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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Senseless destruction

Some hoodlums desecrated the Medal of Honor Memorial in Indianapolis.

*cricket* *cricket*

I'm waiting for those people who were quick to blame the poisonous atmosphere created by talk radio for the Oklahoma City terrorist bombings to blame the poisonous atmosphere towards the military caused by liberal media and left-wing politicians.

Daylight Savings Time, maybe for real this time?

Hoosiers would change their clocks on June 5 in observance of Daylight
Saving Time under legislation approved today by a House committee.

Senate Bill 127, which is no longer a bill about raising speed limits, could be voted on by the full House as early as Tuesday.

The House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs committee voted 8-4 in favor of the measure, signaling broad support in the House for switching Hoosier clocks.

Today's committee approval clears a giant hurdle for legislative leaders and Gov. Mitch Daniels, who were trying to figure out how to revive Daylight Saving Time while complying with legislative rules. Daylight Saving Time was one of the 130 proposals that stalled earlier this month when Democrats walked off in protest of other issues.

Let me reiterate that the only reason for this worry about "complying with legislative rules" was because Democrats walked off the job... and didn't even return their salary and expenses for those days when they refused to work.

I travel enough that I think I've been in another state every first Sunday in April and every last Sunday in October for the last 4 years. So, adjusting clocks will be nothing new for me.

And here's something unusual about this controversy. People may say they don't want to change their clocks twice a year. Yet under the current system, I already have to adjust two sets of clocks! My VCRs can be set to automatically adjust to Daylight Savings Time; however, they cannot adjust to the fact that the show starting at 10 PM on a cable network suddenly starts at 9 PM come April.

Triple murder in King of Prussia, PA

A South Jersey man is being jailed without bail in Montgomery County, Pa. on charges that he stabbed three people to death last Friday in King of Prussia.

In addition to facing first-degree murder charges in the stabbing deaths of Lisa Greaves, her sister Heather, and Heather’s three-year-old daughter, district attorney Bruce Castor says John Eichinger will also be charged with the 1999 murder of Jennifer Still of Bridgeport (Montgomery County), Pa.

Another nut (excuse me, "alleged nut") who, if guilty, deserves to be punished for his crimes. What makes this story different? It's the overreaction of the district attorney.

Castor says the motive appears to be jealousy, but they are also looking into some sort of connection with the fantasy role-playing game ”Dungeons and Dragons”:

"I mean, you have many, many stab wounds and those 'Dungeons and Dragons' fantasy games involve swords and knives and daggers and things of that nature. There may be a connection but I can’t say for sure.”

All this, of course, is ridiculous. A couple of comments from players of Dungeons and Dragons in response to the DA's inane statement:

We should blame cooking shows. After all, they display these sharp knives all the time.

Why didn't you kill yourself when you went bankrupt playing Monopoly? Maybe... because it's not real?

I've always disliked any controversy where a crime is blamed on a TV show, style of music, movie, or anything other than the deliberate actions of the actor. Long ago, I observed that if you are a child caught doing something very bad, you should blame it on something, anything. Many people will ignore that you destroyed property/endangered innocents/caused another's death and start focusing on the scapegoat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Carnival of the Vanities

It's the April Fools edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, hosted at Eric Berlin's site.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Great Radio Station Controversy

Although Julia didn't start work until 9 o'clock, she always set her alarm for 7 AM. At that time, the morning crew at WNII Radio (N93, Playing the Best of the 80's, 90's and Today) would announce which N-Fan would win the Morning Moolah prize. "And that was Kelly Clarkson, with Breakaway. Now, N-Fans, listen up!" the DJ shouted. Cowbells rang in the background. "Who's going to win today's Morning Moooooo-lah?" The DJ synched his voice with the sound of a mooing cow. "Today's winner is... Julia Wilson, N-Fan number 104568! As always, you need to show up at our studios downtown by 9 AM to claim your $100 prize."

