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 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 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,, will be funded and run unconventionally, allowing them greater freedom. They're starting it with a billion dollars.
> Official Google Blog post: About
+ 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 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:

More on GTD

+ Interesting post I've come across a second time on using Gmail like a journal. This guy set up a whole separate account, which I don't think I want to do, and I'm already doing some of these type things with my GTD with Gmail implementation. But I may want to do more.

+ I've tweaked my labels and filters in some ways I really like, and some ways that need more work.

Priorities get a '!' label out front and appear at the top of the list. Currently '!Christine' is the only priority label. This label also has a filter that automagically labels any email that Christine sends to me. I could just do a 'fr:Christine' search, but I like having the label in my list. Also, if I want a copy, say if I'm waiting to hear back from Christine on something, I can send it to myself and then label it with '!Christine' and '*waiting', then archive it. This category may pick up a '!spiritual' label, or something like that, and maybe '!twins'.

My next, one-label-only category is @home. This works for me since I only basically have two contexts. The other big one is work and my GTD stuff doesn't cross over much with that right now (or I simply email my work email address). DA is a big fan of contexts, so you might profitably have more of these.

My next category of labels I think of as GTD type labels - maybe fitting in somewhere in the workflow chart. With some minor personal indiosyncrasies I've basically got *deferred (this could also be *next action or *todo, in my mind), *maybe, *reference, and *waiting. Since they have the asterisk prefix, they all come next, grouped together, in my list of labels.

Next I've got my project labels, which I prefix with '>'. So far I've only got '>health' and one other one I'm not posting here (but you can email me if you want to know ;-)

Finally, I have three non-prefixed labels from before my implementation that I haven't decided what to do with yet. They're not hurting anything, so I'll leave them there for now.

Bryan's original, excellent white paper on this topic advocated a 'reference' and 'actions' label for each project. So, for example, 'health:actions' and 'health:reference'. But Gmail can pull up two labels at the same time in a search, like 'label:health label:reference'. The more elegant solution, no? ;-)

Don't want to type in that search repeatedly to get that view? That's why we have persistent searches, my friend. I've been thinking about installing this greasemonkey script for awhile and took the plunge last night. Very cool. Minor downside is that it'll only work on our home computer, but that's where I'll do most of my procesing anyway. You can easily save any common searches, including multiple labels.

Sunday, October 9

Harriet Miers and the current political climate

Since Jaq took me to task for saying I was OK with the Miers nomination, I was inspired to do some more research and give a fuller account of my thinking.

You're fine with a Supreme Court nominee with no judicial experience at all

Yep, like many SCOTUS justices before her.

With no written record of legal thinking that isn't sealed off by Executive privilege

You're exaggerating, Jaq. The woman has a 35 year legal career. In addition to that, as the Dallas Morning News notes, she's served on a major city council, in state government, led a big law firm and local and state bar associations. There are written records in there, though not 'judicial opinions'. Though her White House work is sealed, it's very good experience. We have a non-ivory tower nominee here, and I say that's a good thing.

On what basis can you possibly be fine with Harriet Miers?

Trying to establish this...

Do you really think the President couldn't find someone better?

Is that really the point? Define 'someone better'? Based on what criteria? There are, I'm sure, hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified nominees.

Now, departing from Jaq's objections while answering them more fully and filling out my position here:

+ First, I'll go ahead and quote Tom's entire post on this subject.

To me, this choice is great. I love the idea of the non-judge (though she's still a lawyer) and the politico. That sort of homogeneity is just plain wrong for an institution as important as the Supreme Court. No more weirdo, life-led-in-a-legal-cocoon types.

So Miers is a Bush loyalist. Big deal! He's supposed to pick people he doesn't like, doesn't know, doesn't trust?

In combination (Roberts and Miers), the Dems cannot complain about these picks. America does just fine.

+ Somewhat relatedly, I think the Dems should be pretty happy. The arch-conservatives wanted Bush to ramrod a card-carrying conservative through, to start a philosophical battle to 'energize' their political base for elections. The President didn't so that. He actually consulted with the Democrats who encouraged him to pick a woman and a non-judge. Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., has to come to Miers' aid, along with other Democrats, saying the conservatives are sexist, that this woman was the head of the Texas Bar Association and led a major law firm. In the Miers nomination I think the President was trying to be more politically consultative, and that's a good thing. I applaud it, in fact.

