Tuesday, September 28, 2004

 

Ugh

My computer problems with my work laptop continue. I can't access my email from home...this is particularly annoying. Also the inability to replicate my database is going to cause problems for me if I don't get this resolved by the end of the week.

Also...a detour that takes you 40 miles out of your way is no longer a detour. Those of you trying to travel through Ohio on the 23 will understand what I mean.

Hot Abercrombie Chick has a rather interesting post on "The Social Contract" in the Hobbesian incarnation. I mention it as the subject has been brought up in the comments section on this blog before. She shares my distaste with the theory of a "social contract."

Also via Geekpress, Klingons for Kerry. Between this and the communist party's anti Bush attacks, which it claims are not an outright endorsement of Kerry ("We have refrained from fielding our own candidate so as not to distract from the main effort of defeating Bush and the ultra-riight extremist agenda." --technically this isn't an endorsement of Kerry, but it seems clear who you are expected to vote for.) I'm not sure if Bush will be able to pull it out. (This is meant to be sarcastic).

 

Transcript/Screenplay Anyone?

If anyone knows where I can find the transcripts/screenplay for the movie "What the Bleep do We know?" I would appreciate the link. The two major pieces of evidence that are listed on the website from the movie are the meditation experiment and the water messages. Both of those I have been able to find stuff on that show that both are ludicrous. I'll post more on them shortly. The rest of the science seems to suffer more from exaggeration than anything else. There is a huge divide between what is true in the microsphere and the macrosphere. Because I do not wish to jump to conclusions I would like to be able to attribute what statements were made by whom and what the order was. This is important because I think that the way that interviews were edited (accentuated by the fact that you don't know what field each person is from until the end of the movie) may have made it sound as though the physicists were talking about the same things as the mystics when they probably weren't (as at least on of the physicists has already stated). For example, someone (I don't remember who) stated that physics makes no distinction between the future and the past. This is true at a micro level, but at the macro level the laws of thermodynamics definitely speak to the validity of that statement because they are entirely about directional flow. Even a book I read many years ago "Time's Arrow and Archimedes Point" which takes the position that we may perhaps be viewing the flow of time incorrectly because we are in "the flow," would not come close to being viewed as supporting the assertion that I heard. I do not want to misinterpret what people said based solely on my memory though as it will be too subject to mistinterpretation.

Anyway...I have to go for now, but if anyone could please direct me to some written document regarding the specific wording and who said what in the movie it would be greatly appreciated. I don't particularly want to give more money to these people at this point.

Monday, September 27, 2004

 

What the Bleep

Well, it is starting to happen. Here is a link to a Salon article (if you don't have a subscription you can watch a brief add to read the premium content) that starts to expose the truth about the movie.

Here is an excerpt:
"At least one scientist prominently interviewed in the film now says his words were taken out of context. And two other key subjects in the film are not fully identified: a theologian who, the film fails to divulge, is a former priest who left the Catholic Church after allegations of sexual abuse; and a mysterious woman identified only as Judy "JZ" Knight, who is actually a sect leader claiming to channel a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit named Ramtha. The film's three co-directors are among those who follow Ramtha and look to Knight's channeled maxims to decipher the mysteries of life. These Ramtha followers reportedly number in the thousands. But critics call the sect a cult. "

Further:

"David Albert, a professor at the Columbia University physics department, has accused the filmmakers of warping his ideas to fit a spiritual agenda. "I don't think it's quite right to say I was 'tricked' into appearing," he said in a statement reposted by a critic on "What the Bleep's" Internet forum, "but it is certainly the case that I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film ... Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed."

Also:

"Later in the film, a "scientist" explains that, thanks to the strangeness quivering below the subatomic level, meditating monks have lowered the crime rate in Washington, D.C. But not until the end of the film do we learn that the scientist making this claim, John Hagelin -- who once ran for president -- conducted the research while teaching (until 1999) at Maharishi University, the school named for the Beatles' guru. "

More:

"On the other hand, papers from Knight's 1992 divorce case with Jeffrey Knight hint that Ramtha is an ancient homophobe, who allegedly declared that AIDS was Mother Nature's way of "getting rid of" homosexuality and told Jeffrey Knight he should reject modern medicine and overcome the disease using the school's breathing techniques, according to court testimony. Tom Szimhart, a "deprogrammer" who testified on behalf of Knight's husband (who eventually died of the disease) called the Ramtha school a cult with an anti-scientific bent."

Okay...I probably cut and pasted too much here, but the entire thing is making me more and more upset. I'm going to the library someday this week so I can properly address the "scientific" claims and let my loyal readers know if the entire movie is bunk or not.

 

Rejection

I'm not feeling it today. I'm in this weird place in my mind...not that my body isn't in a weird place too, but that is a much different type of weird. We started talking about my rejection this weekend at the lunch table and one of my coworkers was surprised by how hard I seemed to be taking it. Rejection is a hard thing. Even if you have tons of experience at it, like I do. In fact, I have probably logged more hours being rejected than any man living or dead. That kind of experience doesn't make each rejection easier...it makes it harder. I talk about how you don't have much to lose when you approach women you don't know, but the truth is that when you lower your standards and get rejected even by those women you bring yourself to an entirely new level of misery and self realization. Not only can I not get my first choice...I can't get my second...then my third...then my fourth...until eventually you realize that you can't get anyone. This isn't to say anything about the specific woman who rejected me during the weekend. What I guess I was trying to point out is that every rejection stings a little. Some more than others of course. A few weeks ago I asked out 5 or 6 women in one night before moving on to the bartender and got nowhere without being phased too harshly (although I didn't sleep terribly well that night) but this weekend I got rejected by one woman and it stings even more deeply. I'm wondering if it is because she actually took the time to talk to me and discover that she had no interest in me? She gave me a chance to impress her and I blew it. The women at the bar rarely gave me more than a few seconds...I had minutes sitting with a coffee with this woman and I couldn't make an impression. It was a more considered rejection than I usually get. I should be grateful that I got the opportunity, but ultimately it was another opportunity to fail...

