Thursday, April 30, 2009
Barcelona v Chelsea: All you need to know, Barca outshoots the Blues 20 - 3, outcorners them 10 - 2, Chelsea hacks the Blaugrana 20 times, yet the only pair of numbers that matters is nothin/nothin.
Manchester United v Arsenal: All you need to know, if Manu scores in London next week, the Gunners need three(3) goals to get their advance on. It's 1-0 to the Red Devils.
Get the fuck on with your life!
But before we break out the champagne substitute to honor the three-point seat belt's demi-centennial, we might also consider the possibility that some drivers have caused accidents precisely because they were wearing seat belts.Buckle Up Your Seatbelt and Behave
This counterintuitive idea was introduced in academic circles several years ago and is broadly accepted today. The concept is that humans have an inborn tolerance for risk—meaning that as safety features are added to vehicles and roads, drivers feel less vulnerable and tend to take more chances. The feeling of greater security tempts us to be more reckless. Behavioral scientists call it "risk compensation."
The principle was observed long before it was named. Soon after the first gasoline-powered horseless carriages appeared on English roadways, the secretary of the national Motor Union of Great Britain and Ireland suggested that all those who owned property along the kingdom's roadways trim their hedges to make it easier for drivers to see. In response, a retired army colonel named Willoughby Verner fired off a letter to the editor of the Times of London, which printed it on July 13, 1908.
"Before any of your readers may be induced to cut their hedges as suggested by the secretary of the Motor Union they may like to know my experience of having done so," Verner wrote. "Four years ago I cut down the hedges and shrubs to a height of 4ft for 30 yards back from the dangerous crossing in this hamlet. The results were twofold: the following summer my garden was smothered with dust caused by fast-driven cars, and the average pace of the passing cars was considerably increased. This was bad enough, but when the culprits secured by the police pleaded that ‘it was perfectly safe to go fast' because ‘they could see well at the corner,' I realised that I had made a mistake." He added that he had since let his hedges and shrubs grow back.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I know that by no means have I ever appeared to be the best of students, but I wanted to apologize greatly, you have helped me out a lot by allowing me to make up the exams. I am sure by the time you read this you will have already looked at my test and noted the abysmal grade it will receive. I know that this may seem odd to ask but I really need a decent grade in you class (though i know i have shown no evidence of the sort). I was wondering if I would appeal to you, to allow me to take my final grade on monday and use it to replace this test grade... I will be making an A on the final. (I can't afford not to)
Knowing I could get only six hours of sleep at the most, I would start to panic. Worrying about not sleeping kept me from sleeping, and by the time my alarm clock sounded, I was lucky if I’d gotten four hours.So I'm glad they didn't have Ambien when I was in high school. The reason I think that article is interesting, though, is because of how easy it is to become addicted to something. Even something as apparently innocuous as Ambien. Now I understand why so many sleep aid commercials talk about being "non-habit forming."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The luscious blue, the inky black, just the right amount of fimbriation (I always want to call it "infibulation," but that's horrible and yet appropriate for the living hell that is sub-Sarahan Africa), it's just right!
Congratulations, and good luck with your AIDS!
TUSCARORA, Nev. -- The residents of this tiny town, anticipating an imminent attack, will be ready with a perimeter defense. They'll position their best weapons at regular intervals, faced out toward the desert to repel the assault.Against Insect Plague, Nevadans Wield Ultimate Weapon: Hard Rock
Then they'll turn up the volume.
Rock music blaring from boomboxes has proved one of the best defenses against an annual invasion of Mormon crickets. The huge flightless insects are a fearsome sight as they advance across the desert in armies of millions that march over, under or into anything in their way.
But the crickets don't much fancy Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, the townspeople figured out three years ago. So next month, Tuscarorans are preparing once again to get out their extension cords, array their stereos in a quarter-circle and tune them to rock station KHIX, full blast, from dawn to dusk. "It is part of our arsenal," says Laura Moore, an unemployed college professor and one of the town's 13 residents.
