Tuesday, December 27


+ For my part, since the first letter of 'Christ' in Greek is 'chi' (x), and I normally abbreviate Christ with 'X' (and 'Christian' with 'Xian'), I have no problem with abbreviating 'Xmas' and feeling I've left 'Christ' in it. YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

+ Another thought about the observance of Christmas: Many Christians lament the lack of 'Christ' in Christmas, and I'd say they have a good point. Seems to me that one good way to counteract that deficiency, if it's not too high church for you, and in obvious addition to deemphasizing material gifts, is to embrace the traditional seasons of the liturgical church calendar. Thereby, we're actually been in Advent, waiting for the coming of Christ. Now and for the next 10 days (12 in all, which should ring a bell) we're in the Christmas season, Christmastide, if you like. Be counter-cultural. Celebrate Christmas now.

+ Some people will say: it's origins are in a pagan holiday, so it's all a bunch of rot. I disagree. It's origins are the birth of Christ. Some Saturnalia traditions and timing were adopted and adapted. To get theologically and missiologically technical, it can be culturally contextual without being encultured. Macon has some good things to say about this topic.

+ At risk of nullifying my previous point (which I don't think has to be), a few little gift updates. Some of us banded together and bought Wil 'Lego Star Wars' and we've played it a couple times a day for the last 3 days. That, plus the previous week of 'Mario Party 7' finds him this morning with... Nintendo elbow (his right, I think). Poor boy. He doesn't really want to rest it, either. We'll keep you posted.

Bethy got a Holiday (not Xmas) Angel Barbie, a nursery for her baby dolls, and the Felicity (American Girls) DVD.

What was Christine's favorite present? I don't know. I guess I haven't asked, yet (Bad husband! *slaps own hand*). She got herself some biscotti and I ordered (through her folks) a non-broken kitchen timer (hoping the tone will drive me less crazy than her current two broken ones).

+ For myself, I like Wil's presents pretty well ;-). And I didn't get anything else major (besides my share of the Nintendo), because I'm saving for an iPod (or some similar tool). More on that later.

+ I hope you have a merry Christmas, should you so choose, these next 10 days (my next 3 will be cluttered, unfortunately, with trying again to get my CDL).

Words and RotS

(Posted from last week)

+ Usually good for a laugh, Matthew 'Yeti' has his guide to watching 'Revenge of the Sith' , what parts to cut out, and why. I couldn't agree with him more: midichlorians are stupid and 'the Prophecy' was not remotely adequately explained.

+ Reading my etymology of the day (that's what I get it for):

Vociferous  derives  from  Latin vociferari, "to shout, to cry  out" from vox, "voice" + ferre, "to carry."

Guess what that makes me sing? 'Hush, hush, keep it down, down. Voices carry.

+ Speaking of Word of the Day, I really liked this explanation:

Sub  rosa  comes  from  the Latin, literally "under the rose," from the ancient association of the rose with confidentiality, the  origin  of  which traces to a famous story in which Cupid gave  Harpocrates, the god of silence, a rose to bribe him not to betray the confidence of Venus. Hence the ceilings of Roman banquet-rooms  were decorated with roses to remind guests that what was spoken 'sub vino' (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.

Wednesday, December 21

Rudolphus [renone] naso rubro

+ Macon's got a great, informed post on why the British won the battle of Waterloo . Makes me want to run right out and start reading the Richard Sharpe books (Richard Sharpe:British Infantry::Horatio Hornblower:British Navy). Then I click through and see there are videos with Sean Bean (wish he'd been Aragorn if they couldn't get Liam Neeson) as Richard Sharpe and that makes them look even better!

+ Thanks to my buddy, Jason, for putting me on his short list of websites he visits everyday. Right back at'cha (ie, when I see in Bloglines that you have a new post. ;-)

+ Google has a new Trends feature within Personal Search History, kind of like your own personal Zeitgeist.

Speaking of Zeitgeist, the 2005 version is out, a little more tricked out, layout/design-wise than past years. The Movies tab is fun with a lot of Star Wars and Middle Earth. And, in Phenomena news, Wikipedia is on the rise.

And, in other, less-important, Google news, did you see they bought a stake in AOL?

+ For shame: Brad posts what I've often heard and seen in statistics before: Working-age Americans who make between 50k and 100k$/year give 2 to 6 more times (%age-wise) than those who make over 10 million. IIRC (If I recall correctly), those who make under 50k$ give even more, as a percentage.

+ Brad also links something fun I too heard on NPR yesterday: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Latin.

But that's not really enough, is it? Me neither. So, courtesy of Google, here's a translation for you (from this page - Carmina VI on Page 2):

Rudolphus, nas rubro,
naso nitidissimo,
si umquam eum spectes,
dicas eum fulgere.
Reliqui tum renones
deridebant ludentes,
semper vetabant eum
apud ludos ludere.

Deinde ante Natalem
Santa venit, et
"Tu, Rudolphe nitide,
traham meam duc nocte."
Dein, ut renones amant,
exclamantas hilare:
"Rudolphe, naso rubro,
in annalibus eris!"

For those of you watching the translation, the translator couldn't fit 'reindeer/renone' in the first line, which is literally 'Rudolph (the) Nose-Red' (I think. My 'knowledge' of Latin is sub-rudimentary.)

Tuesday, December 20

Thinking about gaming

+ Some guy's got a page for the Ultimate Gaming Table. It's crazy. In fact, these folks are so into it they have a whole gaming room. The ceiling is bordered in covers from old D&D (presumably, though maybe others, too) modules. And they have an IM system.

While I can't ever see doing something this elaborate, the mind does wander. Wil really likes Battle for Wesnoth. It's an early introduction to D&D-type game-dynamics. And he has a friend named Indiana (after the Harrison Ford character), whose dad is still into RPGs. If Wil wanted to do something like that, I could definitely imagine being involved. How cool would it be to have your dad be cool enough to be your DM (Dungeon Master, to the uninitiated, or, more broadly, GM for Game Master)? In that case, I could see having a dedicated long folding table for gaming.

Of course, given my tech-love, I start to wander if the RPGs won't expand onto some more high-tech platform.

Something you don't know yet if you're outside the family is that Wil and I got a GameCube for Xmas. It's great. And Mario Party 7 is sort of like a high-tech board game, where you can choose different 'boards' that can have all kinds of crazy challenges when you land on different 'spaces', because the platform is so flexible.

All it would take right now is the right kind of display (say, projection, or, down the road, display goggles) and the right kind of more flexible software, and you could use a GameCube (or similar system) as the engine for such a construct. Networked PCs (especially laptops) could do this right now. It probably exists in certain LANs. Also, I know there are similar game parlors in Seoul, the most wired city on the planet.

