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Archive for April, 2007

Today’s Random 10

Posted by Chance on April 27, 2007

My Wife – The Who – Who’s Next

Control – MuteMath – WOW Hits 2005: Silver Disc

Umbrella – The Innocence Mission – Umbrella

Don’t Panic – Coldplay – Parachutes

Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters – There is Nothing Left to Lose

Until the End of the World – U2 – Achtung Baby

White Shadows – Coldplay – X&Y

Sail Away – David Gray – White Ladder

Love Ridden – Fiona Apple – When the Pawn…

For No One – The Beatles – Revolver [UK]

Songs About You – Peter Stuart – Propeller

This list has a lot of great, lesser-known songs from well known artists. I’m a strong fan of the album because there are many jewels missed when only the hits are downloaded. I think it is great 2nd-tier songs that make an artist.

“Until the End of the World” is definitely 1 of my top 10 U2 songs. Very interesting concept, as it is a song from Judas’s point of view as he is talking to Jesus.

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Posted in Music | 5 Comments »

The essential U2 album collection, or a guide for new U2 fans

Posted by Chance on April 25, 2007

This guide is written for someone who may want to get some U2 albums and may not know where to start. With iTunes and other music stores, I suppose people can just buy the songs they like, but I am personally still a fan of the album. I have all the studio albums of U2, minus October and Pop. U2 does have 11 studio albums, so it can be quite expensive to buy them all. Here, I will list the essential albums, or at least the albums to buy at first.

The albums you should buy depends on the U2 era you like. 80s, 90s, and 2000s U2 are completely different.

The 80s U2

I think someone can buy The Joshua Tree and The Best of 1980-1990 and have the essential U2 stuff of the 80s. The Joshua Tree is almost a “Best of” within itself, but with The Best of 1980-1990, the listener gets the essential songs from other albums as well, such as “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, “Pride”, and “Desire”.

1990s – Present
While no lesser in quality, the last 2 decades have produced 5 studio albums, compared to 6 in the 80s. I would recommend:
Achtung Baby – includes “One” and “Mysterious Ways”
All That You Can’t Leave Behind – “Beautiful Day” and “Elevation”
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb – “Vertigo” and “City of Blinding Lights”

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Blogs that make me think

Posted by Chance on April 24, 2007

I was honored by Josh from Gabbatha as a blog that makes him think. To continue the tradition, I will choose 5 blogs on my roll that make me think. All of them make me think to some extent, but here are 5 that come to mind.

Glen Dean – I once did a Google search for “Christian Libertarian” and his blog popped up. Glen and I agree on many things concerning Christianity and politics. He has a unique perspective on issues in that he is a conservative Christian yet is weary to use government power to accomplish Christian goals and ideals.

Katherine Coble from Just Another Pretty Face – Kat is one of the figures from the Nashville blogosphere, and I ran into her blog from her comments at Glen Dean’s site. She also happens to be a Christian and a libertarian, so I enjoy her take on philosophical and political issues. That, and her analysis of Lost.

Dan Trabue at Payne Hollow – Dan is a man that is passionate about environmental issues, such as global warming and our consumption of natural resources. He has many well-thought out posts concerning nature and environment and all that hippy stuff (just kidding Dan). Even though we don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues, I do admire his concern for the earth. If I did some research on environmental issues, I’d probably agree with him quite a bit in that area.

Michael from the Levellers – Michael is a pacifist and a democratic socialist (correct me if that description is incorrect). He is very opposed to the war and believes in a progressive economic system. I am sure, at one time, we agreed on something. I think it was that Sam Adams is a great beer. Actually, I think we hold a lot of spiritual views in common, and we share the idea of not completely trusting those in authority. Despite our disagreements, his articles are always a great read.

Neil Simpson – Neil Simpson has many great articles on Christianity, including Christian apologetics. I also like his articles on Pro-life reasoning. Neil also posts on a variety of other issues, ranging from morality to barbecuing.

Here are the rules as explained at Gabbatha
Should you choose to participate, please make sure to pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. The participation rules are simple:

*
If you get tagged, write a post with links to five blogs that make you think
*
Link to the original post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme
*
Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Why you can’t pick and choose cable channels

Posted by Chance on April 22, 2007

I’ve always wondered why cable companies don’t offer individual channels to customers. I’ve never endorsed knee-jerk legislation attempts to make cable companies do so, but I always thought it was a market that could easily be exploited.

The Cato blog explains

The problem with this line of reasoning [that buying individual channels would be cheaper] is that almost none of the cost of providing cable service to you is dependent on the number of channels you take. In economics jargon, cable channels have close to zero marginal cost. Once the content has been produced and the coax has been laid, it costs little or nothing to give every customer access to every channel in the bundle rather than only certain channels. So if they stop sending you Nickelodeon, it doesn’t reduce the total cost of providing you with your service. So why would you expect a price break?