Julia gasped... she actually won! She had never won a prize on the radio before. She had tried to be the ninth caller, or the 93rd caller for the big prizes, but never was the lucky caller. In fact, she rarely got anything other than a busy signal when she tried.

Julia took a quick shower, dressed, and hopped in her car. She knew she could make it downtown in plenty of time, but she wanted to be able to get to the office without being too late. She parked in the parking structure across the street, locked her car, and entered the building. The security guard directed her to the WNII offices on the 10th floor. Her heart was pounding as the elevator ascended. So silly, she thought, to be so excited over this prize.

The elevator doors opened, and Julia walked to the receptionist. "Hi, I'm Julia Wilson, and I won the Morning Moolah contest today!"

The receptionist looked at her. "No, we already gave out the prize to Julia Wilson."

Julia looked at the receptionist in shock. "Wha... no, there's got to be some mistake. Look, I'm Julia Wilson." She pulled her driver's license and N-Fan card out of her purse. "See?"

The receptionist scrutinized the IDs. "Okay, you appear to be Julia Wilson, but Julia Wilson already claimed the prize."

Julia felt exasperated. She leaned forward, brandishing the N-Fan card again. "But I'm the Julia Wilson with the right N-Fan card number. What did this other person show you?"

The receptionist replied calmly, "Nothing. But she affirmed that she was Julia Wilson, and that was good enough for us."

* * * * *

Pity poor Julia. She'd probably have a case if she took the radio station to small claims court. Of course, the scenario just presented isn't realistic. The person claiming the prize would have to show some ID.

* * * * *

"What do you mean, she said she was me? Why didn't you ask for ID?"

"We at WNII don't believe it's appropriate for us to ask for ID. We believe it would convince listeners, especially black and poor listeners, that hassles could accompany their trip to the station. Asking them to go through an extra step in order to claim their prize is just asking for people not to claim their prize. Especially people who feel disenfranchised by the system--that feel their voices are not being heard."

* * * * *

How ridiculous is that? Yet these same arguments were voiced in opposition to requiring IDs for something a lot more important than a $100 prize, one's vote. This vote controls multiple jobs that pay a lot more than $100, many of which affect laws that can cost you a lot more than $100. One person went so far to claim the following:

The 28-year-old single woman suspects Republican lawmakers who back the bill are trying to keep people who probably would vote for Democrats away from the polls.

No, Republican lawmakes are trying to keep people who would illegally vote for Democrats away from the polls, where they belong.

ID is required for so much in today's society, including most monetary transactions. The Indiana law includes provisions to ensure people can get IDs before voting. As such, I can see no legitimate objection.

If you don't want to have ID required for voting, I would demand extremely strict provisions for people who can't prove their identity. Include all of the following: a statement in front of a camera (linked to a secure Internet site) asserting one's identity and address; a signature; a thumbprint in indelible ink. Make this information public, so that if you're reviewing the results of a very close election, you have multiple methods of verifying these provisional ballots.

It's not intimidation, it's fairness. I for one will be cheering each and every person for voting.

Monday, March 28, 2005


I don't want to make a habit of cereal-blogging, but this Boston Globe article found by Best of the Web caught my attention.

Angry cereal fans are lashing out after Harvard University cleared its dining halls this school year of brand-name cereals, such as Fruit Loops and Cap'n Crunch, and swapped them for less expensive, apparently healthier options like Tootie Fruities and Colossal Crunch.


Harvard officials say student surveys showed an interest in healthier, organic products, and brand-name cereals have been slow to move in that direction. At the same time, the major cereal companies are raising prices about 8 percent to 10 percent per year, more than double the rate for natural and lesser-known cereals, according to Jami M. Snyder, a spokeswoman for Harvard University Dining Services. ''We have a responsibility to spend their dollars wisely," Snyder said.

Harvard has reduced its six-figure cereal budget by 25 percent this academic year since shelving most brand-name cereals, including Apple Jacks, Cheerios, and Frosted Flakes.

All well and fine, but people don't like the off-brand cereals.

