Thursday, December 31, 2009

Megan: Still Not Getting It

Best Wishes for the New Yr. (If not new decade.) to most. However,

But the implied combination of tiny savings, minimal income, and inability to find a paying tenant in a real-estate market with a sub-2% vacancy rate, does not suggest that the solution to his problems is a mortgage modification.  I'm not sure what the servicer could have done, other than foreclosed outright.  Or what Felix thinks this has to do with people who decide to default on their mortgages so that they'll have more money to spend on cruises and new furniture.
Here's the point, Mlle. McA.: What this has to do w/ your previous tale (the horrid immoral bastards who left their houses & mortgages to spend their money on furniture & cruises, & probably ruied their credit in the process) which did, indeed, describe a horrible affront to the entire mortgage banking community, is that "going on a cruise" is not the principal, primary or even main reason that people are stiffing their mortgage servicer. The tale seemingly told by Mr. Salmon's "sad case," involving job loss, is the real story of the millions of Americans in serious financial trouble, not the exceptional defaulting douchebags that some twits get all excited about.

Also awful:
Modifications are supposed to be a deal that makes both sides better off by avoiding the huge costs of foreclosure, not a vehicle for transferring wealth from bondholders or bank shareholders to people we like better.  The latter is what the progressive income tax is for.
Oh ha ha. Guess what, toots: I like defense contractors & American military morons who kill babies from 30,000 ft. (or the other side of the world) even less then I like bondholders & bank shareholders, not that the entire group of them aren't firmly interconnected & equally evil. Not very likable, either, what w/ their being murderers & such. Apparently in Megan World the horrid progressive income tax all goes directly to welfare cheats, people who go on cruises w/ their new furniture, & the millions of lazy bums who have a better life on General Relief & Food Stamps than if they had a job.


Go Read.

Any snark would just be detritus on the pristine surface of that man's ever expanding worldview.

Far Fucking Out


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good Riddance to Bad Times

if you aren't reading Roy's End of the Decade series at the Voice you're missing out. The man is doing a heckuva job counting down the reasons why this almost finished decade sucked. I'd add some of my own but he's only reached number 7 and my personal additions would mostly feature having made bad decisions inre: women. I give the right ones too little and the wrong ones too much, but wahwahwah, at most there's one or two of em reading this so anyway. This decade is almost over, fuck it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Day Is It?


Thursday, December 24, 2009


Xmas is all about the day little baby zombie Jebus was(n't actually) born(, that was in the spring). Therefore Bill O'Reilly gets to feel persecuted for spending more than most families earn in a year on gifts for himself and agnotheist Megan gets to feel self-important for being able to tell people what plastic crap they should buy to be like her on a holy day.
So happy zombie baby Jebus and CocaCola can Santa Day.

PreXmas Endurance Run

Megan has a post up about the Senate passing the health care bill. Let's see how far I can read before she says something stupid or evil enough for me to throw up my hands in exasperation and give up. Ready, set, go:

Senate Passes Health Care Bill:

Alea iacta est. I think it very unlikely that the Democrats will be able to retreat from this now--has any major bill ever simply failed in conference?

The good is that some people who cannot now acquire insurance will get it; even if this does not make them noticeably healthier,


Merry Xmas, you goyische bastards.

Thanks Glenn

Chanuannaunakakkakaa Charry brought me a life this year (but I had to go pick it up in Jersey), hence the lightness.

I was going to get around to making this point vis-a-vis Megan, but Glenzilla beats me to it. Just replace Reason with Megan and presto, one of our less snarky, more wordy posts.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Dog and Man Bite Each Other

The New York Times Discovers the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Headline: Study Increases Prevalence of Autism. While the article does suggest that rising autism rates may be due to increasing awareness of the disease, it does not actually suggest that the study in question had managed to induce autism in its unsuspecting patient population.
I actually misread the headline at first and thought it said "Woman Who Until Recently Couldn't Be Bothered To Hit The Shift Key And Who regularly Makes All Kinds Of Basic Errors And Never Fixes Them Makes Stupid Joke About Venerated Newspaper's Atypical Error In The Same Vein"

Also, I'm pretty sure that shit she wrote in explanation is both not funny and actual, total, nonsense in terms of being anything remotely even coming close to well written English and seriously what the fuck who criticizes someone like that when they can't even bother to use words in a somewhat decent fashion themselves in the very next sentence god she's a fucking moron.

Bad Link Dep't.

We were going to make fun of Organlegger McArdle w/ a link to this:

but it led to this Online Coupon Generator from Coupon Fu, which led to this sad attempt at humor.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

America, Fuck You

So Iran apparently admits to abuse of detainees before America does.

It took several months, but Tehran admits that political prisoners were beaten to death. Meanwhile, America does not torture.

Friday, December 18, 2009




Can We Go Back to Lazy and Incompetent?

This prolific and incompetent shit is getting fucking tedious.

Shorter Megan McArdle:

Personal Finance

Some have pointed out the ridiculous hypocrisy of my lambasting individuals for behaving in way to which I would not object if they were a corporation. I'm not sure which one of you it was so I'm just gonna put some random links and names in here and hope for the best. I would like to point out that if a corporation poisoned wells across the country, I'd think that they were bad. To further my point, let me explain to you about how I get outraged when I travel to other countries and find out that they don't act exactly as we do. Also, I am not after a sense of cosmic justice here. Now, I'm not done yet, as I've realized that if I string a bunch of random sentences together that don't mean anything it's harder to rebut. It's like, have you ever tried to argue with a person on LSD? That's impossible. So here I go. Anyway, my large point is that if people start defaulting on mortgages before they have liquidated their assets, raided the college fund, and emptied their retirement accounts, then no one ever will be able to get a house again. I'd like to point out that if you spend any money after you've defaulted on a house, clearly you didn't try to keep your house that much. So you see, me and old, uh, what's-his-name are on two sides of a different eschalogical coin and the economics of the issues really makes moral equivalency a bad thing. Have I met my quota yet? No? How about now? Two more words? OK! Done!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've Already Used Up My Alanis Morissette Title and This Is so Ironic. How Ironic

More Snow in Copenhagen:

I hope I can say this without bringing down the wrath of the environmentalists on my head, but you have to admit, it's kind of funny that Al Gore's speeches and summits like Copenhagen seem to have an unfortunate tendency to be beset by cold snaps and blizzards. Obviously, not totally surprising in Denmark, and no bearing on the arguments for or against climate change. Just a little amusing, that's all.
I would find it much more amusing if Megan McArdle died of a treatable disease due to lack of health insurance. I think that we'd all laugh long and hard. Ha ha. Ho ho. He he.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Megan just sent me this handy link. She's such a godsend.

UPDATE She also sent me some of Heath Ledger's earlier work. Warning, for teenie boppers only:

I'm Easily Manipulated

Sigh, the long, rage inducing posts, I have been loathe to avoid. Unfortunately someone in the comments requests that we take on "The New Breed of Deadbeats" and I view this request as flattery, which gets narcissists like me out the door faster than free ice-cream. Here goes.

