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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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Waiter Rant

Long ago, I found a site called Waiter's Revenge, where waiters posted horror stories about customers and sweet, sweet revenge. Sadly, that site disappeared.

Now, there's a one-person effort, Waiter Rant, written quite intelligently and wittily by a waiter at an Italian restaurant in New York City. Check it out!

Interesting suggestion: Pay your bill with a credit card, but tip your waiter in cash.

What shadowy cabal did John Roberts join?

Yes, John Roberts was once a dues-paying member of ... the Columbia House Record Club!

The Weekly Standard has all the sinister details.

Actually, the BMG music club (back when there were two record clubs) always struck me as a better deal. I actually stayed a member for a while, until pop music disappeared utterly from the airwaves and the club's offerings.

(Via the Volokh Conspiracy)

Helping out

If you want to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, just look to this thorough list, collected by Instapundit. If you know of another organization doing good and in need of some attention, send Glenn Reynolds a link, and he'll post it.

Free the Onion!

Riding Sun points out something I missed. The Onion has opened its archives to free public view!

I read The Onion when it was a free humor paper distributed at music stores in Madison and Milwaukee. I still read it today. I feel its quality has gone down, thanks to a more reflexively anti-Bush and anti-Republican tone, but it still has its good moments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina and the Waves

James Taranto at OpinionJournal's Best of the Web came up with the cleverest title for a discussion on Hurricane Katrina and the storm surges it would generate: Katrina and the Waves.

Sadly, the people of New Orleans will not be Walking on Sunshine anytime soon. The damaged levees means it may take months for New Orleans to recover. But I'm hoping the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama will be able to recover soon.

Hurricane Katrina visited here, in the form of heavy rains today. I've noticed the retention ponds look fuller this summer, with the water near the top of the pipes. We don't need more rain, but we're a lot more fortunate than other places right about now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

RIP, Robert Moog

A great name in music has passed on. Robert A. Moog created the first commercially successful synthesizer, one playable using a keyboard interface. Wendy Carlos used it to demonstrate that synthesizers could perform serious music, with Switched On Bach. It brought new sounds to popular music. One favorite Moog composition is Hot Butter's Popcorn, a #9 hit in the United States in 1972 (and also used as the background music in one version of the classic video game Pengo!).

As a huge fan of synthesizers, particularly for the wider range of music they produce versus standard instruments, I honor Robert Moog's contribution to the music I love. Most synthpop bands use digital synthesizers, but there's just something special about an analog synthesizer that attracts my attention. For example, it's what made The Rentals stand out from the rest of 90's alt-rock. And I couldn't resist the two albums by The Moog Cookbook, which featured 90's alternative and 70's classic rock, respectively, performed on a variety of analog synthesizers.

I'll put this album on in his memory.


Economist Robert Fogel, winner of the Nobel Prize, recently told students at Cornell University that "half of you [may] live to celebrate your 100th birthday." Fogel's prediction goes well beyond standard projections, which envision today's college students living into their late seventies. But Fogel, who has studied centuries of change in human well-being, said that conventional forecasts are usually too cautious. "In the late 1920s," he recalled, "the chief actuary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. put a cap of 65 on life expectancy."

Fogel's forecast reminds us that sooner or later Americans will have to work longer and retire later. It will become economically, politically and morally intolerable for government (aka taxpayers) to support people for a third or even half of their adult lives. Our present Social Security "debate" ought to start this inevitable transformation. But it isn't. We are in deep denial about the obvious.

I have to agree with what Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson writes here. It is not right for older people to be supported by struggling younger people for that long. (Consider a future with rising housing prices, rising college debt, AND much higher FICA taxes.) It is not what people envisioned when they created a system of old age pensions. And it is absolutely not supportable in the long run.

One additional solution would be for people to be able to start drawing their Social Security benefits, in part, earlier. It would mean lesser benefits when fully retired, of course, but it would allow a person to retire from their main career, move into a less stressful job (teaching would be a good fit for many), and not be forced to lower their lifestyle due to a lower salary. It would help prevent Mr. Samuelson's proposal from "condemn[ing] them to poverty."

Actuarially, you could calculate any distribution pattern from the present value of one's Social Security benefit, and make it equivalent to the standard plan (pay in full starting at 70, for example). But, you know what would make such a solution more practical? If Social Security benefits were in the form of individual accounts, that people could partially withdraw from, much in the manner they can withdraw from their own savings.

