Where's the party?

Denmark got a new government yesterday.

Little more than two weeks after the general election, the leader of a center-left coalition went to the Queen and told that she had a government platform and a parliamentary majority behind it. She was duly appointed prime minister. Then handover ceremonies were held at the various government ministries. Outgoing ministers shook hand with their successors, gave good-natured farewell speeches, and then up and left.

The new government wows to dismantle many of the laws the old one passed. The election campaign has been moderately poisonous. These things are important; they affect the life and dreams of real live people all over the country. And yet, when the old leadership lost their majority, what they did was to smile sadly and step aside, hoping for better luck next time.

There had been no mass protests. No armored vehicles in the streets. No weapons fired or even readied. Power simply changed hands, just like that. Those formerly in power will, for the most part, stay in politics. They will do their best to undermine the new government's policies and popularity. They will not be harassed by the authorities for doing so.

That, my friends, is fucking remarkable. If it sounds banal, it is only because it has been the norm for about a half-dozen decades, in about a score countries mostly clustered in about half a hemisphere. Compared to most of history, or even to most of the world today, it is simply unbelievable.

We are, in general, unaware how lucky we are. We should be out in the streets, waving flags, whooping and cheering for being able to do this. We aren't, because it just feels normal. But that doesn't make it so.

For full disclosure, I'm a member of one of the parties in the new government, so it goes without saying that I'm happy to have it. But I'm even happier that sometimes we're not in power, because otherwise we wouldn't be able to do this. A peaceful, democratic change of government is one of the greatest things one can ever be part of -- and it makes me very proud to be Danish.

(If you're from another country that does this regularly, go ahead and be proud of that too. There's enough to go around.)


Memorable moments lost

I just noticed that the initial digits in some timestamps my code logs out looked familiar.

It turns out that for one glorious second about 38 hours ago, the Unix timestamp value (in decimal) equaled my personal identification number.

And I missed it. Drat.

Danish readers born on on September 13 should be prepared!


How to write product descriptions

I own a grand total of zero modular stage deck elements, which happens to be all I need, and even if I did need more, I would want to buy or rent them closer to home than California. This saddens me a bit because these guys' product descriptions are pure gold – they deserve my custom, but I have none to give them!

It seems they're using a website template that wants to have individual descriptions for each product, even if the product has very little individuality to it, leading to such gems as

4' x 3' stage decks are exactly the same size as a 3' x 4' stage deck.
It's amazing.

or (though excerpts cannot possibly capture the surreal beauty of the whole thing. It's like trying to photograph the horizon. Go read in it context, please!)

4' x 4' plexi stage decks are the not as heavy as the 4' x 8' plexi deck.

For some obscure reason, the quiet exasperation of these lines makes me absurdly happy. I can go to bed satisfied now. (Which, considering what seems to amuse me at this hour, must be high time).