In flyspeck villages like Tuscarora, crickets are a serious matter. The critters hatch in April in the barren soil of northern Nevada, western Utah and other parts of the Great Basin, quickly growing into blood-red, ravenous insects more than 2 inches long.
Then they march. In columns that in peak years can be two miles long and a mile across, swarms move across the badlands in search of food. Starting in about May, they march through August or so, before stopping to lay eggs for next year and die.
In between, they make an awful mess. They destroy crops and lots of the other leafy vegetation. They crawl all over houses, and some get inside. "You'll wake up and there'll be one sitting on your forehead, looking at you," says Ms. Moore.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Here's the scene in question, resplendent in all its booby, vaginey glory. I guess I'm done with the charade that this is, in any way, a family blog.
Customer: “Oh! Is this smoked salmon?”Not Always Right
Me: “No ma’am, it’s actually sashimi, the Japanese way of serving fish, so it’s cleaned and served raw.”
Customer: “Raw? That can’t be healthy! Are you sure you are allowed to serve raw fish? Someone could get sick!”
Me: “I can assure you, raw salmon won’t get anyone sick. We have served this for years.”
Customer: “But it’s raw! Someone will get sick! That’s what raw fish does - gets people sick!”
Me: “Ma’am, the Japanese have been eating raw fish for centuries. I think it will be OK.”
Customer: “Well, they also lost World War 2. I don’t think this is safe!”
Customer: “I bought this computer here, and it’s broken. I want to return it.”
(She dumps out the bag, and inside is a laptop that is broken completely in half.)
Customer: “It was like this when I opened the box.”
Me: “Okay… well, do you have the receipt, and the original packaging?”
Customer: *hands me a receipt*
Me: “Ma’am, this receipt is from three months ago.”
Customer: “I know, I bought it three months ago but I just opened it today.”
Me: “Well, do you have the original packaging?”
Customer: “No, I threw it away.”
Me: “So, let me get this straight. You opened the box, three months after buying the computer, and the laptop was broken in half, so you threw out the box?”
Customer: “Yeah, I didn’t think I needed it.”
Me: “I really don’t think you can return this.”
Customer: “Alright, but you can fix it. It’s still got a manufacturer warranty.”
Me: “I’m sorry, but manufacturer warranties don’t cover accidental damage, just defects.”
Customer: “But it’s not accidental damage! It was like this when I bought it!”
Me: “I find that really hard to believe, and so would anyone else. Nobody in their right mind would believe that it came out of the box like this.”
Customer: “But why would I lie about that?”
Me: “To get a free repair? I’m sorry, I just can’t do it. Your warranty does not cover accidental damage.”
Customer: *thinks for a moment* “But what if it wasn’t an accident?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Customer: “What if it wasn’t an accident? I did it on purpose. That’s not accidental damage.”
Me: “Have a good day, ma’am.”
Well, you're gonna be dead in a hundred years anyway, live dangerously.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
baseballguy86: omg dad wut r u doin lol
KoolDad69: I was wondering if you wanted to talk. I notice you spend a lot of time on here. Do you remember 6 years ago when I started to tell you about Tool?
baseballguy86: yeha ok a lil
KoolDad69: Well, I assume that you've probably heard some things from some of the other boys at school since then, I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page of if you had any questions.
KoolDad69: Are you there?
baseballguy86: yeh its kewl
KoolDad69: I'm not sure what that means, but I just wanted to be certain that you knew about Aenima, their 1996 album that I personally believe to be their magnum opus. Have you heard any of it at school?
baseballguy86: a lil. it rocks prety much
KoolDad69: You're damn right it does!
KoolDad69: Are you there?
baseballguy86: lol yeh
KoolDad69: Does this thing have video?
KoolDad69: Are you there?
baseballguy86: yeh it does theirs a button 4 it on top
KoolDad69: I first fell in love with Tool after listening to a 30 second realplayer clip of that song. Do you know what realplayer is?
KoolDad69: lol yeh is that 4 pron
KoolDad69: What do you know about pron?
baseballguy86: nuthin jus jokin
KoolDad69: I don't think it was funny. It might have been, how old are you? 12? I guess I knew about porn when I was 12. Whatever.