There's another reason for personal accounts!

(Via Instapundit)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

NFL vs. RPGs

Many people (and almost everyone in Indiana) are aware that the Indianapolis Colts have been pressing for a new stadium for the team. Of course, public funding is going to be used for the stadium. Like all such stadiums, they're sold largely on the economic benefits a NFL team brings to the city.

This past Saturday, a preseason match between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears was held in downtown Indianapolis, at the RCA Dome. This game occurred at the same time as the four day Gen Con convention was occurring in the attached Indiana Convention Center, the second year in a row that's happened. This strikes me as a monumentally bad idea. Consider the hassles for attendees of the football game.

Gen Con (attendance around 75,000 for the weekend) is not like conventions one might attend for work, that finish up by 4:30 each day. Gen Con runs 24 hours a day. While only a few insane teenagers take that literally, many people will stay for events in the evening. Even if one leaves after the dealer's room closes, that's at 6:00 PM. When a football game has a 7:00 PM kickoff, imagine what havoc that wreaks with downtown parking!

Gen Con staff, exhibitors, and attendees take over every close hotel space, with Saturday night the night they're most likely to have a hotel room. Colts fans from South Bend or Evansville, or from nearby states, probably don't want to drive home after the game. With nowhere to stay downtown, they're less likely to attend. If they do attend, they'll need to find a room somewhere on the way home. That doesn't provide much of an economic boost to Indianapolis, does it?

What about going out for a meal downtown before the game, or drinks after? Some of those 75,000 people are also going to be going out. There's less of a conflict here, as many younger attendees (teenagers and college students) are not looking to spend $15 a person on a meal, especially after paying $70 to attend the convention. And others aren't going to take time off from the convention events to go out. But there are plenty of Gen Con attendees who do, particularly those exhibitors.

Hassles give football game attendees a bad impression. It's harder to go out on the town, and impossible to spend the night. That doesn't sound like a winning formula for Indianapolis.

It's unlikely the NFL knew or cared about Gen Con when it set up its 2005 schedule. The convention doesn't use the RCA Dome, so the NFL's computers saw that date as open. But the Indianapolis Colts, if they want to be seen as maximizing the economic benefits the Colts bring to Indianapolis, should tell the NFL that that August 12, 2006 is not a good day for a home Colts game.

Update: It's worse than I first realized. There were two other games downtown that day, an Indianapolis Indians AAA baseball game, and an Indiana Fever WNBA game.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Let Cindy Sheehan meet the President!

Lair Simon makes the case convincingly.

Let her meet with the President who thwarted the United Nations Security Council and made the case for war.

There are more such comments. Read it all!

(Via Gay Orbit)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I missed that?

I missed the new Harry Turtledove novel's release, though I visit the bookstore frequently. It took this post by Instapundit to clue me in.

I suspect that after vacation, I'll be spending some time on the couch at the local free library reading the book. (I'm sure you have a very similar library in your town. It has a sign labeled "Borders" out front.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Baseball: America's game


At the State Fair exhibit devoted to Baseball: America's Game, there were uniforms displayed for four Japanese baseball teams (Hiroshima, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka). It was very cool to see them, but it didn't quite fit the theme.

Over $30

For a long time, I narrowly avoided spending more than $30 to fill my gas tank. Several fill-ups ended up being $29 and change.

Last time I filled my tank, with it lower than normal and gas prices higher than before, I blew past that level, ending up around $33.

Now, prices are even higher, and I need to fill up tomorrow. Just wonderful.

Still, gas prices aren't changing my behavior. I already travel with friends if we're going to the same place. But I'm not going to stay home if I'm the only one going, or shorten my trip to allow more people to carpool. I'm unlikely to carpool, as co-workers don't necessarily work the same hours, and doing so would mean I couldn't stop at the store on the way home. (Combining trips is one of those tips to save gas, so carpooling just to be forced to take another trip seems counterproductive.)

I still believe that Varifrank's suggestion is by far the best way to cut down on gas usage.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Another step up the evolutionary chain!

I'm now a Marauding Marsupial.

This step, I'm fairly certain, is temporary; as the links to the Carnival of the Vanities fade from the front pages of the linking blogs, I'm sure I'll be a rodent again.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Much More Music!

I've mentioned before that I have a lot of CDs, over 1,000 at last count.

