Saturday, November 8, 2008

Apparently protest is patriotic aka Oh Canada

With the election of Barack Obama I have noticed an interesting trend on Facebook. Many conservatives are leaving messages such as “that’s it I’m moving to Mexico,” “kiss the constitution good bye” and so forth. Now I don’t have any problem with people having their own opinions about the President-elect.

We do live in a democratic country. The constitution does guarantee us certain rights such as the freedom of speech.

The thing that gets me is what happened to the “protest of the war is unpatriotic” crowd? What happened to the “if you don't love America than get out of here” crowd?

If my inference is correct, maybe they no longer love America because all that was "great" about America -- Republican presidents who shot from the hip -- will soon be gone.

Let me define what I think patriotism is or at least should be. To me, patriotism is not a blind love, I think our country has many great things about it. The prescient Framers provided us a constitutional government which has lasted for close to a quarter of a millennium. There are great freedoms enjoyed in this country which most citizens of other countries would dream of (just ask the Chinese or Russians about their freedom of press rights). However, a nation is only as good as its citizens. And I think that we as humans have a long way to go.

To me, a true love of the country is to say yes we can break down barriers of prejudice. Yes we can work with people who may think differently from us. And most importantly, we need to address these issues head on so we can overcome them. That to me is patriotism. It’s not saying America is great and we can’t do anything to spoil that (which seems to me to be what a lot of people say when they approach the war or our international relationships). But just like all the private lives of all the citizens of this country, there are times when we must admit our wrongs and make amends for our mistakes in order to progress.

Thus being said, I find it amusing how fast those against Barack -- who more than likely are in the love it or leave it crowd -- have turned to leaving it. I am not arguing that they don’t have a right to dissent, it just seems like many recently were arguing that I didn’t have a right to dissent.

Take that for what it’s worth.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

nude cover/video

i just found an amazing video/cover of "nude" by radiohead

check it out


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

funny numbers, faulty logic and the "liberal media"

being an econ major as well as somewhat of a stats/math geek, i enjoy the way statistics are portrayed in arguments. take for example the following post the weekly standard arguing an apparent increase in the liberal media bias.

"THE ARGUMENT over whether the national press is dominated by liberals is over. Since 1962, there have been 11 surveys of the media that sought the political views of hundreds of journalists. In 1971, they were 53 percent liberal, 17 percent conservative. In a 1976 survey of the Washington press corps, it was 59 percent liberal, 18 percent conservative. A 1985 poll of 3,200 reporters found them to be self-identified as 55 percent liberal, 17 percent conservative. In 1996, another survey of Washington journalists pegged the breakdown as 61 percent liberal, 9 percent conservative. Now, the new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found the national media to be 34 percent liberal and 7 percent conservative.

Does this affect coverage? Is there really liberal bias? The answers are, of course, yes and yes. It couldn't be any other way. Think for a moment if the numbers were reversed and conservatives had outnumbered liberals in the media for the past four decades. Would President Bush be getting kinder coverage? For sure,
and I'll bet any liberal would agree with that. Would President Reagan have been treated with less hostility if the national press was conservative-dominated? Yes, again. And I could go on."

so according to his data, the ratio of liberals to cons has increased from just above 3 to 1 in 1971 to almost 5 to 1. however, lost in his numbers argument is the fact that the percentage of those polled who declared neither liberal or con has increased from 30% in 1971 to 59% at the time of the poll. that 59% outnumbers the current "liberal media" by a ratio above 2 to 1. if, to simplifying this argument, we to assume that each of the parties stick up for their beliefs in equal proportions. i.e. that all have different views exert equal influence in using their media power to propagate their political agendas, then it would seem that what we see is not an increase in left-winged media but a substantial increase in media which shares neither a left nor right wing bias.

on a personal note, the economist in me that attempts to measure what people do more than what they say they do finds some potential flaws in this form of data. at times there seems to be trends where it is not correct to admit to certain beliefs which are strongly held, for example witness the change in the discussion of faith in politics over the last 15-20 years. but i didn't write this to criticize the accuracy of polls in portraying true public opinion, but rather to show how numbers were being manipulated to portray a political point.

regardless of you political persuasion, i hope you see the errors in what was argued in the post.


the full article

Monday, August 11, 2008

giambi's stache cont'd...

a couple of weeks ago i posted about jason giambi's stache. here is a video of him discussing his stache w/ esquire magazine. check it out.

giambi's stache

Sunday, August 10, 2008

john mayer's a tool

so i was watching youtube videos of john mayer last night playing the guitar. he is a well trained musician. he seems to have pretty good technique, some of his solo compositions on the john mayer trio album are fairly interesting. but face it the dude is a tool!

