Division of Labour: Funny Stuff Archives
March 26, 2013
Out of the mouths of students
At the end of an assignment, a student included this joke:
One beggar says to another: "The Fed is propping up the economy with an infusion of cash.” The other one replies: “Looks like we’re gonna need bigger cups.”
July 14, 2012
Uniforms, teen wellness, and endowment
Worst lead sentence of the week: "Anthony Weiner is still one of the most well-endowed politicians in the city." It introduces this story about $4.5 million that Weiner still controls.
April 30, 2012
Musings of the Gentle Cynic c. 1912
From the April 28, 1912 NYT:
October 01, 2011
A Modest Proposal
Tim's post on the minimum wage reminds me of a proposal by Levis Kochin: Why not just set the minimum wage equal to the average wage? Think of the advantages of the reduced uncertainty.
August 31, 2011
CNN.com Headline Writers
I can predict it now even without a blood test
April 02, 2011
What Do Deities Maximize?
Legal Theory Blog explains Judge Posner's "latest." (Hint: Note the date.)
March 17, 2011
SJSU Econ: THE All-Tournament Team!
Of 11 tenure/tenure-track faculty, 10 of us have our Ph.D.'s from tournament teams.
Faculty name followed by ph.d institution
1. Doris Cheng, Notre Dame
The only exception above is my awesome colleague and office mate, Mike Pogodzinski (SUNY Stony Brook). Here is a complete list of our faculty.
Go GMU, TAMU, UCLA, t.u., Notre Dame, and OSU!!!
December 20, 2010
I'm in love with Hayek
As we lawyers say, "res ipsa loquitur."
December 01, 2010
No, Officer I Have No Idea What That Car-Shaped Mound of Dirt in My Yard Is
A Silver Creek man was arrested Monday on a charge of tampering with evidence after he allegedly tried to hide a car involved in a wreck by covering it with dirt, reports stated.
November 18, 2010
How to avoid a TSA pat down
Gary Clement on TSA.
August 21, 2010
Good stuff from CollegeHumor.com
The Second World War and social media. Enjoy it here.
August 19, 2010
10 Commandments for Drinking
from a good friend who has started a new blog. A taste:
6. Thou shalt not covet thy roommate’s girlfriend. Breaking this one can only leave you unsatisfied with your own life and possibly cause you to miss the subtle invitations you are receiving from all the beautiful girls around you who are NOT in a relationship—but might want one with YOU. Additionally, breaking this one will guarantee failure should you get locked out of your dorm and need to appeal to your roommate for help.
July 20, 2010
Vote for my kid's Moe's video
Click here and hit the "like" button asap. Thanks!!!
July 10, 2010
If It Saves One Life, It's Worth It
This could very well be the perfect Onion News Network video. Teaching stats? Econ? Poli Sci? Torts? Mass Comm? It works on every level.
July 02, 2010
Econ Exercise from XKCD
June 29, 2010
Tom Woods on "Interview with a Zombie"
Here's Tom Woods on "Interview with a Zombie" to promote his new book Nullification.
Senator Byrd departs
If you ever use Google search - and who doesn't? - you might have noticed that most news links include the headline, and then the source. Thus a search for info on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will get you a link to "Elena Kagan - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia."
And thus, a search yesterday for "Robert Byrd" turned up near the top of the page this link to coverage of the Senator's passing from one of America's most popular on-line news sources: "U.S. Senator Robert Byrd Dead at 92 - Yahoo!"
OK, ok, I'm a bad person. I still thought it was funny.
May 15, 2010
Quote of the Day
"Probably the only way I could be lower status is to be known as the guy who tried and failed to beat up Tyler Cowen."
Here. HT: Tyler Cowen.
April 13, 2010
Best line of the day
From the comments section of a blog entry showing projections for Medicare and Social Security:
The average reporter has the observational skills of a yam.
April 09, 2010
APEE 2010: Penn and Teller
I should have mentioned earlier that the APEE program is amazing; it features addresses from Peter Boettke, Tyler Cowen, and Loren Lomasky in addition to a plenary panel featuring Yaron Brook, James Otteson, and Peter Boettke on "Ayn Rand Versus Adam Smith in Defense of Capitalism." As if that weren't enough, Penn and Teller will receive the Thomas Jefferson Award. Here's a clip from The West Wing that illustrates why--in my opinion--they deserve the award:
April 02, 2010
The Stand-Up Economist In Nashville and Birmingham
Here are Yoram Bauman's tour dates. If I could make it, I would go.
March 05, 2010
Out of Context c. 2010
Okay - I can't help but laugh at the out-of-context clip of Sen. Reid on the Senate Floor discussing how 36,000 people lost their jobs and that is "good:"
Perhaps Harry Reid will be unseated this fall, perhaps not. However, the following clip is ready-made for his political opponent, whomever it might be: Just roll tape, rewind, repeat.
Link from Drudge - but funny nonetheless.
March 04, 2010
A little dated but still funny and germane:
March 03, 2010
Josh Hall, Pete Calcagno and I have a new paper. The abstract:
The terms objective and subjective are considered antonyms, and yet “objectivists”, associated with the ideas of Ayn Rand, and “subjectivists”, associated with the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, are both associated with the same political philosophy: classical liberalism. There are however important apparent differences between the “objectivist” approach of Rand and the “subjectivist” approach of Mises. Who is right? And which intellectual has the greater place in the classical liberal tradition? We propose to test these questions using data from a unique housing development in Charleston, South Carolina. We find objective evidence in favor of Mises’s subjectivism.
Before you Randroids start sending us e-mails, please take note of where we submitted the paper.
March 01, 2010
With a straight face ...
(or so I presume), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, according to The Hill, “No one likes raising revenue, and understandably so."
February 08, 2010
The Truth Isn't Always Found By Meeting in the Middle
January 29, 2010
Warning: some salty language.
January 26, 2010
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup."
--Seen on a bumper sticker in Memphis
January 18, 2010
Lindsey Graham opposes the industrial revolution
Wow. “'All the cars and trucks and plants that have been in existence since the Industrial Revolution, spewing out carbon day-in and day-out, you’ll never convince me that’s a good thing for your children and the future of the planet,' [Graham] told a crowd in South Carolina,... ."
Graham thinks it would be a good thing if we had no cars and trucks, no electricity in amounts that could serve any purpose (and no serious means to construct hydroelectric plants in any case)? He thinks it would be better for us and our children if we lived as in 1800, when the average life expectancy was about 40 - if you survived childhood?
January 13, 2010
facebook ad -- FAIL
January 08, 2010
Happy B Day Elvis -- are you out there?
Is there a better tribute to the King than Gary Busey's proclamation in the final minutes of the 1983 classic, D.C. Cab?
January 07, 2010
Hey man, that's nacho cheese!
From the San Antonio Express-News:
Updated with photos: Man cut in fight over nachos.
Rubber neckers click here.
January 06, 2010
Case of insanity? c. 1910
A headline from the January 6, 1910 NYT:
CRANK ARRESTED AT CAPITOL.Trying to visit the vice-president leads the PTB to question a citizen's sanity?