The setup: 4 Napa Valley wooden CD cases, each holding 96 CDs. Currently 40% filled with CD singles, the rest with CDs. All these CDs have unusual cases (not the standard jewel box with black tray). Atop two of the cases, a row of anime soundtracks, double-CD sets, and assorted compilations, plus some oversized box sets.

That's roughly half the CDs. The rest were moved into CaseLogic CD carriers (currently I have six). Hundreds of boring jewel boxes now litter the landfills in two states.

That's a lot of CDs. And starting this month, I'm going to listen to them all, in order. The CD singles will be listened to at home, and the CDs in the car. After finishing the ones still in their jewel boxes, I'll switch to the ones in the CD carriers. Currently, I'm only on the Bs for CDs, but into the Es for the shorter CD singles.

The A albums included:
Ace of Base
Anything Box
Atomic Kitten

I'm curious to see how long it will take.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

To the editor: *Astroturf*

Kevin McKague suggests fighting Astroturf with Astroturf! He has a letter to the editor for you to copy, just waiting for your signature.

I'm no fan of these fake letters to the editor, along with other tactics like e-mail or fax blasts. (Do you think the politicians who receive thousands of identical e-mails or faxes pay any attention to them?) If an advocacy group wants to encourage people to write to their paper in support of a topic, they could just as easily lay out an assortment of arguments and facts, and let each writer phrase his or her own letter.

Carnival of the Vanities #151

Welcome, all, to the 151st edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Generic Confusion. 151 may not be a round number, but I'll call it the 150th blogiversary of the original Carnival. That makes it sound more special.

This week, we have 56 posts from all around the blogosphere, representing many different interests and perspectives, and all deemed worthy of exposure to a broader audience. Click on the links. If you like what you read, read more by the author, and come back again.

And away we go!


Kevin, at Straightfromthedoc, provides a physician's-eye view and gives a thorough review of President Bush's recent physical examination.

A free speech issue? A radio personality is suspended for a political comment, and Nikita Demosthenes says Michael Graham was right: "Islam is a terrorist organization."

Ironman at Political Calculations presents The Financing of Air America Radio, providing some background into the financing historyof the scandal-ridden radio network, and the personal connections that made it possible.

Skippy-san at Far East Cynic brings us The Maid's Day Off, where he laments on the conditions that drive so many Filipinos to other nations to work.

The World at Setting The World To Rights says that To Link Once To A Holocaust-Denying Web Site May Be Regarded As A Misfortune. To Do It Twice Looks Like Carelessness.

Blue at DSS Hubris looks at Hiroshima 60 Years Later. He looks at Christian just war theory, and points out it's possible to fight a just war with any weapons, even nuclear weapons.

Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse looks back at history and gives us Robert Oppenheimer and the Politics of the Atomic Bomb.

Alan K. Henderson's Weblog looks back at the bombing of Nagasaki--The Day That Saved Japan?-- and wonders if Japan could have survived without it.

Jack Cluth at The People's Republic of Seabrook states Yes, it's true: "IRAQ" really is Arabic for "VIETNAM". The death of fourteen Marines from a roadside bomb in Iraq drove his response.

The MaryHunter at TMH's Bacon Bits says that instead of Social Security, we should be looking at the looming problems with Medicare. Check out Bad Medicine: The Mess That Is Medicare. Personally, I see that fixing Social Security will provide insight into fixing Medicare, but both really need to be addressed, and the sooner the better.

Will Franklin at WILLisms.com gives us his Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 128 -- America's Ridiculously Big Economy. Yes, America is that big. And think, we only use 25% of the world's energy!

Across the pond, Andrew Ian Dodge at Dodgeblogium identifies a Tory Shadow Cabinet member who made a complete arse of himself right before the Prime Minister came out with a lot of sense. Read Sack Him Now.

Kirkpatrick at Case in Point does the world a great service, by highlighting the danger to society from 62 year old women. See Why We Should Profile Grandma.

Opinionated Bastard at The Opinionated Bastard spends some time Going Beyond Brookings (so you don't have to). There's more to the story of military deaths in Iraq than mere numbers; the key question is, how are our soldiers dying?

Podcaster Charlie Quidnunc at Rip & Read Blogger Podcast presents State of Shouting Match Debate Shows. His podcast compares and contrasts last week's Robert Novak vs. James Carville dustup on "Inside Politics" on CNN, with one between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. in a 1968 debate at the Democratic National Convention.

