Wednesday, February 28

Greg did an interesting interview with Ron Toms, adventurer and 'Junkyard Wars' participant

Tuesday, February 27

Let's put the 'gras' in Mardi Gras! Three servings of ice cream tonight. The coup d'grac (or gras).
I'm enjoying listening to Kirsty MacColl's 'Kite' lately, specifically 'Days', 'What Do Pretty Girls Do?', and 'You and Me Baby'.
Ha Ha! While Jason's off line and we're 'enjoying the silence' I will steal his audience with brilliant logging!
I'm going to fast from junk food for Lent. Are you observing Lent in any particular way?
edited from my personal journal this morning:

i've been feeling blase the past couple days about the demonstrably better place that i'm in. i don't feel proportionately better.

Bryan and i were talking about it this morning. i feel a little sorrow at the loss of things i'd been identifying myself with - things like being in a hurry - and therefore angry in the car - or even just a 'good' driver, dissipation, etc. now i'm in a much more settled place, a much more healthy place, but i feel a little sad. i feel like i'm losing some of myself. i feel like i'm losing some of the 'joi d'vivre'. my sadness and intuition seem to be telling me that i'm in the wrong place, but i'm not.

i realized in the car that i'm also more aware of my sin and fragility.

my flesh wants to go back to the familiar territory. but if i were to go back, it would be even less satisfying than before.

i'm moving in a direction where i won't enjoy certain things in the same way. on the other hand, i won't be a slave to them, either.

something else that will sustain me in this place of emotional uncertainty is a vision of the place up ahead. since it's undiscovered country, it won't be a map, it won't be pictures or memory. but i'll push forward, exploring, adventuring, seeking. it will often be uncomfortable. but it will be exhilirating. if i can lower my esteem for comfort, i can enjoy the ride more.

Monday, February 26

Greg's last two posts were nice and funny, respectively.
Everyone needs more poetry (via hanseugene).

"Should Lanterns Shine"

Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, and any boy of love
Look twice before he fell from grace.
The features in their private dark
Are formed of flesh, but let the false day come
And from her lips the faded pigments fall,
The mummy cloths expose an ancient breast.

I have been told to reason by the heart,
But heart, like head, leads helplessly;
I have been told to reason by the pulse,
And, when it quickens, alter the actions' pace
Till field and roof lie level and the same
So fast I move defying time, the quiet gentleman
Whose beard wags in Egyptian wind.

I have heard many years of telling,
And many years should see some change.

The ball I threw while playing in the park
Has not yet reached the ground.

-- Dylan Thomas
Make better use of your own neural network.
I did some research on the place of Lilith in Jewish tradition.
Them's fighting words: I spoke to our high school seniors yesterday about the ideas they will encounter at university, as opposed to a Christian worldview.

Sunday, February 25

Debra Rienstra's lengthy review of recent Hamlet and Romeo + Juliet films (don't let the domain name scare you away. Via ALD.).
Mike quotes a Harry Browne article on The Inheiritance Tax:

'We want a government so small that it can't monitor your e-mail, can't snoop in your bank account, can't tax your income, can't tell you how to live.

Unfortunately, the best argument for the complete repeal of the estate tax rarely is raised. It is that people who earn money have demonstrated by their ability to earn the money that they're far more competent to disburse it than politicians are.'

I disagree.

A government that small would also not be able to control the multinational corporations who would eat our lunch. There would be no redistribution of wealth, and the gap between rich and poor would grow.

I also don't particularly view the ability to make money as a moral virtue. And the ability to earn has nothing to do with the morality of disbursal.
I met Jeff of Believe Me yesterday at a wedding. I knew he lived in town and where he worked and recognized him from the website. I introduced myself and we talked a little. Cool.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Robot Ron's Adventure Story. It reminds me of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The lead in to the Robot Ron Cat Story made me laugh out loud (but it's an image and not just text and I'm not going to retype it, so go look). After that, it becomes objectionable to people with PETA sensibilities, so keep that in mind (via chutler on 13 Labs).
In advance of the ongoing assesment by 17 Olympic inspectors, thousands of unwanted people have been tossed into a detention center in China, without trial. For a month, 500 to 600 people a day have been tossed in. Human Rights in China interviewed former inmates of the detention centre, and they reported "There were no bathing facilities, food was poured from buckets and fought over by mice, and beatings with leather belts were common." (via will on MetaFilter)

Saturday, February 24

the new tag line explained:

It means a lot to me when people read what I'm putting up here. Thanks.