KoolDad69: Are you there?
KoolDad69: Alright, well it was five long years until Tool's next album: Lateralus. In the meantime they released Salival, a boxed set with a mostly live CD and a VHS or DVD of their videos. Do you know what VHS is?
baseballguy86: its like a dvd
KoolDad69: Yes, pretty much. Bigger, though.
KoolDad69: Are you there?
baseballguy86: lol yeh
KoolDad69: Let's see if this one works.
KoolDad69: How about that, huh? Pretty cool.
baseballguy86: yeh their good
KoolDad69: Is this how you talk to everyone on this thing?
baseballguy86: yeh y
KoolDad69: They don't call you names or anything? Make fun of your spelling? You can tell me.
baseballguy86: no but im bout 2 call my gf so im gettin off here
KoolDad69: You have a girlfriend? Does she know about Tool?
baseballguy86: yeh she knoz all about theyre 2006 release 10000 days
KoolDad69: I love you.
user baseballguy86 has signed off and can no longer receive messages.
Friday, April 24, 2009
love the outfit
1. Measure Everything
2. Control Dilution
3. Taste, Taste, Taste
4. Use Lots of Ice
5. Garnishes Matter
6. Recipes Are a Baseline
7. Muddle Softly
8. Use Fresh Juice
9. Sweeten it Yourself
10. Shaken and Stirred
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"oh hell and damn yes gimme that thing"
Be the coolest guy around this Friday, 'cause it's Catchphrase Friday.
fall in love with singer? check.
get introduced to her? check.
actually talk to her? NO.
get copy of sample cd from friend who actually did talk to her? check.
spend several hours Sunday fastidiously perusing all available internet materials on her and her band? check.
find a poster advertising the show and put it up in apartment? check.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Pretty good, but it doesn't have my favorite, from David Bowie: "Sometimes when I'm at a McDonald's, I wait until nobody is looking, and then I stick my hand inside the straw dispenser and touch all the straws." Oh, and the better Tom Hanks one: "Peter Scolari and I went out once in our Bosom Buddies outfits to see if we could really pass as women. The answer? I made $760 that night."
Location: Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Just across the surprisingly-whitebread Black Country from Birmingham.
Nickname: Wolves. Not "the Wolves," just Wolves.
Stately, Non-Commercial Stadium Name: Molineux Stadium.
Crest: This is what the road signs in hell look like.
What they'll bring to the table (metaphorically speaking!): If nothing else (and there's probably nothing else), a little black and gold to break up the monotony of the blue, white, and red dominated premier league.
What they'll bring to the table* (literally!): Not much. This will be their second season in the premier league. Don't expect much improvement on their average finishing position of 20th.
*remember fruitsnacks, "table" means "league standings!"
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Join or Die.
In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.
I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that's strictly pornographic—the lurid and hardcore, the predictably "controversial." One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its "Fuck the Man" symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.
But any hope that the Obama administration would be significantly better than the Republicans on civil liberties is more or less entirely gone at this point. Three items:
From Radley Balko,
The Justice Department announced (pdf) over the weekend that it will not intervene in the Charlie Lynch medical marijuana case. The federal judge in Lynch’s case had postponed Lynch’s sentencing to inquire if the Obama administration might want to back off, given Attorney General Holder’s recent statements about not prosecuting medical marijuana distributors who are complying with state and local law.Pretty much speaks for itself.
It would be merely disappointing had the DOJ based its decision not to intervene on the fact that a verdict had already been rendered in Lynch’s case. But the DOJ response goes much further, specifically stating that entire prosecution of Lynch is consistent with the government’s new position on medical marijuana, as laid out by Holder. I’s hard to say, then, exactly what distinguishes Obama’s position on medical marijuana from Bush’s. Lynch sought out and received assurance from state and local authorities that he was in complete compliance with state and local law. If that isn’t enough to meet Holder’s new policy, what is?
From an RCP interview with Janet Napolitano:
NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren't enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.Whoa, really? As Nick Gillespie asked, "In what alternate universe is the secretary living where it's evil (E-VIL!) to hire immigrants who are willing to work?" And wasn't throwing around terms like "evil-doers" part of what got so many people irritated about Bush?
