Thursday, August 31

Wil and I and FotR

[I started this on August 22nd. Let's see if I can get it posted...]

I started reading Fellowship of the Ring with Wil last night.

I'd grown tired of re-reading comic books. I liked 'em fine the first 3 or 4 times. Time to graduate to chapter books like Momma and Bethy.

I gave Wil a choice of Prince Caspian, The Book of Three, or Fellowship of the Ring.

Then, when the book came home, I said 'How about if we read some of the book, and then [your reward will be to] watch that much of the movie.' He thought that sounded like a great idea.

Then Christine said 'Maybe we [girls] would like to get in on that!' Bethy said yeah!, but she only wanted to watch the movies. She doesn't want to read all together.

(I think there's at least 3 things at work here:
1. She thinks it would be more boring than her books.
2. She want to do the choosing.
3. She wants to keep Christine to herself.)

So, at bedtime, Wil came and got me [working on my laptop] and said it was time to read our book and then watch the movie. Whoa. Come to find out, he thought we were going to watch some of the movie each night. I said 'No way. You'd get too excited and not be able to sleep.' He promised me he wouldn't, but I insisted he would and that we'd watch some friday night or over the weekend and he accepted that.

As we settled down, I asked him if he knew The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book in the whole world (he said no) and that I'm so happy to be sharing it with him.

So I started reading the 'Concerning Hobbits' part of the Prologue, and Wil was really busy with his stuffed animals and blankets. I thought about asking him if he was paying attention, but his comments showed me he was paying attention:

+ He thought I was talking about Hobbit ladies called 'madam', but I was talking about 'mathoms'.
+ When reading the history of Hobbits and how some lived by rivers and fished and swam, he knew (from watching the movies) that that's where Gollum originally came from.
+ And a few more I don't remember...

Then he started telling me about the hobbit apartment he was building with his blankets and stuffed animals and what the different rooms were and where they got their water. I'd even go so far as to say that he was imitating my reading cadence a little :-)

[I think I was originally going to write more, but this is going to have to be a good enough start for now...]

Tuesday, August 29

Summer music

I realized the other day, with horror, that summer is almost over and I haven't listened to my favorite summer music!

For me, it's the stuff that I associate most strongly, remember most when I remember past summers.

I owe Jason for introducing me to both albums.

The first: summer of 1989. Graduation from high school. Getting ready to go to college. Eponymous: REM. On tape, Jason's car.

The second: summer of 1990. Hanging out with Jason a lot, including living in the same house for a little while. The Sundays: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. CD, in the living room, on Jason's cd player.

One small problem: I never bought Eponymous since it was (mostly) a collection and I bought the rest of the catalog. Hard to get that mix just right without shuffling cds or being at the desktop PC (haven't moved my mp3s over yet).

But, I started listening to RW&A today on the way to work. Harriet Wheeler... Some of the songs start off like REM anyway: melodic bass line, jangly guitar, driving drums... But Harriett's beautiful voice sure changes the complexion... I think of her work on that album and Kristy MacColl as sort-of female Morrisseys: super-ironic lyrics, British, with pretty vocal style.

A few other pieces of music I associate with summer:

+ The Cars, Heartbeat City - 1984?
+ The Reflex (single) by Duran Duran - 1984?
+ Mike and the Mechanics - 1985?

And a great song I've just learned recently about summer is Summer Skin by Death Cab.

Summer just doesn't pack the same punch anymore, working year-round, not maturing as fast. It's not magical and bittersweet like Summer Skin.

How about you? What's your summer music? Have you listened to it yet this summer?

Monday, August 28

I consider myself to be a connected person, but...

I did not know that Michelle Monaghan:

1. played Ethan Hunt's love interest in M:I3,
2. a character named Julia MEADE (a cousin's name, also, incidentally), and
3. is from Winthrop, Iowa (the next, little hamlet east of Independence, where I once visited my college roommate's home).

Two problems here:

1. I did not know.
2. None of you told me! ;-)

300 (!)

Go over to to find the Rolozo Tolkien gallery so Wil and I can look at some pictures (mostly from the Calendars) and see in passing that 300, Frank Miller's story of Thermopylae, is being made into a movie in the production vein of Sin City. Must check it out.

Brings up an interesting debate:

Liam Neeson hated acting in front of a blue sceen for SW:TPM and, IIRC, it put him off of films for a while and he said he'd never act in front of a blue screen again. (I could be wrong, Jaq. Feel free to correct me. Just don't shoot ;-)

But, OTOH, it seems to me like this method of making comic book movies, at least, is really worth exploring...

