malcolm gladwell’s hair

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer. And not just because he’s followed my hoped-for career path (Washington Post to The New Yorker, with a little Canadian flava along the way) — he’s an intellectually interesting writer who does great profiles.
He touched up a bit of a fuss earlier this month, when he gave a speech at Harvard saying most profiles are shallow and awful. Gladwell said journalists fool themselves into thinking they know more about their subjects’ inner lives than they really do, and that their tendency to play “mini-shrink” makes him doubt the very legitimacy of writing standard profiles.
All interesting stuff to someone in my line of work, but here’s the key: look at the guy’s hair! That’s the best journalist hair I’ve ever seen! (For context, this is what he looked like on his recent book jacket.) I aspire to that sort of journofro.

ancient computer problem

I need some tech advice. I’m trying to copy a bunch of files from my old high school/college computer, which has spent the last six years in the smoke-filled home of my uncle. We can’t let cultural gems like COLLAPPS.DOC and RESUME.DOC disappear, can we?
Here’s the deal. It’s an ancient Compaq ProLinea 4/66. Its problems:
– Its monitor’s on/off switch doesn’t work. (I’ve solved this with the careful wedging of a toothpick.)
– The keyboard doesn’t work. I can’t do anything from the DOS prompt; all I can do is within the GUI installed on the poor thing, GeoWorks. (The mouse works fine.)
– The 3.5″ floppy doesn’t work. At first, I thought it was just the quarter-inch layer of accumulated junk. But after I cleared that away, I saw the metal guides inside the drive were warped into inappropriate shapes. I can jam a floppy in, but it doesn’t read.
So…anyone got any suggestions on how to get files from this aging PC? I’d love to hear either great ideas on alternate means of file transport (ideas involving the parallel port will get special credit) or from local Dallasites who have a replacement keyboard (PS/2) I could borrow for a few hours. Do they make floppy drives you can use via a parallel port with DOS?
All those with ideas that end up producing success will get the beverage of their choice, not to mention free copies of any of my Western Civ II high school essays.
One aside: I stopped by the neighborhood Radio Shack this afternoon to buy some floppies (back when I thought the 3.5″ drive worked). I asked where the floppies were, and the old man behind the counter pointed me to the corner — to a part of the store where it appeared no one had set foot since 1986.
First off, when I said “floppies,” he sent me to the boxes of 5.25″ floppies — yep, the old black ones. They had more 5.25″ disks than 3.5″ ones. Other sightings in the corner:
– A single box of (yes!) 8-inch floppy disks, coated in a decade-thick layer of dust.
– A graphics card for the Tandy Color Computer.
– A 128K memory card (yep, 128K, not 128MB) on sale for $39.99. (For those not up on memory price trends — yeah, both of you — you can now buy 512MB of memory for about $28. That would be 4,096 times as much memory.)

national post story

My quest for Total Canadian Media Domination is one step closer to completion. See this piece on yours truly in Monday’s National Post. Apologies to Fiona, the college girlfriend I exposed unintentionally as “fairly tone deaf.” Apologies also to anyone who had an image of me that did not involve me saying “like” too much. (Come on, Ms. Grice — clean up those quotes of mine!)

mickey kaus road trip

Mickey Kaus reports back from his cross-country road trip. First off, good on him for picking the southern I-10 route — clearly the finest of them all, and not only because it threads its way through Rayne, my residence for the week.
His two most important observations:
– “Best radio station: KBON 101.1, Eunice, Louisiana.” Well, I could have told him that.
– “Friendliest people: New Haven, Connecticut.” Well, I could have told him that. The homeless people there are extremely nice when they ask for your money.
Vacation is wonderful.

colorado manure at newspaper

Noticed this story yesterday, from the Denver Post:
The president of the Cheyenne County school board allegedly dumped a pile of horse manure on the counter of the newspaper in Cheyenne Wells on Wednesday.
Publisher Joyce Escudero’s son Gary, who witnessed the dumping, said it happened after school board President Sam Mitchek read a front-page story in the weekly newspaper, published Wednesday, that was critical of him.

But then today I saw the follow-up story:
The pile of horse manure next to the headline “Public Denied Right to Comment” is a “personal affront” to the citizens of Cheyenne Wells, publisher Joyce Escudero said Thursday.
Escudero said she wants school board president Sam Mitchek, who admits he dumped it on the counter of the Range Ledger on Wednesday, to personally clean it up and issue a public apology.
An unrepentant Mitchek explained his actions in a telephone interview: “I felt what has been published lately has been a bunch of horse manure and that is why I went and got some.”
Asked if he felt he set a good example for youngsters, the school board president thought for a moment and said: “It probably doesn’t set a good example for kids in the school – but it lets them know I stand up for the school.”

Hold on — it’s a day later, and the newspaper is still waiting to clean up the manure? It’s day-old crusty poop now?
I’m all for standing on journalistic principle, but please, Joyce Escudero, clean up the poo! For the children!

yep, i’m alive, el paso trip

Geez, I haven’t been doing such a great job of feeding the masses of late, have I? My apologies for the unanticipated week-long hiatus. A few random thoughts.
– Flew back from El Paso Tuesday night. (And boy, are my arms tired.) One thing I like about my job is that I travel enough that trips sneak up on me now. Monday morning, I woke up and said, “Damn! I forgot! I’m going to Mexico tonight!”
– Yep, did cross the border into Mexico, my first foray into that fine nation. With my Toronto jaunt earlier this fall, my NAFTA cred is officially established. Stopped in at the Kentucky Club, which appears to be the official gringo stop in Juarez — a handful of A&M frat boys were the only other customers, as Monday Night Football played on the TV. (Juarez on a Monday night isn’t the most exciting place in the world. I walked back across the Rio Grande after about an hour.)
– Went to see the DFWbloggers last night. They’re still blogging at breakneck speeds, making me look bad.
– Canadian readers, keep an eye out for Monday’s National Post — you may see a little crabwalk goodness therein. (If not then, later in the week.)
– Two more days of work, then a week’s vacation in lovely Rayne. If my posting frequency hasn’t convinced you I’ve been too busy lately, trust me — I need a vacation.