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And from last week, Glenn Greenwald on "New and worse secrecy and immunity claims from the Obama DOJ":
Taking them at their word, EFF -- which was the lead counsel in the lawsuits against the telecoms -- thereafter filed suit, in October, 2008, against the Bush administration and various Bush officials for illegally spying on the communications of Americans. They were seeking to make good on the promise made by Congressional Democrats: namely, that even though lawsuits against telecoms for illegal spying will not be allowed any longer, government officials who broke the law can still be held accountable.Even the good thing Obama did, releasing the Bush torture memos, is effectively negated by Obama's insistence (or at least, that of his Attorney General) that there will be no prosecutions or apparently investigations.
But late Friday afternoon, the Obama DOJ filed the government's first response to EFF's lawsuit (.pdf), the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush's NSA program. But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the "state secrets" privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new "sovereign immunity" claim of breathtaking scope -- never before advanced even by the Bush administration -- that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is "willful disclosure" of the illegally intercepted communications.
A study of the extended family tree of the House of Hapsburg has found that the last Spanish Hapsburg king, Charles II, was the offspring of a marriage that was almost as genetically inbred as an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister or parent and child.Revealed: the interbreeding that ruined the Hapsburgs
Scientists have found that the Hapsburg fashion of marrying their relatives to keep their dynastic heritage intact had dire consequences for subsequent generations, which culminated in the last heir to the Spanish throne being sickly and impotent.
Charles II of Spain was nicknamed El Hechizado – The Hexed – because people at the time thought that his physical and mental disabilities were the result of sorcery. Now a study into the genetics of his immediate ancestors has found that he was so inbred that he probably suffered from at least two inherited disorders.
Despite his deformities and severe health problems, Charles had married twice in the hope of continuing the rule of the Hapsburgs, but he was incapable of fathering an heir and died childless at the age of 39. He was the last of a long line of Hapsburgs and it spelled the end for the Spanish branch of the dynasty.
Scientists believe they can show just how inbred Charles was following a study of more than 3,000 relatives of the Hapsburg family extending over 16 generations. The researchers found that his "inbreeding coefficient" – a measure of the proportion of inbred genes he had inherited from his parents – was on a par with that of the offspring of an incestuous marriage.
Starting today [that is, some time last week] and running through the 25th, A temporary bar dubbed "Alcoholic Architecture" is popping up in London offering a cloud of breathable gin and tonic to it's patrons.London bar pumps gin and tonic into the air
The brainchild of culinary adventurers Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, Alcoholic Architecture creates a intoxicating vapor using the same ultrasonic humidifier system found in Antony Gormley's installation at the Hayward in 2007 called Blind Light. Patrons pay around $7 for hourly slots between 7 and 9pm where they can don protective suits and get drunk off the air. It's a novelty for sure, but $7 isn't a bad price for an hours worth of gin and tonic no matter how you look at it.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Four graduate students sit around a table in a pleasantly decorated academic lobby.
Graduate Student Alpha: ...and my dad has a battleaxe that he keeps next to his bed and sometimes when he's in the living room he carries it with him just in case. He also showed me where all the guns are in the house in case something happens to him. Also, he has a mace. It's really just a club with a bunch on nails hammered into one end. Also, I think he might have a blow-gun. Anyway, he always likes to carry a gun when he does yard work... oh hey, there's a tortilla in my pocket.
Graduate Student Alpha stops, reaches into her pocket, produces a folded white flour tortilla. She takes a bite. Graduate Students Beta, Gamma, and Delta stare, caught in a state of surreal amazement.
Graduate Student Alpha: It's better than the time I found a five month old taco in a CD case. So, anyway, he says that nobody expects you to be armed when you're doing yard work...
Friday, April 17, 2009
I used to have all of the "Just Ask Owen" column, but I had a hard drive crash a few months back and I don't think they survived that. I know that there were some political columns, stuff done in 1996, thatA Jody Stitt did not win the English Core Teaching Award in 2006, but was a finalist. Jody Stitt: not a lot of help.
were archived somewhere on the Net; some quotations, too.