I am afraid that I am one of those people who have no patience for people who refuse to pay their debts. People who can't pay their debts? All the sympathy in the world, even if they accumulated those debts through a series of stupid decisions.
Excuse me, Megan, but color was invented quite some time ago. You can stop seeing in black and white now. I just love it when she fucking OPENS with a blatant contradiction. Sentence one judges the fuck out of a broad swath of people whose lives are unknown to her. Sentence two claims to give a similar group of people "all the sympathy in the world." Of course, there is no way the Venn diagram of these two people overlap and Megan has the immaculate detective skills necessary to discern the two.

Anyway, fuck those people for whom she has "all the sympathy in the world." Megan's not here to put a spotlight on the troubles of the down-trodden. She's here to chastise the down-trodden and spotlight the troubles of the already powerful. So let's go berate us some deadbeats. What kind?
people who were unequivocally using bankruptcy to game the system--filing and then vacating serial Chapter 13 petitions in order to keep from being evicted or foreclosed out of houses where they'd never intended making the monthly payments.
Those sound like horrible people! Although a sentence later she admits they are "few in number," that doesn't stop her from wagging her finger at them.

So who are these intentional fraudsters, well, according the Megan some were profiled in this Wall Street Journal piece. Let's see what this piece has to say about those serial fraudsters. Those scattered and few deadbeats bent on gaming the system. I'll just quote everything Megan quotes:
Ms. Richey, the teacher, arrived in Palmdale in 1999. In 2004, she and her husband, Timothy, bought a two-story home on Caspian Drive, near Avenue O-8, with a no-down-payment loan. They took pride in the amenities they installed: a powder room with granite countertops, a backyard pool and play area, and the purple-and-turquoise fantasy playroom upstairs for their three daughters.

But the value of the house plunged to less than $200,000 in 2009. Their $430,000 mortgage, with its $3,700 monthly payment, began to look more like an unwanted burden. By May, amid troubles getting tenants for two rental properties she also owned, Ms. Richey decided the time had come to cut a deal with America's Servicing Co., a unit of Wells Fargo & Co. servicing the mortgage on the house.

After three months of wrangling, she says she finally received a modification approval. The new monthly payment: about $3,300, far more than she had hoped. A Wells Fargo spokesman confirmed the bank offered Ms. Richey a modification under the Obama administration's Making Home Affordable program, and said, "The Richeys turned down the lowest payment we could offer."

Ms. Richey and her husband had already been working on Plan B -- exploring the neighborhood's "For Rent" signs.

On one trip, they drove by the house at 3152 Club Rancho Drive. It was bigger than their house on Caspian, had a pool with three waterfalls, and boasted a cascading staircase that Ms. Richey says she could picture her daughters descending on prom night. The rent was $2,195 a month.

. . .

Ms. Richey and her family made the move to Club Rancho Drive in August, when she was already several months behind on the mortgage. With Mr. Robbins's help, she recently sold the house on Caspian Drive for $195,000, money that the bank will accept to settle the $430,000 mortgage debt. She's also considering walking away from the mortgages on her two rental properties.

Showing a visitor the personal touches in her new home, including a $1,800 dining set she bought with some of her newly available income, she notes the advantages of being a renter rather than an owner.

"You take a risk for the American dream," she says. "I don't have to worry about paying property tax, homeowners' insurance, the landscaping, cleaning the pool or any repairs."
So, these people bought a house in which they intended to live. They subsequently went hugely underwater with it. The bank refused ot modify their loan more than 10% so they said fuck it. This makes them evil. OK, maybe, except what about the bank giving them the loans in the first place? What about the mortage broker that took a fat commission on a no-down-payment 500k house? What about the fact that these people were not the intentional "gamers" that Megan describes. THEY LEFT THEIR HOUSE! SOLD IT! DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO KEEP IT! They walked away from a bad investment.

This is the world in which Megan lives: When corporations are losing money because they have to pay union workers a decent salary this is horrible and they need to fuck over the little guy in order to preserve the stockholders. When a person makes a bad investment and is hemorrhaging money, they must stick to the payments even though the contract they signed has a clear foreclosure clause. I wonder why we think she's biased.

She goes on, but I can't. It's just more of the same shit. She actually tries to throw in a claim that companies don't behave this way to preserve their reputation. I guess that's why Union Carbide spent money cleaning up Bhopal. They didn't want to ruin their reputation by letting thousands of people continue to leave in industrial waste. No, corporations know not to do bad things.

Whatever. I'm done again. If you want to go over there and read it, be my guest, but there's faster ways to raise your blood pressure. May I suggest Pink Himalayan Salt?

Random Post

nope, I'm not dead, I'm just still avoiding Megan as the full impotency of the Obama Admin soaks in and depresses me. I'm not surprised, but I can still be saddened by it.

But anyway, I'm here now for far more frivolous purposes. It seems Thers suffered a recent blow to the head, as there's no other way to explain the horrible mistake that is his authoritative top 10 shows of the aughts list. Yesyes, there's no accounting for taste and so on, but let's be realistic. The Wire was not included in his list. This would be like leaving the Velvet Underground off a best bands of the 70s list. Not having heard of them simply was no excuse.
And now, so you have the chance to quibble similarly with me, the REAL MOST TRUEST EVAR top 10 list of shows of the aughts, with the caveat that for reasons I cannot explain I haven't watched Battlestar Galactica or Mad Men.

1. The Wire The only real debate about this was whether to list each of the first 4 seasons separately in the first 4 spots, and in what order. Probably 4, 1, 3, 2.

2. Deadwood I thought the first season was the best, which apparently is a minority opinion, but watch this;

and tell me that's not fucking poetry.

3. The BBC series Blue Planet and Planet Earth w/ Attenborough narrating. Someday I'll show these to my grandchildren and have to say "that's what we lost". *sigh*

4. Wonder Showzen You're excused for not having heard of it, it was on MTV2 Friday nights for two seasons. I only found it later myself. As cliche as it sounds, you've never seen a tv show anything like this. For some reason embedding is off on this clip sample, but it gives a better idea of the show than I can in words.

5. Arrested Development I don't need to dwell on or justify this. That no one watched it only validates its quality, perversely.

6. The Sopranos The Derek Jeter of tv shows. Vastly overrated by some, but still a no doubt Hall of Famer. It wasn't quite the same after 9/11, but that can be said of most of us.

7. Stella Comedy Central giving this only one season is a crime on par with HBO acing Mr. Show. Like Arrested Development, it was simply too good to survive.

T8. Tim & Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job! The funniest show currently on tv, hands down, and quite possibly Adult Swim's last great production.

T8. The Brak Show I don't care if you don't get it or thought it was juvenile. I really don't.

which brings us to another tie to conclude;

10. The Daily Show/Countdown with Keith Olbermann I wouldn't necessarily argue against putting TDS higher, or with leaving out Countdown, but both unquestionably had their moments. Both also were unquestionably weakened by their strong second leads leaving for their own shows in the following time slots, but such is blogging tv programming.

