It’s got to be true. I mean, take a look at this:
The very next day, with exactly the same chance for precipitation but two degrees warmer — and look how different things are!
(Found here between 10:30 and 11 am CST.)
It’s got to be true. I mean, take a look at this:
The very next day, with exactly the same chance for precipitation but two degrees warmer — and look how different things are!
(Found here between 10:30 and 11 am CST.)
In South Korea their favorite toothpaste, Bukwang, tastes exactly like Dr. Pepper. When some Korean friends of mine visited the US for the first time, they tried Dr. Pepper. They wondered if I was insulting them or playing with them by giving them toothpaste-flavored soda to drink. It took a while to explain but we have had a good laugh ever since then. But they will not drink Dr. Pepper. I do not blame them.
The score was subsequently evened, you may be sure:
They paid me back by having me eat Korean foods that would burn off the roof of my mouth. It is the differences between cultures that make life so enjoyable.
I note for reference that the last tube of Pepsodent I used contained no detectable traces of Pepsi.
And not exactly symmetrical, either:
I suppose the first question with any shoe by Diane von Furstenberg — this one, despite its Brazilian origins, is called “Milano” — is “Can you wear this with a wrap dress?” (A definite maybe, say I.) At an inch and a half, it’s not exactly calculated to bestow height upon you, but it’s probably easier on your sense of equilibrium. Still, a black suede wedgy flat (or flattish wedge) with seemingly-random cutouts is really neither bedroom nor boardroom, so you really ought to have some destinations in mind before dispatching $168 to Bluefly.
Evidently it’s beginning now.
Not only has the death blow been dealt to this summer’s plans, whatever I may have conceived them to be, but the insomnia has returned with a vengeance. What’s more, sleeping on my left side, once the preferred position, is no longer possible without just-shy-of-excruciating pain. Seek medical assistance? Not in the budget.
I simply cannot function like this. I apparently don’t have the strength to fight these battles anymore. And if all I have to look forward to is more of the same, then the best I can hope for is not having to live through it.
If you’re thinking “Geez, is that all it takes to knock him for a loop?” the answer should be distressingly obvious. It appears that whatever emotional stability I had was faked up from a combination of desperation and pharmaceuticals.
And now — the truth comes out? Maybe. I’m not sure what the truth is anymore. Perhaps I never was. Right now, with my eyes watering and my mouth dry as the surface of Mars, it’s difficult to give much of a damn one way or another.
Which means that at some level, I’ve already conceded defeat; the rest is simply a matter of logistics.
The only question that remains is whether I’m worse off now than I was in 1999 — and whether it makes the slightest bit of difference one way or another.
Didn’t we just see this in January? Carmelo Anthony gets the last bucket of the game, and the Nuggets slide by, 114-113. And they did it this time without Chauncey Billups, which proves pretty persuasively that Denver has serious depth: J. R. Smith scored 22, including four treys, from off the bench, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen rolled up 12 points and seven boards before fouling out. They hardly needed ‘Melo to knock down 32, but he did, with 11 assists to boot, and Nenê was, well, Nenê, with 20.
Like that earlier game, this one was winnable: the Thunder racked up 70 first-half points, good for an 11-point lead, but Denver ratcheted up the defense in the second half, and the usual OKC sixteen turnovers led to suboptimal results. Still, the Three Musketeers shone: Kevin Durant had 31, Jeff Green 24 and Russell Westbrook 20. And Joe Smith was back to snag some timely boards: he got six in less than 14 minutes. Both Earl Watson and Nick Collison were in double figures.
And yet: ‘Melo. As clutch players go, he’s up there with the clutch-est.
The Blazers will be here Friday.
Well, it appears that there isn’t going to be a World Tour ’09, for the simple reason that I can’t afford it.
By careful attention to my Vast Quantities of Plastic, I had nearly $10,000 of available credit and a balance of about $4100, which left plenty of room for a reasonably-short trip.
No more. Awash in Bailout Funds Bank and Trust Company (Member FDIC) decided that I had too much headroom, and cut that line down below $5000. It is highly unlikely that I will be able to bring that balance down far enough to leave me any space for the trip; further, the historical record shows that institutions of this sort are very much inclined to make further cuts as the balance declines, insuring that you never again have much of a margin.
I am disinclined to try to get another card, and the fact that this drives up my utilization ratio substantially makes it unlikely that anyone would give me one at this point. Absent a sudden influx of funding, something I have no reason to expect, I think I’m better off just shelving the whole deal.
Not a new lingerie feature, but a vigilante of sorts:
A “phantom” with a grudge is roaming the streets of Blenheim [NZ] armed with tubes of expanding building foam, exacting revenge on “wide-mouthed” boy-racer style car exhausts.
