Tuesday, June 26, 2007


So, Liquidity Event Fairy visited my checking account last night, life is good. My "friend" David made me go to music123.com and order a brand new Gibson Les Paul classic custom. But, life is good.

So, sitting here somethat inebriated, listening to Joss Stone, and waiting for my wife to return from bonding with her siblings in Louisville, I'm ~60% done with my "tagging the blog" project -- which I will discuss when complete -- when I come across a 4/25/5 entry:

unmitigated, evil assholes such as Jerry Falwell
So, when I read a few weeks ago that the asshole had died, my reaction was "Yes!!!".

The one good thing about reactionary assholes is that they tend to be old. I was so glad the fucking catholics elected Pope Benny, whose pushing 80. He'll die soon, good fucking riddance.

To be Fair and Balanced, I will state for the record that, despite being the proud owner of a "Liberal" t-shirt, I am still An Old Person, and as such, I am sure, I am instinctively reactionary at many levels -- but I am happy to cede my memetic slot to a more advanced modern liberal model as soon as it is appropriate.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

$25 well spent

I splurged and spent $25 (2 @ 9.95 + 5.10 S&H) on ...

2 Flying Spaghetti Monster car emblems!!! Woo-hoo! One for my Prius, that I'm supposed to get back from my wife in the next few months, and one for the young coworker who first introduced me to the joy that is Pastafarianism. I think we've had reference to FSM in this forum before; regardless, when the idiocy gets you down and you need a good belly-laugh, it is available here: http://www.venganza.org

When my 4 kids were in high school we had a Darwin-fish emblem on one of the junkers they drove to school. I really think FSM is more appropriate. After all, Darwin was real .. (posted to KASES Forum earler today).

No biking today, radar threatened rain so I took a long walk instead. Got spit on a little.

Music-wise, some very good stuff lately:

  • Bjork's latest, "Volta". I believe Ms. Gutmunsdottir is currently the world's greatest living composer. This kind of goes back to her techno roots, but keeps the heartbreaking melodies and odd textures she has consistently created lately. Another wonderful effort, 4 stars.
  • At the recommendation of one of T.D.'s backup singers who was a Corinne Bailey Rae fan, got Joss Stone, "Introducing Joss Stone". Reminded me of Jamie Lidell, another white Brit deciding to do great R&B. 4 stars from me, but my youngest doesn't like it.
  • Found out that eMusic.com has old Kinks stuff on it. Got "Muswell Hillbillies" (1971), which I also have on vinyl, 4 stars. Seems like most stuff I have on vinyl winds up at 4 stars when I reacquire it on a digital medium -- must be burned into the brain pretty good.
  • Also got the Kinks "Preservation Act I" (1973). I had never heard before, I think part of 2 concept albums. 3 stars.
  • Got Little Feat "Waiting for Columbus" (1979), an apparently legendary 2 disc live album. The 1st disc I was surprised at how many of the songs I recognized, mostly 4 stars here. The 2nd disc, not so many except for "Willin'", mostly 3 stars. Looked up Lowell George, guiding light of Little Feat. I thought these guys had been around well into the late '80s, and had backed up Bonnie Raitt, but George was apparently a real rocker and died in 1979 at age 34. He played with Zappa in the Mothers of Invention for a while ?!?!?
Haven't read much lately: two Black Widow graphic novels (multiple comic books repackaged) written by Richard K. Morgan, whose 4 recent novels have been very positively reviewed earlier in this blog. I guess they were good -- oh no, surely I'm not finally too old for comic books? Say it ain't so! One thing really comes across in these -- a nice level of British disgust for our current moronic president and his criminal foreign policies.

I never did get the other links into this new format. I may try that now. I am also, for fun, going to go back and tag all the posts. Be interesting to see what the breakdown is.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Oh boy, a new tag!