Honorable mention to Oz, which was hurt by straddling decades, Colbert and Maddow for general excellence in the field of awesomeness, Birdman and the handful of Space Ghost eps from this decade, and Mythbusters for being good geeky escapist fun. You have to be or have been a comic book geek to fully appreciate The Venture Bros., but for those with the right eyes it's quite a beautiful thing. Crossballs and Dog Bites Man were both single season Comedy Central productions which were probably too raw and ragged to have justified more seasons, but both also had moments in which they truly shined, and an incredible wealth of talent on cast.

Lost is watchable and all that, but the season in the cages was just awful, and since then it has become, for me at least, almost predictable. Family Guy has devolved into using straight up racism, fuck it, it was never really that good.
Also, fuck 24.

Superjail and Bored to Death get incompletes.

You may now quibble, I'm going to go back to sleep.
But I'm right.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mental Health Lake

If I could be that awesome, I would.

PS Jet lag sucks, as usual. I miss the days when you could bring drugs on planes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Am a Delicate Flower That DOESN'T Need Your Protection

It's been a while since I pissed everyone off, so I thought I'd share my latest insight into why so many feminists (though not feminism) are stupid.

Shakesville is all upset 'cause, OMG HETERO-NORMATIVE JEWELRY COMMERCIAL!

But what I don't get is, if it's so bad to present "women being scared little girls who need men to put their strong arms around them in thunderstorms" then how the fuck do you explain this?

I am insular, oversensitive shut-in. Hear me roar!

Seriously, if you don't want to advance patriarchal stereotypes, stop being such a fucking patriarchal stereotype.

Oh, and, trigger alert.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Concern Troll is Concerned AND Retarded

Megan McArdle, always the crusader of truth and justice, has some things to say about us liberals. Most recently, we must be told that "Baucus Needs to Go" because he appointed a girlfriend to a post. I don't recall Megan ever stepping in about any other instances of cronyism, but, hey, now's as good a time as any to start. Hecuka job, McWatchdog.

But there's also the more pressing political issues. For example, what a horrible job Obama is doing. She Cavuto marks, asking "Are Democrats Sunk?" Is Megan McArdle angling for a FOXNEWS!!!! job?

So let's find out why Democrats are sunk:

  • Obama has scored some of the lowest Gallup approval ratings of any president at this point in his term
  • 44% of Americans told PPP, a Democratic polling outfit, that they'd vote for Bush over Obama. I mean, Obama still won handily, but when George W. Bush is polling 44% against you, you have to worry.
  • now has health care reform at 53% against, 38% for.
  • Charlie Cook's tracking of the shifts in political races certainly doesn't look good. Here are the results for Congressional races:
  • Solid Democrat to
  • Likely Democrat: 7
  • Likely Democrat to Solid Democrat: 1
  • Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat: 5
  • Likely Democrat to Toss Up: 2
  • Lean Democrat to Toss Up: 4
  • Toss Up to Lean Democrat: 1
  • Toss Up to Lean Republican: 1
  • Lean Republican to Likely Republican: 1
  • Likely Republican to Solid Republican: 1

So, let's see, we have approval ratings in the tank. We have Obama is still better than Bush. We have opposition to health care. I'd point out what bullshit this all is, but Megan does it for us in her own update:
Update: I should add that I think that Kevin's right on one thing: the base is a real problem for the party. I was talking to a libertarian friend yesterday who is a professor in the midwest, and we were marvelling at just how delusional many Obama voters seem to have been about what he was going to accomplish. Don't get me wrong--I certainly don't approve of everything Obama has done. But the guy got elected to be president of the United States, not Prime Minister of Sweden. Anyone who seriously entertained the notion that the procedural obstacles to enacting legislation in the United States would suddenly fall away--along with the essentially center-right politics of the American voter--is probably not mature enough to be driving.
Megan is right about one thing, people were making shit up about Obama in terms of what he was going to accomplish. However, this isn't because he can't just rule by waving his magic wand. This is because he's an unrepentant centrist. Any idiot can see that, but so many idiots haven't. Megan McArdle is, apparently included in that list.
Yet Obama's progressive base is incredibly demoralized by the inability to pass sweeping cap and trade and health care legislation without input from conservatives, or special interest groups. To me, it seems obvious that they should still be strongly supporting Obama and Democrats, for all their flaws. But it doesn't seem to be obvious to them, and it looks like they're not going to mobilize for 2010 the way they did in 2008, even if Congress manages to pass some monstrous kludge of a health care bill in the new year.
Yes! Obviously! You should totally support someone who isn't pushing for the things you want accomplished because he's on "your team!" What could possibly go wrong?

Ugh, I can't even go on.

The Assalt Continues

Oh my, do I appear to have struck a nerve. The I-still-talk-about-Sarah-Palin-but-am-otherwise-ok TBogg points out that Megan has followed up on some of my comments on her salt explanation.

We'll leave the snark aside, and just watch the huff and puff happen on its own:

The question is not whether I know how to use it or not--and as the daughter of a Manhattan foodie who grew up around caterers, restauranteurs, and associated types, you are seriously pushing down the wrong road if you think you can impress me with some foodie chest beating. That grew old and sad when I was about twelve.

No, the question is, how do I use it? I use it the way I described. I described it poorly. But there you are.

Oh, lordie, I'd hate to push down the wrong road. I'd also hate for anyone to ever call me a foodie again, but, thus is blogging Megan McArdle's reading skills.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Guess it Gets Scary Getting Barked at So Much

The NYT headline about Obama's speech today:

Accepting Peace Prize, Obama Evokes ‘Just War’

I'm not even gonna link it or read it. I'm just going to laugh/cry myself to sleep.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Longer Megan McArdle

Mental Health Break
When someone insults me and calls me ugly they are being uncivil. When someone does it to someone else and it takes 25 pages that is funny!
Let's also note that the thing to which she links is more self-important than funny. I am amused at the notion that she read this polemic of an insult but can't be bothered to find out solutions to her broken side mirror problem on her own.


OMG! Looks what she's done!

A Side Note About Exotic Salt

When I said I "cook with" Maldon sea salt, I did not mean that I toss it in the water with my pasta, or use it to brine my turkey. Sea salt is a finisher--you put a little of it in when you're done cooking and ready to serve, or toss it in cold dishes. If your recipe calls for salt at the start of the process--though with a few exceptions, I'm agin' it--use kosher or ordinary table salt. A box of sea salt should last you at least six months, unless you're serving a crowd every night. Some of my correspondents were a tad confused on this, so I thought it was worth clarifying before some unhappy soul tossed three tablespoons of fleur de sel into their pasta water, and came looking for my head.
Sure, Megan. You wrote this to help your commentors and not because you looked like an idiot.

I wish it were somehow provable, because I would bet any money you want that she was using it directly in her cooking until this post got her a ton of emails explaining that she didn't know shit. Why else would she write this:
If you use expensive salts for flavoring your cooking (or putting on top of your food), a wooden salt keeper can keep them from getting too humid and clumping together.

She can't admit she's wrong about ANYTHING.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unlikely Events

Huh. This.

Let's guess that Megan doesn't point out the bullshit behind that media frenzy like she did with the census worker.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Yeah! Goy Present Giver Came Early!

