more wonderfulness with ical

I’ve fixed the iCal calendar I make for the Fireside Bowl — it seems that mpshows stopped updating the website I was scraping, and switched to a php-based deal. The new-format page has more information, but is in some kind of awful, horrible, non-validating HTML. I changed my script to use BeautifulSoup and now it works even better than before. I also added a calendar for the Bottom Lounge, even though beer is WAY too expensive there.

does anyone use this?

I’ve fixed the iCal calendar I make for the empty bottle — I didn’t realize it was broken until today — how long has it been screwed up? No idea. I should really check my log files to see how active it is.

Actually what I should do is talk to the webmaster there and get access to the database they’re using to build the pages, saving me the trouble of having to scrape all the info out of their horrible non-validating HTML.

matt yglesias distills something strong

Matt Yglesias has something important to say about the difference between Republican and Democrat foreign policy.

When the GOP sees a regime that’s hostile to the United States and that it is within America’s capacity to topple militarily, they say: “Go for it.” A hostile state always might become an al-Qaeda sponsor, and Republicans think the possibility of state sponsorship of al-Qaeda is very, very, very bad, so it’s worth going way out of our way to make sure it doesn’t happen. Fundamentally, Republicans are eager to overthrow regimes not because they’re democracy-promoting idealists (though some are democracy-promoting idealists, that’s just not the dominant strain of thought) but because they’re very worried about state sponsorship.

The Democratic foreign policy establishment sees this very differently. Democrats worry about failed states. Democrats think al-Qaeda grows — and grows powerful — where institutions of governance break down. Iraq wasn’t governed pleasantly, but it was governed. Hence, Democrats are loathe to destroy a regime unless they’re prepared to put it back together. This makes Democrats more hesitant to overthrow regimes, not because they’re stability-worshipping realists (though, again, some probably are) but because their collective nightmare is more failed states. Democrats take nation-building seriously — too seriously to want to do it more often than is really necessary.

what we need more of is science [fiction authors]

Cory Doctorow recently gave a talk at Microsoft, and I think it’s worth reading by just about everyone. First, he says a lot of really sensible things about copyright, and “piracy” and whatnot, but secondly, he does something really amazing. He walks right into the den of the “enemy” or whatever, and he gives it to them straight. He doesn’t chide, he doesn’t hector — he tells them what he earnestly thinks they should do, and it pitches it to them in a way that (a) makes sense, and (b) appeals to their (profit) motives.

This talk is really a good example of how to attempt to persuade someone who might disagree with you. It’s not combative, accusatory, or snide — it’s great. We need more like this.

You are old, Father William

I’m getting old. Somehow, while riding my bike home from seeing The Chronicles of Riddick (it was great! you will hate it!) last night, I threw my back out. I’m pretty sure I’m having some kind of muscle spasm down there in the small of my back. So I am cranky today. I swallowed a leftover Vicodin — maybe that will help.

Riddick was awesome. I feel like it was made just for me. Eminem has or had a Vicodin tattoo on his arm — I’m still looking for a picture. Lindsay Lohan was in a remake of The Parent Trap in 1998. Here is a photo. I have a real soft spot for The Parent Trap — I love that it and Freaky Friday just keep getting re-made, over and over and over.

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