In some ways, online game play is a lot like this now, but everyone is separated. I'm thinking of playing Halo 2 on XBox Live or EverQuest of Guild Wars or whatever. That's the big difference, though. You're not together in the same physical space. And, as much as I love virtual reality, virtual 'community' is a lot weaker than the real thing. You can present so much differently online.

Chances are, the 'cocooning' of people will continue and this dynamic will develop along the current 'one player in his/her house' networked online together, with all of the related results.

On the other hand, I can also imagine Wil and I (and maybe Bethy) teaming up online in networked games, being in the same physical and virtual space together. Could be fun for us...

Worst Sports

This is over a week old, and I've been waiting to add to it, but, since I haven't...

The State (our local paper) carried Jon Heyman's Worst Sport of the Year Award and I really liked it.

Friday, December 16

The War in Iraq and the Middle East

This post started off as a simple back-log report and developed a direction.

+ We lost over 20k in Iwo Jima and we won. If we lose 2k-plus in almost three years in Iraq, then we must be losing. Where are the wise men? Hell, where are the journalists with any sense of history?

+ More from Tom, this time quoting self-described liberal George Cohen in the Washington Post regarding the movie 'Syriana' :

A movie does not have to stick to the facts.  

Still, if it is going to say anything, then it ought to say something smart and timely. But, the cynicism of "Syriana" is out of time and place, a homage to John le Carre, who himself is dated. To read George Packer's "The Assassin's Gate" is to be reminded that the Iraq war is not the product of oil avarice, or CIA evil, but of a surfeit of altruism, a naïve compulsion to do good. That entire collection of neo- and retro-conservatives--George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and particularly Paul Wolfowitz--made war not for oil or for empire but to end the horror of Saddam Hussein and, yes, reorder the Middle East.  

They were inept. They were duplicitous. They were awesomely incompetent, and, in the case of Bush, they were monumentally ignorant and incurious, but they did not give a damn for oil or empire. This is why so many liberals, myself included, originally supported the war. It engaged us emotionally. It seemed … well, right--a just cause.  It would be nice if Hollywood understood that. It would be nice if those who agree with Hollywood--who think, as [director and screenwriter] Gaghan does, that this is a brave, speaking-truth-to-power movie when it's really just an outdated cliché--could release their fervid grip on old-left bromides about Big Oil, Big Business, Big Government and the inherent evil of George Bush, and come up with something new and relevant. I say that become something new and relevant is desperately needed. Neoconservatism crashed and burned in Iraq, but liberalism never even showed up. The left's criticism of the war from the very start was too often a porridge of inanities about oil or empire or Halliburton--or isolationism by another name. It was childish and ultimately ineffective. The war came and Bush was re-elected. How's that for a clean whiff?

+ And then, just for the heck of it, an interesting review of 'Syriana' from someone with a lot of cultural familiarity (via Mark).

+ (I don't plan on seeing 'Syriana', by the way. It's not that I'm opposed. These guys liked a lot of it or are planning on seeing it. I like George Clooney, too (like Tom). He seems to rise a little above your normal Hollywood actor. I'm just not interested enough and don't usually pull away from the computer long enough during free time these days to watch a movie.)

+My take-away on this stuff (something for everyone to hate):

Big Oil is bad, and I really don't like it. They peddle their influence to make more money and, combined with cars, are the biggest industry on the planet.

I'm sure President Bush and VP Cheney are compromised in their political dealings because of their ties to Big Oil and and the military industrial complex. I would not go as far as Cohen and say that the neocons didn't give a damn about oil. I think it was in there, at least a little bit. This compromise is reason enough for me to not want their leadership. Of course, all politicians are, by (my) definition compromised (that being the essence of politics).

All that to say: the world is not caught up in some Big Oil, star chamber conspiracy. Occam's Razor applied here: It's easier to explain Big Oil's role with garden-variety greed and lust for power.

The Post op-ed brings up the President 's lack of curiousity. I continue to feel that President Bush's worldview is too simplistic. However, it is still preferable to the more sophisticated but cut-off-from-absolutes worldview of the Left.

Though I accept that neoconservatism crashed and burned in Iraq because of its own incompetence, it does not follow that the mission to change the Middle East through regime change in Iraq has failed or must. We should stay the course. They had free elections again in Iraq. In case you've gotten inured to it, this is amazing.

That's my (interpretation of this) story. It has been, and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, December 9

Something else I've been thinking about football...

Mike Tice's Vikings teams have an annoying tendency to over-perform when the chips are down and underperform when the chips are up (legitimate turn of phrase?).  I wish they'd do a little better when they were expected to do well.

Come to think of it, Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeye teams have kind of been like that, too...

Pentagon politics and open-source law-making

+ Mark describes himself as a 'conservative' and a 'hawk', but he still has a withering criticism of the Pentagon:

I am deeply, deeply, troubled by the Pentagon move to cut troops in the midst of a manpower crisis during a war in order to protect the postretirement golden parachutes of the Chairborne Division of the Career Desk Cavalry at the Pentagon. This is the sort of in the bones corruption that loses wars and brings down republics.

+ I really wish I had more time to hang out at Democracy 2.0 and post some laws. It's an open source law project. People write laws. If you disagree, you write and post a different law.

That would be a bad use of my time, given all of the other things I waste/invest it on/in. But you might be interested.

The morality of spending cuts and tax cuts

Interesting observation by the Dem.s: the Repub.s are fixin' (note the Southern idiom) to give back more from the budget in tax cuts than they cut from the budget recently in spending cuts. They said they had to cut 'popular' social programs because we're spending too much, then they go and give more back to mostly 'investor class' people.

Now I'm not blind enough to think this is a zero-sum game. It may be the case that tax cuts for investors stimulate the economy. Does anybody really know? If so, does it stimulate the economy enough to produce a rising tide that lifts all boats? And, if not, are we content to let poor people continue to live with inadequate housing, food, transportation, etc. that, at least, damages the future opportunities of their children?

What do you think?

QB thoughts

+ Seems like everyone wants to credit Brad Johnson with the Vikings resurgence. It makes for an easy storyline, but it's lazy journalism, to me. Don't get me wrong. I like Brad a lot. I'm glad he's back. Dude's got a Super Bowl ring. But he's just doing his job, along with the rest of the guys. Daunte was overdoing it a little, but I don't thing that was losing games (I could be wrong). I think the single biggest (sort of tangible) factor has to be the defense getting their job done more consistently. If they weren't holding people, we wouldn't be winning anything. The team has toughened up and they're showing the resolves to win games. It's interesting to watch, and we'll see how it progresses.

+ Bad news for Jaq: Tom Brady is SI's Sportsman of the Year. I really like Tom, obviously. I like his intelligence and hard work. He includes his teammates in his successes and took a much lower contract than his 'market value'.

