Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wisdom of Pat Summitt

I heard this illogical gem from Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt on Sportscenter yesterday after they lost their NCAA tournament game:

"You can't win a game in the first half, but you can lose it in the first half."

Actually, Pat, that statement is true about golf but it makes no sense for basketball.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Message to All NCAA Coaches

Yesterday George Mason pulled off the second greatest upset in NCAA tournament history, beating UConn to go to the Final Four as a #11 seed. I live in Northern Virginia and work about 2 miles away from George Mason.

The greatest upset in NCAA tournament history was #8 Villanova defeating Georgetown in 1985. I should know, since I was living in the suburbs of Philadelphia at the time.

Message to All NCAA Coaches: If you want to pull off an inconceivable victory of this magnitude, simply pay for me to re-locate to your town in 2027.

A Friendly Link

Hey check it out - someone has put my Buddhism posting on his site here.

This little site for my private musings is becoming more public every day.

Interesting that me and my namesake are both software developers. And I almost ended up living in the same state (Florida) about 3 years ago (side note, had I accepted that offer I would currently be working literally across the street from where they played last weekend's TPC golf championship). Maybe People magazine will do some checking and find out that we were separated at birth. I think there is something about being a developer that makes Buddhism more appealing than current western religion. Certainly being concerned with logic has something to do with it.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How To Be My Friend

Here is how to add me as a friend if you are registered on some of the more popular friend sites:

Friendster: Go to my url here and click link labeled "add as friend".
MySpace: Go to my url here and click link labeled "add to friends".
Hi5: Click here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

16 Reasons Buddhism is Better

I think people of all religions should consider the below reasons that I think Buddhism is better.
  1. It generally doesn't take itself too seriously. Buddhists are a light-hearted, peace-loving group.
  2. Buddha encouraged people to "Make a proper investigation first." Buddha did not proselytize aggressively, but suggested that people should take it or leave it according to their own personal assessment without relying on hearsay or mere tradition.
  3. It doesn't have a fixed, unquestionable ideology.
  4. Buddhism is strictly a philosophy for rational, inquiring minds.
  5. In Buddhism, there is no God, nor any gods or goddesses, seraphim, cherubim, archangels, demons, mythological beasts, familiars, pan-dimensional cyborgs, or talkative shrubbery.
  6. Rather than submitting to a Supreme Being in whom you must believe (lest ye face lightning bolts, fire and brimstone, an eternity spent with Courtney Love), you instead accept the teachings because they're supposed to make you happy.
  7. It says that you should follow its teaching because you want to, not because there are consequences if you don't.
  8. Not having a central thesis or any current core figure of authority (such as the Pope), Buddhism has become richly diversified.
  9. The Buddha was a man, and not a god.
  10. The whole reason for becoming Buddhist is to achieve happiness and become "enlightened." Not to achieve a dubious afterlife.
  11. There are no free passes for sinful behavior. You are responsible ultimately to yourself.
  12. The Five Precepts aren't commandments given to you by an angry God who threatens you if you disobey; rather, they are guidelines meant to improve your karma and help you along the Eightfold Path to enlightenment.
  13. A lay Buddhist (non-monk) isn't necessarily required to go through any special ritual.
  14. There's no sacred law telling you that you ought to attend service at the temple every Wednesday and donate 10% of your income.
  15. The only way to reach enlightenment is to accept the Noble Truths. It requires working hard at improving oneself, not just accepting a savior.
  16. As a Buddhist, it is acceptable to participate in other religions.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Modern Times

I wonder if one of Leonardo DaVinci's notebooks has a crude drawing of someone receiving a horoscope delivered directly to her cell phone. If so, he must have truly been disturbed by this vision of the apocalypse.

More Libertarian Than I Thought

Looking at my results from one of those online politics tests. I guess I should not be too surprised that I came out closer to the Unabomer than to the Pope (see "You" circle in image above). However, I'm a bit concerned that socially I am about even with Hillary Clinton. I guess we both agree with letting people do what they want, as least with regard to social issues.

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(81% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I ♥ Huckabees

We watched the movie “I ♥ Huckabees” last weekend. Although the critics did not generally like it, I would recommend it to anyone who likes movies that address philosophical issues and then likes to discuss them afterward. I had a few random thoughts from watching the film:

(warning: spoilers below)

I thought it was interesting how they generally seemed to equate Buddhism so closely with nihilism. The whole antagonist philosophy in the movie was: life is suffering, nothing is connected, nothing has meaning, embrace the nothingness. I liked that they didn’t try to take a stand that one way or the other (connectedness vs. nihilism) was right or wrong. Given my gradual movement toward Buddhism over the years, I will need to review the distinctions between this and nihilism to make sure I am eschewing the latter.

The most interesting concept in the movie was the situation that ultimately confronted all four of the main characters: Is there a single fact that would immediately unravel your sense of well-being once it was brought to your attention? (e.g. Albert “you are an orphan of indifference”, Brad “you are just as shallow as your dimwit brother”, Dawn’s appearance, etc.). I liked how they portrayed the transformations to manifest themselves differently in each case: comical (Dawn), disturbing (Brad), angry (Tommy), and confounding (Albert).

Final note. The circumstances in this film point out that it seems more logical that thoughtful people would sometimes change religions based on their situation and worldview at different stages of life. Some of the characters went through a phase where they needed a certain philosophy to get them through a turbulent time. I would think the same would apply in real life to that great majority of those people who need religion. I think the reason this does not happen in real life is that people get too comfortable with their religion (location of the building, friends, know the songs), and also don’t care to hear about the teachings of other religions, so they would never consider switching religions even though it might improve their outlook.

On a minor note, I thought it was typical that a Hollywood film trying to portray an absurd liberal extremist just couldn’t do it without rendering him as a tragically misunderstood martyr.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

TV Show Chooser

The following chart helps determine what shows I like:

Start with 100 points, and make the following adjustments:

-10 Laugh track
+15 Makes you think
-50 Title contains the word "Law" or "Order"
-05 Longer than 30 minutes
-40 Costs extra to watch it
+10 Good music
-25 Close-up forensics
-05 Drama
+05 Comedy
+10 Unique in some way
-30 Purple dinosaur

So it is not surprising that these are currently some of my favorite shows:

The Simpsons
McLaughlin Group
The Office
American Idol
Best Week Ever
Pardon The Interruptrion
VH1 Top 20 Countdown
Everybody Hates Chris

Fox - 2 shows
NBC - 2
VH1 - 2
ESPN - 1
UPN - 1

An interesting experiment would be to put some random shows through the above formula and try watching the high scorers to see if I like them.