Archive for January 2006

Blogs That I DON’T Read Anymore

January 28, 2006

There are tons (ok, Tonnes, if you speak English) of blogs out there worth reading IF YOU HAVE THE TIME. You have the time? I don’t. There were so many that I enjoyed, and still might, but don’t bother with, that I thought a compendium of said blogs might be enlightening.

So here goes. The blogs I don’t consider worth my time anymore:
Atrios (well, actually, it’s called Eschaton) – Nine of every ten entries is an “open thread”, where Shakespere is mangled. The remaining post is vulgar, assumes you are a leftist and will follow his links anywhere to ‘get’ what he’s talking about, and generally assumes he (Duncan Black) is cool. His commenters vie with those of dKos as the least intelligent on the internet. Besides, he has no RSS feed.
Counterpunch – Alexander Cockburn’s little playpen is the home of what’s left of Ann Arbor’s Stalinist from 1976. It’s a little pathetic to see such rants in print, now that we’re past 1980.
Blonde Sense – You gotta love a man-hating feminist rant with vulgarity to spare. Pity they got rid of “Pissed off Patricia”, though. Her screeds were fun to laugh at.
The Progressive – Matthew Rothchild’s sandbox must be the only place online where Molly Ivans seems moderate. Let us sing the praises of John Kerry as he costs the democratic party yet another election.
Salon – This is the sad case of an online rag that once had literary pretensions. It fell short when it decided that Playboy was also a literary magazine. Joe Conason’s toy became a ‘pay-for’ that wasn’t worth the read when it was free.

Now lest you think that I’m picking only on left-wing blogs:
Oxblog – This blog, written by present and former Rhodes scholars, has been great in the past. It’s also been militantly middle of the road to the point of being mushy and self-contradictory, and is generally overlong. Sometimes I have loved it, other times it has bored me to within an inch of my life.
Front Page Mag is David Horowitz’s baby. He has a great story to tell, once. You will hear it again (and again and again) if you read the blog long enough. I still look for Ann Coulter there, and on occasion, Rich Lowery, but there’s too much there that is appealing to the college sophomore in everyman.
The Corner – Yes, it pains me to say it, but not much more than Jonah Goldberg’s entries are worth reading. It is blogging by (conservative) committee, tends to be self-referential closed club of insider conversations, and no comments allowed (which really stretches the purpose of blogs, IMHO). Now keep in mind that this is distinct from NRO itself, which is a fine compendium of conservative thought and articles.
The Daily Dish – Andrew Sullivan at his finest, and at his worst, and at his most one-dimensional. How one person can be so intellectually all over the place and still be such a ‘One-Note Charlie” is beyond me, and beyond most, I understand. To read him is to become frustrated, for he can write utter nonsense brillantly. He can also write utter nonsense badly. The great persuader had everyone believing for almost two years that he was a conservative supporter of Bush, until the election actually happened.

Hum… There are others, like Chaos Theory (too trashy) and The Cotillion (too silly), and even The Volokh Conspiracy (which one should read out of sense of duty, but is too long otherwise – another blog-by-committee) that I turn to every so often, but cannot stick with for the long term.

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Are You a Heretic?

January 23, 2006

Try this test and find out. My results:
(Well, I’m not sure entirely what it means to be ‘Chalcedon Complient’, but I am.)

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you’re not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant

92%

Pelagianism

83%

Modalism

58%

Monophysitism

42%

Gnosticism

33%

Nestorianism

17%

Arianism

17%

Apollanarian

17%

Adoptionist

8%

Docetism

8%

Donatism

8%

Albigensianism

8%

Monarchianism

0%

Socinianism

0%

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

Don’t Read Newspapers Much Anymore

January 22, 2006

Reading the morning paper (and when I was a kid, the morning and the evening paper) used to be a habit. I’ve lost that habit. The Sunday Paper is still there, and I go through the first section (reading only things that catch my interest – almost nothing this week) and a few op-ed pieces, but not even the sports section or the comics interest me much, now that the Bills are out of the play-offs and Blondie is 75 years old. I get my news from the blogs, and a bit from on-line.

Austin Bay has a great entry that shows why the papers are so bad. It’s not me, it’s not you. It’s them.

I Don’t Like Baby Boomers

January 22, 2006

…and to paraphrase an old joke, “I are one”.