For Harvard sophomore Allison Kessler, it's annoying to pay more than $4,000 for a meal plan that scrimps on her favorite breakfast foods. Particularly since, Kessler, like many college students, eats cereal several times a day.

''I used to eat Lucky Charms for lunch and dinner," she said. ''The fake stuff gets real soggy, and I've just stopped eating cereal. This is not fair."

Everyone with a basic awareness of the market knows that brand name cereals are more expensive, due to heavy marketing expenses. I wouldn't eat the off-brand cereals, though, due to the perception of lower quality. Maybe it's a lifetime of advertising that's led me to associate brand names with quality. Or, perhaps, the more expensive cereals are actually made with higher quality ingredients. The experience at Harvard is a good case study on the actual quality of the product.

You know, with one of the world's top business schools, you would think Harvard would recognize that brand name cereals dominate the market because people prefer them. And when you charge $4,286 a year for a meal plan, you can afford real Frosted Flakes.

As mentioned previously, with regards to a very different product, I hate products that are designed to con the purchaser into thinking they're buying something they're not. These off-brand cereals, with similar cartoon characters adorning them, certainly qualify. (I will admit, though, the superiority of these fake brands to the white-box-black-lettering generic foods I vaguely remember from my youth.)

My cereal preference? For my entire life, I've actually preferred the healthier flakes and fruits and nuts cereals (please, no jokes about your college faculty!) to traditional sugary kids' cereal. I have no idea why; it's just a matter of preference.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Latest Ma Ya Hi Chart Information

It's clear that Dragostea Din Tei (Ma Ya Hi) will not be a hit in America. In its fifth chart week, the song falls to #94 on the Pop 100.

A little more time

Ann Althouse muses about not getting done everything one wants to get done.

If you ever wish you could have more time to get something done, just remember: if you did have more time, you wouldn't get more done. The extra time would melt away, and you'd be back feeling pressure to get it done in too little time. You might as well enjoy the free time and not moan about the things you didn't achieve. Idle moments at the dining table, talking about this and that, are much more your real life than all those grand accomplishments, achieved and unachieved.

I just can't appreciate those idle moments. I always feel like I could use more time. Today, I actually spent time playing a computer game, something I don't often have the luxury to do. With more time, I could do the things I need to do and have fun doing the things I enjoy doing when I have spare time. Or, I could get more sleep. An extra two hours a day, asleep, would make me feel a whole lot better the whole day through.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Breaking news!

PowerLine is reporting on a suspicious memo alleged to be an internal Republican strategy document on the Terri Schiavo affair. Interestingly, it has so far only been traced to Democrats.

This story could be another Rathergate.

(via Instapundit)

Carnival of the Vanities

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up at CodeBlueBlog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Fixing Social Security

The Senate unanimously agreed Tuesday that strengthening Social Security was "a
vital national priority" but split acrimoniously along party lines on what to do
about it in the first votes on President Bush's plans.
In one exception to
the party divide, five Republicans broke ranks and voted with the Democrats in
favor of a resolution declaring, "Congress should reject any Social Security
plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

So why is there debate? Apparently, both Democrats and Republicans agree that Social Security needs to be fixed. After all, doing nothing would mean that after the illusory "trust fund" is exhausted around 2042, benefits would have to be cut about 30% (I'd call that deep), or debt would have to be increased, to pay promised benefits.

It's another meaningless vote by a party unwilling to deal with this serious problem.

Male-Female Pay Discrepancy

It looks like, in many instances, men earn less than women for comparable work.

Did you go back and read that again? No, that wasn't a typo.

Columnist John Leo highlights a book by Warren Farrell, a onetime board member of the National Organization of Women, which highlights the reasons why men earn more, in aggregate, than women. It's because of personal choices, which anyone with a modicum of common sense could have told you. Men take risky and dangerous jobs, stressful jobs. Women are more likely to choose jobs that don't sacrifice family or flexibility. But Farrell points out that never-married, college-educated men earn 85% of what comparable women earn.