Forgot to mention, when I was biking on 6/8/7, on Paul's Mill Rd, just south of Troy, KY, I had been thinking how I hadn't seen any interesting birds lately -- when a pileated woodpecker swooped in front of me! Way cool, 15" tall, wingspan at least 2 feet. The only other time I have seen one of these was on vacation in Traverse City, MI in the summer of 1995. Checked my bird book, it said these are actually found all the way down to the gulf states, and have gone from being deep-woods only to being found around cities -- but that they're very good at staying hidden ?!?!? Ninja birds???

Biked today 33.1 miles in 2h37m, with only one break. Felt pretty good. Saw a thrush.

Music reviews pending, but, got to go look at ... furniture!!! Argh!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Oops -- I Did It Again

Well, after months of being good and not bothering the members of KASES, I snapped and posted another call-to-arms. The Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky pushes all the wrong buttons. Here's the post:
I would like to personally thank Blenster for the anti-museum activities. The Lexington Herald-Leader coverage showed photos of the protesters, all the signs were great, altho I only remember "You evolved too -- just not enough".

I slide-showed the Flikr museum tour today. LOL like 4-5 times. That got me thinking... I hate to give these people $14.95, but, maybe with funding, how about maybe 2-4 times a day, have someone go through the "museum" and laugh, real loud, throughout? Target laugh would be, the deep belly guffaw. If/when a laugher is thrown out, I would suggest loud, laughing protestation, possibly per a prepared script, but nothing that could get anyone arrested.

I missed the talk last night re "God -- the Failed Hypothesis" (a drummer friend of mine needed a guitarist -- sorry, music over antitheism). I wanted to meet some of my fellow skeptics. I also wanted to raise my concerns re: appealing to rationality as an approach ain't going to cut it here.

The only one of the recent antitheist books I have read is the Dennett, "Breaking the Spell". I think I reviewed that book at this forum. I found Dennett's "please thing logically, Mr. Religious Fanatic" approach to be totally laughable.

We are dealing with one of, if not the, stongest memeplex that the human memesphere has developed in its 100,000 year history. Logic will do nothing against the "this makes me feel secure, when by all rights I have no business doing so" comfort that religion (and mindless patriotism, another of the very old and strong memeplexes) provide.

So, I think the only way to oppose this kind if thinking is via memetic warfare (apologies to the pacifists amongst us for my use of a militaristic term). I don't believe that memetic warfare is a discipline in which one can be certified at this time, but my gut level feel is that laughter is one of the strongest tools in the memetic warriors toolbox at this time. Some really catchy tunes would help too.

One of my major motivations for wanting to fix this, aside from "a mind is a terrible thing to waste", is my non-mindless patriotism. In "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", Dennett quotes the biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973): "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Raising our children on feel-good fairy tales instead of the scientific method is an express ticket to our country becoming second-rate.

Sorry for the rant. It's my birthday, this is my present to myself ?!?!?

But, then, actually got an e-mail from a forum member who said he really liked it. Also, a mandolin/guitar/bass player, so maybe another musical contact.

Since I worked full days last Saturday and Sunday on a last-minute enhancement, I took Friday off -- my birthday. Biked from 9:20 to 12:00, did 30.25 miles, my 1st time biking on a weekday, the roads in Jessamine and southern Woodford county were about as lightly traveled as when I bike on Sunday morning. A little much for 3rd time out, and it was ~88 degrees and humid.

I was going out again this morning, but too sore. Spent 3.5 hours yesterday cleaning up the damage (leaves) from the hailstorm we had last Wednesday. I filled 6 big leaf bags, after my wife had filled our herbie-curbie a few days before. The hailstorm was weird, we had pea-to-marble sized hail up to 2 inches deep at places in our yard. The trees were shredded. It was really strange walking around right after it, the air smelled like an evergreen air-freshener is supposed to smell, from the shredded leaves -- very, very pleasant smell. But, hail in June instead of April, weather screwy, global warming, global warming ... ;->

Had a great fine dining experience for my birthday at Azur. They have an elk rack that is totally delicious, but pricey enough that I save it for special occasions. Then last night grilled out with another couple, 1st time, the husband is a jazz guitarist, plays an electrified classical (?!?!?), plays wonderful stuff -- really hard to play -- but he's not really much of a jammer. Still, I learned 3-4 licks from him in the short time we played together last night. I'd love to be able to play more of that style of music.

