Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Monday, February 28, 2005

As I noted earlier, although there's a Constitutional limit of 8 years on Presidential terms, there's no such limit on the Vice-President.

Just in case of a Jeb/Dick ticket in 2008...I have acquired the domain name, expiring 5 years from today. If anybody wants it, they have to come through me. All of the more plausible Republican domain names that I tried were taken (, anyone?).

It seems not to have propagated around yet, but I have the confirmation email.

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Weather Assholes

Is there anything that people (and in this, I mean men) can't turn into a pissing match? Check out the constant winter storm "discussions" at The Eastern United States Weather Forums. Here are some excerpts from an extreme but not surprising thread on the upcoming big East Coast storm -- we'll skip the definitions of the weather forecasting jargon, because as you'll see, that's not the point. What's interesting about this is that as far as I can tell, the posters on this board love snowstorms in a kind of existential way -- that is, none of them mention how they're looking forward to cross-country skiiing afterwards or anything like that. They also become personally offended by forecasts that don't give them snow where they live. By the way, the poster DT-wxrisk is a professional meterologist, selling his medium-range forceast service on the Internet.
DT-wxrisk: the all snow I-95 all snow mongerers are all wrong .... the 12z ETA shows that IMO decisively -- it is further WEST at 12z than at 0z and 6z

Jonathon416: DT is just being anti-snow because of his past screwings.

SacredDreamz: Did you get the foot the NAM forecasted for you last week?

DT-wxrisk: and the nam was the 1st model to shows it was going to be rain dummy
way before gfs which had RIC all snow until 12 hrs before the event
and the rgem had me getting the MOST snow of all

capecod04: Hey DT I'll keep you in mind when I'm shoveling my 12-18" out of my driveway..

DT-wxrisk: what are you talking about? how can anyone look at my forecast for and say I am not forecasting all snow for you? this isnt you location so shut up and stop lying

ChrisL: Dave... Even Paul Kocin is saying there is a MUCH better chance for snow in the I-95.
You think you can beat the Winter Forecasting King? I have GREAT respect for you, either way..


godam it all to hell

friendwh: But you are/were forecasting a quick changeover, or very little snow.

DT-wxrisk: now you are Just lying my 1st call has been out for more than 24 hrs. you are a piece of dirt.

capecod04: Dude I was just saying that you had mentioned that earlier in the week don't tell me I'm lying.. You look like crap on this storm admit it.

bostonwinterweather: now we really are getting dilusional... your first guess has been out for 22 hours and you have been saying I 95 will not be all snow... one must conclude that that includes Boston. CC is close to I 95. Don't be a dick.

cape cod just accused me for forecasting all rain for I-95 Try and follow along ./ Not everyone in bostin is that stupid

bostonwinterweather: You incoherrently babble and accuse me of being stupid? I know you aren't calling for all rain you idiot. Seriously, how are you not banned yet?
If you follow along to DT-wxrisk's own site, here's his answer to his critics:

I am however shocked and outrage at the accusations being leveled against me. On would think that after doing all I can to make those forums a good place to discuis and learn about weather ... and r offering to doing these comprehensive and in-depth meteorological videos for free.... I would not get accused of being an incompetent weenie.

And now I am being accused of being anti-snow or in some sort of slump!? . Even if my March 1 forecast is 100% wrong ... It is the most outrageous charge made by people who are not smart enough to choke their own chicken with getting instructions from the internet.

Ah, science.

The Gates From Space

Link stolen from Thoughts From Kansas.

