Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stuff about Fluff

Stuff about Fluff

Behold....all you folks that grew up thinking Kennedy talked funny...the Fluffernutter. Contrary to what you might have thought as you watched me eat this sandwich icon and politely said, "I'll pass"...it is the Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Elsewhere: Movie Jargon Preservation - Schott’s Vocab Blog - NYTimes.com

Elsewhere: Movie Jargon Preservation - Schott’s Vocab Blog - NYTimes.com

I'd like some feedback on this movie jargon...does it ring true, or does it ring like your dad visited some showbiz guys and picked up some odd expressions and loves using them out of context?

I will say, that "The Rake Bit" is a Simpsons standard...Homer wouldn't be funny without it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New NYT Blog for Wordies

This is going to be delicious. A Primer on new or unfamiliar terms buzzing around because of current events.

Interview without Coffee

Maybe I just love the irony of brusque military-speak paired with droll British humor.

Echos from Email

This sounds like something I read in a Saylor email once or twice. Who is keeping track of the predictions and prognostications of our "experts" and rating them on the ONE thing we value them for...their expertise?

Sounds like a great idea for a blog. You 'd need three groups of staffers to watch CNN, FOX, and MSNBC all day, and then probably 1 or 2 more to read and highlight the major editorials. From this you could glean a pundit's position, evaluate it's consistency (i.e. have the changed their tune to suit the reality on the ground) with perhaps a mitigating "mea culpa" factor for honest mind-changers, and then follow up on the positions as concensus forms around an issue.

You could rank them numerically and begin to weed out the dopes.

Foxes and Hedgehogs

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Man survived both atomic bombings

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Man survived both atomic bombings

This is crazy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I read an interesting analysis of the Geithner plan over at Ezra Klein's blog and it conforms with everything I've said about the "wait for it" factor with Obama.

In a nutshell, it took Geithner 6 weeks to come up with this plan not because he didnt know how to fix it, but because Obama is a master politician and needed to overlay a complex set of political imperatives over a very gnarly financial problem.

It's a Public song in the key of Private enterprise, with the Nationalization-ettes as backup singers.

Check out the theory...I'm willing to buy it for now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is there an Accountant in the house?

FASB's new standards

Can somebody please explain this to me in the snarkiest, most sarcastic, and understandable way possible. I think the "Other than terminal cancer, Patrick Swayze is fine" example is good...maybe one of you could get creative?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Verizon Fails Math

Hold Please.....

I cant imagine why anyone would want to listen to 30 mins of endless customer service idiocy...but this is truly pathetic.

In a nutshell...this guy was quoted .002 CENTS per kilobyte for data usage while he was in Canada. He has an unlimited US plan and therefore no context. Is this a high or low number or whatever. He recognized that math idiots might be confused by this and had someone quote it to him in writing. .002 cents per kilobyte.

Well sure enough he's billed .002 DOLLARS per kilobyte.

This is where the hilarity ensues. He's on his third tier of mgmt by the time I couldnt take it any more.

"do you recognize that there is a difference between 1 dollar and 1 cent?"

"do you recongize that there is a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?"

"do you therefore recognize that there is a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents?"

What do you even say to someone like that?

Military Spending

Thought I was going to get through the day with just games.

How is it that we need to spend this much on the military? I mean I get wanting to have overwhelming superiority, and I get that as a share of GDP it's probably not as bad as this graphic. But c'mon. We have to make choices in this country because of this?

We could have free healthcare, with complimentary massage on the way out, and a return to housecalls for this much money.

Bullet train depots in our driveways maybe? 5:1 student teacher ratios?

One more time...I get this. I dont want to be second place, I dont want it to be close either, but this is just silly.

US vs World

Another Game

Not new to some readers, but worth another hat tip.


Ball Droppings

This is a nifty little doodlegame. No instructions, just fun.

Ball Droppings

The Daily Me

Is there an echo in here?

I try. I really do. I read Krauthamer and Will, Brooks and The Sullivans. I try to stay away from the Huffingtons and stick to Krugman and Greenwald. I get a little balance fom Memeorandum.com, but only if you consider reading both idiots in an idiotic and polariazed shouting match "balance". (memeorandum appears to pull in discussion related to newsarticles from both 'sides' in an effort to present the news and then all of the commentary on it)

This issue of wrapping ourselves in a coccoon of self affirming ideas though..is it really new? Is the Internet so different? Have we always aligned ourselves along Buckley vs Vidal lines?

