Saturday, December 19, 2009

City bad, house good

I think I emailed this to a couple of people, but it is worth posting:

The Worst-Run Big City In The U.S.

No, not Oakland -- we're not that big.

By the way, I'm closing on my house Monday, and hoping to move the week after Christmas. I have my apartment through January, but I've lined up the new tenants and may strike a deal with them to recoup some of that rent. I might target early-March for a housewarming party, but I'll give some of you lazy asses (hint hint, AD) plenty of notice, and should have room for any who want to stay with me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why yes, I would like to double-down on an eight

Cue the "aggressive gamblers do better" story next, because Mr. Watanabe would like to have a word with you.

Here's the lede:
LAS VEGAS -- During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million.

The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which derived about 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year.

That's a pretty impressive amount of losing when you can claim your own slice of the Harrah's revenue pie chart. "And here we see our 4th quarter projections, with catering, gift shop, concerts, and oh yes, Mr. Watanabe will be in town for Thanksgiving."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Get Me Startled

It seems to me that people who surprise or startle (or even tickle in some cases) others are exercising a form of domination that says more about them than any subsequent response. Even good surprises involve withholding information in order to gain power over another -- ostensibly for their benefit, but in truth for one's own. Because every 5-year-old recognizes that it's fun to know something that someone else doesn't, and even even more fun to spring it on them unawares and then indulgently revel in their reaction.

I do however distinguish frightening from startling. Frightening usually means to fill someone with dread or terror, due to the menacing or sinister nature of a thing. Startling is just a base, physical reaction to something unexpected. Frightening takes an understanding of human nature and perception expectations; startling is just jumping out at someone from around a corner. Bad horror movies startle, good ones frighten. I don't think most people make this distinction, and in an attempt to frighten someone just startle them instead.

Combining the two can be very effective -- like that classic internet video that is supposed to be a hard-to-see ghost, but ends up flashing a scary picture of a witch(?) with a loud screeching sound accompaniment. The startle reflex enhances the fight-or-flight reflex for some people; there is no end to YouTube videos of people reacting to it by losing their shit. I found it mostly startling and thus annoying, but I can at least see the point. (By the way, what the hell is up with people who show that to their young children and film their reactions? Doing that to a 7-year-old is borderline child abuse.)

Anyway, long story long, my favorite comeuppance video for the startle crowd was on AHV a long time ago, and I think about this every Halloween:

Then, I saw this one on Failblog recently and realized I may have a new favorite:

Too bad you can't see the aftermath on the second, because as much as the guy in the first one is rolling around hurt, he pulled his punch a bit while that second one landed right on the button. Sweet, delicious, just desserts.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Agrippa, please

Iowahawk just kills it with advice for Obama from Julius Caesar:
Yo Obamacus, Rome up your shit! If you knew the first thing about handlin' your shit SPQR-style, you'd be turning Capitol Hill into Crucifixion Hill. Glennus Beckus? Boom! Up on the cross, bitch. Rushus Limbavus? Boom! You been served. Shit, send the survivors a bill for the nails.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Strange Brew

Whenever I get angry at the interwebs, they go and produce something like this. Aw baby, I could never stay mad at you!

I've often thought I'd like to run a liquor store for a week, just to see what it's like (ditto for a fast food joint). But then again I'd rather not get shot.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The Fed’s balance sheet is $2,174,000,000,000.

What would I do if I was president? I'm glad you asked:
If I was president (what would you do? )
I would not carry, oh no spare change
I would just rearrange, the whole government structure
Cause there seems to be something that's
Messing with the flucture of the money (what? )
It's not coming to me

What would Method Man say, I'm glad you asked:

Cash Rules Everything Around Me
get the money
Dolla dolla bill y'aauhhhaaaauhhhhahhhauhhhhll, YEAH

the train HAS come

Yeeeahhhh, boy:

Move over Juraj Jánošík, Slovakia has a new hero. His name is Seweryn Gancarczyk, and although he is Polish by birth, tonight he is the toast of the neighbours to the south after his own goal in the third minute of Slovakia's final qualifying game for World Cup 2010 decided this match - and this long campaign - in Slovakia's favour.

Juraj Jánošík was a kind of Slovak Robin Hood. In contrast, the Czech national hero, vojáka Švejka, was known for disappearing anytime violence was a-brewin. The Czech national pastime is defenestrating unarmed civilians. Just saying...

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Can Feel Birds Everywhere Crapping On Me As We Speak

I picked up a San Francisco Chronicle yesterday for the first time in months, because a guy I play hoops with wrote an article on "pickup basketball fashion" with a pic of another guy we play with, DT. I got a good laugh that DT was featured not only on the Style front, but also in a teaser above the fold on A1.