IMPORTANT Update : Realizing this post is a bit long for our less intrepid readers, you may skip it on the condition that you search for the word "salt" and read those parts. Trust me on this one.

Ha! You goyum are so cute, what with your consumerism and your present giving and your libertarians. (I refuse to acknowledge that there are any Jewish libertarians.)

Megan has posted her Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen Edition and I'm giddy as something that's giddy in a place that makes it particularly giddy! Let's see what fine items Megan McArdle uses would make a great gift! Note: As has oft been noted, Megan takes a cut out of anything you purchase through her links. She mentioned that last year, though, so no need this year. It's not part of the tradition. Who's heard of conflict of interest?

She starts with "Stocking Stuffers: Under $25" and almost none of them make any sense as a gift. They are comprised entirely of little gadgets of which Megan is fond and not at all of things that you might buy someone. See, if you know someone well enough to know what small trinket their kitchen lacks but they desperately desire, you prolly know them well enough to cross that 25 dollar threshold. Also, no one who wants a microplane grater hasn't bought one themselves already. They are not new Megan. What are you going to advise us on next? Not getting our internet through AOL?

Next we have a "cheese slicer" and then "Kyocera ceramic slicer" which can both be replaced by "knife" but, whatever, we all know how hard it is to cut cheese by hand. So much more convenient to throw another waste of space in our completely uncluttered drawers.

Then there's the Oxo chopper for people who somehow haven't heard of the slap chop or knives. Don't buy a slap chop, though. That has infomercials and is inferior. Buy Oxo chopper as it has both the advantage of being made by a respectable company AND being available through Megan's Amazon link.

And we're not done with Oxo. Not by a long shot. For what stocking would be properly stuff without "Oxo tongs." What are "Oxo tongs?" you may ask. Well, they are tongs that have the wonderful feature of being made by Oxo. No kitchen would be complete without them. Of course, no kitchen would be without them unless all you make is Ramen. This paragraph, like so many others, is best concluded with "whatevs."

Up next, a "Salt Keeper." This whole section is far and away my favorite:

Exotic salts are the new Green Peppercorns and White Truffle Oil, and in my opinion, considerably more interesting. If you use expensive salts for flavoring your cooking (or putting on top of your food), a wooden salt keeper can keep them from getting too humid and clumping together. Right now I'm using Maldon sea salt for most things, and pink Himalayan salt for dishes that demand a lighter flavor.
I love how she openly states fancy salt is a stupid trend and then goes on to opine about the subtle differences between Maldon and Himalayan salt. Didn't Megan say that she was "cutting back?" Well, I know when I'm cutting back the last thing I cut back on is the essentials, like paying extra for gourmet SALT.

Then there's the potato peeler:
My sister bought me this last Christmas as a sort-of-joke, sort-of-gift,
That sort of makes sense and... oh, no, it entirely doesn't make sense. Unless we're talking about a big floppy dildo that ends up getting actual use, a gift is either a joke or practical.

The best advice I've ever heard, though, is re: silicone oven mitts. "You can stick your hands into boiling water wearing these, as long as the water doesn't come up over the opening of the glove." Yea, what could possibly go wrong? I mean, it's not like if any water gets in it will be trapped next to your skin making any potential burns far worse. Plus, this is coming from a women who earlier admits to not being able to grate cheese without scraping her knuckles.

Our next category is "Thoughtful Presents: $25 to $50." Number two in your heart attack? A FUCKING KNIFE BLOCK. Seriously. A place to put your knives. Who owns a kitchen and owns knives but doesn't own a place to put their knives? BRILLIANT.

But let's not forget the "Rabbit Corkscrew" which, really, disturbingly, makes me think of another rabbit entirely. Because what we all need is "the easiest corkscrew you've ever used." No more killing the mood by fumbling around with those tricky corkscrews. In her defense, "This is particularly great for older wine drinkers, or anyone who has trouble with their hands, because it requires so little strength." It's that special gift for gramma that says "I know you're an alcoholic, but you're almost dead anyway so what does it matter?"

Then there's the always favorite "Oxo Kitchen Scale." Though she admits trying to get us to use it is futile, she's going to buy it for a gift for us anyway because her gift to us is to make us do all the stupid pointless shit that she does. You're welcome. I would just like to point out that the whole IDEA of a kitchen scale is bullshit. Cooking is NOT that precise. If it were, everything wouldn't happen to come out to nice round numbers. A precise recipe would use 2.4364 cups of flower and 1.67352 eggs. It's kind of absurd the notion you have to weigh exactly the right amount of flower to match the number of highly variable eggs you have, but that's never stopped her before so, whatevs. Even if the volume of flour changes with humidity (which I doubt is significant, but maybe) so would the weight.

Next, we have "Generous Gifts: $50 to $150." What should we purchase for our loved ones, Megan? Oh, a 60 dollar block of wood? GREAT IDEA! That block of wood will be so much better than the 5 dollar one at Target. My spouse will think I'm so thoughtful!

Or how about a hand mixer! I think Megan sums it up best when she says:
I don't use mine much any more--I tend to outsource its labors to either my stand mixer, or my immersion blender. But I travel with it, and for someone who doesn't have a really high-quality stand mixer, this is invaluable.
What cook doesn't want something almost entirely useless? AND HOLY SHIT I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THE FACT THAT SHE BRINGS HER HAND MIXER AROUND TO COMPENSATE FOR HER HOST'S INADEQUATE MIXERS! Does she travel with an emergency store of her fancy salt?

Skipping ahead to the "Extravagant Gestures: $150 and up" because, hey, when I think of $150 dollar expenditures, I think of something subtle like a "gestures." I also just can't get over the idea that Megan thinks there are people with whom we are close enough to spend over $150 on, but need HER help choosing a gift for.
KitchenAid Mixer Yup, every year, I start with the same thing. If you want to be a serious baker, you need a serious mixer.
Which is why you should buy one, because a serious baker almost never has the one thing they need to be a serious baker.

But what better way to spend $162 than on a "counter-top oven." A toaster oven? NOOO! Unlike a toaster oven it "makes good toast, which is not, in my experience, generally true of toaster ovens." Yeah! My toaster oven always turns my toast into chimneys. It's pretty impressive the first time but after you have, like, 6 new chimneys in your house you start to just want some toast. Also, don't forget that "the brick lining makes beautiful bread" and that's total worth the $162.

And speaking of useless wastes of money, she also advises you purchase a $200 cast iron pot (this one comes with enamel!) and a SEVEN hundred dollar copper pot.

I would just like to pause a moment here and remind everyone that Megan, up above, openly stated that her SALT consumption follows the latest trend. Yes, Megan has such a herd mentality she must use the newest black, even if the newest black is SALT from the other side of the world. SALT. Fucking SALT.

Oh, but back to the pot, Megan doesn't ACTUALLY want you to spend 700 bucks on a pot. "The link is just to show you the kind of thing you're looking for" because some of her readers are in fact stupid enough to fail to comprehend the meaning of "copper pot" without an illustration. That could be anything!

