Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Theory and History by Ludwig von Mises, just another thing to pass the time.
Got some time? Want to do some heavy reading? Are you sure? Try reading Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge. Have fun!
Tom Curran's latest Patriots column has the following:

"The Patriots are closers. They're 21-0 since 2001 when leading after three quarters. They are 3-13 when trailing, which shows they come back once in a while. They are an astounding 6-0 when tied after four quarters, including the Snow Bowl win. They are 11-6 when the final margin is seven points or less. And they're 6-1 when the margin in three points or less. Lastly, they're 18-1 since '01 when leading at halftime, 5-10 when trailing, 3-3 when tied."

The above stats could dramatically alter the way I watch Pats games now. Knowing all of this, if they are leading a game at the half, I have to feel REALLY good, right?

Monday, October 27, 2003

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online has more on Virginia Postrel's book as well as a bit on Charles (The Bell Curve)Murray's new book Human Accomplishment.
George F. Will does a book review of Virginia Postrel's "The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness." There is something in here that may help in doing History, perhaps even Psychohistory. When I get time, I may have to check it out.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Amazon.com: Books / Search Inside the Book. Sounds cool.
OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today: "Cheers to blogger 'Frank J.' for this delightful bon mot (ellipsis in original):
There is now a Centrist Coalition blog. I hate moderates . . . much more than even liberals. I bet Satan is a moderate; the best way to get evil accepted is to package it with some good. That's what moderates do; they're always like, 'Oh! I'm so special because I don't take a firm stance on issues, and I see value in everyone's viewpoints.' I bet right now a moderate is reading this and partially agreeing with it. Damn you!"
www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: "THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: 'For some reason or another, a series of enormously important issues — the future of the Middle East, the credibility of the United States as both a strong and a moral power, the war against the Islamic fundamentalists, the future of the U.N. and NATO, our own politics here at home — now hinge on America's efforts at creating a democracy out of chaos in Iraq. That is why so many politicians — in the U.N., the EU, Germany, France, the corrupt Middle East governments, and a host of others — are so strident in their criticism, so terrified that in a postmodern world the United States can still recognize evil, express moral outrage, and then sacrifice money and lives to eliminate something like Saddam Hussein and leave things far better after the fire and smoke clear. People, much less states, are not supposed to do that anymore in a world where good is a relative construct, force is a thing of the past, and the easy life is too precious to be even momentarily interrupted. We may expect that, a year from now, the last desperate card in the hands of the anti-Americanists will be not that Iraq is democratic, but that it is democratic solely through the agency of the United States — a fate worse than remaining indigenously murderous and totalitarian.' - Victor Davis Hanson, on a roll."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Just some random thoughts....

I've listened to most of the latest KISS with Symphony thing and I have to say, as a lifelong KISS fan, ahhhh, not gettin' it done guys. Some music just doesn't lend itself to full orchestral treatment. Yours is an example. Hope this means you haven't hit ROCK BOTTOM.

The Grady Little debate has officially exceeded its time allotment. Move on everyone. He's gone. Let's....*sigh*....wait 'til next year.

PC is going to have a good basketball team. Wonder if any of the players will be in my Grad. History classes ;)

I saw that TV execs are in distress and confounded because their ratings are down. They tried to blame Nielsen, the ratings service. One of the Nielsen people stated what seemed to me to be the obvious. Maybe it's the quality of the shows.

A guy in my office is worried that too many people are jumping on the Patriots bandwagon. He's apparently afraid that this means doom. We'll see. Ain't it great being a superstitious sports fan. Too bad there aren't that many here in New England...

I pay attention to politics, but even I'm not really paying too much attention to the Democrat Primaries. Political junkies beware, you are talking to yourselves, no one else cares right now.

In an odd irony, I'm enjoying my course in Historical Methodology more than the one covering the Civil War. I think I'm a geek, or at least a scientific method nerd. Must be my engineering background showing through. Though I have to admit I do enjoy research and Methodology is about good research techniques. I'm also just plain intrinsically interested in the Philosophy of History, (regular Philosophy too) which is something I never studied before, except on my own.

I am doing a research paper on the impact of the Civil War on French Canadian immigration (or would it be emigration) to New England. I have lots of sources, and am 1/3 of the way through the rough draft. A long way to go. And when I'm done, I'll be tackling a comparative book review on two works about Joshua L. Chamberlain. Fun.

That's it for now. Hope I didn't bore.