Well, that’s not exactly true; I like most ‘boomers’, just as I like most people. It’s a few of their shared characteristics that I dislike (not most, just a few, really).

I read Generations by Howe and Strauss when it first came out in 1992, and was tremendously impressed at their insights, as were most of my generation who read it. Being self-centered as we are (boomers invented the me-generation, after all) Howe and Struass had us pegged from the start. They should have – they’re boomers too.

Yes, we’re an extroverted group, not afraid of the spotlight or power (as we see in our two boomer presidents, Clinton and Bush). But we’re arrogant, and overly self-assured, as we see in the personae of Woodward and Bernstein. They brought down a president? Really? And this was a good thing?

Yes, we invented sex, drugs and rock-‘n-roll, except that we didn’t. And we had the audacity to preach to our parents (especially if our parents fought in World War II), as if we had a superior morality. Oh, God, did we preach. We still do. On top of all that, we have always preached the gospel of individualism, even as we all rushed out together to buy hula-hoops. (Brian – “You’re all individuals!” Small voice – “I am not.”)

Sigh. Our foibles have indeed be balanced by some mitigating factors: our civic enthusiasm is not a bad thing, even if it is (more than) occasionally mis-directed. And our sheer numbers have contributed to the national well being, even if we screwed up royally in Viet-Nam. Today we (literally) run the country, and the job has been done worse, even if it has been done better at times. Our children will blame us for emptying the nation coiffures for Social Security, but they will be wrong. Our parents and grandparents should never have set up that Ponzy scheme to begin with, and we will replace it with something better and lasting (just wait and see).

Boomers are mostly in their 50s and 60s now, and believe it or not, some are wising up. I’m confident that with age comes wisdom, and what I see on the horizon is a situation where a large number of experience people remain in the workforce (part-time, mind you), just when they’re needed, doing for the first time in their lives, just what they want to do (not what they need to do). I see an infrastructure in place to allow the communication of information on an industrial scale needed to take advantage of this. I see longer life-times that need productive work, and opportunities for productive work that need longer life-times. Virtuous circles all over the place!

Long Time Comin’, Long Time Gone

January 19, 2006

Apologies for the infrequent posting, but the time leading up to launch can be very busy. It’s been busy, but today we launched. And it was gorgeous.

Weather (winds, actually) did delay the Jan. 17 date, which had already been a delay from the original Jan. 11 date. The extra day has been reported in the press as being due to a power failure here in Maryland, but the reports slightly mislead. The outage was not due to weather, although weather may have contributed. I was there when the lights went out (at about 5:25 AM on Wednesday), and the early reports were that a piece of electrical equipment at the lab failed catastrophically, went ‘boom’, and took some other pieces in the plant with it. It happens.

But after about 15 years of planning and several generations of Kuiper missions that failed to gain the necessary $upport, New Horizons finally made it off the ground. As I type this, it’s only about two hours until the 1000 lb. spacecraft reaches the distance of the moon, and only about one year until it has it’s encounter with Jupiter. Once there the science instruments get their first real test. And after that, it’s another 2 and a half billion miles to Pluto, Charon and points outward. I do hope I’m around to see the results.

A small aside: on Tuesday we heard a repeat of a December 2005 press conference, in which Alan Stern (principal investigator) mentioned that there was a surprise aboard. Today I found out that the spacecraft carries the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet in 1930. Tombaugh died in 1997.

We’re Doomed!

January 2, 2006

This, from The New Criterion, says it much better than I. Oh, it’s bad to be such an optimist! ;>

As Instapundit would say, Read The Whole Thing. Long, but worth it.

If you can’t say it in 25 words or less

January 1, 2006

…do you really know what you’re talking about?

Neo-Neocon is a great writer and blogger, and mostly I love reading her stuff, especially her series A Mind is a Difficult Thing to Change. Great reading.

But like M. Scott Peck, I’m a firm believer that even the most difficult subjects can be explained with surprising brevity, if you really understand the topic. Physics? Physics is the study of how objects move, no more and no less. Peck himself decides on similar statements for psychology and theology.

So, Neo. Yes, you do write long articles, and yes they are beautifully written. But when are the words getting in the way? For me, that happens when I don’t have the time to ferret out the essence. At that point, too much has been written.