Sunday, August 27

Sharon's wiki-controversy

Sharon has an extremely interesting post today about Wikipedia.

[Hey! I just realized I have a woman on my blogroll now! I'm so happy!

Though, in fairness, Kathy L, regular reader, commenter, and contributor definitely deserves an honorary status :-)

Does Christine? She reads almost all of it (gets it copied in her inbox ;-)]

Introductory point: You remember that I love Wikipedia, right?

Seems there is some new controversy about Sharon's entry (which she did not create). It's been marked for deletion and there are some interesting comments on the Talk page
I'm very interested in the fact that Sharon, like me, is hopeful about Wikipedia.

But the whole open-editing thing often results in ugly edit wars.

I know in some ways I'm late to this story. I've seen it around the intarwebs but just hadn't dived into it.

Peer review may be elitist, but maybe it's the best model we've got...

Subjects I have logged before

+ It's really good to see the US playing basketball the way they should (Pounded the Aussies, John ;-).

+ I keep forgetting to put in this GREAT Pluto link from the local paper:

Pluto's demotion in the cards for Miss Millie

Miss Millie, spiritual healer and adviser, said she knew it was coming.

+ Iowa may have fallen in the USN&WR college rankings, but it's still holding strong in the Princeton list of party schools at number 9 .

Saturday, August 26


First of all, I would like to point out that I am using the spelling Tolkien gave us.

KRLX Music Blog has a great post on Pluto's demotion, complete with tracks. The writer seems to be distraught, but I say it's a good move.

(Do you ever think it's strange? The stuff I fixate on? It was Tolkien (!) for months. Recently Ken Jennings. Now Pluto. Of course you do ;-)

The only track I knew was a great pick: Ben Folds Five - One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.

If I had it, I'd put Heigh Ho on here, a more up-beat dwarf song. ;-)

The thing that really clinched this post ('Didn't I have another Pluto link saved around here somewhere?' ;-) was Ken Jennings (!) post about it today.

By the way, both posts feature pix of the Disney dog of the same name. If only *he* could get demoted ;-)

First of all, great title: Eight is enough.

Ken's like me (in this, and so many other ways ;-): he doesn't miss Pluto:

So don't hyperventilate over Pluto. Busybody bureaucrats and scientists give, and busybody bureacrats and scientists take away. Tomorrow "indigo" will be gone from ROYGBIV, or there'll be a new Lucky Charms marshmallow, or maybe a new eighth deadly sin. All part of life's rich pageant.

(When I was young and full of grace, I spirited a rattlesnake...)

Anyhow, to close this post out, I do need to fit some Tolkien dwarves in here. But how? Favorite dwarf (excepting Gimli)?

I could go with the regular quizzes: Warm-up: name Snow White's seven. Graduate: name Bilbo's thirteen.

Can't think of anything brilliant, so I'll just close it out by saying I'd really love a definitive, lengthy description, with maps and pictures, of Moria. But, that could only come from the Professor, and he didn't leave it.

Back to celestial bodies.

Nah nah nah nah, good-bye!

Friday, August 25

Why oil demand will peak before oil production

or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the markets ;-)

Why do I feel compelled to keep posting Tom's boradsides at peak oil? Because some people JUST DON'T GET IT!

Of course, I'm not talking about you, dear reader. ;-)

Why so little slack in global oil production?  Check out who's really running that show

Synopsis: most of the proven reserves in the world are controlled by National Oil Companies that are terrible at management, discovery, etc. Let  a BP or a Royal Dutch Shell in there... they find more 'proven' reserves every time.

Ironically, all of these mismanaged NOCs will drive the global market to alternatives, including hydrogen, much sooner than the market would otherwise go there if the NOCs were reasonably well-run

Thursday, August 24

Call Interplanet Janet!

That's the message that 'interact' correspondent Kathy L just sent me.

Members of the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out today.

I think this is the right way to go. It's what I've been arguing. What else can I say? ;-)

This is a good time to point out Stuart's post which links to two other posts on relative size of celestial objects.

Just a little refresher: Pluto is smaller than our moon, people! ;-)

Wednesday, August 23

Good Flash

Remember the days of smaller bandwidth and bad Flash before FlashBlock when we had to issue Flash warnings? Not anymore...

+ Have you gotten an mp3 in Gmail yet? Did you notice they have an embedded mp3 player? I had not yet noticed...

+ Dwayne Wade highlights (via kottke). Some crazy stuff in there. Jordanesque? Has any one thrown up more what looked like total prayers that went down? Jason? Scott? Whaddya say?

+ How's your North African and Middle Eastern geography? Test it and see.