In an anonymous letter sent to The Marlborough Express, the self-styled “Phantom Expander” said he or she was randomly targeting vehicles with wide exhausts and filling them with the expanding foam.
“I have taken it upon myself to respond to the socially maladjusted Blenheim pinheads that have chosen to have a wide-mouthed-boy-racer exhaust installed on their car,” the letter said.
The writer said in the letter received late last week that eight vehicles had already been targeted.
I hold no brief for non-muffling mufflers with fart-can outlets, but I have a feeling that the Expander will be fairly quickly caught in the act, and that the catcher, far from being amused, will take action against the lad’s own exhaust, as it were. One can only hope.
There was $1.8 million budgeted for land acquisition for the new Oklahoma City Thunder practice facility, and they won’t have to spend all of it:
The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an agreement to buy the land, which is owned by Integris. The city will pay $497,843 for the land, about $100,000 less than what an independent appraiser said it was worth.
But here’s the neat part:
The land is at NE 95 and N Oklahoma Avenue, just east of the McBride Clinic Orthopedic Hospital at 9600 N Broadway Extension.
Right in back of it, if I’ve counted my blocks correctly. You can’t get a whole lot more convenient than that.
Meet the equally-useless Lati-Dude and Longi-Dude:
Ever wish you could conjure up a duplicate of yourself? This power is exactly that. Only your doppeluseless appears at the opposite point of the earth. Bad if you need backup in a dark alley … great if you’re organizing the American comeback tour for “Men at Work.”
Alternate nomenclature: Pode and Anti-Pode.
You want some serious stimulation of the economy? Three words, says Chris Lawrence: “payroll tax holiday.” To wit:
Pour $800 billion into a payroll tax holiday (probably the fastest way to inject money into the economy — it could be implemented and have money in peoples’ pockets by April 1st if passed today) of some form and there are basically four outcomes I can see:
1. People spend the money. This stimulates the economy.
2. People save the money. This provides more money for banks to loan to stimulate the economy.
3. People pay off debt. The banks become better capitalized and less likely to go belly-up at taxpayer expense. This also provides more money for banks to loan to stimulate the economy.
4. People remit the money to relatives overseas. This improves our balance-of-payments and increases demand for stuff we export to those countries.
There are several reasons why this won’t happen, but you can probably guess the one that matters:
Then again, politicians can’t easily take credit for any of those outcomes, hence why it’s more fun to spend the money on things that we’d spend money on anyway at a later date.
Which is a shame, since I would love to hear someone try to say with a straight face that diverting even a mere fistful of dollars away from the sacred Social Security Trust Fund means your Aunt Tillie is going to have to downgrade from Fancy Feast to some indifferent store brand.
I also like the poem because it flies in the face of “best before” dates (and yes, there is an abominable program on one of the networks — Fine Living, maybe? that talks about a woman’s “best before” date. Which makes me both sad and angry) and reminds us that we all have value regardless of how old we are or what we look like.
Some otherwise-serious people actually believe in that sort of thing. Three years ago, John Derbyshire at NRO came up with this:
While I have no doubt that Ms. [Jennifer] Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust.
It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s — really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20. The Nautilus and the treadmill can add a half decade or so, but by 36 the bloom is definitely off the rose.
You may be sure that I gave this at least a fraction of the scorn it deserved.
Venomous Kate gave it the old college try, but One Hundred Years of Solitude didn’t do a thing for her:
When I’d first mentioned that I was reading this book, Craig commented that “the last paragraph … is one of the best in literature”. I agree, but probably not for the same reason.
After having spent 21 nights of misery reading this book (because I’m too stubborn to quit reading any book, no matter how much I despise it), I loved that last paragraph, too … if only because it meant I was finally done with the damned thing.
Frankly, as García Márquez goes, I prefer Love in the Time of Cholera, but then, as the phrase goes, I would.
And now I find myself with an opportunity: to supply another worthy last paragraph, and to solicit reader favorites. Here’s one of mine:
A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
(From “The Dead,” the final story in James Joyce’s Dubliners.)
If you’re not utterly panic-stricken by the seemingly-endless parade of fearmongers in the news, you’re probably smart enough to live in my neck of the woods, and there’s a better chance you can actually afford it now:
The Housing Affordability Index composite level for December was 158.8. A composite H.A.I. value of 158.8 means that a family earning the median income has 158.8 percent of the income needed to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. (In other words, a higher index number means housing is more affordable; a lower index number means housing is less affordable.) The index had fallen during most of the housing bubble, when it became more and more expensive to buy a home. But … December’s composite level was the highest the index has reached since the association began collecting this data in 1971.