Actually, the person in question had been "about Washington" for more than a year lobbying various politicians for "imagined rights."
December 29, 2009
Reason.TV on the Naughties: Worst. Political Decade. Ever.
"Any time Dennis Kucinich is the voice of reason, you know you're really screwed." HT: Steve Horwitz.
December 22, 2009
Abusive acronym of the day?
As I am reading for a long-overdue project, I came across this acronym:
Answer below the fold.
Read More »
December 16, 2009
And now a finals thought
Finals week on campus is kinda like early morning airport security lines. Both are filled with people who apparently haven't been here in a while.
December 09, 2009
In Honor of Final Exams, Here's XKCD
One of my favorite XKCD strips recounts one of my recurring nightmares. It's especially appropriate as final exams are almost upon us (NB: a bit of salty language).
Addendum: here's an offbeat take on B2B Christmas gifts from Jeff Tucker.
December 02, 2009
Why I Sit Alone At Parties
While talking to a community member about my decision to remove my children from the local public schools and send them to a private school a 30 minute drive away we had the following (roughly paraphrased) exchange.
Me: The academics at the school are great.
Him: Yes, but you'll be missing out on the diversity you have here in town.
Me: Actually, the school is quite diverse. In the second grade class, roughly 60 percent of the students have parents who were born in different countries. India, China, Korea, Mexico, France, etc. It's amazingly diverse.
Him: What about African-Americans?
Me: There are a couple per class.
Him: Well I guess I was thinking about other types of diversity, like income diversity.
Me: Actually, the school is more diverse in terms of income too, because it has a much wider range of incomes.
Him: That wasn't exactly what I meant.
Me: Oh, you're defining a lot of lower-income folks as "diversity." If that's your definition, then yes, the new school is less diverse.
December 01, 2009
Higher education in the 21st Century in a single picture.
November 30, 2009
President Garfield on monetary theory
From Jack Beatty, Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900 (an interesting but uneven book), at page 338 of the paperback:
"The details of the nineteenth-century specie controversy repel curiosity; only obsession could make them interesting. And on that score, one does well to take James Garfield's warning to heart. 'He devoted himself almost exclusively to the study of the currency,' Garfield said of a colleague, 'became fully entangled with the theories of the subject and became insane.'"
No source is cited for this, although the book is generally well-sourced. I hope it's true.
November 24, 2009
The Gentle Cynic c. 1909
From the Nov. 21, 1909 NYT (I know, this is a couple of days old):
November 17, 2009
A little piece on lateness, for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Read More »
My favorite part is the reactions. Check this exchange, from the Chronicle comments section:
6. ridicula - November 16, 2009 at 11:31 am
Mr Munger and referee101--who died and made you the gods of punctuality? When you obsess over and enrage yourselves over such things, you create an ugly work environment.
7. _perplexed_ - November 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm
hope I'm never on a committee with ridicula...
8. ridicula - November 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm
as I, in turn, hope I'm never on a committee
9. superdude - November 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm
No, an ugly work environment is caused by selfish people and one key sign of selfishness is being late. Late people have no concept of the value of everyone else's time and are by definition not team players.
As Head, I have strong expectations regarding punctuality. If I schedule a meeting for 3pm, it STARTS at 3pm, which means you need to have your butt in a chair BEFORE 3pm. I refuse to have a committee held hostage to someone who is late.
1. Nice name. It fits.
« Close It
November 03, 2009
On what's important c. 1909
From the Nov. 3, 1909 NYT:
Oscar De Rose of Belleville [NJ] is the owner of a chicken that has survived a fast of twenty-five days. The hen, a Plymouth Rock, was placed in the cellar of the De Rose home and was intended for dinner the next day. Its legs were tied. When Mrs. De Rose went to the cellar the next day to get the chicken, it was not to be found. She though it had been stolen.
October 26, 2009
Fictional Character Quote of the Day
Call me a killjoy, but I think that because this is not to my taste, no one else should be able to enjoy it.
-Marge Simpson on Ultimate Punching.
October 13, 2009
On appropriations and fraud c. 1909
The October 13, 1909 NYT prints the following funny letter to the editor:
By an edict of Postmaster General Hitchcock cats are authorized to be provided food and lodging by all Post Offices of the first and second class. That is to say, each of the largest offices is entitled to an appropriation for the maintenance of is tutelary cat. In the present fiscal year it is estimated the department will spend $135 for cat meat.Wouldn't it be nice if "cat meat" was the "fraud" about which we had to be concerned.
September 18, 2009
The Emerging Class Struggle
As always, The Onion nails it. This will have a page in Onionomics, which is my as-yet-undefined book on economics in the Onion that resides on my Someday/Maybe list and which I will write if no one beats me to the punch.
August 13, 2009
Mini Cooper dealers evidently have the following bumper sticker:
August 10, 2009
How about this for government accuracy
From this report on thepredicted "benefits" of passing health care reform for the State of North Carolina (other states here). The report doesn't mention from which of the five pending bills the benefits were to be derived, so I suppose we are to take these predictions as being generic to all five bills? The site is a White House site, so it is not surprising that there is not one single negative aspect of health insurance/prepaid healthcare reform listed.
However, in the Status Quo section of the report on North Carolina was this gem:
I wonder why the document takes things out to the seventh decimal place - on a percentage no less. Further, the 70 percent number seems awfully high but it is applied to the 17.248 percent not the entire population - so that makes it around
12.0738449 percent of the people in North Carolina who are uninsured live in a family with at least one full-time worker.
In 2009, our fair state had around 9,397,397 folks so that means around 283,656.784 families of four are uninsured in NC.
July 30, 2009
Found at IMGUR:
and another one
July 28, 2009
Devil is in the details?
This one is making the rounds.
July 27, 2009
Ok, Take Exit 185. Wait...what?
July 03, 2009
And with N = 2, your R2 = 1.0!
June 09, 2009
Dispatches from the Class War: Barack Obama Goes to Denny's
May 14, 2009
Style over substance?
May 11, 2009
A government study, no doubt
From a link I followed from reddit
May 05, 2009
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
from XKCD. HT: Steve Horwitz.
April 29, 2009
Symbolism vs. Substance
I haven't done the confirmatory math but the visual lesson in this video is informative. I especially like the cluttered college dorm/apartment.
March 02, 2009
Stone-Throwing and Glass Houses
HT: Don Boudreaux.
February 25, 2009
A Contribution to Bourgeois Rhetoric
February 21, 2009
The emails have been coming in hourly about George Mason's male homecoming queen. Here is a good story. The student, Ryan Allen, sounds like a fun person. Or should I say fun people? His female persona is Reann Ballslee, the newly crowned homecoming queen. From the story just linked.
The contest was half talent judging and half voting by the student body. Allen received the most votes but doesn't know how he scored in the talent competition, in which he performed in zebra-print pants and lip-synched to Britney Spears.
You might catch some footage of Ryan -- and Reann -- tonight when George Mason travels to take on Creighton. Game is on ESPNU at 9:30 eastern time. GMU is 18-8 on the season and one game out of the conference lead.