+ My own Senator, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, says let's hear what she has to say, and I agree with him.

+ On to the political environment: Democrats should also be happy with the Miers nomination because, along with everything else challenging the Bush presidency, it is further dividing Republicans. The Democrats don't have to lift a finger. They get everything they want, including a probably moderate judge who has been germane to things like gay rights in the past. The Democrats only need six seats to control the Senate. But can they actually get their act together enough to win them? I doubt it. They've been massively politically dysfunctional for the last 8 years, but I hope so because it would make for a tougher political environment that would hopefully produce more competition and better results. The Inner Game of Tennis says you want your opponent to be good to bring out the best in you. That's what I want in our bi-partisan system.

+ Two more marginally related notes:
  1. David Broder writes today about some interesting analysis of politically 'orthodox innovators' and their ultimate fall to 'sectarian infighting' .
  2. SCOTUS meta-concern: I am concerned about judicial nominee non-answers on issues brought up in hearings. They need to retain independence, but we also probably need a better idea of where they're likely headed...

Saturday, October 8

Schoolhouse Rock!

I love Schoolhouse Rock! to this day. I have the boxed set of video tapes and have recently added the anniversary DVD to my Amazon wishlist. The Wikipedia entry [Schoolhouse Rock!] is really good (even better since I went in and added a few little improvements ;-)

I think my single favorite contributor to SchoolHouse Rock! is Lynn Ahrens (added a little to that entry too). Not surprisingly, she continues writing to this day. I love the songs she wrote for Schoolhouse Rock and her performances of them. Of her songs, I especially like Interjections; A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing; The Tale of Mr Morton; Interplanet Janet; Telegraph Line; A Victim of Gravity; No More Kings; Fireworks; and The Preamble - that is to say, most everything she wrote. Lynn didn't work on Multiplication Rock at all, which probably partially explains why that's my least favorite set. Ms Ahrens has a website detailing her work, including a place to listen to some of her songs .

Some of my other favorite songs are: Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla; My Hero, Zero; and The Shot Heard Round the World. What are yours?

Wow, are you ever in luck!

We recorded the twins (and their dad) singing Schoolhouse Rock's No More Kings last night, and you can hear it, too:

No More Kings, by Elizabeth and Wil (and their dad).
lyrics (in case you can't make out our words real clearly ;-)

Of course as Bethy noted, sometimes you can't hear either one of us over Wil's exuberance.

(Anti-procrastination note: this link will only be good for a week. If you need the file after that, email me.)

Friday, October 7

International Talk Like a Trucker Day (and more)

+ 10/4 (good buddy). I thought of this three days ago: Since we have International Talk Like a Pirate Day, how much more appropriate to have International Talk Like a Trucker Day be on October 4th? Or, for those of you who use a more international system, April 10th? Or, how about both! ;-)

+ I had a brainstorm today: Since only the first part of my posts are syndicated over at Covenant Blogs, if I want to garner readers therefrom I need to think more about my lead stories! ;-)

+ Flash Drives Make Any Computer 'Personal'
. A few small tweaks in how PCs/'dumb' terminals/thin clients interact with flash drives and you could have your settings, data, and programs with you and use the nearest terminal for input (keyboard), the screen, output, processing, and networking. But all of the data is yours. I'll be very surprised if this doesn't become a stronger option.

One way to do it might be to have some kind of 'thumb desktop', a little program on the flash drive that runs as the front end for your data helps it interface more easily and robustly with the 'foreign' terminal.

Oh, wait. Hadn't gotten all the way through the article. That's what Migo is. What a good idea! ;-) Except it's way too expensive. Can y'all at sourceforge get to work on this?

U3's doing a similar thing, building that functionality on the USB drive. Verbatim's 1GB Store N Go, for example, costs 65$. Heck buy the whole thing instead of the Migo software!