Tuesday, August 22

Umm, this was supposed to post yesterday...

+ kottke linked a while ago to salad days, which I know and love from the opening monologue of Raising Arizona.

The phrase was coined in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in 1606. In the speech at the end of Act One in which Cleopatra is regretting her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar she says:

"...My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood..."
Ol Will S - he could really turn a phrase, you know it? ;-)

+ Matt Haughey links to Demote Pluto! saying 'no!' As I wrote before, I'm inclined to agree with the demotion of Pluto...

+ Belated, public thanks over here to Jaq for picking me up in Sentential Links #61.

+ Did you see How to Win Every Time in Monopoly? Basic, statistical-type stuff, but interesting.

My to do list for you

+ OK, I've been meaning to post this one for a very long time: The Snakes on a Plane website has a REALLY cool app where you can send a friend a personalized call from Samuel L Jackson. I sent one to all three of my brothers, only one of whom properly appreciated it. But you should try it!

+ Jaq links to a post that makes fun of German by someone who's learning it for a trip. You should read it.

+ Wally got busted by Catbert for selling office supplies on eBay over the company internet connection during office hours. You should be so venturesome. ;-)

Why make the world free for capitalism?

Peggy is a new and active commenter on Tom's website since she saw him on C-SPAN friday night. (Have I mentioned he was on and I've been typing like crazy since then? ;-). She asked a bunch of questions in a comment today and my reply ended up being too long to put in a comment over there, so I'm posting it here.


i do not speak for Tom. here are some of my thoughts:

i think it's a little too simplistic, and gives terrorists too much credit, to argue that their primary motivation is to keep up out and to protect their (virtue-implied) way of life. one of the things that i like about Tom's approach is it takes account of primary motivations in people's lives: women, money, lifestyle, hopes for our children, etc.

Tom says 'raise a nation's GDP above X/year (i forget the #) and i guarantee they'll get out of the terror business'. sure, there are still true believers. in our society they have names like Koresh, Jones, and Hale-Bopp (comet people). but they're few and far between and they have no (comparatively) disaffected masses to influence.

i share your distaste for consumption/accumulation culture. i would counter that these are some of the challenges of a basically affluent society where we do not have to worry about (again, comparatively) women staying in their place (like not commenting on weblogs, for example! ;-). i would be very hesitant to trade our attendant challenges for civilian life in Iraq or Iran.

yes, to some degree, we are trying to make the world safe for capitalism. there are many great things that come with capitalism: motivation, entrepreneurial culture, etc. the greatest is probably economic freedom. it's like Tom says when talking about China: they're relatively free, economically and relatively un-free politically. but how much of life does each relate to? we make economic choices everyday, and it's awfully nice to make them freely. we rarely make political choices everyday. in fact, if you boil it down to things like voting, we don't make political choices very often at all.

we make the world free for capitalism because it's the best foreign aid program there is, bar none. this is a big emphasis with Tom: some arch-liberals might say we're taking advantage of cheap, Chinese labor. if the Chinese person is making twice the average income, she says 'pick me, pick me!'. Foreign Direct Investment is far more effective at local development than all of the Official Developmental Aid we have flushed in Africa. the US gets a bum rap for not giving enough Offical Aid. if you count our military activity (security, peace-keeping, and emergency/disaster operations), remittances by foreign workers, and FDI, we dwarf any other economy.

Tom does acknowledge that, increasingly, globalization does not look like Americanization. The Japanese, to name one, are setting cultural trends left and right around the globe.

Tom has said the ultimate exit strategy for Iraq is jobs. it's not our stuff. building a nation where people can get jobs and provide for themselves and their family in relative security will bring peace.

Sunday, August 20

More on Sharon

Remember when I wrote two weeks ago that I saw high school mate Sharon Weinberger on tv? I emailed her and she emailed back and one thing led to another and I helped her get her new website up and running. We still have some tweaks left, so don't be too critical ;-)

Now Sharon's book, exposing some pretty goofy lines of inquiry in and around the Pentagon, has earned her some enemies. And I got my first email this morning decrying my assistance to Sharon. I forwarded it to Sharon and she wrote back that this guy published 'a study of precognition that included research conducted on behalf of the Parapsychology Foundation of New York'.

Guess I'm guilty by association ;-)

Saturday, August 19

Kyoto research

My buddy Jim has a post on why he's switched teams from Repub to Dem. Reason #1 is Kyoto. Let me think about this:

+ The whole buying and selling of carbon market thing seems like a good idea.

+ Global warming is a fact. But is it proven that we people are majorly affecting it? Could be a climate swing, right?