I think that is why I'm out of my head today. I'm on an appointment tomorrow so hopefully by then I will be back in my usual dismally upbeat demeanor.

 

David Friedman's Quote of the Month

"IN AMERICA, WE have a two-party system," a Republican congressional staffer is supposed to have told a visiting group of Russian legislators some years ago.
"There is the stupid party. And there is the evil party. I am proud to be a member of the stupid party."
He added: "Periodically, the two parties get together and do something that is both stupid and evil. This is called-bipartisanship."
From a column by Peter Brimelow, the rest of which I disagree with.

I highly recommend David Friedman's writing. The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism is one of the more stimulating books I have read in my life and he has a way of making economic thought accessible to anyone in such books as Hidden Order: The economics of Everyday Life and Law's Order: What economics has to do with Law and why it matters.

Okay, back to work...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

 

Rambling incoherently at 2:00 a.m.

Okay all...I have to ask what I'm doing in the house on a weekend night instead of trying to make some progress in my social life. Some of you may be aware that despite the fact that I sincerely doubt there is anyone out there who could make me feel the way that Emily did/does, I am trying to move on and have some sort of a...I believe the word they use is "life." It isn't going well. After last night and a rather problematic day I am feeling rather dejected and have decided not to go out tonight. So my readers get me to tell them a few stories and point to a few articles and also complain about the fact that I haven't been able to access network resources on my work laptop all day so I haven't been able to get hardly anything done for work.

To begin with...The economist has an obituary for Johnny Ramone. Check it out soon before it goes to the archives and you have to pay for it. (Although I will of course recommend getting a subscription to this magazine). Here is are two brief excerpts in case it goes into archives too terribly quickly:

"Their formula was simple: no synthesisers, chamber orchestras or tedious showing off, just simple three-chord progressions wrapped in two-minute slices of buzzing guitar. They belted out catchy, rapid-fire songs on the usual topics: teenage boredom, mental instability, drugs and disappointed love. Their message was a liberating one: you didn't have to be a virtuoso to make music. Anybody could do it, and technical skill was less important than having a good time and putting on a show for your fans."

"After their last concert in 1996, the Ramones' reputation grew. They had a heavy influence on the grunge groups of the early 1990s, and at last earned mainstream recognition in America. They are remembered as the band that saved rock from its own excesses and returned it to its roots as an outlet for the young and disaffected."

In other news...I went to see "What the Bleep do we know?" with Jason on Friday. I was ambilvalent about the movie at the time. It was a lot of new age feel good stuff put together with quantum physics. As I mentioned to Jason after the movie, there was a rather suspicious lack of any of the more mainstream scientists in the field. I am definitely not saying that just because you aren't in the mainstream you are wrong, but you sure better be able to defend your position more thoroughly than those in the mainstream simply because you will get attacked more. In any case, most of my books on quantum physics and time (believe it or not I did go through a faze in college where I was intensly fascinated with cosmology which meant much in the way of philosophy and physics) are still in California. What does seem clear is that the filmmakers were trying to present many things as being the concensus view (specifically by not including any scientists who would point out some of the problems with their ideas) when they are not. Also, while I wasn't as annoyed by it at the time, it has increasingly annoyed me that one of the main interview subjects was JZ Knight channeling Ramtha. (I found out today that she apparently sued in England to prevent others from channeling Ramtha...apparently free will doesn't apply to spirits). I'm sure I'm being close minded so here is the site of the movie (though they aren't helping themselves with this description of Knight.) I also talked to a couple of friends on the phone today who are familiar with Ramtha and compare it to Scientology (i.e. destructive cult). Still that is only one of the people used in the movie and that wouldn't discredit the entire movie, though it does say something to me about the judgement of the filmmakers. Anyway...my predicition is that the film will find larger audiences and that over time the scientific community will address the movie directly.

Also on Friday I was disturbed by a piece on NPR that attacked the validity of a 527 groups claims attacking John Kerry for not knowing about sports. I'm fine with attacking the group for claims that are misleading or false. What disturbed me was that in the introduction to the piece they included as an example of a presidential disconnect the story about Bush Sr. having never seen a grocery scanner before. This is an urban legend as has been pointed out by many times, and yet some people just won't let it die.

Here is a post over at MR about Canada's Health Care. I might also add that a professor that I had who taught Health Economics in college had lived close to the Canadian border for some time had observed first hand the number of Canadians fleeing Canada and attempting to take advantage of American medical services.

Okay, and now back to my Friday night. After I went to the movie with Jason we went to have a cup of coffee. I saw a woman there who peaked my interest and I proceeded to be extremely rude to Jason as I got up from our table and approached her. Astoundingly she came back with me to the table and the three of us engaged in conversation for a short period of time. She then had to leave. She would not give me her number, but did take mine. Now I may be naive, but I'm not stupid. I know that no woman has ever called a man. It doesn't happen. If she were really interested in going out then she would have given me her number. Having me give her mine was obviously a cop out. So I have a question...would it have been wrong to refuse to give her the phone number? I don't think there is anyway to ask a girl for her number and then refuse to give her yours that doesn't come off as strange, but in the real world we all know that the woman isn't going to call so why even bother? Maybe I'm sounding bitter tonight, but sadly that is what happens when every woman you approach rejects you. I'm sorry that Jason had to sit through my ordeal. He was a real champ about it though. He even tried to convince me that she was really "digging" me...I think that was the word he used. Sadly he is not aware of how the female mind works and how there is some type of genetic requirement that no female ever "dig" me. I'm pretty sure if you took a microscope and looked at a woman's cells you would discover that they have little Josh picket signs. Okay...I'm going a little overboard, but it is almost 2 in the morning now and I am a little tired so I think I will call it quits.

