Apropos of nothing

Shadow of a Doubt is the most underrated Hitchcock film. By most underrated all I mean is that one hears about far less often than a great many of his other films, including inferior ones. It is also one of his top five, but not top three (so either four or five). There are of course, Hitchcock films which I have not seen and might lead me to change my mind.




Are forever

Inspired by what I'm fairly certain was the movie that was about to be played in Washington Square Park while I was jogging (running would be overstating things) around it tonight, I am currently watching The Last Waltz. In order to make this post controversial/interesting to anyone besides me, here's my claim: The Neil Diamond appearance and song is good in an un-ironic manner. Also, it's a better concert than Stop Making Sense, and I say that as unabashed Talking Heads fan.




A plea for malice

Dear fellow New Yorkers:

Please do not go to any bar affiliated with the Maritime hotel. This means La Bottega, and other bar they might have, and especially Hiro.

On Friday night, I went with two male friends to meet a large group of girls, of whom we knew only one, at Hiro. When we got to the front of the line without any female companions, the bouncer glared at us and asked us to step aside. We called the girls inside and the one we knew came out, but since we weren't adding any new girls, we were denied entrance. The bouncer did offer to waive this illusory rule if we gave him $60. Fairly pissed off, we went to drink at another bar.

The next night, a group of four really good girl friends who had mostly moved out of New York called to say that they were all back and celebrating one of their birthdays at La Bottega. Knowing that La Bottega was affiliated with the same hotel as Hiro, I was apprehensive about going, but really wanted to hang out with these girls. I showed up with an overlapping but not matching set of two male friends and one of their girl friends. When we reached the front of the line, I was standing next to my friend's girlfriend. The bouncer asked, "Two?" I said, "Four." We were then moved off to the side, where the bouncer said he'd deal with us in a minute. After repeatedly explaining our story, asking if the bouncer was planning to let us in or not, once again being solicited for bribes, watching groups of two males with no females be allowed in more than once, and finally having two of the girls from the group upstairs come down, wave to us, and tell the bouncer they would have their whole group leave if we weren't allowed in, we were allowed to enter as two groups of two separated by five minutes. When my friends girlfriend asked, "Why did you treat us so poorly?" the bouncer refused to comment and just said something like, "I told you I'll let you in, why are you causing trouble."

Also their drinks are overpriced, even for New York.

In closing, don't go there, tell you friends not to go there, start whispering campaigns telling people bad things about them, and if for some reason you are forced to go there, be aware that the bouncers think that you should be extraordinarily grateful to pay them for alcohol. Oh, and despite all of their efforts, the crowd wasn't any hotter than many other New York bars. For god sake, they let me in.


Idle Speculation

I haven't been following the story all that closely, but it seems to me the Bolton nomination is dead. With the lack of a recess appointment over the break Congress just finished, and Bolton's name having basically dropped out of the major papers and news organizations (partially thanks to O'Connor's resignation), I have difficulty imagining John Bolton being the next UN Ambassador. This has to be seen as a victory for competence and good policy, and a welcome one at that. I would think the lack of a recess appointment or a continued push for a vote in the Senate is newsworthy in and of itself, but I guess there won't be any official confirmation until the nomination is withdrawn and someone else (Paula Dobriansky?) is nominated in his place. Also, neither myself nor the blog are dead. Have faith, I shall return, etc. Oh, and I really like that the reason given in the first link in the Google search under "dropped" for why Bush has to push ahead with Bolton is that otherwise "Pelosi and Voinovich [will] have a chance to crow." Who cares if he did a bad job at arms control, doesn't believe in international institutions, and won't have any respect from the people whom he has to work with? A political win for the Democrats is much worse than making someone with those qualifications our ambassador.

Update: I've been told many times that patience is a virtue, but I usually tend to ignore the advice. In this case, that may have been a mistake. In other words, I am an idiot.




For Entertainment Purposes Only

I am not a lawyer, what is about to follow is not legal advice, if one acts on it they do so entirely at their own risk and I claim no authority or credibility for the statements I am about to make other than that based on your assesment of the arguments I am making.

Via John Cole, I read this article about a Florida man being charged for his unauthorized use of someone else's Wi-Fi connection. The article lists the crime he is being charged with as "unauthorized access to a computer network." My first reaction to this was to investigate whether or not the bare act of using someone else's wireless connection to the internet without their explicit permission (or even explicit awareness) is a crime in New York. Having read through the parts of the New York Penal Code which look relevant, I don't think it is. The two most likely candidate crimes which it could fall under are 156.05 Unauthorized Use of a Computer and 156.10 Computer Trespass. It does not however, satisfy all of the elements for either of these crimes, even assuming that a wireless network counts as a computer (no) or computer service (certainly).

For 156.05, the definition of an unauthorized use (156.00(6)) requires that positive notice be given that the use is not permitted. Also 156.05 requires that some kind of program or device be in use on the computer which attempts to prevent unauthorized use. Now this element might be satisfied if there is no attempt to block the use of the wireless network but there is a password which attempts to prevent use of some other part of the computer service, but that is a strained and questionable reading of the statute.

156.10 isn't met because of the same problem wth the definition of unauthorized use and because the trespass must be either in furtherance of another felony or in order to gain access someone's private documents.

On the other hand, the Florida law which I presume the prosecution would be under 2004->Ch0815->Section%2006#0815.06">815.06(1)(a)) criminalizes unauthorized access to any computer or computer network, tout court. It also does not provide a definition for unauthorized, so it seems like this is a meritorious prosecution under Flordia law.

I have not addressed the question of whether or not there is a Federal law which prohibits this activity in New York because I haven't the slightest clue.

UPDATE: An e-mail argues that the applicable New York law is 165.15(11). This law states in full: With intent to avoid payment by himself or another person of the lawful charge for use of any computer or computer service which is provided for a charge or compensation he uses, causes to be used or attempts to use a computer or computer service and avoids or attempts to avoid payment therefor. In any prosecution under this subdivision proof that a person overcame or attempted to overcome any device or coding system a function of which is to prevent the unauthorized use of said computer or computer service shall be presumptive evidence of an intent to avoid payment for the computer or computer service.

While I appreciate the suggestion, my correspondent is not correct. The computer service provider is being paid his lawful charge by the person who establishes the wireless network which I connect to, hence no one is avoiding payment of a lawful charge.



The attack in London today is horrific. The anecdotes of British stoicism which are proliferating are quite admirable. Whomever did this must be stopped.




I am freaking out, man

Joked about it on Wednesday, it's true today. See also this list of some interesting 5-4 decisions in which SOC was the swing vote.