Thursday, May 31

Amazon's top-selling DVDs

Got this link in email from Amazon. Very interesting. Top Ten:

1. Star Wars - we own, but on VHS. Might need to replace someday.
2. Firefly - I probably need to watch this
3. Pride and Prejudice - check
4. Band of Brothers - I think I'd like it, but it's too long. Maybe I'll read the book first...
5. Schoolhouse Rock - check
6. Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl - not remotely interested
7. 24 - Season One - I like what I've seen, but too long
8. Sex and the City - Season Six - nope
9. love actually - interesting movie, even attractive. But the view of 'love' is pretty jacked up
10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - great movie, but probably not an owner for me

Others of note:
11. Adventure of Indiana Jones - do they send me #4 for free when it comes out? ;-) Only interested in owning Raiders
15. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen comes in as author #2 after George Lucas on this list. That's pretty strong
17. Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume One - yep. On my list
21. The Princess Bride - classic
23. Finding Nemo - first Disney movie (and really Pixar). Wonder why that is...
28. Anne of Green Gables - another wholesome, chick flick
43. Persuasion

What do you think? Care to weigh in?

Tuesday, May 29

War, politics, immigration and Google

+ A Wisconsin Librarian has a good post on war-objectors .

+ ZenPundit: Good political critique asking Where are the good men and women?

Partial answer: politics does not draw our best and brightest, in general.

+ Tom wrote recently about citizenship for those immigrants who serve in the military and early responders. Tom Friedman recently suggested anybody who gets a PhD in the US should be offered citizenship. There are some problems with that, but many avantages. Both get covered in in this post by Dan provocatively titled: Improving Americans.

+ Two funny pix about the growing power of Google (the first one uses some vulgar language).

Should we turn them inside out?

'This next song goes out to the Exxon Corporation'

- Michael Stipe introducing 'I Can Turn You Inside Out' on the Green tour, circa 1989.

I had heard that ExxonMobil hadn't paid up on their Exxon Valdez fines.

Well, that's partially true. The Wikipedia article is a good place to start.

They cleaned up and paid a lot of restitution within the first year.

But there was criticism that they didn't act fast enough.

And they still haven't paid 4.5-5 billion dollars in damages. It's under appeal.

What do you think? Has Exxon done their duty? Ever think twice about buying at Exxon?

Monday, May 28

MySpace v. Facebook

It's not a decision. It's an IQ test.

Totally ripped off from Josh Kopelman via TechCrunch.

Dude at TechCrunch is talking about which platform you'd develop applications for.

But it's kind of fun to read it, also, as where to participate more ;-)

In the end, it would come down to where my people are hanging out. Facebook's been better lately. I like the homepage summary so I don't have to surf to each different person's page to see what they're up to.

And the Facebook design's much, much better.

Want to retire young?

If you're 20, and saved 20% of your annual income, you could retire at 41.

Saturday, May 26

Goin' crazy on the bongos

Wil's latest pick for Daddy-Son-time has been Donkey Konga 2. Now I don't happen to think it's THAT fun, but he likes it, so that's enough, right?

What I do love about it is the rhythm. I think 'What a great, musically educating game!'

Below: one picture for you from Christine's May Highlights album, which is really worth clicking through to.

(BTW, lest you think I'm too goofy, the bongos have a clap sensor, too ;-)


Cringely has an interesting and convincing article about how Google is, right now, growing the seeds of that which will replace it.

Friday, May 25

Is email crushing your soul?

You might need to declare email bankruptcy.

This applies to Inbox Zero, of course. I'm not there, but I've been improving.

Of course, as I always say, the problem with answering email is: it begets more email.

Fewer emails need to be sent, forwarded, and CC-ed. (I am a culprit here.)

Free yourself by answering emails more briefly, if you can (though I find terse emails can often induce miscommunication and/or bitterness).

More emails need to be simply deleted. More need to be never read. More need to be unsubscribed (along with feeds, if you're addicted that way, too).

Most of us need to find ways to pare down what we do, to de-clutter literally and figuratively.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I just want to Get (a few) Thing Done. I'm not looking to be a world-beater. And I'd say, though improvement is possible, of course, that I'm doing pretty well these days. I'm happy about it.

Thursday, May 24

Condolences, sympathy just don't cut it

Jaq and his wife lost another child.