before i start w/ the spitting and the vitriol, let me here give my best definition of what i think a tool is. i believe a tool is a person who acts disenegenuous. they are somewhat who allows themself to be just another tool or cog in the giant capitalist machine. now i understand that they may personally benefit financially from these deciscions, but the romantic in me abhors. what about the desire to create something unique? what about personal views that you really want to express? everyone has to have something that is uniquely theirs, why do you subdue them in order to financial or politcal or popularity etc. gains? it's like the business school kids who wear suits to class everyday. why on earth do you wear a suit to your sophomore intro to marketing class? why not go in pajamas, or try not shaving for a week? you are in college, enjoy yourself, it may be the last time you have.
although many business students seem to be in the throngs of tooldom, what perplexes me even more is artists who give into the pressures of tooldom and make "conservative," calculated, shlock that appeals to the lowest common cultural denominator. it seems like if anyone should want to think outside the box and express THEIR OWN ideas it should be artists, more than lawyers, businessmen, doctors etc. This brings me to my beef w/ jm's toolbox status.

my first bone to pick is his guitar tone. maybe it's because i dont like stevie ray vaughan and every new blues guitarist who has made it after him seems to idolize him and his corny texas rodeo blues tone. it just sounds like jm is following in the long streem of contemporary blues guitarist who have aped srv's tone. i really wished that the texas blues tone had died in the 80's after clapton stopped playing it. so that is my first argument, that he ape's srv, a musician who spent his entire worshipping the music made by hendrix instead of expanding his vision onto new horizons as hendrix certainly would have. i'm sorry, but jm's attempt at copying srv who try as he might, was unable to succesfully plagarize hendrix reeks of the kind of unoriginal musicianship which tools in the music industry posses.

second, the guy dated jessic simpson? i mean yeah guys like attractive women, but REALLY? call me naive, romantic and somewhat idealistic about what goes on between the ears of artists, musicans etc., but i like to think that most of them are deeper than the average joe six pack. i hope that they do more than just sit around and mutter to themselves nonsensical ramblings of "dude she's hot......i could get her.........she's" but jm and jessica simpson's fling seems to prove me wrong. i guess he is somewhat of a pop music tart himself, but she is a bubble gum musician, seriously? i really am speechless at what an intelligent or thoughtful man would want in her, she doesn't strike me as the kind who thinks a lot about non-hair care products.

lastly, i will bring this backc to my original reason for writing this, the youtube video. watch the little dance at 1:39 into it. it sickens me. the dance is shameless. it makes me feel dirty inside just like chris farley's chippendale act. not only does the dance sicken me, but it is the willingness to be what the fans want him to be which apauls me. it seems to be a complete nod to entertain the females in the audience. compare the shrieks before and after the "move." do you think he is ignorant of his female crowds desires? it doesn't seem like a logical progression from the dirty blues riff he is playing, but rather an expression of his desire to appeal to the lowest common denominator. this smacks of tooldom. this is why i believe that john mayer is a tool

well i hope that my diatribe has been enlighten, or at least partially entertaining.

here's a link to someone else who agrees that john mayer is a tool

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

coltrane and the effect he should have on jazz guitar tones

this post is exactly what the title says: the influence which i think jazz guitarists should take from john coltrane but they don't.
i am a jazz fan. i find improvisation very interesting, i also find the level of musicianship of top jazz musicians incredibly inspirational. however, i am depressed that most jazz guitarist stick w/ the cliche clean guitar clone.
as a footnote, for those of you unfamiliar w/ guitar tone, it is the combination of the natural acoustic sound physically inherent to the instrument coupled w/ any colouring which guitar electronics, amplifiers, or effects may produce.
tone is generally discussed by players and certain tones i.e. david gilmour's of pink floyd or stevie ray vaughan's are highly coveted and aped by aspiring guitarists. i probably listen to the tone of a guitarist as much if not even more than the notes they are playing. (it's just my cup of tea).
anyways, john coltrane is a saxamaphonist, what does he or should have to do w/ jazz guitar tone? the answer is his tone is amazing. he shreds through the air w/ his "sheet of sound" approach to the sax. but listen to his tone, sax inherently sounds similar to a distorted guitar. but coltrane's distorted tone conveys so much emotion in it, something which i think the "cool" clean cliche jazz guitar lacks. the cliche tone seems to be so concerned w/ fitting in w/ the song that it doesn't express any feelings of the musician. the closest i have observed to emulating coltrane's sax on guitar has to be led zeppelin's jimmy page (although he played more blues than jazz). if i can find some good live tracks where page is allowed to rip it up i will post them. he plays w/ a distorted tone reminiscnet to coltranes as well as a level of emotion which far surpasses most of which i hear from jazz guitarists.

