Gift Suggestions

The folks at Radar magazine have compiled a list of the most dangerous playthings of all time (though it really only covers 1950 or so onward; I'm guessing paleolithic toys would have bumped some current entries off the list).

As a parent, I'd ask all three of our readers to review the list to make sure they don't inadvertantly purchase any.


New New York Architecture

Got two million for a studio apartment? A. A. Gill tells you all about the unique, one-of-a-kind imported style you'll get for your money in New New York.

Yeah, the closing moral is lame, but the digs throughout rock. (If you're like me, you'll have to think about the Amish one for a moment.)


Unstoppable Filing System

So I spend a fair amount of time over at 43 Folders, and can tell you what the Noguchi filing system is, and Molly makes fun of me listening to the podcasts — but it's interesting, and may even get me more organized.

Still, I'll never be as organized as this woman. (There are 189 more episodes, if you liked that one.)


Utterly Childish



Funny as shit! [no pun intended]

I haven't been reading many news sites over the past few days, so I have no idea how the Zune is selling. Anyone?

Slashdot says that sales are flaccid.

PC Magazine says that sales are slow.

I bet that's really what the marketing guys want to hear about the first days after a new product launch, slow and flaccid.



Hello? This is 1996 calling, I want my poor web design back!

I really don't know what to say, really. This is, how should I put it, hideous. If the music doesn't make your ears bleed, the horrid layout and cursor trails will make your eyes bleed.




USAirways/Delta Merger

ScrappleFace has an insightful (if short) piece on the proposed USAirways/Delta Merger.
And by "insightful," I mean "hilarious."


Hold Music... but Good

The American Music Center, being musical and all, decided to do something creative about a scourge of modern life: hold music. Now, I've heard a little variety in the sounds organizations make when my call is important to them, just not that important — hell, one place I worked used the Lord of the Rings music (which is what happens when you let the techies run the phone system). But these are pieces specifically commissioned to be used as hold music, and they're worth hearing.


Health Care Quiz

In its rush to condemn a shortage of doctors at top beantown teaching hospitals, what has the Globe omitted?

What can the new Democrat congress (they probably won't, but let's try to be charitable) learn from the omission?

Maybe our occasional reader in the Globe management ranks can feed back to her reporters and editors the suggestions that I expect to see in the comments.

Maybe the reporter should have talked to Uwe Reinhardt.

Anyway, sorry about the blogging hiatus and the long block quote to follow, but I had to give a taste of the article and how long one can go on while COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT (and this is just the first 15% or so).

Most primary care physicians at Boston's top-tier teaching hospitals are so busy that they have officially closed their practices to new patients.

Callers to Massachusetts General Hospital's physician referral line, for example, are told that all, or almost all, of the hospital's 178 primary care physicians are not accepting more patients. All 42 internists at Boston Medical Center have had full lists since four months ago, and 108 of Brigham and Women's Hospital's 120 primary care doctors have closed their practices to new patients.
Determined patients, however, are getting in to see some of the city's best doctors through informal channels, from e-mailing doctors personally to asking family members and acquaintances to use their connections.

"There is a huge crisis in primary care right now," said Dr. Sherry Haydock, medical director of Internal Medicine Associates, a primary care practice at Mass. General. "If you have a family member already cared for at the hospital, you have a much higher likelihood that a doctor will take you. But as our [practices] have gotten to 150 percent the size they should be, a lot of us realize we have to say no even to family members."

Many doctors blame a national shortage of primary care doctors for the limited access, but the reasons are more complex and vary among hospitals. Many internists, especially women, are cutting back their hours to spend more time with their families. At the same time, the aging population and the increasing complexity of medicine mean that each patient requires more time and services -- reducing the number of patients some doctors can see.

At Boston teaching hospitals, patient demand appears to be growing dramatically, partly because primary care doctors sit at a crucial intersection -- when patients fall seriously ill, it's the primary care doctor who can get them seen by a top surgeon or specialist. And new programs that rate hospitals and doctors' groups on the quality of care they provide often award the highest marks to these institutions, attracting more potential patients.