I am so sorry.

Moving close to GDrive

You know, GDrive, the mythical Google storage service.

Well, not exactly mythical. We already know it exists on Google's intranet. It's just us poor nonGooglers who don't have it.

Anyway, in case you missed it, Google doubled the allowable size of attachments from 10MB to 20.

I've already got one message going in my Drafts folder where I keep attachment files I might possibly need away from my laptops. You can set up your own rudimentary GDrive pretty easily that way...

Ken. Brilliant.

Better just quote this whole one:

From the entry on late film critic Gene Siskel:

"The last film he viewed was the Sarah Michelle Gellar romantic comedy Simply Irresistible."

Ouch.  In other news, William Styron was reading The Da Vinci Code when he died and Julia Child's last meal was the new Bacon Swiss Double Melt from Wendy's.

In praise of parental guidance

You may very well have read His Dark Materials and want your children to see the movie when it comes out. But, if you haven't, I plead with you to read the books yourself before you make this decision. At least get more information. They start out interestingly and end with evil is really good and pre-teen sexual intimacy is an appropriate climax. Satan is good because he wants us to be free. Hey, if that's how you roll, great. Just please make your decision for your children advisedly.

To expand on those strong words, I'll append for you below a review I wrote of this trilogy on Amazon. I originally wrote it anonymously. I've been ready to claim it publicly for some time, but can't find a way to change the appellation.

Before the appendix, what do you think? Have you read these books? Will your children be seeing the movies?

Anti-Christian, wrapped in engaging storytelling , October 25, 2002


'His Dark Materials' turns the Christian view of the world upside-down. 'God' is actually an evil, controlling spiritual being/angel who Pullman calls 'The Authority'. Get it? Authority is bad. God is bad. The Church is bad. Eve's 'sin' was actually not a sin at all. She was 'tempted' to 'freedom' by a good spirit who appeared as a serpent. 'Freedom' is good. 'Sin' is good. I don't usually use so many 'scare quotes', but Pullman chooses a moral orientation for these books which is almost entirely contrary to classical Christianity. I hate that teens and kids are getting this totally slanted view reading these 'Young Adult' books.

I'm not suggesting that Pullman has an anti-Christian agenda. But the worldview of these books is strongly anti-Christian, at any rate. In some ways, the results might be worse, since the 'values' are so subtle.

I'll be the first to admit, the Church has done a lot of bad things. I'd agree with most of Pullman's examples. But his presentation of God/the Church/Christianity is a caricature. He presents none of the good things. I hope Pullman just doesn't know. Otherwise, his selective use of information is misrepresentation.

We need to criticize the Church when there is evil in it, or even wrong-doing. But to caricature the Church as all evil and all wrong is false. It amounts to propaganda before unformed young minds.

Pullman takes the common tack these days of coming up with supernatural providence that is bigger than us, but smaller than God. His device is that 'dark matter' (thus 'His Dark Materials') is conscious and good. It's not much different from Lucas' 'midichlorians' in 'The Phantom Menace'. GK Chesterton said 'It's not that atheists don't believe anything, it's that they'll believe anything.'

I read this story all the way through to the end, hoping it would improve, hoping against hope that some turn would take place. But it didn't. It got worse. In the end we have 12 year old sex basically functioning in a redemptive way for a whole universe (and maybe all of them, I didn't read it that closely). You've got to be kidding. And this man has children of his own. This must just be his own wish nostalgic adolescent sex-wish coming out. None of us wants our twelve year olds having sex, right?

Good story, interesting plot devices, fetching characters...and an infernal worldview. It's not wrong to criticize Christianity or to say you don't believe. But to say everything in Christianity is evil and wrong is false at best, and evil and wrong in itself at worst. The product, at any rate, in inexcusable.

Wednesday, May 23

A synapse fired

+File under 'Duh': Study: Climate Change Could Harm Crops

+ If Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson both stay healthy this season...

Could it be that trickle-down really works?

