Friday, October 21, 2005

Saddest Songs

Here are the saddest songs from my mp3 collection:

Minneapolis - Lucinda Williams
Colors and the Kids - Cat Power
Praying for Time - George Michael
Questions in a World of Blue - Julee Cruise
Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel
Do You Realize - Flaming Lips
I Dreamed a Dream - Les Miserables
Come To Me - Les Miserables
Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt
A Bad Goodbye - Clint Black

Monday, October 17, 2005

Going for Two

There is a universal football strategy that I have never understood. This comes up a few times a year, at least. Let's say it is late in the game and you are down by 15. So you need two scores, plus a two point conversion after one of the scores.

When the trailing team scores the first touchdown, they always kick the extra point to stay down by 8, and never go for the two point conversion. The logic is that if they were to try the 2-point conversion and fail, the game would effectively be over because they would be behind by 9. But by kicking the extra point, they feel like they are definitely still in it and can still tie the game right up until the end.

The problem I have with this strategy is, why wait to find out whether you will be successful on the 2-point conversion? Better to try it right away, so you can adjust your strategy if you miss it. If you wait and miss it after the second touchdown, it will be too late to do anything about it.

At a higher level, it seems that human nature is to avoid hearing potentially bad news, but in reality it is probably better to get as much information as you can as soon as possible so you can make the best possible decision.

If this makes sense to anyone, please feel to agree or disagree in the comments.

Friday, October 14, 2005


One of my favorite radio stations is WPGC, which is a hip-hop / rap / r&b station in the DC area. After a little while, I learned that the PGC stands for Prince George's County. All of the counties around here have these ridiculous snooty names like Prince William County (where they play the President's Cup), and Fairfax and Loudoun which are named after British Lords.

It's very strange, because you get all of these "urban" callers on the station and they are like "shout out to Prince George's County" and it's like the most lily white name you could ever imagine.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Weather Channel

There is something very disturbing about watching The Weather Channel cover a hurricane. They are just way too glib about everything.

I was watching the coverage of Hurricane Rita. It was about 4:15am, and they had been showing the same two clips for the last 3 hours - one was a piece of siding being blown off of a Shell station and the other was some firefighters battling a massive blaze, ironically in a torrential rain. During a playing of this latter clip, the female anchor says to her colleague "I just LOVE that clip".

Now, if you think about it there is nothing for a sane person to love about this clip. Unless you are a weather anchor who is hepped up on a combination of crack and career advancement that is resulting from the hurricane ratings spike.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Accusations Against President Bush

Below are the major accusations against President Bush that I have heard from the left in recent years.
I have grouped them into categories of Ridiculous, Somewhat Fair, and I Agree - then I will comment where appropriate.

Ridiculous - No Merit
War on Iraq diverted attention from war on terror - The whole war on terror thing is a silly concept to begin with

Campaigns on fear, not on hope - almost all politicians do this

Lied about service in National Guard - Has no relevance at this point

Lost 1 million jobs - any time a liberal cites a large number, it is purely for dramatic purposes. Like if spending goes up 1% you can say it more dramatically as "spending increased by 48.995 billion dollars"

Did not provide base level of national health care - Not his fault, majority of the country does not seem to want this yet

Weakened environmental regulations - He only supports corporations at the expense of the environment at the level that we knew he would when we voted for him

Did not fund No Child Left Behind - I'm not sure about this one, but seems to be a talking point I hear a lot from liberals that is probably without much truth

Used homeland security as excuse to erode civil liberties - I think the unfortunate reality is that Al Qaeda took away some of our civil liberties. Not Bush's fault.

Waged campaigns to personally attack / destroy political opponents - virtually all politicians do this. Doesn't make it right, but not something peculiar to Bush.

Failed to act on nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran - These are complicated issues, can't just blame Bush

Failed to make peace between Israel and Palestine - complicated issue, can't just blame Bush

Approinted arch-conservatives to federal judiciary - No one should be overly surprised by this

Favored Halliburton and personal friends with government accounts - This is a blowhard mantra that the liberals need to drop in favor of more pressing issues. Saying Bush started a war to get money for his corporate friends is silly - he's the President, there are plenty of easier ways for him to accomplish this if he chose to.

Encouraged xenophobia among US citizens - Not sure where this came from, I haven't seen much evidence of this

Somewhat Fair
Elected by the Supreme Court - This is primarily ridiculous, the only reason I put it here is that the Supreme Court let a lot of people down when they made this decision in a 5-4 "party line" vote

Falsely elected on compassionate conservative agenda; not compassionate toward lower classes - I think this is somewhat fair, not because he lacks compassion but because I think it is disingenuous for him to claim that he is any more compassionate than the typical Republican politician when he is not.

Declared unjust war on Iraq; false grounds for invasion - I think there were some legitimate reasons for the invasion, but the Colin Powell speech to the UN was disastrously wrong and convincing.

Exploited 911 for political gain - Yes, as many politicians have done. They have been conditioned their entire lives to take advantage of any situation

Said he would unite Washington, but has further divided it - This is fair because it was absurd for him to make a silly claim that he can do what no one else has been able to do.

Market decline / recession - President does not control the economy, but I do blame him for invading Iraq at a human and economic cost that we can not afford.

Allowed expiration of assault weapons ban - But people who voted for him do not seem to be worried about gun control.

Unprecedented secrecy of government activities - This is overblown, but does seem to have some truth to it.

Lowered taxes on top 1% - His tax cuts have been somewhat irresponsible. However, this is a tired liberal mantra that is unlikely to ever go away.

Failed to fix solvency of Social Security; focused on irrelevant personal accounts - I am disappointed that he wasted the opportunity for shoring up the system by diluting the argument with irrelevant and unpopular personal accounts .

I Agree
Rapidly turned government surplus into deficit - This is his weakest point, in my opinion. He has turned out to be a huge spender. I think this may be from never having to balance his own checkbook. It was irresponsible to make tax cuts when we were in a good surplus position.

Hired personal cronies to key government positions - True of many politicians, but the Brown/FEMA and Miers/Supreme Court situations have really not been good.

Damaged reputation of US around the world - I do think invading Iraq, along with the way we have handled other things such as the Kyoto treaty, have led to this deterioration with Bush at the helm.

Imposed personal religion/values on public policy - The whole stem cell decision, along with subtle comments in favor of creationism, are very troubling to me. I think this could be the one issues that spells the eventual collapse of the Republican party, especially as the center region of the country becomes better educated.

Failed to admit personal mistakes/responsibility - This is Bush's biggest character flaw, but to be fair in Washington he almost has no alternative.

Katrina rebuild - First, I think razing and rebuilding a city below Sea level is of questionable value. After being pressured politically into committing to this, he went way overboard in his commitment but never put forth any reasonable plan for paying for it.

Wants to repeal the estate tax - It is absurd and very expensive to completely repeal this tax. There is no reason we can't just move it up to, say, no tax on the first $5 million.

Gift List

Today being my birthday, I decided to keep a running list here of things I would like to have. Note, if you have any of the CDs please let me know so I can borrow them and listen to them at work.

Green Day - American Idiot
Kanye West - Late Registration
The Killers - Hot Fuss
Julee Cruise - The Art of Bring a Girl
Christopher O'Riley - Hold Me To This
Strung Out On OK Computer: The String Quartet Tribute To Radiohead ~ Various Artists
Eminem - Encore
Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me
White Stripes - White Blood Cells
Loreena McKennitt - The Book of Secrets

Philadelphia Eagles neon clock for basement
shorts (waist 31 or 32) - not short, closer to knee length