By the way...does anyone know if there is a Guiness record for the most rejections 'cause I could always just start documenting them and see if I could get something out of this whole fiasco.

Night


Thursday, September 23, 2004

 

Confessions of a Sexy Super Vixen

Okay...neither Marie nor Jason knew who Russ Meyer was when I mentioned his death yesterday and today. It is a sad sad state of affairs for the world. Where is our sense of history? Where is our sense of American pride? What in God's name are they teaching in these schools of ours today? Thanks to MR for the link to this article by his friend Roger Ebert.

I recommend that everyone do a marathon at least once in awhile. Here is imdb with a list of films. Sadly I have not seen them all, but I did see a double feature (I think the double entendre was intended) of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Vixen! in the theater as God intended. I will be going on netflix now to reserve copies of every one of his movies so that I can complete my education.



Tuesday, September 21, 2004

 

Hi...how ya been?

So on Friday night I went to my monthly poker game. I soundly trounced everyone. I like to think it was because of my superior mathematical skills, but more likely it was because everyone else was drunk and I wasn't.

Drunk coworkers are bizarre. Enough said.

Apparently I'm aggressive and confrontational. I was informed of this fact for the thousandth time or so. My response was that when I get into arguments it is always the other person who is getting really mad and hostile. Apparently the fact other people get outraged when I speak is somehow an indication of my nature and not theirs. Go figure.

In other news, the subject of my sexuality did not become the centerpiece of this poker game. One of my coworkers seems convinced that I'm gay. For anyone who has read my blog before, they will know that my heart and soul belong to a sweet little goddess who hates my guts and won't talk to me. The irony is that at one time she claimed that I was gay too. I think her and my coworker have a very similar theory. The theory goes something like this: I obsess over a woman who is incredibly amazing and who makes every other woman in the world seem incomplete or inadequate in comparison. This obsession is clearly my means of masking the fact that I am gay which I refuse to acknowledge because I don't want to deal with it...or some junk like that. I disagree completely, but of course what do I know...it's only my life.

I also thought that at the age of 24 I would be beyond the peer pressure of drinking. Apparently not. I did a couple of shots to commemorate the death of Johnny Ramone, but that was it. I have come to realize that most jobs really do require heavy drinking. Back when I worked in Banking I went to many social functions and was the designated driver because I don't drink. After I left the bank, and after attempts to get me to stay, my boss told me that it was just as well that I left since my future was probably limited since I don't drink. Luckily my boss is now in Chicago so I don't think it's very likely that he will hold up my career for not drinking with him.

For those of you who were ready to mock me...I got all my schedules that I intended to do on Sunday done. Ha ha. Take that you wishers of doom.

Enough of my personal life however. I know why you all come here. For television quotes. No just kidding. Hopefully some come here to see if I have any economics ranting that I feel the need to impart to the world. Sadly for you misguided souls, I'm not going to be posting my own economic ramblings today. I don't post much on the economic issues right now mainly because I am suffering from the quick post syndrome...which I really do hope to correct in the future. Basically, I sit down when I have a few minutes and post some thoughts and maybe some links. Generally I don't allocate myself enough time to present a well thought out analysis and literate explanation of that analysis. I also often run into the problem of having something I want to say, but realizing that to prove my point I would have to resort to either alot of basic theory which would just get ignored by those unsympathetic to the argument anyway so it wouldn't do any good, or I would have to dig through all of my boxes, many of which are still in California to find the documentation and actual figures to prove my point (where it is possible to empirically prove or support it). Sadly I was not on my game enough when going through college to save everything on my computer...I printed everything or made copies in the library. I mean everything. Anyway, I hope to start devoting more time to my blog in the future so that I can remedy my lack of detailed analysis...but for the time being you will be forced to suffer through my quick haphazard postings.

So for right now, here are a few links.

For those dying to know, you can swim through syrup at the same speed as water. Via geekpress.

In light of the insanity of yet another tobacco lawsuit (yes I did say insanity...if any of my readers are from California they will either completely understand the insanity or send me angry emails about how I'm a shill for the tobacco companies and that I should go die) I thought I would direct everyone to an interesting paper on the 1997 Tobacco Resolution that I found interesting. It's been quite awhile since I read it so the link is to the page before the download so that you can read the abstract.

Also along the same lines, here is one of many papers showing that premature death of smokers may actually end up saving taxpayers money not losing money through medical costs as is often touted.

Have fun all...tonight is the season premier of Gilmore Girls so I must be off.






Sunday, September 19, 2004

 

On my way into the office

Well, I have been trying to get into the office for forever now, and I'm finally going to make it...woohoo...my goal for anyone who likes to keep track of how often I miss my goals is to write up 3 productive schedules, 1 non productive schedule, and address comments on one schedule previously submitted. I'm betting only the last two get done, but we'll see.

For those of you who just need something to do...here are a few quotes from another show I want to buy on DVD if it ever comes out on DVD (which may not ever happen as long as the network owns the rights, based upon what i've heard about why it was cancelled).

Christopher Titus : The normal make a living, the deranged make history.

Christopher Titus : Girls mature faster than boys. Yeah, a chick came up with that.

Christopher Titus : Screwed-up people settle fights through violence. This can escalate into a war that can kill millions. Normal people settle disputes over cookies, cakes, and pies. Normal people are fat.

Christopher Titus : My dad's third heart attack, he'd gotten so good at them, he decided to drive himself to the hospital because 'They won't let me smoke in the ambulance!' and 'You can't make a burger run.'

Christopher Titus : A lie is a lie... unless your friends and family are in on it. Then it's a "commonly held belief."

Christopher Titus : It should be a law. Everybody should legally own a gun. In fact, if you're caught outside your house without your gun, you get a ticket. And you get shot in the leg. Just to prove my point.

Jerry October : You must be Ken Titus, welcome to "Life Forward", where people discover what holds them back most in life.
Ken "Papa" Titus : All these people have kids?