Indeed, there are lots and lots of examples of bundled products and services that no one in his or her right mind would demand be unbundled. For example, why am I forced to buy the sports section with the business section in my morning paper? Why am I forced to buy evening and weekend minutes with my cellular phone plan?

I didn’t know much about how the cable infrastructure worked, but you would think that FCC chairman Kevin Martin would at least try to have a deeper understanding of this before he supports “a la carte” legislation.

A couple of things.

This shows that even if you trust a bureaucrat’s intentions, you can’t trust his/her competency.

But, maybe more importantly, even if it was cheaper to offer individual channels, the cable companies should be able to sell whatever products they want. As a free-marketer, I don’t think I should forcefully set the terms of the agreement. If a Mexican food place opens, what sense does it make for me to demand what they have on their menu? Also, as I said before, if it was actually cheaper to offer individual channels, this would be much less of an issue, as this is a market people would exploit. Finally, I don’t have the right to cable. It’s as simple as that. If this was about utilities such as electricity or water, I would be more sympathetic to the customers’ plight. But cable is not a necessity, so if people don’t like how it is being sold, don’t buy it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

A bumper sticker that always bothers me (one of many)

Posted by Chance on April 21, 2007

Neil Simpson has a post about barbecuing and vegetarianism. He also has some helpful information on “Bovine-Offset Credits”.

Speaking of vegetarianism, I saw a bumper sticker that says “I don’t eat anything with a face.” Now, I respect those who choose the vegetarian/vegan path, whether it is for health or moral reasons. But this bumper sticker reeks of self-righteousness. If you want to promote vegetarianism, fine, but don’t point out how moral you are because you don’t eat meat.

But that goes for people with my viewpoints as well. There are offensive and non-offensive pro-life stickers. I may agree with what you have to say, but there are more effective ways to spread the message.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Your ideal presidential candidate

Posted by Chance on April 20, 2007

Click here to find out who your ideal presidential candidate is.

My top match was Republican candidate and libertarian Ron Paul, which was no surprise.

I had a match of 76% with Tom Tancredo, who I had never heard of. However, my wife told me there was a guy from Colorado running for the Presidency, and it turns out this is him. Neat.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find html for the page, so I will do a crude copy and paste.

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. Ron Paul (78%) (Member of libertarian party and Repub. candidate for President)
3. Tom Tancredo (76%)
4. Kent McManigal (75%)
5. Chuck Hagel (75%)
6. John McCain (72%)
7. Mitt Romney (70%)
8. Newt Gingrich (66%)
9. Duncan Hunter (66%)
10. Sam Brownback (65%)
11. Fred Thompson (59%)
12. Rudolph Giuliani (52%)
13. Mike Huckabee (48%)
14. Jim Gilmore (46%)
15. Tommy Thompson (44%)
16. Bill Richardson (44%)
17. Christopher Dodd (38%)
18. Al Gore (35%)
19. John Edwards (34%)
20. Barack Obama (33%)
21. Hillary Clinton (32%)
22. Dennis Kucinich (28%)
23. Joseph Biden (27%)
24. Wesley Clark (25%)
25. Mike Gravel (15%)
26. Elaine Brown (9%)

Note: The hardest question for me was #3, on balancing civil liberties vs. security. I feel that I am somewhere between the libertarians and conservatives on this. I realize the importance of protecting civil liberties, but I may favor some sacrifices. The first time I favored security and Tancredo was my top person. When I switched to civil liberties Paul was on the top.

Hat tip to Neil Simpson.

Update: Supposedly, Tancredo is really tough on immigration, and that is what he is known for here in Colorado, whereas I’m for a more open immigration policy (but still believe people should do it legally.)

Update 2: After you finish filling out the quiz, it takes you to some advertisement page. There should be a link near the top of the page that you can click to skip all that stuff.

Posted in Politics, Presidential Race | 6 Comments »

This week’s random ten

Posted by Chance on April 20, 2007

As inspired by Kat Coble.

1. Train from Kansas City – Neko Case
2. The Spark – Flaming Lips
3. One Tree Hill – U2
4. Valentine – Shades Apart
5. Let’s Get Lost – Peter Stuart
6. Fell Out – Bleach
7. Where Does the Time Go? – Innocence Mission
8. Taxman – Beatles
9. Ammunition – Switchfoot
10. Gone – TobyMac

These were the first 10 that popped up in iTunes Party Shuffle.