+ The US beef concerns developing nations and their participation, arguing that the US economy would be damaged if we're beholden to these standards and developing nations (notably India and China) are not.

+ 'The recent Copenhagen consensus project found that the Kyoto Protocol would slow down the process of global warming, but have a superficial overall benefit.'

In sum, Kyoto's not the slam-dunk many of us have taken it for.

Last two items on Pluto for awhile?

Oops. Let this one anguish in Drafts for 3 days by accident...

+ Matt has a post entitled Give Ceres a chance that's got a nice Pluto button.

+ Time for me to opine on this thing. I think Pluto's barely in, if at all, maybe because of tradition, maybe grandfathered in. But these other little p----ant objects? No way, man! ;-)

Taxpayers' returns on their investment

+ Yikes! Clemson is gaining on Iowa! Iowa dropped four spots to #25 and Clemson climbed to #30 in USN&WR's public university rankings.

+ Tom Friedman nails it on this one (via ERMB):

I'm not sure yet who's the winner in the war between Hezbollah and Israel, but I know who's the big loser: Iran's taxpayers. What a bunch of suckers.

Thursday, August 17

Tom's latest brief: Africa

Tom was asked to email a brief on Africa to a Congressperson who shall remain nameless (but I know! Ha ha! ;-) and we posted it this morning.

I link it because it strikes me as being really right and incisive ('brief' in the way only an email typed on a Treo thumbboard can be). Tom's in full geostrategist mode, moving past the current crisis in the Middle East, confidently asserting inevitabilities.

Yeah, we need China to resolve NKorea, and we need their help getting into a workable position with Iran, and THEN we need them to help us stabilize Africa.

A few excerpts:
  • One of best strategic questions of day is:  What gets America to Africa fastest?
  • Today there is a USSR-like minor (Iran) and major (China). Iran's lock-in (which gets more pricey each day this admin bungles the Big Bang) moves the Long War from ME to Africa. China's lock-in both secures Asia for posterity (we finally win Vietnam, letting China's hypercapitalism run the "domino" board for us) and allies us with most potentially useful ally for Africa. China is incentivized (resources), experienced (their peacekeepers, I wager, with more cumulative experience in Africa) and it's more realistic (squeamish, they are not).
  • Signs are good:
    --rising, celebrity-driven humanitarian interest
    --fight is popping up already in Africa
    --Army and Marines mentally readying selves for shift (see new COIN doctrine)
    --China knows this is all inevitable on some level and 5th Generation types want this dialogue
    --global econ very bright and Africa in general doing well.  

    But again, key is getting ducks lined up, and that means settling with Iran in SWA to enable/force shift south and allying with China so that we have critical mass of resources to bear.  

    Absent both, to American people Africa for foreseeable future looks like too much on top of too much. Yes, there will be some mil-mil cooperation, but these are drops in the ocean, just like all the Gates-Bono-Sachs stuff.  

    Until U.S. redefines Africa as strategically important in Long War, none of these efforts will prove critical. But once we do, all things become possible.  

    Everything short of these masterstrokes are essentially hospice oriented. Rehab requires real commitment. Utlimately, China will make some of this happen on its own, but that will take decades.

Brittney confessions

Woe to all those girls born in the 80s who got named Brittney. There can only be one! ;-)

Anyhow, I thought I should write to confess that I have to variations of 'Hit me baby one more time' on my measly little 512M flash player. What's it hold, about 100 songs? That's 2% Brittney!

But there are wrinkles: one is a mashup with one of my favorite songs of all time, 'Getting away with it' by electronic.

The other is the Fountains of Wayne cover, played totally straight.

So, hopefully, you find those wrinkles to be redemptive. I do ;-)

Wednesday, August 16

'My' theme

+ I see that you can actually surf yourself off of 'my' public Bloglines subscriptions . Not that you'd want to, and I think it's better to just have y'all linked in the sidebar, but it's kind of cool...

+ Speaking of 'my', Cousin Jackson (Doran) is playing the lead in the Kinnick play this fall. Article and pic .

And, after going over to 'My'Space to comment Jackson this link, I see he has sent out another one which contains a video clip.

+ Remember when I wrote about coComment, hoping it might be the app I've been wanting to track threads I've commented on. It wasn't, since you had to go back in behind it and enter the info. Too much work.

But now they've got a Firefox extension that integrates coComment more tightly into 'my' browsing. Now I need to try it out by commenting on your weblog ;-)

Lots of tweaks like better integration with your site, listing comments you've made elsewhere, etc.

Time to ask an expert on Pluto

Christine amends her previous comment to:

'They should ask Interplanet Janet, because there's never been a planet that she hasn't seen.'