Here's a line from Cupid...another show I want to make it to DVD:

Trevor Hale : Coffee without caffeine is like sex without the spanking.


Have a good day.




Friday, September 17, 2004

 

Do you remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?

Johnny Ramone died on Wednesday. I just found out today. Here is an article. Not much else to say I suppose. No other news...today is a day of mourning.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

 

Cannibal: The Musical (Revisited) and Parking Tickets

This story made me think of the grand adventure that in my opinion really started Matt Stone and Trey Parker's careers...Cannibal: The Musical, which was about this very guy. I liked this line from the story: "At his trial, Packer said he had gone out to look for food and when he returned to camp he found Bell "roasting a piece of meat which he had cut out of the leg of the German butcher," Frank Miller. " I don't know why, but there is something kinda funny about eating meat off a butcher. I'm really sick.

Anyway, Cannibal: The musical is a good time and is available through Troma videos on DVD. I would be marketing a rerelease with extra features regarding this new story if I had the rights to this film. Of course, I'm not so sure it would do particularly well as I'm still the only person I know who has seen either Cannibal or Orgazmo despite how everyone says they love "those South Park guys" as one friend so aptly put it. I'm also still waiting for Orgazmo to come out on DVD. Argh. How can we even call ourselves a civilized society when films like this aren't available on DVD? Of course Bikini Summer 2 only recently became available on DVD, so we are making progress. (For anyone curious, Bikini Summer 2 stars Avalon Anders and don't let anyone tell you she isn't the star because you won't remember anyone else in the film after watching it.)

In related news...I was driving home from an appointment today and heard a story about a college student who was making money by giving people parking tickets and having them send the fines to a PO Box he had. He was found out and is in serious trouble apparently. Here is where I am going to type some thoughts that I haven't thought through too well so I'm perfectly willing to be called out on this, but I'm not sure that he should be punished. To me, the question of whether or not he should be punished hinges upon whether or not the people he ticketed had actually broken parking laws. The story I heard on the radio didn't indicate whether or not they were actually innocent. I would have to guess that the ones that paid him at least were guilty of some parking offense or else they would have gone to the police to question the validity of the ticket. (Maybe I'm wrong...maybe people would pay the ticket assuming no one would believe they were innocent anyway). Let's assume for a second though that they were guilty. If the fine's being listed on the ticket were appropriate according to the law for the offenses, then why should the person who observed that they were breaking the law not get the money? It ultimately comes down to this question...are parking fines merely about generating revenue for the police department or are they about deterring behavior. In practice, they are probably more about the former and that is why the police would be upset even if someone were handing out legitimate tickets but they weren't getting the revenue. Of course this also implies that the laws regarding parking are more or less in existence only as a means of generating revenue for the police department. This would strike me as being morally wrong. We should not create laws in the hope that people break them...We make criminals of good men (and women) that way.

If we try to defend the laws as being necessary for the public good, then shouldn't we want deterrence? If we want deterrence, then having more people as enforcers without paying for extra police to enforce seems like a good thing and thus having private enforcement where individuals would keep the revenue from administering legitimate tickets would seem optimal.

That being said, I'm sure my more astute readers will have thought of at least one of the two problems I will now address (perhaps more, but I'm not necessarily as astute as some of my astute readers). The most obvious problem is that people might try to give tickets that are not legitimate. This seems simple to solve to me by having the person administering the ticket take a picture of the particular offense to be provided to the court should the violator challenge the ticket.

The second and less obvious problem is that the cost of a ticket would have to be adjusted. If we assume, and get ready for a big assumption here, that the cost of tickets are currently at optimal levels then we would be forced to assume that they are at optimal levels for the probability of being caught by the police. The chances of being caught by anyone are much greater than the chances of being caught by the police specifically. This means that the price of a ticket would have to go down. Where it would go down to would depend upon the chances that someone who is trying to make x number of dollars would catch the violation.

I'm not sure if I'm for privatization of this function of policing yet. This is one of those ideas that is going to struggle around in my brain for several days so be prepared to see this topic again.

Night.

 

New book and DVD decisions

Not much new to report, but I wanted to stay active. I'm got Lott's book Are Predatory Commitments Credible?: Who Should the Courts Believe? I'm looking forward to reading it, though theoretically I have other books in front of it. My understanding is that there are several arguments, but the reason I bought the book was because of an extension of an idea pioneered by Jack Hirshleifer in the 70's in "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," in the American Economic Review from 1971. Hirshleifer's position was that inventors can gain on the social value of their inventions by taking long or short positions in investments that will be effected by the discovery. Lott extrapolates this to firms attempting to enter the market where predatory pricing may occur. If predatory pricing does occur and the rival firm takes a short position in the dominant firms stock, then he can use the profits to sustain himself. Of course the point may be completely irrelevant as the actual evidence for predatory pricing is extremely limited. Many cases that are considered "textbook" examples of predatory pricing have been shown to have not been cases at all. The most famous example is the Standard Oil Case. While it is famously cited as the quintessential example, the evidence appealed more to lawyers than economists. I would like to think that due in no small part to the economic revolution in law that such a case would not survive today. (Those seeking a brief treatment of the Standard Oil Case might try John McGee's paper "Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case." I'm not sure where it was originally published, but it can be found in the collection of papers aptly titled Famous Fables of Economics.)

The other argument in the book that is perhaps more relevant is that publicly owned firms (in the sense of government run firms) can and do engage in predatory pricing to prevent private competition. This will probably be more relevant to policy issues. Of course, I haven't read the book yet and am probably getting ahead of myself. I will share my thoughts when I complete it and hopefully be a little bit more intelligible.

In other news, I'm debating whether or not to spring for the first season of Sledge Hammer! on DVD. I really liked the show, but I'm not sure how many times I would watch the boxed set. I'll let you all know what I decide as I know you are on the edge of your seats.