If there's any criticism I have, and it's a very minor one, it's that he seems almost too diplomatic. He always says and does the right thing (barring the occasional interception). Is it calculated, or is that another one of his gifts? Don't know.

Anyway, I agree that he is this generation's Joe Montana: not as physically gifted as some, but with the grit and smarts and wherewithal to win.

Wednesday, December 7

Basketball and blockage

+ Well, I'm a little deflated about the Iowa loss to UNI in basketball last night. Still, good for the Panthers. Jason couldn't go to the game, but he's happy.

+ Good news! My buddy Kurt writes that 'interact' is blocked in China! [Of course, I'm pretty sure all Blogspot sites are...]

+ More good news: CBS will be offering free out-of-market web broadcasts during March Madness . Time to upgrade! (just kidding, Christine ;-)

That's all I got this morning...

Weekend football recap

I do these on Tuesday enough to call the post 'Tuesday Morning Quarterback', but someone already took that... [And it's not posting 'til Wednesday!]

I turned on the Texas game and couldn't believe my eyes: 70-3 mid-3rd quarter! Then USC did about the same thing to a decent, 1-loss UCLA team. We might be looking at a good Rose Bowl. Main takeaway from watching USC: Reggie Bush is a freak. It's a hackneyed phrase, but how else do you describe it: It's like he's playing at a different speed. I don't know how you don't vote him the Heisman Trophy winner.

Iowa earned itself another Outback Bowl and we're psyched about that. Hoping that the university will support the football team's success to reap further benefits.

The Vikings won again. Crazy.

Disappointingly, my run at our fantasy football playoffs has ended. I'd been winning games, putting up enough points, and had favorable matchups. I was ahead going into last night. But Ryan had the Seattle defense and they scored 44 fantasy points. A total fluke. The craziest score of the year, easily. And it happened to me. That's about how my fantasy year has gone. Oh well. 4 championships in 4 years (4 out of 7 league-seasons, including my own World Bragging Rights League 2 out of 3 years) isn't bad.

Tuesday, December 6

Big Game tonight

Iowa at UNI. SI even had UNI ranked higher than Iowa in the preseason, like 17 and 18. Allow me to employ a Southernism: 'Do what?'

Winners of four straight, the 12th-ranked Hawkeyes seek their first road win over Northern Iowa in six years when the rivals meet at the McLeod Center on Tuesday.

Maybe more importantly: I hope you're going to be there, Jason!

Things that only I think (latest in a series)

When thinking about the song Milkshake by Kelis, and the line:

you want me to teach the
techniques that freaks these boys

where 'the' has a long 'e', I think it could be:

you want me to teach thee
techniques that freaks these boys

you know, like the archaic accusative case, like Kelis is being really polite or reverent, with the whole I-Thou thing.

Of course, if she's being so polite, why does she go on to say:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they're like 'It's better than yours.' Damn right, it's better than yours. I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

That's not so reverent ;-)

I'm the only person who thinks these things, right? You're saner than that, right? I'm mashing up a classical education with pop culture... and selling welding supplies. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Stream of consciousness log

[trying to fall asleep, having read some 'Jarhead', stream of consciousness 60s songs mashup:]

don't ya know, we're on the eve of destruction?

eveybody stop hey what's that sound everybody look what's goin down? [complete with flashes from use in 'Forrest Gump']

there must be some way outta here said the joker to the thief. [Dylan or Hendrix or U2 version?] there's too much confusion here. i can't get not relief. but you and i we've been through that. and this is not our fate. so let us not talk falsely now, because the hour is getting late...

Alliteration day at interact

+ Here's some fun for you: The Forbes Fictional 15 : ranked richest fictional characters.

+ Interesting reading: a Google employee management manifesto.

Friday, December 2

Freakonomics, music subscriptions (and more)

+ I see there's a 'people information summarizing' site called ZoomInfo. I am result numbers 3, 6, 9, and 13 out of 13 for 'Sean Meade'. No job offer yet ;-)

+ Mark has a post about Dan's post on Freakonomics (which links Mark's earlier post ) which drew comments from both authors and others. Great book. Highly recommended. Of course, I highly value  'counterintuitive' ;-)

+ Matt has an interesting post on the relative value of owning your own music v. subscribing. His take is particularly interesting since he's on the forefront of the copyleft movement, being the webmaster at Creative Commons.

+ Oh wow. That Paul Ford is so great. Business 2.0 used one of his pictures without asking, linking to it on his site. So he proceeded to vandalize their site by changing the image to various humorous things (including an ad for his new book). They came around, though, and all is well.

Wil's hit points

Wil and I have been playing some Battle for Wesnoth (as I mentioned before). Wednesday he asked me from the other room what 6+9 was. I told him and didn't think much about it. Then I heard him saying he had 15 hit points. I wondered where he came up with that number. He had put on his soccer shirt, which was #6, and added 9 (6 upside down, naturally). Fun...

Thursday, December 1

BradFilter, Blowfish and GrammarHammer.com

+ Brad notes in a recent post that, according to the NYT, an inordinate number of the sales reps for drug companies are former cheerleaders. Brad's got one conclusion. And you can draw your own...

+ Say it ain't so: We in Columbia are already the butt of many jokes for having the 'Gamecocks' as a mascot. But we wear it with pride, and there's tradition and history there at least. I don't think I'll be able to do that with our new minor league baseball team, the Blowfish. I'm hoping this is a joke, but fearing it's not.

+ More Brad (in the felt I should link it but not going to read it right now department):

Jason Furman has written an article (.pdf) which shows how Wal-Mart's pricing and employment policies save American consumers an estimated $268 billion per year, provide more and better paying jobs than they eliminate, and benefit the poor. BTW, Furman, currently visiting scholar at New York University, was a former advisor to President Clinton and Sen. John Kerry (IOW, not the poster child for conservative economics and big business).

+ When headlines go bad: Allthatscool.com: Why you should start a internet company today. I'm going to start one called GrammarHammer.com where people can subscribe to automagically have their misplaced 'a's corrected to 'an's ;-)

Tuesday, November 29

Rest in peace, Mighty Quinn

Jaq's young son, Quinn, whose health was so troubled, passed away yesterday.

My deepest sympathy and condolences to their family. Words do not suffice...

'You've not seen nothin' like the Mighty Quinn.'

Wednesday, November 23

Today's tagline

'interact': Where we do more logging before 9 am than most people do all day.' ;-)

(Bolded) Google Menu

Ooh! Did you see that (working on being) complete list of Google services? I like. And as I read the comments I saw some German-speaking herr made himself a condensed list. I liked that, too. But when I tried to crib his, I couldn't get his bolds off. Had to make my own. Decided to add a separate menu for the Features page. I was just going to keep it in my own Gmail, but thought 'Why not send it out into the world?' And when I looked back at the original site this morning, I saw in Update 5 that he'd taken my humble suggestions to heart.

