(I haven’t been able to log into Blogger until now – that’s all day. I know beggars can’t be choosers, and Blogger IS free, but there are other freebies out there, and I’m investigating them.)

A digression before moving on to the story of the day. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m back in school parttime. Since I’m still (for the moment) working fulltime, there are some logistical kinks: I work until 7:30 or so at night, come home, and then try to do my assigned readings for my two classes before I fall asleep. Then on Saturday and Sunday, after chores, church, etc., I re-read all the stuff I read at night during the previous week – because I don’t remember any of it.

This leaves the problem of recopying and reviewing my copious sanskrit notes to… well, never. So one of my last fulltime salaried purchases was a very cheap (counting rebates) and very light Averatec laptop computer to use in class (almost everyone else uses a computer; I look like a graying luddite by comparison). Among other fun things, it has an 80 gigabyte harddrive, which is more space than I can fill in a very, very long time. It came with Works, which many of you may know is the stripped-down Office-like suite from Microsoft. I own Office, and I figured I could always load it onto the laptop. But having an empty 80 gigabyte harddrive is kind of like having a new car (which I’ve had once, too): there’s a brief spell when you take leave of the Reality-Based Community and believe you can keep the thing free of clutter and want very much to do so.

You delete junk files more rapidly, you run the defrag utility every couple weeks and it returns messages that say, basically, “oh, come on!” It’s like not letting the dogs or plants or friends-bearing-coffee into your new car. Eventually, you re-enter Reality. But I’m in that special Clutter Free Mental Zone, right now, so I don’t want to load all my favorite space-hogging programs onto the new computer. Besides, I thought, surely Office can read Works documents, even if Works can’t read Office.

What was I thinking? This is Microsoft, for crying out loud! Of course it can’t! Because my printer isn’t working, I sent the documents to myself to print at work (shhhh), and discovered I need a special program to translate the documents. The point of this long story? It’s my community service for the day: the program you need, should you find yourself in a similar fix, is here.

Now…

It’s probably just killing the Bushies that they can’t keep the media conversation on truly important things like the fact that John Kerry reminded us all that Mary Cheney is gay, or that he forgot who all was at a meeting he attended, or that his wife forgot Laura Bush was a teacher and a librarian once. Because these are the things on which elections turn! But they keep losing the headlines in a very big way. I think NYT “broke” today’s big story on the missing 380 tons of super explosives but Juan Cole reminds us – it’s not the first time since the invasion that things terrorists might like have gone missing. Confident that everyone is as gullible as a Bush supporter, the Pentagon first floated the “explanation” that they didn’t tell us about this sooner because they didn’t want the enemy to know. That would be the enemy who presumably took the stuff? Josh Marshall observed that though the administration’s press ‘droid Scott McClellan says it’s the fault of the Iraqi interim government – because they had responsibility for securing the site – the stuff’s been missing for a year (and Condi claims to have only learned about it last month?), which is – oh – about a year before the Iraqi interim government took over. Actually, Marshall has been tracking this story since it broke and has some interesting analyses and connections.

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