The editors of the American Federalist Journal, blogging at The Unalienable Right, show us Another Liberal for Religion in Politics. As they’ve noted several times before, liberals aren’t against religion in politics, they’re only against any beliefs that disagree with their own.

Ferdy at Conservative Cat brings us Alan Dershowitz and the Wrath of God. Another famous person opines on a subject he has no experience in, with predictable results. Ferdy provides an alternative, but acknowledges that "it is definitely not going to make Alan Dershowitz feel superior." He also presents Grief, asking just what will bring meaning to the death of a soldier in Iraq.

John Roberts argued more than 30 cases before the Supreme Court. Matt Barr at New World Man looks at the voting and opinion authorship breakdowns of 20 of them, to see who on the current Court voted for "Roberts'" position most often. See How Roberts fared before the Court.
And just as the Catholic Roberts is being considered for the Supreme Court, Steven Couch at BlueStateRed highlights an appearance by the Catholic former New York Governor Cuomo on "Meet the Press": Religion and American Politics.

The Warden at Cliffs of Insanity says that libertarians are missing the point with regards to the whole Intelligent Design/Evolution debate. Take a look at Libertarian Ideology vs Conservative Pragmatism.

Chris Hallquist at The Uncredible Hallq adds to the debate on Intelligent Design with his Response to Kathleen Parker.

Ellison at Blog d'Ellison has A Modest Proposal.

Giacomo at Joust the Facts is particularly impressed that the New York Times downplays good economic news, even when it means contradicting the position taken in their business section. Take a peek at All the Liberal Spin that's Fit to Print.

Delving from politics into philosophy and business, Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade presents some interesting thoughts in On Liberty and Regulation; Theory and Practicality. To remove the power of money in politics, or the benefit of poor business practice, remove the incentives. Simple in thought, but can it ever be practical.

Business and Advice

Free Money Finance has advice everyone needs on how to choose a financial advisor.

Meanwhile, Melinama says "you may need this how-to guide some day." At Pratie Place, find this advice you hopefully won't need on how to deal with Bats. Pictures are included!

Barry Welford at BPWrap - A Different Point Of View presents The Internet Explorer 6 Peekaboo Bug, which affects websites using CSS style sheets. If you have a problem with text disappearing from your web page, this bug could be the culprit. The Holly Hack is a solution.

Steve Pavlina at Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog presents How NOT to Build a Successful Online Business. He identifies lessons from a failed blogger that can be applied to any online business.

Big Picture Guy at Big Picture, Small Office eats an apple. The result is Gravitas, where he links the laws of physics to the world of business.

Need to save for college? All you need to do is estimate future college costs and put aside the money to meet these costs. JLP at AllThingsFinancial runs the numbers for us at College Funding Math.

Wayne Hurlbert at BlogBusinessWorld advises business people to Seek the facts: The truth shall set you free. Honesty is the best policy!

Kevin at technogypsy finds the secret to getting good at anything: two hours every day. His thoughts are at Dancing in the Dark.

Current Events

From Kingston, Jamaica, Shaggy's Girl at The Former Jamaican shows that rumors about celebrities are not just non-news in the United States. The former Miss Jamaica is pregnant, and the press and public are saying very different things.

It's cloning cats and dogs at Wordlab! Abnu discusses the recent cloning of a puppy by a South Korean lab.

John Ray at Dissecting Leftism has a post with links to stories about cooling in the Antarctic, homeschooling in Germany, the IQ of leftists, and much more.

Bussorah Merchant at Strange Justice has a petition that is desperately in need of signatures. Help right a most grievous wrongful conviction!

Thankfully, Space Shuttle Discovery landed safely, and hopefully, many more successful flights will follow. That will take preparation. J. Random American at Ideas In Progress looks at shuttle repair technology, past and present, in Shuttle Tile Repair Technology Described in AW&ST.

Don Surber shows a picture of a puddle at How Dry I Am, and shows the DNR lives up to the government's reputation for quality work.

Chris Jenkins at DubiousProfundity addresses the current worries about violence and sex in video games by looking to history, when children were exposed to very real violence. Watch the Flash animation Strange Fruit - A Dubious Trip Down Memory Lane.