But many teaching hospitals have trouble finding physicians to hire -- Mass. General averages fewer than two applicants for every opening, down from eight a decade ago. Or the hospitals do not have space to expand. Community hospitals, health centers, and doctors' practices in the suburbs also report difficulty hiring primary care doctors, but most can accept new patients.

Caught in the middle All of this leaves many doctors at teaching hospitals feeling caught in the middle and patients frustrated as they try any avenue to get into practices. About a dozen doctors interviewed by the Globe said that in the past few years, they have been fielding a growing number of requests from current patients, colleagues, neighbors, and friends asking whether they can squeeze in someone they know who needs a doctor. Many get dozens of requests a month. Occasionally, hospital executives also ask doctors to fit in major donors.
Doctors have to make uncomfortable decisions about which new patients to accept and which to turn away. The doctors say they turn down most because the more new patients they take on, the longer their current patients have to wait for appointments -- and the more hours they must work.


To all the men and women who serve and have served in the military...

...and to those who have given their lives in service of our great country:

Thank you.


Is it me...

Or does it look like President Bush is about to back-hand Nancy Pelosi...



Iran, Heavy Water, and... AIDS?

Mohammad Sa'idi, international affairs deputy of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, claims heavy water (which Iran is now producing) is medicinal. He states in this Iranian News Channel interview that it's used to treat AIDS and cancer.

Yes, heavy water in high enough concentrations inhibits mitosis, stopping cell division. But if you drink it, it rapidly diffuses throughout your body, as opposed to concentrating at a tumor or infected T-cells; since your body is about 70% water, you'd need to drink only heavy water for a week or so to make any difference — and it would be a bad difference for you, similar to the effects of radiation poisoning.

As a general principle, nobody this nutty should be involved with nuclear anything.


When it rains...

...you get wet. I know, it's been a long time since I've put anything on this blog. I mean, it's probably just easier to e-mail the 3 people who read this thing and send them what I want to send them. However, I am committed (and committable) so here I go...

There are two new Mac-related blogs that don't take themselves too seriously. The first is The Macalope - a ridiculous site with a odd take on current events in the Macintosh community. The second, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is just plain ridiculous. So, give them both a whirl and let me know what you think.


It's been a while since...

...I ranted. Not that one needs anything in particular to rant about. It could be something innocuous like bitching about the weather or as button pushing as bitching about the lefty Democrats who are going to ruin this country through their inability to understand basic economics and their propensity to spew vitriol-laden rhetoric anytime someone tries to use, get this, logic.

Nothing in particular is coming to mind for today's rant, so maybe I'll just go through my rant closet and write a little about each...

Where to start...

Red Sox fans? Nah, too easy.

Democrats? Nah, don't feel like writing "War and Peace."

Democrats and Gas Prices? By George, I think he has a topic!

Last Wednesday or Thursday, the Wall Street Journal ran a short editorial piece about gas pricing and oil pricing and Democrats and taxing wind-fall profits.* The basic gist of the editorial was that Ms. Nancy Pelosi and some of her other Democratic ninny friends believe, at least as shown through their actions, that shareholders of companies like Exxon-Mobil should be over-regulated and taxed into oblivion when times are good and thrown to the side of the road when times are bad. This all stems from "windfall profits" taxes that were being bandied about because Exxon-Mobile made a shitload of money. In fact, they made a metric assload of money a few quarters in a row. You know what I say? Good for them. Nobody really cared much about them when oil was $20 a barrel and we were paying $0.79 a gallon for gas.

However, now that the price of oil is up and consumer consumption is also up, the Dems want to punish these companies to taking advantage of the market. They're not actually taking advantage of the market. The market is just favoring them now. However, if, and this is a really big if, there is stability in the OPEC states and oil goes a dropping to $30 a barrel, a lot of these profits the oil companies are making will become a whole lot more modest. If they drop even further than that, earnings will look crappy. I really feel for the Exxon-Mobile shareholder...now where did I put my shares...

I actually saw gas on 1A next to Suffolk Downs for $1.95/gal for the 87 octane stuff. Too bad my car take Premium, that was around $2.30/gal - a whole lot better than the $3.20/gal I was paying 7 months ago. That hurt, that added like $14 to each fill-up. Wait, it only added $14 to each fill up? How often do I fill up? 3 times every two months? Shit, gas prices really don't directly affect me much. Now where did I put that Suburban...