The 76% number is a composite number, not adjusted for comparable responsibilities. It should be obvious that if women truly earned 24% less than men, then companies would hire women, and cut their salary expenses by 24%. For years, I've asked the question, "So what do women lawyers, three years out of a Top 10 law school, working 80 hour weeks, in major New York law firms, earn relative to men?" It shouldn't be that hard to compare apples to apples, unless you're more interested in promoting an agenda than in the truth.

Axis of Evil Overlord

Peter Anspach compiled one of the greatest humor collections from the early days of the Internet, the list of things not to do if you were Evil Overlord.

It's time to update the list for the 2000s.

Being an Axis of Evil Overlord seems to be a good career choice. It funds your Swiss bank account well, there are all sorts of perks, and you can have your pick of beautiful women. However every Axis of Evil Overlord I've read about in newspapers or seen on CNN invariably gets overthrown and destroyed in the end. I've noticed that no matter whether they are Middle Eastern oil barons, Asian despots, South American revolutionaries, or sub-Saharan African strongmen, they always seem to make the same basic mistakes every single time. With that in mind, allow me to present...

The Top 20 Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Axis Of Evil Overlord
copyright 2005 Greg
1. I will maintain a military of an appropriate size, so that my generals are busy with their military duties, and will not have time to plot my overthrow.
2. I will feed my people adequately. Their work in my glory is much more productive when they have the energy to toil all day.
3. I will construct offices, factories, and residences, built to modern standards and up to code. Not only will it provide jobs for skilled laborers and engineers, it will prevent major destruction during the next natural disaster.
4. Before I appoint my son, brother-in-law, or other member of my tribe to a position of power, I will first check to see if someone better qualified is available.
5. I will receive advice on important technical matters from knowledgeable outside consultants not subject to my prisons and my Legions of Terror. I will tend to believe them over the advice of someone in my direct employ, who is more interested in saving his own hide than in providing good advice.
6. Before I buy armaments and military supplies from a willing seller, I will first check on that nation’s success in past military endeavors.
7. I will not anger a military superpower with the ability to blast me from orbit just because I’m feeling contrary. To that extent, I will not assert that I want nuclear facilities for peaceful energy production. No one will believe me.
8. I will make sure only those people who aided me in the past can claim the credit. If the revolution that put me in power occurred 22 years ago, I will not allow some 20 year old to claim to be a veteran of the revolution.
9. While I will probably be able to get away with destroying part of my population, I know I will get in trouble if I destroy my wetlands, cause the extinction of an adorable animal species, or speak out against global warming. I will understand what matters to the world’s opinion leaders. 10. While I will understand the importance of good recordkeeping to the functioning of the state, neither I nor any member of my government will be stupid enough to document mass killings, genocide, or anything else that could remotely be considered a war crime or a crime against humanity.
11. I will understand that while the United Nations, Jimmy Carter, and CNN will take me at my word, others will remain skeptical.
12. I will not jail the leader of the opposition. It only makes him stronger and better known. Instead, I will appoint him to a government position with a comfortable salary and no real power. Such an appointment is a much better way of making someone disappear.
13. I will not persecute bloggers. It doesn’t help. Posts will disappear into the ether, but reports of persecution will never die.
14. I will endeavor to have the attractive citizens of my nation on my side.
15. I will not change the calendar, money, or other basic feature of society to suit my whims.
16. I will hire a skilled hairstylist and purchase a wardrobe of finely tailored suits. I wish to present a professional and presidential image, and military uniforms are so 1980’s.
17. I will recognize that I am the political leader of my nation. I am not an actor, musician, or anything else, and I will not subject my people to my amateur efforts.
18. If individuals from free nations wish to come to my nation, and protest against their own nation in favor of my nation, I will first consider if they are suitably aware of the real world, lest they look foolish and make my nation look worse at the same time.
19. If things go dreadfully wrong, because I ignored the other entries on this list, and the military superpower allows me to escape my nation with my Swiss bank account intact prior to their invasion, I will take the opportunity.
20. And finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with a free weblog.