But, similarly, it hurts a little when people who are close to me don't read my work here. Thank God Christine reads it, otherwise I shudder to think what I'd do.

Plus, this is the place where I pour my heart out, to some degree.
My referrer log showed someone came over through this Google search. Follow the link if you want to get to know the other Sean Meades on the web. One of us plays soccer in England. One of us is a youth pastor near Wichita, KS. One of us administers a church webpage in FW IN. One of us goes to the University of Bath. One of us is the Calendar Editor for MENSA in Orange County, CA. One of us plays Lacrosse. One of us teaches in NY.
John sent me Snow Crash off of my wish list. John is cool. Thanks John!
There are some really interesting links over on 'the web today'. The best one includes this quote from Dr. Robert Kirschner of the Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights: "Shooting people with high-velocity bullets to wound them is a form of summary punishment being inflicted in the field." The reliance on these rounds is part of what human rights groups have denounced as excessive use of Israeli force against mostly unarmed Palestinians.
An interesting passage copied straight from Jason (it has links over there, if you're interested in more.):

'The phrase "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" is a Cheng Yu, or Chinese idiom. A Cheng Yu is typically comprised of 4 characters and refers to a larger story that has a lesson or moral associated with it, much like the Western phrase "sour grapes" refers to Aesop's fable of The Fox and the Grapes. As for what "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" means, a message board posting reveals the answer:

"The phrase 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' (Wuo hu zhan long) is a chinese idiom in which the words 'Tiger' and 'Dragon' directly refer to people with special hidden talents. This idiom is used to remind people to never underestimate anybody."

Much thanks to Ted for the info.'
I followup my discussion below of funky hacker transliteration with the 'L33t-5p34K G3n3r@t0r' (translation: leet[ie, elite]-speak generator. via gimli on MetaFilter).

Thursday, February 22

Complete and utter disintegration: David Eggers wrote 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'. It was a hit. It came out in paperback. David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times begged for an interview. Then he broke trust. And Eggers published their entire correspondance. It's an amazing read in conflict, if you've got the time. (via palegirl on MetaFilter)
Honk if you hate silk flowers.
Science friday (early): Moving the earth. (via amanda on MetaFilter)

Just as sure as the Sun comes up every morning, it is scheduled to die.

'Now, sure as the sun will cross the sky...'

a little Asia for you :-)
Bryan Singer + Battlestar Galactica = relaunch. Yeah, buddy! This could be fun.

What were the fatal flaws of the original 'Galactica'? And how should it be made better this time? (via me on MetaFilter! cf the discussion).
Did you see that Princeton's going to replace student loans with outright grants? They can afford it since they have an ! 8 billion$ endowment !.

Related question: How many countries have a lower GDP than the Princeton endowment (or, if you prefer, than the annual interest)?
Well, I changed my sidebar a little this morning. I don't know what I'm doing. Guess I'll have to break down and get a book or something. Other recommendations?

Wednesday, February 21

You're welcome, Matt and the MetaFilter community, for the 17 click-throughs my page referred in January.
My preliminary, not-very-edited thoughts on 'Shogun':

I finally finished 'Shogun' last night. It was magnificent. Mariko was totally inspiring. The most powerful part of the book, for me, ended up being, surprisingly, the romance, mostly because of Mariko.

'Shogun' is one of the most inspirational books I’ve read lately, bar none. It inspired me to think about honor and duty. I don't buy into all of the values, obviously (eg, deceit).

Mariko is an inspiration to me. I want to serve honorably.

Mariko was Toranaga's peregrine. Mariko was samurai. Mariko-chan.

The big thing to learn from Toranaga is his patience. He always gave himself time to find another way. He didn't act or decide prematurely.

In the end, both of the actual narrative and the meaning a, the story was shaped by Toranaga. He’s the one who always had a plan.

Tuesday, February 20

Okay, not much in the link department. My folks were here for a couple of days and I'm trying to finish 'Shogun'. More soon.
A nice poem quoted by Nathan:

So, Nat'ralists observe, a Flea
Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller Fleas to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.

-Jonathan Swift
Well, since I haven't logged about the Vikings in a while, how about some good news? Ed McDaniel agreed to restructure his contract.

Monday, February 19

The Web Today links to a Progressive Review article on the troubled state of democracy (gee, and I thought '' signified 'pro-revolution', which might not be a bad thing).

The biggest thing I take away from the article is the conviction that less people are participating in our democracy because it's not working. Why participate when the corporations and wealthy have the most say? I don't think it's going to change until the politicians do some campaign finance reform and some other things like it. Sure, a grass roots campaign could help to push that through, but it's got to go through the system at some point.

Yeah, and what's up with NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? I read in Wired that they oppose free radio. Now this:

'The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR now headed by former government propaganda officials.'

Man, I'm disaffected today. I don't particularly feel it. Maybe I'm unconciously angry.
If the corporate version of Napster doesn't provide a way for artists to skip labels for distribution, and diminish the amount consumers have to pay to the stinking, monopolistic, pig, money-grubbing labels, was it worth it? Not for me. I'm pro-Napster, but I haven't used it. Death to the labels! (financial death. This ain't no death threat, for all you FBIers closely reading my weblog.)
Jason's also got an interesting question:

'Do you worry about the things you write on the Web coming back to bite you in the ass? If so, do you censor yourself?'

That's an interesting question. I think about this a lot, especially since I'm a pastor, which makes me a public person. So, yes, while I do express myself freely, there are certain things I don't say.

Here's a non-web example: I like wine. A friend got me the Silver Oak license plate holder that says 'Life is a Cabernet.'. I really like it. However, I don't have it on my car. That just wouldn't work. That's the price I pay for the kind of work I do. I voluntarily decide to limit my self-expression. It's okay, but there's some tension there.
Jason's got some interesting entries recently, more journal-like than links. However, in the link department, he does have Weird Al Yankovic's Amazon wishlist.

Friday, February 16

I was messing with a different translation of 'The Lord's Prayer' today and found myself getting into a rhythm. I adapted it further and tried a melody. So I have a little song I'm working on. It's been a long time since I've written a song. And I plunked this one out on a piano, which I do even less frequently. Usually, when I infrequently write songs, I write them on guitar. Anyway, it's cool.
Holy cow! Miss one day of surfing and you miss the meme completely. There's a video going around the net like wild fire called 'All Your Base Are Belong to Us'. It's pretty funny. Go here and click 'video' in the sidebar if you want to see it. There's discussion over in MetaFilter, naturally. (I was tempted to type 'natch', but I resisted.)

Toward the bottom of the MetaFilter discussion breaks out some hacker code: '1337'='leet' short for 'elite'. It seems that computer kids came up with some funky transcription. They exchange numbers and letters. '1' in place of 'l'. '3' in place of 'E'. '7' in place of 'T' (think early computer fonts). Therefore

j00 n07 m4d hax0r!!!! j00 n07 31337!!!! j00 g07z n0 m4d 5ki11z!!!! (via ookamaka on MetaFilter)


you not mad hacker! you not elite! you gots no mad skills!

Jeff posts his movie reviews on Believe Me (see sidebar). Recently, he rolled out his Top Ten of Two-Thousand.
John's funny today, too.
Nathan's got a funny piece today about working at Hardee's (are you ready for some real food?).
'A U.S.-led team of archeologists uncovered three treasure-filled tombs of the ancient Moche culture in northern Peru, shedding new light on the civilization that vanished about 700 years before the Inca people reached their peak.' (via Robot Wisdom.)
Dan Perkins (of 'Tom Tomorrow') says that having Bush for President is 'the Cartoonist Full Employment Act'. That's funny (via thewebtoday).
I'm a pastor and therefore a leader in a church. Someone did a survey of church board members, asking them simply if their experience on the board was a positive or negative experience spiritually. 85% said it was negative. Yikes.