I also know that there was a blog post somewhere that had Owen Fulrice's real name, Jody Stitt; he's a untenured English professor in a Southern university now. I haven't researched far enough into that; imagine a scholarly paper written like these columns, Frederico Jalapeno being cited, etc.
But! Until about 2008 UAB had a Joseph Stitt teaching. People seemed to like his classes. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama, which with working at UAB fits both the time and the place, plus: "Stitt is a writer and editor who has published book reviews and essays for several Birmingham area publications. He has also been a consultant for GreenThink.com." Here's something by a Joseph Stitt that certainly sounds like Owen Fulrice.
The biography here makes me think we've got our man:
Joseph Stitt grew up in Cullman, Alabama, went to college at the University of Alabama (B.A. and M.A. in English, 1993 and 1995), taught composition for a year at Wallace State College, then worked for four years as a writer and editor for the web sites Hecklers Online and Greenthink.com. For the last two years he has taught composition and literature at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His story “Sunset for a Tennessee Mule” was in the spring issue of the Aura Literary Arts Review. He has published numerous essays, articles, book reviews, and parodies both in print and online.Next up, I guess, is sitting outside his house in my car, waiting for him to come outside.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The film begins with a short voiceover introduction by an unnamed narrator (Fred Ashe) introducing the character of Juicebot as he is buying half and half from a grocery store in 1991. The voiceover explains that Juicebot calls himself "the Juicebot".
After returning to his apartment in St. Louis, two thugs break in and rough up The Juicebot. They are attempting to collect a debt Juicebot's supposed wife owes to a man named Eric Fillebaum. After realizing they were looking for a different person with the same name, they leave, but only after one of the thugs urinates on the Juicebot's rug. At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Charlie, the Juicebot decides to seek compensation for his urine-soaked rug from the other Juicebot. The next day, the titular "Big" Juicebot, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, gruffly refuses the Juicebot's request. After craftily stealing one of the Big Juicebot's rugs, the Juicebot meets Christine Neumann, the Big Juicebot's nymphomaniacal trophy wife on his way off the property.
Days later, the Big Juicebot contacts the Juicebot, revealing that Christine has been kidnapped. He asks him to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because the Juicebot will be able to confirm or deny their suspicion that the kidnappers are the rug-soiling thugs. Back at his apartment, the Juicebot naps on his new, stolen rug, only to have a new set of criminals burgle his apartment. The criminals knock him unconscious. Following a musical dream sequence, the Juicebot wakes up on his bare wooden floor, his new rug missing. Soon after, when Christine's kidnappers call to arrange the ransom exchange, Charlie tries to convince the Juicebot to keep the money and give the kidnappers a "ringer" suitcase filled with dirty underwear. The Juicebot rejects this plan, but cannot stop Charlie. The kidnappers escape with the ringer, and the Juicebot and Charlie are left with the million-dollar ransom. Charlie seems unperturbed by this turn of events, and takes the Juicebot bowling. Later that night, the Juicebot's car is stolen, along with the briefcase filled with money. The Juicebot receives a message from the Big Juicebot's daughter, Jenni. She admits to stealing back the Juicebot's new, stolen rug, as it had sentimental value to her. At her art studio, she explains that Christine is a porn starlet working under producer Eric Fillebaum and confirms the Juicebot's suspicion that Christine probably kidnapped herself. She asks the Juicebot to recover the ransom, as it was illegally withdrawn by her father from a family-run charitable foundation for orphans. She offers him a finder's fee in exchange for his services.
The Big Juicebot angrily confronts the Juicebot over his failure to hand over the money. The Juicebot claims that he made the pay-off as agreed, but the Big Juicebot responds by handing the Juicebot an envelope sent to him by the kidnappers which contains a severed toe, presumably Christine's. The Juicebot is enjoying a relaxing bath when he receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Juicebot's apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers. They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Juicebot returns to Jenni's studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Christine's friends (including her pornographic co-star Scott Love AKA "Karl Hungus"). The Juicebot picks up his car from the police, and based on evidence he finds in the front seat, he and Charlie track down the supposed thief, a teenager named Teddums. Their confrontation with Teddums is unsuccessful, and the Juicebot and Charlie leave without getting any money or information.
Eric Fillebaum's thugs return to the Juicebot's apartment to bring him to Fillebaum's beach house in McAlla. Fillebaum inquires about the whereabouts of Christine and the money, offering him a cut of any funds recovered. After the Juicebot tells him about Teddums, Fillebaum drugs the Juicebot's drink (a vodka and sunny delite) and he passes out. This leads to a second, more elaborate dream sequence in which "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" By Kenny Rogers and The First Edition is playing. Upon awakening once again, the Juicebot finds himself in a police car and then in front of the sheriff of McAlla, who berates and strikes him with a coffee mug for ruining the peace. After an abbreviated cab ride home (in which he is thrown out of the cab by an Eagles-loving driver), the Juicebot arrives home and is greeted by Jenni, who hopes to conceive a child with him. During post-coital conversation with Jenni, the Juicebot finds out that, despite appearances, her father has no money of his own. Jenni's late mother was the rich one and she left her money exclusively to the family charity. In a flash, the Juicebot unravels the whole scheme: When the Big Juicebot heard that Christine was kidnapped, he used it as a pretense for an embezzlement scheme, in which he withdrew the ransom money from the family charity. He kept it for himself, gave an empty briefcase to the Juicebot (who would be the fall guy on whom he pinned the theft), and was content to let the kidnappers kill Christine.
Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: While Christine took an unannounced trip, the nihilists (her friends) alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. The Juicebot and Charlie arrive at the Big Juicebot residence, finding Christine back at home, having returned from her trip. They confront the Big Juicebot with their version of the events, which he counters but does not deny. The affair apparently over, the Juicebot and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Juicebot's car on fire. They are still demanding the million dollars, despite the fact that the Juicebot does not have the money and Christine has not even been kidnapped. Charlie viciously fights them off, going so far as to bite off one nihilist's ear. However, their third teammate, Tha Captain, suffers a fatal heart attack.
After a disagreement with the funeral home director over the cost of an urn for Tha Captain, Charlie and the Juicebot go to a cliff overlooking a beach to scatter Tha Captainz ashes from a large Folgers coffee can. Before opening the can's lid and haphazardly shaking out Tha Captainz remains into the wind, Charlie remembers what little he knew about Tha Captain, including that he loved to surf and bowl, then quotes a line from Hamlet: "Goodnight, sweet prince." After an emotional exchange, Charlie suggests, "Fuck it, man. Let's go bowling." The movie ends with the Juicebot in the bowling alley and meeting the narrator at the bar. The narrator tells the Juicebot to take it easy and the Juicebot responds by stating, "the Juicebot abides". The narrator briefly comments on the film to the audience, saying that although he "didn't like to see Tha Captain go", he hints that there's a "little Juicebot on the way." The film transitions to the closing credits as Townes Van Zandt's version of "Dead Flowers" plays.
But it might surprise you to learn that one of the largest and most-celebrated new-media ventures is burning through cash at a rate that makes newspapers look like wise investments. It's called YouTube: According a recent report by analysts at the financial-services company Credit Suisse, Google will lose $470 million on the video-sharing site this year alone. To put it another way, the Boston Globe, which is on track to lose $85 million in 2009, is five times more profitable—or, rather, less unprofitable—than YouTube. All so you can watch this helium-voiced oddball whenever you want.It's weird to me that YouTube pays for content, instead of the other way around. I don't know anything about it, of course, but why aren't Fox, NBC, ABC, etc, paying YouTube for space in exchange for letting them put up whatever kind of ads they want on their videos? And why doesn't YouTube have tons more ads? Even if the problem is figuring out who the market is, some companies (auto insurance, Coca Cola) have an interest in reaching every single demographic, which YouTube can do. It is quite confusing.