So, anyway, without further ado, my (bolded) Google Menu - the services I like and use the most. Want to do one of your own?

Add to Google Blogger Froogle GMail AdSense AdWords Alerts Analytics Answers Base Blog Search Book Search Catalogs Code Deskbar Desktop Directory Earth Groups Homepage Image Search Labs Local Maps Mobile Movie Showtimes News Reader Ridefinder Scholar Send to Phone Sitemap SMS Store Suggest Talk Toolbar Video Video Upload Web Accelerator Web Search Hello Orkut Picasa Search History Advanced Search Language Tools

Calculator Currency Conversion Definitions File Types I'm Feeling Lucky PhoneBook Q&A Search By Number Site Search Spell Checker Stock Quotes Travel Information Weather Who Links To You?

Battle for Wesnoth

Oh. My. Where have you been all my life?

I consider myself pretty well-informed about cool stuff on the internets. Then I follow an innocent-looking link, Battle for Wesnoth, and find a turn-based, fantasy-themed, mulit-campaign, free computer game! Wil and I started playing it last night and really like it already. If it wasn't for dead, preThanksgiving time at work, you probably wouldn't get any weblogging at all. ;-) Now if I can just get it to run on my >7 year-old Fujitsu Lifebook for our Thanksgiving jaunt to Christine's folks...

(Latest) Million Dollar Idea!

I thought of this while driving to work this morning, listening to some fun music I really love: I'll form a Trip Shakespeare cover band! We can start out of the Southeast, than make a move to cover the entire nation proper, with special shows in the Twin Cities, maybe even the Metrodome!

Tuesday, November 22

Football and basketball

+ Good football weekend for me, just completed last night with the Vikes eeking one out over the Packers at Lambeau. 3-1 since I saw them stink up Charlotte and Daunte get injured. Go figure. The Hawks dropped the hammer on Minnesota leaving me wishing they'd walked away with either the Northwestern or Michigan game to sit alone at 3rd place in the Big Ten and probably be in the top 25. Oh well. Plus, my Fantasy Football team finally won another game. Those are the big 3 for me. My next two favorite teams lost: both Carolinas - the Panthers and Gamecocks. Oh well.

+ In other sports news I see that the Hawkeye basketball team beat Kentucky last night . Hot dog! Who's Mike Henderson?

Ode to my professors

Paul's got a nice post on literary crushes, memorable books from college. I wanted to participate, but realized my professors at Wartburg were even more memorable than the books they had me read.

Dr Greg Scholtz taught Brit Lit and I took almost every class he taught: 3 semesters of survey, one of Shakespeare, and one of Jane Austen. He really challenged us. And he was funny. Lots of good marginalia in those books...

Dr Heimir Geirsson taught Analytic Philosophy. I remember my brain changing in that class, after being broken down. I think we spent the first month on the word 'the'. Also read Saul Kripke's 'Naming and Necessity'. After working on the paper for that class, I could process in a new way.

Pastor Larry Trachte was, and is, the college chaplain. I never got to take one of his classes, but he was a very good friend to me in my service in the ministry there. We met once a week for a couple years.

Dr Paul Torkelson directed Choir. The Wartburg Choir is the most excellent team I've ever been a part of. We practiced for an hour every school day and toured the country and Europe. Some people have the experience of being part of something like this in athletics or work. I never did. For me, it was choir and I'll always remember it.

And finally, adding one from Seminary, Dr Rollin Grams, a student of Dr Gordon Fee, taught me to look at Scripture is a qualitiatively more rigorous way.

Monday, November 21

Top Geek Novels bolded!

Dude! Jaq misunderstood me. I wasn't dissing bolding. Bolding is good. And just to show I mean it, and that I don't feel so lazy today, here's that list again, copied and bolded!

1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley 4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick 5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert 7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov 8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland 11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson 19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham

Friday, November 18

Breaking the silence

+ Sorry for the extended absence over here. I just haven't been motivated, somehow. And I've been pretty busy. When I get Wil down between 8 and 9 pm I often don't feel like sitting at the computer. This is probably a good thing. I've been reading a little more: First, The Moviegoer, which was a little disturbing to me, and now The Napoleon of Crime, which is ok.

+ Do you know that RFID will probably change everything?

+ You are obviously not hip. Neither am I. Check your playlists against The Top 40 Bands in America Today. Whatchoo got? Do I hear 'bupkis'? Fortunately for you, dude links some legal mp3s and videos so you can hear/see what you're missing. Plenty I've never/barely heard of. I do like Death Cab for Cutie quite a bit (via The Postal Service), and I've always felt I should like Wilco but somehow have never stopped to listen to them.
+ Easing back in with 'Top n...' posts. Here's a Top 20 geek novels. I have read 14, including the first 8. Maybe I should read the rest...

If I were Jaq, I'd bold the ones I've read. That would be a good thing to do. Too lazy today...

+ Cringeley had a really, extra interesting article about what he sees in Google's future. Teaser: it's not what you think.

Saturday, November 12

Just a few, little things (nothing major)

+ On to glory: Peter Drucker (via Brad)

+ Matt posts a cool picture of the Toronto Stock Exchange: and old building surrounded by a skyscraper. Cool.

+ The map from which the name of Tom's New York Times Bestselling book, The Pentagon's New Map, took it's name.

Zenpundit roundtable

Mark has a very ambitious roundtable going on over at Zenpundit. He's signed on some big names to post over the course of a number of days. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Zenpundit Roundtable introductory post

Friday, November 11

World wealth, words, and anti-Westernism

+ Since I have some guilty liberal tendencies, I have to link my ranking on the Global Rich List:

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 277,391,305 richest person on earth!

How rich are you? >>

+ AllYourWords.com looks interesting, especially since I'm so into... words. Now, what word should I associate with your site...

+ While Macon and I agree that Tom's economic determinism is a little overdone for us, and that ideology does matter, I found this quote from Tom to be pretty interesting:
It ain't about religion, but about economic connectivity. The 'new proletariat' can't turn to Marxism, because that's too discredited. So when you're radicalized today, the one package that's both anti-capitalist and anti-Western is jihadist Islam.

Thursday, November 10

Elections, big oil (and more)

+ What to make of the Democratic victories tuesday? Is this a reflection on the President's low approval rating and Republican scandals or just Democratic wins where Democrats were already governors? Did the president's campaigning for the Republican candidate in VA hurt that candidate? And let's not forget Schwarzenegger's losses, either.

+ Big oil execs testified yesterday about their huge profits. They argue that those profits are in line given revenues. Since I'm leaning free market these days, I would say that Congressional action is probably not the way to go. Consumers should act beyond just complaining.

