A cool story, from Andrew of all people: Weis uses play called by 10-year-old boy dying of inoperable brain tumor.
I haven’t been paying too much attention to the comment section in recent days, for obvious reasons… I’ve been far too busy, and my Internet access has been far too spotty, to read every comment on every post. But it’s come to my attention that commenters impersonating other commenters has become a problem in at least one thread, so I want to make a clear statement about this. Such behavior is completely unacceptable. Anyone impersonating another commenter with intent to deceive is subject to being immediately banned. If you see this happening, please e-mail me and point me to where it is occurring.
Beyond that, I am concerned about the devolution of the BrendanLoy.com comment section into a “stuck on stupid” mode, as General Honore would say. Watching the level of discourse asymptotically approach that of an AOL chatroom is not something I relish, as I hinted to CNET News. This isn’t about protecting a blog fiefdom from “outsiders”; it is about keeping the level of discourse at a tolerable level.
To be clear, I have absolutely no objection to the comments that the VAST MAJORITY of new readers have been making. I appreciate your readership and participation in this community. But as we all know, it only takes a few bad apples to make things worse for everyone.
I may eventually institute comment registration in an attempt to discourage trollish behavior and other unwanted crap, but that would be part and parcel of the longer-term blog migration to WordPress which has been significantly delayed by recent events. For now, there isn’t much I can do, except to ask everyone to please be at least moderately civil, and if you don’t have anything remotely intelligent to say, then don’t say anything at all. (Funny comments are OK, too, but please, don’t completely hijack serious threads with them.)
If you think I’m simply prejudiced against the “newbies,” you’re wrong. I welcome all of my new readers with open arms — all except the ones who engage in assholish behavior. Those are the ones I don’t like: the assholes. I think I can be forgiven that “prejudice.” (And yes, I have been known to upbraid some of the “regulars” in the past when they have behaved assholishly. I’ve even been known to criticize myself for the occasional instance of assholishness. So this has nothing to do with “newbies” vs. “regulars,” per se. Again, this is about the overall level of discourse.)
And if you think I’m being an insufferable censor, you are, again, wrong. I have no desire to censor anyone, which is why I have very rarely done so (and have never banned anyone, except spammers, in 3 1/2 years of blogging). But I also don’t want the comment section to become so poisonous that it loses all the people with intelligent and insightful things to say, and is populated only by trolls and morons.
One last note: this post is not an attack on anyone in particular. This is a broad concern, one which several regular commenters have brought to my attention, and I felt it needed to be addressed. If you feel personally attacked by this post, perhaps that means you perceive yourself as engaging in assholish behavior, in which case your perception is probably correct and you should probably think about modifying your behavior.
P.S. I’m thinking about adding a statement like this to the comment template:
The BrendanLoy.com comment section is a community. It is a “big tent” community; all are welcome to join. But if you wish to be a member in good standing of the community, you need to abide by certain guidelines of behavior. Be civil. Avoid profanity and vulgarity except when it’s central and necessary to your comment. Mark all links which are “not safe for work” as “NSFW.” Do not impersonate other commenters. Do not engage in pointless personal attacks as a substitute for meaningful debate. Endeavour not to “hijack” threads. Most of all, try to contribute something worthwhile to the discussion. Don’t lower the level of discourse; raise it. Help make this a community we all want to be a part of.
Comments, pro and con, and suggestions on additions or subtractions, are welcome.
Cameron, Louisiana is basically destroyed, and as many as 1,000 people may be stranded, according to CNN.
UPDATE: On a lighter note, police in Lake Charles caught a group of looters stealing DVDs from a porno store. Heh.
It just came to my attention, via Mike and Andrew, that my archives haven’t been working for the last few days. Sorry about that. I’m fixing it now, and they should be working again soon here.
True to its word ~ at last. / And, yes: far better that Good Faith comes Late ~ than Never.
Joe Loy, guestblogging.
A report confirming that IRA decommissioning has been completed is to be given to the British and Irish governments on Monday.
General John de Chastelain, head of the body overseeing the disarmament, is then expected to give a news conference with the two independent witnesses.
The churchmen who witnessed the process were Catholic priest Father Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold Good.
Note: this Cross-community Clergy Witnessing business has been part of the Plan for several Years. It was proposed in lieu of public Photography, which the Boyoes :) ~ who see themselves as an Army Undefeated from 1916 even unto the present Day ~ always rejected as Humiliating & likely to be misconstrued as documentation of Surrender. / Here, however, is a BBC prurient Peek, presumably from File Footage. :)
The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July.
The republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.
Statements are also expected on Monday from the IRA, both governments and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams…
Here’s the whole thing.
And ~ here is SF’s carefully-crafted advance Take:
Published: 25 September, 2005
Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, before he left Dublin after the all-Ireland football final, said he believes that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly historic advance.