Yes, it's nice to be married to such a clever woman :-)

Tuesday, August 15

My boy, the budding philologist

+ Wil discovers the Law of Velar Villainy: 'Daddy, I just realized something: Lord Vladek (from Lego Knights of Morcia) and Lord Vader have the same letters!' Bonus: 'velar' has some of those velars, too! ;-)

(Incidentally, the search led me to this great old thread where Jason, Jaq, Dorothea and I debated the attractiveness of the word 'blog'. Unfortunately, some famous internet dude showed up at the bottom to tell us he'd coined the term and that pretty much killed it ;-)

And then, Jaq, I discovered your old comments are still out there on the web: . Crazy.)

More on Pluto [updated]

+ Not to be missed, in the comets, I mean, comments (little Kuiper Belt humor there ;-), Scott's link to the Medium Large comic and Jim's charge that it could be all political.

+ *Gandalf Voice* Pluto shall be cast down from the Nine! ;-)

+ Christine wants to know, if Pluto gets demoted, if someone needs to tell Interplanet Janet. ;-)

+ Pluto Vows To Run As An Independent

+ More information (wherein we learn the phrase 'trans-Neptunian objects')

Monday, August 14

Names including Pluto and Bud

+ Recent article on Bud Grant. And, just for the heck of it, the Wikipedia article.

+ If you like astronomy, chances are you've already seen this. Conference on definition of 'planet'. Pluto in or out?

+ And let's do some more names I like from the Hype Machine:
  • 3 is the magic number
  • At the risk of being risque: My Mom Caught Me In My Room Beat Boxin'
  • To continue being literary: Tea and sympathy
  • if:then:goto
  • Architecture in Helsinki
  • And, last but assuredly not least: The Sean Show

Sunday, August 13

Live blogging The Incredibles

Not really ;-)

But we did watch half last night and the rest this morning. Clicking over to IMDB, I learned that John Ratzenberger voiced The Underminer. Awesome! Wonder if he did the voice work in the video game 'Rise of the Underminer', too. Survey (Google) says: yep. That's probably next on our acquisition list (or either Star Wars Lego 2). Don't forget John's great work for Pixar as Hamm.

Turns out, John's the only actor to voice a character in every Pixar film so far!

Also, here's a picture of Spencer Fox , the kid who voiced Dash. Cool tshirt. Wil would love it!

Saturday, August 12

Live blogging The Princess Bride

Get the joke? ;-)

I'll tell you this much, the twins have asked about a million questions so far and we're only to the Pit of Despair.

Wil and I started talking about this movie last week when we were floating on the French Broad River: 'Are there any rocks ahead? If there are we'll all be dead.' Then I told him the rest of the rhymes, which he really liked. So we're watching it this morning.

Pretty fun to watch it after so many years. The writing by William Goldman is fantastic. Sarandon and Guest are fantastic. Elwes and Wright are pretty to look at, but comparatively poor actors. The music by Mark Knopfler is wonderful, too. I like how it punctuates the action. Remember back then when Rob Reiner couldn't miss?

Wil has been acting out the swordfight: 'I have to tell you something. I am not really left-handed.'

I see on IMDB that the movie is 20 years old. Sheesh. I'm getting old.

Wil pretty well acted the part of Fred Savage the whole time - not liking the kissing parts but really liking them, unable to cope with the death of Westley, (and thinking Fred should go back to playing his videogames after the story instead of resting).

No reason to tell the twins about the doubts Goldman introduces in the book: Westley relapsed. Inigo's wounds reopened. Etc.

I first saw The Princess Bride on videotape at Anisa Rodriguez' house around 1988 or 89. Being such a romantic back then, I totally fell for it. I read the book immediately.

There's something to fairy tales, of course. We should keep our sense of wonder. We do need to dream. But mostly they, including this one, play to our childish/adolescent sentiments: True love is young love between beautiful, youthful people. It's based on feelings and looks. It's better if the lovers successfully face epic challenges. I owned the soundtrack. I wanted to live that kind of love...

Maturity is more like living the life you've got. Sure, you can strive for more. And I'm not arguing for 'settling'. But don't miss what's in front of you. Yes, we should dream, but not in such a way to miss the blessings we have. Maturity is grandparents reading to sick grandchildren.

And true love means, at a minimum, serving the ones you have committed to. Yes, there should be beauty. Yes, there should be attendant good feelings.  But there must also be, and maybe principally, commitment, commitment that sustains through the hard times. Because, after all 'love will get you through times with no money, better than money will get you through times with no love' ;-)

(I just couldn't keep it straight the whole way though ;-)

Anyhow, please don't hear my preaching. Or, if you do, know I am preaching first to myself, as a reminder, militating against any 'romantic', adolescent notions about life and love and aspiring, someday, God help me, to maturity.

