Brandon's Articles, Page 1 of 32

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05 Mar 13
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Bottom-Up Tax Model

I’m in the middle of The Benefit and The Burden (which is very interesting, albeit un-engaging and somewhat repetitive) and it has me thinking taxes. There’s so much standing in the way of fairness when the federal government raises revenue, and no matter where you try to fix things, someone gets burned.

While there are no doubt more impactful angles, as I put down my Kindle-via-iPhone in response to the fresh green light last week, I wondered if one of the problems isn’t the vast chasm between the individual and the Federal Government. The former pays the latter and expects the latter to serve … but the latter isn’t really configured to serve the former; it’s made to serve something in between (the States). The States, too, aren’t made to serve the individual, but the municipality – and there we finally reach the level positioned for the originally sought service.

04 Oct 12
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Music Purchase Log: 2012 Q3

Music I bought in the third quarter of 2012:

Artist Album Genre Release Recommended if you like… Notes
Bad Books Bad Books Indie rock 2010 Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine I’d like a little more MO and a little less Devine. Luckily, I think they go that way on their next album.
Band of Horses Mirage Rock Indie rock 2012 Fleet Foxes, Rogue Wave A couple songs are too country for me, but otherwise yet another solid album for you (and the wife).
Ben Kweller Go Fly a Kite Indie rock 2012 Ben Folds, Matt Pond PA Not on par with his best work, but worth getting if you’re a fan.
28 Aug 12
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Three Simple First Steps from the American Diet to Health

It amazes me that the vast majority of educated Americans don’t know what it means to be healthy. They think if they keep their waistline, heart rate and cholesterol numbers in check, then they’re good to go.

Wrong.

Health is complex

Health is complex. To illustrate, think of the following items and jot down if you think they’re good or bad for your health … or if it depends. Really, take it like a quiz.

  • Fat
12 Jul 12
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Functional Song Ratings

I’ve used various song rating systems over the years, usually trying to find a meaningful definition for each of the six available ratings (not rated, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The ratings were there, so I should use them … right?

Well, no, actually. I realized after years of rating and playing that I really only need to classify songs I own in three ways:

  • Songs I want to hear on the large playlist I listen to in the car and at work
  • Songs I don’t want on that playlist, but I do want to hear when listening to an album straight through
  • Songs I don’t want to hear unless I double-click on them
02 Jul 12
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Music Purchase Log: 2012 Q2

Music I purchased in the second quarter of 2012:

  • Bear Vs Shark – Right Now, You’re in the Best of Hands
  • Beecher – Breaking the Fourth Wall
  • Bled, The – Heat Fetish
  • Bullets and Octane – In the Mouth of the Young – Some good tunes, but not enough of them. It’s almost like they’re forcing it to work.
  • Bush – Sea of Memories – Nice to see they’re back in action, but this is one I probably won’t return to often. Not that I regret getting it; my tastes have just moved on.
22 Apr 12
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Music Purchase Log: 2012 Q1

Music I purchased in the first quarter of 2012:

  • Asking Alexandria – Reckless and Relentless
  • Blackout, The – Best in Town
  • Classic Crime, The – Acoustic EP: Seattle Sessions
  • Day to Remember, A – What Separates Me from You
  • Demon Hunter – The World Is a Thorn
  • Distillers, The – Coral Feng – Not quite as much angst on this one, but still top-notch (and slightly poppy) punk.
  • Four Year Strong – Enemy of the World
  • Joy Formidable, The – The Big Roar
  • Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
13 Jan 12
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Music Purchase Log: 2011 Q4

Music I purchased in the fourth quarter of 2011:

  • Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto – A lot of great tunes with a few blahs – like most of their albums.
  • Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song – Starts promisingly, but I find it hard to get through the whole album. Particularly when they get all … well, just listen the verses on “Naked Kids” and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Nothingface – An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity – A little like Helmet, but with the hardcore edge.
  • MuteMath – Odd Soul – Fantastic indie rock album. (Tip ’o the hat to Zach for turning me on to them.)
  • Opeth – Heritage – They abandon the hardcore screams on this one. The album is still really great … but I miss the occasional growl.
23 Dec 11
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Concert Go-er Types

My wife gave me a little binder to hold my ticket stubs a while back. It’s chock-full mostly of faded and worn paper bits from the concert scene of the lat 90s. Growing up in Dallas I went to see either Tripping Daisy, Hagfish, Course of Empire, The Toadies, or Reverend Horton Heat1 on a weekly basis, it seemed. I still have the Dr. Martens on which I spent all of my extra cash to survive the mosh pits. Yes, I was one of those.