Here are some IMDB quotes from Sledge Hammer! and some other shows out on DVD right now:

Sledge Hammer : You know, of all my years of being a cop, I will never figure out how people time and time again can do something like this.
Dori : It's true. Taking out a human life is just deplorable.
Sledge Hammer : Not that. The drawings of chalk outlines of dead bodies, that's just a ridiculous way of living!

The Powers that Be (This is not on DVD yet, but I am desperately hoping it comes out on DVD because I won't hesitate to buy this Norman Lear comedy that was brilliant about a democratic congressional family in Washington D.C. David Hyde Pierce played a suicidal congressman who was son-in-law to a dim witted senator. The wife abused the maid. The senator was having an affair with a much younger blonde. The daughter was anorexic and bolemic. Also the kid from 3rd rock was the son of the daughter and David Hyde Pierce's character and did a brilliant job as the one sane person...in one scene he deadpans to his mother who has him in footsy pajamas and holding a teddy bear "Mother, I am not a photo opportunity." The first episode also included an ex football player who was faking being paraplegic to get elected. Dear god this was one of the great shows on network television, though perhaps too dark for some...especially coming on right after The Golden Girls.)

Caitlyn : If it weren't for your silly job, we'd get to go to England with Mummy and Daddy. Why do you have to be a congressman?
Theodore : To get to the other side.

Bradley : I wanted to spend my final moments among loved ones.
Jordan : Keep looking!

Theodore : Death. You think of it as your friend, then it turns on you.

Caitlyn : Pierce, go upstairs.
Pierce : How about if I just go home?
Caitlyn : How 'bout if I have the dog put to sleep?

Margaret : I didn't realize your people ate shellfish.
Sophie : My people? Oh. Well, some of my people do. We like to have them as a side dish when we're eating the Christian babies.

Theodore : Why do we have to be here?
Caitlyn : It's our anniversary. Where would you rather be?
Theodore : Hurdling through a windshield.

Caitlyn : Mummy, please let's not talk about d-e-a-t-h in front of Pierce.
Pierce : Mother, I've been able to s-p-e-l-l for some time now.

Pierce : Mother, can we go home? It's midnight and I've got school tomorrow.
Caitlyn : Pierce, did I complain when you were a baby and the nurse got up with you at midnight?

Alf (The first season, though the syndicated version, is available on DVD now. I would recommend the movie Permanent Midnight based upon Jerry Stahl's autobiography. Jerry Stahl, played by Ben Stiller, was a writer on the show at the same time that he was heavily into drugs. Explains a lot doesn't it? The movie is phenomenal though don't watch it for something completely funny and upbeat. It is one of those movies where things just keep getting worse. That fact alone almost has to prove that it is accurate.)

ALF: Putting humans in charge of the earth, is the cosmic equivalence of letting Eddie Murphy direct.

Brian : Do you get Sesame Street where you live?
ALF: No, and frankly I don't get it here either.

Willie : This is a jigsaw puzzle.
ALF: It's broken.
Willie : That's the object ALF. You're supposed to put it together.
ALF: Why? I didn't break it.

Night all...I'll post more on Friday.

Monday, September 13, 2004

 

No looking deep into my soul today...just links.

Here is a good post from over at the 50 minute hour about why not to vote for Bush...just to satisfy my critics who seem to think I'm a "right wing shill." (I find it disturbing that someone would mistake me for a mouthpiece for the Republican Party.)

Here is an interesting perspective on the Sims video games.

For those of you wanting to do your own electoral college calculations, here is a spreadsheet to mess around with courtesy of Powerreporting.com.

A man was arrested for not leaving a tip. Here is the story. It should prove an interesting court case.

"Train Hits Car Carrier Full of Porsches." Is it wrong that I smirked a little when I heard this? I can imagine all of the middle aged men going through mid life crises who are in mourning and all of the sugar daddies who aren't going to get any tonight. (Sadly, there was a girl in California that I would gladly have bought a porshe for had I the money...the sad part is that even that wouldn't have made a difference).

More on "Dollars and Death."

A discussion at work today, that I instigated in case anyone had any doubts, brought up the subject of whether or not there is such a thing as fiat money. I was influenced heavily by Mike Sproul and you can find some of his writing on the subject here.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

 

Why do we only care when the opposition lies?

Paul Krugman is going on about how the Bush administration is dishonest. Wow! I'm not saying I disagree with him, but I think it is really interesting that someone as routinely dishonest as him would feel that they were on safe ground calling someone else out. The distortions that Krugman engages in have been well documented both by right wing zealots and independently minded people and economists alike. Here, Here, and Here are just a few of literally countless examples.
The folks over at spinsanity, who wrote a book called "All the President's Spin" about the Bush administration are on much firmer ground when criticizing the President and Kerry...oh wait though...I forgot that we aren't supposed to mention all of the lies coming out of the Kerry camp. Like for example, the lie that Bush banned stem cell research in the U.S. that has been so well documented over at spinsanity. Or the continued lies that have been documented related to his military service (and I am not talking about anything coming from the Swift Boat people). Or the distortions over the job loss numbers in this country. I'm not saying that all of Kerry's lies and his campaigns lies make the Bush lies okay...they don't, but why is it that when I talk to my liberal friends back in California they invariably seem to defend Kerry's lies as being necessary and somehow dignified while Bush's are just meant to screw everyone? Both of their lies are meant to screw everyone. Of course the folks over at spinsanity point out that Bush is more about spin than outright lying. "But the administration is in fact very good at not lying, saying things that have a kernel of truth but when taken as a whole are very misleading."