(Feel free to add to the list, or provide links to highlight elements of the list.)

Update: Welcome, Carnival of the Vanities readers. Some of my favorite posts are here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Ma Ya Hi - Flash Anime!

A cute flash anime using the song Dragostea Din Tei (Ma Ya Hi). The text and images on the screen are Japanese (or English) words that sound like the original lyrics of the song.

A cereal problem

Experts who reviewed the lower-sugar versions of six major brands of sweetened cereals at the request of The Associated Press found they have no significant nutritional advantages over their full-sugar counterparts.

Nutrition scientists at five universities found that while the new cereals do have less sugar, the calories, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and other nutrients are almost identical to the full-sugar cereals. Makers have just replaced sugar with refined carbohydrates to preserve the crunch.

No surprise there. It's simple fact. Simple sugars and complex carbohydrates both have 4 Calories per gram.

Up until about 15 years ago, when nutrition labels were changed to be more readable (and portion sizes were revised to be more reasonable), all cereals had a serving size of one ounce listed in their nutritional information. As a result, almost all cereals, from boring cornflakes to the super-sugary Sugar Smacks (I mean Honey Smacks) (oops, I mean Smacks) had 110 Calories (28 grams per ounce, 4 Calories per gram, rounded to the nearest 5). The exceptions were cereals with high fiber (not absorbed, and so no calories), and cereals with raisins (part of their weight was moisture).

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Dragostea Din Tei (Ma Ya Hi) Update

Unfortunately, Dragostea Din Tei falls to #88 on the Pop 100 after previously being #74 with a bullet.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dems say: Who cares about the Constitution?

Barbara Boxer has just admitted that she thinks judges should get 60 votes. Radio Blogger has audio!

You might note that isn't in the Constitution. I look forward to Barbara Boxer introducing a Constitutional amendment tomorrow.

(Via Instapundit)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Now this is just silly....

The Carnival of the Carnivals.

I guess it had to be done.

Carnival of the Vanities

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up at The Bird's Eye View.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Who wants to live forever?

The Times of London recently published an article suggesting that people living today may benefit from a future discovery that ensures effective immortality.

Such a discovery could destroy society as we know it.

Shameless plug: My submission for the Actuarial Speculative Fiction contest (Life and Death in Paradise) addressed this very topic. Download this year's submissions here.

An actuarial fiction contest is like a journalism math contest.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Via Instapundit, CoyoteBlog lists some sure-fire ways to identify whether a nation is a dictatorship.

You might add:
The leader's face and name is everywhere: on the currency, on the airport, on public buildings.
The leader's family and tribe are in power everywhere.
The leader blames someone else for all the nation's problem.
"We do not need elections. The people love El Presidente."

Are they trying to tell me something?

At the grocery store, one receives checkout coupons with one's receipt, normally for a product one just purchased, or a competitor product.

Today, I got a coupon for Vivarin.

Are they saying I am drinking too much Diet Mountain Dew? "Why don't you just skip the carbonated water and flavorings, and go straight for the caffeine?"

Ma Ya Hi - English Lyrics

I'm surprised how high this weblog ranks in Google searches for people interested in Dragostea Din Tei or the Ma Ya Hi song. To further promote this, here's a copy of the English lyrics, from the version credited to Dan Balan featuring Lucas Prata.

In the Today Show version linked below, the lines in parentheses are replaced by the "numa numa" phrase (nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma, nu ma iei).