February 13, 2009
Mises meets chemistry
His (and others') ideas in Bureaucracy have become manifest at the subatomic level:
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.
HT: my dean.
January 15, 2009
"Don't leave me, come back"
Newsflash from Hammond, Indiana. This just in.
Boy's Tongue Stuck on Pole NBCChicago.com January 15, 2009
Ahem. I believe it was a triple dog dare that got Flick. BTW, you can buy leg lamps here. The fishnet nylons are genuine, and the leg lights up. They're "indescribably beautiful" and "remind of the Fourth of July."
January 09, 2009
Valuable New York insights c. 1909
The Jan. 9, 1909 NYT reports:
DALLAS, Texas - A corps of auditors from new York have for some time been checking up the accounts of all the State Departments at Austin. today they astonished Gov. Campbell and other State officials with the statement that the Texas Capitol building was in danger of being blown to pieces at any moment. They then called attention to the fact that all of the Texas National Guard ammunition under charge of the State's Adjutant General was stored in the basement of the Capitol.
October 20, 2008
Won't The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?
Or in this case, the real Sarah Palin:
October 17, 2008
A Skybox Bailout
Because the federal government has already committed itself to bailing out Wall Street, it will soon find itself obligated to bail out many of the ancillary enterprises that depend upon Wall Street for survival. One of these is sports franchises. The government will be forced to lease the skyboxes at stadiums that were previously occupied by brokerage houses, commercial banks and investment banking firms. This is not an eventuality that either Henry Paulson or Ben Bernanke had envisioned when they first floated the subject of a bailout. These guys just can't keep their eye on the ball.
That's Joe Queenan writing in the WSJ.
September 26, 2008
You've Got to Love Bureaucracy
You've got to love bureaucracy, if only for the laughs. Libertarians like to mock government bureaucracy, but private bureaucracy can be just as intransigent and mind-numbing. The key thing about bureaucracy is that it always rolls on, a big, inpersonal machine that grinds all before it. And bureaucrats do what they are tasked to do, regardless of the circumstances.
Here, for example, is the last press release from Washington Mutual, issued September 24, as the company teetered on bankruptcy, one day before the buy-out by JP Morgan - Chase:
WaMu Recognized as Top Diverse Employer—Again
Hispanic Business magazine recently ranked WaMu sixth in its annual Diversity Elite list, which names the top 60 companies for Hispanics. The company was honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, also awarded WaMu its second consecutive 100 percent score in the organization’s 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures progress in attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers. WaMu joins the ranks of 259 other major U.S. businesses that also received top marks in the annual survey. The CEI rated a total of 583 businesses on GLBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.
In both surveys, WaMu earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups, all of which have a corporate executive sponsor and champion.
“Diversity is an integral part of cultivating a welcoming, innovative and dynamic workplace here at WaMu. We are proud to be recognized for the opportunities and benefits we offer to all of our employees, including the specific efforts we have made to engage Hispanics and the GLBT community,” said Steve Rotella, WaMu president and COO. “We are committed to diversity at WaMu and pledge to listen to our customers and work closely with our employees to continue to make progress.”
You can't make this stuff up.
September 24, 2008
The Front Fell Off
Unbelievably funny video off of an Aussie senator discussing an oil spill. I'm told this is true [Update: but it's not], but it seems like an Abbott and Costello routine. Thanks to Pete for the pointer.
August 16, 2008
I Wonder How Long This Will Last
Some friends and I were looking at the Obama and McCain websites. You can personalize both; this text on BarackObama.com jumped out at us:
"Get Local! Create your MyBO Account (or login)"
Nothing yet on whether Old Spice has been contributing the Obama campaign.
August 11, 2008
Dave Barry visits Beijing
Five amusing reports here.
August 06, 2008
The word of the day is "execrable"
Frank's adjective describing Hannity and Colmes made me swivel my chair to the bench where sits my Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary.
execrable, adj. 1. utterly detestable; abominable; abhorrent. 2. very bad: an execrable stage performance. [1350-1400 for earlier sense "expressing a curse"; 1480-90 for def. 1; ME < L ex(s)ecrabilis accursed, detestable. See EXECRATE, -ABLE] --execrableness, n. --execrably, adv.
July 27, 2008
Heterogeneous Human Capital
Via Radley Balko, here is Rush playing "Tom Sawyer" on Rock Band.
July 26, 2008
Speaking of Alcohol...
The Onion outdoes itself (NB: salty language). It also teaches an important lesson about correlation and causality. So which is higher:
P(celebrated|alcoholism) or P(celebrated|great author)?
P(great author|alcoholism) or P(alcoholism|great author)?
P(John Updike Knows Who You Are|alcoholism) or P(John Updike Knows Who You Are|great author)?
I've read that great artists did their best work while sober. There's an economics lesson for the aspiring artist, here, as well: a steady regimen of pills, powders, needles, and bottles is likely to have a negative effect on artistic productivity. At the margin, aspiring great artists should reduce the amount of time they spend participating in all-night drug binges and increase the amount of time they spend practicing. Remember the misadventures of Towelie (NB: search results are PG-13 for drug humor): getting high creates more problems than it solves. And take it from Mr. Mackey: drugs are bad, m'kay.
July 21, 2008
A microscopic bowl of ramen noodles, which brings us ever closer to allowing the tiniest organisms to eat like graduate students (or junior faculty members, though a quick glance at my food drawer suggests that my ramen stash is at home). Nothing about whether the noodles are chicken, beef, or shrimp flavored.
HT: Jorge Cham.
July 19, 2008
If you're an academic (particularly if you're a grad student), you should read Jorge Cham's "Piled Higher and Deeper." It's like Dilbert for academia. The last several strips have been hilarious, particularly Cecilia's finding "that professors exist as probability density functions." I found this especially funny in light of the ongoing conversation between Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, and Robin Hanson on assigning probabilities to beliefs. If I ever teach stats or econometrics, that comic is going on the syllabus.
July 14, 2008
Chad Vader on Customer Service
I don't ever remember being told any of this when I worked in retail. Maybe if I'd worked in a grocery store...
July 09, 2008
Best Sentence I've Read Today*
While looking at my sister's pictures of her recent trip to London, I came across this excellent caption:
When sunglasses like these go out of style, I'll wish I'd taken them off in more pictures.
What are the barriers to an efficient Coasean bargain if my sister's present-day choice of eyewear is imposing an intertemporal "internality" on her future self? Does this imply that we need a real-life "fashion police?"
Drew Carey on the Bacon Dog War
Here's a great idea for a party: foodstuffs that have been banned or heavily regulated in some places. Perhaps we'll have a fundraiser for the Elizabeth Palacios legal defense fund.
June 17, 2008
More on Jarts
A funny bit from Reno 911 about my favorite game!
May 08, 2008
From Hayek's Nobel lecture:
"We know...the general conditions in which what we call, somewhat misleadingly, an equilibrium will establish itself: but we never know what the particular prices or wages are which would exist if the market were to bring about such an equilibrium. We can merely say what the conditions are in which we can expect the market to establish prices and wages at which demand will equal supply. But we can never produce statistical information which would show how much the prevailing prices and wages deviate from those which would secure a continuous sale of the current supply of labour."