+ House Passes Bill to Boost Refineries. This is probably a good thing if you're willing to burn gas. Refinery capacity is our biggest bottleneck that's driving up the price. If you think we need a more 'enlightened' energy policy instead of more refineries, you probably won't be happy (heck, there are lots of reasons to be found for not being happy, with this or any other legislation ;-)

+ Okafor Turns to Yoga, 'the Dream' to Improve for Second Season. I really like Omeka Okafor. How can you not (aside from being jaded or cynical)? He's a very solid guy, got picked first, and led all rookie last year, though many thought he wasn't the most talented guy in the draft. He's been working hard in the offseason, too. He put on 15 pounds of muscle. I'll be watching him from afar.

Thursday, October 6


+ I said it before, I'll say it again: I LOVE this cooler weather! :-)

+ A really interesting new development with my doing GTD is that I'm simultaneously more assertive and less defensive. I don't know exactly why. Do I feel enough self-justified, productivity-wise, that it takes the sting out of questions/criticisms and I feel free to ask other people to do what they said they would do. If you know why this is, feel free to put it in the comments.

Yes, it is true: I have accepted David Allen into my heart ;-)

+ Speaking of things I love: the new Auto-Save in Gmail, which I compose these posts in.

+ One problem with being South Korea, the most wired nation on Earth (especially in terms of broadband), is that you have more video game addicts.

+ Low key change in Google local and maps: Now it's starting me on the same screen in both, centered on my work zip code (which was the default for local searched here on my work computer). Gone are the separate links for 'Google maps' and 'local search'. This change apparently concurs with Local's emergence from Beta. Google Press release (which feed I'm going to subscribe to, btw).

+ Matt links Maggie who links the Bacon of the Month Club. Wow.

+ Holey mackerel! Peter Jackson's signed on the work on the Halo movie. (via DJMonsterMo).He's certainly got a solid background in scary and epic. I hope this is good...

+ I said it yesterday: I'm fine with Harriet Miers. I still think Matthew's note on the President's assessment of her qualifications is funny.

+ kottke has, today, the first reference I've seen to the web 2.0 bubble. Remember, one of the things that will drive this is a lot of retirement money, typically in funds, looking for high returns. There's still a glut of venture capital and not that many good ideas. Still, let's get our business plan together and cash in! ;-)

+ Lifehacker has this thing with duct tape: a while ago they suggested using it for a band-aid. Then they suggested putting a duct tape tail on your remote so it can't get lost (some funny comments in this thread), now they link duct tape bandages.

+ BillH posts The world's shortest and best fairy tale. While I am sometimes tempted to think about what I could buy with my few pesos if I wasn't supporting a family, there's so much more to life that it's worth mentioning (it's no dig on Bill, because I know he's just being funny and will agree with me): the personal growth required when you have children, all the joy the children bring, the combined mission and decision-making of having a family (awfully lonely otherwise), the emotional intimacy of marriage and something else that goes with it ;-). Marriage and parenthood can be incomparable prompts to personal growth. And I'm sermonzing about it because I've fought it too often in the last 5 years.

+ Am I not on fire with this weblog stuff? And still Getting Things Done! ;-)

Wednesday, October 5


+ HOW-TO: Set up keyless entry to your house via your cellphone . That would be seriously cool...buuuut, it's too expensive and too involved. Maybe right for someone like Paul, though ;-)

+ I've been thinking I'm fine with both Roberts and Miers and Tom says the same thing .

+ Tom talks Turkey some more (sorry, couldn't resist ;-): Austria backs off on Turkey, ETA 2015, Tom predicts by 2010 with a Med-ringing Free Trade Zone moving toward Union by 2025.

+ I'd like your comments on this one: Cheney and Tom say our week responses to 7 preceding terrorist attacks got us 9/11. What do you think?

+ Tom mentions my name again yesterday (regarding proof-reading), which I always love. And I don't think I've mentioned yet that my name made it into the acknowledgements of his latest book (though it wasn't in the advance copy). That's pretty cool: acknowledged by a NYT bestselling author for my (albeit small) contribution. Now we just need this one to 'bestsell', too. Tom's at Belmont Abbey tonight, about tow hours up the road. Closest he's been in a long time and I wish I could go, but I just can't pull it off.

Tuesday, October 4

Tuesday [Updated]

+ Here's hoping that the Hawks can straighten up and win all but 1 more of their games to finish a respectable 7 and 3. The rest of their schedule's pretty weak, but they will have to beat Minnesota at Kinnick (possible) or Wisconsin at Camp Randall (doubtful) to attain this goal.