As leaders we need to be the first ones to receive God’s grace and pass it on. Otherwise, we're like any other organization, though we claim to be spiritual. Receiving God's grace takes time and energy and a dynamic relationship with Him.

As we move up in leadership and responsibility we tend to think we can less afford to dispense grace, that the things we’re doing are too important. Actually, it’s the reverse. If the things we’re doing are so important, we need them to be characterized by grace.
I'd like to make my own font. Anyone know how?

Thursday, February 15

I love this Aaron Copland album. If you don't have any music by Copland, I think it's a great place to start.
Noah created Greymatter and someone used it to put up a hate site, much to his chagrin (via hanseugene on MetaFilter). Noah's sites are beautifully designed.
My family is sleeping and I am sending them telepathic messages of peace and somnolence to keep them that way. Thankfully, they're not protected, and it's working.
Greg wrote a funny story about birth control (which you, Christine, must read) (via mathowie on MetaFilter).
Things that make me go hmmm: how is French Vanilla different from vanilla?

Wednesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day, Christine. I thought about buying you a domain name for Valentine's Day (eg,, but then I decided against it. I thought about buying you the 'Persuasion' soundtrack, but I found out there never was such a thing. I thought about putting up a webpage Valentine for you, but that didn't seem so inspired. So I'm logging my Valentine's wish for you.
Looking through my referrals, I found myself linked on Digital Fanning Mill as 'interesting'. I also came up in a Google search for 'Iowa weblog'.

I'm getting this stuff from sitemeter, which seems better than Nedstat.
I'm stunned. Some of USAmerica's wealthiest people are fighting the repeal of the estate tax, including Bill Gates. There are a lot of comments on MetaFilter regarding the injustice of such a tax. I don't find them compelling. Government has to redistribute wealth in a capitalist system or the gap between the rich and poor will grow indefinitely. Nathan (norm on MetaFilter, of Hobbsblog) has two particularly good points.

Here is a great quote from Warren Buffet, may his tribe increase (via terrapin on MetaFilter):

"I hear friends talk about the debilitating effects of food stamps and the self-perpetuating nature of welfare and how terrible that is. These same people are leaving tons of money to their kids, whose main achievement in life had been to emerge from the right womb. And when they emerge from that womb, instead of a welfare officer, they have a trust fund officer. Instead of food stamps, they get dividends and interest."

" [I consider myself] very undertaxed. I hear this Republican message that we're rich as hell and we're not going to take it any more. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm paying taxes at a lower rate than my secretary ... and frankly I think that's crazy."

Tuesday, February 13

Okay, I was thinking about it. Maybe I'm not a Cubs fan. Maybe I'm a Wrigley fan.
One of the reasons I like to read The Web Today is because it keeps Palestinian news in focus. There are two accusations over there of unfair twisting of facts in the press recently. You may want to check them out.
The way to a man's heart is through his weblog.

Monday, February 12

Terry Gilliam wanted to make a movie about Don Quixote, but failed. He's one of my favorite directors. I especially liked his Monty Python stuff, 'Time Bandits', 'The Fisher King', and '12 Monkeys'. When I inadvertantly rented 'TFK' and '12M' in the same weekend, I saw clearly his exploration of the theme of sanity and insanity. To put it another way, when is it more sane to be insane?

Question: how in the heck did he get born in Minneapolis?

