For a while now I’ve been feeling unaccountably shy about the fact that, purely for the amusement value of the thing, I put together a CafePress site for nielsenhayden.com. I mean, we’re running all those ads now. It seemed a bit much.
(Okay, it wasn’t purely for the amusement value. Patrick wanted a t-shirt that said “Just because you’re on their side, doesn’t mean they’re on your side.” But the way you do that on CafePress is by setting up a store of your own; and they make that so easy that once you’ve uploaded your one design, it seems like the merest trifle to do another one that says “I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist,” and next thing you know you’re putting encryptions on coffee mugs.)
However, it’s occurred to me that nearly everyone I’ve told about it has made useful and entertaining suggestions: it’s something to play with! That’s different. In particular, Lydy Nickerson has said, and rightly so, that I need to have a t-shirt or mug with a disemvowelled inscription. It’s coming up with the inscription that’s the problem.
Other Housekeeping: I’ve been getting a stunning amount of spam at my e-mail address, and so far we haven’t managed to come up with a set of filters that’ll keep all of it out of my in-box. Our successive filters stop most of it, but even the fraction that does get through is enough to swamp my mail queue some days. We’re working on this problem. In the meantime, if some urgent piece of mail from you has gone unheeded, please don’t hesitate to send it again. In a world in which I can get six and eight copies a day of the same piece of junk mail from some spammer, I’m not going to object to getting two copies of a letter from a friend.
You might want to go and have a look at Kathryn Cramer’s weblog. She’s on a roll. Kathryn’s been collecting and correlating information about the proliferation of private security forces—mercenaries—operating in Iraq. Most of these men are former military, many of them from elite fighting units—lot of British ex-SAS, so many South Africans that the South African government is cracking down on them, Chileans trained under Pinochet, all manner stuff. Go look. Things were strange enough in Iraq, but they’re getting stranger by the minute.