The Gates in Central Park
Friday, February 25, 2005
More Adam Bede Spam

Chapter 37, or: Avandia make your body more sensitive to the natural insulin it produces gulf
How she yearned to be back in her safe home again, cherished and cared for as she had always been. Her aunts scolding about trifles would have been music to her ears now; she longed for it; she used to hear it in a time when she had only trifles to hide. Could she be the same Sara that used to make up the butter in the dairy with the Guelder roses peeping in at the window—she, a runaway whom her friends would not open their doors to again, lying in this strange bed, with the knowledge that she had no money to pay for what she received, and must offer those strangers some of the clothes in her basket? It was then she thought of her locket and ear-rings, and seeing her pocket lie near, she reached it and spread the contents on the bed before her. There were the locket and ear-rings in the little velvet-lined boxes, and with them there was a beautiful silver thimble which Bill had bought her, the words Remember me making the ornament of the border; a steel purse, with her one shilling in it;and a small red-leather case, fastening with a strap. Those beautiful little ear-rings, with their delicate pearls and garnet, that she had tried in her ears with such longing in the bright sunshine on the 30th of July. She had no longing to put them in her ears now: her head with its dark rings of hair lay back languidly on the pillow, and the sadness that rested about her brow and eyes was something too hard for regretful memory. Yet she put her hands up to her ears: it was because there were some thin gold rings in them, which were also worth a little money. Yes, she could surely get some money for her ornaments: those Mark had given her must have cost a great deal of money. The landlord and landlady had been good to her; perhaps they would help her to get the money for these things.

Random funny picture

Seen on in response to a challenge to Photoshop Star Trek with any other show. I laugh long time!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sometime in the last decade or so, it became commonplace for people to refer to their "grandkids". When I was a kid (and grandkid), there was no such word. My suspicion is that this word came into being when the youngest baby boomers, a.k.a. "The Generation That Refused To Grow Up", starting having grandchildren, and decided that grandchildren are what grandparents have -- and grandparents are old people! Not like us! We are vibrant and full of life!

Just a theory. What I need is one of the piles and piles of examples of people using the English language, like they have over at Language Log.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Nasty London Underground Song


Contains several very bad words, repeatedly. It will help if you know The Jam's "Going Underground".

(Seen in a slashdot comment that I now can't find again.)
Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor used to treat depression messuage

... is the Subject line of a spam whose entire text is:
There was a lot of timber-choppings put together just where the ground went hollow, like, under the bush, and the hand came out from among them. But there was a hole left in one place and I could see down it and see the child’s head; and I made haste and did away the turf and the choppings, and took out the child. It had got comfortable clothes on, but its body was cold, and I thought it must be dead. I made haste back with it out of the wood, and took it home to my wife. She said it was dead, and I’d better take it to the parish and tell the constable. And I said, ‘I’ll lay my life it’s that young woman’s child as I met going to the coppice.’ But she seemed to be gone clean out of sight. And I took the child on to Hetton parish and told the constable, and we went on to Justice Hardy. And then we went looking after the young woman till dark at night, and we went and gave information at Stoniton, as they might stop her. And the next morning, another constable came to me, to go with him to the spot where I found the child. And when we got there, there was the prisoner a-sitting against the bush where I found the child; and she cried out when she saw us, but she never offered to move. She’d got a big piece of bread on her lap.
In case you don't recognize that without Googling, it's from chapter 43 George Eliot's Adam Bede.
A Piece of Forum Etiquette, Perfectly Stated

For no reason at all, I thought I'd mention one of the policies at Television Without Pity:

Why can't I start my posts with the word "um," be a snotty jerk, or present my views as God's TV gospel?

Don't start your posts with "um" or "uh" or words like that because nine times out of ten, those words precede a snotty correction directed at another poster. It's rude and dismissive and it drives the staff nuts, so please, don't do it. The same goes for "sorry, but..." and "excuse me, but..." and, really, any other snitty post-starter.

If you can't talk to other people as if they're intelligent, you can't post. Don't talk down to your fellow posters, don't lecture them, and don't state your opinion as fact. And please don't think we're going to argue technicalities of whether you said "uh" or "um" at the beginning of the post; we can tell when you're being snide and snotty about other people's opinions.

If you're having a problem keeping your temper under control, get it under control, or post somewhere else. It's supposed to be fun. It's not combat. It's not necessary for it to become personal.