Friday, August 11

More Google overlord love

I see where Google has a couple of tweaks.

First, across the top of Gmail and Calendar, they've expanded the horizontal menu to:

 Google   Gmail  Calendar  Photos  Spreadsheets  all my services »

I like it. I have wanted handier access to the photos Christine has put up on Picasa Web and had thrown up a bookmark on my customized Google home page, but this is even handier.

I wonder if the appearance of Spreadsheets in that list means it's ready for prime time. Are they pushing it? Need to check it out some more. Maybe I'll throw my weight/calorie tracker in there and see what happens...

Furthermore, see that 'all my services >>' up there? That goes to My Account page with all of these services and more.

Must. Use. Google. More. ;-)

New super power

Hindsight's 20/20. What if I had 20/20 hindtalk? What if I could say all the things in the moment that I thought later would be perfect to say? Wow. I could rule the free world! Or at least Columbia, SC ;-)

Thursday, August 10

When comments attack!

Did you notice we've got some good comments going?

In one of them I coin a new phrase that will describe many of us: 'The Cynical Center'. It's where you're disillusioned with both sides. Join me in not changing the world! ;-)

And last week I wrote about 'corrupting' Iran with 'dollars and dvds'. I appear to be working my way backwards through the alphabet, starting with 'd'. Look for some witty usage of alliterative 'b's in the next couple days! ;-)

Tuesday, August 8

Brought to you by the letter 'b'

+ Given the high likelihood that you don't have enough Banarama in your life, check out their Bukbox.

+ So far, I like the way BP is handling the Prudhoe Bay leak. They seem to be playing things on the safeside.

On the other hand, heard some critique this afternoon that they've been warned by plenty of people and didn't take heed.

On the third hand, as far as I know, Exxon still hasn't paid the bill for their spill...

+ Matthew Baldwin has a funny post about the Squirrelly, bioengineering, and Elmo in the place of General Zod in Superman 2 .

What's wrong with Libertarianism?

I started thinking about it based on a comment that Eric made.


Libertarianism is a political philosophy advocating that individuals should be free to do whatever they wish with their person or property, as long as they do not infringe on the same liberty of others.

Hmm. Nice idea. Too bad it doesn't work, right out of the gate.

See there are too many places (especially in the Gap) where there's no authority in place to keep such infringements from happening. Libertarian non-interventionism is ok for me if I've got some structure to protect my person and property, but I won't do anything to help you, in, say, Sudan, build such a structure.

As to the critiques, I tend to be sympathetic to those from the left and the right, which I would frame as 'markets need some regulation' and 'we have some of those traditions because they're good for us'.

Anyway, how's that for a start? ;-)

I stand corrected

Lexington Green, who posts at Chicago Boyz, commented on my comment over at Tom's weblog:

"...'cut taxes and spend'. at least with 'tax and spend' you had the coin!"

They have the coin now. Cutting tax rates has led to a huge increase in tax revenue collected by the government. Same thing happened with Reagan.

Then, as now, the problem is 100% on the spending side.

Posted by: Lexington Green | August 8, 2006 12:52 PM

Now ol' LG has at least some UChicago econ training, so I have very reason to believe him, even though I haven't checked the figures.

Does anyone know exactly how cutting taxes = more tax revenue? Is it because people have more to spend and spend more?

Paul, didn't you go to UChicago? ;-)

Your wisdom for today, grasshopper ;-)

What I said over on Tom's weblog:

i used to be more wary of Big Business and Colonialism myself. there are still many abuses, of course. i'm not crazy about capitalism, in an ideal world, but ours it not close, and it beats the alternatives. people making their own economic decisions/markets are better than the alternative.

and, as much as i hate to admit it as someone who has leaned Democrat, it really does seem the only way to beat those beggars in Washington/your state capital/your municipality is to cut their budgets. they'll spend more than every penny they can get their grubby paws on in pandering to we the populace.

one big problem with the current Bush Administration is 'cut taxes and spend'. at least with 'tax and spend' you had the coin!

Paul, you must be so happy... ;-)

I will add the caveat here that, as you know, I'm no economist.  Maybe these supply-side/voodoo economics really can work. But I don't think so...

Funny that GHWB supplied two great critiques of GWB's economic policy: 'tax and spend' (which I adapt to 'cut taxes and spend') and 'voodoo economics'. Makes you long for the old boy ;-)

When headlines go bad

One of these things just doesn't belong here. Which one is different, do ya know?