When the did they photo shoot of DT before our Saturday morning game, Peter (the writer) asked several us to take photos as well. Turns out it was a slow style news day, and yours truly was printed in an 8" color photo on the back page of the section, and called a "brand loyalist" for rocking the full Adidas look. Maybe Adidas will send me some free shoes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Uncle Sam Pimp Slapped Me.

Method Man sez: "The IRS said: if you don't come see me, I'll comes see you".

Method Man made me proud, he takes all responsibility and accountability on himself, doesn't blame his CPA, the Man, and specifically exonerates the weed. That's a refreshing antidote to Charlie Rangel, Chairman of Ways & Means (which write the Tax Law) who has a 1000 excuses for doing much worse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You Kids Get Off My Lawn

This park in the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula is named after someone who I can only assume was a handsome, charming, and patriotic American. Although if you aren't from Alaska, no dipnet salmon fishing for you -- that's only for locals.

You may however participate in Combat Fishing. I'm not sure what that is, but apparently the local medical clinic has quite a bit of experience removing fish hooks.

Get Off My Lawn
(right-click then "view image" for a large version)

The son of a local Kenai couple, Erik Hansen was an Eagle Scout who died of brain cancer at the age of 32. His younger brother Leif was also an Eagle Scout, and also died tragically young in an accidental drowning; Leif Hansen Memorial Park is only a few miles away in the city center.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

Believe me, I'm not trying to make this the youtube blog, but hey, sometimes that's all I got. This is pretty impressive, mincing mama's boy music not withstanding:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Midnight in the CC

Imagine me, please, sitting round at home doing a puzzle, quiet party of 1, with XM channel 808 (bluegrass, country honky tonk) keeping me company with banjo accompanied tales of woe, redemption and infidelity.

Then this song came on.
Culver City kid makes wikipedia.

Who Are We Protesting Today?

No surprise here at what happens when the spoiled college kid crowd meets up with some overzealous martial-law types... nothing to be proud of on any side.

So, who the hell is the G-20 anyway? Here's are the members alphabetically with the first letter revealed--drag over with your mouse to see the answers:

1. Argentina
2. Austrailia
3. Brazil
4. Canada
5. China
6. European Union
7. France
8. Germany
9. India
10. Indonesia
11. Italy
12. Japan
13. Mexico
14. Russia
15. Saudi Arabia
16. South Africa
17. South Korea
18. Turkey
19. United Kingdom
20. United States of America

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Are All Under Arrest

Criminals, every last one of you:
The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day.

As for local and state crimes, fuggedaboutit. I probably commit on average five traffic violations on the way to work every morning, jaywalk at least once a day, and fail to pay use tax on my weekly out-of-state internet purchases.

Oh yeah, and the drugs...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arguing In Favor: R Kelly

Forget the essay, this should be a debate topic:

WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- An English teacher is being closely monitored at Kingswood Regional High School after administrators said she assigned an inappropriate essay topic to her students.

Jack Robertson, superintendent of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, said the teacher asked students to respond to the question: "If you knocked your brother down, would you urinate in his mouth?"

I guess my first question is, did I knock him out cold or just down? And my second is, what the hell is wrong with your family that makes you think this up?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Denmark Tourism Film

I'm not kidding. And the kid's name is August.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keep Fucking That Chicken

OK, I'll do that.

Damn IRS....

This old lawyer actually took this case to court for a publicly available opinion. That's more suprising than anything else. Evidently,"The 77-year-old Brooklyn lawyer owes tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes for wrongly deducting more than $300,000 in prostitutes, porn, sex toys and erotic massages."

From the court's opinion:

"During 2004 and 2005 petitioner frequented prostitutes in New York. Petitioner [the lawyer] did not visit these prostitutes as part of a course of therapy prescribed by his doctor, nor did petitioner ask his doctor to prescribe any sort of sex therapy. Petitioner kept track of these visits in a journal. The journal included the date, the name of the “service provider”, and the amount. Petitioner did not discuss these visits with his doctors afterwards to determine their impact on his health.

During 2004 and 2005 petitioner purchased pornography and books and magazines on sex therapy. Petitioner also recorded the dates and amounts of the purchases in his journal.

[The IRS] argues that petitioner is not entitled to a deduction for amounts paid for books on sex therapy and pornographic material because those amounts were incurred for petitioner's general welfare, not pursuant to a doctor's prescription or for a specific medical condition. "
"You don't expect to hear that someone you know killed a guy with a samurai sword"

I nominate Little E.

"With the 3- to 5-foot-long, razor-sharp weapon in hand, police say, Pontolillo crept toward the noise... struck the intruder no more than twice, police say, nearly severing his left hand and inflicting what police termed a 'spear laceration'."

A "laceration" seems like a swiping motion and a "spear" a stab.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Betting on a Pair Never Before Such a Sure Thing

Gambling and boobs. A pairing so perfect that it's insertion into mainstream society might serve as a sign that 2012 WILL really usher us into an elevated paradigm of consciousness, a new age of reason.

Yesterday, genius corporate franchisees Altium Development Group announced their winning hand by offering card tables at Pacific Northwest-area Hooters. As a longtime Hooters customer (ahem, they play three matches at once during the World Cup), I can attest to wishing I could play a little Hold 'Em on occasion.

There is some dillution to the brand, by having distractions like a "dueling piano bar" but Altium snaps the focus back with luridly suggestive menu item, "Hand Wiches" (I'm not making this up), offering players having a rough time at the tables the hope of a happy ending. The logical extension of this is of course, private dining for one in the "Stud" room, with appetizers like the "Double Down" for $100, and for an extra $200 service charge, the "Royal Flush" for dessert.

God bless America.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fun Nobel Prize Facts

· The Nobel Prize is awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace (not economics, see below).

· The peace prize is selected by a committee of 5 people appointed by Swedish politicians.

· The other 3 prizes are awarded exclusively by Swedish Academies.

· Its unclear how an all Swedish Committee picks among works or scientific pieces not written in English or whether a single member of the the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize in Literature read Imre Kertesz in his original Hungarian (2002), Gao Xingjianin (2000) in his original Chinese or Orhan Pamuk in his original Turkish.

· One Swedish Committee member (all of whom are appointed for life), after receiving a savage review of his book in the New York Times, said that American writers are "too insular," "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture" and too ignorant to write good books and doesn’t think any American authors can win the prize.

· 3 Swedish committee members were investigated after receiving a luxurous “fact finding” trip to China, paid for by the Chinese government.

· 6 Indians have won Nobel prizes (I’m not including VS Naipul).

· 4 Japanese physicists have won the Physics prize (1949, 1965, and 2 shared in 2008); 4 Japanese have won the Chemistry Prize (1981, 2000, 2001, 2002); 2 Japanese writers have won the literature prize (1968, 1994); a Japanese doctor won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1987).

· A Vietnamese, a Tibetan, a Japanese, a Burmese, 2 Timorese, a South Korean, and a Bangladeshi have all won Nobel Peace Prizes.

· Nobel Prizes for Peace have gone to Rigoberta Menchu Tum (who fabricated her autobiography), Yasser Arafat, Henry Kissenger & Lu Doc Tho. Al Gore won a peace prize, but not for bombing Serbia or Afghanistan and not for doing nothing with Sudan and Rwanda.

· The Nobel prize for literature is pretty much the Oscars- some deserving winners, lots of overlooked classics and plenty of immediately forgotten works- picked by a very small group of Swedes. Politics seems to be very important.

· Can you name a work from these past 15 winners? Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (2008), Doris Lessing (2007), Orhan Pamuk (2006), Harold Pinter (2005), Elfriede Jelinek (2004), J. M. Coetzee (2003) Imre Kertesz (2002), V. S. Naipaul (2001), Gao Xingjian (2000), Gunter Grass (before he admitted his membership in Nazi organizations)(1999), Jose Saramago (1998), Dario Fo (1997), Wislawa Szymborska (1996), Seamus Heaney (1995), Kenzaburo Oe (1994). (I could only name the works of 1).

· Der Spiegel wrote, “By selecting exotic token choices and veteran compromise candidates, all the selection committee has succeeded in doing is to put literature editors under a lot of pressure to find anyone who knows of or can even remember the winner after the judgments have been announced in Sweden.”

· None of Faulkner’s works were in print in American when he won his nobel prize.

· Past laureates include eugenicists, Nazi party members and a guy who claimed that September 11 attacks were a republiKKKan conspiracy.

· In 1926 the prize for Medicine of Physiology went to the man who discovered that roundworms cause cancer.

· In 1927 the same prize went to a psychiatrist for his treament of syphilitic dementia by injecting patients with malaria.

· The 1949 the same prize went to the neurologist who pioneered the use of lobotomies for treating of schizophrenia.

· There is no Nobel Prize in economics. However, Sweden’s central bank—not the Nobel Committee- established the “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”. Four descendants of Alfred Nobel have unsuccessfully tried to de-link the Bank’s prize from Nobel’s name.

· The recipients of the Swedish Central Bank’s prize in memory of Alfred Nobel often take a dim view of their “science”. Hayek’s speech was on the “pretence of knowledge” and Vernon Smith seconded him. Paul Krugman believes the entire profession has been off its rocker since the 1930s. Krugman has no economics based theory on what just occurred or how to prevent it from happening again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Trivia

Two leading political parties of









I'll put the answers in comments.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Places I've Never Heard Of" for $800

Jeopardy had their tournament of champions a couple weeks ago, and one of the Double Jeopardy rounds was "Tough World Capitals". See if you can name the country without clicking on the link for the answer:

$400- One of the "Stan"s: Tashkent
$800- Island Country in the Indian Ocean: Port Louis
$1200- A former Soviet republic: Chisinau
$1600- In Western Africa: Yamoussoukro
$2000- In the Pacific: Honiara

I should note that all three contestants were absolutely mashing the buttons trying to buzz in to answer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mind-Forged Manacles

Inspired by Flye's Pretty Talk tag, here's a stanza from a William Blake poem I read this week:

In every man's every cry
In every child's fearful cry
In every voice, in every ban
The mind-forged manacles I hear

I think its the poem London and I think that's an accurate quote, but if my memory's mussed I'll give you your money back. I've been reading a lot more poetry lately. It appeals to my blog-forged attention span.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Every Dog Loves Food

H Jon Benjamin slays me in everything he does: Dr. Katz, Home Movies, Important Things with Demetri Martin, etc. He's the voiceover-audition guy in this excellent parody of the uber-pretentious NY Times Weekender ads:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Miami Vice, #1 New Show

How did I miss this story from 2006? Obsessed Bin Laden Wanted to Kill Whitney Houston's Husband:

Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is so obsessed with singer Whitney Houston he thought about killing her husband, Bobby Brown, it was claimed last night.

The suggestion is made by Sudanese poet and novelist Kola Boof, who claims she was bin Laden's sex slave for four months 10 years ago.

"Whitney Houston's name was the one that would be mention constantly.

"How beautiful she was, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women's husbands killed."

She also says his favourite television shows were The Wonder Years, Miami Vice and MacGyver.

Osama is rich enough to keep her tits-deep in crack and dildos, so who knows--it might just work out for these crazy kids.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shit or Get Off The Pot

Put more, er, artfully, by Seneca ("On The Shortness of Life"):

Can anything be sillier than the point of view of certain people—I mean those who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves very busily engaged in order that they may be able to live better; they spend life in making ready to live! They form their purposes with a view to the distant future; yet postponement is the greatest waste of life; it deprives them of each day as it comes, it snatches from them the present by promising something hereafter. The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day. You dispose of that which lies in the hands of Fortune, you let go that which lies in your own. Whither do you look? At what goal do you aim? All things that are still to come lie in uncertainty; live straightway! See how the greatest of bards cries out, and, as if inspired with divine utterance, sings the saving strain:
The fairest day in hapless mortals' life
Is ever first to flee.

In my job, I often have to give presentations where I'm exhorting leadership to follow some course of action, and I've always wanted to (but have yet to find the courage) use this quote from Hamlet:

Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do' since I have cause and strength and will and means to do it

Of course, he was talking himself into killing his Uncle, and that didn't exactly work out as he'd hoped. But people don't talk pretty like that these days--the best I can hope for is the eloquence of one VP after one of my pitches: "Are we going to ignore common fucking sense or should we just approve this?"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jungle Boogie

Wired learns what all successful musicians already know: you give the audience what it wants. Why do you think Madonna lives in a 30-room mansion?

And if that audience is bunch of tamarin monkeys, then leave off the songs from your crappy new album and play some damn monkey music.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Commitment To Excellence

Sign this guy up to coach the Raiders:

Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy. And at the risk of stating the obvious, blue slushies are for winners.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The LA Times says that pot is mainstream in L.A. That article is much lamer than the very good New Yorker article on how the weed gets to the Farmacy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What About A to the D?

I thought A.D. wouldn't sign up for blogger? Some kind of post-crypto, neo-troglodyte, channeled Luddism.

Or worried about getting too deep?

aka Slippery Slope (legal)

aka Camel nose under the tent (ethnographical)

aka Thin edge of a wedge (engineer)

aka Dominoe Theory (international politics)


Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

They Are Building It Now!

The dialogue in question starts at the 3:00 mark:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Very Soon!

So here we go again. As promised, a stupid pet trick.