As a recovering Liberal, (now founder of the Cynical Center(TM)), I hate to countenance trickle-down. I was against trickle-down in my youth (but what did I know?). But here's a comment I made over at Tom's that thumbnails my current thinking on the subject:

one legitimate concern about the growth of the gap between the rich and the poor is: what are we doing to help the poor? they're the ones who are in the harder spot.

it's tempting to think we can help them by re-distributing through taxes. it's tempting to think we can help them through welfare. it's tempting to think, internationally, that we can help through ODA. but those methods have been tried and found wanting. as much as i'd rather help the poor more dramatically and more directly, capitalism and trickle down appear to work the best with the least bad side-effects.

kind of like what Churchill said about Democracy: the worst, except for every other way...

What's your opinion? Does trickle-down work? Is there a better way to help poor people than trying to create wealth and help the economy expand in a way where the rich do in fact get richer?

Saturday, May 19

Matthew's interview with me

Matthew's interview with me is up. I am proud to be a part of his project. Nice job, Matthew. And thanks.

Wil got in to the spirit of 'The Silver Chair'

Wil got in to the spirit of 'The Silver Chair'. One night after reading he said he was looking forward to learning what happened. Then he said 'I jolly well want to know what happens next'. :-)

Friday, May 18

Gas, government, Google geekery, and --g---s

+ Dan (you know, the weblog-engager ;-) has an interesting post about why the price of gas should be higher and how Americans are opposed to the concept of Congress.

+ Great Googley moogley! I totally didn't know that you could change your search in the Google toolbar by pressing Ctrl+up or down arrow ! I shoot up there all the time with Ctrl+K. This will only speed my frequent blog and news searches!

(Though I will say, as I searched for news today from the context menu, the new Google Universal Search brought up the news I was looking for in the top few results most of the time without having to do a subsequent news search.)

+ And, finally, for tonight, I never thought I'd say this, but: Thank you, Oprah! I couldn't agree with you more! ;-)

Weblog soul searching

Something I almost never do: check my SiteMeter.

Yikes! As of this writing it says 4 hits today and 4 hits/day.

I guess it could be wrong...

So how about just a little feedback:

I think some of you still read this. In feed readers?

Has interesting content just dwindled too low? Now that I'm weblogging professionally, I don't post as much personally.

Not that I'm thinking of getting rid of 'interact'. That's the kind of thing Jason would do ;-) It has value as a diary and a placeholder for the top search results for 'sean meade', if nothing else.

Your comments or email are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 15

Answers filed

Matthew is 9. He's home schooled and is doing an Internet interview project. It started with interviewing Matthew Baldwin []. I volunteered to be interviewed , and got the questions from Matthew recently. I emailed my answers this morning and will point you over there when he posts them. In the meantime, check out the other interviews .

Cool project. Good luck, Matthew.

Monday, May 14

tdaxp matrimony

Dan proposed to his love in a weblog post and she answered yes in a comment! Isn't that romantic?! :-)

(Still waiting on an answer to my question if the engagement was totally conducted online.)

Dan and Fei are in China together with her family right now, so this is a perfect time to get engaged.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Sunday, May 13

Dan tdaxp is great!

My friend Dan (tdaxp) is, in some ways, the purest weblogger I know. He posts voluminously (with some lapses in proofreading ;-). He links and crosslinks. I have often complimented him and am quite confident he can do whatever he wants in this sphere.

It was so very kind of him to do a whole post on my good news from the other day. Thanks, Dan!

Check out Dan's weblog, tdaxp, especially for his current posts from China, especially if you've never read him before

Saturday, May 12


I give you Hurricane 2000 by the Scorpions and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Why do I like this song so much, especially when it's so cheesy?

I've always liked Rock You Like a Hurricane.

And I love the orchestral part.

Oh yeah: and, when we lived in Tulsa, and I went to a few Golden Hurricane basketball games, they played this music at the start of the game. So that's kind of fun.

(Admittedly, the vocal performance is really bad.)

Wil thinks the drummer is crazy and looks like a girl.

Then he said 'I bet Dr Octopus would be good at playing the drums.'

Enjoy? ;-)

Friday, May 11

Great changes

Ok, I don't talk much about work on this weblog, but here's a little life update that includes some work stuff:

A little late, but here's a link to my first piece in the print magazine (May issue):

It is a very humble little piece, and I've been in print before, but still a nice start.

My main work is editing our Aviation Week defense weblog, Ares, which has averaged 1000 hits a day this month.

With the new job, Christine was able to quit working part-time at the library. She was saying last night that she is making good progress on the stuff she wants to get done around the house.