 • Lebanon fighting rages as ceasefire remains elusive
 •  Lieberman fights for survival in Connecticut
 •  Roadside bombs kill 19 people in Baghdad
 •  Sri Lanka capital blast kills 2

Hint: In three of these titles, people really have to 'fight for survival'.

Am I being too literal here?

Monday, August 7

8. 7. 6. Ka Boom! (Caughtcha!)

+ More fun with numbers: today's date, written without zeros: 8/7/6. I'm having fun with it, anyway :-)

+ The US basketball team blew out China. More good play.

+ I happened upon a nice turn of phrase in an email to John 'Laputan Logic' Hardy that I want to share with you:
we need to make some accomodations with Iran so we can open them up a little and corrupt them with dollars and DVDs.

Bringin' you the music, baby!

(And that includes you, too, Kathy! ;-)

+ Not usually into NPR music or French music, but I liked some of what I heard from Camille on friday morning . Her website.

+ Berkeley Place had a 100 superhero countdown with music running for a week. I picked it up with the top 10.

Interesting bit about the real life inspiration for the Joker. That guy DOES look scary.

I read there, too, that the next Batman movie will be called 'Dark Knight'. I knew Heath Ledger was playing Joker.

+ And, finally, Obscure Sound has a nice post covering The Smiths' four-album career.

This guy's really into the first album, where I like the last two albums much better. Does it make a difference where you come in?

Sunday, August 6

Blast from the past

So, I'm channel surfing here at my in-laws' last night, one of my favorite activities here since we don't have cable at home, and I come across Sharon Weinberger on CSPAN2. She wrote the book Imaginary Weapons. And I pause and I'm like 'I know this person. Wait a minute... I went to high school with Sharon Weinberger.'
Turns out she's editor-in-chief of Defense Technology International. She has written a couple of pieces for Slate and the Washington Post:
Furthermore, with my work for Tom, she and I have some vocational overlap.
I read The Jason's earlier this year (and meant to review it bit didn't :-( ), which has some common subject matter with Sharon's book.
Hey, Sharon.

Friday, August 4

Clever titles are so last month

+ Normally, I wouldn't link this report about one of the Vikes' defensive linemen being overweight , but Fred Smoot had two unintentionally ironic comments that were too funny not to post:
  • "Pat's doing real good. They're just trying to take special precautions, make sure everything's good. Nothing's actually big about the situation."
  • "Pat's hungry to get out here. He wants to get him a piece."
+ Interesting quote on filmmaking that caught my eye...

"I think shooting in digital changes acting as much as film changed stage acting, or as sound changed film,"...

Why? Because film costs a lot and must be used sparingly, while digital tape is practically free.

+ Apple to Integrate iPod With Car Radios

Good thing I'm not in the new car market, or I might have to get an iPod, too. I REALLY want an audio-in jack instead of going through the tape adapter. Maybe we just need a new radio in the van with an audio-in jack. It's not worth messing with the little, old Sentra I drive.
+ Wha?! The world's most talented basketball players can play D?

That's more like it.

Wednesday, August 2

Mo music (80s school)

+ Does anyone disagree with the following statement? I like New Order more than anyone else who reads this weblog.

Anyway, since I like them, here's a post on New Order covers entitled No, I've never met anyone quite like you before.

+ But Jason might like old REM better than me (he did, after all, introduce them to me). This one's for you, Jas:
REM Live in 85

What Shamu Taught Me About... Comment Moderation

You've seen the wildly popular What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage (no registration required) floating around teh intarwebs, right? I've been thinking about it a lot.

One application might be to moderating comments. I wonder if that would work... Ignore comments I don't like. Reward comments I do.

Of course, some comments might just not get responded to out of general laziness... ;-)

More names I like

(from Hype Machine)

Charlie don't surf
Groove armada
The gentlemen callers (what play's that from, baby? ;-)
My dad vs. yours
Government mule
Fields of the nephilim
The Kilimanjaro darkjazz ensemble
Jedi mind tricks
Galactic Civil War Part One: Lock S-Foils Into Attack Position

Special mention for my lovely wife: Harry and the Potters (who, from the look of this picture, have not-small, t-shirted, young groupies), with tracks like Save Ginny Weasley and Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock. Nice post with mp3s you can download or stream.


kottke linked:

+ the website for the book Imagining the Tenth Dimension. Interesting, especially the flash animations. A couple questions:

1. I can't find a reference now, but haven't I read that they posit a specific number of dimensions of space and dimensions of time? Does this model allow for that?