Of course, I reiterate my opinion that we shouldn't use tax dollars to subsidize gasoline (and, to some extent, roads).

It'd be nice to wean ourselves off of subsidies for gas, roads, agriculture, coastal insurance... What else can we add to the list?

+ Just when you thought the TO show was totally crazy, you get the apology (yeah, right) and the antics of his agent (who's behind him, you guessed it, 110%).

+ Thing that makes me go hmmm: When will Gmail emerge from beta? What's the hold up?

+ Get a load of this: someone thinks Iowa City needs another hospital.

+ Hello Trooper. Hello Kitty and Imperial Stormtrooper mashup.

Wednesday, November 9


+ Underworld: Evolution. There's a sequel? Saw the first one at Macon's. It was entertaining, but...

+ Just a reminder: Terrell Owens is a punk. The Eagles did the right thing. The sad thing is, someone will sign him.

+ I can sure appreciate Matthew's proudest moment:

I brought The Squirrelly to a Halloween party. He saw a child dressed as a pirate and, unpromped, said "Arrrr!"

+ Tom today:

The key reason why we lost Vietnam was because the other side had some very serious backing from the Sovs and Chinese, plus a regional environment that was conducive to the dual strategy of civil war and insurgency from within. The analogies to Vietnam now being employed work only to the extent that the regional environment is permissive, with some states obviously lending some support (Syria, Iran).

+ NPR had a piece on this morning about a Dr Robert Young, a professor at Western Carolina University who says we should pull back some of our subsidization of coastal communities. Can't find anything else on the web except the actual sound file. Sounds about right to me. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 8

Some comedies

Jaq's got a new comedy movie post. I'm bolding the one's I've seen, underlining my favorites, deleting the ones I don't care about or don't think belong on the list, italicizing ones I want to see, and adding a few (cross referencing with AFI, which takes care of some of Jaq's objections).

9 to 5
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Being There
Blazing Saddles
Bringing Up Baby
Broadcast News
Cat Ballou
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Duck Soup
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Fish Called Wanda
Four Weddings and a Funeral
The General
The Gold Rush
Groundhog Day
A Hard Day's Night
His Girl Friday
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Lady Killers
Local Hero
Monty Python's Life of Brian (blasphemously funny)
Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail
National Lampoon's Animal House

The Odd Couple
The Producers
Raising Arizona (one of my favorites)
Shaun of the Dead
A Shot in the Dark
Singin' in the Rain
Some Like it Hot
Strictly Ballroom
Sullivan's Travels
There's Something About Mary
This is Spinal Tap
To Be or Not to Be
When Harry Met Sally...
Young Frankenstein

Wednesday, November 2

The Order of Civilization, Windows, Live? (and more)

Sorry I've been out of commission: out of town this weekend and now studying for my CDL test tomorrow. More later.

+ New Orleans Police Fire 51 for Desertion. A pure, cryin' shame.

+ Brad points me to Windows Live [PC World article ]. Cool URL. Wonder what it cost them? But Live is basically a poor copy of Google's customized homepage. Now, if they get (at least some rudimentary) Office functions online, that'll be useful.

+ Critt has an interesting diagram called The Order of Civilization, from The Clock of the Long Now.

Thursday, October 27


+ I took the BBC Sex ID test (insert 'yes, please' standard joke here). I scored right in the middle (0) where men average male 50 and women average female 50.

female male

That fits. I'm a sensitive, androgynous, 21st century kind of guy. Just ask my wife ;-)

I was: good at angles, bad at spotting the differences, systemizing over empathizing, good at emotions, preferred feminine faces, bad at shapes (didn't try very hard), and good at words.

+ While I was at it, I also passed 8th grade math:

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

Cleaning out saved posts in my kottke (Bloglines) subscription

So 3 from him.

+ Interesting map project from CommonCensus. What city do you most identify with? The've got a sports side project, too. Most interesting thing about the NFL map? The swath of Green Bay fans near Brett Favre's home town in Mississippi.

+ Congress, insider trading (quoting the whole post):

James Surowiecki on insider trading and members of Congress . From 1993-1998, "senators beat the market, on average, by twelve per cent annually". Here's a piece on the same study from the FT early last year.

Sounds pretty fishy to me

+ The social responsibility of business is to increase profits:

Debate between economist Milton Friedman, John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) and T.J. Rodgers (CEO of Cypress Semiconductor). (via mr)

This epitomizes my uneasy conscience with capitalism. On the one hand, the market is the most efficient way to organize the exhange of goods and services. It makes planned economies look like a Kindergarten science project.

But, on the other hand, I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that the best business can do is increase profits. In addition to being uncomfortable, I don't believe it. Our current economic millieu here in the US has companies maximizing stock market price (same thing as maximizing profits?), which often leads to dumb decisions.

[I was going to add musings about corporations and LLCs here, but haven't gotten to it yet, so... maybe later...

Miers, Mubarak, music and Midwestern baseball

+ Miers withdraws nomination. I'm a little disappointed for Ms Miers, but not surprised. Plus, I hate to see the President have to cave in to the archconservatives.

+ Disarming Palestinians may mean civil war: Mubarak. Alright - so long as Israel does its part...

+ White Sox End World Series Drought. Congrats to the White Sox and the city of Chicago. Wish it was the Cubs. Following the trends, maybe if they changed to the AL and called themselves the Blue Sox...

+ Jason came back to life and posted about pop songs. We have some of the same favorites and they almost always came to me from him. Blame my taste in music thereon ;-)

Wednesday, October 26

Tom today

+ Morning Edition for about 7 minutes (taped a few days ago).

+ 'In Brazil, if you no vote, you pay fine, so people turn out (a new rule we should adopt)' [link]

Makes sense to me. What say you?

+ Though our relationship with China is hypocritical, the relationship grows (sound like any family relationships you've seen?)

+ 'We'll soon have a lame-duck president crippled by scandals (that makes four in a row for two-termers: Nixon with Watergate, Reagan with Irangate, Clinton with Monicagate, and now Bush with whatever we're calling this latest one).'

Favorite songs (via Jaq)

Jaq had a music post a while back that I wanted to do (check out the fun comments, too). When I looked at it again, I realized I only wanted to some of it. So here it is:

Favorite Beatles song: How does one pick? I think 'Baby you can drive my car' is the Platonic ideal of a pop song. How's that?

Favorite solo song by a former Beatle: Probably 'Silly love songs'

Favorite Bob Dylan song: Let's say 'Shelter from the storm' with a nod to the end of 'Jerry Maguire'.

Favorite Pixies song: Easy: 'Wave of mutilation'

Favorite Metallica song: Yep: 'Enter Sandman'

Favorite Depeche Mode song: 'Enjoy the silence'?