We Columbia Meades thank God for the great changes in our life in the last three months :-)

Thursday, May 10


I felt beat early last night, really tired, not sure why.

Called 'interact's' Waterloo, IA correspondent, Jason, but he couldn't talk very long. Had his family to tend to. (No problem, Jason :-)

So, a little vegging out. TV. But I don't watch TV, so that means YouTube. But what to watch?

There's some Chris Rock I've been meaning to watch, but Christine would come to bed soon, and he's way too profane for her.

Okay, look around on top-rated videos.

How is it that the 4th, 5th, and 6th top-rated videos of all time are some dude I've never heard of playing guitar? His top video has been viewed more than 1 millions times. A review calls this method 'fingerstyle', which I've seen before. He's obviously a monster player. (My own brilliant guitar-playing career was stunted by small hands ;-)

Some similarities, of course, with Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Zack Kim is another popular YouTube fingerstyle guitarist. He plays the Super Mario theme on two electrics here . More than 1.2 million views. Zack is the #57 Most Viewed (All Time) Musician on YouTube. His latest video, Bach's Prelude No.3 in C#major, is unbelievable.

Are you beginning to see my point? What is it that makes YouTube a home for young guitarists?

Back to Most Viewed Musicians (All Time) : You don't have to scroll down very far before you get past the popstars and to the independents and amateurs.

Erik Mongrain's Airtap! has been viewed almost 1.5 million times.

I once heard someone say that we were only just beginning to develop all the ways a guitar could be played. (Was it my college classical teacher?) Now I know what he meant.

There's the seed of at least one good Wired article in here somewhere.

But I don't have time for that now. Haven't even Googled the subject to what else is out there. But this is all you get for the time being ;-)

Tuesday, May 8

Wil is a sweet boy

Wil is, in many ways, at the perfect age. He's so helpful right now, it's crazy. Christine's got him earning money based on how many chores he does and he's absolutely looking for ways to do more. Yes, he's earning his way to a Nintendo DS. But he's also pretty happy doing the work. You might now believe it, but I promise you it's not all about the money.

When he wakes up in the middle of the night, he usually comes to our bed. These days, he's putting on his school clothes first so he'll be ready! When we wake up, in our bed, he's dressed! It's crazy!

He's often funny, too. Tonight he was being funny about me telling him what's going to happen in The Silver Chair.

They're learning patriotic songs at school, and he sang My Country 'Tis of Thee, just lying there in the bed, and it was beautiful enough to make you cry.

Then he got to talking about how people must be crazy to think Texas is sandy and has cactuses and cowboys, because he's been to Texas and he didn't see one grain of sand! In fact, he saw snow! It was so funny!

(I did tell him there were some big parts of Texas he hadn't seen :-) He said 'Oh')

And then I had to tell him it was time for bed. I said 'I'd rather keep talking with you and listening to you sing, but you've got to get to sleep so you can have a good day at school tomorrow.'

He said 'Are you serious?'

Oh yes, dear boy. I'm serious. I'd love for this moment to just go on and on and on...

Pray for justice

Report: Iraq child mortality rate soars:

"LONDON (AP) — The chance that an Iraqi child will live beyond age 5 has plummeted faster than anywhere else in the world since 1990, according to a report released Tuesday, which placed the country last in its child survival rankings."

We have botched a lot of this war to connect the Middle East to the rest of the world.

But we're fighting b------- who would rather blow up children than find a way to live together, heck, than find a way to live apart.

Anyone who blows up innocent civilians, including children, including at worship, deserves whatever payback they get.

Sunday, May 6

Google, Ken, Tumblr, Bethy, and Tolkien

+ Not only is the new email feature in Google Reader much better, but the emails it sends are much better with 100% better formatting. Thanks, Google! ;-)

+ The issue in question: this from Ken:

It's been pointed out to me that, a few hours after midnight tonight, it will be

02:03:04, 05/06/07

+ Trying to decide if I need/want a tumblelog. Anybody have an opinion?

+ Something I taught Bethy: Now, when she asks 'How long will this take?' she appends 'If I don't ask anymore questions' ;-)

+ Pretty good list of What Google Needs. And I also want a pony ;-)

+ I finished Children of Hurin. It was beautiful (especially the language) and sad. Wonder if I'll review it...