* I actually clipped this particular editorial and pinned it to my cubicle wall along with a couple of other gems from the WSJ. I even made one of our Northeastern Co-Op Students read it. No, not to make her head spin...she's a righty, the only one on a college campus in Boston.


One-Man Stonehenge

This guy Wally has figured out ways to move Stonehenge-sized blocks by himself. There's a good 6-minute news item on it here. I'd say moving the barn was the thing that most impresssed me.


Huh? The Onion couldn't even make this up...

Parent criticizes book 'Fahrenheit 451' and admits to not even having read it. Read the article, then read, at least, the first comment.

*thump* <<-- sound of my head hitting the desk.

*UPDATE* - The comments on the site are LIFO, so the first post I was referring to isn't there. Below is the full text of the comment:

Ban the Bible while you're at it; it's a terrible influence.
If the parents of this 15 year old girl find the Ray Bradbury book a bad influence, they might want to reconsider letting her read the Bible.

Think about it.

Fahrenheit 451 is a book that uses bad things to teach good lessons. These bad things are what the family is protesting. Here's a list of what they stated were bad about the book:

- Filthy words
- Discussion of being drunk
- Smoking
- Violence
- Dirty talk
- References to the Bible
- Using God's name in vain

Now, the Bible is another book that recounts terrible things to teach good lessons. Here's a list of a few of the things the Bible includes:

- Filthy words
- Discussion of being drunk
- Smoking
- Violence
- Dirty talk (among other explicit sexual themes)
- References to the Bible (the Bible has many cyclic references)
- Using God's name in vain
- Incest
- Rape
- Sex without marriage
- Sodomy
- Murder
- War
- Satanism
- Magic
- Idol Worship
- Gay behaviour
- Adultery
- Anti-Governmental behaviour
- Genocide
- The list goes on.

I must say, the Bible contains MUCH more dangerous material than Ray Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 451. I would recommend that the family ban the Bible as well, if they really wish to prevent their family from being exposed to bad things.

Just a thought.
Christopher Steffen, Euless, TX

A reason for a non-Democrat to vote in MA

Politics as usual in MA again. Didn't they bring out the same horsecrap when we won the right to buy booze 7 days a week here? The current law allows any single corporation to own only 3 liquor liceses state-wide. Who has the most to lose here? Not the consumer. Take a good, hard look at the statistics being bandied about in this article. While the 34 states that allow the consumer to buy wine in food stores have a higher drunk driving rate than MA, the 6 that have the same laws as MA have an EVEN HIGHER rate of drunk driving.

I'm going to the polls!


What Graphics Are For

Check out this brief talk by Hans Rosling at TED. It'll give you quick insight into two things:

1) Economics and international development

2) What graphics and animation are meant for

Seriously. Rosling's visuals make up for any number of crappy, information-obscuring 3D ribbon graphs and pointless screen wipes.



Sigh. So it's come to this: linkblogging. OK, here goes.

We start with a stunning image of Manhattan.

Then we move on to an interesting statistical graphic.

And, finally, see if you can tell me what's surprising about this girl. (I'll give you the answer in the comments in a day or two.)


Climate Conference Heats Up

There's not much I can say about this beyond the obvious.


Consider moving

Mÿke might want to consider following our lead out of the Bay State. It seems some state troopers there lost half a pound of Semtex during a training drill when the pickup truck it was hidden on drove off.

A suggestion: don't let these guys use real planes in any future drills.


Dude, this is pretty f---ed up right here

OK, so I used to think Fair Trade coffee was just some hippy-dippy thing that might actually coincidentally help some farmers while making people feel better about getting ripped off for a daily cup of coffee.

But say you're a small family coffee farm and want to sell your coffee to Fair Trade for that princely $1.26 a pound -- sorry, you have to join a co-op first. And if you've done so well that you've hired somebody year-round to help out? Bzzzt. You can't deal with Fair Trade at all.

No word yet on whether the co-ops are required to meet production quotas spelled out in Five-Year Plans. But there is plenty of bureacracy. More here.


Bomb or Not?

See if you have what it takes to be a security screener here.