Mr. McGuinness said: “The IRA’s decision on July 28th to formally end its armed campaign has changed the political landscape in Ireland forever. I am confident that tomorrow will bring the final chapter on the issue of IRA arms.
“Of course, this is about more than arms. It is about the reviving the peace process, it is about the future of Ireland. And this places an enormous responsibility on the British and Irish governments to finally implement the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects on issues like equality, human rights, policing, demilitarization and northern representation. It will also place a huge responsibility on the leadership of the DUP to re-engage in the political process….”
Yes, Martin. / And may I add, most gratefully ~ both for the long-past Heroism AND for the Present-day Realism ~ what I earnestly hope may become the Parade song of the Oglaigh na hEireann Commemorative Marching Society:
And now, some good news from Newington — great news, in fact, via Erin: NHS Class of 1999 grads Tara Boisvert and Joe Serfass are getting married!!! They got engaged this afternoon! WOOHOO!!!
Congrats, Tara & Joe!
UPDATE: I can’t find a picture of Tara and Joe… if anybody has one, please send it to me and I’ll post it! In the mean time, here’s a picture of me and Tara from 2003:
(Back story for the uninitiated: Tara is one of my best friends from high school, and I had a huge crush on her for, like, six years, starting in middle school or maybe late elementary school. :) But I’m very happy for her and Joe! Again, congrats, guys!!)
Lisa Velte moved ahead of Em Merkler in the BrendanLoy.com Notre Dame football prediction contest Saturday, thanks to the Irish’s 19-point margin of victory over Washington, which was closer to Velte’s predicted 17-point margin than Merkler’s 14-point prediction, giving Velte a two-point edge in the “point differential” tiebreaker.
Velte and Merkler are both 3-1 in their predictions so far, as are alphadog, Dmytro Aponte, Ray Wert and Josh Rubin. No one is 4-0, thanks to the Michigan game, which 19 out of 24 contestants thought Notre Dame would lose, and the Michigan State game, which 20 out of 24 contestants thought Notre Dame would win. The only person who got both of those games right was Rubin, but he predicted that the Irish would lose to Pittsburgh.
I’m in dead last, which is what I get for predicting a loss to Washington. :)
I still haven’t made the Excel spreadsheet for the USC contest… sorry! I’ll try to get to it this week, I swear…
There was a big-ass anti-war protest in Washington, and others across the country, yesterday. The timing was rather bad, of course, with Rita largely distracting the media. And Briandot, himself an opponent of the war, was not impressed with the protesters.
Meanwhile, Houston is getting back to normal, and along the Texas coast, “Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday he saw plenty of damage during a helicopter tour over the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, but added: ‘There’s none of that just-down-to-the-foundation devastation that we saw out of Mississippi’ after Katrina.” But there is still $8 billion of damage in Texas, according to Perry.
Southwestern Louisiana, specifically the Lake Charles area, seems to be the hardest-hit region, as indicated by the fact that Lt. Gen. Russel Honore is in Lake Charles. More from the Lake Charles American Press blog, and at LakeCharles.com.
In New Orleans, the water is receding as pumping resumes, and Mayor Ray Nagin is planning to resume the re-population of his city. Awesome idea, Ray. Awesome.
There was one death in Mississippi from a Rita-spawned tornado. So far, that’s the only reported death directly caused by Rita.
But unfortunately, it appears the Moose missed his flight. :) [Guestblogging, Joe Loy.]
WINDSOR LOCKS — While Joe Brosseau was running along the Perimeter Road of Bradley International Airport early Thursday, he happened upon a galloping moose.
Brosseau…said he was shocked to see the animal, which he initially thought was a human teenager.
[Understandable mistake. / ~ the guestblogger :]
…Brosseau first encountered a state trooper, who told him to get behind the fence because a moose was coming.
“Being the good, law-abiding citizen that I am, I quickly ducked behind the fence, and watched in amazement as the moose headed straight toward me,” Brosseau said. “It got to within about 20 feet, and then veered to the right, crossed a small field, and then zipped right across Route 75.”
The moose last was seen heading toward the woods near the airport, Windsor Locks Police Capt. Chester DeGray said. “We don’t know where it went,” he said.
It is in the Breeze, it is on the Lam, the moose is a Fugitive. :) Read the small remainder of the whole thing. ;}
In other New England news of catastrophe averted :), there was an Earthquake last night near Ayers Junction, Maine, ay-up. :> The 3.4 wobbler :) caused no known damage or injury. Nor, we trust, any disruption to the famous Tide along Old Fundy’s shore. :)
Here’s a cool picture of the Chicago skyline — silhouetted against the sun’s reflection on Lake Michigan — that I took as my flight from O’Hare to Hartford was taking off Wednesday morning:
Sarah’s mom left a lovely comment earlier this evening in which she thanked everyone for “the kindness and the comfort your comments have given to” the family. Here’s a picture of Sarah (at right) with her mom and her five siblings:
I’ve created a permanent memorial for Sarah at www.brendanloy.com/sarah, where I am consolidating and centralizing all the links to photos, sound clips, blog posts, comments and other materials paying tribute to Gimpi (or “Scout,” as she was known more widely and recently). The memorial is a work-in-progress, and if you have anything you’d like to contribute to it, please by all means e-mail me.