If you want to point out an error, that's fine, but please find a way to do it that isn't the written equivalent of an eye-roll.
Oh, if I had a nickel for every annoying "Um..." on the net...I'd probably have killed myself long ago, if I'd had to read them to collect. When I'm king of the world, this will be enforced.

Monday, February 21, 2005
Driving While Republican

But I also think it's a true falsetto note of hypocrisy for Bush to sneer at Gore for being "a pathological liar" when Gore was honest about marijuana use and Bush hedged the issue, using the phony argument that he didn't want to be forthcoming and set a bad example for the kiddies. That's become the great all-American personal copout and political rationalization, claiming that your goal is to "protect the children."
Hey, at least Bush used the same excuse when he got outed as a drunk driver: he kept it secret because he didn't want his kids to know.
[I]n his press conference [in November 2000], Bush said he had chosen not to disclose his arrest because "I made the decision that as a dad, I didn't want my girls doing the kinds of things I did...I didn't want to talk about this in front" of them. [Karen] Hughes said Bush had kept mum because he "had made a decision as a father that he did not want to set that bad example for his daughters or for any other children."

No, There Really Is Nothing They Won't Say

Thanks to Josh Marshall for pointing us to this ad, which is running on the sidebar at The American Spectator:

Yes, because the AARP is opposing the gutting of Social Security, they're troop-hating faggots.

[UPDATE: Pic removed from the Spectator site...damn, I knew I should have copied it somewhere.]

[UPDATE 2: Pic is back, stolen from Kos.]
Hunter Thompson

I know it's impossible, but...if Woodward and Bernstein call a press conference this afternoon, I'll be laughing.

Also, Garry Trudeau's probably doing some emergency plot work right around now.

Saturday, February 19, 2005
The Somerville Gates

More here. Hat tip, No More Mr. Nice Blog.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Sometimes it's the pettiest lies that piss me off

NBC is running a special on Sunday: "SNL: The First Five Years". The TV ads for this are calling it "All-New". In fact, obviously, it's not only full of clips, but the clips are the selling point. Maybe it's more of that "If You Haven't Seen It, It's New To You" crap.
When is Law & Order On?

Find out here. Hat tip: TV Barn.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
A Simple Stock Market Question

Everyone accepts two facts about the stock market:

1) In the past, in the long run (suitably defined), the overall value of stocks has risen. We can compute this rise by comparing the price of specific stocks over the time period in question.

2) Paper profits are not the same as cash in the bank. It's possible for (almost) everyone's paper holding in a stock to double at once, if there's a high demand for the stock but most holders of that stock continue to hold it. But generally, everyone can't end up with double their money, because if all the holders sell at once, the price goes down. How much does the stock fall in that case? I certainly don't know.

So in the debate about the long-term appreciation of the stock market, we can meaningfully talk about what an individual would have made by buying an index fund (or the stocks in the index, before index funds), but we can't talk about how much 100 million people would have made of they had all put money into the index and then sold that index 40 years later. The question is: is this latter number computable in any way?
Abraham Lincoln: A Thought

Lincoln is the only assassinated President whose assassination is not single most notable fact about him.

Happy 196th, Stretch!

Friday, February 11, 2005
Next Week's Onion Headline, Today

Arthur Miller Dead: Fucked Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Missed Opportunity

Here's the Simpsons episode scheduled for Sunday, February 13th:
Bart fakes his own kidnapping to cover up the fact that he snuck out of the house to go to a rap concert by 50 Cent (who voices himself).
Here's the one for the notorious someone-in-Springfield-is-gay episode, which airs the following Sunday, February 20th:

Homer joins an online ministry and has the authority to perform weddings - starting with Patty's now-legal-in-Springfield marriage to a female golf professional.
[Both capsules found here.]