At The Idiom, Kid Various suggests "Sign Kid Various Up For The Super Soldier Serum, Please." He looks at technologies that could radically reshape man, and those in the world who fear them (and much more). That leads to the currently fought WWIV by way of Captain America, "because everything, sooner or later, comes down to comic books."

Mike Pechar at Interested Participant has collected over 100 cases of adult women implicated in inappropriate sexual behavior with minors, in just the last nine months, and without searching hard. It's all collected at More Women With Boys. With further analysis, he hopes to see if female predatory behavior is treated differently by the judicial system than male predatory behavior.

Culture and Life

Dr. Charles, at the Examining Room of Dr. Charles, delves into the most powerful symbol of Hinduism, after seeing a patient's necklace.

Mr. Snitch asks the question we've all been asking: When a Roller Derby Queen from Jersey City skates into battle for her Brooklyn team, who should accompany her?

David St. Lawrence at Ripples: Post-Corporate Adventures reminds us If you think corporate life is bad.... Yes, he sees the top of the corporate heap populated by Elaine Liner's Brads and Ashleys. He hopes for a good future for the always-funny blogger, whose writing attracted the unfavorable attention of her university employer.

Chicken Little at Chicken Fried Life really enjoys phoning her parents.

Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality takes a look at Family Programming, and concludes that the "family programming" at ABC Family doesn't deserve the name.

Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah at Koranteng's Toli asks the important questions, so you don't have to. What is the difference between "Unscented" and "Unscented Moisture?" What does the price of soybean oil have to do with hoarding body wash? Why do they want to mess with one's shower? It's all at The New Formula.


Stephen Den Beste famously classified bloggers as thinkers or linkers. Brian J. Noggle at his eponymous Musings says that's a false dichotomy, as some bloggers are listers, too.

Humor doesn't always translate over the Internet. Eric Scheie at Classical Values had to defend his dog's honor from a vindictive teacher due to a misunderstood picture. Check out Hard core misrepresention.

And speaking of humor....


America has brought terrorist attacks on itself? In response, Ubu at Houblog has a funny question, and an even funnier answer.

Mr. Satire at satire.myblogsite.com/blog comments on a race for the U.S. House of Representatives, noteworthy because it was the only one over the past month. He surmises the loser isn't happy with the results. Take a peek into his thoughts at Leftist Blog Exit Poll Winner Paul Hackett (Hawk-OH) Demands A Refund Of Kos Kidz' Allowance. (Not safe for work)

Buckley F. Williams at The Nose On Your Face brings us his list of the Top 9 Alternate Names For The Global War On Terror.

Harvey at Bad Example continues his weekly series of fun and informative facts about our 50 states. This week, it's Georgia's turn. Take a gander at FUN FACTS ABOUT GEORGIA: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT.

Mad Kane at Mad Kane's Notables presents three political limericks at Bolton, and Novak, and Bush, Oh My! Also available as a podcast!

Mr. Right at The Right Place reveals that Democrats Give up on Winning, Push for More "Spectacular" Losses.

Mark A. Rayner at The Skwib gives us a satirical look at the latest bizarre political firefight in the European Union by reporting on the Failed EU putsch of the dirndl industry.

And that's all for this week. Next week's Carnival will be hosted by WILLisms. If you want to host the Carnival in the future, just contact Bigwig at Silflay Hraka.

Thank you for visiting, and come again soon!
And as long as you're here, why not take a look at some of my favorite posts?

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The Carnival is Coming!

Just missing the sesquicentennial edition, the 151st edition of Carnival of the Vanities will be hosted right here on August 10!

Submission rules are the same as always. Any post you want to highlight is fair game, and anything submitted by Tuesday night will be included. No editorial comments will be added (unless it's praise.) Early submissions will be greatly appreciated. Finally, when the Carnival is released, link to it and enjoy the broad selection of talent from the blogosphere.

Include the normal information:
(1) Your name or alias
(2) Your blog's name
(3) Your blog's URL
(4) The name of your post
(5) The permalink to your post
(6) The trackback URL to your post (if applicable)
(7) A brief description of your post
(8) If desired, use the classification system established by Ferdy (Culture, current events, humor, politics, etc.)

Send an e-mail to reylance (at) aol (dot) com or use the handy submission form at The Conservative Cat.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Comfort vs. Power

Zhubin asks an interesting question:

Would you rather:

1) Make $50,000 a year for the rest of your life (a decent but not too comfortable middle-class income) in an American city starting in 2005, and enjoying the standard of living afforded by said income in said time;

OR 2) Be Emperor of the Roman or Persian or Alexandrian Empire (whichever suits your fancy), undisputed ruler of the entire known world, but living, nonetheless, in ancient times and under its general standard of living?