Favorite Cure song: 'Friday I'm in love'

Favorite song that most of your friends haven?t heard: 'God believes in you'

Favorite Beastie Boys song: 'Sabotage'

Favorite Police song: 'Can't stand losin' you'

Favorite Blondie song: 'Call me'

Favorite Led Zeppelin song: 'Kashmere'

Favorite Weird Al song: Kyle and I owned In 3D and I pretty well liked that whole album (cute Yahoo parody over there on that website).

Favorite Pink Floyd song: 'Wish you were here'

Favorite cover song: Lickin the Tins: 'Can't help falling in love'

Favorite dance song: 3 tied (from my college days): 'Bizarre love triangle', 'A little respect', 'Living in oblivion'

Favorite U2 song: 'Beautiful day'

Favorite disco song: 'Stayin' alive'?

Favorite The Who song: 'Pinball wizard'

Favorite Elton John song: 'Crocodile rock'?

Favorite Clash song: 'Should I stay or should I go?'

Favorite David Bowie song: (with Queen) 'Under Pressure'

Favorite Nirvana song: 'Smells like Teen Spirit'

Favorite Johnny Cash song: 'Ring of fire'

Favorite R.E.M. song: 'Gardening at night'

Favorite (skinny) Elvis song: 'Jailhouse Rock'

Favorite cheesy-ass country song: 'Pancho and Lefty' - Willie Nelson.

Favorite Billy Joel song: Somethin' old: 'You may be right'

Favorite Bruce Springsteen song: 'Dancin' in the dark' (cheeseball alert)

Favorite Big Audio Dynamite song: 'Free'

Favorite New Order song: 'Bizarre love triangle'

Favorite Neil Diamond song: 'Forever in blue jeans'

Favorite Smiths song: How do you pick? 'Girlfriend in a coma'

Sleep-cycles, spam, Odeo and retirement

+ Because I'm a total geek, I took to heart this post by Vincent Cheung on how to wake up in sync with your body's sleep cycles on the cheep . Both of out clock radios are Christine's from before we got married. The one in our room has the Klaxon of Death that goes off 9 minutes after the radio starts. Does that one in Elizabeth's room have 2 alarms? Sure enough. *switch* Now I'm into this system with the radio set to go off a half hour before the buzzer.

Of course, it's not working for me yet because Wil's been in bed with me with allergy problems, but it might work someday :-)

+ Speaking of spam (it was spamblogs the other day), my Gmail's been getting a lot more spam lately from 'info'. And, now that I mention it, those spamblogs were 'good-information-source'. Very suspicious...

+ Woo-hoo! Yippy-skippy! The Odeo Studio is finally out in beta. Can't wait to try it. Especially can't wait to host sound files there and start my own (twin) channel. But not tonight. I've got those little sweeties by myself while Christine works.

+ In my continuing role as the top weblogger of Iowa City's virtues, Money magazine rates IC the 3rd best city to retire to .

All your (Google) Base are belong to us

+ I'm the first person I've seen use this headline! Bwa ha ha! I'm sure it's out there. I could Google it. But, nah.

(Didn't have to. It came to me in Bloglines: Google Base: All your base are, in fact, belong to us .)

Anyway, have you seen the buzz about Google Base?

The official not-so-many-words about it from Google.

Tuesday, October 25

Tom's book release

Because his book's out now, Tom's got a lot of interesting publicity stuff going on that you might be interested in:
It's all pretty fun to watch. Too bad the book tour doesn't bring him this way at all...

Lone star statements

The defective yeti, Matthew Baldwin, took that Time list of best novels I linked a few days ago and went to Amazon and copied some of the one-star reviews of those books. The results, predictably, are absolutely hilarious. Put down what you're doing and run, don't walk, to read this article. Major impression: I forget people this dumb are on the loose. Two samples to whet your appetite:

Lord of the Flies (1955)
Author: William Golding
"I am obsessed with Survivor, so I thought it would be fun. WRONG!!! It is incredibly boring and disgusting. I was very much disturbed when I found young children killing each other. I think that anyone with a conscience would agree with me."

The Lord of the Rings (1954)
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
"The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs."

Time to monetize this bad boy...

My blog is worth $5,645.40.
How much is your blog worth?

(via BillH)

Don't worry; I won't spend it all in one place ;-)

Catching up on posts I've been saving about Iraq

+ Paul had a very interesting post over at Kith and Kin about metrics for the Iraqi project beside casualties and bombs and the like, including economic indicators (like the stability of the dinar).

+ Tom had a post a while back about how good the Iraq constitution vote looked to him.

+ And Mark's got a very good recent post on the coverage of the election in the media and how, contrary to a lot of the coverage, this is a very important, good first step in what we hope, with the Iraqi people, will be a long and glorious future of democracy.

Those dratted spamblogs (and more)

+ There's been a lot of pounding on Google/Blogger/BlogSpot lately for spamblogs. I found myself linked twice on Anabolic Steroid Use [1 2]. Here's one for GIS Post Card printing. And another one from Great Information Source, this one for air filters. Ugh. Guess there's no way of really preventing this.

+ I turned on 'only show updated blogs' in Bloglines and boy do I like it! Helps things seem more manageable. Even more incentive to get that number down to zero.

'Bloglines: It's like an Inbox for your weblog!' ;-)

+ Two other Columbia residents with whom I have some other things in common, have launched a Columbia-area-young-people website called Colaspot. Godspeed, fellas. I hope you make a lot of money and sell to Gawker ;-)

+ Under 'probably only interesting to me' the Clear Creek Watershed Enhancement Board got $420,000 in state grants
. Clear Creek flows about a mile south of the farm (across the interstate) and was the name of the school district I attended between 1st and 6th grades.

It's hard to see in Google Maps, and Clear Creek itself is not labeled, but I can describe it for you: In this hybrid satellite/map of Tiffin , Clear Creek runs in the trees just south of the railroad track (looks like a road) that's just south of Highway 6. Clear Creek flows under Ireland Avenue right where the latter is labeled in this view. Then Clear Creek flows east into Coralville (where they're building some nice trails along it), staying south of Highway 6 until about 4th Avenue (you can really see it easily in this map because it was taken during the winter) then flowing under 1st Avenue and into the Iowa River.

Wow, that was a tangent. But that's what weblogs are for, right?

+ Time to kick this one out of the nest...

Monday, October 24

Weekend football report

Wow, that was some second half for the Vikings. I didn't come in 'til the Packers' last FG. What'd the Vikes have, 28 seconds left? Two perfect plays to get some yards, then a 56 yard FG. Wow. They needed that. Still haven't decided if I'm wearing my Vikings shirt this sunday to the game or not. Advice?

The Vikings win took the sting out of another Iowa loss and another fantasy football loss. Thye Hawks tried and got close, but they're just not very good this year. Not a great football weekend.