Should we worry?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009


That's your exposure in the derivatives market. This is the exposure of every man, woman and child on the planet to the derivatives market. Every Soccer mom, every Tokyo hipster, every Bengali goldsmith, every Ethiopian taxi driver, every Highland shepherd....

$190,000 x 6.7 billion people is a number that starts with a Q.


Someone Has to Stop Them

This put a smile on my face. I love geeks.

Alternative Energy Revolution - xkcd

All The News That's Fit to Link

I'm just going to post directly to Kottke's link on this because I dont have a lot to add.

Steven Johnson ("The Invention of Air") takes a look at Technology coverage on the web as a model for how the rest of the news will look in the future (aka "Next month")

The Future News Ecosystem

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dead Tree Media Roundup

It's almost too much to keep up with on a Saturday Morning.

NYT - Major City Paperless by 2010

Define major city in this economic environment. If Detroit loses their paper does that count?

WaPo Shutters Biz Page

There isnt enough NEWS going on in the biggest meltdown in 80 years? I guess this is illustrative of Jon Stewart's point. The Business Media is a cheering section and the party is over. Now it's "news" so they dont need a business section.

Sad. Business pages all over the country should be like the Politics section on Election Year.

TMZ grows it's Business Business

No more Britney's panties or lack thereof. Now the Paparazzi are after the big shots. Every big bottle of wine and every take off of a private jet is now fodder for the gossip pages. Can't say I'm sorry to see some of these guys fed to the beast, but do we really want to demonize these people?

Did you know ALL drugs were legal in Portugal?

Glenn Greenwald looks at Portugal and a Public Health Drug Strategy

Why is my first reaction to this, "Never Happen."?

It's like abstinence education writ large, with machine guns. We all know it doesnt work, people get hurt because of it, and yet we cant have intelligent conversations with our kids about it.

I think our foot is in the door on this one with the trend towards decriminalization..if not outright legalization..of marijuana. Take the issue off the table for the 99% of casual users that would NEVER touch a drug like heroin or cocaine and then look at the data. My guess is that things have settled down in parts of Massachusetts and that once people can point to the numbers there and see what it really means we just might start being sane about this.

Or...it might "Never Happen".

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Red Truck

$29 at Sam's Club is what I'm hearing. It's a solid wine for about $7.50 a bottle. To paraphrase a wise man, you know what's wrong with that?


Wine Barrels for Everyone

Better Batteries

Batteries that charge in seconds

Lithium batteries that can recharge in seconds, utilizing existing materials and technology. Granted, you'd be limited by how much juice you could pump through a given wire but that's still a heckuva lot faster than today's trickle rates.

One estimate said that in order to "charge a cellphone in 10 seconds" you'd need to pull 180 amps of power. I dont like standing next to things that can move that much current, let alone interacting with them.

I'd take a 15 minute charge at 1/100th the amperage though. And assuming some heavy duty infrastructure in the garage or at the "power station" you could get a battery powered car up and at'em in no time.

Think about that for a minute. There's a reason why gas stations arent REALLY everywhere. They are dangerous and environmentally problematic. In a world where cars run on electricity, the smart retailer would have swipe and charge terminals in their parking lots. The juice is there already, they could extract a convenience premium.

The range of the vehicle in normal commuting or errand running becomes even less relevant then.

There are huge bucks to be made electrifying our transportation grid if we can just get over the first hump.

More thoughts on Cramer

There's nothing unique about Jim Cramer

I was thinking this exact thought while I was squirming in my seat watching Jon Stewart dismantle Jim Cramer last night. Glenn Greenwald of course has been lambasting the media almost daily, on the run up to the Iraq war, their almost universal lack of support for any accountability for crimes committed during the Bush Administration, and most recently for the abuse of anonymity with official sources.

What some people don't realize is that Jon Stewart is passionate about the role that journalists should play in our civic discourse, and he's kicked up a shit-storm over this issue in the past.

Watch him on Crossfire back in October 2004. 3 months later it was off the air.

