Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

bad weekend...bad

Well,

I lost my wallet, cell phone, and glasses on the weekend. I'm pretty much useless and unable to function with no access to money, sight, or calling anyone I know. That being said, there was some good news. Erin swooped in to rescue me and took me out on Sunday to buy me glasses so I could see and to make sure I had enough food until I get an I.D. so I can write a check or get a credit card so I actually have access to my own money. She is also taking me to see Meatloaf tonight. In tribute to tonight's Meatloaf concert please enjoy the following lyrical prose:

Wasted Youth
Wasted Youth
I remember everything!
I remember everything little thing, as if it happened yesterday
I was barely seventeen,
and I once killed a boy with a Fender Guitar
I don't remember if it was a Telecaster or a Stratocaster
But I do remember that it had a heart of chrome, and a voice like a horny angel
I don't remember if it was a Telecaster or a Stratocaster
But I do remember that it wasn't at all easy
It required the perfect combanation of the right power chords
And the percise angel from which to strike!
The guitar bled for about a week afterwords
And the blood was zoot, dark and rich, like wild berrys
The blood of the guitar was Chuck Berry red
The guitar bled for about a week afterwords
But it rung out beautifly
And I was able to play notes that I had never even heard before
So I took my guitarAnd I smashed it aganist the wall
I smashed it aganist the floor
I smashed it aganist the body of a varisty cheerleader
Smashed it aganist the hood of a car
Smasned it aganist a 1981 Harley-Davaidson
The Harley howled in pain
The guitar howled in heat
And I ran up the stairs to my parents bedroom
Mommy and Daddy were sleeping in the moonlight
Slowly I opened the door
Creeping in the shadows right up to the foot of their bed
I raised the guitar high above my head
And just as I was about to bring the guitar crashing down upon the center of the bed
My father woke up, screaming "STOP!"
"Wait a minute.
Stop it boy.
What do you think your doing?"
"That's no way to treat an expensive musical instrument"
And I said, "God Damn It daddy,"
"You know I love you,
But you've got a hell of a lot to learn about Rock n' Roll"

That being said, my weekend was not as harsh or cruel as it could have been thanks to Erin and also Jason. So thank both of you. Oh...and for people criticizing Firefly and Serenity for being anachronistic, Glen Whitman makes a good
point in reference to the new movie:

"This is sci-fi the way I like it: gritty and realistic, not clean, white, and shiny. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Serenity's characters use "shiny" as slang for anything desirable.) George Lucas originally conceived Star Wars as a space western, but I don't think he ever succeeded in creating a true frontier feel, while Whedon does. For sci-fi fans weaned on Star Trek and its ilk, Whedon's vision of the future probably seems strangely anachronistic -- why, for instance, are people still using projectile weapons when there are laser guns to be had? But this is actually a more realistic model of technology adoption. We've had central A/C for decades now, but lots of people still cool their homes with window units. Cars from the 1960s are still on the roads. Durable capital has a way of sticking around, even when it seems obsolete, because the marginal improvement in quality doesn't justify the full cost of replacement. It's no surprise that hardscrabble space smugglers would be using less-than-current technology. "

Thursday, September 22, 2005

 

Economist article

I know I've posted a slate article already on this, but I feel the need to link to this economist article on the subject as well. The media keeps repeating the assertion that the number and strength of hurricanes is increasing due to global warming, despite the fact that the evidence just doesn't indicate whether there is any correlation or not.

Monday, September 19, 2005

 

Hate mail cometh.

Newmark's Door linked to this which I couldn't help but steal and spread to me own far less widespread readership. Living in Detroit I am quite sick of the GM conspiracy theories and couldn't help but think of them when reading this passage:

"Halfway through my own reply, however, I suddenly became bored. Why do I spend so much time arguing against such obvious rubbish, which should be both self-refuting and auto-satirizing the moment someone utters it? Why not just go and read a good book?

The problem is that nonsense can and does go by default. It wins the argument by sheer persistence, by inexhaustible re-iteration, by staying at the meeting when everyone else has gone home, by monomania, by boring people into submission and indifference. And the reward of monomania? Power."

Yep...that about says it.


In other news, via geekpress there is an interesting story that makes me question whether or not DUI defendents should be able to avoid conviction by asking for trade secrets? (Story here) I'm currently on the side of the Florida judges, but I doubt very much the standard will stand. It's amazing how quickly the civil libertarians run on the issue of drunk driving.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

 

Porn and Octoberfest

The girl I'm seeing has no problem with my pornography collection...perhaps it's because she wants me to be healthy and live a long life. See this recent post over at MR.

Also, via Mahalanobis, this picture is a good reason why Octoberfest deserves to be celebrated.




Tomorrow is a big day for me...hopefully all will go well and maybe I'll post on why it was a big day tomorrow night.