Here's Dilbert on a similar issue.
May 03, 2008
Surfing on the taxpayer's dime -- er, yen
Applied research, I'm sure.
A Japanese civil servant has been demoted for viewing pornographic websites more than 780,000 times during office hours over a nine-month period. [...] Despite his frequent porn viewing, none of his colleagues noticed his activities.
So, how can you tell when a bureaucrat is doing his/her work? Preliminarily, I'm guessing that this one wasn't.
May 01, 2008
Spring Haiku--work ethic version
Co-bloggers post poems;
Here's a Louisiana version:
Found state budget funds;
Spring Haiku -- Liberty Fund edition
April 30, 2008
Spring Haiku--Duke Version
Buildings vomit kids.
April 28, 2008
xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.
A great time sink! Visit the site and hit random to sample the comics.
Incentives of the Untenured
Last night, Mike Hammock and I served pancakes at the semesterly pre-exams Pancake Study Break here at Rhodes. As one might expect when output isn't priced, there were periodic long lines and mismatches between quantity supplied and quantity demanded (particularly for the chocolate chip pancakes). I asked a student as he was coming through the line about the important economic lesson we were learning from this. His response was unexpected:
"You're working for free, so it looks like incentives don't matter."
April 14, 2008
Handy tax tips
... from Dave Barry:
For example, according to IRS Rev. Proc. 2006-50, certain individuals recognized by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission may deduct up to $10,000 for whaling expenses. Could this deduction apply to you? Think about it! I, personally, have done many things that I later could not remember; being a recognized Eskimo whaler would not be the weirdest of these. So go ahead! Find an empty box on your 1040 form and write ''Harpoons -- $9,990.'' (Don't claim the full $10,000, because that might arouse IRS suspicion.)
Read the whole thing here.
April 11, 2008
This has got to be an Instrument for Something
April 01, 2008
A great April Fool's joke
Even though most of you will probably read this after the 1st. It includes these goodies:
"But Partridge’s ordeal was only beginning. It’s reported that he woke up the morning of his death to the sound of the church bell announcing his passing...
Partridge would frequently be stopped on the street for inquiries into how his widow was coping..."
The story could be used for a discussion on marketing, adaptive expectations, finite vs. infinite time horizons, etc.
Trust me, you'll definitely want to read to the end to find out who the prankster was.
HT: Mark Shea's blog.
Procrastination is Blogging
HT: Michael Dolan.
February 19, 2008
An Awfully Short Memory
Late this afternoon, I received a call from a textbook rep trying to pitching me principles texts for next year. Less than 30 minutes later I received the following email from him:
February 13, 2008
Stossel quotes me!
As I'm waiting for the swelling of my head to subside (by the way, it's hard to keep your tongue in your cheek when your head is swelling), I'll just say that Stossel's column is, as usual, much more instructive and entertaining than is mine. And, as usual, I didn't say anything original anyway. Since the title of Stossel's article is "Stimulating Nonsense," the fact that I just posted this shows that the article title was prophetic.
[HT: Kate Sheehan]
January 24, 2008
Snail mail, literally
From Reuters Oddly Enough series:
It's official: mail is slow as snails Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:06am EST
January 08, 2008
Thank you, thank you very much
Pour a little out for The King. Today is Elvis's 73rd birthday.
I cannot draw the line so starkly as Dell (Gary Busey) from the underrated 1983 comedy, "D.C. Cab," in which Dell proclaims in victory, "Okay but I don't work on January the 8th, cause that's Elvis's birthday." Alas, I am at work. (Can't you tell?)
Here is some mindless Elvis birthday trivia.
Weird Al Yankovic's tribute to Elvis velvets.
My, what you can find on the Internet in five minutes!
December 22, 2007
d(cold)/d(booze) < 0
I got this New York Times article from social-networking-benefits-of-booze expert, Ed Stringham:
THE BOTTOM LINE: Alcohol will not help cure a cold, though moderate consumption may reduce susceptibility.
I'm in Western New York with family and most of us have colds. Not me, though..... Bartender!
December 19, 2007
Let's repeal scarcity
... at least for the entitled:
As protesters gathered at colleges around the country to criticize federal budget cutbacks that would raise the price of subsidized birth control at student health services, one University of New Mexico student described the imminent horror to Albuquerque's KFRQ-TV: "(Students shouldn't) have to make a choice between their birth control and their cell phone bill or their birth control and their gym membership ..." [KRQE-TV, 11-12-07]
November 22, 2007
That stuffy old Wal-Mart
Debra Jackson said she likes shopping at the Dollar Palace, partly because "I don't have to get all dressed up like I'm going to Wal-Mart or something."
October 24, 2007
That's the three-letter airport code for Sioux City, Iowa.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - City leaders have scrapped plans to do away with the Sioux Gateway Airport's unflattering three-letter identifier - SUX - and instead have made it the centerpiece of the airport's new marketing campaign.
Now if only I had a reason to go to Sioux City.....
HT: Sarah Skwire at Liberty Fund.
October 05, 2007
Upward-sloping supply of amnesia
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A former economist pleaded guilty Friday for his role in swindling investors out of an estimated $90 million, which authorities said he used to purchase a half-dozen homes, swanky cars and jewel-encrusted pens.
Even economists, it appears, respond to incentives:
At a hearing in May, a psychiatrist testified that Parish suffered amnesia resulting from extreme stress, but she also said Parish's memory improved after he learned amnesia was not a defense to the criminal charges.
September 24, 2007
Is That an Iguana in Your Pants or ...
A Californian man has been charged with using his false leg to smuggle three endangered iguanas from a nature reserve in Fiji to the United States.
September 23, 2007
Assume a Sandpile, Take 2
[M]any people are now also having to deal with another sinister side effect of the extra CO2: plants are loving it. The extra plant "food" has caused a worldwide greening of the Earth, with vegetation sprouting to life in the spring weeks before it is supposed to. This unnatural disruption of Mother Nature's busy schedule has even caused some tropical species to expand their habitats poleward.
August 03, 2007
Heard on National Public Radio yesterday afternoon, during a sponsor’s blurb for an educational foundation: “We guide children to think outside the box.” Say what? If you’re guiding them, it can’t really be outside the box, can it? “No, no, Johnny, that’s not how to think outside the box. This is how to think outside the box!”
Seen on a store sign at the mall: “Every jean on sale.” Say what? Will you really sell me one jean?
May 25, 2007
The best MR post EVER...
April 09, 2007
What's the impact on M2?
It's from April 2006 but still cool.
March 30, 2007
Ten men go into a bar ...
It's an old chestnut, but Kamerschen (not Kamerschen as it turns out; see update below) lays it out so nicely.
Bar Stool Economics
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."
Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
March 14, 2007
Tim's post reminds me of a joke that I heard when I was an undergraduate: The Vatican is considering freezing holy water and selling it as Popesicles. Which goes to show that reporting people's actions is funnier than making up jokes.