Speaking of stereotypes (or maybe just of types), I put together this list (in the order they occurred to me) of the various kinds of people I encountered at concerts in those days. It’s been over a decade, but something tells me things haven’t changed much…

23 Dec 11
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Unfinished: Clarity on Differences in Modern Christianity on the Nature of God

DISCLAIMER: For the second time I’m going to post something I didn’t finish – and I don’t anticipate finishing. I’m throwing this out there without even knowing if I even really agree with all of it. But it might generate some discussion … right?


Introduction

I’ve often had occasion to argue the differences in the Latter-day Saint and Protestant/Catholic beliefs on the nature of God, but recently it’s been from a new angle. Instead of arguing the biblical support of LDS doctrine to those securely fastened to biblical infallibility, I’ve found myself arguing to those without religious faith of any kind that differences between the beliefs of Latter-day Saints and “mainstream Christians” do not invalidate LDS doctrine. It’s interesting to note the way the approaches differ when talking to each group. The Protestant/Christian approach is:

01 Nov 11
Newspaper

Google Sidewiki Dies in Just Over Two Years

It was just over two years ago that Google launched Sidewiki – a browser sidebar allowing anyone to comment about any site. I liked the idea at the time and immediately made a Sidewiki entry … on the page explaining Sidewiki:

Sidewiki^2 – What the what?! A Sidewiki post about the page explaining Sidewiki … that’s … that’s … just craziness.

I moved on and made more important entries … like this one on OmniNerd:

OmniNerd = Awesome (if you’re a nerd) – If you’re a nerd like me, then this is the site for you. Write about the nerdy stuff you’re into – and then discuss it with other nerds. (Okay, okay. I’m an admin on this site. Sue me.)

12 Oct 11
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Music Purchase Log: 2011 Q3

Music I purchased in the third quarter of 2011:

  • August Burns Red – Leveler
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl
  • Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
  • City and Colour – Little Hell
  • Crime in Stereo – Selective Wreckage
  • Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
  • Drive Like Jehu – Yank Crime
  • High on Fire – Death Is this Communion
  • Human Abstract, The – Digital Veil
21 Sep 11
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Unfinished: Objectivism vs Christianity - Philosophical or Semantic Differences?

DISCLAIMER: I started writing this a long time ago and don’t anticipate ever finishing it. It’s possible I don’t even completely agree with myself anymore … but I might as well throw it out there for discussion, right?


I became very interested in Objectivism after reading The Fountainhead1 and Atlas Shrugged.2 After a few years of reflection, I still identify with the ideology set forth by the Russian novelist-philosopher, but I’ve begun to wonder if it is more semantics-based than philosophy-based. In other words, instead of creating her own philosophy, I think Rand might have just made a simple (yet important) point on perspective. The supposed conflict between objectivism and religion is as good an example as any.

09 Sep 11
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Supersize Me Questions Answered

I’ve had countless discussions about the fabulous documentary Supersize Me, but there have always been lingering questions. Why does that one doctor say he is “pickling [his] liver?” Why did the guy who never ate fries not get fat? If you ate this way and exercised like mad, would you keep the weight off? I mean, I had some ideas on the subject – the liver filters toxins, fries were high calorie foods, and that calories in – calories out = weight gain, etc. – but I knew they were just ideas. I wanted some serious education on the subject.

04 Aug 11
Cup

New EPA Standards and the Energy Industry

I received en email from Energy Nation earlier this week urging me to take action against the new Environmental Protection Agency ozone standards. Doing a quick search shows they aren’t the only ones upset at the proposed legislation – and it’s possible they’re justifiably concerned. My point, though, isn’t to get into that. Instead, I want to gripe about their approach.

24 Jul 11
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Music Purchase Log: 2011 Q2

My music purchases in the second quarter of 2011:

  • …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – The Century of Self
  • Against Me! – Searching for a Former Clarity
  • A Skylit Drive – Wires … and the Concept of Breathing
  • Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2
  • Born of Osiris – A Higher Place
  • Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
  • Converge – Axe to Fall
  • Darkest Hour – The Human Romance
  • Dodos, The – No Color
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