that has roughly 3,000 pending applications for new home construction.
property insurance companies have begun warning homeowners that their policies may not be renewed because of their proximity to brush in a county where 80% of the roads are narrow dead-end country lanes far from the nearest fire station.
"What's screwing up this county are out-of-town retirees who want to bring their big-city ways with them," [Owl Tavern bartender Max Roberts] said. "Now I'm wondering whether to stick around. I don't like the direction we're heading."

Conklin controversy continues

The Union et al vs. Conklin continues today, with Rob Kellenbeck and Neal Mitchell of the North Star Foundation - ("NSF is a small group of professionals in the historic restoration field who are connected with the larger preservation community...") weighing in on the anti-Conklinites' side. I probably shouldn't write about what I know next to nothing about, so will attempt to keep the duct tape firmly affixed over oral cavity for now, so as to bar entry to foot. I do wish Bruce Conklin had a blog. Later...

Update: I am told that Kellenbeck and Mitchell were not among the applicants for the Land Trust position.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Weighing in

"Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral..."

John Eisenhower -
As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was.
The fact is that today’s "Republican" Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word "Republican" has always been synonymous with the word "responsibility,"...

Keep visiting the ShrillBlog for more. Unfortunately the tone is pretty self-congratulatory, so just try to plug your ears while you read.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Get a Blog, Bruce

Conklin's response Monday Sept 27 in The Union. Which makes a lot more sense to me than the editorial below. What does all of this have to do with the Nevada County Contractor's Association? with the huge ads the NCCA has been putting in The Union lately, in which they say how much they care about quality of life here? Those ads must be expensive. (or not; wild speculation here (and wide of the mark, says George Boardman in a nice piece of first-person journalism Oct 16))

The Union's interviews with candidates for District III (Grass Valley) County Supervisor: Stevens, Conklin, Spencer

Today The Union ran a two-column-wide editorial slamming Bruce Conklin for his lame-duck voting in December 2002 to allocate "open space" money (bequeathed to the county by a local resident) to the Nevada County Land Trust, his subsequent hire by the Land Trust to oversee restoration of the Julia Morgan-designed Northstar House (discussed by your correspondent in gruesomely amateurish fashion in the second half of this post), his lack of "repentance" regarding this sequence of events, the hefty % of the bequeathed money that has gone to overhead (much of which, presumably, is Conklin's salary) and the relatively 'unfaithful' restoration.
  • Restoration criticism (PDF files)
  • Conklin's perspective (from in here)-
    The disagreement basically comes down to a couple of people who feel that the very early work that was done should have been purer to the original house. On the other hand, the Land Trust feels they acquired a house that was in danger of falling down. The roof was gone, the windows were gone, the doors were gone, and it was constantly being vandalized when they got it. It was in an emergency condition.


I don't know Bruce personally, but based on who supports him and who opposes him and what and who he has supported in the past, I'm wondering if William Arkin's admonition "Never mistake a mirror for a window" might apply here. (Actually I'm sure it does apply; the question is whose perspective it applies to.)

So, if you don't know Bruce from Adam - or if, like me, you have a gut feeling that this [editorial] is not the whole story, but not much specific knowledge - what should you make of it? You could trust in the beneficence and omniscience of The Union's editorial board, but that would lead you down some very slanted garden paths.

Alternatively, it would be nice if all citizens in the district had the opportunity to get to know the candidates. I don't mean the candidates' popping up at the door some weekend, or telemarketing or brochure-bombing the populace with carefully crafted pabulum (e.g., to recycle this:"The most overused and overrated word in the political lexicon is 'change.' All politicians are for it, even those who've been around for a hundred years and have never actually changed anything except their combovers.") - I mean we the people should have the opportunity to get day in and day out exposure to a candidate's take on what's going on in and around the county. They can do it by following the other NC's lead - North Carolina journalist Ed Cone explains who, what, when, where and why in Local political candidates hit the blogging trail:
Jeff Thigpen has something to tell you. Lots of things, actually, like what a boisterous meeting of the Guilford County commissioners looks like from a commissioner's point of view, and why you should vote for him to become Register of Deeds in November. So Thigpen got himself a weblog, and now he can talk to voters and constituents any time he likes.