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Movies I like, and supposedly good movies that I hate

Posted by Chance on April 12, 2007

Thanks for all the input to my post about classic movies I’d like to see.

One thing I have noticed concerning modern movies, the Academy and I don’t always see eye to eye.

Here is a list of movies that have received at least some notoriety from the Academy, that I thought, well, sucked.

Keep in mind, I am far from an authority in movies. The production of this list may betray any impressions of refinement I previously held in your minds.

The Thin Red Line – One of two movies during which I fell asleep during the theater. I had the feeling it was trying too hard to be artsy and philosophical.

Wonder Boys – Movie seemed pointless.

Monster’s Ball – I know Halle Berry received an award for Best Actress, and this is no comment on her acting ability (which I’m not good at gaging anyway), but the movie itself. Billy Bob Thornton creeps me out (even more so) thanks to this movie. Again, seemed to have no coherent plot.

As Good As It Gets – Again, where is this movie going? Movies that focus on someone with a social/mental disorder like OCD does provide room for entertainment in any genre, but nevertheless, not that funny, not that entertaining.

As you can probably guess from the list, I strongly dislike movies that do not seem to have a coherent plot. But such movies typically get rave reviews. Maybe if I appreciated movies on a deeper level and/or I was more right-brained and/or not an engineer I would truly appreciate these movies.

Movies I did love, or at least like, that got Oscar attention:
Shawshank Redemption – One of my favorites
Traffic – Not quite sure what to say about this movie, but it was definitely interesting
Lord of the Rings (obviously)
Zoolander – That movie won an award for something, didn’t it?

Oscar movies that had really lame ending quotes.

Seabiscuit:(paraphrased) “We didn’t teach Seabiscuit…he taught us”

Not so bad, but there is a long pause between the first and last phrase for dramatic effect, which makes it super-corny and pseudo-thoughtful, and I saw the last half of the line from a mile away.

A Beautiful Mind.

Mathematician John Nash says “I’ve made the most important discovery of my life. It’s only in the mysterious equation of love that any logical reasons can be found. I’m only here tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am… you are all my reasons. ”

“Mysterious equation of love”? What the crap is that? Very contrived.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

The institutionalization of our children

Posted by Chance on April 10, 2007

From the Tulsa World

Gov. Brad Henry [of Oklahoma] recently announced his commitment to piloting a voluntary preschool program for 3-year-olds. He understands that the key to the state’s success is creating strong students from the beginning so children have the ability to graduate from high school, college and technology schools ready to be responsible members of society.

[…]

Some argue that the best place for young children is at home with their mothers. That could be the case. The reality, however, is that more than half of Oklahoma’s children under 6 live in low-income families. Mothers work for the families’ survival. About one child in four under age 6 is being raised by a single parent and one child in four children is born to a mother without a high school diploma. For those families, staying at home with their children is a luxury they cannot imagine!

The author does make a good point in that it is nice to have a program available for working mothers.

I do have a couple concerns, however.

For one, the author, and I’m sure Governor Henry, insist that the program is voluntary. But will this always be the case? I could see the government deciding that it is in the “best interest” of the children to start school at 3 years old. But maybe I am just being paranoid. After all, our 13 year primary/secondary curriculum has been constant for some time.

Secondly, I personally feel that kids need more time to just be kids. Even though the program is voluntary, and it is there for moms who can’t stay at home, I can envision stay-at-home moms enrolling their children to keep up with the Jones’s children. Parents, not wanting their kids to be left behind in the 13-year long competition that is our classrooms, will start feverishly searching for the best 3-year old education as soon as they are born. What was once “extra education” now becomes the status quo. Parents (most typically Moms), who would otherwise stay at home, may enroll their children so they can go to work.

Lastly, related to the previous paragraph, is just the transfer of raising our children from the parents to the state. We want our children to go to school at a younger age. Many of us (not me) think that higher education should be covered by the state. Where does it end?

As the author said, this school for younger children could be good for dual-income families. However, I do fear the other consequences of this measure, such as the increased institutionalization of our children and erosion of the family.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Movies I would like to see

Posted by Chance on April 10, 2007

I saw Casablanca for the first time over the weekend. Not bad. It is a fairly engaging movie.

I don’t know about any other old classics I would like to see, but here is a list of somewhat modern classics (within the last 30 years) I would like to see, but haven’t.

The Karate Kid
Silence of the Lambs
Wayne’s World
Rocky (all the way through)

I would also like to see “Delta Force” with Chuck Norris, but I have a feeling that is not deemed a classic.

Speaking of classics, whatever happened to AMC, “American Movie Classics.” There idea of what constitutes a classic has been somewhat compromised these past few years. Since when is “The Good Son” and “The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas” considered classics?

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »