Sunday, June 29

The Killers on YouTube

Turns out the guitarist is from Pella, Iowa and went to college in Iowa City. Cool!

For fun, here are their singles in approximate (that is, I'm not going to think about it too hard) order of how much I like them one week in:

Latest YouTube Playlist

Not sure how I got to Sick of Myself, but I really like that song.

Then I looked through some of that user's videos and got to thinking about Juliana Hatfield. Wasn't there a song of hers I really liked back in the 90s?

Yes and no: I thought I liked the song Universal Heart Beat, mostly remembering the video. Turns out the song's not that good. I think I just remember Juliana Hatfield being cute. Oh well ;-)

One more in this post: Extreme Ways.

Note: Christine and the twins come home today. You won't be getting any more dinky little posts like this ;-)

Saturday, June 28

Have you been Rick Rolled?

I'm not going to play you like that, but it's a pretty funny concept. I hadn't seen it until yesterday when Madhu got Rick Rolled and passed it on to me.

What is it?
An internet prank or joke. Rick Roll, Rick Roll'd or Rick Rolling is an internet spam trick in which people post a link to a Rick Astley video on YouTube, but say the viewers of the video are being led to another video, usually proof of unconfirmed gaming news or trailers.
Pretty funny page

Here's another def:
When someone sends you a link of a suspected you tube movie that seems to be interesting, but when in fact it is a music video of a guy named rick dancing to a catchy tune.
(This last def comes from the PopUp Video version, which I always love!

If you like 'Never Gonna Give You Up' at all, or are open to it, you should click through on one of these links to enjoy the full effect. It'll make you smile :-)

Thursday, June 26

Yes, it is nice to be a genius

There's about one of you who might find this funny, (hi, Dan) in addition to myself, of course.

OTOH, Shane might...

(Iz usin revers sykologee on u! ;-)

(FYI, I did submit it to LOLTHULHU.)

Must not open any more...

Firefox windows or tabs. 6 windows right now (just closed the 7th and 8th), for a total of 9+3+6+3+12+3=36 tabs. Terrible habit.

+ Hooray! Australia is now fatter than the US! (via Guam Brad)

+ NYT's Inside a 9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogation. One interesting item among many: waterboarding is treated as fairly frequent in this article.

+ Scholars set date for Odysseus' bloody homecoming. Hard to believe this is right, but I guess there weren't too many things to do after the sun went down back in the old days.

But seriously, here's a page that says historical, Bronze Age Troy could have existed between 1275 and 1180 BC. Bingo.

For those keeping score at home, here's my erstwhile master world timeline to fit it in.

+ Just in time for my recent embrace of LOL Cats, but even better, Dan has a post on LOL Cthulhu. Genius.

The very hip author of the Wired post has to disparage LOL Cats in extreme terms (as in extermination), but humorless superiority complex aside, the pointers are to sheer genius:

LOLTHULHU (the website!)

One of my favs

(And, Stokeses, there's a whole category for Demotivators! :-)

+ Dare I pick Minnesota to win it all?

Kiss of death. Vikings will never win now.

I respect Dr. Z, but what in the world?

+ Iowa alum Brad Meester is a Jaguar and the Jags are donating 90k$ to Iowa flood relief. Not bad.

+ This shirt is even too geeky for me. And I seriously doubt it'd attract geek chicks. What do you say, geek chicks?

+ Ok, down to 4 windows and 9+3+6+12=30 tabs. Oh well.

When you were young

About once a year, a song takes over my life. The current one is 'When you were young' by The Killers.

Ohmygosh. What a beautiful song. I was actually exposed to it playing Guitar Hero 3, if you believe it.

Loving this song while practicing it repeatedly on Guitar Hero (working on strumming technique on medium) is probably only driving it deeper into my subconscious. I may have to take a break if the 'Replay track' in my brain doesn't let up.

The song is beautiful, but the video makes me sad. Can't embed it anyway (Universal has that turned off), but here's the link. What do you think?

The saddest part of the song, to me, which definitely comes out in the video, is little girls who grow up dreaming of a prince (in this case he takes it all the way to Jesus) and get disappointed by jerky guys (putting it mildly).

Makes me think I'll have to listen to some other Killers songs. I watched/listened to most of their singles on YouTube and liked what I heard. I already sounded out Madhu, and he likes some of their singles, too; even loves some.

Sunday, June 22

Long bets thoughts

Following up my long bets post:

+ BTW, I hope there are intelligent aliens out there. I just don't think there are.

+ Gerry reports on a thread at Tom's place that his sister said the Singularity sounds likes the Rapture and IEEE is picking up on the same similarity this month. Exactly! And I don't believe in the Rapture nor the Singularity! Am I just a contrarian? ;-)

Saturday, June 21

LOL Sean

I never thought I'd make LOL cats. I don't even like cats. But I have friends and family who like cats.

My first inspiration was my friend whose nom de web is La Frog. I prefer to call her Mlle Frog ;-)

She has Parkinson's Disorder (which she writes about pretty frequently). And she recently walked to raise money for PD research. Her team shirt said 'Can I have fries with my shake?'. And she loves cats. So:

funny pictures

Mlle Frog liked it so much she posted it yesterday.

My non-psuedonymous friend Madhu has a cat that he politely calls 'special needs'. His name is Murphy and they recently bought him a leash. I think this is a little silly and made this LOL Cat for Madhu:

funny pictures


Friday, June 20

I rock!

What have I been up to (besides not updating 'interact')?

Playing Guitar Hero 3!

You know this if you've seen my status updates on Facebook.

So here's the deal:

We've figured for some time that we'd be getting a Wii. We love our GameCube (loved it more at first, when it wasn't 100 (computer) years old). But last summer Wil bought a DS with money he'd saved, so we weren't in a hurry to get a Wii last Xmas. We thought maybe this Xmas.

Then Wil wanted to get Lego Indiana Jones for his birthday coming up. And it's available for every platform (including DS) except GameCube. And how would it be on DS (so small)? And I've been wanting Guitar Hero. And both of those games are available for PS2 and Guitar Hero 4 (with drums, mic, etc) will be, too.

So we ran the numbers and figured we could get the PS2 stuff used for the cost of just the Wii console. And you know the problem there, right? Just one controller and just one game, opening the door to years of buying more expensive games and additional controllers at full price.

So we decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on Sunday as a fun Father's Day present for me and paving the way for Wil's birthday and probably Guitar Hero 4 this Xmas.

We got the following used: PS2 console (with protection plan), extra controller, memory card, used guitar (with protection plan), Guitar Hero 3 (I checked the playlists to see which one I wanted most), and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, all for just over $200. That's way south of the Wii console by itself.

We like games a lot. We're just not willing to pay full price for them.

So we've been having fun this week. I've completed my 3rd gig on medium, including the battle with Tom Morello and the encore.

Minor problem: with all of my computer usage and minor tendonitis up and down my arms (I don't think it is actually RSI or CTS), I can only play for an hour or so at a time.

Then again, that's probably ok ;-)

Tuesday, June 17

My long bets

I'd like to (but I don't know if I really will) make a list of Long Bets (inspiration). Here's the deal: if I'm wrong in the future, I have to make reference to this post (and other appropriate ones) and say I was wrong. But if the other people are wrong... bwa ha ha!

What are some of the items that would be on this list?

+ I don't believe in Kurzweil's singularity (though I do believe in the progress of technology, some good examples cited by him here). I boil his argument down to: 'Once we get enough processing power, a miracle happens.'

A correlation is Kurzweil's Turing Test bet, which I'm a little more agnostic on, but I still lean away from AI (a la Jaron Lanier).

+ I don't believe that carbon and global warming is going to bring disaster. Rather, I believe that either 1. It won't go down like Gore et al. predict or 2. Human ingenuity will be able to obviate disaster (a la Tom Barnett).