Friday, September 16, 2005

 

Rock Novels

Via King Dork himself, this guide to rock novels has put quite a few books onto my reading list as I make every attempt to get back into the fiction world. (Erin and I are trying to get a two person book club started so that we can discuss the same books for a change instead of constantly mentioning books the other one has never read.)

This one is just below King Dork when it comes out in April. Does anyone know if Dr. Frank ever intends to visit Detroit again?

The Anomalies, Joey Goebel (2003). Goebel was the lead singer for the punk band The Mullets, and his first novel follows a band of five Kentucky misfits who play "power pop new wave heavy metal punk rock music." Characters include a wheelchair-bound Satanist and an 80-year-old nymphomaniac, and if that doesn't make for a good band, then just shoot me now. The Baltimore City Paper called the book "enjoyable" and "often funny." Goebel's latest novel, Torture the Artist, earned the young author comparisons to Chuck Palahniuk.

I'll also point back to the Sexiest Female Guitarist list and state that I don't agree with hardly anything on this list, but there is one entry that is brilliant.

7. Ruyter Suys

Band: Nashville Pussy

I’ve never heard a Nashville Pussy song in my life and frankly, I really don’t ever want to either. But I will tell you one thing, Ruyter Suys is one of the hottest and filthiest female guitarists ever. She fulfills my woman jailbreak fantasy.

Weapon of Choice: The Gibson SG

Career Highpoint: The point of every live Nashville Pussy gig when lead singer Blaine Cartwright pulls Ruyter’s head back – while she’s on her knees mind you – and forces a bottle of beer down her throat as she proceeds to guzzle its entire barley-based contents.

Fun Fact: She claims that the reason why she plays guitar is because of Courtney Love – not because Love’s her idol, but for the opposite reason. "Courtney gives women a bad name in rock ‘n roll and uses her guitar as a necklace not as an instrument." She follows that statement up with this: "Being a woman in a band can be hard sometimes because people will never look at me for my musicianship, they'll always look at the boobs." Did I mention she only plays gigs in lace bras and leather pants and the leather pants usually come off mid-set? Contradictions are incredibly sexy.

 

I have very interesting friends

Okay, so this recent post by one of my CA friends had me rolling. She is much wittier than me even though she is considerably younger. Hopefully she won't mind me pulling out the text as a means of getting people to check it out.

"I met a very nice man on CollarMe, today. He's a 'gentleman farmer', his name is Ben, and he lives close enough to me that if I stood on my roof and chucked a rock, it would probably land in his swimming-pool. Okay, just joking. He lives three miles away, in the multi-million dollar ranches up on the hillside. He buys and builds suburban housing tracts, and flies renovated WWII fighter planes as a hobby. He has a spoiled old cattle-dog named Josie that he loves the way I love Sunshine. He seems very nice, non-creepy, and fun. He offered to take me to Oakland tomorrow, as he was going there to negotiate a real-estate deal and I had mentioned I love the Bay area. Unfortunately, I can't go, because it would entail waking up at 4 a.m, and I can't imagine explaining that to my parents.

Did I mention he's 54?

Aerin: "You know, I've always believed age was just a number. It's irrelevant, really, because a difference in age doesn't stop two minds from clicking, or people from getting along excellently, and-

Aerin's Brain: "What about ninety-five?"

Me: "Wha...?"

Aerin's Brain: "What if he was ninety-four?"

Me: "Oh, yuck!That's- that's totally gross!"

My Brain: "So, age is just a number until you hit ninety-four, and then age is just age?"

Me, turning on my CD player: "I'm not continuing this conversation."

My Brain: "What about 80? Do you dig guys in their eighties? Fixed income isn't so great, but there's always inheritance-"

Me, singing with the music, over the voice in my head: "What follows, is the whitest lace of lii-iiight, what swallows whole, just begs to be imbruuuued..."

My Brain: "70 would be a nice age to settle down with a sweet-young-thing. I hear Viagra is getting cheaper by the day, and there's nothing abnormal about-"

Me, cutting off the voice: "WHAT FOLLLLLOOOOWS, HAS LEAD ME TO THIS PLACE, WHERE I BEEE-LONG, WITH ALL ERAAAA-AASED!"

Brain Voice: "But you're probably right, stick with guys close to retirement, and drop 'em before social security runs thin! Right-o!"

Me: "You'll stop now, or I won't take you to see Peter Murphy!"

Brain, sulkily: "And just how old is Mr. Murphy, eh?"

Me: "That's quite enough from you. Shut up, or I'll- I'll- I'll watch 'Seventh Heaven', and rot you where you stand! I'll do it!"

Brain:"...Yes'm."



Do you want to know the worst part...I can feel myself getting creepier as I get older. An 18 year old I hit on at 3 a.m. at National Coney Island called me up the other night drunk and I could feel how creepy I was as I contemplated whether or not if I was with her she would have wanted to make out. Yeah...I'm the creepy old guy now...damnit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Slate Article Revisited

Okay, so this post is really nothing new. It relates back to the Slate article I linked to below. I received an email (rather rapidly I might add) that encouraged me to provide additional content from the article in the post because a) many readers may not click on the link to read the article themselves and b) if the link were to stop working the entire post would essentially become worthless. I think these are valid points, so here are some of the excerts from the article that I keyed in and the reason I linked to the article in the first place.

"Scientists also agree that in recent years, hurricanes have become more frequent and severe, at least in the Atlantic Ocean. After 24 years of relative quiet, more than 30 major hurricanes have churned in the Atlantic since 1995. Most researchers, however, think that increase has nothing to do with global warming. Those who study tropical cyclones say that Katrina was part of a natural cycle of angry storms that will batter North America for decades. "

"There is one hurricane scientist who believes he has found a possible link between global warming and storm intensity. But it's an entirely theoretical one. In the Aug. 4 edition of Nature, Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented math models that he said "show a substantial increase in potential intensity with anthropogenic global warming, leading to the prediction that actual storm intensity should increase with time." Emanuel concedes, however, that the observed storm intensities do not match what the models predict and that his study can only "suggest" that global warming "may" lead to more intense storms. "

"As John Tierney, among others, pointed out last week, property owners don't have much financial incentive to respect the risks of living in a hurricane zone. The federal government's flood insurance stakes property owners to much of the cost of rebuilding on the site that's been inundated. Studies show that thousands of coastal dwellers have received federal insurance payments for the same site following at least two different floods."

So there you go. I'd like to thank my emailer and would like to encourage her to post a comment sometime as it might encourage me to post a bit more too (she also commented on my recent lack of posting...hey who knew I had fans?).

 

Slate article

I'm not going to comment on this article except to say Slate isn't exactly a right wing publication and it does mention one piece of information I hadn't yet heard. "The Flood Insurance Reform Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in June 2004, could change some of this. The new law is designed to discourage property owners from rebuilding in repeatedly flooded areas and would help homeowners to either elevate their homes or to build on high and dry sites." This relates back to an earlier post of mine where I blamed subsidized flood insurance for deaths during Katrina. Of course, the funding for this act is nowhere to be seen and as the article mentions, it is unlikely to get anywhere with the call to rebuild in New Orleans.

 

Odds and Ends

Too sexy to teach religion? Obviously the Church should think about adjusting it's marking strategy.

I haven't added it to the left margin yet, but The NFL Cheerleader Blog can be read for the articles, but why bother when there are so many pictures?

Some quotes:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. H. L. Mencken

A ''Bay Area Bisexual'' told me I didn't quite coincide with either of her desires. Woody Allen

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. Woody Allen

"My classmates would copulate with anything that moved, but I never saw any reason to limit myself." Emo Philips.

"My mother was like a sister to me, only we didn't have sex quite so often." Emo Philips.

"There is one thing I would break up over and that is if she caught me with another woman. I wouldn't stand for that." Steve Martin.

"Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife." Groucho Marx.

"I wouldn't be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife." Tony Curtis.

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." Humprey Bogart.

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Joe E Lewis.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin.

"I drink to make other people interesting." George Jean Nathan.

"Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too much money." Robin Williams.

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day." Dean Martin.

"The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a beer bottle, they're on TV." Homer Simpson.

Anyway...time to get some work done.

Talk to ya all soon.

Monday, September 12, 2005

 

Flat Tax Redux

I've posted on the fact that flat tax reform is sweeping across Europe so I thought I'd just take a second to point out this economist article about a proposal for a flat tax in Britain. You can dig around for my earlier comments if you want, but the basic gist is that I don't understand why the U.S. left treats the idea as though it is particularly ridiculous.

 

Katrina...my two cents.

I haven't posted much lately and I've been deliberately avoiding posting about Katrina because it is being addressed so widely and because I know I'm going to subject myself to attack if I comment, but nonetheless after listening to NPR for a sizeable portion of the weekend I decided that I would make a few points that I haven't heard mentioned much and point to a couple of articles as well.

The first point I want to make is that while I don't disagree that things were handled poorly on all levels, including the Federal level, I am still a little suprised by the level of disbelief and outrage. I took a geography class my freshman year of college where we discussed New Orleans. This was back during the Clinton administration. The professor stated as a matter of fact that it was only a matter of time before a storm came along and wiped away New Orleans. It's a city that exists below sea level. Expecting the city to go on forever without being destroyed is a kind of optimism that dumbfounds me and that is why I don't really understand this idea that there was more that we could or should have done to prevent the destruction in the first place. I understand the complaints about handling supplies and evacuation, but I don't understand the idea that any amount of resources devoted to stopping the effects of natural occurrences is justified regardless of the degree of impact it might have. I lived in California for many years and it's sad to say, but people who live in houses in the hills have to expect that at some point a mudslide is going to destroy their house, and if you live someplace below sea level you have to expect that at some point you are going to be flooded. Part of the real problem in my mind is that flood insurance is oversubsidized so that it is "affordable." Charging less for insurance doesn't change the cost in the long run. It increases the moral hazard problem and because people are not paying the true value of the insurance it increases the amount of people who chose to live in areas that are likely to be flooded.

I have also heard many people comment that Bush took funding from the levees for Iraq. The unstated premise is that money kept for use on the levees would have been used to increase their stability. Forget for a moment that it is not at all clear that stronger levees would have been able to withstand the effects of Katrina, it is also not at all clear that the money would have been used toward that end. As the Washington Post reported here, funding for the levees has moved towards questionable projects.

"Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.
Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing."

Also from the article: "But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects. Strock has also said that the marsh-restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands."

So there is that. There is also another point that some of my Libertarian friends have already keyed in on, but that I feel the need to reiterate. Those who think that the government should have been there to solve the problem must have missed the fact that much of the problem was the government. It was businesses and charities that acted quickly and efficiently and it was the government at all levels that thwarted their efforts at every turn. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross were just two of many charities planning rescue operations and attempts to deliver supplies. One of the great ironies, that I hope will not be forgotten by the left is that Wal-Mart, sometimes referred to as the great Satan, "is being held up as a model for logistical efficiency and nimble disaster planning, which have allowed it to quickly deliver staples such as water, fuel and toilet paper to thousands of evacuees." I can't help but comment that this is due to the same efficiency that is so often decried by its opponents as destructive to our nation. Article here.

To me the biggest scandal is the residents of the city who were prevented from leaving the city by law enforcement officials at all levels. This seems to be a recurring story. People could have walked to the West Bank after the storm but were not allowed to cross the bridge for no discernible reason. I understand that there were issues of lawlessness that prevented many from entering the city (the accounts of ambulances and other emergency service vehicles waited across the bridge but refusing to enter because of accounts of people shooting at emergency personnel), but I can't fathom a good reason why you wouldn't let people out. I've heard many people claim that it was the result of racism. That the authorities wanted black people to die. I think that is a rather absurd conclusion personally, though I know some of my readers will agree with it wholeheartedly. For now though, I'll await the inevitable investigation and see if I'm proven wrong. My suspicion however is that once again the government thought that by controlling everyone and everything it could do a better job organizing everything than people could do on their own and thus thought that they were actually doing some good by "maintaining order." It's times like this that I want to compile Hayek's dissertations on spontaneous order and send them to everyone in government. Anyway...That's my two cents.

 

Rabbits

So I went to the Rocky Horror Stage Show, not the Rocky Horror Picture Show, this weekend. It was fun and Erin is now excited about the prospect of going to see RHPS down in Bowling Green, OH with me (they have a monthly showing). It was a good time. I only managed to really screw up once and it didn't cause too much of a problem so I suppose it went pretty well. Erin also engaged in acts of not so subtle manipulation toward her wicked ends of getting me to buy a rabbit for a pet. As we had dinner she commented that the pet store across the street that she ordered her pet food from hadn't called her yet about it. I was just trying to be helpful and suggested we go check on the order to confirm when it might be in since we were in the area. Then, somehow, we ended up by the rabbits and one of them collaborated with her to make me feel guilty about the tiny enclosure he was being kept in. He sneezed repeatedly and rubbed his rabbit nose and stood on his hind legs as he stared at me. As I tried to look at other rabbits Erin kept pointing out that he would not take his eyes off of me. Then she kept insisting that I wanted to hold a rabbit, just to see how it would feel. Finally I caved in and held the rabbit in my arms. He proceeded to lick my face. He or she (it didn't like it when we tried to check) was terribly affectionate and active and, at the risk of sounding like I have some semblance of a heart, adorable. When I put it back down it looked at me like it couldn't believe I would abandon it. It was a difficult walk away. Then on the ride home Erin kept saying things like, "well, if you were going to get it, what would you name it?" and "just think, about now the rabbit is going to sleep all alone in his small cage with no company and nowhere to play." The next day she bought me some books on rabbits. I keep pointing out that if I took a rabbit or a walk with me in the park I'd probably have lots of hot 19 year old girls fawning all over me because of how adorable it would be, but she remained undetterred. Anyway, it looks like I'm going to have to start reading up on rabbits, because sooner or later I will be getting one. That much is clear.

Oh, and if the rabbit is a girl I've decided to name it Trillian, from the Hitchhiker's "Trilogy."

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