In other NFL news, the Broncos looked like the class of the West for all of that game that I watched, but the Giants hung around and came back and won. The Bengals outplayes the Steelers in the first 3 series but only got 3 points and then Pittsburgh took control. Washington's looking pretty good and SF looks terrible. Both of the early games (those last two) blew out and got switched over to competitive games. Indianapolis now has defense to match their offense and has to be the favortie right now to win the Super Bowl. Buffalo couldn't beat lowly Oakland, effectively ending the Holcomb era. San Diego outplayed Philadelphia all game long, but couldn't put them away and made a couple of bad mistakes. They're easily the best 3-4 team in the NFL. Heck, there's no doubt in my mind they're better than some of the 4-2 teams, but 'that's why they play the games'.

Looking at the conference standings, the Bengals are doing well but don't quite have that 'we can win the close/important ones' mentality/character. I wouldn't rank them above Denver or Pittsburgh right now, despite their record. My AFC rankings:
  1. Indy
  2. Denver
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Cinci
  5. SD
  6. NE
  7. tie: KC/Jax
Comments (especially Jaq)?

As for the NFC, obviously much weaker. I think any of those top 6 AFC teams could probably beat any NFC team (except, maybe, Washington). My NFC rankings:
  1. Washington (partly on the strength of their defense)
  2. Seattle
  3. TB (mostly on the strength of their defense, but downgraded for the loss of Griese)
  4. NYG
  5. Atlanta
  6. Carolina
  7. Philly (can't run)
  8. Chicago (honorable mention from the stinky NFC-North for great D)
Let's combine 'em for kicks and see what happens. NFL rankings:
  1. Indy
  2. Denver
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Washington
  5. Cinci
  6. SD
  7. NE
  8. Seattle
  9. TB
  10. NYG
After that, it gets even murkier (ie to say: that part was plenty murky). What do you think?

Friday, October 21

Let's hear it for moderates! (and more)

+ Piece on NPR this morning about the fracture of the conservative coalition. I'm not crazy about many of President Bush's choices. And I'm not crazy about most of Evangelical politics. But I have a lot more in common with them than the hardcore conservatives who are now abandoning the president because he's not hardcore enough. I'm thinking this is better for all of us who want something more moderate. Now if the liberals could just get their act together and actually make the upcoming elections competitive, we might get better political results around here.

+ I was thinking again this morning about what a big deal the Iraq Constitution charter is. Let's not underestimate it...

+ MeFi's having a fundraiser for Creative Commons (via Matt). The first one to get to 500$ committed has shut up for a week. Most interesting thing to me: one's user number is 17809 and the other's is higher. Whatever happened to the good old timers? This one (user number 242) migrated to different circles with more signal (v. noise), that take less of a time commitment.

+ How could I resist the Which Sci-Fi/Fantasy character are you quiz? Answer, I couldn't. But first I got Princess Leia. That seems a little high and mighty. Second try and I got Babylon 5's Delenn. Don't know anything about her. What is it with the chicks? Sheesh.

I look at the list of other characters and... there are a lot. And only 2 people have scored Delenn. So I'm unique. But I'd still rather be Aragorn, or Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Harry Pottern (5 yo twins' pronunciation), or even Wesley Crusher ;-)

I expect Jaq, Kathy, and Macon to take this test, at least (please).

Thursday, October 20

Google design and Time novels

+ Desktop apps coming to the Web

Google's design philosophy centres on end user loyalty not money, going beyond the browser's lowest common denominator, to develop simple Web applications that are as dynamic as native applications, and to launch early and often to learn from users.

 + I am trying to resist the urge to look at the TIME Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Books (which is really top 100 English-language novels) and post about it extensively? Can I do it? Let's go have a little look... OK, I give up. A few, little thoughts:
  • Judy Blume. Whoa.
  • I really should read The Moviegoer.
  • Lots of non-stuffy fantasy and science fiction, including The Watchmen.
Any opinions you'd care to share?

Monday, October 17


+ Really, extra good news: Looks like Iraqis are going to approve their charter. This is a great achievement and milestone.

+ *Sean thinks about the Minnesota Vikings and puts a bag over his head.*

I'm going to see them play the Panthers in two weeks. I was going to wear my Vikings tshirt for loyalty and literally take a bag to put over my head. Now I'm leaning toward just wearing a Panthers shirt...

+ The Dictionary.com word of the day:

Aberrant comes from Latin aberro, aberrare, "to wander off, to lose one's way," from ab, "away from" + erro, errare, "to wander."

Hmm. The Latin root for 'error' means 'to wander'. Interesting.

+ It will be a sign of gross injustice in the sports world if the White Sox win a World Series before the Cubs do.

+ Great scott! I made ZenPundit's recommended reading list! And I told him not to do anything rash...

Saturday and sunday (posted monday)

+ More about Star Wars: Clone Wars vol 1:
  • Wil knew Mace Windu solely be the color of his light saber.
  • At the end of the Mace Windu episode, I hear echoes of 'Hey Mean Joe, want my Coke?'
  • If nothing else, it's another chance to hear John Williams' excellents music.
  • When we were lying in bed friday night, Wil started talking about 'Obi Two Kenobi' who's related to 'Obi One Kenobi'. How cute is that? :-)
+ Possible Apple plan for iPod video

+ Hollywood Calls for Cut of Video IPod Pie. Begun, the iPod war has.

+ With Iowa's win yesterday and Wisconsin's loss last week to Northwestern, do we dare upgrade our hopes? I wrote recently about hoping for a 7-3 record, but can we now hope we could  actually beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall, Northwestern in Evanston, and Michigan and Minnesota at home?It's a stretch, I know. Heck, if Wisconsin can lose in Evanston we could, too. But we've been especially good at the end of the season under Ferentz, so here's hoping...

Friday, October 14

Star Wars: Clone Wars (and more)

+ Saw in the Sunday paper that Circuit City had Star Wars: Clone Wars vol 1 for 10$. I'd been looking to rent it for awhile, so - cha-ching - decided to go ahead and buy it. And if it was a loss-leader, that didn't work. I looked around, bought it, and left.

Well, we have to be careful about what Wil watches or reads at night because he gets so excited he can't calm down and sleep. So we told him he could watch it sometime this weekend. However, since the girls were going to Brownies last night, I told him we could start it.

He loved it. I liked it pretty well. Less talking (insert stock bad-Lucas-dialogue comment here). More fighting (in that anime style). Pretty good. Have those of you who like Star Wars seen it yet? What did you think?

+ Gingrich Says Run for President Possible. Please don't let us have to endure this...

+ InsideGoogle links a humorous look at what Google's homepage could look like in 2084 .

+ Paraphrase: Gates urges lawmakers to help him make more money.

+ Matthew's got a funny post about the new Death Cab for Cutie song, Soul Meets Body.