The other thing that I often find so hard to understand is Krugman's avarice toward Bush. He's an economist who should know better. He may be a Keynsian and hold fast to some extremely arguable economic beliefs which much to the chagrin of us all he attempts to pass off as economic fact in his articles, but he is not a lockstep liberal either. He titled a chapter in one of his books "In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all." He has remained an advocate of free trade regardless of the effect on jobs (though he still seems to blame this President for alot of the job loss). I don't really understand how people on the right and the left get so angry with the opposition that they only see their flaws and their lies. It seems clear to me that the Bush administration, while dishonest, is not abnormal in its dishonesty. The Clinton administration had a budget surplus and still felt the need to lie about the cost of its proposed programs. The Clinton administrations lies were by no means confined to "private" matters as I keep hearing. Yet many of the people who so vehemently hate the Bush administration, claiming the hatred is because they are liars, did not despise the Clinton administration. Nor do they despise Kerry who has had his share of lies.

Everyone only seems to care about the lies that their opposition is telling. Sadly, we have only ourselves to blame. As long as we don't feel compelled to punish the people we agree with for their lies, then they will continue to lie since they will not lose support and can only gain outsiders. Of course in politics it isn't really that easy. There are really only two viable candidates right now and both of them are liars. I'm not sure I have any solutions, but I wish people would at least be more honest with each other and stop claiming that they don't like Bush or Kerry because they are liars and just admit they don't like them because they...well I'm not sure why they dislike them. If we could identify why they really dislike them then maybe we could get somewhere in our political discourse though.



 

Shattered Glass and 60 Minutes

Well, I know Matt has commented several times that objectivity in journalism shouldn't necessarily be considered superior to subjectivity, and in one comment said that people just find stuff that supports their opinions to make themselves feel better and I don't disagree that that is what people do or even really that total objectivity is even possible in reality. My concern however is how subjectivity, especially when it is misleading, is in essence a lie and that the more we consider this acceptable the less likely we will be able to find out what is going on at all. I watched Shattered Glass today, which is about Stephen Glass over at the New Republic who made up stories and got away with it repeatedly. 27 out of 41 stories that he wrote during his time there were ficticious either in part or completely. He also wrote stories for other publications which were false. The DVD includes a 60 minutes interview in which he says: "I wanted a story that I thought would be the perfect story and that the readers would most enjoy to read." My first response was to scream at the TV. I don't want the news story to be the one I most enjoy reading...I want it to be true. I do not believe that the media as a whole is to the right or the left of the median reader, viewer, or listener (depending on the media source). An article in the Cato Journal on media bias that I read during college illustrated the problem with so a belief beautifully. Such a belief is subject to the same criticisms as to why cartels should not be expected to exist for sustained periods. There is market share to be captured. Unfortuneatly that also means that the more people who don't care about the truth and only care about getting their beliefs confirmed or getting something entertaining to read, the more market share there is to be captured by abandoning the truth in part or entirely.

In any case, the movie was very good. The 60 minutes interview was a bit ironic in light of the circumstance regarding a recent interview on 60 minutes. Here is Rather's response to the allegations. I would like to point out that the defense is often highly misleading and doesn't even address several of the key issues regarding the debate, such as the proportional spacing issue. Here is the statement on the CBS News website, which states that "This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Col. Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking." I find this part interesting because it makes no mention of Killian's family that doubts the authenticity. I also find it odd that CBS would put out a statement saying that they are not even investigating. What is the harm in investigating and turning up the fact that noone did anything? In fact, while watching Shattered Glass I was disturbed by the fact that it took another publication desperate to know how it missed a story to start digging and discover that it was entirely ficticious. As the line in the movie goes: (paraphrasing) "I did find one thing in the story that was true. There apparently is a state in the Union called Nevada. " Sadly, I don't think anyone will care no matter which side of the issue is lying. If the documents are real then the accusations are either based upon ignorance or lies and when reporting the news ignorance is no excuse. There was really very little fallout when Dateline manufactured evidence against the car companies or when Rivera lied about having been at the site of a battle in Iraq and journalists, not just columnists, seem increasingly willing to defend this practice of writing about events they never attended as if they were there (or that may not have even occured yet).

Now, I don't really know if the documents were forged or not, and the only reason I care is because of this whole thing about journalistic integrity, but that being said...why in the hell is Vietnam an issue is a freaking 2004 election? Yes I know Kerry brought it up by making it a strong point of his campaign, but if that method gets votes in 2004 I will find that deeply disturbing. (Would anyone like to tell me, Swift boat ads aside, why someone who testified before Congress that everyone in Vietnam was guilty of atrocities and war crimes would bring it up as something to campaign on?)

I know many people will not believe this, but I didn't think it made any sence to bring up Vietnam with Clinton (and I might add the entire controversy didn't exactly hurt him in the election process so I don't understand how the inverse will help Kerry) but 12 years later I can't see Vietnam having become a more important measure of fitness for service. I really just need to drive a nail through my head some days.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

 

I'd give these kids A if they were real.

Okay, carpet cleaners are coming in less than an hour so I don't have much time...I should be able to post later in the day, however I wanted to share an email forwarded by Marie. Normally I don't pay much attention to these bulk joke emails, but this one had a subject line of "why english teachers retire early" and begins: "Actual analogies and metaphors found in high schoolessays:"

Now before I share some of my favorites I want to point out that I am sharing them because I think they are really good and if I were an english teacher I would definitely give students who wrote like this high marks, unless of course the assignment was to actually create a metaphor. Other than that, I am all on board with these:

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makesjust before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way abowling ball wouldn't.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced acrossthe grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one havingleft Cleveland at6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fencesthat resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who hadalso never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was theEast River.
28. . It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple itto the wall.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil.But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

Okay...I have to get stuff off the floor for the cleaners...Bye



Friday, September 10, 2004

 

Another Emily Day

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile, though I doubt anyone was really feeling the "need" for a fix. I have had alot of stuff going on with work and have been extremely lazy, which makes for an awful combination and not much capacity to complete work.