How Sweep it is!

No link. No real need to post anything except for the following: this is the 4th time in history that the Yanks have taken 5 in a row from the Sox. Three times at Fenway, once in the Bronx. Just living the dream...


Skin sensing table saw

Wow. Take a look at the video on the above-linked page. Pretty cool stuff. Now only if they had this when Mr. Franz was teaching woodshop...


Why buy the cow....

....when you can comment on the milk for free.

Some of these are ridiculous but take a look anyway.


Note: Not iPod compatible, August 10, 2006
Belize042 (California, USA) - See all my reviews

Despite its pleasing white color, it seems Tuscan Whole Milk is not compatible with iPod products. Attempts to adapt iPod connectors to the Tuscan Whole Milk product resulted in failure, and required extensive clean-up. Why does the packaging not reveal this limitation, and when can we expect iPod-compatability from Tuscan Whole Milk?

As it so happens, Tuscan Dairies is located in my hometown of Union, NJ and all three Paci boys remember our grandfather taking us for walks nearby on the yet-to-be-opened I-78.


A Psychiatrist on Dermal Decorations

This article is from a decade ago, but it's got some classics in it (including the "motto of the British service industries").

Also, by happenstance, it continues the "DIY in the UK" theme.


I remember what I did last summer (20 years ago)

Here's something the Paci three have in common, although if you call us nerds you're likely to get a face full of fives. A decent look into how we spent some good times.

This summer, nearly 11 million children will attend summer camps in the United States. They will eat terrible food, learn a new sport, and sing songs by a campfire. For some—let's call them well-adjusted—this experience will be joyous. For others—let's call them nerds—it won't. As one such kid who attended a sports-oriented camp in Pennsylvania told The New Yorker, "I took boxing, and I was very afraid."

For such children, mercifully, there is nerd camp—also known as the summer programs sponsored by the Center for Talented Youth. At CTY, you don't learn to swim, or ride horses, or tie knots. Instead, you spend five hours a day in class, learning a semester's worth in a mere three weeks. After class, there is a 90-minute period of "Mandatory Fun," followed by dinner and a two-hour study hall. Mandatory Fun may be the hardest part of the day for most of the campers at CTY. I know, because I was once one of them.


No harbor? No problem.

Since they couldn't count on capturing any harbors along the coast of France, Allied troops in World War II brought a couple along. At 600,000 tons apiece, they had to ship them in pieces (though this was before carry-on restrictions were really enforced).

Holy crap. With all the time I've frittered away watching the Discovery and History channels, you'd think I would have heard of this before.


Friday Afternoon Catblogging

Funny that dad mentions this to me on the official catblogging day.

So I missed the afternoon by a few hours, but click on the title link to see why Jersey cat Jack is not an ordinary mouser.

Click the link below to READ why Jersey cat Jack is not an ordinary mouser.


[Someone might mention to Newhouse, which owns the (nee Trenton) Times, Star-Ledger, NO Times-Pic, and several other newspapers, that its websites are horrible. Note that you can't find the pictures from the story or vice-versa. ]

The Bellagio Fountain, Reimagined

If I ran the National Endowment for the Arts, this is what I'd waste the taxpayers' money on.


Pardoning their French

While looking for the NYT article on the World Cup hosted by my favorite European culture, I found a piece on my favorite European language. (I wonder if Krempasky's crew are on to it.)

We are reminded therein that we have not yet stomped hard enough on the toe-hold this tongue has acquired in our own cherished nation:

SOUTH FREEPORT, Me. — Frederick Levesque was just a child in Old Town, Me., when teachers told him to become Fred Bishop, changing his name to its English translation to conceal that he was French-American.

Cleo Ouellette's school in Frenchville made her write "I will not speak French" over and over if she uttered so much as a "oui" or "non" — and rewarded students with extra recess if they ratted out French-speaking classmates.

Actually, this would make a great Simpsons episode parodying the immigration debate. Turns out the people of Maine even anticipated the Spanish Spangled Banner:

The State Legislature began holding an annual French-American Day four years ago, with legislative business and the Pledge of Allegiance done in French and "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung with French and English verses.

Sorry that there isn't a great picture to sum up this story.