+ File under: totally unnecessary use of money:
Yahoo Strikes Deal With Stanford, but basically a donor has ensured all Stanford students will get free unlimited music downloads and Yahoo will be getting paid for it.
+ The Dictonary.com word of the day is sinecure, meaning a no-working job (I'm paraphrasing ;-). The most interesting thing about it, as usual, is the etymology. It literally means 'without cure (of souls)' in Latin, like you find in 'curate'. Refers to those positions in the church where someone didn't actually have a parish or didn't go. Remember your history about absentee priests?

Thursday, October 13


+ A little advice for Google: stay away from AOL. Yuck. What good could this possibly do?

+ Here's a picture of the cat who ate the canary:

Ooh! Cool! New! Sparkly! Want...

Wait. I hardly watch tv. When would I ever watch it on an iPod? Best thing this can do for me? Bring the price of a normal iPod or nano down (including via eBay).

The video iPod has DRM of course. Gross.

Part of the launch includes ABC video (famously, Desperate Housewives. yawn). ABC is owned by Disney. There's a picture in the article of Steve shaking hands with Robert. Does that mean we can have Disney distribute Pixar again? Can Pixar please do the Incredibles sequel?

+ Google's opening up a new site in Phoenix. Too bad that's a little too hot for me... ;-)

+ To watch this development read on Lifehacker:

Morning news roundup: A Marriage of Bookshelf and Phone [NYT]. "Last week, intellectually inclined commuters, exercisers and people sitting around for jury duty gained an ingenious new audio alternative: books on phone."

+ Tom, outraged (and I agree):

Our laws say the only food aid we can send overseas is stuff grown by our farmers and shipped by our shippers and-apparently-sold often on the side by our relief agencies to self-finance their own anti-poverty programs. Nice huh? CARE and Catholic Relief Services and five other biggies will take food designated for people in Africa and sell it in markets there to raise money for their programs in the region. Talk about starving Peter to finance Paul!

Well, Congress tried to change this stupid law, which basically results in 50% of our food aid disappearing in admin and transportation costs, but the Iron Triangle of food businesses, shippers and relief orgs successfully blocked the legislative change, despite firm White House support. The reform act was supposed to allow U.S. Agency for International Development to buy food locally for starving populations, thus simultaneously improving local agriculture conditions. Sounds pretty sensible given that poor local ag conditions is what gets your starvation in the first place.

+ Brazil (appropriately threatens to break AIDS drug patents, then makes a deal to but for half. Strong work.

+ I'm really angry these days at the Iraqi Sunnis who are making it so hard to move forward.

Tell me the Shiites and Kurds aren't bending over backwards to make this constitution work for the Sunnis, who largely sat out its drafting but are now being offered a special panel in the first Parliament to revise the constitution--basically a mini-constitutional congress just for Sunnis, or a make-over, politically speaking.

In that same post, Tom's also got a good quote from the other Tom (Friedman)

Inexplicably to me, the Bush team, which has finally settled on the right rationale for the war in Iraq--to help Arabs carve out a space in the heart of their world where they can create a decent, progressive future, instead of drifting aimlessly under autocrats and worshiping a glorious past--is equally silent. Instead of going to the U.N. and seeking a resolution declaring the Sunni terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his ilk war criminals, it sends Karen Hughes around the Arab world to get flagellated by Sunni Muslim women for how awful we are. The Bush team calls that "public diplomacy." I call is losing a public relations war to mass murderers.

+ Time to release this one into the wild...

Wednesday, October 12


+ 'What has Bush done? Doubled the amount of educational aid budgeted for Africa. If you really want to shrink the Gap, you educate young girls . It is #1. Nothing else even comes close.'

+(Man, this post is newsy today - very little human/web interest. Sorry. Just the way it came out...)

+ True to form, Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, will be funded and run unconventionally, allowing them greater freedom. They're starting it with a billion dollars.
> Official Google Blog post: About Google.org
+ al-Qaida's No. 2 leader wants his followers to be ready to fill the gap if we cut and run suddenly like we did with Vietnam.

+ Tom posts an interesting development: the Chinese are drinking more Western beverages, which means they're going to export more of the tea they grow, which is going to displace smaller economies like Sri Lanka and Kenya.

+ 25% of the new Afghani parliament will be female.

+ kottke writes:

Edward Jay Epstein on why Pixar should make nice with Disney again. Bottom line: Disney owns the sequel rights to all of Pixar's films and Pixar can't afford to do battle against Toy Story 3 or The Incredibles 2 in future summers.

Unfortunately, that sounds about right to me. Furthermore, I care about those sequels and and would rather have Pixar run them than Disney.

Tuesday night/wednesday morning addition

I really think I should be sleeping, don't you? But I can't...

+ Brad links the Education State Rankings . Iowa is #8. South Carolina is #32! Woo hoo! 18 states worse than us! Who says we need Mississippi (#47)?

+ Did you see that Google has quietly added Bookmarks and 'labels' to Search History?

+ You know I don't like Micro$oft, but this article from MSN Money on 10 things you shouldn't buy new is pretty good.

+ podOmatic will host up to 250MB of sound files for free. Might migrate over there while I'm waiting for Odeo and post twin files instead of using yousendit.

That's all I've got for tonight. Now, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to... be invaded by one of my children ;-)

Tuesday, October 11


+ Matthew's son, the famous Squirrelly, has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Matthew has a touching post about it. You'll miss out if you don't read all the way to the end. Best wishes, Baldwins.

+ Someone posted Pixar shorts to del.icio.us. Good on them! Do yourself a favor and watch Boundin' and Jack-Jack Attack if you haven't already seen them. And if you're lucky, someday soon, you'll get to see Wil do the 'flashcard' section of Jack-Jack Attack live.

+ Cool quote from kottke:

FedEx keeps 5 empty planes flying over the US each night to help fill in surprise delivery gaps as needed.

+ *brain struggles* Can't. Decide. If Google. Reader. Is. Better. Than. Bloglines...

+ Blogger now has backlinks powered by Google's blog search. And now I've got the code. Now that anyone links here... ;-)

Monday, October 10

Both rainy and monday...

+ I liked this part from Tom Friedman's recent column:

The president's speech on terrorism Thursday was excellent. He made clear, better than ever, why winning in Iraq is so important to the wider struggle against Islamo-fascism. But it only makes me that much more angry that he fought this war as though it would be easy – never asking for any sacrifice, any military draft, any tax hikes or any gasoline tax – and that he tolerated so much incompetence along the way.

+ Football thought from yesterday: Denny Green can coach passing, and that's about it. He's been using his top draft picks on receivers and they can doggone recieve. But he has no running game at all. Might should have drafted some offensive linemen...

+ Crazy having our troops in Pakistan. Wonder if we can find bin Ladin while we're at it...

+ Tom quotes: