Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 Entertainment and Travel in Review

Books (a woeful situation this year)
Wicked as She Wants, Delilah Dawson
100,001+ Best Baby Names
300 pages of Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (so far)

Live Music/Entertainment
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Jun Markl Conducting
   Le tombeau de Couperin, Marice Ravel
   Concerto in B flat Major for Bassoon & Orchestra, K. 186e, WA Mozart
      - featuring Carl Nitchie, Bassoon
   Symphony #6 in F Major, Opus 68, "Pastorale", Beethoven
The Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell - The Cobb Energy Center
Darius Rucker with Jana Kramer and Justin Moore - Verizon Wireless at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
Gwinnett Braves vs Toledo Medhens
Sarah Jarosz - Eddie's Attic

TV (Catching up on shows, not shows watched in-season)
Doctor Who Season 4, 10th Doctor
Doctor Who Season 10th Doctor Special Episodes
Doctor Who Season 5, 11th Doctor
Doctor Who Season 6, 11th Doctor
Downton Abbey Season 1
Downton Abbey Season 2
Downton Abbey Season 3

CD's Purchased
Love Actually, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Mavericks, In Time
Yonder Mountain String Band, The Show
Chris Isaak, Forever Blue
Fun, Some Nights
Pink, The Truth About Love
Darius Rucker, True Believers
Ray, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Brandi Carlile - The Story
Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler - All the Roadrunning

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Hotel Transylvania
The Debt
Silver Linings Playbook
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
This is 40
Take Shelter
10 Years
Pitch Perfect
Step Up
Friends with Kids
Jack Reacher
The Awakening
Star Trek: Into Darkness
Warm Bodies
Iron Man 3
Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
The Presidio
The Heat
Oz the Great & Powerful
Rise of the Guardians
Hope Springs
Too Big to Fail
Jack the Giant Slayer
Celeste & Jesse Forever
The World's End
The Descendants
Rock N Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen
Searching for Sugarman
This is the End
Ender's Game
Thor: The Dark World
The Town
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic

Hilton Head Island, SC
Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC
Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long Absence, Personal Post

Sorry for the long absence, but it's just what happens these days.

Today is just a funny personal story.

For the last year or so, we have been collecting songs that J says he likes and putting them on a playlist on my ipod, which we play in the car most of the time while the dude is riding around with us. He's used to this now, so that when he hears a song he really likes, he asks me to add it to the list.

Because its our car, and we control the radio, generally, these are songs that we also like, which means a lot of the songs are bluegrass, americana, rock, and pop.

However, sometimes he hears a song in a store, on the radio or tv that we wouldn't normally put on with him in the car. This is how we ended up with the theme for the Big Bang Theory on his mix, along with - proudly, I might add - Appalachian Spring, by Aaron Copland (Thank you, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade). But, unfortunately, it is also how, after this morning, his mix and my ipod will now include Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison.

Friday, November 01, 2013

We are not the problem. We are the solution.

This is an interesting review of The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, by Ramez Naam.

Something that the all-organic, eat local folks might do well to remember: while a nice idea for the rich among us, this is not a plan for feeding the world.
Take agriculture. Ten thousand years ago it took an average of 3,000 acres to feed one hunter-gatherer; farmers today can feed one person using less than one-third of an acre. “Our innovation in farming technology has multiplied the value of a plot of land by nearly 10,000,” Naam notes. If crop yields per acre had remained stuck at 1960 levels, half the world’s remaining forests would have been plowed under by now. 
There is also an interesting, market-based plan for tackling climate change. And the reviewer discusses solutions to the tragedy of the commons regarding collapsing fisheries and depleted aquifers.

And finally:
While Attenborough laments that humanity is a plague upon the earth, Naam counters with an intriguing question: “Would your life be better off if only half as many people had lived before you?” In this thought experiment, you don’t get to pick which people are never born. Perhaps there would have been no Newton, Edison, or Pasteur, no Socrates, Shakespeare, or Jefferson. “Each additional idea is a gift to the future,” Naam writes. “Each additional idea producer is a source of wealth for future generations.” Fewer people means fewer new ideas about how to improve humanity’s lot. 
“If we fix our economic system and invest in the human capital of the poor,” Naam writes, “then we should welcome every new person born as a source of betterment for our world and all of us on it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

No no no no no no no

Oh, look, the the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed horrible, terrible, awful legislation that is likely to pass in the full Senate.

Don't buy the headline about "protection" or the "shield" in the summaries. This bill amounts to nothing but a protection racket, like all licensing laws and regulations (which is what this really is), that keeps the big, rich, entrenched media companies safe while serving as a well-fortified wall against upstarts and rebels.
Feinstein introduced an amendment that defines a "covered journalist" as someone who gathers and reports news for "an entity or service that disseminates news and information." The definition includes freelancers, part-timers and student journalists, and it permits a judge to go further and extend the protections to any "legitimate news-gathering activities." [emphasis mine]
It also has effects that the government loves, giving them power to silence those writers (i.e. speakers) they don't like by allowing the federal government to define who exactly qualifies for First Amendment protections under the guise of "national security". This is perfect, modern crony capitalist legislation.

It would seem at this point, thankfully, that it will have a hard time in the House. I can't even imagine how it could pass Supreme Court muster, if it does become law. Of course, even getting to SCOTUS would require the law to be in effect, someone to be silenced using it and then bringing a challenge. Access to information would suffer in the, potentially long, meantime, and based on many surprising decisions by the court, there's always the possibility they would let it stand.

Never mind that "freedom of speech" is actually separate from "the press" in the First Amendment, but exactly where does it say only the press as officially defined by the legislature?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Founding Fathers were intentionally broad with the Bill of Rights, especially. Their intention was absolutely to limit the power of the federal government. And yet our government continues to distill it and define it down in order to bend it to their will -- more power and control over the lives of American citizens. Eventually it won't bend anymore. It will only break.*

*Some would argue that's already happened via SCOTUS-supported abuses of the Fourth Amendment.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Boys to Men

As a wife, and mother of a son, who very much believes in Free Range parenting, the way we tend to treat so many normal situations as inherently dangerous and so many men as predators by default concerns me.

The number of stories of men treated suspiciously simply for being out and about alone in the general vicinity of kids, usually their own, can get downright depressing. Luckily, I live in a place where fathers are often very involved in their kids' lives, and these sorts of assumptions don't seem to be a part of our daily existence.

It's important to remember, though, that this happens more than it used to (unlike violent crime), and there is danger in assuming every man is a potential predator, which leads to demonizing male sexuality. This is not a good thing and should not be taken lightly.

update: hat tip to Delilah S. Dawson's post on Facebook for the article on demonizing male sexuality.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ah, Government Efficiency

Why is the State Department even trying to get likes on Facebook, much less, paying $630,000 for it? Here's my favorite part, though:
Some of the issues are rather tedious, like whether embassy staffers should go to the Office of Web Engagement or the Office of Innovative Engagement for advice on social media. A section of the report is devoted to telling employees, hey, the "Office of Innovative Engagement is the proper place for this function."
Just straight out of Office Space.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

What to say?

It's hard to know what to say about this, specifically. But I will say that I love technology and modern science. Cuz, wow.