YouTube isn't alone in Poor House 2.0. Yahoo bought the popular photo-sharing site Flickr in 2005, and though the service might be marginally profitable, it certainly hasn't added appreciably to Yahoo's bottom line. (Yahoo similarly doesn't break out Flickr's financials.) Facebook provides an even better example. The social network is running up a huge tab to store and serve up all the photos, videos, and other junk you stuff into your profile. Last year, TechCrunch reported that Facebook spends $1 million a month on electricity, $500,000 a month on bandwidth, and up to $2 million per week on new servers to keep up with its users' insatiable photo-uploading needs. (Members post nearly a billion photos every month.) But Facebook gets relatively little in return for storing all your memories. Ad rates on its network are terribly low, the company doesn't make a profit, and it hasn't shed any light on how it will make good on investments that valued the company at $15 billion.
Fixing Facebook also looks pretty straightforward: limit the number of pictures people can have, or make them automatically expire. Deactivate inactive accounts. Eliminate or limit profiles from outside the US (which apparently costs a lot more). Sell more user data. And why are separate developers creating all the applications? The games, especially chess, are the only reason that a misanthrope like me checks Facebook every day.
Or, thinking a little bigger, make Facebook into more than just a social networking site. Put in a newsfeed, a way to check email, etc. Maybe even add a search engine in conjunction with Google or someone else -- essentially a Yahoo! homepage with your social network included. I know people who would make that their start page. In fact, I'm kind of surprised they haven't done this already.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Everybody's got ideas about how to fix it. Here's mine!
1. If you are currently disabled such that you are unable to work, have no income beyond government relief in some form (Social Security and such), are currently in the military, or make less than $12,000 a year (a number than can change with inflation), you pay no taxes.
2. For everyone else, there's a formula.
a. For income between zero and X dollars, you pay .5%. So, let's say that in 2008, X = 48,000. If you made exactly $48,000 dollars last year, you pay $2,400.
b. For all income above X, you pay Y%. Let's say for 2008 Y=30, and you made $58,000. You'd pay 1% of that first $48,000 ($2,400) and then 30% of the next $10,000 ($3,000). So your total tax burden would be $5,400.
Simple! The most complicated part would be figuring out the value of items you received that act like income (like receiving stocks as a bonus, or using a company car). The entire thing could be done on a medium-sized postcard. It would be easy too to make it more progressive -- just add $Z. Anything more than three levels would be a bit too complex.
3. There is no withholding, so people recognize how much they are actually paying the federal government every year, and there are no tax credits or loopholes, because it's not our place to subsidize people for having kids, buying houses, getting married, buying a new car, going to school, etc etc.
4. This is the sole income tax that the federal government levies -- no business taxes to encourage people to put their money back into business (although any perks would qualify as income). No social security taxes, because if we're going to do wealth transfer we're going to be honest about it.
5. Congress must choose, by December 31 of the tax year, numbers X and Y (and maybe Z) such that the income would, if these numbers were applied to the previous year, completely cover total government expenditures plus 10% of the debt. This means everything -- military expenditures, welfare benefits (including for veterans), interest on the debt, Medicaid, and so on. It should probably include a provision in case of emergency, but it should be extremely difficult to do (say, the approval of 3/5 both houses of Congress) and limited in duration (for only that tax year).
The whole effect, I hope, would be to make paying taxes easier. It would also force people to recognize just how much spending is going on and how much of it they're paying for.
In which the saucy Catalan lads of Barcelona will travail to do gentlemanly battle with the high-society Old Etonians of Chelsea.
For the Spaniards, scoring goals comes as easily as the flamenco, brutalizing bulls, or shocking racism. Bad news for the posh boys from West London who've conceded a rather unsettling seven in their last two games.
Wherein neighbour shall be turned against neighbour and brother against brother as Albion sees two of her favorite sons take arms against one another.
Shall the natural order of things be retained? Or will fair Londontown see one of its own inch tantalizingly closer to the ultimate prize?