By writing directly onto the web, Thigpen has the ability to communicate with a potentially enormous number of people, in his own voice, unmediated and at almost no cost. He's got his own media platform now; he doesn't have to wait for television or the newspaper to carry his message, or dip into his campaign budget to buy an ad every time he wants to get a message out. And because readers can leave comments, he's able to have something like a conversation with them...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Accumulated animal links

More fluff.

Faux foe fought

a bozo of a baboon:
I once watched a Frans de Waal film, Chimpanzee Politics, at a primate conference, and I was sitting next to another baboonologist. There is a scene where some chimp had just pulled off a brilliant Machiavellian maneuver, and the guy next to me turned and said, "Christ, that is what a baboon would be like if it had a shred of discipline or gratification-postponement."
Close encounters of the furry kind, from a cruel writer skilled in applying tenterhooks. And an aside from the above piece:
An Inuit maxim describes the wolf as "the knife that carves the caribou."

Smart animals

Animal at your service

Animals of questionable taste
  • The Drake; likewise this squirrel
  • Something you probably didn't see on TV as a child
  • Why be vegetarian?
  • speaking of increased rat consumption in Cambodia (weren't we?), vicariously fine (long) post on adventurous eating -
    ...It sort of looked like a big cube of prosciutto, maybe studded with pistachios? But that can't be right, because they don't have pistachios in Vietnam....

Impostor animal

Animal in the name

Speaking of names (babies are animals, aren't they?)

Monday, September 20, 2004

Control Room reviewed, in 10 words or less

(well, 10 substantive words. Unfortunately for you, they are scattered in the following text:)

Nov. 1: At Crooked Timber, notes on (and link to) Josh Rushing's Oct. 30 NPR interview. He's as good second-hand as he is on film.

The visuals were interesting, but there wasn't any real new information for the blog-literati. And the propensity of certain audience members to treat the event as an anti-Bush pep rally was unfortunate and distracting. OneTwo of the nice things about blogs is that yes, there is typically a comments section, but the audience is not forcibly exposed to it.

Your correspondent's sclerotic heart throbbed for [U.S.] CentCom spokesman Josh Rushing, a patriotic and thoughtful man with an open mind. Not that it served his career well - from Ebert's review: reported June 6 that Lt. Josh Rushing was ordered by the Pentagon not to comment on this film, "and as a result, the 14-year career military man, recently promoted to captain, plans to leave the Marines."

To me the most ironic part was a clip of President Bush The First saying "They're telling lies, but the truth will come out, it always does" or words to that effect. Would that he was right.

A-J links -

The [English language] Al-Jazeera website.

Al-Jazeera aims for "contextual objectivity" (link recycled from March 2003) - which does not mean neutrality, and does mean that the content/tone/slant is influenced by their audience's pre-existing perceptions.

"I was wrong about al-Jazeera" - Downing Street's communications chief, Alastair Campbell reports on Al-Jazeera's Control Room at present: (via)
I thought they would be cocky and brash because they had made themselves into the media story of the last decade. In fact, I found them worried about the way they were perceived, and genuinely perplexed by what they saw as a one-dimensional American view of their output....
Americans fail to see the wider significance of al-Jazeera. "The Americans call for reform. They call for freedom of expression. For democratisation, liberalisation. We have been part of that process, helping create real and lasting change in society, give people a voice. We are part of the march towards reform in the Middle East. They cannot see it," [managing director Wadah Khanfar] says.

Added Oct 18:
Oct. 15 Washington Post article on U.S.-financed Alhurra TV

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Al-Jazeera is coming (on celluloid) to Nevada City

Control Room will be playing at the Nevada Theatre this coming Sunday. Some URLs to get you in the mood -

USA Today on their code of ethics -
Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic satellite channel that U.S. officials have accused of shoddy and biased journalism, has adopted a code of ethics it says will ensure balanced coverage.

Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad closed for 30 days by the interim government in Iraq
Al-Jazeera "no more than other news organisations, has a slant", Kenton Keith, a former US ambassador to Qatar, acknowledged recently
It is one of the larger ironies of the post-war period that a conflict launched in the name of freedom should lead to the banning of one the region's most significant media.