check out the links below for a comparison of coltranes tone to jimmy page (yes page is a bit sloppier, and a bit more "arena rock," but i think he plays w/ a lot of emotions and his tone is very good for the piece)

coltrane - blue trane
led zep - since i've been loving you

Monday, July 14, 2008

music tba

i am collecting songs for the tba soundtrack (entitled "music tba")
the tentative tracks are as follows

  1. that's when i reach for my revolver- mission of burma
  2. black milk - massive attack
  3. i think i smell a rat - white stripes
  4. how many more times - led zeppelin
  5. street fighting man - rolling stones
  6. black milk - massive attack
  7. jumping jack flash- rolling stones
  8. calm like a bomb - ratm
  9. what is fight club- chem brothers
any comments/questions let me know i think they set the right mood for the film and the man himself

second hand review/critique of "why women should rule the world"

recently a friend of mine read a book which she quite enjoyed. it is by a former clinton white house press secretary dee dee myers. according to my friend, myers makes many anecdotal observations about the differences between men and women. myers argues that while men are more individualist and independant, women care about relationships and emotions. she argues that these differences cause the oft seen trend of the independant/individualistic man refusing to ask for directions, while the women who places strong emphasis on relationships are always testing to see how strong the relationship is (i.e. questions that probe how much you care). although these don't seem to be based on scientific data they do "seem" intuitively correctly.

i admit i haven't read the book myself, it is part of my long summer reading list; but it seems like an interesting read. i hoped that just maybe someplace inside the chaos and commotion that is our modern world, a man can post a book review about a women empowrment book which he hasn't read and others will enjoy it.


Amazon page for the book

Thursday, July 10, 2008

one for the 'stache

have any of you baseball fans notice some thing dirty at yankee stadium as of recently? it's the 'stache. yankees former-slugger jason giambi returned to his former bash brother days w/ the a's and grew a 'stache. apparently the 'stache is accepted under the yankee organization's strict facial hair policy, while the goatee which he sported w/ the a's is not.
check out the difference in his time w/ the a's, his clean cut look upon signing w/ the yanks years ago and the 'stache.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

after the persistence of a woman i will refer to as i heart jane austen 82, i have downloaded 5 austen classics from the website is a collection of mp3 recordings of classic novels which have outlasted their copyrights and are now in the public domain. volunteer readers contribute by reading a chapter or chapters from the book and post them online. this works great for those of you who want to read more of the "classics" but don't have time to sit down and read them. just upload them onto your ipod and enjoy.
i have already done this for dickens' a tale of two cities and was rather impressed (it's a free novel, why wouldn't i be). the reader usually announces her or his name at the beginning of the chapter/mp3 and a brief self-introduction. i particularly enjoyed some of the british chaps who contributed (nothing like hearing a dickens novel read w/ a distinct cockney accent) and chip from tampa flordia (he was a peppy, a little too peppy).
give the website a try, see if there are any books that interest you (i would guess there are). if you can't find the books you want i also hear there is someway to use your hennepin county library card number to download books as well.

Monday, July 7, 2008

why i love krugman

i recently added princeton economist and ny times columnist paul krugmans blog (the conscience of a liberal) to my favorite blogs list. i would strongly recommend everyone reading his blog and his op-ed's in the ny times. i admit that he is left leaning (which most people that i associate w/ tend to disagree w/), but he is an economist who writes about current events in words that laymen can understand.
for those of you who want to know more about the housing bust, and our current economic situation, i would strongly suggest reading some of his back articles. he predicted the housing bust months (i think it was about a year) prior to its occurence. todays article on the causes of the current economic situation is particularly poignant. i would suggest you check out the link below and unleash your inner economist.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

guilty pleasures

sometimes, when i am using the shop vac at work, and no one is looking, i put the hose up to my beard. i don't think it does much to clean the beard, but it sure makes me happy. :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

mormon cultural reforms

i was in slc last week attending a friends wedding at the slc temple. while in temple square i ran across an interesting scenario in the mens room of one of the buildings. in addition to the standard set of mirrors in front of you when you wash your hands, there was an additional set of mirrors on the wall facing your back. most of you i assume are familiar w/ this motif which we (mormons) apply to the mirrors in our celestial rooms of the temples. the two mirrors facing each other bounce images back off each other a seemingly infinite amount of times. this brings to mind the ffelings of the inifinite nature of our existence and particularly what we believe is the infinite nature of the work that is performed in the temple. however, this motif just doesn't do it for me in the bathroom. as much as i enjoy pondering the great unponderables, i rarely do so in the bathroom. if i do ponder them in the bathroom, it is on the pot; not while washing my hands. (sorry if that was too candid).

i did have some other interesting mormon cultural ideas too. my brother's friend evan (you are so emo btw) has had a longstanding desire to get a ctr tattoo. what better way to show your desire to obey the prophet then to have choose the right permanently written on your fore arm or back? i also found this very interesting collection of tattoos on the internet under the google search of "mormon tattoos" check it out, he has all the prophets of this dispensation from js to gbh (i can't wait until he gets tommy monson up there).
i told this to tom ferrara the other day, and he was stoked. we also got to thinking about ideas for tom's beard as he prepared to enter the mtc. tom as you may or may not know has a pretty rad beard, which i would put on par w/ yours trulie's awesome beard. a couple of months ago, tom also had some custom beard work done when he turned his chinstrap beard into lighting rays outlining his jaw bone. unfortunately, missionaries generally aren't allowed to have facial hair. our thought was, what if he got an angel moroni beard? think of the tool that would while tracting if he could sculpt moroni complete w/ trumpet out of his facial hair? who would be able to deny that truth has truly been restored? i may be a great cynic and skeptic myself, but if confronted w/ a man of tom's stature and an angel moroni beard at my own door step or even if contacted by him at a park, i would have no choice but to follow his counsel, attend church, read, pray etc. and eventually get baptized.
think about it, i think it about time for some cultural reforms.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wiffle Ball and the Evolution of Bernanke

We had our first wiffle ball event yesterday. Due to extreme thunder storms we were unable to play in the parking lot. So we set up inside. Because of the limited space inside, there was really only pitching practice. (Batters stood in to take batting practice but were as active as mannequins, only 10% of pitches made it into the strike zone).

Pitching results were generally inconsistent but Andrew showed great control of his McNasty, the lefty curve. He also showed signs of Sadistic tendencies not often shown while opening doors for Trisha, complementing others and listening attentively to the mundane details of their lives Showcasing his general warm smile w/ a wink of guilty pleasure in his eyes as he beaned a batter w/ four straight fastballs.

All in all it was a good warm up for the season. We should get some pics up soon.

I have decided to post a graphic from economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman's blog. It shows the evolution of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. You see the evolution from our simian predecessor to homo neglectus, (former Fed Chairman and lassez-faire advocate Alan Greenspan) to the man himself: Ben Bernanke.

Chances are you wont enjoy this as much as I do, but that's your loss.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Neural sarcasm detection mechanism

I was reading an article in the Times last night which I found rather interesting. Neurologists have apparently located the part of the brain which detects sarcasm. They believe that it is in the right temperofrontal lobe, where they also believe there is a social surroundings detector of some sorts. Give the article a read it's worth your time. Also, play the video they used to test for sarcasm detectors, it is quite a hoot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"So How About the Weather?"

I have to say the weather here in Minnesoter has been amazing the last couple of weeks. Most of you will probably disagree w/ me given the "cold" wet weather we have had a lot of recently, but it has worked well for me.

I started working for remodeling company last week. I have never done any kind of manual physical labor before, but it has been pretty fun. So far all that I have done is destroy floors and radiators with sledgehammers, chisels, and levers made of 2x4s. I haven't been this destructive to other people's property since I was 16. Not only has the work been fun, but the weather is cool. This particularly nice when I hated to spend 5 hours today tearing up the floor on a third story attic. Yesterday w/ the sun out it was a sauna up there. Luckily, yesterday was the only warm day that I have worked so far.

The other reason this weather has been so nice is the aesthetic value which raining adds to reading. I don't think I'm the only one who likes to cuddle up by the fire on a rainy day w/ a good romance novel, I mean Crime and Punishment. I seem to focus a lot better when it is raining, and you also don't have people interrupting your reading for tedious invitations to BBQ (I'm kidding, honestly.)

Aside from these two benefits of the added rain and cold weather, I just plain like it. There is something about things which are "depressing" which make me happy. I can't explain it in the least bit, but that's how it goes.