How to make soccer interesting

Sometimes I have to give props to the New York Times, in this case the photo editor.

They do a feature story on the upcoming World Cup being played in Germany which concerns not the game but the sensitivity of the hosts to the anticipated homages by British fans to 20th century German history. If only American soccer had these kind of fan rivalries that frankly put to shame the Yanks-Sox conflict.

I saw this first in the dead-tree NYT, which fittingly featured a large version of the photo -- arguably the most definitive image ever in the history of British-German relations.

Do yourself a favor and read the article.


Archaeology Link

I know Mÿke hates it when I link and run, but this archaeology story was too interesting not to share. Plus WTF has he posted lately?


Success with School Choice in...

San Francisco? (The one in California?)

I guess it helps to call it something else. Maybe we could get some San Franciscan parents to spread the good news here in DC, which has similar population (20% smaller), area (50% larger), and local nuisances (earthquakes vs. Congress).


These are your teeth....

.... on socialized medicine.


I hear the UK's standard of cardiovascular care falls below even neighboring European countries.

What next? Yikes!

(Good catch, George.)


DIY in the UK

In the United Kingdom, the socialist experiment pushes gloriously onward by giving the workers the means of production — of dental care.

In unrelated news, Hyman Roth is apparently alive and well and living in England.


You go NOW

You'll need to read the quotes from the restaurant people out loud in order to derive maximum enjoyment from this piece.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Wendy Dershem may think twice before leaving that egg roll on her plate at her next Chinese buffet.
The Des Moines woman, her boyfriend and her two children were kicked out of a restaurant last week after management accused her of leaving too much food on her plate.


Lego Church

I've been saying for a little while now that "Lego" is clearly the Danish word for "caltrop" (I'm a parent, remember).

But here's what you can get if you actually put the damn little things together instead of scattering them around on the bedroom floor in the dark. Make sure to read both the FAQ (insightful) and the Construction log (hilarious).

(Hat tip to Chris Tyrrell.)


Regulate Gasoline Retailers

I've changed my mind.

In New Jersey, anyway, we should heavily regulate the gasoline retailers' trade association.

I decree that, post haste, a spare nun with a long ruler be found and dispatched to the aforementioned trade group in nearby Springfield to bloody the knuckles of its newsletter editor. This should be followed by vigorous vocabulary, diction, and sentence diagramming instruction.



Every picture tells a story....

... but some captions really crack you up.

Funny caption:

Funnier caption (scroll down):

Pains in the Gas

For those who would comment on Mike's incisive post (this means you Breeden!!) and try to argue beyond his skillful simile, you need to review these pieces first.

Then comment away.



(including the O'Reilly video, you might be surprised)

The Politics of Gas

I just love high gas prices. You know why? Because it exposes our politicians for what they really are - big bags of gas themselves. Let's see how our elected representatives (both Democrats and Republicans) have 1. caused our problems and 2. are about to make things worse for us.

First of all, gas isn't like Wonder Bread. There is only one kind of Wonder Bread - white. If there is a shortage of Wonder Bread in Tampa, FL and a surplus in San Diego, CA, the surplus bread can be moved from the market place with excess capacity to the high demand area and thus head off a massive price escalation (basic supply/demand). Unfortunately there are 17 different blends of gas. So when the great state of MA has a shortage of their mix, they cannot use the mix that their friends in PA can. The supplies are limited to specific geographic locales.

Secondly, gas, now, isn't like Peanut Butter. It used to be when the vast majority of the oxygenating additive was MTBE. The refininers could add MTBE to the mix before it went to distribution. Now the refiners need to move the gas without the new additive (ethanol) and mix it at the end point. That's like Skippy and Jiff only making creamy peanut butter at their factories and mandating that the chunky peanuts be added at the supermarket. Do you think that will have an affect on price? YES. Do you think they want to maintain stockpiles of peanuts all over the country? NO.

These first two points are the fault of our short-sighted elected officials. When I have more time I will address what these same officials are doing to make matters worse under the guise of making things better -- for them.


But can they make up for....

... all the hot air produced in this story. If this is not a case of life resembling South Park where people drive around in hybrid Pious cars, then I don't know what is.

