Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Buckley has an interesting piece on the economy and the "rich getting righer".

Monday, January 30, 2006

Somebody's really thinking: Using balloons for cell phone repeaters. Very cool!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A couple books that I really enjoyed lately: An Empire of Wealth by John Steele Gordon is a history about the American economy. Ursula K. LeGuin's The World for World is Forest was a nice read about colonizers running into natives and the bad parts of our natures. Thomas M. Disch's The Genocides is positively the saddest, the most depressing, 143 pages I've ever read. And I mean that in a good way: It takes a good writer to get across something that powerfully. Sometimes what's inside us is quite difficult to look at.

My 85 year-old father and I took a ride in the country yesterday, back to the small town he grew up in, and the neighboring towns only a few miles away. He reminisced as I drove his car. We stopped in a cemetery where some relatives are buried. Odd seeing my name on gravestones. The trip evoked an odd sense of looking backwards in time while the scenery was new for me, a strange blend of past and present simultaneously closing and opening.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Careful buying your iPod: Unbelievable!

Check out this keyboard!

Victor Davis Hanson's latest column on NRO made me chuckle: Reading his critique of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton's latest is like watching a Marine sniper shoot fish in a barrel. A great example of good old-fashioned a) knowing how to analyze and write well, and b) having a superb command of the facts.

Wanna have some fun in an on-line virtual world? Try Project Entropia. Great fun, great virtual world. If you do, get a map right away, and be careful of upgrading your weapons too soon. It'll make things expensive. Check out the Entropia Forum for guides and other links. There are lots of other sites too: Entropia Pioneers (map links down on the left), Entropia Trade Central, and Sarah's Weapons Chart to name just a couple.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Here's a site a good friend pointed out: nationmaster.com. Lots of cool info.

I finally figured out at least one thing I'm going to use this crazy blog for: To organize and remind myself of where on the web I've been. Bookmarks aren't enough info. I forget why I went there. I need the line of thought. Combined with search ability, this may do the trick.

We'll see if that makes sense as I go.

Couldn't go long without mentioning the free office suite openoffice.org. I've switched all my personal office suite use over to it. It easily covers everything I need. Nice toolset.

Here is a very interesting take on Hamas' electorial victory in Palastinian elections.

This looks like cool technology that I'm guessing, if it takes off, I may grow to hate. I do get a kick out of the idea, though.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This should raise some eyebrows. My guess is that this would escalate into war in about fifteen minutes.

An interesting article about the America's role in the world.

On Bush's warrantless surveillance, an article from the con side, one from the pro side. Lots of views in the world. Both of these are from current or former federal prosecutors. Remarkable the difference in view. As a non-lawyer, it's pretty bazaar to watch.

My wife and I love movies.

Last weekend, we saw Brokeback Mountain. We loved just about everything about it: The directing, acting, story line, the works. Let me say that I'm one of those people that have no problem with what consenting adults want to do along the lines of love, but at a personal level, was always put off by male gay behavior. It's just not for me and so I was expecting to react a bit negatively at some point during the movie. What happened was I saw a tragic story about people who didn't quite know how to handle something that happened in their lives, and I saw that story beautifully presented without bias, masterfully acted. My wife and I were touched by that story, and as Roger Ebert puts it, "It could be about two women, or lovers from different religious or ethnic groups -- any 'forbidden' love".

I should wait on this one, but I won't. It was late last night and I fell asleep with about 25 minutes left to go with Yes in the DVD player. Up to that point, it was one of the most interesting movies I'd seen in a long time. Yeah, yeah, I know. Listen: I'm usually in bed a lot earlier. Me falling asleep during the film isn't a comment on the movie. I can't wait to watch the rest tonight. Seriously. Sally Potter wrote, directed, and did the music for it. My wife—who DID stay up—loved it.

Moving on...

As a long time amateur guitar player, a kid who got three years of piano lessons, and a forty something adult who is learning to play flute, let me say this: My hat's forever off to all wind instrument players. Mine is coming along for me. The last day or two, it has begun to sound musical instead of a not-so-distant relative of fingernails-on-the-chalkboard. I pick out snatches of melodies here and there: Jethro Tull's Bouree, a theme from Braveheart, part of the Titanic theme, old church hymns. Whatever. I have an electronic keyboard downstairs that will provide simple bass line and drums given a chord in the right hand, so I gave it a chord, and tried improvising a solo over it with the flute. Lots of fun. It has revitalized my interest in playing music.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Here is a noteworthy story. I believe the same holds true in France as well and perhaps other parts of Europe. As much as I disagree with much of the socialist politics of Europe, I hold their culture very dear.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Here is something regarding aid to Africa. Not what I would have thought at first glance, but it makes sense in a lot of ways. Quite thought provoking.

Last weekend, my wife and I saw Marina Alexandra in concert. Delightful! Classical guitar played with a beautiful touch in a small venue. It was the kind of thing that anyone who plays guitar of any style would appreciate.

And on music, I've been helping my wife learn to play the 2nd movement of Mozart's Eine Kliene Nachtmusik on piano. It's a simple arrangement for a beginner. Measures 5 - 8 have timing that feels a little funny. When she put on a record of it, I could hear that the performance on the recording was interpreting the timing and not playing it mechanically as written. Very appropriate and a great example of the difference between playing the notes and playing music.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Got a new digital camera the other day, a Canon PowerShot A610. I only read reviews of it and a competing Sony camera. At Best Buy, there were several competing models, and we chose this one, almost arbitrarily. I must say the technology in all the cameras these days is incredible. I could hardly be happier. The software installed flawlessly. The camera has worked flawlessly, even with the large feature set. I like that it has fully manual modes just like an SLR.

This is actually the same experience I had when I bought a Canon Pixma MP760 printer/scanner/copier months ago. That crazy thing is fabulous. Just as with the camera, the software and hardware both have been perfect. One feature not found on many competing models is that is will scan 35mm negatives into pictures. My daughter uses this feature with very nice results.

Canon really seems to be doing things right these days.

Need to mention a tool I use all the time: The Merriam-Webster toolbar. Look up words just by highlighting them as you read online, then click the toolbar button. They have a couple different types. Have a look here. Wonderful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Khan, the Boa Constrictor Posted by Picasa

This I thought was worth a link. The price of jets is coming way down. Fascinating what may come of the technology.

Music theory is fun to play with. Andy Milne's Tonal Center is a nice site to learn a little. And Dolmetsch, manufacturers of recorders and other things have a great music dictionary online as well as music theory information and other things.

On music, I'm a real Steve Morse fan (as well as Jethro Tull) and have played a blue Ernie Ball Musicman Steve Morse model for almost 15 years, notwithstanding a break from guitar the last almost two years. You find incredible videos of Steve working over one of the new models here. Always makes me want to either practice more or quit completely and take up collecting coins or something.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Getting Started...

How about a picture to start things off? Perhaps an odd picture. I had been cutting back briars in the back yard. Serious briars.

At any rate, I thought I would start a blog, as much as anything to have a place to post links on interesting topics that I enjoy. Perhaps someone else will, too.


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