One project I thought of in this regard was to make a Wordie list of the words I love from Children of Hurin.

Saturday, May 5

Ooh! New spam!

This one's new to me. Pretty interesting
Dear Sir, I have managed to sneak out this email to you from my confinement here in one of our military bases in Germany.My name is Col.Steve Moore of The US Army. I was based in Iraq until recently,I was sent back to Germany because of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal in which I was unfortunately implicated. I am still under House Arrest,pending the outcome of investigation. During my sojourn in Iraq, I was able to successfully smuggle US$ 21.7m out of Iraq to a location in Europe. I reckoned that being a soldier I would not be in the best position to give a satisfactory account of how I came about such an amount of money.I could therefore not conclude the proccess of securing the money before I was apprehended as I was at a loss about into which account one could pay it and that is where your assistance comes in. I have resolved to share the total sum with you in the fairest ratio that we shall both agree on as settlement for your own part of the deal. Please,ponder over this and feed me back as I am in dire need of your assistance at this time.Please, send me your private contact info. in order to facilitate an easier and more private correspondence between us. I must assure you that this will not expose you to any risk as all the possible risk has been foreseen and taken care of. I must also remind you that transaction of this magnitude and nature is to be handled carefully in order for both of us to be well protected. I shall send you more details as soon as I hear from you.I implore you to really consider this offer and feed me back. Also let me know how you wish to be settled for your role in the business.Please,reply to; I await your response with much optimism. Thanks in advance, Best Regards Steve Moore(Col.)
Came to my work email, got tagged as spam, but I do kind of have to watch out for email from colonels ;-)

Friday, May 4

Cleaning up

Let's see: what have I been saving up for you...

+ Good critique of Yingling's general criticism.

+ IBM's making microchips with nanoholes

+ Matt Haughey has a new weblog called He plans to write about doing business online.

On that site, Matt says his job is 'professionally screwing around on the web'. kottke says his is, too.

So is mine, in a less independent sort of way.

+ Behold, Tetris-like shelving. Arrange as you like. 10 pieces for $6000. (via kottke)

Thursday, May 3

Conquer galaxies!

As a follow-up to the nice Mitt Romney post below, here's Stephen Colbert on Mitt's favorite book.

Social-Techno Participation [updated]

Mark's got a good post on Social-Techno Participation. My comment:

critics: there's a Proverb about wise men listening to critics and how someone who tells you your fault and helps you correct it is a better friend than 'he' who tells you how awesome you are, but i forget the exact form, chapter, and verse. also, wise 'men' listen to criticism.

but, for my part, i have trouble listening to critics, especially if they have a bad attitude about it. much more likely to ignore them and keep doing the criticized activity for spite. not too wise of me :-(

i am all of those things - except inactive ;-)

i was frightened to think how many feeds i subscribe to, but it's not that bad: only 79. many of those are just for work. some are local news that i get the headlines for but don't usually click through on.

Update: Oops. Forgot the link. Duh. Added

Wednesday, May 2

What Mormon's read

Ken writes:

On the message boards yesterday, tyg pointed out a Fox News interview where Mitt Romney, asked to name his favorite novel, gushed about L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth. This is possibly the worst answer to a standard campaign question that I have ever heard in a lifetime of bad campaign answers.

“The Mormon question isn’t enough; I want to be linked with an even iffier religious movement!” Plus, it’s not like the widely-held best SF novel of the last thirty years isn’t by a fellow Mormon!

That's funny stuff.

Tuesday, May 1

Tom's latest in Esquire

Funny: The State of the World: Author's Commentary Track - Page 5 -
"It doesn’t strike me that terrorists are running anything in this world save for the tribal areas in NW Pakistan and Sunni Iraq -- and Allah bless ‘em -- they can have them both."
Common sense from page 6:
"The notion that we somehow “lose Iraq” unless we fight it out in Sunni-land until all the bitter-enders have all met their bitter end is just goofy."

And the grand finale:
"My wife, as always, worries I’m turning Republican. I keep telling her the Dems won’t have me!

But on some level, I say, “[Screw] ‘em all!’ I can’t wait on these people to get elected. With the Bush post-presidency so moribund, I decided to pursue my own personal foreign policy a while back and it’s going great so far.

I suggest you do the same..."