Thursday, June 24

Michael Lewis on baseball and writing

I sure liked The this interview with Michael 'Moneyball' Lewis (via kottke). A few quotes:


If there are problems it’s in the souls of the writers. To me the biggest corrupting influence in this country in the production of literature and journalism is the attempt to make it an academic subject—the creative writing classes, journalism schools. That’s the wrong approach. It’s an attempt to establish a career path for writers. And also to take the risk out of it and say if you do X, Y, and Z, then you get this plum. I think the best stuff is done by lone rangers.


I think about it but I haven’t found myself so frustrated by nonfiction that I need to turn to fiction. And the screenplays are fiction. So I do have a fictional component to my life. It’s very hard because I do feel I can say an awful lot in the context of a nonfiction book. I know that I can get to a reader that way. I don’t really feel a need to write a novel. I can’t say that won’t change.


I used to think that I had to write a novel. It was something I really should do. But now I don’t think that way—if I wanted to do it, I should try it, but only if I wanted to because it was likely to be painful.


Saturday, June 19

Cory v. DRM @ Micro$oft

Well, I finally got around to reading Cory's anti-DRM speech to Micro$oft. (I saw the link lots of places, but read it from Matt)

Impressions:

+ fun, even urgent reading
+ Cory's work with EFF is of secondary importance. Primary importance is the market: the tech exists. The market exists. They will keep outstripping legal rearguard actions. DRM is already dead. Traditional, hide-bound copyright is already dead. Tech and the market can wire around them.

Friday, June 18

More pop

Continuing along the pop music theme, I give you, via MeFi, Splendid e-zine. There's too much material here to cover (check out their Departments). So let me get you started with:

Everybody Dance Now: 18 Songs That Might Make You Reconsider Disco

Man, they only essential album I have from their list is REM's Reckoning, and you'd have to convince me it's their most essential... However, she's got two correct statements at least:

+ The best song here...is "Time After Time (annElise)"
+ 'I don't listen to REM much these days. They've become something like a friend who marries someone you don't like particularly -- you're still genuinely fond of them, but never seem to make the effort. However, there was a time when it was different.'

More reality

The Reality of Running Away from Stuff (via BoingBoing). (Especially helpful for fact-checking movies. But you intuited this stuff anyway...)

More 50 coolest song parts

Aaron posted his own take.

How to improve traffic behavior

Everything we know about traffic-calming is wrong (more BoingBoing filter). They got it from kottke, who got it from Salon.

Reality check

Russia Says It Warned U.S. Saddam Planned to Attack

How about a little reality injection here:

Russia Admits Trying to Play Both Ends Against the Middle


They were in bed with Saddam for all kinds of oil money...

SpaceShipOne Blog

The revolution will be televised! or at least logged:

The commercial space travel trials log over at BoingBoing

Popular movies

Came across the IMDb's top 250 movies the other day. Nothing shocking. Geek heavy. First real surprise: #22: Twelve Angry Men

Audio post: 'Yeah'

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, June 16

How to read difficult books

Some good advice, though I don't plan on working that hard on a book anytime soon...

Hooray!

Hooray for the Pistons and the Cubs!

(My condolences to Bill.)

Tuesday, June 15

Some good news from Iraq

Paul's got a link posted June 13th.

(I really need to see if I can help with his permalinks sometime, but, tonight, it's bedtime.)

Check out Jason

1. I like the picture he put up, especially since it had pictures of him in it.

2. Wish I'd thought to title a post with a smile :-)

*Breaks into song*

A post and a smile make me feel go-o-od.
That's the way it should be, and I'd like to see-ee-ee.
The whole world, smiling with me.
Posting weblogs adds life
Post a post with a smile

3. I really agree with the silliness of mandatory zodiacal signs in Blogger profiles

4. I stopped buying Birks to save money. Maybe I should go back...

Which book are you quiz




You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



(via Finches' Wings)

More tweaks (read: I am the man!)

A lot of these tweaks were inspired by trying to maximize single-page posts, especially from the Blogger article.

+ Changed the yellow title bar to a link
+ added a 'home' button top left
+ added a 'top' button bottom right (really just a home button. too lazy to add an anchor.)
+ FINALLY fixed the gap problem on single-page posts (the answer was 'valign')
+ changed the title (the one browsers incorporate)
+ changed to 'smart page titles'
+ added 'previously, on 'interact'
+ fixed typography at bottom

Small improvements that you may not notice, but I'm glad they're fixed.

One of my own and two KottkeFilter

The Cocks are headed to Omaha.

Conversion from Pantone to RGB and Hex HTML

PurpleSlurple is a transcoding service that reformats Web pages on-the-fly to create granular addressability in document elements on EXISTING Web pages.

Sunday, June 13

Miscellany

Make your own favicons.

The Ask MetaFilter ask for gmail thread.