+ While we're hoping, looking at the Vikes' schedule, they'll be lucky to finish above .500. Anything better than that will be a miracle.

+ Have you seen the OpenDocument spec? Some say it could turn everything inside out. Based on OpenOffice, it's moving out into more and more applications. This thing could really help us bust open Micro$oft, which has vowed not to support it. It's being embraced by the State of Massachusetts, the EU, and many companies. I say spread OpenDocument.

[Update] Google and Sun announced a strategic partnership today that will include Google promoting OpenOffice, a chunk of which was developed by Sun. Google's press release. Woo-hoo! I'm excited!

+ Representative Tom quotes for today:
  • We predicted this in our Y2K scenario work: watch governors opt for worse disaster responses than risk being shown up by the Fed. In short, their political reputations are worth more than the lives of the people they serve. And, oh boy, just listen to them wax poetic about states' rights on subjects like these.
  • Rummy and company have been rather shameful in their slow response. Congress asked for a plan to reimburse soldiers up to $1,100 a person for needed gear, and asked for it by February 2005. No plan exists, apparently, or at least not one that Congress has ever heard of. Pentagon spokespeople promise it will appear any day now.
  • [T]here are plenty of sad stories to go around on Kosovo, where the UN is likewise guilty of acting like the social worker from hell, meaning the type who, once the claws are in you, the professional do-gooder refuses to leave, retarding the client's (or is it "victim"?) growth in the direction of caring for him- or herself... [D]espite such criticisms the UN is actually moving purposefully to aging Kosovo out of its long-term foster care, and in this process it may well set in motion even further dismemberment of what remains of the rump union headed by Serbia.
  • Anyway, there was a decent contingent of Austrians there, including one of the most anti-American Europeans I have ever met (Her question to me: "Being an American, what are you most ashamed about regarding your country?" My reply, "That we let you Nazi collaborators off with "The Sound of Music")... Right on the eve of the historic direct talks on membership, Austria is the lone holdout on starting them, insisting that Turkey be offered nothing more than second-tier membership.

Monday, October 3

Monday, Monday

+ Well, I drank the David Allen, Getting Things Done kool-aid this weekend. Skimmed most of the book saturday night (when Wil was not falling asleep). Lots of good stuff ('A billion people can't be wrong.'). I've got the labels going in my Gmail and had my inbox down to zero last night. 2 sitting in there this morning. I'll keep you posted on how this all goes.

My biggest objection is way GTD could easily 'trap' me into doing things because I can, no because I should. I need to drop low-priority stuff. I need to say 'no' plenty. I need to simplify and let fewer things in.

Still, I'm feeling pretty optimistic and pretty empowered this morning. Really felt that way yesterday and, in fact, did everything on my 'tudu' list yesterday, plus some.

+ LOVING this cooler weather!

+ Enjoying the new van quite a bit, too. It's got a better sound system than out last 3 cars put together, so that's fun. Hope we can afford it... ;-)

That's all for now.

Sunday, October 2

Everyday is like sunday

+ Amazing Katrina photoset (that won't disappear like the last one) (via A Whole Lotta Nothing). As you click through you get more of a sense of the personal devastation facing the people fo New Orleans. These folks seem to be upbeat about it, which is great. What a mess.

+ Thought while on Yahoo-owned Flickr: Interesting that they've got Google ads...

+ Speaking of Morissey, wanted to listen to the song 'The Queen is Dead' this morning, so I did. Then I kept listening through the album. Some great songs.

+ Wow, the Vikings stunk again. And I actually watched some of this one. But not the second half. I'd had enough. It wasn't a total waste. I folded some clothes, etc. In other football news, the Patriots looked pretty average against a very strong San Diego team. The Eagles take one with steady effort. With the Giants and Redskins undefeated and the Cowboys OK it suddenly looks like the 80s glory days of the NFC East. The North and West all pretty much stink, leaving Atlanta and TB. In the AFC you've got the Pats (still, I think), Broncos, Chargers, Bengals, Steelers, and Colts.

That's all I got tonight.