Regarding Number 2, I don't mean you're born and raised in ancient times, with ancient ideas and knowledge. I mean you're transported right now, as you are, back to ancient times to live out your life as Emperor. And you can't take anything with you.The question is essentially whether you would prefer to wield no power but enjoy, to a reasonable extent, the luxuries and conveniences of the modern age
(refrigerators, movies, the Internet), or whether you would prefer to forego them in favor of wielding absolute power over a gigantic civilization, with the chance to change the course of history, but suffering under the lower standard of living and knowing you'll never surf the Web again.

Call me a coward, but I prefer Option 1. After all, the poorest Americans live better than almost anyone in history. I suspect most people inclined to select Option 2 can't fathom just how much of modern society would be dearly missed.

(Via Not That)

Thimersol... the next saccharin?

Blogging has been light as I've spent time assembling the next Carnival. However, this article by Arthur Allen on thimersol is well worth a read.

Thimersol in vaccines has been linked to autism, and many people (including Indiana Representative Dan Burton, who has an autistic relative) believe this to be fact. Arthur Allen, in fact, wrote on the subject two and a half years ago. But unlike many people for whom achieving a goal is more important than truth, he has highlighted the numerous followup studies that show no significant link. In particular, one study from Denmark shows diagnoses of autism increased, despite the ceasing of the use of thimersol preservatives in vaccines.

I freely admit to not being a research scientist or doctor, but I pay enough attention to the world to see that diagnosis of autism and related conditions, like Asperger's syndrome, have increased due to a greater understanding of the condition, leading to better diagnoses. With that background, just about anything could have been linked to autism, if you just looked at correlation. Remember, though, that correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

Autism remains a subject that we don't understand. But increased research, not demonizing an effective vaccine preservative, is the path to better understanding.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rapid evolution!

At least temporarily, I've shot up to the status of an Adorable Little Rodent in the TTLB Ecosystem!

The next candidate for the 2008 nominee....

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is widely considered to be a top candidate for the Democrat nomination for president in 2008. He's a Democrat able to win in reliably Republican Indiana. He's perceived to be a centrist Democrat, though I see him as a "vote liberal, press release conservative" politician. He's a former governor, so has executive experience, including during part of the boom 90's.

But in a recent interview with the Indianapolis Star, on his ambitions, he revealed the following:

"Look, I fully expected that John Kerry was going to be elected last November."

Hmmm. Do we really want a person with such poor judgment to be elected president?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Glad I submitted my post Monday night....

The 150th edition of Carnival is posted early, by the easy-riding Gaijin Biker of Riding Sun. In Japan, it was certainly Wednesday, but it was Tuesday afternoon here.

Diet needed

The company behind the Atkins diet needs to go on a low-expense diet. They've filed for bankruptcy, blaming the decline in low-carb dieting.

Personally, I blame their extremely expensive products, roughly 50% higher than competitors. The initial success of the diet attracted many competitors, and none of them charged as much as Atkins Nutritionals.

The end of WWII

This month is the 60th anniversary of V-J Day. Plunge Pontificates has a long, detailed discussion on the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He discusses the various arguments revisionists have made arguing against the decision, and if you have doubts about that tough decision, read on.

All of us in subsequent generations owe our existence to this decision. An invasion would have cost millions of lives, destroyed Japan, and certainly would have changed history such that most of us wouldn't exist.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Blogger Puzzle Challenge Update

The Actuarial Outpost Treasure Hunt, the puzzle challenge being played out using Blogger, is complete. I've updated my earlier post with all eight weeks' first puzzles. In addition, you can find here a post with links to the first puzzles, each week's puzzle solutions, and results of the competition.

The puzzles are challenging, especially in the later weeks, but lots of fun.

European Disunion

While in Europe recently, I saw firsthand that the European Union is doomed. Just take a look at this pictorial evidence:

The nations of Europe can't even agree on symbols to mark their public bathrooms. How can we expect them to reach agreement on taxes, tariffs, social programs, the role of the bureaucrats in Brussels, and a constitution if they can't find common ground on the simplest things?

Why can't they just use this classic?