+ I don't believe we'll ever encounter other intelligent life in the universe. Rather, I believe we've got ourselves an exceptional situation and that God made it that way. (Here I am compelled by Hugh Ross' arguments that Earth is one of a kind.)

Believe me, I know I could be wrong on these things. But I hope I'm right enough to go on the record. We'll see ;-)

Saturday, June 14

Iowa floods

1. My friend, Paula wrote in with some corrections and updates of my previous post (see the corrections over there):
The Cedar River at Waverly is anticipated to crest for the second time tonite. So, cleanup efforts have been relatively minimal since no one knows what will flood by tomorrow. The flood has now been upgraded to a 500 yr. flood. The Cedar crested at 16.8 in '99 & 19.4 on Tues. They're anticipating a crest of about 15 today which is similar to '93, but nobody knows what impact the total ground & sandbag saturation will have. Our church (Redeemer Lutheran) is coordinating free meals & childcare for flood victims. Josef & Julie B are staying with us until they can move back home. Please pray for the people of Waverly. There was an informational mtg. yesterday & people seemed to have LOTS of frustration, tension & anger.
Thanks, Paula!

Everybody get that? Please pray for Waverly specifically. Also, in terms of my emphasis: Cedar Rapids (the worst hit) and Iowa City/Coralville.

2. Some stuff from AP:

Today's Cedar Rapids-focused story.

News video:

NB: 83/99 counties disaster areas. (Credit)


Totally 80s!

[I wrote this post yesterday, but held it because of the Iowa post. I'll have another Iowa post later today, but I go ahead and post this because life does go on.]

LuiscmckI has put up 149 videos on YouTube, most of which are 80s music videos ripped from tv.

I've watched quite a few of these recently, inspired some by Mr Maudlin himself (his word).

Be warned: many of these videos really stink. That in itself may take you back. Or you can just listen and not watch.

I'll list a few good ones for you:

Kiss On My List
Rock You Like A Hurricane
Keep On Loving You
Straight Up
Mad About You
Rock The Casbah
Walking On Sunshine
Our House
Don't Answer Me
All I Need Is A Miracle
Blue Monday '88
Orinoco Flow
Everlasting Love
Romancing The Stone
Sunglasses at Night
This Charming Man
Come On Eileen
Video Killed The Radio Star
Heaven Is A Place On Earth
Call Me
We Built This City
Oh Sherry
Getting Away With It
Living On a Prayer
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right...

And don't forget what I said: some of these videos really stink. But I like all of the songs.

How about you? What are your favorites on this list or over at the LuiscmckI link?

Friday, June 13

Pray for Iowa [corrected]

Things just keep getting worse in Iowa:

A tornado knocked out half of New Hartford and Parkersburg.

Another tornado hit a Boy Scout camp.

Rising flood waters threaten much of the eastern half of the state.

Extreme irony: the half of New Hampton the tornado left has been wiped out by the flood.

Reportedly, things are worst in Cedar Rapids where the Cedar River flows right through a relatively flat downtown.

AP video:

It's no picnic in Iowa City, where the Iowa River flows through downtown.

The small comfort in Waverly (scroll down), where Christine and I went to Wartburg College, is that they think the Cedar River has crested up there.

Corrections: My friend Paula wrote in to say it was New Hartford, not New Hampton, and Waverly is looking at a second crest tonight. Thanks, Paula.

Wednesday, June 11

I'll see your Thompson Twins ...

And raise you Howard Jones!

Madhu embedded a Thompson Twins song.

I always think of these groups together: English, synth, early 80s, freaky hair.

Howard Jones might not be an actual raise, but I do think I like more of his songs: Everlasting Love, No One is to Blame, Things Can Only Get Better, and this one, New Song (even thought the video blows ;-)

Saturday, June 7

'Our long national nightmare is over'

Major overstatement, but I am glad the Democratic race has finished.