I was having a pretty intense Emily day today. I was dreaming about her last night and despite the fact, that as usual, the dream was not exactly going my way...I really didn't want to get up and leave her. Even in my dreams she hates me, but my dreams are the only place I get to spend any time with her at all. She tells me how much she hates me, sometimes she takes a baseball bat to me or has someone else do it, sometimes she tells me she's scared of me...I don't know how to respond to any of them, but I do know that even as she makes me cry I don't want to leave her. I turned off my alarm and tried to go back to her, knowing that it wouldn't lead to a warm embrace or a gentle kiss, but I wanted to just hear her voice and see her and believe she was really there for just a few more minutes. I was in the car most of the day and couldn't help but find myself wanting to take every freeway exit that went West so that I could drive to her and see her again. I don't even know where she is at this point and I wouldn't do it anyway because I know she doesn't want to see me, but the urge wouldn't go away. Yesterday I had resolved that there were so many things I was going to post about today, but today it isn't looking good.

I watched The Butterfly Effect last night. Maybe it was part of the problem today. It made me think of Emily and wonder how much better off we both might have been had we never met. Of course, the Director's Cut of the movie leads to a very different solution (the ending is dramatically different). I often think those people who claim someone is so special that they are glad they met them even though their hearts got broken are insane or liars. The absence of someone so special and amazing isn't made better by having had them in your life, it is made worse. Happiness is a relative thing, much like prices. The happier you are at one point (or see yourself becoming) the more adversely the depression effects you. I'm just rambling now I suppose, but I would like to yell my apologies into the ether to my beloved...I'm sorry for all the things I did and didn't do that adversely effected your life. All I ever wanted, selfish as it was, was for you to be happy and with me. Nothing hurts quite so much as realizing that for you those two things are mutually exclusive.

I'll try to post some econ stuff tomorrow--as well as some fun news stories and some depressing political stories (I had to deal with the whole 60 minutes fiasco in the car today as it was on NPR as well as several other stations simultaneously). till then...Night all.

Monday, September 06, 2004

 

Government Measurements of a Statistical Life

I am constantly getting into arguments about "the value of a human life" and the fact that human lives are not all equally valuable, despite the emotional objections of some. It is quite clear that ceterus paribus, a 24 year old who dies is more of a lose to society than a 64 year old who dies. Yet no matter how many times I argue with people they always end up just shaking their head in disgust. It makes me think I need to argue better...or at least argue with people who are willing to be swayed. Well, I ran across this paper and thought it was worth pointing out. The main point of the article is that it is wrong for government agencies to use a set value for a statistical life without regard to who is effected by the issue and what the statistical value of the lives of the people in that group would be. There is much more meat to the article than that, but I couldn't help but chuckle at all the times the author felt the need to accentuate that they are not stating "poor people are worth less than rich people." Well here I go again...if wealth is any measure of the contribution that you provide to society (please see the Francisco speech for an empassioned argument for why it often, though not always, is a good measure) then yes, poor people are worth less than rich people. Complaint letters should be sent to whoever the hell you want, just so long as it's not me.

 

Francisco's Money Speech

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made--before it can be looted or mooched--made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.' -Atlas Shrugged

The full text of Francisco's Money Speech can be found here. It is quite a good read.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

 

Mainly Quotes

At 1 a.m. this morning I was a bit more depressed than normal. I don't know why but I ordered pay-per-view porn. This made me even more depressed. On the upside, I think Emily would have enjoyed it...alot of Domme/S&M elements. Maybe that was what made it so depressing. I do alot of things for reasons I can barely fathom. Anyway, I'm still up in the air on RHPS tonight. Right now I am completely dreading the hour and a half ride back at 2:30 in the morning by myself after finding out that even in a college town at a RHPS I can't find a woman. Plus it just occured to me that with the holiday weekend they might not even have the showing, so I will have to call on that anyway. Anyway...I have been cleaning most of the day...well off and on. I stopped to watch The Princess Bride which is on right now. Hopefully I will get to the two schedules I brought home sometime in the next couple of hours and then I am stopping in to the office tomorrow to pick up some more work and get the prep for my appointments next week done.

Not much really to report today, so I will leave you with some quotes that I found while cleaning out some papers...at one time I apparently thought they were worth writing down so I will put them here so I can shred the actual paper.

Time, mister, it's not a theif. It's an embezzler staying up nights and juggling the books so you don't notice anything missing when you wake up.--(Not sure where I got this one, but I'm pretty sure it is from an old movie.)

Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool. --Almost Famous

Lester Bangs: Of course I'm home. I'm always home. I'm uncool. --Almost Famous

Terrorist: Let's make an example of this hero...a very tragic example, Miss...?
Lois Lane: Lane.
Terrorist: Lane? Lois Lane? The one Superman always saves?
Lois Lane: 'Fraid so.

(From The Superman/Batman Movie)

Larry Mann: Well, I'll be a son of a bitch! I don't smoke, you quit drinking, bob here wouldn't even dream of llooking at another woman with lust...between the three of us, we're practically Jesus. --The Big Kahuna

Rocco: I killed your cat! I thought that it would bring closure to our relationship! (Boondock Saints)

Reverend Ritz: Remember, the children can't praise the lOrd if they've got genitals in their mouths. (Nudist Colony of the Dead)

I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce. --unknown

I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.--unknown

The fact that noone understands you doesn't mean you are an artist. --unknown

How do I set a laser printer to stun. --unknown

Any sufficiently optimistic statement is indistiguishable from sarcasm. --Smith's First Law...Eric Smith

People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're beggin for rule by brute force, when the biggest strongest animals among men were always automically 'right.' Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. Neil Smith, The Probability Broach

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. --H. L. Mencken

--There are many more quotes I wrote down, but I'm sure noone wants to just read tons of them all at once any more than you read through the entire list of jokes in an email at one time, so I will save the others for another bored moment of mine.

Friday, September 03, 2004

 

I'm still here...