(Alas, I forgot who I got the Guardian link from. If you remember, let me know.)
My friend, Pat, says that I sound like Niles from 'Frazier' and that he sounds like me. Is that a good thing?
Valentine's Day special: Couples Who Click - finding love online (don't worry, it's clean). (via my man Higgy on MetaFilter.)
In more ancient news (hows that for a non sequitur?) 'The Independent has a report that excavations at Herculaneum has brought forth some 850 papyri and "Among the works, which academics hope to read using the new equipment, are the lost works of Aristotle (his 30 dialogues, referred to by other authors, but lost in antiquity), scientific works by Archimedes, mathematical treatises by Euclid, philosophical work by Epicurus, masterpieces by the Greek poets Simonides and Alcaeus, erotic poems by Philodemus, lesbian erotic poetry by Sappho, the lost sections of Virgil's Juvenilia, comedies by Terence, tragedies by Seneca and works by the Roman poets Ennius, Accius, Catullus, Gallus, Macer and Varus.".' (via stbalbach on MetaFilter.) Now that's cool. 'The Name of the Rose' by Umbert Eco revolved around a copy of Aristotle's 'Comedy', now lost.

Sunday, February 11

Antiguo: 'A Journal of History, Geography, Language and Archaeology'. The second article addresses Proto-Indo-European, the unattested language group which scholars can backward reconstruct as a source language for many European languages and Sanskrit.

If that interests you at all, be sure to visit The Scheme of Indo-European Migrations - very cool! There's also an introduction.

Saturday, February 10

Part of the reason I haven't been updating much is because I've been engrossed in 'Shogun'. Apparently, William Adams was behind it all.

Friday, February 9

hilarious evisceration of 'Left Behind'. It gives me schadenfreude. Yes, I'm a Christian. No, I don't believe in premillenial eschatology. Yes, I still developed aesthetic taste, even growing up with faith. Bad theology poorly executed: the losing combination. (via aaron on MetaFilter.)

Tuesday, February 6

Matt's raising money for MetaFilter hosting through Amazon and PayPal. I gave him 10$. Well worth it. You should give, too, if you ever read MetaFilter or just want to help.
Okay, now I'm serious (don't worry, Purd, it's a work expense :-). I wrote recently about my desire for an ergonomic keyboard. I'm thinking the 50$ range and so far I'm looking at the MS Natural Elite and Pro (even though I think MS is evil) and the Acer Ergo61. Am I missing any in that price range? Anybody have recommendations?

Monday, February 5

The Lord of the Rings (non-Flash version) continues to look great. The second trailer is out now and it's marvy. The best way to view it is by download: middle of the page, click to download. Download the full screen trailer. Right click on 'download the full screen trailer'. 'Save Target as' and select the location: your desktop is probably best. Now this file requires the Real player. If you don't have that, you'll have to download it from (Jorn put me onto this download.)

Peter Jackson says 'Don't worry about Arwen's role. She's not a warrior princess. Our main source for extra material of her has been the Appendix.'. I hope he and I agree.

If you're pretty stoked about this movie, you should go to the official site and view listen to much of the interview with Peter Jackson. It's cool.

One thing he mentions is that Tolkien's language can still work. It seems to me that one analog to this is hearing Shakespeare today. It can still be very effective, especially when you have the context and the visual cues and the acting. Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet' showed this very aptly.

He says they have extensive passages of (Elven) Sindarin and Quenya with subtitles. That makes me shout 'Awesome!.'
Reading 'Shogun' makes me mad at many people in history who have called themselves Christians. In this story it's the dominating Catholics and Jesuits who anger me, but there have been many Protestants as well. Sometimes these people were doing their best, but even in those cases they were often using methods that weren't Christ's. They betrayed the Lord and sorely damaged Christian witness.

Richard Bauckham says in 'The Theology of Revelation' that it's okay for Christians to use power when we can do so without compromising our principles. But if we must chose between power and integrity, we should always choose integrity. The ends never justify the means in Christian faith. We are to look to God to handle the results. Sure, this often results in martyrdom, like Jesus and Paul and many others in the first 3 centuries after Jesus. But the faith was vital then. It became compromised when Constantine made it the official religion of the Empire.