I do, however, sense a business opportunity along the lines of Sam Kinison the dog psychologist.
To people who take the threat of global warming personally, driving a car that spews heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere can be a guilt trip.

But to help atone for that environmental sin, some drivers are turning to groups on the
Internet that offer pain-free ways to assuage their guilt while promoting clean energy.

It involves buying something known as a carbon offset: a relatively inexpensive way to stimulate the production of clean electricity. Just go to one of several carbon-offset Web sites, calculate the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive, fly or otherwise burn fossil fuels, and then buy an offset that pays for an equivalent amount of clean energy.


Thomas Dolby and Freakonomics

Thomas Dolby talks to Freakonomics author Steven Levitt. Hilarity ensues.



Sorry to my faithful readership of 2 people that nothing has been posted to this site in quite a while. I will, in the near future, post stories and pictures from the following events:
  1. George & Molly's new baby boy Luke. (I like to think they named him after me as my Confirmation name is, in fact, luke.)
  2. The hell of putting an addition onto my house. It's only 9.5x13.5 but it's a real mess now.
  3. My pending trip to a place far, far away.
  4. Any crazy article I find on the Internet that is either a) funny, b) sad, or c) such a complete train wreck I would have to comment on it.

Stay tuned...


Rioting for Unemployment

I know, I know, paci.blog is not supposed to be another blog that links to other blogs. I wanted to have original content and all that, but this post is just too spot on.

I was having a conversation with someone here at work as to why the US system of employment-at-will makes our economy better able to weather downturns and rebound more quickly when things turn around. By being able to cut unnecessary-at-the-time workers so the core company can survive and hire them back when they're needed, US-based companies (Big 3 automakers not included as well as the MBTA - that's just chronyism) are able to rebound faster and take better advantage of a stronger economy.


Who says the Swiss are boring

OK, it's not as pulse-elevating as bullfighting, but the Swiss apparently have a tradition of, um, cowfighting.


Off-day catblogging, in memoriam

Customarily, catblogging is a Friday activity, but we make an exception here for a recently departed feline Thatcherite.

Humphrey, the cat who shared 10 Downing Street with two British prime ministers but was evicted by current resident Tony Blair, has died. He was aged about 18.

Read the rest and check out the photo.

(Hat tip to dad.)


One of these things....

Click the title to find out why one of these tanks is not like the other.

Stick around and read his blog, too.


A little detective work please...

Saw this article in today's NY Times over lunch (on paper of all things) and discussed it with my buddy Doug, a recovering Manhattanite.

This type of article surfaces every year spotlighting the ridiculous lengths that New Yorkers go through to get slots for their tots in the city's private kindergartens and nurseries. Normally, I'd read the article just to amuse myself, but I caught a detail today that would have made an interesting story in its own right:

The fierce competition for private preschool in New York City has been propelled to such a frenzy this year by the increased numbers of children vying for scarce slots that it could be mistaken for a kiddie version of "The Apprentice."
Part of the problem is that the number of twins and triplets born to women in New York City has increased, according to city Health Department statistics.

In 1995, there were 3,707 twin births in all the boroughs; in 2003,there were 4,153; and in 2004, there were 4,655. Triplet births have also risen,from 60 in 1995, to 299 in 2004. Because preschools strive for gender and age balance in generally small classes -- and also, some parents suspect, as many potential parental donors as possible -- it is harder to get multiple slots in one class.

Does someone care to take a whack at this in the comments? I have my own conclusion but would be interested in hearing yours.


Hybrid Thinking

Just a thought (and no link).

I just watched a bit on the news about another proposal for hybrids to be allowed in HOV lanes on Long Island w/o the normal high-occupancy since they are more fuel efficient.

Since hybrids are most miserly during city driving b/c stop-and-go engages the regenerative braking that recharges the batteries, wouldn't it make more sense to BAN hybrids from HOV lanes during peak periods (even if they have 2+ or 3+ occupants) to ensure that they experience as MUCH congestion as possible so that they get better mileage?


A VC w/a sense of humor

From the Globe re Summers' resignation:

Cambridge venture capitalist Howard Anderson wants to nominate Che Guevara as Harvard's new president.