But, as seen in this A-J excerpt on Google news, that slant does seem to be defying gravity ("Is Sudan next? Off Track - - 30 minutes ago") -
Sudan is in the focus of world media attention as political adventurers on both sides of the Atlantic shed crocodile tears on the alleged genocide in Darfur. While they remain habituated to fabricating facts, their lies regarding so-called [etc]
Update - it's not their website after all: is not the website for the satellite TV station Al Jazeera. If you check at, you will see the website is owned by somebody in Georgia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Avoid the monoculture, avoid the viruses

The Microsoft security issue for today is poisoned pictures...

If you want to switch to a [free] non-Microsoft browser to use instead of M$IE, download Firefox.

For an email program (also free) to use instead of Outlook Express, download Thunderbird but save a copy of your mailbox first! Thunderbird seems to have vaporized much of the email imported from Outlook Express (and Express can't find it either). The moral is probably "beware of beta software".

I recently made the switch to both these products, and have next to no complaints. I did have trouble placing an online order using Firefox, but that could have been due to my very nonstandard browser settings. Besides, viruses are considerably more trouble - as this poster said,
...the point of using Firefox is having a browser that I don't need to worry about. When I use IE, I'm not sure whether the next link will take me to an exploit.
Note: in this context, "exploits" are not good.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Special[ly] smart people issue

Update: I have superhuman powers: I can take the gems from some extremely interesting reading and make them sound dull and mundane. Just go read the originals.

Paul Graham -
I didn't mean to make the book controversial. I was trying to make it efficient. I didn't want to waste people's time telling them things they already knew. It's more efficient just to give them the diffs.

...curiosity [is] simply the first derivative of knowledge

and ( in The Age of the Essay)
[What an essay used to be, which is what it should become again:]
An essay is something you write to try to figure something out.
In a real essay, you don't take a position and defend it. You notice a door that's ajar, and you open it and walk in to see what's inside.
...Essays should aim for maximum surprise.
... Surprises are things that you not only didn't know, but that contradict things you thought you knew. And so they're the most valuable sort of fact you can get.
People trying to be cool will find themselves at a disadvantage when collecting surprises. To be surprised is to be mistaken.
History seems to me so important that it's misleading to treat it as a mere field of study. Another way to describe it is 'all the data we have so far'.

Favorites from the December 1997 questions:

Arthur De Vany :
Why are decentralized processes ubiquitous in nature and society and why are they so poorly understood that people will sacrifice their autonomy and freedom for authoritarian, centralized solutions (gods, governments, and gurus) to personal and social problems?

Paul Ewald:
As biological and traditional forms of cultural evolution are superseded by electronic (or post electronic) evolution, what will be the differentially propagating "units" and the outcome of the natural selection among them?

Judith Rich Harris:
How can we reconcile our desire for fairness and equity with the brutal fact that people are not all alike?

Reuben Hersh:
Is there a way to enlarge our separate tribal loyalties, to include all our fellow humans?

Pamela Mccorduck & Joseph Traub:
When posterity looks back on the 20th Century from the perspective of a hundred years, what will they see as our greatest successes and worst follies?

Neal Stephenson:
Why can our minds do physics? That is, why does the behavior of the physical world map so neatly onto mathematical laws, given that those laws are (arguably) strings of symbols that our brains happen to be capable of manipulating, apparently as a fortuitous byproduct of some evolutionary process that made our ancestors better adapted to dodging hyenas in the Rift Valley? Why is it that a person sitting in a chair in a room can, by using those leftover hyena-dodging and buffalo-hunting neurons to manipulate symbols in his head, design wing flaps for a 747, or figure out what was happening one femtosecond after the Big Bang?

Edge's main World Question Center page, linking to the Q&A's for each year

Edge honcho John Brockman on the pre-history of Edge (near top of this page) -
James Lee [Byars] inspired the idea that EDGE...He believed that to arrive at an axiology of societal knowledge it was pure folly to go to a Widener Library and read 6 million volumes of books...[instead] gather the 100 most brilliant minds in the world...have them ask each other the questions they were asking themselves...expected result, in theory, was to be a synthesis of all thought. But between idea and execution are many pitfalls. James Lee...called each of them, and asked what questions they were asking themselves. The result: 70 people hung up on him.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Special laundry issue

Actually this one's mostly fluff, or perhaps dryer lint.