February 28, 2007
Mike Lester on Gore's Carbon Footprint
Mike Lester of the RNT provides a nifty follow-up to my post yesterday:
February 25, 2007
Ghostbusters on Universities
"Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn't have to produce anything. You've never been out of college. You don't know what it is like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results!"
- Dr. Raymond Stantz, a parapsychology professor played by Dan Aykroyd in the Ghostbusters movies.
February 20, 2007
NASA=Need A Sane Astronaut?
Christopher Buckley offers a new screening test for the astronaut program.
HT: Craig Newmark
December 15, 2006
The need for cattle-lytic converters
Mike Lester's cartoon is the better of the two, but this one from Chip Bok provides unsuspected context.
December 04, 2006
A Story About A Christmas Story
While visiting friends this weekend, my son watched A Christmas Story for the first time. When the movie was over he came downstairs and I asked him how the movie was. He said, "It was good. This guy got shot in the face." Without skipping a beat, my friend said, "What were you watching - the Dick Cheney story?"
November 15, 2006
Headline of the day
September 27, 2006
Ig Nobel ceremonies coming up
The 2006 Ig Nobel prizes will be awarded next Thursday, October 5.
Live webcast is promised starting at 7:20pm Eastern.
Finally, Someone Has Captured American Economics
Finally, someone has captured the essence of the American economy - or at least the essence of the economic thinking of far too many Americans:
"[T]he Bush/Halliburton team [is] pulling out the stops to get the Republithugs back in office. Once the dirty deed is done we can expect heating oil prices to climb just when we need it the most. This will be followed in the spring by another “market driven” increase in the price of gas just as the summer driving season begins. It is an old game, drive prices higher just at the time when we need it the most and let them decline just when we don’t use it as much. These gyrations are just a way to tamp down our outrage enough to let them get away with it again next time and conveniently keep their profits down when elections are about to occur and our outrage might lead to change.
"Think I am wrong? When did we invade Iraq to seize their oil? March, just before driving season. Easy cover for jacking up oil prices wasn’t it? When will we invade Iran? Before May, I promise.
"It is no accident that elections are held in the fall. Long ago the oil companies figured out that the fall was not an especially profitable time for them due to low gasoline usage and relatively tame energy usage for heating and cooling. What better time to manipulate the market for lower energy costs?"
This is great satire precisely because it rings true - you can read rants that aren't all that different on left wing blog sites every day. Worth reading the whole thing.
September 18, 2006
Professor v. Cell Phone
Oh -- I would so love to do this when someone's cell phone goes off in my class.
[HT: Alex Padilla]
September 16, 2006
The Gentle Cynic c. 1906
From the September 16, 1906 NYT:
September 11, 2006
Okay, libertarian professors, you claim to support capital formation. Let's see if you implement this in your classroom.
To entice you to click, of course you'll want a teaser quote:
"Now if only Apple could do this with girls."
September 08, 2006
If you're happy and you know it, ...
Does money buy happiness? Maybe a better question is whether a system that allows productive activity to generate wealth generates happiness. Anyway, an article at NewScientist.com answers in the affirmative. Excerpt:
Large industrialised countries fared well in the new analysis, with the US and UK coming in at 23 and 41, respectively, out of 178 nations. This stands in contrast with the recently released "Happy Planet Index" from the New Economics Foundation think tank, which placed Columbia (sic) and Honduras high up.
How did the "Happy Planet Index" reach its (to me) unexpected conclusion? The HPI is computed as follows:
This imposes an elasticity of -1 on income, assuing that "ecological footprint" and income vary more or less proportionately. This way you can conclude that Palestinians (52.6) are happier than either the Swiss (48.3) or the Israelis (39.1). Likewise, Americans (28.8) are less happy than Mexicans (54.4) or Guatemalans (61.7). I guess that explains why the Mexican and Guatemalan governments can't keep out those damned American immigrants. By the way, citizens of Nigeria (31.1), Congo (41.8), Burma (44.6), and Vietnam (an amazing 61.2) are happier than Americans.
August 08, 2006
Misleading headline of the day c. 1906
The headline of an article in the August 8, 1906 NYT:
BELCHER IN STRIPES - Begins his 12 year term in Jail - Will have work in the KitchenI clicked on the story because the headline was interesting. Heck, one never knows if there was an interesting case of belching in public or whatever.
It turns out that Belcher was the ex-mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, going to jail for ebezzlement and forgery.
Time waster of the day
HT: Dennis Wilson
July 31, 2006
A cop with a sense of humor?!
This morning, I'm dropping the critter off at her day camp which is located inside one of the state office buildings downtown. As we walk in the lobby we see an Ohio State Highway Patrolman (the OSHP has jursidiction on state property in Ohio) who looks at me wearing a Florida State University t-shirt.
Cop: "Sir, I'm sorry but you can't come in here with that shirt on. Only OSU shirts are allowed."
Me: "Ha, ha. I can't win. Just last week the guy at Will Call at the Detroit Tigers game told me when I showed him my ID that he couldn't give me a ticket because I was from Columbus."
Cop: [Smiling now.] "That's funny. I've given tickets to lots of people from Michigan."
May 09, 2006
Must Love Dogs
"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session," goes an old saying. But now and then a legislature does something right, even if it is only correcting something the legislature did before.
The Florida legislature closed out its session last week by passing legislation allowing dogs to join their owners in outdoor seating at restaurants. The law had formerly prohibited their presence, even in these outdoor areas. Yeah! One thing I always liked about living in Ecuador many years ago was the ability to take my dog into restaurants. This is the kind of thing that really has little to do with public health, and that the market is perfectly good at regulating. This small step to increase freedom will make the lives of thousands of Floridians just a little bit more enjoyable.
And note, too, that the legislature also did away with a per drink tax on alcoholic beverages, and named a state pie - the former being an objectively good thing, the latter a better use of time than many other things they could have done. They provided for voter registration at bait shops and gun shops, which for some reason the St. Pete Times doesn't like - presumably, the paper is all for easier registration, just not of gun toting, fishing yahoos.
On bigger things, the legislature's record was mixed. But allowing dogs into restaurants - well, I'm thinking of moving south.
Posted by Brad Smith at 01:44 PM in Culture ~ in Funny Stuff ~ in Law ~ in Misc. ~ in Politics · TrackBack (0)
April 25, 2006
Police Arrest Nude Man Stuck in Chimney
HAYWARD, Calif. — A man who spent five hours naked and stuck in the chimney of his stepmother's home was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, police said.
Police say Michael Urbano, 23, locked himself out of the house early Saturday morning and decided to get in on a cable TV wire through the chimney.
But the wire broke and Urbano fell, getting stuck about three-quarters of the way down. He was freed when a firefighter pushed him to safety.
April 12, 2006
A rose by any other name c. 1906
From the April 13, 1906 NYT is an advertisement by Anheuser-Busch :
A beverage made of barley-malt which is flavored with hops, induces restful sleep and yields placid nerves? Hmmm...that sounds something like - BEER!! Okay, perhaps it wasn't fermented beer, that is, it was alcohol free, but are we sure about that?