The World at a Glance

14 Front Pages

Take in the front page of 14 major newspapers including several English language papers from other countries.

In reference to our ongoing conversation about the relevance of the dead tree media, I think this gives a concise snapshot of the industry's product.

Did you see it Grandpa?

Where were you the night Jon Stewart won his Pulitzer? This might be hyperbole, but last night I witnessed a cosmic reversal of the sort that brings the universe IN to focus. You remember Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin that she just won the Cronkite Award for? THAT was the farcical comedy. This...ladies and gentlemen...is the journalism.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where is the PR Industry?

I think they've been abducted by aliens. How else to explain yet ANOTHER clueless billionaire running his mouth in the press saying anything other than "I'm sorry, thank you for the billions, we are rebuilding and will be back stronger and smarter."

Leave Britney Alone!!

(that observation is from the comments, but I think it's an apt one)

We've discussed this before, but could somebody from politics or even sports please counsel these idiots on the whole mouth/foot thing?

When a blogger can simply rattle off a dozen REALLY good reasons for this guy to, as Jon Stewart would say, "Shut the fuck up"....then they really need an intervention.

A Better Star Wars?

Defensible Missile Defense

This is an interesting read about a new idea in Ballistic Missile Defense. The weak link in the whole concept has always been the "hitting a bullet with a bullet" problem. A globally deployed defensive system would necessarily have to intercept in outer space, when velocities and dummy warheads would pose insurmountable problems.

Additionally, put yourself in the Russian's shoes for a moment. Imagine they had an impregnable shield against us and could still launch and destroy us. Setting aside for a moment the stupidity of it from an ecological point of view, in a war scenario, having the ability to reach out and take out a city would give the Russians or the Chinese a ton of leverage over us.

The same applies in reverse of course, which is why Putin has been so grouchy about the missiles in Poland issue.

What Professor Postol describes here however is a paradigm shift that I agree would satisfy all parties. Read the article for details, but his solution leverages our existing competencies with launch detection, while putting the deterrent in place ONLY where it's needed so as to not threaten China or Russia.

Furthermore it would bring the defense to bear before the missile could really get going, thus destroying it easily at lower speeds and raining down the radioactive debris on the launch site.

Let's hope this is the beginning of this new respect for science meme that's been touted this week.

Plus...remote controlled bombers? How cool is that?


Google Reader Blog

New feature in Google Reader....Comments!! It really does "close the loop" as they say in this write-up.

I've hit up against the Blogger's Paradox this morning. I've spent more time fiddling with the technology than I have with reading the news and commenting on the good parts. Hopefully this phase will be past soon and I can get back to what I like about this the most, which is sharing my thoughts with my friends and family, and now, just about anyone I guess.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Princeton Bitters

Recession Cocktails from The NewYorker

I think I've had this one in the Keys....

Broke & Tan
Fall asleep in yard on weekday, wake up sun-burned and so dehydrated that anything tastes good.

It's Not Insurance - It's Just A Sticker in The Window


Hey...remember the good ol' days when the banks were making money hand over fist and everything looked like sunshine and blow@#$%'s for as far as anyone could see?

Yeah, well the FDIC didn't collect premiums for 10 years between 1996 and 2006. Banks said our money was "insured" when it was in fact no such thing. It was guaranteed by the FDIC, sure. But it sure as hell wasn't insurance.

No worries, they'd reached the Congressionally mandated limits and heck...banks dont fail all that often. The banking lobby argued that the premiums should stop and their lapdogs in Congress were only too happy to oblige.

I'm speechless.

It's So Conservative it's Revolutionary

Reich's take on Obamanomics

Reich points out an interesting thing about how Obama's economic policies can be seen both at being a very conservative and truly revolutionary at the same time. Both a return to the policies of Reagan and an utter refutation of them.

More interesting for me, and missed by Reich is how this shouldn't surprise anyone. What is happening here is a synthesis of left and right....meeting in a place I like to call "common sense".

He is Gulliver in a world of big-enders and little-enders and Reich can't see that it doesnt matter which end of the egg you crack, the goal is to get it open.

Just Lie Until You Are Right

Retraction? Don't hold your breath.

