Last night we watched “Summer of Sam”, a “Spike Lee Joint.” Not a bad movie, really. Very different from most other Spike Lee movies that we’ve seen and nothing like we expected.

Yesterday we got our voter information packet for the twenty-plus propositions on California’s March ballot. Each proposition in the packet is given a financial rundown, and proponents and opponents are each given space to present their arguments, as well as rebuttals to the other side. It’s reasonably sad how many of those arguments are nothing but blasting polemics, with little to no regard to actual issues. Most of these writers could have used a few tips on presenting arguments in written form:

  1. Writing something in capital letters does not make it a stronger argument, more truthful, more poignant, or less strained.
  2. Merely stating that something has “always been this way” does not mean changing it is wrong or bad. Citing the status quot as a reason not to change the status quot is illogical at best. You must prove that the status quo is better than the proposed change.
  3. By the same token, change does not justify itself. You must prove that change is necessary and desirable.
  4. Name calling does not impugn the opposition’s argument.
  5. Using loaded words where appropriate is effective. An entire sentence composed of loaded words is, excuse the pun, overloaded.
  6. One witty, well-constructed sentence is often worth pages and pages of dull soulless dreck.

Spent a fair amount of time today working on the home Unix box. Put in a few more scripts for reporting and monitoring purposes. Also, added some additional mail functionality, cleaned up a few older random scripts to make them a bit more modular, installed some new software, and other little things.