Between now and February 14th, every TV show can that can advertise a Valentine's Day episode will do so -- except for The Simpsons, which has a wedding-themed episode slated for a week later. If they had run it on the 13th, and given it the full Valentine's Day promo treatment...well, that would have been pretty funny. But no!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
The Science of Meteorology

Southeast Middlesex MA-Suffolk MA-Eastern Norfolk MA-
Including the cities of, Waltham, Boston, Quincy
1201 PM EST Wed Feb 9 2005

Thursday: Rain and snow in the morning, changing to sleet and snow in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 4 to 6 inches possible. blustery and colder with highs in the mid 30S. North Winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.
Thursday Night: Snow. Total snow accumulation of 6 to 12 inches possible. Blustery. Lows in the lower 20S. Northwest winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

Two hours later....

Eastern Essex MA-Southeast Middlesex MA-Suffolk MA-
Western Norfolk MA-
Including the cities of, Beverly, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge,
Franklin, Gloucester, Lynn, Newburyport, Newton, Somerville,
Waltham And Weymouth
211 PM EST Wed Feb 9 2005

Warm air will be slow to retreat as the storm system moves in around daybreak Thursday. Precipitation will start as rain, with little impact on the early morning commute.

By the time it ends late Thursday night, 2 to 4 inches of new snow should be on the ground.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Beautiful and Succinct

One-line box at the top of the online Boston Globe:
PARADE UPDATES: The victory parade for the World Champion New England Patriots, winner of three of the last four Super Bowls, has ended. Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers in 9 days.

Karl Rove's Briar Patch

The New Yorker has a piece up by Nicholas Lemann discussing the complaints of all sorts of people about the media (referred to throughout as "mainstream media", by the way, in an acknowledged echo of the Right's current favorite formulation). Lemann's first example, though, seems kind of odd. It's a conversation that New York Times executive editor Bill Keller had with Karl Rove on October 22:
One item that particularly drew Rove’s ire was a Times front-page story, by Ford Fessenden, which appeared on September 26th, under the headline “a big increase of new voters in swing states.” As Keller remembered it later, in an e-mail message to me, Rove “fired off complaints like a Gatling gun, some specific, some generic, some about specific writers, some about specific elements of specific stories.” When I spoke to Rove about his conversation with Keller, it was obvious that, to his mind, the September 26th story was No. 1 among the Times’ journalistic misdeeds during the campaign. The story left the impression that the Democrats’ organization was vastly superior to the Republicans’, especially in Florida and Ohio. Getting out the G.O.P. vote in those two states had for several years been one of Rove’s main projects, and he spoke about the article in roughly the same tone as a writer discussing a bad review of his magnum opus.
Are we to understand that, two weeks before election day, Karl Rove was upset that the core element of his strategy was not getting enough publicity? Rove's always seemed to like the below-the-radar approach. I suppose that he was to some extent worried about the bandwagon effect, but this strikes me as a fit of personal pique that, had it been effective in its supposed goal, could well have come back to bite him.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Super Bowl Attitude Adjustment Request

Pats win again, 24-21. Ho hum. By which I mean "Yay!"

But as a relatively recent convert to the joys of the NFL, I have a request for the American public, especially the blogger subset:

If you want to watch the Super Bowl, watch it.

If you don't want to watch the Super Bowl, don't watch it.

But please, please, please, don't post an item telling us how you don't actually care about the game, but you just watch it for the commercials. By doing this, you manage to keep your nose in the air while snorting about in the mud. And that whole "watching for the commercials" thing was clever and counter-intuitive about 15 years ago. It's done.

(No links provided because I don't want to be picking on anyone in particular; I'm just venting.)

Thursday, February 03, 2005
Simpsons Already Did It


GLENDALE, California (AP) -- A jury has awarded $15.6 million to a man whose image was used for years without his permission on Taster's Choice coffee labels.

The Simpsons, Season 8, Episode 22 ("In Marge We Trust"):

Homer brings to the kids to the dump and there they find a box with Homer's face on it, which really creeps him out.

Although in that case:

Homer investigates the box and finds out that it is a Japanese dish detergent. He calls up Japan to inquire further and they send him a promotional videotape, which clears up the mystery behind Homer's face. It is the company's logo; a combination between a fish and a light bulb.

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