And there’s nothing to be gained by playing along with OMG IT’S A DEPRESSION hype, either:
In troubled times, it makes sense to be prudent. But, while irrational exuberance is hazardous, so is irrational gloominess. Acting as if you’re destitute because slightly more people are experiencing bad times than were doing so a few months ago is not only bad for your own quality of life but contributes to a vicious cycle that slows down the recovery.
In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on three houses within a block of my own, the least expensive of which can be had for $112,500 — and which six years ago was worth about $70k.
Okay, let’s suppose for a moment that the Winter Dance Party tour had been completed as originally scheduled, instead of crashing to a halt in the middle of an Iowa cornfield fifty years ago. What would have happened? Let’s speculate.
Buddy Holly had just split from the Crickets and was attempting a solo career which at the time really wasn’t going anywhere. He did, however, have a couple of assets: a major label that wasn’t at the time in the habit of dumping slumping acts, and a portfolio of songs that would prove eminently coverable in years to come. Holly had already gone to New York to cut “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”; it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that he might have ended up as a songwriter somewhere in the general vicinity of the Brill Building. (Then again, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” wasn’t one of his own; Paul Anka wrote it.)
J. P. Richardson, aka the Big Bopper, also had songwriting chops: he wrote “Running Bear” (Johnny Preston) and “White Lightning” (George Jones). “White Lightning” in particular gave him Nashville credibility; like many rock and roll acts — think Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty, or Wanda Jackson — he could have transitioned to country rather easily.
Ritchie Valens, I suspect, would have reclaimed the rest of his surname, which was “Valenzuela,” and become Carlos Santana before Carlos Santana ever did.
And Don McLean, bless him, would be better known for that lovely little song about Vincent van Gogh.
Alternate theories are welcomed.
I realize I may be alone in this sentiment, but it completely cracks me up when people in authority start lecturing their subordinates about being positive. It’s always in a meeting where the bosses will go on and on making their point about how crucial it is to be positive, i.e. agree with them. Usually these sessions are accompanied with small group activities where people are called on to come up with positive solutions to a certain set of problems, kind of like going to “centers” in kindergarten.
Often this is accompanied by exhortations to “think outside the box,” to which you dare not come back with “Exactly what box is this we’re supposed to be thinking outside of?” (Actually, I’d be more likely to say “Exactly what box is this outside of which we’re supposed to be thinking?” Not that the results would be any better, but it adds Smug Points, which I value greatly in these circumstances.)
Besides, no one is really listening anyway:
The reason I pretty much tune it out is because, one, it’s pretty darn condescending when you get down to it, and I don’t like being talked down to. There is an underlying assumption that we are not positive people to begin with, and that we need to be force fed this tripe. Be happy, I get it, no one wants to be around a big grumpus all the time. I understand, but don’t try to get into my head, it’s nobody’s business what goes on in there, except for myself and the 6 people on the internet who read this blog.
The last person who accused me of being negative was told, “No, I’m not. No, no, no, NO.”
Our image of the mother of our country, vague and insubstantial as it is, is drawn from portraits painted after her death showing a frumpy, dumpy, plump old lady, a fussy jumble of needlework in her lap, wearing what could pass for a shower cap with pink sponge rollers rolled too tight underneath.
But today, 250 years after Martha and George tied the knot, a handful of historians are seeking to revamp the former first lady’s fusty image, using the few surviving records of things she wrote, asking forensic anthropologists to do a computerized age-regression portrait of her in her mid-20s and, perhaps most importantly, displaying for the first time in decades the avant-garde deep purple silk high heels studded with silver sequins that she wore on her wedding day.
Far be it from me to complain about a smidgen of revisionism, but then again, why do we remember her as Frumpy McFrumpstein?
[E]ach generation of Americans … has played its part in solidifying Martha’s stodgy image, transforming her into an icon of demure Victorian perfection in the 19th century and, in the antiheroic 20th century, the mousy, fat, rich widow that dashing and virile Washington married only for money.
Emily Shapiro, a curator at Mount Vernon, wandered through the museum on a recent day, pointing to the most famous images of Martha. All of them are, as one historian describes it, of the double-chinned Old Mother Hubbard variety. To Shapiro, the white-haired images, painted shortly after both George and Martha had died, served to foster a sense of legitimacy for the fledgling country. “The country was still so young,” she said. “I think it was reassuring to see its leaders as older, distinguished, stately and gray-haired people.”
I hope we’re over that sort of thing; I wouldn’t want 23rd-century kids to think Michelle Obama was a dead ringer for Aunt Jemima.
