Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > April Fools' Day Edition

April Fools' Day 2003 Edition

Death, taxes, unrequited love and business as usual have been banished from the world. Saddam Hussein and his sons are hanging from a withered oak tree. The Hoosier population has grown in intellect along with courage and common sense; high technology has taken root in Indiana, where caution is no longer a way of life. Everyone is at peace with one another, and decisions are handed down with fairness and impartiality. And the world is at peace.

That was a nasty April folly, wasn't it? :)

Now, here's a bigger April Fools' joke. I found it on a bumper sticker on some BSU professor's car:

Nobody is free when others are oppressed.

It sounds noble, doesn't it? Yet it implies that freedom is a myth. Oppression is too widespread and too varied to stamp out everywhere. In fact, the impulse to be a little tin idol and force others to kiss your divine butt is an inborn aspect of being human. So, a world without oppression is thus a world without a single human soul.

Freedom everywhere is impossible, so it's better that freedom—and the self-control that makes freedom possible—exists for some than for none at all.

Oh, and lest you think I pick on leftists unduly, let me say that none of the above is as stupid as the idea that prosperity for all will come from cheap goods made in other lands, or cheap services given by foreign college grads imported on H-1B visas—all at the expense of American workers. Globalization is good only if you are an investment banker, an executive at a multinational corporation, or a Washington polit on the made.


After all that computer swapping, things has slacked off. So I was sent to clean out the older printers. Some of them have been so heavily used that the grime won't wholly come off, not even with alcohol.

For two branches I told the new Datavac 2 vacuum cleaner, a potent little sucker of dust and laserjet toner. Better, when you attach the hose to the exhaust, you have a source of compressed air that neither slackens nor freezes your hand if you hold it too long. Of course, you have to find an outlet somewhere to use it.

I came in late for the first time in weeks, and not on purpose, either. Last night I launched SimCity 4 and was getting two communities to work in concord. I found that I can connect power, rail and road to a nebulous 'SimNation' for my cities' power and water and goods, even if there are no other cities in the region. I also found that it is possible to set up a self-sustaining city from the first day—provided the city is very small. By 'very small' I mean one windmill generator, one water tower, and small patches of living, shopping and working space.

I was so inured with SimCity that I did not notice the passing of the time. When I ended the game, it was half past midnight! And I still had to prepare for tomorrow! Needless to say, I did not get much sleep, and I had to get my breakfast at MacDonald's.

Andy's helpful hint: When ordering breakfast at MacDonald's, say 'orange juice' if that's what you want. If you just say 'orange', you may get a Hi-C—basically orange-flavored sugar water. I made that mistake, and had to pour out my drink.


Once in a while my department gets a heavily forwarded e-mail virus warning that urges us to pass it along to all and sundry. We delete such letters and scold the person who sent it to us. They are hoaxes.

There are several dozen of these virus hoaxes floating about the Internet. These hoaxes are chain letters, as damaging to the Internet as viruses themselves: people keep forwarding them en masse and thereby hogging precious bandwidth. Worse, they lead some users to ignore real virus warnings, leaving them open to a world of hurt. And, sometimes, the warnings themselves carry script or attachments that attack your computer when activated.

When you get such a message, delete it at once. You can check the Symantec or McAfee security sites to confirm whether it is a hoax.


I attended my first formal dinner. Well, it was as formal as it gets here in Indiana.

I am a member of the Friends of the Bracken Library, an organization that lends support to Ball State's library, where I worked for six years as a stacker. I donate books to the library from time to time, which qualifies me for membership.

I put on my sports coat and a tie and went to the alumni center after work. Although I am an alumnus myself, this is the first time I have ever been inside there. It is basically a giant atrium with three palm trees in the middle, surrounded by offices, meeting rooms and dining/reception areas. The network admin for my company worked there for a time.