Speaking of tributes, Thursday’s musical tribute by the NHS choir alums was really remarkable. It was successful beyond anything I could possibly have imagined when I had my initial brainstorm that we should get some alums together and sing “A Welsh Lullaby” in Sarah’s honor. I remember wondering if we’d be able to cobble together enough people to have at least two singers for each part! Well, as it turns out, we had (I believe) 29 people in all — almost twice the size of a normal chamber choir — ranging in age from the Class of 1998 through the Class of 2008. That’s a decade’s worth of NHS students who were sufficiently touched by Sarah’s life that they wanted to sing her a final farewell. Remarkable. Here’s a group picture of most of us (though several had left or were elsewhere when the picture was taken):
(More pictures here.)
Mr. Treggor was nervous at first about how “A Welsh Lullaby” — a five-part piece — would sound with such a large group, some of whom had learned a slightly different arrangement, a few of whom had never actually performed the song before (though they pretty much knew it anyway; it was one of those songs that friends of chamber singers heard so often that they sometimes just sort of picked it up), and none of whom had ever sung in anything resembling this particular combination of voices, which spanned 11 years and two music directors. But it went off amazingly well. Mr. Treggor said afterward that we sounded better than past choirs sometimes had sounded after rehearsing it over and over. He joked, “Maybe that should tell me something.” Rehearse less, sing better? Heh. :) On the other hand, perhaps we sang beautifully because were guided by Sarah’s spirit.
I managed to discreetly capture an audio recording of the beginning of our performance of “A Welsh Lullaby” at the funeral. Unfortunately, the audio quality is terrible, as the clip was captured with my digital camera, which is not exactly a high-end audio recorder. Also unfortunately, my camera stopped 55 seconds into the song, so it’s only a partial recording. (I do like the fact that it happened to stop immediately after we sang the words “looking on your smiling face” — the very same lyric that struck me while looking at pictures of Sarah and inspired my brainstorm in the first place.) Still, at least it’s something. You can download the MP3 or listen below:
I also have a partial recording of our singing “Amazing Grace,” not from the actual performance (at the gravesite dedication service) but from our rehearsal in the morning at Mr. Treggor’s house. Again, the clip only includes the beginning of the song, and again the audio quality is terrible, but for what it’s worth… download here or listen below…
Of course, far, far better quality (and complete) versions of both songs are the recordings that were made for the Ars Musica CD by the 2000-01 NHS Chamber Choir, including Sarah:
A Welsh Lullaby: MP3 file
Amazing Grace: MP3 file
As long as I’m sharing Ars Musica recordings, here’s an audio clip where you can hear Sarah on solo from 0:38 to 1:20. It’s “Appalachian Carol” (a.k.a. “I Wonder As I Wander”), from the same 2000-01 chamber CD. Unfortunately, there was apparently some confusion between Sarah and Mr. Treggor about whether she was supposed to sing with vibrato, so it’s not her best performance — but it’s still beautiful, and for those who have never heard her sing before, it gives you some idea what we’re talking about when we praise her vocal talents so highly:
Appalachian Carol: MP3 file
Mr. Treggor said he will send me some clips from Sarah’s performance in “West Side Story,” and I will upload those if/when I get them, along with any other audio I’m able to get my hands on.
Again, all of this is also at the permanent Sarah LeFoll memorial page.
The good news on now-Tropical Depression Rita: she’s not going to stall out, as previously predicted, but instead will move away to the northeast, according to the 11:00 PM EDT NHC discussion:
THE DEPRESSION IS CERTAINLY CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE RAINFALL TOTALS FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS… EVEN THOUGH IT IS FORECAST TO MOVE A LITTLE FASTER TOWARD THE NORTHEAST THAN THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY…AND PERHAPS MERGE WITH A FRONT IN ABOUT THREE DAYS AS SUGGESTED BY MOST OF THE GLOBAL MODELS.
If that new forecast pans out, there will be less inland flooding than expected, and no sequel. Here’s the official track:
The 11:00 PM was the National Hurricane Center’s final advisory on Rita. Further advisories will come from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.
The bad news: In coastal towns in southern Louisiana, the water is still rising for some reason — in some cases 6-12 inches per hour — and people are getting stuck in their flooded homes, including some people who evacuated and then returned too soon! According to Anderson Cooper on CNN, Governor Blanco says as many as 300 people may still be trapped. A major search-and-rescue operation is underway.
CNN also obtained some incredible video taken by a guy whose home was invaded by flood waters this morning. You could see all sorts of household appliances floating around.