Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of site crashings and book trashings

Two items on tonight's agenda.

If you got redirected here via, this probably isn't what you were expecting (or wanting) to see. An explanation is in order!

About a month ago I got it in my head to transfer to a different host. Transferring all the files seemed to go off without a hitch, but we hit a bit of a snag during the domain transfer -- which is why the site was down completely for a few days there. I ironed everything out with the new host, changed the DNS whatchacallems, and naïvely dared to hope that would be it, and everything would be up and running like it was on the old host.


Something evidently went very, very wrong during the transfer. The site's engine is busted and I don't know how to fix it. The content is backed up in at least two different places, so there is no need to worry about any comics being lost. (The commentary might be another story, but I'm trying not to worry myself with more than one thing at a time.) But the borked CUSP setup is so obsolete that you can't even download it anymore, much less find a readme file -- not that I'd be able to make much use of it, anyway. I wasn't the person who set everything up to begin with, and I have absolutely no conception of how SQL or PHP is supposed to work. Unless somebody with a functional knowledge of this stuff feels like doing some pro-bono work for the sake of preserving history, as we've known it for the past seven years is probably a memory.

So why did you change hosts to begin with, genius? you ask. First of all, the host I was using before kept upping its rates, and my income isn't exactly keeping pace. Secondly, I've been working on putting together a new comics site under a new domain. My plan was to use the new site for all the new comics, but to keep the complete 8EB archives in the same place for anyone to browse whenever they wished.

Again: oops.

Looks like we're stalled out for the time being. I'll probably rig up an archives page with some blog software at some point, but that will have to take a backseat to everything else I have planned. will link to this (updated bi-weekly, usually!) blog until the new comics page is set up, which should be whenever I have a sufficient backlog to maintain a strict, once-per-seven-days update schedule for a three-month period. Until then, I'm afraid our soirees are restricted to the present format. (And do note that this is no longer the latest entry. Click the "Beyond Easy" banner up top to teleport your browser to the most recent update.)

I'm awfully sorry about this. And I'd also like to say that if you're still coming back to reread 8 Easy Bits from time to time, thank you very much -- I think that's really cool.

Moving on, then, to item two!

And now for the bad news.

The night raid on Occupy Wall Street's Zucotti Park camp put me in a really foul mood, which didn't get much better as more details kept coming in. What outraged and frightened me more than anything else were reports that the NYPD tore down the famous People's Library and threw the entire 5,000 book collection into a garbage truck. I felt as though a weight had been removed from my chest when word came in that the news of the library's destruction was premature.

Unfortunately, it seems that the report of the premature report was, in fact, premature.

When members of the encampment visited the garage on 57th Street to retrieve the books, they found the vast bulk of the collection missing. Much of what remains is damaged or practically destroyed -- almost as though it had been fished out of a garbage truck at the last minute.

So it would seem that that big rant I had prepared for Tuesday's update and then scrapped still applies. Jesus H. Christ. I would feel nothing but absolute, unalloyed horror at the NYPD's actions if the idiocy they've demonstrated weren't so confounding as to almost seem comical.

The kneejerk liberal reaction to events of this kind is to cry (or type, preferably in caps) police state, fascist pigs, etc., etc. Usually, I find this sort of epithet-hurling unhelpful, even when there is a grain (or a heap) of truth to the claims. But when city police go ahead and toss five-thousand-plus library books (and make no mistake -- even if it was not housed in a permanent structure or publicly funded, this was a library) into the back of a garbage truck, it takes more restraint than I possess to refrain from entertaining recollections of the world's Nazis, Maoists, Red Khmers, and every other representative of the elemental belligerence, intolerance, and ignorance that has been pissing on civilization like a territorial mutt in a flower garden since the torches were put to Alexandria.

Okay, so maybe it isn't very funny at all -- not even in a dark kind of way. But Bloomberg's bumbling attempt at a cover-up is freaking hilarious.

The announcement that the books were safe came from the Twitter account of Bloomberg's office. Why was the announcement necessary? Well, despite the NYPD's best efforts at a media blackout, news from the ground spread quickly via Twitter. When demonstrators tweeted about the loss of the library, major news outlets seized upon the story. (After all, government-sanctioned destruction of books is something that tends to strike at the public's nerves.) Bloomberg's office quickly claimed the library was intact in order to prevent the aforementioned Nazi parallels from drawing themselves.

When Bloomberg's office announced that the book were safe, a many of us (including myself) took them at their word. Why not? Given that the news of the library's destruction was aggressively put into circulation by the protestors themselves (and subsequently seized upon and propagated by mainstream news outlets), surely Bloomberg's office wouldn't be stupid enough to serve up a baldfaced lie about the status of the books and not anticipate the same people calling them on it, right? I mean, that's the kind of trick only a really, truly, profoundly, astonishingly, blitheringly dumb person would expect to work.

Almost as dumb, at any rate, as Bloomberg's responding to Thursday's demonstrations by insisting that the real story was that the turnout was lower than anticipated -- which is not only another blatant lie, but practically a challenge directed toward the demonstrators. It's the sort of thing a carnival clown shouts at people in line at the dunking booth in order to get them pissed off and ready to go.

Maybe Olbermann is right. Maybe Bloomberg is Occupy's man on the inside. Ever since Tuesday, he's done the movement nothing but favors, disguising them as antagonism. It has to be intentional. The three-term mayor of New York City cannot actually be this stupid, can he...?


  1. Before getting to the final paragraph, I was already thinking about whose side Bloomberg was really on.

  2. Him and that cop who just walked along and maced that line of kids. Did he not notice those cameras pointed at him?!