''Why?" asks Anderson. ''He would be considered a 'moderate' by the Harvard faculty. He has a medical degree so he would be considered acceptable to academics. His Argentine background would appeal to the one-worlders. And he has been dead for 39 years so the faculty would have no problem getting him to roll over."

What Is the Value of Algebra?

Apparently it has no value or practical application. Usually when I feel the urge to smack people with the "you're too dumb to be ignorant" stick, it's because of some wacky mis-understanding of basic economic concepts (e.g. Bush sets oil prices, we invaded Iraq for the oil, OPEC is spelled B-U-S-H.) However, this clown Richard Cohen is doing a massive disservice to kids everywhere. It's a good thing these kids can't read.

Kid sues mayor, wins. That's not the real story...

The real story is that I think I've found a judge in a lower court that gets it. The basis of the case was that a kid wanted access to a list of e-mail addresses for one reason or another - it doesn't really matter. The city argued that they couldn't due to a law on the books. The judge, however, ruled that the statue didn't extend to e-mail addresses and then went on to say:
The city’s arguments here are of a policy rather than a legal character, and are more appropriately addressed to the Indiana Legislature rather than to this court,” Murray wrote. “The courts cannot fill gaps in a statutory scheme designed by the legislature.

Did you catch that last sentence? Words to live by.


Inside the port deal that's giving Bush headaches

Read the comments from the readers. It seems to me that these same people would be calling for Congress to impeach GW for square dance calling. Is this a cross-section of America or CNN?

Speaking of children's literature....

I checked for a few minutes to make sure this was Snopes-proof.

Click the link to see the latest in dopey democrat literature.

Maybe they can cross this book with Heather Has Two Mommies.


Make sure to check out the sample pages: http://littledemocrats.net/samples.html


Why Mac?

Here's why, even if you yourself don't use one, you should make sure your parents get a Mac.


Exercise in wasting time

Have you ever wanted to play Pac Man on an 18-pixel square screen? How about Pong, Asteroids, or Space Invaders? Now you can.

Don't you just love the net?


Netflix throttles heavy renters

I had a feeling something like this was happening. When I first re-signed up for Netflix two months ago, I could send a movie out with Monday's mail and expect its replacement on Wednesday. Now, it seems, they sit on my return for a day or two before mailing out my next movie.

Case in point: I mailed back three DVDs one Monday morning. As of Tuesday afternoon, Netflix reported that it had received one of the movies and would mail the replacement that day. On Wednesday, it received the other two, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both of those movies' replacements were then not mailed until Friday. This happened various forms a number of times. Oh well, it's still a great value for me.

[Please note that 'heavy renters' refers to the number of movies rented, not the weight of the renter.]


Judith Light's Birthday

It's Judith Light's birthday today; she's 57. She was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and grew up in the house just around the corner from the house we Paci boys used to live in.

(It's also Carole King's birthday; we wore a hole in her Really Rosie LP when we lived there.)

Lack of Comments

In re: the matter of our readers no longer posting comments

Proposal: You Suck.



Art, Flags, Toasted Danish

British guy Mark Steyn makes some good points about provocative art vs. art that actually provokes someone.


Best Criticism of State of the Union

It's almost required that the president have something to say about how the government should involve itself in energy policy. While Bush didn't behave completely irresponsibly and call for a windfall profits tax, he iterated the usual laundry list of industrial-policy-based energy bromides. Here's hoping that gridlock rules when they try to enact most of these.

For a commonsense view, here's the libertarians at CATO with a statement so concise and meaningful that you should print it out and put it in your pocket to have ready when engaging liberals, protectionists, Buchananites, etc. Normally it's not good form to reproduce whole posts, but this demands an exception. (If you want more, follow the link and read the footnoted articles, too.)