What holiday gift guide would be complete without Megan telling you what NOT to buy? Megan doesn't like these things, so your loved ones won't either. For example, while the slap chop is brilliant, do not get the "multichopper" which performs the exact same function. Why? Well "Unfortunately, changing the top plate, which pushes the food through the slicing blade, requires so much hand strength that I have to call Peter to do it for me." If it's too hard for the world's most incompetent person, it's prolly too hard for you.

Electric steamers are also a no-no, because Megan doesn't steam vegetables often so neither do you. This is in contrast to electric tea kettles, which are invaluable because Megan drinks a lot of tea and so do you.

But no list of things not to buy would be complete without things on it that Megan doesn't know how to use. For example, knife sharpeners. As we all know, dragging a knife down a holding steel is IMPOSSIBLE which is why so many honing steels exist. A true champion will settle for nothing less than taking their blades to a professional sharpener once a year. No... no... not more than once a year. We're professionals, guys!

Then she closes with
Specialty microwave dishes. In some cases, the concept is good. The problem is, it's always executed in plastic. Microwaving in plastic may not be such a good idea-pthalates really don't seem to be all that good for you, and I'm not exactly an environmental alarmist. We only microwave in glass these days.
Because Megan is smart enough to know that pthalates are bad but isn't smart enough to know that avoiding them is impossible (they are in deodorant and make up), that many plastics don't have pthalates in them (they are only needed as plasticizers for plastics that are otherwise unworkable), and that their main danger seems to be to children and fetuses (they interfere with various hormones important to early sexual development). What's a lot of knowledge when a little goes such a long way to making you an expert in everything?

And remember, guys, peer pressure determines her SALT consumption. SALT


Now It's Xmas!

As promised, the "kitchen edition" of Ms. McArdle's annual gift guide is available. Our commentariat, in breathless anticipation, indicates she does an electronic gadgets edition as well. I can't remember (selective amnesia) but the commentariat — Season's Greetings to All! while I'm on about the holidays — can usually be trusted.

I cannot recall another general interest/socio-econ-poli/Media Village web log that comes up w/ a gift guide every yr. (though I'm sure examples will be found) so I'll just question the whole enterprise, w/o passing any judgement on the recommended kitchen equipment, that sort of thing being far out of my area of expertise. If any one in the truly vast wasteland of cyberspace has anything to type on her choices, please pitch in. We welcome your comments!

And if I can trouble myself to read more, I may have more later. The idea of what not to buy ("Bad Ideas") is intriguing. Nobody knows the trouble Megan's seen, but they're about to find out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting in that Holiday Spirit

Apologies for the Light Posting

the annual gift guide will be up this weekend,
So I was all like "goy present bringer, I know I'm a jew and all, but can you make Megan do more ridiculously stupid posts that don't also enrage me to murderous impulses?" Goy present bringer is awesome.

This Blog Post Is False

Shorter Megan McArdle:

Employment Data: Cautiously Optimistic:
I am going to alloy this unalloyed good news but it has nothing to do with the fact that a Democrat is president now. No, there is no relation to my calling growth under Bush "record growth (in the comments)" without equivocation.
Hey, remember when she was sure she had seen that recession around here somewhere? Funny how she was OVERLY optimistic, then.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Perils of Warped Fucking Priorities

I have to admit that it baffles me how much of the health care debate seems to be focused on cost. The notion that this program is the one that will break the bank when we have so many other programs that costs so much more -- providing everything from end of life financial security to blowing people the fuck up -- is fucking absurd. The notion that we, the richest country in the world, can't provide for our citizen's health needs because of monetary reasons when other, poorer countries can flies in the face of anything approaching logic. So, you'll have to forgive me when I claim that Megan's latest post, "The Perils of Health Care Cost Control" is full of shit starting with the fucking title. Yes, health care costs are increasing. This is because people want more and more health. That's not a fucking peril. That's just fucking it. Sure, it'd be sweet if health care were free and came with a pony, but clearly people are willing to pay for it if it doesn't rain down from the heaven's instead.

So, yeah, stupid from the get-go. Let's see what other stupid we can dig up in the actual body of the fucking post:

For months now, the libertarians have been saying that the government does not have the political will to actually control health care osts. And people who support the proposed reforms have been telling us that we're blind ideologues who simply cannot allow ourselves to believe that the government can do anything right. Well, Exhibit A.
Exhibit A -- she's too coy to tell us -- is that the Senate added an amendment requiring insurances companies to cover mammograms. Now, of course, this is HORRIBLE NEWS because doctors just changed their mind about when mammograms should be given. Now the damn government is spitting in the faces of hard science by demanding women get mammograms even if they're four years old requiring insurance companies to pay for any mammograms that the doctors prescribe. I know that as soon as I heard the words "free mammogram" I was like "FUCK DOCTOR'S ADVICE! I'M STICKING MY TITS IN A VICE!" and I don't even HAVE tits.

Anyway, she blahs and makes up some shits and acts all knowledgeable and makey-uppy like she always does and then drops this brilliant bombshell:
The biggest savings comes from doing fewer knee reconstructions, fewer open heart surgeries, fewer screening tests.
Well, yeah, if you're not talking about saving people's lives, or quality of life or FUCK YOU STUPID CUNT. Do you really expect us to fucking be like "oh, well, I guess reconstructing a destroyed knee isn't OK cuz, gosh darnit, its costs too dang much." Yes it costs money. SO FUCKING WHAT?
The problem is, any line you draw will be somewhat arbitrary--how do you weigh false positives who will suffer somewhat, against false negatives who are very likely to die?
Huh, you say the problem is "any line you draw will be somewhat aribtrary" I say "you don't fucking understand statistics, evidence based medicine or cost-benefit analysis. Tomato-retardo.
The problem with diseases that affect a large number of people is that then huge numbers of voters can imagine themselves dying for want of some procedure, and the political cost to denying it is huge.
BINGO DIPSHIT. That's why right now we're having a health care debate and not a health deny debate.

Anyway, here's the part where I tie this all together. Oh, wait, my soul died early on this one so fuck you all.

Sorry, I'm lashing out, again. Megan dredges up more hate than I can handle.

Oh, yeah, and she complains about the Senate making health care decisions and uses that as an explanation for why an IMAC (Independent Medicare Advisory Council) won't work. That makes sense. Politicians have to worry too much about gotcha bullshit, so even people who aren't politicians can't make informed decisions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deeply, Deeply Silly

When I wasn't looking, Megan became someone's (possibly maiden) aunt. (Or Andrew "High Dudgeon" Sullivan.) "'Tsk tsk,' tutted maiden Aunt Megan, 'have you children no shame? And can you not keep a civil tongue in your head?'"

The Role of Clemency

Hear, hear.  As far as I can tell, this was a reasonable clemency decision, and anyone making a political issue out of it should be deeply, deeply ashamed.
The "Holy Crap, is there no shame or stigma for these leeches?" reaction to The NYT item on people actually using Food Stamps did not get a work-out at Asymmetrical Information, so this may have been her chance.

But come on. It's politics. What do we expect? Other potential GOP candidates have seen who's ahead in the three-yrs.-&-counting polls, & they're not letting anything go by. They never do.

