Monday, August 02, 2004



Well, I have lots of stuff that I would like to rant about today. In particular, there is an article in the NYT about the drug companies settling a suit filed by the government. The great irony of the article is that the journalist is dead on in the facts and still gets the story wrong. The article is supposed to be about how evil the drug companies are. A more thorough reading reveals that the government went in and prosecuted the drug companies for...wait for it...lowering their prices due to competition. Dear god...the sky is falling. I want to go on a long tirade once again about one of my favorite little obsessions, which is that I think it is insane that Price Theory is not a required course for journalism students. How can anyone report on the news if they can't even understand what they are looking at? Arghh...I am actually going to discuss this at some point, but the truth is that I am not going to be discussing it right now...for right now you can check out the NYT article. I am tired right now. I was working today, but I didn't really accomplish anything. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit more obviously productive.

I've been listening to some punk rock today. One of my favorite bands is The Mr. T Experience. They are a local band out of Berkley, CA. The band's slogan is simple. "Songs about girls." Granted, MTX isn't hardcore punk, it is more of bubble gum punk, but it is damn sweet. The lyrics are wickedly interesting and the insight is often just a little deeper than you first grasp when you are bopping your head and laughing at a play on words. To give you an example of what their songs are like, my absolute favorite song of theirs is "Even Hitler had a Girlfriend." It is not even really done in punk style. It was originally done merely as a solo guitar acoustic type of thing and it was the song that I heard at 3am one night driving along the coast that made me seek out this band I had yet to truly know.

The lyrics:

I still haven't found a girlfriend,
Though i've tried a lot.
So, can you help me please,
It's tougher than i thought.

The odds are pretty good,
but the goods are pretty odd.
Though at this point,
I'll take anything you've got.

I see this all the time,
Nice girls in love with jerks,
What could they be thinking?
Tell me how it works.

If i got some problems,
Well i wouldn't be the first.
But the ones I have in mind are even worse.
And even Hitler had a girlfriend,
Who he could always call,
That would always be there for him
In spite of all his faults
He was the worst guy ever.
reviled and despised,
Even Hitler had a girlfriend
So why can't I?
Why can't I?

Life is full of contradictions
Hard to understand
And for every happy woman,
There's a lonely man

Nixon had his puppy.
Charles Manson had his clan
God forbid that i get a girlfriend.

Even Hitler had a girlfriend
Who he could call his own,
To sweeten days of bitterness,
and feeling all aloneI'm not as bad as Hitler,
But that doesn't mean a thing,
Since they'd rather be with Hitler,
more than meI don't see,
why they'd rather be with Hitler,
more than me."

I highly recommend everyone go online and buy their records (you are unlikely to find the CD's in record stores out here as I had a hella hard time finding them in stores in California too.)

Other songs that are interesting include "History of the Concept of the Soul." It is possibly the only song you will ever hear that has footnotes. It is also under 2 minutes long, in the classic punk tradition. Dr. Frank definitely wanted to make sure his years studying philosophy at UC Berkley didn't go to waste.

I haven't heard this one played yet, but these lyrics might be enough to bring a few people into the fold:

Institutionalized Misogyny

I'm not complaining,
I'm just figuring out
how everything left us behind
I got my problems,
I'm aware of them
I'll take care of them,
never you mind

you're still repeating pre-recorded things
they used to say in universities
and books on left wing politics and law
about underlying structures
that so far as they mean anything
still won't support the personal connections that you draw
Institutionalized misogyny
that's all that stands between my baby and me

now science tells us I'm hard-wired to,
I'm required to
do it with you
'cause I'm a man,
and you're a woman
and that's what those kind of people do
I stole that line from Woody Allen
isn't it amusing?
I wish I could make you understand
what Woody Allen meant.
If there's no such thing as objective reality
why can't we quit our jobs and just imagine
we won't have to pay the rent
Institutionalized misogyny
that's why they're charging rent
to my baby and me
Michelle, ma belle: ton beau, Michel Foucaulta
Foucault dependent is always ready to go
I think we're aloneI might have known
she's got Chomsky on the phone
Institutionalized misogyny
that's all that stands between my baby and me."

If you are new to MTX and would like someplace to get started, I would recommend going for a 2-pack. "Revenge is sweet, and so are you." I tried giving that CD to a girl I liked and she gave me a weird look, but it is a good CD with songs like, "Weather is here, wish you were beautiful," "Hell of Dumb," and "Here She Comes." The other CD I would start off with is "Our Bodies, Ourselves." It has the Hitler Track above, it also has songs like "More than Toast" and "Swallow Everything" which are a little bit harder for you hardcore punks. To be honest though, so far I can't think of a single CD where there weren't at least a couple of songs that I played incessantly for weeks after getting it.

One that I have to mention is "The Miracle of Shame." For those of you who were into TV Personalities, you will love the song "Dan Treacy." One line from that song will resonate with me for the rest of my life. "I still think of him, whenever I am feeling vaguely suicidal, which is nearly all the time." Also, the song "Spy vs. Spy" has more cold war references than any love song ever written so kudos for that. Additional props for being the only song I've ever heard to use the term conflagration. Much of this album may not strickly speaking be classified as punk, but that leads me to another tangent about what defines the punk genre. It is hard to say, but even as MTX and Dr. Frank specifically move away from "punk" the songs are still unquestionably good.

Do I sound like a super obsessed fan yet? I'm not exactly, but I'm working on it. Sometime I will have to try to turn any readers on to the techno side of me with "Lords of Acid."

Okay, do I have anything else to say? Answering that question would imply that any of what I just said was worth saying. I'm getting a headache. Arghh...

In another note...I went digging around again and I have some econ quotes and jokes to randomly share.

A Few Quotes

There are plenty of good five-cent cigars in the country. The trouble is they cost a quarter. What this country needs is a good five-cent nickel. --Franklin P Adams

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. --Milton Friedman

The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward. --John Maynard Keynes

I hate this "crime doesn't pay" stuff. Crime in the U.S. is perhaps one of the biggest businesses in the world today. --Paul Kirk

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, 'The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.' --Ronald Reagan

A few jokes (hopefully)

"Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things." Specifically, Myrdal and Hayek shared one.

from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, Chapter 16.
Arthur awoke to the sound of argument and went to the bridge. Ford was waving his arms about. "You're crazy Zaphod," he was saying, "Magrathea is a myth a fairy story, it's what parents tell their kids about at night if they want them to grow up to be economists, it's..."

A woman hears from her doctor that she has only half a year to live. The doctor advises her to marry an economist and to live in South Dakota. The woman asks: will this cure my illness? Answer of the doctor: No, but the half year will seem pretty long.

This is a true story:
Back in the mid-1970s, I attended an ASSA/AEA convention in Dallas. During the third day of the convention, one of the bellhops at the convention hotel asked me who the people attending the convention were and what we did for a living. "We're economists," I replied. "Why do you ask?" "I don't know..... no women, no drugs, just booze, booze, booze."
John Palmer

Okay...that does it for today...Peace Out.

"Even Hitler had a girlfriend..."

True. And she was kind of pretty, too.

So what you're saying is that you want a younger woman that you can hide away in a mountain-top retreat, and then deny that she exists in public? I'll keep my eyes open for that.

Actually, if you do find her, make sure and let me know. Younger is good. If she is hot keeping her in a mountain hideaway may be my only way to keep her anyway. I'm sure Jason has mentioned how I troll the schools for the Blind in the hopes of finding a woman who doesn't know how hot she is so that she doesn't know that she can do better. Alas, even the blind girls know when they are hot.
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