After all, according to my knowledge of brewing (some say I have a knack for the science), it isn't the hops that provides for a restful sleep.
Such interesting advertisements populate the old papers. My understanding of truth in advertising and consumer protection laws, such as food labelling, etc., is that they stemed from ads like this. Mothers (or fathers, or both) were "tricked" into thinking that drinking "predigested food" (that probably looked, smelled, and perhaps tasted a lot like beer - even if it wasn't technically beer) was preferred to, say, eating some broccoli and drinking some milk.
Well, perhaps some folks need/needed to be protected from big beer and themselves, as well as Nigerian e-mailers.
Read More »
In the spirit of the c. 1906 posts I contribute - hopefully to someone's entertainment/edification - I found the 1902 Sears, Roebuck and Company blog, where interesting tidbits from that year's catalog will hopefully be posted on a regular basis.
From the April 11 post:
I was planning to do this with the 1908 SR catalog, but instead, perhaps I will start offering more display ads (like I did here).
« Close It
April 08, 2006
Musings of the Gentle Cynic c. 1906
From the April 8, 1906 NYT:
* My personal favorites.
March 18, 2006
HT: Boing Boing
March 17, 2006
The Fed is more powerful than we all thought
But I'm confused, and I'm hoping a science-savvy reader out there can fill me in. The story says
By the faint cosmic glow of the oldest known light, physicists say they have found evidence that the universe grew to astounding proportions in less than the blink of an eye. In that trillionth of a second after the big bang, the universe expanded from the size of a marble to a volume larger than all of observable space through a process known as inflation.
Now, wikipedia says that the speed of light is roughly 300,000 km per second, or 0.003 meters per trillionth of a second. In the time of the inflation, then, light would travel only 0.003 meters yet the universe grew to the size of observable space so the universe is expanding much faster than the speed of light. How is it possible that we could observe a faint cosmic glow? Would it not be traveling away from us at a faster rate than the light would be traveling back to us to observe it?
If you drive your car 70 mph and pass point A, wait a second, then throw a baseball 50mph out the back window, the baseball will never return to point A.
And, my faint grasp of relatively theory is that something traveling near the speed of light doesn't experience time. If the universe was expanding so much faster than light, wouldn't the particles on the expanding edge still retain the same properties as the first marble? They wouldn't age at all, no?
What am I missing here? Besides even a bachelor's degree in science.
March 15, 2006
"Cops" Moment c. 1906
From the March 15, 1906 NYT:
CLEVELAND - A man whose rolling gait was justified by his sailor costume, strolled into the sixteen-story Williamson Building...this afternoon and boarding an elevator rode to the top floor. Then he took to the stairway that runs through the cupola, and unobserved, reached the roof.
One of the policemen actually lassos one of the fellow's feet and they drag him off the flagpole to the cheers of the staring crowd below.
"Who are you?" the police asked.
March 04, 2006
The Best Half-Sentence I've Read Today
Being a chairman is a lot like a full lobotomy (except the scars last forever)...
February 19, 2006
Daddy won't be happy
Why you don't loan your Corvette to your teenager. (Some ads may not be suitable for work?)
February 02, 2006
I hope this fosters some similar posts. We got our course evaluations back today from the Fall semester, and I received the following response to the question "What did you dislike and/or value least about this course and why?" (italics added):
"I did not like how there wasn't a whole lot of reviewing material. We were sometimes expected to know the information."
This one is going up on the fridge. As my office neighbor asked me, "Sometimes? What about the other times?"
January 21, 2006
Insert Georgia Joke Here
The tailgate of a truck owned by the city of Rome was reported stolen Tuesday.
According to Rome police reports:
Randall Vines told police a 2004 Ford F-150 was left at the city’s public works camp on Vaughn Road. When he arrived at the site close to 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, he discovered the tailgate was missing. There was no value listed.
January 11, 2006
Memo to self:
After filing for Worker's Compensation for a bad back, stop running marathons.
January 09, 2006
Here is the story, segun Greenpeace, of the ramming attack by Japanese whaling vessels.
You can get the video there also. About halfway down. Just press the play button.
Yobbo proposes we consider it as a geometry exercise. To wit:
As you can see, the highly skilled Japanese whaling captain somehow managed to “ram” the Greenpeace vessel’s bow using the starboard flank of his own ship. To an uneducated observer like me, this looks like the maritime equivalent of a handbrake turn. You’ve gotta hand it to the Japanese engineers who’ve invented the sea handbrake. Brilliant.
Another possible explanation is that the Japanese imported their technology from Neon Genesis Evangelion and secretly installed it onto the Greenpeace boat, then used a telepathic link to cause it to ram the Japanese boat against the captain’s will.
No two ways about it: the nose of the Greenpeace vessel strikes the side of the Japanese commercial ship. This is a lot like the thug complaining, "You hit my fist with your nose."
Now, before some Greenpeace folks decide to try to write this down on my permanent record somewhere, let me say this: I don't care much if the commercial vessel did ram you. So, save your technical explanations of the rules of the sea for someone who doesn't admire fishermen trying to do a hard job out on the ocean.
Sure, they should be careful. But they are trying to make a living by producing something. You bunch of nimrods are trying to make a living by playing on the sympathies of gullible contributors. I'm sure that Sad-eyes Sally in New Jersey will pony up another $100 for the outrage she feels about this video.
You should thank the fisherman. They enable your parisitic lives, Greenpeace. If you weren't such a bunch of pussweilers, you could become real pirates, like this guy. (Link from Yobbo, again)
December 23, 2005
Google will eat itself
We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on a network of hidden Websites. With this money we automatically buy Google shares.
Only 3.4 billion years to go...
December 20, 2005
They are apparently a real problem this year.
One Santa was stopped by police for driving 150 kph (90 mph) on a northern German motorway, 50 kph over the speed limit.
"He said he was in a rush because he still had packages to deliver," said a spokesman for the police. They gave Santa a fine and took away his license.
A different excerpt, my favorite:
In Britain, police said they were looking for a Santa acting suspiciously -- a flasher who exposed himself to women.
Hey, Santa: That package is too small to deliver! And why don't you wrap it?
December 12, 2005
Okay, so I'm going through security on the way to go visit the DoL mother ship at Capital University.
And I noticed the guy at the x-ray machine sort of move his head forward, then shake his head, and then start to point. He called over another guy from TSA, and they both pointed and whispered to each other about what was on the screen.
I was thinking, jeez, some moron is trying to bring on some scissors. What an idiot. And aren't these rules stupid? Who cares about scissors?
Then, a bag comes out of the x-ray machine, and it's my laptop case. They ask, "Is this yours, sir?"
And my spider sense started to tingle a bit. At least, I think it was my spider sense. Isn't that where you urinate down your own pants leg? I'm pretty sure that's what spider sense is.
Because I remembered that I had left my pocket knife in my laptop case. I had been book review editor for Public Choice for quite a while, and occasionally I would use the knife to open boxes of books. When I moved from BR Editor to ROW Editor (that's "Rest of World", by the way, outside of Europe), I had slipped the knife in my laptop case.