So the "Ack...It's Socialized Medicine!!" crowd is out earning their paychecks and Bloomberg runs a couple of stories about Obama's new “National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.”

Problem is, the post was created by Dubbya back in 'ought four'.

Spin I get. But when someone publishes something that is simply incorrect, is there any accountability? So now the bobble-heads go on TV and repeat it citing Bloomberg (an august publication to be sure) and folks on the (D) side of the table are left refuting things that are false rather than arguing the merits.

10 years ago this might have worked...just like it did during the Harry and Louise flap. But now it's just dumb, and dangerous. We NEED someone to act as a check against some of the stuff that is going to get into this new Health Care Reform bill. But the reform is coming. There is no stopping it with a cloud of lies and nonsense.

Who is going to make sure that it ISNT like going to the DMV? Certainly not the Republicans. Again, this IS going to happen. But now, instead of it being an honest compromise with some thoughtful people advocating based on genuine concerns about limiting bureaucracy, it's going to be whatever Pelosi wants with some concessions to Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe.

I enjoy watching the idiot brigade twist in the wind as much as anyone, but we still need balance. Someone with some sense is going to have to stand up and call themselves a Liberal Republican and go fight the fiscally responsible fight or we're going to have a mess on our hands.

Chuck Norris Doesn't Sleep...He Waits

Batshit Crazy

According to the Hallmark Channel's favorite lawman, there is a heavily armed group of insurgents organized in cells all across this country waiting to rise up and destroy the Guvm'nt.

Terrorists you ask? No. Patriots.

I wrote off the endorsing Huckabee thing as simple minded religiosity. But between having Wesley "the IRS is unconstitutional" Snipes on his infomercials and now this nonsense, I'm going to throw a flag.

To paraphrase Captain Perry, Chuck Norris has met the shark, and jumped him.

George Washington Carver

Did you know that George Washington Carver developed 118 uses for the sweet potato?

GWC Wiki

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maybe the Banks are alright?

The Opinionater

A semi-dense look at how the banks problems might not be so dire as we all imagine.

Some Real Estate is Always in Style


Frank Lloyd Wright home for sale 2 hours southeast of San Francisco for $2.7million. 3700 sq ft on 80 acres of land.

Is it me or did they leave off a zero on this listing?

Jet Packs and Cities in the Sky


Oh....this really brings back memories of the Retro Future of Tomorrow.....

I can see the Disney Exhibit now...where everyone get's a tax refund based on borrowed money and we all invest it in Mutual Funds which invest in securitized investments of debt we have with the chinese and nobody has to work. It's a future of luxury and good health....

We sure were silly back then huh?

Watching the Ripples


Frank Rick puts a moral spin on the crisis, invoking both "Our Town" and Jon Stewart. That CNBC rant from last week has made quite the splash on The Internets.

It's longish...but a good read.

It does fail, ultimately, to inspire me though. There seems to be too much depression era symbolism going around. We can't dig our way out of the mess we're in now by playing the same notes FDR did. I mean we can borrow from the melody...but the country needs different things now.

"Build Roads"...is that the best we can do? "Build schools". Look to playwrights from 3/4 century ago? Evoking the imagery of rural New Hampshire in contrast to the moral rot of modern (at the time) Wall Street...is that really what we need?

I think there is a set of NEW problems today. FDR didn't look at all of the stuff around us in the 30's that was 50 years old and put a new coat of paint on it. He built NEW things...MODERN things. Giving electricity to the Ohio Valley and the Appalachians must have looked completely INSANE at the time. Why not improve the thriving ports in NYC where all the commerce was? Surely the Erie Canal could have been modernized.

Transcontinental highways? Nobody lived in California for chrissakes...and if you did you were just as likely to get around on horseback in the early part of the 20th Century as you were during the goldrush in some places. Nevermind the land in between Chicago and Denver (if you could even find it on a map).

I look even at the proposed High Speed rail map and shake my head. You dont connect two things that are already built up and fully developed. Put some rail between Minneapolis and Omaha....then down to Wichita and Oklahoma City. Connect NEW things and watch something different happen.

Rebuilding WWII America isnt the answer now any more than rebuilding the America of the Gilded Age was then.

Just my two cents.