Ma-Ya-Ha Ha
Ma-Ya-Ha Ha

Hello, Salud, it’s me your Duke
And I made something that’s real
To show you how I feel

Hello, Hello, it’s me Picasso
I will paint my words of love
With your name on every wall

When you leave my colors fade to gray
(I need a love to stay or All my colors fade away)
Every word of love I used to say
Now I paint it everyday

Ma-Ya-Ha Ha
Ma-Ya-Ha Ha

I sold my strings, my songs, and dreams
And I bought some paints to match the colors of my love

Hello, Hello, it’s me, Picasso
I will spray my words of my love
With your name on every wall

When you leave my colors fade to gray
(Little lover stay or All my colors fade away)
Every word of love I used to say
Now I paint it everyday

Ma-Ya-Ha Ha
Ma-Ya-Ha Ha
Ma-Ya-Ha Ha
Ma-Ya-Ha Ha

When you leave my colors fade to gray
(Little lover stay All my colors fade away)
Every word of love I used to say
Now I paint it everyday

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bad news for Israeli special forces

No one will qualify for them in the future. Here's the current point of contention:
Ynet has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play [Dungeons and Dragons] are automatically given low security clearance. “They're detached from reality and susceptible to influence,” the army says.

Fans of the popular roleplaying game had spoken of rumors of this strange policy by the IDF, but now the army has confirmed that it has a negative image of teens who play the game and labels them as problematic in regard to their draft status.

First of all, they should restrict actors and authors in the same way. After all, what does it say about your grasp on reality and ability to be influenced when you, a 21st century teen, are able to take direction from another person and convincingly channel an Okie looking for work and respect in California?

Then, we'll have to restrict other candidates who are detached from reality. Did you dream of being a rock legend or football star? I'm sorry, with your inherent talent, that's a fantasy. You're detached from reality. Did you play house with your sister? You should have known that you can't own a house as a 4 year old child and you can't marry your sister. Detached from reality.

Did you fantasize about Miss June? Sorry, she's way out of your league. Definitely detached from reality.

Let's see. If teenage boys with minds filled with fantasies (every night, for starters) aren't psychologically suited to high military clearance, then no one will ever qualify.

Update: Welcome, Carnival of the Vanities readers. Some of my favorite posts are here.

Jem sings again!

Valleri Cartwright mentions that Samantha Newark, the voice actress of Jem, in the 80's cartoon Jem and the Holograms, has a new CD coming out. Remarkably, I still remember the series, though nearly 20 years old.

The band Freezepop recorded a cover of the theme song to Jem, including it as a hidden thirteenth track on their album Fancy Ultra-Fresh. I recognized the song as soon as I heard it the first time.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A unique take on the gay marriage debate

It comes from an unlikely source: a rules question sent in by a player of the game Magic: the Gathering. (Page down to the bottom, to the last question.) It's a joke, obviously, and a hilarious one, to someone who plays the game. I've annotated the question and answer to explain terms that the casual reader won't know, so that everyone can understand.

Q: I was playing in a multiplayer game with some friends of mine recently. One player played a proxy of the Richard Garfield unique card Proposal (used by the game's creator to propose marriage to his girlfriend) to propose to his girlfriend. I played Spelljack (a card that counters another player's spell and lets you play it later) to remove it from the game. On my turn I used Mindslaver (a card that lets you make all decisions for a player on his next turn), targeting the player who had originally attempted to propose. On his turn, I played the Spelljacked Proposal using Vedalken Orrery (a card that lets you play a card like Proposal on another player's turn), and since I make all decisions for that player, I had him accept my proposal and we become engaged to be married. We've set a date, but at this time there is some question as whether our marriage will be recognized by our state's constitution, which states that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. I understand that a previous ruling stated that the laws of local governments supersede the Magic Comprehensive Rules and DCI Floor Rules, but I am allowed by law to appeal constitutional matters and disputes with state governments to the Supreme Court, who may in turn overturn laws made at the state and federal level. My question is, does the Proposal resolve, does it remain on the stack (a game term representing spells and effects waiting to resolve) until the Supreme Court makes their final decision, or does it fizzle because our male/male union is currently outlawed by state law? Does it matter at all if the issue is on the Supreme Court docket for their next session? If this were a sanctioned tournament, would we be granted a time extension for the round until the Supreme Court had made a decision? --John F.