But not as glad to see Hillary lose as Mark ;-)

The CNN article he links has this section which really stood out to me:
Her image as a tested leader left her open to attacks on two fronts: from those who questioned the extent of that experience -- and from the overwhelming majority of Americans who told pollsters they were eager for wholesale change.

The thought of a Clinton following a Bush following a Clinton following a Bush hardly seemed to fit the national mood.

Friday, June 6

Iowa Ninja Shake

+ 'Oh, there's nothing half-way about the Iowa way to treat you...'*

Brother Kyle sent me a link to Peter King's column this week which leads with the Parkersburg (Iowa) tornado story. The part that stuck out to me was about how people from around the state came to help.

My dad drove up for the weekend. He and mom actually lived there for a couple of years (she was pastoring) and both of the houses they lived in were destroyed by the F5.

Dad said the (predominately German) people got right to work cleaning up and seasoned tornado cleaner-uppers said they'd never seen a place come so far so fast in clean up.

This prompted me to joke that the Germans would be running the world if they'd had a couple breaks.

(I like to joke about Germans a lot because Christine's 100% and I'm about 1/8th (maternal grandmother's maiden name: Gertenbach), making the twins approximately 9/16ths.)

+ Brother Cory sent me a link to this hilarious Onion video: Ninja Parade Slips By Town Unnoticed Once Again

+ My quasi-psuedonymous friend (I mean, she does post pix of herself), Mlle La Frog, got to read her one-woman play about having Parkinson's Disease Saturday at a theater in NYC. Way to go, MLF!

* This heading is especially for the Stokeses, who love The Music Man :-)

Tuesday, June 3

I love him, I love him not

I've never really paid much attention to Andrew Sullivan. I know who he is, of course, and he links to Tom from time to time and Tom links to him.

Scott over at Politics of Scrabble has a complimentary post of Sullivan and I was intrigued enough to start the first video.

I was very impressed, at first. I wrote:
hmm. never listened to Sullivan before. didn’t know he’s British.

from the outset, i love his premise that people make mistakes and conservatism wants to firewall some of those things off.

so, conservatives eschew centralized government or markets because it increases the chance of being wrong. ‘experts’ are more often wrong than the people closest to (and i would add most invested in, self-interest-wise) the activity in question.

not sure about your ‘post-post-modern’ definition. pomo itself doesn’t have a lot of content, in my experience. it’s wicked good at tearing down modernism, but really can’t build anything itself.

but maybe you’re right, because he obviously wants to go forward without Truth as a guiding principle, and that’s definitely postmodern.

regardless of where he fits in the postmodern shift, i liked what he had to say …

until he goes totally off the rails on the fundamentalism thing (second video).

more on that on my own weblog.
Here's the more:

Question: Is it true that the Constitution was trying to set up a separation of Church and State that kept religion out of the State, or were the Framers trying to keep the State out of the Church?

Because, you know, it's not possible to have law without moral input. And we're talking early 19th century thought here.

My hypothesis is that the deification of the separation of Church and State is a contemporary construct.

This goes with my agreement with Richard Neuhaus' assertion that the Church does not impose its morality, it proposes what it regards as the best way. And people and governments and legislators are free to choose.

Obviously I'm not arguing for the opposite of Sullivan's view of the separation of Church and State, but a different interpretation of what I think was the Framers' true intent. Of course I don't want State-mandated Christianity. But I do want us to recognize that our morality has to come from somewhere.

Now, I think he overstates the role of fundamentalism (even as broadly-defined as he uses it) in religious life today. I agree that certainty coming from religious conviction is a problem, especially in politics. But I think the problems with Republicanism that Sullivan bemoans, and that I largely agree with, come from garden-variety politics and the electorate and pandering.

I'm much more in line with Pope Benedict's orthodoxy (Sullivan labels him a fundamentalist) than Sullvian's hope of independent human conscience. He should apply his doubt to that, too. Then he caricatures both the Catholic Church's view of end-of-life issues and papal infallibility.