I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Variety.com - Gibson takes 'Passion' play to Newmarket(subscription required). This means the film will be distributed across the country. Good. Despite the hysterics of some paranoid people, this is a must see for me.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Yanks Beat Sox, Again: "Every year you know they'll probably lose, but every year they suck you back in, and every year they crush you like a tiny bug," said 25-year-old Aric Egmont, summing up the angst of being a Red Sox fan.
Paradise lost, again. Enough said...for now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Being a "historian", with a minor in Medieval History, I felt obligated to at least give Masterpiece Theatre's Warrior Queen a chance. I lasted 20 minutes. When you have the Roman consulate telling the Celtic king (without a translator!) that the king better "play ball" or else, you have to just stop. I wasn't aware that baseball/basketball/football/soccer were around circa 100 A.D. This is called anachronism and is evidence of poor scholarliness on the part of the writers or whomever. I couldn't take it seriously after that. Yet, it was when the obligatory "Druid" showed one of the warriors a vision in the water (a la Merlin) that I finally turned it off. Bad history. I thought Masterpiece Theatre was supposed to be quality entertainment?

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories: "Press ReleaseSource: Premiere Radio

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories
Friday October 10, 2:55 pm ET
NEW YORK, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Rush Limbaugh today issued the following statement on his radio program:
'You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.
'I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.
'Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.
'Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me. The show will continue during this time, of course, with an array of guest hosts you have come to know and respect.
'I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when"
Sgt. N.J. Todd has seen the results of genocide first hand. (Golf clap to Andrew Sullivan).

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Another fine analysis of what is going on with regards to the reports coming out of Iraq, by Jon Rauch.
Ralph Peters on how the media not reporting everything going on in Iraq is shaping public opinion negatively. An excerpt (thanks to instapundit.com):

"Recently, I visited Germany to speak with our soldiers, many just back from Iraq. The situation depicted in the media was unrecognizable to them. They'd just left a country where every indicator of success was turning positive. Yet the media insist we are incompetent and failing.

The Kurds are prospering. The Shi'ites no longer live in fear. Even most Sunni Arabs feel relieved that Saddam's gone. The mullahs are behaving. Local markets are busy and full of goods. The electricity's back on - more reliably than before the war. Schools are open. Oil's flowing. The Iraqi media is booming, boisterous and free. The Governing Council has convinced previously hostile factions to cooperate. Iraqis provide more and more of their own local security. And the torture chambers are closed.

What do we hear from Iraq? Another soldier killed. The rest is silence. "
Gallup Poll Analyses - Are the News Media Too Liberal?. Yup, according to this poll. My only problem with it is that, according to the poll, 54% of the respondents have a "Great Deal/Fair Amount" of confidence in the media when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Shouldn't they have separated those two? In my opinion, there is a significant difference between a "Great Deal" of confidence and a "Fair Amount", isn't there?
The anti-American Obsession by Jean-Francois Revel is a well thought out condensation of a book by the same name and author, a Frenchman. It refutes many of the arguments of the anti-globalization, anti-free market, -anti-America crowd, but deals primarily with French attitudes towards the United States. The problem in a nut-shell:

"Giancarlo Pajetta, an important Italian Communist leader, once said: 'I have finally understood what pluralism is; it’s when lots of people share my point of view.' In that spirit, governments and elites almost everywhere have signed on to cultural globalism provided that their own countries are its source and model. In 1984, presenting a Projet culturel extérieur de la France, the French government said, with signal modesty, that this manifesto had 'no parallel in other countries.' All cultures are of equal value, conceded the authors of this official document (a statement erring on the side of simplistic political correctness), but our culture is predestined to be a universal mediator, for it is 'shared by people of every continent.' Touching optimism indeed, which naturally led up to the conclusion that 'the future of the French language in the world can only be as a promoter of cultural progress and is closely linked to the future of people everywhere.' Global homogenization of culture, in the illusions of these authors, is fine—provided that it emanates from France."

He concludes with:

"The real danger—conceivably a mortal one—for European culture is that anti-American and antiglobalist phobias might derail progress. Guy Sorman has shown the scientific and technological retreats this obscurantism has led to in his book Le Progrès et ses ennemis. And this isn’t some 'right-wing' or 'left-wing' thesis; it is a rational one. It is defended alike by the liberal-democrat Sorman and by the socialist Claude Allègre. The latter wages war against the idea that Europe should abandon nuclear energy, genetic engineering and research using embryonic cells. Should the pressure groups that agitate against progress win the day, in twenty years the European states will regress, he writes, 'to the level of the underdeveloped countries, in a world that will be dominated by the United States and China' (L’Express, February 7, 2002.) The anti-American fanatics will then have succeeded in making Europe even more dependant on the United States than it is today."

I guess some of the French get it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

As usual, Bill Simmons nails it. This is what I went through last night.
Rhode Island Government Unions (local and state) are banding together for a million dollar PR campaign. Edward Achorn of the ProJo tells us why.
Bring on The Evil Empire!

Monday, October 06, 2003

Rich Lowry on Democrats on National Review Online is a succint summary of what the Democrats believe.