Grilled sweet tater fries (2 more converts), asparagus, portabellos, and swordfish (yum!). The wife brought a very nice salad, artichoke and palm hearts. My wife made ruby relaxers:

In a 16 glass with (crushed) ice, combine 1 jigger peach schnappes; 1 jigger cocoanut run; 1 jigger vodka; fill with pineapple juice, add a spash of cranberry juice.
Very tasty, a very nice fruity drink.

So today I'm loafing and recuperating, might have to break out the hammock. Tonight, I think I'm just going to BBQ a chicken, grill some veggie, and make some red beans & rice.

Living to eat or eating to live? Moot point, I think. At my age, biologically I'm not supposed to be here anyway.

More later on reading and music.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Folk Ontology

Meant to mention in the last post, re web 2.0 and tagging, that the tagging process seems to be creating "folk ontologies", similar to folk psychology, folk physics, etc. It seems to me that there are three levels here:
  1. Formal ontology creation using OWL/RDF by a domain expert -- this is how Sir Tim's Semantic Web is supposed to be built.
  2. Structured organization of knowledge by semi-pro experts, as in Wikipedia.
  3. Tag heirarchies created by everyone and their brother, as in del.icio.us.
I had the thought recently that you should be able to generate in an automated manner, the top level, formal OWL/RDF ontologies, from the lowest level, tag heirarchies. It seemed intuitively obvious to me that this was doable -- but I started to think about how and went, hmmm ...
  • Do you have to have some seed ontologies to start with?
  • Ontologies are primarily IsA (UML Generalization) and HasA (UML Composition) networks -- surely those can be generated from the tags?
Hey hey, I may have found my open source retirement project -- if no one has done this in the next 10 years -- pretty unlikely.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Donating Cycles to the Group Mind

Too bad I already had this title picked out, because, according to Blogger, this is post #100 to "Portrait of the Dumbass". First post was May 4, 2003, that is ~ 1500 days ago -- so I've averaged 2/month. Not enough, no wonder I have so few fans.

So I noticed, blogger now has a place to enter labels. I am entering them, good practice at tagging / classification / taxonomification. The whole web 2.0 tagging stuff like del.icio.us got me wondering tho. The wisdom of the group mind is at the bottom of google's ranking scheme, has created wikipedia, and in general surprises me with its ability to produce good results. The question is, how many cycles are you willing to donate to the group mind?

For me, the answer is, not a lot. I really don't have the time. Funny tho, some of the science fiction classics where the group mind takes over or tries to take over, like Swanwick's "Vacuum Flowers" blogged earlier or the Meme Wars from John Barnes "Kaleidoscope Century", the group mind makes you An Offer You Can't Refuse. Don't see that happening anytime soon, but it seems funny that it is a voluntary activity instead.

Recently have read two by Elizabeth Bear: a novel "Hammered", 1st of a trilogy, and a short story collection "The Chains That You Refuse". I liked one of her stories in the year's best, but neither the novel nor the short stories really work well. The novel is going for a noir feel, but, I think it's main problem is that the heroine just isn't enough of a badass. I will read the two others tho, see if it gets any better.

Also read two by Larry Niven. I remember in the late 70's some of the guys I worked with at DEC thought that Ringworld was The Greatest Thing Ever. So, read "Ringworld's Children", was kind of surprised when it kind of came to a conclusion -- one of those that just kind of meander pointlessly for a while. Also read "The Draco Tavern", a short story collection that had some cute stories. Still, no links for either.

My daughter the graphic designer has applied an appropriate style sheet to this blog, it looks much nicer, thanks Erica. Also has a links area, I can think of 2 appropriate links in addition to the family ones that Erica initialized it with, I'll see if I can add them.