In this particular case, I can even agree w/ Ms. McA. Gov. Huck granted a commutation of a life sentence, which only made the cop-killer eligible for parole. Plenty of others deserve a finger pointed at them. But this is hardly the first commutation or parole board pressure situation where Huckabee's involvement has come back to bite him on his substantial behind. W/o the already widely known Wayne DuMond case, this wouldn't have generated nearly the "shameful" heat it has.

And Megan, if you're indeed working toward a more civil discourse, & shame, speak to some of your regular commenters. Comparing the pre- & post-registration output in the comments would be an interesting study.

Truly Easy

Shorter Megan McArdle:

TBogg Endorses Truthiness

I don't know what either "truthiness" or "concern troll" means.

Just When I Thought I Was Out...

We've been getting complaints about our lack of postings directed along the prevailing winds of this blog's stated purpose. It's true. We've been lazy. Frankly, can you blame us? I mean, Megan's random careening of a blog career is hardly affected by our ineffectual plinking, and how much fun is it to hear us exhaust our supply of "yer dum" jokes on the same person over and over?

Oh, really? You like that sort of thing? Well, alright then. Here, I'll do a nice short easy one then just to make you happy.

Random Thought:

I would find Malcolm Gladwell's responses to Steve Pinker so much more compelling if they didn't rely so heavily on sly, and irrelevant, accusations of racism.
Huh. That's pretty funny. She's ad homineming someone for ad homineming. Good joke there. I'll have to make sure to note the potential humor opportunity. But, first, better do my due diligence and read the link.

Oh, turns out it's a blog post following up on something else. I guess I'd better read that. Wouldn't wanna start in the middle, ya know?

Hey, wait, this is a letter to the editor in response to a New York Times book review. Fuck, well, I guess I'll start at the book review, then. Man, this short post is getting tedious.

OK, read 'em all. What have we got? Well, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book. Steve Pinker said the book had some good parts and some bad parts and mentioned that Gladwell's claim that IQ is irrelevant doesn't seem to be supported. Gladwell writes to the NYT stating this view is an "ice-flow." Pinker replies with various studies and letters from scientists that say this is a mainstream view. Gladwell then points out that some of these studies aren't so cut and dry and, in fact, present a nuanced view of IQ. He also points out that other sources are openly racist and push IQ inheritablility/racial inferiority agendas. Megan cries "fowl!"

Fuck, that took a while. And this post is getting long. Better go trim it down. That's gonna take a while, too. OK, so what's the pith, here? Well, Megan did a few stupid things. Lemme find my notes. I know I already wrote one of those down... AH YES! Here it is! She used an ad hominem attack to refute an argument for being ad hominem. Oh, man, irony IS a classic.

What else? Oh, yeah, she wrote a single sentence about multiple articles and responses which haven't really been widely discussed. That's pretty funny. I mean, it's quite narcissistic to think everyone would just know what you're talking about in that situation. Yeah, narcissism jokes go over well. I'll stick one of those in.

Am I missing anything? Oh, RIGHT! I forgot that Gladwell didn't really make any "sly accusations of racism" so much as pointed out that one of Pinker's sources was OPENLY RACIST and therefor might be tainted by an agenda. That's pretty important. Rather glaring error on her part. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of her post, really. Oh, we can make a self-defeating joke. Another classic.

Hey, wait, she used the word "irrelevant," too, which is also wrong because, hey, those "sly accusations" only kind of undermine entirely the credibility of one of Pinker's sources. That's fairly relevant. That's definitely gotta go in.

OK, so, she contradicts herself, acts narcissistic, and fails to understand the arguments of the people she's "criticizing" (TWICE in the span of TWO WORDS). Shit, I forgot, I have to explain this whole fucking mess because most likely no one has read the book review, or the response to the book review, or the response to the response to the book review. Yeah, so, I gotta do all that. In a short post.

Oh, hey, look at that. 5pm already. Fuck it. Good enough. I'll just punch out. Wife's gonna kill me if I log in any more overtime.

Update: Heh. I tried to be as thorough as possible here in order to illustrate my point and I STILL forgot to mention explicitly in my round up at the end that she fails to link to two of the three things she is discussing. Indeed.

Her stupidity; It takes a genius to keep track of it all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

After that we can try a somersault

Wait, I've realized how we can fix our economy, get out of Iraq and do whatever it is we wanna end up doing to brown people (I dunno, sterilization seems to be a good means to what our ends seem to be).

I can't believe we didn't think of this before, but all we have to do is:


Friday, November 27, 2009

And The Chances Are Good ...

Still waiting.

"There's a good chance that I will take a nap and then head out to our nearest Wal-Mart to blog it for you"

And sad.

UPDATE (29 November 2009 @ 0025): Nothing yet.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Yay! We won! Let's celebrate with a turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be Still, My Beatng Heart

25 Nov 2009 01:34 pm

Looking Ahead to Black Friday

Thanksgiving is here, which for some people means the start of a month of overeating.  For others, of course, it marks the start of a month of overspending, kicked off by Black Friday.

Damn fat people again. But we can not wait for this.

And Wal-Mart is staying open on Thanksgiving, ostensibly in order to prevent the traditional crushing deaths that regularly occur when they open their doors.  There's a good chance that I will take a nap and then head out to our nearest Wal-Mart to blog it for you, and also (she mumbled) to maybe buy a Cricut Expression for all the wedding stuff we have to make over the next six months.

Oh, I hope she means it. Do not disappoint us.

I Hope You Heal Up Real Quick

25 Nov 2009 12:49 pm

Holiday Moderation

Ezra Klein has a nice column on how you might keep yourself from overeating this Thanksgiving.  I cannot actually recommend my current strategy, which is to get bilateral un-crowned root canals1, so that you have to spend the next three weeks eating only foods which are squishy.  But it does seem to be working.

1 Before you start in with the inevitable aspersions on my oral hygeine, they resulted from two prior fillings which shrank away from the tooth, letting bacteria underneath. After all my teeth are repaired, I am going to track down the dentist who did both fillings and give him a sound lashing* with my portable waterpik.

Poor Megan expects her comment crew to attack her oral hygeine. Maybe this is the libertarian version of self-criticism: They all sit in a circle & accuse each other of failing at personal responsibility.

*Elements of Style©: Is the imaginary "lashing" from this? Stop mixing metaphors. Please.

Just for starters, one can't "lash" anyone w/ a solid object. A lashing w/ the cord from her Waterpik® would at least have made sense. And I do sympathize, having had a couple of older fillings fall out completely. So "track down" & sue the bastard dentist, or don't. But don't threaten him or her w/ mixed-up passive-aggressive metaphors.

Being Wrong

We can be wrong, too. I was actually going to post on this anyway, but -- as Megan notes -- the police now say that the census worker we all thought was killed by some anti-government loon in fact killed himself.

It doesn't really change the fact that Michelle WachWoman and Glenn Bleck are dangerous loons, and I don't feel too bad about thinking that a man who intentionally tried to make it look like he was murdered was murdered. I was still wrong. Shame on me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Big Pixies Photo Post

apologies to those with a slow internet connection. I got a spot up front, and Kim Deal's setlist. Me happy. The setlist doesn't include everything from the encores. There was also Isla De Encanta, Vamos, Nimrod's Son, Where Is My Mind?, and Gigantic.