And then carried it around for two weeks, never reaching down into the front pocket enough to notice it and take it out.
Here's the thing: this is not a small knife. It is not even a medium size knife. It is the John Holmes of pocket knives. Folded, it is nearly 7 inches long. The blade is six inches long, easy.
Anyway, by this time, TSA guys have their gloves on, and a group of about five of them are standing around the computer bag. One of them pulls out the knife, in its little sheath. "Damn! You were right!" the puller yells over his shoulder to the x-rayer.
At this point, I figure I am going to be on television that night, at least locally. "Moron tries to take sword onto plane; TSA vigilance saves lives. Moron killed with automatic gunfire." At a minimum, I expect some rude questions, a sginficant fine, and a delay long enough to miss my flight.
But the head TSA guy comes over to me, and explains (in a voice like you would speak to a child, but a child you liked), "Sir, you can't take this onto an airplane. It's against the rules."
I literally just stare at him, speechless. My spider sense, by this time, has started to make a pool around my left foot.
"Now, sir, you have some options. You can take this down and put it into your checked baggage, or you can mail it to yourself...."
I start yelling, and waving my arms as if surrounded by invisible flying bees. "Take it, throw it away, I don't want it, no, I don't want it!"
TSA guy just smiles and says, "Okay, sir, it will be destroyed. Please be careful next time."
Anyway, I made it to Columbus. Really great to see the guys from Econ at WVU, who came over to do some other work, and hung around for the talk and for dinner. (How scary is this picture? Russ...decaf, man, decaf). Great times.
(Thanks to Bob L, by the way, for posting the streaming version. I thought it said "screaming Munger" at first, and it struck me that was redundant...)
December 02, 2005
Lileks on Astrology
"What’s astrology, daddy?" "It’s a system of belief for people who cannot handle the intellectual demands of Scientology." [Link.]
November 22, 2005
Homer Simpson: Prudent Dove?
From tonight's Simpson repeat:
Marge: Bart, I love you, but sometimes I don’t love your choices. (sigh) Now we have to find another school for you.
Homer: Yeah, and if you get kicked out of that one you’re going straight in the army where you’ll be sent straight to America’s latest military quagmire. Where will it be? North Korea? Iran? Anything’s possible with Commander Cuckoo-Bananas in charge.
November 17, 2005
Do as I say...
In today's campus newspaper an alumnus complains about the newspaper's writing and editing,
I see less spelling errors and grammar mistakes in blogs.
Really? I see fewer.
November 07, 2005
French Film Star Le Pew Injured in Paris Cat Riots
Iowahawk spoofs the French riots; an excerpt:
PARIS - Former French matinee idol Pepe Le Pew was among the hundreds injured last night amid violent feline rioting in the impoverished Parisian suburb of Dans-le-Crappeur. Le Pew, 58, a former Warner Brothers studio actor turned Chirac government spokes-skunk, sustained severe scratches and concussions in the melee before nose-pin equipped EMT rescue squads could drag him to safety. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Last night's rioting marked the eighth consecutive night of violence in the Paris suburbs, as thousands of immigrant feline youths continue to rampage to protest a lack of jobs and cuts in French government tuna programs. Dans-le-Crappeur, home to tens of thousands of unemployed first-hundred generation immigrant cats, has been particularly hard hit.
If this isn't politically incorrect enough for your tastes, see also Iowahawk's Hawkeye Hoosegow Honey of the Week.
October 22, 2005
Mommy Knows Worst : Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice
James Lileks fans should know that his new book will be released this week according to Amazon.Com.
Shhh. I'm getting a copy for my wife for Christmas.
October 16, 2005
World's worst job interview
As mentioned below, I was in Chicago to interview job candidates. One fellow on our list had bounced around at a few jobs and I was already a bit leery of him before he sat down at our table. We asked him to tell us about himself and here's roughly what he said:
Well I'm definitely leaving my current position sometime. Maybe not this year but soon. The pay stinks and the teaching load is too high. "What I really want is more money for less effort." (This is a direct quote.) ... I basically can teach whatever but am looking for a paycheck you know? I mean as the saying goes, I'd rather be fishing after all....
You gotta admire the honesty I guess, but he'll be working for less effort somewhere else.
October 11, 2005
One of my university's students is featured in Cosmo magazine as "Mr. Wyoming". Problem: he's never been to the state of Wyoming in his life. I would've thought that was a requirement. Go figure.
October 07, 2005
Ig Nobel in Economics
From last night's Ig Nobel Prize awards, as described in the Chronicle of Higher Education (reg req'd):
Economics: Gauri Nanda, who was a master's student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when she invented Clocky, an alarm clock that scurries around the room as it rings, forcing the person it awakens to get out of bed and chase it. "My goal with Clocky was to approach technology in a playful way," wrote Ms. Nanda in an e-mail message.Some other awards:
October 06, 2005
Ig Nobel Prizes
Ig Nobel tonight!
October 05, 2005
September 28, 2005
I don't know much about protecting property in a hurricane because I choose to visit rather than live where hurricanes strike. I don't know what to say about this one, but maybe the Aggies know something other people don't?
Aggies and Tea-sippers can chime in.
September 26, 2005
Sign a left wing petition for every cause!
September 14, 2005
How to get PETA activated
A bio-diesel made, in part, with dead cats:
Koch said around 20 dead cats added into the mix could help produce enough fuel to fill up a 50-liter (11 gallon) tank.
September 13, 2005
"Beef" -- The Rest of the Story
September 11, 2005
If you dig, will you end up in China?
According to this Google Earth hack if I dig straight down from Arlington, I would end up somewhere in the Indian Ocean (I think) - I am not sure if that is correct.
September 05, 2005
James Robert "Beef" Ward
Published in The Columbus Dispatch from 9/3/2005 - 9/4/2005.
August 17, 2005
First evolution, next intelligent design, and now this....
The world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
August 08, 2005
Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence
I caught the virus. Here is the message.
August 03, 2005
Who polices the mall police?
A shocking revelation from the Bridgeport mall in West Virginia, reported by WBOY:
A former mall security chief is free on bond, charged with pocketing more than $120-thousand dollars in coins. […]
Wow. Who knew coin-op kiddie rides were so lucrative?
How did he spend or convert $20,000 in quarters per year? Wouldn’t your bank be suspicious if, wearing your mall security guard outfit, you brought in $400 in quarters every week?
July 22, 2005
Google to replace NASA?
Take a look at Google Moon. I suppose we could replace NASA with Google and be done with it all. The discoveries might be impressive - try zooming all the way in. The details are amazing.
July 08, 2005
Keep the change
On Friday, June 17, a temple elephant named Mahalakshmi, in Kinnigoly, India, reportedly ate a female worshipper’s plastic bag containing keys, coins, and Rs 7,000 (about $160) in currency notes.