Saturday, October 1

Nap jerks

When Wil was falling asleep tonight, he turned toward the wall, then kicked it. He rolled back over sleepily and told me that he'd been dreaming about soccer. I told him that's something I used to do when I played soccer. Sweet connection point for the boys :-)

(cross-posted to interact and twinlog)

What Is Web 2.0, by Tim O'Reilly

Wherein the author capitalizes on the Wired article on him this month What Is Web 2.0 . My thoughts:
  • I feel dumb about this, but I never thought of the burst of the dot-com bubble as a good thing, Of course it was. Duh me.
  • 'We coined the term.'
  • Pretty good list of 1.0 v. 2.0.
  • tags, APIs, Ajax, reputation (wuffie), participative, collaborative, web as platform, perpetual beta (ready, fire, aim), mashups (hacks, extensions, plugins, rip/mix/burn), 'wisdom of crowds', open source, creative commons, feeds
  • 5 pages! He's got a lot to say (I guess).
  • Hate to say it, but a lot of these principles were in Kevin Kelly's seminal New Rules for a New Economy.
  • I read articles like this and think, more than ever, that Microsoft's dominance will end very soon. They won't be able to keep up with these nimble upstarts.
  • Search and tags (folsonomy) trump sort and organize (ontology) every time.
  • Successful new companies serve ordinary customers and no or low cost to the customers and add 'em up: eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Google. This includes the much touted 'long tail'.
Now you know ;-)


+ Got a new-to-us van last night from carmax. Great experience. White 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan for those of you keeping score at home.

+ Won our third soccer game today 3-1 (not counting the other team's own goal). We're 3-0. First game: 5-0. Second game: 2-0. My boys are aggressive. Sort of a bummer that we got scored on, though ;-) Best thing that happened today: I told a player to pass it and he did!

Wil's doing pretty well. He gets after the ball on offense and kicks it toward the other goal. Had a shot today. Not sure if it was intentional or not, but we'll take it.

+ Jaq posted about my post on a new kind of screw. Short version: he uses the Tapcon masonry screw with special drill bit and it works really well for him. (And you had a nice title, Jaq, but I'm OK with the one I used ;-)

+ The defective yeti Bad Review revues are always great, but this one features an amazing concept:

The Man: "Plays like a sequel to some terrible movie that was mercifully destroyed before it was ever released. " -- Kevin Crust, LOS ANGELES TIMES

+ Matthew's also got an interesting, if cynical, take on the now ubiquitous 'care bands'. Hey, if you're in it for the cause, more power to 'ya. If you're in it for the fashion, that train left the station some time ago. Cynicism aside, I like his self-made bands. Some real potential there. What's your message?

+ kottke comment:

From a recent study : "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies". This seems like a potential chicken/egg religion the cause of all this or do unhealty societies cause people to find religion?

The 'correlation' here seems fairly obvious to me: Democracies with more 'belief in God' tend to be 'less sophisticated' from a liberal/European point of view, even 'less humane'. I'm sure the problems listed do correlate. What are the correlated problems with more 'liberal' democracies? What about morality? Is the morality OK? Does it matter? France and Germany, to pick two, have some real problems with nationalist racism that don't jibe well with their 'educated values'. What do you think?

At any rate, I obviously don't think either one of kottke's answers is the right one. I think there's a correlated additional factor, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

+ Mark's got a really interesting post about writers who have inveighed against totalitarianism (like Orwell, Dostoevsky, and Solzhenitsyn) and will we see such writing v. Islamism.

+ Tom stuff
  • Annotated transcript of his interview with Rumsfeld that later became his Esquire article Rumsfeld. Big takeaway: the most important component of Tom's story on Rummy was Tom's perspective. Postmodernism 101.
  • Poignant quote from this post:
    • Meanwhile, Bush demonstrates his continued willingness to bite off more than the GOP is comfortable chewing. He is definitely moving into LBJ range. In the end, he will outdo Reagan in his massive expansion of the federal government.
  • And this one:
    • What he says is that the Kurds and the Shiites have basically chosen what kind of Iraq they want (loose fed), and have indicated they're willing to share oil revenues with the Sunnis who will otherwise enjoy little. Now, as Friedman writes, the Sunnis need to decide what kind of minority they want to be. But there is no question: they will never rule Iraq again.
+ That's it for today. Score: Bloglines: 2, Gmail 19. I rule!