Two weeks. You would be wise to make ready.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A bias in favor of male offspring has left China with 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls, creating “an imminent generation of excess men,” a study released Friday said.Pundits and science fiction writers have asked what the future for a China with a massive oversupply of men might be. I tend to be pessimistic, so I imagine things going a bit more negatively. A mild export of the gender imbalance to other countries is almost certain. A decrease in the position of women is likely, either due to growing demand for them or a backlash against women trying to use their new found rarity to improve their lot. And at what point does war become likely, either to distract an unruly male population or because of unrest?
For the next 20 years, China will have increasingly more men than women of reproductive age, according to the paper, which was published online by the British Medical Journal. “Nothing can be done now to prevent this,” the researchers said.
Chinese government planners have long known that the urge of couples to have sons was skewing the gender balance of the population. But the study, by two Chinese university professors and a London researcher, provides some of the first hard data on the extent of the disparity and the factors contributing to it.
In 2005 , they found, births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million. There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls.
This disparity seems to surpass that of any other country, they said — a finding, they wrote, that was perhaps unsurprising in light of China’s one-child policy.
The only difference in how I watched that game and how I'm watching this one? I now have enough money to run my air conditioner. Stay cool, bitches.
But a handful of scientists think that these ultra-marathoners are using their bodies just as our hominid forbears once did, a theory known as the endurance running hypothesis (ER). ER proponents believe that being able to run for extended lengths of time is an adapted trait, most likely for obtaining food, and was the catalyst that forced Homo erectus to evolve from its apelike ancestors. Over time, the survival of the swift-footed shaped the anatomy of modern humans, giving us a body that is difficult to explain absent a marathoning past.The Running Man, Revisited
Our toes, for instance, are shorter and stubbier than those of nearly all other primates, including chimpanzees, a trait that has long been attributed to our committed bipedalism. But a study published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, by anthropologists Daniel Lieberman and Campbell Rolian, provides evidence that short toes make human feet exquisitely suited to substantial amounts of running. In tests where 15 subjects ran and walked on pressure-sensitive treadmills, Lieberman and Rolian found that toe length had no effect on walking. Yet when the subjects were running, an increase in toe length of just 20 percent doubled the amount of mechanical work, meaning that the longer-toed subjects required more metabolic energy, and each footfall produced more shock.
“If you have very long toes, the moment of force acting on the foot’s metatarsal phalangeal joint becomes problematic when running,” explains Lieberman. Our hominid ancestors, Australopithecus, of which Lucy is the most famous specimen, had significantly longer toes than humans. “Lucy could have walked just fine with her long toes,” says Lieberman. “But if she wanted to run a marathon, or even a half-marathon, she’d have had trouble.”
Monday, April 13, 2009
Okay, well, let's see. You have to realize that this isn't the easiest thing for me either, son. I know, I know, we'll be done in time for Malcolm in the Middle. Alright, where do we start. Um, maybe you can tell me what you already know... Nothing, huh. That's for the best, I suppose.
*sigh* Here goes, Tool released their first EP, "Opiate" in 92? 93, maybe. I probably should have done some research. Anyway, it was an aggressive little gem filled with thrashy riffs, overt themes, and sometimes downright salty lyrics. This is "Hush" from the youtube, pay attention now, son.
I guess I could have warned you about the imminent manparts, but it's nothing you haven't seen around the locker room. What, you don't have a locker room in Kindergarten? Where do you shower? Hmm. Well whatever.
Where were we? Oh, right. Tool released their first real album, "Undertow" fairly soon after. The songs were a little longer, the meanings more veiled, and the artwork more obscure. Again, I've just discovered this youtube thing and it's a lot easier than actually talking to you.
Okay, this is taking forever. I don't even think you're paying attention. Fine, go watch your programs. We can talk about this some other time. I love you, too.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
The Random Sentence Generator: Does a demise act?
Thursday, April 09, 2009
An alleged practice of certain evil people, especially rock musicians, of saying or singing words which, when listened to backward contain evil messages such as "My sweet Satan"* or "Kill yourself." Or they might contain messages such as "it's fun to smoke marijuana"* or "sleep with me, I'm not too young."* Of course, you probably won't hear these messages until somebody first points them out to you. Perception is influenced by expectation and expectation is affected by what others prime you for.