More apps

Came across Essential Applications for Windows (via kottke's remaindered links). Some interesting stuff here that I haven't seen before:

+ Shareaza has potential.
+ Maybe I'll use Webmon for those weblogs that don't have RSS or update right in BlogRolling.
+ NoteTab Light is a tabbed text editor. I think I'd use it similarly to Keynote.

Saturday, June 12

Big Oil

I found this link somewhere which asserts that 'Of the world's 100 largest economic entities, 51 are now corporations and 49 are countries.' I'm sure it's debatable, but I also assume that these figures are close. It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

The next thing it makes me think is: our global economy is largely an oil economy. The big multinationals are soaked in oil. 9 of the top 11 companies on this list are heavily involved with oil.

I saw a link in passing this week about Ronald Reagan and oil, but didn't follow it. After I got going on this train of thought I looked around a little, and here's what I found.

(Caveat lector: I know these sources are probably biased. Feel free to help me out here with alternative sources and viewpoints.)

On the Issues: Ronald Reagan on Energy & Oil

Reagan removed controls on oil prices. The result was lower prices and a glut. Had Reagan taken advantage of this to fill the nationÂ?s strategic reserves with cheap oil or to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil by imposing an oil import fee, or to encourage conservation through a tax, he would have left his successor less a prisoner of events in the Middle East. But Reagan abhorred taxes, and he did not accept the necessity of conservation. His trust was in the marketplace.
Source: The Role of a Lifetime, by Lou Cannon, p. 823 Jul 2, 1991


How Green Was the Gipper?

Interestingly, this article criticizes Cannon as too praising of Reagan, so maybe the gist above is pretty much right, or at least balanced.

"The Reagan administration adopted an extraordinarily aggressive policy of issuing leases for oil, gas, and coal development on tens of millions of acres of national lands -- more than any other administration in history, including the current one," said the Wilderness Society's David Alberswerth.

Before delving further into Reagan's track record, it's worth recalling his infamous public statement that "trees cause more pollution than automobiles do," and that if "you've seen one tree you've seen them all." This is not, in other words, a president who demonstrated much ecological prowess.

Reagan's ignorance in this area is personified by James Watt and Anne Gorsuch, the leaders he selected to head the Department of Interior and the U.S. EPA, respectively. "Never has America seen two more intensely controversial and blatantly anti-environmental political appointees than Watt and Gorsuch," said Greg Wetstone, director of advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who served on the Hill during the Reagan era as chief environment council at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Friday, June 11

More music

Did you see the one about the best ever parts of songs? I saw it first on MeFi, then checked out the retroCRUSH article THE 50 COOLEST SONG PARTS.

I don't know that I agree that any of these parts are in the top 50 coolest, but the ones I agree are cool from that list are:

#49 "BEEN CAUGHT STEALING" by JANE'S ADDICTION
#47 "FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT" THE BEASTIE BOYS, 1986
#42 "KILLING AN ARAB" THE CURE, 1980
#37 "FLASH GORDON THEME" QUEEN, 1980
#19 "BABA O RILEY" THE WHO, 1971
#1 "IN THE AIR TONIGHT" PHIL COLLINS, 1981

Ones I like from the MeFi thread:
+ Matthew Sweet, "Sick of Myself", but i'd pick the chorus, especially the end of it.
+ Pearl Jam's 'Black' - the last line, where Vedder stretches out the line "why can't it be mine" into "why can't it be, can't it beeeee muuuh-aaaaih-ah-hah-hine".
+ Smashing Pumpkins 'Today' (I can't play the guitar but figured out those nine notes, dee-dee dee-dee dee-dee dee-dee-dee) [and many other SP parts, including the strings and bells in 'Disarm'.]
+ Jeff Buckley's last two "Hallelulah"s.
+ "Your what?!" "Tiiin roof...rusted."

Som of my own (incomplete, unsystematic) ideas:
+ the theme from Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
+ numerous parts of 'Hey ya', upon entering your head, threaten to never leave.
+ opening of the Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage'
+ the intro to Metallica's 'Enter Sandman'
+ the synth melody in 'Living in Oblivion' by Anything Box
+ many of the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel, eg 'April come she will' and 'American tune'
+ the chorus of 'Bizarre Love Triangle' by New Order
+ the opening to 'Gardening at Night' by REM
+ wordless call from 'Mr Wendal'
+ the snare in 'Linger'
+ the vocal harmonies in REM's 'Fall on me'
+ the tack piano in REM's 'Shaking through'
+ the guitar loop in REM's 'Leave'

How about you?

Wednesday, June 9

Recommended:

Bloglines for your RSS reader needs.

File Recovery: The bad news: our hard drive crashed monday. The interim: we bought a new emachine at Best Buy for <500$. The good news: After installing the old hard drive in the new system I'm getting almost everything back with File Recovery, which is free. It's not an anagram for 'Life Recovery' for nothing! ;-)

Tuesday, June 8

Sunday, June 6

Hard Sci Fi

I just finished two books that I picked up at the library, unrecommended. Surprisingly, I enjoyed them: 'Spin State' by Chris Moriarty and 'The Risen Empire' by Scott Westerfeld. You might like them, too.

