Month: September 2009


Baby-bottle-53831FHere, Drink This Baby Bottle of Red Dye

Is it me, or is there something wrong with this picture (emphasis mine): “Doctors at five sites in England are comparing vaccines from two manufacturers to see which works best and has fewer side-effects. Over the next two weeks 1,000 children aged six months to 12 years are being recruited in Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Exeter and London.” Link.

I honestly don’t have an opinion on this whole H1N1 immunization controversy, but if there are side effects, ought doctors be recruiting infants? Maybe this is standard O.P., but it strikes me as a little loony.

Thunderbird and Ripple Accessories Not Included

This is the funniest serious story I’ve read all month (and it’s the 30th): “The wildly popular and outrageously pricey American Girl Store recently released a new doll. Her name is Gwen Thompson and she is homeless. According to her back story, her dad took off on the family, mom fell on hard times and now she sleeps in her car.” Link.

Forget the irony that a homeless doll costs $95. If this is successful, are they going to come out with related urban dolls: Rufus Jones, Pimp. He b**** slaps Gwen when she fails to bring in enough money. Wino Ted. He sleeps under a newspaper and sometimes defecates himself. You can change him! Cracky. She makes methamphetamine in her van and sometimes earns yet more meth by, well, associating with Rufus Jones.

Can You Spell, “Sanctionable”?

Werbel recently filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court alleging that he bought and ate boxes of Froot Loops based on his Read the rest


Sword of DamoclesSword of Damocles?

“Amherst [Securities] estimates this massive overhang at seven million units. That’s the equivalent of 135% of a full year’s existing-home sales and chillingly greater than the 1.27 million units that made up the overhang in early 2005, when the housing bubble had just begun its dizzying and more than a little lunatic ascent.

“Put another way, of the 56 million units that the Mortgage Bankers Association says make up the mortgage universe, Amherst gauges 6.94 million units are in what it dubs the ‘delinquency pipeline’ eventually headed for liquidation. And it reckons that another 300,000 mortgages replenish that unwelcome flow every month.

“Essentially, then, this shadow inventory represents a massive furtive supply of future foreclosure.” Link.

Business Tax Credits?

Managing the economy simply doesn’t work, and Michigan is leading the way in incompetency. A tax specialist describes Michigan’s woes under its Democratic governor’s tax credit gimmicks (who, significantly, boasts that she and Obama think alike on these issues):

For the past 14 years, Lansing politicians have offered $3.3 billion in tax credits through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and spent another $1.6 billion in outlays to create and retain jobs. The subsidies have ranged from tax breaks for Hollywood, to money for new industrial plants, to millions for TV ads starring Jeff Daniels and Tim Allen talking about business and tourism in the state.

It’s one of the largest experiments in smokestack chasing in American history, but one thing it hasn’t done is create jobs. An exhaustive new 100-page study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, has reviewed where all the money has gone and what

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Monday Moanin’

WanderlustVal-de-ri Val-de-ra

This article says Americans are taming their wanderlust. I find that highly doubtful. It’s a lamentable trait, but one that has marked American since at least Tocqueville’s visit. “In the United States a man builds a home in which to spend his old age, and he sells it before the roof is on; he plans a garden and rents it just as the trees are coming into bearing; he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable longings elsewhere.” Second Book, Chp. XIII (Yes, dear reader, I keep a copy of Democracy in America at my elbow. Nerd me.)

The author of the piece doesn’t even believe that wanderlust has been conquered. The wandering is down, yes, but the lust is still there. “The mobility rate is lower than it has been in years,” said Robert Lang, a demographer with Virginia Tech University. “There’s a recession and a housing bust. People can’t sell their homes in California and move to Las Vegas or sell their condo in Florida and move to North Carolina.”

Date My Daughter?

I don’t link to Newsweek any more than I link to The Daily Kos because both are hopelessly left wing (but at least TDK is honest about his predilections, whereas Newsweek colors itself objective). But a friend sent this nifty little article to me about fatherhood and a dating teenage daughter. It’s an entertaining piece, with stuff like this: “One of my friend’s fathers used to greet all of … Read the rest


Received in an Email

Touching Stories

I was walking through the cemetery this morning and saw a guy crouching down behind a tombstone. I said, “Morning.” He said, “No, just taking a ****”.

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole a bike and asked him to forgive me.

I was walking down the road today and saw my Afghani neighbor, Abdul, standing on his fifth floor apartment balcony shaking a carpet. I shouted up to him, “What’s up Abdul, won’t it start?”… Read the rest

Boating 1850s Style

Earlier this month while at the drinking club, I watched some Amish take their boat out of the lake . . . by backing their horse down the boat ramp. I snapped pics. The camera phone didn’t do a great job, but I think the “silhouette-effect” looks pretty cool.

Free at last:

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The Walker

Walking ManI found this well piece by Paul Johnson in the current issue of Forbes. Walking Our Way Out of Recession. I especially liked this excerpt:

Walking is not, however, an unproductive activity. Thomas Mann, the great German novelist, used to say: “Thoughts come clearly while one walks.” William Wordsworth composed virtually all his poetry while walking, memorizing it and only putting it in writing once he got home. Dickens often used his long walks to compose or straighten out his plots, invent characters or write in his head whole pages of description and dialogue.

Why the act of walking should induce and clarify thought is unclear, but it does. That’s certainly been my–and many others’–experience.

It reminded me of a piece I wrote many years ago. Fortunately, I was able to find it in my word processing archives. I’ve gone ahead and cut-and-pasted below, though the prose is a tad rough.

The Writer and the Walker

I remember reading a column by Florence King. I forget the topic, but in it she wrote that she does the same thing every morning: sits in her kitchen, smoking a cigarette, staring blankly into space, waiting for an article idea to hit her.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard writers mention the important role that leisure—the act of doing nothing—plays in their writing. When we’re focused on nothing, we get something.

Kinda. It’s more precise to say, when you’re not trying to think of something in particular, something hits you. The “something in particular” is, I think, yourself. If you’re intent on finding an article topic for yourself, your attention is drawn inward: what can … Read the rest