A: No, the Proposal does not wait for the Supreme Court. As I understand it, it's the marriage, not the engagement that your local laws prohibit. Unless your local laws prohibit engagements, you should be fine legality-wise. It doesn't matter what's on the docket for the Supreme Court until you have to worry about your nuptials.

Additionally, I'll note that Proposal mentions "Richard" and "Lily" by name, so unless your middle name is Richard, or perhaps Lily, and your friend's name is the other, Proposal isn't going to work for you.

As for sanctioned events, the DCI is pursuing sanctioned multiplayer formats, but they still don't allow proxies, so your friend's copy of Proposal isn't going to work.

Ma Ya Hi? Maya Hee? Maya Hii? Mai Ai Hee?

I've gotten a couple of links from Web searches from people looking for information on the song Dragostea Din Tei, thanks to an earlier post.

The March 12th Billboard charts show a new version of the song (credited to Dan Balan featuring Lucas Prata) at #69 on the Digital Downloads chart and #72 on the Pop 100. The earlier attempt to break the song in America (by Ultra) failed. It's possible the song could catch on after that silly video! This new version has something important for American success: English lyrics. Dan Balan is a member of O-Zone, and Lucas Prata came up with the English translation. Unfortunately, they're billing it as the Ma Ya Hi song.

The song played on the Today show. Real Audio version here. According to the show, the song went to #1 in 27 countries. I doubt it will repeat the process in America, but I'd like the song to be a hit.

This has got to be the stupidest awareness campaign ever

(Via the Corner)

Optimus Prime Dies of Prostate Cancer
Popular Transformer’s Death Calls for Annual Screening

Besides, everyone knows Optimus Prime died in Transformers: The Movie (IIRC; that was 20 years ago!), passing the Matrix of Leadership to Rodimus Prime (nee Hot Rod).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Who's #1?

Although I'd like to see UNC be ranked #1, I think it's fair for Illinois to retain its #1 ranking despite its recent loss. Too often, a losing team is reflexively dropped a position or two. I dislike how the polls often work, where an early loss is given less weight, like a weighted average with more credibility for recent experience. It isn't as much a problem in basketball as it is in football, with the smaller number of games. If you're going to be 10-1 in NCAA football, you're in much better position if you lose one of your first two games than if you lose later in the season.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Credit card debt and bankruptcy

I made several comments when left blogger Honest Partisan criticized the bankruptcy law reforms. However, Instapundit has recently collected comments from the left, right, and center opposing this law, as well as pointing out that some Democrats in Congress support the reform. From the Blue Dog coalition:
"Allowing bankruptcy to become a financial planning tool rather than a last resort forces many of our constituents who pay their debts to pay for those who do not."

I am so far removed from this debate, as someone who treats his credit card like a charge card, paying the bill in full each month. I suspect it is too easy to write off debts caused by poor planning and wasteful spending, and agree that charges from the credit card companies are ridiculous. However, the return on lottery tickets is also ridiculously poor, compared to other forms of gambling. No, that's not a non-sequitur. The similarity between the two? Both are entirely voluntary activities. No one has to buy lottery tickets, and no one has to charge to a credit card more than they will be able to repay.

There's something I would like to point out: how hard is it to get a line of credit from a credit card, as opposed to a loan or a line of credit from a bank? Take this example from life insurance: one form of life insurance is issued if you answer a simple set of yes-no questions, and another requires full medical underwriting (physician statement, fluid samples, EKG, etc.) Which do you think will be cheaper? The former example, a simplified issue life insurance product, has higher premiums, because the risk is less known, and thus assumed to be higher risk. The credit from a credit card is similarly easy to get, and charges a higher interest rate to reflect the higher risk.

My outstanding question: how is a credit card company, which judges you capable of managing a level of credit at a particular point of time, going to know whether you continue to be able to manage that credit?