Monday, November 23, 2009


23 Nov 2009 03:57 pm

We're Going Broke Anyway, So Why Not Spend Like Drunken Sailors?

I don't pretend to be an economic expert, but that sounds like a good idea. Even better if phrased "We're drunken sailors, so why not go broke?"

Anyway, info & advice from one who's lived it, & somehow finds it pertinent to expanded health care:

Anyone who has dated a manic-depressive has heard some version of this argument.  "I can barely make ends meet now, so I might as well use my tax refund check to buy a boat!  After all, if I can't figure out a way to fix my budget, I'm going to go bankrupt anyway."

And anyone who has dated a manic-depressive knows where this ends.

She won't share w/ those who haven't dated bi-polar sufferers where it all ends. We're not sure if that's good or bad. This is definitely bad:

I also have no idea why anyone would think that there is no difference between going bankrupt for a huge sum, and going bankrupt for a smaller amount.  I mean, there's sometimes no difference for the debtor, but of course, there are a whole bunch of creditors who are also people, and who are not going to be paid back, some of whom may end up in bankruptcy themselves if you default.  Since in this case, many of the creditors are the American people, I would think that even the most corporation-hating, bank-despising, littleguyophilic liberal would sort of worry about this.

Is there any point in going on? [Reads the remainder. Alright, scroll-scannned the rest of it. C'mon.] No, it's something about the gov't. going bankrupt ("but of course, there are a whole bunch of creditors who are also people," See, you're going to pay for the boat your manic depressive boyfriend bought, thinking it was health insurance — she's not kidding — if this bill is passed.) because "a bunch of people are going to leave their employer health insurance under this plan for some subsidized plan--millions of them, according to the CBO." Bunches of millions of people.

Too, our new boat health care plan may have unexpected maintenance costs, as health care plans, and boats, are wont to do.  Since we've already spent our spare source of cash, and our budget has no margin for error,  our new purchase obviously places us at much greater risk of fiscal disaster.

Just as a possible bankrupt would be better off putting the cash in the bank than spending it on some new desire, we would be fiscally better off doing nothing, than we would in taking on a gargantuan new entitlement.  Yet, most of the responses to those of us who worry about the fiscal effects have so far been about the same as you get from your favorite manic depressive:  "But think how great it would be to have a BOAT!"

Should've quit while I was ahead. My sincere apology to anyone who read what little I posted. I take full responsibility.

The Law of Averages Would Indicate You Did Something Wrong at Some Point

Shorter Megan McArdle:

My expertise in the methods of scientific researches as well as a few cherry picked quotes leads me to some very important conclusions. If only people would stop romanticizing scientists and maybe start calling them "out of touch" or "elitist" or something. The defenders of these scientists are completely biased as shown by their failure to acknowledge that the researchers that they back aren't completely perfect.

This Compass Points South


If the favorables stay above 40%, I think we stand a very good chance of getting a bill before next March.
Let's hope she's only wrong about the March part.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things & Stuff

So here's the thing, about why I've been gone (aside from real world stuff); health care reform is fucking boring. Of course it's incredibly important, but goddamn it's tedious. In a certain sense we're having an extended national argument about paperwork. Yes, it's most truly about how we, as a society, value human life, but that's all too easily lost in the day to day back and forth of tribal push/pull. Megan is bad enough just in her inherent Meganity, but the combination of her hackery plus the tedium plus the incredibly important stakes make for something that's simply not funny. It's one thing for her to be a passive aggressive culture warrior, but this is not a game, those numbers she's casually playing with represent actual, living, and dying, human beings. But Megan doesn't care, at least partially because the culture she's loyal to won't allow her to. (I suspect she's also dead inside, but I don't know her personally.) There's only so many ways to say she cares more about her own money than the lives of people she'll never know or truly acknowledge the existence of.
But I enjoy being a jackass and whatever else it is I do here, and if I'm going to yell at anyone for the way the reform effort has been watered down into futility, pass or no, it might as well be Megan. Hell, the current bill might even be flawed enough that she likes it, I haven't been keeping track.
As for housekeeping issues, the idea of polls isn't dead, but my store of ideas for them is pretty much tapped out. If someone else has an idea, or one occurs to me, I'll put it up, but for now the polls are on hiatus. I'll be doing some random posting this week, some about Megan, some not. I'm seeing the Pixies tomorrow, then heading south to be with the 'rents for Get Fat Day.
And I still have the basement kitten, if anyone in the NYC area is looking for a cat. He's a great little cat, but Binkley does.not.want.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Teabaggers

This is what a spontaneous outpouring of thousands of people looks like.

Note that this is thousands out of a potential total in the tens of thousands, not millions.

A Changing of the Stupid

Megan's right, Apple is being stupid/disingenuous by refusing to repair computers owned by smokers because of health risks. Megan still manages to show what a self-centered idiot she is by talking about it.

Allegedly, Apple is declining to repair Macs owned by smokers on the ground that secondhand smoke is dangerous. This a gross misunderstanding of the science--
Low hanging fruit. Megan is dead on but refuses to quit while she's ahead:
tobacco tar could be hazardous if applied to your skin, but you'd have to really slather it on, leave it there for an extended period, and reapply fairly frequently.
Duh, wha... ohhh...kay. Not done speaking out of her ass, she switches from medical expertise to marketing expertise
But it also seems like a gross misunderstanding of who makes up their customer base on the East Coast.
Megan knows like, SIX, Mac users and like, FOUR of them smoke, so, like Apple costumers always smoke, but only on the East Coast.

Remember when she said they "knew their demographic" because they served coffee? Gee, I wonder what East Coast Mac user smokes and drinks coffee? Megan McArdle? ALL OF THEM!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mental Health Break: Something Shiny!

Megan has got one of the most developed senses of humor. Check it out, today she links to "Weird Error Messages."

Click the link for such exciting ironies as "Task Manager Not Responding!" Hahahaha! Cuz how do you use Task Manager to kill a not responding program when it's Task Manager that's not responding! Oh! And the Blue Screen of Death is included, cuz, like, heh, how weird is THAT!

Tomorrow, Megan discovers that the song "Ironic" doesn't contain any irony and we all laugh long and hard. The day after that she discovers that this fact is itself ironic! Oh the eternal sunshine of the thoughtless mind.

At least she stopped adding her own stupid commentary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now There Are Two Sources

Fun time!

Everybody else has to stay in Special Torture Jail forever on accounta they have all come down with Schrodinger's Guilt. If they stay in the box they might be guilty, but if we open the box they might not be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Called Glibertarianism, W/ An Underlying Diagnosis Of Privilege & Entitlement

Squandering Severance


I get a panic attack just reading it.  What psychological quirk makes you maintain three expensive cars, flowers, and fine wine when you're both out of work?