2. I would not define 'infinity' as I believe this model does, as 'all possible timelines'. I would define it, time-wise, as something like this timeline going forward. However, from an orthodox Christian view, we believe that this timeline will come to an end. Also, you can argue that God is outside of our timeline. Is God in infinity?

+ A cool article about how allied statisticians very accurately estimated German tank production based on the serial numbers of captured tanks .

Tuesday, August 1

Are you hot or not (parental version)? [updated]

Researchers: "attractive parents are 26% more likely to have a daughter than a son as their first child" (via kottke).

OK, let's see (from my blogroll):
Sean and Christine? check
Jason and Candy? no
Aaron and Krista? check
Jaq and She Who Keeps Him Sane? check
Brad and Cheryl? no
John Hardy and wife? check
Paul and Carol? no
Macon and Kellsey? no
Mark S and Lisa? no
Shawn and Kathy? no

From my family:
Mom's folks? check
Dad's folks? no
Mom and Dad? no
Erin and Jeff? no
Ryan and Mary? no

Now you know where you stand... ;-)

Update: left out Jason and Candy and Shawn and Kathy. Mea culpa!

OK, this is really the one...

I'm REALLY in love this time and it's not going away. This is the one. It's not fleeting like Hype Machine or Nothing Better (though I still regard them highly).

After literally years of watching and waiting, I got to get a new laptop sunday night.

Though I am biased in favor of Best Buy, Circuit City has long beat them on deals as I compare my wishlists to their sunday circulars. And they had a deal I just didn't want to pass up. And Christine said I didn't have to: Compaq, 80 GB HD, 512 MB RAM, 15.4" screen, CD/DVD-RW, 802.11g built in. Then, just to make the whole thing insane, they threw in a Canon all-in-one printer, some security software, and A FREE WIRELESS ROUTER with the purchase of any laptop. (I do have to send in the rebates, but I can do that.)

I loved that laptop when I took it out of the box sunday night. One think we want it for is watching DVDs in the car. And we're taking a little trip to Christine's folks' in Hendersonville this weekend, so we'll get to try it out.

But when I set up the wireless network last night, and it worked basically out of the box (after I found an extra ethernet cable in the garage), and I was surfing from the recliner in the living room, and then back in our bedroom, and finally in the kitchen this morning - hubba, hubba. 'This love has taken its toll!' ;-)

Think of how this laptop will improve the quality of our lives: I was able to check on Tom's website this morning in the kitchen while I ate breakfast and Christine packed my lunch instead of running off to the office. When I came across something to share with her, she was right there and I could share it. We talked about calendar stuff and a couple of email exchanges I'd had.

Wish me joy. ;-)

I've got a lot more to do to set it up just right, to move over all of my music and the photos I want, but that's all good and it's all fun. I love tinkering with that kind of stuff...

Maybe that's why Christine let me get a laptop... so I'd stop tinkering with the computer she has to use ;-)

Bethy's playlist

I sang 'So And So So And So From Wherever Wherever' by Built to Spill at Bethy (I say 'at' because it was pretty loud, as I am wont to do ;-). She started singing it, then asked if we could listen to it on the computer.

(We sing it 'Sorry, so sorry, so from wherever, wherever' because we didn't know until this minute that it was 'so & so so & so from wherever wherever"! When I pointed this out to them, Bethy said we could still sing it the old way. That's right, baby!)

Then we listened to 'Car', and she started singing that: 'I wanna see movies of my dreams.'

(Features a great verse:

I need a car. You need a guide who needs a map.
If I don't die or worse I'm gonna need a nap.
At best I'll be asleep when you get back.)

I am very proud...

The World Cup? You're kidding, right?

This is hopelessly overdue, but I saved up some links by kottke on the Workd Cup that I want to keep track of. You may not care, in which case, just ride right by.

Fruits and vegetables

Sent this link to my family weight loss group with the following excerpt:

(By the way, the calorie counting is still going extremely well. Almost down to 200! :-)

Two simple ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

interesting take on how to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

i need even easier than that. since i'm not prepared to prepare anything past 'pour milk in bowl' or 'set microwave for 2 minutes', the best fruits and vegetables for me are those that are ready to eat. even better if they're pre-portioned.

i drink a glass of orange juice every day.
i eat a serving of baby carrots every day.
i eat an apple every day.
i eat a half a can of pineapple every day.

raisins would also be a possibility. peaches and grapes are (in season).

i've also been doing well with restaurant salads: Applebees and McDonalds so far. i just won't make myself yummy salads like that and the lettuce will wilt/slime waiting for me to do so.

none of you are as lazy as me (thank your lucky stars!), so this may not be as big a problem for you.