"The President offered bracing new rhetoric about where he would like to take energy policy in the coming year, but he suggested little more than a bit more money for the same old programs that have failed in the past. In short, it reminds me of the metaphor about 'old wine in new bottles.'
"Regarding the rhetoric, it’s odd that the President would complain that America is 'addicted to oil.' Another way of putting it is that American consumers are attracted to the lowest cost sources of energy to meet their energy needs. It's a bit distressing to call that sensible inclination an 'addiction.'
"As far as the new subsidies for coal, wind, solar, nuclear, and ethanol energy are concerned, if those technologies have economic merit, no subsidy is necessary. If they don't, then no subsidy will provide it. Those subsidies have failed to produce economic energy in the past and there is little reason to expect that they will do so in the future.
"Nor is it the government's job to design automobiles. Although government funded R&D projects to redesign the internal combustion engine are nothing new, they have never amounted to anything. For instance, while the Clinton Administration was engaged in a similar undertaking called 'The Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles' and producing nothing of consequence, Japanese auto companies -- without significant government help -- were busy designing the hybrid powered engines that are now all the rage within the auto industry. When government ties to pick winners, it usually finds itself stuck with losers and often sets the entire domestic industry back.
"Finally, achieving the President's goal of reducing Middle Eastern oil imports by 75 percent would be economically meaningless. A supply disruption in the Middle East would increase the price of crude everywhere in the world no matter where or how it is produced.
"There is nothing really new in this speech as it pertains to energy except more money for old programs -- the political equivalent of the triumph of hope over experience."


Economic Analysis

This article (originally from a popular on-line news and analysis site) is a couple years old, but I think it makes a couple of the fine points of the debate over what used to be called the "New Economy" more accesible than any other article I've read.


Game? Not Game?

You could just file this one under "Yeah, the Japanese have always been insane," but there's a chance something like it could catch on over here. It's a program for the hand-held Nintendo DS that has a ridiculously long Japanese name (which apparently starts with "Northeastern University" and ends with the English imported word "Training") that we can condense down to "Brain Training". And the craze isn't limited to kids; their mothers play while they're at school, and Dad apparently goes out in large numbers and buys his own DS to play on the bullet train (I wonder if there's a puzzle where you're a former sumo wrestler who has to fit different-sized passengers into a train car?).


Cutting Costs in Cali

Tom McClintock has a plan for getting by on Gov. Schwarzenegger's vastly non-expanded school budget next year.

Thank God for geeks!

Otherwise I wouldn't know what the Internet was really for. This has got to be one of the funniest things I've seen. Credit goes to Rob for finding it. I have seen other similar videos in the past that people have created using clips from games such as World of Warcraft and Dungeon Siege.



Just don't know how I feel about this one. Amusing on the one hand, awful on the other.


Quicktime VR tours of Italy

OK, of various locations in various cities in Italy.

Check them out: Venice, Rome, et alia.


We have a winner....

For best title for a blog (at least for this month):


Gutfeld Strikes Again

The only thing worth reading on the Huffington Post (because it is conscious rather than unconscious self-parody) is Greg Gutfeld. Period.

First, the lead in:

Look, if we're going to execute a man because he wrote children's books, then who's next?
My suggestions below:
-Madonna, for Mr. Peabody's Apples, and Yakov and the Seven Thieves
-Bette Midler for, The Saga of Baby Divine,...

Then the followup (from his double-secret blog):

some commenters to my recent post noted that Tookie Williams was not executed for writing children's books, but for killing four people. Christ, I must have missed that small fact when i was reading about Williams on the Huffington Post. I thought all he did was write children's books!
thanks for the heads up!


Popular German Restaurant is Actually Swedish

From the article:
In 2004 the Swedish company, with its 37 restaurants, managed to reach 11th place in the list of the best-earning eateries in Germany. That put it well ahead of the café stores like Tchibo and the giant bakery chain Kamps, which has 1,000 branches.


Maybe the planets just happened to be aligned for this one...

I guess I got lucky when I decided to read a story on CNN's front paged titled, Olympic favorite Miller: Skiing drunk 'not easy'. In the screen shot below, look at the banner ad at the top...


Poetic Justice

D.C. Council member Marion Barry today urged the two young men who he said robbed him at gunpoint in his own kitchen Monday night to turn themselves in, but ....

[in evidence that he's smoking crack again]

pledged he would ask authorities not to prosecute them.

We are still working on verifying rumors that his statement to police included "Bitch set me up."

Things my... oh, hell, just read the link

First off, Happy New Year!

Second, here's a link I've been hoarding for weeks; before you click on it, swear to yourself you'll only read four or five entries at a time: