Saturday, December 20, 2008

A little Christmas nepotism

My neighborhood has a "patron". This guy bought all the property and set up shop with the builder who did most of the original houses. The guy made his daughter the official "interior designer" (she lives in the development as does the patron and (in yet a third house) either his mother or mother in law).

The original builder is long gone and the new builder is the patron's son-in-law. Our HOA had a Christmas lighting contest with a cash prize for first and second place. Mrs. Angus and I have been joking to ourselves about how it's really only a contest for second as the patron will have first prize awarded to himself. At least we thought we were joking until this morning, walking Pluto, we saw the first place sign in the Patron's front yard.

It's like we are still living in Mexico, only without the food, art and history (to be fair without the traffic and crime either).

All Hail Scotty Brooks

Kudos, sir, you are now the winningest coach in OKC Thunder history.

Yes, the other shoe finally dropped and Scotty "why yes, this is my father's suit" Brooks has 2 W's, fully doubling the total of his predecessor.

The great part of this game was the ball was in the hands of Durant, Green and Westbrook down the stretch. They all made plays and they won a very tight game. No Damien Wilkens, no Desmond Mason, no Chris Wilcox. Durant Green & Westbrook are the future of this franchise and they should be in the fire as much as possible.

Kudos also to Nick Collison, my personal favorite Thunder for a gritty all around performance.

Here's some Scotty eye candy for y'all:

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life, Live

It appears that the actual script of "It's a Wonderful Life" is being reenacted.

Like all adaptations, it is disturbingly different from the original, though. (Think of Brecht's version of Antigone. Whoa....)

Mr. Potter, the guy who "made off" with all that cash. Well, it's Bernie "Madoff," of course.

Leaving LOTS of banks insolvent, just in time for the (Jewish, in this case) holidays.

The angel, Clarence? That's Barack Obama, I think. And that helps us transition to Obama's faith-based health care plan. The question is how they are going to get ALL Americans close enough to the Chosen One to touch the hem of his garment....

(Above: Obama Health Care System At Work)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Woo-Woo! Merry Christmas to me!

Mrs. Angus, doing her part to stimulate the economy, surprised me today with my Christmas present a week early. Feast your eyes people:

The Answer to Paint You Disagree with is "More Paint"

The UNC System convenes a panel of luminaries to debate whether the Free Speech tunnel does, or does not, mean "Free Speech."

From the N&O Story: The 11 members of a task force considering a hate crimes policy for the UNC system began their work Wednesday with a crash course in the First Amendment.

Among the lessons: The four N.C. State University students whose bigoted messages related to President-elect Barack Obama spurred the UNC system's introspection at least got the venue right for their invective.

"The free expression tunnel at N.C. State is the quintessential example of a designated public forum," First Amendment lawyer Hugh Stevens told the group Wednesday. "Whatever else they did, the students who posted these sentiments at least put them in the right place. If they had put them on some building on campus, they probably would have been charged with vandalism."

Wuhl....yes, of course. But what about the CONTENT of the speech? The kids would have been charged with vandalism if they had painted "Go Wolfpack!" or "Obama is the MAN!" on a school building. The question before the luminaries (and by that I mean little sacks full of sand with a candle in it to produce hot air but not much light) is whether Free Speech means you can write what you want.

Interesting solution to the problem in Charlottesvulle, VA, home of Mr. Jefferson's University and a whole passel of leftist enforcers of thought conformity. It is the "1st Amendment Monument," a big chalk monolith. (Some call it the "1st Amendment Memorial," to honor the death of that important provision of the Constitution, I should note).

The rule in Charlottesville is that you can write ANYTHING, and erase ANYTHING, on the monument. A kind of free speech wiki, caveman style. You can write, you can edit, you can dance around and yell stuff.

The best sentences I read this week

"I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury," Mamet told Daily Variety. "So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."

That's David Mamet skewering Jeremy Piven after Piven abruptly dropped out of a production of one of Mamet's plays.

Here is the full story.

John Staddon on Traffic Signs

My good friend, and Libertarian fellow traveller, John Staddon gives the straight dope on traffic signs in the U.S.

For the rest of the story, including a link to J-Stad's Atlantic Monthly article, "Distracting Ms. Daisy, check this out.

(Lagniappe: J-Stad on smoking....)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Wonder They Don't Have Jobs

The following exchange occurred on "Poli Sci Jobs Rumors," the blog for people with much too much time on their hands. (And, yes, I read it once a week, just like I read the Sunday comics, and in fact for the same reason).

Here is the exchange, "Over qualified for work outside the Ivory Tower ", with a few posts deleted for length. ("OP" is original poster, btw)

Anon-ABD-2009 .edu verified member
Has anyone run into a brick wall when applying for jobs outside of academia? I have an MPA and one semester from a PhD, but over the last year I have been looking for work outside of academia to pay the bills and to see if I really will miss teaching. There have been over thirty jobs which I was a perfect fit, except that they wanted someone with just an MPA. I have had four interviews and they always ask “If you are getting a PhD, why are you applying for a city government job?” I explain that my focus is city government and how I have several years as a HR manager for a small Midwestern city. I never get a call back after the interview. Has anyone else run into this problem?

Anonymous Unregistered
one semester of a phd can easily be left off your resume. that's nothing compared to the six years/12 semesters the rest of us have done.

Anon-ABD-2009 .edu verified member
"one semester of a phd can easily be left off your resume. that's nothing compared to the six years/12 semesters the rest of us have done."
One semester? I believe I said I'm one semester from a PhD not one semester into a PhD program. And it is difficult to lie as several of the jobs are with the feds and I think they may do a through background check. Maybe not, who knows.

Anonymous Unregistered
No. You actually wrote: "I have an MPA and one semester from a PhD." I'd venture that most people would interpret that to mean you had completed one semester in a PhD program. That's how I read it, and apparently that's how the person 3 posts above read it too.

Anonymous Unregistered
Do you really have that much emotional investment in proving that the OP's ambiguity led to your misinterpretation? Don't you have a dissertation to write or something?

Anonymous Unregistered
If you've just been in your PhD program for one term, why not just leave it off your resume?

Anonymous Unregistered
Get it through your heads - this person is one semester AWAY from a Ph.D.

Anonymous Unregistered
It's laughable that this person would be unemployable after ONE SEMESTER in a Ph.D. program. Perhaps there are other reasons why s/he can't get a job.

Anonymous Unregistered
^ Yes probably s/he isn't a competent reader and is unable to assimilate basic information when it is presented clearly.

Anonymous Unregistered
The OP is unemployable because s/he can't write clearly. "One semester? I believe I said I'm one semester from a PhD not one semester into a PhD program."

Anonymous Unregistered
I think all the grading this week is making someone cranky! Geeeez!

Anonymous Unregistered
I am laughing, imagining the person who first misunderstood the OP going back and posting as other people misunderstanding the OP, to prove his/her point

Anonymous Unregistered
^^ Yes, but this is undoubtedly much more true for the poster with all but 1 semester remaining than for the poster who just completed his 1st semester of grad school.

Anonymous Unregistered
It's a bit arrogant to think you're over-qualified for a position after half a year of grad school.

Anonymous Unregistered
I don't see what the point is, if you've only had one semester from a Ph.D. program. Just drop out now. At least you haven't spent more than one in there.

Anonymous Unregistered
What's the big deal if you have only spent one semester in the PhD program?

My own view:

1. I read it as being "one semester from a PhD program," meaning the OP had finished one semester, not all but one. It is implausible for someone to have meant, "I am one semester from a PhD," since PhD are measured in completed theses (>=1 is the cutoff), not semesters.

2. Criticizing someone else's writing a blog post is a little silly. This is not formal writing, not by a long shot.

I am reminded of Bruce Springsteen's song when I read the above passage. Here is the money part of the lyric.

Seen a man standin' over a dead dog lyin' in a ditch
Lookin' down kinda puzzled pokin' that dog with a stick
Got his car door flung open down on Highway 31
As if he stood there long enough the dog'd get up and run
Struck me kinda funny, funny anyway
At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

I guess the PSJR folks need a reason to believe, and that is apparently feeling good about themselves by making fun of others. And, since I am posting about it being silly, I must need that, too. So that makes me no different from these poke-a-dog-with-stick posters, now that I think on it. Maybe if we stand here long enough, that dog'd get up and run.

Al Copeland: Bad Shirts, Good Chicken, An Award

Al Copeland, of Popeyes, is true humanitarian, serving ALL the people....serving them chicken and good spicy taters. Too much salt, too much fat, but....A humanitarian.

As Jay argues persuasively

WTF? I mean, WTFingF? Vienna Metro Parking

I have several times in the past used the Metro at Vienna. It's the one furthest west, and the one that you need to take if you want to avoid the I-66 eastbound parking lot on a rainy morning. I have discussed before how mystifying it is to me that no one builds more parking, and charges for it.

Well....I got there Tuesday, at 9:15 am. Didn't find a space, drove around. Very nearly got hit, twice, by different people who were doing about 45 mph in the parking garage and making left turns without looking if someone was coming straight. One of them blew her horn at ME! (I made no gesture, or sound, other than a look of mild surprise, which I thought was an understated reaction, by the standards of the Angus / Mungowitz apoplexy-for-small-slights scale).

Parking appeared to be totally free. No parking attendants, the bars at the entrance and exit booths were raised. So, every space was full, in every lot and every garage.

Now, this makes no sense. Consider:

1. We subsidize the Metro already....a LOT. The argument for why parking should be subsidized is that "we" (really? no one asked me) "we" want people to use the Metro. (Me? I want them to walk...through the woods....and chiggers on their tingly parts)

2. Since it's free, people use it....too much. Charge something.

3. At a minimum, have some spaces, extra spaces, where you charge something. A LOT, if necessary, to make sure that there are SOME spaces available, for a high price. Who would be deterred by high prices? Those who could most easily find a ride, or take a bus. Who would use high-price parking spaces? Those who have the highest value of time, or the most urgent errand. Who would benefit? Well, imagine sorting people by their need to park. The last person who parked free on that day is likely nearly indifferent between parking and taking a bus. Having that person take the bus is a tiny cost. The next person who could have parked, at (say) $2/hour must really need to park, and ride. And the revenues of the system would go up, and the required subsidy (see above) would go down.

4. To be fair, there IS an alternative. you can park at the meters, outside. And, there were several meters available. Dozens, in fact. All you need is (I'm not making this up) $1 coins. Do you happen to have several of those? Like, six or eight, in your pocket? I sometimes get a $1 coin, and have 1 1$ coin, until I can foist it off on the next loser I buy something from. Now, lots of places (LOTS of places; that's a parking joke) have those stands where you put in your credit card, and pay, and get a receipt, and put it on your windshield. Even if you had to walk
50 yards to one of the machines, at least it is POSSIBLE to park there. The nominal price of these meters, as it stands, is $1 per hour. The actual price is effectively infinity, since NOBODY CARRIES F*****G 1$ coins.

So, I walked to the Metro station, bought my ticket with a $10, got 5 1$ coins in change from the machine, walked back to my spot, and put $5 worth of coins in the machine. I got back 5 hours and 45 minutes later, and there was a parking ticket disintegrating in the rain on my windshield. (There had been a 40 minute delay while something was cleared off the track, but I might have been late anyway. I hope they were clearing the remains of the guy who decided parking at Vienna should be free, and that he got hit while explaining some commuter why we need more subsidies, so parking can be free, so we get more riders, so we need more subsidies).

Two solutions, one from me, one from my lovely wife.

1. (mine) Lose the meters, which are electric and expensive. Install those machines that take credit cards. Charge $10/day, fixed rate, or $1.50 /hour.

2. (hers) there is plenty of free parking available, right out on I-66. You can leave your car there from 7:30 am til at least 10 am, and no one would notice, because there is no traffic movement. Sure, after 10 am you might get towed. But think how CONVENIENT it is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

but will the sea lions swim with you?

When Tyler went to the Galapagos, I asked him if he was going to swim with the sea lions and he paused, reflected, and said "It's not a question of if I will swim with the sea lions, it's a question of whether the sea lions will swim with me".

And lo, it's the same situation now in Berlin where up to 7000 "wild" pigs have apparently taken residence. The government's official position has shocking historical overtones: gun them down where they stand.

Here's an example:

"One pack (called a "sounder") of boars took to hanging out at a playground in Berlin's posh Dahlem district. The chief sow sunbathed on the warm tarmac of a main road, holding up traffic, while her striped sucklings played with children.

"If one piglet had squealed because a kid had held it wrongly, the sow would have attacked," says Mr. Ehlert. He had police cordon off the playground while hunters gunned down the entire sounder in front of shocked residents."

Nice work there Fritz. If something had happened that didn't, then something else would have happened that didn't so lets just save time and execute them. Booyah!!

However, Mr. Ehlert does back away from total porker-cide, if only for reasons of practicality:

"Hunters have shot over 500 boars in urban areas since April, but boar numbers keep rising. Up to 7,000 now live in the city, Mr. Ehlert estimates. "There is no way that hunting can get rid of them all," he says. "Ultimately we must learn to share the city with the swine."

I guess he better hope the pigs feel the same way!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The wit & wisdom of our worst president

  • "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" January 11, 2000
  • "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." Jan. 27, 2000
  • "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." Sept. 29, 2000
  • "They misunderestimated me." November 6, 2000
  • "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." Oct. 18, 2000
  • "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." June 18, 2002
  • "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Aug. 5, 2004
  • "The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear--I'm a commander guy." May 2, 2007
  • "There's an old saying in Tennessee--I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee--that says, fool me once, shame on--shame on you. Fool me--you can't get fooled again." September 17, 2002
  • "I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas." Sept. 20, 2007
  • "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." July 10, 2008.His parting words to fellow G-8 leaders at a summit meeting.
  • "And they have no disregard for human life." July 15, 2008, speaking about Afghan fighters.
From Gene Stone's "The 12 Step Bush Recovery Program"

Bush is a four letter word

He's going to do it. Against the votes of the Republican congressional delegation, against a majority of the opinion of the public at large, against all economic logic (people even Joe Stiglitz says bankruptcy is the way to go for the beggy 3), W is gonna give the most undeserved christmas present ever. I can't wait to see the "tough conditions" that will be attached.

While I have already noted my sympathy and support for the beggy 3 work force, those management teams simply cannot get any more support or money. They have pissed away hundreds of billions of dollars of value.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about all this was Cheney's "Herbert Hoover time" remark. People, the Bush administration is way way way down looking up at Hoover in the presidential rankings.

Hoover didn't topple a foreign leader only to let the conquered country sink into years of violent anarchy. Hoover wasn't commander in chief of troops that heaped vile abuse on prisoners in the very prison where the previous leader committed some of his atrocities. Hoover didn't push for torture. Hoover didn't sign anything nearly as sickening as the Patriot Act. Hoover didn't kill SCHIP expansion on cost grounds only to throw $15 billion into a complete and total rathole the next year (I am not saying SCHIP is a good program, I am just saying it's way more worthy that a 15 billion sop to the beggy 3).

Has any alleged free market, small government, personal liberty person ever done more to hurt the causes of free markets, small government and personal liberty?

I truly think W is one of the very worst, if not the absolute worst, president of all time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Time I'm Walkin' to New Orleans

A note from a friend, after s/he read the hunting post:

For the last two months I've been tutoring a [history student]. Her class is up to the Civil War now, and we were discussing the Union's original plan to attack the South down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.

"New Orleans is in the South?" she asked. "I didn't know that."

"Um, yeah," I said, showing her a map of the US. "See? All the way down there."

", like, that's where Katrina happened, right?"


She looked confused. "But didn't Katrina happen in Los Angeles?"

I stared at her.

"It wasn't in Los Angeles?"

" See, it came up through the Gulf like this, and Los Angeles is...all
the way over here."

" then why did everyone say it happened in New Orleans, LA?"

Luckily, though, I don't think she's the hunting type.

(with apologies to Fats)

Noonan on Blago

right here:

Rarely has there been such a case in which the sin is perfectly represented by the physical presence of the sinner. I had never seen him until the news this week, and there he was, a lipless, dull-featured, wig-wearing moron with a foul-mouthed harridan of a wife. (Oh, maybe it's not a wig, but I think Chicago should know everyone in New York thinks it is.) The minute I saw him I thought: That's exactly what a guy like that would look like! And then I thought: Oh, God bless him, because it's kind of a gift when things look as they are. Not all is shade and shadow, some things are hearteningly obvious. He really was abusive. He really was selfish. He really gives you something to react against, a sense of "That's what not to be."

amen, Peggy