Monday, February 28, 2005

My brother is the statistics major, not me

Don't you hate it when you develop a bad habit that makes no sense whatsoever? I have recently begun to purchase several specially-marked Pepsi products--1 in 3 bottles has a code for a free iTunes song. The only problem is that the Pepsi Corporation is (with all due respect) full of crap with those odds: I'm 1 for 5 right now. I don't even really want the pop, and it costs me more to buy it for the opportunity to win an iTunes song than if I just went to the iTunes store. Tricksy pop salesmen.

This, though, in itself would not be so bad. What was really bad this morning was hearing one of my fellow pages tell me, "I won two in a row, but I threw them away. I don't use iTunes." No wonder my odds are skewed!

I can be so foolish with my money.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Thievery Lips (or Flaming Corporation)

The new Thievery Corporation album is available on iTunes. Of particular interest to Flaming Lips fans is the track "Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)" which features the Lips. I suppose it's most like "All We Have is Now" or "Approaching Olympus Mons" on the Lips' end of things, while Thievery brings an even more laidback beat and subtle synth sounds.

If you like what you hear, I'd also recommend the more aggressive "Warning Shots" or eastern influenced "The Supreme Illusion" and "Satyam Shivam Sundarem."


Saturday, February 19, 2005

A tape in hand...

Doug Wead, a former aide to President George H.W. Bush, taped a few private conversations he had with Governor George W. Bush as early as 1998. He is now writing a book about the President, and he has released his tapes to the New York Times. The article the Times wrote up was pretty interesting--this isn't really politics as usual, but more of the inner workings behind the man who would become a two-term President.

Probably the most revealing part of the article (revealing of Bush's character and of the NY Times perception of the President) was this statement: "The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush." You can read the article here.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Coffee Etiquette

This morning, I went to the Mill to read about Buddhism and to get a good cup of coffee (except that I learned in my readings that the coffee didn't exist--it was simply a product of my attachment to the physical world. Hmmm.) Friday mornings at the Mill (in the main room, at least) are always abuzz with a broad assortment from people, probably most of them desperately desiring to be discovered by NPR's radio program hosted there at 9:00. So, in order to avoid distractions (as well as attempts to draft me into radio stardom), I moved as far away from people as I could possibly get--there were at least 15 tables between me and the closest person.

Yet, somehow, a couple bent on coffee coquetry decided to sit at the closest table possible to me. Did they not see that I was trying to attain enlightenment? Did they not understand that clearly-understandable voices close-up are not as conducive to reading as is the white noise of several conversations far off? Did they think I would be interested in their conversation? I wasn't quite sure what to make of the whole situation.

There seems to be a clearly need for a list of rules of etiquette for a coffee shop. I certainly understand that people come to coffee shops for varied purposes--I myself have come both to read and to socialize. Still, it would make sense to attempt to segregate those two sets of people.

In case you were concerned, I did get my reading done. Here's something for you to ponder from the tradition of Zen Buddhism:

Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master preached about, the boy would raise his finger.

Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant, the boy was enlightened.

--As recorded in Philip Novak's The World's Wisdom

Perhaps I should have raised my finger at the people who chose to sit next to me.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Yet Another Derek Webb Post

So, as the resident Derek Webb follower, it's my privilege to let you all know that DWebb has three exclusive unplugged tracks on iTunes. Just do a search for "Derek Webb" on iTunes. Do I need to mention that they're good?


Monday, February 07, 2005

Embarrassment is...

Embarrassment is discovering that you wore a brown belt all day at work to complement your black slacks and black shoes. I hope my black vest covered it up enough.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Baby Got Book"

"Thompson Chain with the big red letters"

Any effort to describe would be useless...

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Why I Am A Backpacker

"Many people - I am one myself - would never, but for what nature does to us, have had any content to put into the words we must use in confessing our faith. Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one. I do not see how the "fear" of God could have ever meant to me anything but the lowest prudential efforts to be safe, if I had never seen certain ominous ravines and unapproachable crags. And if nature had never awakened certain longings in me, huge areas of what I can now mean by the "love" of God would never, so far as I can see, have existed."

-C.S. Lewis, "The Four Loves"


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


From a Daily Nebraskan story that ran today:
Ben Keele, junior political science major, has filed his own taxes for about six years.

But not all students are like Keele.

Actually, there isn't anybody in the world like Ben. He's the only person I know who:

  • Puts all his trophies in ziplock bags
  • Is the previous owner of an appendix named "Timmy"
  • Rented a safety deposit box largely to protect high school and current college transcripts
  • Actually thought all the Skittles were the same flavor
  • Thought that Blaise Pascal was British
  • Walks with his palms turned in so they face backwards
  • Has read the daily Legislative Journal (the minutes of the Legislature) and the Congressional Record since his freshman year of high school
  • Is the only privacy freak who ever signed up for identity theft

Well, that's all I can think of right now, but if you have any good Ben stories (and who doesn't?), feel free to post them!