Reagan redux

A big thanks to Paul for coming up with the requested post. My comments:

To give credit where credit may be due, I know many people think Reagan bankrupted the USSR. The fall of the USSR was certainly a good thing. I only wish we'd been able to step in with more stabilization, like Tony Zinni suggested in his book.

Additionally, tax cuts such as these may stimulate the economy so that deficit spending now produces an economy later that can wipe out the deficit. That's one interpretation of the Reagan policies resulting in the Clinton largesse. There's some evidence of recovery as a result of the current President Bush's cuts.

Additionally, your assessment of George HW Bush is fascinating. Of course the 'voodoo economics' turn-around must be chalked up to politics (whether one finds that acceptable or not. It's the way things work, like with Dean ravaging Kerry and then getting behind him).

I agree with your criticisms of GHWB. It certainly does my nonpartisan(?) heart good to see your criticism of big spending Republicans and your fair assessment of Clinton's economic policy (some conservatives can't bring themselves to say anything good about him).

Once again, thanks, Paul. Though I'm sure we don't agree on everything, I'm glad to know more about Reagan from a more conservative perspective.

Reagan redux

A big thanks to Paul for coming up with the requested post. My comments:

To give credit where credit may be due, I know many people think Reagan bankrupted the USSR. The fall of the USSR was certainly a good thing. I only wish we'd been able to step in with more stabilization, like Tony Zinni suggested in his book.

Additionally, tax cuts such as these may stimulate the economy so that deficit spending now produces an economy later that can wipe out the deficit. That's one interpretation of the Reagan policies resulting in the Clinton largesse. There's some evidence of recovery as a result of the current President Bush's cuts.

Additionally, your assessment of George HW Bush is fascinating. Of course the 'voodoo economics' turn-around must be chalked up to politics (whether one finds that acceptable or not. It's the way things work, like with Dean ravaging Kerry and then getting behind him).

I agree with your criticisms of GHWB. It certainly does my nonpartisan(?) heart good to see your criticism of big spending Republicans and your fair assessment of Clinton's economic policy (some conservatives can't bring themselves to say anything good about him).

Once again, thanks, Paul. Though I'm sure we don't agree on everything, I'm glad to know more about Reagan from a more conservative perspective.

How Would Modern Media Have Covered D-Day?

Good idea for an article. Nothing mind-blowing, though. Do you have any good ideas on this topic?

Ronald Reagan

This article seemed pretty fair.

For my part, I never liked Reagan's policies. However, it was very fashionable in the college town I grew up in to pillory him. So I may have been unduly influenced by my environment. I certainly didn't believe in 'trickle-down' or 'supply-side economics' (which Bush the 1st famously called 'Voodoo economics', famously queried on 'Ferris Bueller...').

On the face of things, he seems similar to our current President Bush: military build-up, against big government, but expanding government and spending.

I'd love to get the Stokes' take on Reagan, preferably in an extended format over at Kith and Kin.

Saturday, June 5

Tweak

Not sure it's an improvement, but I switched to single page posts (which fixed the broken permalinks I'd caused by turning said function on but not changing my template code. Thanks for the heads up, Aaron.). Can any of you code jockeys out there figure our why I have the big space on top? Maybe it's time to switch templates...

To do

Read the MetaFilter post on corporations more carefully and come up with some of my own thoughts. But not tonight.

The Great Brain

There's a fun post over at MetaFilter about 'The Great Brain' books. Lots of people like them, that's for sure.

Zach

Thanks to Zach Everson for stopping by and leaving a comment (as he has before). You might want to check out his website.

Anil's request

Search Engine Optimization Challenge: Nigritude Ultramarine

Image Management for Dummies

Did you see my postings with Hello below? I can't recommend it higly enough. It makes posting pix to your weblog so easy.

I know how to post pix, of course, but it's a hassle to save them to my bellsouth account first and then call them up. Hello makes it automagic (for Blogger) - autowriting the code, autouploading, and hosting the image, for free!

If you're interested, check out the Blogger tutorial.

Chances are you'll be seeing more pix around 'interact' and twinlog (where I've already posted a couple.

Friday, June 4


A recent pic of me (w/ winter beard) Posted by Hello

A pic of myself I made over at Portrait Illustration Maker, and testing Hello. Posted by Hello

Ugh

S.C. drops to 46th in survey of children's well-being

The only bright spot in the statistics highlighted:

The rate of births to teens declined by 18 percent from 1996 to 2001, to at rate of 32 per 1,000 teen girls ages 15-17 from 39.

Bad news, Jaq

One of the BigBloggers(tm) is elbowing in on your BaraFilter(tm). Next he'll be pointing to pix of her too!

I'm not really Bjork...

I just want to know what some of the rest of you come up with. You should know who you are. So take the quiz, awright?


Which Rock Chick Are You?


(via 13 Labs)