The Washington Post article that Instapundit links to says that the average household has 6.3 bank credit cards and 6.3 store credit cards. That is ridiculous. I only have 2 credit cards now because I got a new affinity credit card, and plan on closing the other account.

Interesting T-shirt slogan

I recently saw a, shall we say, gentleman of ample proportions wearing a T-shirt with a simple slogan: "I beat anorexia."

I find the slogan to be of questionable taste. Is anyone offended or bothered by the slogan?

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I have evolved for the first time from a Slimy Mollusc to a Flippery Fish in the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. Muahahah!

Another good humor site

The Conservative Cat (a newly found humor site) has the exclusive on Instapundit Glenn Reynolds' retirement from blogging.

Mr. Reynolds says the whole controversy has been a "terrible ordeal", and that he intends to "retire completely from public life and do something totally unrelated to journalism." He is expected to start his new job as the anchor for the CBS Evening News sometime next month.

As Glenn would say: Heh.

Differing standards

After Abortion compares the screening, counseling, and advice given to men seeking a vasectomy and how little is offered to women seeking an abortion.

Why would we do so little to teach women? Why keep them in the dark? If, say, men were instructed about the risks and treatment options for prostate cancer more than women were for breast cancer, there would be a huge hue and cry, a terrible outrage, and we would not hear the end of it.

Then there's a recent bill passed by the Indiana Senate

Women who want an abortion in Indiana would be told they can view an ultrasound of the fetus and hear the heartbeat, if there is one, before going ahead with the procedure, under a bill approved Thursday by the Indiana Senate.

Why would you oppose that? Why would you want to keep women ignorant? Some people, blinded by ideology, no doubt think any law regarding abortion is just a ploy to get it banned. But others probably realized that having a firmer grasp on the humanity of the unborn child will cause fewer women to choose abortion. And that's a choice most "pro-choicers" don't want to allow.

Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down

One of many recent articles on the auction held last weekend, where belongings of former Conseco CEO Stephen Hilbert were auctioned to help pay his debts. Two area kids who put summer job money into Conseco stock lost their $250 investment, and want to pick up a souvenir as recompense.

Both boys had mostly forgotten their ill-fated investments until recently. A business class at Tipton High School required Adam, a freshman, to read a newspaper business section every day.
There he saw publicity about the Hilbert auction, recalled his mom, Theresa Landers.
"He can hardly wait. He feels cheated. He worked hard for that money," Theresa Landers said.
Adam and his mother have spent time poring over the Web site of Hilbert's auctioneer, Norman J. Gallivan Inc. Adam says he would like to go home with Hilbert's French dueling pistols or one of his decorative pens.

Hilbert's saga brings up that line from Don Henley's Dirty Laundry. The auction is getting so much attention only because he was such a larger-than-life personality. I had no interest in attending, although I would like a tour of the estate. But don't worry about Mr. Hilbert. Even if he has to give up everything, there are certainly enough assets in his wife's name to allow them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

If this were any other job, they would be fired

A Colts stadium-funding plan, daylight-saving time and tougher regulation of abortion clinics were among key pieces of legislation at risk Tuesday amid a walkout by House Democrats.
House lawmakers began the deadline day with 132 bills awaiting action, but as the evening wore on, none had been debated.
Bills not acted on by midnight will die, and the ideas behind them faced uncertain futures as the 2005 session reached its halfway point.

Politicians walk out rather than debate the issues and put them to a vote. Sickening. That is their job, and they decide they'd rather not do it.

In any other profession, you would face termination for refusing to do your job.

It is up to voters to terminate these overpaid and uncooperative state employees next election.

The insight of Victor David Hanson

Arthur Chrenkoff's interview of historian Victor David Hanson is worth reading, if you're interested in current events in the Middle East and the future of American power.

Best thought:

Do you think we are likely to meet our match in the near

Only if someone else better follows the Western paradigm than we do—and thus has a freer society, more transparency, a freer economy, more stable democratic government, a greater devotion to merit and openness of views and ideas, etc.; but I don't see that happening quite yet.