This Didn't Used to Have a Title

Shorter "Quote of the Day"

I try to pretend that I'm a moderate so I'm going to say something vaguely bad about Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. However, I'm aware that only batshit insane right-wingers give me any credence, so I'm going to drown this baby gerbil of a criticism in backpedaling and coaching. Also, the book I'm talking about now? The one I'm trying to speak of in a nuanced fashion? Haven't actually read it. Oh, wait, lemme go back in and throw in a potshot at Al Gore just to keep my fans happy.
The comments indicate that her gambit worked, as her denizens lap up the Goring.


There are very few things that could make me reverse course at the "You are showing me your panties" stage of courting, but this would turn me around faster than a high gyromagnetic ratio having nuclei in a strong magnetic field:

There are things written on women's panties that would make cease preparations for intercourse with them. The world is indeed depraved.

via. who viaed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are Many People This Stupid?

Hahah! Here's some ridiculous stupid. Is this, like, what a humanities major gets when they try to do scientific analysis or sumptin'? From the comments at IOZ:

Leonard said...

It is true tautologically that no system in which there are finite resources supports indefinite growth., at least in terms of resource-consumption. (Wealth is partially information, and therefore not bounded by resource-consumption levels.) But in any case, this proves almost nothing about the current situation of humanity. The average person's metabolism uses about 100W of power; the Sun cranks out roughly 383 yottawatts (3.83×10^26 W); thus, if we do not expand beyond this solar system, and if we continue to have bodies of our current efficiency, then the human population is limited to just 3.83×10^24, that is, only 5x10^15 times our current 6.796 billion.

If we limit ourselves to just living on the earth, then the resource limit is the sunlight hitting the Earth, which is 250 watts per square meter; that is, we can sustain a population of 2.5 million people per square kilometer. The Earth's area is about 510 million km². You can see how it would add up: max sustainable population is only 187000 times what we have. Of course, we'd probably want to expend at least 90% of the insolation maintaining the environment... so perhaps our max numbers are only 18000 times our current numbers. Who knows?

So to speak of "overpopulation" is fallacious, or at best, ignorant. Nobody knows what sustainable population levels are now, much less tomorrow. Whatever they are, they are functions of technology and capital investment. And given time to develop tech and invest, they bear no relationship at all to our current population.
And if we invent hardrives that just write on a single atom, we'd have 10^23 bytes of storage on a single disk!

Also, psst, leonard, information requires a pixel which has to be a finite size, so, yeah, there is a limit to it. Try and completely describe the entire universe on a piece of paper smaller than the entire universe. I fucking DARE you.

Drinks With a Friend Are the New Cab Driver

Megan, always the industrious, can't help but mix work with pleasure:

About a week ago, I was having drinks with a friend and discussing John Kenneth Galbraith's dictum that "all financial innovation involves ... the creation of debt secured in greater or lesser adequacy by real assets," wrote the economist John Kenneth Galbraith in 1993. And "all crises have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment."
I like how she frames the story. Intellectual analysis is ordinarily so boring, but, bby setting the scene in a loud bar with an unknown friend, it adds a bit of levity to an otherwise dry discourse.
I have espoused this theory at various points, and he agreed with it. But we came to a sticking point: what about the stock market bubble?
Uh, which stock market bubble? I mean, granted, I'm not a super financial analyst, but haven't all contractions been preceded by a rise and coincided with a fall in stock market prices? Oh, you mean the LAST bubble. Well, sure, it's convenient cause she can remember it, but I bet that's not the reason she is drawing a comparison with it.
And the bubbliest companies weren't using debt, because they didn't have any cash flow.
Right. The companies weren't using debt 'cause they didn't have any money. They were spending their own money.... that they didn't have. Or.. what? I dunno. I guess venture capital isn't debt cause it's not one person giving another person money for the promise of future returns.

Eventually, we get the part where the post starts to make sense and is written in a semi-coherent manner. That is, the part where she blockquotes someone else.
Asset-price bubbles can be separated into two categories. The first and dangerous category is one I call "a credit boom bubble", in which exuberant expectations about economic prospects or structural changes in financial markets lead to a credit boom. The resulting increased demand for some assets raises their price and, in turn, encourages further lending against these assets, increasing demand, and hence their prices, even more, creating a positive feedback loop.


The second category of bubble, what I call the "pure irrational exuberance bubble", is far less dangerous because it does not involve the cycle of leveraging against higher asset values. Without a credit boom, the bursting of the bubble does not cause the financial system to seize up and so does much less damage. The second category of bubble, what I call the "pure irrational exuberance bubble", is far less dangerous because it does not involve the cycle of leveraging against higher asset values. Without a credit boom, the bursting of the bubble does not cause the financial system to seize up and so does much less damage. For example, the bubble in technology stocks in the late 1990s was not fuelled by a feedback loop between bank lending and rising equity values; indeed, the bursting of the tech-stock bubble was not accompanied by a marked deterioration in bank balance sheets.
Yeah, what-the-fuck-ever. This is all retarded. The financial bubble collapsed the financial industry because it was a FUCKING FINANCIAL BUBBLE. Likewise, the TECH bubble had adverse effects on the TECH industry. The stock market went down 'cause, duh, that's what it does when the economy gets bad. How the fuck do financial "experts" need ME to explain that to them?

If you want to know the difference between our most recent crash and the next most recent crash (because your dimwit brain doesn't know any fucking history, so just draws comparisons between the convenient rather than the relevant) look at what fueled them. The tech bubble was fueled by the invention of something new. Can't figure out what that is? Hint: It's staring you in the face. As ridiculous as was, the huge influx of capital into the internet (and computers generally) was somewhat rational. Though many of the dot-coms crashed, one or two little known companies such as Amazon, Netflix and others still exist today, churning out a modest profit. There was OVERexuberance in genuinely exciting new technology which has, in subtle ways, changed the way that we live. It may not seem like it, but the internet actually touches almost every facet of your life in a barely perceptible manner.

The housing market, OTOH, (What did "OTOH" mean in 1991? Oh, that's right, NOTHING.) did not change at all. There was not the invention of some great new bulldozer. We didn't revolutionize the way we create load bearing beams. No. We convinced ourselves that one of the most non-transferable assets people had was an invaluable commodity so unique that it's possession alone was enough to back the generation of more of it. We basically bought a perpetual motion machine.

We convinced ourselves that we didn't need to actually produce anything in order to be wealthy as long as we just sold our own assets back to ourselves using debt hidden in too obscure a way for our creditors to know what the fuck was going on. We had the brilliant back up plan of using underfunded insurance as a hedge against betting on the impossible. In short, we lied to our fucking selves.

The bubble was centered, appropriately, on absolutely nothing. It wasn't OVERexuberance it was completely BULLSHITexuberance. That's why this crash was so bad. We slashed and burned way more forest than we needed to AND found out the land we'd cleared had toxic soil. I don't know how the fuck this is so hard to see. The ever knowing market bet the farm on a fucking unicorn and now it can't even find a horse to glue a traffic cone on. I guess admitting that would just be too much for some people. Perhaps they're sold on something and just can't let go of the notion that it's more valuable than it is. Brings about new meaning to the phrase "over-invested in the market."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Damn Bureaucrats

I'm sick and tired of socialized mail delivery. I don't want some stupid bureaucrat deciding whether or not I can send a letter to my grandmother.