All of this said, centuries of disgraceful behavior does not disqualify the testimony of many Christians who have lived lives of integrity, the Scriptures, and Jesus.
It looks like Ariel Sharon is going to become prime minister of Israel. That is bad.

Sunday, February 4

And now, I've got to go to bed. Six o clock comes early.

(strains of 'Lawrence Welk') 'Good night, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you... (I could go on to the end, but just take my word for it.)
Jorn (Robot Wisdom) linked an amazing Smashing Pumpkins as Peanuts special comic strip (he got it from Null Device).

Saturday, February 3

I gather from a post on 13 Labs yesterday that there's a Chicago-area band called 'Sweep the Leg Johnny'. Cool points to whoever posts first where that phrase comes from (it's easy, but fun).
'What mighty contests arise from trivial things.' - Alexander Pope, 'The Rape of the Lock'. But is a chair a trivial thing? They're having quite a discussion about it on MetaFilter. I'd sure like to have one.

It makes me think of Plato. How much does the Aeron participate in the perfect/ideal/form 'chairness'?
Dr Frank Laubach was an amazing man who pioneered literacy education for millions of people around the world. Don't miss his short biography.
NATO may not be for the future.

Friday, February 2

Nathan has this cool link on his website: put in your last name and the program will show you distribution. The most fun way is to choose 'display all' and watch it cycle through.
I added my Amazon wishlist to the sidebar. My birthday was january 2nd (29th) but don't hesitate to give late if you didn't know or just couldn't get around to it.
great links from the Web Today today from yesterday and the day before (is that clear?): Liberals turn on the Clintons (re: presidential pardons) and Bill Gates' [Vomitous] Web Site.

The last one deserves a little separation: Israel Clears Sharon of Wrongdoing. This is outrageous. There is no justice in this determination.
Jason had a funny, snarky comment about the perfect Power Point slide the other day. Man, these design guys are touchy!
I got three pairs of fancy-shmancy 20$ pants at the Gap Christmas Eve Eve day (sic.) because they were marked down from 60 and I have this new job. Then we discovered, yesterday, they're dry-clean only (before washing them, thank God). So now they're not such a good deal. We're going to try that Dryel thing first. Rats!
John has been funny lately over on 13 Labs. Read it! (The pictures are nice, too.)
I didn't post yesterday because I was absorbed in 'Shogun', which Steven Den Beste of MetaFilter fame recommended. It's very interesting, though I'm ready for Blackthorne to stop getting beaten up by the folks he must eventually work with.

I tried reading it before but didn't. Why? Maybe because I was 14.

Then it occurred to me - it's been more years since then (I just turned 29) than I was then, and I was even sentient then. Whoa.
Pyra Labs (the makers of Blogger and Blogspot, which power this site) is down to one man from 5 people - dot com blues (via prolific on MetaFilter). I'm glad to see Disney's poorly designed 'go' down in flames. But Blogger and Blogspot are great. I wish there was some way to help. Matt (whose lessons learned are particularly instructive, for anyone), Meg, and Jack also added their stories. And if you're interested in this topic you might be interested in the !134 comments! over at MetaFilter.
more science: an article and discussion over at MetaFilter about a fuel theory that could get people to Mars in 14 days.
Science Friday (that's an allusion to National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, by the way): "Lagrangian points", or "Trojan points", are orbital positions which balance the gravity of two different bodies. These equilibrium points make excellent locations for space stations.Building a real space city in the Lagrange point which trails behind Earth's moon would be an awesome -- yet feasible -- accomplishment (via the Babylon 5 History Page/Planets of the Earth Alliance). The L-5 Society is dedicated to producing such a station. Reading on we find that, of course, it was Arthur C Clarke's idea first. I ended up posting this article over at MeFi and there's a little discussion going on.
I changed all of my system fonts to Verdana. I like it a lot. You might want to change yours (to something, not necessarily Verdana). Here's how (Windows): Start - Settings - Control Panel - Display - Appearance. Change all of the 'Item's that have a font. And remember to save this configuration as something like 'your preferences'. Drop me a line or post a comment if I haven't been clear and you run into trouble.