About seventy people came to the dinner, including three library people I knew from my student days. I sat with a guy who works in the library's version of my company's information systems department, and we talked shop while we ate a very delicious meal of spinach and tangerine salad, grilled chicken filet with mashed potatoes and asparagus, rolls and butter, iced tea and a chocolate/raspberry desert, along with my metformin tablet.

FBL business included the selection of a new president, appointment of a very friendly fellow for another term as secretary/archivist, and awards for three student library workers for academic achievement.

Then came a short talk by a theatre arts professor on George Bernard Shaw and the Federal Theater Project, a New Deal program which sought to keep actors employed during the Depression. Shaw's involvement with the project was in allowing it to perform his works to as wide an audience as it could. The professor's point is in how those plays were performed, with Androcles and the Lion as an example.

war and protest

Let us support our armed forces in this struggle to take over Iraq and to install a better government for the Iraqis.


…removing Saddam and his family from power is a worthy goal in itself.

This should have been done twelve years ago, when George Bush the Elder and his stability-über-alles minions were in power. It's better now than never, even if George Bush the Younger—that tactless bore with the legitimacy problem among professors and other Democrats—is leading the fight.

Oh, and if you don't like the protests against (or for) the war, just ignore them. After all, while they have the right to protest, you also have the right not to listen to them.

OK, so some of the protesters are entertainers. What are you going to do? Most actors, singers and other entertainers are leftist and liable to oppose war for any reason. Hollywood has been left-of-center from its birth as an entertainment center, and it will not change its collective beliefs just because we say so.

Boycotting products from France and Greece, which hate us no matter what, is easy enough. But you are not going to turn off your TV and radio just because the actors and singers are anti-war protesters, are you? You'd die of boredom—or, worse, you'd find yourself thinking!


Speaking of TV, I have found that with only basic cable service (which provides network stations, two shopping channels, Chicago's WGN and the two CSPAN channels) I don't watch TV anymore apart from old Simpsons episodes. Every network and cable channel on basic service is like a twenty-four-hour cruft-a-thon. The latest Star Trek series is so boring. Fox's latest attempts at science fiction have flopped. PBS's fare has gotten stale now that the BBC has its own cable channel in this country. There isn't even any good syndicated stuff after Earth: Final Conflict.

I've pretty much given up on television, just as I have given up on radio after the decline of grunge rock. I use my TV set only to watch animé.

Spirited Away

This is the latest film by Miyazaki Hayao, first released in July 2001. It was released last year by Disney as a boutique film (which means here it gets shown at the Castleton Arts cinema and places like that); its Academy Award victory last month has spurred Disney to release it again in mainstream theaters. That's where I was last Saturday, watching it for the second time.

On their way to a new house, a Japanese family take an odd turn and find themselves at the entrance to a tunnel that leads to what look likes a seedy abandoned amusement park. While the parents help themselves to the abundant food at one of the stands, their daughter Chihiro explores the place. It gets less and less seedy until she finds a splendid bathhouse, obviously still in business.

Chihiro is warned to flee by a young boy, but it is too late. Night has fallen: the park is surrounded by a vast river; strange customers mill about; and her parents have pigged out so much they have become pigs themselves.

The family stumbled upon Aburaya, the Bathhouse of the Gods, where Japan's pantheon comes to relax, and are now trapped. With the help of the boy Haku, Chihiro applies for a job with the bathhouse's proprietress, a greedy old witch named Yubâba. Yubâba takes Chihiro's name away (reducing it to Sen) and assigns her as a assistant to one of the bathhouse girls.

Now Sen must work hard to get out of her contract, to get back her name, and to return her parents to human form. It is hard work, and most of the other workers (frog and slug sprites) despise her as a human (to them she stinks to high heaven). But she has friends in her boss Rin, in Haku (when he isn't under Yubâba's thumb), in the boiler master Kamajii and his soot-sprite helpers, and in a mysterious black spirit called Kaonashi ('No-face').

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 02 April 2003.