My current keyboard, an IBM Model M, is now old enough to vote — its 18th birthday was last October — and I have no plans to replace it.
And if I ever have to, I want one of these:
Just had an idea. To make cleaning keyboards easier they should come with crumb trays that you can pull out to clean, like a toaster.
The price, of course, would be higher, but think how long they might last.
The big problem with printing a whole lot of money, as Washington is about to do, is that any immediate stimulus it provides to the economy will be offset by long-term inflation. To minimize this effect, you need some way of getting those extra dollars out of the economy as quickly as they got in — but how in the world do you do that?
Possibly like this:
The answer is simple: chocolate gelt. Edible currency. Fiat finger food! It’ll circulate for a while, then gradually disappear as people consume it. For those of you who still believe in economics, I think the technical rationale is that the currency will be consumed once its marginal deliciousness (or whatever) exceeds its face value. Personally, I think it’ll probably just be consumed by the drunk, hungry or drunk & hungry. Either way, there’s a built-in safety check against long-term inflationary effects.
There are, of course, some technical problems to be overcome:
The foil would have to be significantly upgraded to make regular handling of the currency viable — perhaps some sort of carefully engineered tin design would be necessary. Also, it may be that chocolate is too cheap (or melting-prone) a commodity to turn into a useful form of currency. Or perhaps forgers would refill empties with Hershey’s chocolate — presumably inferior to delicious federal chocolate. But there are solutions to these problems. Maybe we could use ampules of liquor. Or, simpler still, the government could storm Hidden Valley, seize its ranch-producing operations and make the Treasury Department the only source of our precious national condiment.
I have no reason to think government chocolate would necessarily be of any higher quality than government cheese, but otherwise, this plan is just full of win — and, of course, saturated fats.
(Via Megan McArdle.)
In Downtown Austin, blight manifests itself in the primary forms of:
1) parking lots (or razed lots)
2) parking garages
3) chain link fence
4) perpetual disrepair
The Northeast quadrant of Downtown Austin takes the cake for parking garages. The area is desolate and completely void of human interaction. Unimproved parking lots are scattered throughout Downtown. It could easily be argued that Downtown Austin blight reaches its zenith on 6th Street. (slideshow) Broken doors, windows, tattered chain link fence, destroyed ATMs, it’s all there.
As I see it, the problem of blight is rooted with the owner of the property that is creating or hosting the blight. The economic behavior of hoarding undeveloped property in the CBD is contrary to the density goals of Downtown Austin stake holders. It is also contrary to the city’s and county’s goals of collecting ad valorem taxes. Perhaps more importantly, razing your lot and wrapping it in chain link fence is contrary to the sense of community.
As an example, Marriott, while it won’t be building in the Austin CBD for a year or two, has already torn down a pair of storefronts on the location it plans to use, prompting this complaint:
Downtown Austin is pockmarked with vacant lots and surface parking lots. We badly need a mechanism for discouraging property owners from warehousing vacant lots downtown. The solution is not to shut out all redevelopment to eliminate the risk of this kind of behavior. What we need is a vacant-lot surcharge or something like it. A surcharge calibrated to compensate the other downtown property owners, businesses and visitors for the very real cost of blighting a block. This might encourage property owners/developers to leave existing buildings in place or to fill in currently vacant lots, even if the structures are inexpensive and small.
Whether such a surcharge would be legal is a question for another day…
Establishing a surcharge of this sort might be easier, at least on our side of the Red River, than changing the property-tax laws. If blight carries with it externalities, and I believe it does — at the very least, it imposes costs, in the form of lower property values, upon the blighted neighborhood — to me, at least, it does not seem unreasonable to call upon the owners of blighted property to provide some form of reimbursement for those costs.
(Title adapted from a photo caption at the first link.)
Looks like it’s time for another fresh batch of “WTF were they thinking?” entries pulled from this week’s searches.
you think you’re so cool: Hey, it’s winter. Warmth costs money.
can Oklahoma secede from the union: No percentage in it; we’d have to pay Customs duties on the things we bought on Texas sales-tax holidays.
no colon tattoo: I certainly wouldn’t want a tattoo on my colon.
short skirt windy day: Truly, the Lord doth answer thine prayer, or at least mine.
how hard is web coding: If I can do it, it can’t be too awfully hard.
is fortified wine the alcoholic beverage that gives the best buzz? Depends on what you fortify it with. For maximum buzz, I recommend 6 oz. of live hornets.
can u fix a timing belt with panty hose: Not while you’re wearing them.
how often should Infinite timing belts be changed? If they’re truly Infinite, you’ll never be able to reach the damn pulley.
free download “this is the song that never ends”: If it truly never ends, you’ll never be able to finish the damn download.