The woman had just borrowed the money to pay her daughter’s college fees. She spent the next two days patiently waiting and sorting through the elephant’s manure, fearing that the paper notes had been digested. Finally, on Sunday evening,
the elephant reportedly discharged about Rs 4,000 worth of notes - a few in Rs 500 and the rest in other denominations - but they were all in drenched and discoloured state. They may not be fit to be put into circulation again.
July 06, 2005
More google maps apps
I am back from vacation and am wading in the shallow end of the Matrix - I have to teach tonight and I have some grading to do today - but here is an interesting application of Google Maps:
This is pretty interesting.
July 01, 2005
A little fun for the kiddies
Over the weekend, a lot of ice cream will be eaten. Why not burn some calories and have some fun with the kids by making your own ice cream without an ice-cream maker?
Thanks mom, I think?
"To everyone else, it seems like a stupid thing to do. To me, $10,000 is like $1 million. I only live once, and I'm doing it for my son," she said.
So says Kari Smith who had her forehead tattooed with the Web address of a gambling site for $10,000.
June 17, 2005
Buzzword of the day
Deja poo: The feeling that you've stepped in
I like that one.
May 31, 2005
Buzzword of the day
MBA: To a small part of the workforce, it's a coveted business degree. To the folks who work for bosses with MBAs, it more often stands for Mediocre But Arrogant.
May 27, 2005
Another trade deficit with China?
As if things weren't bad enough, we now have a trade deficit in dogs with China. Evidently, China can make dogs faster and cheaper (but are they of higher quality?).
Okay, seriously...From the May 25th New York Daily News:
Thirty dogs, given a reprieve from death at a Beijing animal shelter, are being flown to Long Island, where they'll be put up for adoption. The pooches - basset hounds, Dalmatians, German shepherds, terriers and, yes, Pekingese - land at Kennedy Airport tonight.
I don't want to hear any New Yorkers complain that the economy is in the tank when they can find 30 grand to fly dogs across an ocean and a continent. Have these people ever encountered the concept of opportunity cost?
A side note:
In Beijing, some 41 breeds are verboten, and it's illegal to own a dog taller than 14 inches. Also, the residents of China's capital can't have more than one dog each.
It's illegal in Beijing to own anything but a yip dog? What about seeing eye dogs and such? Alas, another cost of statism.
Update: Perhaps there are no seeing eye dogs for two reasons. Either there are no blind people in China or China is so labor intensive that there are seeing eye people instead of seeing eye dogs.
May 13, 2005
Ripping off James Taranto and BOTW
I found a local example of "It's the Eponymy Stupid:"
Kenneth Prude took the stand Thursday as the first defense witness during his child molestation trial and cried as he talked about a plaque he received from a parent the night of one alleged incident.
The guy is an ex-high school coach.
April 29, 2005
Warning: Politically Incorrect Material to Follow
Translate your webpage with this website. Here's DoL's current Adam Smith quote translated:
"The dawg of system...seems ta imagine that he can arrange tha different memba of a bootylicious society wit as miznuch eaze as tha hand arranges tha different pieces upon a chess-board...but that, in tha bootylicious chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own..."
[Hat tip: Keith]
April 26, 2005
Buzzword of the Day
time toilet: Any project, assignment,
Sounds like a good name for most college faculty meetings - our's is this Friday.
April 22, 2005
Guess the Google presents montage of pictures and you guess the google keyword that generated it. They start to repeat, but the first time I played I scored 119 and the second time 260 (with three repeats - two I got right and one I didn't).
Interesting what comes to mind when you see things.
April 15, 2005
More things found in food
This time in Fort Worth. A teacher found a dead (thankfully?) frog in the grean beans she had bought from a local Grandy's.
April 13, 2005
Those of you who believe in real business cycle theory might like to visit Free Patents Online. It provides a free searchable database of patents. The Crazy Patents page makes you wonder who is working late at the patent office. At the top of the list is a method for exercising cats. It involves using a laser pointer. Gosh, I have been doing that for years, but I never viewed it as exercising the cat. It was more like, look at the stupid cat.
April 07, 2005
More trouble with $2 bills
PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.
March 28, 2005
For those with empty doors
Buzzword of the Day
From Buzzwhack :
SEP: Someone Else's Problem. "Let's outsource production and make it SEP."
Sounds like Congress's answer to social security reform and everything else that requires a backbone.
March 26, 2005
By viruses, or hackers?
March 25, 2005
After a few hours of family time and a few highballs on Easter Sunday, I always look forward to the traditional family Peep jousting tournament.
March 10, 2005
Summers is Sick!!
The article referenced by Craig below is a hoot. Summers is definitely sick and so were all those dissidents in Soviet psychiatric hospitals. Then again, this could describe the typical economist.
"People with Asperger's may be unnervingly smart in specific modes of thinking but have trouble functioning in rudimentary social situations. They have difficulty handling change and transition. They don't work well on teams. One on one, they won't make eye contact, instead staring at a wall or into space. While they may have excellent vocabularies, they can also be linguistically tone-deaf and use words that convey a different meaning than they intend, which can result in their sounding brusque, dismissive, or simply as if they're not listening.”
Or in the words of West Side Story
March 05, 2005
What a year!
As the cliche goes, I don't usually pass these along, but...
What a YEAR!!!!
I want to thank all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send
Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy.
Because of your concern:
I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are 'atheists' who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.
I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from the rat feces and urine.
I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could get pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
I no longer use cancer causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.
I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops.
I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a stupid
I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now HAVE their recipe.
I no longer worry about my soul because I have 3,163,214 Angels looking out for Me.
I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).
I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special E-mail program.
Yes, I want to thank all of you soooooooo much for looking out for me!!!
I will now return the favor. If you don't send this E-mail to at least 1200 people in the next 60 seconds, a large bird with diarrhea will crap on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas of a thousand camels will infest your armpits. I know this will occur because .. it actually happened to a friend of a friend.
March 02, 2005
Cause...Effect? I can NEVER keep those two straight
I am quite sure you don't have to be an idiot to teach at the NYU Poli Sci department. They have many distinguished faculty.
But....well, check this out. I give you Bertell Ollman : ay, marry now, unmuzzle your wisdom.
The rules of basketball have changed often over the years, so I hope no one will object if I offer a few modest revisions to make this truly wonderful game even better:
First, I would charge an admission fee not only to watch the game but to play in it. And the more one pays, the longer one gets to stay in the game.
Second, there should be a price paid for each shot taken, and the easier the shot, the more it should cost.
Third, as for fouls, one should be able to pay the referees, so that they never call any fouls on you (or walking or double dribble violations for that matter).
Fourth - and maybe most important - there is no good reason that the baskets should be the same height for both teams. It should be possible for the team that pays more to have its basket lowered, and for double that amount to have the basket the other team is going for raised.
Under present rules, those players who are taller and better coordinated and can run faster and jump higher have all the advantages. My rules would exchange the advantages enjoyed by these people for other advantages that would benefit a different group, one that has been poorly served by basketball as now played. That group is the rich. With my rules, the rich would possess all the "talent" (what it takes to win) and - more in keeping with what occurs in the rest of society - never lose a game.
Nod to MWT, even though he probably buys this stuff.
The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. -Adam Smith
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