Dow 36,000 Guy Trashes Obama


This just boggles me. Nature abhors a vacuum right? Well there is a sucking credibility hole here that demands to be filled. Since this moron lost his credibility TWO bubbles ago....who will pay the debt to Newton's Second Law here?

In my opinion, Bloomberg takes the hit for giving this moron a street corner and a sandwich board.

"repent...the end is nigh"

someone put a quarter in this guy's tin cup and direct him to a shelter.

A small, multiple person example of common sense


So I read this one just for the "outrage" value, expecting to read a typical story reinforcing why Oklahoma is not a place I'd want to live.

Instead I got a whole bunch of people reacting to an awful situation in a really unsterotypical way.

Sure...the fanatic throws the liberals out of the hunting class. That much is per the script.

But the Father of the kid is a liberal Obama voter who relocated from California...and a Marine. He made his son get his grades up to deserve the hunting license.

The Department in charge let the fanatic go AN HOUR after the call, and held a private class for these folks so this kid could get his reward for good grades and spend time with his grandpa. I mean jesus h christ...how can you get any MORE American. Present and Involved father pushes son to get good grades....so he can spend time hunting with his grandfather? Talk about family values. Brings a tear to my eye.

Here's the part that struck me though. The family has one response to all of this...they are appreciative of the dept for going above and beyond. The department went above and beyond....no CYA...no "we dont comment on volunteers"....no boilerplate nonsense about being impartial. And NOBODY is trashing the old man they had to let go. Years of exemplary service...but we had to let him go.

It's like someone detonated an empathy bomb above Tulsa.

Walking and Chewing Gum

I love how the latest "insight" in the media is building and gathering steam. "Obama is too ambitious.." "The Economy isnt a part time crisis..." "The American People can only handle so much change...." "Stem Cells are not a national priority right now...."

Do they imagine that the man sits in the Oval Control Room...immediately adjacent to the Oval Office of course (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain)...and is furiously fiddling with dials and controls like some sort of Executive One Man Band?

The dude had TWO years to hone a policy position on just about everything he felt was important. He had HOARDS of people working on them. These people are now implementing his policy FOR HIM. Sure...he shows up and signs...he takes reports etc along the way...but c'mon.

His mind was made up on the Stem Cell thing the day Bush announced it. He said, "that's crap" like the rest of us. He told his science wonks to fix it...they said, "it's fixed but we had to do X or Y"...he said, "fine but I really dont like Y, try Z" and that was it.

15 minutes of Presidential time...30 max and that includes the photo op.

The man sets an agenda and wields the bully pulpit. Just because he does 5 things at once does NOT mean that each of them takes up 20% of his time. He can still be spending 99% of his time on Banking Crisis....and split the other 1% along an almost infinite list of fully delegated "other" issues.

There's this whole other guy that everyone got all pissed off about...Rahm Emmanuel. You might have heard of him? He swats down the stupid stuff...brings important issues to the President....and squashes anyone that wastes a millisecond of Obama's time.

Seriously...you tell me how many "initiatives" and "projects" are currently in the planning or implementation phase at GE? I dont mean silly stuff. I'm talking about major things that need Executive sign off. The economy is taking for GE too...you think they stopped EVERYTHING? Hell no. If anything, every project is now taking up MORE bandwidth as they decide to stop, go or postpone.

Every Exec VP in that company has his own slate of initiatives (like the Cabinet in governmnent) and is managing them and reporting back to the CEO. That's why they are there. Our President can't do the same?

It's a farce to listen to these people. I mean it's EVERY bit as insulting as dealing with Jeremiah Wright or Shandra Levy or listening to Mooseburger jokes during a serious newscast.

Here...I'll 'seed' another rant and just let it bloom elsewhere. Right hand: "We need stimulus to get our economy mooving again...and we need it NOW", Left hand:"What is all of this stuff that Obama is doing in this Stimulus bill??? He needs to focus!!"

Hello? You stimulate by spending. You spend on silly things or you spend on thoughtful things. This guy is spending on thoughtful things...agree or disagree....but dont mistake it for anything other than what it is....Stimulus.

He could have simply rounded all of the budgets up and begun hiring for Federal Jobs and called it Stimulus. I, for one, am glad he didnt....and I think every other "less govt is better" person out there should agree.