Okay, I know I said there wouldn't be much posting until Sunday, but I wasn't expecting to be home at this time. I had to get to the dry cleaners which meant I had to leave work which meant coming home and now I am having trouble getting back to work...anyway,

here is a poem that I heard on NPR that I adored by Billy Collins and I recommend everyone take a little moment and read it slowly and with emphasis. Just to peak the curiosity of those of you who don't like to click on links and just read the mindless rantings of me (you sick freaks)...here is how it begins:

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.

There is just no way you are the pine-scented air.

(On the off chance that my sweet little goddess ever reads this, I would like to make it clear that you are definitely the pine-scented air...and all that other stuff too.)

In other news from geekpress:

Being chronically single I am hopeful due to this article about orgasms being all in the mind.

And dyslexia is not the same in every culture.

There...I have made the world a slightly worse place by stealing links that others found and posting them on my blog and thus engaging in free riding and possibly diminishing the amount of posting that they will do...of course the chances that anyone actually reads my blog anyway are kinda slim (except for Matt and Jason who continue to humor me for reasons beyond belief...and Kerry who I will continue to compliment for her brilliance and humor in part because it is the truth, in part because I want her to return here, but also in the slim hope that she will think well of me and end up telling Emily I turned into a great guy.)

Speaking of noone coming to my site...I have put a site meter off to the side so that I can now have proof that noone is looking at my blog. Everyone should expect that it will be removed by the end of the weekend when it starts sending me reports saying "ugh...why would anyone read that crap...can I just send you the same report every week for the rest of your life since the numbers aren't going to change?" The irony is, I'm not sure if I want to have no hits or a lot...I'm torn on the issue. If I start getting a bunch of hits then blogging will become a chore and I will have to start making sure my sentences make sense and are well written and it could become quite a pain. Right now I only have to type until I get bored and then stop and click publish without even proofreading...it will disturb me I am sure in later years if I look back and read my postings, but for now it is liberating.



 

Okay...this one we knew

Take the quiz: "What Is Your Kink?"

Submission
You live to serve! You're most excited when someone else takes the reins and controls the situation. You're happy to do whatever will make your partner happy, even if it isn't your favorite thing to do. In the bedroom, you aim to please. Your motto is, Yes Sir/Ma'am!

 

I wouldn't know...The girls won't let me kiss them, so a quiz was the best I could do.

Take the quiz: "What Kinda Kiss R U?"

Romantic Kiss
Lying in bed after making love and just doing whatever.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

 

Let's see if any one of the sentences below is coherent.

Okay...I have to commemorate this moment...I believe this is the first time a stranger has linked to my blog in a post. I must now post a link to her post regarding my post. Of course her link in her post was to a link in my post to one of her posts...I'm wondering how long I can keep doing this before someone decides that I'm just retarded? Sorry, I meant mentally challenged...or differently abled, or whatever the term is now.

Okay, now that I have done that, it is time for another bit of commentary that everyone will disregard. Jason was kind enough to send me a link to this article in which two gay and lesbian groups agree with my position that outing people who oppose your positions and even attempt to infringe upon your rights is wrong. One of the groups is the Log Cabin Republicans. I have been familiar with this group for some time and had a few friends in college who were members. What I have never understood is why they don't just join the Libertarian party. I have gotten responses to this question, but none of them impressed me much. One of my friends was steadfast in the belief that life begins at conception and he was very adamant that abortion is an atrocity. I happen to disagree, but then again, the Libertarian party is fairly divided on this issue so I don't think it is one that should keep someone from joining the Libertarians. The same goes for foreign policy. Traditionally Libertarians are against foreign intervention, but especially since September 11, 2001, there isn't a shortage of Libertarians willing to argue that such an isolationist view of foreign conflict is naive. I have the suspicion, which has been confirmed mainly by silence from my friends, that the reason they don't join the Libertarian party is mainly because they simply want to belong to one of the main parties. It reminds me of a scene on the West Wing when a gay republican talks to Josh and Josh asks him how he can be a member of the party. He gives a very rational response about how he agrees with them on an assortment of issues, many more issues on the whole than the democrats and basically argues that you join the party that closer mirrors your views and then try and change the party in that one aspect. He doesn't quite say it like that...if I remember correctly, his line goes something like "I've never understood why all you anti-gun democrats don't join the NRA and take a vote to disband." Anyway, I think the fallacy is obvious...there are more than two choices...yes this is me being an idealist and realistically speaking at this point in time, there are only two viable candidates, but with that kind of thinking there will always only be two viable candidates. (At some point I will have to post some notes on the discussion Jason and I had about voting methods that would remove the advantage enjoyed by the two main parties.)

And another thing, was anybody else pissed off that Aaron Sorkin, who was such a good writer, decided to make his ficticious president a Nobel Prize winning PhD in economics? Every time the President tried to say something economics sounding I would cringe (not that it was always wrong, but just that it was always incomplete...yes I realize it was just tv).

Oh yeah...I haven't decided for sure yet, but I'm thinking of heading down to Ohio to see Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday. I went for the first time in years when I was in Boston in May and it got my appetite up...plus I'm hoping that since it's a college town there will be some hot babes. (I am ready to be disappointed as is so often the case. If only Emily had married me I wouldn't have this problem. Ughh.) In any case...I know Meg is anxiously awaiting her 18th so she can go see a live show, so this way I have something to gloat about for a few more months. The long and short of it is that I probably won't be posting much until Sunday. At some point I'll get back to news stories and crap like that so strangers don't have to listen to me ramble incoherently about crap they don't care about...but that point just isn't today.

Night.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

 

Why isn't everyone reading Kerry daily already?

I have to direct everyone to this post of Kerry's. Everyone in the office already knows that I will go on and on about stuff noone cares about at the drop of a hat. It's part of the reason I'm single. A small part surpassed only by my inability to stop drooling when I'm around a hottie and my inability to become even remotely interesting on any topic in the universe. I could have gone on a trip to mars and battled aliens and I would find a way to make it sound boring...anyway...enjoy her post.

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