I'm happy to grant political problems as a result of Fundamentalism, but there's no way it has the expansive consequences Sullivan wants to give it.

In fact, he's revisionist in his vision of Christianity, what he wants it to be. There's little of the kind of wholehearted doubt that Sullivan values in the history of Christianity. There are surely places for doubt, but not thoroughgoing doubt, certainly not doubt that views all other faiths equally (which I suspect is where Sullivan ultimately goes). Any such definition of Christianity is modern and postmodern and conveniently cuts off the past, say before Schleiermacher.

So I give Sullivan partial credit. I like where he starts out. I just think where he ends up is a total train wreck.

How long, oh Amory?

Amory Lovins' ideas sound awesome: off of oil by 2040 and we'll save money doing it:

Don't have/want to take 20 minutes for the video? Here's the executive summary for Winning the Oil Endgame.

But this talk was given in in February 2005. We're 3+ years past it and the only progress we really see is the price of oil per barrel. Whaddya say, Amory? Can we still make it?

Well, he certainly seems like a very smart guy. And, like Tom says, he helps you feel optimistic about the Market's ability to adjust.

Nothing earth-shatteringly new and exciting on his Rocky Mountain Institute's homepage. But looks like they keep trucking.

I hope Amory Lovins is right.

Monday, June 2

Healthy defense bull!

+ Will you keep track of your personal health information on Google? I'm trying it out...

(GSR: my prediction of your response: 'Not in a million years!' or words/expletives to that effect ;-)

+ Ok. The Vikes are supposed to be loaded for defense. Think they'll do any better this year? Woe is me ...

+ I would like to thank Brad for posting a picture of the biggest bull I've ever seen!

It's so big, it looks prehistoric or something!

Netflix Firefly

+ Would you pay 100$ for the Netflix player (in addition to a minimum 9$/month plan)? We probably won't. But when they start giving these away with a two year subscription (like cell phones or high-speed modems), I'd say we'd be a candidate ;-)

+ For our part, we're really enjoying Netflix. I thought about titling this post 'Netflix saved our marriage!' just for fun hyperbole. Grain of truth: we have enjoyed ramping up our movie watching a little and spending that time together. We got out of the habit.

+ In addition, my baby brother, Cory, loaned us the only season of Firefly.

(I'd say 'thanks, Cory', but everyone in my family (minus Christine) has entered into an unholy pact to never read my weblog ;-)

Anyway, I like the premise of Firefly pretty well: Western in space. The only think that doesn't work for me is when they try to use Western-type language. But that's a minor quibble.

Observation: in the first three stories (one was a double episode), Captain Malcolm summarily dispatched a bad guy at the end of the story in about one second. I'd write 'summarily executed', but only one was an execution. The other two were him coming out of nowhere with the bad guy unprepared (but in the act of violent crime and totally deserving it). In the fourth episode, the Captain only injured the bad guy at the end.

Very interesting. Is this part of the Captain's characterization? Is it part of Joss Whedon's formula? Was it intentional? Captain Mal certainly comes off as a bada--.

And I'm fine with execution of bad guys in fiction. It's clean, simple, easy justice. I can't stand fiction where the bad guys don't get justice, including Dolores Umbridge and Mr Dursley (strange examples, I know, but they leapt to mind).

This thirst for justice from someone who claims to believe in mercy for all who want it is obviously a sign of maladjustment/sin.

+ Finally, for this post, I also really like the unlimited Instant movies available through Netflix. Sure, they're second (or third, or fourth, or ...) tier, but I've enjoyed watching some movies I'm mildly interested in without burning a rental on them. I watched The Omega Man Friday night (Christine went to bed early) since I'd read I Am Legend, which it was based on (it was only ok, but only 90 minutes and essentially free). Then, last night, I watched Hellboy: Animated: Blood & Iron, which was excellent.

(Here's something crazy: more than 39,000 Netflix users have rated that video. That's a lot, in my mind. A lot of geeks like me ;-)

Netflix: Supplying the Long Tail (get it? ;-)