A Fafblog classic Fafnir-and-Giblets face-off, Tide vs. All, with broader implications

And - [only?] in Nevada City - let us hope that this pet got reunited with its owner without delay -

Update: thanks to The Union for their collaboration on this issue.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bug alert - The Union's "Search Archives" is silently defective

Update: No longer silent; helpful warning has been added as of sometime on or before before Nov.21.

Local post; will appear mind-numbingly tedious to nonlocals...

Update: as of Oct. 7, editor says:
Swift Newspaper techs in Reno (where our site is hosted) says it is a problem with Publicus, our Web software. Publicus needs to reindex our archive. Problem is, Publicus tells us it has no time because of something to do with the Florida hurricanes...In any case, we are still working on it...

The results given by The Union's Search are incomplete. For example, typing Beason functionaries into the Search window brings up no hits, although both words are present in this piece; typing Weismann does not bring up his most revealing letter.

The Union staff is aware of the problem - "We are working on getting this fixed" - but haven't put any sort of caveat on the Search page that I can see, and I don't know how long it's been a problem, or what priority is being placed on fixing it, or if there's any pattern (be it devious or structural or ?) to which items don't come up on a search...

Caveat seekor.

Friday, September 03, 2004

For Blogger users only: changing your "0 Comments" text

[This post will only be of interest to Blogger users. It is the second in a series of 'Blogger tools' posts; the first was on creating boxed text.]

There's something just a bit painful about turning on Comments on your blog, only to find that Blogger's now shouting Comments (0) at the bottom of all of your carefully composed posts. They might as well just change the text to say "Nobody's reading your blog,so go out and get a life"...

Hence the need for a less self-denigrating way to indicate to the reader(s) that there is/is not reader-supplied commentary available for a particular post.

The following script will make the text say "Comment", "Comment (1)", or "Comments(574)", respectively, if the post has 0, 1 or 574 comments. To use it:

  1. Edit your Settings to turn on comments, if they're not already turned on.
  2. Save your existing template (Copy, Paste, Save As to a textfile somewhere...) in case something goes horribly wrong (yet subtly enough wrong that you went ahead and Saved the "bad" changes I'm about to suggest).
  3. Edit your template:

    1. After the </title> tag (near the top), insert the following lines (Copy them from this webpage and Paste them into your template):
      <script language=javascript>
      function myCommentDetailStr(id){
          if (id != '0'){
              if (id == '1'){
                  document.write(" (" + id + ")" );
              } else {
                  document.write("s (" + id + ")" );

    2. Find the "<BlogItemCommentsEnabled>" tag and the corresponding "</BlogItemCommentsEnabled>" tag; replace the text between (but not incuding) these tags with:

      <a class="comment-link" href="<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>#comments">

    3. Preview your weblog to make sure that it looks ok;
    4. If so, Save your template changes
    5. Make a test post, publish it, add some commentary to it to test the script
      (no, your correspondent has not done this thoroughly)

As I said, it hasn't been really tested yet. Apparently one needs to "register" in order to comment; will modify this post when testing has been done.

Also, in the highly unlikely event that someone did comment on this blog back when it had Haloscan-hosted commenting and was not being updated...sorry. I didn't see your comment. It's gone.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Daily reckonings

Sorry, there are far more important things going on in this world but I've been collecting these and they have to go somewhere.

People seem to think they get richer by selling their houses to each do economists believe they get richer by setting fire to their houses so they can build them back up.
we Americans aren't so stupid. In exchange for our factories, companies, businesses, land, buildings and other productive assets, we will have gotten nifty DVD players...and those thin-screened TVs...and nice automobiles...

What delicious irony...what a marvelous comeuppance...what fitter "reversion" to a mean, mean world?! After buying Manhattan from the savages for trinkets...we now sell it to Asians - and get trinkets in return!

Oh...we feel Nature's dagger deep in our own soft flesh.
"Inflation," James Gray, editor of Contrarian Speculator, reminded us, borrowing a famous quote from a Dutch central banker, "is a little bit like wetting your pants. At first it feels warm and comfortable, but after a short while it becomes cold and regrettable."
when everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is thinking.