Hope you are enjoying the weather as well, wherever you are.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drum tracks

I am in the process of finding/making drum tracks. It looks like it will be 50/50 between ripped tracks and drum loops.
I am going through old jazz and R&B recordings for jazzier drumming samples. I really like the spacey feel which the sparse jazz influenced drumming gives a track. (see PF's "Breathe" and RH's "Spinning Plates" or Hendrix's "Third Stone" for examples). Good drums really make the entire track. (If I knew how important drums were when I was 11, I would have learned to play drums instead of guitar). Charlie Watts of the Stones also does a great job of laying the foundation. If I was feeling blasphemous I could sample some of Ringo's tacks, but I am not sure that I want to mess with the Beatles.
That's about it for this installment. If you have any suggestions of good drum track let me know.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wrong Number?

I am not sure why, but I receive a lot of calls with wrong numbers on my cell phone. Five minutes ago I just received a text from a local number asking "can I go tomorrow so I can set an alarm or not cause I'm tired!!!" I have no idea who this is from, and I have no idea what event is going on tomorrow. Last Thursday or Friday night a girl called me up at around 6 o'clock and asked "this is Pizza Hut right?" I told her it was not and she quickly hung up.

For a while there was an elder man who would call me every month or so from a 210 (San Antonio,TX) area code. Each time he called he would speak to me in what seemed to be a tonal Asian language (I am guessing Hmong, it didn't sound Chinese or Vietnamese). I tried to respond to him in Mandarin each time, hoping that he was some contact form the mission. He wouldn't respond to my ni hao's or qingwen's so then I would try to ask him in English how he got this number. From his lack of response to my English questions, I infer that he didn't speak English. So I was unable to find out how he got my number, and why he persisted in calling me month after month.

My favorite random caller happened last August. I received several calls from a man with what sounded like a Middle Eastern accent. He claimed to be from somewhere in the Arab world and for all I know he was. He had somehow mistaken me for a one "Madame Amima." (Amima may not be spelled correctly, I spelt it pout phonetically, he never spelt it out for me). Apparently, he was under the impression that my cell phone number was the number for some escort service on the East Coast.

In the first message to my voicemail he explained that someone back home had recommended the Madame's services to him and gave my number to him. The first message left me shocked at his forwardness on a voicemale that introduces itself as "Nate Reid's voicemail", but grateful for the laughs provided at his expense. However, the fun didn't stop there. I soon recieved other messages. He started calling while I was at work. He called 8 times in one day, leaving messages of the same every time. Each one expressing praise for the quality of Madame Amima's serivces (he never was explicit in what these services entailed). Finally, he called when I was able to talk to him. I tried to explain that I had no idea who this madame was nor how he found my cell number. If I figured this confrontation would stop him I was wrong. He continued to call and leave more messages. After a couple more days, and no returned calls he finally gave up. Leaving me somewhat confused by the whole ordeal, but pleased w/ the akward situation.

I have no idea why I get so many calls from so many different people for so many different reasons. I am starting to wonder if I am schizophrenic. Maybe I have several alter-egos that pose as Madam Amima, Pizza Hut employess and an elderly Laotian man. It could also be that I am on some TV like the Truman Show where everyone knows what's going on but me. There is also the possiblity that I have unknowingly entered the Twilight Zone. As I serach for the meaning of all this, although the above all seem like possible answers, I am persuaded that these random phone calls and text are corraborative evidence of my long held belief that I truly am the center of the universe.

On Gibson and Koufax

I have chosen Gibson Koufax as the name of my virtual band. The lineup consists of me, my laptop, an external hard drive and a couple of mics. I am not sure how it is going to turn out, but c'est la vie.
As for the name Gibson Koufax, its a baseball name. Or two of them to be exact. Bob Gibson was a pitcher w. the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1968 he posted a 1.12 ERA. To give a comparison of what that means the league average is usually around 4.25 these days. Sandy Koufax was the dominant pitcher of the 1960's. His curveball was the stuff of legends. From 1962 to 1966 he went 111-34 (.766 win%) w/ an ERA of 1.96.
I enjoy the old baseball stories. Baseball of all the professional sports seems most able to summon nostalgic feelings from eras long before my birth. There is a certain romantic feeling to the game. Not that this romantic feeling has any real connection to rock music (maybe more w/ jazz and speakeasys than anything else), but it is intended as an homage to a great sport.
There, I did it! I blogged about arguably the two greatest pitchers of the 1960's, and their weak connection to music recorded on my laptop.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Preface to my ramblings

I figured I would write a preface to my future attempts at blogging. I enjoy writing. I enjoy expressing my ideas. I enjoy humor. However, oftentimes my humor and ideas are lost on other people. If you fall among that category who is confused, you should feel normal. If you actually get it, may heaven have mercy on your soul.

There, I said that I was going to write a preface and I did.